The Rocking Chair: Bedtime Reflections

You are safe here. In the dark corner of your cozy nursery.

There is no hate, no school shootings, no grocery store tragedies.

There is no racism or sexism. You are accepted and loved, just as you are.

There is no poverty or excess.

There is no hunger or hypothermia. There is no disease or virus.

There is no pressure to please others or obligation to fall in line.

There is no bullying. There are no politics. There is no dishonesty.

There is no scale. No size. No style. No budget.

There is no violence, no yelling, no anger.

Sometimes there are tears, but I will always take care of those.

And there is a warm bottle and worn blanket.

There are two strong and soft arms, just right for your little frame. Always right for you. Any time.

I know there is a certain level of privilege in this space. I know that. I am grateful to have the means to provide this for you.

I wish I could bottle up this time. I wish I could save this contentment and peace for you.

And when you enter the world, and the world shows you its ugly truth, I would gift you these perfectly packaged moments of safety and love and wholeness. I would stock my closets and cupboards with memories and moments of serenity for you.

Because the world will try to shatter you. It’s how it goes. It is an unperfected world.

It doesn’t deserve my perfect little human. And you most certainly deserve better than this world.

But you will leave this chair. And this room. And even this house someday.

You will follow your dreams. And I will quiet my nightmares. And you will do what you were born to do.

And when the broken world tries so hard to break you, I will hold you. You are safe here.

Aldi Toddler Finds

Like many of you, I am a big fan of Aldi. Our town doesn’t have a Target or Whole Foods or Panera… but we have an Aldi. She may not know it, but M is a big fan of Aldi, too.

I’ve talked about Aldi before. I did a post about my favorites at one point. (I imagine some of those items are now discontinued.) Today I thought I’d share the non-baby things that my baby loves.

Before I launch into non-baby stuff, I want to share that my experience with their baby items has been remarkably great.

Their diapers, puffs, rice rusks, and fruit & veggie puree pouches are top notch.

I’ve had some issues with the wipes, but still recommend them as an okay option. (The packaging has fallen apart on me- nothing to do with M’s skin.)

Ok… on to other foods.

Freeze-Dried Fruit I think these are gross but M loves them. (Well, she did last week. This week it’s a no. So probably next week they’ll be in her good graces again.) I’ve seen mango, strawberry, and fuji apple. Mango was the favorite… who knows what it’ll be next.

Veggie Straws Unlike the fruit, M is still BFFs with these square tube healthier-ish chips. Girlfriend doesn’t love fresh vegetables and fruit right now so I’m considering veggie straws a mediocre alternative. Plus they keep her happy and who am I to deny her joy? (I know, I know. It’s literally my job to deny her joy.)

Avocado Dip These are just small cups of mashed avocado and sea salt. Lazy? Sure. But I don’t have to play Russian roulette with a fresh ‘cado and end up with a browned, rotten $2 stress ball.
*We also practice using our spoon with these cups because they’re thick enough they don’t spill out and soft enough for her to scoop.

Fish Sticks M isn’t sold on fish sticks yet but we’re going to keep trying. I also did the #lazymom thing and made them in the microwave when I know for a fact they’re 10xs better in the oven. So we’ll try this one again soon. She loves fish so I have high hopes.

Chicken Nuggets Love me a chicky-nuggy lunch. I make enough for Moo-Poo and myself because DUH. I cut these into small bite-size bits and give them to her or mix them with Mac n Cheese.

Grilled Chicken Stripes These are the bomb. And they’re a HIT with Moo. Again, I just chop them into small bits and she loves them. They can be mixed into pasta, too!

Mac n Cheese, Spaghetti, Ravioli My child is a carb-o-holic and will eat any noodle put in front of her. I’m going to try mixing tuna in with her Mac n Cheese at some point. And Aldi has such fantastic prices for all these items.

Whole Milk, Eggs, Yogurt Normal stuff for a toddler, but priced sooooo well at Aldi!

Lunch Meat, Shredded Cheese, American Cheese Again, normal toddler snacks but cheap cheap cheap. M loves meat & cheese, lol. She’s her father’s daughter for sure.

As I said, M isn’t into fruits and veggies right now. She actually nommed on some pineapple the other day but I think it was a fluke. We don’t do grapes or nuts or hotdogs, so I can’t speak to any of those items at the great and powerful Aldi.

What do you buy from Aldi for your mini garbage disposals (or yourself)??

My Love of 15 Months

My sweet and savvy little girl is 15 months old today. Since she was born, I’ve been upfront and candid about the struggles of motherhood and parenting and re-defining myself in this new chapter book.

Today I’m just here to say how much fun my little moo-baby is 😊

The newborn stage was not my forte & the baby stage was ok, but the early toddlerhood that we’re in right now is my favorite. M typically wakes up with a smile on her face. She lays in her crib and talks with Cal the Octopus (obviously short for Calamari). She learns something new every day. Her personality is goofy but inquisitive, bold but observant, ornery but sweet. She’s freaking exhausting, but so entertaining. I love seeing her little brain work and solve something new.

Toddlerhood is not without its terribleness, LOL. She has bad moments and grumpy days. Everything is a toy and, as such, everything is a hazard. Dog fur is soft to cuddle on, but it’s also easy to pull. Climbing, running, and exploring are not without their risks.

My mom tells me that we talk to M like an adult. We speak softly & sweetly to her, but we talk to her in full sentences. She understands basic tasks, she can retrieve a stuffy when we ask for it by name, and she can bring us the book we specifically request (of the 5 or 6 oft read board books). When I say, “Let’s have breakfast/lunch/dinner” she heads to her highchair. When I say, “Let’s let the dogs outside” she goes to the backdoor with me. She identifies family members in pictures and in person. She knows the difference between our dogs (and has a favorite, lol).

She loves to brush her teeth, she loves to “CHEERS” with her cup, and she loves Mickey Mouse. I love taking her places (on the rare occasion we get out) because she’s usually well behaved and she LOVES watching the world around her.

This is just an appreciation post to say I love this stage and Miss Moo.

Every Direction

I use Instagram for three things: keeping up with all of you (& my non-blog friends), inspiration for my Animal Crossing island (#nerdalert), and parenting information.

Let’s hone in on that last one.

Recently I started following some new (child) sleep experts and questioning every single thing I’ve done for M and her sleep habits. (Fear not- I question my parenting every hour of every day. All parents do…) It got me thinking… when it comes to parenting, advice and research is thrown at you from every direction.

Let’s think about a generic law. You show up to a store at 6:17pm and try the handle, only to find it locked. You notice that they closed at 6pm. What do the laws of the land dictate? You shrug your shoulders, turn around, and try another day. Breaking in would be wrong.

Ok… same situation, but apply the rules of parenting. Door is locked.
Well… some experts would suggest you jiggle the handle. Try tickling or stroking the keyhole to inducing unlocking.
Or you might try talking to the door about why it’s locked and whether or not it thinks that’s a good idea. If you’re more hands on, you might spank the door or shatter its glass to teach the door a lesson in defying you.
Try putting the door in time out and return 2 minutes later to see if anything has changed.
Maybe you don’t believe in locked doors. While locked doors might protect the herd, it’s not good for you and your family. You prefer open doors and plenty of sunshine.
**And there are no true consequences for any approach you take.**

That is a silly example, but it’s how it feels to read conflicting parenting advice on e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.

“You can’t co-sleep with your kid, you’ll crush them.” // “You put your child in a crib at 4 weeks?? Do you WANT them to die from SIDS?!”

“French fries will poison your toddler.” // “You know they make jar baby food, right? You don’t have to puree like a hippie.”

“Don’t give your child peanut butter(/eggs/fish/etc.) until they’re a year old.” // “Give you baby peanut butter before 6 months to reduce allergic reacts.”

“Breast is best.” // “Fed is best.” // “Goat milk is best.” // “Formula is full of sugar.”

“You must adhere to a strict and early vaccine schedule.” // “Make sure you talk to your doctor about spreading out shots and eliminating unnecessary ones.”

You get it.

It’s exhausting. (Arbitrary rules exist in more than parenthood, but this is trench I’m stationed in right now.) Like… give me a tried and true manual and I will follow the rules. Don’t give me this “Some experts say…” bullshittery.

Also… is fussing the same as crying it out? Because I would argue no but please don’t call the baby sleep police on me.

So what do you do? I don’t know. This isn’t an advice article. I’m just as clueless as the rest of ya.

A while back Kristen commented that she goes by, “Eat the fish, spit out the bones.” I can get on board with that. So here’s my not-tested, nonexpert-approved parenting advice:

Learn who your kid is. It’s tough because babies are potatoes but as they grow and their personalities emerge, change some of your routines and activities to foster their growth (and energy and sleepy cues and hunger pangs).

That’s the best I’ve got. Also- watch out for sleep regression and one-year-molars; they’re a true b*tch. I’ve heard the two-year-molars are just as gnarly. Will report back.

Best of luck, guys.

Baby Talk: What I’ve Learned

Being a mom is both nothing like I thought it’d be and everything I expected. I’ve always been introspective but motherhood really brings it out in me. What else am I supposed to do while rocking a fussy baby alone in the dark at 3am…?

Here are some truths I’ve learned over the past +13 months.

These are the good ol’ days.

Yesterday, today, two weeks from now. There is some “good ol” in every day. The newborn stage wasn’t for me, but looking back we had lovely days just lounging around together (because I was too exhausted to move). M is a freaking monkey and I am dead tired by the end of the day, but when I ask for “snuggs” and she wraps her arms around me and bite-kisses me, I know I have it good. And there are so many good ol’ days to look forward to with her.

You trade one mess for another.

As I hang Moo’s clothes in her closet she sits under my feet and unpacks the bins of bows and hats. While I wash dishes in the sink she squirms in her highchair and rubs spaghetti sauce in her hair. It’s chaos and the only way through it is understanding that if you want to get anything done, you simply trade one mess in for another.

There is no good & bad- just baby.

We were so proud of ourselves for training M to sleep in her own bed. But at 4am when she just wants to be held you know what I can’t do? I can’t bring her to our bed because she thinks it’s playtime. I love that we have a super little eater but you know what she does when I have ANYTHING edible in my hand? She fusses and cries because she wants a bite. She knows where her nose is but sticks her finger in it if you ask about it. She loves the dogs but sometimes won’t leave them alone. There’s no good and bad… there’s just a baby figuring it all out.

You find a focus & you obsess.

It seems like moms fixate on one or two things. “I MUST breastfed and my worth is based on my success… We WILL follow baby led weaning to the T and we will not supplement with purees… My child NEEDS to sleep X amount of hours in the morning and X amount at night to ensure perfect REM sleep”…
I’m the sleep mom. And it’s paid off, but I have been the sleep police with Moo since week 4. It’s funny how parents pick one or two areas to OBSESS over. Pay attention- because we definitely do it.

And perhaps the most bitter truth…

She will never love me as much as I love her.

It sucks having this realization. Then I realize how much my mom actually loves me. And K’s mom loves him. And really how much any half-decent mom loves their kid. And there is no possible way for that child to love their parent as much. It’s selfish to wish that she would, but dang…

And on that note…. I’m going to go scroll my phone and watch newborn videos.

What has parenthood or aunt-hood or guardian-hood taught you?