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17 Months of Tommy

Tommy at the Chicago Botanic Gardens for Christmas 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

This week our Tommy turned 17 months old.

Tommy’s speech is starting to sound more and more like regular talking, even when he’s not using clear words or phrases. He imitates lots of words, especially initial sounds, and a few phrases. There are a few words and phrases we use a lot, which Tommy is getting really good at, such as“here we go” and “hot” (as in “the food is hot, be careful”). Tommy got a new alphabet book over the holidays. The book encourages us to talk more about letter sounds and prompt him on making letter sounds.

Currently, he’s got a little over a dozen sounds he can make independently and uses regularly. Tommy’s got his “more,” “all done,” “up,” “down,” and “please” signs down and uses all of them independently. He says “hi” all the time and loves to wave hi and bye. He understands certain times we say goodbye, such as when he’s going to bed orJake’s leaving for work, and he waves independently.

Tommy With His Bear November 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Tommy is crazy about anything with buttons, washing hands/playing in the water, pulling objects around the house, going up and down the stairs, finding people’s belly buttons, busting out dance moves, and listening to music. Tommy also loves putting things in other things. He moves items around the kitchen all the time, and I often find miscellaneous objects in my shoes/boots. Tommy goes up and down the sunken living room steps independently. He crawls up the regular stairs like a pro but still needs help going downstairs. He wants someone to walk him down the stairs and has zero interest in crawling down backward. Tommy leads us over to the Echo all thetime, which is his way of asking to put on music. When we’re in the living room, he also wants to gas fireplace on all the time, too.

Tommy asks to read books frequently. Once we’re set up in the living room with music and the fireplace going, he often wants someone to read him a book. We rotate through a ton of different board books. I’ll share a few of his current favorites in my 18-month baby favorites post next month. When he’s in the right mood, he’ll sit and listen to six or seven (short board books) in a row.

Tommy and Alex Early December 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com


One of the neatest elements of Tommy’s development the past couple of months has been watching him play with other kids. Tommy is very social and has always enjoyed being around other people, including children. But until a couple of months ago, he almost always engaged in parallel play with other kids. Now he engages in all sorts of games and play activities with other children. A lot of the time, the activity is a bit tough for anyone else to identify. Tommy will be laughing and laughing with another kid over a game they made up and no one else really understands.

Tommy has started having a bit more awareness/upset when we leave. He doesn’t want me and Jake to leave or doesn’t realize we’re leaving and is then upset when he realizes we’ve left. He’s also much more aware ofJake leaving to go to work. We’ve never had a set in stone routine, but we do follow a fairly consistent time frame for meals, naps, errands, etc. on weekdays. Tommy is well aware of it and sometimes gets upset when we deviate from said routine. For example, this past month, we had a dinner out with someone mid-week. Jake came home from work, and we pretty much turned around right away to go to dinner. It’s very rare this happens, and Tommy was upset about leaving (although he did great at dinner thankfully).

Tommy with Grandma Joan, November 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com


This past month Tommy fully made the transition off of bottles and is using sippy cups and regular cups exclusively. We still using sippy cups/cups with tops most of the day, as it’s much less messy. He consistently practices drinking out of a regular cup after he brushes his teeth. Tommy loves using silverware and regularly eats food with a fork or spoon. We’ve given him a few foods (oatmeal, macaroni and cheese) in his own bowl. Tommy does a great job eating the food and not making too much of a mess. With more teeth, he needs less food cut up in small pieces, especially soft foods.

Aside from a few rough days, which I think were due to a combination of teething and unusual schedule/routine over the holidays, Tommy’ssleep has been great the past month. There have only been a handful of nights when he’s woken up once or twice needing his Wubbanub again. We’ve started putting him down with a diaper liner to help him last longer through the night.He isn’t ready to size up in diapers, and there are so many mixed reviews for overnight diapers. So I bought liners to use with his regular diapers, and they’re helping a lot at night.

Tommy at the Kitchen Island December 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com


Tommy started cutting two top molars this month. He still has just the two middle teeth on the bottom but the majority of his baby teeth in on the top. I took Tommy to the dentist for his first appointment in early December. We didn’t do a full cleaning. The appointment gave the hygienist and dentist an opportunity to see how Tommy’s teeth are coming in and get him used to go to the dentist as well as educate me on best early hygiene/teeth care practices. Tommy was a rock star and let everyone check out his teeth with no tears. I did learn a few things, which I’m sharing here because I’ve heard/read the exact opposite so many times over the past couple of years.

  • Fluoride toothpaste is fine, actually preferable, for little kids. As they use so little toothpaste, there’s no danger of them swallowing it.
  • Until they’re three years old, an annual appointment of this nature is fine. The hygienist won’t start doing full twice yearly cleanings until age three.
  • Pacifiers don’t do any harm to teeth until age three. Kids are okay to use them as much as needed until this age.
Tommy and Aunt Katie Thanksgiving 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com


Tommy had a fun, fairly low-key Thanksgiving withfestivities spread out over five days. We saw both sets of grandparents, hisbirth mom and grandma, and one of his aunts.

Scrooge Holiday Floral Show at the Mitchell Park Domes, Milwaukee, WI | http://www.roseclearfield.com


This past month we went to the Domes for their holiday floral show, Scrooge (more pictures coming soon!).

Tommy at Wonderland Express 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com


We also went down to the Chicago Botanic Gardens for the annual Wonderland Express train show (more pictures coming soon, too!).

Additionally, this past month, we had lunch with Jake at work one day. We hadn’t brought Tommy in since he was tiny, and lots of people wanted to say hi to him. The staff wanted to show him the Christmas decorations. Tommy mostly wanted to explore and push as many buttons as possible.

Hobbes Under the Christmas Tree 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com


Tommy loves having the Christmas decorations up around the house. We’ve made a few modifications to avoid having anything fragile get broken (see the top-half only decorated tree above). We won’t hang our stockings until Christmas Eve because he just wants to pull them down (which means he clocks himself on the head with the metal sticking hangers). We’ll also wait to put any presents under the tree until Christmas Eve. Tommy is much more aware of what’s happening this year than he was last year, and we’re excited to see him with his presents.

Tommy Wearing the Santa Hat November 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com


To see all of my past Tommy updates, head to the Family section of the blog.


15 Things Not to Say to Couples Facing Infertility | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Infertility is a painful, awkward topic. Unfortunately, a lot of people can’t seem to say “I’m sorry” or refrain from saying something tactless, insensitive, or downright rude. Your friends and family will really appreciate it if you steer clear of the following things not to say to couples facing infertility.

1. You look so great holding that baby.

As opposed to all those who don’t look great holding babies? Seriously, what does that even mean? I know, some people really are naturals with babies and look right at home with a baby in their arms. But still. People always seem to reserve this remark for people who are way too young to have babies, way too old to have babies, or can’t/don’t want to have babies, which is ridiculous.

2. Take a trip together, and you’re sure to get pregnant!

Yes, thank you for publicly encouraging my husband and me to book a vacation, which is sure to involve having sex. And what a helpful “solution” in the midst of fertility treatments, exercise regimens, and special diets and medications. Despite popular opinion, there are zero statistics demonstrating a link between vacations or any other relaxing activity and increased odds of getting pregnant.

3. Not having kids means that you have so much free time. Enjoy it while you can.

Or any other statement that minimizes or glosses over the impact of infertility. (Over the years, I’ve gotten a lot of comments along the lines of, “It’s okay if it doesn’t happen for you any time soon. We love you just the same.” Yeah…this is also not a helpful comment.)

I also realize that this sounds a little hypocritical because I have talked before about taking advantage of the time that you have together. There’s no point sitting around an empty house, denying yourself the opportunity to go out to dinner or take in a baseball game or Broadway show. You should never feel guilty enjoying time alone together, no matter how much you want kids. However, this type of comment usually comes with a bitter tone from someone who hasn’t had a night out in a long time. Don’t inflect those feelings on your infertile friends.

4. Whose fault is it that you can’t get pregnant?

I’m not sure what it is about marriage and pregnancy, or lack thereof, that makes people bring up topics that they never would in any other context. Unless you’re a doctor, this information is no one’s business. Sure, infertile couples may share the specifics with a few trusted friends or family members. But it’s not a topic for general conversation, especially in public and in the company of anyone you don’t know very well.

5. You’re young and still have plenty of time to have babies.

Infertility doesn’t hurt less because you’re young. Taking a “you’re young, so don’t worry” stance isn’t helpful. When you’re ready to start a family and it isn’t happening for you, it’s devastating, regardless of age. Of course, the odds of getting pregnant are better when you’re younger. However, there are no guarantees that starting the journey to have kids at a younger age will result in a pregnancy.

6. You can have my kids.

I know that this comment is meant as a joke. It’s poor one at best. This remark is usually embellished upon, such as, “You can have my kids, they drive me crazy!” Now you’re complaining about your own kids while making me feel bad about the fact that I’m struggling to have kids of my own.

7. Don’t give up, it’s going to happen for you. I know it.

Actually, you don’t know that it’s going to happen for me. Voicing your confidence doesn’t do anything to boost my confidence. This comment also taps into an extremely unhealthy mentality that people who beat infertility are the ones who won’t give up or somehow just want it that much more. In reality, every couple must determine their limit for fertility treatments and then if necessary, decide if they will pursue other means of growing their family.

8. Have you tried [fill in the blank]? It worked for my [third cousin’s sister, best friend’s next door neighbor’s kid, etc.].

I think “have you tried” is one of the biggest pet peeves among anyone who suffers from a chronic condition. Almost everyone knows someone who has had success with Clomid, IUI, IVF, etc. Telling me that you have some distant connection with fertility treatments doesn’t reassure me that said treatment would work for me, too.

9. Have you thought about adoption?

I’m not sure what world people live in where they assume that adoption is this easy, simple answer to infertility. Obviously, it’s not. Adoption is great. It also comes with a lot of emotional baggage and a ton of expenses. Additionally, while it is a solution to growing a family, it’s not a solution to getting pregnant. It’s important to understand this distinction.

10. At least you’re not dealing with [fill in the blank] pregnancy symptoms.

Pregnancy symptoms are awful. Infertility treatments are awful. Knowing that you’re infertile and not able to do anything about it or not able to do anything about it right now (waiting for test results before proceeding with treatment, taking a break between treatments, etc.) is awful. There’s no reason to play a game of “who has it worse.” I wouldn’t wish any of these circumstances on anyone.

11. But you have one child! Everything is okay now.

Yes, having one child is a million times better than having no children. But it doesn’t mean that your infertility problems don’t exist anymore, you’re not still suffering from years of infertility, or that you’re not apprehensive about getting pregnant again. Most people want more than one child. Until your family is complete, it’s hard to move on from your infertility past.

12. You’re so lucky you get to go home to a nice, quiet house.

There’s no question that going home to a nice, quiet house is a great thing. But when all you want is a child, sometimes it’s a little bit depressing. You would trade all of the nice, quiet order for just a little bit of chaos (or let’s face it, a lot of chaos) in a heartbeat.

13. Maybe you weren’t meant to be parents.

I know that people make this kind of statement without meaning any offense. But it’s still hard to understand how this statement wouldn’t be received as really offensive. No, not everyone is “meant” to be parents, whatever that means exactly. But it’s not helpful to say it. When a couple wants to be parents more than anything, being told that they might not be meant to be parents is the last thing they want to hear.

14. There are worse things that could happen.

There are always worse things that could happen. Again, it’s not a good idea to play the “who has it worse” game. Just because infertility may not be as tough as losing a parent unexpectedly, fighting cancer, or having your home burn down doesn’t mean that it’s a walk in the park.

15. This waiting period is part of God’s plan.

Taking the liberty of sharing what you believe is God’s plan for someone else is a risky move. No one ever knows this sort of thing for sure. When you’re in the midst of a tough wait for anything in life, it’s all but impossible to understand why you’re waiting until much further down the road. Without understanding the wait, it’s frustrating to hear this sort of statement.

Are there additional things not to say to couples facing infertility that you would add to this list?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

More infertility resources:

How do you cope when you're waiting?

How do you cope when you’re waiting for kids?

Fertility Treatment Options with Growing Generations | http://www.roseclearfield.com #GrowingGenerations #health #ad

Fertility Treatment Options with Growing Generations


20 Creative Holiday Photography Ideas

20 Creative Holiday Photography Ideas | http://www.roseclearfield.com

This Christmas season take on a new challenge or simply have a little fun with your camera with 20 creative holiday photography ideas!

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What I Read: October/November

October/November 2018: What I Read | http://www.roseclearfield.com

I’m excited to share a couple months of reads with you today!

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DIY Christmas Mason Jar Decor

DIY Christmas Mason Jar Decor - Candy Cane Mason Jars via Mason Jar Crafts Love | http://www.roseclearfield.com


Mason jars are one of my absolute favorite craft mediums for holiday and seasonal decor. They are so affordable and versatile, and you can find them in any big box or craft store. As such, you can create simple, festive DIY Christmas mason jar decor in a single afternoon. With a few coats of spray or acrylic paint and some Christmas flair, you’re ready for the holidays. I’ve rounded up just a few of my favorite DIY Christmas mason jar decor projects for your home decorating needs this holiday season. Happy crafting!

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