Letting Butter Talk

Hey blog readers. It's me, Butter. I know you haven't heard from me in so long you probably thought I disappeared. But nope, I'm still here. I've just been really busy lately. And a bit down in the dumps, too.

You're probably wondering why.

It's because in addition to guarding the house from mailmen and other potentially evil intruders, going to work with Conservative Boy every afternoon, and barking at squirrels in the backyard, I now spend hours upon hours each day running away from this little creature Julie and Conservative Boy brought home 10 months ago.

I don't know where he came from or why he's here, but he can leave at any time. Seriously, this kid drives me crazy.

It was bad enough when he was really little. He didn't move or  do anything interesting back then, except it seemed like he cried all the time. He'd cry when we were awake and he'd cry when we were asleep and I never thought I'd hear the end of it.

But then I realized maybe that wasn't so bad. Because now he doesn't cry so much, but he jabbers and yells nonstop. This kid never shuts up.

Plus he doesn't just lay around anymore. He chases me everywhere I go. I can't get a moment's peace when he's around, because he's always trying to steal my bone or grab my tail or pull on my ears. I get up and move and he just follows me.

 He's also always trying to get my water bowl in the bathroom and my food dish in the kitchen, so most of the time I can't even get at these things anymore because Julie puts them up on the counter so they're out of the little monster's way.

And don't get me started on the fact that now he's trying to share space in front of my window. My window, people. This is getting out of hand.

As if things couldn't get any worse, there's also the fact that all the people who used to come over and see me and shower me with attention hardly notice me because they're too busy holding the little monster and kissing him and saying how cute he is. And Julie probably spends one fourth of the time she used to petting me, because she's always making food or chasing the baby around or rocking him or doing a million other things that don't have to do with me.

On the bright side, we do all go for walks together most evenings, and when the little monster is in his stroller he's not so bad. And maybe someday if he learns to pet me rather than just grabbing my hair, I won't mind him quite so much.

Julie keeps telling me that someday soon we'll be lifelong friends. I just don't know if I can believe that. This kid has totally changed my world. That much change in less than a year just can't be good for a dog.


P.S. If this sad tale has anyone wanting to come over and make me feel better, please try to stop by on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday mornings. That's when I am home guarding the house and the little monster is at day care, so he won't get in the way.


Sharing Baby Musts

Sooo ... I've been meaning to do this for months. But then again I've been meaning to do a lot of things for months.

Like actually writing complete sentences in little man's baby book, rather than just making random notes here and there.

And refinishing the front windowsill now that both the baby and the dog like to sit there and survey their neighborhood (and drool). After four years of dog slobber and clawing when the mail man walks by, it's seriously disastrous. Don't worry, I'll show a photo of it soon enough. (Maybe. If I actually get this project done.)

And making homemade ice cream, which I failed to do even once this summer.

And showering.

Just kidding on that last one. Kind of.

Anyway. I didn't even get out of the gate on this post before I got sidetracked. Back to the task at hand.

I've been meaning to post a little list of our basic baby must-haves for months, because we have a lot of lovely friends who are having babies soon and have asked for recommendations. And I'm sure the rest of you have just been anxiously waiting to hear this list too, right?

There's so much to choose from out there in babyland, registering and shopping can be seriously overwhelming. I knew it was for me, and I found blog posts like this helpful.

That being said, I also discovered early on that something that works really well for one baby and family might not work at all for another, because every little one is so different. So just, you know, ignore me if you want.

First, the must-haves we would buy again in a second and can't (or couldn't) live without ...

Car Seat
Probably one of the most overwhelming things to figure out. We went with the Chicco KeyFit 30, which means we've still got about 10 pounds to go before we have to buy a new one. Lugging any car seat around is going to be a pain in the butt, but this one has held up well to lots of spit up and still looks good, is easy to get in and out of the car, etc. We bought an extra base for Conservative Mom's car, although we also discovered that you can hook in the car seat just using a seat belt, which is swell for when you're traveling or in someone else's vehicle with the baby.

Also super overwhelming. I decided pretty early on I didn't want to hassle with the whole "system" you can get to go with the car seat, because I didn't want a big, unwieldy stroller and didn't really think I needed all the bells and whistles. I wanted something lightweight, easy to fold up, yet durable. I ended up deciding on the Chicco Liteway stroller and am incredibly happy with it. It is all the things I mentioned two sentences ago, and has held up really well to almost daily walks on bumpy streets and uneven sidewalks in L-Town. I even did a bit of jogging with it on a smoother sidewalk and it was fine, though it's not really cut out for regular runs. It has the basics—a cupholder, storage underneath the seat (that actually becomes a little backpack if you need it, and is big enough to hold most things I buy at the farmer's market), a rain cover.

However, before our first flight to Georgia, My Mom convinced me that we needed the Chicco KeyFit Caddy Infant Car Seat Carrier. If you plan to do much traveling with your baby, this is worth its price. We've used it on five different flying trips now and it has been awesome for getting through the airport and on the plane and going for walks while at our destination. You can fold it up with one hand when you're going through security or leaving it plane-side, and there's room underneath to stash carry-on bags as you're making your way through the airport.

Bouncy Chair
This doesn't have to be a fancy or expensive one. The one we ended up using repeatedly was this very inexpensive, basic model. But it was a lifesaver, first as a place for our sweet little man to sit and relax so we weren't holding him nonstop. And then we discovered he actually slept better when sitting up, so for quite some time he slept swaddled in his bouncy chair. (No one tells you this is an option if your baby can't handle sleeping laying down, and I am still bitter that I did not know to do this for the first few months of little man's life. But that's another story ...)

Video Baby Monitor
I registered for one with audio but not video, but was very fortunate to get an upgraded one for a shower gift. Having video has been a lifesaver so we don't have to go in and check on the little one repeatedly. I can't actually find our model online, but it's a Summer Infant one with a handheld monitor. We even pack it when traveling now. Worth it.

High Chair
You won't need this right away, of course. But when you do start using it, it will be a big part of everyday life. This is actually one I got wrong. I picked out this super fabulous-looking high chair that I thought would look nice in our dining area. Only it was a pain to put together, wasn't really all that comfortable or functional for the little guy, and when Conservative Hubby tried to adjust the seat he ended up breaking it. Oops.

So now we have a very basic, inexpensive high chair that took about two minutes to put together and will fold up should we need to take it with us somewhere. It's sturdy, has an easy-to-remove plastic tray and a high back, and is very easy to clean. Live and learn. 

The Little Things
I love the aden+anais swaddle wraps. They're big and easy to wrap around a little wiggler. Plus they work well for a light blanket, a burp cloth, or whatever you need them for. Our little man figured out how to bust out of them pretty early on, though, so then we switch to Summer Infant SwaddleMe for a while, which worked well until he developed super human strength and not even the tight velcro wrap stopped him.

 Get bibs. Lots of soft ones; not the ones with plastic backs.

Little burp cloths are worthless if you have a Spit Up King (or Queen). We have two packs of Koala Baby cotton flannel blankets that are our burp rags. Invaluable.

Buy extra crib sheets. You'll need them.

For diapers, we used Pampers Swaddlers at first, as that's what we used in the hospital and they seemed to do the trick. However, since for a number of reasons I decided not to do reusable diapers (another story for another day), I have since switched to the Seventh Generation diapers because they are more environmentally friendly. I love the dipes and the wipes, and if you sign up for Amazon Mom (do it!), they're actually not that much more than other diaper options.

Lots of babies sleep better early on with white noise. But you don't have to buy a special white noise machine or anything. I just put my little Tivoli radio in the nursery and downloaded a few white noise tracks to play on repeat on the iPod each night.

Once I went back to work, the Medela Pump In Style double pump was invaluable. And the little man has done well with the Dr. Brown's bottles (I tried a variety of kinds first, but Dr. Brown's won out). Buy the 8.5-ounce ones if you only want to buy a few. I bought the 4-ouncers, which were great for a while, but then I had to go buy a whole new batch once the little man started eating more than that.

I like Burt's baby care stuff. 

Since winter is right around the corner, I recommend the BundleMe car seat cover. Things like snow suits and coats are cute but a pain in the butt. This cover stays on the car seat all winter and keeps baby protected and warm.

I went for a plain, black, practical diaper bag so Conservative Hubby would carry it too. This Skip Hop one has been great.

Little man will not let his lovie out of sight. I'm not quite sure how he ended up loving his little giraffe so much, but it was a terrific shower gift. We now own three and I'm contemplating buying another because he sucks on them nonstop when he's teething, wants to carry one around while crawling, and will not sleep without one.

There are some things that were super handy even though we didn't use them as long as I expected. Early on, our wonderful baby swing kept little man calm and even helped him take brief naps when he wasn't sleeping much at all.

The Baby Bjorn and a beautiful sling I have were also handy, but saw limited use because wiggle worm does not like being contained. I regret not getting the sling sooner and getting little man used to being carried around in it, as I think it would've made the first few months much easier for both of us. The Baby Bjorn has been great for walks but hasn't gotten much use the last few months because it has been too hot.

I used a Boppy pillow for nursing early on, and it was incredibly helpful.

Finally, little man has this jumperoo, but doesn't use it a ton. I know other babies that play in theirs for hours, but he gets impatient being contained and just wants to crawl around, so now it's mostly gathering dust.

I'm not even going into toys or clothes here because that's a whole other ballgame. Although I will say little man has gotten a lot of use out of his activity gym.

Oh, and it's almost out of season now, but I highly recommend this swim diaper rather than doing disposables. We had zero pool incidents this year.

OK. You're probably sick of reading at this point. And I'm totally exhausted from writing this post. I'm sure I forgot a million things, but there you have the basics (and then some) that have helped us survive the last nine (nine!) months.