Parenting Style: 10 Things Every Mom Should Know

Success Secrets 6 - 10

6. How to Clean Up Throw-Up

The trick to cleaning up vomit -- no matter what the surface -- is to get it up as quickly as you can.

  • First, use a paper towel to lift away any solid remains. For hard surfaces, cat litter works to soak up what's left so that it can be scooped up and thrown away. You don't have a kitty? Sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the affected area to absorb the throw-up (and the odor).
  • For carpeting and rugs, consider investing in dry-cleaning fluid (do a test run to make sure it won't bleach out the color). After cleaning up the vomit, pour the fluid over the stain. Blot with a dry, white cloth. Rewet the stain with a squirt of mild liquid detergent, then blot again with the cloth. Flood the stain with water and blot, repeating until there's no soap residue.
  • If your child vomits on a wood floor, use a pH-neutral cleaner or a solution of white vinegar and warm water. If you're cleaning a mattress, car seat, or the living-room couch, sponge the stain with cool water, then cover the spot with baking soda and allow to dry, then vacuum.

7. How to Breastfeed Discreetly in Public

Choose clothing for easy access. If you're wearing a button-down shirt, undo the bottom two buttons (not top two) and tuck your baby inside. For extra privacy, drape your infant with a shawl or baby blanket. Or nurse your infant while holding her in a baby sling. "The fabric will cover you so you'll look as if you're carrying a sleeping baby," says Katy Lebbing, manager of the Center for Breastfeeding Information at La Leche League. To avoid attention, keep an eye out for your baby's cues that she's hungry -- sticking her tongue out, rooting, or rolling her head -- so you can begin to feed her before she cries.

8. How to Change a Diaper Anywhere

Most malls, bus and train terminals, and many family restaurants provide pull-down changing stations in their public restrooms. The backseat of your car can also double as a changing table. If you're stuck outside, find a park bench or put the stroller in the recline position and change your baby there.

9. How to Get Kids to Eat Veggies

You have to be creative if you want to raise a vegetable lover. Sneak the healthy stuff into foods they already like, suggests nutritionist and Parents advisor Connie Diekman, RD.

  • Mix shredded carrots and zucchini into meat loaf.
  • Chop carrots, tomatoes, and potatoes into small pieces and add to canned or homemade chicken-noodle soup.
  • Spike spaghetti sauce with finely chopped peppers and celery.
  • Layer spinach leaves or romaine lettuce with turkey and mozzarella cheese on a flour tortilla. Roll tightly and chill, then cut into 1-inch slices and serve with salsa.

10. How to Tell a Great Bedtime Story

  • Start with "Once upon a time there was a problem in the land." Then introduce your hero or heroine. The character, whether animal or human, should be instantly recognizable as a stand-in for your child. Does she love to paint? Is he obsessed with dinosaurs? A joke teller? Animal lover? Throw in a giveaway physical attribute -- missing tooth, long curly red hair, freckles.
  • Use the day's events for the plot. "Transform mundane activities by making them bigger, sillier, or scarier," says Judith Black, an award-winning storyteller. That miserable traffic jam you were stuck in on the way to a playgroup can become magical with a few small changes. Let your imagination go wild. Does a good witch wave her wand to create more space on the highway? Are the cars equipped with wings? Is the tunnel a portal into the future? Ask your child to join in on the fun by helping you weave the story.

Copyright ? 2006. Reprinted with permission from the September 2006 issue of Parents magazine.

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