ABCs and 123s

August 16, 2010 § 3 Comments

Yesterday, I finally tackled the daunting task of cleaning out the Nemo’s closet.  As I packed up a box of neutral baby clothes for the new bambina of a friend, I took a little stroll down memory lane and reflected on some things I’ve learned.  Here are my ABCs.

A is for ABS.

Oh, my dear abs.  I know you’re in there… somewhere.  Hang in there.  After we’re finished making babies we’ll get you a tummy tuck, I promise.  Until them, we’ll just keep up with our crunches and praise the makers of Spanx.

B is for BATTERIES.

Oh, the onslaught of baby soothing contraptions (swinging things! vibrating things! lullaby making things!) and toys (sirens! lights!) that require batteries.  LOTS OF BATTERIES.  Guaranteed if you hazard a guess on what battery you need, and you will guess wrong.  My survival tactics? A designated screwdriver that is kept handy in a drawer with the sole purpose of opening battery compartments, and writing the amount/type of batteries required in Sharpie on the toy.  Later, drastic cut-back on amount of noise-producing toys.  Mommy WIN.

C is for CRAIGSLIST.

Craigslist, how do I love thee… let me count the ways…   From the humongous armchair I bought for the Nemo’s first bedroom (it later dwarfed our living space but MAN it was comfy), to the Little Tykes car ($30 with a LT easel thrown in) that is the Kid’s favourite thing in the world.  Perusing Craigslist is one of my daily rituals. And one of my favorite things is putting up “free” ads. It is the next best thing to having a pick-up truck. Unwanted things are GONE within the hour.  I’ve unloaded everything from styrofoam coolers to furniture.

 D is for DIRTGIRLWORLD.

This is the greatest little show most people have never seen.  Dirtgirl uses a combination of animation and live-action, and tells the tale of a spunky little Australian farmer and her friends. It talks about where food comes from, being water wise, recycling, and natural living.  (It also pushes Dirtgirl’s nefarious vegetarian agenda, according to Husband. ) This is the only show Nemo watches; I think it’s ruined him for all others.  It’s visually stunning and the music is wonderful.  I know the words to 90% of the episodes, and I don’t even mind.

 E is for EATING.

Feeding Nemo is a joy.  He’s an adventurous little gourmand, will try almost anything at least once, and has been eating basically the same meals as us since he moved to solids.  Most surprising hits include balsamic pesto rotini and chili; surprising misses have been banana bread and jam.

F is for F$%@.

Yes, many Mommy moments include a big ‘ole “F$%@!”  F$%@ when you forget things (diapers, milk, change of clothes), F$%@ when you remember things (the appointment that starts in 10 minutes), F$%@ when you lose things (the only teether that does the trick), F$%@ when you find things (a bottle that rolled under the seat a week prior… god, I hope it was only a week).

G is for GROCERY STORE.

When Nemo was brand-new, the grocery store became my main out-of-the-house destination.  As we were within walking distance of a Walmart Supercentre, I spent an inordinate amount of time there.  After we moved, I vowed to stay away from Walmarts and I haven’t been back to one since (10 months and counting) but I’m fairly sure I could still find anything in that Supercentre in record time.  There’s a permanent map of it in my brain.

H is for HAIR.

When it’s long, Nemo has a gorgeous head of blonde curls.  I love them, and he really loves them, gauging by the way he reacts to a haircut.  But to make life easier, we just chop it off when it get a little too wild.  And as much as I love his hair, I don’t love the strangers who reach out and try to touch it.  How is that normal?  Since we’ve started keeping it shorter, the weird grabby stranger incidents have been drastically reduced.  Now they just comment on his big blue eyes, which is fine.   I’m just hoping that no one tries to paw his eyeballs.  

I is for ICE CUBE TRAYS.

When I decided that I would make all of Nemo’s food, I didn’t have any idea what I was getting myself into.  Which was for the best, as if I had realized the amount of work involved ahead of time I probably would have given up.  I spend a big part of last summer – one of the hottest on record – standing in the kitchen, steaming pounds of carrots, broccoli and cauliflower, roasting sweet potatoes and butternut squashes, and pureeing it all in huge bowls.  Finally, the last step would be to carefully spoon it all into ice cube trays.  Ultimately, it has been supremely rewarding for me to know that I have made 99% of the food that has ever crossed his lips.  But wow, so much work, and sometimes rather disturbing, as was the case when I found myself pureering 5 pounds of chicken. As a former vegetarian (12+ years), it truly was a revolting experience. Shudder.

J is for JEOPARDY.

I remember trying to play along with Jeopardy not long after Nemo was born.  No dice.  This is one of my first memories of mommy brain.  It was like trying to think underwater.

K is for KOFFEE KLATCH.

I’m pretty sure koffee klatches with other Mommas kept me sane that first year.  Lots of these early klatches were courtesy of Meetup.com.  Signing up was a godsend.  Being new to area and a stay-at-home-mom, I had few opportunities to meet new people.  Then at my first meetup, I met Rilla and her kiddo, Spud! Rilla is one of my best friends and Spud was Nemo’s first bona fide playmate. They rock. Thanks, Meetup!

L is for LOSING IT.

Know this: you will lose it, and you will lose it more than once.  You will lose it over big things and little things.  You will lose more easily when you’re completely sleep-deprived.  It’s entirely normal.  Just take a minute, cry, scream, and get back to enjoying the ride.

M is for MOBILES.

The first thing I ever purchased purely off a fellow Mom’s recommendation was the Nemo’s mobile.  One of the best purchases I ever made.  Seriously, I need to be invited to a baby shower just so I can give one as a gift.  The Kid still loves it, probably a year or more after we bought it.  Listening to other Moms is a Very Good Idea.

 N is for NAPS.

Never before has napping taken on such monumental importance.  Your days will sometimes revolve around the taking (or not taking) of naps.

 O is for OATMEAL.

I have mastered what Nemo considers the perfect oatmeal.   One part oats, one part water, one part all-natural “cider-type” apple juice, like Santa Cruz.  Bring to a boil and then simmer (lid on) for 4 minutes.  I’ve added raisins, grated apple, blueberries, unsweetened coconut, and even some leftover sweet potato.  It’s always great.  Know what else is great? The Oatmeal!

P is for PHOTOS.

Remember to take lots of photos, and BACK THEM UP.  Sites like Photobucket or Picasa Web Albums are great.  Burn them on DVDs too.

Q is for QUILT.

About a month before Nemo was born, I was hospitalized with kidney stones.  When the pain would get really terrible, the nurses would grab me a warm blanket and it always helped me relax.  I decided to adapt this for the Kid, and we started warming his towel and quilt in the dryer before bath time.  He loved it, and still does. 

R is for ROOMBA.

Your floor will be messy.  It will be the first time you will think the Roomba really is a good idea.  This is the second time.  Cuteness overload! 

S is for STROLLERS.

No matter how much disdain you have for people who fork over hundreds of dollars for a stroller, you may find yourself joining their ranks.  A great stroller will change your life.  I’m still in love with my BOB Revolution.   It goes EVERYWHERE.  From freakishly narrow dollar store aisles to rocky trails.  Plus, it folds up so compactly that we were even able to squeeze it in the trunk of our old hatchback.

T is for TRADING.

Try to find a toy store that accepts trades for store credit.  Toy Traders is the largest independent toy store in BC, and quite possibly the greatest toy store in the world.  If you live in the Lower Mainland, have kids and have never been there – GO.  You can thank me later.  They have an amazing selection of new toys, and unbelievable prices on used toys and baby equipment.  But the best part?  The jaw-dropping vintage toy displays.  These pictures don’t even do them justice.  Just go.  Bring your gently-used toys with you, along with any Canadian Tire money you have kicking around.  They accept it at par.  

U is for UMPTEENTH.

Many things get done for the umpteenth time.  Some are good, some are bad.  Waking up for hourly nocturnal feedings, picking up spoons off the floor, doing more laundry than you ever dreamed possible… not so fun.  But re-reading that favourite bed time story?  Making silly noises and faces for giggles?  A pleasure to do for the umpteenth times.  (For the record, Husband and I are divided on whether reading Dr. Seuss’ Sleep Book to the point of near-fluency is a positive or negative umpteenth.  I just love it, it’s so funny and sweet… he thinks we need a new bedtime book.)

V is for VALUE VILLAGE.

My love affair with Value Village began many years ago, but having a child has only made it sweeter still.  I’m not at all ashamed to say that I get about 90% of the Nemo’s clothes there.  And damn, my kid looks good!  Gap, Mexx, Children’s Place, Please Mum, H&M… all under $5 an item.  Value Village was also a lifesaver when I got serious about losing weight and started needing sizes in between my old size and my goal.  I was able to get new jeans every few weeks for under $10 a pop (Silver, Mavi and American Eagle) and tops for under $5.  Then I’d donate the ones I no longer wanted before my next trip.  Recycling, huzzah! We’ve also found some amazing children’s books there, like When Vegetables Go Bad and Superdog: The Heart of a Hero.  HILARIOUS.

W is for WATERBABIES.

If there is one thing I know I did right, it was putting Nemo in Waterbabies.  We made a point of introducing him to the water early, and were fortunate enough that the apartment complex we spent his first summer in had an outdoor pool.  Nemo is borderline Mer-baby.  He has fallen asleep twice in the pool.  He jumps in on his own, loves going underwater, holds his breath like a champ, and has just started some impressive solo back floats (6 seconds in the pool earlier today).  

X is for XYLOPHONE.

Many toys, like the xylophone, have mallets.  A toddler has a hard time understanding why after 10 minutes of coaching him to smash things, you suddenly get picky when it comes to your fingers. Keep your fingers clear of the danger zone.

Y is for YOURSELF.

Unless you choose to become what I call a “capital M” Mom, make sure you don’t lose yourself in the sea of momminess.  I am me.  Yes, I happen to be a mom, but I’m a helluva lot of other stuff too.

Z is for ZEALOTS.

Beware of parenting zealots.  If I had blindly followed everything I have been told or have read about since becoming a mom, I would have taken the train to crazy town a long time ago.  Don’t co-sleep, co-sleep until they’re 20… wear your baby everywhere, OR watch out – baby slings are death traps that will kill your baby!  I have no problem with my own style of parenting – which I call the buffet.  I take my time and take a little from here, and a little from there.

And I make sure I get a lot of the good stuff.

Cheers.

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