Life With Two: 28 Months & 1 Month

Multitasking Mamma
Having a toddler and newborn at home has been interesting. There certainly isn’t as much time to snuggle during the day and recuperate from all night feeding sessions. I have to find a balance between giving Caity the snuggles she needs as a newborn and giving Parker the attention he deserves. It’s still a work in progress but I am doing pretty well I think. Caity usually nurses between 5-7AM so she takes a morning nap while I get Parker and I ready for the day and eat breakfast. The morning is spent cleaning up, laundry and other chores. Lunch has been tricky because they both seem to get hungry at the same time. Nap time I try to get a little blogging or office work done while Caity naps in the Mamaroo. Afterwards we usually head downstairs to watch a movie and have quiet play until Rob gets home. Then it’s dinner followed by bed time routine. Rob gives Parker a bath or shark shower¬†while I give Caity a bath at the sink. Having the changing station in the bathroom has worked out great, especially with the colder weather coming. Then it’s story time and Parker goes to bed. Caity usually nurses again around that time and two more times before I go to bed.

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Brother & Sister Love
Parker is doing really well with Caity. He is so interested in what she is doing and often concerned when she cries. If he sees she doesn’t have a blanket or hat he will look around for one and bring it to her saying, “Caity need hat/blanket.” We have caught him a few times bawling up his own A&A blanket and rocking it back and forth. He loves to help change her diaper and thinks that when I nurse her she is getting a bottle. I swear he is gonna tell someone women when he is older she has nice bottles (instead of boobs).

Iv’e noticed that they both look a lot alike and have several of the same mannerisms. She also gets hangry without much warning which is very similar to her brother and father.

Caity VS Parker

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Boo Boo #1

I knew this day would come, but I didn’t know it would be quite this soon…

We were very careful when baby proofing our home and ended up purchasing 3 gates, a playard and tension gate to move around the house as needed. All of the stairs where Parker roams free are protected, except one space. We tried a few different gates and none of them worked, so we decided to use the tension gate when P was roaming free on the second floor, which is rare.

Last Monday, Rob had off so we were putzing around the house getting some chores done. I had gone down stairs to put a few things away and was talking to Rob (I at the bottom and Rob at the top). Parker was at the gate in front of Rob. It happened in slow motion yet so quick I can’t remember all the details. The next thing I know my arms are out catching Parker midair as he slide down the stairs on the gate. I sat and held him as he sobbed, mostly because my scream scared him… After a few minutes he tried to crawl and I noticed he was slipping. We were in the ER about 30 minutes later having him checked out.

The nurses and doctors at our ER are amazing and were so sweet to P. He was very quiet at first but towards the end was acting a little more like himself. He had also bumped his head so they wanted us to hang around until it was about 2 hours after the incident. I thought for sure SS was gonna come barging through the door and call me a horrible parent… Of course it never happened, because I’m not, but Rob and I were still thinking it. We left there with a fractured wrist wrapped in a splint and bandage with instructions so see an orthopedic doctor in 48 hours.  I snapped this picture on the way home. Don’t worry, he is crying because I wasn’t giving him a french fry fast enough, not because of his wrist.

The next few days went as well as expected. We gave him Infant Advil at nap time and bedtime to help with the pain. Losing his dominate hand hasn’t really phased him much. We did struggle with him quietly taking the bandage off in the crib and then saying “uh oh” into the monitor holding up his hand.

We ended up seeing the orthopedic doctor Rob goes to. He took the time to look at his x-ray online Tuesday and give us the okay to wait until Friday for an appointment. Neither Rob nor I have ever broken a bone, so this was a whole new experience for us. The doctor took another look at the x-ray and decided a cast would be the best bet for the next 3-4 weeks. Since toddler arms and hands are so small, he wanted to do a full arm cast to prevent it from sliding off.

Parker was such a trooper and sat patiently while the doctor wrapped the cast. The whole process took about 20 minutes. The doctor put a sleeve on his arm and then wrapped what looked like ace bandages around his arm over and over again. They were wet and once his arm was wrapped the doctor molded it for about 5 minutes which is all the time it took to harden.

We noticed on the monitor that Parker kept hitting his head with his cast at night. Rob took an old sock and cut the bottom off. Since I am always about balance, we put a baby leg on the other arm to keep it warm and upped the heat in his room. We tried using his sleepers but they aren’t big enough.

IKEA KLADD PRICKAR Bibs  |  Sock  |  Hair Ties  |  The Boo Boo Book 

Rob and I have been learning as we go and have found a few things that have helped quite a bit. The full sleeve IKEA bibs are perfect for keeping food away from Parker’s cast. We pull it down over his fingers to keep him from wanting to use it. The hair ties help keep plastic bags over his cast during bath time. I prefer those over rubber bands. Cutting one of Rob’s socks was a really good idea to keep P from hitting his head at night. One of my closest friends sent P a care package of puzzles and this adorable book, The Boo Boo Book. It is perfect for any little one with a boo boo and covers scraps, broken bones, stickers, food allergies and more. It’s a very informative yet interactive book that presents everything through vivid photos without being scary or gross.

Lesson learned here, ALWAYS read the packaging carefully and use all of your baby products correctly. I am always cautious and embarrassed to share how careless we were. My hope is that it may help another family down the line. I know his injuries were minor, we were lucky. While I felt like the worst mom ever, I know that accidents will happen and this won’t be the last time Parker visits the ER. Unless…. I find a large bubble to keep him in until he is 21… Or maybe 25… Heck, lets just make it 50. ūüėČ

Oh and BTW, we found another gate and installed it at the top of gate… Parker figured out how to open it in less than 30 seconds… So now this is what we have to do.

So for all of you experts, what else helps with boo boos?

Lessons I Have Learned In My First Year Of Motherhood

I tried as much as possible to prepare for our little peanut. I read books, took classes and asked hundreds of questions to other moms. I was as prepared as I possibly could have been. Even so, there is still so much I have learned over the last year. It has been very therapeutic to keep a record and reflect on what this past year has brought.
I certainly have not done everything right but P and I have both made it out alive. I want to thank my friends, family, the online community, my amazing husband Rob and my precious baby boy Parker. I want to thank you for allowing me to learn from my mistakes, celebrate in my successes and stand by me as I started the journey of a new me, the journey of motherhood. It has by far been the best job I have ever had and I am so happy I get to spend the rest of my learning how to be a mother.

A cute mobile is great, but all that will matter is if it goes around and around. I spent hours on a mobile and realized that while it looked great, the idea of a mobile was to give babes something to look at.

That stylish chair may look great in the nursery but at 3:00 am, all you will care about is comfort. Our first chair looked so good in his room but is was next to impossible to nurse in, especially being new at it, and so uncomfortable. My amazing parents got me a La-Z-Boy which I pretty much slept in during my c-section recovery and in between feedings for the first few months. To this day, 14 months later, it is still in the nursery and what we use for story time, rough nights, and it is one of Parker’s favorite things to play with.

You may not want to know it’s 3am but it will help to have a clock to look at.

One of the best gifts my husband has ever bought me was a small TV and Roku for the nursery. My birthday is 4 days after Parker’s and he came home with it the day after we came home from the hospital. It helped pass the time during long and late nursing sessions or when I was in nap jail. Join Netflix and save a TV series or two to start out with.

Have at least 4 sets of sheets and 2 mattress pads (ideally water proof). I wouldn’t wish a night on any parent where they are all needed, but it is bound to happen.

You wouldn’t think it but crib bumpers are a hot topic. Here are just a few articles¬†1¬†2¬†3¬†4¬†5. I was convinced not to get one and then at 6 months, when we transitioned P to the crib, he was rolling into the bars and getting arms and legs stuck. It’s important to do your research and make an educated decision about what you want to do.

Spend an hour or two walking around your house in complete silence. You’ll be amazed how many creaky spots you have. Trust me, you’ll notice them at 2 am when you just got babes back to sleep and try to sneak out of the room.

Go to the movies and on as many date nights as you can. They won’t be impossible to have after babes arrives, but it will be harder. This is something so many parents told me and I never made it a priority, now I wish I had. Similar to the advice, “make sure you eat at your wedding”.

Pay any bills and schedule the ones you can ahead of time. Take out cash (including lot’s of $1) and keep in your hospital bag. Schedule a pet sitter and make sure they have a key to the house. These are things you will not want to worry about during labor or your hospital stay.

Find a group of women who are also pregnant and preferably due the same time to you online or locally. I am a part of a FB group of women who were all due the same month as me. It was a great place to ask questions throughout my pregnancy and even still more than a year later. I also started a group on meetup.com for new local moms who were due with their first baby the same year. I have found such an amazing group of women and support system while Rob is deployed. We have playdates and even started a babysitting share to help with errands and date nights.

Buy thank you cards, return labels and stamps to assemble ahead of time. Something you can do to keep your mind off labor in the hospital. It will make life a lot easier after babes is here and you are trying to get thank you notes out to people. It also helps to take photos of everything you get. I used my cell phone camera and saved everything in a folder on the computer naming the picture by who gave it to me. It made is easy to remember who gave me what, especially if they asked for a picture of P in their gift.

If you need a detailed¬†hospital¬†plan, make one. You may not use it, but if it helps you mentally prepare, that is all the matters. Additionally, pack what you think you need, even if everyone says you have over packed. It’s about what makes you prepared and comfortable, everyone else can suck it!

At the end of the day, all that matters is that you and baby leave the hospital happy and healthy. Your medication free, vaginal birth may not happen. That doesn’t mean you are any less of a mother. On the contrary, it means you have already started making tough decisions for the safety of yourself and your family.

If there is a nursery, utilize it. Everyone gave me the same advice which I let go in one ear and out the other. On the second night, I let them take P for a little while so I could get a few hours solid sleep. It did wonders and helped my recovery drastically.

I won’t tell you to do this because it was such a hot topic, but I will tell you how it helped me. We asked ahead of time if the hospital carried formula in case it was needed. They did, so we didn’t need to bring some. You just never know how things will go and you certainly don’t want your significant other leaving to find a 24 hour store to pick some up. It doesn’t mean you will fail, it just means you are prepared. I had intended to EBF but had a lot of issues in the hospital and quite frankly, starving my child wasn’t an option.

No matter how prepared you are, someone will need to make a run out for things you realize you need. Keep paper and pens around or start a list in the notes app on your phone.

Babies will start to defy you early on. It maybe as small as escaping a swaddle, but it’s there!

It’s helpful to rotate the direction you change baby on the changing table and even where you change them. Diaper changes become motions of muscle memory very quickly and it will make emergency diaper changes easier in the back of the car or even in someone else’s arms (true story).

Rotate the direction you lay little one down in the crib, pack n’ play and bassinet. Babies tend to look towards the doorway, where their mother enters, and this will change things up so they lay on both sides of their head.

Eat lots of healthy foods, get rest when you can, take it as easy as you can and snuggle as much as you can.

There are lots of articles out there on how to prepare your furbabies for the new addition to your family. The most common tip was for someone to bring a blanket home with the babies scent before the baby comes home. It gives them a chance to start learning their smell and the baby won’t seem to foreign. Make sure to keep babes off the ground, especially early on. You just never know how they will react.

Having someone at home other than the new parents is very important. It’s just as important to have someone the mom feels comfortable with. The first few days and even weeks can be vulnerable for a mom during recovery and learning how to nurse. A trusted family member or friend to help with cooking, dishes, laundry and taking care of the baby is important.

Use technology to your advantage. There are tons of smart phone apps to help you track sleeping, feeding and diaper changes. This is really important because you won’t remember much and it’s a good way to see if something is off. We used the Baby Timer app which tracked P’s diaper changes, feedings, sleep, medication, milestones, doctor visits, height/weight, vaccines and even spitting up. This was really important since we had issues with weight for the first few months.

You won’t want to but get out a few times, especially if there are people around to help. The sooner you start going out, the quicker you will figure out how to do it. I have always said running errands with an infant (and now toddler) is a skill. Learning what you will need, how to pack and how to maneuver takes practice. Don’t let it intimidate you!

You will want to get one size up if you are cloth diapering. Rompers you may need two sizes up.

Footed long sleeve onesies with zippers are the way to go early on.

Overalls are so deceiving and look larger than they really are.

Gerber runs small so you will need one to two sizes bigger than other brands.

A size doesn’t matter if your kid has a big head and the hole won’t fit around it.

Keep a NB size in their closet. It’s fun to reminisce and helps the blow at their first birthday.

You will soon realize most kids are eating shirtless in their highchairs for a reason. I could never understand why so many parents did it. Now I know it’s to save as many pieces of clothing from stains as possible.

Consignment sales are a gold mine. Almost new clothing, toys and gently used baby gear for only dollars. This is a great website to find local sales. You can volunteer and shop early. Many sales also offer an early time/day for new moms and teachers. You can consign old clothing and toys and get a % to use towards what you need. Here is a post I did on tips for shopping consignment sales if you are interested.

Things People Will Say That Will Drive You Nuts…
… “Sleep when the baby sleeps”
… “It goes by fast, enjoy every minute”
… “Oh, you do that…?”

Babies have these invisible clocks and always know…
… when you have just sat down to eat dinner and will also be hungry
… are less than 5 minutes away from home and will fall asleep

If you are missing a pacifier(s) from the crib, pull the crib out from the wall. They are most likely caught between the crib bumper and the wall. It’s like finding the jackpot sometimes ūüôā

Pediatricians are there more for parents than kids. If you are worried, call. If they give you a choice to go in, go in. Most of the time, babes is fine but if the trip makes you feel better it is necessary. When parents are uptight, babies can usually sense it and can throw them off as well.

Turn toys off when they are not being used. It can be a pain in the butt but nothing more creepy then hearing a “tik tik” at 2 am in a quite house! Soooo freaky. Also, toy emergency vehicles can really freak you out in the middle of a drive

Keep a calendar by the changing table. That way you can write milestones or important facts each night. It’s so helpful with looking back to do a scrapbook etc…

It’s amazing how one smile can get you excited about getting up each day!

Your intellectual dinner table conversations about work will turn into conversations about poop. No joke. I am talking, frequency, consistency, color and smell.

Most days you won’t even be able to identify all of the mystery stains on your pants.

Take the sleeves off all their books. They are great “toys” and oh so much fun to rip. When friends and family give books, if they haven’t already, write who it was from inside.

Don’t wish away any stage because it only happens once.

You will soon become a pro at looking at a pile of bars, hooks and fabric and assembling it into something without even thinking.

Do your research on circumcision, vaccines, household cleaners, child safety, etc… Make a collective decision what you want to do. Welcome thoughts from family and friends but in the end, make a decision that fits your family. Other’s, even your parents, may not agree. Welcome to the wonderful world of parenting.

Nothing melts my heart more than seeing Parker with his Daddy. I try and capture every moment I can since he works long hours and travels a lot. Pictures are so important and with today’s technology, really easy to do. I installed an app call Project 365¬†and used it to record a picture everyday in Parker’s first year (I am still doing it now) and at his birthday, displayed them.

It’s also fun to get a chalkboard to document monthly milestones and memories.

Habits are only bad if you want them to be. So many times I hear, “if you don’t change that it will become a bad habit.” Rocking my baby to sleep might be time consuming, but when P is 17 years old and independent, I will cherish those quite private moments and won’t remember what I had to do “instead”.

Make sure to educate yourself about your car seat and the law. Specifically, how long are they required to rear face. Also educate yourself on the benefits of extended rear facing which is proven to be the safest position for you child in the car. Utilize free inspections in your area to make sure it is installed properly. Many parents don’t realize that it is not okay to put a carrier on the front part of a shopping cart (even if it locks in) and is extremely dangerous. Here are a few articles explaining why,¬†1¬†2.

Some days you will be like, “yeah we are rocking this parenting thing.” Others you will find yourself saying, “WTF?” Enjoy the good days and remind yourself during the bad a good day is right around the corner.

They do not give you a manual in the hospital before you go home for a reason. Trust in yourself, you will know what you are doing and when you don’t, you will figure it out.

Motherhood is an unbelievable adventure full of laughs, tears, questioning and joy. It has been the best job and the most rewarding responsibility I have ever had. I wake up every day for my son and aim to be a better person and mother for him.

I am curious what some of the things you learned about motherhood, in your first year or beyond, that stick out in your mind?

Dear Parker

Dear Parker,

Motherhood started for me before I even knew you were Parker, before I felt you flutter in my stomach, before I saw your adorable face on the monitor. I became a mother the moment I read that big fat positive sign on a test.

I love your daddy very much but it wasn’t until our eyes met on June 22nd at 5:33 pm that I understand what, love at first site meant. I was so overcome with joy the moment I first heard you cry and they told me you were a boy. That was the day I became a mother and we became a family.

Even though we had just laid eyes on one another, it felt as though I had known you for years. We fit perfectly together and it felt so natural to snuggle with you. We wasted no time getting to know one another not by sounds but faces.

You are such an amazing little boy and you have brought so much joy, laughter and happiness into my life. Thank you for loving me for who I am. Forgiving me when I make a mistake and not expecting perfection. For making me laugh and smile. For helping me realize to never take life too seriously and live every day one nap at a time. For melting my heart and making me smile. Thank you for giving me the greatest gift I have ever known, motherhood.