Lately No. 4

As Boo gets more and more mobile and….smart (?) we’ve been amping up the childproofing in the house. Yes, yes, we should have done it all at once, but that would have been so time consuming. Instead, we took care of the necessary hazards (baby gates, covers for the plugs, cabinet locks), and for the rest we’ve been adjusting and tweaking as we go. It’s a process.

Part of this process involved getting a new stand for all of our TV related paraphernalia (the TV itself is mounted to the wall). And since we didn’t want to sell our first born to pay for a really nice one (we’re quite fond of him), I went to IKEA….where I forgot to take any pictures of Boo sitting in the IKEA shopping cart for the first time (d’oh!). But I did take some snaps before we left:

Closeup of Boo

Boo’s been very into either twisting his tongue or sticking it out these days.

Boo concentrating

He’s also started making this “o” shaped mouth when he’s concentrating.

Boo with his Auntie Jenny

Boo’s Auntie Jenny came to IKEA to provide an extra set of hands. She’s become our “IKEA buddy” :)

Also….

Orange toenails

I painted my toenails. In and of itself, not a huge deal…only it was the first time I applied nail polish since before Boo was born. So it actually felt kind of momentous!

Boo looking into an orange bin

I bought some orange bins at IKEA to help contain (hide) Boo’s toys in the living room…here he is peering into one of them, along with a folk art wooden fish he keeps pulling off our wall.

Elmo's Song playing in the car

We’ve continued trekking up to the Laurentians on the weekends. Boo remains a trooper but tends to lose patience by the time we’re headed home. To keep him happy, we play Elmo’s Song…on loop.

Boo and an iPad

Nana and Gramps recently took Boo and I out to dinner. When we got desperate to keep Boo entertained (quiet)…out came Nana’s iPad. Worked like a charm.

Sometimes I worry that letting Boo look at the iPad will rot his brain. But I figure that an “everything in moderation” approach is so much more realistic than a “no screens whatsoever” one….especially for my sanity, and for that of fellow diners when we’re out for a meal.

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Sesame Street (Book) Jackpot

As mentioned before (here and here), I love Sesame Street. I don’t get tired of it (except maybe for the Noodle Story….I could do without hearing that one over and over again).

So I’m more than happy to force allow Boo to listen to their albums, watch the occasional clip on TV or my iPad, or to read him Sesame Street stories. In fact, he’s getting a whole pile of Sesame Street themed birthday presents….it kind of just worked out that way, so we’re going with it (and I now realize I have less than two weeks to craft my low frills, but still a Sesame Street themed, first birthday party decorations and bake either an Elmo or Cookie Monster cake….or maybe both….but I digress).

Last week while visiting my folks my mom and I went to the Shangri-La that is the Kemptville Salvation Army (I’ve mentioned them previously here). While their toy section seemed a little emptier than usual (all you parents…this is where your children’s daycares and schools are getting toys…it’s gotta be related to back to school), I spent some time perusing their several shelves of books and BEHOLD:

Sesame Street Books

…I hit the Sesame Street book jackpot!

Eleven books in all, including 8 from a series of very cool On my way with Sesame Street books that are still a little (okay, a lot) too old for Boo. But at 80¢ apiece I felt justified buying them now and throwing them on a shelf until later. I will most definitely be keeping my eyes open for more in this wonderful little series.

Monster Hall of Fame illustration

Each book is filled with stories, each illustrated in its own style.

Super Grover illustration

All of our favourite (classic) Sesame Street characters are featured.

Parent's Guide

At the beginning of each volume there’s a parents’ guide that elaborates on the theme of the book, and how you can delve deeper with your little one.

And just to prove that I’m not totally obsessed with just Sesame Street, I picked up two other gems:

Mary Had A Little Jam by Bruce Lansky

Mary Had A Little Jam takes classic nursery rhymes and either adds a modern twist, or just turns them on their head. Super cute!
I can’t wait until Boo is old enough to appreciate these.

Old Mother Hubbard by Bruce Lansky

How cute is that?

Caramba by Marie-Louise Gay

By the same author as Stella, this award winning book about a cat that can’t fly was given for free to first grader back in 2005 (by TD).

Detail from Caramba

Love love love the illustrations.

I realize, of course, that I should probably just be buying board books at this point, but I can’t help it. I want Boo to have a wonderful and varied library, which means I have to keep my eyes open now for any and all book-ish treasures that he can enjoy immediately, or eventually.

What books would you recommend as “must haves” for any well-rounded child’s library?

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My fear of helicopter parenting

The helicopter parent hovers over their child’s every move…watching, encouraging, and constantly engaging their little one to an extreme degree.

When I was pregnant and thinking about the overwhelming stretch ahead of me (you know, parenthood), I feared that I would be an extreme helicopter parent. I figured my OCD tendencies would return, and I would never ever let the little one out of my sight for fear of disaster (either to him or to our belongings). I feared that I would feel obliged to constantly be down on the floor playing, teaching, and stimulating him. All. Of. The. Time.

Then my little Boo was born. He was sooo sweet for the first few weeks. Then he got colicky, and whether I wanted to or not, I was kind of forced to constantly be near him to soothe and comfort him. Then, just as he got over his colic, the doctors diagnosed him with hypertonia. He had too much muscle tone in his legs making them stiff and difficult to move (no wonder his diaper changes were so *freaking* difficult). This led us down a whole new path of physiotherapy, and a whole pile of scary neurological tests to make sure the problem was just with his muscles and not his brain (thankfully, it was just his muscles…still scared us shitless though). Again, I was forced to constantly be manipulating his little legs, doing stretches and exercises, and getting him to play in positions that would loosen him up.

Colicky Boo Boo

My little colicky Boo Boo at just under one month old.

IMG_3834

Working on loosening up little Boo’s legs involved physio exercises and play.

Fast forward to the present. My little man is almost one year old with more or less floppy legs. He crawls, slithers, climbs and rolls all over the house. He opens cupboards, drawers, pulls out bins and boxes. He’s highly focused and can spend what feels like an eternity examining, manipulating and playing with the same toy before moving on to the next one. And you know what? Much to my surprise, I let him do it all without hovering over him.

It’s as if our experiences during Boo’s first months that required me to hover over him also allowed me to see that I don’t want to constantly hover over him. He needs his space to explore and I give it to him, allowing him to wander off to other rooms (in which I know he can’t get into too much trouble!), and play. Of course I check in on him and, to be honest, our house is small enough that I can hear him at all times….(it’s when I don’t hear him that I know he’s getting into trouble!), but I don’t feel the need to constantly be up in his face.

Which means that when I get down on the floor to play, or pick him up to dance or fly, it’s because I want to, and I can just enjoy the time we’re spending together, rather than feeling obligated to do these things. Besides, by giving him his freedom, I’ve also discovered that he is more than capable of letting me know when he wants my attention – he’ll come to get me, or “call” for me.

It all makes for a much less stressful parenting experience than I’d first anticipated and lived.

Of course, I’m curious to see how this will all play out as he gets older….will I maintain my surprisingly somewhat laid back attitude, or will I suddenly start hovering to protect him from the big bad world once he’s old enough to go out into it?

I guess only time will tell…but I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’ll resist the urge to turn into a crazy helicopter mama.

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Lately No. 3

So Boo and I were going about our regular business…

Boo playing guitar

Boo loves the time between when he first wakes up (and Mama nurses him) and breakfast…the sun is shining into the living room and he’s got tons of energy. Most importantly, though, is that Daddy hasn’t left for work yet, which means it’s guitar playing time!

Boo and a stacking cup

My little man loves rolling around on this colourful bedspread…here he is relaxing and drooling with one of his stacking cups.

Boo Boo head to head with Mama

Hanging out with Mama.

Boo pouting in his highchair

Boo has been getting a little picky of late…this face is pretty common during mealtimes.

Then the husband came up with the idea of buying a cottage. It’s not entirely clear if this is a realistic idea, or something we even want to do. But we thought it might be fun to see what’s out there, and what kind of cottage we could expect from both ends of our hypothetical price range.

So all of our careful work on routines and good sleeping habits got chucked out the window, and we found ourselves driving up to the Laurentians repeatedly.

Boo in the car with his phone

Strapped into his carseat and ready for adventure! Boo loves his mobile phone!

Casse Croute Le 200

On our cottage visiting adventures we’ve been exploring the same general area as where my family had a log cabin when I was a kid. For a trip down memory lane we stopped in at Casse Croute Le 200 in Brownsburg (this place was a frequent stop on our way up to the cottage on Friday nights).

Hot dog and fries

Mmm….steamy hot dog and greasy fries.

Farmland

On our way to scout out a property, we made a turn and suddenly were surrounded by farm fields, bales of hay and the greenest ever grass.
It was just beautiful.

Boo being tickled by Daddy

When we headed out for a whole day of visiting we brought along Boo’s favourite blanket to spread out and play on….here Boo Boo gets tickled by Daddy!

My main take away from the last while is that I had completely forgotten how misleading real estate pictures and descriptions can be. I mean, I know the agents’ goal is to present the property in as favourable a light as possible. But really….we visited a cottage advertised as just 100 feet from the river. What the agent neglected to mention was that it was 100 feet DOWN. Eep!

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Newbie Thrifting

My mother-in-law is a thrifting and garage sale goddess. She’s been doing it so long it’s become a way of life for her. And she’s really (really!) good at it.

I, on the other hand, have never really been much of a thrifter. I guess I never had the motivation to sift through all of the junk to find the gems. Until we had a baby. Because, well….babies are expensive. Crazy expensive. And let’s be honest: my maternity benefits (which have just run out! eep!) were nothing like what I was making as a consultant. So it has become obvious that if I don’t want to go broke and if I want to stay home with Boo after my mat leave ends…well, I need to save some money.

But as a thrifting newbie the many many thrift shops in Montreal are daunting. Sure, I’ve ventured out and discovered that some are much better than others for kids’ stuff. But it seems to me that there are just so many places for people to donate their used items, that it’s all kind of spread out.

I like concentrated good stuff. Which is why I love to visit the Salvation Army in Kemptville when I’m visiting my folks. It’s the only obvious place in town to donate used goods….which means they get ALL the stuff. And because Kemptville is not a big city (it’s getting bigger, but is by no means a “city”), they have lower prices….and if they want to clear their stock? Ridiculous prices.

Boo playing with toys from Salvation Army

Boo Boo playing with my thrifty finds!

When they were preparing for a recent move, they were selling clothes by the bag – anything you could fit into a grocery bag for 5$. I managed to cram 20 pieces of clothes for Boo into that bag! Granted, their prices aren’t usually quite so low. But they’re still a steal. Baby and toddler clothes are generally priced from 0.50$ to 2$ apiece (compared to Montreal’s 1.99$ to 4.99$).

And their toys? The most I’ve ever paid was 4$ – for a huge music activity table that’d normally retail for about 40-50$ here in Canada.

So….yeah. I’m hooked.

The downside, of course, is that when I see regular prices, I suffer from total sticker shock.

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