Friday, September 30, 2011

Building Blocks

My minor in college was Child Development, but I took more than the required classes because I found them so interesting, plus I knew I would use them since I knew I would be working with children one day.  In one of my classes, we had a textbook called Block Play.  Yes, we actually had a text book on wooden unit blocks.  A whole book dedicated just to blocks and their benefits to children.

What exactly are unit wooden blocks? They were designed by Caroline Pratt back in the early 1900's. This was long before Lego's were invented. They are made of hardwood, not hollow, and they are not multicolored, pink or blue. Just plain ole wood colored.

This picture is credited from the Froebel Gallery shop, and the hand is put in the picture for perspective purposes :)So I pulled out my old textbook the other day to refresh my memory since my child is now reaching the age to really start using blocks.  I haven't bought her a set yet since I was waiting for the right age (and price), and I know that a good set is important, and not to cheap out on them.  So it will probably be a Santa gift this year :)

If you want to order a set, click here.  There are a lot of copy cat block companies out there, but as long as you get the real hardwood ones, they will last forever!  Plus cheaper hollow ones do not balance as well and the structures are not as 'real.'

So what is the big deal with blocks?

Here are just some of the benefits the book talks about:

-Blocks encourage problem solving such as: How do you make the road turn here without a bump? Why does the bridge keep falling?

-Physical Benefits: When children reach for, pick up, stack or fit blocks together, they build strength in their fingers and hands, and increase hand-eye coordination.  Around age 2, they begin to figure out which shapes will fit where, and get a head start on understanding different perspectives.

-Cognitively/Intellectual benefits: Blocks help children develop their vocabularies as they learn to describe sizes, shapes and positions. They also develop math skills by grouping, adding, subtracting and eventually multiplying with blocks. They also learn about balance and gravity.

-Creatively: Blocks allow children to design their own creations, making structures that did not exist before and they use them in pretend play.  They can make large life size structures such as office buildings and doctor's offices during their play and miniature landscapes.

I also found this little fact: Children who played with blocks scored on average 15 percent higher on language tests — an early indicator of cognitive development — than their peers who didn’t get a chance to stack and pile, according to research released by the Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Institute.!!  Wow, pretty impressive.

As a play therapist, we use them in our playrooms as they can create a world of many different imaginative play scenarios.

As a parent, how can you encourage further creativity and non directive play with blocks?

When interacting with your child, let them lead the play and build their own designs.  Make comments such as "tell me about what you made" rather than telling them what you think they made, or asking them,"Is that a house?" or "You made a house?"

It will encourage more creativity and it lets them lead the play, which is what us play therapists are really big on. Letting the child lead their play helps them learn, grow, explore, be creative and increase their self esteem.

Have any of your children started block play yet?




Monday, September 26, 2011

"more more"

Picture credit from

I was so excited when my little baby girl FINALLY learned how to sign "more."  We had been working on it forever, and it was so cute the first day she signed this! Cameras and video cameras were out and it went down in her baby book for sure. (Oh and if you want more info on teaching your baby how to sign, click here)

Fast foward 5 months, she is still signing, but now the sign (putting her 2 fists together) means: "I want that" and "please" and "again" and "give it to me" or "help me get this".

Basically she is telling me she wants something when she signs 'more.' And it has definitely helped her express herself more since she is not verbal on certain things yet.

But now she has reached the age where she thinks everything is her's and that she should have everything in sight!  From the kitchen knife as I slice her strawberries to my cup of coffee.  If we are eating something in front of her, she wants a bite.  If I am putting on my clothes, she wants to wear them, along with my shoes and my long (choking hazard) necklace.

It's a HUGE limit setting challenge these days!

She is not quite understanding that she can not have everything, and it takes a lot of practice, patience and ABC's of limit setting to tell her she 'can't'.  I know my husband is probably tired of setting the limits too, "Luna I know you want my fork, but it is not for playing with, you can hurt yourself with it" and then her little tears pour out and a meltdown occurs.

I know it is a short phase, but if any of you can relate, I'm sure you are probably waiting for this phase to pass.  It's a tricky age because they understand things now, but they still don't quite get it.  You are doing a great job as a parent setting limits, but they are on a borderline of not quite able to follow through.  But keep setting them, and they will eventually understand and be grateful that you are giving kind, and understanding limits but also firm so they know that mommy means business.

I have also found that when a meltdown occurs from not getting what she wants, picking her up and giving her a hug works well, and letting her know her frustrations are understood at the same time.

It's hard setting the limits and I also struggle with not saying the word 'no' all the time, and wanting to give in.  I am authoritative in my parenting (in the middle between strict and no limits whatsoever) but I am also into the creative side and love it when my child wants to get dirty outside, explore the stereo buttons, play in the puddles or wants to take all of her clothes out of her dresser to play with (aka a big mess of clothes on the floor).

I think at this age it's okay to let them explore, as long as they are safe, and understand the limits: "it's fun taking all of your clothes out and playing with them, but now it is time to put them back inside where they live, it's time to clean up."

Hopefully soon, the 'signs' will move onto words and she will not get as frustrated when she tries to communicate. Until then.......

Friday, September 23, 2011

Toy Reviews

I have been following a lot of mom blogs since I had my child 16 months ago and have been fascinated at how many there are, and all of the giveaways they have, all of the sponsors they have on their sites and the many blog seminars and conventions they go to out there.  The blogging world has really expanded the past 5 years for sure!

I still keep my personal family blog of photos of my child and her milestones, but I also have really enjoyed keeping this Counselor one going. I love journaling about my life as a new mom and how I fit in my counseling skills and how I make mistakes constantly and admit I am not perfect!

So, with that said, I was super excited when I was contacted by a representative from a toy review company called Time to Play Mag. They invited me to a luncheon next month to introduce bloggers to their website and learn about all the new and upcoming toys!  Yay! So excited to attend this event.

As I went to their website to see what it was all about, it had a lot more than I realized.  Not only do they review toys, they discuss movie reviews, have giveaways, discuss books, and keep a blog too.  Basically it's 'everything toy related!'

So I clicked on a toy review to see how they reviewed them, and when I saw what toy it was, I got super nostalgic.  It was the new Sesame Street playset!!  They even have a video clip demonstrating it here.  I had the old school one as a child and recently got it out of the garage, bleached the thing dry, and my daughter has been playing with it since.  Anyone else remember having this??

Check out the pictures of my old one (excuse the poor lighting and backdrop of my child's toys)

Now check out the new one:

Much more modern and the figures are larger so they're not a choking hazard like the old ones.

As for the toy reviews, they give a description, tell you what age it's for, and the website even has a 'how-to' video ad for it here.

Another good thing about the website are the comments on product reviews by moms like us.  I love previewing toys and what others say about them, so I know if it's worth buying or not.  Other stores like Babies R Us have some of the same features on their site but are sometimes biased because they want you to buy from them, but this site gives you real opinions!

I'm excited about my luncheon next month and learning more about the company.  I will keep you all posted!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mommy Lesson


I was reading this quote from one of my toddler books today and it really, really made me think:

"Parents are increasingly challenged to be flexible in guiding toddlers through the transition between babyhood and childhood."

Seems like tantrums and high frustrations are one of the hardest parts for children going from infancy into toddlerhood.  And the hardest on the parents :) That's why they call them the Terrible 2's right? But I've heard their meltdowns really start much earlier than that, more like around 12 months and can continue well into the grade school years.

I think sometimes as parents, we increase our expectations of our children like how we really want them to learn how to share, and use gentle touches, and not throw things, etc.  Or like me, how no matter how many times I tell her that the dog food is not for playing with, she keeps going back and back, and back to the doggy bowl!

And when my little peanut does not get what she wants, like a sip of my coffee, she gets so upset and lays on the ground, sometimes rolls on the ground!  So I usually validate her feelings, "oh sweetie, I see how mad you are, and I know how much fun it would be to have that, but it's not something you can play with right now, here...take this toy instead."

But it still gets tiring saying this over and over again!

So as I read the quote above, it gave me a new perspective on my interactions with my little one.  My child is still learning. Learning how the world works, what is good, what is bad.  What a dog is, what a cat is.  She is learning to talk, and taking EVERYTHING in.

She went from a newborn to a toddler in a year.  Just 12 months!  She was nestled in my tummy 16 months ago, and now? She is walking and talking. All I have to say is UNBELIEVABLE.

So with that said, when I get frustrated that my little angel once again is trying to swat at our dog, and I tell her soft touches (for the 45th time), I stop and think to myself:  remember, my sweet child is still learning about the world, and is in that awkward stage between babyhood and childhood!

It can be a rocky road for her and us as parents, but she can't help it.  As parents our job right now is to guide her to be safe, teach her about the world, protect her, and most of all: making her laugh!!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Grocery Cart Cover Review

So remember me complaining (here) about the shocking new data I learned about on how many germs lurk on grocery carts and high chairs?  You know, that there are more e. coli germs on them than a public toilet? Eek.  That 72% of carts researchers tested had fecal bacteria on them. So guess what?  Now I don't go anywhere without my grocery cart cover!

Well, today as I strapped my daughter into her grocery cart, the strap that attaches my cover to the grocery cart broke.  Sigh.  So I had to loosen it to make it longer and tied it around her waste as best I could.

As we entered the store- Central Market to be exact, and yes it was Moo Monday, 3 half gallons of organic milk for 6$- we went to the front of the store to get her usual free balloon and my cup of coffee.  As the woman was helping me tie it to the cart, she told me they just got in these new grocery cart covers that are extra thin.

A cover for 9.99$! I told her it must be a sign because I just broke ours.  So I grabbed a new one off the shelf, all happy with my new purchase.  But not so happy that my other one I had only been using for like 8 months had just broke- it was a baby shower gift, but I know it was not 9.99$, more like 59.99$.

This new one is waterproof and is by the brand Green Sprouts.  It folds up neatly into a little matching bag:
To purchase one, click on: Amazon, green sprouts Shopping Cart Cover, Green

Look at the size difference between my before and afters:

Of course I am in no way whatsoever being compensated for this product review (I wish)! It's just one mom recommendation to another, hoping that I can pass on any great finds to you guys.  As a mom, I LOVE getting new ideas and tips to make my life easier, and cheaper, and this find was definitely one of them :)
Friday, September 16, 2011

Sick Dr. Visits

After a few Well-Child visits to our pediatrician's office, I have learned the hard way to never, ever, let your child touch or play with anything in the doctor's office.


Because the few times I have, several days later my child comes down with a fever- and ends up with a fever virus from the germs she contracted from her well-visits.


Even if your doctor's office has a separate waiting room or separate sick rooms, it never fails- parents bring their 'well' children to the office already sick.  Because let's face it, kids are sick all the time with runny noses, colds, ear infections, fevers, you name it.  It's not until they get into the clean, well visit-non sick rooms that they tell the nurse, "oh, well he also has a fever today." And then they run around and play with all the toys, the toys my child will pick up and play soon after that.

So yesterday I took my child to the doctor for a sick visit, because her eye looked infected like she maybe had a piece of dirt in there- Not pink eye contagious, just a little red.  And so we were taken to a 'sick room.' She wanted down so bad, wanted to play with the dazzling toys and books on the shelves but I stuck to it and did not let her down.

What did I do?

I sang to her 'Wheels on the Bus", "Pattycake" and any other song I could think of. I am sure the people in the other rooms next door must have thought I was nuts (the walls are usually thin enough to hear someone singing as bad as me!).

But it worked!!  Yay!  Turns out my child has a stye in her eye.  Nothing serious, but hopefully she will stay well after the visit yesterday.

And I ran across some pretty funny pictures that about sum up how I feel about doctor visits.  These are from a blog I love, Crappy Pictures.  Enjoy!  They are LOL funny!

well-child doctor visits...illustrated with crappy pictures™

I hate well-child doctor visits. Especially once I started noticing that my kids would get sick approximately 48 hours after their well-child visits. Every. Damn. Time.

Oh sure, the waiting room has a designated "reserved for healthy kids" section but it is sort of like the division of smoking and non-smoking sections in an enclosed space.

So we had a well-child appointment for the baby and I was determined that no matter what, they were NOT going to get sick this time. 

My plan was to not allow them to touch anything.  It was a good plan.

Which failed the moment my son touched the door handle. Yes, this was an obstacle I overlooked, but I was still determined to follow the original no touching plan from now on.

After all, the door handle was not my biggest obstacle.  It was the bookshelf.      

The bookshelf has three levels.  The top two shelves are a jumble of books with tattered and sticky pages.  The bottom shelf houses toys.  The bookshelf is usually surrounded by kids who most likely have the plague.  

Every mother knows that when your child is sick he gets to play with the toys. When your child is not sick you do everything in your power to avoid physical contact with the toys.

So my son takes a few steps toward the bookshelf while I'm signing us in.
I came prepared!  I have stickers, markers, new books and even a small puzzle. Surely I have something in my bag of tricks that will interest him more than the bookshelf.


Toys. New toys! He doesn't see the green slime, the cesspool of germs. He doesn't see the sleepless nights with the whining and crying and fevers. He only sees the toys. 

I have to come up with something.  Fast!  Must follow the plan. Time for the big guns.

The phone! I hold it out and wiggle it a little to make it even more enticing.

He takes the bait.

And so we sit for the next fifteen minutes as kids and moms are shuffled in and out of the door.  My kids touch nothing.  Great success, the plan is working!


Before we know it, they call us back.


I'm feeling so victorious that I don't even tell him to shut the phone off so he can walk properly. Instead, I put my hand on his head, guiding him.

So we get into the examination room. My son is still occupied on the phone. The doctor comes in and I'm busy balancing the baby on the scale.

The boy says he is done and hands me the phone. He is looking in the full length mirror. 

I pay no attention to the mirror until he puts his mouth on it, doing that thing that kids do where they blow air and make their cheeks puff out.

And I notice how filthy it is. At least 20 other kids before him did this same trick.

I have him sit in the chair and I explain for the millionth time about germs and getting sick.

He listens. 

I even notice him nodding a bit when I say "medicine" so I knew he understood.

But there was a mistake somewhere in my lecture.  Clearly.

He bent over and licked the arm of the chair. Licked it. Like with his tongue.  


The arm of the chair where very sick people have sat and rested their very sick hands.

And he quite happily explained it. He loves medicine.

When I warned about medicine I was speaking from my own childhood of cough syrup that burned my nostrils. But to him, medicine is yummy and comes in fruit flavors. 

Plan failed. He ate the germs. I stood there, dumbfounded and wondered if I should pour hand sanitizer in his mouth. Probably not.

On the way out I had to stop at the desk to pay the co-payment for the visit. The credit card machine wasn't working properly so they had to find their manual card swiper. It took a few minutes.

The boy got impatient and once again his gaze turned towards the taboo toys.

This time though I just shrugged. Why not?  He already licked two surfaces. What are a few more germs on his hands going to do?

I believed sickness was inevitable anyway. 

Over the next two days I watched him carefully, looking for signs.

But he seemed fine the next day.

And the day after that.

And the day after that too.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

MDO, Part II

Today was my now 16 month old's second day of Mother's Day Out.  As you remember I was freaked out last week dropping her off, thinking I was going to get a call on my cell phone to come back and get her. After all, it was her first time EVER to be left alone in a strange place without me.  And she's only been babysat at her home with my mother or sister watching her. No strangers.

So today I wasn't as afraid to drop her off, BUT I was scared she would just 'know' this was the "bad place that mommy brings me and doesn't come back for a few hours". Because to a 16 month old, 3 hours is like 3 days!  I dropped her off and no tears.  Yay!  But I still picked her up early before nap.  They had taken her to the office before naptime so she did not disturb her friends trying to fall asleep.  When I picked her up, she reached for me and cried for a second.  I think the cry was a cry of relief.  She clung to me and her paci, the rest of the day.

As much as I would still rather have her at home with me during this short time in her life of being at home, I have realized she needs to learn to be away from me for a little while.  Little by little she is going to have to get used to life without her 'mommy.'  I think that's one of the hardest parts of a being a mom- letting go.  I love the snugs, and cuddles with her and could hug her all day, but I know she needs to learn her independence.

Especially the whole attachment issue, like I discussed here.  Attachment is so important, so it takes balancing it all out and making sure they are securely attached to you, but at the same time
Monday, September 12, 2011

Organized Mom

Free online shared calendar to manage activities and get the family organized.

I used to be the 'paper only' organizer type and had my super cool Day Planner to plan my activities, social functions, holidays, and work related appointments as a play therapist.

But then I had a child.  And quit my job to stay home with her.  So, carting around a Day Planner in the diaper bag? Just not going to happen.  So I did what I never thought I would do, and started using an electronic calendar to organize my life- aka, my iPhone Calendar.

I quickly learned that you can't be at a park play date when a mom asks you if you are free next week, and whip out your big paper calendar. Just not going to happen. Or at the Pediatrician's office as they try to book your next appointment: "Uhm, let me set my baby down, and then awkwardly fish out my big book planner out of my already crammed diaper bag."  So much easier to pull out your phone and check your iCalendar.

BUT, even though I have gone high tech now, I was still feeling so disorganized as a mom.

Why you ask? Well, if you are anything like me, you have play dates to plan, doctor appointments, Mom Night's Out, Gym Classes (for me that is Hip Hop class), family functions, in-law visits, trips to visit family, a new mom support/social group I joined called MOPS, La Leche meetings, my Early Childhood PTA meetings and functions, birthday parties, social functions (like Longhorn College Football parties), etc..the list goes on and on.

I always feel like I have something going on but also the biggest problem was my husband needing to know what was going on. Hence the great Container Store magnet calendar I bought for our fridge. Which is great but was not helping us when he was away from the house.

But then, I stumbled upon greatness! Cozi.....

After talking to a few moms at a La Leche Meeting recently, they told me about Cozi.  It's a website that's FREE and their application on your iPhone/Smartphone is free too!  (FYI, I was NOT paid at all to endorse this, I wish!  It's just a really cool website I found and wanted to share my new found joy!) The site offers a calendar that you can access anywhere, as well as a To-Do list and Shopping lists.

I researched a few other home planner websites like Jibidee, Homelife and Plumlife but Cozi was the most user-friendly and had the best functions.

How does it work?

-The whole family can access the calendar from their own computers, phones or other mobile devices.

-You can assign each family member a color for their own appointments on the calendar and you can display the calendar as a week, day or month view.

-Receive appointment reminders by text or email.  This is super cool, so you can remind your husband of upcoming appts.

-Use the free App on your smartphone, so you and your family members can access it at any time.

-It has To-Do lists, that are shared or individual and you can send reminders to each member.

- You can also import existing Internet calendars, including personal iCals (Google or Yahoo calendar), or public iCals (sports or school calendars).

Online calendar to manage family activities and get organized.

I am so excited to start using this site. Has anyone else used this or found another great way to get organized?  (Again, I was NOT paid at all to endorse this-  It's just a really cool website I found and wanted to share my new found joy!)  Let me know if you start using this and how you like it!
Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today brought back so many memories as I watched the footage on the news.  It was so heartfelt watching the memorial and so sad. Even watching the children grown up talking about the parents they had lost, I had to get up and go get some coffee or I was going to lose it with tears coming down.

I was in the tail end of my graduate school studies when 9/11 happened.  I worked in the mornings in downtown Austin at a financial firm (yes, not counseling related but it paid my bills! It was a part time job from 8-12pm, then I would go to my next job as a nanny, then would do my internship with children after 5pm).  I remember hearing that a Tower had been hit while at work, and we all turned on the news and watched the Today Show. We then all decided to shut down and head home, in complete shock! I called my family and was glad we were all safe because at the time, we had no idea if there were going to be more attacks or not.

This is the footage I will never forget as the events unfolded (skip ahead to the part where Matt and Katie first hear what happens). It's chilling to watch them see the second Tower get hit right before their eyes. Show

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mom's Day Out

You'll have to excuse my non-counseling post today. My little girl, still a baby to me at 15 months, started Mother's Day Out yesterday. Sigh. I was dreading it. Dreading it with a capital D. So much that the night before I don't think I ever entered a real sleep state because I had constant dreams that I was forgetting her lunch, or something went wrong at school, or some other nightmare school related problem.

I am one of those moms who has not placed her child in any daycare setting yet.  Not a church nursery, mostly because my doctor scared me about the germs in those places for the first year of life. And I have not put her in the gym daycare yet because I wanted her to know how to walk first and be self-sufficient, but then I saw all the big kids in the gym daycare after she turned was walking and it scared me off. And I have not put her in any mom group nursery like MOPS, or my PTA Meeting childcare options either. And no babysitters yet, only family.  So basically no childcare what-so-ever.  Nada.

NOT that there's anything wrong with putting your child in a childcare setting, I was just trying to avoid germs, sickness, and big kids. I have memories of being in church nursery settings with mixed ages and protecting my younger sister from the big kids who would pull on her arm (because they thought she was a cute baby and didn't know better) to the point I swear it was going to be pulled out of its socket.

But I realized that my child needed to be introduced to a non-mommy only setting. She needed to experience life without her mom there 24/7.  I decided to do a gradual process and start her going 1 day a week to Mom's Day Out at an area preschool that has gotten good reviews from other moms.  We were on a wait list and were lucky enough to get in for one day a week, Wednesday.

But what I learned after enrolling her, was that it was a 9am-2:30pm Mom's Day Out.  Then I started getting teary because I love spending time with my child and the thought of her being gone for 5.5 hours seemed super long to me.  The morning is fast but then after lunch they put them down for naps from 12-2:30pm.  Hmm.. Usually my child sleeps around 3 hours from 12-3 or sometimes 12:30-3/4pm. And cutting her nap short is not good for her or me, because it equals a cranky tired child who is over tired and has an even harder time falling asleep at night.

So I decided to ask the teacher if we could pick up my little Luna early before nap and take her home. Was it because I wanted her to nap at home? Well, yeah, but secretly it was mostly because I missed her :)  I guess we both need baby steps in this process.  I figured I would see how it goes and after a few weeks try to see if she will nap there. The teachers probably have already labeled me the high maintenance, annoying parent, but oh well.

But the drop off went well, MUCH better than expected.  She saw the teacher and all the toys and reached out for her, no tears what-so-ever.  Which helped me more than you can imagine. If she had cried, I don't think I could have waited to pick her up!  But so glad she took to the teacher well and when we came to pick her up early at 12pm, she reached out for me but still no tears. Yay!  She napped well at home that day too, her school really wore her out.

Hopefully she will do well in MDO, and hopefully I will too.  I also had reservations sending her to MDO at all, because they are only at home with you for so long and in a couple of years she will be in the mandatory school system for 18 years+ of her life!  I have to cherish these days where they are at home with you, because everyone tells me they fly by.  What am I going to do when I have to enroll her in real preschool, and it's 5 days a week at age 3??

Monday, September 5, 2011

Car Seat Tantrums

Getting my child to remain happy in her car seat is a daily challenge. DAILY, meaning all the time.  Luckily she does not fight getting into her seat, which a lot of her friends do, but after a few minutes heading down the street, I hear the little whining begin.  That's when the pacifier becomes my best friend.  But even that doesn't always work and so running errands becomes not so fun, maybe just 2 at the most. In and out of the car seat is not a fun game for either of us.

AND not to mention the new, strongly encouraged guidelines from the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) for remaining rear facing until 2 years of age:

All infants and toddlers should ride in a Rear-Facing Car Seat until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat's manufacturer.

Reading the statistics scared me and I am for sure going to keep her rear facing as long as I can, even though it is a pain not to be able to see her:

Children under the age of 2 who are rear facing in car seats are 75% less likely to die or be injured in car accidents. 

But what is a mom to do when your child is screaming as you place them in the seat; screaming as you are just driving around the corner; or crying hysterically while you are on the highway?

-Some ideas I've heard are to purchase a baby car seat to put in next to your child with their favorite stuffed animal or doll, so they can have a traveling companion.  Just check out this adorable cute picture from

-Another thing to keep in mind is looking at the car seat from your child's point of view: It can be a super large scary jail, especially if they are rear facing. So go easy on them, and empathize as you put them in there "Ok sweetie, it's time to get in our big fun chair, I know you don't like being strapped in, but mommy wears a seat belt too, and it's so we stay safe when we are driving."

-Also, obviously bring them some toys to entertain them, a book, a rattle, a teething toy, and a paci as a last resort (if they use them). I also play her favorite songs in the car like her Raffi CD, and Kindermusik songs from her class!  Other good music CDs that calm her down are the Rockabye Lullaby CD's that take classic songs from the Beatles, Coldplay, etc and turn them into little lullabies.  As soon as I turn them on, she quiets down.

-One thing that I know I would LOVE to do to distract her, but have to restrain myself, is giving her food while driving.  It would definitely help entertain a child. Why not you ask? Well, unfortunately, I knew a little girl who died from choking on a piece of food while in her car seat. Sad, sad, sad story, but her mother came to an abrupt stop, which caused the 3 year old to start choking, and by the time the mom stopped the car, and unfastened the tricky belt, it was too late to provide the Heimlich.  I hate even thinking about that story, but hopefully by others hearing it, then it will help save lives :(

-Another trick to getting them in the car seat is reverse psychology: Telling them, "You can't climb into the car seat by yourself, can you?"  And see how fast they will crawl in!

-Tickling them, blowing raspberries and giving them kisses can also relax their tensions and help strap them in better.

-Another tip some moms swear by is making a trip to the local firefighters or police station and having them reinforce your car seat message and telling your children that if they are not in their seats, then the police will pull them over and give them a ticket and then they will have to spend their allowance or 'fun' money on the tickets instead of toys.

And remember that as you strap them in, keeping a smile on your face and looking at the car seat as a positive experience will go a long way.  If your child reads your exasperated expression on your face, then they will also start to dread it and it won't be fun for either of you :)
Thursday, September 1, 2011

Germs etc.

Do any of you struggle with the same questions I do, every time I need to take my toddler into a store?

-Do you use the stroller?  Or..

-Do I use the shopping cart and put in the shopping cart protector to avoid the germs?

-Or do you just put them in the grocery cart and use the free anti-bacterial wipe to wipe it down? Which takes even LONGER than putting in the cart protector to begin with

-Or do you just carry them in for a short trip and hope they don't break anything?

-Or how about the cool Ergo carrier position where you can put them on your back?

-And same with the highchairs, do you but them in the bare highchair and wipe it down or put the cover on?

-Or do you just not care and throw them in and go?

So, with all of these decisions to figure out, are the germs on the shopping cart really that bad?  It's constantly wondering how to make it an easy errand AND how to avoid your child getting too many germs on them.  (I promise I am not a germ-a-phobe but sometimes you have to wonder)

I found an article from ABC news and their findings were pretty disturbing:

New research shows that almost three out of four shopping cart handles contain traces of fecal bacteria - including some that can cause serious illness.

University of Arizona researchers swabbed the handles of 85 carts in four states and found fecal bacteria on 72 percent of them. Half of the carts bore traces of Escherichia coli, better known as E. coli. That's more than you find in a supermarket's restroom!

So what do you do?

Experts say the smartest thing to do is wash your hands and your child's hands after you leave.  Another option they give is to use a baby shopping seat cover. So with only 2 options, I guess I would go the shopping cover route.  Because if your child is like mine and loves to touch everything on the cart or highchair and then put their fingers in their mouth, then washing their hands AFTER you leave is not going to be an option.  So grocery cart cover it is!