A First Time Mom’s Guide to Surviving Baby Battles (or just eat the damn puffs!)

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I’m a first time mom (FTM) and just like any parent, veteran or not, we have the good days and the bad. The days you feel like you are the elite parent whose child slept for nine hours last night, and then the next day you’re knocked off your high horse when your child starts clinging to you and screaming for no apparent reason. No, wait. There might be a Wonder Week for that. If you haven’t heard about Wonder Weeks yet, they are the answer for every “What the heck is wrong with my baby?” Google it. You’ll feel a little more sane on those days. You’re welcome.

Whether it’s a Wonder Week or maybe just a typical day in the life of trying to figure out what the heck you’re doing, every FTM needs to have some defense moves on the days their baby declares an all-out war.

Battle Ground: Eating Foods

Baby’s main defense: Karate chopping. Mom approaches mouth with food on spoon, just like any other day. Baby ain’t having it. Mom tries to force past the karate chop. Baby begins arching back and screams. In a momentary lapse, Mom loosens grip on spoon. Baby senses weakness and knocks spoon out of mom’s hand. Better yet, Baby laughs at flying food and wants to blow mommy some smeared broccoli kisses.

FTM’s defense: Trying not to freak out because your child isn’t eating his vegetables like you dreamed, you decide to check your trendy baby-led weaning book. Screaming baby ensues because he wants some food. You drop the book and head to the fridge. Cheese. Best FTM defensive food out there. Go ahead and enjoy some too. Maybe a little glass of wine too? It’s almost lunch time, right?

Battle Ground: Diaper Changing

Baby’s main defense: Back arching and becoming stiff as a board. Putting a diaper on a baby who has stiffened their body and squeezed their legs shut in protest is like trying to move a 700lb rock on your own. It ain’t happening.

FTM’s defense: Kisses and giggles to distract baby. Reminder to FTM – this trick works for .0000007 of a second. Giggles become rip mommy’s face off since she is so close to my hands and I’m ticked about this diaper change. FTM looks around for anything that will distract baby from stiffening his legs. Your phone dings a new message and with it, a battle-saving reminder. Just give it to him. You know you will let your baby play with your phone eventually anyways.

Battle Ground: Grocery Shopping

Baby’s main defense: This one is tried and true. Screaming as loud as he can.

FTM’s defense: Letting baby play with anything crackly off the shelf. This gives you about two toMAYBE three minutes to get to the next aisle to grab some baby puffs.  The puffs you swore you’d never try. The ones you were committed to try and make homemade. And yes, you should just open it in the store and let that baby stuff his face.

Battle Ground: Errands in the Car

Baby’s defense: This can vary. However, screaming tends to be the most effective. Mom’s main goal? Keeping your hands on the steering wheel as much as possible and try not to let your head explode with all the screaming.

FTM’s defense: There are a few tactics mom can try here. Roll down baby’s window to get a 20 second reprieve. Turn up music and sing with baby for a 20 maybe 30 second reprieve. Take said puffs just throw the jar to the baby, and don’t think about what the back seat will look like by the time you arrive home after the 15 minute car ride across town. This may be the most successful tactic in making it home without swerving off the road.

Battle Ground: Nap Time

Baby’s main defense: Cuddles. The more cuddles he tries to give you, the more likely you are to fall for the rock-me-to-sleep baby tactic.

FTM’s main defense: Don’t rock baby to sleep. You want the baby to put himself to sleep. Right – that thought lasts for about two seconds.

FTM’s new defense: Rock the baby to sleep in as big of a recliner you can find in your house so you can try and sleep too. Oh yah, and keep those damn puffs near by.

This post originally appeared on thehomelovingwife.com

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5 Vital House Rules for When the Baby Is Teething

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Yet another great guest post this week! Mariah’s sense of humor is one that I can relate to and I’m sure you will too! She brings a sense of honesty that I think we can identify with and I am thrilled to have her words on the blog today. I wish I had some social media links for you to catch  more snippets of her life but that’s not her thing these days.

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1. Play them where they lie.
Oh, how sweet! You just sang my little angel to sleep. Did I mention how many times they woke up last night? Make yourself comfortable, buddy. You’re going to be in that exact position for as long as it takes for the baby to get a proper nap.

2. There will be noise control.
What am I saying – that sounds silly. That almost implies that I would let there be noise! When you spend an hour lulling your screaming child back to sleep after the hysterics involving rejected teething rings and Orajel, any sound is too loud. That creak of the cupboard is the equivalent to a nuke, in my book, and will be treated as such.

3. No non-parent opinions or advice.
Hey, I get it. If you aren’t a parent (or have never been involved with raising a child) then all my complaining may sound a little excessive. Hell, six months ago I would have been right there along with you. But your advice on teething tablets and counting sheep is more than a little unwarranted. And I have just one thing to say to you, pal: “Just you wait. Your time will come.”

4. Come bearing gifts.
The sleeping patterns of a baby are already hard enough to take. Add a child who’s severely uncomfortable while waiting for that glorious tooth to break through and you’ve got a disaster looming. So if I don’t seem like my normal self when we talk, it’s because I’m not. I have a million things running through my sleep-deprived mind. “How long till the Tylenol wears off? Maybe I can inject this coffee straight into my system. Why can’t babies just be born with teeth? Wait, no, scratch that. Terrible idea. Terrible.” So if it’s really important that we hang out, for the love of all that is holy, bring a girl a cup of coffee and maybe I’ll be able to focus on that twit at your work.

5. Be patient with us.
Friends and family, I know I’ve been driving you crazy and my bundle of joy hasn’t exactly been a picnic in the park. I’m going to tell you all something that I tell myself at least three times a day: “Teething won’t last forever.” Say it with me now – teething won’t last forever. It won’t last forever …

This post originally appeared on ScaryMommy

MariahBioPhotoMariah Radtke is a full-time mom that loves playing with her son and avoids small talk. She has found a new form of peace by deleting all social media accounts but does enjoy writing about the wonder of parenting for ScaryMommy. Currently she is chasing after her (now) mobile boy and wherever she is-she wants coffee.

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Pros and Cons to Having a Furry Big Sister

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I met Liz not too long ago in an awesome mom blogging group. I was excited to see that she had a post to share for It Takes a Village. I am a HUGE dog lover. If you haven’t figured that out already, check out my Instagram for some dog lovin photos. I was immediately drawn to Liz’s post as a fellow dog lover. It’s pretty amazing how pets become an extended part of your family. They can become such an ingrained part of life and I think many of us aren’t ready to balance them when a new little baby arrives. I totally get the change of pace for when you have a newborn and a high-energy dog that is ready to go go go!! As with anything there are pros and cons and Liz is here today to talk about her experiences with being a new mama and a dog lover.

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Newbie mom Liz Parker-Cook is the proud mom of a seven month old son and a 4 year old chocolate lab. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and the aforementioned dependants. In her other life, she is a high school music teacher, which is much louder than parenting but has fewer dirty diapers. You can read more from Newbie Mom athttp://www.newbiemomsite.com or on Facebook, Twitter or Bloglovin‘.

My husband and I brought home Hazel in 2012. For the first while, she kept us up all night and kept me busy all day getting into things and crying for attention. She has boundless energy and ruins all her toys, but she is clever and lovable at exactly the right moments. And boy, is she a ham for the camera!

No, Hazel is not a toddler. She is a 3 1/2 year old chocolate lab. Though Hazel has always loved children, we were nervous about introducing her to her baby brother when we found out that I was pregnant. Hazel has always been sweet and gentle, but we had heard and read stories of people having to make the difficult decision to re-home dogs when children arrive. It turns out we didn’t need to worry because in August she welcomed home her little brother, MB, with much excitement. (And even more wet doggy kisses.)

There have definitely been some challenges with being a mom to a dog and a newborn baby, but also some extremely sweet moments. Here are some pros and cons of having a dog and a baby.

Con: They both need attention. (Often at the same time.) Hazel was used to being spoiled with attention and going on walks often to burn off her energy. Like any big sister, she had to learn to share her attention. At first Hazel started to whine or cry when the baby cried, and then began doing things she knew would get attention, such as jumping on the counter or destroying something. I used to run back and forth giving them attention. Hazel would bring me a toy while I was nursing her brother, but put it just out of my reach and whine so that I would get up and play with her.

It has been almost 5 months now and it is improving. As the baby grows and begins to move, Hazel has become more interested in him and less resentful. We play fun games like holding the baby like an air plane and chasing the dog around the house. They are learning to co-exist.

Pro: When the naps align it is magical! This happens maybe once a week, but when it does it is the best. There is nothing better than having the baby fall asleep in your arms while the dog snoozes beside you. They just look so darn cute while they sleep. I start to wonder why I was stressed, with these two angels in my life. Then I think, nap time for momma! We have had some lovely naps together all snugly and warm. I have also had some lovely quiet time while they nap. Either way, win-win.

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Con: The walks. Hazel is an energetic dog. She loves her walks. She cannot do without walks or she becomes crazy and destructive or whiny and irritable. I hear people say that they just wait for their partners to come home and walk the dog. This is great for them, but not an option for us. My husband takes her for walks on the weekends and sometimes after dinner, but he works long hours, so the dog care is mostly up to me.

We are fortunate to be able to have a dog walker come in to take her out for morning walks, but we still walk between 2 and 5 kilometres a day, rain/snow or shine. Plus, it takes ages to get the baby ready, put him in the stroller or carrier, get myself ready and then get the dog leashed up and ready. In this winter, this is an epic undertaking. My dog loves the snow and cold too. I know other dogs who stay inside when it rains or snows. Not mine. She spent 20 minutes rolling in the snow during the coldest day of the year. We own a lot of waterproof outerwear.

Pro: The walks! The regular walking can be a positive too. I get outside everyday, which makes me feel better. And thanks to my dog, I almost always run into someone I know in the neighbourhood, which provides me with a dose of adult interaction. I also feel stronger, and fitter than I did during my horrible pregnancy. The walking has helped me lose my baby weight, and often leads to nap time for both the baby and the dog.


Con: Dog toys and baby toys are basically the same. I defy you to tell the difference. They both make noise, they are designed to be chewed on and they look like cute animals. Many a baby stuffed animal has gradually become a dog toy. Currently Hazel is fascinated with a musical octopus MB got for Christmas that says colour names when you squeeze it. We have to keep it up high or she steals it. Presumably to learn about colours.

Pro: They will be best friends. MB is becoming more aware and is starting to reach out to pet Hazel. She has always covered him in kisses, but now he laughs. The baby is endlessly entertained by the movements of the dog and she seems to enjoy sitting with him as he has tummy time. She also freaked out with joy when MB went in his jolly jumper for the first time. Now she brings him toys to play with and drops them in front of him. The minute he starts solid foods Hazel will never leave his side.


Con: The house is overrun with stuff. Baby toys litter the couch, and dog toys litter the floor. Or the dog toys are on the couch and the baby stuff is on the floor? Honestly, I’m not sure. They look the same. It’s safer to shuffle your feet across the floor here, rather than lifting them and potentially dropping them onto something painful. And this is just the beginning…

Pro: This may give me an idea of what it is like to have multiple children. (If only in a small way.) I learned a long time ago not to compare my dog to other people’s children. Especially if they are not dog people. I have put my foot in my mouth more than once doing this. However, dogs and babies have a lot in common. Everything goes in their mouths, they love squeaky toys, they both get into everything, they both nap at weird hours, make strange sounds and stare at me while I eat.


Okay, so my dog is not a child. But I have learned the valuable skill of juggling multiple needs of my dependants.

It is hard to not neglect your dog when your baby needs you, to get up and play with your dog when your baby naps and you are exhausted.

It is tiring and guilt-inducing and it is hard to explain it to either one of them. It is also hard to explain to people who are not dog people. I talked about the challenges of balancing the needs of dog and baby by myself during the week at a post-natal class and the nurse politely dismissed me, saying: “If that is the worst thing that has happened to you with the baby, you are doing well.” Thanks…

I am also incredibly impressed by mothers with more than one child.  When I see a mom at the mall with multiple children – or twins!- I want to stop what I am doing and give her a respectful slow clap. But when I see a mom with multiple kids and a dog (or two!), I want to run over to her and bring her baked goods in appreciation for all her hard work. (This is what I would like, as well, if anyone sees me out with my dog.)

 

5 Parent Dream Moments for Instagram Gone Wrong

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I remember when we were trying to get pregnant, my husband and I were incredibly aware of parents walking around with their kids. I remember seeing the mom with her new baby, holding him in the restaurant, while he slept away in her arms. I remember seeing the dad at the lake with his toddler, probably showing him how to fish for the first time. Remember when you were pregnant for the first time and it seemed like everyone was pregnant too?

I knew as a first time parent that things would be hard and not so picturesque as the glimpses we see on the street. In fact, that’s why my husband and I put off having kids for almost eight years. But, we were excited first time parents and I remember sometimes, late in the night we’d both be awake and we’d talk about some of the excited memories we anticipated making when starting our family.

In a world enveloped by social media, you would probably be lying if you didn’t see a photo on Instagram and secretly remember to try that with your little one. Some of your greatest photo ideas come from your fellow Insta addicts.

A year and a half later with ten months of diapers (sheesh, when can we potty train already?) with a ten month old, you learn those memories are like flashes that come and go so fast, you can hardly remember they happened in the midst of sleep deprivation. And what about those moments we anticipated would be our “charming” little family memories?  What actually happens in those dreamed about moments?
1) Parent dreams about taking cute photos of their newly crawling baby, peeking out from under the coffee table and sharing it on Instagram. #cutestbabyever
What Really Happens: Your baby isn’t peeking out because they are way to engrossed in eating whatever unidentified object was growing under your coffee table because who has time to actually clean under there when you’ve got kids running around. Whew.

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2) Parent dreams about baby playing outside, maybe picking a dandelion and looking at it curiously.
Baby waits on parent while just taking in the world. Ah, yes, another Insta moment. Seriously, I had an exact image like this. Man, sweet mother. #justyouwait
What Really Happens: Baby eats the dandelion and another one. And another one, until you realize he’s eating all the dandelions while being so quiet.
Tip: Never mistake quietness with good behavior. Never.
By the time you find him, he has already found a new interest in the surprise your neighbor’s dog left as they walked by earlier.

3) Parent dreams about snuggling with their little one for naps as they gently fall asleep against their chest. Totally Insta worthy. Hello #sleepingbaby.
What Really Happens: Your baby has now discovered your nose and eyes and even your ears. These are incredibly fun to try and rip off your face. Now, this could be Insta worthy. #babyripsfaceoff
But your too tired to even care because all you want to do is sleep. Did I mention the biting? Ever had a teething baby gnaw on your shoulder as you try to sing “Go to sleep little baby”? Yah, no one ever makes it through that song with a teething little.
4) Parent dreams about their little’s first photo with Santa. This will blow up your Insta likes. #babysfirstsanta
What Really Happens: Screaming. Crying. Lots of crying. There will be a glare in this photo from all the tears. I don’t blame the kid for this one, really. A large, strange man, laughing at me for being so little? Really?

5) Parent dreams of hoisting your toddler on your shoulders as they excitedly watch the town parade and all the horses trot by. You decide to make them giggle with a little tickling. Thank you #documentyourday
What Really Happens: Vomit. Too much tickling. Yep, that’s the cotton candy you just had to buy him earlier. A sticky and slimy car ride home, followed by a toddler with an upset stomach from all the candy you let him eat.

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Parent dreams of that feeling they say you get when your little grabs your finger for the first time.

That feeling when they begin to crawl for the first time and you could care less what they eat under the table because you’re ecstatic they figured it out. OK, maybe you’ll do a quick sweep under there.

That feeling when you laugh with them as you hose off the doggie poo they ate while playing outside.

Who cares about the photo with Santa. They won’t remember anyways.

Throw up is never picturesque but the pure joy they experienced by running around with cotton candy in hand, while waiting for the parade to start? That’s what really happens when parents see their dreams unfold as their babies grow. Pure innocence and joy. #enjoytheride

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Come on guys. I know you have some #instamomentsgonewrong. Tell us what they were!

If you want to see more of me fumbling along as a mama to encourage yourself, check us out on Instagram.

Toodles!

Rites of Passage for the First Time Parent

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(This post also appears on gloryannaboge.com.)

It hit me. When parents say they feel like they’re losing their mind, they’re serious. I felt like I finally understood what they meant as I became a first time parent. One morning, I realized that I sort of started looking forward to seeing if my baby had any boogers in his nose when he woke up in the mornings. Enter husband’s unsolicited comment. My husband said I was losing it. Then, the list of “losing it” began to get longer. THE list. The list of Rites of Passage that told me I have now gone to the dark side. Or light side. Whatever. Wouldn’t want to offend anyone.

It started when I went to make macaroni for lunch for the upteenth time.

Opening the microwave and finding the coffee pot. Insert hallelujah chorus here. Your life source has been found.

Macaroni has been your lunch for five days in a row.  OK, it’s your lunch everyday. And you like it.

Spraying water all over the wall when cleaning a cloth diaper because you were too busy keeping the baby from falling over and crashing his head on the toilet and you forgot to release the hose handle. Yah, I’m gonna let the dog lick that up.

Leaving the poopy diaper on the changing table. Yep, dog’s gonna lick that too.

Dancing and singing while vacuuming to keep your child from crying. Now the dog is attacking the vacuum. Now baby is crying louder. Might as well get the dinning room done since everyone is out of their mind about the stupid vacuum.

Just when you think you’re super parent by getting ready to run to the store with a shirt on that is spotless, you get spit up on. Silly first-time parent. Dog can lick that up too.

I wonder what they’d do if I used the blender. Hmmm. Maybe I should record their reactions. Crying and barking to some sort of music mix. You never know. Could win my money from America’s Funniest Home Videos. Yes, I still watch that show. No, I don’t know if they actually still accept videos.

Taking a shower twice a week. OK, showering twice a week but only getting your hair washed once because the baby cries every time you try. OK, you really shower only once a week. You swear that baby knows as soon as you turn on the faucet.

Having “parent time” after said baby falls asleep for the night. Who are you guys kidding? It’s 8:00PM and you have an opportunity to sleep. The sex gods will just have to wait. You did just take your weekly shower though…if…you…could…just…stay…awake…a…little…longer….

I’ve decided that people who have more than one child are like secret superheroes, only all the other fellow parents of multiples understand this. This is kept a secret from their children so they don’t go on thinking they need more siblings. I mean, what 5 year old wouldn’t want another brother to see if his dad can grow razor claws out his hands like Wolverine? After all, lots of kids think their dad is some kind of awesome, right? Please tell me I’m right so if we do have another one there is some kind of cool pay off of acting like a superhero.

You’re the last to eat at any meal or the first to eat before everyone gets around. Actually, you’re never the first. That requires waking “early” and let’s face it, you need as much sleep as you can get at this point.

Your most intelligent conversation of the day is about how your two year old son thinks his penis is the best kind of water gun around. Free to use any time. Wait. This is supposed to be potty training?

They should have parents go through potty training. I mean who remembers what it was like to learn to pee in the toilet for the first time?

You think giving a single baby a bath is a challenge? Just wait. You’d be surprised how many kids you can fit into one bath.

Crying when you get in the shower is just the beginning. Soon they’ll all want to see you while you go the bathroom. Just tell them you’re pooping every time. Could work…

Parents are always saying to enjoy the beginning because before you know it, they’ll be graduated and moving out. Or maybe just graduated. You hope. Moving out would be a bonus. Keep your eyes in front of you or you’ll miss it. Take it from Crush. He was a pretty good dad.

(This post also appears on gloryannaboge.com.)

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