Parenting 2.0

Archive for May 2010

The trace of a tooth is just cutting the surface of Niko’s top gums. And this time I didn’t notice the new growth by seeing it or feeling it, but rather by hearing it. Yes, hearing it! As I was hanging out with Niko over the weekend, I heard a distinct sound, akin to fingernails on the chalkboard or chewing wool, a certain “blech” and shiver combo or sorts: it was the sound of grinding teeth that caught my attention. But how could that noise be coming from my little guy? It sure sounded like teeth grinding, but Niko only has two bottom teeth, so how could they be grinding? I decided to take a quick look and didn’t see anything. It was only a few hours later, when I heard that shiver-worthy noise again and did a closer inspection of his tiny mouth, that I discovered that the first signs of  a new tooth were evident. So now, tooth number one and tooth number two are accompanied by their grindy pal, tooth number three. And seeing as they usually come in pairs, I’m assuming tooth number four is looming in the near future.

Sometimes I think that Niko’s getting too big for his car seat. To date, every time he’s gone grocery shopping he’s been carted around with his car seat (securely?) balancing on the grocery cart. I see lots of other parents doing it this way, so it must be safe, right? Well, today Niko hit a grocery cart milestone! Pulling into the parking lot I began wondering if he was big enough to actually sit on his own in the cart. I mean he sits unassisted at home for a good half hour playing with toys, although he’s surrounded by pillows and my (or Borys’) watchful eye is ever present. So, based on his ability to sit up on his own, and seeing as he seems to be getting too big for the car seat, we went for it.

I noticed today that grocery cart safety has actually improved since I was small enough to sit in them – surprise, surprise. (I mean all things have become über safe, these days. It was just last week my nine year old niece, who’s closer to ten than nine, proudly told me she was now allowed to sit in the front of the car… Anyway, I digress.) So, the grocery cart we were using had a safety belt and everything, what could be better? As soon as the little N Man was securely buckled in and I started pushing, he looked up at me with a curious smile and then was just happy all around, checking out the world from this new perspective.

Overall the experience went really well. But, you know when you go the grocery store to get just a few things, and then an hour later end up with a full grocery cart? Well, today happened to be one of those days. And by then end of that hour Niko was ready to get the heck out of that cart. As I was doing self-checkout (the regular lines were too long!), he arched his back and hurt it on the steel beam behind him. So a bout of crying ensued, while I was getting the cheese price checked: I swear it was on sale, but didn’t come up that way. Turns out, it was the No Name cheese and Mommy must have been distracted (although I can’t imagine why?) and thought it was the Black Diamond. Anyway, with some back rubbing (thank goodness for the powers of the Single Handed Superwoman!) and coos of encouragement, Niko managed to (somewhat) chill until the checkout horror was over, and then we hightailed it out of there. Once secured in his car seat and not even a minute on the road, he was TKO. Yup, grocery time was infringing on nap time! Poor little tyke!

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Niko can’t wait to meet his newest cousin! Emiliana was born just over a week ago and will be making the trek to Toronto in July, at which time our family will be heading down to TO to meet her, (and see Ciocia Ola and Uncle Bruce too). Niko’s been polishing up on his Polish and hopes to greet her with: “Cześć! mały Emi. Jestem tak zadowolony wobec ostatecznie spotykać ty i JA miłość ty”. xx

As it stands now, his vocabulary is limited to “da da” on repeat (and lots of gleeful shrieks and screeches). But babies change and learn so quickly, and since ours is brilliant, we’re confident in a month and a half he should be ready to verbalize this greeting to his new cuz! 🙂

Note: The English-Polish translation came from an online translator, and seeing as my Polish is limited, fingers are crossed in hopes that it says what’s actually intended: “Hi little Emi. I’m so happy to finally meet you and I love you”.

When Niko was born he had a full head of dark, almost black hair. He gradually lost most of those first baby hairs, except for a few long wisps that still remain today. In January he was almost completely bald, and has gradually regained a full head of hair. His hair has filled in so much that the other morning he showed off his first bout of bed head: just a few random hairs sticking up all over the place at the back of his head. And no, it was not from his styling gel, a.k.a. food that he mushes all over his face and hair when he eats. This was genuine baby bed head!

Note: Click on the links above to see pics that show what I’m writing about.

A piercing cry (different than the I’m hungry cry and different than the I’m tired cry), followed by Niko’s parents (aka us) running upstairs to see what the fuss is about, only to discover our little Wiggle Worm has finagled himself into a position rendering him stuck. Usually this looks like him on his stomach with one or two little feet/legs poking out through the bars of the crib, all tangled and unable to right himself, left only to the power of his own lungs calling out to his parents: Help me, Mommy! Help me, Daddy! And we do, of course, every time. But last night was the crowning glory of all entanglements to date! So much so that Borys and I broke our pact to avoid co-sleeping (even though secretly we’d both wanted to try it from time to time, but just feared the repercussions of a three year old who couldn’t sleep on his own). Anyway, as with most things, I figured one time’s not going to ruin him, plus for the safety and well being of our little N-bomb it was necessary!

I’m used to waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of a hungry Niko: his cries are pretty mild but loud enough for me hear. Last night, however, I awoke to a sound I’d never heard before, it was a baby bellow full of urgency and alarm. So instead of taking my sweet time, I rushed in to check on the little guy only to find him on his stomach, pushing up with his arms to a crawling position, and both legs poking out through the rungs of the crib. One of his legs was easy to get out, but the other one was stuck up past his knee and jammed in so much that I couldn’t get him out on my own. As the baby bellowing increased, I called Borys in from his sleep, to help. We both tried to unstick the leg, but it was to no avail and little Niko was going into somewhat of a panicked state. At last I had the idea to grease up his leg with the miraculous powers of Vaseline! Once greased up, and after a little tweaking, that baby knee finally slipped back through the rungs! Phew! This immediately put a stop to all the bellowing, a sound which up to this point in time, neither I nor Borys had ever heard from the little guy.

Then we pondered, what to do, what to do? We tried hanging up a makeshift bumper pad (even though they say that bumper pads can be dangerous) to prevent his leg from getting jammed again, but it didn’t work. The only plausible solution we could come up with at 1am was to bring the Niko into Mommy and Daddy’s bed for a sleepover. So the three of us headed to the queen size bed and snuggled in for the rest of the night. Well not exactly snuggled… In his new surroundings Niko was wiggling around like a maniac, and at one point Borys said, “Sleeping with this little guy is like sleeping with a crab!” Yes, his nails needed to be cut and he kept reaching out in the dark to (love) pinch our faces, until Borys had the idea of turning our backs to him, which works well if you have short hair like Daddy, but not so well when your hair’s long like mine. Those little pinchers were pulling like crazy on my long locks! But, eventually the Little N Man settled down and we had our first co-sleeping experience.

Today’s task? Finding a solution to the crib rung debacle! Because ideally we want the little guy to sleep independently, despite the comforts of sleeping with a mini-crab! For tonite it looks like it might be back to the pack-n-play for his royal highness.

Note: After a quick Google search, I found this article that might actually solve the problem: How to Stop a Baby From Getting Foot Stuck in Crib.

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When Borys and I had Niko we rescinded ourselves to using cloth diapers. There were many factors leading to this decision: it seems better for the environment, overall ends up being less expensive, and my sister supplied us with most of the cloth diapers and wraps that she used. So it was both an eco-friendly and eco-nomical choice all around. And truth be told, the cloth diapers have worked out quite nicely for us over the last eight months. Once we got used to them and got into the routine of using them, it’s been totally fine. That is, until we take a break from the cloth.

This (welcomed?) break has come twice: once when Niko and I went to Halifax last winter, and just this past weekend when we visited my sister and her family. The reason for the break is that the thought of doing cloth diapering at someone else’s house is something I can’t quite wrap my head around. And both times that I’ve taken a cloth diaper vacation, I’ve quite liked the convenience of disposables! They are SO easy! Despite the high pressured hose attachment on our toilet, the convenience of disposables makes me sort of want to rethink my commitment to the duo-eco reason I started using cloth in the first place…

This weekend we experienced our first family road trip: Borys, Niko, Frasier and I hit the road toward Southern Ontario. As we made the trek (a welcomed distraction from all our real estate debacles) I kept having flashbacks of how I’d spent the May long weekend in years past. Moving to Ottawa I discovered that the Victoria Day holiday, affectionately nicknamed May 2-4 where I’m from, is not nearly as celebrated in the city as it is in the small town (and others like it) that I grew up in. In my experiences, each year May 2-4 was a big deal: whether it was time spent with family or friends, it usually involved camping, lots of food, laughs and maybe a few cold ones as well.

Anyway, as I reflected on these memories during the long (made extra long with a dog and baby on board) ride to see my sis and her fam, I couldn’t help but notice how times have changed. In a great way, mind you, but this May 2-4 rang in differently than most of the ones I remembered. The main reason for heading to Southern Ontario was to celebrate our niece’s First Communion: Claire had been preparing for quite some time and today was the big day. There was a lovely lunch at their place prior to the service and then off to the church, where Niko continually whined (but who could blame him, church coincided perfectly with nap time) until Borys and I decided to take him out of his misery and bring him back to my sister’s place for a nap, and now as I type, I can just hear him gurgling to himself in the other room: OK baby, it’s time for sleep!

Anyway, traveling such a distance with Niko and Frasier, actually wasn’t that bad. The most challenging part has been keeping Frasier under wraps at my sister’s house. He’s had his share of misadventures already and we’ve only been here for half of our full stay! Hopefully we can keep him in line until it’s time for us to hit the pavement again. The highlight of Frasier’s stay happened today, when Reuban (my sister’s dog) escaped out the front door. We were all out front coaxing him back and unbeknownst to us, Frasier was watching the action through a second floor screen window. So amidst the commotion of the elusive Reuban we heard a strange noise coming from above, and looked up only to see sweet Frasier up in the window sill clawing through the screen! Who knows what he would have done if he actually made a hole big enough for his whole body?! I ran upstairs, but it was too late, the screen had been ruined! Yikes! Let’s just hope that was the climax of his misbehaviour. And eventually, Reuban did come back.

All in all it’s been a great visit! Two huge dogs, four “mature” adults, and four little cuzzies + one on the way! Yup, Marion and JP are expecting their fourth bundle of joy this coming December! What great news!

Some people would think I’m crazy, but rewind about two hours ago and you will find Niko and me strolling down the sidewalk with me singing Que Sera Sera. And why have I adopted this mantra? This house sale is causing a lot of stress, and I’m trying to internalize the meaning of the lyrics. I guess that comes with selling your house privately: we’re our own rookie agents, and dealing with all the loose ends that come along with selling on our own. It’s just so hard to know what to say and what to do, and so much of it is a waiting game while all the conditions are being met. So far we’ve got two out of three of them signed off for our place and it’ll be another week (max.) until the last one has been met.

This last week has been a whirlwind, but at the same time gone by so slowly! It was just a week ago that we conditionally sold our place and then soonish after found one that we’re interested in. But we don’t want to finalize anything on the new place, until the sale of our condo. is complete. Neither Borys nor I want to be in the position of owning two homes at the same time! Although, that might push us to rent our place, which would ultimately be a good investment. But really, for now we just want to sell it. I just hope the buyer follows through with her original zeal for the place. I know it’s a lot for her to think about, seeing as it’s her first home purchase, but it’s a nice place, in a quiet location, close to all amenities including down town and we’ve been very happy here for the last five years. Ugh. I wish I could use a time machine to fast forward a week to see the (happy?!) outcome of all this waiting and worrying. And now that I’ve vented, and in order to maintain my sanity, it’s back to Que Sera Sera, whatever will be, will be…

Baby’s got a new trick, and I happily discovered it before it led to disaster. It was just yesterday when Niko was lying on his back that I heard the slow sound of velcro coming undone. I looked down to see two baby eyes looking up at me with a grin, while one little baby hand was slowly undoing the velcro on his diaper! It’s been so hot in Ottawa these past few days that I’ve taken to dressing Niko in just a t-shirt and diaper when we’re in the house. But apparently this uniform is going to have to change now that I know he can undo the protective diaper cover.  Yikes! I don’t even want to imagine what would happen if he got that puppy off when I was unaware. Actually I don’t really have to imagine seeing as once, a long time ago, I did experience the repercussions of a baby who had discovered this trick, and left to his own devices it caused one huge mess…

Go back in time about 24 years and you’ll see my brother Greg as a baby. Seeing as I am eight years his senior, I was old enough for this memory to be clearly etched in time on my brain, never again to be forgotten and now forever memorialized on this blog! (Sorry, Greg!) So this is how it all went down. Picture a nine year old me with my friend Marie over to play and Baby Greg just “snoozing” away during nap time.

Marie: Want to go in and check on your baby brother?

Me: Sure, but we’ll have to be quiet to make sure we don’t wake him up.

We then proceed to gingerly open Little Greg’s bedroom door only to see him happily sitting up in his crib…

Baby Greg: Ga ga ga, goo goo goo.

Me: Why is there chocolate all over the place? (Oh the innocent mind of a nine year old…)

Marie: Umm, Alli I don’t think that’s chocolate!

Me: Well, what is it?! Look at it! It’s everywhere: on the walls, in the crib spokes, on the sheets, all over Little G (in his hair, on his hands, you get the picture…).

Me: Oh my gosh!!! MOM, get up here! QUICK!

Baby Greg: Ga ga ga, goo goo goo.

Needless to say, I don’t need a repeat of this particular antic under my parenting repertoire of experience. So Baby Niko, it looks like you’ll be wearing diaper shirts or shorts even on the really hot days!

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Niko’s latest accomplishment? Clapping his hands (well, sort of). It’s more like he bangs them on the table or his high chair or his lap, and sometimes even together. But what really gets him going is If You’re Happy and You Know It or Patty Cake. Sometimes he understands what to do and sometimes he doesn’t but it’s so cute to see him concentrating so hard to clap his hands and then see the huge smile that follows after he’s successful!

Lately in the morning, shortly after I hear his first wakeful chirps, I will just lie in bed awaiting his next move. Will it be crying, more chirps or some hand clapping? And more often than not, it’s the hand clapping. It will be all quiet and then I’ll just hear his two little palms smacking against each other from the other room, and when I go to see him, he’s just lying there smiling, wiggling and clapping. Too cute!

Note 1: To see a short video showing the amazingness of Niko’s utter glee and concentration at clapping his hands, click here.

(PS – I am aware that he’s wearing a Christmas bib in the video and it’s May, but when you’ve got a 24/7 drooler on your hands, you just use whatever’s available!)

Note 2: After posting Niko’s If You’re Happy and You Know It clapping video on YouTube,  I now realize I am not the only parent with this idea. There are so many videos of babies clapping along while their mommies sing the song, and it’s sort of neat to see the short clips and hear all the different voices and accents that the mommies sing in.

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Alli & Baby Niko

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