Friday, June 29, 2012

Please, No Football!

Since college, I've had a certain distaste for football.  I was an academic, struggling by on a measly academic scholarship, staying up late at night studying, and earning a 4.0 grade average.   All because I love learning.  (Nerd.)  I watched my neighbors, the freshman football team, living it up on their football scholarships.  One bought a new car.  Another was paid to take out new recruits to the strip-club.  I ate ramen.  When my psychology club was denied pep-club status and related monies, I wrote an editorial in the school paper about how academic clubs exude just as much school spirit as athletic clubs.  I wondered, aren't universities in existence for education and not for sports?  Aren't sports just an extra-curricular in the institutions of learning?  I began to resent those football players, coveting their scholarships, tutors, and care-free attitudes.

Then, I married a football player.  Hubby played college football and is the ultimate football fan.  During football season, we (okay, he) watches football almost every night of the week.  College, pros, high school, reruns, any and all football.  He participates in at least three Fantasy Football leagues a year.  I've tried to lose my poor attitude toward football and have watched an occasional game and even joined a Fantasy league.  I picked all my players based on character rather than skill and did pretty darn good.  Anyway, I still am not the biggest fan.

And, now, all this news about the rise of head injuries in football.  Former NFL players are actually suing the NFL, claiming that the league knew "that multiple blows to the head can lead to long-term brain injury, including memory loss, dementia, depression and (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and its related symptoms,” and that it failed to warn or protect players.  Several NFL players have recently committed suicide, and many suspect that chronic traumatic encephalopathy from repeated head injuries is to blame. Many states (including Texas) have passed laws that require high school players that receive a concussion to sit out for longer periods of time (half a day rather than 15 minutes).  Even with this precaution, though, brain injury can occur from repeated mild blows to the head that do not initially cause a concussion.  Recent research has found the presence of cognitive impairment in high school football players, even if they have never been diagnosed with a concussion.  If these impairments begin as young as high school, just imagine the accumulated damage done to the professional athlete's brain. 

This is no joke to me.  I can't disregard this information and carelessly "charge it to the game."  As a psychologist, I know the seriousness of brain injury.  My distaste for football has grown.  Even my football fanatic hubby has shared his hopes that Jr. will choose to participate in a safer sport.  I'm afraid, still, that Jr. won't be able to resist the lure of football.  Shoot, we live in Texas.  Football is everywhere.  And, doesn't our culture idolize football players?  Furthermore, we teach our young men that the way to be successful is through their athletic prowess rather than their brains.  It is more likely for men to obtain scholarships for sports than for academics. So, what's a young man to do?  Play football?  I hope not. 

Today, I hear that my favorite NFL quarterback (and I know, like, three of them), Drew Brees, is helping support the PACE program — Protecting Athletes through Concussion Education.  Not only does PACE work to raise awareness of concussions and how to recognize, identify, and treat them, they also provide free concussion testing for middle and high school sports teams.  Parents, athletes, coaches, teachers and anyone who wants to sign their school up can log onto to receive the free testing. 

I guess I feel a little better about the possibility of Jr. playing football with programs like this in place.  If he chooses to play football, we are going to be using the heck out of PACE!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wanted: New Running Partner

Running buddies
My beloved friend and running partner, Auntie Dr. Momsie, is moving.  This is a huge loss for me!  And, Jr. too, as he is best buds with Auntie's son, E.  So, I desparately need to find a new friend and running partner.  Here are my criteria:
  • Likes to run, but not fanatically.  Encourages me to run, but isn't too pushy. 
  • Not too fast, not too slow.  A nice ten minute mile would be ideal.
  • Lets me know when cool and fun runs are in the area so we can register and run together.
  • Lives in my neighborhood so we can easily run together.
  • Has a son within a couple months of Jr.'s age and enjoys running with her son in a stroller.  Jr. must enjoy the company of potential running friend's baby.
  • Is willing to talk about any and every subject while running.  No subject should be off-limits, including female anatomy, fertility, and embarrassing mommy moments.
  • Preferrably a working mom, so we can share the associated struggles and challenges.
  • Preferrably a doctoral level school psychologist, so we can talk about behaviorally disordered children and otherwise consult about cases.
  • Doesn't mind lengthy text messages about new-mommy anxiety and questions.
  • Shares cool ideas for my blog like pananas.
  • Really, her husband should get along with my husband, as we will be socializing often outside of running.
Ah, phooey.  There is no way to replace Auntie Dr. Momsie.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ask Dr. Momsie: Crawling

One of my readers recently asked,
"My 6 month old just started scooting backwards to get around. Will she eventually change gears?"
I really wanted to post this question, because I remember being a little concerned about Jr.'s crawling progress.  I can relate to my reader's anxious anticipation! At six months, Jr. was trying to walk, but wasn't even interested in crawling.  Then, he began to scootch along on his tummy, but wouldn't attempt to lift his belly off the floor.  Even knowing that his development was normal, I wondered if he would ever just pick that belly up and go!

So, dear reader, if your little lady hasn't started crawling already, let me reassure you. She probably will be soon!  Most babies do start to crawl by seven to ten months.  But, official "crawling" doesn't necessarily mean the hands and knees type of crawl we all think of.  An "army crawl" (using elbows), a scootchy crawl, a one arm or leg pull, and many other types of movement are considered crawling.  Even the backwards scootch you explain is considered a crawl.  The important thing is that your baby is interested in moving and going, regardless of how she does it!

Some babies (my hubby and I, for example) actually walk before they crawl.  There are some that would say this has a negative impact on development, but I believe that opinion is quackery!  Many pediatricians don't even ask about crawling development, because it is not considered an important developmental milestone; the manifestation of crawling behavior does not reliably determine which babies are developmentally delayed.

Now, if your baby turns one and is still not moving his arms and legs in coordinated movement, isn't interested in moving about and exploring, or favors one arm or leg more than the other, then you should talk to your pediatrician.  More than likely, your baby will be mobile and exploring every nook and cranny of your house soon.  Get that house baby-proofed!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Multiracial Families - Some Recent Thoughts from Dr. Momsie

Last Saturday, my darling little family was featured on Musing Momma in a post called "Saturday Spotlight on Multiracial Families: A family founded in faith."  Please go read it, and read all of the awesome stuff on Musing Momma ( She will be continuing to feature multiracial families in the weeks to come, and I can't wait to hear their perspectives!

In writing my responses for Musing Momma, I really started to think more about having a multiracial family, and especially about raising a son in such a family.  It might have been easy to downplay the uniqueness of our family prior to having Jr., but now that we have brought this darling little boy into the world, we can't ignore how the world may treat him.  As his parents, we have a responsibility for helping protect him from the cruelness of this world and for helping him develop a view of himself that fits with God's view of him.

I've started reading "Does Anybody Else Look Like Me," a book on raising multiracial children by Donna Jackson Nakazawa.  I found this recommendation on Musing Momma, and thought it would be the perfect summer read.  I've only gotten through the first chapter, as I've been recently captivated by "The Night Circus" (ok, I promised myself I wouldn't get distracted by thinking about or talking about that marvelous book).  Nakazawa is a Caucasian woman married to a Japanese-American man, and they have two bi-racial children.  She interviews other multiracial families and looks at the related research (I'm a sucker for good research) to make suggestions for parents raising multiracial children. 

In her first chapter, Nakazawa addresses the preschool years.  She suggests that a major task during this stage in a multiracial child's life is to understand that there are other families that look like their family and to be protected from the responses of curious and nosey strangers (well, family too).  She talks about how her children were constantly ogled over and how people often said how cute they were and made curious remarks.  She attributed this to their unique bi-racial features and suggests that this type of attention can be disconcerting for a child.  By receiving so much extra attention, they learn that they are different.  And, sometimes, different can make one feel "bad" and "other."  She makes some very useful suggestions about how to talk to children about their family make-up, how to begin to help them identify as a multi-racial person, and how to defend them from nosey strangers.  Her concrete examples and scripts are excellent tools for parents.   I'm really starting to think about how I can start having these types of conversations with Jr.

For instance, Nakazawa suggests pointing out families that look similar to yours whenever possible.  It is important to not avoid talking about race in an effort to be so enlightened that you are "above" race.  Race, color, and being different will have an impact on a multiracial child whether their enlightened parents like it or not.  So, one "model family" that I've put in my mental Rolodex of Black Daddy/White Mommy families is the beautiful and talented Diggs-Menzel family!  (My darling hubby took me to Idina Menzel's concert last week, and I was reminded of our similarity in family :))

Now, for those of you who read the Musing-Momma feature, you may realize that some of Nakazawa's perspective does not fit with my personal philosophy.  I don't mind the curiosity of strangers, and don't become defensive about people commenting on how cute Jr is (jeesh, he is super cute!).  I really try to assume the best of people and think that most people come from a good place when they give Jr. a warm smile and extra look.  For a couple weeks after reading her thoughts, I did try to be more aware of people's reaction to Jr., and I still found nothing offensive.  Now, if someone started to ask too many questions about our family's make-up or ask to touch his hair, I would definitely squelch the interaction.  But, when I walk down the aisle of the grocery store, I often look at ALL babies and make comments about the cute ones.  Shouldn't I assume that is what others are doing too?  Is my point of view terribly naive?   I don't want to raise Jr. to be defensive and angry, but I do want him to be prepared for the narrow-minded haters.  What do y'all think?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bye Bye to Bottles

At Jr.'s one year check-up, our pediatrician let us know that it was time to get rid of Jr.'s bottle.  No problem, I thought.  Just as soon as he's home with me for the summer, we'll give that a go.  A couple weeks later, his morning teacher at daycare let me know that they were going to start pushing the cup more.  "Perfect,"  I said, "We're really going to work on that this summer."  I could see on his take-home sheet each day that he was drinking a couple ounces of milk from a cup, while still having a couple bottles.  Excellent progress! 

A couple of days later, his afternoon teacher and I were joking around as I picked up Jr. (she was teasing me about my bag of incentives).  She laughingly mentioned that Jr. wasn't drinking much from his cup.  I laughed and said, "What are we going to do about that?"  Ha ha!  She looked at me quite seriously and said, "What are YOU going to do about that?" 

Touche.  She went on to tell me about how all the other babies were progressing quite nicely with the cup and many had given up the bottle.  And, of course, "there are no bottle in the toddler room!" she threatened.  That is just the push I needed to take this cup thing seriously. 

I kept to my plan, for the most part, though.  The weekend he withdrew from daycare, I stopped giving Jr. the bottle.  Cold turkey.  The pediatrician actually advised that this would be the best way to handle it, as babies don't handle gradual change that well.  We had some fussy crying, batting of the cup, and attempts to breastfeed for the first couple of days.  He seems to have adjusted quite well now.  He definitely doesn't drink as much milk as he did before, but that is probably a good thing.  He's eating his meals much better!

I can't wait to tell his teacher how quickly he adapted to the cup this summer.  It's amazing how well babies adapt to "cold turkey" behavioral extinction plans!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Daddy's Day!

Playing hide-and-seek with Daddy
Now, I really don't want to get all sappy and sentimental, but I just have to take this opportunity to let everyone know what an awesome daddy my hubby is.  It's much too easy and popular these days to be an absent or uninvolved father.  But, my hubby has turned out to be the most caring, loving, playful, and joyful father.  He is better than I could have ever imagined him to be, and his instincts as a daddy are spot-on.  He never dodges a diaper changing and reads to Jr. every night.  How blessed we are!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Awesome Book Find!

On our summer adventures last week, Jr. and I found the most awesome board book.  It's called When Mama Comes Home Tonight, by Eileen Spinelli. I didn't know there was such a cute book for working moms and their kids!

The first endearing thing about this book is that it rhymes!  Rhyming is not easy, and even when an author is able to rhyme, it takes a real writer to make the rhyme natural and cute.  For instance, I recently read a book with Jr. that tried to rhyme "again" and "rain".  That doesn't really work and it ruins the fluidity of the book.

Another remarkable aspect of this book is the illustrations.  I would have expected the "mama" in the book to be a modern businesswoman type.  Instead, the mom looks quite traditional, I might even describe her as "frumpy."  There is something refreshing about the picture of a working mom being more conservative.  Sometimes, there feels like a lot of shame and judgement placed on working moms from the conservative community.  And, when you feel like a part of that community, the stigma against working moms can leave you feeling pretty isolating.

The message of the book is perfect.  It talks about what Mama is going to do when she gets home from work - from playing pat-a-cake to mending clothes.  She totally loves and misses her son. Isn't that what being a working mom is really like?  When we get home, we have to balance our housekeeping duties with all the loving and playing that we really want to do.  Let me just share the first line of the book:
"When Mama comes home from work, dear child,
when mama comes home tonight,
she'll cover you with kisses,
she'll hug you sweet and tight."
You'll be crying by the end.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Yes, God?

One of my darlingist sponsors recently asked me (very gently) if I shared my faith in my blog.  Well, I sure intend to, I thought.  But, I really haven't much.  I'll get to that soon . . . .

Yesterday, as I was sitting down for my daily devotional while Jr. napped, I opened to the two devotionals I'm working through.  One is pretty general and one is on parenting, completely different authors, written at completely different times.  They both presented Phillippians 4:8:

The author, Paul, is talking to the Phillippian people about what they should be filling their thoughts with in order to experience the Lord's peace.  "Neato", I thought.  What a nice coincidence that both devotionals would have me turn to the same scripture. 

Then, today, both devotionals had me turn to the same scripture again!  Jeremiah 2:13, "My people have committed two sins:  They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water."

When it comes to God, I don't think there are many coincidences.  So, God must be sending me a message.  If you've read much of this blog at all, you know that I'm a worry-wart and as anxious as they come.  In psychology, we often practice "cognitive-behavioral" techniques to battle anxiety. These techniques have one examine their thoughts to determine which beliefs and thoughts are contributing to feelings of anxiety.  Usually "what if" thoughts are behind feelings of worry.  Cognitive-behavioral therapists encourage their clients to replace those what-if thoughts with more positive thinking (what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable . . .) in order to alievate feelings of anxiety.

Of course, God had this figured out way before Beck.  In Phillippians 4:8, and throughout the Bible, God shows how guarding our thought life can lead to a peace that passes understanding.  If we think on the blessings in our life and the provisions God has so faithfully provided (including our salvation!), feelings of anxiety are replaced by assurance.  If we, on the other hand, place our worries in our own "broken cisterns," our old "stinkin' thinkin'" will prevail and we'll be nervous wrecks when life doesn't go as planned. And, when does life go as planned?

God again has shown me that HE is the ultimate therapist!  He carries my every burden and worry and replaces it with joy and peace!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Umm, Those Really Aren't Toys

So, Jr. found my little bag of necessities in my purse.  It was like little Jr.'s heaven.  Everything in there is just the perfect size for him to clutch in his fist and carry around the house.   But, it's really not a safe place to play. 

Lysol, antibacterial gel, advil and, yes, a tampon.  He was so curious, though, I couldn't resist letting him play a little - with a high level of supervision.  He carefully took each item out and placed them in a nice pile.  The, he chose the advil to carry around a little while (again, highly supervised).  Anyone else have a child who is fascinated by the dangerous and poisonous? :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ask Dr. Momsie - My Messy Eater

I'm excited to answer my first "Ask Dr. Momsie" question, which was submitted by Musing Momma.  By the way, she writes an amazing blog that you've just got to check out.  She is also a child psychologist who has a biracial family, so we are kindred spirits.  Sometimes even us "experts" need a second opinion from a different perspective, and I'm honored she asked me.  Her question:
"My oldest son is a messy eater.  As he gets older (he's now 5 1/2), it SEEMS he should be neater, but that isn't the case! (And he's messier than his 2 year old brother.) We can't make it past breakfast without food on his clothes and usually his seat at the table is a mess. His teacher at preschool has commented that he is just one of those kids she knows will be a mess at the end of the day. Part of the problem is that he just doesn't pay attention while he's eating. He's busy talking and thinking and wiggling, so he's waving his pb&j in the air or putting it down on the table instead of on his plate, and so forth. (He's definitely a very active, talkative kid.)

My main question is whether we should just chalk this up to being 5 and let it be. Part of me says we need to pick our battles and this one isn't worth picking. But we still find ourselves "nagging" through out meal times to lean forward, stop tipping the chair, keep his food on his plate, etc.  And, do you have any suggestions for helping him be neater, without nagging him?"
Your son sounds awesome!  Is there anything better than a lively, talkative, rambunctious kiddo?  What a joy to see a kid really living life and loving it! 

That being said, I believe that the world is full of "messies" and "cleanies."  I, for example, am a cleany - almost to the point of OCD. Food falling off my plate would warrant immediate clean-up.  My sister, on the other hand, is not necessarily a messy, but she always ate like a hurricane as a child.  My mother ended up just packing extra clothes everywhere we went, knowing that my sissy would inevitably spill something on her clothes.  My sister learned this strategy to be effective, and even practices it into adulthood.

Part of your son's messiness could be a set personality trait and all the encouragement and punishment in the world wouldn't be able to change him into a cleany.  Still, there may be a couple of ways to encourage more attention to mealtime etiquette.

First, it might be important to figure out if your son has the ability to be neat and clean, but chooses instead to be a mess.   In psychology, (as you know, Musing Momma, but let me share for everyone else's benefit) we would call this a "performance deficit."  The opposite would be a "skill deficit," meaning he just doesn't know how to be clean.  It is super easy to determine if your little boy is experiencing a performance or a skill deficit.  Just offer a really tempting incentive for staying clean through a mealtime, and if he is able (has the skill), he will surely perform.  I might suggest that you start with small increments of time, say ten minutes.  If he is able to stay in his seat and not make a disaster for ten minutes with no reminders from parents, than the reward is earned and you know that your child has the ability to be a cleany (at least for a little while).  If he simply can not manage to mind his manners for those ten minutes, try lowering the requirement to five minutes at the next mealtime.  If still no sign of cleanliness, then you know your little guy has a "skill deficit," and he is either a messy by nature or he may need to be taught exactly what you expect at mealtime.  You could probably teach him to be a little more mannered with tons of rewards and some punishments, and lots of modeling from mom and dad.

Another idea is to implement a "mealtime manners plan." This might be especially helpful if he is demonstrating a performance deficit.  Create a chart with the expectations for mealtime manners:  stay in seat, cleans up spilt food, doesn't drop food on floor, etc (all the things you find yourself nagging about).  Have a box by each expectation, where you and your son can review at the end of each meal and fill with a little sticker or smiley face.  Then, give meaningful rewards and logical consequences for completing or not completing each requirement.  For instance, if you can put a happy face in four out of five boxes for the night, maybe dessert is warranted.  If your son simply earned no happy faces for the night, a logical consequence would be to assist mommy with clean-up. Remember, the keys to consequences are to make them logical (punishment fits the crime), and to deliver them non-emotionally and consistently.

Hopefully this advice will help you overcome the mealtime mayhem.  But, if not, this may a battle worth forfeiting.  Let's just hope your son marries a nice woman who likes to clean!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Baby Experiment - Jr. is a Genius!

I recently came across this awesome TED video titled, "What Do Babies Think?"
In her talk, the psychologist Alison Gopnik discusses her research on how babies learn, make decisions, and ultimately, conduct their own experiments during play.  She challenges our age-old beliefs about babies' intellect, and suggests that babies are much more sophisticated learners than we give them credit.

Gopnik describes an experiment she conducted as part of her research to examine the way babies think.  Conventional wisdom would say that babies are completely self-centered and do not have the cognitive ability to take another's perspective.  However, Gopnik showed quite the opposite in 18 month old babies, when she tested this theory.  She gave the babies two snack options - broccoli florets and goldfish crackers.  Obviously, one of these choices in purely delicious for babies (goldfish, duh) and the other is not so yummy (broccoli).  The researcher then tasted the too-healthy-to-be-delicious broccoli and enthusiastically said, "Yummy! I just ate the broccoli and it is yummy!" (or something like that).  Then, the researcher, tasted the crackers and said something like, "Oh, yuck!  I just tasted the crackers and they are yucky!).  Next, the researcher told the baby, "Give me one."

Which would the self-centered little people offer the grown-up?  One would expect them to offer the delicious goldfish, even though the researcher showed her obvious love for broccoli.  We would assume that babies could not take the perspective of the researcher and offer what the researcher would like. 

However, Gopnik found that the babies at 18 months old, would offer the researcher the broccoli!  Apparently, 15 month olds would still offer goldfish, but by 18 months babies had usually learned the "advanced" skill of perspective-taking, which is the precursor to empathy.

These type of experiments are so intriguing to me!  I decided to try it with Jr., just for kicks.  I am sure there are tons of confounding variables since I'm his mommy, but I couldn't resist.   And, of course, Jr. is only 14 months, so I didn't really expect to see much perspective-taking.  Here is what I offered:

Carrots and goldfish (no confounding color variables).  I enthusiastically loved the carrots.  I then spit out the goldfish very dramatically.  Then, I said, "Give me one, Jr."  Here's what I got:

He did look quite confused for awhile and then reached in and gave me a carrot.  After that bite, I tried it again, just to be sure.  Here's what I got:

The whole bowl of carrots!  My son must be a perspective-taking genius!  Hubby may have a point, though.  Could it be that Jr. really is quite self-centered and merely shared the carrots because he wanted all the crackers to himself?  Nah, surely not :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Put On the Psychologist Hat, Momsie! Sleep Part 2

Recently, I shared an old post on our sleep training journey with Jr.  Well, lately, I've needed to revisit The Sleep Lady's advice.  It seems the Jr. wants to wake up way too early.  I'm talking 5:00 a.m.  When the time change occurred in March, we started keeping Jr. up about a half hour later, since the sun was still out.  It just seemed ridiculous to put him to bed at 7:00 when the sun was still brightly shining in his window.  Plus, he just would not fall asleep that early.  He would remain awake crying and playing until at least 7:30 p.m.

Now, Jr. goes to bed at about 7:30 p.m.  He goes to sleep easily and without fussing.  Before we made this change, he would sleep until 7:00 a.m. consistently.  Now, he wakes up very early.  It almost seems that he has bionic baby ears and wakes up as soon as the dog or his parents moves or makes a noise of wakefulness.  I know that part of this is that the sun comes up earlier.  But, the sun is not up at 5:00 a.m.
The Sleep Lady (who is a sleep genius) in her book "Good Night, Sleep Tight" recommends that the baby not wake up prior to the set wake-up time, which should be not before 6:00 a.m.  If the baby wakes early, she suggests that mommy or daddy go into the room and attempts to soothe baby back to sleep by rubbing the back, saying night-night, etc.  No holding or engaging too much.  Then, at the designated wake-up time, parents are to do a dramatic wake-up - open the shades, sing a song, turn on the lights, scream "good morning!", etc.

This makes sense, as we often just let Jr. wake up when he decides to be awake.  But, he becomes so agitated if we don't pick him up when he wakes up, I'm having some trouble carrying this advice out (and so is hubby!)  But, the Sleep Lady is not through.  She also advices in her book that early wake-ups can be due to poor napping, too late a bedtime, etc.  Overtired babies wake up early.  (So bizarre, but so true).  Afternoon naps at Jr.'s age should be no less than forty-five minutes.

Now that I'm home with Jr. during the day, I've been trying to make sure he gets a good afternoon nap.  Unfortunately, that has done nothing for his early waking.  We tried putting him to bed a little later hoping that would shift his sleep schedule a little.  It didn't.  He is consistently awake around 6:00 a.m. (no more 5:00 wakings, though!).

Hmmm, could it be that Jr. is just an early riser?  Could it be that I should just count on 6:00 a.m. awakenings all summer?  Well, at least we can get a good run in before it gets too hot.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I Won!

Yippie!  I've won the much coveted Liebster Award! I'm so honored to have been nominated for this award by the homemaking genious The Thriftiness Miss.  Her blog is amazing!  So many clever recipes and crafty projects - an inspiration for me (I'm not so crafty).   Need some organizational or budgeting ideas?  Visit her blog; you won't be disappointed!

Here's how the Liebster Award works.
Once a blogger is fortunate enough to be recognized, here are the rules of passing on this encouragement to others:
1) Thank your nominator (and link back!).
2) Nominate 5 other blogs, with less than 200 followers and post a comment on each blog letting them know they have been given the award.
3) Copy and paste the award onto your blog.

Now, I don't want to just nominate any old blog for the Liebster.  I want to keep up the integrity of the award.  So, I really want to take this opportunity to feature my most favorite blogs.  I TOTALLY recommend the following blogs for fabulous advice and content.

Tiny Mitten Secrets, http://tinymittensecrets.blogspot.comFirst up, one of my most favorite new blogs, Tiny Mitten Secrets.  Leah is the mother of two beautiful children and she shares such a sweet voice about parenting.  She features adorable snapshots and tear-jerking "love letters" to her kids.  I love transparency in mommy bloggers, so I think Leah's blog is a great resource for "real" momsies.  And, I'm not just saying these nice things because she recently featured my advice on her blog.  She really is awesome.

Next awesome blog, Child ADHD - Raising a Child with ADHD.  As a psychologist, I can't resist sharing this blog.  The author, Stacy, is a mother of a child with ADHD and has worked in psychology, and she has definitely done her research.  If you have a child with ADHD or are concerned your child might have ADHD, you've got to check out this blog!

My next nomination, Mom's Little Running Buddy!  I used to be a serious runner.  I'm talking half marathons, marathons, the whole nine yards.  Now, I can't seem to get my booty out of bed to even run a mile.  So, I love the inspiration that this bloggy mom shares!  I really really want her to guest post on my site, so I'm hoping this award nomination will help!

Next up, For Their Tender Hearts.  Sadie is a blogger after my own heart. She is a Christian momsie that writes beautifully about her spiritual journey as a mom.  She is so vulnerable and transparent, I just love her.  Beautiful, sweet blog.

BWS tips buttonFinally, I will break the rules of the Liebster Award to nominate a great blogging find, Books That Heal Kids.  Roxanne has more than 200 followers already, but I just can't resist promoting her blog!  She is an elementary school counselor that shares some amazing recommendations for bibliotherapy.  And, I LOVE bibliotherapy!  I can't wait to buy and read her recommendations! 

Congrats fellow Leibster Blogs! 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Guest Post on Tiny Mitten Secrets!

Yay! I've had my first guest posting on another blog!

Tiny Mitten Secrets,

Leah from Tiny Mitten Secrets contacted me a couple of weeks ago about a problem she was having with her son (who is the darlingist angel you ever saw).  I gave her a little advice, which she has shared in a posting called "Paging Dr. Momsie". I don't want to tell you too much about it, because I want you to go there and read it!!  And, while you're there, become a follower!  She writes beautifully and honestly about being a mother.  I know you'll love her!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Ask Dr. Momsie - Please Ask Again!

My new feature, "Ask Dr. Momsie" has been a success!  I already have a couple emails that I'm excited to answer.  Unfortunately, I had an error on my form that did not allow for a way for me to contact the submitter with the brilliant answer to their question! So, if you're one of those first two submitters, please resubmit your question on my updated form.  For your trouble, I will offer you a FREE ad space (100X100). 

How to Visit a New Baby

Dr. Momsie and Jr.when he was a couple days old.
Earlier this week, I had the privilege of visiting a fairly new baby boy in my neighborhood (and his parents). He was such a sweet, tiny bundle of snuggles. My visit took me back to just over a year ago when I was home with Jr. and receiving many a visitor. It occurred to me during those visitations that often what may be a natural good intention of a well-wisher can seem a bit annoying to a new momsie. Not only are hormones out of wack, but new momsies are without sleep and in the midst of a huge learning curve.   If you’re going to see a new mom and baby, here are a few suggestions to keep in mind.

Wait awhile. Don’t bum-rush the exhausted mommy with a visit the moment the baby makes his/her appearance in this world.  I didn’t really want a lot of visitors in the hospital. Our hospital experience was a whirlwind of learning to breastfeed, nurses visiting either the baby or I, and trying to get a few moments of rest.  I hadn't showered and my breasts were popping out everywhere.  Just give the new family a little space, they aren't going anywhere.  When they've settled into their new way of life, they'll be more than happy to have visitors.  Send a text to say how happy you are for them and let them know you'll be by in a few days (or weeks) to meet their new addition.

Bring food.  Or send a gift card for a restaurtant that delivers.  It is a real hassle to think about food when you've just given birth.  When TJ was ten weeks old my neighborhood mom's club set us up on a feeding schedule.  We accepted graciously - it's never too late.  Giving food was really the BEST thing someone could do for me during those first few months at home with Jr.  There are helpful websites that can help your community of friends create a "care calendar" for new parents.

Don't bring germs.  Wash your hands.  And then use hand sanitizer.  Do this so new, anxious  momsie can see.  Also, don't bring your grubby kids straight from daycare.   Don't kiss the baby with your germ-infested lips (ok, so I did this to the poor baby I visited this week. I just couldn't resist!  He was so kissable!)

Be flexible. Napping, and especially nursing, schedules can be unpredictable with newborns. So, let mommy know that you understand her scheduling needs and that you can be flexible on when to arrive. I waited for one visitor two hours, trying to strategically feed the baby around when I thought she'd arrive. She ended up arriving just as Jr. got hungry again, so my hubby had to entertain for half an hour while I fed piggy-wiggy again. Kinda spoiled the whole visit.

Use kind language. Mommy is probably feeling insecure in a thousand ways (especially if this is her first child). She doesn't need you joking about lack of sleep or hard labor. She needs to hear how lovely she looks, what a fabulous mother she is, and how her baby is absolutely gorgeous and brilliant. Also, experienced momsies need to reassure new momsies that it gets easier! I remember reading a post on a message board during those early days from a mother of an eight month old who attested that it didn't get any easier, just harder in different ways. That freaked me out. I think I cried. I know now that was a lie! It really does get easier!

Do something to help. (Again, feed them!). My point here is, don't just ask if there is something you can do to help. Most people will say no. Bring food, walk in the kitchen and do the dishes, grab the toilet brush, paint the wall . . . whatever you see needs done, do it!

Normalize. If you're an experienced momsie, this is not the time to put up a front of perfection. New momsie probably needs some empathy and understanding. She needs to know others had a hard time with breastfeeding, post partum depression, in-laws, their hubby, etc. Let her know she's normal.

When I started writing this post, I thought it would be a funny.  Turns out, it's probably more of a picture of how grouchy and irritable I was as a new momsie!

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