Crockpot meals are a lifesaver!

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Before the baby I loved to cook. I wasn’t necessarily very good at it, but I liked to make a variety of things and experiment.

Since Bash arrived, cooking has been nothing but a chore. It takes time to prep, cook the food, and then clean up. Often by the time I’ve managed to do all of that he wakes up or fusses, so my food ends up cold. Honestly sometimes I just skip eating. Definitely not a good idea.

Now that Bash can eat solid foods with some texture, I’ve started to use the crockpot again to make dinner. It’s amazing!

  1. It’s super quick and easy! Just toss everything into the pot and turn it on. Precut and washed veggies make things even easier!
  2. I can fit a lot of food in there for 3 people, so I have enough food for a couple of lunches and dinners. Although it can be a bit sickening to eat the same thing over and over for the next couple of days, the alternative for me is munching on snacks or not eating at all…so I’m not complaining.
  3. The baby can eat exactly what we are eating and HE KNOWS IT! I’m not sure if the flavors are more familiar to him because he gets hints of it through breast milk anyway or if he just likes feeling a part of things. Regardless, he always eats more home cooked food and it makes me want to keep cooking!

The crockpot was helpful during pregnancy when I was feeling tired and wanted to make some freezer meals for after the baby arrived. It’s honestly an even bigger lifesaver now! The recipes are simple and healthy yet very tasty! I can’t wait until Bash is a bit older so he can help me add ingredients to the pot. I hope he grows to love cooking so he can quickly take over that task for me!

The baby is escaping now

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We’ve long preferred to just allow Sebastian to sleep in our bed – both at nighttime and for naps.

Now this has gotten a lot harder. He is able to crawl off the bed and escape into the floor.

We still let him sleep on the bed, we just have to be extra vigilant and fetch him when he wakes up.

Messy eating

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Since Bash has started on solids (Gah, I’m not ready!) I’ve tried to let him be as involved as possible with mealtime. I encourage him to help hold his spoon and bring it to his mouth. This often leads to a huge gooey mess. I hate messes because I have to clean them up, but I think it’s important that Bash be allowed to practice feeding himself and to explore the texture of his food.

My family, Tommy’s family, and most surprisingly Tommy himself, are not fans.

One night Bash finished his solids and was getting grumpy. I asked Tommy to take the baby out of his chair and give him some floor time. Tommy then said, “But he’s dirty!”

OMG.

WTF!

In my head I got so mad. No shit he’s dirty. Wash him off. Duh! Kids get dirty. It’s just a fact.

I talked to Tommy about it later and he explained that he has an issue with touching messy food. Suddenly things started to make sense. No wonder he sometimes uses a fork and knife to eat a burger or some pizza.

I definitely have a bit of an ick issue with messy foods, but my love of food outweighs that. Tommy’s doesn’t apparently.

Now more than ever I want to let the baby touch his food. I don’t want him to grow up feeling icky around hot wings, and I hope I can slowly get Tommy to overcome his squeamishness as well. I love hot wings, and they are even better when shared with other people!

Sebastian bit me

Earlier this week Bash seemed different…less smiley and definitely too quiet. Something was up with him. Then yesterday, he would have random crying outbursts, and I realized he was having bad teething pain. When I looked in his mouth I could see a tooth about to poke out!!! Tommy didn’t believe me of course. (Not sure what it is with the guy never believing the girl. It happens in paranormal movies all of the time. The guy is skeptical and he ends up dying first.)

20160510_101721I gave Bash extra cuddles that day and as many teethers as I could find. Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly actually, he seems to favor the cheapest ones we own. It’s a set of 3 teethers with water inside that can be made cold in the fridge. They are the Bright Starts brand. We found ours at Target but they also have them on Amazon and all of the big chain stores I’m sure. The only downside is that I often forget to bring them with me when we are out, so wearing a teething necklace has been a big help. Then Bash can chew the necklace as I carry him rather than my shirt or the straps of his carrier.

This morning, Bash was much happier when he woke up, though still a bit quiet. After story time at the library I started to feed him when the little douche bit me! I’m sure many of you are familiar with the “Charlie bit me” clip on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPDYj3IMkRI). It literally happened like that. Too bad it was my boob and not my finger. And for the record, new baby teeth are razor sharp. Sharper than adult teeth which have been dulled by all of the delicious food we eat. I removed Bash from the boob and said, “No! Biting hurts Mommy.” We then went to get some groceries. He seemed calm but alert and a bit playful. I caught him watching me on multiple occasions, and honestly I saw a new look on his face. It seemed as if he finally understood something. Bash is almost 6 months so maybe some new things are clicking in his brain from a growth spurt. Anyway, we had a good time bonding and shopping for snacks for Mommy.

When we got home I reoffered the feeding and there was no biting! At this point either the teething pain had gone or Bash was hungry enough to just suck and not mess around. In any case, he drank his fill and then fell asleep for a long nap. I even caught a bit of a snooze as well!

Our Smoking Neighbor

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One evening while Sebastian was sleeping in the bedroom, Mary went in and smelled smoke. She freaked out. She was so mad. She told me we had to move immediately. This is because she had read this pamphlet (from the CDC) about secondhand smoke that stated:

No amount of secondhand smoke is safe. Even when you can’t smell it, cigarette smoke can still harm your child.

Opening a window or using a fan does not protect children.

I had recently installed a window fan to intake fresh air from the outside, so unfortunately, it also started intaking the cigarette smoke from our smoking neighbor (who smokes once a week or so). She was hopping mad and demanded we move immediately. So I reversed the fan flow (to exhaust) and emailed our pediatrician.

The pediatrician basically said: so long as you are closing windows, using fans to blow in fresh air, and staying away from neighbors who smoke, it’s fine.

This was a much more moderate stance than the CDC pamphlet, which is pretty hardline. Since Mary trusts our pediatrician, I think I have successfully deferred moving from our awesome rent-controlled apartment for another half year. Whew.

My takeaways:

  1. Most window fans can either intake our exhaust. Use exhaust for where the baby is sleeping to not bring in outside smoke.
  2. If the smoking source is occasional (once a week in our case), remote (not in our apartment, somewhere in our complex), and we can shut the window / blow air out, it’s fine.

Sleep Training basically worked

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Last time I posted about sleep training, I said we basically gave it up. Actually, after a few days, we modified it just a bit with great success.

The modification is this: Follow the sleep training, but if the baby sounds scared or distressed, go in and soothe immediately.

Sebastian has two types of cries:

  1. Fussing, frustrated “Why can’t I sleep” cry.
  2. Scared, distressed, in-pain cry.

If it’s the first type, we follow the sleep training, and allow him to try, checking on him in intervals. If it’s the second type, we go in to soothe him immediately. This is pretty successful, and he falls asleep pretty well (usually within 10 minutes).

I will say – Mary often doesn’t use sleep training, and opts to lay next to him and boob him to sleep. Since I don’t have that tool, I resort to sleep training, and it works for me.

My “office”

So my sister decided to send me a picture from her new job…

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Man I got so mad. At first I was going to reply, “Oh shut up.” Then, I decided to take a picture of my own…

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My office. I win! 😉

Although I am currently wearing old pjs (the oversized, unattractive kind that are only comfy because they are worn to the point of developing holes) , smelly because I haven’t showered, eating a leftover sandwich at 10 am for “lunch” since I won’t have time to later, and writing this post to do something remotely adult with myself, I am, as my husband pointed out in the group text “living the life.”

I have a happy and healthy baby sleeping next to me. When he wakes up soon and interrupts whatever activity I just barely started, I know he will give me the biggest smile. That makes the sleep deprivation, backaches, messy apartment, and smelly coffee breath totally worth it. Every single time.

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I got the smile!

Our Cry-it-Out sleep training lasted one day

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A few weeks ago, our pediatrician suggested sleep training. Mary immediately got two books (The Sleepeasy Solution and The No-Cry Sleep Solution) and devoured them. And after two weeks of nagging, I finally also read The Sleepeasy Solution.

So on Sunday we began sleep training using the method detailed in The Sleepeasy Solution. This book is basically the same method as the Ferber Method, part of a family of sleep training methods called Cry-it-Out, a.k.a. the extinction method. The gist of it:

  1. Put your baby onto bed awake, say good night, and leave the room. Ignore any crying or fussing.
  2. After 5 minutes, go back in and check on him. Don’t touch him, but reassure him verbally.
  3. After 10 minutes, go back in and check on him again.
  4. After 15 minutes, go back in and check on him again.
  5. Repeat Step 4 until he is asleep. This may take hours.

The theory goes: falling asleep is a learned skill, and the baby needs to learn how to do it on his own – without parental assistance.

We tried it on Sunday for Nap 1, Nap 2, and Bedtime. Here’s how they went:

  1. Nap 1: Baby lays there not complaining for the first 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, I check on him. Soon thereafter, he starts crying. Then after 3 more minutes, he falls asleep. Total time until sleep: 8 minutes.
  2. Nap 2: Baby lays there and starts complaining after a few minutes. After 5 minutes, I check on him. He starts crying, and then continues crying for 7 more minutes. Total time until sleep: 12 minutes.
  3. Bedtime: Baby starts crying immediately. After 5 minutes, I check on him. He keeps crying. After 10 more minutes,  I check on him again. He keeps crying. At this point Mary capitulates and goes in to soothe him.

So there you go. We lasted all of a single day before Mary declared defeat. The main sticking point for her: there is a difference between the baby’s fussing cry and scared cry, and the baby was starting to give the scared cry.

The good news is that the next day (today), the baby fell asleep during his naps without any intervention or regimen. Maybe my training did do some good.

The babysitter log

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Mary and Tommy received an invitation to a wedding on March 5th, and they asked me at least two months in advance if I was free to babysit. The wedding was over 50 miles away and they planned to be away from 1 PM to 1 AM. That was the longest time that they would be away from the baby, but my family and I have gotten comfortable with the babysitting routine. I love spending time with my nephew, but this night turned out to be a true test of my patience and skill.

12:45pm
My dad and I arrived at Mary and Tommy’s place. Mary reviewed how to use cloth diapers, told us there was extra milk in the freezer, and set out some books and toys. I’m sure Mary and Tommy were happy to get some time for themselves but were probably nervous to leave us in charge.

2:00pm
The baby was ready for his first nap. I had to walk around with him to calm him down and get him snuggled, then I laid him down on his mat and covered him with his blankie. My dad took this opportunity to leave because he usually goes to church on Saturday nights. He would be back around 7pm. That left me 5 hours alone with baby.

2:30pm
I heard the baby start fidgeting, and after 10 minutes, he was very awake and active. I changed his diaper, fed him, burped him, then did tummy time. We read a few board books, and I carried him all throughout the house and talked to him. I love to shower his fat cheeks with kisses and hopefully he likes it, too. I was the perfect auntie.

5:00pm
I definitely lost track of time. The baby and I were having so much fun playing and he didn’t show any signs of being sleepy. Mary had told me a hundred times that he needed to nap approximately every two hours, but the baby was fine! Or so I thought.

6:00pm
The baby was getting a bit fussy. He didn’t want to eat, he didn’t want a pacifier, and I checked repeatedly that his diaper was clean. Oh yeah, the baby needs to nap! Duh! So I turned off some lights and put the baby down. He finally fell asleep, and I took advantage of this break to raid the refrigerator. I finished off the carton of Rocky Road ice cream and sat down on the couch.

6:10pm
The baby woke up! Oh no! I tried saying “Shhhhh” gently and putting my hand on him so he knew he was safe. It didn’t work. He was awake and making noises. Did he need food? But he just ate before his nap! I let him stay lying down, then tried walking around with him to get him sleepy. Nothing worked.

7:00pm
My dad brought sandwiches for dinner and he ate while I held the baby. I told him how the baby only got 10 minutes of sleep, and he was being so fussy. My dad took a turn with the baby while I ate my sandwich. He talked to the baby and tried to reason with him: “Listen here, you have to get some rest, ok?”

8:00pm
After another hour of fussiness, I was able to put the baby down on his mat in the bedroom. My dad and I were already exhausted.

8:30pm
Baby started crying. I picked the baby up to walk with him, but he screamed even louder. So I put him back down and he was still crying. My dad told me to put the baby in his rocker chair and bring him in the living room. My dad rocked the baby and let him cry. We knew he was so tired that he couldn’t sleep. I was very frustrated and thought, “What kind of person needs sleep and is too tired to sleep so he stays up and cries?” Babies are so irrational.

9:00pm
The baby fell asleep in his rocker. He sometimes woke up and started crying, but he fell asleep several minutes after his outbursts.

11:00pm
Mary and Tommy came home early. Praise the Lord! The baby was asleep like a mischievous little man. My mom asked how babysitting went, and I replied with “Never am I ever babysitting him again!”

I now know that I need to enforce the baby’s sleep schedule and have him ready for naptime even before that time comes. There is no point getting frustrated with a baby because it won’t help the situation and could make things worse. I still love to see the baby and spend time with him, and I tease him about that night when he was a little terror baby.

Two days later, there were no more hard feelings:

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Babyproof Your Telephone Jacks

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Before
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After

When I started baby-proofing, I immediately zeroed in on the power outlets. But I ignored the telephone jacks. I haven’t had a landline in years, and thinking of them as just data jacks, I thought they were harmless.

Wrong, as my electrical engineer father-in-law pointed out. Those plain old telephone jacks carry 50 volts DC. They aren’t digital, but analog. They used to power phones even if the power was out.

And my apartment had a telephone jack right above the baby’s sleep area.

My dear wife kept complaining, repeatedly, over a span of about two weeks, that Sebastian was looking at the telephone jack right above his head, and was starting to reach for it.

I ignored her. I told her it was a harmless data jack.

I finally looked it up on Wikipedia to silence my wife – to prove to her that they were actually harmless. And that’s when I discovered they weren’t.

The Solution

The solution is simple. You don’t use the landline anymore. Replace the telephone jack wall plate with a blank one. I bought a metal one from Home Depot for $1 that will probably survive a nuclear blast, and is definitely tamper-proof.

It takes 5 minutes and can be done with a flathead screwdriver.

  1. Unscrew the telephone jack wall plate.
  2. Disconnect the wires from the wall plate. Tape them off and separate them so they don’t short. Stuff them into the hole.
  3. Install the blank wall plate in its place.
  4. Don’t tell your landlord. Fix it before you move out.