Hi Teacher, My Son has Special Needs

Hi Teacher, My Son has Special Needs.

C is starting 3k on January 5! He’ll be in school three mornings per week. Those mornings conflict with the group therapies he has attended since February, adding to my anxiety about his transition. We’re excited for him and nervous about the new environment. I think he will *love* school. I think. I hope.

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5 Ways to Keep Your Kids Moving in the Winter

The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them. I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.

5 Ways to Keep Your Kids Moving in the Winter

Winter can get long and dreary, especially for our kids who are usually stuck indoors. We need to get creative to expend that energy we so easily use outdoors in warmer weather. It’s so much easier to go for a walk or a trip to the park in the summer! Exercise is great for our bodies and our minds. Here are five ways to keep your kids moving in the winter:

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3 Ways to Teach Toddlers About the Environment

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Xcel Energy. The opinions and text are all mine.

Like most people, I want to raise my children to respect the environment and have a knowledge of renewable energy. That’s a pretty complex subject, though. How can I teach two toddlers about something as complex as green power? Learning begins with simple gestures! Here are three things that we do to teach our kids about the environment:

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Teaching Volunteerism to Our Children

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

Experiencing the kindness of others #SimplyHealthy #ad

When difficult times strike, you have the opportunity to witness the kindness of others. We have been in that position each time C visited the hospital. Friends stopping by the hospital, a homemade blanket, a toy car, or a cup of coffee go a long way when you’re struggling. Now that we have experienced that side of volunteerism and kindness, it’s become more important to me to pay it forward. I make an effort in teaching volunteerism to instill that value in our children. Giving to others is an important part of healthy living.

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The Ups & Downs of Special Needs Parenting

The Ups and Downs of Special Needs Parenting #LittleMamaJama

Special needs parenting requires more patience and perseverance than I sometimes think I can bear. I’ve been doing this for long enough that I really don’t know why the setbacks surprise me. Maybe it’s because they come on so quickly, seemingly out of nowhere. We’ve barely gotten into a routine with the good progress and we’re struck with a sudden downturn.

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Ice Mountain Water and our Essential Car Kit for Toddlers on the Go #HealthyHydration #CollectiveBias #ad

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias #Ad

I haphazardly threw sippy cups, snacks, diapers, Ice Mountain water and various items into the diaper bag that Baby Jo loves to empty. As I rushed from one end of the apartment to the other, I called out to C: “Okay, we need to leave in 10 minutes! Get your pull-up and I’ll help you put it on.”

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The Loneliness of Special Needs Parenting

No one ever tells you how hard parenting might be, that you might have a child who often demands more from you than you believe you are capable. No one ever tells you that, should this happen, it will consume all of your time, thoughts and energy. No one ever tells you that special needs parenting will leave you exhausted, exasperated and lonely.

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#ad Fight Hunger: Raising Children to be #HungerHeroes

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

Poverty in the USA remains a big problem. My biggest concern? Hungry kids. Did you know that 1 in 5 children in the US is hungry*? That is a staggering number. I recall the pastor of our church recently talking about how many students, even in an affluent area, are signed up for the local school lunch program. I look at my children and can’t imagine the heartbreak of parents who are unable to provide enough food for their children.

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Clinging to moments with other parents who “get it.”

I found myself sitting in a break room with five or six other parents. Normally, I leave for a few, brief moments of alone time during C’s group therapy sessions; but they have an iPad set up so that we could watch this session. I was intrigued enough to stay.

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Wondering what the future holds for my special needs child

What does the future hold for my special needs son?

I know that I spend too much time thinking about the future. I just can’t help but wonder what the future holds for my special needs son.

When C has difficulty listening to directions, I wonder how things will go for him in school. Language and auditory processing is difficult for him with his sensory processing disorder. I wonder how he will handle the pace of a classroom. What extracurricular activities will he be involved in? Will he be able to keep up with directions? Will he process language and turn it into a motor plan quickly enough to participate in his favorite sports? I pray that he won’t be bullied for being slower with processing. The thought of it alone shatters my heart into a million pieces.

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Bedtime Conversations with C

Bedtime Conversations with C

Now that C has turned three, it has become even more apparent that we’re but one soul inhabiting two bodies. He is super chatty at bedtime, just like me, and talks my ear off about anything and everything his little three-year-old mind dreams up. Here is a sample from one of our bedtime conversations:

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The Moments That Make the Hard Parts of Staying Home Worth It

Staying at home with my kids means I’m there through everything. Every smile, every hug, every “first.” That also means I witness every tantrum, every skipped nap, the monotony, and I can’t forget the body fluids. Oh, the body fluids. We may live on a university campus, but I think even our neighbors would be shocked by the amount of body fluids going on in here every day. I’m sure any parent who stays at home would agree that parenting in the trenches 24/7 can get really hard sometimes.

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What I Haven’t Told You: C’s Sleep Study Results

Three weeks have passed since C had his sleep study done at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. It doesn’t feel like it could have been that long ago, yet this time has been filled with shock, stress and uncertainty. I haven’t told you about C’s sleep study results because I’ve been having a difficult time processing it.

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5 Tips to Potty Train a Toddler with Sensory Processing Disorder

5 Tips to Potty Train an SPD Toddler

Sensory kids are tough. They generally do what they want, when they want and ain’t nobody going to convince them otherwise! For months, I had anxiety about potty training C. Would he be ready? Would he play games with us, like the first time we attempted? Would he have major meltdowns?

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What I Don’t Say About Being a Special Needs Mom

“I don’t know how you do it.”

I get those words a lot. I usually smile and reply, “You learn to deal with what you have to deal with.” That’s the truth, but there is a lot more to my truth that I don’t add. The truth in its entirety is just too much.

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Parenting as a Multiple Choice Exam

Sometimes it feels like parenting is just one giant exam after another. I don’t know if there’s really a correct answer to some of the exams, but I’m sure there are ways to fail. My latest exam had me feeling completely unprepared. Frantic, even. Here’s a breakdown of my most recent exam – tell me how you’d handle it!

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Holiday Light Walk with the Family!

Holiday Light Walk 2013 1


Holiday Light Walk 2013 4

I love establishing family traditions for my children. Memories that they’ll carry with them forever.

Holiday Light Walk 2013 3

Walking through a display of bright, beautiful, creative holiday lights is something I hope they will treasure.

Holiday Light Walk 2013 2

I know I will. :)

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The Great Cheerios Cleanup Standoff of 2013

C and I are a little too much alike. And by that, I mean that he’s basically me in male form.

With his sensory processing disorder, health problems and the terrible twos, we’ve been dealing with some pretty intense behavioral issues. I’ve started to really crack down on the bad behavior. The result is an epic battle of wills between two people who are basically the same.

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Figuring Out My Parenting Style

It seems like these days you’re expected to pick out a parenting style before giving birth. Are you going to practice attachment parenting? Free range parenting? Are you going to use the Ferber method? Extended breastfeeding?

There are just so many theories. Quite honestly, the parenting theories overwhelmed me when I had C. I had no idea what parenting style I believed in. Then I got a postpartum mood disorder, and I was struggling to tread water. I kind of fumbled through that first year and did what felt right.

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Jogging Stroller Recommendations?

Last spring, we purchased the BOB Revolution SE and I was immediately in love with it. It’s a wonderful jogging stroller, and the swivel wheel allows it to work well for other uses. I think we can get by without purchasing a double jogger as long as I go running early in the morning before Hubster goes to work, but it would be ideal if we had a double jogger.

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I’m Not Just Doing Laundry, I’m Raising Human Beings

Many times since C was born, I’ve found myself struggling to answer the questions, “What do you do?” and “What did you do today?”

As a mom, my days can be monotonous. I sometimes often feel like I haven’t accomplished a single thing. C can demand my constant attention, preventing me from “doing” (read: accomplishing) anything else. Now I’m in the midst of my first week as a stay-at-home mom of two children, and simply meeting everyone’s fundamental needs can seem like a challenge.

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Something’s Gotta Give by Jen Novotny {Guest Post}

My wonderful sister-in-law, Jen, wrote this post for us today! She writes over at On The Night You Were Born, she has three beautiful girls, and she’s super awesome. Show her some love for me! :) 

Long before we had three kids, I remember saying to my cousin (who’s like my sister), “I have what I think must be the perfect job situation — I work part-time, my kids aren’t even home when I work, and yet I still can’t find time for some things. Other moms work full-time, and still have to cook and clean and do laundry and all the same things that I do. How on earth would I do it all if I had to work full-time when I can’t even do it all now working part-time! Something would have to give, but I don’t know what!”

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Stress Management for Busy Moms by Nicole Connolly, PhD {Guest Post}

I’m happy to welcome Nicole Connolly, PhD, today to talk about reducing stress in light of Mental Health Awareness Month. I must say, motherhood has brought me more stress than anything else has! ;) Thank you for being here, Nicole!

If you are like the typical mom, you are on the go from the moment your feet hit the ground.  Between family, work, and household demands, stress can begin to accumulate quickly, with little time left over to manage it.

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My Response to the Article, “A Nation of Wimps”

I’m not sure why this article suddenly went viral, considering it was published in 2004, but “A Nation of Wimps” by Hara Estroff Marano has been making its way around social media this week. Published in Psychology Today, it discusses how micromanaging our children is negatively affecting childhood development. If you haven’t read it, I highly encourage you to do so. In my opinion, the article has a lot of merit.

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Strengthening My Self-Identity and the Transition to Parenting by Kathy Morelli {Guest Post}

I’m honored to have Kathy Morelli, LPC, here today to share her story about her transition to parenting. I met Kathy through #PPDChat, and she is an excellent advocate for those suffering from PPMDs. Thank you for being here, Kathy!

Growing up when I did was confusing- to say the least. My parents were raised
with a traditional mindset that valued stay at home moms in the 50s; women of my
mom’s generation were taught to believe that SAH parenting was the “right” thing
to do.

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Things Are About To Change

Our family is about to grow from three to four. That’s kind of a crazy concept for me to think about. As an only child, I’m unsure how to navigate this change for C. He’s sensing that things are about to change and it’s affecting his behavior.

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The Infamous Easter Basket

I wasn’t sure if I would put together anything for C for Easter this year.  I didn’t last year; after all, he wasn’t even 11 months old.  He didn’t know what was going on, nor did he need anything.  I’m not a big fan of the sugar fest that is the Easter basket.  At least, not for a child under the age of 2.

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Guest Post on Mama’s Comfort Camp

Mama's Comfort Camp

Today, I’m guest posting over at Mama’s Comfort Camp!

My friend, Yael Saar, is a mama on a mission to remove guilt and shame from parenting. She is the Founder and Keeper of the Mama’s Comfort Camp, a Facebook community that functions as a safe haven and refueling station for hundreds of moms from around the world. This community is free and open to moms of kids of any age, and we share our laughter, tears, and triumphs, all the while normalizing motherhood struggles and bridgeing the gap between expectations and reality in a uniquely nurturing environment.

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Raising A Special Needs Child In An Intolerant Society by Rachel Habegger {Guest Post}

I’m excited to introduce my friend, Rachel, to you today.  She and her husband blog about family life and their fitness journey on their blog, To Hab & To Hold.  Thank you for being here to share your precious boy’s story, Rachel!

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Things I Never Thought I’d Say

Parenting has this way of making you blurt things out of your mouth that you never would have expected.  Here are some of mine:

  • How many times do I have to tell you not to grab your poop?!
  • This baby better show us its genitals today! (I feel the need to clarify that this was said on anatomy ultrasound day.)
  • Come here – let me get that wax out of your ear.
  • Thank you for handing me your booger.
  • We don’t pick Mama’s nose.
  • He’s bathing in his own urine!
  • I am not a tree that you can climb.
  • DON’T EAT POOP! (This particular one was accompanied with a shriek of horror.)

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5 Successful Eating Strategies for Our Picky Eater

We’ve been having difficulty getting C to eat for a VERY long time.  In fact, he has never had much interest in eating/taking a bottle, even as an infant. There were always more important things to do and look at!

The eating challenges seemed to heighten last month.  I was ready to pull my hair out.  The child refused everything, I was chasing him around all day with food, and the doctor started to think his weight was a problem (even though he’s been in the 5th percentile for weight for over a year).

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Buying a Van

Now that we’re expecting Baby Deuce, we need to upgrade from our economy-size car to something a little more…two-carseat friendly.  We’ve decided to purchase a van.

One part of me is kicking and screaming, “Noooo, not a van!!!”  Then there’s the practical side of me that knows a vehicle is a huge money commitment and we don’t want to end up in this same situation two years from now if I get pregnant with #3.  That is a complete what-if, so don’t go getting any ideas.  ;)

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Our New Baby Monitor

Our little monkey is all about climbing lately.  Now that he has a toddler bed, he likes to play with his toys before falling asleep for his nap.  Hubster and I decided that we needed to buck up and splurge on an expensive video baby monitor so that we can make sure he isn’t climbing all up on his furniture or something.

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How Do I Get My Son to Stop Throwing Food?

C throws food on the floor.  All the time.  He’s done this for many, many months and I have yet to find an effective way to get him to stop.

Things that have been suggested to me?

Take his food away.  Tried it.  He could care less!

Scold him.  Tried it.  He cries for about 10 seconds, but then reverts back to throwing food.

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Why New Parents Must Go To Yard Sales by Jason Ross {Guest Post}

I’m pleased to welcome Jason Ross today!  His blog is filled with awesome parenting tips, and I enjoy reading his perspective.  Thanks for being here, Jason!

Jason Ross is a proud father of a 1 year old daughter, Abby, and blogging partner of Lauren Ross.  Not too long after his daughter was born he began blogging on Ordinary Parent as a way to offer his thoughts, opinions, and stories of parenthood that may help other parents, or expectant parents, along their journey.  His wife, Lauren, joins him with frequent posts as well. They are a couple ordinary parents, offering their advice for other ordinary parents. 

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Let’s Talk About Baby Care Tasks That We Hate

Since we all know that not all aspects of life with a baby are filled with sunshine, rainbows and glitter…

Let’s talk about the tasks we can’t stand, but have no choice in doing.  I can handle poop.  It’s smelly, it’s messy, but in the end it’s just human waste and we all produce it.  I can deal with urine.  I’ve been peed on several times by my son.  Whatever – urine is sterile.  Baby vomit has an extremely unpleasant smell and although makes my own stomach turn, cleaning it up is still not what I consider the worst task in baby care.

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Sensory Bottles

DIY Sensory Bottles

My Pinterest addiction has introduced me to several new ideas for fun things to do with C, including making sensory bottles for him.  C has sensory processing disorder (SPD) and these sensory bottles might provide some interest to various textures. Depending on your child’s age, you could even have them help you create their own bottles! Touching these different textures will give them tactile sensory input.

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Losing My Mind

Today, C is only happy while being held in a standing-up position.  You’d think he’d be happy standing in his exersaucer.  Nope.  You’d think he’d be happy playing in his gym (his absolute favorite toy).  Nope.  Is he hungry?  No, recently ate.  Does he need a diaper change?  No, recently pooped.  Is he tired?  No, he just took a two hour nap while being held because he would NOT stop crying in his pack n play.

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How Do Single Mothers Do It?

I’m going to start tonight by applauding all of the single mothers out there.  I honestly don’t know how you do it.

Hubster has been working some crazy long hours lately.  To finish preparing for a presentation today, he was in his office until 4am this morning.  He leaves before 8 in the morning, so I’ve been having some extremely long days and nights on my own with C.  C generally doesn’t nap during the day (sometimes he sleeps 20 minutes on his own, or he’ll sleep longer if he’s being held), so I never seem to get a moment to myself to get things done or to just have a few moments of “me time.”  I think he’s going through another growth spurt, so he’s been extra cranky, tired and hungry.  This means that he’s been waking up a little more frequently at night to eat.  The past few days he has also been getting up at 6am instead of the typical 8am.

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High Needs Baby

Ever since C’s colic started, I’ve been following The Fussy Baby Site‘s blog.  Today, they posted a list of the Top Websites for Colic.  I visited the Ask Dr. Sears website that was listed and stumbled upon information on high needs babies.  I had an “aha” moment – FINALLY, C’s personality is explained.

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Read Your Books!

When I was pregnant, one of the last things I felt like doing sometimes was reading.  I was kind of a lazy sack at the end of my pregnancy.  But looking back, I wish I had taken that opportunity to read some parenting books that I struggle to find the time for now.

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Birth Plans

All of the pregnancy books tell you to come up with a birth plan so that you know exactly what you want to do when the time comes.

I’ll admit, the thought of a birth plan was a little daunting to me.  This was my first pregnancy and I had no idea what to expect from a labor and delivery experience.  I was afraid to plan it all out because that meant I had to really think about it ahead of time.  My doctor asked me about it during one of my late third trimester appointments.  When I said I didn’t really have one, but I knew I wanted an epidural, she just chuckled and said it was probably a good thing.  The people who come in with a three-page birth plan, for example, are often disappointed because things never seem to go exactly as planned.

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Prepping for Baby’s Arrival

How early did you start preparing baby clothes, sterilizing bottles, packing your hospital bag, etc.?

Earlier this month, I started washing all of my son’s towels and linens as well as all of his newborn and 0-3 month clothes.  Last week, I sterilized all of his bottles, pacifiers and my breast pump.  After having to make a quick trip to the doctor this week, we finished packing the hospital bag.  Hubster installed the car seat last week.  I honestly don’t know what else is left to do before he comes!

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Car Seat Safety

Hubster and I attended a car seat safety class this week, sponsored by our local medical clinic.  I was dreading two hours of boring info about laws and facts.  It was actually really informative and I’d highly recommend any parent or soon-to-be parent to attend one of these classes.  Next week, we’ll even be able to have our car seat checked for proper installation.

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Holy Crap – I'm Going to be a Parent!

Did you have one moment where it hit you like a ton of bricks – the realization that you’re going to be responsible for a whole other little person?  For life?!

I feel like I’ve had multiple mini-moments like that, but yesterday it hit me a little bit harder than normal.  Like WHOA.  I don’t think that I’ll fully understand what that responsibility and life change will feel like or really mean until we’re actually holding our baby in our arms.  At the same time, though, it’s so strange to think about how our life will be changing forever.

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Yet Another Study Encourages “Back to Sleep”

An Australian study finds that babies who sleep on their stomachs have lower levels of oxygen in their brains than those who sleep on their backs.  This is yet another study that supports the Back to Sleep campaign that encourages parents to put their babies to sleep on their backs.  The incidence of SIDS increased between 1960 and 1980 when parents were encouraged to have their babies sleep on their stomachs.  The Back to Sleep campaign became popular in the 1990s and the occurrence of SIDS has since decreased.

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Are Teenagers Today Really Like the Ones on "Skins"?

Last night, I watched MTV’s “Skins” for the first time.  Before the show premiered, I remember reading about the controversy with Taco Bell pulling its ads from the show due to content that they felt was too adult-oriented.  There was also concern that the show was violating child pornography laws, since all of the actors are actually high-school age (unlike most shows about teens, with actors in their mid-20s).

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Product Recall

Summer Infant Baby Monitor Recall

2 Deaths Reported

More info here.

Play Makes Babies Smarter

I have to admit that sometimes articles like this overwhelm me.  You mean just by smiling at my baby, I’ll be helping him develop social skills that will impact him for the rest of his life?!  You’re telling me that simply playing with blocks, my child will be developing language and mathematical skills?!  It makes me wonder if I’ll do enough of the little things correctly and if I miss something, will my child be irreversibly screwed up?!

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Creative Play

I saw this article from Today’s Parent on Twitter and thought it was super fun to read.  I like that people are recognizing the importance of harboring creativity and encouraging creative play among young children.  I think that the parenting trend kind of moved away from creative play and was replaced with too much structured play for a while.  But, like the article says, when adults are telling kids how to play, then it is no longer play!

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Making Space for Baby

After we returned from our trip to visit family for the holidays, the fruits of our baby showers were littered across our entire living room.  And there it all sat for DAYS!  I’m one of those clean freak people who is easily overwhelmed by big messes…and that was definitely an overwhelming task of sorting through clothes, blankets and toys and finding room in our cramped apartment for them.  I am super excited to report that all of our big items were easily assembled and in working order, and the clothes were much easier to put away than I had anticipated.  We even purchased a couple items ourselves when we got back home, including this super cute outfit.  I can’t wait to dress him in this little polo and jeans – he’ll look just like his daddy :)

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Back to Sleep

I saw this article from Planning Family today that I thought I’d share.  It’s about the SIDS prevention “Back to Sleep” campaign.  It’s a reminder that it’s important to put babies to sleep on their backs and keep all blankets and other items out of their cribs in order to prevents the occurrence of SIDS.  Since the “Back to Sleep” campaign started in the early 1990s, the incidence of SIDS has been reduced by 50 percent!  That is an awesome indicator that back sleeping is the only way to go for infants. :)

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TV Watching is Detrimental to Babies’ Development

Many of us already knew that babies should not be exposed to television aimed for adults (maybe you should watch Weeds after baby goes to bed…), but did you also know that even so-called “educational” programs can hinder a child’s development before the age of 2?

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Daycare Costs

Yesterday I did some research that many moms-to-be likely do: how much will daycare cost if I go back to work once the baby is born?

Unlike some moms-to-be, I don’t currently have a job that I can go back to after maternity leave.  I lost my job as a by-product of my miserable morning sickness for the first 14 weeks of my pregnancy.  As a graduate assistant, I had to keep six credits of classes in order to keep my job.  Too sick with the dry heaves and intense nausea to sit through class, I had to drop two of my three classes due to attendance policies.  I couldn’t keep my job.  It was a very tough thing to have to withdraw from school and lose my job, but I’m so relieved now in retrospect.  There was no way I could have kept up with it all.  Trying to stay healthy during that period of time was a job in itself.  Looking forward to my third trimester, I can’t imagine having to waddle across campus to my old office.  It was really far away.

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