Monthly Archives: October 2013

Fantastic Car Seat Coat for Toddlers

By:  Davida Grant

It’s rare that I find a product that I love.  I absolutely ADORE the Cozywoggle car seat coat.

This past weekend, I attended the Femworking Conference for small businesses and bloggers.  I can’t say enough about the conference.  It was AMAZING!  But in addition to all the great information I received that hopefully will allow me to take this blog to another level (fingers crossed),  I discovered Cozywoggle. Here it is.

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What I love about this coat is that it reduces the bulkiness my son Grant feels when I put him in his car seat with a standard winter coat.  Grant hates being mushed, which happens when he wears a bulky coat and I have to “fit” him into his car seat.  Not to mention, his other coats make him hot while he’s riding in the car.  Grant takes after his father.  He hates being hot and gets fired up whenever he is and I mean FIRED up!  So how does it work? I put the jacket on Grant and then unzip the sides of the jacket from the bottom all the way to the wrist areas of the jacket.  Then I lift up the backside of the jacket and put Grant into his car seat.  His back rests directly against the lining of the car seat and his arms and chest remain covered with the coat.  In essence, I virtually remove the back of his coat so that he can lay in his car seat as if he isn’t wearing a coat at all. This makes Grant immensely more comfortable.  It allows me to keep the car seat straps in one position so I don’t have to keep adjusting them based on what he’s wearing.  Talk about a time saver in the mornings.  Yay!  Check my buddy out wearing his coat.

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Are there other things I like? Yep. It’s lightweight, it’s passed crash testing, and it’s also relatively easy to maneuver the zippers and back of the coat when I opt to place him in the car seat while inside my vehicle  (easiest to do it in the house though).   Bottom line, this jacket is cute, comes in great colors, is available up to a size 5T and most importantly keeps my little buddy warm and irritation-free when he’s riding in his car seat. I even bought one for my 3-year old, Simone.

Maybe Cozywoggle should hire me to do PR.  Seriously though, I love this coat!

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Filed under Baby Products I Love, Infants, Toddlers

Moving from a one-to-two kid family. How did I cope?

simone and grant

By:  Davida Grant 

And then there were two….

Several expectant moms recently asked how I’m handling the transition from one to two kids.  I have a 6-month-old, Grant, and a 3-year-old, Simone. Well, the short of it is, it’s been a BUMPY ride. If your family is about to expand to two children, brace yourself.  One child turns your world upside down.  Two children virtually obliterate life as you know it. Now, I’m not suggesting that dark clouds will fill your days, but there’s no question that transitioning to a two-child household will be a MAJOR adjustment. 

So what’s the good news?  Well, I didn’t have that enormous learning curve to tackle.  That’s been a HUGE plus.  The bad news is, there’s only one of me.  Finding the time and strength to take care of two kids, my husband, my household responsibilities, my job, and lastly myself has been a TALL order.  Even my super mommy cape didn’t do much.  So what did I do?

Let me start with the day-to-day stuff. 

I had to learn to manage expectations of me.  With Simone, I pretty much had things under control.  Grant changed all that. Some days, actually most days, I just could not get everything done.  It took awhile, but I finally learned to accept that it’s okay.  Every mom of two is in the same boat.  So, I resolved to do what I could to make sure that all the essentials were cared for, and not to sweat the small stuff.

I made sure I had a daily plan, EVERY DAY. When it was just Simone, I could pretty much handle things on the fly.  Yes, I had somewhat of a schedule floating around in my mind, but it wasn’t hard and fast.  Once Grant entered the picture, “time” really became a precious commodity.  Without a firm plan in place (and I mean almost down to the minute in the mornings and in the evenings), I found myself wasting so much time trying to figure out the whats, whens, wheres and hows, that I got very little accomplished, was late to every thing, and was totally stressed out.  Mapping things out improved my handling of the day-to-day necessities exponentially.

I had to learn to ask for help. Once your new bundle arrives, you will quickly figure out the activities that stress you out the most.  When you do, ask for help with those activities.  For me, putting both of my kids to bed seven nights a week wore me out.  I spoiled my husband with Simone and he was perfectly content to let me do all the bedtime activities for both kids.  I tried handling it all for awhile, but realized it was just way too much. So, I asked (he’d probably say I told him) to help.  Now, my husband feeds Simone, reads to her, bathes her and puts her to bed at least two nights a week.  This has made a huge difference.  I also send Simone to my mom’s house or her godparents’ house for an ENTIRE weekend at least once every six weeks.  There simply are no words in the English language to express how much this helps me to maintain my sanity.  Simone, God bless her, is off the chain.   We all have angels on earth willing to help us.  Seek them out.  You’d be surprised at how willing they are to lend a hand.

Now let me turn to what’s been even harder than coping with the day-to-day activities – remaining fully connected with Simone and fully bonding with Grant. This has been a bear. Before Grant arrived, Simone and I were two peas in a pod. We did everything together. Most of my spare time was spent showering her with love and attention and I couldn’t have been happier. Grant entered the picture and everything changed, not just for Simone, but for me too. Grant was now the baby and there was a special mothering he got that’s only reserved for infants.  Yes, I still spent time with Simone, but I almost felt like Grant needed me a little more because he was so helpless.  And frankly, I craved getting to know him. I wanted to spend hours looking at him, smelling him, watching the way he moves and communicates.  How could I do that and still give Simone everything she was getting from me emotionally before Grant arrived?  Honestly, it’s like a part of me wanted to take a hiatus from being Simone’s mom so that I could focus solely on Grant.

It’s been six months since I had Grant and I still struggle with this.  I often feel like Simone is getting the short end of the stick which possibly contributes to the EPIC tantrums she has.  She’s only three and still needs me so much. Yes, she has to accept the fact that she must share me with Grant, but I have to find a way to “share” myself fully and fairly with both of my kids.  I’m not there yet. 

So, mommy readers with two or more kids, how did you handle the transition?  Please share.  I could still use some help.

17 Comments

October 25, 2013 · 4:09 pm

Baby Weight, I Want You OFF!!!

By:  Davida Grant

It’s been months since I had my bouncing little boy. I’m starting to get some sleep. I’m back at work.  I’m settled into my new daily routine.  Now more than ever, I want to get ME back.  Yes, I’ve lost a lot of the baby weight, but I have more to go.  My scale is not cooperating.  In fact, it’s being outright defiant. “MOVE SCALE MOVE, ” I command.  It doesn’t.

Every new mom faces this.  If your experience was anything like mine, the scale was your friend, maybe even your best friend, the first couple months after you had your baby.  My first month was a dream.  The baby weight practically fell off.  I ran to the scale every morning.  I simply couldn’t wait to see how much I’d lost.  In total, I lost a whopping 18 pounds with absolutely no effort.  Month two, the weight loss slowed, but the scale was still moving in the right direction.  I lost five pounds. Not bad, given that I was still eating EVERYTHING in sight and NOT exercising. Month three, my friend (the scale) and I had a falling out.  It refused to budge.  It would even trick me into thinking that I had lost a pound or two, but then inch right back up.  To my dismay, this yo-yo pattern continued for three months.

I finally had to face facts.  The last 10 pounds or so weren’t going to magically disappear.  I had to take action.  I even know the drill. Burn more calories than I consume and I’ll lose weight.  At least that’s what seemingly every health magazine out there says.  But it’s HARRRRRRRRRRRRRRD, especially for a busy mom, tired mom, and over 40 mom.  Sigh…….

A couple weeks ago, I decided it was time to implement a plan.  My first thought was to go back to my pre-pregnancy workout routine:  gym 3 times a week, with at least 30 minutes of cardio (treadmill, elliptical or zumba) and 10-15 minutes of weight training.  I did this after I had my first child and it worked.  Seven months after I had Simone I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight.  You couldn’t tell me anything!!!!  I was THAT chic! This time around, things are different.  I’m much busier.  I just can’t find the time to go to the gym.  And when I do have time or somehow make the time, I’m waaaaaaay too tired and find myself giving only 50% effort.  So what now?

I resolved to figure out a way to maximize my opportunities to burn calories.   I decided to incorporate exercise into my existing, daily activities.  Here’s what I’m doing.

·         Increasing mobility at work.  My job is sedentary.  I work a 9-hour day and sit for probably 8.5 of those hours.  That is not a recipe for weight loss.   I’ve honed in on what I do when I get up from my desk and I’ve increased my mobility with these activities.  Now, I use the bathroom way on the other side of my building. Now, I go to the Starbucks and deli three blocks from my office, rather than the one in the lobby of my building.  Now, I walk to my clients’ offices to discuss issues rather than calling them on the phone.  This mobility equates to more exercise, which means I’m burning more calories.  I track these extra steps with my pedometer and guess what, they total about a mile.  Not bad.

·         Increasing mobility at home.  We have a three-story home.   My steps offer an ongoing opportunity to burn lots of calories.  I used to try and take everything upstairs in the evenings so I wouldn’t have to go back downstairs. Now, I break up my activities so I’m forced to go up and down the stairs.  For example, I take Grant upstairs in the evenings and put him to bed.  Then I go back downstairs to get Simone.  Then I go back downstairs and prepare Grant and Simone’s bags for daycare/school.  I make lots of other trips up and down the stairs (running if possible) every evening – all of which result in me burning more calories!

·        Use my Baby as a Weight.  If you read my first blog post, you know that I have a big, fat, rolly, polly baby.  Grant is about 20lbs now.  Get where I’m going?  Grant is now a substitute for my dumbbells.  During our “mommy and me” time before I put him to bed or first thing in the morning, I do arm lifts with Grant. I also lie on my back and push him to and away from my chest.  These movements really give me a work out.  I can actually see the difference in my arms.  I also carry him up and down the stairs with me, which adds additional weight to the exercise – again resulting in more burned calories.

·         Incorporating 20 minutes of cardio into my routine.  Surprisingly, many of the at home workout DVDs have a 20-minute cardio routine (Zumba Fitness and Shaun T’s Hip Hop Abs).  This is perfect for me because I have so little time.  I did one intense 20-minute cardio routine last week and plan to do the same this week.  I’d like to get that number up to three, but I’m not there yet.

So has it worked?  Well, it’s only been a couple weeks, but I did lose two pounds.  Yay!!!! I’m still a work in progress, but I think I’m on my way.

What are some of your tips for losing baby weight?

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Filed under Mothers, Weight Loss

My Infant Has A Serious Medical Condition And Can’t Come Home. Help!

Simone, 7 months Trach and G-Tube

Simone, 7 months
Trach and G-Tube

 
 By:  Davida Grant

You wait nine months for your new bundle of joy.  You get your finances in order, buy and read every baby book out there, get the baby room together, sing and talk to your belly first thing in the morning and just before you go to sleep, pick out baby names, and shop for the cutest outfits EVER.  In essence, you do everything to prepare yourself for your mini me.  The contractions start and through the discomfort you can’t help but think, soon s/he will be here.  You simply can’t wait to meet him or her.  You deliver your baby and you’re overcome with joy. This new chapter of your life begins. Then you get the news.  Your baby has a medical issue and won’t be able to come home.  And, not only will you have to go home without your baby, your baby likely will have to stay in the hospital for months.

Nothing, and I mean, nothing can prepare a new mom for this.  It happened to me three years ago with Simone.  My husband and I were at the hospital, ready to take her home, when her doctor said that she noticed Simone would cough every time she drank milk. This was not typical behavior, so she wanted Simone to see a specialist immediately.  So off we went to Children’s Hospital where they promptly ran a series of tests.  After about an hour, a team of doctors and I mean a TEAM (at least 5) entered Simone’s room to discuss the results.  At first, they couldn’t pinpoint the issue.  They said it could be this or that or the other and needed permission to do even more tests.  I was numb.  Finally, they figured it out. Simone was born with a laryngeal cleft, which in layman’s terms means she had a hole in her windpipe.  Whenever she’d drink milk, some would pass into her trachea because of the cleft.  She simply could not go home until the issue was addressed.  The plan was to repair the cleft (sew it up), but this couldn’t happen until she was 3-months old.  The affected area was simply too small.  In the meantime, she’d be fed through a nasal tube.  Because of the cleft, she had quite a bit of stridor, which affected her breathing.  So they recommended that she stay in the hospital.  I was told I’d have to wait at least 3 months before I could bring my baby home.

When I heard these words, it was like I was having an outer body experience.  I was trying to focus on what the doctor was saying, but I couldn’t get it.  Simone looked perfect.  Of course she was coming home with me.  And if these doctors thought I was going to go home without my baby, then they had another thing coming! Well, after multiple conversations, reality set in and I had to accept the fact that my baby had a very serious, rare condition and would not leave the hospital. I had to accept that she’d be in the hospital for at least 3 months and would have to have several medical procedures.  Yes, I had to accept it.  How?

There’s no playbook available to help a new mom handle this situation.   I had so many emotions coursing through my body.  I was angry, sad, scared, afraid, skeptical — and these are just a few.  I needed help and didn’t know where to turn.  I was lost. So I prayed, putting it in God’s hands.  I also resolved that I had to get myself together.  Simone needed me.  Yes, the doctors and nurses would care for her, but Simone only knew me.  I was her connection to this world.  I would not fail her.

I wish I could say that Simone simply stayed in the hospital until she was 3-months old, had the surgery, and came home.  It didn’t work out that way.  Simone’s respiratory issues intensified so she had to have a tracheostomy.  Then she developed pneumonia, delaying her surgery.  Then she had to get a G-tube.  It seemed that every few weeks something else would go wrong.  And if all of this wasn’t enough, my father died.  Talk about throwing me into a tailspin.  I had been so focused on my baby that I couldn’t be there for my dad as he battled cancer.  I couldn’t help but wonder what I’d done to deserve this.  While I had lots of support during this period, the truth is I didn’t know how to let anyone in.  I didn’t think anyone else could get it, not even my husband.  They weren’t in my shoes.  Only my faith sustained me.

Trust and believe, when you ask God for help, He will answer.  I asked him to guide me and He did.  My spirit directed me to end my “pity party” ASAP and become the chief advocate for Simone.   This would give me purpose.  I’m a lawyer, so I’m trained to ask questions.  I’m trained to analyze the facts.  So that’s what I did.  My daughter’s condition was rare, so I had to ensure that the choices we made for her care were the best.  I researched and confirmed EVERYTHING I was told about her condition and recommended care.  Thank God for the Internet!  I mentioned there was a team of doctors assigned to Simone.  All of them were not good.  I had to get one removed from the team because she recommended a surgical procedure that was not necessary. Thankfully, I challenged her findings.  I actually raised a ruckus. No one was cutting open my baby unless it was ESSENTIAL! Ultimately, the medical team concluded that I was right.  Simone didn’t have to have THAT procedure and that particular doctor was wrong for urging me to simply agree.

Finally, when she was six-months-old, she came home.  She had to go back and forth to the hospital for follow-up procedures until she was about fifteen months, but all issues were resolved.  Yay!

Looking back on it, I have some key take aways I’d like to share. They may help other moms in this situation.

  1. Babies are fighters.  You’d be surprised at how strong and resilient infants are. They will fight to survive.
  2. Educate yourself on your child’s condition.  Doctors can get it wrong.  Do your best to fully understand the medical issue and recommended solution.
  3. Don’t be afraid to challenge your doctor’s recommendations. Ask questions.  It’s your doctor’s job to explain what’s going on.  If you don’t agree, challenge it.  Get a second opinion if necessary.  The more you know and are involved in the medical decisions, the better off you’ll be.
  4. Trust your instincts.  You may not be an expert, but your intuition is EVERYTHING!!!!! Never doubt it when it comes to your child’s care.
  5. Ask for help.  There is another mom in your shoes.  Seek one out.  We’re here.

If you’re in this situation, this may be one of the most difficult things you’ll ever face.  Just remember, you are not alone.

Have you ever faced such an ordeal?  How did you handle it?

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Filed under Infants, Mothers

My Toddler Finally Likes her Little Brother. Whew!!!

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By:  Davida Grant

I think Simone has turned a corner.  Finally, she likes and maybe even loves her little brother, Grant.

My story is not unique.  Many moms have shared that their toddler had issues adjusting to a new baby in the house.  I really hoped and prayed this would not happen to my family.  Adjusting to two kids would be difficult enough for me and the hubby.  Throw an “unwilling to adjust” 3-year old in the mix and it would be a looooooooong summer.  Sigh…. You already know the deal.  Simone Isabella wasn’t having it!

I am a planner and always want every “i” dotted and “t” crossed ahead of time.  So, I endeavored to figure out a way to get Simone on board with our new bundle of joy before she ever laid eyes on him.  With tons of advice from other moms, I started talking to Simone about the baby months before his arrival.  I showed her pictures of a baby and pointed to my stomach.  I talked to the baby while she was present and encouraged her to do the same.  When she played with her baby dolls, I’d emphasize that she’d soon have a baby brother and he’d be similar to her doll.  Simone seemed to be all in.  She’d listen attentively.  She’d rub my stomach.  She’d even point to my stomach and say, “baby, Mommy?”, to which I’d gleefully respond with a yes.  What more could I ask for?  We were on track, right?????  But no matter what I did, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there were rough times ahead.  Simone love Love LOVES being the center of attention.  Yes she can be loving and nurturing, but baby girl has a jealous and mean side to her that can send chills up my spine.  With a new baby, I’d have to share my attention.  Deep down I knew that Simone wasn’t having any part of that.  But I kept my fingers crossed and hoped for the best.

When Simone first laid eyes on Grant, she was all smiles.  “The baby, mommy?” she asked, staring lovingly at Grant.  I was delighted.   Simone seemed happy and ready to assume her role as Big Sister.  Oh how quickly things changed. Literally the next day, I noticed a significant cooling in Simone’s attitude towards Grant.  That morning, she gave him a once over and practically ignored him.  In fact, she only acknowledged him when he cried for an extended period of time.  In those instances, she’d look at me and say, “baby crying, mommy”, which was immediately followed by a look that said, “get him PLEASE!!!!!”  I tried to pique her interest in Grant, but nothing worked.  She wasn’t “mean” to him, but she basically didn’t want anything to do with him.  And every time I directed my attention to Grant, Simone tried to divert my attention back to her.  Simone was NOT willing to share.

I had to come up with something and fast. While I do wear the super mommy cape, there is still only one of me.  There’s no way I could give Simone all the attention she craved.  The hubby and I became a tag team.  If I had to tend to Grant,  he’d focus on Simone and vice versa. But when he wasn’t there, it was really R O U G H.  I wish “ignoring Grant” was all she did.  Simone quickly added to her antics.  She  wanted me to pick her up every time I picked up the baby.  She’d ask for something to drink every time I gave Grant a bottle.  She wanted to change her clothes every time I changed Grant.  But the coup de grace?  My toilet-trained daughter started having “number 2s” again in her panties and sometimes on the floor!  We had hit rock bottom.  My irritation and frustration knew no bounds.  Her regression was not cute on ANY level.  Arrgh!!!!!!  But no matter how much I wanted to kick and scream, I was the adult and I had to figure this out.  Trust me, it was a tall order!!!!

I tried every thing.  We’d have talks about her and Grant.  I made a concerted effort to make her feel included in the day-to-day activities with Grant.  I devised Simone-specific activities to distract her when I needed to tend to Grant.  I even set aside Simone-only time just to make sure she still felt special.  Nothing worked.  For the first three months, I didn’t see one iota of a difference.  And then one day, it happened.  I wish I could point to the trigger, but I can’t.  Simone just up and decided that she wanted to get involved.  Grant was crying and as I started to reach for his pacifier, Simone grabbed it and took it over to him.  She gently put it in his mouth, turned, gave me the biggest smile and said, “I did it, mommy.”  I almost fell over from the shock.  This is the Simone I’d been waiting months for.  Had she really arrived????

It’s been a slow journey.  Simone still has her moments but she has embraced having a little brother.  She’s always hugging him and kissing him and talking to him.  It’s adorable.  She wants to help me change him, feed him and sing him to sleep.  Now, I absolutely have to praise her efforts and I still have to give her lots of Simone-only attention, but I think she’s turned a corner.  Thank God!!!!

What about you?  How did your little one adjust to having a new sibling?

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Filed under Mothers, Parenting Trends, Toddlers