Sunday, March 30, 2008

Crib Bumpers Can Harm Babies

I didn't use use padded bumpers with my daughter, and I felt a little weird about it. Cute crib bumpers seem to be a staple of child-rearing. Just look at any crib at Babies-R-Us. But, since I knew that bumpers were a possible suffocation hazard, I didn't use them. I felt affirmed when I read this post at Baby 411.

So what did I do with the bumpers that came with my crib set? I decided to turn them into pillows for my daughter's toddler bed. They are a work in progress, but when I get them done, they'll be great.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

How to Sew a Sleepsack

We swaddled Kalen in a Miracle Blanket until she was almost four months old. UPDATE: So many of you are mentioning my blog, they have given me my own discount! YEAH! When you checkout, use the discount code HOLLY. You'll get a 10% discount and free shipping.

We eventually switched to sleepsacks. The fleece sacks keep her warm through the winter, and the cotton ones are perfect pajamas in the summer. You don't have to put pajamas on under the sleepsack. We do in the winter, but not in the summer.

Kalen is almost 2 now, and still wears a sleepsack.

  1. I despise blanket sleepers. It's so challenging to get her foot in and out of the non-zippered leg. Especially in the middle of the night. There is just no way to change a diaper in those things without waking up the baby!
  2. It's part of her at-home sleep routine. She knows when the sleepsack is on, it's time for bed.
  3. The most important reason now--It keeps her from climbing out of her crib. Kalen is very active and strong. Anytime she's in the crib without a sleepsack on, she tries to climb out. But, with the sleepsack on, she can't swing a leg up and over the bars and, she can't get a grip if she sticks her feet between the slats. A sleepsack is so much easier than a tent, and it keeps her warm at night.
However, I did have a problem this winter. She's tall (like her 6'6" dad) and has always been in the 90+% for height. Her sleepsacks still fit her body, just not her length. I looked at buying her toddler sleepsacks with the foot wholes, but those would not have served the purpose of keeping her in the crib. I ended up adding additional fabric to the bottom of the sleepsacks to give her leg room. Of course, her sleepsacks look a little funny now, but they function.

If I need to make her summer ones, I'll sew them from scratch using the instructions from the SleepingBaby.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Does Pregnancy Cause Allergies?

After getting my newest allergy test results (post-pregnancy) and realizing they were worse and I had more of them, I wondered if pregnancy made my allergies worse. (Jennifer Jordan of ParentDish also wonders the same thing. Pregnancy-caused allergies? )

The nurse who administered my tests told me that yes, pregnancy can cause/increase allergies. That worried me. I've only had one child and I have 25+ food allergies/food sensitivities and 10-15 environmental allergies. If I get pregnant again, will I be able to eat anything?

So, I asked my allergy doctor. He confirmed what the nurse said. But he also added some hope. Allergies can also improve during/after pregnancy. Hormones have an affect on allergies, but science hasn't figured out exactly how the two relate. So, they can't predict if a person's allergies will improve or get worse.

Interestingly, allergies also improve/worsen during puberty. Of course, mine worsened.

Crab Kwon Do

Learn more about Saving the Crabs at

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sign Language, Speech, and Toddlers

Kalen is 22-months-old and talking in 1-6 word combinations. She also combines signs and words in whatever way she needs to to communicate.

We recently started playing "Queen of the Mountain" on a short stump in the park. Last night as I was rocking her before bed, she started talking about the park and things she does there. Like swinging and sliding. Well, I easily understood she was talking about "Queen on the Mountain" because she was signing QUEEN. But then she started signing a variation of SHOE with no vocalization. I was confused. She's signed shoe correctly for close to a year! She repeatedly hit the knuckles of her fists together. Then she started signing and saying QUEEN and hitting her fists together. Ah-ha! QUEEN MOUNTAIN! I had no idea she was paying attention when I showed her the sign. And she was probably wondering why Mommy can be so slow.

To see any of the signs mentioned in this blog, visit I would like each word for you, but the site won't let me!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New Protein in Milk Causing Increase in Milk Allergies?

Since I have a multitude of food allergies, I found the AllergyKids site to be very interesting. I'm also concerned that my daughter may have food allergies. She's had watery eyes and a runny nose since she was a baby (see picture). She's definitely allergic to peaches. Within a minute of eating a bite of peaches, she breaks out in a red rash and she gets diaper rash later in the day.

AllergyKids states that artificial hormones injected into cows in the US are contributing to food allergies in children. I have no idea how accurate this information is--but I'll definitely do my own research as I make my decision about switching to organic food. I'm even thinking about starting my own garden! (Now I know my mom wasn't just being cruel when she forced me to weed row after row of beans when I was a child.)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Signing Baby: 22 Months

Kalen is now talking in 1-6 word combinations, but not everything is easy to understand. I still need clarification on "fork" and "fox." They both sound incredibly like a 4-letter-word! When I'm not sure what she's saying, I ask her to clarify her word with signs. Or, if she is simply pointing and grunting, I ask her to "Use her words or her signs/hands."

Kalen also signs in multi-word combinations and mixes signs and words together to communicate. She continues to learn new signs all the time. SUNSET is one of her newest signs. A couple days after learning the sign, I heard her call out "Sunset!" Of course, I ran to enjoy the experience with her.

Allergy-Free Bed Cover So Soft and Quiet, My Husband Never Suspected It Was on the Bed

My husband is incredibly sensitive to tactile experiences. We stayed at the Westin recently, and although the bed was super-soft, he couldn't sleep well because of the crinkliness of the fabric. He's used the same pillowcases for 15-years, because nothing else is soft enough. He notices if I change the mattress pad. I was sure he would notice when our dog dug holes in the mattress pad to make a cushy bed for himself (he didn't). And when I got an allergy-protecting pillow for my own pillow, he commented that he couldn't see how I could sleep on it.

For this reason, I have not had an allergy-protector on my bed--even though I know it's one of the most important things you can do to reduce symptoms of dust and mold allergies. I tried once, and he noticed immediately!

So, after my newest round of allergy testing, I didn't immediately run out and purchase a mattress cover. I didn't want to waste my money. But yesterday, I found allergy-covers made by Crypton that were so soft and crinkle-free, that I suspected my husband wouldn't notice--if I didn't tell him. He didn't notice, and now, I am hoping to have a less runny nose.

I also purchased one of their allergy-free pillows for me. It was nice!

The mattress covers are spendy--$150 or so, but they are nice! Get them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and use the 25% off coupon.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Blog of Lists....: How NOT to Work Out...It makes me laugh every time!

This is another crazy video that just makes me laugh!

A Blog of Lists....: How NOT to Work Out...It makes me laugh every time!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Model Trips Down Runway

This is the way I would look if I were a runway model. Hmm...come to think of it, this is pretty much the way I look in most heels--which explains why I only wear low heels.

Watch this more than once. The "jelly legs" are funnier the 2nd or 10th time around!

Signing Time Auditions - Do We or Don't We?

The day I've dreamed about for almost a year has arrived! Signing Time is holding auditions for children under 3 to appear in their new video. Of course, I believe they would select Kalen from the thousands of auditions they receive (smile), so the question becomes, should she audition or not?

Travel expenses are not paid, so it would cost airfare and hotel if she was invited to come. So, is it worth the cost to have a chance to meet my personal hero, Rachel Coleman? Oh, yeah, and for
Kalen to have a video with herself in it? What you would pay? Do you see any pros or cons?

If you are interested in auditioning for the next Signing Time video, here is the information. They are only looking for children 3 and under, so I assume they are producing another Baby Signing Time video. I've reviewed these products in earlier blogs.

Signing Time Auditions!

Your child could appear in Signing Time! We are looking for children ages 3 and under. Signing ability is required. Children must be available for production in Salt Lake City, Utah for a three-day period between May 12 and May 26. If your child meets these requirements, follow the instructions below to submit their audition video.

Here's How to Apply:

  1. View the 8 signs that Rachel teaches at Film your child signing at least 4 of the 8 signs presented. Read audition tips.
  2. Submit your video audition using one of the following methods:
    • Post a video of your child signing on Google Video or YouTube (videos can be made private to protect your little one). Then, send an email to with:
      • A link to your video
      • A recent photo of your child
      • Your child's name, birth date, clothing size, and brief description of their sign language experience
      • Your name, phone number, city, state, and preferred email address
    Follow the link: How to upload a video to GoogleVideo
    Follow the link: How to upload a video to YouTube
    • OR Send a VHS or DVD of your child signing to:
      Signing Time Audition
      623 E Fort Union Blvd. Suite 201
      Midvale, UT 84047

      Include a letter with the following:
      • Your child's name, birth date, clothing size, and a brief description of their sign language experience
      • A recent photo of your child
      • Your name, phone number, city, state, and preferred email address
    (Videos will be viewed by personnel of Two Little Hands Productions only. They will not be released to any third party. Videos/DVDs will not be returned).
  3. Videos must be received no later than March 25th, 2008 to be considered.
  4. If your child is selected you will be contacted by a production assistant with detailed information on or before April 15th, 2008.
  5. Most audition correspondence will be via email. Add to your safe list to avoid it being marked as junk mail.
Audition Tips and Frequently Asked Questions



Reply With Quote

Women Caught on Nanny Cam Arrested

I found this story on ParentDish (see Blogs I Read on the Right).

Women caught on nanny cam arrested

When I watched this video last night, it gave me the chills. Though the babies aren't technically being "harmed", the general lack of empathy and concern coming from this nanny turned me cold. It's hard to see in the first shot, but that's a baby she has tucked under her arm like package.

Yesterday, MSNBC reported that the nanny in question was charged with child abuse. Though the children were unharmed, after viewing the entirety of the video the mother had recorded, they decided that her "cumulative" actions warranted the charge.

I think that the vast majority of nannies are likely caring and well-qualified, and that this situation gives nannies a bad name. It is, however, exactly why nanny cams were invented. Would you use a nanny cam? If so, do you tell your child care worker that it's turned on?
Holly's Thoughts (I've used all forms of daycare)

I had a nanny for awhile, but she was my sister. I trusted her. And she was obviously very careful. She would call me if the tiniest thing went "wrong." For instance, when Kalen ate a small petal from a spring flower.

I would have like a nanny-cam when my child stayed at in-home daycare. But, you can't exactly bug someone else's house! In the absence of nanny-cams, you can show up unannounced at odd-times (even if the caregiver asks you to call first). Standing outside the house for awhile can reveal how the caregiver disciplines children. You might be able to hear him/her (I don't want to leave out the mannies!)

I am all for licensed, accredited daycare centers now. I love the extra security of multiple eyes and multiple caregivers. I made sure my center was NAEYC certified and it's been great! I also like knowing that if something happens to my child's provider (seizure, choking, etc.) someone else will be able to care for me child. And, if something happens to another child, there are multiple providers to continuing providing care to my child. However, I don't believe in all daycare centers. Just having multiple eyes isn't necessarily helpful if there is a prevailing attitude of unconcern. I worked at a daycare center (very, very briefly) and it was an experience that made me say I would NEVER put my child in a center. The building smelled of urine, bathrooms were constantly needing repair, staff did not have a "professional" demeanor, and a 2-year-old actually escaped without anyone noticing (Well, no one but the gentleman you was driving by and saw the child by the road. Fortunately, he brought him back). And no, I wasn't working the day this happened!

So, don't blindly trust any one form of daycare. Look for a NAEYC accredited center and use your eyes, your nose, and your instincts when making a choice.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pamper Yourself While Bathing the Kids--Is it possible?

Heather from the blog ParentHacks suggests using your kids' bath time as pedicure time for yourself. I could see how it could work. I've started scanning a magazine occasionally, or just stretching out. I sit on the toilet (fully-clothed), rest my head on a basket full of towels on top of the toilet and prop my feet up on my daughter's stool. It's definitely not a La-Z-Boy, but it's good enough at the end of a long day.

Truthfully, I rarely use bath time as an opportunity to relax. As a parent who loves to teach, more often, I'm combining blue and yellow bath paints to make the color green, or writing words on the tub wall with her bath letters, or counting the number of stacking cups she can stack, or signing silly bath songs--and signing the whole time.

What rituals (relaxing or otherwise) have you incorporated into bath time?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Video of 17-month-old reading

Reading Toddler.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

17-month-old Reads at 7-year-old level! Parents credit Signing Time

This cute little 17- month-old is an amazing reader! She will appear on the Today Show Monday, March 9. Here is a link to a story that includes video.

You might be a little skeptical, but check it out.

And interestingly, my 21-month-old daughter also read her first word today! It was "off." I've been fingerspelling this word with her a lot recently because she was getting the meaning of "on" and "off" confused. Now, I say this is the first word she read, but actually, it was just the first word I could prove that she read. There were no pictures for cues, no one signing the word, and it wasn't shown in an order she could have memorized. I've known she could read her name for months, and I've suspected she could read other words, like "dog," "duck," "more," "milk," "boo" and "door." She's always asking me to fingerspell words to her. And we write words with her bathtub letters and her magnet letters.

I've been consciously teaching her to read since she was around one (since I found out that Leah Coleman was reading by 2). I had the ABCs posted around the house. We play games with letters in the tub, and I fingerspell words I can't sign whenever I think about it. She points out letters she knows in words. We also sing and sign songs that spell words. I sing 5-letter-words to the tune of "B-I-N-G-O," 4-letter-words to the tune of "Where is Thumbkin?" and 3-letter- words to the tune of "Three Blind Mice." She loves it and asks me to spell specific words for her.

She clearly understands that letters make up words, and written words stand for ideas or objects just like sign language or spoken words.

Signing Time videos are definitely playing a big part in helping us communicate with our daughter, increasing her verbal skills, and now, her reading and fingerspelling skills. (I forgot to add, she fingerspelled "off" today, too.)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

What Type of Mom are You?

I love taking personality tests and little quizzes. So of course I was interested in finding out my parenting type. The article in the link discusses personality traits of moms based on their Myers-Briggs Personality Profile. I found that I'm a combination of the INFJ and the INTP. The descriptions really fit me. And if you don't understand why I'm so into signing with Kalen and why she knows most of her alphabet in sign, printed, and spoken--just continue reading.

The know-thyself mother (INFJ)

Sensitive and family-focused, the INFJ mother encourages the unique potential of each child. Her aim is to help her kids develop a sense of identity, and she seeks a free exchange of feelings and thoughts to that end. In fact, she may value the mothering experience as a catalyst to her own personal growth. She is conscientious and intense, as well. Probably no one takes child-raising more seriously than the INFJ. She approaches it as a profession requiring her best self.
Stay-sane tip: Make time for yourself, try to live in the moment, and take life a little less seriously. Instead of trying to make life what it "should be," enjoy it for what it is.

The love-of-learning mother (INTP)
Intellectually curious and patient, the INTP mom loves to learn things together with her kids. Whether they're at the zoo or a store, she answers their "whys" with in-depth responses. She considers their questions and ideas as she would those of a peer, fostering self-esteem. This avid reader allows kids the freedom to do for themselves and quietly encourages them to believe they can.
Stay-sane tip: Allow yourself lots of time to lose yourself in reading and reflection. It may feel like you're doing nothing, but that "mind time" is very important for you.

So, what personality type are you? I'm curious to find out if there is a majority of one-type or another reading blogs.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Update to my Allergies

So, I visited a dietician yesterday. She told me to focus on avoiding these foods: milk, corn, soy, wheat, eggs, yeast, and all nuts. All of these allergies are IgE (think Epipen), except for the yeast allergy. But, she's said there is hope I can reduce the length of my allergy list in the next couple years.

Here's hoping!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Funny Things Kids Say

My s1-month-old daughter was examining a baseball cap. She pointed to the covered button on the top of the hat. "That's a button," I said.

Next, she pointed to one of the air vents in the hat. "That's a hole, " I explained.

Then, Kalen pointed to each object in rapid succession. "Butt hole!" she said.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Allergy: Not Everything I Eat is Good

So, perhaps I was a little naive. Eventually, I will eat only foods I enjoy, but first, I'm going to eat a lot of foods I don't like. This week I tried making flatbread/pancakes with tapioca flour. Now, I know that tapioca is a thickening agent, but I thought, "This is tapioca flour. It'll behave more like flour." Wrong. My pancakes were stretchy like gummy worms! My husband said they would be perfect as drain plugs for the bathtubs. Sadly, he's probably right.

Lesson learned: use tapioco flour in combination with another flour with less binding abilities. If I had read Bob's Red Mill's website, I wouldn't have learned this the hard way. They say,
"Tapioca Flour is a grain-free flour derived from cassava root. It is a starchy, slightly sweet, white flour. Use about 1/4 to 1/2 cup per recipe to sweeten breads made with rice and millet flour. It’s excellent in pie fillings. "

I found another flour by Bob's Red Mill called All-Purpose Baking Flour. This made great pancakes which my sister would gladly eat with me if the flour weren't so expensive. Translation--they were good.