Category Archives: N

Top Toddler Tip for Staying Up Late

By Jac Baby N

I wanted to write another post on mommy’s blog today because it has been a while! Hi everybody! Today I want to write a message just for all the other toddlers out there and no one else, mostly because I am a bit mad at Mommy. She won’t let me ride on her back like a horsie all day, she says she needs to take a turn brushing my teeth even when I won’t open my mouth, and when I am trying to put a puzzle piece in by MYSELF, she says I’ve got it upside down and tries to help me, but I don’t want her to help me and the puzzle piece WON’T GO IN SO HELP ME NO DON’T HELP ME. One time when I was screaming and trying to shove the stool across the kitchen so I could climb into the cookie cupboard, I even overheard my Mommy tell another kid’s Mommy that the “terrible twos” actually started earlier than two. I have a response to that hurtful comment, Mommy: “GIVE ME THE COOKIE!” Continue reading

Tips for Airplane Travel With Toddlers … and Why They Won’t Work

By Jac

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My husband’s brother and his wife just had a baby, so this past weekend I flew to New Mexico to see them and to meet my beautiful new niece. Children under two are free on planes, so it made sense for me to take my nineteen-month-old with me to meet her cousin, and to make it easier for Daddy at home with the others. It seemed like such a good idea at the time … but as I was packing to go, I started to wonder what I’d done. She is just about the toughest age for traveling with — too big and wiggly and independent to sit on my lap, too small to listen to anything I am telling her. Continue reading

What Were We Thinking? Picking a Christmas Tree With a Family of Six

I mean that title literally: here’s my best guess as to what everyone in my family was thinking while we walked through the U-Cut tree farm, picking our Christmas tree, just a few weeks ago.

Our thoughts …

One-year-old N: Put me down! I will wiggle and wriggle and lunge for the ground until you put me on the ground like the big kids. Now pick me up! Why am I so far away from you when it’s so cold out and I’m tired? I will cry and reach for you till you do it. Hey! Put me down! It’s boring up here and I want to see what’s down there. No! Pick me up! Continue reading

Baby N Does Timberline Ranch

Yesterday afternoon, we went to Country Christmas at Timberline Ranch, a local camp and convention centre. It’s a particularly special place for me as I went to summer camp there when I was a kid, and worked as a counsellor there for a few weeks each summer in my high-school years. They have done a great job of this well-organized Christmas event, and we all had a great time! Baby N wanted to tell you all about it, and show you the pictures of her favourite parts. Please especially check out the background of the pictures for crowds: there aren’t any. This was definitely a huge bonus: we never once thought, “This would be great if there were fewer people.” Instead, it was just great. Anyway, Baby N wrote a post once, and it was so successful I decided that she should tell you about our day yesterday! And show you, too, with lots of pictures. Here she is!

Hi Mommy’s blog! It’s good to be back. We went to a thing yesterday, and I was SO HAPPY there! So much to poke and point to, lay on and lick! There were even amazing home-made cookies to decorate, with icing and candy, and Mommy and Daddy let me lick them! No pictures of that, though. Mommy was a bit too busy carrying all of our coats and boots and mittens and socks.

This is me in that big room where I crawled on the floor and tried to push those trees over while my sisters went into another room to listen to a Christmas story, and then they made a really nice craft! I didn’t get to go because of all the eye-ball poking I wanted to do. I guess that makes sisters get mad and noisy (funny!) and then they can’t listen.

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This is my whole family! We are wearing costumes! My Daddy’s costume shirt is almost exactly like his regular shirt and Mommy thought that was hilarious. I did NOT want to wear a hat, no no no.

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This room was really fun because you were supposed to throw those snowballs at those targets, but if you wanted to, you could try to crawl under the fence instead and make your Mom pull you out of there over and over. So funny!

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Noisy sister and Jumpy sister rode that big neigh!

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I got to watch them. I liked to yell and scream as they went by. Mommy had to pick me up and take me away for some reason, and I did not want her to!

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Noisy Sister really liked this game. I liked to lay down on the dirt while she played it.

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There were animals I was allowed to touch! They wanted me to poke them in the eye, I think. I almost got that fence open, too! Darn you, Daddy, for stopping me.

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Pushy Sister did NOT want to sit beside me on the comfy hay.

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There was also a wagon ride! Mommy wouldn’t let me climb out of the wagon, or hit her repeatedly in the chest with my head, so I decided to thrash on the floor and yell. Mom did not seem to think this was fun, but she should have let me climb out of the wagon then!

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I’m not sure what this is, but it was my favourite part.

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Thanks Timberline Ranch! I had lots of fun even though Daddy didn’t let me play in the boys’ bathroom for as long as I wanted to!
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See you next Christmas!

How to Celebrate a One-Year-Old’s Birthday

A ten-month-old Baby N celebrates her big sister's birthday with a hat and a grin.

A ten-month-old Baby N celebrates her big sister’s birthday with a hat and a grin.

It’s my youngest daughter’s first birthday today. Our sweet little baby nugget is turning into a hilarious and strong-willed child before our very eyes, and this great occasion deserves to be celebrated. But how? Obviously the expected answer would be to have a birthday party, but what are the requirements of such a party for a person who is basically still a baby? Having had three previous first birthdays to deal with, I’m a certified expert on such things, so I’ve compiled a list of all the things I’m pretty sure my one-year-old needs.

Requirements for a first birthday:
1) Photographic evidence that the birthday girl was given a special dessert treat (some cake, or a cupcake, or a gluten-free chocolate muffin, or even piece of sushi with a candle in it) to enjoy and rub all over her face and into her hair.

That’s it. That’s the whole list. Because, as you know, the kid is not going to remember it. She is a BABY. From now on, at every birthday for the rest of her life, she will have expectations: she will expect PRESENTS and CAKE and GOODY BAGS and ALL HER FRIENDS and ATTENTION. But just this once, anything that happens will be a delighful surprise, even if that “anything” is just a few extra tickles and—prize of all prizes—a single balloon. So this year, all I need is proof for the future that her first birthday was celebrated, and that she was adorable.

However, I understand that there may be good reasons to not basically ignore your child’s important birthday milestone. Because, while the baby requires very little, there may be others who require more. In our case, it’s the big sisters. It’s baby N’s birthday, so everyone wants pancakes for breakfast, and to give her a present they did not pay for themselves along with a card they scribbled just that morning. For some people, there are extended families who want to come over for a full dinner and present-giving extravaganza. Hopefully, they are the ones bringing the dinner and the presents.

Finally, there’s you, the baby’s parent. What do you want? If it’s easier for you to enjoy this milestone without any fanfare, just put a candle into a cupcake, take a picture, and call it a great day. I did this with two of my four children, and they seem fine with it, really. But if you want to embrace the party planning so you can gratefully share the day with your friends and family, do that! Either way, your baby’s birthday is happening. She is no longer a baby, and you probably have mixed feelings about this. You are getting closer to sleeping through the night again, but you also know that you can’t go backward and experience this child as a tiny, helpless, squeaking, dependent newborn again.

How did it go so quickly when it felt like it would never end?

Look at her now! She’s a PERSON. She wants things, and then she crawls or walks toward them; when she sees you, she recognizes your face and squeals with happiness; she remembers the game you played yesterday, and wants you to play it over and over again (it’s peekaboo, by the way. They ALWAYS want peekaboo). This amazing “growing up” thing she’s doing is going to continue, and you are going to be there for it, making it happen.

So that’s why I’m having a (small, haphazardly planned) first birthday party for my fourth baby. She doesn’t care, but I do. Happy birthday, baby N. That whole baby thing—with the crying and the nursing and the not sleeping and the all-encompassing dependence—we did it, you and I. We did it. Now let’s eat cake.

When a Baby Does the Gratitude Challenge

Hi. I’m Baby N. My Mommy was tagged by a friend to do the gratitude challenge* on Facebook, and she just kind of ignored it. She said that she’s “grateful” her friends won’t mind too much about that, but I think that she has a bad attitude about it, which is a little hypocritical considering how often she tells my big sisters they need “a check-up from the neck up.”

Considering that I have a good attitude about lots of things these days, except vegetables and people I don’t know and falling down, I decided that I would accept the gratitude challenge instead of Mommy.

You won't see balloons on this list. That is because they are SO AMAZING but then they pop and I am NOT grateful for that.

You won’t see balloons on this list. That is because they are SO AMAZING but then they pop and I am NOT grateful for that.

Really, I am grateful for all the things. I like biting them, and crawling after them, and climbing over them, and banging them together. But please enjoy a few of the best things that I like especially much.

1. Every morning my Mommy or Daddy gets me from my crib where I am standing in a poopy diaper yelling “Uh-Oh” over and over because that’s my only word, and they come and change me and say, “Why are you up already?” Then they bring me into their bed because they hope to keep sleeping while I play nicely with a toy. But, instead, I like to stand up by the windowsill and pull on the blind and hit it and yank it and shake it. So then they OPEN the blind and this brings me to what I am grateful for: because do you know what is out there behind the blind every single morning, and always surprises me? The OUTSIDE! Every day! You can stand there, and look out at it, and hit the window while you look out there, and if you stand on Daddy’s head you can see it from a bit higher up, which is so amazing. I love the outside.

2. I am also grateful for the STAIRS. I finally figured out how to go down them so I don’t get stuck at the top anymore, and now I can go up and down, and up and down, all day. Mommy likes to play this game with me where she picks me up and carries me far, far away from the stairs, and then I get to make my way back to the stairs. Sometimes I just book it right back to them because I love them, and sometimes I go slowly so I can stop to play in the toilet water or pull stuff out of the kitchen cupboards along the way. But I always win the game because I end up back at my favourite place, going up and down, and up and down.**

3. BUTTONS! All of the buttons do something! I push them and they click or they beep or they flash or they make the TV stop or they make Mommy say, “No! You’re going to call 911!” Then when she takes the buttons away, I get to angry-yell until someone brings me something else interesting (or yummy!) to make me stop yelling. It’s so much fun!

To summarize, being a baby is great. Now, where’s Mommy? I want to eat something with a spoon that I insist on holding myself so most of the food can go into my hair instead of my mouth. Or Mommy’s hair, which is even funnier. I’m pretty hilarious, if you couldn’t tell. My sisters think so, too, even if my Mommy doesn’t always. Silly Mommy. So bye-bye for now!

Mommy is in charge of the pictures, and she wants me to say that I'm grateful for her. And I really am. That's why I don't let anyone else give me a bottle! So she can't go anywhere, ever.

Mommy is in charge of the pictures, and she wants me to say that I’m grateful for her. And I really am. That’s why I don’t let anyone else give me a bottle! So she can’t go anywhere, ever.

*This is a thing where you post a Facebook status with three things you’re grateful for, every day for five days. My Mommy wrote zero things for zero days because she is a party pooper.
**My Mommy asked me to tell you that she knows about baby gates, but we have three floors and four children, and that is a lot of lifting small people over baby gates and she is doing the best she can, so you can just shut up about gates.

Dear First-Time Parents of Babies: You’re Doing Something Wrong

Baby N on our way home from the hospital. And so it begins . . .

Baby N on our way home from the hospital. And so it begins . . .

My fourth baby is almost eight months old, so if anyone’s an expert at this baby thing, it should be me, right? Of all people, I should have it down by now? Two nights ago, Baby N slept “through the night,” a slippery definition if there ever was one. To me, it means that I put her in her crib at a reasonable bedtime—8pm I think it was—and then I did not see her again until the morning, which means 6am or later. Win! The baby and I have this sleeping thing figured out! Supermom!

Then last night, I did everything the same, as far as I can tell. Her nap schedule had been okay, she’d eaten pretty well all day, we had a lovely—if somewhat rushed—bedtime routine, and she fell asleep in her crib at a reasonable hour. All systems go for a good night’s sleep, right? But then she (and I with her) was awake for two hours in the middle of the night. TWO HOURS. That is a LONG time, especially when you accidentally stayed up until midnight reading Divergent. She seemed like she could be uncomfortable, maybe? Or overtired? Or too awake? Too hot? Not enough blankets? Kept taking her pacifier out? Teething? Stomachache from something she ate? Feeling separation anxiety? Probably it was one of those things. Or not.

And before you start giving me advice about what I was doing wrong, remember: she did sleep through the night the day before, and that was not a total fluke. I really feel like I have found the balance between cry-it-out Ferber and bed-sharing Sears that I’m comfortable with and that works for my family. So I do kind of know what I’m doing. But can someone maybe tell Baby N that? Because she seems confused.

I guess what I’ve discovered is that even “easy” babies are just difficult. You don’t know what’s wrong with them until you do. There have been so many times that I’ve had an “Oh!” moment, way later than I should have.

“Oh! She wanted to sleep on her SIDE, all this time!”

“Oh! She needed to be burped longer!”

“Oh! I should have put her in a sleep sack ages ago!”

“Oh! I should have pinned the soother to the sleep sack, so she could find it!”

“Oh! She should be getting an evening snack!”

“Oh! She was ready to give up one of her naps, so she’s just too awake to sleep.”

And I’m only talking about sleeping here, but the same problem can be applied to other baby things, too. (Naps, food, stranger anxiety, crawling into the wall with alarming regularity. . . .)

You first-time parents certainly know this, and you may be wondering, as I did, why other parents don’t seem to be all that stressed out about this stuff. The obvious conclusion is that we veterans have it figured out; we are doing it right the second time around. Well, nope! Guess again! I’m still getting it wrong, as Baby N would tell you if she could (and if she does, could you ask her to communicate with me too, please?). Actually, I think the reason that we parents of multiple children often don’t seem too stressed out about this is that we know—first-hand, in our bones—that this stuff gets easier when they get older. Everyone, everyone, knows this, but you have to experience it to really KNOW it. Babyness lasts forever when you’re the one in charge of the baby, but when you’ve done it once, you can actually believe that it will end because you have the non-baby kid to parent every day, proving it to you.

Another reason it’s easier the second time is that our bodies have done this weird sleep-deprivation-adjustment thing. We’re tired, it’s fuzzy in our brains, we need copious amounts of coffee, but we still just run better on three hours of sleep than we used to, or than we ever will again (so I’m told). This makes us seem more cheerful during the day when you see us. But at 3am when the baby just won’t shut up, I assure you that “cheerful” is the last word you’d use to describe me.

I know that you don’t need to hear that it will get easier, and you don’t need me to offer suggestions about how to make it easier. But can we just say together, you with your first baby and I with my fourth: Wouldn’t it be great if our (adorable, wonderful, so very loved) babies were just easier?

Because no baby will tell her parents what she wants. And you won’t figure it out until suddenly you do, or until the baby grows out of it and you don’t need to worry about that specific problem anymore.

So, first time parents of babies, who feel like this whole baby thing would be easier if they could just figure out what the darn baby wanted, to you I say: you’re right, it would be. We are definitely doing something wrong. Beats me if I know what it is, though.

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