5:37 PM

Great post

I just want to share and chronicle this amazing blog post about being the grandparent of a child with RAD (reactive attachment disorder). The author is clearly an amazing mom and grandmom.

10:22 AM

My top ten baby products

I have had a few expectant moms ask me what my all time favourite baby products were. I thought it may make a great blog post. Most of these things that made it to the faves list are products we are still using today with a toddler so they stand the test of time.

So here they are in not much of an order:

1. Baby Hawk's Mei Tai carriers. (okay I know I just said not much order, but this one is the clear clear winner and my most favourite baby product ever) They rock and here are the many reasons why: Adorable prints, reversible, no need to fiddle with buckles - yes this company now makes one with buckles but skip that, these are good because you can switch from mom to dad and side to front to back with no need to readjust. They are small, you can roll them up to the size of diaper so they are easy to bring along "just in case". They are washable durable cotton. We used ours from week one till today 28 lbs. We use it at least once a month still, didn't I mention that my son (born to me) has many attachment issues. Go figure. So any ways he likes to be carried in it, and we use it for getting chores done around the house. I still carry him in the front, I find it easier but my husband prefers to wear him on his back at this weight. You can wear them front facing in or out, side like a hip carrier or on the back. If you are in the GTA you can purchase one and try it on at evymama, they also ship across Canada and you can often get one on sale if you are not picky about the colour.

Then (2 months old) Excuse the messiness of the tie, I am pleased with my self for getting it done forward facing for the first time. He liked to be facing out from a very young age, with in a month I could do this blindfolded and even fashioned a little furry poncho type thing to go over it so we could leave the house and I could walk to the bus keeping him warm and then take the poncho off when we got in the bus/mall all with out having to remove him. That was good because he used to sleep in this like a log.

....and Now (21 months). Yes that is my husband with a steam mop and a baby and yes this is the sexiest photo ever.

2. Playtex drop in bottles. Now when you need to buy a bottle there a zillion that will tell you that they are the best with no air, less burps, just like mom's nipple, simulating a breast. I know because I bought one of each. And NONE of them work as well as the drop ins. The drop ins have a outer casing then you slide in a plastic baggie of sorts. This means you only need to clean the nipple you can reuse the sleeve and toss the baggie. I recommend the more expensive self standing baggies over the fiddly ones that come on a roll like supper market bags. Most big stores carry a no name version of the drop in bags so they are pretty affordable still. If you are in Canada, the President's Choice brand is better then the playtex version too. The other great thing about these bottles is that the bag collapses around the liquid creating a vacuum effect. That means absolutely NO air gets in there and makes baby gassy. This has another fantastic unexpected perk, baby can drink by him self before he has the ability to understand the concept of tipping a bottle to get the milk, it comes up like a straw. Now keeping in mind my adoption audience, this is not such a big deal since the whole point is to feed baby and use this as bonding time. But no matter what there is going to be a moment when you are driving and the baby is starving in the back seat and you are going to be so happy that you can just pass over a bottle and problem solved.

3. Pacifier clips. No particular brand but it MUST have a metal clip. The plastic clips do not stay put. TIP: Attach a hair elastic to the end and they make a great bottle holder too for in the stroller, keeps the bottle from being flung out when you least expect it. Target sells a cute one by Munchkin.

4. Safety First Baby monitor. This digital one is great has excellent range and battery life plus it is good looking. I really love that it does not constantly hum and has a unique signal so no one can pick up our frequency. This is a big issue, you may not know but the other types all share the same frequencies and I have heard tales of neighbours hearing the goings on in each others houses. Thieves have also been known to cruise around using the monitor to monitor you and what is happening in your routine.

5. Fisher Price neck pillow. Again we have been using it from day one till now. It is used in the car seat, but also when we go hiking and he is in the back pack and when he was in the mei tai as well and we would go walking. (that is not my kid by the way, it is a stock photo.)

6. Pampers, sorry the no name diapers just can hold the liquid like pampers can. I put diapers to the test, I have a skinny mini so I can not just up the size for more absorbency like other moms do. And I have a toddler with eating issues so he still gets most of his nutrients from formula. I know, go figure. So you can only imagine the amount of liquids I deal with on any given day.

7. Baby legs. We love these. My son wears them every day in the winter as a sort of long john. I hate that boys pants are so loose and baggy around the ankles and the socks are never high enough. These are pricey but they last forever and if you have a crafty friend it is really easy to knit your own. Also check out babysteals.com and babyhalfoff.com, they occasionally go on sale there. These also rock because my skinny mini is always outgrowing the length on the pants before the waist. This way he looks less like he is preparing for a flood and more like he is very fashion forward. Some times it is fun to just be pants free. Baby legs are going to play a key role in our potty training days too.

8. A bumbo and tray. This is one of those things that I though could not possibly be worth it, you think it won't get used much. Nope. We used ours from age 3 months until he could escape it at age 7 months. Not as long as I used some other products but it was used all day!! I used it for every meal, he sat in it in the shower with me (kept me much more showered then a lot of other moms I know, not that that's a bad thing, I am just saying... I always wondered why every one didn't take every shower this way) and it also worked great for visiting or going to restaurants. Here is squeaker at his 100 days party, he sat in the middle of the table just like a little emperor should. :)

9. As for all the other gear swings, saucers, bouncy chairs and jolly jumpers and all that jazz each baby seems to be different. Here is a tip though these things actually work BETTER second hand, all the springs are rather stiff and difficult for babies to use when these are brand new. They are easy to clean so go ahead and save your self some money by buying second hand. That way if that is not the thing your baby loves you have not wasted a few hundred dollars. Also try it out at a friends house first so see if baby is really in love with it, or try borrowing one first from a friend before you commit. If you really want to know what we loved it was: our walker the most followed by the jolly jumper and the bouncy chair for when he was itty bitty.

10. Diaper bag that has built in stroller clips. I don't have one brand preference over another, I like to mix it up so I tend to buy cheep ones but I must, must, have built in clips. They sell ones that are universal, but I have tried them all and they are all bulky, fidgety and many of them break constantly.

Well there you have it, my best tips. One last thing I will say while we are on the topic is that if you are going to have a c-section, or even if you are not, the thing that saved my life was Depends underwear. I used them for the first 2 weeks after giving birth, and they saved me so many times. I have passed this embarrassing advice along many times now, and each and every expectant mom came back to me later and whispered a secret thanks for this tip.
Your Welcome :)

10:56 AM

Proud to have had a home study - and passed!

It never occurred to me to be annoyed about needing to have a home study and be approved by (in our case, 3 now) government agencies before being allowed to adopt. The only thing I was less than happy about were the costs associated, but I just mentally clumped them with taxes and pizza delivery fees, essentially necessary, but still meriting the occasional grumble or eye roll.
I remember thinking when we found out I was pregnant that there was some injustice that I didn't get any government approved preparedness classes, that this baby was just going to sneak up on me with no real support of any kind.
Call me competitive or obsessed with winning, but I was really looking forward to being approved to parent. I attended our PRIDE class with some feelings of over preparedness, and stoped raising my hand to answer every question when I was politely informed that we did not get any grades, and beating the other patents to the punch was not helping the other parents learn. Oupsie. But I will have you know that I was singled out by our teacher months later for my amount of participation and for creating some lively debate in the room.
Now as an experienced parent I am seeing another DELIGHTFUL perk to this whole approved to parent situation. You may not have witnessed it yet, but there is a rampant amount of mommy competitiveness you will encounter on your every day life as a mommy. This will come from people who are your dearest friends, in-laws or even perfect strangers. It is sometimes given softly with true concern or other times due to true curiosity and many more times with a honey smile and snake eyes/smug mouth. There is nothing I hate more in a mom friend, I have a 3 strikes your out policy with this behaviour in parents. I don't need it in my life and I most certainly do not need you saying those things with in earshot of my children. You can usually see a Competitive Mom (CM) coming a mile away. Her sentences usually start with "So.... How old is he?" CM at this point seems barely able to listen to your answer because she has already begun to measure your child against every thing she read in "what to expect in the first year" book that she has memorized and is now singling out the things that your child seems to be missing out on for his scheduled month. CM now smugly asks says "Oh really, is he "fill in the blank with developmental milestone here" yet?
I used to answer "I am not sure, I haven't really been watching him too closely" (snicker) That usually shut up CM and she would walk away praising her self for avoiding having had a near friendship with such a wackadoodle mom such as me. Crisis averted.
Occasionally though there were CMs who would politely laugh at my joke and then follow up with helpful solutions on how to encourage my son to accomplish such pressing milestones before he chocked up another under achieving day. The "Have you tried..." is a indicator that you have encountered a Level2CM. These Level2CMs often would also question your choices to date to see if perhaps GASP you might have inadvertently caused this "delay" months earlier when you: Gave your child a bottle, fed him food that was not home made or organic, let him use a pacifier, used disposable diapers, immunized/refused immunizations, let him cry/did not let him cry, let him sleep on his tummy/did not give him enough tummy time.
BUT NOW!!!!! If I see a CM coming I can whip out my approved by Ontario to parent letter, that I plan to make wallet sized and laminate, and sweetly ask "Are you approved to parent?, oh you are not? I am. So, I am not worried, and neither are the 2 government agencies that approved me to parent.... Have you tried worrying less?"
Now on a more serious note regarding approvals, I can not believe the kahoonas some people have in complaining about having to do all this work "just to get a child". Okay I get that before this paperwork you may have done a lot of work to get a child including medical interventions and who who knows what else, and that the (I lovingly quote Claudia here) "mythical cr@ck-wh0re" down the street didn't need to prove anything to get her babies. BUT, and this is a big BUT they are not about to parent some one else's child. We demand that other people who care for our children be licenced, regulated and monitored. Once you are a parent researching day care for your child I really doubt that you would even consider a school with no licenced teachers because hey who needs a licence, the cra@ck-wh0re didn't need one and she has 5 kids in her house! Ya that does not fly because they are all hers, you see what I am saying, adoptive parents have a higher level of accountability, be proud of that not grumpy. Now I know this is very contrary to the rightful attitude that when you adopt they are all your own. But at this point of paperchasing you have not yet earned the right to label them as "your own" you have not passed the tests that are in place for this very reason, so that every one can have confidence that you are going to parent them with some level of standards.
Now speaking of standards, I personally would like to see them higher. I have a lot of concerns about parents who are being approved who are not really prepared for what lies ahead. They have not been educated about attachment, special needs, transratial adoption issues, trauma. Many of them have not resolved their own issues of loss or have motivations that can impact their future children. I see it all the time in blogs, and I wonder who approved them when there is this glaring issue right here. I am not saying they should be denied, I just feel that there should be a much higher level of preparedness for all adoptive parents. Maybe we should be graded, maybe there should be exams and mandatory reading. Maybe there should be more than just boxes to check, forms to fill and fingerprints to mail. I also think there should be continuing education and follow up exams and mandatory reading for the age appropriate events that happen for adoptees, a sort of re-certification if you like. Information changes, new studies are made and I know that parenting attitudes have changed so much in the past 5 years. I think we all agree that post adoption support needs to be improved, but I think that it also needs to not be optional support.