Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

You Can Be the Parent You Want to Be

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Parents today struggle to be present with their kids as the 24-hour connectedness to technology and work often pull attention away from the present moment. Children feel this distractedness and act in ways to pull attention back to the present moment, to them, to meet developmental needs. Children haven’t changed much over the ages: their […]

Taking on the Myth of the Spoiled Child

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A new book questions claims that today’s kids are more spoiled and narcissistic than previous generations. It seems as if everyone has something negative to say about the younger generation. Critics call today’s kids narcissistic and spoiled, blaming parents for being too permissive and overprotective.

Breastfeeding & Pumping

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If you’re breastfeeding a new baby, chances are at some point you’ll need to have someone else feed your baby. If you’re like millions of other moms, you may be wondering about how to pump and store milk, whether you’re going back to work or would like to be able to be away from the […]

Childcare in the Forums, plus 6 Tips to Get it Right!

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Over the summer, a post about finding childcare providers through PAMP forums became a red-hot item. One mom’s experience led to disappointing results with two candidates canceling agreed-upon trials, and another saying she would not do light duty chores

Member Musings: Things To Do – Burn off Steam at Filoli

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As a stay at home mom, I am always looking for ways to entertain and exhaust my two-year old while bringing along my newborn. I recently rediscovered a great option nearby – Filoli.

My toddler was able to walk all over and I didn’t have to worry about cars or bikes. The baby split his time between the BOB and the Bjorn and there were shady benches to sit and feed him. We had lunch in the cafe — they have a kids grilled cheese that comes with oranges and animal crackers.

My son fell asleep on the way home and I was actually able to move him from the car to his bed without a problem, which is a small miracle for us.  The outing was a success and I plan to go back before they close for the season in late October.

Is My Child Meeting Developmental Milestones?

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One quarter of the questions and concerns that parents discuss with their pediatrician are related to child development and behavior. As parents, we want to provide our children with opportunities to optimize development and create an environment in which our children can thrive.

Book Review: Overwhelmed

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In her best-selling book, Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, Brigid Schulte offers an illuminating analysis of the trends, myths, policies and historical circumstances that have resulted in overwhelmed modern mothers while providing a hopeful vignette-based prescription for what they can do to enjoy life and motherhood again.

Competition vs. Creativity

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We civilized folk seem to be addicted to competition — obsessed with who is the best and the worst, who has the most and the least, who are the winners and the losers. In our culture we habitually frame most everything in terms of conflict and competition. “Do you love dancing? … You should enter […]

Breast Pump Buying Guide

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If you’re expecting a baby, or about to return to work after maternity leave, you probably have breast pumps on the brain. The type of pump you rent or buy will depend on your personal needs, such as how often you’ll be pumping and whether you’ll need to carry your pump to and from work […]

Member Musings: Let’s All Put Our Heads Down. Please.

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So today at work, I was sitting at my desk, just sort of staring and not doing anything productive. You know, because I am dragging-tired. Like you are, most days, when you’re parenting a toddler who is going through yet another phase of waking up. Every. Damn. Night.

And as I was idly trying to decide between paying for an over-priced, carb-laden snack from our corporate auto-snack kiosk thingy or perusing the goings-on of family, friends, and random people on Facebook,  a faint recollection burbled to the top of my mind.

Remember those days in elementary school when your teacher had had it with the class and made everyone put their heads down on their desks? Well, 1) it occurs to me that s/he did this because s/he was dog-tired and had been dealing with a whole CLASSROOM of unruly children and 2) I almost wept at the joyous prospect that someone might not just ask but MAKE me put my head down on my desk.

Wouldn’t it be great if someone turned off the glaring fluorescent lights and said “OK, everyone. Heads down for ten minutes.” I would totally do it. I might anyway.

Member Musings: Three Things I Know

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When I became a new parent I received a lot of advice. This was, of course, my own fault. I sought out every blog post, book, parent-friend that I could in search of answers to all my parenting questions. I suspect many of the moms in PAMP are quite like me in that respect. I also suspect that, like me, they realize that there is a LOT of conflicting advice out there: You should let your baby cry it out. No, you should never let your baby cry it out if you want a securely attached infant! You should start solids at six months. No, you should not! So what are we to do? Most diplomatic websites and books come to some nice conclusion around the lines of: “You should do whatever you think is right for you & your baby. Everybody is different, every baby is different and there’s no one right way to be a parent.” This is a nice sentiment that I largely agree with, but really, some things must matter. Some ways of parenting must be better than others, right?

I’d like to point out three things that, as far as I can see from the literature, seem to be best practices for parenting (a baby). Since I’m not writing a research paper (what I did in a previous life) I’m not going to site references. Not only does the research seem to support these three practices, but these also ring true to me. Of course, whenever you come down so firmly on an issue there will always be people who disagree. And surely, there are good parents and good children who do not follow this advice but here are the three things that I think are true for any family or infant.

One: No TV or screens of any kind before age 2
This includes educational programming. After age two the jury is out though I suspect even then minimal screen time is best. But there is ample evidence that children under the age of two do worse when exposed to TV (or computers, iPads, iPhones, etc.). In Silicon Valley this is a big deal. I know that we have tons of screens all around our house, but I make sure that they are off when our daughter is around them. I also try to turn off the screens so that *I* am not distracted from engaging fully with her.

Two: Do not use corporal punishment. EVER.
Spanking is lazy parenting and aggression begets agression. Don’t hit your kids and particularly don’t hit your babies. They don’t understand. I recently read an article that 1/3 of children under the age of 1 are spanked regularly. That makes me pretty sad. There are better, more effective ways to discipline, and one of these is positive reinforcement. I’m sure this particular item is controversial, but I am actually shocked that as a society we condone corporal punishment. We would never sit by idly while a husband hit his wife. Why do we accept that parents can hit their children?

Three: Talk to your baby a lot.
Children exposed to more language at a young age perform better on many outcome variables. The more language that our babies hear, the better they will do at school and with friends. Talk and read to your kid to expand their world.

So there you have it: Two things not to do and one thing you should do. That’s all I can see for sure, but of course, there are a lot of other things I’m trying to do as a parent. Overall I want my daughter to know that her father and I love her very much. I also want her to sleep. I haven’t found a surefire way to let her know that she’s loved or to get her to sleep in all my resources, but I’ll let you know if I find one!

Paternity Leave: Play Ball

Photo by Rebecca Alison

Dear Mike Francesca, Boomer Esiason, and Craig Carton, I have no idea who you are. Really, I don’t. Sorry. I had to look up how to spell your names for this article. But I heard what you said about New York Mets player Daniel Murphy [missing two games for paternity leave]

Member Musings: Quality Time

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For months my husband and I have been trying to figure out the best way to make the most of the 1.5 hours we have with our two boys during the work week before bed time. Although we both would struggle with not showing our exhaustion and stress from being at the office earlier that day and instead show our kids “I’m excited to see you and spend time with you as much as you are!”, we couldn’t find the right balance.

We attempted to do everything together with our two young boys (now 2 and 4 years old), but realized that the needs of each was difficult to tackle at the same time in such a short period. From having them alternate what they wanted to do each night or us picking an easy win of watching a Leap Frog video for 20 minutes before reading books, we were about to give up.

I know that I was very lucky that both my husband and I could be home with the kids for dinner and bedtime most of the time, but it pained me that the small window of time was not ideal or best used. After months and months of unsuccessful attempts, I finally came up with an option that made us all happy.

Every night we would split – then switch. For example:

Monday: Mama and 4 year old would do an activity that 4yo would pick while Papa and 2 year old would do an age appropriate activity for the 2yo. Then after bath, Mama would read books to the 2yo and put him to bed and Papa would do the same for the 4yo.

Tuesday: Mama was with 2 yo and Papa with 4 yo, then after bath time they would switch…

and so on…

It’s been about a week of this and I have to say not only do we feel we get to have some one on one time with our kids and build a bond, but at the same time the kids get to enjoy an activity that they love.

Sounds simple right?! Just wish my brain would have as much energy as my heart when it would come to these types of things sometimes.

Member Musings: Glad To Be Part of a Village

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After reading stories in the media about the “mommy wars,” I assumed that other moms would be judgmental and closed off.  Thankfully, this has not been the case.  I was reminded of graciousness of other parents on a recent plane trip.  My son missed his nap and was having a total meltdown – nothing made him happy.  Out of the blue, the dad of two boys sitting nearby came over with a lollipop and a smile.  While the lollipop didn’t help, I appreciated the gesture.  It wasn’t condescending, it was helpful and given with a spirit of having been there before.  I hope I can do the same for someone else.

Member Musings: Code BLUE!

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Before my son Alex was born, one of the gifts I received at my shower was a little security blanket/lovey that had the head and upper paws of a bear and the body of a tony blanket. Just one. (The photo shows them back in the honeymoon phase, when Alex was about six months old.)

Fast-forward a few months, and as soon as my very young son started showing signs of attachment to said bear, my good friend Kelly told, “Get more. Immediately. As many as you can find.” See, her daughter Sophia had a lovely that she eventually called her “Tickle Bunny.” Well, Sophia only had one Tickle Bunny and as he aged, and began to show unpleasant signs of just how much he was loved (rather battered, stained and otherwise besmirched), my friend faced a challenge. Her daughter didn’t want to give Tickle Bunny up to let it go through the wash. Ever. So Kelly’s mom went on a veritable quest to find more of the lovey Bunny. Which, after going to extraordinary lengths that only a grandmother would endure, she did. But did Sophia receive the new bunnies with joyful appreciation? Heck no. She called them “Imposter Bunnies” and completely shunned them. Thus Kelly’s advice to immediately procure more cuddle bears. Which I did.

We have, to date, six Booboos (my son calls him “Booboo”),  so I have extra for when I needed to throw them in the wash or in case I can’t find one or—as happens all too frequently now— for when Alex throws or drops Booboo— typically somewhere I can’t reach while driving. After several cataclysmic meltdowns over not being able to reach Booboo while I am maneuvering down the bloody highway in horrible commute traffic, rain and other chaos, I started keeping “an extra” in the car.

So the other day, our morning was going well. We had made it through the morning gauntlet and were in the car on the way to daycare and work. Then he asked, quite matter-of-factly, for Booboo. And it occurred to me. Out of six Booboos, guess how many I had in the car? Zero. Nil. None.

Not. A. Single. Blue. Bear.

Of course Alex started to melt down, big fat tears of dejected disbelief. Because hell hath no fury like a toddler who is not immediately presented with his lovey when he calls for it.

Miracle of miracles, I managed to cajole him out of it by putting on his Music Together CD , breaking my own rule of avoiding all kid music until I have had time to consume the requisite amounts of coffee because I JUST CANNOT TAKE IT first thing in the morning … but it was either that or watch as he morphed into the hysterically screaming tantrum child. So I faced the music.