Back in 2012, Refe and Susan Tuma were up late with their one-year-old, who was having trouble sleeping through the night. They were exhausted, of course, but also feeling guilty about not doing enough fun things with their older kids. In a stroke of genius, Susan decided to prank their four- and five-year-old and arranged their plastic dinosaur toys in the bathroom sink and placed toothbrushes in their hands. “When my daughter, who was 4 at the time, came running into our bedroom, she said, ‘The dinosaurs came to life in the middle of the night and they were brushing our teeth!’” Refe told Today.com. “We looked at each other, and we knew we had to run with it.”
And by running with it, they ended up creating Dinovember, a monthlong game that’s way more exciting than the one-night candy binge of Halloween. Each night in November, the creative couple create wild adventures for the dinosaurs — everything from drawing on the walls to breaking into the pantry to making messy homemade volcanoes in the kitchen. And every morning, their delighted children bound out of bed, dying to see what madcap adventures their silly toys had overnight. (Side note: The Tumas may have come up with the best reason to postpone putting the toys away at night.)
Dinovember has been such a success that Refe and Susan have kept it going for two years now, and the game has even inspired other families to get into the spirit. To get the creative juices flowing — and swap some pretty fantastic ideas with other families — the Tumas regularly post the dinosaurs’ handiwork on social media, and now, they’ve written a book about it, Today.com reports. What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night will be released October 28 and chronicles the creatures’ hijinks with hysterical photos and even funnier captions. But don’t take my word for it — see a sampling below for yourself:
When Steggy’s attempted header results in yet another 0-0 match, the dinosaurs’ World Cup excitement is quickly deflated.
A shadow-puppet drama of Homeric proportions.
For a species that still sleeps on the ground, the comforts of the modern world are a constant source of entertainment.
Tell us: Think you’ll try some form of #Dinovember this year?
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All images courtesy of Dinovember via Facebook
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Fame will get you a lot of things — an instant following on Instagram, a fat paycheck, a home with a panic room. But even celebrity status can’t guarantee that you’ll get a good night’s sleep when a baby is in the house.
Exhibit A: Scream star and new dad David Arquette, who made news over the weekend when he bolted out of Hollywood hotspot Craig’s and away from his distraught fiancee, Christina McLarty. At one point, he told the mother of his 6-month-old son, Charlie, “I’m done. Just like your last guy,” TMZ reported. (Ouch!) Gossipmongers naturally had a field day with that one, even going so far as to declare the couple’s three-month engagement was off. But as it turns out, the new parents weren’t ending a relationship — they were just plain tired. “It was simply an argument between two exhausted new parents,” Arquette told TMZ. “We’re both hormonal and haven’t slept in six months. Christina is still breastfeeding; I feel like I am.”
While I’m not sure about that last part — my guess is Christina is probably doing almost all of the heavy lifting when it comes to nursing — I can easily relate to being cranky and tired. And I think all parents can. Sleep deprivation goes hand in hand with a new baby, which is not to say it’s easy. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the single toughest part about parenting a child under 2. At some point, the crushing exhaustion morphs into an all-consuming bad mood that’s impossible to shake. And until baby starts sleeping through the night, there’s no reprieve. So, yeah, every now and then all that crankiness has to go somewhere, and chances are your partner is the unlucky recipient. I’m just glad that my husband and I could have our sleep-deprived arguments without a team of paparazzi there to record the whole thing.
Tell us: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done while sleep deprived?
Want to make a record of your baby’s exciting first year? Get the scoop on how to create a memorable baby photo book. And be sure to like All About Babies on Facebook to keep up with the latest baby news!
Image of David Arquette and Christina McLarty courtesy of Shutterstock
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All About Babies, Babies, Breastfeeding, Celebrity Parents, News
I had a major parenting fail yesterday. My three-and-a-half-year-old, who has been basically potty trained for months now, had a huge accident. I’m talking soaked underwear, pants, socks, even the living room rug. Normally I can roll with the pee-soaked punches, but this time, watching the puddle grow on the floor, something in me snapped. And I snapped at my kid.
In between planning a solo getaway to a remote beach and writing the job posting for the nanny I so desperately wanted to hire, my mind kept going back to Gisele Bundchen. Just an hour before my meltdown, I read an article about her in the Daily Mail — or, more specifically, her belief that in order to be a good parent, moms must put themselves first. “It’s very important to nourish yourself, take care of yourself,” the mother of two told The Sunday Times Style magazine. ”You know how they say on the plane that you have to put the oxygen mask on first and then put it on your child? So, I think it is the same, as a mum, to take care of myself.”
Now, this advice is hardly new. I first read it in Project Runway alum Laura Bennett’s 2010 book, Didn’t I Feed You Yesterday? A Mother’s Guide to Sanity in Stilettos. My Aunt Sandy also drove the point home in a letter she wrote to me just before I gave birth to my son. And I know all of these women are right. I’m seeing it firsthand: burning the candle at both ends + being on mom duty 24/7/365 for three-plus years = losing it over a puddle of pee.
Still, carving out some much-needed me-time is a little like eating more salmon or getting into Scandal. I know I should do it, but at the end of the day, who has the time or the energy? To be honest, I don’t know if there’s even room anymore for down time — something that I became acutely aware of just days after bringing my baby home from the hospital. If I wasn’t changing diapers or stressing about a good nursing latch, then I was doing laundry, trying to quiet a crying jag or rocking him to sleep. Without realizing it, I had forgotten to leave time for me to recharge my batteries. I was shocked at how quickly and easily that happened.
While it’s easy to blow off what a staffed-up supermodel says about motherhood (after all, is her purse brimming with used Boogie Wipes?), I think Gisele is right on the money here. Finding that balance is easier said than done, of course — I’ve tried it too many times to count — but maybe, just maybe, yesterday’s blow-up will give me the kick in the pants I need to start treating my own QT as seriously as I do my kid’s playdates.
Now it’s your turn: How are you doing with this whole life balance thing? Have you been able to find some down time for yourself?
Find out what changes are ahead for your little one with our Baby Milestone Tracker. And be sure to like All About Babies on Facebook to keep up with the latest baby news!
Image of Gisele Bundchen courtesy of Gisele Bundchen via Instagram
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I’m always amazed by the resilience of babies. These tiny humans look so fragile yet seem to have an endless reserve of fight in them, especially in against-all-odds situations when most of us adults would crumble. Case in point: Russell Dunham, who was born with a rare condition called giant omphalocele, where his liver, stomach, bowel and other organs protrude outside of his body from his belly button. Instead of skin, his umbilical cord has encased the organs and is protecting them.
The condition wasn’t a surprise for Russell’s parents, Danielle and Jacob Dunham — they found out that something was amiss with their baby at the very first ultrasound, reports USA Today. Still, that doesn’t mean it’s been an easy road for the new family. Like other babies with giant omphalocele, Russell underwent immediate and extensive treatment and ended up spending the first five months of his life at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock. Part of that included applying a special cream over the opening to stimulate skin growth, something that Danielle and Jacob may need to continue to do for years. It’s a slow process — accurately dubbed the “paint and wait” method — but an important one. A few years from now — once skin is in place — the little fighter will undergo an operation to slowly move the organs back into his body. Once they’re all back where they belong, the opening will be closed. In the meantime, as new skin forms, the new mom and dad have to shield the baby from viruses and germs. Understandably, the new mom admits that she doesn’t bring the baby out in public often. ”My biggest fear is that it is flu season and he’s at risk for the flu and for the respiratory virus that is going around right now,” Danielle said in the article. “We wash our hands, we limit visitors.”
Though the recovery will be anything but fast, the Dunhams had a reason to smile last week: After five long months in the hospital, doctors finally gave Russell the green light to go home. The baby settled into his new digs on Wednesday, which also happened to be Danielle’s 28th birthday. I can’t imagine a better gift for the new mom, can you? Welcome home, baby Russell, and best of luck on your road to recovery!
Have questions about your baby? We have answers — just check out our comprehensive Baby Q&A. And be sure to like All About Babies on Facebook to keep up with the latest baby news!
Image of a baby’s feet courtesy of Shutterstock
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Going back to work after having a baby is tough enough, but can you imagine having to return during your maternity leave? With your newborn in tow?
That was the reality smack dealt to immigration attorney and new mom Stacy Ehrisman-Mickle earlier this month, when an immigration judge in Atlanta denied her request to delay a hearing that fell during her paltry six-week leave. Though two other judges granted her similar delays, Judge J. Dan Pelletier Sr. claimed there was “no good cause” to push this one back, ABC News reports. And rather than let Ehrisman-Mickle know this before she went on leave, he sat on the request for nearly a month before rejecting it a mere five days before the hearing was to take place.
To say the new mom was surprised would be an understatement. In fact, she was in bed when her secretary called her with the unfortunate news. “I was in a state of panic. I didn’t know what to do with my baby,” she told The Associated Press. With her husband out of town, no family in the area and a baby too young for day care, Ehrisman-Mickle had no choice but to bring her daughter to court with her. (She first cleared it with her pediatrician, who advised her to wear the infant in a carrier facing inward to avoid germs.)
As if walking into a courtroom with a baby strapped to your chest wasn’t rough enough for the attorney, the four-week-old started crying in the middle of the proceedings. Judge Pelletier’s response? Why, fuss at the new mom for being inappropriate, of course, and then wonder aloud whether her pediatrician would be upset about all the germs the baby was being exposed to. ”I was embarrassed. I felt humiliated,” she said of the public dressing down.
Demoralizing complete, Pelletier granted a delay until Ehrisman-Mickle’s doctor gives her the OK to go back to work. Meanwhile, the new mom has filed a formal complaint against the judge, and an investigating judge has already interviewed her to get her side of the story. Pelletier is staying tight-lipped for now (smart move, I think). According to ABC News, he said immigration judges can’t comment publicly, and the branch of the Department of Justice that oversees immigration courts also won’t comment.
I don’t know what’s more frustrating about this story — the wildly unreasonable judge or the fact that it’s oftentimes up to us parents to fight for (and protect) whatever maternity leave we can eke out. The sorry state of our country’s leave policy has been the source of some discussion lately. (We’re the only developed country without laws that provide paid maternity leave.) It made the agenda during the White House Summit on Working Families, and the Department of Labor even came out with a video encouraging paid leave laws. But despite the support, lawmakers have yet to enact laws that will give new moms and dads the precious time they need to care for their newborns. Maybe the sight of Ehrisman-Mickle — tired but smiling on the way into court, with her baby nestled in a carrier against her business suit — is enough to spur them on to (finally) effect real change.
Tell us: How was your maternity leave? Were you able to enjoy it, or was it interrupted by work demands?
Getting ready to go back to work after baby? Check out our tips for making a smooth transition back from maternity leave. And if you’re considering becoming a SAHM, you can use our Stay at Home Calculator to see if you can afford to make the move. To keep up with the latest baby news, don’t forget to like All About Babies on Facebook!
Image of gavel in courtroom courtesy of Shutterstock
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