Closing the book on 2009

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking at my Facebook status updates this evening, it seems like the consensus is that 2009 was a crappy year and everyone is ready to seek new and better things in 2010. It’s funny because I really don’t think that was the case for us. Despite some definite challenges during the year — a broken leg for our two-year-old, swine flu for all of us, several bouts of pneumonia and ear infections (the latter requiring a second set of tubes) — I think we had quite a wonderful year.

This was the year that communication with Baby B really took off. She started the year saying basic sentences and now communicates with us better than some adults seem to. A year ago, she never would have said such to me as, “How are we EVER going to get OUT of this garage?” or “We’re going downstairs because a dinosaur tried to bite my mommy,” both of which she said during our excursion to the children’s museum today to celebrate their ball drop at noon.

This is the year that Baby B became potty trained and made our lives so much easier, and it’s also the year in which she moved out of her crib and into a real bed. Two positives for sure.

We also took several great trips this year, flying to Maine to see The Husband’s family and to Denver to visit with my cousin and her family. The Husband was able to manage a trip with friends to Atlanta, and I made a jaunt alone to visit with a very good friend, then we all made the 16-hour (give or take) trek to Oklahoma to visit my sister and meet our newest niece for the first time.

We each ran a couple of 5K races.

We found our awesome babysitter this year, and The Husband and I have really tried to take advantage of opportunities to enjoy date nights and connect in an environment outside home and child responsibilities.

There may have been some goals we had hoped to achieve during the year but didn’t, but I think overall it was a great year, and I look forward to seeing what 2010 has in store for our family.

I do have three New Year’s resolutions for the new year:

1. Train for a half marathon in March.

2. Waste less food. (We tend to forget that we bought certain things — like produce and snacks — and don’t remember it’s there until after it’s gone bad.)

3. Take our first week-long vacation since our honeymoon almost five years ago.

Wishing you all the best in the coming year!


Wordless Wednesday: Coloring (mostly) in the lines

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

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The Tale of the Elusive Pink Camera

Monday, December 28, 2009

Picture that typical movie scene where  dozens of parents are scrambling in the toy aisle to obtain the hot toy of the year, elbowing their fellow shoppers out of the way to get their hands on the much-desired loot.

That wasn’t quite me, but I did feel like I was on a wild-goose chase when trying to find a pink camera for Baby B.

But let me back up. We had finished our  Christmas shopping for Baby B, then we went to see Santa. The only thing she asked him for was a pink camera. Coincidentally, I did have a pink camera on her Amazon wish list (which she did not know about), but we had decided not to get it for her. Since that was her only request from Santa, The Husband and I talked about it for a few days and then decided we’d go ahead and get it for her.

I really wanted to get it from Amazon because I had some gift card money there, and it would have been like buying it with “free” money. However, by the time we finally decided to buy it, the camera was unavailable from Amazon with no estimate when it would be back in stock. I briefly considered another camera model, but I really wanted the VTech Kidizoom Plus based on the good reviews it got compared to other brands, so I started looking other places, both online and in person.

The camera was out of stock at most places, but I finally found it at an online place that sells educational supplies to teachers and professors. For most of their products, you have to be eligible to buy them with your teacher or professor status, but some items (like the camera) did not require eligibility to purchase, so I went ahead and put in my order. A few days later, the order status was still listed as in an “eligibility hold,” so I decided to look around again for another place to buy it since I knew it wouldn’t arrive by Christmas at that point.

On the night of the 18th, I found another place that had it in stock and paid for rush shipping to ensure it would be here by Christmas. I also canceled the order from the educational site. I thought we were in good shape until the next morning when I found an e-mail waiting for me saying that they did NOT have the item in stock and they were canceling my order. As I had just canceled the previous order (that would not have made it here in time for Christmas), I was at two orders for the camera and no camera on the way.

A bit frustrated (but very determined), I took to the computer yet again, looking for someone who had the camera in stock. I finally saw that Toys R Us had it back in stock  (it was out of stock there previously) and quickly ordered it and paid more than I care to admit for overnight shipping to ensure that it would arrive by Christmas.  I was relieved, but after two canceled orders, I wasn’t going to believe anything until the camera arrived at my doorstep — which it did on the 22nd.

After all the hoops I had to go through to get the camera, I was afraid that I’d built it up too much in my mind and Baby B wouldn’t really like it all that much. However, I am glad to say she was pleasantly surprised, and so far it’s been one of her favorite Christmas toys, so it was well worth the effort.

Christmas was quite lovely this year. It still took us 3 1/2 hours to open presents (despite cutting back what we got her), but we all had a great time. It was so fun to see her get Christmas more this year — and I can’t wait to see how much more she understands next year! 🙂 All in all, a big success!

Pure Christmas joy

Sunday, December 27, 2009

More on Christmas coming soon (including the Great Tale of the Elusive Pink Camera), but for now, here’s a picture of Baby B first thing on Christmas morning. We had just woken her up, and she was leaning forward to see the tree through her open bedroom door. In this picture, she had just spotted the little pink piano that had a bow on top in front of the tree. Such happiness, and no other picture could better capture the spirit of the day. It makes me smile every time I look at it.

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By andbabybmakes3 at 2009-12-26

Christmas Eve

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Even reindeer need to sleep

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

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I win

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I’m always looking for ways to motivate Baby B to do things when her inner toddler comes out and unleashes unholy stubbornness on us and everything around her. Sometimes it’s making use of her selfishness at this age (“I want that bite of pork chop! Oh, I can’t have it? It’s yours? Fine, you go ahead and eat it”) or making up a character such as Santa Claus or the Night Fairy to inspire her to cooperate as she’s still learning the ropes regarding proper behavior in different situations.

So I’m delighted to have yet another trick in my bag, making use of her newly emerging competitive spirit. This started maybe a week ago, with her challenging us to various activities (walking to her room, for example) with her saying, “I’m gonna BEAT you! I’m gonna WIN!” A light bulb went off, and I thought, “I’ve got to use this!” We’ve tried this approach before, but at that time she didn’t quite have the competitive drive that she does now. It works like a charm right at the moment.

So how do we get Baby B dressed in the morning? “Baby B, I bet I can get dressed faster than you!” She scrambles to get her clothes and put them on faster than I put on my own clothes. Sometimes I let her win, sometimes I win for real. Either way, she usually ends up saying, “It’s okay, we can BOTH win.” I concede that, “No, you won! Great job!”

How do we leave daycare now? “Uh-oh, your friend is going to beat us out the door. Do you think we can win?” (Of course she thinks we can, even if there’s no chance whatsoever.)

How do we get her to brush her teeth? “I bet I can brush my teeth better than you!”

Of course not everything in life is a competition, but I think even at this age it’s a good thing for her to start learning about winning and losing and using the desire to “win” — even against herself, not just against other people — as motivation to excel, improve herself, and get things done.

Like it or not, competition is what drives many people in life, whether 2 or 52.

You can’t judge a teacher by her one-word answers

Monday, December 21, 2009

I’m still uncertain why, but one of Baby B’s teachers left last week and was replaced with a new teacher. (Oh good. Right before Christmas, meaning: 1) We can either be jerks and not give her anything since we don’t even know her, or 2) we can give her the nice gifts intended for the other teacher as a “nice to meet you and thanks for taking care of my kid for all of five seconds” gift. We obviously chose to go with the second option, but it’s still a bit annoying with the timing of it.)

I wasn’t sold on the new teacher at first. When I was introduced to her last week, she didn’t say much at all. I tried some general small talk, which would consist of me saying something, her answering with a one-word response, and then the conversation dying instantly until I thought of something new to say or ask. This continued for two or three days. I told The Husband that I was going to give her the benefit of the doubt because it was her first week and maybe she was just nervous. The Husband still hadn’t met her (she’s the late teacher and he usually does dropoffs), so he couldn’t really offer an opinion.

So we had Baby B’s daycare Christmas party on Thursday night. The Husband said, “Which one is the new teacher, just so I know?” We ended up standing in the line for food right behind her, and so I went ahead and introduced them to each other (even though I barely knew her myself). I was finally able to break through her shell after she mentioned that she just graduated from college with a degree in journalism and she was the features editor of the college paper. For those who don’t know, I have a journalism degree, as well, and even attended the same college as the new teacher. It’s not often in this line of work that you just happen to run into someone who has followed a similar career path, so that set us up for talking about all kinds of things, including the state of journalism, working on tight deadlines, things we’ve learned from work, and more. We finally got back to the table and when the new teacher got up for a minute, The Husband leaned over and said, “She never talks, huh?” I laughed and said, “I swear it’s not been like this in the classroom!”

So, I’m not sure how long she’ll be at Baby B’s school — she’s looking for work in journalism but likes kids and is doing this in the meantime — but it was good to see that I was right to give her a chance and not write her off just because her interaction with me wasn’t stellar at first. I definitely know that first-hand; I can seem like I’m shy or reserved at first, but once you get to know me, it’s hard to remember back when I seemed so reserved.

The good news, too, is that I’ve seen her interacting with the kids, and she seems to do well with them, so I’m certainly glad for that. That’s the ultimate goal here, so she seems to be doing fine on that front so far.

Rudolph (the very alternate version)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

This is one of my favorite videos of Baby B. 🙂

Wordless Wednesday: Naughty or nice?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Baby B has been pretty good about not getting into stuff that could be potentially messy. We try our best to keep such things locked up or put away out of reach and also try to keep an eye on her — and become immediately suspicious when she’s in another room and is being too quiet.

That streak was broken on Sunday night when I came home from work. The Husband was occupied in the kitchen making dinner for us, and Baby B called out to him to come see her in my bathroom. He went in there to find she’d decided to set up her own salon — and I arrived on the scene a few seconds later. She had found the nail polish in my bathroom drawer, managed to open it by herself, and tried to put it on her toenails because, according to her, “My polish was coming off and I wanted it to be beautiful.”

I suppressed the smile that began to emerge, reminded her that nail polish was only to be used by Mommy or Daddy, and took her to the bath to get her cleaned up — with a promise that I’d paint her toenails for real once we were done.

The damage was minimal, thankfully. She just got it all over her foot and her hands — not on the rugs or anything else. In a way, I am proud of her independence. She saw she wanted something done, so she decided to do it by herself. Of course we let her do many things by herself, but this was a good lesson to her that sometimes there are things that she can’t quite do alone yet.

The Santa Clause

Monday, December 14, 2009

Even though, for some reason, I just can’t get into the decorating part of Christmas this year, I’ve been having so much fun introducing Baby B to the fun traditions of the holiday, and that includes Santa Claus.

Basically, I guess I’m saying I’ve enjoyed lying to my kid.


Last year,  Baby B was able to recognize who Santa was, but she had no idea the role he played in Christmas, so it’s been great to tell her the story of Santa, what happens on Christmas Eve, and why he brings presents to good boys and girls. (I should note here that we are not a religious family, so Christmas plays a secular role in our lives. At some point we will, of course, talk to her about the religious meaning behind it all, but I don’t think this is the year for that.) Since she’s so full of questions and whys, she’s always questioning us on the things we tell her about Santa and Christmas.

So the time came to go visit Santa Claus in person, after talking about him for a while and giving her a chance to think about sitting on his lap. Last year she did not want to do that, and even though she said she would sit on his lap this year, I wouldn’t have been surprised if she bailed at the last minute.

We went to the same place we went last year, and it went perfectly. We had just a couple people in front of us, then it was our turn. They gave her a stuffed reindeer to hold (which I loved because it made her more relaxed), and then just like a big girl she walked right up to Santa and let him pull her up to his lap. She smiled great for her pictures, and then Santa started asking her some questions. She still sometimes pretends she’s shy around strangers, so I expected that she wouldn’t say anything to him, but she did. And get this — she even snuggled into his chest at one point! I couldn’t believe it! I was so proud of how she did, and we’ve got great pics this year (stay tuned for Wordless Wednesday).

After that, we went into the local bookstore and went downstairs to the children’s area to let Baby B play. Turns out we caught the beginning of a children’s storytime where they had Santa come and read “The Night Before Christmas,” so we settled in for that (and happened to run into one of Baby B’s daycare friends there, so they had a good time together while we chatted with his parents).  After the storytime, Santa let the kids take turns sitting on his lap, and wouldn’t you know it — Baby B chose to stand in line to sit on this Santa’s lap, totally her decision! This time we had her sit on his lap with her daycare friend, which they both just loved!

All in all, I think this is a GREAT year for the concept of Santa. She understands the basics and can get excited about it, but her thinking isn’t quite polished enough to question some things that challenge logic — like why she saw two different Santas in a short amount of time on Saturday, or how he can fly all over the world in one night to deliver presents. Those questions will come one day, of course, but for now she’s believing in the magic of Santa, and I love it. Some people, for one reason or another, choose not to introduce the concept of Santa to their children, and that’s fine. We chose to bring Santa into our lives and have fun with it.

You know, lying to our kid and all. 😉

My sentiments exactly!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

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Scare tactics

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Overheard in our house recently:

Baby B: Get that down for me, please. You get that down for me — or I’LL TOOT!!”

Wordless Wednesday: Passing time before surgery

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ear-ly day

Monday, December 7, 2009

We got up early this morning and got ready, then left the house by 6:15 a.m. to head to the surgery center. It was snowing a little bit, but nothing too bad, so we made it there right on time at 6:45 a.m. We met with the billing/insurance person first to make our final payment, then sent to the waiting room, where Baby B found a great play kitchen and clubhouse to play in while we waited.

We were called back to the pre-op area after 5 or 10 minutes and asked a series of questions by the nurse and anesthesiologist. Then it was a waiting game for the doctor to come in and then be called back for the procedure. (I hate calling it surgery, even though that’s what it is, because it makes it sound so much bigger than it really is.) We had a lot of time waiting in that area — almost an hour, I think — and Baby B did great for all but maybe the last 10 minutes, when she kept wanting to leave our curtained nook. (Well, when she wasn’t almost pressing the red “EMERGENCY” button and nearly giving us a heart attack.) The Husband took her to the potty to take up some time, and wouldn’t you know they came back for us when they were gone. Just like going to the bathroom at a restaurant and your meal comes while you’re gone!

They had warned us that two-year-olds often have quite a bit of separation anxiety when it comes to leaving their parents to go to the surgery area, so I was prepared for this. She’s just so much more aware of things this time around and of course questions everything. The nurse had come to talk to us quite a bit while we were waiting, telling Baby B that she could have a popcicle for breakfast (and asked what color she wanted) and that she had a mask that smelled like cherries that she could test out. So Baby B had a chance to build up a good amount of trust in the nurse, and I was very pleased to see that she went right to the nurse’s arms willingly when it was time to go back. The Husband and I watched her as she went back to the operating room, and she didn’t even turn back once to look for us. That’s truly the only thing I’d been nervous about, but she was awesome. Our tough girl!

Baby B was taken back to the OR at 8:07 a.m. We were called back to meet with the doctor at 8:15 a.m. (Which, incidentally, is the same amount of time that elapsed last time.) The doctor said everything went well. He said there was some fluid in there that he got out (not infected fluid, but still present), as well as some wax. As before, we’ll do ear drops for five days, then use ear drops if she gets infections from this point forward. She has no restrictions other than not to stick Q-tips in her ears (which we didn’t do anyway).

We had to wait another probably 15 minutes before we could go back to see Baby B, but when we did, she was doing great. She’d woken up just fine and was with the nurse getting her promised pink popcicle. We stayed in recovery long enough for her to eat her popcicle, then we were allowed to go. She even walked out all by herself (with a very brief crying episode because she saw the playroom from outside and wanted to go back in there and play). She and I stopped to pick up doughnuts as a treat on the way home, then came home to munch on those and watch “Tinkerbell.” It’s mid-afternoon now, and she’s been acting normal all day, and even ate a good lunch. We’ll have our follow-up appointment on December 22.

So far so good. In fact, I’m not sure it could have gone much better.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Just wanted to update that Baby B’s surgery went well, and we’re home now watching some Tinkerbell. I’ll update later with more details, but so far so good!

Totally tubular

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Just wanted to mention that Baby B has her tube surgery early tomorrow morning. I called the office on Friday to find out our check-in time (they do this so they can order the surgeries from youngest to oldest), and I was a little afraid that with Baby B being older this time that we’d be scheduled for later in the day, but we’re second on the list with a check-in time of 6:45 a.m.

I’ll update with more information as soon as I can tomorrow! I’m curious to see how different the experience is now that she questions everything and is much more aware of what is going on.

Parenting with style

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It’s been interesting to visit The Sister-in-Law and The Brother-in-Law (parents to Niece #1), as well as The Sister and The Brother-in-Law (parents to Nieces #2 and #3) in the recent months, as it’s illustrated just how different their parenting styles are.

With Niece #1, she’s allowed to watch almost zero television. Her mother prefers natural, Waldorf-type toys. They make gluten-free brownies just for the heck of it and have a pretty rigid eating schedule.

With Niece #2, she has a **TV in her bedroom that’s turned on all the time (even if she’s not in there). I’m pretty sure the Disney Princesses vomited their merchandise all over her bedroom. She’s allowed to have popcicles just 20 minutes before dinnertime.

I’m certainly not saying that either style is inherently good or bad; obviously each style seems to be working for their individual families, and that’s what matters most. It was just interesting to note how different their approaches are from each other, and it had me wondering where we fit on the spectrum.

We prefer to limit TV exposure, but we’re not as hard core about it as The Sister-in-Law is with Niece #1 and we do let Baby B watch some programs and movies now that she’s over two years old — though not as much as Niece #2. I’m not crazy about commercial merchandising such as the Disney Princesses, but Baby B certainly reads her share of books involving popular characters, including Clifford the Big Red Dog and Curious George. We often take a “whatever she’ll actually eat” approach to eating, offering her healthy options and leaving the choice up to her whether she wants to eat.

I feel like we sort of fit in the middle of those two styles, but it really makes me wonder if I can summarize our parenting style easily? What things are most important to us when we are parenting? We want Baby B to question things around her, to never be satisfied with “that’s just how it is” or “that’s how it’s always been done” as an answer. We feel like she needs to learn consequences to her actions and understand why we’ve established the rules of our household. We feel like Baby B has a lot to gain from a wide variety of toys, both plastic/electronic and more natural — as well as from everyday objects found around the house. We don’t want to raise a brat, but we also try to choose our battles and target the most important lessons, knowing that other lessons will come with time as she matures. We have certain expectations for her behavior, but we also understand that she’s two years old and cannot be expected to act like an adult at this age (which is what much of society expects from even kids this young). We want her to know that while she might not succeed at everything in life, she’ll never know unless she at least tries. We try to be laid-back when possible, but confident and consistent when we need to instill discipline.

But most of all, we try to have FUN. We like to get out and see and d0 what’s going on in the world around us. We like to travel to new places and show Baby B new things. We like to plan things but we also like to be spontaneous at times. That’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it? Making the most of the time we have with each other and giving Baby B a good foundation for the rest of her life. That’s my ultimate goal in parenting. So far I think we have a very good start.


(**In the interest of full disclosure, I should note here that Baby B does have a small TV in her bedroom because her room doubles as our guest room. However, it hasn’t been plugged in since I was doing middle-of-the-night feedings nearly two years ago, so it’s not even an activity option for Baby B. I don’t mind her watching TV at times, but we decide when and what.)

Wordless Wednesday: Meeting our newest niece

Wednesday, December 2, 2009