The Lady Gray

A household chronicle


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Toddler Pillow Review

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I’ve been wanting to get Evie her own pillow for a while now. She loves ours in the big bed, and she is going to need one for her preschool this Fall. There’s tons of different toddler pillows out there and it was a little overwhelming. I ended up choosing a Milo & Gabby Toddler Pillow [mostly because of the ADORABLE pillow cases they make.]

Things I love about the pillow: It’s very breathable. Evie definitely is a belly sleeper, so the idea of a pillow felt a little bit scary. I stuck my face all up in it and could breathe just fine. It’s got a Tencel pillow case that it comes with, which is very soft and also environmentally friendly. Apparently Tencel is also naturally anti-bacterial which is pretty cool, considering that toddlers are basically tiny germ monsters.  My favorite thing about it is probably the size. It’s the perfect size for little toddler hands and arms, and squishy to boot.

Moving on to purely aesthetic reasons, Milo and Gabby makes the CUTEST pillow cases in the world. They have a little zoo of animals to choose from.  I was really torn between the Koala (Olive Koala), the dinosaur (Dylan Dinosaur) and the squirrel (Lucy Squirrel). I ended up choosing Lucy because I loved the color and her tail is adorable. In the future I’ll probably get a couple of different animal pillow cases to swap out when one is in the wash.

Evie loves Lucy and keeps telling me “new pillow! new pillow. new pillow!” I think having Lucy with her at preschool might make nap time there feel a little less foreign. Of course, there might be a problem with all the other kids wanting Lucy too!

 

Edit: I forgot to mention that there’s different sizes of pillows that go along with different age ranges. So they have baby, toddler, and kid pillows. Having a fairly petite toddler, the toddler size will work well for her for a long time. The characters for the pillow cases are available in all the different sizes.


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Someone is almost 2!

Evie is almost 2. I think we are now at a point where I’ll stop using months in her age. People would ask how old and I’d say 14 months, 17 months, etc. Now she’s almost two. At Christmas time she’ll be a little over 2. No need to bother with months anymore, because it’s less of a difference than before. Up until about a year and a half, a month makes a huge difference developmentally. Even now it still does, but after a year and a half, no one really cares how many months your kids is, because then they have to start doing math.

I went through a very difficult stage with her recently (I don’t say we here, because I’m the primary caretaker and Evie tends to behave better for everyone else in the world than she does for me, and that includes her dada.)  It was such a confusing time for me, because so many people just “LOVE” the 18-24 month age. I’ve been hearing people say “it’s such a fun age!” when all it seemed to be for me was a lot of stress in my chest. Luckily, it was only about 2 months of hard, and now it’s pretty great again. It was basically her testing my boundaries ALL DAY EVERY DAY. Lots of whining. Lots of hitting and biting and being mean to the dog and not wanting to get off of me. There would be moments of intense cuteness (I’m guessing it’s similar to why babies are cute – so you don’t just chuck them out…just kidding, obviously I would never do that). I’m really glad that it’s fun again, because when you are just trying to make it through the day every day, life feels pretty bleak.

Right now it’s a lot of mimicking behaviors and a lot of language growth. A lot of cheering because pee-pee on the potty happened, and also a lot of cleaning up baby pee, because pee-pee on the potty DIDN’T happen. I weaned her for the first time at 17 months, then she picked it back up again a few weeks later. We weaned again and it seemed to stick, except she still hadn’t forgotten. She got ahold of a naked booby a week or two ago (mine) and has obsessively been trying to nurse since. I don’t want to perpetually be giving her mixed signals, but it’s so hard when she just won’t quit. She’s taken to literally trying to pull my breast out of my shirt, or going underneath the shirt to try to get it. I’d like to be done, but she seems very intent on not being done.

We are currently doing the library’s summer reading program, where you get prizes for reading a certain amount. I have to say, I thought it would be easier. I honestly thought we were reading books for about 30 minutes a night…it turns out it’s about 10 minutes a night. So if you want time to slow down, just read to your children. Time goes by like molasses.


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On losing a friend and gaining SO MUCH

A little over a year ago, I had a pretty earth shattering friendship breakup.  Having been with the same man for almost 10 years, I was pretty unaccustomed to breaking up in general…I experienced a lot of the same emotions that I’m pretty sure are felt in a romantic breakup. Looking back a year later, I’m surprised at how much I’ve grown as a person, and also how much I’ve learned from the process.

I learned that it’s absolutely true that even if someone is talking mad shit about you behind your back, the best thing to do is just to ignore it. Eventually the people listening will realize that it’s not accurate. I also learned that I am not the problem. After this friendship fell apart, I had a LOT of self-doubt. I felt isolated and alone and thought “is it me? Am I the root of this?” While I had a role that I played, it really wasn’t about me. Some people are incapable of having long term friendships. I have many friendships that have lasted for 15+ years. (I take a lot of comfort in knowing that even far away, I have friends who would support me if I needed them, and vice versa. Girl power!) Sometimes it’s good for something bad to happen that causes a lot of introspection. I’m not a perfect person by any means.  But I have spent a lot of time trying to become a better version of myself. Thanks, therapy!

There’s still a big downside to the whole situation though. I threw myself in to a friendship with little to no abandon. I got burned. Since then I’ve become a lot more cautious and guarded when it comes to new friendships. I also pulled back from some existing friends that I had, simply from a lot of self doubt. In some ways that’s been good, because I do feel more comfortable on my own than before. I’m still an extrovert and I still crave company, but I can go longer on my own than before.I’m more comfortable in my own skin than I was a year ago. I feel like since the beginning of the year, I’ve taken huge strides in becoming a better version of myself. My therapist basically fired me because she said I don’t need therapy anymore…although I’m welcome to come back for tune-ups if I wish! I’ve started exercising my brain again, which was much needed. I’m back in school and really enjoying it for the first time in maybe 18 years. I started making an effort to be healthier….then I fell off the bandwagon. Time to hop back on!

Sometimes losing someone can feel like the end of the world (especially if you have a flair for the dramatic, and my mother likes to remind me that I do). But you never know, because I feel like a lot of good has come out of the situation for me. I’d still say that my life is like a wave. It goes up and down. I have lows for a while, then it goes back to highs. I’ve been like that forever, so I doubt that will change much.

 


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Parenting the timid toddler

Evie is afraid of in-ground swimming pools. Add that to the list. Any sort of kid-zone, bounce house, swimming pools, bees, flies, the coffee grinder, the food processor, fireworks, the vacuum, basically anything that makes a loud noise. I’m not trying to shame her at all, or embarrass her, nothing like that. There is just simply an ever growing list of things that makes her sign “all done” and say no? no? no?

As a parent I’m not sure the best way to handle it, really. Do I respect what she’s saying and keep her away from these things? Or do I push her to face her fears and get over it so that she can enjoy many of the things on her list that other kids find to be super fun! So far I’ve taken the approach of kind of doing both. Yesterday at the pool, she was in hysterics about being in the water, me being in the water, etc. First I tried to immerse her in it (not over the head of course, just with her legs and butt in the water) which did NOT go well. Then I tried to let her take her own time and approach. An hour later she waded about 4 inches in. She’s a kid who takes a LONG time to warm up to something. We went to a birthday party at a kids play zone where basically everything can be played with/climbed on/bounced on. It took her probably 40 minutes of the hour we could play to warm up to the point where she kind of started having fun.

I have a really hard time being patient with her while she’s in the warm up phase. It makes me feel like a terrible mother, because in my mind I’m thinking: get over it, kid! Why do you find this so terrifying when every other kid here is enjoying themselves? Writing the words makes me feel even worse because I sound so harsh. It’s just that I want her to be comfortable and confident, not afraid to join in the fun. It’s probably something that she’ll grow out of. I just need to learn to be patient in the meantime.


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8 Months

Sorry I’ve been so absent lately!  Life’s been busy. The baby and I spent 2 weeks in North Carolina. We were down there for a sad reason – my childhood dog was dying and we went down to spend time with him and say goodbye. The trip ended up being a lot longer than I had originally anticipated, but I got the rare opportunity to spend time with both of my sisters! I usually see them for maybe 3 days at a time. We had a lot of fun!

8 months has been really eventful for us. At 8 months, 1 day, she crawled for the first time. Amazing!! She crawled right to my Mom, and I got to see it! I was so excited and in the moment that I forgot to get a video. She was slow at first, but now she’s a champ! She’ll get across the room in no time! The other day she crawled through the kitchen, down the hallway, and towards the front door so quickly! She was a little lady on a mission to explore. I think that it was only about 10 days after she started crawling that she pulled herself up for the first time. I missed it the first, second, and third time. But of course, now I see it all the time! I wasn’t prepared for how quickly she’d be on the move after she started crawling. Now that she’s pulling herself up, she’s edging around, falling down, etc. etc. etc. She keeps hurting herself when she falls and it is the most nerve wracking thing ever. I can’t bubble wrap her, but I don’t want her getting hurt! I know it’s normal, it’s just sad when she knocks herself.

Things I don’t want to forget:

  • Her goblin face. It’s my absolute favorite! Nose all scrunched up, mouth in a snarl! Adorable. She’s started doing it all the time!
  • She reaches for me now – if she’s on the floor, she’ll put her arms up for me, if she’s in someone else’s arms, she reaches out for me!
  • Food – she loves it! And if she sees me eating, she needs something too. I can no longer eat by myself.
  • Her hair is finally long enough on top to do a pony tail on top of her head. It’s the cutest thing in the world.
  • She plays and sings and babbles. She’s getting really good at independent play!
  • If she sees the cat, she’s instantly locked in. She calls out to the cat and cries to get closer. The cat is not so enthused about this development.
  • Her relationship with Archer is blossoming – she’s learning more about how to get him to lick her hands (if she has food on them, she’ll wave them around to get his attention) and she giggles when he runs around her.
  • She loves her Daddy. It’s so sweet.
  • The dancing! She bops up and down, especially when her toys play music! We chant “dance dance dance dance” and she grins at us.
  • Signing time. We watch Baby Signing Time and she LOVES it. It’s pretty much the only tv she watches. She hears the song and gets excited!

Things I’d like to forget:

  • I’m working on transitioning her to her crib. I don’t really like it. It’s 1000 times more work. I have to get up out of bed, nurse her (in the rocker, not in the bed) and then put her back in her crib. Ugh! But she won’t nurse down anymore during the daytime, so she needs to be in an enclosed space for her naps – she’s like a little ninja who is determined to crawl off the bed.
  • Baby proofing! Ugh. Such a pain in the butt.
  • With increased mobility comes increased risk of harm. We FINALLY got the gate installed at the top of the stairs, so I can stop worrying about her falling down them and cracking her head on the cold hard tile at the bottom.

All in all, 8 months has been pretty great. Not too many complaints!


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7 Months

To be honest…my baby is 1 week away from being 8 months old. This post is quite late!

Our trip to Hawaii was THE BEST. She was the best little traveler ever. She turned 7 months during our trip. Hawaii is probably the most magical place on Earth. None of my pictures could ever capture it’s beauty. None of my words will ever be able to fully represent some of the things we experienced. Just one word. MAGIC.

Anyways.

I’m really enjoying this age. Her personality is getting bigger and bigger, which I love. She’s quite literally the happiest baby I’ve ever met. Mischievous. Curious. Goofy. She loves anything that makes music, anything that lights up, anything with buttons. All 3 and it’s her sweet spot.

Things I don’t want to forget:

  • She can’t crawl, but she can low-crawl. She looks like something dragging themselves out of the lake. It’s so funny! She’s getting quite quick! If she sees a dog toy she will book it faster than you could imagine.
  • Her relationship with Archer is growing. He kisses her hands after she eats dinner and she giggles and waves it around some more so he’ll do it some more. When she wakes up, he’s ready and waiting to jump on the bed to greet her.
  • She loves music and dancing! Specifically, when I’m dancing around like a fool. We have fun together.
  • Things she can say: Dada,baba,yaya,nana. No mama, yet. I say it to her all the time now! Mamamamamama, come on baby, get it!
  • Becoming more ticklish! Mostly along her ribs/sternum. Her little giggles are like crack to me. More, more, more!!
  • She does this thing where she scrunches up her nose and breaths heavy in and out. It’s freaking hilarious!
  • She wakes up happy. It’s weird.

Things I’d like to forget:

  • She choked for the first time. On a piece of dried leaf she found in the carpet! Scariest moments of my life to date, but I sprung into action and got it out.
  • Her falling off of the bed for the first time. And the second time.
  • She still wakes up I’d say minimum 3 times a night. That’s not so wonderful.
  • Baby poo gets a lot grosser when they start eating real food. I’m glad she enjoys it on the way in, but I do NOT enjoy it on the way out!


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6 months part 2

I should know never to try and write things at night. My brain is the worst about remembering things right now. I woke up this morning and remembered a few more things that I think are important!

Things I don’t want to forget:

  • Sitting up! She can now sit up. Like a pro. I can’t wait until she can push herself up to a seated position because right now she can only be seated if I plop her down.
  • Blowing bubbles! Blowing raspberries! She started with the raspberries and now she’s blowing bubbles constantly. Sometimes the noise of the bubble blowing gets on my nerves a bit because she likes to do it for a LONG time – but it’s still pretty cute!
  • Yesterday I mentioned that her newer hairs coming in are looking lighter. I still don’t love that. But, when you see her hair in the sun there are these gorgeous flecks of gold and red. I’m wondering if she’ll be a strawberry blonde, which I’ll admit, would be pretty cute.
  • I put her hair in a little pony tail on top of her head and died of cuteness. It’s not very full, but it’s so so so sweet!
  • I LOVE the look on her face when she is concentrating on something. It’s like I can see the wheels in her brain turning and moving as she’s trying to figure something out.

One of the coolest things about having a baby is that they change so quickly and so much. They can’t do something, and then all of a sudden they can! She couldn’t sit up for longer than 20 seconds or so, and then all of a sudden she could sit up for an extended period of time! She was so thrilled about being able to stay sitting up that she screamed with joy. The whole time! Shrieking! It was so cute to see her excitement about her new skill.

One of the things that is interesting about parenting is that everyone seems to have an opinion on how you should parent your child. Parenting isn’t a one size fit all deal. I think that it’s kind of uniquely tailored to your kid, even when you have multiple kids, what works for one might not work for another. One of the things that seems to distress people the most is that I’m not sleep training my child. When she cries in the night, I go to her. I give her the comfort that she wants and then we go back to sleep. People somehow think that if I don’t force her to figure it out herself that she will never figure out how to sleep through the night on her own. I think that’s kind of BS because eventually we all figure out that sleeping through the night is AWESOME. I wouldn’t say that I subscribe to any particular parenting approach. I agree with a lot of attachment parenting, but also the CTFD method. That stands for Calm the Fuck Down. It’s for me, not for my kid. Here’s a little info on it: CTFD. She didn’t used to take a nap unless it was on me. I would try so hard to get her to nap on her own and it never worked and she would end up skipping a nap and being a little shit. I decided that she’d figure it out eventually and just let her do it at her own pace. Lo and behold, she naps by herself now!

Anyways. She’s awesome!