Frugal Girl turned nine months old and had another round of vaccinations.
She received her final Hep B vaccination, along with a flu booster shot. She also had a toe prick for lead/iron levels. Everything seems to be on course and she is now 28.5″ tall (70% the nurse didn’t stretch her out so I think the measurement is a bit under), 19 pounds even (88%), and has a big head measuring 18″ (88%). She is up to 6 teeth and has a couple of new ones ready to come in on the bottom. The separation, stranger/danger phase has come home to roost and there is a clear pecking order of who she prefers. Here is a hint, Dada is not at the top.
In other news, we opened up Frugal Girl’s first savings account. Thank you to everyone who has gifted money to the little saver. We are that much closer to a dowry! 😛
Also she will likely be getting her first passport as soon as those lazy parents get their act together.
There is a new addition in our house, Frugal Girl!
Her favorite activities include eating, sleeping, and pooping. Big brother Frugal Boy is still adjusting to the new family member.
It is still a little too early to tell how much it cost to bring little Frugal Girl into the world. Our preliminary estimate is about $5000 (insurance deductible of $2500 x 2 patients). Of that, Shae’s employer, will cover about $4300, and we will be on the hook for the remaining $700 of the deductible. We can use pre-tax dollars to cover our portion by using a Health Savings Account. Anytime that you have a life changing event, you can change your benefits enrollment through your employer. Having a baby counts as such.
Shae and I did not get Frugal Girl a special birthday gift. Instead, she gets to start life with a jump started college savings account. As soon as we learned that we had conceived, we opened a new 529 plan and started contributing to it every month just like we do for Frugal Boy. Thanks to the bull market and those early contributions, Frugal Girl is already at $3,000. If you figure that investments will naturally double every ten years, we’ve already managed to spare her from roughly $12k worth of student loans.
Relatives are already calling her a princess. A princess would have to marry other royalty, so we might have to start saving up for a dowry. ;-P
We are another day closer to having a tiny helpless human being in our house again. Umm, is there a timeout button somewhere that I can push? Shae has been nesting, er collecting some of the infant paraphernalia that we shed when Frugal Boy outgrew it. One of those items is a new, used neglect-o-matic. For all of you normal folks out there, I believe the politically correct term is ‘Excersaucer’.
Frugal Boy was all to happy to help set it up and test out all of the different dingle dangles.
I’m wondering when he will grow tired of it. He has been playing with it the entire time that I wrote this post. Did I mention that it makes a lot of noise? At least the price was right. FREE!
New parents and parents to be are constantly bombarded with “you need this” and “your baby cannot possibly survive without XYZ”. After a year of parenting, this is our list of the 10 most useful/needed baby paraphernalia. It does not include some of the basic necessities like clothing, shelter, and food.
Without further ado, here is our list.
# 10 – A Car Seat
If you are planning on driving anywhere with baby, you have to have a car seat. The law requires it and some hospitals won’t let you leave with your newborn until you have one. Frugal Boy is on his second car seat after outgrowing his newborn seat. This one should last him until he is ready for a booster seat.
# 9 – Crib
Some kids sleep in their cribs, others do not. Frugal Boy is a bit of both and spends part of his nights in his crib and part with us in our bed. Cribs also double as a holding cell for when you need to get something done without worrying about the safety of your judgement impaired offspring.
# 8 – Pocket Snacks
I get cranky when my blood sugar gets low. Shae gets cranky when her blood sugar gets low. Frugal boy… well you get the idea. Having a ziplock bag full of cheerios stashed in a coat pocket or diaper bag has saved our hides quite a few times from murderous scream fests. The moral of the story is to bring snacks every time you leave home.
# 7 – Pacifiers
Before Frugal Boy was born, we told ourselves that we would never use pacifiers. Those were a cop out and it was lazy parenting. Our baby wouldn’t need a pacifier. Hahahaha. Frugal Boy made it to about three months and then we gave up and pacifiers became a staple baby item in our house.
# 6 – Activity Saucer
Do you want to know our secret to making dinner and keeping Frugal Boy away from the hot oven? The neglect-o-matic 3000, also known as an activity saucer. Plop junior in there and you can go about your cooking without having to box out a kamikaze baby from 3rd degree burns.
# 5 – A Stroller
We actually have two strollers. A jogging stroller, shown below, and a travel stroller. Winter time hasn’t been very conducive to using either, but even in the colder weather they still get use. A stroller would be higher up on our list if there wasn’t an even better alternative [hint: keep reading our list]. With that said, both strollers will take a long time to outgrow and will be used well into the future.
# 4 – Breast Pump
As a working, breast feeding, mom a breast pump has been indispensable for Shae. She started with a hand-me down pump from her sister-in-law (you can buy new fittings) and later bought a newer model to help keep up with demand. The pump has easily paid for itself given the high cost of formula.
# 3 – Boba
The Boba carrier has been our go-to gear for walks, hikes, putting Frugal Boy to sleep, and keeping him out of trouble around the house. In many other cultures, baby wearing is the normal thing to do. Not only does your baby love being snuggled up close, it also lets you have both hands free. Another perk is that strangers are far less likely to touch your baby when out in public. For some reason, strollers seem to broadcast a “come touch my baby message” and people seem to have no qualms in walking right up and invading your baby’s personal space. With the Boba, that is never a problem.
We started with the Boba wrap and moved to the carrier after Frugal Boy outgrew the wrap. The carrier supports both front and back carry. Frugal Boy has gotten to the point where front carry is uncomfortable for the back after any extended duration.
# 2 – Cloth Diapers
Having a baby means changing a lot of diapers. I mean, a LOT of diapers. We chose to pay a bit more upfront and use cloth diapers instead of disposable. It is a decision that we do not regret for even a second. Cloth diapers just feel right, especially from an economical sense and an environmental one. What’s that, Frugal Boy just hosed down the changing table and the fresh diaper? Who cares, just throw it in the laundry and get a clean one out. I personally find myself much more proactive in changing diapers when he is in cloth because it doesn’t matter if he is wet or dry. It’s been an hour since your last diaper change and you smell kind of funky, okay, let’s change your diaper. Oh, and the whole, we need to add diapers to the grocery list and try to find some coupons to knock down the price is a conversation we’ve had a total of zero times. Yay for one less thing on the grocery list.
That brings us to our #1 “must have” baby gear/equipment/etc. What could possibly be more important than the first nine items on our list? Drum roll please…
Help. That’s right, a babysitter or a relative or a friend. Basically anyone but your spouse so you can get some time away from baby and recoup a bit. Having a date night with your spouse on a regular basis is super nice and let’s face it, parents can be boring to kids. Having a safe environment that they can explore new things in is great for those sponge like minds.
Come to think of it, I don’t have any photos of Frugal Boy and his babysitter. I should, since he loves going to the sitter’s house. Not only is it a new set of toys to play with, but more importantly, there are other KIDS to play with, watch, and learn from. Kids that can match his energy levels.
The old saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child”, so don’t feel like your spouse and you have to do it all on your own. Get help, even if it means paying for it.