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Thanksgiving…

I miss New York at the holidays.

Thanksgiving brings with it many memories of growing up in New York.

I love  watching the Macy’s Parade…it is a visit to the canyons of New York without the hassle.

I remember my first Thanksgiving Parade…we watched it from my uncle’s office windows…it was amazing to see all those balloons come to life…and float down the NYC streets to Herald Square. It was followed by my grandmother’s wonderful turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

I love this holiday and have much to be thankful for this year as always.

It is now memory making for the little ones…their enthusiasm for family and friends getting together is like none other and so much fun to watch and share in with them.

Turkey and all the trimmings… friends, family, story telling and laughter…I can’t wait.

Have a great day

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Penn State And Our Kids …

The news about the sex scandal at Penn State is truly disgusting.

No one went “the whole nine yards” to protect the children …this is not forgivable  …it is a lack of what is morally right.

We tell our children that “if a touch feels wrong it  is wrong”…I told this to my own kids. Even tickling can be wrong if it feels bad to a child.

Kids trust us as parents to protect them…when we fail they feel abandoned and confused as to why mom or dad did not rescue them.

In the case at Penn State…these kids trusted the coaches and teachers to be their parents when their own parents were not present and what did they do …well I don’t even want to repeat it here.

I think to really appreciate the significance of such an “injury” to a child you have to put yourself in that child’s place…it’s called empathy. You have to dig up your own childhood innocence. You have to remember your mom, your nana, your dad, your siblings, your teachers, anyone who you trusted.

Then you have to picture them violating you and taking away your innocence forever.

Teach your children to tell you if anyone makes them feel uncomfortable.

Teach them about their own bodies and answer their questions with age appropriate responses.

As a social worker, I have seen my share of child abuse…they are most times victims of people they trust.

So sadly, we have to be aware and sensitive to our children’s environment and we must take time to talk to our children and listen to them. Get off the phone, get away from media, and actually observe and listen to your kids.

Do not focus too much on “Stranger Danger” give kids the warnings associated with this.

Parents, keep your eyes wide-open around those you trust, teachers, babysitters, friends, boyfriends,  and even relatives.

Related articles;

Penn State Sex Scandal And Our Kids – Parenting.com.

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Co-sleeping good or bad… safe or dangerous….

Co-sleeping...

Common sense certainly does enter into the equation…but some of us are gifted with more common sense than others.

It would be nice to think that there is a clear answer to what is safest and best for baby when it comes to eating, peeing and popping and sleeping.

Formula feeding…breastfeeding ….Cloth diapers…”pampers”….diaper free (elimination communication)….cribs…co-sleeping?

So many decisions so many discussions without any clearly right or wrong answers.

What ever you choose for your child…make sure you make the choice based on “common sense” for your lifestyle and what will work best for you, your family and child.

Do your homework…it is important for your child.

Cosleeping is not the devil.  Is it dangerous?  Yes.  But so is sleeping in a crib.  Pack and plays are death traps. Do we still use them?  Of course.  The key is common sense.  Something we sorely lack in this world.

There are safety measures you have to take no matter where your baby sleeps.  To put your baby in a crib you have rules. Common sense rules like no heavy blankets, pillows, toys, bumpers, gaps in the mattress, bars of a certain width, etc.

Cosleeping has safety rules too: do not drink or smoke before bed, sleep on a firm mattress or futon, no heavy blankets or pillows, don’t sleep with the baby if you have sleep apnea or if your bed is too small, put your mattress on the floor, etc.

So is cosleeping dangerous? Yes, if done without care or thought.  So think.  Use the mind that the creator (whoever she/he is) gave you and think about what you are doing with your babies.  Don’t blindly follow trends or advice from ads plastered on bus shelters.  Do research and make informed decisions with a big dollop of common sense tailored to your own little family’s needs.

via Common Sense and Cosleeping | Tales of a Kitchen Witch.

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Safe Sleep for Your Baby

NOTEWORTHY WEDNESDAY1

This week I have seen this PSA (Public Service Announcement) and three media discussions associated with it. The consensus of what I have read  and heard is that this PSA is inappropriate and uses “shock” value to relate an important message to parents concerning “co-sleeping“.

Do we really need this type of photo to make a statement against co-sleeping?

What do you think?

Well, I visited Milwaukee‘s website and found some helpful “safe sleep” resources and information related to infant deaths in Milwaukee.

It is my opinion that Milwaukee is trying desperately to reduce infant mortality but are they trying too hard? Will they lose the attention of the very group that they are aiming to help educate with this poster.

The City has had a Safe Sleep Sabbath this past October 11th, where churches participated in a safe sleep for baby program to educate parents about the danger of not putting baby to sleep in an appropriate environment but more importantly it provided information about what was appropriate and safe for infants.

Safe Sleep Sabbath – Sunday, October 9, 2011 Act now to overcome one major problem that is killing our babies: infant sleep death. Infant mortality: The number of infants who die before their first birthday.

Okay …great…now what what else could be done to decrease infant mortality due to poor and unsafe sleeping conditions?

Since we know that in Milwaukee, SES  (socio-economic status) is also related to infant mortality it might be helpful to have culturally sensitive educational materials and discussions about safe sleep for infants.

It would also be advantageous if this discussion did not confuse co-sleeping with unsafe sleep environments for babies.

Let’s keep the discussion going but in a more positive format.

Social workers are doing what they can in Milwaukee as evidenced in this piece from the Sentinel.

Lets here it for  education…education…education…rather than scare tactics and scapegoating “co-sleeping”.

This is a very multifaceted problem that needs to be combatted with a multifaceted action plan.

 

In Milwaukee around 20% of infant mortality is attributable to a combination of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS),  and Sudden Unexplained Death in infancy (SUDI).  Of these deaths the majority die in an unsafe sleep environment.

The City of Milwaukee Health Department strongly advises parents NOT to share a bed with their infant. This is based on an American Academy of Pediatrics 2011 Policy Statement which states that the risk of SIDS has been shown to be reduced when the infant sleeps in the same room as the mother, but the AAP recommends that infants not share a bed with parents or anyone else, due to increased risk.

Co-Sleeping Defined

The term “co-sleeping” can be confusing, as it is used both to refer to sharing a bed and sharing a room. To clarify the distinction, many pediatric experts now refer to “bed-sharing” (referring to a infant who is sleeping in the same bed, couch, or other surface where parents or others are sleeping), and “room-sharing” (referring to a infant who is sleeping in the parents’ room, but in their own crib or bassinet).


Safe Sleep Guidelines

Parents should:

  • Put baby to sleep on their back. Babies who sleep on their backs are safer.
  • Provide a separate but nearby sleeping environment, meaning: babies should share a room with their parents, but not a bed. The risk of SIDS is reduced when the infant sleeps in the same room as the mother.
  • Never put a baby to sleep on a couch or a chair. A crib, bassinette or cradle that conforms to the safety standards is recommended.
  • Make sure that the only item in the crib is a mattress, covered by a tight-fitting sheet. No bumper pads, blankets or toys.
  • Never lay a baby down on or next to a pillow.  Pillows are extremely dangerous for infants as they can cause suffocation.
  • Do not ever use infant sleep positioners.  The FDA says there have been 12 known deaths associated with these products. 
  • Dress the baby in a one-piece sleeper to keep them warm in winter.
  • Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for the whole family. But the house should not be too warm.
  • Never smoke in a house where an infant or child lives.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force has found that rates of bed-sharing are increasing, especially as we encourage breastfeeding. But the conclusion of the task force is that bed-sharing, as practiced in the US and other Western countries is more hazardous than the infant sleeping on a separate sleep surface. It is recommended that infants not share a bed with adults.  Infants may be brought into bed for nursing or comforting, but should be returned to their own safe space to sleep when the parent is ready to return to sleep.


Resources


Play
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Home Remedies to Treat a Kid’s Cough and Cold – iVillage

Coughs, Colds, Croup….

This is the season for colds, croup and coughs.

I have come across a great list of things to do in addition to checking with your child’s pediatrician.

I may even use some of these remedies on myself especially the one to loosen congestion with saline drops, and use Vicks Vapor Rub on the soles of the feet.

Love…love…Vicks.

Ah…back to childhood and my own Nana’s remedies.

Home Remedies to Treat a Kid’s Cough and Cold – iVillage.

Thanksgiving... | Uncategorized

Are coloring books good for kids?

This may be the best thing I have read in awhile.

I am always looking for ways to enjoy my granddaughter and sometimes I buy her a coloring book of her favorite characters…

Well… not that much any more thanks to reading this little tidbit.

I always hated coloring in the lines myself so why did I think that this was not the case with my little one here.

It does squash creativity … the fact that all the free hand work makes it to the fridge door should have spoken volumes to me.

So think about how to inspire your child or grandchild with doodles and enjoy the splashes of color and lines.

Get out those crayolas…

I don’t buy my toddler coloring books and here’s why:

Coloring books teach children to be passive about their art. Rather than drawing something themselves, they are coloring in adult-drawn images.

Coloring books teach toddlers to compare their art to an adult’s.

Coloring books set toddlers up for failure. Coloring inside the lines? How many toddlers can, or better question, should, do that?

Scribbling is linked to future literacy. The more toddlers scribble and draw, the easier it is for them to learn to write later. As toddlers scribble, they learn to make all the shapes necessary to write the alphabet. Coloring inside predetermined lines doesn’t allow this to happen.

via Why Coloring Books Aren’t Good for Toddlers | Toddler Times.

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L.A.Times: Mothers buy into freeze-frame parenting

From the Los Angeles Times:

Mothers buy into freeze-frame parenting

Instructed to play with my baby, Max, for 20 minutes while he sat in an infant seat, no toys allowed, I pulled out every trick in the book.

The full story can be viewed at: http://www.latimes.com/la-he-mother-baby-20111031,0,7410941.story?track=latiphoneapp

Get the Los Angeles Times iPhone app from iTunes: http://www.itunes.com/apps/latimes

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11/11/11

Veteran’s Day 2011

Here is where I was on 11/11/11.

I was picking up food for dinner…

My family was a very military one so I try to carry on the tradition by keeping that spirit alive and well whenever I can.

Today, I made a trip to the local AMVETS center and made a donation…

May all our troops remain safe and may they return home soon!

Thanksgiving... | Uncategorized

Tantrum Tamer: New Ways Parents Can Stop Bad Behavior – WSJ.com

NOTEWORTHY WEDNESDAY!

Forget everything you may have read about coping with children‘s temper tantrums. Time-outs, sticker charts, television denial—for many, none of these measures will actually result in long-term behavior change, according to researchers at two academic institutions.

Whether a child has violent temper tantrums or is extremely clingy, their behaviors can be curbed, according to child psychologists at Yale University and King’s College London. Shirley Wang has details on Lunch Break.

Instead, a set of techniques known as “parent management training” is proving so helpful to families struggling with a child’s unmanageable behavior that clinicians in the U.S. and the U.K. are starting to adopt them.

via Tantrum Tamer: New Ways Parents Can Stop Bad Behavior – WSJ.com.

Parents can control bad behavior if they are consistent with their approach to their child’s meltdowns.

This is not easy and many parents may become frustrated and revert to their “old” approaches before they actually see positive results.

My personal favorite book on the subject of children’s behavior especially that of toddlers is “The Happiest Toddler on the Block” by Dr. Harvey Karp. It is easy to read and follow…my copy is totally dog-eared. I absolutely endorse his “Fast Food Response” to the toddler’s demanding demons.

You see, he says…toddlers lack the maturity and sometimes I do as well, to express what they really want …so a tantrum is the best way to get it.

Dr. Karp tells us to verbally recognize what the child actually wants…this usually gets the toddler to respond by suddenly stopping in his tracks…this is the time to inject some choices (not too many) or an alternative.

Why this works?  Simple… it disarms the child…he gets his needs validated, understood and respected.

Really it works…I have tried it.

Dr. Karp makes a point here though, that is very important….if the toddler is doing something dangerous…you cannot use this approach…you must remove him from the unsafe situation and then move into the “FFR” (Fast Food Response)

So, there is hope for tantrums…remember “meltdowns are not pleasant for the child either.

Be patient and consistent and get help, you will probably need it…but trust me, it will be worth the effort in the end.

Thanksgiving... | Uncategorized

Single Mothers – Single Parenting

NOTEWORTHY WEDNESDAY!

Single parents can be the best…and their children can flourish.

I admit to being bias in this discussion… my mother was a single parent.

She was divorced from my father, she worked and had the help of my grandmother…who was the “stay at home mom“.

My “Nana” was always home for me while my mother was working two jobs to make ends meet. I did homework with my mom on the telephone… I remember her teaching me fractions.

I knew things were different in my home but I never felt deprived even though I went to a private school where my friends were kids who lived in houses with big backyards…they had their own rooms and their moms were able to participate in school activities…they had dads that came home at night and had dinner with them. My life was different but not deprived

Although there were other single moms in our apartment building…I would not say that the ones I knew considered themselves role models…they were all struggling to keep life moving along smoothly for their kids.

But these women were my role models…I learned from these women that moms could hold a family together…they could work and be moms at the same time.

Grandmothers and aunts and uncles were important too…the extended family was present and accounted for.

In the 50’s and 60’s single moms did not draw attention to themselves…there were so many reasons for this…religion and in my mother’s life Catholicism was one big factor. The Church frowned on and condemned divorce. She was a practicing Catholic.

A single parent support system outside of the extended family was minimal as there was no internet or social media. So lets hear it for social media as a plus for keeping single parents connected.

If moms were breathing they got custody in divorce decisons…shared custody was unheard of…I saw my father on the weekends…we had lunch and visited with the “other grandparents”.

But my role models were my grandmother and my mother…both of whom showed me that women were strong…selfless…and could love and take care of children without a dad in the house.

I support single parenthood and I admire women who choose to raise their children without a significant other.

High fives to all of you.

I am including an excerpt from Christine Coppa, a single mom, who writes about her adventures raising her son. She is a seriously concerned mom and writes with a great sense of responsibility and humor. You can find her on Facebook and blogging. Also check out her book “Rattled”.

Single parents and their kids can flourish, and there are plenty of examples to prove it. Make a list of single parents—or children raised by a single parent—who inspire you, and refer to it when you’re having a rough day. Some of the people on my list include President Obama, who was raised by his single mom and grandparents; President Clinton, who was brought up primarily by his mom; and actress Bridget Moynahan, who went through her pregnancy alone after splitting from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. I’m not just inspired by celebrities though; my real life friend Matt who blogs at mattlogelin.com about unexpected single fatherhood is another confidence booster for me. Seeing all of these success stories and many more unfold before my eyes is proof that single parenthood is not only manageable, but an incredible gift that allows me to shape my son into a wonderful human being.

If you need more inspiration, check out the book Holding Her Head High: 12 Single

via Help for Single Mothers – Single Parenting Advice – Parenting.com.

Other Sources: Moving Guide for Single Parents