Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mommy Needs a Time Out!

Monday night after an hour and a half of Ryley screaming and crying, I gave myself a time out. I put Ryley in his crib with his music and mobile and went into my room for 10 minutes or so. At that point I called my mom. Feeling like the worst mother in the world, I was reminded that many mothers go through this and I did the right thing. After assessing that Ryley was not hurt, didn't want food, had a clean diaper, and needed nothing I had to put him down and calm myself down. For me, it is very hard to put my baby down when he is crying. I feel like I am the mother and I should always be able to calm my baby down, when in fact sometimes that doesn't happen. Ryley has a fussy time between 6-8pm. Sometimes I am able to calm him down with tools I have learned, other times (like Monday night) I am not. On the days where I am not, I find that sometimes I need a time out for a couple of minutes to calm myself down and that is ok! In fact removing myself from the situation is probably the healthies thing to do. Babies just get moe upset when they know that we are upset. It also removes the danger of parents loosing their cool. Some tools I have learn to calm Ryley down during his fussy times:

  • -Music: I put on some soothing music right by his ear

  • -Rocking: I rock him from left to right

  • -Bounce: I bounce him up and down

  • -Dance: I dance with him, usually the waltz to some music

  • -Baby wearing: I put him in my Moby wrap and sway back and forth

  • -Sway: While holding him, I sway back and forth

  • -Singing: I sing to him soothing songs

  • -Swaddle: I swaddle him in a blanket

  • -Warm bath: Lastly I give him a warm bath. (worked monday)

  • -Call some to help calm you down.

  • -Ask a friend or family member to come over to give yourself a break.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring Fun!

Did you know that you can use cookie cutters for more than cookies? Use them to cut shapes into bologna and other cold cuts. Cut bread out for kids' lunches or toast for breakfast. Cut pancakes or waffles for something different. Use a heart shaped cutter in the center of slice of bread, brown bread, break egg into center and cook in pan. Use them as stencils on paper, but make sure to wash them before using them with food.

A simple Bunny Cake: Bake two 9" round cake pans. One is for the head, the other is cut into curved thirds () () to be used for ears and a bow tie. Frost and cover with coconut, if desired, for a "fuzzy effect". Use candies for the eyes and nose. Use licorice for the whiskers.

Baking cup Flowers: Glue the bottoms of muffin cups to paper, draw steams, and leaves. For added texture slit accordion pleats.

Make Baskets to give to an elderly aunt, grandma, or take to a nursing home. Full with love- flowers, poems, ets. Weave ribbons through the plastic pint baskets (the kind that strawberries come in), and add a handle.

Rabbit Hand Art- On a white piece of paper trace your hand keeping your fingers together and your thumb up. Cut out the hand and draw an eye, nose, and mouth under the thumb. Draw 3 lines for whiskers. Color the inside of the ear pink and glue on a cotton ball for the tail.

Ideas from Encouragement, a publication of Angela DiCicco and Gail Signor.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Finding Time to Exercise

So we all know that being a parent is a full time job, so when do we find time for ourselves, especially time to exercise and eat healthy.? With a little planning and flexibility, there is time in the day to eat healthy and exercise.

Do you remember as a child you used to play tag for what felt like hours? Or playing hide 'n go seek? Or playing on the playground till our parents dragged us off? At the time we didn't know that all that play was the best form of exercise or activity. At what point did exercise turn into something that has to be done in a gym or on a treadmill? Activity is what I like to call it! There are days where I am able to get on my stationary bike for 50 minutes and there are days where I only am able to walk the dogs. Both in my eyes are activity.

Who says that activity has to be in the form of 30 minutes at one time 5-6 days a week? I break up my activity throughout the day. I am able to get in a 15 minute workout (either walking or resistant band) during my morning break and then another 15 minute walk during my lunch. So before I get home from work I have 30 minutes of activity. This isn't the heart wrenching activiy, but it is getting myself moving instead of sitting on my butt.

Here are some suggestions of how to find time to exercise:

Don't be married to getting it all at once. If you can only do 15 minutes at a time it is better than nothing.

Get involved with your children. Have a hoola hop contest to see who can do it the longest. Play tag with them. Throw the baseball around with them.

Go for a walk/run. Instead of driving to the park, walk. Take your children with you and try to pick out different things while on your walk.

Put some music on and dance around the house.

Put music on and clean your house....make it a game with your children by seeing who can pick up their toys the fastest. The music will help motivate you to move more and get your heart rate up.

I know that somedays I will be able to get on my bike and do 45+ minutes, but that isn't everyday. For the days that I am not able, I make sure that I get activity in little spurts throughout the day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Easter basket fun!

My daughter reminded me that I used to put fun things in their Easter baskets.  Who says they have to be filled with candy?  Who says it has to be a basket? 

Try something new this year when filling your child's Easter baskets.  It doesn't have to be a basket at all!  How about a dump truck filled with grass and goodies?  Or a new Easter hat brimming with jelly beans?  Or a little pocketbook stuffed with green grass and candy?

 I didn't want my children eating lots of sweets so along with the jelly beans and malted balls, I added goodies they could use and have fun with!  I also wrapped up the baskets in cellophane.  It was like opening a present and Here are some ideas*:

-coloring book and crayons (I never tire of a fresh box of crayons!)
- new white gloves to wear on Easter (little girls still look cute in them)
-small cars and trucks
- legos
-Polly Pockets
-a book of mazes
-beads and string to make a necklace
-a bracelet
-a fun pair of socks (holiday)
-gum (sugarless)
-books (can you ever have enough?)
-craft kit with small scissors, glue, construction paper, felt, glitter
-a rabbit or lamb puppet.  (Kids love puppets!)
-doll clothes
-a jump rope
-sidewalk chalk
-a yoyo
-baseball cards

Teens enjoy nail polish, magazines, gift cards to Starbucks or the movies!  

Have fun and share your ideas with us!  Let us know what you do for your Easter baskets!

Angela Di Cicco

* Please note the age-appropriateness of the items you are putting in the basket. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Formula Companies Undermining Breastfeeding?

Do you think that formula companies undermine breastfeeding moms? Do you think that hospitals and doctors offices shouldn't hand out samples of formula to breastfeeding moms?

Some people think that formula companies target breastfeeding mothers, when in reality they target mothers in general. I can see how a mother would feel like formula companies are undermining a breastfeeding mother, but if you are set on breastfeeding your baby then it shouldn't be an issue if you are offered formula.

I think we live in a society of conveniece. It is convenient to give a baby a bottle and know how much he/she is getting or better yet have someone else feed him/her. There is no arguement that formula is easier for moms, but does that mean that it is the formula companies fault? The Formula companies are trying to sell their product. It is up to the mother to buy it or not.

I agree that it is easier to get your hands on a bottle of formula then it is for you to get support with breastfeeding, but once again is that formula companies fault? Should we as a society get upset at the formula companies or should we gear that energy to promoting good support for breastfeeding?

The companies make it easy for a mother on the cusp to stop breastfeeding, by giving out free samples, coupons and rebate checks. If it is equally as hard to get formula as it is to get support with breastfeeding would more mothers continue breastfeeding?

I am not an advicate for formula companies, but I think that the blame is in the wrong place. We should be more focused on promoting breastfeeding, than bashing formula companies.

I think it goes back to being a conscious parent. I think all woman should do research and make their own educated decision and be proud of the decision that was made.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Learning to be Flexible

As an adult I have an understanding of myself and what I can and can not do. Part of that understanding is knowing that I am not a very flexible person. I am a type A personality and like to have everything fit into a nice little box. I have had to learn in my adult life that life doesn't always fit in a nice little box and you actually need to be flexible and sometimes just go with the flow of life.

I knew that having children my demand for being flexible will increase tremendously, what I didn't realize that I would be put to the test almost everyday of my life. Before I started back to work, I had a perfect plan made out where Ryley would nap from around 12:00 to 4:00pm everyday, allowing me an hour to two hours when I get home to prepare for the next day, prepare dinner and workout. Well, I have been back to work for almost 2 weeks and Ryley has slept till 4pm only once. Normally he is awake right after I get home. So my perfect little plan doesn't really work if he is awake. I have now learned that I can plan all I want, and sometimes my plan make take form, but for the most part I need to be flexible .

I think, for me, I will always have a plan, but I am learning that it is ok if things don't go the way that I plan.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Things my mother taught me

When I began having children, I looked back at my childhood.  I recalled situations that I thought my mom could have handled better.  I resented the way my needs weren't met; my interests weren't developed.

I was going to write about how I took those things and turned them around, but I'll save that for another post. 

I realize it's important to acknowledge what my mother did right.  She is a strong woman in many ways.  She's silly and over-the-top and a bit zany.  And those are the things that I think of when I recall how she positively affected my life.

She stopped and smelled the flowers, literally.  She loved to garden and noticed buds and flowers wherever we were; sometimes she would snap off a piece and bring it home to take root.  She noticed rainbows and cars and people.  She has a kind heart, taking in strays all through the years.  After taking care of  my father until he died, she nursed another man she loved until his death.

She would dance and sing at the drop of a hat.  We used to dance in our kitchen all the time.  It was embarrassing when I was growing up if she burst into song in a restaurant.  She was so different from other mothers who were so conservative.  It is only recently that I realized that my friends thought she was a kick!  She thought young and dressed young and taught me how to dress well. 

She was and is very attractive.  She taught me that I was beautiful too.  She used to say, "If you got it, flaunt it!" She didn't put limits on my skirt hem or my midriff showing.  I was never an exhibitionist but she allowed me to be free of shaming because of what I was wearing. 

She taught me it's okay to laugh and be silly.  It's OK to be in touch with my inner child.  I recall her jumping rope with me.  I later jumped rope with my girls.

She had many interests and taught by example that it's okay to pursue them. She loves to read.  I spent the summer of my 2nd grade reading "The Bobbsey Twins" on my front porch.

In her late 70's she is still silly.  On my last visit, she started stripping in the living room while singing the stripper song!  My daughter and I were howling with laughter!

She had a love of life that she passed on to me.  And for that I will always be grateful.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Book Review: Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp

The Happiest Baby on the Block: A New Way to Calm Crying and Help your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer by Harvey Karp

Karp believes that babies are born one trimester too early. He states in the book that newborns could greatly benefit from an extra three months in the womb. Since babies are born 3 months too soon, often newborns are diagnosed with colic when in fact they are not colicky. Karp describes how the 5 "S's" (swaddling, side/stomach, shhh, swinging, and sucking) can calm any crying baby. He also states that while each "S" alone can calm a newborn using mulitple "S's" in the right order can trigger the "calming reflex" that babies have naturally or using all 5 "S's", which is know as the "cuddle cure."

The last few chapters of the book her talks about other ways to calm a baby down, including massaging with warm oil or giving a warm bath and he shares other reasons why baby maybe craying. He touches on a few problems that a baby may have and how you can fix the problems, for example, a baby may have reflux, due to eating too fast. He explains that a mother who is breast feeding may have a fast let down and suggests to pump a few minutes before feeding your baby. For bottle fed babies he suggests to go down a nipple size for a slower flow of milk.

This book is very helpful for the first time parent. It explains how the 5 "S's" work, how to creat the 5 "S's", and why the 5 "S's" work to trigger the "calming reflex" in a baby. Before I read this book I was already doing 4 out of the 5 "S's", so it was nice to know why it worked. It was also good for me to read about some things that I was afraid of doing. I thought that if I run to my son everytime he crys, he would learn that all he needs to do is cry and I am right there to comfort him. I learned that this is not true! He will only understand that I will always be there to comfort him. Overall, I would recommend this book to first time parents who have little experience with children.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Being a Conscious Parent Comes Full Circle.

Long before I got pregnant or was even married, I had an idea of how I wanted to raise my children. I am one of those women who loves to read up on parenting styles and form my own opinions. The style I chose I learned from my mom and she taught me by example.

I was raised a little different than most people. My mom is an out-of-the-box type of person. She was not one to jump on the bandwagon just because it was the cool thing to do. She really made a conscious decision about how she wanted to raise her children. I want to do the same thing.

My mom was a holistic type of parent. Growing up we didn't run to the doctor for a runny nose or given cold medicine. We were given vitamin C and told to rest up. I was eating organic before it became popular. I was raised dairy-free. These are decisions that my mom made after doing her own research on what was best for her children.

I think many parents make rash decisions when it comes to parenting their children instead of thinking and deciding beforehand how they are going to handle a certain situation. Being a type A personality I like to know what to expect and how to handle it in the best way I can. That means I do a lot of research on parenting and how I can be the best parent to my child.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Conscious parenting - a choice

Being a conscious parent is a choice.  You're probably familiar with parents who raise their children off the cuff, making decisions based on ....nothing!  "No! You can't watch TV!"  "Why?," the child asks.  "Because I said so!"

Or you're familiar with the parent who is inconsistent.  Today you can watch TV, tomorrow you can't.  Why?  No reason!  I just don't feel like letting you watch TV today!

You and I are conscious parents.  We make decisions about how we want to parent our child; what values we want to impart.  We think about what is important to us and why.  We don't do things, "Just because." We don't follow the same path as our parents.  We don't parent because that's the way it's always been done.  We don't follow the rules that other people follow.  We're thoughtful, decisive and thorough.  We think, we research, we decide.  

A wise friend once told me, "Children will make you rethink every value you have." 

Children will question everything.  Conscious parents want to be ready with a thoughtful explanation. 



I'm happy you dropped in!  Gone are the days of having coffee over the fence while the children played in the yard.  Some parents are single and must work, some families are two-income.  A few are able to stay  home with their children but need the stimulation of other parents.  This is designed to simulate the coffee clutch - an exchange of ideas between parents in a casual setting.  

This blog will include activities to do with children for each holiday.   I love themes!  Book reviews will be included as well so please let me know if you have a favorite book I should check out for parents! 

A few of the topics you'll see here:

Raising a happy child. 
Letting children touch!
How to avoid the "no" stage.
How to avoid food wars.
Teaching your child about money.
How to get your teen to talk to you.
How to stay in the loop about your teen's activities.

Please let me know what topics you are interested in!  Together we can raise children who make thoughtful successful adults.