Thursday, August 30, 2012

One more 14 Post!

I realized I just did two pretty long posts about Mr.14 Months. Here's one more I just had to share though:

*The idea totally came from the video posted on Bower Power a few weeks was a good idea!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

14 Months!

This was a big month for Baby Boy because he started acting a lot more like a Little Boy! The change was gradual but almost every day we kept noting how much you were changing. You got so confident walking and playing outdoors that you've become pretty gutsy and don't hesitate to "run away" from us if there is something more interesting somewhere else. Your favorite activities are playing in the dirt, with a ball, cleaning (wiping down whatever we just cleaned) or exploring anything that has wheels!

You still love music and demand that we put it on first thing in the morning. But you also learned how to turn on the iHome by yourself when we are in the living room! And if a great song comes on, you start shaking your booty in just the cutest little dance. You will also bring us the little remote so that we can change the song if you are less pleased with the selection- amazing!

This new little music skill shows us yet again just how much you understand! You are incredibly observant and have some great hearing. You like to bring us things and let us show you what to do with them, for example opening a cap, and then you sit and practice a new skill. It seems like everything is just so easy for you to master right now!

You notice the faintest bark from outside and immediately want to go find the dog making that noise. This has encouraged a new word: vamos! It sounds more like "mamos" but is often accompanied by either grabbing shoes and bringing them to us, and/or running to the front door and trying to pry it open with your little fingers. Of course you also use it just anytime you want to play outside, which is a lot of the time, or when we tell you we're going to go on a walk and apparently we take too long getting ready!

Our days are quite full of your non-verbal requests as well: lifting up your leg trying to climb us when you want to be picked up, reaching for the stroller when you want to go on a walk, bringing us a book you want to be read, reaching for the high chair when you want a meal, finding the snack cup (in the stroller or my purse) and bringing it to me for a snack, or walking into the kitchen and pointing for water, the fridge, or the counter (where we keep some snacks).

Speaking of all these requests, you have earned yourself the nickname "Food Exorcist" (coined by Autie A). True to form, when anyone is eating anything, you go and beg to have some. Your sounds of desperation make us pretty much relinquish everything to you. It's actually on the verge of annoying, but still mostly cute.

The other big word you learned to say this month is "no". You will now go to places or things you're not supposed to touch or play with, wag your finger, and say "no, no, no" in a sing-song voice. You definitely understand the meaning of the word, although obeying it is still hit-or-miss depending on how desperate you are to explore.

In the world of hygiene, we have finally gotten back on the potty wagon after vacation hindered our routine. You've been more and more willing to sit, and if we're playing and we offer you to go you will run to the stairs for us to take you. We're starting to think we should pursue this more aggressively soon, but haven't been quite ready to pull the trigger. You also started brushing your teeth this month and you LOVE it and get really antsy if Daddy doesn't start just as soon as you are out of the tub.

On the flip side, at the beginning of the month your 5th tooth came in (ouch), then you had a couple weeks where you decided to be shy (strange..for you), and most recently you've decided to throw anything and everything down the drain (annoying..for us). But even with all those, you remain such a smiley, good-natured, fun kid! You fill our lives with joy and we love you very much!

Monday, August 27, 2012

What to Expect: The First Year

This is another book that I received as a gift, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised by how useful it was. It goes through month by month and what you can expect in terms of developmental milestones. It also includes little tidbits on feeding, sleeping, playing, idea for games and so on. I did notice that some of the advice (i.e. starting solids at 4 months) seems to be a bit outdated, but I also do not own the newest version so perhaps it has since been edited. Even though I never thought I would use a book like this, I ended up really enjoying having it as a reference to check little things (especially milestones, to know when they would be happening) and overall it was able to answer a large majority of my questions.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Why does United hate children?

Oh, United Airlines, what shall we do with you?

United has had some major problems recently:
But that's not what this post is about. This is about how families are treated rudely on United Airlines. The airline decided to get rid of pre-boarding "privileges" for families. I'm not sure what manager, sitting under fluorescent lights in his air conditioned office decided that pre-boarding is a privilege, and I'm not sure what the train of thought was when he decided to just get rid of it. It is a mystery. And a very inconvenient mystery at that.

Everyone that has flown with a child knows that it is not an easy feat. Parents come prepared with every last thing to make sure that the flight goes as smoothly as possible for everyone. No parent wants to deal with an unhappy child, nor with unhappy fellow passengers making snide comments. Therefore we pack A LOT OF STUFF. We bring toys and snacks and ipads and every last thing we can think of to make our child happy and the journey painless. We have our own carry-ons and personal items, plus the diaper bag and a stroller that we need to gate-check (and some have a car seat too)! This is a lot of stuff that needs to get accommodated under our feet and in the overhead bins, not to mention accommodating the kids!

After flying several flights with this company over the summer, I can say from personal experience that we were not treated like customers that had paid thousands of dollars for their flights. We were denied a bassinet because bulkhead seats cost extra now and nobody made any effort to accommodate us. We were bullied into changing our seats (aisle + window) to get two seats together (luckily we held our guns and stayed with our original seats). We were rudely informed of above mentioned new policy (not that it mattered because we were in boarding group 1 anyway, and the flight attendant that had just chastised us was pretty livid to see our faces within 5 minutes). The cherry on top was that they managed to bang up our stroller even though it was in a bag! There were also several non-child related issues that we had, but all in all it was a less than pleasant experience.

I'm not sure how to answer my own question, but it makes me frustrated that we are in a situation where we are stuck flying this airline because of limited service and that we have to support a company which doesn't treat us well.

/End Rant

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Routine (14 Months)

7:30- Wake up! Diaper change, nursing, playing in the bedroom for a few minutes while Mommy gets ready to go downstairs.

8:30- Breakfast: usually some type of bread and cheese, often times a little fruit as well.

9:30- 12:00- Morning activities: playing in the play area (with blocks, stacking rings, shape sorter, hammering pegs, puzzles- kind of, reading books), and/or doing errands, and/or going on a 5K walk or to the park, and/or meeting up with other mommies and babies.

Baby Boy got really great at using the hammer the past month

12:30- Lunch: main meal of the day, protein (fish, chicken, beans, garbanzos, lentils) + carb (pasta, rice, potatoes, tortilla) + veggie + (sometimes) fruit. You eat really well!

Baby Boy likes to feed himself so we're using suction bowls now, cuteness

13:30-15:00- Nursing + Nap time! Hallelujah!

15:30- 16:30- Play around the house and get ready for a walk outdoors. Often times involves roaming and playing with balls (we have a soccer player in training).

16:30- 17:45- Walk + park. Unless it's going to rain, we take a walk down the trail, occasionally do some small errands, and then stop at a park on the way home for play time (or just watching the older kids and dogs playing). Very important to note, that we cannot leave without snacks in the snack cup! Favorites include: cheerios or puffs, dehydrated fruit, cheese cubes.
The kiddo loves having a cap on, and sticking his thumb in his mouth for pictures

17:45- Dinner: very often includes oatmeal, yogurt, blueberries, some other veggies/fruit depending on what he already had during the day. After dinner we usually take about 15+ minutes to run around and burn that energy. Lots of ball kicking to get us nice and tired.

18:45- Bath: this is Daddy's domain. Baby Boy goes on the potty, then has a bath, then teeth brushing, tickle time, diaper and pajamas. Baby Boy especially loves when we leave the water running for him.

19:30-Mommy comes in for a final nursing, a chat about our day and the one to come, and into the bed. Good night, sweet dreams, Mommy loves you and we'll see each other tomorrow! (The mantra that started as wishful thinking has mostly become reality).

Monday, August 20, 2012

Diaper Free Before 3

I got this book when Baby Boy was right around 6 months old. I wanted to read as early as possible about healthy bathroom habits and how I could make potty learning easier for us. The first half of the book talks about the history of diapers and potty training. The author makes a great case for why earlier potty training is healthier for both the child and the environment. (Always a conspiracy with the this case diaper manufacturers trying to get kids to stay in diapers as long as possible).

The second half gives some ideas as to how to go about early potty training. This includes sitting the child on a potty from age 6 months onwards just to get them used to it, then putting them on the potty several times a day once they are in the 12-18 month range.

Overall I am definitely glad to have read it. I do have two main criticisms: The author is very anti-cloth diapers. It's obvious that she doesn't have experience with them and I found all the anti-cloth sentiments off-putting. Secondly, the method is a bit vague. I would have loved some more guidance and even more scenarios to know if what I am/could be doing is on track.

*So far we have Baby Boy sit on the potty once a day. Since we just got back from a long trip, we are going to stabilize our routine a bit more before moving on to the next step. Hopefully soon!

Friday, August 17, 2012

What's with the Wheels?

I have the sneaking suspicion that Baby Boy read a book called: "Real Boys Play with Wheels". It's like as soon as he became a toddler he reverted into some baby version of Tim the Toolman. The kid is obsessed with wheels: cars, trucks, buses, taxis, yes even the neighbor's minivan is riveting! When he's indoors it's all about his little vehicles (second only to his balls...) - the ones he had no interest in just a couple short months ago. As soon as he steps outside though, the real fun begins! He is obsessed with inspecting every rivet on our cars. On the off chance that his dad humors him with a "ride" in our bug he acts like the happiest person in the world! It is just amazing how he is becoming this little boy before our eyes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Changing Car Seats

Way, way, way back, when I was pregnant with Baby Boy, I did a lot of research on car seats. I decided that for our needs, driving about once a week or so (only to go grocery shopping actually), I had no need for an infant car seat, and could just go with a convertible seat that could stay in the car. I focused on a highly rated convertible that was particularly well suited for infants as well. This guided my search, and I finally found what I thought was the perfect seat for us, the First Years C670 True Fit Premier, which we promptly brought down from the US.

little baby

We used it happily for 6 months. Scratch that. It didn't fit very well from the beginning in our Acura, but we tolerated it for the first 6 months. The incline of our back seat made it a nightmare to position at the correct angle, but it was fine. Then at the 6 month mark we needed to add the top part because Baby Boy was getting too tall to be just in the infant part. Here started our big problem: the passenger seat needed to be all the way forward for the seat to fit properly rear facing. It was uncomfortable to say the least. (Also not very safe if the airbags were to inflate).

how I felt about my legroom

As soon as we knew we would be back in the US, I started researching car seats all over again. This time I had a different goal in mind: a seat that would take up the least amount of room (while still staying top-rated for safety of course). I wasn't too concerned with the weight limit because I figured that if I need to buy another seat in a couple of years then we would deal with that then (and who knows if we'll still have the same car). At the end of the day, we chose the Britax Roundabout and we could not be happier!

We used the seat during our beach vacation, and since I flew by myself I had to uninstall and reinstall at the airport on both legs of the journey. It was very easy to get it correctly installed, and most importantly, now that we are back home it fits amazingly well in our Acura. The passenger seat has so much leg room again! Love!

Monday, August 13, 2012

13 Months!

Full Disclosure: I had not planned on continuing monthly updates past the first year, but now I'm not ready to give them up. I guess I'll take it one month at a time and just see where it goes.

This month you mastered the art of walking. I can definitely say without hesitation that I have a full blown toddler now! It is exciting and tiring all at the same time! I love seeing how you explore and rediscover things that you only knew before from a lower angle.

We were traveling this entire month, but you were a trooper! We definitely had lots of sleep issues resulting in over-tiredness and extra brattiness, but you met so many people, visited so many places and just handled the changes with lots of laughs and smiles. When you were being good, you were extra cute!

Right on your first birthday, your two top teeth started coming in, and to compound all the changes, you were in quite a bit of pain as these two made their way through. On the flip side, you decided that you love eating whole fruits, and especially apples, now that you can use those teeth for some scraping action.

You tried lots of new foods- your first junk food and the allergenic stuff we were waiting for: milky, cakes, bamba (peanuts), strawberries, popsicles, ice cream, wafers etc. You also started consuming huge quantities of food; you're a growing boy!

You mastered a couple of extra skills: drinking with a straw, "cleaning" with an adult size mop (thanks to your new walking skills), and feeding us your food. You also perfected a couple others: fake laughing, to join the crowd when everyone else laughs, and picking up garbage on the street really fast (not loving this one). You had lots of extra Daddy time this month and it's really great how bonded you've become. We are just so amazed at what a cute, funny KID you're are turning into! Love you lots and lots!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Israel with a Baby / Toddler

Ok, where to start? Israel is very very very baby/toddler/child friendly. The people there love kids and are definitely willing to accommodate pretty much any situation. People will also take their kids pretty much everywhere, and at all hours of the day (i.e. a restaurant we went to on Friday night was packed with kids even though I wouldn't classify it a "family restaurant" by any means).

playgrounds are everywhere!

So getting around between different cities, a requirement to see the various tourist attractions, requires a car rental. Yes, there are buses and trains but I think convenience is definitely a factor with the kiddos. Then again, parking in big cities such as Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv is a nightmare, so I would suggest leaving the car in one place and using the light rail/local buses/taxis to get around. Both downtown areas are very walkable though.

on the light rail in Jerusalem

If we're on walking, then strollers are a must. Note that on a local bus, if you leave the stroller open you have to pay a passenger fare for it. It just so happens that our stroller, the Baby Jogger City Mini, was the most popular model we saw. People do a lot of walking so a good stroller is a necessary part of life. There are very few places where we had issues with the stroller that we needed a baby carrier, although I do think it is nice to have, especially if you make it to one of the many, many national parks.

The Mediterranean diet is very varied and full of fruits and vegetables. We had absolutely no problems finding foods that our kiddo would eat. Of note, Baby Boy loved the falafel, hummus, and Bamba! And pretty much every single restaurant we encountered had a booster seat for us.

stuffing his face at Max Brenner

Lodging, not particularly related to children, but I thought I should mention it, is very expensive. Especially in the summer, it's all about supply and demand and there's a lot more of the latter then the former. :/ In short, if you can get organized ahead of time, and survive the long flight over, you will have a fantastic time! Happy Travels!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Our Extended Vacation

After Israel, we were lucky enough to stop in the States for a couple of weeks before returning to Mexico. This time we packed up our things and went on a family vacation with my in-laws to Florida! It was just the relaxation we needed before coming back to reality. Baby Boy, having already been acquainted with the beach in Israel, was ready to go from the moment we got there. He had the best time getting dirty in the sand, "building" towers, "digging" holes, smearing us with sand, swimming in his floatie, kicking the waves, and splashing! The funny thing is that every time Baby Boy went into the water he instantly became sleepy. The ocean sounded just like the"waves" setting on his Sleep Sheep!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Our Vacation

So you've heard about the flight, and the sleep, but what about the rest, right?

This summer we went to Israel! It was first and foremost a family and friends visit, since we hadn't been there since our wedding, two years ago. Here are a few glimpses of our month there, and I'll be back with another post with some tips for anyone that might be thinking of visiting the Holy Land.

at the marina in Tel-Aviv

this is a fruit shake, and the very first time Baby Boy successfully drank out of a straw, I guess it was worth the effort

in Zichron Yaakov, walking on the grass with his new shoes

his first ever (unhealthy) popsicle

his first piano lesson

meeting new baby friends

devouring M's and my favorite restaurant food (we dined there countless times while we were dating)

his first ever bath in a laundry basket; it was a very big success!

exploring the shuk (market) in Jerusalem

lots of pool time!

at the Western Wall

at the zoo


If I had to sum things up, the trip involved eating (lots of new foods), walking (he mastered the skill while there), and visiting (all our activities actually revolved around visiting people, but for their privacy I'm leaving all those hundreds of pictures out). It was an extremely busy month, but Baby Boy had an amazing time!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Project Sleep: Jetlag

I really thought that the last post I wrote about sleep, was going to be the last one for a good long time. Ha! Our absolute biggest issue during the vast majority of the time we were traveling was sleep.

I'll start by talking about jetlag. We had an 8 hour time difference to get accustomed to. On the first two nights Baby Boy was awake from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. On the second two nights Baby Boy was awake from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. The next three nights, Baby Boy still woke up around 1 a.m. but I was able to get him down within half an hour. The rest of his crappy sleep I can't attribute to jet lag.

What we did to combat it was: waking him up in the morning, spending plenty of time outside during the day, and keeping it dark at night. Still, the formula for jetlag is generally one day for every hour difference, and in our case it definitely took that long. On the way back things were a tad easier and it only took about 4 days to get on schedule, partly because we arrived late at night and Baby Boy just collapsed out of exhaustion.

a rare solo nap, on the beach

The other stuff:
Moving from place to place and thus sleeping in unknown locations- no good
Sleeping on a crappy pack and play mattress- no good
Being at events during nap time- no good
Being out of the house way past bed time- no good
Too much driving (and Baby Boy napping out of boredom during the drive)- no good

Basically, it was a lot of triggers that resulted in a cycle of over-tiredness and us trying to catchup on sleep on days that were less busy, over and over again. In the end, it resulted in a lot of bad sleep habits, since by the final week he would only fall asleep in our arms. The solution: getting home.

From the moment we got back, we went back to our exact old routines, putting Baby Boy down drowsy but awake, and letting him figure out how to fall asleep on his own. We know that at this point he will manipulate any situation to get his way, so entering his bedroom was just not an option. Yes, it has involved some crying but not to the point we can't handle. It's not perfect yet, but we are well on the way to having our old routine back (11.5-12.5 hours at night and 1-2 hours during the day spread over two naps).