Bump The Crib Bumpers? 09-18-14

Crib bumpers...decorative touch or death trap?

When I was pregnant with my first baby, my favorite thing about decorating her nursery was finding the perfect crib set. I mean, the overpriced, matching bedding is what the nursery is all about, right? Your tiny person has to come home to a cushy, finished room worthy of your expectant friends pinning to their “Future Nursery” boards on Pinterest.

Daughter's nursery with pink and yellow walls.

I followed the guidelines about no “pillowlike” bumpers to avoid suffocation. Her bumpers were more “quilt-like” and tied tight to the sides. They were on her crib for most of her first year.

Then the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with new guidelines saying, and I’m paraphrasing here, “No bumpers!!! Your infant will die!!!!” I promptly untied those baby killers and stashed them in the closet. She was an older infant at that point. We had already dropped her crib down. What happened next, I didn’t expect.

The thrashing! My God the thrashing! She was a mobile, rolling, crawling baby, even in her sleep. We would hear bangs and bumps, then the occasional cry over the monitor in the middle of the night. We would go get her in the morning and her feet would be wedged between the bars of the crib. I suddenly understood the need for bumpers, even though her crib met the safety guidelines for proper for crib bar spacing. How foolish of me to believe bumpers were just aesthetic.

Okay, so crib bumpers are a suffocation danger and the ties pose a strangulation threat, but if you don’t have bumpers your kid will bang into the side of the crib at night?

So, when I had my second baby I weighed the pros and cons and went ahead and got my son a full crib set with bumpers. Again, they were quilt-like and tied tight to the crib. The ties are not long enough to go around a throat, just a crib bar. The bumpers looked adorable and posed no hazard that I could see. No hazard until the night his face got close to the bumper and I freaked. He was too little to roll over at that point and I didn’t want his face so close to the bumper. SIDS! Ah! I couldn’t sleep. I tiptoed around his crib and took them off that night. I put them back on in the morning. I did the same the next day. Hey, I paid for the second baby’s bumpers. I didn’t get them at a baby shower, so I was going to use them! The on and off got old real fast.

My son's nursery with gray walls and blue sailboats.

By the time he was rolling over and crawling, I figured he was big enough to move his face away from a thin bumper and I left them on all the time. I watched him. He was fine. It wasn’t a problem. Then he started pulling up and we lowered the mattress. Pulling up means he pulled the bumpers down or off or used them as a pillow. I also heard of babies using them to step up on and subsequently flip out of the crib. I took them out. He’s 10-months-old now.

I kid you not, the day I am writing this he starts screaming when I put him down for his nap. I go up there to check it out and his leg is wedged through the bars, up to his thigh. He couldn’t pull his knee through. Poor little guy. He was all traumatized and weepy when I rescued him.

So, that leaves me to wonder if I should put the bumpers back on. Do I need to buy the mesh bumpers? (Please say “no.” I’m not a fan.) What’s your take on this?

  • Did you use crib bumpers at all? What type?
  • How long did you leave them on?
  • Did your child ever get hurt from having bumpers on his/her crib? Did they get hurt NOT having bumpers on their crib?

Preschool Teachers Rule The World- 09-10-14

How Preschool Teacher Rule The World

Greyson said good-bye one morning last week as I was wrangling Charlotte into school clothes and scooping baby cereal mixed with applesauce into Henry. A minute later he popped his head back in the door, “My car won’t start. I need your keys to jump it.” He took them off the kitchen desk while I continued to wrangle and scoop.

It was the first week back at school so naturally things had to be more frustrating. Greyson had no cell phone since he put it in the pool bag and it got wet during the summer’s last fling at the neighborhood pool . It was at the phone repair shop, so there was no way to contact him when he wasn’t at work.

Now that school has started we live and die by the clock. We have to be out the door at 8:45 am to be at preschool on time. You can guess what happened at 8:40 when I was loading the car. I searched the kitchen desk drawer where keys, old lip balms and broken ball point pens in our house go to die. The car keys were not there.

I went back out to the car that was already packed with my purse, diaper bag, breast pump bag and Charlotte’s lunch box. The keys were not there either. It was 8:49. I started to panic. “Charlotte! Do you remember where Daddy put the keys?” She replied, “No, Mama. Can I wear my ‘Frozen’ bracelet to school?” “You may not go to school today if I can’t find the keys.” That’s when she asked a bunch of questions I tuned out before whining about not being able to wear the bracelet to the school I couldn’t get her to anyway.

There was no way to call him. I cursed the day I let moisture into the bag that tainted his phone. I knew he had driven off with the keys! Blerg! We were going to be late to preschool. I texted my preschool mom friends to vent. It’s the 21st century so started wracking my brain for other ways to communicate. That’s when I turned to Facebook. I ran to the laptop and friended Greyson’s coworker, begging her to have him call me when he got into the office.

At 8:52 I heard him pull up. I literally ran out to the driveway to grab the keys from him as he said something. I feel like it was an apology, but I was in the zone. I shouted for Charlotte. He helped her in the car. He asked, “Charlotte, was Mama mad at Daddy?” She grinned and said, “Yep!”

He looked at me through the car window slightly puzzled and said, “Why are you so concerned with getting there on time?” My eyes grew large, I took an exasperated breath from the drivers seat and replied, “Because those preschool teachers have us by the balls, THE BALLS!!”

They do. They rule our week. I have to drop her off at the right time and pick her up exactly on time or face the dreaded walk of shame to the director’s office to retrieve my child. I already got a talking-to from the director once. I have problems disappointing authority figures. I can’t do it. Plus, I don’t want to be “that parent” who is always late and appears to neglect their child and disrespect the institution of preschool. I’ve heard some of the  moms talking smack on the playground about other moms who can’t get there on time. I can’t have that. Oh, no. I mean, if you wanna talk smack, come find me. Just don’t make the smack talk at my expense.

The teachers aren’t gonna put up with crap from some thirty-something who’s only been a parent for 3 1/2 years. They’ve been teaching preschool for 25 years and have helped raise a generation of 3 and 4 year-old’s. Who am I to argue with them? Charlotte’s teacher told me that getting to school on time is crucial because that’s when they come in, get settled and form that day’s dynamics, reinforcing relationships. Also, when they arrive they will begin spelling exercises at the start of the day. She said that children who are frequently late are often not ready to move up a class in preschool because of their spelling. Ahhh! That’s the way to terrify a parent. Tell them their slacker ways will hinder development. I pictured my child living on our third floor, eating Doritos and taking improv classes at the community college when she’s 30. Gah! No!

Greyson was like, “We pay for her to go to preschool.” This is true, but I explained that it’s not like it was when we were paying for daycare. At daycare I could take her and pick her up whenever because it was open all day and we paid them as much as our mortgage payment. I felt like a premium customer.

At preschool, it’s less expensive, but they own my ass. Own it.  I do what the preschool teachers say. I wait in their long carpool line. I obediently sign out my child and wait in the designated area for pick-up. I write checks for the Booster Club. I buy only healthy snacks listed on the Snack List when I’m the “Snack Mom.”

They are genuinely sweet and kind people. I mean, they’re preschool teachers! But, for some reason I’m terrified of them, their sweet voices and perpetual upbeat attitudes. I smile at them and accept my child’s folder full of art work with gratitude. I can only hope they don’t see how frazzled and flawed I am as a parent and continue to educate my preschooler because I can’t.

preschool 2


10 Months- September 8, 2014

Henry 10 months

Dear Henry,

I could sit here and lament that you are in double-digit months, but I won’t. Instead I’m going to write about all the awesome, funny things you do and tell you how you make life amazing.

I joke that you are what someone would get if they crossed a tiny bull with a squirmy puppy. You never stop moving. You’re fast and loud. Your excited, piercing screams are a new thing none of us are sure we love. You are not at all gentle. Henry, sometimes you’re aggressive when you grab my hair, or your big sister’s hair and pull. You scratch and claw other babies faces when you play. You don’t mean to. You are just having fun. You are aggressive, but adorably aggressive and do it with a big toothy grin.

Henry in his seersucker suit screaming and giggling at the wedding.

This is an outtake from pictures from the wedding last week. I have a tight grip on you. Trust me, you are screaming and laughing.

I have to have back up when changing your diaper. If no one else is around I sometimes hold you upright and let you “stand” while changing you with one hand. You refuse to lay still on the changing table. I often hand you the TV remote sans batteries that you love so much. That still doesn’t keep you still. The remote is sans batteries because you change channels when chewing and holding it. We gave you your own.

At your nine month checkup we learned all this moving means you have slimmed down big time! You are not the chunky baby you were a few months ago. You are 19 lbs. 5 oz. and just in the 24th percentile for weight and 41st for height. Your head is still large and in charge in the 98th percentile. Baby hats are no longer an option. Only toddler hats. Poor kid, sometimes I have to work to get shirts over that noggin. Some won’t go over at all. You can wear clothes sizes from 6 months to 12 months.

I love our time together feeding you in the highchair everyday. Your smiles and funny faces as you try new foods make it fun. You are liking more finger foods and always up for whatever’s cooking in the kitchen.

You keep us laughing, Henry. You make us an even better family. We love watching the little person you’re becoming.

I love you, my sweet, sweet boy.




Flower Girl Follies

Flower Girl Follies

In recent weeks I’ve asked my 3 1/2 year-old daughter repeatedly, “What does a flower girl do?” She replied, “They throw flowers down the aisle before Aunt Tahlia gets married!” I was impressed that she understood this. Charlotte was extremely excited to be the flower girl in my step-sister’s wedding this past weekend. She knew she would get cake, get to stay up late and wear a pretty dress.

It takes time to recover from a family wedding. The preparations, scheduling, events and emotions are exhausting. I always feel like I need a vacation after a family wedding. Having your young kid in the wedding party? Psh! That’ll wear you out like nothing else.

We strategically timed meals and napping that day. She knew it was the big day. She said, “It’s my special day! I’m the special girl!” I hated to break it to her that her aunt was the special girl, you know, being the bride and all, but if the title of “special girl” got her down the aisle, I wasn’t going to argue.

Ivory and Guava Flower Girl dress by Nola Collection on Etsy. Fresh mini-sunflowers in her hair.

Dress from Nola Collection on Etsy. They were awesome! Great prices and selection. Loved them over the bridal shop dresses for sure!

I WISH I had someone filming her coming down the aisle with my phone. I’m kicking myself for not doing that. We have to wait for the videographer. I’ll have to tell you what happened in my own words.

It was a long walk down some steep steps for two little girls in poofy dresses. Charlotte and Kylee held hands and wandered down a brick pathway to the outdoor awning where the bride and groom were to say “I do.” They clutched their baskets, staring back at the smiling crowd, “Canon in D” coming through the speakers. We told them, “When you get to the bottom of the steps, you can throw the petals down the aisle.”

In hindsight there were two problems with that:

  1. We didn’t practice with petals at the rehersal. They have some fire code or something. The venue was particular about when you could throw petals.
  2. We used the wrong verb. We said “throw” instead of “toss” or “drop.”

The girls got to the bottom the stairs and stopped, though Pachelbel’s tune continued. They looked at each other. They looked down at the yellow rose petals still in their baskets. They looked confused as the adults dressed in matching dresses and tuxedos whispered “Okay! Throw the petals!” while playing a game of flower-dropping charades. They looked at us like we were insane. We were. We had not told these poor children exactly what to do. So as children do, they had their own interpretation.

Remember I said we used the wrong verb? Charlotte threw her petals. She threw them. She tossed them in the air with the the flair only a “special girl” can have. It was with the dramatics of a runway model or in her mind, a fairy princess, that she threw the petals and watched them fall. She threw the heck out of each one. Those flowers didn’t have a prayer. We wiped away tears of laughter as Kylee sprinted to her mom and Charlotte emptied her basket, one enthusiastic fling at a time. They were adorable little show stealers.

We danced into the reception hall to Taylor Swift’s latest pop crossover “Shake It Off.” Charlotte now refers to it as “the wedding song.” As the sun set she asked if she could finally dance. Dinner was over, the cake had been cut. I told her it was okay for her to take the floor.

She did. All. Night. Long. She wouldn’t even come off the dance floor for cake. The song didn’t matter. Earth, Wind & Fire, Garth Brooks, Iggy Azalea. Everyone. She even joined the crowd for her version of “The Wobble” and “The Cupid Shuffle.” She earned the little blisters on her feet. She saw other girls with their shoes off, she joined in.

We got in the car around 11:00pm, the latest she’s ever stayed up in her life. She said sleepily from the back seat, “That was really fun, Mama.”

I will never forget the looks on the bride and groom’s faces as they made their vows. I’ll never forget the fun and love at a great wedding. Most of all, I’ll remember my curly-haired flower girl in her poofy dress dancing until her feet hurt because she could. I watched her hoping one day she would have this much fun at her own wedding, as only “special girls” can.

Mother and daughter, bridesmaid and flower girl, all dressed for the wedding.

This is when my heart burst.


Hot Foot- August 27, 2014

bone foot pic

Guess who gingerly half-walked, half-limped into preschool orientation in flat sandals with no walking cast last night? That’s right! This girl! Just in time to be a bridesmaid in killer 4-inch heels this weekend. Boom. (see above)

I was seriously nervous when my hot doctor walked in with my x-rays. Have I told you about hot doctor? Yeah, I haven’t told my husband either. Whoops. Anyway, hot doctor was all tall, dark and dimpled and said “Your x-rays look great! I think you’re good to go.” I couldn’t believe that great diagnosis came out of that pretty mouth. (Pretty mouth? What is this, “Deliverance?” Come on, Amy.) 

Hot doctor showed me the x-rays and explained the new soft bone that had grown where the fracture is located. He gave me some guidelines for getting back into workouts and doing some rehab exercises. My foot and ankle are stiff and weak, but otherwise okay. Six weeks of immobilization will do that. He said to use pain as my guide as to what I can do. I tried on the heels to see how I walked. Hot doctor told me to wear them down the aisle and to have different shoes for the reception. He said, “You were probably going to do that anyway, weren’t you?” Yes, hot doctor. I was. I’ve never been in a wedding where I didn’t change my shoes. (Except my own, oddly enough.) 

I think what made me the happiest was coming home to my little girl who hugged me so tight and said, “Mama, I’m so glad you’re out of your boot so you can go swimming in the pool with me.” Then I looked up to notice my hot husband had folded laundry and loaded and unloaded the dishwasher. He puts hot doctor to shame.