Sunday, December 15, 2013
Sunday, November 24, 2013
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Saturday, November 9, 2013
So, one thing I learned how to use after having a kid was my newer crockpot. Newer crockpots heat a bit higher than the old, so all those old recipes just won't work, and you can't dump things in the crockpot before work and come home to dinner 8 hours later because almost no recipe will survive that long.
But who am I kidding? Even in the old crockpots everything came out bland and disgusting for me.
But finally, desperate to find a way to cook certain meals without worrying about my toddler sticking his hand or a toy into an open flame... I learned.
First, I started with whole chicken, trying it at different times. In my 6 quart Rival crockpot the sweet spot seems to be 4hrs30min on high. This is true for roast chicken as well as chicken submerged in water (when making chicken soup). Low just changes how long it takes to reach the max temperature, so extend the cooking time by an hour or two.
When not making soup-like dishes, prop your meat high on aromatic vegetables.
And be very very very generous in your seasonings!
As for today, today is a goulash kind of day.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
When I was a little kid, my Grandma watched me a lot. And I used to watch her writing stories for romance magazines and the like.
So I was inspired to write as well. Lots and lots of short stories, like one about a princess who gets kidnapped by a dinosaur and is rescued by a nice dragon. They started out a paragraph or two long and eventually reached a few pages in length as I got older.
Eventually I wanted to submit my stories for publication but I only wanted to submit to adult level magazines. My grandma kept trying to make me understand without insulting me why that was a bad idea but I never listened.
I finally gave up writing in my very early tweens when I received a personal rejection letter from Marion Zimmer-Bradley. Since I was a young kid, and my Grandma didn't read science fiction I never knew until much later the awesome I had in my hands was. At the time I became enraged, cried, threw out the (nice) letter and pretty much gave up writing until high school, where I dabbled a little with fanfiction, the TSA-ML, and shared stories. But I never wrote much (except for a blog, to share my experiences in Japan), and never tried to get published again until recently, but my love of writing just isn't as it was when I was a kid. I feel like I lost something.
So, long story short... as a parent or caregiver what would you do to prevent discouragement from unrealistic goals?
Sunday, September 15, 2013
I know it is inconvenient. Time consuming. Tiring. It can also cause panic.
But sometimes you just gotta let them get messy, play with paints and doughs and mushy things. I find Crayola is very washable. But if you're scared, set up in a special room like the bathroom and lock yourself in with the tot. Keep some rags handy for wiping the child dry, and have fun too!
Sunday, September 8, 2013
I have found that it is really easy to get into a habit of treating your child the same even though they are growing older and more capable.
When was the first time you realized you could leave your child unsupervised for 15 minutes while you take a shower?
When was the first time you let them help you prepare food?
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Seriously, have you eaten some of that baby food slop? And maybe you're surprised when you're kid grows up loving soda pop and chicken nuggets?!
Now don't get me wrong, the food has to be developmentally appropriate... nothing that will choke, poison, or burn your child... but seriously, just mince the stuff up as much as needed, use your blender, whatever. Don't give them honey if they are under 1, lots of citrus, or Buffalo wings... but seriously, when my lil guy was less than a year old he loved curry! With just a pinch of heat to it, even.
Also, protip... set up your own food to be safe if they steal it off your plate. Letting them steal the food off your plate is the most awesome way to trick them into trying new foods.
And don't be upset when their tastes change.. it happens. Mine loved peas, now he just lines them up and counts them or enjoys smooshing them and throwing them to the floor. It's OK. I've got shit that I won't eat, either.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Ok, you'll see lots of books on the subject, and blogs, and articles... but they don't really answer the question of what potty training is really like. I'm going to reveal this terrible secret.
It's like training a dog (or parrot, rat or whatever pet you had and trained as a kid). You know, positive reinforcement or clicker style type training? It's like that, and honestly for many of the potty training books and advice out there you'd probably find better value for your money and cut out the fluffernutter. Of course, using a library's resources or borrow a friend's is even better. No need to own a potty training book.
Step one: make sure your child is actually capable of pottying in the toilet. That they can hold their pee and poo, that defecation doesn't scare them, and that they know the words that refer to these things, and aren't scared to death of the toilet or think you're murdering them by putting them on it. You can help them along with some of this, like letting them play on the toilet, to get comfy with it. But some stuff like being able to pull down their pants or being able to tell you they need to go may just simply take time.
Step two: find a reward system you both like.
Step three: don't give a shit about accidents. You must be calm and patient, because if you get mad your kid is not going to cooperate. And kids are not stupid, they can tell when you're pissed.
Step four: find a period of several days to a couple weeks when you and all the babysitters and relatives are ready to get going on this. Get books, videos, apps, etc for the kid to prepare. Remove toy distractions and stock fun activities around the toilet. Make you sure have a baby seat for the toilet or a potty chair, and decide if you'll need more than one for a second floor or for travel, buy underwear etc... you'll also be hyping up "big kids use the potty", the difference between wet and dry pants, etc.
Step five: in the first few days in particular, you gotta just keep putting that kid on the toilet every 15 minutes, keep the kid naked or only in undies and load them up with lots of drinks and food that induces them to drink a lot of their own volition. Have him or her check underwear for wet or dry regularly. Do not distract yourself with television or anything that would prevent you from hearing the plops or tinkles. Keep towels handy for cleanup, particularly boys will spray around the toilet.
*of their own volition is important. The minute they feel pressured it's going to be awful and not work.
Step six: get happy and goofy excited when they go in the potty, reward immediately with praise and whatever reward you've arranged and talk in simple terms about what he or she did to help your kid's vocabulary on the matter. I've heard that you shouldn't interrupt and accident on the floor. You just explain it is bad and have the kid practice on the toilet with no reward after. This might be more effective than having him or her finish on the toilet and giving a reward, probably sends a mixed signal.
Step seven: enjoy if your child "gets it" right away, and have unending patience if it takes days or weeks for your kid to understand the connection between the reward and the action. Or discover your kid isn't ready, save yourself the trouble and try again later.
*onlyy having just started potty training for my son, let me tell you it is imperative that you are consistent in your method and that you understand that method.
Sunday, August 4, 2013
Get rid of your toys.
No, seriously, I bet you have a zillion toys. Holdovers from when your child was younger, a bajillion stuffed toys and things given by friends, or even purchased by you, and stuff you probably don't even remember where it came from.
This is best done when the child is out of the house or sleeping.
Go through ALL THE TOYS.
Sort them, and discard any that are damaged, irretrievably disgusting or missing pieces. If you can't bring yourself to discard, box them and hide the box where even you don't go often.
Evaluate battery-operated toys. Does the toy need batteries to function best, and if so are you really replacing the batteries as needed or just letting the thing sit around?
Also sort out any toys that are just really annoying. Like, ones that require balls that always roll under the couch or ones that make really stupid noises or talk for no necessary reason. Trust me, most toys don't need to screech or talk. Even supposedly "educational" ones. If the problem is something like the balls and couch thing, decide if that toy can be placed in a different room with less chance for the balls to become lost or if you can make a barrier.
Sort your remaining toys by type.
Stuffed animals can be good decorations but do you need a lot? Blocks are good to have a lot of, but not stuffies. .. so either bag em, or find a place to use them as decoration where the child can't reach. Then, only make a few at a time accessible.
Take the sorted boxes of toys and store them out of site but in an accessible area that the toddler cannot get into (NOT THE SAME PLACE AS THE DISCARD BOXES). Have only one box out for play at a time.
If you keep the TV on all the time, or give your kid a tablet to play with... try not to. Turn off the TV for the day, and place the tablet in another room. If the child is particularly addicted to the tablet, it makes it even more essential that he or she doesn't see where you put it... it's best if it just simply isn't there that day.
Practice some patience as he or she figures out what to do with the limited selection.
You'll enjoy spending less time picking up and sorting toys, less mess to trip over, and the toys will be more thoroughly enjoyed. You'll also get a better sense of what toys your toddler really doesn't like at all.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
How do I prevent my washer and dryer from smelling like feces or vomit?
How do I get feces out of clothes?
How do I get vomit out of clothes?
How do I get blood out of clothes?
You can do this list forever when you have an infant or toddler. Or if you're drunk and vomiting a lot, I suppose.
This is the ONLY trick you ever need to know! (But don't fool around with dry clean only, I don't buy those kinds of clothes so I can't speak for them)
Step one: keep the clothing item moist and relatively fresh. As in, wash it before it dries out. This doesn't mean you have to have a wet diaper pail, it just means don't leave them sitting around long enough to get dried out or moldy.
Step two: put the clothing items in your washer and do an entire cycle on cold (I find the extra pre-rinse on my washing machine insufficient), no detergent necessary.
Step three: when the clothing is finished on the entire cold cycle, then add your detergent (of course remembering that for babies you'll want some non-irritating gentle detergent, particularly for cloth diapers) and run on whatever hot/warm/cold cycle you normally are supposed to do with your clothing.
Step four: run the clothes through your dryer or on a drying rack or whatever it is you normally do to dry them. Done!
Summary: RINSE WITH COLD WATER ASAP, then wash as normal!
Seriously, the only time baby messes have ever stained or stank is when I let them dry or mold before washing, or forgot and ran it on a hot or warm cycle before a cold cycle.
If you accidentally do run a warm or hot cycle on a load and the washer and dryer end up reeking of feces or whatever, just run a clean wet towel or two with a little bit of bleach through both machines. Then remove the bleach by running that same towel through the washing machine enough to get the bleach out, then run it through the dryer.
Sunday, July 21, 2013
Don't panic! I know everyone panics about these things. There's just something about your kid appearing less-than-perfect that inspires parents everywhere to lose their shit and smother their kid with tons of creams and lotions, or overwash their kid, or cut out this or that food, or whatever, but don't panic! It's ok!
First, remember you (should) have a pediatrician to consult for these kinds of things. But knowing you, just as I know myself and a bajillion other parents out there based on all the forum posts about this, you're cruising the Internet trying to figure out what this is. But please, CONSULT YOUR PEDIATRICIAN. I am not one of them.
So, let's take a look at some of the possibilities here:
Milia : teensy weensy little white bumps that your baby may have been born with and will go away within a few weeks. Don't squeeze them or try to treat them with ointment. It's just tiny pockets of dead skin.
Baby acne : may be a reaction to mother's hormones, or a skincare product. Again, don't try to attack this problem with scrubbing or lotions or ointments. No one is exactly sure the cause. Just wash your baby gently with gentle soap and water regularly, and try to pay attention if he's getting any oils or creams from you on him.
This is one I commonly see as attributed in parenting forums as "dairy allergy." Typically the online advice would have you cut out ALL dairy (even if you are breastfeeding, because the dairy you consume can find its way into your breastmilk) for about 2 weeks until you see improvement. It's worth noting that baby acne in general clears up in several weeks to several months. Imagine you take this advice to avoid dairy and the acne clears up in 2-4 weeks? Yes, you'll think that your baby had a dairy allergy (or sometimes people believe it is artifical hormones in the cow's milk). Nearly all the posts and comments on this fall into this category. I've even seen posts by people who have cut out dairy for about a month but still encouraged to believe it is a dairy allergy because it must be sneaking in somewhere as some hidden ingredient in something. But here is the problem... it can also be true! It really can be an allergy to milk, soy, peanuts, etc... and dairy can sneak its way into many foods. Check your labels.
If you really believe your child has an allergy, please consult your pediatrician! I mean, think about it... why wouldn't you?
When my beautiful baby's face became covered in pimples, I read all these forum posts about food allergies. It didn't seem so unbelievable to me that there would be this massive internet plague of dairy allergies (after all, we live in a world with a lot of people on the Internet, and those people with genuine conditions can and will find support groups for each other), it was the snap judgement by strangers on the Internet that it must be an allergy without any reason to believe so, and continued insistence that dairy must be "sneaking in" somehow even when all dairy is cut, or talking about dairy allergies that went away very quickly (as in, after a few weeks or months). So, I ignored this explanation and lo and behold, my son's "dairy allergy" cleared up on its own. Ask your pediatrician what the true signs of an allergy are, to be safe.
Eczema and cradle cap/sebhorreic dermatitis : this will look a lot more like a patchy rashy thing than a pimply thing. If it happens in the groin area, of course, realize it will probably be diaper rash. Eczema and cradle cap are skin conditions with not-fully-understood causes. Follow your pediatrician's advice. For cradle cap, it'll usually go away on it's own. Don't over or underwash your infant.
Eczema seems to have an inheritable component and although it isn't an allergy itself, it might be triggered by certain detergents, fragrances in soaps, etc... best to switch to something mild and fragrance-free. Moisturize with aquaphor and make sure the infant's clothing is light and breathable. My son, who has just developed eczema recently as a toddler, seems to suffer from it more when he gets sweaty, so I often leave him shirtless when I can. It's very itchy so it is important to keep it moisturized and as untriggered as possible to prevent damage from scratching which can make it worse.
Cradle cap/sebhorreic dermatitis... nothing much you can do about this one. Use a gentle, non irritating shampoo/soap, make sure to rinse it all out. I say this as an adult sufferer. For mine, a liberal rubbing in of virgin cold-pressed food-grade coconut oil helped a lot (but was unsustainable for me because I found it impossible to thoroughly massage my scalp enough to reduce the flakes and NOT have a greasy blob of hair to go with it). I didn't know about coconut oil when my son had cradle cap, and don't bother googling it... the Internet will tell you coconut oil will cure everything. Ask your pediatrician if it is safe. I know it irritates me to all hell when/if it drips into my eyes. Well, at least for nearly all infants dermatitis simply vanishes on its own! Lucky bastards....
Your baby's face isn't clean : if you don't gently wipe up all that drool and spit-up and overflow off your baby's face, chin, neck, and wherever else it's oozed, it will encourage bacteria to grow and that can give you some pimply red patch goodness. Just a damp soft cloth will do.
If any of this comes on real suddenly, is oozy, bleeding or cracking, is blistery, etc... call your pediatrician right away! There are real and severe allergies, atopic dermatitis, infections, impetigo, yeast rashes and more that need to be treated ASAP.
Baby acne (Babycenter)
Mom and baby skin care (AAD)
Baby acne (Mayo Clinic)
Rash - child under 2 years (NIH)
Food Sensitivity (Kellymom)
Allergic Proctocolitis in the Exclusively Breastfed Infant (Breastfeeding Medicine)
Milk allergy in infants
Food allergies (Babycenter)
Saturday, July 13, 2013
So, I ran out of commercially produced washable kid paint the other day and in desperation turned to one of several recipes on the Internet.
I had avoided this recipe before because it had seemed unsound. It called for flour, water, and food coloring. I thought to myself, won't this stain? But then I thought of how I never got a stain from goods baked with food coloring so, maybe food coloring diluted and mixed with flour would be OK. And of course, a simple recipe like that, similar to salt doughs and such seemed just so comforting and familiar... and it looked adorable in my muffin pan.
So what happened?
Well, first off the particular recipe I used was a bit watery. The result of this was that much son quickly learned that splashing it everywhere would be AWESOME. It was on the walls, all over him, all over anything within 15'.
If it was cleaned up before it dried, it was OK.
However, if it was not cleaned up before it dried... well, it was a bit tough to get off the wall. And although I intended to wash my sons clothing immediately I forgot about them for some time after I tossed them down the stairs. After washing, they did not appear to stain, but dozens and dozens of little balls of colored dough became stuck to them. I ended up throwing the shirt out instead of fighting with it.
Oh, and forget getting it out of the brushes if you use brushes.
Can be OK in a pinch as long as the area and the surrounding area is easily wipeable and immediately wiped and cleaned.
If you're more laid back, or just letting the kid paint with minimal supervision or have a kid that's going to run around the house covered in paint and hug all your cloth furniture, you'll want to stay away.
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
There is apparently still time to order Glass, so if anyone is interested in funding this quest... please let me know.
I'll be keeping this blog up as a placeholder for Glass parenting news and in expectation of the day when I own a pair of my own upon the retail release.
Thank you all!
Sunday, June 30, 2013
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
I hemmed and I hawed. Is a $1500 beta product worth it? What could I possibly use it for? How can I contribute the the Glass community?
I got some great advice on G+, and I decided to follow through with it. If I can raise the needed money in the next 5 days I will pick up my Glass and use it to create a parenting blog.
WHY A PARENTING BLOG?
Because parenting is definitely a job that requires two hands at all times! It's also a task with many questionable crafts and toys marketed for it. Just the other day, I made a "washable" home made paint recipe I had seen all over the Internet. I wouldn't say it was a complete disaster, but, being able to have seen beforehand the quality of the paint would have been a huge plus. And I regret not being able to share that kind of thing when I'm elbow (and pants, and shirt) deep in it.
I realized there is a bit of a need here. It would be so easy to document basic tips and activities with Glass, which I just can't do with a camera. My son notices and loves cameras, and I also can't press buttons with grimy hands.
Before I had my own child, I had been a children's librarian with NO experience with children. Being able to simply watch daily activities of discipline, crafts, and skill learning would have been invaluable to me.
Please help me make this a reality for you and others. Click on the IndieGoGo link below, and donate or spread the word! Thank you so much!