Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Top 5

On the eve of Hank's 1st birthday, I thought I would share a few items that helped us make it through this first year.

I'm not sure how much I "blogwashed" this first year here, but let's just say it was pretty rough overall. I found myself asking myself a lot "why didn't I get the mellow baby?!" Right from the start, Hank had a condition called "uncoordinated pooping," which made him pull up his legs and cry every time he had to go poop, which was after every feeding, which was happening on the hour (basically he was clenching rather than relaxing). I was so jealous watching sleeping babies being passed all around at parties, as Hank was never settled for very long (at two weeks of age I calculated he was only sleeping about 8 hours in a 24 hour period). After that issue passed, we moved into a fussy time. I'm not saying it was colic, but whatever it was, Hank was not a happy camper. Once he became mobile, we entered the clingy phase, and Hank could not stand to be left on his own for even a minute. It seemed like each phase that passed, a new issue arose. Perhaps that is true for all babies, but you rarely hear these things from friends and family.

Instead, you hear about the good things, which is, I suppose, how it should be. You tell stories about Hank's pre-crawling inchworm crawl to get dada's can of beer. How he is always clutching something unusual in his hands while he is walking around. How excited he gets when we play our games, like the bellybutton game, duck-duck-goose, or gator wrestling.


Ok - maybe it wasn't so bad after all. But, regardless, these items were lifesavers

A baby carrier

I had a Babyhawk Mei Tei. If I had done better research I would have probably bought an Ergo, as it seems a little more multi-functional. In the early months, carrying Hank was usually the only way he would sleep and/or not be a screaming demon. We used the carrier daily until a couple of months ago, but he still fits if we need some chill out time.

A stroller base for our carseat

We ended up with three strollers (if you count this one), but no "traditional" models (or other two are a jogging stroller and an umbrella stroller). This was our best transport solution, and we were very sad when Hank outgrew his infant car seat that we could no longer use the stroller frame. As mentioned, sleep was a blessed occurrence in those early months. The last thing I would have wanted to do is wake Hank up to transfer him out of the car seat after falling asleep in the car, or jostle him as I tried to haul a heavy baby + carseat around.

Portable booster seat

These are kind of a joke amongst our friends, as almost all of us have them, and they are quite indistinguishable from each other save the level of wear based on the age of the child. This is one of those things that is a pain to haul around, but soooo useful at locations where high chairs are not available. The alternative is holding the baby in your lap while you are trying to eat. This may be cute when they are timidly eating their two bites of strained peas, but a nightmare when they are older and meal time consists of stuffing handfuls of food in their mouth. This allows us to keep Hank "contained" for longer periods of time, and we might actually get to enjoy a brief period of adult time at a function while Hank sits -- stuffing handfuls of food in his mouth.

The walker

Yes, we are aware of the safety hazards, and that "seated" items like this can impair walking/cause back issues. It was used judiciously, like the 15 minutes mama needed to get ready in the am when she was ready to pull her hair out listening to Hank screaming from his room as he did not want to be in there alone (I also tried putting him in his bouncy seat and using a johnny jump-up in the bathroom doorway, but neither resulted in the instant happiness of a little boy who felt he was free to roam the entire house).

Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder

I was (am) probably too cavalier when it came to solid foods. Once Hank gave up on purees, I just chopped up whatever and gave it to him. The chunks got bigger and bigger, and the food less tender. He seemed to do ok for the most part. I scoff that this item is commonly used with the softest food out there - bananas. Don't under-estimate the strength of those back gums! Trust me, I've been bitten by them, and they might as well be teeth. So, I never used this thing with food, but with ice - priceless. Great for teething, and during Hank's bout with the stomach flu a couple of months ago. Unfortunately we did still end up taking him to the ER (he wouldn't take it easy on the breastfeeding and kept throwing up. The trials and tribulations of breastfeeding - a rant for another day...) Anyway, you'd think the doctors we met with during this ordeal were ready to put on the payroll they were so impressed with our ingenuity for finding a way a baby could have ice chips.

So there you have it! These items (plus plenty of toys and snacks) helped a cranky baby become a little boy that is actually kinda fun to have around.


telfair said...

Great post! We have that portable booster seat and it is the best. I love that Lily doesn't have to get her paws all over those gross restaurant high chairs and it has a tray that we can pop off and wash. Very convenient.

I will also be getting one of those Munchkin Fresh Food Feeders. Great idea!

kdmade said...

I think I got one of those good babies, but there are definitely hard times and I'm always impressed when people can share them honestly (have you read Annie Lamott's Operating Instructions?) Anyway, I'm not sure how I lucked out, but sometimes I do think it's some kind of karmic payback for the 4 days (yes, days) of labor!