Thursday, July 28, 2011

Internet, potty and multilingual talking!

Wow it feels good to be back! I was temporarily separated from my computer for a couple of weeks but I'm back now! Hello again, internet world!

What's new on our side of the screen? Well, LilO celebrated her 1st birthday and we have started potty training, or Elimination Communication to be exact. So here I am trying to take LilO to the potty every now and then throughout the day and it's going great so far.

This is how we started:

1. Bought a potty that was her size. Some of the potties she would have her legs flying around and couldn't touch the ground, so they are made for bigger children.
2. Put her in the potty when she needs to go. This was easy for us for at least two moments in the day when we KNOW she needs to go : after lunch and after dinner :)
3. First time we didn't get anything, but now there's something maybe 80% of the time. Woot!

I'm not doing this thinking she'll be "potty trained" in a month. LilO doesn't walk and can't tell me "potty!" either so until that happens, we're going to have to continue with our system here.

One of the things I'm thinking about now is her nanny for september. We're taking her every day to a caregiver (there will be 3 children total) and I don't know if she'll continue doing what we do or not. While it's true that potty training is part of her job, here they start later on so we'll see how things go. Hopefully in a month's time LilO will get a hang of the potty a bit more and that will convince the nanny? Who knows. In the worst case we'll wait out a few months with her, but we'll continue to do it in the mornings and evenings at home, as well as in the weekends.

Oh and one more thing! LilO doesn't say many distinct words, but it's so cute hearing her say "tiens!" ("here" in English???) when she gives you something, and "tetche!" (for "leche" (milk) in Spanish). Can't wait to see how her vocabulary grows in the different languages!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What if a stranger took a picture of your child?

Last sunday we were at the park and while doing our best carrying the stroller up the stairs to a museum (yay for a stroller friendly city btw!), DH and I noticed a tourist with a huge camera lens shoot a bunch of pictures of LilO. Really? On the stroller, while we both have our hands tied and 20 steps behind us?!

I politely asked the man what he took a picture of - you know, in the rare possibility that he might have been taking a picture of the gutter on the building behind us. But no, it was LilO he was aiming at and suddenly when he saw I was upset he decided he no longer spoke English. How convenient.

I let it go, and we each go on with our lives. What could I have done? Confiscate his zillion dollar camera equipment? Grrrr.

So then today I'm at the park and I notice a young couple sitting nearby on the grass as well. I don't think much of it until I see the woman on the ground place her camera on the ground but towards LilO, take the cap of the lens and turn her DSLR on. I jumped when I saw she was about to take a picture and decided to move and sit where I would cover LilO from her angle. I turned around to see and she had actually gotten up with her camera to get a closer shot. Seriously people?! I have to admit I was a bit ticked off, thinking about what had happened on Sunday already) that I asked her loud and clear so other people noticed why she was taking a picture of my baby. No benefit of the doubt for her.

What can you do in a situation like this? Let it slide? Get upset? Steal their camera and run while pushing the stroller and hope for the best?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Oh the stroller!

I was telling MLDad  the other day I really need to (re)learn to walk without a stroller. When we’re out and he’s pushing the stroller I feel like I forgot something and I believe I even walk in a forward angle anyway.

Living in France is not easy when you have a baby and a stroller to carry around everywhere. Since we pretty much walk or take public transportation most of the week, there are so many difficulties to face each day. You’re bothering the people on the bus with your stroller, does it even fit through the bus doors? What about that store? Oh yes, there are EIGHT steps I need to fly to get up there…. and the list goes on and on. Thank goodness for our Manduca baby carrier, a comfortable baby carrier is a definite must in this city.

Also, where can I change LilO? Oh those nursing rooms in Canada are far away. Those were excellent by the way! Here – completely different story. I know of TWO places downtown where I can change LilO. One is in the mall and the other one is a restaurant with a changing table. I can’t go to the restaurant just for that, so when I’m downtown and feel like being out for more than 2-3 hours, a trip to the mall is absolutely necessary and that sometimes means walking 20-30 minutes to get there and another 20-30 minutes to get back. Diaper blowouts? Not fun. Never fun.

My point is that any help to parents out there as far as stroller and going out with a baby is greatly appreciated. When I went to Paris with LilO for the first time I wanted to get some addresses down and see how I could make our trip a little bit easier.

I came across two websites:
Ma Poussette A Paris (my stroller in Paris) – Great blog on different baby friendly and not so baby friendly stores and restaurants. I think I’m going to have to take a look at everything in there and decide where we’ll go according to the tips the author includes!


Luvaville – a guide on traveling with a baby/child in Paris, London, Copenhagen, Berlin and Barcelona. Shopping, getting around, accommodation, and even diaper changing places !

So did I plan on going to a couple of these places during the day so I knew I had a comfortable place to change and feed LilO? You bet.

And who knows, Barcelona, London, Berlin and Copenhagen don’t sound bad either. :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Baby shoes. Oy oy oy!

I think I would be as excited about baby shoes whether LilO was a boy or a girl. I just love to window shop and look at baby shoes online!

Yet, the choice of shoes is not an easy task. I'm not talking about having to decide which ones are cuter than others, but about picking the appropriate shoe for the foot development. So at least I know one thing: barefoot is best.

But when we need to buy shoes because I'm a germophobe and when we go out I don't want LilO to be walking on who-knows-what kind of floors... what shoes do I get for her?

For the typical French parent, it's easy: the shoe has to be comfortable, high top, and provide a good stiff support on the ankle, like the one below. These are the ones I was recommended by a children's shoe store specialist, for LiLO's FIRST steps. Agh. Could she even move her feet?
Catimini Celeste - 69€ -

However, it's a very different point of view than the one overseas. You see, for the American Podiatric Medical Association, babies need a soft pliable shoe, such as Pediped, Smaller (by See Kai Run) or Robeez, etc. And that excludes the high top stiff ones you find in all baby shoe stores here.

Pediped's Originals Mimi - $32

So I'm going to take a big step here and say that I'm going to follow the APMA's advice and have LilO wear soft shoes. She's not walking yet, but as she learns to take steps and walk this year we'll be changing models and types of shoes. I need to get some shoes though, since I don't like her cute feet cleaning the floors wherever we go.  I know I'll receive a lot of looks and maybe some criticism from other parents because of my non high top shoe choice, but oh well. I'm getting used to that! ;-)

There are a lot of brands to choose from and I guess it all depends on your baby - large ankles, chubby feet, slim feet, etc. :) Here are the ones I decided to get for LilO.

Smaller, by See Kai Run - "Mira" - 40€

Petits Pas de Geants is an online store that sells a good variety of this kind of shoes for babies. Ordering them online directly from the US is possible (and the selling price is a bit cheaper), but the taxes and duties can be tricky at times and make you pay even more before you can receive the package here.

Lutin Botté has some Robeez models and the good thing about them is that there is no return cost if you want to exchange or return the shoes, compared to Petits Pas de Geant. Too bad Lutin Botté doesn't have the low heel and soft shoes variety and focuses on high tops (well, that's the French maket!)

What kind of shoes did you get for your baby's first steps?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Baby babble

Baby laughter and babbling have to be two of the best sounds in the world.

LilO has FINALLY started to babble. When we went to see her pediatrician for her 9 month appointment he had asked if she was repeating syllables (babababa, etc) and I told him she had. Once. She said "ba-ba" the evening before.

But all the other babies are already babbling.... I thought and thankfully kept it to myself.

I was obviously concerned, he was obviously not. "Perfect!", he said. No red flag since she has shown she CAN do it but will do it more whenever she wants. Just what a paranoid first time mother needs to hear.

Well let me tell you... she has been babbling NONSTOP for the past week! Very serious babbling indeed. All sorts of abababa, papapa, addddadda, mamamama, muummumaaa in every waking hour, with some isolated and clear "papa" and "mama". How wonderful this is!

Do I notice a difference of sounds when she's around me or around her dad? French vs Spanish or English. I do! Or maybe it's just wishful thinking and my imagination.  I'm enjoying it though, I can't lie. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Back to sleep?

I've been wondering when it's considered "safe" to leave LilO sleeping on her tummy. She is now 10.5 months old.

It's been a couple of days where MLDad turns her around before we go to sleep since we find her on her stomach instead of on her back like we set her down. I have two friends who lost their children to SIDS and although we will never know what happened with those little angels, I admit I am maybe paranoid about this situation.

On the other side, I know of a lot of moms who let their children sleep on their tummies as soon as they start rolling over since they seem so sleep better that way.

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Weaning to cow's milk or toddler formula?

Before LilO was born, I had already noticed the ready to drink infant and toddler formula in the supermarket along with the "regular" milk. While I already knew infant formula existed, I've never quite understood why toddler milk does. The other moms in an online group I belong to (mainly US based) will give their toddlers whole cow's milk when the little ones turn one year old. So why the toddler milk in France? With LilO turning one year old soon (aaaah!) I think I should figure out what we want to give her if I stop breastfeeding.

My internet research has given me some answers. Simply put, toddler's milk has a lot less animal protein than cow's milk, more iron in order to meet the toddler's needs and extra vitamins. Provided the toddler has a well balanced diet, why the extra iron and less protein?

 An Irish study "concluded that a 6 months higher animal, especially dairy, protein intake at 1 year of age were associated with an unfavourable body composition (higher BMI and relative fat mass) at 7 years of age (1). Thus the "Protein-Adiposity Hypothesis" suggests that high protein after 1 year of age, (particularly from 'animal and dairy sources'), may be associated with increased adiposity and could increase the risk of degenerative diseases in later life."( - note that this is a commercial brand's website but the studies cited do exist).

So excessive protein = possible higher BMI and fat mass at a later age. Not great!

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity suggests "maintaining breastfeeding as long as possible, and, in case human milk is insufficient, to introduce infant formulas, appropriate for age, up to 18–24 months, in order to keep protein intakes in the safe range of 8–12% within a diet adequate in energy and balanced as far as macronutrients." (

I have to admit I'm still not convinced! I don't know why really. Maybe because this toddler formula is not commercialized in many countries and is not seen as necessary. And culturally, it's something new for me.

I have french friends that give their children toddler formula and some that don't.  So I guess weaning is still out of the question until I can decide on something!