The Baby Whisperer

My friend Emily visited this week with her four-month-old daughter, Maggie. It was the first time I’d met Maggie and it was love at first sight…

Maggie and Me

…at least it was for me.

Jed was so adorable with her. In addition to telling me over and over, “I love babies,” he also gave her his lamp to use in the guest room and offered to share his crackers (which she politely declined via Mommy). I’m not under the delusion that a more permanent junior resident in our household would yield the same enthusiasm, but it was cute to see how Jed reacted with a baby.

Not only did Emily bring the cutest baby ever, she also brought the most thoughtful gifts for her hosts. First for Jed, who loves to read:

bedtime shadow book

;

This book is so clever! Jed was so excited to use the flashlight to see the pictures that there hasn’t been one “negotiation” to get him into bed this week.

For me, Emily read my recent post on Orla Kiely and got me this stationery:

Orla Kiely notecards
Photo from LRstitched.

It’s a gift that says both “I know you” and “I read your blog.” Gotta love that:) And what I love almost as much is the gift bag in which it came:

cupcake gift bag

The best thing of all was just having them here. Rain and ick made it difficult to explore Asheville with a baby and toddler (not to mention opposite nap schedules), but when you’re with a good friend, does it really matter where you are? Unless of course you’re trapped in a gas station bathroom together with Kenny G Muzak playing on repeat. That would suck.

Belly to Belly: Sing Like No One’s Listening

Perhaps one of the more unexpected roles of motherhood is The Lyricist.

It starts out innocently enough. You’re home by yourself with baby, narrating everything you do aloud (“We’re washing the dishes,” “Putting away the knives,” “F*ck that’s sharp! I mean, frick!”). Then, the narration evolves into a sing-song ditty not unlike the musical stylings of Marhsall Eriksen. I come by this naturally. My grandfather was a happy-go-lucky  guy who sang to himself all the time. And on both sides of the family, we wrote songs, poems and skits for every occasion.

My mother took the nursery rhyme route. She changed the words to popular melodies and even created some of her own for songs about changing diapers, bath time and going potty. I still use these. Pure gold.

And I’ve taken it a step further, adapting some of my favorite current songs and a few disco hits:

“Voodoo Lady” by Ween > “Doo Doo Baby”

“Super Freak” by Rick James > “Super Stink” (He’s super stinky…)

“Boogie Nights” by Heatwave > “Boogie Wipes”

You might not think you have it in you. But you’ll be surprised what sleep deprivation and long spans with no adult contact will do to a person. Like when you see a homeless person pushing his shopping cart and muttering to himself nonsensically? That will be you at the grocery store… only with a baby.

Any moms out there have some musical gems to share? We want to hear from you!

 

Belly to Belly: Baby registry tips in hindsight.

The baby registry is probably one of the most daunting tasks (next to labor) before your beautiful baby comes into this world. The first time Dave and I walked into Target armed with our registry gun, we were so stunned in the feeding aisle — numbed by an onslaught of nursing pads and breast pumps — that we turned on our heels and walked right back out. After that, I went home and did major research: asking moms I knew, moms I didn’t know, my doctor, magazines, and of course, the all-knowing Internet. Even after that there were some decisions I regretted and some items we didn’t discover until after baby that we bought ourselves, which ended up being our go-to gear. Here’s a few things that I learned and loved. I hope it registers with you (and I hope Jed doesn’t inherit my corny sense of humor).

Top 10 registry items I loved.

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  • Fisher-Price Little Lamb Infant Seat Showering, washing dishes, getting dressed… this was my go-to, hands-free seat from day one. The cuddly cover washes well and is easy to take on and off. It folds flat to slide under or behind things and the vibrating mechanism is great for helping baby fall asleep.
  • SwaddleDesigns Organic Ultimate Receiving Blanket This extra large swaddle blanket was recommended by one of my most trusted mom friends and was the best one of all our swaddle blankets for creating the perfect, escape-free “baby burrito”.
  • Cloud b Sleep Sheep on the Go A smaller version of the original, it has a velcro tab so you can attach it to a stroller or pack-n-play. Great for travel, but we used it at home, too.
  • DwellStudio for Target Baby Collection We got a mix of crib bedding from their elephant and little dots collections (no longer available). Everything from DwellStudio for Target is on clearance, so if you like their stuff, shop now for great deals! [DISCONTINUED, SORRY!]
  • Little Twig Travel Basics Set, Lavender I love this brand, but it’s a little pricey to buy on my own, making it a great gift! The travel set was nice for visiting family. Any space you can save in the car when packing up baby is valuable.
  • ERGO Baby Carrier Can’t say enough good things about the Ergo. Dave, Jed and I all loved it. Used it mostly on my front. It can get hot in the summer, but all carriers can. I suggest having more than one type of carrier if you want to stay sane and mobile (pouches, wraps and slings are nice) but this should be one of them.
  • Homedics Sounds Spa Lullaby Relaxation Sound Machine We still use this. No tiptoeing and whispering after baby goes down! And with the baby monitor on our bedside table, we all got addicted to lulling off to the sounds of rain or the ocean.
  • Boudreaux’s All Natural Butt Paste I was once late getting a baby gift for a friend and this was the last thing on her registry. No one wanted to give butt paste as a gift. But let me tell you, this stuff is amazing. I’ve used the generic diaper cream and can totally tell the difference. Plus receiving (or writing) a thank you note that says “thank you for the butt paste” is good for a giggle:)
  • Bumkins Organic Burp Cloths I also loved the Gerber organic diapers used as burp cloths, but they’re being made differently now so I can’t speak to the new design. Bumkins are soft, wash well and double nicely as nose wipers once baby is past the burping stage.
  • Baby Mod ParkLane 3-in-1 Baby Convertible Crib Technically not on my registry because I didn’t register at Wal-Mart, our crib was a gift from my parents. I am so glad we did not spend a fortune on the crib (though I tossed and turned over it). This one has the look of more expensive modern cribs with a budget-conscious price tag. Plus, I love that it has a drawer underneath for extra storage. And you always need extra storage space with a baby! It only took Dave one six-pack of PBR and no cursing to put it together:)
Registry regret.
I could have done without:

 

  • The Diaper Genie. At just under $35, it seems like the perfect price point for a registry gift and an essential nursery item, but consider this–the cartridge refills cost a whopping $12.99 for a 2-pack. That really adds up over the diaper years for what’s really a glorified roll of trash bags. Plus our cartridge would often end up tearing the bags, letting out the smell the Genie supposedly holds in. We finally gave up and switched to a simple, small white trash can with a pop-up lid. I use scented trash bags, plus, I drip a few drops of tea tree essential oil on a cotton ball and throw it into the can to help deodorize.
  • The Boppy. Everyone and their mother (ha!) had a Boppy, so like an insecure middle school girl, I chose popularity over substance. My Brest Friend was just trending at the time and I was afraid to go with the lesser known brand. The Boppy made a great hands-free pillow to lay baby beside me on the sofa, bed or the ground (supervised!) but for a nursing aid, I had to still prop other pillows all around me and it would not stay still, whereas I’ve heard wonderful things about My Brest Friend (and not just from Mariska Hargitay, although she rules.)

I wish we had registered for:
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  • a BOB Revolution stroller. I don’t jog so I felt like a fraud getting one and opted for a higher end Maclaren (also nice), but the Revolution is amazing for any active parent and a great grandparent gift or collective gift card purchase! Just be sure you get a lightweight umbrella stroller, too, for tighter spaces.
  • Sleep sacks. We knew about swaddling, and of course, pajamas, but nobody told us about the wonder of sleep sacks and we didn’t get any as gifts. We had a winter baby and ended up buying four of these ourselves. At $20 each, they would’ve made great shower gifts.
  • Aden and Anais Swaddle Wraps. I’m sure if these were out when we were registering, I would’ve chosen them. I ended up getting them about 12 months in. Way past the swaddling stage, but we used them as Jed’s first blankets in his crib (very breathable!), changing table blankets and travel blankets in warmer weather. I love the fabric, texture and prints!
  • Baby Bjorn BabySitter Balance. This was worth the splurge, but again, wish I had known about it for our registry. We had registered for a vibrating infant seat, but not a bouncer. This seat rocks (both literally and figuratively), going from bouncer to rocking chair — three settings grow with your baby from newborn up through 24 months.

Registry DIY.

“Put a bird on it!” ~ Portlandia

I bought my own nursing gear and diaper bag. The nursing gear was personal to me. All I could think of was my thirteenth birthday. My mom gave me my first razor and I opened it in front of my entire extended family and promptly burst into tears. Not that nursing is something to hide or be embarrassed about. But for me, pumping and all that goes along with it, is simply personal. I wanted to pick those things out and pay for them myself. I did not want friends and family oohing and aahing as I unwrapped something that was going to be suctioned in bovine fashion to my cracked nipples.

And I am way too particular about my bags to leave to chance some sort of registry mishap! We got a Skip Hop Via Messenger to share and I got a Petunia Pickle Bottom Touring Tote from their online outlet just for me. They don’t carry the print I have anymore (shown above) on their website, but there are so many pretty ones to choose from. I recommend the glazed fabric for its wipeability. And you would be amazed at how much these can hold! My tote held more than our Skip Hop. I seriously cannot tell you how many compliments I’ve gotten on my PPB. Most people don’t even know it’s a diaper bag.

What were your favorite (or least favorite) registry items? Any surprising disappointments? Or amazing off-the-registry discoveries?