Monday, January 30, 2012

Toddlers Love Photos

One of my nesting goals has been to do everything I can to make sure Will is well-cared for, happy, and secure while I'm in the hospital with the new baby. I've been scouring the internet and parenting books for ideas, reading up on separation anxiety coping strategies.

One of my favorite ideas was a suggestion for toddlers who are in day care and have their own locker - place a photo of them with you inside their locker. They'll remember it's there and go over and look at it when they miss you.

That might be a little optimistic to expect of a 16 month old, but I figured it couldn't hurt for Will to have access to some photos of himself with me, his Dad, and any relatives who might take turns caring for him while we're gone.

So I ordered some prepaid photo prints from shutterfly for nine cents each, and put them up with double sided tape at toddler height in our kitchen and family room area where he can wander over and see them whenever he likes. I even put some on the inside doors of his play kitchen cabinets for fun.

He LOVES them. He wanders over and points people out, or just stands and looks at them, several times a day at least. I don't think we're far from being able to ask him "Where's Aunt Elizabeth?" and having him point to the right person!

Might be a fun rainy day project for anyone, even if you're not planning for an absence!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Nesting, 1-2-3

Will dropped (ok, threw) something out of the cart at Whole Foods a few days ago, and a man immediately offered to pick it up for me. Ten minutes later, someone else offered to unload my cart for me at checkout. (Seriously? These shoppers are NICE.) It's time to face it, this baby is coming soon. I'm so pregnant I look helpless.

I'm 35 weeks today, which means I should have plenty of time to get ready for this new baby, and I'm still very capable of unloading my own grocery cart.

Try telling my hormones that. Perhaps it's because we didn't even move into our new house until I was 38 weeks pregnant with Will, and there was neither a chance nor much energy for any nesting to go on after we'd unpacked (with a GREAT deal of help, luckily!).

Maybe that's why this time around, my nesting has gone to such levels that much of what I'm doing is either ridiculous, unnecessary, or both. Too bad that realization doesn't prevent the feeling of panic I incur when I think of NOT implementing one of my preparation plans.

Some of my ideas are great. So that our family who comes to take care of Will when Greg and I are both in the hospital aren't also faced with the tasks of grocery shopping and cooking, we've stocked our freezer with homemade meals, frozen loaves of homemade bread, and (I'm really proud of this idea) bags of chopped raw ingredients to be thawed out and thrown into the slow cooker for an effortless meal. Makes sense. Let us know if you want to come over for lasagna while I'm in the hospital. There's probably enough for fifteen people, which is good since it may need to feed five.

Lasagnas for the freezer! ( search for "World's Best Lasagna")

A loaf of Grammie Ruth's Oatmeal Bread recipe (see end of blog post) with thawing instructions

One of the crockpot meals with instructions

Some of my ideas, however, are a little over the top. I'm currently putting the finishing touches on a "Toddler & Household" manual that consists of 13 separate word documents. Yes, it's a good idea to leave out emergency phone numbers, a quick schedule of when he usually naps, snacks, and goes to bed, and his bedtime routine. The idea isn't the problem, it's the level of insane and potentially insulting detail with which I've executed it.

For example, look at this gem of a paragraph:

"Diaper Stations: There is a diaper changing station in the powder room on the main floor, and a changing station in between the two sinks in the jack and jill bathroom. The main floor diapering station has Will’s wipes, diapers, diaper wet bags, and pre-folds to line the changing pad all in the top drawer. In the jack and jill bath, cloth wipes are right below the changing pad in the top drawer, diapers in the middle drawer, and everything else is in the bottom drawer. In case we run low on cloth diapers, both diaper drawers should have some disposables that can be used as back-ups, or the entire time you’re caring for Will if you’re uncomfortable cloth diapering. (Please don’t hesitate to do what works for you, we are so lucky to have your help taking care of him!) Likewise, there are disposable wipes in each drawer as a backup or they can be used whenever you’d rather not use one of the cloth wipes."

This SHOULD read: "If you can't find something, open the drawers near the changing stations and look." Or better yet, delete the whole thing entirely. Greg's parents were both teachers, for goodness sakes, and are rather smart people. And CLEARLY I'm a genius so my relatives probably aren't dumb. WHY do I think they need a PARAGRAPH on where things are in the changing station?! AND WHY CAN'T I PRESS DELETE WHEN I CLEARLY KNOW IT'S NOT NECESSARY?

I hate it when people blame hormones for things. I blame my hormones. They're also responsible for the excessive amount of baking I've been doing recently. It's maternal. Making oatmeal chocolate chip craisin cookies when I should be cleaning, laundering, making dinner or (heaven forbid) resting, is clearly helping get ready for this new baby's arrival.

Now, some of you may be thinking that I'm crazy. That's because I'm crazy. Coconut, guano crazy. (Look how much better I am at not swearing. Such a stellar parent.)

I'm going to go work on that unfinished baby afghan in the next five minutes of naptime.


Grammie Ruth's Oatmeal Bread:

2 and 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 Tablespoon yeast

Dissolve yeast in water, then add following ingredients:

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups oats
1 Tablespoon salt (I usually add about half a tablespoon instead)
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
5 cups of flour, more or less to reach kneading consistency

Mix, and then knead. Rise. Punch down. Rise again. Form into loaves and place in greased breadpans. Allow to rise in breadpans while you heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake 30-40 minutes or until tops are brown and bread sounds hollow. See my very first post on baking bread for more details on the process of baking yeast breads.

Friday, January 6, 2012

What Will Has Taught Us

Here we go again! My due date for our second son used to seem like it was forever away. February - as in after Christmas, after New Year's, ages from now. But NOW, it's hit me full force that sometime right around the corner, I'll have a newborn to take care of as well as my little toddler-bug. (This is one reason I haven't been posting, I am WAY too busy nesting. More on that in future posts.)

Luckily, Will has taught us a lot about raising children, and we're pretty sure we can do things more efficiently and with greater confidence this time around.

Here are some of the things we've learned:

How to Adjust Nap-times

Be Creative Problem-Solvers

Have a Backup Plan

Get Out of the House - Regardless of Weather

Sleep BEFORE They Are Born

Don't Start Solids Before They're Interested

How To Keep Your Child Quiet at the Library

Let Someone Else Hold the Baby While YOU Eat

Sometimes, "IT" Hits The Fan

Keep Your Sense of Humor

How To Take a Shower After the Baby is Born

How To Break Up Long Car Rides

Sometimes, You Can't Be Subtle With a Toddler
(MOMMY'S stove. YOUR stove.)

And last but not least, we are so lucky, and it is so worth it.