Thursday, 28 February 2013

What We're Lovin' - Nine Months

This months latest loves - its a random bunch but we can't live without any of them!

I wanted to get something for Kaitlin to play with that didn't light up all crazy and play a million different songs. Those toys are great, but she has so many of them I wanted something different. I also wanted a toy that she could use to help her stand up and that was wood with non-toxic paint so that I didn't feel guilty when she inevitably started gnawing on it. While perusing the aisles of Target one day I spotted this and knew it was exactly what I was looking for, and it has been a hit ever since I brought it home. She loves moving the beads around, spinning the letters around and playing "peek-a-boo" with the animals behind the doors. It is hefty enough that she can use it to pull herself up without tipping over and she loves that she can stand up and play at the same time. And perhaps the best thing about this toy is that she isn't even using it to its full potential yet - there are so many other ways to play with it that she will grow into as she gets older and develops more. I see this toy hanging around for quite a while!

Something you should know about me - I am a sucker for point-of-sales crap. If you put it by the cash register I am bound to buy it. However, this time I was pleasantly surprised by my POS purchase - it is actually amazing! I came across these Indestructibles Books at my local Right Start and decided to try them out. These books are non-toxic, rip-proof, drool-proof, chew-proof...pretty much baby-proof in every sense of the word! They are AMAZING! I can't give Kaitlin her other books because she slobbers all over them, rips the pages and chews right through the cardboard corners. These, however, are in her hands all the time. We currently have two of them, though I plan on expanding our collection soon. We have Frere Jacques (admittedly this is the first one I bought and *may* have bought it more for myself since it is filled with pictures of pastries, cookies and the Eiffel Tower) and Baby Faces. Baby Faces is by far Kaitlin's favorite. She is obsessed with it - she sits on the floor with it in her hands, usually turns it upside down (why, I have no idea) and "talks" to the pictures of the babies on it! She will squeal and blabber and laugh at the cover picture - it is quite possibly the cutest thing ever. And the other best part about these books? They only cost a fiver. Anything that keeps my kid entertained and doesn't empty my wallet is a winner! I highly suggest reading about the company and their mission on their website, I think they are pretty darn clever!

(Unfortunately I can't find any pictures of her with this book...I know I have some I just have to sift through the 5000 photos that I do joke...)

Ok, truth be told I don't really LOVE these diapers. I have been a Pampers girl from day one, and although I am doing a bit of diaper shopping around it is not because I am unhappy with the diapers (just unhappy about all the chemicals in them...more on that later). I find these Huggies diapers to be rough and scratchy - they often leave little red marks on Kaitlin's skin especially after she's been crawling a lot (which I find weird because these are for LITTLE MOVERS). I don't like the big Tiger cartoon and green color all over the diaper. I find the design to be loud and very visible from underneath clothes. And yes, while that is a very shallow thing to say about a diaper, it still bothers me. But - there is always a but - but they are extremely clever and convenient. Have you ever tried changing a baby that has recently learned how to roll over/crawl or wants to be on the GO GO GO all the time?? It is nearly impossible. If the weather was a bit warmer I would probably let her run around naked and not even worry about it (and keep a HUGE bottle of disinfectant around) but it is chilly - yes, even here in Texas - so the diaper and clothes must stay on. Kaitlin barely fits into size 3 diapers and Pull-Ups don't start until toddler size 2T so those were out of the question. When I stumbled upon these diapers, diapers you can easily pull on when your child is standing...or crawling...or trying to climb over you/the couch/the dog/all of the above...a little light bulb in my head went off (love when that happens). So, while these are not our go-to diaper, I keep a stash of these on hand for those times when absolutely NOTHING will make Kaitlin lay still long enough for me to put a diaper on her.

I know, I know. What the heck is a Scabib? I asked myself the same thing recently when I was searching for bib alternatives and this popped up on my screen. Turns out it is pretty much the coolest thing ever, especially for drooly babies. I'm going to give it to you straight - Kaitlin is a fountain of unending drool. Seriously. It. Does. Not. Stop. And when teething kicks into high gear (ummm...when isn't it lately?) the drool is out of control. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have to change her bib every 45 minutes. I don't even mind the drool, I suppose I have gotten used to it. The thing that bugs me the most is having her wear bibs all the time. This is going to sound really dumb and shallow - but I hate how bibs ruin her cute little outfits. And if I don't want her to wear a bib to preserve the cuteness? I better have 39205893424389054 changes of clothes nearby because the original outfit will be drenched in no time. I was searching Etsy for cute bib alternatives (think bandanas and the like) when I stumbled across Scabib. Essentially its a scarf and a bib in one. The front is super cute woven material that falls like a cowl neck and the back is covered in a terry cloth like fabric for extra absorption. A small piece of hard working velcro keeps the whole thing together. You can wear it like a cowl/scarf or as a bandana. The first time Kaitlin wore her adorable black and white stripe Scabib she kept it on for HOURS and it didn't soak through to her clothes *cue angels singing* it was a miracle. One of the things that I like the most about the Scabib is that it's made out of a lot of fabric and is super absorbant but doesn't hang down and get in Kaitlin's way. The couple of bibs that we have that come close to being as absorbent as the Scabib are so big and bulky they constantly get in the way of her crawling and climbing, which means more tripping/falling/crying. The other thing I love about the Scabib is how freakin' cute and trendy it looks. There are a number of awesome patterns and colors available (check out their new Easter prints) that are appropriate for little guys and gals. We only own one Scabib at the moment but I plan on adding lots more to our collection!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Watch Me Grow - Week Forty

Week forty. Four-Zero. Kaitlin has nearly been out of my belly as long as she was in it.

That was weird, wasn't it?

Sorry, but I had to say it.

Week forty brought Kaitlin TWO new teeth! Her top middle teeth are FINALLY coming it, after sitting under the surface for a month. These two teeth have been kind of tough for her. Her nose is running like a faucet - and combined with the epic amounts of drool, this girl is through bibs faster than you can say WATERFALL!!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Ninth Month

If the eighth month was the month of smiles, I would have to say that the ninth month has been the month of tears. In general Kaitlin is still a happy baby - lots of laughs, smiles and babbling. However this month she has really started showing a broader range of emotions, which include being sad and frustrated. 

She has been perfecting her crawling and can now get anywhere she wants to go very quickly. She loves exploring different rooms of the house and zooms around all the time. She has also started cruising along furniture and standing on her own. The longest she has stood on her own is about 10 seconds, and she managed to sit down without holding onto anything. Just the other day, while Skyping with my parents and grandparents, Kaitlin stood up on her own without holding onto anything or anyone. She knew she had done something exciting because she started smiling and laughing right away.

With all of these amazing developments comes many (many) bumps and bruises as well as frustration. Often times she will practice crawling, walking with a box, and standing up over and over and over again. She always tires herself out but will continue to practice. This is when the most bumps and bruises happen as she tends to fall a lot more. Most times a little song or dance can distract her from the pain, but sometimes the only thing that will do is cuddling with mom or dad and lots of kisses. For a few weeks there she practically had a permanent red mark on her forehead and I imagine she had a headache or two.

We have also seen the development of separation anxiety over the last month. It is wonderful that I am able to stay home with Kaitlin full time. However that means that she hardly ever is cared for by someone other than her dad and I. She is used to having me around all the time. At her nine month checkup at the doctors yesterday she gave me some tips and tricks to help deal with separation anxiety that I can't wait to try. But I do feel bad for the first babysitter that has to watch her during the day without us around ;) Now that I've said that though I'm sure she will be absolutely fine and forget that I even exist!

The doctor gave Kaitlin a great review at her check up on Tuesday, saying she was very advanced in the crawling/cruising development. She measures 28" long and 16lbs 11oz - so still on the tall and skinny side. Her weight put her back down into the lower percentiles but the doctor said she wasn't worried as it was fairly normal for kids to drop a bit at this age and especially since she is SO active. We just have to keep on feeding her lots of food (good thing avocado, salmon and yogurt are some of her favs - very calorie, fat and nutrient dense!) and continue with the formula feedings as normal. And the best thing about yesterdays visit - no shots!!

This month wasn't all about tears though - we also had a lot of fun! Kaitlin got to meet one of my closest friends and they became life long pals. She learned how to climb up the stairs and went on her first bike ride! She also said her first word - Dada! At first she said it without any meaning, but now we are starting to think that she knows who Dada really is. Sometimes when Brian goes over to her to play she will say, "DADA!" But then she also rambles on and on all day long with, "dadadadadadadadada" Soooo....who knows :) I'm still working on "mama" but so far no luck. When the weather is nice we are usually at the playground. Kaitlin loves to go on the swing and has even started exploring the jungle gym. We have to get in as much outdoor time as we can before the crazy hot summer is here!

A couple things I have learned...

You can baby proof your home little by little...
Did you happen to watch this years Valentine's Day episode of Modern Family? Gloria and Jay's new baby boy is barely six weeks old and they were already having the house completely baby proofed. Sure, it was all part of the story line to hinder Jay and Gloria's return to...sexual relations...but it got me thinking - you really don't need to do it all at once, and certainly not when the baby is so little!

Sure, you can even baby proof your whole house the minute your little one starts rocking on her hands and knees in preparation to crawl. But it really isn't necessary. As soon as we got back to Texas from our holiday in New York we went out an bought a handful of baby gates. We didn't end up putting them up for almost a month. The truth is it takes babies a while to get the hang of these big milestones like crawling and walking. The first items you'll probably need to baby proof are electrical outlets and the stairs/off limits rooms in your house. So yes, baby gates and outlet plugs wil probably be the first thing you buy when baby proofing the house. But all of these "baby proof" items tend to be pretty "adult proof" as well, and they can be a pain in the tush. Of course I want our daughter to be as safe as possible so I am going to do everything in my power to do so, but if I can save myself a few weeks of frustration I'm going to do it. Even now - a month after Kaitlin started crawling - we only have one baby gate up as she never really left the family room where all of her toys are. Now that she is comfortable crawling away from us and into other rooms by herself it is finally time to put a few more gates up so that she stays safe. I have also refrained from putting little locks and guards on our kitchen cabinets and bathroom doors. She isn't strong enough to open them yet and I don't even know if she realizes that they open and there are fun "toys" in there. Sure, that day will come soon enough, but in the mean time I'm giving our bank account and my to-do list a little break by only buying and installing what we need at the moment.

*one thing that is very important - but many people might not think of it - to do as soon as your baby can pull themselves up to standing is to anchor any and all bookshelves, dressers and large pieces of furniture to the wall so that they don't accidentally tip it over on top of them. Anchor kits are minimal in price and can save your child's life*

A call (or visit) to your pediatrician can do wonders for your sanity...
I cannot stress enough how important it is to find a doctor that you like and trust. They should, and will, become your go-to person whenever there is something wrong with your baby. When Kaitlin was really little I used to go in every couple of weeks then couple of months (in between our scheduled well check ups) and get her weight checked. Part of the visit was for the actual weight check but I also always had a million questions for the doctor and she could help answer them for me. I walked out of her office after a ten or fifteen minute visit and often felt a hundred times better than I did when I walked in there. Likewise, if you don't want to schlep down to your doctors office, most times they have a nurse on call that you can speak to. When Kaitlin started rolling over in her crib but she was still in her swaddle I didn't know what to do. I didn't think it warranted an office visit but I still wanted to talk to our pediatrician and get her advice. I spoke to one of the nurses, she checked with the doctor and then called me back with her recommendations. Voile - finally I could sleep at night (and so could Kaitlin).

Most recently I was very concerned about how much formula and solid food Kaitlin should be eating. I had read in a couple of places that there was a certain number of ounces that a baby should be eating at her age, and she was eating WAY more than that. I was concerned that she was eating way too much formula and not enough solid foods. (Now, our situation will solid foods is a little different because of the Baby Led Weaning. It is sometimes hard for me to tell how much she is actually ingesting, versus how much gets on the floor/in her bib/hair etc) It had been bothering me for a few weeks and during Kaitlins 9 month check up I spoke to the doctor for a while about formula and solid foods. She made me feel SO much better and realize that I have nothing to worry about. (And it turns out the amount Kaitlin is eating is just fine considering she's such a busy little girl. The doctor advised that as long as she is still eating solids and is interested in eating them then keep on feeding her as much formula as she needs). The thing is that my doctor might say something different than my friends doctor, who might say something different from your doctor - and while this would normally confuse the heck out of me I have decided to trust my doctor completely with the health and safety of our baby girl, so I will always follow her advise. And that helps me sleep at night :)