All posts by Kristi Gilbert

About Kristi Gilbert

Kristi Gilbert also known as The Robot Mommy started blogging after successfully getting her son to eat by talking like a robot. She then transformed into said robot and has been writing about her family's adventures ever since. Inspired by her infant daughter, imaginative toddler son and supportive husband, she documents life as she knows it: chaotic, coffee soaked and filled with awesomeness.

The cute baby boy playing on the beach. Little boy sitting on the sand. Sea and seashore as background with copy space

11 Things That Happen on Vacation With a Baby

Babies make every moment a memory. It’s never truer then when we vacation with them. On a recent trip, I complied a list of what I’ve learned on that and many others.

Maybe it can help you when making those decisions before boarding a plane/ traveling my car/ venturing to grandma’s house/ etc. Here are 11 things that are likely to happen when vacationing with your baby.

  1.  Your sanitizing skills will parallel those working with hazmat suits in clean rooms.
  2. Those 6 things that you just had to bring will be deemed unnecessary and you’ll wish you had more room.
  3. Someone will call your baby adorable. If this doesn’t happen, you might want to rethink that camo orange hunting onesie and matching mosquito-repelling hat.
  4. Something disgusting will exit your child’s body during the most inappropriate time. A tarp to lay down around your baby’s seating could avoid additional financial burdens.
  5. You will lose one or more of the following: a sock, a bottle nipple, his or her favorite toy, sleep, your playful youth.
  6. You will forget the following: extra diapers, extra formula, extra blankets, extra clothes, your sense of humor.
  7. Despite the heat, the air conditioning may not be your friend. Keep temperatures adjusted every 1/2 hour on the 1/2 hour. And while you’re at it, hop on one foot whistling Bieber’s “Baby, Baby” while eating marshmallows.
  8. That ________ will cause a mess. The “blank” is different for everyone. You won’t find out what it is until it’s too late. You’ve been warned.
  9. Your baby’s crying is just nature’s way of calling out to other parents in similar situations in order to make new friends.
  10. You’ll run out of batteries taking photos. Rechargeable batteries? You’ll drop your camera/phone into something that will do damage. Got waterproof electronics? The hotel will lose your reservation.
  11. You’ll never forget this trip.
Showing a Microsoft xbox360 games console controller isolated on a white background

Video Games Don’t Make My Parenting Skills Lazy

For Father’s Day, I asked my son to draw a picture that he thought his dad would like.

Here’s what he drew:

a boy's drawing

He drew something that he associated with his dad. An X-BOX controller.

Hours spent building his world in Minecraft. Time with his dad that he thinks of fondly. But it was a picture of his love for video games.

Aren’t I suppose to care how video games effect my child??

Of course, I care. I care tremendously.

I don’t want my child to love anything violent, that promotes pain, or creates desensitized feelings toward death. That’s the parent in me.

Games are fun. That’s the gamer in me.

Games are educational. That’s the teacher in me.

There is no right/wrong answer for each parent. You either do videos in your house or you don’t. One thing that I’m not. A banner of games. I’ll do as I see fit for my child.

My son can play the games I allow. He must earn his play time. He only gets an hour at a time AND video game time does not supersede more important things like playing with his toys, outside time and/or playing with his sister. As soon as it does, it goes away. For him.

However, when I watch what my son does on his current favorite game, Minecraft, I’m amazed at what he creates…

Castles complete with stairs, towers and hidden rooms with trap doors.

Crafting tools (a task in the game) and building stronger tools to perform specific actions.

Completing tasks and building worlds.

Sharing his inventory when he plays with someone new or sometimes his dad.

He’s younger than the age that the game is meant for but it’s something he does with his dad (and sometimes me) and he learns so much during our conversations.

Mom, did you know flowers can be used for dye?

Stone is stronger than wood.

Sleep recharges me and gives me energy

Unfortunately, the game does have violent tasks too. Shooting/hitting enemies. Killing animals for food. Etc. I watch him play and we talk about death and hurting people and things. We get honest. We talk about it every time.

I know plenty of people who game. They grew up with Atari and Nintendo. They blew on cartridges to get them to work. They stayed up all night trying to finish a level. They watched the guy in Pitfall get eaten by an 8-bit alligator.

It was a part of their childhood. As they got older, their taste in games evolved. They played with teams. They learned history. They connected with other people like them. I’m not talking the extreme ones who hide and play and plot evil things. I’m talking about those that are now adults with children of their own. Ones who want to share the things they loved.

They loved those games.

If you have video games in your house, great. If you don’t, that’s fine too. We do. We love them. We enjoy them and each other playing them. To date, I love playing the dance type games with my family and both my kids play Michael Jackson Experience like experts.

My husband refers to his “love” for the video game playing as “the want.” It’s his diamond right now. His favorite favorite.

I see it as the flavor of the month. Soon it will be replaced with another something. Right now, it’s time with dad AND a game.
One day his “want” will be freedom, a partner to love, building his own life. Dad and I won’t be his “want” either.

In the meantime, I let him play. On my terms.

Cute baby boy in bed under a fluffy blanket

When I Know My Toddler Son Loves Me

The blanket. I keep it clean or smelling good for seconds at a time. Once the boy gets a hold of it, it immediately becomes one with the child. Smelly, softer, dirtier and less in tact. Saying that he loves it is barely touching the surface of his adoration of this inanimate object. It’s his heart, his warmth, his cave and his head.

It’s much larger than him, about a queen size composed of pieces sewn together and tons of fluff inside. It has a few tears which have been lovingly repaired. It’s supposed to be white.

He searches for it when he is sad or tired or just wants to hide away. It can cover him completely..even with his long legs. He burritos himself with only his feet peeking out. He creates his feelings with this lovey. It’s his best friend.

Because his love for his blanket is so strong, like it’s odor, I know that parting with it is something he does reluctantly. But when he offers it to one of us, he is expressing a love so strong. As I’ve continued to deal with a chronic pain that has no rhyme or reason, he has given me his blanket, wrapping it around my shoulders and covering my legs and feet. This action is always finished with a kiss. My son showing his love the one way he knows how.

Growing up, I had a favorite blanket or toy that I carried with me everywhere. I brought it on every trip and outing. Did you have a special something that gave you comfort? Does your child?

Unrecognizable young mother with smartphone and baby travelling. A beautiful woman and her son inside the station building.

The Imperfectly Perfect Parent

I’m a social media parent. The one that bugs you or inspires you

You either love me or hate me.

I’ll brag-post about how my son has been reading on his own now but then an hour later I’ll mention wanting to Britney-shave my head because I’m going crazy from my kid’s screaming fights.

I post pictures on Instagram with no shame. I love playing with my kids and putting kooky pics on the site to share. I’ve also posted pics when my daughter fell. I know there are parents who think I’m crazy to do so. But those parents who have had similar incidents, I hope they see my pics and go it’s not just me, I’m not a bad parent.

I’m not a bad parent. You aren’t one either. We all tend to judge. Of course, I’m on the chopping block because I choose to show my kids via social media. Then again, so do other parents. The levels of sharing are different. Everyone has an opinion on what should be shared. I tease a little. I make fun. I’ve participated in the “kid shaming” meme. I’m not doing any of those things to be cruel or vicious. I make mistakes. I over share. I really don’t care what the judges think. Call me selfish or dangerously inept. Go ahead. You are entitled to your opinion as much as I’m entitled to be a SMP a social media parent

Do I think about my kids seeing/ reading my blog years down the road? Yup. Will I tell them what I did? Yup. Because I want them to know I’m real.

A real parent and a human being. I’m entitled to my emotions as they fluctuate like the moods of my kids. I create and write based on those things that surround me because the audience I desire is looking for a real parent to read about. Funny, sad, anxious, crazed, madly in love with their children.

Imperfectly perfect.

High angle view of son and father playing with toy car in yard

I Don’t Know How To Play Cars And Other Lies

When I found out I was having a boy, I started out with tons of “neutral” toys for his first year. I wasn’t in a big rush to introduce the gender selective toys into his life. They would come in time. I wanted the pushing pulling climbing and discovering to be without the need of a “boy” toy to do it. As he hit 2, the trucks and cars appeared. Slowly, the cars became his favorite toy. Probably not because they were new (or maybe a little bit) but because his mother got down and played with him

Yes, I’m proficient in car pushing and track building.

But according to Mattel, read the article here, I’m the reason they have declining sales. Not parents, but moms. According to them, Moms can’t push cars, build tracks and encourage racing. And to this I’m incredibly offended.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been on the floor with my son (and at times, my daughter) recreating NASCAR for years now. We’ve invested in tracks and car packs and wall units. Both my husband and I are proficient in mini Indy 500s.

Mattel needs an excuse. In the era of social media, mom bloggers and online opinions this was a stupid move. Moms get enough criticism with choices in breast feeding, co-sleeping and over sharing (GUILTY!!). Now you are picking on our playing skills?? Mattel, an apology is due.

Busting our butt to make great experiences for our children is part of our priorities. Most parents (moms included) are very aware of the nostalgic value of Hot Wheels. They are as iconic as Lincoln Logs, Legos, Easy Bake Ovens and Play-Doh.

But it’s not about the lack of playing. Parents aren’t spending money on toys like they may have before. Or, and more unfortunately, electronics have replaced real play in households. That’s where the focus should be. Marketing in a way where you are reminding parents of the memories they created with Hot Wheels not creating blame . Give them reason to bring that fun and excitement back into their children’s lives. Develop the skills and unleash that wonder again. Focus on that, Mattel.

And praise moms for their car racing skills. If not, moms will stop buying out of spite.

A horizontal studio shot of the fictional cartoon characters Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore. Here Winnie the Pooh is standing in the foreground waving and is the focal point of the image, while the other characters are defocused in the background.

My House Is Fully Of Pooh, Rabbit, and Eeyore. Yours?

Our week has been one of roller coaster emotions. Between my son and my daughter, I think I’ve seen recreations of all the members of The Hundred Acre Wood.

My baby girl started the week as Pooh bear. She asked for “honey on my toast, pease?” and then finished off her brother’s when he walked away from it. Shortly after, there was an incident involving the chair back pegs and Pooh Baby H’s foot.

It was not an incident with her round tummy but it was relevant as her brother had to pull her out.

During the week, Pooh Baby H continued to ask and, when that didn’t work, TAKE food off of everyone’s plate. I believe I lost a few pounds during this time.

Later on, Pooh Baby H turned into Tigger. I’m assuming the sugar (honey) played a part of the pogo jumping sans a pogo stick. She might have also been because she snuck a sip or two of my iced Carmel macchiato.

CP took the role as the bossy Rabbit telling her the rules and regulations of the house. While he’s in his room metaphorically tending to his garden (playing Legos) and she came to “help” (tossed Legos all over the room) him. As Tigger Baby H, she destroyed his room in two minutes. It was an epic argument ending with:

“You need to stop bouncing forever!”

(She wasn’t willing to oblige, thank goodness. I never want my little one to lose her Tigger-ness.)

Now, as per usual, both of my children will fall into the mopey and emotional character of Eeyore. Gratefully, not at the same time. Two sad and mopey children is almost worse than two crazed and out-of-control ones. It’s OK to feel sad sometimes. It’s good that they learn about their emotions and how to handle their feelings.

When Eeyore Baby H arrives, it’s usually around nap or bed time. After the screams, her mopes begin. She feels her feelings and settles into her place.

She doesn’t embrace her inner Eeyore like CP does. He wakes up as Eeyore, eats breakfast as Eeyore, and slowly evolves out of Eeyore until around 8pm. Once the nighttime comes around, he goes back to the Eeyore mopes. Complete with losing his tail (a favorite toy) and needing our help, tearfully, to find it before going to bed.

I bet you read this and see a little bit of those characters in your children. I love being Christopher Robin to my silly ol’ bears or my bouncy Tiggers or my moody and emotional Eeyores.

They are a reflection of me, my hubs and our family. A sweet family of characters and reading the A.A.Milne books will keep them in their hearts as the remain in mine.

Baby grabbing his baby bottle at a restaurant

Surviving a Meal Out in Public with My Baby

I’m not sure what obsessed me to do it. Maybe because I wanted to prove I could. Eating alone with a baby can teach you many things. First and foremost, humility.

My husband was with my son one afternoon and I decided that I was going to go shopping with my little girl. It would be an easy little errand, I said to myself. It’ll be a breeze, I told myself.

I had my purse and my 5-month-old in her sling. I walked, more than pranced, around the local indoor mall. I went inside shops and strolled by window displays, all the while my baby girl slept in her cradled position. Life was perfect – until I got hungry.

There was franchised restaraunt inside this particular mall, a place that caters to family, so I wasn’t concerned with a mess or disruption. It’s like I knew it was coming but I didn’t really know.

She woke up as I was seated by the hostess. I asked for a highchair and she started to cry. i pulled her out of the sling and her cries got louder. People started to turn and look, but I didn’t care. I know how to calm her down.

The waitress asked for my drink order, but I was prepared with my full order as I sat my baby down and got a bottle ready. Baby girl continued to wail loudly and I rattled off my order complete with a request for extra napkins. I lifted my crying girl and set her up to feed.

But she didn’t take the bottle. In fact, she slapped it away and started to squirm. I sweated a little at her continous cry and lack of desire for milk. I changed her position in my arms, stood up and danced to the speaker music. This should work, I thought to myself. I sang while we danced, yet she wailed over my singing voice. She started to kick. I moved further from the table, but not before she got a great shot of my iced tea. The next tables were within range of the iced-tea shower and asked to be moved from us. Still, I let things go and tried to calm her down.

I waved down the waitress and told her I was heading the restroom and if she could help with the tea spill. Maybe if I changed the baby, that would help. She still hadn’t stopped crying. I was moving from stressed to minor panic mode. I quickly changed a dry diaper to another dry diaper, making adjustments to make sure it wasn’t pinching. She looked up and cooed. SUCCESS!, I thought. I smiled down at her sweet face and thought, I can rock this!

We headed back to the table and I held her while trying the bottle again. She screamed bloody murder at the bottle and then at me. I quickly put it away and shushed her, to no avail. She was totally pissed and was determined to let everyone know.

Our food had arrived shortly after returning from the restroom and I had no desire to try and eat there now. I put my very beautful but very loud little monster in the highchair (She was already screaming so I might as well…) and packed up while waving down someone – anyone – to box up my food and let me pay. By this time, my daughter had thrown her head back in the chair and was scream-cry-coughing as I desperately attempted to RUN AWAY!!!

I finally gave up, threw a $20 down, scooped up my attention-grabbing baby and left. I could feel every eye on me as I ran-walked out of there.

The minute I stepped into the mall again, she calmed down. In an instant. She even started to make sweet babbles and coos.

And I vowed to myself, Never again. Never alone again. 

Unrecognizable Caucasian mother holds her newborn baby girl. Breastfeeding supplies are blurred in the foreground. The baby is sleeping in her mother's arms.

Wet Nurses: An Old Profession Is New Again

We all know about the importance of breastfeeding. But many mothers who want to breastfeed just can’t make it work, whether it’s because they’re not producing enough milk, or because they have to take prescription meds that interfere with the milk supply or enter the milkstream, or because they have to go back to work and their jobs don’t accomodate pumping. It’s frustrating for mommy and spells an end to breastfeeding for the child.

Enter the wet nurse, a woman who is producing enough milk to feed her own child as well as another’s. Moms who can’t breastfeed are employing moms who can. It’s an old profession made new again thanks to the Breast Is Best movement.

A recent article on AOL Jobs says this “older” profession is becoming popular again due to our high focus on the benefits of breastfeeding for as long as possible and some moms’ demanding lives. According to the article, many times when a celebrity is photographed with a so called “nanny”, the nany is actually a wet nurse.

Looking for a job? Here’s the nitty-gritty:

1,000 women are listed as wet nurses on Certified Household Staffing’s registry in LA.
Wet nurses typically spend a year or more living with the family. Of course, it’s the nurse and not the mom who has to get up for middle-of-the-night feeds.
Salary: According to a source at Certified staffing, approximately $1,000 a week.
Women who decide to take up wet nursing generally do so discreetly. Many will not give out their full names. After all, the idea of breastfeeding another woman’s child for money makes some people uncomfortable. Yet, despite the ick factor, it’s a job that’s growing in popularity.

How do you feel about women getting paid to breastfeed another child for money? Do you see this as a positive way to keep infants on breast?

Asian mother and little daughter applying make-up

Is Your Kid Picking Up Your Habits?

I own some 32 tubes of lip gloss and lip balm. I wish I was kidding but most of the time I head to Target for laundry soap and diapers, I get one lip glossslashbalmslashenhancer. It’s an addiction. Not one that I’m quitting anytime soon either.

I must have been modeling this addiction behavior around my daughter lately since she has asked for “wip juice” every time she’s in our bathroom.

Mommy, I have wip juice?

Yes, honey.

Applies to lips. Then around lips. Then onto cheeks, over eyelids and forehead. Hands it back.

Tank you!!

She wants to use my lotion, foundation, blush brushes and deodorant as well. Those requests all receive a giant, no honey, that belongs to mommy but for some reason, I’m pretty o.k. with her using the lip balms. Probably because I’m in constant supply. Or maybe it’s because it is her being like me.

A lot of what my kids do lately is a reflection of us; good and bad. When we cuss ( meaning we say stupidor I hate that or what we consider “cussing” in the house), they call us out. When we sneeze or they do and no one says “Bless you!!” right away, we get an earful. But when the behavior is strikingly similar to our laziness…

Honey, go clean up your bed.

Why, mom? Your bed isn’t made up. Why does mine have to be?

….I go check myself before I wreck …umm…

For the record, when we get called out, this usually is followed by a damn, that kid catches everything and then “get your butt in here” because he’s going to help me make my bed before I help him make his.

Modeling behavior, it matters when they are under the age of 5. Frankly, it matters at any age but these spongy years are when you can really form those habits.

And develop those addictions. Good thing the other addiction I passed on is the one about ice cream at night.

Could be worse.

Little baby boy sitting on the sand

Essential Tips for Taking Baby to the Beach

I love going to the beach. Let me rephrase, I love going to the beach alone. Now that I am a mom I know it’s my duty to show my children the wonder that is the ocean. And I did so when they were as young as 3 months old. This is what I learned:

I never leave the house without a complete outfit for the baby.

That means long sleeve shirt, pants, socks and a hat. You don’t know the temperature once you get to the beach. It says 78 degrees, it feels like 50 in the sun. Be prepared to keep your baby warm.

Sunscreen and lots of it.

Think your kid is gonna keep a hat on? Put a ton of lotion on his head and face. Just do it. You’ll thank me.

Prepare to bring home the beach in your kids diaper.

Be prepared that they are going to have the wettest, poopiest, grossest bowel movement of their little lives. If they don’t, you’ve dodged a bullet. If they do, this lady just saved your trip. You’re welcome.

Food, bottles, milk, etc. Pack a cooler for a day’s worth of supplies.

And plenty of ice/ ice packs.

Be prepared for a quick get away.

Park as close as you can. Don’t wander down a mile from your car. Don’t make the trip more laborious than it needs to be. You could be carrying a screaming, wet pooping, exhausted baby. Wanna walk through the sand for a half hour with them? Nope, I didn’t think so.

I spend 20 minutes at the beach one trip. 10 minutes to park. 2 minutes to find a spot on the sand. 2 minutes for my daughter to soil herself. 5 minutes to repack up. 1 minute to get the hell out of there.