Tuesday, February 24, 2009

These pajamas were made for walking...

Caution: This might be loud. She's getting pretty vocal.


The down and dirty of cloth diapers - update

So as you may have read, we are doing cloth diapers. 14 months later we are STILL doing cloth diapers. I will admit that we have been relying a bit more on disposables when we travel and when Ada has the runs because it's just easier.

There are a lot of positives --saving the environment, less cost overall, not ripping the sticky tabs off when you try to fasten the diaper, less diaper rash, less leaks, not having to use two disposables at night, and knowing that I don't have to go to the store to buy diapers every five seconds.

And a few negatives -- rinsing the diapers, washing the diapers, doing all of the diaper laundry, the vile smell of the diaper pail, having to buy several diaper pails to figure out what worked best for us (1 foot high flip lid garbage pails and we still aren't extremely happy with them) -- which could all be solved if we had a diaper service. But that would negate the whole cost savings thing...

So, we're still washing, rinsing, changing, drying, fastening, and for the most part, making cloth diapers work.

That's the update.

Ada's Dance Debut

To Beyonce's "put a ring on it"


Monday, February 23, 2009

Gaming Baby

I'm not quick to admit that Rick plays Dungeons and Dragons with his family and their family friends, but he does. They've been doing it for years and it's really just a reason to drink, eat foods that are unhealthy, tell stories, and have good ol' man fun--despite having the reputation for being something only nerds do. These guys really are nerds -- but being a nerd isn't all that bad. It has it's perks. And now Ada's on track to be a certified nerd too. See, she's got her very own Dungeons and Dragons t-shirt complete with her character stats. She doesn't have any experience but her dexterity is at a 3 and that's got to mean something good, right?
My co-worker suggested that this could be a real perk to me as a parent since nerds don't tend to run with the "popular crowd". I'm interpreting that to mean mean that I don't have to strictly enforce the no dating til your 32 rule since nerds tend to be slower on the whole dating scene. She might get picked on more, but they say that builds character and will help her deal with others later on in life.
Moral of the story: There are benefits to being a nerdy kid... Mostly for the parents.

A walk to the Zoo

One of the many benefits of living in the city is that we are just a 2 mile walk away from our very own Lincoln Park Zoo.... and it's free! Yesterday we needed a destination for our walk and figured if we could make it that far, at least we'd be rewarded by seeing a few animals.

Rick was excited to carry Ada on his shoulders-- being the proud Papa that he is. He's been eager to do this since she was born and enjoyed it for awhile. When she wanted to be held the whole walk home, it got a bit annoying. And when she kept smacking the sides of his head, pulling off his earmuffs, and pushing his hat over his eyes as he was trying to avoid icy patches on the sidewalk, it was downright funny.

I still think the highlight of the trip was seeing the new baby monkey -- not sure what kind but his fellow monkeys were black with funny mohawks. I think his name is Francis and he was born mid-January. I'm amazed at how much he can move around and how independent he can be at just over a month old. It was very entertaining to watch his older buddies put their feet on his head, play with him, bounce on his branch to shake him. We got to see one of the monkeys carry him up the tree while he hung onto their belly. And we got to watch him try to move around without falling off his little branches. Too CUTE!

Child Safety Locks

Beware that not all safety locks really work... either that or I gave birth to Houdini reincarnated...

Luckily, this cabinet just holds pots and pans and we really just put the lock on it because we have it and it can help limit the messes Ada makes around the house. She's become quite the master of removing these and I know they aren't the best lock for the job. We have better locks on the cabinet doors for under the sink and have relocated toxic materials to higher ground.

Moral of the story: Don't be lulled into a false sense of security with these things. They aren't all that secure and can't be held responsible for the silly things your toddler might get into.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Greetings from Baby!

What a pain in the butt. In trying to be different, I thought it would be a good idea for us to send a card similar to a holiday card but not a holiday card, to our friends this year. Good idea in theory. But so hard to execute.

"Why Amanda? What's the problem?"

Thank goodness you asked. For starters, December is just way to chaotic for me to send a mailing to 100 of our closest friends and family. So don't anybody expect a Christmas card from me. I enjoy getting them from everyone else and have them on my fridge year round, but I just can't get to that when I've got Ada's birthday, four Christmases, the New Year, and that's when we recover from Thanksgiving celebrations and a turkey induced coma. My oh my. The timing just isn't right.

Then I thought maybe we could do something cute for some other holiday. Coming up next we have Valentine's day and that would be a great option. I had a goal to make some sort of mailing happen. I even told a few friends they might get Ada Valentines. But... that's just not going to materialize either. Why? Because I can't get a photo of this kid that is worth spending over a dollar a card to send to everyone and their mother. She just isn't cooperating and I'm not taking her to a cheesy Sear's Portrait Studio when one of my best friends is a photographer and just hasn't been down to visit for a photo shoot yet.
The options so far...

See more at Ada's snapfish page...
Not only do we need a good photograph, but we also have to decide how to do it. A snapfish card? A postcard we design and have printed? And what about the recyclability of the card? I don't want to spend all this money for people to put her in a landfill at the end of the month. There isn't an obvious answer to this so I'm going the lame route. I've decided that until I get an awesome photo of her that I really want everyone to plaster all over their houses, I'm just going to post more photos of her here, on facebook, on snapfish, and have someone print a copy for her grandparents so that they can see how cute she is.
I will say, as a new mom there is this pressure -- probably all put on myself by myself-- to produce a cute baby announcement. Then, an annual Christmas card. I want to participate in the whole system but just have to work out the kinks. Bear with me as I try to negotiate with myself to find a happy medium that fits my need for convenience, is good to the earth, not ungodly expensive, and relatively efficient, all while being insanely creative and fun and stress free.
Any suggestions? I'm open to all options at this point.
In any case, Happy almost Valentine's Day from my little stinker.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Setting a BAD example

Now that Ada's eating solid solids, as I call them, you have to watch your food at all times. Just the other day I was enjoying a brownie while curled up on the couch, watching a movie. All was well in the world (as much as it can be in this crap economy anyway) and then it happened. Ada reached out and stole my brownie. Just like that. Down the hatch. Bye bye brownie. And I just couldn't wait for her to start eating solids. Right. That was dumb.

The challenge now that Ada is grabbing at my food is, "Do I know where that hand has been?" "Is it worth risking whatever cooties she might have to take back that chunk of the last homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookie or can I let this one go?" Desperation takes on a whole new level. If you are a chocoholic like myself, you can relate.

Being the bad example that I am (and thanks to my friend Michelle who recently split her cookie dough stash with me while we were visiting her in Madison) I made a batch of oatmeal cookies last week and only baked one cookie sheet full of them. The rest, and I admit this is bad, I froze into little bite sized balls so I could snack on them whenever I was in need of a boost. Yes, I know I can get salmonella poisoning from the raw eggs. Yes, I know raw cookie dough isn't good for me. Yes, I know I'm setting a bad example for my child. Anything else you want to rip on me for?

So today, as you may have read in my earlier posts, was a tough day filled with more poop than a dogwalker should ever have to deal with. Desperate times call for desperate measures... and not one, but two balls of raw cookie dough from the freezer. (Shut up, I went on a long walk to burn off the calories and make it all better.) Ada's screaming in her room so I'm quick to grab the two scoops of instant pick-me-up and head to her room. I wisely think to set one on the dining room table before going to soothe her little whine.

As I'm nibbling away, she starts toward me. I'm on the ground, right at her level and one hand is holding her up while the other is being attacked in her attempt to snatch my cookie dough ball. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! What do I do? Quick! Think!

I jam the whole thing into my mouth.

I find this similar to jumping on a live granade to sacrafice yourself while saving your friends. And what a sacrafice it was. Do you know how much less enjoyment you get when you shove the whole thing in your mouth at once and have to wolf it down so that your child doesn't get salmonillia poisioning? A LOT less enjoyment. Like being downgraded at the car rental place from a top-of-the-line Lexus that parallel parks itself to a Fred Flintstone car powered by your two bare feet.

I suffered.

Then I distracted her long enough to grab the second cookie dough ball off the dining room table and savored every bite. Ahhhh... Life is good again.

Moral of the story: It's okay to be bad sometimes. Just remember 1) everything in moderation 2) not in front of the kids.

When's my baby ready for real solid, solid foods?

This has been a question of mine for a few months now. Several friends with kids have been telling me that there just comes a day when their kid stopped wanting everything pureed and moved on to solid solids. I didn't want to hold Ada back so I kept trying new things and hoping that she didn't decided to move on right after I had just spent a mint on Gerber baby food jars. I tried to keep a low inventory just in case, which is a tough challenge as babies seem to be bottomless pits at this stage and predicting how much she'd need was tough. And friends made it sound like "suddenly, out of the blue, he stopped eating pureed stuff all together." What? Then what would I do with all of these jars of sweet potatoes and bananas and oatmeal? I'm not going to eat that crap.

Here I was in a tizzy for no reason. I thought something along the lines of "once you go solid, you never go back." Not the case at all, for Ada at least. Not only is she slow to start walking, which my Doctoress theorizes is due to her amazonianess, she's also one of the later movers to solid foods. Seeing how messy it is for her to feed herself solids, I don't really have any problem with this fact. No, really. I'm okay with spending a bit more time feeding her from the jar if it saves me from giving her 20 baths a day.

Then one day, it happened. I gave her a little bit of scrambled egg, and she inhaled it. Her two little hands couldn't shovel it into her mouth fast enough. Then next day, it was a pancake. Now, it's pretty much anything she can get her hands on. But she's still okay with things that are pureed and things that come out of a jar, thankfully. It turns out that she might be more of a gradual changer instead of a "duh mom, that's like, so yesterday." I see this as a blessing really as I've never been up on the times. I mean, just yesterday I bought a new nail polish that is for the fall 08 season. We are rounding the corner into spring of 09 but I just didn't like the spring 09 color as well as I like the 08 tint. What can I say?

Moral of the story: The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Childhood development questionnaires suck

When Ada had her nine month checkup and shots, and I may have said this already so bear with me, the nurse gave me her 1 year checkup questionnaire so that I could have it completed before I came in for the appointment. That's great and I'm all about efficiency and I understand that they do it to make sure your child doesn't have any developmental delays, and more importantly that if he or she is delayed, they can help correct or diagnose problems early. That's all great. In the meantime, I'm doing this survey thinking "Man my kid is a late bloomer." There are five or six categories all judging different areas of development. Communication (She's a shoe-in. DD and I are socialites and it's in her jeans.) Dexterity. Coordination. Motor skills. Stuff like that.

"Does she help push her hands through the holes when you dress her?" Yes. 2 Points. Woo hoo.

"Does she put things in a box in succession?" No. Um, maybe. How many points does she get for maybe? One. Sure. That sounds fine.

"Does she scribble with a pen or pencil on paper if you show her how?" No. She tries to eat the pen and stab out her eye. Any points for that?

"Does she follow a command without hand gestures?" Not really.

"Does she say a word other than Ma ma or Da da or point to things she wants?" No. She just cries until I figure it out and then she's happy again for the next five minutes and repeat.

"Does she hop on one foot and rub her belly while taking shots of tequila?" Definitely not.

This thing is worse than taking the GMAT, ACT, SAT and LCAT all at once. My goodness!

In the end, it turns out that Ada didn't fall into any of the "concern areas" but she also isn't head of her class. She is however, off the charts for both height and weight so even if she can't lift her foot in anticipation of me putting her pants on, she can still squash your puny little runt of a kid like a grape under her amazonian foot. Take that!

Moral of the story: They aren't kidding when they say that every child figures things out at their own pace. For some kids, doing the tequila shot trick is a higher priority than others. For my kid, she's more into letting the other kids figure things out and then copying all of their tricks. I have to believe somewhere in her future that talent will be rewarded.

What a day!

It started out well... and I was optimistic that we were going to have a great Monday... but then... well, things changed...

You know it's going to be a rough day when you've given your child 3 baths before noon and begin to run low on towels even though they all started out clean this morning.

Ada decided this was not going to be her day. She didn't want to take a nap. She got the runs, and diaper rash, and pooped every chance she got. Silly me didn't wise up and switch to disposable diapers because we are running low on them and I am committed to saving the world one cloth diaper at a time (who cares about saving my sanity?). What time we didn't spend in the bathroom flushing diapers clean, rinsing diapers out, washing poop off baby's bottom, we spent cuddling in her room, applying diaper cream, or wiping up pee and poop from her naked baby time -- supposedly the best cure for diaper rash. Not a cure for mom's sanity. Poor little butt.

On top of all that, Ada decided she didn't want to be a neat eater today either. Bananas and pancakes on the floor at breakfast, cheese and crackers and sweet potatoes at lunch, a teething biscuit somewhere in between -- which she got on her feet, in her hair, and all over her shirt and pants mind you-- eggs, mashed potatoes, applesauce and cheerios for dinner. I guess today was white/yellow food day. Do white/yellow foods give babies the runs? They sure did today. Poor baby.

In an attempt to try to make things better, we set out for a walk to run an errand. It's cold out but Ada loves being outside. I put her in the Ergo carrier, snapped her on my back and she was asleep before I even got into the hallway. I came back in from the hall to get a water bottle and we were off. Actually, I was off and she was out. I got 3/4 of the way down the street and struggled to get the little sleep hood snapped in place so that Ada's head would stay snug to my back as she slept. All the while I'm trying to pull her pant legs down and her socks up so that her legs don't get cold. Poor kid.

We get to our destination after a good ten minute walk in the cold. I go in, get the car passes from the alderman's office. I readjust her pants and socks again and we head for home. I stopped to get a toy for my neighbors' new dog and the clerk stops me to tell me my bag is leaking. Yeah, that water bottle I was so eager to get so that I wouldn't be so thirsty... yeah, well, I guess the lid wasn't on quite right because it soaked my bag. And everything in my bag. Fortunately, only a packet of tissues and the two thank you cards I had written earlier today were ruined. Everything else is airing out nicely. As I left the store I apologized for the water trail I left behind and the clerk was quick to point out that as a pet store, that floor has seen much worse.

As we continued on our journey, I decide to get a replacement peephole for our neighbor because we installed one for her last night and learned that her door is way too thin for a peephole. Now I don't know what to do. Make it stick out? Leave a big hole in her door? Or suggest that she get a more sturdy door for security's sake? I'm voting for the 3rd option. Anyway... we stop into the local ACE hardware, get another peephole and the nice lady there fixes Ada's hat so her ear doesn't freeze off from sticking out. Silly kid.

Then we decide to stop by Jen's house to say hey to her new baby and see how she's doing. The baby was asleep and adorable as usual. We got to see the nursery and it's so cute. Ada got hot and fussy so we decided to head back home as it was nearing dinnertime anyway. I walk down Jen's driveway with Ada on my back and as I turned the corner onto the sidewalk, ho hum, la la la, WHOOOP! I slipped on a patch of ice and landed, thankfully, on my left hand and my knees. Ada didn't even flinch. I got up. Looked around to see if anyone saw me and to ensure them I was fine but no one saw me. This is the height of irony as that's how Jen and I met. She fell on the ice while walking to work one day, I saw her and asked if she was okay. We've been friends, and neighbors, ever since. Of course I had to text her to say that we'd fallen but were okay and she needed to be extra careful if she goes out with the baby. My poor knees.

We got home alive, thankfully. As soon as we walked through the front door, Ada started crying. I changed yet another poopy diaper, fed her some milk, made dinner and tried to make the best of it until daddy came home. He got to witness at least two more poops, including one while on a towel in the living room that she immediately stepped in and was whisked off to the bathroom for her 6th rinse in the tub today. Poor baby!

She's screaming, I'm exhausted, life sucks and then there is Rick--calm, collected, sympathetic. He's happy to come rescue both of us from our crazy poop-filled day. Our hero!

Moral of the story: If you have to have a poopy baby, be thankful that you can stay home and not deal with that mess in public. And sometimes, it's worth screwing the environment when it comes to a baby with the runs. Sanity should trump all else when a screaming toddler in involved.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Today, Rick and I were just trying to get Ada lunch, a quick bath and get her dressed for the day. It all started with what was going to be a simple lunch...

I heated up left over lasagna and Rick sliced up an apple for the little munchkin. She gobbled it all up and ground most of it into her face, bib, and shirt in the process. The red sauce gave her the orange tint of an Oompa Loompa (see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). As always, I took off the highchair tray and a hidden treasure of goodies was revealed. After breakfast, it was a teething biscuit and a pancake under her butt. This time, it was lasagna ground into her belly, pants, and the highchair. Nice.

Rick's bright idea was to take her and the whole chair into the bathroom for a bath. We got her out of the chair, stripped her down to her diaper and we not only had a mess in the living room under where her chair was, but we now had a mess in the bathroom too. But it gets worse. In typical Ada fashion, she's let go of a gargantuan, nasty poop. Upon removing her diaper, things were so bad that I placed her straight into the tub. The first rinse was to get the poo off of her and the tub. The second was to get everything else off of her. What a little stinker--but a cute one at that.

What do we do after the shower? Lotion and a diaper. For the first time ever, Ada didn't pee on us before we got her diaper on. We are going to have to celebrate later with a bottle of wine. (read: bottle not glass). This is almost as big as Obama getting elected president people. Here we are, Ada in a diaper, Rick and I trying to get her dressed and all is well, and dry. Then I put a t-shirt over her head and she takes off in the other direction before I can pull it down around her neck. She's crawling away from me, unable to see since the t-shirt is completely covering her face, and what does she do? She runs head first into the metal radiator cover of course. Doink! Rick grabs her up, takes the shirt off her head and she just looks at us like "What happened?" We are holding back an enormous belly laugh for fear that she will burst into "What have you done to me?" tears and wails... but they never come. So Rick and I practically fall over laughing at her misfortune. She's totally fine, but I've got a cramp under my rib from laughing so hard at my little poop monster of misfortune.

Moral of the story: There is no such thing as a "normal" day when you have a child. All days are, however, sure to include several laughs. Hope your belly can handle it.