Caelan Conversations, Part 17

March 23, 2015

20150318_173816

CAELAN: Be quiet, Mommy. I’m going to make us a pigeon.

———-

Talking about what to have for dinner…

CAELAN: I want Chick Fil A.

SARAH: No.

CAELAN: Glory Days?

SARAH: No.

CAELAN: Lettuce?

SARAH: What?!

———-

At the dentist, the receptionist notices Caelan’s blue and green gloves…

RECEPTIONIST: Those are Seahawks colors you know!

SARAH: Oh we’ll have to throw them away then! What’s your team, Caelan?

CAELAN: Peyton.

———-

Caelan and Leah are fighting over two of Leah’s toys…

CAELAN: Leah can’t have both toys!

BILL: Yes she can, they’re hers.

CAELAN [sternly and loudly]: I’m going to keep an eye on you!!

———-

CAELAN: Do you want to play chocolate potato?

SARAH: How do we play that?

CAELAN: We pass it till the music stops.

SARAH: Oh, HOT potato?

CAELAN: Yeah!

———-

SARAH: Oh, we forgot your dinosaur paintings at school. We’ll have to get them tomorrow.

CAELAN: Oh man!…..Who’s the “man”?

———-

CAELAN: Something smells.

SARAH: What does it smell like?

CAELAN: I don’t know. It smells like a smell.

SARAH: Okay then.

CAELAN: It smells like a leprechaun!

———-

CAELAN: Mommy, guess who was at school today? It was Mickey Mouse and he was 40 and tall!

———-

CAELAN: Mommy, you have to take the sneaky way to school.

SARAH: I don’t know the sneaky way. I’ll have to ask Daddy.

CAELAN: You go through the bushes, and then you’ll see school.

SARAH [continuing on the normal route]: Okay.

After a minute or two…

CAELAN: Mommy, you have to take the sneaky way.

SARAH: But I don’t know the sneaky way.

CAELAN: I told you, you go through the bushes and then you might see school.

SARAH: What bushes?

CAELAN [annoyed sigh]


Caelan Conversations, Part 16

February 19, 2015

10906368_10155200543170564_2985042843530078653_n

CAELAN: You packed me an eyeball for lunch.

SARAH: I did not! You’re so random.

CAELAN: No YOU’RE random! Your name is Random.

———-

Caelan is arranging his chair and Leah’s with a blanket over top…

SARAH: Are you making a fort?

CAELAN: No, I’m making a cage. For us to live in.

———-

CAELAN: What’s Valentine’s Day?

SARAH: It’s a day when we say how much we love each other.

CAELAN: And there’s candy! And cupcakes! And treats!

———-

As Caelan climbs into the bathtub he complains about the water temperature, which is a regular thing with him…

CAELAN: It’s hot!!

SARAH: It’s not hot, it’s warm….[quietly to Bill] *luke* warm, even.

CAELAN: It’s not luke warm! Luke warm has sparkles.

———-

Caelan leans over and whispers to Leah…

CAELAN: Come on Leah, we’re going to turn Mommy into a pancake!

———-

This one is hard to explain, but imagine the SNL “Really??” bit and that’s how he said this…

I was sweeping crumbs from the kitchen table onto Leah’s placemat so that I could then carry it to the trash can…

CAELAN: Onto Leah’s placemat?…Really??


Leah Caroline, Months 15-18

February 2, 2015

I’m sure I JUST wrote Leah’s 15 month post…not sure how it’s time to write this one already! Somehow our baby is a full fledged toddler now.

Leah is a pro at walking and running – and dancing!! This girl LOVES to dance!! She’s also started trying to jump, which basically means she bends her knees and springs up like she’s going to jump, but her feet don’t actually move. Caelan did the same thing and it was hysterical then and still is now. She’s also getting better at climbing. She can climb onto the couch by herself about 50% of the time and she knows how to turn around and slide off by herself. She can climb up the stairs on her own (though we always walk behind her) but she doesn’t know how to go down on her belly yet. She insists on walking down (holding our hand and the rail, thankfully). She’s also asking to walk more during daycare/school drop off which I guess is kind of nice because she’s getting heavy to hold, but it’s tricky keeping hold of 2 kids’ hands in the parking lot.

Sadly, the broncos ended their season this very day, but the uniform is a 2T so she can wear it next year!

Sadly, the broncos ended their season this very day, but the uniform is a 2T so she can wear it next year!

Leah is obsessed with books. Her favorite thing to do is grab a book and then ask to be picked up so you can read it to her. No doubt, reading has helped a ton with her speech. I tried hard to keep my expectations in check when it came to her speech. I knew that Caelan had a major vocabulary explosion between 15-18 months, but I couldn’t necessarily expect that from Leah since they are different kids and all that. But she HAS had a vocabulary explosion! She had about 15 words at 15 months, and now she has about 50. She seems to pick up a couple new ones every week. She also knows several animal sounds (“moo” is her favorite, and ours!) and can identify about a dozen body parts. I’m excited for her to start stringing some words together, which should be coming soon!

Leah calls us Mommy and Daddy. She started with Mama and Dada, but mama became a word that seemed to mean “help” so she stopped calling me that and started calling me Mommy. The transition to Daddy has been somewhat long. Sometimes she still calls Bill Dada, sometimes it’s Daddeee, and sometimes its My Daddy. Her word for Caelan is GaGa. It sounds like gibberish but it’s very clear that she means Caelan. Sometimes it sounds more like CaGa but until she can say L’s, it will probably not sound much like his name at all. She calls herself Eah (again, she can’t say L’s yet!).

Reading

Reading

Leah loves to color and scribble. Her fine motor skills are excellent and she even knows how to hold a pen/crayon correctly. She doesn’t do it all the time, but I was shocked that she could do it at all!

Leah is going through a phase with some separation anxiety. She is fine at daycare (because she’s gone there everyday since before she can remember) but anywhere else, even familiar places, she gets clingy and has a meltdown when we leave. She does calm down eventually, after we are gone. On top of the separation anxiety (which is normal for her age) she’s also in a “mommy phase”. I am her favorite right now and that is good and bad and interesting all at once. Caelan always preferred Bill, so this is new to me. On the one hand, it’s sweet that she wants me to hold her, but I’d also like a break sometimes, and I feel bad for whoever gets an earful of screaming when they pick her up. Hopefully she will ease up as she gets older and more independent.

Girl has perfected the death stare - a valuable skill!

Girl has perfected the death stare – a valuable skill!

Leah likes playing cars with Caelan, or really anytime he lets her play with him. They play together often and she just LOVES him and will do anything he says. There are more and more “incidents” lately that almost always involve someone taking a toy from someone else, but they can play together nicely too. Leah is also great at playing by herself. Sometimes I’ll notice that it’s a bit too quiet (normally a bad sign) and I’ll go looking for her just to find her quietly “reading” by herself. With a bigger house, and double the number of children we had when Caelan was this age, Leah gets A LOT more freedom around the house. Both kids have free reign over the main level which is pretty well toddler-proofed. It’s a relief for me to not hover over them all the time. If I can keep them in ear-shot, I’m happy.

These two ganged up on me at the grocery store!

These two ganged up on me at the grocery store, which is exactly why I don’t normally take BOTH of them with me!

Feeding the kids is becoming easier as well. Leah has 15 teeth now and is eating pretty much anything. She drinks milk like it’s her job – she LOVES it! We still cut some food up for her (especially meat) but she prefers to be given larger pieces of food to eat (whole slices of pizza, for example). Leah normally asks for utensils at dinner and she likes to hold them but doesn’t always use them. For yogurt, she will use a spoon, and pretty well actually. She pretty much still likes most foods and hasn’t really entered a picky stage yet. She is still sitting in the highchair most of the time, but we could probably switch to a booster. If she sits on her own (like in the pic below) she just gets up from the table too many times, so she’s not ready for that quite yet!

Eating lunch

Eating lunch

A weird thing has happened to ME as Leah is getting older…She’s bringing out my girly girl side. Maybe it’s that her hair is finally long enough for barrettes or pony tails, or that there are so many cute clothing options for toddler girls. She’s reasonably good about keeping hair accessories in lately, so that is a nice change! She is still quite a few months away from needing a hair cut though.

Yay pony tail!

Yay pony tail!

How are Leah’s sleep habits these days? Eh…at this point, it just is what it is, I guess. Bill puts her to bed 95% of the time and she is pretty easy to put down. She dropped her bedtime bottle between 15-16 months old and that was an easy transition. On average she sleeps 8pm-6/6:30am, so that’s not too bad. We usually hear her once or twice overnight. Sometimes we have to go in and settle her down and sometimes she falls back to sleep on her own. There have been a few rough nights with many wake ups but those are usually because of teething or illness.

Speaking of illness, it’s been a rough couple months. Somehow Leah got through her first year hardly ever getting sick, but this year has been a different story. Both kids had a cold and ear infections, among other things in December. This time of year is my least favorite for this reason. Bring on Springtime!!

20150120_193158

Showing off all those teeth!!

Leah’s 2nd Christmas was really more like her first Christmas because this year she was old enough to at least have some idea of what was going on. She helped Caelan spot our elf every morning (sometimes finding him before Caelan did!) and she had fun opening her gifts on Christmas. We didn’t put ornaments on the bottom 3rd of our tree this year, but Leah didn’t really bother the tree anyway. We didn’t get to go see Santa this year but it was probably just as well since I doubt Leah would have gone anywhere near him! She did see him when he came by on the fire engine, but I don’t think she knew what was going on.

What a difference a year makes!

What a difference a year makes!

A few family members have mentioned to me recently that they didn’t feel like they really knew Leah very well, or that they hadn’t got to spend much time with her. Part of that is that she’s pretty clingy in a big group so when people see her, she’s stuck to my hip and not really interacting with anyone. She’s also usually overshadowed by her brother simply because he’s older and he’s able to talk and play, etc. But Leah is 18 months old now and rapidly learning to talk so people are finally getting to “know” her! She is sweet and funny and she loves to read, and play, and dance. She’s starting to parrot us some and that can be pretty hysterical! She’s definitely less laid back than Caelan and some have called her high-maintenance, but *I* don’t think she is! HighER-maintenance than Caelan, sure, but that is not a fair comparison :) She does have that high-pitched shriek down pat (omg my bleeding ears).

This age is SO much fun because of the vocab explosions, but it’s also a little tricky. She understands us, and we mostly understand her, but she’s not quite old enough to be reasoned with. We can’t bargain with her to eat one more bite of corn before she can have another tortilla, and we can’t explain to her why she can’t have a snack right before dinner. But we’re going to have to start trying. It’s going to be a long process, I know. We haven’t really started time outs with her, but that is probably coming soon. She’s got the tantruming down pat, so she’s well on her way to 2 :) :'( :-o

20150131_100842

Happy 18 Months, sweet baby girl!!

Leah’s 18 Month Stats

  • Wearing 18 month tops and bottoms and 18 month sleepers (but growing out of all), size 5 or 6 shoes
  • Size 5 diapers
  • Weight:
  • Length:
  • Done with bottles!!
  • Favorite foods: Macaroni & cheese, pouches, waffles, corn, tortillas, fruit
  • Loves reading, dancing, coloring, taking off her socks, and still loves playing with her brother

Caelan Conversations, Part 15

January 8, 2015

DSC_7896

CAELAN: Sometimes it’s hard to get some quiet time.

SARAH: Tell me about it.

———-

CAELAN [pointing to his hair]: If I tell Leah this is my nose, then Jack and Jill won’t be Daddy’s best friend.

SARAH: ………. ?

———-

CAELAN: I am just going to protect you with my fire, Captain Hook!

SARAH: ………. ?

———-

SARAH: What do blue and yellow make?

CAELAN: Green.

SARAH: And what do green and yellow make?

CAELAN: ……Packers!

We may have told him green + yellow = Packers, blue + orange = Broncos… ;)

———-

CAELAN: Mommy’s a taco, Daddy’s a taco, Leah’s a taco, and I’m a superhero!

———-

CAELAN [sitting down on the potty]: It’s cold!!

SARAH: I know, just go ahead.

CAELAN: But Mommy, the toilet seat is cold! Was it in the freezer?

———-

In the car…

CAELAN: Daddy, what are you doing?

BILL: I’m driving.

CAELAN: Mommy, are you passenging?

SARAH: Yep, what are you doing?

CAELAN: I’m back driving!

SARAH: Back seat driving?

CAELAN: No, back driving! [pretends to crazily turn a steering wheel]

———-

SARAH: Caelan, what’s on your new socks?

CAELAN: Green Lantern. He has a ring with magical powers.

SARAH: That’s right.

CAELAN: But Mommy, what does Green Lantern DO?

SARAH: Um……[Googles to brush up on my Green Lantern trivia! Turns out it was the typical “fights crime”]

———-

After watching Rudolph, Caelan is afraid of the Abominable Snowman only “abominable” is pretty hard to say…

BILL: Who are you afraid of?

CAELAN: The Baltimore Snowman!!


Caelan Vaughn, 3 1/2 Years

December 1, 2014

This one crept up on me! 3 1/2 seems so much older than just 3. Just as I was shocked to realize a year ago that my BABY wasn’t Caelan anymore, but Leah…now I am realizing that my TODDLER isn’t Caelan anymore, but Leah. Caelan is my PRESCHOOLER (omg)!

The past 6 months were full of all kinds of craziness in our home life. We moved twice during that time, we went on a family vacation, and Caelan started in a new classroom at school. He handled all the change pretty well, but there were a few bumps here and there. Caelan has also learned a TON in those few months!!

Our trip to OBX in August was Caelan’s 2nd beach trip in his life. He loved playing in the sand, collecting shells, taking long walks, and eventually playing in the surf. He was fairly afraid of the water and it took several days for us to convince him to even touch it, but once someone suggested jumping in the surf, he came around.

Jumping!

Jumping!

When the first day of school rolled around, Caelan moved up to the 3 year old classroom. He’s the youngest in his class but so far that’s been great for him. He’s already learning so much.

First Day in the 3's Class

First Day in the 3’s Class

Caelan has made a lot of progress with counting. He can easily count to 30, and he can count objects up to 30 as well. He can count to 100 by tens and I’m sure as soon as it clicks in which of those tens comes after 29, 39, 49, etc he will be counting to 100 in no time! He’s beginning to recognize double digit numbers as well. Sometimes he gets them backwards and sometimes there are a few hilarious mistakes (“fivety-five”, “onety-six”) but he’s learning :)

At this point, Caelan has long since known all of his upper and lower case letters and he knows the sounds for almost all of them. We’ve started sounding out a few words here and there but he is often impatient and/or frustrated with it. He does know how to spell his name and knows what letter many words and names start with. Since starting preschool, he’s started learning how to write/draw shapes and letters. One of the goals of his 3-year-old class is to be able to write his name fairly legibly by the end of the year. Right now, he is able to trace his name and he can write it on his own, though not clearly. Still, just 3 months ago, he could barely draw a shape of any kind so this is a huge step!

You can make out the "E"...

You can make out the “E”…

A few months ago, Caelan went through a serious “why?” phase. The volume of questions that came out of his mouth was staggering. And frustrating. Why is a hot dog a hot dog??? I just… ::head desk:: Caelan also started interrogating everyone on things they liked or didn’t like (“Do you like mustard?”). He’d go around the dinner table and survey everyone about certain food items. At other times, it would be more random. He’d pick up a toy and ask “You like this toy, Mommy?” Sure, I love toys.

Enjoying a cake pop at Target

Enjoying a cake pop at Target

Caelan still asks plenty of questions, but he’s also entered a new phase of nearly constant whining. He’s been extra emotional in the past few months and everything seems to set him off. Part of it is his age, I assume, and maybe part of it has to do with the upheaval in our home life. Though Caelan appeared to handle the moves well, I’m sure it was stressful on some level.

Caelan loves his new closet

Caelan loves his new closet

The number of stuffed animals in his bed has tripled as has the number of nightlights in his room. He also now requests that his door be left open at night. He had a few nightmares and night wakings in the first couple of weeks in the new house, but those seem to have passed now. We still usually leave the door open though.

Caelan has gained a lot of independence since we’ve been in the new house. He can get dressed and undressed with very little assistance from us. He can brush his own teeth, go to the bathroom by himself, and he is learning to bathe himself as well. He goes up and down the stairs by himself, clears his plate after dinner, and sits at the table without a booster seat. In the interest of keeping it real…while Caelan is capable of all of those things I just mentioned, getting him to actually do something in a reasonable amount of time is often a battle.

Baking cookies

Baking cookies

At school, Caelan is doing so well academically. We met with his teacher last week and she told us that Caelan is well ahead of his class, despite being the youngest. Socially, he’s on track with the other 3 year olds who are all going through spurts of minor aggression and bouts of potty mouth here and there. He doesn’t nap regularly anymore so he gets his cot set up next to his teacher so he won’t disturb the other children who ARE napping.

About a month ago, we enrolled Caelan in a gymnastics class for preschoolers. It’s a Saturday morning class for 3-5 year olds and he seems to enjoy it a lot. I’m glad we found an activity that he enjoys and a way for him to burn some energy on the weekends!

Gymnastics

Gymnastics

Everyday when Caelan comes home from school he tells us who his best friend is. It varies depending on who he happened to play with the most that day, but I think his real best friend at the moment is Leah. He often tells us as much (“Leah’s my best friend. I love her.”) Those two have SO much fun together! Leah will literally drop whatever she’s doing and run to him if he calls for her – which he does often. There’s plenty of shrieking and fighting over who was playing with which toy or sitting in whose chair, but there’s lots of running and giggling as well. Caelan is often distracted at dinner because he and Leah are too busy making each other laugh to finish eating. He’s also asked a few times to have a sleepover with Leah and if we didn’t think Leah would just fall right off the bed, that would be a fun thing to try! Maybe sleeping bags…

Brother and sister

Brother and sister

The past few months have been difficult with Caelan’s 3 year old behavior. There’s been lots of back-talk, the occasional swipe at us, and lots and lots of sobbing and tantrums. I can’t even remember what he was like at age 2, but 3 is much, much worse. (I’m sure Leah will remind us about 2 year olds in a few months, ugh!) Some of his bad behavior happens at school but they have a lot of rules and routines there that mostly keep the kids in check. For the most part he reserves this kind of behavior for just Bill and me (yay). We are hoping to give Caelan some responsibilities at home as well as the opportunity to earn (or lose) certain privileges so hopefully that will help.

As if to make up for the often horrendous behavior, Caelan is also extra sweet and affectionate lately. He dishes out plenty of hugs and kisses, I-love-yous, and compliments. It’s all very sweet and as much as he is absolutely driving us crazy lately, I have this feeling like he needs the extra attention and affection. I have to constantly remind myself that he’s only 3 years old and it is completely developmentally appropriate for him to lack control over his emotions. The tantrums and the limit testing is all normal and he is struggling to gain more maturity as much as we are struggling waiting for him to get there.

In the meantime, I love every extra hug and “I love you” and even though the tantrums over nothing are bewildering, it’s nice to know that often what he needs is a hug from Mommy or Daddy. At this point in his life, we can still hold him and that usually makes it better. I know there are going to be plenty of things in the future that we won’t be able to fix as easily, or at all. So for now I’ll try to be thankful that his problems are usually only as serious as not being able to get his shirt over his head. I can handle THAT problem :)

3 1/2 Years Old (photo by Joseph Boss)

3 1/2 Years Old (photo by Joseph Boss)

Caelan’s 3 1/2 Year Stats

  • Wearing 3T and 4T tops, 24m/2T pants (a few are still 18m!!), size 9 shoes
  • Weight: 32 lbs
  • Height: 38 inches (3′ 2″)
  • Loves playing catch, running, reading, writing and drawing, wrestling, playing with Leah

Toddler Stuffs

November 25, 2014

When you’re pregnant and anticipating a baby shower, you usually create a baby registry (or two). It’s a good way to figure out ALL the baby gear and other assorted crap you will need for your baby’s first 6 months of life. I wrote a post on this a couple years back. Unfortunately, most of it will only be useful for about that long – 6 months – before your baby outgrows it and you pack it away until the next baby comes along (or you sell it if you’re done with babies).

But then what? Now you have an older infant or a soon-to-be-new-toddler and what kind of gear/crap do they need? Thankfully, much less than newborns need but there are still quite a few things that are nice to have. Here is my run down of what we used and found useful for our kids. (Disclaimer: These are just the products that WE used and what we thought of them.)

All photos link back to their source.

Convertible Car Seat

Your infant will likely outgrow his/her infant seat in height long before they exceed the weight limit. More importantly, while you *technically* can put a 30 lb. baby in an infant seat, good luck lugging that thing around when they’re that big! It’s hard enough when they’re tiny!

So the next step is the Convertible Car Seat. We made this switch with our kids when they were around 7-8 months old. The AAP recommends that children ride rear-facing until at least age 2 so you will want to look for a seat that can be used rear-facing and then can later be turned forward-facing. Unlike infant seats with buckets that snap into bases, convertible seats are just one piece installed directly so you will need one for each car that the child will be riding in.

There are plenty of seats at all price points and they all meet the safety requirements by law, so it’s really a matter of budget and preference (and size as some seats fit better in some cars than others). We have 2 Britax Marathon 70’s – one for each of our cars. Our smaller car is a Toyota Corolla and this seat fits fine.

britax-marathon-70-33-f3f-l

Britax Marathon 70

 

Stroller

If you were using a Snap-N-Go type stroller with the infant seat, you will certainly need a new stroller. I must admit that I am not very knowledgeable on strollers. We have The First Years Jet umbrella stroller and it’s a decent stroller. We use the stroller very infrequently so it would not be worth it to us to invest in a more expensive stroller. We also have our Chicco Cortina travel system stroller. That’s a great stroller with a nice big basket but it’s big and heavy. A friend is giving me a hand-me-down Sit and Stand double stroller which I am very excited about even though, again, we will use it so rarely. There are TONS of strollers out there and the price range is huge ($20-$2000+). Chicco has a lightweight stroller (Liteway) that gets good reviews and is not as heavy as the Cortina.

Teething

This is a fun one. (not really) Teeth can start coming in as early as 3-4 months of age and continue to poke through for the next 2 years or so. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to ease their pain during this time which, honestly, just sucks all the way around. But there are lots of things you can try and maybe you’ll get lucky!

There are teething toys that can be put into the freezer and then gnawed on by baby to soothe their gums. We also tried frozen wash cloths and frozen purees.

Bright Starts Chill and Teethe

Bright Starts Chill and Teethe

My kids used pacifiers a lot when they were teething.

NUK Classic Silicone BPA Free Fashion Pacifier

NUK Classic Silicone BPA Free Fashion Pacifier

We used Baby Orajel Naturals and Hyland’s Teething Tablets. Both of these products have been somewhat controversial recently due to their ingredients and a little bit of hysteria. Do your research and decide for yourself if you want to try these products. The teething tablets did seem to help Leah some.

Baby Orajel Naturals

Baby Orajel Naturals

Hyland's Homeopathic Teething Tablets

Hyland’s Homeopathic Teething Tablets

When all else fails, and especially at night, we turned to acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is for babies 6 months or older. Check with your pediatrician for the correct dosage.

Pediacare Infants Acetaminophen

Pediacare Infants Acetaminophen

Motrin Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer Infants' Drops

Motrin Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer Infants’ Drops

Baby Food

There are lots of different approaches you can take to introducing your child to foods. We started out somewhat traditionally with cereals (rice and oatmeal) around 4-6 months. We then started trying purees. We started with vegetables, and then moved to fruits, trying each new food for 4 days to allow for any food allergies to show up. I didn’t make my own purees so I can’t comment on that process, but we fed our kids mostly Gerber foods.

Gerber Baby Food

Gerber Baby Food

Once my kids were a tiny bit older, we gave them these baby food pouches. They are perfect for throwing in the diaper bag, but honestly, Leah gets one for breakfast everyday. They are so easy and also a perfect way to make sure she is getting fruits and veggies. We use all different brands including Sprout, Gerber Organics, Beech Nut, Goya, and Plum Organics. Babies R Us sometimes has great sales on their store brand pouches so I try to stock up then.

Gerber Baby Food Pouch

Gerber Baby Food Pouch

Feeder Bibs

Once your baby starts eating food, it’s going to be messy. These feeder bibs are a must have! The pocket is great to catch dropped food and they are easy to wipe down or wash in the sink.

Bumkins Waterproof SuperBib

Bumkins Waterproof SuperBib

Sippy Cups

The First Years Color Change Insulated Sippy Cups are hands-down my favorite sippy cups. We also have the trainer cup version. They have just TWO PARTS (cup and lid), they’re EASY TO CLEAN, and they DON’T LEAK. They are also insulated and change color so you can tell if the drink is cold or not.

The

The First Years Insulated Sippy

With Caelan, we had better luck with straw cups at the beginning and these Munchkin ones were pretty good. But they had a lot of parts and they leaked some (as most straw cups do) so as soon as he could use a regular sippy, we switched.

Munchkin Click Lock Flip Straw Cup

Munchkin Click Lock Flip Straw Cup

Snack Cups

These snack cups are great for Cheerios, Goldfish, puffs, or any other small snack. They don’t 100% prevent a mess but it’s certainly far better than handing them an open bowl of snacks!

Munchkin Snack Catcher

Munchkin Snack Catcher

Booster Seat

We have one of these for each kid at each set of grandparents house. They are small, inexpensive (and frequently available second-hand), and perfect for travel or grandma’s house. We also had one at home and we started using that for Caelan instead of the high chair around 18 months or so.

Fisher-Price Booster Seat

Fisher-Price Booster Seat

Feeding

We use a lot of The First Years Take & Toss stuff. We use the sippy cups with lids (Caelan, at age 3, uses them without lids), we used the utensils, and I use the bowls with lids. We also use sectioned plates (any brand).

The First Years Take and Toss

The First Years Take and Toss

We have a few of these suction bowls. They sort of work. The kids can pull them off the table/tray so it won’t help you there, but it does give the bowl a little bit of stability.

Munchkin Stay Put Suction Bowls

Munchkin Stay Put Suction Bowls

For restaurant trips, we use these adhesive placemats. They are awesome. Babies will eat off the table for awhile until they are ready to use plates/bowls (without throwing them) so these placemats are perfect.

Neat Solutions Table Topper

Neat Solutions Table Topper

High Chair/Shopping Cart Cover

I’m including this because we used it and it worked well. However, we used it with Caelan and not with Leah, so what does that tell you? Kind of a first-time-Mom thing, in my opinion :) Ours was this same brand but slightly different. The one I’m linking here is better than the one we used.

Bright Starts Shopping Cart Cover

Bright Starts Shopping Cart Cover

Baby Gates

What you need in the baby gate department really depends on your home. We have 5 gates – 4 different types – and they are all useful in different situations. We have also moved them around a fair amount as our needs changed.

This gate has been the most versatile.  It’s a pressure mounted gate but it has the option of installing it with brackets so that it can swing open like a door. We have used the gate both ways and I like it a lot.

Safety First Perfect Fit Gate

Safety First Perfect Fit Gate

We also have this gate which we use at the top of the stairs that lead to our basement. We need to let our cats have access to the basement and this is a great solution. This is a pressure mounted gate, but it has brackets that can be installed so that the gate can’t be pushed out of place. My daughter will grab the bars and shake the gate vigorously and it doesn’t budge! The only thing is, our kids could probably squeeze through that cat door if they really wanted to. They have not tried, but it’s technically possible so I wanted to mention it. We also have another gate very similar to this, but minus the cat door.

Carlson Extra-Tall Walk-Thru Gate with Pet Door

Carlson Extra-Tall Walk-Thru Gate with Pet Door

The last type of gate we have is a super yard style gate. It basically creates a space in which you can corral your child or it allows you to block off a large space. It has 6 panels that can be bent different ways (or removed) so that you can create whatever shape you need. We have used this to block off a fireplace, a TV cabinet, and currently we use it to block our wide staircase.

Northstate Superyard Playgate

Northstate Superyard Playgate

Cabinet/Door Locks

Like gates, your need for locks is going to vary depending on your home (and your comfort level). In our old house, we put locks on our “dangerous” kitchen cabinets (those containing cleaning products, knives, etc) but not on others.

We used the Safety 1st Magnetic Locking System locks in our kitchen. They open with a magnetic key so that they are not visible from the outside of the cabinet.

Safety 1st Magnetic Locking System Complete

Safety 1st Magnetic Locking System Complete

When it came to baby-proofing, we sort of waited to see what our kids were getting into before we decided what we should try to lock up. In addition to the magnetic locks, we’ve also used a variety of other types of locks including the following:

Safety 1st Adjustable Multi-Purpose Strap

Safety 1st Adjustable Multi-Purpose Strap

Mommy's Helper Slide-Lok Bi-Fold Door Lock

Mommy’s Helper Slide-Lok Bi-Fold Door Lock

Safety 1st Oven Front Lock

Safety 1st Oven Front Lock

Dreambaby Sliding Locks

Dreambaby Sliding Locks

Furniture Straps

We have used furniture straps to secure heavy furniture to the wall, including bookshelves and dressers. It’s hard to believe a toddler could topple a heavy piece of furniture, but they could. We used these for our furniture and they seem very sturdy.

Safety 1st Furniture Wall Straps

Safety 1st Furniture Wall Straps

Toys

An exersaucer or a jumperoo is a great thing to have for an older infant (age 4-10 months). It allows them to be upright so they can see their surroundings better and of course it lets them jump! It gives them a little bit of mobility before they really are mobile. We had the Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo and it was wildly popular with both of my kids (and now with my nephew). 2,400+ positive reviews on Amazon can’t be wrong ;)

Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo

Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo

An activity table was also a hit with my kids. We didn’t have this exact one, but a similar one. It’s great for the sitting and assisted-standing phase.

Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Fun with Friends Musical Table

Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Fun with Friends Musical Table

Toys that can be pushed around are also great for pre-walkers. We have this ride-on/push toy and both kids enjoy it.

Playskool Step Start Walk 'n Ride

Playskool Step Start Walk ‘n Ride

Other toys in the 6-12 month age range that were popular with my kids were things that could be put into and taken out of a container, anything with buttons, toy cell phones, toy remotes, etc.

Shoes

My kids were around 7-8 months old when we first started putting shoes on them. Part of that was due to the season (it was winter). They had Robeez. Robeez are soft-soled shoes that are perfect for crawlers and cruisers (and even before then). I found that they run big so my kids wore the 0-6 month size perfectly at 7-10 months.

Robeez

Robeez

 


Leah Caroline: Months 12-15

November 3, 2014

Leah has pretty much just jumped head first into being a toddler! It’s crazy how different she is now than she was just 3 months ago.

First of all, Miss Leah took her first steps at her 1 year doctor’s appointment which was just 3 days after her birthday. The doctor had already left the room, of course, so he didn’t get to witness her milestone. After that, it took her about 2 weeks to really start using walking as her primary mode of getting around. Just shy of 14 months, she started running. She had incentive, of course, in the form of Caelan running off with some toy or something else that Leah wants. She tries as hard as she can to keep up with him and that definitely requires running!

Walking

Walking

We went on a family beach trip to the Outer Banks a week after Leah’s birthday. It was her first trip to the beach and she seemed to have a great time. She did the traditional beach napping, plus she also seemed to enjoy playing in the sand and the surf. At this age, she was too young to be frightened by any of the above so it was great to see her having fun!

20140811_115937

Mixing it up

Playing in the surf

Playing in the surf

The other major milestone in the past 3 months has been her speech. By her first birthday, she had about 3 words that we recognized. Now at 15 months, she has 15: all done, uh oh, hi, up, Dada, again, Jake, more, bye bye, milk, all gone, Connor/Caelan, waffle, paci, and Mama. Notice that Mama was last :) Caelan was the same way – he didn’t say Mama until 15 months as well! She also seems to understand quite a lot. She’s able to follow simple instructions (“sit down”, “come here”, “get your shoes”) and she understands some of the rules we have for her, even if she’s not great at following them. We haven’t really started time out with her yet, but at this point we are usually redirecting her or removing her from certain situations. For example, she loves climbing up onto the hearth, which we allow as long as she sits. If she stands up, she gets kicked off. I remember this phase with Caelan and it takes a loooooonnnngggg time for these rules and consequences to sink in, but they will eventually.

Leah will also mimic some of our behaviors including blowing kisses, giving kisses, waving “hello” and “good bye”, giving high fives and fist bumps, and I’ve even seen her grab a bag to put over her arm and then wave and say “bye bye” as if she’s leaving with her purse! She also dances. She LOVES to dance!

Cruising

Cruising

We’ve started looking at picture books with her and trying to teach her animal sounds. She can’t yet tell you what sound a kitty cat makes, but she’ll tell you that sharks growl and it’s hilarious :)

Leah’s personality is really coming out and she is such a ham. I don’t want to say that she’s “spirited” or “difficult” because I don’t think she is. She just has an older brother who was the poster baby for an easy going baby and compared to him, Leah is a little bit more animated. But she’s a decent sleeper, she plays independently, she is NOT a picky eater at all, and she’s been pretty go-with-the-flow with all the changes in the past few months. But she’s loud and she’s dramatic! If you take something away from her – omg – she will throw herself on the floor and wail. But if you just ignore her she’ll get over herself in a few seconds and go back to whatever she was doing.

Having a blast

Having a blast

Sleep habits are ever-changing. For the most part, Leah has been sleeping through the night about 9-10 hours. Occasionally she wakes up and cries but it’s usually just for a minute and then she’s back asleep. Now waking up in the morning has been the tricky part lately. In the past month or 2, she has decided that 5:30am is an awesome time to wake up. I pretty much hate it! For naps, she’s been transitioning (awkwardly) from 2 naps down to 1. About a month ago, we really tried to push her nap out to after lunch so that she’d be getting 1 substantial mid-day nap. For the most part it worked. She still takes 2 naps occasionally but we try to keep her on the new schedule. And it’s great to put both kids down for 1 nap at the same time. However…Leah is only sleeping about 1.5 hours and Caelan doesn’t sleep at all…Oh well, we’ll take whatever quiet time we can get.

Sleep

Sleep

It’s been a busy 3 months for teeth! When Leah turned 1 she had only 4 teeth, but now she has 12! They all, especially the molars, just seemed to come in all at once. Honestly, Leah wasn’t as much of a basketcase about the molars as I expected. I didn’t even notice they were coming in until I happened to check one day and 2 were already in! It seems to be those front teeth that really gave her trouble. The last one came in after the molars did and she was back to being a whiny mess for the few days before it came through.

Upside down Leah!

Upside down Leah!

Leah is still getting 1 very small bottle a day at bedtime but it’s whole milk, not formula. We phased out the formula somewhere between 13 and 14 months. We will probably drop the bedtime bottle in the next few weeks. For meals, Leah eats whatever we’re eating, usually. She’s not picky at all – she seems to love everything! She especially likes peas, grapes, pears, and of course macaroni and cheese. I started giving her a fork/spoon sometimes around 14 months. She had already been using them a bit at daycare and she’s actually not bad with them. But oh man, she’s a messy eater, even without the utensils. Food everywhere.

Eating with a fork

Eating with a fork

Now that Leah is a real toddler and she can run and play, she and Caelan are having a blast together. There are arguments (shrieking, mostly) over toys, but for the most part, they play well together. Since Leah is still little, we sometimes have to step in and make sure Caelan isn’t accidentally being too rough, but overall it’s really nice to just watch them play together. There are plenty of moments where I get to sit on the couch and watch them call for each other, squeal, run and play together and I think THIS makes it all worth it. There are plenty of hard parts to having 2 kids, but the good parts are just SO good. These kids have a live-in BFF, how cool is that?! Of course I expect them to fight and have all the normal sibling issues and who knows if they will remain BFF’s forever, but right now they are having a blast.

Siblings

Siblings

We are pretty firmly moving out of baby territory now. I’ve unloaded most of our baby gear and the kids’ outgrown clothes. We’ve left formula behind us with bottles to follow soon. Of course Leah will be in diapers awhile longer, but we’re definitely in toddler territory now. I love this age because it is fascinating and amazing and exciting to watch them learn – and so quickly!! They are little sponges, just soaking up everything around them. It’s also an exhausting age because Leah is old enough to be mobile and to play independently but she’s not old enough to understand limits or know what might be dangerous. We’ve blocked stairs and closed doors to rooms she shouldn’t be in, but otherwise she has free reign on the main level. We kept Caelan on a much tighter leash at this age and we also had a much smaller space. It’s something of a relief to just keep her in ear shot rather than following her every move, but we still have to be careful.

Caelan and Leah at 15 Months Old

Caelan and Leah at 15 Months Old

While Leah IS starting to talk and to be able to communicate with us, there is still a lot we don’t understand and that can be frustrating for both her and us. I’m eager to get to the point where I can really talk to her as a small child and not a baby, but we are a little ways off from that. And I don’t want to rush her either. I love that she does things her own way and in her own time. She’s sweet and funny and enthusiastic and really just such a joy. I’m excited to hear her made up words and funny expressions and to help her learn in the next few months (and forevermore, really!). 15-18 months is when Caelan really had a vocabulary explosion and started talking a lot and as much as I do try not to compare the kids, I am hoping her talking takes off too! Either way, I am excited! The holidays are coming up and this year Leah will at least have some idea about the festivities and that should be a great time :)

Happy 15 Months Bugs!

Happy 15 Months Bugs!

Leah’s 15 Month Stats

  • Wearing 12-18 month tops and bottoms, 18 month sleepers, size 5 shoes
  • Size 4 diapers
  • Weight: we’ll find out today!
  • Length: we’ll find out today!
  • Takes 1 bottle a day at bedtime (3 oz)
  • Loves macaroni and cheese, pacis :( , filling and emptying containers, retrieving shoes, playing in blankets, taking off her socks, and as always her brother <3

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.