Tips for Traveling with a One Year Old

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Travel

I recently was flying by myself with the Wingman.  Traveling with children can be pretty unpredictable.  I was pretty nervous about it, and could just see us being “those people” who make the flight miserable for everyone.

I did my best not to worry about it, though I will say that I stuffed my backpack full of anything and everything that the Wingman might enjoy.

  • Snacks.  I had an old Puffs container with Cheerios and the Wingman loves taking the lid on and off.  He enjoys that more than he enjoys eating the Cheerios, so it was a two-for-one…snack and a game! 😉  Fishy crackers in a Munchkin snack catcher (again, two-for-one as he loves eating them and also spent a lot of time trying to reach in and get them out).
  • Dollar Store.  I went to the Dollar Tree and scoured the aisles for things that might be interesting to him.  I ended up with a pair of sunglasses, measuring cups, and duct tape.  The first two were huge hits and the duct tape was enjoyable but not quite as mesmerizing.  I would take pieces of the tape and stick them on the tray in front of us.  He had fun pulling it off and sticking it back on.
  • Anything in our house.  I found an old wallet, a dinosaur toy he was given for his birthday, this Fisher Price flashlight (also a birthday present), two birthday cards that played music, etc.
  • And as a last resort, I downloaded some apps on my tablet.  His two favorites were Baby Toy (especially the screen with all the animals) and Ballon Popping (Yes, the balloon is misspelled…no idea if that’s on purpose. lol).
  • Books.  I packed a lift-the-flap book, a touch and feel book, and several “regular” books.
  • Change of clothes.  Wingman pretty much never needs a change of clothes during the day, so I didn’t think that we would need it.  But…..I am sure glad that I packed it because we did end up needing a change in the airport!
  • Gate check.  It is so simple to gate check items.  I kept our stroller with us in the airport and took it right to the gate with us.  Then when we got off the plane it was immediately ready for us.
  • And of course diapers and wipes.  Way more than I thought I would need.
  • When the steward/ess comes to take a drink order, ask for an empty cup.  This can provide some much-needed entertainment!

And I kept thinking that if all else fails, my tricks go out the window, and the baby doesn’t like anything I brought….it would only be for a few hours.  It will only be a few hours out of our trip.

He ended up doing really well!  We didn’t end up being “those people” although I’m not quite sure how considering the fact that Wingman was so exhausted and of course he wouldn’t fall asleep until 5 minutes before we began the descent.  But somehow we made it!

What are your tips for traveling with young children?

-Bonnie

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Baby toys – The Necessities

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There are so. many. options. for things to purchase for your baby.  So many ideas on what is appropriate and necessary for baby to play with.  So the question is….what do you REALLY need for baby?

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During the first year of the Wingmans life, we did buy him some toys.  He had a couple stuffed animals, a couple toys that had the big rings for babies just learning to grip, some books, etc.  He had an exersaucer and when he was 10 months old I won a wooden block set in an online giveaway.  A friend gave us this fun dinosaur toy hand-me-down that has different slots to put some balls, which then bounce down stairs, swing a pendulum, or roll down a slide.  It’s pretty fun and I am very thankful it was gifted to us, because it sells for $80 brand new!

But his favorite toys were not toys at all.  His favorite toys have been…

  • Water.  He loves to touch and splash in water, whether it’s in the kiddie pool, the bath, or a bowl I fill for him.
  • Water bottles.  He loves to crinkle them and shake the water around.
  • A spatula.  I don’t know why this is so fascinating, but he loves it.
  • A shaker.  A friend got a small clear medicine bottle, filled it maybe a quarter of the way with beads, and glued the lid shut.  Wingman loves it!!!
  • An envelope.  You know those envelopes that come with the clear window to see the address through?  Wingman had so much fun with this, crinkling it and turning it.  It doesn’t even need the clear, crinkly window….he likes to play in general with the mail.  We often give him the junk mail to play with.
  • Anything outdoors.  He loves grass, wood chips, rocks, etc.  Just be careful of course with what goes in the mouth.
  • Tissue boxes.  If we let him, he would pull tissues out all day.  This only happened once though. 😉  I have plans to make him a tugging box like this one.
  • A bottle brush and nipple brush.  He loves the textures on it.

It really is true that sometimes the best toys aren’t even toys.  Personally, I think that not only does it save money, but it can develop the child’s imagination and cognitive skills better than a lot of marketed toys.  I have been really surprised to see how so many non-toys hold his interest a lot more than some of the developmental toys we have bought him.

Of course there have been manufactured toys that have helped him in reaching milestones or working on hand-eye coordination.  This stacking train, for instance, and this Sit-to-Stand Walker.  So I definitely give manufactured toys their place, too!

What did or do your babies play with?

-Bonnie

Guest Post: True meaning of a SAHM

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Today I have a guest post from my sister, Melinda.  She is an
amazing Mom of two.  I appreciate her sharing this and I

am sure many of us can relate.  I hope you are encouraged!

 

As I held my six-week-old son, I found myself frustrated. I was stuck holding a fussy baby while there was so much else I needed to do. Rather than holding him, I could have been busy reading, writing, working on business related projects, cleaning, or enjoying time to myself. Who knew how long I’d have to hold and rock this baby until he fell asleep? Who knew how long I would be distracted from other tasks while I comforted this little one?

In the first weeks of my son’s life, I found myself thinking similar thoughts countless times. Motherhood was distracting me from my real job. It kept me from working, and I would get stressed that I wouldn’t make business deadlines. Laundry piled up, and I felt like I would never be on top of it again. The apartment was in complete disarray. There was so much that I needed to take care of, but my son kept me from doing it.

Then one day when he was six-weeks-old, I caught myself as these rushed thoughts ran through my head.

He was my real job.

The laundry, the cleaning, the work—it could all wait. I am a stay-at-home mother, not a stay-at-home housecleaner or stay-at-home launderer. My primary job is to care for my children, and in this particular case, my primary job was to hold my son until he relaxed and fell asleep.

I find it so easy to get distracted. I want to be able to do it all. I want the laundry clean, folded and put away. I want the apartment spic and span. I want time to focus on me. But all those desires are distracting. My child needs me. He is the job I have chosen. He is the one that I must choose on a daily basis to dedicate my time to.

He is my real job.

When I think of motherhood as my primary job, my primary focus, I want to slow down. I want to enjoy the cuddles with a six-week-old baby, knowing that he won’t be this little for long. Yes, the laundry piles up, and the apartment could use some attention. But the laundry will always be waiting.

My son needs me.

Linking up to Titus 2sday

and

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Things To Do While Nursing

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Any Mamas out there who nurse their littles?  I don’t know about you, but I have spent hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours sitting on the couch nursing.  While I love the time with my son, it can get a little boring sitting there with nothing to do.  So…..what are some of the things you can do while nursing?

  • Watch movies.  Some of the ones I’ve enjoyed on Hulu are The Biggest Loser, Once Upon a Time, White Collar, and MasterChef Junior.  And on Netflix…Say Yes to the Dress, My Fair Wedding, The Next Great Baker, and Merlin.  (Typically I watch more TV shows than movies while nursing…but there are movie options obviously on Netflix as well.)  But of course, there are only so many Hulu and Netflix shows you can watch before you go bonkers, so you could also….
  • Read.  Read a book you’ve been meaning to check off your list.  Read (or listen to) the Bible.
  • Listen to sermons online.
  • Memorize Scripture
  • Pray
  • Rest.  Or better yet, sleep, if you can.

What do you do while nursing?

-Bonnie

4 Month Update

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Well, it’s been 4 months since I’ve been born.  Life is pretty strange this side of the womb.  There is so much to look at and see.  My parents like to make goofy faces and noises to try to make me smile or laugh.  It works.

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My favorite things are….

…bath time!  Sometimes when I’m grumpy I cheer up immediately in that water!
…wash cloths or towels!  These little things are so much fun to grab and play with!
…getting dressed!  It’s so funny when the onesie goes over my face!
…being cuddled!  Moby’s are probably my best friend!
…reading books!  Good Night Moon and The Nose Book are my favorite.  I love looking at pictures!
…being Super Baby!! I love it (usually) when Daddy or Mommy lifts me up in the air!

My tricks include…

…rolling over.  I can roll both ways now!  Last week I was on my back and rolled to my tummy.  When Mommy looked up and saw, she started clapping and cheering.  I think she was a little proud of my trick.
…grabbing my feet.  These things are awesome!  I can’t quite get them to my mouth though.
…sitting up (with help).  I don’t like just lying down.  It’s more fun to sit up and see the world!!
…putting anything and everything close by into my mouth.  Daddy’s hand, Mommy’s shirt, my bear, you name it.  It all goes in my mouth!

Until next time,

The Wingman

Update!

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Well…I have been a Mommy for almost 9 weeks now.  Being a Mom is already the craziest, most wonderful, most harrowing, most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.  Only a few weeks into the Wingman’s life, I told my husband, “THIS is why we celebrate Mother’s Day….if for no other reason, it’s because of the first few weeks of life.”   🙂

I remember the day when I was looking down at our little son and I knew that I had found my calling.  This is where God wants me to be.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

There’s nothing like looking into your son’s eyes and having him look back up at you.  There’s nothing like the first time he smiles and it completely melts your heart, giving you butterflies and bringing tears to your eyes.  There’s nothing like hearing him giggle for the first time.  There’s nothing like watching the love of your life hold your son and pretend to wrestle with him.  There’s nothing like sitting next to him and having him just look at you until he slowly falls asleep, peeking every now and then as if to make sure you’re still there.  There’s nothing like little baby cuddles.  There’s nothing like listening to him “talk” to you.

I’m not biased…at all….but he is just the cutest little boy ever!!!

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2013-08-30 12.14.56Hopefully now that we have learned somewhat of a routine I can resume blogging!  🙂

-Bonnie

The Wingman’s Birth Story

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Here is the birth story of our precious son. He was born on July 21st after a 19 hour labor. I know this is a very long version…but trust me, this is the edited down version. 😉 It was absolutely an amazing experience and I am so thankful for all that God did!

Visit Beauty Through Imperfection for more birth stories!

On Saturday, July 20th, at 6:30 in the morning I became aware while half asleep of some pain. Around 7:30 I became fully awake and realized that I had been having a lot of these pains. Were they possibly contractions? I woke up my husband to explain and told him I wasn’t sure if they were really contractions.

After taking a hot shower and still having the pains, The Pilot, my Mom and I all agreed that it looked like the beginning of labor. (Praise #1 – Going into labor on the weekend while my husband was at home!)

From the get go, they were pretty much between 5 and 8 minutes apart. That timing lasted pretty much the whole day.

During early labor, my husband was able to mow the lawn (a project that he’d been trying to do for 2 weeks). By the time he was almost done though I was ready for him to be with me again. It was definitely painful and uncomfortable and I wanted him close by. I spent quite a while lying down, alternating some on my sides. We tried a couple contractions lying on my back to see how far along I was by measuring the distance between my breast bone and the top of my uterus. The contractions were more painful on my back, so we only did that twice.

At first when I had a contraction, my Mom or the Pilot would gently rub my belly or my legs and it was very soothing. But I quickly reached a point where I didn’t want to be touched during contractions. I also wanted it quiet…no talking! I tried to really be conscious of my voice and tone…I didn’t want to become snappy or rude during labor.

The whole day was just very calm. I really appreciated that. I can’t imagine having labored all that time at the hospital. It was so nice having the comfort of our own home and the ability to be on our bed, our couch, our floor, our tub, etc. Throughout the day, the contractions gradually picked up in intensity. Several times I found myself laughing (solely on the inside) that the contractions that I could breathe through “easily” were the ones I thought were painful hours earlier.

It didn’t take long until I had to start concentrating on breathing through the contractions or low groaning. I was able to stay very relaxed through them. (Praise #2….usually I respond to pain by tensing up. I was able to just keep my face, hands, legs, and whole body relax and loose all day.)

Early afternoon, I tried the birth ball. I sat on it and rocked gently back and forth. I didn’t like the contractions while sitting but I figured at that point there wouldn’t really be any position where I would “like” the contractions. I was so exhausted that several times I almost fell asleep on the ball and i would catch myself before falling off. The Pilot and my mom were right next to me though just in case. We watched an episode of America’s Got Talent and it was nice to have a distraction if i wanted something to think about during contractions….or tune out of I wanted to….or even pause it while I made it through a contraction.
I tried hands and knees. This caused my only back labor. The Pilot tried applying counter pressure but it didn’t seem to help. On some contractions I liked him rubbing the area that hurt but on others I didn’t want to be touched. We tried various positions, squatting down and supporting myself on the Pilot’s legs, standing and leaning back onto his chest (this was great for several contractions!), etc.

At a few points during the day, I had a couple times where contractions were back to back with no break. It would be strong for 30 seconds, then fade a bit for 30 seconds, then go back to strong.

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I tried getting in bed again, but they were more intense lying down. I was so tired though that I stayed. I was able to really relax in between contractions and get as close to sleeping as I could come. I didn’t know how much longer I would have to go and I was TIRED. I was so cold in between contractions, but as soon as a contraction came I got very hot and wanted the covers completely off me. Nothing touching me.

I started getting hungry but food didn’t sound good. My Mom offered to make a smoothie. I decided to try laboring in the tub again. While it didn’t soothe the contractions as well as before I really enjoyed the hot water. I drank my smoothie (which came back up later) and just sat, trying to alternate positions a little bit to find a more comfortable way to have the contractions. While in the tub I started to get discouraged. At that point I had been laboring for about 16 hours (although at the time I remember thinking that I didn’t want to count the hours because I didn’t want to know how long it had been). I didn’t know how much longer I had to keep going.

I heard Mom on the phone talking to my sister (Bradley teacher and doula). The Pilot came back in the room and filled me in on what they were thinking. It seemed like I was stalling in labor. They were discussing various options we could try to either slow it down so I could rest or speed it up. We would need to choose. When faced with the decision, for the first time I became scared. I didn’t want to choose to bring it on, because I knew it would only get more intense, but how much more I didn’t know.

Before we had time to make a decision, though, I had a big contraction. I yelled out. I knew that yelling was often a sign of transition, but I tried not to get my hopes up. Later my Mom told me that on the phone my sister said, “Is that Bonnie? I think she’s farther along than you thought!” After another 10 or 15 minutes I had had a few more of those big contractions.

The Pilot and my Mom said they thought it was time to head to the hospital. (Praise #3 – I had been praying that we would have wisdom to know when to go to the hospital. I didn’t want to get there too early or too late. The timing was perfect!) At that point I did not want to move. I didn’t want to stand up out of the tub, I didn’t want to walk. I didn’t want to go. The Pilot helped me get cleaned up and dressed so that I had to move as little as possible.

Finally we got in the car. My Mom and I both sat in the back seat. During the car ride I didn’t have any of the big, yelling out contractions. (Praise #4 – I had been worried about a really terribly uncomfortable car ride to the hospital. It really wasn’t bad.) I sat and moaned through them, some of them back to back again.

This was about 11:30 at night. Since it was after hospital hours, we pulled up at the ER. At the hospital tour they had told us that we wouldn’t get a wheelchair when we arrived so I would need to walk up there. Once again I didn’t even want to move to get out of the car. The Pilot went in and told them we were there and grabbed a wheelchair. I was able to get into it and the Pilot took me inside while Mom parked the car. There were other people there in the ER and I hoped I wouldn’t have loud contractions while there. There was a little girl standing there and I didn’t want to scare her. The Pilot went to go talk to the nurses and I heard him explaining that I was in labor. For some reason, they didn’t come to get me. I think I was in the foyer waiting for at least 10 minutes. At one point, the receptionist came over and saw me and was like, “Oh! You’re in LABOR.” I guess they hadn’t realized that the Pilot meant….right now!! She left and once again I sat.

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Suddenly my water broke right there in the lobby. (Praise #4 – I didn’t want my water to break early in labor because I didn’t want to be held to the 24 hour rule. And I did not want the doctor to break it. Once again, perfect timing!) I remember thinking I just hoped it wasn’t on the floor. When the Pilot came back I told him my water broke. He looked under the chair and said, “Yes, it did.” I wasn’t embarrassed, but I do remember wondering what all the people behind me in the waiting room were thinking. 🙂 I asked him to check and see if it was clear. It was. (Praise #6 – I had been concerned about meconium being in it. Our hospital doesn’t have a NICU if it had been bad.)

My husband was great the whole time we were there. He let the nurses know a couple of things that were on my birth plan that I had wanted/not wanted so that I didn’t have to worry about talking and taking care of that while in labor.

I quickly figured out from listening to the baby’s heartbeat when a contraction was about to come. In between contractions, they put my Hep lock in and I signed some paperwork. (Praise #5 – I really really do not like needles. I was afraid that the Hep lock would make me so nervous that it would stall labor. It really was the last thing on my mind though and labor definitely did not stall since I was so far along.)

Very quickly every contraction became a yelling contraction. I definitely became a screamer. I tried so hard to concentrate on breathing or moaning, but it always turned into a full blown scream. I hoped that I wasn’t bothering anyone else on the floor who was in labor or recovery. During the contractions, Mom would give leg support and hold my leg up.

I had only been hooked up to the monitor for a short time when the Wingman’s heart rate went low on a contraction. The nurse immediately said that they needed to start an IV. I asked why and she explained about the heart rate. I said I wanted to give it more time. His heart rate never again went that low and I didn’t need the IV at all.

Only a few contractions in and I told her that I felt like I needed to push. Thankfully I was the only person in labor that night, so the nurse was able to stay with me the whole time. She was great. (Praise #6 – in so many things that I have heard, read, and seen, hospital births tend to be chaotic and loud. This was such a calm experience. Everyone stayed calm and quiet and it was great!)

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Pushing was definitely the hardest part. The Dr still hadn’t arrived (he apparently was in the ER with a patient) and the nurses started getting concerned. One of the nurses called him a couple times to check on where he was. I wasn’t worried. I didn’t care who caught the baby. The Pilot or my Mom could even do it!

I ended up pushing for about an hour. With each contraction, I grabbed tightly onto the hospital bed railings. One time I remember wondering if I was going to break the bed.

I remember asking several times “Why won’t he come out?” Everyone kept reassuring me that he was on his way. I just didn’t know how much longer it would take! Thankfully I was still able to rest in between contractions. At this point I was holding the Pilot’s hand and I remember that during contractions I was squeezing so hard.

Finally, the doctor arrived just as the Wingman was crowning. Somewhere in there I was told he had hair. I was surprised! I think I even mentioned then that I was expecting him to be bald.

Finally I had to push so much I finally figured out how to just close my mouth and push as hard as I could. The ring of fire was not as bad as I expected at all. But it still wasn’t pleasant. He reached that point and then the contraction was over so I stopped pushing. I didn’t want to have to feel that again. But with the next contraction or two, I was able to just keep pushing. I knew that if I could just keep going it would all be over soon. It was several intense seconds to get his head out. Everyone kept telling me he was right there and he was coming…to keep going and I could do this. Finally his head was out and then the rest of his body came out.  It was 1:22 am, July 21st.

After he was born it was kind of a blur. I couldn’t really see him down there but I was just so happy. The first thing I asked was, “Is he still a boy?” The Pilot confirmed and the Dr said, “Did someone tell you it was a girl?” I asked again about his hair and they told me he had a lot of hair. I was smiling and just so happy. I could hear them suctioning him…it sounded like he had a lot of mucus in there. Then I heard him cry. I was so happy to hear him and said something about his sweet cry.

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After about 5 minutes the doctor handed the Wingman to me and then cut the cord. I couldn’t believe it. He was finally there in my arms. I looked at the Pilot and was just so in love with my family. “Can you see him? Isn’t he cute?” I just looked and looked at our little boy. “Thank You, God.” I kept saying that over and over.

After about 15 minutes, they took the Wingman over to the table to weigh and measure him, etc. The Dr asked me to push to try to get the placenta out. I was a little incredulous. “You want me to push again?” But I gave a little push and the placenta immediately came out.

We kept watching to see what his weight was going to be. Finally they weighed him and the Pilot told me he weighed 7 pounds 8 ounces. I was so surprised! (Praise # 7 – This whole pregnancy I was saying how it would be awesome if I could have a baby in the 7 pound range. I really expected him to be bigger, though. God gave me my 7 pound baby!) He also was 20 inches long and his head was 14 in.

When the nurses were done in the room, they just quietly left. They were the greatest nurses. We took turns holding the Wingman and loving him. We just were resting and talking. 2 hours later we took our first family pictures. After that we tried to rest in the room for a little longer.

Praise #8 – I am so thankful that we were able to have a natural birth in the hospital. So many people are skeptical that it can happen. I do think that you have to be more firm yet open to compromise. But it can totally be done. While it isn’t what we first would have preferred, the Pilot and I knew that this is where God wanted us so we knew that the birth would be perfect whatever happened. It sure was. God answered so many prayer requests. We are just so thankful!

All in all it was an incredible birth experience. The day didn’t seem like a 19 hour labor. The contractions were not all “that bad.” I never once reached a point where I wished I had gotten the epidural. It was just an amazing, wonderful experience.  As I said at the beginning, this is only a tiny part of the story too….there are so many other answered prayers.  I am so thankful for how everything went!

I am so thankful for the Pilot and my Mom. I don’t know how I would have done it without them there. The Pilot was so helpful and encouraging the whole time. He is an incredible husband and is already an amazing father!!!

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-Bonnie