Archive for the ‘Babies’ Category

Welcome to our world little one!

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

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“We did not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” Ancient Indian Proverb

 

To our new grandson, we are so very happy that you arrived this week healthy and happy!

Your parents are good people, and you are loved by a very large (and somewhat crazy) extended family. Having so many people ‘in your corner’ is a very good thing!

We will encourage you to play, learn and grow to be someone good in this world.

Here is a little advice from Nonna:

  1. When you color, use all the crayons in the box. That will make your picture so much more interesting.
  1. When playing with your friends, they may have different ideas on what to play or how to play. Listen to their ideas, too. After all, the objective is to have fun. If you start with that in mind, everybody wins!
  1. Be grateful for everything you have, and remember it’s more about the people you are playing with, than about the game.
  2. There are certain games, like baseball, where you have to choose sides. Remember, you only have to choose sides when the game specifically calls for it. Other times, it’s nice to start in the middle rather than taking sides.
  3. Although the message in stories is that some people are good and others are bad, that is very rarely true.
  4. Don’t think you can look at a person and know the kind of person they are. Give people the benefit of the doubt. The ugly witch can be a very good person.
  5. Know that we will do everything we can to protect you. And the largest population in the world is good people. They outnumber everyone else.
  6. There aren’t always easy answers to a problem, but we can’t stop trying to fix them. There is always something we can do.
  7. You are going to make mistakes. Admit them, apologize, learn from your mistakes and move on.
  8. It is always a good time to be kind.

Every time a child is born, so is a grandparent.

I love you all the time!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

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What are we trying to accomplish?

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

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It happened again. 

The other evening we are at a restaurant.  A family of four enters; the two little boys don’t even glance up from their cell phones as they are being seated. Shortly after orders are placed, the parents join the independent activity on their cell phones.

Yes, times are different but what hasn’t changed is the invaluable connection to the most important people in our lives.  As Einstein fears, are we at the stage where technology is surpassing human interaction?

  • How will our children learn they are part of a family that matters more than anything else?
  • How will they come to know the wonder and craziness of extended family if they don’t listen to the rich family stories?
  • How do parents teach values if children are listening to what is deemed newsworthy by popular culture?

When It Comes to Infant Language Development, Not All Toys Are Created Equal.

Parents – you are the perfect toy!

Of all the changes we would love to make in society but can’t – this one is completely in your control.

Please forgive me if I’m not impressed that your one-year-old knows how to swipe an iPad.  It would be so much better if they know how to turn the page of a book.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

We need to see into the future

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Television has changed a child from an irresistible force to an immovable object.  ~Author Unknown

A young mom visits family and leaves her one-year-old with her aunt for a few minutes.  She returns to find her child holding an iPhone.  He has no idea what to do with it.  When the mom asks what happened, her aunt replies that her grandchildren, both under two, love playing with her iPhone.

A family goes to dinner with friends, looking forward to spending time connecting with their boys, ages 4 and 7.  The boys arrive with iPads and never look up.

No worries.  Now we have BabyFirstTV, a dedicated TV network for 6-month-olds.

What?!

Let’s ignore the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations that entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.

Huh?! People, like real people?!

Ironic that we want our children to emulate Einstein when Einstein himself as a young child talked late and did poorly in school. This is best illustrated by Einstein’s own response to his discovery:

“When I ask myself how it happened that I in particular discovered the Relativity Theory, it seems to lie in the following circumstance. The normal adult never bothers his head of space-time problems. Everything there is to be thought about, in his opinion, has been done in early childhood. I, on the contrary, developed so slowly that I only began to wonder about space and time when I was already grown up. In consequence, I poked deeper into the problem than any ordinary child would.”

Are parents desperately trying to keep up with the stress of a demanding world and compensate by rushing their child’s development?

Dr. Sally Goldberg, author of Baby and Toddler Learning Fun, tells us that reading, singing, and talking to your child provide the best preparation for success in school. This is because the spoken language has an astonishing impact on a young child’s brain development. The number of words an infant hears each day is considered the single most important predicator of later intelligence, school success, and social competence. These words have to come from an active, engaged human being, not radio, TV, DVDs, or computers.

Don’t miss the opportunity to build a relationship with your child. Even worse, by relying on electronic media you’re sending a subliminal message to your child that the television is an approved teacher. Is that the message you really want to send?

Children get it; they like to be read to because of the closeness they feel with the reader. Even with the advances of high definition TV, it is still better for a toddler to walk with you as you talk about the leaves that crunch under your feet, or see a real spider weaving its web. Parents are the perfect educational toy. There is tremendous joy that comes with having children, but the joy comes from spending time with your children.

Teach them how to pay attention by paying attention to them. Think ahead to the future, and raise a person you would want to meet.  You know, one that gives eye contact.

When you become a parent, you don’t get to phone it in.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

When are you finished parenting?

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Parents hope their babies will soon start walking, while parents of toddlers wonder when they can resume eye contact at family functions.   Parents of middle school students long for the days their kids can drive so the family taxi can take a rest; that is until their teen actually begins driving.  This means parent cat naps on the couch waiting for the new driver to arrive safely home.

But do you understand you’re never actually done being a parent?  There is no finish line. 

Just ask the mom of an Airforce Major trying to comfort her sobbing daughter 2,000 miles away because of her pending divorce.  Ask the dad who tries to help his son find a resolution as his insurance company drops him because of two accidents the day before a hurricane.   Or the mom of the brand new inner city school teacher as he faces daily struggles he couldn’t possibly have anticipated, but hangs in there because he wants to make a difference.

The challenges grow with your child.  When they are little, it’s easy to put a band-aid on what hurts, and make the hurt go away.  The saying, “little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems,” is very true.  

It’s nice when your adult child calls for advice, but very stressful if you don’t have an answer.  Still, it’s wonderful that they call, and sometimes all they really need is someone to listen. 

 We can do that. 

 All the best,

 Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Today – modern villages are needed to raise a child

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

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Not too long ago, I was presenting a parenting seminar at a local mom’s group. At the end of the discussion a very pretty and very pregnant mom raised her hand. “Does it get any easier?” In unison, all the moms in the room said, “Yes!”

It turned out this teary, exhausted mom was two weeks away from having her fourth child and busy caring for her five-year-old, three-year old, and 18-month old children, with no help.

I knew this community, and interestingly part of the town’s name was ‘the village’ so helping was second nature to them. Going out on a limb, I asked this mom if she had ever been on the ‘giving’ side. She nodded and explained how she had run a program at church that helped members in need.

Why is it easy to help others, yet difficult to ask for help?

As the African proverb suggests, it does take a village to raise a child. Today’s villages use modern tools such as Google Calendar. Volunteers sign up to make meals, coordinate trips to doctors and guarantee sufficient coverage. For families dealing with family illnesses, or financial struggles the situations are tough, but not insurmountable. They are in temporary need of help and fortunately, people rally to their aid.

Other families that need help are high profile such as ‘Jon and Kate plus 8’ and next we’ll meet The Hayes Family on TLC’s ‘Table for Twelve’ but because collectively, we like these families, they get help from sponsor companies providing vans, homes, diapers, juice, clothes, etc.

Compare that to Octomom, where simple math meets complex issues.

The simple math is:
• 0 job for the sole breadwinner
• 1 single mother
• 6 siblings
• 8 newborns
• 14 children in total
• 15 minutes of fame

The complex issues are:
• Should someone lacking the financial means have 14 children?
• Who was a right to say how many children someone can have?
• Should a potentially dangerous medical situation be allowed?
• What about everyone else who would love to have more children, but feels financially restricted have to pay for someone else’s decision to have 14 children?
• When and how often should a child advocacy agency step in to check on the care the children are getting?
• Who are we to judge?

For now, I hope the surrounding community and sponsor companies help, despite the fact that Nadya Suleman is hardly an ideal spokesperson. It’s not about her; it’s about the babies, and their needed care. Much like a teenage pregnancy, the situation is not ideal.

The controversy and questions will go on, and babies will do what they always do, grow and thrive while the adults are busy talking. We have to realize even though we seriously question her state of mind, and her ability to handle this tremendously difficult situation, she is after all, their mother.

Be kind for everyone you meet if fighting a hard battle. – Plato

Too Many Toys

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

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The KISS principle (which stands for Keep It Simple, stupid) relates to just about every area of our life. Not surprisingly it begins when our children are little.

Visit the home of any family with little kids and you see toys, toys, and more toys. The overabundance of toys makes each toy less special, less noticed and less valued. I have often found that putting toys away for a while and rotating them offered a better chance for the kids to appreciate them more.

But, as often happens the problem that many of us experienced, was resolved a mom.

Lori Pope launched Baby Plays, a web-based company that rents toys, think of it as a Netflix for toys.

Customers pay $28.99 a month to get four toys a month for three months and $35.99 a month to get six toys a month for three months. Families willing to sign a yearlong contract can get six toys a month for $31.99.

Baby Plays’ inventory includes popular toys by brands such as VTech, LeapFrog and Playskool as well as more obscure European manufacturers. Pope keeps at least seven of each kind of toy in stock so she can fulfill almost every request. She plans to double her inventory over the next two months.

Pope mainly stocks sturdy, easy-to-clean toys with few parts or parts that are easily replaced. She searches Web sites and catalogs for popular toys that are appropriate for small children and meet all European and American safety standards.

Guess the kids would really look forward to a visit from the UPS driver!

Babies are the new accessory

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

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It is quite fashionable these days to have a baby. Better than a handbag or Chihuahua, babies are the new ‘it’ accessory.

Those of us who are professional parents (non-celebrities) always knew that. The difference is that when our babies become toddlers and eventually teens, we never loose interest in the fashion moment.

The next time a celebrity sits on Oprah’s couch and gushes about their baby, just be confident in the thought that your little star will always be shining even if your baby’s name doesn’t result in any Google hits.

How to raise your baby

Sunday, October 7th, 2007

Parent-to-parent advice on feeding, soothing, and more during baby’s first days at home.

Breastfeeding baby

Breastfeeding

It’s been six weeks since our daughter, Clementine, was born. She’s finally sleeping better and going longer between feedings. She’s also becoming more alert when she’s awake. My husband and I, on the other hand, feel like we’ve been hit by a truck. I’m amazed that we’ve muddled through. Here are tips from seasoned parents and baby experts to make your first month easier.

Hints for Nursing

Babies eat and eat and eat. Although nature has done a pretty good job of providing you and your baby with the right equipment, in the beginning it’s almost guaranteed to be harder than you expected. From sore nipples to tough latch-ons, nursing can seem overwhelming.

1. Women who seek help have a higher success rate. “Think of ways to ensure success before you even give birth,” suggests Stacey Brosnan, a lactation consultant in New York City. Talk with friends who had a good nursing experience, ask baby’s pediatrician for a lactation consultant’s number, or attend a La Leche League (nursing support group) meeting (see laleche.org to find one).

2. Use hospital resources. Kira Sexton, a Brooklyn, New York, mom, says, “I learned everything I could about breastfeeding before I left the hospital.” Ask if there’s a nursing class or a lactation consultant on staff. Push the nurse-call button each time you’re ready to feed the baby, and ask a nurse to spot you and offer advice.

3. Prepare. At home, you’ll want to drop everything to feed the baby the moment she cries for you. But Heather O’Donnell, a mom in New York City, suggests taking care of yourself first. “Get a glass of water and a book or magazine to read.” And, because breastfeeding can take a while, she says, “pee first!”

4. Try a warm compress if your breasts are engorged or you have blocked ducts. A heating pad or a warm, wet washcloth works, but a flax pillow (often sold with natural beauty products) is even better. “Heat it in the microwave, and conform it to your breast,” says Laura Kriska, a mom in Brooklyn, New York.

5. Heat helps the milk flow, but if your breasts are sore after nursing, try a cold pack. Amy Hooker, a San Diego mom, says, “A bag of frozen peas worked really well for me.”

6. If you want baby to eventually take a bottle, introduce it after breastfeeding is established but before the 3-month mark. Many experts say 6 to 8 weeks is good, but “we started each of our kids on one bottle a day at 3 weeks,” says Jill Sizemore, a mom in Pendleton, Indiana.

Sleeping

If your infant isn’t eating, he’s probably sleeping. Newborns log as many as 16 hours of sleep a day but only in short bursts. The result: You’ll feel on constant alert and more exhausted than you ever thought possible. Even the best of us can come to resent the severe sleep deprivation.

7. Stop obsessing about being tired. There’s only one goal right now: Care for your baby. “You’re not going to get a full night’s sleep, so you can either be tired and angry or just tired,” says Vicki Lansky, author of Getting Your Child to Sleep…and Back to Sleep (Book Peddlers). “Just tired is easier.”

8. Take shifts. One night it’s Mom’s turn to rock the cranky baby, the next it’s Dad’s turn. Amy Reichardt and her husband, Richard, parents in Denver, worked out a system for the weekends, when Richard was off from work. “I’d be up with the baby at night but got to sleep in. Richard did all the morning care, then got to nap later.”

9. The old adage “Sleep when your baby sleeps” really is the best advice. “Take naps together and go to bed early,” says Sarah Clark, a mom in Washington, D.C.

10. What if your infant has trouble sleeping? Do whatever it takes: Nurse or rock baby to sleep; let your newborn fall asleep on your chest or in the car seat. “Don’t worry about bad habits yet. It’s about survival — yours!” says Jean Farnham, a Los Angeles mom.

Soothing

It’s often hard to decipher exactly what baby wants in the first murky weeks. You’ll learn, of course, by trial and error.

11. “The key to soothing fussy infants is to mimic the womb. Swaddling, shushing, and swinging, as well as allowing babies to suck and holding them on their sides, may trigger a calming reflex,” says Harvey Karp, MD, creator of The Happiest Baby on the Block books, videos, and DVDs.

12. Play tunes. Forget the dubious theory that music makes a baby smarter, and concentrate on the fact that it’s likely to calm him. “The Baby Einstein tapes saved us,” says Kim Rich, a mom in Anchorage, Alaska.

13. Warm things up. Alexandra Komisaruk, a mom in Los Angeles, found that diaper changes triggered a meltdown. “I made warm wipes using paper towels and a pumpable thermos of warm water,” she says. You can also buy an electric wipe warmer for a sensitive baby.

14. You’ll need other tricks, too. “Doing deep knee bends and lunges while holding my daughter calmed her down,” says Emily Earle, a mom in Brooklyn, New York. “And the upside was, I got my legs back in shape!”

15. Soak to soothe. If all else fails — and baby’s umbilical cord stub has fallen off — try a warm bath together. “You’ll relax, too, and a relaxed mommy can calm a baby,” says Emily Franklin, a Boston mom. Check this gentle bottle dish soap, it will help avoiding unexpected allergic rushes and other skin problems.

Getting Dad Involved

Your husband, who helped you through your pregnancy, may seem at a loss now that baby’s here. It’s up to you, Mom, to hand the baby over and let Dad figure things out, just like you’re doing.

16. Let him be. Many first-time dads hesitate to get involved for fear of doing something wrong and incurring the wrath of Mom. “Moms need to allow their husbands to make mistakes without criticizing them,” says Armin Brott, author of The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year (Abbeville Press).

17. Ask Dad to take time off from work — after all the relatives leave. That’s what Thad Calabrese, of Brooklyn, New York, did. “There was more for me to do, and I got some alone time with my son.”

18. Divvy up duties. Mark DiStefano, a dad in Los Angeles, took over the cleaning and grocery shopping. “I also took Ben for a bit each afternoon so my wife could have a little time to herself.”

19. Remember that Dad wants to do some fun stuff, too. “I used to take my shirt off and put the baby on my chest while we napped,” say Bob Vonnegut, a dad in Islamorada, Florida. “I loved the rhythm of our hearts beating together.”

Staying Sane

No matter how excited you are to be a mommy, the constant care an infant demands can drain you. Find ways to take care of yourself by lowering your expectations and stealing short breaks.

20. First, ignore unwanted or confusing advice. “In the end, you’re the parents, so you decide what’s best,” says Julie Balis, a mom in Frankfort, Illinois.

21. “Forget about housework for the first couple of months,” says Alison Mackonochie, author of 100 Tips for a Happy Baby (Barron’s). “Concentrate on getting to know your baby. If anyone has anything to say about the dust piling up or the unwashed dishes, smile and hand them a duster or the dish detergent!”

22. Accept help from anyone who is nice — or naive — enough to offer. “If a neighbor wants to hold the baby while you shower, say yes!” says Jeanne Anzalone, a mom in Croton-on-Hudson, New York.

23. Got lots of people who want to help but don’t know how? “Don’t be afraid to tell people exactly what you need,” says Abby Moskowitz, a Brooklyn mom. It’s one of the few times in your life when you’ll be able to order everyone around!

24. But don’t give other people the small jobs. “Changing a diaper takes two minutes. You’ll need others to do time-consuming work like cooking, sweeping floors, and buying diapers,” says Catherine Park, a Cleveland mom.

25. Reconnect. To keep yourself from feeling detached from the world, Jacqueline Kelly, a mom in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, suggests: “Get outside on your own, even for five minutes.”

Out and About with Baby

26. Enlist backup. Make your first journey to a big, public place with a veteran mom. “Having my sister with me for support kept me from becoming flustered the first time I went shopping with my newborn,” says Suzanne Zook, a mom in Denver.

27. If you’re on your own, “stick to places likely to welcome a baby, such as story hour at a library or bookstore,” suggests Christin Gauss, a mom in Fishers, Indiana.

28. “Keep your diaper bag packed,” says Fran Bowen, a mom in Brooklyn. There’s nothing worse than finally getting the baby ready, only to find that you’re not.

29. Stash a spare. Holland Brown, a mom in Long Beach, California, always keeps a change of adult clothes in her diaper bag. “You don’t want to get stuck walking around with an adorable baby but mustard-colored poop all over you.”

30. Finally, embrace the chaos. “Keep your plans simple and be prepared to abandon them at any time,” says Margi Weeks, a mom in Tarrytown, New York.

If nothing else, remember that everyone makes it through, and so will you. Soon enough you’ll be rewarded with your baby’s first smile, and that will help make up for all the initial craziness.

Everything in moderation

Monday, August 13th, 2007

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Moderation in all things.
Terence, Andria – Roman comic dramatist (185 BC – 159 BC)

Is it really that simple?

The current debate over Baby Einstein potentially being more harmful than helpful puts yet another nail in the guilty parents’ coffin.

For the record, I am not a fan of Baby Einstein. I think parents know their colors, letters and numbers so the educational DVDs are not necessary, and parents will always be their child’s first and most important teacher.

I agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics who is on record saying that children shouldn’t watch any TV until they’re two years old.

I agree that parents’ use of educational programming as babysitters is not a good idea since the message to our children is that this device [TV, DVD, Video, etc.] is where you will get your information from. In years to come, when the messenger is Brittney Spears, it’s obviously problematic.

Parents don’t need yet another guilt trip. Those that accuse parents of micro-managing their kids need to recognize the fact that they are scrutinizing every move parents make.

Nothing (legal) is either good or bad. Moderation is the key to everything.

What You Do Matters

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

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Yet again, parents have taken up sides in the mommy wars as a result of the media’s sound bite reporting on a child care study. “Study ties day care to some behavioral problems” was blasted across the news the other day, with some news broadcasters giving parents a clear choice; either you stay at home which may pose financial risk, or you and leave your child in daycare which could cause future behavior problem.

Are those my only choices?

I believe that what parents do matters more than anything else. Again, I find myself thinking that we’re asking the wrong question. The experts agree that a nurturing, quality day care setting would be beneficial to a child. So let’s provide more access affordable, quality child care. Provide tax incentives for employers to create job sharing, allowing parents to work part-time, which would require less time children were in child care settings.

Good day care is good for kids, while bad day care is bad for kids, but much like the education system, day care cannot bear the burden without including parents in the equation. What parents do really matters. One of the things parents do is to search for good quality day care, by asking the right questions.

Child Care Aware which has wonderful free publications they can send to you, or you can call their toll free number 1-800-424-2246.

The best way to find quality day care is through a recommendation of someone you know and to visit the day care facility yourself and meet with the director. You should also observe the setting. Children should look comfortable and happy in the setting.

Here are some good starter questions to ask. Please add your own.

1. Can I drop in anytime?
2. Are there opportunities for parent (or grandparent) participation such as story time?
3. What are your hours of operation?
4. What are the fees and what do they include? (Some facilities include snacks and lunch). Are there additional fees for music or field trips?
5. What is a typical day like?
6. What is the ratio of teachers to children? This will differ by children’s ages and must meet state standards.
7. What are the teachers’ qualifications? What is your screening/hiring process?
8. Do the caregivers receive benefits? (This question may seem odd, but if the caregivers have a good benefit package, there will be lower turnover, which is important to giving your child a more stable environment.)
9. What are your procedures if a child is hurt?
10. How do you work with children on behavior issues?