Our little Nater Tater isn’t so little anymore. We’re two months shy of being parents to a four-year-old boy (!!!) and this means the useful life of many things we got when he was born are near their expiration.

I assume most parents aren’t in need of their baby monitor anymore; your toddler can, well, now toddle and get in and out of bed on his own.  If he needs something, he’ll holler out or come get you, and he doesn’t need constant audio supervision in his sleep.  Not Nate.  We’re going to be needing a baby (ahem, toddler) monitor for a long time.  Nate still doesn’t get out of the bed if it’s dark and he still lacks the words to tell you what he needs when he wakes up.  Chad and I recognize the different types of cries.  There’s one that makes us run to get him before he hurts himself.  There’s one that means, “Yeah, I woke up but I’m going to roll back over and give this sleep thing another try.”  And then there’s the most haunting of them all: the cry of laughter, which means, “I’m up, people!  I’M UP!  Let’s start our day NOW!”  That giggle has been heard anywhere between 11PM and 4AM.  It’s maddening.

We have two baby monitors – one upstairs, one downstairs.  Sometimes we tend to forget to turn them off so the little green light is on a lot.  A few weeks ago, I noticed the downstairs monitor was on so I went to turn it off.  I couldn’t.  The darn thing stopped turning off.  And it was wicked hot.  I had to take the battery out to turn it off.  Now, to use the downstairs monitor, we have to put the battery back in it and place it on the charger (because the battery’s on its way out, too).  We also recently discovered that we can put it on the charger without battery and it still works.  However, it means we have to be in the room with the charger to keep an ear out for Nate.  So getting a new baby monitor is on the list.  (We’re taking suggestions, folks.)

Old StrollerNew Stroller

P.S. I cannot believe that Chad’s wearing the same shirt in these photos…

Then there’s the stroller.  Chad’s brother and our sister-in-law bought us a really great travel system.  The car seat is long gone and Nate has now reached the height of the canopy, so his head touches it as he sits inside.  (His head touches the canopy whether or not it is fully extended.)  He’s also 34 pounds and I think we’re pushing the weight limit of this thing.  Again, we are going to need a stroller for many years to come.  Nate runs and doesn’t respond to his name so when just one adult is present he’s often in his stroller for his own safety.  The stroller also provides Nate with  personal space so he feels protected when adults and other kids come up to him.  Not wanting to go the adaptive stroller/push-chair route (because a. it’s way more expensive and b. they’re not attractive), we started a search online for a high capacity stroller.  Turns out, they’re all jogger strollers.  Though many friends recommended the BOB, which has a weight capacity of 70 pounds, we went with the Joovy. The Joovy was cheaper (it was $235 vs. the BOB’s $329 price on Amazon — though the BOB is $400 at our Toys’R’Us) and it came with all of the accessories–drink holder, rain cover etc.–that we would have needed to buy separately with the BOB.  It also helped that a lot of the Amazon recommendations said that they preferred this stroller over the more expensive BOB. The Joovy also holds 75 pounds and the good Lord knows that we might need those extra five pounds.  The Joovy arrived last night and we assembled it while Nate was asleep.  Pete was the guinea pig; he approves the new ride.  

Then there’s the ankle braces and the shoes.  Nate’s low muscle tone makes him pronated — a fancy way to say that he prefers to walk on the insides of his feet rather than distributing the weight evenly on his feet.  To help correct this and build up his muscles, Nate wears Super-Maleolar Orthosis better known as SMOs or, well, ankle braces.  Prescribed by his pediatrician and recommended by his physical therapist, Nate’s braces cup nearly the entirety of each foot–from behind the heel, under his foot to the base of his pinky toe, and are tightened up and around the top of his foot and around his ankle.  The braces have made a world of difference for Nate; he falls over less and can run faster.  And they’re super cute!  Nate picked the dinosaur pattern with blue velcro straps.

The braces are worn over socks and in sneakers, so those sassy summer sandals are a no-go.  Because the braces add extra bulk, Nate needs to wear wide-width shoes.  Each time he goes up a shoe size, he needs to get a new set of braces.  Thankfully, the braces have been covered by our insurance so far, but the special width shoes aren’t.  Wide-width toddler shoes aren’t too easy to find and are rarely on sale.  It’s hard to take advantage of online specials, too, because we need to try the shoes on to make sure they’ll close around his foot.  Two weeks ago, I found a store that sold wide-width shoes — and we couldn’t get the velcro to close over the brace!  Thankfully, they had extra-wide toddler shoes (who knew!?!) and those did the trick.  We’re planning on buying Nate another pair of mesh sneakers so his feet can breathe a bit in the summer months.  His socks are often stinky and wet, even in the cold weather, from the plastic braces and enclosed shoes.

First Popsicle!

And then there’s the diapers!  Most kids are done with diapers by age 4 but we are just beginning to pull out of the station on the potty train.  The protocol is to put Nate in underoos – and just underoos – during the training process but, because his ankle braces can’t get wet, Nate wears underoos underneath a pair of pullups.  He goes potty every half-hour and there are a lot of accidents.  In regular diapers, it’s not uncommon for a tot to be wearing one for three to four hours at a time but, when it’s checked every half hour, I can’t bear to make him put a wet pullup back on.  So we go through pullups like water.  And they’re expensive, I think, because the vendors know it’s your last hurrah in Diaper Land and they want to squeeze you for all they can. We go through a case of them every week (we buy them at Costco) – so it’s about $160 a month in pullups.  It makes me miss diapers.  They were so much cheaper….

And the boy keeps growing!  Nate goes to bed one size and wakes up another.  He’s now a 4T in shirts and a 3T in pants but he’ll be a 4T in pants any minute.  I just marvel at growth — no one’s telling Nate to do it.  He just does it, in his sleep, no less.  It’s quite amazing.

After this round of replacements, we think we’re square for a while…we hope….