Staycation or Awaycation?

For the first five years of motherhood I lived nearly 5000 miles away from my family. It’s my fault – I chose to up-sticks and move away. When we were just a couple I was fine with a visit from my parents once a year, a yearly trip home for us and weekly phone calls, but somehow, having babies made me feel closer to my family despite the vast distance between us. I realised just how much a rookie mom needs her mom.

As Pickle grew and Bowser arrived seeing my family only once or twice a year and the limited time my parents had with their grandchildren fanned the flames of my smoldering feelings of homesickness. Surviving the nine hour flight and the accompanying jet lag also made traveling home less appealing. So, when Pickle was five and Bowser 18 months we packed up and went home. Now we are a much more sensible 60 miles apart and can see them, if not whenever we want, at least six or so times a year.

IMG_4996So that’s how we’ll be spending our upcoming school break – with Nanny and Grandad. We won’t do anything terribly exciting; it’s very relaxed. We will visit with some extended family, catching up with Aunties and Cousins. I usually get to have some precious ‘me time’ and have a couple of nights out with old friends. We’ll have our annual trip to the theme park, adventure playground and, if weather permits, a day at the beach. Pickle in particular is just as excited about seeing Nanny and Grandad as she is about what we will do when we’re there. For her it’s all about being together. It’s like she’s making up for lost time.

IMG_5005Pickle would like it if we were part of an African or Indian culture where the extended family all live together under one roof, but we adults know that we also need our own space. We always try to explain to her that if we spent all of our time together then we wouldn’t be able to look forward to visits. However, when we leave there are always tears that last for at least the first 15 minutes of the journey.

Nanny always has a little welcome gift for them: usually a sticker book and a craft kit for Pickle; a couple of Hot Wheels or some Angry Birds paraphernalia for Bowser. And there’s always a pack of Kinder eggs each. No matter how many of these babies we’ve had in our house over the last few years (and being a part of the #KinderMom program this is quite a few!) the kids are always excited to open another one and shortly after munching on the delicious chocolate the toy bartering begins.

Wishing you all a happy holiday – be it a staycation or an awaycation I’m sure it will be fun, fun, fun!

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Eco Toy Packaging

As a parent of two small children, I find myself pontificating about things I never have before. Where my life formerly centered around friends, Friday nights and shopping, I now think more about the environment, my children’s health and how to get milk gob off of my clothes.


mother shopping

This leads into my pet peeve of the decade topic…consumer goods packaging, specifically, the packaging that accompanies children’s toys and crafts. I recently bought my daughter a doll that came with so much more than just a toy brush and hair clips. I realized this was truly a gift of copious amounts of cardboard, plastic clips, metal ties and glossy (toxic?) paint. After extricating the doll from the cardboard sheath and plastic clips and all the while wondering if an engineering degree and blow torch would have sped the process up, I realized I had more packaging than toy! I have to ask myself what I am sure thousands of parents around the world have thought at one time or another. “Is this good for the environment?”, “Is it setting a good example for my children?”, “Doesn’t the packaging add unnecessary costs to a simple toy?”.

So now I have to ask myself why manufacturers do this when it is so obviously wrong on many levels. My personal conclusion was disturbing and embarrassing. The companies that make and market these toys do this because of me! Lavishly packaged toys sell more units because I buy them. I didn’t buy the plain cotton doll; I bought this plastic and glitzy cardboard encased monstrosity. Take your children to the toy store and they automatically gravitate towards the shiniest, brightest and exciting looking toys on the shelf. Unwrap it at home however and it just becomes another plaything with all the rest.

Some recommendations to help you around this issue are:

1) Buy the toys you like but write a letter (email) to the manufacturer and ask them to change their packaging.

2) Boycott toys with excessive packaging and let your friends know too.

3) Buy eco friendly toys. There are many great brands out there….

Too Excited to Sleep!

downloadThey tell us we should live in the moment. The past is behind us, we can’t change it. What lies ahead we can’t predict. What will be will be. “Your brightest future hinges on your ability to pay attention to the present.” Yeah, yeah, yeah, all very well and very wise, but surely that doesn’t apply when you’re looking forward to something?

Isn’t the excitement of an outing or holiday a big part of the enjoyment? Something as exciting as a first trip to Disneyland is really hard to keep a lid on: the build up; the countdown of how many more sleeps; Eeeeep!

A big part of any adventure is the planning process: spending countless hours poring over the destination website; reading through guidebooks; dreaming of what’s to come. The holiday may only be booked for ten days, but if you add in the anticipation and it starts sooner and lasts longer. My kids love to download a theme park map and pour over it for days, weeks in advance, planning the day to the last detail: which part of the park they want to hit first; which rides are at the top of the list.

The thing is, when you factor in kids, the excitement can bubble over to disastrous levels. When kids get wound up emotionally, their bodies need to discharge all that energy – they become boisterous, hyperactive and might be more prone to bad behaviour or tantrums. They typically have trouble sleeping. We all remember that Disney World commercial where the mom tells the little boy to go to sleep, and he responds to her, with Disney fantasies in his head, “We’re too excited to sleep!!” In extreme cases getting over-excited can lead to illness. More than once my brother spent the first day of our annual summer holiday in bed with a temperature due to being over-excited. And for children who suffer with asthma, excitement as well as laughter can bring on their asthma symptoms.

That’s why some parents with over-excitable children would say the best way forward is to surprise their kids. My cousins took it to the wire by telling their kids they were going to the mall. Instead they drove to the airport and it was only when they met their grandparents sporting Mickey ears that the surprise Disney vacation was sprung!

Disney Junior’s Princesses & Heroes Contest

Disney Junior is giving you a chance to win an exciting trip for your little ones – and if you’re a lucky winner, whether you tell them all about it or keep it as a surprise is entirely up to you! In this latest Disney Junior contest you could win a trip to Toronto to experience the live Disney on Ice Princesses and Heroes show.

left_imageThe Grand Prize includes:

* Round-trip flights for a family of up to 4
* 2-night hotel stay for a family of up to 4
* 4 rink-side seats to Disney On Ice presents Princesses & Heroes
* A backstage character meet-and-greet
* A $1,000 Disney Store shopping spree experience

Enter now by following this link and for more chances to win:

* Enter every day until November 13th.
* Receive 25 bonus entries by watching Belle make a special appearance on Sofia the First! Look for the Bonus Code to appear during the special on Sunday November 10th between 11:30am and 12pm ET, and enter it on the entry form.

Disclosure: I’m part of the Disney Junior Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Trick or Treat with America’s ToothFairy!

Welcome the folks from America’s ToothFairy as this week’s guest bloggers

At this time of year when the Halloween candy buckets are about to overflow we need to pay extra attention to those teeth! Make this year memorable and sweet without all the sugar with these fun tips for a healthy Halloween!

  • Give ’em a treat without the sweet! Hand out sugar-free candy, toothbrushes or fun little toys to trick or treaters!
  • Make sure your child has a healthy meal before Halloween festivities to avoid snacking and a sugar overload!
  • If you are hosting a party, use healthy foods to make fun treats that the kids can enjoy. With a little fruit, some paper plates and toothpicks, children can create their own Monster Face. Melonballs or grapes make great monster’s eyeballs, simply spear the melonballs with the toothpicks and poke through the paper plate. For the monster’s nose, spear strawberries or orange slices, and for the monster’s smile, a banana will do just fine!
  • For a healthy smile year round, remember to brush, and floss your teeth twice a day and visit your dentist once every six months! For children ages 6 and up, use a fluoride rinse.

originalDid you know that there are MILLIONS of at-risk kids that can’t sleep at night, eat properly or even concentrate in school because of painful tooth decay? Without the financial resources for dental care or even a toothbrush or toothpaste, these kids find themselves caught in a downward spiral of pain and humiliation, from getting bullied in school to enduring an agonizing toothache on a daily basis.

Trick or Treat with America’s ToothFairy this year and help raise awareness and support for kids whose families can’t afford good dental care. For example just $10 gives a child toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, rinse and oral health education – all the tools they need for a healthy smile. Your donation will go directly to helping children in need, and by making a donation you will be eligible smilemakersjackolanternto enter to win a Halloween Jack-O-Lantern bucket from SmileMakers filled with 144 toys and prizes! Great for trick or treaters or for Halloween parties!

Kids can get involved too and receive fun stickers and a certificate recognizing them as an ‘Official ToothFairy Helper’ by the ToothFairy herself! Click here to download your great Halloween games, a song, and a calendar filled with super spooky fun activities for the entire month!

Giveaway!

pro health toothbrushThe Oral-B Pro-Health for Me rechargeable toothbrush is the perfect electric toothbrush to gently power all that Halloween gunk away. This electric toothbrush has a waterproof handle with fun designs and is compatible with multiple toothbrush heads. The brush head provides a gentle brushing experience. It also features a brushing timer that ensures their brushing style goes the extra mile for the dentist-recommended 2 minutes.

The Oral-B Pro-Health For Me Vitality Toothbrush and Oral-B Pro Health For Me Sensitive Clean Brush Heads are available at your local Walmart, but we have a set to give away to one lucky reader.

To enter, simply leave a comment below telling us your idea for a healthier Halloween treat.

headsAfter you’ve completed this mandatory comment entry you can do the following for bonus entries:

Please be sure to leave a separate comment below for each of your bonus entries.

    • Giveaway is open to the USA only
    • Winner will be drawn at random
    • Giveaway closes October 25th, 2013

A Fast Cure for Diaper Rash

Welcome back Dr. Kim Newell as this week’s guest blogger

Red, inflamed, irritated skin in the diaper area: oh no!

Diaper rash is a common problem for infants and toddlers, and can be very worrying and frustrating to parents. And when the wee one is screaming in pain with every diaper change, parents are desperate for a cure–and fast. After a quick lesson on the cause of diaper rash, treating and preventing this frustrating condition is no sweat!

Most diaper rash starts as an irritant dermatitis: the skin that is exposed to urine and stool gets irritated and raw. (”Dermatitis” means inflammation of the skin.)

k9289237The first step to treatment and prevention of diaper rash, then, is to use an ointment that acts as a barrier between the irritated skin and the baby’s urine and stool. Most diaper ointments contain one of two main ingredients: zinc oxide (thick and opaque white) or petroleum jelly. To this a host of vitamins and other ingredients are added: fancier ingredients and packaging = more expensive products. But in the end, a simple paste with either zinc oxide or petroleum jelly generally works well. Since diaper cream is meant to be a barrier, a generous application is usually more effective than a thin coat. More is, in this case, better.

Most minor diaper rashes respond well to treatment with a barrier ointment. And gentle skin care can help. Frequent diaper changes keep the irritants off the skin. Bathing your baby frequently in gentle warm water baths (even 2-3 times a day for the worst diaper rashes) also helps to reduce the inflammation. Keeping the diaper off and airing the skin out several times a day can be helpful too, though you have to watch for unwanted sprinkles and explosions with this approach!

What if the rash is not resolving in spite of gobs of diaper cream and good skin care? A simple irritant diaper rash can be exacerbated by several interlopers.

Yeast like Candida albicans (which lives on our skin and is usually harmless) gravitates to the warm, moist diaper area. Overgrowth of yeast can worsen diaper rash and prevent healing. A yeasty diaper dermatitis is often very beefy red and may have small red bumps or pimples at the edges of the central red area. Applying an over-the counter antifungal medicine like clotrimazole or miconazole two or three times a day can clear this condition rapidly. These ointments are available in the pharmacy for treatment of women’s vaginal yeast infections or for athlete’s foot.

Sometimes the bacteria that normally live on our skin can complicate the rash, causing small pustules (red bumps with a white or yellow head of pus in the center) or blisters. In this case you may need to add an antibacterial ointment. Start with an over-the-counter double or triple antibiotic and talk to your pediatrician if the rash is spreading or not resolving.

You may also add to the mix some hydrocortisone (0.5% or 1%) which can decrease the inflammation associated with severe diaper rash.

With vigilant care and a few tricks up your sleeve, you are now prepared to attack one of the scourges of infant life.

Tips for Parents:

  • As soon as your baby’s bottom begins to get even a little red, start using a barrier ointment: this can prevent worsening of the rash.
  • You cannot “overdose” your baby on diaper ointment. Go ahead, slather on a thick coat!
  • When babies get sick or have diarrhea, the stool becomes more acidic and can rapidly create diaper rash: it’s like a chemical burn. Frequent diaper changes and lots of diaper cream during these times can prevent a bad rash.
  • Warm water baths do wonders for inflamed skin, especially diaper rash.
  • In the case of severe or persistent rashes, you can make a paste by mixing an over-the counter antifungal medicine like clotrimazole or miconazole with an antibiotic ointment and hydrocortisone: apply the magic mix several times daily and watch the rash disappear.
  • See your pediatrician or healthcare provider if the rash has significant blistering, skin peeling, or pus bumps (pustules); if it persists despite home therapy; if the rash spreads rapidly; or if your baby develops a fever or appears ill.

Dr KimDr. Kim Newell, MD is a young, hip, approachable pediatrician whose aim is to help parents build healthy families by arming them with knowledge and tools, as well as a bit of lightness and laughter. 

Follow @DrKimMD on Twitter.

 

Introducing Anxiety BC for New and Expectant Moms

slide-anjali“Anjali is a 28-year-old married woman in her second trimester of pregnancy. She has no other children, but a year ago experienced a miscarriage early on in the pregnancy. Anjali was devastated by this loss, believing that she would be unable to conceive again. Gradually she was able to pull herself out of this difficult time with support from her husband and friends. However, feelings that she somehow could have prevented the miscarriage and that she should have done things differently continued to plague her for a long time. A year later, Anjali and her husband were overjoyed that she was pregnant again. Anjali felt really anxious…”

slide-susan“Susan is a 36-year-old mother in her third trimester of pregnancy. She also has a five-year-old son, Jacob. Though she expected to return to work after having her first baby, Jacob had many early challenges with feeding and sleeping, and a lot of separation anxiety. As a result, Susan was uncomfortable leaving him with anyone, and spent almost all of her time with her son. After her maternity leave finished she decided to resign and has not returned to work. The first two years of Jacob’s life were very difficult for Susan and her partner, and she experienced postpartum depression…”

Expectant and new mothers often have many questions and worries about motherhood. As a mom, we’re sure you’ve asked yourself:

  • Will my baby have birth defects?
  • Will I have a miscarriage?
  • How will I cope with the pain of labour?
  • What if I can’t have the birth that I want?
  •  Will I be a good parent?
  • Will the baby change my relationship with my partner?

logoAnxietyBC’s new website hopes to address these questions and fears, and provide expectant and new mothers with important, timely and relevant self-help tools to help decrease their stress and anxiety. Our aim is to help women learn how to effectively manage anxiety during pregnancy and the postpartum period.

The Big Disconnect

I’m not a cellphone addict. I’m not even much of a cellphone user. I have my iTouch and my preferred method of communication is email. I reluctantly carry a second hand cellphone ‘just in case’ I need to be contacted by the school, but I rarely give out my number and have only recently started texting, but sparingly where it makes sense….so far.

Growing up my mum had no phone in her house. Heck they didn’t even have a bath or a toilet in their house! When I was a kid we had both a phone and (thankfully) a toilet in our house, but as the phone was corded and attached to the wall in the hallway you couldn’t use both simultaneously. Today my kids can choose from one of three cordless landline phones dotted around the house and (if it was allowed) could conduct a conversation while sitting on the toilet. And of course since mobiles spend most of the time constantly to hand in a pocket it’s a fairly common occurrence for them to actually end up in the toilet.

u14020715I like the fact that before the dawn of the mobile if you were out you were out and you weren’t contactable. You were doing something specific with someone of your choice and no one else could butt in. Today in our all encompassing media/tech driven world a buzz, a ping or a ringtone will have us scrabbling in our pockets or purse for our weapon of choice and instantly snatch our attention away from the conversation we’re currently having; the game we’re playing with our kids; the TV show we’re watching; and in some cases (my particular bug bear) even the meal we’re eating.

Typically when we think about issues that may arise within the family around the use of tech we think of them being centred around the children: whether to let our two-, three-, four-year-old play apps on our phone or tablet; are they too young for a D.S?; how soon it will be before we ‘have to’ let them have an iPhone? But the bigger problem facing families in the digital age is all to do with us – the parents.  With our lives ruled by beeping gadgets demanding our attention when do we truthfully give anything our full concentration these days?

405470_10150990839311299_1095019190_nAs I say, I’m not a cellphone addict but as I’m on level 414 of Candy Crush I’m not completely immune to the distractions of mobile devices. I’m well aware that I spend a lot of time online on email, social media, and heck, blogging. A good chunk of the time I spend online could be spent giving my children more attention.

How many times have you told your kids ‘just a minute’ while you pop to facebook… and then found a few interesting statuses to comment on… and then spotted a cartoon you just had to share… ? How many times has dinner been 15 minutes late because you’re just checking your phone because you’re waiting for a particular call…you spot an email…you read it…you feel you have to respond…? We don’t realise the time it’s taking up, the attention it’s grabbing, siphoning from elsewhere. Your ‘minute’ has turned into five, then into 15 and before you know it you’ve lost track of time altogether and moved to the virtual world. In fact you’re no longer ‘with’ your family at all. We get sucked in. It’s addictive. Guilty as charged.

image004If, like me, you’re aware that addiction to mobile devices and gaming gadgets is having a detrimental effect on your family life, you might want to try Catherine Steiner-Adair’s new book ‘The Big Disconnect’. I’m not saying you’ll like it – most likely it will leave you feeling guilty as heck – but it is extremely interesting.

“Parents’ chronic distraction can have deep and lasting effects on their children” says clinical psychologist Catherine. Children need their parents’ time and attention and it’s no good being there if you’re not ‘there’ she points out. From her case studies and play therapy sessions Catherine knows that even young kids are aware that their parents aren’t giving their all. Kids tell her: mum is always “just checking” her email; how they feel they are being ignored; they feel lonely; how they are jealous of daddy’s ‘stupid computer’.

One of my mum’s favourite sayings if we questioned why we had to do something when she didn’t do it herself was ‘Do as I say; not as I do”, but the truth is our children watch us, mimic us – they learn by example and what sort of example of healthy family relationships are we setting them if we are constantly preoccupied and not responding to their needs?

Catherine offers insight and advice to help parents gain the confidence to battle the technological revolution unfolding in our homes and protect childhood and family relationships in the digital age. “It’s time to look with fresh eyes and an open mind at the disconnection we are experiencing from our extreme device dependence. It’s never too late to put down the iPad and come to the dinner table.”

The Sears Newborn Nesting Event is Back (with a Bonus!)

coord-215916_PThe image of her ideal nursery must be one of the common daydreams of a mom-to-be. Most can’t wait to hit the baby boutiques with paint samples in hand and start drooling over the bedding sets, matching wall hangings and mobiles.

I had my babies while living in a downtown apartment. Space was limited, so we converted our storage room into the nursery. Yes, the golf clubs, skis and mountain bikes were moved out and my baby moved in. There was room for a crib, a change table/dresser and a small (way too small) hamper for dirty clothes; nothing else. We did our best to make it look less like a storage room and more like a nursery with a splash of yellow paint (a splash was all it took), a farm animal wall frieze and a mobile, but you know what: both babies slept really well in there. The room had no window so it was easy to create the perfect sleeping environment and changing seasons didn’t interfere with their sleep cycles. It may not have been my dream nursery, but it was functional.

Functional is very important in the nursery: what with diaper changes, 2am feeds and lengthy nightly rituals involved in getting baby to sleep you’ll want a welcoming, ergonomic room. So before you make the important decision of whether the theme will be Winnie the Pooh or Peter Rabbit, it’s best to start your nursery wish list with practical items that you feel will make you and your baby most comfortable.

  • Of course you’ll need something for Baby to sleep in. Be aware that drop sided cribs were banned for safety reasons. If you’re planning on buying used items do your research to ensure the crib meets the latest safety standards and isn’t subject to any recalls.
  • Cutesy bedding sets are extremely tempting, but for safe sleep the crib should not contain duvets, comforters, cot bumpers, or pillows. Stick with warm sleepers and layered lightweight cotton blankets.
  • To save your back a waist height changing table is important. Incorporate a well organized changing station where all your changing necessities (wipes, diapers, diaper rash cream, nose peg) are all to hand.
  • You’ll need clothes storage (more than you think), such as a dresser, for Baby’s extensive wardrobe. If space is limited, some dressers have change tables incorporated. On second thoughts, forget the clothes storage – just relegate your five pairs of mommywear sweats to a cardboard box and let Baby use your wardrobe.
  • Black out drapes or blinds will help create a sleep-inducing night-time environment.
  • A light with a dimmer switch or a night light will save you having to rouse baby and yourself with bright lights when feeding and changing.
  • If you have the space and your budget allows, consider a comfy chair, rocker or glider with a foot stool for restful night feeds.

Then when you’re done with the practical go crazy with the stuffed animals, wall decals and mobiles to create your perfect nursery and hey presto: your room is both functional and fun. Wait…one more thing….is there room for the baby?

Sears Newborn Nesting Event

If you know anyone who’s planning a nursery right now be sure to let them know about the Newborn Nesting Event happening at Sears from September 6-18, 2013. EVERYTHING BABY is included – baby gear, baby furniture and infant fashions!

Spend $200 on any* nursery items and you get a $25 cash card to redeem at Sears from October 7-31. And it gets better: spend $300 and get a $50 cash card; spend $400 and get a $100 cash card! Vancouver Sears outlets are playing it slightly differently – in their Newborn Nesting Event you simply save 15% on all* nursery furniture, baby gear and infant fashions.

*Excludes items ending in 0.97, Carter’s and OshKosh

Giveaway!

As a huge bonus for all those nesters out there Sears are giving away a beautiful 3-piece Stork Craft nursery including a crib, change table and side table/chest for storage valued at approximately $800!

We’re so excited to be part of this fabulous giveaway. Wouldn’t it be great if one of our readers was the winner?! To enter all you need to do is:

  • leave a comment below telling us any nursery necessities you would like to share with fellow rookie moms
  • and/or tweet about the giveaway ‘Enter to win a 3-peice Stork Craft nursery via @SearsCA in the #SearsBabysRoom Newborn Nesting Event http://wp.me/pC8a1-4bF ‘
  • This is a Rafflecopter giveaway, so when you’ve left your comment below and tweeted be sure to follow this link and let them know you’ve entered on our blog.

This contest is being run jointly by all #SearsBabysRoom bloggers and you are welcome to enter via any/all of them but of course there can only be one winner. To enter you must be a Canadian resident and unfortunately this giveaway excludes residents of Quebec.

Disclosure: I am part of the Sears The Baby’s Room Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

What happened to my little mermaid?

My little Pickle headed off to grade 4 this week! Grade 4? Where did the time go? What happened to my little Pickle with no hair; who took forever to learn how to talk and could only be understood by me until she was 4; who used to spend all her waking (and some sleeping) hours in a variety of princess dresses? To be honest I’m glad she’s got hair now and that everyone can understand her when she speaks. I am however a bit sad that she now ‘hates’ princesses (a strong word I know and one we are working on removing from our family vocab, but that’s a another story for another day). From having a room completely bedecked in princess trimmings she has banished the pretty ladies and moved on to Hello Kitty…shortly before moving on to 1D no doubt, but I really don’t want to think about that.

Ariel at DisneylandAnyway, back to the good old bald, gibberish talking days… her favourite costume was the Little Mermaid dress. She wore it from when she was tiny and the tail dragged along behind her to when she could barely fit into it and the tail swung inches from the ground. She wore it to see Bobs & Lolo performing from their Under the Sea album at the Aquarium; she wore it to meet Ariel at Disneyland; she wore it at Halloween; she wore it to her ‘Under the Sea’ themed 4th birthday party. Ahhh, happy memories.

Well I still love the Little Mermaid even if Pickle doesn’t and if your little one is still a fan you’ll be pleased to know that the series is coming back exclusively to Disney Junior, weekdays at 8pm ET starting Monday, September 16th! Also on October 1st The Little Mermaid movie will be re-released on Blu-ray and HD Digital. And in celebration Disney Junior have unveiled a fantastic new Little Mermaid contest.

Disney Junior’s Little Mermaid Contest 

Disney Junior is giving you and your family the chance to win a trip to Toronto to experience Canada’s private red carpet screening of The Little Mermaid, complete with an Under the Sea Adventure experience before the show!

The-Little-Mermaid-Diamond-Edition-Blu-Ray-Cover-the-little-mermaid-34285754-425-500The grand prize includes:

  • Round-trip flights to Toronto for a family of up to 4
  • Two night hotel stay for a family of up to 4
  • Under the Sea Adventure experience at the TIFF Bell Lightbox cultural centre
  • Disney gift bag for each child guest
  • $1000 Spending money
  • Transportation to and from the event

Don’t delay, enter right now and increase your chances of winning by entering once per day until the contest closes on September 11th!

Oooh, I’d love to go…wonder if I could persuade Pickle to squeeze into that Little Mermaid dress just one more time 😉

Disclosure:  I’m part of the Disney Junior Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Soother Police

I’ll admit I’ve always sat fairly firmly in the anti-pacifier camp, but after observations I made recently I’m strongly considering starting up my own arm of law enforcement – The Soother Police.

Case 1: Last week at the zoo I noticed ‘George’, approximately two years old, highly excited at the sight of the monkeys swinging in the jungle gym. He pointed and smiled (I think) and exclaimed “Whwhummph”. Why did he say “Whwhummph”? Because he had a soother stuck in his mouth.

Case 2: A couple of tykes in the 18 month – 2 year old range enjoying the delights of the playground: running, climbing in and out of the playhouse, sliding, with soothers stuck in their faces. Why? These kids aren’t sleeping. They aren’t chilling out or grizzling, they’re playing, enjoying themselves, so what the heck is the face furniture for?

dummy1You can’t convince me that without the soothers George and these playground buddies would have been crying. It breaks my heart to see a little one with his face obscured by a plug when he’s perfectly happy. Surely it’s hampering his ability to interact with other kids, to speak, to use his facial expressions. It’s my wish that soothers were kept for doing what they say on the box – soothing. That’s for fussy little babies who find suckling very calming. Soothers are our first addiction. But in these cases, who is addicted, Mommy or Baby?

If you’re a new mom considering soother use or wanting to wean your little one off the soother here are some Tips from the Trenches:

  • Avoid using a soother for the first month if you’re breastfeeding. It could possibly cause Baby to have problems learning to latch properly and interfere with your milk supply.
  • You will get less resistance if you wean Baby off the soother before 6 months of age.
  • Prolonged soother use for long periods daily can affect speech and language development, and interfere with alignment of teeth, so aim to discard the pacifier before the end of the first year.
  • For weaning a toddler off a soother try a game where the soothers get tossed and your child gets a ‘grown up cup’ or character sippy cup as a reward.
  • Whenever you decide to take the soother away, you should expect your little one to be harder to settle for a while. You will need to spend more time with him at bedtime, or when there has been an upset, because he will need extra reassurance. You might also find there are more frustrated tantrums and tears as your child tries to cope with upsets without his comforter.

From my high horse in the anti-pacifier camp I should make a confession. Although as a baby I spat out my soother after a two second suck, I did become highly addicted to sucking on my sheet at night. It lasted years and I distinctly remember trying to wean myself off it. A freshly laundered sheet was never as satisfying as one gone crispy from several nights of sucking. Bleurgh! And my brother sucked his thumb…a lot. I remember it was always pale and wrinkly and teasing him that when he grew up his right thumb would be small and shriveled as a result. I wonder if it is. I must check next time I see him.