Art (4) baby (5) blogs (3) cleaning (4) Dear Mom (5) educational (13) entertainment (11) Free Stuff (3) fun (8) Grrumbles (4) humor (14) issues (10) lunch (3) Medical (9) My Family (13) pregnancy (1) Preschoolers (5) Products (3) reading (1) safety (4) solutions (19) Teens (1) Toddlers (5) Tweens (3)

Monday, March 31, 2008

Dear Mom - March 31, 2008

Dear Mom,

My son is 10 months old and I want to start weaning him off of his bottle. I want to start using a sippy cup, but every time I give him one he only wants to chew on it. How do I get him to accept a sippy cup?

Frustrated Parent

Dear Frustrated,

Allowing your child to play with and chew on a sippy cup is a good start. Chewing on his cup is your child's way of familiarizing himself with this new object. Start by putting small amounts of liquid in the cup. Something sweet, like juice, is a good starter liquid for sippy cups. You should also sample a variety of cups to determine which cup is more appealing to your child. Cups come in many styles and colors. Some cups have soft tips that feel more like a bottle nipple and may be easier for your child to use at first. While drip proof cups may be preferable to you, they are sometimes difficult for a small child to operate because they require the child to suck on the cup to get the fluids out. In order to succeed, you must continue to present the cup as an option and be patient. I also recommend that you only put baby formula in the bottle, saving the cup for juice or water.



Sunday, March 30, 2008

You're Having a WHAT?

Siblings! Some people have them, some don't.

The relationship of siblings is as unique as each child. Some siblings love each other from the day they meet. They play together, learn together, and protect each other. Yet some sibling sets move through life with discord and disagreement. Regardless of the type of relationship a person has with their sibling, it is clear that the sibling connection has a monumental effect on a person's life.

To the parent, dealing with the relationship nuances of siblings can often be trying. This is particularly true for the parents who find that their beloved children have failed to form the loving bond that had been originally anticipated. Finding ways to navigate the conflict between siblings without instilling a sense of favoritism can be a true challenge to parents with multiple children.

The first real issue that parents encounter with siblings is the decision of having a second baby. Some parents choose to have multiple children and some choose to stick with just one child. There are valid considerations for each side of this decision. If you decide to have a second (or third, or more...) child, then presenting this information to your current child is the first important task that you will face.

The age of your firstborn child will determine the method that you should use when approaching the news that a new baby will be arriving. An older child will have a greater ability to comprehend the reality of a new addition to the family. However, an older child who has been an only child for an extended period of time may be more resistant and displeased with the news of this new addition. A younger child will not fully comprehend what it means to have a new baby. Yet the younger child will adjust the transition far easier in most instances.

There are several steps you can take to make this transition easier for your child, regardless of age. First, decide when to tell your child of the expected change. If your child is younger than 5 or 6, it is best to delay the news as long as possible. Children have a poor sense of time and the announcement of a new baby will be met with excitement and expectation (or immediate resentment and hostility) with no comprehension that the baby's arrival will be months away.

When your new baby arrives, your family and friends will be bringing gifts and goodies for the new baby. This may leave your older child feeling left out and jealous. Make a special effort to include your older child in the festivities. A child that is fairly young can help you open gifts and will even enjoy playing with the new baby's toys. There is no harm in letting an older child play with baby rattles, and the older child will feel as though she is being included in the gifting. You might also consider having a few small gifts set aside to give your child when visitors show up with new gifts for the baby.

Your older child should be allowed to be as involved, or not, as she wishes. Resist the urge to force your older child to acknowledge and interact with the new baby if she isn't interested. You will only increase any resentment if you try to force the relationship.

If the older child is interested and wants to participate, providing opportunities for the child to help you with the new baby is a good way to involve the older child and instill a feeling of accomplishment. You might also get some much needed assistance.

Remember to keep a sense of humor during this time of transition and remind your older child that you love her just as much, even though there is a new person in the house.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Creative Collage

To entertain your child and provide creative opportunities, let your child make a collage.

What you need:

Clear contact paper

Pictures from magazines, cut out and ready to use (you can also use extra snapshot photos)

Silk flower petals

Confetti, glitter, string, any small items that you feel would be useful

What to do:

Remove the backing from the contact paper and place the paper sticky side up. You can use tape to secure the paper to the table for stability.

Let your child pick and choose what she wants to place onto the paper. The sticky backing of the contact paper will act like glue.

After your child has finished creating her masterpiece, place another piece of contact paper onto the artwork in order to create a "frame". Press the paper together to seal the sticky sides together.

Trim the excess contact paper from your masterpiece and then display your child's artwork.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Remember to Take Care of Yourself, Too...

The most important lesson of motherhood is learning that you must make yourself a priority. It is imperative that you take care of yourself in order to be able to care for those around you. This is often difficult to do when those around you demand 25 hours out of a 24 hour day. How does a mom manage to take a shower, eat or even enjoy a moment of reading when there are small people who fail to understand the concept of personal space? Even going to the bathroom alone can be a real challenge when there are small children around. Those few times when you actually do manage to sneak into the bathroom alone, you find yourself being accosted the moment you walk out the door by accusatory glares claiming that you are neglectful for daring to enter the bathroom alone.

In order to take care of yourself, you need to identify what you need and then arrange to have those needs fulfilled.

Start by finding a way to shower or bathe daily. (Okay, at least every other day...) This is important because when you are clean you feel refreshed and ready to tackle the world (or maybe just two needy toddlers).

Mange to eat at least one meal per day. Granted, you will probably be sharing that meal with random small people, but at least you will have fed yourself. Of course, you could opt to eat those things which children absolutely insist will surely cause them to die a painful death if eaten. After all, what child do you know that will eat anything with vegetables in it, and many good pasta dishes are just FILLED with vegetables.

Find an hour a day to do something that you enjoy. Maybe a bit of reading or enjoying a hobby for that hour (or maybe just ten minutes if you can manage) will remind you that there is more to your life than diapers and demanding demons - I mean children!

Cultivate you friendships. Talk with your friends about something other than children. Remember when you did not have children and you could talk with your friends for hours about nothing. It is important to continue having those conversations.

Cultivate your romance. Your partnership is just as important to your children as your attention. Take time to remind your partner why you chose him. Make time for dates and connecting with each other.

Remember that there was a life before kids.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Helping Kids Deal With Death

The time comes in every parent's life when we must explain to our children what it means for someone to die. It is never an easy topic to discuss. I find myself in this unpleasant position today as my husband's step-grandmother will be passing away very soon. My dear Kira and Marisa have both known and loved their Granny from the very beginning of their lives. She was their willing ride, waiting to wheel them around in her chair. She has been the blessing in disguise who could gently rock them to sleep without their ever suspecting the end result of her gentle movements because, after all, they were in her chair and not a bed.

Now, she is the mortal reality that has forced me to explain to my oversensitive 3 year old that Granny is dying and what that means for our family. As I find myself in this position so soon in her life, I found myself searching for the best advice on explaining death to children.

What I know is this:

Never tell a child that death is like going to sleep because the child will equate sleep with death and then fear sleep.

Never tell a child that someone died from sickness. If you do, your child will fear each sickness and ask if this is when they, too, will die.

Truth is always best. Explaining death to children is simple when the person dying is very old. The death of a younger person is not so easy. Yet truth is the simplest explanation that can ever be given.

So to my dear Kira, I find myself saying that death is simply one more part of life. It is an absolute certainty in life that death will come.

It is important to tailor the explanation to the child. Kira is young enough to lack full comprehension of death, though she does understand that death is final. She senses the tension in the people around her. She sees her Granny in bed and unable to respond. She knows that Granny is dying. She knows she doesn't like this dying.

If you find yourself needing to explain death to your child, you can find more detailed information at KidsHealth or Kid's Turn Central.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

You Might Be A Mom If . . .

I came across this today and found it most amusing, particularly since it applies to me. For more bits of parenting humor, visit here.

1. Your feet stick to the kitchen floor, and you don't care.

2. When the kids are fighting, you threaten to lock them in a room together and not let them out until someone is bleeding.

3. You can't find your cordless phone, so you ask a friend to call you, and you run around the house madly, following the sound until you locate the phone downstairs in the laundry basket.

4. You spend an entire week wearing sweats.

5. Your idea of a good day is making it through without a child leaking bodily fluids on you.

6. Popsicles become a food staple.

7. Your favorite television show is a cartoon.

8. Peanut butter and jelly is eaten at least in one meal a day.

9. You're willing to kiss your child's boo-boo, regardless of where it is.

10. Your kids make jokes about bodily functions, and you think it's funny.

11. You're so desperate for adult conversation that you spill your guts to the telemarketer that calls...and HE hangs up on YOU!

12. Spit is your number one cleaning agent.

13. You buy cereal with marshmallows in it.

14. The closest you get to gourmet cooking is making Rice Krispie treats.

15. You're up each night until 10:00 P.M. vacuuming, dusting, wiping, washing, drying, loading, unloading, shopping, cooking, driving, flushing, ironing, sweeping, picking up, changing sheets, changing diapers, bathing, helping with homework, paying bills, budgeting, clipping coupons, folding clothes, putting to bed, dragging out of bed, brushing, chasing, buckling, feeding (them, not you), PLUS swinging, playing baseball, bike riding, pushing trucks, cuddling dolls, roller blading, basketball, football, catch, bubbles, sprinklers, slides, nature walks, coloring, crafts, jumping rope, PLUS raking, trimming, planting, edging, mowing, gardening, painting, and walking the dog. You get up at 5:30 AM and you have no time to eat, sleep, drink, or go to the bathroom, and still managed to gain 10 pounds.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dear Mom - March 25, 2008

Dear Mom,

I'm overrun by toys. My kids don't play with half of them, especially the stuffed animals. I have 4 garbage bags full of stuffed animals and literally hundreds of books. Then there's the wooden blocks, Lego's, ponies, dress up clothes, masks, hats, Bratz and Barbies, plastic animals, dinosaurs, play dishes and food, dolls with clothes and accessories, and various vehicles. There is educational toys, outside toys, puzzles, board games, and many baby toys.

I just want to give it all away, especially all those stuffed animals. How do I get it all organized? My house isn't very big, so there isn't a lot of extra storage space. I am also on a budget, so I don't want to spend a great deal of money just to organize toys. Please tell me how to get these toys under control.

Living in a toy box

Dear Toy Box,

The very first thing you need to do is sort through the toys. You can not get organized until you know exactly what you have. Start by creating FOUR piles for your project. You might consider doing this when none of your children are around to argue the value of a specific toy that you know they never play with. If they don't see you discard it, then they will probably never even miss it.

PILE #1 is for all the toys that are broken or missing pieces. Do not over think this. If it is broken, you toss it, regardless of the possibility that you may be able to fix it. It is best to set up a trash can in the spot for pile #1 so you can simply throw these objects directly into the trash.

PILE #2 is for all the toys that are outgrown or the kids just don't like them anymore. You have multiple options for this set of toys. You can sell them in a yard sale or consignment store if you are in a good location. However, I advise that you donate these items. You can use the donation as a tax break at the end of the year if you get a receipt and less fortunate children will receive some much needed toys. Your local Department of Family and Children Services is the best spot for donating outgrown toys and clothes because they have such a large volume of children that are removed from homes and never allowed to bring their own things with them. You can also donate to a local thrift store if you wish or if you have friends that are in need, then that is a viable option as well (though not tax deductible).

PILE #3 is for all the toys that you are unsure of. You don't know if you want to get rid of it or keep it. You just can't decide. You know if you ask your kids that they will demand to keep it all (even the broken and outgrown). After you finish sorting everything, you put all these toys in boxes and put them away for a couple of months. After some time has passed, you revisit the boxes to determine if anything still holds its appeal. Then you deal with these items accordingly.

PILE #4 is for all the toys that you are keeping. This pile can be broken into sub-categories: outgrown, but can't part with; still play with regularly; still play with occasionally.

After you have sorted all your toys, you need to decide how to organize the things you have chosen to keep. The best way to do this is to purchase clear containers with lids and then label those containers according to what goes inside. Most dollar stores sell plastic shoe boxes that just happen to be the perfect size for storing small toys. Larger boxes can be purchased at Wal-Mart.

(If you don't have a dollar store near you, see if a friend has one near them and would be willing to purchase and mail the boxes to you. If that fails, feel free to email me and I would be happy to arrange for the purchase and shipping of the boxes as I have several Dollar Trees near me.)

The outgrown toys that hold special value should be boxed up and stored. If storage space is a premium, you can put this box under the bed for safe-keeping.

After you have your boxes, begin sorting the toys into separate boxes based on what they are. All the ponies in one box and all the cars in another. The dinosaurs over here and the Lego's over there. You get the idea, right.

When everything is sorted, you explain to your children that it is their responsibility to put their toys away when they are finished with them. Here is where you have to be a bit harsh. Tell them ahead of time that any toys left out at the end of the day will be rounded up and donated to the local DFCS without regard to what the toy may be. Of course, the only way this will work is if you follow through. Trust me when I say that the very first time a treasured toy is donated because somebody failed to put it away will be the very last time anybody fails to put their things away. To be fair, you should remind your children for the first few weeks of your new rule before you take any action. After 6 to 8 weeks, though, they should have figured out what the new rule is and be able to comply.

Be prepared to spend two or more days on this project if your toys have completely overrun your house. The key to finishing the project is pacing yourself and playing some really good music while you work. A good bottle of wine may help, too. And don't forget the chocolate! Chocolate makes everything better. If you have a friend that is willing to help, company will make the job easier to complete.

For more great suggestions, visit Gohn Crazy. I came across her article while researching ways to organize toys.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Oh the joy of whiny days...

Every parent encounters them.

Some parents are blessed with fewer than other parents.

Whiny days - they happen to even the most experienced parent.

The key to eliminating the Whiny Day when it first begins in to know how to deal with whatever issues may be causing your Whiny Day.

Whiny Days are as different as children and have various causes and resolutions. Some Whiny Days are easy to cure and others turn out to be an all day event (like today at my house, where absolutely NOTHING has worked to put an end to the Whinies - not even CHOCOLATE).
If you happen to be lucky enough to determine what is causing your Whiny Day, then you may be able to put an end to the Whinies much quicker.


Whiny Days are most often caused by sleepy children. Children who fail to acquire enough sleep are inevitably too tired to enjoy their day, and yet too darn stubborn to succumb to the beckoning of the bed. Children are, after all, allergic to sleep and will employ whatever means necessary to avoid the dreaded nap.


Sleep is not always the culprit, though. If you are certain that your child has received an adequate level of sleep and the Whinies are still attacking, then you should consider the possibility that your child is beginning to get sick. If your child does not feel well, then she will be whiny. This is particularly true for the younger child who is incapable of expressing her feelings with an appropriate level of words. Instead, she whines.


So if you rule out sleep, and you feel your child is not sick, then what else is there? Perhaps your child is simply in need of some extra love and attention. An extra half hour of sitting in your lap doing nothing but snuggling may cure the Whinies. Snuggling almost always cures the ails of any child.


But then what happens if you have managed to reach this point and your child is STILL whiny? What is a parent to do when the child is not sleepy, sick, or in need of attention?

Consider the possibility that your child may be encountering a growth spurt which requires extra food. Growth spurts typically make a child extra hungry. Providing them with extra food may help alleviate some of their discomfort.


Perhaps you have made the previously mentioned assessments and still have not figured out what is causing your Whiny Day or how to fix it. I have come across a few activities that almost always work to put an end to the Whinies early in the day, leaving me to have a peaceful and happy afternoon. (Not today, of course. My monsters -ahem, angels - decided very early that today would be a Whiny Day all day.)


WATER PLAY - Set your child up with a few bowls of water and some spoons and measuring cups. This is a good activity to set up in the driveway or on the deck. (Of course, this only works when the temperature is above 65 because you can't really send a child out to play in water when it's 50 degrees outside --- LIKE TODAY)

THE TENT - Tents will usually work to entertain even the whiniest child. You can use sheets and chairs to create a tent that your children will enjoy hiding under and eating under and if you're really lucky then your children will enjoy sleeping inside the tent, too. (My children are on to my tricks here and even the mention of a tent to day was met with hostile glares of understanding.)

THE BATH - Bath time usually causes laughs and giggles to erupt even from whiny children. Just mix a few toys with a couple of whiny babies and, VOILA!, no more Whinies. (Unfortunately for me, the gas company felt the need to disconnect my gas this morning even though I paid them on Friday. Seeing how Friday was a holiday, no payments were actually processed. No gas means no hot water. No hot water means no bath.)

THE TELEVISION - Usually, a few well chosen movies can be used to bribe a whiny child into a bit of peaceful quiet. It is a good idea to have a small selection of movies that are only brought out on the occasions when bribing is most needed. (Again, my kids are wise beyond their years and have refused the allure of the most wonderful programming available to man-kind.)

THE PLAYGROUND - Physical activity is almost always a good option for distracting a child that is determined to engage in the Whinies. Playgrounds are wonderful places to visit on days that are proving to be Whiny Days. If your neighborhood has a good playground, use it. (Yeah, did I mention that it never got above 50 degrees today and even SNOWED for a short while?)


If you find yourself encompassed in a perpetual Whiny Day, sometimes the best thing to do is just give in. Allow your child the freedom to whine while you indulge in your favorite drink and treat yourself to your favorite chocolaty treat. Wait for reinforcements to arrive and then run for cover, leaving your reinforcement to find their own method of fighting through the Whinies.

Or, there's always duct tape...

This photograph was borrowed from here. It wasn't me.....though the thought may have occurred a time or two today.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Science 101 - How To Make A Geyser

If you want an entertaining and educational activity to share with your child, teach her about geysers. This is a simple lesson that you can teach in just a few minutes. All you need is a bathtub full of water, an empty shampoo bottle that is soft enough to squeeze (lid removed), and a willing child.

For this activity, you should be willing to get wet, as you will likely be the victim of some misdirected splashing.

It is always best, when teaching such a lesson, that you start before you get near the water by explaining to your child what a geyser looks like. You can do this by way of a simple Internet search or by referring to one of the current popular children's' movies. Ice Age, The Meltdown actually has a scene in it where Manny runs through a series of exploding geysers. If you show this movie to your child, or just this section, and tell her that she gets to learn how to make one then you will have created instant interest.

Once you get to the water with the necessary supplies, I recommend that you also use this lesson to trick your child into taking a bath. This is especially useful for those parents who have a child that despises bath time. After all, this works much better if your child is already naked. That way you avoid soaked clothing and having to extract a squirmy child from super clingy, wet clothes.

After your child is submersed in the water, take the shampoo bottle and hold it in the water without submerging the opening of the bottle. Tell your child that you are going to submerge the bottle before you do. After the bottle is full of water, tell your child that you are going to create a geyser. Squeeze the sides of the bottle while still under water in a manner that will cause the water to shoot up out of the tub. Younger children will find this to be hilarious, while older kids will likely be intrigued and want more information.

Now that you have demonstrated the creation of a geyser, fill the bottle with water again and then hold it above the water so your child can see what you are doing. Explain to your child that pressure is what causes the water to be forced out of the shampoo bottle, creating a geyser. Then show your child how you create the pressure by slowly squeezing the shampoo bottle and making the water come out of the top of the bottle. After you have done this slowly the first time, explain that when pressure is harder, then the geyser goes higher. You will be required to demonstrate the higher geyser, as well.

When you have finished explaining and demonstrating how geysers are formed, your child is most likely going to want to produce a geyser or two million herself. Here is where that misdirected splashing comes to play. See, once your child masters the creation of the upward moving geyser, she is going to begin to experiment with pressure and force as it is applied to a full bottle of water. She will probably start by aiming the bottle at the bathtub wall. When that skill is mastered, she will begin to see you as a genuinely wonderful target for pressure exertion practice. You WILL get wet. Your child has far better aim than you could ever imagine, and a side-aimed geyser goes much farther than an upward-aimed geyser.

Just so there is no misunderstanding, this project is not for those with an inability to cope with the wild abandon of a child who has just been shown how to create the perfect weapon, ahem - I mean GEYSER.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Spring

I hope everybody enjoys their holiday weekend.

Spring is officially here as of today. Warm weather opens the door to more outside play. Children absolutely adore being outside. Scout your neighborhood for the best playgrounds and get outside to play. Be sure to check your playground for safety.

The following information is brought to you by U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Public Playground Safety Checklist

Make sure surfaces around playground equipment have at least 12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand, or pea gravel, or are mats made of safety-tested rubber or rubber-like materials.

Check that protective surfacing extends at least 6 feet in all directions from play equipment.

For swings, be sure surfacing extends, in back and front, twice the height of the suspending bar.

Make sure play structures more than 30 inches high are spaced at least 9 feet apart.

Check for dangerous hardware, like open "S" hooks or protruding bolt ends.

Make sure spaces that could trap children, such as openings in guardrails or between ladder rungs, measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches.

Check for sharp points or edges in equipment.

Look out for tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks.

Make sure elevated surfaces, like platforms and ramps, have guardrails to prevent falls.

Check playgrounds regularly to see that equipment and surfacing are in good condition.

Carefully supervise children on playgrounds to make sure they're safe.

Personalized Mothers Day Gifts

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What Does A New Baby Need?

Every new parent has a list of what they need to buy for their new baby. There are many lists available in books and on websites that indicate what a new parent should provide for their new baby. Many of these lists are unrealistic or impractical. Product companies market to the uncertainty of new parents by telling you that you absolutely "NEED" this new product, when in reality the new product is neither useful nor necessary. I hope this article will help new parents understand that babies do not require everything that the product companies say they need.

Below is my list for what a new parent absolutely must have for their new baby, along with a few luxuries that are almost essential to the sanity of any new parent:

-A car seat--You absolutely must have a car seat. The hospital will not allow you to leave without a properly installed car seat. The infant car seat that also doubles as a carrier is the best option. It provides the most comfort for your child and will be used for multiple purposes. It is a carrier, a car seat, a place for baby to sit up and watch you, a good napping spot when you are out and about. You do not need to get the most expensive car seat. I do not advise using a used car seat unless it is less than 4 years old AND you know without a doubt that the seat has NEVER been involved in any kind of accident. As a seat ages, the plastic begins to break down and may not hold together in a collision. Also, if the car seat was involved in a collision, there may have been hairline cracks and another collision might possibly cause the seat to break - leaving your child unprotected.

-A bed--Your baby needs a bed of some kind. Even if you plan to co-sleep, you will need somewhere to lay your baby safely when you are not sleeping. A crib is typically considered to be the ideal bed for a baby. You can purchase a new crib, or you can save money by finding a used crib at a yard sale or thrift store. Many new cribs are priced as low as $100.00 for a crib without a mattress. However, cribs can be found for thousands of dollars. If you have money to spare, go ahead and buy an expensive crib if that is your desire. However, it is not necessary to spend top dollar for a crib. The less expensive crib is just as sturdy and safe as the other cribs. Your child will not care either way.

You can also opt to purchase a pack-n-play instead of a crib. If you purchase one that has a built in bassinet then it becomes a convenient spot to lay a baby. This is a good option for co-sleepers or for apartment dwellers with minimal space for their new baby's necessities. A pack-n-play is also a good idea if you live in a multi-level home because you can have the baby nearby during the day instead of in a crib on a different level of the home. Pack-n-plays are great for travelling with a baby, too, because they are easily relocated.

-Bedding--You will need some type of bedding for your baby's bed. One or two crib sheets is sufficient. You can get by with one, but having a second sheet makes laundry a little easier to deal with. It is not necessary to have crib blankets or bumpers. These are little decorating touches that are nice, but if money is an issue they can be left off the list. Thrift stores or EBay is a good option for buying bedding at a low price.

-Diapers--Every baby needs something to cover their bottom. This will be your most expensive purchase because you will be buying diapers for at least two years. If you or any of your friends are a member of a warehouse club, buy your diapers there. It is far less expensive to buy the name brand diapers in bulk instead of buying off brand diapers.

If buying in bulk is not an option, then there are many off-brand diapers that are just as good as Pampers or Huggies. I have tried just about every diaper on the market. I have found that Target Brand diapers are really good. I am not fond of the White Cloud diapers, though. They have a distinct odor that aggravates my Asthma. Never be afraid to try the off-brand diapers. If you like them, then you have found a good way to save money. If you do not like them, then you did not really waste a lot of money and you can still use them until they are gone.

If people ask you what you need for the baby, this is your number one request. Ask for Sizes 1 and 2, as those will be what you need in the beginning. Be sure to have one or two packs of Newborn diapers because the larger sizes may not fit a new baby. Do not open the packs, though, until you need to. Stores will allow returns of diapers if the packs are unopened.

-Wipes---Just like diapers, you will probably need plenty of diaper wipes. Yes, you can opt for using a wash cloth and just rinsing it out and throwing it in the washing machine. However, the convenience that diaper wipes offer is well worth the expense. This is another product that you can save money on by trying the off-brand wipes. If you find that you do not like a product, simply mark it off as experience.

Add this to your wish list if people are asking what you need. You will go through millions of diaper wipes throughout your baby's younger years.

I would like to note here that you DO NOT NEED a wipe warmer. This is one item that companies market to new parents as if it is a necessity. However, it is something that you will probably not even use after a few days. Your hand will warm a wipe just fine.

- Clothing---Yes, you actually need clothes for your baby. Even I have to admit that there is no way to have a baby and not spend money on clothing. What you do NOT NEED is FIVE of everything, or even one of everything that those other lists indicate.

Here is what you need for your baby to be suitably dressed. For the first few months, you should have 15 to 20 complete outfits. The reason for having so many clothes is because babies often spit up and require a change of clothing several times a day. Unless you plan to wash your baby's clothes every day, you will want to have several outfits. I recommend sleepers and infant gowns for young babies. The sleepers have footies in them to keep a baby's feet warm and gowns are just easy to navigate. Creepers, onsie type outfits with snaps across the crotch and all the way up the front, are also nice to have. They are easy to get a squirmy baby in and out of.

If you live in a cold area, then you will also need to have a hat and a jacket or snowsuit for your baby.

-Blankets---I recommend that you have two or three light-weight blankets. Receiving blankets are good for swaddling your new baby and they are light enough to prevent overheating. As your child gets older, you can purchase heavier blankets.

-Sleeper Blanket---The sleeper blanket that you wrap your baby in and zip up is a good option for keeping your child warm at night without having to be concerned about your baby suffocating in a pile of blankets.

-Bottles---You will need bottles. Even if you intend to breast feed, you will need one or two bottles. For new babies, you can keep the glass bottles and nipples that you used while you were in the hospital. Your baby will probably not eat more than one of those full bottles for a few weeks, so these are the perfect size. They are yours to keep, too, because the hospital will not reuse them. Just wash them in the dishwasher (or sterilize them in boiling water) and you need not spend money on bottles for a while. As your child gets older, you will need to get bigger bottles. I recommend that you start with the less expensive bottles. I have known many people who purchased the more expensive bottle systems only to have their child reject the bottle in favor of a less expensive style.


Now that I have covered the absolute essentials, I am going to list a few luxuries that I feel are absolutely worth buying. Some items just make your life easier.

-A rocking chair---Babies love to be rocked. A good, comfortable rocking chair will make you more comfortable while you are catering to your child.

-A baby swing---The one item that is absolutely the most important luxury for the sanity of new parents is a swing. You need not purchase a fancy, expensive swing in order to get the benefits. Babies love to swing. If your child is fussy and you need a moment of sanity, a swing will offer you some much needed quiet and your child will probably be asleep in just a few minutes. If you can only afford ONE luxury or someone offers to provide you with ONE big item - THIS is what you want.

-A bottle warmer---You do not really need a bottle warmer. For the most part, you can warm a bottle in the microwave for 10 seconds and then shake it and test it before giving it to your baby. What you might want to add to your luxuries list is a bottle warmer that will plug into your car. After months of telling my husband how nobody ever needed a bottle warmer, I was blessed with a child that refused to drink anything that was even a little bit cool no matter how hungry she was. I had to go order a bottle warmer for my car. I had no choice because we were often out when she decided she was hungry.

-An infant carrier or sling---A sling or carrier will make it easier for you to get you shopping or chores done. Your baby will sleep soundly while you walk around the store or do laundry at home. Be prepared for people to stop you and ask what you have inside your pouch, though. And the occasional store employee may treat you as if you are trying to steal something. I found it to be very amusing, though, when cashiers would demand to see what I was "hiding" in my sling.


Here is a list of the items that you really do not need. If you have them, it is okay. But if your budget is limited, you can fore go these purchases without even an ounce of guilt.

-A changing table---The bed, sofa, or floor will do just fine.

-A baby bath tub---Use the sink or the big bath tub. I found that running a bath for me and taking my baby into the warm water was much easier than trying to bathe a squirmy baby in the sink or a baby bath. As long as you maintain a firm grip on your baby at all times, being in the big bath is safe and enjoyable. Babies love being submersed in warm water. You can also opt for running just a few inches of water and laying the baby on a towel in the bath while you sit in the tub with him. For the busy mom, this also gives you an opportunity to relax in a warm bath, especially if Daddy comes to get the baby out and dressed while you stay in the bath for a little longer.

-Baby towels---Your bath towels are perfectly fine to use with your baby.

-Baby toys---Your newborn baby does not need toys. He won't be able to play with them, so you need not waste money on them. Even as your child gets older, you can entertain him with things that you have around your house such as measuring spoons or by making your own toys such as the Shaky Bottle listed on one of my other posts.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Great Toy Race

I have developed a new game around my house. It is called The Great Toy Race. I have been trying to get my two babies to put their own toys away and keep them out of our living room. So in my infinite wisdom, I decided to make cleaning up more of a game than a chore.

The Rules ---

Mommy says "Ready, Set, Go" and then Kira and Marisa race to pick up one toy and take it and put it away.

The Result ---

Now Kira begs to play The Toy Race. Marisa, of course, just runs around during this race because she is not yet 2 years old and rarely manages to get a toy before Kira is back for the next round. They both have a great deal of fun doing this, though. And most of their toys get moved back into the toy room without much effort from me. The toys are not necessarily put in the toy box, but we can work on that later.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Shaky Bottle

This is an art project idea that I have read in many different locations over the years. Children will enjoy making and then shaking their very own shaky bottle.

Below is the instructions to create your very own shaky bottle.


1 or more clean, empty plastic drink bottles (20 oz soda bottles are perfect)

Water (or baby oil to make the things inside fall slower)

Glitter and/or confetti


Small objects that can fit inside the bottle. (buttons, coins, beads)
Try to vary the weight of the objects so some will sink and some will float.
Also, be sure to use a variety of colors and designs for added interest.

Dish Detergent / Food Coloring (Optional)


Gather all your supplies in one place. Consider doing this outside in the driveway or laying a sheet on the floor and doing this on the sheet. Glitter does tend to be messy and difficult to clean up.

Let your child pick which items he wants to put in his bottle. For a young child, limit the choices to 4 or 5 options because he will likely want them all. For an older child, you can have just about as many options as you can come up with and then tell your child to pick 4 or 5 big items and 4 or 5 small items. This gives your older child a great deal of control over his creation and we all know how children love to be in control.

Let him put all his chosen items into the bottle. Do this BEFORE you add the water to minimize the mess. The items should only fill the bottom of the bottle. With this project, using fewer items is best. Just be sure what you make available has very interesting features and varies in size, color and shape.

Let your child choose one or two colors of glitter / confetti to add to the bottle. It is best to limit the amount of glitter added to the bottle to maintain visibility when the bottle is shaken.

After your child has placed all of his items in the bottle, fill the bottle to the top with water.

You may also add a drop or two of dish detergent to make bubbles when the bottle is shaken, or a drop or two of food coloring to change the color of the water (light colors are best).

I recommend adding a bit of glue to the inside of the bottle lid before you close the bottle. This will keep your child from opening the bottle and shaking the contents all over your carpet, furniture and walls. (Not that our perfect little angels would EVER even consider doing such a thing...)

Sunday, March 16, 2008


I found a really cool website I want to share. It was listed in July 2007 Parents magazine. The website has a set of web cams. One is streaming video of a watering hole. Others are live web cams that are updated every few minutes. The live feed, streaming video also includes sound.

There is a 6 hour time difference. When it is 12:00AM here, it is 6:00AM there and the sun is just coming up around that time. The magazine said that this is a watering hole frequently visited by elephants.

Indeed, in the time since I first discovered this website, I have seen elephants, giraffes, zebra, wart hogs, various deer and antelopes, and lots of birds. There is apparently an off-site location where the camera can be controlled because the camera will follow the movements of the animals throughout the day.

It is definitely worth your time to visit this site. Your kids will enjoy watching the animals play in the water and chase each other.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Dear Mom - March 15, 2008

Dear Mom,

I have two wonderful kids. One is 4 years old. One is 17 months old. Frankly, I just can not seem to motivate myself to have fun with them. I am looking for a few ideas for indoor activities that will get us all moving and having fun. I am looking for something other than arts and crafts because I want us all to be more active even though we are inside due to the cold weather.

Bored Mom

Dear Bored,

Let's face it. Every mother at some point in her life becomes bored with the activities that entertain small children. After all, we are NOT small children. There is only so much singing, marching and reading of stories that our adult minds can tolerate. However, it is important to try to fill your child's day with interesting activities.

Below is a list of some suggested activities to get you and your kids moving even when you are stuck indoors due to bad weather:

-HIDE AND SEEK: This is not the traditional hide and seek that you knew and loved as a kid, this game incorporates the use a few small stuffed animals and one really good room for hiding those animals. The living room is usually the best spot, as it typically has lots of furniture. You have your children wait in a different room where they can not see where the animals are hidden. Then, after you hide the animals is suitable locations based on the age of the child, you bring them into the room and let them seek the animals. This will last for at least one round and will likely turn into multiple rounds of hide and seek that only ends when you are too tired or too bored to hide anymore animals.
-THE TENT: Take a few sheets and blankets, combine with kitchen chairs and assorted pieces of furniture, drape cloth over furniture to create a really cool tent for the kids to hide in. You will hear them. You will probably not see them. If you are really motivated, you can turn your entire living room into a huge tent/maze. The kids will love you.
-MUSIC: Put on some of your favorite music from when you were a kid and start dancing around the house. Your children will join you. They will not be able to help themselves (unless they happen to be teenagers - then they will just stare at you like you are crazy).
-SOCK FIGHTS: On laundry day, take all the mated socks and divide your kids into teams. If you only have one or two children, then it will have to be the kids against Mommy. Set one team up on one side of the bed and one team up on the other side of the bed. Arm each team with a suitable number of sock bombs. Declare war on the other team and start throwing socks at each other. This fight will end in helpless giggling. As an added bonus, your children will probably love this game so much that they willingly offer to match and roll all the socks for you just so they can have a sock fight.
-COIN PLAY: Take all your saved coins and pour them in the middle of your floor. Be sure to choose a place where coins are not likely to be lost under the furniture. Let the children run their fingers through the coins, drop them to hear the sound they make, and just have fun playing with them. You can also use this as a teaching moment by pointing out to your children what each coin is, and depending on their age, what the coin value is. This activity can also be done using a large collection of buttons or Coke bottle lids of varying colors, shapes and sizes.
-WATER PLAY: Give each child a bucket or large pan with warm, soapy water. Include a wash cloth in the bucket. Turn the kids lose on your kitchen floor. They will enjoy "scrubbing" the floor (and making a complete mess). Be prepared for cleaning up with a few large towels. The kids will also enjoy "skating" over the floor to dry up the excess water. When they are finished, your floor may actually be clean enough to eat off of.
-CHASE: Pretend you are a lion or tiger and chase your kids around the house. When they've hidden in their rooms, pretend to slink away as if you've been outsmarted and then wait until they come back out. Turn around and give chase again while they run from you screaming and giggling all the way.
-HORSE RIDES: If you are physically capable of doing this, your children will enjoy this activity. Get on all fours and let one child climb up on your back. Have the other child lead you around while you give the rider a ride around the house. Switch places after a few minutes so that each child gets a turn riding and leading. You can use a scarf or ribbon as your "rope" for the leader to use.
-JUNGLE GYM: Take all the pillows and sofa cushions in the house. Pile them in the living room floor and tell your children that they need to climb the mountain. They will be entertained for a while just climbing up and over and down their very own jungle gym. Feel free to add in a few blankets, too. Depending on how motivated you can be, you can use this opportunity to vacuum all those cookie crumbs and dust bunnies off the sofa where they inevitably accumulate under the cushions.
-OBSTACLE COURSE: Set up an obstacle course using sofa cushions, blankets, kitchen chairs, and any other item you can think of. Show your kids how the course works and then time them while they maneuver through their obstacle course. Be sure to make this appropriate to the child's age and abilities.
-BATHTUB ART: Buy some bathtub crayons and markers. Run about two inches of water into the tub because these products do require water. Put your kids in their swimsuits (or birthday suits) and let them go wild on the bathroom tile. The crayons and markers are really easy to wash off the bathtub and the kids will have a blast writing on the shower walls. ***PLEASE NOTE: IT HAS BEEN MY EXPERIENCE THAT THE CRAYON WAX WILL BUILD UP IN YOUR PIPES AND MAKE YOUR DRAIN CLOG. TO AVOID THIS, YOU SHOULD POUR BOILING WATER DOWN YOUR DRAIN ONCE OR TWICE A MONTH, DEPENDING ON HOW OFTEN YOUR CHILDREN USE THE CRAYONS.***

The key in keeping yourself and your children entertained is variety. With a little planning, you will be able to fill your days with enjoyment. As you begin to see just how much your children love having you interact with them, you will be more motivated to continue finding unique ways to entertain them. Remember, your child's interests are the most important factor in any games you play.

For specific suggestions regarding this topic and your child, or any other questions you may have, please contact Mom at

Friday, March 14, 2008

Dear Mom - March 14, 2008

Dear Mom,

We are going to New York to visit family this weekend. I want to get some toys for the car ride for my one year old. The drive will take 8 hours. He will probably sleep for most of the trip, but I need to be prepared in case he doesn't. Any suggestion?

Signed: Traveling with Toddler

Dear Traveling,

I recommend that you create a travel box for your trip. You can get a plastic container at your local dollar store to contain all the toys, or anywhere that storage supplies are sold. Decorate your child's box with stickers and markers or anything that will make the box look special and exciting. Be sure to put your child's name on his box. This is especially important if you are travelling with more than one child as each child should have his own travel box. The items inside the box should be age appropriate and directed to the specific interests of the child. The items should also be a surprise so that your child is excited about opening his box and finding out what is inside.

Below is a list of suggested items to include for a one year old:

-Small bags of snacks such as pretzels or cereal
-A travel size Magna Doodle type toy
-One or two noisy toys -- a fake cell phone, a small musical toy with buttons to push
-A new stuffed animal
-A collection of figurines appropriate for small children such as Pooh or Care Bears
-Pencils and paper (I don't recommend crayons in the car because they will melt if the interior of the car gets hot while parked.)
-Color Wonders Markers and paper is also a good choice for the car because there is no mess with these markers.
-A collection of key rings. You can buy standard key rings in the craft section of Wal-Mart. You can also get novelty key rings there or at your local dollar store. String the plain key rings and the novelty key rings together to make a "lump" of key rings for your child to explore. Be sure to get colorful novelty key rings. The wording does not really matter when dealing with a one year old, but it does need to be eye catching.

When all else fails --- never underestimate the power of CHOCOLATE!!!

The travel box can be used for any child of any age. Just tailor the items inside to the child's age and interests. It may also be a good idea to wrap some of the small toys for the older kids and write a time or location on the package for opening the gift along you route. For older kids, you should also include a laminated map with the key points of your trip so the child can follow your progress.

For specific suggestions regarding this topic and your child, or any other questions you may have, please contact Mom at

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Lunch Ideas for Kids of All Ages

After seeing several questions requesting ideas for lunch, I have decided to create a post compiling a few suggestions for what one might feed a child - toddler age and up. If anyone reads this and has any ideas to add, please feel free to add a comment with your suggestions.

SANDWICHES - Sometimes they can get boring. I have a collection of cookie cutters that I use to make the common sandwich more interesting. Kira will not eat a sandwich. However, Kira WILL eat a balloon or a set of letters or a house. I use icing to decorate the sandwich according to whatever shape I have used. The icing can be found in easy-to-use writing tubes in the baking aisle at the grocery store.

MACARONI AND CHEESE - This is classic. If you want to dress it up, you can add just about anything. You can add hot dog pieces, tuna, broccoli or hamburger. I always add an extra handful of shredded cheese to make it extra gooey.

ANTI PASTA PLATE - Make a tray with cheeses, meats, pickles, hard boiled eggs, crackers, tomatoes, and other vegetables. Set the plate out for your child to graze on as she gets hungry. This is especially useful for smaller children who eat very little at one time and seem to be perpetually hungry.

FRUIT TRAY - Make a tray with fruits and cheeses. Use grapes, strawberries, apples, oranges, blueberries, and other in-season fruits. Add a couple of different types of cheeses in chunk pieces that are easy to pick up and hold. You can also add some bread, croutons, or crackers if you wish.

Fish sticks, chicken nuggets, pizza, ravioli, frozen dinners --- always good selections.

SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH GRITS - Take two packs of instant grits and make according to the directions. Add two scrambled eggs and a spoon of butter. Mix it all together. You can add sausage, bacon, or ham if you feel the need to add in some meat. You can also add cheese, which is almost always a pleaser.

Plain pasta with a bit of butter and mayonnaise and some lemon pepper seasoning.

The real key to feeding children is to mix things up a bit. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day can still be fun and interesting if you make different shapes and designs each day. Macaroni and cheese every day --- still not boring if the add ins change.

I have also found that having a collection of cute, child oriented plates on hand helps my girls to enjoy their meals more. We have flip flop plates, jungle plates, flower plates, frog plates and other interesting tableware. These novelty plates can usually be found at the local dollar store or Wal-Mart and can be added to your home without breaking your bank.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hospital Packing List

The one question that I have heard most often during my years of being a mother typically comes from the women who are having their very first baby. The all want to know "What do I take to the hospital with me when it is time to have the baby?" Sure, there are many lists available that detail suggestions for packing. However, I have found that most of the things that are recommended are unnecessary and many things that are necessary just are not listed. So here is my practical list of hospital necessities for the expectant mother.

I want to start by saying that the expectant mother really should make the time to tour the maternity ward at the hospital. This is important for a few reasons. First, touring the hospital will make you feel more comfortable about what to expect when you go to the hospital. Second, you will find out exactly what the hospital provides for you and what they do not provide. Third, you will find out what you are allowed to bring and what you are not allowed to bring.

I also want to add that if your hospital has a preregistration option, then preregister. This will save a ton of time and make the arrival at the hospital far less stressful.

Now for the list:

1) One of the most important items to add to your bag is candy. When you buy your candy, you should get a wide variety. The Hershey's miniatures are a good selection because everybody likes something out of that collection. Be sure to include some hard candies, too. Pack a small bowl to pour your candy in. As your nurses come into your room, let them know that the candy is there for them. Trust me when I say that this small gesture will increase your level of service dramatically. This is especially important if you are having a Cesarean because you will be at the hospital for several days. My night nurse always came in to fill her pockets for the night armed with two or three extra packs of Jello for me. She new what kind of Jello I liked after the first night and would even go to other floors to get their Jello for me when the maternity ward was out of Jello. When I left the hospital, I still had some candy left over. So as I was leaving, I dropped the bag off at the nurses' station for them to continue to enjoy and for me to avoid eating...

2) Take your own pillow and your own blanket, especially if you will be staying for a few days. Hospital beds are NOT comfortable. Having your own small comforts of home will help you rest.

3) Take your own gowns. Your gowns are far more comfortable than hospital gowns. If you are concerned about getting your good gowns messed up, then go to your local
Wal-Mart and buy some of the "granny gowns" that are inexpensive. Buy a size that will fit you pregnant body to insure complete comfort.

4) Many people like to take blankets and clothes for the new baby. This is okay, but not really necessary. If you plan to take clothes for your new baby, the infant gowns are a good option because they fit most babies.

5) Take a camera and extra batteries. Buy the batteries weeks in advance to avoid forgetting them. (not that my husband EVER forgot to get fresh batteries...)
If you happen to have a friend who does professional photography, see if you can arrange a photo shoot in the hospital as a gift.

6) If you are using any kind of parenting books, take one of those also. The What to Expect books are very good.

7) Take some magazines and a book or two if you expect to be in the hospital for a few days. Be sure to include something that your partner will enjoy reading.

8) Feel free to take your own Tylenol, Advil, or other OTC pain medication. You are not required to use the medication that the hospital gives you. Just be sure to notify them that you are providing your own medications. This is especially important if your insurance requires you to pay a portion of the bill. The hospital typically over charges for these medications. The same is true for any prescriptions that you take. While the hospital will gladly provide those medications to you, they charge far too much for them. You will save a great deal of money if you take your own medications.

9) Take a notebook. Use this to write down when you change diapers and when you feed your baby. Leave this notebook by the candy so your nurse will not have to disturb you if you are sleeping just to ask you when these things have occurred, especially since you may not be able to remember if it isn't written down.

10) Take a sense of humor. No matter what you expect or how you think your birthing experience will be --- the best laid plans never work the way you expect.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Life Lessons

Throughout my life, I have come to understand that there are some basic truths in the world. Below is a list of some of these truths:

1) You can not change the way a person is. You can only change the way you react to that person.

2) Few people ever change. The reality is that years do not change a person's fundamental being. How they are when they are young is the same as they will be when they are older.

3) A person will promise almost anything to get someone else to give them something they really want. Then, after they are given that special gift, they will quickly search to find some reason or excuse to refuse to keep their promises.

4) There is ALWAYS a way to accomplish what you wish to accomplish.

5) If you left someone behind in your life, there was a reason. You may not remember why you chose to take a path that did not include them. However, if you choose to reconnect with that person, you will quickly recall your reasons for leaving them behind. Each choice that you have made has a reason.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Perfect Mother Syndrome

I just have to say that I am a perfect mother. You, too, can claim this exalting title --- IF you follow the advice in this column.

Know exactly what YOUR kids need and when they need it.

Yes, I am clearly aware that you can never truly know everything about what your children need all the time. What I really mean here is that you should know your kids. You should know what they like and what they need to keep them safe and happy. Mostly, you should listen to your own instincts about parenting instead of what the general population might have to say about your techniques.

Know what works for YOUR children and YOUR family.

Again, this has much more to do with knowing what your own family needs to function in a productive way. Each family and each child is different. You need to understand how the members of your family function in order to know what will and what will not work.

For example, I am NOT a morning person. My husband is. My youngest child --- NOT a morning person. My middle child --- perky the moment her eyes open and see daylight. I know that one of my children will be just fine if she has to get up really early in the morning. The other one, well, if she's awakened extra early I know I need to plan for a lot of extra patience to deal with her that day because she will be really tired and somewhat cranky all day.

Do not feel threatened by the knowledge that others may not use the same parenting techniques that you use.

Knowing what your family needs also means understanding that the next door neighbor family probably has different needs. Each parent is different, just as each child is different. There is no one formula for parenting that can be boxed and sold as a guaranteed to work method. The fact that I may use parenting methods that are not the same as yours does not mean that your methods are wrong. They are just different. There may even be times that I disagree with your methods, or you disagree with mine. It is always okay to do things your own way.

Do not feel guilty for making choices that your own parents or in-laws, or other by-standers, might not agree with.

Ultimately, you have to do what you think is best for your family and your children.

Do not be afraid to tell random strangers to keep their hands off of your kids. After all, you do not run a petting zoo. If you did, you would surely charge admission.

Nothing irks me more than somebody that I do not know coming up to me and touching my children. My children do not particularly care for being touched by anyone outside their immediate circle. The disrespect that many adults display towards children is appalling. I have often wanted to reach out to some offending person who felt the need to start stroking my daughters' hair or face and respond in kind. I imagine the shock that would result from my imagined actions. Perhaps one day I will even be brave enough to do just that.

Do not be afraid to offend any well meaning stranger who feels the need to point out whatever they perceive to be your parenting faults.

It is actually possible to notify someone that their opinions are unwanted without being rude. However, I have, on occasion, felt the need to be somewhat blunt when faced with a nosy by-passer. My favorite example of this is the day that I took my youngest child to the store without shoes. Yes, it was the middle of December. Yes, it was pretty cold outside. Yes, her feet were bare.

While I was browsing the aisles, a young lady approached me and commented about my child being out without shoes. Now, I generally just pass this off and give a random explanation about how my children simply do not like shoes. I tried that with this lady to no avail. Mind you, she was quite young and likely did not even have any children of her own (though I did not ask). I perceived her to be around 18. I was 32 at the time and this was my third child so I was not a novice parent.

After my explanation about the disdain for shoes inherent in my family, this wonderful lady persisted in informing me of the evil of my ways. "You're the parent," she says to me. "Make her wear shoes."

Now, for anyone who has had an independent toddler with remarkable dexterity, you realize very quickly that "MAKING" that child wear shoes ( or anything at all, really ) if the child does not wish to wear it is simply a futile pursuit. You will not succeed.

The lady went on to tell me that if my child did not wear shoes that she would catch a cold because her feet were cold. That was my opening. I could not resist.

I smiled my Cheshire cat smile and said to her, quite emphatically, "Silly girl! Cold feet do not cause colds. Cold viruses cause cold." At which point I turned and walked away with my happily barefoot child.

The Introduction...

My name is Mom, at least to most of those around me. I'm married to a wonderful man, though it took me a lot of years and heartaches to reach him. He's also an amazing father and very supportive of any task that I decide to tackle. I am a 34 year old mother of 4 children ranging in age from 2 to 18 (three biological and one inherited). I also have 3 very needy cats and one husband who may also count as children on most days. I've learned most of my lessons in parenting through trial and error. Along the way I have discovered many tricks that have made parenting much easier and much more fun for me and my kids.

Over the years there have been many women that I have come in contact with who have had questions about parenting or relationship, yet they had no available forum to have their questions answered with realistic, usable information guaranteed to be provided without judgement. Some of these women had questions that they felt were either too dumb to ask or that the answer should have been easily available. Others had questions that were serious in nature, but somewhat taboo or embarrassing to discuss.

I am offering an open forum to discuss parenting issues that span many topics. If you find that you have valuable information to add to any topic that I discuss, feel free to include your input. If you have any question or topic that you wish me to address, please contact me and I will gladly offer my thoughts in a non-judgemental way that will provide suggestions for ways that any issue may be dealt with.