Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Posted by Carly Morgan

I recently looked up “lying” in What to Expect the Second Year. Unfortunately, it wasn’t listed in the index. A Google search revealed that most kids start lying around four years old, with some making up stories at three…which doesn’t explain why Eva has taken to lying like a duck to water.

 

The kid didn’t start walking until she was 17 months, but this she does two years early.

 

It all started last week when I ducked out of the living room to take a bathroom break. Suddenly, I could hear Eva laughing, a cage rattling, and our parakeet going crazy. I rushed to finish up and washed my hands, hearing a micro-stampede happening in the other room. When I turned the corner, Eva was sitting in her chair, as far away from our bird as possible. Everything in his cage was still swinging and he was flapping his wings with indignation.

 

Me: Eva?

Eva: No?! (She says “no” like it’s both a question and an exclamation. It’s adorable.)

Me: Did you touch Harvey?

Eva: No?!

Me: Mama has told you not to touch him.

Eva: No?! No, Mama?!

Me: So, what’s up with Harvey?

Eva: (to Harvey) What’s up?

 

 

And then, two days ago, she watched me make cupcakes for Election Day. I was frosting them when I stepped out to take another bathroom break. I finished and came back into the kitchen to find this:

 

 

Me: Eva…

Eva: NO?!

Me: Eva, did you…

Eva: No?!

Me: You’re covered in frosting.

Eva: No?!

Me: You ate it.

Eva: No?!

Me: Eva, where’s the spatula?

Eva: Where is it?

(I followed a smear of chocolate frosting and found the spatula jammed under the fridge. I pulled it out.)

Eva: Oh, there it is!

 

I cannot find anything on toddlers and lying.  She doesn’t even know what a time out is – the closest thing we have is that I make her go outside if she gets rowdy in restaurants. At this rate, if I make her go outside whenever she lies she’s going to end up a lawn ornament.

 

…and she has such an innocent face.

All Too Much

Posted by Carly Morgan

We had a nice Easter. It was busy with family, but not in a make-you-crazy kind of way and we were able to round out the day with some quality time at home. I had a moment, though, on Easter Sunday when I realized that I might not be too awesome at this mothering thing. It was fairly fleeting and not too serious, but I thought I’d share.

So, this is Eva’s Easter basket:

 

For the record, I realized that it was too much stuff before I even packed it up into her wagon-basket. The overdoing of Easter was a little unintentional because a lot of this stuff was gathered over time and I forgot how much I had. It was a combination of redeemed Totsy credits, redeemed Gilt credits, free gifts from Etsy sellers, a free Shutterfly photo book, and a couple of coupon sales that I just couldn’t pass up. That being said, even with all my freebies and couponing, the remaining cost of everything took about a hundred dollars out of my pocket…more than I needed to spend on Eva’s second Easter.

It was all great stuff, though, and Kyle and I were both excited for Eva to open her basket. However, on Easter morning, we got up a little slowly and had to rush off to make it to church in time to grab a spot. From church we went down to my parents’ house, where Eva got an Easter basket and found plastic eggs filled with goodies. After that we came home and opened our Easter package from Kyle’s parents, which contained more Easter presents for Eva and some treats for us. It wasn’t until we were finished with all of that and well into Sunday evening that we got around to showing Eva her Easter basket and by then her entire day had been filled with opening gifts and receiving little presents.

Needless to say, she was not too impressed with what the Easter Bunny had brought. I think she was both gift-overloaded by that point and also only one year old, so she vaguely helped me take things out, but nothing was too thrilling, even when we assembled her new talking play zoo and dressed her up in her new princess dress and read all of her new touch-and-feel books. She didn’t care. The only thing she could get excited about was her new Radio Flyer wagon…and I’m pretty sure that’s just because we used it to take her to the playground. The rest was all just plastic noise to her.

After she went to bed, I was cleaning up the Easter carnage and I picked up one of the baby dolls she had received. It’s a little Madame Alexander doll with a sweet dress and a soft body and when I used Totsy credits to pick it up for her, I was so excited because I had a doll that looked just like it when I was little and I loved that thing to death. I imagined Eva getting excited about her new baby and carrying it around and having it be something that she’d have always. The reality was that I hadn’t even been able to get her to look at it twice before she tossed it on the ground and stepped on it to get a better look at the inside of the wagon.

Yes, I know that she’s one and it’s unrealistic for me to think that she was going to have a Clara and the Nutcracker moment with this little doll, but it’s not like this doll has very good odds of being loved. At this point, Eva has bins and bins and bins of toys. This doll is probably the thirtieth doll she owns and we already do snuggles and bedtime kisses and pretend feeding with other dolls in the house. So, having missed her shot at being this amazing Easter present, this doll just got kicked to the back of a long line if plastic items vying for her attention…even though it’s Madame Alexander and it’s darling and if some other little girl had gotten it in her Easter basket it could have been an amazing, special gift to be cherished. In our house, it’s a McDonald’s toy.

So, I had a moment where I really considered packing all of Eva’s new toys up and donating them. I felt guilty, because between Christmas and Hanukkah and her birthday and Easter, we’ve just been dumping new toy after new toy on her and that doesn’t even include the thrifted toys she’s received or the little surprises we pick up just because it’s a Tuesday. She has nine Breyer horses, six Little People playsets, five Disney princess dolls, and two Calico Critter homes (complete with families) but she has no favorite toy. There’s nothing that stands out for her because she’s constantly getting something new. The only thing she pulls out herself are her books and she’ll happily spend a half hour in the middle of a pile of toys reading the same board book over and over.

It was good that I had this little reality check and I did pack up a few toys to be saved for later. I think in our eagerness to give her everything she wants, we’re not actually giving her time to want anything. We’re also falling into the trap of collecting things that are free or discounted, even when we end up paying shipping or we don’t need that particular toy in our home. So, I’m on a baby purchase diet. No more thrifted toys. No more clearance rack outfits. No more little things just because it’s Tuesday and I love her. We’re going to make a real effort to focus on playing with the things she has as a family so she has time to cultivate a few favorites all on her own.

It’s a solid plan. I feel good about it.

spoiled rotten in her new ears from great-grandma and her Janie and Jack dress

Taking Our Baby to the E.R. for the First Time

Posted by Carly Morgan

The following is one of those parenting moments that you think will never happen to you. It’s the kind of thing you’d read in a magazine or see on television. You’d feel sorry for those parents, but never in a million years would you be those parents.

This is what happened last Friday…

 

Kyle came home from work to find Eva still down for her nap. She isn’t usually asleep that late, but we’d gone to Costco and our day had been thrown a bit off. We’ve also been collectively sick as a family for the last week or so, so a little extra rest wasn’t going to hurt anyone. As we were catching each other up on our days, we could hear the baby starting to wake up in the other room, so Kyle went to collect her and surprise her with a little Daddy time.

He brought her out almost immediately and said, “We have a problem.” Then he turned her head to the side and I could see that her ear and cheek were covered in dried blood. It’s amazing how many conclusions your mind can jump to in a microsecond when you’re in charge of a tiny being that’s apparently been injured. Aneurysm? Foreign object? Bar fight? A quick sweep of the area revealed no cuts, so the blood had to be coming from inside of her ear. All sense of reality left. Was her brain coming out of her ears? Is this what they said would happen if she bonked her soft spot?

It was, naturally, ten minutes after the pediatrician’s office had closed, so I had to page the doctor on call through the service. In the meantime, I spoke to my father (also a doctor) and he calmly theorized that she had ruptured her eardrum. Apparently if you have an ear infection and it gets really bad, the fluid can build up until it actually tears the eardrum. I guess it isn’t too big of a deal, except for the part where we’re such awesome parents that we didn’t notice our baby had an ear infection. The pediatrician on call phoned in and added a second vote to the eardrum rupture theory. He told us to take her in right away to see someone to make sure that no permanent damage had been done.

All of this, by the way, is surreal when it’s happening. I have always thought hospital-related stuff is surreal. One minute you’re debating about frozen pizza vs. enchiladas for dinner and the next minute you’re trying to pack a supply bag and grab insurance cards so you can head out to the emergency room for what may very well be a 12+ hour stay. Kyle and I have become pretty comfortable with emergency rooms thanks to my heart’s tendency to go into a-fib, but we’ve never had any reason to take Eva. I admit, even for a “minor” eardrum explosion, it was a little terrifying.

We live less than ten minutes from the best pediatric hospital in the valley, so we took her to that E.R. They got us into a room quickly and started doing little tests. Temperature: normal. Blood pressure: normal. With every single test, I managed to come up with some alternate ending to our evening. A ruptured eardrum that results in permanent loss of hearing in her right ear. A ruptured eardrum that results in a permanent loss of balance, restricting her to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. A rare condition in which the brain actually does liquefy and fall out. It was all possible.

Fast forward an hour or so to the doctor coming in to see us. Kyle held a screaming Eva while the nice woman peered into her ears with the scope and pronounced her eardrums to be perfectly healthy and intact. A careful examination of the ear revealed a tiny scratch, pinhead-size, in one of the top folds, probably as a result of Eva’s careless fingernails. A dap of antiseptic and 20 pages of paperwork later and we were released to make room for the legitimately sick children coming into the hospital.

The parents who took their kid to the top pediatric hospital in the state because she had a microscopic scratch on the outside of her ear. Yeah, we’re those people.

The Baby is Supposed to Eat What Now?

Posted by Carly Morgan

So, we’ve hit the next stumbling block on the road to holy-crap-just-be-10-already. Last week, I wrote a post about taking your baby on a Disney vacation and which baby food options were the best idea, since we’ll be heading out to Disneyland for a little family fun in April. I noted that she’d only be 13 (almost 14) months old at that point and we’d need to take baby food to cover the trip.

Following that post, I got 6 or 7 very friendly and ever-so-slightly-concerned e-mails. I love that I’ve been blogging long enough to have readers who don’t mind stepping in to give me a bit of advice every now and then. For example: “Our son didn’t eat much baby food after ten months,” and “I think the parks have a lot of options that Eva can eat,” and “If you don’t stop giving her all that baby food, she’ll be the only Kindergartner that doesn’t know how to chew.” (That last one might have been my interpretation…)

Anyway, I got the message and did a little research. Oh, it turns out that we were supposed to be feeding Eva some people food. Things like chicken and fruit and bread and other things that don’t come in jars. Oops. Apparently the baby-food-only stage only lasts for a couple of months.

Fast forward – I went to Whole Foods this week and started to get a little hungry. I had a pouch of baby food in my purse for Eva, but (feeling inspired toward mommy greatness) I decided to buy her some real people food to go with my real people food. So I shopped. And shopped. And shopped. And thought things like this:

“I think she can eat quinoa, but I don’t think she can eat the onions and pomegranate seeds in it. Plus, I didn’t bring a baby spoon.”

“I don’t think she should eat all of the mayo in that chicken salad. Plus, I don’t have a spoon.”

“I bet she could eat some yogurt. Really should have brought that damn spoon.
They have lobster bisque…when they say “no shellfish”, do they mean all shellfish or just cheap shellfish?”

“I know she can eat bread…should I get her a roll? Is it still lunch if I just feed her tons of white bread?”

“Maybe I could shred some rotisserie chicken? Or would I have to chew it first?..because…ew….”

This went on for 30 minutes and, ultimately, I bought sushi. Raw salmon sushi. In my head, she’d be able to easily swallow it. I sort of forgot about the part about it being raw…and fish…until I got to the table and re-evaluated. I gave her some kernels of rice and then gave up and fed her the entire pile of pickled ginger. Yes. True story. My first attempt to nourish the kid without instruction led to a lunch of pickled ginger.

Kiddo ate all of it. I don’t know if that means she’s adventurous or just resigned to my crazy…

Why I Don’t Make My Own Baby Food

Posted by Carly Morgan

Disclaimer: I recently received a fun surprise. The people at Ella’s Kitchen sent me a sampler of baby food pouches. This is not a paid review, however. These are my honest opinions as someone who has been happily using Ella’s Kitchen pouches for the last three months.

When I got pregnant, I had a very clear vision of my future. It wasn’t late nights or burp cloths or missing socks. It definitely wasn’t picking that soggy rice cracker out of my hair this morning. No, my vision was clean and darling and beautiful.

It was the Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker.

 

How freaking beautiful is that? It’s like an Easy Bake Oven and a KitchenAid mixer got together and had darling offspring. The thing steams food and then purees it. At that point you can put the purees into these little Beaba ice cube trays to freeze until you want to thaw it out in a little Beaba food tray so you can serve it with the little Beaba spoons.

Love.

So, I was over the moon when some of my relatives sent me this darling contraption when Eva was born. Kyle and I pulled it out and pored over the recipes, counting the days until she could eat steamed and pureed salmon with a side of streamed and pureed sweet potato. We even talked about pureeing extra vegetables to add to our own food. Who doesn’t need more creamed carrots in their life?

And then…

The thing about parenthood is that everything is bright and shiny and darling when the baby is born, but as the baby gets older and starts to get grabby/sticky/pukey/poopy everything just gets a little less darling. Like the crib sheets. And the bibs. And my hair.

By the time Eva was ready to eat solid foods, I didn’t have time to plan out elaborate meal plans for her. In fact, I didn’t have time to get the baby food maker out of the box to read the instructions. So, I guiltily bought her a few Gerber jars. Then Kyle bought a few. Then I bought a few more. And then we discovered Ella’s Kitchen.

 

The little pouches of organic baby food from Ella’s Kitchen are the best of both worlds!

The food is organic, healthy, and free from additives, so I don’t have to feel guilty about serving her the equivalent of a baby SPAM burger.

The pouches: DARLING. Bright colors. Cute graphics. They’re even a little cuter than the baby food maker.

They’re easy to transport, they last a while, and they don’t have to be refrigerated, so the convenience level of these versus frozen cubes of homemade food is off the charts.

They’re regulated (like all commercial baby food), so the food ends up being a bit safer than the food I make at home. It seems counter-intuitive, especially with all the warnings about how we don’t know what goes into food that we aren’t growing ourselves, but I trust that the people making these pouches are carefully checking the ingredients whereas I like to play a little game called “How long have we had these carrots? Are they soggy? Did they sprout new leaves? Were those brown spots there when we bought them?”

Most of all – the flavor variety is huge and Eva loves every one of them. We can pick between single fruits, fruit/veggie combos, or fruits mixed with grains.

That last one is a biggie. See, here’s what I didn’t think of when I was imagining myself getting all Williams-Sonoma with the baby food. Kyle and I try to have a selection of fruits and veggies around the house, but most of the time we just have staples (spinach/kale, broccoli, apples, and bananas). They work for us and when I buy too many fruits and veggies, I tend to find scary bags of fuzzy produce in the bottom of the fridge.

However, Eva is at a point where she needs to be trying new flavors and getting used to different foods. The Ella’s Kitchen pouches are perfect for that because the blends include a lot of things that we don’t often eat. True, I could have hit the store every few days and made my own rutabaga and apple puree, but c’mon…was that really going to happen? I can’t find time to get a haircut!

The other thing I just didn’t think about is that the baby food window is smaller than I thought it was. Eva will only be eating these purees and creamed foods for another year, at most, and she’ll be moving on to small bites and big bites and PB&J sandwiches before I can blink. The Beaba baby food maker is darling, but it was a fun luxury that just didn’t match my lifestyle (or produce drawer). So, we sent it back to Amazon and traded it for a combination clock/nightlight/iPod stereo that should last Eva until high school.

Did I think I was going to make my own baby food? Yes. Do I feel a little bit like a slacker because I’ve never made my own baby food? No. Eva loves the pouches and, even though they’re a bit pricier than the jars, I love knowing that the food is good for her and making her happy. Added bonus – I think Kyle eats them when I’m not looking. Apparently our whole house has been suffering from a distinct lack of parsnip and carrot blends until now…

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