playdates & playmates

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every day i wrack my brain on things penny and i can do for the day. lately it’s been too cold in the mornings to go out for a walk; and penny has actually been refusing to go out too. i don’t blame her – we interrupt her morning play by trying to force her in a stroller. (this morning however she asked to go outside which was great since the temperature was in the 50s. gotta take advantage!)

when i come up with different activities such as a trip to the library, mall, or arts & crafts i do my best to spread them out during the week so we have something to do every day to pass the time. not only that but if i know for sure my mil is coming over that day or dennis has the day off, i’ll plan an activity such as going to the museum so i have an extra person to help me with penny. penny’s nap time is spent getting her snacks, drinks, and diaper bag ready so when she wakes up we can just go.

here’s our itinerary for the week of 10/30~11/5:

sunday: playdate with olivia l. (kidcity museum)

monday: halloween! family photos in the morning and trick-or-treating in the evening with grandparents

tuesday: create a fall picture using felt and glitter stickers of pumpkins, leaves, and flowers.

wednesday: paint a pumpkin

thursday: toddler sense class (9:30~10am) & the library in the afternoon

friday: introduce new activity – putting colored bean bags in a homemade sorter

saturday: my friend, katie, is visiting for the day

as you can see, these are fairly simple activities. you don’t have to go all out for a toddler since their attention span is so short anyway. think of things that your little one likes to do and create activities around their interests.

i mentioned in another post that penny really likes to color and play with stickers. what better way to get her artistic side out and have fun than creating collages and pictures? i finally ordered a long-sleeve smock for penny last night. every day she asks to use the paint and i say “no” because of the mess. she doesn’t ask after i say “no” the first time but i feel bad because i know she likes to feel the paint between her fingers. even though i don’t have the smock yet, i set aside a button-down shirt that i rarely wear for penny to use today when we paint a pumpkin. i also have rolls of craft paper that i will spread out on the wood floor to catch most of the paint.

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this was tuesday’s activity. penny placed stickers on card stock and i drew a fall scene afterwards.

penny also really enjoys her toddler sense class. last week she played with jello! there were other things for her to do but she spent the majority of the time squishing jello between her fingers. she didn’t put any in her mouth but, then again, she usually doesn’t put things in her mouth. tomorrow is the last class which i’m really bummed about. there is supposed to be another session starting soon that includes older kids so hopefully that’s an option.

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dot-painting is offered every class and penny really likes it. i’ve been holding off on purchasing them so they can be one of her stocking stuffers 🙂

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this past weekend was daddy’s weekend off, so we kept busy! on friday we met up with our friends mouy, cali, and tristan at the connecticut science center. we are all members and it’s so worth it! this was our family’s 4th time going.

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penny loves cars!

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she also likes sliding down this ramp

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tristan braving the hurricane room

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and the snake =X

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she loves to drive

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penny’s driving and tristan is shifting gears. it’s called teamwork!

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popping balloons

having fun with the 360 camera

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having fun with the 360 camera

 

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dennis and i went to a wedding on saturday (i’ll have to share photos from that day as well as alice and john’s wedding too!) so we were gone all day while mil watched penny.

on sunday, we had a playdate with a friend from our neighborhood, olivia l. (penny has 3 friends named olivia and this one is 21 months.) it was our second time going to kidcity museum and olivia’s first time! olivia’s family enjoyed it so much they purchased a membership!

we actually arrived there an hour before olivia and her family so we had checked most of the rooms out by the time they arrived but they still spent an hour together, and we went back to the medieval room to show them how cool it is.

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some scenes in penny’s life:

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first snow of the season: 0ctober 27, 2016

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trying out the potty

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she likes to give the lamb rocker kisses and climbs on it by herself to rock back and forth

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for the longest time, this truck scared her because of the loud noises it makes when the red button is pushed. she took it out on her own one day and started playing with it. she still hates the button though.

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she loves to eat gim (toasted kelp)

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tummy time 🙂

penny’s been having bad dreams lately and she’ll cry out at night. she was fine last night but a few nights ago she was crying every hour from 2am on. we haven’t had to go in to soothe her because she’ll fall back asleep after crying for a few minutes; but it does make us sad, and tired! i know she isn’t having night terrors because the first time she’ll cry is usually around 2am and night terrors occur a few hours after bedtime (and usually because they’re overtired).

her naps are usually good ~ about 2.5-3 hours but sometimes they’re 1.5 hours on a “bad day.” this is when her second sleep cycle ends so sometimes she’ll wake up especially if there were loud noises outside like a lawn mower. she actually just woke up after napping for 1.5 hours a few minutes ago. this loud truck kept rumbling by and it drove by again right at the end of her sleep cycle so i’m guessing it roused her from her sleep. i know she won’t go back to sleep but i’m going to leave her in there for another half hour so i can close my eyes. it’s only 1:30pm and i’m alone all day so the second half of the day is going to be another long one 😩

the remedy

cold season has arrived. penny had two canceled play dates in the past two weeks due to her friends’ illnesses. i tried in vain to prevent penny from getting sick but you can only do so much. after 9 boogie-filled days, penny seems to have fully recovered.

it all began early monday morning (10/17) when i woke up to penny coughing. i saw that she had a runny nose and dennis suggested that was most likely causing her to cough. penny hardly coughed when she was awake; it was only when she was lying down. thankfully, she didn’t have a fever, was in good spirits for the most part, and still had a decent appetite. initially i was worried she had developed allergies so i cleaned, dusted, and aired out her room. we also washed her mattress cover, sleep sack, lovey, and blanket.

the coughing prevented penny from having a good nap and a well-rested night’s sleep for the next three days. usually 2.5~3 hours, she would wake up after an hour and a half (or less) because of coughing. during the night, she would sit up in bed for a little bit and look around, and try to go back to sleep.

the first thing i tried to help penny be more comfortable was the nose frida. we actually had only ever used this once before – when she was sick around her first birthday. we, and she, were lucky enough that she hadn’t been sick before that. let me tell you, that thing works! at first, she laughed when i used it because it tickled but she quickly grew to hate it. so much so that she would scream, flail, and cry when i tried to use it. i had to sneak up on her while she was playing to try to quickly suction mucus out of her nose. and, of course, her crying caused more mucus to collect in her nose. still, it was very effective at getting the mucus out since babies and young toddlers don’t know how to blow their nose.

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i honestly think she could have recovered sooner had she not been drinking milk. for those of you that have read my previous entries, i’m not a fan of cow milk. at first we gave penny hemp milk but when it proved to be costly i reluctantly gave penny some cow milk. i also purchased a brand of milk called ripple that is plant-based and available only at target (from what i saw). she never had a preference for a certain milk until i tried giving her ripple when she was sick. she noticed that it didn’t taste the same as whole milk and threw her cup in disgust! since she wanted milk, i had no choice but to continue giving her cow milk although i still limit it to 16 oz. a day. dairy causes mucus membranes to swell so it’s best to avoid it if you’re sick, but i can’t communicate all that to my daughter -_-

after the nose frida, i bought a vicks for babies plug-in vaporizer. i had read great reviews about it online on how babies and children slept well without coughing. in addition, i elevated one side of her mattress by rolling up 3 baby blankets underneath the mattress. i saw some improvement but penny’s cough was still affecting her sleep. next, dennis purchased a cool mist humidifier and we turned it on all night along with the plug-in vaporizer (and keeping the mattress elevated).

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that seemed to have helped even more, but it wasn’t until we applied baby chest rub to her feet that we noticed a drastic change! penny ended up sleeping her usual 2.5~3 hours for her nap and had uninterrupted night sleep – no coughing! again, i had read rave reviews but was still skeptical on how well it would work. i don’t know why but applying the chest rub to babies’ feet and putting socks over them truly works. for good measure, i also rubbed a little on her chest for nighttime.

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penny’s nose was still dripping like a faucet during the day and going outside made it worse (we had to take yuri out though). this morning, she woke up without a runny nose and we haven’t had to wipe her nose all day. fingers crossed she’s back to 100%!

next time your little one has a cold, try all of the above remedies but definitely have baby chest rub on hand. we used the walgreens brand but any brand will do, like the vicks for babies. do not use the adult vicks on babies as the scent is too harsh for them. i would also advise against using cold tablets and cough syrup even if they are for babies. there are just too many scary stories out there about babies dying due to an accidental overdose (such as from benedryl). plus, there are limited studies on how effective certain cough syrups like zarbee’s really is. science based magazine states zarbee’s is more or less “effectively diluted honey.” it might even be more beneficial to give your child actual honey (only give honey to babies over 12 months old) to coat the throat instead of using “placebo or no treatment.”

it’s still only october so we have a long winter ahead of us, but i hope that is the last illness penny will have this season. everyone’s miserable when a baby is sick especially the little one since she can’t communicate her discomfort. penny will get her flu shot along with another round of vaccines at her 18-month checkup next month so hopefully those help her to stay healthy this winter.

this reminds me: i need to get my flu shot soon too especially since i’m pregnant. i’m halfway through 15 weeks and for the past few days i’ve been feeling flutters. i felt penny move for the first time at 16 weeks so i can distinguish between gas and a baby’s movements (i would hope).i particularly feel the baby moving more when i’m lying down. (penny, too, was always more active when i was still because she was lulled to sleep when i walked around.)

this is getting more and more real every day! in less than a month we will also find out if we are having a boy or a girl, and then we can actually start planning for the baby’s arrival. we do want to paint the baby’s room and buy items based on the baby’s sex. once my belly actually starts getting bigger and i feel actual kicks, i will actually feel pregnant too. i’ve gained 2.2 pounds so far and i still fit into all of my skinny jeans.. and i hope i can still wear regular clothes for as long as i can!

penny staying busy at her toddler sense class

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we also visit different libraries (3 towns so far) to check out the children’s room.

lately it’s been difficult to coax penny into a stroller: why ride when you can walk, right? it’s not easy to walk the dog if penny isn’t in a stroller when i’m by myself so i have to bribe her with crackers lately… or just place her in the seat while she’s crying.

after a nice stroller ride, i “rewarded” penny by letting her walk around our yard while yuri watched from the foyer.

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some indoor activities penny enjoys are coloring and playing with stickers. she particularly likes putting stickers on my face and laughing. during a recent trip to a toy store in west hartford, i got the idea of buying reusable stickers. they’re a hit! she likes placing them on the different scenic backgrounds that the stickers came with.

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she’s actually quite good with not putting objects in her mouth.. she never really has! if she got curious and would try, one “no” would suffice. penny uses crayons and markers correctly which is why we weren’t too worried about her using markers.

as it gets colder and darker, i’m trying to find more activities to keep penny preoccupied indoors. i’ll have to think of other creative ways for penny to be engaged. i’ll be sure to share those – successful or not – in future posts.