Damien is about 3.5 months old right now. It seems like he’s been in our lives for a very long time, but it’s not very long at all. My experience as a mother the first time around has been very different this time. Thanks in part to less hectic hormones, better milk supply and more sleep, I’m feeling great! I don’t have postpartum depression this time around and feel like I’m handling things – and even enjoying them. Of course, I usually hit a slump in the late afternoon when I a) need more coffee and b) really just need some down time.
(Aiden / Damien)
When I look back and compare my life at 3.5 months with Aiden and how it is now, it’s like comparing apples to oranges.
- Aiden: waking up every 45mins – 2 hours all night.
- Damien: sleeps 13 hours with 1 dreamfeed before I go to sleep.
- Aiden: going out multiple times a day, napping Aiden in a jiggle motion for his 20-minute catnaps. Went out to lunch, coffee and breastfeeding support groups.
- Damien: Go to Aiden’s playgroups, parks, coffee and sometimes lunch
- Aiden: lots of walks for naps, mostly with the Ergo. Wouldn’t sleep in the Ergo if we were indoors.
- Damien: walking not easy with 2, so he’s jiggled to sleep in the Ergo wherever we are.
- Aiden: would only nap at home if nursed to sleep. Was a huge struggle.
- Damien: prefers to sleep at home in his crib. Sleep is max 43 mins though.
- Aiden: still developing relationships with other moms
- Damien: have fantastic and supportive mom friends, many of whom also have 2nd children by now
- Aiden: constant attention at home, library time, song groups, reading time several times a day
- Damien: often just held while talking with Aiden, no specific groups of his own, his ‘reading’ time is when I read to Aiden
- Aiden: no time to do anything, so bogged down by co-sleeping
- Damien: back to working part time by 3 weeks, blogging here, going on date nights
To back all that up, there’s the obvious difference in our parenting: we know more and are far more confident. Although Damien is not a super laid-back baby, compared to some, he’s far more laid back than Aiden at this age (thanks to sleep!).
Ah, to be a parent to 2!
I am now at the stage in my life where I have to throw/attend/be-the-guest-of-honour-at baby showers. Part of the baby shower tradition is the playing of (usually cheesy) baby-themed games. For those of you in the midst of planning a shower, here is a list I’ve compiled of all the baby shower games I have ever played with instructions and an entertainment-level rating.
The Rating System:
♥ This game is boring, overplayed and/or just plain gross.
♥♥ This game is worth playing though it may be a bit challenging to organize.
♥♥♥ This game is easy to organize and pretty fun to play.
DON’T SAY “BABY” (♥)
This game has many variations popular at various types of showers. In the case of the baby shower, guests are all given a diaper pin or similar object and forbidden from saying certain “taboo” words (e.g. baby, diaper). If someone overhears you saying one of the taboo words, they get to steal your diaper pin and any of the diaper pins you have collected so far. The winner is the person with the most diaper pins at the end of the shower.
This game is overplayed, and most guests don’t seem to enjoy it. I’ve actually had people walk right up to me, say “baby” and willingly hand over their diaper pin because they find it so ridiculous.
BABY POOL (♥♥♥)
Guests contribute a predetermined amount of money to the pot in and guess any number of things about the baby. Popular options include birth date and time, weight, length and gender of the baby (if not already known). The person who is the closest to being right wins the money. Alternatively, if a large amount of money is contributed, a portion of the pot could be given to the new parents to buy essentials or put into an RESP for the baby while the remainder is given to the winner.
Super easy to organize. Even the most unenthusiastic shower guest is usually willing to play.
BABY PHOTO GALLERY(♥♥)
The main drawback of this game is that it requires some serious pre-planning to work well. Essentially, guests submit a baby photo before the party and they are each marked with a number and displayed on a wall. Throughout the party, guests are asked to examine the photos and guess who`s who.
This game is especially fun for co-ed showers and for showers where the majority of the guests know each other well. It is also one of the only games I know of that doubles as decorations.
PIN THE DIAPER/BIB/BOTTLE ON THE BABY (♥)
This is just the baby shower version of pin the tail on the donkey. A cartoon image of a baby is hung on the wall. Guests are blindfolded and must try to attach some baby related item to the correct part of the baby (e.g. place a bottle near the baby’s mouth). The person who gets closest to the correct area wins.
This game isn’t much fun as chances are most of your guests have played some incarnation of it before.
BLINDFOLDED TASTE TEST (♥♥)
There are a couple of variations on this game. In one version, shower guests or the father-to-be are blindfolded and fed some of mom-to-be’s strangest pregnancy cravings. They then have to guess what they are. The person who guesses the most correctly wins a prize. Alternatively, volunteers are blindfolded while the mom-to-be or other guests feed them samples of baby food and they have to guess the flavour.
This game gets mixed reviews, especially if baby food is involved. Usually the people doing the feeding have a good laugh while the blindfolded taste testers are unimpressed with this game. I find it works best at co-ed showers with the women feeding their significant others. This game is not recommended if anyone on the guest list has food allergies.
BELLY MEASUREMENTS (♥♥)
This game is easy to organize. All you need is a measuring tape, a pair of scissors and a spool of string or ribbon. Guests then cut a length of string that they feel is equivalent to the circumference of mom’s belly. The different lengths are then measured against the real thing, and the person who comes closest wins. This game is not recommended if you are hosting the party for a mom-to-be who is self-conscious about the size of her belly.
INVENT A CELEBRITY BABY NAME (♥♥♥)
This game is super easy to organize and usually results in some good laughs. Guests are given pens and scraps of paper on which to create the most outlandish celebrity baby name they can think of. Mom-to-be then reads them aloud and determines the winner based on which name she finds most amusing. It is a good idea to have some samples of some of the bizarre names real celebrities have given to their babies.
FAMOUS BABIES QUIZ (♥♥♥)
Test guests’ baby name trivia knowledge by compiling a list of questions about famous babies and their parents. Can they name all of the Jackson family? Do they know which two celebs are parents to Apple and Moses? Who are the parents of Pebbles and Bam Bam? The quiz can be as short or as long as you like. Several versions are available online or you can make your own. It is recommended that you set a time limit to complete it. Guests can compete for a prize or the game can be a fun icebreaker.
MOM/DAD-TO-BE QUIZ (♥♥)
Before the shower, send out a questionnaire to the grandparents-to-be asking for details about the guest(s) of honour. You stick to a baby-theme and ask questions about first words, favourite toys, etc. Then handout the same set of questions to the guests at the shower and see how many they can get right. It is often interesting to see how many the mom/dad-to-be get right (or wrong). Again, guests can compete for prizes or the game can simply be used as an icebreaker.
ADVICE FOR THE NEW PARENTS (♥)
People love passing on free advice to new parents and this “game” gives them the opportunity to do just that. Guests may write helpful tips and words of encouragement into a keepsake book, on recipe cards or even on little note cards hung like ornaments from a decorative tree. The guest-of-honour may the read them aloud as part of the party or simply take them home to read later.
While this game often produces some useful and some amusing pieces of advice, it is a bit cliche and some party guests may find it boring. Guests without children of their own may feel put on the spot. Reading out all the advice is not recommended if a large number of guests have contributed.
BABY GEAR OLYMPICS (♥♥)
This game is quite fun if the people organizing the shower have children of their own and have some essential baby gear handy. A large room or outdoor space is recommended. Set up various stations as an obstacle course (e.g. setting up a portable crib, collapsing a stroller, changing a diaper, getting a baby in and out of a baby carrier). Divide into teams (boys vs. girls is fun if it’s a co-ed shower) and give each team a doll to take with them to each station. The team whose members each complete all of the tasks first is the winner.
MYSTERY BABY ESSENTIALS (♥♥♥)
Purchase a series of small must-have baby items (e.g. baby nail clippers, diaper cream, booties) and seal them inside brown lunch bags with numbers on the front. Guests pass each bag around and try to guess its contents. They can shake, squeeze and sniff the bags, but can’t look inside. They record their guesses on a piece of paper. After everyone has had a chance to guess, the bags are opened and the person with the most correct guesses is the winner. The mom-to-be gets to keep the contents of the bags, so this game can also double as a baby gift from one of the hosts.
POOPY DIAPERS (♥)
Buy a variety of chocolate bars. Break off a piece of each bar and place the pieces inside different disposable diapers. You may want to use a hair dryer to help you melt the bars to get a more realistic baby poop effect. Guests will then sniff and examine the diapers and try to guess the type of candy bar that was used.
This game is an excellent game to play if you are on a diet because it will seriously impact your ability to each chocolate ever again. If the mom-to-be and most of her family and friends really enjoy toilet humour, then this game may go over well, but in my personal experience, most people find it pretty disgusting.
BABY PORTRAITS (♥♥♥)
Give every guest a pen and a paper plate. They must place the paper plate on top of their head and, without looking, draw a picture of what they think the baby will look like. The honoured guest chooses the winner.
This game is super easy to throw together and usually results in a lot of laughs, so it is a great game to kick things off.
NAME THAT NURSERY RHYME (♥♥♥)
Guests can play this individually by writing their answers on a sheet of paper or they can play in teams as a trivia game. The host reads out a portion of a famous nursery rhyme or children’s song and guests have to either finish the line or give the title. You can also give a short synopsis of a fairy tale or other children’s book and have guests guess which one it is. Many versions of this game are available online, but it is also easy to make your own.
This game is a good alternative to a celebrity baby names trivia game if many generations will be at the same shower. Grandma may not be able to name all of Brangelina’s brood, but she is probably as familiar with Humpty Dumpty as everyone else.
Aiden is a morning napper. Yes, he’s still at 2 naps, but his first nap of the day is, by far, his most important. He also takes it super early… usually 1-2 hours after he wakes up. He’ll nap from 1.5-2 hours, and once for 2.5 hours.
Right now, I can see him stretching his morning awake period to 2-2.5 hours and stretching his nap to 2-2.5 hours… and dropping his last nap altogether. I’ve come close one day to having to skip his last nap. There will come a time when that second nap will be ‘needed’ so late in the day that we’ll simply start pushing him to an early bedtime instead.
Now, I don’t mind this. Being a stay-at-home-mom, I can work around Aiden’s schedule and can let him nap any old time he wants. I don’t have to conform to a daycare schedule for naptimes.
The problem is… the world was not designed for morning nappers. The majority of babies, from what I hear from other moms, have their longest, not shortest, awake period in the morning. As they approach a year, this time will lengthen until their main nap is around 12-2 for the day. And most programs are designed with this in mind.
The majority of groups for babies – toddler & me, StrongStart, learning together through play – all run from 9-12:30. If Aiden keeps up with his shifting schedule, this will be when he has his nap. It’s unfortunate, too, because these are great programs. Even some of the paid drop-ins are only available during the morning hours.
There are a few drop-ins that run from 12 or 1-3:30, so I think we’ll be able to participate in programs hopefully 4 times a week…. once we stop the second nap. For now, we’re shifting to a point where he may nap during both drop-in windows. :(
This morning we met up with our good friend Raul, aka Uncle Raul, for brunch at Little Nest, a family-centric eatery just off Commercial Drive. Oh, we weren’t disappointed. I think Little Nest has become my favourite kid-friendly restaurant!
Little Nest focuses on breakfast and lunch, serving local and organic food on a small menu. All of us had an assortment of egg dishes for breakfast, followed by an indulgence of three baked goods. Even Aiden had some eggs and bread pudding with his fruit for lunch!
The restaurant is very retro-looking with old-fashioned high chairs and a simple decor. There is a play area for kids, though it’s not gated, and perhaps is a little skewed to toddlers. That said, Aiden enjoyed his time there and *loved* the bread pudding!
There are very few restaurants in the Vancouver area that cater so specifically to families. Though you can go to a chain restaurant like White Spot, there are no places to put down your kids for some play time. I know my little one gets antsy sitting on laps or in a high chair for too long, so it’s great to have the opportunity to let him play.
Today Aiden had a playdate with one of his buddies and some other friends. He had an absolutely fantastic time. One of the benefits from playdates, aside from the socializing for moms & tots, is that they can play with new toys. Aiden, for example, spent a huge chunk of time at this Vtech standing toy. He LOVED it. It was the best he’d ever done at standing!
Though usually we are ok with not having the same toys as other kids – so playdates stay fresh! – this is one I definitely want to get. I’m currently trying to seek it out for a shopping trip this weekend!
Also a highlight of the morning for Aiden was being able to feed himself the baby pancakes. So cute.