Monday, July 30, 2012

Flying with a One Year Old

*We were gone for 6 weeks, and now we're back. I have some catchup posting to do. Here are some lessons I learned (the hard way):

We had 24 hours of travel time spread over 3 flights. Flying during the day is ROUGH. Baby Boy wanted to move all.the.time. This doesn't work well in economy. The short flights were manageable, just barely. The long one (11 hours); I never want to relive that again. Imagine: a toddler climbing on your lap up and down, up and down; stepping on your bladder for the twentieth time in a row; lifting the window shade up and down, up and down. And guess what he did with the arm rest? Yup! Up and down, up and down! The only time we got a little relief is when he was eating, or walking in the aisle, and there's only so much you can do that.

Baby Boy, being the good kid that he is, didn't cry. But in his typical fashion, made friends with the people in front, in back and to the side of us- initiating peek-a-boo games, coercing them to pay attention. By all accounts he was the perfect traveler. Except that all accounts don't account for my bladder.

Surprisingly enough, on the direction when our long flight was at night, Baby Boy slept 7 hours!!! So the remaining 4 hours of entertaining were not bad at all. Then again, thank goodness I was flying with M because he laid across our laps, and, needless to say, would not have been able to do that without both of us there. Other games he liked: taking the magazines out of the seat pocket and play telephone with the remote. Contrary to the advice I had read, he had no interest in "new" little toys I brought, nor in old favorites, nor in watching t.v. (then again we don't let him watch at home, so maybe that's why).

On our flight on the way there, we had a short flight in first class. Heaven. The other passengers were skeptical of course, but they had nothing to worry about. The extra space meant that Baby Boy could stand on the floor in front of us and was amazing! The seat was also large enough that he could situate himself for a short nap.
This also meant that we had club access during our layover. We took the opportunity to wash Baby Boy in the showers and dress him in pajamas in anticipation of the night flight. It made everything so much more manageable.

On a side note, I also had two short solo flights with Baby Boy. And I learned that the shorter the better. Two hour flights are not a big deal, even on my own. Then again....lots of snacks....lots and lots of snacks.

Advice: Fly first class, ha! Perhaps breaking up the trip into 2 with a couple days in between, and definitely not flying that long with a one year old during the daytime! Otherwise, a healthy dose of "just deal with it" is all I can offer.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

One Year

Things I don't want to forget from the first year:
How you shake two hands when you're excited
How you try to catch water between your hands, hovering by the stream
How you pucker your lips and put head back when full of milk
How you light up the room and make people smile, wherever, whenever and all the time
How you practice your skills over and over with sheer determination
How you're not a cry baby
How you've been trying to assert independence from the very beginning
How you come for hugs and kisses all day long, in the middle of playing
And how much you make me laugh with your cute shenanigans!

I can already see the change; I have a toddler now.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Baby Boy's Birthday Day

On Baby Boy's actual birthday, we had a fun day that was mostly about him, and partly about preparing for his party the next day. Regardless, I think he had an amazing time.

We started with a supermarket expedition, where Baby Boy was certain the balloons at the entrance had been put up just for him! (He did after all, wake up, to a lot of balloons already decorating the house).

Since his birthday cake was still in the works, we let him have a pudding treat instead.
It was a very big success!

We had to temporarily clear the floor of ballons to take his last monthly picture!

And finally, we went on a family trip to the beach! He was a little concerned at first, but ended up having a great time in the water!

It was a long day, but amazing and full of lots of little memories!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Baby Boy's Bee Themed Birthday Party

Baby Boy's birthday party was a day after his birthday, at his grandparents' house. We brought all of our home-made decor, and had a two part event: lunch with friends and dinner with family. Our focus was to make it a fun day for the kiddo, including some of his favorite things: balloons, bees, and lots of attention.

Coming in: balloons and hexagon shaped "Mazal Tov" banner. The banner I made with foam: I traced the hexagons and freehanded the letters, then strung them all together with an oversized needle and thread. Obviously the picture was taken before we had tidied up for the party.

On the side opposite the hexagon banner hung Baby Boy's monthly pictures. I used a craft punch to cut out printed numbers that I glued on, and attached all the pictures to the string with paper clips.

The main table before we had taken all the food out. The little bee figurines I found at the dollar store, tablecloth overlay are just two pieces of 1 yard fabric, and on the right are little goodie bags and a photo album with pictures from the kiddo's first year. Near the back you can see beehive coloring pages that the little kids colored later on.

Baby Boy with his home-made party hat (lasted all of about 1 minute on his head). The hat was made of card stock, covered in felt, with foam pompom and ribbon around the edge.

Baby Boy had a blast with pizza and watermelon for lunch!

Baby Boy's bee birthday cake; it looks very home-made (there were some frosting issues), but it tasted delicious!

Baby Boy approved, so that's all that matters! He actually said "mmmmm"; it was cute!

Lots of balloons on the floor and Baby Boy playing with one of his favorite gifts!
(It's a xylophone that floats in the bath=genius!)

All in all it was a wonderful day!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

That Moment

You know what I love? The hour after yoga class.

Mommy and Baby yoga class always ends up being during Baby Boy's normal nap time, but the excitement and stimulation keeps him going and excited and flirting the whole time. Then we get in the car for the short drive home and the kid zonks out. We're home within 15 minutes, so I do a quick transfer into the crib and then I have a peaceful hour.

I'm tired and hungry. My aching muscles don't have the will to clean the house or do anything else productive. So I sit. I sit with tired legs, sometimes with a sandwich in hand, and I rest, and think, and waste time on the internet. It is a moment of bliss.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

SAHM Strategies for Sanity

*As a follow up to my earlier post about the difficulties of being a SAHM, here are some of the strategies I use to not just survive, but also ENJOY my days with Baby Boy.

Transitioning into the role of a mother is huge for anyone and everyone. Becoming a Stay at Home Mom, though, requires a new level of adjustment. People, in the most general sense of the word, think that you are home all day having fun or lazing around watching t.v. or just not having to go to work. Therefore, you're expected to not only be the cook and the cleaning lady, but also daycare for your child. The reality is much, much different. Here are my prime coping strategies:

Don't expect to get anything done:
All mothers know that it is difficult to get stuff done around the house while taking care of a child; this is only exacerbated if you are home every day. Think of the twelve hours that your child is awake as daycare. You are the teacher. Just like you wouldn't expect your child's teacher to cook a three course meal while watching, stimulating and educating your child, you can't expect the same thing of yourself. If you get an extra long nap and do get something done around the house, think of it as a bonus- yay! Otherwise know that you are doing your best at your most important job- raising your child.

Plan activities:
When you were working, you probably had a schedule with meetings, lunches and other planned times of the day. In between you did your routine job. I plan for one special activity per day, one neighborhood walk, and the rest is "routine".

Routine includes: playing with toys, reading books, listening to music/dancing, baby pool time, or just letting Baby Boy hang out on his own for a little while.

Weekly Activities look something like this:
Monday- Park
Tuesday- Mommy Group
Wednesday- Grocery Store
Thursady- Play date
Friday- Baby Yoga

Doing your thing:
There are days, when you just need to do your own thing at some point during that 12 hour day. For this I have a few strategies:
1) Keep a few toys in different areas of the house- I keep a few (special ones) in my bedroom so that I can give them to Baby Boy if I'm getting dressed. There are also a few in his own bedroom that are hidden in the bottom drawer of the dresser. He knows that he can get them out on his own, but when we leave the room I always put them back so that he can re-discover them next time.
2) Singing in the shower- I've found that it's not a problem to shower with Baby Boy playing on the bathroom floor. I give him a couple "new" items to play with, such as empty shampoo bottles, and if he starts to whine there's always singing or just talking to him.
3) Meals in the kitchen- I try not to do this too often, because I prefer to sit with Baby Boy at the dining table, but if I really need to cook or be in the kitchen, I will put Baby Boy in his high chair in the kitchen and give him his meal there.
4) Laundry as a game- It's easy to name the different pieces as I fold, or relinquish a few sheets to turn into tents or wind makers, the only catch is that you need to have a place to put your folded laundry that is out of reach of the little tornado.

Remember how lucky you are!
In general, we choose to stay at home with our little ones; I know that I certainly do. Being at home to witness every milestone, seeing the daily and even hourly development in understanding, observing the kiddo learn a new skill, that's what it's all about. It's a privilege to stay at home, so when I'm having a rough day I remind myself how lucky I am!