Tag Archives: turtle tales

Monday Mom Confessions: The TV Edition

13 Apr

“It’s impossible to do everything right all the time.  Admitting that is freeing – and it’s also encouraging to other moms in the midst of intense seasons.”

~ Kristina Slaney; FamilyWorkLife.com

You’ve heard it a thousand times; “you’re a bad parent if your child watches TV before they’re 2 years old.”

I call bullshit.

If my son didn’t start watching TV before he was 2, I would still be un-showered, un-kept, and totally disheveled. Did I mention that I also have a full time job? I don’t think they would appreciate the “homeless” version of myself that I would have been, if I didn’t introduce the TV to my son at an earlier age.

Let me back up.

I started out completely against screens before 2. Then, my son recognized Elmo and I had no idea how. I had never shown him the crazy red muppet and somehow, Elmo was his buddy, his pal. My early talker (late walker), requested this “lovable monster” so many times a day… So I caved and turned on Sesame Street. He squealed with delight.

After a few minutes, I turned it off, because I felt the motion of the show was too fast for him still. He cried and cried. Sorry, buddy.

Showering pre-TV: 

Before the introduction of TV, my son sat in the bathroom with me every day while I showered. I would haul his high chair into the bathroom, load him up with books and a snack, get in the shower and leave the door open. I spent my showers freezing my butt off as the cold air hit my warming skin under the hot water. But, I did this every day from the time I went back to work, at 14 weeks post partum, until he was 15 months old, and learned to walk. No longer did he want to sit in his high chair and read books. My showers got shorter and colder and more stressful, resulting in days of “oops, I forgot to rinse the conditioner out!” and “I’ll never shave my legs again” and “did I actually use soap today?”  I would literally cram a shower into 1.5 minutes, trying to stop him from climbing out of his highchair the whole time.

I had to do something. I need about 10 minutes to shower in the morning. 20 if I want to get completely ready for the day (no more makeup or hair drying for me at this point). So, I introduced him to the TV and he loved it (duh).

We were very selective on the shows we let him watch and timed everything in a borderline obsessive manner.

We looked for “slow animation” shows that weren’t totally brain destroying and things that would occupy his senses without overly stimulating them.

Here’s our list of first shows:

  1. Turtle Tales: Sammy’s Adventures: This is a great movie about humans rotting the earth/water for sea animals, as told my an old man turtle (Sammy), as he relives his adventures with his best friend, Ray. The story is sweet, the music is good, but the animation is SLOW and mostly takes place under water, so it has that delayed movement feel to it. This is still a favorite movie for Remy, except now, he screams “SHARK!!!! SWIM AWAY SAMMY!!!!” as he watches it. This is available on Netflix or to download on iTunes, if you need it on an iPad for travel purposes.
  2. Jonathan Bird’s Blue World – Turtles: A common theme, Remy loves turtles. All of the Blue World TV shows are awesome, educational and beautifully shot. Remy calls Jonathan Bird, “Rocka Bird” and knows more about turtle life (including their mating and egg laying/hatching) than I knew at 37 when we first discovered the show. Another favorite episode is “Sully the Pilot Whale“. There are a ton of other videos here as well: Rocka Bird on the Youtubes. A nice thing about this, is that it’s YouTube based, so you can watch it on any device you own.
  3. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood : The Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood legacy continues with this cute little animated tiger, named Daniel. Every episode has a “lesson” and a cute little 1 line song to go along with it (songs like, “Keep trying, you’ll get be-et-ter!” will be used in our house for as long as it takes Remy to continue to try to do something himself, instead of always asking one of us to do it for him). Super slow animation and really sweet nostalgia as you hear the theme song, “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” play. Available on Netflix, PBS Kids App (if you don’t have it yet, you need it), and the PBS Kids channel on Roku/AppeTV.

So, there you have it.

Now, at slightly over 2, my son knows how to use a remote control, knows how to sit and watch a show and yes, my showers are longer and better, and I can actually “park him” when I need a break, or need to do the dishes without him wanting to be picked up or played with. He watches several other things now too, like Dora the Explorer and The Cat in the Hat, among others. Sometimes I even let him watch TV on an app on my phone, while we snuggle away the early morning hours, when my pregnant booty needs just a few more minutes of sleep!

Mama needs a break sometimes and this is our way of ensuring his safety, while making sure I can still function/don’t smell bad.

10 Tips for Flying with a Toddler

19 Aug

Last month, I nervously researched “flying with a toddler” in about every Facebook group, Insta-hashtag and mommy blog I could find. What I found was that everyone prepares like mad, and just hopes to survive the few hours – or way too many hours – they’ll be mid-air with a squirmy-wormy, little monster on their lap.

I was the same.

Instead of making official “busy bags”, I packed a special backpack full of fun stuff for the flight, then a separate diaper bag, with all of the diapering essentials, sani-wipes, essential oils (who knows why), and medicines (Tylenol, Advil, Hyland’s Baby Vitamin C and Teething Tablets – again, who knows why). We were lucky enough to have only pee diapers on the plane, thank goodness, but we were prepared, just in case shit hit the fan… literally.

Anyway, we had a GREAT flight both directions and though that might be because I have an awesome kid, here’s my recommendation for flying with a toddler:

1. Get seats next to your partner (I recommend aisle and middle). This also means GET TO THE AIRPORT EARLY!!!

We didn’t want to splurge on the ‘extra 4″ of room’ fees, or bulkhead seats, and got to the airport for both flights way too late to be too choosey, but having seats next to your partner is really great. That way, you can have more room on your laps, lift the arm rest between you, and just kinda share the wiggle. I also felt like having a window (which I typically prefer) would have made us feel too trapped and when little mister needed to walk the aisles for a few, or I needed to grab something from the overhead, and it would have just been a giant bummer for the person in the aisle.

If you’re flying solo, it’s probably best to try to get the aisle, so they can hang their legs off the side and squirm as much as needed too. Plus, kids seem to think that the rolling carts are pretty cool and flight attendants really like chatting with good babies. Any second that passes time in a positive way, means any time without tears.

2. Bring a stroller, but wear your baby! 

We almost opted to rent a stroller in Hawaii, but had recently purchased a BOB from our neighbors who were no longer using theirs. We paid $80 for it (what we would have paid renting) and it was a LIFESAVER in the airport, plus, we got to use it all over the place on our trip, and even more so at home. Best $80 ever.

I wore Remy in the Ergo, and put all of our carryon’s in the stroller, which was great, because we spent most of the time in the airport running to catch our flight (we’re TERRIBLE at getting to airports early). When you wear your baby, they basically pass you through security, and just check your hands for chemicals… which, duh. Why would a mom with a baby have bomb chemicals on her? I guess there are still bad people in the world.

IMG_7723.JPG

Baby/backpack wearing, travel fam.

3. Bring a packed lunch, and if you have time, buy more food at the airport. 

Airline food sucks and it’s not toddler friendly, unless your kid likes nasty roast beef and mayo sandwiches, or can chew almonds and stuff like that. Like I said, we are TERRIBLE at getting to airports when we should, so we weren’t able to buy food in advance of the flight, which meant that the snacks I packed were all we had… and the nasty roast beef and mayo sandwich that we all tried to stomach, but struggled with. My best friend had said “bring snacks, snacks, snacks, and more snacks” and she was dead on. We didn’t bring sugary snacks (god forbid it create a sugar high monster on the flight), but we brought all his favorites and didn’t limit how much he ate of them. Gold fish (organic, of course), organic peanut butter sandwich/cookies, fruit shreds, teensy fruit, and Plum Organic baby bars. All of his favorite treats, all healthy, and all we had for a very long time.

4. Talk to your baby about the adventure you’re going on and (try to) show them the plane before you board.

Remy was mesmerized by it. It was really cute.

5. Tylenol… My hero.

I know a lot of moms don’t give their kids Tylenol unless their kid is SUPER sick with a fever, but this is an important one to understand. Your baby can’t adjust the pressure in their ears yet by elongating their eustachian tubes, the way grown ups/big kids can. Chewing gum, popping your ears, all of that is a learned skill and baby’s don’t get it yet. I gave Remy some Tylenol about 30 minutes before take off, and 45 minutes before landing, so that his ears wouldn’t hurt too terribly… especially because he was sick with a double ear infection on our way home.

6. Nurse or Bottle your baby during takeoff and BEFORE landing. 

To piggy back on the Tylenol, if you’ve flown with a head-cold before, you know that the first decrease in altitude is the worst. On our 5 hour flight to Hawaii, we coasted at an easy 35,000 feet. When we first started to decline down to 10,000 feet, my head felt like it was going to explode. I was sick when we left for our trip, and I actually cried like a baby in pain during our decent. Not my finest moment, but I learned something important; the initial decent is the worst part and if you take care of your baby’s potential for pain or discomfort prior to then, you’ll have a much happier munchkin when your feet are on the ground again.  Nursing your baby on the way up, and again on the way down, in combo with Tylenol, will save your sanity, and your sweet little babe some unnecessary pain.

7. Book your flight during a nap or bed time.

Who knew I would have hit the nail on the head with this one, but it worked! My little guy was so tired just from the time of day, and so beat from all of the stimulation of getting onto the flight, that he slept for over an hour and a half each way on our flights to and from Hawaii. I booked the flights at nap-time in Los Angeles (1:00PM) on the way out, and 4:30PM on the way back, which also helped transition back to nap-time in the PST time zone (he, of course, also napped in the car on the way to the airport).

Nursed and Sleepy

Nursed and Sleepy

8. Pack toys your baby is not used to playing with.

For us, it was stickers and Play Dough. My guy is only 17 months old, so he’s just learning how to play with Play Dough, instead of eating it. It was a really fun part of our flight. We made bracelets and snakes… he loved it. Stickers were the other hit. We found these great “reusable sticker books” where you can actually peel the stickers off the page, and re-stick them somewhere else. The Despicable Me Minions were a lot of fun to move around from page to page, but I wish I’d have seen these Melissa & Doug ones too! So cute!!

9. Don’t be afraid of screens.

We all know that the recommendations for toddlers and using iPads/iPhones/sitting in front of the TV is “no screens until 2”, but that doesn’t include air travel. Sorry. DO NOT GUILT YOURSELF for doing what’s necessary to get where you need to go, if your babe is “under age”. We loaded up our favorite family movie “Turtle Tales” on the iPad and brought it along, just in case… Turns out, I like to sleep on flights, and that’s dumb when you’re holding a baby, so I needed a break from the busyness of play time, and “tur-lurs” were just the thing I needed. Remy had never worn headphones before either. Having them on his cute little head, monkey in arm, was just the sweetest thing to me, and most interesting (read “TIME CONSUMING”) thing I could have hoped for. Also, just pay attention to your kid and try to keep the amount of time you spend distracted from their needs (ie. on your airplane mode phone playing solitaire, or reading the latest tween novel).

Turtle Tales, Monkey, headphones and my Babe.

Turtle Tales, Monkey, headphones and my Babe.

10. Have Some FUN! Wear Matching Family Outfits! Be THAT Family!

This has nothing to do with the success of the flight, other than that it may help you keep a jovial perspective if/when things get rocky. 🙂

Once upon an unmarried time, my future husband made a jokey reference to wanting to “always match when we travel, like the Royal Tenenbaums”. So, for one of his wedding-day presents, I had matching black Adidas warmups made, with silly nicknames and the date on each of our jackets, and our initials on the pant fronts, for us to wear on our honeymoon.We looked like we were from the Jersey Shore. Hilarious. That started the family trend, silly as it was.

Thanks to so many modern brands realizing how fun it is to match your family, without looking like a moron, there are so many options for looking good while matching. My current favorite is Sly Fox Threads. Their designs are awesome, and they have mom, dad and baby clothes that are all awesome. Here’s a pic of my dudes in Maui, matching as my men should.

Happy matching in Maui!

My Boys in Sly Fox, matching in Maui!

The point is, be prepared, but relax and have fun with it. Traveling is stressful with or without a kiddo on your hip, so make the most of it by creating your experience as you go.

If you have any additions to my little list, feel free to leave it in the comments.

Happy trails!

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