Thursday, February 24, 2011

Miniature Horses at the Library

We met up with friends Daisy and Josh last week to go see some miniature horses at the Millhopper library. They were sooo tiny. I didn't realize just how small they really were. Anyway, Rohan didn't want to pat them. I'm not sure why. He loved the little donkey at Silver Springs, so maybe it was the freakish costumes they were wearing. He's more of a cat person these days it seems.

Here are some pics from Daisy's camera:







After the horses, the boys got busy on the computers.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Baby clothes that last

We started getting Rohan some PJs and tops and shorts from www.hannaandersson.com when he was around 6 months old. He's now 2 and a half -- and still wearing them! Sameer joked that they might still fit him when he's 30.

Here he is in his short johns when he was around 10 months old:



And now at 2.5:



We also had some sneakers in the summer that we figured he'd be wearing maaayyyybe until September. He's still wearing them, with room to grow! Yet he's gained a pound and a couple inches in height... Guess I'm not going to be buying new clothes for this spring season; everything still fits perfectly from last year!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dreaming about cars

Rohan is completely enamored with cars. To be funny, he will answer almost any question with the word "cars". I asked him the other day what his name was, and he said "Cars". (If anyone else asks, he says Rohan Paranjpe. I had been thinking to tell him to just say Rohan, since the full name is a bit much for most people to catch.)

We've also been talking with him lately about dreaming. Since he sleeps with us, we can often tell when he's dreaming, as he'll talk and move around a bit.

The other night, I asked him what he wanted to dream about.

Rohan: "Want to dream about cars!"

Two hours later, when Sameer and I finally went to bed, too, Rohan woke up crying "All done, don't like it, don't like it, don't like it!"

It took a couple minutes, but when I could finally get out of him what happened in his dream he said: "Crash".

Monday, December 13, 2010

Baby products that proved great investments

When you're having your first baby, you're faced with a lot of uncertainty. You want to be as prepared as you can be, but not go overboard. When I found out recently that a good friend was expecting her first, I decided to write out all the products that were helpful in the first few months with a newborn. Keep in mind this is our take--things might be different for you. We had certain ideas of how we wanted things to be. Sometimes that worked out, sometimes it didn't. But the following products definitely helped us through it.

Stroller – buy a good one. Make sure you can put your infant car seat in it, though you’ll only use this feature for the first year or less. You want a stroller you can navigate easily with one hand over different terrain options and long handles for saving your back from bending over to push. You’ll probably use a stroller for 5 years or so, mostly in the beginning but also at places like the mall or theme parks as they grow. We shelled out about $120 for a good umbrella stroller by Combi, but it proved a nightmare trying to navigate with one hand while answering the phone with the other (happens much more often than you might think, and baby isn't so patient if they want to keep moving). We'd definitely look at the $300 plus range next time. But keep in mind you may also want a very portable little one that you can keep for around the neighborhood, while you keep the big one in the car for outings that you want to go smoothly. (Trust me, you'll be lugging around so much stuff, trying to do 3 things at once all the time--it will make a huge difference if the stroller works like a dream.)

Infant car seat – You need one before you can take the baby home. But you’ll only use the first one for a year or less (we used ours 9 months before Rohan outgrew it). Make sure you do the class the hospital offers to help you get it installed properly. You might think you can do it, but the peace of mind of having a certified professional test it out was worth it. You definitely don't want to have to install it when you're leaving the hospital with the baby! I figure they're all pretty standard.

Monitor – I’d buy a better one if I could do it all over. Our $60 Fisher Price monitor from Target died after a year (batteries in the handsets don’t hold a charge, though they work plugged in still). I would spend a bit more and get one with a video monitor. Rohan is over two now and we still use his every nap and night time. We also take it anywhere we travel. I don't think you need one with a heart rate monitor unless there are health issues to monitor.

Plastic bowl – It sounds strange, but such a simple item has proved so useful! We took home the one they used in the hospital. We kept warm water in it on the changing table for wiping Rohan off with a diaper change and sponge baths. Now we use it in the tub to rinse him off. I didn’t see anything so simple and so useful in stores. You could use a Tupperware container, I suppose, but the ridges for holding on the cover might make it a bit awkward.

Cotton cloths – Sameer’s grandmother had a soft cotton sari cut up and sewn into squares, which we used as everything from burping cloths to bathing, and still now for wiping Rohan’s mouth and hands when he eats. They are softer than baby washcloths and don't fall apart (or get stuck all over the skin) like the cotton balls the pediatricians recommend.

Organic diapers and wipes – They say not to use wipes on newborns, but we used them for messy poops. Gentle, organic ones worked great and never caused a rash. Have to be careful that the bum is completely dry after, but that's also true if you use only water. We used 7th Generation and ordered them from places where we could get discounts (Diapers.com, drugstore.com) and full price from Publix when needed for convenience.

Wipes warmer - This I would have though to be excessive. However, my step-mom bought us one saying it was great for my step-sister's baby. And it was wonderful! Those wipes are freezing coming out of the package, and this makes them much more soothing. The warmer is only about $20 and it's a great way to dispense the wipes, too. Just beware you will likely have to buy little replacement liners for using inside the warmer, to help keep the wipes moist and prevent browning. These are not expensive, and I usually just got them in the online order with the diapers and wipes.

Diaper pail - I never found the diapers to be that smelly, but perhaps that's because we had a great diaper pail right by the changing table. They also say that baby's poop doesn't smell bad until you start introducing formula or solids, anyway. But you still don't want dirty diapers in your kitchen trash, right? Our model included filters, which we stopped using since it didn't smell anyway, and it worked with regular tall garbage bags, so we didn't have to buy special ones to use with it.

Baby bath tub – Some people use their sink. There’s also a special baby tub like a bucket they can be sat upright in. But a very basic plastic infant bathtub from Target did the job for us for several months. We set it on a towel on the floor to bathe Rohan, as we were scared of dropping him while wet and slippery if we used it on the counter. Hard on the back but good for peace of mind. We used the included sling once and only once. It holds the baby above the water, and makes them very cold! Once Rohan could sit up solidly, we started using our big bathtub with only two inches of water. We never got a spout cover and he has never hit his head on the spout (this was a concern for a while).

Organic towels – We had both cheap bath towels and nice fluffy organic ones. The thin, cheap ones just didn’t feel very nice. We’re still using the organic infant towels now. We didn’t really use the hood feature, though. We also got a bathrobe for Rohan but he was so impatient after his path (to nurse) we never really used it. Having a ton of cotton baby washcloths has been helpful, too, even now, for washing his face and drying his hair a bit while still in the tub, etc.

Baby nail clippers – I’d get good ones next time. Our first set broke within a couple months and believe me you’re continually clipping those little nails.

Baby mittens – Useless! I got these as I saw our friend’s baby scratching up her face all the time. But the mittens just fall off. Socks worked much better. (You might think you can keep the nails clipped, but he or she will get scratched regardless.)

Baby sling – I bought a very nice looking sling after reading about all the benefits of babywearing. However, I rarely used it. Rohan seemed to disappear into it, and his body would twist to conform to my body. I didn’t like that the top would close, cutting off fresh air circulation. I might want a Moby wrap style instead. But I think baby wearing suits those who are going to be busy doing a lot of stuff where the baby must be brought along, and that was not me. I see a lot of moms at the park or playdates with their toddler wearing their newborn in a carrier. Great option for that! Since I only had the one child, I was at home rocking him or pushing him in the stroller if out for a walk. It would have been great if I could have worn him for laundry, cleaning or cooking, but babywearing isn’t really appropriate for that.

Bouncy seat – we never technically had once that bounced, though I’d get one next time. We had a little chair that just rocked and vibrated, and that worked fine to soothe him sometimes, but it didn’t give him exercise. The chair converts to a toddler rocking chair as they grow, but my experience with this type of 2-in-1 products is that it doesn’t do either particularly well. He doesn’t use it now. I wouldn’t spend much on a bouncy seat, though, as they can’t use it for very long.

Crib mobile – We had a great mobile my boss lent us. It had a few jungle animals that rotated and leaves that opened and closed as it went around. It played jungle sounds. Rohan loved to watch it it and we used it until he was sitting up by himself. It was the favorite of all his crib toys. (He hardly paid attention to his mirror, though he'd watch the little clip-on toys if we shook them to make sounds. These can also clip onto the infant carrier, to keep them amused in the stroller when very young.)

Crib – We only used ours for daytime sleep as Rohan stayed in a co-sleeper next to our bed at night. Eventually he totally rejected the crib and just slept with us. Except we continued to put him in it when we had to set him down and for him to play and move around a bit safely (or I needed to shower or something :) We really had wanted him to sleep with us, but the pediatrician kept insisting he sleep on his own (and in a different room) saying that everyone would sleep better. I even bought an expensive organic wool and cotton mattress hoping he would sleep there peacefully, but I think the problem was that he just preferred to be with us. Would have been useful to have one that converts to a full-sized bed for use later, though he will probably sleep with us at least another year or more. (If you want a great mattress, we have Rohan's still wrapped stored under the guest bed--let us know and you can use it.)

Sheepskin pad - I got one of these when I was bent on getting Rohan to sleep in his crib. They are supposed to have tons of benefits for babies, from helping regulate temperature to providing a more naturally cushioning surface. Then I washed it in the washer and it all balled up, total bummer. I still have it on Rohan's big bed, going largely unused. But I wish I had one for all of us. Truly heavenly, but probably not necessary.

Organic crib sheets - I got blankets and sheets all in natural organic cotton, as I just didn't want the pesticides and dyes on his skin.

Woombies - I may have some I can loan you, but these little miracle bundles are a failproof alternative to swaddling. We got a ton of Woombies, as they seemed to help Rohan sleep, at least until the reflux stage.

Swaddling blankets - We didn't get to swaddle a lot, but I know mommies who swear by it to get a good night's rest for all. I'd say when buying a swaddling blanket, make sure it's going to work as a non-swaddling blanket, too, as you'll find you need tons of blankets (due to the laundry turnover).

Nap Nanny – This would have been indispensable if we had it from a small age. Rohan had some reflux issues, which made for rough nights. He might have slept better if he had this to keep his head elevated. But by the time I found out about it he was too big to get much use out of it. Instead he slept in his car seat on the floor next to the bed a lot. Even in the swing sometimes. Even if your baby doesn't have reflux, a Nap Nanny would be great for when they have a cold or even to prevent reflux by keeping them elevated after feeding (while their digestive system is still immature). Check out the local Wee Cycle for these, they have them new.

Crib wedge – This was a waste of $10. I got it to help elevate the crib. This helps with reflux and also breathing when the baby has a cold. But he didn’t like to sleep on this surface and would just roll down the slope.

Baby swing – We had a basic model, but here are some reviews for other swings. All you need is something motorized that will keep him or her rocking, maybe a couple different speeds. The front-back motion seems to be best, rather than side to side. We didn’t use the music function at all.

Hammock - I came across these, as well, when Rohan was too big. But I love the concept of a natural hammock. It might better than a swing, co-sleeper and Nap Nanny all in one. There are all kinds of different ones out there, even some that are designed to keep the baby slightly up, so it helps digestion.

Co-sleeper – For the first couple months, Rohan slept in a co-sleeper next to our bed. I think to do it over, I’d just keep him in bed with us. I was so scared since it was our first baby and we worried about accidentally rolling on him or a blanket falling across his face, but honestly they can’t move around at all and I had taken precautions with pillows and blankets (getting non-poofy memory foam pillows and using only one blanket on the bed). You are just paranoid with your own baby, though that goes away after experience.

Rocking chair – My mom had said this was the thing she used the most, and I probably did, too. It soothed Rohan and was restful for me, as I could lay my head back. We spent hours at all times of the day/night sitting in this. (Ideal would be a rocker/recliner.)

Sameer couldn't use the rocking chair, so an exercise ball type of contraption is another alternative. You can't imagine the time and energy you'll put into trying to get your baby to sleep (or stop crying at least). Endless walking around the house with them on your shoulder... This ball is supposed to give them the same effect but save your back (and probably help your core regain some tone, bonus!)

Changing table – Of all the furniture, this was the most useful for the first year for us. It’s back-breaking trying to change and clean a baby while leaning over the bed, so the table keeps them up at a manageable height in a safely confined space. We actually made our own using an old table we didn’t need anymore and bolting down the changing pad. There was lots of space next to the pad to keep all the supplies we needed nearby.

Dresser – We don’t have one for Rohan, but I wish we did. His room is too small to fit much furniture, but you end up with so many little things and mounds of clothes, and this would help corral it all. Plus you can get a style that will last them through college, probably.

Waterproof pads – I found some good, basic cotton waterproof sheets (I think these are the ones, I can't quite recall the brand) that I cut in two and placed under Rohan’s body when he slept or sometimes in the car seat, etc. This guarded against blowout poops that would leak through his clothes (which happened nearly every day). I still keep these around just in case he has an accident so I can line the car seat and sit him back in it if needed, but haven’t actually used them since he wet the bed during potty training one night. There are also disposable waterproof sheets you can use when you need to change the baby in a public changing station. I also had some polyester waterproof pads we kept on the changing table (so you don't have to change the pad cover each time), but they pilled and didn't feel as nice as the cotton ones.

Clothes – I had Rohan in comfy sleep ‘n plays for most of the time. These are cute little pajama type suits that cover the feet and zip or snap up to the chin from the foot. I tried to buy organic cotton with neutral colors (in case we decided to have another and it turned out to be a girl). I didn’t like zip up styles as much, because they often tended to be short in the body (shrinkage in the dryer was crazy) and didn’t last as long as the snap-up type because the baby grows so fast. Or I would buy them size up. I found Hanna Andersson at around 4 months and he’s been wearing their organic PJs ever since. The two-piece 80 cm ones have lasted two winters comfortably, which is amazing considering how much he’s grown. The zip-up ones, not so long, but they were great for that age. He has some pants and t-shirts from the site that are also on their second year. Another brand I loved for infant clothes was Under the Nile. (I think you may be able to find cheaper prices searching on other sites that carry the brand at discount.) Now I'm enjoying Boden clothes for Rohan, and they have a great collection for newborns, too, though not organic.

So get some clothes in newborn but mostly in 0-3 months and also 3-6 for starters. You'll probably be using the 3-6 month clothes by one month! You'll see different brands also fit differently. I especially liked the kimono-style of closure rather than over-the-head sort of tops, as it's hard to stuff them into those. They’ll outgrow the clothes so fast it’s a shame, because it feels they don’t get much wear out of stuff. Much faster than it’s labeled. To give you an idea, Rohan was wearing many 2T sized things at one year, just to fit his belly. At 4 months, he was wearing 9-12 month clothing. For the first week or two, he actually had some preemie items he wore, but he would have been fine in newborn or 0-3 months. Things seem to be labeled much more naturally since he’s turned two, though.

You do need several changes of clothes on hand, as diapers do tend to leak, and you could change outfits up to 4 times in 24 hours. (Laundry became a daily chore for us with a baby – it’s not just their clothing but yours gets dirty faster with drool, spitup, and flyaway poop, as well as blankets, sheets, towels, changing pad covers, nursing pillow covers, etc.)

One friend recommended hanging up all the baby clothes, as you can easily assess the length and what you've got at a glance. They're so small they tend to be hard to sort through. I kept them in little baskets labeled by age/size, but they didn't always fit accordingly.

Baby Legs - I got a pair of these legwarmers, but they didn't prove very useful. They were tight at the top of the legs, and I just put comfy pants on Rohan instead.

Hats - We hardly ever put hats on Rohan. He was such a hot baby and seemed to prefer not to have them on. I know some like to keep a hat on all the time to prevent heat loss, and a lot of newborn outfits come with them, too.

Shoes - Shoes are just plain silly on an infant. They don't need them until they are walking (and even then soft-soled shoes are better).

Boppy
- My friend loaned me her Boppy, and someone else loaned me a My Breast Friend. They were both very helpful, but I think it caused me to nurse Rohan in a position that helped contribute to his reflux. I would rest the cushion on the arms of the chair, so he ended up lying horizontally while nursing. I thought that's how it was supposed to work, but it would have been better if I made sure he was slanted with his bottom down more. They say the Boppy can also be used to prop the baby up when they start wanting to sit up, and I did use it for this a little. But we also had a Bebe Pod supportive chair from someone else that we used more. This stage only lasted a month or so, so I'm not sure whether I'd recommend buying one of these (maybe used?)

Photos
- I took a picture of my growing belly every month, and we snapped endless photos once Rohan was born. However, there are wonderfully talented photographers who offer packages to professionally capture your pregnancy and baby at different stages. I would love to do this if we had it all to do again.

Music
- Get some soft, relaxing music. Babies love it, and you will, too.

Books
- We started reading baby books to Rohan from the day he got home. This was particularly good for Sameer to bond with Rohan, as I had the nursing advantage. Rohan really seemed to enjoy it, and I'm sure it had a positive effect. (We started Your Baby Can Read at 4 months, though we couldn't tell if he was actually able to recognize the words until 12 months or so.)

For mom

Nursing bras - My breasts have changed so much through pregnancy, the first few months of nursing, the following two years, and now since weaning. You almost need to get different-fitting bras for each change. It makes a huge difference in how you look and feel to have a good bra, so do yourself a favor with this. There are some nice ones that don't show when you're wearing a nursing pad (which looks terrible in pictures later, by the way!) There's a great shop you should try on the second floor of the Oaks Plaza where Gator Cinemas is. (Don't be put off by all the wigs for cancer patients, they just have a lot of products specific to women's needs there.) My friend also said she never used nursing bras, just nursing tanks. I had another nifty thing, a tube you could wear around your midsection to keep it from getting cold when you were nursing. I didn't use it a lot, as I just didn't have the foresight to put it on when getting dressed each day. Remind me and I'll give it to you.

Nursing clothes - If I had known I'd be nursing 2 years, I might have invested in more nursing clothing (dresses and tops with strategic openings). However, after a year, I wasn't doing it much while out of the house, so it probably wouldn't have been necessary. However, for the first year, maybe... There are surprisingly fashionable options via catalogs and websites.

Nursing pads - I blew through boxes of these with major leaking. Ugh. I had to use some specialty cups the lactation consultant gave me at one point, too, but that spilled through sometimes, too. Later I found some silicone reusable options I really liked. They only last about 3 months per pair, though, and I think I lost them before that. I might try washable organic cotton ones next time.

Diaper bag – This goes with you everywhere you go, so it is great to have a nice one. You need all your own stuff to fit as well as the baby’s, so you don't have to carry a purse, too. Look for one that attaches to the stroller. I tried to use the free one the doctor’s office gives you, but that only lasted a week or so. Load it up with scented plastic bags for tossing dirty diapers, clothes for you and the baby, diapers, wipes, clothes for cleaning off drool, and a few bright toys. Most diaper bags also come with a padded diaper changing pad.

Nursing cover - I had a nice organic one I think from Weecycle. I used it probably a total of 10 times, but it was totally appreciated those 10 times. When baby wants to eat, you've gotta feed! And you don't want to have to go in some dirty public bathroom.

Breast pump – Just a simple hand pump from Medela was all I needed (to help relieve engorgement and do a bit of bottle feeding). Rohan didn’t take to bottles, so it went largely unused after 3 months. You might need a pump right away – in fact Sameer had to sterilize and assemble it the night we got home from the hospital. I couldn’t imagine expressing by hand at that point, though you get used to the milk situation more after a couple weeks. If you plan to breastfeed when you go back to work, you may benefit from a heavy-duty electric pump. Though maybe make sure you can return it in case something prevents you from breastfeeding (I hear they’re quire pricey). I had a bottle set from Medela, also, and I ended up using them to store baby food in the freezer once I started making it.

Local resources: (go in person, the websites just don't do them justice!)

The Little Shop - consignment clothing, toys, activities, nice place to hang and have a coffee, stroller fitness classes for mama.

Weecycle - consignment items (great for selling things when you're done with them) as well as new things like nursery furniture.

Hey Baby at Thornebrook Village - a smattering of baby-related things you won't find at big box retailers.

Miracles Maternity Boutique at Thornebrook Village - lots of fun baby and mommy things.

Other fun sites:

The Land of Nod

Grandgifting

One Step Ahead

Friday, August 06, 2010

Rohan goes to the Circus











Back in May, the circus was visiting Gainesville. Beth gave us some $5 tickets, so I decided to take Rohan. Sameer didn't make it from work in time to go, but it was just a short event for us anyway.

It was soooo hot that day, and Rohan kept asking to go to the potty over and over again. They had set up porta-potties, and we could luckily get the big, accessible one each time. But it was made of plastic and felt like a sauna inside. Every 10 minutes I was back in there, getting out Rohan's little travel potty seat and setting him up over and over. We ended up so hot and sweaty that we couldn't wait to leave! It turns out that he didn't really have to go to the bathroom - we discovered that's his response when he's stressed. (He didn't seem upset. Oh well, at least now we know...)

The part that was stressing Rohan was the show inside the tent. And I was surprised that he didn't even care to look at the elephants, giraffes, zebras, goats, etc. His favorite thing? The big trucks parked in the field that all the circus equipment arrived in! Those and the little train ride, which we went on two times.



video

Playtime with Dylan




Rohan has a couple friends he meets with regularly. One favorite is Dylan, the son of a friend who lives in Wellington Place. We get the boys together Wednesday afternoons and they do their thing.
They don't actually interact very much, but rather play with their chosen toys separately. Occasionally, one will want something the other has, so we try to teach them to share, etc. Kayla, Dylan's older sister, also comes along since school's out for the summer.

video

Monday, August 02, 2010

Mommy blogging at a new spot

Just a note to let you know I've got a new blogging gig over at Site Reference. The website owner also attended Dalhousie University and stumbled on my Lisa Banks site when he was looking for a blogger to take over from another who was leaving. You can see my articles pop up weekly on the SEO blog and the Internet Marketing blog. Be sure to leave a comment if you visit!

Baby words becoming more formed now

For a long time now, I've been wanting to write down the words Rohan says funny. That way, when he's older, we can look back with him and all enjoy a little chuckle. To my shock, those words are already being replaced by the real thing!?!

What brought this on? I asked him if he wanted banana for breakfast, and he said back "banana". Not too long ago, this used to be ba-da-da.

Well, now it's banana. And he knows that rhymes with Nanna, so he can't resist saying banana-nanna with a little giggle.

Here are some other words that are fast becoming properly pronounced:

Bucket (was budet)
Blanket (was bandet)
Get it (gedit)
Rohan (started out as nini, now no-an)
Pillow (piddo)
Thunderstruck (?)
Spin (pin)
Oh my goodness (oh my gooddess)
Go (doh)
Hippopotamus, rhinocerous, elephant (still nicely mangled, but no idea how to write out the sound here!)
Big one (big nun)
Little one (ninnel one)
Twinkle twinkle little star (twintle twintle nini tar)
Fish (tiff)
Delivery truck

Sunday, July 25, 2010

We may have a cat person on our hands

Rohan seems to take well to cats. Maybe it's because we have a couple of really friendly cats in our neighborhood that he's become friends with. A couple weeks ago when we visited Valhalla Farm, where Beth works, he had a great time playing with "Precious". She let him poke and pull at her like I've never seen another cat tolerate! Here's the video:

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Rohan discovers the microphone

A while back, Nanna brought Rohan a little electronic piano. It came with a microphone that I didn't even know worked - until I caught Rohan singing one day!

Here you can see his rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. See if you can pick out the words - I think he goes through the whole first verse!

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

A day at the farm

Yesterday we went to visit Beth where she's working in Wellborn, Fl, at Valhalla Farm. We watched Beth have a riding lesson on Flex, and then she drove us around on the golf cart. Amazing! Rohan loved the horses and the cat, Precious.
















Saturday, June 05, 2010

"More money!"

This morning we grabbed our stuff and ran out to Starbucks on the way to Cofrin Park. After only 10 minutes at the park, it started to rain. One of Rohan's favorite books is called What Can You Do in the Rain? So, as we headed for shelter under the trees, he stood there sticking his tongue out like the character on the page that says "Taste a raindrop". He was so thrilled to be doing just what the boy does in the book, it was cute!

When it really started to pour, we headed for some indoor fun at the mall.

We avoided the Sears entrance today, because he goes berzerk over the ride-on lawn mowers they have set out front. (We let him sit on one last time--little did we know we'd never get past them again!) So we went in the main food court entrance where there is a little fountain that people throw coins in to benefit a cause. Sameer gave him a few pennies to throw in. After they were gone, Rohan demanded, "More money!" I guess that's a phrase we will hear for years to come!! Ha ha...

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Rohan and the Baby

This morning, Rohan and I went to Cofrin Park for an Alachua County Mamas meetup. It was our first time in the 18-36 months-old group, so everyone was new to us. But people were really friendly, and it was so precious to watch all the little kids running around the park. Rohan really enjoyed the playground, and there was even a craft around the letter K (we glued things together to make a kite). But by far, the thing Rohan enjoyed most was hanging out with this little baby. She was poking his face and pulling his hair, and he didn't even care! She was just sitting randomly in a stroller - I couldn't even tell who was her mother! Turned out her mom was helping another of her kids on the swings. But we got to entertain her in the meantime...

video

Dinner at Mandy, Vikram and Jasmine's

A couple weekends ago, the Gill's invited us over for dinner, along with a few other friends who they needed to catch up with. Rohan and Jasmine seem to really love each other, though they don't always play together directly. Rohan talks about her all the time, and she cries whenever he leaves.




Splashpad at St. Augustine Beach

The Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, we took a quick trip to the St. Augustine beach. We left as early as reasonably possible and spent 10:30 - 12 there. The tide was so high at first that we couldn't even access the beach. But when we did get down, it was so nice! The perfect day, start to finish.


The beach is the perfect place for a dumptruck.


Doin' some splashin' at the splashpad


The scene at 10:30 am, while we waited for the tide to go out enough to get onto the beach.


Sprinklers on low




Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Potty Training - Pros and Cons of Starting Young

We got Rohan a potty when he was 4 months old. Until he was about 1 year, he enjoyed using it for a couple times each day (we held him above it in the beginning and then helped him sit on it later when he could sit up well himself). Then from about 12-17 months he wanted nothing to do with it. Well, it did make a fun toy sometimes, as he liked to put his toys in it.

Around 17 months, after still letting him spend some time diaper free each day and reminding him that pee goes in the potty whenever there was an accident, he woke up one morning and said "potty". We put him on it and he did his morning pee! After that he requested it every morning and many more times throughout the day. By 18 months, he was diaper free throughout the day. We kept him diapered for naps and nighttime, though. But we even ventured out in the car with no diaper! (Well, at first a cautious mommy put a waterproof pad under him until it became apparent it wasn't needed - have you ever tried to dismantle and wash your car seat? Ugh!)

Then, as he started to stay dry all night and through naps, we dropped the diapers completely. After a couple weeks, he had two bed wetting incidents in a row. Back on went the diapers for a week. Now, at nearly 20 months, Rohan is saying "no diapers!" when I try to get one on him and getting up in the night to pee.

Let's amend that. He's getting Mommy up in the night to pee. Last night at 4 am, he wanted to pee but didn't want to sit on the potty, then wanted to pee again. Then finally peed. 20 minutes later, wanting to pee again. Saw the basketball in the bath area, wanted to play... We were up until daylight! Slept 30 minutes and back on the potty... Mommy is so tired... Rohan is grumpy...

Pros of starting potty training young:

1. Save on total diaper costs
2. Don't have to clean as many messy diapers - potty poops are a simple little wipe and then all done
3. Diaper rash is not a problem
4. No power struggle issues as with an older toddler
5. Confidence booster for the child (not sure about this one, but proponents say so)
6. Satisfaction of being done early with this sometimes stressful rite of passage

Cons:

1. Still have a messy potty to clean each time, until you get them going on the toilet
2. Accidents will happen - changing sheets in the middle of the night is not fun (and make sure you have a waterproof mattress pad!)
3. Infants and young toddlers still can't do much on the potty themselves - you need to undress them, place them on the potty, make sure they stay there through the whole thing (and don't put their hands in it!), clean up their bottoms, redress them, and then clean the potty.
4. When they've gotta go, you've got to listen - if you're driving, you pull over and hopefully there's an accessible bathroom nearby. We've had Rohan peeing in a field on a drive through High Springs one day.

I confess, we weren't quite ready for Rohan to be so ready all of a sudden. It's more work than we bargained for. When he started requesting to go to the potty, there were times we told him to go in his diaper. Of course he didn't listen to us and became very vocal until we got him situated properly. Then we realized we could be potentially shooting ourselves in the foot here and we should be overjoyed that he is demanding to pee properly.

Laura had bought him a book way back when we got the potty for him, called "My Big Boy Potty". He loves that book now, especially getting a kick out of the page where Michael learns to pee standing up like daddy! (Not sure when that's supposed to happen, but I'm in no hurry, as it would be disastrous with his coordination level at this point.)

However, though Rohan was mostly potty trained by 18 months, I'm still eagerly awaiting the day when he can go to the bathroom by himself!!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Growing in Leaps and Bounds - New Sentences, Counting to 20

I'm told most kids know 10-50 words by their second birthday. Rohan knew about 15-20 at his first birthday. Now at 19 months he's coming out with new sentences nearly every day.

He just amazes us. And it's not so much the fact that he can string together words, it's that the ones he says are all perfectly correct! Here are a couple examples.

1. Sitting at the dining table to eat lunch, he often plays with a little toy airplane hat he brought home from his friend Jared's house one day. The propellor falls off, as it is broken, but you can actually stick it back in the hole and spin it a bit. HE LOVES TO SPIN THINGS! So the other day as we were eating lunch, he holds the two pieces out to me and says, "Put it in", since he can't quite put the pin of the propellor in it himself.

2. Driving in the car, he often specifies which music he wants to listen to. Lately it's all about "Nanna's music". (Mom sent us a CD of her iPod playlist he really liked last time she visited. There's one song at the beginning that's a mix of Somewhere Over the Rainbow and What a Wonderful World set to the ukele - that's his favorite song now.) Yesterday we were driving home from the park and he started saying "Nanna's music" even though it was already playing. We were trying to figure out what he wanted, when he paused and then finally said, "Turn it up!" We have no idea where he even learned that!

He also says "pick it up" , "put it back", "take it off", "put it on". "Just yogurt" if I try to sneak a bite of fruit in between his spoons of yogurt". "Mommy needs the ball getter" - this one is funny. Daddy has a way of saying "Mommy NEEEEEDDDSSS to blah blah blah". Now Rohan is copying how Sameer says this and adding his own things on the end! We have a long lint remover for the dryer that we've dubbed the "ball getter", since it's good for getting balls that have rolled under the couch. He says "Rohan's room" when he wants us to go to his room to play, "sit down" once we get there to make sure we stay.

I think his first little sentence was "Eat this" when he'd go to the fridge and pull out a yogurt. Next, it was "Mommy get it", when didn't want to get something himself.

Probably his cutest phrase is "be careful". He says this every time he slides himself off the bed, as we said it so often to him as he was learning to get down himself. Now, if we're walking somewhere and I say "be careful", he stops and looks around and is super cautious about making a move. He knows that phrase means business!

Oh, and get this. Neither Sameer nor I knew he could count to 20. He surprised me one day when thought I'd start introducing the numbers after 10. Sameer said he'd gone up to 12 with him. But he kept going right up to 20! (Well, he really liked 17, so he kept coming back to that one afer 18 and 19...) Seems the counting app on the iPod is responsible for this...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A good Saturday

This was the scene until about 10 pm. Usually Rohan is in bed by 8 pm, but he was still going strong quite late today. The problem was that he had to keep peeing every 20 minutes. We must have given him too much to drink after playing at the park this evening! So I let him play with the iPod while I took a break to eat dinner at 9:30...



Earlier this evening, we were at Westside Park. There were so many other kids there, and Rohan was having a blast running from one thing to the next. We have some funny videos but I haven't figured out how to post them here, yet.

This morning, we went for brunch at Sisters in Haille Plantation. We forgot that it was also the farmer's market, so it was super busy.


Finally, a photo of mom and Rohan together! It always looks like it's just Rohan and daddy, since I'm the one taking the pictures...


And after brunch and putting the boys to sleep for their afternoon nap, mommy had some fun time cruising the mall...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sun n' Sand in St. Augustine

We went to St. Augustine yesterday for a quick little mini vacation. We stayed at Casa Monica right downtown. Got naps over with upon arrival and then headed to the beach a little late in the day (6 pm) so it wouldn't be sweltering. Weather was gorgeous! Rohan didn't remember his beach visit last year, but he loved it this time, too!































Friday, May 14, 2010

Product Recommendations for Friends, Family and Other Readers

I was asked by a mom the other day where I got the folding portable potty seat I take everywhere for when Rohan's "gotta go". People routinely ask me where I buy his cute outfits. And many of the unique items around our house get comments, too.

I confess, I spend a lot of time online. Shopping.

Mostly I spend a lot of time online researching purchases before I buy. I know some great websites that have products you never even knew existed. I've found clothing sites I swear by.

I am going to start blogging more about these resources that have made life easier and enriched our family environment. Partly because I want you to know where to go to get the same style of rug that's now brightening our back porch if you want one, too. And those great quality clothes that you can't find in a mall. And the time-saving products any mother would benefit from. And also because I believe affiliate marketing is a great model. You pass along the good word on products you believe in, and enjoy commissions when others also discover those great products. Chris Brogan explains affiliate marketing better here if you want to know more...

Acupuncture may save me from surgery for DeQuervain's

About a year ago, I went to the Orthopedic Center here in Gainesville about pain in my left wrist. It had gotten so bad within a matter of just a few weeks that I couldn't lift Rohan.

At my first visit last May, the doctor said that a steroid injection might cure it, so they injected me then and there. By the next day, it was nearly perfect.

Then about 6 months later, the pain started to come back. It wasn't as severe, but it was gradually getting worse and worse. After putting up with it a couple months, I went back and got a second shot. They recommended surgery, but I declined since I was still nursing Rohan and didn't want to pass on all the antibiotics and anesthesia, etc., to him.

The second steroid shot helped for a couple weeks. It started to become just a dull, constanct ache in my wrist, and occasionally it would swell in the evening.

I hadn't actually started to look for an alternative, but I learned that acupuncture may provide relief after my sister Beth introduced me to an acupuncturist who was treating her. After just a couple treatments, it no longer became inflamed, and it seemed to be on the mend.

I've had 5 treatments now, and my wrist hardly bothers me. Instead of worsening as was completely expected, it now seems to be healing. I plan to continue treatments, as I will still be putting strain on it, especially as Rohan continues to get bigger and bigger. (The good thing is he can walk much more now, but he still needs to be lifted throughout the day for lots of things.)

I have found also that acupuncture helped me relax and look more carefully at how I was taking care of myself and us as a family, so there have been many good side effects that I hadn't anticipated. Oh yeah, and it cleared up my miserable allergies after just 2 treatments and an herbal remedy the acupuncturist recommended. You can't imagine how wonderful it felt not to have to blow my nose every couple minutes - not to mention the savings on tissues!

The acupuncturist who helped me is Ashley Dunn, working out of Lake City and Gainesville. He's very talented, and I'll be sure to pass along the link to his site once it's up soon.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Expanding Vocabulary and Structures

I've been amazed at Rohan's progress with words. He will repeat anything back to us, even if he doesn't understand the concept. When Heather, the nanny, told him I was at acupuncture, that word became a part of his vocabulary! He only has to hear a word once and he remembers it.

He's also becoming more sophisticated in pairing words. For about 6 months, he's been using two-word phrases, like Daddy's shoes, our car, biiiigggg anything (expecially "big truck"!)

Rohan has been saying the sentence "Eat this" for about a month now. He would go to the open fridge, take out a yogurt, and tell me "Eat this".

Just yesterday, he said "Mommy get it" when I told him he could go and get a ball to play with (some from Gayle's kids had come over our fence. And today he said "Put it back", after he was through examining the sun catcher I took down from the window for him to look at.

Peek a boo, I see you, is probably his biggest string of words now, but that's a phrase from a book he has, and he loves the rhythm of that.

His reading is also fantastic! He can pick out words from books now, mostly words he has learned from Your Baby can Read, but we're also pointing out new ones now. "Baby" seems to be one of his favorite words. If we ask him what word he wants us to write with the sidewalk chalk, he always says "baby". And he noticed that in a sign at Borders all by himself a couple months ago.

Okay, enough bragging for tonight...

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Friday Afternoon Football in the Back Yard

Beth spent Friday afternoon with us. Our new outdoor mat had arrived, so we took the music and drinks outside and played a bit of football. Rohan could even throw the ball a couple of feet! The weather is glorious now, with frequent thunder and lightening at night. Rohan stopped the action to take a call from Nanna...









Picnic at Westside Playground

Rohan and mommy went to Westside one afternoon a couple weeks ago. We took some snacks and sat on the picnic blanket, then we played on the equipment. There were so many other kids there! Rohan particularly liked one boy about his age, who he tried to hug!

This little set was just the right size for Rohan - he could go up the steps and then down the slide all by himself!












Saturday, February 20, 2010

Emergency Vehicles of Alachua County

Today we went to a family day event featuring some of Alachua County's services for children. They also brought in special vehicles to show kids, from a helicopter (which we got to see take off and land!) to a fire truck. There was also a bounce house and other fun things like face painting which Rohan isn't quite old enough to enjoy yet.

He loved seeing the Sherriff's star on everything.




There was even a robot for defusing bombs!