Ep. 80: First Birthday Parties, Convertible Car Seats and… Parenting Topless??

January 13, 2020

Listen Now:

In the segment “Mom Wins!,” Shanna talks about how and why she ended up parenting topless in her backyard, and Laura describes the treacherous process of collecting baby urine. Also, Laura discusses her baby’s recent language development and switch to a convertible car seat, and Shanna reports on her baby’s first birthday party. Finally, they reveal their BFPs and BFNs for the week. Shanna’s baby is 12 months old, and Laura’s baby is 11 months and one week old.


Show Notes:

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Episode Transcript


Shanna Micko: Hi. Welcome to Big Fat Positive with Shana and Laura. On this week’s episode, we have our weekly check-ins. We have our special segment, Mom Wins, where we get wet and wild, and we wrap it up with our weekly BFPs and BFNs. Let’s get to it.


Shanna Micko: Hey, everyone. Welcome to episode 80. Laura, hi. How are you? How old is your baby?

Laura Birek: Hi. Yeah, we’re good. My baby is 11 months and one week, and we’ve been back home after Thanksgiving for a few weeks and our sleep schedule is finally back on track, which is nice.

Shanna Micko: Good.

Laura Birek: It took a couple days. It was definitely on and off to get him back into his schedule. I shouldn’t say schedule, because it’s not on a time crunch. It’s more of a routine.

Shanna Micko: Right.

Laura Birek: But his routine was so screwed up after that, so now it’s better. 

This week, I think I talked about this in the last episode, but I keep getting this feedback from people being like, “I thought the baby would be walking by now.” He’s not even really standing too much independently. He can. Every once in a while he’ll get distracted and not realize he’s standing. I have one of those refrigerators that has the freezer drawer on bottom and he was crawling around. I had to get something out of the freezer drawers and he crawled up and pulled up to stand on it and then I gently pulled his hands up so I could close the freezer drawer and he stood for like 20 seconds doing that. I think it’s because didn’t realize. He was just sort of looking at the freezer drawer. The reason I have a video of him is because I was like, let’s try this again and he totally did it. So he’ll do that. He has the skill. It’s like he doesn’t have the incentive or something. We talked about this last week, so I’m trying not to get too worried about it. There’s nothing to be worried about I think up to isn’t it 18 months.

Shanna Micko: I want to say 18 months is fine.

Laura Birek: Yeah, it’s considered normal. So he’s definitely on the way, but it’s just interesting how many people just make comments on it all the time. It’s like, “I thought he’d be walking by now or he’s so close to walking,” and I’m like, “I don’t know if he is because he’s not.” He’ll let go if he’s pulled up to stand on something every once in a while, but he doesn’t get to standing by himself and when he wants to, he’ll pivot between the coffee table and the couch.

Shanna Micko: Right.

Laura Birek: But it doesn’t require a step. But most of the time, if anything is just a little out of reach, he goes down to his hands and knees and crawls across. But he’s got his way to move around so he’s not missing out really.

Shanna Micko:
What if you hold his hands? Will he walk when he’s held steady by a bigger person?

Laura Birek: He will and I just kind of try to avoid doing that. I don’t know if it’s for any good reason or not, but I was told in my Mommy & Me class that it doesn’t actually really help them much walking around with their arms up, because no one actually walks around with their arms up. That’s like a really weird balance position, so you want to get their balance lower down. So I’ll hold him up by his hip sometimes to help him stay steady, but I just don’t really like walk him around that much. But he’ll do it. He’ll move his legs and stuff. He thinks it’s funny. But anyway, so that’s where we’re at sort of on that sort of development. But do you remember? I feel like a couple weeks ago you were talking about how CeCe had kind of stalled out on walking and you were like, “I think maybe it’s because she’s been working on her language.” I think we are in the same boat, because all of a sudden he’s starting to say even more things. They’re kind of like proto words. All of a sudden when the cat walks into the room, he goes, “Da, da.”

Shanna Micko: Aww, yeah.

Laura Birek: Then he’ll go, “Jhis, jhis,” which I think is, “This.”

Shanna Micko: That’s kind of a complex word for a small child.

Laura Birek: I think it’s because I’m always saying that. I’m like, “Do you want this? Do you want this?” So he kind of thinks everything is called jhish. But so it’s really interesting to watch. He’s getting words really, really fast and you can tell he’s understanding them too. Here’s an example. We have this bath time book. Do you have any of those? They’re really cute. It’s like a floating, waterproof book.

Shanna Micko: Yeah.

Laura Birek: He loves it. It’s like four double sided pages. It’s counting to five and the first one is like, “One octopus smiles and waves hello,” and I noticed that now he will wave hello at the book when it says, “Hello.”

Shanna Micko: Right.

Laura Birek: Not in context, because he’s been waving hello and goodbye at people for a little bit when you’d sort of prompt him like say hello, say goodbye. But now when it’s in the context of a book, he’ll do it, which I think demonstrates a new level of understanding.

Shanna Micko: Yeah, seems like it.

Laura Birek: Oh my gosh, he’s aggressively waving at everything all the time.

Shanna Micko: That’s awesome.

Laura Birek: If Corey walks out of the room, he’s just like wave, wave, wave. When we’re out and about, it’s the cutest thing. He waves at everyone when we’re out. It’s just very fun to be like, “Wave at that nice woman saying hi,” and he waving his arm up and down is very cute. So I think that he might be focused on the language rather than the motor, which is just fine by me.

Shanna Micko: They really do seem to ping pong. I had mentioned last week that CeCe’s walking has been taking off and I’ve noticed she hasn’t been saying as much. So now I’m like, okay. Now I think she’s working on walking and not concentrating on saying mama as much and doggy. She was saying quite a few things, but now it’s kind of like the breaks have been put on that and it’s all walking all the time. So I can definitely see that ping pong of intention.

Laura Birek: It’s super interesting. I love the language stuff, because I’m just dying to be able to communicate with them a little bit more. So every little step towards that is just making me so happy.

Shanna Micko: Aww.

Laura Birek: That’s very fun and then the other thing we did this week is we finally upgraded our car seat.

Shanna Micko: Oh, yes. To a convertible car seat?

Laura Birek: To a convertible car seat. This really stuck up on me. I feel like this wasn’t something that was even on my radar until a couple weeks ago. I was just casually like thinking about the car seat we have, which we had the Chicco spelled C-H-I-C-C-O, which I always thought was Chicco until you taught me the way.

Shanna Micko: It blew my mind. I said it wrong for a long time until I was corrected.

Laura Birek: The Chicco KeyFit 30. I was looking at it and I was like, KeyFit 30. What does 30 mean? Then I was like, it means that it goes up to 30 inches and 30 pounds. Then I was like, shit, at his nine month appointment he was 28 and a half inches.

Shanna Micko: Wow. Okay.

Laura Birek: So it’s an inch and a half off of the max and I was like, ooh, shoot, I’m going to have to get him a new car seat. Then I started doing all of the research and asking around and there’s a lot of car seats out there.

Shanna Micko: There are a lot. I’m so curious what you went with.

Laura Birek: We narrowed it down based on the wirecutter.com reviews and consumer reports and friends. I narrowed it down between the Britax ClickTight system. There’s like a Marathon, a Boulevard and something else. They’re like three levels, but they’re all kind of the same type of car seat that was very highly rated and a little bit cheaper than the other option we thought about going with which was the Nuna Rava. I didn’t really want to get a Nuna because I a little bit feel like Nunas’ are status symbols. They’re beautiful car seats and strollers and all that stuff, but I’ve always felt a little bit it’s a showing off that you have the fancy car seat but it gets great reviews and people said it’s super comfortable and then Black Friday happened.

Shanna Micko: Oh.

Laura Birek: I discovered that I could get $100 off of it if I bought it at Nordstrom, which made it essentially the same price as the Britax.

Shanna Micko: Nice.

Laura Birek: Corey kind of talked me into it and I bought the Nuna Rava. It arrived this week and I have to say it’s awesome. I’m really happy I did. The thing that’s really nice about it is how easy it is to install and I say that after I think it was some kind of older Graco that my dad and stepmom had and we tried to install it thinking we’d have it as our backup and drive it home from Fresno and we tried to install it in Corey’s car and we could not get it tight at all.

Shanna Micko: Were you using the latch system or the seatbelt?

Laura Birek: No, we tried both didn’t work and then their actual instructions and the instruction manual was to take a rolled up towel and put it underneath to make it tighter if you can’t get it tighter.

Shanna Micko: What?

Laura Birek: Yeah, I just did not think that seemed safe and we tried it too, because I was like, well, let’s try it. It’s in the manual. Even then it would shimmy. You’d move it at the base and it would move more. They say it shouldn’t move more than an inch and it was moving around so I just didn’t feel comfortable using it. So when I got the Nuna, I didn’t know how it would install, but people had said it was easy and I went and did it and it’s not just like super easy, it’s super-fast and it’s so tight. I think similar to the Britax, it has this little thing you push down. The Britax is called ClickTight. Theirs is called Sure Fit. I don’t remember. But it’s a doohickey that clicks down over the car seat to make it even snugger. Is snugger a word?

Shanna Micko: I don’t know. Sounds impressed.

Laura Birek: I installed it in my car, because Corey wasn’t home when I did it and I had a babysitter so I was like, “I’m going to do this,” and then I called Corey. I was like, “It’s so snug. You can’t even move it. It doesn’t even budge.” When he came home I was like, “You got to try to move the car seat.” The thing is that it’s inside us now.

Shanna Micko: I know right.

Laura Birek: Have you moved up to the convertible?

Shanna Micko:
Nope, not yet. Hasn’t really been on my radar either, but I was planning to do that very soon. I did that when Elle was about one year old. So I have a plan and we just haven’t gotten it yet. Maybe after the holidays.

Laura Birek: You don’t still have one from Elle?

Shanna Micko: Oh, she still uses it. That’s the cool thing about these convertible car seats is they go for a lot longer. They go up to about 65 pounds and 49 inches. So a lot better.

Laura Birek: That’s the thing that also convinced me to go with the slightly more expensive one is if you armor tie it over the course of how much you’re going to use it, it really ends up being fairly inexpensive. It’s also really an important piece of equipment you’re going to need.

Shanna Micko: Very exciting.

Laura Birek: It’s kind of cool, because he’s sitting up a little bit more. He’s not in that bucket seat so much. I think he likes that. So far so good with the Nuna Rava. The big boy car seat did make me kind of sad though. I was like, you baby car seat. You were a little newborn in this and now it’s too small for you.

Shanna Micko: I’m reluctant to get rid of it, because it’s so easy to click between cars. We have two bases for the Chicco. 

So I click it in one car, click it in the other, and now I either have to buy two convertible car seats or take it out of one car, install it in the other.

Laura Birek: Probably that is the problem.

Shanna Micko: That is the Chicco NextFit that Elle has.

Laura Birek: That’s very highly rated. That was definitely in the top three if I recall of all of my rankings, my obsessive searching.

Shanna Micko: I think it’s Consumer Reports number one CSD tested. It’s good. It’s great. It’s just heavy as shit, man. Trying to take it on vacation to the airport with you is so heavy and so I’m not looking forward to lugging it between cars.

Laura Birek: Anyway, that’s what’s been going on with our week. Shanna, how have you been doing? How old is your baby?

Shanna Micko: We are doing great. Laura, I have big news.

Laura Birek: Yeah.

Shanna Micko: CeCe turned one year old.

Laura Birek: Oh my gosh. I knew that, because I was at her party, but yay.

Shanna Micko: Yay.

Laura Birek: Happy birthday, CeCe.

Shanna Micko: It was a great week. Steve and I both took the day off of work on her actual birthday, which was in the middle of the week so we could spend some uninterrupted time with her and that was really cute. We didn’t really know what to do too much. It’s kind of cold outside. So we were just like, let’s go to Target and buy her birthday presents. We did what we usually do on days off. We went to Target and got her a couple little toys and stuff and she just loved having us both home and I didn’t have to let her play while I worked on work or checked email or did anything like that. That was nice and then her party was that weekend and it was so fun. My friend Melissa came into town for it.

Laura Birek: From Austin?

Shanna Micko: From Austin.

Laura Birek: It’s long way.

Shanna Micko: I know. So awesome. My mom came into town and Steve’s mom was here and a bunch of our best friends were there and it was just fun. It was such a blast to celebrate her and she enjoyed it a lot. She seemed to be really excited to see everyone and yeah, it was great.

Laura Birek: It was fun. Shanna, you’re forgetting, or maybe you’re not forgetting, but I am going to prompt you about your freaking cake. Oh my God.

Shanna Micko: I made a cake.

Laura Birek: You didn’t just make a cake. You made the cake. We’re going to have to post a lot of photos on Instagram of these, because everyone was freaking out how amazing it looked. It tasted delicious, but it was beautiful.

Shanna Micko: Thank you.

Laura Birek: I don’t know how you cut it perfectly. You had the perfect wedge and you could see all those layers. For people who don’t remember, it was a rainbow cake she was trying to make.

Shanna Micko: The party was rainbow themed.

Laura Birek: You definitely pulled it off. I came fully bedecked in bright colors.

Shanna Micko: Yes, a lot of people did. It was so fun. I’ve mentioned before that bright colors make me happy. Just everything about this party with the bright colors, I was on cloud nine. I went to Target the day before and I was desperate to find some kind of something to wear and it’s hard to find bright colors in the middle of winter. Everything is mauve and army green.

Laura Birek: Totally.

Shanna Micko: I’m just like, no. I could not believe it. Target had the hottest of hot pink long sleeve crop top shirt. I was like, hell yes. This is exactly what I’m getting. CeCe, I got her a hot pink tutu with rainbow colored pom poms.

Laura Birek: They were amazing. I was so jealous of that skirt, my God.

Shanna Micko: Oh my God. I was like, is she going to look back at this party and what I did to her and be like, mom, you’re crazy? But you know what? I love it. I look back at the pictures. I scroll through my photo history on my phone and when the pictures from the party pop up, it’s just like all of a sudden this bright pop of color in my photo stream and I’m like, this is just so fun. The cake was really colorful. I covered it in white fondant and then fondant hearts of all different rainbow colors. So that was really colorful and then I made a tool cake stand skirt out of a different rainbow color tool and so it was just very, very bright and colorful and I was really happy with how it turned out. It was fun.

Laura Birek: I had fun in it and I was definitely getting some tips for my baby’s birthday party, which is coming up, which I’ve started planning as you know. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to really meet your level of decorations, but it’s definitely a nice inspirational goal. I’m buying a cake. I like to bake pies and I like to cook. 

Baking cakes, I’ve never been great at it, I feel. I just don’t think I should put my energy there.

Shanna Micko: No, that’s totally fine. The reason I do it is I discovered I absolutely love it. It’s my new hobby and I do like the baking. Maybe I’ve talked about this before, but it’s the decorating that really, really excites me. I have always had a slight artistic flare interest in design stuff like that. Never had too many outlets for it and so now that I discovered I can bake very colorful, cute cakes for my children, I’m very excited about it. So that’s really the main reason I do it.

Laura Birek: I just have a lot of hobbies. I’m definitely drawn to cake decorating. I’ll watch Instagram videos of people making beautiful ombre cakes and stuff and definitely be like, oh I should do that. Then I’m remembering my neglected loom, I’m remembering my neglected spinning wheel, all the yarn I have to use and I’m like, okay, let’s focus on the crafts that you have the tools for now. But I’m just like, no, no, no, but I want to make an ombre cake.

Shanna Micko: I know. There’s just so much fun stuff to do in life. Another couple little activities we had at the party in case this gives anyone inspiration. For the kids, for the goody bag alternative, we made what we call a punch piñata. Steve made this. I found the idea on Pinterest and it was like a big huge cardboard box that he decorated and cut a bunch of holes out of and then covered the holes with tissue paper, rainbow colored of course, and then the kids and babies go up and they can punch through one of the holes and find a surprise on the other side of the hole.

Laura Birek: That was very cute and very clever and also made me think like, shit, do I need to get party favors, because I haven’t actually been to any baby birthday parties other than your kids, basically and our friend Jen’s kid and it’s been a while. What do you get for a one year old that’s not a choking? All those little party favors that you think of are usually choking hazards.

Shanna Micko: 100%. Steve had to specifically go to Target, God, how many times am I going to mention Target, and got little squeezy bath toys for the babies at the party. The bigger kids, because we also had like four year olds there, got party store favors that are totally choking hazards. I don’t think you really need them at a baby’s birthday party. I’ve just gotten accustomed to it because Elle is now going to a lot of parties of preschoolers and the kids love it. She absolutely flips out when she gets a goodie bag at the end of a party and it’s cute and fun.

Laura Birek: I’ll have to think about that, because literally it did not even occur to me and then I realized that was what you were doing basically with the punch game, which is so genius and then I was like, shit do we need to do that? Basically, your party was very fun and then everything made me say like, “Shit do we need to do this?”

Shanna Micko: You know what could be a good easy fun idea for a little party favor take home for the kids is just helium balloons. You could get a bunch. Elle got one from a party she went to a couple weekends ago. It was just like, “Take a balloon. Actually, take a couple because there’s extra.” She loved it.

Laura Birek: That’s a good one, because my decor plans are a bunch of balloons. 

I’m just going to balloon out the place. That’s perfect. Then I don’t have to actually do anything. Thank you, Shanna.

Shanna Micko: You’re welcome. Then the other little thing we had, I made a game for the adults called which baby is it, because my two daughters look awful lot alike when they’re young babies. Everyone has said it. I think it too. I will look at pictures of them from their early infancy and honestly, I can’t tell them apart a lot of times unless there’s some context to the picture. I’m like, I know. I remember we went there. So I was like, these are my close friends. They’ll probably get a kick out of this. So I made a big poster board and mixed up six pictures of Elle and six pictures of CeCe when they were probably zero to three months old and made people guess which baby was which and a lot of people didn’t do too well on that game. Did you do well? I don’t remember.

Laura Birek: I thought I might ace it. I got third place. I think I got eight of the 12 correct.

Shanna Micko: Okay. That sounds about right.

Laura Birek: That was third place. There you go. No one got a perfect score.

Shanna Micko: No one. Not even Steve, because I put it together so he could also play. I think he got 10.

Laura Birek: I think he got 10. No, I don’t remember who got second place. Someone got nine.

Shanna Micko: Melissa maybe.

Laura Birek: Because I was like, I think I’m going to get this not only because I know them well and I was around a lot when Elle was a little baby and I also took some of the pictures I feel like.

Shanna Micko: Definitely.

Laura Birek: So I’m like, I got this. But man, there are some real stumps in there. .

Shanna Micko: I made them all black and white too because Elle has kind of red hair and CeCe has brown hair, so I didn’t want to give anything away. It was a tricky game and it amused the hell out of me and I was so glad my friends were up for humoring me by playing it.

Laura Birek: We were into it. We were competitive. People were like, we’re on a win.

Shanna Micko: I love it. Then thank you for bringing the bubble machine. You brought the Gazillion Bubbles. The kids played with bubbles and that’s really all we did. We just hung out and the babies and kids played and ate cake and pizza. It was a success. I’m really happy.

Laura Birek: It was. I think it was really fun. The only thing that was a problem for us was that we were convinced that our baby would sleep on the way to your house and get his nap on the way to your house and he did not. He screamed the whole way. It started at 11. So I thought, okay. Perfect. He usually goes down for his nap around 9:30 or 10, so he’ll be pretty tired and he’ll just fall asleep in the half hour ride there and we could drive around a little if he falls asleep and stays asleep. Nope. Just scream the whole time. I think everyone was like, is he okay?

Shanna Micko: I know. He looked tired.

Laura Birek: He was so tired.

Shanna Micko: He was a trooper though. He partied. He hung out.

Laura Birek: That’s the thing. He’s just a social kid. I knew he’d be okay once we got there and then he passed out instantly on the drive home.

Shanna Micko: I bet.

Laura Birek: Oh God, now I’m remembering. We had to drive around and I told Corey, I was like, “Hey, let’s just drive a little further and go to Bed Bath and Beyond and I’ll jump in and get…” We needed curtain rods for the garage conversion that we’re doing. I was like, “It’ll kill time.” So he pulls up, I quietly get out and he’s circling the block and then I tell him I’m done. I come back, I open the trunk, baby’s still asleep, I’m carefully putting the curtain rods in the trunk and then some asshole honked their horn not at us, at someone else, and woke him up. I was just like, you motherfucker! I haven’t been that mad in a really long time. 

I was just like, why are we fighting in a parking lot? It was just because someone wasn’t moving fast enough basically in this parking lot.

Shanna Micko: Of course.

Laura Birek: Then of course he wakes up and he’s screaming, because he has been woken up from his nap very abruptly.

Shanna Micko: Oh, no.

Laura Birek: Man, babies and naps.

Shanna Micko: Sorry about that. That’s not your fault.

Laura Birek: He’s so engaged with the world. It’s hard for him to sleep anywhere except in his crib, honestly.

Shanna Micko: I hear that.

Laura Birek: That’s something we’ve done, I guess. Sleep training worked a little too well, I guess.

Shanna Micko: That happens as they get older though.

Laura Birek: Well, we had a great time at your party and I can’t believe CeCe’s one.

Shanna Micko: I know. Wow.

Laura Birek: We’re next.

Shanna Micko: Right around the corner.

Laura Birek: Yeah.

Shanna Micko: Should we take a break and move on to our special segment?

Laura Birek: Yeah, let’s do it.

Shanna Micko: Okay.


Laura Birek: We’re back. Our special segment this week is Mom Wins.

Shanna Micko: Woo-hoo.

Laura Birek: It’s both a noun and a verb where we talk about things that have been a huge success in our momming life: #momlifey. Shanna, I want to know. What is your Mom Win?

Shanna Micko: Okay. It is hard to pat yourself on the back as a mom, I feel like. So I like doing this segment, because in a way it helps me see situations differently and give myself a few accolades, but you will hear this story and tell me if I deserve them.

Laura Birek: Okay.

Shanna Micko: So this was a couple weeks ago and it was about 3:30 p.m. I’m out in the backyard with Elle and the family and I’m just cleaning up the patio, spraying water, watering the plants, and Elle loves water. She’ll take any opportunity to spray herself down, run through sprinklers, blah, blah, blah and it’s kind of a chilly day, but not too chilly. So I allow her to play in the water and get wet and stuff. I start looking at the plants around the backyard and I’m like, these pots really need some new flowers. I was like, “Steve, do you and CeCe want to run to Walmart and get some new flowers for the backyard?” He’s like, “Sure. Yeah, no problem.” I said, “Before you go, can you close the sliding doors, because I want to spray them clean while I’ve got the hose out?” He’s like, “Yeah, sure.” I hesitated for a second and almost said, let me run in and get my phone, but I didn’t. So I had the thought, but I didn’t do it. I knew it was in the kitchen. So Steve and CeCe leave, they go to Walmart and a few minutes later I’m still cleaning the backyard and Elle’s playing with water. I was like, I’m getting cold, because it’s freaking Daylight Savings. So sun’s starting to go down early now. It is getting colder. She’s like, “I’m so cold.” I was like, “Okay. Let’s go inside and get you a towel.” 

I go to open the sliding doors and they’re locked from the inside, but by my husband.

Laura Birek: Yeah, I got it. By your husband who went to Walmart and your phone is inside. That’s a pickle.

Shanna Micko: This is a pickle. What do I do? Elle is freezing at this point. I’m like, okay. Okay. Okay. Let’s check the other doors. I was checking the other doors. I’m like, “Elle, do you think you could fit through the doggy door?” My dogs are like 9 and 12 pounds. So this dog door is like six inches high. She looked at me like I was crazy. She was like, “No, mom. I’ll get stuck in there.” I was like, “Fair enough. Fair enough.” Everything was locked and now here’s the thing. Our garage has a keypad on it, which is great. You can go and put the code in and the garage door will open and that would give me entrance to the house. Guess what broke and came off the rails that morning and wasn’t working?

Laura Birek: The garage keypad?

Shanna Micko: No, the garage door. It was just completely broken.

Laura Birek: The whole thing?

Shanna Micko: Yes, the whole thing had broken that morning. That was a problem we were already dealing with and I had scheduled a garage guy to come the next day or whatever. So I had no entrance to the garage, no entrance through any door and so we were just stuck in the backyard, which is okay. Except the sun’s going down. My little girl is freezing cold and wet. I have nothing to dry her off with and so boom! Mom wins! Ripped off my own shirt, put it on my daughter, and I’m just hanging out in the backyard as the sun’s going down in my bra.

Laura Birek: At least you were wearing a bra.

Shanna Micko: I know. I know. I know. That thought totally crossed my mind and I was like, oh my gosh, I just need to make the best of this. I was really proud of myself for having that change of perspective, because at first, sorry, Steve, but I was pissed. Goddamn it.

Laura Birek: I think he would understand that you’re rightfully pissed about that.

Shanna Micko: Yes, I get it. We locked that door behind us all the time. It was an automatic thought. He wasn’t purposely locking us out. So I was like, goddamn it. Then I’m like, all right. This is just me and Elle adventure, I guess. So hanging out in my bra with my wet daughter as the sun is going down. She’s like, “Mommy, it’s getting dark.” I’m like, “I know. I don’t know what they’re doing at Walmart.” We just started playing silly word games. Luckily, she’s got a great sense of humor. So I entertained her for a long time by making different sneeze noises. So I’d be like, “Huh, huh, huh, gac-do-doo.” That would crack her up and then she would make one up for me and it ended up kind of being fun bonding time. It was cool that it ended up being Shanna-Elle time and we had to get creative and Steve finally came home and I told him what happened and he was like, “Oh, man. I was taking my time looking through all the Christmas section.”

Laura Birek: Oh, no.

Shanna Micko: I was like, “Of course, you were.” Then he got there probably around 5, 5:30. The sun was definitely down.

Laura Birek: What did he think when he found you guys in the back with your shirt off?

Shanna Micko: Oh my God, I don’t even think it really fazed him at first. He was just like, “What are you guys doing out there?” I was like, “Hello?” He’s like, “I’m so sorry. It was an automatic thing.” I’m like, “I know. I know. It’s fine.” What do you think? I feel like I handled that situation pretty well and maybe I should give myself a pat on the back.

Laura Birek: 100%. You should give yourself a pat on the back. I feel like you took a situation that was annoying and stressful and that’s not dangerous, but you don’t want your kid to get super cold and you took what was available to you and made it a fun little afternoon instead of you could have just been steaming at Steve, Elle could be crying, because you’re mad at daddy. There’s a whole lot of other ways it could have gone, but instead you made it a fun, funny story that I’m sure she will remember as a funny little anecdote from her past as opposed to something traumatic, which it could have been.

Shanna Micko: Yeah, it could have been. It ended up being an adventure and I just kept thinking, oh my God, my nosy mean neighbor is just going to peek over this fence any minute. 

I know it. I think at one point Elle was like, “My legs are cold. I want your shorts.” I did draw the line at my shorts. I was like, “My shirt is big enough to basically cover your whole body. Can I please at least keep my shorts on?”

Laura Birek: You literally gave her the shirt off your back.

Shanna Micko: I did.

Laura Birek: Pants are good. Well, I think you definitely deserve a gold star for your Mom Win on that one.

Shanna Micko: Thank you. All right. What do you got for us?

Laura Birek: Okay. So I held this back during my check-in, because I need to set the stage for what my actual Mom Win is, but this week we had a little bit of, I want to say like a scare in that my baby loves water. He always wants to have some water when he’s playing or whatever, but usually he’ll drink like maybe an ounce.

Shanna Micko: You mean he likes drinking water?

Laura Birek: Yeah, I’m sorry. Unlike Elle who likes playing in water and getting cold, he likes drinking water.

Shanna Micko: Okay.

Laura Birek: That’s a good clarification. He also likes playing in water, but he also likes to ingest it. So I give him his little straw cup at meals and then sometimes if he’s playing he’ll reach for it and I’ll give it to him and he’ll drink an ounce maybe two in any sitting at most and so I’ve never really thought much about it. One afternoon this week I brought out a stainless steel insulated cup that has a silicone straw like attachment thing and it’s meant for babies, but I haven’t really given it to him yet, because it doesn’t have handles. So I was not sure he could really hold onto it properly. It’s a little heavy, because it’s steel. But I was like, I bet you’re going to be able to use this better now. I brought it out and it has all the little markings on the inside of the cup and during his afternoon snack, he drank five ounces of water out of it. Granted he was having fun with the cup, he thought it was really cool and I was like, okay. Maybe he’s just a little thirsty. Anyway, we were playing and then he had dinner and at dinner he ends up drinking another seven ounces out of this cup. I was like, that’s a lot of water.

Shanna Micko: From the same cup?

Laura Birek: Yeah, I had refilled it.

Shanna Micko: But the same cup.

Laura Birek: It was the same cup and he was having fun with it. But also I was like, did he just drink 10 to 12 ounces of water in one afternoon? 

That seems a lot and it reminded me of my step brother-in-law. He had adult onset diabetes. Type one’s the one that just comes on all of a sudden. I remember him saying that one of his symptoms was that he was drinking just a ton of water and I was like, oh. So then I start googling.

Shanna Micko: Oh, no.

Laura Birek: So I was googling infant diabetes and first of all, it’s very rare, which is good. But extreme thirst, lots of peeing and extreme appetite are three big symptoms of it. My guy eats so much food. He’s still nursing every two to three hours and he eats three meals plus a snack and he eats like a huge amount of food at every meal.

Shanna Micko: Wow.

Laura Birek: Then the other thing that it said was common was yeast problems like skin yeast infections, a diaper rash. We’ve been fighting off some yeast on his back in his diaper area recently. So all of that together suddenly made me like, is this diabetes? You have a bunch of check marks off. I called the doctor. The doctor’s like, “Well, it’s almost the end of the day. He doesn’t have any other symptoms. He’s so far from lethargic and he’s gaining weight.” So she was like, “Let’s just keep an eye on it. If there’s any more symptoms that pop up, I want you to bring him in. But let’s make an appointment for later this week to get his blood sugar tested.” So then I called my mom and my mom’s like, “He doesn’t seem like a kid who has diabetes. He has too much energy, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But if you really want to be sure, you can test his urine for ketones and if he has diabetes, he’s going to have ketones in his urine. That’s how it works.” She’s like, “You can go to Walgreens. They sell the ketone test strips and just do it.” So I was like, “Okay. I’m going to do that.” I went to Walgreens. It turns out they sell them just over the counter and they sell them for people who are doing ketogenic diving, so they want ketones in their urine, because they want to know they’re in ketosis. Anyway, you just buy them over the counter. But then I had this thought, which was like, how exactly do you get a urine sample from an 11 month old?

Shanna Micko: I’m dying to know.

Laura Birek: What would you do? Do you have any ideas?

Shanna Micko: Well, I did watch the pediatrician get a pee sample from Elle when she was a toddler. So I kind of have an idea that maybe I would tape a Ziploc bag to the crotch area and let her walk around for a while. That’s kind of what they did.

Laura Birek: Yeah, I thought about the Ziploc bag, but he moves a lot and I didn’t know if it would work. This is what I did. I realized that I had these little silicone food cups. They’re a little semi-circle with a lid food cups. You know what I’m talking about?

Shanna Micko: Like a bowl?

Laura Birek: Kind of. Just a little itty bitty one for baby food. I had a ton of them and I don’t really use them that much and I realized that there’s a hard plastic ring on the top that can come off and then it’s just like this soft cup. I was like, this is perfectly groin sized. So I got a Sharpie and was like, “Not for food on it. Just to let you know, because it’s no longer for food.” At first I thought I could sort of cup it around and put it in his diaper, but he wanted to move too much. So I did that for a while. Then I kept checking it and nothing was there. I finally realized I’m just going to have to hold it. He has a changing table that’s next to a window. Usually, when I’m trying to change him, he’s trying to pull up to stand and look out the window. So I was like, all right, baby. We’ll just do the thing you’ve always wanted to do, which is take your pants off and stare out this window. I had him standing out this window and I’m holding the little food cup on his groin waiting and they don’t pee that much at this age, so you’re waiting around. I probably waited about 20 minutes with me holding it to his crotch and he’s loving life. He’s looking out the window. He thinks it’s fun. Usually, mom’s like, “I see you want to look out the window, but it’s time to change your diaper.” But I’m just like, look out the window, have fun. Standing there holding this thing to his crotch.

Shanna Micko: Oh my God.

Laura Birek: Then all of a sudden I hear him peeing. I was like, oh my gosh. Yes. So he finishes peeing, I pull it off and he starts jumping up and down. He only makes me spill a couple tablespoons. But I have enough to dip the stick in and then he thinks this is hilarious. Finally, I get the cup of baby urine off to the side trying to make sure it stays safe. He starts jumping up and down and it is then I realized that while he peed, he also was pooping and he was jumping up and down in his poop. He didn’t get too much of it, because thankfully I used these disposable liners. They’re actually technically like hospital bed pads that I get for the diaper and he got it all on that and then he’d only kind of gotten a little on his heel, but he was kind of matching it in the liner. I was like, oh my God, baby, wrapping it up. So I wrapped that up. I take his foot to go rinse it off and I got his ketones tested and there were trace ketones. My mom was like, “That’s not enough. Everyone has trace ketones. Feed him and then redo it in like an hour.”

Shanna Micko: Easier said than done, mom.

Laura Birek: Easier said than done. Although, but I was like, now I know how to do it. The good news is he had zero ketones in his urine. He ended up sleeping through his follow-up appointment. So I think we’re just going to wait till his 12 month appointment, which is in a couple weeks, because he doesn’t show any other signs of anything and when I gave him a regular cup, he drank less. So I think he was just super excited about that cup.

Shanna Micko: I guess so. Wow. He really put you through the ringer though with his interest in that cup.

Laura Birek: I remember when I told my mom, I was like, “Well, I got the urine sample. I did a lot to get it.” She’s like, “I just thought you’d put the strip in his diaper and wait.” But it doesn’t work that way, because you have to read it within 15 seconds.

Shanna Micko: Really?

Laura Birek: It didn’t work. Yeah, but anyway, he had fun.

Shanna Micko: It sounds like he had a blast.

Laura Birek: Like you said, it’s hard to pat yourself on the back. At the time I was like, what am I doing? This is insane, but now I feel like it’s a win, because I needed to be reassured and check his urine and I found a way.

Shanna Micko: And a way that was fun for him and didn’t require duct taping a bag to his crotch.

Laura Birek: No duct tape involved.

Shanna Micko: Oh, man. That’s great. Good job, Laura. That’s a serious Mom Win.

Laura Birek: Thank you. Should we take a break and then come back with our BFPs and BFNs?

Shanna Micko: I think so. Let’s do it.

Laura Birek: Okay.


Shanna Micko: We’re back with our weekly BFPs and BFNs. Laura, what do you got for us?

Laura Birek: I have a BFP.

Shanna Micko: Cool.

Laura Birek: We’ve talked about pouches. That was one of your BFP a few weeks ago, right? These are the pouches full of baby goo that they love to eat.

Shanna Micko: Yes, aka apple sauce.

Laura Birek: Exactly. God, there’s a million of them. You inspired me to start buying them because I was like, I need something to be able to throw into the diaper bag to have just in case we need a snack while we’re out and so I went to the Whole Foods and was looking at all the options. There’s so many pouches. It’s bonkers, but I had been focusing on the ones that have spinach in them, because I want to get the iron levels up for my baby. There’s one that’s Happy Tot and it’s blueberry, spinach, apple and pear or something like that and he loves it.

Shanna Micko: Yum.

Laura Birek: But my problem is that my baby still doesn’t quite get the pouch situation. So if you take the lid off the pouch and just hand it to him, he squeezes all over himself basically. He plays with it. He turns it upside down and then it falls out and it’s a complete mess.

Shanna Micko: Right.

Laura Birek: Thankfully, I saw someone post completely unprompted in one of my Facebook moms groups about this product that’s my BFP, which is the ChooMee SoftSip Food Pouch Top. ChooMee is C-H-O-O-M-E-E.

Shanna Micko: Oh, okay.

Laura Birek: It’s just like a little silicone topper that you put on top of the pouch. You just kind of shimmy it on and it sits really well on top of the little pouch spout. But it’s one of those valves where you have to kind of bite it and suck and so if the baby squeezes the pouch and turns it upside down, doesn’t spray out.

Shanna Micko: That’s brilliant.

Laura Birek: It has a little cap to recap it, so it’s attached and you can put the little cap on, because you can put it in the fridge and save it for 24 hours usually. So we’ve been really liking it and also it’s been really good for his teething.

Shanna Micko: Nice.

Laura Birek: He was gnawing on the plastic tips of the pouches and I didn’t love that. 

I wasn’t sure if that was bad for his teeth and so this makes it a little bit better. It’s a little softer.

Shanna Micko: How small is it? I’m just imagining something so small that it would be a choking hazard.

Laura Birek: It’s I think because the top is attached. It’s sort of like all big one big piece. It’s not technically a choking hazard. I don’t think you’d let them play with it independently on their own, but it’s not really a choking hazard while they’re eating it, because it’s on top of the pouch and it has this extension basically that’s off to the side. I definitely think it’s for supervised use only, but it’s been very helpful for us. I guess I could eventually hope my baby learns how to not squeeze these things all over the place, but that’s not his forte. His thing now is when he’s eating dinner when he is done, the way he tells us he’s done is he picks up the food, makes very good eye contact with us, picks up the food, reaches out and drops it on the ground one piece at a time, like so you’re done then. Okay. Understood. Got it.

Shanna Micko: See, he’s communicating with you. He knows what’s up. He doesn’t need words.

Laura Birek:
Even if he knew not to squeeze it, he’d squeeze it, because it’s fun.

Shanna Micko: It’s so funny. It never occurred to me. CeCe makes a little bit of a mess with it, but both of my girls have been like Hoover vacuums with those things. The second I give it to them, especially Elle, she would just stick it in her mouth and it was empty within 30 seconds.

Laura Birek: Really?

Shanna Micko: It’s a must have pouch in me now. Yeah.

Laura Birek: Maybe the spinach pouches aren’t the way to go, because like my guy, he’s sort of hot and cold about them. Some days he’s into them. Some days he’s not. So maybe I need to get a little less healthy with them.

Shanna Micko: I fill mine with Kool-Aid. That’s probably why they love it so much.

Laura Birek: Soda.

Shanna Micko: Yeah, oh my goodness.

Laura Birek: Anyway, that was my BFP for the week. Shanna, how about you? Do you have a BFP or a BFN?

Shanna Micko: I also have a BFP.

Laura Birek: Yay.

Shanna Micko: So now that CeCe is a year old, we have switched her over from formula to cow’s milk.

Laura Birek: Oh, yeah.

Shanna Micko: We went through that transition. I started it a little bit before she turned a year, because I don’t think it’s a hard and fast rule. You can start to introduce them and it’s specifically my BFP, because it is going to save us a shit ton of money because formula is expensive.

Laura Birek: I haven’t bought it, but I understand it’s very expensive, because they keep it behind lock and key at the grocery store.

Shanna Micko: Yeah, they do. Don’t they?

Laura Birek: Yeah.

Shanna Micko: That’s so strange. They don’t at Target, which is where I usually buy mine. But yeah, she has been going through a big thing of Similac, which I think is $36 or something about once a week. So I guess I’m spending $140 a month on formula, which is fine. Now we switched to milk, yay, which is a lot cheaper. Organic milk is still kind of expensive but cheaper.

Laura Birek: It ain’t $120 a month.

Shanna Micko: No, not at all.

Laura Birek: For $120 a month you could go get that cream on top, hyper organic grass fed from only cows that have read the Complete Works of Shakespeare.

Shanna Micko: I could. Maybe that’s what I should do. She’ll probably end up being smarter.

Laura Birek: Shakespeare cows do have the best milk.

Shanna Micko: They do. It’s so delicious. For anyone who’s interested on how exactly we transitioned…

Laura Birek: I am. I am. I am.

Shanna Micko: Oh, okay.

Laura Birek: Because I don’t do formula, but we do breast milk. So I am very curious about this, because I don’t really understand. Yes, impart your knowledge, please.

Shanna Micko: My idea was to introduce it slowly by cutting it into her formula. Just one day I was like, we’re going to start this today and so I put an ounce of whole milk in with the rest of her formula and then the next bottle, it was a couple ounces and so probably by the end of the week, not even the week, maybe after a couple days she was at 80/20. It was just slowly introducing it and making the bottle more milk, so she would get used to the flavor and stuff and I could see if she liked it and it was actually really easy. 

Within a few days, my last tub of formula just happened to run out and she was taking to the milk just fine and that was that. It was that easy. You don’t have to do it that way though. You can just give them some milk and see if they like it. So I think the cutting it in thing is more if you’re a little bit worried on how they’re going to take it and get used to the flavor and the change and that kind of thing.

Laura Birek: Weren’t you avoiding dairy early on when you were still breastfeeding?

Shanna Micko: Yeah, I was. Then I got a little more lenient with it as my breastfeeding journey went on, because she didn’t seem to be too bothered by the dairy. It was a little bit different with Elle. She actually had blood in her stool and there were more indications she actually had a dairy intolerance, whereas CeCe was just kind of a guess. We were trying to figure out what was wrong with her and then when I did switch her to formula, we went to Similac Sensitive, which is a little bit easier on the lactose. Then finally I was like, I’m just going to try regular formula, because I want to switch her to milk soon and I’ve heard babies outgrow these kinds of things and I’m not even sure she had a problem anyway. So we switched over and she was fine with the regular formula and then she was totally fine with milk and now she drinks milk, eats cheese, eats yogurt, all kinds of things.

Laura Birek: So do you warm the milk up?

Shanna Micko: She’s just gotten accustomed to taking her milk warm and so I still do. I would love to try to wean her off of warm milk, but that’s something for another day and then the other thing for another day is weaning her off of bottles, which is soon.

Laura Birek: I was going to ask about that. That’s smart. You moved to the cow’s milk first then you work on the bottle. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, because my baby only gets one bottle a day for the most part. The rest of the time it’s straight from the tap. I know that I’ve asked Corey if he can try putting the breast milk that he warms up in the morning into a cup and it hasn’t worked. So he hasn’t been interested in it. I don’t really know what to do. Okay. Wait, I have another technical question, which is, are you still giving her as much milk as you were giving her like formula? Is it just considered a snack now? How does that work?

Shanna Micko: I was giving her the same amount, because I wasn’t sure and then she had her one year appointment and Steve asked the doctor about it and he said to give her no more than two cups of milk a day, which is significantly less than the amount of formula we were giving her, which was 30 ounces. So two cups of milk is only 16 ounces. After that I was like, oh shoot. I need to make sure she’s still getting enough liquid. So I cut down her milk and realized she really wasn’t drinking enough water throughout the day to kind of make up for it. She wasn’t having as many wet diapers and stuff. Now I’m cutting her milk with water so I can make sure she gets enough water, because she doesn’t drink a lot of water at meal times. Mostly she just plays with it and spits it out and thinks it’s hilarious.

Laura Birek: Maybe you need this cup. I should lend you this cup.

Shanna Micko: Please. Or just tell me what it is and I’ll get it, because she does like using straw cups I’ve noticed. That’s her thing.

Laura Birek: Okay. So it was actually a gift that my cousins sent me and my cousins are very earth friendly, like a little crunchy and so they sent me this. I remember at first being like, a baby’s not going to use this and now I’m like, oh yeah, it’s totally fine for a baby.

Shanna Micko: Totally cool.

Laura Birek: P-U-R-A is the brand and Kiki is the type of cup. The Pura Kiki 11 ounce stainless steel bottle with silicone straw and sleeve. It’s on Amazon for right now $20. So it’s not a cheap cup, but it is one of those vacuum insulated, almost like a Hydro Flask style. I think it would be nice, because you could probably warm milk up in it and then it would stay warm if you were out and about.

Shanna Micko: Nice. That’s a good idea. I’ll try that kind of thing to get her to drink more and then the other thing that comes with that is I think I need to feed her more food now, because when you’re doing 30 ounces of formula a day, you kind of get in the mindset that that’s their main nutrition and food.

Laura Birek: It is supposed to be their main nutrition up to a year, right?

Shanna Micko: Yes, we were doing three meals a day. But they weren’t like legit meals. They were more like snacks and everything. So I’m like, I got to just change my whole feeding game here and so I’ve had to feed her more food at meals and think more strategically about what I’m going to give her and stuff and she’s eating a lot more now. It’s just interesting when you have a baby how often things change. You get in a routine of getting used to something and then all of a sudden it’s like, nope. Change it all up and re-adjust. That’s what we’re up to right now.

Laura Birek: I was thinking about that recently, because I’ve recently gotten into having a skin care routine, which I’m trying to take better care of my skin. By better I mean actually washing my face twice a day and someone turned me onto the fact that there’s face washes that you don’t actually have to splash water on your face for. You put them on and then you wipe them off with a damp cloth and this has been very appealing to me, because I hate splashing my face with water and the water never warms up fast enough in my bathroom. So I’m waiting forever. Anyway, that’s a revelation.

Shanna Micko: Ooh. Yeah.

Laura Birek: But you need to have a good amount of cloths around to do it. I was like, I don’t want to buy a bunch of cloths just for my face and then I had this revelation, which is my baby doesn’t spit up anymore and I have a million burp cloths.

Shanna Micko: Nice. Reuse. Recycle.

Laura Birek: So now the burp cloths are just my face cloths and they were so soft and organic cotton and whatever it was. 

But yeah, I was thinking about that, because I’m like, man, six months ago it would’ve been inconceivable that we didn’t need a massive pile of burp cloths everywhere we go. Maybe six months it was starting to taper off. But like, God, nine months ago I couldn’t have enough burp cloths and I was like, “We should order more.” Luckily, I kind of stopped myself, because I keep going into this thing where I’m like, this is so great. I should order another one of these and then I have to remind myself like in two weeks he might not be using this anymore.

Shanna Micko: Lots of phases. Definitely.

Laura Birek: Oh, man. So fast. Anyway, you should get that cup and thank you for the tips.

Shanna Micko: I think that’s it for us for this episode. Should we wrap things up?

Laura Birek: Yeah, let’s do it.

Shanna Micko: All right. If you guys have anything that you want to ask us or share with us, please reach out. We love hearing from you. If you love our show, please consider rating and reviewing us wherever you listen to the show and spread the word. If you know someone who’s trying to conceive, someone who’s pregnant, someone who’s a new parent and you think they might enjoy it, let them know about Big Fat Positive. We appreciate it so much. Laura, where can they reach us?

Laura Birek: We are on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at BFP Podcast. 

We also have a Facebook community group. It’s a closed group, but just search Big Fat Positive Community. Request to join and I will add you. We are having some amazing conversations in there. It’s such a great supportive community. So I invite you to come join us. We also have a website, bigfatpositivepodcast.com and you can email us [email protected].

Shanna Micko: Big Fat Positive is produced by Laura Birek, Shanna Micko and Steve Yager. Thanks for listening.

Laura Birek: Thanks. Bye.

Shanna Micko: Bye.