Weekend Pics from Parenting in the Loop

Weekend Pics from Parenting in the Loop

My pics this week are from the New York Times. Motherlode always has some really great posts and is a blog that I catch up on during my weekend. I follow many blogs and bloggers, there are so many good ones on all kinds of topics. Once I start reading it is hard to stop sometimes. It is my way to binge!

These three are my favorites this week. I hope you get a chance to read them during this long weekend.

weekend reading picksLast fall, I tried adding another question to the mix: Can I get cash for this? Online consignment stores and what essentially amount to used clothing buyers, particularly for designer goods, began popping up in my Facebook feed, promising to help me “reclaim the value” in my closet — and, I soon discovered, my children’s closets as well.

Source: Get Paid to Organize Your Children’s Closets (and Yours) – The New York Times



Dearest Parenting Experts, What advice do you have for dealing with feigned incompetence in previously capable, competent children? When a student suddenly regresses, claiming they can’t complete skills I know they have mastered, or when a child suddenly loses the ability to do the laundry, say, flailing his boneless, ineffectual arms about as he jabs at buttons on the washing machine, wailing all the while that he can’t possibly do laundry; it’s too hard.


Source: When Children Say ‘I Can’t,’ but They Can, and Adults Know It – The New York Times


Over the last few months, researchers from Pew have been looking at parents, teenagers and the Internet. They’ve looked at how teenagers live their lives online, and how they feel about that new (to adults) arena. Now, in a newly released report, the researchers are exploring what parents and teenagers say about how parents monitor teenagers online and, perhaps more interestingly, how they don’t


Source: Parents Monitoring Teenagers Online, and Mostly, Getting It Right – The New York Times

If you have a three day weekend because of the Martin Luther King Holiday take some time to reflect on what this day means to you and your family.

Baby Development: 4 Months and 3 Weeks

Baby Development at 4 months and 3 weeks

It is so exciting to watch baby change and grow into a socially interactive little person.

baby development

one moment in time

At this age he is still crying to communicate his needs like hunger and “change me” but he’s starting to show you his sense of humor when he laughs at surprises. He might like a quiet game of peek-a-boo where he will share some giggles!

He is now also enjoying various sounds. Try making noises for him like whistling or create your own animal sounds and see how he interacts with you. These are true moments of joy!

Learn more fascinating facts about your 4-month-old’s baby development.

Encourage your baby’s laughs, giggles, and smiles with funny faces and lots of general silliness. You don’t need special toys or instruments to create them.

Source: Your 4-month-old: Week 3 | BabyCenter

Since it is winter there are germs around that cause RSV or respiratory syncytial virus. It starts with cold-like symptoms which can lead to ear infections, bronchiolitis (infection of the small airways), pneumonia or later development of asthma or other respiratory problems.

Many babies get RSV before they turn 2 years old but it can be more serious for babies under 6 months old with medical problems and premature babies whose immune systems might be weaker.

Symptoms of RSV in baby

  • Baby develops a mild
  • Cough gets worse over a few days
  • Breathing becomes labored
  • His nostrils may begin to flare when breathing
  • Excessive expansion of his rib cage
  • Tightening of his abdominal muscles
  • Grunting when breathing
  • Wheezing when breathing (High pitched whistling sound when breathing)
  • Quickened breathing (More than 60 breaths per minute)
  • Blush lips, nails
  • Feeding problems

If you suspect your child has RSV

  • Call you child’s doctor
  • RSV is a virus so there is no antibiotics for it
  • However if your child is having trouble breathing the doctor may prescribe some breathing treatments
  • Keep him away from smoke and fumes
  • Keep him well hydrated
  • Cool mist vaporizer can help
  • Saline nose drops can help
  • Flu shots may be recommended in the future by your doctor

Baby development is slow and deliberate. It is like watching a tiny chick hatch from an egg. It seems to take forever for each little peck to crack the protective shell. Your baby is trying to tackle his environment with of course a little help from you.A

At times you might see him actually appearing to struggle. He might be trying to turn himself over at this stage, it will be a milestone task for him and when he finally accomplishes it he might actually surprise himself and maybe even give out a giggle. Think about how it felt when you actually rode a two wheeler bike for the first time, when you realized no one was holding you anymore. Your baby is experiencing those monumental moments now so let him enjoy them without too much if any assistance from you.

Enjoy the moments of baby development as they happen in real time right before your eyes. Try to tuck these memories away carefully like a fragile treasure so they can surface at a time in the future when he is all grown up but still feels like your ‘baby’.

Weekend Pics from Parenting in the Loop

Weekend Pics from Parenting in the Loop

The holiday season throws me off schedule as it does for many others. I publish my blog pretty much without any help. My daughter does write for me when she has time but I am usually the one who actually edits and clicks “publish”. So hence the lapse in postings. My schedule is God, family and then all other things.

Here is my delayed weekend picks.

Phones for Kids:

A lot of us have kids that are becoming ready for their own mobile phones. Maybe they are just for checking in or for safety of knowing that they can get in touch with a parent if necessary ICE (In Case of Emergency).

What do you do to prepare them for having a cellphone at their fingertips? Here are some tips.

Weekend PicksShe’s going to be a few minutes late.” “I told her we’re almost there.” “Her train is being held at the station.” “I told her we’re here.” “I’m asking her where she is.” “The train is moving again.” “She’s almost here.”

Social Media and Kids:


Along with cellphones comes social media for kids. A perplexing time for young adolescents. Parents need to stay savvy and ahead of their kids if that is possible. Social media is here and before you know it your kids will be exposed to it. What is your child’s “Peer Culture”. Check out this piece and keep on the look out for more social media influences in your child’s environment.

Thirteen-year-olds who are already on social media spend a lot of time there, living their social lives both online and off. CNN’s new documentary, “Being 13,” and an accompanying report, “Being Thirteen: Social Media and the Hidden World of Young Adolescents’ Peer Culture”, reveal an entire world of just barely teenage posting, commenting, jockeying and, most of all, lurking on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.


Porn and Children:


Pornography exists so how do we protect our children? How do we talk to them about pornography? Here is an article that discusses this uncomfortable topic. In the end it does suggest that parents should be talking about this topic and sexuality with their teenagers.


In Does Porn Hurt Children in the Sunday Review, David Segal pointed to the absence of definitive research linking pornography exposure during adolescence to negative outcomes for teenagers and noted the ethical impossibility of conducting the kinds of studies that might prove, or disprove, such links. In spite of the lack of evidence of harm, every researcher he interviewed felt uneasy about the messages teenagers might take from pornography and suggested that “at a minimum” parents should be talking with their teenagers about sexuality in general and porn in particular.


Weekend time is my favorite. A time to switch gears and slow down for some moments of reading and just kind of catching up on some stuff that gets lost during the hectic weekdays. I find that it takes a time to unwind which is usually Friday night dinner out with friends and on Saturday a slower pace is enjoyed with sometimes a lunchtime meal at a favorite spot. Sunday usually I start to gear up again to prep for the week ahead.

What do you do on your weekend?

Christmas Past, Present and Future

Christmas Past, Present and Future

As Christmas approaches, I become more and more reflective.

My thoughts return to Christmas Past,

then move on to Christmas Present

and finally,

I try to glimpse at what might be Christmas Future.

Christmas Past

Memories of early Christmas celebrations take me to NYC and all its magic and hustle and bustle. I loved it! So many Santas on every street corner ringing bells for donations, almost overwhelming to a small child. One of my favorite holiday traditions was with my dad shopping at Saks for monogrammed hankies wrapped in the traditional green and red Saks box which was always tied with a beautiful satin ribbon.


Of course the day would not be complete without skating underneath the Rockefeller Center Tree.

Christmas Tree Rockefeller CenterWhile my mom worked my Nana, took hold of the home front, and created Christmas memories as only a grandmother can. She was a wonderful cook and loved the Christmas season. She brought with her a strong faith so the story of Christmas in our house always included the Christ Child along with a visit from Santa Claus.

As years went on, Christmas memories were made in my own home and with my own family. I tried to create the feeling of Christmas the same way my grandmother had so many years before. My mother and uncle usually celebrated with us…they would come from Florida and enjoy brunch, our Christmas tradition in Chicago and then help with baking, cooking and decorating for the big day. It was a holiday full of warmth and love and now indelible memories.

Christmas Present

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My husband and I are now the “older” generation and we happily celebrate Christmas with our family which this year includes, a granddaughter and a new grandson.  We continue to make new memories built on the old ones which included great-grandparents our grandchildren will never know except through our traditions.

Our tree is in the same place it has been for the past 20+ years…it is decorated with ornaments each telling its own story of where our family has lived and traveled since 1977…New York, Florida, Chicago and Rhode Island. It has 3000 lights, so in some ways it is my Rockefeller Center right here at home!

Christmas Future

As an old year is coming to an end, I am looking at the future with of course some trepidations which come with age but they are soothed by the loving hugs of my granddaughter and my little grandson and the wonder and amazement that they bring to this house that has seen the footsteps of those who came before them.

The Christ Child is still here and Santa will soon ring his bells over our house.

christmas creche

The presents still wait to be wrapped…and the best is yet to come!

Baby development at 3 months and 3 weeks old!

Baby development

baby development

So many changes in baby development over such a short time!

He is learning so much:

He is starting to make conclusions about his world

He has so much curiosity

He loves looking at himself

He may like a toy with an unbreakable mirror so he can see himself and admire his looks even though he won’t really know that it is him he is looking at.

Sleeping and baby development:

  • Sleep patterns may be solidifying making it easier for you to get some rest. Gratefully my little grandson is a great little sleeper but some babies to not settle into a nice pattern until 6 months old. Baby should be now taking two daytime naps.


Interacting with others:

  • Your baby may stop eating to listen to you talking to him so talk to him about what you are doing in the kitchen and around the house and let him coo and talk back to you.
  • He is also starting to laugh…what a joy it is to hear his laughter.
  • Keep him close so he can hear everything…he will really like watching other babies and toddlers and even you dogs and cats. But be careful of him around your pets and make sure the environment is safe.

Grab and go

  • Your baby can reach for things now and is mastering grabbing give him interesting things to play with and hold.

Individual babies:

These baby development guidelines are they happen at different times for different babies. If you have questions please consult your healthcare provider.

Baby's First Christmas


Your life: Changing friendships

Having a new baby brings changes in your relationships with everyone — including your friends. Sometimes old friends who have no children are as delighted by your baby as you are, and aside from a few accommodations to your schedule, things continue as they once did. But others may not be as excited about your new phase of life. Some may be envious, others bored, and still others may simply have no interest in children. You can’t blame your friends entirely. You’re changing, too. Interests you once shared with certain people — skydiving, nightclubbing, shopping for shoes till you dropped — may no longer mesh with your lifestyle.

Although you can’t expect everything to stay exactly the same, it helps to strive for a balance between your old way of being together and your new situation. Your friend can’t expect you to abandon all thoughts of your baby, and you can’t expect her to want to talk only about motherhood. Look for common ground in your activities and time together. It’s great if you can sometimes go out to lunch, just the two of you, and other times have her come to your house to visit with the baby, for example.

You may drift apart from some pals, but at the same time, your baby will bring you into the orbit of new friends. Through playgroups, mom support networks, and chance encounters, you and your partner will meet other new parents with whom you have a lot in common.

Source: Your 3-month-old: Week 3 | BabyCenter

If you feel sad or depressed at this time, you may be experiencing Postpartum Depression please contact you healthcare provider for help.

PostPartum Progress is very helpful resource for PPD also.

Baby Development 2-month-old: Week 4

Baby Development 2-month-old: Week 4

Baby development

Almost 3months old…baby is growing and moving and cooing!

Reading is one of the best things that you can do with your baby at this early age.

It actually helps him to develop his ear for the cadence of your voice and for spoken language.

You can enjoy singing to him as well as using animated voices and funny sounds and accents.


When you baby looks away he is getting tired so give him a rest.

Some nice sweet little books to read to your little one….Goodnight Moon, Good Night Gorilla  or any brightly colored board books with pictures.

Flat Head (positional plagiocephaly) and baby development

Now is the time that you may begin to notice a flattened area on your baby’s head. It is usually due to sleeping too much in the same position which is not uncommon at this age. Their heads are soft and their skulls are pliable. This condition will usually round itself out on its own as you baby finds other positions and begins to move around on his own, crawling and sitting up.

If you are very concerned about flatness please consult with you pediatrician and perhaps get a referral to a pediatric neurosurgeon or craniofacial specialist. If treatment is necessary some suggestions might be to make sure your baby is spending enough time on his tummy. Make sure you supervise him during tummy time. This time will help him strengthen his neck muscles. Stronger muscles in the neck will allow him to move his head around especially while he is sleeping. He will not then spend so much time sleeping in one position.

You may have also seen babies wearing helmets or custom fitted head bands for a few months. This helps to correct more severe cases of positional plagiocephaly. It is important to get help as soon as you notice any flattening of the head.


Well meaning advice: Beware of the baby development experts!

Most moms get their fair share of advice from well-meaning friends and relatives. It can irritate you no end if you let it. My advice is don’t listen to most of it…do what you think is best for you and your baby.

It works to just say, “thank-you” or  “I’ll think about that”. Most advice is given because just seeing a baby brings back mommy memories even 30+ year old memories. Trust me I am guilty of this and have to be really careful of this habit. I just can’t help it!

Baby Development Source: Your 2-month-old: Week 4 | BabyCenter

Baby Development: 2 months and 3 weeks




Baby Development-2 Months & 3 Weeks


CJ two months


Our grandson is almost three months old and although he changes each day, overall there have been big changes since his birth especially in his movements and sleeping patterns.


  • James’ movements are much smoother these days. He moves both arms and legs almost in a dance of excitement when he is watching his mom and dad or his jungle friends from his little rocker seat. You can palpate his excitement in the morning when he sees his mom or dad come into his room when he wakes up.
  • Fun floor time seems to also be a favorite although tummy time tires him out more rapidly. Pushing off with his legs and holding his head up is a big deal at this point but his tummy time excitement wears off quickly. His muscles are clearly strengthening and toning which will prepare him for crawling in the few months ahead. Baby development is amazing!


  • James sleeps in his crib most of the time. He is not a co-sleeper…although sometimes he catches a nap in someone’s arms. I don’t think there is anything more relaxing than a baby sleeping in my arms. I cherish these moments and know that they don’t last and I will long for them when he is a preschooler.
  • Fortunately at this stage of his baby development, he has a predictable bed time routine which makes mom and dad happy to finally be getting some real sleep.
  • It is now a great time to begin a bedtime ritual that can set the tone for a quiet settling in to a good night’s sleep for everyone. Rocking, a bedtime bath, cuddling with a transitional object, music and or a board book story are great in their calming effects.
Transitional object baby development

Moo…The Cow

  • These rituals will change slightly over time but they are important over the long term so it is not too early to begin them and remember it is important to do the ones that work for your individual baby and family.


  • Oh this is just my favorite baby development, smiling! Your baby can even begin to hold out his arms to you! How could anyone resist not wanting to hold a cute cuddly little one?
  • Remember he/she may not be all too friendly and welcoming just yet…this takes time to develop but some little ones remain skeptical for quite awhile, so be patient.

Child development is extremely individual and unique to each and every child. Milestones are to be used as guidelines. If you have any questions about your child at any time you should consult your pediatrician for more information.


Source: Your 2-month-old’s development: Week 3 | BabyCenter


Weekend from Parenting in the Loop

Weekend Reading from Parenting in the Loop



Welcome to the weekend. If you are like many, this is the time to catch up on some zzz’s, right? Well perhaps not, especially if you are a new parent. Sleep is something we all need to function but many of us simple do not get enough of it for so many different reasons and excuses.

So it really is no surprise that baby sleep habits are such a topic of discussion. If your baby does not sleep chances are you do not either. You then join the ranks of the sleep deprived and depraved.

Co-sleeping is something many families practice and enjoy. There are guidelines if you co-sleep with your baby in order to keep your infant safe and sound.

If you’re one of the 22 percent of BabyCenter moms who share a bed with their baby, you can reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS by following a few basic guidelines Find out more about sleeping in a family bed.

And even though your baby can’t yet safely sleep under that gorgeous quilt you received as a baby gift, you can still get plenty of use out of it. Hang it on the nursery wall, drape it over the back of your rocking chair, or let your baby spend tummy time on it during the day.

Five things you didn’t know about newborn sleep

I simple cannot say enough about safe sleep for your baby. It truly is about balance…the three S’s: Sleep, Safety and Sanity.


There is no doubt that having a new baby changes everything about sleep. Between fussing, feeding, diapering, and soothing, it is broken into fragments, and the sum of all of those pieces doesn’t usually feel like enough. There’s also your baby’s safety to consider. Nobody likes to think about SIDS, but it is the most common cause of death in babies beyond the newborn period (1), and we want to do everything we can to prevent it. If we could, we might sit awake and watch our babies breathe all night, but of course, we need to sleep, too.

Source: Should Your Baby Sleep in Your Room? For How Long? Balancing Sleep, Safety, and Sanity | Science of Mom

A weekend is a time when you can look at the world from your own perspective at least for a few moments of the day.

I found this a particularly interesting discussion about where your focus is at different time periods in your life.

Are you a planner? That is, you know step by step what is coming next in the scheme of your life.

Or are you vulnerable and daring, facing the horizon head on and open to the vagaries of the dailies?

Personally, I am more of a head up person myself although at times my head is physically down so as not to stumble and fall into my horizon…it is one of the passages of aging.

Which one are you?

When your head is down, focusing on a step-by-step or gig-by-gig plan, two things happen:The world can’t connect to you fully. Your eyes are down. You are unable to see the big picture, random opportunities, or how you are connected to your world right now, in this moment.Your identity feels like it is at the whim of each step or gig because that is where you are putting all your focus. The current job defines you.

When your head is up, focusing on that magnet of a horizon, the opposite occurs:The world sees you fully. It is a vulnerable and daring posture to stand fully present in this moment. You are available. You are open.You have the consistency of that horizon. You will probably take and release multiple identities along the way (student, teacher, director, actor, parent…) but the horizon is your constant.


When other opportunities pan out or spark beyond your imagination, your spot on the horizon keeps you from loosing all perspective. Take a ballet class, learn how to spot, and you’ll be well on your way.


When you claim your horizon, you are crafting a calling, a beacon, a rallying cry to explore.Be inspired by your horizon.


Be a little scared. Be daring.What’s your horizon? How are you stepping towards it today?


Source: You Don’t Need a Five- or Ten-Year Plan. You Need A Horizon. | HowlRound

Weekend sunset bristol

At sunset on Sunday, will you wonder where the weekend went?

TGIF-Weekend Reading….

Weekend Reading!

My picks for weekend reading

After an arctic cold week here in Chicago, I am really glad to see Friday and the weekend roll around, with the sun shining outside my window as I write this post. I am not letting the sun fool me – it is only 7 degrees outside with a below zero windchill of minus 11 degrees! Yikes!

I am going to post a picture that you can use for some meditation or as just a reminder of a more comfortable summer day on the water-my personal happy place!


A Day at the Beach…Martha’s Vineyard


Seeking women over 50! Do you want to make a big change in 2015? Read this, it might help you with your resolution.


Dear Readers,

We’re seeking 15 women age 50 and older who plan to make a radical change in their lives in 2015. Whether your New Year’s resolution is to strike out on your own, reinvigorate your marriage, get healthy — through diet, exercise or something else — start a business, adopt a child, overcome a fear or learn a new skill in 2015, we want to hear from you. The aim is to create an inspiring initiative that reminds us it’s never too late to change your life, pursue your passion, or prioritize personal happiness and wellbeing over traditional definitions


How do kids organize and control their world. There is no gray for them, knowing this just might help you understand their behavior.


In fact, black-or-white thinking helps kids organize and control their world. As they put things into one of two categories – like or dislike, fun or boring – they make predictions about behaviors and situations. Being able to do this shows they can understand two very different ideas at the same time.


How are you going to find social connections as you get older? Do you respect the Virtual Village concept?


Then he ran across the idea of virtual retirement villages, whose members pay a yearly fee to gain access to resources and social connections that help them age in place. Sold on the concept, Mr. Cloud joined with some friends to start Capital City Village four years ago.

I hope you all have a warm and wonderful weekend!

Back-to-School anxiety

Back-to-School Jitters


Class Photo

Most of us can remember our first days at school and the jitters that we felt. Sometimes, these jitters were happy ones…getting back back to the books and classroom meant seeing our friends again after the long hot summer.

It also meant slipping into a familiar routine which we know can be consolingly comfortable.

At times though, anxious worries can spoil the fun of the return to routine mornings, scheduled daytimes, and earlier bedtimes.

As a parent, I can remember struggling with the after Labor Day schedules. Here are some pointers to remember when parent anxiety rises.

  • Recognize your own anxiety– Take care that your own worries do not exacerbate the worries of your child. Anxiety is contagious! Meditate or take some time yourself to relax and model this settling behavior for your children during moments of anxiety.
  • Try to have a conversation with your kids– Listen to your children and validate their feelings…sometimes, they will want to talk about back-to-school stuff and sometimes, they will want to avoid the discussion. Be available, be non-judgmental, be empathic.
  • Plan ahead– Structure and planning eases anxiety because children know what to expect. Perhaps a visit to school or meeting new classmates can be arranged ahead of time.
  • Follow good eating and sleeping habits– Nourishment and rest are essentials to health and keeping a watchful eye on what you buy at the grocery store can be helpful as can a regular bedtime that allows for adequate rest and sleep.
  • Treat high anxiety– If you or your child seem to experience over the top anxiety, it might be time to consult a counselor for some more ideas as to how to treat these feelings. Help is available, you just have to ask.
  • Stay in touch with your kids– During the school year, keep listening to your children. Their conversations with friends can tell you more about them than you think you want or need to know.

But remember, an empathic ear can give you a heads-up to situations before they hatch into problems.