Newborns are cute and all, but toddlers are a whole lot more portable.
We were able to visit my Grama Heinemann and Uncle Mark and Aunt Marian (my mom's brother and sister in law) as well as my Michigan family: my Grama Berry, Uncle Doug and Aunt Cindy, Uncle Dale and Aunt Peggy, and their kids, my cousins Katie (and her husband Cal) and Tom. We even stopped over in Atlanta to see my cousin Beth and her new baby, Emma! It was a busy, wonderful summer.
|Reading with Aunt Mare|
|Uncle Mark, Aunt Mare, and "dog-father" Augie|
|The new grandmothers! (My Aunt Peggy and baby Emma on the right)|
So, Facebook tells me that a whole lot of you are having babies! Now that I'm a parenting expert (ha ha!), I thought I'd throw out my own list of "must haves" for a newborn, keeping in mind that there is NO list that will work perfectly for your baby. It's basically pointless to read them. Wow, I'm really selling this, aren't I??
Without further ado....my new-baby "must have" list:
- Some kind of swaddler. Because the Pavlik harness made everything difficult for Claire's first 6 weeks of life, we own every swaddler under the sun in hopes that one of them would work. None of them did. But you better believe that as soon as we could take that damn harness off, that baby got swaddled! Russell's favorite is the Miracle Blanket and mine is the Halo SleepSac, but a good ole muslin wrap works fine too! And don't be shy – swaddle that baby TIGHT because otherwise she will Houdini her way out after you've spent 45 minutes nursing, tiptoed to her crib, laid her down super slowly, eased out of the room, laid down in your own bed and opened “Candy Crush”. That's when she'll break free.
- AngelCare Monitor. Okay, don't judge me. The baby industry preys on the scared, which is easy since all new parents are, at least a little, terrified. When I was a baby, I think “baby proofing” meant those brittle plastic plug protectors and the number for poison control on your . Now, there's an entire industry for keeping your precious baby safe. It's overwhelming. So, I allowed myself one “crazy, terrified, first time mom” item for Claire and this is it: the AngelCare Monitor. Basically, it's a sensor that sits under her crib mattress and registers every time she breathes. If she stops, it sounds an alarm. I know it's crazy, but it gives me enough peace of mind to sleep at night. I'll be keeping it under her mattress until she leaves for college.
- White noise machine. When I first heard about babies and white noise, I was skeptical. I mean, I get that the womb is loud, but when she was brand new, I could wake her up by exhaling, so how can this kid sleep through waves crashing at 150 decibels? Let me tell you – you're gonna want to set that machine on the loudest setting imaginable. I recommend something along the lines of “Air Raid over Tel Aviv”. I can almost see her get tired when I turn the machine on. Also, our old house floors are incredibly squeaky, but with the sound machine, I wait for a big “crash” of the “waves” and then dart out of her room. It takes 5 or 6 big waves to get me out and the door shut, and I feel like a ninja, or one of those ghosts from Super Mario Brothers that only moves when you're not looking at it.
- (Avert your eyes, dad and former students) Breast pads. I was really lucky to be given some handmade cloth breast pads and I used them almost every single day in the months after Claire's birth. Trust me, you don't want to be stuck in public with no protection when your boobs decide to show off their new skills and soak through your shirt. When Claire was a few weeks old, I stupidly went to lunch and a show with my mom, not realizing that being away from your newborn for 6 hours is no bueno for your boobs. If it wasn't for those breast pads, the whole audience would have had to evacuate the theatre because of flooding.
5. This little miracle:
|So many things wrong with this picture: her hair's been washed and curled. She's not still wearing maternity clothing. That baby isn't crying, yet she's sitting there like a dumbass. GO WATCH TV. THIS IS YOUR MOMENT.|
Our Fisher Price Rock 'n Play was handed down to us by my friend Aundrea who got it from her friend Melissa. I've now handed it down to Aundrea's sister, Kat. Did you follow all that? The point is: this bad boy is awesome. Claire napped in this thing WAY better than anywhere else plus it folds up and isn't huge. My only complaint is that the version we all used doesn't rock itself, but I see that the new one does. High five, Fisher Price!
And of course, must haves for the new mother:
- Febreeze, to spray on yourself before you leave the house because you can smell the poop, you just can't seem to find it...
- Giant sunglasses to hide the bags under your eyes
- A spare change of clothes. No, not for the baby, for you when you inevitably get puked or pooped on.
- Gum, because let's be honest, you can't remember if you brushed your teeth.Wish I was kidding about any of these.Well, hang in there new moms (and dads)! The good and bad news is this: in a couple of months, the problems you are going through now will have disappeared and been replaced by totally new problems! Yay parenting!This week in baby-dom:How old is Claire?: 16 months! The most upsetting part of this is shopping for clothing. I'm really not ready for her to be a "toddler", but Target is trying to force feed me baby booty shorts and t-shirts with glitter My Little Ponies on them. I'm all "WHERE ARE THE 2T ONESIES??"How Claire is eating:Well, she'll eat most anything but her favorites are cheese cubes, cottage cheese, anything bread, carrots, and peas. Her least favorites are meatballs, mushrooms, and tomatoes.How Claire is sleeping: Like a dream! She goes down around 6:30 and sleeps through the night until 6:30ish the next morning. She's super scheduled, so if she misses a nap, it throws off the nighttime routine a bit, but overall she's a great sleeper.How much weight I've lost: Sooooo....what had happened was 2 days after Claire's birthday, she came down with a killer stomach bug, which she shared with both of us. I got really dehydrated, passed out, fell out of a chair, and ended up with an inner ear thing / concussion / "good shaking", depending on which medical professional you talk to. Whatever it was, it made me dizzy for, oh, 5 MONTHS. After physical therapy, an MRI, and some medication, it's nearly gone, but it did knock me out of any real exercise for the entire summer. So, I actually gained 5 pounds BACK. AWESOME. Now that I'm back to school, it's slowly coming off again, but if you see me eating a cookie, smack it out of my fat little hand, mmmkay?Milestones this week: Claire FINALLY took her first steps this past week! First at Lisa's house on Thursday, then at my mom and dad's house on Saturday, and finally in front of me the same day and Russell on Sunday. It doesn't count until your mom sees it, but I'm glad she's finally walking as the pediatrician was throwing around words like "physical therapy". She's also talking up a storm, favorite words being daddy, car, dog, sassy, and "whoa...." Notice what is missing from that list, the little rat! Ignores me entirely, unless she wants something. Then it's all "MAAAAAMAAAAAAAAA!!!"