Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Flying with an 18 Month Old

Our trip to NJ last weekend was worth the hassle and lots of fun.  We saw Henry's great grandmother, grandmother (celebrating her 60th), uncle, aunt and a slew of great aunts/uncles and first cousins once removed.  It was not, however, the smoothest of trips.

Henry and I flew direct from Chicago to Newark.  I checked the car seat (free) and pack 'n play ($25).  I packed all our clothes, etc. in my carryon - a lightweight multi-day backpack (camping style).  We got lucky on our flight out:  no one in our row and zero delays.  Yahoo!  Our return flight had a different tune.  The following occurred simultaneously at the gate:  they announced that the flight was officially canceled, Henry started inconsolably screaming and he took a dump.  I cracked.  I was crying, he was crying and everyone else was staring.  Nice.  Chris called the airline while I waited in line and got us on the 7pm flight.  Note our canceled flight was at 10am.  Don't worry, my brother was able to pick us up (after dropping us off earlier).  What potentially could've been a horrible day turned out to be another nice day of visiting with Henry's aunt and uncle.  Our return flight was delayed an hour, but we did have the pleasure of meeting some of the morning spectators who drunkenly recanted the morning events.  They were stuck at the airport all day - what else is there to do, but drink?  The actual flight was fine.  We got the bulkhead and again no one sat next to us.  I think airline employees know to give a break to single parents flying with lap toddlers.  LUCKY LUCKY ME.  Although, Henry didn't sleep a wink on the plane, he was an angel.  He conked out in the car ride home from the airport.

Flying with an 18 month old is not easy.  I'd say it is the hardest time to fly.  They are mobile and determined, but not yet interested in watching movies for long periods of time.  To avoid disaster - remember that something always goes wrong, but you can mitigate the damage by being prepared.

My tips for flying with a toddler:

  1. Before you buy your ticket consider your child's sleeping habits.  Will he sleep on the plane?  If not, try to plan your trip during waking hours.  Per my story above, things rarely go as planned.
  2. Purchase a direct flight.  Changeovers involve more delays and more logistics.
  3. Be extra nice to your ticketing agent.  Sometimes they will block out the seat next to you, or get you the bulkhead row.  
  4. If you can afford it (most of us can't), buy him a seat and bring your FAA approved car seat - I've heard good things about the GoGo Kidz Travelmate
  5. Bring a backpack (hiking style is best) with lots of pockets (Gregory Muir 24 Daypack) in lieu of diaper bag - keeps hands free
  6. Lightweight stroller that can be pushed with 1 hand - I love our Bugaboo Bee for this.
  7. Pack favorite clean snacks and save them for take off and landing - when you feel your ears pop, pop a snack in his mouth (as you know swallowing helps alleviate pressure)
    1. Dried cherries 
    2. Squeezable fruit:  Plum Organics Baby Food, Sweet Potato, Corn & Apple, 4.22-Ounce Pouches (Pack of 24) - See squeezable fruit and veggie post coming soon.
    3. Animal Crackers
  8. Favorite clean cup for take off and landing
    1. Straw cups are helpful so he doesn't have to tip back:  NUBY BPA FREE 2 Handle 8oz. Cup / Flip-It Straw Top, Boy Colors
  9. Sing songs and play lap games before breaking out the toys.
  10. Assortment of new and favorite toys/book/crayons - try www.mybusykit.com if you don't have time to put a bag together
  11. Try a video iPod, DVD player, laptop or iPad for a few minutes of peace.  Henry lost interest after 15 minutes.
  12. Keep things compartmentalized for easy access - reuse clear plastic bath toy totes or ziploc bags.
  13. Opt for clean pre-flight airport meals
  14. Have wipes readily accessible

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stop Judging Me!

Stop judging me!  One blogger calls it "competitive parenting."  I call it, BACK OFF B*TCH!  The last two days Henry has been a whiny screechy mess.  I assume it is because Sunday night he didn't go to bed until 930pm - we drove back from Milwaukee around 8 and he didn't fall asleep in the car.  I took him swimming yesterday and he loved it, but in the post-swim shower he started screeching and screaming.  When he tantrums he clenches his fists, turns red in the face, closes his eyes (sometimes he throws his head and arches his back) and lets out a blood curdling raspy screech.  At this point I'm still not sure how I want to approach tantrums:  ignore or distract.  Yesterday I ignored - as there was nothing to distract.  I came out of the shower to another mother's ice cold glare.  I'm not sure why she felt the need to glare.  Maybe she thought I should've given him what he wanted to pacify him.  Who knows, but get off my back lady!  Let's do our best to avoid judging each other.  I know it's hard, but we're all doing the best we can.  The next woman who glares at me better watch out!

Although this USA Today article doesn't tell us anything we don't already know, I thought it was interesting.  And maybe for some moms it will help them realize how their judgy ways affect other moms.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Do You Yard Sale?

I've heard from friends that yard sales are a great place to purchase gently used toys, but I had no idea how great until last week.  As per usual, Henry and I walked Chris to the train station in the morning and on our return trip we walked by a yard sale.  Some items, two framed mirrors in particular, looked promising and I quickly walked home thinking to myself "go home and get the car and if the mirrors are still there great.  If you can get them for $20 each great.  If not, no biggie."  I restrained myself from sprinting home, and held back even further when I realized Henry needed a new diaper before we could head back out to the unknown world of yard sales.

Upon further inspection, the mirrors were hideous (dark gold, over-priced ($50 each) and terribly ornate).  But Henry adored all the toys.  We got the three toys pictured above for $12.  The automobile puzzle is missing 1 piece, but otherwise all toys are like new!  I'm sure my yard sale experts are thinking, "what a rip off."  But for me, it was a great deal, and my excuse is that I'm still learning the ropes.

In other news, I may have broken my pinky toe this weekend.  You are probably thinking both pictures look pretty nasty - that's a bad break.  But actually, my toes are just abnormally formed.  My brother always said I had a sixth toe growing out the side causing my pinky toe to curve over my ring toe.  But if you can look closer without yakking (why are my toenails so nasty?), you will see that the below left photo depicts a bruised and swollen pinky toe while the other does not.  Let's play the game let's find 6 different things about these two pictures.  

Happy Father's Day!  

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Finding a Hat that Stays ON!

Henry has hated hats since birth.  He refused to wear little baby hats, and continued to hate sunhats as he got older.  I assumed he would never ever wear a hat - that is until I met a woman at the park who said her son would only wear ONE particular hat.  I took Henry to Old Navy that week and tried every hat they sold.  Henry picked out the hat pictured above himself, and he actually wears it.  Of course, he takes it off regularly, but he will also wear it for prolonged periods of time.  Hooray for persistence!  And Hooray for Henry's precocious sense of style.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

White Population in Kids Under 15 No Longer the Majority in 9 States and D.C.

I thought this article was very interesting.  (See link below)  I suppose when people like Chris have babies with people like me, it muddies the waters.  By the time Henry reaches adulthood, who knows what this country will look like!  Hooray for racial mixing!  


Monday, June 14, 2010

More Competitive Eating Tendencies

Please note that I did not teach him to eat this way and he rebuffed my attempts to curb his food shoveling ways.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

WARNING: Lead in Canned Fruits and Juice Boxes

Photo from inhabitots.com
The newest food warning study came out this week - beware of juice boxes and canned fruit.  The Environmental Law Foundation tested products marketed towards children for lead.  The results showed that 85% of products tested contained enough lead in one serving to require a warning label under California law.  What's even more concerning is that brands like Earth's Best, 365 Organic and Trader Joe's were equally guilty.  Henry has never had juice boxes or canned fruit, but I'm still currently resisting paranoia-city.     

See article:  http://www.inhabitots.com/2010/06/11/85-of-kids-drinks-snacks-could-contain-high-levels-of-lead/

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Kid Friendly-ish Fireplace Screen

Although fire and baby tend to imply DANGER DANGER DANGER, many of us have children and fireplaces living harmoniously in our homes.  One way to decrease the risk of mishap is to have a practical fireplace screen.  A great affordable option is a single panel curved wrought iron screen.  These are lightweight, and when Henry pushes on it, it simply hits the fireplace facade.  If he pulls it down on top of himself, which he hasn't done ... yet, it is lightweight and won't harm him.

I think we're currently at a threat level Yellow in the house.

According to Wikipedia, the Homeland Security colors correspond with the following risk levels:

  • Severe (red): severe risk
  • High (orange): high risk
  • Elevated (yellow): significant risk
  • Guarded (blue): general risk
  • Low (green): low risk

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

BEST TOY for a Boy (ages 18 months and beyond)

At only $22.49 the Bosch Workbench provides hours of focused play.  Henry is obsessed with putting the screws in the holes.  It comes with a build-it car, and a drill that actually works - and don't forget the hammer, wrench, pliers, vice, saw and screw driver.  Even our 5 year old nephew loved playing with it.
I also like the Melissa and Doug Take Along Tool Set ($10.90), but it doesn't have the same pizzazz as the Bosch Workbench.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Henry is Officially Allergic to ...

As you can see from the nose drippage, something was not right with Henry since we moved.  His eyes were constantly gunky and his nose was constantly oozing clear (sometimes green) mucous.  At first I thought he had a cold, as people kept telling me that green mucous is a cold symptom.  But upon further review, I was convinced that the more time he spent outside the worse his symptoms became.  Keeping him indoors before 10am, and bathing him before bed (despite his eczema) seemed to improve his symptoms.  I signed up for daily email alerts on the pollen count.

We finally decided to see an allergist who performed a scratch test.  On  a baby, the allergist does the test on his back.  Henry squirmed and squealed, although it was better than the blood draw.  She did the standard baby tests:  dust mites, mold, pollen, dogs, cats, dairy, nuts, seafood, etc.  The results revealed that Henry is allergic to ... DOGS.  I was shocked.  He had zero reactions to anything else.  ARGH!  She checked his ears for an ear infection, but couldn't see past the gobs of ear wax.  Her recommendation was to give Henry Zyrtec before going to a dog-infested - ;) - house, and after leaving the doghouse, we should strip him of his clothes and bathe him.  She also said to take him to the pediatrician to check for an ear infection if the symptoms didn't subside.  Two days later, I took Henry to see the doctor, and lo and behold - he had a mild ear infection, which was likely caused by the latent congestion from dog exposure.  It was a sneaky ear infection, one that did not include fever or ear tugging.  Phew!

It is nice to know why he's been goobery, and the ear infection was a bonus discovery.  Now that he's done with his antibiotics, the boogies and cough are gone.  He's been in contact with 2 dogs since - the first time I gave him cetirizine (the generic Zyrtec) and he was fine.  The second time a cockapoo licked him and Henry immediately started itching his eyes.  Why was he playing with a cockapoo?  Chris is in denial of the allergy.  Let's hope he outgrows this allergy!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Henry Busy Building

Here is Henry hard at work.  He loved helping to build furniture last week.  He placed screws very deliberately in random holes and loved using the Allen wrench.  I love how serious he is about the project.  Since then, he'll happily spend an entire afternoon "helping."  He is in love with the Philips screwdriver.