Sunday, September 21, 2014

Car Seats: Baby Gear Blunders

When I registered for car seats, I had no idea what I was doing. Sure, I had my trusty Baby Bargains book that helped guide me with so many decisions. Btw, every new mom needs that book! But I don't know, blame it on the pregnancy brain, I did not register or buy correctly when it came to car seats. So let me try to help others from making my mistakes.

We found our infant car seat and stroller when Adam was shopping around for bargains. It was a steal and we couldn't pass it up. Was it the best or the coolest? No. But baby stuff is so expensive! It's made by Graco, was safe and I thought that was fine enough. 

An infant car seat is one that can be removed from a base and carried around. I still think it's a must-have when you have an infant because they sleep so often. Then you're not carrying them in and out of the seat. Infant car seats can also be sold as a set with a stroller they can snap into. This is handy to get your newbie to and fro without much movement, although the strollers tend to be more bulky.  

We also registered for a bigger Graco car seat because I did know that eventually she'd grow out of the infant seat and need a bigger one to move into. I don't know how I managed to do it, but I registered for a seat that is only forward facing. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends rear-facing until 2, however, many people turn their child forward around one. To each's own.) I didn't realize the next seat we received was only forward-facing until Adly was 8 months, I had thrown out the box, dragged it into the car and spent 20 minutes trying to figure out how to secure the seat in a rear-facing position. Apparently, despite recommendations by the AAP, manufacturers still sell front-facing only seats for baby 20 pounds and up (which happens between 8-12 months). At that point, I knew I couldn't return it, so we kept up with the infant seat and I figured I'd just switch to the other seat when Adly was older than one.

Since then, here I've been, tra-la-la-ing all around here and there with Adly in her infant carseat. I knew that the weight limit was 30 pounds, which she is no where near. But the height limit was 30 inches, which she has surpassed.

It wasn't until I actually thought about the fact that Adly was still in an "infant" seat and she is now a toddler that I started to do research about when to change seats and what kind to change to. This was all a lot of overwhelming and conflicting information. I spent weeks reading reviews and manufacturers recommendations and stressing over whether we just front-face her now. The reason for this was because I found myself at the crossroads of needing to buy yet another car seat to essentially last us for 10 more months until we can use the next one, or just flipping Adly front-facing and using the seat we already had.

In all of my research, the one piece of information that made me decide she needed to be out of the infant seat was this: when a child's head is less than an inch below the top of the car seat, they are too big to be held in properly in the event of a crash. I had no idea about any of this before I started reading.

Now, I have to start by saying that I think when to turn your child front-facing is a personal and individual decision. I based my decision on the fact that Adly is comfortable sitting rear-facing. There are numerous studies that wee ones are safer riding rear-facing until 2. That said, riding in a car has never been an issue for her. However, for many babies it is. I can say for a fact that if Adly was screaming every time we got in the car, I wouldn't have blinked an eye at flipping her as soon as she turned one. You cannot judge the safety of that until you've tried driving a car with a screaming child in the backseat. That alone will cause an accident faster than anything else.

Because she's fine riding rear-facing, Adam and I ultimately decided to purchase a convertible car seat that can hold from 5-65 pounds and can rear-face until 40 pounds. This car seat could easily last Adly until she was ready to be out of a booster seat, however we still have our other car seat that she will be able to use when she's ready to front-face. Our reason for purchasing was also based on the fact we think we may have another child and in that event, we'll need another car seat anyways.

So, for a rundown, I recommend purchasing the following types of seats when you find yourself with child:

-Infant car seat/stroller set OR infant car seat (ensure it can click into strollers)
-Convertible car seat (which changes to front-facing, then booster seat)

While it was a very drawn out decision that took a lot of time and energy, I'm glad I spent so much time on it. It was ultimately the right decision for us and our family as of now. And the best part is, someone else seems to enjoy the new seat as well....

15 minutes into first car ride with the new seat:

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Gimme some mo'!

As Adly's language continues to develop, we hear some pretty funny interpretations of words that process through a one year old's mind. But there is one word that stands out as my absolute favorite.

It is: more. 

In Adlys world, it is: "mo!"

No matter how many times she says it, it never gets old to me and I can't let it go by without giggling, despite her ever so serious attempts to get "more" of something. The worst part is it almost always revolves around food and she's usually frustrated when asking for more so she says it aggressively and it comes off pretty rude. Adam has tried to get her to say "mo please" to take the edge off her demands, but alas, saying please isn't where her mindset is just yet. Even our babysitter that just started laughed at the end of her first day, commenting how she thought it was so funny how she yells "mo!" 

Today I caught it on video as I was trying to show my dad just how much she loves hummus. In the process she yelled out an emphatic "mo!" Because well, she wanted more! (After she licked the container and discovered it was "all goooome")

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Walker

Last Thursday, out of nowhere, Adly took her first steps! It happened as my friend Nicole (Co-Co) was over. As usual, Adly teased us with her ability to stand up and then sat back down. I was in the kitchen cooking and after a few attempts of this, Nicole excitedly yelled for me to look and sure enough, Adly was inching her way over to Nicole, step by little bitty step.

Watching a baby learning to take their first steps is one of the most precious events I think you can ever witness. It is so slow and calculated, as well as unsteady, but yet so exciting! Thankfully, after I clumsily fumbled around to get my camera out and recording, Adly decided to try again and take a few more steps so I could get a video to Adam (who was working) and all of our family. I am so incredibly grateful that I was able to see her big first steps before I head back to work. Now comes the hard work of learning how to make those little feet move whenever she wants them to! She definitely has a way to go before she learns that walking is much faster and easier than crawling. For now, she still prefers cruising around on all fours.

I will say, for those that aren't there for the exact "first steps", you really aren't missing that much. Of course, I realize I'm stating this after I was able to be there, so it might be a little easier to say. However I can say in the week since it first happened, her steps have all looked exactly the same. She takes a few itty bitty cautious steps then tumbles to the ground. So if you aren't sure you were there for the first, or you're a working mom and have the same worries I had, take solace in that fact. Your first really will be their "first" and that's what really matters.

Here now, is little Adly's first steps into big girl-hood. To see the concentration and the wonder in her face as she realizes her legs and feet are making their way from under her to step is so unbelievably cute!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Field Of Dreams

As summer is rapidly winding down, I've suddenly found myself with a last minute bucket list of things I want to squeeze in before work starts again. One thing we talked about all summer long was going to a Cubs game. Adam grew up as a die-hard Cubs fan and he wants nothing more than to instill that love with his own daughter. This Tuesday, Adam found himself with two night game tickets and we decided we just had to go. All summer, we've hemmed and hawed about going to night games with Adly because they're past her bedtime. And while at this point in the sleep-training game I'm ok with her staying up later occasionally, she is so trained that it's rare she'll make it past 7:30.

With the weather looking so beautiful and the time before I go back to work tick-tocking away, we decided to pack up and head to the field. Living blocks from Wrigley is really something I've been so spoiled by. A short 10 minute walk from our house and there we are, amidst crowds of baseball fans, cheering, and very overpriced Old Style beers. It's really something we need to take advantage of far more often.

We weren't sure about strollers in the stadium, so we decided to heft Adly into the baby bjorn one last time. (She's on the verge of exceeding the weight limit for that sucker). We weren't sure about what to bring for her since they're always so strict about beverages and food. However I decided to tuck in a package of Mum-Mum crackers for her just in case. Turns out strollers are allowed in the stadium (they were everywhere!) and they don't seem too concerned with food or drinks in bottles, at least not in our case. Next time, I'll fill her bottle with water and avoid the $4 bottle of water at the park.

Another thing to note is that Wrigley does something cute for baseball game first-timers. You can walk up to a stand and get a certificate with your child's name on it and the date of the game. The certificate has a picture of Wrigley, and it's free! A cute little keepsake to have to remember your first visit with your wee one by.

Adly loved every second of being there and lasted a whole 3 innings! She even actually watched some of the game, but her favorite thing to do was turn around and stare at the older gentleman sitting behind us. Not sure what it was about him, but Adly couldn't stop staring at him. He tried making her smile or laugh, but in return she'd only give him a continuous, awkward stare. He seemed to not mind. I've really got to get working on her people watching skills. 

I'm so glad we got the chance to go. What a great way to add another memory to our first full summer as a family.

Posing on the chair recovering project that is *still* in progress. 

Hitching a ride with dada!

Family pics. 

My little sunshine. 

"For reals, mom? I don't have time to smile for selfies. There's baseball to watch."

Cheering for her Cubbies. 

Little girl in a big seat!

Ballpark snuggles. (I swear I wasn't pissed. I have perma-RBF.)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

13 months

Adly's 13 month birthday quietly slipped by this week. I've been so bad about keeping this blog updated mainly because we're having too much fun this summer! Words can't express how incredibly lucky I feel to be able to get these few precious months of special mommy time with my little sweet pea.

Since her big first birthday bash, we've had numerous weddings and celebrations for Adam and I to attend, which has meant Adly has gotten in some one-on-one time with our family members too this summer. I know this means the world to them. I say it all the time, but we really are lucky to have such an amazing family to give us a helping hand in this journey. It also helps that we happened to have the first baby on both sides--the newness hasn't worn off yet. That, and there's the fact she's ridiculously cute. 
Being cute at aunt Ra-Ra and uncle Seve's house. 

At 13 months, Adly is continuing to grow, develop, and amaze me on a regular basis. She bursted into toddlerhood with gusto, realizing almost immediately that she has power over the foods she eats. My once foodie daughter has now turned into an ever-so-picky eater who regularly throws food on the floor, puts it in her mouth only to chew and spit it back out, or just immediately says an emphatic "noooo!" when she sees something of distaste. Her number one dislike is meat. It's frustrating, to say the least. However, based on our pediatricians recommendation, we're continuing to give her nutritious options at mealtimes and sticking to the "what you see is what you get" rule of thumb. Eventually, supposedly, she is going to understand that if she's hungry, she needs to eat then and there. Gosh that's hard. I stress constantly about whether I'm giving her enough of a balanced meal every single mealtime. Gone are the days of relying on  breast milk or formula to ensure she's got all the nutrients she needs. I know there will always be some sort of battle when it comes to this, I just selfishly wish I had a wee bit more time to enjoy my hungry child gobbling down all the delicious food I cooked for her.

Verbally, Adly continues to grow at a surprising rate. She will imitate almost anything you ask her to (when she's up for it and not in too much of a spotlight). I'm amazed at the number of words she knows how to use in context at this point. I have to say, the ability to communicate with each other is the best part. I can almost always figure out what she's trying to say or do. Although the key word there is almost. I can already see how those terrifying toddler tantrums come about when a little being just can't properly convey what they need or want. Some of Adly's latest sayings are: all done, all gone, no, more (mo!), go, mooooo (cows) up, dow (down), hewwo (hello) and bye-bye. She's also developed this "eh!" sound with a point to guide people to what she wants. 

Speaking of moo, a few months ago, Adly began to really take to a random bath book we had with farm animal pictures. Ever since then, she has loved all things animals and imitating their sounds. I've stocked up on some animal books for her and some also came from her birthday. All of these are her favorites and she loves to see the animals and then make the sounds. This weekend we had the opportunity to go to my aunts family farm and visit the cows and sheep. We were also able to get way up close and personal with them. I'm so glad my dad videoed this adventure because Adly cannot stop watching them! Her favorite animal sounds of the moment are: moooooo (cow), eh-eh-eh-eh (sheep), wooo! (elephant, motions trunk with hand), bawk (chicken/duck), tee-tee (any bird), sssss (snake) and my favorite mooooow (cat).

At 13 months, she is still as stubborn as ever when it comes to walking. She loves to tease everyone by standing up all on her own. This has been happening for the last month. Every time an outsider sees it, they emphatically tell me "she's going to be walking any day now!" And inside I tell myself, "but, this is my daughter and she's different....she is one stubborn little being". Sure enough, we've got nothing yet. I will say, she has started walking along with me as I hold her armpits (NOT by my hands mama!). Truthfully, I'm ok with her taking her time. In some ways, I think it might be easier, but in a lot of ways, it's going to make for a whole lot more work. There's a part of me that REALLY wants to see it before I go back to work. These milestones still give me that pull of anxiety that I have to be there to witness every first or I'm always going to be sad about missing it. But then the rational me knows that my first time seeing it will always be my first time. Either way, walking may or may not be in the next month...and of course the only one who holds the answer to that is my darling little Adly. 

My superstar!
Bath time!
Hangin' at the zoo with our buds. 
My smiley, happy girl. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Aww Nuts....

Since Adly was a brand new little baby, we've been dealing with her very sensitive skin issues. Ranging from excema to awful diaper rashes to we're not really sure what's causing what, we've seen a lot.

In May, after eating a few bites of a salad with peanut dressing and peanuts in it, a red rash made its way all over Adly's mouth, chin, and cheeks. We gave her Benadryl soon after and it went away immediately. This stayed on my mind, as peanut allergies are definitely a concern for me. Being a teacher to little ones, these allergies run rampant in the schools and I know just how dangerous they can be. Since then, I tried to be mindful of not directly giving her peanuts until we made it to the doctor for her 1st year checkup.

Thanks to her latest awful diaper rash episode, we ended up at the pediatrician earlier than scheduled. While we were there I brought up the incident with the doctor. She expressed concern and "just to be safe", recommended us seeing an allergist. At the allergist, I explained my concerns and the reaction Adly had experienced after eating some of the salad. She wasn't immediately convinced that Adly was reacting to the peanuts, as it could've been anything in the dressing. Therefore, she suggested doing a skin test.

We went back two weeks later for the skin test. This test is used to measure skin reactions to possible irritants. I had them test all sorts of foods including soy, peanut, wheat, and dairy. Immediately after administering the skin test, the peanut irritant flared up.

So, now we enter the world of no nuts and epi pens. Due to Adly's young age, at the recommendation of the allergist, we're choosing to go completely nut free. Adly has had exposure to pecans and almond milk with no reaction, so we're fairly certain she's not allergic to tree nuts. However, going nut free completely eliminates any chance of interaction with nuts.

At first I was really bummed about finding out about this allergy. Any parent hates to see their child have to deal with such things, and to be honest, I'm terrified of ever seeing a really bad reaction. Unfortunately, since her first reaction was luckily not that bad, we don't know just how bad her reactions can be. According to the allergist, the first reaction is usually the easiest...its the second and third time that it can come back with a vengeance. There is hope, however, as they are finding that 20% of little ones eventually grow out of peanut allergies. From now on, we will be going to the allergist every year to complete the skin test and see if she is one of the lucky ones.

In our first month of going nut-free, I have to say that I'm not finding it to be THAT bad. Shopping is made super easy thanks to almost all products listing under the nutrition label and ingredients if it contains nuts or was processed with nuts. The scariest part to me has been eating at peoples houses and in restaurants. Adly is still young enough that it is easy to bring along food from home when we go out, so it hasn't been too much of a problem for now. However it is scary relying on others to know whether or not there are peanuts in the food or if it was cooked where other peanuts have been. As she gets older, I'm hoping to find restaurants we can rely on with peanut-free menus or ones that are diligent about keeping things separate.

If anyone has any tips on living peanut-free outside the home, I'd be happy to hear them!

Ahhh-hahaha. Nuts!?!! Who needs nuts?!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

1st Birthday

Adly's big day was on July 10th. Leading up to the day, I spent a lot of time fighting back tears and trying not to be overly emotional. Sadly, it's so hard not to be. There are many incredible things that have happened this year, as well as many challenging things. I just can't believe that a few days over one year ago, I was waiting very impatiently to discover who it was that had been living in my belly for 9 months.

To celebrate Adly's big day, we started with a breakfast of (roughly) heart-shaped pancakes. Thankfully, I have a few years to perfect proportionately shaped pancakes. I sang happy birthday to her as I brought out her pancakes. She man-handled the top pancake right away and refused to talk or look at me as she mowed down. Like father, like daughter.


After breakfast, we had a pretty normal day until da-da got home from golfing.

Looking for doggies outside. 

We had contemplated heading to the beach, or playing in the mini-pool out back, but our little sweet pea had other plans and decided to take an extra long nap. Therefore we nixed the trekking and mess of beach/pool time and instead took a long walk to my all-time preggo delight, Margies Ice Cream. This place is an ah-mazing old school ice cream joint. As an extra special treat, when you get ice cream in a cup, you even get a tasty little wafer to accompany it. What more could you ask for!? I frequented Margie's more often than I'll ever admit when I was pregnant. Therefore, I felt it was only fair to introduce Adly yet again, to the ice cream she made me crave like a mad woman for the better part of a year.

After ice cream, we felt we hadn't been gluttonous enough, so we headed to a new restaurant by our house and had ourselves a little birthday dinner. Adly's such a big girl now she gets to sit in her own high chair AND order off the kids menu.

And then, just like that, my little bitty baby became a toddler.

At one year old, Adly is still one of the happiest babies I know. She rarely cries unless she's teething, sick or hurt. She's a total mama's girl, which I have to admit, I love. Adly eats pretty much anything we give her, although her taste buds are definitely evolving. She seems to have the biggest dislike for vegetables, although she loves green beans. She's begun imitating pretty much anything you ask her to say, and just recently learned the words "no", "more" and "down". Hearing her say those words is so funny because most of the words she says are still just syllables. But to hear her say a real word correctly makes her seem so much older. Adly's latest trick is to tickle feet. She will grab my toes and say something along the lines of "tugo, tugo, tugo" and then giggle every time I howl from being tickled. She loves climbing to stand on anything/everything, yet she seems to have no interest in taking a step beyond that. We're working regularly on how to climb down from furniture and steps so that hopefully my heart can stop plunging into my throat every time she gets near the edge of the couch. Finally, she continues to be such a lovie. She loves to gives kisses to just about anyone, looooves other babies, and believe it or not, is even bringing back those fantastic snuggles we've lost in the last few months. (Okay, I use her blankie to entice her, but still...they're back!!)
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