Products that will be lifesavers for when you have toddlers

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1) Mr. Clean Magic Erasers-You may need this much earlier than when you have a toddler, but I list this first because this was the very product that inspired me to write a blog post on helpful things. I had never heard of this and my husband suggested buying them finally after I’d tried all kinds of things to get the stains from pureed baby food off the walls, etc. I assumed we would have to paint over it and were waiting until the time we could afford the time and money for paint. So there it sat (especially in one spot that was obvious and glaring and sat there for months, and yes people came over in that time period and saw it, no doubt.) I wish I had taken a before and after picture (I guess I can share an after.) Just imagine that it used to look like an abstract painting, basically! (only slightly exaggerating..it was messy.)

2) Large Playpen-We just have the regular kind that we use from time to time that is in a hexagonal shape (Toys R Us) and it comes with stakes that you can anchor it into the ground for backyard play. I’ve mostly used it for when I’m cooking, to keep him in one area at various ages from 1-3. My nephew has one with toys attached to it and its more colorful (don’t remember where it’s from, but some sort of containment larger than a Pack N Play is nice to have.) The first one folds up, but I think you have to take the second one apart.

3) DVDs (or something to watch) We like DVDs because Ethan does, basically. He likes to select the one he wants to watch by looking at the picture and font on the DVD case. That is also something I have found MOST useful when I’m cooking and need him to stay in one room. He also has learned a lot from his DVDs, just by hearing the singing and talking and some are more educational than others but either way he gets good language practice and dancing practice in.

4) Booster seat-The main benefit I can see from this is it saves space. That’s really important living in an apartment. Also maybe feeling even more part of the family meal as an older child by using the tabletop, which brings me to the next suggestion…

5) A clean enough to eat off of table each mealtime-Maybe you are one of those parents who refuses to let your kids eat off the table even from a very young age, but since trying new foods and eating has been such an issue at times, I still let my 3-year-old (a young 3-year-old) eat off the table if that is where it lands or he pours it. It is just inevitable in our home, so I just make sure the table is cleaned with soap some time before meals so it’s no ta big deal if he eats straight off the table. I think he sometimes does it because I put the food in a bowl when maybe he needed a plate, or even when on a plate he just feels its easier to get his utensils in the food straight off the table. I don’t know-but I’m a practical, bottom-line person and if he will eat something new, something with a veggie, or just SOMETHING, then he can eat anywhere off the table for now. Not to be bossy, but especially if your kid has delays in OT or anything regarding meal times, you may want to consider letting go of some of the strict rules go in order to get your kid to learn to eat well. Take that for what its worth; our firstborn is only 3, after all. He has made progress, though.

6) A tiny stool (got ours at Toys R Us)- This is good for the obvious; assisting to wash hands,etc. but you may just not think about it at first. If your toddler’s legs are long enough, maybe to be used alongside a potty seat ring like…

7)Cushie Tushie from Mommy’s Helper (sold at Walmart) We have tried a few different potty chairs (2 I guess) as well as had Ethan straddle the adult toilet, but the Cushie Tushie has been the best so far. He will sit there longer (because its more comfy, hence the name) and it is easier to clean than the “cushy” seat that was attached to a small potty chair on the ground. Again, this is space-saving and it comes with little hooks for the wall (also a ring so you can grab a part that does NOT have pee on it. (If you made it this far to having toddler though, having pee on your hands is probably no big deal to you anymore.)

8)Kids CDs -Since our kid is such a lover of music (especially the Wiggles!) having kids CDs in the car helps me to not have to listen to whining and makes for a more pleasant car ride-short or long. If my kid will listen to the radio, sounds good to me provided its clean music. As he got older, though, he grew more impatient and had to be in the car more often and longer to get to his developmental center. So Wiggles CD it is.

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The Rainbow Baby-Miscarriage and Life Beyond It

While this is a very happy time, its another one of those things that did not happen the way we thought it would. This baby came unexpectedly after lots of tragedy and disappointment in the form of two miscarriages while we were trying to get pregnant with our second child. The first one (several months prior to seeing the current pregnancy’s positive test) was a very early miscarriage-what is typically referred to as a “chemical pregnancy”-and we only knew we were pregnant for about a day until we realized that one was a failed pregnancy. It was such a high and low within one day and we hadn’t even told anyone yet, so it was like a quick slap in the face. We weren’t even sure if it was a true pregnancy or a rare false positive somehow, but later the doctor said that it was most likely a chemical pregnancy.

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LOST BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

The most recent tragic event, however, was the miscarriage that happened at about 7 weeks along. We knew about it for a few weeks and had told our parents, all our siblings, and maybe one or two friends we happened to be around at the time. We bought Ethan a t-shirt about being a big brother to tell my parents about the news. Close to 7 weeks along, I thought it was just some similar bleeding to when I was pregnant with Ethan, but as time went on I knew it wasn’t normal. It was just an awful feeling, calling my parents to watch our 2 year old (Ryan was at work) so I could just lie down and feel and see it all unfold-one of my first nightmares of parenthood from back before I had kids. I really wasn’t sure for a while WHAT was going on and it was the weekend so I couldn’t run up to the doctor or anything and the doctor on call said there’s really nothing to be done except rest and wait to see what is going on.
She said she really didn’t think I was having a miscarriage, but I think she was trying to make me feel better because it really was still up in the air based on my symptoms. My fear was not misplaced, though.

I couldn’t believe after ALL we had been through with Ethan’s surgeries and illnesses and adjustment to our firstborn having Down Syndrome that we had not only one, but two failed pregnancies in a ROW. We started to wonder if something was amiss since I had yet to have any typical pregnancies (while Ethan made it, I don’t consider it a typical pregnancy because he doesn’t have the typical number of chromosomes.) I did the usual panel of blood tests doctors do if someone has had three miscarriages in a row or suspect something unusual. All tests came back normal, and we had no immediate plans to try again. We wanted to have a vacation (with our extended family as planned) as we have yet to have more than a couple of days out of town (if that) since before Ethan was born. We thought we would wait at LEAST six months to try again. We wanted to have some emotional healing, some time alone, some time away, etc. As you know, that’s not how it happened!

SURPRISE! RAINBOW BABY

Just two months after the second miscarriage, I decide to take a pregnancy test since I was late-negative. I waited a few more days and while I was on a walk I just thought something seemed off and I should test again for obvious reasons (Ryan kinda pushed me to, though. I’m really cheap when it comes to pregnancy tests for some reason.) Then bam-with a faint line, but two lines nonetheless, I holler down the stairs to Ryan, “um…there’s a second line.” Not as much the Hallmark moment as the other times we’ve had positive pregnancy tests but when is a surprise and after such stressful and depressing events, who could blame us? We started getting excited over time and tried not to worry. One of THE most rewarding moments of my life was that first ultrasound at 8 weeks when we were told “strong heartbeat, 159 beats per minute..and measuring just like he/she should!” It was on the same ultrasound machine they used to confirm everything had “passed” after the last miscarriage, so going into that room was scary and depressing at first. What an amazing relief it was! We even got to see AND hear the heartbeat, and it was just one of the sweetest sounds I’ve ever heard. It was one of the biggest reliefs of my life, almost up there with being told Ethan’s heart surgery was successful and we could come back and see him.

If you have never heard the term “rainbow baby”, it is what women who have had miscarriages call a successful pregnancy that follows a pregnancy loss. I looked at a forum about miscarriage support on babycenter.com and saw it mentioned and I thought it a very appropriate term. I know, sadly, not everyone will get a “rainbow baby” and maybe not so soon after a miscarriage like we did. I don’t understand why some seem to have it easy while others struggle to get pregnant and still others get pregnant easily just to lose their pregnancies before they can share it with the world. There are so, so many things I just don’t get but I know that doesn’t change that God is good and He has a plan for our lives. While He doesn’t cause all the horrible pain in the world, He does use what we have gone through to a greater purpose (and sometimes things we can find within our own lives). I hope that is what He can do with our story-about miscarriage, about trusting God in all these extreme highs and lows and unexpected twists and turns in our lives. Our experience in having children has certainly been that way! Regardless of the hard times, we have mostly great times lately. We love our sweet 3 year old and all his uniqueness and hard work he puts in to everything. We also already love our little Rainbow Baby Bean on the way very much.