Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Four Month Check-Up

Yesterday Hannah went to see her pediatrician for her four month check-up.

As Chris remarked, it's hard to believe we last saw the doctor half her lifetime ago at two months. It's also hard to believe how much difference two months can make.

Hannah rolls on to her stomach now, has found her thumb, coos her vowels quite loudly and smiles until the cows come home. She also enjoys blowing bubbles with her drool and I enjoy buzzing my lips back at her. She loves grabbing her toes, and grabbing on to Mommy's (and other people's) hair. She's very alert and quietly soaks in all new surroundings. I'm pretty lucky - she only cries when she wants to be feed or if she's overtired and won't settle to sleep. And speaking of sleep, she usually wakes only once at night to be fed.

Since she's a little older, at this doctors visit she also wailed a lot louder when it came time for the shots. Needles are my least favourite thing in the world (even after being pregnant and having to give a lot of blood, go through many IVs and get some shots). So when she started to cry, my eyes watered a little too. Thank goodness Chris was there to hold her knees, I was so shaky I probably wouldn't have been able to do it.

It's amazing how much she's grown. I'm sure every parent goes through this. Whenever it's her "month" birthday, I try to go through the clothes that no longer fit her (packing them away for safe keeping) and crack the new, bigger ones out of her closest. And since summer has appeared in May in Toronto I had a lot to sort through seasonally as well. She's grown 5 inches in 4 months and has gained 7.5 lbs since birth.

We got the go ahead to start her on solid foods, so here comes yet another, exciting stage that is the journey of raising a child.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hannah's Pick of the Month - Sesame Street Teether Babies

Every month I write about Hannah's favourite toy to give her a say on my blog. This is her pick for May 2012. 

There seems to be a trend with Hannah's favourite toys. Anything I find ugly/creepy she seems to love, and my Mom always seems to purchase her said ugly/creepy toy.

Back in university I was dating a guy who had a lot of tattoos. He pressured me to get one and all I could think of was getting an Elmo. Fret not, I was too chicken to get it and my skin remains Elmo-free.

But I still really love Elmo. A LOT. So when Hannah's new favourite toy became her Elmo Sesame Street Teether Baby I should have been pleased, this is ELMO after all!

But as you can see from the photo to the left, Elmo's main teething spots are his hands. And they are creepily larger than his green-bottomed feet (which of course, crinkle. All toys today seem to crinkle...). I've seen Hannah suck his eye, his nose, and yes bite down on his hand. And it has the handy clip on function so she can stare at Elmo in her stroller. And because Elmo is red, she can stare at him for 20 minutes at a time (which is a long time in her world).

She still loves her Bug (April's Pick), but Elmo is running a close second, and as she starts to teethe I bet he will come out of our diaper bag and replace the bug as first rank.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Baby Sign @ the Toronto Public Library

Hannah has started to blow bubbles with her drool. Sometimes I will blow raspberries at her and she'll respond by doing her thing. It's nice to communicate in other ways versus her crying.

Another way you can communicate with your baby is through sign language. So I was really excited when my library began it's Baby Sign class, which started last week.

The class is led by Library staff member Melissa. Her sibling is deaf so she is fluent in sign language. She was super encouraging and patient as us parents slowly learned the signs.

The class consisted of learning signs for words frequently used by parents and caregivers (such as Mommy, Daddy, baby, milk, bed, more, please, thank you...) and she taught us three songs that we can sing and sign - "The More We Get Together", "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and "I Love You" (yes, the Barney song *shudder*).

Hannah really likes when I sing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" with the hand actions (hey, being a camp counselor for kids 4-6 and being peed on by other people's children has FINALLY become helpful...) so she loves when I sing and sign to her.

Now when she cries for a bottle, I try to remember to sign "milk" so hopefully she will start to recognize that sign is associated with being feed. Just like she knows when we put her bib on the formula train is pulling into the station.

Unfortunately the cute blond boy who caught her eye at Baby Time was nowhere to be seen, but there's always next week!

Baby Sign continues at the Maria A. Schuka library until June 26, 2012. For details, please click here.

Lil' Bean N' Green - Cafe n' Play

Last week Hannah and I visited a friend in Leslieville who suggested we check out the Lil'Bean n' Green (located at 1133 Queen St. East (between Pape St. & Jones Ave.)).

I had the Lil' Bean Salad with boiled egg which was delicious and made with Leslieville cheese. The menu is a bit more pricey compared to Playful Grounds on College Street, but the Lil' Bean's play area is huge, and definitely geared towards toddlers, so when Hannah is a little older I will be taking her back.

This cafe is also geared to parents - there are extra diapers and wipes in the washrooms and ample stroller parking in the front area. They also have all types of activities, but at a charge.

To find out more, please visit

Friday, May 25, 2012

Book Review - Pete The Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes

I love to read. Chris loves to read. And we love to read to Hannah. I kept a lot of my books from childhood and many people have given us the classics as gifts for Hannah.

Since we've started attending the Baby Sign weekly classes (post to come), I've put books on hold that interest me and hopefully Hannah.

Pete the Cat is frequently on the New York Times Children's Picture Books Best Seller list. According to the Toronto Public Library website, there's two Pete the Cat books currently on the list.

So when I saw a black cat wearing red chucks I had to put this book on hold. Booyah is a black cat. Chris owns red chucks. It was destiny!

The story follows Booy-er Pete as he makes his way through a day at school - visiting the library, lunch room, playground and more. The artwork is superb and so colourful, it definitely keeps Hannah's attention.

There's even a song that goes along with the book! Here's the YouTube video:

Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes was written by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean. It retails for approximately $15 on the Chapters Indigo website, or you can loan it from the Toronto Public Library. Just don't expect my copy, I intend on reading it to Hannah as much as I can in the next couple of weeks!

The Battle of the Baby Weight - Accountability

This is not a post about how to lose baby weight, tips for eating right or the right way to exercise to get rid of your muffin top. It's a way to get my OWN butt motivated and moving. You know how in those goal books, they always mention to TELL people your goals and then you feel like you have a responsibility to actually work on them. That's what this post is about. Giving myself accountability.

In high school my metabolism worked really well. After watching the movie "Babe" one too many times, I gave up beef, and obviously pork. Eating only chicken and being on the swim team pretty much allowed me to eat whatever I wanted. I guess in fairness I should mention I had a part-time job as a gymnastics instructor, and that my arms were awesome - lifting the heavier kids to the high bar does that for a person. Full disclosure, I did gain weight between buying my prom dress and prom and I had to live on rice cakes for two weeks to fit into it. But generally, my weight didn't become an issue until after I graduated high school, began drinking in university (and again eating Big Macs and Big Bacon Classics), and then out in the working world just sitting on my butt at a computer all day.

I remember a few years ago I got into hot yoga and I joined a gym. I even started to eat a little healthier. Then, when nothing really happened and I was nearing my 30s, I figured I'd just wait until I got pregnant, had a reason it was OK to carry a little extra meat and then after my bundle of joy arrived I would walk it all off (going on walks is one of the only reasons I ever wanted a dog...again, forced responsibility). Yes folks, I seriously was like, "I'll just get fit and healthy after I have a kid."

Enter my pregnancy with Hannah. I felt jipped. Here I was, pregnant, HAVING to gain weight, and all I could do was graze. I had many little meals and snacks during the day. A lot of pepperoni pizza. A lot of those little white donuts you get from the grocery store. And probably more Taco Bell than any human should consume in a lifetime. But I couldn't have done a buffet justice.

And then Hannah was born. She was 8 lbs, and within two weeks of her birth I had lost about 20 lbs total. And I pretty much have yet to lose weight since then.

I've joined a Mom Booty Camp class, which kicks my butt in the best way possible once a week. But I should work out every day.

What about talking the baby for a walk you say? My first alone walk with Hannah was back in March. I took her to the post office up the street to pick up a package. She slept the entire way there. In the store, the noise woke her up. She was irritable but not crying. Then I hit a bump. She began to wail. And continued to do so all the way home. She wailed so much while we waited for the elevator that other residents of my building decided to wait for the next elevator versus riding 17 floors of crying hell with me.

But now that she's older she's a lot better. Hannah likes going out in the stroller. Or maybe I've just learned to avoid bumps. Perhaps a combination for the two. I've also started to use the swimming pool in our building.

And I'm going to try my hardest to make today the last day I eat half a bag of potato chips for lunch.

And on days when Hannah tires me out, I still need to DO something once Chris gets home, versus watching yet another rerun of America's Got Talent on Citytv.

Accountability. Here I come.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The La-Z-Boy High Chair

Of course, La-Z-Boy doesn't make a baby high chair.

Or do they? No, Google confirms they do not.

But Hannah has the next big thing. Her green, Winnie-the-Pooh high chair from Safety 1st reclines, so infants can sit in the high chair before they can sit up by themselves.

Hannah is in love with her high chair. Chris and I have started to eat our meals at the table with Hannah in her chair so she gets used to "mealtime", and of course, to not exclude her while we dine.

Since she's not using the tray for anything yet, she's taken to putting her feet up on it to relax while her parents stuff their faces.

Chris and I have also started to feed her bottles in the chair. And it's handy to put her in when I need to work on something at the table, she's right by my side.

So, while I can't tell you whether or not it's actually good for EATING (hmm, future post?), it's pretty much great for everything else. It's on wheels, so if the set-up of our dining room/living room was different it would be quite easy to move around. And although it does fold up, it still takes up some space in its storage position.

The Safety 1st Deluxe Adaptable High Chair retails for $139.99 at Sears.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Baby DVDs - the Good and the Interesting

As I mentioned in a previous post, becoming a mom has renewed my love of Sesame Street.

I've tried not to buy Hannah too many Sesame Street DVDs, but so far I have purchased Big Elmo Fun, Elmo in Grouchland, Elmo's World: The Street We Live On and Let's Eat! Funny Food Songs - all of which were relatively inexpensive at Walmart ($5-$10). Save Elmo in Grouchland (which is a movie), the DVDs are clips already shown on Sesame Street grouped together with a common theme. So you know upfront what it is you're buying to watch.

For her three month birthday Chris bought her a Baby HaHa Music Video Adventures DVD from the TIFF store downtown, for around $10. I haven't watched an actual Baby Einstein DVD but I would imagine it is quite similar from clips I've seen on YouTube.

A CGI baby (or sometimes multiple babies) in just a diaper dances and sings with CGI farm yard animals to the classics. It was a lot different from the Sesame Street DVDs I'm used to. But Hannah seemed to like it, and certain songs even kept the attention of our cat Booyah. And I did like singing along with the subtitles to Hannah and the DVD did jog my memory as to some of the lyrics. In all, it's an OK DVD. I just found it interesting...maybe next time Chris will watch with Hannah and feel forced to sing!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Reflections on a first Mother's Day

Yesterday I celebrated my first Mother's Day. My Mom, Hannah and I went to Red Lobster for lunch.

It was a nice time to reflect on how lucky I am to be my Mother's daughter and how lucky I am to be Mother to Hannah. It also made me realize how much closer to my Mom I've become since Hannah was born and I became a mother myself - probably because once again I am seeking her advice.

After post-secondary school when I moved out, I didn't really "need" my Mom. After a year in the working world, paying your own bills and living on your own, you don't really inquire and check in with your Mom to see what shoes you should wear out to the bar, or how long is an acceptable amount of time for the guy you are dating to text you back. When it comes to life, it seems like your Mom has stopped being the person you go to and your friends are the wise ones when you have problems that need to be solved.

But as soon as Hannah started to grow and move in my belly, I was all questions with my Mom. Apparently I got some just desserts - when my Mom was pregnant with me I wouldn't stop kicking her ribcage. Hannah was the same way in the womb. I hated to nap, but was quite content in my stroller soaking everything in. Hannah also hates to nap for fear of missing out on anything.

I'm also very lucky in that my Mom only gives me advice when I seek it. I was formula-fed. My Mom supported my breastfeeding Hannah, and I know she will stand behind all my decisions even if she would do (or did do) things differently. My Mom has definitely eased my transition into becoming a Mom. And I am sure she will remain steadfast even into Hannah's teenage years, where I am sure to receive even MORE just desserts.

I hope all the Moms out there had a great Mother's Day! It's the cherry on top - to be recognized for doing the best job in the world.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tummy Time made entertaining

Hannah enjoys being on her tummy, although when I place her on her tummy with nothing to do she gets bored quite easily.

Thankfully one of Chris' cousins gave us a Tiny Love Tummy-Time Fun Ladybug Pillow & Mat at Hannah's shower. Not only does she look more comfortable with the pillow to lay on, but she's interested in looking at herself in the mirror, or the lady bug's face. She also enjoys grabbing on to the toys that make up the lady bug's hands all while she develops upper body strength in the neck, shoulders, and improves her head lifting skills.

© 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Baby Time is FUN Time at the Toronto Public Library

On Wednesday morning, Chris and I took Hannah to her second "class". I was quite nervous about how she would react.

The first class we ever attended she cried loudly for a good 10 minutes and then fell asleep for the rest. I guess to be fair I should mention her first class was a breastfeeding class at Sunnybrook and she attended before she was even 24 hours old.

Regardless, I was still curious as to how she would behave when we took her to Baby Time at the Toronto Public Library.

The 30 minute program for babies 0-18 months old includes songs, rhymes and the reading of interactive storybooks. The class gives parents and caregivers suggestions and ideas on how to encourage reading as the child ages.

Turns out, Hannah was an almost perfect pupil (other than starring at the blond baby boy beside her for a good 10 minutes - first crush already?!?!).  She cooed and even joyfully squealed while we sang some of the songs. I'm not going to lie, I enjoyed bouncing her, tickling her and singing to her too. And I even learned some new songs that I now sing to Hannah at home!

We will definitely be going back when the program resumes at our library in July. In the meantime, I can't wait to take her to Baby Sign at our branch which is starting in a couple of weeks.

To learn more about Baby Time and to find a library near you that runs the free program, please visit Please note some locations require registration before the class.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Playful Grounds

Yesterday Hannah, Chris and I met my friend Dave for lunch on College Street. It was Hannah's first "downtown" experience, but it was catered mainly to her.

Dave was nice enough to let me know of a place called Playful Grounds (605 College Street (near Clinton)) - it's a great cafe that welcomes babies and children with open arms. There's a nice big play area, lots of high chairs and booster seats and thankfully OTHER BABIES! When Hannah cried no one stared at us. When other babies cried we didn't stare at them. It was so nice to go out and be in a pro-baby environment. On my birthday we went to Red Lobster and after we were seated, a couple actually asked to be moved so they wouldn't be near us. That's fine, it's their night out too, but they didn't need to give us the death stare. Hannah wasn't even crying! Therefore at Playful Grounds it was so nice to sit in a comfy cafe and not feel ostracised, but welcomed, by other patrons.

Everyone was really friendly (owners and fellow parents/caregivers alike) and there were babies at different ages and stages. It's nice to see how far Hannah has come by looking at the brand new babies, and it's exciting to see where headed by looking at toddlers who could run around.

The cafe offers sandwiches, salads, pizzas and more. I had the Grilled Cheese and Playful Grounds salad for $6. The sandwich was cheesy, toasted to perfection and the salad was delicious (and I'm not a fan of salads). You can view the menu here.

They also host numerous free workshops for parents. I signed up for the Baby Massage later this month!

To learn more about Playful Grounds, check out their website at

R.I.P. Avery

Unfortunately, Avery lost her battle with SMA on Monday.

My condolences to her family. They are great people who have brought much needed awareness to a disease.