Wednesday, April 25, 2012

There's A Party In My Tummy!!

I did a post earlier about things that weren't around with my first kid.  Obviously nothing is necessary because these things weren't around when we were babies either and we made it! The beauty behind these items are the simplicity of them. Some have evolved from different cultures in other parts of the world. Some are crafty moms that just had an "A-ha!" moment. There are things that seem great, but I haven't tried them as of yet. I am adding to my previous list with items exclusive to foods and feeding.

1. ORGANIC foods - Hello! 21st century! This should always be a no brainer. One of the biggest mistakes we make as adults nowadays is freaking out about the appearance of foods. Give your kids spotty bananas, bruised apples, dented peaches. Cut off the parts that look gross to you if it bothers you that much.

2. Pouch baby foods - These things are great! They have them in single foods, simple combos and complex combos. Some have yogurt or cereal. You can squeeze the stuff out into bowls, onto a spoon, or into a mouth. Nikola-Ann has already learned to suck the contents out thanks to the tube-like opening. I discovered applesauce in pouches a few years ago and thought they were the best idea because the twins would not need a spoon in their lunches with these and squeeze yogurt. Imagine how exciting the baby food aisle became when I spied these more portable, tasty (yes I try everything my baby eats), and organic morsels proudly standing there. Beckoning me.

3. Cereals with more nutrients - I started using your basic rice. We all do. Then as I was looking for something a little less constipating (poor baby!) I noticed new glorious cereals! Some have DHA, some pro-biotics, some pre-biotics, some have all three. There are organic versions. Brown rice, whole oats, amaranth, and quinoa, all Non-GMO and all pretty tasty. Some have better containers with lids. We all know how frustrating those old-school boxes can be!

4. Baby "treats" - Some look like cat food but taste really good. They dissolve quicker than cheerios and don't leave too much of a mess. There are many different brands, flavors, sizes, and shapes to choose from available for children 6 months and up. A few are labeled as "melts". Many have a rice flour base with potato starch, some have added yogurt. They help baby learn textures and use their finger dexterity. WARNING: OLDER CHILDREN WILL EAT ALL OF THESE!!! Keep them hidden!

5. Snack keepers - When they are old enough, these "traps" allow tiny fingers easy access without too much treat spillage. They are way better than the old school plastic-baggie-pour-into-your-child's-hand-so-they-don't-suffocate method!

6. Take-N-Toss products - These aren't that new, I used them with the twins, but they are so incredibly awesome! They are:  affordable, reusable, come in larger quantities, okay to leave at grandparents or daycare, cute colors and the perfect sizes for whatever you need. There are cups, bowls, plates, sippy cups, spoons, forks, even placemats. Plus, when you are completely done with them they can be recycled!

7. The formulas - If you stopped the breastfeeding / pumping promise to yourself, don't be ashamed. There are some really great formulas out there that apparently create super babies. I quit breastfeeding Nikola-Ann at 3 months and she seems to be too advanced for my liking! I don't want to chase an energetic 7 month old around while she climbs into everything and pulls herself up onto furniture! Do they make formula to help MY brain and body?

8. Baby food - First of all, I WAS going to make all of my baby food at home. Then I went to the store. There are so many more tastes and textures available for babies out there! I have seen and tasted a lot of great flavor combos: broccoli/pea/pear, spinach/mango/pear, banana/beet/blueberry, blueberry/pear/purple carrot,  sweet potato/corn/carrot are just a few. A lot of them are available in my beloved pouches. It is nice to be able to introduce so many tastes to your little one and introduce them to healthier eating earlier in life.

9. Pediatricians - This is my favorite! Feeding your baby used to have a strict regimen. What you could feed your baby. When you should start feeding your baby. How much you must give your baby. Things have changed. Probably reverted back to how things were before doctors were involved. If your doctor is super restrictive about baby foods, (when, how much, what kinds) you may want to try a different pediatrician. More and more studies are being done showing a link between allergies and restricted diets in early life. Sort of makes sense, right?

So, I will continue to feed Nikola-Ann anything she wants. Even peanut butter! She will continue to thrive and enjoy many foods because she won't be afraid to at least taste new things. That is and always will be my policy for my kids. They have to at least try it before saying they don't like it. Every time it is served to them.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Rachel's Rant - School Drop-Off Zone

The drop off area at your kid's school is just that, a DROP OFF area!

It is not a read then sign the homework you forgot to sign on the way out the door.
The middle lane, blocking others is not a place to wait for your child to come to your car after school.
All lanes are not really designed to hold impromptu morning "Hey! How are you doing?" meetings.
There is the whole safety issue of dropping your spawn off in the middle lane and having them sprint across the other distracted parents pathways.
Above all, it is not a place to put your vehicle in park to flipping text or blab on the phone!

That is right, lady! You, with your long fake nails and 1980's hairstyle can wait the paltry five minutes it will take to drive back to your residence then type LOL on someone's status. You, with your princess attitude and oversized vehicle audibly sucking gas as you tappa-tappa on your phone. You, whom we all know text and talk WHILE you're driving anyway, you're that sort of human. You, blocking the drop off area of John Reed Elementary this morning and looking at me confused when I glared at you as I passed. Why was I perturbed with you?

We have a whole different parking lot for the people who like to hang in their car and talk amongst themselves. A whole different parking lot other than the drop zone. A place for people to lollygag in their car and not really bother other people. If you get to that parking lot too late you know you're going to be there for the long haul. That is a chance you take and people are alright with that issue for the most part. One time I was walking by a car blocking other honking cars, pushing the stroller and holding Devyn's hand, I asked the lady why she didn't just pull forward and park. She told me she had other children in her car. I glanced at my situation and decided to not drop my kids off in that parking lot any more.

I daresay that all schools are not this bad. I wish! I remember what a nightmare it was dropping the twins off at Bay View Elementary school last year. At least the groundskeeper would attempt to direct the people in their cars. Here, at John Reed there are no directors of traffic, it is a cluster of impatient people driving giant death robots.

It just goes to show what most people do when they think no one is looking.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Baby Is Mobile

Nikola-Ann started scooting on the ground today.
Oh Crud!
Now I have to make sure the floors are cleaned, the doors to all the rooms are closed, nothing will fall on her, she won't fall off of anything and finally where she has scooted off to. Parenting is SOOOO hard!
Currently she is keeping herself in a five foot radius trying to grab my socked toes. She gets up on all fours, rocks back and fourth then finally launches herself three or four inches forward. She is a trooper because she doesn't care that she has face-planted about a dozen times in her eagerness to move. This is all very cute.
I guess I should be filming it because these will be the last of the firsts until grandchildren arrive!
I just made myself sad thinking of that! Sad in that sweet, precious, I'm-so-glad-I'm-here-right-now manner us older moms get. I guess in that way ALL mom get!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Rachel's Rant - Rascals

This will make people angry. 

Driving a rascal and being too fat to walk does not mean you are disabled! Unless you want to believe that not being ABLE to say no to that doughnut is a disability!
I don't believe you should be entitled to a parking space reserved for people in wheelchairs or with true disabilities. I don't believe you should have helper animals to get that doughnut for you, either.
I AM trying to make a point.
I AM disgusted with the amount of blue wheelchair symbols that overflow at the local grocery stores and restaurants. People sitting in their idling car while they wait for the person in the spot they want to load their rascal into their vehicle. People with "disabilities" perfectly able of getting out of their car to yell at another person that parked in the spot they were waiting for.
Have we become a society similar to the one in WALL-E? An anamorphic bunch of vidiots* told what to be and served what they want while we float around on little robots that have become our "helpers" and forgetting how to walk. I believe we are not too far away!
 *Never leaving the sanctity of the computer screen

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Memoir I Started When My Sister Told Me She Was Pregnant 5 Years Ago

I am just going to write the darn thing as a blog!
It is already handwritten in a notebook and I'm going to transcribe it word for word from the little book it is scribbled in. I have tried to write it before but keep getting sidetracked as I remember things to add. This time I am going to put it down verbatim. I can always add new tidbits later.
I have a hard time re-writing what I have already written. I always start crying. Especially because I have had a new baby since I started writing the thing!
There is something so bittersweet about raising children. Something so poignant and heartfelt about those precious memories. The memories are actually only yours alone. I can only try to share mine with you. I can attempt to make you remember that fleeting point in time by letting you into my poorly captured versions. I wrote about the moments I have noticed occur with each child. There are always more being added.
ANYWAY! Without further ado:

Stop Worrying, Start Remembering

Just so you know, I have always been impressed by people who keep baby books. They keep track of haircuts, outings, teeth, doctor visits, even poops. Things are accounted for, dated, some even have samples. I'm not like that. I can remember everything. Some have dates, some just linger. The funny thing is, no matter how much I might complain about my kids, I only have the best memories of them. Here are some of them, some for you to expect.
  1. The birth - because after all the pain and bad stuff, you have your baby
  2. First smile - you'll get excited in the beginning over the facial movements, but the first real smile will melt your heart. Which, by the way, will be the first of many.
  3. First day at home, alone, with baby - after all the visitors stop visiting, you can hold your baby and just stare at it, this is also good at bedtime.
  4. The first break from your baby - whether it's because you have to go back to work or because someone takes the baby for awhile, not having your baby, missing your baby then getting your baby back are all so great because you do miss the crying and feeding and diapers.
  5. Nursing - because it is so worth it. Also another great time to just stare at a contented baby.
  6. Rolling over and sitting up
  7. Getting up on all fours
  8. Crawling
  9. Standing - all of the things from 6-9 are the best things. You're proud, the baby is proud. You clap, they laugh, you laugh, you might cry. It is really neat.
  10. First belly laugh - you'll hear it and laugh yourself. You'll try to get the baby to laugh again, baby probably won't. Don't worry! Babies are crazy!
  11. Grabbing - they clutch at everything. You can put a bottle of wine in baby's hand and baby will hold onto it. Great photo ops!
  12. The minute you realize that your baby needs you - whether it is a glance around in the stroller and you're not right there, or at moment you try to hand baby off to someone else. Baby realizes it and reaches for you or calls out for you. You stop whatever you are doing and just hold that baby as close as you can.
  13. First immunization - bring someone with you. You'll cry. Probably more than your baby. Bbay will give you the "Why? Why? What did I do?" look. Your heart will break.
  14. First bump on the head - you will freak out. It is OK! Babies fall. Especially learning to walk. Sometimes they fall off the couch, or your bed. They cry, that means they are alright.
  15. Teeth - oh! So many pearly whites! Baby teeth are perfect. They are tiny, white and sharp. Cherish those tiny, perfect teeth. Watch out when you're nursing though!
  16. Favorite plaything - it could be a stuffed animal, or a car or a blanket that they can't sleep without. When your baby is older they will remember it.
  17. Favorite music - Actually, baby will like a type of music, a rhythm or a beat. Baby will smile and wiggle or clap. Super star!
  18. First sickness - when your baby has a fever and the only thing that will console baby is you. Your heartbeat when held against your chest. Your voice when you talk softly and comfortingly. Your touch when you rub baby's back or stroke baby's hair tenderly.
  19. First time a stranger tells you that your baby is beautiful (like you didn't know)
  20. First time your baby actually consumes the rice cereal you are trying to feed to them - even though 95% is all over baby, you, seat and floor 5% made it in!
  21. First steps - technically your baby may not walk until they are 12, 13, 14 or 15 months along, but some babies do walk early, so I threw it in here. It is great to see baby walk for the first time. Not only can baby attain that thing that they have been striving for for so long, you see them reach a really important milestone. It is bittersweet, though. Once they walk they are, literally, one step out of the nest and there is absolutely no turning back!
  22. The first time sleeping through the night - enough said!
  23. First birthday - they won't remember but you will.
  24. First Halloween - you'll always remember that costume. Try to put it together yourself it is a lot better than those store bought outfits.
The second year:
  1. Climbing - babies are monkeys! Here is the proof! They climb out of cribs, chairs, your grasp, everything! Aaaaaaah! This is where duct tape comes in handy.
  2. Really enjoying the bath - up until now it has been more work for you. Now that baby is pretty stable, they will enjoy playing with toys, bubbles and you while bathing. Be sure to allot time for bathing because you are going to take an inadvertent bath as well.
  3. Other foods - baby has enjoyed things like squash, carrots, peas, string beans, etc. Now you can try fun textures and some more flavors and learn what your baby likes and dislikes. Sometimes it is amazing how alike or different they can be from your own tastes because they came from you. This leads to:
  4. Your first choking experience - babies like to eat. Sometimes they keep shoveling food in an already full mouth. Don't panic! If you panic bad things happen. The choking has happened to me. After I swiped baby's mouth and actually did a stomach thrust to dislodge the food (I don't remember what that was!) then I panicked. I sat down and cried. Then I laughed because I was so glad at how I had reacted and the crying baby I was holding stopped and looked at me oddly.
  5. First words - babies are parrots. Their first words are cute, usually "da-da". It turns out those aren't words! They just say it over and over again "da-da-da-da...". Then it will be "ba-ba-ba-ba...". Then "ma-ma-ma-ma..." but they'll call anything ma-ma or da-da. You'll point to yourself and ask "who am I?" baby will say "ma-ma". You'll point to daddy and ask "who is that?" "ma-ma" chickens? "ma-ma" books? "ma-ma" Remote control? "da-da". Finally, though, they get it. It all clicks into place. Then they say stuff like "Spongebob" or "cracker" or "thirsty". You try to make them say it again but you'll just have to wait because they now know the power of speech.
  6. Baby power look - there are millions of expressions that babies make. There will be one that will make you laugh no matter what. It may be the scrunched up nose or the raised eyebrows or the kissy lips or the "who me?". Each baby is different but they all know that the "look" will get them out of trouble for now.
  7. Time out - not that babies really understand this but it is good to install goods and bads at this age, especially safety concerns. You can tell them that climbing on the bookshelf is unsafe, if they do it again they get timeout. They do it again (that's what toddlers do) you put them in a time out chair. At first they're thinking "whatever!" but after a couple of timeouts they start getting it. They start pausing (mind you, they still do it!) before monkeying up the bookcase. Be aware that you should never put a child in timeout into their bed. Then they hate going to bed because they think they did something wrong.
  8. Clothing preference - there will be a time when you try to tie baby's shoe. They cry inconsolably. Are they wet? Hungry? Tired? After many things you take off the shoes, crying stops. On, crying, off, quiet. Different pair of socks, crying. Old pair of socks, shoes on but tied differently, quiet. Who knew?
  9. Favorite book - you've been reading to baby for awhile but one book is their most loved. Sometimes you need to actually buy a duplicate. Baby thought it makes me laugh it will taste good, too!
  10. Favorite food - how does a banana and pb&j for every meal sound?  How about for a week? How about yogurt and cheerios? Dry toast? Oatmeal? How about the fact that you are choosing these things and shunning all else? Welcome to toddlerhood!
  11. The first hug - sometimes even comes with back patting!
  12. The first kiss - usually it is just an open mouth but eventually they pucker up and even make smacking sounds.
Other things you will never forget:
  1. The first day of school - there might be some crying. You'll give them a hug, saying "I'll see you in a few hours!" You'll be strong. Then, you'll get back in your car and look up to see a backwards glance from your baby. Keep tissues on hand! Just know that all moms go through it. I'm pretty sure all moms will cry at this moment.
  2. First sleepover - don't have more then two over, you'll go crazy!
  3. The first time you are watching the news and something horrible about a child comes on - you are so angry you cry in frustration. How does this happen to tiny, perfect, precious people? Here is a time to be strong. Remember that you have been through bad in your life and look at you now. There is love and kindness and goodness in the world, if only in your household.
  4. More bad news about the news - a world changing event occurs. Terrorists, earthquakes, tsunamis, meteorites, space shuttles falling out of the sky, the media makes you feel like you're going to be next. Does it matter? Just be with your family as much as possible. Family really is what matters. Turn off the news, radio, tv, whatever and just hug each other, maybe read a book with each other.
  5. First school production - It may be a winter recital or a dance or a skit done at the school. Heck! It could even be an awards ceremony! Go to every one that you possibly can. Drag along family members, especially Dad. You are so proud. That is your baby up there! You should be proud!
  6. First time something medical happens to your child - maybe a broken bone or a minor surgery or even something dental; once again you are at their mercy. Everything important is in someone else's hands, life threatening or not, you don't breath deeply until you see that baby with your own eyes and know that they are going to be okay.
  7. First breakfast in bed - it could be Mother's Day or your birthday or just because. It could be cold cereal, muffins, oatmeal, donuts or bacon and eggs. There could be a card or flowers or both. Dad might be helping, he might not. It is the sweetest thing to wake up to! Even if the kitchen is destroyed when you get up.
  8. Art - they make tons of it!If you keep it all you will never have enough room! Sometimes there is a piece that really means something to you, though. Keep it, frame it, display it on your fridge or on your table. Tuck it away where it will always be protected.
  9. Movies you enjoyed as a kid - it is really cool to enjoy them with your kid!
  10. The first book they read - you may not remember the title but you will remember the look of exhilaration on your child's face when they realize that they have actually done it!
  11. The cute stuff they say  - my personal favorite was calling popcorn / copporn. Even when they're older, like calling Union Bank of California / Onion Bank of California or lobster / lomster.

Anyway, that is as far as I got! Sorry about all the bad grammar and punctuation but I was typing it as it was written! It turns out that I can't read some of my own handwriting. Too funny!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Blues

I have a problem with Valentine's day. I always have had a problem with it. Before the days of forcibly making children create a card for every other student, I was the kid that got three cards; including the one from my parents. Thus my dislike of this holiday. I have tried and tried to not be bitter about it. I simply do not like it!
We have anniversaries designed to celebrate our love for each other. Why do we need a general holiday to validate our love? Just another way to take money from people. Instead of spending hard earned cash on your spouse for flowers, jewelry or chocolates, why not hold hands and just verbally say "I love you and all your quirks! You are my reason for being the person I am today." That is a good way to keep the romance flowing!
I know I wrote a post about my dislike of Valentine's day awhile back. I did not purchase anything for my husband. I was ashamed of how much money they asked for that novel idea of personalized M&M's. Ridiculous! I am far too frugal to pay more than $40 for a tin of candy.
In other words, this is still one of my least favorite holidays.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Vivian's New Smile

First Lost Tooth
Today my oldest twin, Vivian, lost her first tooth! It has been wiggly for awhile. She was brushing her teeth, prepping for bed, when it came out. There were a few tears from her. There were some from me but I chose to cry into a glass of pinot noir after she was asleep.
This is a big moment in a kid's life! Tomorrow she will go to class and show everyone her new space. My little babies are growing up.
I did not get to enjoy my older children's little accomplishments such as losing teeth. I was a single mom for awhile, always at work when it happened. My daycare provider would inform me of the tooth fall out and I would stop by the post office to pick up some gold Sacajawea coins on my way home from work. After some homework, dinner, bathing and tucking in, we would all go to "sleep". I would creep back in and slip the coins under their pillow. They would always be so proud of their gold coins!
Vivian wants to wait until her Daddy gets home tomorrow night before putting her tooth under her pillow. That way he can see it before the fairy takes it. I am finishing up her tooth pillow. I will post pictures when it is finished. Both Vivian and Devyn are very excited about this tooth fairy thing. This time around I can honestly say that I am, too!