June 7, 2012

Poopy parenting

I keep reminding myself to parent for the future not the moment. It is easy to take the easy path for right now, but it’s a gamble for the future. Somehow last weekend, I ventured onto a difficult path with short term pay off.

Up until a week ago, we were very easy-going about potty training. We were passively teaching Little Miss by emptying her diaper in the toilet and letting her flush. You know, a gentle lesson of where that mess should really go. Plus, it killed that awful stink in her trash bin. We even bought her a Dora toilet seat, which she used about four times. She was certainly interested in spending alone time in the bathroom. Imitating a friend at daycare, Little Miss would announce that she had to go to the toilet and say, “une minute, Mama”. Then she’d run up there stairs, refuse any help and shut the door. After she’d come out, I’d go in and inspect. She left nothing disturbed. Who knows what she was doing in there? It was a fun game. This had been going on for months, we hit a plateau self-training wise.

Last week I read someone’s blog about potty training in three days. “Sounds great,” I thought. Let’s give her that extra push. I bought underwear and treats, and chose a rainy weekend for potty lockdown.

It was a bumpy start. Our daughter was bare-bottomed all weekend. We set up camp on the living room. And I began by putting her on the potty every 10 minutes, then we both got annoyed. So, I’d ask her every 10 minutes, then she really got annoyed. So, I set an alarm to go off every ten minutes so she wouldn’t get annoyed at me. Then she got startled and cried for 10 minutes. So we took a n Elmo break.

Then she peed! (On the floor.) But I swept in and sat her on the potty midstream. I did my best congratulatory dance, trying not to startle her again. And I gave her a bonbon. Who knew a single peanut butter M&M meant so much to a two and a half year old?

For the next hour she sat on the potty and forced herself to pee. Even if it was just a little bit, I’d give her a bonbon. It was instantaneous. From then on she only peed in the potty. All weekend she only had two accidents, and both times are was wearing unders and pants (a new obstacle).

It was the same type of start with number twos. The first time I had to intervene, and then she got a lollipop. The excitement that swept over her was actually visible. Like a wave or a tremor. “Leelapops” were clearly the best thing on Earth. “This is easy,” I thought.

Jinx! She had yet to poop in the potty again. At any mention, no matter how gentle or bribe-y the reminder, she’d freak out! She’s outraged and maybe terrified of the idea. And she keeps screaming, crying and pitching fits for leelapops. You can’t even imagine how mad she gets when I remind her they are reserved for potty poops.

I regret bribing my daughter with candy. It was a short-term solution, and it has created a new fight. It’s so easy to give into her high-pitched, loud demands just to save my ears. But I certainly don’t want to fill her with candy, let alone teach her that this behaviour works to get her what she wants. Even worse, I’m teaching her that if she holds out long enough, I’ll bribe her to do what I want.

The original plan was to bypass pull-ups, and ditch diapers forever. Being prepared to clean messes and accidents. Then she went back to the babysitter in dreaded unders and pants and no M&Ms. When I picked her up, the babysitter said, “You’ll have to throw out those pants, the mess was too big to save them. Oh, and if she poops in her pants again tomorrow, she’ll have to go back to diapers.”

Needless to say, I bought pull-ups that night.

So we’re half way there. She continues to pee in the potty, even without the M&Ms. I guess she’s just not ready for number two. We’ll continue with pull-ups, hopefully not for much longer. I actually read this suggestion in a forum, “Have her sit on the potty with her pull-up on. Then start cutting a hole in the pull-up so she still has the comfort of the pull-up but the poop falls out.” Ridiculous

We’ll take the gentle path for now.

May 7, 2012

Is the Shock Absorber Sports Bra Worth the High Price Tag?

Yes yes a thousand times yes. It is not easy to find a bra in my size let alone a sports bra. I totally agree with this review. Another plus not mentioned is the bright colours they come in – fun!


April 23, 2012

She’s playing favourites, and he’s playing hungry

A 10-month-old baby can certainly make it through the night without eating. Especially when the baby is as chubby and well-fed as my boy. My little guy used to be a good sleeper. But then he started waking up, and the easiest, no fastest, way to put him down was to nurse him. Now, I have created a habit. He’s not even hungry, he just plays hungry; he falls asleep almost immediately after latching on.

I know if I spent a few nights getting him to sleep without nursing, he’d sleep through the night. We’d just need to endure some crying. Right now I just shove my boob in his mouth and shut him up so he doesn’t wake his sister. Cuz if she wakes up when I’m occupied – watch out!

Our two-and-a-half year old princess, loves me, adores me, prefers me. (Who can blame her?) Most of the time she spends with me is shared with her brother, so when Papa is home she wants me all to her self. It’s pretty extreme. And it is heartbreaking to see how much it hurts him.

She screams for Papa to take the baby from me so I can hold her. If he tries to pick her up, she flips out. She wants me to give her a bath, me to read her books, me to put her to bed. When he goes to her during the night if she wakes up, she sounds like he’s got a chainsaw and a hockey mask. Honestly, it sounds like she’s in a horror film.

Apparently, this is totally normal part of development. She’s testing boundaries. It’s more about getting what she wants than anything else. She knows that she has a strong bond with her father and these fits won’t break that. Thus it is a safe relationship to try these social experiments on. Friends wouldn’t stand for it, but Papa will always want to hug and kiss her even when she doesn’t want to.

It just such a mean and cruel experiment, particularly coming from a two-year-old.

I think I have the perfect solution for these two problems. A daddy and daughter’s weekend getaway. It will give them the chance to bond. Papa can get positive attention from her, since he won’t have to compete with me. And I can deny the nighttime breast to baby boy, without worrying that his cries will wake princess.

Hopefully, it doesn’t back fire. I can just see us both on Sunday night – defeated. Little Miss cried bloody murder all weekend, and Baby Tank screamed and starved.

April 4, 2012

Siblings Without Rivalry: Parenting Books Cliff Notes

Here is my Cliff Notes summary of Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

*** I really recommend reading this book.  It has many many many examples that are easily applied to any family.  It is a very fast read. 


This book is written from the point of view of a facilitator of weekly parenting workshops. Each chapter reads like a transcript of one week’s session.  You’ll read about different parenting challenges such as jealously, labeling and comparing amongst children. Each chapter is filled with anecdotes and great examples. The chapters each end with tips and guidelines and select stories from parents of their successes implementing them.

Brothers and Sisters – Past and Present

Our relationships with our siblings can have a powerful impact upon our early lives, producing intense feelings, positive or negative; that these same feelings can persist into our adult relationships with our brothers and sisters; and finally, that these feelings can even be passed on to the next generation. We need to stop focusing on turning siblings into friends, and begin to equip them with the attitudes and skills they’d need for all their caring relationships. They shouldn’t be hung up all their lives on who was right and who was wrong. They should be able to move past that kind of thinking and learn how to really listen to each other, how to respect the difference between them, how to find the ways to resolve those differences. Even if their personalities were such that they never could be friends, at least they would have the power to make a friend and be a friend.

Not ‘Till the Bad Feelings Come Out…

Sometimes it is hard to understand why siblings have such hateful feelings toward each other. Imagine your spouse puts an arm around you and says, “Honey, I love you so much, and  you’re so wonderful that I’ve decided to have another wife just like you.”

Tips and Guidelines

Brothers and sisters need to have their feelings about each other acknowledged with:

  • words that identify the feeling or
  • wishes, or
  • symbolic or creative activity.

Children need to have their hurtful actions stopped and shown how to discharge angry feeling acceptably.

Guideline Your child says… Instead of answering… Say…
Instead of dismissing negative feelings about a sibling, acknowledge the feelings by putting feelings into words. You’re always with the baby. No, I’m not. Didn’t I just read to you? You don’t like my spending so much time with her.
Ma, Bobby said I sound like a moron! Oh, just ignore him. A comment like that could make you mad!
He does it on purpose! He only burps when I’m around. Big deal! You feel he does it just to irritate you.
Give children in fantasy what they don’t have in reality by expressing what the child might want. Send the baby back! You don’t mean that. You know you love her. You don’t want her here. Sometimes you wish she’d go away.
I heard him laughing about me with his friends. So what? That’s how boys are. That hurt your feelings. You wish he’d show some loyalty to his sister.
He always decides to drum when I’m trying to do homework. Take it easy. Just close your door. That can be annoying. You wish he’d check with you before he starts to play.
Help children channel their hostile feelings into symbolic or creative outlets by encouraging creative expression. What are you trying to do? Break her arm? You’re a bad boy! No hurting your sister! You can show me your feelings with your doll.
She’s mean. She never let’s me go with her. Stop whining. You know she doesn’t want a kid sister tagging along. That hurt your feelings. You wish he’d show some loyalty to his sister.
Look what she did to my blouse! I’d like to take one of hers and rip it up! That’s sick! I think your sister needs to know how enraged you are, in writing.
Stop hurtful behaviour. Show how angry feelings can be discharged safely, refrain from attacking the attacker by showing better ways of expressing anger. That’s a nasty thing to do to the baby! She only touched your blocks. No punching! Tell your sister how angry you are with words not fists!
You stole a dime, dirty thief! That’s a terrible thing to call your own brother! You sound furious! But I expect you to confront your brother without calling names.
The greedy pig ate all the cookies! You’ve done the same to him. Instead of name calling, tell him how you feel or what you want.

The Perils of Comparisons

So far we had been talking about the fiercely competitive feelings that children bring to the sibling relationship all by themselves, without any help from us grown-ups. How do adults contribute to the competition? We compare! By making comparisons we definitely heat up the rivalry.

Tips and Guidelines
Resist the urge to compare. Instead of comparing one child to another, speak to the child only about the behaviour that pleases or displeases you. Describe what you see, what you feel, and what needs to be done.
Guideline Instead of… Say…
Avoid favourable comparisons by describing what you see or feel. You’re a big boy. You don’t leave your things lying around like the baby. I see you picked up your blocks, your truck and even put away your puzzle pieces.
I wish your brother had your study habits. He can’t concentrate for more than a minute. You’ve been going over that vocabulary list for a half hour!
You always look so beautiful. Your sister looks like she gets dressed in the dark. I like the way the lavender blouse picks up on the purple in the skirt.
Avoid unfavourable comparisons by describing the problem. That’s disgusting! Even the baby doesn’t spill all over herself. There’s a little milk dripping down the front of your shirt.
How come your brother manages to get home on time for his music lessons and you never do? Your guitar teacher has been waiting 10 minutes.
 Don’t you dare call me slow. Your sister never talks to me that way. Your guitar teacher has been waiting 10 minutes.

Equal Is Less

To be loved equally is somehow to be loved less. To be loved uniquely – for one’s own special self – is to be loved as much as we need to be loved.

Tips and Guidelines

Children don’t need to be treated equally. They need to be treated uniquely. Instead of giving equal amounts, give according to individual need. Instead of showing equal love, show the child he or she is loved uniquely.

Instead of worrying about giving equal amounts, focus on each child’s individual need.

Guideline Instead of… Say…
Instead of giving equal time, give time according to need. Child: You gave him more than me!
Adult: I did not. I gave you each four.
Child: But his are bigger!
Child: You gave him more than me!
Adult: Oh, are you still hungry?
Child: A little.
Adult: Would you like a half a pancake or are you hungry enough for a whole one?
Instead of claiming equal love, show children how they’re loved uniquely. Child: Who do you love the best?
Adult: I love you all the same.
Child: You’re just saying that.
Child: Who do you love the best?
Adult: Each of you is special to me. You are my only Robin. There’s not another like you. No one has your thoughts, your feelings, your smile. I’m so glad you’re my daughter.
Child: You really love me.
Equal time can feel like less. Give time in terms of need. Child 1 and adult are speaking.
Child 2: Mommy, you talked to her too long. I want to tell you something.
Adult: I’ll be right with you. Janie let’s wind this up.
Child 1: No fair, he always gets what he wants.
Child 1 and adult are speaking.
Child 2: Mommy, you talked to her too long. I want to tell you something.
Adult: You’re right. I have been spending a lot of time with your sister. Her birthday party is important. There’s lots to plan and I want to give it my full attention. I know it’s not easy to wait. When I’m finished I want to hear what you have on your mind.
Child 2: When I need her, Mommy will be there for me, too.

Siblings in Roles

We need to prepare our children for life outside the family. And life demands that we assume many roles. We need to know how to care for and be cared for; how to be leaders and followers; how to be serious and a little wild; how to live with disorder and how to create order. Why limit our children? Why not encourage all of them to take changes, explore their potential, discover their strengths they never dreamed lay within them.

Tips and Guidelines

If Johnny attacks his brother, attend to the brother without attacking Johnny.

Guideline Instead of… Try…
Don’t give your attention to the aggressor. Attend to the injured party instead. Child: Ow! She bit me!
Adult: What’s going on here? How many times do I have to tell you not to do that? You’re to leave your sister alone. You come with me, I can’t trust you.
Child: Ow! She bit me!
Adult: Bit you! Let me see. Oh, it’s all red. That must hurt. People are not for biting. Your sister needs to learn to ask for what she wants with words. Even when she’s angry.

Let no one lock a child into a role;

  • not his parents,
  • not the child himself, and
  • not his brothers or sisters.
Guideline Instead of… The parent can…
No more bullies. The parent treating the child as a bully.Child: Get outta my room or I’ll clobber you.
Adult: Mike, you’re being a bully.
Help him see that he’s capable of being civil.Adult: No clobbering! You know how to get what you need without using physical force.
The other siblings treating him as a bully.Child: Daddy, he said he’d kick the board if we didn’t let him play. He’s mean. Give the siblings a new view of their brother.Adult: He knows how to be nice, too, and ask for what he want in a friendly way.
The child seeing himself as a bully.Child 1: My teddy bear!
Child 2: I’m a meanie!
Help him see his capacity for kindness.Adult: You also know how to be a “kindee”. And I expect you to start right now.
No more victims. The parent treating the child as a victim.Child: Mike said I have to share my new yo-yo.
Adult: Poor baby. Is your brother being mean again?
Show her how to stand up for herself.Adult: You can tell your brother ‘Daddy bought it for me. It’s mine. I decide if I want to share it’.
The other siblings treating her as a victim.Children: Let’s tell her there’s poison in her ice cream. Then we can have it. Give the siblings a new view of their sister.Adult: Save your breath, kids. Your sister is too strong to be conned out of her ice cream.
The child seeing herself as the victim.Child: Ma! He’s making ugly faces. I’m scared!
Adult: Stop that! You know your sister is easily frightened!
Help her see her potential strength.Adult: I’ll bet you could make a real ugly face back at him if you want to.
Children with problems do not need to be viewed as problem children. They do need:
  • Acceptance of their frustration.
  • Appreciation for what they have accomplished.
  • Help in focusing on solutions.
Guideline Instead of… The parent can…
No more problem children. Instead of focusing on children’s disabilities, focus on their abilities. Child: That’s too fast!
Adult: Be careful with that ball. You know your sister isn’t strong.
Adult: Hey, you almost caught it and that was a fast ball!
Child: And the dog b…b…b… I can’t read this. I’m dumb.
Adult: You’re not dumb. You have a reading disability.
Adult: Reading can be hard. The word rhymes with “park”.
Child: Oh. Then it’s “barked”.
Child: Dad, he’s pulling out his hair!
Adult: Cut it out! You’re acting crazy!
Adult: That is so frustrating when you work out part of a puzzle and get stuck.

When the Kids Fight

How to handle the fighting.

Level Steps to Take Examples
1: Normal bickering
  1. Ignore it. Think about your next vacation.
  2. Tell yourself the children are having an important experience in conflict resolution.

2: Situation is heating up. Adult intervention might be helpful.
  1. Acknowledge their anger.
  2. Reflect each child’s point of view.
  3. Describe the problem with respect.
  4. Express confidence in the children’s ability to find their own solution.
  5. Leave the room.

You two sound mad at each other!So Sara, you want to keep on holding the puppy because he’s just settled down in your arms. And Billy, you feel you’re entitled to a turn, too.That’s a tough one: two children and only one puppy.I have confidence that you two can work out a solution that’s fair to each of you and fair to the puppy.
3: Situation possibly dangerous.
  1. Inquire.
  2. Let the children know.
  3. Respect your feelings.

Is this a play fight or a real fight? (Play fights are permitted. Real fights are not.)Play fighting by mutual consent only. (If it’s not fun for both, it’s got to stop.)You may be playing, but it’s too rough for me. You need to find another activity.
4: Situation definitely dangerous! Adult intervention necessary.
  1. Describe what you see.
  2. Separate the children.
I see two very angry children who are about to hurt each other.It’s not safe to be together. We must have a cooling-off period. Quick, you to your room, and you to yours.

When the children can’t work out a problem by themselves:

  1. Call a meeting of the antagonists. Explain the purpose and the ground rules.
  2. Write down each child’s feelings and concerns, and read them aloud.
  3. Allow time for rebuttal.
  4. Invite everyone to come up with solutions. Write down all ideas without evaluating.
  5. Decide upon the solution you all can live with.
  6. Follow-up.

How to give support to the child who asks for it without taking sides.

Steps to Take Examples
  1. State each child’s case.
  2. State the value or rule.
  3. Leave the doorway open for the possibility of negotiation.
Let me get this straight. Jimmy, you need the crayons to finish your homework. And Amy, you want to finish colouring.Homework assignments get top priority.But Jimmy, if you want to work something out with your sister, that’s up to you.

More Ways to Encourage Good Feelings Between Brothers and Sisters

      • Make sure each child gets some time alone with you several times a week.  This one-on-one connection provides the emotional nourishment kids need to be more caring or at the very least more tolerant of their siblings. Once you set the time aside, honour it. Don’t let a phone call break the mood. Your child will always remember your saying, “Hello, Mrs. Jones. May I call you back? Right now Johnny and I are spending time together.” He will have a greater sense of his own value.
      • When spending time with one child, don’t talk about the other. You don’t want your child to think, “Even when Debbie isn’t here, she takes Mom away from me.”
      • Don’t withhold your affection or attention from your “favourite child” in order to make it up to a less favoured child. All each child needs from a parent is a full and realistic appreciation for who he or she is.
      • Don’t lock the children in their position in the family constellation (oldest, youngest, middle). Allow each child the opportunity to experience some of the privileges and responsibilities of the other. Part of what creates deep resentment between siblings is the demand by parents that they always maintain their family position.
      • Don’t get trapped by togetherness. Don’t force kids together if there is irritation between them. It could drive them further apart. Give everyone more breathing space with different kinds of adult-child combinations.
      • Let each child know what it is about him that his siblings like or admire. Just knowing about a sibling’s positive feelings can make for a dramatic shift in a relationship.
      • Schedule family meetings. You wouldn’t expect your car to run without periodic refueling and maintenance.
March 31, 2012

Parenting Cliff Notes

Inspired by Modern Parents Messy Kids call for book summaries of their favourite parenting books, I am summarizing the parenting books I have read and enjoyed (minus Penelope Leach’s mammoth baby bible, Your Baby and Child). Look forward to seeing my Cliff Notes for:

  • Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting, by Pamela Druckerman,
  • Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish,
  • How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, and
  • NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children, by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman.

I really got into these books and spew out facts and new reason to anyone who would listen while I read them. I am very easily swayed. Especially when it comes to parenting. If someone wrote a book with all the for rules I should institute in my house to ensure I have confident and polite children, I’d buy it. So, I want to share what I’ve learned, and hear what you think.

Frankly, the philosophies are all pretty similar. Give your child room to grow, don’t wait on them hand and foot and praise is overrated.
I’m not sure anyone has written a book on how to be overprotective, pageant mom. I may try, though.

March 7, 2012

Shouldn’t he be eating steak already?

I guess I am feeling a little impatient for my eight-month-old to eat solids. He hasn’t shown much interest, no matter how many times I try.

He certainly hates purées. He scrunches up his face spits it out and turns his head. Overripe fruits and overcooked veggies have been a bit more successful but he won’t let me feed him.
(He and his sister have conspired to stake their independence together. She won’t let me unzip any of her zippers and she’s potty training herself thank you very much.)

This baby is teaching himself how to eat and I am letting him. He spends hours each day training. He practices chewing everything in sight. He loves chewing paper. Swallowing is something he has mastered. Unless it’s paper.

To be honest, I have been a pretty casual and hands-off coach. Somedays, I forget to fix him something to eat – half expecting he’ll microwave himself some lunch. Most mornings, I peel him a pear, cut it up and leave it in front of him. He has until I finish my breakfast to wrangle the slippery fruit into his fat fists and pop it in his mouth. He’s not very good at it. Anything he swallows is purely accidental.

As soon as I try to get involved, he loses interest. He can handle it, he says through telepathy.

Green beans. They stay put. He can grab them and direct them to his mouth. Bananas and sweet potato just end up mashed into his clothes. Chicken he can handle. And by that I mean, he’s great at throwing it on the floor. Once I offered him bread to replace his beloved cardboard box snacks, but then he didn’t poop for four days.

I just keep thinking he’s behind. He should be an expert at eating. He should at least be excited about it. I am starting to anticipate the end of my year with him. I worry he’ll starve. He doesn’t take a bottle very well either. I am worried he doesn’t have much time to master eating before I  go back to work. But I am sure his sister was at the same pace. I know he will be ready for daycare. Frankly, I won’t be ready to leave him.

January 30, 2012

Lazy Daisy’s Cafe


We trekked to the new baby-friendly cafe. They serve food from local farmers, and handmade pastries with a side of “reclaimed” atmosphere. I am having a loose leaf tea, but was also tempted by their daily soup (curried cauliflower), and tasty looking sandwiches. They even post a map with all the local farmers they use, with their bios.


There’s a corner with toys for kids to play and plenty of space for strollers. It is not as kid-centered as Lil Bean n Green in Leslieville but the Indian Bazaar spot has more space and you don’t have to pay $5 for playtime.  They also focus on local artists with one of a kind products for sale by the cash in vintage milk crates  and they host monthly craft fairs.

It certainly feels like a cafe in a small farming town. There seems to be regulars. There are certainly friendly smiles. And an adequate amount of cooing over babies.

I would say it’s a great place to meet your friends that don’t have kids. You can certainly have an adult date with kids tagging along, rather than the other way around. In fact, most patrons don’t have kids.

I would like to come back for brunch. I have a feeling it will be super busy.

January 19, 2012

No I’m not on fire. Go back to sleep, you’ll wake the baby.

I absolutely hate how Baby Daddy wakes with a start anytime there’s a slight noise. He falls asleep before his head hits the pillow, but he’s a terribly light sleeper. He always has been but more so now that he’s a parent.

If I cough, he lifts his head about three inches off the pillow and stares at me with his eyes closed for minutes  minutes. Sometimes I physically shove his head back down and he fights me in his sleep. Or at three in the morning when I’ve finished feeding the baby  and managed to get him back to sleep, he’ll jump up when I try to stand up to put the baby in his bed. He’s confused and panicky, thinking he’s a shoemaker on a hot air balloon in Italy, and he’s ready to fight. Or when Little Miss coughs, he’ll gasp and sit up with his arms up above his head, blind and half deaf.

He doesn’t listen to reason, and I get inexplicably annoyed, really annoyed. I yell whisper at him. Lately, though, I have tried to play along to see what he’ll say. He usually gets half way through a super mumbled sentence before he’s really awake.

Now that I have written this all out, I am not as annoyed. It is sorta cute. He’s SuperDad, ready to protect us at any hour, in any state. *love*

(I will probably still yell at him though.)

Now let’s see if I can get this baby back in bed, and clear my throat without starting a war.

January 18, 2012

Baby Jogger City Select review

I realized the other day while researching a new car seat for our giant baby, that I rely a lot on online reviews to help me with purchasing decisions. I find them very helpful and reassuring, if not a little overwhelming. I buy baby gear, toys, clothes, appliances and vacations based on other people’s opinions. But I never give back to that community of reviewers. Until now.

(I have not received compensation for this review. I bought this stroller and I use it. These are truly my opinions.)

We had the Peg Perego Uno for our first child, but when number two was on the way we needed a double stroller. If you are looking for your first stroller and expect to have more than one kid, just buy one that can turn into a double, and save yourself some money.

The Baby Jogger City Select 2010 is a $600 stroller with the potential to become a double. It comes with one seat only. You must buy a second seat kit to make it a double. We for got ours on promo, so we got the second seat free. Otherwise, it’s about $100. The major reason I choose this stroller is because it is a tandem double. If I was going to be that person shopping in downtown Toronto with a double stroller, I didn’t want it to be super wide. I thought it would be easier to maneuver – it is super easy. Spins on a dime.

The other reason I wanted this stroller is: you can face the seats towards you, facing out, facing each other or facing away from each other. And you can use a car seat, bassinet or seat in either position. That’s sixteen configurations. I knew that with a newborn, I would want to be able to put his car seat it the position closest to me, facing me. There is a comparable stroller, Britax B Ready (it was my second choice), but the car seat would have to be in the bottom position. I want the tiny baby close, who cares about the toddler, she’s old news!

The seats are very easy to take on and off. They just click right in. So changing the configuration is a snap. I have switched the direction of the seat with the baby in the seat, which you’re not supposed to do, it is tricky only because you need to balance the baby but snapping the seat in and out is no problem.

It is also easy to fold. That’s apparently Baby Jogger’s speciality. It folds right in half by pulling on the ‘fold’ tabs on the hinge and tada!

You may not think about it if you don’t have kids yet, but when you have two kids alone in the car screaming for you, you don’t want to be doing the “it’s easy to fold just put one foot here and the other there, while you push with that hand and pull with your free hand” dance so you can shove the stroller in the car. That’s probably why mini vans are the parents go to, you can just put the whole stroller in the back without folding it.

The storage basket is really spacious. It has zippers to open one end and to expand the other. When you have the second seat facing you, you need to unzip one end so the seat fits. That means, in the winter you’ll get snow and slush in the basket and in the summer you’ll get sand. If you put the baby up front they wouldn’t take up so much of the storage space, but toddlers like to be out front where the action is.

The back of each seat has a pouch, too. Great place for mitts or toys. But I wouldn’t put keys or your phone in there. If you forget them in there and take the seats off and put them in the trunk you’re in trouble. Not only have you locked your keys in the trunk, but the phone will slide out of the pouch and you’ll go crazy looking for it because it’s hidden in the dark corner of your trunk.

The canopies are really deep. They reach far down over the child’s head. And they have a peekaboo window with magnetic snaps to keep it in place.

My one big beef with the City Select, is it doesn’t come with any accessories and Baby Jogger doesn’t make a cup holder for it. Don’t they realize we moms spend everyday looking forward to our walking excursions to Starbucks? I actually read online that you can hack the Baby Jogger liquid holster, so I bought it and it does fit just not perfectly.

I installed it on the inside of the bar because it drove me crazy how the cup holder on the Peg Perego would catch on clothing racks in stores. Then I realized I can’t have the seat facing out because the cup is in the way. So I reversed it, didn’t make much of a difference. I could face the seat forward, but I couldn’t recline it. It’s still in the way. Also the only place it fits on the handlebar, interferes with the telescoping feature. Luckily, Papa and I are close in height, so we don’t adjust the height of the handlebar. No biggie. But the hack certainly isn’t perfect, and it isn’t cheap. The liquid holster is $40.

I also bought a console for $15 that velcros on. It works perfectly. Great for staffing napkins, and sunglasses. Not so great for car keys. Again, you might forget them in there, and lock them in the trunk. Then your husband has to courier his set of keys to you from work.

I bought the snack tray for $30, it just snaps on. It also just snaps off as my toddler demonstrated over and over again during our walks. But it is great to keep Cheerios and milk within reach of baby. I also bought the car seat adapter ($90) and have used it almost everyday these first six months. We got glider board for $90 so Little Miss can skateboard along if she doesn’t want to sit. It was a breeze to install and now makes the stroller compatible for three. I am considering the rain covers for the spring. You can see how these accessories add up.

Overall this stroller is really good. It drives smoothly, with nice big wheels to plow through snow or grass. It has high weight capacity in both seats unlike the comparable Britax, so we can use past baby & toddler stage and well into kid & preschooler. It is functional, with tons of basket space and good looking. I love it. I highly recommend it as a mid-to-high end stroller; especially if you are planning on having more than one child.

January 18, 2012

Mincing words over pink eye

With so many words and phrases, sometimes I forget my toddler doesn’t communicate perfectly. And in fact, I am probably the only one who would think that, as I understand her the most. It makes it that much harder when caring for a sick toddler when she’s so close to being able to telling me what’s wrong.  For over a week, a variety of viruses and or infections have launched an attack on our household. From colds, stomach flus, possible ear infections and finally pink eye.

With babies we’re only guessing what’s wrong. They can’t say, I am not eating because my stomach is upset or because it hurts to swallow or because that food was gross. Almost two weeks ago, we started the little one on solids (avocado). Everything seemed to be ok, just runny noses and mild coughs. Then last Tuesday, I fed him some avocado in the morning and he kept making faces and spitting it out. I tried again at dinner, and he did it again. Then he gagged. Then he puked.

‘I guess he doesn’t like avocado,’ I think. ‘Or maybe it’s the vaccinations he got yesterday. Or he might be sick. Argh.’

Poor little guy threw up all night. The next day he seemed better. But then his sister wouldn’t eat dinner and kept saying, “belly boo boo.” I actually thought she hit her belly somehow. It all made sense when she vomited later that night.

Then a few days later we dealt with fevers. But honestly, they both seemed fine. They weren’t lethargic or whiny. Just a set of hot troopers. The next night, she started to get extra whiny, and was pulling at her ear, saying, “boo boo.” A little Motrin fixed that. She went to sleep and didn’t mention her ear again. (Not that she even knows a word for ear. If she can’t say it, she can’t have an ear infection.)

Then yesterday, she had a super red eye, and today the other eye was red. And she was saying, “ow, ojo”. The baby woke up with goopy eyes. Oh man, I had to schlep these kids to the doctor to confirm what I already knew.

On the way, I anticipated that it would be hard get Little Miss to submit to an examination. So on the drive there, I was trying to explain in any language that the doctor was going to look at her eye and maybe her ear. “El doctor, the doctor, vas a mirar a tu ojo, look at your eye. Le médecin, the doctor, examinera votre oeil, eye.” She seemed happy. Clearly she didn’t get it.

Luckily, our doctor was patient and she didn’t trust him and wasn’t taking her eye off me. So long as I walked around back and forth behind the doctor, he could get a good look at all angles.

Now we’re fighting her (ahem, restraining her) to put drops in three times a day for five days.  The baby is a little easier (he’s not as strong). So far, no language is persuading her that the drops will help.