Monthly Archives: January 2012

Picture Post – AM’s weekend

The countdown to AM’s first birthday party has officially started and I am panicking. There is so much to do and I feel completely overwhelmed by it all.

I realize that it is sort of silly to go overboard with a first birthday party especially since the child will not remember it. But for Koreans, it is totally different. This isn’t just a birthday party. This is a very traditional Korean celebration (hence all the panic). My mom rented a Korean banquet hall and it is being catered. I have a photographer… for a child’s birthday party (this was the ONE requirement my mom told me I had to have).

I’ve spent the last month looking up images of over the top Korean 1st birthdays, harassing my only Korean friend (and her friends) and getting major hand cramps from all of the stupid crafts I’ve decided were a good idea to have on hand.

I’m already at 56 adults confirmed for coming (when I told the caterer only 45 people were coming) and 14 children (ranging in age from 9 months to 12 years). Have I mentioned I’m freaking out? I feel like I’m hosting a small wedding reception. I also realized over the weekend that I left a bunch of people off the invites. I was in such a hurry to get it out on FB (and then Evite) that I wasn’t paying close attention to the guest list. I realized this when I received a response from a close family friend but nothing from his sister (who is generally very good about responding). I reached out to her and she never got the invite. And then I went back over the list and realized I left some folks off. So if you’re a friend in real life reading this and you didn’t see an invite, I am SO sorry. It wasn’t intentional.

And holy hell, my mom just told me what she’s paying for this party. Yikes. And now I feel oodles of child guilt and Jeremy is mad that I feel guilty over something that I didn’t agree to (paying for the party).

Anyways.

I paid a visit to Party City on Saturday to pick up some party supplies. I spent a good chunk of time putting things on AM for my own amusement (but only managed to snap a photo of 3 because she her fists of fury wouldn’t keep anything on long enough for me to snap a photo):

Jeremy thought this was inappropriate
This look says, “Are you f’n kidding me, mom?” Jeremy thought it was inappropriate for there to be baby-sized bunny ears (since the first thing everyone thinks is “Playboy Bunny”).

Elton John?
I’m a pinball wizard… no? Just me?

Flamingos
Looks like someone is ready to party!

Now onto other not super interesting stuff but I still love it because it is about my baby.

Annmarie has started hanging out in this space between our sofa and large chair in the living room. We shoved her old play mat thingy back there and at first, she was just crawling back there and messing with the play mat. But now she actually takes toys back with her. Sometimes she even takes a snack.
AM's new spot
Petie knows to follow AM around when she’s got her snack trap… since she leaves a trail of puffs wherever she goes. Plus she gives him some treats every now and then.

Secret Hiding Spot
Why are you still taking photos of me in my secret spot, dad?!

So because we thought it was cute that she had a little hiding spot, when we saw this tent at Ikea on Sunday we thought it was perfect. When we saw it, it was packed full of kids so we thought it could possibly fit in the corner of our living room (if we did a little rearranging) or her bedroom.

But then we put it together and realized it was massive.
New hiding spot

As predicted, she frickin’ loves this thing. She dragged a bunch of things into the tent. She also played a game of peek a boo for awhile (that was melt your heart adorable). But we need to find this a new location. The kitchen just isn’t working.

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Childproofing – Hide, Block and Lock

Quick update – AM’s middle of the night wake-ups have seemed to gone away for the most part. I appreciate the comments and after much searching online, followed the advice of many parents and stopped picking her up out of the crib. Putting her back down (since she’s usually standing and crying) and just rubbing her belly had her falling back asleep within 10 minutes. Hallelujah (although I’d be happier if she just slept through the night).

And now…

Big news, people – AM is walking!

I realize she isn’t the most graceful creature (and while it isn’t entirely obvious, she seems to really dig doing a side step). I know it’ll take more practice for her but what this means is…

… SHE IS WAY MORE FRICKIN’ MOBILE.

Not only is she walking, she enjoys (and I mean throws a tantrum if you try to stop her) crawling up the stairs.

Ooh what's this?

We have a somewhat open stair case (see picture) so this is really scary.
IMG_20120121_100458.jpg

Due to the setup of the stairs, a typical baby gate won’t work. We’re looking around but so far I’ve had to resort to this:
My temporary baby gate
(please excuse the mess – Hurricane Annmarie terrorized the living room and I quickly had to move the pack & play in front of the stairs)

So between the mobility, desire to risk her short little life on unsecure steps… she also loves to get into drawers and cabinets.

I mentioned that we installed the safety latches (similar to these) and they don’t seem to work on all the drawers.

And then I presented the dilemma with the kitchen cart. Well I took your advice and bought some tension rods and sewed some curtains. Apparently hiding things makes them magically childproofed.
kitchen cart curtain

She couldn’t get enough of trying to pull things off of these shelves but now hasn’t bothered to touch the cart.

I also did this with the wine tower. Before she would always pull the bottles out and now she doesn’t even touch it:
Curtain for wine cabinet

(Did you notice that I used the same fabric from the cart and combined it with the kitchen curtains? I did this because I didn’t have enough of the kitchen cart fabric but I like the look – it makes it fancier.)

And here’s a better view of the kitchen curtains. I’m still not sure how I feel about the bunching.
kitchen curtain

So that’s it. That’s how we’ve childproofed so far. I’m looking for a gate that is only 23″ in height (or at least adjustable to be that short). We have gates at the top of the stairs and the top of the basement stairs since a standard gate would fit (actually – the gate to the basement stairs was installed to keep the dogs out).

Feel free to leave a comment about how AM clearly looks like she’ll be a star athlete (that will be awarded college scholarships and multi-million endorement deals) judging by her wobbly steps or how amazing my curtains look and how I should try out for Project Runway: Housewares.

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Bad Baby

Just when you feel like you’ve got the whole parenting thing under control… BAM. Your baby decides to deliver you a big “f you” and throws everything off balance.

Where do I begin? Let’s start with sleep.

AM hasn’t been a good napper at home for as long as I can remember. I haven’t been successful at getting her to nap at home since she has started daycare. Even if I can tell she’s exhausted (rubbing eyes, toddling around like she’s drunk) – if I put her down in her crib, she FLIPS OUT. Her cries are hysterical. I can count on 2 hands how many times I’ve been able to get her to nap in her crib in the last 8 months.

But apparently she naps just fine at daycare.

However, the napping thing has never been that big of an issue for me since she has always (since 6 weeks) been a fantastic night sleeper. I’ve always said how lucky we are to have such a great sleeper. apparently she thought I was getting cocky and wanted to put me in my place…

I think things started Thursday night. After I layed her in her crib, she started to cry as I was walking out the door. This was unusual but I was able to get her to relax by hanging back and just rubbing her belly for a minute.

But then she woke up at 2am. Because this was so unusual, I checked on her (despite the cry not being hysterical) and she was standing in her crib with her arms up (indicating she wants to be picked up). So I picked her up and tried to rock her to sleep. I was successful but as soon as I laid her in her crib… she freaked again. It took an hour to get her back to bed. She woke up again around 5am and I just stayed up with her.

Friday night. Same thing. I layed her down and she cried when I started to leave. I had to hang back and rub her belly for a few minutes until she relaxed and left.

3am crying. We thought that perhaps she’s in pain? We gave her ibuprofen. No change. I fed her. no change. We changed her diaper. No change. I was with her for an HOUR.

Saturday night. Can you guess? SAME F’N THING. We went through the whole routine but it is clear that there is nothing physically wrong with her.

I would rub her back and as she started to nod off to sleep, she would jerk her head up to make sure I was still there. Another HOUR of hanging back in her room.

Last night I declared that we would let her cry it out. Yes yes, I am a terrible person. But her cries are not the hysterical “I’m in pain!” cries. I know those cries. But she kept it up for nearly 30 minutes. I went into her room and rubbed her back. Another 30 minutes.

And on top of this newfound “I hate sleep” attitude, she’s also turned into a BITER. I have THAT child.

Here’s Hannibal Lector eyeballing her friend, sock Monkey…
Week 50 Outtake

And then she chomps down…
Week 50 Jan 22 2012

So now imagine that the sock monkey in an 18 month old boy. And imagine that you think your sweet little baby is just giving him a sloppy kiss on the cheek. And then after you’ve “aaaawwed!” you see the look of pain and terror in the little boy’s eyes and see a chunk of his cheek in between your baby’s teeth.

Yeah, that.

GUys, I don’t know what to do (between the sleeping and the biting of other children).

She doesn’t have a fever. She isn’t showing any signs of teething. Someone suggested a growth spurt but I’m not sure. She does seem to eat more during the day but I’ve been trying to keep up. However, when I feed her at night – she is still upset when I try to put her into her crib.

A part of me thinks it seems like she’s showing signs of separation anxiety but she doesn’t do this anywhere else.

I am baffled. And very very very very very (did I mention very?) tired.

Please offer some words of wisdom.

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My Thoughts on Mommy Wars

I was feeling a little inspired by Meeka’s Mommy’s post about the Mommy Wars.

So just as Meeka’s Mommy did, I’m just going to write where I stand on some of the hot button issues.  Although I’ve vowed to not judge others, I can’t help it if you think I suck as a mom.

SAHM vs. WAHM vs. working mom

I am a full-time working mom.  At one point, towards the end of my maternity leave, I dreamt of being a SAHM.  I also, given the uncertainty of the job market, worry about leaving my job.  I have a great job that offers me a lot of flexibility (but not full-time WAHM).  I worry about walking away from something in case that Jeremy is unable to find a well-paying job as an attorney.

Daycare vs. Nanny:

Daycare. And taking it a step further – it is an in-home daycare versus a daycare center.  I love the idea of a nanny (convenience!) but can’t stomach the costs.  Same goes for a daycare center.  I love the idea of it (since most claim to have some sort of educational curriculum) but the cost of the centers in my area are INSANE.  But I absolutely ADORE the daycare she goes to now.  AM gets plenty of interaction with other babies and toddlers, the provider is SUPER sweet and incredibly reliable, and we can’t beat the cost.

Breast vs. Formula:

Breast.  I really really wanted this to work because… (and I’d love to say it is because of the great bonding experience or nutrition) it is FREE.  Have you seen the cost of formula?  Plus, being a flat-chested gal, I wanted to see if I could do it.  And I could.  Surprisingly well.  I’m still breastfeeding AM now (although we’re doing to just morning and night) and built up such a supply of frozen breastmilk that we’ve got her covered until she turns 1 (next month!).  I’m not sure when I’ll stop the nursings.  I figured I’d let her tell me when she’s over it.

Baby-led weaning vs. purees:

I never heard of baby-led weaning until we were well into the purees.  At that point, it was way too late.  AM eats a mix of fingers foods (pasta, cereal, bananas) and purees (although we try to make them chunkier in texture).  Believe me, she is well-fed.

Make-your-own food vs. store-bought:

We make our own food (although we buy stuff on occasion).  A lot of this had to do with cost.  And it is SO easy.  I can’t stress that enough to people.  We spend less than an hour 1 day a week prepping stuff.  Actually, with the pasta – I make that about every day but that takes 15 minutes.

CIO vs. other methods of sleep training:

Oh man – I’ve seen some crazy comments over this.  Women who let their babies cry it out are accused of child abuse.  Child abuse seems a bit extreme to me because, from what I usually read, most of the moms that let their babies cry it out are usually doing so with older babies (over 6 months of age) and all seem to know the difference between whining and true hysteria.  I let AM cry it out.  I know when she’s truly upset and will address those cries immediately vs. when she just doesn’t want to be in the crib despite having spent the previous hour rubbing her eyes and rolling around as though she is exhausted.

Crib vs. Co-Sleeping vs. Other sleeping arrangements:

AM’s in a crib.  She spent the first 6 weeks of her life sleeping in a travel crib that was pushed very close to our bed.  But once she started sleeping through the night, it made more sense to move her to her own room.  We haven’t had any issues yet (knock on wood).

Disposable vs. Cloth diapers:

Cloth for the most part.  Our decision around this is fueled by trying to be green (although I realize there are environmental impacts around using the washer and dryer but I still feel keeping diapers out of a landfill trump the energy used to run those appliances) and cost.  It is cheaper to cloth diaper.  It is a lot of money upfront but then that’s it.  However, we still use disposables at night.  And I’m sure you’re all, “wait – you just said you wanted to keep diapers out of landfills!”  Yes, that’s true and I feel like we ARE doing that by limiting ourselves to 1 disposable daily vs. 6-8.  (hey man – sometimes we just need to justify things in our own heads to make ourselves feel better.  judge away…)

Baby-wearing vs. other forms of baby-toting:

I have done it all.  There was a brief period where I worried that I was causing AM to have a flat head so I insisted on ONLY taking her out in a Moby wrap but have since gotten over that.  Her head is fine.  Sometimes we use the stroller, sometimes we use the Moby wrap and sometimes I just carry her.  I’m also pretty stoked that she’s able to sit in a shopping cart (although we use one of those shopping cart cover things like this one) mostly because it offers padding and just seems more snug and comfortable for AM).

Childproofing vs. not doing anything:

I read some condescending post on Baby Center awhile ago from a mom who said she didn’t bother childproofing anything because she was ALWAYS with her daughter and watching her.  She made it seem like other parents potentially let their babies roam free while they drink a glass of wine in the bathtub or something.

We’re sort of childproofed.  AM is mobile and can reach for things on tables so we’ve just simply moved those items that could be dangerous out of the way.  We’ve also pushed things further back on tables (although she’s a sneaky one and can sometimes still reach items).  We installed a baby gate at the top of both of our staircases since we let her crawl around but that was about it.

She lets us know when we need to add other things.  She started opening cabinet doors and we just didn’t have the space to move these items to other locations.  So we bought cabinet locks.

And then she started opening cabinet drawers.  I really didn’t want to install cabinet drawer locks because it seemed like a pain in the ass so I rearranged the drawers so that the things she could reach were harmless (the only harm was the mess she made that I had to clean up!).  But after the 100th time of her scattering her sippy cups and various measuring cups all over the kitchen floor, I decided I had enough.  Jeremy installed some drawer locks the other day (that we got for free from his parents’ who had removed them from their cabinets).  As expected, AM was mad that she couldn’t get into the drawer but then something remarkable happened.  She f’n broke them (or something).  They worked for 1/2 a day and after a few tugs from a very determined baby, they stopped working!

Any thoughts on the methods above?  I don’t think there is only ONE correct way to do things.  I really believe that people should do what works for them as long as it doesn’t endanger anyone.

And since this was such a text heavy post, here’s another picture of AM sort of crying that I find absolutely hilarious:
Week 49 Outtake

I’m currently in the trenches of planning AM’s first birthday party.  I’ll blog more about that later but there are some Korean traditions that have to take place and one of them is donning some traditional dress.  My mom bought AM 3.  She went a little overboard.  I’m trying to get AM a little used to wearing the dresses because they’re pretty involved.  Needless to say – she hates them.

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New Kitchen Curtains

Baltimore is all in a tizzy today about the local football team playing in some big game this weekend (The Ravens are in the playoffs? I don’t know – I don’t follow football). But I’d like to take a small break from all this “purple pride” to bring you something even MORE exciting… my kitchen curtains!

I was on a roll with sewing and I’ve since slowed down a bit. This is mostly due to the fact that I’m just tired! But I did manage to finish up the kitchen curtains (a project that was started a couple of weeks ago but just finished the other night).

I snapped these pictures with my phone so the quality isn’t great (and strangely the light makes everything look very yellow:


I sewed this door curtain first (around the beginning of December). I screwed up the measurement of the curtain because… well, I don’t know. I just wasn’t paying close attention and thought I was measuring a specific width but actually had measured it too narrow. Luckily, my measurement was just enough to cover the actual window in the door with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. I wanted this to be wider and wasn’t pleased with it initially but it has since grown on me.


The window curtain took forever to complete. I had sewn the rectangle to cover the actual window but was up in the air about how I wanted the curtain to hang. I finally decided on sewing the 2 strips of fabric to kind of roll (er… bunch) the curtain up for a decorative effect. I’m on the fence about it but Jeremy said he likes it. Actually he didn’t even notice it when he came home so I’m not sure what that says about it.

My next project is sewing a curtain for this kitchen cart:

The open shelving is very appealing for a mobile baby that likes exploring. I try to block some of the cart with this walkabout activity center thing but AM is smart than me and knows how to move it.

I’m hoping putting a curtain will take away the appeal of this shelf but can’t figure out how I would attach the curtain. Jeremy suggested velco but I can see that falling off easily and annoying me. Any ideas?

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On Judging Parents

I made a declaration a couple of weeks ago to Jeremy. I claimed that since having Annmarie, I’ve become a nicer person. And since saying that, I’ve said some really crappy things about total strangers. Whoops.

I’ve also started saying, “I really try not to judge other people’s parenting but…” Ha! I swore I would not be that parent but I’m totally turning into one. I need to cut this out. I don’t like it. That phrase is almost as annoying as, “No offense, but…” As though the first statement somehow excuses whatever cattiness comes out next.

I’m stopping it right now mostly in light of some recent comments/actions that have been made/done to me. I know that not everybody agrees with some of the stuff I do and I am happy not agreeing with some of the stuff other parents do (and I don’t make a big deal out of it). So why the comments? Why do I feel the need to dish? I think it is because I’ve been holed up with the baby for awhile and with Jeremy studying for the bar, I just need to get out more and hang with other parents with babies.

So last week, I was in Best Buy and an old woman (she said she had grandchildren) was in line behind me. She asked how old AM was and then reached over and pulled out AM’s pacifier.  Um… what?  Surprisingly, I didn’t flip out or anything and that was mostly because the woman was Indian and I totally get that whole cultural line crossing as is common with Koreans. The woman commented that pacifiers are bad and told me some story about how her grandson’s teeth are messed up because he sucks his thumb.

I sucked my thumb until I was 6. I actually remember sucking my thumb (so that should tell you that I am well aware of how long I kept at it). And my teeth are fine. I’ve never had braces. I don’t even have an oral fixation. I am FINE. But I know not everyone agrees with pacifiers.

I read some facebook comment recently from a somewhat new mom saying that she “caved” and gave her baby a pacifier. She went on about how she really didn’t want to ever give her baby a pacifier and all I could think was, “when did pacifiers equate to crystal meth?

Seriously.

Then at the dermatologist’s office last week (I finally went to a doc about my jacked up skin. His diagnosis? “It’s irritated.” Wow, no kidding? I’m glad I waited nearly a month to see you for that very specific diagnosis), the derm made a somewhat snide comment.

I had asked why I reacted so badly to a cream I’ve used previously with no issue. He mentioned that breastfeeding probably caused hormonal changes so I reacted differently. He then asked, “How old is your baby?” I replied, “11 months.” He scoffed at me and said, “Well you’ll be stopping that very soon, right?

Last I checked, you were a dermatologist and not a pediatrician.

So – I got checked twice last week. Therefore, I’m going to stop all my “I try not to judge other people’s parenting…” comments.

With that said, Annmarie has spent the last 2 months feeling somewhat sick. She finally seems over it and is happy nearly all the time. It is great!

She’s also started using this cheap-o walker toy that we bought last month. I just wished we had more room for it (beware – she screams RIDICULOUSLY loud at the end):

And just because this made me laugh…
So not into taking a weekly photo

Annmarie is very schedule oriented when it comes to bed time. We had neglected to take her weekly photo until the end of the day on Sunday. I figured we’d squeeze it in after her bath and before she ate. She was NOT having it.  (And this is where other parents might judge me.  I find it funny sometimes when AM cries.  Obviously not if she’s hurt but moments like the one pictured above are funny to me.)

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2011: Baby Year in Review

I’m totally copying Doahleigh’s Year in Review and Traci’s year in review of her baby. Thanks for the blog inspiration, girls!

January:

I was still pregnant. We had maternity pictures done and loved them. I was also starting to FREAK OUT. The baby was coming! I start constructing insane checklists of everything that had to get done or we would be the worst parents in the world.

February:
Annmarie - just a few hours old
Annmarie made her big debut (2 days earlier than expected)!

The birth is now a big blur to me. It went by so quickly. I was lucky in that I didn’t have any complications and was only actually pushing the baby for less than an hour.

The first month is also a big blur but I do remember it feeling SO difficult. It seemed like Annmarie cried SO MUCH during the night and that I was constantly having her jaws of life clamp down on my poor nipples every 2 hours. While I wasn’t overly emotional – I did have one breakdown in the middle of the night and cried that Annmarie must already hate me because I couldn’t seem to calm her down.

We got peed on, pooped on and stumbled our way through this new thing called parenthood.

March:
Week 6 outtakes

This month felt tough only because I felt so alone. Jeremy was back at work and school. I was on maternity leave. Annmarie slept a lot. But after a month, she started showing some personality and even started smiling!

April:
Drooly face

She drooled so much. Everyone was sure she was teething but she didn’t actual but her first tooth for another 2 months.

At this point, I was getting much more comfortable taking Annmarie out alone. We had been going on regular walks around the park with the dogs and I became a regular customer at Target.

May:
Trying to get that pacifier
This picture is hanging at my desk. It cracks me up. Annmarie loves that damn pacifier.

She also started squealing. And anyone that knows Annmarie now knows that she is a LOUD baby:

June:
Awaiting her food

We tried solids for the first time this month. And honestly? I don’t remember much else!

July:
Annmarie & Petie

Annmarie started sitting up on her own and rolling from her back to belly (and back again) this month. And this meant she could roll herself across a room (must faster than one would think).

August:
Annmarie 093

Annmarie’s first trip to the beach! She didn’t give a crap about the water and really really wanted to eat the sand.

September:
I want what dad's eating

Annmarie continued her love of trying to put everything in her mouth.

She was also able to stand for awhile (when propped against something) and seemed to be able to play well independently.

October:
Annmarie 066

She started crawling this month. I thought it was tough to get a handle on her when she could roll everywhere but I had NO idea what was in store for me. And while it felt like it was taking forever for her to crawl, she figured out within a WEEK, how to pull herself up to standing. This meant lots of things being removed from table tops.

November:
Flying Home

First trip on an airplane and we all survived!

Annmarie was incredibly mobile this month and along with crawling and pulling herself up to standing – she was able to cruise along furniture. Nothing was safe in the house anymore.

December:
Annmarie 003

Holy crap – a ball and a box!

I knew it was pointless to go overboard for Christmas since she was only 10 1/2 months old and didn’t have the appropriate attention span. But nobody else got that memo.

Annmarie 045

A scene from our living room after Annmarie spends 10 minutes in there. her other favorites include some of the kitchen drawers where she pulls everything out (we’ve switched out the drawers so non-breakables or sharp objects live in those drawers).

It is hard to believe that AM will almost be a year old. It is also hard to believe what a blur the delivery and first month was like. All I can remember is, “yeah – it was sort of difficult.” I totally understand why people have more babies.

With that said, I think I’ve mentioned before how I had some serious baby fever. Over the summer I broached the topic of wanting another baby ASAP. Jeremy asked politely if we could wait.

And then it reached a certain level of crazy in the Fall. Again, Jeremy asked if we could wait until he took the bar.

(but all I heard from him was, “I contain the sperm that you need.”)

However, now that Annmarie is mobile and gets into EVERYTHING… that crazy desire to have another baby RIGHT THIS MINUTE has gone away. I can’t possibly imagine managing 2 children right now. Plus we’d have to move and the cost of daycare. Don’t get me wrong, I still want another (even if one of the catalysts of that is the current situation I am in with caring for my ailing parents ALONE since I have no siblings… well, no FULL siblings and the half sibling I am in contact with wants no part in the caring).

But I’m taking a breather and enjoying AM as much as I can. Right now we think she’s on the verge of walking and I think the day she says “Mama” and attributes it to me will be the day all of the ice will have melted from my cold heart (well – my heart is just chilly now. A lot of the ice has melted away since having Annmarie).

Btw – this post seems really long to me so I apologize for all the typos and grammatical errors. My next post will be a similar setup but focus on things other than the baby.

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