Monday, August 31, 2009

More Advice for new parents.

Kristeen just sent me this and I thought I would pass it on. There is so much I want to say to all my friends having babies and I never feel like I can express it all or completely. Here is someone else's attempt:

An Open Letter to a New Momma

Go read it then come back.

I especially agree with the two paragraphs on 3am thoughts about sleep. When discussing Colin's sleep issues and multiple wake ups people often ask me 'How I do it?" and to be honest I've never really known. I just do. If you would have asked me in the year before I got pregnant if I could handle not sleeping for more than 4-6 hours a night for a year, I would have told you NO WAY. I always needed at least 7 hours to feel rested. Less than that and I would spend the day in a fog with a headache. Not true anymore I guess, and if I can do it I'm sure anyone can. I will tell you there were more than a handful of times when I teared up at 3am, but the good news is the times when those tears were because I felt blessed by those extra moments spent with my baby far outweighed the tears of frustration/desperation. Parenthood is an amazing thing, I will never be able to fully articulate how it feels but I'm loving it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Trip to the Bronx Zoo

Sean and I decided to take advantage of the fact that we live in NYC today by taking Colin to the Bronx Zoo. With Colin's current nap schedule then lunch we didn't get on the road until 2:30 and were sort of apprehensive about paying over $50 for 2.5 hrs at the zoo, but we figured we would go for it. We've been thinking about getting a WCS Family membership (around $150) which gets you admission to most of the NY zoos and the aquarium for your family plus a 1 guest. However, as we drove in and prepared to pay for parking the parking attendant just waved us on. BONUS! Saved us $12! Since it wasn't a nice day (overcast and a bit drizzly on and off but no real rain) we figured they weren't charging for parking. Then we get up to the gate and there is no one inside the ticket booth and the gate is just open. DOUBLE BONUS! Saved us $30! The only thing we paid for was the extra fee for the Congo exhibit($6) (there are a few exhibits at the zoo you have to pay extra for but I think the money goes to conservation instead of the zoo itself) There were actually a lot of things closed (the children's zoo, snack bars and exhibits), I guess a recent storm took out some trees so some exhibits were closed and they must have predicted lower attendance due to the weather. It worked out great for us, it was like it was our own private day there were so few people there! Colin couldn't have gone to every exhibit anyway, so we didn't mind that some things weren't open (we would have liked to check out the children's zoo, but I imagine he is still a little young for it so no real loss.) So no membership for us yet, I guess we'll get it the next time we decide to go. Colin's favorite parts were the ducks (squatters, not actually zoo animals) and the trees/leaves. We did have a great little encounter with the gorillas in the Congo exhibit which really made the trip for us (see picture above.) Check out the rest of the pictures, there were too many cute ones to post them all here so I put them in a google picture album.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Cholocate Dog.

Colin had a visit from our friend Joel's dog Monty, whom we affectionately refer to as "the chocolate dog" due to his size and color. Colin wasn't really sure what to think about the dog, all the animals he has encountered up to now ran away from him, not towards him. Here are some of the cute pictures from the evening showing his reaction.

As if to say "ahh it's licking me!"

The part where Monty tried to remove Colin's shorts like the dog in the sunscreen ad.

Colin was barking back I think.

Align Center
I love the look Monty is giving Colin

I think Colin started to enjoy Monty by the end of the evening. This does not in any way mean we will be getting a dog anytime soon.

Look at us now!

Remember this pic of Sam, Ben and Colin from a few months ago?

Well check out the boys now 4 months later! If I actually tried to set this picture up I would have taken Colin's clothes off first, but this was another totally spontaneous baby train (oddly the boys are even in the same order.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Vacation Photos

Here are some photos from our long weekend in the Poconos. Colin really enjoyed the pool and swimming.

In this photo I am attempting to shelter us from the very hot sun. Katie (and Lauren) didn't seem to mind it. The fact that I am shaded only makes me look more ashen. (I'm actually tan by my own standards, try not to point and laugh)

We spent some time at the lake beach. They were draining the lake to fix the dam at the time. This made the water a little less appealing but it also meant that we had the beach mostly to ourselves. (You might be able to make out Sean in water)

Colin wearing my sunglasses and being a 'Cool Dude!" He refuses to wear his own sunglasses but will happily wear mine.
You will probably notice from this photo that I have returned to pre-pregnancy form. I'm not really happy about this. The crazy appetite I enjoyed while pregnant and bf-eeding is so far gone it has overcorrected in the wrong direction. I'm going to have to start knocking back the ensure shakes again to compensate. I know, I know, I will get no sympathy.

Going for a paddle boat ride, complete with personal flotation devises. (We brought Colin's with us to insure proper fit [read: to appease his mothers paranoia].) Katie and I got to relax while Lauren and Sean provided the foot power.

The overly friendly dear that beg like pigeons. Turns out they like wheat thins. Yeah I know we probably weren't supposed to feed them but come on how often do you get the opportunity to feed wild deer!?!?

Sean and Colin swimming in the lake. Turns out Colin HATES the sand ( I swear to you I was no where near him when we made this discovery so I did not influence it at all) Sean put his feet down and he lost his marbles. It took a lot of coaxing to get him into the lake after that but he warmed up. Good thing we brought the giraffe tent so he didn't have to touch the sand. He was seriously afraid of it coming anywhere near him.

Colin's favorite part of the house we rented was this little indoor wood pile stand. He apparently thought it was the perfect size for him to stand/sit on.

Colin and I on the beach. I'm on a blanket folks don't worry. No chance of me actually laying in contact with the sand. I didn't even want to go in the water for fear of the sand getting stuck to me but I relented in light of the fact that there was no wind to blow it around.

One last shot of my boys looking at something up the beach.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New Cookbook!

My swamp soup!

I recently purchased Toddler Café and have been thoroughly enjoying this cookbook. It has some really cute and creative ideas, some very simple and other more complex. For example, a simple idea is pb&j french toast! Some amazon reviewers were pretty snotty about this idea saying they didn't need a creative way to get their child to eat pb&j but honestly I think this is a GREAT idea and I wish I had thought of it! Colin doesn't like eggs so far, so I have to be creative in my presentation of eggs and this is a great way to get an extra protein boost into him. He loves it. We have even experimented with cream cheese and jelly french toast,and I would love to see if he will eat a pb&banana version. Plus I think this helps soften the taste of whole wheat bread.
Other fun things include pea pancakes and popcorn soup. Last night we tried some Swamp Soup, which honestly looked pretty gross but it was surprisingly not bad! It is made mostly with zucchini and avocado, and I would post the recipe but I think that would be copyright infringement. It didn't really have a strong flavor, Sean kept saying it tasted like butter, even Colin ate it. Unfortunately, he wanted to feed it to himself and he isn't quite to the point where that is possible with soup so we had to stop it. If your child likes Shrek I bet you could convince them that this was how Shrek got to be green! It would also be a fun thing to serve on St. Pattys Day, I know my cousin Andrea always serves green food for this holiday!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Colin is 13 months old

I'm not sure how long I will continue to post these monthly updates, or when they might start to become bi-monthly. Personally, these are the posts I look back on the most frequently, and I know I searched through Kristy's blog to see how Colin compared to Lukas in size so I'm sure I will look back on Colin's when I have another child to compare to (and before you ask this is not a hint. Baby #2 isn't scheduled to make an appearance until late 2010/ early 2011)... so I'm just going to keep posting them until I have a reason not to. (n.b. I highly recommend keeping some kind of log like this even if it isn't for public view, it makes you appreciate that a month has passed and how far your child has come.) So lets get to it.

No size info this month.

Sleeping: Can you see me dancing I'm dancing!!! Colin slept from 7pm to 5am last night for the first time EVER!! We spent a long weekend in the Poconos (more on that later) so the extra activity, coupled with super dark and super quiet living conditions made for some AWESOME sleeping (despite the pack and play). He got better and better every night, and by last night I was used to it enough not to wake up freaking out at 1, 2, 3 and 4am wondering what was going on.

Weaning: Done and done. On Thursday August 6th, Colin slept through his 5 am feeding. That was all it took. He never looked back (okay maybe he had a little buyers remorse on night three but it only lasted about 20 seconds).

  • Swimming!! Now he can't get enough.
  • Signing "more". He started off using this appropriately, now it can mean anything from, again, to 'give me that'. This seems to the be trend with his communication. He starts off with limited appropriate use of a sign and that use grows and expands, testing the limits until he starts to understand when it is appropriate to use the word.
  • Cell phones. We gave him our old ones to play with which was probably a bad idea because he doesn't always understand which phones are his and which are ours.
  • Playing "this little piggy". Now that he can sign 'more' this can go on for a while!
  • Waving and saying hi to strangers.
Showing off his profile (mine) and ears (daddy's)
  • When strangers wave and say hi back! It is actually really funny, Colin will get really friendly and start waving and chatting with people but the second they start to talk back he starts to cry. I really don't know what he is expecting.
  • Being scolded for throwing food on the floor. It starts out as a staring contest and ends in tears (his not ours)... How do other people deal with this? We were trying to 'disagree with the behavior' by saying "No! No throwing food!" in a mild voice at first, but the tone escalates as he continues to do it, but he gets so upset that it isn't worth it anymore because we want him to actually eat. Now I try to pay attention enough so that I remove the food from his had before he drops it.
  • Getting his hair cut. Poor guy, he just doesn't like strangers getting so close.
  • Notice face washing is no longer on the list!!! I started counting to three and then only wiping once her count. No more freak out.
New things:
Signing "more" often as it will get him what he wants

  • Communication Communication Communication. He has just exploded with signs this month and he is making attempts to say the word he is signing although without the sign it wouldn't be clear these were words. I'm going to try to list his signs, without regard for which are new (putting his words/vocalization in parenthesis): baby (may-me), more (mo), hat (ha), cold (oh), thank you (n/a), dirty (sounds like an Indian call), cracker (eh), dog (nothing or high pitched bark), all done (all duh), eat(n/a), brush teeth(shh-shh), car (n/a), sleep (the sound you make when drum you lower lip. beebeebee etc.), wind (n/a), tree (n/a), go (n/a) his sign for go is consistent, but it is not very accurate he puts his first together and moves them up and down like he is getting ready to roll dice, the actual sign uses to fingers to point to where you want to go. It took us some time to figure out this was a sign. Some signs that he has done but isn't always willing to show: grapes, clean, please, frog, bath, leaf.
  • Words that aren't signed. Hot, Cat (at), Mama (or Meme when he is upset), Dada, Grandma (gama), Night-night (nigh-nigh), bye-bye (buh-by), hi, (he does wave too I guess that is a sign),
  • He has three animal sounds now for cows, sheep and dogs.
  • We are working on body parts (belly, head, fingers, toes etc) but he isn't really interested yet.
  • Teeth: no new ones.. still 9 despite all his apparent pain. I guess #9 caused more pain even after it erupted unlike the previous 8.
Is it just me or did his face 'grow up' a lot this month?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hair Cut #2

Colin got his hair cut for the second time on Thursday. It was another major tear fest. This time the stylist used scissors instead of buzzing him so it took a much longer time, but I'm happier with the overall look (or at least what it should look like) and it is still baby soft, unlike last time. He sat, no stood on my lap for the cut and basically attempted to shake off the stylist when she got anywhere near his head. It was pretty stressful for everyone involved. Here are the before and after shots. I tried to get a close up of the hack job that seemed to happen at the base of his neck. Honestly, I can't blame her, I was there and NO ONE could have cut a straight line, his head was practically spinning all the way around.

Before: The Mohawk/Toupee look
After: A cleaner look (I may try to edit a little!)

Can you see it? He has three different horizontal lines on the back..
Not sure what happened here.
Updated to add:

For both hair cuts I've taken Colin to a childrens' salon, complete with videos and toys and stylists who should deal with children all the time. The first time we went to snipets in CT and this time we went to Frankie's Playce in Queens, complete with an airplane and a fire engine, balloons, toys, and Barney and Elmo on TV. The stylist was really trying hard to make him comfortable (which is the kiss of death for this kid, but what choice did she have?) Colin is just classic 'slow to warm up' in that new experiences and certain people make him very uncomfortable. In this case I forced it because I really wanted him to get a hair cut which just made it miserable for everyone involved. Next time maybe we will go in just to let him look around and talk to the stylist with no pressure and we can simply leave if he gets too upset. He just needs to warm up and he'll be fine.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A little man.

Erin once posted about how she could see young men in her little boys. I now know what she was talking about. In this picture I can just see the little man in my baby. (He is about the same age Erin's boys were when she posted the same observation)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Swimming Update

Here are some pictures from swimming lessons today. Colin is doing such a great job now! It took him about three weeks to let go of my neck and lately he even smiles and laughs when entering the water. Today was not the kind of day you feel like going for a swim, but luckily the water wasn't as cold as I expected. You'll notice my swimwear has become more practical! He can't pull this top off me that is for sure. (If you are interested in reviewing the previous swim lesson post, click "classes" in the labels section, or at the very bottom of this post.)

Colin is more interested in Daddy than in blowing bubbles.

Kick kick kick!

Now for a dip! 1...2...3...

...look ma, no screaming!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

High Chair Confessionals

It seems that I only get good videos of Colin lately when he is in his high chair. Any other time, he gets all grabby with the camera and that isn't exactly what I was trying to capture on film. Here are two recent videos of 'Colin in his high chair' that you might enjoy

Colin signs 'more' and 'cold' from Rebecca Berry on Vimeo.

Colin 'finger painting' with strawberries from Rebecca Berry on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Advice to new moms...

I was at a baby shower yesterday and one of the 'games' we played was to write down advice for the new mom.. Suddenly I was overcome with things to say that I absolutely had to tell her, I ended up using two cards but could have used more. So I thought since she is only 1 of 4 friends about to/just becoming new moms I should write something up here for everyone to enjoy and add to. I am obviously NO expert but these are some things I learned in the trenches and am passing on so you might have the opportunity to learn them before you are in the trenches.

  1. Learn and use the 5 S's. I'm pretty sure I've blogged about this before but I can't seem to find it right now. The Happiest Baby on the Block was our how to guide for the first three months of Colin's life. Sean became a master of this technique and would often disappear into the back of the house with Colin fussing and crying only to return 15 mins later with a sleeping baby. It was great...
  2. Since we delayed the introduction of the pacifier for two weeks (something that may have resulted in him never really forming an attachment to it which is probably a good thing) we used our pinky finger (clean of course), pad side up as a pacifier which worked wonders. Unfortunately, I didn't know about this trick until sometime in day 4/5, had I known this before then I might not have had to rely on nursing so much to soothe Colin's need to suck, and might not have ended up bleeding...
  3. I just sent Julie this advice in a text message while she in the hospital with her new baby girl. Take as many nasal aspirators from the hospital as you can! They work way better than the ones you can buy in the store (I never tried The nosefrida so I can't speak for that one.)
  4. Gripe Water works better than Mylicon drops for gas. We used the little remedies brand because that was all I could find at the time. It took Colin from screaming and crying in pain to just tiny occasional whimpers, whereas the Mylicon did nothing.
  5. Babies don't keep! Try not to get caught up in the "when s/he just gets a little older it will be...." thoughts and appreciate your little tiny baby while s/he is little and tiny. There are always new challenges and joys with each age, so appreciate the joys as much as you can before it fads and a new one takes its place.
  6. Learn to trust your mom instincts. They start early but I didn't trust myself for a while.
  7. Little tiny babies need sleep. S/he will probably need to go back to sleep within two-three hours of waking up. Waiting longer will only make it harder to get your baby back to sleep. Try to avoid feeding your baby to sleep, particularly beyond the third month.
  8. Don't wake a sleeping baby! Our pediatrician advised us to wake Colin up and feed him every two/three hours until he came back to birth weight. It took him about a week+. I felt like it was a bad idea and everyone was telling me it was a bad idea but I didn't trust myself yet so I followed drs orders... it set us up for failure in the sleep department. Obviously if you feel like there is a medical need to wake to feed you should. Colin was gaining weight, he just hadn't reached that 'magic number' yet, but I had no fears about him failing to thrive.
  9. ReadThe Vaccine Bookand make your own decisions for your family. If you want to do the traditional schedule, that is fine tons of kids seem to do fine with it, but arm yourself with the information. This is a good resource for the facts that exist.
  10. I'm not sure where I read this but I followed it and think it is important. Don't criticize your husband for "doing it wrong" you might find that he does things differently but not worse. If you want his help (and trust me you do!), encourage don't discourage. I always appreciate Sean's unique perceptive on outfits and food options, as I tend to get stuck in a rut of repeating the same ole same ole.
  11. You will have moments when you aren't proud of your behavior or thoughts. It is normal. It is okay to want to toss your baby out the window ( it is not okay to actually toss your baby out the window) these moments are a great time to call in Dad if he is available. It is also okay to put a crying baby down and walk away for a second. This has two mutually beneficial results 1) you cool down and regain your composure, 2) baby is so happy to be picked up again that s/he might just stop crying for a minute and/or go to sleep.
  12. The first year goes by at lightening speed. Take time to live in the moment as much as you can...
Do you have any advice for new moms? *UPDATED TO ADD* Be sure to read the comments below for more useful tips!!!

Mom- i will post pictures soon I promise!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Favorite Things for the 9-12 month old.

I realized the other day that I haven't done a favorite things post lately so I thought I would write one up. Once again these products were all purchased by me, not given to me. Also, the use of these products is not limited to this time period it just happens to be when I purchased it or Colin started to show interest in it.

Summer Infant Folding Booster: We use this as Colin's snack chair so I have somewhere to put him other than his actual high chair. It also is very useful to travel with. It folds down small and is easy to pack and it has straps so you can attach it to a chair (much like our regular high chair.) The tray is on the smaller side but that makes it more portable so it isn't a big deal. Colin enjoys sitting in it so it is never a fight to strap him down.

Around the Block Walker: If you follow the blog you have seen this before. I wish we had a bigger home so Colin could really go and go with this but he does love it none-the-less. He has realized its utility as a step stool recently which is a bit of a problem, but we just keep it up against the wall when he isn't actively pushing it around and so he can't flip over the bar. I can't sing the praises of this enough! It has stoppers so it can't tip, it even is built so it if very difficult for him to pinch his fingers in the two lids. I can't speak for how it would roll on wood floors but on our carpeting it is wonderful. We give this two thumbs up!! The only downside is that it isn't made with eco-friendly materials, so I have no idea what the plastic blocks are made of, but I love the fact that it has three different types of blocks in it, plastic squeezy ones, cloth ones and wood ones.

Sassy Counting and Spell Bath Appliques: These we have had for a while. At first Colin was only interested in chewing on them (they are safe for that, no pvc or phthalates or bpa), but now he plays with them by sticking them to the walls, (or removing the ones that I have stuck on.) I usually try to spell three letter words and read them to him, and the other day I spelled WED and said "W -E D wed" and Colin said "WED" clear as day. Sean and I looked at each other like "did he just say that?" He has yet to say it again but still, it validates what I'm doing. Sean sometimes plays along by trying to use the words I spell out in a humorous sentence. Fun for the whole family!!

PVC Free bath mat: Even I felt like I was going overboard with the PVC issue when I started thinking about the bath mat! However, I had a really hard time finding a bath mat to work in our tub because it has a textured bottom and a lot of suction cups don't stick.The other bath mats we tried would float when the suction was lost which was very annoying. So I did some searching online for something that wasn't buoyant and then discovered this website with PVC free mats and figured I had to try it. I sent the company an email asking what the diameter of the suction cups were (the smaller the better) and if this floated. The answers came in less than 24hrs and (small cups and no floating!) so I bought one. They aren't as cheap as the others I tried but come on I had already burned through two that weren't working so I sucked it up and spent the extra money. I am very very pleased. (n.b. ours is white not blue but they didn't have a photo of the white one, and I don't own the headrest) Now I don't have to worry about the PVC issue anymore! Which, once I looked into it I realized it was a bigger deal than I thought, warm temperatures increase the bodies tendency to absorb things and increases the amount of chemicals leached out of the plastic, combine that with the fact that he bathes every day and exposure is higher than I realized. Zrecs is now doing a bathmat page too if you are interested. I just found while I was looking for the website that I bought this from.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Baby Buns!

Embarrasing baby photos... be brought out to show all future girlfriends......because I can.