All I want for Valentine’s Day is my two front teeth…

…Well, not mine. Little guy is in misery. 

The poor baby can’t sleep and just kind of whimpers all day when he is not chewing on absolutely everything he can get his little grip on. I know this teething affliction can’t be avoided, so I have spent some considerable time searching for ways to alleviate the discomfort without resorting to medicine. I’ve come up with a few things that work best for us. These tips are not new, I just wanted to offer a summary of the advice I’ve gotten and what has worked best.

Ice in the pacifier. I read this tip online somewhere when I was pregnant and thought it was kind of odd. But desperation can make a lot of crazy things sane, so I gave it a try. Once little guy was cleared by the pediatrician to drink a little water, I decided to try this trick. Compress the bulb of a pacifier and submerge it in a glass of water to fill the bulb part-way with water, then throw it in the freezer. He absolutely loved this. It was like the teething ring, but he didn’t need to hold it and test his luck with his sometimes shaky hand-eye coordination.

Sophie the Giraffe. When I got pregnant, mom friends couldn’t stop buzzing about this little rubber toy. My aunt was kind enough to give it to us as a shower gift.  I have to say, when I opened it I was unimpressed. It just looks like a cute little animal toy that squeaks so my dogs also find it irresistible (which is a bit of an issue!) However, this little toy seems to be the only thing that comforts little guy sometimes. I think it must be just the right texture and size for his little hands. I do well to never leave it at home!

My fingers.  I was hesitant about trying this one (um, ouch!), but my neighbor recommended it as the one thing that really helped her boys when they were teething. So I wash my hands really well and just sort of gently rub his gums and let him chew. It’s mesmerizing. And it seems to let him know I know what is hurting and I’m trying to help. That last part may be totally in my head, but it makes me feel better.

Distraction. Little guy is at an awesome age where movement really fascinates him. He loves to to try to anticipate my moves when I tickle him, or to fly like and airplane, or drop like an elevator when I do squats. It is one heck of a workout “flying” him all around the house and squatting with him (did I mention he’s 21 lbs at 6 months?!) Plus, he is just starting the belly laugh, and that is worth anything I can do to hear that adorable giggle.

Cuddles. I’m sleep deprived, so the constant neediness that accompanies teething can definitely be trying on my nerves and patience. But I am not the one going through the teething, and I know this won’t last forever. The best remedy I’ve found so far is lots of cuddle time and compassion. So for two nights in a row, I waited patiently while he fell asleep in my arms on the couch, since he seems too fidgety and uncomfortable to fall asleep like he normally does. One day I will be sad he doesn’t want to fly around like an airplane or fall asleep on my chest. 

It’s another phase that won’t last forever, but I sure do hope little guy feels better soon.

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Improving my to-do list

My to-do lists are awful. They are scattered everywhere in my house, like the random thoughts tumbling around in my brain. I’m guessing it’s a good habit to write so many of my thoughts down, but not so helpful when they become more clutter on the kitchen counter (and office, and living room and car…)

Still, for all my to-do lists, I often feel like I’m simply shuffling of things around, like I’m moving but not necessarily going anywhere or accomplishing much of anything. Even after a productive day, I feel like I missed something important that I really meant to do, though I can’t always put my finger on why I feel this way.

It occurred to me in the shower (as most of my discoveries do) that maybe what I’m missing is a more complete to-do list: one that will make me feels accomplished no matter how many dishes are still “soaking” in the sink.

The list became longer than I was expecting, but I still think each of these things is doable on a daily basis.

1. Do something that scares me. This one has to do with my efforts to venture outside my comfort zone as much as possible. I’m naturally a bit of a homebody, and now that I don’t actually leave the house to work (and some days don’t leave the house at all), my comfort zone seems to be shrinking. Big or small, I want to do one thing every day on the edge of my comfort zone to keep it from collapsing in on me.

2. Un-procrastinate. This one will be hard because I am an expert procrastinator and queen of making excuses to myself. My time management potential would go through the roof, I’m convinced, if I just un-procrastinated one or two things per day. The hardest part is never the task I am procrastinating. It is getting over the hump of making me start something.

3. Connect with someone. Back to the homebody thing—I tend to go too long without reaching out to friends and family. For most people, this one is a given, but for me it can be tough to get outside my own head and make sure I connect with someone every day. Whether a phone call, coffee date, or email (though email is a stretch for real connection), I think this one is crucial to add to my daily list.

4. Make a memory. Somehow, little guy is already 6 months old. My dogs are both 5 years old! I’ve been married for going on 6 years. I don’t remember much of what has been going on for the past several years or so—I can see why people seem to think times speeds up as we get older. I used to remember all the Christmases, birthdays, and vacations. Now I find myself questioning how old I am going to be on my next birthday. Not all days are gems, but I every day has at least one thing worth remembering, whether in writing or photograph. Then I’m going to make a scrapbook! (yeah, right!)

5. Do something that makes me happy. Ever since I started writing this blog, I think about it all the time. I’m thinking of ideas for the future. I observe life in a different way through a writer’s eyes. It makes me happy. I love reading other blogs on different perspectives. Every single day, I want to devote time to my own thoughts and writing and reading. I am humbled that people actually follow what I write and care to comment, but I would do it no matter what. It makes me feel like I’ve still got something for just me (and you too, of course).

6. Take a step back. Absolutely everything benefits from a perspective shift. It is so, so easy to get caught up in the way things seem at the moment. If I can re-frame everything and ask myself if the so-called disaster will matter in five years or next week, I will be so much better off.

7. Get outside. And not just dashing to and from my car. I live in the country and it is gorgeous here. Even on cold days. And little guy loves the outside. So if we need to bundle up and take a quick walk in our woods so be it. We have woods! Lots and lots of mature trees, with a footpath right in our back yard! Why am I not taking advantage of this every single day?! Fresh air is good for the lungs and the soul.

8. Let go. Each day that ends, I lament all the things I didn’t finish on my assorted lists. And usually the obscene amount of dog hair that seems grow out of my carpet no matter how many times I vacuum with my way-too-expensive vacuum cleaner (rant for another day). At the end of each day, I want to be able to let go of my expectations and disappointments and just be satisfied for another day lived.