Here’s just a few things that are on my mind now: London, yogurt, the Jonas Brothers movie, nightmares caused by school required reading of some books, potty training, finding daycare (see Erica’s post), time change, the one chocolate donut on my desk, Twitter (I still don’t understand it), that I need to wash my van, whether to buy a lottery ticket, what load of laundry to wash and throw on the couch next, high blood pressure, cholesterol (the donut package says it has no trans fats, but it has 25mg of cholesterol), my family photos need to be scrapbooked, what are we going to do Spring Break, what are we eating tonight (no donuts), temper tantrums, my sticky kitchen floor … how nice it is outside.
Let’s all take 20 to 30 minutes and go for a walk and clear our heads.
– Linda Lynn
(fixed broken link and updated with corrected name of New York Times author)
When my oldest child was 9 months old, he got really picky about what he ate. His hands played goalie to his mouth and only a limited variety of foods was allowed in. Except the day he ate a junebug off the floor as he crawled around. I got there just in time to hear the crunch. It was gross. I’ll spare you the details.
Now the New York Times is saying here that kind of behavior might be instinctual, that babies who put everything in their mouths as soon as they get mobile might be protecting their immune system more than the ultraclean environments some live in today.
“In studies of what is called the hygiene hypothesis, researchers are concluding that organisms like the millions of bacteria, viruses and especially worms that enter the body along with “dirt” spur the development of a healthy immune system,” writes Jane E. Brody in the New York Times.
Experts she quoted speculate that the increase in the number of immune system disorders – like asthma, allergies or Type 1 diabetes – diagnosed each year may be related to the idea that we should keep our children from germs of any kind.
The lesson here is that while cleanliness is still a virtue, it’s OK to allow some dirt in your house, and your children don’t always have to wash their hands after touching it. And if they eat a junebug or a worm or some other disgusting thing they pick up off the floor, then they might actually be helping their immune systems.
~ Lillie-Beth Brinkman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I’m always saying I’ll do things different but there is no better time to set goals than the first day of the year.
Here are my Top 5 parenting resolutions for 2009:
1. Make my toddler eat vegetables. My friend bought me the cookbook “Deceptively Delicious” by Jessica Seinfeld (Jerry’s wife). I resolve to get broccoli or squash into every dish my child eats, even dessert.
2. Try to overlook the grosser things my boy does … such as drinking the bathwater. Or sticking his dirty fingers in his mouth. Or dropping food on the floor then eating it before I can pry it from his hand. (This is going to be that resolution that I end up NOT keeping.)
3. Try to limit how many times he watches Cars or WALL-E. We’ve both become addicted to those movies.
4. Try the “not-using-the-word-no-all-the-time” method. For example: Instead of saying “No, you can’t have another cookie,” say “Yes, you can have another cookie … tomorrow.” We’ll see how good that one works.
5. Get him potty trained. I would literally pay someone to do this for me. Or my son can use the “not-say-no” method just this once … “Yes, Mommy, I’ll sit on the potty … next year.”
What are your parenting resolutions? Did you make any last year? Let me know by commenting below or emailing me at email@example.com.
Have a happy, safe and healthy New Year!
I love food so much that at lunch I go to the gym and run 4 miles on the treadmill just so I can watch Rachel Ray and the Food Network. Today Paula Dean, the butter diva, was cooking healthy. And she gave some tips at the end of her show. She had an ingenious idea. It was one of those really simple, why-didn’t-I-think-of-that ideas. But here it is. A quick and easy AND healthy snack for the kiddos.
Take a single serving container of yogurt put it in the freezer for one hour then stick a popcycle stick in it. Pop it back in the freezer for 6 hours to over night. When you’re cooking dinner and the mama-can-I’s start give the plastic a little whack on the counter, which not only loosens the frozen yogurt from the container, but is also a little bit of strategic intimidation – back-off-or-you’ll-be-next. Slide the frozen yogurt popcycle out of the plastic. Smile and hand it over. Your kids are appeased and just the right amount of scared to leave you alone while you finish cooking.
What a wonderful way to use up those almost expired Dora yogurt cups my daughter insists on but never eats.
It’s great ya’ll
- Lindsey Johnson
For many families, Back to School time means a change in schedules. But getting everyone up and ready in the morning doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are a few tips from http://family.go.com/
Cut out caffeine during the day.
Too much caffeine can wire kids up and make it difficult for them to drift off to sleep at night. As a result, they are tired and cranky when the alarm goes off in the morning.
Keep your routine as consistent as possible — even on the weekends.
While it’s fine to let them catch up on a little sleep, it’s not smart to let them sleep their Saturdays and Sundays away. If you do, they’re going to have a hard time adjusting back on Monday morning.
If your child normally gets up at 7 a.m. on a weekday, don’t let her sleep any later than 8 or 8:30 on the weekend.
Don’t expect a young child to be able to use an alarm clock.
Most experts say that alarm clocks aren’t really useful until a child is around 12 years old or in the sixth grade. Before that, you’ll need to go in and get them up. (And, unfortunately, even after age 12 you still may need to go in and make sure they get up after their alarm clock rings.)
Use the night before to get organized.
Pack the backpack, set out the bowls and spoons for breakfast, and pick out the clothes your child will wear. Remember, the less surprises you have to deal with in the morning, the less hectic it’ll be for everyone.
What tips do you have?
Susan Simpson, Education Writer
If you have a toddler who is as picky as mine, I have a good morning solution for you.
For months, my 2-year-old son would eat a banana and drink a glass of milk every morning. Very nutritious and easy. But as time went by, my son stopped wanting bananas and if he did eat one, it was only because I asked him about 20 times to do it. It was becoming too much of a struggle.
So I found the perfect solution. A smoothie! One that is super-nutritious and packs him full of the good stuff like fruit, dairy, antioxidants and vitamins. It’s so easy to make, I thought I’d share it with you. Here’s all you need:
1/2 cup frozen berries or strawberries (just buy a big bag and keep it on hand)
1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup cranberry-pomegranate juice (the 100% juice kind – not the cocktail kind)
1/2 cup ice (I just buy a huge cup of Sonic ice and keep it in my freezer. So easy to blend and it’s only about 40 cents for a large).
Blend and there you go! It’s all you need for a serving for a hungry toddler. If you’d like to enjoy one too, just double everything except the banana.
Guaranteed, they’ll love it and they are getting all the nutrion one breakfast can give.
Do you have any toddler-tested recipes? If so, I’d love to hear about them and I bet other moms would, too!
I love the Oklahoma City zoo. Love love love the zoo. Last year while on maternity leave I took my nearly 3-year-old and new born to the zoo at least twice a week and sometimes three. And when we go to the zoo we spend the whole day. We walk the whole entire zoo. Pachyderms to bison to Acquaticus and back. In and out of the snake house through the Galapagos and sometimes the aviary. We love it there. I brag about the OKC Zoo everywhere I go.
I think it is a great place to take kids. To teach them about nature and impart on them messages of balance and environment and kindness and consequence and many many many more. There is one message though that the zoo is not capitalizing on: Eating healthy.
This despite the fact that our mayor unleashed to the world his mission to put our fine city on a diet at the zoo. If you want to eat anything healthy at the zoo you’re going to have to sneak into an animal’s cage.
While they are being fed oranges, leafy greens and other carefully selected foods to keep them healthy, the concessions areas are deep-frying French fries, hot wings, chicken fingers, corn dogs and more. You can get burgers, burritos, nachos, hot dogs and bratwurst. You can get the best ice cream in the whole world. Oh yes I am not knocking the flavor of zoo fare, just its nutritional value. But, I’d challenge someone to find something healthy to eat at the zoo concessions aside from the hamburger toppings.
It seems like adding cold-cut sandwiches, fruit dishes and veggie cups would be easy and not all that expensive. Aren’t they already buying oranges, apples, bananas and the sort for the animals? Why not order some extra for us. Maybe they could even capitalize on the whole animal thing they‘ve got going and offer ants on a log or a monkey sandwich with peanut butter and bananas.Come on zoo, give us some healthy options.
Until then, when you go to the zoo keep in mind that if you eat you’ll be consuming a high-fat, high-sugar diet. Which I think is a good thing from time to time. You gotta have a burger and fries. And in our house hot dogs are a food group. And I think I might have mentioned that the zoo has the best ice cream in the whole world. But you have to balance that out with some celery and oranges, options that one would imaging you’d be able to find at the zoo.
And I’m not saying every item on the menu should be filled with nutritional value. I And I suppose that I could avoid eating at the zoo all together and many do bring their own snacks and picnics, but when you already have to lug gear for two kids a fruit cup would be handy. I think the zoo’s’ food makes a statement … it sends a message. And I’m not really sure why they should be held to a higher standard than White Water or Frontier City, but as a place of influence and education … conservation and nature I think they are.
Oh and keep your fingers out of the cages those oranges are for the gorillas.
- Lindsey Johnson
As a mom, I often feel guilty about things that are probably not as bad as I make them out to be.
I’ve already written about the struggles of getting a toddler to eat. So of course comes the guilt of “is he getting enough veggies? ” or “am I a bad mom for taking my kid to McDonald’s in Wal-Mart when I know he won’t make it through a 2-hour shopping trip without a Happy Meal?”
Along with these guilts, I have many more, as I’m sure other parents do, especially single parents who can’t do it all.
1. Reading. Everywhere you look and listen, it is the same message. “Read to your child 20 minutes a day.” I’m actually better about getting this done than other things. But I do have the occasional day where there aren’t those 20 minutes. Will my child then be behind his classmates in junior high or not get into college?
2. Playtime, or lack of. We are enrolled in the READY! For Kindergarten classes offered by Putnam City School District (which I highly recommend to parents in that district). One of the things they emphasize is to set aside “educational play time” each day with your child. This seems easy enough, right? Wrong. How do you know if you are playing “educationally” enough? What if you’re attention is divided between helping solve a puzzle and dinner burning on the stove? What if you’re just too tired? Usually I make up for any missed playtime on the weekends with a trip to the park or zoo or something else fun. But is this enough?
3. Screen time. Something else you hear about everywhere. “Limit your child’s screen time (i.e. TV, computer) to 3o minutes a day.” Well if that’s the case, my boy has used up his daily limit before we even head out the door in the morning. Between Sesame Street and the Today show, he has had his fill. But as single parents, sometimes we have to use the TV as a tool to get other things done around the house. Should I just disconnect the television altogether? Because as long as it’s there, I’m bound to veg out on the couch and enjoy a healthy dose of reality television after a day at work. Does this mean my child will turn into a slacking couch potato?
Ahhh, the guilts of motherhood. Is there any escape? My mom sent me a wonderful book about moms for Mother’s Day. Inside the cover she wrote, “Good job, Erica.”
That’s the greatest compliment a mom could hear.
When my son Hunter, who recently turned 2, first started eating table food, I thought “wow, this is easy.” He was easy to please and ate like a horse. Now that he realizes that he does indeed have a mind of his own and has a choice in the matter, things are a bit different. I will set down his plate of food. He examines it. He wrinkles his nose. He looks at me. And then it inevitably comes … “I DON’T WANT IT!” The first four-word sentence my son learns and it just had to be that one.
My parents always told me “This isn’t an all-night diner,” meaning, if you don’t like what you’re given, you don’t get to order something else. I am desperately trying to instill this philosophy in my own home now, with great encouragement from my son’s pediatrician.
His doctor said that especially for toddlers, if they won’t eat what you give them, you simply cover it up and put it in the fridge. If they get hungry enough, they’ll eat it later. But as a parent, this is easier said than done. The last thing you want is to send a child to bed hungry or keep him up past his bedtime in hopes that he asks for the chicken nuggets you made hours before. But the other voice in your head says “if you give in once, you’ll have to give in every time.” So here we are. The nuggets in the fridge. The hungry toddler. The voice in my head. What to do?
I’ve looked at some great parenting resources and I feel good knowing I’m not alone in this struggle and I’m doing the right thing. Babycenter.com says that parents with toddlers who refuse to eat really shouldn’t worry because parents need to take into account fluids, especially milk, when looking at their child’s food intake. Also, while looking at how much a toddler eats, parents should look at it over the course of a week, not just what they consume in a particular day. As long as they are steadily gaining weight and have a good level of energy, they are getting the fuel they need.
Of course, if you have concerns about your child’s eating behavior or food intake, you should always get the advice of your child’s doctor or other professional.
And I know Hunter is gaining weight because we got his “Look at me grow!” sticker at his last checkup just 3 weeks ago.