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33 posts tagged mom

the newbie: Individual Playtime

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By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


June recently inherited a dollhouse from a friend, and she is smitten. She loves the working doors, the ringing phone and the little people who she can move from bed to chair to kitchen. It’s pure 18-month-old bliss!

In fact, I’ve been able to leave her alone in her room while I’m right next door in myown folding laundry or reading or answering a few emails. I can hear her happily buzzing as she talks to the toy dog, as she opens the tiny doll door to let someone in, as she piles everyone into the bathroom all at once (her favorite move, for some reason).

This is the first time she’s truly played on her own, with no interactions from another adult or child. It’s amazing! But it’s also making me feel guilty, like I’m not supposed to spend that time away from her, like I should be there making her doll play more… I don’t know, educational?

Even seeing myself write this, I feel silly. Individual play is good for kids, right? It’s not all about interactive games—a variety of play styles is healthy. So why is there this twinge of guilt at leaving her to her own devices?

Have any other parents experienced this? What do your little ones play on their own?

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the newbie: Meals for Tots

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By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


I always wondered why parents seem to carry around Goldfish and string cheese for snacking. I thought I’d be the one with healthy carrot sticks and avocados, which do make it into my bag sometimes but are usually eschewed for the above-mentioned crackers and cheese.

Snacking issues aside, at 18 months, I can’t complain too much about June’s eating habits. She generally will at least taste what we put in front of her, and she even likes things like whitefish and Indian food.

But truly, on most days it’s a struggle to get a vegetable onto her plate (they usually end up on the floor after a bit of head shaking and a dramatic hand thrust of “No!”). I’ve been trying the puree route and sneaking, for example, pureed cauliflower into her pasta sauce—she loves tomato sauce. And I’ve also had some luck with broccoli in her mac and cheese.

But then I’ll see an instagram photo of a friend’s baby chewing on a whole beet, and I’m like, “How does that happen?”

I’d love to hear about any favorite recipes—with puree tricks or without—that other parents use to get that balance of veggies into the day.

Anybody willing to share?

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the newbie: Car Seats

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By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


We don’t drive often because we live in a city, but when we do take road trips— to the “big” grocery store, upstate for the weekend, over to Grandma’s house—I would love for it to be a good experience for 17-month-old June.

So far, that’s not happening. We’ve had her seat facing backwards, as recommended, since her first drive. Lately, though, she’s bored and restricted just facing the car seat and a mirror—she wants more action. Because she’s now at the weight where we can face her forward, we did that last weekend for a two- hour drive to see friends.

At first, June loved it! She watched everything go by, asking her favorite question (“What’s that?!”) with glee and wonder. Then she fell asleep for an hour. Bliss. But the last half hour of the drive was… well, bad. She woke up, looked around for five minutes, and proceeded to vomit four times in 60 seconds.

We found a rest stop, used approximately 100 paper towels to clean her up and get her changed, and then kept the windows down and a bag at the ready while finishing our drive.

So… carsickness and the facing-forward change. Has anyone else dealt with this one? Any tips or tricks to offer?

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the newbie: So Much Stuff

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By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


We have very generous relatives, and since June is the first grandchild on both sides, our 17-month-old did quite well this Christmas. The phrase “made out like a bandit” comes to mind.

While that is awesome in lots of ways, it’s also… overwhelming. Living in a small city apartment means we have to constantly be on top of toys and games and all the little things that come with June’s very existence. So the grocery cart and the little car that she loves? They really need to wait until summer when we can use them in our shared backyard.

I had this grand idea of having a “one in, one out” rule when it came to toys, but now that I’m faced with the reality of it, I’m overwhelmed. Do I toss the little bear she clung to when she was just weeks old? Save the wooden puzzle that I really like but she’s never quite shown interest in?

I’d love to hear how other parents make the cut.

All ideas welcome—we are living in a sea of stuffed animals and singing toddler toys. (Fun, but crowded.)

How do you know when (and where) to donate or pass along your child’s belongings?

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the newbie: A New Babysitter

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By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


One issue I regularly have is that I have to wait for my husband to get home before I can head out. By the time he gets home, I’m meeting friends for dinner at 8pm or later… and that’s just too close to my bedtime for my liking!

So recently I met a college student who lives nearby and babysits for some of our neighbors. She’s lovely, very sweet and seems good with kids.

But Miss June is not having it.

My 17-month-old cries, screams and holds so tightly to my legs that the babysitter and I both have to work to pry her off. It’s very hard to leave and I find myself worrying about her until my husband gets home and texts me that all is well.

I know that she’s likely in a big ‘separation anxiety’ phase, and maybe it’s just a matter of getting her used to the new babysitter (she has a regular daytime sitter whom she takes to easily). I guess I’d just like some reassurance that it’s okay to leave her now and then with a babysitter. And that this phase will pass.

Is it? Will it? Any tips for making the transition easier?

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the newbie: Winter-Wear (or Not to Wear!)

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By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


I have a very serious question: How the heck do you get winter gear to stay on a 16-month-old?

Maintaining possession of June’s mittens and hat when we go for a stroll is tougher than keeping track of Barbie’s tiny shoe sets. She flings them off, dropping them on the sidewalk while gleefully shouting “All done!” when clearly we are still walking and it is (very cold outside.

So far I have managed not to lose any pieces, but she’s often without hat or gloves outside, and she definitely gets cold. Even the snap-on hats don’t work. They make her crazy and she eventually gets them off after some tugging.

I’ve thought about disciplining her and forcing her to wear gloves and hat, though that involves near constant attention and struggling from me as we walk. Should just let her be cold and figure out that these items are there to keep her comfortable?

Any advice or magic solutions?

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the newbie: TV Time

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By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


I’ve read a lot about how kids under two years old shouldn’t have “screen time,” which I guess means TVs and iPads, etc.

June is almost a year and a half, and she gravitates toward our devices. The phones and the iPad are pretty much game consoles for her, and she loves to watch videos of various performers singing “Old MacDonald.”

The truth is, I feel slightly guilty when she tunes into of a quick video, but I also get tired of singing “E-I-E-I-O” after the 40th time each day.

Still, I’m thinking about introducing one short show a few times a week. I could definitely use a distraction for her sometimes, if only to have a chance to unload the dishwasher without June trying to climb inside it!

Surely “Sesame Street” does no harm, right? What I wonder is: Does this “no screens before age two” wisdom hold for you other parents, or do you let a few TV/video moments sneak in here and there?

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the newbie: Food Drama

By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


Baby June has been a good eater since she started solids, mostly chomping away happily at whatever we put on her tray. Berries, pasta, eggs with spinach… even Chicken Tikka Masala has gone down with ease.

Until now.

Suddenly she’s refusing lots of dishes, seemingly at random. One day at lunch she’ll try a bite of macaroni and then thrown the rest of the bowl on the floor. The next night at dinner, she’ll ignore everything but her water and maybe a piece of banana.

I’m not sure if it’s her taste buds developing or stubbornness or what… but it’s vexing. I try to keep my calm Mom-face on while I worry and (honestly) get annoyed on the inside.

Our doctor has told us not to offer her a buffet of choices, but try to stick to what we’ve given her and move along to the next snacktime or mealtime if she refuses to eat. I’ve mostly done that, but it’s hard not to offer her options when she’s fussy.

Any other parents have a way to handle this that they can share?

the newbie: Toddler Hair

By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


I have a confession: I don’t want to cut Baby June’s hair! While many of her friends are still bald, she has a lovely head of wavy brown hair that I just adore. Last weekend, she met her little cousin Clara for the first time, and Clara was obsessed with June’s curls, pulling at them every chance she got!

The thing is, her locks are always falling in her face and they often look more out- of-control than cute. Brushing is tough—and I’ve even seen the start of a baby dreadlock (I combed it out quickly!).

I’ve tried various types of barrettes and headbands, and they all end up as very interesting toys that go in her hands, her mouth… anywhere but on her head. Does anyone have any advice on something to try to tame her mane without losing those sweet curls that hang at the bottom?

If not, I think it’s time for the scissors.

the newbie: Late Walkers

By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


June is almost 16 months old, and she’s still crawling. She stands up regularly, takes a step or two when encouraged (sometimes), but mainly she thinks the whole walking thing is overrated.

This means a few things for me:

First, her clothes are all insanely dirty. Muddy pants, sloppy sleeves, shoes that look like they’ve been run over by a dump truck. Forget the cute dresses in her closet—they cannot be worn until she’s upright.

Second, I have to handle the “Is she walking yet?” question with finesse. “She’s not,” I say. “But we’re not worried.” Because the thing is, we’re mostly not. She’s a healthy, happy kid with fine muscle control. But lots of people seem to think we should be concerned. Everyone has an anecdote about the kid who walked late, but most people say it with a little gleam of worry in their eye (or maybe I’m projecting).

Third, I’ll admit it: I just want her to stand up on the playground and toddle off with the other kids. And I want to make use of those cute dresses.

Anyone else have a late walker?