Sunday, June 16, 2013

Nursing Sucks - by Frida, Your Fellow Mother

Nursing…Isn’t it the most beautiful, healthy, and natural way to connect with your baby? If you have answered yes…then go away!!! It’s not that you’re not welcomed here it’s just that you probably have to go nurse or something! I am not one to share feelings, blog thoughts, or express frustration on this thing they call the internet. However, today I got the urge…like literally if I didn’t share this with all the horrible mothers out there in the universe I would explode.

Because…we are horrible right? I mean that is what I am made to understand… that if I do not nurse and provide the healthiest choice for my little one, then I suck at being a mama! I don’t know if it is other people that make me feel that way or if it’s just my internal gut that just rips at me and says “You can’t give up because who gives up on their child?”

If this all seems a little too dramatic then I don’t think you have experienced this particular inner turmoil. With my first child, I held my son like a football, a baseball, a hand bag, and a Frisbee until the genius doctor decided to tell me that he was tongue-tied. Now anyone who has tried nursing a tongue-tied baby knows that it’s like driving a car…when you’re out of gas. It just doesn’t go! I pumped (yes, from a hospital pump!), I undressed me and baby every time he had a feeding because skin on skin is best, and I didn’t give up. I literally never gave up.

This is not some inspiring story that I am sharing that ends with “and now I nurse my child and he is three years old and I love it!” This is purely a way for me to vent. I did not give up on nursing…but my child did. He literally refused to eat from me. Breast is best…when they want breast! There was nothing I could do. I cried, took some more fenugreek pills, drank some more root beer, and surprisingly he still did not want breast! It gets even sadder. I started doing this thing in my head where I would think of all the people I know that were nursed as babies and kind of make them out to be jerks and asses. I know it’s pathetic and immature but you should know…I was nursed as a baby.

With my second child I made the doctors check for tongue tie about six times, and she was not tongue tied! Yay! Again, this is not some inspiring story that ends with “I didn’t get to nurse my first but I got to nurse my second and now I am still nursing her and she is three!” After I played some football, baseball, and frisbee, and after doing everything else imaginable, she too gave up on me. I find out a few months later that my daughter is lip tied (yes, that’s a thing). I don’t know if that’s the reason we had problems nursing but I’ll take it!

I write all this for all the mothers out there who struggle with nursing and who just want to scream and who make themselves feel so guilty for wanting to just give that baby a bottle! I write this to let you know that you are awesome no matter what and that all we can do is try our best and then let go and breathe…because people who have an easy time nursing suck!

Frida – Your Fellow Mother 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Knot Genie

My daughter has long, straight, thick, soft hair that tangles easily.  Until recently, brushing her hair was a painful experience for us both.  She saw a commercial for the knot genie, and asked if we could try it.  Since the first time we used it, brushing her hair has finally been a breeze!  The brush glides through her hair easily because of the amount and various lengths of the bristles.  Its shape makes it easy for my daughter to hold so that she can brush her own hair.  There is no more screaming in my house…  at least not from hair brushing!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Chanukah 2012 Gifts in Review

It’s always interesting to see which gifts my kids request for Chanukah, which gifts they end up receiving and then which gifts they end up actually using and enjoying.  I tend to organize gifts into a few categories.  There are gifts they need, gifts they want, gifts they didn’t know they wanted, but end up loving, and gifts that make things easier for ME. 

The gifts I give them usually fall under the first and last categories.  These are the clothes, pajamas, and new lunch boxes.  I also bought the girls lounge pillows for watching tv, because I was sick of them fighting over my breastfeeding pillow.  Even though these were things that the kids didn’t ask for, they all loved them.  Win-win.

An extravagant gift that was requested was an American Girl doll by my five-year-old daughter.  She wanted one very badly (Caroline, to be specific).  So much so, that when the relative that had said she would buy one for her did not follow through, a different set of relatives knew how disappointed my daughter would be and ordered one on rush delivery.  Thank God there are eight days of Chanukah!  My daughter was thrilled when she received the doll, and does play with her every day, but I think it’s more of the idea of collecting the doll than the doll itself that is special to her.  She spends a good amount of time looking at the catalogs and talking about each American Girl and her story.  If those catalogs never came in the mail, I don’t think we would be in possession of Caroline.  To even the score, these relatives also got my three-year-old a doll too; a large Cinderella doll that I’m sure cost a fraction of what Caroline cost.  My three-year-old was just as thrilled.

Another semi-extravagant gift that was requested (by me) was Magna Tiles.  To make it less extravagant, I only asked for the 32-piece set.  It was given to all three of my kids to share, and they all enjoy playing with them almost every day.  They play without my help and really use their spatial intelligence, fine motor skills, and creativity.  I love love love Magna Tiles.  Maybe we will go for the 100-piece set one day.

My fourteen-month-old son was given a huge set of wooden train pieces.  He loves playing with the little trains and trucks, and his sisters love building elaborate tracks and towns.  This was a great gift that all three kids will enjoy for a long time.

Sometimes the best gifts are the least expensive.  My three-year-old’s favorite gift was a $3 set of plush cupcakes I found in the bargain bin at Target.  My girls also loved all of the stickers and activity books they were given.  I love how they are occupied for large amounts of time without intervention from me with those books and stickers!

Something they did not receive this year, but did receive a lot of in years past is technology toys in the form of Leapsters, Leap pads, tag readers, and other such products.  While they are great products, and my kids did enjoy playing with them for a time, they prefer to borrow my iPad and use a plethora of free apps.  They can watch shows, listen to music, practice math and reading, and play games.  Just as they would with all of those kid-geared gadgets, but by using a piece of technology we already own.  And by doing so, they are familiarizing themselves with how to use a piece of technology that is common to most of the general population today.  I would advise parents against buying any of the Leapster and other similar products.  They just aren’t necessary.  If you don’t already own one, buy an affordable tablet and teach your children how to use it.

Lest we forget that giving is more important than receiving, I let my girls (ages five and three) participate in their school’s Dreidel Shop, which was both clever and adorable.  The school sent home forms for each child asking who the child would be shopping for (gender, age, and relationship to child), and asking for $4 per gift.  The profits were split between the school and a local charity.  When I brought the girls to the Dreidel Shop, I was told to wait outside while a personal shopper assisted them in choosing their gifts, which were pre-wrapped.  It was incredibly well organized.  The girls had so much fun, and felt so good about being able to give each other, their little brother, their babysitter, and their father and I gifts of their choosing.

And as always, we try to focus more on the actual meaning of Chanukah, and less on the presents.  If you ask my kids what they love about Chanukah they will first talk about being together with extended family, lighting the menorah, playing dreidel, and eating yummy food before mentioning the presents!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

In Search for the Perfect Triple Stroller

by Chava Kovacs, Stroller Expert

Sometimes, buying a stroller is like the proverbial Chinese food meal where you are hungry an hour later. Soon after I buy a new stroller, I find myself wanting to buy another one... craving features and functions that my new stroller doesn't have. This is how I wound up with two triple strollers.

Not long after I wrote an article about searching 
Valco Baby Double
for the perfect way to transport 3 small children, I found a great deal on a used Valco Baby Double Trimode with the 'Joey seat' to make it a triple. This stroller is sturdy and maneuverable with deep reclining seats for little ones to lay flat and sleep comfortably. The third seat is strong enough for a 20 kilo toddler although I wasn't so happy with how exposed the child in the third seat was. It is possible to buy a Valco Baby Joey sunshade for it...or buy a sunhat for your child. Like many larger-sized strollers out there, the Trimode has nice big tires...filled with air!!! After several punctures, I had the guy at the bicycle store fill the tube with puncture-resistant stuff ('chomer') and put a rubber liner ('goomi') between the inner tube and the tire and I never got punctures again.

Valco Baby Joey Seat

At the time that I bought my stroller, I overlooked the fact that this was a very difficult stroller to fold. And not so long afterwards, I realized that I really really wanted a triple stroller that folded easily. To transport the Trimode, you have to remove the third seat, which is clamped onto the stroller quite strongly. (but remember.. you want it to be clamped securely so your 20 kilo toddler won't fall out of it) After the seat is removed, the stroller folds in half. If you were always travelling with a partner, it would be OK-ish to do this every time. If you are a lone mom with three small children and you need to fold up your stroller to put it under a bus, you will need something that folds quickly and easily. For me, the answer was the Trio Tandem stroller from Foundations.

Foundations Trio Tandem
Foundations is a company you have likely never heard of...they make cribs and strollers for day cares and hotels. Their strollers are basic; they only come in one color (blue!) and don't give you gadgets or cool features *BUT* they sold me one with their great prices and the fact that their triple and quad strollers fold so easily. So yes, my brother schlepped my new triple stroller halfway across the world.

I love this stroller because I did not have a problem collapsing this stroller, locking it in place and hoisting it into the 'baggage' of an Egged bus. I also love that is costs $369. This is an ideal stroller for me, since my youngest is over a year old. This would not be a good stroller for mom with a newborn...the last seat reclines to some degree, but not enough to accommodate an infant who can't sit up. Also, there is no way to attach a carseat or a bassinette.

Peg Perego Triplette
As expected, the Trio was long and takes some strength to steer... after all, it is a triple stroller. The stroller itself is relatively light, but if I had an option to redesign it, I would add a steering wheel like the Peg Perego Triplette which, incidentally, is an ideal stroller for newborn triplets. The seats, sunshades, etc. on the Trio are sufficient for their purpose, but nothing special. 

If you are considering the triple Foundations stroller, be warned that it has a certain safety feature that you will find positively infuriating...until you permanently disable it. To prevent it from rolling away, they have installed a safety bar right beside the handlebar. Unless you are squeezing the safety bar, the brakes on the rear wheels will lock. I can't imagine how someone could be constantly squeezing a bar while pushing such a large stroller. Even my big strong brother had a hard time with it. In the end, my husband removed the bar and braking mechanism. Don't worry, you can still brake the the back, there is a foot brake that locks the rear wheels when you step down on normal.

As it stands, I am happy with my purchase. I anticipated that this stroller would not be as fancy as the pricier strollers I have owned. Most importantly, because it actually fulfilled the purpose for which I bought it (folding up easily and fitting under an Egged bus) I am much more forgiving about the places where this stroller falls short. For the price, this stroller was an excellent value and a good functional stroller...and after buying it, I have not experienced any cravings to buy a triple stroller.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Great Gifts for 1-Year-Olds

I was recently asked for gift suggestions for one-year-olds. So here you go!

    1. Alphabet Nesting and Stacking Blocks -- These are probably the most played with toys in our house. My 1.5-year-old and my 3.5-year-old enjoy playing with these. Building towers, knocking them down -- you know how blocks work. 

2. Musical Table -- If you can handle the noise, then these are fun, learning toys. Ours (the Leapfrog Learn & Groove Musical Table) has removable legs (so you can play on the floor) and  ou can adjust the sound so it's not too loud. I'm sure they're all pretty much the same. 

3. Kitchen + Play Food -- We have a small one, the Little Tikes Cupcake Kitchen, but I do have to say that if you have the space, a larger one is better, though for our space, this one is perfect. In terms of play food, wooden food or high quality plastic ones are MUCH better than the Made in China alternatives. Cheapo plastic food breaks easily. Melissa & Doug make excellent wooden food

4.Dolls + Doll Stroller -- A one-year-old (once s/he can walk) will love pushing around a stroller. You can also get a doll with a bottle and play food and s/he may enjoy feeding the baby.

In general, one-year-olds love playing ball, building with blocks, and wreaking havoc wherever and whenever they can. So buy accordingly. :)


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