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Link Roundup – March 24, 2017

It’s the kids’ last week of school here in the Philippines and then they’re off for summer break. They won’t be returning to school, but we’ll be starting homeschooling again! Nature will be our classroom!

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Here are some interesting parenting links we found around the web this week!

H E A L T H

Let’s focus on the real environmental factors linked to autism via The Week

Why You Should Consider Delaying Your Newborn’s Bath via Mom.me

How More IV Fluids Could Help You During Childbirth via Fit Pregnancy

Science Finally Knows Why Women Have Miscarriages via Fit Pregnancy

New Report Confirms It: Pregnant Women Should Really, Really Be Exercising via Fit Pregnancy

Guys: It’s now possible to test your sperm via smartphone via Mashable

E D U C A T I O N

The Timeless Teachings of Mister Rogers via PBS

Making Sure Children Get Their Daily Dose of Language Nutrition via The Hanen Centre

What If Students Only Went to School Four Days a Week? via The Atlantic

‘Girls relied on me for sanitary towels’: teachers on child poverty in schools via The Guardian

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Parents’ Favorite Picture Books

Our children, particularly Lion, love books. We go to the library and check out fifty books at a time and Lion devours them. He often wants to re-read the same ones over and over again, some of which we also enjoy and others that cause Mr. Dolphin and I to exchange a look.

Here are some of Mr. Dolphin and my favorite picture books (from the first 500 titles we’ve read to Lion), ones that we enjoy reading, have good illustrations, or a great twist (that the kids may or may not appreciate yet). These are also kid-approved and ones that Lion has wanted read multiple times, but they were probably more enjoyed by us than the kids.

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999 tadpoles

Bunny-Roo, I Love You

Curious Garden

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Sticking with Activities

Back in the fall, when we signed M up for ice skating, she was thrilled. She desperately wanted to skate, so badly that the organizers let us in a few months early (she was turning three that November, but was supposed to already be three before she could start). She was so excited about her new skates and helmet, and even though it took her six lessons to actually get up on her feet, she kept trying, twice a week, for an hour each time.

Recently she had started to lose interest. She would stall at school for so long that by the time we got to the arena there was no point in putting her on the ice for whatever time was left in the lessons, or, once she got on the ice, she’d throw a screaming fit and refuse to keep skating. It was primarily Mac Daddy dealing with it owing to the logistics of getting both kids and all the gear to the arena, but after several weeks of skating drama, I decided I needed to personally step it up.

So, M and I had a conversation about how when you start something, you need to finish it. I explained to her that she didn’t need to sign up for skating next year if she didn’t want to, but she had to finish this year. I also reminded her of how excited she was at the start and asked what was going on to make her not want to skate anymore. She said that she was cold on the ice and that she felt scared without us there. I decided I would start picking her up from school earlier, with A, and meeting Mac Daddy at the arena so we’d all be there, she’d have more time to get ready, and we could ensure she was comfortable in all of her gear instead of rushing her onto the ice.

I also set a new rule — she was going to go to the arena on every skating day, and if she decided to get off the ice early she was going to sit there in the stands with us until the lessons were over, whether she was out on the ice or not. That solved her idea that if she wasn’t skating she could be doing something else and kept her on the ice.

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Furniture for a Cozy Home

Creating a cozy home for our family has become more important as my kiddos outgrow the baby stage. Furniture pieces that are functional, reflect our taste, and stand-up to kiddos bopping around the house are what make our house feel like home. Here’s my list of favorite furniture for a household with little kids.

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Fold-Down Sleeper Chair –  This is my favorite piece of furniture in the house for the kids. It has an extra wide seat, perfect to read with your little one. Actually, both my kiddos can squeeze in there for a story. It folds down, and they can drape a blanket over the top for their forts. Sometimes, they leave it partially propped up to have tunnel to climb through. Now that BeBe is older, it folds down as a comfortable space for a sleep-over with the cousins. Both my kiddos (and the dog) love playing on this chair.

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Mom Fails from a Tough Week

This past week kicked our butts and we got a tiny glimpse of how hard single parenting is. For starters, Mr. Ice Cream and I both got knocked down by pretty serious colds plus there was a major grant submission at work that meant working on the weekend and a few late nights. The result was one adult, with barely enough energy, running after a toddler and a second adult, coughing up a lung, working long hours.

I thought I would talk about some of my mom fails because it is so easy to develop an unrealistic perspective that everyone around you is leading the perfect existence, especially based on their social media posts. Well balanced (home cooked) meals, perfect parenting, gorgeous (and perfectly organized) house! But the reality is a much less edited version that doesn’t always feel “blog worthy.” Then I remembered one of the reasons it is so therapeutic to blog is that there are so many other moms out there that feel the same way and it’s so much better to know you aren’t alone. So here it is, mom fails from last week:

1. We brushed Max’s teeth 5 out of the 7 days.

2. Max had microwave Mac & Cheese for 3 days.

3. I forgot to bring extra clothes for Max at school so 3 days in a row he came home wearing daycare pants.

4. Max started saying “Roomba play with Max?” (Roomba is our vacuum cleaner)

5. Any more than one pile of clean laundry feels like an overwhelming pile that is impossible to tackle. This week we let 3 piles build up.

6. Max’s daycare teachers told me they can tell we are working on “potty training” at home because Max is improving, but aside from buying a “potty” we haven’t done anything.

7. This might be more of a personal fail, but Mr. Ice Cream and I have run a NCAA tournament pool for the last 10 years, and this is the first year we didn’t have time to set it up. Mr. Ice Cream sets up the backend (scoring system, website, etc) and I handle the brackets. It’s the perfect activity that combines my love of college basketball and Mr. Ice Cream’s love for tech. I feel strangely sad that it didn’t happen this year, but it’s not to say we won’t try again next year.

What’s your secret for getting through a tough week? Please share!

A different kind of girls night: Hosting a diaper party for refugee families

I’m sure many of you all remember the image of baby Alan Kurdi‘s body washed up on the shore in Turkey. I tried for days not to look, and when I did, it totally broke my heart. Images are important, though, and the publicity and the devastating story that accompanied the photo made me seek out ways to be a part of the solution. I learned about Carry the Future and instantly loved their mission. Providing baby carriers to refugee families fleeing their countries makes perfect sense to me. There is something about wearing your baby that makes you feel like you are keeping him or her safe. They are protected.  I can’t imagine being in such a dangerous situation like these families and relying on just my arms for a tiny or wiggly baby. So, we packed up H’s first soft structured carrier and stuffed the pockets full of snacks, baby socks and a note of support from Texas and we sent it on its way. Since then, I’ve donated money whenever I could, and as their volunteer-runIMG_2838 organization has grown, they provide things like blankets or baby boxes and so much more to these families in need.

Last month, Carry the Future put out a call to action to host diaper parties across the country. Basically, throw a party and ask the invitees to bring a pack of diapers for donation to a local refugee resettlement agency, and then donate $10 online to Carry the Future for diaper purchases overseas. Party with a purpose? Yes, please! I decided right away to do a “mom’s night in” at my house as a way of bringing moms together for some kid-free conversation and do-gooding. We had a total blast (H slept through it all!) and we raised tons of funds and donated almost 3000 diapers to Refugee Services of Texas, right here in Dallas. The Carry the Future diaper party call to action technically ends April 2, but this is something so easy to do anytime to benefit your community.

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Books that have influenced the way I parent: Part 2

In my previous post I talked about the two books that helped me with the early months of having a baby and how we came to the decision to sleep train StarCakes. Now that my babies have turned into toddlers I’ve been dealing with different kinds of issues – emotions, independence, and discipline. These struggles for independence can wear down a parent-child relationship, sometimes to the point where I wonder how do I show my kid love amidst all the discipline and teachable moments? Here is a book that I have turned to in my time of need for information on how to love my toddlers despite the messiness of toddlerhood.

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Book #3 – The Five Love Languages of Children

I first read the adult version of this book which helped me better understand how Mr. Cheesecake and I express and experience love. It covered five love languages: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Services and Physical Touch. I didn’t realize that love could take so many forms and that it could be spoken and perceived differently. I tend to express love through Gifts and Quality Time while he uses Physical Touch and Words of Affirmation. It was eye-opening realizing how we often miscommunicated with our differing love languages. It is still a struggle sometimes to speak love languages that we are not fluent in speaking, but practice makes better and it is definitely helpful to know which ones speak loudest to us.

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