Monthly Archives: April 2015

What you never knew you needed

I have a number of friends expecting kids this summer and fall, and if I’ve learned anything from the last 16 months, you should never prattle on to a expecting or new mother what they NEED to buy. But I love telling people what to do, so for the sake of our friendships, I’ll only prattle on about it here! I haven’t included the typical items (crib, carseat, stroller, Sophie), but the items that I never expected to rely on quite as much as I did. For what it’s worth, I’m not being compensated in any way for this post.

Swaddler Maybe it’s because I was a first time mom, but receiving blankets never seemed square at 4 am in the morning when all I wanted to do was sleep. A swaddler made it easy as 1-2-3, especially since the one we bought — Summer Infant SwaddleMe — had the 3-step instructions right on the blanket. She outgrew it after just a couple months but well worth it for that time (we had 2, but I’d recommend getting 3, as one always seemed to be in the wash). Wubbanub I didn’t want C to be a carseat baby, but between family living 2 hours away, and our fitness class being stroller fitness (so a carseat on wheels), she spent her share of time in her plastic and foam bucket. Now, I also never wanted C to be that baby that ALWAYS has a plug in her mouth, but I do let her have one in the car seat, and in the crib. There is nothing worse than travelling 100 km/hr and hearing your baby cry and not being able to hand her a soother (except maybe doing pushups beside your baby’s stroller and having the soother hit you on the back of the head).  Wubbanub is a weighted stuffed animal with an attached soother that makes sure the soother never falls far from the mouth. Since the only soother C would take for the longest time was a Soothie, these were great for her. Baby Banana ToothBrush & Teether Beth suggested this one, and it is amazing. Not only does it get your child used to the concept of brushing teeth, but it is also an amazing teething toy. We’ve tried all kinds of teething toys, and (with the exception of Sophie, who actually doesn’t make this list because, seriously, who doesn’t know about Sophie!) the banana brush is definitely the most effective. Just a warning: once your baby gets to the “let’s see what happens when I drop this!” stage, it will bounce. A long ways. Like three or four rows up in the middle of church. A Quality Baby Carrier Or three. Or more. I could not have survived without one for those days when you need to get something done around the house, those stores where stroller just won’t fit, or when you want to get out for a walk (but don’t want to subject her to MORE time in the car seat). C has gone through phases of loving and hating each of them in turn, so I can’t recommend just one. But why three?

  1. A go-to soft-structured carrier that both Mom and Dad are willing to use (we have the Ergo, but in my next life I’d get a Boba or Tula, as they are a little less bulky for my slim shoulders).
  2. A snuggly, cuddly, stretchy wrap for around the house, or if you know you’ll need to pop a baby into a carrier when you get somewhere. Unlike soft structured carriers or woven wraps, stretchy wraps generally can be fully tied on before putting the baby in it, allowing you to tie at home, throw a jacket over top and be ready to carry at any moment. (I made a moby wrap, which is significantly cheaper than buying any of the versions of it and so simple to do. However, if I were to buy one, I’d get the Baby K’tan, as it’s easier to put on)
  3. A carrier to keep in the car for stores without child-friendly shopping carts, unexpected chances to go for a walk and days when she just wants to be carried. I keep my mei tai (the wonderfully low priced Infantino Sash) in the car whereas my sister keeps her ring sling in there (which I will be stealing if I have another kid because it’s perfect for newborns… and stealing her Boba, too. Thanks for breaking that one in for me, D!)

Baby Butz I bought Baby Butz for C because I knew the woman behind the brand from a past job. Having been through her promotional material, testimonies and reviews for that job, I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by it. And yet I was! Diaper rash would disappear within hours. Sure, it’s so thick it takes a good scrub to get it off your hands, but that’s because it doesn’t just get absorbed into the diaper like so many others. As an added bonus, it also was great on my winter eczemaLinks Whether we use them to tether toys to her stroller, or as toys themselves, we never leave home without at least half a dozen of them. They make good teething toys, too. We’ve even used them to keep kitchen cupboards closed at times. So simple, but so useful Kushies Bibs We tried all kinds of bibs. We tried fabric (which did nothing for sloppy wet messes). We tried vinyl (too distracting while eating). We tried a fabric bib with a vinyl cover (it ended up in our dryer and melted… fortunately just to itself). But Kushies? It’s like the fabric and the vinyl had a baby. These bibs are fairly waterproof, rinse well and air dry in no time. Sure, we could get away with likely only 1 with how easily they was up, but I can’t help but pick one up every time I walk past them on the way to the diaper aisle. Norwex Netted Dishcloth Now Scott thought I was crazy for telling him to wash dishes with what is essentially a net cloth, after I got tired of all of our dishcloths stinking (and no amount of Pinteresting seemed to freshen them up). While it still is all right for washing dishes (nothing mind blowing), it wipes up the glue-y mess that is baby cereal without smearing it around AND rinses clean. Be still my heart! Hampen Rug from Ikea We have three bright green shag rugs in our house. And C plays on all of them. They have been peed on. Pooped on. Puked on. And they’re still looking as clean as the day we bought them. The best part is that the largest size is only $80, so if they start to look bad (or worse: smell bad) we can just replace it. Pull Out Faucet with Spray Head Sure, the expression is “everything but the kitchen sink” but this is one upgrade that I think is a life saver when you have a baby.  Babies poop. All the time. And when they’re not pooping, all you can think about is when the next time they’re going to poop (can you tell we just survived a week of constipation, and of course, it’s messy aftermath?). And of course, there are all the blowouts. As gross as it may be to germaphobes and non-parents, the only thing to do with a blow-out is to drag the stinking kid to the kitchen, fill up the baby tub using the pull out faucet and plop her in. As she’s splashing her rubber duckies (there beside you, of course), blast the poop out of her clothing with the spray head. Honourable Mentions These items are definitely ones I could live without, but have made my life SO much easier or so much cuter they are worth mentioning

One-hand, One-step folding stroller: Every stroller claims to have an easy fold, but the Baby Jogger City Mini GT lets you fold and lift into the car in one step. Plus, it has 3 wheels (easy manoeuvring) that are rubber, but won’t go flat.

Munchkin Mesh Feeder: cram a pear in one, and hand it to C, and I get to have both hands free to eat my own breakfast. Not the easiest to clean, but worth every moment of early morning peace

AMP Swim Diaper: I love AMP because they are a local company, and if we had gone the cloth diapering route, we would have done AMP. With C still going through way too many diapers a day (literally peeing and pooping through… it would be a cloth diaper nightmare), she’s in disposables but I’m glad I get to use a reusable swim diaper. It’s unbelievably cute!

Anything Oball: The best, simplest toys. C loves everything Oball we have, and if I could go back, I’d replace all of our non-Oball stuff with the Oball equivalent.

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Categories: The new identity | 2 Comments

Routine

Every Monday, I tell Little C we’re getting back into our routine. Of course, Monday means a short morning nap so we can make it to the Library in time for Rhyme Time. So Tuesday we start our routine. Oh, but we can’t forget that we need to force a long nap on Wednesday mornings to delay afternoon nap time after Stroller Fitness. But it’s all good because Thursday we get back into the routine; Friday too. Then the weekend hits and we end up having so much fun with daddy we delay our morning nap. And then the afternoon nap ends up being in the car because those errands took longer than we thought, and of course we’ll go over to my parents’ for family supper, so bedtime gets delayed, but that’s ok because hopefully it means she’ll sleep in on Sunday, so we can push morning nap until after church (though it’s more likely that a late bed time means an early morning but that works too, since we can slip a nap in before the service). We can start back on a routine on Monday, right?

Sometimes I wonder why I bother trying to stick to a routine when we barely get to use it 3 days a week. I suppose it is akin to Picasso’s oft quoted advice:

Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist

– Pablo Picasso

A routine let’s us know general guidelines for when things SHOULD happen. Wake up around 7, nap around 9:30 and again at 1. Most days we’ll need another nap around 5, too before going to bed by 8. Once we know how things SHOULD happen, it’s easier to adjust the day around whatever activities we have up by subtly encouraging her to wake up early? Going a little longer between naps? It beats not knowing when she might want to sleep, and when she might want to eat (though we still do have days like that from time to time).

The daily routine may centre on Little C, but I take control of the weekly one. For six months, I felt terribly overwhelmed at doing the bare minimum, so I find it much easier to tackle all these tasks again by dividing them up into days. Sunday is laundry, Monday is house cleaning, Tuesday grocery shopping, and so on and so forth. That’s not to say that there aren’t laundry baskets scattered through out my living room today. Sometimes important things, like filing taxes, get priority over the task of the day. At least if you have a plan, and perhaps more importantly, it includes some “catch up” days, you never find yourself nearly as overwhelmed when you stare at your to do list.

Yes, not NEARLY as overwhelmed 🙂

Categories: The new identity | 2 Comments

Content

It’s been a while since I’ve been around these parts. In the old days of the old blog, that would likely mean I was struggling with something. That’s not the case this time. I’m a little worried that the bottom will fall out if I say this, but let’s tempt fate.

I’m content.

It’s like life has settled down, and I’ve settled down with it. C and I have agreed on a flexible schedule, and as a result, she is sleeping (and eating) better both during the day and at night. As a result, I’ve felt more capable of tackling projects and setting goals for myself. I’ve made peace with my body, and as a result, I’ve been taking more walks, finding time for more runs, and generally eating better because I choose to, not because I feel an obligation. Most weeks, I feel I’m keeping the house under control, and have stopped hyperventilating at the thought of my sister showing up unexpectedly so my newly potty trained nephew can use our bathroom in the midst of their errands. And as terribly cheesy as it sounds, with C having been baptized this last weekend, I am considerably less paranoid about her well being. Plus, it allowed our little family to join a church, which completed a part of my life again that I had forgotten was even missing.

Life’s not perfect. I’m actively avoiding the thought of returning to work because it feels like ripping my heart out to even think about putting C into daycare. I’m procrastinating certain projects because I just don’t feel like doing them. And sometimes, I need to give my priorities a little bit of a shift.

But for the first time in a very very long time, I’m not anxiously planning the next step. I’m not figuring out how to make life better, or out do where I am now. I’m happy with where my life is right now, and I’m enjoying just living in it.

Categories: The new identity | 1 Comment

Currently… In April

Once again Jenna and Anne have set up Currently for another month.

Wearing: I bought an infinity scarf to wear for my nephew’s baby dedication. Actually, I bought two. Can you believe they were my first two? I’ve been wearing them non-stop ever since.

IMG_3051Sipping: Earl Grey tea. I love a good Earl Grey tea. Or a bad Earl Grey tea. I’m not very discriminatory.

Wishlisting: There is very little in material terms that I really want right now. I’m not saying my life is perfect, but I’d rather have one more day in the weekend, or a couple more hours (of sleep) a night.

Writing: Le sigh. I used to write, primarily fiction. I stopped once I started university, but started back up from time to time. And then some friends became real writers. Nothing quite makes you feel inadequate as reading something your peers wrote.

Exploring: Adventures in Home Renovations! We started renovating our basement bathroom a almost year ago (uh-huh, we are slow. And we can only partially blame the baby), and we’re getting close to the end. Yesterday morning, my dad helped me patch the floor so I can start laying tile later this week. Last night, the new vanity showed up. Not quite sure how to get all 200 pounds of it into our basement, but it’s fine in the garage for now.

Categories: Currently, The new identity | 4 Comments

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