Saturday, May 4, 2013

Stranger Danger

For a very long time, I had major social anxiety which I believe resulted in what my mom told me in order to instill stranger danger in me as a child. When I was 4 or 5, my mom told me that if I talked to strangers, that I would be taken away, dressed as a boy, have bad things be done to me and never see her again. As a child given this information, I needed to know what qualified as a stranger and my mom  told me that a stranger is "anyone you don't know." That's pretty darn terrifying for a child! From then on, I never spoke to anyone I didn't know and that included kids since I over-generalized and had no idea who the bad people who would take me away would be. Then when I was about 6, my grandmother got a divorce from my "Pop-Pop Ray" (who I later learned was abusive) and was only told that "Pop-Pop Ray is now a stranger. If you ever see him anywhere, don't talk to him and never go anywhere with him." Well if someone who was once family could become a stranger, who on earth could I trust??? At the bank, where the tellers gave lollipops to the kids, I would burst into tears and refuse that candy because those tellers were strangers, and I once turned my best friend's mom down for a ride home from school and opted to walk home since I figured I had no idea what kind of person she really was. It took me a very long time to get comfortable in situations where there are many people around and I actually had panic attacks in any groups of people, including school. Even now, I don't fully trust anyone and always carry pepper spray on me just in case.

Given the barriers that social phobias caused for me, I am now questioning how to best teach my dear J about strangers. Yes, there are crazy people and sadly, child abductions do happen. BUT what my mother told me when I was a young child clearly scared the living daylights out of me and I do not want to give him the fears that I had. Right now, he is almost 2 years old and still either holds my hand everywhere we go if he is walking OR rides in a shopping cart or stroller always under my watchful eye. So him being taken by anyone isn't something that's possible right now; however, I am aware that J will not always be willing to hold my hand and someday he may not even want to walk anywhere near me in public places. When that happens, how do I stress that people can be dangerous without making him fear everyone as I've always done? Some amount of fear is good but not to the extreme that mine was...I think. Further, at what age do I even broach the subject of strangers?

Any suggestions from my readers?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

91 Pounds Down, 44 To Go...

At this point in time, I just have to blog about something major. I may not be exactly where I want to be weight-wise, but I'm proud of my 91 pound weight loss!!! Here's some before and after pictures...
This was me in the summer of 2011, only months after J was born.

                                 And here I am now...91 lbs lighter and feeling great!!!

Over this journey, I have learned so much more about myself. In the past, I was an all-or-nothing person when it came to food. I only ate "good" or "bad" and there was no in-between. Either I was "on track" and wanted to eat and exercise perfectly or I was "off track" and ate pretty much anything I saw (of course mostly fatty, greasy foods). Now that I'm 30 years old, I realize that I don't need to be perfect and as a mom of a tot, I don't have time for that. Do I aim to eat as well as I can? Of course I do. I aim for 5 servings of fruits and veggies per day, lots of water, and whole grains over unrefined grains; but I have my moments where I splurge on the less than favorable foods. I still eat Hamburger Helper or processed foods in the occasion that my father-in-law makes that and I don't feel like cooking a separate meal, then I just add in a serving or two of vegetables with it to fill myself up. I have some weeks when I walk all over the place and also work out 5 days at the local Y, but there are other ones when I am not as active. AND I'm okay with this. I've learned that if I am going to be a healthier person, I have to let this fit into my lifestyle and accept that I'm human; I'm going to crave "bad food" and as long as I eat what I want in moderation and track it, and am active when I can be, I'll be moving toward a healthier weight. In the meantime, I feel happy and confident, and I know that I'm doing the best that I can for myself.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

"Cow's Milk is for Baby Cows"

Lately, there is a battle between those who are anti-cowmilk and those who are pro-cowmilk. From what I've seen, people seem to see things in black and white as they do most things. The anti-milk group is known for saying, "Cow's milk is for baby cows" and points out the fact that our species is the only one that drinks milk from another species. In nature, animals nurse their young then when weaned those animals drink water and eat whatever it is that their species eat. Even baby cows can only drink straight from the tap and if they drink homogenized milk, they would die (this fact came from a farmer whom I spoke to). From research, I've read on a few websites that most humans can only digest lactose for the first few years of life in order to digest their mother's milk then gradually develop lactose intolerance. That fact is something that I can relate to as both my husband and I have problems digesting dairy, and in my case it is a recent issue. Many people who are against cow's milk also say that milk is not even a necessary beverage as the nutrients found in milk can be digested via a healthy, varied diet.

On the other fence, a lot of people grew up drinking cow's milk and see it as something worth continuing to drink and to give their children. Heck, cow's milk is creamy and tasty and we all know it is chock full of calcium and vitamin D. Basic argument is that a doctor or pediatrician wouldn't recommend dairy milk if it weren't good. More commonly, people who drink cow's milk purchase homogenized milk in the store, but there are more "natural" individuals who prefer raw milk (unpasteurized) milk, saying that it is easier to digest and more healthy.

When it comes to the two sides of things, I go both ways. Considering the fact that there are so many milks on the market (almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, soy milk, etc) and the digestive issues that hubby and I have with milk, the two of us drink vanilla almond milk. It can be pricey, however, I'm a serious couponer, so I have yet to pay full price for almond milk. Our son J does get whole milk but he gets lactose free because he's always had dairy issues and lactose free doesn't present a problem for him. I will say that I prefer organic milk over non-organic because of rBGH as well as hormones found in non-organic; I also found that organic milk just tastes better. Further, my personal belief is that kids are developing earlier and there are more health problems due to hormones and chemicals in foods we buy in the supermarket nowadays. Others have tried telling me that children don't need cow's milk but I feel that the fat in whole milk is better for my tot who sometimes goes days barely eating anything; it is the days when J eats next to nothing that I am comforted knowing he's getting protein, fat, and other vitamins and minerals from his milk. Someday, J probably will be drinking almond milk along with his mama and daddy but in the meantime I'm happier giving him organic lactose free milk that meets his nutritional requirements.

What are your thoughts on dairy milk vs non-dairy diets?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

To Juice or Not To Juice...that is the question

When it comes to "experts" a.k.a. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) as well as nutritionists, giving juice to a baby or toddler is a no-no. Juice does not have much nutritional value and honestly, there is more nutrition in a fresh piece of fruit than a cup of juice; not to mention, juice is loaded with lots of sugar and kids today consume way more sugar than necessary. I believe the recommendation is no more than 4 ounces of juice for little under the age of 4. I actually am not a fan of juice myself; I'm more of a water drinker as I find juice too sickeningly sweet. I've worked in the childcare industry for many years and know many children personally who refuse to drink water and only drink juice because they were introduced to the sweet drink early in life. Not to mention, childhood obsesity is at an all-time high, so I can understand a reason to limit or not give juice at all.

 Having a son who was labeled as overweight at 12 months old, I actually did not give him a single taste of juice until he was 18 months old and so sick that he refused to eat or drink a thing. Then, I put a splash (probably about a tablespoon or so) of white grape juice into his (9 oz size) sippy cup of water; J sucked that down dry and asked for more. For awhile, the rule was no juice unless J got sick because he's very picky when sick and having a child who is hydrated and not suffering from low blood sugar matters to me. Since then, I have loosened up a tad. J still mainly drinks water plus his 16 oz of Lactaid whole milk on a daily basis but if he is thirsty and has already had a lot of water and his milk, I give a splash of juice in his water. The way I see it, a tiny bit of juice does not contain much sugar and gives him some variety of flavor. The only other time we give juice is when we go out to eat since restaurants don't carry lactose free milk; in those instances I ask the server for a kid cup with mostly water and a splash of juice. They're always happy to comply and that ensures my little guy doesn't feel left out when Mama gives up her usual water for some iced tea and when Daddy has soda.

Once again, this is a personal matter but I do believe that my loosening up a small degree is good. J doesn't drink juice on a daily basis and he's slimmed down a lot, so I know he is a healthy guy. I'm curious to hear when my readers started giving juice and if their kids are water drinkers at all. :)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Graco MySize70 Review

A few weeks ago, I purchased a Graco MySize70 carseat at the local Babies 'R Us. Now that I've been using the seat for a little bit, I thought it'd be good to share my thoughts on it. First of all, I chose this carseat because I needed something narrow enough to fit in the mid-size SUV rental that I am currently driving (I drive a mini-van so if it fits into the mid-size it'll fit in there) and was pleasantly surprised to find it fit perfectly. If you're in doubt, most Babies 'R Us locations have staff who will walk to your car with a display seat and let you try it in your car to be sure it can fit. While narrow enough to fit in the seat, this carseat still is roomy enough for my very big boy and has amazingly high rear-facing and front-facing specs. Babies, infants and toddlers 4-40 lbs and up to 40" can rear-face and toddlers and children 40-70 lbs and up to 50" can forward-face with the harness. That means this seat should last most children from birth until early preschool years when the parents is ready to switch to a booster seat. Even though my son is off the charts for his size, this carseat will undoubtably last him a long time. This makes me incredibly happy since a harnessed carseat is undoubtably safer than a seatbelt positioning booster.

Because of the In-Right Latch System, this carseat has been by far the easiest to install using LATCH than any other carseats I have installed in a vehicle. Not only that, but there are two sets of LATCH belts: one set for rear-facing and one for forward-facing, which means there is no need to re-route a LATCH belt for different types of installations. This makes this seat a dream come true for me since I struggled trying to figure out how to re-route the straps of my J's previous carseat. Like most modern carseats, this one has three levels of recline and you must use the most reclined level for rear-facing. Depending on your actual vehicle seat, you may need to use a pool noodle cut-up or a rolled up towel to make sure the carseat is at the correct angle. For a newborn or infant, it needs to be at a 45 degree angle and for a toddler you can lessen the angle to 30 degrees. When in doubt, get a carseat inspection done by an NHTSA tech (I do that every time, btw) and just google to find one near you.

The one concern I had when I took this carseat out of its box was that the cushioning didn't seem very plush, but that thought has gone out the window since J fell asleep within 5 minutes the very first time he rode in it. Since then, J has fallen asleep 4 other times which tells me that this is one comfy carseat!

Let's talk about harness straps. One drawback is that they are a pain in the butt to tighten. I cannot seem to pull the strap tight enough once I my son is in the seat. To get around that, I tightened it a bit more without him in it then put it on him and buckled and did the pinch test (try and pinch the harness strap by the child's collarbone; if you can pinch it then it is too loose). I only loosen the straps a tiny bit to get J in and out since tightening his harness is a chore. The one factor that does make the tightening issue not as annoying is the adjustable headrest and harness. With a squeeze of a red lever on top of the head rest, you can instantly make the strap level higher or lower; for rear-facing always keep the straps at or below shoulder level. Having the harness set at the appropriate level ensures that there isn't a ton of harness to need to tighten. The harness has also tangled a handful of times, but it is pretty easy to fix and as a more experienced mom now that hasn't frazzled me.

My final favorite feature of the carseat is the integrated cupholder. Our other carseat didn't have one; the carseat had to be attached and could not be used in rear-facing, which meant that J was always dropping his sippy cup when he got tired of holding it or simply forgot he was holding it and then I'd have to do a sippy cup search in the car. Now, no more dropped cups! After buckling J in, I put his sippy cup right into the cup holder and he has a drink within reach when he wants it; now that J is used to this feature of the carseat, he puts the cup back when he is done with it. How great!

All in all, I love this carseat! I would recommend it to anyone looking for a convertible carseat.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What's In Your Bag?

I remember the day I registered for a diaper bag back when I was pregnant and my only concerns were that it match the color of my other baby gear (light green) with a have a changing pad inside; that and I didn't want something that cost more than $30 which seemed excessive to me. My choice was an inexpensive Carters diaper bag that seemed to fit that bill. At the time, I did love that bag and Carters is a great brand. Now that I'm a more experienced mom, I've learned that there are many more important factors than that. That said, I switched out the first diaper bag for a much different one. From the time J was a baby, I always packed a lot in the diaper bag which caused the first diaper bag to burst at the seams. Most times I couldn't zip it and after too many times of attempting to, the zipper broke off the bag.

The diaper bag that I switched to when J was close to 1 year of age is a Petunia Picklebottom Boxy Backpack. I do need to preface this with the fact that the MSRP of this style bag is in my humble opinion extremely expensive; however, Baby Steals often has this bag for somewhere between 50-80% off. Baby Steals is a daily deal site with some great products listed at great prices. I was lucky and nabbed the diaper bag for much less than it normally costs, and am so glad I did.

My favorite feature with the boxy backpack is that you can either wear the bag in standard shoulder style or on your back like a backpack. The straps are adjustable for your size, and the diaper bag is nice and spacious inside but doesn't appear huge on the outside. I normally always wear this bag as a backpack which I find easiest. The diaper bag does come with a velcro-attachable changing pad. By the way, whether or not you choose to cloth diaper a big diaper bag is a must have. On days when I'm out and about with J, I don't pack a purse and instead stash my wallet and keys inside the diaper bag. In evenings when I go out alone, I simply switch my wallet and keys to a small purse.

Now that J is a toddler, here is what I pack whenever we go out:

  • 6-10 diapers and a pack of wipes - Sounds excessive, I know, but whenever I have brought only a few diapers J has managed to have constant diarrhea diapers or pees like a racehorse every few minutes.
  • diaper rash cream - When J is in sposies, I bring a tube of Triple Paste and if it cloth, I bring a tube of Grandma El's.
  • a sippy cup of water
  • boogie wipes
  • hand and face wipes
  • a divided snack cup - one compartment for freeze dried fruit, the other for a whole grain snack like cheerios or whole grain goldfish
  • a change of clothing - whenever I forget extra clothes, J spills a drink or food all over himself or leaks through a diaper or just gets messy in some other way
  • 1 or 2 boardbooks, toys, crayola mess free doodle board
  • digital camera for those picture worthy moments
  • my small cosmetic bag with lip gloss 
When J was a newborn/infant, here is what I packed:
  • 6-10 diapers and wipes
  • diaper rash cream
  • 2-3 bottles pre-prepared and in a cooler (J willingly drank cold formula and even now won't drink warm beverages) - you never know when you'll get waylaid and need more bottles than you expected
  • pacifiers
  • pacifier wipes
  • baby toys and board books
  • digital camera
  • 2-3 changes of clothing
  • 2-3 bibs
  • 2 burp cloths
  • Once J was over 6 months of age, I also added:
    • finger food snacks such as Happy Baby puffs 
    • sippy cup of water 
    • baby food pouches
    • baby spoon
If J has a cold or is teething and I have to go out, I do add some other items to my bag such as:
  • Nose Frida Snot Sucker
  • Infant/Children's Acetaminophen or Motrin
  • Camilia homeopathic teething ampules by Boiron
  • Saline Drops or Mist
  • A cold snack such an organic yogurt tube
  • Teething toys
Whatever diaper bag you choose, it's important that it be one you truly like and will be happy toting around for at least 3 years. On average, kids potty train anywhere between ages 2-4 and you'll need a good way to carry their diapers or even changes of underwear and all the other items your child needs. Why not tote around all that stuff in style? Happy shopping!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

All About Rear-Facing Carseats

In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) came out with new guidelines that a child should remain in a rear-facing carseat until the age of 2 or until a child maxes out height and/or weight limits for rear-facing in their carseat. You can view their statement here:

Many parents were upset about these guidelines stating that a one year old is too tall to be rear-facing in the car and why should that be the case when the state law is one year of age and twenty pounds? Well, to be honest, this guideline was made because rear-facing truly is safest; further, there are European countries where children are rear-facing until the age of 4 and there are lower child mortality and severe injury rates in the case of car accidents. Are there people who still choose to switch their babies at only the age of one? Of course there are. Am I one of them? No, I am not. My J is 22 months old, 34 lbs and a tad over 3 feet tall, and with his carseat that has a 40 lb, 40 inch rear-facing limit, he will probably remain that way until he is closer to the age of 3.

People have made comments like, "But he's so uncomfortable rear-facing," "My parents didn't even have a carseat. I wonder how I lived," and so on. The truth of the matter is I will always put safety first. No, in the 50s and 60s and 70s, people didn't use carseats and guess what....gradually the rate of infant and child mortality in the case of automobile accidents in our country has declined. Physics can explain why rear-facing an infant and toddler is safest when it comes to the car on thecarseatlady blog: You can also see a video that illustrates this here: Crash tests with FF vs RF carseats

As far as comfort goes, children are much more flexible than adults and as a result do not get uncomfortable the way we do. I've seen many tots who bend themselves in half when they play, including my son, and who stretch their legs in a way that they can put their toes in their mouths. You should know that almost all toddlers will have a stage when they hate being in the carseat, not because of comfort, but because they do not like being restrained. Why go in a buckled seat when you can crawl and walk all over the place? When J hit that stage, I started keeping a basket with a variety of toys and books in the car and would give J a few in the car. At red lights, I would switch out his toys so he didn't get bored. I also kept his Wiggles cd in the cd player of the car and sang to that wit him. "I Spy" is also a popular car game for me and J; I keep the headrest off of his captain chair that the carseat it installed in and say, "I spy___" about things we pass so he can look for them.

To be honest, I was debating switching J's carseat to forward-facing on his 2nd birthday until last week when my car was seriously damaged from another driver slamming into the side of it. My entire body was jerked forward and a couple of hours later my back hurt from muscle strain, however, J remained unmoved in his rear-facing carseat and had no idea that an accident had occurred. He only started fussing when we took the time to make the report with the police because he was tired and bored. What happened that day cemented my understanding that rear-facing a carseat really is the best thing, and I replaced the carseat we were using with one that has even higher rear-facing and forward-facing limits.

If you're looking into a carseat with great rear-facing limits, there are many now. Prior to the accident, we used an Evenflo Triumph 65 advanced which has a 37" and 1" below top of carseat rule for height and 40 lb weight limit. With J's crazy tallness, dh and I knew that we needed one with an even bigger height limit. If you google the carseatlady blog, you can find suggestions on all kinds of carseats.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

My Must-Have Survival Items When J Has a Cold

 So for the second time this winter season poor J has a cold and because he has RAD (reactive airway disease), he has a nasty cough which three daily doses of albuterol and two daily doses of budesonide in his nebulizer control the cough. Of course, with a tot there are some other items I have found extremely useful to have on hand.


  • Cool Mist Humidifier: My husband and I purchased the Crane tear drop one back when J was a newborn because it got great ratings. Really humidifier moistens the are to help with congestion, cough, etc., when a baby or tot is ill or even suffering from allergies is great. Cool mist is recommended over hot mist since little ones have been scalded from the hot ones
  • Honey: Not for children under 12 months because of risk of botulism. The nurse practitioner at the pediatrician group where J goes recommended honey now that he is almost 2 to coat the throat and naturally prevent coughing.

  • Saline Mist: When J was a baby, I used the drops but now that he is older he understands to tilt his head back slightly and sniff the mist in. It works well for dried sinuses and dried boogies.
  • Boogie Wipes: I always keep these in the diaper bag. That way when we are out and about, I can clean J's face of dried up boogies when his nose is on constant drip, or even in lieu of a tissue when his nose is particularly sore.
  • Nose Frida Snot Sucker: With this, you do suck the snot out of your child's nose manually and there is a hygiene filter inside so as to prevent the spread of bacteria. In my experience it works much better than the boogie balls a hospital gives you, and now at almost 2, J giggles when either my husband or myself uses it on him. For major congestion, first use some saline then let it sit for a minute to moisten things up then use the snot sucker.
  • Johnson & Johnson Soothing Vapors Bath: Once J's colds progress past the point of nose on constant drip to stuffed up nose, we use the soothing vapors as his bubble bath at night. It gets him a little more clear then we can commence with snot sucking after tub time so that J can go to bed with no stuffiness.
  • Vick's Baby Rub: At nap time, I rub this onto J's feet then put socks on and at bedtime I put a small amount right onto his chest. It has eucalyptus and rosemary in it, which naturally controls cough and keeps the sinuses clear. Plus I grew up with my mom using Vick's on me and it always helped, so I do the same for my baby. 
  • Mott's For Tots juice: I'm not normally a juice giver since I'm all for water and milk, but when J is really stuffed up, he doesn't eat so I like to get some Vitamin C into him this way. Plus it keeps him hydrated and has less sugar than regular juice since it's basically watered down juice in the perfect concentration for him.
  • LOTS OF CUDDLES because all littles need their mama or daddy when they're feeling cruddy.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Letter to my Son

Dear J,

As your second birthday is fast approaching I have realized how much you have taught me and couldn't feel more blessed. There are some things I want for you to know as well, and there's no time but the present to put this down in writing. First and foremost, I will always love you. Even those times when you throw the world's biggest tantrum and I want to rip my  hair out, and those times I know that will be coming when you are a teenager, my love will never dwindle. I may get frustrated and need to walk away for a few minutes just to cool down, but I promise that nothing you ever do will cause me to close my heart to you. Someday my mannerisms that you find funny and try to imitate now will most likely embarrass you; but guess what, I won't be changing and the sooner you accept that the better. I'm sure you'll have some less than pleasant mannerisms yourself, and hey, you are my kid so you've got some of my odd little quirks already. Third, you are your own person with so much potential; you are intelligent, funny, sweet, full of love, extremely handsome, and the world is your oyster. You can do anything you put your mind to and I will always support you no matter what. I don't expect you to be perfect and do everything perfectly, but I do expect you to always try your hardest in all aspects of life. With that in mind you need to know that life isn't always easy and I cannot sugar coat it and say that everything will always go your way because quite honestly, it won't. BUT how you handle the challenges that come your way will help shape not only each moment in time but your future. You need to look at each obstacle in your life as if it is a big mountain; you cannot simply go through it but must make a plan to climb it then attempt to do so. Furthermore, I know that there will come a time that you may want to shut me out and I also know that when the time comes, you will actually need me more than you know. So I vow that I will be there at those times and you may hate it then, but there will come a day when you appreciate it. Finally, I just want to remind you that I will always be here for you as long as I'm living because no matter how much you grow up, you'll always be my baby.



Friday, March 1, 2013

Why I'm Doing Weight Watchers

I always blog about different parenting decisions I make as well as various aspects of my life with J, but never about a big decision I made to return to Weight Watchers and finally lose my excess weight for good. In the past, my sole reason was vanity; I just wanted to look good in smaller clothing. However, now that I am a mother, my reason has completely changed. My leader always says that if you know your real reason for wanting to lose the weight, that will help keep you going, and in my case I think that putting this into writing will help.

My reason, of course, is my son J; yet it goes much deeper than that. My mom passed away in 2005 at the age of 40, leaving me motherless at the age of 20. Of course, I went through all those stages of grief: denial, sadness, anger, and on it goes; but the anger never fully went away. She never took care of herself; her relationship with food was not a healthy one and that was passed onto me. For years, my mom would go on fad diets, starve herself, or would binge and purge. When she was in her 30's, my mom was diagnosed with diabetes but she refused to use insulin "because it would make her fat." After years of her blood sugar remaining out of control and quite a few hospital visits, my mom was strong-armed into using insulin and pills to control her diabetes. Yet ironically, against the doctor's orders, she continued to smoke, drink, and even buy Entenmann's cakes which she would eat in one sitting every night. No, it was not a big surprise when she passed away from complications of diabetes, but how could she refuse to take care of herself when she has two daughters who needed her??? I am not diabetic, but given my mom's history and my age of 30, I do not want to leave my son motherless in 10 years from now. I want to be around for many years to see him graduate Kindergarten, Middle School, High School, maybe college, to someday get married, and maybe even to become a parent himself someday. 

From the time I was a young child, I watched and took on my mom's unhealthy eating habits; I obsessed over food and even had my own bouts of unhealthy habits such as taking laxatives to lose weight. The time for that is passed, though. One of the important things I want for J is to have a healthy relationship with food. I want for healthy eating to be second nature to my son, and for him to understand that we can eat fun treats in moderation but that food doesn't fill a void in your life; i.e. he should eat to live but not live to eat. To ensure that J does live a healthy lifestyle, I need to be a living example of a healthy person. I will not be a hypocritical parent and I don't want to be a closet binger anymore.

So far, I have lost 20 lbs since joining Weight Watchers and I intend to steadily keep losing the weight. I am well aware that I will have tough weeks when I eat like a human vaccuum cleaner (hello, been there done that), but I will not let that stop me be from being the healthy mother my son deserves.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Things That Parenthood Has Taught Me

For 21 months, I have been a mother (30 months if you count pregnancy), and I have learned more lessons from my son and from motherhood than I ever learned in all the time that I have spent in school and/or working. I thought I would share my lessons and if any parents have anything else that they would like to add, please comment below.

  • From the moment you have a swollen pregnant belly, everyone has an opinion and unsolicited advice, and lets you know it. 
  • In regards to that advice, you as a parent knows your child better than anyone else and it is easiest to say, "I'll take that into consideration" than to present your side of things.
  • There are many hot topics in the parenting community and the easiest thing to do is keep your head down and mouth shut when any of those topics are discussed unless you want to enter a world war amongst parents. Some of those topics include:
    • Vaccinating vs non-vaccinating
    • Breastfeeding vs formula feeding
    • Circumcision of boys
    • CIO vs Co-sleeping
  • Every parent thinks they know it all and judges you, and at some point you'll be guilty of doing the same thing in regard to another parent.
    • This is the most important because when I was pregnant, I expected that my baby would be easy and sleep all day like my nephew did which he did not. I expected him to be crazy and never stop moving like other little boys and nope, he doesn't do that either. HE IS WONDERFUL JUST THE WAY HE IS, AND YOUR KIDS ARE WONDERFUL JUST THE WAY THEY ARE.
  • No matter how great or terrible an eater your child is as a baby, it all changes as he or she gets older. Kids go through eating phases. Nothing you can do can prevent pickiness but you can keep serving lots of types of foods, and eventually your child will go through a new phase.
  • You don't need to have terrible two's...they can be terrific. No really. 
  • A lot of patience, understanding, and redirection with a toddler goes a long way in preventing and diffusing hairy situations.
  • After all the "mistakes" I worry I made from the time my son was a newborn, I think he's an awesome kid, so maybe they weren't mistakes after all. 
  • Your pediatrician is a great resource for making sure your child is healthy, but never doubt your mom gut. 
  • Your child will grow up in the blink of an eye.
  • My heart is capable of growing bigger every day.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Guess what J did...

He peed in the potty! Since I had last blogged, J was getting so into the potty books and dvd's, but seemed to lose interest in using the potty because each time I asked, he said no. Still, I changed all poop diapers in the bathroom and sang a song right before flushing poopy down the toilet. Then today seems to mark a new chapter in J's potty adventure. After an impromptu bath from a messy lunch, J's anatomy instantly started growing as if he had to urinate to which J instantly said, "Oh no!" I looked J in the eyes and asked, "Do you want to peepee in the potty?" and to me surprise, he smiles and answered, "Des" (yes). Not about to look a gift horse in the mouth, I put J onto the potty then proceeded to sing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" and put lotion on J as he did the motions to the song. 2 round of itsy bitsy spider = a little bit of pee in the potty. Adorably, J kept staring down at him self with surprised "ohhhh" sounds. Afterwards, I gave J a great big hug, told him I am so proud of him for making pee pee in the potty, called dh on speakerphone to tell him what J did, then told J that when he decides to make peepee and poop in the potty all day, he can have some big boy Thomas underwear. His little eyes lit up at that offer. So I can't wait to see where this takes us next! I'm wondering if I should do some naked butt time tomorrow to get things along, move J into training underwear and plastic pullover panties, or just stick more with potty prep and letting him ask for the potty whenever he is ready...

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Let's Get Ready to Potty!

I've been so excited the past week because I've noticed that J is showing some potty readiness signs! I really hate diapers and have been hoping for an easy/early potty experience with him. As a mother of a boy who has been going back and forth between cloth diapers and disposables, I was not quite sure what to expect. Luckily, I not only have Heidi Murkoff's book What To Expect The Second Year and that is my toddler bible, but I also can tweet Heidi (@HeidiMurkoff) or post questions to her on and she does her best to answer every tweet and post that all parents send her way. Further, I have a great support system with my May 2011 mamas on

Here are the signs I have seen:

  • Staying dry for anywhere between 2-4 hours at a time.
  • Occasionally waking up from a nap with a dry diaper.
  • Pulling at his diaper when it is wet.
  • Predictable poop schedule.
  • Going into poop stance - gripping train table, bending over slightly and visibly pushing out poop with a grunt.
  • Willingly getting his diaper changed. 
  • Very interested in the toilet.

Because my four year old nephew has ecopresis, I have seen what pushing too much when it comes to the potty can do, so I am trying my best to follow J's lead while getting him excited. We have had a Sesame Street toilet reducer and step stool that he saw and wanted about a month ago at Babies 'R Us. However, J's feet just dangle because the stool just is not tall enough for his feet to touch it while on the toilet.
J has been wanting to sit on the big potty every night when we brush his teeth before bed. Jolly (J's physical therapist) recommended a floor potty so I went purchased a Fisherprice Froggy Potty but sitting on it once resulted in instant tears. When I really think about it, I think that not only is J used to sitting on the bit toilet, but he also never liked his own toddler furniture and that potty seat doesn't seem very comfortable. On the upside, I got the froggy potty on clearance with an extra 20% off at Target, so it cost a little less than $10.

I did finally find a solution that J likes and I am comfortable with. We still use the Sesame Street reducer and I found a stepstool that hubby made in high school which is high enough for J's feet to reach from the potty.

J has been been coming into the bathroom with either dh or myself basically since he could walk since neither of us will ever leave him unattended even with a childproofed home. Now whenever he does, I just tell him things like "someday you can flush the potty too" and "when you're ready, you can pee on the potty like Mommy does" in an upbeat tone. Now we are working on the skill of pulling pants up and down, because right now J relies on me to do it. We started reading Everyone Poops and J likes it a lot (I find that book a little weird but I know it is a potty training staple. I periodically offer for J to sit on the potty, especially if he is in poop stance or has been dry awhile. If he says yes, I put him on there for as long as he wants to be there and if he says no, I leave it at that. Yesterday, J saw Thomas underwear at the store and was really wanted it; so I think I'm going to up the ante by buying it and telling him that when he used the potty he can wear it.

Today I took out two books from the library: Once Upon a Potty (boy), What To Expect When You Use The Potty and three DVD's (The Potty Movie for boys, No More Diapers, and Potty Power. When we do potty train, I will be using training underwear with the plastic waterproof Gerber pants, because IMHO pull-ups are still diapers.

I don't think J is quite ready to really be potty trained yet, but hopefully soon! How soon after potty ready signs started to show did you take the plunge with your little one?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Early Intervention Progress Report

Awhile back, I had blogged that J started early intervention and I thought I should follow up with that. J had his 6 month IFSP meeting already and is still receiving physical therapy on a weekly basis; I also work with him at home during our play to try. At now 21 months old, J is walking but still waddling because he barely bends his knees (the waddling is lessened with bare feet and exaggerated with shoes), rolls from belly to back and back to belly regularly, starting to push up on hands and knees and does so successfully about 25% of the time, and attempting to pull up. He also kicks items and we are working on bending his knees to squat and pick things up, but again, he does not willingly bend his knees very far at all. J's right side appears to be a little stronger than the left, and he bends that knee a tiny bit more. There are still concerns over the fact that J cannot transition positions 100% on his own yet, which keeps him from being completely independent as he should be.

In shoes, Jeremy falls at least once every time and lands in an odd position that causes him to limp a bit which I informed our PT Jolly (name has been changed for her privacy). As a result, Jolly asked me to have J's feet remeasured at the shoe store, and just tell them we are concerned he may have too much room in his shoe and what the reasoning is as well as to have the pediatrician check J's hips. Today was a gorgeous day so J and I did take a walk to the local children's shoe store, and the shoes absolutely do fit; I was given tips on how to put them on J to ensure they are tight enough to avoid any foot shifting since Stride Rites are made of leather and thus do stretch out over time.

Just this Thursday, J went to the pediatrician so I voiced Jolly's concerns to the good doctor, and she checked J's hips and also had him walk back and forth both with shoes and in bare feet. Dr noticed that J walks with his left foot facing out a little bit but didn't not hear anything strange with his hips; now our priority is going to a physiatrist very soon because there are worries of hip dysplasia even though J had a normal (non-breach) birth.

Ever since birth, J has had various health issues and we have been going to specialist after specialist. Sometimes it feels like there is no end in sight, but I keep telling myself that all of this is going to pay off for him in the near future.

Any other parents have experiences with a child with low tone and gross motor delays, or the early intervention process in general? I'd love to hear your feedback and experiences.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

My Reason For An Early Bedtime

I'm no stranger to that look people give me for J's 7ish PM bedtime. People often ask, "Wow and he actually sleeps through the night when he goes down so early?" While I know that many of my fellow May 2011 mamas on also do early bedtimes, many people whom I know in real life tend to put their kiddos down at 8 PM or even much later. I have always done an early bedtime, especially since the sleep consultant who helped us to sleep train J recommended that. According to research, an early bedtime between 6-7:30 PM prevents an overtired bub, and sleep begets sleep. I am not going to say that every single child is a textbook case of needing this early a bedtime because I do believe that all parents know their own child best and hence forth, I don't judge others based on how they do things, but J definitely is a textbook case. If he goes to bed at say 8 PM (yes it has happened on rare occasion), he will wake up at 5 AM or earlier. However, when he goes down between 7 & 7:30, J will sleep until at least 6:20 the next day. If J does not get at least 11 hours of sleep at night, he is a cranky little beast all day long, so I do all I can to make sure he gets that.

Yes, I used to be much more obsessive at making sure it was exactly 7 PM on the dot, but as he's gotten older I have loosened up and started to follow his lead more; I don't allow the time he is put down to surpass 7:30, though. My husband and I are skilled at timing of routine. I've learned that my child is a sneaky boy who knows that rubbing his eyes clues Mama and Daddy in the fact that he is tired, and will start by poking at his eyes when he is getting sleepy instead of rubbing. He also will start to get a little bit whiney. Once I see that going on, I start his routine with a good snack (something with whole grains and protein to keep his blood sugar up all night) and it goes from there. When J is sick, as he has been a lot lately, we do keep bedtime more between 6:30-7 and that benefits J (and yes, he still sleeps in til a decent time and actually will sleep more until 7 or 7:30 AM as his body is recovering from illness).

The great benefit aside from a well-rested toddler is that this give my husband and I our own time for awhile to unwind and get quality time together in the evening. Of course, the drawback is that working the job he does, my husband doesn't get home until about 5:30 PM so he doesn't get much time with our son before he goes to bed. I'm sure that J won't need to go to bed so early for the rest of his life, though, so for now we are honoring his sleep needs.

I'd love to hear about when your kids go to bed. If they're older and did at one time have a very early bedtime like mine, at what point were they able to go down later and remain well rested?