Thursday, February 20, 2014

Safety First (or at least, eventually)!

Hi Folks! I thought I would do a post about baby proofing and my safety gate for our stairs. We *just* put one up two weeks ago. We live in a split level, and it was really hard to figure out how to jerry rig gates to be secure on our main living area. The typical swing gates just didn't really work with our area, because one side only could go against a spindles, etc. I actually tried with some hand-me-down gates that a co-worker gave me, and all I succeeded in doing was making a lot of unnecessary holes in our drywall and wood trim. Nice. (p.s. The holes are still there, and may always be there for all of eternity).

So, I googled split levels and safety gates and Internet researched a lot, until I came across a mommy blog with a good solution. Here is a link to that post:

She had the exact same set up as I did, so I basically just bought the exact same gate with the exact same extension (the gate had a slightly different name just due to the passage of time thought, I think).

Here is my set up:

The gate I bought was the Custom Fit Auto Close ConfigureGate ® G3000. I also purchased one 24" extension (G4310). I bought them ay Buy Buy Baby with coupons, so altogether, the price was about $124. As far as gates go, that was a little on the steep side, but it was really two gates in one, and they are really well made. It was very simple to put together. It still took some time, just making sure everything was in the right spot, but it wasn't frustrating.

I really like this gate particularly for our setup for the following reasons: when it is closed, you can still go from the top to the lower level without having to go through any gates (rather than having to go through two); there is a little "landing area" before you go up or down the stairs, which is nice; the gate will close on its own, but you can also open it all the way to 90 degrees and it will stay open (this is good for us at night, so Shelbs can walk around everywhere if she wants. We also leave it open while we are at work for Shelbs). Speaking of Shelby, she has no problem really with the gate being closed while we are all on the main level, probably because she is usually there with us anyways and doesn't want to go anywhere else. Once, I accidentally closed it behind me when Ben and I went upstairs, and she cried at the bottom because she wanted to come up with us. First child syndrome.

So far, it has been great. Before I got the gates, I played around with the idea of not having any gates. My reasoning was that, first, my space was hard to do (and I was being lazy). Second, we had been living for the past few months with just chasing him before he got to the stairs. About half the time, we would just let him crawl up for play (with us basically there holding him). Third, I figured that way I could teach him early on how to climb up and down the stairs, and he would just be more responsible about it.

Once I saw the set-up from that other mommy blog, I new it would work for our space without a ton of effort, so the first point was taken care of. Now that we have it, it is so much better. We are still with him all of the time, but he is FAST. So it is just nice that I don't have to worry about him making it to the stairs before I do. I am still a bit worried about the third point - I want him to learn to go up and down stairs in a safe way on his own. So, I am just going to try to remember to open the gate and let him go up and down with supervision on the regular.

So far, it has been sturdy and done its job! Other safety measures we have taken since Ben became mobile have been to put the little electrical socket plastic thingies in all of the empty sockets, to put locks on the kitchen cabinet doors (except for one cabinet that just has pans in it that I let him play in), and put a knob lock on the pantry door. We also just got rid of our coffee table in our living room for now. We did this mainly just so we would have more carpeted play space for him, but I guess it also has a safety benefit because he won't be banging into it. We have a fireplace, but don't have a raised hearth, so we didn't have to worry about that. I also rearranged our hall linen closet so that our extra medicine and toiletries were farther up top and the sheets were lower.

The only thing that I really want to still do is to get the a few furniture anchors for some of the bigger items around our house (a few tall pieces of furniture, a leaning mirror, etc). The ones that I wanted weren't at the store when I went last time, so I will probably order a few online and do that within the next couple of weeks. Then, I think, I will be pretty much done (woo hoo!). I also might put our cleaning items below the sink in a higher cabinet. It is behind a lock now, so I am not too worried about it, but I may just take that extra safety measure as that lock gets opened a lot due to the trash can being in there as well.

All in all, baby proofing hasn't been too bad. But really, nothing is totally baby proof. The cabinet with the pans could easily poke him in the eye, and he is constantly banging his head everywhere. The most recent thing Ben hit his head on was Dan's shin, so I don't know how we could have baby proofed that. I think the most you can do is just try to reduce major hazards and keep an eye on him!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Bienvenidos a Miami!

God I miss the 90s. Remember when Will Smith was just bouncing in the club where the heat was on and all night on the beach till the break of dawn? Those were the days.

ANYWAYs, sorry I didn't do my thoughts on last week's episode. I had a busy morning at work, and to be honest, I thought it was a sort of boring ep. Except for the part where they flung poo on each other (obvi). Is there anything more hilarious and sexy than a feces fight?!?! (Answer: No).

This week, Sharleen gets the first date. She was happy to get it, because she felt she needed the time to really determine whether she should stay on. As we all know, she decided to leave. I think she has had doubts from the beginning, and it was smart of her to trust her gut and leave before the hometowns. We do NOT need another break up on the pier of doom a la Des and Brooks. That being said, I am confused as to why she didn't discuss her doubts with J.P. during their actual date. I mean, I get that apparently she had a hard time sustaining any convo at all between all the face sucking, but it seems to me that she might have at least expressed her concerns to J.P. to see what he had to say about it. But, maybe it didn't matter what he had to say. Which isn't a bad thing, maybe she just thought it would be there if it was there. And what wasn't there, according to Sharleen, was a "cerebral connection." Bless her heart! I could have told her that before this season even started! Juan Pabs would be an awesome fling for Sharleen on an extended Miami vacation while she is on furlough from Germany, but he isn't her long haul guy.

Nikki got the second date, which ended up being a trip to Cameeeela's dance recital. Nikki got to meet J.P.'s rents and the dreaded ex. And Cameeeeeela, of course. My first instinct at learning this information was to feel woefully sorry for Nikki on her choice of outfit. Had she known she would be attending a children's recital and meeting important members of J.P.'s fam, I have to think she would have not chosen hoochie shorts, a very cleavage-y flowy top, and a kimono style robe/jacket. Poor thing - she was probably thinking - OH! I will break out my "edgy" super casual clothes for hot Miami! However, she put on her big girl pants (metaphorically, of course) and jumped right into the situation. Things seem to be civil between JP and his ex, which is good, even if the ex did not seem to be throwing somersaults at Nikki's presence. Later, Nikki and JP went to the Marlin' 'stadium and talked and kissed and stuff.

On the group date, nothing really happened with Renee or Chelsea, and Clare and Andi both cried. I thought it was hilarious that Andi told the camera that JP had never really seen that side of her before, because this was literally the third time (just off the top of my head) that JP has talked her off an emotional whiny ledge. (Not that I don't like Andi, I do, it was just funny). Clare had tears due to her father, which was touching, even if Clare is not my fav. I can't believe she is the youngest of six daughters. That will be an interesting hometown! When JP gave the rose to Andi, Clare was PO-ED. Instantly, her appearance went from self-assured and happy to frazzled, mad, and slightly crazy. She was obviously spoiling for a fight when she got back to the hotel, and Nikki was her eventual target.

You all know, that I hate the Nikki-hate! First off, it was annoying when Chelsea said that "Nikki is soooo negative," when Nikki made jokes about hoping she wasn't going to dance on her date. It was a joke, she was grinning the whole time, she obviously wasn't actually complaining.

Now, to address the Clare/Nikki showdown. LOVED IT. Super funny. Clearly, Clare was the dumbass here. She was mad about not getting the date rose, and essentially taking it out on Nikki. When the three gals got home, they called for Nikki to come downstairs. She did. They told her about their date and what it bummer it was. She said ok, and that they were acting weird. Which they were. Clare was like - I am just not going to be fake about it. And then she said - I guess Andi just needed that reassurance. Now - this statement was clearly a set up to get started talk about JP giving Andi the date rose. Second, the statement assumes that the date rose should have actually gone to someone else and that JP must not really like Andi all that much. Nikki said - That's so stupid and just left the room.

I don't think that that response was horrible. Andi and Nikki are clearly close, and she didn't feel like listening to Clare debate why Andi shouldn't have received the date rose. But Clare wanted to fight, so she followed Nikki upstairs. Nikki explained that she saw the way the convo was going and didn't want to be a part of it. Clare said that she wasn't talking sh*t about Andi - OK fine. Nikki was honest with Clare - hey we are never going to like each other, so let's just leave it. But Clare was doing that insane thing that people do in fights sometimes by refusing to leave. I thought it was hilarious when Nikki told her she could excuse herself. I am with Nikki on this one, that was clearly Nikki's sleeping space, and Clare should leave if Nikki alone if she asks her to.

To absolutely no one's surprise, Chelsea went home. I cannot WAIT until next week because I NEED to know what happens in the fantasy suite that has Andi so mad! I also cannot wait to meet Clare's "big crazy family," "because she didn't get crazy all on her own." Tee hee.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Bottle and Feeding Update (11 Months)

Nom nom! I talk below about my struggles with Ben and "healthy eating."
In this case, I had an ice cream cone and it felt cruel not to give him a taste. Spoiler alert: he loved it.

Hey Ya'll! I thought I would do an update on what Ben is eating and drinking these days. I can't believe that the transition to cow's milk will start next month! I am completely unclear on how I will do the transition - will I still put the cow's milk in bottles or try just putting it in sippy cups and wean off the bottles? Will I transition to cow's milk slowly or full turkey? (is that a saying?) If I transition slowly, does that mean I mix the formula and cow's milk together or just alternate what he gets? I am sure there is a "right" way to do these things, and I am just completely clueless. Whenever I talk to daycare about starting to transition him off the bottles, they look at my like I am a Nazi. BUT, at daycare he is supposed to be fully off bottles and pacifiers by 16 months! That is just four and a half short months away! I shudder to think about how he will nap without a paci, but I guess it is good to start weaning him off that too.

Soooooo, here is how it goes down currently on the weekdays:

First Bottle - 6 oz. when he wakes up (around 7am).

Breakfast (appx. 7:20am) - He will have some puffs/cheerios in his highchair (along with a sippy of water) while Dan and I run around getting things ready to go in the morning. We give him a handful, he eats appx. two, and feeds the rest one by one to Shelby, while smiling and saying "Uh oh!"

Second Breakfast (appx. 8am) - When he gets to daycare, he usually gets a cracker, some cheese puffs, and/or puffs. At some point, he also gets some banana (I put a banana in his bag each morning).

Second Bottle - 5oz. They usually give him his second bottle between 9am and 10am.

Lunch (appx. 11:30am) - Daycare prepares lunch everyday, and feeds the baby appropriate stuff to the babies eating solids. I have no clue how that goes down or the quantity that he actually eats, but they say he is usually a good eater. Sample lunches include: Vegetarian Chili with Kidney Beans, Rice, Pineapple Tidbits; Chicken Patty Sandwich with Green Beans and Applesauce, Pizza Muffins with Mandarin Oranges and Peas, Beef Taco Casserole with Pinto Beans and Peaches. I also send a fruit/veggie pouch in, and they normally give that to him at lunch as well. I think it supplements the lunch since there are a few things here and there that he might not be ready to eat yet.

Third Bottle - 5 oz. They usually give him his third bottle between 12:00pm and 1:00pm.

Snack - He normally gets a snack of a few puffs sometime in the afternoon.

Second Snack - I also send in a yogurt (Yo Baby) each day. They normally feed this to him around 3pm.

Fourth Bottle - They normally give this to him like around 3:45ish.

Dinner - Dinner is a crazy free for all. He is normally not too hungry, which is not that surprising considering all the food, snacks, and bottles that he gets during the day. Occasionally, he is starving though. Dinner can be anything. Pasta, chicken, beef, etc. I try to do a protein, veggie, and a carb. (The carb is usually the baby cheese puff (Gerber)) and maybe a cracker. I wait to give them to him until after he eats a fair amount of the protein and veggie and he gets restless. Sometimes, this happens in 30 seconds. He loves those cheese puffs. I know it is not the most healthy thing, but I try to parse them out, and he realllllly loves them. It can buy me about 5 minutes of time so that I can eat a little dinner myself while he is in his highchair. As far as veggies go, he loves green beans. He also likes broccoli and peas. The green beans and peas are from a can. The broccoli is from the freezer. Martha Stewart, I am not. I normally give him a Gerber arrowroot cookie at the end.

Fifth (and last) Bottle - 6oz. Given before bedtime at about 7pm.

A few notes about healthy eating: I really want to try and teach Ben healthy eating habits, and everyday I feel like I am failing. Every time I hand him a cheese puff or a cracker or a chicken nugget, there is a nagging voice in the back of my head saying, "Geez, you suck at this. Can't you get it together and feed him something tasty and healthy? His teeth are going to rot, and he is going to be on the Biggest Loser!"

I really struggle with it. I was never good at planning ahead to prepare meals to begin with, so I am certainly not good at it now. It is one of my (infinite) weaknesses. Countless times our pediatrician has talked to me about good nutrition and how kids are programmed to be unhealthy due to the ingredients of food and what they are given when they are babies. And I nod and make agreement noises, because it's all true. It is just so hard in practice. (One example he gave me was baby yogurt. He started by saying yogurt is a really awesome snack for babies because of the protein and calcium, and he encouraged me to feed it to Ben. But he said, just start them on plain, unsweetened regular yogurt, not baby yogurt, which has too much sugar. Do you know how hard it is to find plain unsweetened yogurt at our Safeway? It's ridiculous! They only sold it in the big pints. The baby yogurt is sold in the convenient individual packages. For daycare, this is what I need. I did buy a huge thing of the plain. Obviously, Ben didn't like it as much, and I threw most of it out).

I think what I need is a plan of sorts. Weekday dinner is always a last minute affair. So, if I do come up with a plan that is awesome (or semi-workable for me), I will let ya'll know!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Juan Real Jerkface

Ok, I know that we are supposed to think that our Bachelors all hung the moon. And normally, I can jump onto that bandwagon pretty easily. The only time I really despised a Bachelor was when it was Jake Pavelka. Just saying his name causes me to throw up in my mouth a little. But now, Juan Pablo is really starting to rub me the wrong way (sorry, was that too explicit for Cameeeela???).

Although it happened towards the end of the episode, I am going to jump right into the Clare situation. During the group date she was on, Juan Pablo took her to his suite during their personal time so that they could set a good example for Cameeeela in the pool. After the group date, Clare returned to Juan Pablo's suite to ask him if he would like to "swim in the warm waters" of the ocean with her. He showed no hesitation and changed into his swimsuit so quickly, Superman would have been proud. The frolicked into the ocean and proceeded to.....? The audience was basically led to believe that they experienced the physical act of amor.

Cut to the cocktail party (after his date with Nikki and time with other women), and Juan Pablo is thinking that his 4am romp with Clare was a bad idea in retrospect. Here is where Juan Uh-Oh gets jerky. He pulls Clare aside to just let her know that he thinks it was terrible idea and unfair to the other ladies. Oh, by the way, he has a daughter. Clare rightly freaks.

Don't Look at Me!
Here is the thing, if he is regretting the romp, then fine. He could regret it all on his own, tell the confessional cameras that he wasn't going to have anymore outings like that for now. What was the point of making Clare feel badly? Last time I checked, he was the one with the daughter, not Clare. He had the opportunity to NOT go on the romp, but he chose to anyways. It seems like he is not taking responsibility for his own actions, but putting them all on Clare. Nothing was accomplished by his conversation with her, other than making her feel terrible about herself (and, hopefully, po-ed at him).  It was unlikely that anything was going to happen like that again, but if she did decide to come to his room again in the middle of the night in the future, he could tell her then that he decided to cool things. Juan Uh-oh appeared very condescending during that whole exchange. I want to like him, I really do. I keep hoping that every time he aggravates me that it is just due to the language barrier, but I am beginning to think that is not the case.

Otherwise, he had good dates with Renee and Nikki, both of whom I like a lot. Renee seems sweet. Again, it was aggravating for Juan Pablo to pull the whole - I am not going to kiss her because we have kids thing. It just seems hypocritical since he is kissing all of the others (including Cassandra who has a kid). It's like Juan Pablo just randomly decides when he is going to have misplaced morals. Be consistent dude. But, Renee finally got her kiss at the end of the episode, and I was happy for her. P.S. I feel like she was not thrilled about her dress that was specially made for her on her date.

Poor, poor Nikki. It is not enough that Juan Pablo made her dance like a jacka** in front of thousands of people dressed like a bratz doll, now he is insisting that she lower herself slowly via a rope into a hellish, dark cave. After her panic attack, she managed to repel down, especially after receiving a magical curing smooch from Juan Pabs. They had some good conversation, and she talked about her job, which obviously just endeared her to me more. However, I think her expectations for dinner conversation were low. In her confessional time she talked about how amazed she was that Juan Pablo asked her about her job and how much that meant to her. To me, that is pretty standard first date material (i.e. Tell me about what you do for a living). If he would have asked her her middle name, she would have been ready to marry him on the spot.

The ladies were all jelly of Clare during the group date, but Chelsea wisely noted it was just because he seemed to like her more than anyone else. Andi, the lawyer, (who I also like) was PO-ed about not getting a One on Juan this week, and just generally feeling pooped out about being there. Normally, I roll my eyes about this, but I can see her point. She seems like a catch! But she was put to ease instantly when Juan Pah-blo said to "truuust meeee."

The three gals who were eliminated surprised absolutely no one. At this point, I think that Andi is the only one remaining who has not received a One on Juan, so that has to happen next week (and it looked that way from the previews.) And where is our Two on Juan date??? Are they not having one this year!? Shenanigans!  

Hopefully Juan Pabs will redeem himself to me next week! But, I don't know if I can forgive him so soon. I have a son, you see, and I have to set a good example for him.