"Baby Jails"

Now just calm down, this is a pet phrase of mine, it refers to all the different inventions that exist for the sole purpose of keeping our young children in our sight and safe. Yet from the child's point of view these contraptions might feel like limits on their freedom, and one could almost say perhaps the child feels like it is in a kind of jail? Regardless if I am right or wrong, without our "baby jails" we parents would have a lot less freedom!

Personally I cannot imagine a life without these "baby jails:" toddler harness, infant crib, baby strollers, baby backpacks, jogging strollers, bike trailers, portable play yards, exer-saucers, johnny-jump-ups, baby walkers....what am I leaving out? We were fortunate we did not have to buy baby backpack because someone gifted us with a beautiful baby backpack with an aluminum frame and padded waist belt. We wore that thing out!

I personally have declared the walkers and johnny-jump-ups as unsafe due to personal bad experience, but include them on the list as others have had no problems with these.

My favorite "baby jails" are the ones that give the parents a chance to improve their physical health. We cannot imagine life without jogging strollers or baby backpacks. These two innovations allowed us to maintain our healthy lifestyles while our children were young. Our weekends were enriched immensely by the child bike trailer large enough to hold two young children.

The best baby stroller for your family is the one that maintains or improves your family free time. For us that meant a sturdy four-wheeled stroller with snack tray and cup holder for our leisurely neighborhood walks and a jogging stroller for our regular evening jogs.

The stroller-infant-car-seat-combo's are fantastic, aren't they? I have to admit the first time I saw one I thought it a bit much, but once I observed how easy life became for the parent and how safe the child stayed, I decided size is really not an issue!

The Non Controversy

Thank goodness things have changed since I was a young parent. Way back then it was simply taboo to breastfeed in public at all. Many new young mothers spent a lot of time at home if they wanted to breastfeed. But then again, breastfeeding was out of favor for quite a few years. Feeding from a bottle gave women freedom.

In today's world, luckily for the infants, breastfeeding is back in favor and along with it a host of convenient supplies for the new mother. There are special blouses and nursing bras and nursing pads. There are special privacy shields for the modest among us.

Breastfeeding is the healthy alternative, and I am glad to see it being accepted by our society at large. Much of the credit for that can be given to the public education programs of La Leche League.

How about you? Do you breastfeed in public?

Precious Moments

Ever been told by well-meaning acquaintances to "Enjoy them while you can, because they grow up so fast?" I have been told that plenty of times, and it is hard to know what to say. I assume that whoever says this has children older than mine and wish they would have done things differently. I really never know what to say when someone says this to me. Usually they don't have time to listen anyway.

But if I ever had someone's attention, this is what I would say to them. "I enjoy my children as much as I can. I don't know how to enjoy them more than I already do. I write down the cute things they say, I take their photographs, I videotape them regularly, I play games with them, I read to them, I listen to them, I spend time with them. In the middle of spending time with them, I will often just pause to relish the moment. But aside from making time stand still, I cannot do anything more to enjoy them more."

What do these people really mean? Be a nicer, more patient parent? Do more with them? Work harder to make their dreams come true?

What do you think? What could you do right now to enjoy your own children more than you already do?  Please leave a comment here at Mommy's Joy and let us know.

My Child Isn't Walking Yet!

Oh yes, every parent's first worry. Will my child walk 'on time'? Oh with what pride we announce to the world that first step, especially if it is 'early'. The national average for learning to walk is age one, give or take four months. So anywhere between 8 months and 16 months is normal.

But we stress. Will our little child be an early walker? Do we want that? Did we finish child-proofing the house?

Do early walkers also do other things early and is this a sign of high intelligence? Although not usually spoken, it is often thought. Have you overheard the subtle boasting wars of new parents as they compare ages at which the first step was taken? It is best to stay out of those, in my opinion.

Were you an 'early' walker? Did your parents face the same pressure I hear at the playgrounds around my town? Please leave a comment here at Mommy's Joy and tell us about it.

Potty Training Discussions

I never did potty training per se. I asked my pediatrician how to do it, and she said don't bother, that children cannot really be trained unless they are ready anyway, so why put them and YOU through all that stress? That was a shock to me. And it was definitely going against pervading practices all around me. My parents did it, so I thought I should also.

Sure enough, as predicted by my pediatrician, my children grew accustomed to using the toilet and learned to pay attention to their bodies and knew when it was time to use the toilet.

I listened with a glazed-over look in my eyes as parents at the playgrounds talked about the trials and tribulations of getting their children to use a toilet by a certain age. I began to realize that their children needed to be out of diapers by a certain age, or they would no longer be able to use the daycare centers they had so carefully chosen.

That information shed new light on the parents' urgency in this matter, and I learned to keep my opinions on the matter to myself. If anyone asked me how I did it, I would just explain that I followed my pediatrician's advice and that it worked. This was usuallly not very helpful to them, as I had no daycare I was trying to please, but at least I was polite about it and did not preach to them that they were doing something wrong.

How about you? Are you on a schedule for potty training? Or are you able to be more relaxed about the matter? I grew weary of the potty training talks at the playground and ballfields...how about you? Please leave a comment here at Mommy's Joy and tell us about it.

How Can They Be Fighting Over IDENTICAL Toys?

I remember hearing about sibling rivalry for years before I became a parent. My brother and I were so far apart in age that I had no personal experience of it myself. My friend, a new mom with only one child, could not believe it when I told her that my two children, two years apart, received identical toys from Grandpa and within twenty minutes were fighting over these toys. She just shook her head. Somehow my daughter and son, without my writing their names on the toys, had secretly branded each and were fighting because she had his and he had hers. Then they took turns wanting to have them both and fought about that. I took the toys away, wrote their names on them, and brought them out another day with great fanfare and explained that if there was any fighting, the toys would be taken away again. There was not much improvement and the toys were taken again. The third day went better....they maintained harmony for fifteen minutes before the toys were taken away. By the fourth day the toys had lost their newness and attractiveness and were no longer objects of adoration and dispute. I think sibling rivalry is one of the hardest aspects of parenting for new mothers or new fathers to embrace. It stays challenging for quite a while, too!

Has this happened to you? Weren't you amazed at it? Please leave a comment here at Mommy's Joy and tell us about it.

Adoring All Children

Of course we all think our own children are the most beautiful and most special in the world. Know what I mean? So how do we find that perfect compliment when a friend has a baby and you just don't think he or she is cute? It is so hard to be real at the moment you meet the newest addition, and find yourself staring into an infant who resembles Winston Churchill. I mean, really, some babies are not cute! Just what do you say? You are caught off guard when you meet this child, and there stands your friend, oogling the little one with her mommy blindness. "Oh, what beautiful eyes!" you blurt out. Or how about, "What a sweetie!" Anything to avoid the 'C' word - Cute! Were you a cute baby? Please leave a comment here at Mommy's Joy and tell us about it.