The 3 C’s of Our Life Right Now

Toddlerhood. I am, now more than ever, the parent of a toddler. A toddler with a very specific agenda: to rule the world.

Yesterday, instead of the playful noises that alery us that Zach has awakened,we heard screaming. We ran. Turns out Zach did a nosedive right out of his crib. Come to find out, he broke the damned thing. Hoss Baby. I have never heard of a baby breaking a damned crib. I mean, really. Broken. B-R-O-K-E-N. So the question remains, what the fuck do we do now? Do we a buy a new one for the 16-month-old who may get another year out of it, or less? Or do we put him in a toddler bed? I don’t think it’s time for that yet, as we still haven’t broken him of the damned swaddler. I mean, I think I’m going to have to see if they come in sizes for a 35-year-old man in nice manly patterns at this rate, but oh well. So back to the crib. Our solution is to buy a new crib. A semi-inexpensive one that will convert to a toddler bed when the time comes. And then maybe to a full headboard. But seriously, I have to buy a new fucking crib. Really.

So the other day, after sorting through bins of clothing lent to me by a coworker, I determine that Zach may need a few things for fall/ winter, but not much. And we still have our niece who is going to have a baby in November. So I have been hearing of this mythical land where they sell Carter’s clothes for dirt-cheap prices. I thought Carter’s were affordable to begin with, but these prices are apparently so low that they rival consignment shops and the hated Wally World in their prices. But it was about an hour a way. Don’t get me wrong–totally worth it—if you have that kind of time. I don’t think I have to explain that I most decidedly do not. But then I find out that they have one here in Cincy. Wha????? Sign me up. The CARTER’s STORE! Lo and behold, there is a place that sells nothing but Carter’s clothing. I thought it would be small. It wasn’t I thought it would be outlet-ish, with defects and off-season stuff. It wasn’t. And the best thing? 50% off everything in the daned store. Furthermore, when I kept having to drop stuff off at the register because my arms were full (I did this about 3 times), and I told the lady working the register that I didn’t even know they were there and had never been, she did the unthinkable. “GIRL, Let me HOOK YOU UP!”, she said. And she proceeded to pull a coupon out of a drawer for an additional 25% off f my entire order. Yep, that’s right. 75% all fall and winter stuff. I bought Zach 20 outfits, all size 24 months, to add to the other stuff we have. I also bought 15 outfits for our new great niece who is coming. AND a week’s worth of pajamas/ sleepers. AND some baby bath products. And I spent $305. Holla.

So I was feeling smug because the only thing left to buy Zach for winter is a light jacket, a winter coat, hat and mitten set, and shoes. No, wait. I forgot that I just bought three new pair of Pedipeds in the next sizes up. So just the outerwear. He already has a raincoat and boots that I bought this past spring because they were too cute, and also too big. That’s it. He should even have room in all of these clothes to keep growing. But…

Then the weather did some weird crap. It got cold, causing me to reach into those bags in a fit of desperation for a fleece sleeper one night. And I discovered that the shit fits him. Now. It fits him now. Well, the sleepers are roomy, due to the short-leg syndrome that plagues this family. But the clothes fit. Shit. But, the beauty of the place is that they gave me a 20% off coupon for my next visit, and for every $100 you spend, you get a card for $10 off your next order. So we are going back for the rest of the stuff this week. Love it. It you have one in your area, or even within reasonable driving distance,  GO! It will be worth it.

And finally, the third C, Crackers.

The trick to getting Zach to do anything is pish crackers. Yeah, I said pish and not fish because that is how we say it here. It’s just how we roll. And yes, I know that bribing my kid with any kind of food is teaching bad eating habits and will likely cause him to be Maury-Show-fat. But the person who is saying that as never tried to get a toddler to do anything. And so I bribe my ass off. And as a result, I have damned pish crackers coming out of my ears. There is a baggie of them in my purse, the car, the diaper bag. The pocket of the stroller, my backpack. We cannot go anywhere without them if we want to get any task completed. Or if we want to save our ears from the deafening screams.

Such is my life.

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It Just Goes To Show Ya

Kids!

If there is one thing I should have learned by now, it’s that kids will prove you wrong. That they are all different from the next one of their breed. That what works for one will most definitely not  work for another.

Everyday since Zachary has been about 8 months old, we have done this little dance. The Please-Drink-From-This-Damned-Sippy-Cup dance. I was starting to wonder if I will need to pack him some bottles when he leaves for college one day. And picturing him carrying a lunchbox to school with a bottle in place of the little thermos inside. Or him toasting at his wedding with a friggin’ bottle instead of a champagne flute.

One of the reasons I used the expensive brand of bottles that I did was that they make these silicone drinking spouts to replace the nipples when the time comes. And little handles. And all I should have had to do was switch them out when the time came. But Zach isn’t Evan. And he isn’t any kid out there, and thus my plan was foiled. And so I started buying every sippy cup they make. Playtex, Avent, Baby Bjorn. Different Tommee Tippee ones than the ones we tried. The cheap Nuby ones. Gerber. Just about every bright color and pattern they make. All to try to get this kid to drink from a farkin’ cup already. And then I saw this coupon for a cheap brand and I thought to myself: “Self, why the hell not???” And so I bought yet another cup. And it worked. Holy crap, it worked!And so now I am on a mad search to find more of these. Our Tarjay only had one that wasn’t hot pink, and I bought it up. It’s the Nuk trainer cup. Dude, if you see it online somewhere, let me know.

A Mom’s Life Reduced to This

For this post, I’m not going to sling astrophysics for you guys. I’m not going get into some deep discussion about end-of-life issues and bioethics like I encounter at work. I’m not going to get into my currentt study of business law or accounting or any other subject that I am encountering in my quest for my MBA.

Nope. Today we are going to talk about strollers. Yeah, I’m serious.

I wanted this expensive travel system when I was pregnant with Zach. And then bedrest hit and about 50% of my income went out the door as we were forced to live on the remainder of my vacation time and disability insurance payments. And so the posh things I was planning on buying got replaced with cheaper versions. And instead, I bought this. Nothing wrong with it at all. I loved the pattern I loved it so much that his swing and Pack&Play match. My only complaint was that it took up so much room in my car that there were many times when we were out and wanted to stop somewhere to buy something, like groceries, and had to go home and drop the stroller off first. And the back of my car is pretty damned roomy. It got old. Then our preemie turned out to be a chunkster and we had to upgrade to the Snugride 35 car seat. It worked great with the stroller, and we found it in the same pattern, so no harm, no foul. Except that the thing, plus the chunkster baby, weighed so damned much that I could barely lift it. As soon as he outgrew it, we headed for the convertible carseats and I was excited that I could abandon this monster and get something that would fit into may car along with the groceries. And I looked and looked, and was about to buy the original stroller I wanted, minus the infant carseat when John advised me to look for somethig cheaper, you know, just to see. Enter this damned thing:This is the Combi Cosmo EX. It wasn;t cheap, but feels like it. I love that it folds once, and then in on itself to make it the smallest stroller to haul, and it would be perfect for travel. It also feels as if it is going to disintegrate into a heap of stroller bits when you hit a bump. Screw it. So I am going to go and get what I wanted initially:This is the Peg Perego Pliko Switch. It has to be the most versatile stroller on the planet. And at $400, it had damned well better not fall apart. And if I would have gotten it from the beginning, I would have actually saved myself $400.

Mom was right: Do it right the first time. You truly get what you pay for…

 

(Side Note: Half of this post randomly disappeared. I tried to fix it with the speed reader’s version of what was said the first time.)

>Free Shopping is Lovely

> So I had this big in-store credit for the breastfeeding boutique. Which would have come in handy any time in the past 10 months, because this woman literally has every-stinkin’-product for breastfeeding moms that I have purchased. My herbal supplements, my end-of-the-alphabet-sized nursing bras. Even all of my nursing tanks I have layered under my clothes for all of this time (doesn’t seem like a biggie until you consider that everybody else carries the ones designed for stick-thin women, and aside from a few people I know, what mom is a stick immediately postpartum???). But now? Now that Zach is almost a year old and I have decided I am done? I didn’t think I would find a thing.

I was wrong. I was so wrong, And it all seemed free because I didn’t have to pay for any of it with plastic or paper! Which made me feel like I was on Cloud 9.

First of all, Big Baby Woombies. (B, you asked me about these a long time ago, and I wish I would’ve tried them then!) Here’s the skinny on the swaddlers: Zach still sleeps swaddled. He shoulldn’t because he is 10 months old, but he sleeps so well that way that I can’t fight it. But he gets his arms loose now, waking himself up. The Woombies are made like a sleeper, zipping all the way up to the neck, and are confining, but still stretchy enough for him to wiggle and squirm. And I got 2 of them. And we heart the Woombies. Seriously. They also have one that lets you gradually train them to sleep without it by gradually giving them more freedom with their arms. We will be using that, I can tell you right now.

Bebe au Lait Double Reversible Bibs: I bought only one of these because they were really pricey in my book. $25.00 for one bib, when I honestly usually buy the 10-pack of bibs at BRU for $10, simply because they get stained. But this bib seemed posh and cute and the design and concept was really neat, so I decided to try one. Plus, since they are made to match the patterns of Hooter Hiders nursing covers, the majority of the patterns were rather feminine, and I only found one pattern in the store that would not make Sniper John the Marine freak the eff out. But I love it enough that I will be ordering more. After I see how it holds up in the laundry, of course.
Baby Legs. I bought a pair of Baby Legs and they are the best thing since sliced bread! Because Zach is at that age where he wants to go go go, diaper changes have become a pain in the butt, especially when he does the dirty. He spends the entire time trying to get away, and some times he is successful. Anything that complicates that is bad–i.e. pants. But with these, you can keep his legs covered, all warm and protected as he crawls all over, yet he can be in a onesie, so diaper changes are quicker and closer to painless. He still protests, and now that he babbles more, the newest thing is to cry, “OhMAMAMAMAAAAA!”, which successfully breaks my heart and melts me in one step. But it really is quicker, so I have to endure the heartbreak less. Of course John couldn’t help but point out their resemblance to leg warmers of 80’s fashion, which had to be the most useless fashion fad ever (I still had them, though–don’t laugh at me!). The entire first night Zach had them, John was singing Pat Benetar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”. We need more of these, too.
I got a Maya Wrap. I know, I know. The Ergo was supposed to be the carrier to replace all of them. But I was talking about it being harder to use now that Zach is bigger and that the hip carry in it seems way complicated. And the woman’s daughter, there working with her 18-month-old daughter in tow, did a demonstration for me on carrying a big baby in it, and I was sold. We used it today at the park and it worked like a charm.
And finally, the subject of the picture above: I bought Zach a Sophie the Giraffe. So many people I know swear by this teething toy. And here’s the thing: Zach really doesn’t gum anything. We have tried anything and everything: those soft flexible hands and feet that Evan loved when he was a baby (boy, did I have to hunt for them in order to try them for Zach!), textured rings, rattles with teething ends on them, the water-filled ones that go in the fridge, wooden ones….Anything that would catch his interest and would relieve his sore gums. The kid still has no teeth, so I want him to find something that works in order to help him help himself to break them through. They’re still right there! The only thing we hadn’t tried was Sophie. (“Sophie le Girafffffeeeee” according to a coworker of mine with a 7-month-old girl). And so I got Zach a Sophie. And it went like this: I bring it home, and John sees the price tag and flips out that I spent $25 on a rubber teething toy, first of all. I am trying to explain to him that it is the teething toy, and apparently Mason of Kardashian fame even has one (again, the girl at work). And it is going to cure the endless teething. I mean, we are going to wake in the morning and all 4 of the teeth that are straining against Zach’s gums are going to be out. All because of $25 Sophie. And then I get the box opened. And the first thing that comes to mind is a 99-cent doggy chew toy. It really does have that texture. And smell. And sound. Honestly I am kind of appalled because I immediately think that I could have gone to Petsmart and achieved the same effect. I mean, am I giving my baby a dog toy? But I get over it and give it to Zach.
Zach effing hates Sophie. He puts it up to his face, and I think this is it, he is going to chew on it! But then he must’ve smelled her aroma, which smells like a box of latex gloves or a freshly unwrapped Trojan (you pick), and he wrinkles his nose and throws her. And I retrieve her and give her back to him. Same reaction. I had the camera all ready to take a picture for you, but he kept throwing her. Finally, while he was all smiley and interacting with me, I slyly sat Sophie on his lap and snapped the above pic. What you don’t see in it is that 2 seconds after the pic was taken, he discovered that the offending giraffe was back, and Sophie abruptly flew across the room again. We are a stubborn bunch, though, and Evan and I are dead-set on teaching Zach to love Sophie like he is supposed to. John just laughs at us, but between Evan and I, Sophie is always there with Zach. He’ll get used to her and we’ll have the miraculous teeth popping through little swollen gums, I swear. That has to be the case because I am out of options for the teething, y’all.
And so that concludes my free shopping experience, It was real. It was fun. I got some stuff I love for the baby. And then I was abruptly thrust back into the real world by a phone call that Zach’s new Pediped shoes had come in and I had to go and pay for the $200 shoe order. Such is life.

>It’s The Little Things

>On today, of all days, which happens to be the most difficult day on the calendar for me, I am choosing to distract myself with the little things I am loving right now that make life grand. Here’s my list:
1. It’s downright spring-y out there! Which means the neighborhood stroller brigade is out in full force. And while I am working at least 4 hours a day for the next 5 days, I will be able to join them. I can also bust out the Ergo carrier and away we go. To the park. For long walks. Window-shopping downtown. Hell, I don’t care. We can go. And for the first time in a year, nobody is having a million contractions an hour or recovering from a c-section while the weather is nice.


2. International Delights coffee creamer. Seriously, folks. John likes Skinny Caramel Macchiato while I am partial to Skinny Vanilla Latte flavors. Both are fat free and delicious and eliminate my need to visit Starbucks daily. Speaking of Starbucks, the last time the entire fam went in there, by the time I tipped the barista, we dropped $20 on 3 drinks. Fo’ reals. So I am loving this crap. And my fridge is stocked with it.

3. Reebok RunTone shoes. Now don’t get me wrong: I am most definitely not a part of this new idiotic shoe craze. I do not believe for one second that a shoe is going to melt the fat on my ass, despite the fact that just about every major athletic shoe manufacturer has come up with their own version. But these were cute. And on sale for less than $100. And I needed new gymnies for work. And I bit. And tried them on. Helll-oooooo, Fat-Feet Heaven! And so they are mine.

4. Motherlove’s More Milk Plus. Whoooooot! Because after the pumping debaucle at work last week (or lack thereof) this crap brought the supply back up in about 3 days. Well, that and me pumping like a madwoman again. Actually my pumping output tripled in that amount of time. And it replaced the gazillion other supplements I take because it has them all in it. I was taking 2 Goat’s Rue, 3 Fenugreek, and 3 Blessed thistle capsules 3 times daily. Now I take 2 of these babies 3 times daily. For a third of the price. Holla!

5. A while back, I fell in love with Pediped baby shoes. And bought Zach 4 pair in th 0-6 months size. And they fit so well for so long that I was sure he wouldn’t need a bigger size until he started walking, and thus ordered the next size up in the “walking” versions instead of soft-soled. But they were huge on him, and I ended up ordering 4 more pair in the 6-12 months size of the soft-soled and put these on a closet shelf. Now that Zachy is getting bigger and starting to explore pulling himself up to standing, I tried these on him and they fit. I have several pair, but these are just 2 of the styles I bought for him. A-freakin’-dorable! And so I felt justified in ordering the next size up, this time in sandals and other spring/summer styles. Shopping for shoes, even if they are baby shoes, makes everything better.

6. I’m working tonight. A little 4-hour “princess shift”. This time yesterday, I was off work for today. Then my boss called to tell me a coworker, who has never called in in the time I have been there, called in sick for today. And so I gave up my full day off to help out. Why would this be on this list? Well, because it is difficult to think of your woes and feel sorry for yourself when you are running to codes or trying to keep people alive. Talk about a distraction!

7. My house is full right now, even though Ben is absent. It will never make up for it, but it is good to know. I get to hear the sounds of John playing with our boys. Of Evan’s laughter in the house while he is off of school today (no idea why–not a holiday or Holy Day–hmmmmmm). Of Zach’s squeals of delight.

8. Zach has learned to give Eskimo kises and it is too cute for words.

9. Still-toothless baby smiles. Don’t get me wrong-I want him to cut his teeth. But there is just something so innocent, so pure, so new about a flash of naked gums when a baby smiles. And I am choosing to enjoy it while I can. It won’t be much longer. (Incidentally, Evan took this picture of his baby brother just minutes ago while I was typing this. I love that you can get a true glimpse of Zachy’s reaction to his big brother in the pic.)

10. This. This right here. Big Brother reading to Baby Brother. Because even in Ben’s absence, this house is full. Of love. Of togetherness. Because Ben is the only one who could mke this better for me. Other than that, this is as good as it gets. Life with my two miracles and the love of my life. And because I can look at the boys, with their love of books, and see myself in them. I am there. And if I am there, then Ben is too, even if none of them realize it. And that is a beautiful thing.

>Zach’s New Ride, The Awesome Husband Award, and the Pot and Kettle

>

Zach got a new ride a few days ago. Well, Zach got a lot of new things this week. Evan too, for that matter. It all started with the car seat. We had purchased a big-boy carseat and had a “carseat tech” install it, but then when Evan tried to get in the car next to it, he didn’t have room to even get a seat belt latched, and so the carseat immediately was taken out of the car and replaced with Zach’s infant carseat once again. We returned it for a refund, but then had to revisit the whole issue once again. We have solved the problem because this time, Evan went with us, and we secured both boys in the car to be sure before we even left the BRU parking lot. And I was so happy because not using Zach’s infant carseat meant there was no longer a reason I had to use the companion stroller.
I hated that stroller.
If you have a stroller in your car, you’re a mom. And if you’re a mom, you’re going to need to get groceries. And that damned stroller was so big that I had to put it in the house if I planned on buying more than 2 or 3 bags of groceries. Seriously. With only 2 kids, I shoudn’t need a cargo van to go to the supermarket. So Ta-Daaaaaaa! I now had an excuse to buy a new, more compact stroller. But I hate umbrella strollers. Geeez, I really am hard to please. So we found the solution: The Combi Cosmo EX stroller. Light. Folds easily. And not only does it fold flat like the other one, but once flat, it folds again in half, making it ultra compact. And it looks all cool with brushed chrome. The only con was the lack of cupholders to carry the requisite Venti Mocha that it takes to get me to do anything productive, but that was fixed with a $6 attachment. Love it. And if (or when) we have another, The Combi Shuttle infant caseat is compatible with it.
As for the Awesome Husband Award, John takes top honors. I keep thinking I’m going to find out that he shrunk a favorite sweater while doing laundry, or broke a figurine while dusting. Something must be off, and I’m sure it has nothing to do with the Super Bowl today because I will be at work when it’s on and have no say in whether he watches it. But as I fell asleep after work his morning, he gave me a foot massage. When I woke up, he brewed me a fresh pot of coffee and brought me lunch here at my desk. And right now, as we speak, he is on the way to pick up a supplement for me. On the other side of Cincinnati, about 45 minutes away. And the supplement is More Milk Plus. And he is most definitely male and not lactating. Whatta guy. I must admit that it makes me chuckle to picture Sniper John of Marine Corps fame going up to someone and asking them where they keep the More Milk Plus.
And the shoes. OMG the shoes. While I was getting my eyes checked a couple of days ago, John went to a shoe store in the mall to buy Evan the new shoes. We decided it was easier to guestimate them fitting and potentially having to return them that it was to deal with Evan at the actual store. And the night before, as I was looking online at the shoes Ev wants, John walked into the room an threw an ever-loving fit. “Andrea, you are NOT going to spend that much on shoes for Evan!!!!” But they were cute. I actually was wondering if they had them in pink in my size. But even my inner Shopaholic had to admit that John had a point, so I planned on doing some sale surfing the next day at the mall. Lo and behold, John did it. That was good, since my eye exam rendered me pretty useless. But I just saw the shoes about 30 minutes ago. Purchased by the man who yelled at me over expensive shoes for Evan. Apparently I can’t buy Evan expensive shoes, but John can. Because I pull the box out of the bag and immediately see the contradiction when I spy the little outline of the man in the jumpng position on the top of the box. Yep. John bought him Jordans. You know, because Jordans are so cheap and all. “But they were on sale like you wanted,” says John. Yeah. Okay. Their sale price was the same as the full price of the ones I was going to buy. I can see how that makes sense, John. And besides, the last time we bought Ev Jordans, a classmate of his was jealous of them and intentionally stepped on them with mud-covered feet on the first day he wore them. I think I need to devise some sort of plan to get even with the man. Hmmmmmm. I think I need a new purse…..

>Is There a Degree for That???

>So the story starts out with Curious George. His wife is feeding the baby, but there are errands to run (bathseat!) and so the wife tells Curious Gearge to go and take the base for the infant carseat out of the car and put the Big Boy carseat in there in the rear-facing position, because The Chunk is not a year old yet! It should be simple. The anchor doesn’t need to be used because of the rear-facing thing, and the LATCH system makes it easy. But time passes. Zach finishes his apples and bananas. He finishes 5 ounces of breastmilk. I have pumped. No John.

I am just about to go and check on him when he comes, huffing and puffing, through the door with beads of sweat on his forehead. And he is pissed. And he tells me that everything is basically some form of shit or another. My car, the LATCH system, the carseat we chose….And then he tells me he needs my help. And so I go. In the shorts and tee I had on. In 27-degree-weather. The LATCH is about half an inch from latching. It won’t reach. And so I put all of my weight into, pushing it toward the seat back, while John uses all of his upper body strength to try to get it latched. Both of us keep taking breaks because we are straining so hard. And we give up. We think that maybe, since Zach is 20 lbs. now, that it will be okay to face him forward, and when we turn it around, the carseat installs like a dream.

But I know it can’t be right. And so I think to myself that our fire departments do checks on carseat installation, and so I call them.

And I spoke to a real-life Carseat Technician. Seriously. What are the education requirements for that, exactly?

But we ended up having him install the seat for us. And I am glad I did. The safety features of my car made it difficult, even though they were supposed to make it easier. He spent the better part of an hour working on getting it in there. And when the manual said it shouldn’t move more than an inch in any direction, he made sure. He’d wiggle, then get out a ruler. Wiggle, ruler…on and on. It really was hialrious. Zach has got to be the safest baby in the world right now.

So the moral of the story is to check your local fire department. You may have a highly skilled carseat technician in your area!