I was watching Wild Kratts with Wesley and they were doing an episode on Giant Pandas. For those who don’t watch PBS Kids, it’s an animated series by the Kratt brothers* and they have power suits so they can use the attributes of different animals (creature powers).
Kratt Brothers: What if we had panda powers?
Me: WTF are panda powers? Sitting around, eating, and refusing to have sex?
Spoiler alert: basically yes, although since it’s a kid’s show, it skips over pandas’ mating habits (or in this case, lack thereof)
*Who have been around frickin forever. I remember watching one of their shows on Saturday mornings when i was a kid.
Not even including windchill (see: feels like -47). I’m pretty sure even the polar bears at the zoo are miserable.
We got hit with snow on Monday, not a ton of snow, but enough so that the roads were pretty crappy in the morning (my car got stuck twice on the way into work**). Since then the temperature has been steadily plummeting and schools are closing because it literally too dangerous for kids to wait outside for the bus. I had to get gas on my way home from work today and my fingers were painfully cold because I had to take my glove off for a minute to run my credit card and use the touch-screen.
Wesley’s daycare is closed tomorrow (and probably Thursday too) because they have huge windows everywhere and don’t think they can keep everything at the required minimum temperature. We were already planning on keeping him home tomorrow because it is so viciously cold just going to and from the car. Unfortunately my job is considered “essential services” so I am expected to go into work (Matt’s staying home tomorrow and thankfully my boss is very understanding of issues that come up for parents)
The St Paul Winter Carnival is also going on right now… unfortunately it’s too cold for any sane person to leave their house. Good news: it’s supposed to warm up this weekend. Bad news: it’s supposed to get above freezing so we may have another year of very deconstructivist ice sculptures.
Aaand since I’m just rambling at the moment….we went out to a local brewery on Sunday. At 1:00 in the afternoon. For Tot Time. Seriously. I also witnessed a 1st Birthday party and Baby Shower being hosted there. It was a little surreal, but kind of a cool idea. They have a bunch of toys for the kids and a kid-friendly band.*** It gives the adults a way to get out of the house and still feel reasonably adult (because it gives hard to feel adult when you’re constantly reading books that consist entirely of 1-syllable words and trying to figure out if your child is poopy or just farty).
*Actually, all of the upper Midwest.
**Both times in intersections where the plow had created a pile of snow at the cross street.
***This week was a friend of mine college and her husband. So that was cool.
Matt and I don’t always see eye to eye on decor. For one, he has this weird obsession with themes. Personally, I think the vast majority of themed rooms are poorly executed, but I do love touches of bizarre and whimsical.
So when I found this rug, I wasn’t terribly surprised that he had some objections. One of them being that he didn’t think it “went with the room” (“the room” being our study/guest room/everything room… that hasn’t gotten a formal design plan yet…).
Matt: We’d need to replace the album covers with a… thingy… a wheel.
Me: A wheel?
Matt: Yeah, a ship’s wheel. And an anchor. And you’d need to get. a peg leg.
Me: Me? Why me?
Matt: Because you’re the one who wants the rug!
I still really want to find a place in my house for this rug…
First of all, Happy Mothers Day to all the mother, grandmothers, step-mothers, and mothers-to-be out there. You are all AMAZING.
A lot has happened in the last month! Our little chunker has continued to grow and finally has teeth (2, with more on the way)! And is mobile! He’s not exactly “crawling,” but he is dragging himself across the floor with determination.* One of the daycare teachers compared him to a seal. We’re not quite sure if he will ever actually discover he has knees or not. He’s also (just in the last few days) figured out how to sit up on his own. He’ll be on his belly, push himself onto his hands, walk his back legs forward so his butt is way up in the air, then tip it to one side and push off with his hands so he’ll fall back and hopefully land on his bum. It’s quite the production but he does seem to be getting slighting more efficient at that at least.
A while back I did a round-up of my favorite IKEA staples. Now here’s another for the parents.
I love these bibs! Compact, wipeable, machine washable (air dry), and dirt cheap. Even our daycare uses these. We have some Bumpkins bibs too and while the crumb-catcher pocket is nice, these ones are a great travel backup since I don’t have to worry about losing them.
This is just an IKEA classic! The moose is pretty darn cute on it’s own, but this sheep hack for it? There are no other words than “totes adorbs.” If you’re feeling nerdy and creative I think you could totally hack it into a unicorn or dragon too.
I never had a giant wooden train set growing up, but I loved playing with the ones set up at stores. The LILLABO series makes the tracks much more affordable (although the trains themselves are a little boring). Although they advertise as being compatible with other big-name sets (Brio, Thomas, etc), my research tells me the tracks themselves don’t fit perfectly with other brands. The takeaway is save on the tracks, but splurge on the trains.
IKEA is awesome for kids rugs because most of them are inexpensive enough that your kid can destroy them and no harm, no foul. The have a couple cool play-mat options too.
Look who’s 9 months! He’s also 22 1/2 pounds and getting awfully heavy to tote around.
Not much new to report on the baby front. Wesley’s still not crawling (although he’s mastered spinning in circles) and still no teeth (but drooling like crazy and getting a little cranky at times). He’s starting to show a little bit of motivation when it comes to crawling, especially if he sees the cats.
Babies are just perpetual mess makers, aren’t they? They spit up, they poop (sometimes explosively), they don’t know how to wipe their own noses, they mash food into every crevice imaginable… I could go on.
It can see overwhelming dealing with the never-ending flow of bodily excretions, but once you have a routine down it’s really not that bad.
And of course, the general disclaimer before we begin: I am not affiliated with any of the products mentioned. These are all things I’ve found through my own independent research.
Let’s just start at the bottom, shall we? Keeping baby’s tushy clean is necessary from day 1. We had a few assorted sample packs of Huggies and Pampers wipes, but we’ve defaulted to Amazon Elements pretty much from the beginning. They’re free of added fragrances, parabens, dyes, alcohol, phthalates, bronopol, and methylisothiazolinone, but at a much better price point than Water Wipes. We just buy the regular unscented and have never had an issue with skin sensitivity.
Honestly, 9 months out and we have yet to have an issue with diaper rash. Every so often we see a small redish splotch and we’ll just hit it with some diaper cream (we use Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, although I’m honestly not a huge fan of the very powdery scent). We also probably change Wesley’s diaper more frequently than we really need to, but hey, if it’s helped prevent uncomfortable diaper rash then I’ll stick with it. (If you’re curious about what kind of diapers we use, we started with Pampers Swaddlers for the first couple months, then switched to Target brand, and his daycare gets their diapers from Costco)
Once you introduce solids, the mess takes on a whole new level! We have this high chair, and while it’s been working out just fine, I would probably switch up my recommendation to a high chair that doesn’t have a cover/detached cushion but rather is fully wipe-able (like this one by Oxo). The cushion on ours is machine washable (but air dry, it does dry fast though), but I’m going to experiment in making something a little lower-maintenance.
Once you give your baby any finger foods they will also instantly realize that these foods can also be dropped on the floor. If you have wood/vinyl/tile floors, this isn’t a huge issue, but we have an area rug in our dining room and didn’t want to be constantly scrubbing ground-in carrot out of it. I picked up this splat-mat which was both well reviewed and one of the cheaper options. I happen to like that it’s just clear vinyl so it doesn’t compete with decor. So far we haven’t had issues with tripping or slipping with it either. The vinyl has a LOT of creases from it being folding during shipment, but I heard you can use a blow-drier to soften them out (it’s on my to-do list)
Ah yes, laundry. The thing everyone warns you about once you add a baby to the mix. Honestly it hasn’t been that big a deal for us–really just an extra load of laundry every week. It does involve some extra stain treatment work though.
When we’re dealing with the aftermath of a blow-out, any casualty clothing items get rinsed out in our utility sink. When I’m ready to do laundry I’ll use a stain treatment spray (OxiClean Max Force has been working well for me so far). I also toss in a scoop of OxiClean laundry booster and use a fragrance/dye free detergent. I use these same products on my own laundry too (although I usually skip the laundry booster), mostly because I hate scented detergents (but who really want a different laundry product for every member of the family?).
For REALLY tough stains, I break out the big guns. You may have already caught on that I’m a bit of an OxiClean fan girl, but seriously, this stuff works really well. If you follow the instructions for a more concentrated soak you’ll be able to remove almost any stain. To whiten your whites (without compromising colors) the OxiClean White Revive is a frickin miracle worker. I use it on our bedding all the time since skin oils make whites get really dingy. It works equally well on spit-up, poop, and beets too.
I’m going to steal some formatting from The Bloggess, because it’s just been one of those weeks where I’m just out of ways to describe things.
On Friday I went home sick from work and my stomach declared an emergency evacuation as soon as I made it home.
Matt handled daycare pick and baby-watching like a champ.
Then later that night HE got sick.
But we managed to survive the weekend.
I went back to work on Monday, feeling more or less human.
Then I get a call from Matt telling me he’s taking Wesley to the pediatrician. Turns out Wesley has croup (baby laryngitis) but thankfully doesn’t have any respiratory complications, and is just hilariously squeaky.
Tuesday I wake up feeling legitimately pretty good.
Then a few hours later I get hit with a wave of body aches and awful and have to go home early. Again
Matt comes home learns my temp is 102.1 and convinces me to go to urgent care. They test me for strep, influenza, and throw in a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia. Everything comes back negative so they decide to just treat me for the flu anyway.
12 hours after taking my first dose of Tamiflu, I no longer feel like I’m dying.
As of early this afternoon I’ve been fever-free for 24 hours! I can snuggle my baby again!
And then I noticed these rashy spots on my hands.
So I texted a friend and yup, it sounds suspiciously similar to when she caught Hand Foot and Mouth from her son.
So now I really just need to disinfect everything….possibly without touching it.
I’m REALLY hoping I’m just paranoid at this point. Wish me luck?
Update: Woke up with more rashy spots on my hands and made a doctor’s appointment. The nurse took one look at me and asked “Do you have kids?” We have confirmed Hand Foot and Mouth.
Setting the scene: Matt’s upstairs working on putting the latch back on our bedroom door and I’m downstairs with a friend of mine playing along with Only Connect.*
Me: Did you just hear Matt?
E: I don’t think so? …Maybe he was calling for help because he broke his hand.
Me: But if he had a broken hand he could still come downstairs for help.
E: Maybe he broke his leg…. But then he could still at least crawl closer to the stairs and yell louder.
Both of us continue watching Only Connect.
A while later Matt comes down and joins us.
Matt: It turns out this lock has a “feature.” If you push this bit in… Demonstrates and shows that part of bolt will pop out, even if the knob was in the “unlocked” position. Well, I didn’t know this and I closed the door.
Me: And you locked yourself in the bedroom?
Matt: And I locked myself in the bedroom.
Me: Ah… were you yelling for me earlier?
Matt: Yes, I was hoping you’d be able to help me get out.
Me: I thought I heard something. We figured if you really needed something you’d keep yelling.
To be fair, I was snuggling a sleeping baby and didn’t want to disturb him and I didn’t think Matt was up to anything inherently dangerous. I also didn’t realize that locking yourself into a room when the lock doesn’t even require a key was even an option. It was, however, our specific choice of lock that led to the problem in the first place.
The door originally had a deadbolt installed on it and it was just chunky and ugly. “Low-profile” deadbolts apparently don’t exist (except some super-mod and silver varieties), but I did find a pocket-door lock in oil rubbed bronze that would fit the existing hole and blend into the new finish. Instead of a key you can unlock it from the other side with a screwdriver (high security was not a concern of ours for an interior door lock). Because it’s designed for a pocket door however, part of it pops out so you can pull the door out of the pocket in the wall…. but if that bit’s extended it will act like a lock on a swinging door.
*Holy crap the puzzles are hard. It’s even harder because there are a number British and European references that I’m not really exposed to in the US.
Matt’s starting calling Wesley “Wessels” so I came to obvious (seeming) conclusion that he was having a nerd moment.
Me: Nuclear wessels!
Matt: *blank look*
Me: Nuclear wessels! … you do know the reference, right?
Me: The Voyage Home! Star Trek!! THE ONE WITH THE WHALES!!!
Why yes, I did get progressively more hysterical as I tried to explain. I’m pretty sure The One With the Whales is the official alternate title for The Voyage Home. I’m also sure I’m not the only one who would immediately think of this scene after hearing the word “wessels.”
And for the non-nerds out there, if you’re wondering why this is such a well known part of the movie, keep in mind that it came out in 1986.
During the cold war.
And there’s a Russian guy wandering around then-present-day San Francisco.*
Asking for nukes.
*Yes Star Trek is based in the future, they time-traveled because they needed whales, ok?
Look who’s 2 months! He actually turned 2 months a week ago, but I wanted to get the stats from his doctor visit.
This little chunker is now 13lbs 2oz and 23″ tall. He jumped up from the 40% to the 70% for weight in the last month so he may not be a monster baby yet, but he’s working on it!
We’re just starting to get “real” smiles out of Wesley which I gotta admit is pretty damn cool. He’s more and more alert, making eye contact, and usually sleeping about 5 hours at night. Basically he’s a pretty darn good baby–he even survived his 2 month vaccinations like a champ!
And now for your monthly rant:
I’m not a crazed feminist by any means. Quite frankly I believe there are differences between the sexes, but “different” doesn’t mean “superior.” For either gender. I recognize there are common preferences that may be used for targeted marketing (ex. a lot of little girls do like pink), but I am sick to death of overly stereotypical advertising. This means that nothing brings out my feminist side quite like looking at baby gear.
Men Are Not Idiots
At least, they’re no more likely to be idiots than women. A lot of baby commercials portray men as completely incompetent. I even have seen onsies with the head/arm/leg holes labeled and “Dad, you’ve got this” printed in the center. This sort of thing makes me feel downright twitchy. It’s not cool to assume women can’t use power tools, or code, or be athletic, and it just as not cool to assume that men handle babies (or cook, or sew, etc). In fact, dads can be pretty badass.
There’s More to Life Than Gray
Whenever I would look at baby clothes and sort them by “gender neutral” everything would be gray. Gray with sheep. Seriously? There are lots of gender neutral color and pattern options, how did it get limited to gray? And apparently sheep are the only “neutral” animal? If you’re trying to find gender neutral options, your best bet it to search under “boy” because that usually seems to mean “not pink or floral”
Which brings me to….
Gender is Not a Color
I was searching Amazon for pacifiers the other day and rather than list the colors as “blue/green” and “pink/purple” they would be listed as “boy colors” and “girl colors.” There was even a set that had a fox on a blue background and a raccoon on a tan background that was labeled as “boy colors.” Is it that hard to label things by color or pattern and leave gender out of it? Maybe your little girl likes cars. Maybe your little boy likes pink. These things don’t have to be gender specific. I have to give a shoutout to Primary because a while back I saw an advertisement of theirs that said pink wasn’t just for girls and showed a bunch of adorable little boys rockin’ some pink.
That all being said, I don’t think children need all gender neutral clothes and gear. We definitely dress Wesley in a slightly more “boyish” style and if we had had a girl I would have fully embraced pink and ruffles. I still wanted a gender neutral base wardrobe and accessories/gear though so if we have a second kid we’ll have plenty of things to reuse.
We had a bunch of family in town for my baby shower on Saturday and Matt’s mom was staying with us. Sunday morning they decided to head to church together before the rest of the family came over for brunch.
Matt: You’re a veteran, maybe they’ll do something special for you for Memorial Day.
MIL: Matt, I’m not dead yet.
I may not agree with our government’s choices, but anyone who signs up to fight for their country and anyone who has lost their life in the process, they are truly strong and courageous, and worthy of our respect and admiration.
We didn’t do anything for Memorial Day, but did have a fabulous weekend and got to see a bunch of family we don’t get to see much of. All the parents trekked over from WI and both my sisters were able to make it (from KS and CA) which was absolutely amazing. I had a fabulous shower hosted by (one of) my BFFs and I’m just feeling so special and loved and thrilled that this baby is going to have a truly awesome community of family and friends around him. #PregnancySappiness
I’ve also hit Pregnancy Level: Hobbit Feet and had some seriously impressive swelling over the weekend. My mom freaked out a bit and demanded my sister give her professional opinion. Sister asked me if I was up to date on my rabies vaccine because she’s a veterinarian and not an MD. I picked up some sexy compression socks took it easy for the weekend and now my feet have shrunk to slightly puffy.
I still have this weird feeling of guilt when I take up the comfiest spot, don’t get up much when guests are over, and ask Matt to do simple things like get me some water because I just don’t feel like being on my feet anymore. Matt, on the other hand, has been scolding me to take it easy since forever. I’ve just been stubbornly resisting because I am not a fragile little flower… only now it kind of hurts to move and I’m tired so I’m giving in. Stubbornness and pregnancy do not mix terrible well.
I’ve got a prenatal appointment on Friday and an onsite Nurse at work if anything seems concerning before that, but I was under the impression that crazy feet swelling was a fairly typical pregnancy symptom. Plus I’m still a bit scarred from the Doctor who insisted my Asthma flair up might be a pulmonary embolism and told me to get to an ER like, NOW. Spoiler Alert: It wasn’t and the ER docs thought I was a little crazy.