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Archive for the Category "hot topic"

Toddler Talk Thursday: Potty Training Jan 27

This is going to sound insane, but potty training scares me.

My daughter just turned 2 and is starting to show signs of readiness, and I’m the one with the issue. We finally worked out how to handle car trips, mall excursions and school, and now we’re going to throw the monkey wrench that is potty training into the mix.

Car trips will now take 3 times as long because we will have to stop every hour-ish for a potty attempt and how DO you keep a 2 year old from touching a public restroom seat? Mall excursions will also become more restrictive, because I will need to memorize where every bathroom is because when a toddler has to go, they have to go NOW. Her teachers at school are great, but as the kids get older, they spend more and more of their day taking kids to the potty.

Someone please tell me potty training isn’t as bad as I’m making it out to be. That it won’t totally suck and mess up the rhythm we have. And that there are USEFUL potty training resources to be found…

Category: Alyson, hot topic  | 7 Comments
Kids and Television Nov 06

Let’s take a few moments and be honest. How many of you let your children watch TV every day? *raises hand* How many of you feel a little bit guilty about this? *raises hand again* Is there anyone who feels REALLY guilty? *looks around*

Why? Why do we judge ourselves so harshly for allowing our kid(s) to watch TV? Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (5 episodes per day on Disney) teaches colors, patterns, counting, and basic math, among other topics. Wonder Pets (NickJr) teaches teamwork. The Fresh Beat Band and Jack’s Big Music Show (also NickJr) expose kids to music, rhythm, and even some dancing. Imagination Movers (Disney) help teach kids problem solving skills and teamwork.

These are all essential life skills being taught in a “language” that small kids understand and are happy to see.
Usually, the argument against TV is the lack of physical movement while watching. This might be a concern with older kids, but is a toddler EVER still? My almost 2 year old dances to every theme song and end credit music. She spends the rest of the show scaling the furniture while watching the shows out of the corner of her eye. She chases the cats until she can squash them with love.

Another concern is that parents are using the TV as a babysitter. This can be a concern, because you really can’t trust a toddler to stay where you put them, no matter how well behaved they are. There is nothing that replaces the attention of a parent or caregiver. You’re just inviting trouble if you trust the TV to take care of your child for long periods of time.

There are several times per day when my daughter is left “alone” with the TV. Usually, it is because I have to go to the bathroom or I’m gathering laundry. Occasionally I have taken the world’s fastest shower while she drinks her milk and helps Mickey solve his daily dilemmas. But it is NEVER her sole companion for longer than 10 minutes. Even on the days when I take a shower while she’s awake, I shower, throw a robe on, check on her, THEN go get dressed.
She rarely notices, and is happy to curl up in my lap upon my return and name all the Clubhouse friends while they do the hot dog dance. Then we talk about how many friends there were in the episode, what colors they wore, the problems they solved…

EVERYTHING a toddler sees and does is a learning experience, and why should we keep our kids isolated by teaching them only what we know? Why not expand our knowledge as parents and educators with the help of professionals to enrich our kids? I learn or am reminded of something every day while watching the silly shows on Playhouse Disney and NickJr, and it makes me want to teach these things to my daughter, and share the experiences she sees on TV with her in real life.
With this kind of use, how is TV bad for kids?

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My Thoughts on The Hunger Diaries Oct 06

I am not a member of the Healthy Living Blog (HLB) community. I have no desire to be. However, I frequent a couple of the blogs bashed by the article in Marie Claire’s November issue, The Hunger Diaries. The two I read with regularity are Carrots’n’Cake and Healthy Tipping Point. I have also read a few posts at KathEats and Meals and Miles.

They do not deserve what has been heaped upon them. I think it’s horrible that they’ve been labeled as having eating disorders and THAT is why they blog the way they do. But I’m not writing this to talk about eating disorders that I have no experience with, I’m writing this to put in my two cents on WHY I take time out of my day to read these blogs.

These blogs highlight happy, healthy, self-confident women. Every woman in the world wants to be just that: happy, healthy and self-confident. When there are good role models out there that started at a low point just like the rest of us, it’s good to see exactly how they’ve accomplished their goals. It inspires others to obtain the goals that they have for themselves, no matter how big or small they may be.

When I read these blogs, I see women who have found things they’re passionate about (generally, food, exercise and photography) and have found a creative outlet to share what they have discovered with the world. I see women who balance their careers, marriages, hobbies, and even their finances in the public eye in an attempt to help others who want to achieve similar life goals.

Many of these goals involve running as a way to be healthy. Running requires fuel whether it’s to the mailbox, or to the next town. The longer the distance, the more fuel you need. The more fuel you need, the more stops you have to make. The more stops you make, the more you change your time. The more you change your time, the more uncertain your stop time is.

Does that sound like a familiar pattern to anyone? I’ve recently compared long distance (10K+, in my book) running to taking a road trip in a car with a young child. Think about it. Before starting a road trip, you need to eat a healthy meal to minimize junk food snacking in the car and fill up the car’s fuel tank. A car can only go so far on one tank of fuel, so you need to have some idea of where the next stop will be. You also need to realize that the car may be able to go so far, but the child may not. So you have to consider the possibility of extra stops as well to appease the child. This pattern of fueling, going, and stopping will repeat until your final destination is reached. Just like a runner needs to know where to get more fuel or needs to know a safe spot to stop and stretch. A map must be drawn and followed both to highlight a safe route and to make sure the necessary fuel is available.

That is how I view a lot of the HLB community’s blog posts. As ways to show the need to fuel the exercise and what foods have worked for them. It’s a personal choice if oatmeal with peanut butter provides the fuel you need to start a run, or if a black bean brownie will work to help you recover from your run. If it does, great! You now have go to meals waiting for you at home or in the car when you’re done for the day. Based on your activity level, your body needs certain ratios of carbs, protein, sugar, vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. While some of these meals and snacks are a little odd, if they accomplish the ratio goal and sit well on the stomach, that’s all that matters. It’s all about sharing information.

Personally, I will not be snacking on black bean brownies or green monster smoothies. I don’t see the need. But that is MY personal choice. I have made a few of the recipes featured on Carrots’n’Cake and have enjoyed them all. Not just for the taste, but for the BALANCE of the item as well. I love finding new ways to introduce foods to my family (specifically my young daughter).

I’m sorry if this is too long or if I rambled a bit too much, but I’ve spent days just shaking my head over this insanity, so I figured I’d let my thoughts out. For those of you who have stuck with me to the end, a heartfelt, Thanks. 🙂

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Co-Sleeping Makes Me Cringe Aug 02

Parenting is very much a to-each-his-own world, but co-sleeping has become more common place, and it gives me the heebie jeebies. Not just for the safety issues, but because, goddammit, IT’S MY BED. It is my space for sleeping or other activities and there will be no one but me and the husband (well, and the cats) in it.

That’s not to say that my daughter isn’t allowed to wake me up at night, and won’t be allowed to crawl in with us for a special movie night or if she has a nightmare. But beds are for sleeping, and the bedroom is the one place in my house that isn’t covered in kid stuff of some kind. Unless you count a very large stack of Parents magazines on my nightstand.

I just had to get that off my chest. Again, if that’s how you want to raise your child, then go for it. However, for my own sanity and emotional well-being, I need my space.

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