When your baby doesn’t follow the rules

Alternative title: Early Teething Sucks

So my son W (I will never stop grinning when I type that) decided to be all color outside of the lines and got his first tooth at 16 weeks. This is one of those weird moments in parenthood where part of you thinks,”my kid is SO advanced!” and then you realize that your genius kid cut his first too before he is old enough to really have the skill set to cope with it.

This means no good drugs (no motrin for us!) and no swank teethers as W can’t really do fancy things like hold something. He teethed for weeks on his fist and fingers. And he cried. Lots. And he totally freaked out over the pain.

Teething tablets worked well enough, but I wanted W to have something other than his hands (too many moments where he learned about his gag reflex) to gnaw on. But most traditional teethers, the kind that you put in the fridge and then just give to your kid, didn’t work for us because, as I mentioned, holding something for longer than 1 minute was not quite a milestone met.

Then my Mother found something called the Lamaze Flutterbug vibrating teether. I had seen other teethers with vibrating bits- but those seemed to buzz only when the baby bit down in a certain spot.

What I dig about the lamaze teether is that he can gnaw on one side and I can press the other and activate. It is also thinner and easier for a smaller mouth than the “bog boy” teethers. He can only tolerate about 2 minutes of it before he gets distracted, but it does seem to give him some relief.

[This is not a paid review, just a post I am putting out there in case anyone else has an early teether and wants to know what works for us.]

lamaze teether

Ear Lifts — a review

So, I have these earrings.  Beautiful black hoops dripping with a dense cluster of sky-blue glass beads of differing sizes.  I love these earrings.  Fell in love with them at Macy’s and had to have them.

Unfortunately, they’re heavier than an elephant standing on a grand piano balanced on a Caterpillar D1.  Every time I tried to wear them within a few hours my lobes would be sore, swollen, and larger (torn or stretched).  I’d end up taking them out and swearing never to wear them again.  I thought about taking them to my jeweler friend and seeing if she could lighten them up — maybe removing some of the beads and making a ring or something out of them to match.  But I’m lazy, and so they spent time gathering dust and occasionally tempting me into pain.

So when I was in a store and saw a package of Earlifts (as seen on TV) (caution, EXTREMELY ANNOYING website at the other end of that link) marked down to less than $2, I thought what the hell?

They, too, sat gathering dust for several months until yesterday morning.  Yesterday was our church’s annual Water Ceremony, and I was piling on all my wateriest jewelry in honor of the day.  And there were my earrings, glistening like so many drops of crystalline water.  So I decided to give the earlifts a try.

They seem to be made of oval-shaped pieces of transparent surgical tape.  You peel one off a sheet, stick it to the back of your ear behind where your hole is, and the poke the earrings through your ear and through the tape.  The earrings poked easily through the tape and I was certain that the tape would either a)  be peeling off within the hour, or b) tear more easily than my skin and do absolutely nothing.

I was surprised when, several hours later, I got into my car and remembered that I was still wearing the Heaviest Earrings on Earth.  My ears weren’t sore, red, or stretched out!  The tape was still stuck and for such a flimsy thing it was actually doing a fantastic job supporting my earrings.

I’m definitely going to be using these again.  I’ve got 3 other pairs of heavy earrings and I’m happy to be able to wear them again.  At $10 for 60 (+S&H), though, I’m not sure they’re worth the price for an occassional user like me.  I think I’ll get a roll of clear surgical tape, first, before shelling out a ten-spot.  But if I see them on clearance?  Oh hell, yeah, I’d buy them again.

What to buy your older relatives:

Because I live with a lovely geriatric I often received e-mails inquiring about gifts for older relatives (ok, maybe 3 times in as many years) . Usually I respond with the classic gift idea of a well assembled photo album. But supposing you are all out of craft and/or new photographs. What is something special, thoughtful and sure to be well loved? You may not realize it but the answer is simple: liquor.

Now obviously if Aunt Betty or Great Uncle Fred has an issue with alcohol or cannot imbibe due to medication this would not be an ideal gift. But if you have an older relative that is into the occasional nip of something-something then a specially wrapped bottle of lovely is just for them.

Today is my Grandmother’s 87th birthday. She no longer needs books, or magazines subscriptions. We present her with a new photo album every Christmas. So my Mother and I thought for a moment and then we realized that what she likes is chocolate and an occasional nightcap of an adult beverage.

Luckily for us Godiva made it easy as they have created a special line of chocolate liqueurs. Available in four flavors: Original, Milk Chocolate, White Chocolate and Mocha, there is sure to be something that your special someone will enjoy. The beverage can be enjoyed on the rocks, as a splash in an evening cup of coffee, or in any number of recipes found on the the official Godiva website.

godiva gift
We gifted Grandmother with milk chocolate and she enjoyed about two tablespoons of it in a small glass. The creamy and smooth looking drink has an amazingly pleasant aroma that even those not consuming can waft and enjoy. It also seasons Grandmother kisses extremely well!

Available at most liquor stores the Godiva Liqueurs retail between $15 – $26 based on size. Depending on the size of your older relative, one bottle should last them a couple of months!

stroller wars revisited

ADVICE FOR OTHER STYLE-MONGERS EXPECTING A TOT:
Our stroller (the Mutsy 4-Rider Light) is awesome.
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It drives like a dream (moms in my group who tested it called it the Ferrari of strollers compared to theirs) and is nice-looking and functional and extremely cozy (once we got into the big boy seat). He loves being in it and falls asleep every time. Perfect. BUT I would not pick it if I had it to do again. We wanted a stroller that took a bassinet, a car seat and a regular toddler seat. We didn’t need the bassinet. He HATED the bassinet. He hated the car seat, too, of course, but not the way he HATED the bassinet. We used it TWICE. Now the cat sleeps in it. I would have purchased the stroller we are now going to get as our lightweight, travel stroller (the Quinny Zapp). It can take a car seat and that would have been fine for the infant days. And it weighs 12 pounds, which is half what ours weighs. And it folds down to nothing.
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BUT when we were picking strollers, the car seat that goes with the lightweight wasn’t approved for the US yet. So I couldn’t have it. And I thought I wanted a bassinet. I thought it would be so cute to have a little swaddly baby in there. I thought he would sleep in it all the time. HA.

When I say all this to Wes, he shakes his head. “I would have overruled you,” he says.

“No, you wouldn’t have. I was pregnant and angry. I would have won.”

“No. You would never have won. Two words. Or is three? Anyway…. Toddler. FunSeat.”

He is right. I never would have won the fight. The Toddler FunSeat wins. It goes on our stroller once Beck is big enough. It has a little fake steering wheel and the most gigantic basket ever. It really is so adorable that Wes once had all the sales guys at Buy.Buy.Baby gathered around the Internet oohing and aaahing at it with him.
Funseat

Note, written later: Zapp does not recline, I discovered once we got it so maybe it would not have made a good daily stroller after all.

Sunday Morning Product Endorsement

There are many things I complain about. Many. One of the biggest is how much I fucking hate* loathe* am bothered by my skin. Or to be specific – how much I hate* am bothered by when my skin breaks out. It completely crushes any self esteem I might have going on and it makes me feel (yet again) out of sync with my body. As if my body is rejecting me.

(*am trying very hard to stop hating my body…it is hard!)

Like many of you I have tried virtually everything to combat my bad skin. I have tried over the counter creams and balms, changed my diet, worked on my stress, been under the care of a dermatologist, had more facials than I care to remember and at the end of the day my skin still sucks.

However (& I am hesitant to say this as I am afraid of the jinxing power of such a proclamation) I think I may have stumbled across something that is working. And because it is working (so far) I feel compelled to share it with you. Do note that I am not a medical professional, nor do I have a degree in zitiology. But I get pimples, and splotches, and redness and hard, painful cysts and I have cried over how awful my face looks. That something I have been using for just shy of two weeks has created such a marked improvement (to the point where I actually went out in public without my protective powder layer of bare minerals makeup) is a HUGE deal. It may not work for you. It could make your face peel off or something, but it is working for me.

acne free severe

This is it. The great thing is that you can buy it at virtually any drug store and you aren’t locked in on some scam membership. There is a “regular” line and then there is the “severe” line. You can guess which one I gravitated towards. I am irked by the color of the bottles and am debating making cozies for them so that I don’t have to face (ha ha) bright orangeness so early in the morning, but other than that I have no complaints.

The other complaint I have is pretty small. I actually only have it once a year on my birthday. Some of you may remember that my favorite kind of cake is red velvet cake. I like the cake because it isn’t overly sweet and I love that it has pecans on the icing. The icing I liked tamed down so that it is more cream cheese than cream cheese with shitloads of sugar.

SO my problem is that I always request a red velvet cake for my Birthday cake, but I can never, ever finish it. Ever. At some point it just gets too cake like and by the end of December it has turned into a big red brick taking up space above my refrigerator.

Friday’s grocery store outing was just like any other, until I rounded the corner to the ice cream aisle. This is an aisle that is just for GM as she eats a LOT of ice-cream. When I am 85 I plan on eating just as much. But something caught my eye…something pretty and red. As I naturally gravitate towards pretty packaging I wheeled my cart on over to the store brand ice cream section and was stunned to discover that the ice cream I was drawn to was none other than red velvet ice cream. YES. Cake with small bits of cake and pecans and cream cheese. And let me tell you people. It is sooooooo good. Too good. So good that I added an extra mile to my morning walk just so that I could have another scoop tonight.

red velvet ice cream

Any products you care to endorse?

Fav cleaning product/item

It is just wrong how much I love and adore my fabuloso.  It is the product that is fun to say and cheap to buy. It cleans floors! bathrooms! kitchens! It comes in a variety of flavors, er, scents AND it lasts for effing ever. OH! & now it has a child safety cap! can you stand it?

Photo Friday is fabuloso

stroller wars part 728

Wes and I have been debating the relative merits of the various ridiculously expensive strolles for many, many years now. We had thought it was a simple debate between the Bugaboo and the Stokke Xplory. The first two rounds of in-person exploration of the two landed us firmly in the Bug camp. There were times we thought that the decision had really been firmly made. We thought the Xplory was too plasticky the first time we saw it. The second time, when I was pregnant with the penguin, we thought that the mechanism for taking off the bassinet was too difficult. A green Bug, we decided. We were seemingly done.

But time is a funny thing, and TK has taken a damn long time to be made. We have changed our minds a zillion times. We have explored more stroller websites than seems natural. We have read more daddytypes posts about strollers than could posisbly be good for us. And now we can’t decide again.

And now there are more options!

And now every single solitary person in Park Slope is driving a Bugaboo.

Seriously. The other morning I went in to work late when I was feeling sick. It was 10 am and I was at the corner of my street and I looked around while waiting for the light to change. I spotted 7 strollers from where I stood and 4 of them were Bugs.

I am not completely thrilled with following the herd, but when a product is good, people buy it. I could get over this. Wes, though, would really like to be different. He will go with the Bug if we really decide it is the BEST but if there is an alternative that is just as good, it might win on just not being the Bug.

So. Mutsy came onto the scene because it is suddenly available in the U.S. More specifically, it is now at Buy B*y B*by (ie, the big, scary baby store), where we can compare the three front runners. These are up for consideration because they can all hold a bassinet, a seat, or a carseat – that’s our standard. They are all damn heavy and will be too much for me to carry down stairs to a subway alone (though we could handle it together), so we are aware that we will eventually need a cheap umbrella stroller. But a very large percentage of my time is spent in my neighborhood walking, and we want one of these fabulous strollers mostly for that. So we went for more research at the big, scary baby store.

(They also have the Orbit, which we used to find interesting, but which we did not like in person and which I would not buy anyway because A) the car seat really hasn’t been tested much and B) you have to pay for all the pieces separately and that’s lame.)

We got demos tonight in the Mutsy and the Xplory and learned that the Xplory isn’t really hard to take apart – we just had a bad salesperson at the last store where we saw it. The folding mechanism on the Mutsy is about a zillion times easier than either the Bug or the Xplory, and that’s a really nice feature. Both of them are higher up than the Bug, which we really like. The Xplory’s wheel base is a tiny bit narrower than the other two, though not by a lot. Mutsy has more accessories and fun things, like stands to make the seat into a bouncer or standalone bassinet, and a special toddler fun seat with steering wheel that looks awesome. The Mutsy and the Xplory have non-air-filled tires, which means not having to pump them up and not worrying about popping them.

Wes’ problem with the Mutsy is that it looks a lot like the Bugaboo and he doesn’t want anyone to think that he has a Bugaboo “knock-off.” The Mutsy price tag is still extremely high (though a couple hundred less than the other two) and that alone makes it no knock-off in my opinion. Plus, stroller conoisseurs will know that it is a new and special thing. People will start to recognize it as they have the Quinny strollers (still not available in the U.S. and not adaptable with U.S. carseats – otherwise we would be investigating them).

I would almost venture to say that we are now deciding between the Mutsy and the Xplory. But the Bugaboo has a way of winning us back every so often so I can’t say that yet. We have such a very long time to go, still.

Bugaboo
Bug
Mutsy
MutsybassMutsyseat
Xplory
XplorybassXploryseat