I Hate Diapers.

Potty training needs to start now. Let me reiterate that- Must. Start. NOW.

We've had several incidents in the past few weeks where the diaper has let me down. Here are the titles of the latest episodes in the sitcom that is my life:

"CeCe Rips Open Her Soaked Diaper and Smears Those Weird Gooey Crystals All Over Her Crib Rails."

"CeCe Shoves Her Hand Down Her Pants and Turns Feces Into Finger Paint."

"CeCe Removes Pajamas After Diaper Blowout and Bounces Up And Down In Crib."

And most recently this morning, "CeCe Removes Pajamas AND Diaper and THEN Wets the Bed."

My next move is to attach the damn thing with duct tape. I'm so over diapers, and apparently so is CeCe. I've turned using the bathroom into a spectator sport in hopes to inspire CeCe to use her little pink potty. We tried sitting on the potty until she has to go, but her attention span is that of a goldfish. Ten minutes max and she is ready to move on to the next activity ... when she will promptly use the bathroom once her clothes are back on.

I've been reading books, blogs and articles about potty-training techniques but a not sure which route we will take. But until we find a method that clicks for us, I have a plea to the diaper manufacturers:

Stop worrying about leak protection. That is old news. Start working on reinforced, heavy-duty, unopenable closure tabs on the diapers. Like ones that require Mom's fingerprint to undo the velcro. That's what I need right now.

Oh, and here is CeCe with Santa. Don't worry, she kept her diaper on for this visit at least.

Our DIY Book Nook

Six months after moving into our new house, I still have an infinite number of projects on my "want-to-do" list. But the priority project is complete- CeCe's Book Nook.

We are big RIF advocates in this house, so within days of moving in I wanted to establish a place dedicated to books for CeCe. The office closet doors came off and a small shelf and wooden toy chest set the scene:


My mother sewed a curtain to hide all my craft supplies on the top shelf, and she made a skirt to hide the toy box while still allowing us to open it. I painted some letters to spell out "READ" on the back wall. We added some throw pillows, and cushions from the Lawn & Garden Department at Target. The end result is quite pretty, if I say so myself.


The inspiration came from Pinterest. We already had the shelf and toy chest, so our cost was minimal. The actual effort required to build this space could easily be done in a number of hours. But the most important part is the message this space sends to my daughter. I want her to know that books are special and reading is an activity to be valued. I hope her nook helps her understand that!

Mommy's Favorite Toy Tools

We have a slew of princess dresses and pink-clad baby dolls in my toddler's toy chest, but her interest fell on the opposite end of the toy spectrum last week. We have a little Handy Minnie on our hands.

Matt is building a computer, and CeCe has decided she will be his assistant for this project. She grabbed a tiny screwdriver and started "helping" the day he stripped the PC down.

She was so drawn to the tools, placing screws in various holes and twisting the screwdriver in her hands. I grabbed a Toys R Us gift card and headed out to find our girl her own tool set.

I originally envisioned a plastic tool set, but the Fisher Price brand tools were extremely over-the-top. Each tool made noise, had flashing lights and were oddly proportioned. I knew my gal would see right through these faux-tools. Luckily I found the Imaginarium Tool Box:
This brightly colored set has a little hammer, wrench, nails, nuts and bolts. It is simple, no bells or whistles, but CeCe spends hours playing with it. For $14.99 it is a steal. This is definitely one of Mommy's Favorite Things, and now we have the most adorable handygirl at our disposal.

My Coffee Cutie

My daughter has inherited many things from me. My eyes, my hair, my typical voice volume- and apparently my relationship with coffee.

I started drinking coffee as a teenager. I remember it being something I shared with my dad, and the caffeine monster quickly took hold of my brain. Several cups a day isn't out of the question for me. Switching to decaf while pregnant was no picnic. I missed my java more than wine.

Now I have my fancy Keurig brewer, and I can count on CeCe each morning to come running when she hears the gurgle of the water reservoir. But the nifty K-Cup carousel is what she's really after:

Each K-Cup fits into a hole on this lazy-susan-style contraption. And CeCe will work diligently to return each little pod of coffee to it's home (after she dumps them all out on the floor, of course.)

This is yet another moment in parenthood that I ask myself, "Why do we spend money on toys again?"

Halloween Freak Out

Two years ago this October I was the size of a hippo and on bed rest. I spent my days worrying about preterm labor, and whether or not I would get to see the new Harry Potter movie before the baby came.

Flash forward to October 2012, when I have a toddler who can go trick or treating. Now I'm worrying about poison candy, sex offenders hidden behind masks and razor blades in chocolate bars.

Halloween can be so much fun, but I am acutely aware of the urban legends about crazy people using trick-or-treat as the perfect opportunity to subtly poison a town full of children all at once. And I've seen that episode of Law and Order where the kidnappers wear the most popular Halloween costume of the year, so you CAN'T TELL WHICH ONES THEY ARE.

Taking my two-year-old around the neighborhood door-to-door sounds like a cute idea, because I relish every chance I get to hear people tell me how stinking cute my baby is. Her lion costume will turn your heart to mush, especially if you can get her to roar.

My concerns are over-the-top, but I'm not ready to drag my child up and down the street while my paranoia is at a high. Besides, I don't let her have many sweets anyway and she will have a blast handing out candy to neighborhood kids. It will be like a private costume fashion show.

Here are some safety tips from the CDC if you are taking children trick-or-treating:

  • DO NOT trick-or-treat alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
  • Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
  • Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
  • Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. Always WALK and don't run from house to house.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street. Walk on sidewalks facing traffic.
  • Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.
  • Enter homes only if you're with a trusted adult.
  • Only visit well-lit houses. Don't stop at dark houses
  • Never accept rides from strangers.
  • Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

Playing with Felt

Desperate for a reprieve from the noise-making, light-flashing toys in our living room, I channeled my inner Girl Scout looking to earn her arts and crafts badge. I headed to Wal-Mart’s crafts section with $5, and ended up with a new activity station in my kitchen that keeps CeCe entertained for hours:

My favorite part of this project is the cost. A sheet of felt is 20 cents at Wal-Mart, so you have endless possibilities for low cost. Grab whatever colors you like and a pair of scissors:

I chose four blank backgrounds to work with. They are simply different colors of felt taped to the wall.

The deep blue reminded me of the ocean so I started with an under water scene. I cut out some fish, a starfish, a shark and plant life.

In addition to the ocean, I made a sky with butterflies, some basic shapes, and started a jungle with some animals (with the help of CeCe’s aunties and their animal tracing skills.) Here is how it all turned out:

CeCe can mix and match all the felt pieces, so we sometimes have a cheetah in the ocean or a turtle flying in the sky. Since felt sticks to felt, there are no adhesive materials required. Simply stick the shape to the background and there it stays! Hours of entertainment for pennies!


Dentist Drama

We had our first visit to the pediatric dentist last week. So if you were wondering who was making those “screaming toddler” sounds you were hearing, that would be CeCe. Even you folks outside of Kentucky might have heard it. Her level of screaming undoubtedly crossed state lines.

While I read that children should visit the dentist by their first birthday, I am a negligent parent who waited until my daughter was almost two. The information I gathered at this visit was mind-blowing:
  • Juice is the equivalent of rubbing sugar-water on your child’s teeth. Dr. J laid out a new hydration diet of milk or water. I come from a place where it is common to see Mountain Dew in baby bottles, and I’m sure that idea would give most dentists an aneurysm.
  • Pacifiers are the devil.  It doesn’t matter that they are the only thing allowing you any significant portion of sleep at night. Those damn binkies are a sure-fire ticket on the braces train. Dr. J recommended snipping off the end of the pacifier gradually until your kid is like, “Why am I sucking on this nub? Where is my paci? WHAT DARK MAGIC IS THIS?”
  • Children’s toothpaste tastes like candy. CeCe treats her toothbrush like a lollipop. After brushing she sucks all the toothpaste off the brush and then asks for more.
  • Screaming at the dentist is A-OK. Because if you’re screaming, your mouth is wide open to examine. I’m surprised the hygienists don’t wear ear plugs.
  • Plastic dinosaur toys heal all trauma.  

The dentist is a necessary evil in life, and I’m glad we have Dr. J who is such a straight shooter. So as I raise my cup of milk, I cheers to a fulfilling, cavity-free relationship:


Mommy's on the Small Screen!

Hey folks,
Just letting all you readers know I will be back on ABC36 News@Noon tomorrow sharing my favorite baby shower gift ideas. And as always, I have so many freebies to giveaway to viewers, including a Blooming Baby Bath:

So tune in and see what cool finds I have for expectant moms!


A Lion in a TuTu

Pinterest is like crack for crafters. And for moms. And people who like to cook. Or shop. Or look at things. Pinterest is like universal crack.

I've seen several DIY projects where people turned old entertainment centers into play kitchens for their children. Since new televisions don't fit into these old square-shaped units, craigslist is always chock-full of used ones for cheap or free. CeCe already had a play kitchen, but I decided I wanted a more organized toy system for her. So the Master Toy Station was born:

The DVD cubbies are perfect for holding books, and the shelves meant for a DVD player or VHS player hold puzzles and toys. Just kidding. No one has VHS players anymore.

I took some hooks and screwed them into the "ceiling" of where a TV would sit. This is the dress-up closet. I've found that when CeCe's toys are visible she is more likely to keep herself entertained. The toy box and canvas bins were handy, but you couldn't see what was in them.

Of course, now CeCe often wants to play with everything at once, or wear everything at once. Here she is after she put on every article of clothing in her dress-up collection:

This includes a tu-tu, two Disney princess dresses and a lion's costume, which she calls the Tiger. So we have Beauty and the Beast in one cute little package. She was content to wear it all afternoon, even when our attention wandered to other toys:

The toy center is my favorite way to organize CeCe's things so far. And for a craigslist find that cost me less than $20 total, you can't beat the price.


A Moo-velous Giveaway

I've never been a big milk-drinker. I come from a place where sweet tea is preferred with any meal. But I expect my toddler to drink three cups a day, so I was thrilled to hear about Magic Milk Straws.
Instead of a powder you stir into your milk to flavor it, the straws have little flavor beads built in. Regular milk is transformed before it hits your lips to become one of ten flavors. These babies are part of the official "got milk?" campaign.
Magic Milk Straws were a hit among my family. The packaging is super convenient, easy to store, carry and dispose of. CeCe and I enjoyed the Strawberry Banana where my niece was a fan of the Neopolitan. 
Here are the quick hits about the straws:
  • No Artificial Flavors, Colors or Preservatives
  • Gluten Free
  • Low In Sugar
  • Lactose Free
  • No Fat, No Cholesterol
  • Safe For People With Corn, Nut and Soy Allergies
You can find out more here about these nifty little milk treats. And I have a few to give away! You can enter one of two ways: Leave me a comment here on the blog telling me why you would like to win an 18-count of assorted Milk Straws! Or, enter on the Baby Bump Lexington Facebook page here by becoming a fan and commenting on the status. And yes- you can enter twice :) 


Bossy Baby

I don’t know who bought CeCe the pair of bossypants she has been wearing, but I would really like to return them to the store. Maybe exchange them for some sweetpants, or some good-listener pants, or some always-agreeable pants.

The books warned me that around 2 years old, my baby would start having opinions. That’s an understatement.

It’s like CeCe wakes up knowing she ONLY wants to eat yogurt today. She ONLY wants to play with her farm animal puzzle and she ONLY want to watch the one episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse where Pete hosts a luau. Any deviation from this plan will be met with screaming and hissy fits.

I've found a lack of vocabulary words is a major culprit to what causes the fits. CeCe’s vocabulary expands everyday. But I can see how frustrated she gets when she knows in her mind what she is asking for, but her mouth can’t express the desire. I’ve sat in utter desperation in front of my refrigerator trying to figure out what “EE-GO!” is. It’s yogurt, by the way.

Beyond the communication gap and her specific desires each day for food and entertainment, CeCe is also bossy at the coloring table. She often drags me by my finger to her table and smacks the seat of a chair. “SIT.”

Sometimes I sit in the other chair, just for giggles. There are no giggles when I try this. Only glares and shouts of “NONONO- MY SEAT!”

So I relent and take my designated chair, and pick up some crayons. Another misstep. CeCe decides which crayons I will be coloring with. If I pick up a color that has not been assigned to me, she promptly takes it away.

I’m learning to understand the gibberish, but the outright bossiness has got to go. Because I really want to be able to use the fuchsia crayon next time we draw flowers.

Pasta is on the CeCe pre-approved food list for the time being.

Her Inner Voice

Responsibility is a word used often in parenting. I knew I was making some big promises when I got pregnant. I am responsible for making sure my baby is fed, clean, clothed, for making sure there are no knives within reach, buckling her car seat correctly, and her general well-being on a moment-to-moment basis.
But lately another responsibility has been made glaringly obvious, and it is the heaviest one so far. The responsibility of giving my child confidence.
CeCe is taking a gymnastics class, and I've turned into the type of parent I used to think was over-the-top. Every skill CeCe attempts gets a round of applause. It doesn't matter if it is her first or tenth try, we give her high fives. Whether she succeeds or falls on her butt, Matt and I are the loudest parents in the room, with our cries of "Way to go!" and "Awesome job, babe!"
I didn't play competitive sports, so I was not bombarded with the term "loser" very much. I was in theater, where there was no keeping score. My parents were in the audience for every single show, and they clapped as loud the third time as they did the first time I performed my big musical number. I didn't realize at the time how that was shaping me. 

My parents often told me outright that I did a great job, and in retrospect I can see there were times I probably wasn't that great. But those words they spoke turned into whispers that have echoed in the back of my head throughout my life. Feelings of self-doubt and insecurity do happen, but those whispers quietly take hold and subconsciously remind me of how I should feel about myself.

When I picture my ideal future for CeCe, I don't imagine any certain job or lifestyle. I want to see strength and security. I want her to have the ability to pick herself up and ignore the taunts of others. I want her to know that there is no failure that can stop her from trying again, and that she doesn't have to be perfect to be amazing. I want her to know that life is incredibly hard, but she can make it work if she stays positive.
There is a quote that sums up how I feel about this new-found responsibility: "How you talk to your child becomes their inner voice." My inner voice tells me I am smart, that life isn't fair so I won't always win, but that I can do big things and do them well. Raising a daughter who possesses confidence and a solid sense of self is my next big thing. It's a good thing my inner voice is telling me I can do it well.

Let 'er Roll!

Instead of a Mommy's Favorite Things, this installment should be called "Mommy's Favorite Place." I'd like to take a minute to brag about my future Olympian, and give a shout out to her awesome gymnastics class.

In lieu of birthday or Christmas presents this year, I decided to request a hobby for CeCe. We don't need any more toys in this house, and the child's closet is already overstuffed with new clothes. So instead of stuff piled on stuff, I asked the grandparents for donations to an activity fund. And the activity we chose was gymnastics.

The Little Gym on Richmond Road in Lexington offered a free introductory class. We took CeCe just to see how she would react, and there was no turning back- our little girl was hooked. We sang, played with music shakers, worked on coordination and following directions, and that doesn't even touch on the actual gym equipment.

So far CeCe has learned to do a front roll (which is now done repeatedly across the living room floor on a daily basis), climbed a mini-rock wall, walked the balance beam, hung from the uneven bars and more. We can attend one class and one practice session a week, and it has been a great relief to know we have gym time coming up when the little gal has excess energy to burn.

Parent/child classes start for babies as young as four months old, and tuition is $72 a month. We adore the staff and it's such fun to hear CeCe shout "Gym! Climb! Reach!" when we leave the house to head to class.

Here is our future Gabby Douglas on the balance beam:

*** On another note, BabyBumpLexington published the first article in a new series called "Pin Points," where we test child-related Pins from Pinterest and review the results! Check it out here to read about homemade finger paints and a fun art project for toddlers.


My Little Green Monster

I know you have been wondering "Hey Katie, what totally awesome parenting move have you made lately that will clinch your spot in the Mother of the Year contest?"

Well readers, here is a story for the judges. It happened while my sweet baby girl was coloring last night. I decided that when your toddler has crayons is the perfect time to let your attention drift.

CeCe had already removed her shirt for the evening, but we're pretty casual around here so I didn't think twice. Always think twice, moms.

I looked up from my laptop suddenly to find my baby standing there, her mouth full of slimy, green liquid, oozing out of her smiling lips and trickling down her belly. It appeared as if she bit the head off an alien:

CeCe gnawed off a large chunk of green crayon, ground it up with her teeth and was letting it drool out of her mouth and down her half-naked body. She was quite pleased with herself:

After allowing myself a moment to laugh, I hosed her down and cleaned her teeth the best I could. A lesson was learned that night. Unfortunately, it was not CeCe learning "crayons are not food." It was Mommy learning "Don't even blink when your toddler is in possession of art supplies."


Stuck Like Glue

I think my daughter got into the super glue yesterday. That is the only explanation for how she seemed physically incapable of letting go of me for the majority of the day.

"How sweet, your baby wants to snuggle!" You are right, it is very cute and endearing ... for the first four hours. Then you just want to use the bathroom without holding hands with a toddler the entire time.

My 21-month-old girl's clinginess is unpredictable. She is usually a rambunctious, wild child who occupies herself by leaping off furniture and talking to herself in mirrors. But every so often she comes down with a case of "Don't you DARE put me down"-itis.

When my weary arms and hips could take no more yesterday, I popped in a DVD of "The Jungle Book" and let Baloo and King Louie take the lead for a while. CeCe was content to watch the movie ... until I dared to remove my arms from around her to check my phone. That did not go over well.

The baby grabbed my arm, put it back around her waist and firmly planted my hand on her belly, holding it hostage for the rest of the film. The look on her face said "Mommy- what were you thinking? We are CUDDLING!"

I guess I should soak up all this contact while I can. I do love snugs with my baby bear. I just wish I could grow that third arm already so I could actually do things while we cuddle. Maybe the Eagle Creek Library will let me bring home this Curious George doll once in a while (CeCe seems to be pretty content in his embrace):

Lights, Camera, Action

The written word has always been my forte, but I was offered the chance to venture into the world of television recently. My only goal was not to accidentally swear on air. Mission accomplished.

The segment is a product review geared toward busy moms. Of course, I have yet to meet a mom who isn't a "busy mom." A non-busy mom is like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster. You have heard of them, but have you ever really seen one?

In any case, if you are interested in watching my Mommy Segment, the video is online here! If you aren't interested, you should be because you can win FREE STUFF! Visit the ABC36 website, go to Videos and then News@Noon Guests. My segment aired 8-16, titled "Summer Solutions for Busy Moms."

Then visit the Baby Bump Lexington Facebook page to win some awesome products. And now for a photo of a gal who needs no help in the beauty department:


Wash Your Hands and Say Your Prayers ...

Whether you are religious or not, we all have found ourselves praying to some deity to show mercy upon our poor, tired, half-crazy souls as we try to navigate parenthood. I don't care if you love Jesus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster- sometimes you just need a little help from above to make it through another day with your baby's teething/colic/no reason at all tantrums.

My grandmother recently purchased a book for me titled "Mommy Prayers: help for the missing binky, the late preschool pickup, the birthday party from hell, and other everyday absurdities." It is written by Tracy Mayor, who apparently can read my mind although we've never met.

This collection of desperate pleas to just catch a freakin' break once in a while is something any parent can relate to. Here is a sample of one of my favorite prayers:

Prayer at Preschool Pickup:
"Dear God,
Please let me be on time. Please help this stupid woman ahead of me in her gigantic planet-trashing SUV turn off her phone and make the left turn already. And then please keep the light green for just one more second. Please don't let me be late, or, if it's somehow your will that I be late, please fill the small, tight heart of the program director with mercy and pity so that she doesn't charge me the completely outrageous one-dollar-per-minute late fee. Please let there not have been any more biting. Please don't let those moms with the perky blond ponytails and the girly pink baseball caps judge my child. Please don't let them give each other that look, or at least please don't let me see them do it. Please let my baby be happy today. Please no tears, please not that thing with the screaming and the knees. Please let us have peace at pickup. Thank you. Amen."


Where the Wild Things Are

Most children yell or pout when they are angry. My daughter growls.

Sometimes it's a low, rumbly bear-like growl. Other times it sounds more like a screeching pterodactyl. But either way, she expresses her anger like a wild animal gearing up to charge at me.

Since CeCe relates to furry creatures so well, we decided to have a Family Adventure Day this week and head to the Cincinnati Zoo. Despite skipping her nap, our girl had a blast. Most of my photos were taken on a disposable camera yet to be developed, but a few cell phone photos were snapped in the petting zoo area:

Daddy was reminding CeCe to use "soft touches" and repeating "gentle ... GENTLE, CECE, GENTLE!" Sometimes she gets a little excited over all the fur. But the goats were very calm as a gaggle of hyperactive children poked and stroked all over their smelly coats.

Her cousin James groomed the goats and sheep, because it's very important to look nice when you are an animal that eats trash and hangs out in your own poop pellets all day.

This last photo was just before our very wise parenting decision to take our eyes off CeCe for .01 seconds, and she tried to swing her leg over the goat to mount it. We stopped her in time, but I had visions of my toddler riding a goat straight into the wallaby exhibit yelling "Giddy-up! Yah!"

I worried that 20 months might be too young for the zoo, but the day went smoothly and the baby enjoyed herself. She fed a giraffe, rode the zoo train, and said the words "Elephant," "Wolf" and "Oo-oo-aa-aa, MONKEY!" for the first time. I can't wait to take her back as she continues to grow, and see what else she learns from this experience.

Win A Rockin' CD for Your Kiddo!

If you're like me, you can only sing "Rockabye Baby" so many times before you crave a new song to soothe your babe. Besides, what a morbid song anyway. "Down will come baby, cradle and all"? Really?

If you'd like to win some sweet rock-n-roll lullabye cd's, visit Baby Bump Lexington's Facebook page! The August giveaway prizes are cd's featuring lullabye versions of The Police, Madonna and Def Leppard. To enter, just leave a comment about what cool tunes your little one likes to hear. Contest runs through August 16!

Keeping with the theme, here is a video of my daughter having a Tom Petty dance party with her dad:


Ditching the Diaper

There has been a shift in our household dynamic. We have entered a whole new realm of parenting. We. Are. Potty-training.

Sort of.

CeCe started showing some classic signs of "Time to Ditch the Diaper." So we decided at 20 months old, it couldn't hurt just to bring around a potty chair and introduce her to the idea.

The potty chair is like most things that belong to CeCe: It's pink. Three different shades of pink. Shopping for a potty chair was like shopping for a new car. You would not believe the options some of these models have.

Some potty chairs sit on the toilet, others are free-standing; some are shaped like dinosaurs or like princess thrones with cushioned seats; some make flushing noises and some actually CHEER for your children when they drop one in the plastic bowl.

We chose a middle of the line chair. Made by Safety 1st, it is a 3-in-1 free-standing potty chair, a fit-in-the-big-toilet seat and a step stool when folded shut. It was $11 at Wal-Mart.
We aren't pushing CeCe to use the potty all the time. We just want her to know what it's for. We've actually had three successful trips to the potty so far just by seeing her expression and guessing it was time. She also LOVES waving and yelling "BYE-BYE" when we flush her business down the real toilet.

I see a long road ahead of us, but at least she has the basics down so far: Remove pants, grab a book and chill.


Don't Touch the Tu-Tu

This week I hit a very important milestone as mother to a little girl. It was a lesson in picking my battles and knowing when to say “I just don’t care anymore, please get in the car.”

I took my daughter to the grocery store and allowed her to choose her clothes. And by “allowed her to choose” I mean she screamed so hard when I tried to remove her tu-tu, I just let her wear it.

So we embarked to Kroger with her wearing a dress, sandals, a plastic beaded necklace and a purple and pink tu-tu (hiked up to her armpits most of the time, per her insistence.)

I texted this information to my mother whose exact response was “Payback is hell.”

Apparently, I was quite the demanding fashionista as a child. I picked out my own outfits, from hair bows to shoes, starting when I was 2 years old.

My father loves to remind me of the time I insisted on a black velvet and gold lamé number when he was tasked with finding me a church dress. I equated church with 1980s prom at that age.

So here I am now, thinking I was years away from princess parties and dress-up bins. Instead, I have a toddler shuffling down the hallway in my high heels and costume jewelry, declaring “pretty!” as she reaches the mirror.
What did I get myself into?


What Does Mommy Say?

Now that CeCe has mastered all basic vowels and the majority of consonant sounds, it seems she learns five new words a day. But of all the food, color and weather words we know, our 20-month-old loves to make animal sounds most of all.

"CeCe- what does a sheep say?"

"BAA BAA!!!" Most excited sheep EVER.

Her Daddy will sometimes end the session by asking "What does CeCe say?!"

She often responds with "Yay!" or just a simple screech of elation. So I decided to throw her a curveball the other day.

"What does a cow say?" "MOO MOO!" What does a duck say? "WACK WACK!" "What does a dog say?" "WOOF WOOF!"

Very sneakily, I asked "What does Mommy say?" Without missing a beat, my toddler threw her finger up to her lips and said "SHHH!"

This caused me to reevaluate my preference for inside voices. I was hoping she would respond that Mommy says "I Love You!" or something else to that degree of cuteness. Nope- apparently Mommy is known for saying "Zip it up kid, sounds carries in this house."

Since this little scene tends to make people laugh hysterically, CeCe has turned it into a bit. She gets a little grin when we play the animal game because she knows her cue is coming. The little ham wants to get to the punchline. And we happily oblige, because I figure this is just the beginning of the darndest things she is going to say.


My Lovely Little Literate

We made the decision to limit screen time in our house a few months ago. While we've had plenty of cheat days when the baby is sick or Mom and Dad reach the absolute end of their ropes, but overall our attention stays off the TV more than it used to.

We play a lot of records to fill the quiet, and CeCe is quite fond of Tom Petty, Jethro Tull and Warren Zevon. Of course I predict all her little friends asking me heartbreaking questions one day like "What's a record?" or "What is a Jethro Tull?" Oh, you poor babies of the digital age. You miss out on so much.

Beyond a musical education, reading is a vital part of our everyday routine. I have started a "Book Nook" in the new house for CeCe. It still needs decorating, but is functional at this point:

We also get Mom and Dad in on the reading action:

A combination of these efforts has produced the result we desired. Whenever we have an "Oh crap, where is the baby?!" moment, she can be found in one of two places: Putting graham crackers in the toilet, or in her room reading to herself. The former may be annoying, but the latter is worth it. I stealthily recorded CeCe "reading aloud," and her version of the story is incredibly animated:

Handy Helper

For any of you DIY Mamas out there, I posted an article for Baby Bump Lexington on how to make your own faucet extender out of a baby shampoo bottle. You can see it here! 

Here is a peek at the finished product: