Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Treat or Treat Thoughts

There is a big trend to do "Trunk or Treating" and commercial sponsored treat or treating at the mall or area businesses. Most of these started I think to keep the kids safe. That is wonderful, but unfortunately I think these events can exclude others. I think specifically of our older neighbors who don't like to get out in the dark and cold but would love to see the neighbor kids all dress up. How sad would it be if they got no visitors on a day they look forward to. We have really tried to make an effort to visit these folks with the kids.
Halloween can be a unifying time for communities and neighbors. I really started thinking about this when we left to go to the church trunk or treat one year. As we left the neighborhood I saw a family, of a different faith, just start out on their trick or treating. They were sorely disappointed to find at each door, no one home. I hated to see them left out and feel excluded. Since then we decided to stay home from the trunk or treating. You may also want to include these neighbors by inviting them to the "Trunk or Treat" but some of them don't feel comfortable. Those who live miles away from others, trunk or treating is ideal. But for us who live in a neighborhood, it's not necessary. The other idea we have done is to keep one of the adults home to hand out candy while the other adult goes out with the trick or treaters. Everyone is in a totally different situation with where they live so you have to do what you feel is safe and good for your children. These are just my two cents in my situation.

Here is a few safety points to talk over with your kids before the big day comes.
Cross the street at the corner, make eye contact with drivers, looks both ways before you cross
Walk on sidewalks and face the traffic!
Watch out for cars turning or backing up.
Wear glow sticks, reflective tape, and take a flashlight.
Don't eat your treat until has been inspected by an adult.
Do not enter a home or apartment without an adult.
Plan route with your parents and decide when you will be home.
Wear a watch!
Only visit houses where the lights are turned on.
Dress for the weather even if you can't see your costume as well. The best costumes are those that are built in warmth.
What do you do on Halloween? Take the poll on the home page. Thanks and have a great Halloween!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thumbsucking and Pacifiers


8 Total Votes
1 year 3 37%
18 months 4 50%
2 years 1 12%
3 years or older 0 0%

This is a touchy subject for me since my husband and I have been working very vigilantly for the last 3-4 months on getting our daughter who is 3 years old to stop sucking her thumb. I can't say we have the answers because we are still working on it but I can tell you what we have done and what hasn't worked.
First, the difference between pacifiers and thumb sucking is such a different thing. We have had one out of three children suck a Binky. The thing I didn't like about Binky is it seems like we were always trying to find Binky's in the middle of the night, or in the middle of church. It could be stressful. But weaning from the Binky was so much easier then weaning from the thumb sucking.
Thumb sucking was so nice when they were babies. All my thumb suckers were great sleepers. Went to sleep on their own at a very early age. But when they get older, it is very hard to break the habit. The thing we have learned so far is it's so much easier to break the habit when they are younger. We started working with our first thumb sucker when he turned two years old. We just put socks on his hands and would check on him during naps and at night to see if the socks were still on. When he learned to take the socks off we used the Carter one piece PJ's with socks underneath and ducked taped his socked hands. It took a couple weeks and he completely stopped. Yes it was hard for us to explain to a two year old who didn't really understand but it worked without too much drama. We didn't start working with our daughter until she was three.
We started with THUM polish you paint on their finger nails. Totally didn't work. Then we tried Thumb Guard. Our niece used this and learned to stop sucking her thumb. These are a soft plastic guard that are attached by disposable bracelets that lock on to prevent thumb sucking. Sometimes if we didn't put the guard on tight enough she could get her thumb out and still suck on it. The first month we tried it we didn't take off the guards everyday. Her thumbs got so red and sore. So the second month we learned to put the guards on at nap time and then we took them off in the morning. This helped keep her thumbs healthier but she still had really dried out thumbs. After we ran out of bracelets the second time (the replacement bracelets were really pricey) we thought she was done and were way excited. A week later she started sucking her thumbs when she went to bed. I was so discouraged.
We have finally found something that is working. We put a band aid on each thumb when she is going to bed and we tell her that when she wakes up if she still has the band aids on she gets in the treat basket. She loves it. She has gone at least a week of keeping the band aids on. After she gets her treat we take off the band aids and wash her hands so they stay healthy. The key here is she wants to keep the band aids on so it's her decision. Also we have to be committed to remembering to put the band aids on and reinforcing the behavior of not sucking her thumb. I also think the thumb guards helped initially break the habit and the band aids are now just a reminder to her.
We really have been working on this since her third birthday in June. You decide what is more painful for the child. It's a hard call. We have an 18 month that we are deciding now what to do. I think were going to go for starting younger. What if parents don't intervene? Will a child just stop on their own? I haven't known any adults who still suck their thumb, at least I haven't noticed Devin doing it at night. =) Just kidding.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Girl Stuff

So you may think this is crazy, but my husband and I have had little discussions now and then about what ages our girls will be when they can wear makeup and other getting older things. Since we are still working on not sucking thumbs we have a while till we need to really worry about it. Well, the other day we sat down and wrote it down. We discussed when we thought it would be OK for our girls to get their ear's pierced, makeup, fingernails, sleepovers and such. We had to compromise a little bit but we feel good about the ages we set. Even though you may not have girls even close to these ages it's a good idea to think about it now before they ask. Then it's not something your children can have to put a wedge between your husband and wife relationship. It's always better to be on the same page with big decisions.
Here is what we decided. You may think some of these ages are too old or too young. That's why we have our own kids to decide what is best for your family.

Sleepover with a close friend- 5 years old,
Paint own nails-8 years (mostly because of the mess. We thought when they are 8 years old they can be more careful to do it on their own. Mom can still do it for them when they are younger)
Ears Piercing- 12 year old,
Make up- 14 years old.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Marriage and Family Classes

The Extension office offers Marriage and Family Classes that look really well done. I think they are free so if you live in Davis County or close by you may want to take advantage of this great opportunity. Here is the next class:

Making the Magic Last
November 4, 2009
Place: Davis County Courthouse Room 230
Time: 6:30-8:30 PM
Please RSVP 801-451-3412

What are the secrets to a lasting, satisfying, and successful relationship? Come learn what Dr. John Gottman's research has found. Couples will go away with skills that strengthen their coupleness, and can improve parent/child relationship. New and expecting parents are encouraged to register for this class.

The next class is
November 18, 2009
same time and place
This class is the Creating a Family Legacy Series. A family consists of many parts, yet is one unit. Parents and children comprise a household. A family legacy is creating a family philosophy. This session introduces couples to the process of developing their own identity as a family. The class also suggests ways to include the children in creating a family legacy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Language Development-18 months

Peanut (my 16 month old) does a lot of babbling but not making a lot of words that I can understand. I always wonder how much is normal, am I to worry and what can I do to encourage her language skills. In thinking of this I referred to a binder of handouts I got from Parents as Teachers. So off and on I will share with you some things I got from here.
Some ideas to promote your child's language:
1. Use stretch talk or expansion--this is simply repeating his short sentences or one word statements into more information. Like if he says, "bear down" You can expand by saying, "Would you like me to get your bear down for you?"

2. Use imitation--Just repeat his words back pronounced correctly without saying he said it wrong

3. Use parallel talk--Just talk to him about what he is doing while he is playing or eating. I like to do this on walks and narrating the scene around me

4. Read books to him every day--talk about the pictures, let him turn the pages. You don't necessarily have to read the story--this can be frustrating when they turn the pages before your done reading so just follow their lead. When they are ready to hear the whole story you will know.

5. Teach your child the names of body parts. Once he knows the easier ones add to include harder parts like chin, elbow, eyelashes, cheek

6. Sing songs to your child. Rhythm, melody and rhyme are fun for him. Repeat his favorites and someday he'll start singing with you

7. Continue to recite nursery rhymes. Once he is familiar with a rhyme trying excluding words and see if he can fill in the blank. Listening and playing with words helps your child get ready for reading.
One I would add is try sign language with your children. Always say the word with the sign. This is a way they can communicate with you. They often can sign before they can speak but a lot of the time those are some of the first words my kids have said is the words they regularly sign.

Don't compare you child to other children. All children learn on their own timeline. According to this handout it says that by the time your child is 18 months they usually start putting words together and have a vocabulary of about 50 words. If you don't see a growth spurt by the time he turns 2 consult your pediatrician.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Extra-curricular Activites Poll Results


Music Lessons: 9 --90%
Team Sports: 0 0%
Scouting/church activities 9 90%
Individual sports (swimming, karate) 2 20%
Speech/drama 0 0%
Job/Employment 1 10%

Total Votes 10

I once heard a family say they were really glad they had mostly girls because they didn't have to involve them in extra-curricular activities. I was saddened by that because I think girls need just as much opportunities to develop their talents as boys do. I really appreciate that my mom and dad felt it was important for me to take Music, dancing, and swimming lessons. From these I not only learned how to dance, play the piano, and not drown in a poll but I also learned about myself. I learned that I am capable of things but I have to work hard to get good at something. When something got hard my mom taught me not to quit. She helped me see that I can get better at something if I really want to and I practice. I hope to instill these same values in my own children by encouraging them to develop their talents and give them opportunities to learn. I don't ever think they will become professional musicians but they will learn how to be better people. My only concern is they get too involved that they don't have time to just play and be kids. I have to be careful about that because I as a person tend to over-schedule myself, I don't want to do that to my kids.

Check out the next poll about sucking thumbs and pacifiers. I'm in a little conundrum and would love your opinions.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Canning Applesauce

My kids love applesauce! My mom and I did some this weekend and my sister in law did more today. It fun to can with other people. After many years of experimentation my mom has got a really slick way to can applesauce so I'd thought I would share.

1. First thing is to find apples. Explore your options before buying them. Check your family, neighbors or drive around and look for trees that have dropping fruit (one of my friends has really good experiences doing this!). They probably would love you to use their apples.
2. Wash and quarter the apples (no peeling or taking out cores is necessary) I do get rid of worm holes.
3. Put them in a steamer/juicer. This is also something you can borrow from family, friends or even your local extension often will lend them out for a dollar a day. By juicing the apples you get two produces, applesauce and juice plus your applesauce won't be runny.
4. Steam apples for about 1 hour. Be sure to put a pitcher to catch the juice that will be draining from the juicer. I put my cardboard table up to the stove to place my pitcher on. In my juicer I get about 2 quarts of juice before the apples are ready to puree.
5. Transfer the apples to a Victoria/Food Strainer (which I got from the DI). You can also rent from the extension office.
6. Puree all the apples and put in your jars with lids. (no sugar necessary)
7. Process your applesauce and apple juice for 20 minutes in a boiling hot water bath.
8. Leave them out on your counter and enjoy the pops of the lids sealing. That's so gratifying to hear! Your kids and husband will love the applesauce without the extra sugar and preservatives the store bought kind has in it.
Applesauce cooling after processing

These are the supplies I use to make applesauce. Most cooking supply stores have them for purchase.