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What Do Babies Play With?

Okay you guys I have a baby question. Our little guy is 3 months old and he is now more independent and enjoys playing on his own. This is great because we can grab a sandwich, answer the doorbell or take a phone call without him freaking out, squirming and totally melting down. PROGRESS. But. I did something I thought I’d never do and bought a play mat that is obnoxiously colorful, loud, silky, shiny, plastic and well, just NOT pretty. The designer in me is going a little nuts having it sitting in the middle of the living room.

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And the stupid thing is not even “correct” because what rainforest has elephants and zebras? Thing is, Aidan got on that damn play mat and BOOM! I turned on the music and lights and he was silent. He stared upwards as the plastic animals dangled all around putting him into a baby trance. The hypnotic music played (the same music I now hear every second of the day even when it’s off) and sent him into baby lalaland. Oh yes, it was SHOWTIME and now he loves the mat. His eyes glowed like two bright stars – it was love at first sight. How can I deny him of THAT?

So I’m embracing the whole ugly plastic mainstream toy thing. Well okay, that’s a lie because I’m not embracing it. I’m tolerating it. The above monstrosity is the Fisher-Price Rainforest Gym and he is happy as a clam underneath it and well, that’s enough for me. When people come over to hang out, I sort of push it behind something because I never wanted to be that couple with a house that is littered with primary color toys that clang, bang and light up but I fear it WILL HAPPEN though I’m going to limit the number with hopes that I can maintain a stylish home while also maintaining a very happy baby boy.

Yeah. In my dreams you say.

Some of you may think it’s selfish to think about things like how my house looks, but I care not to please others but to please myself. I don’t want my home to look like Toys R Us. Can anyone relate?

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So what do babies play with other than these play mat things? We have other little “toys” in the form of rattles and crunchy things and soft blocks. I sing to him a lot. We do tummy time. I know what to do to snap him out of his grumpy time and make him giggle. But he cannot sit upright and I can only make so many crazy faces and sing out of key for so long in a single day. What keeps your baby happy, interested and but is also educational or at least fun and not going to send him to a therapist someday?

I know lots of you will want to jump through the screen and beat me up for this but we’ve watched two episodes of Wallykazam online and HE LOVED IT. I think maybe one episode a week is cool. Is that okay though? I mean, watching an educational cartoon at 13 weeks old won’t fry his brain will it?

Chime in you guys!

(image: holly becker)

Posted in baby, kids on May 13, 2014

Baby Update: 3 Months Old

Hello dear friends, how are ya? We’re sleep deprived as hell and I feel like I’m on a mix of speed and downers, but otherwise we’re doing great in our little baby cocoon! I have many Aidan updates to share but first, I want to get something out of the way. I’ve not been blogging daily. I know, bad blogger. But here’s why: I’m kinda busy with this cute little critter below. I want to eventually have something called work / life balance but I’m finding it really fun not thinking about schedules and deadlines. I’m liking this whole chillax rollin’ with whatever the day brings lifestyle. It’s not how I usually roll, that’s for sure, but it is what it is right now. Funny, after my son was born my midwife encouraged me to take the first year a bit like Alcoholics Anonymous, “One day at a time”, encouraging me to not think about tomorrow. I laughed. Me? Not think about tomorrow? Yeah, whatevs.

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I’m totally strategic, big picture, a million ideas, and I don’t just have ideas, I execute on a lot of them because when I don’t, I am pretty hard on myself. She must have sensed that. Whenever she’d stop by to check on the baby, she’d remind me to take one day at a time. She told me my house was much too clean and I didn’t even look like I just had a baby and that was 10 days after I gave birth. I think she could see that I am a bit of an overachiever. (You think?!) After a few weeks, I totally GOT what she meant. I needed to chill. The baby drives the schedule – he is BOSS. So I am cruising along with him for the moment. Once I got the hang of living for today (I have never been so unscheduled in my life) I have to admit: I’m kinda loving it. Of course, we have a sleep schedule in place, I shower each morning and get prettied up (I was raised a southern girl after all), my husband and I eat at set times, but at his age in his baby life, everything else is totally unpredictable.

Having a baby made me really appreciate that some of the best moments in life are the unrehearsed bits and his birth also made me love running my company from home even more. I’m confident that I’ll always have work to do and new things to build on so I’m not worried about missing a little work time right now. I just don’t want to sit in front of my Mac all day or constantly be running off for work stuff - I want to be with my husband and the little bug as much as I can to soak it all in.

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I know every mom is different and I know many don’t have the luxury of working from home as I do… So I appreciate what I have. I really wonder how moms who working full-time do it now that I have a baby. MAD PROPS to you ladies. It must be so hard. I decided to keep our baby by my side for the first few years because I want to experience his firsts with him but this is only possible because I have my own business and since I’m willing to take the pay cut. We don’t have a mortgage, it’s possible for us to live with a little less for a few months. It’s just how it has to be. When it comes to money, the more you have the more you spend on stuff you don’t need anyway, right? I also feel more creative than ever since having a baby. Challenges always make me more creative, when my life is too easy I lose my edge… Having a baby presented crazy scheduling and sleep challenges but I feel super-charged on a creative level and this is great. My health has been great otherwise but I’ve not really slept more than 5 hours straight in 3 months. Even when I’m sleeping, since his crib is nearby our bed, I am still “on” hearing his sounds and waking if he starts fussing. But yeah, I have crazy respect for women with children more than ever now.

Despite the current scheduling and sleep challenges I do feel GOOD though. I mean, I’m really happy and feel totally centered somehow even though I’m walking into doors and constantly forgetting stuff. During all of his naps I’m constantly thinking about my family life and business and where I see it in a year from now (okay so I’m not 100% taking it one day at a time, but I try). I’m making concrete decisions and I believe that being a mother is already forcing me to make some important career changes for the better. I’ll get better. And I needed that because frankly, I was getting bored and boredom (like passion) starts to show after awhile. For the past three months, my passion has returned and is only growing stronger. In fact, I’m putting together a new direction for my work life and over time, you’ll start to see my plans take action. I hope my new adventures inspire you as I go.

I have to quickly tell you something funny. It’s about a thing that is totally unrelated to career stuff. It’s what I call the mommy mafia. I have some great friends in my life who dropped in very suddenly because they too have babies and we just met and connected. I love going out with them here in my hood - coffee in one hand, babes in the other — it’s a fun new social network I’m part of and I really love it. If someone had told me that I’d say all of this a year ago, I would have laughed in their face. I always looked at these women, the baby mamas out there, as being from another planet as I watched them run around chasing their kids. Now, I’m right alongside sharing stories from the changing table, burping my son as I listen intently to their secrets and tips that cover everything from post-pregnancy vagina workouts (yes, really!) to the latest baby gadgets. These women as so cool though and it’s been super helpful to have other moms to talk to about baby stuff instead of boring my friends to tears (the ones who don’t have kids and see me now like an alien from another planet). Together with the mommy mafia as I call them, we visit cafes and farmers’ markets, go for forest walks and soon, regular swim class with the babies. I never thought I’d love being part of a mom club but I really, really do. And I’m not just friends with these women because we have children – we click on other levels too so it’s been a great new adventure in friendship for me.

By the way, our baby boy, Aidan Benjamin, turned 12 weeks old on Sunday and today, May 9th, he is officially three months old. THREE MONTHS. It feels like much longer though – seriously, it is like he’s always been here with us. He is just as darling as ever, too though he’s not a quiet super easy sleepy baby like some of my friends brag about as they tell me how perfect their kids are. Aidan is fiery, just like the meaning of his name. He has a very big personality, he is always making noise, very interactive, is already trying to tell me stores – it’s the funniest thing to have a baby so young that is so intense and “on”. I guess, in many ways, he’s just a little version of me. He never shuts up just like his mother. And I love it. But at the end of the day, I collapse. I’ll admit that. Thankfully though, he sleeps through the night so I’m getting back to a normal sleep schedule myself. I will have to thank him someday for this. I have so many mommy friends with babies much older that keep them up all night still. Someday when he comes home with everything pierced and a girlfriend who scares me,  I’ll remember that AT LEAST HE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT AS A BABY. I’ll be more forgiving as a result. I’ll try to like his girlfriends.

A little about Aidan so far: He loves people, loves being outside, he adores children, is always giggling when we play with him (he sounds so cute too), he enjoys having lots of kisses (yay!), enjoys dancing with us, is easily startled (just like me), loves having his photo taken (he looks right at the camera and sometimes, smiles), really likes going for walks, finally will wear his hats (he battled me until week 9), loves cuddling us and is very, very active in the morning and late afternoon but then gets sleepy in the evening and crashes. He isn’t that keen on any of his toys or books yet because his focus still is on mommy, daddy and milk. Oh and everyone who meets him falls in love.

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By the way, if you care, I post photos of him on Instagram quite a lot so if you want to see please visit my IG account. It’s such a precious time for us, you guys seriously, it’s the best. I sort of wondered if I’d ever have a baby or not, I was living a bit of an eternal adolescence and time slipped away quicker and quicker once I hit thirty, so the fact that I had him later in life makes him so much more amazing to me. So yeah, I’m not blogging full-time right now but don’t worry, I’ve got plans up my sleeve… And you’ll still find decor8 an inspirational space – in fact, even more. OK whew! Enough! So that’s my little update for now. I’ll post another when he turns 6 months, okay?

Love, Holly xo

Posted in kids on May 09, 2014

Little Update From Baby Land

Hello everyone, how are you doing? I’m checking in to say hi and let you know that though I’m busy at the moment with our newborn, that I’m still online posting pics on Instagram (@decor8) if you want to follow along until I’m back to blogging regularly again… But seriously you guys, life is so good for us at the moment – we are tired (I’ll tell you more about why in a few days when I post my birth story) but other than that, we are full of love, peace and contentment here in baby land and it’s unbelievable how good this feels.

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Yesterday, we celebrated Aidan’s first week of life together by taking him for a long forest walk in his new Stokke stroller and it was just the greatest little adventure (photo here and here). We ended up in two cafes, grabbed lunch, and went back home after a few hours to prepare for visitors who came by last night including Thorsten’s parents. This week, we have a baby photo shoot and I can’t wait to show you those once they’re ready – we’ve hired this very special local photographer to work with us and simply can’t wait to capture these cherished moments during the few few weeks of his life because really, you can never buy back this time again, can you?

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Above: Little Aidan, our sweetheart, taken on my iPhone.

In between our appointments and visits (my midwife also comes daily), we are resting as much as possible and enjoying our son so so SO much. I instantly bonded with him and feel really close – like he’s always been here with us.  I love his expressions, big eyes, button nose and how sweet he is in general. It’s also wonderful that we have him on a feeding schedule so he only wakes up at night around 3:30 to be fed and then he’s back to sleep until 6 or 7 and we lay around and get cozy and read, talk, eat, etc. in bed until my midwife comes by which is usually around 11. It’s such a carefree little schedule to be in our baby cocoon with him. We enjoy all of this cuddle time because it’s really so precious and lasts only so long before our schedules no longer allow for us to linger in bed until lunch time each day! It’s truly been the best week of our life.

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Flowers have been coming in for the past week in a steady stream, which is so nice because who doesn’t love some beautiful flowers to welcome a baby? So yes, I hope you are all doing well – I’m in baby la-la land at the moment but as soon as I come out from under his spell I’ll be back here with some posts and to share a new website that we’re launching in the next few weeks – nothing major but still very good… Yay for new stuff!

(photo: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in kids on February 17, 2014

Our Baby Aidan Benjamin Is Here!

Oh my goodness you guys… I’ve been wanting to write this post ALL WEEK LONG! Our baby boy, Aidan Benjamin Becker, has arrived!  Aidan means fiery (pronounced with a long A – din) and my husband and I both chose this name without the other one knowing and so when we shared it one morning over breakfast when I was newly pregnant, we were shocked that we had selected the same name and not only that, but because neither of us had ever brought the name up before in our life. It was the most unique experience to have that happen so we knew Aidan was it! He was born this past Sunday, February 9th in Hannover, Germany and is the most darling little bundle ever. I know every mother says that but this little guy is absolutely beautiful and so sweet.

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My husband and I had a very rough start to his birth, but in the end the prize of the fight was worth it when I gave birth to Aidan with my husband by my side. It was an amazing moment in our lives and I’m so happy to share this arrival news – it has forever changed our life and we’ve been in a total baby bubble since last Friday when I was admitted to be induced (41 weeks + 3 days overdue), hence the delay in this post… But oh wow, have I got a birth story to share with you next week once I am able to get on track again with blogging. I’m thinking it will really inspire you all so much whether you have children or not because my story is one that all women share because it’s truly a story of having FAITH – in yourself, in what you are doing (or about to do) and in body confidence – knowing you CAN do it.

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So these photos above are a few iPhone snapshots of baby Aidan and our birth announcement that I worked with my good friend Tara Hogan to design, which will be letterpress and sent to our family and friends – so of course I had to share them with you, too!

Okay, so I’m going to get back to our baby now but I wish you all a beautiful weekend (this is quite a lovely date to post the birth of a baby, don’t you think – February 14th?) and I’ll try to blog again next week as time permits to share some wonderful things with you.

Much love from our family to all of you,

Holly, Thorsten & Aidan Becker

(images: iphone by holly becker)

Posted in kids on February 14, 2014

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