Parenting 2.0

Archive for the ‘Health and Safety’ Category


Avoiding germs, especially this time of year, is pretty well impossible. However, spreading them, or preventing the spreading of them is something I have been trying to instill in little Niko. The two at the top of our list?

1) Using tissues to blow your nose.

2) Covering your nose when you sneeze or cough.

He’s about 50/50 on both.

So this morning, after a rapid fire of sneezes during breakfast, about half of them shielded by his tiny bent elbow, I reminded him about the importance of covering his nose every time. By then he was done eating anyway, so I helped him out of his booster seat and he continued about his morning routine – which really just involves playing and more playing -, while I put Daddy’s lunch together.

Of course, when he saw me pull out the apples, he wanted one. And I obliged his request. So now he’s scampering underfoot with his cars and his apple (yes it can make for a bit of a mess, but I’m just happy he’s eating fruit), when he comes to me with a chewed piece of apple skin on his finger. He’s in the habit of spitting out what he doesn’t like, and handing it over to me: be it apple skin, chicken or whatever. Which I guess is better than the alternative of spitting it out in a secret spot, only to be discovered by me, hours or even worse, days later. So toward me he trots with a relatively small piece of what looks to be apple skin stuck to the tip of his finger, all the while, calling “Mama, Mama, garbage.”

I retrieve the gooey peel from his tiny pointer, only to discover that it wasn’t apple skin!

“Niko, please use a Kleenex next time”. But like I said, we’re still working on that one…

Don’t worry Daddy, I washed my hands before I proceeded with your sandwich!


Niko is becoming evermore affectionate by the day. He freely kisses and hugs us, and while at times it takes a little coaxing, more and more he is loving us out of his own volition. And doesn’t it feel so great to have those tiny little arms wrapped tightly around your neck, back, leg, or whatever the chosen “love spot” of the moment may be. So yes, we welcome his affections.

However, this does not mean we want him to extend this love to all living creatures. After a visit to the Experimental Farm the other day, we realized how quickly his affections can be outletted, and perhaps that we need to monitor him a bit more closely. While at home, he may be the victim of our lovable poodle’s wet tongued smooches, we don’t necessarily want him to be the bovine delight of the day. Thank goodness for hand sanitizer (turned face and lip sanitizer when the time calls).

How does that mantra go? He’s building his immunities. He’s building his immunities…


This situation took place a while ago, but seeing as it’s remained in the forefront of my mind, and seeing as I am over the initial shock, I now feel ready to share its full and hideous glory with the blogosphere. Will it serve as a cautionary tale? Maybe. Will it change the world for the better? Most definitely (just as the rest of my posts do on a daily basis). When it happened, I was too repulsed to write about it; I mean when your baby ends up with a live and unidentifiable bug in his mouth, it’s not something you necessarily want to keep as a permament memory. But you know what? As time passed I’ve had many a good laugh over the whole thing. So, here it is.

A few weeks ago, Little N Bomb was sitting on the floor playing with toys. At this point in his wee life he was still pretty stationary. So while he played, I stepped in to the kitchen to battle dishes or something housewifey like that. When I checked on him just a moment later, he had the strangest look on his face (one of puzzlement, verging on disgust), and a stream of drool that gave Niagara Falls a run for its money. I also noticed that he was moving something around in his mouth, and at this point I got a little worried. So I gently pried open his tiny jaw and scooped out a “wild blueberry”? But we didn’t have any blueberries in our house. Upon closer inspection I realized this “blueberry” had eight tiny wriggling legs and a hard shell. Ugh. I opened the front door and tossed it, never having seen the likes of it again.

It wasn’t until today, that I actually had the courage to Google this mysterious bug. And despite my best efforts, I couldn’t find an image of it anywhere. The best pics I could find were of a VW Bug, a wooden spider and a DC comic book character (and obviously none of them are what I found that day). I guess the closest one is the wooden spider, but the one Niko had in his mouth only had one body sphere, not two. And who knew there was even a comic book character called the Blue Beetle?! Geesh, the things you can learn on this wild and wacky interweb.

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Things that don’t mix well: one tennis ball, two people (me and Niko), and three dogs (Frasier, Jupiter and Percy). You’d think that swimming in the lake and sitting on the dock on a sunny day at my parents’ cottage would be a recipe for fun, and for the most part it was. Niko had his first ever dip into a lake and although it was still a touch cold and I only went in to my knees, he seemed to do relatively well with the whole experience. It must be all the swimming lessons he took this past winter.

Anyway, we were alone at the cottage, waiting for my parents to get there. Lena‘s Grandparents have a cottage next to us and they were up, but when we headed to the dock there was not a soul in site, not even a furry one, well, except for Frasier. Anyway, after our swim Niko and I lay out a towel and just sat around for all of about thirty seconds. Basically we were like a magnet for the two other pooches that belong to Lena’s grandparents. One of the doggies came with a ball and all of sudden Niko and I were surrounded by three big dogs. The ball was dropped and proceeded to bounce about a foot from where we were sitting. This proved to be too much temptation for the three furry beasts and they all scrambled to get their teeth on the tennis ball, which also prompted a bout of snarling, growling, snapping, baring of teeth and even got Little Niko knocked over on his back.

Now in general, Frasier loves dogs. But seeing as he’s a timid pooch and depending on the personalities of the other dogs he encounters, he can end up being cowed. In most cases I do what I can to protect him, but in this case, when we were confined by the limited space of the dock, and Niko was knocked down I had to focus my attention solely on my baby, and couldn’t put an ounce of help out there for my pooch. So with my maternal instincts in full swing, I planted my feet firmly in a wide stance, bent over, hip checked the snarling dogs out of the way, swooped up my baby and got the heck out of there. Leaving the three furry guys to fend for themselves, which in the end worked out just fine. Although, Frasier’s confidence did seem a bit damaged, but I’m sure he’ll get over it.

PS – Niko was just fine too.

Note: I will add an actual picture of the weekend, once I find my camera cable, which is still MIA since the move.

Update (July 6): I found my camera cable. 🙂 The pic below is post dock trauma and as you can see the Little Man seems to have recovered quite well and is enjoying the company of Gramma and Grandad.

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The hunt is on. I am now fully engaged in the process of looking for daycare for this coming September. (Although I try to comfort myself by remembering that I still do have a full quarter of my mat. leave left. That’s a lot, right? Right. Right?!) Anyway, now that we know where we’ll be living this Fall, I’ve started looking for a daycare provider in that area. But there’s something about leaving my helpless little babe (OK, by then he’ll pretty much be a toddler, but still…) who can’t talk and tell me if something’s wrong, with a complete stranger for half his life, that just doesn’t bode well with me. Yikes! I guess this is just the way the system works: it’s a little unnerving. I mean, I’m sure most caregivers are perfectly fine, but it’s the horror stories that float through my head. Maybe I need to reprogram that tape, and remind myself that he will have fun there and probably make some friends. The socializing will be good for him… It’s OK Mommy, it’s OK.  Really, I’ve been fortunate to have a full year off with him, as I know in the States this is not the case: sometimes it’s just a few weeks and at best a few months. But still, this does not make the process any easier for me.

So, we’ve got three appointments lined up this week and I’m hoping that one of them will pan out. One thing’s for sure, I am not settling for daycare. If for whatever reason I don’t get a good feel from any of these places, I will not be sending my little monkey there and the search will have to continue. Ideally I want to find a caregiver that I am happy with and that Niko is happy with. We want him to be stimulated, well cared for, to bond with this person and I want to be able to trust her completely. Is this possible? I sure hope so.

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You see the “moose danger” signs all over Highway 60 but hardly ever actually see any moose. Those signs are everywhere though, but the only moose I ever see (which ends up being about one a summer) are drinking water not too far from the highway. (Well, except for that one time we saw the dead on one the side of the road, but that’s another story.) And you usually know the moose is there before you even see it yourself, because there are cars stopped on both shoulders and people out with their cameras snapping away. I also hear that every year people have fatal collisions with these massive beasts, but again, this is something (thank goodness) that I have never experienced first hand.

The closest I’ve ever come to a moose, or for that matter colliding with one, happened last weekend. Borys, Dziadzio, Niko and I were piled in to our hatchback and traveling toward my parents’ cottage. Seeing as our friends Jamie and Chris were getting married at a place called Port Severn lodge and we were coming from Ottawa, we decided to split up the drive by staying at the cottage on Friday night, leaving us only a two hour drive for the day of the wedding. Dziadzio graciously tagged along as our in-house babysitter. So while Borys and I were at the ceremony, dinner and dance, Dziadzio and Niko were hanging out in the hotel room. It was actually really convenient because everything was within walking distance and Borys and I could easily check on Niko (and Dziadzio).

Anyway, back to the moose…

So as we were nearing the cottage and time was creeping close to midnight, we could see a figure up ahead and off to the side of the road. As we got closer we had to completely stop our car on the highway: thank goodness there was no other traffic, otherwise the results could have been tragic! Anyway, we came to a complete stop and the moose was about a metre or two in front of our car. It was as if we were having a standoff: our eyes peering out (and up) at hers and she squinting into the headlights and right into our car. Then she backed up so she was square in front of us and turned to face us directly! For as second we all thought she was going to charge, but I think she was probably just stunned from what was going on, as well as by the high beams. Anyway, she broke out of her reverie (didn’t charge us) and clambered off to the side of the highway! Craziness!

Note: The picture of the moose below is not the actual moose we saw, just a random cute pic of a moose with her baby.


You know sometimes when you do something that seems like a good idea at the time, but in hindsight may not have been the best choice. This is Niko’s and my reality right now. Last Friday the Little N Man and I had an adventure at the grocery store: the adventurous part being that he got to sit in the grocery cart like a big boy for the first time. When I put him in there, I couldn’t help but think about all the hands that had touched the cart and that probably it wasn’t the cleanest of things for my little babe to be touching. Especially considering he’s at that stage where everything goes in his mouth, so even if he doesn’t have any toys to munch on, it’s his hands that eventually end up there. So yes, my little baby was touching the grocery cart handle, then putting his hands in his mouth and repeating this for the entire grocery “adventure”. I just tried to keep my mantra in mind; he’s building his immunities, right?

Well, it turns out that my senses were right! There was something nasty lingering on that grocery cart. That day he developed a small blister by his mouth, which eventually burst and turned red, only to get bigger over the course of the weekend. But seeing as we were on another road trip, going to my friend Jamie’s wedding, we weren’t in a position to get his face checked out. To make us first-time parents feel a bit better, my friend Leslie, who was also at the wedding and is a nurse, looked at his face and wasn’t too concerned. She suggested it could be impetigo and that we should see a doctor when we got back to Ottawa. So, today Daddy and Niko (yes, Daddy became inflicted as well) headed to the doctor’s office where they were both diagnosed with … impetigo! Anyway, they’ve been prescribed this antibacterial cream and hopefully it will do the trick, because Niko’s supposed to go to two birthday parties this weekend, and unless this is clear he won’t be able to go…

Note: It’s now imperative that I keep Niko’s nails short: despite the qualms I have about cutting them! Out of necessity I must keep them trimmed. (Actually, I just clipped them yesterday, so kudos to me!) The reason for the necessity of this maintenance is that impetigo is highly contagious and can spread to openings in the skin, like the ones that sometimes happen when he scratches his face because his nails are too long!


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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What I learned today:

1) Always keep extra wipes in the car, as you never know when you may want them.

2) And when I don’t have wipes? (Or even if I do…) Keep this mantra in mind: He’s building his immunities.

Sometimes I wonder why it’s so hard to say things to certain people. Here’s the situation…

Niko was in need of some new cloth diapers. There’s a shop in Ottawa that supplies them, so we made our way there this afternoon. I parked close to the shop and seeing as there are few steps upon entering, I left my stroller in the car and hauled my not so little babe in, in his car seat.

When we got into the store the clerk was on the phone, another customer had a bawling newborn and there were two toddlers roaming around barefoot. The clerk told me she would help me in a minute, but actually another clerk showed up instead. Niko was acting a little fussy, so I was asking questions about the diapers while rocking his car seat at my feet. At one point I stopped rocking it, got into a convo with the clerk and when I  looked down again Niko was being invaded by one curious little toddler (a girl of about three). She had crept up quietly and was intently looking at the little guy, crouched just a few inches from his face. I didn’t even know where she came from, but smiled and told her his name was Niko. Then her sister showed up, probably about two years old, and they were both gazing in at little Niko.

Meanwhile, the clerk continued to help me while the other one still gabbed on the phone, with a customer I think (hope). By this point I was only half listening as I also wanted to supervise what was going on underfoot. The little girls ended up touching his toys and holding his hands, to which I responded in the nicest voice I could muster, “Please don’t touch his hands, because he puts them in his mouth.” All I was really thinking was, “Who the heck is their mother and where is she?” The girls continued to fondle Niko and I continued to get internally annoyed while staying outwardly calm and trying to tell them nicely to back off. After about five min. their mom finally came over, she was the other clerk in the store, and she was still on the phone, but she grabbed the girls’ arms and pulled them away. However this did nothing to deter them from continually creeping up. I was getting increasingly annoyed, and the clerk that was helping me, well it was her first day, so she was just learning and really slow at the whole sales process!

By the time I left I was livid (maybe I was overreacting, but that’s just how I felt). Why were this woman’s kids touching my baby? (Well, because they were curious and it’s natural!) But more to the point, why was this woman at work with her kids and why wasn’t she getting them away from my baby?!

When I left the store I called Borys to vent my frustrations, and while he was a willing ear he also gently reminded me that we can’t shield him from everything. True, true. But I was still annoyed and wondering why I didn’t speak up, again? I mean babies can’t speak up for themselves, so the parents are left to do it. I just didn’t know what to say, or how to tell this lady to keep her kids off. I was just there trying to learn about cloth diapers (and trust me there’s A LOT to learn – a million options to be exact!), and while I was trying to learn I ended up being super distracted by these little urchins fondling my baby, not to mention leaning all over his car seat.

Am I overreacting? I know he needs to build his immunities, but I was there (with limited time) as a paying customer not for a play date!

Note: Today I left my condo, for the first time without a diaper bag. I pretty much know Niko’s routine now and I figured we were safe to leave the house without this cumbersome accessory. But you know what? I would have loved to have some wipes in my car post store visit. Seeing as I had no diaper bag, I had no wipes. On the way home I stopped at Shoppers and bought a supply for the car. They are now in my car awaiting any future hiccups, that will inevitably occur.

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What’s the biggest parenting challenge since having the Little N Man? Feeding him meat! Well no, actually, it was probably the first two weeks of his life when he did his time on the inside (otherwise known as the NICU). But second to that – it’s currently happening and it has to do with meat and alternatives. They say (according to the guide given to me by the public health nurse) he should be having 2- 4 tbsps of meat and alternatives a day. But this is the result: he gags on egg yolks, develops a rash with sole, screeches, gags and pukes on chicken – not to mention holds it in his open mouth without swallowing, letting the saliva collect, until it all just naturally sloshes into his bib, or onto his clothes, or onto the floor. And during all these mishaps he continually wipes his tiny little baby hand over his mouth, into his hair, getting food up his nose and into his eyebrows. And sometimes I won’t find it caked there until I see him in a different light, say when we are out and about at a friend’s house.

Anyway, there is this pressure (perhaps self-induced) to get him eating these protein bits! In talking with my friend Laura last night, she calmed me down. Her son (who is almost a year and a half) is a very finicky eater. She has had lots of chats with her pediatrician about it, and he has assured her that every baby will develop in their own time. She also went on to say that the texture of meat is really hard to get used to. So it might not be so much the flavour but the grittiness (or however you want to describe the texture). Our solution then? We’re taking a meat holiday! Goodbye gagging, goodbye saliva collecting chicken, hello eating is enjoyable again! How long will this holiday last? I’d say a week usually does a body good, right? So for now I will continue to hone my culinary skills, but solely as a vegetarian baby chef.

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