I decided to post my top ten cant live without baby items. These are things that worked for me and my household and my son, but may not work as well or be as necessary for others or for my own future children. They arent in any particular order either since I use/used them all quite frequently. I'm also not linking anything to other websites...Google is your friend :) 1. Ad.en + An.ais mu.slin blankets...seriously, the best thing ever. The boy loves these blankies and they are so nice and big. I only have the lightweight single layer blankets but hoping to get some double layer for the next baby. Love them for naps even during the hottest weather because baby still wants a bit of covering and they are so breathable, they are even nice to throw over a stroller or car seat for a bit of sun shade. 2. My breast pump. I started with the Fi.rst Ye.ars MiP.ump and it died after 4 months...it was not a very good pump either so I didnt really miss it but I was pretty upset that I spent the money on it only to have it crap out. Do not recommend this pump at all. I then purchased a Med.ela Swi.ng which is a single electric pump and loved loved loved it. I had a pretty decent output from the first pump but I can only imagine my output in those early months with the Med.ela. Even though I stayed at home for my son's first year, I still feel a breast pump is an essential for the nursing SAH mother though the model or type may depend on your own need. Because I was at home I didnt need a double pump or the really high roller...but I was never good at hand expression and wasnt patient enough for a manual. I used it to pump and freeze a weeks supply for our planned trip when the babe was 7 months old, freeze for dad to feed when I was working my course or on a Saturday, or just to have dad to feed if I was out and about. It was also super useful in keeping my supply up and helping to relieve engorgement in the early days. 3. BabyL.egs. I cant say enough except to say I have a serious problem because my wallet has taken a hit, haha. Baby has 23 pairs and counting...probably....if we ever have a little girl, I am so screwed. He wears them everyday, summer or winter. Especially nice to just pair up with a onesie, makes diaper changes so easy. For winter, it adds a nice layer underneath pants especially useful for little boys who may not have other options for layering. The patterns and colors are super fun and jazz up outfits. My DH also loves them and does not see them as "my boy wearing girly legwarmers" but an essential part of his outfit. I guess its my way of having a really cute accessory for a little boy because they get really screwed compared to little girls when it comes to the accessories. 4. A change table with storage. I bought a high end dresser with a change table attachment to it (basically 4 pieces of wood attached to the top that can be removed) and I love it. I love having all of his diapers, wipes, meds and other baby hygiene products in one place. I have never had an issue with hauling him up the stairs or into his room to change him. Some parents may prefer to just have supplies all over the house for easy changing but that kind of extra clutter would drive me up a tree. Plus when we are done with the diaper stage or outgrow it, it will just look like a normal dresser in his room. 5. A big cushy recliner. The glider looked nice but for the money for a good glider, it seemed to make more sense to spend a little more and get a big cushy lazyboy type recliner/rocker. It is located in his room as well but will probably move it to our basement when we are done with the baby rocking stage. I think the recliner will fit more with our long term needs than the glider. Plus it was so nice...so so nice to have in his room for night time feedings. It was warm and cozy and very comfortable. Many days when he was not such a new baby anymore, I would fall asleep with the baby in my arms and we would snooze there all afternoon. A few nights I fell asleep nursing and would wake up with him still latched on. Much better than a glider in my humble opinion. 6. Swing. We got a used swing off a classified website and it was a huge lifesaver. It allowed us to eat our meals in peace during those early months. He rarely napped in it though, I just never allowed that to become a habit, but he was very content when he was in it. Of all the other big baby toys we have (the exersaucer, bouncer, jumper), I miss the swing the most. 7. Sleep sacks. Love Love Love....so nice, so cozy, and washes well. He has been wearing them from 4 weeks on and will wear them for a long time yet. I'm in favor of the Perlim.pinpin brand found here in Canada. There isnt a huge swath of material on this brand and they are perfect for either long jammies or just a onesie. I bought two from Sea.rs and they were so big and bulky, I hated them. Plus they come in fleece or bamboo cotton or regular cotton. And they arent overly expensive like other brands (I'm looking at you Gro.Bags). I think I may get a few Ad.en sleep sacks for the next one. 8. Baby carrier. I have a soft carrier (the Baby K'T.an) for the early months and the Er.go for the later months. Love them both, DH loved them both too. The K'T.an was so nice and easy to use and the Er.go makes it very comfortable to carry a heavier baby. It was so much easier to use in lieu of carrying him in his car seat (our infant bucket is super heavy just on its own, nevermind adding the baby weight) and really nice for quick trips. 9. Pack n Play....we use our pack n play a lot. We are often at the in-laws or traveling around every which direction so its so nice to have a safe place for the baby to sleep while on the road. He's almost 16 months and we are still using it. He never plays in it though, just for naps and sleep. 10. Sle.ep She.ep. We figured out around 3 months at the height of baby fussy hours that a white noise machine was in order. Hence our purchase of the Slee.p She.ep (we have the On the Go mini verision). Instant relief. Love it for naps and bedtime, he still uses it. Even I find it soothing. We sorely miss it if we forget it at home and its so cute and easy to pack.
Sweet Boy is 15 months and his 15 month is already almost over! How time does fly! In the last 3 months he has changed so much and he is becoming such a character. For instance: His little "crawl" showed up around 12 months and we dubbed it the wounded animal crawl. He would lift his right leg and place it foot down and then drag his left leg behind him to get around. He just refused to use his knees. Oh well, it got him to where he needed to go and he is quite fast. And his right flank must be really strong, lol! He has gone from 4 teeth to basically having a mouthful including his first year molars. He's missing his fangs yet (not sure what they are technically called right now but anyway) but its crazy...his mouth is just full and its wild how quickly they have sprouted up. His molars were coming through during our hottest week of the summer so the poor boy had a slight fever and dealing with the heat...yucko. He has had his first major illness this summer...a more serious cold than the one he had earlier this spring including a cough, drippy nose and pink eye. He eats most things but like the typical toddler has days where he pretty much refuses to eat the things he liked two days before. His go to staples if he is acting particularly fussy about food is bananas, raspberries, yogurt, cheese, chicken, oranges, waffles, lasagna, scrambled eggs, and PBJ on an english muffins (or any whole grain bread, no white bread in this house). He drinks about 16 oz of cows milk daily spread out in four bottles. He has mastered the sippy cup so we'll be weaning the bottle by 18 months. Quite honestly the only reason I still give him bottles is so that I know he's getting a good quantity of cows milk a day, especially on days when he isnt too wild about food. He's taking the pacifer less and less and can go to bed at night without one. The daycare is working on the naps thing. He will be cut off whether he likes it or not by 18 months. He loves cars, balls, stacking, tearing down, blocks, and reading books. He understands hugs, bye bye, and pretty sure he says num num when eating and is happy with his food. He doesnt have much else for words other than mama and dada. He took his first independent steps at 14 months and last week at 15 months, he just took off and is full on walking now. He's so cute. Watching him taking those first steps took my breath away and made me tear up. Sure the other milestones are cute and fun but walking...just seemed like such a big deal. Of course now he thinks he can climb stairs, little bugger, and I know he practices climbing the slide at daycare. He's happy and giggly and full of energy. He almost always has a smile on his face. He sleeps through the night for 12 hours and takes 1-3 hours of naps during the day (sometimes a morning and afternoon, sometimes a long afternoon nap) and generally doesnt fight bedtime or naptime much at all. I just lay him down and he's out. He's such a good little boy and we are so blessed. He makes us smile all the time and we count our blessings every day!!
In mid-July I had an interview at our local hospital. I have sent hundreds of resumes over the last 4 years to that brick and glass palace. Its brand new building in town, just opened in January and its HUGE because the mental health and general health joined up to make one big conglomerate. I finally got the interview. The interview was HARD...they asked real questions, not the fake standard interview questions. I took everything I learned from my failed interviews in the last 6 months (especially the bullshit one I had in June for my agency when I supposedly didnt answer the questions fully) and went to town. I had absolutely no read on the supervisor...the HR lady seemed to like me but the guy who would be boss was flat. If I remember right, based on what I know about the guy, the flat affect wasnt all that surprising but it was still really hard to judge how I was doing in their presence. So because I have had a rough 6 months in the job department, I walked out feeling ok maybe even good about my performance but not really hopeful...hope has been dashed too many times to count. Then a week after the interview, I got a call from the the HR woman to ask more questions about provincial registration...great....so I stroked my current program manager`s ego and asked her to fill out some paperwork for me so it could get started and the HR woman said she would get back to me by the end of the week with a decision about it. At this point, it was 50/50 because they were calling so it sounded like I was still in the running but the damn registration could be the deal breaker. Turns out it wasnt. They called me back last Friday and offered me the job!!!! I'll be working at the residential drug treatment centre as the Concurrent Disorders Outreach Specialist. Basically counselling for people that have mental health and addiction issues. I'm so so so excited!! As for the registration, they have made it a condition of my employment which isnt an issue. Full benefits, pension, sick time, vacation time, and a really awesome starting wage. Finally...finally...finally...my hard work is paying off and all the frustration, anger and tears are now a memory that will hopefully never return or at least not for a very long time. Our first goal...to buy a van. It feels so good to actually plan for the future now instead of sitting in limbo. I start September 6th for three days of hospital orientation and then my first day at the centre will be the 9th. Woo hoooooo!!
I have read tons of posts on daycare...the details, the good, the bad.. I can honestly say that our transition to daycare was so smooth it is utterly boring. His first day, DH took him in. No tears from anybody, and Sweet Boy immediately loved his teachers. This boy loves everybody, he doesnt have stranger anxiety or separation anxiety which has been a huge help in his arena. His daycare is a French facility....French staff, French literature and notices, French everything. My DH is fully bilingual but they are super accomodating for this Anglophone mother. I do understand some things in French and can communicate un peu (a little) but I'm happy they are so willing to speak English to me. Some of them are *very* French, which may sound weird but it just means that French is their first language and it is obvious that they sometimes struggle to find the English words. All day long Maxim hears French and it is truly amazing what he understands now in both languages!! Its true when they say babies are sponges, it has never been so apparent as now when he is learning and understanding two languages. There are currently about 10 babies in his room and 4 staff. Most of the babies are over one year old (Many Canadian mothers get one year of mat leave) but there is one or two that are under one year. He'll stay in the baby room until he is 18 months and then move to the toddler room. For the first few days, he didnt eat much. And his naps were wonky but he still napped. After 3 days, he was back into his old routine. He is always in a good mood and always reported to have good days. So far, no major behavior problems or anything which is so reassuring and nice. At least two days a week they have theme days or organized activities. Tomorrow for example is Halloween Day...so he's supposed to wear a costume. Next week there is Wear Pink or Red Day and Eat Ice Cream day, haha....other days they go to the local early years centre, the YMCA for swimming or the park. They take walks in the stroller once or twice a day. Other than that, not much is really earth shattering about daycare. The cost is like carrying a second mortgage ferchrissakes which is the truly shitty part of it all. We get two hours in the evening with him before he goes to bed which is precious, plus our weekends. As for me, I feel like I'm a much better mother and more productive person all around now that Im working again. The morning routine was so easy to get into it felt like we were doing it for forever already. I miss the naps I used to take when we were home and there are times when I wish we had the freedom like we did before, but then I also know that it wasnt always a good thing too. Because I know that its good for me and good for him and that he has done well so far, I feel zero guilt about the choice to work and send him to daycare everyday. He loves going and his face lights up every afternoon when we pick him up. As a family we have become healthier all around in the last month and that is truly priceless.
I like...quoting lyrics, the number 5, getting lost in a book, watching people interact, jewelry and other shiny objects, red wine, newborn babies, dancing, anything red, true talent, the rain, the change of the seasons, frost on the trees, watching my husband sleep, and words.
I'm a lot of things...woman, wife, daughter, American, counselor, teacher, friend, musician, human.