M. Giant's
Velcrometer
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks


Sunday, July 31, 2005  

Hey, you got a minute? Trash has a few questions. Please don't take this lightly. As a librarian, it's her calling to help people find stuff out. So for her to ask for help is roughly tantamount to me asking someone to help write a blog entry.

This doesn't count; she volunteered.

Over to you, Trash.


Hi all –

I don’t know how many of M. Giant’s readers are parents, or health care professionals, or people with young siblings/friends/wards of the state/cats, but I have a few questions I was hoping you might be able to answer. I swear I have looked for the answers for most of them, but I either a) find conflicting answers or b) find no answer at all. I could always send these to Sars, but somehow I think she might object to answering a dozen odd (in both senses of the word) questions from one person. Thus, my polling of the Internet, in hopes of getting better advice. And let’s be honest – who doesn’t love giving advice?

So, if you wouldn’t mind, feel free to comment on/answer any of the following queries. No answer is too stupid – remember, I have to ask all of them in the first place. And if you have any books you would like to recommend, I would love to hear about them. I am a librarian, after all.

M. Tiny

1) At what point can M. Tiny once again use a blanket at night? I understand that to prevent SIDS, we now have them sleep on their backs and avoid any blankets that might cause him to breath his own Carbon Monoxide, but he is BIG, people. I mean, he weighed 22 ½ lbs at his 9 month check up last week, and the sleep sacks I currently use at night are getting a little short and a little snug. I can’t seem to find any bigger ones than he already owns, so what do I do? Conversely, does anyone have any leads on larger footie pj’s or sleep sacks for 1 year olds?

2) How many bumps to his head can he sustain before I bring him to the doctor? I have thus far managed to maintain my rep as a non-hovering mother, but the boy has a head the size of a football, and it always seems to be the first thing to hit. He hasn’t broken skin as of yet (knock wood) but he has bumped it on the floor, his Intellitainer, the bookshelves, the CAT, and me, and many of these hits have resulted in a red spot, sometimes a bit raised/swollen. Tonight alone I think he hit his head 4 times, and since he seems to think he can walk it is only going to get worse. So what do I need to worry about?

3) Speaking of walking... How do I make him slow down already? Yes, I know, how wonderful – he is starting to walk at only 9 months, and considering that he was a preemie and so very small, it’s almost a miracle. OK, great, but I haven’t finished baby-proofing my house yet, and he simply needs to WAIT another month, at least. But he hates to crawl (although at least he does it now) and he wants to walk everywhere, all of the time. So how do I get him to slow the hell down? Or, should you decide that I don’t have a choice in the matter, do you have any tips on quick and easy baby-proofing?

4) I understand that teething is horrible, and painful, and bad bad bad, but at what point does he stop waking up at 5:30 and insist that his mother hold him for ½ hour until he falls back asleep. 5:30, you will note, is just early enough to be a major pain for those of us who would like to sleep in until 7, and just late enough so that one is not able to get solidly back to sleep. So I have 2 questions on this one: do you have any tips to make this stop happening, or do you have any idea when it will stop?

5) What regular foods are good to introduce at this point? I mean, he eats jars of baby foods just fine (except for carrots, but that’s because he is allergic) but I mean real food. He has 3 teeth (or at least 3 nubs) so he eats cheese, noodles (well, sort of), graham crackers, those baby puffs things, scrambled eggs, yogurt (which he loves), applesauce, and ripped up deli meat (that’s fun for a vegetarian like myself) but that’s it, and I don’t know what to introduce next. The books, by the way, suck at this subject.

6) At what age/point is it OK if he doesn’t burp during/after a bottle? M. Tiny is a reluctant burper before bed, so we end up spending 4-5 minutes trying to get him to burp. I understand that a lack of burping can cause him to spit up, but is there a point where we can say screw it? Say, after 5 minutes of unsuccessful attempts while M. Tiny wakes up more and more, ultimately refusing to both burp AND go to sleep?

7) Do I really have to wait until he is a full year old before his car seat can face the front of the car? I mean, considering that his weight is 22 ½ lbs. If I do need to wait until he is a full year old, does anyone have any ideas on how to affix a mirror facing the front, so we can see him while driving, on a 2000 Saturn wagon? Because we have had many ideas, and none of them have worked.

Cats

1) Why oh WHY must Turtle wake me up EVERY NIGHT at around 4:30 by LICKING ME ON THE LIPS?!?!?! Did I do something to invite this? Did I, in some way, lead her on? Was I dressed too provocatively in my tee shirt and boxer shorts for bed and it caused her to believe that I would enjoy a little cat love in the middle of the night? And what must I do to stop it? Please don’t suggest that we remove her from the room – it’s just not an option. Oh sure, I would happily kick HER fuzzy ass out the door, but Strat has spent most of his life sleeping on M. Giant’s chest, and if M. Giant’s allergies weren’t important enough to boot him, Turtle’s amorous evenings certainly aren’t.

2) Will Phantom’s farts EVER stop smelling like something large and evil crawled into her ass and died? I have never in my life smelled anything like what she delivers to us on a daily basis. Sure, in the summer we can grab the kid and run outside until the storm has passed, but what do we do in the winter? Our vet friend seems to think she will grow out of it, but, for the love of God, WHEN? She’s over a year old – isn’t it time?


That’s it. Thank you all in advance for sharing your vastly superior advice and experience – I completely understand why they say it takes a village to raise a child.

posted by M. Giant 8:41 PM 50 comments

50 Comments:

The only thing I feel reasonably able to answer is #5. Some stuff my boys loved at that age were kidney beans and butter beans(the canned kind, 'cause I'm lazy, and because they tend to be softer than the home soaked ones do); I gave them diced firm tofu to play with and eat; one of my sons turned out to love lima beans, which is a mystery to me; they also really seemed to dig eating cubes of stirfried butternut squash after it'd cooled. Plain baked fish is a great food for that age, and isn't terribly hard on their bellies like some meats can be. I'm vegetarian, too, so we worried quite a bit over proteins. But beans are pretty good for that age, since they're tasty enough and are easy to serve as fingerfood.

By Blogger katiedid, at July 31, 2005 at 9:02 PM  

I don't think I can answer any of the baby questions, since I don't have one, but I did some research, and I think I found a place you can buy larger sleep sacks. Is this what you are talking about?

http://www.cheekymonkey.ca/SleepHuggerLightweight.htm

If so, they say that they have larger ones. But damn, those things are expensive!

By Anonymous Stephen, at July 31, 2005 at 9:19 PM  

Baby Gap has footie pajamas.

I've never noticed our cat to fart. I guess we're just lucky that way.

By Blogger Carrie, at July 31, 2005 at 9:30 PM  

1. if he can pull things off of his face, then he can have a blanket. Just not, you know, a 2 ton king sized quilt. And no matter how nicely you tuck him in? It will get kicked off. As for the footie pjs....gymboree runs small on the feet, damn them.

2. Many. It just diminishes his chances to get into an Ivy league. No seriously. Call the nurse at your doc's office, get a list of Signs of Head Badness To Look For, it will ease your mind to have the checklist of things to watch for when he starts braining himself.

3. You can't slow him down. Babyproof fast. You do not need to do everything at once, is the trick- you need to do the things for the stage he's at and one step after. Get locks on your cabinets, leaving one cabinet and one drawer stocked with M Tiny safe things (Sean has an old cake pan, some tupperware, some ladles, and the fugly kitchen towels my MIL sends religiously), get cord winders on your blinds, babygates up, plug covers on, and sharp edge coverings on the coffeetable corners.

4. Liquor. no. Uh, has your pediatrician taught you the rotate motrin and tylenol trick? That can REALLY get em down for the night, whoo baby.

5. Couscous! So fast, so easy, mix in some sauce, voila. hard bread for the teething. Pasta stars with cheese melted in. Other flavors of applesauce. Oven roasted sweet potato strips.

6. Don't worry about it. He should be past the spewtacular gassy point.

7. Dude, we were countin the days to his birthday and being able to turn that sucker.

By Anonymous chicagowench, at July 31, 2005 at 9:45 PM  

Re: M. Tiny
3) Our pediatrician jokingly recommended fitting our early walker in shoes with stiff soles to curtail his adventures. Seems a little cruel to me. About baby proofing, just get some cabinet locks for the cabinets with dangerous things in them and don't bother with the rest. We have dead foam pads all over the house that have been pulled up by small, enterprising hands.

5) Quesodilla - cooled and broken into small pieces. Whole wheat toast squares, soft fruit in pinchable bits (mango, peach, nectarine, plum, kiwi, banana, cherries, and apricot), sauted vegies (squash is a favorite here), and mac 'n cheese.

7) We found several brands of mirrors that strap to the backseat rest that allow the driver to see the baby in the seat. As with all things baby related, some are more complicated than others.

Good luck!
-Lorinda, mother of Nathaniel age 10 months.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 31, 2005 at 10:04 PM  

Don't know any kind of official age, but my cat didn't stop trying to gas me to death until he was two :(

By Blogger Kat, at July 31, 2005 at 10:24 PM  

For your question about turning the carseat around, check out this site, especially the videos: http://www.cpsafety.com/articles/StayRearFacing.aspx

It convinced me to leave my daughter rear-facing until she reached the rear facing height limit on her convertible carseat (Britax Roundabout) at 18 months. Yes, it's a PITA for you to not be able to see them, but it does seem to be the safer choice.

By Blogger librarianpm, at July 31, 2005 at 10:35 PM  

Cats #1: Not sure, but my Hendree has a similar routine. Between 5:30 and 6:30 every morning she will find something to knock off my desk. I wake up, yell at her, and groan as she comes over, tail held high, chirping in a way that sounds like she's saying, "yay, you're awake! It's time to pet the kitty now!" My solution was to sleep in a room without a desk. I doubt, however, that you can sleep in a room without your lips. Sorry.

By Anonymous Lilith, at August 1, 2005 at 1:24 AM  

http://www.babycenter.com

This website has so much info, both in content and in the boards. They have a Baby Development section called "Ready or Not." But about the boards: no one cares about grammar, and if you are used to TWoP, it can be very bothersome.

As for the cats, we just switched to Natural Choice Complete Care in an attempt to curtail the green farts. It seems to be helping, but we're only a week in. As for the kisses, I have no idea. One of my cats likes to make biscuits (y'all may call it "push paws") on my cheeks at 4:30, and it may be the most annoying thing ever.

By Blogger J, at August 1, 2005 at 5:13 AM  

Cats#1: Try using a short burst of air blown in her face. You may have to do it a few times for her to get the hint, but it seemed to work on my cat when I did this. In her case, she had been trying to wake me so I would feed her earlier than her usual feeding time. She resorted to pawing at my face and pressing her cold, wet nose into my (shut) eye, to get me to wake up. The burst of air (and morning breath) made her sit back and rethink her approach. She found other ways to try and wake me, but at least she left my face alone.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 1, 2005 at 5:30 AM  

My cat kept waking me at about 4 a.m. for me to feed her. The cold nose in the face is not a good way to meet the morning. I eventually got an automatic feeder--you set the timer and the top springs open in time to keep the cat off your face. Now, she goes to eat and comes back to nap with me until my alarm goes off. Of course, if Turtle is just looking for attention, I don't know what to tell you...

By Anonymous Courtney, at August 1, 2005 at 5:40 AM  

1) When he can pull it off he is fine.

2) Our daughter (1 1/2 years old) has the same problem (we've already had to get stitches once). Unless he blacks out or displays other weird behavior, he's fine.

3) Go ahead and decide what "safe" areas you can assign and have certain rooms where he can't get out but there isn't anything that he could hurt himself with or on except by running into it. We have one room where we can put up the gate and let her go nuts. Having some of the cheap foam kids furniture (Target or Walmart) gives them something to climb on that can't possibly hurt them.

4) Alternating Motrin and Tylenol works but honestly Hyland's Teething Tabs really helped our second child to sleep (not the first one). They are basically sugar tabs with some chamomile in them, the kids love them. We used to give the second child a couple and motrin (lasts longer) at bedtime during teething.

5) All fruits except citrus. Our little ones loved strawberries and any kind of melon. Mangoes and peaches were also a big hit (skinned). And grilled cheese sandwiches cut into little triangles and mashed potatoes/hash browns (get the frozen kind so you can get out only a couple at a time-ditto for mini-pancakes) were also a big hit.

6) Try twice and give it up. As soon as they can sit well they are vertical long enough to reduce the spit up. Sleeping is more important than the burping.

7) Because our second was the same size as yours at nine months, we turned her around. I KNOW!! Don't hate us. But she HATED the car and we just couldn't take it. She had an incredibly strong neck from birth and she was fine.

Please email me if you have further questions.

By Anonymous Jenn, at August 1, 2005 at 6:08 AM  

Forgot to add-just found 12 to 24 month sized feetie pjs at Carter's Outlet.

By Anonymous jenn, at August 1, 2005 at 6:09 AM  

Lands End also has wonderful fleece footie pajamas, both one piece and two piece. They wear like iron and dry so quickly after washing that they can be worn every night.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 1, 2005 at 6:34 AM  

4) Let me also endorse the Hyland Teething Tablets; they are teeny tiny and melt instantly. They worked miracles with my first (a large, football-headed one too), not so well with my second. They are available at Whole Foods and Walmart.

The cat issue was solved for us by Purina Indoor Greens formula cat food.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 1, 2005 at 6:38 AM  

He's walking?! Good lord. M. Tiny is a genius.

Re: babyproofing -- a friend of mine really hated those lock things on cabinet doors. They were annoying to mess with, so she used rubber bands (the kind for your hair) sort of figure-eight style around adjacent cabinet knobs to keep the doors closed.

By Blogger Allison, at August 1, 2005 at 6:55 AM  

Babyproofing:
Don't go nuts. Get the obvious things like sticking some plug protectors in, but don't worry about the really obscure ones. It's as if the people that make all these wacky devices think that kids are alone 24/7 with no one watching them. Okay, that may be the case in some families, but not in ours and probably not in yours.

Sleep:
The waking up thing? Can't help you there - both my kids still wake up multiple times per night and they are 5 and 2. I assume that when they are teenagers and thus sleep 'til noon, I will be able to do the same. Only 10 or so more years to go!

Food:
At about 9 months we started introducing pretty much anything. (Except the no-no's like PB or honey, etc.) If it's in a small enough piece, they can try it. It's so much easier to just give them food off your plate then to have to break out that jarred crap all the time.

Burping:
Unless he's a huge spitter-upper, I can't believe you made it this long with the whole burping thing. Don't worry about it any more.

Car Seats:
Yes, yes YES! You must wait to turn him. 1 year is the MINIMUM age at which you can turn them around. The appearance of neck stability is not a factor in this - anybody (adults included) are safer rear facing in an accident, it just comes down to physics. I left my son RF until he reached the max RF weight on his carseat, around 30 pounds. Although there are many days that I threaten the lives of my kids (particularly yesterday after they drew on the floor with crayon), I'd rather it be at my hand and not in a vehicular accident. I already lost one family member that way, and it's not a happy thing.

Cats:
Stop wearing the liver lipstick to bed. Really, it's probably your breath that smells attractive (that's what the vet told my sister when her cat was doing something similar.)

Also, it sounds like a change in cat food is in order for Phantom. Also make sure she isn't getting into any dairy products...that make most cats deathly gassy. Or just hope she saves the day like in the kid's book Walter the Farting Dog.

I'm a mom to a preemie (my first) and a second little boy, and let me tell you, the questions with the second child are a lot easier. Eating cat food? What doesn't kill him makes him stronger. Cracked his noggin on the underside of the table? Here kid, here's an icy thing. They're miraculously resilient little beings.

By Blogger shallahb, at August 1, 2005 at 7:00 AM  

onestepahead.com sells sleep sacks up to 24 months. They also have great baby proofing products that other stores don't have (including adhesive kitchen cabinet locks that don't require putting holes in your cabinet doors!).

Everyone else has suggested really good options for table food. A good rule of thumb is: if you can squish it with your thumb, it's soft enough to give to your baby.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 1, 2005 at 7:03 AM  

RE: Cat farts

We started feeding our kitten, who seemed to use gas as a self-defense mechanism, Nutro cat food. They SAY on the bag that it will improve the odor of his poo, and the farts have diminished too!

By Anonymous animalover, at August 1, 2005 at 7:11 AM  

You guys are so smart - I love the internet. I don't have kids, so no help there, but I might be able to help with the licking thing. Have you tried a spray bottle? Just a small one, next to your bed. I can't imagine it would take more than a couple of nights of water to the face to get her to stop it.

By Anonymous Pam, at August 1, 2005 at 7:12 AM  

1) He can pretty much start using a blanket once he's mobile enough to be able to get out from under the blanket if necessary. It sounds like he's at that point, if he's trying to walk already. Also, Carter's still makes footy pajammas for the bigger babies/toddlers - my 2 year old still wants to wear those because she doesn't like having bare feet at night. Babies R Us and Target sell them.
2) My older child, who never crawled and just went straight to walking, bonked her head so many times, and in the same place each time, that she almost had horns from the bumps. She seems fine. If it was a harder bump than usual, we would just hold her down and put some ice on the bump for a few minutes to try and keep the swelling down. If you do this, be prepared for lots and lots of screaming.
3) No idea. For baby proofing, the quickest stuff to do would be the baby gates on the stairs, the electric plug covers, and the drawer and cabinet...things that I can't recall the names of right now, but you have to press down on them to release them from a latch to be able to open the drawer/cabinet.
4) Teething doesn't really stop until the molars are in. My younger one doesn't really fuss about it, but my older one did, so I used to give her some children's tylenol at night, which would help her sleep through the teething pain.
5) You could try vegetable soup, like minestrone, and smoosh or cut up the vegetables for him. When he gets a few more teeth, you can start giving him pretty much whatever you're eating, just cut it up very small. Just avoid whatever foods the pediatrician tells you to - some of them cause food allergies if the child gets them too soon.
6)If you've ever noticed that he burps on his own now, then you can probably get away with letting him do it with the bedtime bottle too.
7) They are supposed to be 25 pounds and a year old before you turn the car seat around. The weight is really the more important factor, so I would wait until he gets up to that. In the meantime, some of the baby companies (I think Fisher Price has one) make a mirror that you can hook on to the seat belt in the rear seat which will allow you to see the baby. Or try One Step Ahead - they have A LOT of good baby stuff like this.

Cheers!

By Anonymous Kristin, at August 1, 2005 at 7:52 AM  

1) He can pretty much start using a blanket once he's mobile enough to be able to get out from under the blanket if necessary. It sounds like he's at that point, if he's trying to walk already. Also, Carter's still makes footy pajammas for the bigger babies/toddlers - my 2 year old still wants to wear those because she doesn't like having bare feet at night. Babies R Us and Target sell them.
2) My older child, who never crawled and just went straight to walking, bonked her head so many times, and in the same place each time, that she almost had horns from the bumps. She seems fine. If it was a harder bump than usual, we would just hold her down and put some ice on the bump for a few minutes to try and keep the swelling down. If you do this, be prepared for lots and lots of screaming.
3) No idea. For baby proofing, the quickest stuff to do would be the baby gates on the stairs, the electric plug covers, and the drawer and cabinet...things that I can't recall the names of right now, but you have to press down on them to release them from a latch to be able to open the drawer/cabinet.
4) Teething doesn't really stop until the molars are in. My younger one doesn't really fuss about it, but my older one did, so I used to give her some children's tylenol at night, which would help her sleep through the teething pain.
5) You could try vegetable soup, like minestrone, and smoosh or cut up the vegetables for him. When he gets a few more teeth, you can start giving him pretty much whatever you're eating, just cut it up very small. Just avoid whatever foods the pediatrician tells you to - some of them cause food allergies if the child gets them too soon.
6)If you've ever noticed that he burps on his own now, then you can probably get away with letting him do it with the bedtime bottle too.
7) They are supposed to be 25 pounds and a year old before you turn the car seat around. The weight is really the more important factor, so I would wait until he gets up to that. In the meantime, some of the baby companies (I think Fisher Price has one) make a mirror that you can hook on to the seat belt in the rear seat which will allow you to see the baby. Or try One Step Ahead - they have A LOT of good baby stuff like this.

Cheers!

By Anonymous Kristin, at August 1, 2005 at 7:52 AM  

Let me echo onestepahead.com as a good source for safety products of all shapes and sizes. Use it for ideas, too. If you look at the product and get a general idea of how it works, you can most likely duplicate it yourself. I made a really spiffy fireplace guard by folding up quilted fabric from WalMart and attaching it with awesome carpet tape from the hardware store.

As for baby-proofing, get down on your hands and knees and see what looks appealing from M. Tiny's point of view. Does he like bright colors? Does he like things that make noise? Shiny stuff was our biggest issue, so the kitchen was gated off in perpetuity (oven doors are pretty!)

Children's Place has great footy one-piece pajamas through 36 months both in fleecy and cottony for the warmer months. If you have an outlet version nearby, so much the better, but they usually run great 3-for sales at the end of each season.

If he's sitting up/rolling over, don't worry about the burping so much. If you can great, if not he'll work it out on his own.

Gotta go with the law on the car seat thing - it's painful, but worth it in a crash. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say we're not even thinking of turning number two around until after the 1 year party. We got a great mirror that I've been able to use in Saturn sedans and a VUE at Babies R Us; I forget the brand name but it has several attachment mechanisms including sticky tapes, a scary big diaper pin and velcro. It's also a decent size (about 8 x 10) crucial for being able to see from the front seat.

As long as it isn't risky from an allergenic standpoint (i.e. nuts, eggs, shellfish and possibly citrus) any medium-soft food is fine to introduce. Cut into the appropriate size and you're good to go. Some favorites in our house: soy yogurt (milk allergy!), peas (entertaining and nutritious), hash brown shaped potatoes (either from the freezer or refrigerator section), rice and small pastas cooked in broth, banana, canned peaches & pears.

Somebody else already covered the head bumps, but let me add my voice to the "Don't worry" crowd. You'll know an emergency when you see it, because you know M. Tiny's temperament. My eldest is a "walk it off" kind of kid, so when she fell and couldn't stop crying, I knew to get us to the doctor ASAP (it was a fractured wrist). My brother, who spent more time in the ER than his doctor as a child, turned out to be a brilliant computer scientist with only two interesting visible scars.

There's lots of good/bad/indifferent/scary stuff on the 'net about raising kids - apply grains of salt as necessary. I've found babycenter.com to have pretty sound advice if you're looking for backup. If your pediatrician has a nurse line, use it - ours is staffed by a retired pediatric nurse who has 4 kids herself and she's great for reassurance.

By Anonymous Lisa (mom to 2), at August 1, 2005 at 8:30 AM  

You know, I'm not a parent, but these questions seem fairly basic. Maybe you should buy a Parenting for Dummies book or something.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 1, 2005 at 10:17 AM  

Brilliant. I like how someone who isn't a parent feels free to judge your skill level as a parent. They aren't stupid questions, Trash.

As for question #1, if it isn't too cold, he doesn't actually need a blanket. He can sleep in just his sleeper if you can't get a sleep sack that fits him.

Sarah

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 1, 2005 at 10:26 AM  

Food-wise, we found that canned vegetables worked really well since they tend be soft already. Our daughter particularly loved canned asparagus, although she wouldn't put one in her mouth on a bet, a mere 7 years down the road.

Most baby head bonks are not permanently damaging, but if he afterwards becomes sleepy, or his eyes lose focus, or if he starts vomiting, take him straight to the ER. My daughter fell on a hard floor and got a concussion at 2, and those are the signs we were told to watch for.

By Blogger Nee S., at August 1, 2005 at 10:32 AM  

I don't have children yet, but I do have two cats : for the pawing, it actually means he's happy and sees you as his mother - he will mostly do this when you are lying down. Now, my 5 month old kitten does the same thing and it's not because he's hungry, it's just that he wants some love. you can either move him away from your face and pet him a little to get him to stop or simply move him off the bed - he should get the message in a few nights. Try not to spray him when he is simply trying to be affectionate as this will undermine the feelings of security and trust he has for you.
As for the farting, there are cat treats for controlling odour that are very good with that as well. You could also get him a little grass plant (available in any petshop) to chew on - this helps digestion and thus reduces farting. It's also completely natural and will make the cats want to go outside a little less.

By Anonymous Kathrine, at August 1, 2005 at 11:03 AM  

1) At what point can M. Tiny once again use a blanket at night?

What they said, when he can easily pull it off his face. When our toddler outgrew footie pjs, we started dressing him in sweatpants, sweatshirt and socks to go to bed. He has a very light cover he likes to be tucked in with, but he kicks it off about two seconds after he falls asleep.

2) How many bumps to his head can he sustain before I bring him to the doctor?

I have the same question. Last night the toddler (age almost two) surprised us with a really loud thunk, followed by screaming. He pulled himself over the edge of his crib and falled on his head. But his behavior seemed normal. We just disengaged the floor of the crib and dropped the mattress onto the floor, inside the crib. He can't get out now unless he can fly.

3) do you have any tips on quick and easy baby-proofing?

Wow, you've got a prodigious walker! A friend of mine told us, relax about the baby-proofing, just watch him. We put locks on the cabinets, and that's about it.

4) do you have any tips to make this stop happening, or do you have any idea when it will stop?

We've tried to get our toddler to learn to comfort himself and go back to sleep. If he cries, we check on him, give him a hug, tuck him back in, but that's it. No leaving the crib. It sort of works.

5) What regular foods are good to introduce at this point?

Cheerios? Goldfish? Just be prepared - at nine months, my son ate a wonderful variety of foods: fruits and veggies of all kinds, meat, cheese, etc. But now, at 11 months and 3 weeks of age, he has to be seriously - SERIOUSLY - bribed to eat anything but crackers.

6) At what age/point is it OK if he doesn’t burp during/after a bottle?

When we started noticing him burping on his own, we stopped burping him. But it wasn't a concious thing, I just sort of kept forgetting to do it. And there were no consequences. Probably around that time - 8 or 9 months.

7) Do I really have to wait until he is a full year old before his car seat can face the front of the car?

There's a correct answer to that question which will be found in your car seat's instruction manual. Do whatever it says. (Where I work, we do carseat safety training. So I know!) Ours said a year or 20 pounds, but only if the year came first. They sell mirrors that attach to your rearview mirror.

Well, this makes 28 opinions so far! What a great idea.

By Blogger Nancy, at August 1, 2005 at 11:57 AM  

Oh, one more thing, my very best parenting advice that I feel compelled to pass on to:

When your child has a symptom of any kind, do not, under any circumstances, google it.

By Blogger Nancy, at August 1, 2005 at 12:04 PM  

I'd add for cat #1, your cat is probably bored, and your breath is probably the greatest source of information for her when you are asleep. Doing something she finds unpleasant, like kicking her off the bed, covering her in the blanket, or blowing her on the face might help.

Cat #2. Change the food. Nutro or Wellness might help. Charcoal tablets might help as well.

By Anonymous Eden, at August 1, 2005 at 12:29 PM  

Cat Stank:

My cat trailed an odour around her when she was younger akin to rotten garbage. You got a little dizzy.

The only thing that stopped it is a food change. I read recommendations for Nutro, and I had mine on that for awhile, but it still stanked her up. Every cat is different, but Science Diet has an organic formula that my cat loves, and leaves her and her farts very pleasant smelling. It's also VERY healthy.

Talk to your pet store, they'd have some recommendations and may even let you take samples home so you can figure out the right brand for your cat.

The cat also used to do that "Are you in there?" kiss in the morning, blowing air on their face freaks them out, and they'll stop eventually if you keep it up. Much easier than getting a water bottle.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 1, 2005 at 1:19 PM  

My mom used to give me frozen peas in my highchair while she was cooking dinner. She said it numbed my gums so I would stop crying from teething. As I got older (and more teeth), she would progress to things like frozen green beans. I guess it worked so well, I used to chew open the bags of frozen vegetables while they were still in the cart at the grocery store!!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 1, 2005 at 1:49 PM  

Well, most of this stuff has been well covered, so I won't waste time repeating stuff. For food--boiled edamame (soybeans), marinated and/or baked tofu chunks, hard-boiled egg chunks and blueberries are all big hits at our house. As far as books go, my favorite for lots of excellent developmental info is the Dr. Sears "Baby Book". Highly recommended.

By Anonymous Laurel, at August 1, 2005 at 4:49 PM  

recently i found a picture of my younger sister and i in footie pjs on christmas eve--Aged three and eight. I was small for an eight year old, but not THAT small. I think my mother probably got them at a KMart or Target or something: don't lose hope. You can have M. Tiny in footies until he gets out of grade school, if you so desire.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 1, 2005 at 7:20 PM  

Sweet zombie Jesus. 34 comments.

Um, I am unlikely to say anything the other people didn't already, but I'll come back later and add something.

I will say that the answer to at least one of the questions above has got to be "bourbon."

By Blogger Febrifuge, at August 1, 2005 at 7:47 PM  

I used to have a lot of trouble with my cats waking me early in the morning because, in their minds, the earlier I got up, the earlier they were going to get fed. It finally reached crisis stage when Oliver started using my head, specifically my eyes, as a springboard. Two nights of being woken up by a cat gouging at my eyes hard enough to leave a bleeding gash on my eyelid was enough to convince me that either that behaviour had to stop, or he would have to go. I love my cats, but not enough to let them blind me.

I had been feeding them twice a day, once in the morning and once when I got home from work. All I had to do was change their feeding times to after work and just before bedtime, lock them out of my bedroom for a couple of weeks until they got used to the change, and voila! Problem solved. Now they let me sleep as late as I want in the morning because they know they're not getting fed until mid-afternoon at the earliest, and we're all happy.

By Blogger Joanne, at August 1, 2005 at 9:16 PM  

1) After about 7 months you’re mostly out of the woods on SIDS. Still, I’m paranoid, so I’d consider footie pajamas or else just buy some flame-retardant fleece and whip up your own sleep sack. (It’s pretty much a sack with arm and neck holes. You could even skip on the zipper and use Velcro.)

FOOTIE PAJAMAS: Target! They sell them in 2-packs for about $8 or $9 all the way up to 5T. If I can find them in a Texas Target (where it only gets cold for about two hours one day a year), I’m positive they’ll sell them in MN. If not, let us know and we can all ship you some.

2) If he’s not that bothered by it, you shouldn’t be either. As long as he’s not showing signs of concussion or whatever, he’ll likely survive. If you’re nervous, you can call and talk to your pediatrician about it. That’s what s/he’s paid for. J

3) You can’t slow him down, and trying to will only make things worse. Trust me, my kid walked at 8 ½ months, and I feel your pain. Get down on your hands and knees and crawl around your living quarters and see what looks dangerous from that level. Shell out for those soft guards that attach to the edge of your tables and fireplace. Get those blind cords up out of reach. Cover the electrical outlets. Pull the knobs off your stove/oven and get a little strip that latches the fridge door shut. Also, if he’s trying to open outside doors, get some doorknob guards. And a thumblatch for the upper part of the door. The only expensive part of this will be the soft stuff that goes on your tables, etc. Oh, and BABYGATES will save your life. It’s much easier to childproof just a room or two and keep them corralled in there than it is to try to keep track of them all over the entire house.

In addition to Babies R Us and OneStepAhead.com (both good suggestions), our local Lowe's had a pretty good stock of babyproofing items.

6) At his age, he can sit up and move around by himself. I’d give it a perfunctory try and then err on the side of his getting more sleep. If he needs to burp, just getting himself sitting up will usually bring that about. If there’s a problem, he’ll let you know.

7) YES!!! Actually the rule is 20 lbs AND 1 year, and then as long thereafter as you can keep them rear facing. I kept my daughter rear facing ‘til she was 15 months old. It’s just safer for them b/c their little necks don’t have the strength to hold up to the force of a car crash. The only kind of crash that whiplashes them when they’re rear facing is being hit from behind, but those are a very small portion of crashes and the energy of the crash is usually diminished somewhat when your car rolls forward on impact.

Can’t help you with the cats questions. I have dogs.

By Blogger Trooper, at August 2, 2005 at 8:35 AM  

We just switched our baby to table food. (A little old, but she didn't want to chew stuff up until about a month ago) Basically, if I cut it up into little tiny pieces, she'll eat it. She's had chicken, hot dogs, cheese, and pasta, all cut to microscopic size. If you buy the tiny pasta, the work's pre-done for you. Same goes with bags of frozen veggies. You can get peas and diced carrots and mixed vegetables at a fraction of the cost the baby food people would have you pay for their little jars. Chicken and stars soup with saltine crackers crushed in to soak up a little of the broth works extraordinary well, but you still feed them for that one. Still counts as table food, though.

We don't babyproof too much. All the more dangerous and/or mucho expensive stuff that was down low went up, but some of the cheaper nice stuff stayed down. (Admittedly, there is not much of either or this.) Big sister's toys are the biggest temptation this time around, so we're schooling her on keeping her stuff picked up at the same time. I found with my first child that this was a good time to really start teaching "No" and "No touch". They don't always listen, but it's good for them to start hearing it, so they respond to it better later.

Bumps on the head: I found out the hard way, after my 4 year old caused a spill when both of them went down, that immediate crying after a serious head bump is a very good sign. Lethargy, passing out, or vomiting are all very bad things following a head injury. (Baby was crying loudly, and all was normal, after an ER visit.) Normal bumps in the home happen a lot, but don't seem to affect the little ones much. If you think it might be a little harder hit than normal, don't be afraid to call the doctor - they can give you a better assessment on what to look for.

- Patty

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 2, 2005 at 9:34 AM  

I'm not a parent, but I have 15 first cousins and a little brother, and babies and kids whack themselves on things all the time. It's a little unnerving before you get accustomed to the idea that it's pretty hard to actually break a kid, and short of getting M. Tiny an enormous plastic hamster ball to roll around in, you can't do much about it. Ask your pediatrician about signs of concussion at M. Tiny's age if your concerned, but he'll probably be fine.

My farting kitty didn't grow out of the seriously bad smells until about 2. Then it suddenly stopped. We never changed his food, and our other cats never reacted in the same way. Can't really help you, I guess.

Can't say I'm a car seat expert either, but I survived a serious collision that almost killed my mother in a front-facing carseat that was in the front passenger seat of the car when I was 15 months old (only my leg broke, because my legs went through the dash), as well as any number of head smacks against all sorts of things. One of my favorite things when I was M. Tiny's age was to be swung around by my father in a bucket; I also enjoyed what he called "kid flips" which are exactly what they sound like, much to my mother's horror. And yet I still got into an Ivy League school, with all my limbs intact. If the kid's above the weight minimum on the seat, and it's freaking either you or him out to keep him rear facing, you are unlikely to kill him by flipping him around.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 2, 2005 at 9:36 AM  

1) Our son is two now. He has had a favorite blanket since the beginning, it is crochet and very "holey" - so there isn't much risk of suffocation. I agree with the others who said once he can move himself around, and pull the blanket off his face, he's pretty safe. In the winter, we tucked a heavy blanket around the matress at one end of the crib and slid him in at the open end, so the blanket was kept away from his face.

3) You can't slow him down. Gear your babyproofing to your baby. Ours is a climber, babygates are a must. The foam guards on table and bookcase corners were pulled off by little fingers extremely promptly, but the one on the hearth is still there.

5) Thanks for the great ideas!

7)He outgrew the little infant car seat at 3-4 months, and was in the 3-in-1 after that. We live in Ontario, and clearly the regulations differ from place to place, because the criteria we followed were weight/height minimums(can't remember now what they were) and the ability to pull himself to a stand. Since he was a BIG baby, we were just waiting for him to start trying to walk - it was around 10 months or so when we turned the car seat around.

By Anonymous Brona, at August 2, 2005 at 9:57 AM  

The comments about the Maggie Simpson face-plant have been good so far. Kids are "made of rubber," to quote one friend and parent of a young daredevil; another told me that their doc's guideline was "any fall from more than TWICE the kid's height might be of concern."

The handy EMT textbook has almost nothing to say about the inevitable bumps on the noggin. Watch for funny mental status changes, and be aware of a) what he smacked into vs. b) how much of a deal it seems to be.

Also, be aware that you have a big influence on how much drama he gives to a bump. If parents treat every event as a potentially lethal boo-boo, kids will learn to associate bumps with attention, and we all know where that leads. I've seen parents respond with a neutral-sounding "uh-ohhh!" with each bump, and then they watch the kid. That way you have a way to see whether it's an uh-oh that requires checkin' out, or the kind where you just get up, dust off, and keep on going.

The book does say that "...no reliable ways to predict or prevent SIDS are known" (Prehospotal Emergency Care, 7th ed., Mistovitch et al, Brady/ Prentice Hall 2004, p.843). So, at this point, old enough to move something that's bugging him, the Poopsmith can sleep any way he wants.

Your pediatrician can confirm or refute all the above, of course. And if you want to see something REALLY funny at the pediatrician's office, start off the next visit with "so I read this stuff on the Internet..." Hilarity ensues!

Last word: knowing this kid, after a certain point he's not going to be happy in a car unless he's driving. So back-facing or forward-facing, the most important difference is safety. Tell him he's operating the laser gun, or keeping an eye out for people tailing you. Teach him to say "we've got company" and "they're gaining on us!"

By Blogger Febrifuge, at August 2, 2005 at 12:33 PM  

#2: Short of strapping a helmet on M. Tiny, you'll never be able to keep him from hitting his head more often than you'd like, but it's pretty amazing how resilient they are. Those foam tubes for wrapping pipe works well for padding sharp corners. They're not extremely stylish, but they're cheap, easy to find, come in 6 foot lengths that you can cut to any size and come in different colors.

By Blogger lily b, at August 2, 2005 at 12:39 PM  

As an Early Childhood Educator (read: expert) I feel that I should put my 2 cents in:

1) He's absolutely fine to have a blanket. Even a stuffed animal. I'd probably stick with only one though. Just don't fill the crib with stuff or give him a fluffy pillow and you'll be fine. The no blanket rule really only applies to tiny babies, before they can sit up, roll over, and move their arms on purpose.

2) Unless you've got a bump that won't go down after a few -days- or a really dark bruise, it's just a part of life. Put a cold cloth on it when it happens, but other than that, he should be fine. Babies heads are fairly sturdy, especially as they start to reach the walking stage. When they start to pull themselves up on all the furniture, they're going to hit their heads dozens of times a day. If he's still acting normal and it's just a little red or a little bump, don't worry about it.

3) As for walking, once they start, good luck getting them to stop. Walking provides them with all the mobility they ever wanted but could never have. And to be honest, at the beginning, you don't have to worry about too much baby proofing (except for major things like stairs) because although they can walk, they don't neccessarily have the balance to stand or walk and fiddle with something else that's now in reach.

4) Teething will go on for about another year, on and off. Some teeth will really set him off, and others won't. I reccomend a stock of teething rings kept in the freezer at all times for quick distribution and I'd even suggest several different shapes of teething rings. Also there are things like tylenol and even stuff you rub right on their gums that help. It probably won't stop him from waking up but it might help him go back down faster.

5) Breads, crackers, arrowroot cookies, bananas, most fruits, but not berries (because of high allergic reactions, most doctors suggest leaving berries until after they turn one year) Boiled or steamed veggies, even some cooked chicken or meat. I'd even say tofu. By 9 months, you can start introducing most foods, just keep it cut small and well cooked. I've seen 9 month olds who eat absolutely everything. If you're introducing foods one at a time you shouldn't encounter any problems, and if he won't eat it, just try preparing it a slightly different way, or just presenting it at another time.

6) At 9 months, M. Tiny should be fine to burp on his own if he needs to, so I wouldn't worry about trying to get him to burp.

I work in an infant room at a child care centre full time, so I hear a lot of these questions, and if you have any more, feel free to email me directly. (shannon@deskbythewindow.com)

By Blogger Shannon, at August 2, 2005 at 12:58 PM  

1) At what point can M. Tiny once again use a blanket at night?

Once he can roll over you don't have to worry about putting him down on his back. And once he can move out from under a blanket or pull it off his face on his own you don't have to worry about using a blanket. Just don't use anything super cushy (say filled with Down) that can cause pockets to trap his face in.

2) How many bumps to his head can he sustain before I bring him to the doctor?

Only worry if he gashes himself wide enough and deep enough to need stitches, seems off (not focusing, not eating, sleeping a lot all of a sudden) or has a soft spot on his actual SKULL where he's whacked his head. Lissa had bruises all over in her Christmas pictures since she had just recently started to walk. Seriously my infant/child first aid final had a T/F question on it that said "Children are more prone to accidents because they have big heads" It's totally true.

3) Speaking of walking... How do I make him slow down already?

Move things up high, lock cabinets he's not allowed into, don't stress about things you don't mind him gettting to as long as they aren't toxic (we used to let Lissa empty our bookshelves bottom shelves on a regular basis, old text books and crappy paperbacks that we didn't care if she tore anyway) and play redirection redirection redirection with things you want to keep low but don't want him touching. It's a PITA but it'll get better.

4) I understand that teething is horrible, and painful, and bad bad bad, but at what point does he stop waking up at 5:30 and insist that his mother hold him for ½ hour until he falls back asleep.

He might not ever, Lissa's first four were a breeze, the next ones, eye teeth and first year molars were horrendous. Some kids don't show any sign of it mattering some do. Generally I've heard that worst of all are the eye teeth. The start coming in and then seem to take FOREVER cutting. Try all kinds of tricks, cool baths and wet rags, frozen eggos, vibrating teething rings...whatever works.

5) What regular foods are good to introduce at this point?

Tortillas, Rice, Breads, crackers of all sorts, cherrios and other small cruncy small motor skill building cereals, bananas, grapes (cut up properly), Hot dogs/Tofu Dogs (I think gerber graduates makes chicken/turkey sticks which are probably lots healthier than regular old hotdogs), really soft fruit snacks (gerber grads again), fruit and oatmeal bars, just about anything you could squish with your toungue against the roof of your mouth. He may not have molars but he has hard and boney structures not far under those gums.

6) At what age/point is it OK if he doesn’t burp during/after a bottle?

At 9mo. he should be burping when he needs to on his own, his diaphram should work it out when he needs it. If you feel he's having problems you can always do a gas drop like Mylicon to help move everything along. So to speak.

7) Do I really have to wait until he is a full year old before his car seat can face the front of the car?

We didn't...we waited mainly until Lissa was the weight limit. And she seemed to be fine.

Second, there are good baby-view mirror sets out there where you can attach a second mirror to the rearview and one to the seat to peek on the baby.

By Anonymous Nicole, at August 2, 2005 at 2:43 PM  

M. Tiny
Two books you will thank God for: What to Expect the First Year (by Eisenberg, Murkoff, and Hathaway) and The Healthy Baby Meal Planner (by Annabel Karmel)

1) For gigantic footie pajamas, I usually go to Wal-Mart, but those are usually available closer to winter. If it's really that cold in his room, find some two-piece pajamas in his size and some thick socks. You could also wrap a thin blanket around his waist.

2) Bumps on the head: for a comprehensive list of how to deal with baby injuries, see What to Expect the First Year, from which I will now paraphrase. Basically, don't worry unless there is loss of consciousness (and I don't mean drowsiness), convulsions, difficulty being roused, more than one or two episodes of vomiting, an indentation in the skull, inability to move an arm or leg, oozing blood or watery fluid from ears or nose, unequal pupil size, black and blue areas appearing behind ears or around eyes, pain for more than one hour. Basically, if he's still able to run around and be happy, he'll be okay.

3) There is no making him slow down. Your best bet is to babyproof one main room and then use the baby gates. Be sure to remove all tables that have sharp corners, or tuck them into places where he is not likely to fall forward onto them. Wal-Mart has lots of baby proofing products (electric outlet guards, toilet lid locks, fridge locks, cabinet locks). If you can keep him in that one baby-proof area, you'll have more time to slowly baby-proof the rest of the house.

4) My 14-month-old is cutting molars right now, so I feel your pain. A little infant Tylenol or Motrin helps with the pain. I'm trying the baby Orajel tonight, so I'll have to let you know how that works for those pre-dawn pains. From what I can tell, Orajel doesn't work for too long, but it may alleviate the pain just long enough for you to settle him down and get him back to his crib. Once the tooth is broken through, you should have fewer problems until the next tooth decides to come along. Once my baby got her eight front teeth, she went several months without teething until those pesky molars decided to show up. Important: once M. Tiny is no longer teething, he may still wake up at 5:30 and cry for you and want to sleep with you. DON'T LET HIM! At nine months, he's about old enough for you to let him cry himself back to sleep. It may take some time for him to get used to this, but it's important for him not to fall into a bad routine.

5) See book recommended above. Toast is especially good for teething babies.

6) He probably won't be spitting up as much at this age. If you still want to burp him, go right ahead, but any longer than five minutes is, as you see, just going to wake him up more. If you really must burp him, try laying him flat, bending his knees, and pushing his knees slowly but firmly into his belly. That's more of a trick for newborns, but you might get something out of it.

7) Different states have different laws regarding car seat placement. Your pediatrician will know what the law is, and will also be able to tell you if your child is large enough to need a forward facing carseat ahead of schedule. Next time you put him in the car, check to see if his feet are pressing up against the back of the seat. If they are, chances are your doctor will okay the switch to front-facing. And if you need a mirror, again, go to the baby section of Wal-Mart (or Target, or ToysRUs), and there are various mirrors that you can affix. Some of them look like curvy versions of a car rear view mirror, some are more toy-like and give your baby a chance to look at his own face.

By Anonymous Rachelle, at August 2, 2005 at 4:42 PM  

Cats #1: Yeah......... Cats are weird, all you can do really is shove her off hte bed, and keep shoving her off hte bed until she gets the message. My two cause trouble in our bedroom at night but now, when we move, they tear out of the room and hide. It takes some time and won't really cure the problem, but it's an option!!!!

Cats #2: Change the food. Bob (the older of my two, by two weeks) had horrible, paint peeling, stomach churning gas because we were feeding him Whiskas. Once we switched him to the Costco name brand........ Far less gas!!!!:) Again, won't cure the problem but will definitely help:)

Good luck!!!!

By Anonymous Dan, at August 2, 2005 at 5:56 PM  

Re the cat love: I totally know about this, as my cat used to lick my eyelids every time I lay down for a nap, until they were raw. Then she would start on the corners of my mouth. My vet said cats adore salt, and lick the eyes for any around the tear ducts; similarly, if you like salty snacks, there may be traces around your mouth you're not aware of. The answer is clearly: before bed, stop crying and gobbling potato chips.

By Anonymous cinephile, at August 2, 2005 at 10:42 PM  

Cats #1: If you use Chapstick or something like it before you go to bed, stop or switch flavors. If you don't, find a flavor Turtle does not like and use it every night.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 4, 2005 at 6:56 AM  

About the head-bonking... I got out of my crib, and fell a couple of feet to the floor, several nights a week for about a month. My parents started to get disconcerted stares as they walked down the street with me.

Happily, I'm fine now and am an A student. Babies' brains are amazingly tough.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 8, 2005 at 3:59 PM  

You might want to skip feeding him strawberries, too. I think a lot of kids are allergic to them, too (including my nephew which my brother had to find out the hard way).

And I'm all about the Science Diet for my cats. I give them the less active kind which is made out of veggies. They say it cuts their, hmmm, well, output I'll say, down by 25% and I would say they're right about that.

I have a cat that wakes me up every morning around 4am by meowing her head off. I've found a squirt gun by the bed heads it off a bit. But now she's really good at running as soon as she sees me reach for it. So, I gave in and learned how to sleepwalk to their food bin, and give them a handful without fully waking up. I honestly have no idea how often I do it anymore. Heh!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 9, 2005 at 10:48 AM  

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