Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Re-purpose, Reuse and Recreate

I was hand washing some of Sarah's princess and fairy dresses today and came across one that I have been meaning to mend. This one dress has plastic beaded necklaces across the front and every time I see it I think of the possibility of a choking hazard and; therefore, have not had Sarah wear it yet.

So, instead of throwing away the dress or donating it, I decided to snip off the necklaces, which did not impact the dress in anyway, and have peace of mind now when Sarah plays with it in the future.

As I was fixing the dress I started to realize that the colors of the beads I was trimming away happen to include colors in Sarah's room and decided to glue them to an existing plain white picture frame on her wall, which holds a special T-shirt with her name in rhinestones, given to her as a gift.

Now Sarah's room has this special keepsake emblazoned with more fancy jewelry that makes it more unique and adds additional punch of fun and color.

So, before you throw anything away, consider what you have that can be reused and re-purposed safely and create away.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Investment in Breastfeeding

According to an article in today's Chicago Tribune it appears that breast feeding can save parents much money, as much as $1,000 - $3,000 a year.

As a mother who nursed and pumped breast milk for her child for 13 months I agree that nursing and developing breast milk is a cost saver. However, I believe these costs mentioned above from the article likely reflect women who don't work or who are not pumping breast milk, but instead who are primarily nursing.

Around four months after my daughter Sarah was born I needed to go back to work. However, I did not want to stop providing this wonderful source of nutrition for her. So, with this change in my schedule and our nursing routine there came some additional costs including a breast pump and parts, breast milk storage solutions, bottles and nipples, nursing bras (not something every pumping mom uses) and a nursing cover.

Another cost, approximately $200, and one I did not expect, but was well worth it, was that of a lactation consultant. Despite reading as much information on nursing and trying various feeding positions and getting wonderful support at the hospital before coming home with Sarah, I had some challenges with feeding Sarah on my right breast. When I realized, jokingly of course, that I couldn't just feed Sarah from my left breast and ignore the issue, the support of the lactation consultant helped me to find ways to get Sarah to latch on properly, and she did. The funny thing is that my right breast ended up being the one that produced more milk regularly than my left throughout the year.

Further, for me, I was extremely fortunate to receive as a baby gift an electronic breast pump, which I loved and appreciated tremendously, and used daily for well over a year. A high-quality electronic breast pump with a manual option (which I did use in the car a number of times), which can cost as much as $250-$300, is a great necessity for a mother, especially one who works outside of home. While electronic breast pumps are not a necessity for pumping mothers there are other less expensive and manual options that are good choices too. For me the electronic pump was a time saver and worked well to achieve Sarah's breast milk needs along with nursing.

While there is indeed a great cost savings with breastfeeding, and one I was thankful to save over the time, for working mothers there is a significant amount of time that needs to be invested to collect this valuable nutrition, which many who work may not have the flexibility to do due to their work environment or schedules.

So, while there is cost savings with breastfeeding, and something worth considering, assess your situation to determine what is best for you and your growing baby.

I am so thrilled that I nursed and provided breast milk for Sarah, but it did come with some challenges. There is a possibility of breast clogs and infections such as mastitis, which I experienced a few times. With a great lactation consultant as support and that of my wonderful husband, I was able to continue to succeed with providing breast milk for Sarah for as long as I did.

I would like to share with you some valuable advice from a dear friend of mine (thanks Fiona) that you can choose to take or not. Try, if you are able to nurse, to do so for at least one month before deciding whether to stop or continue. The first month of breast feeding comes with trials and tribulations for mommy and baby and is certainly an adjustment period, and one that can be tough too. Nursing is not for everyone and only you can decide what is right for you. Give it a chance if you can and want to, and if it works for you, and your child responds well to it, it is a wonderful means of nutrition and bonding, something I am so happy to have experienced.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Taking the Gloves Off

If anyone, anywhere has advice on how to keep a toddlers mittens/gloves on, I am listening.

With the cold weather, and snow especially, it's ever more important for Sarah to wear her mittens to keep her hands warms. But, she just refuses to wear them.

And, we have tried several different kinds of finger coverings, or so at least we thought. Gloves are too tough as Sarah has a hard time getting all her fingers into the right places. So, mittens do seem best as far as getting them on her hands. I just didn't expect to be buying and trying so many options. I should be happy at least that she wears her hats and her scarves.

This past weekend right after the first major snowfall of the year we went out for a romp in the snow. Since Sarah's waterproof gloves, a necessity for falling and playing in the snow, were just not staying on, Daniel and I decided to use clear packing tape to attach them to her jacket. They stayed on but Sarah just was not a happy camper about it as she couldn't take the gloves off.

Just yesterday I bit the bullet and decided to buy her a pair of princess mittens, online, with a Velcro strap to hopefully make them snug and to stay on. They haven't arrived yet, and am hoping these will work. She really likes princesses and hope that this appreciation will encourage her to want to wear them and keep them on.

Otherwise, I am not sure what else I can do other than put on gloves and wrap zip lock baggies with tape around her hands. Doesn't seem very sane but really don't want her to be cold, and for her to be able to continue enjoying playing in the snow, and be able to pick it up too, since now she likes snowballs.

Any tips or feedback would be great. I have a feeling I may hear similar stories and this too will help so at least I know I am not experiencing this mitten frustration alone.

Stay warm this winter. And, happy holidays to all my readers. Keep coming, sharing with your friends, and I look forward to sharing many more stories and tips in the new year.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Puddle Jumping and Snow Appreciation

Each time Sarah and I have been outside this week since the big snowfall she has been so excited to roam around and stomp in the snow.

There could be a small patch of snow on the sidewalk and Sarah will be sure to walk right towards it in her snow boots and step right into it. With a laugh and giggle she marches on waiting upon the next pile of snow.

It's kind of funny experiencing this with Sarah because she is doing exactly what I would expect a kid to do. It's really fun to watch and it makes me laugh too.

As adults we often try hard to avoid these puddles and snow piles. But, when I am with Sarah I look forward to the occasional snow or puddle stomping expecting the consequences to be joy, fun and laughter, and slight bit of mess.

Step in puddles, climb snow hills, get dirty and be a kid.

Have fun!!!

Sarah's First Snowman (Snowgirl)

With the season's first snowfall, just before winter began, Sarah was able to build her first snowman, really a snowgirl, this weekend. It was so much fun, for her and for me, and Daddy too. With the snow being somewhat softer and less able to pack tight we were able to make a mini snowgirl.

I have been wanting for so long to get snow so that I could get Sarah all bundled up for the winter fun, and be a kid with her.

And, the snow came. Yeah! And, bundled up Sarah got. From head to toe she wore her heavy winter jacket, snow pants, boots, hat, gloves and scarf. I kept joking that there was a kid in all those layers and still her cuteness shined through. She was walking a little stiff at first trying to get used to all the layers. After a while it became a second skin for her.

Knowing what to expect outside with Sarah, and how she typically is, I was sure to bundle up myself. It's nice to know that my ski and winter cycling clothing were able to get some good use. All of us bundled up, we were ready for our snowy adventure.

To the playground we went. There were piles of snow everywhere and not many paths for walking. We dived right in. At first Sarah was not sure what to make of the snow but after a little while she started to really like it. We thought she wasn't happy a few times when either her gloves came off for the hundred time and her hands got cold, but she was a trooper. We offered her many times to go back inside and she wanted to continue on.

We moved on to another playground to find that a snowman had already been built by other neighborhood kids. So, Sarah and I created him a friend. Her name was Snowy.

Having a child certainly enables your inner child to come out. Since having Sarah it's been such a great time being a kid with her and celebrating life through her eyes.

Get into to the snow and have a ball before it melts.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Blinds/Shades Recall: Get Repair Kit or Replace

This month the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) have announced a voluntary corrective action plan for window coverings including vertical and horizontal blinds as well as roll-up and roman-style shades to protect children from potential injury or death.

“According to information provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, since 1990, more than 200 infants and young children have died from accidentally strangling in window cords.”

Consumers are able to secure a free “retrofit kit” from WCSC to help make safe existing blinds, shades and other window coverings, especially where cords are involved.

To secure your free kit, go to www.windowcoverings.org or call WCSC's toll-free phone line at (800) 506-4636.

Since some of the repair kits are on back order, especially for the older model blinds and shades, please, in the meantime, tie up your cords or switch to cordless products especially in homes where children are frequent. Consumers are advised to replace all window coverings made before 2001 with safer products.

Top tips to keep children safe around window coverings:

+ Install cordless window coverings. Replace blinds, shades and drapes made before 2001 with safer products.

+ Move cribs, beds and other furniture away from windows, especially where coverings include cords.

+ Keep all pull cords for your window coverings out of children’s reach. Keep cords short and for continuous-loop cords, keep them permanently anchored to the wall or floor.

+ Be sure to lock all cords in position in when blinds are raised, lowered and even when they are lying on the windowsill.

The best recommendation is to replace all your window coverings with cords with newer products following 2001, without cords. If you are unable to do so, please secure the free repair kits and pull the cords well away from little hands.

Be safe!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

H1N1 Pediatric Vaccine Recall

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced this morning the voluntary recall of 800,000 doses of H1N1 (swine) flu vaccine, made by pharmaceutical manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur.

According to a statement on their Web site, the CDC said, "as part of its quality assurance program, the manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, performs routine, ongoing stability testing of its influenza A (H1N1) vaccine after the vaccine has been shipped to providers. Stability testing means measuring the strength (also called potency) of a vaccine over time."

As a result of these tests, it was determined that four lots of pediatric syringes of the H1N1 vaccine may not be potent enough to protect against the virus. It appears that the lots passed potency tests when they were first shipped, but tests indicated the potency waned after.

According to a statement by Sanofi Pasteur, they are "working closely with the FDA and the CDC to notify those who have administered the vaccine."

There are no safety concerns regarding these recalled vials of vaccine. And, health officials are saying that for children who have been administered the vaccine do not need to be re-immunized except to complete their two-dose immunizations series.

Consult with your health care provider to discuss further any questions you may have.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Toddlers and Music Appreciation

A while back when I was pregnant a friend and mother of two advised me that from the very beginning, to help reduce the amount of "I want all the time" nursery rhymes morning, noon and night, to try and start with my music favorites to encourage Sarah's interest and music diversity.
This concept seemed all well and good except that when I tried some of my favorites and even music generally all Sarah wanted was nursery rhymes. Morning, noon and night.

I love how Sarah knows her nursery rhymes, tries to sing them on her own and even knows what the next song will be coming up on the CD or iPod.

Over the summer during a visit with Grandma we saw an outdoor classical music concert together, and Sarah seemed to like it. This, coupled with Sarah's weekly exposure to live music at school and home, Sarah has grown a fondness for classical music. While I stink at the guitar and Daddy dawdles on the keyboard, Sarah has developed an appreciation for these instruments as well as the violin, which she cutely calls the "wyolin."

Recently, Sarah grew an immense appreciation for one of my favorite musical genres, classical. Yeah!!! For the past month while we have still had some nursery rhymes chiming through our home there's a whole lot more classical music filling the air, with her favorite instrument choices, ever more frequently.

I have certainly learned as a parent, no matter how much you want to expose your child to something you want them to grow interest in and hopes they will pick it up, children really will decide on their own what is most appealing. I am just so thrilled that at least one my favorite musical genres, of the many, is back in the air at home and in the car, with Sarah making requests often for songs featuring guitars (yeah Auntie Mandy), violins and piano's, the latter which Sarah calls "pinanano."

Keep the music playing and soon enough your children will tell you what they want to hear.

Enjoy the music!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Toddler Crayon Craze

Sarah has an incredible appreciation, love, fascination, and downright obsession, for crayons. I am sure this is a developmental milestone but it's just really funny and humorous at times to watch.

Sarah loves to play with crayons, less for actual coloring, and more for tracing feet and hands. In fact, Sarah loves being traced out and then together we color them in and create new friends for her. Let's just say Carla and Sebastian are now well loved members of the family. Sarah even wishes her new friends good morning and sweet dreams on a daily basis. Therefore, she often asks to trace feet and hands. To daddy and I we know what the scribbles are because they don't actually look like hands and feet, but Sarah certainly does. Oh, this is so much fun.

Another fun thing Sarah loves to do with her crayons is pull them out of boxes, into her back pack, into her desk caddy, into the empty diaper wipes container they were originally in, and then back. This process goes on and on.

Right now in fact, as I sit at Sarah's desk with her, she has been spending time and great energy putting the crayons in her desk drawer, back to her desk caddy, and back and forth. She's having a ball. She's very busy. And, it's so much fun to watch.

Sarah's crayons get a great deal of attention, and in some cases abuse. She still likes to chew on them every so often, break them into pieces or pull off their labels.

All in all, Sarah's crayons are a well loved toy and one I absolutely, positively recommend to any parent with a growing toddler. The possibilities with these fabulous tools are endless.

Happy coloring!!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Choosing A Pediatrician Wisely

One of the things, if not the first, that a parent prepares for before the arrival of their first child is a reliable, well-recommended pediatrician to care for your little one.

Being that I lived in one state and worked in another it made sense to deliver Sarah closer to my office as I was working well up until my due date. Therefore, I researched much and often to find a suitable pediatrician with similar beliefs to mine, who had a great reputation and quality bed side manner, as well as someone who was convenient to get to. Another factor in the beginning, was finding a pediatrician who was affiliated with the hospital I was planning to deliver at so I knew that the doctor checking Sarah from the top of her head to the tip of her toes was someone I approved and felt comfortable with.

The good news is that we chose right for what we needed when we started out and were thrilled with the care Sarah received.

I was happy with the pediatrician we choose initially. But, with the number of visits a parent makes with their child just during the first year alone, and then for sick visits on top of that, and spending way too much time getting to and from plus the added expense for parking garages, we decided to expand our search after Sarah's first few visits and vaccines to seek a new health care provider we could trust who was closer to where we lived.

When you choose a pediatrician you choose their office as well. The most essential part of any practice is the administrative staff who helps with your billing, scheduling of your appointments, etc. I will say this factor of the first pediatrician left much to be desired and; therefore, made it easy to leave.

I am thrilled to report that I have a pediatrician, and practice, I really like, who I have been going to for quite some time, who I recommend highly, and is close to my home, and has an incredible disposition with children, and especially my child.

The relationship with your pediatrician is an important one and should not be taken lightly. There are many questions we as parents will ask in the first year alone and you want to make sure you choose someone you feel comfortable with, and who your child is responsive to. Like any relationship, if some aspect of it is not working you should consider a switch if communication and care is not to your liking.

Choose your pediatrician carefully and wisely for your sake and for your child's care. Recommendations from other parents you know is certainly a good place to start your search for a quality health care professional.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

When Travel is Necessary

When I have to travel for business, even if for only one night, I miss Sarah greatly. Wishing to hug her and snuggle with her and to just to be with her seems so far out of reach, and it is.

Certainly with tools such as Skype loved ones are able to remain connected all around the world. However, a trip that is short and packed with work needs and activities and involves travel to a different time zone than your own, means that visual communication becomes somewhat limiting especially when meetings and bed times are factored in.

I have also experienced that when I travel if I talk with Sarah on the phone she gets so excited that when we hang up and she doesn’t see me she then gets upset trying to figure out where I am. So, as a result, for now, since Sarah is still too young to understand, I have been limited to talking with her via phone or Skype because then Daniel is left with Sarah flipping out, confused and unhappy that mommy is not at home.

Therefore, when I need to travel I often make sure to include as much of Sarah’s presence as possible with me including uploaded photos to my laptop, cell phone and travel wallet. I even made sure this time around for a quick trip to film some footage of Sarah at the playground to my cell phone to hear her voice and see her energy. She really is a hoot.

When I wrote this blog from however many thousands of feet in the air earlier this week, tired from a long trip in a short period of time, all I could think of was how much I couldn’t wait to see my little monkey when I got home. Even though she was long asleep when I arrived home, just looking in on her and tucking her in warmed my heart and put a smile on my face. This is home.

Okay, there was a part of me that wanted Sarah to wake up, even if for a short while, so I could really see her but then it would have likely taken a fair bit of time to get her back to sleep. And, since this was a selfish request on my part I realized that l just needed to wait until the morning to hear the words “mommy,” see her big smile, and hug her as tight as possible enveloping her in thankful to be home with my family.

Mommy's home baby.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Baby/Toddler Wearing

The other day Sarah and I were playing in the living room with her stuffed animals and I just so happen to take out one of the many baby slings I used to wear her in over the past nearly two years.

She then decided she wanted to try out the baby sling herself, my fiercely independent little one, and wear her furry friends, just like mommy did her. Of course, in that moment I couldn't wait to fire up the camera to catch some cute pics.

As a result, I was brought back to the many memories of times I wore Sarah in the variety of slings and baby carriers. I loved having her so close to me so often when we were out and about, and it was also a tremendous convenience. It was nice not having to tout around the stroller if I didn't need to bring it. Baby wearing was also great for trekking in and out of the City, where elevators were not always available, and also doing chores around the house. Sarah loved being carried. It was a win win for both of us. Daddy even enjoyed the baby wearing too.

According to Dr. Harvey Karp, author of the "The Happiest Baby on the Block," he identified five proven methods called the 5 S's -- swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing sounds, swinging and sucking -- designed to help soothe baby and comfort them especially in cases when they are cranky. I often told my husband, that Dr. Karp needs to add a sixth "S" -- slinging. Maybe Dr. Karp if you are reading this, consider in your next edition this additional step of slinging as part of your wonderful read I highly recommend for all parents.

At first I thought that too much baby wearing would make Sarah too dependent on us and not want to be held by others, but that has indeed not happened. If anything, Sarah is an extremely compassionate child who likes hugs and affection from people she knows well. And, she is demonstratively affectionate just like her father and I are and we are thrilled with the benefits baby wearing has given us not only to soothe her but to help her recognize the value and comfort of closeness amongst people she knows.

Despite storing away some of my slings due to Sarah's growing proportions and being somewhat heavier to tout around town, I do have a couple of slings I have been able to carry her in a few times here and there when she's tired and doesn't want to be in the stroller and wants me to carry her. The slings really help my back and secure her in place really well.

Thanks to the creative minds behind the development of many slings. These great inventions help keep baby, and toddler, close and I highly encourage other parents to consider baby wearing as it's a bond that is forever established.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

This Thanksgiving we have a lot to be thankful for. Certainly all our health is first and foremost. And, without question, the happiness and joy that Sarah brings us is beyond words.

Since last Thanksgiving much in our lives has changed: the good, the bad and indifferent. Despite some setbacks and life's trials and tribulations, Sarah's presence in our lives continues to be the light that keeps us going and the sunshine that warms our hearts and those around her.

Sarah has been growing by leaps and bounds since last Thanksgiving. She loves to ride on the swings and run around too, has a great appreciation for arts and crafts, and is developing at such a rapid pace it's so exciting to help foster and watch her grow.
Today, I share with you this special something from my little special someone as we, together, wish you and yours a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and prosperous year.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Losing the Baby Weight

When I was pregnant, I waited and waited for the surge of hunger I read and heard so much about to kick in, the desire to eat and eat often, with late night hunger or attraction to sweets to be more than usual. Well, this hunger did not really come. In fact, I probably ate better than I had in a long time knowing that I was carrying my precious bundle. I was able to gain just the required weight during pregnancy and was so proud of this accomplishment.

However, a few months after my daughter was born and nursing began, the surge for hunger came fast and furious. I was so hungry I couldn't stop eating. It was a hunger I had never experienced before. This was especially the case since Sarah was nursing often. I started off eating well in the beginning with hopes that the good habits would continue once I went back to work. I even managed to lose a good amount of my baby weight during my maternity leave. Some of the weight still remained but I expected the remainder would eventually come off once I was able to start exercising and cooking more, and a routine kicked in.

Well, this time never came.

Being a full time working mom made it somewhat challenging to focus on anything more than work and family. It's as if my needs from an eating and exercising standpoint went out the window. The incredible fatigue, especially since Sarah was not sleeping well, and a busy work schedule, left little energy for me at the end of the day, and my husband too, to cook or exercise but instead to order in food.

As the weeks and months progressed the weight started to pile back on slowly. Despite my not eating as well, Sarah was right on target, eating healthy and loving her food. I know that I wanted and needed to help set an example for her moving forward on a healthy lifestyle but the eating and lack of exercise continued.

Over the course of my life I have often struggled to maintain a healthy weight, addicted to sweets and carbs. Some years I did really well exercising often, eating healthy, losing weight and looking and feeling great in my skin. I had very healthy years thrilled with the results and the body I was in. Some years the opposite was true.

Around my tween years and on I was not really someone you would call skinny or thin. I was considered chunky. With the stress of life, and especially parenting, some people tend to curb their appetite when stress is high, I tend to eat whatever the situation is.

Nonetheless, the excuses are now over.

Having seen myself in photos over the last year, especially at a recent wedding for a friend, my epiphany came. Despite the incredible joys and smiles on my face in photos with my daughter and husband, which are real, the person that stares back at me in these photos is not someone I am physically happy with. And, since Sarah is at that stage where she wants to consume whatever it is that Daniel and I are eating, and want to model a good healthy lifestyle for her, somethings gotta give.

So, as we approach Sarah's second birthday, eating and exercising habits need to change. I watched a recent Dr. Oz segment on the DVR recently on sugar detox, and this junk food junkie got her wake up call.

Later that evening following the television segment I asked my husband to join me on a sugar detox. Now, while I am the sweets junkie in our family, my husband loves carbs and Starbucks. When I asked if he could join me in changing our healthy habits, he agreed.

We did not eat candy on Halloween more so because we didn't want Sarah to feel she was missing out, and because we knew we were starting detox the following day.

I read somewhere where it takes 21 days to create a habit. Today happens to be day 21 of our detox and while we have not cut back on everything we like, we have eliminated all soda and sugar beverages, and sweets, and other unhealthy foods. We have become much more conscious of the food and beverages we are consuming, stocking our refrigerator more often with healthy foods and trying very hard not to be tempted, especially during the holidays when treats and unhealthy snacks and drinks are all around us regularly.

I am proud to report that Daniel has lost 10 pounds and me five. Together, we consume more water, don't order in nearly as much, maybe once or twice over the last 21 days, and are starting to feel the difference. The exercise is coming on slowly but indeed are trying hard to carve out time with longer walks with Sarah, more frequent playground visits and bike rides with her too, and the occasional Wii Active or Dance Dance Revolution.

For some people, managing their weight is not an issue. For me, I have to watch carefully what I consume. While it may seem extreme to cut out sweets all together, this is what has worked for me in the past. And, when I don't have sweets or junk food for periods of time I don't really miss it. I really want to be in a body I feel most comfortable with, the weight I was at just before Sarah was born, and a weight where I am not as tired and more able to run after Sarah regularly. She's really quick. I like to eat but food is not what makes me happy. I love to feel healthy, chase after my growing toddler, and live a long happy, healthy life.

This is my journey to a healthier and happier me, and the journey continues now.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Toddler Stripping Under Control

I previous wrote that Sarah is in her stripping phase.

One day I decided to put her in a onesie with her pants and it worked all day. She did manage a few times to remove the pants but am happy to report that the onesie and diaper remained despite Sarah's repeated attempts to get them off.

However, during mornings, Sarah still woke up naked with jammies in one hand and diaper in the other. After following the advice a fellow mommy, Sarah now wears short sleeved onesies under her jammies at night. A great tip. And, with the weather a little colder the extra layer not so bad. Only a few times have I come into her room in the morning after she is awake to find her without jammies but still in the onesie and with a diaper on her body. Other mornings, she's too tired and not ready to play, let alone strip.

Sarah still has plenty of time to be naked during diaper changes, baths and potty time. And, I can now spend less time telling her to put her clothes back on or running after her when she's naked with the potential for slipping on streaming pee or poop.

Stay dry!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

H1N1 Vaccine and Toddlers Under Two

H1N1 has indeed been a hot topic, and many parents across America, including myself, are desperate to get their babies vaccinated to protect against swine flu. However, we are still going to have to wait.

For the past several months I have tried hard to get Sarah immunized with the H1N1 vaccine. Every time I call to set up an appointment the shots are no longer available. And, because Sarah is under the age of 2 she can't get the midst version for protection because it is a live virus version of the vaccine not recommended for her age group.

This has been so incredibly frustrating, especially since Sarah had a seasonal flu shot this year and has already been afflicted with the the flu (Type A) twice already.

I have been told that I need to call daily to hopefully get her an appointment. Even then, because there are other higher-risk children that need the vaccine the line to get it continues to grow longer. And, just trying to get one shot is hard enough. I can only imagine what it will be like to get Sarah the second shot since it's two-shot series, and go through this craziness again.

By the time Sarah gets her shot, which we are hoping will be soon, it may be the end of flu season. Just hoping that supply becomes available soon to meet the extraordinary demand to help protect America's babies including my little monkey who seems to pick up every bug possible she can lick, eat or breathe in.

I just need to continue to pray daily that Sarah does not get swine flu. From my lips to G-d's ears, please keep my baby healthy and safe.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Toddler Stripping Continues

I know about Freud and the toddler stage of development where children are getting to know their bodies, but does this really include my toddler waking up in the morning, standing naked in her crib with pajamas in one hand and a poopy diaper in the other?

Let's just say I was awake really quick.

I am proud to say that Sarah knows her body parts rather well, and for quite some time in fact. The most obvious body part, her hoo ha, I haven't exactly been able to help her grasp, figuratively. I tell her what it is often and I let her explore when we do diaper changes regularly, but must she strip often during the day, hiding and then returning naked with diaper in hand and a huge grin?

I certainly don't want to restrict Sarah from development and exploration but today I put her in a onesie shirt to see if maybe this would restrain her for a little while, especially since we were going to be out and about for the day. And, it worked. Hopefully this won't impact her interest in potty training, as we are in the early stages with Sarah on this, and she loves sitting on the toilet fully undressed.

I am all for Sarah's development but with the nakedness comes the potential for her peeing and then slipping on it on the hard wood floors, peeing on the couch, chair or anything else she chooses sit down on and then not knowing where it is until the stink festers, and of course, the chances for poop and the likelihood of her taste testing. Gross I know. All for the sake of development.

The hardest part too I will say is trying not to laugh because it is indeed funny to watch her doing this and having such great satisfaction.

Any tips or funny stories of your own to share to help me get through this stage? How long this is supposed to last?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Child's Love is Priceless

This week was an incredibly long work week, and I expected it to be. I was so tired once I got home, and in some cases had to work some more even after I got home. And, to add to it, unfortunately, I missed out on quality time with Sarah or on writing my blog, which has indeed been cathartic.

On the days when I came home from work later than my planned schedule, I kid you not, the second my key touched the door, even before turning the lock, inside I heard Sarah squeaking and squealing "Mommy" several times over, so excited and so overjoyed to see me.

Words cannot describe the joy and emotion I feel when I spend time with Sarah. So, you can imagine, that on the days when I am at work and the hours we are apart, the moment I walk through the door either at school to pick her up, or this week, at home, the feeling and emotion are priceless when we connect.

Since work is important and necessary for me to do, I am thankful that Sarah is understanding of the time I am away from her. When I see her at the end of the work day, she jumps up and down, gets so excited and runs up to give me a hug and wraps her legs around me. It's these moments I savor and melt while soaking her in.

As parents we know the incredible impact our children have on us. Even when days are tough and long, continue to love the energy, enthusiasm and excitement of our little ones when they greet us as the end of the work day and embrace the moments you do have with them. I know I do.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Maclaren Stroller Recall - Update

As many of you know, the South Norwalk, Connecticut-based company, Maclaren, announced this week a voluntary recall of a million of their strollers in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission due to reports of a dozen children's fingertips being amputated or lacerated due to the unfolding and opening of the stroller.

Today, you can go to Maclaren's Web site http://recall.maclarenbaby.com/order.php or call 877-688-2326 to order your free repair kit to cover the stroller's hinge mechanism.

I highly recommend you sign up for the free kit via the Web site as the phone lines are continuously busy. The VIN product identification number on your stroller is requested to be included in the form. It turns out that the number on my stroller is faded and; therefore, have been trying to call to secure my kit, and still getting a busy signal. I signed up via the Web site without the VIN number mentioning the name of my stroller hoping to get the kit anyhow while I continue to call.

Please do not use your Maclaren until you have installed this hinge cover to protect your little one's hands from injury.

Safe strolling!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Maclaren Stroller Recall

Maclaren stroller users, please know that this Tuesday, November 10 Maclaren will be issuing a press release regarding a voluntary recall of nearly 1 million of their strollers sold between between 1999 and 2009. The affected models include Volo, Triumph, Quest Sport, Quest Mod, Techno XT, Techno XLR, Twin Triumph, Twin Techno and Easy Traveller.

The company, who posted information on their Web site (www.maclarenbaby.com) , received a dozen reports of children's fingertips being amputated or lacerated due to the unfolding and opening of the stroller.

As a Maclaren user, I learned that this does not mean that we have to send our strollers back. In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Maclaren will be providing its customers, for free, a kit to cover the stroller's hinge mechanism.

+ Sit tight until tomorrow
+ Don't use your Maclaren in the mean time
+ Reach out to the company once the press release is out and secure your hinge cover for your stroller

Once the hinge cover has been installed then it is recommended to use your Maclaren stroller again for it to be safe.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Toddler Fascination for Boxes and More

Sometimes the most fascinating toys our children are most interested in are the ones we least expect, and also may cost very little, if at all nothing. The same holds true for diaper boxes, plastic pretzel jars and wipes containers, amongst other things.

I especially like reusing wipes containers for crayons, paints and other art supplies. Sarah has also developed an appreciation for the plastic pretzel jars, which she likes to stack and knock down like blocks. Good for her development. Very cool.

As far as boxes go, let's just say a good part of my living room has been taken over by several diaper boxes fused in to one. What started off as one box has grown to many more. With great imagination this house has transformed into a boat, a car and a spaceship. Ideal for small spaces it helps when objects can be multi-functional. And, to make these hand made treasures even more special, work with your child to develop artwork for them to admire. Some of Sarah's art has come tearing down, but many others still remain that she appreciates.

It's fun to watch Sarah put in and take out, several times over, her stuffed animals one by one as she grows accustomed to her fun new play space. She even on occasion likes to take a nap in her house and can invite a friend or few to play inside.

I look forward to creating new adventures for Sarah in the future and uncovering even more unique ideas for common items to transform in to fun, wonderful journeys to explore together. You'd be surprised by what fun can be had with safe-to-play-with things you find in your home that you least expect.

Happy hunting and building!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Toddler's and Stripping

This morning, Sarah, while playing in the living room, appeared in front of me wearing just her diaper, after she figured out how to unzip her feet pajamas. She just slid out of them like we do every morning, but this time on her own.

I just looked at her, just in her diaper, with her holding her pajamas with such a great smile on her face and the feeling of accomplishment. All I could do was laugh. Then, she tried to put the pajamas back on saying, "on, on, on." When that didn't work shortly thereafter, my adorable, sweet, funny, button-pushing monkey stood in front of me completely naked after mastering the ability to remove her diaper as well like a pair of underwear.

I am so proud of Sarah because she is growing daily by leaps and bounds. And, something as silly as her stripping down to nothing, so long as it is in the privacy of our home, is reinforcement that she is learning and listening to what daddy and I are teaching her.

So, laugh hard and laugh often when you witness these experiences because they are the little milestones in your child's development that are indeed priceless to experience. Not quite something to get on camera but certainly something for me to store away in my mind as a funny, wonderful, enjoyable experience.

Toddlers and Daylight Savings

Just when I was so happy to finally get Sarah to sleep a little later in the morning and drink her morning bottle closer to breakfast time, everything has now been pushed back an hour to earlier wake up and drink time. Oh how I savored that extra hour of sleep. Now it has been taken away from me.

I just hate daylight savings time for this reason mentioned above and also because now Sarah cannot play in the playground just before dinner as we have previously done for so long.

This winter is going to be an adjustment with a growing toddler with it sometimes dark during her awake hours and sometimes light when she's sleeping.

Guess I need to refuel with just a little bit more caffeine to get through the day. I mean, come on, it's 7:30am as I write this post, and I have been up for an hour and a half already.

Need coffee!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Klutzy Mommy Returns

A couple of months ago I wrote a blog entitled Klutzy Toddler, Klutzy Mommy and recently had an experience and conversation this week that gave me new perspective.

While Sarah still does indeed tend to fall down or bump into things, many times it's because she is eager, excited and distracted by her surroundings all at the same time. Further, since she is still under the age of 2 and continuing to grow at a rapid pace it makes sense she needs time to get comfortable and familiar with her body as it changes, especially her legs and feet.

I realized that the same is true for me. Okay, maybe not so much the body changing rapidly part, but instead the excitement and eagerness, and potential for distraction, while sharing in the joys of these extraordinary situations with Sarah as she grows and develops.

I hesitated to blog about a recent experience for I was embarrassed by the situation. Get ready laugh. The day before Halloween Sarah's school had a parade for all the kids to dress up and participate. Having missed last year's Halloween festivities due to Sarah getting the flu, I was jumping out of my skin excited to get her dressed up and to show her off. She was the cutest ever Abby Cadabby, a character she really likes.

Before the parade Sarah and I were playing in the playground. Just as the parade got started I got so excited for her to participate that I scooped her up eagerly to go down the slide and bumped my head in the process. I did very well to keep my language G-rated. But, boy did it hurt. And, to add to it, it's now on video since Daniel was capturing these special moment with Sarah.

We had a great time at the parade and after party, but later in the evening, several hours after the incident my head really hurt. We decided not to do anything, as far as me going to the emergency room. I know, not very wise. However, we evaluated how I was feeling, did some research and decided it would be best to see the doctor the following day, which is what I did. She said I likely had a mild concussion and that since it was nearly 24 hours after the head banging incident I likely didn't need a cat scan. I was prescribed high dose Naproxen for the pain, which I wish was working a tad bit harder, getting some rest and coping with headaches I never thought were possible.

All in all the very important lesson for me and anyone who is high energy and excited for their children's first, second and third experiences is to slow down and take everything in stride. I know this is much easier said than done for some of us. I just love watching Sarah grow and learn new things and share in these new experiences with her being present and part of them is such great joy and reward.

So, here's to trying to slow down while managing a growing toddler and to experience the incredible joys and excitement at a reasonable pace.

Wish me luck!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Getting the Gunk Out

Sarah woke up yesterday with a cough and a low fever. So, I kept her home from school and hoped that she would be feeling better today. The good news is the fever has been gone since yesterday afternoon, her cough is still present but now the snot is dripping out of her nose.

Yes, I know this is gross. Sorry. But, considering who is reading this, you likely have either wiped away a runny nose or two from your child's face, that of a niece or nephew you were caring for, or even from your family pet.

Anyhow, this morning I decided to keep Sarah home from school again until I know she is better, and work from home.

I hate it when parents bring their kids to daycare really sick, and frustrated when my child the "sick magnet" manages to pick up all the viruses and bugs these kids bring. To add to this, I can't tell whether Sarah has an eye infection or if she managed to wipe the snot from her nose into her eye. Doubly gross. Sorry. This is not unheard of in Sarah's case as she has done this before and it was just snot, but now I am not so sure.

We have an appointment with Sarah's doctor today to get her checked out to be safe and sure.

In the meantime, Sarah has let me remove the boogers and gunk from under her nose, and she tried to help. She gave me an even harder time trying to get it out of her eye. I had to accept that she would kick and scream and cry. But the gunk is out for now. Praying that Sarah does not have an eye infection and is feeling better soon to enjoy Halloween this week.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sign Up for Product Recalls

I love to read. Fiction and biographies, magazines and stories, and news online, I love them all. But, sometimes I just don't always have enough time to get through them in a timely fashion, especially the parenting magazines, which are chock full of wonderful information both fun and useful.

My guilty pleasure is definitely reading fiction, and sometimes when my magazines arrive I push them aside and delve right into my next book when free time allows or during my work commute. However, when I do get the chance to read the parenting magazines I have found the information to be extremely useful, and valuable that I file away cool ideas for future use as Sarah grows.

Today, I decided to thumb through Parenting magazine and saw a picture of the teething rings that Sarah uses as boo boo buddies. I then realized that it was under the product recall section and gasped. The good news is Sarah has not broken or bitten into any of these teethers but boy you can imagine I quickly pulled them out of the freezer and plan to bring them back to the store in which they were bought.

I then quickly signed up online for emails to be sent to me regarding product recalls for children's products so that when I can't get to my magazines right away, and do check email often, I will know of these recalls and important information in a timely matter.

Sign up for www.parenting.com/recalls so that you can remain in the know and keep your children safe. I also recommend your signing up for Dr. Vincent Iannelli's blog on About.com as he is the guide on pediatrics and emails information about product recalls including medications.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Is Shouting Really the New Spanking?

The New York Times ran an article this week entitled, "For Some Parents Shouting is the New Spanking." I admit, and I am not proud of it, but I have yelled at Sarah. While I want to say there is no good reason for yelling the only one I still question is when it comes to her safety.

I have come to realize that it's necessary to remove Sarah from certain situations where her safety is in question so yelling by me, or Daniel, does become necessary to protect her. For example, over the summer I took Sarah to the park near our home where she could run and frolic in the sprinklers. The challenge was that the area was not gated off and Sarah would often decide she would rather run towards the street. While I had all my attention on her sometimes she would dart off quickly towards the street. In sprint to get her I would raise my voice to tell her to stop. And, stop she did not. In those instances, her safety is what mattered most. But, realizing that she did not hear me because she chose not to did not help her or me. Therefore, we started to limit our time at this location for this very reason and found other fun things for Sarah to do.

Outside of these situations around Sarah's safety there have been other instances where I have raised my voice at her. Experiencing Sarah's reaction during these times in which I have lost my cool with her, especially when it was not necessary, left my heart in pieces. The guilt was overwhelming. Because of this I have actually been trying hard not to yell or shout at her and have become more aware in these situations.

Being a full time working mom is no excuse for yelling. Being tired is no excuse for screaming. Being crazy busy is no excuse for losing my temper. I experience all of these and know that stress is a big factor behind moments when I may raise my voice.

Being much more aware and cognizant of when I get worked up and might shout I have been able to catch myself well before it happens. Even as I write this is it pains me to know that parenting is hard work and sometimes I get upset, but Sarah should never be on the receiving end of my frustrations.

Sarah brings such incredible joy to my life and I take great pride in helping her foster and grow. She makes me proud daily. When I know she is pushing my buttons, which she often does, I just need to keep reminding myself to stop and consider why she is acting out. Likely the case is that she wants and needs my attention and I just have to drop what I am doing to focus on her.

Parenting is both a tough and extremely rewarding job. Know that you are human and there may very well be instances where you may loose your cool over your child's 18 years under your roof.

Be good to yourself and love your children unconditionally and go with the flow and know each day is a journey and new experience.

Don't Breastfeed and Drive

While off from work today, I listened to an interview on NPR from the editors of "Dirt is Good for You," which focused on stories and confessions from parents on bad parenting practices including screaming, amongst other things. The interview was rather funny, disturbing and humbling all at the same time.

However, I was extremely disturbed by the fact that there are still mommies out there that feel it's okay to nurse their child while driving a car. Please don't nurse your baby while you are driving. I have seen this happen and it blew my mind. And, then to hear about it again on the air today angered me further. As a mom who nursed her child for 13 months, I know what it's like having a crying baby in the car hungry or needing something that she dropped. Consider having a back up plan as far as food goes by having a bottle of breast milk on hand.

Babies need to be in their car seats when a car is in motion, no matter what. If you can stop and park, I highly encourage it. But, if you are on the highway or somewhere where you can't stop please consider a bottle or other antics to try to calm your baby. Or, and I don't love this option, but sometimes you just have to let your child cry until it is safe to attend to their needs when the car stops and you are parked safely. If you can, also consider coordinating time in your car around feedings to help avoid this dilemma.

Please drive and feed safely.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tub Tapping: The New Craze

In previous posts that I have written regarding Sarah and bath time, including her aversions and joys, this week now adds a fun, and rather hilarious, new favorite. Certainly after all the splashing and raucous play is done and the water has gone down the drain, Sarah has now established a fun, new interest: Tub Tapping and Stomping.

What is this you might ask?

Sarah, in all her cuteness, giggles and all, stands up in the tub and starts stomping her feet, left and right, left and right, left and right, faster, faster and faster. I am not sure I have seen her legs move this quickly before.

All I could do in this instance, besides being on alert to prevent any falls, is to laugh so hard it hurts, in a good way of course. I almost feel there aren't enough words to describe this incredibly funny new interest for Sarah, and the look on her face when the tub tapping and stomping begins other than pure and unadulterated joy and excitement.

And, I have to admit, kind of like the cool sound of a steel drum that makes you feel like you are on vacation, the acoustics of tub tapping are rather neat to hear.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love to dance and I hope that someday Sarah and I can share in this appreciation together. I was so proud to see her enjoy in this effortless form of self-expression, and joy in her eyes that came along with it.

Dancing is a passion I have and I look forward to sharing it with Sarah as she grows. However which way Sarah chooses to self-express in dance, I look forward to future bath times, her spinning in circles in the living room, or jumping up and down in the playground.

Just dance. It's freedom!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bath Time, Calm Time, Not Here

Sarah loves bath time. It hasn't always been this way, as you can read from previous posts. However, she really enjoys it now and really gets into it. In fact, we decided to ditch the little inflatable tub and now she loves to have free reign of the entire tub.

Daniel and I were laughing the other day about how we were under the impression that bath time was supposed to be calming Sarah down from her day, but instead it gets her all wound up. In our house bath time is a raucous time. Sarah loves to splash and play with her toys. She giggles and talks and just really loves getting herself, and me, soaking wet.

So, I have excepted that bath time in our house in not the calming down part of Sarah's nighttime ritual. We love her energy and strong interest in bathtime and continue to encourage her play. Instead, we brush her hair and then read several books in her room to help wind her down from her active day.

Tonight, Sarah was ready for bed but decided instead of falling to sleep right away she would read to her stuffed animal friends, and Froggy, of couse. Sarah then put herself to sleep.

Night night. Sleep tight.

Medicine with Flavor for Kids

Over Sarah's 21 months there have instances in which we have had to give her medicine either via mouth or through a nebulizer. And, for what feels like the gazillion viruses and colds where in a handful of cases fevers spiked high enough for Motrin and Tylenol to be used, there was no problem administering these medicines to Sarah to help get the fevers down.

However, I cannot say the same for her flu medication, as far as ease of delivery goes.

Since Sarah got the flu this past week, and earlier this year, and was prescribed medication, I have been pleased to see the benefits of the product working well, and so quickly, yet, I wish it could come in flavors. This is the only medicine we have had to give Sarah where she really refuses to take it at all.

I certainly know that medicines are not created typically to taste good and obviously to do the job they are studied and approved to do. However, try explaining that to a toddler who refuses to take the medicine she really needs no matter what tactics are used including her absolute favorites to help.

Here's hoping that soon enough these much-needed flu medicines can be created with flavor to help give them to our little ones a little bit easier.

I must also caveat that with all medication, especially those with flavor for children, please keep all medications safely secured in cabinets or locked drawers away from little hands in all instances. While we as parents know these are medicines, our little ones, who like the flavor, may not see it that way.

Let's continue to keep our little ones safe.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Young Children and Television

Like many new moms, but not all, when pregnant or even once baby arrives, say that they will not expose their little ones to television, especially since the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against this activity for children under the age of two.

Well, I have to admit, I was this mom too. I was pretty certain that this was the approach we were going to take, but then some circumstances changed our decision and led us to earlier than planned television watching by Sarah.

Around 10 or 11 months of age Sarah got her first bout of colds and viruses, which led to us needing to use a nebulizer. After trying just about everything we could think of to calm her, including, amongst other things, her already established comforts, educational DVDs helped to distract her while she needed this important medical treatment.

When we did use television for these distractions we first tried shows like Sesame Street, Curious George and Dora The Explorer. While they were fun to watch, some bringing back childhood memories for me, all I saw was Sarah staring at the television blankly and not with much interest. In fact, she lost interest quickly.

So, instead, we decided to consider educational DVDs, and chose Your Baby Can Read!

I succumbed to the impressive (and yes, I know staged) infomercials, and also saw first-hand how incredibly responsive my niece was reacting to these DVDs. So, I plunked down a ridiculous amount of money that I questioned immediately following the purchase. Boy, I wished I could have found these at consignment or Good Will. However, I will say this, since Sarah began watching these DVDs her vocabulary has grown exponentially and so has her interest level. She loves talking with the kids on the DVD and is often incredibly excited to watch and learn when it comes on. Now she squeaks and squeals at the animals and new words and sounds she is learning.

I still stand firm on the belief that it's better not to expose children to television at this young age and to, of course, maintain a limited number of watching hours as they grow. However, should circumstances put you in a situation where you need to consider television as a distraction, choose wisely.

The Flu Invader Strikes

Mid-week this week Sarah developed a high fever, so we expected, like most other times, that the drool, snot, coughs and sneezes would come shortly there after. But, they didn't. So, we then thought the fever was then associated with possibly yet another garden variety cold or virus, and that this would eventually pass soon.

But, when Sarah had another restless night with high fevers, to the pediatrician we went on a day I was conveniently off from work. I got confirmation that Sarah has the flu. Even Sarah's doctor was surprised by this diagnosis considering Sarah's energy and demeanor at the time of her appointment, but the test was positive. Besides this being really sucky, it sucks even more because Sarah got the flu shot just a few weeks ago. I know, as a professional in the health care field there are many viruses the flu vaccine does not protect against but I still just feel frustrated by the situation especially because there is only so much protection we can provide our little ones, even when you have done all that you can.

While Sarah is active and moving around the house, sitting in her doll stroller kissing Cookie Monster, or reading books to her favorite stuffed animals she doesn't look or act like she has the flu, but she does. Her body temperature says she has the flu. The medicine is in our fridge confirms she has the flu. Her somewhat reduced appetite says she has the flu. She has the flu.

Now likely exhausted and the flu kicking in, Sarah lays on my chest wrapped in a favorite blanket sleeping.

I just hate that the flu has invaded my little one's body and hope she is feeling better soon.

I dedicate this blog to all parent's who have sick little one's at home with bugs, viruses, flu and such, and wish you peace and patience as your child's illness passes. And, here's to wishing our babies, because they will always be or babies, happiness and good health.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kids; Viruses, Germs and Bugs, Oh My

Thank goodness Daniel and I were both working from home today, as we got a call from Sarah's daycare around 2:3o PM saying she had a 102 fever and saying she was tired, which is out of character for her during the day. And, knowing that this is an underarm or forehead temp, by the time she came home I knew it would be higher. Oh yeah...103.5.

Fortunately, since both Daniel and I were home, we were able to tag team taking care of Sarah while continuing work assignments and requirements.

I so look forward to the day when Sarah isn't putting her fingers in her mouth or sticking her tongue on everything in sight. While I know she can get germs and bugs in the air, it likely doesn't help that my little Hoover vacuum licks just about everything she can get her hands on.

Just wishing my baby an easy night and hope she is feeling better soon.

Monday, October 12, 2009

And, Now She Sleeps, Thanks Froggy

Today I had forgotten how it felt to sleep more than a few hours in a row without waking to a screaming or fussy toddler, that I was not tired and rather refreshed at work today.

I am happy to report that Sarah is back to sleeping 8-9 hours a night, at least for the past few days. I will take what I can get and hope that this habit continues.
My body has been in shock when I awake in the morning, many times before my alarm goes off, questioning if the monitor is working or if Sarah is up to no good. The latter is not really a surprise, with her climbing onto and into everything, that sometimes I wake with a start knowing that kids her age have been known to climb out of their cribs and explore their surroundings.

I suspect that the reason for Sarah's recent slumber, and this is a guess, may have something to do with the humidifier being brought back into her room since the summer. And, with Sarah now being diagnosed with allergies, I decided it was time to bring it out again in the hopes it would help her sleep and be less junky in her chest.

Well, I think it's working. I really hope that by putting these words down this habit for her will not change, at least not too soon. Sleep is definitely something I could get used to.

A very funny thing has also happened since the frog humidifier has returned. Sarah has grown a great attachment to "Froggy." She likes it, too, when the water spews out into a midst and stands next to it waiting for the dew to fall on her face. She then giggles. And, in the morning, when Sarah used to wake up with hollers for mommy or daddy she now awakes talking to Froggy and sometimes reads to him a book left in her crib.

I am so enjoying the incredible cuteness of this and the fascination of Sarah's social skills and imagination. So, Thank You Crane, the company that makes Froggy, and other adorable humidifiers that work, are easy to care for, fun for kids and great for decor as well.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Playtime: Be Creative With Affordable Solutions

I am currently off from work on Friday's, so today I decided to take a walk over to Target. It is funny how since having Sarah I now automatically make a bee line right over to the children's section. Before Sarah it was always over to furniture and home goods first. Clearly the latter does not happen much nowadays especially since most of our knick knacks keep getting pushed into storage bins and other solutions out of reach from Sarah.

Today was no different. Right to the kids section I went. I noticed a matching cards game that I first contemplated getting for Sarah. I then remembered that a while back in the dollar section I bought two boxes of cards with various objects including animals and fruits, and realized for the fraction of the cost of an actual matching game, I have a solution that has more cards, is more cost effective and more fun. So, definitely keep your eyes peeled for educational options that may not seem so obvious and could be a great deal of fun.

As mentioned in a previous post on ways to save money on kids clothes, toys, books and such, in addition to consignment stories, swap meets, flea markets and yard/garage sales, there are indeed ways to make games out of must less costly objects that already live in your home.

How many times have you heard a parent say that his or her child played endlessly with a big box that a toy, diapers or something else came in, plastic containers, or pots and pans with ladles to make music? These types of objects can create adventures for our little ones and lots of laughs too.

I say, have fun and be creative with your little ones. Look around your home and see what you can find that can fun and entertaining without too much cost, little maintenance and a whole lot of fun for all.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Toddlers and Sleep

Sarah has not always been the best sleeper. As mentioned in a previous post, I used to call her the "kitty crap napper" because she wouldn't nap for longer than 20 minutes at a time and would take a couple of naps a day.

At eight months of age, after many sleepless nights of getting up and putting her back to sleep, we decided to use the Ferber method of crying it out. With crying tears beyond belief, from me, and support from my husband and fellow moms, we were able to get through it. Sarah, after a few nights of Ferber started sleeping 8-9 hours in a row.

The Ferber Method is not for everyone. At first I balked at the thought of letting my child cry it out but we realized that Sarah needed to learn how to put herself to sleep and this process has worked for us.

Nearly 13 months after Sarah's sleeping was somewhat in check, and Daniel and I could get some much needed rest, her sleep habits have since changed. We thought there may be an association with her recent surgery but know this is not the case, or recently seasonal allergies.

So, with the humidifier on high, and the heat on as well, and a favorite song sung a few times over with back rubbing and then slowly stepping away, Sarah has begun to sleep again. Last night was the first time in a long time that she slept a full night without waking up.

As our children change their sleep habits changes too. At this age I am told there are night terrors along with growth spurts and sometimes upset tummies that may wake our sleepy ones. I am just thankful that Sarah, as well as Daniel and I, got the rest that we all needed, at least for last night.

Hoping for a good night's sleep tonight and moving forward. Sweet dreams!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Princess Power: When It's Time to Give In

As a mom of a little girl, the time may come sooner or later when Sarah may or may not want to be enveloped in everything princess. It appears that the time may be now.

For months since Sarah began walking and wearing shoes she has constantly been kicking them off. A lot of this could also be because of the constant attention I give to her feet kissing them, tickling them, singing songs about them and completely adoring them. What can I say, I absolutely lover her cute little piggies.

Thus, it has been a constant for Sarah, especially during walks with her in the stroller, or when we are out and about, or when she is at school, to kick off her left shoe especially. Eventually the sock comes off too and she giggles like crazy. How can anyone resist this?

During walks, especially, with her in the stroller I always have to be on alert to the shoe popping off, as there have been times I have had to walk back to start to find the shoe or missing sock.

This past weekend, when I couldn't actually find one of Sarah's sneakers, likely under a couch or stashed away with some toys or books, I had to go and get another pair as backup.

Until now, shoe shopping for Sarah has been mostly about what fits well, is comfortable and, for the most part, what I like. She really hasn't had much of a say in what we choose more so because she's 20 months and hasn't really cared.

This time around I took a different approach, desperate to find a pair of shoes she may like enough to want to keep on. After kicking off every other cute looking sneaker, I decided, out of desperation, to talk up the princess sneaker, which also happened to have lights.

Let's just say, the princess shoes won out.

While I like to have control over what Sarah wears now for the most part, I know that there will indeed come a time when I need to step back and let her develop her own sense of style. Hey, if she wants to wear clothes emblazoned with Elmo head to toe, or a princess dress, or anything else, I likely will have to succumb. All in all, as much as I don't want Sarah to have blue hair some day or wear miniskirts inappropriately too short, I will have to do my best as a parent to guide her well, help her be confident in her own body and help her to find her creative sense of style.

A true test of the princess sneakers happened at school today when I learned that not only did Sarah keep them on all day, she was so excited about them that she kept sharing with others her new kicks. She even kept them on during stroller walks and playground activities.

All that matters to me is that Sarah be a happy and healthy child. I know that these are famous last words but I will be doing my best to encourage Sarah to find herself through style whether it is as a princess/girly girl or a tomboy, and address individual moments of dress when they happen, within reason and when necessary.

In the meantime, I intend to enjoy the moments of her being little and in love with the pure joys of favorites such as Curious George, Dora, Elmo and princesses.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Toddler Milestone and Education Beyond Home

Today, Sarah proved several times over that she can indeed count her numbers 1 through 10. It was by far an amazing thing to see her do, and unprompted, all on her own throughout the day.

Seeing Sarah's brain in motion and her thought process evolve is so incredibly fascinating and rewarding. I yelped, applauded and praised my growing toddler. I am just so darn proud of her and amazed by her development. Every step she takes is a leap and I am so impressed and overwhelmed by the joy these milestones continue to bring.

Something like counting 1-10 may not seem like a big deal but it is indeed HUGE!!! At least for this mommy, who works full time and wishes she could be more present on a daily basis with her little one, seeing the benefits of the learning environment we have chosen for Sarah coupled with these wonderful outcomes, I realize we are providing for Sarah in the best way possible.

I don't feel I can take full credit for Sarah achieving this intellectual milestone of counting even though we have done quite a bit with numbers at home. However, I am proud to know that we chose the right school for her to be in when we need to be at work where she does indeed learn and grow, and we then reinforce at home to further establish her education.

A really good parent is someone who loves their child or children unconditionally and provides for them in numerous ways. If you are unable to be a stay-at-home parent, you are no less of a parent. Just continue to have fun with your little ones as they grow and expose them to resources you know will add to the learning you also provide as they develop and prosper.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

When Babysitting Falls Through

I am bummed because tomorrow a very dear childhood friend of Daniel's, who I have been fortunate to get to know, is getting married and I will not be able to join in the festivities. I was so looking forward to this affair and the fun I knew we would have together. But, unfortunately, and no fault of her own, Grammie got sick and will not be able to babysit as planned.

Grammie, please know we are not upset with you and hope you are feeling better soon.

We tried a few babysitters, who are actually teachers from Sarah's school, who she really likes and responds well to. But, unfortunately several of these individuals go to church on Sunday and others are not able to sit for the long hours we need. At first I thought, since I know a number of the teachers often look for babysitting to help supplement their income, and since it was a long day with a good financial outcome, I thought they might reconsider. I admire these folks for their spiritual and religious commitments and feel terrible for even thinking that money could even trump G-d. I'm being honest. What can I say? I really wanted to go to the wedding and with it being well over an hour away plus the time for the ceremony, cocktail hour and even part of the reception the day is easily 6-7 hours and likely too much for anyone other than these special people.

At first I thought maybe I was being overly protective and not letting many people watch Sarah. But, the reality is that Sarah, like many 20 month old toddlers, is extremely active and sometimes unpredictable or uncooperative. So, other than some immediate family members who have watched Sarah previously or teachers who are with her for long hours at a time and know her demeanor, it just didn't feel right to choose anyone beyond these people to watch Sarah especially being well enough away from home.

Sometimes situations like this are going to happen and we as parents we are just going to have to suck it up. It's part of the job.

I wish Lenny and Kelly a wonderful wedding and a lifetime full of happiness, love and good health. I will be there in spirit while Daniel helps to cut a rug, eat cake, and share in the festivities of this auspicious occasion. Many congratulations!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sarah and Allergies - Part 2

We just came back from Sarah's doctor who is pretty certain that Sarah has allergies. Ugh.

Tomorrow we will take her for a blood test, which may or may not confirm this suspected diagnosis. Interestingly, it appears Sarah has dark circles under her eyes, if you could believe a baby could get dark circles under his or her eyes, is a symptom of seasonal allergies.

And, while we have been told we can try saline solution in her nose, which Sarah hates oh so much, we may need to put her on medication. So not liking this at all. We kind of expected that this may happen since Daniel has been suffering from chronic perennial allergies for years.

To fellow mommy Samara, thank you for sharing your personal story regarding your son Zachary. You are absolutely right in that this type of allergy is not life threatening and can be managed but that it's still okay to feel pain and sadness for your child when they are uncomfortable and know that medication may be a necessity to help provide them comfort.

Any additional tips and insights from you and others would be great to learn.

Strange Places, Diaper Changes

I was talking with a mom yesterday, pregnant now with her third, and during our conversation we laughed about one particular, inevitable task with young children not fully potty trained, and that is diapering. In this conversation I was reminded of the many times and plethora of places where Sarah and I have been where she has been diaper changed on the go.

In a previous blog post I talked about how great it was to have a vinyl pad in your car and a large sized changing pad for the diaper bag when you are out and about. But, for mom's like myself who are on the go especially on foot and with baby in tow, know sometimes that restaurants and other places won't have bathrooms equipped with changing tables. Therefore, it's important to be prepared for the strange, odd and weird as far as diaper changes out of the home would go and expect the worst and laugh hard at times. I literally have sprawled Sarah across sink tops, chairs, park benches and such maneuvering diapers, wipes, anti-bacterial lotion and a wiggly baby. This in and of itself should be an Olympic sport.

Thus, when you are out and about with your baby, and a diaper change is needed, consider local area hotels with larger bathrooms, flat surfaces like picnic tables, benches and sometimes floors (except in bathrooms) where you can lay a large sized changing pad.

Just bring lots of wipes and a good sense of humor.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sarah May Have Allergies

Since Sarah's surgery in August, and this is likely just a coincidence, her sleeping at night has been somewhat erratic. Considering the way Sarah has slept in her first 20 months of life this is not really too much of a shocker but a little out of character since she can sleep 8-9 hours in a row and not wake up. However, lately, she has been waking every night two to three times not hungry, not thirsty, not cold or hot. Her room is not too warm or cold. She's in the right pajamas. She has a blanket she loves to sleep with.

We are suspecting that Sarah may now have Daniel's allergies. We were told that it takes a while before a child may develop allergies of this nature. We think the time may be now. Daniel experiences allergies year round and often feels like he has an elephant on his chest. These past couple of weeks he has been feeling it more than usual, also because it's seasonal allergy time. Since Sarah had a head cold last week we thought it was just the cold running its course. The question of allergies never came up at pediatrician visits, even though we have broached it, but are starting to think this may be the case for her.

After, yet, another sleepless night last night, we have decided that we are taking Sarah to the doctor this week to get tests specifically for allergies. If she is suffering, clearly we want her to feel better and sleep well. I am just concerned that she may need to take medication regularly and really hope that she does not have to. If she needs to take medication to feel better then of course we will do what is best for her and gives her relief. But, we are keeping our fingers crossed it's just the bug that has invaded her body taking its sweet old time getting out.

Any experiences you can share, tips or advice for this questioning mommy would be great. Thanks.

Bless you!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Toddler Not Sitting Still During Meals

Since Sarah started in her new class at daycare in September, eating for her has been somewhat challenging. This particular class she is in now has the kids in chairs for meals versus high chairs or chairs with trays. While I understand that this is a learning process, I just don't think Sarah is ready. Let's be honest, with a room full of toys and other distractions around her, how is any child to sit still at age 20 months during meals?

Not only has Sarah been challenged to sit long enough to eat, she continues to be accident prone. Let's see, day one I got a call from school saying Sarah fell off her chair. Later that week, Sarah bumped her head on the table. The following week Sarah overturned another child's breakfast on the floor. Today, I get a call that Sarah helped herself to another kid's food and got scratched on the face as the other kid retaliated.

Okay. You may deduce that my child is a klutz, and from previous blog posts this is not news.

I understand that Sarah is constantly learning and growing and getting used to her body as it changes, but come on. This is somewhat ridiculous. Don't you think? I guess, again, the apple didn't fall far from the tree.

Sarah just loves to be on the move. Should I be blaming it on too much Coca Cola or Arizona Iced Tea during pregnancy? What can I say, these were my pregnancy cravings. What is likely the case is that Sarah is extremely active and just loves, loves, loves to climb on everything.

Have I not described just about most children her age? Maybe not.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Parenting While Sick - Part 2

It has now been three days since Sarah and I both got sick including two missed days from work, a visit to the pediatrician and several courses of Motrin to get down fevers. Ugh. All without the help of a babysitter or helpful aid, beyond my husband who is also under a major deadline to get a work project completed.

I know that I blogged recently that it's great to try and get support from friends and family nearby or babysitters who can come on a moment’s notice, but let's be real. While, in reality, this would be a good idea, who really wants to come and help care for a sick child, without the risk of getting sick, especially with H1N1 going around. Further, for the babysitters we have relied on, most of them are teachers at Sarah's school and work during the day. So, this doesn't help me either.

I just have to say it really sucks to be sick and care for a sick child at the same time.

So, gathering as much strength as possible and, yes, bribing Sarah with television where possible, I was able to keep her somewhat maintained, managed, occupied except for the 101 times she tried climbing on the couch over the side. It's amazing to me that a child even with a fever and chills could still have so much energy. I wish I had half her energy when I am sick.

One interesting thing did happen during this sick time. We discovered today that when Sarah had the flu earlier this year it was type A, which includes the H1N1 strain. Therefore, it appears that Sarah has some antibodies to help protect her should she get it again. There is no certainty as to the exact number of cases of this particular strain of flu. Likely cases confirmed are those that have involved either hospitalization, or sadly, death.

I digress.

The point I am getting at today, with just a little bit more energy than yesterday, is that it's never easy being out sick from work, or caring for a sick child especially if you are ill too. If at all possible you have friends, family or babysitters who can come by and help that would be great and very helpful. If not, just accept that it will be a tough time and know you will get through it eventually.

Continue to feel better. Any tips please do indeed share. Thanks.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Parenting While Sick

Unfortunately, I am not feeling well today. In fact, I feel like crap and have been coughing, sneezing, and have terrible head and ear congestion as well as fatigue. Being sick, on top of parenting duties can certainly be a tough task for any parent. I am so thankful for my husband who has been doing most of the care giving today as I have barely been able to get off the couch. With a little bit of drug therapy I am able to sit for short spurts without my head spinning too much.

So, I dedicate this blog to my wonderful hubby.

I will say that parenting is tough work. Doing it when you are not feeling well is even harder. So, I applaud all parents going through this and especially those doing it on their own or with multiple children. It's almost as if you really can't be sick when you are taking care of a child unless you have family, friends and reliable babysitters nearby who can come by in a moment's notice who have strong immune systems and are not worried about getting sick.

I admit that I don't use babysitters much outside of immediate family members. It has nothing to do with trust but more so to do with finances and timing. Sometimes, the babysitter you need and want is not available or the short notice, and likely so, makes it difficult to get someone who you can trust.

So, as a parent, you are likely sleep deprived, running after a little one, and trying to get it all done in the allotted hours of the day. Should you get sick, try to have some family and friends on the ready to help out, if possible. Or, just hope that your loved ones can step in and do as much of the childcare as possible so you can get your rest. It's okay to ask for help when you need it.

Feel better!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Learning and Discovery - Through the Eyes of a Child

I know that I keep saying this, but I have to say it again. I am just so amazed at the development of children, and especially since I am watching the growth of Sarah right before my eyes.

Just the other day we were taking a stroll and talking about our surroundings. Every opportunity with Sarah is a fun and learning experience both for her and for me. So, by no surprise, we talked about the planes and boats and helicopters flying around and floating on the water nearby.

Sarah knows the words water and boats and says them often. During this walk as I pointed out the helicopters Sarah said "hopter." Okay, this was just too darn cute. What can I say; every new word that comes out of her mouth is fascinating to me. And, what is fascinating to her is part of her journey to learning and discovery and love being part of these mini and major milestone moments.

I absolutely love seeing life through Sarah's eyes. There is such a freshness, purity and playfulness to what she sees and experiences and it is rewarding, humbling and an honor to witness. It makes me realize even more how much we take for granted and how important it is, even when we are busy, and this working mommy totally gets that, that to just be in a moment with your child experiencing with them, even if you are a few minutes late to where you are going or just out and about without an agenda, enjoy these moments as they are indeed special and precious. I know they are for me.

So, until our next helicopter, I look forward to learning and hearing about the world through Sarah's eyes holding my hand help to guide her and teach her.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Size Does Matter, As Far As Diaper Bags Go!

I received my first diaper bag, a fun happy red Skip Hop Duo Deluxe Edition, as a gift right after Sarah was born. This bag has been used regularly for our jaunts around town. However, many times I feel I just can't fit enough inside. Also, this particular bag does not have a zipper top or front flap to cover up during inclement weather. So, I then bought another bag, a tad big bigger, different brand that could weather storms, but it ended up not being as comfortable to wear or lug around.

I then decided, even though my first diaper bag was relatively cool, and gender neutral (yes, I was considering my husband carrying this bag around too) that since I love purses, bags and pocketbooks, I would see if I could find something, not an actual diaper bag, that was big enough, fun and stylish to get in its place. Let's just say that now I have grown my bag collection with some fun new finds but none of these have worked well as a diaper bag.

This is really crazy. I know. I then came across a neat, recyclable bag by Reisenthal, which I actually like very much. It's roomy, hip, eco-friendly and easy to care for. However, since I bought it online knowing it didn't have a flap, I thought it had a zipper. To my dismay, it did not. I decided to keep this bag, which has been used a number of times, but still I feel that it doesn't quite meet my needs.

Then, I was in a baby store the other day returning yet another diaper bag, if you can believe it. I was convinced this would be a good choice until the front flap Velcro started coming off just one day into using it. I then saw a new mom eyeing a pink frilly diaper bag with some cutesy character on the front and in that moment thought, no way. Please. Come on. There has to be a decent diaper bag that's somewhat fun, hip, playful and roomy where you can fit what is needed for your growing baby. I refuse to get these bags. Sorry to anyone who has one or loves them, but I do not.

Let's just say that I have returned to using my original Skip Hop bag interchanging between a couple of other bags for extra room. This is nuts. So, right now, even though it will be sometime before Sarah is out of diapers I just have to make "do" with what I have. In hindsight, what I should have gotten but didn't at the time was the Skip Hop Dash Deluxe Edition, which I just can't justify right now.

As far as diaper bags go, size does matter.

Halloween Candy for the Troops

While we all recover from over indulging in too much candy during Halloween, still the candy is in our homes staring at us willing us to...