Monday, January 31, 2011


Once upon a time there was a mother with cabin fever. She was desperate to come up with a fun outdoor activity for her toddler. She went out and purchased an overpriced a special sled so that she and her husband could give the toddler rides in the snow. She knew her snow loving baby would be thrilled.

Although it was a quite a production to bundle the toddler up (two shirts, two pair of socks, pants, snow pants, coat, hat, gloves, boots) and get him to the park, the look of utter joy on his face was all the thanks she needed. As a bonus, the sled was incredibly easy to maneuver through the snow.

When the family was about to explode from all the fun (literally crying tears!), they decided to end the day with some ice cream. Although the toddler had no idea what ice cream was or what to do with it, he settled on the right course of action - stirring it with the tiny plastic spoon (but refusing to put it in his mouth), placing spoonfuls on his snow pants and flinging bits of it around the ice cream parlor. Again, the pure joy on the toddler's face while he ate biscotti (anything resembling a cookie is permitting entrance into the mouth) made it clear to the mother that all of the effort was well worth it. The end.

Are you a breastfeeding mama? You may be interested in my breastfeeding articles HERE

Thursday, January 27, 2011

We finally played in the snow

We've had record breaking snowfall this month in New York, but for a billion lame reasons we haven't really played in the snow. Until today! He was having so much fun that I had to bribe him with cookies to get him back inside. I would have let him play longer but none of the glove options we have were holding up to his digging. Unless we can find something at the store tomorrow, I may have to resort to bread bags and rubber bands to keep his fingers intact.

Are you a breastfeeding mama? You may be interested in my breastfeeding articles HERE

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Activities for toddlers: Magic mud

Ever play with "magic mud?" You make it by mixing cornstarch and water. It's really cool - if you touch it one way, it feels like a solid. But if you pick it up, it quickly turns to liquidy goo. Playing with it is kind of addictive - or maybe that's only if you don't get out much...hmmm.

The Toddlers Busy Book: 365 Creative Games and Activities to Keep Your 1 1/2- to 3-Year-Old Busy

I remember playing with it when I was little, but forgot about it, until I ran across it in The Toddlers Busy Book: 365 Creative Games and Activities to Keep Your 1 1/2- to 3-Year-Old Busy. By the way - great book. I really like the layout - chunky, compact little book with big print, organized by type of activity. Full of great ideas. A lot of them are very simple and easy. I highly recommend it, as long as you either skip the introduction or don't mind feeling completely guilty about not scheduling and preparing fun projects EVERY single day for your kids.)

Here's Nate scooping it out into a muffin pan. Believe it or not, the mess isn't that hard to contain - you know, as long as you don't do anything crazy like look away or blink.

When I made it last week, for the first time, I added food coloring. I don't think I will be doing that again. It just stained our fingers without making it anymore fun for Nate. Oh, and it only lasts for about thirty minutes before it's too dry and you have to add more water. That was enough time for me...but not for Nate, who continued to play and play, even though it was more powder than "magic" goo.

Monday, January 24, 2011

From green and white to brown

One of the fun things about this age is that toddlers have so much to learn. And they're ready. Such sponges. Nate is interested in pretty much everything. And as exciting as it is, it can be a little intimidating too. Since I've been fortunate enough to stay home with Nate so far, I've been his primary teacher. Up until now, I've felt that my main goals in parenting were (1) survival - mine and his - and (2) loving him to pieces. Now that I feel like I've got those well under control, I've been concentrating on the other ABCs, 123s and colors.
I try to remember to focus on colors throughout the day, but the best opportunities tend to come at traffic lights "green means GO!" and while we color with crayons. Nate loves to color, or as he says "dju dju!" (draw). He loves when I label the colors for him. He hasn't made a lot of headway with repeating the names, but he can say blue and brown very well.

bonus baby sign: Dinosaur (click here  for ASL sign)

He can also kind of say green ("gr"), but not even close on the other colors. It occurred to me today that perhaps if I found - and taught him - the signs for the colors, it might make it easier for him to learn. I'm going to start with RED and YELLOW. I'll let you know how it goes.

Beeswax Block Crayons (Set of 8)By the way, I finally got the Beeswax Block Crayons (Set of 8) for Nate for Christmas. I had had my eyes on them forever. I absolutely love them. None of them have broken (unlike most of our traditional crayons), there is no paper wrap to get in the way and the color is vibrant. I love how you can color with the side and cover large areas of paper. The blocks are soft and give off beautiful color with the lightest amount of pressure. Great for little hands.

What art supplies are you using?

Are you a breastfeeding mama? You may be interested in my breastfeeding articles HERE

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Male bonding

I've never been much of a sports fan. Lucky for Nate, his daddy more than makes up for his mama's lack of enthusiasm. I already see how following - and loving- a team is impacting my peanut. To say my husband is a huge Jets fan is an understatement.

See that cake? That was our wedding cake. Not groom's cake. Wedding cake!

So at seventeen months, Nate recognizes the Jets logo anywhere (on old tickets, balloons in the grocery store, clothes), associates it with Daddy and gets excited. He sees football on television and yells "JET!" He wants to cheer like Daddy, wear Jets gear like Daddy, head butt Daddy in honor of the Jets. It's adorable.  I see very good things in their future.

Is your little one a sports fan?

Are you a breastfeeding mama? You may be interested in my breastfeeding articles HERE

Friday, January 21, 2011


Platinum All-Time FavoritesNate is completely obsessed with Sesame Street. I didn't want him watching any TV until he was two years old, but that ship has sailed. His first thoughts when waking in the morning (and his thoughts for most of the rest of the day)center around Sesame. My good friend was nice enough to pass along a copy of a Sesame Street CD she had purchased for her own infant daughter. I think it's Sesame Street Platinum All-Time Favorites.

Nate L-O-V-E-S it and we listen to it several times a day. Every day. When I ask him what music he wants to listen to, he usually requests this CD by saying, "Bah" ("Bob") - as in Bob singing "People in the Neighborhood." He reacts to each song, naming the characters singing, shouting out the words he recognizes. My new favorite song is The Count's Lambaba. But only because I get to hear Nate say his special name for The Count: "Two." Two! He calls The Count "two." How cute is that?

What kid's music are you listening to?

Are you a breastfeeding mama? You may be interested in my breastfeeding articles HERE

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Baby sign of the week: BERRY

Last week I showed you how proud Nate - and I - were after he managed successfully to spear some blueberries on his fork. I know blueberries are out of season here, but I thought I'd share the sign since others may be eating them now as well. We use the ASL sign for STRAWBERRY (here) when referring to any berry.  Here is Nate demonstrating how to sign BLUEBERRY:

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thirsty Bert & Yummy Mummy Winner

Since it's still fairly new, I get the biggest kick out of watching Nate in imaginary-play mode. Here he is, helping Bert with a drink of water: 

And in giveaway news - Hanan from Lilac City Momma has won the Yummy Mummy Cookies giveaway. Congrats, Hanan! I know you'll enjoy the delicious "nourishment for nursing moms." Thanks to all who entered!

Are you a breastfeeding mama? You may be interested in my breastfeeding articles HERE

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Seventeen months old! A letter to Nate from Mama.

Dear Nathaniel,

There have been so many fun new developments, where to begin? I really need to make lists ahead of time, before attempting to encapsulate the previous month. I'm bound to forget so many things. Oh, well... off the top of my head:

My favorite things:
  • You help me grocery shop. I ask you what we should get at the store and you tell me. It's usually produce - apples, bananas, sweet potatoes, peas. And you also like to request pancakes. I appreciate your input.
  • You like to play funny mind games. Lately, when I ask you what you want to eat you always answer dog. I tell you that you're disgusting and you can't have dog. Then you laugh. You've recently started to request other funny things to eat as well. Elmo, for instance. The hard part comes when you jokingly request cow and pig while laughing, fully expecting me to tell you to stop requesting such ridiculous items.
  • Your vocabulary. It's expanding like crazy. Every day you add a new word or two to your speaking vocab. I wouldn't be surprised if you had doubled the amount of words you speak in the last month. Almost anything we ask you to attempt to say, you try (except Ava!) - and often it becomes a part of your everyday word bank. One of my favorite new words is "help." It kind of sounds like "up" when you say it, but since you sign it at the same time, I know what you mean. It's adorable.
  • Your love of music and your attention to detail. You request certain songs and cds ("beef" means Black Eyed's a long story) and you listen very carefully to the lyrics. You pick out words you know and repeat them or sign them. It looks like I'm going to have to put all of my death metal and gangsta rap away.
  • When I ask you a question, as in, "would you like X?" and your answer is a YES! your new thing is to go "OOOOH!" like I have just given you the best opportunity in the entire world. If your answer is more of a "yes" than you simple say "kay" as in okay.
Your favorite things:
  • The letter Q. You adore it. When asked what any letter of the alphabet is (other than maybe X or A) it is always resoundingly and enthusiastically a "Q!"
  • The number two. When asked "how many" of something we should get or "how many" of something we have, the answer is always two. When we went grocery shopping last week and I asked you how many apples we should get (which you requested), you said two so I went with it. Maybe you get the love of two from me, as I love humor involving the number two.
  • Sprouting teeth. I think in the last month, maybe two, you have cut SIX teeth. Four molars and two canines. You poor thing. You are also fantastic at evading the toothbrush. If this keeps up, we may have to move to the UK.
  • Your zoo, which you pronounce "shzoo." You enjoy setting it up, feeding the animals, placing the people - or men, pronounced "maah"- and then cleaning it up and putting it back into the basket. Occasionally, you will play with the zoo by yourself in your pack and play, which allows me a few minutes to myself to crochet or pen some poetry (just kidding, hopefully you know me better than that).

I love you more than tongue can tell.
~ Mama

Are you a breastfeeding mama? You may be interested in my breastfeeding articles HERE

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


A while ago I mentioned that I was teaching Nate to use his spoon. He's doing a great job with that and ate an entire yogurt container by himself the other day. He was a mess, but got most of it in his mouth, so I was impressed. We've also been working on the fork. Here he is, triumphantly stabbing away at his blueberries:

using a bpa-free Beaba fork

Nate also does really well picking up avocado chunks and peas with the fork/spork.  We'll keep practicing on other foods!

What are your kids eating on their own?

Are you a breastfeeding mama? You may be interested in my breastfeeding articles HERE

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The girl of his dreams

Nate went over to his girlfriend's house last Thursday. And he STILL has not stopped talking about it. Between signing and speaking, he likes to recall the events at her house about five times a day. He is particularly in love with her cats (none at home, I'm allergic) and her toys (like her awesome vacuum).

Did not get the cleaning gene from either parent

Not once, not twice, but THREE times he has woken up from nap/sleep calling her name. I like to believe that he was dreaming of her. The conversations typically go like this:  
Nate:    Opens his eyes.  "Joju!" (what he calls her)
Me:       "Josie?"
Nate:     nods yes, then signs VACUUM 
Me:       "You vacuumed at Josie's house?
Nate:     nods yes, whispers "gat" (cat)
What do your kids dream about?

Are you a breastfeeding mama? You may be interested in my breastfeeding articles HERE

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My favorite sound... and baby sign of the week: MEAT

You know how people have different levels of laughter? Well Nate's level 10 is probably my favorite sound in the world. Nate started saying the word "dirty" yesterday and found it hi-lar-ious. I missed the shot of the level 10 laughter, but there are still some great giggles in this video:

And, in an exciting twist, Nate seems to have decided to forgo his strict vegetarian diet. Out of nowhere he is chowing down on turkey bologna (uncured) and chicken. If this continues, it will definitely make my life a bit easier, since he can eat even more of what we eat. Yay.

We use the sign for MEAT to cover all beef, poultry and pork. There hasn't been a reason to distinguish, and honestly I kind of don't want him to know that the meat we are eating used to look like his beloved farm animals. Moooo! At the very end of the video Nate signs both MEAT and PLEASE. Here are the ASL signs for MEAT and PLEASE.

What odd things do your kids find hilarious?

Are you a breastfeeding mama? You may be interested in my breastfeeding articles HERE

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday: This is what happens when you ask a toddler to smile for the camera

Are you a breastfeeding mama? You may be interested in my breastfeeding articles HERE

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Yummy Mummy Cookies {GIVEAWAY}

Back in October I suggested Yummy Mummy Cookies as a unique gift idea for a new mom. At that point, I hadn't tried the lactation cookies, but mentioned the great reviews I had read. Yummy Mummy calls these cookies "Nutrition for the Nursing Mom" as they contain ingredients designed to boost breast milk production. They're organic, all-natural, dairy & nut free and were developed by a nutritionist. You can read about the founders of Yummy Mummy Baking Company (moms Ami and Jessica) here.

Since then I've had the pleasure of trying two of their delicious flavors - Lemon Poppy Seed & Fenugreek and Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, Pumpkin Seed (both available online). Even though I'm in the later stages of nursing Nate and not worried about my milk supply, I'm always excited to find quick and easy (yummy!) snacks that will give me energy without a ton of sugar. These cookies definitely fit the bill.

Even though their large cookies contain less sugar than half a glass of juice (see ingredients here), the Lemon Poppy Seed & Fenugreek frosted cookies are super sweet. I ate mine with a glass of milk (cow milk, that is) and it totally satisfied my after dinner sweet tooth craving.

The Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, Pumpkin Seed was my favorite. They're chewy with tons of texture. Wholesome but sweet. And so good. A perfect snack. I sent my girlfriend, a new breastfeeding mom, some of the cookies and she raved about the Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, Pumpkin Seed as well. She loved the taste and milk boosting powers so much she ordered more on her own and kept them fresh in the freezer.
BUY: Order Yummy Mummy Cookies online here. They make a great treat for any mom who wants a healthier, satisfying snack.

WIN: Yummy Mummy has generously offered to send samples of the Lemon Poppy Seed & Fenugreek and Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, Pumpkin Seed cookies to one lucky Nater Tot reader.

To enter: Visit Yummy Mummy Cookies and leave a comment here telling me one thing you like about their website.

Extra entries: Leave a comment for each extra entry.
  • Share this giveaway on Facebook (CAN BE SHARED ONCE A DAY)
  • Follow @Natertotblog and tweet the following (CAN BE RETWEETED ONCE A DAY – Just leave the link to the tweet itself each day in the comments):  
 #WIN organic cookies from Yummy Mummy Cookies - nourishment for nursing moms @natertotblog  #giveaway ends 1/14
This giveaway ends Friday January 14, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. EST. CONTEST IS CLOSED.

Open to US residents only. Each comment under this post is equal to one entry and is assigned a number corresponding to the order in which it was left. A winner will be picked via on Thursday and announced here on Nater Tot. Winner will be informed by email and will have 72 hours to respond. If winner fails to respond within 72 hours a new winner will be chosen at random.

Note: I received a complimentary sample of cookies from Yummy Mummy Cookies for review. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own!

Are you a breastfeeding mama? You may be interested in my breastfeeding articles HERE.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Oh deer

Over the last month, Nate has developed quite the interest in deer. Luckily there are tons of lawn ornaments still around the neighborhood to satisfy him when we leave the house. He has an eye for spotting them and surprised me by even recognizing the tiny print on my pajama pants as (rein)deer. He was saying the word ("deeah") before I could even look up the sign for him.

We were in the car the other day and Nate started yelling "DEEAH, DEEAH!" and I had no idea what he was talking about, since we weren't around any lawn ornaments. Luckily Dave was with us and explained to clueless mom that Nate was talking about the song that was playing. Duh. So you might be wondering what tune an antler loving toddler likes to hear (on perpetual loop) while driving around town. The answer would be Nate's new favorite song on our standard old car cd - Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be?  You know, the song all about DEEAH!

Does your little one make any funny associations like this?

Are you a breastfeeding mama? You may be interested in my breastfeeding articles HERE

Sunday, January 2, 2011

January '10 favorites

I set out to choose ten favorite pictures from 2010. I couldn't make it out of January with fewer than seven. No way was I making it through the year. So here are some of my favorite moments from January last year:

1. Twins - obviously fraternal 2. Ava coming in from the snow 3. Full mouth, wet baby kisses 4. Nate enjoying his lion
5. Eating rice cereal for one of the first of his tray 6. Chubby baby man boobs 7. Best friends holding hands

What were you doing this time last year?

Are you a breastfeeding mama? You may be interested in my breastfeeding articles HERE.
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