Turkey Dogs for Life

I need to send out a hug.  A giant, heartfelt, bear hug to all of you parents that have ever dealt with a toddler that’s a picky eater.  Why? Because OH MY GOD.

Dealing with a picky eater wasn’t even in my peripheral vision.  Not even on my radar. I guess that was one potential challenge of parenthood I overlooked.  Maybe I just assumed because I’m such a good eater that my kids would be too.  After all, I read that moms who eat a variety of foods while pregnant pass those flavors to their baby, therefore creating a pleasant, adventurous eater.  So that must be true, right? Gahhh.

I even remember before I had kids and would see other parents of picky eaters.  The naive, young, head in her butt Erica would tell herself, “Come on! Its not that hard! Its either what you make or they don’t eat! Simple.  Problem solved”.  I love giving that Erica the, “Haha, ok, because you know it all” eye roll.

This one isn’t about advice, or a “what works well for us”. It’s simply a hug.  Because dealing with a picky eater can be so overwhelmingly frustrating and trying.  Even knowing that its a phase, and knowing I’ve never seen an adult only eat turkey dogs and cheese… when all you want is to be able to nourish your child with plenty of vitamins and wholesome goodness for the energy and growth they so deserve… its all too easy to feel defeated.

This one’s for you.

This is for the parents who have brought out the Brezza or food processor time after time after time, determined to make your own baby food, only to have a messy kitchen and a stocked freezer that will never get touched to show for it.  

This is for the parents who have tried steaming, broiling, baking, boiling, and grilling.  There’s bound to be a preparation method they’ll like, right? 

This one is for the parents who have gone out of their way to eat good foods with enthusiasm and passion in front of your children repeatedly to show that if they would just try it ONE MORE TIME, they’ll like it! We promise! 

This one is for the parents who after a long day, consciously prepare dinner with a lean protein, vegetable, and whole grain that you know are sure hits with your tot.  You just can’t deal with defeat.  Not today.  Until you sit down to eat, and this fab trio you prepared is met with an adamant, “NO! NO! NO!”.  

This one is for the parents who purposely take their kids to Sam’s Club for free samples. So they can try new foods without you having to buy or make them.  They love and eat up the cherries for the first time, so you happily buy a carton.  You get home feeling victorious, clean and cut some up, and then she acts like you’re trying to feed her feces.  

This one is for the parents who have resorted to acting like flipping magicians in the kitchen, hiding and covering up veggies in ways no child can detect.  Until they do, and that whole portion of their meal is now deemed inedible.  

This one is for the parents who have tried to wait it out. Leaving little ones in their booster or high chair for awhile.  Surely, she’ll cave.  She HAS to be hungry.  I WILL win this one.  Until you don’t.  

This one is for the parents who have made so many smoothies they should moonlight at their local Jamba Juice.  If they aren’t going to eat their fruits and veggies, you’ll be damned if they don’t drink them.  

This one is for the parents who know the anxiety that comes from knowing they only have one shot at introducing a new food at meal time.  And the WHEN during meal time is critical.  Too early – the entire meal could be shot.  Too late – the entire meal could be shot.  It’s an art form, people.  

This one is for the parents who have felt the repeated devastation of wasting food.  Oh, the wasting of food.  You consider eating it yourself, until you realize its not healthy for your mental well-being or waistline.  Breaks my heart one tiny piece at a time.  

This one is for the parents who have sat there at night, rocking their little one to sleep, replaying the day through their head and cataloging every thing their child ate.  Most days, it never feels like enough.  

This one is for the parents who rarely get to eat warm food.  You want to share meals together, and you want to set an example every day of what eating well looks like, but when you’re up and down repeatedly – the chicken is never warm by the time you get back to it.  

You know how important nourishment is for healthy minds and healthy bodies.  Your child deserves the best, and you so want to be able to give it to them if they just let you.  You envision the day when a family meal time will go smoothly, without disappointment, interruption, or requiring a short order cook.  You’ve read the books and articles.  You get the unsolicited advice.   And you know, like all phases, this too shall pass.   But in the moment, when you’ve pulled out all the stops, sometimes throwing up the white flag feels like your only course of action.

Some of my wonderful dietitian moms have recommended this Ellyn Satter site as a guide for setting healthy eating boundaries and sharing the responsibility of eating well between you and your children.  Hopefully some of you find it beneficial – I know I have.  A lot of great resources.

Until then, I feel for you.  We’ll get through this, one GD chicken nugget at a time.

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An Exaggerated, But Not That Exaggerated Day Inside the Head of Today’s Moms

One of my biggest frustrations as a mom in today’s overloaded information age is the endless stream of hazards, studies, chemicals, toxins, and recalls we are continuously made aware of.  It’s incredibly easy to feel like every single decision you make carries immense weight, and everything you do or give your child during the day has potential hazards involved.  Article after article about children’s products pour through my social media feed each day, and to keep up with it all is utterly exhausting.  Is the study valid? Is it a real concern? What is a safe alternative? How can I make the best choices without breaking our budget? I swear some days I consider going back to work just so I can pay for a research assistant to help me sift through the crap and get down to what  really matters.  While I’m thankful that we as moms today have information available to help keep our children safe, I also sometimes think a little ignorance is bliss.  Generations before us didn’t have access to all of this information – yet somehow, they survived and thrived?

In honor of this daily struggle I wanted to write about what it looks like in the head of today’s moms.  It’s not all to be taken seriously, but some days it sure feels close.  Finding that balance between staying up to date on products and practices and keeping your sanity and focus on what really matters is no easy task. To all you moms that make decisions every day with nothing but your children’s best interest at heart and cross your fingers that it all works out, I applaud you and adore you.

My body naturally rises at 6 a.m. Before I muster the energy to get out of bed I quickly sift through my news and social media feeds, which always contains something about child safety. First up is an article about infant and toddler mattresses emitting toxic chemicals our little ones breathe in all night.

Because who should ever test those to make sure they’re safe? I peek at my daughter on the monitor sleeping peacefully with her bottom in the air. Look at how sweet she is… just soaking up toxins through that cute little nose.  Son of a B. 

I’m ready for the day, and she begins to stir upstairs.  I get her cup ready with some milk.  Having recently read about BPA free cups being just as dangerous due to substituting with unregulated chemicals and carcinogens, I fill it reluctantly.

What the F am I supposed to do? Pour the milk straight into her mouth? Here you go, sweetheart.  Drink up out of your toxic sippy. 

After her milk we head to her playroom to work out some morning wiggles and get an appetite for breakfast working.  As she plays contently with her play food at the kitchen set, I can’t help but look around at what an apparent danger trap the room is.

Hmm. She just climbed up and stood on the back of the chair to play with the blinds and cords. Should probably replace those.  That shelving unit needs mounting.  The outlet covers she now picks off with ease need to be replaced with something heavy duty.  Oh, and those are a choking hazard now. Half of that basket of teething toys have been recalled due to choking hazards… should probably throw those out, too.  There’s her old Bumbo.  The queen bee of fall hazards.  Where were people putting their children while in this seat?!  There’s the jumper she once loved, happily bouncing her way up to projectile spit up.  I just read that those are “amputation and fracture” risks.  YIKES? Clearly this room is not fit for children. Let’s make some breakfast and go play at the park.  

I cut up some toast, wash and chop an apple, and get her some organic fruit smoothie.  I eye the baby food pouch, but get sick thinking about the video I just saw of someone finding live larvae in one of those pouches.

The bread is whole grain, that’s good right? The apple isn’t organic, but I washed it, soooo? Hopefully that’s good enough? Naked brand just came out with the fact that their wholesome smoothies contain other ingredients and chemicals that aren’t listed.  Is this one legit? Here’s to hoping? Eat up, pumpkin.  

I clean her up, get her dressed, and change her diaper.

How can I still use these Kirkland wipes from Costco without letting that article I read about them getting a low safety rating creep into the back of my head?  I love these wipes! 

I grab her bag and go to put her in the car seat.

Chest buckle at armpit height. Check.  Shoulder straps perfectly on top of shoulders and can’t pinch them at all.  Check. Fleece on, but its really thin, so that doesn’t really break the big coat rule, right? Sure.  Check.  Still happy rear-facing. Sweet.  Double check. The fact that we paid for a top of the line car seat and still deal with safety recalls.  Really flipping pisses me off.  

We get to the park filled with children of all ages.

I wonder if anyone else saw that article about people taping small razor blades all over equipment at playgrounds to intentionally hurt children? Hopefully this one is blade free. Of course it is, Erica… chill.  

I do a quick scan of all adults at the playground.  Obviously looking for the creep that the news always tells me will surely be there.

Kinda creepy.  Could be creepy.  Definitely creepy.  Did these people come with children?!

Tayler is happily playing, and being the paparazzi mom that I am, I snap a few cute pictures of her playing.  Our family digs them.

Wait. Shit. Did I turn off the location service for my phone camera? I don’t need any of these creeps knowing where we are all the time. THEY WERE ABLE TO MAKE MAPS OF KIDS’ BEDROOMS WITH THAT STUFF. 

After some fun-filled park adventures, we come back to the house for some lunch and a good nap.  I take her upstairs to her room to lay her down.

Crap. I haven’t washed out that cool-mist humidifier in awhile.  I think the max you’re supposed to let it go is a week.  I’m pretty sure its been like seven.  Noise maker on.  But not too close to her or too loud.  Those are apparently a noise risk now? I’m pretty sure dad’s TV volume level and our dogs’ barking take care of that already for her.  Her breathable mesh bumpers are pushed down a little low.  Oh well, I’ll leave them.  Despite her full body control, I’ve been taught to be terrified of those things. 

She wakes up rested, but a little grumpy from her three teeth trying to push through.

Can’t use baby Orajel.  Can’t use teething tablets.  Our pediatrician said those teething necklaces leak arsenic. Hopefully a low dose of Tylenol is safe.  Here babe, chew on this frozen washcloth. I’m so over this.  

We decide to head back outside for a walk in her new push car.  I opt out of the Bjorn, because I guess those don’t support her hips enough.

I knew I should’ve gotten an Ergo. 

Before I put sunscreen on her, I’m left feeling guilt ridden again. I had just read that most popular sunscreen brands are actually full of harmful chemicals.

Well which is better right now? No sunscreen and turning her fragile baby skin to leather? Or putting it on again before we can get over to Target and buy a “safe” baby brand? Get over here lady.  Let’s lather you up.   

We enjoy our walk and play in our court for awhile, and then devour our string cheese snack.  We head to back yard to kick a ball around.

God our yard looks like hell after this winter.  I’m assuming we can’t use fertilizer? What can we use? Anything? Rely on all the dog poop that needs to be picked up? Shit.  This yard is a minefield of poop.  We can’t be back here.  

So we head back inside for a little bit to play in her danger room.  Followed by what I can only hope was a somewhat safe and nutritious dinner.  We eventually head up for bath time.  We just ran out of our Burt’s Bee’s Soap, so I grab some Johnson and Johnson from our baby shower stash we accumulated.

Is this stuff safe yet? How obnoxious.  Formaldehyde? Really? Maybe just this once? I need to invest in Honest Company stock.  

Pajamas on. Books read.  Lights out.  Milk drank.  Noise maker on.  Rocking into sweet dreams.  She’s sleeping safely and comfortably in my arms.  But I dare not fall asleep with her, because apparently that’s too dangerous.  Pshht.

Whew.  We made it through another day in this battlefield.  I shouldn’t be called Mom.  I should be called Master Crisis Averter.  Or Doctor of Danger Assessment.  I guess Mom will do for now.  

I lay her in her crib, kiss her goodnight, and quietly close the door.

Shit.  I wonder if she’ll be ok with the blanket I left in there? 

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Car Seat Add-On Must

Its an image you never want to think about.  Getting into a car accident with your precious baby in the backseat.  Chances are it won’t happen, but the reality is we just never know.  Better to be prepared than not.

If you were to ever get in a wreck and become unconscious (or whoever it is driving the car), your baby would not be able to relay important information to a police officer or firefighter arriving at the scene.  When rescue workers go to get your child out of the vehicle, have that vital information visible for them.  Not only will it be incredibly helpful for the first responders, but when able, they will leave the baby in the car seat when taken to the hospital and it will be helpful for medical staff as well.

I’ve seen these online for purchase, but it seemed too simple to not type up yourself.  Doesn’t need to be fancy.  The information I included (add more to fit your personal needs), are:

  • Child’s name 
  • Child’s Date of Birth 
  • Address
  • Both Parents’ Names and Phone Numbers 
  • Emergency Contact and Phone Number 
  • Doctor’s Name and Phone Number
  • Any known allergies or medications taken by any family member 

I printed it off on blue paper so it stands out a little bit better, and put it on BOTH sides of the car seat with clear packaging tape.

Hopefully this information won’t be needed, but in the event of a crash I don’t want to take my chances!

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Below is a link to a sample sticker you can purchase online.

http://www.cafepress.com/mf/30993617/carseatorg-emergency-information_sticker?utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=321730555&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=sem-cpc-product-ads&utm_content=search-pla&productId=321730555

 

Check Out That Cupboard

We all have somewhere in the kitchen where we corral all the baby stuff. Bottles, food, formula, baby cook books, etc. Maybe its in a cupboard, maybe its in a cute basket on the counter, or maybe they are put wherever you find a patch of clear space at the time. For us, we have a cupboard that’s all hers. (So this is the trend when you have kids, huh? They kind of just take over the house?). The reason I’m writing about a measly ole cupboard is because I’ve found it to be baby command central – valuable not only to me, but to my husband and babysitters as well. When everything has a designated home and vital information is all in one place, things just seem to run smoother. Husband has no excuse for putting things in the wrong place when unloading the dishwasher (the point is he unloaded the dishwasher, right?). Everyone helping with Tayler knows what her general schedule looks like. And god forbid there is ever an emergency, anyone can easily find every phone number they may need and visual reminders for infant CPR and choking. Let’s take a little peek.

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The upper left is Tayler’s schedule. Everything on it is subject to an “-ish” after it, but as Tayler’s schedule changes, its nice for my husband to be able to keep up with our day-to-day if I’m not around to ask. It makes fussy problem-solving a lot easier if he can keep tabs on where she is during her day.

Bottom left is her Emergency Contact List. Beneficial for anyone in our home if there is ever an emergency. Things to consider putting on yours are:

  • Your Address
  • Poison Control
  • Your Urgent Care
  • Mom & Dad’s phone numbers (personal, home, & work)
  • Your Hospital’s ER
  • Fire Dept
  • Police Dept
  • Your Pediatrician’s Office
  • All Neighbors that could help and where they live
  • Your Pharmacy
  • Your Insurance Info
  • Any allergies and/or medications taken in the family

**Something else helpful you might want to put on your Emergency Contact List is this little bit of info: If you’re ever in an emergency, and cant connect to a 911 dispatcher immediately, for whatever reason – go to your car and press your red Onstar button (IF you have Onstar of course). It is set up to connect IMMEDIATELY – you jump ahead of any other calls. My dad works for Onstar, and always tells me about how many children’s lives are saved from this bit of information. **

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The right side is filled with step-by-step and visual directions for Conscious/Unconscious Choking, Infant CPR & Infant Rescue Breathing. I’ve taken the classes, babysitters have taken the classes, but the truth is, it is so easily forgotten because (hopefully) that information is used next to never. In an emergency, I want to make sure the person handling the situation has a guide if needed. Our babies are too precious to leave it to chance.

The link below is the information I printed off and that you see above.

http://www.beprepared.net/infantcpr.pdf

All of the red bins you see are Dollar Store finds. Organization doesn’t have to cost much money!

I know as Tayler ages our cupboard will change, and I will need to move it down to her level so she can help herself, but for now – this will do.

Are there any ways you organize your kitchen or information you’ve found useful to have up? I’d love to hear!