Friday, October 30, 2009

Rockabye Baby!

My task this month was to review Rockabye Baby Lullaby CDs. Baby Bella carries a wide variety of these CDs, each of which has a good number of rocks songs that have been transformed into lullabies. I had the pleasure of reviewing two of the editions: Lullaby Renditions of The Beatles and Lullaby Renditions of U2.

When I first put the Lullaby Rendition of The Beatles in our CD player, I was a bit surprised. For some reason, I had expected the lullabies to have words. Had I read the description of the CDs prior to putting them on, however, I wouldn’t have been surprised. As clearly explained on the back of the CDs, these versions of the popular rock songs are “beautiful instrumental lullabies.” The sounds of the “glockenspiel, vibraphone, and mellotron” (the mello-what?) took me aback at first. I wasn’t sure that I liked them (I am not a sophisticated music connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination). But I left the CD going as I helped James play with play-doh and carried Kasia around in a sling. Pretty soon, I found myself singing along to the songs. Since I have no ability to carry a tune, most people would not appreciate my addition to the music. Kasia apparently did, however, as she began cooing softly right along with me. Later, when we had changed out the Beatles version of Rockabye Baby for the U2 version, James looked up from playing long enough to tell me, “this is pretty music, mom.” Since then, we’ve played the CDs a number of times and they have always helped create a calm, enjoyable environment for playtime.

The bottom line: Once I got over my initial expectations, I enjoyed the music and so did my kids. The familiar tunes on the Rockabye Baby CDs are a pleasant change from normal lullaby music. If you like lullabies, you’ll enjoy these CDs.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Giveaway - Bebe Au Lait Hooded Towel

It’s almost Halloween! Here’s what James has been for Halloween the past 3 years:

1 year old: A Green Bay Packer

2 years old: A Green Bay Packer
3 years old: A Wisconsin Badger

Do you sense a pattern? It’s clear that I either a. Have a boy who really loves football (which is true) or b. Lack a certain creativity gene when it comes to designing Halloween costumes (whic
h is also true). So, this month’s giveaway will be about costumes! To enter, just comment on this post with a description or a picture of your child’s favorite Halloween costume. I’ll randomly select one of the comments to win a Bebe Au Lait Hooded Towel. The deadline for entering this giveaway is November 5th.

The Bebe Au Lait Hooded Towel is made of super soft plush cotton terry cloth and is generously-sized so that you can easily wrap up your little one post bath time. It is, of course, machine washable (a mom must!) and comes in a wide variety of Bebe Au Lait designs. Function and style all in one fabulous towel.

When you comment, make sure you include your first name and e-mail address so we can let you know you’ve won. You also might also want to add your e-mail to the mailing list for this blog so that you know when we have our next contest. Good luck and Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 16, 2009


I am not a patient person. I don’t like waiting for people to return phone calls. I don’t like waiting for people who are late. I don’t like waiting to find out what’s going to happen next week on Grey’s Anatomy. I pretty much don’t like waiting for anything. This is but one of my many flaws as a mother, but it’s a big one. So this week I made a conscious effort to work on patience…here’s how it went.
Day 1: I’m trying to get some work done on the computer… why is James holding my boppy pillow and making all those loud noises? Seriously, the kid needs to put the boppy pillow down and be quiet! Patience…look again. Oh. He’s pretending to play the tuba! That’s actually pretty cute and he’s such a sweet kid. I guess I’ll let him keep playing. My need for silence isn’t nearly as great as his need to be a creative four year old with a mother who values his imagination. Patience has a way of changing perspective.
Day 2: Isn’t Kasia supposed to be lifting her head up when she is put on her tummy? She did it yesterday, but today she’s just laying there sucking on her fist. What if something is wrong? Maybe I should look in one of my baby books. Patience…relax. She’s fine. I wasted way too many moments of James’ early years rushing him through his milestones. I’m not going to make that mistake again. She’ll get there when she gets there, on her own time. For now, I’m just going to drink up her babyhood and enjoy it while I can.
Day 3: We’re trying to get out the door to 4K and James needs his sock turned right side out. He’s whining and it would be so easy to just snatch the sock away and do it for him. We’d be on time for school and he’d stop whining. Patience. Sit down and talk him through it. It’s more valuable to teach him how to fix his sock on his own than it is to take over, fix the sock, and leave him thinking he can’t do things that are hard. My patience will teach him his.
Day 4: I’ve asked James three times to come inside and he’s STILL making his way in. On the way in, he’s managed to take out three *more* toys and he still hasn’t cleaned up the two he had out to begin with. Patience... Oops, it’s too late. I’ve already snapped at him in a tone I didn’t mean to have. And I already regret it. There are so many times I’m not the mother I want to be. Patience… with myself, this time. The road is long. Tomorrow is another day. If only it would get here sooner. :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lessons of the Week

A few things I learned during adventures in parenting this week:

Lesson 1: If there is even a chance that I am going to doze while nursing on the couch in the living room, it would be wise to shut the main door to block the view through the screen door from the steps. Otherwise I may find myself awakening to the sound of the mailman depositing my mail, at which point I will look down to find my baby also dozing (therefore no longer nursing and no longer covering up those parts that need to be covered). As I watch the back of the mailman as he turns to head back down the steps, I will be left to wonder just how much of a peep show I’ve provided.

Lesson 2: When trying to leave the house with a baby and a four year old, I really need to remember to put on my shoes before picking up the baby. Otherwise, I’ll have to put the baby back down again, as I have not yet mastered the art of putting on my sneakers while holding a newborn. When I put down the baby to put on the shoes, the baby will cry. Then my four year old will try to be a good big brother by running to get the pacifier to make the baby stop crying. Along the way, he will get distracted by the cat in the hallway, run into a wall, and begin crying. I will, of course, need to pick up the (crying) baby to go give the (crying) four year old a hug. When everyone is calm, I will then proceed to gather everyone by the front door again to get ready to go outside. At which point I will realize that I once again neglected to put on my shoes before picking up the baby. So, I will put the baby down…

Lesson 3: When my four year old yells , “look mom, I can pee with no hands!” from the freshly cleaned bathroom, it’s really a much better decision to NOT look.

Lesson 4: When I am changing a diaper, if I hear a sound that even resembles passing gas, I need to move like the speed of light to cover the, er, diaper area with anything I have available (baby wipe, new diaper, my hand as a last resort). If I am not able to cover the area quickly enough, I must shield my face. Enough said.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Top Ten Parenting Books For new Parents

For new parents, there’s no shortage of tools available to help you in your parenting journey. Looking for a discreet way to nurse in public? Try Hooter Hiders and Bebe Au Lait Nursing Covers. Baby won’t stop tugging on your jewelry? Wear a Teething Bling Necklace around your neck. Have you been looking for the perfect tool to help remember the basic details of baby care? Try out an Itzbeen Timer.

And for every parenting question imaginable, there’s a book written to provide the answer.
No doubt everyone from your mother to your doctor to your best friend has recommended doz
ens of their top parenting books for you to read. But there’s no need to get overwhelmed. We’ve done your homework for you by compiling a list of 10 top parenting books recently released. The topics covered in these selections are diverse, but there’s a common thread: These resources are designed to put parents at ease, entertain and inform.

1. Today’s Moms: Essentials for Surviving Baby’s First Year
By Mary Ann Zo
ellner and Alicia Ybarbo
The authors, two producers of NBC’s Today, share their experience of baby’s first year, from breastfee
ding products to reclaiming fun and intimacy with your partner after the baby. The book includes lots of anecdotes from moms and experts, including Meredith Vieira, Matt Lauer, Kathie Lee Gifford, Al Roker and Ann Curry.

2. The Pregnancy Bible: Your Complete Guide to Pregnancy and Early Parenthood
By Joanne
Stone and Keith Eddleman
The Pregnancy Bible is a comprehensive, reader-friendly guide for expecting moms and dads. The book, written by professors of gynecology and obstetrics, provides insight on both the medica
l and emotional aspects of pregnancy. It features step-by-step illustrations, quick reference gatefolds and a directory of pregnancy tests and procedures.

3. Nursing Mother, Working Mother: The Essential Guide to Breastfeeding Your Baby Before and After You Return to Work
By Gale Pryor and Kathleen
This book inc
ludes information on the legal rights on breastfeeding working moms, new research on working moms and infant attachment, as well as information on breast pumps and maintaining milk production. It provides reassuring information for moms to meet the challenges of combining breastfeeding and their working lives.

4. American Parent: My Strange and Surprising Adventures in Modern Babyland
By Sam Apple

As the author embarks on his own journey into parenthood, he decides to put his background in journalism to use by talking to a wide range of experts and professionals, including a childbirth hypnotist and a nanny spy. In this entertaining and touching memoir, Apply leaves no question unexplored, including “Does it sting when you pour baby shampoo into your eyes?” and “Is there a universal theory to explain the origins of circumcision?”

5. Baby Signs: A Pop-up Book
By Kyle Olmon and Jacqueline Rogers
Learn the basic signs
to help your baby or toddler communicate with you. Baby Signs teaches parents the first 15 signs to facilitate language development. It features pop-ups, pull tabs and a mini poster. Some examples of the signs taught include “eat” (place closed fingertips to lips), “hurt” (touch index fingers together over painful area) and “mommy” (spread fingers, tap thumb on chin).

6. The No-Cry Nap Solution: Guaranteed, Gentle Ways to Solve All Your Naptime Problems
By Elizabeth Pantley
If your child refuse
s to tap naps or throws tantrums when they lack sleep, this book is for you. It suggests a tear-free formula to allow your baby, toddler or preschooler to get the daily restorative rest he or she needs to develop. It is designed to help parents convince their children to nap every day, settle their children into their own beds and handle changes such as travel plans.

7. Happiest Toddler on the Block: How to Eliminate Tantrums and Raise a Patient, Respectful and Cooperative One- to Four-Year-Old
By Dr. Harvey
In his first bestseller, Dr. Karp revealed th
at toddlers often act like uncivilized little cavemen, with a primitive way of thinking and communicating that is all their own. In this revised new edition, he makes his approach easier to learn and put into action. The book uses a “green/yellow/red light” technique to teach toddlers to distinguish between good actions (green light), annoying ones (yellow light) and unacceptable (red light).

8. Toddler 411, 2nd Edition: Clear Answers & Smart Advice for Your Toddler
By Denise Fields
This book provides real-world advice from pediatrician Dr. Ari Brown, who is also a spokesman for the American Acad
emy of Pediatrics and medical advisor to Parents Magazine. This book offers a humorous take on the challenges and questions that come with raising a toddler. It is designed to simplify the complicated medical terminology and technical aspects of pediatric care.

9. ScreamFree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool
By Hal Edward Runkel
This book teaches parents how to calm their emotional reactions and focus on altering their own behavior to improve their child’s. The author believes parents’ biggest enemy is not TV or video games, but rather their own emotional reactivity. The book provides methods for parents to calm themselves down and stay calm and connected with their kids.

10. Helping Baby Sleep
By Anni Gethin and Beth Macgregor
Child development specialists and moms Anni Gethin and Beth Macgregor challenge the wisdom of the “cry it out” method. This book focuses on a more responsive parenting approach during the day and at night. The book teaches parents how to practice gentle bedtime techniques to help their babies sleep. It includes questionnaires, checklists and worksheets for parents.

What are some of your favorite tools and products to aid you in your parenting journey? What are some of your top parenting books?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Moments, not minutes

As a little girl, I dreamed of being a mother and imagined it to be full of never-ending love and joy and clean houses. And no matter how many times I was warned that motherhood was hard work, part of me expected this shiny dream to actually materialize when I brought my little ones home. In reality, I am finding that the vast majority of actual motherhood is filled with spit up and tantrums, of second-guessing and worrying, of dirty laundry and crumbs on the floor. It’s easy to get bogged down in the clutter, the worry, and the monotony of doing the same thing every day, over and over. And over.

But then there are these moments.

Like the moment last week when James ran to hug me after scoring a soccer goal and I reflected on how far this four year old boy has come from the tiny three month old baby who arrived in my arms so long ago and I was relieved to realize that I must have done something right to have helped him grow from a timid two year old who was too shy to say “hi” to most people to a confident four year old who will play a full soccer game without a second glance and only needs my arms to help him share in the joy of his very first goal.

And the moment when I saw James kiss Kasia gently on her forehead and talk to her about his day, just like I have done so many times, and I began to understand how dramatically my actions affect his, and I was at the same time delighted and terrified as I realized the profound ability my mothering has to shape my children’s lives.

And the moment when I looked into Kasia’s eyes and was startled to see my mom, who we lost five years ago, looking back at me and I finally felt connected to my mom again, if just for an instant, and I knew—really knew-- that my mother’s love shines through loss and into life and I take that love and I pour it into my own children.

Those are the moments that make time stand still. They are the moments that make motherhood what it is. And they are the moments that I will remember when I think back to these days. I just have to remember, in the midst of doing all the things that need to be done, to pause long enough to see the beauty of what’s in front of me.