Monthly Archives: July 2012

Infant Soothing Karp Style

July 30, 2012
[caption id="attachment_409" align="alignleft" width="250"]baby crying All babies cry sometimes,
but you can learn how to minimize it.[/caption]

 

A crying baby can cause a new parent (or even a seasoned parent) to feel stressed or helpless. Learning effective infant soothing can help any parent remain calm in the face of shrieks and howls. The reality is, with an infant, you have to accept some fussiness, some crying, and the fact that in the early weeks and months, an awake baby needs your attention, but here’s how you can confidently soothe your little one back to mellow.

I have to admit, when I first heard of Harvey Karp’s “Happiest Baby on the Block” I actually rolled my eyes and thought, “How superlative. Seriously?” but then I saw Dr. Karp speak at a conference in 2006 and I was sold. Since then, I’ve used his 5 S’s technique for soothing more babies than I can count and I’ve taught it and recommended his books/DVD to oodles of parents and caregivers. It really is magical when done with attention to details.

These infant soothing skills fall into the category of “Things-I-Wish-I-Knew-When-My-Own-Kids-Were-Babies,” and here, I need to give a nod to my husband. When I raved to him about this fantastic trick to gets babies to sleep, he smiled. He told me that that was exactly what he’d done with each of our sweeties when they were fussing up a storm. He would quietly send me to nap and scoop up our wailing angel and he’d swaddle, shush and walk and jiggle. He described how their heads would shimmy and how predictably it worked. I believe many Dads, partners, and family members have perhaps used their own style of the 5 S’s, but, alas, we weren’t the ones to write the book.The basic premise of “Happiest Baby on the Block” is that human babies are born too early and so in the “forth trimester” (the first three months of a newborn’s life) we need to recreate a womb-like environment for the baby. Before birth, baby’s been hearing Mom’s heartbeat, the swooshing of blood through her arteries, he’s been lulled and rolled into sleep as Mom moves, walks and goes about her daily life and baby has been folded up snugly, upside down (ideally) with his little limbs bumping into something with each movement.

Birth Literacy

July 26, 2012

Guest Post By Amy Dolgin   I am a mother, a nurse, a public health practitioner, and a blogger. I started my blog, Birth Literacy, to provide women and their families with evidence based information about pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. Birth Literacy, is my own spin-off of health literacy, a public health concept that […]

Close While Far – Skype Home

July 24, 2012

  It’s been an unusually big travel year for me, thanks to Skype (and my dear husband), I felt close and connected while away. Because of Skype, I didn’t miss the progress of a loose tooth or the triumph of a 100% test score, I was a part of the details of daily life. Related […]

Stone Reward System

July 18, 2012

Reward systems are often useful in motivating and disciplining kids, a task which requires endless parental creativity and energy. A tool or idea may be working perfectly, then seemingly overnight, it’s fallen flat. Our family’s stone reward system started very simply years ago, and over the years it has been reinvented and continues to be […]

I Live You

July 16, 2012
[caption id="attachment_340" align="alignleft" width="250"]Family love I Live You![/caption]

We’re a family who uses the words, “I love you” very generously. We’re affectionate, we kiss, we hug, we snuggle and we say, write, text, email “I love you” all the time. For the last few months, either from my fingers or my autocorrect, whenever I try to type “I love you” somehow, it’s coming out “I live you.” I thought about that, and actually, that’s true, too!

At first it was a joke, my daughter and husband would text me back, “I live you, too,” but now they know that “I love you and I live you!” I realized that there are so many ways we live the ones we love.

We live them in their daily habits, in their nuances of behavior, the way they tilt their head, puzzle their eyebrows or jiggle in laughter. We know our loved ones intimately and we barely recognize how much we know their familiar responses, their subtle mannerisms, and how we feel their presence, or absence, in a space.

What Makes A Good Mom?

July 13, 2012
[caption id="attachment_321" align="alignleft" width="250"]Good Moms, a good mom, what makes a good mom, am I a good mom?, how can I be a good mom? My Mom and me – Good Moms![/caption]

What makes a good mom? Do we project our own definitions onto other mothers? Do we have standards so high we set ourselves up as failures? Isn’t it really true that we are all good Moms, barring situations of neglect and abuse.

You’re a good Mom. We all mother in our own unique way, and we’re all fallible. We are Moms who mess up at times, we raise our voices (okay, yell, scream and shout), forget to return the permission slip on time (if you haven’t yet, just wait), or worse, forget to put money under the tooth fairy pillow (that one required very creative story telling).

I think back on my happy childhood and don’t recall my Mom being ever-present at our schools, did she ever chaperone a field trip? I still felt completely cared for and content. One winter, my brother called as I watched my young children play in the snow on our deck, I muttered something about feeling bad for being inside and not out with them, my brother commented, “Leah, when did Mom ever come out to play in the snow with us?” He was right! I didn’t feel slighted one bit by that, plus she was waiting inside with hot chocolate, she showed us that she loved us in little and grand ways all the time without constantly guiding our activity or playing with us.

My Mom and I were recently talking about my grandmother and how by today’s standards of a good Mom being on every sideline, volunteering in every corner of the school, attending every in-school event, that her Mom wouldn’t have been considered a “good Mom.” Yet she was an incredible Mother and Grandmother and we always felt loved and cherished. She was full of wisdom and epitomized unconditional love, did it matter that she had no presence at her daughter’s school?

[caption id="attachment_323" align="alignleft" width="250"]mother and daughter, generations of moms, grandmother and great grandmother, good moms, My Mom and her Mom[/caption]

I’m certainly not saying we shouldn’t get involved in our children’s schools and extracurricular activities, but I am a big believer in balance and in guilt-free parenting, so if you’re not mothering in that way, it’s okay and you’re a good Mom, too!

Confident Parenting

July 10, 2012

Sure, there are times we parents find ourselves rattled, off our game or plain old stumped, but it’s at those times, we need to seek resources and find our mojo to return to confident parenting. Parenthood begins in pregnancy and evolves as our kids grow. The main goal in parenting boils down to raising future […]

Where do Babies Come From, Mommy?

July 3, 2012

Where do Babies Come From, Mommy

I love this question! How do you answer the question, “Where do babies come from?” when your child asks? I must confess that I am a “birth junkie,” as a childbirth educator and doula, my career has evolved into all-things-baby.

As a parent, it’s important to answer the tough question of where babies come from in a factual and age appropriate way. The discussion of conception and birth shouldn’t be a one time only talk, but instead a conversation that begins basic and young which grows and builds as your children grow, too.

I believe in honest and accurate answers when our kids come to us with questions, any questions. The more consistently you do that for your children, starting when they are very little, the more you are building a foundation of trust and openness. Most parents encourage their children to come to them with problems, questions and fears as they grow up and most parents strive and hope for this relationship and culture of openness to continue into the teen years and beyond. Being truthful, answering questions you may be uncomfortable with and finding out answers to things you’re unsure of will all go a long way in nurturing parent-teen communication.

Where do babies come from? To answer this tough question from inquisitive kids, I would first consider the age of the child asking.

Memory Scars

July 2, 2012

horseshoe crab, creating with horseshoe crab, creative bucket, homemade basket, boy on beach, blue shirt, carrying shells, beach treasuresScar. The word feels negative, ugly, damaged, but our scars tell stories of our lives, they mark our bodies with visible memories. The life events that engraved themselves upon us in scars are not usually positive and pretty, they can represent deep pain and profound endurance, but they can also remind us of our gifts, our strengths and our humanity.

Growing up, we tritely feel and behave as if we’re indestructible, but as children, our scars teach us about our bodies in space: how high can we climb, when to release on a rope swing, the importance of knee pads. I have two skid marks 20 years after my first attempt at rollerblading. (Lessons: don’t wear roller blades 3 sizes too big and don’t ride through the sandy spots.)

My perfect little boy’s face has a small stripe across the bridge of his nose. In a creative spurt, I made a scavenger hunt for my daughter and son (then six and four) and while searching for a bug, they discovered a hidden shovel that a contractor had left behind. As I turned to look, I saw my daughter try to maneuver the too-big shovel, slip it off the hard ground and strike my son’s face as he leaned over inquisitively. (Lesson: hmmm, move fast if you see a small kid with a big shovel.) Michael’s nose scar is a part of him now, it’s more subtle as the years pass, but sometimes we remember the day when “Ali hit me with a shovel.”

cupcakes, blue and yellow cupcakes, flower cupcakes, flower baking, beautiful cupcakes

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