Posts Tagged ‘baby’

5 Tips To Survive Summer With Little Kids

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

Blog disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation on behalf of The Breastfeeding Shop via SoFluential Media. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Guys, summer is here!

You can read that in a super happy, excited voice: Horray! It’s summer! No school! Beach days! Ice cream for dinner!

Or you can read that in a slightly panicked voice: Summer is HERE. You are out of time to find camps or activities and I hope you like making 17 separate meals a day.

I have a million children. Technically, the actual number is four, but let me tell you reality means absolutely nothing when all of them are hungry/bored/tired/mad/have a tiny hangnail/thirsty/fighting at the same time. Four kids at four different ages means four different sets of needs and ability levels and nap (or no nap) schedules. Did I mention I also really hate having to feed everyone all the time? I really hate that part.

After 9 summers as the parent of at least one baby I’ve learned a lot about how to survive – and enjoy – summer, even with a million kids, even when I’m solo-parenting, even when I’m running on empty by lunchtime and still have a long way to go before bed. Here are my top 5 best tips to survive summer with little kids.

  1. Add more children. OK, this seems counterintuitive, but hear me out. Some of our easiest playdates are with my friend Sarah, who also has four children. Her kids + my kids = so many kids there’s always someone to play with or talk to or rope into your particular imaginary world. My babies love having big kids to play with who aren’t the regular big kids they see every day, and then when my big kids see the babies getting attention from other kids they remember that they love their babies too and then everyone just seems more fun.
  2. Find your happy place. Our happy place is The Lake. The Lake is a local beach club we pay a membership for each year. It has lots of big trees for shade, picnic tables, grills, a big grassy field for running around, a beach for digging and swimming, a dock for fishing, swings and a playset for climbing and it’s awesome. The Lake requires some supervision, but not nearly as much as you might think (see tip 3). If you don’t have a lake, think of somewhere your whole family enjoys – somewhere kid-friendly, where you might run into other kids for your’s to play with, where you can SIT DOWN and relax. It might take a few tries, but one you have a happy place it can be your go-to all summer long when you can’t stand to stare at the inside of your house any longer but don’t have the energy to do something new. Go every morning. Go every afternoon. Don’t worry you go to the same place too much, your kids don’t mind.
  3. Floaties. Listen, kids are going to try to drown themselves. It’s just what they do. If you have a tiny baby who can’t walk or crawl yet, your summer will be fine. If you’ve reached the mobile stage, going anywhere near water is beyond stressful. We have the floaty rule: if you are near the water, you wear a floaty. The baby wears one 100% of the time at the lake. The toddler wears one 85% of the time at the lake. The big kids – who are 9 and 7 – had to pass a swim test last year and this year before I let them give up the floaties. If we go to a pool, anyone who can’t touch the bottom wears a floaty. Our friends enforce floaty rules with their kids, my parents enfore floaty rules at their house, it’s just non-negotiable. We have found that the Speedo brand Splash Jammers are ideal – they have shoulder straps as well as arm floats, they’re approved by the Coast Guard as life jackets, and even my 1-year-old can’t get it off on his own. Target sells them. WEAR YOUR FLOATIES.
  4. Lower your standards. For real, set that bar at a level you can achieve by noon every day. Did your children eat something? Does the baby have a clean diaper? Did you remember to eat something too? Is your house clean enough that you could escape in case of a fire? Then you’re fine. Tomorrow you can put away some laundry or do the dishes. Next week you can plan a fun outing to the zoo or the splash pad. But right now, you’re doing fine. It’s fine. You’re a good parent.
  5. Have fun. This tip is sort of like “treasure every moment because you only get 18 summers with your kid before they’re old enough to leave home” but that is bad advice no one needs. The days are long but the years are short is the same thing, but again, the days are SO long it’s not helpful to remind anyone it won’t last forever. But we can try to have fun, even when we have small humans to take care of. Put on a bathing suit and get in the water with them. Have ice cream for lunch or dinner (or lunch and dinner). Roll your windows down in the car. Play music really loud and have a dance party. My kids get such a kick out of me being Fun Mom, they act surprised and delighted every time. It’s like when Fun Dad chases them around pretending to be a dinosaur or Fun Grandma lets them pick out candy at the grocery store. You can be fun too! You’re the boss, even if you bend the rules a little bit for a special treat. It won’t ruin your children forever, I promise.

Military friends! One way to make your life easier when you have a baby is getting a NO COST breast pump from The Breastfeeding Shop. If you have Tricare, all you need is a prescription from your doctor and The Breastfeeding Shop will ship a pump right to your house. If you or someone you know is pregnant or has a new baby, be sure to tell them about this program, because having a pump is a lifesaver when you’re nursing. My baby will be 2 in August and I still need my pump occasionally (yup, still nursing, nope, no plans to stop). Check out The Breastfeeding Shop’s Tricare page for more information.

My Week(345) in iPhone Photos

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

This is stupid. I’m literally more than a month behind and I should just quit doing this. But it feels unfair to quit before Finnegan turns 1 so I guess I’ll make that my goal even posting iPhone photos from a month ago feels ridiculous.

Sunday:

Linc keeps dumping his bubbles on the floor then wondering why he doesn’t have any more bubbles

We basically live here at this point

Important learning stuff

Monday:

Thrift shoppers

Trolls dance party on repeat

This is 1000% who Finn is as a person

Tuesday:

I was attacked by a baby covered in…I don’t remember what.

Tiny Padawan

Nervous about his audiology exam

Wednesday:

Normal

Waiting on our oil change

Peas in a pod

Thursday:

Not normal

Normal

Taking care of his doggy

Friday:

Last day of school concert

Summer haircut

Hey, remember when my bathroom had walls?

Saturday:

Good bye Connecticut

This is how I know we’re close to my parent’s house – the temple in DC

Water baby

Today is catch-up day. I’m going to doing blog stuff, photography stuff, and lots and lots of house stuff. Tomorrow we do nothing but fun stuff because Lincoln is turning THREE and he gets to pick. I’m guessing it’s lots of Octonauts and ice cream, which I am totally OK with.

 

It’s Pregnancy Season And I’m Not Pregnant

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

I’m at Target to pick up diapers and I’m pretty sure every other woman in the store is pregnant. I pass them everywhere: in the grocery aisle, in the baby clothes, wandering home decor. It’s 87 degrees with 95% humidity outside and all the pregnant women are wearing tank tops and pushing toddlers in their carts stocked with goldfish crackers and beach buckets and ice cream. To me, they are all glowing and adorable and lucky to have so much to look forward to. But I know they probably feel enormous and uncomfortable, cursing themselves for a summer pregnancy, crossing their fingers that their toddler will take a nap later (or at least eat their goldfish for lunch while zoned out in front of Disney Jr so mama can lie on the couch under a fan).

My last baby is almost a year old now. I am far enough removed from being a pregnant woman at Target that I silently think “enjoy those moments” but still close enough that I know better than to say it out loud. A woman is not going to suddenly realize being hot and swollen and sore and tired and nauseous are all such blessings just because a stranger says “it goes so fast” or “I miss those days”. I am close enough to being a pregnant woman at Target that I know that is not entirely true. I do not miss those days. I do not miss being hot and swollen and sore and tired and nauseous and wondering how, exactly, I was ever going to manage a newborn when I couldn’t manage to put on pants every day. Not only do I not want to a pregnant woman at Target, don’t actually want to be pregnant at all.

And I’m not. I will most likely never be pregnant again. (I would say NEVER with 100% certainty but I know better than to tempt fate like that.)

What I do miss is being in that season of life. It doesn’t matter if those pregnant women at Target are technically older or younger than I am in years. They’re still at the stage where they will have a newborn. That’s a stage before the one I am in. New life is in their future, the moment when they meet a new little human they created. I don’t long to be pregnant again, but I do feel nostalgic for that particular flavor of joy. It’s not baby fever – I am thoroughly immunized against that particular strain by four children who all insisted on growing up – but it’s like a bruise. You don’t really notice it until you bump into it by accident, in the checkout at Target, and then it’s a dull ache that says “you’re not in this club anymore”.

I suspect these feelings are just biology, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling them. So this is me acknowledging it, writing it down in words, trying to explain it to you so I can explain it to me. Instead of being sad, I will let myself drift further towards the stage of life where I become the person who says “Oh it goes by so fast, treasure these moments” to pregnant women in Target. I will recount stories about my newborns in absolutes: “Oh my baby was such a good sleeper” “oh my baby loved being swaddled “oh my baby hated tummy time”. I will forget how much being pregnant sucks and only think of it fondly. And when gray-haired grandmas at Target look at my four not-babies and say “Enjoy these moments, it goes so fast”, I will smile and nod and say “It sure does.”

Finnegan: 10 Months

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Evan 10 months, Caroline 10 months, Lincoln 10 months

This is almost 2 full weeks late, but at least I’m getting it done before he officially starts walking, which I am pretty sure is going to happen in the next week. Maybe once that happens he’ll thin out a little bit, because right now he’s one big solid chunk and carrying him with my arms is terrible. I HAVE to wear him in the Tula even if we’re just running into Target because he can climb out of carts and I’m too weak to haul him around. It’s a real problem. Being an enormous squish is adorable though, so it’s hard to complain.

The fact that he eats ANYTHING is definitely contributing to his size. Meat, vegetables, snacks, seafood, cheese, dessert, anything he can put in his mouth he will eat. He’s got a whole mouthful of teeth too, so he can handle even crunchy stuff (he loves Cheetos) or chewy stuff (today he ate clam strips). I’m not super worried about keeping him away from junk food or sugar because, well, fourth baby. I’m more worried about keeping him from eating the soot in the fireplace or bird seed (both things he tried to eat today).

He’s in 12-18 month clothes at the smallest and 24 months/2T for coming months. I have no idea what size his feet are because he never wears shoes. He still does this funny half-crawl half-scoot thing to get around super fast, but he’s getting quicker with cruising. I’m hoping by the time it’s cold enough for shoes he can walk for real and I can just buy him some tiny Bogs, since those have been perfect for Lincoln.

After we got home from vacation, we moved Finnegan down to his own room. Well, Linc’s room, which Linc doesn’t use and it has the crib so now it’s Finn’s room. After just a couple nights he got the hang of it and now he’s sleeping through the night. He also lets E put him down for the night or for naps. It’s delightful. I love my baby 10x more now that I am getting sleep in blocks greater than 3 hours at a time. He likes napping too, although that’s less reliable with our summer schedules. Luckily he also likes being worn still, so I’ve been practicing my baby-as-a-backpack skills and hopefully he starts napping that way.

Likes include water, sand, grass, his siblings, eating food, eating things that aren’t food, the dog, the cat, animals, nursing, sleeping, cruising, biting things, making a mess, trying to fall on his head, mommy, daddy, strangers, smiling, and hitting me.

Dislikes include being buckled into his car seat, being too hot, being too tired, being told no, and being hungry.

 

10 Month Milestones 

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)
Waves goodbye – He can clap. I’ve never seen any intentional waving.
Picks things up with pincer grasp – Yes.
Crawls well, with belly off the ground – Nope. He crawls like my other babies have, scooting on one leg.

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)
Says “mama” or “dada” to the correct parent – Meh. He says both things, but never really to anyone.
Indicates wants with gestures – Mostly just by screeching.

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)
Stands alone for a couple of seconds – Yes.
Puts objects into a container – Sometimes. If he wants to. Mostly he likes making a mess.

Finnegan: 9 Months

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

(Previously: Lincoln 9 months, Caroline 9 months, Evan 9 months – I think Finn definitely looks the most like Evan at 9 months)

Finnegan is now 9 months out in the world! That always feels like a big milestone, because now he’s more part of everything else than he is part of me. The good news is he’s still surviving mostly by nursing, so he’ll need me exclusively for at least a little while longer. I say that, but I did go out of town for 4 days this last month and everyone survived. But Finnegan still PREFERS me, which I am OK with, because he is my last baby.

Finn is enormous. I can’t wait for his next checkup so I can find out exactly what he weighs, but my guess is around 24 pounds. As Lincoln outgrows his t-shirts from last fall I am putting them directly in Finn’s wardrobe. Any pants smaller than 12 months won’t go past his knees. He is delightfully chubby and round and dimpled and squishy. It’s delicious. Being huge also means he’s finally gotten the hang of nursing sitting up or while in the baby carrier,  so taking him places is now 75% easier. It’s going to be PERFECT for our Disney trip and also very handy at the lake.

In other news, Finnegan now naps and sleeps in the crib, in what may someday be his shared room with Linc. Right now the 3 big kids are all choosing to sleep in one room, so Finn gets the nursery. We’ll figure out which room actually belongs to which kid some point in the future when they care. He still doesn’t quite sleep through the night reliably, but it does occasionally happen and he is taking at least one really good nap every day. For him. Not for me. I rarely get a nap, although I would really love one.

Likes include his siblings, his blankie, biting things, nursing, biting me while nursing, grabbing stuff, cruising, standing up, hitting things, crawling really fast, feet, naps, riding in the car, music, tickles, crackers, cheese, and splashing in the water.

Dislikes include being tired, falling on his face, the 10 seconds it takes to get buckled in his car seat, and teething.

He also dislikes sitting still long enough for his monthly photos, so these are a little…unposed.

9 Month Milestones (from Caroline’s 9 month post)

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)
Stands while holding onto something – Excellent stander
Jabbers or combines syllables – Lots of jabbering, but not a ton of real sounds
Understands object permanence – A little bit, but he’s not that worried about it

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)
Cruises while holding onto furniture – All day, every day
Drinks from a sippy cup – He (like his siblings before him) prefers to drink milk straight from the tap
Eats with fingers – He can definitely get food into his face with his hands.
Bangs objects together – Yes

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)
Plays patty-cake and peek-a-boo – He thinks peek-a-boo is hilarious but doesn’t actually participate
Says “mama” or “dada” to the correct parent – Can’t say either mama or dada at all, definitely not to the correct parent

Get Adobe Flash player