Counting with an almost-two-year-old

“Let’s count!  One…”


“Very good, two!  Three…”








“That’s right, seven comes after six.  Then comes eight…”


“Yes, nine…”


Newborn vs. one-year-old: a comparison

Lately, I’ve found myself reminiscing about what it was like taking care of Little Boy a year ago, when he was first born, and comparing that to what it’s like today. I present to you the result of that comparison, in handy chart form.

Newborn One-Year-Old
Nighttime What is this thing you call “night,” Mom and Dad? Sleeps 11+ hours straight when not sick.
Advantage: One-Year-Old
Nap Time Keep your fingers crossed that he’ll fall asleep nursing, and pray that he stays asleep for longer than 45 minutes. Lay him in crib with a kiss and an Elmo, turn off light, and close door.
Advantage: One-Year-Old
Breastfeeding: Latching On Carefully hold his head in exactly the right position with one hand while awkwardly squashing the breast away from his nose. Vaguely aim the Boob Piranha in the right direction.
Advantage: One-Year-Old
Breastfeeding: While You Wait Catch up on all your favorite TV shows and Netflix. Ban all sources of distraction including other people, the cat, and the sound of the washing machine.
Advantage: Newborn
Diaper Changes Squirmy with a chance of pee. Kid is bound and determined to grab himself.
Bath Time Balance baby carefully on a sling above the water. SPLASH PARTY!
Advantage: One-Year-Old
Evening Strolls Please stop screaming and go to sleep please go to sleep… Everyone relaxes and enjoys checking out their surroundings.
Advantage: One-Year-Old
Playtime Playtime? Requires frequent parental intervention to avoid destroying the house.
Advantage: One-Year-Old
Snuggles Almost constant. Infrequent, but the ones you get are real honest-to-goodness hugs.

And the winner is… the one-year-old!

The ten-month-old’s guide to eating Cheerios

The Ten-Month-Old’s Guide to Eating Cheerios, brought to you by Little Boy.

1.  Emphatically announce that you are hungry.  (“Ma-ma-ma” means “give this hungry baby some food,” right?)

2.  Grudgingly allow yourself to be strapped into your high chair.

3.  Act noncommittal when your parent produces the Cheerios box and puts some on your tray.

4.  Excitedly bang your high chair tray with both hands, ensuring that Cheerios are evenly distributed.

5.  Carefully pick up a single Cheerio with two fingers of one hand.  Examine it closely.

6.  Poke Cheerio intently with the index finger of your other hand.

7.  Continue examining Cheerio from multiple angles.  Hold it at arm’s length as though orating a great speech.  Take your time.

8.  Attempt to put Cheerio in mouth.  If unsuccessful, go back to step 5.

9.  Repeat steps 5-8 with remaining Cheerios on tray.

10.  Indicate that you are still hungry, causing a parent to put more Cheerios on your high chair tray.

11.  Carefully pick up another single Cheerio.

12.  Slowly and deliberately, stretch your arm out to the side and drop Cheerio on the floor.

13.  Repeat steps 11-12 until stopped by parental intervention.

Early to bed

I could make a joke about how you know you’re a parent when your idea of a great Friday night is staying in, realizing you’re too tired to finish the movie, and snuggling up in bed for a good night’s sleep.

But who am I kidding?  That’s always been my idea of a great Friday night.

No, the true sign that you’re a parent is when you can recite multiple Sandra Boynton books from memory – and randomly do so throughout the day.

The lazy mom’s guide to introducing solids

(I know dads feed their babies too.  But “The Lazy Dad’s Guide” sounded overly stereotypical, and “The Lazy Parent’s Guide” just didn’t have the right ring to it.)

STEP 1:  Start with something that can be prepared quickly, easily and in small quantities. 

(We chose iron-fortified rice cereal.)

Offer daily.

Be entertained by the fact that baby is more interested in spoon than in food.

STEP 2:  Scrounge cupboard / fridge / freezer for food that is soft or can be easily squashed / puréed with a hand blender.  Bonus points if this is yesterday’s leftovers.

Ignore all the old rules about allergies.

Be grateful that the latest research and your pediatrician recommend ignoring all the old rules about allergies.

Be highly entertained at the faces baby makes when given a spoonful of applesauce.  Seriously, who doesn’t like applesauce?

Occasionally remember to put avocados and sweet potatoes on the grocery list.

STEP 3:  Put some finger food on baby’s high chair tray.  Prepare for chaos.

Discover that Puffs get soggy and gross really quickly and replace them with Cheerios.

Be extremely impressed at the rapid improvement in baby’s pincer grasp.

Realize that your little one is growing up.

Lies the baby books told me

Before Little Boy was born, I read: three books on pregnancy, one book about birth, one book about baby sleep, two books on general baby care (à la What to Expect the First Year), and countless online resources about all of it.  This was perhaps a little excessive.  The biggest thing I learned from this reading spree was that you can know every available detail on how to take care of a baby and still have absolutely no idea what to actually do with your baby.

Some of the information in the baby care books was helpful, some of it was clearly inapplicable to my kid, and some of it was just bizarre (do some hospitals really give you dry gauze pads instead of baby wipes?).  And then there were these:


“A breastfed baby’s poop smells sweet [or at least not bad].”  If by “sweet,” you mean “like a dozen rotten eggs,” then yes, I guess the poop of a breastfed baby does smell sweet.  (See also: “Breastfed babies don’t need to be burped as much.”)


“Your baby will naturally fall into his own schedule.”  Everything I read promised that after the first month or two, if you just kept track of your baby’s feeding and sleeping preferences for a week, his personal schedule would become clear.


To coax Little Boy onto a schedule, we had to:

  • Wake him up at the same time every morning.
  • Wake him from naps to make sure he ate enough during the day.
  • Deliberately aim to begin the bedtime routine around the same time every night.
  • Wait until he was nearly 5 months old and consistently able to nap longer than 45 minutes at a time.


“Newborns spend some of their time in a ‘quiet alert’ state.”  Is this the “I’m bored but I’m too little to be entertained by anything you do and I’m not tired so I’m just going to fuss until I get hungry again” state?  No?


“You don’t need to change your baby’s diaper at every nighttime feeding.”  I suppose this is theoretically true if your kid doesn’t consider every middle-of-the-night meal the perfect opportunity to poop.


“One pumping session with a double electric breast pump takes 10-15 minutes.”  Yeah, I wish.  Thank goodness I can work while I pump.


I can’t wait to see what gems the toddler care books have in store for us.  “Potty training is easy,” perhaps?

Silent night

It’s about a baby.

It’s about a baby sleeping.

It’s about a baby sleeping silently.

I don’t care how many months it’s been since Christmas.  “Silent Night” is the perfect lullaby.

Also, I know all the words.

The epic tale of the conference bumblebee

Today’s post is brought to you by my husband, who spent the week at a traditional academic torture ritual conference. He shared with me his full set of notes, which I have annotated for your enjoyment. (Notes with actual useful information have been removed.)

Day 2 got off to an exciting start:

Chair mistook me for the first speaker. I look nothing like him and am not sitting anywhere near the podium.

But the excitement level quickly dropped.

Bored out of my mind and there is a bumblebee buzzing the light over my head. It’s dropped right next to me once. I moved my chair back and am hoping that it drops on [co-worker] instead of me.

Things continued in this vein for some time…

This speaker could put [Little Boy] to sleep pretty easily, I think.

What was going to happen next?

The bumblebee hasn’t moved.

OK, we could probably guess what would happen.

Speaker’s definition of “exciting” is highly debatable.

But it was important to pay attention.

[Same co-worker], stop looking at my computer and my phone.

And then, a plot twist!

Damn, bumblebee is moving. It’s walking around… trying to crawl unsuccessfully on the light. It might fall again… and it crawls on top of the light, where I can’t see it. Gggrrrr. Please, don’t fall on me.

The talks went on. And on.

Brevity in a title is your friend. I almost fell asleep reading his.

At least something was still interested.

Bumblebee iiiisssss bbbaaaack!!

And on. And on.

Another speaker surprised by the 5-minute warning. You do have presenter tools on your Mac, right?

The saga wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t understand each character’s motivation.

So, I’ve come to the conclusion that the bumblebee is trying to bore itself to death using today’s talks.

Finally, the thrilling conclusion:

The bumblebee (or carpenter bee, as [different co-worker] said it might have been) seems to have left during lunch.


Parenthood means silly songs

Twinkle, twinkle, little baby,
How I wonder if you maybe
Think it’s funny all the time
When Mommy makes up silly rhymes.
Twinkle, twinkle, little dude,
Now please focus on your food.

How to lighten up a serious conversation

“… and your brother’s probably not the right choice.”

“We are not naming my brother as guardian in our will.  Can you imagine?  It’d be like Three Men and a Baby.”

“Only less cool.”

“With more math.  And less drugs.”

“He’d bring him to your parents’ house on the weekend with his laundry and go, ‘Here, he needs a bath.’ ”


(Sorry little brother.  I love you.  And I know you do your own laundry.  Just in other people’s washing machines.)