Toddler ‘tude Thursday

SO, I had this epiphany a couple weeks ago….toddler life is mad hard, y’all. I mean, judging from some of the meltdowns that happen around this joint, you would think I have this kid in a labor camp, eating salt dough and moving rock, all while listening to screaming metal music. I never knew until Chuck came along that the simplest of requests could be met with such intense, emotion-driven responses. Well, I have been set straight and just to make myself feel better, I thought I would share some of the outrageous reasons Chuckles HASN’T chuckled this week.

1. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse “Minnie’s Bowtique” episode ended. For the third time in a row.

2. Her noodles were too hot.

3. And then I blew on them to cool them off.

4. The dog wouldn’t sit for her as she chased her around the house shouting “SIIIIIIT!”

5. I said her shoes were pretty.

6. She wanted to swim in the “cool,” not the “pool.”

7. Her friend had to take a nap. Not her, her friend.

8. The sun went to bed.

9. The grapes she had to have at the grocery store weren’t blueberries.

10. She wanted to take a shower with me. I said yes.

 

The blocks won't clean up themselves.

The blocks won’t clean up themselves.

 

I get that the whirlwind of feelings swirling around in this tiny little body MUST be so hard to figure out and let me tell you…I KNOW the value of a hug! But, sometimes you just need to hear from other mamas that your kid isn’t the only little psycho in the ward, ya know?! So, please do share. What’s your toddler ‘tuding about today?

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My Boobas!

Photo credit to Vickie Putnam Photography

“MY Boobas!” This has become the common declaration from Chuck regarding my utters ever since Baby N was born. Our buddies who live next door welcomed their sweet baby girl last month and C has been witness to many breastfeeding sessions since. This has made her keenly aware that she is not the only nursling who enjoys her mama milk. It has also brought up a wave of emotions and concerned inquiries regarding our own soon-to-be squishy in the house! When asked if she will share her “milkies” with the new baby, Chuckles thoughtfully replied, “Mmm, other one!” Meaning, we better find another boob for that kid because she isn’t sharing!

C is almost 2 1/2 and I never thought before I got pregnant with her that I would be an “extended breastfeeding” mother. I grew up in the south where the mentality is, “Once they are old enough to ask, they are too old.” It was seen as strange to continue nursing past 1 year of age and I just thought I would feel the same way. Fast-forward to actually having a kid who, with her history of gastrointestinal problems and failure to gain weight at different points in her short life, NEEDED me to be available to her, no matter if she could ask for it or not.

Chuck took to the boob minutes after birth and has never turned back. Thankfully, I was a milk-making machine, because I know that some aren’t so fortunate. But, we weren’t without our struggles. C had a minor lip tie that has all but resolved itself as she has gotten older, but as an infant it really HURT! Not to mention, I had a period of a couple months where, looking back, I’m pretty sure I had mastitis or something because every time I let down, it was like knives stabbing me in the chest. Every. Single. Time. Worse than both of these, though, was the deep sadness I felt during let down almost every time I would nurse C until she was almost 20 months old. It only lasted about 15-20 seconds, but it was so intense! After hearing another mama talking about this in my birth group, I learned I wasn’t alone. And it had a name! Dismorphic Milk Ejection Reflex (D-MER) is actually not so uncommon. Many women just don’t know to identify it. I understand, now, why people opt out of breastfeeding after the first few months. It’s like torture for some of us! But, I am cheap and stubborn and I am so, so glad for that. Because, after the uphill battle and the pain, we created this really amazing breastfeeding relationship. The milk was always there. It was always the right temperature and the comfort of mama’s arms never failed to be just what she needed. Now, the hurdles of nursing an active toddler were a little more comical and physically difficult to overcome! Ever try to feed someone while their feet are in your face, fingers are up your nose and they are trying to practice a double backflip? THAT is nursing a toddler!

Now that I am pregnant with number two, my milk has pretty much dried up. It’s so sad. But, we still do “milkies” at night (despite the OUCH that accompanies dry nursing!) right before bed because it is the one time of day my girl actually wants to sit and snuggle and SLOW down for the day. And honestly, it has become a time of reconnection for the two of us after our usual day of the back and forth struggles and corrections that come with parenting a two-year old. It’s the time I get to remind her, whether I have milk or not, that my arms are for snuggling her and the thing that has brought her comfort since day one, is still there.

I have been asked several times over the last few months when I think we will stop nursing and my response is always the same…whenever she is ready. I am in no hurry, but I am also ready when she is. W.H.O. (World Health Organization) says the average age of weaning worldwide is between 4-7. While I doubt we will still be going strong when she is in kindergarten, I don’t see any need to cut her off when it’s only beneficial to continue. I mean, why take away her source of anti-bodies and extra nutrition?  I’m hoping that once the baby is born, I will have the same awesome supply I did with C and I can build this same kind of nursing relationship with Bug. As far as logistics…the newborn gets first dibs and C gets the left overs. I doubt she will complain! Although, she might finally get a little chunky since that’s the good, fatty stuff! Now, we just have to work on this sharing thing!

This week is Worldwide Breastfeeding Week. What does your breastfeeding/human milk feeding journey look like? Whether you were able to produce for a day, a year or 3, you are doing good, mama! If you would like to participate in Worldwide Breatfeeding Week, check out http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/pledges.shtml to find a pledge location near you! As for Chuck and me, we will be at EarthBaby Boutique on Thursday!

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Merry Monday Roundup!

So many of my favorite bloggers do a weekly roundup of things that are making them smile at that moment. I believe imitation is the HIGHEST form of flattery, sooo…here’s my Merry Monday roundup.

1. I put Hershey’s in my coffee…

       Inspired by my husband’s reminiscing around the campfire when we were camping last week about his step dad who made hot cocoa with milk and a chocolate bar, the realization we were out of creamer this morning wasn’t so daunting when I saw this left over Hershey bar in the fridge! Yum!
2. Paper clips…

        Seriously. Ok, a few of you may remember a plea from after the Fourth of July for suggestions on how to get a coin out of a car CD player. Apparently, one little Miss Chuckles decided the car stereo was more “jukebox” than all around entertainment center and shoved what we thought was a quarter in the compact disc slot while we were joyfully roasting marshmallows right next to the car, completely unaware of her shenanigans. Well, a month later we were finally able to get the car in to the shop only to be told the damage would equal about $1100! I find it extremely ironic that this is almost the exact amount of C’s college fund at the moment! Obviously, I’m too cheap for all that mess. I quickly said, “thanks, but no thanks,” and resolved with Hfoe to figure this out for ourselves! And, we did! A few strips of tape, steady hands, a plastic fork and knife and TWO PAPER CLIPS in and we have made not .25, but .30! She had shoved a nickel AND a quarter in the slot and we saved $1100. I’m digging it!
3. The Rain, Rain app…

      Chuck sleeps with a sound machine and although she CAN sleep without it, she goes to sleep much faster WITH it! So, when we had a sleepover with friends a few days ago and forgot the happy wave sounds she’s become accustomed to, I, of course turned to the Apple App Store. This free app not only has five different types of wave sounds, but also boasts rain, transportation, appliances and several other types of white noise for your choosing. I love that the sounds will stay on indefinitely unlike some of the other white noise apps out there and that you can close the app to multitask in other programs while the sound still plays. And did I mention, it’s FREE?!
   

     I’ve gotten big, y’all! This baby bug is determined to be huge and healthy and although that makes me so over-the-moon happy, the ensuing stretch marks and itchy skin are a little less appealing! So, this little sample that has been sitting under my sink for the last few weeks since the “Blogger’s Night In” event, broke out yesterday! And it is so perfect! It glides on my baby bump so smoothly and mess free and it smells just delicious! I have to get more because as you can see, I drained every last smidge from the sample packet!
5. Savannah Guthrie…

     I used to watch the Today Show every morning. This was, of course, before a particular toddler took over morning TV with her love of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Bubble Guppies…my kid watches TV. Oops! It allows me to drink my morning coffee in peace and really, that’s better for everyone. Anyway, I have missed my morning crew! How exciting it was for me to see that one of my favorites of the gang was pregnant! I have been following Savannah Guthrie’s pregnancy journey in snippets since I don’t get to watch the show every morning, but the pieces I have read and pictures I have seen of her growing bump make me happy. She is a normal, weight gaining, maternity clothes wearing, mama-to-be! And she talks about it! All of it. This is so refreshing in the Hollywood baby bubble of “I only gained 10lbs while pregnant and it was all baby.” Yeah right. But this lady, this paragon of pregnant pretty…I appreciate her candidness! 

What’s waking you up happy this Monday morning? I’d love to hear!


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EarthBaby- a Boutique Resource

As a new mom, I remember being so overwhelmed by the endless amounts of information that immediately started streaming my way the day I found out I was pregnant. From controversial topics like circumcision and vaccinations to seemingly benign topics like toy and clothes choices, it was all SO much to take in. At that point, I knew very few in my friend circle who had gone before me into “motherdom” and I would have given anything to have a physical place to just go and learn. I never found such a place before C was born, but there is one in town now!

A couple weeks ago, I was invited to a “blogger’s night in” at EarthBaby Boutique in Sherman Oaks. I took “blogger’s night in” to mean…take a night away from your kidlet and come eat good food while hearing from some info-full speakers. And I did!

First, I have to start off with a little community announcement. If you want to go anywhere in the valley, go early. Parking is generally lame. BUT, this night, I snagged the parking space RIGHT in front of the store! I think that fact is noteworthy all on it’s own!

Once I walked inside, I was so pleasantly greeted by owner Renee and manager Jennifer of this cute, eco-friendly baby boutique. I signed in for the event and took a bit of time to stroll around the store, noting which of my favorite squishy brands they stocked. Best Bottom and Buttons diapers!! Sloomb and Green Toys! I was actually surprised by such a wonderful variety of toys, clothes, diapers, accessories and toiletries for ages birth through early childhood! I truly believe you could shop here for every single baby need you could have and do it Eco-consciously.

Look at that diaper wall!
After touring the store, I ventured into the classroom where we would be hearing from some renowned professionals in their fields. Not only that, but dinner was served followed by my favorite, dessert! 
These ladies know the way to a preggo’s heart!
 
First up, we learned about the Ollie Swaddle. This swaddle was created to enable babies hips to lie in the ergonomically ideal position while still providing the secure feeling that helps them sleep so well. It also has an open end making it possible to use for babies who are being monitored in the NICU with all those wires! Pretty thoughtful, if you ask me!

Naturology LA came to represent their all natural soap and bath line. Everything is safe, non-toxic and even edible (although, I doubt they taste as good as the smell!)

 
My absolute favorite product presentation of the evening was the Mama Strut. Oh my WOW! This baby is made to hold in all your lady parts directly after delivery. There are pouches for hot and cold packs, an adjustable waist to help that fundus shrink and it is completely machine washable. I can not wait to try this out after Bug is born. I remember those first few days after Chuck’s delivery…I felt like I needed to be bandaged up…EVERYWHERE. Well, here it is, the answer!
 
Dr. Elliot Berlin from Berlin Wellness came to talk about natural birthing, prenatal and postnatal care. His associates spoke on the benefits of infant craniosacral therapy. I had never heard of this until that evening, but it makes sense. If a mama goes through quite the trauma during labor, imagine it from the babe’s perspective!
 
After the speakers, it was raffle time! You put a bunch of mama’s and mama’s-to-be in a room and tell them you are going to give away loads of free stuff….the energy level instantly goes up! I even won a few things! I cannot wait to try out this Ollie Swaddle on my own little squish! Also, this butt balm is by Little Doodles, a small work-at-home shop, which I am happy to support. And I am sure baby Bug will love these organic cotton veggie toys by Under The Nile, because Chuck has already tried them out and she loves them!
http://alenessphoto.com/project/babies/
I actually kind of dig this photo taken by Aleness Photo. They do newbies and maternity shoots, too!

This was a pretty great event to introduce the local mommy blogger community to this cute shop on Ventura Blvd. Not only do they carry these awesome products, but they do a myriad of talks and get-togethers on topics ranging from cloth diapers and baby wearing to infertility and essential oils. They have monthly playdate gatherings for the littles, and music maker play times. On August 7 they are even a host for the Great Big MomMe Latch On event to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week! You can find out more about that here. So, really, this is a store, but it is more than that to a new mom. It’s a resource. I highly recommend you check out their class schedule and pop in for one when you can. And at the very least, check out the cute fluff on their walls!

Can’t wait to put this Buttons dipe on Bug’s booty!

Thank you Renee and Jennifer for a wonderful evening and a fun event!

For the month of August, EarthBaby Boutique is offering a referral program. So, when you go, please tell them that Cara from The Mommy Crunch sent you! Then, send your friends and increase your own chances to win a store credit!

Please visit EarthBaby Boutique at
13454 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(818) 917-6193

I was asked to attend this media event where I was fed and provided with some pretty fun complimentary stuff in return for an honest evaluation. As always, opinions are entirely my own.

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