Birthday Parties and Being the Vegan Kid: Age 2

When you are the vegan person in the room people seem to be hyper aware of their food offerings. Hosts like to say sorry for not offering more vegan friendly options. Sorry really isn’t necessary AT ALL. We go to parties for the company, the friendship, the camaraderie not to be fed all the food. Although we may completely devour your humus tray after a few cocktails. Plus when WE have a party…it’s all vegan.

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LADC only went to two birthday parties at the age of one. One was hers. What she knew both times was that we took her to a room full strange people (big and small). But there were toys for when and if the initial shock wore off. We did the responsible thing for the friend party. We brought her snacks and some ice cream. I do not even remember her eating either.

She is two now and her social circle is slightly larger. We have attended a few birthday parties inthe last few weeks. We, as her parents, will try our best to make sure she has what she needs to feel included and not different during parties. Our methods will, no doubt, evolve over time. Right now, she is only two so she mostly just eats what we give her with no question. She just wants to play. She does not yet get the concept of birthday cake so that has been a non issue.

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We will keep adjusting our plan as she gets older. For now…she just wants to jump in the bouncy house, eat all your blueberries, and pet your dogs and babies.

To Party Parents: You have a lot to think about when planning a party these days. So many dietary restrictions to plan for…from nut allergies, to gluten issues, to vegan friends. I would say let’s worry about those nut free kids first. That’s life and death. We know that you can not please everyone. As party planners, just be open to questions about your food options, the other parent is just trying to plan ahead for their kid. Also, don’t be offended when someone walks in with their own snacks. When possible let the guest parent take the lead in offering their child food. Some children will not know exactly what is the safe choice without a little parental guidance.

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To Pour or Not to Pour…The Toddler Decides

During a rather idyllic breakfast on Wednesday morning, LADC asked to pour her water onto her grits. My gut reaction was to shut that mess down but instead I simply said, I don’t think that’s a great decision but go for it. It may not taste very good. 

Sounded gross. But totally harmless.

She poured.

She stared.

She tasted.

She gagged.

She waved her hand over it and muttered some toddler-ese which I interpreted as…”You were right, mom, that was a POOR decision.”

When I asked her if it tasted badly she said, “Yea,” connected to this half laugh half sigh that she does when she know something was so ridiculously silly. (seriously, it is the cutest)

We can call it a culinary experiment so it sounds really brave and smart. We do encourage exploring and learning at home. Making messes and doing the silly thing is kind of part of our every day life. Some of us shoot water cannons at others while they mow the grass just because it makes the toddler insanely happy. We will be cleaning up glitter for the rest of our lives.

If I had said no to pouring water on the grits, there would have been tears and frustration. I do not like to say NO all the time. Sometimes our instinct is to say no because of inconvenience, a bad mood, laziness…those times I have to stop myself and remember I am trying to raise a tiny human. I have to stop to remember that pouring water on the grits might just turn into a moment that I can tell her about when she asks about when she was a small. Saying yes to the silly odd random thing might just be the best decision I make all day.

I read an article once about parents who never said no. They discussed the good and bad consequences of decisions with their kids and gave them the choice. Keeping an open dialogue for when the tough subjects come up. I mean some things are inherently dangerous and require a strong NO. We have some non-neogtiables like brushing teeth. Has to be done even if there are tears and ear piercing screams. BUT Some things are just things that can be turned into a teaching moment. Some things are just silly so you do them anyway.

LADC thinks grits are the best breakfast ever. As most parents know, getting a toddler to eat can be challenging so having their favorites on had is essential. I have had to permanently add grits to the grocery list. I remember not liking grits as a kid but I also remember them being white and bland unless you put a slice of cheese in it. (We use Bob’s Red Mill Polenta following the suggested directions and also adding some nutritional yeast and flax meal to make it extra nutritious.)

Before She Turns One…

I am such a bad blogger mom…I skipped her 9 month update and her 10 month and now I’ve let 11 months slip through my typing fingers…but don’t worry there were photo shoots.

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This first year has passed by so quickly. She went from fragile baby we held firmly in our arms like she would break at the slightest movement to indestructible toddler who constantly falls on her butt and bumps into everything forever keeping a little bruise on her forehead. She busted her lip for the first time a few days ago which about gave this novice mommy a heart attack.  She cried for a minute and then was over it. Her little lip is healing nicely and she doesn’t even seem to notice. She was still giving kissing and sucking on her bottle like a champ.

The other morning when she woke up instead of pulling her out of bed to get breakfast and start our day, I just climbed in with her to snuggle. We laughed, made noises and said, “Hey”, with different inflections. It’s amazing all that can be said in a three letter word. She put her head on my chest several times just being still something you don’t get much of from a girl on the go. For those 15 minutes or so time stopped. We were just in the moment and it was perfect. I did it again yesterday morning because we have no where to be. We do not have to live by the alarm clock at the moment. The lighting was in just such a way that when I looked at her face I could see that baby from the sonogram picture. Being home with her has been the best decision we have made in a long time. I feel like it maximizes everyone’s time together. There is a financial cost to the time but the benefits are amazing.

So expect some happy birthday gushes later in the week!

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Momming So Hard – SAHWM

I am thirteen days in to my new path as a Stay at Home Working Mom and boooooy am I tired. As you know or may not know, I left my full-time position a little over two weeks ago to stay at home with our little #LADC. For the first ten months she had the best childcare a little baby could have – her grammy. But grammy needed to get back to doing what a grammy does when not being a grammy extraordinaire. So we made the difficult, easy, logical, scary, wonderful, cost efficient decision for me to stay at home.

So far I am rocking this stay at home mom thing.  We are working on our daily routine making sure to carve out time for play, learning, exploring, me to do some work, to clean up the house, and MAYBE carve out some time to write. I will be working from home. I have a few P/T gigs that I’ll be doing so I can pay back those evil minions at Navient.

So what do I think about my new role?  I LOVE IT! I think it is where I am meant to be right now. I GET to be with an awesome little human every single day. Plus with her as my office assistant it means nap and snack times are totally a work day must.

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Day 18: It Still Counts Because I Am Still Awake…

Things change when you become a parent. The senses become a little more heightened. Things like appropriate language and innuendo become teaching moments. You find yourself counting the number of times someone uses profanity. When you’re at a concert where there are mini Elsa’s running around everywhere…You don’t imagine you’ll hear the full version of Creep by Radiohead.

BUT YOU HEAR THE WHOLE SONG! And you’re with a 7 year old and your MIL. Every F Bomb carries the blast of an atomic bomb. And then there’s little medley about prostitution…luckily most kids don’t analyze lyrics…or have any idea what “love for sale” means or why one would “put on a red light”. I am pretty sure all of the minis around me were staring blankly at this point. It’s hot…It’s after 9:00…and they have no clue who Cole Porter is…and the only Police they know of are the ones we saw on the way in to the venue in uniform. Two hours is a very long wait in kid time to hear one song…but every kid in that place jumped up and LET IT GO!

Tonight was my first concert of the summer. AND IT WAS SO HOT! Steamy, even. It wasn’t quite the date night I had planned back in December when I bought the tickets but life changes and shifts in the most amazingly wonderful ways. Being able to say I went to a concert with my niece and MIL makes me smile. An even dorkier smile than I had when Idina opened with Defying Gravity…and you know, that’s my jam.

Great music, great company, traffic was amazing, our seats got upgraded and I had some amazing Italian ice. Not too shabby for a hot summer night.

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P.S. It was an amazing show. It is important to remember that Idina Menzel is not Elsa or a singer of children’s music. She’s a performer who once played an ice queen, a lesbian and a green witch.

The Twinkle Diaries

4 Month Update

We brought our sweet baby home on a snowy blizzardy type day.

It is hot now.

It is summer.

It is July…

And our baby is FOUR freaking MONTHS OLD! Look at how much she has changed from when she was just four weeks old.

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The difference between a 4 week old and 4 month old feels infinitely different. She definitely has less hair. Her fingers are still super long like the rest of her. So much changes so fast. Her little personality is starting to take shape. She has little coo-versations, giggles, smiles, grabs, scoots and sleeps. I swear, yesterday, she fit perfectly in a 3 month onesie but today I couldn’t get the darn thing buttoned. It is fun to watch her grown and change but I would not wish this time away. I savor every laugh, smile and noise.

No official weight or height for this month yet. Her unofficial weight is around 13 lbs.

LA LOVES

  • Making fun noises
  • Holding her own bottle
  • Playing with her feet
  • The taste of a good book or even a mediocre one as long as the pages turn
  • Putting all the things in her mouth
  • Climbing her giant panda bear (w/ mom’s help, of course)
  • Playing with toys that crinkle
  • Gnawing on Sophie the Giraffe
  • Playing on her exer-saucer
  • Smiling at moms
  • Grabbing hair
  • Giving open mouth kisses to everything
  • Riding in her Ergo
  • Laughing at her moms and grammy

LA LOATHES

  • Things that don’t fit in her mouth
  • When her limbs won’t do all the things
  • A cold wipe
  • When moms eat dinner

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I Think I Jinxed Us…My Bad

There are a lot of babies popping out in my atmosphere which is awesome. It is a wave of babies…It happened a year or so after I graduated college too. I just was not part of that particular wave which, all babies should be thankful. On this wave we are kind of the de facto “experts” because we have been parents for a whole 3 months and 4 weeks so we have all the advice. We obviously have this parenting thing down because we are awesome. So last night I was messaging with a friend who has a one month old who may be slightly colicky or just being a newborn. So there I was passing on my sage advice as a mom. I am feeling pretty good and confident. In so many words, I told her that what is happening is normal and that it gets better around 3 months…it’s magical…there is sleeping, less screaming, less waking…but I’ll be damned…I jinxed it. I effing jinxed it with all the baby whispering wisdom.

It all started with a freaking fly that must have gotten in some time during all the plumber/restoration people coming in and out (another adult-ing story that is not even worth words). Everyone is pissed at the fly. The fly is just doing its fly thing. I was all like there is a lot more house you could do that in, brother. Maybe it did not want to be alone. So I am trying to catch it when it lands…Then there is our dog, Poe, who likes to chase bugs. I am getting up and down chasing the fly. He is pouncing on the bed trying to catch the fly with his mouth to no avail. He weighs like 60 lbs. so his lunging at Mr. Fly is felt by all. He is up and down off the bed. I open my eyes every once in a while to him sitting and staring at me like, how is he supposed to sleep in these conditions. Plus he is also pretty disgruntled because he doesn’t get an entire side of the bed to himself so he periodically flings himself on to the floor in a huff when my feet accidentally touch his paws.

The Fly Catching Wonder Dog

The Fly Catching Wonder Dog

All the while, LA is waking with little whimpers in her sleep but around 3:00 AM all hell breaks loose and she is wailing like a 3 day old. We try her pacifier, diaper change, boob, bottle…Nothing is working…Pretty sure it was gas or she was working on a poop. I try all my soothing things that usually work for me. After a bit, it is clear that my techniques are ineffective. Lisa gets up with LA and they rock on the side of the bed. LA and I both finally doze off to the sound of Lisa….Shhhhhhhhh…

Couch sleeping moment caught before we all headed off to bed.

Couch sleeping moment caught before we all headed off to bed.

After a bit I hear a snap then cough…he finally caught that damn fly. My dog and wife are my heroes! I think I managed a little over two hours of sleep last night. I was not surprised when I woke up and felt slightly hungover…although it has been so long since I’ve had a hangover who knows…they are probably far worse now than they were pre-baby. Even in my sleep deprived stooper I made sure to high-five my wife for our fantastic show of teamwork!

I have had my latte and I am taking on the day…and by taking on the day I mean I think I’m going to watch Pretty Little Liars on my phone.

Super Busy Mum

3 Month Update

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One Month, Two Month, Three Month….

The fourth trimester is over. Woo hoo! We survived colic and the heights sleep deprivation…and some things I have probably blocked from my memory. The first three months of life are proof that babies are just as freaked out as we are that they are on the outside. Imagine you have been living in a plush pad with all the food you needed, you’re warm and snug listening to the sound of your womb…then you’re evicted…not just evicted but forced to exit down a dark narrow tunnel and out a through a small hole that squeezes your head into the shape of a cone. I think we would all need some time to adjust to that scenario. Am I right? And there is no honeymoon period either. Everyone is REAL and showing there true colors from day one. So it’s OK if you’re baby sees you dab your tears from that ugly cry with that stale toast you were trying to scarf down because you haven’t had time to eat or sleep in three days…she won’t remember anyway…And us parents are all so sleep deprived we forget how hard it all was and quickly want to sign up to do it again…So the first three months are a bit of an adjustment period for everyone involved. But then some time in the third month things take a turn…like magic, those sweet smiles become more frequent…laughter, cooing and babbling become an intoxicating mixture of noises that fill your day instead of all the screams…because there is A LOT of screaming in those first couple of months…Ohhhhh, the wailing…(Sorry, was having a flashback).

But like I said, things are changing like just this morning LA woke up for her morning feed but not quite ready for the day. So after finishing her bottle she looks at me, smiles a few times and falls back to sleep. She has done this a couple of times. She doesn’t giggle or coo. Just flashes me a cute toothless grin while squeezing her hands together excitedly like I just told her the best news ever.

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I missed out on doing a two month update because well mom things…so just to catch you up. LA weighed in at 10 lbs. at her check up and got her first round of shots. We think she weighs a little over 11 lbs. according to the very precise weighing technique of getting on the scale sans baby, getting on with the baby and then using some elementary math skills. It’s like weighing the baby at the doctor except with more clothing and less peeing on the scale. Not only is she growing at a normal rate, she is meeting her milestones.

Tricks My Baby Can Do:

  • Smile
  • Laugh
  • Grab hair, toys, necklaces, fingers and dog fur
  • Sit up with assistance
  • Recognize moms and Grammy really well
  • Follow voices and noises
  • Roll over from front to back (and back to front on the bed)
  • Hold her bottle when only a teeny bit is left
  • Babble and coo
  • Blow bubbles and make a motor boat noise (you’re welcome)
  • Scoot on her back when she really wants something

LA Loves:

  • Doing the motions to Do Your Ears Hang Low (Grammy inspired)
  • Playing on her piano mat. She has no idea she is making music yet but she loves the frog toy that hangs down and staring at herself in the mirror.
  • Bath time which is a nice change from those first few baths
  • Eating (boob or bottle, whatever is on the menu)
  • A nice clean diaper
  • Her changing table
  • Playing in her Exersaucer
  • Sleeping on mom’s shoulder
  • A king size bed all to herself
  • Watching the cow jump over the moon
  • Tagging along in her Ergo

LA Loathes:

  • Waiting to eat
  • When other people need to eat (ha)
  • Paper wipes (Diva!)

We swoon over her daily. It is so much fun watching her grow into a little person. Thanks for following our journey so far!

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P.S. Lisa is fine too. She’s basically a food machine right now but breast is best they say. Actually, she is so cute with LA and impresses me everyday with her mommy skillz.

The First Day…

There were a lot of firsts today so I thought this is something I should write down…

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Today was the first day…

  • I was home alone with my baby girl. We both survived so we are both winners!
  • I fed LA for the first time today! That may sound slightly odd but she has been solely fed from the breast until this week (except one time when we were testing her bottle taking willingness but I was just an observer). I was kind of nervous about it but luckily she is a super hungry girl and kind of could care less what her food is coming out of as long as it is coming!
  • I wrangled three dogs and a baby…all dogs slept the ENTIRE time. So lazy…But still soooo MUCH responsibility…you know, checking that they are all breathing because of all the sleeping…
  • I was alone soothing a fussy baby who is my daughter (mind blown, mind blows daily still). She really was minimally fussy but every time she let out a little whimper I figured out what she wanted or needed without the assistance of a boob. Although most of the time she was wanting something nipple shaped anyway.
  • I put my daughter to sleep for the night by myself. She is snoozing and dreaming as I type. (uh oh, eyes are open! false alarm, she’s back asleep)

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Those firsts add up to a successful day in my book! I was even able to sneak in some laundry, some vacuuming and two meals (My MIL did help with turning my “chicken strips” when she got back today though – LA was fighting sleep and a bottle…so she saved them from a certain crispy death). We read books, sang songs, talked about life, played…you know baby things…I guess I got a little taste of what Lisa has been doing for the past 7 weeks. With Lisa returning to work our little world takes on a more scheduled feel. Saturdays will be our “mommy and me” day. I am excited to take her out and about to experience the world but I’m glad our first Saturday together was at home.

I also found a little time to put the Back to Work playlist on Spotify! Some of you requested it…and by some of you I mean Ellen…Ellen suggested it…on Facebook so you didn’t see it but she did. So anyway it’s there if you want to access it. I also decided to share LA’s special relaxation playlist I made for her.

Also…LA and I really like the Children’s Indie station on Pandora.

Also, Also…I reached 500 likes on the blog today! Thanks Yo!

Also, Also, Also…I’m totally fan-girling over here because a favorite blogger of mine liked a photo of mine on Instagram! Woo.

 Yawn, I’m sleepy. Goodnight cyberspace.