Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The things kids say...

My daughter generally seems to repeat and learn words well. However, sometimes she seems to be making up her own words for things. It really makes we wonder whether she is hearing us incorrectly or if her stubborn personality is just taking over. Her newest misnomer? Spoon. Up until recently, she was saying "spoon" when she wanted one or when one was presented to her. However, within the past 2 weeks she decided that the correct word for "spoon" is actually "boom-boom". If you mention the word "spoon" to her, she responds with "boom-boom", so it is clear that she still retains the understanding of the word. She still says "bowl" correctly, but "spoon" has been banished from her vocabulary. No matter how much we try to correct her, she seems to have just decided that the word "spoon" does not work for her. So for the foreseeable future she will be eating her breakfast with a "boom-boom" and my husband and I will be left shaking our heads.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Is my child developing appropriately?

Most parents ask themselves this question at some point. It is difficult to resist the urge to compare your child to others around the same age, which can cause unnecessary stress. Doctors and experts drill it into our heads that infants and children all develop at varying rates, and that there is a broad range of what is considered "normal" development. However, there are still some general guidelines as to what types of skills are developed at which ages, and this can be a useful way to help to determine if you should be concerned about your child's development. The Talaris Research Institute has come up with a great timeline that provides suggested ranges for the development of various social, cognitive, motor, and other skills from birth through age 5. To view this timeline, visit http://www.talaris.org/5ways. Keep in mind that these are suggested guidelines. If you are concerned about your child's development, consult his or her pediatrician or another health care professional.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Maybe I should give her a mop?

Anyone that knows me would never describe me as a clean freak. Though I like things to be clean, clutter tends to rule my house. From the time my daughter started to crawl, though, I started working hard to keep my home's floors clean. As potty time started creeping up on us, I also started obsessing over the cleanliness of our bathrooms. Typically I use my Swiffer to clean the floors and Lysol Wipes or some other similar type of product to clean all other surfaces. Usually when I clean my daughter just watches and laughs. She finds it hilarious when I am bending down to scrub something or pushing the Swiffer or a broom around the room. It hadn't occured to me, though, just how far her imitation skills would go.

Our computer desk chair has several metal bars on the bottom that attach to wheels. The tops of the bars are typically dust traps, and I often forget about cleaning this chair. Today, my daughter was playing with a baby wipe as she often does, washing her hands and face and putting it on her head. Without warning, she walked over to the desk chair and started cleaning the bottom bars and wheels with the baby wipe! At one point she paused, looked at one stubborn spot, scratched at it with her nails, and wiped over it again, just as she has seen me do countless times. She actually cleaned the whole bottom of the chair- and did a good job! Needless to say, I was pretty impressed. Now if I could only teach her to clean a toilet...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Car Seat Safety Guide

Shopping for a car seat? Want to make sure your car seat is installed properly? Check out this publication from the American Academy of Pediatrics, entitled "Car Safety Seats: A Guide for Families 2008". It describes many of the currently popular car seats and provides information on proper installation. It also provides price range information, which can be useful if you are shopping around and comparing prices of different brands. Here is the link:
http://www.aap.org/family/carseatguide.htm
You can also order copies of this guide in paper format, though I believe there may be a charge.

Friday, February 8, 2008

SIDS Prevention Guidelines from NICHD

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) has released a publication entitled "Safe Sleep For Your Baby" with advice designed to help you to reduce your child's risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Here is an excerpt from that publication:

Safe Sleep Top 10
  1. Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night. The back sleep position is the safest, and every sleep time counts.
  2. Place your baby on a firm sleep surface, such as on a safety-approved crib mattress, covered by a fitted sheet. Never place your baby to sleep on pillows, quilts, sheepskins, or other soft surfaces.
  3. Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of your baby's sleep area. Don't use pillows, blankets, quilts, sheepskins, and pillow-like crib bumpers in your baby's sleep area, and keep any other items away from your baby's face.
  4. Do not allow smoking around your baby. Don't smoke before or after the birth of your baby, and don't let others smoke around your baby.
  5. Keep your baby's sleep area close to, but separate from, where you and others sleep. Your baby should not sleep in a bed or on a couch or armchair with adults or other children, but he or she can sleep in the same room as you. If you bring the baby into bed with you to breastfeed, put him or her back in a separate sleep area, such as a bassinet, crib, cradle, or a bedside cosleeper (infant bed that attaches to an adult bed) when finished.
  6. Think about using a clean, dry pacifier when placing the infant down to sleep, but don't force the baby to take it. (If you are breastfeeding your baby, wait until your child is 1 month old or is used to breastfeeding before using a pacifier.)
  7. Do not let your baby overheat during sleep. Dress your baby in light sleep clothing, and keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult.
  8. Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS because most have not been tested for effectiveness or safety.
  9. Do not use home monitors to reduce the risk of SIDS. If you have questions about using monitors for other conditions talk to your health care provider.
  10. Reduce the chance that flat spots will develop on your baby's head: provide "Tummy Time" when your baby is awake and someone is watching; change the direction that your baby lies in the crib from one week to the next; and avoid too much time in car seats, carriers, and bouncers.

For more information about the NICHD "Back to Sleep" campaign, visit http://www.nichd.nih.gov/sids

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Why you should support PBS...

Public television is responsible for development and broadcasting of many wonderful programs, including my daughter's favorite, Sesame Street. Here is an excerpt from the PBS mission statement from their site:

PBS is a media enterprise that serves 355 public noncommercial television stations and reaches nearly 73 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is a leading provider of digital learning content for pre-K-12 educators, and offers a broad array of other educational services.

Believe it or not, public television stations are supported in very small part by the government. Their main sources of funding include membership, local station fundraising, and purchases through the ShopPBS.org site. There are many great products for children and adults, and their prices are reasonable. There are very few other channels that do such a great job of providing education children's programming, and I strongly encourage you to support public television. Don't see anything on the site that you would like to purchase? Consider becoming a member of your local station or making a one-time donation. OK, I'm done preaching now...time for Elmo's World...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Trying to Conceive? Why you may want to drop a few pounds...

Research has shown that obese women may not only have difficulty conceiving, but they may also be more likely to suffer certain pregnancy-related complications. Being significantly overweight during pregnancy can increase your risk of the following:
  • Gestational Diabetes
  • Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (i.e. high blood pressure)
  • Higher rates of C-Sections, including increased risk of post-operative complications
  • Increased risk of anaesthesia complications
If you are overweight and thinking about conceiving, consult your health care provider to establish a healthy weight-loss program.

If you are already pregnant and overweight, talk to your health care provider about developing a plan for exercise and healthy eating throughout the remainder of your pregnancy. It can be dangerous to diet and exercise for weight loss during pregnancy without proper medical supervision, so consult your doctor before starting to exercise or changing your eating habits.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Another frightening reason to breastfeed

Check out this article on the MSNBC site:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22717628/

Researchers have found a potentially harmful chemical in the packaging used for many baby formulas and other products. Currently, some politicians are pushing for stronger regulation of these and other chemicals. Groups that are closely tied to baby formula makers stress that we do not yet have any reason to think that the trace amounts used in packing are harming our babies, but these groups have a vested interest in keeping consumers happy and interested in buying their products. I will continue to follow this research and keep you posted as new peer-reviewed journal articles are published. In the meantime, this finding may encourage more women to consider breastfeeding. (I am not a breastfeeding "preacher" like many women, as my own experience proved to be very challenging and I had to supplement with formula.) However, this new finding may prompt some women to give it a try who might not otherwise have had an interest.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

My Little Dancing Queen

From just about the time my daughter was born, she loved to dance. Even at a few months old, she was incredibly good at keeping a beat and swaying to music. As she got older and could move around better, she became increasingly interested in swaying, head nodding, clapping to a beat, and even what I like to call "rump shaking"(sorry, cheesy 90's reference, I know). She has gotten to the point where she will even dance to the melody of everyday noises like the blended, food processor, and even electric toothbrushes. To her, the world is full of music.

Even with her strong interest in music and dancing, however, not all traditional children's muci seems to interest her. She prefers songs with a lot of guitar, so country music is high on her list. She also loves 80's and early 90's music, especially old school Michael and Janet Jackson. lucky for us, we subscribe to digital cable and can play the 80's, 90's, country, or even hard rock station depending on her mood. When riding in the car, however, I am left with whichever CDs I remember to bring along for the ride. As I have mentioned previously, Garth Brooks and Rascal Flatts are always hits with her. Other artists, however, depend entirely on her mood. I myself prefer to buy compilation CDs. I think I just have artist ADD, because I just can't sit through a whole album by the same artist. I need variety, and I think my daughter does too.

My taste in music varies widely, and sometimes it is hard to find CDs that really mix it up. For current hits, I enjoy the "NOW" series (I think they are up to NOW 53 or something by now). I have also absolutely fallen in love with Monster Ballads. What can I say? Those big hair bands still do it for me.

Friday, February 1, 2008

My Baby Name Prediction for 2008 and 2009

It appears that Nicole Richie may have ignitied a new trend in baby naming with the birth of her daughter, Harlow. Just as Britney Spears added to the popularity of the name Jayden, the publicity surrounding Nicole Richie's pregnancy will surely help to make Harlow more common and popular.

My baby name trend prediction, then, is that Harlow will break into the Top 20 most popular girls' names in 2008. By 2009, I predict that it will be in the top 10. Why, you ask? I don't personally understand the logic, but many women actually strive to give their babies "famous" names. I was amazed at a party a few months back to hear a woman actually bragging about naming her children after reality TV stars that she had admired. She seemed young and naive, and I was amazed to find out that she was actually in her late 20's. I had previously assumed (falsely) that this type of mentality was limited to very young mothers. It amazed me to learn how common naming your child after a celebrity really is.

Now as I have said, I just don't understand it. With all of the celebrity bad behavior that is shown in the media, I would not want to curse my child with a lifetime of association with a potential drug addict, sex film star, or worse. However, trends in baby naming can be traced back for hundreds of years, so I guess there really are many people who intentionally choose to give their children popular names. It will be interesting to see how many people jump on the "Harlow" bandwagon...