best toddler snack ever, i swear…

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If you’re one of those people that found this blog by googling something like “best toddler snacks” you’re looking at the picture and saying, “That’s not a snack, that’s a snack trap full of peas. My toddler doesn’t eat vegetables! Quit messing with me!”

Hear me out! Those aren’t just any kind of peas, they are frozen peas! Gross, you say. I agree. But another mom told me this trick and Leo loves them. First, frozen peas are super-sweet. I call them “pea candy,” Leo doesn’t know the difference, he’s 20 months old. Secondly, they are frozen, so they feel great on your toddlers (probably swollen) gums.

Try it now and thank me later.

(written after bed time)

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another day in LA, kids club at the americana at brand

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Full disclosure, Leo and I stumbled upon this fun activity while planning to meet a friend for coffee on Tuesday. We had no idea there would be such a party going on at the Americana! Apparently, every Tuesday from 11am to 1pm they have something called Kids Club, rain or shine, with a FREE activity for kids. This Tuesday they had a fun two piece band and hundreds of drums and drumsticks for the kids to play along. Leo got really into it. Then he pitched his drum into the lake and we had to run away in shame.

That was just fine by me because in addition to the fun activity there are so all kind of food specials at the Americana! We went to the Jewel City Diner where kids eat free (one free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult meal) but there are deals at 10 different eateries. I had a veggie burger and Leo had a hotdog that was the size of his arm which splattered grease all over me when I cut it. Fun!

Kiehl’s even has free sunscreen applications for your kiddos to keep them protected while they are rocking out on the lawn (I would love to see how that would go with Leo).

We’ll be hitting this up again whenever we are free on Tuesday mornings.

make new friends…

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I think I have met approximately two million other parents since Leo was born. There are new parents everywhere: parent and me classes, pre-school tours, swim class, gym class, music class, the park, Trader Joe’s… well basically everywhere that we go. And over time, and play dates, friendships form.

Not a ton of our friends have taken the plunge into procreation and there are just some things that your single and non-parent friends don’t want to discuss or just don’t understand, and I get it.  But sometimes you just need to hang out and drink wine with people who are accepting of the fact that you haven’t showered in two days and that you plan your schedule around your kid’s morning poop.  My husband and I are lucky that we have met and made some really great friends since Leo was born, what started out as casual play dates for our kids have become real friendships for us.

While with some of these friends the other night, I realized that the time from birth to kindergarden is a precious time in childhood because you get to pick your kid’s friends! Yes, Leo loves his play dates and all of the fun activities that we do around LA with his playgroup, but it’s also fun for me because I get to hang out with other parents that I really like. I need to remember to enjoy this time, because pretty soon, Leo is going to pick his friends and their parents might suck.

board book club, i love you, stinky face…

I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa Mccourt is one of those books that makes me a little weepy.  Probably, because I have read it to Leo about two million times. When I ask him to choose his own bedtime book this is one of his frequent picks. This is book for little boys and their mamas.

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From the books back cover: “Even if her little boy were an alligator or a super-smelly skunk, this mother would love her child unconditionally.”

This about sums it up.  It’s hard to explain unconditional love to a toddler but I think this sweet little book does a pretty good job.  The book as two “parts,” the mama and her son; Leo loves it when I read each part in a different voice. I usually try to do something soothing and calm for the mama and high-pitched and whiney for the son- am I projecting?

Leo frequently has be go back and re-read the page that asks “Mama, if I were a big, scary ape? Would you still love me then?” I wonder what that’s all about?

How to get your toddler to sleep 12 hours every night in their own crib…

Ha! Just kidding. I have no idea what I am talking about when it comes to getting your child to sleep.  Leo is not a “great sleeper” and usually ends up in our bed by the time the sun is starting to come up.  I know that I read two sleep books when he was around 8-10 months old but as my brain was so fried from sleep deprivation I did not retain any information in them.

I read a lot about attachment parenting before Leo was born. It seemed to make a lot of sense for us and I was determined keep Leo in our bed and to never let him “cry it out” as a method of sleep training. Around 8 months I gave in and we put him in his crib. This meant that I spent a lot of time nursing, rocking him to sleep then even more time trying to drop him into his crib without waking him up. Finally, he got too big for me to drop him in and we decided to let him cry it out. At the time it was a big deal for us, in retrospect, I am not sure what all of the fuss was about.

The first night was rough, about thirty minutes of crying. The second night was not as bad, by the third or fourth night he pretty much went right into his crib without a fit. We kept telling our friends how great it was, that we wished that we did it sooner…our baby slept through the night and we were on top of the world. Instead of using this time to catch up on the precious sleep, we watched the first seasons of Homeland and Game of Thrones and drank copious amounts of wine after we put Leo down. It was like dating all over again. And then, Leo got a cold.

What everyone didn’t tell me is that my perfectly “trained” baby would fall right back into his old ways when he got sick, cut a new tooth, learned a new skill, ate too many blackberries, slept in a new place, and the list goes on and on and on…

Leo still goes to bed in his crib every night without a fuss, sometimes he is even pointing to the crib as if to say “put me in there and let me sleep already” before we are even done with his bedtime routine. But he usually wakes up in the middle of the night and I just don’t have the will power to let him cry it out if I know that he’ll be out like a light if I bring him into our bed. And for now, that’s just fine.

We live in Los Angeles, where it’s totally normal to hire a sleep consultant for your baby or even a night nurse to deal with your infant’s night-wakings while you sleep.  I know people who never did any “crying it out” and their kids sleep for 12 hours straight, people who co-sleep, people to rock their toddlers back to sleep a few times a night and a few people who have hired sleep trainers or night nurses.  Whatever works.

I have learned from Leo and other mommies that you have to do what works for you, not what the books, your parents and your friends tell you to do. And if your friends don’t do what you do, that’s fine too.  We’re all just doing whatever it takes to get as much sleep as we can!

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Leo in his favorite place, in bed with Mama.