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  • Archive for the ‘Baby Teddy’ Category

    We chose to take a short vacation to North Padre Island for Forest’s second birthday instead of having a party. While part of me still wished for that party, I’m very glad we opted to go on a vacation and spend some time at the beach because Forest loved it so much! We kept it pretty simple, chosing to find a hotel that had a kitchenette so we could cook some meals in our room and for the most part we just stuck to heading for the beach with one excursion on Forest’s birthday into Corpus Christi to go to the Texas State Aquarium. Compared to last year this was definitely a difference, having a running and walking toddler with a mind of his own on the beach is a little exahusting! Swimming lessons are definitely in order sometime soon!

    We kept his birthday celebrations pretty low-key, picking up three cupcakes at the grocery store on our way back from our city visit. Forest had been picky with food for a few days, we think his teeth were bugging him, but he sure wasted no time in shoving down a cupcake for his dinner! He has an ever expanding vocabulary these days though plenty of babbling sentences, too! Love this little kid!

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    This kid: turning into a big boy, got a hair cut, always has a cracker in hand, ready to explore the world.

    Love, love, love him!

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    These days, the toddler is much more of a toddler than he has ever been. There’s glimpses of little kid coming through, too. I realized this more the other day when I was looking at photos from February’s trip to Village Creek State Park. He’s a baby in those photos! I know that in six months I will look back on photos from this summer and think he was so little now and that yes, this will be never ending.

    Forest’s verbal skills are improving immensely but he hasn’t hit the sentence stage yet. Words that he’s never even tried to say will just come out all of a sudden. Sometimes he repeats them but sometimes he says them once and tucks them back in for a later date. Others, like Nooooo are a favorite! He’s been using that for probably two months and saying it even more, usually mixed in with something he does in fact want. Just the other day I asked if he wanted another piece of bread to which he replied with “Noooo” and signed ‘more’ at the same time. So, ya know, sometimes no means more!

    He loves to read books and magazines and we’ve gotten good at working through most common animals and noises. He is great at repeating sounds or telling us what sound a particular animal makes. When he says a word we repeat that word and tell him good job and keep working on the language skills. Forest may not talk a lot but he understands just about everything. He even understand enough to ignore but also to follow directions—when he’s not choosing to ignore.

    We have alphabet magnet letters as well as alphabet puzzle pieces but Target had a huge section of $1 Spot teacher stuff in their bins a few weeks ago so I bought a package of sticky-felt letters that I put onto construction paper and cut out. My goal was to start him on letter recognition, which seemed to work a little—I held a letter up and told him what it was and many letters he repeated it—but then they turned into something in which to chew on so it’ll be a more supervised activity from now on!

    It’s hard to write everything that he does now because he does so much little kid stuff. I will definitely say it is a little easier with him being able to communicate somewhat, though there are still plenty of times we don’t know why he’s having a tantrum (or as my brother coined, a Forest Fire!). He’s really good at body parts and last week he had something in his eye and he was able to come to me and tell me ‘eye’ as he was rubbing it, letting me know that he had a problem. I love this!

    We’re still nursing, too. I never thought I’d go this long but here we are and he shows no signs of wanting to stop. I’m still debating about stopping pumping when he turns two; I still pump once a day around lunchtime. I’ve donated all of my frozen milk, though I have one bag of frozen as a backup, so I just pump the 3-5 ounces and he gets that at daycare with his meals and snacks, along with water. Just for that reason and because I’d rather he drink that instead of cows milk, I’ll probably keep pumping. It doesn’t take long, five minutes now, so it isn’t that big of a deal. I know almond milk is an alternative (and our pediatrician actually recommended it) but because he’s in the stubborn/picky toddler eating phase where he sometimes-not-all-the-time eats meat or beans (protein sources), I’d rather he still get a milk with a higher protein content, and almond milk doesn’t have that. I don’t know, all of that is still up in the air. I’m definitely going to be turning into that ‘crazy’ extended breastfeeding lady you see on the news very soon. I’m comfortable with our choices to keep breastfeeding this long, despite some annoyances at times. It’s been good for us!

    I/We haven’t been great at taking photos the last few months and I’m kicking myself for it so we’re trying to make up for it. Our point and shoot died and we finally got another so we should be getting back into taking videos. Gotta catch all of the cute little phrases and mannerisms before they disappear! Now, a bunch of adorable toddler photos…

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    Oh, we were forced to try a booster seat at a restaurant for the first time, due to the table we were put at. We were nervous about it but he did really well!

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    Um, this sweet gum ball is rough!

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    The title of this post should actually be Toddler-Who-Pulls-Labels-And-Gets-Into-Things…but that’s ok, our future gardener loves being outside and we (mostly) love chasing him around the yard. It certainly gets the Fitbit steps in even if Chris and I have to take shifts.

    Happy Friday! Hope you get some gardening in this weekend!

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    As a perpetual flower picker, Forest had a lot of fun running around the bluebonnet and paintbrush fields at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. We had to gently tell him that he couldn’t pick all the flowers, that he had to save them for other people to enjoy! The shiner on his eye is from daycare; Forest is entering the toddler always-has-a-boo-boo phase of life.

    I didn’t take many other photos at the wildflower center but I’ve got tons from our camping trip. I hope to get a few posts up soon about that.

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    We’re deeply entrenched in toddlerhood. Except, when I look at Forest, I can easily see him as a little boy already. The baby-baby is long gone. It’s a fast and subtle change. It seems that every few weeks is a new transition, something that will throw us (and him) off for a few days until we get back into the swing of things. Most of that has to do with sleep…sleep is *hard* around here.

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    At his 18 month checkup Forest was 24 lbs and 9 ounces and 32 inches long. I knew he had grown a few inches since his visit in early December and I believe it was at least 2 or 3 inches. We’re into full-on tantrums but I’ve found that if you let him just get the tantrum out, usually it’ll fade off in a few minutes and he’s happy again. Or just change the subject and move on! He’s working on exercising his new found ability to have freedom and opinions and that’s what half of the tantrums are. I have an opinion and I’m going to express it!

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    As for talking he’s still a really big babbler and isn’t saying too many words. He’s said a smattering of various words in the last six months but the most consistent are mama, dada, sometimes he’ll say mom, no, and night-night. In the last week he’s been trying to say bubble and puppy. I accidentally called him bubba one day, a tongue twist of trying to say baby and changing my mind in the middle, and he repeated it thinking I had said bubble! However, he may not use real words yet but he does understand just about everything we tell him. He will point to things and we’ll say the words to them or if we ask him where something is at, his favorite is his balloon and the light above the kitchen table, he’ll point to them. He’s also fond of pointing out the fans in the house. I think in the next few months the words will just start pouring out of his mouth and it will be a fun day when he starts doing that!

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    Food-wise, he’s turning into a typical toddler. We typically try to start by offering him whatever we’re eating for dinner, which depending on what that is he may or may not eat. Then we move onto something we know he will eat. He’s still nursing some during the day when I’m with him but we definitely stretch it out quite a bit. Sometimes if we’re sitting around the living room he’ll come up and ask to be picked up and throw himself to my chest and we’ll nurse multiple times in the course of an hour or two, but then other times we’re going 4-5 hours or longer if we’re out and about. Nighttime is still his biggest nursing time. *grumble grumble* on my end, there.

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    His attention span is definitely getting longer and he has no problems playing on his own for a long period of time, giving Chris and I a chance to relax on the couch or to do chores. We’ve actually not been doing much in the way of tv these days, except maybe on a weekend, but I have been showing him some crazy cat videos on YouTube sometimes. He *loves* seeing the cats fall in the water and run! Apparently, that’s hilarious! If he does watch tv we’ve been trying to put some more nature-type shows on for him to watch. Sometimes it’ll hold his attention and other times it won’t. I found the Brave Wilderness YouTube channel the other day and it has a lot of good, short videos that he really enjoyed. He *loved* the wolf video!

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    Forest still loves to read and has no problem finding books to sit down and flip through. We’re starting to be able to read to him incrementally as his attention span gets longer, but he mostly enjoys flipping through and looking at the photos. He was rambunctious one morning as we were getting ready for work/daycare and I sat him in his Elmo chair and handed him a book. He sat there and flipped through it for quite awhile; I had even gone outside (Chris was inside) to do a few things and when I came back he was still there, reading! Please, be a reader! Please!!!!

    His most favorite thing in the world, though, is to be outside. Which is pretty awesome for us, but remember those tantrums? He does not like to come in when we have to! Forest loves looking up at the birds, finding flowers to pick, just wandering around…whatever. If it is outside, he’s happy! Now, to get him not to wander off every 30 seconds…

    He does not like his socks and shoes on when he gets in the house but if he thinks he can go outside, such as if he sees one of us go out the door for whatever reason, he will go get his shoes, sit down, and try to put them on! He has definitely tried helping when I put his shoes on, latching the velcro and such. Clever little dude!

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    I briefly mentioned sleep, but sleep is definitely an issue. I did read that there’s a big 18-month sleep regression and it’s pretty rough. I figure that’s what we’re dealing with right now. I’m doing my best to be patient but it gets old when I’m sitting there with him while he’s trying to go to sleep in his crib. I mean, yeah, I’m reading on my phone but really, I’d like to be able to leave the room and get some other things done. Especially when the time changes, I plan to add some running into my evenings in addition to whatever gardening I want to do outside. And he’s still waking up in the middle of the night. Where it used to be that he would go back to sleep and I could put him in his crib; that isn’t happening now. He *knows* that I’m creeping away and sits straight up and wails. He may have actually been asleep, too. So frustrating. It’s insane because in early February we were actually getting a few times with one wake-up and then he’d sleep until 4 or 5 am, or even a few nights of pretty much sleeping through the night. I guess I’ll just ride it out like always. Oh…naps. Naps! Sometimes they are great, he goes down easy. Sometimes they aren’t. And I just give up, he doesn’t get a nap that day. I don’t know how daycare does it!

    All in all, the kid is keeping us on our toes, making us laugh, and teaching us how to be patient. Forest is incredibly sweet and we love him so, so much! Leo…Leo might not be loving him so much now that Forest has figured out how to chase him! I think Leo’s getting a lesson in patience, too!

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    I started this post as a draft in May of last year and it has been sitting in my drafts folder since then. At that time I thought I’d impart what little wisdom I had with car camping with a baby, two whole camping trips, but never got around to writing my thoughts down. Since life is different now and I have a toddler I’ve opted to tailor this towards our current experiences with car camping, that with a toddler. Needless to say they are vastly different and yet still share similar qualities.

    My first tidbit of advice is going to be find yourself a lot of Patience. You’re going to need it.

    So far our experiences of camping with a toddler have been one experience of very early toddlerhood at about 13 months, and two camping excursions in toddlerhood at around 17 months old. For us, they have been vastly different because that first experience involved a non-walking toddler. The last two have involved a very active and exploratory toddler who wanted to walk everywhere.

    • Divide and Conquer
      With a very active toddler that isn’t easily to corral, you can pretty much guarantee that one parent is going to be doing the bulk of the setting up and taking down while the other is going to be the one to do a lot of the toddler wrangling. Sure, the toddler wrangling parent can help out here and there if the toddler is behaving in an appropriate manner (not shoving leafs, sticks and debris in mouth; not running into the road; not throwing a tantrum; etc…) but those appropriate manners might buy you a few minutes to help the other parent set up one side of the tent or to grab something out of the truck. Currently it seems that Chris is the main camp setter-upper-taker-downer. I help when needed but mostly I wrangle the toddler. Sure, this definitely makes getting camp set up and taken down take a lot longer than it used to, but remember the motto of parenthood: This too shall pass.

    • Gear
      A lot of the gear is similar to what I wrote about in Tips for Hiking with a Baby just because camping and hiking gear go hand-in-hand. One bit of gear that we had to figure out once Forest was eating table food was where he would eat at camp. During our trip to Martin Dies State Park back in October he was still able to hang out in his walker and utilize that as a place for eating. Without a walker we had to come up with another idea. Chris found this foldable highchair that has worked perfectly for us. It is easy to stash in the truck and the tray is easy to clean.

      Aside from that I wouldn’t say there’s much other gear that’s completely unique for toddlers to get other than a small camping chair. We learned that last month at SFA State Park when he wanted to sit in our chairs. On our way to the state park most recently we stopped by Academy and picked up a little camp chair just for him. He only sat it in a few times but it came in handy for those rare occasions he wanted to chill out for a few minutes.

      We still take our Pack-and-Play for bedtime and he comes into bed with us after his middle of the night wakeup. We upgraded our air mattress to a king size and that makes all the difference!

      Of course you’ll need all your typical toddler gear: plenty of toys, a stroller or hiking backpack, diapers and all associated accessories, etc. Something we will probably bring on our next trip is an iPad. We have a hand-me-down first gen iPad so I’m not sure what apps will really work. I’ve tried putting some apps for myself on there but most haven’t worked with the iOS that it currently operates on and the iOS isn’t upgradeable. But Forest seems to be switching to an early rising schedule these days (pre-dawn, pre-birds waking!) that doesn’t behoove getting outside of the tent at that hour. We made due with a bit of distraction with our phones or by having him play with the lamp and some toys, but it was a pretty tedious 45 minutes before dawn. I think an iPad with some games or videos might be beneficial to kill that time before the sun rises (and to appease our camping neighbors with a quiet toddler!). We’re not ones to let him watch the iPad or our phones generally, but I think this is an instance to break it out!

    • Keeping Them Busy
      Any parent of a toddler knows they are easily distracted but also have an incredible memory. If you show them one thing they are apt to want to repeat that action over and over again, no matter how banal it is to you. It’s exciting! and fun! and new! to them. Walk up and down the campground road and show them all of the unique campsites. Take them to a nature center if there’s one where you are camping. Look at leaves and sticks or scope out the natural area around the campsite. Look up and point out the skyscape, the trees in the canopy, planes or birds flying overhead. Let them explore the area around them.

    • Adjust Expectations
      Above all else, along with patience, adjust your expectations! Forest really enjoys being outside and it can be difficult to get him to switch tasks right now. There’s a lot of fit throwing (which is frustrating but hilariously adorable at the same time!) and defiance as that’s part of the learning experience of toddlers. But, you can still have a good time camping and doing things outdoors with toddlers if you are willing to be flexible and go with the flow.

    We have at least one more camping trip scheduled for spring but we anticipate going at least another time after that I would suppose. We’d tossed around the idea to go on a short backpacking trip, too, but we need to upgrade some gear for that. I desperately need a new backpack and we need a three person tent. Maybe that’ll be my next how-to post…backpacking with a toddler! HAH!

    Do you have any advice for camping with toddlers? If so, please share!

    We haven’t been camping since early October at Martin Dies Jr State Park. The three other reservations we’ve had since then were all thrwarted due to weather. In all reality this one should have probably been cancelled, too. We spent about three hours in nearby Katy dodging thunderstorms that appeared earlier than predicted once we arrived, and temperatures overnight were pretty cold—the three of us tried our best to snuggle in the tent overnight but we all slept rather poorly.

    I’ll have more write-ups and photos soon, but for today I’m just sharing some of the fun photos of Forest around the campsite when we arrived back from our excursion into town.

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