Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Costco Files: My Best Finds for Moms

You know you're a mom when....

Costco happens.

Let's face it. Before you have offspring there really is no reason to have a membership to the worlds greatest mom-hive. I swear this place is constantly swarming with moms of all types, racing through the store to fill their carts with plentiful amounts of everything from fruits to wine to sleepers to diapers. Even when you show up right before the store opens. There are lines to get in! I have been to this store at every imaginable hour and never once have I seen it close to "empty". You know how you can find those sweet spot hours at your favorite shopping stores where no one else seems to be there? Never. Never, ever, ever, does this happen at Costco.

But why would it? This place is a magnet for people with kids. Their prices are unbeatable and oh my God have you tried their pizza?!? Let's be honest, you know most people (including myself) plan their eating schedule that day around getting to mow down on a heavenly piece of Costco pizza. Bonus points for when you don't have to have a child in tow. 

A mom friend of mine once said something along the lines of: you know you're a mom when your favorite outing of the week without your kid is a peaceful trip to Costco. Where you can wander the aisles in peace, not having to worry about entertaining your child. And she was so right. 

I've seen a lot of "What to Buy at Costco lists" out there, and I love reading them because I'm always looking for new buys there. However, I'm kind of a creature of habit. So I definitely find myself sticking with some of these trusty standbys. I thought I'd share my favorites to help any newbie Costco-goers (aka; new mommies) navigate the great aisles of this amazing store.

-Kirkland formula (for before one year). This had a major impact on helping our budget. So much cheaper than the name brand. Same ingredients too! So don't you worry all you over-protective-first-time-mommies.

-Kerrygold Irish Butter. Organic, grass-fed cows. Pure butter at a great price. 

-Organic strawberries. OMG their strawberries. Adly and I go through these in a matter of days. They are in season right now and beyond amazing. But I've personally enjoyed them all year. Never had a moldy batch, which is not something I can say for the smaller batches I buy at local grocers. 

-Belvita Breakfast Bars. I was introduced to these by another mommy. They are a great, nut free on-the-go snack for both of us. Love these. 

-Bananas. Organic again, and at an incredible price and taste.

-Kirkland Applesauce Squeeze Pouches. At about 18 months, I gave in to the ease of buying pouches. They still weird me out, so I check every one by giving it a little squeeze before giving it to Adly. I still argue that making them is better, but for now I just don't have the drive to make them. 

-Wholly Guacomole! These are sold in little individual serve packets and great for snacks. I haven't bought these yet only because I wasn't sure if we'd go through them all in a timely manner. However, I think my guac-loving child is definitely ready for them, so we will be picking them up next time we go. 

-Annie's Organic Macaroni and Cheese. Costco is making a big push to provide more organic products at a great price. Annie's recently switched their Mac and cheese boxes to all organic at Costco. I've since started buying these there. I actually prefer making my own Mac and cheese, but these are great for the times in between. 

-Condiments. We buy all of our staple condiments here like ketchup, mustard, Franks red hot, etc. All three of us are dip lovers so we tend to make use of these things pretty quick. 

-Huggies diapers. There are no doubts about it. Diapers here are so much cheaper! I prefer the Huggies because we are used to them. I hear Kirkland are just as good.

-Huggies Natural Care Wipes. I haven't been able to switch to Kirkland wipes simply because Adly has such sensitive skin, and Huggies wipes have always been good to her. However, I hear they're just as good and are sold at a better price. 

-Toilet Paper & Paper Towel. The Kirkland brand of both are staples in our house. To me, there is no argument that it is a great deal. I buy these items at most, 4 times a year now. That to me is so worth it. 

-Laundry Detergent. Our last big jug of detergent lasted us almost a year. And most of their brands are the "free and clear" types which are great for my sensitive skinned child and newborn. 

-Carter Jammies. You cannot beat the price of sleeper fleece footie jammies for $7.99. I stock up on these for the winter time. They also have the great 4-piece cotton jammie sets for around $9.99. Another great deal. 

This is our usual list. Sometimes I get a little crazy and stray out from the norm to try something new beyond our regular items. But that depends on how wild I'm feeling that day. 

What other items do you love from Costco?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Big News....

Yep. It is official. I spent enough time in a few bottles of wine in Napa to decide that why yes, being pregnant and having a newborn was so fun I'm up for it all over again!! Let's do this thing!

As it so happens, Adam and I are apparently extremely fertile. He so much as looks at me and BAM! There's a baby in there. We decided to start "trying" in February because it would mean the birth of our second child would happen at the end of Adam's golf season. 

While it lands in the middle of my school year, we decided Adam being home was more important. Well, I had the main influence over that. Baby number one was extremely hard on me mentally and physically. Hard to imagine now that she's almost two and so good. SEE??!! This is why people do it again. They forget. They forget everything. Anyways, on top of that, Adam was gone 90% of every day. Throw in the fact most of our family lives far away and a dose of PPD that caused me to want no help whatsoever created a big storm of a hell I hope never happens again. I wrote about all of it when I was coming out of it and I hope one day I can find the strength to share about it all. 

But that's besides the point. Let's get to the fact that we started trying in February and by the end of February some funky spotting was going on so on a whim I took a pregnancy test. I mean, there was no way I was pregnant....right?

Sure enough, that little test showed up a nice faint positive. This was quite different from Adly's three tests in a row that turned a bright blue positive immediately. I called the doctors office to find out the chances of a false positive test. The regular nurse wasn't in, so I spent an hour on the phone with the hospital, trying to convince them I didn't need to come in and that I wasn't having a miscarriage. I mean, I spent two weeks heavily bleeding with Adly, hence why we didn't know until around 8 weeks. Plus, I was so early this time I didn't think there was major cause for concern. I went in the next week for blood tests and sure enough, I was pregnant at about 4 weeks along. 

Knowing you're pregnant so early suuuuuucks. I felt like crap for most of it and had nothing fun like a hangover to blame for it. Then there's the constant, incessant worry. I would much rather live blissfully unaware until the end of the rocky first trimester and then be all like "Oh! I'm pregnant! And I only have 28 more weeks to go! Lovely!" I started to feel amazing again around 9 weeks after feeling pretty crappy, which of course in the twisted world of pregnancy is never a good sign. At 11 weeks I was a nervous wreck as we went in for our next ultrasound. As soon as we saw inside, that little baby was a kicking and a punching, which put my mind at ease....for a week.

Then we went to Mexico and I felt soooo good, I just couldn't believe I was still pregnant. So by the time I made it to my 13 week checkup, I was convinced something had happened. I mean I didn't feel pregnant in any way. I could've easily been drinking my way though Mexico, dancing the night away (until 10pm because oh my God I cannot stay awake!!)  Sure enough, she found that little heartbeat be-bopping away immediately. It's just another reminder that this time is no different. We pregnant ladies are all CRAZY, no matter how many times you've stepped into the ring. 

Now comes the waiting game of finding out the sex. This is our last and final child and I want to know more than ever. With Adly, I had a feeling of her being a girl from the moment we found out. It was just this weird feeling. This time, I'm not having a strong feeling either way. Some days I feel it's a boy, some days I feel it's a girl. However the other day, I came home from work and Adly was feeling quite snuggly. She leaned up against my stomach, rubbing it saying "Mama got a baby in her belly. Adly be gentle." These sayings are all normal. Then she whips out "mama got a brudder in her belly."

I'm sorry, WHAT!?!?

Never before have any of us mentioned her possibly having a brother. If anything, I'd expect her to say sister since we always call her a big sister. So either my child is a creepy psychic or its just by chance. But I swear if it turns out to be a boy, I'll be watching her from now on out of one eye. Always.

Being a second time preggo mom with a toddler is very different. I can tell poor baby number two is definitely going to get the shaft in pregnancy. I'm sorry in advance child. I'm exhausted most of the time and I have a toddler who likes to "work" on my keyboard as I do, so blogging about it seems to be extra difficult. And the nursery. Or as we call it, the guest bedroom, will remain that. Baby number 2 will be getting the crib from Adly. The one with beaver chew marks all over the railing (apparently we don't feed her enough). And the same changing table and rocking chair. As far as decorating, I'm not nearly as concerned as I was with baby #1 now that I know they'll spend most of their time pooping, peeing, and spitting up all over any decorating I do get done. And the belly pictures...I keep thinking about starting them but that takes work. And I'm kind of burnt out from working my day job and then my mommy job by 7pm. Heaven forbid Adly actually help me take pictures. I mean, what gives?! Hopefully I can get on board with those sooner than later.

After getting through 3-4 weeks of feeling terrible, eating only cereal and toast, and all kinds of nighttime yucky nausea, I've been feeling amazing since 9 weeks. And THAT I can't complain about. But of course, I'm me, so I will find something. You want to know what is the most not awesome thing so far this pregnancy? My OBGYN went over my charts from Adly at my appointment on Thursday (she wasn't the one who delivered me) and as she did, she balked at the size of Adly at 8lb, 13oz, who was born one week early. Adly had been hiding in there. She hadn't measured big, so we weren't prepared for a giant baby to exit me. I specifically remember the doctor going "woah that's a big baby!" as soon as she came out. Therefore, my doctor is now concerned I may have developed late onset gestational diabetes. I don't know, it may have had something to do with the bags and bags of Sour Patch Kids and cookies and ice cream Adly made me eat, but I'm trying not to point fingers here. Anyways, this time I get to take that God awful diabetes test twice! Let the fun begin. It's ok, I'll just keep stockpiling these moments of amazing things I did for them to bring back up when my children are in high school and want to hate me. 

So there you have it. We have officially entered the rollercoaster of pregnancy and new parenthood one more time. We will be becoming a family of four sometime November 2016! 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Navigating the World of Playground Etiquette

Adly is at the age now where her favorite place to be is the neighborhood park. She asks to go daily, sometimes more than once a day. We live in a city, with no backyard, so I get it. It's her place of freedom where she can run free and be a kid.

As a parent, it's a whole different world. Suddenly I'm finding myself thrown into a whole new social gathering that can be nice, awkward, and sometimes just plain hurtful or rude.

Adly isn't old enough yet for me to just sit on the bench and let her play. She still likes to make random daredevil moves towards high up openings. Or she just enjoys mama watching her as she runs like the wind to go down the big slide for the fiftieth time in a row. Therefore, I'm up walking around with her the whole time, along with five other parents hovering over their own little daredevils. 

Adly is very social with other toddlers now. She looooves making friends at the park. She calls them by their names, they hug, they hold hands, and they run and yell together. It is so cute and always tugs at my parent heart strings. Adly is one-on-one with an adult every day still, and I always second guess whether she's missing out on something socially.

Anyways, that's besides the point. So far, Adly has met some really nice toddlers to run and play with, who also have relatively nice moms with them. We follow the girls around and have quick conversations about their ages, how silly they are, when we're having a second child, etc. You see, all of the other parents following their kids around are always other first time helicopter parents. When the second child comes, they'll be running free as soon as they can walk so mama can get some quiet time on the bench. 

Most of these moms are cordial. It's awkward and I get it. For the most part we chat quickly, smile, and then focus on our own kids. One time, I met a mom that was very friendly. She asked so many questions in such a great conversational way. I liked her immediately. Within minutes of chatting and moving into a real conversation, I learned that she used to be a teacher too. Of course she has great conversational skills. We talk for a living! That day, Adly was in a non-friend mood and more interested in doing her own thing. I was bummed because she was genuinely someone I would've wanted to become friends with. We left shortly after Adly jumped down from her swing, so I didn't get a chance to reach out and ask for her number or to set up a play date.

Meeting new mommy friends is totally like sober dating. You start chatting, ask a few questions, see if you're on the same page as moms. They have a daughter around the same age. You like talking with the mom and the girls seem to like each other. You awkwardly ask for their number or ask to meet again. Or you consider all of these options, but don't actually have the balls to do it--which is usually my case. You leave feeling elated at the score of a new number- and possibly a new friend. Or you leave bummed that you missed an opportunity. 

See that there? Yeah that's what we used to do with the help of a lot of Miller Lites and help from the darkness of a stinky bar and loud music. Now it's just us, our coffees, the sun, and shrieking kids. 

Then there's the other type of kids and parents. Ugh. Thankfully I've only run into them once. And it was yesterday. It drove me to write again so I'm clearly fired up about it still. These are the bitches of the playground. (Excuse my French, but as I told Adam this story and my daughter chimed in with "nitches!!" I felt the retelling deserved credit with the word, since clearly Adly and I felt the same way). 

It started with the kid. Adly was happily sliding down the toddler slide with a handful of other kids, going down, running up the stairs, and going down again. Round and round. They each took turns as they went, being very nice to each other. Then this adorable little girl with long blonde locks entered the scene. Adly turned to her at the top of the slide to say hi. With her back to me, all I saw was the little girls head shaking in the shoulder-popping, finger-shaking "oh no you di-nt!!!" style. Full of attitude. Adly balked at her, as if saying "Umm you're weird." Then she slid down the slide and went on her merry way. 

Minutes later, Adly wandered over to a pink push car just like ours- but it's pink. Adly loves these little push cars (she just got a red one) and she loves the color pink. Perfect storm. She was looking intently at it as I was trying to guide her away from it explaining that it wasn't ours. The mom guarding it never looked up from her phone while Adly and I had the exchange about the car in front of her. I redirected her back to the slides and she went down a few more times. 

Minutes later, Adly headed back towards the car. This time, I see the same little long haired B of a girl taking to her mom. "Ohhhh..." I think. "Now I see where the kid gets it." I know. I'm a total Judgey McJudgerson. As soon as the girl sees Adly walking near, she jumps in the car and goes "You can't come over here! This is MY car!" 

I jumped into teaching mommy mode by saying to Adly "Yep, that's her car and we have our own. Let's go back to the slides or swings or we can go and see our car." As I'm doing this, and guiding Adly away, the mom stands up in a huff and says to her little girl, "I think we have to go now, since it's clear this little girl doesn't want to leave your car alone."

I'm sorry, what?!? I was so taken aback I didn't have the thought to stop to let my typical inner Kage Rage out. But seriously?! I'm sorry my child wanted to "look" at your child's car that is just like hers- but in pink. Yes. You are the better mom for buying your child every gender specific item she ever dreamed of. And NOW I see exactly where your child gets her demeanor from.

Humph. And that's when playground etiquette is hard. When you have to deal with bitches. And unlike in the good ole bar days, there are no bottles to send flying when someone cuts you and your daughter down.

For now I'll be working on my sassy, undercutting comebacks in the event we run into any other awful mother/daughter duos. You know, the kind of remarks that the person won't realize were a total cutdown until you've starting walking away with a smug smile on your face.

I know, I am definitely not a bigger person. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Miss Manners

A while back, Adam began to make it his mission to get Adly to start saying things like "please" and "thank you". I think that manners are SUPER important and I can tell you from experience that it is very easy to spot children who come from homes where politeness is considered important.

However I can't say I fully agreed with enforcing it so early. I'm not sure why, I guess I just didn't think it would stick yet, so why bother? Thankfully Adam is in charge over the winter, so he began enforcing it on his own while home with Adly. 

His biggies were to say "please" when asking for things-not just demanding. Say "thank you" when someone gives you something and say "bless you" when someone sneezes. Simple enough. 

Ironically, these small phrases began to stick pretty quickly. She especially took to saying "bless you!" after someone sneezes which, while polite, is also beyond adorable.

The other day as we were driving I sneezed a few times. When I was done I hear "Bless you mama!" from the backseat. I mean, come on. When I hand her things now, I usually get a "tank you mama" or when asking for things she usually adds on a "pleeeease". 

While she uses these phrases pretty regularly, I know that she still needs time to fully understand the meaning of being polite. Recently we had a dinner conversation that went like this:

Adly: Mama get a pancakes please.
Me: I don't have pancakes.
A: Mama get a pancakes please.
Me: Adly, I don't have pancakes.
A: Mama MAKE a pancakes please.
Me: I can't make you pancakes.
A: (growing frustrated, furrowing her brows, deep breath)
A: Mama make a pancakes! I SAID please!!

Here is where some more understanding of the word "please" might've helped out the situation. See, some days Adly decides to act like a finicky royal highness toddler at mealtimes and demands any other kind of food that isn't on her plate. This was one of those instances. Of course, I being the mean mom that I am, refuse to give her anything other than what is offered. But in this case, she was very frustrated and confused as to why she couldn't get the pancakes because, after all, she said please!

In an unintentional way, another use of "polite words" has entered Adly's vocabulary. These days I find that when she is annoyed by me touching her, or being in her way, she'll say, "I'm sorry mama". And move whatever is in her way. The other day we were on the couch next to each other, so naturally I put my tender loving arm around her. Apparently, this annoyed her and she immediately moved my arm off of her as she said, "I'm sorry, mama." Sometimes she'll move into my territory and decide she doesn't like something, only to move it saying, "I'm sorry, mama." Like when she came blasting through the house pushing her baby stroller and ran into my legs. She stated, "I'm sorry mama." But not because she was sorry she ran into me, because she was sorry I was in the way. So in other words, it was a "get out of my way!" type of sorry. This phrase always makes me laugh when she uses it in these situations. 

I love how people in the South use ma'am and sir to address adults, yet I don't think it fully fits in with our Northern nasally dialect. Therefore, using simple words like please and thank you have been our way to make sure we feel appreciated on some level throughout the day. And it's working! So I guess it never really is too early to try enforcing those small, yet very meaningful words. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

ER Initiations

I think that every parent needs to be initiated into parenthood by some sort of emergency room visit. That, or some episode that scares the living shit out of you enough to remind you that these toddlers are still just babies and anything can happen in the blink of an eye. Until then, you really haven't lived as a "parent".

A few weeks ago, we received our initiation. After moving, things were everywhere. After moving, I also had some insane bouts of insomnia and a cold. Fun times. Before heading back to work on Sunday, I wanted to make sure I actually slept, so I put a bottle of Nyquil by my bed in the event I woke up in another coughing fit. Thankfully, I slept the entire night through just fine.

The next day I was at school teaching when Adam called. He's at home with Adly still and I thought it was weird that he was calling knowing I was at work. There was another teacher in my room at the time so I ran out into the hallway to answer. Adam didn't have good news.

Adly had gotten into the Nyquil on my nightstand in the matter of a minute Adam had walked around the corner. She had it in her mouth and down her shirt. To start, Adam called poison control. They recommended to immediately head to the ER, because any amount she drank could have serious consequences.

After I hung up, I went right back to teaching, convincing myself she'd be fine. She was in good hands. She wasn't at a daycare or with a sitter, she was with her dad. I went through the next 30 minutes until lunch as normal. When I got to lunch I kept texting Adam, who was at the ER already, for updates. He had no answers other than that it was definitely starting to effect Adly and that they were running a lot of tests.

All normal, considering the situation, I thought. Then came the news they'd need to keep her for another 3-4 hours to continue monitoring her. He didn't have her blankie or any bottle or food for her. I knew I had to get there. There was some sort of unnerving feeling as a mom that I just had to be there for her. My baby was in a hospital. How could I not? My boss was amazing and worked it out for me to leave within minutes. I ran home, got Adly's favorite things and headed to see them.

As I went to the hospital, my mind was racing with questions. I just couldn't figure out how she had gotten into the the bottle in the first place. Had I not screwed the cap on tight? Is she a superwoman? Maybe she's an extraordinarily talented toddler and has a super skill for opening bottles. It just didn't make sense to me how a toddler could get into a childproofed medicine bottle. Because, after zillions of lawsuits, aren't all medicine bottles childproofed these days?

When I got there, Adly was out of it, tired, with super red cheeks. They asked me how much was in the bottle before she got to it...but who ever pays attention to that? She doesn't know how to drink out of a cup, so that was a good thing. We just couldn't fathom she had actually swallowed that much. Shortly after I arrived to the hospital, Adly started coming around to her normal self again as the effects of the medicine began to wear off.

We thought we were home free and would be fine to take her home finally. This was when the doctor came in to deliver the news that the next step was to test for Tylenol poisoning. Tylenol, which can cause severe liver damage in small doses for little ones, is apparently in NyQuil. To test her levels, they had to run an IV. By now, we've seen plenty of shots be stabbed into our sweet little girl for her regular vaccinations. But nothing can prepare you for watching them be stuck with an IV needle. (Ok, I still have to turn my head when I get stuck for things...so maybe needles are a little rough for me in general). They wrapped her up in a swaddle-burrito with just her arm hanging out. We kept telling her they were going to do tests on her. She kept looking at us with wide eyes saying, "Adly tests. Adly tests." I held my phone in front of her with her beloved Peppa Pig playing to distract her while they poked her. She didn't scream or cry. There were only big tears falling from her eyes as she looked at me like "why are they hurting me mama?" Of course, I was sobbing. Then within seconds she was totally fine, while I had to take some time to recollect myself. My toddler is way stronger than I.

As we waited, we also got the delivered the super embarrassing, yet mandatory, lecture on medicine and children. We do keep all medicine in a cabinet above the sink. This was obviously a fluke incident and a moment of absentmindedness from myself. Still, it's hard to hear someone remind you of these simple steps and not feel like you failed as a parent in some way. The ER doctor had asked me to bring in the bottle of medicine with me so she could examine it. As soon as she got it into her hands she twisted it off. Turns out, to my shock and utter disbelief, not all medicines are childproof. How on earth this is plausible still boggles my mind. I guess I had become accustomed to the notion that all were treated the same, and therefore had never even considered it a possibility that a cap might simply twist off. 

Thankfully, the tests came back low and so we were cleared for release soon after. It was a scary day and hopefully our last visit to the ER for a while. As parents, there is nothing worse than sitting helplessly next to your sick child. Clearly, I married Adam for a reason. He is the sanity to my insanity in these kinds of moments. Always looking at the positive outcomes, while I, ever the realist always think the worst. I'm so grateful it was him at home with Adly during all of this. He who had the clear mind to take responsible action calmly and quickly, whereas I would've been sobbing, panicking, and running around like a madwoman.

It is also not lost on me that we were the lucky ones. Our ER visit was short and ended fine. I've come to follow a few journeys of toddlers from my home state who are battling horrific cancers or terminal illnesses. How do those children deal with the pain every day? And their parents. The strength they have is inspirational. This job called parenting sometimes finds a way to show you just how weak you can be, or how strong you actually are, when you least expect it.

Snuggles with mama and her beloved nye-nye. 

Do you likey my dress?

When it smacked me in the face that my "big girl" is still such a small baby. Tear. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

20 months

Life has gotten in the way of a lot of things lately. We moved again to a bigger place which we didn't think would be that bad of a move, but oh it was.

You never realize how quickly you can collect ridiculous amounts of, to put it nicely, "stuff" until you have a kid. I can't even imagine if there were more than one what it would be like. The move took way longer than expected with way more trips up and down many flights of stairs carrying armful after armful of baby gear that is too big and awkward to box up. 

Then when it came to unpacking we suddenly realized it would be much harder with a little munchkin who's into everything and needs constant surveillance, especially in a new place. Thankfully we've become settled and have pretty much gotten unpacked over the last two weeks. 

Now for Adly. I skipped 19 months so that means there's been quite a bit of growth....sometimes these days a month just doesn't seem to have a lot of changes. 

Here's Adly at 20 months:

-She has begun saying phrases and small sentences. This has been really exciting to see happen, especially the first time she figures out a sentences. She kind of says it slowly as you're waiting on edge to hear what words going to come next. She loves the book I Went Walking where a kid takes a walk and a lot of animals join him. The longest sentence I've heard from her came repeated from that book "I see a lot of animals looking at me!" So cool. 

-Speaking of repeating, she does this A  LOT. Sometimes it's beyond adorable, like when she started saying "mmmm DELICIOUS" and "immmmmpossible!" Both from her favorite TV show. Pretty much anything you ask her to say these days she will say and usually quite clearly. However then there's the downside. Her other favorite word she's learned to repeat is "damnit". And the worse part is, she uses it appropriately. I tried scolding her and telling her that's a mama word not an Adly word. Now she says "Damnit!......(sits then nods her head knowingly)....mama word!" Oh well. At least I tried.

-Her favorite TV show is still Peppa Pig. I was always kind of against TV for toddlers (what soon-to-be-idealistic-head-in-the-clouds parent isn't?!). This was until I realized we could get an actual break for 20 minute periods. I won't admit how many episodes she watched while we packed and unpacked but I am so grateful for that show!!!

-She's an up and down eater these days. Some days she mows down what we offer, other days it's an awful battle. I hate those days. There really is nothing worse than whipping up a healthy balanced meal for your child only to have them refuse to take one damn bite. For the most part I like to think she's beginning to realize she either eats what's offered or she goes hungry, but I'm not going to say that's easy by any means. We usually end up trying to get something in her stomach, even if it's not the best choice.

-She still has no interest in the potty. I know this task is looming ahead and I also know none of us are looking forward to it. That's all we have to say about that.

-Our new place has two bathrooms which is amazing, however they are both with standup showers. There is a jacuzzi tub too, but that would take a quarter of Lake Michigan to fill a few inches so we've transitioned Adly to just using the stand up shower. This was not an easy task considering a month ago, my child was one of those screaming and crying if a drop of water touched her face. Every shampoo rinse was a teary-eyed battle. Before we moved, we randomly threw her in the shower with me, knowing we'd need to transition her. Over a few showers she became used to the water falling over her and actually started to enjoy it! What's even nicer is this has combined our shower times, saving me some time in the evening. However these toddlers are fickle beings, so of course I can't say she LOVES shower time every day and is just the easiest toddler ever. Some days she decides she hates the shower and we have a 10 minute coaxing and bribing session to get her in. Other days she walks right in no problem. One other thing I didn't realize would happen is she sees mama shaving her legs in the shower. Of course, even though she doesn't look like me, she is definitely my mini-me. So she has to do everything I do. Now every time we shower I hear "Mama shaves you!" She points her little leg out just like I do, rests on her big toe and I flip the razor around and "shave" her legs.

-Adly and I picked up a new "baby" while shopping a week ago and she has since become obsessed with her. She's exactly the same as her first baby but in a different outfit. Either way, she has completely taken to her, feeding her, changing her, carrying her everywhere she goes. It is so cute!! 

-My child is also a diva. She gets this from her dad. In the last few months she has grown to dislike having her picture taken. At least when mama does it. Now I get a straightfaced stare and a "Nooo! No picture!" almost every time I whip out the camera. I either do it deceptively or have to dance around like a raging idiot to get a small, distracted smile from her. However if SHE is messing with my camera (and turning it every wrong way of course) she'll smile and say "CHEESE!!" while happily clicking away and taking pictures of the ceiling. 

Smile for you?!? Hah! Yeah right.

I think that's about it for now. She's turning into such a big girl. I notice the way she now lays on me and wraps her legs around my waist has changed. Her body is so much bigger now, like a little girl, and definitely not a baby anymore. It's those moments when you stop and realize how fast they are growing and changing, that you just want time to slow down. 

Family selfies right before the move!
Playing and sharing with our friend Ava.
Taking care of baby. 
Helping mama build the bed.
Peppa Time!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Welcome to Toddlerhood

Being grouped into the category of "toddler" is a big scary world. It suddenly means you're not a "baby" anymore and you have to start doing all kinds of things like walking, talking with words, and going down to one nap a day. And that, my friends, is so stressful!

Additionally, becoming a toddler means you change from this sweet, innocent bundle to a force to be reckoned with. You want to be heard, understood, and listened to--and get responses (only ones you want to hear) immediately! All of which is a big change for us new parents. "Wait, I'm sorry, whats that? You want the toy? You want to see something on my phone? You are deciding you don't want to eat this delicious meal I cooked for you? Umm, no. I make those decisions. Right? Right?"

In preparation for this new venture, I've been doing a lot of reading up on these creatures called toddlers. Instead of feeling prepared with all the information possible, I find myself feeling like a new parent all over again. Figuring out this stage of life is a bit overwhelming. Toddlers are seriously so stinking cute. They toddle around on their little legs like a drunken sailor, babbling away with indiscernible languages. They act like little versions of big kids and they get to wear the cutest clothes yet since they can finally stand on two legs. They're like tiny little adults. Best of all, they are communicating! You can finally know (most of the time) what it is they are saying or what it is they want! They are taking in the world around them and every day you can catch an earth moving moment where their eyes light up as they learn or see something new. 

But then, there's the dark side of toddlerhood. The one which I see us heading towards at lightning speed. The one that involves tantrums and meltdowns. I'm just not ready for it. I see it starting. Its beginnings involve the limp noodle (where one suddenly becomes impossible to pick up). The sitting on the floor and kicking of feet. The breath holding until red in the face. The constant crying, whining, tears. And I know, this is just the beginning. 

Toddlers have so much thrown into one day. Their brains are working in overdrive, they don't sleep as much, they're burning a ton of energy moving those wobbly legs to and fro, and picking themselves up off the floor over and over again. I mean, can we blame them for being total jerks no matter where you are or how much of a rush you're in? Add on top of this, a new found language ability. They're able to say a handful of words to get what they want. But the thousands of other words out there all seem so jumbly and mumbly when they tumble out of their tiny mouths. And us parents, we don't dare ask them what it is they need more than once, because not understanding your child is just incomprehensible! Such an action will be met with an immediate wrath or all of the above happening. I picture my child to be screaming inside her head, "Whhhhhhyyyyy! Whhhhyyyyy is mama so dumb?! Whhhhyyy must I deal with this imbecile on a daily basis??!! Obviously, I'm asking her where my toy cow is!!"

A while back, I made the fatal mistake of taking Adly to a restaurant hungry. And then I upped the ante by forgetting to bring any snacks for her. She immediately began to lose it in the restaurant constantly grabbing at the diaper bag. I knew she thought there were snacks in there, but her imbecile mother had forgotten them. On the brink of a level 5 meltdown, the waitress thankfully saved the day with some crackers until her food arrived. Having learned my lesson, the next weekend, I blissfully packaged up some crackers as we headed out to run errands. Heading back to the fact that I'm an imbecile, this time I left my wallet at home. But, hey! I had the snacks! As we were shopping (before I realized I had no money to pay for such things), Adly started to get that twitch in her eye. I knew a tantrum was headed our way. I gleefully whipped out her favorite cracker snack in her favorite to-go container.

She literally looked at me like I was the biggest idiot for even thinking of offering her such a thing then swatted the cup away, scowling at me. WTF? I tried acting like I didn't care, muttering, "whatever then, don't eat your crackers". However inside, I was panicking, sweat starting to bead on my forehead. "Please don't have a meltdown in public, please don't!" But I was also all like, "COME ON. I actually remembered the crackers and now you don't want them!?! What do you want from me?!?" It is SO frustrating to not be appreciated or get a round of applause once in a while. I mean, seriously.

The other day we had a meltdown over "peel-it's". Adly is obsessed with the fact she knows how to "peel" (or peel and eat the skin) of clementines now. So anytime I open the fridge it's a mad dash for her to squeeze between my legs and dive into the bottom drawer where her little golden nuggets are stored, all for the pure joy of peeling. After her snack of two clementines I told her she was done. Mistake #23,455: never tell a toddler they are done when they want something. This turned into the dramatic whining and following me to the living room shouting "peel-it!!....peeeel it!!!!" My God, child. You'd think I hadn't fed her for days. I ignored her and sat on the couch where we began a Western-style stand-off. Who would give in first? She refused to move from her spot in the living room and I refused to move from the couch despite her cries and streaming tears all for "peel-it's". I tried every tactic I've read or heard about, with nothing working. Finally, I had to give in. I rationalized it by the fact that all she wanted was an orange. I mean, it wasn't candy or chips or a knife. So was it THAT bad? I don't know. The war on toddlerism is a never ending battle of the mind. Did I set the wrong precedent? Will she expect me to give in next time? Should I have stood my ground? Who knows. 

However dark and scary these moments are, I realize life certainly wouldn't be the same, (nor would the amount I sweat on outings) without these little beings. I've also changed. I've gone from that mom who gives a knowing glance and nod to new mommies with screaming infants, to the mom who runs away in terror when I hear another toddler screaming in a store. I can't have those little devils following me on my peaceful monthly 20-minute outing to the store without my own toddler!   
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