18 Random Pieces of Toddler Magic

Standard

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged here, mostly because the whirl of mom-life is like a vortex that sucks me in. Every day is so full of Zaza that everything else takes a backseat–and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Life as a parent is packed–not only with to-do lists and errands, but with golden memories that happen in a minute, but will last a lifetime.

46B26F2C-2844-4D8C-96C6-1A4C46806B6E

With that in mind, here are 18 random moments of toddler magic that bring a smile to my face on a rainy day–literally or figuratively.

  1. Stroking her soft rosebud skin and silky ringlets as we snuggle and nurse.
  2. Waking up next to her every morning and asking her what she dreamed about.
  3. Indulging her curious mind by answering her many questions. (Her current favorite, “What is this?”)
  4. Her pure, sweet laughter as I push her higher and higher on the swing or spin her around in circles when we dance.
  5. The surprisingly tight grip of her little arms as she squeezes me in a loving hug.
  6. The feeling of her tiny hand in mine as we navigate life’s adventures together.
  7. Inhaling the earthy, mammal-y musk of her hair after a long day of playing outside.
  8. The way she closes her eyes and says, “That’s delightful,” when eating her favorite foods.
  9. Letting the sand exfoliate my feet the natural way as I chase her through the sandbox and climbing frames at the playground.
  10. Seeing her eyes glow with delight when she interacts with animals, whether at the zoo or with random dogs at the park.
  11. Joining her in a state of toddler zen when she basks in the sun and plays in the sand at the beach.
  12. Wondering what she’s dreaming about when she smiles or giggles in her sleep.
  13. The high, sweet tones of her voice as she hums and sings around the house.
  14. Her enthusiasm and eagerness to help with ordinary household chores like cooking, vacuuming, and dusting.
  15. The way that she makes even mundane things like going to the car wash into super fun and exciting events.
  16. The funny and random things she says sometimes, i.e. “I’m going to Central Africa,” and “Milk is my superfood,” and “I like to wake up next to you.”
  17. Getting lost in a good book with her—and listening to her “read” her books from memory when she doesn’t know I’m watching.
  18. And finally, my favorite: The soft touch of her little fingers as she strokes my face and says, “I love everything about you, Mum-mum.”

Parents out there, I hope these made you smile. What are some of your favorite magic moments with your little one? I’d love to hear them!

5 Ways to Take Care of Baby…While Taking Care of Yourself

Standard

I’ve decided to return to this blog, not because I’m prego again, but because I realized that many of you who follow the blog have probably had your babies as well, and are now in the post-prego stage. Therefore, I’ve created a new “Post-Prego” section, which will be filled with all things mommy!

Today, I’m super excited to share my reflections about how to take care of your baby while still taking care of yourself. One of the top complaints I hear from many new (and not-so-new) moms is that it’s nearly impossible to find the time to raise your child, work, perform all your normal household chores, and do the little niceties that make life more bearable, such as exercising, fixing your hair, and putting on makeup.

As mothers, we know that in order to take the best possible care of our children, we must take care of ourselves first, but it’s not easy. It’s a give-and-take sort of equilibrium and every day is different, but after six months, I’ve found some balance, which I’m eager to share with you.

So, without further adieu, here are five ways to take care of your baby while taking care of yourself.

  1. Exercise with baby – There are tons of amazing toning and cardio exercises that I can do right in my living room with my baby girl. Find some excellent at-home workouts at flaviliciousfitness.com. I put Xaviana on her mat, and she rolls, kicks, creeps, and giggles as she watches me do circuit training and toning exercises. Plus, she’s the perfect weight to carry while I do squats, lunges, and calf-raises–and she loves it! Even if she’s fussy, the close body contact and repetitive movements calm her down every time. I also take her out for brisk walks/runs in the jogging stroller, and frolic with her on the beach, lifting her up and spinning her in circles. My exercise-with-baby regimen works for me because I like working out alone, but if you do better in a group, check out mommy-and-me yoga, barre, and stroller jam classes in your area.

    Lifting your baby high overhead and spinning her around totally counts as exercise!

    Lifting your baby high overhead and spinning her around totally counts as exercise!

  2. Do your makeup with baby – Weird as it may sound, Xaviana really enjoys watching me do my makeup, probably because I’ve been giving her “makeup tutorials” since she was a newborn. When she was younger, I would place her on the bed and sit next to her, pulling out the items and explaining what I was doing. Now that she’s more mobile, I do the same thing–but bring her and the makeup case to her play mat. She loves the pretty shapes and colors of the eyeshadows, lip glosses, and my Too-Faced Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blush, which comes in a cute little heart-shaped container. It’s the perfect bonding experience for a girly mom and girly-girl, but I think boys might be interested as well, since makeup can be like a really fun art project for your face!

    After a makeup session, beauty mag and all. ;)

    After a makeup session, beauty mag and all. 😉

  3. Cook with baby – Most of the time, I sit Xaviana in her high chair or her Rockaroo when I cook. I sing to her, listen to music or an audiobook, or just talk to her. Often, I explain what I’m cooking step-by-step, as if she’s in the audience of my very own cooking show. She’s interested in the colors and textures of the food, and I hope that our cooking time will inspire her to be involved in mealtime prep as she gets older, and to have a lifetime of healthy eating! If she’s fussy, I wear her in the Baby K’Tan, and sing and dance a little as I cook. The combination of movement and singing always does the trick!
  4. Read with baby – Xaviana and I are total fans of baby books, especially her favorite, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. But that doesn’t mean I want to get behind on my adult reading. To keep my brain stimulated, I read adult books aloud to Xaviana. She enjoys listening, and it’s the perfect way to boost her early language skills. When I’m editing my own books, I often read her excerpts, combining work and play.

    My favorite little officemate... While editing my eBooks, I often read them aloud to Xaviana.

    My favorite little officemate at 3 months… While editing my eBooks, I often read them aloud to Xaviana.

  5.  Involve baby in your hobbies – Ive played the piano for Xaviana ever since she was in utero. Not only is it a soothing and pleasurable hobby for me, but she really enjoys it, and we all know that classical music is an amazing way to boost higher order thinking skills in mom and baby! When I practice, I either place her in her swing or on her play mat. Antonio and I also do “Artist Colony” sessions outside on our patio. He is learning guitar, so Xaviana listens as he strums and I sketch or paint. It’s the perfect way to stimulate Xaviana’s mind as well as our own, involving every member of the family in the fun!

    An "Artist Colony" session on the patio

    An “Artist Colony” session on the patio

New moms out there, what creative methods have you devised to take care of your babies while taking care of yourselves? I’d love to hear what you have to say!