Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How to Know Whether or Not You Are Ready to Have a Baby

I saw this recently on the UC Berkley Parent Network ( It is absolutely perfect! I especially love the night test, as my hubby and I have done the waltzing and singing on too many occasions!


Smear peanut butter on the sofa and curtains. Now rub your hands in the wet flower bed and rub on the walls. Place a fish stick behind the couch and leave it there all summer. Obtain a 55-gallon box of Legos. (If Legos are not available, you may substitute roofing tacks or broken bottles.) Have a friend spread them all over the house. Put on a blindfold. Try to walk to the bathroom or kitchen. Do not scream (this could wake a child at night).

Borrow one or two small animals (goats are best) and take them with you as you shop at the grocery store. Always keep them in sight and pay for anything they eat or damage.

Obtain one large, unhappy, live octopus. Stuff into a small net bag making sure that all arms stay inside.

Obtain a large plastic milk jug. Fill halfway with water. Suspend from the ceiling with a stout cord. Start the jug swinging. Try to insert spoonfuls of soggy cereal (such as Fruit Loops or Cheerios) into the mouth of the jug while pretending to be an airplane. Now dump the contents of the jug on the floor.

Prepare by obtaining a small cloth bag and fill it with 8 to 12 pounds of sand. Soak it thoroughly in water. At 8:00 PM begin to waltz and hum with the bag until 9:00 PM. Lay down your bag and set your alarm for 10:00 PM. Get up, pick up your bag, and sing every song you have ever heard. Make up about a dozen more and sing these too until 4:00AM. Set alarm for 5:00 AM. Get up and make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.

Obtain a large bean-bag chair and attach it to the front of your clothes. Leave it there for 9 months. Now remove 10% of the beans. Purchase a newspaper. Go home and read it quietly for the last time.

Find a couple who already have a small child. Lecture them on how they can improve their child's discipline, patience, tolerance, toilet training, and table manners. Suggest many ways they can improve. Emphasize to them that they should never allow their children to run wild. Enjoy this experience. It will be the last time you will have all the answers.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Toddling and Tantrums

Our darling son has become a bi-ped. He is walking, in the cutest new-walk waddle, anywhere and everywhere. He started off a couple months ago with a few brave steps, but for a long time felt quite comfortable crawling or holding on to mommy and daddy. When he finally got brave enough to let go and take off, he put his hands in the air and giggled across the room. Our parental pride went through the roof! Now that the new-milestone pride is fading, I'm realizing that with walking comes independence. And, with independence comes tantrums. Uh-oh.

Toddler tantrums have always been interesting to me. They are an inevitable part of childhood, and a real challenge for some parents. When your once cuddly, dependent baby squirms out of your arms, stomps his feet, shakes his head, and screams, a parent can feel shocked and helpless. It is hard to not take it personally. Why doesn't my baby want to do exactly what I want him to do anymore? Now, we're hardly at the stage where our son is having full-blown tantrums, but we are seeing enough willful fits that I'm giving it more thought.

I came across this new study in the journal Emotion that breaks down the stages of a tantrum and gives some great advice on how to approach a child that is having a tantrum. The researchers recorded the vocalizations made during a tantrum and analyzed them. They found that there is a rhythm to tantrums and two clear emotions: anger and sadness. Peaks of yelling and screaming indicate anger; crying, sobbing, and whining are a sign of sadness.

Ok, any parent probably knows that to some extent. But, here's the useful part of this study - parents that know about the "rhythm" of tantrums can respond appropriately to peaks of anger, thus shortening them and bringing the child to sadness, where a child will be responsive to your attempts to comfort them. The authors suggest that there is an "anger trap" that parents often fall into where they feel compelled to respond in some way to the screaming and yelling. Asking questions during anger can actually prolong the tantrum. Instead, try to "do nothing" during the anger (easier said then done). The child should move more quickly through the anger into sadness, where they will seek comfort from you.

Taking this new research and adding it to my previous experience, I would suggest the following basic strategy for dealing with tantrums:
  1. Ignore. To the best of your ability, try to "do nothing" during angry outbursts. Stay calm and wait for the storm to pass. Remember, this is normal behavior for toddlers as they learn boundaries for their behavior. Try not to think about the judgemental eye of the passer-by in the grocery store. They'll understand when they're a parent.
  2. Remove them. If the behavior is in public and too disruptive, do your best to calmly remove them from the situation.
  3. Avoid questioning. The new research shows this can prolong the tantrum. Where we used to suggest that giving a child choices may end a tantrum, this might actually be counterproductive.
  4. Don't give in. It is important that you don't teach your child that you will eventually let them do or have what they want if they scream loud enough. Stay steadfast.
  5. Be consistent. This is my advice for everything. Consistency allows for predictability. In predictability there is no chaos. A child knows what to expect and your battles will be fewer. I promise.
  6. Comfort. Does this seem intuitive? Probably not. I think we immediately want to punish for this type of outburst, but if your child has moved into crying, whining, and comfort seeking, then comfort them. Reflect their feelings of anger, sadness, and frustration. Let them know that although you won't change your mind, you can empathize with their feelings and you love them.
I'm learning that handling tantrums is harder than it looks. And, shoot, it looks hard. Lord bless us all!
Screaming, yelling, whining, and crying: Categorical and intensity differences in vocal expressions of anger and sadness in children's tantrums. Green, James A.; Whitney, Pamela G.; Potegal, Michael Emotion, Vol 11(5), Oct 2011, 1124-1133.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How to Sleep with A Grizzly Bear

Sleep is so precious to new parents. If there is one thing I've yearned for more of this past year, it would be a full night of uninterrupted sleep. So, when my otherwise wonderful, loving, perfect husband's snoring wakes me up in the night, thoughts of violence flash through my mind. I've had dreams of monsters growling and chasing me, only to wake to find the monster is actually my snoring hubby. I try to wake him, but that does little good. He can snore lying on his side, on his stomach, and with a pillow over his head.

Now, I would never really hurt my husband for snoring. I really do love him too much. But, it isn't unheard of. Not too long ago, I saw this article posted on Facebook - "The Snoring Murders - People around the Globe are Killed because of Snoring" Surprisingly, there are people that have gotten so frustrated with a snoring roommate, partner, or even someone in the next hotel room that they have murdered them! I jokingly showed this article to my husband. Shortly after, he started wearing Breathe-Right Strips.

Don't murder your husband for snoring! My advice to sleep-deprived momsie's who have to sleep with a grizzly bear:
  • Breathe Right Strips. They really do help. At least the snoring is a bit quieter with them on.
  • White Noise. I turn on our air purifier and place it close to my side of the bed. This sometimes is enough to help me sleep through mild snoring.
  • Ear Plugs. If your baby is sleeping through the night and you aren't concerned about not hearing them if they wake up, ear plugs can work wonders.
  • Guest Room. If all else fails, find another place to sleep!
Any other advice?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What I Won't Miss About Pumping

My sweet baby boy turns one year old in a little over a week! With the many milestones that come at this age such as walking, increased communication, and eating more solid foods, comes the major momsie milestone - weaning. Although I'm going to continue nursing in the morning and before bed, I have been itching for many months to stop pumping milk at work. As I've been dreaming about this day to come, I've thought of many things I won't miss about pumping:
  • Hauling the pump bag. Every time I walk into a new school building, which is at least a couple times a day, I have the hassle of carrying the cumbersome pump bag along with my other bag, lunchbox, and therapeutic tools. Usually by the time I find a place to sit all my stuff down, I'm a frazzled mess with a back ache. Then, it's just a matter of a couple hours before I have to haul that pump to a separate private location.
  • Finding a place. You know how many times I've had to pump in my hot car or in a little closet at one of my schools? Too many. And, it's just plain embarrassing to ask receptionists if they have a place where I can go to milk myself.
  • Feeling like a cow. Twice or thrice a day I find my way to my stall where I have my utters milked. I can't get the cow analogy out of my head when I'm pumping.
  • Milk spills. Ever spilled a bag of breast milk all over your work clothes? Yucky. The risk of this greatly increases when you're pumping in the car.
  • Leaking. That uncomfortable feeling is most likely to occur when an important meeting goes a little too long. Then, there is the awkwardness of running out of the meeting as soon as it's over to get to the pump. Explain that to your boss.
  • Those awkward moments. Like when someone pounds down my door while I'm pumping. I can't very easily stop in a middle of a let-down to answer the door, so I just hollar, "Wait a minute!" Then, there is the look of "What were you doing in there?" Or, when I forget to straighten my shirt and walk out of the room with part of my bra exposed. So humiliating.
  • Remembering. I can't even remember where I've put my car keys and cellphone these days. So, remembering to buy milkbags and breast pads, pack the icepack, carry the pump bag to the car, and give the daycare the milkbags is sometimes too much for this tired brain.
  • Clean up. It really takes a chunk of time to fill and label milk bags, pack up the pump, find a sink, clean the pump and bottles, find a refrigerator . . . .
Oh, I can't wait for the glorious day when pumping comes to an end! I think I will say goodbye to my pump in a ceremonious way - maybe by burning or trashing it. But, alas, even as I type this I feel the fullness coming on and I am reminded that it is time to get to my pump.

A Whole New Look!

I am so excited about this new blog design by Jumping Jax Designs! It's perfect! My previous blog at looked pretty drab, but still please go there for some recipes (I was doing a casserole of the week, which I'm pretty sure I won't be doing on this blog :)), mommy insights, and advice from a psychologist's perspective on raising kids. I'm excited in the next few weeks to post about new developments in my life (the end of pumping!), my lactation bites recipe and some of my thoughts on attachment, discipline, and television!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...