Category: Parenting

Car Seats and Winter Coats Can Be Deadly

Posted on Nov 21, 2014 by 1 Comment

It’s 20 degrees and windy when you realize that you need milk. You throw on a heavy coat and wrestle your wiggly toddler into his smaller but similar winter wear. You strap him securely in the car seat, adjusting the straps to accommodate the jacket. You then buckle up your own seat belt never realizing that you have just endangered your child.

Most of us don’t even think about it. It’s just natural to put a child’s coat on when you go out in the winter. In fact, if you had your baby out in winter weather without a coat you might find yourself talking to Child Protective Services.

According to safety experts you should never put a child wearing a heavy coat in a car seat. In fact, when he goes in the seat he should be dressed in inside clothing like a shirt with a sweater over it.

Bulky coats hold the safety straps away from your child’s body, significantly increasing the chance of injury if you get into a car wreck or have to stop suddenly.

Car seats were engineered to secure your child with snug straps. A coat holds the straps away from the body so when you slam on the brakes, for example, your child is thrust forward into the straps with force. After all, there is space inside the coat.

When he has on regular clothing the straps hold him securely to the seat so there is not any excess movement.

They suggest you take the coat along but tuck a blanket around your child while he is in the car seat. You can also put his coat on backwards (as long as it doesn’t cover his face!) over the car seat straps.

source: Today

photo credit: MIKI Yoshihito (´・ω・) via photopin cc

Link Round-up: Natural Teething Solutions, a Peanut Butter Cup Bar Recipe, and More

Posted on Nov 20, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has natural teething solutions, a peanut butter cup bar recipe, cleaning secrets, and more.

Muslin and Merlot taught us how to make glue gun snowflakes.

Kids’ Activities Blog shared natural teething solutions.

How Does She shared 18 of the best cleaning secrets.

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A Beautiful Mess has a peanut butter cup bar recipe.

Olivia Cleans Green showed us how to make vegan lip balm.

A Beautiful Mess taught us how to make spicy peanut noodles.

Pizzazzerie showed us how to make easy, cute Thanksgiving fortune cookies.

Photo credit: Muslin and Merlot and A Beautiful Mess

Mandatory Parenting Classes or Else

Posted on Nov 20, 2014 by No Comments

I don’t know about you but I have about as much free time as — I can’t even think of a good analogy. I have no free time.

Between client work, my own writing, husband, kids, and house I barely have time to watch TV shows or read books that aren’t work related. It is an exhausting, overwhelming schedule.

I have two sons in speech therapy and a daughter that has some teensy learning challenges so I am no stranger to regular school meetings. They are always difficult to fit into the schedule and mean that I have to shift things around on those days.

Thank God they are not weekly!

I read about a New York State bill that would require parents to take four, out of a possible twelve, parenting courses or their children would not be released from sixth grade. Topics would include things like sexual orientation, suicide, and abuse.

The bill also requires employers to give parents paid leave to attend these classes, which puts even more of a hardship on small businesses.

On the one hand, I have met more than one parent that I thought could use a few parenting classes but I have to say that I am firmly against government controlled parenting. The mentality is that since parents won’t even come to parent- teacher conferences the only way they’ll come to these classes is if it is mandated by the state.

The flaw to that way of thinking is that if parents can’t or won’t get away to come to conferences they are not going to attend these classes and their child is going to be in eternal sixth grade.

The other issue I have with this idea is that the parenting classes are going to be biased, and maybe they will have a bias that doesn’t fit in with my belief system. Then what? I am still overwhelmed, still wasting precious time, and I am not even being helped. Personally that would cause an entire shipload of resentment.

It would be better for the state to offer help lines and counselors that the parents, and children, could contact on an as needed basis to get help with specific areas.

A neglectful parent isn’t going to worry about making one of these meetings and their child all ready has enough problems without worrying that they will be in sixth grade forever no matter how good their grades are.

The thing the government never seems to get is that there are always going to be people who fall through the cracks. Not everything can be mandated, and in fact, most things shouldn’t.

That’s were the local people come in. It’s why it’s important to have relationships with neighbors. Those that do fall through the cracks in the government programs can be scooped up by their friends, churches, and neighborhoods.

Good parents are already trying to be the best they can be. They are already researching, talking to other parents, and trying to do their best for their child. Neglectful parents aren’t doing that now, and they won’t do it because some lawmaker decided he needed to write a bill.

What do you think?

photo credit: amboo who? via photopin cc

Pretty Sure I Did Something Right

Posted on Nov 19, 2014 by No Comments

The other night when my husband and I went to bed, we found a carefully colored note leaning against the pillows. Even though I haven’t been able to spend a lot of time with you lately I want you to know I love you both very much.

It was signed by my ten year old daughter. Up until last year she was homeschooled and we spent all of our time together. This year she has become more involved with friends and school and she has her own life. It’s natural and it’s good but we miss the old days.

Anyway, I smiled when I read the note. I understood. I had to start working after spending most of my adult life being a stay at home mom. I work long hours now and I miss having time to sit and talk to the kids, watch television with them, or read aloud to them.

I feel like I am constantly trying to make sure that they understand that I would rather be spending time with them than with my computer. Apparently I have been able to get that point across and the note proved it.

We live in a world where people criticize very easily. We spend hours in a virtual world where people are constantly telling us how to be good parents. If that wasn’t bad enough we tend to compare ourselves to other parents. It’s time to start looking for things that we are doing right and take credit for them.

What are some things that let you know you are “doing something right”?

photo credit: uyht via photopin cc

Parenthood By Text

Posted on Nov 18, 2014 by 1 Comment

“What the heck?”

My 20 year old son had been quietly working on his computer in his room so this loud outburst sort of tore through the quiet of the house. In a few minutes he came walking into my room holding his phone and shaking his head.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“Apparently I am a father.”

Not something I want to hear from my unmarried children. Turns out it isn’t so bad. Someone had submitted his phone number to a site called Do Something. This group spends 12 hours sending random texts , random humorous texts, allowing your teen to virtually experience being a parent.

They get texts like,  I know you’re running late bu-GRRGLE-BARFFFF. Oops, sorry about your shirt. Rappers spit rhymes, I spit up.

It’s great because it’s a non-traditional way to get your kids communicating about teen pregnancy. Since the messages are funny, and come over the phone your teen is more likely to interact.

When they text, the phone baby texts back. Teens talk about the texts among themselves and there is even more communication. Since the texts are about things that happen when you have a baby the cool aspect, that television seems to push, is removed.

I blew out a diaper, what are you going to do? 

My son lost interest fairly quickly and texted, “Hey, it’s not you, it’s me. I am putting you up for adoption.”

The phone baby texted back, “Aww, it’s OK. I understand”

I swear, I had a tear in my eye. I thought the phone baby handled it very graciously.

photo credit: thetejon via photopin cc

Measles Making a Comeback in the U.S.

Posted on Nov 17, 2014 by 1 Comment

When I was growing up, I remember missing my cousin’s wedding because I had the measles. I grew up thinking of it as a childhood disease everyone eventually caught, and in this day of vaccinations, most of us don’t know how serious it can really be. I remember having the rash and not feeling well, but for me the overpowering memory is that I had to miss the wedding.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. Back when I was a kid I didn’t realize it was a respiratory disease which spreads through coughing and sneezing. That’s because the thing that stood out to me was the rash.

The good news is that it is completely preventable with today’s vaccines. The bad news is that it’s making a comeback here in the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), from January 1 to October 31 this year there have been 603 documented cases of measles which were spread out over 22 states. This is the highest number since 1994.

So what do you think is the cause behind this? Some want to point to the people who have decided not to vaccinate their children, but they’ve been around since 1994 so that is not likely the cause.

The real problem is that measles are still a real problem in many other countries. According to a recent paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine, more than 20 million people still get measles each year, and of those 145,700 died in 2013. So Americans traveling should be sure to update their vaccinations.

Too bad we can’t do the same with the influx of undocumented people coming into the country. With them come measles and other painful and fatal diseases we’ve had under control for decades. With high vaccination rates and infection control procedures in place, this disease can be kept in check here in the U.S.

Symptoms of measles itself are inconvenient and uncomfortable and include fever, runny nose, red eyes, sore throat, and of course the rash. The real problem is that about three out of 10 people who get measles develop complications which can include pneumonia, ear infections, or diarrhea.

The worst side effect of measles can be encephalitis which can lead to deafness, cognitive delays, and lasting neurological problems. These complications are more common in adults than young kids, but why risk it if you can vaccinate against it?

Photo credits: wikipedia.org

New Safe Sex Recommendations for Teens

Posted on Nov 14, 2014 by No Comments

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has new recommendations for the way teens practice safe sex.

It’s just kind of sad to me that pediatric experts have to have recommendations for safe sex, and leads to the question of what that term really means. I use to think it meant ways to prevent STDs, but in this case what they are talking about is birth control to more effectively prevent teen pregnancy.

The AAP previously recommended birth control pills and condoms, but now suggests the use of IUDs and other long-term contraceptive devices instead.

These recommendations line up with the current recommendations made by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the reason behind them is that oral contraceptives have shown to be the least effective option for adolescents because they tend to not be consistent in taking them.

The problem is the cost. Birth control pills can cost anywhere from $15 to $50 a month while an IUD, which can provide birth control for up to 12 years, can range in cost from $500 to $1,000.

The IUD is the least expensive, long-term birth control option that is reversible and could cut pregnancy rates by almost 80 percent for sexually active teens.

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that educating teen girls about all forms of contraception and then providing them for free is the way to really curtail unwanted pregnancies.

I agree that would probably work, but it leads to the question of who will pay for free medical treatment. We already see how well that doesn’t work in our attempt to provide Affordable Care.

Statistics show that teen pregnancy has declined almost continuously for the last two decades with a 51 percent decline between 1990 and 2010. These numbers include live births as well as pregnancies terminated through abortion or miscarriage.

This improvement is attributed to an increased number of adolescents waiting to have sex as well as the increased use of contraceptives. That sounds like a sensible approach that’s working, doesn’t it?

Photo credits: wikimedia

“Dear Santa” Joke Backfires

Posted on Nov 13, 2014 by 1 Comment

Thanksgiving isn’t here, but the Christmas decorations are up in the stores. In one Florida Dillard’s store, a sign included in a Christmas display in the girls department has turned into a controversy. It was meant as a joke, but has turned into anything but.

The sign read, “Dear Santa, This year please give me a big fat bank account and a slim body. Please don’t mix those two up like you did last year. Thanks.”

One mom took a picture of the sign and posted it on Facebook. It was shared hundreds of times and quickly collected comments suggesting it sent the wrong message.

For me, all this fuss is making a mountain out of a mole hill. It reminds me of how cartoons used to have different levels of humor so they entertained adults on one level and kids on another, even though they were intended for adults.

But there were critics who didn’t like that either, and gradually, cartoons were dumbed down until most of them are just silly and not really funny.

Critics of the sign are asking, “What would a little girl want with a bank account?” I can think of a couple of ways to answer this.

We could go the direction of teaching our kids the importance of saving, but I don’t think kids would bother reading that sign, and if they did it would be like watching the cartoons and not getting the adult level of the humor.

And if they did read it and wondered what it meant, it would be a chance to explain that it is a grownup joke, and it would be dismissed.

I don’t have a thin body and I don’t have a big fat bank account, but I think the sign is funny. I’ve seen this saying shared on Facebook as a joke before now, so it’s not even an original idea.

It’s just a joke. I really don’t think it’s sending a wrong message. Instead, I think this over reaction sends a wrong message. It shows we’ve lost the ability to laugh at ourselves.

It used to be if you didn’t like something a store did, you’d let management know. If management chose to ignore your complaint, you stopped shopping there. Now with social media bullying, all that has changed. And it’s not a joke.

Photo credits: WPTV News

Making the Most of Your Mornings

Posted on Nov 12, 2014 by 1 Comment

Mornings can be difficult, especially during the winter, so as a mom sometimes you need to get creative to get little people out of beds and up and about.

Honestly, nothing gets the day off to a more frustrating start than children who don’t want to get up and are grouchy.  Seriously, it will leave you and your child in a foul mood for the rest of the day so why not avoid the situation entirely with just a little bit of ingenuity.

Play the food game.

No it’s not morning food fights. Come up with five fast breakfast recipes.

Every night before bed, have your child pick one breakfast out of a hat and put together a breakfast kit for the next morning’s choice. Your child can collect all the ingredients- and place them in a basket ready for the next morning.

Sing a morning song.

Getting everyone to sit down and eat together is extremely difficult when dealing with young children. Do a silly version of musical chairs.

When the music ends, everyone needs to take a seat. The last person to sit down is responsible for cleaning up all of the dishes.

Flip the script.

Sometimes you just need to change the entire schedule. Change the order, eat first one day, get dressed first another, do a silly dance and play some music.

Of course, it will keep things tidier if the kids don’t get dressed until after eating their Eggos with syrup and they should never brush their teeth before eating.

How do you get your kids up and motivated in the morning?

Photo Source: Pen Waggener