Managing Your Time

Why the “big things” can wait

Does it ever seem like you wake up in the morning and you’re suddenly off on a marathon race that lasts all day long? All week long?

As a stay-at-home mom to a toddler and a preschooler, my days are filled with small, tedious tasks. It’s a constant cycle of make breakfast, pack lunch, clean up kids, dress kids, school drop-off, groceries, tot classes, errands, oops what’s for dinner, baths, mommy mommy mommy mommy, bedtime kisses, and then collapsing on the couch.

I’m often frustrated that I never get ahead in any of the big things I’d like to do. Do you ever feel that way, too?

Yet, this collection of little things that make up my day really is the big thing – at least for now.

As moms, we are the world to our children. Sometimes, I lose sight of that as I fret about yet another day that has slipped by with nothing accomplished.

I suppose I did accomplish something today. I sat down with my children to watch a video. Yes, we were staring at a screen, but we were doing it together. We were cuddled up and basking in that good feeling of just being with one another.

Before that, both my kids were crying about something or other, tired from another long Monday – same as me. I managed to get something in a pot for dinner and then just sat with them.

That’s really something. Whether it’s five minutes in the morning or thirty minutes after preschool, those times where I’m doing nothing but being with my kids make all the difference in my day. And it makes a big difference to them, too.

So for now, I’m happy with the mundane, because I’ve also got the extraordinary.

I just have to remind myself to see it and enjoy it now while it’s mine.

Soon enough my little boys will be no longer calling for mommy. And I’ll have all the time I need to do the “big” things.

Healthy Family & Home

Treating ear infections – keeping a warm cloth on a wiggly child’s ear

When I was in elementary school, we lined our mittens up on the radiators in the classroom to dry them after a cold and snowy recess. If any of us developed an earache, our teacher would tell us to grab a hot mitten from the radiator and hold it to the ear.

If you don’t have a hot mitten nearby, I’ve got a nifty trick you can try using one of our earflap hats (also called an aviator hat), to hold a warm cloth in place on a child’s ear.

How does warmth help an ear infection?

An ear infection hurts because of pressure on the ear drum as it bulges to contain fluid that is building up. Heat works to help fluid in the ear break up and be on its way, thus relieving pressure on the ear drum.

But getting a child to lie still on his or her side and hold a cloth perfectly in place themselves for long enough can be a challenge.

A trick for keeping a warm cloth on a wiggly child’s ear

Put the earflap hat on your child without tying the strings. Then take a regular, dry wash cloth and microwave it for 20-25 seconds to warm it. (My husband and I also did this to warm our babies’ blankets after bath time.)

Check that the cloth is not too hot, just comfortably warm to the touch. If it’s too hot, wave it in the air a bit until it’s the right temperature, and then tuck it under the earflap next to the offending ear. Tie the strings under the chin. Let your child lay back and relax.

If your baby is up for it, you can also place them with their painful ear on your chest to provide warmth. But good luck getting your preschooler to do that!

And of course, we’re not doctors here. So make sure you get your child to a doctor if you suspect an ear infection.

While we’re on the topic, I highly recommend a trip to Web MD’s Ear Infection Health Center . You’ll find a vast number of articles dedicated to the topic, including worksheets to help you decide when to give antibiotics.

What about you? How do you get through dreaded ear infections with your little ones?

Hats & Designs

It’s February. How is your little one’s winter hat holding up?

Babies and toddlers grow fast. Bigger kids are tough on their clothing. But we bet you the wearers of Beanie Designs hats are still keepin’ cozy and lookin’ good this winter season.

How can I be so sure that a Beanie Designs hat will last and last? For two reasons:

  1. Because of how our hats are constructed

Designed for flexibility

Many of our unique hat designs include small ways of adjusting for the perfect fit. Take for instance the earflap hat: the flaps can be tied up in the back and the front can be rolled up if needed. (See how I did this recently.)

Several kids’ hat designs can be worn comfortably floppy at the younger age and with a more fitted look toward the older age (see Leela’s look at just under 3 years in a 3-10 years hat).

Of course our beanies can be rolled up or down depending on the head size. My preemie with his teeny tiny head even wore this infant hat here very comfortably, though he was very small for it.

Generous sizing

While the first 6 months are sized in 3-month increments to fit tiny infant heads ever so perfectly, after that, the size range provides much longer wearing through growing stages. The 6-18 months size can see many kids through two winters, as can the 18-36 months size.

In fact, given the stretchiness of many styles, some hats can be worn well beyond the age stated (my four year old puts on his brother’s 3-6 months football hat and my husband can wear my preschooler’s apple hat!) Still, we recommend you measure your child’s head and check the measurements for the style you’re considering for the best fit.

High-quality materials and construction

Beanie Designs’ high-quality organic cotton yarns are pretty sturdy, keeping their shape and vibrant colors even through regular machine washing. Proprietary knitting and crocheting techniques provide great reinforcement for seams and other areas that might start to come loose or show wear much sooner on inferior hats. (Read more on the thought and workmanship we put into our hats.)

  1. And I also know that Beanie Designs hats last well because you’ve said so in the product reviews.

Here’s just a sampling of comments that show from the discerning parents and grandparents who buy our hats:

…Bought the pink one for my 2 year old last spring and she wore it all winter. Still looks like new…

…She has been able to wear it for over a year now, and it will last through this next winter as well…

…We have gotten 2 years out of it…

…Awesome quality and held up great for the winter…

…well-crafted hat that is worthy of keeping to pass on to the next generation… you are getting a high quality keepsake!

…my daughter wore it all last fall and winter…

…They held up very well in the washer…

…is both soft and durable…

So, if the hat your little one is wearing is starting to show the wear, why not invest in a Beanie Designs hat that he or she can wear now – and next winter, too? (Or for many more winters after that!) There’s plenty of cold left in February, right?

Healthy Family & Home

When Mommy is sick – what happens in your house?

Moms run the universe, and everyone finds this out when Mom gets sick. At least in our house they do. How about in yours?

What happens in your house when Mommy is sick?

  1. Not much differently – she takes whatever medicine she can and ploughs through it all in a fog.
  2. The babysitter and a maid are called in (otherwise known as grandparents and willing friends to some) while Mom gets much needed rest.
  3. Daddy takes over and most things happen as they need to (well, except for the massive cleanup required upon Mom’s recovery).

I found out that ours is a Type C household recently.

I came down with a stomach virus that knocked me off my feet for about 36 hours. I almost never get sick, THAT kind of sick, so I was pleased, grateful – and also vaguely unaware (at the time) of just what a great job my husband did taking care of the kids.

He did exactly what was needed to keep the kids safe and happy – all I could have asked for.

When Daddy takes over                                                                

My husband is not the sort of guy who comes home from work, juggles two whining kids, cooks dinner and ushers in bath and bedtime all by himself normally. (I know they're out there!)

While he has strategies for when he has to care for both at the same time, he’s never done it for more than two or three hours at a time – and usually one is sleeping.

I spent the entire Sunday in bed, delirious and shivering under mounds of blankets. My husband scrounged leftovers from the fridge for lunch, ordered dinner out for a special treat, and made sure he and the kids ate well. He had them bathed and in bed on time. There were few tears throughout the day, and both kids had a bit of mommy cuddling time – but not too much.

I was impressed.

Granted, when I woke up nearly normal the next day, the house was in complete disarray and laundry had piled up. (I’m sure the babysitter and maid would have made an appearance had I been sick for a week.) But all in all, I was just so happy to have been able to get the rest I needed to kick that stomach bug without the stress of worrying about the kids, too.

So, do tell. What happens in your house when Mommy is knocked out?