Won’t You Be My Neighbor? No? GOOD!

We’ve had neighbor issues in the past. The cats. The kids running through our yard and knocking over our table and chairs. And apparently this is the summer of yard maintenance woes.

We’re kind of picky about your yard. Our back yard, through which the children run, isn’t exactly high maintenance, but we still take care of it rather well. My day lilies line the back fence row. Last summer, I didn’t get one bloom because the birds, rabbits, deer (yes, deer in the suburbs) and children ate and picked off the tops of my stalks. I was not a happy pregnant lady. Also, we keep our backyard free of sticks and what not as BigBrother and I are often barefoot. (What? I grew up on a farm. Why does this surprise you?)

Here’s the thing about life in the suburbs: other people’s lack of maintenance affects your maintenance.


Neighbors\' Grass ClippingsThe house behind us doesn’t believe in trimming all that often. The last time that they did it? The lady left all of her (many, many) grass clippings on our side of the fence. All over my lilies, mind you. And, to boot, as they have a bunch of berries along their fence row, she left a bunch of stickers/jaggers/briars. (What do people call these?) More than making my lawn look horrendous and more than possibly harming my lilies that I love so very much, this lady put my son in danger.

You can argue that he should be wearing shoes outside. I get it. He could step on a bee. And I can’t protect him from everything. But I can’t keep shoes on the child. If he gets in his sandbox, his shoes come off. He likes the feel of sand on his feet. And with some of his texture issues, I’ll gladly let him enjoy anything on his feet. Suggesting that he put his shoes on for the three seconds that it takes him to run from his sandbox to his slide just so he doesn’t step on something seems somewhat ridiculous, no? More over, did I mention that it is our yard? We don’t even rent. We own. Our. Yard.

So, while the lady was still mowing in another part of her yard, I cleaned up the clippings. I made a neat pile. And early the next morning, since I wake up with the birds, I tossed them back over the fence. (I think this is far more acceptable than tossing a can, which is not biodegradable and which was not ours, back over our side of the fence like they did the month we moved in over two and a half years ago. No. I don’t forget.) Turns out, they didn’t even notice. And did it again a few weeks later.

So, I’m eating all of their berries.


The Land of Nod, design for kids and people that used to be kids

Wordless Wednesday: Perhaps My Neighbor’s Yard Isn’t All That Bad…

I Could eat His Berries All Day!


For more Wordless Wednesday, go here. And tune in tomorrow for neighbor drama!

Embrace the Mesh Feeder! Tips and Tricks

YUM!I didn’t know about mesh feeders when BigBrother was starting solids. I don’t know why I didn’t know about them considering that they existed. You know, other than the fact that I live in a very un-progressive area when it comes to parenting and was considered a freak for waiting until he showed all the signs of readiness before introducing solids. Including, you know, sitting up unassisted. Once I learned about mesh feeders, BigBrother was already past that stage. And so, before LittleBrother was introduced to solids, I bought one.

And then I tried to figure out what to do with it. Turns out, lots of things are great in a mesh feeder.

  • Bananas. (LittleBrother’s favorite.)
  • Avocado.
  • Peaches. (LittleBrother’s second favorite.)
  • Steamed carrots (cooled down).
  • A breastmilk-cicle.
  • Melon(s) of any variety.
  • Blueberries.
  • Grapes.
  • The list goes on! Get creative.

A great idea is to freeze some of these fruits (melon and grapes, for example, or buy frozen blueberries) and give them to your little eater when teething. Not only will it make his gums feel better in a natural way but he’ll get some yum factor, be exposed to new textures and tastes and get some food in him at the same time. (If your teethers are like mine, food isn’t a priority during bouts of teething.)

It should be noted that the mesh feeder follows the same rules of introducing new foods. Wait approximately a week in between each food to rule out any possible reactions which include anything from vomiting to a rash to a more serious reaction. Avoid known allergens like strawberries, citrus, corn or anything with peanuts. (Here’s a great list which includes, tada!, cinnamon.)


Whatever you put in your child’s mesh feeder, make sure it’s full! The first time I gave LittleBrother some banana in a mesh feeder, I didn’t fill it quite full enough and he was having trouble getting anything to come out. If you fill the mesh bag full enough, your child should have no problem getting stuff out!

Biggest and best tip: Clean your feeder immediately. By immediately I do mean as soon as they finish gnawing on whatever they’re gnawing on. The biggest complaint with mesh feeders is that they’re “difficult to clean.” Well, sure, they are… if you let them sit overnight with the half-dissolved food getting stuck in creases and crevices. As soon as your child tosses it over the side of his high chair (which can be avoided by using a pacifier clip to attach it to a bib or the chair’s cover), take it to the garbage can or disposal and empty the contents. Turn the water on hot and get all of the food out. Now. Not later. Now. Use your fingernails or a small toothbrush designated for this purpose only to get in the small crevices. If you forget (or your spouse or a caregiver), fill a bowl with hot (HOT!) water and let it soak for an hour or two and then get down to business with the toothbrush. You can toss these in your dishwasher on the top rack but dishwashers aren’t going to get old, crusty banana-goo out of those creases. Taking care of the mess immediately is the absolute easiest way to keep it clean.

Also of note: mesh feeders are messy in general as the juice and bits of the food seep out of the mesh. You know, that’s the point. Don’t wait to clean the high chair tray until later. I swear. Banana goo is like rubber cement. If you clean it now (right now!), you won’t have to use as much elbow grease later. Trust me. I know this one for a fact.

While the mesh feeder is a great way to introduce new flavors and textures, don’t forget to offer foods on their tray as their grasp and handling of foods improves. I fully believe that some of BigBrother’s texture issues fall back on our reluctance to offer new textures and my general fear of a choking child. (Some, not all.) In short, don’t rely solely on the mesh feeder. We take time every few days to let LittleBrother touch and feel and attempt to eat (mostly slippery stuff is hard to pick up, even with a great pincer grasp) the foods that he has been eating in his mesh feeder. We only do this when present. Why?

As always, never leave your child unattended while eating. While the mesh feeder was created to help expose kids to a wider range of food without the scare of choking hazards, children can still choke on their own spit. Be present and alert whenever your child is eating anything.