What Evan is Reading This Week [9.6.14]

I meant to post this yesterday, but since he still asked for this book last night, I haven’t missed my chance.

This week is all about Moo Moo, Brown Cow by Jakki Wood and illustrated by Rog Bonner.

Moo Moo, Brown Cow is essentially a counting book. Kitten goes around asking various animals if they have any children (“Moo moo, Brown Cow, have you any calfs?”) and they respond, conveniently, with an increasing number of them. At the end (SPOILER), the animals as Kitten if she has any kittens and she responds, “no kittens, no kittens, but many, many friends” as she is surrounded by all of the animals and their children. It teaches counting, animal sounds, and animal names (particularly names for baby animals)

I like this book because of its rythym, which is why the last animals response, which doesn’t fit the responses of all of the other animals kills me. Evan asks for Moo Moo, Brown Cow at least once a day, so I guess it doesn’t bother him. I do love that he says, “oh there is a little fry” when I ask about the small fry though.

What Evan Is Reading This Week

To round out an ENTIRE WEEK OF DAILY POSTS, I am going to try a new just-for-fun Friday series, sharing Evan’s favorite book of the moment.

This week’s obsession is:

The other night, I read this to E four times in a row after Ben read it six times in a row.

It’s a silly little Doctor Seuss book about opposites and the different kinds of “feet you meet.” My favorite part about reading this one is that Evan seriously believes I just skip the word “foot” in the first page.

This page always goes like this:

Me: Left foot. Right foot. Left foot. Right. Evan: Foot.

Every. Single. Time. Apparently he thinks I’m pulling one of my pause-and-see-if-Evan-will-supply-the-word tricks. He can’t be convinced otherwise.

What book are your kids demanding this week? Or what book do you have fond (or not so fond) memories of reading with your kids or parents?

Looking Back, Moving Forward

It is Evan’s first day of preschool. I will tell you all about it once I’ve accepted that fact that this is happening. And I promise you there will be pictures. But as much as we are excited about moving forward, I couldn’t approach this milestone without looking back.

Saying goodbye to Evan’s sitter on Friday broke my heart a little. She has cared for him since he was 12 weeks old. She’s comforted him when I couldn’t be there. She’s fed him more breakfasts and lunch than I have. She’s put him down for more naps than I have. For the last two years, he has spent more weekday waking hours with her than with me. She has had a very large role in raising my child from the baby he was to the toddler he is.

Two years ago, almost to the day, I was returning to work from maternity leave. I was an anxious, tearful wreck. I was sure I couldn’t leave my baby with a near stranger. I was sure she wouldn’t care for him the way I would. How could she, with 4 other kids to watch? I was terrified about leaving Evan with anyone else. I gave her a written notes on how to feed him, change him, and soothe him.

But after a few days, I realized we could do this working/daycare thing. And after a few months, I realized Evan was still thriving. I was new to this caring-for-a-child thing, but she had 20+ years of experience to balance that out.

Now, we had our ups and downs. I sat in her house sobbing for an hour one day when she forced me to accept the reality that he was hungry and I didn’t have enough milk and I was going to need to consider the formula I spent 6 hard months avoiding. I spent many annoyed days home with a perfectly healthy kid because she had deemed him “sick” unnecessarily. After doing it for a year, she gave me a hard time about cloth diapering to the point that I finally just sent in disposables.

But she also got me through the challenges of introducing solids and dropping naps. She reassured me that I was doing a good job, even when I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. My son was more loved because he had our love and her love.

This isn’t goodbye forever. No one is moving. We can still visit and she’s offered to watch him on school holidays. But I know that if I am feeling this strongly about the end of this two year relationship, that it will be even harder on her and on Evan. Change is a part of life and this is Evan’s first big experience with that. I know he is going to love school. I know he is ready for this new phase. But I wish I could explain to him why he isn’t going to be seeing his sitter every day .

I promised her I wouldn’t share the last picture I took of her and Evan on Friday online. She thought she looked like a mess. She had just spent ten hours caring for other people’s children for the fifth day in the row. Of course she looked like a mess. It’s a hard job raising other people’s children. Her work day is longer than mine. Her tiny clients are more demanding than mine. She doesn’t get to go our for lunch or take a personal day.  I am going to respect her wishes and not share that photo here, but I know Evan will love her in it just the way she is.

Evan is Two!

I suddenly find myself to be the mother of a two year old. Amazing. Party pictures to come later, but here is a quick update on Evan.

Evan's Birthday_05 26 14_1750_edited-1

Favorite activities: Playing outside, running, not sitting still, playing in the water, playing with balls, hide and seek, climbing.

Favorite foods: Eggs, veggie dogs, peanut butter, yogurt.

Favorite shows: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Super Why.

Favorite Books: Green Hat Blue Hat, Baby Signing Time, I Met a Moose in Maine One Day, Goodnight Moon, Sleepy Time.

Awesome new skills: Primary/secondary colors, shapes, counting 1-10 (when he feels like it), recognizing letters, coming up with full sentences.

Official height and Weight to come on Friday.

And…here is a video of some of his photos from the past year. He went from baby to little boy, right before my eyes.


Looking Back from the Bittersweet End

I breastfed Evan for 18 months: 7 months of exclusive breastfeeding, 5 months of breastfeeding with some formula, and 6 months of extended breastfeeding as we slowly weaned after his first birthday. 18 months seems long to most, but in my circle 18 months is actually on the early side for weaning, and I struggled with letting it go at the end. I am no longer a nursing mom and it has taken me a little while to come to terms with that.

I often tell people that I am going to formula feed my next kid and see which one is smarter. Most people laugh at the joke, but when I said this to my best friend back home, she dismissively stated, “Shut up. You will not.” And she’s right. As hard as it was at times, as much as I just wanted my body and some freedom back, as much sleep as I lost, I would do it all again. And probably will.

Much like pregnancy, breastfeeding is an amazing experience despite the difficulties. With pregnancy, it’s the morning sickness, the back pain, the exhaustion. With nursing, it’s the latch on pain, the supply concerns, the EXHAUSTION. But I gave my son the best food on Earth. I am all for supporting mothers who choose to formula feed (I am formula fed and I seem to be a well-adjusted adult). But, when deciding how to feed my own child, I could’t ignore the plethora of benefits of breastfeeding and breast milk. So I sobbed in pain for 6 weeks, pumped diligently for six months, sobbed some more when I realized I couldn’t pump enough and had to mix that first bottle of formula. But I also smiled at my newborn rooting around, watched with joy as he thrived, and watched in amazement the first time he brought me the boppy and asked for “ilk.”

I had some hurdles which I won’t go into detail here. I already wrote about the latch on pain and a bit about my supply issues in my six month post and I wrote a guest post about my supply issues over at Liberating Working Moms. It’s not easy. The people who tell you breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt if you are doing it right are lying to you. There will be tears. But there will also be milk drunk baby smiles. And the sweetest bonding. And a lifetime of benefits.

And I would absolutely do it again. Stay strong, mamas. We got this.

Useful Baby Prep Books: Baby Bargains Review

I have decided to share with you just a few of the most-helpful baby prep books I’ve read/browsed in the last few months. There won’t be very many posts on this topic, so bear with me if you have no interest at all. However, I think noting which books have been helpful (and possibly, which ones were not) could be helpful to others out there.

I am going to start with the book that helped me tackle the overwhelming baby registry processes. When I first started to think about registering, I had no clue where to start. The stores will lead you to believe you need 1800 receiving blankets and things like diaper stackers that even I know aren’t necessary, so you can’t only use their lists. Friends are helpful to an extent, but everyone likes different products. The internet has the same problem.

My boss recommended Baby Bargains to me. He sold it to me as a good guide for which products you should spend money on versus the products where you can save by getting a less expensive version. However, while I did find it was helpful for that, I ended up using it to research the safety and utility of the various products. It was nice to have one source to go to when I wanted to research. And this book makes it easy by “grading” the manufacturers. When I was picking out a crib or a stroller or a pack and play, I could quickly differentiate the “A” products from the “F” products.

When I was at Babies R Us one day, a woman – clutching her own copy of Baby Bargains – told me the book was amazing. I pulled mine out from my purse and we had a little laugh.

If you are looking for a good source on the quality of the MANY baby products out there or if you are looking for ways to save money, I highly recommend Baby Bargains.

(Of course, I haven’t actually used any of the products recommended by this book yet, so keep that in mind).