9/30/2010

My Crib is Safe

I am all for keeping my kids safe, but it seems to me like the Baby Industry has gotten a little recall happy. It feels like every time I turn around, there's a recall on another toy, crib, food or car seat. Some of them are quite frivilous and others very necessary, but when there is a new recall every week, its hard to know which ones are truly worth paying attention to. Here are a couple I noticed (probably for the wrong reasons):


*A couple of years ago, Bumbo seats were recalled. These fabulous seats were recalled because parents would leave their 3 month old babies in them on the countertop and walk away. The babies would fall and get skull fractures. DUH!! I think the parents should be recalled, not the seats.

*A few days ago, Burlington Coat Factory recalled all of their children's hoodies, due to strangulation hazard. Seriously? Maybe we should recall jump ropes too. Or we could teach our children not to wrap things around their necks. (no injuries have been reported)

*Fisher Price just recalled a huge list of high chairs, tricycles, baby toys, and car and truck ramps. Millions of products. The high chairs have a plastic piece on the back that, if fallen on, has the potential to cut someone. (7 children have received stitches and there has been one "tooth injury". ) Rascal got 5 stitches in his forehead when he was 18 months old because he hit the corner of the wall- maybe all of our houses should be round... The baby toys have inflatible pieces, that if removed from the toy, and allowed to be chewed on, the valve can be bitten off and the baby could choke. Maybe this one is a little more valid, but still, 3 children have been reported to have "begun to choke" and the valve has been found in the mouth of 14 children. It's inflatible. There is a valve so don't pull it off. The tricycles have a little protruding plastic key that, if fallen on, can result in "serious injury, including genital bleeding". What does that mean? A child was cut? 10 children have been reported to have been injured.

But, sometimes there are actually recalls worth taking note of. Like Similac formula feared to have beetles and their larvae mixed into the powder. Disgusting- yes, uncomfortable- maybe, dangerous- no. Still, I'd want to know that one. (So did all the other mothers, the website crashed after the recall was announced because so many parents were looking up lot numbers...)

And I want to know about the products that are seriously poorly made. Cribs that pose serious suffocation risks, car seats that have faulty handles that break, causing you to drop the seat and potentially seriously injure your child or cause things of this nature.

I looked up recalls on the US Consumer Product Safety Commission and I lost count of all the recalls. It just gets too confusing. I think our children would be safer if there were ratings on the seriousness of the recall. Like 1 to 5. 5 being deadly, 1 being a minor caution. Products shouldn't be recalled because parents are idiots or fluke accidents happen, maybe those should just come out as product warnings. We are the parents. We need to take some responsibility back for the safety of our children. Read the manuals when you put things together. Check your cribs periodically for loose screws. And don't put your babies on the counter, even in a baby seat, and walk away. The recalls would be fewer and easier to discern between if parents would just use plain old common sense.

On that note, you can go here and see if your crib is recalled.

Whaddya think?

9/22/2010

I Yelled At Him

A few days ago, I yelled at my Sidekick. I mean really yelled at him. (Later he said, "I've never heard you yell like that." *snicker*) We were talking on the phone while he was on his way home from work and he said something (I can't remember what now, so how bad could it have been?) and while making dinner and dealing with, "I want to help.", "I'm hungry.", "I don't like that for dinner, Mom." and "Did you get my new shoelaces today, Mom?" and all while I was running late for an appointment, so I just couldn't take whatever it was he said. So, I yelled (*screamed*) something at him and now I can't even remember what it was I said. But, I was mad enough that when he hung up on me for yelling, I didn't even care. By the time he got home, I was still fuming, but I knew I shouldn't have responded the way I did; however, I'm pretty stubborn. So, on my way out the door to my next obligation, I spouted, "Sorry I yelled at you." and ran out the door so quickly that he couldn't even respond.

Of course, by the time I returned home to a clean, quiet (kids in bed) house that evening, I'd calmed down a little so we hashed it out and ended up going to bed happy.

I've been thinking about this little event over the last couple of days. I've got an amazing husband. I boss him around like I own the place and most of the time he lets me take the lead because I run things quite efficiently. When we do disagree, I try to listen, because he usually let's me do pretty much what I want, so the issue must be pretty important to him if he has a different opinion. I've been updating our adoption paperwork lately (still looking, have you found us a baby girl?) and I've updated our marital status to 14 years. We've made it through some pretty serious life experiences: tragedies, job changes, moves, and some really great memories, and here I am still married to my best friend.

The house we bought a year ago, was up for sale because the couple was getting a divorce. A family with 4 kids whose life was turned upside down by a shocking revelation one day. Sometimes, when it's quiet (rarely), I ponder on the stories these walls could tell. The warning signs that could have been realized and the help that could have come before it was too late. The divorce rate for a 1st marriage in the US is 50%, the 2nd marriage is 67% and the 3rd marriage is 74%. Marriage can be hard. Having children can be hard. But, they are also very rewarding and worth all the effort we put into them. The odds are not in our favor, but marriage is essential to the well being and moral structure of our society. A stable family is the cornerstone of a stable community. Our children deserve for their parents to be together; together in parenting, together in ideals, together in spirit. Our children deserve for their parents to be friends.

So, next time you yell at your husband (or he yells at you), take a minute, calm down, realize the fault you have in the situation and work harder to amend it than you do to fix him. Talk to someone together before it's too late. And if you feel like the situation is already too far gone, think of the children.







Whaddya think?

9/13/2010

And I Didn't Drop a Ball

Sometimes I feel like a clown in the circus. I'm all dressed up with a smile painted on my face and juggling half a dozen items while entertaining an audience. Sometimes people throw more balls in the mix for us to juggle and sometimes some Sweet Angel comes and takes one away from us. Sometimes we drop a ball, but usually, because we have the stamina of Wonder Woman, we don't.

This morning while cutting my preschooler's lunch in a million pieces (to try and prevent him from stuffing too much in his mouth and puking again at preschool), I was writing a note for my kindergartner's backpack (the book order code I'd been given wasn't working) and trying very hard to remember to call my friend and ask if we could do a Halloween costume exchange when we swapped baby clothes sizes that day. We made it just in time to the bus stop, which meant that we were only 12 minutes late to preschool, which made us 15 minutes early to meet my friend for the clothing swap. But, today I remembered every one's shoes, backpacks and jackets. (SCORE!)

I knew that I needed to book it home in time to play the Dig N' Dinos Monopoly Jr game with my kindergartner and remind him every other turn to take a bite of his lunch so that he would be done in time to ride the kindergarten bus. He ate his apple while we walked to the bus stop.

I knew that I really needed to get to work on the lesson I'd be teaching to a group of 12- 13 year old girls in church on Sunday and I desperately needed to work on the class I was teaching at the adoption conference in November, on "Making Your Adoption Happen" (because mine seems to be... happening???? Go figure.) Don't get me started on how far behind I am on scrapbooking....

But, luckily today I don't have laundry to do, because I caught up on Friday, which means tomorrow, I'll need to catch up again, but I get a reprieve today. I know that tomorrow my adoption caseworker will be here to do a home study while I'm getting everyone ready for school and hopefully I can have everything done by the time we head for the bus stop so I can continue on to the eye doctor for Rascal's eye appointment. We'll probably be 10 minutes late. If we're lucky.

I've heard a lot of bloggers lately talking about their busy lives as SAHMs. Some are taking on extra jobs to make ends meat, others are collapsing onto the floor sobbing, overwhelmed with life. I've got the solution girls:

Let's just chill.

I've got a confession to make: My toilets are dirty. Shhh, don't tell anyone.

I don't care. Seriously. Not a bit. Because today my kindergartner creamed me at Dig N' Dinos Monopoly. (seriously- embarrassing- he CREAMED me.) We had a blast. And tonight our family will have a great lesson on what are important things in life to focus on. We'll use blocks to teach it, and we'll have a blast.

Another confession: My playroom is a disaster. And the only bed made in the house- is mine. woops. that was two confessions.

I have no idea what I am going to make for dinner tonight, but I have an adorable costume for my preschooler to wear on Halloween.

Because I (you) ROCK!! and I think I've got another solution for us.

I heard someone say once that there are boxes in men and women's minds. Women have like 10- 20 boxes open at a time and they are like bees in a beehive all buzzing around, crazy like, bumping into each other and never shutting up. Men open one box, say "work" and deal with it, and then they put it back, close the box and move onto the next box, say "dad", work on it and then put it back before opening the other box. And they even have a box labeled "Nothing".

"What are you thinking about honey?"

"Nothing"

WHAT???
seriously?? I don't even what that is....

So, today, I'm calling on all men everywhere to open more than one box at a time. Even just occasionally? Just two boxes occasionally?

Then maybe we can keep it down to 10 boxes open at a time. (And then they'd like better what happens at night when the door is closed.)

But, even if they don't, I'm still not cleaning the toilets today.

Because I'm Chillin.


(In the spirit of full disclosure: My Sidekick is pretty great! It was just a busy day- and for the record- I still didn't drop any balls)


Whaddya think?


9/10/2010

I Can Do Hard Things

Today I had a new friend tell me that her motto is, "I Can Do Hard Things". I liked that.

I think often in life we are asked to do hard things or deal with hard situations. Maybe it is to run an organization of youth while we are seriously ill or maybe it is learning how to effectively raise a difficult child. Possibly someone close to you has died or you have been unfairly wronged or hurt by someone or some situation. Maybe you have a teacher with whom you don't see eye to eye. Your challenge could be that you so desperately want children that others so easily seem to get, but are tragically unable to. Or maybe, for a million other reasons, your life is just plain hard.

But, you know what? That's ok, because life isn't supposed to be easy. If it was, what would be the point? What could we possibly learn from a life of constant ease and happiness? There would be no comparison, no contrast, no lessons to grow from or goals to work towards.

I have had my fair share of hardships in life, and I'm sure I'm not done. But, I have learned something along the way of life's roller coaster: Everything in life has a lesson and it's my job to find it and learn from it.

When I suffered a series of miscarriages, I learned that others too have suffered like I did and I gained strength and hope from listening to their stories and learning from them. I learned that one day, I too would be the success story that could share and encourage others who were suffering. I could let them know that there is hope and the end result will be every bit worth the journey.

When my mother died, I learned that life can change in an instant and so you should live life to the fullest. Tell those you love, that you love them, and never take them for granted.

When I was asked to lead a youth organization while I was so sick I could scarcely feed and care for my one small child, I learned that I am more capable than I think I am. I learned that with the Lord's help, I can accomplish anything. I learned that with His help, I too, can do hard things.

One of the biggest things I have learned from the hardships of life, is that if you look for the lessons, the hardships become more of a learning experience and less of a challenge.

So, next time you are offended by something someone has said, you are stressed about the components of your life, or you are saddened by a tragic event in your life, take courage. Everything in life has a lesson. Look for it and gain strength from the new knowledge you have learned. Grow from it and use it to build up the people around you. Because you too, can do hard things.


Whaddya think?

9/03/2010

Just Go Play!

My almost 9 year old, Buster, had a few free minutes before school this morning. He chose to spend his time playing the computer. By the time we left for the bus, he was irritable, snappy and frustrated because the computer "wasn't working". My kids have limited "screen time" and we had quite a structured summer, and still I noticed, that during "no screen" free time, they had a really hard time figuring out what to do. Without the guidance of directions and a screen, they were at a loss of exactly how to spend their time. It took encouragement and threats of locking the door to keep them in the backyard (which is quite spacious with lots of play structures and toys). They'd come in "bored" after only a few minuted of bike riding or shooting hoops. I offered them all kinds of fun activities (board games, legos, cleaning toilets, etc) but they refused to get engaged without threats of bodily harm. Sometimes we need to use a screen to babysit for us so we can get a few things done, but I've noticed that generally I pay for that because the time ends in screaming fights and ornery kids.

I think somewhere in this world of DS's, Wii's, xbox's, computers, ipods and cell phones, our kids have missed out on good, imaginative play. They haven't learned how to problem solve and think for themselves; lessons that are vital to their happiness now and as adults. They are too busy with piano, soccer, basketball and swim lessons (all adult structured activities) to help in the family's garden or spend an afternoon raking leaves. They don't know how to make change and pay cash for purchases (and be fiscally responsible) because everything is paid for with plastic. They don't know how to solve their own boredom. In short, they've missed out on the most important lesson they should have learned while being kids: how to think for themselves. I read one article that said, "[Children] are overseen, supervised, directed and micromanaged from morning until night by well-intentioned adults who claim to care about children but seem to know nothing about childhood. And so, the variable most lacking in the lives of children who currently live in the Land of the Free is freedom itself."

So, its that time of year again when I am getting into my Christmas planning mode and I am at a total loss. I don't want to buy another game system. I would rather not buy anything electronic. I want to give my kids things they will play with and think about, but I don't know where to start. (Which is probably why society is in this mess.) I would love to get them some models to build or help them find things to collect and explore. I've done this in the past and its always flopped. They never played with the toys. So, I'm asking you. How do we help our children become children again?



Whaddya think?