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Unconventional play things

Liam has lots of toys. Lots and LOTS of toys. Almost all were given to us by generous friends and family (thank you!) and we bought a few at this awesome, huge, city-wide baby-item garage sale that happens twice a year. But you know what I’ve realized? About 75% of the time, Liam could give two shits about his toys. He prefers to play with weird stuff. Some of his favorite weird stuff includes:

  • Kitchen spatulas. Anything from the kitchen, really. And I know most babies love kitchen stuff, so my kid’s not that weird, I guess. Moving on…
  • An old spice container that my husband put a quarter in. It’s genius, really. Liam shakes that shit, throws it, kicks it and is pretty much obsessed with it because it makes noise. Boom. #Winning.
  • Small cardboard boxes, i.e. the box to baby Tylenol, etc. I started giving them to him as a distraction during diaper changes so he wouldn’t contort in strange positions and try to sky-dive off the changing table, thus causing me to become poo-covered by literally savings his ass, and not just wiping it. Now he likes ANY box.
  • Our socks. He likes to wave them and shake them. Sometimes he tastes them. Depending on the state of the socks (i.e. did they just come off my husband’s feet?) he often greatly regrets that experiment.
  • Toilet paper, Kleenexes, napkins… any type of soft paper – he will just TEAR. THAT. SHIT. UP.
  • The air vent in his bedroom. Liam will stand over it, run over it, pound on it… fooorrrreeevvveeerrrr! Here he is just chillin’ in his jammies with his paci, “wind” blowing through his hair, hairbrush in tow. My kid is the coolest.

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Recently, my husband gave Liam the best “toy” ever – straight from the trash. Brady had gotten a package in the mail and of course it was stuffed with a bunch of filler-paper. OMG – LIAM IS OBSESSED WITH THE FILLER. The photos below are a small sampling of what would have gone on for hours if we hadn’t made him stop and go to bed.

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New mom takeaway? Anything can be a toy. So if you’re cheap like me, dumpster-drive, baby, and get creative. :)

Aside
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Spring is finally here! And as the weather warms up, Liam is outside much more both at home and at daycare. The territory of his explorations has been vastly expanded, and my little trail blazer is doing everything he can to learn about the world around him. And by “everything he can” I mean he is attempting to eat everything he can… most of which is not food. And thus, I bring you:

Things my son has tried to eat this week

  1. A rock. Actually many rocks. Upon hearing “no” at his first attempt, he now enjoys racing to the next rock within his site and looking me right in the eye as he shoves it in his mouth. Little. Stinker.
  2. Pine cones. This one actually cracks me up. He tests our awesome daycare provider with pine cone shenanigans and apparently has not yet learned his lesson and daily has pieces of bark picked out of his mouth.
  3. More rocks.
  4. Sticks. Same results as pinecones, only he learned on the first try with this one.
  5. And finally: the ONE thing my son has successfully eaten this week that he should not have eaten… the sticker from an apple. Baaahah! He is quick and must have grabbed it while the fruit was being cut for him. I didn’t even know he had eaten it until it showed up in his diaper! Gah! Sooo gross but sooo funny at the same time.

I hope I’m not the only one whose kid has eaten or tried to eat weird stuff. I’ve been told that this summer he will most likely eat bugs. I understand my little explorer is conducting “experiments” on the world around him, but if he’s going to eat live bugs, I’d rather just not know about it. :)

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For the seniors

First-time-blogger confession:
Writing is the most pure interpretation of ourselves. It is the entrance to who we really are. By blogging, I’ve invited you in – for better, for worse, for whatever you want to take me as: I am here. And I am real. This is me.

 

Recently, I had the pleasure of reading “The Lovely Bones” along with my old high school English teacher’s three senior English classes, while in turn, the students had to read my blog (baaahaha – poor senior boys). After reading the book, I used Skype to video conference with each class. They asked me questions about the book, my take on the characters (especially the mother, who leaves her family for an extended period of time to rediscover herself), and writing. It was an amazing experience, and it all stemmed out of my published byline on CNN.com.

These experiences tied together made me realize something about writing; about being a writer; about myself. Read on.

Of all the questions I was asked by the high school English students, only two left me speechless – without an instant answer.

The first: What do you want your legacy to be?

This caught me off-guard. I’ve never really thought about myself as leaving a legacy. I’m proud of who I am, the things I’ve done, and the things in my life that are yet to come – but a legacy? It’s not like I’m Oprah, here (I almost said Li-Lo, but that would have been oh-so wrong). My answer? I want to be remembered as a nice person. That’s it. That is all. Someone who formed friendships with many different types of people and who listened and learned with an unbiased ear.

MAN – high school students ask good questions. Stop being so deep, seniors! ;)

The second question, posed by a student who obviously was not in love with English class (which is completely Ok – we can’t all be English nerds). His question: I blog because Dr. Nygaard makes me blog. Why do you blog? And how do you come up with your post ideas?

I really didn’t have a good answer to this question even though it seems like it should have be easy. I think I stumbled through some generic response – so generic that I don’t even remember it. But that answer, whatever it was, did not do this question justice. So, to the gentleman who asked me this question, here is a proper answer:

I blog because I love writing, my son, and being a mother. I don’t brainstorm topics. I don’t sit and work through writer’s block. I post when I’m inspired and the writing just comes.

Of course when I was a student (both in high school and college) I struggled through my fair share of class essays that I had absolutely no interest in writing. I was assigned a topic and told to write. Blah.That’s what makes blogging different for me and why I think personal writing is so special. I don’t write because I have to, I write because I want to. The topic has not been assigned to me – being a mother to my son is such a special part of who I am and I am so passionate about it that often my fingers cannot keep up with the words streaming in my brain. Is it scary sometimes? To stream my personal thoughts and consciousness onto the Internet? Of course. It was especially terrifying publishing my writing on CNN for all the world to see. But it was also invigorating. That slight inkling of fear mixed with excitement is how I know I’m writing about what matters to me the most.

Writing is the truest form of who we are – it takes guts and courage and an invisible army of a thousand men to put your thoughts in their purest form out there for others to read. But I think that’s how we know we are winning – when we can do that and not back down.

My writing is who I am – not everyone is going to like it, not everyone is going to agree with it – but it is my own and it is real. If it can entertain and inspire others, then that’s just a bonus.

So seniors – even though you are being “forced” to write a senior blog, I encourage you to not think of it that way. Take a risk and write about what really matters to you.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
- Mary Angelou

Tell your story, and be proud.

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Yum-yum

Yesterday at daycare, Liam tried to eat a pine cone. It didn’t work out very well for him and my awesome daycare provider had to help him get bits of bark out of his mouth. Yum.

Today a friend of mine told me about how her son (three months younger than Liam) tried to eat a band-aid at the doctor’s office – and she didn’t even notice until a nurse rushed over to catch what she thought was going to be vomit… Nope. Just a chewed up band-aid. Double yum.

My friend wins this one. But we are both awesome first-time moms.

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Sticky mommy

First-time mom confession: I stick things to my child in the bathtub because it’s funny. :)

Foam bath pic

We have these foam letters and numbers Liam likes to play with in the tub. I am sneaky and stick them to him when he’s not looking. Sometimes he tries to pull them off; other times they fall off on their own and he laughs and laughs. Still other times he doesn’t even notice they are there so I see how many foam objects I can get to stick to him at one time.

I’m awesome and I know it.

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Food-wuss

I’m a food-wuss. Not when it comes to me, I like a lot of different types of food, but when it comes to Liam. Major food-wuss.

We started him on solids when he was around seven months old… he loved food immediately and ate pretty much everything. Being the food-wuss that I am, I pureed EVERYTHING before giving it to him: carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, avocado – you name it, I threw it in the blender before he got it.

I was finally pushed out of my comfort zone with Liam-feeding when my awesome daycare provider pointed out that Liam really liked picking food up and feeding himself. So we “graduated” to small pieces of food. Like minuscule. Teeny-tiny-ity-bity. With this level of precaution, one would assume I had witnessed my child choking before. Nope – never choked, never even gagged. I’m just a major food-wuss.

So we are finally to the point where Liam can eat pretty much anything we can eat. Obviously we are staying away from things like peanuts until he is a little older, but everything else is game-on. Our awesome daycare provider tells me about what Liam eats for lunch and snack and I’m so proud of him! He destroys things like salsa, veggie pizza, and chicken pot pie. He hates carrots and grapes, but he’ll eat his weight in sauerkraut. What a weirdo.

So he eats an awesome variety of healthy food at daycare, but at home, I’ve been a major wuss. Liam goes to bed at 7pm and I’ve found it’s just easier for Brady and I to wait and eat after he goes to bed. That way I can actually sit down and enjoy my meal without feeling like I have to eat really, really fast while policing the amount of Liam’s food that goes in his mouth, on his head, or on the floor. It’s just easier.

And that’s where I ran into trouble and did something really stupid.

Because it was easier, and because I hate cooking (so spoiled to have a culinary King for a partner)I started buying Liam these little pre-made baby meals. They had a bit more sodium in them than I liked, but overall, I didn’t think it would hurt him to eat one a day. They came in varieties like chicken & stars with veggies, mac & cheese with peas, and these cute little raviolis.

Sign number one should have been when my awesome daycare provider texted me “these baby meals smell like cat food. lol.”

My response? “Baaahahaha LOL!” Stupid. Just stupid.

I continued to feed these things to Liam at least once a day for a month. It wasn’t until today when my idle little mind started doing a bunch of research on Autism because I’m a freak and of course worry constantly about Autism rates and my little bugger even though Liam shows no signs or warnings of the disorder – AHHH! Take a breadth - that I stumbled upon information about how processed foods like this are not the best for babies and small kids. *Note – I do not think processed foods cause Autism. I just happen to stumble upon the article about how processed foods are not the best for babies while searching for Autism info. :) Moving on -

WELL DUH!

I have no excuse. Zero. Absolutely no excuse. My husband used to be the manager and lead health & wellness/fitness instructor at a kickboxing gym. We’ve both followed “clean eating” and an exercise regime for over five years. WE don’t eat processed food. So why the heck was I feeding it to Liam!?

Because it was easier. And because I was terrified of the transition to normal human food – not just that Liam would choke, but stupid fears such as:

  1. Can babies eat onions?
  2. Will the wrong combination of cooking spices kill him?
  3. If Liam eats spicy food, will he fart fire and burn his poor little ass?

Stupid fears.

Well, time to suck it up and move on. I’ve basically been feeding my kid cat food for a month. EFF! So tonight, chili it is! For one, for all, for Liam!

 

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Stinky-stink-eye

Before I was a parent, I always thought it was so cliché — “a mother’s love” — “unconditional love.” I was an idiot. It is so true. And it’s super weird to me that I can love this little person so, so much and I hardly even know him.

You might think, “of course you know your son!” But you would be wrong. I am just getting to know him – because he is not himself yet – he is growing, changing, and developing everyday. I see little sneak peaks and small aspects of his personality, but as far as “knowing him” the way I know other people (my husband, for instance) – I don’t know Liam at all.

But that’s why this is awesome. I get to know him as he’s getting to know himself. :)

Something I know that I know about him… and I think he already knows too, is that he’s really good at the stink-eye: the WTF look as displayed below when I stopped during his wagon ride to take his picture.

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I can just hear his inner monologue: “What the hell mom!? I was having fun! Forward, march!” Sorry, buddy – I make the rules, and the mommarazzi just will not stop.

*Kisses*