Saturday, October 14, 2006

Run Home and Cry to Mommy

Were you ever taunted by kids in school that told you "run home and cry to your mommy?" Maybe a big brother did the taunting?

Here is my list of top ten reasons to run home and cry to mommy:

1. Having two teens, a baby, a 3 year-old, and having to drive 40 minutes to pick up your daughter, with the baby and 3 year-old, because the truck your husband just repaired before going out of town for four days died.

2. Taking the baby and the 3 year-old and both of them cry for ten minutes straight on the last ten minutes.

3. Cramming an early shopping trip in between dropping off one daughter at the high school and the other off at the fair parade drop off point. Not so bad, except that the baby was with and pooped his diaper all over me in the store. There were no diapers in my bag.

4. Same shopping trip--baby drooled on the checkbook. The drool spot got shredded in the check reader and I had to write another while holding a poopy, wiggling baby.

5. Husband out of town.

6. The dog scraping his bowl for food while the boys are crying and drinkable yogurt gets spilled.

7. While cleaning the yogurt, the three year-old raises his arms, spilling the remaining drinkable yogurt.

8. Putting the three year-old to bed only to realize I forgot to change the sheets that he wet the night before because I was running my teen girls all over town and getting pooped on in the store.

9. Husband out of town.

10. Realizing that if I did run home to mommy, the dishes would not get done, the wash would not get done, the cats and dog would leave hairs all over that no one would sweep, and it would take at least two to three weeks to run home to mommy since she is 1800 miles away.

Friday, September 08, 2006

How To Communicate With Your Teen

Do you have a teenager? Have you talked to them lately? I can hear the laughter now. Sometimes we just can't talk with them. That's life.

Don't forget, you were a teenager, too. Did you run home from high school to tell your mom everything? I didn't. But, when I was ready to talk, I really wanted to talk. I also yearned for hugs and kisses, even though I tried to run when I saw the kiss on the cheek coming.

Talking with a teen is important. Below are some ideas of the best times I have found to talk. Enjoy!

1. Riding in the car. There is something about the car that my mom discovered, and myself as a mother of teenagers has discovered--kids talk. I don't know if is the small space, the vibration of the engine, or the fact that everyone is strapped down and not going anywhere. Some of the best, most honest conversations have been in the car.

I suppose a big reason is that I am in one place, secured, and the younger brothers are also secured. Everyone knows I can listen without having to do the dishes while burping the baby and getting a snack for the preschooler.

Of course, my teen daughters can't go anywhere either. It is hard to have a slumber party and a serious discussion on the phone with your mother around. So we talk.

2. The dinner table. How often have we heard from family "experts" that a regular family dinner at the table can help families? Before I go to far into this one, I want to come clean. We do have dinner at the table, most of the time. Are they all successful and beautifully, peacefully accomplished? Not a chance. Sometimes help getting the table set is enough to exhaust my patience completely and make me run and hide. Sometimes we are grumpy. Food has never been thrown, though (yet). But, there are times when peace reigns, even if it is over macaroni and cheese and green beans. We laugh, we talk, we tease, we bond.

3. After dates. Okay, I am almost 41. Late hours and me don't happen. Dates are over pretty late. My kids have a curfew, and at dating age (16 in our house) this curfew is midnight. When a daughter has had a great night, they talk and talk and talk. One dad I know would make milkshakes after dates and sit and talk with his daughter. If it was a good one, talking with the teen is better than sleep.

But, there are sometimes bad dates, past curfew dates, "I-wonder-what-you-have-been-doing-dates. I don't like those. I would rather go to bed than be the parent. I don't like correcting my children. But, I do. Surprisingly, they listen. They may not admit it. They may say some pretty sad things back. I may not know it for a few days, weeks, or months (or years!), but my input did count. They know I care.

4. Working together. Two words not often put together with teenagers. But, when it is done, once again there is no where to go doing dishes together. Dishes are boring. Talking is more fun.

6. Camping. Camping and hiking really is fun, but requires the ability to handle down time. There is no television or computer to fill the down time. There could be, but wise parents know how to leave the computer at home and the cell phone in the car. Even "boring hikes" require some form of communication. Try it.

I am sure there are more ideas you might have that are also successful. Let me know.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Five Baby Bottles for the New Mom

As I have had babies over the years, I have noticed that baby bottle designs have changed quite a bit from the standard glass and latex baby bottle. With my first baby, seventeen years ago, glass baby bottles were as widely available as plastic bottles. Vented baby bottles were not as noticeably available, if even around. Now, vented baby bottles are not only available, but are available in several designs.

Vented bottles work by releasing the air that builds up in the baby bottle as the baby begins to suck. The idea is to get the air out of the bottle without going into the baby's stomach, reducing gas and colic. Avent vents through the edge of the nipple. Dr Brown's baby bottles vent through a tube that is attached to the nipple/ring assembly at the top of the bottle. Playtex Ventaire and Adiri both vent through a mechanism at the bottom of the bottle. Playtex Premium Nursers are not vented as the baby drinks, but air can be "burped" out of the bottle before feeding.

One important aspect of choosing a baby bottle is the nipple. Silicone nipples tend to last longer than latex and are clear, so it is easy to see if they are clean. The shape of the nipple is a factor, especially if you are breast-feeding and using a bottle. I have been using Avent bottles for that reason. I have never had nipple confusion with my last two babies. The baby bottles below all are designed to mimic the shape of a mother's breast.

There is some controversy as to the plastic used for the bottle. Some people seem to think bisphenol-A that is found in polycarbonate bottles may cause problems for babies if the bottle is overheated or leached into the milk when microwaved. I will leave that for you to research and decide. (A side note: microwaving is not recommended for heating bottles as it may leave hot spots in the formula that can burn a baby's mouth.)

Most important is your baby's happiness. I will not swear to one brand or the other. Just as adults are individual in their tastes and need, so are babies. The list below is intended as a general guide to help you sort through choices. You and your new one are the best judge.

1. Avent

  • Website:
    Bottle material: Polycarbonate
  • Nipple (teat) material: Silicone
  • Available sizes: 11-oz., 9-oz., 4-oz
  • Advantages: Wide mouth for filling and cleaning; vented nipple which Avent claims to reduce air, colic, and burping; nipple is shaped to mimic breast and make transition from breast to bottle easier; sippy lids, nipples, breast pump storage all are interchangeable; available disposable bottle system.
  • Disadvantages: If the ring is tightened too much the bottle leaks; the nipple must be centered on the ring inside the cap to prevent leakage during storage (the cap compresses the nipple tip).

2. Dr. Brown's Natural Flow

  • Website:
  • Bottle material: Polycarbonate Plastic
  • Available sizes: 8-oz., 4-oz., 2-oz
  • Nipple material: silicone
  • Advantages: An internal vent system prevents bubbles and creates positive pressure similar to breast-feeding, which they claim reduces gas, colic, spit-up and helps reduce fluid build-up in the baby's ear; available in a wide-neck for easier filling and cleaning; available breast pump system works with bottles..
  • Disadvantages: Milk can leak out the top; small parts for cleaning; multiple parts (bottle, ring, nipple and a two piece tube).

3. Adiri

  • Website:
  • Bottle/nipple material: Silicone
  • Other parts: Plastic
  • Available Size: 7-oz.
  • Advantages: One-piece nipple and bottle body are shaped like a mother's breast; valve system in base to reduce air; claims to reduce colic; easy to take apart and clean; possible to simulate let-down; three "ports" are available inside the nipple and can be cut open to increase nipple flow.
  • Disadvantages: The nipple may drip when not covered by its cap; may be difficult for a baby to hold without leakage.

4. Playtex Ventaire

  • Website:
  • Nipple Material: Silicone
  • Bottle material: Poly
  • Available sizes: 6-oz and 9-0z
  • Advantages: Top and bottom of bottle come off for easy cleaning; vented bottle prevents air build-up; ergonomic design.
  • Disadvantages: Multiple parts; leaks if the ring is not screwed on just right.

5. Platex Premium Nurser

  • Website:
  • Nipple Material: Silicone
  • Bottle material: Plastic drop-in liner
  • Available sizes: 4-oz and 8-0z
  • Advantages: Disposable liners are presterilized; air in baby bottle can be released before giving to baby by squeezing the drop-in liner; easy to clean baby bottle housing; can pump breast-milk directly to disposable liner by attaching to pump with adapter ring and sealing with caps; nipples are designed to be easy on babies that must switch from breast to bottle.
  • Disadvantages: Must buy disposable liners.