Friday, July 2, 2010
We lather James up with suntan lotion every day, he wears a hat, sunglasses and we try to stay in the shade or under an umbrella as much as possible. This summer though, has been a large learning curve for us in the world of suntan lotion. Last summer we used Nutrogena Baby solely. We thought it worked great and was easy to use. This summer we got thrown a curve ball when James came down with Fifth's disease. Turns out he is acutely sensitive to almost everything -- including this seemingly benign, dermatologist / doctor recommended lotion. After some exploration we found that the lotion contains Vitamin A which when applied as Suntan lotion can actually cause an increase to sun-sensitivity. Certainly, ironic no? Its amazing how easy we are to buy lotions full of chemicals that say Doctor Recommended!
So we started doing research and by using the EWG's website we found that Nutrogena was ranked as a 4 (5 being the worst for you) and Aveeno Baby which people told us to use as well as was ranked as a 5. (Scary-Right?) Badger and California Baby's suntan lotion are the safest. They are purely zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (no PABA) which means that this suntan lotion scatters and blocks both UVA/UVB rays on top of being waterproof. It goes on thick and white, but protects James all day. We love it, and because the formula is simple and chemical free James does not have skin reactions.
Now as a more educated mom, we send James to the playground, beach or even to the park covered in California baby and we always have their "suntan lotion stick" on hand for easy facial an ear touch-ups! (Don't forget the ears -- this is one of the most prominent spots on the entire human body to get skin cancer because everyone forgets to cover them!). And, at the end of the day I am now happy that I found a reliable product that protects my baby's sensitive skin.
That said, the lingering question I have is why as a society of moms are we allowing these major companies to poison our children in order to make a buck? Why do we have to fight to uncover this information? These questions truly frustrate me on a daily bases!
And, with that I say be sun safe this fourth of July weekend, wear hats, sunglasses and stay under umbrellas on top of all that suntan lotion!!!
Thursday, June 24, 2010
First I would like to talk a little bit about my accomplishments. I have registered for 3 triathlons!!! My first one is on July 18th and I am super excited. Needless to say, I have finally grabbed hold of my life and made it a priority for me find time to workout for myself. It has been easier than I thought and its definitely great that James enjoys going for runs and Matt and James will bike with me! Even more I have found some great friends at work who are a. joining me in the last tri and b. pushing me to work out! On top of all of this success I am happy to report I have officially lost 25 pounds. Its so exciting for me, as my weight has always been a struggle, and now I have made some head way -- I still have more to go, but its a start!
On another note, we have made a lot of changes with James. First we found out that he is suffering from 5ths disease which is leading to contact dermatitis. Therefore, we have now switch to Tide Free detergent and we are still laughing that our detergent was the last "natural" switch that we have made. Maybe the smell of the blue Tide makes me nostalgic, but all in all we have seen a remarkable recovery with a simple switch in laundry detergent and of course, the prescription hydrocortozone.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The past couple of weeks have also been great with James. As I blogged earlier, we were working on getting James to keep his binki in the crib. It was really rough and we seemingly gave up on the whole idea, but almost like a light switch James suddenly took to the idea. Now, every morning he leaves his binki in his crib and he gets it when he is put down. It's such a nice change and relief for us.
It's just makes us so happy when goals can actually be accomplished. Its such a struggle at this age, we feel like there are weeks or even months that all you do is take steps backwards, so when you finally make a significant step forward it feels like a huge accomplishment!!!
Goals Moving forward:
1. Continue weight loss through diet and exercise
2. Continue to encourage James to use his words and aid him through his transition into the toddler classroom at daycare -- hopefully this goes smoothly over the next week! We will keep you posted!
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
- High Fructose Corn Syrup “HFCS”: This is a bi-product of corn that came out of World War II. Our government, in response to the Great Depression, started a program to support our farmers by buying corn. We therefore, had such a large surplus of corn that our government went to food producers and offered to supply them with corn and all of its bi-products at a very minimal cost. Thus, our food manufactures moved away from using sugar in their products to HFCS. Did you know that HFCS can cause an unresponsive insulin spike which over time can lead to fat storage and even diabetes?
- Flavored Milk: I had no idea that chocolate milk has more sugar per serving than a can of soda. Thanks to Jamie Oliver who pointed out that we can’t teach our children to eat the right balance of fruits, vegetables and diary if it’s always covered in sugar.
- School lunches: Why does our government consider French fries a vegetable? In my family potatoes always were considered a starch and never a vegetable. Why are we teaching our children that fried foods are vegetables? Why is the very institution that should be teaching our children in fact encouraging them to be obese by feeding them nothing but processed foods? We should be appalled that our schools primarily feed our kids pizza, chicken nuggets, and other non-nutritious foods.
- Chicken nuggets: I have always known that chicken nuggets weren’t the best thing for you, but until I watched how they were actually made: ground up bone, skin and chemicals; breaded and then fried in oil, could I truly understand that there is absolutely no nutritional value.
- Chicken breast: When we see the huge chicken breasts in the grocery store we should think, wow, what did they do to get it that big? The answer – hormones. Ever wonder why our daughters are going through puberty on average 2 years earlier than ever before? It’s because our cows which produce milk, our chicken, our meat is all pumped up with hormones. Furthermore, non-organic chicken is pumped full of dye in order for it to appeal to the American public, because after all of the altering of the meat by the hormones they need it to actually look like chicken.
- Juice – most of it is just sugar and water, even most that say 100% juice. Even if the label says only “apples and water” know that most of the nutritional value has been pasteurized out as all of our foods are required to be pasteurized. Encourage your child to eat the fruit and to drink water; they will get more vitamins and fiber from the fruit and learn that water is really the best liquid to drink.
- Brand named processed foods: Do you know that companies like Kellogg, Nestle, Kraft, etc. all have research departments that are trying to invent new processed foods that will appeal to the American public, and will sell. Furthermore, they pump these foods full of sodium, fat and sugar in order to make sure who ever buys the product becomes addicted.
- Continue running. I hope to get in a couple of solid runs this week and to continue my weight loss.
- Try a new recipe. There are a lot of studies out there that say if you continuously try new recipes you will be a healthier eater. Matt and I used to do this all of the time, but with the addition to our family we have become “lazy” in this category.
- Continue tracking on WW and hopefully to loose at least a couple more pounds.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
As for this week, I have so new goals. 1. To track every day on weightwatchers.com 2. To run 11 miles 3. To complete the 5K I signed up for on Saturday. I hope that this week I am more successful in completing my goals. So far, I am off to a great start. Today I ran 4 miles in 37:50 -- not so bad :).
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
On a mommy note, I recently ran across a very thought provoking book, Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood. The title of this book alone gave me chills down my back. This book really brings out how we in society are being targeted from every direction to be consumers; so much so, that our children no longer are expected to use their imagination to entertain themselves. Now, there is a toy for every single age, every type of play, every type of situation. Are we taking the fun and development out of childhood by supplying our children with all of these material goods, tv, video games, etc? My answer is yes (anyone else have an opinion?)
We have definately fallen into the consumer trap, this idea that you need to give, give, give to your child. Before James was even born we had a house full of gear that we were told we HAD to have, and now I can tell you we dont use half of it.
I hope that we can get out of this need to get James everything, maybe that just comes with the territory when its your first, but I know Matt and I have recognized this and we are trying to get better. That said, what I do know is that we do love to encourage James to be creative, to be outside, to love and laugh, and hopefully, we can instill these qualities in him versus instilling in him how to be a good consumer...I guess time will only tell.
Monday, April 5, 2010
However, I do believe that my biggest struggle in mommyhood is really allowing myself to have what I call me time. Therefore, I have decided that each week I am going to set-up a "me" goal. Some weeks I might fail sometimes I might succeed but after 18 months I really need to learn to not to lose myself, my identity.
So, this week, my goal is to run at least 10 miles total and to get in at least one weight session. After taking nearly 4 weeks off, I want to get back on the horse and re-lose the 5 pounds that I lost in February. I am taking back control of this!
So, I am on my way. I ran 2.5 miles today in 23.5 minutes, and I walked for 27 minutes at 4.0. I hope to keep this going this week and surpass my goal; and, hopefully the weather stays nice and we can all go for a run as a family. James loves going in the running stroller and I hope that this weekend we can really get back into our habit of going for runs outside. We did go last Saturday and he was so happy, talking, and laughing the whole run.
On a James note, we have successfully cut milk out of the crib!!! James now take some milk at 7pm, then brushes his teeth, then books and finally bed! Last night, even after two days away, he went to bed without a peep! We love it when he does that! Some may not like that we are so routine oriented and not understand it, but it makes us so happy when our child willingly and happily goes to bed!!
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
The only "thing to do" that came out of the doctor's appointment was what I had been fearing...No, it was not fully giving up the binki, in fact, our doctor told us that he doesn't care what or even how much James uses one until he turns two. (We are still trying to limit his use to night time, but we are not as super obsessed as we were trying to be). The thing to do was to stop letting James take milk to bed.
James has been taking a sippy cup to bed, and it has worked well for us, but the doctor said no more -- its bad for his teeth and it can lead to an increase in ear infections. Therefore, we officially stopped giving him milk at bedtime. We started on Saturday night -- we give him a cup of milk at 7pm, then we brush our teeth at 7:20pm then off to the bedroom to read 3 books (always ending with Goodnight Moon where we pretend to eat the bowl of mush and we tell the whole room hush). James took his binki out to give me a night night kiss and then confusingly allowed me to carry him to his crib. He cried a little and even threw out the water sippy cup we had put in there -- just in case he still needed the security of the cup. James cried for maybe 2 minutes and then he was out. Even better, he slept better that night than he has been. We have now been doing this for 5 nights and its going pretty well. James still doesn't go to bed without crying, but its getting shorter and shorter and he is sleeping better and better.
I think that James will fully adapt to this new routine and start to go to bed as easily as he once did with the milk. It is kind of funny looking back and thinking how much we were dreading this day-- getting the official STOP from the doctor (even though we knew we probably should have stopped about 3 mths ago). We really didn't think our schedule driven child would adapt so well, but we definitely under-estimated him. He is doing great!
We have friends that are not schedule oriented and they wait till their kids just drop and fall asleep. If this works for them and their child that is great -- but how does that child re-act if all the sudden they need to put structure in their life? I am not really sure, and I can't answer that, but what I can say is that my child asks to go to bed, and does not seem surprised when we tell him its time to eat, sleep or play. He seems at ease and much happier when we are on-schedule and he knows what the day is going to entail -- for this we are a happy family unit and we are truly happy that James was able to adapt so nicely to the new bedtime routine without milk!!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Needless to say, I have officially learned when a parent SHOULD pack extra clothes for themselves. This all began last Friday. I received a call from daycare that James had a slight fever and that he needed to be picked up. So, I hung up the phone with daycare and called the Doctor. With everything that has been going on with this kid, I wanted his ears checked before the weekend. So, I left work, got home, picked up the diaper bag, a change of clothes for James, a snack including milk and water, and some toys. When I got to daycare James was striped down to almost nothing to try and keep him cool. We scooped him up and I packed him into the carriage, briefly spoke to the teacher and found out that he had refused to eat his morning snack and his lunch. Joyous.
So, we get to the doctors office and I know that he is truly not feeling well because he is happily just lounging in his stroller and doesn't want to move or to be touched. So, we go back into the room, and of course I have the huge stroller and we get the smallest room in the world -- in hindsight I should have left the stroller in the waiting room. So, they strip the baby down, weigh him, and take his temperature -- which was 102.6! Ugh...so now i have a burning up uncontrollably cranky baby, oh fun! The doctor comes in and wants to know what is going on, sits down and then it starts -- World War III of vomiting. Now when I say vomit went everywhere that is an understatement. I am now covered in head to toe vomit, and James just wont stop -- I am thinking my god where is this all coming from? Its in my hair, under my vest, in my shirt on my bra, down my pants, in my underwear and has even soaked through my sneakers into my socks. Somehow, the baby only has some pooled onto his bare leg and the floor is just covered. The pediatrician is trying to soak up the vomit that has landed and pooled into every crevice of my body and clothes using those stupid worthless industrial paper towels. The kind of paper towels that are worse then soaking up liquid then an actual tree.
So needless to say, he is more or less smearing the vomit into my clothes. Then he starts stating "clean up on Aisle 15!" while trying to get the door open to get some fresh air in, meanwhile I am trying my damnedest not to puke on my own child. Finally he turns to me and states "looks like he had yogurt and blueberries today" -- at that point I turned six shades of green and state "nope that is his milk from this morning and blueberries -- that is all he ate". Inside I am screaming stop talking, stop talking! So, I turn to my phone pick it up, dial Matt and start screaming that he needs to leave work, get on the damn subway, get home to get me cloths!!! Then I take a breath and re-group...we get through the rest of the appointment without anymore episodes.
Now James is exhausted falling asleep and I have to change into the jacket that thank god i brought (even though its 70 degrees out!!!). So now I am leaving the office with vomit ever where, trying to find out where Matt is --- and all I can smell is vomit! I finally meet him outside the T stop and we stop at Gap (so I can get some new clothes). I literally grab a t-shirt and pants put it on in the dressing room, go up to the counter pull out the tags that are still attached to the clothes I am wearing and throw my leg up on the counter so they can remove the security tag thing. Then the checkout guy asks having a good day -- I looked at him and said, "no not really -- see these (i lift up my original clothes) they covered in puck, can I have a bag please?" The poor man looked at me, obliged and gave me a bag. We then were off to the grocery store to get pedialite and all the things necessary to keep James happy and hydrated!
At the end of all of this, I have learned that I should bring at least an extra shirt when going to the doctors, that I can actually not sympathy vomit and that I need to learn to settle down when things go spiriling out of my control. I really didn't need Matt to come home and rescue me, but I had no other way of possibly reacting and I just couldn't confront what was actually happening. Now, I know we can get through it and sometimes - even though it may absolutely stink - I need to take a deep breath, and not react so irrationally (much easier said then done, but hopefully I can learn to practice this.)
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Now that his biting is under control, and hopefully a thing of the past, we have decided to torture ourselves a little bit more, by limiting James' use of his binki to just sleep times. We are truly at fault for over-encouraging our son's attachment to his binki. The binki has become a staple item needed to help calm James down -- so much so that he truly relies on it to soothe himself.
The true issue with this is that he isn't fully learning how to self-soothe, and we have taught him that instead of expressing his emotions its easier to just "suck" them away. Now when he gets tired, frustrated, angry, or even sad -- he goes to find his lovey and his binki. This is the behavior that we now need to change, we need to teach James that its alright to express himself and his emotions, even if that means we have to deal with tantrum after tantrum.
So, long story short, we started this week to limit binki time to just the time when James is in his crib. It pains me to watch him have a trantrum in the morning because he has to leave his binki in his crib, or when he comes home at night and is exhausted and goes over to the kitchen crying and reaching for a binki. All and all, I know its hard for him, he doesn't understand why all the sudden we aren't allowing him to have to the binki, especially when we, his parents, were the ones teaching him to use it to begin with. Hopefully though as the week progresses he will realize that he truly does not need this sucking devise to get through the day.
You ask if we get rid of it during the day, then, when do we get rid of it at night? We aren't quite sure. We aren't going to force James to give up the binki at naptime and bedtime for a while. He usually only needs it to fall asleep and usually can find it in the middle of the night if he needs it. Hopefully, by him learning he doesn't need to rely on it during the day, then he may realize that he doesn't need it at night. Who knows, it may not work out this way, but we will have to determine when the right time (if ever) is to break yet another habit, we as his parents enstilled on him.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
As a working mom its hard to find the support group of other mothers, especially when so few of your close friends even have children, let alone live nearby. We try to find time to meet new moms and do play groups, but a lot of time we find ourselves driving to Connecticut so not only can our child have a play group, but we can have a play group with the parents -- talking about the struggles of being a parent and how to deal with all the every day life, oh and to also laugh (something I think all parents need to do, otherwise you just wont survive). Therefore, I know I rely a lot on books and blogs, and that is why I was so happy to find SBWT.
When I started reading SBWT I felt at ease -- she understands what I am dealing with. It is so amazing to be able to take a simple test, and find that the description that ensues is pretty much your child. All of the other books lump all toddlers into one type, who should develop all the same and in the same way. SBWT recognizes, much like her baby book, that there are different types of toddlers -- they all have different little personalities. Because of these personalities we need to approach each of our toddlers in a different way, we need to identify how our toddlers react and what is their driving force. I found this view a breath of fresh air. SBTW went into ways to get ahold of normal everyday problems with your toddler -- and she doesn't blame the parent. I love how she teaches parents to be stronger and to be more positive. To find the balance between overbearing and loving -- to give independence but still be the guider.
Furthermore, the book really made me think, we have issues with our son crying when he gets up in the morning. We have subsequently instilled the "making the crib" a fun place to be in during the day when he is awake. Using the method taught in SBWT for only one day our child woke up this morning -- whimpered a little and before I even got to his bedroom he was happy and playing in his crib. We are going to keep moving forward with this technique and hopefully we will soon have a baby who wakes up happy in the morning.
Lastly, SBWT made us seriously sit back and think about such things as introducing the potty and giving up the binki...all things we knew where looming, but the advice given was so positive and realistic it made us realize that the sooner we do these things the better for our child, because he is not going to give up the binki overnight and he isn't going to be potty trained over night. But, if we put the foundation in now, we will be able to really succeed when we start the processes. That said, we are going to get a little potty for James to sit on in the bathroom so he is aware of it and not afraid, and then when he is ready to really start potty training he isn't afraid. And, finally, we are going to start getting rid of the binki after we succeed with the crib...one step at a time.
Overall, this book made me remember to enjoy my "spirited" toddler and helped us to guide him through this very up and down time -- I must say that SBWT had an email that it quoted in the book, which says it all and makes me look at toddlerhood in a whole new light -- the emailer said that she looked at her toddler as he/she was going through PMS evey single day, and imagine doing that and not being able to speak, express yourself, etc. Of course there are going to be days of hiting, biting, tantrums but that will make the good moments that much better!
I only wish I could call Tracy today to tell her, unfortunately she passed away to cancer in 2004 -- but, I am still grateful for her wisdom and gentle approach to motherhood.
Monday, March 8, 2010
1. Clapping every time your baby achieves some small goal -- Praise the process, not the outcome. Raising a child to be aware only of the value of a successful outcome is likely to extinguish natural achievement motivation and a joy of learning. I agree with this to a certain extent, but, especially in the beginning, praising for any step accomplished help encourage young children to keep trying. Also praising when a small goal is achieved gives small children the necessary confidence to keep working on the skill, whether its trying to get a puzzle piece in the right spot or even building and knocking down blocks. I think that parenting through praise is a whole lot more effective and gives our kids self esteem and teaches them that any accomplishment matters.
2. Overusing "No!" to correct a baby's behavior -- We all tend to overuse the word "no," causing it to lose its value. "No" should be reserved for dangerous situations, so that your child knows you really mean it. Instead, start telling your child what you would like her to do, instead of what you don't. That's how learning takes place. HAHAHA...sorry I have to laugh at this. Your average toddler cannot full understand everything you are saying. You can explain things in their terms but you don't always have the time to say "do not throw your food, because food belongs on your plate or your tummy." Seriously! We have found that we use different versions and tones of "NO's" has helped. Many times we say "no, no, no" in a nice high tone, but when a strict "NO" is needed we use it in its single form very sternly. James knows the difference. We do explain things, but books and songs also do a great job of teaching our children in a fun and effective way.
3. Entertaining competitive parenting thoughts -- It happens to the best of us. You go on a play date with your 20-month-old and notice that his playmate knows his color! On the way home, you buy every flashcard, cue card, color card you can find and begin a crash course in colors with your toddler. Nothing like flashcards or a stressed out parent to take away the joy of learning from a child. Kids learn best through play and real-world learning. Don't let your parenting anxieties get the best of you. I agree with this 100% -- there is no need for competition. James is way ahead in somethings and behind in others, it all evens out and if you start out competing at this age you will only become more obsessed later in life and you will end up being that mom or dad that is banned from little league or soccer.
4. Talking so much that babies can't focus on words -- We know that face-to-face interaction, speaking, reading, and labeling nurture our children's language development. But that doesn't mean that we have to narrate entire days. When it comes to language, remember the rule, "word in, first word out." Children have to be able to hear the word, see how your lips move to form the word, and connect the word to the item. This is very similar to point #9. I agree that we don't have to talk to our children all day long and its good for them to have quiet time -- they will often try to seek this too. I do think it is important to read and sing to your child -- make it interactive, especially when singing and they will be able to start to understand the meanings of words. Show them in books what that cow is...don't just read the words, but use it as a tool to teach language.
5. Using products to speed up gross motor development -- Some people swear by walkers or jumpers to speed up gross motor development. But in actuality, they don't turn crawlers into walkers any faster than nature does. In fact, they build muscles not critical for walking, and can even be dangerous (if they tip over or topple down stairs). I agree with most of this statement, and I think many toy / baby gear companies do too, as it is near impossible to find a walker, like many of us parents used when we were babies, now a days. Let your child explore, and cruise. When we felt James was ready we introduced the new type of walker -- a toy that lets the child hold on and walk forward. This allows them to use and develop all the walking muscles necessary and not just develop the leg muscles while sitting, which does not develop the necessary core muscles to fully walk.
6. Using punishment to change bad behavior -- Even though you may feel like punishment works, it usually only curbs the behavior temporarily. As your child adapts to your punishment, unwanted behaviors tend to return faster. The best way to get your child to do what you want is to reward desired behaviors with praise and positive attention, while ignoring minor misbehavior. Always remember that attention promotes behaviors. I agree with only one part of this -- to praise good actions. We have been struggling lately with James' behavior, i.e. biting and hitting. He is doing this because he is frustrated and does not have the language necessary to communicate his feelings. That said, we can't just ignore it when he hurts someone...he has to learn that it is wrong. We have taken the following steps, saying NO, and placing him in a chair away from all of the action, and then giving attention and hugs to the person he has hurt. This way he can see that he does not get attention from his bad behaviors, and learns that it will not get him what he wants. We are also really encouraging him to use his words, such as help, no and stop. We praise him profusely for using those words, especially when he is frustrated and we have seen marketed improvement. Now, when he bites, he immediately knows he has done something wrong. I know that we will be keeping this parenting style for many years to come. That said, we also do not over punish our child, we let him know when a behavior isn't correct but we really don't dwell on it. Praising for positive actions really does work as well as teaching positive actions such as how to be gentle, etc.
7. Not considering your baby's unqiue temperament -- Some babies immediately love to swing. Others may find swinging scary at first. If you force your child into a situation you assume should be fun or educational, without taking her temperament into consideration, you'll end up exacerbating her fears and causing what eventually could be pleasurable to remain aversive. This is so true...its so funny how one kid loves to swing, and another loves to bounce. James has always hated to swing but we do try it at the park and give him lots of encouragement -- still to this day he hates it, so we really don't try to push it. He will come around when he is ready. It is truly funny how even as small infants they are able to show you their temperament and likes and dislikes.
8. Finishing tasks for your child. It can be frustrating to watch your child try to fit a piece in to a puzzle or construct a tower out of blocks, to no avail. But if you demonstrate the correct way to do it, or do the task entirely, your child won't learn to master frustration tolerance or be motivated to stick with a task in the future. I somewhat agree with this...frustration sometimes gets in the way of finishing tasks so its our job as parents to calm them down and show them how to work through the frustration. As James was learning to put puzzles together or put shapes in a whole, he often didn't get the idea that you had to change the position of your hand to get the shape to fit in the whole. We would take the hand and show him how to move it so the block fit, then he would drop it in. Then the next time, you could see him trying to use that motor skill -- it was a task that we tried to do together but with him doing the brunt of the work. We have really found that this really helps limit the frustration level and has made him more curious and more accepting of doing things on his own.
9.Believing background noise is stimulating or beneficial -- Even mild background noise at home (television, radio, children playing) can impair a baby's ability to pick up language. Babies need to see the face of the person talking, and are easily distracted when the background noise is at the same sounds level as the person speaking. I agree with this all though we do play a lot of music and a lot of it has taught James body parts, sounds and even help in his motor skills. We love to sign the "itsy bitsy spider", "The Wheels on the Bus", "Head Shoulder's Knees and Toes", etc. We do try to keep the TV off, except in the morning. James loves Barney, Yo Gabba Gabba, and the Wiggles -- interesting all music oriented shows, and so we do let him have TV time, just to not much and not before bed.
10. Giving attention to limit testing and minor misbehaviors -- What we see as big manipulative is often just our children's tendency toward misbehavior that we may have accidently reinforced (by giving attention). Instead, the trick is to focus on what you want your child to do, rather than to waste all of all of your energy and angst on what you want your child to sotp doinjg. Start catching your child being good, and pay attention to that! This is truly the same thing said in #6 -- just re-worded differently.
In the end, I believe as parents there are so many ways we can do things "wrong" but there are many more ways we can do things "right". I believe instead of reading these article that are so "how you are harming your child" focused that we should be concentrating on how to best influence and teach our children. If they learn positive attitude now, it will stay with them for life. We are such a negative society in so many ways and it is very interesting being a first time mother and finding that so many of the guides are in fact "what not to do". How about we start looking at whats working and why and start field guides that are titled " 10 ways their parents positively influence their children." You could have the exact same article above as the author described how to change the negative attitude.
Finally, I also think that each child has their strengths and weaknesses and each child will need to be parented differently. I look at myself and my siblings. It is so funny how we can share the same exact experience and come out with completely different views, feelings and stories. No one child is going to fit into all the molds parenting books and articles set forth. Get to know each of your children and decide what type of parenting style works best for bringing out the wonderful person that they are.
Friday, February 26, 2010
The whole day I fretted, thinking I should have stayed home with him. I even called daycare to check in on him during the day -- yes I am one of those moms. Its such a hard decision that many working moms face everyday, should we stay home with our somewhat sick children or do we wait until they get worse. It breaks your heart when you have to send them to daycare when they are a little sick. You want to be able to nuture them back to health, but that is not always possible. Its hard to sit at work and not feel guilty. That said, I think these situations are making both James and I stronger. James is learning, not the way I would really want him too, to somewhat deal with colds and not to breakdown, and I am learning that both of us are stronger than I think. I am not able to keep him in a bubble and he will get sick, and will have to have colds at daycare. I believe this learning process is awful but will make us stronger in the end.
At the end of the day, James struggled with his temper in the morning at daycare (mainly due to a sleepless night) but after his nap he seemed to be a happier baby. So, we made the right decision. He was fine, even though I spent the whole day with my stomach in my throat.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Lent is tomorrow, and I am going to use Lent as an opportunity to make a longer term goal -- no French Fries (sadly but true, my ultimate weakness!). I also want to make more of a conservative effort to take James to church on Sunday's during lent. I am not saying we will make it every Sunday, but I believe that we need to start going. I truly believe that our religion does teach morals to live by and I want my child to learn them. I don't really care if he believes in god or heaven, but I think things such as the Ten Commandments, re-enforces rules to live by, which I hope to instill in my child.
On another note, we had another piece of good news today, James has officially gone a whole week without biting! We are keeping our fingers crossed but it seems as if we have made it over this phase (for now). I did have a discussion with the teacher, and of course at 16mths old, James's new favorite word is MINE...usually this isn't used to closer to 20 mths old -- but count on James to be way ahead of schedule. This means, he is probably going to the next classroom closer to 18mths instead of 20-22mths. I am very insecure about this transition. Matt seems to think it will be good as he needs to be with kids who are at his same development level, but I am little uncertain -- mainly because James's verbal skills are not where the other older kids are, and once again he will be the baby. I think he can hold his own, but he seems more content and at ease with his current friends...
As a working mom -- this is such a struggle -- how to keep your child engaged but to make sure he is in the right learning environment. We didnt think we would have to be thinking about all of this stuff until he was going off to kindergarten -- how we are wrong!
Friday, February 12, 2010
So I do read some blogs – Boston Mamas today had an article that really made me think. It was regarding striking a balance between being a mom and going to work.
This article really made me think about a little on-going argument that Matt and I had last night. I feel out of control most days and nights, I feel like our house is always a mess – believe it or not it, it drives me up a wall – and I feel like I never have any time to clean, organize, and play with my child. And, to come home at night and see dishes from breakfast in the sink and not in the dishwasher it makes me want to explode! Needless to say, I need to learn to let go and just move forward. Which is just one of the topics Boston Mamas made me think about, and so I have gone through her points below.
Do a few things well. Instead of driving yourself crazy trying to do everything (and potentially letting quality suffer across the board), focus on doing a few things well. I agree, and sometimes it’s hard to not feel like you have to do everything well! Prove that you can do it all! This is truly one of the biggest things I struggle with every day.
Focus on the present. It can be challenging to not feel work and household minutia looming over you at all times. But when you are home with your kids, be present. Of course you want to be present – but sometimes you need to do a load of laundry or clean-up the kitchen or even make a meal. So, I have made some of these chores activities James and I do together. James loves putting the laundry in the washing machine, so I hand it to him and he puts it in. Then he loves watching the wash go around and around. When I cook, we have a step stool and I let him watch and even help stir on occasions. This has made chore time a little bit more manageable and allows James and me to spend some quality time.
Make realistic goals. Don't set expectations so high that they are hard to achieve and set you up for frustration. Set small, realistic goals. I completely agree with this, otherwise, you will always feel like you haven’t accomplished anything. Some days, my goals are as simple as make time to take a shower! LOL! Other days, I have a check list the size of the equator. Our dry-erase board sometimes becomes a list of to dos instead of a weekly calendar, but it does feel great when you are able to finally cross something off – for example tomorrow I am finally getting my glasses! I have been waiting for over a year now to have glasses with the right prescription!!
Speaking of goals: So today went to the gym and ran 4 miles in 38 minutes – not to bad.
Breakfast: Chobani yogurt
Lunch: Chx noodle soup, light WW English muffin, orange
Snack: 94% fat free
Dinner: Trader Joe’s pizza and a veggie
WW online is going really well – I have been sticking to my points and finding that I am seeing results already – yeah for the first week…let’s hope this weekend goes well!
Don't make comparisons. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on yourself and whatever it is you are creating. This has actually never really been a problem of mine, the one thing I am secure in is being a good mom – I feel blessed for my child and his accolades…I think that at each age each kid will be doing different things and there is no need to compare yourself as it will only make you feel more insecure!
Play by your own rules. It's very easy to get swept up in the frantic pace of work but shift your perspective so that you aren’t living in fear of missing out on opportunities is very powerful. Be willing to lose so you can play by your own rules. ENOUGH SAID
Change your response. There's a tendency to say yes to everything (sometimes before even knowing what it is) due to worry that people otherwise won’t like you. Change your response strategy from “Yes” to "Can I get back to you?" This response allows you the space to evaluate the opportunity. Or, you can be like me and lately I just say “No, I have a kid!” LOL! I think that I have to work on saying “Yes” more. Saying yes to having me time, saying its okay for Matt or someone else to take care of my child, saying its okay to want to have a day off.
Ask for help. Asking for help is not a weakness. Remember that asking for help does not reflect that you are incapable of doing something; you’re simply opting not to do something in the moment. I agree – even though I am a total control freak I must say the one thing I think I am good at is asking for help. I love talking to other mom’s and trying to figure out how to get through different stages. I think this is really important. Some of the best ideas I have gotten was from other moms, and my own mom. Books by doctors are great tools – but moms are even better. I even rely on my fellow working moms for ideas on how to balance, and deal with the day to day reality of being a working mom. I think you are more of a secure mom to ask for help than to bite your tongue…your child and you, yourself will be happier for it – we don’t all have the answers!!
Let go. For the control freaks out there, there's a tendency to shoulder all burdens, but it's important to let go and remember that there is more than one way to do things. I think this is my hardest “idea” I struggle with. I believe as a working mom we feel like we do not have control over much in our lives and our children’s lives; therefore, its very hard for us not to control what little we feel like we can. I was told by a co-worker that the hardest thing in motherhood is to let-go and allow things to be done – even if it isn’t the way you would like it to be done! Let’s just say, after a year and a half in mommyhood – I still really haven’t been able to fully embrace this concept – it’s a work in progress. Maybe if I could stop the inner control freak I would be able to find more time for myself!
One thing that wasn’t on Boston Mamas’ list was finding time for yourself. I might sound selfish, but as I found over the last year, and especially the winter when I have been able to go for a morning run because its still pitch black – that you forget to make time for yourself. Its hard, a constant struggle, but even taking an hour a day makes you a better mom, wife, person and friend. Remember that everyone needs some “down” time, whether its going to the gym, getting a cup of coffee, or even something as small as taking a shower – have time to be with yourself will bring you keep you SANE.
The last thing I think that Boston Mamas forgot was, if you do have a partner in this experience, take time to enjoy each other. When both partners are working, and parenting it tends to feel as if you are working together just to survive. You forget what brought you to that point in the first place. Matt and I can’t always afford to get a babysitter & dinner – we have found that it’s nice to plan a great dinner – cook together and put on a great movie. We have date night inside. I feel that it so important to be great as a husband and wife in order to be great as mom and dad – and thanks to my parents for teaching me this (even though when I was a kid, I didn’t always understand!).
Thursday, February 11, 2010
This is sending Matt and I into a tailspin -- we already spend $2,000 a month just to have him in this center (which is the median price in our area) and now we have to figure out - if he does get kicked out for a month, what in the hell are we going to do!! We are a bit lucky though, because Matt's office has emergency back up daycare so we are looking into how many days a week we can use them. Oh the joys!!! At the very least, the director was kind enough (sense my sarcasms) to let us know that James would be welcomed back with arms wide open at the end of the month and we would not be charged for the month missed....yeah that makes life sooo much easier!
And, on the last daycare note -- we were made to pick up James at 2pm due to weather yesterday. Meanwhile, the Nor'easter we were suppose to have never arrived -- yet we still had to pick him up at 2pm...can I tell you this makes juggling work expectations, and life so much harder -- especially since James normally sleeps until 3pm! But, I must say I really did enjoy the afternoon I got to spend with my little man. We played, laughed, colored and cuddled. Now, if I could only get through the last bit of teething and get some sleep I think we will have a much happier house! At least the ear infection seems to be clearing up!
As for exercises, yesterday I did not get a chance to find anytime for me to work out. Between trying to get laundry done -- so the dirty "Mr. Lovey" could get cleaned, scrubbing the floor after James has decided he wanted his food on the floor and cleaning up after dinner, and playing with the baby! Hopefully tonight I can be motivated enough to do Julian Michael's 30-day shredd -- to anyone who hasn't tried this -- its absolutely amazing! Kicks my butt every time and it only takes 20 minutes!!!
With all my stress in life, I must say I am still on track with WW. Yesterday, I unfortunately did not get to having breakfast -- which I know is so wrong. But for the rest of the day here it is:
Lunch: Chx noodle soup, Light WW English muffin
Snack: 2 Rice Cakes with Peanut butter (but its safe to say James had almost 1/2 of one)
Dinner: 3oz of Steak, Roasted Zucchini and a baked potato
Dessert: 3 Thin Mints
Even though I am on little sleep from last night, I was able to keep my will power up, and here is where i am at:
Breakfast: Chobani Peach Yogurt
Lunch: Chx noodle soup, Light WW English muffin, Orange
Snack: 94% Fat-Free Popcorn
Dinner: Ground 93% lean Turkey Burgers w/ fat free Amer. Cheese, steamed broccoli, and quinoa (cooked in chx broth and sprinkled with a little Parmesan cheese).
We also shipped off one of our love seats -- thanks to Matt's parents who agreed to store it for us. Now the question that is bothering me is how do we organize? I dont know if we should move the couch out of the baby's room and put as much as we can into his, or keep it like it is now, build a radiator cover and storage around the radiator. Oh, the joys of being over run by toys! I cant wait for the day when we have a room for toys, a room to eat in and a room for mom and dad to relax!
Now I am off to go get the little man, and I dont have to trek through the snow because we never got it! YES!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
On top of all this we have been called into a parent/ teacher & director conference at James's daycare. He is officially the class biter! I have spent the better part of two weeks researching how to stop James from doing this, especially since he doesn't bite at home, and today spent almost a half hour with our doctor's office's social worker / behavioral specialists to determine how to stop this behavior. Now, not only are we worried about the repeated ear infections - post tube surgery - but now we have to worry about James possibly getting kicked out of daycare!!! Especially when we had to wait over a year to get him in one in the first place!
On top of all that stress, I had a run in today with someone who is not a mother - and who dared to judge my feelings - talk about setting me off! I know I am a hard person, but I truly believe some mothers are happy going to work and are a better mother for being in the work place. As my husband knows, I truly feel I am not one of those mothers. It pains me everyday to go to work and not to play and learn with my child. I am envious of those mothers that get to have play groups and go to the play gyms and even swim classes. Even in a major city, it is interesting that many of these classes are not offered on the weekends -- we as working mothers, don't get to do those activities with our children. So we run around all weekend, trying to create experiences and dreading the coming Monday. I am looking forward to the day when i am able to experience every full day with my child. So, to get back to the beginning of this rant - this person basically told me to get over it. I understand the sentiment --and only wish i could get over it! But, at the end of the day, this one aspect has been the biggest part of motherhood that I agonize over. I truly believe daycare has been great for James, but i believe i would be a far better mother if I was able to stay home and be with my child during the week.
On a more positive note I officially started WW on-line. What a great tool! I have never done it on-line, just the meetings. Online has so much more information to offer, it is so amazing and fool proof. I hope that the coming months lead to great success in my battle with the bulge! hahaha... So, to continue with meeting this weeks goal here is what i have eaten (so far) and my exercises. (Just as a side note, Matt's dad is visiting us tonight, so I am still not sure what we are doing for dinner - which is why it isn't recorded below).
Breakfast: Chobani Yogurt (at 140 cal. and 14g of Protein and no fat -- this is a wonderful breakfast that keeps you full and gives you a ton of energy)
Lunch: Chicken Soup, Light WW English Muffin, Orange
Snack: 2 rice cakes w/ peanut butter
Excersise: Ran 3miles in under 30 minutes.
Lets hope for snow tomorrow! It would be mighty fun to get to go home early and enjoy the product of cold weather! It so much fun to play in the snow again :)
Monday, February 8, 2010
So, for months I have been complaining about finding time to loose some weight and to find some "me" time. I am starting this blog to motivate myself, express some trials and tribulations and to find my "new-self" as I come to terms with being a mother.
For those that do not know me, I have a beautiful 16 month old boy. But for the last 16 months life has revolved around him -- which has been extremely fun, enlightening and frustrating at times. James has given us a whole new outlook on life, and effected things in more ways than i could ever imagine - some good, and to tell you the truth some not so good.
But, today is not a day to look back, but a day to look forward. While still sleep deprived and exhausted I have set-out to make some changes. The first change is that I am making goals each week and will strive to make them.
This week -- my goal is to concentrate on getting to the gym -- at lunch, doing DVD's or even after work on Wed. (if we dont get a huge snow storm). My other goal is track what I have eaten and really commit to my weight loss goals. I have an amazing brother-in-law that has been working so hard to stick to his goals and I am jumping on board, signing up for WW online and deciding today to take control. So, that said here is what I have eaten / excersised today:
Peach Ciobani Yogurt
Progresso, no MSG, Chick Noodle Soup
30 minutes on the elicptical
15 minutes on the erg (this was a lot harder than during my rowing days!)
Off to go pick up the little man from daycare -- lets hope he had a good day and no more biting his friends - that way I don't have to go into the frustrations of teaching your child when they dont really even understand why or what. Lets also hope he is in a good mood -- it makes it so much more fun to come home after a very long day, sitting a job, missing your baby; to come home to a happy playful baby!!