Tuesday, November 24


CoverThoseNaps, originally uploaded by Charm City Mama.

What am I to do with all of Miss Olivia's hair? It's too long to look neat in a little mini afro, but too short for me to get my braid on.

Poor thing has learned to fall asleep like this after her night time baths to prevent me from platting up those naps! I'm gonna get them!

The inevitable smiley face is rubbing it's way in on the back of her head from her constant head turning in the crib.

I'm doing my best to keep every lock in place.

Poor Lucy

Lucy the cat was euthanized on Sunday. Poor Lucy. 

She lived an eventful 15 years as my sister's companion from college to the birth of her now 3 year old. My sister once told me she named her Lucy partly so she could come home from class and say "Lucy, I'm hoooome" in Ricki Ricardo fashion. 

She was a really sweet kitty, and I'm not even a cat person. In fact, I'm allergic. But Lucy just made you laugh. I wish I had an electronic picture to share, but I don't.

She tried to reach out shake your hand with her paw when you arrived.  And she would meow continuously. She used to sit up on her butt with her shoulders against the wall like a human being. And in her later years, I think she had arthritis in her paws because she would "tip toe" lightly carefully placing each paw down on the floor. It was cute.

Anyway, it was her time. She was loved dearly by all.  We'll miss you Lucy.

Friday, November 20

Charm City Mama's Holiday Gift Pick #3

When I said I would pick some holiday gift ideas for the mamas and papas out there, I forgot one little thing. I really don't shop too frequently--or at all. And if I buy anything, it's mostly online. I thumb through my favorite mail-order catalogs when I get home and that's enough of a fix for me. If I see something I love and am compelled enough, I'll order it online or (this is even more rare with the baby) pay it a visit in the store.
This lack of shopping makes it quite a task to think of holiday gifts and shopping. Whoops. Needless to say these Holiday gifts are rapidly approaching their culmination at  number five.

But hey, here's one that I can personally vouch for and love. The Pandora charm bracelet. My colleagues gifted me one with a few baby-related charms just before Olivia arrived and I love it.

It's a different take on charm bracelets and worry-free, I might add. Once this thing is clamped on it's going nowhere and neither are the charms. It's a gift that keeps on giving too---kids and hubby and family can help you build up the charms and you can change them around (add or take them away) at any time. I personally like it's weight and how the variations and combinations are endless.

Two more picks to go! Next up...a gift for the papas.

Tuesday, November 17

Three Months Old

I can't believe it.

In just three months time, so much has happened.

Although Olivia found her voice and started baby talking with call and response at 5 weeks, now she has full out conversations with herself (and us) particularly when she is gazing into the mirror in her swing. Her conversations get dramatic too. Sometimes I think she is cussing out the little lambs on her mobile. They really piss her off. I have to tell her to watch her little mouth.

"really mom? another picture?"

Speaking of attitude... Olivia is so positive and happy! I love her laugh. She greets everyone with the biggest smile which I haven't been able to capture yet with my big, intrusive mamarazzi flash camera. She doesn't like my camera too much, but she's gotten used to it.

 "The godmama"

She STILL loves the TV and it remains the best babysitter if you need to take a quick shower or get dressed.

She's a great sleeper! Last night she went down all by herself at 7:30 p.m. and we didn't hear a peep until 6:30 a.m. CRRAAAZY! I had to go in and check on her (one of those 'is she alive checks?') and change her diaper at 2 a.m.

Her focus is amazing. I can read through an entire book and keep her attention the whole time, and she looks at the pictures and pages like she understands. Sometimes I just keep reading the books over and over until she squirms out of interest.

Her neck control and grown into being able to get up on her elbows! yay! And boy is she a kicker. She can squirm with the best of them. She's also understanding how to use her hands to grab stuff. She tries to grab her own bottle--but those little hands are still too little.

I'm finally convinced that she knows who I am. For a while there I thought she would think my name is "Do you know who I am?" She definitely knows daddy and his voice too. If I put Charm City Daddy on speakerphone, she immediately perks up, startes at his picture on the screen, and smiles.

And boy are they two peas in a pod. It's scary.

Basically, three months in I could not be happier with motherhood and this beautiful, blessed baby. She has really been a great baby...and dare I say an "easy baby" but I'm sure most mamas say that about their offspring.

It ALL didn't turn out the way I planned it in my head, but that's okay. We had diaper rash for a week when I returned to work. We fired the au pair. We only made it 11 weeks with the breastfeeding (although I still have some left in the freezer).  And we will restart cloth diapers (gulp) this weekend as the disposables disappear. Not all perfect, but we're all perfectly happy.

Another milestone is coming that could make our/her whole world come crumbling down (drum roll)...I want to take the pacifier away for GOOD! We only use it so she can soothe herself to sleep but...pray for us.

Monday, November 16

I Like the Name Lucy

That's what Charm City Daddy told me yesterday morning when I was brushing my teeth before church.

Thinking that he was joking, I laughed and said "Yeah." Then I paused, looked in the mirror, and turned back to him and said with a mouth full of toothpaste "Were you kidding, or uh?"

He was not joking. He wants to name our next daughter Lucy.

Lucy. Hmm.

My sister's cat's name is Lucy. She is a mess. Literally.  She was taken from her mama too early and doesn't know how to groom more than her face and thus has dreadlocks like Bob Marley. (Sorry to put your biznass in the streets sis--but everyone knows it). My sister takes Lucy to the groomer and pretends she's a stray cat that she just found. I'm sure it's been a task to find a different groomer everytime for the past what 14 years sis? Everytime I see Lucy the cat I laugh myself to tears. You would to. She's really sweet too, and tip toes.

I tend to like the name Lucy as it makes me laugh and think of Lucille Ball and of course the rastafarian cat.

I'll have to let this one settle in for a while. No worries we have plenty of time before number two.

Fired & Hired!

So many changes going on in the Charm City household in recent days!

First of all, I was fired again. That is, Olivia has decided she does not want to nurse any more, so we are back to formula. Oh well, bring on the caffeinated coffee and boos!

Also fired last week was the au pair. SHOCKER!? Not really. She was a sweet, SWEET girl and she served her purpose for those first few weeks while I was recovering from delivery, transitioning into motherhood, going to the gym, and getting back to work, but beyond that Charm City Daddy and I wanted our home and refridgerator back! Did I tell you the girl could eat? She ate more than CCD and I combined.

In her first month with us I spent nearly $1000 on groceries. (2 trips to the market and 1 trip to Sam's Club). After the first week when I noticed the groceries I purchased that should have lasted 2 weeks were gone, I told her that the food was going nowhere and she needed to "pace herself." Her reply was that in her native Columbia, they eat big breakfasts and lunches.  I said, "Everyday?! Well with all of the junk and preservatives in the food here in the U.S. you won't be a size 2 for much longer." I could go on and on about the eating but suffice it to say it got out of hand, inconsiderate, and very pricey.

Also her experience with infants was very limited and while she followed my instructions to a tee (we keep a daily journal ), I didn't have much confidence in her judgements when left to her own devices/common sense. For example if the baby appears to be hungry after her normal 4 ounces, then giver her an additional  half ounce to an ounce of formual but NOT another 4 ounces! Diaper rash also became an issue in the first two weeks that I returned to work, as Charm City Baby's diapers were not being changed often enough. We worked through it (btw A & D ointment works miracles and we don't change the baby without it) and she's fine now. .

Combine all of those issues, with a 22-year-old from Columbia who loves to chat it up on the phone and party on weekends (understandably), Charm City Daddy and I weren't too keen on having a teenager in the house--just yet. Within a week of breaking the news to the au pair (it was so tough for me), another family with 3 children  (ages 2, 3, and 5) scooped her right up. The new family doesn't live in the city like us--but in the "safer" suburbs of Baltimore. The ages of the children are ideal for her skillset and bag of tricks--tons of songs and sing-a-longs. "Listo Calisto?" was my favorite. Overall, I think that she has found a much better match in her new family and I couldn't be happier for her.

We departed on good terms and realized that we had a pleasant, brief experience together. At dinner on Friday night, we were summing it all up and we realized that we had learned many new things about each others' cultures. I think she is going to miss our loud, gospel-music filled, A.M.E (African Methodist Episcopol) church on Sundays, too.

This morning, our 64 year-old LIVE-OUT nanny, Julia started. Yeah!! Prior to joining us, Julia took care of 4 girls for a family for 11 years! That's what I'm talking about. We've got a real nanny on our hands folks. I can't wait to see how she and Olivia bond.

Sunday, November 15

CCM's Holiday Gift Pick #2

Male or Female, skin care can be so tricky. What works at one point in your life may be totally useless later as your body and hormones change. I definitely experienced this during my pregnancy. I had a to work hard to control breakouts on my face since I didn't have the luxury of using prescription skin care products.

My holiday gift pick#2 is something everyone in your family will appreciate--smooth, healthy skin. This weekend during a facial the aesthetician suggested the Clarisonic.

To put it simply the Clarisonic is a gentle deep cleansing/exfoliating brush for your face. In just a 60-second use it is 6 times more effective than your normal beauty cleansing routine.

And why should your man buy this little miracle machine? It also helps with keeping his skin clear too--particularly those pesky and persistent in-grown hairs! To that, Charm City Daddy says "SOLD!"

Oh and if you have a teenager in the house, I'm sure they'd get some use out of it too--in fact you may have to hide it from them and remind them it's mama's!

The Clarisonic is available at Sephora, Nordstrom, and other fine beauty stores.

Patent Pending...

O and Lisa, originally uploaded by Charm City Mama.
This weekend O and I hosted my friend Lisa and her parents for a mini visit. I promise O was much more enthusiastic than this photo portrays. :)

Lisa works at the U.S. Patent Office and gifted O this cute little "Patent Pending" shirt (O playing air guitar in her new shirt)...

More holiday gift picks are coming!

Wednesday, November 11

Charm City Mama's Holiday Gift Pick #1

With the holidays fast-approaching, I thought I'd suggest a few holiday gift ideas for all of the mamas (and papas) out there.

My first pick is from no other than the lovely TB (good gracious I love her stuff).

The chic yet clever Nylon Foldable Tote, is uber functional and perfect for a mama, since it seems we are always carrying around stuff. It comes in black/cheetah (shown below) and magenta/cheetah.

It starts as a 5 inch by 5 inch square and unzips/unfolds to create a full 13 inch tall, by 15 inch wide tote, where the case seen above becomes the base and bottom of the tote. Visit the TB site for alternate views.

When I saw it, I immediately thought about how I NEVER remember to bring reusable shopping bags with me to the store, but this little wonder could slip right into my purse and would be on hand if I ever needed a bag in a jiffy. It would also be great for traveling mama!

 I know everyone is into those plain Longchamp ones, but I find this one to be far more fun and fashionable without the clumsy handles.

Just my two cents, and holiday gift pick #1!

Monday, November 9

Who's the Boss?

"Did you hear me, Mamarazzi?  I said put the camera DOWN! I'm the boss!"

Olivia is the boss. And when she clenches that fist...I listen.

I thought we'd try to start sleep training when Olivia turned 12 weeks next week and until then we'd keep her in the bassinet in our room.

Well, last week at Week 10, she reminded me that she is in charge and started sleeping for 8 hour stretches through the night. So I guess we are sleep training now and Charm City Daddy and I are the ones getting trained!

O typically goes down for the night at 10:30 p.m and doesn't wake up for good until about 6 a.m.  Even then she is just staring around and smiling at her sheep mobile or her striped ceiling. She really tries to call out for us before she gets to a place where she is frustrated that no one is responding to her.

She is really good at putting herself to sleep too. All I have to do is give her a one-arm swaddle and a pacifier and she takes care of the rest.

And I must admit, with this new routine of waking up at 6 a.m. for the day (nearly 2 hours earlier than pre-baby) I am feeling a lot better going in to work in the morning. And it's MUCH better than my first week back to work with the constant up and down all night and then sleeping in too late.

The books say she will sleep train and then regress at month 4, but I won't claim it! I won't.

Warmie Regards!

Dear Prince Lionheart:

I have to give it to you. The quality of your bamboo warmies may be a bit compromised, but your customer service is not.

You responded to my email immediately and handled my biting complaint with such class and understanding--so much so, it made me feel bad and apologize for writing it (pure. genius). Thanks for taking my parental feedback into consideration and letting me vent a little.

I'm glad to hear you are feverishly working on a solution to the frayed warmies and looking forward to seeing how they turn out.

Warmie Regards,

Charm City Mama

Wednesday, November 4


Last week I planned to post about how Olivia is no longer interested in breastfeeding. My little whiz kid figured out pretty quickly that she can get more milk at once with less effort (and in less time) with a bottle.

Rather than fight it and persist, since we'd had some latch confusion issues since I'd been using a nipple shield, I decided to let breastfeeding go. Hey, one less bag to carry to the office and one less thing to do in the middle of my workday. Fine by me. (note: It's amazing how quickly your breast begin to change and readjust when milk production goes down).

Then when I got the H1N1 shot on Monday I felt guilty. If I were still breastfeeding, Olivia could still benefit from the immunization. So I decided to try to latch her on one more time at a time when she had already eaten a half hour before, so she wouldn't get frustrated. My little girl latched right onto me without the shield and in the proper way like we never had any problems in past and sucked away. I have never been more excited!

So here I sit with pump attached to me (and typing thanks to my hands-free bra) once again pumping on my lunch break. This time it's a welcome nuisance--and I have to build my supply back up (sigh).

I will happily continue breastfeeding until we get through the cold-weather season. The goal is to make sure she is as healthy as possible and that we wean well before Olivia is old enough to embarass me by naming my "tas-tas" some baby word and grabbing at my chest or something in public.

Tuesday, November 3

Warmies are WHACK!

Dear Prince Lionheart:

Your uber chic, eco-friendly, natural, and soft bamboo "reusable" cloth wipes aka "warmies" SUCK! I have 30 of them and a 1/3 of them unraveled to shreds on their first (isolated, delicate) wash.

I find it ironic that those of us who were stupid enough and made the investment in these wipes thinking that we were getting the best for our little ones, ended up wiping our babies bums with tattered rags. Not cool.We would have been better off just buying regular old, cheapo baby washcloths which would be a much better value, much more resilient, and (get this) more REUSABLE than your poor excuses for cloth wipes.

I know I am not the first mom to complain, and I won't be the last. Get your act together Prince Lionheart. Line the perimenter of the cloth wipes in a sturdier fabric or something. Use some 21st century technology to fortify the fibers. Your website flippantly suggests "replacing the wipes as needed." Oh you bet I will replace them, but not with more WHACK-ASS warmies.


Charm City Mama

Monday, November 2

Cha-Cha Charming Changes

If you don't read this blog through a reader or RSS feed thingy, you've probably noticed I've made some cha-cha changes.

The subtle change in design celebrates 100 posts (110 now)! Woo Hoo! It was time to personalize the standard blog template a bit.

I also decided to link my Flickr account to the site because the blog and baby are the reason I got the fancy camera, so I might as well get serious about it. I figured linking the blog and Flickr would motivate me. We shall see.

Now if I could just figure out how to add a little Flickr slideshow on the side column (if only it was as easy as the Picasa widget). Help!

Week Ten!

LegWarmers, originally uploaded by Charm City Mama.
I am loving week ten!

Olivia is chatting up a storm. It's beyond finding her voice now, and it's full on conversations. You can also make her smile and laugh to just about any silly face, sudden movement, or kiss sound. She especially finds it amusing when the au pair gives me the rundown of the day (and particularly when there is bad news).

She is also very aware of her environment, when we enter and leave the room, and even her attire.

Best of all, she loved her legwarmers! This is definitely MY child.