Now that LTD darts off any chance he gets things can get pretty stressful when we are in a very crowded environment like a museum or street festival. Even though it is scary to think about the what ifs and crazy things happening we do want to be prepared. When I was a kid my mom used to make me write my name and number on a piece of paper and stick it in my pocket (I still think she should have gotten me business cards), but these days you can use the Safety Tat. The Safety Tat is a temporary ID tattoo that you get custom made to your child. They have a ton of designs and specialized purposes plus blank ones so you can write different info each time. Now if I could only get the boy to stop playing with it we will be all set on our trips to the summer carnival (I usually give him another cartoon temp tattoo to focus on).
The only I have found that dealing with a toddler is remotely manageable is through routine bordering on ritual. The routine allows a framework for LTD to get dressed, eat and brush his teeth. While Chaos Theory may be an exciting field of study, when dealing with a two and half year old one must be a slave to habit. I bring this up because the routine keeps him from having a meltdown it is running me ragged. I speak of course of our all too frequent trips to the gas station. When we fill up the family roadster the fuel cap is on LTD’s side of the car. So I’m standing there and his gaze is always locked on me with his eyes demanding satisfaction. I did a trick over a year ago and now I’m stuck doing it every time and me knees are hurting. I’m speaking of course about the elevator trick in which I stand by the little guy’s window and lower myself as if by magic like I’m riding in an elevator. What’s the big deal you ask? The big deal part comes in when this wonderful sounding phrase is uttered, ‘Daddy will do it again.’ I know I’m out of shape, but the elevator trick would take a toll on even the strongest of men. However, to see such joy on a child’s face makes it impossible to stop. So we shall see how long the two of us will do this dance or we will get an electric car.
Okay, this one falls under the pet peeves department and in the scheme of things doesn’t have the gravitas of any one of the millions of real problems in the world, but if you are in hurry or carrying a increasingly heavier and heavier kid it can be a huge pain in the butt. I am of course talking about people who park to close to the passenger side door so I can’t open it enough to get the little guy into his car seat. Heaven help us if he is experiencing one of those, ‘I don’t want to make this easy and probably won’t get in the car seat’ moods. Most of the time I keep my hand on the outside of the door to make sure it doesn’t ding the other car, but I will confess that on occasion if the other car has parked poorly I am less careful than I should be. Sadly, close parkers have ruined my day enough times that I actually take the time to choose strategic spaces, with my favorite being the ones next to the cement island ensuring that no one car park next to me. So if you are out there and you don’t want a small white dent on your car look inside the car next to you and if it has a car seat give ‘em some space.
A while ago I featured the iphone in a media review and talked mostly about how it has made my life easier. Well since that review LTD has only broken it once and only been iphone banned for life once. However, he indirectly benefits from one of the iphone’s greatest apps. I give you Pandora Internet Radio. While Pandora has basically an infinitely selection of musical tastes the channel that I use almost exclusively is Lullabye Radio. The station plays contemporary lullabies for today’s hip parent, in other words it is Raffi free. Pandora does play ads but I must say they are infrequent and a small price to pay to not have to pay a price.
I first discovered Pandora while on vacation with the little guy who thought the purpose of the vacation was to see if he could go 36 hours without sleeping. I searched Pandora and found the Lullaby channel and was soon enjoying some sweet mellow tunes. At the end of the day I’m not sure just how much the lullabies helped LTD sleep but I will say this, once those tunes started I was out like a light.
In the lesson learned category we can now add giving LTD raisins while he is in the car seat. Before the ban was instituted he would take the box and in theory eat them one by one. However, in reality he would dump most of them out in such a manner that most of the raisins ended up between his legs. Thus crotch raisins were quickly born and just as quickly banned. There is something not great about watching your only child dig around for raisins south of the border and then eat them.
In closing I will say that the only thing grosser than LTD eating crotch raisins is being offered them to eat as well. Thankfully, since I am driving he can’t put them in my mouth as he does most other foods as one of his new favorite activities is putting his food in my ‘mowth’ as he calls it.
As long time Beyond the Car Seat readers know by heart the best products are the ones that not only are easy to use but also do what they promise. In that regard I present perhaps the simplest of all baby products, the tag*a*long. This bpa free plastic handle allows kids to walk next to a stroller with ease. While LTD doesn’t have a sibling that has stolen his stroller, the tag*a*long sees action now that we begin our walks with the little guy in the stroller only to have him scream to get out. The nice thing about the tag*a*long is that it is most definitely not a leash, which demeans both parent and child. One last word about how easy it is to use, you don’t need to do anything to attached to the stroller, it simply slides on to itself.
The harsh winter has forced us to stay in more than we would like and so the family goes stir crazy from time to time. In order to counter act LTD’s cabin fever screams, we now head to various toddler friendly indoor places, of which the options are limited. However, since we are going to a lot more places with the little guy the odds of his stuff being everywhere are higher than they have ever been. So it is nice to have his name on his belongings using KiDECALS. The big feature of KiDECALS is that they aren’t stickers instead you can peel them off when needed. They make all sorts of designs and different purpose decals including an option for custom work. One of the most useful products is their Allergy Alert decals as many kids are allergic to peanuts these days. Perhaps the only problem is if you let your child pick their own decal as the number of choices is so large that they may have a difficult time choosing just one.
So after we hit the one year mark, The Mommy and I decided to keep LTD’s car seat rear facing. While the recommendation says after one year you can flip it to forward facing and our doctor signed off on it, we kept it rear facing after The Mommy did some research and saw some scary info regarding crashes. The good news was that the little guy didn’t even know it was possible to flip his car seat around to face front. So we let it ride so to speak. However, in December, right before our trip to visit the Grandparents, we pretty much had no choice but to finally turn the seat around about four months shy of our two-year goal. LTD’s legs were starting to curl up against the back seat and it was getting harder and harder to actually put him the seat. After a brief discussion about how our baby is growing up wicked fast we switch the car seat around to face front.
LTD’s first reaction to his new found view was one of confusion. He literally had no idea what was going on. The look on his face was priceless, but a little sad as there was no clear way of explaining to him that everything would be all right. Thankfully, once he got used to seeing the world from our point of view, he settled in and took in the sites of the road. The downside of the flip was that he could no longer use the backseat to rest his books and toys on and he no longer reads books in the car as so much as throws them. The front facing car seat is a lot easier to get him into and since we bought baby seat covers he hasn’t done too much damage with his kicking (it helps that he removes his shoes and socks mere seconds after the buckle clicks.) I’m happy we waited as long as we did to keep him safe, but I’m pleased I can see his face in the rearview mirror too.
The Mommy and I try to encourage LTD to drink water liberally throughout the day. The best delivery system we have found so far is from an unusual place. The Playtex Insulator cup with straw has been battle tested and has beaten all rivals. You see the little guy has an annoying habit of dropping his bottle from the highchair when he is done drinking from it. He truly pushes the concept of spill and leak proof to the limits. Because the Insulator can take a licking a keep on ticking we have a ton in the house and for the road. While they come with many design options, we use the ones with cars on them for water and dinosaurs for milk. Like most things these days they are BPA-free and dishwasher safe. In terms of getting the best bang for our buck the Insulator has come through for us as a true bargain. In fact I think the reason we have so many is that they are really inexpensive, sold almost everywhere and really easy to clean.
We survived LTD’s second Thanksgiving. He was basically fine during the car ride and The Mommy didn’t even need to sit in the back with him. However, we did experience some turbulence during our visit. It seems the little guy decided to fully embrace vacation mode. He was so off his regular routine it wasn’t even funny. On Black Friday he only took one twenty-minute nap all day in order to take advantage of all the bargains. And we could have gone to some of those scary door buster 4am sales with the sleep problems he had during the trip. Thankfully by Saturday night he feel back into a almost normal routine and we were all able to sleep. But no you say that all sounds bad, well it wasn’t for LTD.
The little guy was like an escape animal from the zoo. Both Nana and Zadie’s homes as well as our friend Diane’s, were we had Thanksgiving dinner, were not baby proofed (nor should they have been). However, we have gotten very used to our fortress like gate system at home and LTD was very aware that he was on the loose. I have never seen some one run around in circles so much. He turned on and off the TV’s so many times I thought he was applying for a job at a power button factory. From the phones to the remote controls he could not be stopped. The Mommy and I said, no don’t touch that so many times it truly lost all meaning. On the plus side we kept busy and did a lot of fun things since staying inside was not an option. Now that he is back in captivity he has returned to his routine without complaint filled with the knowledge that he made the most of his prison furlough.