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

What lengths do you go to protect your kids from germs?

When I pick up my older son from preschool, I always bring his little brother with me. Sometimes I let the little one check out the toys and books in the play area.

The other day, my toddler was carrying around a book and occasionally putting the corner to his mouth. I was only taking a moment to jot down a note for the teacher, so I knew he wouldn’t get far. But a concerned mom walked over to him, took the book from him, and said, “I don’t think you really want that in your mouth.”

germ

 

I’m not really sure what she meant – was she genuinely concerned that my son was getting into something that might be dirty? Or was she worried he might pass his germs on to other kids there?

Either way, I hadn’t been that concerned. I just am not that worried about everyday germs. I’d go crazy trying to keep everything from my toddler’s mouth.

My older son knows to cover his mouth with his arm when he has to sneeze or cough. He automatically washes his hands after going to the bathroom. Those are the bare minimums for keeping your germs to yourself, and at four years old, he does pretty well.

I also cancel playdates if he’s sniffly or coughing, even if he is in good spirits with no sign of fever. But beyond this, we don’t go out of our way to do much to keep germs at bay.

I’ve also found it impossible to keep the brothers’ germs separated.

Little brother just wants to test out everything with his mouth, including big brother’s straw, snack leftovers, and even his baseball bat. And with two kids, there’s just no way I could keep everything out of his reach.

Worst of all, this has been big brother’s first year in preschool, so he has caught everything. Strangely enough, the little brother has rarely come down with even a stuffy nose.

We were pretty picky around the house when they were newborns, though.

We were especially protective when they were first born, as they were premature and the doctor warned us about the potential dangers of catching a cold with their immature immune systems. But when they’re that small, it’s so much easier to shield them from everything.

How about you? What lengths do you go to keep germs at bay around your kids?

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?