Momma says “no”

Now that I have a toddler, I have found myself saying a no, where I didn’t say no at all before. I have found the beginnings of the disciplining stage of parenthood to be awkward. (I’m not sure awkward is the right word, but that’s what I’m going with.) I know that all parents must discipline their children and everyone needs to hear the word “no” every now and then throughout their lives, but teaching a 1-year-old who doesn’t understand what she is doing is wrong is straight-up awkward.

I am trying to be extremely patient and only telling her no to things that will ultimately endanger her, but I also don’t want to overprotect her to the point that she doesn’t learn to manage things for herself. For example, “No no Chicken, don’t pull on the lamp cord” is something I deem that will endanger her. Whereas the stairs are dangerous, yes, and I don’t want her to climb up and down them without me there for guidance, but she’s going to have to figure them out eventually and practice is the only way that will happen.

I have also found that I can’t just say “no no Chicken and take it away and continue with what I was doing prior to that. She just goes right back to what she was doing that wasn’t safe, and she has no idea why it’s bad. If I want to successfully teach her the difference between what is okay and what is not, I have to tell her “no no” to the bad thing and immediately whisk her across the room and distract her with something that is okay. It is moments like this when I realize babies are not that different than puppies. When I trained my lab and golden retriever to not chew up my house I did that exact same thing. I would say no to the thing I didn’t want them to chew and then hand them a toy or bone that was okay. So if your thinking about having a kid, I recommend¬†raising a puppy first, it will teach a lot of the basics. And yes, I know that babies and puppies are completely different, but seriously, in the early days, there are a ton of similarities.

I have by no means perfected this toddler disciplining thing. And the darn little girl gets smarter every day, which always changes the game. As I am new to this whole parenting life, I am just trying my best to show empathy for Chicken. I know I will never be able to understand the mindset of a 13 month-old, but I’m trying. Hopefully, that will get me through.

 

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More proof babies are like puppies, they both like to lay on dog beds! ūüôā

 

 

 

My rant about teething

Why can’t babies cut teeth in utero?¬†I mean, I know they won’t be nearly as cute with a mouthful of little chicklet teeth, but it would make this stage of parenting so much easier. Besides cutting teeth, babies are so freaking cute at this age. For one, they think you’re the most amazing person in the whole world and smile while doing a little wiggly dance everytime they see you. ¬†They also laugh with their whole bodies at the silliest stuff, and they give the most adorable and slobbery open mouth kisses. We could have that awesomeness every day if it wasn’t for stupid baby teeth. Oh and I can’t forget to mention, the napping and sleeping schedule is amazing at this stage, but then those growing teeth have to rear their ugly head and screw that up for us too. Come on!

 

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You know it’s bad when you cry over peanut butter toast. Poor Chicken!

 

Not only does teething suck big time, but what’s up with all these teething cures! I could spend a fortune on all the teething toys out there, but let’s be honest they work for like two seconds. Babies at this age get bored faster than you can hand them a new toy. Seriously, they have the attention span of a hyperactive puppy. I can give Chicken all the teething toys in the world, but she still prefers to chew on towels, magazines, and shoes. There really isn’t a whole lot of difference between a 10-month-old and a hyperactive puppy now that I think about it.

 

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The banana toothbrush worked for a hot second

 

I have also tried breast milk popsicles. I don’t mind wasting a little bit of money, but my breast milk, now that’s just not okay! I was desperate. So I froze some breast milk in one of those little popsicle trays and gave it to her one day when she seemed particularly miserable, and of course, she showed zero interest. She just waved it around while she hollered¬†in frustration. I don’t like to think very hard about my breast milk, like the fact that is a liquid that is produced from my body. Gross! Yes, I know it’s natural and beautiful, but it’s like hot dogs, I love them and eat them throughout the summer and occasionally at movie theaters, but if I want to continue enjoying hot dogs, I never think too hard about the process. So giving Chicken a popsicle of breast milk pushed the boundaries a little too far. Have you ever seen a baby eat a popsicle? They’re terrible at it! It melts everywhere and nothing actually ends up in their mouths. The popsicle just melted onto my carpet. Nothing is sadder than literally seeing your hard work¬†lying in a puddle on the ground. I have three more in the freezer and might give it another shot, but it will be outside on a hot day by the pool. Fingers crossed the heat will make her want to eat it!

At what point, does giving your baby Tylenol¬†every 4 hours day after day begin to cause major stomach problems? Actually, I don’t want to know the answer, because that is the only thing that seems to make her happy, and man, does she love it! I pull out the little magical syringe full of purple syrup, and Chicken waves her hands in excited anticipation. She sucks down the goop faster than a college kid doing a beer bong. 20 minutes later, I have my happy sweet baby back!

So f@#! you baby teeth for taking that adorable baby away every time you grace us with your presence. I mean just look at this video of this adorable peep-pie loving girl!

 

 

My tips for Baby Led Weaning

Hello, everyone! Today, I thought I’d talk about why I chose to go the Baby Led Weaning route when giving Chicken her first solid foods. Let me just preface this with that there is nothing wrong with spoon feeding your¬†baby pureed food. It just didn’t appeal to me that’s all, but it is not my intention to offend anyone’s parenting choice. Every has to do what works for them. ¬†If it works for you and your baby then it is the right choice.

Here goes. When I first thought about feeding Chicken solids, I was really turned off by spoon feeding her pureed mush. It had been my experience with my niece and nephews that spoon feeding was a constant battle of wills that goes something like this…

Adult: “Please let me put this food in your mouth!”

Baby: “No I will put the food in my own mouth and hold the spoon and wave it around the room while slinging food everywhere, and you’ll like it!”

Adult: “Maybe we can both hold a spoon?”

Baby: “Nope! I still want yours!”

On top of this battle of over who gets to hold the spoon, I have found that my niece and nephews never really enjoyed meal time as babies and have grown up to be fairly picky eaters. With that in mind, I began to wonder if I even had to puree Chicken’s food. I mean, they didn’t have food processors a hundred years ago. At some point, babies first food had to have been real foods and obviously, they survived without all choking to death, right?

Again, I took to Google! This is when I first read about Baby Led Weaning (BLW) which by the way is a stupid name, but I digress. It immediately sounded like what I was looking for, so I bought the book and started researching the topic fully.

After I’ve researched something into the ground, I like to bounce the ideas off my husband, mom, sister, and just about anyone who will listen. (Sorry, coworkers.) I told Andrew about BLW and like usual he responds with, “that sounds great if that’s what you want to do then do it.” In reality, I’m sure he’s thinking, “Dear God, here we go again.” I also told my mom about my idea and she said, “sounds like the third child method, nobody has time to spoon feed kid number three.” Thanks, mom. Love you too. Since nobody said I was crazy and some even thought it was pretty ingenious (my choice of phrasing, obviously), I decided to give it a go. I’m so glad we did! Chicken is an excellent eater. She hasn’t found a food she doesn’t like, and I owe it all to the BLW method.

If BLW is something you’d like to try, I highly recommend¬†it. But if you’re still in the research stage here are 10 things that I have learned over the last 3 months of our BLW journey.

  1. They won’t get it on their first go. They won’t get it on their 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and or even 5th go, really. BLW takes time. In the beginning, it is about fun for them. They are exploring a whole new world of tastes, textures, and smells, and it can be a little overwhelming, so start out slow and don’t worry about your baby getting enough to eat that’s what breastmilk and formula are for. Here is a video of Chicken’s first meal.

 

 

2. They really can eat whatever you eat. You just need to watch excess salt and sweets. (We have been table salting our food since we started, instead of salting while I cook.) Oh, and no honey! That’s a no for all baby’s actually.

3. Read the BLW book. You don’t have to do this, but I found it cleared up a lot of questions. They also have a section that shows you how to cut up different foods which are a bit different than what you would normally do for a baby eating solid foods.

4. Join a BLW support group. There are lots of social media groups that offer support and helpful hints. I am a member of the Facebook group “Baby Led Weaning for Beginners”, and it has been great for quick advice like “how do I serve strawberries?”

5. Watch a million safe gagging videos on YouTube. Have your family watch them too! This really helped bring us all peace of mind and learned not to panic when she inevitably gagged a little in the beginning.

6. It’s messy! Less so, if you have two large dogs. Enid and Pep make great vacuum cleaners.

 

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Enid never misses a meal time. That’s some serious focus.

7. People in restaurants will either think it’s adorable, or they’ll look at you like your crazy. Always remember do what is right for you and your baby and don’t worry about anyone else.

8. Eat with your baby. By allowing your baby to feed themselves, you’ve freed up some time to eat without someone touching you, YAY! They also learn from watching you. Monkey see; monkey do!

9. Spinach and other leafy greens are the most gag-inducing. Chicken has a really hard time breaking these veggies down, and they often get caught in the back of her throat causing her to gag. I plan to reintroduce these when she has more teeth.

10. It’s way easy! She eats whatever I eat; she can eat anywhere; I never have to pack extra food for her; she already loves some great whole foods like, peaches, chicken curry, eggplant, corn-on-the-cobb, hummus, cucumbers, and so much more. Seriously, there is nothing she won’t eat.

 

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Enjoying some chicken and rice with lentils.

 

Have you tried BLW? What was your experience? I’d love to hear from you, even if it is something you’re just curious about.

 

Ohhh! The guilt.

Lately, I have been debating weaning Chicken. Up until a month ago, she was exclusively breastfed, and since then she has only had formula on occasion. My original goal was 6 months, and we were lucky that we had an easy nursing relationship. Breastfeeding Chicken was easy, so that’s sort of why I kept going past my goal.

I’m beginning to get tired of the demand on my body, particularly the pumping at work twice a day. I’m also not a huge fan of the acrobatics that goes on while feeding a 9-month-old. Is it weird to say I sort of miss my period? TMI?

So basically, I’m debating quitting, and like most times I debate something, I turn to Google. I googled what other people’s experiences have been and their thoughts on the subject. What I have found is that there is a bit of a stigma and a lot of negativity out there for women who want to quit before a year. I feel like it is only acceptable¬†to stop if you’ve had trouble from the beginning and it’s not working or once you’ve reached a year. If you’ve had a successful breastfeeding relationship and you’re thinking about quitting before your baby is a year old, you should feel guilty.

Guilt and pressure is one thing us moms don’t need. I already feel guilty about weaning on my own. The feeling of wanting to quit makes me feel selfish and that I am somehow¬†doing a disservice to my daughter. Although, I know that is not true, and that whatever time nursing I can give her is valuable. I know that these last 9 months have given her a great start, but in order to be a good mother to her, it is important that I am happy too.

I am still unsure what I will do. If I do decide to begin weaning, I will do it slowly. I am not quite ready to give up that first early morning feeding. It is such a special moment that only we share.

If anyone reads this, I’d like to know your thoughts. I know that there are many opinions on this subject and no right answer, but I’d like to hear from you. What was your experience? Did you feel pressure to quit or keep going? How did that make you feel?

 

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We have come a long way.

 

Camp Rules…

…are different than Everyday Rules. As I mentioned in a previous post, we took Chicken camping for my birthday last weekend. On our adventure, we learned some valuable lessons while camping with an 8-month-old. Probably the most important one¬†was that your everyday rules get thrown out the window while living in the great outdoors particularly those pertaining to bedtime and sleeping arrangements.

Normally, Chicken goes to bed between 7:30 and 8:00, and she always sleeps in her own bed. She has always slept in her own room. We have never co-slept, not even for a nap. This is mostly because when Chicken was an infant, she had acid reflux. At first, the doctor thought it was colic but thankfully was later diagnosed with the very treatable acid reflux. During that time of continuous crying, the only time she would sleep was in her crib at night. Ever since then she has loved her crib, and her dad and I have thanked our stars for this. We assumed that camping would be no different. Like most assumptions in parenting, we were wrong.

Her first night camping, we let her stay up later than normal. I figured she would have a harder time putting herself¬†to sleep in a new place, so I made sure she was tired before starting her bedtime routine. Going down in the pack-n-play went smoothly, and she managed to stay asleep later on when Andrew, myself and the two dogs climbed into the tent to go to sleep. At about midnight, she woke up crying. (To note, she has been waking a lot lately due to teething.) Normally, I don’t nurse her during the night, but I figured since we were camping all the normal rules had to go. I picked her up and nursed her until she calmed down and fell back asleep. When I laid her back in the pack-n-play, she woke up again. This time I tried to pretend I was asleep, FAT CHANCE! She had never seen me sleeping so close before and was like, “Why am I over here? Pick me up!” So instead of letting her cry and becoming “those” people at the campground, I picked her up and put her in bed with me and Andrew. She fell right to sleep. Home rules just don’t pan out when camping. Camping is about survival, I guess? (That’s pretty hard to say while using my phone as a sound machine.)¬†From then on, we all got some decent rest. Other than me who was paranoid about rolling over onto Chicken or just even waking her up. (Mom worry never sleeps.)

Chicken woke up bright and early. Normally, she wakes up around 5 am, I feed her, and she goes back to sleep. But this morning in our family sleeping bag, she opened her eyes, saw mom and dad, and the sweetest grin spread across her face. She was so happy to wake up with us beside her. She was up and ready to play. The sleepless night was totally worth that sweet face, so from now on, when camping Chicken is allowed to sleep with us. It will be our camping treat, and just one more reason to love sleeping under the stars.

 

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You can’t help but smile waking up next to this sweet baby girl.

 

 

20 Things to Bring when Camping with a Baby

This weekend to celebrate my upcoming birthday, we took a family camping trip. It was our first time camping with Chicken, and I was so excited to finally share this experience with her. The idea of camping with a baby brought on lots of stress and worry, so when we made the decision to go I went straight to Google for tips and tricks. I found a lot of good ideas that I had mostly already thought of, but it was still good to get some reassurance that taking a baby camping wasn’t a completely insane idea.

 

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Chicken trying to escape her pack-n-play while we set up camp.

 

My baby camping packing list is long, but it’s better to be prepared, right? We also went car camping which made it easier to carry everything. We aren’t quite ready for hiking in, but hopefully one day we will have the confidence for that. Anyway, here is my baby packing list. I have attached links to the products we used.

  1. A pack-n-play (This is an absolute must for crawlers. It doubled as her bed and a place for her to play during the day)
  2. A portable high chair (If your baby is eating solids. It is also doubles as another place for the baby to sit.)
  3. A baby carrier for hikes
  4. Some of their favorite toys
  5. A lovey or something your baby finds comforting (Chicken loves this security blanket and sleeps with it at night and during all of her naps.)
  6. Multiple changes and layers of clothes and don’t worry about matching. (The temperature at night got pretty chilly and hot during the day, so breathable layers are important.)
  7. A sleep sack
  8. A meal and snack plan (If your baby is eating solids, you need to prep and plan out their meals. Make sure you start preparing their meals well in advance. You don’t want a crying baby while you’re trying to cook their meal on a campfire.)
  9. Water cup and clean water (Obviously, it is important to keep your baby hydrated, but we were not sure what the water source would be like at this campsite, so we brought a jug of purified water just for her.)
  10. Lots and lots of diapers (The last thing you want is to run out of diapers or wipes. We kept an emergency package in the car in case we ran out.)
  11. A roll of softish paper towels (Just go ahead and accept that your baby is going to get dirty! They will probably also eat a little dirt too. That’s just being in the outdoors with a baby, but I found a wet paper towel went a long way in keeping her clean.)
  12. Baby friendly bug spray (Just remember that these baby bug sprays need to be reapplied more often than the bug sprays containing DEET).
  13. A mosquito net (Bug bites on a baby can ruin your trip, so we took extra precaution in keeping the bugs off Chicken. Draping a mosquito net over the pack-n-play was the best way to keep the bugs away from her. Mosquito nets are cheap and can be found at any outdoors store.)
  14. Formula and bottles (We didn’t pack this because Chicken is breastfed, but if you are using formula be sure you have plenty of both.)
  15. A warm hat and a sun hat (nights can get cool and day’s hot and sunny, so make sure you have both.)
  16. Sunscreen (Chicken looks just like her Irish daddy, so sun protection is a must for us.)
  17. A clean surface for your baby to eat on (Outdoor picnic tables are hard to clean, so we brought along our handy EZPZ mat.)
  18. Don’t forget the bib either! One that is easily rinsed off is best.
  19. A large blanket for playing on the ground
  20. The expectation that things are going to go wrong!

 

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Chicken enjoying some french toast and berries for breakfast.

 

What a great list, right? It sure would’ve been nice if I could have¬†followed my own advice. Here’s my list of everything we forgot. Not everything we forgot was baby related, but when you’re so focused on making sure your baby is comfortable you often forget about everyone else.

  1. The baby carrier (Thank goodness there was a Wal-Mart in the nearby town.)
  2. The dogs’ leashes (Had to turn around for that one.)
  3. A lighter definitely makes building a fire easier
  4. Carabineers for tieing up the dogs (Poor pups, they sure do get the short end of the stick since Chicken arrived.)
  5. Mine and Andrew’s dinner for the first night (Dorrito’s and beer it is!)
  6. And I’m sure some other things that I’m not remembering right now.

 

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Last minute baby carrier purchased right before the hike.

 

Needless to say, we forgot some stuff, and everything did not go as smoothly as we hoped, but we had a wonderful time. We got in lots of device free family time and created a lot of great memories. There were other learning moments, I will share with y’all in future posts, but for now, I hope this list can help you in planning your family’s outdoor adventure.

Happy, Little Discovery

I wasn’t planning on posting today, but I thought I’d tell everyone about my happy, little discovery yesterday. To begin, Andrew is out of town for work, so it’s just me home with Chicken which means no early morning runs until he gets back. I mean, I would love to pull a Peter Pan and leave Chicken with the dog for an hour while I get in a quick run. I’m sure Enid, my golden retriever, could pull off a Nana, but I’m also pretty sure that activity is frowned upon. So until society excepts dogs as viable caregivers,¬†I’m stuck waiting until after work and taking the little one on a stroller run. Darn!

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Enid and Chicken lounging on our bed. (Don’t worry I’m within an¬†arm’s reach of baby girl.)

 

I have like zero motivation to exercise once I get home from work, but I saw on “Moms Run This Town” (a Facebook¬†group I’m a member of but have never actually participated in) that there was going to be a group run at a¬†park¬†in a suburb a little farther out from where we live. I REALLY needed the run for my sanity and to blow off some steam. Honestly, I don’t know how single moms do it. I think they should wake up to applause every morning cause these ladies have super powers! I am stressed after like two nights by myself!

Once I get home, I pack up the car and head that way. It takes about 20 minutes to get there, and as soon as I arrive, I realized I totally didn’t read the whole post because no one is there. Yep, it said June 13th. Oh well! I was there, and instead of whining about it, I decided to run anyway. I had never been to this park before and to my surprise, it was absolutely lovely. Johnson Park in Collierville has this great boardwalk through the woods. It was beautiful! I took a little video that you can see here: (Sorry for the shakiness, I was running, steering a stroller, and taking a video. I’m pretty sure this should be illegal.)

My only complaint was that it wasn’t long enough and had to do a couple laps to get the mileage. Obviously, that is a silly thing to complain about and hope to make the trip back out to enjoy a change from my regular routes. Maybe, I’ll even make the mom group sometime. That is if I actually read the post and get the time right.

Frisbee and a 5k

Last week, Andrew and I decided to drag Chicken to our various activities. We started off by taking her to her very first Ultimate Frisbee game. Andrew loves ultimate frisbee and has been playing since his days at Villanova. The start of summer also means the start of summer league for the Burke family, and Chicken and I were there to cheer daddy on.

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Chicken had a great time playing on the blanket and eating mommy’s keys. She loves to be outside so was fairly happy even though we were creeping in on her bedtime. We did have to¬†break out the “magical” Cheerios when things started going down hill.

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For the most part, we had a successful first game. Andrew had two games, and they won both. We only stayed for the first since I didn’t want to get little one to bed too late. Although, that turned out not to matter anyway. Parenting lesson of the night,¬†make sure you have your house keys after switching vehicles with your husband. If you don’t you’ll spend about an hour driving around the neighborhood trying not to wake a sleeping baby while waiting for your husband to get home to unlock the door. I guess it could’ve been worse, she could have screamed in the car that whole time instead.


 

The next night, we signed up to run the Harbortown 5k with my sister and her family. It was my first time running this Memphis “must run once” race. It’s a great course that wound through Harbortown and the locals really come out to support the runners. Let me go ahead and let everyone know, I am not a fast runner. I love to run and run a lot and hope to get faster, but that is not my primary goal when it comes to running. So don’t expect to see any impressive times posted on this blog.

I ran the 5k with my sister while Andrew pushed Chicken in the stroller. My sister has recently found her love for running and that brings me more joy than I can tell you. Nothing makes me happier than to share my passion for running, and it’s even more special to do so with someone I love so much.

For starting at the back of the pack, we ran a good race, and my sister outran her expected pace by a full minute! The best part was the finish when my 6-year-old nephew ran through the finish line with us. Sharing experiences like these with loved ones are why I sign up again and again. Here a few pictures of us before the race (when we still look pretty).

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Chicken is ready to run!

 

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Lining up at the start as a family.

The party after the run looked super fun, and those Sonic burritos looked sooo delicious! But once the stroller stopped moving Chicken quickly realized it was WAY past her bedtime, and we had a to make a quick escape! Thank goodness for car rides and my Widespread Panic lullaby CD.

After a Thursday night frisbee game and Friday night race, we decided a weekend at home relaxing and getting back on Chicken’s sleep schedule was what we ALL needed.