Archive for the ‘Baby Teddy’ Category
Um, this sweet gum ball is rough!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
Life with a 16 month old, versus this time last year, with a four month old, is as you guessed, very different. As insane dealing with a toddler can be, it is becoming more fun by the day! Of course I miss many of those wonderful baby stage days but on many aspects I really don’t miss that stage at all! When Forest turned a year old I didn’t anticipate doing many updates after, but I feel the need to write a few things down here and there so that I can remember these moments in the future.
First, I’m so glad I did not wean Forest at one year. I know there’s a huge social stigma to nursing babies after they are a year or so old, but the longer I nurse Forest the less I care about that stigma. There’s several things I’d like to cover on this topic of nursing a young toddler so I’ll just start with pumping.
After Forest turned one the Austin Mother’s Milk Bank (where I have been donating milk to) said I could still donate milk that I pumped through the end of September. After that, they wouldn’t accept pumped milk since the nutrition content of breastmilk changes over time and it is unknown how beneficial breastmilk after that time period would be to babies in NICU or in need of breastmilk shortly after birth. There’s just not a lot of studies out there to really show that kind of data. That said, at the end of September we had tons and tons of milk in the freezer, so I did not feel guilty about slowly dropping my pumping sessions over the course of about two months. I got rid of an afternoon session first and then dropped my morning session before work, and so now I only pump mid-morning at work and then about thirty minutes after lunch. This provides enough fresh milk for Forest to drink while at daycare the following day. He’s really only drinking 6-8 ounces of milk and a lot of the times he doesn’t finish his second cup. I know he prefer it straight from the tap, so that’s probably a bigger reason he doesn’t finish it! Regarding my supply for pumping, I probably pump anywhere from 3-4 ounces in a session, maybe 5 on that morning session if Forest didn’t nurse much that morning. That seems to be plenty though, and other than eating oatmeal a few times as week, I’m not doing a lot to try to boost my supply. It seems to be in a good place at the moment.
So, for all of that pumped milk we had stored…well, we weren’t going through it fast enough so I donated another 300 ounces back in December. Between the private donation I did in June and the rest I’ve donated to the milk bank over the last six months, I’ve donated around 1,000 ounces of breastmilk. That’s about 7.8 gallons of milk! I still have frozen milk in the freezer from August through December and will likely donate more soon, probably my final donation. I am uberly, supremely, fantastically grateful for this wonderful milk supply I’ve had!
As for nursing Forest himself, he’s definitely stretching his sessions out and is now turning into a kid who wants to come up and have a shot of milk, run around the room, ask for another shot of milk, run around the room…and repeat until I just say no and tell him to go play. I’ve also been battling some biting issues because he thinks it is HIL-AR-IOUS! I usually give him one more chance after the first bite but if he looks to be playing I end the session and we stop nursing. Momma ain’t got time for that! The best part of having a toddler that nurses is that he’s a toddler and isn’t reliant on milk for survival so we can be out and about longer without him needing to eat every other stop. Now I just hand him a sippy cup or a snack if he really needs some food and try to nurse when it is more convenient for me.
However, he can get demanding and he definitely knows when he wants to nurse and has no problems throwing himself sideways in my arms when he wants to nurse. Toddlers have a mind of their own!
I felt we had a great routine after I stopped nursing him to sleep in early September. We’d nurse for about 10 minutes and I would put him in his crib where he would roll around and get settled for 15-30 minutes (I couldn’t/still can’t leave the room!) and then sneak out when he dozed to sleep. Most of the time I scroll through my phone but now I’m starting to read books on my Kindle app, as I can download books from our library.
However, when Forest got sick in December this really upset our routine and he started nursing to sleep again. He became very beligerent with me when I wanted to return back to our old methods after he got better. Paired with being out of town for several days, the bedtime routine was very messed up. It’s taken over a week for us to get back on any kind of track and the other night I ended up letting him fuss for awhile because it was already over an hour of bedtime shenangians. I’m not sure what to do if this continues on; I may have Chris become the bedtime guy after awhile, we’ll have to see.
I’m still dreaming of the ever elusive sleeping through the night bit. Again, I think that’ll come with night weaning but we’re not there yet.
Playing and Learning
This is where things are happening the most, I think. With him being a late walker, at 14.75 months, he wasn’t into things nearly as much early on. Sure, we had finally locked all of the cabinets and had to do all of that, and ocassionally there would be books taken off the cookbook shelf in the dining room, but with walking he can go anywhere, anytime, and he’ll certainly do that! We’re shutting the baby gate to the laundry room and I’ll close the door to the spare room, and it took us long enough but we finally moved Leo’s food and water bowl after one too many “Forest, stay out of that!”. That’s helped a lot with letting him wander around a little downstairs, but we do have to keep an eye on him going into the bathroom because he’ll try to get into the bathtub (he loves baths, still!) or play with the hose attachment for washing out his potty or diapers. He loves trying to play in the trash can and will sometimes just walk by it and hit his hand on the lid, just because.
I had put a lot of the baby-baby toys away awhile ago but there are some others that I need to fade out as well. I put away his play mat after Christmas and that was bittersweet. The music it played reminded me so much of last year—me putting a non-mobile baby on it so I could do laundry or write a blog (have some sanity!)…it was sad to see it go. He’s learning to pull toys around, too. Before Christmas he had been playing with a turtle that rolls that was mine when I was a kid. My mom had used it for my niece and nephew and passed it along. The original string was long gone and mom had retrofitted it with a ribbon. Forest had, and still does, been trying to put the string—any string from anything—around his neck, like he’s putting clothes on. Needless to say, it was kind of dangerous! We took the string off the turtle and made sure to keep anything resembling a string or cord away because of what he was doing. At his birthday he’d also received a wooden caterpillar—the Hungry, Hungry, Caterpillar—that also was for pulling, and for Christmas Chris’ mom got Forest a wooden train that pulled. So, Chris worked with him a little on pulling it and now that he’s figured it out we’ve been supervising him with those toys with string. He just kind of drags the caterpillar around, but the train is heavy enough that it will roll instead of be dragged.
We have stairs at the house but there are gates at the bottom and top and we always carry him up and down the stairs. At Christmas we were at Chris’ mom’s house and there wasn’t a gate at the bottom of the stairs so we were constantly watching him. Well, he found the bottom stairs and thought it was awesome to start climbing, and with one of us crawling up behind him, we let him learn to climb stairs. The other day the bottom gate at our house didn’t get shut all the way and I had gone in the kitchen. Sure enough it got quiet and I looked over and the kid was halfway up the stairs! I ran over and we finished going up together, but geez! You teach them something and they run with it!
On the same level as the stairs, he got a table and two chairs for Christmas. I’d set it up near one of our upstairs windows in the second living area that is really now a playroom. I was folding laundry in our bedroom last weekend and looked over and saw that he’d moved the chair closer to his race car tower (another Christmas present) but also conveniently closer to the window, and then he proceeded to step up onto the chair and stand so he could look outside! Ahhhh! Where does he learn these things? More eagle-eye watching by us, that’s for sure.
Forest is very into books, which I am very happy about. As a voracious reader and really, the only reader in the house, I hope that he becomes a voracious reader, too. I keep books everywhere for him and while he won’t sit still for us to read to him more than a page or two at a time, he will sit down by himself and flip through the books quietly. He will also carry them around. Most of the time I just point out items on the pages instead of try to read what’s on them. I also keep several books in the car along with his toys and he will typically flip through the books for awhile when we’re out and about.
He’s not really talking but he pretty much understands just about everything we say. He’s said some words here and there but the one he says most these days is night-night, which is really nigh’-nigh’ with this adorable wave! He signs ‘more’ all of the time and I’ve been working with him on ‘all done’ for like ever but his ‘all done’ is to shove things off the high-chair tray! BUT, tonight I was getting him ready for bed and changing his diaper when he tooted. I asked him if he needed to go potty and made the sign for poop, something I’ve been working on along with ‘toilet’, and he actually tried to sign the ‘poop’ sign back! So, we went off to the potty where of course, he didn’t do anything, but at least I tried and followed it up after the sign.
Another thing he has started doing is helping us with something that involves him, like buckling his seat belt in the car seat or putting his shoes on. He has been helping me get one of the chest latches so that I can buckle it, which has been a fun discovery to see him being involved in that. And the last two mornings he’s reached over and tried to help put his shoes on. He doesn’t care to wear shoes or socks but he’s been understanding that he has to put them on when we leave in the mornings, so it was kind of fun to see him try to undo the velcro on one shoe while I am getting the shoe on the other foot. He’s also starting to help undress himself when we take his shirts off.
Forest is a pretty good eater these days. He goes through spurts when he seems he only wants to eat cheese, crackers, and bananas, though. When he was sick his appetite when down to nothing and he was just living on milk and applesauce there for a few days. Then he was all about the green beans, couldn’t get enough green beans…green beans all day and night! Now, he squishes the green beans on his tray. And then he gets excited about black beans and we’ll go through that for awhile. He hasn’t wanted to eat much fruit lately but he was really into mango and peaches there for a bit. It comes and goes with what he wants to eat, but he’s chowing down well! We’re definitely limiting his junk food intake and don’t really give him all that much, if any, sugary stuff and he only drinks water aside from breastmilk. We just started letting him try some chips when we have them because he’s always staring at us when we’re eating them. The chips get broken into tiny pieces because they aren’t as soft as crackers, but his molars are coming in so chewing is a little easier now. I would definitely like to get some different kinds of green vegetables into him but that hasn’t been a hit unless he sucks down one of the pouches.
Well, I think that’s about it! He’s 16.5 months at the moment and I just can’t believe it. I’m trying to soak up all of the bits of it I can because I know it’ll all be gone and onto another phase before I know it!
It’s official, we’ve let the toddler loose in the garden! Ok, well, not without some heavy oversight!
I started this in early November in hopes of chronicling this weaning journey. Here’s the progress so far.
Now that I’m 14 months into this breastfeeding journey with Forest I knew that at some point in time there would be a slow process of weaning. When he turned a year old I opted to drop from pumping four times a day to three. Now I am down to twice a day. This has taken a natural progression over the last two months in an uptake in Forest’s eating of solid food as well as stretching out his nursing sessions with me due to his increased activity around the house—‘No time for nursing Mom, got things to play with!’—and for the simple fact he doesn’t drink but maybe 8 ounces the entire time he’s at daycare. As I cannot donate my milk to a milk bank that has been pumped after Forest turned 13 months, there’s little use for me to continue having a huge stash of milk. I still have frozen milk from June and July and will likely need to donate more milk soon, especially since I’m really now just pumping enough milk for him to have at daycare versus pumping gobs of extra for a milk stash.
Pumping less has been just one part of the weaning process, the other part has included working on not nursing to sleep at the beginning of the night and during naps. That has only been able to happen in the last month, where we nurse for awhile and then I hand off a pacifier for him to use as he works to put himself to sleep.
I had hoped that this would be a magic trick, what would get my kid to sleep through the night. It’s what all the books/people/blogs say…or allude to. If your baby can go to sleep on his own they can learn to put themselves back to sleep through the night. They all make it sound like some kind of instantaneous wonder. And it’s patently not true. Maybe some some babies, but certainly not all. Charlatans, the lot! Hah! I did get a good week of semi-decent stretches of sleep from him but then he went back to his same old routine of waking up and wanting to nurse every two hours. Sometimes I can count on it like clock work…and frankly, I think my body even knows because I will wake up and then try to go back to sleep and *bam* Forest is awake.
I will definitely miss the nursing sessions, the cuddles, pulling him into bed in the middle of the night because I don’t feel like dealing with waiting for him to settle back in. Getting him cuddled up next to me to sleep for the rest of the night is sweet and cozy and I will most definitely miss waking up to that sweet face next to me in the morning.
But, I’m ready. I need my sleep back, my space back, my body back…at least for a good stretch at night.
So, I’ve found a gentle weaning ‘schedule’ to try. I’ve decided to try to chronicle the days as we go through them. I’m not looking forward to tired nights!
The process for these nights was to nurse as usual if he woke before 11 but after 11 to nurse only for a few minutes and then put back down awake, patting his back or any other soothing techniques to get back to sleep. In general this worked pretty good as all three nights, though he woke 2-3 times after 11, he stayed in his bed until 4:30-5:15 all of those nights. There were one or two nights of the late night/early morning wakeups that it was difficult to get him back to sleep after, sometimes taking 30 minutes of going in and out of the room and patting his back to settle him.
I’d say the first three nights were successful.
Nights 4-6: These nights involved the same situation as above for pre-11 pm wakeups but after 11pm I was supposed to pick up and comfort for a minute and then lay him back into the crib for him to settle down. I have given him his pacifier all nights after 11pm and the closer to midnight he awakes the easier it is for him to go back to sleep. The later night/earlier morning wakeups are much harder for him to resettle. I caved at night 5 and brought him to bed at 2:30 as I was pretty exhausted and not interested in dealing with it that nightth so he came to bed earlier than he has the last several nights. Two steps forward, one step back. That’s how it goes, I guess.
Nights 7-9: Oh boy, Momma fell off the wagon. This s*&$ is hard. About two days before I started this night weaning idea I started coming down with a case of vertigo. It persisted, and still continues to persist as I write this, so I opted to go to urgent care on day/night 3. When I went my blood pressure was extremely high, especially for me as I typically have a lower end of the spectrum reading. They sent me to the ER where I had a CT scan and blood work but was sent home with a “No idea what’s going on, but might be an upper respiratory infection presenting as vertigo and well, it’ll just wear off eventually.” So, the daytime part of the vertigo is mostly better unless I do something drastic in movement like bending down or looking up oddly, but nighttime is a different story. This has definitely played into my measley efforts the last several nights because I have zero interest in leaning over a crib to pat Forest back to sleep or to do any nighttime battles.
This is hard.
Nights…um, yeah. So, this effort has been thwarted by many things, including the vertigo, visitors, Forest not feeling well, cold weather.
Standby for Part II, hopefully next month!