Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Natey and I had one of those days, where despite my best efforts, we spent most of the day playing alone together.  We were at our regular park for a very long time this morning (two sun block applications - click here for my favorite safer sunscreens) with only two potential playmates stopping by. Both kids left after five or ten minutes with little to no interaction with Nate. I guess they just didn't have great toddler chemistry, because it was too early in the day for us to be smelly or dirty looking. I finally gave up after an hour and a half. And of course that's when everyone started showing up.

This would be an example of looking dirty

After nap we tried again with the library. They have a really cute little "Family Nook" for small children and their parents. They have a bunch of toys and toddler sized furniture in a space that is fairly easy to contain the children in, making it one of our favorite indoor spots. I thought surely there would be other kids taking a break from the sun, but no. Not a one. There was, however, a cute high school volunteer working on the shelves with whom Nate was totally flirting. It usually makes me cringe to hear people say babies are "flirting," but I really think Nate could have gotten this chick's number if he knew what one was.

After the library, we tried again at a different park. It's strictly for two to five year olds, so Nate can play on any of the equipment without me worrying that he's going to plunge to the ground and break his limbs. Can't trust that kid around big open holes yet.  Nice clean park, shady on a hot day...no kids. Not one. But despite the lack of variety in company, we were having a really nice day.

When we got home from park number two, I unlocked the front door while carrying Nate in my arms. This was unusual, because he typically demands to walk everywhere...and I usually don't argue. He's getting heavy. The door sticks in warmer weather and while I struggled to kick in the door, I hammed it up a little for Nate's benefit. When I finally busted in, Nate burst out laughing. (I'm that hilarious when opening doors.) Then he grabbed my face with his hand, old granny style, and planted a big kiss on me. He doesn't tell me that he loves me yet, but I got the message pretty loud and clear.

Nate's been waking up at night again. And if he isn't waking up in the middle of night, he's waking up at the crack of dawn. Dave will go in his room and tell him to go back to sleep (which used to work), but now he will cry for a good deal longer, often prompting one or two more visits from daddy. So before bath tonight I was discussing the Good Nite light and what he should do if he wakes up in the middle of the night. Me: "What should you do if you wake up in the night and the moon is up?" Nate: "Cry." Perfect.

I Am a Backhoe

After his bath he told me he wanted to bring in one of the new library books for bedtime. He quickly opted for I Am a Backhoe. Daddy came home just as we were bringing the book back to his room. "DADDY. DADDY! DADDY!! FAY-BURT!" as he thrust the book at Dave who had just barely come in the door. This was the first time he used the word "favorite." I didn't even know he knew what it meant. He is such a little sponge. So apparently this new truck book is his fay-burt. In case we didn't get it the first time he mentioned it, he told us about twenty more times.

 There are lots of days where I get tired of entertaining Nate all day. Lots of days where I desperately want a break. Today wasn't one of those days. It just might be one of my fay-burts.

Guess his nose doesn't double as windex

Dear Blogger Blog friends: I have been having a terrible time with my Blogger account. As a result, I have been unable to leave comments on many of the Blogger blogs I visit - particularly if the comment field is imbedded under the post. Anyone else having this problem?

Monday, May 30, 2011

In "transition"

I have an announcement. It's something I've wanted to do for quite some time. No, no...it does not involve custom made male parts. Nothing quite that drastic. I'm moving the blog to a new address. Within three days everyone should be able to view this blog, Nater Tot, at natertot.com. You should still be able to view Nater Tot at mylifewithnate.blogspot.com, but if you receive posts through a feed or a blog roll, you might have to update to natertot.com to get the current posts.  But again, it may take up to three days for everything to be working properly.

Please bear with me as I sort out the bugs. I've already noticed that my blog roll has disappeared. I'll try to get that sorted out as soon as possible. And please let me know if you notice that something isn't working correctly.

Nater Tot
Happy Memorial Day! What did you do over the holiday weekend? 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Replacing the plastic in my home: Wean Green glass baby food containers

A while ago - back when Nate was still eating baby food - I won a set of four Wean Green Glass Baby Food Containers from a giveaway at ecomodern mom. They are fabulous and I always meant to write about them, but just never got around to it.

Wean Green Glass Baby Food Containers (Set of 4) (Multi Color)

Wean Green cubes are made of a durable glass with a silicone sealed lid. When I say durable, I mean that Nate has dropped them on the floor many times without so much as a crack. They can, however, really hurt your toe in a direct hit (not that I would know anything about that, Nathaniel!). They are bpa,  pvc, phthalate and plasticizer free and you can freeze or heat the cubes as needed.  Plus, they are just really cute - the orange ("carrots") is my favorite. 

Even though Nate has outgrown baby food, I still use them often. They are great for saving small bits of leftovers and for taking snacks on the road. Just the other day I put our cut up grapes in one for a lunch outing. The leftover grapes still looked perfect the next day when I discovered I forgot to clean the remains of our lunch out of the diaper bag. No leaks, no surprise raisins. (I feel like that could be a diaper slogan, right?)

Do you have a favorite baby food container?

BUY: You can purchase Wean Green glass baby food containers at Amazon.com or MightyNest.

{Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this post. I am an Amazon.com and MightyNest affiliate.}

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The baby Alice game

Earlier this month we finally got to meet the newest (and very adorable) member of our family, Nate's cousin Alice. Although Nate didn't spend much time playing with the newborn, she certainly made a much bigger impression on him than I realized at the time. Since that visit, she has become the inspiration for one of Nate's newest favorite games - being baby Alice (which, despite the name, is really nothing like Being John Malkovich).

Now, anytime we scoop Nate up and carry him like an infant he is "baby Al-isss." And anytime I change his diaper he is "baby Al-isss." (Leaving me to occasionally play the role of  "Arielelelel," who is Alice's mommy, Aunt Ariel.) And when he wants to get snuggly in his pack and play, wrapped up in his blankie, he is again "baby Al-isss."

I just love his imaginary play. He started feeding his stuffed animals a few month back, but it seems like his imagination has really taken off lately. Not only does he now have a tail, but we're also frequently told about the giraffes, tigers and bears that are apparently living in our bed. (They hide under the pillows.)

What kinds of things are your children imagining? 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Let's play ball!

We spent a sizable chunk of time yesterday playing baseball with Nate's t-ball bat and a soggy tennis ball. Nate pitched and I batted. It worked out well since I also have the baseball skills of a two year old.

He eventually decided it would be best if he pitched and batted.

Monday, May 23, 2011

If I only had a tail...

One of my undergrad anthropology professors, an adorable older man with a closely cropped white beard and soft spoken voice, once exclaimed - with the utmost sincerity - that he thought it was one of the saddest things in the world that humans had lost their tails in the evolutionary process. I couldn't agree more. And it looks like we have a new recruit on Team Tail - none other than Mr. Nathaniel Thomas himself.

Earlier in the day while we took a walk, we discussed which animals had tails and which did not. When Dave got home from work, Nate brought up the topic again, this time insisting he had a tail of his own. When asked where this mysterious tail was, he pointed to his back, above his bottom. Obviously. I'll have to ask him tomorrow what it looks like.

What would your tail look like? I'm thinking mine would have a nice tuft on the end, like a lion.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Black thumb

There are a lot of green thumbs in my family. My mother has beautiful flower gardens and my father excels in the fruit/veggie/herb garden arena. In fact, a lot of my wedding decorations relied on my family's gardening prowess. I had beautiful green hydrangea from my aunt and uncle's garden and my dad grew tons of little white pumpkins for place card holders. And me? Well, I kill things. I had a lovely arrangement of tulips, crocuses and daffodils in this container and they bit it well before any other spring flowers in the area.

But there's hope for Nate. I'm starting to think that green thumbs skip a generation. He tends to the plants daily, never forgetting to water the flowers. And he only uses the the watering can to dig up the roots once in a while.

Does your little one enjoy gardening?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

If it ain't broke...(potty training update)

Last month I mentioned (here) how we were beginning the potty training process despite my complete lack of readiness. Nate suddenly showed a lot of interest in the toilet and I felt that we had no choice but to go along for the ride and see where it took us. I didn't want to miss a magical window of opportunity and end up rewarding him with fifty dollar bills at age ten for every potty deposit (like my parents did with me). So I got him a stand alone potty chair with trains(!) on it and it was a big hit. 

And so things have been going pretty really well over the past few weeks. (With the exception of my distaste for cleaning out the pot. Why is it so much grosser to clean a pot of poo out than it is to wipe smears off a baby butt?!) He would tell me when he had to go, I'd help him off with his diaper and after reading a few books his business would be done. It was going so well that my sister joked that he should go on Ellen as the amazing potty trained baby. But in reality there were plenty of days where he would forget about it all together since I wasn't prompting him in any way. I started wondering if I should be doing more.

The No-Cry Potty Training Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Child Say Good-Bye to Diapers (Pantley)

I picked up a few books from the library, including Pantley's The No-Cry Potty Training Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Child Say Good-Bye to Diapers. After reading a bit and taking a readiness quiz, I decided to kick things up a notch. I got some "big boy diapers" (pull-ups) to signify a change in routine and a Sesame Street potty seat that goes on the big toilet because of the gross out pot factor. All of the wise mothers I know seemed to start out with the attached seat and had advised me to do the same. I also began asking him if he wanted to sit on the potty at appropriate times.

I thought nothing could be worse - as far as potty training goes - than cleaning out that pot. Well I was wrong. You know what's worse? Having your toddler find the new potty seat so enthralling that he wants to get on it, stick his hands in the bowl, and get off it, and back on it and flush, and then off it, then pee all over the floor and then flush and get back on it and use MORE TOILET PAPER! and then off it again to sit on the other potty seat and then back on the big toilet... all. day. long.  CALGON!!! And keep in mind that since we don't have a stool that's high enough yet I was lifting him on and off every two seconds. It was making me dizzy and taking every ounce of self control to remain calm and positive.

I should have just left well enough alone with the little stand alone potty chair. Silly me for thinking I could possibly cut down on the bodily fluids I clean that aren't mine.  My fingers are crossed that the excitement of being on the big toilet will wear off in a few days.  But I don't know how realistic that is. I mean, it's never worn off for me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Rain, rain go away!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Four stages of snake love

We spent a little time playing in the rain with friends at a local ecology festival (EcoFest 2011 at Clark Botanic Garden) this weekend. A strange man with a large snake offered to touch his pet's face to our precious toddler's head. Though we didn't know this guy or his credentials, we felt reassured by his resemblance to acclaimed animal enthusiast Brian Fellow, and jumped at the chance. I'm not going to lie...there was a good deal of the "will they/won't they" tension (think Jim & Pam).  Here's how it played out...

stage 1: hesitant

stage 2: interested

stage 3: a little forked tongue action

stage 4: JOY!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Looking for something?

I added a new tab up top:

I arranged my old posts in a few different ways, for ease of browsing. So for instance, if you have a nine month old baby and want to see what Nate was up to at nine months old, you can just click the "9 months" tab. Or if you are looking for information on safer (non-toxic) toys, you can just click that link. And if you are my mom and just want to look at old videos of Nate, there's a link for that too.

Access the "Archives by Subject" tab below the header, or just click here.

Friday, May 13, 2011

More fun with baby sign language

Last month I discussed (here) how we have continued to use baby sign language now that Nate is well into toddlerhood. As I said in that post, our use had really diminished since Nate has become so verbal. When we taped that little video of Nate for the post I started out by asking him to demonstrate a few of the signs that we used so frequently before he could talk. He had so much fun doing it that he kept asking me to quiz him on more and more words. Of course, I could barely remember any at the time. And in a very non-Nate move, he wanted me to videotape it all. Here's round fifty-six:


I had no idea that renewing the topic with him would be such a big hit. Since then we've made a game out of signing (totally Nate led). He loves finding out the sign for words and practicing them. He'll even let me shape his fingers if he's having difficulty with a particular sign (like turtle - it can be difficult to get that head poking out and wiggling properly). He gets the biggest kick out of it. I really want to stick with it and treat it like a second language. I figure the more neurons making connections (that's what happens when you learn other languages, right?) the better. Back to the books to learn more signs...

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Letter to my 21 month old monkey

Dear Nate,

Honestly, I've started to think of you as a two year old in my head already. (A) I'm tired of counting the months at this point and (2) maybe when you actually turn two it won't be quite so painful in a "my baby really isn't a baby anymore" kind of way.

But of course it goes without saying that you'll always be my baby. Cliche but true.

Not a lot of changes this month. Just some counting. And more talking. Lots more talking. Sometimes four words to a sentence. And more running. And a little bit of big boy potty action. Oh, and you are getting funnier and funnier.

Sometimes you're unintentionally funny...
  • Like when you brushed my hair into my face (baby brushes on already frizzy hair are just fabulous by the way) then patted my arm while admiring your work proclaiming it, "Cute!"
  • Or when you got a little boo-boo and wanted Bono to kiss it. (You can read more about your U2 obsession here.) You also wanted to share your chicken with Bono & Edge. You're a pretty stellar sharer.
  • And when you dumped a bunch of pasta down the front of your shirt and said, "Oh goodness!"

showing off the curler in your hair

And other times you try to make us laugh...
  • Like when you kept offering me cucumber I didn't want - actually demanding I eat it - only to yank it away every time I leaned in for a bite.
  • Or when you make your goldfish crackers swim before you eat them. 
  • And my favorite is when you "do the pigeon" Bert style by flapping your arms and singing, "Uhn Uhn PIGEON!" You know this always makes me laugh so you are sure to do it immediately after misbehaving (to get back into my good graces.) It always works, you little manipulator.

And you think it's hilarious to tell everyone, "Mommy's stinky!"

You still fall all the time. I think it's all that running you do while leading with your chest. But you seem to be getting more agile and I'm no longer petrified to let you run on the pavement. It's not like I could stop you anyway. You're ball crazy. Football, soccer, baseball, tennis. If there's a ball around you want it. And I know I am completely biased, but I really think you have a good arm. And of course you are super passionate about trucks too. We scour the streets for SEEM ROW (steam rollers), DOZE (bulldozers) and GAR (garbage) TRUCKS on a daily basis.    

I still think you are the most beautiful little boy ever. You have an amazing smile and luckily I get to see it all the time since you are such a happy kid. You've just started throwing your head back and laughing (usually when Daddy or I have laughed first). It is adorable, but I fear you'll inherit the cackle laugh which was bestowed upon me from my mother. The kind of laugh that is loud and sudden and turns people's heads in restaurants. It's awesome. Though on second thought, you'll probably only get it if you make fun of my laugh for years first. At least that's what happened to me. It's a latent gene kind of thing and it has to be triggered first. Like turning into a werewolf. (Sorry, I've been watching way too much Vampire Diaries/True Blood/Twilight.)

I love the way you say certain words - SESEEM for Sesame and STRAWBEES for strawberries. RERO is yellow and BOO is blue of course. You still end "r" words with "n"s - CARN, MOREN and DOORN are the main ones. It's odd but cute. And it's really hard not to copy your pronunciation. We just spent some time with my side of the family - it takes us about six hours to reach them by car (and by the way, thanks for that lengthy forty-five minute nap there and twenty minute nap on the way back). I always get a kick when you turn Aunt Ariel into "Arielielielielieliel." Sometimes I think her name will never end.

I love you, you little nut. More than tongue can tell.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday: My favorite boys


no hands

reading with Bubba

one of many hugs

monster attacking

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

5 non-toxic products on my summer wishlist

Kinderville Little Bites Ice Pop Molds (Set of 4)
I sawthis set last year and wanted them, but Nate was too young to hold his own pops and thought they would be better for the following year. I have Kinderville bowls and absolutely love them. These BPA-free non leaching silicone molds allow you to make your own ice pops, which is great if you want more natural, organic and/or less sugary treats than you can get in the store. I'm excited to get creative. I'm thinking avocado with sweet potato chunks. What, no? Well maybe we'll try some blueberries in lemonade instead.

It drives me crazy that we still use old plastic ice cube trays. Especially in the summer when I'm an iced coffee addict. I've had my eye on these for awhile, but it just seems a little insane to buy $30 ice cube trays - especially when you need two or three of them.

                                             LifeFactory Sippy Cups

Lifefactory 9-Ounce Glass Beverage Bottle, OceanI've been wanting new sippy cups for Nate. The less plastic the better. Even though the ones we have are "safer" non-BPA plastic, I'm hearing more and more that the chemicals that are used as replacements for BPA may not be actually be any safer. My friend Jennie from A baby and two schnoodles just informed me that LifeFactory makes sippy cups. The bottles are glass with a non-toxic silicone sleeve - not that Nate throws his cups a million times a day or anything - and very pleasing to the eye (at least my eye). You can buy the sippy tops separately here.

Kidkraft Outdoor PlayhouseOutdoor Playhouse

Now that it's finally getting warmer, I am dying to get Nate an outdoor play area that will hold his attention for awhile. He absolutely loves little houses - especially opening and shutting the door. I'd prefer a nice wooden one like this one from Kidkraft.


Schylling Little Farmer Garden Tote with ToolsGarden tools

Nate loves to dig in the dirt and sand. Everytime we see "diggers" at the store he is desperate to get his hands on them. But they're usually made from cheap plastic, leaching who knows what onto little hands. I'd love a wooden set for Nate. This Schylling Little Farmer Garden Tote with Tools is adorable, but has a small parts warning. Maybe we'll just have to settle for some wooden spoons and spatulas this year.

What are you itching to buy this summer? 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Soccer mom

Soccer mom (as defined by http://urbandictionary.com): Suburban mother with 2.3 kids with hollow disciplines and automaton husbands with slowly diminishing spirits. Typically Caucasian. Their cabals are usually averted to music unfamiliar to that of their youth. Soccer moms are mostly responsible for the gaggle of kid safe laws ranging from stop signs every two feet to inundating TV and video game ratings to the manufacture of the "V chip". They aspire to the halls of Congress and the floor of the Senate to champion causes in the name of their families at the cost of casual freedoms. They are reclusive, passive aggressive, morally ambiguous and secretive. One should be wary of traveling through a soccer mom's natural habitat as your presence will be secretly alerted to by the authorities under vague and even false suspicions. They also reside in urban and metropolitan areas.

practicing his moves with his big cousin

I signed Nate up for soccer. He's not even two years old. Pre-mom Amber would laugh at me. But he's not on a team or anything. It's just a mommy & me class put on by a local soccer organization. The coach gives the toddlers a set of instructions ranging from, "kick the ball into the goal" (which Nate can do pretty well) to "dribble the ball to the overturned goal, stop the ball with your foot, kick the ball through and then crawl through the tunnel after your ball." This is when Natey listens intently for the coach's whistle, then stands up, picks the ball up in his hands and runs as fast as he can away from the class. Yeah, following loads of instructions is kind of new and doesn't always go over so well. But I figure the class is a good opportunity to meet other moms in the area and gives Nate a chance to play with "KIDS!" (Nate will go anywhere with the promise of KIDS!) Plus, Nate really, really loves any play time that involves balls. Typical guy.

Nate firmly believes that a bat appropriately accompanies any ball, whether base, basket or soccer. And it works better when held upside down. Obviously.

How about you? Sign up for any fun classes lately? Are you a soccer mom?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: May 2010

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Daddy's boy

Natey has always loved his Dad. But lately, he's on even more of a Daddy high - if that was possible.

Thanks to the daylight savings time change in March, suddenly for the first time in over a year, Nate is able to occasionally see Daddy before bedtime on weekdays. Well, it was occasionally. Now Nate demands it. There is no way I can, in good conscience, put Nate to bed without hugs, kisses, fist bumps and headbutts from Daddy. And over the last week, Nate has managed to change the bedtime routine from a mommy-centric hour to include a story from Daddy too. Even though the changes to routine result in Nate going to bed a bit later - because Daddy is the most exciting human being no matter how hard he tries to be Mr. Calm Bedtime Voice and Nate gets inevitably all wound up again - they are too cute together to deny them that few minutes at night time. I literally teared up last night watching them together.

And this Daddy obsession extends beyond bedtime. Nate wants to wear Daddy's things, be just like him and share his interests. For instance, he'll wear Dave's bike helmet around the house for hours. And since Daddy likes U2, Nate likes it too:

we think it's best not to discuss Adam Clayton

I'm so happy Natey has such a positive influence in his everyday life. Too bad that influence doesn't extend into mealtime. Unless Dave throws all his food on the floor when I'm not around.
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