Three

I have been procrastinating writing this post for a long time in hopes that it would somehow make the month stretch out longer, therefore keeping my two year old a little while longer. But it seems that time has flown by anyway and I now officially have a three year old! Here’s what she’s loving and doing lately…

  • She still loves reading. We go to the library roughly every week/ week-and-a-half and we pick up 6 or more books at a time. Her favorite stories seem to be ones where the characters get a little silly and are shouting something in them (i.e.- Wolfie the Bunny, The Not So Quiet Library, Llama Llama Red Pajama, etc.). She also really enjoys stories that have really beautiful, fanciful illustrations in them like The Night Gardener, Miss Rumphius, or The Napping House. Her favorite thing to do is read to herself and her stuffed animal friends. Once she has me or my husband read it, she’ll say “I read it! I read it!” And she does! She’ll ‘read’ back everything she can remember including the names of the author and illustrator.

  • She got her first haircut this month! I took her with me to my salon and had my girl trim it for us. She was very curious about what was going on and kept looking around a lot, but other than that she did great. Obviously I kept the hair clippings. That’s just the kind of mama I am!

  • She’s still a water girl. She gets very excited when it rains because she knows that it means puddles. As soon as it stops we’re out the door in our boots to jump and play in all the puddles in front of our house. She also enjoys ‘washing her hands’ in the puddle water and picking out the drowned worms.
  • She is fully potty trained (nights too) and has been since about two and a half. This was something she chose all on her own, if you can believe it. Emile and I were very nervous to start potty training so early, but she had it down in about a week. Then that was that! If I’m telling the truth, I get a little nostalgic when I walk past the diaper section, because it reminds me of just how grown up she’s become.

  • The playground with the ‘bumpy slide’ is where it’s at. She requests to go to this specific playground in the morning when she wakes up, and in the afternoon as well. Every. Single. Day. That’s how much she loves this place.

  • This picture scares me a little because I feel like I can see the person she will grow up to be. Does that ever happen to you? When she was a baby Emile had this picture of her where we put doll glasses on her and I made him take it off his background because she looked too grown up. But I digress. This girl is happiest when she’s outside, which makes both of us equally happy. It is honestly my favorite activity to take her for walks in the woods. She always finds new treasures to take back home, and also attempts to tidy the forest floor by sweeping all the pine needles off the paths.

  • She looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooves music. Loves. Loves. LOVES it. I know that was a lot of “o’s” and love, but you have to understand that’s just how passionate she is about it. She loves to sing. She loves to dance, and she’ll play any instrument that you give her. Just last night Emile and I got to listen to her serenade her puppy to sleep with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star as loud as she could, over, and over again. (Yes I know the above picture is in no way related to a musical activity)

  • She adores her Papa. Her face absolutely lights up whenever she sees him. She hates when he has to start work in the morning and calls for him to come back. Then whenever she hears movement from upstairs in his office she always asks “Is Papa done working??” Whenever he comes downstairs she’ll ask him directly, “Papa are you done working?? Is it the weekend?” He is always coming up with new ideas for games for her, and no one can make her laugh like he can.

For those of you interested, I actually did a little interview with Esmé so you could get her perspective on life at the age of 3:

  1. Who is your favorite person in the whole world? Me
  2. What is your favorite color? Pink and blue
  3. What’s your favorite television show? Little Einsteins
  4. What’s your favorite outfit? Pink
  5. What sport do you like best? Golf
  6. What song do you love? Frosty the Snowman
  7. What’s your favorite cereal? Wheetabix
  8. Who is your best friend? Kenzie and Savanna
  9. What do you want to be when you grow up? A Pirate Ship
  10. What is your favorite book? A Chair For My Mother
  11. What are you really good at? Making food (she really is quite the helper in the kitchen)
  12. Where do you wish you could go on vacation? Cape count (pretty sure she means Cape Town)
  13. What is your best memory? I like yogurt (no idea about this one, sorry)
  14. What would you buy if you had $1000? A skateboard (no clue she even knew what that was)
  15. What vegetable do you hate the most? Salad
  16. If you could have a wish, what would it be? A skateboard (now I’m thinking I got the wrong birthday present)
  17. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Chocolate 
  18. Who is your biggest hero? Kenzie and Savanna and Kristie and Thomas
  19. What do you like to do best with your friends? I like to play with them
  20. What do you hope you’ll get to do before your next birthday? Play

Essie love, you are the brightest sparkle this world has ever seen. You have hair that the cherubs in Michelangelo’s paintings would envy. You run with a bounce and a skip because there is so much joy bubbling inside of you, you often struggle to contain it. You love to laugh. You’re an adventurer. You’re always willing to try new foods, places, or activities (albeit cautiously at first). You know exactly what you want, and you’re not afraid to let everyone else know. You negotiate with frightening skill. You are all the proof I need that magic exists in this world. Happy happy birthday angel baby! I love you so.

We Officially Have A Toddler

 

FullSizeRender (2)This has been something that we have been waiting and waiting and WAITING to happen. Everywhere we go people are always asking if she’s walking yet, and we always see toddlers that are half her size running around, (she is pretty tall), but right after it happened I turned to my husband incredulously and said ‘How did this happen??’

She was just so fast and happy about crawling I kind of thought maybe she would just carry on that way forever. I realize that this is a good thing, and all part of growing up, but I honestly feel a little sad. My heart feels full with pride, but oh so ache-y and like it’s being squeezed at the same time.

We used our last milestone card, I filled in the last blank space in her ‘So Many Firsts’ section of her baby book, and I’m in a little bit of shock about it.

Baby books are kind of evil by the way. Sure it’s cute, and such a nice way to keep all your baby firsts organized, but it requires you to look through all the old pictures and mementos every time you need to add something. You start feeling all nostalgic, and pretty soon you’re wishing you had another small, squishy baby to snuggle and smell.

I’m onto you baby paraphernalia makers. I’m onto you.

In going back through all of her stuff I realized that this time last year we were celebrating our ability to roll. I’ll say it again…How did this happen??? I mean really, because I swear that rolling thing happened just yesterday.

Today was just like any other day: her pounding crawl following me all over the apartment until she found an object to pull herself up on; vehemently refusing to walk unless she had both my hands to hold on to; proud to stand up on her own (she applauds herself), but firmly shakes her head ‘no’ when you ask her to step-step. Then Daddy came home, and we were all sitting in the living room chatting, when she decided she was ready to walk! Apparently she was just waiting for Daddy to show off her skills. Emile quickly ran to get a phone to record it, and we enjoyed several repeat performances ;).

We are so, so proud of our little monkey.

And time? You can slow down now. Really. That would be super.

Milestones and Memories: 12 Months

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Hello friends! I realize it’s been awhile, but we were lucky to have almost all of my family here to celebrate Esmé’s first birthday. The past couple weeks have been spent soaking up as much time with them as I could. As such our last monthly update is a couple weeks late, just like all the others ;). Here’s what she’s been doing now that she is 12 months old.

-She has 10 teeth, two of which are her top first molars.

-She can stand on her own now!

-She is not walking on her own, but she has started to walk with her walking toys finally! She really has only been playing with all the lights and buttons on the front of them before now, so we are very excited about this development.

-She will now shake her head ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ She has a preference for shaking her head ‘no.’

-She can now sign for ‘milk,’ ‘please,’ ‘more,’ ‘all done,’ and ‘eat.’ She also recognizes certain phrases like: bath time, where she will point her hand up above her head because we go ‘up-up’ (the stairs) to get there; or if you tell her to ‘stretch’ she puts both arms up by her head; and Nana taught her how to say ‘WOW’ in whispered wonder, while motioning wide with her hand.

-She still loves her Little Gym class. She gets very excited when she sees other babies and shrieks with delight! Her favorite thing to do is to bounce on the spring board that they have, and she has also learned how to bounce on her own when she’s holding on to a piece of furniture. Daddy, Grandpa, Auntie Bees, and Nana have all had the pleasure of going to class with her.

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-She now drinks regular milk, and has had peanut butter! Her first time eating peanut butter she was very excited, but now she enjoys throwing the crackers with peanut butter on them onto the floor, spread-side down, much more. She really wants to feed herself with a spoon, and is getting more and more frustrated if I try to stop her from dipping her hands into her yogurt bowls. Please pray for Mommy as we go through this very, horribly messy stage of learning to self-feed.

-She has learned to snuggle! Probably my proudest accomplishment yet, although it’s mostly with a blanket/pillow and not so much people. We’re working on it. She will throw herself down, head first and say ‘MMmmmmm!’ when you tell her to snuggle. You can see her playing with her favorite blankie here.

-She has also been to the park a few times now and, in addition to eating sand, swinging is now a favorite past time.

Somehow my child managed not just to survive, but thrive. We made it one whole year without ever getting sick, other than figuring out our food allergies in the beginning. She has been to four different states other than the one we live in. She has been on a plane twice. She has been on four road trips, and she has met family and friends who live half-way around the world.

She teaches me every day about what it means to be patient, how to love, how to feel joy, and how to see magic in every little thing. I truly believe we won the baby-lottery. We have this amazing daughter, who has the ability to bring happiness to everyone around her, and we couldn’t be more grateful.

Esmé’s First Birthday

One year ago today, at precisely 4:16 in the morning, our daughter Esmé Valentine was born.

I spent all of yesterday, and very, very late Monday going through, in my mind, what happened last year, then sharing it with my husband: ‘This time of the morning was when I was shoveling PB&J into my face before we left for the hospital!’ and ‘This was when we arrived at the hospital!’ or ‘This was when I started to want the epidural.

Emile also had some touching recollections: ‘We had to reschedule the delivery for my TV!’ Priorities man. It’s all about priorities.

I knew today was coming, and yes, I had mixed emotions, but I was not expecting it to hit me like a ton of bricks. So I thought I would be helpful and tell you what not to do on your baby’s first birthday so you don’t have to end up like I did. You’re welcome.

1. Do not sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to your baby in front of anyone but your spouse, particularly large gatherings of people at, let’s say, your Little Gym class. You will end up being that mom weeping uncontrollably, unable to see the people offering you sympathetic words of encouragement through blurred eyes.

2. Do not bring your spouse with you to a particularly large gathering of people at, let’s just say, your Little Gym class again. You will hear an awkward voice asking you ‘why are you crying??’ amid all the lovely mothers trying to help you out. You will also have a witness to your uncontrollable weeping that can recount this story for years to come.

3. Do not look at photos from the hospital when your baby was first born, or photos of the first few weeks of their life. You will come across something like this:IMG_1818Oh hello again uncomfortable heart squeezing. So nice of you to make me wish I had my newborn back again. Or there’s this:

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Ah yes. Remember those times when your baby fell asleep in your arms with her mouth open, and you could smell her sweet milk breath? No? Just me?? Also this:

IMG_0793Sweet, happy, dreaming angel. By the time you finish looking at all those photos, you will convince yourself that you need another baby. Don’t do it.

4. Do not go to Target with your now 1 year old baby. There will likely be at least one person to ask how old she is, and you will get all choked up again trying to tell them that today is actually her first birthday. There will also likely be a new mom with a brand new baby that is crying its little heart out. If you managed to hold it together when talking to the person before, good luck keeping it together now.

5. Lastly Do not spend the whole day thinking about how small and squishy your almost-toddler used to be.  Instead spend the day enjoying the person that they are today, because you won’t get another day where they are exactly 365 days old.

IMG_2747Happy Birthday Esmé love!!! We love you so much more than you’ll ever know. Thank you for giving Mommy and Daddy so much love, laughter, and light in our lives.

Milestones and Memories: 11 Months

IMG_2534I am starting to experience serious anxiety as my daughter’s first birthday gets closer and closer. We will be celebrating her birthday a couple weeks late, so that we can celebrate when family is here, so technically I still have a little over 3 weeks to get it together, but I am freaking out. Our baby is going to be one at the end of this month! I just had heart palpitations saying that out loud.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very much excited. Shopping for party decorations reaches whole new levels of excitement when it’s your own child. There were several raised eyebrows from Target employees as I kept saying ‘oOOOOOooo Esmé look at these!! Or these!!’ I got so excited I ended up not buying much because I just couldn’t make up my mind. I’m waiting until reinforcements arrive in the form of my sister. She can help me make up my mind.

Before I am in full birthday-prep mode craziness, I thought I would let you know what she’s been doing as we approach her first birthday:

IMG_2458-The term clingy has taken on a whole new meaning for me. Basically much of my day is spent shuffling around with a certain child wrapped around my legs.

-We were given an activity table by friends of ours and Esmé loves jammin’ out to all the different songs it plays. This has actually helped a little with the clinginess. It will give me about 10 minutes before she realizes I’m missing, then comes to find me again.

-She can sign for milk now! I have been doing the signs for ‘please’, ‘thank you’, ‘more’, ‘milk’, ‘water’, ‘change’, and ‘all done’ for a while now. I largely felt like an idiot because she would just stare back at me, so I was very excited when she started signing for milk.  It’s not 100% consistent, but she knows what that sign means and will crawl to you if you are sitting down and make that sign.

-She is always experimenting with different sounds that she can make and at different volumes. Her latest one is making little clacking noises, (my uncle would be so proud…he can make epic, echoing clacking noises). Every morning when Daddy goes to get her from her room, he will stand outside her door and go ‘Clock, Clock, Clock!’ and Esmé will go ‘clack, clack, clack!’ and then she shrieks with joy when she sees him come in. It’s pretty freaking cute.

IMG_2569-She has been taking a class at The Little Gym which we both love. I love that there are lots of moms with babies close to her age to talk to. She loves to watch all the other kids doing their thing, and crawl and explore everywhere. Her Kindermusik class was such a small space, and there were only a few other kids there who were much older than her, so I feel like this is a much better fit for us. She is one of the youngest in her class, so she still gets to watch and learn from the older babies.

-She still isn’t brave enough to stand or walk on her own. This is actually another thing that her activity table is helping with. She is so excited to be banging on all the different buttons, and making different sounds, that she stands on her own for a few seconds as she’s maneuvering her way around it, without even realizing it!

-In addition to saying mama and dada (not always to the right people or at the right time) she can now say hi and wave her hand. It’s super cute, but we have a little problem with timing. People will wave and say hello to her, and she will just stare at them until they walk past. Then she says ‘HI!’ and waves. So we’re working on that, but progress nonetheless!

-She has learned to pet kitty gently, though she still prefers pulling out her hair, and pulling/eating her tail much more. (The video also showcases her pterodactyling skills, along with her ability to make some of the best farting noises you’ve ever heard. You’re welcome.)

-She also tries her best to copy mommy and daddy. She will nod her head yes, she LOVES to clap her hands, and she has started sticking out her tongue saying ‘aaaaaah!’ when we do it.

IMG_2583She is just the best little munchky and we love her to pieces.

Milestones and Memories: 10 Months

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Esmé is 10 months old now and I feel like she is no longer a baby. For starters, she is already outgrowing her 12 month old tops. They are turning into midriff-showing tops and Daddy just won’t stand for that.

I feel like she can understand us a little bit better as well, or at least she is really good at pretending she does. She looks very intently at you while you are talking, before giving you a cheeky grin, then moving quickly on her way. Here are some highlights of what life is like at 10 months:

-We know how to point now (see above), and we are also starting to pick up things with just our thumb and index finger.

-We now get our daily exercise by climbing the full flight of stairs over, and over, and over, and over again. It is our new favorite thing to do, until we get curious about how to climb down the stairs (about halfway up on the landing), so we go into a strange belly-flop-slide, and then mommy picks us up before we kill ourselves (or cause mommy to go completely gray), and we repeat it all over again.

-She mastered the art of sitting down from a standing position! She will slooooooowly reach one pudgy little hand down to the floor, bending her legs a little until she can touch, then she sits her bottom down. If it is a very tall table she’s holding on to, she still doesn’t know how to get down because her little arms can’t reach the floor.

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-She LOVES to eat. She eats what we eat now, just cut up really small. Her absolute favorite food is avocado with tofu as a close second. I know what you’re thinking, tofu?? But she loves it! I think it’s the perfect texture, so it’s easy for her to pick up and crumbles easily once she starts chewing it. If there are any moms out there looking for finger foods to try with their little ones, give it a try!

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-There is a lot more interaction going on with her playtime. She will look for things if we hide them from her. She will play peek-a-boo (though she isn’t the best at hiding all of her face). She likes any kind of ball that mommy and daddy can roll to her. She’s really getting into her toys that play songs or make noise. She will nod her head, clap her hands, or shake her body if there’s a particular song she’s into. Cat toys are still ranking high as some of our favorites.

-She is strong! She actually shook the gate loose, so daddy had to re-tighten it. Oopsie!

Our little lady is smart, curious, lovely, and a little mischievous. Every day with her is something new!

Milestones and Memories: 9 Months

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In three months time I will no longer be mama to a baby. Wait, we are sort of mid-Feb already, so this craziness is happening in only two and a half months. My baby girl is nine months old! Can someone explain how this happened please? Also of note, my child will never be ten months old. Next year she will be a year and ten months in February, but then she’ll have to wait four more years for it to happen again.

I always go in to her checkups expecting her growth to be off the charts because I feel like she’s huge and weighs a ton. I am then always in shock when the pediatrician tells me otherwise. She is 75% for height and weight, and her head is 80%. My arms and back say she is 150%

She is growing so quickly now. I feel like all of a sudden someone pushed the fast-forward button with learning and development. It’s almost daily that I turn around and she’s doing something new. To all my mamas with younger babies, look out. Change is coming! Here’s what we’ve been doing lately:

-She started climbing the stairs. She’s been climbing all over mommy, daddy and kitty for awhile. She also pulled herself up on the bottom stair, but she hasn’t been strong enough to do much other than that. I left her to bang on the stair to do something in the kitchen, and when I came back she was standing on the first stair.

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-We have also mastered the skill of pulling ourselves up to standing. This literally happened yesterday. I went in to get her in the morning and she was chattering away and smiling to be standing in her crib

-Because of the afore mentioned new skill, we had to lower the crib is as low as it will go. This causes problems for mommy because she can not get all the way down to kiss baby anymore. Esmé doesn’t seem to mind.

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-We do not know how best to fall, see above. Her reaction is to put her right hand behind her head as though reclining in a chair, and the left hand flails out. So while we are very excited to be standing, we don’t know how to sit down if we get tired. So we fuss and cry and whine until someone comes and rescues us.

-She has obviously been sitting on her own for awhile, but within the past month she actually learned to get herself in a sitting position on her own.

-The army crawl (or as my husband calls it leopard crawl) is a thing of the past. We started crawling on hands and knees just before we left to California, but she really mastered it while we were there, as you can see here.

-I fear walking is not far away. She walks very well, and very fast if you give her two fingers to hang on to. She has also started cruising around between furniture and mom.

-She has five teeth now: three top and two bottom. I think this is why everything from shoes to the cat’s tail (sorry Ruby) is a chew toy.

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-She is on her way to eating what we eat. She will eat small pieces of our food if they are squishy enough, and while we were on vacation, we discovered carbs! MMMmmmmmmm! Sourdough bread is mama’s favorite, and it looks like it might be hers too ;).

IMG_2150-This picture just kills me. This is the little angel face I get to see every time I feed her. She might be a little behind in this one, but she is holding her own bottle now.

-She can clap her hands now! It’s one of her favorite party tricks. Just in time too, because we just started music classes! We had our first one today and she LOVED it. There were only two other little boys, maybe 4 years old, and Esmé was fascinated by them. Daddy scolded her when she came home and said ‘no looking at boys.’ She shrieked and pterodactyl-ed at them as loud as she could, and, sweet little ones that they were, shrieked back at her since she couldn’t talk like them. We played with jingle bells, maracas, and a very big, loud drum. We sang and danced, and then we played with bubbles. The bubbles are her favorite so far. Besides the boys 😉

-Last and best of all, she says mama all. day. long. It’s the best thing ever. She says dadda and papa too, but mama is her favorite jibber jabber sound at the moment.

Milestones and Memories: 8 Months

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Last week marked our daughter’s 8 month milestone. She is becoming more and more active, making non-blurry photos hard to come by, as evidenced above. I feel that this is crazy because this means we have only 4 more months until there are no more monthly milestone cards :(.

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A dear friend of mine gifted these cute cards to us in a beautiful basket filled with all sorts of goodies when I was pregnant. I was so excited to use them. ‘Look!’ I told my husband, ‘We can take pictures with all these different things she gets to do!!’ I put them on her shelf in the nursery and eagerly awaited the first time I would get to take her picture with them.

The first card that you use is the 1 week old one. My pregnant self had imagined our baby to be in a coordinating outfit to match her card, on her sheepskin rug, in perfect lighting. I would be smiling, looking on her with love and affection.

In reality, it was nighttime before I remembered, in my delirium, that we needed to take a picture for the first week. I wasn’t going to risk losing my allotted 20 minutes of sleep to wake her up, change her into a pretty outfit, and put her on her pretty rug. We took her picture in her crib, in her pajamas, with the light dimmed so we didn’t disturb her. I looked on her with reluctance and exhaustion.

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I was told that the first 12 weeks are the hardest, and you just have to survive. At that time I couldn’t believe that we had 11 more weeks to go. In the beginning those milestone cards were a reminder of how slowly time was passing. I longed for the day when I would be able to take her picture with the ‘slept through the night for the first time’ card, and really hated mothers who posted about their new babies already being such good sleepers. But survive we did and, eventually, our baby did sleep through the night.

Each month I put a new picture in her baby book and write about what she has been doing for that month. I always look through all the months before. Now that Esmé is 8 months, I have seven different photos to look back on, and I can not believe how much she has grown! She used to be so small that I would put a toy or two in the photo with her just to fill the frame. Now they don’t fit. She barely fits. And I’m lucky if she doesn’t eat the card.

Here is what is happening at 8 months (apologies for it being kind of linktastic, but we’ve been taking a lot of videos):

-She is becoming fast friends with the cat. Ruby keeps forgetting that the baby likes to pull and eat her fur, tail, paws, and face (see here). So in her desperation for attention she will plop down in front of the baby seeking a good scratch. Then once Esmé proceeds to climb on top of her to eat her, she remembers her error, and tries to escape.

-She is down to two naps! This makes Mommy and Daddy’s lives a little easier as the baby bomb timer can now stretch out a little longer. This also equals an hour of a very cranky, whiny baby before nap time. Win some, lose some.

-She is only happy to crawl around on her belly by herself for 30 minutes. She then requires an adult to bend over and hold her hands so she can walk around until she tires of it. Backs are breaking (watch here).

-She has belly laughs! Oh this is the most magical sound you ever have heard. There isn’t one thing that seems to always make her laugh, so my husband and I just make ourselves look like idiots in various ways throughout the day in hopes that we’ll find something. Once we do, we do it over, and over, and over, and over… until she gets tired of it. Yesterday it was very funny to hear mommy snort loudly while sitting in her high chair.

-We are no longer using the baby bathtub :(. We have a very colorful fish non-skid mat that we sit on in the tub. We also like to lean forward to try and eat it, until we remember that we can not breathe in the water. Then we sit back up, and have lots of fun squirting water out our nostrils.

-She isn’t as good an eater as she used to be. I think this is because she wants to feed herself, something that is difficult to do with purees, and she gets frustrated. She loves her fruit, so she will allow you to spoon feed it to her, but her veggies she fights a little. To encourage her feeding herself I cut up slices of banana into little pieces and put them on her tray one at a time. She gets a kick out of eating those. She is also an expert at feeding herself puffs, (our first attempts here), and mum-mums.

-She outgrew her infant car seat, so we got a convertible car seat. Initially we were really excited for it because we thought it would be easier to get her in and out of it. Once it came and we installed it, rear-facing as you’re supposed to, we realized that this seat is even harder to get her in and out of. Awesome. She likes that it is more of a sitting position, but hates that she can’t look around the head bumper things because she’s strapped in tight. Unless it’s a quick trip to Target we generally end up screaming bloody murder. Road trips are a blast.

 

*I am asked about the previously mentioned cards quite frequently, so if you are looking for a present for a soon-to-be-mama you can find them here or here.