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Elmo: The Ultimate Bottlenator

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

It’s no secret that I dropped the ball with getting Mason off the bottle at a decent age. By his second birthday, he was still drinking morning and evening babas, without any signs of stopping. I told friends that Mason would still be drinking a bottle in kindergarten, and I was only half-kidding.

I had counted on him just losing interest and stopping on his own. The thought of separating him from one of his great loves was almost more than I could bear. But of course that didn’t happen. As the months passed by, he remained hooked.

Then he moved up a level in school, where he’s drinking from a regular cup and potty training, and the bottle thing just seemed ridiculous. Especially when I kept hearing from his teacher how well he was doing with his big boy cup.

We took away the nighttime bottle a few weeks ago and endured a week of temper tantrums until he finally realized we weren’t going to cave in. It was awful and stressful but he finally stopped throwing a fit every time we handed him his sippy cup. I’m sure he was thinking There’s always my morning baba.

But last Saturday we took that away, too. He was so excited/distracted to have both my friend Jeanne and his Uncle Adam around for the day that he barely noticed. Then Sunday rolled around, and it was just the three of us, and Mason realized he baba was gone for good. All h-ll broke loose.

We had four nightmare mornings in a row–until this morning. It was lovely and peaceful and fun. Enter Elmo (aka toddler crack).

Mason has a crush on Elmo bordering on obsession, so I decided to soften the bottle blow by giving him an Elmo sippy cup in its place. I ordered a few and they arrived last night. When Mason demanded a bottle this morning, Chris handed him one of his new cups and said, Look, buddy, Elmo! The child actually did a happy dance.

He’s still a little stinker when it comes to getting out the door in the morning, but I’ll take a little procrastination over a full-on bottle meltdown any day.

Photo courtesy of thechroniclesofsan.blogspot.com

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Could You Fight Cancer While Pregnant? Or Win a Gold Medal?

Monday, September 24th, 2012

I cover pregnancy here at Parents, and I heard two amazing stories about expectant moms today that I just had to share with you.

Meet Jessica Henriquez. She’s married to actor Josh Lucas, and she gave birth to their son Noah in June–while also battling cervical cancer (that’s the couple, pictured left).

The couple met and fell in love shortly after Henriquez was diagnosed with stage 1 cervical cancer, at the age of 25, according to the Huffington Post. Six weeks after their chance encounter in a New York City dog park, they got engaged.

A few months later, after going through two courses of treatment that were unsuccessful, Henriquez’s doctor started talking to her about having a hysterectomy. And then she learned she was pregnant.

“I hadn’t thought about children,” she tells HuffPo. “It wasn’t my dream since I was a little girl to have a family. But when a doctor looks you in the eyes and takes that option off the table, it immediately sets something off in you — this motherhood gene.”

Henriquez then made an incredibly gutsy decision, in my opinion. She decided to discontinue  her cancer treatment, for fear she would miscarry, and focus on her pregnancy. Despite a rough go of it, she did it!

Unfortunately her cancer has progressed from stage 1A to 1B, but the good news is that it  hasn’t spread, according to the report. Here’s to hoping this brave mom gets through the treatment she’s starting again this fall with flying colors–and she can focus on motherhood once and for all.

Then there’s Kerri Walsh Jennings, who is inspiring me for completely different reasons. She apparently won the gold in London while she was five weeks pregnant. She told Matt Lauer this morning on the Today Show that she and her hubby Casey started trying for baby #3 just before the Olympics, but they never imagined it would happen so quickly. She figured it out shortly after arriving at the Olympics.

“I’m a pretty happy girl and I was unreasonably moody,” she explained. “At some point, you’re late and then you start feeling something. And I definitely started feeling something in London.”

Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC’s chief medical editor, told Today that competing at the games did not increase Walsh Jennings’ risk of pregnancy complications–so Walsh wasn’t being irresponsible.

When I was five weeks pregnant, I was puking my guts out–I can’t imagine being well enough to power walk, let alone run around in sand and dive for a volleyball. She pulled off growing a baby and winning yet another gold medal, at the same time. WOW!

Any other inspiring preggo stories to share?

Photo: Josh Lucas and Jessica Henriquez via Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

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Working Mom Guilt: Who Needs It Anyway?

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

“I am the worst mom ever!” I said out loud yesterday afternoon, to no one in particular. My co-worker Jessica, who sits next to me, asked what was up. I explained that I had just asked Chris to pick Mason up from school because I was swamped and wasn’t going to be able to make it there on time. I felt a mixture of relief and misery when he said yes. I hate missing out on time with Mason.

“Today you’re a good worker and a bad mom. Some days you might be a good mom and a bad worker. Other days it’ll all go to h-ll. That’s just how it is,” she said. Truer words have never been spoken.

Jessica is a pro at this working mom thing (in my opinion, anyway). She has two kids (ages 6 and 9), a hubby with a super hectic work schedule, and a big job at American Baby (our sister mag), so she balances a lot. She was spot-on, but I still felt guilty as I shut my computer down at 7:15 and scrambled for the subway so I could at least give Mason hugs and kisses before he went to bed (luckily it all worked out).

At this point, I rarely indulge my working mom guilt. I try to acknowledge it and then move on before it starts to eat at me. In fact, I thought I was over the whole thing entirely until this afternoon when a co-worker sent me an ABC News report about a new study by Cornell University. Researchers found American moms with full-time jobs spend roughly three-and-half fewer hours a day than nonworking moms attending to their kids’ diet and exercise. The “news” hardly came as a surprising, but it definitely annoyed me.

Of course I feel guilty when an obligation takes me away from my kid. Researchers are comparing me to working moms and then reporting on my shortcomings!

What about the fact that when I’m not preparing Mason’s food, he’s eating organic meals with his friends? Or that he’s getting tons of exercise even though I’m not with him all day, by taking soccer, yoga, and dance lessons? What about the fact that I’m providing for my family?

I think my fellow blogger Jill Cordes sums it up nicely in her post on the same topic: “Whether you stay at home or work, just love your child, feed them nutritious meals, have whomever is watching them feed them nutritious meals, have them exercise—with or without you—and instill in them the importance of healthy living.”

And here’s an idea. Instead of fanning the flames of the mommy wars by comparing working moms to nonworking moms, why don’t these researchers redirect their efforts to curing cancer?

Anyone else with me on this one?

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Would a Supersize Soda Ban Change Your Family’s Drinking Habits?

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Mason has never had a soda, and I’m hoping to keep it that way for a long time. It’s not that I’m worried he’ll become obese if he drinks it–he’s still a tall string bean of a kid, even though he has a huge appetite–it’s a health issue. All that sugar is linked to Diabetes and heart disease. And since he loves milk and water, I don’t see any point in hooking him on a junk-drink.

And surely it’s my right as a parent to decide what my son will drink, including exactly how much of it he will consume, right?

Well, mostly.

A new law in New York City, where we live, now bans supersize non-diet soda, sweetened teas, and other high-calorie beverages (defined as anything larger than 16 ounces) from being sold in cafeterias, restaurants, theaters, and fast-food joints.

Although I’ve supported the gross-out ads that run on TV and are plastered on subway cars to encourage people to think twice before tossing back a sugary drink–Americans do drink too much soda–this ban annoys me for several reasons:

* Mayor Michael Bloomberg has taken it upon himself to champion a law that tells New Yorkers what we can and cannot drink. (Remember, he’s also the one who decided to lock up formula in hospitals.) Why should he have that right?

* The ban isn’t very smart. People can just go to a place where free refills are offered and drink as much sugar as they wish. If there aren’t refills, they can purchase two sodas. Or, they can go to the store and buy a jumbo bottle of soda. If sugar is the real concern here, why not look at smart ways to better regulate sugar?

* If health is the key concern, why aren’t there limits on drinks with artificial sweeteners? A recent study showed that massive quantities of diet soda is linked to a higher risk of stroke and heart attack. Researchers also found that diet soda packs on the pounds, too.

Bottom line is that this law isn’t going to change what Mason drinks–or, frankly, what we drink in our household. We don’t drink mass quantities of soda, but if we wanted to, we would. I think it should be our choice what we consume, not the government’s decision.

Would a ban like this where you live influence how much soda your family drinks?

Photo: Glass of soda via uchschen/Shutterstock.com

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Key Breast Milk Ingredient Synthesized: Exciting or Freaky?

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

I stopped breastfeeding Mason when he was five weeks old, for a variety of reasons, and I felt incredibly guilty about it for months–even though it was the right decision at the time. I gave Mason a formula that I (and our pediatrician) felt good about, and I focused on finding other ways to bond with him. But I still felt a little wistful when I watched friends nurse their babies.

Now there’s a new development in the works that could give formula-fed babies (and their moms) a boost. According to a report published in Science Daily, a microbial engineer at the University of Illinois has synthesized a sugar in human milk that is thought to protect babies from pathogens.

Of course the human milk oligosaccharide (HMO) is incredibly expensive: 1 milligram of 2FL (the shorthand scientists are using to describe it) costs $100 and a single study would require $1 million worth of HMO alone. Scientists will need to do a lot of testing before something like this could ever be released to market–who knows whether it’s really safe. And given the prohibitive cost, it’s hard to say when or how those studies will take place.

But despite the obstacles, I find the prospect of something like this to be very exciting. To be clear, I’m not saying formula with this HMO would be superior to breastmilk. I’m just saying that for moms who can’t breastfeed (think of my sister), or who just don’t want to, any advancements that would make formula more healthful would be awesome.

What do you think?

Photo: Bottle with milk via lorenzo_graph/Shutterstock.com

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