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Entries in toddler (41)


On the Eve of Your First Birthday 


Dear Z,

That smile!You are so big and so small. Yes, this is possible. It’s hard to believe the way that life has expanded in the last year with you here. Our house is so much more full with smiles, messy floors and your endless range of noises.

I feel like I’m really getting to know you. You love games, and routine. I’ll be shocked if your first word isn’t “ball”—the only thing you love more is your brother, and “Dominic” is an unlikely first word. And you LOVE to eat.

You are finally getting much more of the attention you deserve. We’re all learning to share our time better, and that leaves me feeling much less anxious about giving you the focus that I want you to have. We have many moments together these days, and I treasure them. And the benefit of the few months that it took to find that balance is that you are a very patient little boy (except when you are in your highchair).

You and brother have loved each other intensely since you were born, and now you can actually play together. You roll the ball back and forth, chase each other around the house and sometimes even share toys. You even gave brother his first baby-induced owie—a scrape from a dino swipe to the face (I’m calling it revenge for an incident when you were three months old that involved a dino dropped from a height).

I know when we bring your birthday balloons into your room in the morning that your face will light up. Your morning smile is joy. It’s your joy. It’s Daddy’s joy. It’s Brother’s joy. It’s my joy. You are our joy.

All my love,



5 Tips For Getting Out of the House with Two

I remember how terrified I was to leave the house during the first month of brining home my first. With a toddler, there is no time to be terrified of anything! Especially getting out of the house. It's a necessity. Here are some tips I'm using to help get out of the house (super helpful on school days). 

  • Choose outfit the night before: Getting dressed can be a nightmare in the morning. Especially now that my toddler has preferences about what she wants to wear. Watch out #diva. We've started to pick out clothes the night before. This way we can spend a little time choosing the perfect outfit without feeling rushed and without feeling pressed for time. 
  • Make and pack lunch the night before: This saves me a good 10 minutes. Doesn't sound like much but 10 minutes in the morning is a significant amount of time. And one less thing to think about. 
  • Breakfast is what's served: I got into a bad habit of asking my toddler what she wanted for breakfast each morning. Even when I'd give her options, it would take 10 minutes for her to decide between eggs or cereal. Now I make breakfast and let her know when it's time to eat. The caveat here is if I say "I'm going to make breakfast now" and she says "I want to eat..." If she asks for something specific and we have it, I have no problem giving her what she's requested. 
  • Bottle feed baby: I'm breastfeeding my newborn, which typically takes about 45 minutes all around. And I don't have 45 minutes to spare on the days Reese has school. So I've started pumping before everyone gets up (yep, kind of a pain but totally worth it) and bottle feeding in the morning. This saves me more than 25 minutes. 
  • Use incentives: Call it what you will. An incentive or a bribe but it works. Reese is obsessed with cartoons these days. On school days when we're rushing to get out of the house I explain that after she gets dressed, eats breakfast, clears her plate from the table, brushes hair and teeth, she can then watch cartoons until we have to leave for school. So she gets about 15 minutes of toon time before school. Works like a charm...for now!

I'm still adjusting to two kids. Please share your tips with me. What tips/tricks do you use to get out of the house?


No Sleep 'Til Bedtime


I mourn the loss of the afternoon nap. It was that peaceful interlude when I could get some work done, fold some laundry, have alone time with the baby, or God forbid, sit down with Mad Men or a magazine for a few minutes. Alas, those times are gone. A blissful, surprise double nap!

Nic dropped his nap sometime after Christmas. It had been a long time in the making—an hour spent playing in bed before actually falling asleep, the occasional no-nap day—but now it’s the norm, not the exception. He goes strong all day long. ALL DAY LONG.

It’s fun having a lot of one-on-one play time with him, but it’s been a real struggle getting my work done, and as you may have noticed, blogging has taken a backseat. I miss the Interwebs, but mama’s got clients to service. (My husband says that doesn’t sound right. You know what I mean, right?)

And I admit it: Sometimes I just have to put on the Lorax. When I do that, there’s a 90% chance he’ll fall asleep while watching it—I have the pee-stained couch to prove it. 


On Your Third Birthday



You turned three today. The day started blissfully with you singing Twinkle Twinkle to yourself in a dream while I gave baby an early morning bottle. You got to the end of the first verse and couldn’t remember how the others went, “Mama, how does the rest of Twinkle Twinkle go?” You asked this quietly, while still sleeping. But then your inquiry became louder and more urgent. I began to sing the verses back to you, but you couldn’t hear me through your dream. After a few minutes you woke up to find me in the chair next to your bed, holding your little brother. It was an early, but perfect way to start your third year. Birthday smile!

This has been quite a year. And I’ll be honest—it’s been tough. You sailed through potty training and even the introduction of your little brother, but we’ve had other struggles. Your physical exuberance is often more than your playmates can handle. I’ve heard many surprised, quiet gasps from other moms as you’ve pushed into their little ones, or worse. We’ve worked HARD—you, me, your dad, your teachers, the other parents at preschool—to help you to use your words instead of your body, and it has helped. I see the gentle soul that I know you are a bit more every day, and I can’t wait until that is the little boy who shows up to every birthday party and playdate. Until then, we’ll keep working and we’ll keep loving you just as much as we always have.

Watching you play is one of my great joys. Tonight, Daddy and I just couldn’t bear to put you to bed because you were so engrossed in pretend play with your new Legos. You were a “vetrapramarian”  fixing a broken turtle shell and then checking Daddy’s “heartbeep.” I heard you tell one of your Lego animals how proud you were of him for doing something and my heart swelled. I know that my responses to your aren’t always Positive-Discipline-perfect, but I do hope that the lasting feeling you get from our days together is how proud I am of the little man that you are.

I’m proud in the moments when I watch you pull your hands to your side at the sandbox and ask a little boy if he wants to play, when you choose the perfect, soft toy for Baby Z to snuggle, when you ask Daddy about the best part of his day at dinner, when you say that your favorite color is “beige” (seriously, what 3-year-old knows about beige?), when you eat carnitas. And I’m even proud in the not-so-perfect moments, when you are promising to be gentle next time or when you’re helping me clean up marker from the floor.

Every day we’re learning. You and me and Daddy too. We’re figuring out how this growing up thing works and I am so happy to be doing it with you.

My favorite quote these days is, “The days are long but the years are short.” I can’t think of anything else that sums up my feeling on your birthday better than this.

I love you eternally and unconditionally,



Prepping for C-Day


In prepping for my scheduled c-section recovery (six weeks of no lifting my toddler) I've been tweaking how we do things around here. I’m hoping that these changes will make my recovery period go smoothly. Here’s what’s working so far:

Car climbing. I used to lift Reese up into our SUV but now she climbs in and out of the car, as well as in and out of her car seat on her own. We make it a game and she has until the count of three to get into her car seat before I “come get her.” This makes the entire process so much easier and faster than when I used to try to put her into her car seat.

Easy up and down. We are testing a BabyBjorn Booster Chair and it's working out great! It straps snuggly onto our dining chair and Reese uses a stool to climb into the booster on her very own. She can climb in and out of it with no assistance, so this is a big help since lifting her in and out of a highchair would have been painful. And I also love that it's a lot easier to clean up than a highchair because it doesn't have all the little nooks and crannies. A couple days ago I was in her room and mentioned that we were going to eat dinner pretty soon. She walked out of her room. After a few minutes I went to check on her and she was patiently waiting in her booster chair at the dining table for her dinner. Jennifer posted a full review here.

Hold me maybe. We’ve created a rule that Mommy can only hold Reese "at home" or when I'm "sitting down." This works about 85% of the time. Since I will only be able to hold her while sitting down during my recovery this has been a good rule for us. Not to mention it’s getting really hard to carry her with my big protruding belly I’m carrying these days. So when we’re out and about and she wants to be carried I offer her the option of holding hands with me, getting in her stroller (if we have it with us) or if she really needs to be held we take a break and I sit down to hold her.

Creating kid convenience. I’ve created two cubbies low enough for Reese to put her shoes and jacket in so that I can say "Please go grab your shoes and jacket" when getting ready to leave the house. This is similar to a cubby she has a preschool to hold her belongings so it's working great. She can also put some of her shoes on by herself (boots and Velcro tennis shoes).

Fending for food. I've moved "approved" snacks to a shelf in the kitchen where Reese can reach. Now when it's snack time she grabs a little bowl and reaches into the pantry. She's very good about asking before she grabs a least for now. The challenge with this so far has been that she generally wants more than one snack. 

All in all, these changes in our household are working well for us. I hope they all stick when the new baby comes. If you've had a c-section with a toddler at home, what tricks worked for you during your recovery?

Here's a short video to enjoy: