Family Resources

Road Trip Tips

 

Part I: Essentials

By Claire Caprioli

When you have four children aged 15 months to 8 years, the most reasonable and sane way to enjoy family time over the summer is with a staycation. Being neither reasonable nor sane in our house, we loaded the kids into the minivan for a 10-hour drive (in one day) to New York. Fifteen minutes into the trip, the baby vomited all over herself. The result of a rushed morning, she showed no signs of distress or illness. The child sitting next to her helpfully observed, “Hey, I can see the peach chunks from the yogurt she ate this morning!” One child in the back began dry-heaving. Another child requested an immediate opening of all the windows. My husband pulled over, his jaw clenching and unclenching, as he mentally calculated that to head home, clean up, and head back out would put us back in our current location 45 minutes from now.

I, Supermom, with a smile and dismissive wave of my hand, popped into action. This was, after all, just a routine and minor hiccup in the day. (This was also several years ago, so my exact words, attitude, and demeanor have been lost to antiquity.)

While windows and doors were opened wide, I headed to the trunk. I retrieved paper towels, wipes, baby wipes, 3 plastic produce bags, an infant blanket, a roll of lifesavers, and baby clothes.

In fewer than 10 minutes (no joke), we were back on the road (did you not catch the Supermom reference?)

How?

Simple.

As girl scouts, boy scouts, and Scar from The Lion King all know: BE PREPARED. With proper preparation, 90% of your work is done and all that is left is to 1. Prioritize and 2. Act.

The next few minutes went something like this:

Lifesavers were handed out to children (this is akin to showing a bird a shiny object. It serves as a distraction and is met with wonderment: “Wow, mom never lets us have lifesavers at 7:30am!”)

My husband held open produce bag #1 while I wiped up as much as I could with paper towels. The baby was removed from her car seat, wiped with baby wipes, and changed. Her dirty clothes were placed in produce bag #2. Produce bag #2 was tightly tied off and placed in produce bag #3, which was also knotted (this would need to make the trip to NY without creating an odor.) Wipes were used to wipe down the car seat, and all wipes were discarded in bag #1, which could now be knotted and disposed of at the next pit stop. The baby was dry, but the car seat was now damp. The thin infant blanket was folded in half and draped on the seat to keep the baby dry without being too bulky and interfering with the seat belt. Boom. Done and ready to hit the road again.

There were no further incidents on that trip. Incidentally, this exact incident happened again about a year later. So, BE PREPARED.

Experience is a great teacher. Had this occurred with our first child, we likely would have tearfully made our way back home. Preparation requires: thinking out scenarios in advance, knowing what you need, and having everything handy. If what I needed was buried under suitcases or scattered around the car, this would have taken much longer.

In hopes that I might save you from just such a tragedy, I offer you a peek into my car:

  • A mesh bag containing:
    • Paper towels
    • Baby wipes
    • Produce bags. I can’t say enough about produce bags—they are flat, a decent size, can be folded into tiny squares, and work great for garbage and a myriad of wet or dirty items.
  • Small plastic bucket within easy reach for kids, known as the “Puke Bucket” (name optional) which is lined, of course, with a produce bag
  • Tissues, also within easy reach of kids
  • Small bottle of hand sanitizer, napkins, straws, lifesavers in the passenger side door
  • Small duffle bag with emergency clothes for everyone (updated yearly), and towel/baby blanket

These items do not take up much room and always remain in the car in a known location. May your next trip be trouble-free, but if it isn’t, I hope these tips help!

[Claire Caprioli is a parenting and children’s writer who birthed her children at the WBWC. Part 2 of this article will feature keeping the kids entertained.]

 

 

By |March 29th, 2017|Claire Caprioli, Family Resources|0 Comments

Upcoming Events March 2017

Click to view detailed calendar

  • Coping with Motherhood – Thursday, March 2 & 16, 10:30 am-12pm, FREE
  • Babywearing Class – Saturday, March 4, 10am-12pm, FREE
  • Babywearing Dance Class – Every Friday 9:15-10:15am, $10/adult or $40 for 5 classes
  • Breastfeeding Basics – Tuesday, March 7 & 21, 6:30-8:30pm, $30/couple
  • La Leche League Meeting – Wednesday, March 8, 7-8:30pm, FREE 
  • Young Moms Meetup – Thursday, March 9, 4:30-6pm, FREE
  • Breastfeeding Cafe – Friday, March 10 & 24, 10:30am-12pm, FREE
  • Weekend Breastfeeding Cafe – Saturday, March 11, 10:30-12pm, FREE
  • Meet the Doulas – Wednesday, March 15, 7-9pm, FREE
  • Cloth Diapering Class – Saturday, March 18, 10-11:30 am, FREE
  • Choosing Quality Childcare Seminar – Wednesday, March 20, 6:30-7:30 FREE
  • Craniosacral Therapy Clinic – Saturday, March 25, 2-4pm, FREE
  • Express Yourself, Pumping and Breastfeeding Class – Tuesday, March 28, 6:30-8:30pm
By |March 1st, 2017|Events & Workshops, Family Resources|0 Comments

Coping With Motherhood Group

Have pregnancy and motherhood turned your world upside down?
     
Coping with Motherhood is a peer support group for pregnant and postpartum women who are struggling with mood changes during the childbearing years. Facilitated by Nancy Albrecht, RN, MA, IBCLC, the group provides a safe place to share concerns, strengths, and ways to prevent, cope with, and recover from perinatal depression and anxiety.
     During a Coping with Motherhood meeting, moms are welcomed to a positive and private space where they can share feelings and support each other in the process of recovery. There are tears, but also laughter; talk about anxieties and fears, but also baby and breastfeeding advice; a chance to admit the pain, but also see the way to better days. Since the group began, almost two years ago, over 50 women have gotten support from the meetings and each other.

     Nancy shares the philosophy of the group, “We believe that while all mothers desire to be the perfect mother, we all fall short. You are a good mom as you seek help, take care of yourself, and do the best you can every day!”

   The group meets on the first and third Thursdays of each month, 10:30 am – 12:00 noon at WBWC, in the Living Room (Suite 304). Call Nancy at 919-933-3301, ext. 207 for more information. No need to RSVP, and the group is open to all women, not just WBWC clients.

You are not alone. You are not to blame. With help, you will be well.

Postpartum Support International

By |January 26th, 2017|Events & Workshops, Family Resources|0 Comments

What All New Parents Need (and What They Don’t Need!)

by Holly Lindsay-Miller
When I first got pregnant, I was on my way to becoming ever more conscientious in the way I lived. Truth be told, we were getting ready to go down to one income, and our home was not going to be spatially accommodating. We had to be thoughtful, and let’s face it, that’s hard to do in our modern, materialistic, consumerist world! We are told we need so many things as parents, and that has the subconscious effect of making us think that what we already have, who we are, isn’t good enough. We’re told we need THINGS to make us good parents. Just walk into a Babies R Us or Buy Buy Baby! We might need 5-7% of what is sold in these retail superstores.

Well,  first-time parents, we may not know that. We’ve never done it before. Yes, we know we have to follow the safety laws and get a car seat, and yes, we know our sweet babies need clothes and diapers. Everyone we know wants to buy toys galore, but what are those things we truly need and what are those things we absolutely do not? As they say in La Leche League meetings, treat this information as a buffet. Take what you want; leave what you don’t. We’re all in this together, after all!

Top 10 Must-Haves:

1.  Breastfeeding support – We’ve all read or been told babies were born to breastfeed and that’s basically true, but often the beginning is tough. We now have nursing pillows, nipple creams, nursing bras and tanks, absorbent nursing pads, hydro-gel pads, nursing books, IBCLC’s, and what I deem most important, OTHER NURSING WOMEN! In our culture, we rarely grow up watching our mothers, aunts, sisters, cousins, friends and neighbors nursing. We don’t necessarily know what normal looks like and how it feels.

2.    A baby resource book – When our children get ill it’s unsettling, particularly in the first weeks of a baby’s. Children tend to have issues at night or weekends when we feel alone already. A good baby reference book, such as Dr. Sears’s The Portable Pediatrician, is such a nice go-to when you don’t know if what your wee-one is doing is normal, requires an after-hours nurse call, or a helicopter lift to your local emergency room. (Things feel so much bigger when the sun is down!)

3.    A good baby carrier – Babies want to be carried. A lot. Finding a carrier before your baby is born can be hard. Deciding what brand to get can be anxiety-inducing. It doesn’t need to be!  Remember, people have been wearing their babies since the beginning of time, and I doubt they had to research which brand or type. Choose a carrier based on what you’re drawn to. Borrowing or buying a used one is ideal before investing in a new one (they’re not cheap!), but even if you do buy a carrier and you hate it, it’s NO big deal. The resale value of carriers is quite good and you can try another one that catches your eye.

4.    Thermometer – Not much else to say. It’s a good thing to have around the house if you don’t already.

5.   Colic/Gripe Water – Babies get gassy; it’s a fact. Our diets have changed significantly since our hunting and gathering days and babies are still dealing with that on top of an immature digestive system. Food intolerances are not that uncommon, either. Having a homeopathic remedy for gas, irritability, and pain is just a good idea. Homeopathics have no side effects and are perfectly safe for our little ones. Some products have more inactive ingredients than others. Read the label and choose one with which you feel comfortable.

6.    A safe place for baby to sleep – Ask yourself what will work best for YOUR family. No one knows you or your home life like you do. If that means sharing a bed, using a co-sleeper or a crib, so be it.

7.    A Breastpump – (This will also show up in the 10 Items You Don’t Need! I like to keep you on your toes.) If you are a mama who will be going to work outside of the home, then this is essential. Get a double electric pump if you need to be efficient and quick while at work. Otherwise, a manual pump may be fine and more affordable. Do your research and stick with a reputable company. Do not buy used unless you know it’s a brand that is made safely for multiple users. Many health insurance companies are now providing pumps or reimbursing families the cost of the breastpump.

8.    Healthy food – No matter how you get this done, whether it’s cooking a ton when you’re pregnant and freezing, having friends and family supply meals after the birth, creating a meal calendar, it’s a must. Cooking and meal prep tends to fall on our partners when they are already doing so much else taking care of mama and baby, cleaning, laundry, and sometimes hosting a vast numbers of visitors. A good supply of energy bars, easy-to-eat fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and the like are great to grab and eat while nursing or anytime.

9.    Blankets/burp cloths – I put these two together because I find that any kind of fabric is helpful for absorbing or covering. Babies are messy, and really let’s keep it real, so are we. Blankets are helpful for swaddling, lying on the floor to change a diaper, cover a nursing mother who wishes to be covered, cover a baby in the car, and on and on. Burp cloths are great for the various fluids that our babies insist on getting all over the place. The best kind is prefold cotton diapers (think old school and affordable.) Not only can they be used for baby-type spillage, but for a number of other cleaning/absorbing needs throughout the home and car.

10.  A high-chair – Having a chair or some seating with a tray is really important, not only for your sanity (again, babies are messy beings!) but for safety. No matter whether you begin introducing solids at 6 months or 1 year, you need a place to keep your baby in one place where they are upright, stable and safe. They are free to experiment with texture and taste without us worrying they’ll get the mashed banana all over the dog.

Top 10 Things You Don’t Need

1.    Travel system – I know, they are everywhere. They are also short-lived, bulky, cumbersome, and expensive. You may have noted that there is not a stroller on my must-have list. I don’t think they are must-haves. I realize wearing babies is a hot heavy business at times and strollers are awesome for older kids at, say, zoos or museums. But the travel systems are made for your baby’s car seat to hook into the base. Car seats are for cars, however. It is unlikely you will find yourself in a head-on collision with another strolling mama. (I hope not!) So get a good car seat, get a good carrier, and then down the road get a perfectly adequate, not-over-priced, nothing fancy-schmancy stroller. Think simple, think quality; think, “do I have to buy a minivan or Mack truck to get this thing to fit and still leave room for groceries?”

2.    “Exersaucers”, bouncy seats, swings, etc. – I’m feeling preachy so I’m just going to come out and say, they aren’t necessary. Your baby is fine to lie on the floor while you take a shower or cook dinner. There are enough things to look at in your home, I’m certain. When you have a mover, pick up the dangerous, gross items and let them explore while you enjoy your 10 minutes (okay, 2 minutes) of “alone” shower time. A basket of toys or board books that only get pulled out during shower time should be enough of a distraction.

3.    A bottle sterilizer – If you’re not using bottles, then definitely don’t get suckered into buying one. If you are using bottles, you don’t need to sterilize unless you have an immune-compromised child. Warm water and an environmentally-safe detergent should be sufficient.

4.   Wipes warmer – Babies fuss during diaper changes, yes. We want to do everything we can to make their life comfortable. But this is something they will get over. I bet they don’t even remember the discomfort of cold wipes when they are grown. Warmers take up a lot of room on your counter and they tend to burn and dry out the wipes on the bottom.

5.    Nursery set – A safe place to sleep is important, as I’ve already mentioned, but you need not get all HGTV for your new baby. They won’t notice whether they have a rainforest or hot air balloon theme. If it makes you feel good to paint and get all kinds of new furniture, it is okay, but it’s not a must.

6.    Bath tub – Another short-lived thing. If you shop consignment stores, you see over and over again this item. It’s just easier to take a bath with your baby. The skin-to-skin is good for bonding and milk supply, and bathing is so fabulous when you’re new mama.

7.  Baby monitor – Unless you live in a mansion, you most likely can hear if your baby begins to cry. I had one for my firstborn and I never once used it. However, if you will feel better with it, get one!  But you’re still a diligent and magnificent parent if you don’t use one.

8.    Breastpump – (Ha! I told ya!) Breastpumps can be great, but they are not needed in most circumstances. Unless you know you’re going to be going back to work, you can wait on this purchase until you figure out life (and nursing) with your new family member. Breastfeeding requires a lot of trust, since you cannot see exactly how much your baby is getting. This can be really hard! But if you have a growing, happy, peeing and pooping baby, and nursing feels good not painful, then your breasts are doing just what they are supposed to be doing without a pump. Things are good.

9.    Baby shoes – They are cute, no doubt about it. They are also an unnecessary expense. Let those piggies be free! Before you know it the wee-one will be a running-one then you can go to town.

10. Fancy toys that tell you your baby will be smarter after playing with them – The market for raising a smart child is vast these days. Have you seen the infomercial where 18-month-olds are reading words on a TV?  Kids don’t need battery-operated, noisy, plastic, headache-inducing toys and TV. Babies have few needs, but adults have lots of wants. Our children will be just fine with simplicity. I promise.

 
 

By |May 30th, 2013|Family Resources|1 Comment

‘Tis the Season to Keep Everyone Busy!

by Claire C. McKiernan


          I’d love to tell you the following advice is from professionals and experts, but I can’t. I’m too busy right now to interview anyone. So here are tips from a mother of four young children (me) on learning to let go a little (I’m a perfectionist, so this didn’t come easy) and, with some luck, getting your kids to cooperate this season. One caveat, you know your kids best, so my age suggestions may not be appropriate for all kids.
Shopping
          If you can’t leave the kids at home, stash snacks in your purse, no matter what time of day you go out or how close to the next meal. Food does wonders! Even better if there are special snacks that they only get when you go out shopping.  I keep baggies of raisins, mini-marshmallows, pretzels, goldfish crackers, or animal crackers in my purse. Lifesavers are good if your children are old enough to suck on one instead of crunching through it and asking for more every ten seconds.
Be on the lookout for surprise freebies, especially in grocery stores, such as cookies, cut-up fruit, and cheese samples. Sometimes things they won’t eat at home are suddenly appetizing when your kids are bored, and the item is presented in a cute little sample cup. 
An important note: in my experience, bribing them with food (“If you’re good, you’ll get these”) rarely works and often gives you a bigger head ache than before. Be pre-emptive and give them a snack while everyone is happy and before the kids get out of hand.
Holiday Cards
          Can’t seem to get the cards done while the kids are awake, and by the time they’re in bed, you’re spent, right? If you enjoy writing out the cards and making them “just so” like I do, then the next bit of advice is going to require some yoga-like breathing.
Let the kids help.
Let your 2-year-old scribble in the cards to your closest relatives who will undoubtedly find it cute. Or just give her a brand new card with which to do whatever she likes. If you’re lucky she will scribble in it and give it to you. If you’re not so lucky, you’ll find it in the toilet.
Let your 4-year-old work next to you making his cards out of construction paper. If he’s making them out to the same people you are, then show him you are adding his card in with yours so he knows he’s contributing. Don’t keep the postage stamps within his reach, though.
Your 6-year-old can put on stamps and address labels. Just be sure to tell her not to seal the envelopes until they’ve all been addressed!
Your 8-year-old can write out addresses, at least to the same relatives who find the baby’s scribbles adorable. This is a great time to tell him why you go through the trouble of writing out cards and let him do a few on behalf of the family. The operative word here is “let,” meaning that you are allowing him to help, not that you are lecturing and forcing the issue. You should only do that if you never want to receive a card from him as an adult because he now hates cards.
Decorating
Have them use construction paper to make decorations for the windows while you’re busy nearby. I love decorating the tree, but other than the lights and the angel at the top, my kids completely decorated our tree this year. The entire bottom half is bare because the baby won’t leave the tree alone. It’s sweet and absurd at the same time and probably the best-looking tree we’ve ever had.
Wrapping Gifts
Let your 4-year-old go to town on grandma’s non-breakable gift with some tape and colorful newspaper (comics and grocery ads) while you do some other wrapping. Your 6-year-old can help tape, cut ribbon, and stick on bows. Your 8-year-old can fill out gift labels.
Cleaning
          Things will never be as clean as when you do it yourself, but enlisting the kids has numerous benefits. You’ll be surprised how well they do with encouragement and easy-to-follow instructions. Everyone except my almost-2-year-old has weekly chores, and even she routinely likes to help out. My kids earn change for their piggy bank for anything they are willing to do beyond what they are expected to do. This works out great for me before company comes.
We listen to their music while we clean, and because we all work at once, it fosters a team spirit. Give each kid his or her own to-do list (draw pictures for the younger ones). Besides helping them to remember everything, lists are more official and important.
Do not put multiple kids on the same job in the same room because it will lead to dusters used as swords, laundry all over the floor, and mopped children instead of mopped floors. Divide and conquer!
The 2-to-4-year-old set are surprisingly good dusters. They can follow you around either re-dusting (no harm there) or dusting things low to the ground that you never bother to dust but really need it. This is assuming you don’t have a lot of breakable knick-knacks. If you do, I suggest you either get rid of the knick-knacks, or get rid of the kids.
Kids 6 years and up can sort clean laundry into piles, fold socks, and put away their folded clothes. I give my energetic 4-year-old one or two pieces of clothing at a time and have him race to put it away and get back to me by the time I have the next item ready.
Fill a clean spray bottle with half water and half vinegar and give it, along with paper towels, to your 4-year-old to clean the bottom halves of windows (where he can reach without a stool and where all his finger- and nose-prints can be found).  If he can’t be trusted with a whole roll of paper towels, fold one into a kid-friendly size and have him come back for more when it’s too dirty and wet. Give your 6-year-old a damp sponge and challenge him to find the true color of the baseboards. An 8-year-old can clean the kitchen table along with kitchen and bathroom counters.
Cooking
Kids can wash dishes or load the dishwasher, but don’t introduce this during the holidays. Kids 4 and up can rinse fruit and veggies and open up cans while you cook.  Don’t get too ambitious! Save anything that’s messy or needs heavy supervision for non-hectic times. When my son was three, he wanted to help decorate his sister’s birthday cake. I caught him just before he used the pepper mill all over my beautifully frosted cake.
One Last Note
Nothing works 100% of the time, and when it doesn’t, breathe deeply! Remember, when they turn into little monsters, they feed off your tension, so keep telling yourself to remain calm. Their attitude is often a reflection of your own.
 If you can muster a truly silly act to really throw them off their guard, go for it. Unexpectedly skip through the room with a bow stuck to your nose and sing “I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas.” Even if they wind up putting you in a padded room for the holidays, I bet you’ll be in there laughing (bonus: you’ll have avoided all the after-holiday clean-up). Just don’t do anything that you don’t want to see them imitate over and over and over (or telling all the guests at dinner).  
Keep everyone busy this season and keep repeating through clenched teeth, “‘Tis the season to be jolly!”  And if none of this works, don’t blame me. I’m not a professional.




By |December 19th, 2011|Family Resources|0 Comments