Archive for the ‘ Your Child ’ Category

What Life Is Really Like With a Toddler

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Each month in Parents, we print the 27 truest words about parenting from our favorite bloggers. Our November issue features a quote from Erin Huizen at Life in the Hood. Read her full blog post below. 

toddler playingLife as the mom of a toddler is exactly how I imagined it’d be: the convergence of one little boy stuffed entirely with wiggle worms and an easily out-smarted mom who doesn’t know the first thing about raising toddlers, these two forces swirling together, creating one big crazy $hit storm tornado.

(P.S. Raising a toddler also means I don’t have much time to blog, and therefore I’ll be using a lot of sweeping generalization to get my point across for the next few years.)

Actually, toddlerhood isn’t that bad, but the adjustment period is quite a shock.

At first it feels a tad bit like you are in prison, except I have heard that prisoners are allowed to take coffee breaks wherein some one-foot-tall inmate isn’t using a foreign, mono-syllabic language to demand access to the touching of her mug.

Anyway, somewhat rapidly, the world I once knew vanished. The world in which I could cuss, talk to another adult without stopping to answer un-English questions and comments mostly dealing with dogs and motorcycles, eat chocolate and cookies all day with zero accountability, and walk through a neighborhood anonymously without having to talk to every dog-owner and interesting-looking person with a light saber my son decides to engage.

That world is gone, replaced by one in which every thing I do, every plan I make begs the question, will this cause a tantrum? And if so, how large?

Maybe it’s this line of thinking that has caused me to go a little PTSD, minus the P.

While anxiously awaiting the discount grocery store to open its doors last Sunday morning, I decided we could try the coffee shop with the small kid’s play area. Though last time we graced this establishment, my toddler breezed past the toys straight to the trash cans, and after picking up all the diseases he could from their flapping lids, made his way behind the counter to help make sandwiches and serve soup.

This time he found a truck and a couple of baby-boomers rocking to music that wasn’t playing. He dug it and nodded his little head to the non-existent music as well. Just to make sure things didn’t get awkward, I bobbed my head too.

The woman told my son the music in her head was always better than the music they played there anyways.

He nodded some more, adding a fist pump.

“And if you keep your head banging like this,” she swirled her neck around and did a soft-core head-bang, “then no bad thoughts can get stuck in there.”

I liked that idea.

When my son is around and I need to think, I’ll sing a lot of made-up songs, some words, some simple melody, mostly humming. Lately I’ve been catching myself doing this without him around, mostly in public bathroom stalls, along with the head bang.

I’ve also noticed that many standards I am certain I once held dear, I cannot, for the life of me, muster up one fart about now.

Standards such as: not showing my bra-strap; being on time; mopping > once a year; masking my feelings for the sake of others; avoiding going out in public with avocado stains caked into my pants or poop crusted in my watchband; wearing shirts inside out, backwards, both, or the same shirt and pants for days on end if the avocado and other food-crust gods are blessing me as such; listening; using plates; refraining from acquiring most of my calories from what I can pick from the car seats, etc.

Knowing I’ve gone a little looney, I still try to preserve somewhat of my “self”, since it’s been beaten into my selectively porous mother-skull that I must be sure to take care of myself in order to take care of my child.

But sometimes it feels like I’m trying to preserve myself to the point of being a tree in the petrified forest, and I get the urge to just let go.

I still work-out, have my bud in child care two hours a day so I can do my thing, attend a writing group, read, etc. Despite all this, I still sense my identity as it once was is in a serious state of flux, it’s slipping away, and when I come out the other end, I’m not going to be the same.

The world will have become my padded room, the bathroom stall my stage, the unwary dog-owner my confidant. I will have happily gone insane. I will be a mom.

Take our quiz to find out your parenting style and shop kids’ games.

You Know You Have A Toddler When¿
You Know You Have A Toddler When¿
You Know You Have A Toddler When¿

Image via Shutterstock

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How to Feel Good About Your School Shoes Shopping

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Donate old shoes for back-to-school shoppingFor those little feet that always seem to be growing, it can feel like you’re constantly buying new shoes. But rather than throwing out his old shoes the next time you need a new pair, you can now do some good (and save some green) in the process.

Through Sept. 30, as part of the “Big Hearts, Little Shoes” campaign, Stride Rite is teaming up with the international charity, Soles4Souls to donate as many shoes as they can collect to children in need both here in the U.S. and abroad.

For every pair donated in-store throughout September customers will get 20 percent off a same-day purchase of new shoes. And as a bonus with that purchase, families will also receive a certificate for a free class at The Little Gym. (You can also donate online and still receive the 20 percent off.)

Hundreds of millions of children live in extreme poverty throughout the world, and these kids might not have access to adequate footwear, which leaves them more susceptible to disease and often, unable to attend school. Soles4Souls has provided shoes to kids in nearly every state in the U.S. at homeless shelters and disaster areas, among others areas, as well as to dozens of other countries around the world.

Back to School: British Rock
Back to School: British Rock
Back to School: British Rock

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American Baby’s Baby Booty: Win a Pair of Robeez® Shoes

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

We agree that a baby’s bare feet are super cute, but keeping little piggies safe when toddling around outside is important, too! 

To get you ready for the fall season, Robeez® is giving away a pair of shoes to FIVE (5) lucky winners, each pair worth approximately $20. Each winner will get to choose the pair of Robeez shoes of his or her choice for their little one.

To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and the end of the day September 10. More Qs about our giveaway? Read the official rules. Be sure to check back on September 11 and scroll to the bottom of the post to see who won. We reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. Goody luck!

 

Congrats to our FIVE (5) winners: Melanie Fee, Anna Pry, Evan Rollins, Brandy Husted-Yaist and Nicole Marie. Please check you “other” message folder on Facebook to claim your prize!

Trying to pick your baby’s first pair of shoes? Watch the video for tips on choosing the perfect fit.

How to Buy Baby's First Shoes
How to Buy Baby's First Shoes
How to Buy Baby's First Shoes

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Top 10 Reasons Why I Hate My Son*

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Each month in Parents, we print the 27 truest words about parenting from our favorite bloggers. Our August issue features a quote from Mike Julianelle at Dad and Buried. Read his full blog post below.

Having kids is not all it’s cracked up to be.

For one thing, you have a tiny human being in your house. This is almost as bizarre as having an animal in your house, but at least animals have fur. All my son has is tons and tons of drool.

For the most part it’s fun to have him around, except of course for the drain on my finances, the stress on my marriage, the elimination of my social life, the inability to sleep, the constant threat of fecal explosion, etc. It’s actually very much like running a farm; at the beginning there was even milking.

I know this is old news; everyone already knows that kids are a drag. But not all kids are a drag in the same ways.

Here then, is a list of things I hate about my son, and my son only.

1 – He makes everything more important.
Work, money, food, health, free time. Everything means more now. I need to work harder to make more money to buy more food. More expensive, healthy food that won’t make him get fat and get diabetes. I have to eat healthier too, and I have to exercise so I don’t get fat and have a heart attack. Free time is no longer free, it’s time to spend with him, and I need more of it because he needs more of me, and I can’t go to the movies or to the bar because he can’t come and I can’t watch the stuff I want to watch when he’s around because it might make him kill people so I have to make sure he watches the proper stuff which just gives me a headache and I can’t let him watch too much because he has to go outside and oh my god there’s just so much to think about get out of my HEAD SCHWARTZ!

2 – He’s better looking than I am.
Which is funny, because everyone tells me how much we look alike. But it’s clear he blows me away, just by virtue of being younger and not having bags under his eyes or a scowl on his face. I’ve never in my life gotten as many compliments as this kid. I mean, the dude’s a chick magnet, and it’s a lot of fun to get all this attention from the ladies, but not that fun since I’m married and he’s a long way from puberty. It’s like having a superpower you can’t use. I feel like Mr. Incredible, except when he’s fat and hates his life.

3 – My wife likes him more than she likes me.
Every husband knows this is true. Ask Oedipus.

4 – He reminds me of my mortality.
Everyone tells you that having a kid around teaches you to see old things as new again; reinvigorates your perspective on life; let’s you experience things through a child’s eyes. All it has taught me is that I’ve wasted my life and I’m 35 going on 60 and apparently that’s gonna happen in the blink of an eye since having kids somehow accelerates time, according to every single parent I’ve ever met. Great. So I’m old, and I’m getting older, and he’s in my face with his wasted, idiotic youth all the time, AND soon he’ll be 25 and I’ll be dead. Parenting!

5 – My parents like him more than me.
He’s their only grandson and they don’t remember what he was like as a teenager because he’s only two. I, on the other hand, revert to being a teenager with every visit home. Advantage: grandson.

6 – He gets terrible music stuck in my head.
I defy you to not be humming this song all day long:

And then there’s “Yo Gabba Gabba!” At first you’re like, oh, a hipster show for kids, maybe the music will be tolerable! And then you can’t stop singing “Try it! You’ll like it! TRY IT AND YOU’LL LIKE IT!” to yourself over and over and over and over. I don’t blame the shows themselves; they are what they are. I blame my son. He did this to me. Thankfully I got a little payback – he’s been humming “Call Me Maybe” for weeks. REVENGE.

7 – Everyone likes him more than me.
Honestly, this kid is a charmer. It’s gross. He has more social skills than I’ve ever had. I can barely go two minutes without insulting someone, this kid has gang members blowing kisses on the F train. The last time I blew a kiss at a gang member, well…let’s just say I’m lucky I was still able to have a kid.

8 – He makes drinking/being hungover/going to the movies/going to dinner/sleeping everything harder.
He makes every adult-based and/or private and/or quiet activity harder. I can’t get drunk when he’s around, and even when he’s not around, he will be the next morning, when the cure for a hangover is NOT his Elmo guitar in my face. I can’t sleep late when he’s around alive. I can’t go to the movies or dinner with him, which means I need a babysitter, and last week we scared off our best one when we came home drunk. He just makes life harder. More rewarding? More meaningful? Sure, whatever. I just want to get drunk in peace. Is that a crime?

9 – I like him more than me.
He’s a better person. It’s just a fact. Even though he’s still stained with Original Sin! BETTER PERSON THAN ME.

10 – He makes everything less important.
Who gives a shit about going to the movies or watching Breaking Bad? I could sit and stare at my son all night long and that would be entertainment enough. I mean, ALL HE DOES is fall on his face. It’s hilarious. He has 100% ruined my life, yes, but that was my old life and this is my new one (a fact that is both pathetic and, frankly, kind of necessary). He is my new one. I honestly couldn’t care less about myself anymore. Like I said above, he’s Me 2.0 and he’s better in every. single. way. Which makes me have to try and be better too.

Which, in all honesty, is a major pain in the ass.

*Fine. Maybe it should be “Top 10 Reasons Why I “Hate” My Son”

Keep your active kid busy with our activity finder and shop outdoor games

You Know You Have A Toddler When¿
You Know You Have A Toddler When¿
You Know You Have A Toddler When¿

Image via Shutterstock

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Say Goodbye to Summer Sniffles with These Products

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

When you’re experiencing cold-like symptoms, it’s easy to swallow some meds and get on with the day. But it may be years before your little one learns how to swallow a pill, and he may not be enticed by chewable remedies, either.   

This is where sprays come in. Arm & Hammer’s Simply Saline Nasal Mist and OCEAN Saline Nasal Spray are both drug-free products designed to help those suffering from nasal congestion. All Simply Saline sprays and OCEAN Nasal Care products are safe to administer in conjunction with other oral and nasal medicines (consult your doctor first, as sprays may flush out any other nasal remedies), plus they’re A-ok to use while pregnant and breastfeeding.

Arm & Hammer offers various versions of the Simply Saline Nasal Mist, including a product specifically for babies (ages birth and up) as well as one for kids (ages 2 and up). The spray for babies has an infant-safe nozzle. Compared to Neti Pots (which are suitable for those ages 5 and up), the Nasal Mist is gentler on little noses and easier to use as a whole. 

OCEAN for Kids Saline Nasal Spray is safe for children and infants, and it, too, includes a smaller spray tip for young ones, plus it provides extra moisture.

Though the weather is warming up, it’s still important to be mindful about cold prevention. Summer colds are common, as slightly over half of the respondents in a Simply Saline survey, released last week, report experiencing one within the past year.

Confused about how to administer nasal spray? This video can help.

How to Give Nasal Spray
How to Give Nasal Spray
How to Give Nasal Spray

Images courtesy of Valeant Pharmaceuticals North America LLC and Simply Saline, respectively. 

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Disney Junior’s Free “Pirate and Princess” Events Will Feature Sofia and Jake Encouraging Kids to Do Good Deeds

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Pirates and princesses may conjure images of make-believe lives, but Disney Junior’s “Pirate and Princess: Power of Doing Good” event encourages kids to tackle real-world issues in collaboration with the ASPCA, Youth Service America (YSA), the National Wildlife Federation, and First Book.

The tour, which is part of Disney’s Summer of Service, is focused on “engaging kids and parents in activities that not only highlight community service but also empower them to take these learnings and continue the work amongst their friends, families, and neighbors,” said Nancy Kanter, Executive Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide, in a Disney Junior press release. Activities will incorporate the shows Sofia the First and Jake and the Never Land Pirates.

The event will come to seven cities: Philadelphia, Washington DC, New York City, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Check out the schedule and sign up for your free tickets!

Whether or not the tour will visit your area, you can still check out the related family activities to complete at home. If you and your kids decide to make a pledge of service, share your efforts on social media using the hashtag #PowerofDoingGood.

If your kiddo can’t get enough of all things pirate, she’ll love these creative cupcakes!

How to Make Pirate Cupcakes
How to Make Pirate Cupcakes
How to Make Pirate Cupcakes

Photo credit: Disney Junior 

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Celebrate International Picnic Day with These Festive Baby Outfits!

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

This Wednesday, June 18, is International Picnic Day! Be sure to pack up some snacks (watermelon, for one, is a must!) to enjoy outside on this summer day. Meanwhile, get in the mood with these picnic-inspired outfits. Click the images to shop!

Baby will be the most festive guest at the picnic table when she shows up in this adorable one-piece from Kickee Pants. 

Nothing says picnic like a good old-fashioned pair of Levi’s overalls. 

If it’s an overcast day, toss this Target raincoat in your tote bag just in case. The weather will certainly seem less dreary with these bright colors in the mix! 

Pair these Jojo Maman Bebe shorts with a solid-colored top for a casual, summery look.

Bugs are not welcome at this gathering…unless they’re gracing this gender-neutral one-piece by Burt’s Bees! 

Help kids get in the picnic spirit with this fun song!

Ladybugs' Picnic
Ladybugs' Picnic
Ladybugs' Picnic

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Jozy Altidore: “We need our kids to believe in themselves and believe in what they can do.”

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

The FIFA World Cup kicks off June 12 (just around the corner)! Parents caught up with U.S. soccer team striker Jozy Altidore to get his insight on the upcoming tournament and starting kids young in athletics. At the age of 24, Jozy has some pretty mature insight into the values that make a successful, kind kid—on the field and off.

P: How you were drawn to the sport at such a young age and what makes soccer a great sport for kids?

JA: My family, from their background, it’s kind of a natural thing. They’re from Haiti and in Haiti soccer is basically number one. My dad is of Haitian descent and he got me into soccer since I was 3. I’ve been playing ever since then and I just fell in love with the game.

P: What makes soccer special for young kids?

JA: I think any sport [is great] for kids because it keeps them off the street. I know that’s important. That’s one of the reasons why my family put me in, to make sure I was doing something that required discipline. I think soccer is great because it’s a team game, being able to function in a group. It’s kind of a brotherhood; you’re a group of guys and you grow together as people and as players. You travel together; you play; you go through a lot. It’s a great thing for young boys and young girls to get into. Most importantly it’s fun!

P: You turned pro at age 16. What was it like to still be a kid navigating a world of professional athletes?

JA: It was next to impossible. I struggled with it at first, obviously. There’s so much to do and you’ve got such little time and adjusting to playing with grown men and not children, that was hard as well. Just getting used to what comes with being a professional, the criticisms, fans and all that. [You have to] quit worrying about if everyone is going to like what you do or like you as a player and just try to have a positive outlook on everything and work hard. That was the biggest challenge I think for me.

P: What was your most memorable moment from the last World Cup?

JA: Just walking out of the tunnel that first game because I’ll never forget it. I cried a little bit. It was just so surreal to me. It was just amazing. I don’t think I’m going to be able to replicate it. It was so special to me.

P: What are you most excited for about the upcoming World Cup now that you’ve already been? Will you still have that adrenaline walking out of the tunnel?

JA: Most definitely. Hopefully I arrive at the World Cup in a more mature way and not that youth where I’m just excited and I want to run everywhere and bounce off the walls, you know? Hopefully, I arrive there with more of an understanding of what’s new for me and how I can help the team to the best of my abilities. Just try to impact the tournament in the best way I can for my teammates. I’m looking forward to that.

P: Is there any one match that you’re most looking forward to?

JA: The first match is special for a lot of reasons. It’s the first game of a childhood dream. You can’t replicate the feelings that you’re going to feel on that day. You can try. You can play a lot of big games against big opponents, but that feeling as a player that I’ll have walking out of the tunnel against Ghana will be immeasurable. I’m excited for that. I’m excited to be part of it and I’m excited for the guys to have that experience, as well.

P: You started the Jozy Altidore Foundation back in 2011. What inspired you to do this?

JA: Well in 2010 I went to the place in Haiti with the earthquake. I was shaken up because it hit close to home for me being that my family is from Haiti. I just felt helpless like I couldn’t do anything. It was in that moment where I felt like I should try and do something. My family helped me figure out how to do that by getting a foundation. I could have donated something, which I did, but I thought having a foundation would be a more hands-on approach. I looked into it and I started it and I haven’t looked back. It enables me to help in many different ways, not only Haiti but in many different areas.

P: Your foundation’s mission statement says that you specifically want to serve underprivileged children. What is it about young kids that you relate to or feel for? What draws you to help that population?

JA: I’ve always been a big fan of the youth. I guess when you go everything so young that kind of just happens. I want to help the youth and see them do well.

P: You’ve said that no one is ever too young to make a difference. How do you hope to encourage young people to volunteer and raise money?

JA: I think it’s an easy thing. Kids are very naïve in a sense where they just want what they want. So if they want to help, they’re going to help. I think that will naturally just happen. I think kids just have a good heart and are genuine about their feelings. I figure that the best way to teach [generosity] is to teach them young because that’s the time when our hearts are the purest and you know they’ll get the most out of it.

P: Aside from this spirit of volunteerism, what other values did your parents impart to you that you have carried on and have made you so successful?

JA: My dad always says to be modest. To this day he always says it’s better to be modest, it’s always better to listen and sometimes not speak. He said it to me yesterday, actually. He’s always saying that to me. I think a lot of kids and a lot of people sometimes lose sight of that. I think it’s something that might be simple, but I think we oftentimes don’t do it.

P: Do you have any message for young kids who are dreaming about careers in athletics?

JA: To dream big and big and bigger! I think that’s important for kids. You can’t really tell anybody that “You can’t do” something. I think they have to believe they can. With that and with being persistent, they’ll make it whether it’s being a big time athlete or something else. I think we need our kids to believe in themselves and believe in what they can do.

P: Father’s Day is coming up. Do you have any plans? Anything special you do on that day even if you’re not with your dad?

JA: In my family—I don’t think I’m dissing anybody else—but I try to make them feel that they’re special every day whether it’s how I call to speak to them or give my mom a call when she’s least expecting it because for me my parents have been instrumental for me from day one. [Father's Day] will be a nice day to express that again, but I try to do that every day because I’m so thankful. I’m so grateful. I don’t know where I’d be without them.

Soccer not for you? Use this video to teach your son or daughter to throw a perfect pitch!

How to Pitch Like a Big Leaguer
How to Pitch Like a Big Leaguer
How to Pitch Like a Big Leaguer

For more suggestions of fun activities with your kids, download our Activity Finder app!

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