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Archive for the ‘Efficient Mommy’ Category

60 Second Blip

60 seconds and go!

Buddy Bear is mobile now. Translation: he never STOPS MOVING! Which meant diaper changes were next to impossible. As soon as I took his diaper off, there was a little naked butt rocketing down the hall! On light carpet. In a rented house. You see why I couldn’t just leave him to his nudist inclinations?

30 seconds.

Enter distractions.

Not so good when we’re trying to eat, sleep, or do most things. But a new (to his eyes) toy whipped out just as the diaper came off? Success!!

Buddy Bear is distracted for the 18 seconds it takes to put his prefold diaper on and I feel a little more sane.

For now.

60 seconds.

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We just got back from an awesome vacation in the United States of America. It was great, BUSY and fun! It was also our first time travelling anywhere with Buddy Bear. Let me tell you, I was stressed! But, we survived and I even learned some helpful things for when we travel next. Or maybe even when you travel next?

 

The Do’s and Don’ts of vacationing with a baby

  • Don’t put a white baby in a white shirt
    • Our little Buddy Bear is a special brand of white. We liken his skin tone to clear. As we were visiting family on our vacation, a family picture was necessary. We decided to dress him in a cute little white button-up shirt. We thought he looked rather dapper and darling. Until we saw the pictures and realized that a white baby in a white shirt does not look dapper, but um, washed out and white. VERY, VERY white. Lesson learned
  • Do use an unstuffed cloth pocket diaper as a reusable swim diaper.
    • So thrifty, so very thrifty! And if you already have pocket diapers you’re like 10 steps ahead!
  • Don’t use a cloth swim diaper the day before you fly internationally
    • Nobody wants to travel with a nasty poopy diaper in their carry on. At least I don’t! Which meant a rushed load of laundry on the morning we flew out. Which we almost left in the dryer.
  • Do bring a traveling buddy with you.
    • I cannot imagine taking a baby through an international airport, trying to make a tight connection without Mr. Man’s assistance. Actually, I lied. I CAN imagine it, and it makes me want to cry.
  • Do breastfeed if at all possible
    • Plane taking off? Breastfeeding can help! Baby need help sleeping in a new environment? Breastfeeding can help! Trying to minimize the sheer amount of baggage you’ll be hauling around? Breastfeeding can help! Need I go into more detail?
  • Do bring lots of wet wipes they’re useful for more than diaper changes
    • I’m sure you can fill in the blanks for this one.
  • Do use a cloth unstructured baby carrier
    • Hello? One little (ok, HUGE) piece of fabric can be a renegade blanket, nursing cover, extra modesty provider, as well as allowing you to carry baby hands free. Done and done!
  • Don’t try to institute new sleep habits on vacation
    • All you seasoned parents are laughing at me, I know because I can hear you all the way over here! In my innocence/naiveté I planned to teach Buddy Bear to sleep in his own bed, WHILE on vacation, WHILE in a completely new environment, WHILE losing any semblance of routine/normalcy. Yeah, that was a stupid move. We ended up sleeping on the floor the whole week because Buddy Bear did not take to my harebrained scheme. AT ALL. The worst part was we were squished next to an EMPTY queen size bed the whole time, because Buddy Bear can’t sleep on an air mattress. It still stings.
  • Don’t haul all the toys in the world
    • I fretted for weeks whether Buddy Bear would have enough things to play with while on vacation. I didn’t have to worry because he had so many cousins, aunties and Gramma’s and Grampa’s vying for his attention that he was never bored. His favourite toy when he wasplaying by himself? Banging on the coffee table.
  • Do give your baby grace & time when meeting new people
    • It would be great if Buddy Bear had leapt out of my arms to embrace his grandparents when they met us at the airport. BUT. If he had been that eager to greet, essentially strangers, I think I would have died! I don’t want him walking away with the first person that calls him by name! BUT. Within a couple days, my Buddy Bear would gladly go to his Gramma and Grampa for cuddles (when mama was around, but still). Which means that I can still sleep at night.
  • Don’t expect baby’s eating habits to be the same as at home
    • It’s vacation! No one is eating like they do at home. (Hello, all-you-can-eat-shrimp-buffett)! So if Baby is eating even a smidgen of food, I’m gonna count it as a success!
  • Have fun!
    • Its vacation, its not forever! So Baby wears clothes with food stains and eats Cheerios for 3 meals in a row. No biggie. You can worry when you get home. Now, just relax and have fun. That’s why you took a vacation, right?

 

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Its officially summer in our house. And do you know how I know? Because at any given point I have at least 4 different varieties of fresh fruit in the house. FOUR. As adverse to our other season of winter where we have bananas. OR apples. Both of which suck. At least compared to the awesomeness of mangoes, and watermelon, and nectarines and blueberries, AT THE SAME TIME.

In case you didn’t get the picture, I love having the abundance of fruit that appears in our home during the summer. Its like it suddenly becomes almost easy to eat healthy. Why go through the trouble of making chocolate chip cookies if I could just eat a piece (or 17) of watermelon. Less hassle and I get to eat way more!

You know what I love almost as much as eating copious amounts of fruit? Watching our little Buddy Bear eat copious amounts of fruit. He is loving it. In a “Woman, why have you been holding out on me all this time? This is way more awesome than that other stuff you’ve been feeding me!” But in a cute way, not in a Stewie from Family Guy sort of way. Mostly.

The side effect of Buddy Bear’s absolute delight in our summer abundance?

This.

 

Food everywhere! And let me tell you, blueberries stain. Everything.

And you know how I feel about laundry. I hates it.

So don’t do laundry! In the summer, babies don’t have to wear clothes. Just a diaper and you’re good to go. Or nothing.

I chose naked eating because…

  • Way cuter. Sorry, babies are just so cute when you can see their chubby little legs and tubby bellies.
  • Less laundry. You don’t have to wash clothes that haven’t been worn!
  • If I looked that cute in my underwear, I’d do it too!
  • Bathtime can be a bonding experience. For Dad. While mom takes a nap/drinks a coke/hides from her responsibilities.
  • Its organic!

So choose organic for your baby.

Choose naked.

(In your own home, restaurants, etc. generally frown upon public nudity…)

 

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Before Mr. Man and I became parents we used to look down our conventional noses at certain types of parents, saying smugly to ourselves “What hippie parents!” and “We will never do that when we’re parents”.

Humble Pie meet Andg.

Andg meet Humble Pie.

I think you two will be great friends!

You see, Mr. Man and I aren’t your typical crunchies. We recycle only because we have a recycling box right outside our back gate. We drive two cars, and we drive them A LOT. We don’t buy used (only because we’re too lazy to drive across town to the second-hand store). We don’t eat organic. In fact, the only ‘organic food’ we have are our tomato plants and we are killing those as fast as we can (we have black thumbs apparently).

But when it comes to parenting, well we have veered quite heavily into hippie territory. And not because we’ve experienced a philosophical revelation and now understand the importance of hippie living. No, it’s because being parents has helped us realize how LAZY we are!

You don’t believe me that lazy mamas and papas can accidentally become dirty, dirty hippies?

Breastfeeding: In itself not a hippie thing (though stereotypically hippies love it) or a lazy thing, but above all I do it because I’m lazy. No bottles to wash, no formula to cart from the store to the car to the house, or bottles to make in the middle of the night. Once you get over the initial breastfeeding hurdles, its always available, the right temperature and exactly what my baby needs. The perfect choice for a lazy mama like me.

Cloth Diapering: Admit it, when you think about hippie parents you think cloth diapers. And its true, cloth diapers can be better for the environment if you care about that kind of thing.  But lazy parenting? Oh yes, cloth diapering is great for lazy parents! I always run out of diapers. Like 2 or 3 times a week. So I throw a load of diapers in the laundry and after 2 or so hours of naked bum time I have a whole set of diapers ready to go again. If I had to pack a squirmy, most likely smelly, or even worst case scenario half-naked, little boy into the car and drive to the store to pick up diapers everytime I ran out of diapers, believe me, I’d be one drive short of the nuthouse! So cloth diapers have become way easier for me, allowing me to be just a tad bit lazier…

Co-Sleeping: As Mr. Man said to me earlier, “We do it, because it works!” Pre-baby we (he) were predisposed against co-sleeping. But after a series of sleepless nights of night nursing and wondering if we would Iever sleep again, I snuck the little man into our bed and slept the rest of the night with Buddy Bear tucked beside me, nursing to his heart’s content. What a relief! I didn’t have to get up every 45 minutes (yes 45 minutes, I’m not exaggerating) and actually slept for the first time in what felt like my entire life! And we’ve been sleeping together ever since, because I am too lazy to go back to the on the hour, wake-up calls.

Elimination Communication: Classic hippie territory. And us. Because I am so lazy that I don’t want to change diapers anymore, so I’m attempting to reduce the amount of diapers I have to change through a little elimination communication.

Baby-Led-Weaning: Huh? What’s that mean? It essentially means no purees (homemade or storebought), no ice cube trays of ‘baby food’. Its just giving your baby good food, yes ‘adult food’ and letting your baby explore how to eat at their own pace. Which means mama (me) puts a cooled portion of whatever we’re eating for dinner on Buddy Bear’s tray and we all eat together, and I get to eat my supper when its hot. Easy, non-conventional and yes, lazy. Also, check out this site if you are interested, I really like the way these ladies have explained the concept.

 

Moby Wrap available @ http://www.mobywrap.com/

Baby-wearing: This one is easy. Hippies wear babies because its good for them, and better for bonding, and yadda, yadda. I wear my Buddy Bear when I’m out and about because I can keep my carrier in the diaper bag and when I need my hands free I just whip out my carrier instead of fussing around with a heavy stroller. (If I have it, I have a knack for leaving it in the garage when I need it) So easy!

So there you have it. One or two habits by themselves are pretty harmless, I would even say normal. But throw my brand of laziness into the game and all of a sudden I’m a perfect storm of cloth-diapering/co-sleeping/baby-wearing/breastfeeding/baby-led-weaning/elimination-communicating hippie parenting!

*munch* yum… I love humble pie!

What have you said you would or would never do that you have now found yourself changing your tune? What made you change your mind?

 

P.S. We don’t think people who practice any or all of these techniques are actually dirty or necessarily hippies. I just think its a funny phrase. Though if you are either dirty or a hippie, that’s cool too. – love andg

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So my beloved Mr. Man, had a great idea. At least HE thought it was a great idea. It went something like this…

 

Me: I hate changing diapers, grumble, grumble…

Translation: I wish that you would volunteer to change more diapers.

Mr. Man: Well, if you don’t like changing diapers you could always potty train Buddy Bear.

Translation: Duh! Potty training is the obvious answer here!

Me: You do realize that Buddy Bear is only 7 months old, right?

Translation: Right… Because I need more to do, like trying to potty train a baby who can’t even stand on his own… Good grief, what do I have to do to get more help around here?

Mr. Man: Yeah, but its totally possible! My mom totally potty trained my siblings before they were a year old.

Translation: I am such a good husband! I’m surprised Andg hasn’t thought of this yet! This will be so easy.

Me: Uh huh…

Translation: Banging head on desk…

 

But, apparently my mother-in-law is not the first person to try and succeed at potty training their little babies. Its called “Elimination Communication” and if you haven’t heard of it, Google is fantastic for explaining EVERYTHING. In detail. Your welcome. But anyways, so Mr. Man has decided that it will be so much more efficient for me to just potty train Buddy Bear and not have to worry about whose turn it is to change his diaper. Well, he does have a point. I do hate changing diapers, so maybe this is a good idea?

We delineated some pros and cons of this method today on our date walk. (You don’t talk about diapers on your dates? That’s not romantic? Oops…)

Pros:

  • A cleaner, drier butt for the little man. Automatic win.
  • Less laundry for me to wash. This will be so, so nice! I hate laundry. More precisely I hate putting laundry away, washing it is OK, its the folding and putting away part that is hard.
  • Apparently is easier to potty train a baby than it is a toddler?
  • Not having to buy disposable diapers during vacation. I like saving money, so this one was a gooder

Cons:

  • Having to watch Buddy Bear like a hawk for any ‘cues’ that he is ready to use the potty. Because he definitely can’t make it there on his own! This will suck, as I am highly distracted!
  • We need to get new diapers (again!) because during the potty training process, we’ll need safeguards against ‘accidents’ and it takes too long to take his current uniform of pants, cover, snappy and prefold off before he has an accident. So, maybe not cheaper?
  • I’m lazy. This requires work. I hate work, even more than I hate laundry.

 

Ok, so the thing that I am seeing as a result of this list is how lazy I am. That’s kind of embarassing… But, I am a trooper if anything, so we’re ordering some new one-size diapers, reading up on the how-to’s of it all, and we’ll give this a try. And if it fails, at least we’ll have more diapers and we’ll be able to go longer without doing laundry! Or I’ll go crazy from trying and Mr. Man will find me curled up in the fetal position rocking. All are viable options!

Have you ever tried “Elimination Communication”? Do you have any tips or advice? Are we crazy for trying this? Do share!

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But I don’t mean letting your toddler drive. I am guessing that is just plain irresponsible. Although it would solve the problem I was going to address of what to do with your toddler so they aren’t bored during trips in the car.
Car rides were so easy when the Boo was a newborn. Sometimes. Actually no they weren’t. All that oxytocin has just made me forget. I’ve forgotten so much of challenges of a newborn and all I remember is the warm, fuzzy cuddles and first smiles. *sigh* Can’t wait to hold my next little baby!
Right? Car rides. When Boo was a newborn all we had to do was make sure she had a full tummy, dry bum and was snug, warm and cozy in her carseat and she would sleep for 40 minutes of any car ride. Sometimes, although I am getting a vague recollection of hysterical crying and not leaving the house for the first 3 months.
Maybe it was once she settled into more of a nap routine that driving with her became easier. I would just plan my across-the-city trips to coincide with morning nap and the return trip with afternoon nap. Usually there would be a 3 hour gap inbetween and a lovely, smooth car ride both ways.
But then we gave up morning nap. And afternoon nap became a loooong nap which without becomes a somewhat irritable toddler. Not the best of company.
So arose my dilemma, how do you keep a busy, active toddler happily occupied while she is strapped down with a five point harness which restricts all large muscle movement?
Again, the answer is not: Let her drive.
I’m not claiming any genius status but this is what works for us. I stumbled on it quite simply through laziness and forgetfulness. The mothers of all inventions!
Once upon a time I packed a little bag of toys for the Boo to play with once we reached our destination. Said bag of toys ended up on the car floor and lay there forgotten for a week or so. Next time we loaded into the car to go for the loooong drive I spotted them lying there all woebegone and decided to give the toys to the Boo to play with.
Surprisingly re-discovering these forgotten toys was completely intriguing for her. Happily she spent the 40 minute drive taking out each toy, examining it and exclaiming over her long-lost friends.
Now that is my strategy. I fill her little travel bag with 5 or so small but interesting items out of her toy box, we all know she has toys enough to spare! But I don’t do this the day of travel because then she has seen and played with those toys all week and they are BORING.
The secret is to tuck them away in the car (where you want then anyways, totally lazy mommy. I mean efficient mommy) and leave them forgotten for at least a week. Then when it is car ride time, and only for serious car rides not the 5 minute drive to the grocery store, I pull out the Bag of Amazing Toys I’ve Forgotten About and busy, active, toddler happily occupied!
Things to go in the car bag:


– Little people or animals. Especially if you are in the “what does the cow say?” stage…listening to “moooo” for 20 minutes is quite entertaining.
– Cars. Obviously, you are in a car. What is more fun than playing with a car across the seat of your car seat while in a car?
– Books. I love the tiny little board books. They are small, easy to pack and yet the Boo can “read” them while driving because the pages are so easy to turn.
– Mini Etch-a-Sketch. We actually don’t have one, nor do I know if they are invented. But I imagine this would keep Boo quite entertained and if you had the little Shape magnets you wouldn’t have to worry about putting an eye out with the pen.
– Snacks. The answer to every toddler dilemma. But car snacks should never be quick to eat. The longer they last the happier we can drive. I like to pack those little plastic Easter eggs with a few Cheerios or Shreddies in each one. So the egg starts out as a musical instrument but then once the Boo figures out how to open it, TA DA! A snack! Little round snacks like dried blueberries or those organic corn puff cereal also make for good car entertainment. If you consider little projectiles being thrown at the back of your head while you drive entertaining 🙂

And that’s how I do it! Although honestly, I’ve rarely braved a trip longer than 45 minutes with the Boo. And my favorite strategy for the really long trips is still full tummy, dry bum, cozy car seat and hope she sleeps for a good couple hours!
How do you keep your marbles together while driving with your little one? Newborn? 6 month old? Toddler? Preschooler?

Update: We did an hour drive the other weekend and I employed Operation Toddler Entertainment. Boo contentedly played for the first 45 minutes with all of her toys, spilled her snacks all over the car seat (and proceeded to nibble at them) and then threw all her toys across the back seat. Got us 45 minutes of happy driving in though!

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The pre-made grocery list. Love it! It is so easy and no brainer it makes me wonder why I never thought to do this before. It saved me a ton of time.

Every other week I was writing out my grocery list and every week I was writing down the same essential things. Milk, eggs, bread, bananas, chocolate (I’m pregnant! It is an essential!). I would throw out my list when I got home and then do the exact same thing the next week.
Can we say repetitious much? And waste of time doing the same thing over and over again. I had thought in the past that a pre-fab grocery list would be a good idea but it just never happened.
Fortunately I stumbled upon this post over at Parent Hacks (http://www.parenthacks.com/2011/03/downloadable-grocery-list.html) I’m sure there is some sort of gizmo-y App that does all of this for you. But in my house, I am the App.

But Wow-za. All I had to do was take 15 minutes to personalize the list to what our house usually eats. Replaced the milk with almond milk, cut out all the dairy, added those PC brand Sweet Chili Brown Rice Crisps (mmmm, love them! I don’t know if they actually have any health but they taste like Doritos! I devour a bag while watching the Amazing Race every week), added lots of beans, beans, beans (our musical, healthy fruit) and the restaurant size bag of frozen blueberries which Boo eats like candy.

I have yet to see her voluntarily stop eating them, usually I put an end to her re-fills when it looks like her face is permanently shaded purple and I can’t tell if her lips are blue because they are frozen or because of the blueberries. But a right healthy, yummy snack! We also eat them in our oatmeal every morning and in our muffins (check out my Fail cupcakes, maybe don’t make those). As you can tell blueberries are our best friend right now.
Grocery list: Just make it happen one week and it will pay you back next week.
1. Download the doc. I love the format of this grocery list because it makes sense to my brain.
2. Personalize it with what you actually buy every week.

This is my neat-o list! 

3. If the organizer, list-maker Dr Jekyll side of you starts to emerge maybe re-arrange the list so that it is in the order that you usually go through the grocery store. And then try and remember what order the products are in down each aisle and micro-organize the list that way. Just in case you are a little obsessed with orderly lists. It pleased me to do this 🙂
4. Print off the list, in blue if your 6 year old printer no longer has any other color choice.
5. Laminate that beautiful list….wait a second! I ain’t got no laminator. This post is a fail. I hate Grocery List now. No, no, no. Don’t get all excited. Just stick with me, I’ll post a “secret, super-cheap, no laminator, laminator post” and we will be friends again.
6. Plop the list up on the fridge with a big, jolly magnet.
7. Use your skill to somehow attach a wet erase marker around/nearby the list. I use wet erase because the dry erase erases too easily, especially when the list goes in my purse. The wet erase is almost permanent but comes off with a quick wet wipe. I know, I’m genius.
8. Add any “not common” items either on the side or if you are particular fit them into their matching category.
9. On grocery day gallantly pull the list off the fridge, double check it for anything to add and off to the store you go. Ready to rock those grocery aisles in an efficient, orderly fashion.
Seriously, why did I never make this work before? It takes about 3 weeks of trial and error to figure out what all needs to make your “essentials” list but once you got it down. It is down. And you are golden. Then my well trained household (and me) can quickly check off “eggs” when I use the last one and the fail cupcakes don’t have to happen again.

Why work hard when you can work smart?

grocerylist

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