Again, and Again, and Again ...

Don't you just love watching the same episode of "Modern Family" over and over? I don't mean two or three times. I mean for a month straight. Back to back, every night. Talk about fun!

And how about reading that one page of your book 20 times in a row? It just keeps getting more interesting!

False. Such repetition can drive an adult insane. But that is not the case for a toddler.

CeCe has what I am hoping is a healthy obsession with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. She reacts to Mickey's face like a 12-year-old girl to Justin Bieber. At first I enjoyed the Mousketools song and was grateful that Mickey and the gang could distract my baby long enough for me to fold some laundry or brush my teeth.

But as time went on and the rewind button got plenty of action, the thrill is gone. For me, at least. CeCe is still rocking and rolling with the Clubhouse. How many times can a child watch the same 24 minute sequence and be entertained? The answer is: as many times as they want.

The same is true for books. CeCe loves to turn the pages as we read to her and claps each time we finish a book. And then she wants to read that book another 16 times. The problem is, baby books average about 20 words. For the entire book. And the plot lines are usually thin, with very little character development.

Suffering through the continual rotation of Mickey and dramatic readings of "Moo, Baa, LaLaLa" are tedious, but I realize the importance of these actions.

Repetition gives toddlers a sense of empowerment. They know what is coming up next and that is a big feeling for a child experiencing new things so often. It is a personal victory that she can predict what is on that next page of the book. She feels secure in our routine of playtime, books, Mickey, then bed.

I see many more nights of the same TV show and same stories in our future, and many more nights of plotting to "accidentally" lose the Sandra Boynton books for a few weeks. Maybe if I keep reminding myself of the benefits it will make the "Groundhog Day" feeling less intense each evening.


What the Heck is Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease?

Although she has returned to daycare, I am still hearing phantom cries of my baby this morning. They must still be echoing off the walls from earlier this week.

We were informed Monday that two of CeCe's classmates had confirmed cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. My first thought was "How terrible!" My second thought was "What in holy heck is Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease?"

Not to be confused with Hoof and Mouth Disease, this virus is not the same one cows get. I was relieved to learn that my child had not been exposed to a bovine-baby disease. Here is the CDC website about HF&M.

It usually involves a fever, poor appetite and red blisters or ulcers on a child's mouth, feet and (you guessed it!) hands.

CeCe woke up with a raging fever Monday evening, so I spent most of Tuesday on the hunt for any red spots on her body. The only one I found turned out to be from the marker I use to edit papers. Her fever subsided quickly and she returned to her normal, happy self no worse for the wear. Disease averted!

HF&M is transferred from direct contact, so if your little one's playmates come down with a case keep an eye out for the symptoms. We lucked out that she didn't come down with the virus, but I'm glad I learned about this for future reference should I ever think "Those don't look like normal chickenpox ..."


Valentine's Day as Parents

With my daughter's birthday in late November, it doesn't take a math whiz to figure out when she was made. That's right, my little cupid was a Valentine's Day baby. So here we are, two years later. Valentine's Day with a toddler.

I awoke to early morning screams from my baby and discovered her fat little leg stuck in between her crib rails. As I tried to rock her back to sleep, she repeatedly tried to shove her paci in my mouth. I decided it was time to get up and hope she had a clean shirt with hearts on it. I mean she only has seven so the odds were in our favor.
Matt (being the super amazing man he is) had flowers and my favorite goodies laid out on the table as soon as we walked into the kitchen, so he must have James Bonded that plan while I was sleeping. Points for daddy.

The day was full of work because the world doesn't stop for those who are in love. I planned for a romantic evening as a couple, but my child had other plans.
First- CeCe's hair was covered in cupcake crumbs from her daycare treat, so I figured why not! Let's go for broke and bust out the spaghetti! She enjoyed a lovely Italian dinner for Valentine's Day.

Since she was now covered in cake, spaghetti and ketchup (I may have omitted part of this story), it was time for a luxurious Valentine's bubble bath. It wasn't what I had exactly hoped for when I thought about getting dirty on Valentine's Day, but you do what you gotta do.
While I ran her water I made the mistake of allowing CeCe to rip her diaper off before it was time to go swimming. Before I could even form the word "NOOOOOO!!!!" in my head there was a pile of baby poop on the carpet. 
Since we play "chase" frequently, my mad dash for her was mistaken as a game and she took off running through the kitchen- but not before stepping straight on the poop so there were tiny poopy footprints throughout my house. I really hope my landlord doesn't read this blog.
After cleaning up the crumbs, the ketchup, the pasta and the poop, there was some brief playtime before bed, then Matt and I enjoyed approximately half of our V-Day movie before I began to fall asleep and rainchecked the remaining 50 minutes for another night.
In the end, it was a happy Valentine's Day. Not one that Hallmark might write about, but this one had a dash of romance, a heavy heap of crazy, and plenty of love mixed in with it all.


Cereal in the Bottle Controversy

This post is a column I wrote for the Lexington Family Magazine Baby Bump 2012, a maternity guide for Central Kentucky parents. The guide is a wonderful resource for health tips, shopping guides and more info concerning pregnancy and newborns. If you are interested in obtaining a copy, feel free to contact me and we will get you one! (And yes, it's free!)

My Thoughts on Cereal in the Bottle (I don't mean to offend if you use this method, but it's worth mentioning the research that advises against it.)

"Every parent has been desperate for sleep in the early months. I remember nights when I would have made a deal with the devil just to get an uninterupted five-hour stretch of shut-eye. But I was breastfeeding and my daughter ate every three hours on the dot.

With the intentions of being helpful, I had women telling me a special trick they thought would help: cereal in a bottle. “It fills them up so they won't need more milk.” “They'll sleep through the night so you can too.” “Mothers have been doing this for years. It's fine.”

This advice didn't sit well with me for many reasons. The first being glaringly obvious- our pediatrician told me what a bad idea this was. Cereal in the bottle is sometimes recommended for certain health conditions your baby may have, like reflux. Not as a quick fix for healthy babies.

I wondered why my baby was being accused of not eating enough before bed. I resented the implication that if she wasn't sleeping through the night, something needed to be “fixed.”

I learned that my newborn's stomach was roughly the size of an egg, and breastmilk digested very quickly in her little belly. The thought of filling it with a substance meant for a six-month-old concerned me.

More sleep would have been nice. What new parent would turn down the chance for a full night of sleep? Only one who had already been lost to the insanity of sleep deprivation. But when we decided to become parents, we knew what came with the territory. We all have things we have to wake up and do the next day. But baby's needs should come first.

Here is a news flash: Your child was not born to neatly fit into your schedule. If you can't adapt to feed your child in the healthiest way, then you are in for a rough going over the next few years of parenthood.
The American Academy of Pediatrics firmly states that cereal in the bottle is not healthy for infants. They risk choking or aspirating, it can cause too much weight gain and lead to childhood obesity. Yet it is still recommended by many mothers.

You can tell me that it makes babies sleep. Well so does Nyquil or Benedryl. I'm not about to drop a teaspoon of that into a bottle. They are warned against by pediatricians just like cereal- they all can have adverse effects on a baby. So why is cereal such a praised solution?

I refused to put cereal in my child's bottles, despite repeated suggestions from others. My pediatrician told me all I needed to know, and my gut backed it up. I have a very happy, healthy 1-year-old little girl and we both sleep peacefully the whole night through now."

And just for kicks, here is a recent picture of my little gal sleeping (she naps hard, ya'll.)