Ep. 69: I’m Not Ready for a Toddler!
October 28, 2019
Laura and Shanna answer listener questions in the special segment, “Checkin’ the Inbox,” including questions about transitioning from purees to solid foods and why they don’t share their babies’ names on the show. Also, Shanna talks about how her nine-month-old daughter had a big week of firsts, and Laura discusses her eight-month-old son’s bout of hand, foot and mouth disease. Finally, they reveal their BFPs and BFNs for the week. Shanna’s baby is nine months and two weeks old, and Laura’s baby is eight months and three weeks old.
- Internal Time* Great book about why you're a night owl or morning person, and what to do about it! *affiliate link
- NUK Mash and Serve* Cool doohickey that allows you to create chunky purees for your baby when you're transitioning to finger foods. *affiliate link
- Puffed Kamut* Perfect rice-free alternative to baby puffs. *affiliate link
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Laura Birek: Welcome to Big Fat Positive with Shanna and Laura. This week we have our weekly check-ins. We have our special segment, Checkin’ the Inbox, where we answer questions that you have sent in and we have our weekly BFPs and BFNs. Let’s get to it.
Laura Birek: Hey, everyone. Welcome to episode 69.
Shanna Micko: You did not.
Laura Birek: Come on. I had to. All right. It’s episode 69. There’s nothing special about episode 69 except for we’re here together. Shanna, how are you?
Shanna Micko: I’m good. CeCe is nine months and two weeks, so I guess nine and a half months and, whoa. This was a big week for the baby.
Laura Birek: Really?
Shanna Micko: Yeah, I guess I’m waiting for some kind of drum rolls or something. She took her first unassisted step all by herself.
Laura Birek: Wow.
Shanna Micko: Just standing there like a tiny little human bouncing that little body on her tiny little feet and took a step and then she promptly fell. But I was just like, what are you doing? I’m not ready to be mom to a toddler.
Laura Birek: Oh my gosh. How cute. Well, the good news is they’re not fast at the beginning, right?
Shanna Micko: Very slow. Exactly. I won’t be doing any chasing of the toddler quite yet.
Laura Birek: That’s so cute though. Is that exciting? Were you proud?
Shanna Micko: Oh gosh, yeah. Really, really proud. Of course, trying to catch it on video and the additional steps are going to come slowly. I remember this from with Elle. They test out that little first one and then maybe the next day they’ll do a couple and it’ll go from there, but I kind of expect her to be walking pretty well within the month, I would say.
Laura Birek: Wow.
Shanna Micko: I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised because that girl has always been so incredibly motivated to be physical. Even when she was like three months old, I remember she was screaming to try to crawl and it makes sense, I guess.
Laura Birek: She was planking at six months.
Shanna Micko: Yes.
Laura Birek: I think that most full grown adults can’t do.
Shanna Micko: I know. She doesn’t plank anymore, by the way. That was just such a transitional little thing she did before crawling. So she learned quickly that planks aren’t fun.
Laura Birek: Like you do. Oh, man. Anytime I’m at an exercise class and they’re like, “No, we’re going to do planks,” I want to die.
Shanna Micko: Oh gosh. They’re so bad. I haven’t even been to an exercise class in forever. So that’s the bonus of not exercising, but it’s good for your abs.
Laura Birek: It is.
Shanna Micko: The other huge thing this week she said her first word.
Laura Birek: What did she say?
Shanna Micko: She said, “Mama.”
Laura Birek: That’s so cute and heartwarming. Do you know what context did she say ‘mama’ to you? Or was it continuing with the babbling or how’d that go?
Shanna Micko: So I have been trying to encourage her to say mama and I think she’s starting to do the thing where she’s really paying attention to what I’m saying and trying to mimic me. It’s not really even like she’s babbling ma-ma, ma-ma. That’s not it. I was like, “Mama, mama,” and I picked her up from changing her diaper and started walking out of her room and clear as day, she goes, “Mama.”
Laura Birek: Aww, so cute.
Shanna Micko: So I’m so happy. I’m so happy that her first word was mama. Elle’s first word was high, which is also a good one, but took her a while to say mama. So we’re on that roller coaster of talking too, I think.
Laura Birek: It’s all happening fast. My guy is babbling away, but nothing seems to be sticking. It is just like all of the ba-ba, da-da. He does this thing where he is like, “Cat, cat,” and I’m like, cat? But he also clicks his mouth and he’ll do that in response to you. So if you do it at him, he does it back to you, which is pretty cool. But that is. I’m like, is that considered a word?
Shanna Micko: In some languages.
Laura Birek: I was going to say, is he speaking Xhosa from South Africa?
Shanna Micko: Maybe.
Laura Birek: But nothing in context yet. So I have to say I am dying for him to start communicating to me because I think it will make life so much easier. Or maybe I’m just naive.
Shanna Micko: No, it does. It’s really nice when they can communicate and it’s really fun how you learn their own little language and how they pronounce things. Then you kind of feel like you have a secret language with your babies. They’re like blah, blah and you’re like, oh yes, here’s your water. Everyone else is like, what? No, I know that’s what they’re saying, because they say it over and over every time that they point to their water. So that’s about it for me in our big week and I’m very excited and just so in love with that little baby. So what about you guys? What have you been up to? How old’s your baby?
Laura Birek: My baby is eight months and three weeks and we’ve had a mixed bag kind of a week. At the beginning of the week we went to a children’s museum for the first time. Do you know about Kid Space Museum in Pasadena?
Shanna Micko: Yeah, we love that. We got a membership there for a while.
Laura Birek: It is super cool. It’s a little too advanced for my baby at the moment, but I was meeting up with some friends who were meeting up with another friend who had a toddler and so we got to get in for free, which was nice. Once he’s walking or at least cruising a little better, I think it’s going to be an awesome place. It’s this really cool children’s museum and they have this huge outdoor area with all these water features and all this outdoor climbing stuff. So it looks like it’s going to be an awesome thing. It’s so cool that it’s nearby.
Shanna Micko: There’s a baby room too. Did you see that?
Laura Birek: We did go into the baby room and the baby room was very fun and since my guy is like army crawling, he was able to crawl around and check everything out and put everything in his mouth. So we got hand foot and mouth.
Shanna Micko: Oh, no. You think you got it from there?
Laura Birek: There’s no question in my mind, because there is a disease that has the worst name I think of all the diseases. It’s called hand foot and mouth and it’s because that’s the locations where babies get these little rashes and it’s insanely contagious. Pretty much every kid gets it at least once when they’re toddlers. Usually, it happens in daycare or preschool. We were going around. He was touching all kinds of things after all these other kids. I think there’s just no way he didn’t get it there, but luckily, it was really, really mild. I wouldn’t have known it was anything except for I saw he had three or four little blisters basically.
Shanna Micko: Where?
Laura Birek: One was on his palm, one was on the soul of his foot and then he actually had a bunch on his upper thighs, which I guess is actually pretty common. When you start reading about it, it’s called hand, foot and mouth. But they could also get just rashes all over.
Shanna Micko: Oh, okay.
Laura Birek: So the real bummer there was he didn’t really feel bad. He had maybe a mild fever. I took his temperature once and it was like 99.1 and that’s not really a fever. He felt fine, but we could infect anyone else so we had to stay home for like seven days until the rash was gone. They looked like little pimples the ones he got. Some of them were just like really little red bumps, but the ones on his hand and feet looked like little pimples and so until those were gone, we couldn’t go to Mommy & Me class and couldn’t go to any other things where other kids were around. So it was pretty isolating.
Shanna Micko: Good for you for doing a good job of keeping the public safe.
Laura Birek: Well, yeah. I don’t want to be Typhoid Mary. I felt bad also, because we had hung out with two of our baby friends two days before he started getting symptoms and so I had to message them and be like, “Hey. I’m sorry, but it looks like the baby got hand foot and mouth and it’s super contagious and just wanted to let you know” So they ended up staying home from Mommy & Me too because they were just out of an abundance of caution and then I felt really bad. They ended up not getting any rash or anything.
Shanna Micko: Good.
Laura Birek: But anyway, so that was the first big contagious disease that we got.
Shanna Micko: You guys sound like you got off really lucky. Elle got it when she was a year and a half and had recently started daycare and we ended up at the emergency room, because we didn’t know what was going on.
Laura Birek: No.
Shanna Micko: Her fever was super high, like 104. She was so lethargic, just lying on the wood floor to cool off and not herself and so I called urgent care and they’re like, “When a baby that young has that high of fever plus that kind of lethargy, we just tell them to go straight to the ER.”
Laura Birek: Wow.
Shanna Micko: I’m like, oh my God. So we had to go to children’s hospital, because I didn’t see any bumps on her body. I had no clue.
Laura Birek: Interesting.
Shanna Micko: They looked in her throat and that’s where all the blisters were at the back of her throat.
Laura Birek: Poor baby. That must have hurt so bad.
Shanna Micko: Yeah, it was really awful and it was hard too, because she was in daycare and I was working at that time and so you have to keep him home for however long. So it can be rough or it can be mild and I’m so glad that you guys got the mild version.
Laura Birek: I know that you can get it more than once I think, because there’s different strains, because I feel like Jen’s baby had it like five times or something. Crazy.
Shanna Micko: No, I think he had it three times. That sounds right.
Laura Birek: I always exaggerate, but I knew he had it more than once.
Shanna Micko: He had it 272 times.
Laura Birek: 3000 times. He’s never gotten over it. It’s funny because my Mommy & Me teacher said that in one of her classes’ years ago, one of the babies got hand, foot and mouth and the following week the entire class was taken out. It’s that contagious.
Shanna Micko: Oh, no. What always crosses my mind when I talk about hand, foot and mouth is why wasn’t this a thing when we were young? I did not have this. I don’t think my peers had this.
Laura Birek: Are you sure? I don’t know, but it seems to happen to really, really young kids. It’s probably before you remember.
Shanna Micko: Yeah, I guess I just feel like I never heard of this in my life ever until I had a baby and then I was like, oh is this some like new thing that people get?
Laura Birek: I think it’s called Coxsackievirus.
Shanna Micko: Appropriate for our 69th episode.
Laura Birek: That was a little bit of a bummer. So we had a lot of time at home by ourselves to play and the baby started doing this thing where I was a little concerned. I actually talked about this briefly in our bonus Halloween episode, which you can go listen to after you listen to this if you haven’t already. But he started doing this thing where he’s now pulling up to stand. So when he’s standing mostly, he would hold one hand up and flap his hand sort of like he’s waving, but opening and closing his fist basically and just staring at it. He was doing this over and over and over. At first I thought maybe he’s waving at a ghost. I talk about that in the bonus episode, but then I started Googling it because I was like, this is so interesting. This is so weird. Do you know what happens when you Google things, Shanna?
Shanna Micko: You find the exact answer you want that just puts you at ease right away.
Laura Birek: Yes, puts me quickly at ease. No, no, no. You find out there’s definitely something wrong with your child. So I Google this like eight month old opening and closing hand and then it was just like, autism, autism, autism.
Shanna Micko: Oh my gosh. Not just waving? That’s when babies learn to wave, isn’t it?
Laura Birek: I’m going to spoil alert. It’s waving. It’s him learning how to use his hand, but there was about two hours where I was in the Google rabbit hole where I was convinced that it was repetitive stemming behavior. What they call stemming and he also flaps his arms, which I guess is a thing that older kids with autism tend to do, but babies also just flap their arms, I guess. Anyway, I Googled, felt bad. Then I googled and felt better because like on BabyCenter basically, there’s like a million posts of people being like, “My baby is opening and closing his hand. Is this okay? Is it autism?” Everyone’s like, “No, you’re fine.”
Shanna Micko: Good.
Laura Birek: But anyway, we had our little scare there. I think you don’t get diagnosed with autism till much later anyway and he doesn’t have any other early warning signs. You know what? If he has autism, he has autism.
Shanna Micko: Exactly.
Laura Birek: That’s who he’s going to be and I will love him either way.
But all signs point to it’s just him figuring out how to use his hand or the ghost.
Shanna Micko: I’m going to go with the ghost. Someone did die in your house. Spoiler alert if you haven’t listened to the bonus episode.
Laura Birek: You should listen to the bonus episode to find out what the hell we’re talking about. But anyway, that was our week. Should we take a little break and come back with our special segment?
Shanna Micko: Let’s do it. We’re back and we’re very excited about this segment, Checkin’ The Inbox. We put a call out to all of you to send us your burning questions for us and we got so many responses that I think we have to break this up into a couple segments. Maybe we’ll do another bonus episode with a bunch of other check in the inbox questions.
Laura Birek: Yeah, we had way too many to fit into one episode and we want to get to them sooner than we would be able to if we wait till we do the segment again. So we’re going to do a bonus episode. If you don’t hear your question, you will hear them in the bonus episode. But Shanna, I think we should get to the first question since we have so many.
Shanna Micko: Yes, let’s get to it. Our first question is a very popular question. This one got a lot of traction on Instagram. Casey asked, “I’ve always wondered why y’all don’t say your baby’s names. I know you mentioned it was to protect them, but if you upload pictures of them on social media, what’s the deal about not saying just their first name. Love the podcast. I listen every week and haven’t missed a single episode.”
Laura Birek: First of all, thank you for never missing an episode. That’s awesome.
Shanna Micko: True. That’s so awesome and this is a great question. A lot of people wanted to know this.
Laura Birek: It’s a good question. Well, I actually thought a lot about this when we were about to have our babies because I was like, what are we going to do as far as privacy is concerned? A lot of people just say their baby’s names and I think that’s totally fine. A lot of celebrities say their baby’s names and I think for me, the main reason I wanted to keep my baby’s name private is because it’s a lot harder to Google later on. So if I were to say his name, let’s say his name was like, August because August was the name I almost picked. If his name was August and someone was able to figure out my husband’s last name, which is not very hard if you can Google. You Google my name, you can find it. Then you Google August. I’ll just say, my husband’s last name is Erving. There. See, you have it. So if you Google August Erving, let’s say 16 years down the line one of his friends Google’s his name and finds his mom talking about his poop, or how much he loves breastfeeding or something. I didn’t want to do that to him and while we post photos, we discussed whether we should post the photos, remember? We were like, is it safe?
Shanna Micko: Even still I think that’s an ongoing conversation as they get older, when or if are we going to stop that? I don’t know.
Laura Birek: For sure. Also, they can’t consent to it right now. So I have a lot of mixed feelings about it, but I try to only post photos that they wouldn’t be embarrassed by later on in life. I have so many adorable photos of the babies in the bathtub, but I’m never going to post that on the internet. I don’t post it anywhere on the internet, not even on my private account, because I just don’t want that to be out there. I just don’t think it’s fair to him. I wouldn’t necessarily want that out there. So until he can consent to it, I’m not doing it. It sounds super hypocritical, because I’m the person who’s freaking putting my baby on Modern Family. I don’t think I would let him do something embarrassing. We’ll see. But anyway, back to the names. For me, it’s a Googling issue and even though right now we don’t have episodes transcribed, we want to get all our episodes transcribed, so that would make it super Googleable. So it’s just like one little barrier of protection there and also it’s a way to keep private things private for me.
Shanna Micko: The Googling thing definitely, especially because I’ve mentioned that my kids have pretty unique first names, especially CeCe. It’s not even a name that I found in any name websites or anything. So that combined with her last name is such a unique phrase and if we ever do, or when we do transcribe our episodes or whatever may come, that would be her very first presence ever online that someone could search for when she’s looking for a job when she’s 18.
Laura Birek: No, that’s true.
Shanna Micko: If she’s looking for her first internship and they Google her name and all that comes up is just overwhelmed with stuff about her mom talking about her diaper rash.
Laura Birek: Totally.
Shanna Micko: I want to try to give her the choice of what kind of present she wants online.
Laura Birek: I agree. To us, I guess it seems really like a no brainer and I can see how it’s also super confusing to everyone else. So thank you for respecting our choice on this.
Shanna Micko: The other thing I wanted to mention, because Casey mentioned we post pictures is I don’t think that pictures are Googleable in the way that names are. When she’s 19, you can’t reverse image what she looks like now and that’s going to pull up pictures of her and connect her to the podcast as an infant unless technology changes.
Laura Birek: Yes and no. Here’s my thing. If anyone is motivated enough, they can find out anything about you and in the future with all this facial recognition stuff, they might be able to reverse image to it. But in the vast sea of information that’s out there, it’s not that big of a deal. Also, it’s unlikely her first romantic partner is going to use that level of AI to discover that her mom had a podcast and talked about her like constipation at some point or whatever. You know what I mean? So I think that at least for now, that’s where I feel like it’s a safety line that’s okay and we want to share cute pictures of the babies as much as possible.
Shanna Micko: I know. They’re so sweet.
Laura Birek: Especially when they’re together.
Shanna Micko: So sweet. Anyway, should we move on to the next question?
Laura Birek: Yes, so that was a great question. We have an audio question for the next one.
Shanna Micko: All right.
Laura Birek: I’m going to play it for us.
Maria: Hi, Shanna and Laura. This is Maria from Austin, Texas and my daughter is two weeks old and she stays awake all night and sleeps all day and I just wanted to see if you guys had any tips or tricks for getting her to sleep more at night or just advice for getting through these first couple of weeks. Thanks, guys.
Laura Birek: Great question. I remember those days.
Shanna Micko: Yes, whoa. What a doozy those first few weeks when the baby’s circadian rhythm isn’t in sync yet. That’s so tough. But I remember a tip that I learned that I tried to use is that when they’re awake during the day, really try to open up those windows, turn on as much light you can give them, so that they start to learn that daytime is wake up time and nighttime is sleeping time.
Laura Birek: Get outside.
Shanna Micko: That helped. Get outside with the baby during the day.
Laura Birek: I’ve heard that even during naps in that early newborn phase, you don’t have to worry about a dark room for naps in the newborn phase.
Shanna Micko: No.
Laura Birek: You want to keep it as bright as possible. I was told when you wake up in the morning, open up those shades, make it nice and bright. It’s hard when it’s like, five in the morning or whatever sometimes, but I think that you’re trying to get their brains to release melatonin at the right time basically and light is what helps do that.
Shanna Micko: I feel like my baby grew out of that after a few weeks, maybe like three weeks or so. I feel like Maria’s almost out of the trenches here with this one.
Laura Birek: I think it can go on longer if you aren’t exposing the baby to light at the right time. So I think you can reverse it. What do they call it? Having your days and nights reversed I think is what they call it. So get outdoors in light if you can as much as possible. You know what’s interesting? I read this book called Internal Time a couple years ago and it was about chronotypes. It’s not to get too deep in the weeds on it, but it’s about whether you’re basically a morning person or a night person. But there’s a lot of good tips in there about as an adult human, like how to get the best sleep. One of the things they say is one of the ways to get a better night’s sleep is to get as much bright outdoor sunshine as possible before 10:00 a.m.
Shanna Micko: 10:00 a.m. Huh?
Laura Birek: I know, which is early, because we’re all up before 10:00 a.m. But like for me, I’m usually just putting around the living room.
Shanna Micko: I don’t go outside before 10 very often.
Laura Birek: So if you’re having trouble sleeping at night, that’s apparently a really big key and being behind a window does not count. You have to go out into the UV rays. So I think it same holds for the baby. Obviously, don’t put the baby in the direct sunshine, but bright lights. So that’s the best tip we have.
Shanna Micko: Then you also asked about tips for just surviving this part of the babyhood and I would say if your partner can help out at night in any way, that saved me. Steve would take a feeding, I would pump and have a bottle of milk so I could sleep ostensibly four to six hours straight and not have to be up with her constantly. Even if I had to go another room to get those Zs, that was really helpful.
Laura Birek: For me, what we did was when I would wake up in the middle of the night for nursing, which was endless, Corey would do the diaper changes.
Shanna Micko: Good.
Laura Birek: That was good. Then he would also take the first feed of the day and we still do this, so I’m the one who does like the dream feed and I’ll get up with him in the middle of the night if necessary. But then Corey’s the one who wakes up first thing and does like a pumped bottle in the morning and that helps me just get like a little bit extra sleep. I think this started when the baby was like 10 days old and I think Corey came in at some point and the baby was still in the room with me obviously, and he was crying and Corey had been up drinking coffee and came in and I was like crying and I was like, “I just need a couple hours of sleep.” He was like, “Yeah, let me take that baby from you.”
Shanna Micko: Yes, we all reach our breaking point and I was ordered by the pediatrician to have Steve take some so that I could get extra sleep.
Laura Birek: Nobody wins when you martyr yourself. So get that help. That’s a great point.
Shanna Micko: Good question, Maria. Thank you and congratulations on your two-week-old. We’re so excited for you.
Laura Birek: They’re so squishy. Okay, so our next question is from Whitney. Whitney asks, “How is going from purees to finger food? We are just starting to mix textures into purees. I’m interested to hear how and when you guys moved on the next stage.” Shanna?
Shanna Micko: Well, I did not have very much strategy. At some point, I think she was around seven months, I was just like, “Here. Have some puffs.” I slowly started giving her little chunks of food that I thought she could tolerate. So I don’t know that I had too much of like a strategy or method with this. What about you?
Laura Birek: Actually, this was going to be part of my check-in, but since I knew I would be answering this question, I held onto it. So we are actually full steam ahead right now in the finger food transition. I think we’re basically sort of past tense with it. What I started doing a couple weeks ago was instead of a very finely blended puree, I was using this little Ninja blender thing that I had to puree all of his foods, because I’m that annoying person who is making all of his foods. So I was pureeing them, maybe adding like breast milk if it was something that needed milk like butternut squash or adding water to it to make it nice and thin. At first I started taking away that extra liquid, so making it a little bit thicker but still very smoothly pureed. Then what I started doing was instead of making totally smooth purees, I started like making them a little chunkier. One of the easiest things to do this is with our peaches. So what I would actually do is I would roughly chop off peaches. I have this little mash and serve bowl. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Shanna Micko: No.
Laura Birek: I think it’s made by Munchkin. I’m not a hundred percent sure, but it’s a little silicone bowl and on one side, it’s sort of split in half like the moon: half of it’s smooth and the other half has ridges and you get it with this masher almost like a potato masher.
So you can put stuff in that bowl and just use the masher to mash it up to create like thicker purees.
Shanna Micko: Okay.
Laura Birek: What I would do is I would take like peaches. If they were really soft, I would just mash them up. If they weren’t, I would like microwave them for 15 seconds so they were softer and then I’d mash them up, but I wouldn’t do a really good job of it. So there would be like chunks, little quarter inch or smaller chunks and they’re already soft stuff. I started doing that and he took to it so well that I just made things thicker and thicker basically. Not choking hazard. You should know that like peanut butter is a choking hazard. So you don’t want to get that thick, but then I think it was over at your house Shanna, and you were like, “Does he want some puffs?” I was like, “He’s never had a puff,” and you’re like, “Yeah, have some puffs.” Threw some puffs his way and he was super into it. So I was like, well, shoot. I think it’s finger food time.
Shanna Micko: Another favorite is cereal. My favorite is Cheerios.
Laura Birek: Cheerios are good. My Mommy & Me teacher gave us a good tip, which was instead of having to buy those puffs or Cheerios, there’s this type of wheat, I think it’s called Kamut. It’s spelled K-A-M-U-T. I don’t know how to pronounce it, but it’s a specific type of wheat and it’s just puffed wheat. So it’s a hundred percent whole grain and it’s like a natural puff, but it doesn’t have the rice flour in it, which those Gerber puffs have, which can be kind of constipating. So we started buying those and they’re like $3 for a giant bag.
Shanna Micko: Where are you supposed to find Kamut puffs? I’ve never heard of this.
Laura Birek: They are easily found. I’d never noticed them before, but I go buy at Whole Foods, actually. I think they’re at a lot of health food style stores, but they’re just in the cereal aisle. Just look for them in the stuff you look over, because you’re like, that’s too healthy.
Shanna Micko: That looks boring. That has no sugar.
Laura Birek: Where’s my Frosted Flakes?
Shanna Micko: Get him Lucky Charms.
Laura Birek: But we’ve been using those. So that’s good. We’re just going full steam ahead and he’s loving practicing his pincher grasp. He’s got maybe his index and middle fingers and sometimes the ring comes in together. This is another thing that’s great about the finger foods is that they get to practice that pincher grasp. So he’s really working on it and it’s been fun. The only thing is you have to watch them like a hawk at the beginning for gagging and choking and stuff.
Shanna Micko: Oh, yeah. My girl has a massive gag reflex. If she doesn’t like something or takes a bite that’s a little bit too big, she’ll gag and throw up.
Laura Birek: That’s a bummer.
Shanna Micko: Yeah.
Laura Birek: But I read somewhere that you should reframe the gagging as good, because that’s them teaching themselves how to eat. Gagging and choking are not the same thing.
Shanna Micko: Right.
Laura Birek: I actually saw on Instagram there are videos where people who do baby-led weaning show you the difference between gagging and choking. So it’s actually kind of interesting to watch.
Shanna Micko: That’s helpful.
Laura Birek: But the gagging can be kind of scary. We’re really enjoying the going to finger foods. It opens up a whole new world of what you can give your baby. When we’re out to lunch now, I just sort of like if there’s something that’s soft enough and small enough or something I can break down, I just give it to him and he loves it.
Shanna Micko: It’s so fun.
Laura Birek: Okay. Do we have another question?
Shanna Micko: We have another great question from Janie and it’s an audio question. Laura, you want to play that one?
Laura Birek: Yep, here it is.
Janie: Hi, Laura. Hi, Shanna. My name’s Janie and I’m a listener from the UK. I love the show and I have a question for you. My question would be, how do you feel that your relationship with your husband has changed since you’ve had a baby or babies? Thanks, guys. Bye.
Laura Birek: First of all, I love her voice.
Shanna Micko: Yeah, hi, Janie.
Laura Birek: Hi, Janie.
Shanna Micko: Thank you so much for sending that to us. So I would say that I think it has changed our relationship in a lot of complex ways that maybe I haven’t even realized or explored yet. But if I were to name the most obvious ways that it’s changed our relationship, first it’s that I think it’s strengthened our relationship. Moving from a couple to a family is huge. That level of responsibility of taking care of a small person that you love so much has bonded us closer than we have ever been. Of course now that we have a second one, it’s even more so, and then in other ways, it’s a little bit taxing, because we don’t really go out and do fun, like date, couple things as much as we used to. So that’s really hard. It’s not that easy to find a babysitter for two kids and we’re putting so much money towards daycare and stuff. So finding the opportunities for us to connect as a couple in that way is more challenging now for sure. Have you guys experienced anything like that yet, Laura? How has it been for you guys?
Laura Birek: Yeah, for sure. For us it’s a little different, because first of all, we’re much newer to the process. We’re about eight months in and you guys are almost four years in with your first child. So I have to say, when you were talking, I actually felt like my experience has been very similar in a lot of ways. The thing that I was most pleased by and sort of surprised by is how it’s made us a team and we’re really working towards the same goal and I have to attribute a lot of that to the fact that we both are good communicators and we have a healthy relationship to begin with, which I think was very important. I know that it’s not always the case that a baby arrives and you feel like you’re on the same team as your husband and that’s also very normal and don’t feel like just because Shanna and I are both like, we love our husbands. They the best. You know what I mean? It’s normal to have conflict and everyone has conflict, of course. But the overwhelming thing for me has just been how much he’s stepped up and how cool that is. I have to say, there’s nothing sexier than seeing your husband take care of a small baby and be super into it.
Shanna Micko: Aww, that’s awesome.
Laura Birek: You’re just like, this is how you end up with a second kid, I guess.
Shanna Micko: Yes, exactly.
Laura Birek: But the logistics of doing stuff together that’s not taking care of the baby, it’s super hard. We’ve been lucky that my mom has come visit and sort of forced us to get out the door. So that’s been good. Like you said, it’s a lot easier to get a babysitter for one kid. So that’s been good. The main thing we miss is sort of our spontaneous, like let’s go to the movies. We used to do that a lot and we go to the movies and then we talk about the movie for hours and now that doesn’t happen.
Shanna Micko: I know. Thank goodness for Netflix and Hulu and Amazon Prime and all these things that stream shows and entertainment now. We just have that at our fingertips so we can be together and watch things and connect through entertainment in that way, because otherwise we would not be getting out of the house to go see movies right now.
Laura Birek: Later on.
Shanna Micko: When the kids are older.
Laura Birek: I have to say that people definitely scared me a bit about what’s going to happen. The culture sucks about this. The culture is all pitting husbands and wives against each other. This is generally in heterosexual, cisgender relationships. There’s not a lot of discussion I guess about different family types, but when it comes to like a straight couple with a man and a woman, the culture is so built up about how you’re going to hate each other.
Shanna Micko: All the sitcoms of the eighties and nineties are that married with children and just all these things. That’s the archetype I grew up with seeing like bicker, bicker, bicker, bicker, bicker, bicker.
Laura Birek: For sure.
Shanna Micko: That’s been a nice surprise for me too in that way.
Laura Birek: It helps to have a husband who’s a mature adult who’s willing to step up and do what needs to be done to help take care of the baby. But no, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised and yeah, the relationship has changed. But I also realized I was scared of change for a long time and then I realized like, what is life except for change? The nature of life is constant change. So if we can sort of grow and change together, that’s all I could hope for.
Shanna Micko: Yes, definitely. As someone who’s been with her husband for 17 years now, including the time we dated, we’ve been through so many changes and phases. I feel like we are almost different people than we were when we started dating. We’ve changed together so much and it is cool. It’s a cool ride to go on with someone and build a life together and change and see each other in new ways. Seeing him love a tiny little baby girl is heart melting and makes me love him even deeper. Even though like when we do go out, most of our conversations are about our damn kids.
Laura Birek: 100%.
Shanna Micko: We look at pictures of them on the phone. So that’s changed too. We don’t talk about filmmaking and writing as much as we used to.
Laura Birek: They say couples should have shared interests. Your kids count.
Shanna Micko: Exactly. First it was dogs. Now it’s kids.
Laura Birek: Anyway, these questions have been great. We have so many more, but we don’t have time to get to them right now. But we will get to them in the bonus episode. Should we take a break so that we can wrap this episode up and go spend some time with our husbands?
Shanna Micko: Let’s do it.
Laura Birek: We’re back. So we close every episode with our big fat positives or big fat negatives of the week. Shanna, do you have a BFP or a BFN for us?
Shanna Micko: I have a BFP.
Laura Birek: Yay.
Shanna Micko: It’s the cooler weather that we’ve been having lately in Los Angeles.
Laura Birek: Fall is here.
Shanna Micko: Yes, it’s been in the 70s I want to say, which is such a nice break from the 90s. Scratch in the hundreds we’ve had all summer. I like to get outside and get some sunshine with the baby and when it’s hot…
Laura Birek: What? Can’t do it?
Shanna Micko: I have been doing it.
Laura Birek: Then good for you.
Shanna Micko: This so lame. I walk her down. We’re a few blocks away from a shopping center with a grocery store and HomeGoods and all.
Laura Birek: I love that shopping center. I just need to stop. There is everything you need in that shopping center. I’m so jealous that you live so close to that shopping center.
Shanna Micko: I know. It’s really good.
Laura Birek: It’s a side. Go on.
Shanna Micko: It’s a five minute walk. Because of the way the buildings are set, the strip mall creates a bit of shade. I’m not within a walking distance of a park. I’m walking distance to a strip mall. So on these hotter days, like around five o’clock, we walk down there and I just walk her up and down and around and up and down the storefronts of this strip mall so we can walk somewhere outside.
Laura Birek: Is there anything more American?
Shanna Micko: I don’t think so. I think I’ve won the prize for that one. But anyway, so the cooler weather means I can walk around the neighborhood. I don’t have to worry about the glaring sun searing me. I can walk around the neighborhood and the houses and just get a little shade from the trees and feel the breeze and the clouds.
Laura Birek: That’s awesome.
Shanna Micko: So we’ve really been enjoying.
Laura Birek: We have been enjoying that as well. We live on a hill so the reason why I can’t go out in the heat is because I always have to go up a fucking hill at the end of my walk. Inevitably, I’ve decided to go run an errand on my walk.
So I’m pushing a stroller full of groceries or something that are starting to melt. Actually, my baby laughs at me now when I’m pushing him up the hill, because he thinks it’s really funny. So you can’t do that in the heat, but this cool weather has been so nice. May it lasts forever if it’s going to. It’s going to last like a week. I just jinx it, didn’t I?
Shanna Micko: Oh, yeah. October always comes back and bites us in the ass in LA like, you enjoyed September. Fuck you. Here’s October.
Laura Birek: You thought it was fall. You were wrong.
Shanna Micko: Exactly. What about you? Do you have a BFP or BFN?
Laura Birek: I have a BFP. So mine is a photo flip book that I got from Walgreens.
Shanna Micko: I saw that. What is that? Tell me about it. So cool.
Laura Birek: Okay. I have noticed that my baby really likes looking at the framed family photos that we have around. Every time we walked by them he would want to stop and I’d like point out, there’s grandpa, there’s grandma, all that stuff. He was really into them and he wanted to grab them, but they are glass and you can’t do that. Then I realized I need to make him a little photo book and I looked online and there are all these services that will charge you like $35 to make a custom board book or whatever. I was like, I can’t do that and then I realized that Walgreens, which is a drug store in our area, I think is a national chain.
But Walgreens I think pretty much any drugstore probably does this at this point. They do these things where you can pick 25 photos and they just basically print four inch by six inch for our international listeners and then they spiral bound them with a little cover and it’s like a little photo flip book and it’s literally $6 and there’s always a 50% coupon you can get. Like always, always, always. It was done in 10 minutes. I did it on my phone while he was nursing, sent it. 10 minutes later it was like, “Your photo flip book is ready to pick up.” So it’s great, because you can make a million of them and they can eat them. Who knows if the ink is safe or whatever? It’s not a big deal if they destroy them. So we’re really enjoying it and he can sort of flip them himself. He’s not really good at being intentional with it, but he can roughly do it and it’s fun. He gets to see all the people he loves.
Shanna Micko: I have an important question. Did I make an appearance in the favorite people flip book?
Laura Birek: Shanna, you made two appearances in the favorite people flip book.
Shanna Micko: Yes.
Laura Birek: You and CeCe are in one photo and then you and Steve from your baby shower are in another one, because I needed to get Steve in there and I didn’t have another picture of Steve. So you guys are in there. All of this most important people are in there. It’s awesome and he loves it. He gets really excited to look at it.
Shanna Micko: That’s so cute. I want to get one for sure.
Laura Birek: You should. Well, I think that’s it for today.
Shanna Micko: Thank you guys all so much for reaching out with your questions. They’re so wonderful and again, we’ll answer the rest of the questions in a bonus episode coming out soon. So be sure to stay tuned. I guess if anyone else has questions that you want to sneak in before we do that bonus episode, reach out. Laura, where can people reach us?
Laura Birek: Okay. So we love to hear your voice memos, so you can email those to [email protected] and then we are available on all of our normal social channels at BFP Podcast. That’s Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. We also have a Facebook community group. Just search for Big Fat Positive community and I will add you to our closed group. It’s an awesome community. I love it and then we also have our website, bigfatpositivepodcast.com.
Shanna Micko: Big Fat Positive is produced by Laura Birek, Shanna Micko and Steve Yager. Thanks for listening, everyone. See you soon.
Laura Birek: Bye.
Shanna Micko: Bye.