If Your Kids Don’t Watch TV, You Are Not Alone

tots without techI made a decision two years ago that I’ve never regretted. No tech for my tots. Because we’re in the minority on this choice, I don’t talk about it very much. The thing is, even without watching shows or playing apps, the girls are still exposed to tech all the time. I’m a blogger for goodness sakes, of course they see my iPhone. I didn’t want to write this post from a position of authority and dictate 10 Reasons Why Children Should Not Watch Television or 8 Apps that Stall the Development of Infants. I just wanted to put it out there, that if you spend a day with children circling your legs and immersed in your to-do list, you’re not the only one.

If the thought of playing with children’s toys and entertaining them all day sincerely terrifies you, I can tell you that I am in the same boat! Hannah feels that way, too. She gives me about 8-24 minutes of solid focus and then takes off on her own. Generally in the morning she and Audrey play independently or together while I get breakfast ready. She pops in just in time to cajole me to put the food on the table and then happily gobbles her meal. After that we clean up the dishes. Some days I do the dishes by hand because it keeps Hannah out of the dishwasher and it takes a little extra time.

We have a helpful morning routine upstairs that stages our day. I open the windows and water the plants in the bedroom. Then we make the bed, brush our teeth and get dressed. Sometimes this happens at 8:15 and sometimes it happens at 11. I try to be flexible and follow Hannah’s lead. A few times a week we run errands or meet up with other Moms, but most days we stay home and hang. The girls are fascinated when I do laundry or vacuum. Truly, any household chore is entertainment for them and that makes it enjoyable for me.

When we play together, I watch, listen, and offer suggestions. She loves to hear stories so I generally read to her while I nurse Audrey. Sometimes I’ll put on my creative hat and reminisce old Blue’s Clues episodes for inspiration on how to play with Hannah. In our world, I am Steve, Elmo, Big Bird, Mr. Rogers, and Miss Piggy. I am awesome. Hannah loves to watch me cook and assist when she can. We took our time and made big pots of soup last winter. I will say that we spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Did I mention that I’m also Giada? When Hannah is with her Dad, he fills the time by building and creating in his workshop. This summer he is hitting the backyard hard and creating the ultimate backyard escape. Out there, Hannah, Audrey, and I can watch the Outdoor Room with Jamie Durie.

I do not think that the girls will ever be behind the curve when it comes to technology. Just from observation, Hannah knows how to identify and manipulate technological objects. My Mommy Mantra is based on Montessori ideas, so I’m happy to follow their lead on identifying skills to work out for children instead of learning through tech. Our life is far from boring without TV or Apps during the day. It is full of creations, hobbies, and peace. We walk, think, talk, share, laugh, and learn. I don’t know yet when I will switch on the Tube for the girls. I always enjoyed Disney movies as a kid and I’d like to share those with the girls. Hannah is turning two this summer, but I think I’ll wait for a rainy day. Although, we do like to play in the rain, too…

Second Baby Missed Milestones

second babyBecoming a Mom of Two so soon after being a First-Time Mom has given me a unique perspective on the experience because I remember the first time around so vividly. After all, it was only about a year ago that the same things were happening with Hannah’s growth and development that I’m observing with Audrey. Only… I’m not really observing them. Not only did Audrey get the short end of the stick with a generic baby book and a meager photography collection, she is also going through milestones on her own. The first time around, I eagerly anticipated each email from the Bump in order to keep up with all of Hannah’s new skills. In contrast, the other day I realized that I hadn’t even taught my kid how to sit on her own. I don’t think she was really suffering from oodles of time in her carrier sandwiched between belly-time. It was just that I started to notice other kids her age sitting up and it dawned on me that I never sat her down on her bum.

Things have changed a lot since the first time. I Mother in a completely different way and sometimes I even feel like a new woman. We could attribute that to the hormones, but the fact of the matter is that what I did the first time around wasn’t going to cut it for the challenge of raising two babies. I was focused on using ‘things’ to help with the difficult task of raising a baby instead of bearing the weight on my own. Now I understand that this is hard work, but it’s good work. It is work that I want to do each day. My house is full of happy chaos. All things considered, I feel like we’re doing great. We’re all really happy for about 85% of the day, which is good enough for me. It’s a higher concentration of happiness than I’ve experienced at any other point in my life and it all happened when I stopped looking for milestones and started living in the moment.

Audrey is going to be 8 months old this week and we’re breastfeeding because it makes us both happy. I wear her all the time since she’s content to be carried and it allows me the freedom to chase after Hannah. She wears PJs because they’re comfy for her and they prevent me from having to wash baby socks. If the girls don’t want to relax in their beds at night, they sleep in mine. When Audrey fusses during meals, instead of feeding her a puree, I let her hang on to an apple slice for entertainment. All of these normal, natural parenting activities didn’t come naturally to me. At some point in my life I heard conflicting advice to each one of them that led me to believe this was the wrong way to care for a child. I’m not saying that this is the right way or the only way to raise babies, but it is right for us.

These days, I’m missing milestones left and right. Audrey may hold a cup of water before she ever holds a baby spoon. She might never figure out how to blow a ‘proper’ raspberry. I don’t know if Hannah will ever give me a chance to lay her down for a nap in her crib. But, I know her better than I know myself. She’s happy and so am I.

The Today Show: Live with Eco Incognito, Alicia Silverstone, Mayim Bialik, Pink and MORE Celebrity Attachment Moms

I have the most amazing news! Last Friday, I got a call from The Today Show producers about filming a segment in New York City to promote Breastfeeding. I can’t share too many details about the actual show topic, but the gist is that we are fed up with the state of the nursing apparel industry. Several amazing celebrity attachment moms and mom bloggers were invited to talk about the benefits of breastfeeding and the challenges in finding an ideal wardrobe to suit the needs of Mom, Baby, and Dad. (We would like it if the nursing clothes were attractive, too!) The kicker is that a few months after our TV segment, we are all coming back for a fashion show to run in conjunction with New York Fashion week this fall! How amazing is that??

To be honest, I’m still shaking. I just can’t believe this is really happening. It combines all my favorite things; fashion, motherhood, babies, breastfeeding, and celebrities. Mostly, I am over-the-moon excited to meet Alicia Silverstone. Not only is she one of my favorite actresses from the Clueless years, but she is also a huge inspiration to me in her role as a Mom. She writes a fantastic blog, too.

We’ll be on LIVE today sometime around 9:15 or so. I can’t wait for you to see us! 

today

Breastfeeding Is Life

This Mother’s Day, I will be performing in the production Listen to Your Mother at the World Cafe Live in Delaware. I’m sharing an original work that highlights my humorous, semi-non-fictional experience of breastfeeding. At just $18 per ticket, it costs roughly the same as a store-bought bouquet of flowers and is a much more unique gift option for your Mom. I hope you’ll come see the show.

I wrote about breastfeeding because it’s something that I do every day, many times a day. There are times when it’s hard and sad and painful, but there are also times when it’s downright funny. It was important for me to get the word out that Breastfeeding is real. It’s not something that happens in a big, comfy chair every day. In my house, breastfeeding happens while a toddler smears poop on her potty chair. Sometimes it happens and I’ll forget to button up my nursing tank back over my exposed nipple. Most nights I fall asleep while nursing my baby because it literally drains me. But, at the end of it all, this has been one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done. I’m also not stopping any time soon, so I thought I would put my happy, breastfeeding experience into the spotlight before it becomes a NATIONAL FIASCO when I feed a baby who is old enough to ask for milk. At least, I won’t have any spilled sippy cups.

Photo Credit: Autumn Rishty Photography

Photo Credit: Autumn Rishty Photography

 

Shop the Best New Toy Store In the Philadelphia Suburbs

Monkey Fish Toys opened their doors for a sneak peek for bloggers in preparation for the Grand Opening in April. They are currently open daily to the public in their new space in The Shops on Eagleview Boulevard. The new shop boasts 19 eco-friendly or sustainable toy brands in addition to the mix of popular toys like Legos and Gund. They have done a really great job identifying brands that parents can trust and value. The best part is that I didn’t see a single toy in the shop that required batteries.

monkey fish toys

Going to the shop is an awesome experience in itself because there are stations where kids (and adults) can test out or play with the products. For special occasions, parents can book the shop for an unforgettable party featuring their children’s favorite toys. With themes like Legos, dinosaurs, pirates, dress up, crafts, or Holidays, every kid is sure to have a great time.

All the craft supplies are from a new brand called Eco Kids that boasts products made from natural materials. This is huge for me since my kid always puts crayons directly into her mouth. We picked up a pack of the exploratory molding dough. I like that it is an appropriate toy for kids 2 and up since it is non-toxic. Some of the brands I’ve seen in stores recommend waiting till kids are 3, but age 2 is the perfect time to squeeze and press the dough into shapes. Hannah loves the stuff!

For me, seeing how hard Monkey Fish Toys worked to find new brands that fit the eco-friendly lifestyle is a huge motivator for me to help get the word out about their shop. It’s encouraging to see that a company who chooses toys that increase in value over time (like Legos) has honed in on this niche. I’m inspired to pick out the educational toys that will foster a love of learning through play in our home from their great selection and I would encourage you to visit the shop, too.

monkey fish toys exton pa chester tounty toy store

How to find Monkey Fish Toys:

This part gets a little confusing since they are in the transition phase, so I’m going to give as much information as I can.

Shop Address: 264 Eagleview Blvd, The Shops on Eagleview Boulevard, Exton, PA 19341

Phone: (484) 341-8367

Email: KerriR@bullmarkettoys.com

Monkey Fish Toys on Facebook

Monkey Fish Toys on Twitter

The Online Shop – Bull Market Toys 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received compensation for sharing this information. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Poop

The law of cloth diapering appears to be:

As soon as the laundry begins, the child will poop.

No matter what time of day I start the laundry, I can be sure that the next diaper will be full of poo. Some days are worse than others. Take, for instance, today. No sooner did I delay my early load of laundry, than Hannah greeted me with a load in her pants. I smugly thought I was ahead of the curve as I plopped the dainty, compact poo into the toilet and started the laundry. For once, I was experiencing diaper serendipity! I couldn’t have been more wrong.

toddler poopEach diaper throughout the day became progressively worse. In total, there were five diapers with poop in them today, each of a distinct and very different sort. The second detestable diaper came predictably as soon as the washing machine started the pre-rinse. It did not ruin my high spirits though, because I could easily toss it in for the wash cycle. The third undesirable diaper occurred while I was wearing Audrey, about 20 minutes before she was due to wake up from her peaceful slumber. If I laid her down she would undoubtedly wake up, so I opted to crouch next to Hannah for a standing diaper change since I figured it couldn’t be that bad. I was completely unprepared, so I raced back to the diaper supplies and loaded up on extra wipes and washcloths. By the time I got her all cleaned up Audrey woke up anyway, so I changed her, too. When it comes to diapers in this house, there is never a dull (or dry) moment.

A little bit later Hannah and I started talking about her doll that we now use to demonstrate potty routines. She eagerly walked to the bathroom proclaiming, “poop!” So, I followed her in and got ready to watch her act out how to help her doll use the potty. To my surprise, she started to attempt to use the potty herself. I was so excited to help her along that I ripped off her diaper and another poop spilled right onto the floor. OMG gross! Of course I was wearing Audrey again so I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off collecting wash cloths, wipes, and cleaning supplies all while trying to prevent Hannah from getting poop on the back of her dress. In the midst of all this madness, I had to simultaneously entertain Hannah with the narrative of what I was doing to keep her from creating her own entertainment in the bathroom. That usually consists of her taking whichever child potty accessory is available and splashing it in the toilet bowl.

At this point, I was totally pooped. I literally sighed and collapsed on the couch for a few minutes before making dinner. I casually considered not feeding the kid since she was obviously filled to the brim, but reconsidered when she set off to scale the bar stool on her own in pursuit of the source of the smell coming from the kitchen. We polished off a meal and got ready to go upstairs to take a bath. Once again, I opened a poopy diaper and had no choice but to shrug it off.

It never ceases to amaze me that a child so cute can produce something so foul so frequently. This is not one of the finer moments of Motherhood, but this is real. Parents spend up to thousands of dollars on poop solutions without batting an eyelash because we can’t stop it from happening. Some days it feels like I’m up to my elbows in it. If you feel that way too, you’re not alone.

Cut Apples for Toddlers

toddler eats an appleThe easiest snack for me to get Hannah to eat is a cut apple. She’ll eat a slice of an apple that I cut any time of day, but usually she only eats a slice. Right now, that’s not a problem since I can eagerly gobble up any leftovers due to my increased need for calories from nursing. But, I got to thinking the other day about how much Hannah enjoys learning how to do things on her own and I figured out a neat way to prepare her snack together using a little Montessori inspiration. This is an activity that we can do every day. It leaves no waste and is simple to clean up. Plus, we’ve got a handy, healthy snack ready to head out the door whenever we need one. You could say that we’ve taken the old adage, “An apple a day” to a new level.

Cutting an Apple Together

Our journey starts at the top of the Learning Tower. Hannah Appleseed selects an apple from the lowest drawer in the fridge. If we’re preparing a few apples, we’ll wash them together in a bowl to conserve water. At this point, Hannh holds her peeler at the ready while I slice the apple in half, then into sixths. After that, she can hold a slice (or sneak her first bite) while I peel the remaining slices. Then we place each slice into a reusable baby food jar and close the lids. We store these on the lowest shelf of the fridge, next to her milk. She can reach for a snack whenever she is hungry. By keeping the jars in the fridge and returning them to the fridge right away, I can use them several times before washing. My favorite part of the activity is when Hannah climbs down from the tower and goes to the cabinet under the sink full of purpose. She announces, ‘POST’ and hands me the compost jug to toss our scraps.

Hannah loves routine and she does a great job carrying out steps in sequence. We don’t rush through this because we don’t have to. We make our snack early in the day so that it’s ready at any time. An older kid could probably easily keep all the apple pieces in the same container, but Hannah enjoys opening these jars and dumping them out. Once a day, she shares an apple with her little sister. At just 6 months, Audrey is only beginning to explore foods. Watching the two of them fumble with their fruit brings me a true sense of joy. The only way to make snack time even more enjoyable is to bite into a crisp, refreshing apple myself!