Wednesday, August 28, 2013


My Inbox is swallowing me alive. I used to pride myself on having no more emails in my Inbox than I could see on one screen. In the last few weeks, however, it has gotten completely out of control for reasons that are still unclear. I've been filing things away in my "blog to do" folder for that elusive day when I have time to blog. So, I'm just going to purge and link to a lot of things here that you may or may not find interesting. Or may or may not have time to read (I'm voting on "may not" - you won't hurt my feelings). Is it bad that cleaning out my Inbox feels like cleaning up my  house?

So, some reading for your relaxing Labor Day weekend plans at the pool. Wait ... are you doing that? Take me along.

What Should a 4-Year-Old Know: I think this is kind of viral on the Facebook, but was timely for me as I'm trying to restrain myself from worrying about Kindergarten ONE YEAR AWAY. (And also, a few concrete guidelines that help reign in my craziness).

Why I Am The Perfect Mother. God bless "average".

Child Safety: Stranger Danger Warning Needs Updating - I know I've posted about this before, but it is a conversation I need to keep having with Ellen. I like the ideas about teaching safety as a value, just like kindness and honesty and whatever else. Also, adding "Did anything happen today to make you feel uncomfortable?" to your standard questions about the day. And teaching about acceptable strangers.

"If my son wanted to dance, I would kill myself" - can't remember where I came across this, but nice story about celebrating the interests of your children.

Similarly, How Do You Teach The Beauty of Different - good tips.

The Last Time - also went kind of viral, but sweet and tear-inducing. I find myself compulsively documenting Georgia's sweet quirks these days, knowing that in the midst of all these developmental milestones, so many things will fall by the wayside.

How To Teach Kids To Say Sorry - We haven't really used "time out" for Ellen in years. On rare occasion when she is out of control, I do ask her to sit in a chair and calm down before coming back to talk with me. Most of the time, though, we talk things through and I explain why I am upset or frustrated with her behavior and I ask her how she could make a better choice next time. It works pretty well for us. The biggest AHA! I had lately, though, is that for your children to really learn the importance of apologizing, you need to apologize to them when appropriate. Not long ago, I lost my temper with Ellen during crazy-after-work-dinner-hour. I raised my voice and I don't think she expected it and she sulked away to the couch and cried quietly. I felt, in a word, terrible. I sat down for a snuggle and really apologized to her and explained why I had acted that way. Made us both feel better.

My Daughter Went Away to Camp and Changed - I've been very nostalgic for my days at Summer Camp lately. This was a nice article about the importance of activities that belong solely to your children and the happiness that comes with that freedom.

We Need To Talk About Race and How Do You Talk To Kids About Race? - I think a lot of good points here. This is something I fumble through with Ellen in our very homogeneous community. I mostly remember a part of the Nurture Shock book that  talks about the "being blind to color" approach and how it doesn't really work. You need to talk with your children about race and not let them draw their own conclusions. Another area in which I feel ill-equipped to be raising a responsible human being, but I will try my hardest.

Raising Safe Swimmers and Here Comes the Sunscreen (gallery of pics of parents putting sunscreen on kids). Summer's over? How? When?

Well, if you have a kid who started back to school, check this out: Crayola Starts a new Recycling Program

This Morning I Yelled - I've linked to Dash and Bella before, good recipes, great writing

 Great Artist Mom - fun blog by a gal who developed an art program for elementary students. She has good ideas for encouraging artistic behavior, and practical tips on supplies, and nice videos here and there on drawing. A little advanced for Ellen, but she likes to watch me and then color in my drawings. One big take away that we use: "You are the artist of your own paper". I'm trying to get Ellen to not be such a perfectionist with her art ... wonder where she gets that?

Three Huge Mistakes We Make in Leading Kids - Again, I see this so many places, the importance of specific praise for children, not just platitudes.

A reminder to Get In The Picture With Your Kids! We just had our latest round of family pics with our favorite photographer. I wanted to document Georgia as she has changed so much from December, but also to have pictures of me with the girls. I spend most of my days with them, yet have little documentation of that.

I bet you do this anyway - narrate your day to your baby - but this reinforces the importance! The Power of Talking to Your Baby.

Nice series on Slate: How Babies Work - lots of interesting articles on babies, American vs. other, and some science behind infant development and such.

Friday, August 23, 2013

12 times a day

On my days at home, I calculated that I am feeding myself or someone else 12 separate times a day. What the what. Georgia is still nursing 4 times a day and then eats solids 3 times a day, though her "dinner" really stretches from 5-6:30 in spurts to keep her happy while the rest of us eat. Ellen eats the typical 3 meals, and generally 1-2 snacks which I didn't even count. I eat breakfast and lunch somewhere after I've fed both girls, then prep dinner so we can all sit down together for 9 minutes. I need roller skates.

Speaking of roller skates, my "advanced" age and the last pregnancy really did a number on my feet. I feel like a seriously old lady hobbling around all day. I haven't worn heels in almost 5 years and my feet still groan. I finally got some silver Gizeh Birkenstocks because I was trying to avoid a specialist visit and orthotics (told ya - that's an old lady word). I think they are working and - BONUS - it appears that Birkenstocks are all the rage in Paris this summer. Trend. Setter.

Georgia finally dropped her 3rd nap just past 9 months. It makes bedtime much more predictable - she is generally so exhausted she goes straight to sleep - but it also means that her last feeding needs to start at about 6:32pm. If it's 6:40pm she might start melting. It also means that the witching hour of 5:00-6:00pm really requires lots of song and dance to keep G happy. As I tell Ellen (frequently) - "The name of the game is Keep Georgia Happy". It's not that she isn't happy ... in fact, she is generally very happy, but I like to keep the status quo.

And, speaking of beds, one Sunday night I sat Georgia in her bed while I was picking up some things in her room and I just thought, "Huh. She looks like she could just throw herself out of bed, if only she could sit up on her own." I told Erik we needed to move her mattress lower and put it on the to-do list. The next morning I found her sitting up in bed. Mommy instinct. We moved her mattress down that night, and then she was clapping and crawling within 2 days. Spurts in development are amazing.

Back to food, we are on a good mix of spoon foods (fruit and yogurt for breakfast, some kind of veggie for lunch or lentils or cottage cheese, and usually a meat of some kind for dinner) and finger foods. The latest finger foods are string cheese cut up into tiny cubes, frozen mixed veggies or broccoli that I chop up, and random veggies or leftover eggs from our meals during the week. I also got frozen organic blueberries at Whole Foods and they are the little tiny wild blueberries - perfect size for G. Admittedly, I'm a little too OCD to let her mash them all over the place, but she loves them straight out of the freezer and still a little slushy. Also, I got a pack of small whole wheat tortillas at Whole Foods that don't have a lot of weird ingredients and I cut them in fourths and spread them out on a sheet to freeze them individually. I can pull one out, zap it for 10 seconds in the microwave, and then tear it up for her. She eats an unreal amount of food. I also got her to start drinking from a straw. I thought it would be easier for our upcoming trip and just got a Playtex sippy cup with a straw lid. We practiced for a day or two and I could squeeze the cup to get the water to come up through the straw so she knew what was happening. In contrast, it took Ellen a long time to figure out the straw - I think she was older.

And, back to nursing. (My thought patterns are like this all day - scattered scattered scattered). My milk supply continues to drop, but I want to keep nursing G through our vacation as it's just so much easier. I finally had a lightbulb moment and switched the breast shields on my pump back to the smaller size and it has increased my supply - maybe an extra 1-2 ounces each time I pump, which isn't a ton, but certainly something. I gave G her first bottle of formula today at home just as a test to make sure we had a back up for vacation and she sucked it right down - no problem. In fact, she looked so proud of herself laying down and drinking the bottle all by herself. Thanks a lot.