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To help end the mommy wars, I plan to keep creating an honest conversation through Whimsicle where as long as children are healthy and loved, all parents’ opinions will be respected. No name calling. No shame. Only support and lifting up. Go to the Similac Facebook page and share the one thing you will do to help end the mommy wars. Parenting is stressful today. Every time you pop online there are a thousand Facebook posts, blog posts and Pinterest pins telling you how you should do things differently as a parent. Everyone has an opinion from breastfeeding to bottle feeding, cloth diapers to disposable, circumcision vs. non-circumcision. There was a moment in each of my pregnancies where I hoped that the baby growing in my belly would be a girl and not a boy – for no reason other than if it was a girl, I wouldn’t have to make the decision about circumcising. It terrified me to go against the norm of all the other men in our family and not circumcise. But it also terrified me to have my newborn son get a part of himself cut off. When we found out our second child was a boy, I attempted to calm myself down by saying, “JoAnn. Millions of boys are circumcised. It’s just something that has to be done. The procedure will be quick. Get over it.” Then I did what crazy, anxiety-filled me does in times of panic. I turned to my very rational husband who I knew would calm me down about this medical procedure. “I don’t think we should have him circumcised,” he replied. “Wait, WHAT?!? But everyone else is circumcised.” “I just think its an unnecessary surgery,” he responded Hubby did not help calm my fears at all. At that time, I was stuck between two contrasting positions. One of the majority of US society that you should circumcise a newborn boy and the other of my husband who thinks not. Seriously, this was one of the most stressful parenting decisions I’ve ever made. I wanted my child to be healthy. I wanted to make the right and responsible decision. I didn’t want people to judge me. However, the last statement is an impossible wish, because either way I was going to be judged by someone. So I read everything I could about circumcision. The articles pro-circumcision, the anti-circumcision and everything in between. I had four major concerns: But isn’t everyone circumcised? I found out NO. Where in the US about 75% of men are circumcised, only 8.5% of men in the U.K. are. Circumcision is not a common procedure in Europe unless your religion practices it. Won’t he get laughed at in the locker room? Yes, teenage boys can be jerks. But, first, boys behave a little different than girls. As my husband puts it, if other guys want to harass you, they are going to find a way. Foreskin or not, junior high can be a miserable place Plus, the rates […]
I am so honored to have my friend Jodie back again in this guest post! Read on to see how she’s coping with a back injury while caring for her two-year-old daughter. On bed rest from surgery or an injury? Here are 10 activities that you and your toddler can enjoy while sitting or laying down. However you spend your time, just remember that the activity isn’t nearly as important to your toddler as the quality time you spend together. (For coping strategies while on bed rest, check out Bed Rest and Caring for Toddlers: 5 Coping Strategies.) 1. Read books This is a great opportunity to read those books that are just a little too long for bedtime. Take this time to experiment with reading in different voices or making up chants to go along with the words. Point out different aspects of the pictures, and ask your toddlers questions as you go. 2. Indoor picnic On the bed or floor, make meals or snacks more fun! It’s a great way to sneak in some extra together time. If you’re worried about crumbs or messy food, just lay out a big towel or tray. Some quick and easy ideas for snacks that won’t leave you sleeping in crumbs are fruit—especially durable ones like apples and grapes—peanut butter, hummus, cubed pieces of cheese or tofu, and frozen veggies. 3. Make a fort For us, this involves nothing more than ducking in and out of the sheets, using our “whisper” voices to tell secrets when we duck below, and our loud voices when we come back out. Add a flashlight and books for extra fun! You can also use a tower of large Lego blocks (see item 8!) or a hanger to support the middle of the fort. 4. X Marks the Spot/Going on a Treasure Hunt Both of these involve chanting lines while tracing patterns on your toddler’s back. There are many versions online (I do my own modified version that involves ice cream and cake). It gives her the goose bumps, and she loves it! We can sit for a long time doing this. Not only is it an activity we can share, but it also helps her relax. 5. How can we use our fingers and toes? Toddlers are still at the stage where they are discovering the parts of their body and how they work. As she falls asleep, I have watched my daughter “practicing” putting up one, two, then three fingers over and over again. Quiz your toddler on the parts of her body (the elbow is a current favorite). Depending on your family, make sure to ask in different languages. We use Spanish and a little bit of Yiddish to keep it interesting. We also do silly things like a routine where I press my nose and throat gently and pull my ears, all of which make my tongue stick out and move in different directions. She loves to try and replicate this. We also do […]
I hate conflict, but sometimes it’s inevitable. Has your kid ever come home from school and told you something about the teacher that you’ve found questionable? Perhaps the teacher said something strange or you disagree with how a problem was handled. Whatever the case, you are concerned. Here’s how to handle the potential conflict in the least drama filled way. As a former teacher, I loved it when parents called with concerns. Sure, at first my stomach dropped down to my feet when I realized they were calling with an issue, but ultimately I appreciated that they came to me with the problem. For instance, one school year, my class did a science experiment where we observed the effects of moisture on bread. Yep, we watched mold grow. I had a few rowdy boys in my class that year. One afternoon, one child opened up their ziploc baggie full of moldy bread and taunted his partner with it. I told him, in a rather ominous voice, that you shouldn’t breath in mold spores as they could be dangerous to your health. I oversimplified because I wanted him to stop opening his bag. Unbeknownst to me, a very sweet student had also opened her bag to look inside. That night, she panicked to her mother that she breathed in mold and would now get very sick and die. Thankfully, mom picked up the phone and called me to find out what happened in class. Mom was concerned, but once I explained the situation, she understood. I talked to the student the next day about my reasons for making the comment, how she wouldn’t die and all was well. I’m thankful her mom called because we were able to deal with the situation quickly and efficiently. Pinpoint exactly what concerns you Personality clashes happen. If someone rubs me wrong way, but I can’t pinpoint a specific issue, I just let it be. It’s impossible to get along with everybody, all the time (as much as I would like to because I am definitely a people pleaser). However, if you can say to yourself, “I really don’t like that the teacher did this because it impacts how my child learns in the classroom,” you definitely have a cause for concern and you should address it. Mainly, because it’s probably a miscommunication that can be cleared up quickly. Call the teacher Here’s where most people stop. I say to call the teacher, not send an email or note. So many good intentions get lost in the written word. When you talk to someone, you can hear concern, respect and kindness when you discuss problems. Whenever I read about a problem in an email, all I can hear is anger and blame. To start the conversation, I would simply say in my friendliest voice, “Hi Mrs. Smith, it’s JoAnn, Susie’s mom, how are you?” and then “Hey, I’m calling because Susie told me (insert problem here)” I then pause because usually the teacher has additional insight into […]
I am beyond excited to welcome my friend Jodie to Whimsicle today in this guest post!! I’ve known Jodie for over 10 years now. She is beautiful person and a wonderful, strong mother. Read on to see how she’s coping with a back injury while caring for her two-year-old daughter. – JoAnn Taking care of kids—especially toddlers—is a very physically demanding job. You might not even realize how much you bend, sit, lift, crouch, crawl, and climb until you are physically unable to do so. What do you do when you are on bed rest while caring for a toddler? I am a stay-at-home-mom living in a big city—Mexico City—and I pride myself on taking my two-year-old daughter out of the apartment at least twice a day. In a place where there aren’t too many expanses of green grass or parks, we visit the big 19th century church, watch skaters at the skate park, and walk along the ever-changing photo exhibits of museum row. I scoop her into the backpack, and we are unstoppable! That is, until I suffered a back injury about a month ago. With pain that rivaled labor, I was hospitalized for almost two weeks and came home without a prognosis and a prescription of limited mobility. Without being able to lift my baby, let alone take her places, what was I supposed to do? How was I supposed to play with her, comfort her, take care of her? I could barely walk, barely stand, and I was feeling depressed. She was my job, my joy, and my daily paradigm had suddenly and significantly shifted. So many of us go through this, whether it is from a C-section, surgery, injury, or existing disability. What do you do when you have a little one and you are rendered immobile? I’m still learning to find a routine amidst my new normal. In doing so, the following strategies have allowed me to cope with our new situation and to care for my toddler in new but meaningful ways: 1. Ask for help. I am independent and have a hard time asking for help. I like to make fresh meals for my baby, take her to classes, and go to play dates on a whim. It has been so upsetting to give this up. More than anything, I didn’t want to disrupt her day-to-day routine. However, putting aside qualms and seeking help from friends and loved ones can help maintain your toddler’s routine. Ask friends to bring groceries or meals to your house (just like after your baby was born!). People will be happy to do this for you, just as you would be happy to do this for them. Ask someone to take your baby to regularly scheduled activities or to the park. Depending on your recovery, you may even be able to go along and just sit on the sidelines and watch and wave. You are present and participating— just in a different way. 2. Have honest and repetitive […]
Parenting is rough. I put a lot of pressure on myself as a mom. Although I feel like I have a few successes, I also have my share of epic fails. I want to do my best for my kids. But often, when it comes to building my kids’ confidence, the best thing I can do is NOTHING. My daughter, Llama, invited two friends over to our house last week. They wanted to swim so we all got in the pool – Llama, her friends, my son Dude and me. The girls took turns doing cannonballs into the water. Dude laughed and screamed whenever the splashes flew at him. Soon, the girls wanted to switch games. “Let’s play Marco Polo. We can choose numbers to see who’s it.” “OK Delia, you’re it!” Delia replied, “But, I don’t want to be it.” I took a deep breath and turned away. I sensed the impending conflict. “But, we chose who’s it in a fair way… MOM! Delia doesn’t want to be it.” A number of solutions ran through my mind. Llama could offer to be “it” first as a courtesy to her guests. I might suggest the girls switch to a different game that Delia wanted to play. Maybe, Delia doesn’t know how to play the game and that’s why she doesn’t want to be it. But no, I don’t offer any of those fixes. Instead, I responded, “You need to figure it out yourselves” And I waded with my son to the other end of the pool. I want my daughter to struggle. She needs experience solving situations without a clear answer. The only way for her to gain confidence is through perseverance. And its really hard for me to react this way. Being a parent is so much different than being a teacher. I have an emotional connection with my daughter that I never had my students. My daughter’s pain and struggle becomes my own. I want to avoid drama. I want to avoid tears. Also, I want to avoid one girl going home and telling her parents how mean Llama is and how her mom didn’t do anything to help. That thought goes through my neurotic brain all the time. However, solving my daughter’s problems for her comes at a high price. As a teacher, I could immediately identify the kids in my class who had no confidence in their own problem solving skills. These kids constantly ran up to my desk to ask what they should do next or tell me little problems like how someone “stole” their pencil. They wanted me to solve everything. As fifth graders, they considered themselves helpless. I want my kids to be excellent problem solvers. I don’t need to jump in and do something for my kids as soon as they ask. At the playground, I can actually sit and enjoy myself. If my daughter tells me she can’t use the zipline at the park because it’s too hard, that’s ok. By watching other kids, trying different ideas herself and struggling with not […]