Thursday, March 31, 2011

Little Sponges

Yesterday I had the lovely experience of speaking to a customer service representative via outsourcing.  And after not understanding the first 2 representatives and asking for the supervisor's supervisor, I finally reached someone who understood my question.  But in the middle of it all, I had become so frustrated, I raised my voice and at the same time,  noticed that my baby girl's head turned to look at me as I spoke in this new 'what the heck is my mom saying' voice.  And I thought, oops!  She's never really seen me get upset or mad yet but she could sure tell the difference.  Uh-oh.

Babies are like little sponges.  They soak up EVERYTHING. And I mean everything.  Even though my child is not verbal yet, you can bet she is taking everything in and grasping the English language, in addition to non-verbal language cues like raising your voice or crossing your arms when you speak.

Have you noticed how many habits, verbal and non-verbal language and facial expressions you have that are identical to your parents?  Kind of crazy huh? We learn most of our expressions as kids from our parents or primary caregivers.

It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it really makes you aware of what you do and how you act around your children.  Monkey see, monkey do.  You can't really say to your kids, "do as I say, not as I do." It just doesn't work that way.

That reminds me of that drug commercial from the 1980's where the dad asked his son where he found drug paraphernalia and the kid goes, "I learned it from you dad!" Nice.  But it's so true.  If there is a negative habit you have, such as high anxiety, anger management, etc. it really pays to keep it in check around your child, or else they will learn and inherit this from you.

An example of this is, say you get anxious around spiders and start screaming whenever you see one.  It only takes a few times for your young child to witness this before they too start getting scared and screaming around spiders.

Or a more common example is taking your child to school for the first time whether it's daycare, preschool or 1st grade.  If you're anxious and have a worried look on your face, then your child will feed into that anxiety and start getting upset. The best thing to do is keep as calm as possible and show confidence and save your tears for after you leave the school :)

How about if you are in public and are rude to the cashier, or the waitress, then your child will definitely pick up on this. They'll think, "hmm, this is how I am supposed to be around people in public, just like my mom (or dad) are."

But what if it's a little more extreme and you get angry easily and say hit the sofa, kick the wall, or throw things, then guess what? Your child will learn the same thing, that when they get mad, then they are supposed to hit, throw or punch something. And it's hard to get upset with our children for something they learned from us. Again, the whole do as I say not as I do thing.

But back to the positives, being a parent is the best job ever! It's our responsibility to teach our children about the world around us.  And it's so much fun to see how they react to their environment.  I always wonder what my daughter is thinking when she sees new things and how she is interpreting them. It makes it so hard to not laugh when kids say the cutest but most crazy things!

Have any of you been caught off guard with your children?  Do you have any negative characteristics you don't want to pass on to them? :)



Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What parenting style are you?

Last night my husband and I were having a conversation about disciplining our daughter when she stood up in the bathtub during bathtime- we agreed on the limit: "bathtubs are not for standing in" we quickly said.  But I realized I am definitely the more paranoid parent and always super cautious.  My husband is a little more relaxed and 'laissez-faire' which is a term I had not used in a long time. It brought me back to college and studying the three different parenting styles: authoritative, authoritarian or permissive.

When I studied the three types of parenting back in the day, I remember thinking I was going to be the middle of the road style whenever I became a parent. Not the strict one or the ‘let my kids do whatever they want’ opposite end, but the style that was easy going, yet rational with some limit setting too.

Flash forward a few years, and becoming a first time parent it really makes you re-think everything about what kind of parent you want to be. The parenting styles I studied in school are definitely just guidelines, because how on earth could you put all of the parents out there into just 1 of 3 categories?

What exactly are the 3 parenting styles you ask?

1) Authoritarian parenting: This is the type of parent that is very strict, insensitive to children’s needs, demands respect and may practice spanking (corporal punishment) to discipline their children.

This is the type of parent that when we were kids would enforce the rules and when a child asked why the parent replied, “because I said so” with no room for argument or even an explanation as to why the rule was the rule.  I can see the Tiger Mom in this category, as she never let her children have play dates or any fun, just strict rules, rules and more rules.

2) Permissive parenting: This style is the laissez-faire type where parents rarely make demands on their kids, permit them to freely express themselves, and rarely set limits.

When I think of this parent, a 1960’s hippie comes to mind where they let their little kids think freely and come up with their own rules and let them learn their natural consequences.  Or the 2011 version of the parent that lets their child have whatever they want, aka a ‘spoiled brat.’

Or, did you ever have the friend in high school whose mom was trying really hard to be their child’s best friend and never set any rules.  “You want alcohol sweetie, okay, you are only 14 but I will go to the store and buy it for you and your friends!”  Or also, put another way, the ‘uninvolved parent.’

3) Authoritative Parenting: This word always confused me in college, as it sounds like a super strict word when you say it out loud, when in fact it means more of the opposite.  It’s a flexible style of parenting in between the other two. They let their children have some freedom, but also impose limits and give explanations for their restrictions.  These parents set boundaries and use reason in disciplining.

This description sounds like the perfect parent. Easy going, allowing their children to do reasonable age-appropriate activities, but also respectfully enforcing household rules.

And what effects do these styles actually have on kids?

I dug out my text book and after dusting it off, found the answers:

Parents that practiced the authoritarian style of parenting were found to have children who were more fearful, moody, hostile, vulnerable to stress and easily annoyed.

Whereas the permissive style created a pattern of rebellious, impulsive, aimless, and low achievement children.

The authoritative parents had children who were self reliant, cheerful, friendly, coped well with stress and were more achievement oriented.

As a play therapist, it’s easy for me to say that my goal of parenting would be the authoritative parent style, with setting limits with respect, setting boundaries, but also creating an environment for my children to freely express themselves.

Easy breezy? As a parent though in real life, sometimes we think we are going to be one way, but then find ourselves reacting differently. Everybody out there has a different idea of what they want to be as a parent. Maybe you were raised a certain way and want to be the same kind of parent you had as a child, or maybe you want to be the exact opposite of the style your parents used on you.  Have you ever caught yourself saying something and then gasped, “oh my gosh, I sound just like my mother” when that was not your intention at all!

I know I have a strong idea of how I want to be, but I realize you do have to allow room for flexibility and error. The best thing about being a parent? We get to have second chances with our children, so if you don't respond the way you wanted with your child, you can try try again the next time!

Looking at these 3 parenting styles, which one are you or which one do you want to be?
Monday, March 28, 2011

Has Abercrombie gone too far?

Have you heard that Abercrombie and Fitch is selling a push-up swimsuit bikini top for girls as young as 7 years old???

Yep, you heard correctly, a push up bra swimsuit top geared towards girls aged 7-14.  The "Ashley Push Up" triangle bikinis are in the current spring line for Abercrombie Kids.  So not only is it a skimpy bikini for young girls, it's also padded and they are pushing sexiness onto young girls. 'Push-up' top? Are they kidding?

First of all, I'm not sure if I would even put my 7 year old daughter in a bikini, let alone one with a push up top.  It begs the question that I talked about in my earlier post, 'The Hurried child' you can read about here, wondering if society is wanting to push young kids to grow up too soon?

Too soon is right.  We want young girls to learn that beauty is from the inside.  And what about the maximum age on this top being 14?  Most girls are not even finished with puberty by age 14 anyway, so do we want even a young teenager to feel inadequate and 'need' a push up top?

Even if you parents out there only have boys, still, do we want our boys out there to value young girls in these skimpy tops?  Are they learning what is appropriate at such a young age?

Do you think there is any harm in purchasing a top like this for a young girl?

Friday, March 25, 2011

New Template

Okay, so lately I have not been too happy with my template on my mom blog.  It just did not look right to me, and I was not happy with the font choices, the design, etc.  I have been searching, searching and searching for a good free template that incorporates mom blog, children, and counselor in one. Sounds easy, right? Believe me, it was NOT easy and was super time consuming to find. And the choices? Wow, too many to go into but mostly it took deciding if I should go with a neutral color with or without a picture, a 1, 2 or 3 column layout, photographs at the top, adsense ready, etc.

Being a frugal mom, I also refused to pay anyone to customize my blog site (speaking of frugal, you have to check out a new blog I read at for great coupon stuff for moms).  So what you see on here today is what I have found so far.  I am still not 100% happy with this one, but I am going to try it out for a bit and see how it goes.

I also use a Wordpress blog so I can have the freedom to design it and add advertisements and all sorts of 'widgets' to my site, so as this is a plus, it does make things a bit more complicated. I am definitely not an HTML code girl, nor do I speak computer talk. My last computer science class was in high school, and things have come a long way since then.  Pascal anyone?

So please be honest and let me know what your thoughts are or if you have any suggestions on template sites that have cute blog designs.  I am still working on it and adding things to the sidebars and changing menus but hopefully it will be looking better soon.

Since all of my free time (while my baby naps) has been researching blog templates, I have not had time to blog lately, so I am leaving you with a cute picture of my little baby taking advantage of the beautiful Spring weather we have been having here!  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Organic Baby

Easy cheesephoto © 2010 E S | more info (via: Wylio)

Today I fed my baby girl strawberries for the first time, but being an over protective mom I made sure they were organic. Am I nuts to go this far?  Do I really need to splurge and feed her something that is organic?  Well, when I was pregnant, I made sure I ate well and did not eat any preservatives, HFCS products, fake sugars, food colorings and additives.  I figured, why would I want to ingest these fake products and chemicals and give them to a fetus who is growing inside of me?

So when my child started eating solid foods a few months ago, I researched organic foods, baby foods and how to make your own baby/toddler foods (the Beaba baby cooker is amazing!) Which brings me to the picture above.  Seriously, would you feed your tiny little baby cheese from a can? Okay, maybe you would, but with so many stories out there about the increase of children with hyperactivity, ADHD, autism, aspergers, sensory integration, developmental problems, neurological issues, child cancers, etc. it really started alarming me.  They don't know what is causing the rise in these disorders, but it really makes you wonder if it is from our environment and the products we put in our bodies.

But not that I have gone overboard here or to scare you, but it really makes you think.  Now, I know what you are saying, that a lot of kids out there are raised on the most processed, synthetic, artificial factory foods out there like Cheetos, Ding Dongs, and McDonalds and turn out just fine.  Well, the scary thing is that most of the foods we ate as children do not have as many of the 'bad' ingredients that are in foods today.

So, to start figuring out how to give my baby healthy food choices, I started looking at organic foods and their benefits.

Researching organic foods, I found that the pesticides in them were harmful, but I did not realize how bad.  What harm? Well, some research I found here stated the following: Before a mother first nurses her newborn, the toxic risk from pesticides has already begun. Studies show that infants are exposed to hundreds of harmful chemicals in utero.  According to the National Academy of Science, “neurologic and behavioral effects may result from low-level exposure to pesticides.” Numerous studies show that pesticides can adversely affect the nervous system, increase the risk of cancers, and decrease fertility.

Why buy organic?

Buying organic helps decrease toxic chemicals in the air, soil and water, and decreases pesticide drifts from toxic farm water down to the oceans.  Eleven years ago, genetically modified food (GMO) was not part of our food supply; today 30 percent of our cropland is planted in GMOs! By NOT eating organic milk, eggs, cheese and meat/poultry products, you are at risk at ingesting artificial hormones and antibiotics, as well as endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Hmm, makes me wonder if this is why Thyroid cancer is on the rise??  Just a thought.

Oh, and make sure when you buy products that the label states, "Produced without antibiotics, synthetic hormones or pesticides" because if it says "Our Farmers Pledge to not use hormones" then it's their word against yours- they are pledging they won't, but there is no guarantee.  Don't you love their marketing technique of careful word choice? It's like when labels say 'chocolate flavored' on the packaging, that means it is not real chocolate.

The USDA's own tests show that most non-organic produce contain residual pesticides even after washing them!  In a perfect world, we would buy all of our groceries organic. Unfortunately, organic food is still more expensive!  Ever heard of the store, Whole Paycheck?  But the costs are getting lower.

I found a list of must buy organic fruits and veggies, so hopefully you can buy these organic and the rest you can buy non-organic so they are easier on your wallet.  They recommend purchasing the following products organically from this link (based on findings from the USDA and Consumer Reports):

  1. Nectarines – 97.3% of nectarines sampled were found to contain pesticides.

  2. Celery – 94.5% of celery sampled were found to contain pesticides.

  3. Pears – 94.4% of pears sampled were found to contain pesticides.

  4. Peaches – 93.7% of peaches sampled were found to contain pesticides.

  5. Apples – 91% of apples sampled were found to contain pesticides.

  6. Cherries – 91% of cherries sampled were found to contain pesticides.

  7. Strawberries – 90% of strawberries sampled were found to contain pesticides.

  8. Imported Grapes – 86% of imported grapes (i.e. Chile) sampled were found to contain pesticides.

  9. Spinach – 83.4% of spinach sampled were found to contain pesticides.

  10. Potatoes – 79.3% of potatoes sampled were found to contain pesticides.

  11. Bell Peppers – 68% of bell peppers sampled were found to contain pesticides.

  12. Red Raspberries – 59% of red raspberries sampled were found to contain pesticides

After researching organic products, I then started looking into food additives, preservatives and synthetic products and their effects.

I have a hard time reading food labels and wanting to ingest so many of these fancy chemical words into my body.  For something like cheese, why can't it just say: Cow milk, cheddar, whey proteins?


Or how about childrens cereals such as Lucky Charms, which used to be my absolute FAVORITE:

Whole Grain Oats, Marshmallows (Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Corn Syrup, Dextrose, Gelatin, Calcium Carbonate, Yellows 5&6, Blue 1, Red 40, Artificial Flavor), Sugar, Oat Flour, Corn Syrup, Corn Starch, Salt, Trisodium Phosphate, Color Added, Natural and Artificial Flavor. Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. Vitamins and Minerals: Calcium Carbonate, Zinc and Iron (Mineral Nutrients), Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbate), a B Vitamin (Niacinamide), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B1 (Thiamin Mononitrate), Vitamin A (Palmitate), a B Vitamin (Folic Acid), Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3.

Sometimes it is hard to tell what the heck an ingredient is when they use fancy science words such as Sodium Phosphate. Googling this word, I found it is another name for sodium nitrate.  Heard of that one?  That is a preservative found in a lot of meat products such as hot dogs, that has been linked to increased child migraines.

And food colorings? Food coloring has been found to cause (not speculate) but CAUSE hyperactivity and behavior problems in children. And as a play therapist, many of us child counselors have seen this first hand.  This doesn't mean to cut it out completely, but it just makes you aware and to limit the amount you ingest. Definitely check the labels. You would be surprised to find that many products have food coloring added that you wouldn't think would have it in there.

Foods I used to eat all the time back in college that I thought were somewhat good for me like Yoplait yogurts, Life cereal, Kraft cheese, Mission Tortillas, or even Whole Grain Eggo Waffles- I was surprised to find that they all had preservatives and artificial ingredients!  It was a huge wake up call that just because something sounds healthy, doesn't mean it is!

And what about the whole BPA plastic question?

Apparently plastics can cause cancer too, so now, all of the baby products you purchase will say BPA-Free.  BPA is a hormone disrupting chemical called bisphenol A phthalate (BPA for short).  They recommend using BPA free products, reducing the use of canned goods and avoiding the plastics with the numbers 3, 6 and 7 on the bottom. Here is a website that discusses BPA and the effects, but the scary thing is that it states that exposure to BPA can cause effects on infants, and childrens developing brains, behavior and prostate glands.  Kind of scary!

I know, you can't eat perfectly everyday. How about when you eat out? They are not going to be cooking you a hormone free breast of chicken, believe me.  Most restaurants and fast foods are mass produced, frozen and from a can, so chances are you are not getting wholesome foods.  Obviously the best option would be to require farms and factories to never use hormones, antibiotics and anything artificial in their products, but knowing that is not going to happen today, I think the best thing you can do is to eat these foods in moderation.  As a family, we try to eat home cooked meals as much as possible and eat out once in a while.

As for some good food choices, here are a few that I found that are good for kids (and adults too) :)

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Colors Neon (made with vegetable dyes and nothing artificial):

2010 Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Colors Neon bag

Organic Cascadian Farm Oatmeal Kid-Sized Bars (USDA organic and preservative free):

Or try these yummy freeze-dried fruit pieces from Funky Monkey- no added sugar, preservatives or artificial colors:

Here is another great product if you love Hummus- it's from Tribe Origins. They have classic versions and organic but both are made all natural, no preservatives added- so you have to eat it within 7 days of opening.  Kids can dip pretzels or pita pieces in them and is good for packed lunches.

And if you are looking for lunch meat without the nitrates added or preservatives, Boars Head brand is a good alternative. Just make sure when you buy it at the deli counter, to make sure it does not have preservatives in it.

Oh, and I just picked up a box of these yummy cookies from Tate's Bakeshop last night at the supermarket.  They are all natural and have other flavors as well.

There are a lot more great food options for kids out there, I just don't have enough space to list them all!  Hopefully this information gives you something to think about.  Like I said, we can't always eat healthy all the time- we would go broke just trying. In fact, I was eating my favorite fast food the other day, a Taco Bell Bean Burrito (.99 cents) and as I was pouring their hot sauce on it, I just glanced at the label and almost had a heart attack reading the ingredients, but I ate it anyway.  As long as we are not ingesting chemicals into our bodies all day long and choose some healthy choices for the most part, then that is the best we can do!
Tuesday, March 22, 2011


After posting about my baby getting 'into everything' the other day and babyproofing my home, I realized that some safe places like play pens, often have some criticism involved. Criticism such as, "I would never put my baby in a jail like that!" Well, there are 2 sides to every play pen.

Play Pens provide a safe place for your baby.   And safe is the goal of raising a baby and toddler, right?  Keeping them safe in their cribs, safe while sleeping on their backs, safe while feeding them so they don't choke, safe in their car seats...etc, you get the idea. Safety is one of our top goals as parents of little ones.

So, even when you have child proofed your home as well as you can, there are still areas they could get into that are unsafe. For instance, yesterday our baby could not reach our computer wires under the sofa, but she must have grown an extra inch last night because now she can reach them! Or, your baby used to stand up slightly so she could not quite reach the objects on top of your coffee table. But this morning, she has full reach and is grasping your cell phones and tv remotes like nothing else.

Sound familiar? One day you think your child can't get into something, the next, she is all over it. So, just to play it safe, if you have to do something around the corner in your kitchen that needs your 5 minutes of full attention, this is where is play pen comes to the rescue (or exersaucer). If you need to run to the bathroom, it is much safer to place her in a play pen than to bring her into the bathroom with you where she could fall on the hard tiled floor, or start climbing the cabinets!

Our doctor gave us the green light to put her in a play pen without us even asking at our 6 month appointment! She said to start at age 6-9 months so she would get used to it and not view it as some sort of punishment. That way, when you really need to put her in there for her safety, she will gladly go with all smiles! (well, ideally that is)Our daughter LOVES sitting her her play pen in front of our sliding glass door so she can look outside and see all the action! And no, it is not right on the glass, so she is still safe and not in danger of being too close to glass :)

So what is all the fuss with play pens?

Well, the main goal when using one is for a quick safe place to put your baby. Ideally you should not leave your baby in there longer than 20 minutes a day. Most babies want out sooner than that anyway!

The cons? Leaving a baby for too long in the play pen will restrict their range of activity and could delay their development. They don't have a lot of room to move around and explore when they are in a cramped space like a play pen or exersaucer.

Babies need several hours a day to have the freedom to move around and explore the world around them. Babies learn about themselves by discovering that some spaces are too small to fit through, or some furniture is too low to get under and will learn to move backwards or wiggle themselves out of a sticky situation. They learn cause and effect and that "if I get stuck under that table, then I better squiggle my way out of there next time!"

A baby can learn so much by crawling around and exploring without being in a 5 X 7 box. They learn how to reach objects, how near or far something is from them and they learn different textures as they crawl on hardwoods, tile or carpet. They also learn how to pull up and that some objects are soft or hard, and that some things will fall on top of them if pulled too hard!

It can be frustrating to watch your little one continue to make mistakes that can get them into trouble such as pulling out the TV wires, or pulling on the curtains or b-lining towards the dog food bowl! But it takes them several tries before they learn what they should or should not do. In the meantime, keep steering them away and telling them, "I know you want to go play with the dog food, but that is not for playing with, here, you can play with your Tupperware!"

It may take coming up with alternative placements for no-no items for the time being or a trip down the baby proofing aisle at Babies R Us. But sooner or later they will learn, or they will just get bored and move on :) In the meantime, use the play pens to keep her out of harms way!
Thursday, March 17, 2011

Into Everything!

This morning, my crawling into-everything daughter and I went to visit my friend and her new 3- week-old baby. I knew my daughter would get into all of her no-no household items, so I came prepared with her Johnny Jump Up and plenty of toys. But my daughter was going to have no part in getting into her jump up. Why? Because she was in a new, exciting, stimulating and fun place to explore, explore, explore. She begged me to get out as if asking, "how on earth can you expect me to stay confined in this contraption when there is so much new stuff out there for me to get into?"

My efforts to do some chores to help out my new mom friend were not working out so far. I was supposed to help do the dishes, some laundry, and watch the baby while she rested. But, not so much on this trip. Luckily, I was able to help her out a lot more the day before while my husband watched my baby.

But of course her crawling all over the place and getting into everything doesn't stop at visiting other people's homes. She loves to go straight for our own stereo cabinet that we have child proofed as much as possible. She also loves going for the dog food bowls and the wires hidden under our sofa. Basically her favorite toys are things she is not allowed to have, the no-no toys. She laughs as she crawls by her old toys like her animal barn, tambourine and play table as if to say, "what, those old things? Ha mommy! I am so over those it's not even funny."

How many of you have been there? Playing with your coffee table, cell phone, pulling up on stools about to tip over, trying to stuff her sippy cup into the cabinet or DVD player.

Even though it's hard to understand, this is a huge developmental stage for them at this age (6-15 months). Exploring their environment is how they learn and use their senses. My daughter for instance uses her mouth to explore everything- it's as if her mouth is her hand since she seems to 'feel' things better with her mouth than her fingers.

And since children this age don't know any better, they lack the developmental ability to know right from wrong, it makes it hard to discipline them.  So how can you curb their behaviors?

-Well, as I've mentioned limit setting on here before, you can use limit setting language, even though they are still too young to get it. At least they will learn limits early on.  For instance, when trying to eat your iPhone, calmly remove the phone and tell them, "I know you really want to eat this, but it is not for, you can eat this teething toy instead."

And while we are on the limit setting topic, remember that when we tell them "don't" and "no" too much, it can turn into power struggles later on. Practice limit setting without these words and save the "no's" for dangerous situations so they know you mean business!

-When she is moving towards your stereo, quickly scoop her up and divert her attention elsewhere. All the while holding her and giving her lots of kisses while moving her to a new area of your home where she can play. Easier said than done if she does this ALL THE TIME. It may require more childproofing and baby gates surrounding areas she is not allowed.

-If they start throwing things across the room, or throwing their head back for that matter, quickly assess if they are tired and needing a nap, or are hungry.  If you think they are just throwing things to see cause and effect, then give them something safer to throw.  Also, remember that at this stage, children are growing so fast and learning to walk faster and run, so their nap schedules may be changing too and they could be needing a nap sooner than you think.

-Some moms also report good alternatives are taking your baby outside for awhile for a change of scenery, taking them to a park or if the weather does not allow it, getting in the car and driving to the nearest mall with a playground.

And finally, if you are at the end of your rope, you can always do what our pediatrician recommends, "put your baby in a safe play zone such as a play pen."  Not as a punishment of course, but when she is getting into too many things and you need a break and as she does too.  You can view it as a "time-in" while she plays.  I know a lot of moms think play pens are little jails, but remember that babies and children like to feel safe and play pens actually comfort them. As long as you don't leave them in for more than say 20 minutes or so.  You want them to feel safe, not a feeling of terror! Plus, you may need to use it so you can run to the bathroom real quick and have a safe place for her to be and not worry :)

How about you? How do you handle your baby getting into everything?
Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Princess Girls

It seems like the author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter has been everywhere lately!  I've seen her on The Today Show and other talk shows and then last night saw she was in my Parents Magazine. For those of you that have no idea what I am talking about, she is a mother/author named Peggy Orenstein who wrote the book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the New Girly-Girl Culture.

Ever since I found out I was having a baby girl, my friends and family and myself included, went out and bought everything pink!  I thought, well surely I will have to buy her some gender neutral yellows and greens, and not go all the way pink. But there is just something about a baby girl in pink!  Now, not to get into gender stereotypes as I already posted about that here, but it does seem that every store I go into has pink, pink, pink for girls.  And have you seen the aisles at Target and Toys R Us that look like there was a pink explosion?

And it seems that everywhere I turn, I see little Diva Princesses running around.  I almost got caught up in the whole Princess theme as I was shopping for my 1 year-old daughter's birthday invitations and saw plenty of them to choose from.  But then I realized, I don't need to have my daughter start off as a Diva before she even knows what the word Princess means! What was I thinking. But I did pick a plain pink invitation :)

As I digress, the author of this book wrote about how we, as parents, need to strive to give our daughters the best sense of girlhood possible.  Times sure have changed since I was a little girl! Today's 5 year-olds are getting mani-pedis with glittery pink nail polish, lipgloss, makeover birthday parties, shopping aisles filled with pink princesses, and one after another Princess themed birthday parties complete with tiaras and jewels.  Not that getting a mani-pedi with your daughter is a bad thing, as it's a cute little bonding experience for you both, but the book asks the question, "have we gone too far with our little girls and their expectations?"

It seems that play for girls has gone from generic blocks and trains to 24/7 princesses.  Have you noticed that the basic colored blocks now have another options of plain pink?

The author also raises the question, "is there more pressure on girls to define themselves based on how they look in this day and age, with all the Princess things?"  If "all of the bling is fine at a young age or not?" And "is this whole princess commercialized phenomenon causing narcissism?"

Narcissism? Hmm, well she makes a good point when she mentioned that her daughter had to decorate her own purse at her third Princess party that year, and was given decals that said "spoiled" and "pampered princess" to glue on it.  If your daughter didn't know what those words meant before, she sure does now.

Children start identifying with their gender somewhere around age 2 1/2 to 3 and they explore with whatever is given to them in their culture.  The author feels that if girls are just given pink and princess themes as a tool to assert their girlhood, then they are learning your looks identify who you are.  That this commercialism of Princesses is increasing self-absorption and spoiledness instead of empowerment and self esteem.

Do you think the author has gone too far?  Well luckily she feels that the alternative is not to limit princesses and blingy pink things all together. But to make sure there are other fantasy outlets and dramatic play options besides Barbies and Princesses.

I personally think little girls should still have Princesses!  We all grew up with Barbies, pinkness and princesses, but we also need to just be a little bit more mindful of not going overboard and making sure our daughters value what is on the inside and not get consumed with looks.  I just don't want to see little 5 year-olds in halter tops, hot pink lipstick and posing for pictures like they are about to get on stage to hit the pole (and yes I do see these kind of pictures on people's family Facebook pages).

How can we give our daughters Princesses without going overboard?

-Continue to read all princess stories like Cinderella, Snow-White, Sleeping Beauty! They are classics for sure, but when they are old enough to understand, explain in your own words that (as we all know) in real life women aren't helpless and we are not always going to have a Prince come in and save the day :)

-To provide toys that are not ALL pink. Regular primary colored blocks, musical toy instruments, farm animals, etc. And encourage her to build forts for her princess dolls and use her blocks to build the castles.

-As for the makeup, nail painting and bling, you can limit some of it for very special occasions so they know it is a treat and not something a girl needs ALL THE TIME to make herself beautiful. That way she knows that these things are not required to make yourself beautiful. Use your limit setting that I posted here and choice giving.

And lastly, I think we should not sweat the small stuff as parents of little girls! I still call my daughter 'my princess girl' and will one day give her a tiara to play with and princess dress up clothes. But I will also make sure she has other play themes to even it out, like playing Ms. Doctor, grocery store, Ms. Fix-it, artist, etc.
Monday, March 14, 2011

Fears in Babies

As a blog writer, I am in turn a HUGE reader of other blogs. I read them whenever I have free time, which unfortunately is hard to find these days.  I read all kinds of blog topics from mom blogs, counselor blogs, cooking blogs, music blogs, family blogs and home improvement blogs. So today as my baby was taking her morning nap, I read one of my regular ones, and ran across an article that really hit home with me.

It was titled, 'Sudden Fears in 12 to 15 Month-Old Babies'

It hit home because my little baby has little fears- she hates getting into a car seat but then quickly cheers up, and of course hates being put on the changing table- I'm thinking she just does not like to be confined!  I know she doesn't like being strapped in something or held down while getting her diaper changed.  These are considered little fears- baby fears. And knowing how childhood fears are very common and some of my friend's babies are already starting to develop little ones, I know it's inevitable my child will continue to pass through this stage time and time again. This article also hit home personally, because I remember having little fears myself as a child, like fears of the dark.

I know I will have a lot to say for years to come about children and fears, as they change in intensity as they get older, anxiety increases, etc.  So with the babyshrink's permission, I re-posted this article below as I thought it was a good beginning for those just starting out with a baby.  Thanks Dr. Heather!

'Sudden Fears in 12 to 15 Month-Old Babies'

Author: Heather Wittenberg, Licensed Psychologist. Source:

Let me tell you about a cool conversation I had the other day with my Infant Research/Rock Star Guru, Professor Joseph Campos (at UC Berkeley).  He helped me understand more about a funky phenomenon I’ve written about here before: The Weird, Wacky, Sudden Fears of the 12 — 15-month old. You know: Crazy fears of the bath, bizarre fears of mustached men, and other kooky things like Fear of Flowers (I kid you not — I’ve heard ‘em all — many from my own kids). As I’ve said before, these sudden fears are NORMAL — but now I understand a little more about WHY.

It’s a combination of adjusting to the exciting (and scary) new world of mobility, as well as an inborn fear of sudden, unexpected unfamiliarity. Babies this age tend to freak when they see something that looks out of place – a man with facial hair (if they’re used to clean-shaven guys), dogs that suddenly bark loudly, or things that move in unexpected, uncontrollable directions (like flowers in the breeze).

Turns out that adult chimpanzees also have similar fears. Interestingly, our toddlers grow out of these fears — chimps do not. Rapidly developing baby brains are starting to compare “familiar” to “unfamiliar”. It’s likely protective — which is especially needed now that the baby is toddling around, away from parents.

Sudden baby fears are also related to a similar parent frustration at this age: Resistance to car seats, strollers, changing tables, high chairs, or any similar baby-jail. Why? Because they remove the element of control from your little one — and CONTROL is what helps to decrease baby’s fears.

So here’s how to cope with those intense and sometimes inexplicable fears in your young toddler: Give her as much control as possible (given safety factors, and of course your need to do other stuff, too.)

-Fear of the unknown and unexpected is always best soothed with CONTROL. Let baby approach (or avoid) fascinating/scary things (or people) at her own pace. Explain to her when it’s time to get into the car seat — and let her try to negotiate herself into it, if possible. (She just might do it, if you give her a minute to think it through.) Take the pressure off if she’s feeling shy or fearful.

And most of all: DON’T WORRY.

Weird toddler fears mean nothing about future psychological adjustment (and the more YOU freak out about her fears, the more SHE’LL freak out about them.)

But on the flip side: If baby needs to get into the car seat NOW, or if she MUST have a bath tonight — that’s OK, too. Explain it to her. “I know you don’t want a bath, but you have enchiladas in your hair, honey. I promise to make this as fast as possible, then we’ll be all done.” Be supportive and understanding — but shampoo away. You won’t do any psychological harm. The trick is to give her the general message that, WHEN POSSIBLE, you’ll give her as much control as you can. But sometimes the grown-ups have to be in charge (and that’s a good lesson, too).

The good news is this: These fears almost always dissipate by 18 months of age. (Then you’ll be on to bigger and better things — like Full On Temper Tantrums.) Whee!

Good advice babyshrink! Our children need to know we are there for them as support when they are feeling fearful.  I agree that we need to let them have some control over their lives as long as the parent is still disciplining and setting limits for their safety, and for them to learn consequences.  Plus, the more control we try to exert, the more power struggles you will have with your child! :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Saving Time

photo © 2009 Mike Licht | more info (via: Wylio)


Daylight savings sure snuck up on me this year! I thought it was in April for some reason.  So when my friends (thanks Erin) reminded me of this a few days ago, I quickly remembered how my daughter did not adjust well at the last time change, and I frantically started planning early this time.  Planning daylight savings around your child's sleep schedule can definitely be a challenge!

Since it's Spring Forward, we will be setting our clocks ahead this Saturday night and this means we do NOT get to sleep an extra hour :(  So when we wake up on Sunday, and the clock reads 8am, our bodies will think it's really 7am.  And when my daughter is used to going to bed around 7pm, it will be as if she is going to bed at 8pm.  Not a bad thing, but she usually does much better with an earlier bed time.  And by better, I mean is less cranky and a happy baby!

There are times when she doesn't go to bed until 7:30pm or even closer to 8pm when she has had a late nap or a full day.  So I definitely do not want this time change to drag out and have her going to bed around 9pm. That won't be good for her or for her mom who looks forward to a few hours of mommy alone time before bed.

So the best remedy to get your kids used to the time change?

Start putting them to bed earlier each night by 15 minute increments.  Even if you don't start until tomorrow, you can still get caught up by trying this the next few nights even after the time changes.  And this applies to babies, toddlers and school aged kids!

I started this process on Monday night.  Luckily she can barely stay awake during the day for more than 3 hours at a time and her nap that day ended at 3pm, so by 6pm she was exhausted!  I put her to bed around 6:50pm and she went down pretty easy.

Tuesday, she fell asleep at 6:45pm

But by Wednesday night, she took a long afternoon nap and did not wake until 4:30pm. Yikes! So she was not tired until 7:30pm that night. Oops, a minor setback.

But surprisingly, last night she went down without a whimper at 6:40pm.

And tonight she was asleep by 6:20pm!  She must have been reading my mind, and I think she was helping me with my plan as she woke early at 3pm instead of 4pm from her afternoon nap, and was ready for bed by 6pm.

She usually sleeps about 12 hours at night, so this means she will be waking up early tomorrow morning at 6:30am!  Mommy will be needing to get in bed extra early tonight.

I'm crossing my fingers that everything goes well the next few days, I'll need a little luck and some help from my blackout shades!

Pets and Kids

Isn't this picture just the cutest? It's one of the first pictures we took of our 13 year old Dachshund Honey Bear and our 3 day old baby girl.  We weren't sure how we were going to handle our 2 dogs after our daughter was born, but so far so good.  It's always a struggle wondering how to introduce your longtime pet to your newborn, or a brand new pet to your child.

When we brought our daughter home from the birth center, our Dachshund (a hound dog breed) immediately became possessive and maternal towards her.  She wanted to be with the baby at all times and protect her, and would whine and whimper so much that we had to have my sister take our dog to her house for a few days until she got used to our new addition. Whereas, our other dog, Chica (a mixed Lab breed) was more upset with the new baby cries she was hearing and basically kept to herself.

Lately though, it seems to be the other way around. Now that my child is crawling and getting around faster, she is fascinated by our dogs.  Unfortunately they are not as enthusiastic and run away from her a lot, fearing their ears or paws will be tugged and pulled on.  10 month-old babies just don't quite understand the concept of 'gentle touches' yet.

What to do when you have a dog or cat and are expecting a new baby?

We researched this before our daughter was born, and the best advice was to bring something of the baby home from the hospital so your pet could smell it and get used to it before the baby comes home. Usually a baby blanket that the newborn has slept in will work well.  BUT, if you have your baby home 6 hours after it is born like we did, or have a home birth, it can be a little harder.  My sister rushed home with our baby's little hat so our dogs could sniff them- and they apparently went crazy and sniffed it for 30 minutes!

Another suggestion we found was to get a baby doll that cries and carry it around and see how your pet reacts. But our dogs were too smart for that and it did not affect them as we had hoped.

What worked the best for us was a gradual approach when we brought our baby home.  We would let our dog slowly get closer and closer to our newborn so she could smell her and get used to the idea.

We also started having our dog sleep on the floor in her dog bed- she used to sleep with us, but we knew that would not work with a baby who might end up (and did!) in our bed.

Same goes for a cat if they normally sleep cuddled next to you. You may need to start having the cat sleep in a separate room, or in a cat bed. It's important to make sure your cat knows it can NOT sleep in the bassinet or crib as it could pose a suffocation risk.

Experts also suggest making sure your dog has taken an obedience class before you bring home a baby. That way they are already disciplined and will listen to you when you say 'no. This will come in handy when you really need your pet to listen to you. You also need to make sure your pets are caught up on their immunizations.

Now that our child is interacting more with our dogs, the best advice I have read is to keep reinforcing gentle touches, and to limit their play time with them. Much like you would continue to tell your baby that, "the stereo is not for playing with", you would continue to tell your child, "we use gentle touches when we pet our furry dog" and limit their exposure so your dog won't get hurt, and your pet won't snap at your little one.

But are having dogs or cats a good idea for little kids and babies, or should they wait until they are older? There are always two sides to this answer.  Some parents think it's a good thing as it teaches responsibility whereas others think that children are not capable of taking care of a pet and should wait until maybe they are teenagers.

Personally, unless your child has anger management issues with animals, I think having a pet is a great thing for children. I loved growing up with my dogs and cats!  It not only teaches responsibility, which is something they need to learn in life, but it also teaches compassion and caring.  Children learn how to be gentle and kind towards helpless animals which in turns teaches them to be kind towards humans as well.

When it comes to responsibility, it requires deciding if you are going to get a puppy and potty training them, or get an older dog already trained. There are pros and cons to each, so it takes researching and finding the right option for you. Here is a good article about this here.

As a parent, you have to decide how much you will require your child to participate in disciplining the puppy, cleaning up their messes, feeding them, etc.  Usually around 7-9 years of age is a good time to start having your child help with potty training, taking them outside to go to the bathroom, taking them on walks and making sure they are fed (of course with your guidance and assistance).

Cats are usually easier to introduce as they are more self sufficient and don't require walks or bathroom trips outside.  With cats, you have to decide if they are going to be outdoor cats or indoor.  For indoor cats, litter box training can be complicated in the beginning but they are easier to train than dog potty training.

Always remember to make sure your child is safe and not aggravating your pet, so they do not turn around and bite or scratch them. Also it requires teaching your child how to carry your pet safely and how to interact with them.

Since I am definitely not a pet expert or the dog whisperer, here is a link on introducing a new dog to your children and everything puppy training related: The Dog Whisperer

For cats, here is a good website: eHow for cats

How to find the right dog breed for your child?

If you're wondering which breed of dog to get for your family, researching online is the best way, and talking to your local Veterinarian. There is a little quiz you can take online here that can tell you what type of breed to chose for your family and your lifestyle.

There is a lot to consider.  Maybe you don't have a yard, or room for a large dog.  And taking the dog's personality into consideration is important as well so you can find the best fit.  Most families have reported to me that the best family dog for children are Labs or Golden Retrievers because they are usually timid around active children.

I'm so glad we have our dogs for our daughter to play and interact with as she grows up!  I know they will enjoy her playfulness and enthusiasm and she will definitely learn a lot about caring for pets.  The best part so far is seeing her smile and the joy that they bring to her each day :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Car Rides

How many of you have endured a long car trip with a child? I know when I was I child I was guilty of the, "are we there yet?" tantrums that are oh so popular with children.  Today I took my 4th car trip with my 9 month old and although she can't talk yet and ask when we are going to get there, her crying and fighting a nap is right up there with it.  As parents we are constantly asking how we can entertain our children in the car.

The poor little angels just have the hardest time riding for long periods in the car. But before we even get the kids in the car, so much goes into preparing for the long trip. It was hard enough before we had kids to get all of our stuff together for a vacation, now it's an event.

I wish we could just throw a bunch of clothes in a bag and be done with it, but now we have an extra bag for our child including diapers, wipes, clothing, toys, monitors.  Then there is the pack in play, and her special bag of baby food!

And once she is all packed up, we have to get our things in the car and our 2 dogs (and their food, bowls and pet beds). This is why SUV's and station wagons were invented!

So, how do you make the trip easier for you and your children?

For babies and toddlers, there's really no easy answer so the best thing to do is plan a car trip around their nap times so they will sleep for most of the trip in the car. Try to leave right about the same time they usually go down, if at all possible.  Sounds easy enough but it can get tricky, especially when your baby is fighting it.

My other trick that usually works is keeping my baby's lullaby CD in our car and usually, 9 out of 10 it will help her fall asleep.  Or if all else fails, you can always have another adult sit in the backseat with her to help entertain her.  While they're awake, the best thing that works for me is to put on some children's music.  With all of the car rides and errands we run, I've become an expert in children's songs and know all of the words by now including the sound effects. Our favorites are the Raffi CD's!

**WARNING: One word of advice to calm a toddler on a car trip is NOT to feed them while driving. I knew a 3 year old little girl who was eating in her car seat and started choking. Unfortunately her mother was driving and by the time she was able to stop the car, get her daughter out of the car seat and help her, she had stopped breathing. Very sad story, so I have learned that as much as I may want to feed my child while she's crying inconsolably, I will come up with other ways to help calm her down.****

Older kids and preschoolers?

Well, besides a DVD player to pass the time, here are a few suggestions that don't involve the TV:

-Bring along a set of Mad Libs for kids to play with and you can definitely pass an hour or so with them, as well as some pretty good laughs

-You can't go wrong with crayons and coloring books

-Bring books to read, and those fun Big Puzzle books with mazes, word finds and find the hidden picture

-Another good toy to bring along are those Magna Doodles that are mess-free

Games are also classic great ways to help pass the time. Here are a few of my favorites:

-I Spy. The original car game where you say, "I spy something...." and the child has to find something in the car or outside the car that  you are describing such as "I spy something blue" or "I spy something prickly".  It's always cute when it's their turn to see what they spy!

-Card games are great to pass the time. Kids can play classic games in the backseat like Go Fish or Old Maid.

-Spelling Bees are fun for kids too believe it or not. As long as you pick words in the car or outside so they feel involved and not doing homework.

-Counting Cows (or houses or phone booths, etc.) is a game where you ask the child to count as many cows as they can find in a certain amount of time and see who finds the most, but they have to find them on their side of the road.  You can also vary it to house colors, phone booths or bridges.

-Find the Vehicle. This is good for older kids where you have a pre-made list of cars and trucks, make and models and have your child try to find them on the road. Whoever finds them the fastest wins.

-Slug Bug- Need I say more? You don't have to make it physical anymore.  You can just have them keep a tally on a piece of paper.

-The Alphabet game. You start with the letter 'A' and try to find an object that begins with that letter until you make it to 'Z'. You can also vary it by doing the Grocery Store game and only do objects from A to Z found in a grocery store.

-License plate game. There are many variations to this one, but I always had the most fun when trying to find a license plate from each state.  You can even bring a few copies of the map of the US and have your kids color them in as they find them.

-"Find A...."  This game is great for younger children! Somewhat of a variation of I Spy but is easier for younger kids.  You ask them to find you something outside (a cow, tractor, police car, etc.). You can even go down the alphabet so they can learn their letters

-Another good preschool game is "I'm Thinking of an Animal" where you describe an animal and they have to ask you questions that you can only answer 'yes' or 'no'. You can make it more challenging for older kids by adding more unusual animals such as Emu's, Llamas, etc.

-Name that Tune! I used to love playing this one.  You start by humming a song instead of singing it, and see if they can guess what song it is. For little children, you can start with basics such as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and for older kids you can try Top 40 songs.

I hope that gives you a good start on some ways to entertain your kids and make the trip go faster!

Awh, the joys of car trips. I know most of you are thinking after reading my suggestions, "this is what DVD players and iPhones are for now", but I prefer the old fashioned games!  I'd love to hear what your favorite games are present day or when you were a kid :)


Travel Hacker

Disney Family Fun

Baby Center
Monday, March 7, 2011


When I was a young girl, I always knew I wanted to breastfeed when I had children.  My mom breastfed me and I grew up hearing about all of the benefits breastfeeding gave to babies and nursing moms, plus it just seemed the natural thing to do.

So far, I have been lucky and have enjoyed breastfeeding my baby girl for the past 9 months. Everything has gone well, minus a few breast infections and clogged ducts in the early days. But since she was a newborn, I haven't had any complications thankfully and things have been going smoothly, but when my longtime new mom friend called the other night asking me about breastfeeding, I quickly remembered all of the little hard details that go into it.  And I can understand how hard it can be for new moms. I was right there with you a few months ago!

My friend has been a new mom for about 10 days now, and it was only a few months ago when I had a newborn, but sometimes it can be a distant memory. All of the things that go into it breastfeeding in the beginning weeks came flooding back when she started asking about demand feedings and latching!  I realized that if it wasn't for my birth class instructors and the La Leche meetings back then in the early days, I wouldn't have known what the heck I was doing and would not have had any support.

I knew how important it was to have a breastfeeding support system and quickly gave my new mom friend the ins and outs of what to do, and not to do:

-Not to give a Paci or bottle the first 3 weeks because it will cause your milk production to diminish, and cause nipple confusion for the newborn; and babies will prefer the bottle because it's easier to get milk from

-Proper latching is key, but it can be so hard. The best advice I received on how to get them to latch well, was to angle your nipple almost up into the baby's nose; and if you need to re-latch, slide your finger in their mouth to release suction and try again (and remember to make sure your breast is not pushed into their nose so they can breathe).

-To remember it's only painful the first couple of days- that a new mom's nursing face looks like she is scrunching and giving birth all over again, but that the nipple pain will go away in a few days- don't give up! The pain does not last forever.

-And speaking of pain, make sure they are not just sucking on your nipple as your supply won't be stimulated and it will feel like pinpricks!

-How often to feed? On demand, every 30 minutes to every hour or 2

-And don't get me started on pumping- making sure you have the right size nipple shields, the hard work, organizing the supply, cleaning the parts, etc. It's something you eventually get the hang of, but is not easy

-Do you do one breast or the other or wait? Usually you switch and then start next time on the last one you left off with.  Sometimes they nurse 10 minutes to 30 minutes on one side, and if they fall asleep, try to wake them up to finish eating

-To try supplements if you have a low supply

-But I also told her to keep in mind the OTHER GREAT PERK! Losing the baby weight :)

-And lastly, AND the most important, that unfortunately you can't have someone (your husband, mother, mother in law) give your baby pumped milk at night so you can get some sleep. Sigh. Why? Because your milk supply will go down. You want to get some sleep, but if you go a full 8 hours without feeding or pumping, your body produces less milk, aka low supply.

If you want to supplement with formula, then a low milk supply is not a bad thing. But I tried really hard to avoid the whole formula route and made sure to give my baby sufficient feedings to keep up my supply. And it worked, because so far I have not had to give any formula to my baby.  Not that there's anything wrong with formula, but I am just one of those neurotic people that reads every ingredient on a food label and have a hard time eating processed and chemically laced foods.

My friend seemed overwhelmed, but to calm her nerves,  I honestly told her it can be hard in the beginning, but then it will all of a sudden click and become super easy. And that is so true. Now, I barely blink and she is latched and ready to go.

But I also remembered all of the criticism you hear as a new mom, whether to formula feed or breastfeed. And I STILL get it at times.

Those putting their babies on formula feel judged and criticized at times by their family, friends and strangers such as, "why are you not breastfeeding?" or "why didn't you try harder?" and then breastfeeding moms get criticized as well such as,  "how long are you going to keep it up, a year?? Wow!" Like it's a bad thing to do what pediatricians recommend.

My mom told me that when she was pregnant with me back in the day, most women gave formula to their babies and that she got a lot of slack from people.  She had a hard time finding a supportive doctor and finally found one of the only pediatricians in Dallas that was pro-breast feeding.  Strange how times have changed and how each generation is different.  Even my grandmother's generation only gave formula and breastfeeding was just something moms did not do back then.

But back to the, "wow, you're going to breastfeed a whole year?" comment. I hear a lot of moms ask me how I lasted so long breastfeeding and how hard it must be.


For me it is so easy to be anywhere and be able to quickly just sit down and breastfeed my baby. Well, I put on a cover up if I am out in public at a restaurant.  But there is no packing of bottles in the diaper bag, CLEANING up bottles, warming up bottles, and the waiting for the bottle to be ready as my baby is crying.  No climbing out of bed in the middle of the night and getting a bottle made when you are half asleep-I just picked up my baby, nursed and quickly went back to bed. No quick trips to the store to buy more formula when we run out.  Plus the cost of formula is a huge savings for me and makes my life easier.

Every mother has their own reason for sticking with breastfeeding or giving them formula. For some out there, I have heard breastfeeding was too much for them, they could not do it due to medical reasons, or it did not fit their lifestyle while working full time.  And then there are those with twins and triplets where it was just not possible to keep up, can you blame them?

I think the only hard part of breastfeeding is the time when we can't be there to feed our little ones.  I rarely am away from my child but when I have to be somewhere and she takes a bottle instead, I feel like I have missed out. I know, call me crazy.

Sometimes it is the strangest feeling to be away from your baby for too long as you have this innate need to get back home and feed her. Like she is going to be upset her mom was not there to feed her or something- completely untrue but I think it's just this mom instinct thing.

I know what you're thinking, that's what pumps, her dad and babysitters are for.   Maybe it's some sort of caveman days biological mother instinct thing, you feel like your child's sole source of food and if you aren't there for her, then you aren't providing for her.  Some sort of Lady Madonna picture.  But I do pump and I do have others give her a bottle here and there, for her to get used to other caregivers and to give me a little break :)

To me breastfeeding is such a sweet bonding experience and as a mother I am so glad I have been able to breastfeed and did not have any complications.  I always thought I would stop when she turns one (as the pediatricians recommend) but now I am getting teary eyed thinking of one day weaning her and our special nurturing time together.  Babies grow up so fast and I am not looking forward to the day when she no longer wants hugs and kisses :(  Our last breastfeeding session will definitely be filled with tears.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Amazon Mom

First off, I have to begin this post by stating I am NOT receiving any sort of endorsements, payments, kickbacks or any sort of monetary compensation by discussing my new favorite website on here today: Although they should thank me for this plug!

So, why I am discussing on a counselor mom blog? Well, as a new mom or even a veteran mom, when something makes your life easier, then it makes a mom happy. When mom is happy, their children are happy.  Isn't that our goal as moms, to make our kids happy?

How does Amazon do this? Well, we have all bought merchandise at one time or another online.  And I have said a million times that I would order more online if it wasn't for the shipping charges. Sometimes shipping costs more than the item itself!

But if you join's new service, Amazon Mom, you are automatically enrolled in their PRIME membership for free! Yes, you heard me correctly, free.  What does this mean? You get free 2-day shipping, free. Did I mention it was free?

I love their tag line, "for time crunched parents." Because all parents are time crunched!

I was so excited today when I saw the UPS van pull up in front of my house and I opened my package to find my new soap detergent box.  I ordered it on Sunday and it came in 2 days!

Why am I so excited about soap? Well, I know I am digressing here, but I have chosen to cloth diaper my baby and it requires special soap. I know, I'm crazy, I just couldn't take throwing away so much solid waste after my daughter was born. I think we threw away the equivalent of a landfill after 1 month of having a newborn. But we use the All In One (AIO) diapers where there are no pins, covers or stuffing. The diapers are all in one, just put it on, velcro the tabs and go.  We wash them in our Front Loader every other day, and it's very easy.

But, there are only 2 places in Dallas where we can buy this special soap called Rockin' Green, and driving the 25 miles to buy it can turn into a day trip. So, when I found out Amazon sold this soap online, I was ecstatic.  I didn't have to leave my house and run an errand with my baby, which can be an ordeal sometimes. I was able to order it online, and save money. And as a stay at home mom, saving money is always my goal! AND we use Rockin' Green on all of our clothes, so ordering it online helps with all of my family's laundry!

You can purchase any items with the Amazon Mom membership that are sent from Amazon as the vendor.  This means anything from diapers, wipes and toys to vacuums and lawn mowers. And I love how cheap everything is on I just ordered Toy Story 3 on DVD for 8.99$ and it is selling for 30$ at Walmart.

Just to show you all of the amazing deals they have, here are a few Play Therapy toy items you can purchase on the site:

1) The Playhouse from Ryan's Room Toys. I posted this back during the holiday season as a great longtime toy for kids since it's gender neutral and it can really foster a child's imagination since it doesn't have too many colors, etc. It normally retails for 120$ but Amazon has it for 82$. (photo from

2) My Little Sandbox is sold for 25$, normally 30$. It's a great indoor sandbox for imaginative play, especially for those rainy days. (photo from

3) Melissa and Doug's Puppet Stage is sold on Amazon for 60$ and retails normally for 90$. I love puppets for children as it can really express a lot of different roles while they engage in dramatic play. (photo from

Here Amazon Momis the link to join Amazon Mom.  Now you'll have more time to spend with your children and family. Happy mom=happy family :)