Thursday, January 29, 2015

28 months already?!

Power tool heaven
So, I just can't stop. I thought I was going to. All month I figured I would stop. Then there comes that magical calendar date that says 21 and I feel some magnetic force pulling my fingers to the computer. Must draft blog post. Must update on Micah's development. Must remember all these amazing details about my boy. This kid is so interesting, smart, funny, curious, observant and is the epitome of a little sponge soaking up the world in front of him. He is a little parrot as I guess most toddlers are.  
This month Micah:
  • got so super excited about the holidays. Hanukkah and Christmas were magical this year with every little detail noticed and celebrated. 
  • had so much quality time with family. 
  • became super animated and interactive with kids in the 3-9 year old range
  • Luckily, hasn't shown much preference for one parent over the other this month
  • often asks, "what's that for?" and "what's that mean?" and is already starting the phase where are answers aren't quite satisfying enough so he asks again and again.
  • has the funniest matter of fact laughs often followed up with "that's kind of funny".
  • often asks us to sing to him and even though we are pretty sure he knows the words, he doesn't sing with us yet. Sometimes when we tell him it's his turn to sing, he will just whisper the lyrics so that we can just barely hear him.
  • doesn't mind playing by himself at times with his toys. He has been super into his legos and placing his little animal figures just right and declares it his project. "Micah working on a project, Mama"
  • still enjoys wearing his working goggles a lot and sometimes wears a hardhat or baseball hat.
  • now jumps with forward movement instead of just up and down.
  • really finds words fascinating and often will repeat a new word hours later to process it out loud. One of his favorites this month was portabello. 
  • likes to be silly like papa and make funny papa noises and say with them and at random times "Riki tiki tembo no sarembo chary bary roochi pip perry pembo fell into the well, fell into the deep dark well" and "eddie cucha catcha cama tosa nova tosa ...sammy cammy wacky brown....Who?!" like they say. 
  • has fun at preschool. 
  • has been to shabbat at temple, kiddish club, and we joined the Seattle children's museum.  is very helpful at the grocery store and has been enjoying sitting in the stroller for our family walks (when we get to them).
  • Loves counting and reading still. Does both without prompting from us. Often counts 1 (or 2) - 9 and then says 11 loudly! Sometimes he goes into some teen numbers. He also occasionally says alphabet names and plays with the fabric letters that Nana made him. 
  • has been so resilient and has dealt with change pretty well. This month we went cold turkey on bottle use while in California. He only requested them once or twice and then was fine. 
  • has helped put our family on an eating schedule to minimize grazing, increase appetite and variety of foods consumed at meal times. Surprisingly, he has been pretty responsive to all of it. Now he knows that if he doesn't eat what we serve, he might be hungry until the next scheduled meal or snack time. 
  • started increasing independence at bedtime (with our nudging). We were snuggling him to sleep each night and daily nap and mostly it was quick and I am the first to say how much I loved the snuggle time, but sometimes (more often than not) it took about an hour before the adult could leave his room. We finally decided that we have to prioritize a little more adult time. It's been almost a full week of this new routine and he is doing so well. Our plan went a little like this:
Night One: Micah, we're going to give you a hug and a kiss after bedtime story and teeth brushing and then you get to snuggle your animals to sleep so that Mommy and Daddy can have adult time (which if you're wondering is not always how it sounds!). We said, "Feel free to do whatever you want on your bed, but it's adult time. We love you" and we put his sound machine on, left the door open a crack, and went to relax. He tried coming out after crying a bit three or four times and we continues with the same broken record process. Fell asleep on his own.
Night Two: Same process except tonight when tucking him in with a kiss and hug and saying it's adult time, he says "yea and Micah gonna cry." I said, "you don't have to cry, you have all your animal friends to snuggle up with" and he was comforted by that a bit. We didn't have tears, yet he still tried to come out about three times. Fell asleep on his own.
Night Three: Tried to come out only twice. Fell asleep on his own.
Night Four: Tried to come out about four times again. Fell asleep on his own.
Night Five: Down to only one attempt to come out. Fell asleep on his own.
It's been an interesting process, but one that we feel like is appropriate at this age and phase.

  • has also been encouraged to use the potty more. I wouldn't say we are officially potty training, but we are offering it more and figured it wouldn't hurt to try. The smaller size seat on the big potty wasn't working, so we went out and got a training toilet with all the bells and whistles you can imagine. It's a singing potty with sensors that turn the song on when he pees. It also lights up and talks when you "flush" it! Oh lord. We are also trying out a sticker chart. In one week he has acquired 11 stickers. I'm a little unsure about the whole process since they are all external motivators and I just don't think he cares enough yet, but we shall see. I'm not the one changing a majority of his diapers. 

I wish I could remember more of the funny things he's been saying. One day he started saying "hi folks, hi folks" with his little animals. I said, "Where did you hear that Micah? Who says that?" and he says, "Nana and Papa say that" (I am not sure why or if they said it, so it seems funny). 
Playing with his cousin Sarah on New Years Eve

Bubble wrap fun on Hanukkah

such a silly kiddo on Xmas Eve

So thankful for Nana and Papa and their holiday gifts

loving his new suitcase and backpack from Gramma

sick with a cold snuggles while watching The Land Before Time

Lego mania

Just after he locked himself into cousin Sarah's bedroom and Daddy got him out 

Loves playing with Papa

Such a fun month with half of it in Cali!

playing "with" his big girl cousins by running in circles around them!

Proof that Santa came!

what little 28 month kids do when parents shower!

Moved on to the big kid playground at Burton Park already!

Trying to keep up with the big kids like Ava (possibly his first ever crush!)

Loves this raccoon sweater!
Tool fun at the Seattle Children's Museum

Trying to be silly and nap in the stroller after a long walk. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Mom Care Package: A Treat for the Newly Nursing Mama

A lot of months ago (like 9 already!), my best friend who is really more like a sister to me had a baby. After the super fun vintage book themed baby shower and before I went to meet my little niece, I shipped a care package for the new mom. I filled the box with mostly nursing related items since that is pretty much the hardest part of having a brand new baby. I stuck a couple of items for the little one as well because, who can resist? When I arrived just two weeks later, many of the snacks were already being put to good use (although I did repurpose an old wicker basket that was lying around so that all the snacks could be mobile and right next to the mama. When baby is feeding, mama should be able to nosh too!). 

I figured it was as good a time as any to share with you the essential items in my new mom care package. I had fun creating it and am so glad that it helped even a tad bit during those most difficult parenting days and nights. Unfortunately I forgot to snap photos of the individual items, but I did write out a letter to my friend explaining each item and am sharing that with you now. Let me know what you think!
Care package for the brand new mother

New Mom Care Package

A Nursing Tank and a Nursing Bra: To make you feel like the sexy mama woman that you are (even if you are leaking and engorged) and to provide easy access for breast feeding that sweet little girl!

An eye mask: Because you have never appreciated good shut eye like you do now! 

Hand Sanitizer: For cleaning up on the go.

Facial Cleaning Wipes: Since time is beyond money now!

Lip gloss: To add a little self soothing to your day.

Infant acetaminophen: To battle those tough colds and hardest teething days. Hopefully your acetaminophen days are far in the future. 

Training Toothpaste and brush: Keep this on a shelf in clear view to remind you that your toddler days are actually truly not that far away!

Teething Tablets: Some of the best relief for baby once those little chompers start poking through!

On the Night You Were Born: This book for Baby Seif is just one of the amazing books by Nancy Tillman that have been our favorites so far. We notice "the bears asleep at the zoo since they have been up all night dancing for you".

Mothers Milk Tea: To keep those milk makers a flowin!

Burts Bees Belly Balm: To help heal that war scar! Get that C Section scar slim and trim by taking good care of it. Not sure how much it actually helped, but it certainly felt therapeutic to sooth smooth lotion over that area for weeks of healing and months of mental healing. 

Snack foods: For all those late night feedings  and mid day feedings where you just need something quick and easy.

*Not included, but will be hand delivered: Dry Shampoo: To keep you looking amazing on days where showers prove to be just too much! People rave about this stuff, but I didn't want to send a flammable product in the mail.

Love Love Love: So much love is sent with each and every item to all three of the Seif Family. We cannot wait to meet baby girl and I can't wait to come take care of mama. You are amazing, you did it!!! I love you sister! I'm an auntie!!!! Wahoo!!!

*What do you think? Any other items you feel should be added to such a care package? Did you receive any other helpful, practical, and or super thoughtful gifts when you became a parent? What could I have included for the new daddy? 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Seven Most Influential Parenting Books

I know that parenting books can be a bit controversial and that one day the "in" book is telling you to do one thing and the next day another "in" book is telling you to do the opposite, but as new parents we are naturally going to want to do some of our own research. We want advice that doesn't come from our close circle of friends and family. This is why I have decided to share the most influential parenting books for us so far. Do the hubster and I now have all the answers? No way! But we do feel a lot more confident parenting our own child after reading these books. Every child is unique, so I can't guarantee that these will work for your kiddos, but these certainly are coming in handy for us. 

Influenced our parenting:
Image via Amazon

The Baby Sleep Book: The Complete Guide to a Good Night's Rest for the Whole Family by William Sears, Martha Sears, Robert Sears, and James Sears 

This book was so pivotal for us as it reassured us that what we were doing was ok. It also came in handy each time we were feeling like we'd had enough and wanted to give up and do some kind of sleep training plan. The Dr. Sears' reminded us that what we were going through was just a phase and that there were other steps to take rather than jump to major sleep training, especially when Micah was under a year old. It especially provides a different perspective from some of the more popular sleep related books.

Image via Amazon

The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child by Robert W. Sears

Unfortunately we didn't hear of this book until Micah already had most of his vaccines, but I feel way more educated and ready to make informed decisions with the next child. I know that this topic is extremely polarizing, but I truly believe in research and being able to make informed decisions and I am not going to believe that all vaccines are necessary or that all vaccines are bad. We may decide to delay a few, skip a few (understanding possible risks and consequences) and get a majority for our next kiddo. With this book and as many research based articles surrounding this topic, I believe that is our right. Let's not open a can of worms with this one. Unfriend us if you want, but really…I think we can be sensible and agree that things are good in moderation and with thorough research.

Image via Amazon

Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods - and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett (even though I never read it!)

So technically we did not read this book, but our Starting Solids parent educator did and so we gleaned the heart of the book and it has fabulous advice! Essentially it convinced us that you do not need to buy into the whole baby food industry. There are so many reasons why baby led weaning is the way to go. Your child will learn that you are not a short order cook and that they can eat what everyone else is. They build amazing fine motor skills with trying to pick up their food and feed themselves. To top it all off, it saves you time and money! 

Image via Amazon

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

This is a good one to read right before the crawling and walking phase, but especially for the more verbal toddler phase. What we say even at this young age will really determine our children's life successes based on our growth or fixed mindset related statements.  It is also important to think about which mindsets we adults have in order to ensure that what we are modeling for our kids matches our hopes and desires for their own growth. As they say, actions speak louder than words, yet in this case your words are your actions when developing your child's mindset.

Image via Amazon

Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting From Birth to Six Years by Jim Fay and Charles Fay

I love everything about this parenting philosophy. I have also read the Love and Logic for educators and have used it in my kindergarten classroom and it works wonders! It is a minimal tears approach to discipline. We have really powerful one liners like "we talk to people who use a calm voice like mine" and "feel free to ..." The power in Love and Logic comes from giving as many choices as you can so your child feels in control. We do lots of these especially at bedtime. "Do you want your sound machine on or off? Do you want the projector on or off? Do you want the covers on or off? Do you want to snuggle Mickey or Courdouroy tonight? Do you want to brush your teeth by yourself or do you want me to help? Do you want the polar bear Jammie's or the robot Jammie's?" It has been very helpful at the park or at playplaces as we don't just give a time warning, we give a choice about it "do you want to leave now or in two minutes?" We also use consistent language when we don't want Micah to do something. He gets one warning: "uh-oh!" Then if he continues the behavior we either take an item away or change his location (often his bedroom). If he starts crying we ask if he would like the door open or closed and then tell him to feel free to come out when he is ready to be nice (or ready to clean up the mess or whatever the issue was). We refer back to this book all the time as we often find ourselves slipping and forgetting to remain consistent or forgetting to give lots of choices. 

Image via Pathways to Family Wellness
Pathways Magazine:
This magazine gives insights on "pregnancy, intuitive birthing, gentle parenting, practical nutrition" along with social and environmental issues. We have enjoyed articles about babywearing, why you shouldn't sleep train your infant, and the importance of getting children out in nature. I am so fortunate that my chiropractors office gifts their patients with a subscription. Just as we do with any reading material, we do question some of the articles in terms of bias and we don't always agree with each statement; however, overall this magazine is a breath of fresh air and has a ton of research based articles that frequently get left out of mainstream media conversations.

Image via Amazon

Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman

I haven't even finished reading this one yet, but I couldn't help to list it here! I am only half way through and already the hubster and I have regrouped with our parenting plan. While reading so far, I've come to realize that our expectations for Micah didn't exactly match our actions, so we are adjusting (mostly around food expectations: when, what, and how much). It also really seriously makes me think a lot more about the whole sleep thing for the next time we have a child. Co-sleeping has kept us all pretty content although there was that little bout of maternal depression last year. The French tend to have their kids "doing their nights" by about 3-4 months old, which of course seems like polar opposite advice from the Dr. Sears Sleep Book, yet when reading this book you find out how both views are quiet similar and that the science of both make a lot of sense together. We really thought that we weren't reacting preemptively when Micah cried as an infant, but this book makes me think that indeed, we reacted way too early and were a bit overly sensitive to his cries without really thinking and determining the root causes. I am excited to read the rest of this book and would love to discuss with any of you who have also read it!

Photo courtesy of Papa/Dad/Jay

There you have it! Our seven most influential parenting "books" so far! What do you think? What books have been guiding lights to you on your path of raising children? The hubby and I are constantly reading books and articles to learn more and to continue to update and revise our parenting philosophy and the daily actions we take with Micah. We know we won't get it all right, but we certainly will do the best we know at the time and won't be afraid or embarrassed to do things differently with the next kiddo someday! Perhaps your guiding light did not even come from a book at all and instead was a piece of wisdom passed on by a relative, friend, or even a stranger. Please share!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Working Guy…Another month older (27 Months)

Last month was the first that I almost forgot to write an update and this is the first month that truly feels like Micah hasn't really been all that different from the month before. It's the first month that I am considering retiring the monthly development posts and busting out the Birthday and Half Birthday posts instead. Will everyone be ok with that? Perhaps I will still try to do a photo dump of sorts each month, since he is so adorable. I'm not biased or anything….

This month Micah:
  • was fun to hold conversations with
  • enjoyed both mommy, daddy, and gramma time
  • celebrated Thanksgiving with the Lewins
  • thought about what made him joyful each day
  • had a much better understanding of Christmas and Hanukkah after reading lots of holiday books and listening to holiday music 
  • loved everything tools and working guys
  • had his first real stomach bug with a visit to the Doctor just to make sure that's what it was
  • had his first hot chocolate, first candy cane, first meeting with Santa, and made his first graham cracker house
  • has been counting and reading and even rhyming spontaneously
  • has had lots of little crying two year old moments, especially when leaving the playground

Thanksgiving day at Lincoln Park

Helping me root on the Niners and helping ease my pain when they lose

PNW family Thanksgiving

baking cookies

Favorite accessory

Micah dictated his first wish list to me

Working guy

Paper snowflakes!
Indoor playspace at Hiawatha on his favorite…the excavator!

Family tradition to see the teddy bears downtown!

And to see the gingerbread houses downtown!

Inspired by the gingerbread houses, we made our own. Micah loved counting the smarties on the pathway.

spotting Fabric the Elf was super fun!

This kid is college ready!

super sweet note on the wall at Collins Chiropractic!

this is the "I just got to the zoo and am hiding in the African shelter so I can go poop" look!

West Seattle Tree Lighting Ceremony with Daddy and Gramma and his first hot chocolate!

So serious while meeting Santa for the first time! I could not get him to crack a smile!
So happy to get to spend some holiday time with these four!
The Smith family who has helped us love the PNW in so many ways!

The smiles came out once the candy cane did, of course!

Say Candy Cane!
And the second hot chocolate since it's just sooo Pacific Northwest of us!
Candy dreidel spinning at the JCC's Almost Hanukkah Under the Stars!

Micah loved listening to the Sababas and Recess Monkey play for Hanukkah!

Latke dinner at temple. This is the "I Love Latkes" face!