seriously. this happened earlier this week. and we had no idea she could do it. she just started counting up after we had finished counting 1, 2, 3 (most likely bc she wasn’t listening to what we were asking!).  just goes to show how much our little ones are listening to us. i really need to watch what i say when i get frustrated (and we really need to work on the number 7 w her!).

A Denver Home Companion | weekly portrait

[above is a photo of ramona in bed w me. i often sneak her in to snuggle when jp is away at work. below is an excerpt from an entry for her 19 month mark in her baby journal]

dear ramona,

my apologies there are three blank months preceding this entry. lord willing, you will have a younger sibling one day and I can guarantee you they will have even more empty months than you, so don’t feel too bad.

a lot has happened in the last three months. mama and papa opened a restaurant, and i stopped looking after max full-time. it’s just you and i now. and the transition, though relatively easy, was a big one all around. oh, and papa and i also are trying for another baby. so we thought now would be a good time as any to officially wean you.

i was worried about it — weaning you. but i had no idea you’d handle it so well. and, worst part for me? i didn’t know that the last time i nursed you was the last time i was ever going to nurse you. while we were planning to do so, we weren’t planning it for when it happened. at this point it was just talk: it was before nap time on 2/4, a monday. and then papa put you down for bed that night w/o incident. and then i was gone to work before you woke up the next day. and then papa put you down for a nap before i got home.

and since it was three times already w me NOT putting you to sleep (a record!), i tried putting you down that tuesday evening to sleep w/o nursing. and whaddya know, i  found myself shedding some tears during my final song to you (God made your ears, God made your nose…) when you just simply put your sleepy head on my shoulder and let me rock you without pointing to the couch and saying “nurse! nurse! nurse!”. i was sad, minka, –for me– that i hadn’t known to hold that last time –at nap time the previous day– tight in my memory and to take it in and relish the moment. it happened so, well, naturally. but i wish that final time was more vivid in my memory bc all those nursing moments the past 18 months have been so so important to me. 

but i’m so proud of you too, little minka moo. the first three days of not nursing were painful only to me. you seemed to have moved on overnight, which is a testament to your strong, stubborn personality that is so confident and assured. after three days, papa brought you up to bed with us, like we always used to, for a family snuggle. and this act must have triggered memories for you bc you started crying adamantly “nurse! nurse! nurse!”. and i sat up w you and asked you to look in my eyes. once you did i gently said: “ramona, we don’t do this anymore” even though it wasn’t exactly what i wanted to hear either. so papa brought you some almond milk and we all went and sat on the couch and, sure enough, you guzzled that up and started asking for cheerios.

two days have passed now that you haven’t even mentioned the word. at least not in seriousness. this morning you uttered it quietly. and then looked at me with a knowing smirk on your face as if to say, “well, it doesn’t hurt to ask.” and then you let out a giggle and gave me a “BEE HUH” (a big hug). you are growing, mo mo. and i am so proud of who you continue to become, miss independent and all.

i love you. love, mama.

a portrait of ramona, once a week, every week, in 2013. inspired by jodi’s project.

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ramona loves bath and shower time. if ramona hears the words “bath” or “shower” uttered, she is stomping towards the bathroom while simultaneously trying to take off all her clothes. there have been a few tantrums when she doesn’t get her way. most often though, we comply since it’s a surefire way to make or keep her happy. yesterday, when ramona was being particularly grumpy and i was rather uninspired and bored and certainly not wanting to hear her whine once more (and yo gabba gabba had already been played way more times than i care to admit), we hopped in the shower and played in there until the hot water ran out. her father followed w a bath that evening. after she had been swimming. she cannot get enough of the water.

i gave in and bought combination baby wash and shampoo that just happens to bubble ever so nicely. during that first bath she took w the bubbles she lost track of all the toys around her and just stared at the growing soap suds, clasping and clapping them in her hands and swishing them to and fro. it was quite amazing to see such wonder and discovery on her face.

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the past four days ramona has not been herself. she has four teeth coming in and it has affected every bit of her. runny nose, weird poop, poor sleep. my little bean, who is usually rather charming and happy (she says so herself) is one cranky, pouty, whiney butt this week. i know she’ll come around — those red, soft, swollen gums show promise of new white teeth about to pop through. but until then it’s exhausting trying to maintain some sort of calm and care for her and for myself. though, the few peeks of smiles (or just smirks) i get from her are quite rewarding.

to deal with toddler teething, our family utilizes a couple of tools: a baltic amber teething necklace, alternating between infants’ acetaminophen and ibuprofen, hyland’s teething tablets, cold foods and drinks, lots of snuggles and nurses (every time she’s nearly done nursing she gets sick or starts to teeth and it’s all out the window), and letting her use her pacifier whenever she damn well pleases (on a normal day pacifier use is limited to only when she is napping or down for the night). this time around? with the canines? all of the above have proven to be absolutely worthless.


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A Denver Home Companion | air travel with a little one

we’re going to see these big kids next week for christmas in minneapolis! and we’re taking a plane to get there. pray for me…

travel by plane with ramona as a newborn was a cinch. EASY! piece of cake. seriously. she was either asleep or nursing or just sitting there looking really cute. there was this one time that she had a blow-out but there’s little anyone can do to prepare for that besides make sure you have extra diapers and clothes and no qualms about changing the baby in the back open area by the flight attendants (sorry, y’all, but that changing table in the front bathroom does not cut it for me. where the hell am i supposed to place anything?! it’s like changing a baby on top of a board placed over a porta-potty stinky hole. no. thank. you.).

now that ramona has gotten a little older and more mobile and sassy and squirmy and opinionated and does not sleep wherever whenever, well, things have changed. lucky for me or sucky for me, i’ve traveled a decent bit this past year and a half with ramona so have had some trips to work out the kinks. here’s my unsolicited advice on air travel with a little one.

  • travel when the majority of your traveling companions are in a good mood. i’ve tried to do the nap-time flight but ramona will no longer fall asleep just anywhere. even if it was her nap time, she’s far too excited and curious that there is no way she would take a snooze on me. i’d rather have a happy baby that might get a little fussy bc they can’t move around as much as they’d like than a sleepy, crabby baby who is going to react more emotionally. so, ideally, we travel any time in the first part of the day that does not require us to wake up before we usually do. afternoon wise, i try and choose a flight that will get us in just before her bedtime.
  • pack light. no, your kid does not need all that stuff. some diapers and some wipes, a pacifier, some healthy snacks, a quiet toy. stop lugging that diaper bag around! everything you need for tyke should be able to fit in your own personal bag. also, i don’t use a stroller at the airport. i opt for carrying ramona on my back w our boba. i check in our luggage first thing and wear her through security (i usually carry-on one large shoulder tote). once through security, i let her walk/run/goof around. she gets her wiggles out this way. w just one bag and one baby, i don’t really have a problem being able to chase her around the waiting area. and i don’t have to worry about a stroller i would otherwise have to attend to.
  • sit in the back of the plane. i always fly southwest, where you get the option of choosing your seat (i love this, jp hates it with a fiery passion). i go straight back to the last seat on the right. i do this bc a) i’m close to the bathrooms b) i’m close the the flight attendants (uh, can i have a refill on my jack and diet?) c) i’m close to that open area where the flight attendants’ jump seat is (this area is great for rocking a sleepy child or changing diapers) d) it’s louder so it can drown out noises ramona makes a little more e) it fills up last which means, no joke, only ONCE in 18 months have i ever had to share the full row. most times, i have an empty middle seat next to me. and many times i’ve been lucky enough to have the whole row to spread out. 
  • demonstrate and expect good behavior (when they’re not freaking out). choose toys that don’t make much noises (at least not the battery kind). i’ve found that pretzels in a plastic cup with a lid from the flight attendant is her favorite plane toy yet and the rattling is innocuous. she spends her time sticking her finger in the straw hole or trying to pry off the top or just sitting there snacking on the pretzels. otherwise, we read the literature in the seat pocket or putz on my phone. if your child is doing something that is directly affecting another traveler (like kicking or pulling the seat in front of them) redirect immediately! be aware of what your child is doing and how it might come across to those around you. and choosing toys and encouraging behaviors that are less intrusive to other people’s flying experience can set an early precedent of being respectful of other people and best practice for shared public spaces. people seem to be understanding when a child is tired and acting out because of that. and they are certainly less understanding when a child is just being obnoxious and the parent is oblivious.
  • that being said, do not care that much about what the people around you might be thinking. i know, you think that sounds awful. but too many mothers worry too much about what people might think or how they might react to their toddler. it almost seems they manifest these poor interactions by assuming that everyone hates kids and no one is going to understand what they, as a parent, are going through, even before they’ve arrived at the airport. so far, for me at least, so good. most people actually seem to want to help me. ask the flight attendant to hold or watch your little one while you go to the bathroom if you’re not traveling with your partner. encourage your child to say hi and smile at those around you. wait and see how your seat companion reacts when your toddler whacks them on the knee with their toy before apologizing profusely (and unnecessarily). most people are not that averse to attention from little humans. in fact, i believe that most people secretly crave it. be confident in your parenting skills. trust me, you will know when you should be buying the people in front of you a round of drinks to compensate for your child’s behavior. until then, relax. and if, by chance, you do sit by someone that is making it obvious they hate kids, especially yours, don’t take it personally. chances are this person finds little to not hate in their life. 
  • whatever’s gonna happen is gonna happen. most of what i have said has to do with preparing yourself for traveling with a little one. that’s bc we know by now as parents that some things are just out of our control no matter how much we plan and prep and anticipate. i think the real trick in traveling with a little one is making sure you’ve got confidence and determination in what you’re doing, a sense of humor in the unexpected, and graciousness and humility and a smile for those around you. no, it’s not as simple as that but it sure can’t hurt.

(yes, i know: joanna –who resides on every single blogger’s blog roll and for good reason) totally scooped me on this subject by a day. i think her tips are great and will be using some of them for our upcoming flight.