Monthly Archives: November 2012

Little Clutch – NOT!

Sometimes you don’t know just how good you have it.

The other day we were at a playdate where I encountered some very strong clutching fists. They were clutching onto Timothy’s sweater at first, and then onto my hair. And they were nearly impossible to un-clutch!

I never had this problem with Timothy. If he pulls my hair, a lightly tap on his fist and he lets go, no fuss. I can wear earrings (Timothy has zero interest in them) and necklaces (Timothy might grab – but lets go easily).

Eye-opening!

Long-Haul Car Trip with a Baby

We traveled a lot with Timothy. And when I say a lot, I mean a LOT. Timothy is only 9 months old, but he already took long-haul car trips trips to Montreal for a weekend and Ottawa for a week-long cottage vacation, flew across the Atlantic to Moscow (Russia) to meet his grandparents and to Dominican republic for another vacation (obviously Timothy needs a lot of vacation… getting tired, poor thing :))

So I decided to share some tips and learnings about traveling with babies. I’ll start with the very first trip – to Montreal (600 km away from us). Timothy was 4 months old at the time.

How to survive a long-haul car trip with a baby.

Getting to Montreal turned into a nightmare. Timothy was unhappy almost the whole duration of the trip – and the usually 6-hour long trip took us 9 hours. Due to Timothy – and due to traffic.

Learning #1: sit next to the baby. Yes, perhaps you wanna keep your spouse company, but it’s so much easier to deal with baby crying in the back seat when you sit next to the baby! And it’s safer – the driver won’t get too distracted from the road.

Learning #2: time your trip so as to avoid high-traffic time when you leave AND when you arrive. We never considered that we’ll be arriving in Montreal exactly as everyone else will be leaving work – at the beginning of a long weekend. It was nightmare! On our way back we left around noon and arrived in Toronto around 7, past the high traffic time, on a regular Monday night.

Learning #3: bring breast pump and bottle with you. On our way to Montreal, we stopped for us to eat. We stop to change poopy diapers. We stopped to nurse Timothy. There were waaaaay too many stops. And at one point we were stuck in traffic and Timothy started wailing for milk. In the middle of a highway. In its stretch in Montreal where there’s not even a shoulder and at the speed we were going – 30 minutes away from the next exit. It was HELL. So. Next time I took a bottle and breast pump inside the car with me. Timothy gets hungry – I pump and give him the bottle, right there. No need to stop!

Learning #4: massage the baby in the carseat. It’s a long-hail drive. Your limbs get all tired, your bum feels flat, you keep stretching your shoulders and legs. Well, your baby can’t do it. Massage the baby in the carseat! Just a bit of rubbing ans squishing and shaking of those pudgy thighs and arms will do. Ahhh, that’s better. Now we can go peacefully for a couple hundreds kilometers more.

Learning #5: lay him flat. During our meal stops, we took Timothy out of the carseat and lay him on the table (covered with a blanket) to stretch out his limbs and flatten his back and exercise a bit. You eat with one hand, hold the baby with the other. Timothy loved the break from being strapped in the same boring carseat for too long.

Learning #6: entertain. I sang so much during that trip – I lost my voice. I know a lot of songs – so that helped. Still, I was exhausted. I showed him some movie clips on my phone of – well, him 🙂 – and that seemed to entertain him. So I’d say even a four-month-old isn’t too young for a DVD. It buys you some quiet time to restore those voice chords. And perhaps for the driver to restore those ear drums 🙂 Invest and buy a portable DVD-player for your car!

Learning #7: prepare for the road. There are stops every 80 km or so along the Montreal-Toronto highway, so we passed one thinking “oh, we’ll step at the next one”. Only the next one was closed for renovation. By the time we reached the next one after that, Timothy was all poopy and grumpy, I was all hungry and grumpy, and hubby… well, he really needed to use the washroom and so was beyond being grumpy. Plan your trip. Make sure that the places where you plan to stop are available!!!

I will remind: Timothy was 4 months old at the time of that first trip, so there were no snacks involved. For babies a bit older, it’s a good thing to have.

And – also important – make sure your baby hasn’t outgrown its carseat! Surviving hours upon hours squished into a carseat that is too narrow for you doesn’t sound like fun. So your baby won’t let you have fun either.

We took another long-haul car trip to Ottawa when Timothy was 5 months old, using all of the above learnings – and it was a BREEZE. Honestly. A complete non-event.

Happy travels, everyone!

Timothy’s Room – Decor

Another post about the nursery.

Once we got the green theme going, the rest became rather obvious.

We got a green frog humidifier:

A green frog night light:

A yellow sun for the upper light:

A green laundry bin with a monkey (light-green):

And a green changer (I love, love, LOVE this item! So much better than the conventional changers – especially due to the fact that Timothy can’t push his head against the wall! And so easy to clean)

And, well, somehow even a lot of toys are green – despite the fact that we didn’t buy these!

Music snail (so in theme with the glider!)

I love how the room turned out.

Timothy’s Room – Glider

Continuing with my posts about the nursery.

I probably should have started talking about the nursery from this post – chronologically, this was the first piece that sort of set the tone for everything else.

We got a glider from our friends for free. It was awesomely comfy, but rather old and ugly from being in use for 10 years.

So I got this idea to re-upholster it. On my own. While already sporting a 7-month pregnant belly.

Again, the biggest problem was finding a cute fabric. This was before I discovered fabric.com (about which I shared in my previous post), so I ended up buying two sets of receiving blankets and using them for the grand remake!

I am very happy with the results, even if I realized a bit too late that flannel isn’t exactly the perfect choice for upholstering (not durable).

And this glider – the greens of it, the frogs – is what set the whole room’s theme! With green furniture and animal curtains 🙂

Lots of Breakthroughs for Timothy!

This past week was a big one for Timothy. So many discoveries!

He learned to do the high-five. He goes to swimming classes with his daddy on Sunday, and the girls that leads the class worked really hard on getting Timothy to give her a high-five. And finally he did! At first it was really funny: I would raise the hand, say “high-five” and then watch as Timothy would look at the hand, then recognition would shine in his eyes, he would smile, and then – finally – raise his hand and give me the high-five. It was slow at first. Hilariously slow. But he’s getting better!

I took him to the office last week and all the girls wanted to get a high-five with him. Well, girls usually are attracted to Timothy, he has such magnetic aura 🙂

He even responded once with something that distinctly sounded like “huh-fuh”!

Timothy started crawling. It’s a very under-developed crawl – but he’s getting better at it, too. What he does is he places his sticky little hands on the floor and then pulls himself forward with his hands practically glued to the floor. We call him our little spiderman 🙂 At first he would only drag himself for a foot or so, laying his head on the floor in defeat if his toy rolled away too far (soooo funny), but now? Yesterday he crawled all the way to the breakfast area from the living room – and that’s a few yards!!!

Timothy started saying “papa”. Now, we aren’t sure whether that’s got to do anything with his daddy (just like we still aren’t sure whether he knows what he says when he says “mama” – but still… it’s a new “word” 🙂

Timothy started showing noses! Give him a toy, ask where the nose is – and he points at it! the funny thing is that he does that only with toys. You go ask him to show daddy’s nose and he just stares at you blankly. Um, daddy has a nose, too?

Timothy is very busy standing up, crouching down, bending over. He can spend 15 minutes doing that, leaning against his plastic music table. Pick up a bucket, drop the bucket, bend over, pick it up, straighten up, drop the bucket, bend over… Or he cruises around the room, using the table as an old person’s walker. Hysterical.

He is busy in his crib, turning the mobile on, standing up, crawling around.

Timothy figured out that the buckets are stackable. He obliges when I ask him to place one bucket inside the other. On his own he sometimes can’t figure out which bucket is smaller. Or he might place a small bucket in a big one and then try and place a medium-sized bucket inside – and of course the previously placed small bucket won’t allow that. Our little engineer 🙂

And the best thing is how cheerful Timothy lately is – all smiles and giggles.

It’s fantastic.

This and the occasional sleeping through the night, forgoing the 5:30 am nursing 🙂

Timothy’s Room – Curtains and Pictures

Continuing from the previous post about Timothy’s room.

We went back and forth for quite a while, trying to decide whether we want to repaint the walls (which were warm yellow-peachy colour), or if we want decals, or if we want to paint stuff on the walls ourselves, or what, exactly, we want to do.

In the end we decided that we will do murals when Timothy grows up a bit and tells us what he likes. Until then, we decided to go with decorations.

I really wanted to find some cute curtains. I looked through many online stores – there were tons of pink and princesses – but nothing nice for a boy other some boring blue curtains with ships from Pottery Bran. Oh, and tons of valances. Why valances and not curtains???

I wanted animals, bright colours, something interesting and fairly gender-neutral. I thought maybe I can sew the curtains if I find a fabric I like? I went through quite a few fabric stores – NOTHING. Boring, boring, boring – and then some uglies.

Finally, I went online and found fabric.com. Wow. Just WOW. They had SO MUCH STUFF. Inexpensive stuff. Even though delivery to Canada costs money. And once I realized that I need not limit my search to what they designated as “curtain fabrics” – my brain exploded! The ones they sell as quilting fabrics were the best, in my opinion.

Anyway, bought a few yards of this pretty print, along with some blackout fabric to make sure my baby doesn’t get wrong ideas during summer time when the sun goes up at five in the morning! 🙂

Now, I don’t know how to sew. Or rather I have no clue as to how to use a sewing machine. So I borrowed a sewing machine from my friend and then my sister did all the cutting and sewing – and voila!

The ikea furniture and the curtains work really nicely together, framing the window.

And then that gave me the idea to paint a few canvases with the characters from the curtains, to go along with the theme developing here. And here they are!

Timothy loves looking at them. I think he especially like the lion.

More posts on nursery decor to come!

Timothy’s Room

I will write a few posts about Timothy’s room – how it all came together.

We bought the house shortly after the wedding, so the spare bedroom was always meant to become a nursery. A double bed and a few loose furniture items populated it while we were waiting for that “congratulations, you’re pregnant”.

Once we got pregnant, I found a website that allows you to draw your room and plan where various standard-sized nursery items go – and we started planning the bedroom.

We decided to keep the double bed. As I had mentioned in one of my early posts, we felt that moving in with the baby is easier than keeping the baby in our bedroom and then kicking him out (scary for the baby!) – so we had to plan around this rather bulky frame…

And the window alcove – we felt we weren’t using it as much as we could. So much space wasted!

So we ended up buying a couple of nice colourful ikea wardrobes for the niche (customized – it was all my design how many doors and drawers and in which sizes should they be). I actually assembled them single-handedly while 39 weeks pregnant. No, this didn’t send me into labour. And no, my husband knew nothing about my endeavours. He was shocked when he came home (yes, I assembled them all in one day, crazy me).

The big lower drawers are meant for Timothy’s toys and the open shelves – for his books (eventually). The upper parts are really more for our use – and for Timothy’s clothes. I think they look awesome!

That’s all for now. I will continue in the next post 🙂