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Walking


Walking

My 12-year-old son had to write his autobiography recently.

He refused any help on the essay, even to verify important facts such as how much he weighed at birth and when he started walking.

He wrote that he started walking at 10 months, which isn’t even remotely true. He was 13 months when he finally tentatively struck out across the kitchen, only to make it two wobbly steps before my shrieks of delight scared him so much that he plopped right down on the floor and began to howl.

While walking at 10 months is on the early side of normal and 13 months is on solidly average, anything in that range is right on target. My mom claims I walked at 9 months, skipping crawling all-together. My pediatrician also told me, at the time, that he doesn’t really worry until a child isn’t walking at 18 months.

So, watch your little one. Don’t panic and enjoy the time before you have to batten down every door and cabinet in your house.



Potty Training


Potty Training

My friend just had twins, which is super awesome, except that she’d hoped to have her two-year-old son potty trained before the babies’ arrival.

It didn’t happen.

Try as she might, Evan would not pee-pee on the potty.

I don’t blame the kid. He wasn’t ready. It’s far easier to play with Thomas the Tank Engine and let ‘er rip in your diaper than it is to stop what you’re doing to have to go to the restroom.

While between two and three years is normal for potty training for a lot of girls, boys often take longer, easily age three, often approaching four.

I’m a firm believer in not pushing it. It will frustrate you more than it’s worth. Make that kid almost beg to go to the potty because he’s so ready to be rid of diapers.

With that said, there are gentle nudges you can provide to nudge him in the right direction. Big boy and girl underpants are huge. My younger son didn’t want to tinkle on Thomas, so that worked for him. Nothing worked for my older son, and he was almost four by the time he potty trained. Nothing I did was effective and I just got upset. I let it go and waited until he asked me. After that, there were no issues.

So, watch your toddler for signs of toilet readiness, but again, don’t force the issue. It’ll happen in due time.



Family Matters: Taming the Teeth Tantrums


Taming the Teeth TantrumsEven before your baby has teeth, you need to be thinking about their oral health.

When they still have their gummy grins, begin rubbing a soft cloth, or a brush made especially for babies, gently over their gums to get them accustomed to the sensation of having their “teeth brushed.” You don’t have to use toothpaste; just gently rub their gums.

When they do have teeth, use a small toothbrush with soft bristles, or a special brush you wear on your finger, to get your toddler’s teeth clean. Don’t use adult toothpaste, though. Find a brand specially made for babies and toddlers.

When we hit the toddler years, it was so hard to get my children to stand still long enough to brush their teeth. Plus, they hated when I did it and wanted to do it THEMSELVES (insert foot stomping and general churlishness here). To combat the teeth brushing tantrums, each boy had their own toothbrush they could hold while I was brushing their teeth. Then, when I was done, it was their turn. They also loved the little sand timers that help you know how long to brush. They were so mesmerized by the sand that they’d forget to focus on how long it was taking me to brush their teeth. Spin brushes were another lifesaver. While they weren’t the primary toothbrush, they were fun enough to distract the boys while I brushed their teeth thoroughly.

Good luck!

TIP: When your baby is a toddler, he likely wants to feed himself. Pick out the appropriate utensils to make this task easier. Utensils with handles with a special texture or shape or those with chunky handles with rubber grips make it simpler for little hands to pick up and grip.



Family Matters: Going All-natural


Hyland’s Baby Teething Tablets I’m always very aware and very cautious about what I’m putting into my kids’ bodies, and this was especially true when they were babies.

I was first introduced to Hyland’s products when my first son started teething, and he needed relief. Let’s be honest: I needed relief, too.

I turned to an experienced mom whose parenting philosophies were pretty much in line with my own for advice, and she recommended Hyland’s Baby Teething Tablets.

Hyland’s makes homeopathic remedies for babies and kids. Homeopathic is really just a fancy word for “natural.”

According to the Hyland’s website, the product line was started by pharmacist George Hyland in 1903, driven by the notion that the body can call upon its own natural defenses to heal and restore balance.

Homeopathic medicine has been around for a long time, and it’s great to put to use for children and babies because there are no harmful side effects or drawbacks to trying these methods.

Hyland’s teething tablets reduced the pain of cutting teeth for my son and the stress of his discomfort for me. I loved that I could rest assured that what I was putting into his body was natural.

TIP: In addition to using a homeopathic remedy for teething, try dampening a very soft washcloth and putting it in the freezer for a little while. It will be cold enough to help soothe baby but not frozen so solid that it would irritate baby’s gums.



Family Matters: Going Green


Going GreenI was one of those moms who was determined that my child would only eat the healthiest of organic foods.

That went pretty well until he went on a hunger strike. That aside, for many months he did only eat the healthiest foods, and his introduction to solid foods started with avocado.

Avocado is a great first food. I started my older son at four months but then backed off until six months, as he still had a bit of a gag reflex and couldn’t handle solids very well. Four months is the earliest pediatricians recommend introducing solids, and six months is about average for American babies.

At six months after whetting his appetite with rice cereal, I mashed an avocado and let him try it. He loved it. His baby bird mouth opened time and time again, and I had to mash the second half of the fruit as he devoured the first portion quickly.

Avocado is mild. It’s easily mashed or cut into small pieces, and it’s easy for baby to eat.

Plus, it’s chock full of nutrients.

Avocados provide baby with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are the heart-healthy fats. Avocados also contribute almost 20 vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds to baby’s diet. Baby can eat it plain, mashed or mixed in with cereal, bananas or other first foods.

TIP: Not all babies can tolerate baby wipes; they give some children a rash. It’s perfectly fine to use a damp washcloth or a wet paper towel as well!



Family Matters: Picky Eaters


Picky EatersBoth of my boys went through a picky-eating phase.

When my older son turned about one, he stopped eating anything that was remotely nutritious. He was the kid who ate pureed Brussels sprouts, for goodness sake, and then he just stopped eating. His diet consisted largely of cheese toast, applesauce, bananas and milk.

I had to get sneaky. Did you know cooked and pureed broccoli and carrots are GREAT in pancakes? They sure are. Pumpkin is delightful mixed into oatmeal and sweet potatoes pass as french fries.

Now, a lot of toddler food comes in easy-to-handle, delicious pouches in a variety of flavors and combinations, so parents have a lot more choices for their toddlers without having to resort to stealth tactics.

From peas to potatoes and carrots and everything in between, pouch foods offer parents an excellent option for on-the-go nutrition or just a sit-down dinner at home.

You can also sneak veggies into pasta sauce, like this:

Chock Full o’ Veggies Pasta Sauce

Ingredients:
1 (32 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
2 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 zucchini squash, diced
1 Tbs dried oregano
1 Tbs dried basil
1 Tbs garlic salt

Directions:
Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté all vegetables until tender. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, oregano, basil and garlic salt. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer for about an hour. Serve over pasta. To put this sauce into stealth mode, puree the sauce in a food processor immediately after it comes to a boil, then return to pan to let simmer.

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.



Family Matters: Baby Skin Care


Baby Skin CareWhen my little guy was an infant, I had a very hard time taking care of his skin.

First, he had baby eczema, which is totally normal. Then, it dried out and he had cradle cap. Then, the eczema flared up again.

With his sensitive skin, there weren’t any products I found that wouldn’t irritate it even further, until I found Aquaphor.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment is perfect for a newborn’s skin because it is fragrance-free and preservative-free.

You can use it to help heal AND prevent diaper rash. Luke had diaper rash so frequently that his bottom would bleed, until I began applying a preventative layer of Aquaphor at each diaper change.

I also used it on his eczema. It was the perfect balance of soothing, healing and moisturizing, so the eczema cleared up and stayed away.

When he started teething, you’d have thought he rubbed sand paper on his chin because it became so irritated by the constant drool. Aquaphor to the rescue again!

Along with the Healing Ointment, Aquaphor makes a shampoo and baby wash as well.

(P.S. The Healing Ointment is also extraordinary for nursing moms!)



Family Matters: Many Uses for Baby Wipes


Many Uses for Baby WipesI’ll admit, even LONG after my babies have grown, I still stock a great supply of baby wipes.

Why?

Because you can use them for so much more than just cleaning a bottom.

For example, you can use Tippy Toes Baby Wipes to clean off eye makeup.

A recent report shows that 57 percent of us have used them as toilet paper. Camping, anyone?

You can use a baby wipe to clean the interior of your car. All that dust and french fry residue will be gone in a flash.

Keep them in your picnic basket or cooler for easy hand cleanup.

Soothe hemorrhoids during pregnancy.

You can use baby wipes to dust off the leaves of your houseplants or use on a dry mop in place of the brand-name cleaning pad.

Baby wipes remove pen, crayon, pencil and paint from most surfaces, including skin. They get deodorant stains out of clothes and pet hair off of furniture.

They clean hairspray goo off of any surface, and they polish shoes.

You can use them to wipe off the screens on your electronics and temporarily tame flyaway hair.

Oh, did we mention you can use them to clean baby’s bottom?

Reading Books



Family Matters: Healthy Snacking


Healthy SnacksWhen your baby becomes a toddler, they are in full-on snack attack mode! I could never keep the diaper bag stocked with enough snacks, it seemed, even for a short outing.

Because toddlers do love to snack, it’s important to make sure they are getting appropriate snacks.

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins are always good for a snack between meals. I used to carry bananas with me for a fast sugar but a good carbohydrate. Whole-grain crackers with peanut butter or another nut butter are also a great choice. Veggies with hummus are also yummy.

What you don’t want to do is load up on junk and processed foods. Keep it to the basics, if you can. Small chunks of ham with string cheese are delicious. A fruit salad with many small pieces of chewable fruits transports well and keeps your toddler satisfied. Roll cheese or peanut butter inside a whole-grain tortilla. Easy for your toddler to hold and chew.



Family Matters: Teething


Teething BabySome babies are easy; some aren’t.

When it comes to teething, there’s no exception to that rule. Some little ones will have a hard time with it, and some won’t.

The range of normal teething is huge. There are babies born with teeth, and there are babies who don’t sprout that first pearly bud until closer to nine months to a year old. Either way is okay. Just know that the earlier they start teething, the earlier they might lose their first baby tooth.

  • So-called symptoms of teething include:
  • Increased drooling
  • Gum swelling and tenderness
  • General crankiness
  • Gnawing or biting
  • Refusing food
  • Sleep problems
  • They may or may not exhibit any of these symptoms.

Keeping a soft, cold compress in the freezer (dampen a clean washcloth and place in freezer) can help relieve some of the pain. If baby is very fussy, a small dose of over-the-counter ibuprofen might help.



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