Monday, December 28, 2009

A cow says Moo

The transition to milk is complete.

It really was not a big deal at all, minus the delivery system. We have not yet accomplished the bottle to sippy cup transition, but are making some (tiny) progress.

I polled my mom friends and it seemed most people did some version of mixing formula and milk to get babe used to the taste. We did the same thing ... within a week we went from all formula to all milk. I actually had enough breast milk in my freezer to make it just past one year, mixing her bottles half-breast milk and half-formula. I was shocked that it lasted so long and thought we would have run out months ago, but I was happy that we were able to use every last drop.

I had been advised to only give milk in a sippy cup, because if you give it in bottles it will be that much harder to transition to the cup. This may be true, and may be contributing to our s-l-o-w progress on that front, but I just wasn't ready to tackle both at the same time. I need fewer variables in my life.

She was still getting bottles 4 times a day, so we did 3/4 formula and 1/4 milk for a few days, then half and half, then 3/4 milk and 1/4 formula, then all milk. There was little to no protest from her and within a week she would have taken all milk. I actually kept adding a little formula to every bottle to just finish out the can, and now we are completely done.

I have made a half-hearted attempt to warm her bottles less and less over time. We always warmed her formula in a mug with hot water. She would take it at most temperatures, but better if it wasn't straight out of the fridge (I prepped all her bottles the night before). We are still warming the milk briefly, and will continue to work on cutting this out.

(When she will drink milk out of the sippy cup, she prefers it straight from the fridge, so that is promising).

Also, Santa brought a toothbrush and toothpaste for Christmas. We hadn't really been brushing because she had only 2 bottom teeth, but she is sprouting lots more and it is time to start that habit. I'm not really sure about the rules on toothpaste - I think you are supposed to wait until after age 2 for the fluoridated stuff? Starting around a year, though, the mouth doesn't "self-clean" as well (according to our pediatrician), and the milk sugars can be bad for those teensie weensie toofers.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Worth noting

Just a few things that I thought were worth mentioning, in case I haven't yet ...

1. Our Girl loves her pacifier. It will be a sad day for all involved when it comes time to get rid of it, which is really any day now. I may have mentioned way back that I had read about a perfect window of time where it is (relatively) easy to get rid of the pacifier, sometime around 6-9 months. I will say, in retrospect, that this was definitely true. She had a very "take it or leave it" attitude about the whole thing. We persisted, and now she is addicted. Oh well.

Another tip from a very wise Mom friend ... at bedtime, Girly gets one pacifier. We tried really hard not to play the "replace the pacifier" game, but until your baby has the searching skills to find a pacifier in bed and put it back in their mouth, you have somewhat of a dilemma. Once she could do it herself, we would load up the crib with tons of pacifiers, and she would proceed to throw on the floor. Then scream. So, now she gets just one at bedtime. Later in the night, I go in her room to check on her and put several more in her bed. That is it until morning, when she throws on the floor, as if to say "come and get me!".

2. We moved up to Overnight diapers a month ago or so. We never really had a problem with soaking through, but when it happened 2 nights in a row, I knew we needed a change. Cold, wet PJs and sheets don't make anyone happy. We are using the Huggies Overnights on a recommendation from a friend, but I know there are other types. She is usually in size 3 diapers, but these are size 4 because that is all they had at Target. I don't know if they make them smaller or not. It has worked like a charm! I have also known babies who wet through the Overnight diapers. If this is the case, I guess the next bigger size diaper might work, or I think you can also buy diaper liners that go inside the diaper for some more absorbency power.

3. Sippy cups. We are struggling with the milk-in-a-sippy-cup transition. I'll report back on my trials and tribulations, but in retrospect I might have done things a little differently. There are so many kinds of sippy cups and I think a lot of kids will have a preference for one or another. I started her on the Tilty cup at 6 months, and now she does very well with it. I picked this cup because it doesn't have a valve, so fewer parts to keep track of and more like drinking from a normal cup. We also use the Take and Toss cups because that is what she uses at school, and they are very similar. (Note: if your daycare uses one particular kind of sippy cup for all the kids, ask about that earlier rather than later. I had no idea until recently. It wasn't a big deal, but might have been nice to know). My point: Girly does great with these cups if the liquid inside is clear or purple. Not white. I know this really isn't because of the cup design, but I wish I would have worked harder with her on a straw, at a minimum, so we would have more options to try at this point. She won't drink from a sippy cup with a valve or one with a soft spout. In the long run, I think this will help her drink from a real cup, but in the short run it is driving me crazy.

The end.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


The 1-year mark is quite the milestone, for both baby and parents. And, as if the first 12 months weren't full of enough change, a few more come on the radar screen about this time.

Breast milk or formula to Milk.

Weaning from boob or bottle to Cup.

Paci to No Paci. (Um, thanks, but no thanks. We'll be hanging on to this one a bit longer).

I have a plan for these changes (kind of) and will report back on my success, or lack there of, when we've made the transition.

For now, I'm focusing on the Bunnies to Bears transition.

Our Girly has been in the Bunnies room at school from March until now, and we are working on moving up to the Bears room. I thought it would be breezy since we were already familiar with the daycare process, BUT? Not so much.

This one took me a bit by surprise. I was excited for her to move rooms because she really liked being with the bigger kids and watching them play. I love the teachers in her current room, though, so it was a bit bittersweet. What I didn't anticipate, though, was the lack of control I would feel in the process.

Maybe we have been spoiled by her teachers, but we got a report card everyday with her naps, diapers, and meals. I always felt that I had a good handle on what happened during the day, and even if it wasn't what we would have done at home, I felt involved.

Now, in the interim, she starts her day with the Bunnies and ends her day with the Bears, so there is very little information about what happens during the day. I might pick her up with different clothes on, one full bottle leftover and someone else's sheets and no one can tell me exactly why. I understand that these are tiny issues in the grand scheme of things, but it is an adjustment.

Overall, I am still happy with our daycare and I think these are universal issues, not just at our place. Lord knows, 8 or 10 toddlers will mess a bit with organization. I finally let go of sending her to school with homemade breakfast and lunch because I just couldn't be the mom who sent her kid with lentils when everyone else got fish sticks. And, you know what? It makes our school prep much simpler.

I think this is a healthy transition, both for our Girl and for us. (Really, who am I kidding ... the Huz doesn't care. It's ME.) I don't want to be a "helicopter" parent. I trust the people who take care of her and she is happy when I pick her up. I want to know every little thing about her day, but the reality is that it isn't essential. I can't go back and fix the fact that she only slept 45 minutes, or didn't finish her bottle. We proceed with our evening routine just as we normally would.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Enough with the sentimental stuff. Sniff, Sniff.

Let's talk birthday parties! Specifically, planning a birthday party.

In all of my blog-reading and magazine-reading, I came across some sort of "Mom List" this year. You know the ones ... Top Ten Things I Wish I Knew, or Eighteen Ways To Be A Good Parent, or Thirty-Seven Things To Help You Be Less Crazy. The one thing that stuck with me was this: Don't make birthday parties a huge deal.

This isn't to say that birthdays aren't special, because they are, but do yourself a favor and don't create a lifetime of crazy birthday expectations.

Maybe this is easy for me to say as a person who doesn't care much about my own birthday. My birthday is only 4 days before Christmas, so it always felt like a bundled holiday. Not in a bad way, but just in a reality way. I was usually home for winter break on my birthday, so no school celebrations. I had some really wonderful parties as a child, and did a lot of special things, but I am also just as happy with a family dinner and a cake. (Just to be clear: cake=birthday). It is nice when people tell me Happy Birthday, and it is lovely when people are so generous and buy gifts, but I don't expect them and I don't mandate days of celebration in honor of my birth.

I recall one of my favorite parent-isms: start as you mean to go. If you start with a blow-out birthday bash for a toddler, you are going to end up on My Super Sweet 16 and then you are going to end up in a mental institution. I don't mean to say that birthday splurges are bad, but in my opinion, part of what makes them special is that the don't happen every year.

I think a child's first birthday is a great time to start some sweet, simple, family traditions. We had a special birthday plate as kids, and now my Girly has one. The Huz had a special spoon. (Strange, I know, but it was special). I have friends who decorate the door to their child's bedroom on their birthday, and that seems really fun.

In the blogs I read, I occasionally come across pictures and planning for kiddo birthday parties. A lot of it is sweet and creative and well-intentioned, but some is just Like a Frida Kahlo birthday party for an 8-year-old? I guess I'm not a California hipster, but seriously, you must be freaking kidding.

If you are a designer or crafty person by trade, by all means make some darling invitations and decorations for your child's party. But, please realize that you are doing those things for yourself. Your child does not feel more loved because of their party decorations. (If they do, well ... that is a different issue). I feel I can say this as someone who occasionally (ok, frequently) spends too much time and effort on tiny details that don't really matter. It was easier before I had a kid, and now I just have to let a lot of that go because there just aren't enough minutes in the day. I still worked on a few little details for our party because I wanted to, fully knowing that I was the only one who would really appreciate them. If you enjoy it, then great. If it causes stress and marital strife, forget it!

We had a nice little party with grandparents, aunts and uncles. I am ALL FOR the family party (or surrogate family if your family is out of town) for as long as you can get away with it. I also like the "number of years = number of friends" rule, again, as long as you can get away with it.

As for thank you notes, I try to be timely with the thanks yous. Our Girly clearly has no idea that a 'thank you' is in order, but I would like to get in the habit because someday she will understand. I have seen the idea to take a picture of your child with the toy and include it with the note. Or take a picture of your child standing by a chalkboard or wipe-off board with a note and the toy. Cute.

I attempted this very thing with our Girly. Attempted is the operative word. I chased her around most of the morning following her party trying to get pictures with her new loot. We eventually got passable pictures, but it wasn't easy.

Does this fall under the "making birthday parties a huge deal" category?

Probably. Damn.

This is a fun way to decorate. Upload any picture to The Rasterbator and you can print it out in any size you want, for free. It prints in little dots and you piece the papers together like a big puzzle. Use smaller dots for a more realistic picture and larger dots for more abstract.

This is a good birthday cake, and slightly healthier than the average.

I got a custom birthday shirt on Etsy. Couldn't resist. And, we were gifted a birthday hat. It is so cute and I think I'll take her picture in it every year. (As long as she lets me, I guess).

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My darling Girl

To my darling Girl,

To say that I am proud of what you have accomplished in your first year of life would be an understatement. To say that I am proud of your father and I for our accomplishments would also be an understatement. We certainly hoped that we would meet the challenges of parenting and tackle them head-on. While you presented few true challenges, we have collectively learned a lot.

It is a fleeting memory: the rolling belly, the jabs, the kicks. I remember the first few foggy weeks of your life - I would steal naps here and there and wake up thinking that I felt you moving inside me once more. I missed it then and I miss it now. What is better, though, is the way you climb all over us in the morning as if you are reaching the summit of Everest, the way you tug on the back of my pants while I am standing at the sink, and the way you tug at my heart with every giggle, sly smile, and crocodile tear.

I remember how extremely cautious I was with you in those early days - up and down the stairs so many times, so fearful of missing a step. Today, I followed you up those stairs, equally cautious, as you climbed them on your own.

I remember worrying about what I ate during my pregnancy with you, and then what I ate while nursing you, and now you delight in feeding yourself every meal and drinking from a cup all on your own.

I slept well, and then not well, during my pregnancy. While you were a wonderfully sleepy baby, we still woke up and ate, and played, and slept again so many, many, many times. Now, you nuzzle your lovey and curl up in the corner of your crib with your bootie in the air as if there has never been another way. Just before I go to sleep every night, I sneak in to your room and watch you sleeping and breathing so peacefully.

I read so many books during my pregnancy, hoping to figure out the "right" way to do this. Your Dad read books to you before you were born. Now, you spend part of every day pulling all of your books out and flipping through the pages. As a family, at the end of each day, we read books before you go to bed. I hope you always love it as much as you do now.

Your sounds .... the initial faint beating of your heart, the un-reassuring monitors, the wailing newborn in the operating room, the coos and squeaks, the giggle, the dada's and the mama's ... I hope those things are engraved in my mind forever.

The reality of my life is completely different now - in the best possible way. I start each day and end each day with you. Your grin, your crazy hair, your tears - I've loved (most) every minute. The joy on your face when we meet after being apart warms my heart, and I hope you feel the same from me.

We are starting to see the person you are becoming, and not just the baby you are. I think your Dad would agree that this year has passed faster than any other, but we would not trade a single second. You are the perfect addition to our family and we can't imagine anyone else fitting as well.

I hope you always appreciate the wonder and joy in simple things, just as you do now.

I love you.