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!!)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sleep Habits

Lately I've been finding that I'm getting more and more comments and questions regarding Adly's sleep schedule, so I thought I'd write about it. My favorite comment has been, "wait, you just put her down and then she goes to sleep?!" Before I get into it though, I have to add a disclaimer. Google "sleep training" and you'll find a plethora of information. Go to a book store in the baby section and you'll find books upon books offering different ways to get your baby to sleep. And as soon as you get into reading about it, you'll quickly find there are a thousand different opinions on how to get a baby to sleep or how not to. Everyone has different views on babies and sleeping. So whenever I tell people what we did with Adly, I always start by saying something like "everyone needs to do whatever they are comfortable with". Because everybody is different. And every baby is different.

If you read this blog, or know me in any way, you'll know I'm a planner, I like routines and I like to have some semblance of organization in my life. As you can imagine, have a crying newborn at all hours of the day certainly provided some stress in my life. I can remember when Adly was 5 days old wearily going into the pediatricians office desperate for help. "How do I get her to sleep?!" was the first thing I wearily muttered to the pediatrician as soon as we were in the exam room. 

As with many things during the newborn phase nothing ever made sense until someone would say something with clarity. Our doc first recommended to start a "night time routine". I couldn't believe we could actually begin that early....that idea had never even entered my mind. Additionally, she stressed having a dark, quiet room to signify sleeping. maybe our late night music, lights on, talking feeding sessions were sending mixed signals to the little miss. Who knew?! That night we set to putting together some sort of bed time routine. Of course we had no idea what to do so we just winged it. Around 8pm, we gave her a bath, I nursed her in a quiet and dimly lit nursery, then put her down in her rock n' play and left the room. She slept for about 3 hours. HEAVEN. 

From that night on, we kept with the night time routine listed above. Sure enough, as the weeks went by, her sleeping stretches became longer and longer. Don't get me wrong, there were still plenty of random sleepless nights; including a 3 day stretch around 6 weeks where she was up every hour on the hour. That was a hell I hope I never know again. 

But for the most part, she began to recognize night time as "sleep time". At her 8-week checkup, the doctor informed us she weighed enough to make it all the way through the night without eating. Her recommendation was around 11 pounds. This was fantastic news to me and of course I gleefully put her to bed that night telling her she was going to sleep through the night now. Because, you know, newborns totally listen. She didn't. It was also around that time that I moved her out of our bedroom. Babies are noisy and I wanted my room back. We did a gradual release by starting with her sleeping in the nursery in her pack n' play and then transitioned her to her crib a week later.

After Adly had transitioned to the crib and was 10 weeks old, there was a night where I had a large glass of wine. On top of that, I was exhausted. Adly was going on day three of another no-sleeping binge, which meant so was I. That night I hit the pillow and was out cold. I didn't wake up again until 5am. I shot out of bed thinking, "Oh my god! My baby! Is she alive!?! I'm the worst parent EVER! Of course, she was and she was fine. There's no telling if she woke up at her usual 3am feeding time or not that night, as neither of us heard a thing (you'll find that men have amazing sleeping super powers and almost never hear cries at night). The next night, when she woke up at 3am, at the encouragement of my much more stable husband, I didn't go in and let her cry it out. She cried for a little bit and then fell back asleep. Same thing the next night. A few days later, she was sleeping solidly from 7pm-5am. Oh my goodness I can't even tell you what sleep like that does for a human being. It was from that point on, that I did everything in my power to maintain her sleeping patterns.

Through some trial and error over the last year, we've created one very routined sleeper. There are upsides and downsides to this, but overall, it has really worked for our family. Therefore, I thought I'd put together a list of the things I've found that worked well for us in getting Adly to sleep through the night. Take some of it, take all of it, take none of it. I will add that most of this came from bits and pieces of advice I've received from many different moms throughout the last year or so.

Routine, routine, routine. In my biased opinion, routine is so important when it comes to babies. The same is also true for older kids. Therefore, from the start, we created a routine for Adly to help her "expect" when it was time to go to bed. This is the same for nap time as well. She goes to bed at the same time every night (for us, it's 7pm). There is no exception. This piece of advice came from a mom of three I used to babysit for. I babysat a TON growing up, and I've never seen kids go to bed as easily as these three. I probed her for a lot of advice when Adly was a newborn and I took it all to heart. The most important thing she told me was to always make sure Adly was in bed at the same time. No matter what. Yes, it sucks for your dwindling social life, but this, I believe, was key to Adly's sleeping. Additionally, we do the same little things every day to make sure she's aware it's bedtime. Silly things like we made up a song about bath time and sing it every time. She now hums the tune as we sing and and she crawls her way to the bathroom. We also have a song for bed time. It's as simple as, "It's nye-nye tiiiiime." Seriously. But she knows whats coming. Here is our bedtime and nap time routine:

-Head into nursery, put on sleep sack. 
-Turn off the lights, on the fan
-Kiss night-night, lay in crib. 
-Say night-night, close the door. 

-Nakey quiet play time to air out her bum. She loves to read her books during this time. 
-Get dressed into pajamas and sleep sack
-Read a book together in the rocker
-Kiss good night, lay down, turn off lights, shut the door. 

The Roller Coaster of Naps. Naps were the bane of my existence for so long. The fact that she would not nap at certain times every day drove me nuts, since it was impossible to plan for anything. Unfortunately, I think this ability only comes with time. I had one mom friend who's son started napping regularly at 6 months. I set myself up to think that on her 6 month birthday, she'd just start napping at 8am and 12pm and 3pm. Not so much. It took us until around 10 months to get to a time nap-time. Meaning, she goes down at a usual time, not when she's tired. Until then, we lived and breathed looking for sleepy signs (yawning, whining, rubbing eyes) and would immediately put her down for a nap then. Until about 8 months, she was taking three naps a day. Now she is down to two naps, for about two hours each a day. The length of naps also took a long time to settle down. When she was younger, naps could last anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. And every baby is so different. I've also met a handful of moms who's babies refuse to nap at all. The difference is, a cranky baby and a happy baby. If your child is happy as can be without naps, then obviously they don't need them. If your child becomes an alternate personality that closely resembles the devil reincarnated when it is time for "nye nye", the kid needs to sleep!

Sleep Buddy. Going into parenthood, I did not want a thumbsucker, I did not want blankies, I did not want binkies. I know how hard all of these soothing habits are for kids to break. Unfortunately, I can't control everything. As karma would have it, my child came out of my belly sucking her thumb. "Awwww look at her self soothe!" the nurses exclaimed as I shuddered at the thought of having a thumbsucker. However, over time, my opinions have changed. I now think they are vital to getting a baby to sleep. We'll deal with breaking the habit someday when mom and dad need to take a vacation and the grandparents are watching her.

Once she was old enough (she could roll over easily and was moving around her crib) I introduced a blankie for her to sleep with at night. She actually picked the blanket itself out on her own, as she began snuggling up with it whenever she was tired, so one day I put it in her crib with her. To her, the blankie now means sleep and comfort. Because I'm mean, I won't let her take it out of the crib. This is because it is my philosophy that it helps to even further signify sleep for Adly. It's not something she can have at any time, but only when she's tired. On a recent long road trip, I was worried about her sleeping in the car seat because she never does anymore. In the car, as soon as I tossed her the blankie, the thumb went in the mouth and she was out soon after.

Crib Only. Adly only sleeps in one place: the crib. This is a sticking point for a lot of moms I know who love that their babies can sleep anywhere. And to be honest, I'm somewhat jealous of them. We are pretty tied down to our house for nap time and bed time because of the routines we have set in place. Additionally, those delicious baby snuggles have all but disappeared. I think that is largely due to her sleeping habits. However, anytime I get sad about missing my baby snuggled up on my chest snoozing away, I think about how blissful it is to sleep through the night and to get things done during nap time. For me, it's for the better. She still snuggles when she's really tired or hurt or having her morning ba-ba, and I can live with that.

Cry It Out. The dreaded words. There are two major camps on this subject, and obviously I am in the cry it out camp. Those who are not, I totally think whatever you chose to do is fine too. Crying it out just seemed to work best for me and for our situation. For my own mental health, I had to get a good nights sleep. I can't say that I was totally fine with it at the time or that it wasn't hard for me. As new moms, our instinct is to stop the cries. and to help our babies in every way we can. As you read above, our crying it out adventure began unintentionally. I can't say for sure I would've done it that early otherwise. However, I do believe it is the best way to get your child used to sleeping through the night. Once we got the go ahead from the pediatrician, I felt comfortable with implementing it for our child. When she was younger, I would keep her awake while feeding, kiss her goodnight, lay her in her crib and walk out. Now we don't do a night time bottle, so the routine has turned into putting on pajamas, kissing goodnight and then laying her down. I don't rock her, hold her, or stand and rub her back to get her to sleep. It's my belief that she should be the one to be able to get herself to sleep, and she does. 

Be Prepared to Do Over. This part is tough because you've set in place some amazing routines, you've got your baby sleeping like a champ and all goes out the window. Sleep is a fickle thing with babies and it comes and goes like the wind. Anything that is "off" can change a baby's sleeping patterns. The usual culprits are the 4 month sleep regression, teething, and illness. If you choose to do cry it out, you usually have to re-do your hard work around these times. It never gets easier to hear your child cry, but I swear, it always resets itself in one night or two.

Where to Start. Like I said, I never actually read a sleep training book. Instead, I chose bits and pieces from all of the people I talked to and research I did online. In the beginning, some of the most important steps to get Adly sleeping, that I found, were the following:
-Create a quiet, darker environment for them to sleep in
-Look for any sleepy cues: rubbing eyes, yawning, fussing (when not hungry)
-As soon as you get a sleepy cue, put them to bed immediately
-Use some sort of pajamas to signify sleep. We've always used a sleep sack. 
-Same bed time every night no matter what
-Have a routine in place to signal that its bed time
-Let them cry for at least 10 minutes before going in to soothe

To all you new mommies or seasoned mommies looking to get some sleep once and for all, I wish you luck! Sleep is a beautiful thing and we all deserve it. However you go about getting it, I hope that some of these tricks of the trade can be helpful to you. 

Sweet dreams!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Old and the New

A few days ago I saw this tweet and it really struck a chord with me:

It really got me thinking about my own friendships and how they've changed. I would instead say something more like, "friendships change once you have a baby". As you get older, there are a lot of life events that cause some level of division between you and your friends. Being single separates you from the coupled up people. Back in the day, we fondly called us singles "the loser table". You know, those people that get glommed together at a wedding because they're all singles. Then those that are coupled off eventually get engaged and that separates you from the "singles". Getting married changes some things, but I guess more than anything it separates you from the "unmarrieds". When you have a baby, you enter a whole new ballgame.

This fun begins as soon as you are knocked up. Suddenly those raging fun nights at the bar become exhausting, nauseating, and just plain annoying. All your energy is spent by 9pm and you become more than willing to spend an evening on the couch watching Dateline rather than expend all of your energy trying to keep up with the non-preggos. Phone calls and texts start dwindling down and you're just fine with that.

Then the baby comes. A rush of girlfriend visitors come over to snuggle your new bundle of love and ask in vain how new mommyhood is. What was the birth like? Like, what was it really like? When they leave to head out for their next night on the town, you're left in a pile of burp cloths, yesterdays sweatpants, and no make-up. You can't wait to close your eyes for a few precious hours until the baby is hungry again.

As the newness dies down and life settles into a new "normal" for you, you find that your new "normal" is largely misaligned to your old friends' "normal". No longer can you have a booze filled night out on the town with no regrets, followed by sleeping in and then a booze-filled brunch the next day (after 10am) to recap all the fun that you barely remember. Suddenly a night out requires a baby sitter (or a daddy staying in), a lot of planning if you're breastfeeding, and the reality that when the baby wakes up the next morning (hopefully not before 6am) you're back on duty.

At first I tried to buck this trend with all my might. I was not ready to accept that I was over the nightlife. We had family babysit, we hired sitters, we drank, we tried to keep up with our non-parent friends. But in the end, the power of new-parent reality won out. It's just not as fun anymore. Sure, I love my non-mom friends. They've been there for years and hopefully will be for years to come. But the reality is, the dynamic of our friendship has changed. I rarely see them anymore, which is hard to accept, but it's what has to happen. They can't be dragged down by nights in at my house all the time. Or be expected to deal with daytime visits where I can barely listen to them as I chase my tornado of a child around. Just the same, they can't expect me to figure out childcare, head out to the bars with reckless abandon and then pay a major price first thing the next morning. 

Of course, I'm not suggesting that being a parent suddenly means you suck at life and do nothing but sit in your house all day with no friends anymore. Far from it. I'm just suggesting that you're social calendar changes quite a bit, to totally new and different outings. I've had an amazing outlet for socializing with some great mommy groups. I've had one from the start of my mom-adventure that continues on, as well as a newer one through work. (Something has luckily been in the water the last year there, so babies are popping out on a very regular basis.) These mom's group get togethers provide a great social outlet for me as well as Adly and I highly regard these times. As soon as you find yourself with child, I highly recommend finding yourself one as soon as possible. Many hospitals offer them as well. They are a true lifesaver!

Mom's group babies celebrating Elliot's 1st birthday!

For now, none of our closest friends have a baby (except one that's going to be here in hopefully less than 31 days.....but who's counting?!). Although I see my non-mom friends half as often as I used to, the times we do get to hang out have become much more meaningful. I plan get togethers more carefully and they are definitely farther apart than they used to be (we're talking months).  But now when they do happen, we always pick up right where we left off. One such get together that I always look forward to is my book club that was started long before I was pregnant, married or engaged. These monthly get togethers are always the highlight of my social calendar because, more than anything, I look forward to getting to catch up with everyone.

A rare sighting of the elusive non-mom and new-mom together at the bar. 

Things have changed socially between the two of us as well, obviously. Our date night dinners now usually include our little bundle of fun. We've joined the elderly crowd, eating at 5:30pm to ensure Adly gets into bed on time. One amazing thing about living in the city is that restaurants are everywhere. This allows us to safely stroll to a local eatery, have an early dinner, chat it up with our munchkin all while enjoying a tasty beer or glass of wine or two. And hey, we always get a table at that hour.

Did you just say, "we eat with the old people because of me?!" Look who's talking.

And then every so often, Adam and I try to take a night out together. This part is hard because both of us struggle with missing our "old lives". We miss our friends dearly, yet we know it's important to also have time for just us. Typically we've compromised by doing a dinner just the two of us and then meeting friends out. However, parenthood has changed the both of us. We no longer make it out very late and are usually fine saying our goodbyes far earlier than anyone else. For me, the reason being that the morning routine is lingering in the air. I know I have to be back "on" in a number of hours and there is nothing worse than being hungover and/or exhausted with an infant that is into everything.

Maybe I'm dramatic, but in my opinion, it goes without saying: friendships change when you have a baby. Some friends totally disappear. That's hard. Some once good friends become more of acquaintances. Some friends that weren't close before become closer. Some friends totally stay the same, just in a new way. I'm grateful for the friendships I have and I look forward to more friends joining the baby brigade. I have no doubt that over the years these friendships will grow and change even more. It's the hard part of growing up. But for what it's worth, I hope that they continue to grow more together, than apart.

Until then, you can find Adam and I on any given Friday night enjoying a glass of wine and a new Dateline, or if we're really lucky, a new Shark Tank episode. Sometimes we even get a little crazy and whip out an intense game of rummy or a bag of popcorn. I know, I know. We're wild.

But I wouldn't change one bit of it. 

                                                 Out for a "new normal" date night.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Little Eater

You guys...tonight, against all of my controlling impulses, I gave my daughter the spoon AND SHE FED HERSELF.

I can't even tell you how far out of my chest my neat-freak heart leapt as I saw the spoon flip face out and swing over the side of the tray (nooooo!! I don't want to sweep and mop the floors again!!!!). But I held it in. And by god, as I sat there ready to pounce on her, she DID IT. She flipped and spun the spoon around into her mouth. And then she chewed it to death. But that's besides the point. Whats important here is we are one more step closer to independent feeding, never mind the mess that comes along with that milestone.

Watch it here first:

Thursday, June 12, 2014

11 Months

Adly is bursting into her last month of infancy babbling away. The girl is a Chatty Cathy. She doesn't. Stop. Talking. But hey, right now it's fun, right?! Even more fun is learning to decode what it is she's saying. Here is a translation guide to understanding Miss Adly Daniele at 11 months:

"Nye nye"= night night
"Daaaaaa daaaaa"= bottle
"Daaaaaa daaaaa"=bear bear
"Tee tee" = pretty
"Gaaaa gaaaaa"= big girl
"Ka-ka"= car 
"Oooooh"= anything interesting to her
And best of all, "mama"= me!

She's hugely into imitating at the moment and will usually attempt to say almost anything to tell her to repeat. It's simply fascinating to see how much she is soaking in right now as her understanding of language begins to develop and she attempts to involve herself in it. Speaking of imitating, a few weeks ago, Adly started touching my belly. We had a moment where we talked about bellies and patted mine then hers, saying "belly". I tried asking her the next day where her belly was and she ignored me. I figured it was lost in the mix or just too far above her for the moment. Well tonight while we were laying in bed she again touched my belly and I said, "belly". To which she started patting her belly and saying "baa baaa" (belly, I'm guessing), just like she had the last time we talked about it a few weeks back. So incredible how much they remember! 

She also loves hearing the alphabet sung to her and then will "sing" along to it after you sing. I was able to capture this the other day as she played in her crib. 

The world according to Adly is quickly getting much bigger as she crawls, pulls up, and scales along the couches and chairs. Just before turning 11 months, she also began surfer-style attempts at standing alone. We were surprised by this, and she was quite pleased with herself: laughing and clapping away after the attempts. As much as I'm not ready for it, walking is right around the corner.

Her three top, front teeth are plowing through right now and we've been met with a lot of food strikes and general fussiness. Thankfully the super cute angry face is slowly disappearing and my meanie child is returning to her former lovely self with only a random angry face every so often. 

In the last month we've been dealing with skin issues. Her skin is so, so sensitive. Since the time she was born we've been through a lot of trial and error to find products that can work for her. Lately, the problem has been with her poor bum. The girls got terrible diaper rash that just can't seem to be healed. We've tried a handful of creams to no avail. The latest attempts have been lots of nakey time to air out her goodies. This is funny because the sensation of being nakey must be pretty freeing, and for Adly, evoke the need to tinkle. Like a puppy, she tends to pee pee all over when this time comes. So now I've taken to laying out her changing pads to help prevent any more "accidents". This nakey time seems to be helping, but we still aren't cured. Hopefully we get it in order sooner than later.

And with that we head into her last month of her first year. I just can't believe it's almost here. Excuse me while I do everything in my power not to cry my way through the next month as my baby gets ready to turn 1.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


As I walked into the living room this morning, I came upon this sight:

One might immediately think they've been robbed. But not in my case. Nope. Have no fear. That's just the evidence that my child has been there. 

Thank you, Adly. Don't mind if I do put back every piece of my wallet for the 4th time this weekend. 
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