The First Three Months with a Toddler and Newborn

The First Three Months with a Toddler and Newborn

The transition to becoming a mother of two was a wonderful, chaotic, and emotional one. The first six weeks were a huge adjustment for all of us–especially for Paul. Paul has ADORED Chiara since the very first time he met her. He loves to hold her hand while they are nursing together; he loves to snuggle with her; he loves to play with her; and he loves to make her smile and laugh. At this point, all Chiara has to do is see Paul for her to smile and laugh. Their relationship is already so beautiful and so strong; and it is nurtured every day to ensure that their bond continues to grow stronger. Even though he has expressed so much love for her from the absolute beginning; the transition to becoming a big brother had a huge impact on my Paul Bear…

I found the first six weeks to be the most difficult. It was very apparent that Paul felt insecure. In a stage where he was now pushing for his independence and autonomy; he was now also struggling with feelings of insecurity. On top of bringing home a new baby, we were also preparing to do a big move out of state. These transitions caused Paul to behave in ways that tested everything that I had studied and practiced thus far in terms of early childhood development and behavior modification…

Paul’s insecurity caused him to nurse more frequently than a newborn–and trying to get him to take breaks resulted in tantrums and melt downs. He also started seeking negative attention since it was a definitive way to get us focused solely on him– and he started to bite, frequently. The way we were handling biting and hitting before Chiara was born was to place him on time out for one minute and then talk with him about the incident–the method worked as a space to provide a teachable moment to talk with him about why he was placed on time out; the words he could use instead of biting or hitting; a time to teach him emotional regulation; as well as a time to teach empathy. However, these behaviors occurred so frequently after Chiara came home that this method no longer provided us with a space for the teachable moments that it once did–and instead strengthened Paul’s insecurity. It was when his happy affect had seemed to diminish that we knew that we needed to take a different approach…

The first steps that we took was to stop putting him on time outs; heavily reinforce his positive behavior; and put all negative behavior on extinction– essentially, we did not provide any reaction to the behaviors that we were trying to eliminate. This caused his biting behavior to occur even more frequently because he was trying extra hard to elicit a response from us– but it was still placed on extinction. The goal was to set him up solely for success.

For nursing, I started using countdowns, which helped him to prepare for the fact that he was going to have to take a break from nursing; and I also provide reasons for the necessity for the the breaks to occur. Implementing this helped almost instantaneously. 

After we moved, we continued to implement these new techniques. In addition, I decided that it was time to encourage him to sleep without nursing for naps. I knew that this would be difficult at first, as prior to Chiara being born, nap time was the only time that he did nurse. To encourage this, we started to–and still do– nurse before we read stories before nap and he nurses again after nap. It took a few days for him to accept this, but he has been successfully napping for up to two hours a day going on two months now. It is an understatement when I say Paul’s favorite thing to do is to nurse; but he has become so much more patient and flexible about it. We have not had any nursing related tantrums in weeks and I do not foresee any occurring now that we have a system.

To eliminate biting took more adjustments and modifications as this behavior turned from an attention seeking behavior to an impulsive behavior. After settling into our new apartment, the frequency of his biting just naturally decreased. While the behavior of biting was occurring less frequently, it was still not eliminated. I decided to reintroduce his Ringley teether, and I made sure to have him bite on it during the times that his biting behavior was to most likely occur; which was when he was tired. Since biting is most likely to occur when he is tired, the two hours leading up to his nap time and the two hours leading up to his bed time are extremely structured. Between providing him an outlet to bite and ensuring a structured nap time and bed time routine, Paul’s inappropriate biting behavior has been seemingly eliminated.

At three months into parenting a toddler and newborn, things have become SO. MUCH. EASIER. As parents, we are constantly learning through trial and error and much reflection to achieve the ultimate goal of being the best parents that we could be to foster our child’s individual needs. We faced so many obstacles in the weeks following Chiara’s arrival, and after much effort, we’ve finally reached a state of equilibrium. This experience and overcoming these obstacles has brought our family so much closer together. In this exact moment, we are all in bliss. 

 

 

My Favorite Plastic Toys from Green Toys

I have been buying plastic toys from Green Toys since 2016, and I am so excited to share some of my favorite products from this company. I absolutely love that these toys are made from non toxic plastic! My current favorites are:

Dump Truck

School Bus

Fire Truck

Ferry Boat

Play-Doh Set

Jet Plane

Submarine

Car Transporter

Shape Sorter

Tool Kit

My Favorite Toys from Maple Landmark

I have been buying wooden toys from Maple Landmark since 2016, and I am so excited to share some of my favorite products from this company. I absolutely love the quality and educational value of these toys! My current favorites are:

Shape Sorter Bench

Leaf Puzzle

Building Blocks

Oval Train Track

Name Train Letters, Caboose, and Engine

Monster Car

Pick Up Truck

Made By Me Train

Wooden Railroad Village

School Bus Puzzle

Why I Choose Maple Landmark’s Schoolhouse Naturals Line for Wooden Toys

Why I Choose Maple Landmark’s Schoolhouse Naturals Line for Wooden Toys

As a mother who has researched the toxicity found in wooden baby products, I was so happy when I discovered Maple Landmark. I reached out to the company and asked them my typical questions; and I was so pleased with the honest, detailed and prompt email responses that I received in return. This is a company that genuinely cares about the quality of the products that they sell and provides an honest explanation about any possible toxicity that may be present in their wood. Here is my initial email to the company:

Good afternoon,

I am interested in your sorting bench and block sets. I would appreciate if you could answer the following questions:

  1. Are the products made from certified sustainable wood or hardwood; or pressed or engineered wood?
  2. Does it come unfinished?
  3. Is it completely lead and phthalate free?  or does it contain little amounts?
  4. Is this toy binded with adhesive that contains formaldehyde; what type of glue is used?

Thank you so much and I appreciate your response!

I received this detailed email in response:

Sandra,

Jill passed your email on to me to respond. We thank you for your interest in our products. Any answers we supply are written in an attempt to give you the full, honest case as we know it.

So, for example, we do not claim that our wood is “lead-free”, which you would interpret to mean it has zero lead. We do not guarantee that since wood is a natural substance and lead is a naturally occurring background element. We have never had lead detected in our wood (and yes it has been tested for lead), but there are also limits to what can be detected. In this respect you will find that our wood is no different than any other domestic supplier.

You do have to know that virtually all Asian logs are chemically treated with insecticides and fungicides. They generally are not on the list of reportable chemicals at the consumer level. We recently had problems shipping our product into Asia because it was not chemically treated.

We source our wood locally and it is not chemically treated at any stage in the process. It is not sustainably certified, which doesn’t mean it is harvested with a lack of concern for sustainability. Our local / regional mills have been in business for generations and there is more forest land in Vermont than 100 years ago. https://www.maplelandmark.com/infocenter/responsibility/foresthealth.lasso

In our area, there is a lack of certified material readily available, the cost of certification is too great for smaller companies. I would rather deal locally than haul in lumber from hundreds of miles away.

We do use some plywood in our puzzles and other products that require wide, thin, flat pieces. It comes from the Baltic region of Europe and meets CARB II (California) standards, including no formaldehyde glue, etc.

There are no phthalates in our raw material. We have worked with our finish suppliers to reduce / eliminate phthalates in the rare cases where they might have been used. For the most, they are not part of our product. There are some chemicals that we buy where we have little or no control over the chemical makeup and there are no alternatives. In those cases we make sure the chemical levels are under federal and state standards.

As Jill mentioned, we developed our Schoolhouse Naturals line https://www.maplelandmark.com/schoolhousenaturals/sn.lasso to offer options for people who have the greatest chemical concerns. However, all of our children’s products meet federal standards and are regularly tested for compliance.

I hope this helps.

Mike Rainville
Maple Landmark Woodcraft
1297 Exchange St.
Middlebury, VT  05753
(802)388-0627 / Fax (802)388-0761
www.maplelandmark.com

I then responded with this email:

Thank you so much for the very detailed message; it was very helpful and I look forward to supporting your business! I am also interested in your puzzles.

  1. Are these puzzles made with hardwood, plywood, or fiberboard? Does it contain formaldehyde?
  2. What are the puzzles colored with? Does it have any VOC’s?
  3. I am also very interested in your Name Train products. What are you trains and tracks made from? (hardwood, plywood, fiberwood)
  4. What are the trains colored with? Does it have any VOC’s?
Thank you so much!

I received this email in response:

Sandra,

The puzzles are made from plywood. We do not use fiberboard for any product. As I said before, the plywood meets the CARB II standard regarding formaldehyde.

Our finishes are low or no VOCs. VOCs are how solvent based chemicals dry. There are exempt VOCs, which are not anthropogenic and non-exempt VCOs which are. Generally, where necessary, our finishes use exempt VOCs.

The water-borne dye stains on the NameTrain letters do contain some VOCs. The clear top-coat does not.

Our print inks (like the puzzles) are UV cured which, I believe, is non VOC.

Our track is solid hard maple.

Thanks,
Mike

I purchased some toys following these email exchanges and I am so pleased to say that my experiences with the products from Maple Landmark’s Schoolhouse Natural’s line have been exceptional. I have been buying wooden toys exclusively from Maple Landmark Schoolhouse Natural’s line because I love the quality of their products, the toys are affordable, and my son absolutely loves every item that I have ever purchased from there! If you are looking for a company that sells high quality wooden toys, I would highly recommend purchasing them from Maple Landmark.

My Career and Educational Choices since Becoming Pregnant with my First Child

My Career and Educational Choices since Becoming Pregnant with my First Child

Happy Monday! When I found out that I was pregnant with Paul, I immediately knew that working full time was not something that I was interested in doing for the foreseeable future; however, I still wanted to make an income. I found out that I was pregnant in July of 2015, and a special education service provider who worked with a student in my classroom told me about her position. I immediately pursued positions at agencies that she referred to me. I interviewed and signed with four agencies that are located in New York City and Brooklyn, and started working in October of 2015 as a SEIT for the remainder of my pregnancy. It was the best career choice that I have ever made. I loved everything about this position and knew that it would be the perfect job to go back to as soon as I felt Paul was ready for me to leave him for a few hours a week.

Right before I gave birth, I decided to enroll in an online post graduate certificate program to work towards earning 30 credits post masters because I knew that I would be taking at least a year off from work. I made the choice to return to school because as a teacher in New York City, the additional 30 credits significantly increases one’s salary as a full time public school teacher (which is something that I may choose to go back to when all of my children are in school full time) and it was a plus that financial aid would provide us with an income. I started the program one week after giving birth to Paul in February of 2016 and stopped working as a SEIT for the remainder of the year.

When Paul turned 14 months old (in September of 2017), I decided to go back to work as a SEIT for a few hours a week. Baby Girl is due in June of 2018 and I will take at least one year off from work.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you have a happy Monday! =)

Capturing and Embracing Happiness

Capturing and Embracing Happiness

I have always been a strong believer of embracing the positive of every situation; it has always been a defense mechanism of mine. Even in the darkest, most unbearable and [seemingly and sometimes] irresolvable of situations, there are happy and positive moments around you waiting to be captured and embraced. Getting stuck in a vortex of negative energy and pessimistic thinking can happen rapidly, especially if negative situations continuously arise; and when this happens, it is so important to search and find the happiness waiting to be embraced around you–as little as it may be. Every day that we wake up is a fresh start; an opportunity to approach the day with a positive mindset; an opportunity to create and discover new options to change undesirable circumstances; an opportunity show respect, love, kindness, appreciation and admiration for those around us as well as ourselves; an opportunity to seek forgiveness and forgive; an opportunity to reflect on yesterday’s experiences with the goals of making a happier life and a happier you. I am sharing some beauty that I captured today and some happy moments that I had with my family  =D What beauty and happy moments did you embrace and capture today? If you would like to share the happy moments that you have embraced today on instagram, use the hashtag #embracehappymoments

Fashion as seen in this post:

Paul: Jacket: Burt’s Bee’s Baby Similar One , Burt’s Bee’s Baby Similar Two , Burt’s Bee’s Baby Similar Three // Sneakers: Stride Rite Shoes // Pants: Hand-Me-Down

Sandra: Blouse: Express // Leggings: Forever 21 // Sneakers: Adidas

 Thank you for reading =) I will keep a lookout for your hashtag #embracehappymoments on instagram =D I hope you have a happy day!

Diary of Mama Bear: Paul is 14 Months Old

Diary of Mama Bear: Paul is 14 Months Old

Good morning and happy Friday! Month 13 was a super fun month =D 

Paul

  • practices blowing
  • says the sound of the letter P
  • Says the sound “ts” 
  • Says the word jump and then tries to jump
  • points to his and others eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, hair, and head
  • imitates putting objects on top of head and nose
  • is able to find a hidden object that was moved
  • Starting building with blocks (he practices balancing them)
  • Rolls cars
  • Bounces balls
  •  copies actions such as sweeping, using Q tips, pouring cat food into cat bowl, cleaning litter box, and flushing the toilet
  • calls all food num num, all cats boo boo, calls mamas milk nom mom
  • Sniffs food and objects to smell them. 
  • Say “mmmm” and “yum”
  • points to the body part that hurts when he falls or bangs it
  • tries to put socks on his feet
  • tries to put socks and sneakers on mamas feet
  • drinks from a sippy cup
  • eats with a spoon out of a bowl
  • wipes his hands and mouth with wet ones when asked
  • wipes his tray to help clean. 
  • Rubs his head on his cats (like they do to him)
  • Pretends to eat, drink, cough and laugh
  • Hides behind doors and wants us to find him
  • Plays peek a boo
  • Copies whispering
  • Copies yelling
  • Crawls under tables
  • Combs hair
  • Kisses cats
  • Understands the commands “stand” “sit” and “lay down” 
  • Pretends to be tired by laying down
  • Climbs up the stairs
  • Makes a raspberry sound when we say someone farted 
  • Loves loves loves sensory activities 
  • Adores his cats 
  • Says “nooooo” jokingly
  • When he play with water, he will walk really slowly with water in a cup to dump it in another bowl 
  • Copies and imitates sounds and actions that mama and dada do
  • Tries to say “dump” while he dumps water or toys outs of buckets 
  • Uses the words jump and dump consistentently and appropriately 
  • Runs 
  • Requests to go in his crib when he is tired and lays down
  • Tries to imitate humming

Thank you for reading! I hope you have a happy day =D

Limiting a Baby’s Exposure to Toxins: Sharing Research on Wooden Baby Products

Limiting a Baby’s Exposure to Toxins: Sharing Research on Wooden Baby Products

Good morning and happy Saturday =D

When I found out that I was almost 3 months pregnant with my son in July 2015, I drastically changed my lifestyle after researching the impacts that environmental toxins could have on a developing fetus. Then, as his arrival was rapidly approaching, my research transitioned from learning about how toxins impact a developing fetus to how toxins impact a baby. I extended my research to products such as cribs, crib mattresses, bassinets, bassinet mattresses, diapers, wood toys, plastic toys, teethers, baby food, formula, cookware, etc. It was astonishing to learn that every item that I researched had commonly used brands that contained added toxins; too much to cover in one blog post. The purpose of this post is to share research on the toxins found in wooden baby products and how these toxins could impact a baby’s cognitive and physical development.

Wood is used to make many baby products; most often it is used to make cribs, teethers, and toys. The type of wood and how it is treated will determine whether the products are toxic. I recommend calling companies to ask the following questions to inquire about specific items:

1. Are your [cribs/teethers/toys] made from certified sustainable wood or hardwood; or pressed or engineered wood?

  • It is important that [cribs/teethers/toys] are made of certified sustainable wood or hardwood. If you see that the wood is pressed or engineered (i.e. fiberboard or plywood), it most likely contains formaldehyde as a bonding agent.

2. Do you sell wood that is unfinished; or are they finished and if so, with what? Does the finishing contain VOC’s, lead, phthalates, or polyurethane?

  • Ideally, [cribs, teethers/toys] should be purchased unfinished.
  • Most finishes contain Volatile Organic Compounds’ (VOC’s).
  • Some finishes contain lead. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, children who have exposure to lead could develop the following complications:
    • ataxia, coma, convulsions, death, hyper irritability, stupor, neurological effects, decrement in IQ performance, ADHD, and hearing impairment.
    • The Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry also states that lead could impact the developing fetus because it crosses the placenta and as a result could negatively impact the fetus’ viability, fetal development, and early childhood development.
    • In addition, lead could also cause renal, hematological, endocrine, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and reproductive damage.
  • Some finishes also contain phthalates.
    • According to Tox Town, phthalates may cause cancer. The may also be endocrine disrupters and could cause harm to the human reproductive system.
  • Some finishes also contain polyurethane.

3. What do you use to bind the parts of the [crib/teethers/toys] ? Does the bind contain formaldehyde?

4. Does any part of the [crib/teethers/toys] contain formaldehyde, lead, phthalates, or polyurethane? 

This is all of the information that I have learned from researching what toxins are found in wooden baby products and how these toxins impact a baby’s cognitive and physical development. I hope that this information was insightful and will help you find wooden baby products that work best for your family.

Thank you for reading, I hope you have a happy day =D

The Diary of Mama Bear: Paul is 13 Months Old

The Diary of Mama Bear: Paul is 13 Months Old

Good afternoon and happy Tuesday! =D Month 12 was such an amazing month; we have been blessed with such a happy, healthy, curious, funny and outgoing little boy =D I am so grateful <3  I just love love love love Paul’s personality. He is SO happy all the time, and he has such an incredible sense of humor. My favorite thing that he does is he LOVES to give kisses. One of our games is for him to give me a kiss, and then I chase him around saying “I want a kiss” and then I disappear, and when he comes to fine me I pop out and he falls down because he is laughing so hard =D

Pauls Humor

He thinks it is hilarious when:

  • We sniff his body or other peoples bodies and say “Pee You!” (or some variation of that).
  • When we so “yucky!”(or some variation of that) when he sticks his fingers in our mouth.
  • When he eats something inedible and we say “eww gross!” (or some variation of that).
  • When he tickles mamas feet and play’s the game I’m gonna get you and chases me around the apartment trying to tickle me.
  • When we tickle him.
  • When we play peek a boo (he initiates the game and will hide until we say “where’s Paul” and he will pop out and smile and laugh). He will hide behind window curtains or doors and pop out and laugh when we say “where’s Paul.
  • When he feeds us food and we say “yum” (or some variation of that).
  • When we chase each other around the apartment.
  • When he points to our eyes and accidentally pokes us and we make a funny face and say “ouch”(or some variation of that).
  • When we make funny impressions while reading stories.
  • Some new social games include: him running to mama and saying “dada” and laughing and then running to dada and saying “mama” and laughing. He thinks it is hilarious when we copy sounds and actions that he does. He also thinks its funny when he yells “mama” and mama yells “paul” in response.
  • Paul has been brushing his hair and other peoples hair as well; and when I say “brush mama’s hair” he goes to brush my hair and then tries to eat it and cracks up when I say “ew!’
  • He is such a little goofball. He even cracks himself up sometimes when he accidentally does something silly. I love being Paul’s mama =D

 Here is a list of some of the milestones Paul has reached this month and some special moments that I jotted down:

  • Paul is able to transition into standing position from any position and walk and run around.
  • He is so adventurous and climbs on anything to get to his objective.
  • Paul understands everything we are saying and consistently follows demands.
  • He copies actions; if i put a block on my head he will put a block on his head.
  • He has been very interested in the parts of the face, and he is able to point to his and anyone elses nose when asked the appropriate demand. We are working on pointing to all of the parts of his face and mama and dada’s face when labeled.
  • Paul found a toy that he used to play with, walked over to the coffee table, stuck it on, and played with it, What a great memory!
  • Paul understands when we say “wait” and waits for us! and even whines and babbles at us using very adorable hand motions (mama is Italian so I wonder where he learned that from).
  • He loves eating with a spoon, He practices scooping food onto the spoon and biting the food off the spoon at least once a day.
  • Paul pretends to eat by pretending to pick something up, looking, at us, saying “yum” or “nom nom” and laughing.
  • He is able to sit and sort shape blocks.
  • He has developed an interest for cars.
  • He throws a ball to mama and mama rolls it back to him.
  • He makes really cute faces when things blow in his face.
  • He tries to walk up steps.
  • Paul whimpers like a little puppy dog when he wants his mama.
  • He brushes his hair.
  • He cracks up and imitates mama brushing her teeth.
  • he tries to drink from adult cups.
  • If I place three objects in front of him and put something under one of the objects and ask “where is the ____?” he will pick up to appropriate object to get the item.
  • Paul LOVES his cats. They make him SO happy and provide so much entertainment for him. He calls all 3 cats Boo Boo because one of our cats name is Boo Boo. He even calls the cats in books Boo Boo.
  • He calls all food “Nana;”his favorite food happens to be bananas.
  • He LOVES taking a bath and everything about water and playing in water and with water. He will also play with the cat water.
  • His favorite place in the apartment is the bathroom. He does a bathroom dance that is similar to his Nana dance.
  • He is really interested in ceiling fans ;more specifically, turning the switch on and off and watching the ceiling fan turn on and off, He is very interested in the cause and effect of things.
  • He claps and waves appropriately.
  • He loves loves loves giving mama and dada kisses. EVERY morning, Paul wakes Matt up by giving him kisses. IT IS LITERALLY THE CUTEST THING EVER.
  • He tries to type on the computer keyboard!
  • He likes to pretend he is talking on the phone.
  • He says “no.”
  • He plays with the cats by picking up long strings or fabric and waves it in their face. It is sooooo cute!

 Paul’s First Sickness and a Head Lump

A week after Paul’s birthday he started running a fever. On the first day (Wednesday), he ran a 102.7 temperature so we brought him to the doctor where he came back negative for the flu and strep throat. They told us to rotate infant motrin and infant tylenol until the fevers were completely gone. He continued to run high fevers (up to 103.8) so we brought him back to the doctors on Friday where he again tested negative for strep. This time, they needed a urine sample to rule out a urinary tract infection so we had to bring pee bags home with us. The test came out negative. They told us that if he was still running a fever on Monday that they needed to run blood work. On Saturday, Matt noticed a lump on the back of his head near his ear; which it turned out was the same lump I discovered three weeks earlier but disregarded because it was very small. When I felt it this time, it had grown noticeably larger. Matt and I returned to the doctor with Paul on Monday who had been fever free for 20 hours but developed a rash in the morning. The lump turned out to be a swollen lymph node due to his body fighting off the virus, and the rash was roseola. During this entire week, Paul nursed constantly and slept with us so he could nurse unrestricted. Doing this helped him remain hydrated and it helped him sleep. =D

Owen snuggled with Paul every night that he was sick <3

Sleep

Nighttime

I am so happy with Paul’s sleep; the Individualized Nighttime Sleep Training Program is really working for us. He is becoming so much more independent. I am officially no longer nursing him to sleep at night time; and it has been like this every night for the last 14 days. After he is done nursing, he independently unlatches and I place him in his crib, cover him with the blanket that I have created the nursing association with and either sing to him or provide some sensory input to help him fall asleep; it depends on his needs. He will usually sleep somewhere between four to seven hours before he wakes up and nurses (he actually drinks) and when he is full he unlatches, I place him back in his crib and he falls to sleep on his own. The second time he wakes up I usually bring him in our bed and sometimes I pacify him and sometimes I do not; again it depends on his needs. He currently falls asleep in his crib by 7:30 pm and is up for the day sometime between 6:00 am and 7:00 am.

Naps

Paul is transitioning from taking two naps to taking one nap. If he takes one nap, he will usually sleep from 12:30 to 3:00 and if he takes 2 naps he will usually sleep from 9:30 to 10:30 and then again from 1:30 to 3:00. I typically nurse him to sleep for naps; and most of the time I nap with him!

Paul’s First Park Experience

We took Paul to the park to run around for the first time this month, and he absolutely loved it. He had his first encounter with the cutest, most friendliest bulldog. The dog strutted over to Paul, knocked him over, and started licking him all over the face; and Paul screamed like I have never heard. The owners were really nice and left with their dog. Paul forgot about the incident as soon as a six year old girl came to play at the park. He followed her around at a distance and every time she looked at him he would smile! It was so adorable.

Here are some pictures:

 Thank you so much for reading! I hope you have a happy day! =D

The Diary of Mama Bear: Paul is One Year Old

The Diary of Mama Bear: Paul is One Year Old

Good evening loves and happy February 8th. I am in awe that one whole year has passed. At 3:37AM one year and one day ago, my precious baby boy, Paul Raffaele, made his journey into the world. As I write this, I am feeling so incredibly thankful. Thankful for Matt and Paul for making me a mother. Thankful that I am married to my best friend. Thankful that my breast tumors have not returned and I am alive and well to experience motherhood to the fullest. Thankful that Paul is healthy. Thankful that Matt is healthy. Thankful that my mother is healthy. Thankful for being able to live life, overcome adversities, and focus on the positive and wonderful experiences. Becoming a mother has made me experience emotions in a different way and I am just thankful for so much. Negativity and unfortunate events could overpower the happy and positive moments and experiences that are worth embracing. To me, it has always been a lifestyle choice to focus on the people and things that make me happy and to focus on the positive of every situation (even when the positive is hard to grasp) while appropriately handling the negative and unfortunate situations accordingly and assimilating to change the best way possible as well as considering how to make the situation better (if possible). Every day, people wake up with a choice to perceive their world positively or negatively; the choice to embrace the positive moments in any situation; the choice to change their circumstances if they are unhappy; and the choice to eliminate their negative surrounding or their involvement in negative situations. Every day is a new day to start fresh using past experiences to create a happier life. Ever since becoming pregnant, marrying my best friend, and experiencing motherhood, this lifestyle is the only way; and I have not overlooked one happy moment. I am happy. I am thankful.

If you like, I would love for you to comment and tell me about some happy moments that took place in your life today =D

Here are some of the milestones that Paul has reached this month:

Language/Communication:

  • Paulie is able to kiss someone on the cheek, point, knock, clap, wave, and take a bite when asked the appropriate command.
  • Paulie points and babbles to request express his wants and needs.
  • He responds to requests and commands.
  • He tries really hard to say all the words that we say; and even tries to copy the tone of our voice.
  • Paulie imitates blowing raspberries and opening and closing mouth.
  • He says the following words very clearly: mama, dada, gahma, nana, and boo boo.
  • He demonstrates that he understands the name of every room; and he is able to locate all of his toys when asked to find something specific.
  • When he gets hurt, he points to what are hurts on his body, looks at you, and if asked “are you okay?” he whimpers and comes over for snuggles; and if stated, “your okay!” he turns and continues playing (unless he is really hurt).

Cognitive:

  • He likes to turn the light switch on and off.
  • He is interested in anything that turns on and off and how things work.
  • When asked to point at specific illustrations while reading familiar books, Paulie points to the appropriate picture.
  • He recognizes the shape of a circle and fits it through his shape shorter.
  • He picks up shapes and tries to fit them through each hole until he finds the correct one.
  • He likes to play with stacks, but does not yet put them in size order.
  • He understands how to turn some toys on and off.
  • Paulie independently flips through books and points at pictures.
  • He is very curious; especially about places forbidden to him.
  • When he wants to read a book, he shows me it, hands me it, and sits on my lap.
  • He identifies and points to objects when they are named.
  • He insists on eating food independently with a spoon.
  • He knows where his milk come from, and points at and pulls down my shirt when he is thirsty.
  • He picks out a book that he wants to read; and if I ask him to hand me a specific book, he will find it and give it to me. The books he is able to locate are Brown Bear, Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Llama Llama Red Pajama, The Very Hungry Caterpillar,  Five Christmas Penguins, and Mr. Brown Can Moo.
  • He understands what it means to be gentle; especially with the cats.
  • When we say, “it’s time for breakfast/ lunch/dinner” he walks to the kitchen. When I say “say goodnight to daddy” he will crawl around the apartment looking for him to give him a kiss. When I say “pick a book and come to the bedroom” he picks a book and comes to the bedroom. It is so incredible!!

Social/Emotional:

  • Paulie ALWAYS complains when I leave the room.
  • He does not like strangers.
  • He like to tickle me, especially my feet! He cracks up whenever he tickles me.
  • He laughs when I laugh =)
  • He loves to pet his cats. He calls all 3 cats Boo Boo.
  • He likes to get our approval.
  • He loves to give kisses!

Gross Motor:

  • Paul took his first real steps on February 1st, and he is now walking everywhere!
  • He climbs on and off the bed, couch, chairs, and furniture.

Personality

  • Paul is a happy and social little bean. His favorite things to do is play social games with mama and papa; eat food and try new food; explore and manipulate his toys; play drums (his favorite past time); crawl around and walk around to explore; play with the cats and pet them (he has learned how to be gentle); look at the window; and likes to be told how things function. It is also so awesome how Paul has Matt and I’s sense of humor. =D

Here are pictures representing each month of his first year =D

Thank you for reading and coming on this journey with me! I am so excited to see what this year brings! =D  I hope you have a happy Wednesday! <3333

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