Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Favorite Things: The Second Baby (aka Products That Are Completely Unnecessary But Somehow I Cannot Live Without)

This post is brought to you by: Moms Who Use Target As Therapy

This whole baby thing is not anything new to us. We know how to change a diaper, we know the tricks to getting a baby to sleep, and we know how to operate heavy machinery (also known as a breast pump). Despite the endless amounts of knowledge on parenting we have to offer (like how to best hold a glass of red wine and a baby without spilling on white carpet), it turns out there are many things I did not know I needed before having a second child.

1. Rock n Play: You did I ever live without this thing? It is magic. And this one rocks automatically. Whoever invented this deserves a Nobel Prize. I cannot express how many times this has saved me. Just the other night the baby woke up beside herself. I tried nursing her back to sleep, but she wasn't having it. I picked her up, gave her kisses, snuggled a blanket around her, gave her a pacifier, set her down in the Rock n Play, turned it on, and she was asleep in seconds. This scenario has not been out of the ordinary. This product is GOLD.

2. Babyganics Dish and Bottle Soap: This was something I randomly found while slowly walking the aisles of Target at 8:30pm, since you know, this is how I decompress and meditate these days. Seriously, Target saves my sanity. Dear Target, thank you for existing. Anyhow, this dish soap works wonders on bottles, nipples, pump parts, and pacifiers. Dawn always seems to leave a bit of a film, and I always felt a little uncomfortable with how much it made Everett's bottles smell. The Babyganics product just rinses a little cleaner, and it does not leave a film/smell to prove its cleanliness. Every night I soak the bottles and pump parts from the day in hot soapy water, then scrub them clean with a bottle brush. They are staying much cleaner than the first time around. And for the record, Babyganics wipes are now our go-to baby wipes. Love them!

3. Board books: Every parent needs a collection of board books for their kiddos, no matter what the age. I take that back, maybe 11 is a little old for kids to be reading board books. I digress. We discovered the Bunnies book at the library, and I got a copy of all Laura Ellen Anderson's books for Alice because she loved this one so much. She laughs aloud every time we read about bunnies going THUMP. The pictures are engaging and offer opportunities for us to interact. So much more fun than the usual, "Ball, Frog, Boat, Duck."

4. Nosefrida: I realize I am the last parent to jump on this bandwagon. Alice has had about 4 colds since she was born (thanks to an older brother who goes to daycare). The sicknesses were all pretty short-lived, since baby immune systems are miracles. However, it wasn't until her third cold that I broke down and spent the ~$15 on a Nosefrida (one night when I was slowly walking the aisles of Target to decompress after a brutally emotional day). The bulb syringe works great, but Frida is far less...violent. And as gross as the concept sounds, it's really not gross in practice. To be fair, I would 100% vomit if you made me suck the snot out of a baby who didn't belong to me, but since my kids are angelfacefairyunicorns it does not bother me.

5. Lifefactory Bottles: What insane human buys glass baby bottles? *points to self* This guy. Back to the whole conversation of baby products that smell of chemicals, I always felt uncomfortable by the fact that Everett's bottles smelled like plastic and dish soap. I'm that psycho mom who prefers her kids to put clean and green products in their mouths, so glass bottles were never that far of a stretch for me. The Lifefactory bottles are great because they have a silicone sleeve to protect them from drop damage. And I love that that product is made in France, where quality is more important than quantity. They are simple, straightforward, easy to clean, easy to assemble, and they work just fine in the bottle warmer used by the daycare. In short, I love them. I will say that we never had to worry about colic or gas, so I am not sure how these do in that department. Also, if your baby is picky about bottles, maybe don't spend $75 on this pack and try a single bottle first.

6. Inglesina Fast: I always wanted one of these high chairs for Everett. They are perfect for picnics, camping trips, kitchen islands, and sturdy tables. Alice will happily sit in her Inglesina chair and play with toys while I cook/clean/eat/wrangle a toddler. It is also super easy to wipe crusty baby mush off the fabric with a damp cloth after one of her messy meals. The back pocket is perfect for holding wipes, food, etc. for parents who are on the go. In short, this is a great investment.

That's all for now. Go forth and uselessly spend! Your sanity may thank you.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Ugh to Parenting

Guess what guys! The daycare was closed this week, and I was #blessedbeyondmeasure to be able to stay at home with 2 kids by myself all week. If you can't see the sarcasm in that last sentence, you are not a parent. Thursday afternoon I was prepping dinner, baby in Exersaucer and Everett doing...God knows...I should probably check on that...he was chasing the dog with scissors. Life is good. This was the exact moment I knew I was ready to go back to work.

The week could have been worse. We have been working on Everett's temper tantrums and they seem to be getting better. And by better I mean less frequent, but when they do happen they can be out of control. They always end with plenty of hugs and kisses, but getting there is sometimes trying. Meanwhile, the baby just laughs when he flies off the handle. I guess it can look funny when the rage isn't directed at you. I promise he's the sweetest kid out there, but he's still a toddler, and toddlers are kind of the worst.

Honestly, our biggest struggle is keeping him engaged. He gets bored very easily, and this is when he starts getting naughty. His mind is very technical, so having him channel energy into productive activities is key. Watercolors are a big hit, as is being in the backyard digging. Running around at the park can work, but it takes a lot of convincing to get him settled once that activity is over. I'm considering Legos (Duplos), but I don't know if the mess is worth it.

I have also found that giving him freedom to make more choices in his daily life has been key: he can go outside and play with his digger if he comes in for lunch after 10 minutes. And communication is so important with him, so I have to remind him that he can always play outside after a nap if he still wants. We also let him pick out all his clothes, pick out one or two toys to bring on car rides, choose one small activity for the day, give him 2 options for lunch and let him choose, and we let him pick the dinner menu once a week.

I am thinking of developing an incentive program. We have had some success with a positive reinforcement technique using the timer. We set the timer for 20 minutes. If he is a good listener and doesn't throw any fits, he can have a gummy bear when the timer goes off. Then we set the timer again for 30 minutes doing the same thing. After this, we set it for 40 minutes. He generally forgets about gummy bears and timers by this point, and he is conditioned to good behavior (like a dog with a bell). It works well, but I'm not sure bribing with candy is the best method. I wish toddlers weren't so hard!

Anyway, my 6-day weekend was good. We visited the firehouse, picked apples at Greenbluff, went to Hobby Lobby and picked out a fun crafting project together, harvested and canned lots from the garden, visited Grandma, took walks/runs, went to a birthday party, took a city bus ride, had time at the park, visited a friend's new baby, and did story time at the library. Good week, but I'm ready for a break from toddlers for a bit.

And this week's public mega-tantrum? Everett wanted everything Bob Ross from Hobby Lobby, and he wanted the whole store to know about it.

Meanwhile, this one was a complete angel all week long. Seriously, she's the best baby.

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