Baby Milestones: Baby’s First Tooth #smilehood

Post created in partnership with Orajel.

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Kaya is headed to her very first dentist visit soon. We are talking about what going to the dentist means and what will happen so she’s prepared. We played dentist a few times but she didn’t seem to like it haha. She’s got a mouthful of teeth to clean so I’m excited about this milestone. I remember when she got her first two little bitty teeth on the bottom. That was an exciting milestone.

I was ready for her though. I had been through the whole teething thing with Rohan and was all prepared with my tools. I had an amber necklace, cold teething toys, Orajel teething tablets, and two arms ready to snuggle a cranky teething baby.

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Rohan teethed with a fever, and was drooling everywhere and chomping on anything he could find, like a little puppy. We were breastfeeding on demand so I was nervous about what would happen when his teeth came in. I had images of chomped up nipples in my nightmares. Luckily that wasn’t the case.

With both Rohan and Kaya I loved seeing that first tooth poking through. It came in earlier than I expected and while I was excited about the milestone I was also sad about how fast time was flying. We changed a bit of our routine when the first itty bitty teeth broke through. Here are some of my tips for handling this baby milestone:

Wipe after every meal

Wiping baby’s mouth and all around that new tooth is key to keeping little mouths healthy and clean.

Be extra extra gentle

Those gums are swollen and super sensitive both before and after the tooth pops up. The tooth itself is extra sensitive to touch. Be sure to wipe and clean the mouth as gently as possible. Use the softest washcloth you have or one of Orajel’s gum cleaners to be sure you don’t cause any further pain to baby’s little mouth.

Have soothers on hand all the time

Wet refridgerated washclothes, a chilled “sophie,” frozen teething soother thingies, teething tablets, amber necklaces…whatever you can find….have it on hand. You want to be able to quickly dull the pain for your little one and keep them as happy as possible during teething time. It’s good to have a variety of options because some things will work well at certain times, and then not at all during other times. It depends on level of crankiness.

Oh yeah…Be ready for crankies

Nuff said. Be ready!

Keep babies hands (and toys) extra clean

Those hands (and everything else) will be in their mouths more than ever it seems. Try to wash their hands and favorite toys to chomp on as often as possible.

What did you do when baby’s first tooth came in?

I’m excited to partner with Orajel™ as a Smilehood ambassador for 2016. Orajel is one of the most trusted brands of pain relief and oral care solutions for babies and young children and we have used it exclusively for Rohan and Kaya from the teething tablets, to the finger toothbrush to the toothpastes they fight over. I’m joining forces with several moms to share about oral hygiene for out little ones as well as our experiences with the brand.

This post was sponsored by Orajel but you already know everything above is 100% me. Visit Orajel’s website to peep their extensive product line and get tips on keeping your children’s teeth healthy.

Evenflo Sibby Travel System Review

“This post was sponsored by Evenflo as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

I received the Evenflo Sibby Travel System to facilitate my review.”

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Rohan, Kaya and I take strolls almost every day. Most of the time we head out with two babies in the stroller and head back home with both kids running in front of me while I push an empty stroller along. I have a few strollers that we rotate, but I was really excited to try out the Sibby Travel System by Evenflo.

The Sibby system comes with a rear-facing car seat and a stroller built for two children. One standing, the other seated. For us, the car seat wasn’t a fit. We installed it, popped Kaya in…and she was too big, and too long. Poor thing was crunched up in the back. (I wish I had a pic) We have her forward facing these days.

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The stroller however, is my new go-to.

We have 2 single strollers, and 2 doubles. Our travel double stroller is “umbrella” style and only used on trips. Our standard double stroller is front/back style with two full seats one kid facing forward and one kid facing me as we stroll. It is big, heavy and not so easy to maneuver.

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The Sibby stroller is a light and super mobile alternative. Kaya(2) sits in it, and Rohan (4) stands on the back. He likes to be more independent when we’re out so this is perfect for our needs. Rohan also enjoys pushing Kai in the stroller so the stand in the back easily flips up so he can push her without bumping his little feet on it. He recently discovered that if he leaves the stand down he can use the stroller as a scooter while he pushes Kai along. (Anything to keep him quiet and close by.)

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I love how light and easy to push the Sibby is. When it’s just Kaya in it, if the ride-on board is down, it makes a loud rattling sound so you’ll certainly remember to clip it back up. I think that’s my only “complaint.” You can pick it up at Target or online at Target.com. You can check out the specs at the Evenflo website. This is a great stroller for families with two littles.

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Have you tried the Evenflo Sibby yet?

Confession: I Wish I Only Had One Child




cute curly hair mixed kids hugging

I have a mom confession. I wish I only had one child.

When Rohan was born I loved that one boy to the point I thought I’d explode. I had no idea how I was supposed to somehow make space in my heart to love another child. Then when Kaya came around when Rohan was 20 months I realized…ohhh…your heart just grows! Now I am grateful to be blessed with two little nuggets that I love with all my expanded heart.

And still…..I wish I only had one of them.




I have mentioned time and again how grateful we are to have my extended family near by. It’s a huge part of why we chose to move from NYC to south Florida. They are constantly taking one or both of my kids and allowing me a little room to breathe. My aunts take great care of Rohan and Kaya….spoil them and overfeed them just like they did with me at their ages. On a good week we usually have 1 or 2 days where I only have one child, and maybe 1 day when I’m free from mom duty alltogether.

It’s glorious.

The problem is the weeks when my aunts can’t take my little monsters and I have them both at home full time. Now if they never took them, I wouldn’t know the beauty of being a mom of one or the freedom of being child-free. No. I wouldn’t know what I was missing.

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When the kids are trying to murder each other, or both pawing at me at the same time, using that shrill and shreiky tone, or the whiney cry…. I wouldn’t have those fond memories of the one-child days to pine for. When Kaya is hiding to sneakily open some tube of something toxic and Rohan is trying out all his bad words and testing my limits I just want to ship them both off to boot camp. Or one of my aunties’ houses.

I wish I only had one child. At a time, that is. When Rohan and Kaya are together there is more noise, mess, injury, violence, stickiness, whining, “NO” screamed at the top of lungs, pulling at my clothes and way more fighting to eat/sleep/get dressed/listen.

When it’s just one. Doesn’t matter which one… Oh my goodness you guys, that one is an angel. An angel I tell you!

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That one listens. That one is sweet and obedient. That one is calm and fun and patient. When it’s just one I don’t have to redirect, raise my voice, give a look, use a stern tone, separate fights, threaten, discipline, mediate arguments, bribe, remember to hand things to them at the same time, give pieces the same size, think of who chose the song or show last so we can take turns.

When it’s just one I can get work done. I can cook easily, clean up easily. I don’t have to consider how to make each activity suitable for two ages. I don’t have to think of activities both will enjoy, or books both will want to hear at the same time. I have more room to just breathe. And sometimes….sometimes I can even poop alone.




Even though we’re homeschooling, Rohan is trying out a 3-hour montessori program that starts this fall. So for 3 precious hours a day I will have just one child.

I. Cannot. Wait.

Do you have any mom confessions?

i wish i only had one child

I Bribe My Kids And I’m Not Ashamed to Admit it

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I love being a mom of two crazy kids. You already know they’re my whole world. But having them 21 months apart is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that they can be the best of friends in the future and now they are on similar wavelengths and levels on so many things. The curse is all the: whining, fighting, complaining, competing, hitting, sleep avoidance, hunger strikes, “No”s … let me just stop here because the list could go on forever.

I’ve learned that as a mom we start doing things we say we’d never do. The anti-TV mom gives the kids screen-time all day. The strictly clean-eating mom gives fast food burgers more often than not…. you get the point.

My Never was that I would never have my kids running the show….

Can we say…FAIL!

These children know they have so much power. It’s ridiculous. They straight up play me. (Exhibit A) One part of parenting I always saw on TV but never thought would be a reality in my own life is: Bribery. I figured my kids would whine and fuss and I’d just find sly mommy ways to trick em into doing what I want them to….. Because I’m the grown up of course… I run the show right?

Nope.

#nothappening

I have to bribe those children sometimes….and I’m not even ashamed to admit it.

So now I find myself saying things like “If you do X you can do Y” and I don’t even blink an eye. I’m all about the end results… by any means necessary. So if I have to give you a few chocolate covered raisins for you to sit down, be quiet and eat… I’m going to do it.

Luckily… my kids are as quirky as their mama…. and I bribe them in the most odd ways.

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I have said…probably 8 to 10 times this week alone: “If you ____, I’ll let you go brush teeth!” to which I received loud “YAYs” and squeals of joy from my little nuggets….followed by impeccable behavior until tooth-brushing time.

I have no idea why they enjoy brushing their teeth so much, but I’m guessing it has something to do with Elmo and Thomas on their Orajel toothpaste tubes. (Which they insist on holding tightly in one fist while they brush with the other hand.) We also use light-up tooth brushes so that adds to the fun factor.

The kids also will really fall in line quickly for bribes including play doh, the outdoors and the library… but brushing their teeth, closely followed by some sort of chocolate treat are the top bribes.

John has jumped on the bribery bandwagon. His go to is little chocolate candies…and glowsticks. Just the other day I heard a very distinct “If you ___ then you get ___.”…and suddenly our bathroom was a disco.

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So bribery is now a family affair. I’m a little nervous that the kids are going to start acting out more often because they know a treat will come from it… so we may have to change our tactic eventually… but for now.. with my toddler and preschooler we’re going to keep the bribery alive. I just hope they continue to love brushing their teeth as a treat!

Do you bribe your kids?

I’m excited to partner with Orajel™ as a Smilehood ambassador for 2016. Orajel is one of the most trusted brands of pain relief and oral care solutions for babies and young children and we have used it exclusively for Rohan and Kaya from the teething tablets, to the finger toothbrush to the toothpastes they fight over. I’m joining forces with several moms to share about oral hygiene for out little ones as well as our experiences with the brand.

This post was sponsored by Orajel but you already know everything above is 100% me. Visit Orajel’s website to peep their extensive product line and get tips on keeping your children’s teeth healthy. (With or without bribery.)

brush ro

We’re Learning Spanish!

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So a couple months ago, I was having a really rough day with the kids. I had a migraine and it’s like Rohan was a shark smelling blood in the water. His behavior was so horrible. Bad language, hitting, defiance, destroying stuff… I wanted to punch him. Kai was no better. Whining, and instigating stuff with Ro… And the both of them were so loud and just little menaces.

Ugh.

In a last ditch effort to get them to be rapt for a minute while I got some coffee and hid from them…I turned on Daniel Tiger, which usually works.
Not this time.

They both were just on me. Wrapping around my legs, hitting and pushing each other, pulling at my clothes, whining in that annoying tone…you know the one tone that just slices your patience to shreds….

im gunna kill you

I snapped.

I don’t know where it came from.

I just started buggin out, yelling at them… in Spanish. I walked over to the couch and slapped it with both hands and said Ninos sientate aqui! They legit looked at each other like…um…what the F is going on? and just kinda dawdled in the kitchen, so I shouted AHORRRAAAHHH!!!! and slapped the couch again and again like a crazy lady.

They both ran over and sat their little confused butts on the couch tho. And they were quiet. Stunned to silence no doubt. Eyes big as hell. So, for the rest of the day I just spoke to them in Spanish. I’d gesture to let them know what I was saying, and I’d make them repeat what I wanted them to say “por favor” “gracias” etc…

I’m not 100% fluent yet but I’m pretty good. Definitely understand way more than I can say, and that’s mostly confidence-based vs knowledge-based…KWIM?. I’ve learned a good amount from friends and family, school and Guatemala….and living in Washington Heights for years :). But I know enough to get by. Once I’m in a Spanish speaking place it’s like everything I know kinda rushes back into my accessible memory.




Anyway…

Later that day, I really needed a break so I turned on youtube on the TV and just said “learn spanish for kids” into the controller and something I’d never heard of (but now totally love) popped up. Little Pim. Do you know it? I put the kids back on the couch and they watched little pim and repeated the shapes and colors and numbers and whatever little words they were learning with the panda on the screen.  Well… Rohan did. Kaya just watched.

It was actually really amazing to observe Rohan during this. When I was talking to him in Spanish, he was looking in my eyes, at my body sooo intently. You could see him trying to get all the clues of what was going on so he could understand. His gears were totally turning and he was full engaged…it was beautiful.

By the end of the day Rohan was “speaking Spanish” to Kaya. It was gibberish….sounded like “esca dasca esca dasca” over and over with different intonation lol, but it works. He points and gestures while escadasaca-ing and she responds in English with what seems to be the right answer!

Next day, after breakfast I was playing with them as usual and Rohan was like “No mommy, talk spanish.” So I started doing Spanish mornings from there on. We’d be mostly spanish in the mornings until after their nap. I let them watch Little Pim, and we got some Spanish DVDs from the library.

I realized how limited my Spanish is from doing this little exercise with them. I have to look up vocab words a lot and I’m crap at talking in the past tense. I picked up Pimsleur from the library (but honestly haven’t played a single cd yet lol.)

Honestly, over the past month it has waned….I got lazy and eventually Rohan stopped reminding me. It wasn’t until I was planning for my Hispanicize trip that I got my renewed intention to improve my Spanish and teach the kids some more. John knows a little bit of Spanish from friends and his travels to Ecuador but he’s way worse than me so he needs to step his game up too.

So for the kids here’s my plan:

  • Watching: Plaza Sesamo, Little Pim, (and if I can find one of their fave shows in Spanish)
  • Reading: Spanish books from the library (we started this and both kids seem to love it!)
  • Speaking: Talking to them only in spanish at least part of the day (and making them repeat and try too)
  • Listening: I’m going to play spanish music throughout the day (will they love ricky martin too?!)

That’s it for now. I’m not going bucknuts with it. I have no idea how to teach kids Spanish other than letting them get immersed in it like they were with English. #unschool?

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I want it to be fun, but I want their ears to get used to Spanish as they memorize some basics. Ro knows his colors and numbers 1-10 in Spanish. Kai is just soaking it in for now.

(When I point to something blue and say Que color es? She’s like “Blue” So I respond “Dime en espanol Kaisy, tell me in Spanish”  She looks at me like I’m slow and says “BLUE” louder.  So…we’ll work on her slowly. lol)

For John and I, my plan is:

We have Rosetta Stone… but… I know myself…. I’m not going to use it right now. (I may let Ro try it instead)

So I figure we’ll listen to the Pimsleur CDs during the day and in the car at random. I’m going to find a telenovela to get sucked into also. And find a great movie in Spanish. (Y Tu Mama Tambien is one of my faves!) That helps me remember how much I actually know.

I look forward to being fluent and truly bilingual. I hope to do the same for my children.

Hablas Espanol?

Any tips, ideas or resources for us?!