Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Vacation Weekend!

I just love 3 day weekends! We need more of them for sure.  Memorial Day is also such a nice reminder to honor those that have suffered and served in our military- including both of my Grandfathers.

So this weekend we took advantage of the time-off and took our first ever vacation with our baby since we was born. Heck, it was our first vacation in almost 2 years too!  I was really wanting to go back to Cancun where we got married and have a nice relaxing beach vacation and to stroll down memory lane, but we were not really wanting to pack up, fly with a baby, deal with airports, international traveling and wondering if the water would be safe enough to drink for our baby girl. And the food for our 1 year old in Mexico? No habla Organic.

We decided we would take a nice Texas trip down to the Hill Country and stay at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort. We were ready for some R & R and so was Luna!  What an awesome place!!  A complete Family destination for sure. Lots of activities for kids all day long, not to mention a camp fire each night, with S'mores.  Yum.  Luna also loved the Lazy River as she cruised around in her baby float and canopy.

But the best part about the trip so far has been that she has slept like a baby!  We were so worried about what we would do with her pack-n-play and staying in our room while she went to sleep.  She goes to bed at 7:30pm so we were worried about how to keep the noise down as we watched TV.  We couldn't leave the room and go to a bar like we used to before kids.  Solution? Our lovely white noise machine and putting the pack-n-play in the double closet. I know, strange, but the closet was near the door and away from the TV and the main room.  The double doors stay open and she has her own little cubby. Perfect!

We also came up with a great idea for relaxation while she slept. Our room has a nice balcony so we were able to sit outside, relax and drink/dine while she slept.  Now that we have survived our first trip in a hotel room with a baby, we are ready for more adventures!!
Friday, May 27, 2011

Toddler Food

My baby used to love pureed veggies.  It was a parent's dream come true. Fast forward a couple of months and now at 12 months my child turns her nose to being fed anything by me, except yogurt.  Instead she is Miss Independent and wants to feed herself.  The problem? She is not into vegetables.  She will put the peas and carrots in her mouth and then spit them out when she figures out what it is.  It's like they know!

She now only likes turkey, cheese, avocado, strawberries and whole wheat carbs.  What now?

I am on my way to getting the Deceptively Delicious cookbook on Amazon Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food. I didn't think I would need it so soon, but apparently I do.  She also has a new one out called Double Delicious.  I also found her website and it has a ton of recipes on it too, for free!  Stay tuned to see how Luna likes her mom's new 'trick' food!

After Googling a ton of searches for baby and toddler food ideas, I came across a blog that has been featured on the Today Show called Weelicious at http://weelicious.com.  It's a cute blog with recipes and ideas for baby food, toddlers and families.  I can't wait to try the homemade Carrot, Broccoli and Cheese Orzo pasta dish.  My daughter LOVES pasta and I hope she likes the veggies in this one.

Want to see how much she loves pasta? This picture of her cracks me up because you can barely recognize her!  She looks like a clown. So cute.

Anybody have ideas for great toddler/baby recipes or websites that you have found?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Non-Directive Play

(Non-Directive Play Therapy Room at UNT Center for Play Therapy)

Tuesday night was my first night at my new part time job- part time meaning 1 hour a week.  I wasn't sure how it was going to go but I really enjoyed it! I am leading a play therapy group serving abused children through Child Protective Services and thankfully I eased into it, having only one 4 year-old child instead of a large group of chaos.

As I've mentioned before, play therapy is typically a non-directive approach to therapy with young children.  This means that in an individual session or a group, the therapist lets the child lead the play session.  They get to decide on what to play with and how to play with it.

If they want the large green dinosaur to be a father, then so be it. If they are coloring and tell you that elephants are purple, then elephants are purple.  If they ask you to pretend to be the mommy doll, then the therapist asks the child for directives on all the play such as "what does the mommy doll say?", "what do you want the mommy to do?" Basically, the child leads the whole thing.


Here's a good comparison.  Say you had a crappy day at work, nothing went right and you were almost on the verge of tears.  So you come home and want to tell your spouse all about it or call your friend and tell them.  But when you start to tell them about your day, they stop you and tell you, "I only want to hear 1 minute of your story" or "can you just tell me about the part where you did xyz?" or how about, "WHY did you do that?!" Not fun huh?

Same goes for children in play. If we tell them what to do, then they are not expressing themselves fully and we inhibit them.  Play is how they express themselves so we allow them to explore and to basically, 'let it all out.'

The other night really made me more aware of regular play with my daughter at home.  My baby is not verbal yet plus she enjoys more directive, guided play at times as it is also educational.  But I let her lead a lot of her play in a more non-directive way. I let her decide on what to play with, also labeling things to improve her language and vocabulary.

But one day when she is verbal and knows the names of everything, I will definitely play with her more as non-directive, letting her label things and have fun with imaginary play!

It has also made me realize that before I became a play therapist, I was definitely more on the directive side. I would ask kids, "okay, now let's play with this doll," or "let's play with the farm animals now." I also didn't let the children do as much on their own.

Even though my baby is still needing a lot of assistance from me in her play, she is now able to do some things own her own. For instance, she can turn the pages of a book by herself, and I am not quick to do it for her. I let her try as hard as she can, because if I do everything for her, she won't learn as fast.  And letting children do things on their own increases their self esteem and they will feel so proud of themselves! :)
Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Discipline Revisited

I’ve done posts on discipline and limit setting and given the whole talk on the ins and outs of using it wisely and effectively. It’s been awhile since I brought up the topic, oh, maybe since my child was 8 months old, so I figured it was time for an update.

Fast forward to month 12.5. How are my discipline techniques going so far?

Well, with my child becoming a toddler very soon, I am trying super hard to stick to my limits and NOT give in. It is hard when your child is crying and really, really wanting to play with the curtains. You just want to say, “okay, fine” and let her pull on them.

BUT, I keep trucking and repeating over and over, “the curtains are not for playing with,” and redirect her, “your blocks and toys are for playing with.”

I am big on setting as few limits as possible. Why? Because you will drive yourself nuts if you are constantly telling your child, ‘no!” They’ll get so tired of hearing that little word, that pretty soon it won’t phase them anymore.

I've learned it's best to just set limits that are for safety at this age. Limits that will keep my child safe, others safe (including me and her daddy) and personal property safe. So basically I am setting limits for instance when she is trying so hard to be gentle but is laughing as she pats my face super hard- almost really slapping me. It’s mostly “we use gentle touches when we touch faces” and model it for her.

The play areas in our home are child proof so there isn’t too much she isn’t allowed to do. I always wondered how a parent can get upset with their child who is constantly going for the breakables.  Hello! Put the breakables up.  You can’t expect children under 2 years old to control themselves and keep their hands to themselves.

I also try not to make a big deal (raising my voice) out of something she is doing that she shouldn’t. If she is constantly trying to throw a toy, I set the limit very calmly and have her play with something else. That way she isn’t even more tempted to try it again since she isn’t getting any attention from me. The more attention she gets, the more she will do something to get it!

Or like when she is eating in the high chair, and has thrown some of her food on the floor for the second time, laughing. I tell her calmly and matter of factly that “food is not for throwing” and just keep feeding her. It seems that the less upset I get and the less ‘scene’ it makes, the more she gets it.

So far so good but it does take practice and patience.  Patience is the key.  Not sweating the small stuff but making sure she understands what a limit is.  We'll see how she is when she reaches full on toddlermode!
Friday, May 20, 2011

Infancy to Toddlerhood

It seemed to happen overnight.  My little girl has gone from exploring her playroom to actually playing in her playroom like a real toddler!

If your child is past this stage, maybe you remember the week where your baby started actually 'playing' with her toys instead of drooling and chewing all over them. Or maybe your baby hasn't reach this stage yet, but beware, it's around the corner.

She now cuddles her baby doll, opens all the sound doors to her Little People Farm and is actually typing on her new toy laptop like a grown adult!  Then, last night she fed me with her play kitchen spoon and then starting stirring her pot with it.  Just adorable.

She's not really doing 'pretend play' yet, but she is getting there. Most play at this age is what your child has witnessed and observed from her parents as she is imitating you.

The best way to play with a baby at this age is to follow their lead.  This is what we do in play therapy. We let the child lead in their play and we follow. For instance, if your child picks up the toy Lion, you can repeat the name and make the animal sound that goes with it.  That way they are increasing their vocabulary and teaching them animal sounds. You don't have to have a bunch of fancy educational toys.

Also, by letting your child lead in play, they are learning to express themselves and play on their own. Creating independence.  If you keep building them towers and 'doing' all of the toys for them, then they won't learn problem solving skills and it inhibits their creativity.

My Baby's First Year Journal just ended and I have been looking for another one for the next year to track all of her new play achievements and milestones. It seems like every day she is doing something new! The only one I have found is called the Baby Tracker and is a 3-ring binder/organizer so you can continue to add to it. It doesn't have a lot of space to write in it but it will have to do the trick.

One of the best new development achievements she had was last night while reading her a bedtime story.  She recognized words and pictures from her favorite book Kiss Goodnight!  She looked up at me with her sleepy eyes and smiled right before I got to her favorite part when the momma bear kisses her baby bear, and says, "she bent way down and kissed him once, twice and then twice more!"  She knew that part was coming and started smiling before I even kissed her head like I always do.  I had her Daddy do the same tonight, and she did it with him too!  Got a real big grin on her face and was giggling, waiting for him to kiss her little forehead!  So amazing as the previous night, no reaction, but last night she just knew.

I have a feeling there will be a new 'ah-ha' moment each day for many years to come!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Unless you have been living under a rock lately, you've probably heard that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver have separated. So sad.  Another Hollywood/Political couple bites the dust.  Seems like there is one every month these days.  But wait, we find out now it was because he was cheating on her? Nice. AND fathered an illegitimate child that is now 14 years old??  Scandalous.
Schwarzenegger vor Terminator-3-Premierephoto © 2007 gail mrs gray | more info (via: Wylio)

I feel so sorry for their two children and now this poor 14 year old whose mother was paid by Arny every week of his life to take care of him and keep her mouth shut.  Why don't people stop and think about how their actions will affect their children?

It is even more sad that these high profile children are having to find out about their parents via the media because usually us common people would not be telling our children all of the details of their parent's separation.  There are some things that are best left unsaid until they are older. But not the children of socialites, movie stars, politicians and 'famous' people.  They get it right in their faces.

And why do people cheat in the first place? I remember asking my Family Therapy professor this very question.

You know what his answer was? "Because it takes out the element of Surprise." Strange how doing something sneaky is the motivating factor.

But again, when it comes to your children and are thinking of doing something wrong or giving into temptations such as cheating, stealing, lying, or abusing drugs or alcohol, it's important to ask yourself how this will this affect my children?  Of course these actions will affect your spouse too but it is the children that are most affected.  They need role models and parents to look up to.

As a mom, I think about all of my actions daily and how they will affect my child.  And they are really simple things like how I greet someone or how I react when I see a bee buzzing around me.  Imagine how witnessing bigger actions such as lying will affect them?

How do you explain big issues like this to your children? I'm a counselor and believe me, there is no easy answer to that one.  Ideally you would hope they would not find out as children.  But sometimes they do.  Just make sure when you talk to them that you apologize, they understand it is not their fault, that it has nothing to do with them and convey the message that sometimes adults make mistakes.  That mistakes can be learned from and hopefully they can be forgiven and given a second chance.

Also, if you are the other parent,  it is important that you don't talk negatively about the offending parent as much as you can.  They are still their parent no matter what they did wrong.  It can also backfire and have your child side with the other parent.  I've seen it happen and it's not pretty.

Have any of you had to talk to your kids about something you had to apologize for?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Good and Bad Touches

The past few weeks I have been on cloud 9 planning my daughter's first birthday and all caught up in her turning a whole year old.  And I realized my posts have been all fluffy and fun but now that her birthday is over- it's back to reality and being the mom of a 1 year old!

Lately I have also been debating about taking a contract position of 1 hour a week leading a group of children who have been victims of sexual abuse. I know, heavy stuff, but it will be such a great feeling to be able to continue to help children using my play therapy skills.

The job has actually been making me think about how such deep issues such as abuse are going to make me a super protective mom now.  It has made me realize that pretty soon, I am going to have to give my child the "Good Touch, Bad Touch" talk. Ueek.

What is the Good Touch Bad Touch speech?

Before you give your child the Birds and the Bees talk, you have to give them the basic Good Touch, Bad Touch talk. It teaches your child what is normal for private parts and who can look and touch them, and who can't.

How do you do it?

First step:  You have to teach your child names for all the funny private parts that kids love to joke about.  Experts believe that when you teach your child body parts, that you should use proper terms such as 'vagina', because if you use cutesy words like 'tee tee', then they are getting the wrong message- that the parts are shameful so we have to use cute words to replace them.

Second step: Determine if your child is ready to talk about it. Usually it's when they are able to understand the vocabulary and the concepts. Every child learns at a different rate but I always say the earlier the better.

Third step: They are ready for you to go over the whole Good touch, Bad touch speech- and remember to repeat it each year so they don't forget.

Here are some Good Touch/Bad Touch Talking Points:

-Use your own words and language so it doesn't feel like a script to them

-Then discuss how their body is all theirs and no one else's.

-Go over Good touches, like giving someone a hug, sitting on their mom's lap, holding their baby sister's hand, getting tickled and laughing

-Go over Bad touches with them such as when someone hits or punches them, or pinches them, or touches them in a way that feels yucky and hurtful

-Discuss how there are parts of their body that are private, like the parts that are covered up by a swimsuit

-Then discuss the fun part, when someone wants to touch your private parts, those are Bad touches and to tell the person "No!" and run away

-Talk about how sometimes a doctor may examine their private parts but if anyone else does, to tell them "No"; That it's not okay for someone to want to look at or touch a child's private parts and it's not okay for someone else to want them to look at or touch their private parts (whether it's a child, teenager or adult because unfortunately there are perpetrators who are kids too)

-Then go over another touch, 'Secret Touches'.  Talk about if someone tells them it's a secret and tells them not to tell anyone else, say, "No!" Or if someone tells them they will be a bad child if they don't touch them or looks at their private parts, tell them "No, that is not true!" and run away

-Talk about who they can trust to tell if someone tries to do something to them. Even though policemen and teachers can usually be trusted, make sure they understand that no matter who it is asking them to do something, to make sure and tell you and not feel embarrassed, ashamed, etc.

-Make sure they also understand that at any time if they feel uncomfortable, to run, tell the person no and then come to tell you about it.

Not the most fun conversation to have but very important! Statistics say 1 out of 6 children are sexually abused, and the rate may be even higher with girls.

Here are a few good resources to help:

1)  It's My Body (Children's Safety & Abuse Prevention) is a great book to read with your child when you go over this topic:

2) The Good Touch, Bad Touch Coloring Book is also a great way to go over it with your child and it has a few pages that ask a child to give examples of who to trust, what a bad touch is, etc. I have used this a lot with my clients and they really enjoy it- makes it less awkward

Okay, not the most fun topic, but hopefully it will help some of you out there when the time comes to have the big talk! Have any of you given this talk yet? If so, how did it go?




Friday, May 13, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Today is my sweet angel baby cutie pie's first birthday!! I am in such shock that it has been a year. I know all parents say the same thing, but I really am in shock. It went by way, way too fast. Everyone warned me it would and it sure did. Next thing you know she will be off to Kindergarten. :( Sigh.

Just because I am going down memory lane and getting all nostalgic, my husband and I watched the birth video of our little baby last night. I had not seen it yet and it was the perfect time to watch it for the first time.  It brought back so many memories and it was just so surreal. I was super glad our birthing nurse filmed it for us because she edited it really well and took it at all the right angles so it was not too embarrassing to watch.

It was amazing to me to see how much our baby has changed but also how much some of her characteristics have stayed the same. My favorite part of her birth was being able to take a bath with her right after her delivery- a sweet bonding moment.  What, did you think I was going to say the squatting her out at the bed post was my favorite? Not so much, that was by far the hardest part of the whole thing.

Can you believe babies in 1 whole year go from being born, having a weak neck, to being able to hold their own necks up, then they learn to sit up and roll over, to crawling and beginning to walk with assistance? All in one year.  Amazing.

And how does it feel being a new mom to a 1 year old?  The best!  I remember being in shock at having a baby the minute she was born and I still feel that way. Like I still can't believe I have a child.  I have taken care of so many other children in my life, that I stop and look at my child and am in disbelief she is actually mine.  The best feeling ever! :)

Happy first birthday little Luna!!



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Souper Day

This morning I woke up all nervous about the dreaded job interview. Yikes! I scrambled to find a decent outfit and to get there on time.

But thankfully it all came together and I think the interview went pretty well.  It's not a full time job, just a contract position so it was not too stressful.  The job involves leading a CPS therapy group once a week with children who are either victims of sexual abuse or siblings of the victims. I would love to do this to be able to continue to help children needing this service and to keep my counseling experience going!

The challenge though will be dealing with tough issues now that I have a child myself.  Before I had a child I was desensitized to all kinds of child abuse as I had heard it all before and dealt with it on a daily basis with my clients.  But now, it will definitely take putting my role as a mom on the shelf as I work with other children so I don't counter transfer my own concerns and issues onto these kids.  I know, too technical, but it is something all counselors have to keep in check!  You just can't sit there and imagine these problems happening to your own child, or you will definitely go insane. Of course I am still the most overprotective mom ever because of my job, but hey, better to be safer than the other way around!

So the other half of my day was spent strolling down memory lane and being all nostalgic.  See, my precious baby was born on the 13th of May and I am really really remembering each day that lead up to her birth.

Since we have other plans tomorrow night, we decided to be nostalgic a day early and go out to eat where we spent my last meal before Luna was born- the most awesomeness place ever: Souper Salads. I know, what was I thinking? Well, I didn't know it was going to be my last meal.  I just wanted something healthy to eat and figured a salad would be good. Well, it's more Cici's style salad bar and I realized why I had not been there in 10 years, but it satisfied my craving as a large pregnant woman.

It was fun going out to eat there tonight and sitting at the same table, but this time taking our baby too.  She loved the garlic rolls the most and wasn't going to have anything to do with the healthy stuff.  The peas and carrots ended up on the floor.  But it was still entertaining to watch her eat and seeing how far we had come in the year since we had been there!

Job Market

In today's economy, having a job is a luxury it seems.  Since we are still in a recession, a lot of people continue to be unemployed and are still getting laid off.  I have been fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with my baby while my husband goes off to work each day.  But it is a competitive job market out there, never knowing what is lurking around the corner. Pretty scary stuff.  And being on one income, sure makes our wallets extra tight.

I have always been one to work and pay my own bills since college, so ever since we went down to one income, I have been feeling so, so inadequate. Constantly asking, "where is my biweekly paycheck?" and not seeing it in our bank account. Even if my husband was bringing in billions of dollars a year, I would still feel the need to somehow contribute something.

I have stay at home mom friends who work part time doing photography on the side, contracting as nurses, designing jewelry, selling products such as Mary Kay and I wonder, what can I do part time a few hours a week?

Well, a friend of mine emailed me a contract job that sounded great- one hour a week leading a group therapy session on Tuesday evenings. Wow, so I could do this while my husband was at home watching our child and not need to spend extra money on child care. How amazing would that be?

Great, except that well, it's been, oh, 5 years since I went on a job interview and I even then I was working from home those 5 years before I had my child. Hmm, interviewing clothes?? I will definitely have to dust off my old blazer and find some sort of slack pants that fit my post-maternity body.  And interviewing skills? Yikes!  I will have to practice those top 50 questions all over again.

If I get the job, I have to say it will be super interesting to see how things will be working with children now that I have my own child.  Will I be more sensitive?  How will it affect my relationship with my own child?  I've always wondered what it would be like if I worked full time during the day with children and then had to go home and be a nurturing, caring mom to my children.  I think it takes balance and learning how to switch gears.

It feels so great think I will be back in the field again hopefully.  Crossing my fingers it goes well :)  A little scary as it feels like I don't have much free time in my life between taking care of my baby and my house, so any free time I do have in the evenings is priceless!  I will have to definitely prioritize and practice time management.
Monday, May 9, 2011

First Birthday Party

So this weekend was my little sweet baby's 1st birthday party.  It was such a fun day and she had an absolute blast!  She was surrounded by her loving family and friends and it could not have been more perfect.

Sigh.  I can't believe it has come and gone.  Have you ever noticed after a big event in your life like a wedding, graduation, or milestone birthday that you kind of feel a little bit sad afterward?  It's the large amount of time and planning that goes into these things and then it's over in a New York minute.

It's the anticipation, then the after effects.  There is always a feeling of loss after a gain.

But what a gain it was!  We decided to go all-out for her first birthday party because, well, first birthdays are the most special of them all, besides her actual day of birth of course.  First birthdays mark a huge event, that you as a parent survived the first year and your child has made it from newborn, infant to toddler hood.  A major deal!  We wanted everyone that has been a large part of her life to be able to come and celebrate with us.

Thank goodness it didn't rain because we had a lot going on outside.  A pool/ball pit, playground, sidewalk chalk art, bubbles and a pinata for babies- complete with pull strings that did NOT work by the way. As usual the parents had to intervene and get the stuff to spill out of it :)

Luna LOVED being sung Happy Birthday in her high chair as she loves singing songs and the attention, but the actual cake part- Not so much.  We got an artificial-free, dye free cake from Whole Foods.  Did she like it? She turned her nose up in the air and decided she was not going to have any part of the cake or icing. Which I guess is a good thing.  Don't need to start any bad sugar craving, carb loving habits too soon!

My angel was then into meltdown mode after the cake and pinata and was needing a nap.  After the guests left we opened her gifts with her and she was delighted at all of her goodies.  She received so many wonderful clothes, books and toys and we are very thankful to everyone!  She is not going to be hurting for toys to play with anytime soon.  Spoiled? Nah.

I'm thinking next year for Bday #2 we will pick a park venue, less hectic and no cleaning.  It's all about stress-free and low maintenance.

How about you guys, any first birthday stories out there?  How did you spend your child's first birthday?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother's Day

With mother's day coming up this weekend, and my little girl's first birthday next week, it really has hit home about what it means to be a Mom. Really.  I mean, this time last year I was as big as a boat, and it is so amazing to me to look back and remember how excited I was waiting for her arrival.  And after this first year as a new mother, it is still unbelievable to me that I am a now a mom.

Whether you are a new mom, and older mom, grandmother or waiting to be a mom one day, you've probably heard and even said it yourself that "it's the hardest job in the world, but also the most amazing and rewarding!"

I always thought that moms had a lot on their plates and were super busy. This is one of the reasons why I waited to have kids because I knew how your free-time was going to disappear and your responsibilities would triple X 1 million! I had a few things I wanted to do before I had kids like get my master's degree, travel, live on my own and experience life. And so glad I did, because I have no regrets now and did all I wanted to do, like work for Club Med Resorts, traveling to Europe, Mexico trips, Vegas trips, learning how to live on my own and support myself, and yes, I also had a few staying out late, club dancing days. You're only young once, right?

But nothing could make me happier than to be a mom now to my sweet girl! The cards really stacked up well for me and I couldn't be happier!  I won't even go into all the wonderful things about being a mom. I think that part is understood.

The part that is underestimated is how much moms are not honored enough. There should be a mother's day every month to remember how amazing moms are! Seriously.

I am lucky enough to stay home with my little girl and speaking of busy, I say every day, "where did the day go?"  It is a full time job X 200 because when I worked before I had kids I had a little down time here and there, like a lunch break, some free time to surf the internet here and there if needed, talk to co-workers.  Now? Not so much.

From the minute she wakes up, gets changed, fed, plays then it's ready for her next nap, then 2 hours later she is up, gets changed, fed and plays some more, running an errand, next nap, then up, changed, playdates with her friends, then dinner at 6pm, bath and bed time and then it's 7pm.  There is no sitting around, lounging, relaxing in front of the TV.  It is full time job that doesn't just stop there. Evenings my child wakes up at least once, needing something.  And I've heard as they get older, waking up at night continues because of potty training wake-ups, bad dreams, storms, etc.  As I said, 24/7.

My working mom friends say the same thing. Mornings are crazy, out the door, dropping off, work, picking up, getting home to play, dinner, bath and bed.  I tell all of my working friends they better get a maid because there is no way you can come home from work, spend time with your child and keep a house and be a happy mom.

So yes, Mothers have the best job on the face of the earth, but also the hardest. This is why mother's day should be once a month, or heck, every day. We should honor moms all the time.  There should be more door holding for us, car door openings, front parking spots, full serve gas stations, grocery store lines just for moms, post office lines just for moms. Ok, I could keep going here.

I laughed at my husband when our baby was still a newborn and the weekend came and he said, "it's my day off today." And I said, "honey, you are a dad now (a parent), there are no longer any days off!" :)

Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms out there!  Enjoy your weekend!!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Food Glorious Food

So unless you haven't heard, Trader Joe's is starting to build in Texas!!  Yay!  So excited a good health food store, that is actually affordable is coming to Dallas.

And with the epidemic of obese children in America as well as way too many foods served to children with artificial colors, dyes and preservatives, I am so glad more and more healthy places are popping up, especially for our kids. Like did you hear about how Jason's Deli isn't the same ole deli anymore?

I was shocked to learn the other day that Jason's Deli is now serving hormone-free meats and dairy products. That is amazing!  So glad to finally have a fast food place that serves nutritious food.  Here are a few other things they have started doing:

-They have taken all sodas off of the children's menu

-Their salad bar features organic produce and greens

-They no longer serve anything with artificial dyes or colors

-They also NO longer have any High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) in their products, as well as no MSG,  and no trans fats

-They also are now serving Gluten-Free products on their menu

-They've also lowered the sodium, saturated fat and calories on their kid’s menu

I will definitely be eating there more often with my child!

I also heard that Chipotle is following in Jason's Deli's footprints and serving hormone free products.  Click here to read more about the changes they have made to be healthier. Here are a few:

-They source organic and local produce when available

-They use dairy from cows raised without the use of synthetic hormones

-Whenever possible, they use meat from animals raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormone (not sure what 'whenever possible means' but it's a start!)

I have not eaten there in 3 years but will start going back. Now, if only they would build a great indoor playground for our kids!

Does anyone know of other places that are serving healthy foods for kids?
Monday, May 2, 2011


As I was rocking my sweet little one last night, I started thinking about Piaget and all of his theories and stages that children go through.  He is the famous child development guru that I'm sure you all studied in Psych 101...a distant blur of a memory I'm sure. I had to take Child Development like 3-4 times for each major and degree so it was branded in my brain. Do any of you remember his famous terms: Object permanence, conservation, pre-operational?

The terms that stuck out to me most recently are assimilation and accommodation. I remember getting these terms so confused when studying them (and 20 other terms at the same time) but now it all makes sense because I can finally apply them to my own child!  (I am now thinking I should have titled this post, Piaget #1 as there will be plenty more to talk about with him as time goes on).

What is Assimilation? It is when a child interprets new experiences in terms of their existing ones. What? Basically it means when your child sees something new to them, they try to fit it into what they already know and figure out what the heck this new thing/object is.

This concept hit home with me recently with our two dogs and a petting zoo from over the weekend.

Let me explain:  So, our dogs are the first animals she has ever encountered and are 4 legged furry things.  She definitely knows what they are as I have taught her the 2 sign language signs for dog which if you are learning baby sign language, is a panting sound with your tongue hanging out. But the traditional ASL one is patting your thigh like you are trying to get a dog to come to you.  She is finally learning and just started the panting sound around our dogs, so adorably cute! When she sees other dogs outside she is starting to get excited and pant too, just amazing to me.

What does that have to do with anything?

Well, this weekend she saw a few horses at a petting zoo and was just in awe of them. As she was staring at them, the whole Assimilation thing came to mind. I thought to myself, she is trying to fit this new looking animal into her current mental images. She's probably thinking, "hmm, it has 4 legs like my doggies do, but it sure is a lot bigger, so I guess this animal is just a big big dog!" If she could speak she would probably call it a 'doggie' as she is assimilating it into her brain.  She got all excited and I think she was doing the sign for dog but not sure-wishful thinking.  She has never seen a real horse either, so to her any furry 4 legged animal is a dog.

Now, in a few months time she will start to think, "hmm, this animal sure doesn't bark like a dog and has different feet", and she will start to process this new animal into her existing images.  Once she gets a little older and modifies her current images she will be accommodating for this new experience (animal). That's when she will start asking, "What dat?" and go into the whole "why" question drama.  She is trying to fit in these new experiences and at this point has figured out that these things are indeed different.

Make sense?  It's a concept we all understand but have probably never really given much thought.

It is super cute to watch her look at new animals, people, sights and sounds and try to process all of these new experiences. It really makes you think and wonder what is going on inside these little heads!  They are taking in so many new things that their senses must be overloaded. No wonder they need to get as much sleep as possible so their bodies can have time to rest and process everything they learned for the day.

Watching your child develop and learn new concepts is one of the most amazing experiences.  They are so entertaining that we no longer need to turn on the TV for entertainment! :)