Parenting 2.0

Archive for March 2010


Think back to the Fall of 2009: you couldn’t turn on the TV or have a conversation without hearing or partaking in some sort of H1N1 discussion. The media built up so much hype around the virus, that the general public was in a frenzy about the vaccine. Would there be enough? Can you believe the lineups? Eventually enough vaccine became available for everyone and the hubbub faded, which probably also coincided with the passing of flu season.

Since the Fall, I really haven’t thought about H1N1 that much – or for that matter at all. Borys and I both got vaccinated, and then put it behind us, just as the media did. But now that Niko is six months old, the wheels are turning again. Should he get vaccinated? Is H1N1 still a concern? Are people still getting vaccinated? Has there been a rise in cases? Is the virus still lurking? So many questions, that I guess I will ask next week when I bring Niko for his six month check-up. After all, six months was the designated youngest age to get the vaccine.

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Niko has been getting really close to rolling over, and the past couple of days have been the closest. He has a play mat with dangling toys and he likes to lie on it and swing at the toys or pull them or bite them or whatever it is he feels like doing in the moment. Anyway, last night, he was having a great time just rolling from side to side, while babbling and shrieking out in glee, while swinging/pulling/biting on the dangling toys.

Actually he became quite mobile in his antics and ended up completely off the mat just lying on the hardwood floor. Not to worry, we didn’t let him lie there for too long, just long enough to get a few pics of his gymnastics.  Then we moved him back on the mat and the mat further onto the rug. We just wonder when these side turns will turn into complete rollovers? Looks like it could be sooner than later.

Note: Check out a short video of Niko babbling away while doing his exercises, by clicking here.


There’s nothing like the smell and taste of campfire food. I love camping, and after a day of portaging a meal cooked over the campfire really hits the spot. But in the comfort of my own home, as I sit here, with the campfire smell wafting around me, saturating my clothing and furniture, I begin to wonder if I should rethink making my own baby food.

Rewind to about two hours ago. There I was going about my morning, drinking coffee and getting ready to make squash for little Niko. Have I ever bought squash before? No. I don’t think I’ve ever even cooked with one, but when the public health guide for making baby food recommends squash, I was motivated to buy squash.

People ask me: why are you making your own baby food? Which has got me thinking: why am I? I have come up with two solid answers: 1) This way I know exactly what he is eating. 2) The recipes are so simple: wash, cut, steam, blend, (add water if desired), and serve. It helps to build up my culinary confidence: at least that’s what I thought, up until this campfire squash incident. Let me just preface this by saying, there was no real fire (although maybe there could have been if more time would have passed…).

So there I was, dicing up a butternut squash – doing the best I could with it, seeing as I had never cut one up before – and feeling pretty good about myself for making Niko’s food from scratch. Once diced, I popped it in the steamer, added some water to the pot below and let the boiling water do its work. After a few minutes I realized it was not quite soft enough so timed it for a few more. Well, those minutes ticked on and I was in the other room with Niko when I smelled a distinct burning odor. Who knew you had to add so much water for steaming?! I’ve steamed a lot of veggies in my time and never run out of water, but this squash seemed to have absorbed some of it and boiled the rest away. By the time I got to the pot, the squash was smoking (black smoke!), and the base of my pot, which once held what I thought was enough water, was completely charred! Yikes. Anyway, once it had cooled down, I tasted the squash – not bad for a campfire, but I was cooking on my STOVE!

Now I just can’t bring myself to feed this version of the squash to Niko. His taste buds will have to wait for the pleasures that are squash until our next grocery day. And lesson learned: the more water you add for steaming the better, and the safer. Now I just have to decide: can I bring myself to eat this campfire version?


The rivers of drool (I think Niko went through at least five bibs yesterday) that have been flowing from our little guy’s mouth seem to have amounted to something in the overnight. As far as I can tell, the baby tooth fairy came for a visit.

While Niko was chomping on my finger this morning I sensed something other than the usual smooth gum line: a ridge, a peek, something jagged, not the usual. But do you think I can get a look at what’s there? Not a chance. Every time I try to see, Niko moves his head or tongue around so it becomes impossible, but I can feel it. I am just not sure if the white tip has poked it’s way through or if it is just getting ready to do so. Either way, we’ve entered a whole new world here, and there’s no going back. I guess it’s time to get Niko a toothbrush.


We can only protect our babes from so much. For the many things I can’t protect mine from, my mantra has become: “He’s just building his immunities.” It’s inevitable, that at one point or another he will get a cold, or an ear infection, or bronchitis, or whatever the case may be. That’s just life. It’s inevitable that he will put things in his mouth that have not been sterilized. It’s natural for babies to do this. It’s inevitable that his hands will touch things that have not been disinfected. It’s all part of their discovery process, but for a new mom and dad, the germs that seem to be lurking on every surface can be a bit overwhelming, hence the adoption of my mantra.

Below are a few scenarios to illustrate what I mean…

Niko is chewing voraciously on Sophie the Giraffe, and the next minute she has been dropped on the floor. I pick it up, give her back to him and think, oh well he’s building his immunities.

Frasier our poodle licks Niko’s fingers and then Niko puts his hand in his mouth. Again I rely on my trusty mantra.

I take Niko out into the world and strangers smile at him and touch his hands, he then proceeds to put his hands in his mouth. Through gritted teeth, “He’s building his immunities.”

We’re at the doctors’ office and people are coughing all around him. You get the idea.

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Parenting is sort of like a live and learn experience, with (sorry Niko, but it’s true) Niko as my guinea pig. Lucky for Niko (and me), the more time that passes, the more I learn and the more confident I become.

Changing diapers? No sweat!

Feeding the baby? Piece of cake.

Keeping him clean? We do our best… 🙂

Clipping his fingernails? The bane of my existence!

OK, a slight exaggeration, but seriously it’s a challenge! And at least a once a week challenge at that – his little nails just seem to grow so quickly. The challenge comes from the fact that his nails are so tiny, and his hand is so wiggly. It can make for a dangerous combo. and unfortunately has on a few occasions. But now that he’s hit the six month mark I’ve actually noticed a change in the size of his fingers and nails, (the slightly bigger size) making it easier to complete the baby manicure.

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What to do with a three year old and a six month old? Swimming of course! Niko’s been practicing his floats and was dying to show them off to his new friend Mya. So off to the pool we went for Niko’s first public swimming experience: but it’s March Break and things were a little, (actually a lot) hectic.

As we squished our way (baby car seat and all) through the narrow change room and out into the pool area it felt like we were in some sort of slippery wet nether world. What I mean is, it was SO packed; we were in a single file just to get out of the change room, although that also had something to do with the design of the space, meeting with the sheer number of patrons visiting the pool on this March Break Thursday.

Actually the water was packed too; there were a tonne of kids and parents splashing around, having a good time. I did a quick calculation and figured it was about one swimmer (or more) for every square foot of space – so you can just imagine how busy it was. When we first stepped out on the deck, my friend Jen put it disgustingly well: “It’s like DNA soup”! Ewww! And by soup she was referring to all the pee that was no doubt intermingling with all the swimmers (which was soon to include our petite entourage as well)! Did I say Ewww…cuz EW! Thank goodness for the powers of chlorine.

Once in the water we quickly discovered that those giant flutter boards were prized real estate: Mya had one but it got jacked pretty much the second it slipped from her tiny hands. However, despite the busyness of the place, we all had a great time and found comfort knowing we didn’t see any floating Band-Aids (but I guess that doesn’t necessarily guarantee that they weren’t there).

Recipe for DNA Soup: Take one public swimming pool and fill to capacity (say 350+). Let nature take its course. Then kick, splash and blow bubbles to your heart’s content.

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