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!!!

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...