- Diaper Wetness Indicators: Sure, diapers can be foul, stinky, messy business. That said, so is peeling shrimp, forgetting to take out the trash after deboning a chicken, and getting stuck driving behind a truck carrying hot tar… and those things don’t smile and say “Mommy,” or sweetly kiss us goodnight! I don’t imagine any of us would rank diaper changing as our favorite part of motherhood, but I’d like to think we take it all in stride. It’s a small price to pay in the larger picture, right? That said, we run into our share of grimy stuff on a daily basis, so why make dirty diapers more dramatic than they have to be? (Otherwise known as: why wind up with poop on your pants in the middle of a church service, if you don’t have to?) In the first couple weeks of being a mom, I was thoroughly impressed to discover there are now moisture meters on several brands of diapers. Genius! I love being able to see that Gray needs changing well before her diaper is so full that urine is running down my favorite silk blouse, or that immediately identifiable and malodorous scent hits my nostrils, or the dogs start sniffing around her bloomers for the source of the funk. Loving the lack of leakage!
**PS. I thought I’d skip a photo on this one… sometimes a picture is not worth a thousand words.
2. The Original Ba: Though Gray has graduated to a sippy cup these days, I spent a few months of her infancy trying to encourage her to drink water (or breast milk, every now and then) from a bottle. Being a strictly breastfed baby, she wasn’t terribly enthused about that notion. I certainly didn’t want to force her into it, and I absolutely did not want to wean her from the breastaurant. However, I knew there would be several benefits to the introduction. For example, I wanted to have the option of allowing my husband some father-daughter bonding time, by pumping and letting him feed her. I also wanted to make sure there was an alternative if I had to go to work… you know, since I can’t really leave a breast behind for the sitter. Ultimately, since I have been blessed with the opportunity to stay at home with Gray, she was (and still is) never far from the booby buffet. This means I didn’t have the need for an overabundance of bottles or the accompanying equipment. Nevertheless, when Gray finally took to the bottle, there was one thing that really helped her along… a fancy contraption called The Original Ba. If M.C. Escher had created baby products, the Ba might be it. In actuality, the progressive design was invented by four guys who possess creative imaginations and slightly contradictory career paths: a single dad, a lawyer, a designer, and a rock & roller. It sounds like the start of a really wacky joke, right? But they’ve come up with something neat; a holder that makes it simple for babies to hold their own beverage. Way to think outside of the bottle, gentlemen!
3. Smart Teething Toys: Let’s be honest, when your kid is in the throes of the teething woes, you’ll try just about anything to ease their pain… and their screaming. I’m no exception. I’ve experimented with everything from a common household washcloth that I dampened and then froze for a few hours, which is cheap and effective, to the relatively trendy amber necklace. In all honesty, I’m not entirely convinced the latter isn’t someone’s attempt to make millions off of pulling the wool over our eyes. I tried it anyway. I’ve administered homeopathic chamomile powder, and offered Gray every rubbery toy she owns. The good news is that some of them have worked for a few minutes here and there, which I’m grateful for. Here are the two soothers she loves most… by a landslide.
~Sophie the Giraffe: So far, Sophie the Giraffe still reigns as Gray’s favorite. Vive la Sophie! Trust me when I say it’s like catnip for babies.
~Toofeze: This product was gifted to Gray by the generous folks at Toofeze. They even went so far as to engrave her name and birthdate on it, which was incredibly thoughtful. Gray is hooked! I definitely think they’re onto something, as you can also stick the Toofeze in the refrigerator (though the freezer is off-limits) for a colder teether.
4. The Wubbanub Pacifier: You’ve heard me say it before, and I’ll say it again… Wubbanub has been our saving grace. In terms of calming and consoling Gray, this pacifier is unparalleled. I’m grateful for every plane ride, shower, photo shoot and dinner it has gotten us through. If your child is willing to take a pacifier at all, this is the one. With a stuffed animal at one end, even infants can manage to hold onto it. The ONLY downfall? My dogs find the stuffed animal equally fascinating. Recently, when I failed to keep a close eye on its whereabouts, the Wubbanub monkey met a tragic end. Gray has buried Mr. Monkey, and moved on to the giraffe.
5. The Backseat Baby Mirror: I don’t know what I would do without this thing. My sister in law gave us one for our baby shower, and I am indebted. Truthfully, I initially chalked the product up to some sort of car company gimmick. You know, just one more thing they can trick you into thinking your baby needs, during your five thousandth pre-birth Target run. Boy, was I wrong on this one! Though the mirror certainly has its merits in terms of baby distraction, it turns out I’m the one who reaps the biggest benefits. Do you recall bringing your child home from the hospital? It’s terrifying to be out in the big world with your baby for the first time! If you are anything like my husband and I, we drove at snails pace, out of fear we would damage the tiny blessing in our backseat. In fact, a ninety-year old man in bifocals drives like Mario Andretti relative to how we drove that day. While my husband navigated, I sat in the back and stared at our daughter all the way home. I’m not sure I blinked. But in the weeks that followed, I had no choice but to bundle up our newborn and run errands on my own. This meant I was stuck driving, while Gray rode in her safety seat behind the passenger side. I desperately wanted to check on her every five minutes, and I remember being alarmed by the silence. Despite the fact that no mother enjoys hearing her child cry, there were moments I would have given anything for it… just for a sign that Gray was still breathing. Cue the backseat mirror. As soon as that thing was mounted, I became the only gleeful person stuck in traffic. As long as I can glance back and see that my kid is asleep, or looking out the window, or smiling contentedly while listening to The Little Mermaid, I’m golden.
Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,
Jenna von Oy
PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!
PPS. I wasn’t paid to promote any of these items, and I feel it’s important to put that out there. Though some of these products were gifted to us, my comments are based on our tried and true experiences with using them. Hope you have an opportunity to try them out as well…
1. My child already knows how to make a liar out of me, and flirting shamelessly in public is evidently not reserved for teenagers and hopeless romantics. At the end of February, I took Gray in for her nine-month check up at the Pediatrician. I’ll preface this by saying: I’d like to think I don’t have unrealistic expectations of my daughter’s personal growth. I’m not trying to compare Gray’s progress to every other kid her age, nor do I really know what her progress “should” be at this point. I’m trying not to rely on books and the Internet to tell me whether my daughter is smarter than your average bear, or in line to be the next Olympian. All of that said, I’ve been somewhat surprised to see that her physical prowess has, at least initially, outweighed her verbal aptitude. Gray began crawling at seven months old, and her acceleration has been exponential. She is now pulling herself up on all of our furniture, and moving from one thing to the next fairly deftly. Considering my penchant for verbosity, I would have bet the house (good thing I didn’t) on the fact that her verbal mastery would be significantly more advanced than her physical skills. So that brings me back to the Pediatrician. The doctor had inquired about Gray’s language development, and I’d just finished telling her that my daughter really seemed to be gaining physical momentum, but that I was less sure of her verbal advancements. At that very moment, Gray decided to make a liar out of me. She promptly looked up at a male nurse who was walking by, flashed a dimpled grin, and loftily said, ‘’Hi!’’ The nurse was a bit startled, then smiled back and responded, “Well, hello there!” The Pediatrician looked at me with a small smirk, and offered, “I think she’s doing all right.” Show off.
2. Naptime isn’t for the meek. So far, all I’ve incited in my attempt to get Gray to sleep in her crib are tears, screaming, anxiety, and exhaustion… And I don’t know which of the two of us has made the larger contribution. If teaching a child to nap were compared to a meteorological phenomenon, I would equate it to a category five hurricane. Unbearable winds, an abundance of rain, thunderous noise, and the fear of destruction. The major difference being, perhaps, that naptime cannot be considered a “low-pressure system.”
3. Babies can give hickeys. I thought I’d graduated beyond those foolish love bites. I was under the impression they were a college novelty that I never had to contend with again, much like fraternity parties, “jungle juice,” and thesis papers. So I was thrilled to discover I was walking around sporting a few. You know, since hickeys are so incredibly classy and all. But who knew my daughter would fancy herself a vampire? My arm looks like Edward Cullen and I had a make-out session. Which, in a sense, sounds more exciting than, “My daughter discovered she likes to chomp down on my flesh,” or, “I’ve given birth to a piranha.” Somebody get me a turtleneck sweater and some protective gear.
4. Sesame Street has come a long way, baby. We’ve been catching up on Sesame Street episodes each day, thanks to our local Nashville Public Television station. Gray absolutely loves it! This thrills me to no end, since I grew up watching the show too. That said, I’m noticing that Sesame Street has a wily sense of humor it didn’t have before… or, perhaps, that I never recognized. For example, a recent segment rhymed the word “door,” with “Zsa Zsa Gabor.” (This was followed by, ”Zsa Zsa Gabor. Wow, that sounds magical!” Yes, little muppets, it does sound magical. Unless, of course, you’re one of her eight ex-husbands.) Clearly, the Zsa Zsa reference was for my benefit, not my daughter’s. Their attempt at capturing my attention worked, as I abruptly came out of my morning stupor and nearly shot coffee out of my nostrils. Bravo, Sesame Street. Well played. I’m amazed to see that folks like Maria and Gordon are still around. Let it be known that this rumor started here: I suspect they’ve discovered the fountain of youth cleverly hidden somewhere in the Bronx. Anyway, turning on children’s programming for Gray has resurrected my own love for kid’s shows. My husband and I have started reminiscing about 3-2-1 contact, The Electric Company, and Reading Rainbow. Good times. “Well you know my name is Simon, and the things I draw come true…”
5. I’m unnaturally sentimental about bloomers. Gray has grown out of another set of clothes, and they are now attic-bound. For some reason, I get teary with every little shirt and onesie that gets packed up. It’s the passing of yet another beautiful phase, and the ushering in of a new one, which makes me more than a little emotional. Believe it or not, I’m FINALLY putting up some of Gray’s newborn and 3-month items, as she’s just now getting too big for them. My little girl is so petite (apparently she takes after her mama in that department), she has been able to wear the stuff for a lot longer than I anticipated… which I’m grateful for. But it’s really all about the bloomers. I’m mostly sad to say goodbye to the sweet pair she wore for her first photo shoot at the hospital. They were so big on her then, I had to tuck them into her itty bitty diaper. And now, I can’t stuff her thighs in there with a shoehorn. Not that I’ve tried, obviously. I just can’t bear to part with the first clothes she wore, when she still smelled like baby and sat in my lap without wanting to get down to crawl around. I know, I know. If it’s this tough to bid farewell to some clothing, what’s going to happen when she starts Kindergarten? I’m wondering the same thing…
If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in the corner crying over a tiny pair of baby underwear.
Until next time… Peace, Love, & Dirty Diapers,
Jenna von Oy
PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!
It seems that each week brings a new favorite moment to be shared with my daughter. I find I am constantly shuffling through the images in my head, trying to burn them into my brain so they’ll never be forgotten. Of course, I realize I can’t possibly remember every minute of every day, which is what I would do if I had my druthers. You’d think our kids would become less fascinating as they graduate from the newborn stage, right? Instead, the novelty doesn’t wear off, and as Gray continues to grow and learn new things, the memorable instances are getting more and more frequent. One day there’s a dimpled, gummy smile; the next day there’s a toothy grin to replace it. How can you say one is more special or significant than another? I certainly can’t… I cherish every one of Gray’s new sounds, movements, expressions, and even growing pains. Every act is a wonder, as she reaches out to me for the first time, discovers her ability to roll over, learns to pull herself up on her crib, or laughs at a funny face I’ve made. They are the cherished moments that make you realize how quickly time is passing, and you want to etch them into your heart with something indelible. I thought it might be fun to share five of my most recent favorite moments…
1. Though I am still breastfeeding more often than not, Gray began showing signs that she was ready for solid foods not too long ago. At eight months old, she definitely has an appetite! She is already proving to be quite the gourmande, enjoying everything from avocado and black beans, to homemade butternut squash with hints of vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom. I’m making her food here at the house, for the most part, since it is easy and cheap. Feeding her is endless entertainment, as she gets super excited about dinnertime!
2. Gray has developed a wonderful relationship with our puppies. She looks for them when she wakes up in the morning, and they do the same. Some of our most treasured moments include time spent together on the sofa, cuddling. Gray seems to have an affinity for rubbing their ears…
3. Gray has started to make sounds that imitate words, but she has also become quite adept at mimicking tone. She often erupts into something that vaguely resembles singing. I think she may be a future Glee cast member. Or an opera singer. Or perhaps I’ve led her to believe life is a musical, and random songs about nothing at all are the norm. Regardless, I’m thrilled at the prospect of her enjoying music. I’m sure it helps that I make up stupid little ditties about everything under the sun!
4. She has recently begun to enjoy bath time. Initially, she wasn’t a fan, and we dreaded the ritual because we knew it would lead to her being in a foul mood. And then, one day, she suddenly stopped crying and started LOVING it! Ah, women can be so fickle. I attribute the change of heart to her newfound ability to sit up by herself. Now that she isn’t relying on us to prop her up, she gets lost in playing with her bath toys and splashing around. Somehow I wind up a lot wetter than I used to in the whole deal, but as long as she’s having fun, I’m happy!
5. December 25th was full of wonder at our house, as we got to watch Gray experience the magic of Christmas for the first time. Not that she really tore presents open, mind you, or had any understanding of the situation, but it was neat to see her excitement. We made a concerted effort not to go overboard on the gift giving, and chose a few items that would be especially memorable down the road. One item I’m particularly fond of is a handmade felt book about her name. It was adorable to see her sit in her daddy’s lap on Christmas morning, and flip the pages of her new book!
As the moments keep coming, I’ll try to make a habit of sharing a few every now and again. What memorable moment has occurred in the last few weeks for you and your child? I would love to hear about it…
Until next time… Peace, Love, & Dirty Diapers,
Jenna von Oy
PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!