Nightnight Song

Before Ian was born, I invented a bedtime song for him.  I kind of wanted a unique “sleepy song” and didn’t really know of any good bedtime songs anyway, so I set about trying to come up with my own…something that was just for him.

I ride a carpool to and from work every day… and it’s pretty boring.  So I have a lot of empty time on my hands.  It was during one of these rides that the idea for his bedtime song struck me- a tune, actually, and the outline of some words.  I spent the next few days piecing the rest of it together, and then I wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget it (not sure why I thought I’d forget it, as I had it memorized the same day, but pregnancy hormones can make you worry about weird things).

So here it is, our song:

Hush, hush- it’s time for bed
Hush, hush- lay down your head
Close your sweet eyes
And let’s say goodnight
Hush, hush- Ian, sleep tight

I’ve been singing this song to Ian every night before bedtime since we brought him home. As he got into a “real” nap schedule, I also started singing it before naps. Now that he’s older, it’s still part of our ritual… he climbs into bed with his blankies and flops onto his pillow, I cover him up and say “nightnight song?” and he says “yes!” and then I sing him his song. The really amazing thing is that just within the last month or so, he’s started singing with me.  It is so darn cute, and something about it just makes me smile. 

Ilove that we have this little thing that is just ours, and I am enjoying this ritual, even while dreading the day when he no longer wants “nightnight song”…hopefully that day won’t come for a while, but when it does, at least I’ll have these wonderful memories of singing together before bed.

Halloween Update

Oh my goodness, did October ever fly by!!  What a fun, crazy, busy, entertaining month.  We went to our 10 year high school reunion, celebrated our son’s 2nd birthday, carved pumpkins, and trick-or-treated like champs.

Ian was extremely excited to be dressed up like Mickey Mouse this year. He absolutely loves everything Mickey, so we knew this would be a great costume for him. The challenge was that all the costumes I found were just ugly. I am not a huge fan of a lot of store costumes anyway because I think they aren’t well made (especially for how expensive they are!). So I decided to make his costume myself, figuring it couldn’t really be all that hard. And you know what? It really wasn’t. And if I hadn’t waited until Wednesday to start, it would have been all that much easier. But I did wait, and so I was up until 1am on Friday morning getting it done, and rushing home from work on Friday to put on the finishing touches.

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But seeing that little grinning face in the costume made it ALL worth it. And then some. He recognized that it was Mickey right away and was excited to put everything on- he even tolerated the ears! Definitely a memorable Halloween for us, and the start of (hopefully) many more exciting Halloweens to come.

What was your little one for Halloween??

Welcome to TWO!

Yesterday, my sweet little boy turned two. I have no idea how this happened. Where did the time go? I feel like just yesterday we were on our way to the hospital, anxiously anticipating his arrival. And now, here we are, two years later, with a little boy running around our house!

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We celebrated his birthday in true toddler style- complete with a trip to the zoo and a mickey mouse birthday cake.

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We also skipped our nap (not the best idea…but there was just too much to see at the zoo!). Grandma and Grandpa came into town for a visit, and Ian was thrilled to get to spend a long weekend with them. It was a full, exhausting, and wonderful weekend. But thank goodness we won’t be doing it again for another year!

This is definitely a happy, sad, wonderful, awful, exciting, scary milestone. And I know that time will only continue to speed along at a breakneck pace. So I’m doing my best to help it slow down and just enjoy each moment!

And now, a stroll back down memory lane with a look back at the last 2 years.

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Things my toddler says…

Now that Ian’s talking has kicked into high gear, he has started to say some of the funniest things. I compiled a list of his frequent utterances for your enjoyment.

1. “Good job, ma!”
Yes, my son calls me “ma.” No, I don’t have a clue why. He calls my husband daddy, he calls our pets by their correct names. But I have always been ma. Thanks, kid. Putting that aside, this phrase seems to imply that I must reinforce his good behavior frequently. When he eats all his dinner, I normally say “good job, Ian!” Or when he takes a bite of food after some coaxing, “nice bite, Ian!” And when he gets up the playground steps and then down the slide all by himself, I normally congratulate him on that, too. So now the silly stink has started doing it to me. Case in point: I followed Ian down a slide, and he exclaimed proudly “Good job, ma!” He even threw in a little clap. Thanks, bud…thanks.

2. “Yucky, gross!”
This one is all me, too. When Ian would try to pick up something gross or dirty (like trash outside or whatever), I would say “No, don’t touch. That’s yucky…gross.” So now when he sees something he perceives to be nasty, his little brow furrows and he tells me, in a serious tone, “yucky, gross!”

3. “(insert name of anything here), Where are you!”
This is a favorite. Can’t find daddy? Why not call for him (“Daddy, where are you!”). Also applies to pets. And me. And even inanimate objects, such as Blankie (“Blankie! Where are you!”).

4. “I do it!”
Ah, yes…the strong, independent toddler has squirmed his way outside of my sweet little boy. It doesn’t matter what it is (throwing away trash, turning lights on or off, taking off a coat, etc)…apparently he has it handled and can do it. Don’t get me wrong, I love he is finding his independence and learning to do things for himself. But sometimes I forget and turn the light on myself…and then oh dear lord- the world ends. A toddler meltdown ensues until I turn the light off again and let him do it…

5. “I fall!”
This is used as both a prediction for the future and a statement of fact from a past event. For instance, Ian was climbing on a kitchen chair and apparently felt unsteady, so he said (in a slightly worried tone) “I fall!” To which I replied “You won’t fall if you are careful.” (This seemed to satisfy him). And then, we were playing outside and he tripped and fell. He stood up, looked at me and said “Ow. I fall down.” Yep, you sure did. Thanks for the announcement.

What are some things your little talkers say? Anything good that makes you just laugh out loud?

{Honest Review} Braun ThermoScan 5 Ear Thermometer

Disclosure: I received this product for free from Influenster. I was not compensated in any other way for this review.  All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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Taking Ian’s temperature has ALWAYS been a pain. When he was an infant, he was extremely wiggly and active and never liked to stay still for more than a few seconds. Now, as a toddler, getting him to be still is even more of a chore.

We bought a forehead thermometer when he was born thinking it would be an easy, quick thing. We were wrong. It had to sit on his temple for a while, and anytime he turned his head or fidgeted, the reading would be off. It was nearly impossible to get an accurate temperature, so we were never 100% sure if he was running a fever.

Next we bought a multi-use thermometer (mouth, armpit, rectum) thinking it might be easier/better.  But I was never overly keen about sticking it up his butt (I’m not sure anyone is, really), and he was too little to really get a good reading in his mouth, so we were again stuck trying to get a fidgety kid to stay still long enough to get an armpit reading.

Ian was never a pacifier baby, so those thermometers that look like pacifiers were never a possibility for us, either. We eventually gave up and instead of relying on the thermometer, we gauged fevers based on how warm he felt and how cranky he was acting. Probably not the best method.

When I had the opportunity to get the Braun ThermoScan 5 Ear thermometer, I was ecstatic.  Here is some information about the thermometer from Braun, the manufacturer:

Designed to give you some piece of mind when your child comes down with a fever, the Braun ThermoScan Ear Thermometer with ExacTemp Technology has all the features you could ever want in a thermometer. Used by more doctors’ offices than any other infrared thermometer brand, the ThermoScan features a pre-warmed tip that improves accuracy, a unique guidance system that ensures precise results, and infrared technology that takes your child’s temperature in seconds.

When the unassuming brown shipping box arrived on my doorstep, I instantly knew it was my thermometer and couldn’t wait to tear it open and play with it. Included in the box were the thermometer, a protective case, lense filters, and batteries (hooray for batteries being included!!).

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The thermometer also came with a quick start card and a thicker manual, but really, the thing is pretty self explanatory.  The only thing I needed to look up was how to switch from Celsius to Farenheit. Once I got that figured out, I was able to try this bad boy out.

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Oh. My. Gosh. This thermometer is amazing. I’d never used an ear thermometer before and was a little worried about how well Ian would take to it (since he HATES when the doctor looks in his ears), but my fears were unfounded.  He was actually really interested in it and he even stuck it in his ear and pretended to take his own temperature (and mine!).

Part of the reason this thermometer is so great is that it is just so quick! You press the button and before you can count to 3, the temperature is read. I didn’t know it was possible to get a reading that quickly, especially with an at-home product, but it is! And it’s accurate, too! I feel extremely confident knowing that the next time we’re wondering whether Ian is running a fever, I can whip out the Braun ThermoScan 5 and KNOW within a few seconds.

If you’re looking for a new thermometer, you shoud definitely check this one out.  You won’t be disappointed!

#BraunTherms #influenstervox

He’s Gonna Be A Soccer Player!

Ok, so how many of you recognized the quote that I used for my post title? It’s from “Billy Madison” which was one of my FAVORITE movies when I was in high school.  My best friend Emily and I used to quote it back and forth to each other incessantly.  I’m sure it got really annoying.  We didn’t care.  To this day, even though I haven’t seen the movie in a few years, I can still quote most of it… and I can’t help but hear the words in the various character’s voices.

So, naturally, when Ian started showing an interest in soccer (seriously, this kid LOVES to kick a ball around), this quote popped into my head.  And now whenever I watch him kick his ball, I just think of this and grin.  I can’t help it.  And inevitably, I think of my friend Emily, whom I miss terribly and wish did not live 10 hours away from me.  Thank goodness for social media and cell phones because we’ve been able to keep in touch.  But it’s still not the same.

ANYWAY- this post got really off topic!  The whole reason I even bring this up is because our little wildman has just joined an 18-24 month soccer “league”.  I use the term “league” here loosely because it really is just a bunch of toddlers running around aimlessly on Saturday morning for 45 minutes.  Not totally aimlessly, because there is a “coach”, but pretty close.

When we saw that our area offers leagues for kids this age, we laughed.  We couldn’t imagine starting a kid in a sport that young.  But the more we thought about it and observed Ian while he played, the more we started to believe it might not be such a crazy idea afterall.  I mean, it’s really no different than kids doing gymnastics or music class or whatever at that age.  And even though he is in daycare M-F full time, it would be nice to expose him to a new set of kids and a new adult authority figure.

So we took the plunge- we signed Ian up for soccer, and this past Saturday was his first day!

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He seemed to really like it (once he got over the fact that he had to pay attention and couldn’t just spend the whole time kicking the ball wherever he wanted and whenever he wanted).

The coach was really nice and enthusiastic, and she actually did have a structure to the morning.  They started with a warm up- running down the field, then running backwards, then walking sideways, then running again. Then they did some stretching. For the record, Ian was interested in about 0% of these activities (with the exception of the running down the field)…though the next day while we were grocery shopping he was happily doing them ALL as we attempted to make it through the aisles. Finally, she had them do some kicking with the soccer balls… so Ian was in heaven. 

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Then she had them dribble/carry/put the soccer balls in the goal (this cute little net that was maybe 3 feet tall) and she pulled out a thing of bubbles.  Naturally, all the kids went crazy (what is it about kids and bubbles??)- and the coach had to keep reminding them of the rules (no hands; kick or step on the bubbles; use your feet only!).  After everyone was bubbled out, there was more fun with the ball.  This time each parent built a tower of cones and the kids had to kick the ball into the tower to knock it over.  Ian was really good at this!  He even helped us put the tower back together after he had knocked it over.  Then the coach pulled out big squishy balls and had each kid kick that around for a while.  Finally, they put all the balls away and she pulled out a parachute.  Another little kid favorite.  They played parachute games for a while and ended the practice with hand stamps for everyone.

I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting, but my husband and I enjoyed ourselves, and Ian did, too.  So I’d say it was a success!

Does your little one play any sports?  What age did they start?

Disastrous Outfits

Jon and I both work full time, and so Ian is in daycare full time. There are times when I really wish he wasn’t, and I was staying home with him instead- most days I miss him terribly while I’m at work and would so much rather be going on adventures with him. And then there are times when I’m really glad he’s in daycare- he’s learning so many fun things, meeting new friends, and having to respect and listen to other adults. But that conversation is really better suited for its own post, and that’s not why I’m writing today. I only bring all this up to make the point that Ian is a daycare kid with 2 full time working parents.

So, anyway, I have an approximately 45 minute commute from the house to work. Jon has an approximately 4 minute commute. (Yeah, we planned that well!) We knew we wanted Ian to go to daycare closer to home so that his friends wouldn’t be 45 minutes away. And I didn’t want him to be in the car forever each morning and evening. So the daycare we picked is about 1 mile from Jon’s office. Which means that the husband has daycare duty- drop off and pick up- unless something comes up at work and he needs me to step in.

This is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I can leave the house early enough to beat traffic (and take a carpool!) and get an early start to the day- thus ensuring an early departure in the afternoon. Also a blessing because I don’t have to deal with the heart-wrenching teary goodbyes in the morning (which don’t really happen anymore, but whenever I dropped him off when he was under 1, it was pretty common…thankfully I didn’t have to endure that very often). But a curse because I don’t get to see him when I leave in the morning, kiss him goodbye, or tell him to have a great day. A curse because I don’t get to interact with his daycare teachers as much as I would like. And also a curse because my husband has sole responsibility for dressing the little monster….and sometimes that leads to *interesting* outfits (OK, so maybe you think curse is too strong, but maybe you should look at the pictures first…).

For instance, look at this gem from last week.

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Ian came home from daycare, ran to me, gave me a hug- and I looked at his striped shirt and plaid pants and asked Jon, “Was it mismatch day at daycare today?” In typical husband fashion, he looked at me with a confused smile and slowly said, “…no…why?” And as I smirked at him and gestured at our son, he smiled sheepishly and said defensively, “what? That matches!!!” OK, sure, honey.

But I think my all time favorite mismatch outfit is this one, from when Ian was 11 months old.
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Again with the stripes and plaids…I’m not quite sure why Jon thinks these things go together- maybe because they share a color? Oh, silly man.

Considering I don’t do the waking up-changing diaper-herding child-dressing child routine, I can’t complain too much about it. I should probably be happy Ian is clothed! But in all fairness, Jon normally does a good job picking out an acceptable outfit for Ian each day. It’s just every now and then when he throws in a wacky one- but at least it keeps us laughing!

What’s the strangest thing your kid has ever worn??

Traveling for Work

The week of the 10th, I had to travel to D.C. for work. I know what some of you are thinking- “Oooh! Fun! Traveling for work sounds so glamorous!” I know because that’s what I thought before I ever had to travel. And yes, it does sound glamorous. And it can even be fun. But most of the time it’s tiring and frustrating. I travelled a few times for work before Ian was born, and I always wished that Jon could have come with me. I like to sight-see and explore, but I just kept thinking about the stuff I was seeing and doing that he would have enjoyed and that I wanted to share with him. And, inevitably, by the end of the trip, I was DEFINITELY ready to go home.

This was my first trip since Ian’s birth, so I’m pretty grateful and lucky that I haven’t had to travel before now. But that also meant that I hadn’t spent more than a day or two at a time away from him and Jon…and that made this trip ESPECIALLY hard. I tried not to cry as I hugged my boys goodbye, but I couldn’t help it once I got in the car- I cried the whole way to the airport. It’s funny because I didn’t really cry when Ian started daycare, and I went back to work (was I nervous, anxious, and heartbroken? Yes. But I knew I’d see him in a few hours and I really liked our chosen daycare.). I think it was just knowing that I wouldn’t come home in the evenings and get a smiley toddler hug and slobbery toddler kiss. That I wouldn’t be able to play Legos or cars or read books together before bed. That I would be coming home each night to an empty hotel room instead of a house full of love. And that was just a little too much to bear. And so I balled like a baby. Fortunately, the airport is 45 minutes away, so I had enough time to pull it together before anyone would see me…

The plane landed at Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) in the early evening, and then I had a 40 minute drive to get to the hotel in the new National Harbor area (in Maryland, right off the Potomac- across the river from Alexandria). I stayed in a very nice hotel- the Gaylord. Nice is probably an understatement. This thing is a monolith and extremely impressive in just about every way. My room was nice- good sized bathroom, plenty of closet/storage space for my clothes, and 2 pretty comfortable queen beds (unfortunately, no king bed for me- shucks!). It also had a balcony that overlooked the central atrium of the hotel, which was a little odd (why would I want to sit or stand on my balcony and stare down at the inside of the hotel?) but also a little cool (the atrium was pretty impressive, with restaurants and shops and a fountain). I walked onto my balcony once or twice, but I can honestly say I didn’t really spend any time out there. Instead, after walking around until the sun went down each night, I horded all the pillows, snuggled in my bed, and read my Kindle (currently reading “The Goldfinch” and after a slow start, I CANNOT put it down).

My days were packed with meetings and work sessions (you know, that stuff that was the reason for my trip), but I tried to make the most of my evenings by meeting up with people I hadn’t seen in a while (I used to be a D.C.-er sort of, and have a lot of friends in the area that I hardly get the chance to see anymore). Monday night I got to meet up with a very good friend whom I hadn’t seen since Ian was born (yes, folks, that is almost 2 years!). We met in Alexandria for dinner, where, coincidentally, I also stumbled upon the freakin’ cutest baby shop I’ve ever seen in my life (called Pink and Brown)… the prices were not so cute, but I couldn’t help myself and bought a few things for Baby Boy H (my brother’s soon-to-be-here son) and Ian. On Tuesday, I met my parents for dinner. Since I was going to be there, my parents decided to take the trip up to the D.C. area for one last “vacation” before school starts in September. It was terrific to see them, and we spent the evening walking around National Harbor and my hotel’s atrium. National Harbor actually is a neat place to wander since there are a lot of restaurants and shops all right there… there is even a Peeps store (yes, you read that right- I had no idea that Peeps brand had their own store, but they do!). I met my parents again on Wednesday night. We stayed in National Harbor again, but ate somewhere different for dinner and spent time afterwards outside enjoying the beautiful weather. They went home on Thursday morning, so Thursday evening I was on my own for dinner. I walked down to this little crab cake restaurant and ordered dinner to go. It was FABULOUS. Having grown up by the water and with grandparents on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, I am a crab girl. I can eat Maryland Blue Crabs any day of the week, and I never pass up an opportunity for some great eats while I’m in the area. Finally, Friday came. I checked out of the hotel, went to a half day of meetings, and then drove to the airport so I could head home. It was absolutely lovely seeing everyone, and I’m extremely glad I had the opportunity, but I was definitely really missing my boys and was eternally grateful that it was time to pack it in.

When I finally pulled into the driveway around 5:30PM, I couldn’t wait to get inside and hug Jon and Ian. Of course, as fate would have it, my toddler that I was so anxious to see couldn’t even be bothered to get off the floor (where he was curled up watching TV/playing with toys) to say hi to me, and my husband was tucked away in the kitchen (at least he was making dinner!). So I had to ask for my hug, and my hopes of a joyful (and maybe even teary-eyed) reunion were dashed (though not completely- I was joyful and teary-eyed, even if the toddler wasn’t). If I didn’t know better, I’d think Ian didn’t miss me at all… except for the fact that when I left the room to find Jon, I heard a shriek and a patter of feet. Apparently me being back was no big deal… as long as I wasn’t leaving again. What a silly boy.

Hopefully I won’t be taking any more trips without them for a while, but some good did come of all this: 1) Jon and Ian got the chance to bond more without me around. 2) Jon gained some confidence in knowing that he could take care of Ian by himself without assistance, and, likewise, Ian gained some confidence in knowing that daddy can do everything mommy can do, too (well, maybe not EVERYTHING- but we’ll let him have this one for now). And that, right there, is almost worth every emotion I endured while I was gone (tears, apprehension, sadness)…as long as I don’t have to do it again anytime soon.

Favorite toddler snacks

My 21 month old stringbean is a grazer. A snacker. A wont-be-caught-dead-without-some-type-of-food-in-hand type of kid. He’s also a great meal eater. He likes just about everything and is always willing to at least try a food. That’s not to say we don’t have our dinner battles. For instance, the other day he wanted to eat 4,000 raisins instead of the taco we made him…which is annoying because he LIKES tacos. A lot. He just really wanted raisins. We are mean parents, so we didn’t let him eat his weight in raisins. Instead we laid down the law and told him he either ate the taco or ate nothing. He finally caved and ate taco (though he tried to do so without our noticing…the little stink!). But this type of struggle is rare, and we are extremely fortunate that he is not picky (yet).

Since he is a snacker, we like to try to keep a big variety of easy (yet relatively healthy) snacks on hand for him. Even though he’s not picky, he does have clear preferences and they change from day to day. He scans the options and is quick with a “no” and head shake when you identify a food item that he doesn’t want. Below is a list of his favorites, which we try to always keep in the house (and the diaper bag, as appropriate). As long as we have at least some of these on hand, we’re sure to (at least eventually) get a “yes!” and sometimes even a happy dance.

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1) Gogurt
We love Gogurt in my house!! Ian is a huge yogurt fan, and I love that we don’t have to worry about his shaky spoon usage (and the messes that may result). The only downside is that Ian likes to cram a LOT of the tube in his mouth, so he usually ends up a somewhat spitty a drippy. But, he’s gotten a lot better, and after he’s eaten half he gives it to me, and I cut it so it’s easier to manage. If only it already came in half-sized portions!

2) Applesauce Pouches
There are tons of applesauce pouches on the market today. When Ian was still eating baby food, I made it all myself (except in rare cases), and I bought reusable pouches for easy storage, serving, and transporting. After he was done with baby food, I still used those pouches, but I put applesauce in them (I would buy a jar and just fill the pouches myself). Then we got busier, and I got lazy, and so now I buy premade applesauce pouches. We’ve tried a lot of them, but our favorites are GoGo Squeez (which I love because of the variety!) and Motts (which I love because they are normally the cheapest and generally have the least sugar).

3) Mott’s Apple Juice Freezer Pops
These were an on-a-whim purchase when my mother-in-law was visiting. It probably took a good 2 months for Ian to really decide that he likes them…and now he REALLY likes them. When he wants a freezer pop, he will pull on the freezer handle and say “pop! pop! pop!” And when I grab it out of the freezer and cut off the top, he does a little happy dance (and sometimes a song). Then he greedily grabs it (generally with a “take kou”, aka Thank You), sucks on it, and goes “oooh, COLD!”. It’s hysterical. These pops are long enough that he usually only eats half of one at a time…so I just cut off the extra plastic, put the remaining pop in a baggie, and stick it back in the freezer. Then when he wants another one (that day, or the next day), I give him the leftover piece.

4) Kix
When Ian was a little baby, we bought him Puffs. They were like baby crack; he loved them. I’ve never seen anyone get so excited over a food in my life (well, except maybe ice cream). As Ian got older, we tried to come up with a more economical snack that would be in the same general segment as the Puffs. Enter Kix! They are small enough that the are very portable and easy for him to eat. We can just fill up a small bowl and leave it on the table and he can grab a few whenever he wants. And one box of Kix lasts a LONG time. Don’t get me wrong- Ian’s not stupid. He knows Kix are NOT Puffs. And if he sees a Puffs container (we had some in the house still because they are great for carrying small snacks), he expects Puffs to be inside and will actively seek them out. But as long as you don’t pretend the Kix are Puffs, he’s fine.

5) Fruit Snacks
These aren’t the healthiest snack we have in the house, so we try to restrict how many he gets, but man does he love them! They’re a great incentive and reward for good behavior, and they also keep him occupied for quite a while (as he attempts to fish them out of the pouch). We’re cheap, so we buy the Great Value fruit smiles. Fortunately he doesn’t seem to mind.

6) Fruit (grapes, clementines)
We try to always have fruit in the house. We prefer grapes because they are bite sized, last a while, and are easy to serve. But when there’s a good deal on clementines we buy them since Ian loves his oranges (and a bag can last at least 2 weeks). Often, Ian will even request fruit as an after dinner dessert- a major win!

7) Raisins
Another Ian favorite. As mentioned above, some days he would be content to eat nothing but raisins. The most ridiculous thing is when he grabs a handful and tries to shove it all in his mouth at once…even thought he never succeeds at getting them all in his mouth, he continues to try. At least he’s persistent, right?

8) Goldfish
Ah! Goldfish! Every kid’s favorite snack. Ian likes to eat them, smush them, play with them, feed them to us, and even drive them around in his toy cars (yes, I realize this is weird). On the plus side, he doesn’t mind if they’re stale (though I mind, as that’s almost always when he tries to feed them to me).

So there you have it! A list of our favorite snacks. And they are pretty affordable, too. What snacks do you keep around? Is your little one a snacker, too?

Unplugging to really connect

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This scene from “The Big Bang Theory” is so relevant to life today

I was at the park last week with Ian and was shocked to see how many parents were glued to their phones. Faces down, brows furrowed, eyes tracking side to side. Meanwhile kids hoot happily and sprint around the playground. Until someone cries- at which point the parent reluctantly pulls him/herself off the park bench and away from the phone to attend to the child. (For the record: this is not unique to parents. I’ve seen all manner of folks exhibit this same behavior, such as folks out to dinner glued to their phones for the duration of the meal.)

I’m all for technology. I have a smart phone, and I certainly do my share of internet surfing. But when we’re out and about, and Ian wants to play with our involvement, I leave the phone stowed.

Now, to be clear, I’m not talking about the parent who is taking pictures with the phone. Or the parent who gets an important phone call or text message or email. I’m talking about this phenomenon where we can’t bare to look away from the screen. We’ve gotten so used to using the phone as a time waster and boredom solver that we don’t even think about what we’re doing. We don’t consider what this behavior might be telling our children.

And I have thought about this a lot. What does this tell our children? Maybe it tells them that our phones are more interesting and important than they are. Maybe it tells them that it’s OK to shut out the outside world. That it’s OK to not want to make eye contact or say hello to others. Maybe it tells them that we are only interested in connecting and interacting with them on our own schedule. Maybe it tells them we don’t prioritize their desires and needs.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately??), Ian is just starting to talk, so he can’t tell me the impact these things might have on him. How he perceives an almost obsessive screen time love affair. If he notices or cares.

But I do know this. I’ve been trying to be more conscious of my phone usage at home (since I’m already hyperaware when we are out) and really limit it when he’s around and actively trying to engage with me (do I need to read that stupid buzzfeed list?). And I’ve noticed a change in behavior when I put the phone down. When I look at him and ask what he’s doing or what he’s playing. When I get down on the floor and play with him. Or just watch interestedly when he shows me something. He smiles more. He is better behaved.

I don’t think that’s a coincidence. And I don’t think this is too much for me to ask of myself- for him to ask of me.

Obviously we can’t (and shouldn’t) cater to our childrens’ every wish, and independent play is definitely a good thing. But in my humble opinion, there is just something so good, so fulfilling, in putting the phone down and enjoying our kids. That crap on the internet will be there forever. These days with our kids are fleeting…let’s embrace every minute!