The cat takes a wife

My three-year-old says some pretty funny shit.  I realized that I should really start writing it down because I know that I’ll never remember otherwise.

Last night, he decided to serenade me with a song from daycare.  The Farmer in the Dell.  Except he couldn’t quite remember the words.  I, of course, only remember the first verse, which I dutifully sang for him when he requested it.  Apparently that was enough to jog his memory and he took over with the second verse… “the cat takes a wife, the cat takes a wife, heigh-ho the derry-o, the cat takes a wife.”

Wait, what?

Then there’s his attempts at applying the rules of grammar.  You know, I didn’t really realize how messed up the English language can be until I became a parent and watched a little person try to learn it.  Some examples:

  • That’s yours.  This is mines.
  • Him hit me.
  • Can me help?
  • I falled.

And, finally, there are the random funny things he says:

“Old McDonald’s” = McDonald’s (the restaurant)

“Open” = Oatmeal (his favourite breakfast, which he couldn’t pronounce when he was younger.  The name just stuck.)

“Is it tomorrow?” = is it time for whatever exciting thing we were talking about yesterday?

There’s really nothing cooler than being able to have a real conversation with your kid.  When they’re babies, it’s hard to imagine being able to sit down and actually have a two-way chat with them.  As my son grows up, it amazes me how much he learns are retains every day.  So, I guess it’s really no surprise that some of his words get a little mixed-up and his grammar is not quite perfect.   As his language continues to develop, I’m sure there will be many more funny things coming out of his mouth.  And I’ll be here, enjoying it all!

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5 months

Another month has come and gone.  Baby Bo is now five months old!

My little guy enjoys playing is his ExerSaucer, reaching for and exploring all the toys that are attached.  I’m impressed with his coordination these days.  Yesterday, he dropped a teething ring.  It landed beyond his reach, so he rolled onto his side so that he could stretch his arm out to grab it.  Amazing!

He continues to be an incredibly happy and easy-going baby.  As is probably pretty normal for a second child, he gets dragged to birthday parties and soccer games all the time.  His naps gets bumped and he gets fed wherever we are but he never complains.  Even when he’s totally pooped, he’ll give a big toothless grin to anyone who looks his way.  He really is a sweet, sweet boy.

The biggest development this month has been the transition into his crib.  I’m still a bit sad about it (I know, I know, get over it) but he’s definitely more comfortable there.  He naps really well in the crib and I continue to put him down awake as often as I can.  Sometimes he falls asleep nursing at which point (obviously) I’m not going to wake him up just so that he can be put down “drowsy”.  But, he’s really quite good at settling himself if he’s awake when I put him down.  For that, I am very thankful!

As far as sleep goes, it’s still hit and miss. Bo needs a pretty early bedtime these days so I usually put him down around 7:30pm. I’m still up with him 1-2 times per night. He did give me a nice present for his five-month birthday, though. A 9 hour stretch!!! Yep, last night he slept through from 10:30pm-7:30am. And so did I. Woohoo!

In other transition news, we started using the “big boy” seat for the stroller last week.  Up until now, we had been using the infant car seat with the stroller attachment.  With the hot summer weather, I thought he’d be more comfortable in the stroller seat instead.  He seems happy in it so no problems there.

We’ve been working on sitting up (supported) which isn’t going terribly well.  He tends to bend forward, rather than tip over backwards, which is actually quite amusing.  Not sure what he’s attempting to do, but he’ll happily sit there, with his cheek smashed into the floor.  What a goofball.

Breastfeeding is still going well, so I’ve decided not to rush into starting solids.  I think I’ll wait until closer to the six-month mark this time around (Littleman started at 4.5 months).  Since we’ve pretty much given up on the bottle, I’m trying to offer him a sippy cup instead.  At this stage, I’m feeling like I might as well try that, rather than push the bottle.  The first try was a little messy.  He didn’t hate it, but not sure he actually swallowed anything.

His favourite person in the world is still his big brother.  I swear, the smile Bo gives Littleman each morning is the best thing ever.  Those two love each other so much and it makes me happier than I could have ever imagined.

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Kids and eating

As a mom, I realize how stressful it can be when it comes to feeding our children.

When my first son was born, I worried about whether or not breastfeeding would work.  Was the latch right?  Will it stop hurting?  Was the baby getting enough milk?

Then we got breastfeeding sorted out and he was eating well.  Of course, then I worried about what to do when I wasn’t around.  Would he ever take a bottle?  Should we start trying a cup?

When it came time to introduce solids, he hated it.  I tried rice cereal and he wouldn’t eat it.  I cooked and pureed all my own vegetables.  He wouldn’t eat them.  Things got a little better when we started offering him foods with some texture – mashed banana, chunks of avocado, strips of toast, cottage cheese, cheerios.

Then he became a toddler.  And, with that, became picky.  I remember there being a phase where pretty much all he’d eat was yogurt, grilled cheese and scrambled eggs.  I tried not to worry about this small meal repertoire because during the day, he’d eat whatever the daycare was serving.  Quinoa.  Edamame.  Ground turkey with brown rice.  Veggies.

At home, forget about it.

Throughout all that time, I always felt like everyone else’s kids were doing so much better.  My friends’ babies chugged their bottles happily.  They opened their mouths wide as their mom’s spooned in purees of all kinds.  They tried different foods and seemed to like everything.

It’s funny how things change.

Now that Littleman and his buddies are three-years-old, I’ve started noticing that he’s getting better and better at eating a variety of foods, while the other kids we know seem to be getting worse.  Last weekend, we had some friends up to the farm.  We served a pretty plain dinner of fish, cooked carrots and roasted baby potatoes.  All stuff that Littleman will eat.  The kids (all three-years-old) sat down for dinner and, amongst themselves, decided that Littleman would take all the carrots and potatoes.  The other two kids ate their fish, but only when their moms sat down and fed it to them.  We haven’t fed Littleman in ages.

Then there’s his buddy who lives down the street.  He’ll only eat a couple of different vegetables (and only raw) but he’ll eat things like sushi and poached eggs.

Littleman eats lots of different veggies these days: carrots, broccoli, peppers, green beans, corn, asparagus.  He loves fish and ribs.  He’ll eat chicken if it’s particularly tender or shredded.  He loves berries and cantaloupe and apples.

Don’t get me wrong, he likes junk food too.  Hot dogs and hamburgers.  Ice cream.  Cookies.  Chocolate.  (Seriously, this kid has inherited his mom’s sweet tooth!)

Of course, there are also lots of things he doesn’t like.  And lots of times where he won’t try things.  We try our best not to make meals a battle but sometimes it’s hard.  We have a rule that he has to try things once.  He’s allowed to say “I don’t like it” if he’s tried it, but not before.  Sometimes it doesn’t take much convincing but other times he resists it pretty hard.

Our best strategy for getting him to eat lots of vegetables these days is to give them to him first, before the rest of his meal.  I try to have something prepared before he comes home from daycare so I can feed it to him as his “after school snack.”  If he’s snacked on veggies, then I don’t worry too much about making sure his dinner is balanced.  He can focus on the “meat and potatoes” part of the meal without us constantly urging him to eat his vegetables.

Overall, I guess what I’m learning from all of this is that kids’ eating habits seem to be always evolving.  For us, forcing food or stressing about it doesn’t seem to help.  Some of Littleman’s favourite foods are things he said he didn’t like before he even tried them, so patience and persistence seems to have helped his tastes expand.

Baby Bo hasn’t started solids yet but, when he does, I hope we have an easier time than we did with his older brother.  But if we don’t, at least I know now that things can (and often do!) get better.  This time around, I’ll try my best not to worry so much.  (The key word there being try!)

Monitoring the situation

It would appear that I have become somewhat of an expert on video baby monitors. We (totally not on purpose) have ended up using three different baby monitors since Littleman was born.

So, since I have all this knowledge, I figure I might as well share it!

When I got pregnant the first time around and started looking at baby gear, I wondered if a video baby monitor was really necessary. They seemed to be gaining in popularity at the time, so we figured, what the hell? We’ll give it a try.

Philips Avent
Out first monitor was a gift from my godparents. It wasn’t one we had looked at before but their daughter had used it so they knew it was good.

We started using it once Littleman started sleeping in his own room. Right from the start, I loved it. The picture was clear, the range was decent (I could hang out in the backyard and make it to about the end of our driveway in the front). I could clip it to my pants when going downstairs to do laundry.

I liked that the power switch is on the side and is easy to flick on and off.  The volume control is the same switch (you just roll it with your thumb) so it’s super easy to do without having to flip through different menus within the monitor.  In fact, there are no menus at all.  Just a button to adjust brightness and a button for the built-in music/lullabies.

A couple of features that are missing from this monitor are the ability to pan the camera remotely and the talk-back feature.

But, our absolute favourite feature of this monitor was the sound activation. The screen remains black and the monitor is completely silent (i.e. zero static or background noise) until the baby makes a sound. Then, the screen comes on.

I loved that feature because I could glance over and see what the kid was doing without having to reach out and fiddle with buttons to activate the video.

All in all, we really liked the Philips Avent monitor.

So, why did we get a second video monitor? When Littleman was 18 months old, my parents bought a farm. It’s a property outside of the city where we can all spend weekends and holidays together. At first, we would take our monitor back and forth every weekend. After a while, that got irritating. If you’re wondering why we didn’t just give up the monitor now that the kid wasn’t a baby anymore, the main reason is the size of the farm house. It’s huge and the main living areas are far from our bedrooms.

At the time, I read some reviews of newer models of monitors. We loved ours but found it’s range wasn’t amazing at the farm. We figured we might as well try another brand and decided to go for the one that got excellent reviews (and happened to be on sale!)

Motorola MBP36

This monitor has a larger screen than our first monitor and it’s even more clear.  It took a bit of time to get used to the different locations of buttons and to figure out all the controls because this one definitely has more features than the Philips.

I liked the fact that this monitor allows you to pan the camera remotely from the parent unit.  This means the camera doesn’t have to be perfectly positioned before you leave the baby’s room.

Another nice feature was the ability to “talk back” using the parent unit.  It helped me when I’d be nursing the baby and my three-year-old would wake up.  I could talk to him through the monitor to let him know where I was and why I wasn’t coming to his room.

The biggest thing we had to get used to with this monitor was the background noise.  There was definitely a slight buzzing/hum to this one which got louder as you turned the volume up.  This meant that, at night, I had to keep the volume pretty low so that I wouldn’t be bothered by the constant noise.  I also had to get used to reaching out and fumbling for the video button to turn on the screen when Littleman would call out.  Not my favourite thing to do in the middle of the night (I definitely knocked over a glass or two of water) but I eventually figured out how to do it in the dark.

One of the main things that excited us about this monitor was the ability to add additional cameras.  We thought this would be awesome once our second baby was born.  We could see both of them with one monitor!

Again, after getting used to this one, we were quite happy with it.

So, why the third monitor? After Bo was born, I decided to look into purchasing a second camera for this monitor so we could keep an eye on both boys at the same time.  I started searching online and didn’t have any luck.  The camera was either out of stock or just not carried at all.  Seriously, I couldn’t find the extra camera anywhere.  It became increasingly annoying to carry around two monitors with me, so I knew I needed to find another solution.

20140731-205145-75105365.jpgSummer Infant Multi View

When I realized I couldn’t get an extra camera for the Motorola, I started looking at other options for monitors that come with two cameras.  Turns out there aren’t many.  The one that seemed to be easiest to find was the Summer Infant Multi View Digital Colour Video Monitor.  My sister has a different Summer monitor and seemed to be happy with it.  I read some reviews and, for the price, this seemed like a good option for us.

I was pretty excited when we finally got it.  At this point, I was using both of our monitors, which was a total pain in the arse.  I found that they were interfering with each other and it was just a lot to carry around with me.

The Summer was easy to set up and straightforward to use.  It does not have the pan feature that the Motorola has, but you can zoom in remotely.  There is less background noise than the Motorola but it isn’t as quiet as the Philips.

While it isn’t sound activated like the Philips, the button to activate the screen is large and right on the top of the monitor so you just have to slap at it (kind of like an alarm clock snooze button) which is super-easy to do in the middle of the night.

The coolest part?  The ability to see both my babies at the same time!  There is the option of having a split screen so that I can watch both of them.  Or, I can use the “scan” feature, which flips back and forth between cameras every 8 seconds.  This is the best option for us because it allows us to hear sound from both rooms (the split screen shows both rooms but only plays the audio from one of the rooms).

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In the end, we’ve been lucky that all three monitors have worked well for us.  After using them all, I think that, given the choice, I would want to have the Philips Avent monitor with two cameras.  But, since that doesn’t exist, I’m happy with the Summer for now.