The Mommy Panel – Shy Kids

Each week our amazing group of mommies answer questions and I share them with yall.  I love reading the answers and getting to know other mommas.  The thing is no one really reads or comments on the posts.  Dont get me wrong.. thats NOT what its all about, but I do put a lot of work into my blog so I want to make sure that what Im sharing is of some interest to others.  
So in my infinite wisdom [ha!  I kid!] Im moving the Mommy Panel to our private Facebook group.  Its only private because thats how groups are.. so feel free to join!  There will be two more questions before its completely moved to the group page.  
Our question this week :
What is a good way to get a shy child to want to try new things especially in front of other people?  
Natalia – I am not sure I am an authority on this, but I guess I would say lots of love and encouragement and trying new things in controlled environments. Lots of reassuring and support I suppose. But my kids never stop talking and hug perfect strangers, so I am definitely the wrong person to ask!
Kristine – Totally engage in the activity with all the excitement you can muster. Don’t be afraid to get in there and show them how fun it is, they will most likely then try it out themselves.
Liz – Please don’t try to force them.  Seriously, I speak from experience.  I’ve always been an introvert and hated when people would try to pressure me to do things in front of other people if I wasn’t comfortable.
The best thing to do is praise whatever behavior or activity when your child does it on their own. Positive reinforcement is much more effective than being pushed.
There’s a great book out right now called “”Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking””.  While it isn’t a parenting book per se, it may help you understand your child’s point of view.  Even I learned quite a bit about myself as I read it.  Read more here.
Meredith – Maybe try the new thing first, so your child can see that you’re not afraid to do it!?  My little one is only one, so he’ll pretty much do anything right now! Haha!!
Janetteb – Gosh, this is something I deal with regarding my 4 year old son.  I recall having professional pictures taken and thought they were super cute, so I submitted them to a modeling agency.  They called asking for us to come in and have an interview and take a head shot to be considered.  As soon as he got in front of them, he had his fingers in his mouth, and his head buried in my side.  He wouldn’t answer their questions.  It was a waste of time for all.  I have no idea how to get past this shy phase.  I think even as an adult, there are times I am more shy than others- so I think a lot of it has to do with environment and how comfortable you feel in it.  
Missy – The best way to get a shy child to try new things is to have someone else do it first that they like. It does not always work though. I tend to let Megan try new things at her own pace as I did not want to force her. Eventually she just realized her siblings were having so much fun and she missed out so she wanted to try also.


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The Mommy Panel – Crib Bumper Debate

This week our question is:

What are your thoughts on bumpers on cribs? Do you use them?

Ashley – After much thought, “put on, take off” moments, talking with other Mamas, and fights with my own thoughts. I decided to use them. C.A.P moved around so much when he was little that the one night I did take them off I heard him bang his head off the crib all night. Despite lots of comments about them I decided to go with my gut and use them for my little one.
Michaela – We were given a beautiful hand-me-down Pottery Barn Kid’s bedding set from a cousin. She was on bedrest with a 18 month old running around when it was sent. She enclosed a note letting me know there was a stain on the bumper and she was sorry she hadn’t dry cleaned it. I was terribly thankful to have the set. I instantly threw on the sheet and crib skirt. Then, I looked at the stain and figured I should get it dry cleaned before I put the bumpers on. The bumpers went into the closet and that’s where they’ve been since last April. 
We’ve never really needed them. I know there’s all kinds of thoughts and recommendations about using and not using them. I never come in to find my daughter’s arms or legs stuck. She doesn’t wake up with unexplained bruise or anything. So, we’ve left them off. I also love my crib and don’t want to hide any of it with bumpers!
I did see a post on Apartment Therapy a while back about turn bumpers into teething guards. I think we might have a beaver on our hands. She chewed on one of the rails a couple of weeks ago but hasn’t done it since. If it starts back up, I’ll be making those suckers into a teething guard (after a trip to the dry cleaner!).
Pamela – I have used them with my 1st 3 kids because thats what I was told, you have to have a bumper on the crib plus the crib blanket.  Once I had my 4th I started researching the different effects the bumper pad could do to an infant and since then I use a breathable bumper, I have used those with my 2 last babies, and still have the breathable bumper on my 2 yr olds crib.  I just think there more practicable than the bulky bumper pad.  It can still match your decor, they come in all colors and sizes for different cribs.
Meredith – I did use a crib bumper when Jackson was younger (1-7 months or so), but once we lowered the mattress the bumper became a sort of stepping stool for Jackson to pull himself up higher.  Now his crib is bumper free!  I know a lot of parents are concerned about a bumper and suffocation, which is definitely a scary thought.  I did what I felt comfortable with…it varies from situation to situation.  My advice is to always do what is best for your child and what makes you feel most comfortable!
Jill – With my first child I was adamant that we had bumper pads on the crib. I wanted them there for my child’s safety. With my second child we didn’t have the money to get a full crib bedding set. We didn’t even have the bumper pads at first. He was so little so I didn’t worry about them. After a few months we went and got some. I honestly feel they were useless. He got to the point he would stand on them and they would get pushed down and squished between the bed and the frame. I don’t think they really even helped at all. 
Liz S – I used a bumper for all 3 of my kids and never had any problems.  I’ve heard they are thinking of banning them which I think is silly.  I think as consumers we need to take responsibility for the things we buy.  In this case – tighten the ties as needed to make sure the bumper stays tight up against the rails, checking on your baby periodically when they sleep, and if you see that they nuzzle too tight to the bumper to cause concern then remove it.  
Tricia – Yes, I use the bumpers on our crib.  Right now my 22 month old is in the crib and the bumper helps keep all of her pacifers from falling onto the floor at night!  
Angela – I didn’t use the bumper on the crib until my kids were way older, like maybe around 6 months. A close friend of mine had a daughter that passed away at 4 months old, during her nap. It was SIDS and although it wasn’t necessarily from a bumper or blanket, it has made me very cautious. 
Liz B – It’s funny this is asked because I was making a list of “needs” and “not so much” baby things and a bumper made the “not so much.”  They’re cute, they usually come with your bedding set.  But both my girls were tummy sleepers, so the bedding was stripped to a minimum at about 6 weeks until they rolled consistently (and then it was a breathable one for #2 in the interest of safety).  Being that we broke the ‘back to sleep’ rule with our kids, far be it from me to tell another parent how to sleep.  And it was a TOTAL sleep thing.  The difference between 3 and 5 hours at a time is golden – am I right!!
Bernadette - I do use them-for a while. I don’t know how much good they do, to what they are supposed to accomplish. If it is to keep the babies from bumping on the rails-infants generally are pretty stationary. If it’s to keep body parts unstuck-they tend to get moved by said baby anyway. They look cute though.=)
Jelli – I used to use bumpers, but ours was a hand-me-down that was pretty worn out and folded over itself. Read: pretty useless. We took it out. Just last night I heard shrieking from the crib, and ran in to find my baby with both legs inserted through the bars on the crib, twisting herself around trying to get them out to no avail. I have the feeling we’ll be going back to bumpers as soon as we go out to buy new sturdy ones.
Janette –  I’m not picky about the bumper as I’ve had one for every one of my 3 kiddo’s.  Personally, I think there is too much hype on what is or isnt’ safe these days.  People focus on risks and living with fear– I miss the simple times.. the ones my parents talk about… 
Natalia – I like them and use them! If I don’t it seems like my kids legs or arms are always getting caught in the bars! 
Kelley – We used crib bumpers for both of our kids.. but both kids also slept in a bassinet by our bed until they were rolling over.  I didnt start hearing that you shouldnt use a bumper until Avery was 6 months old.  It was news to me, but they suggested using those breathable bumpers.  I agree that its every parents choice though.  




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The Mommy Panel – Pinching!

Hello friends!  Welcome to another Mommy Panel question and answer session.  This week our question is:

How did you break your kid of pinching?



Missy – Matthew seems to be pinching quite a bit lately so I just sit him in time out and make him stay there. Then I have him say sorry to whoever he pinched. I tell him that hurts when you pinch. You don’t want to hurt them do you? That’s not nice. 
Meredith – Luckily this isn’t an issue yet, but I’m anxious to hear what’s worked for other mommies :o)
Ashley – I haven’t gotten there with C.A.P yet ! Hopefully I can get some feedback from the other Mamas so I know what to do if it happens !
Janiene – My children never pinched, but that does not make them innocent! We have had other behaviors that we have had to work through. My method for correcting a behavior that is wrong or harmful to another person is to catch my child in the act! I then hold their hand and apply pressure while I bend down and look into their eyes and then I tell them that their hand just hurt their friend (or brother). Then in simple words (depending on their ages) I say “no hit brother”, “no push friends”, “soft hands”, “gentle hands”. If my child is old enough to reason I apply the pressure on their hand and look into their eyes and ask if they would be friends with someone who just hit them or pushed them or used their feet to kick them. Their answer is always no and I remind them of the verse in Proverbs that says “A friend must show himself friendly.” I remind them that to have friends you must be a friend. The reason I apply pressure is because while I am talking to them it is reminding them of their hand the whole time – the hand that caused the hurt. Then my child has to go say sorry and then the correction is done and I wait for the next :) It’s all about catching it, correcting it, teaching them new behaviors and staying consistent. 
Pamela – I am dealing with that right now with my youngest who is 2, the first time she pinched it caught me off guard and it really hurt and I screamed, and it scared her she started crying.  I just let her know you dont do that, that hurts really bad.  Of course she did it again, and I just told her it hurts, and then I pinched her back and said see I told you it hurts.  That’s how I got her to stop pinching, she hasnt done it since that day!
Tygre – Uh oh, I’m very grateful that Mae hasn’t started pinching yet.  I will be taking you all’s advice for when the time comes! Mae sometimes playfully bites her brother though, but we’ve been trying to redirect her and just say, “No, no, no, we don’t bite brother.  You have to be soft ::stroke brother gently:::” ;)
Karen – Thankfully my son only pinched me. Not that I enjoyed it, but at least there were no embarrassing incidents with his making other children cry. I’d say no fairly sharply and if he persisted I’d go and sit where he couldn’t reach me which drove him nuts. After a while (a few months) he outgrew the stage I guess. I had actually forgotten all about it until this question came along!
Janette Johanson Gosh, I thankfully haven’t had this issue with my kiddos {yet}.  Biting has been more up our alley and that is a tough one.  I know it might sound mean but I tend to think if someone pinches me, I’ll pinch them back so they know how it feels.  I feel sortof childish saying that but I honestly don’t know what else you could replace that feeling with… biting tends to be because of teething and using teething tools.  Great question!
Kristine – Maggie is turning two and Mia is 10 months old… so no pinching over here. When does it normally “start” ?
Angela – Honestly, we haven’t had a problem with pinching. I’ll be interested in reading the answers though!
Tricia – We thankfully have never had this problem…knock on wood!
Michaela – Emma started pinching about a month ago. She only pinched me. She picked it up from a boy at MDO. Thankfully, that little troublemaker was moved up into the older classroom. She stopped pinching after he left.
I can’t wait to read other people’s answers. I’m sure I’ll need this again some day soon!


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The Mommy Panel – First Words!

Our question this week is:
What was your babies first word?
Michaela – My little miss is 13 months old. She “talks” all the time. However, we’re not at actual words yet. My husband and I are placing bets as to if it will be “mama” or “dada” first. Part of me still thinks it will be “Fudge” {our cat}. Emma is in love with that cat!
Liz S.  – All 3 said Dada first : ( then Mama.
As soon as they started making real sounds, my husband started coaching them.  
It’s ok though, since I was home with them while he was working, I got (and still do get) more hugs and snuggle time.
Karen – Kitty cat at 12 months, but he stopped using it by 15 months. At some point later on (17 months or so) “mama” made it’s appearance. Like music to my ears that was!
Meredith – This makes me laugh!  Jackson is now one and he still doesn’t really have any words yet.  He does say dada and mama, but not often, and not intentionally.  He ALWAYS says BAAA!  Everything is BAAA (his milk, his bear, taking a bath, changing his diaper, eating food).  I keep thinking he’s just going to surprise us one day and speak in complete sentences out of no where.  Until then, it’s BAAA!

Emily – Dada!! Of course, he was thrilled :)
Natalia – Daddy!  I think both of their first words were daddy.  And a close second being ‘ball’ and ‘no’!  
Liz B – Olivia’s first word was “cat” that she’d say while signing it.  Althought, now it seems like her first word was probably “no.”  Avery’s first real word was “dog.”  She has yet to consistantly call me Mom, however.  But the pets, they’re covered in our house!
Pamela – Seems like all my babies first word was dada! But I taught my 2 year old sign language starting at 7 months old, and her first signing word was more, and then dada :-)

Tonii - With all 4 of my kids the answer has been exactly the same…“Daddy!!”  No fair, right?! ;)
Tricia – Da-da!  (for all 3 of my kids!!!)
Janette – With my first two babies, they both said Da-Da in a hurry.  It broke my heart because I spent hours practicing with them when their Daddy wasn’t around.  When I would practice in front of my husband, he would follow up with say DA-DA! So when my third baby came along, I gave up.  I was very surprised to hear her call my name first!! Finally MA-MA!! Its a close tie with Bubba which is what we call my oldest.  I still claim Ma-Ma was the first with her.
Jelli – Papa. She only really uses it when she wakes up in the morning and wants a quick ticket out of her crib.
Reading all the answers to this question cracked me up!  We want nothing more then their first word to be mama!  [Or ‘Mama I love you Im sorry for putting you through all that back labor’ would be nice.. but that is wishful thinking.’]  Both of my kiddos said ‘dada’ first too.. although we practiced mama more then dada.  Avery still [at 15 months] wont say mama, unless is he hurt and wailing.  Then its a cry/whine mama.  Ahh the joys of motherhood!
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The Mommy Panel – Taking Away Paci!

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What are some tips for taking away a pacifier?
Michaela – I have no actual experience with this. Emma never took a pacifier. I’m thankful we’ll never have to take it away. But man, there was a lot of screaming early on that a pacifier would have been wonderful to help. 
I know my cousin had the pacifier fairy come. Basically the binkie fairy collects binkies from big kids and gives it to babies who need them. My cousin talked to her daughter for a couple of days about it. They put the binkie under her pillow and in the morning there was a thank you note and a present. It worked well. 
A friend told me that she sent her son’s binkie to a new baby. They talked about how this new baby needed it and how he was a big boy. Then Logan got to pick out the card and wrapping and sent the binkie to the family friend’s new baby. In return, the baby sent a present (I think a DVD). He thought it was so cool that a friend got his binkie. 
Liz F – It may sound crazy, but do it during a time when they’re out of their normal routine, like a vacation. When my husband and I vacationed in Mexico last year, my son stayed with his grandparents for over a week, and he was having so much fun, he didn’t even think about his pacifier (that we forgot to pack!) When they’re out of their normal routine at home, it’s easier for them to forget about it! And when all else fails, tell them the Paci Fairy is coming to your house tonight, and when they wake the next morning, they have a big surprise waiting under their pillow!
Missy Rogers – My answer is this. Take it away cold turkey as soon as possible. The doctor may recommend that your baby keep it for a while as they need the sucking. As soon as the doc gives the okay take it away. The longer you wait the more screaming you are going to hear when you take it away. That’s the honest truth. I know it is hard. It is like taking the bottle away. A warm bath Rocking them to sleep and singing them a lullaby might help at bed time. Get them into a new routine that does not require a pacifier. Although that is my answer. It is not that easy. My son and daughter both suck their thumb and I actually thought of giving them a pacifier to break them of thumb sucking so I could take the pacifier away. You can’t take their thumb away! :)

Meredith – YES!!  This was my question.  HELP!!!  My son just turned one and it seems that he’s becoming more and more dependent on it, especially when things don’t go his way!
Janette – Omigosh, I wish I had the answers because we are dealing with this too.  My 2yr old daughter uses her to sleep and sometimes just to calm her when she’s having a meltdown.  She literally bites a hole in them so that they are unusable.  I thought this was the ticket– she doesn’t want it if its damaged.  I know when we send her to school they don’t give her one there, so I know she can handle it without- but its really a matter of ME being patient enough to give her the chance to go through withdrawls and teach herself to self-soothe.  I am very impatient, so I have been buying paci’s in bulk to replace the ones that she’s ruined… plus, I have a younger baby girl who takes one– and my 2yr old will rob my 9mo old of hers.  So its like I have to take it from both of them to make it work and suffer a few days, or just go broke buying them.
Liz – I wish I had more experience.  Unfortunately, I have two thumb suckers at home, and I can’t cut those things off!  Or at least not without some serious reprocussions.  I’ve heard good things about packing the pacis away for “new babies.”  My oldest has quiet the “mommy gene” so I think that would have worked with her.  Sadly, she does not want to give her thumb away to new babies.  Being a cry it out mom, I would also be tempted to go cold turkey.  The first few days would stink, but over time, the absence would become the norm.
Tricia – All of my kids have had (or still have) pacifiers.  With the older two kids we took it away when they were about 2 1/2.  We cut the nipple off and told them that it broke.  (And that’s what happens when you are too big for a binky.)  We offered for them to hold the handle part if they wanted (neither did).  Of course both thought we were the dummies and that we should go to Target and get new binks…which we made sure didn’t happen.  :)     
   
Kristine Foley – Cold turkey – and stick to it! Get rid of all of them so you aren’t tempted to just give it back “just this once” YOU CAN DO IT!
Pamela – There are many ways to take it away, but for me I had to take a different approach with each of my children.  My oldest was the one that really LOVED the pacifier, and he was almost 2 and still had it in his mouth, I told him we had to find all the pacifiers around the house and give them to the new babies that I was expecting (I had twins 1 month later) and he did just that, and never asked for them again, even when he saw the twins with pacifiers.  With my last baby, when I told her it was time to throw pacifiers away, she was upset, would cry, I wanted to give in but I didnt, it worked but then she started carrying a blankie which is fine with me, better than walking around with a pacifier. 

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The Mommy Panel – Three Essentials!

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What are your three mommy essentials?

Jelli – At this point, with a nearly 9 month-old, I cannot live without my Glamourmom nursing tanks. These are my go-to for daywear, layering under dress-up clothes, and for sleepwear. So comfy, and oh-so-practical. 

#2: Washable nursing pads. Indispensable to avoid embarrassing leaks. Love, love, love. 
#3: Wrap-style baby carrier. Makes grocery shopping and daily outings a breeze. It’s especially useful to me since the uneven sidewalks and poorly paved Costa Rican roads aren’t stroller-friendly.

Ann – One and only 1 – my calendar!  With 2 kids in a bunch of activities, I cannot function without my calendar.

Janette – {1} Patience:  While I lack this very virtue, it is still something I think even in the worst of times, I am relying on to get me through.  

{2} Hugs/Kisses & I love you’s:  Teaching my kids that hugs and kisses are fun and comforting and saying I love you helps show them how to care and receiving those from my kids are what puts a smile on my face everyday!
{3} Klennex:  I think my kids might be overly full of snot so it is always packed with every car ride.  {substitute baby wipes if ya have to!}

Karen – My Ergo! I think everything else, in the end could find a substitute. The Ergo has gotten us from 8 to 27 months and I’m having to start to wean my son from it because he is getting too heavy. No other carrier I’ve tried could have made it possible to carry him anywhere near this long though. Once I got it as an early Christmas present I realized how much I could have used it right from the beginning. Back pain was gone!

Liz – Diet Coke, Archer Farms dried fruit and my iPad (with games, movies and kid books installed)

Janiene – {1} Noise machines in my kids rooms. White noise has been an AMAZING blessing!! I love the Homedics brand one because it is the loudest and it has so many sound options.

{2} Aden & Anais Baby Swaddling Wraps (made out of muslin) – They are ginormous! They are breathable (for summer time swaddles or snuggles). They are machine washable/dryer safe. They are my favorite nursing shawl, burp cloth, baby blanket, floor play mat, etc. Love them!
{3} A Mom’s group. I am a part of an awesome Mom’s group and we have such a strong community. You seriously need community when you are a Mommy – especially when you have a newborn. You are alone a lot those first few weeks/months and need support and a group of ladies that you can ask questions from, share experiences with, cry with (those silly pregnancy hormones can be crazy and having friends that understand you and can encourage you is vital!), and raise your kids together. 

Sallie – I could not live without:

Wipes, these are essential, even the 18 and 16 year old need these!! I always have some in my handbag, but I use washable ones at home as they are greener.
Coffee, not really a mummy item, but I need it in the morning after a night of breastfeeding the 2 year old. She doesn’t seem to want to stop anytime soon.
Pens and paper, there travel in my bag too and are great for entertaining the little ones when we are out.

Emily – 1) iphone because it has everything: shopping list to keep me focused at the store, calendar to keep me on track, video camera/camera to capture those sweet candid moments…and, games for emergency toddler situations! :)

2) my big bag that holds everything from bibs to hair ties to bandaids. It’s a must have! 
3) comfy, stretchy, wear-everywhere yoga pants. ‘Nough said. “

I agree with everyone!  You have to find what works for your family.  For me I had to have a travel system [we use Chicco.. love and highly recomend], a big huge diaper bag that looks like a purse [because come on.. Im not carrying both] and some me time.

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The Mommy Panel – Most Surprising Thing During Pregancy

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What was the most surprising thing about your pregnancy?

Michaela – For me, I think the most surprising thing about pregnancy was the amount of pain I was in during my second and third trimester. My little miss was very, very high the whole pregnancy. I was uncomfortable all of the time. By the end of the day, my hips hurt. Between her position and her constant kicking, I ended up with a bruised uterus the last week of my pregnancy. I knew I would be uncomfortable, but I didn’t expect to hurt like I did.


Mrs. Baker – the nausea. I was one of the unfortunate ones that was nauseous my ENTIRE pregnancy!


LizHow much of a toll it takes on your body carrying around those 30 extra pounds.


JelliIt surprised me how incredibly energetic and healthy I felt the entire time. (Don’t hate me, please!) I took pretty good care of myself, going to the gym through month 7 and eating well. I thank God that my pregnancy was a dream come true. Praying for another soon!


MeredithI may get on some nerves here, but just how easy it was. I loved being pregnant and for the most part felt really great the entire time!


LizI always thought it was weird how many people want to touch your belly when you’re pregnant – especially total strangers.


JillThere were a couple of things surprising about pregnancy. I have heard many stories about people getting so sick during the whole process. When I first got pregnant I was worried about this. Surprisingly I really didn’t get sick. Of course I was quite happy with that!

The second thing was I never realized how much I was going to have to go to the bathroom. I felt like I would go and then 10 minutes later I had to go so bad again. My hubby never understood this until he took an anatomy class this last semester and was shock at how the uterus was literally right on top of the bladder. He told me how much he felt for me and understood now!!

The third thing was how sore I got as I went further along in the pregnancy. Some days I would wonder how much more I could grow before my skin would pop. I just remember getting so tight through my stomach and it was so uncomfortable.

The last thing is how much pregnancy changes your body. I couldn’t believe how much it changes. From hair falling out, to my feet growing bigger, my hips getting wider, and I just found out how much it ruins your teeth. I had no idea until I just went to the dentist. They asked if I recently had a baby and I said yes and they told me how horrible pregnancy is on them.

There is so much we have to sacrifice of ourselves and our bodies for our babies, but they are SO WORTH it!!!
JanieneI love these Mommy Panel questions!!! I am keeping a record of all of the questions, and the answers I give, in a journal for my children :)

For me, pregnancy was a time of learning to yield to what my body was doing. It was through my pregnancies that I discovered just how out of my control the whole process of pregnancy was! Learning to yield to the Lord and what He was doing was an awesome experience. I did not do anything to grow my babies – just ate, slept (a lot), and made sure I took my vitamins – the whole process is God’s doing! Then, I birthed my babies and saw these amazing, beautiful, fearfully & wonderfully made babies! I was blessed to see just how in control the Lord was (and continues to be) over the lives of my children.
Karen – Oh… so many things as pregnancy brings on some bizarre symptoms! But one thing I didn’t expect at least in its intensity was the feeling of togetherness! When I thought about things to myself it felt like I was conversing with my baby. A couple of weeks after he was born I went alone to a doctor’s appointment while my MIL watched the baby. It was the strangest feeling as I walked down the corridor of the medical building to be physically by myself after 9+ months of being constantly accompanied!
Tricia – I think I was most surprised by how tired and exhausted you are when you are pregnant. I have had some of the best evening naps in the first 12 weeks of my pregnancies!
Kristine – That I enjoyed it! Immensely!! I had heard SO many negative horror stories before I got preggers, it was overwhelming to even think about getting/being pregnant.


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The Mommy Panel – Hardest Part

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What’s been the hardest challenge as a parent?

AngelaEverything! No, just kidding. Seriously though, my biggest challenge is trying to be patient. My kids are only 3 and 1 but, they wear me down to just about nothing sometimes and I always wish I was more patient with them.


Tonii- My biggest challenge in parenting so far has been making sure each of my children get the attention and love they deserve every day. With 4 kids 7 and under, some days that is a pretty tall order! I have made a commitment to spend one-on-one time with EACH of my children every day. Sometimes all it is is watching a SpongeBob episode with one of them, or holding my baby for a few extra minutes at bedtime, but at least I know at the end of the day they know how important they are to me.

Ann- Because I have a daughter and a son, with two absolutely opposite personalities, the hardest challenge for me is being able to constantly adapt to the needs of two completely different kids. Being able to mother a son of a certain age and a daughter of a certain age is challenging enough, but when you consider how different their personalities, abilities, and tastes are, it’s often difficult to find what anyone would call a happy medium.



MichaelaI think the hardest challenge for me has been the adjustment to the stay at home mom part of parenting. I have always been very busy and very involved. I still try to get out of the house most days. Still, spending most of my time with a baby can be hard. I love my little girl to death, but sometimes I really just need to see adults!


SamanthaNot running to my sons rescue has been rough! But I’ve gotta say swallowing my pride takes the cake. Before I had my son i had a list of things (don’t worry, it was a mental list) that I would never do as a parent…slowly but surely they are getting crossed off… I mean sometimes you’ve gotta be that parent in target whose baby won’t stop crying…or that parent who licks clean a binky because you can’t find any water fountains…



JillFor me my hardest challenge as a parent is disciplining. It really has been so difficult trying to figure out the best ways to discipline both of my kids. Sometimes I just feel like a failure in this department as a parent. I try one thing and they just do it again so I try something else and they end up doing it again. Its hard to find the best way for them to receive the discipline, if that makes any sense! I am doing my best everyday to stay consistent and find what works best in different situations!

Karen- Lack of sleep! At 27 months he is still up 3 or 4 times a night, on the best of nights. Throw in teething or illness and I’m up 8 to 10 times a night. Sometimes I feel that I can barely function… but I know that eventually this too shall pass!


AshleyI think my biggest challenge so far as a parent would be getting little C to eat his fruits and veggies. He used to love them and out of the blue a few months ago he decided he no longer had interest in eating them ! I recently purchased Jessica Seinfeld’s book “Deceptively Delicious” and it has been a BIG saviour ! If you have a fussy eater I highly recommend check out her book !


LizThe times when you have to give your children “tough love.” Whether it’s letting them cry it out so they’ll sleep through the night, taking away their pacifier, or letting them fail so they’ll learn a lesson.


MeredithTough question! Having patience with my little one when I’m all out of it!

JanieneHonestly, the death of my independence. If I want to be a good Mom (by good I mean effectively redeeming these precious years and sewing good things into their little hearts) then I need to be focused, committed, passionate, excited, and willing to set aside my priorities, goals, and desires so that these little ones can get my all. Giving my all is hard – but it is worth it when I remember who I am giving my all to – my precious children. I love this quote, “Motherhood is hard work. It is repetitive and often times menial. Accept it. Rejoice in it. This is your toil. Right here. Those are their faces. Enjoy them. The days of your life are supposed to be full of things like this. But joy is not giddy. It’s not an emotional rush – it is what happens when you accept your lot and rejoice in your toil. So rejoice in your children. Look them in the eyes and give thanks. You will not even remember the work of all this planting when the harvest of joy overwhelms you.” Author unknown



BrittneyKnowing that I am helping shape the person this little one is going to grow-up to be. I know that some of it is dependent upon their personality; and that some traits have nothing to do with me. But as I teach my little girl, and she sees how I interact and treat others, I know I’m having an impact on her. I just hope it’s a good one! I would love for her to be a happy, hard-working, kind individual, and I hope that my husband and I can help make that happen.

TygrePatience. Patience. And Patience. I say patience, but I lack it very often indeed. Tod and I want to strive for holiness in our walks with Christ, but that also includes pursuing God in how we parent. We consistently need to pray for wisdom and love in how we react to things or interact with one another and our children. I can be super stubborn and impatient. Seeing Mae throw a fit or get frustrated is kind of like putting up a mirror to my attitude at times. She’s just more vocal about it ;) I am beyond blessed and grateful for my hubby co-parent and my children, so that should reflect in how I act!

LizFor me it’s trying to juggle all the different personalities and keep everyone happy. I actually had been pondering a post about this for a while, and finally wrote it out prompted by your question.



JelliIt’s been a challenge for me to set aside the baby books and advice that so many helpful moms (and dads) kindly prescribe, and to take the time to figure out for myself the signals that my own unique baby gives as to when she needs rest, food, cuddles, etc.



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The Mommy Panel – Picky Eater

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 This question is near to my heart.. because my daughter is so picky in what she eats lately!  We just fill her plate and let her eat what she wants and save it for later.  We cant force her to eat or like certain foods.. so unfortunately we have to be the patient ones.  

How do you deal with a picky eater?

Dinnertime is beastly when I make my 7 year old eat what’s on his plate. But I like the philosophy of insisting that your child at least taste a new food. This is not what I’ve always done, but I wish I had. I used to make a separate meal for him because I was afraid he’d be hungry all night. With three children younger than him now I have no time for that, besides, it is true that a hungry child will eventually eat. I make sure to always serve a course that’s non-offensive, though. Plain rice, corn muffins, apple slices…something that I know he won’t bawk at. And if wants more of that course, he has to try another bite of his veggies. :)

We are deep into this territory right now! Between sensory processing issues, cutting a new set of molars and just generally being 2 years old, my son has days when he will practically eat nothing other than fruit/veggie puree pouches, pieces of fruit and nursing. We still have him sit with us at each mealtime and present him with what we are eating. If he tries things enough times eventually he may like them. I also try to present food in fun and interesting ways to make it more attractive to him. We don’t force him to eat anything as it would be a losing battle anyway and we don’t want food to ever be part of a power struggle. We make sure that snacks that are offered are nutritious. He will outgrow teething, and being two. He will also improve with the sensory issues and his swallowing ability. We take the long view and seek to maintain family meal time as a time when we are enjoying being with each other and reconnecting.

You head it off before it has a chance to start! Mine have never really been picky eaters because when mine were ready to start adding some solids to their diet, instead of jarred foods and cereals, we started with overripe bananas, cooked potatoes and baked sweet potatoes . Things they could grab and squish into their mouths without choking. As they were able to figure out how to gum/chew other things, we added other vegies, tofu, yogurt and fruits as we went. Also, as the kiddos got older, we used to play “As Big As Your Head” in the produce department at the grocery store. Things like collard greens are a lot less intimidating when they were part of a game. We still talk about this game today, and mine are teenagers. I would hold up a large piece of produce next to a preschooler/toddler’s face (like peek-a-boo) – and say “Wow, this lemon is as big as your head!” Or grapefruit, or bunch of collard green leaves. Or whatever we were wandering near.

I’ve also seen where people make Bento’s for lunch – it’s a Japanese thing, where your kid’s lunch has a lot of visual appeal. That might be something to try.
Involve them but don’t cater to them. My 6 year old is pretty picky. When she was younger she would ask for mac & cheese or chicken nuggets at every meal. To get her to expand her tastes, I didn’t give in.

Dinner is our family meal where we all sit down together. I plan menus a week at a time and everyone gets one night that they get to pick up a meal and I pick the remainder (since I’m the one doing all the cooking).

We all eat whatever is served. Don’t like it, too bad. There is always something on their plate that they are willing to eat, and if not breakfast is about 12 hours away. You won’t starve. I will make exceptions if I try a new recipe and no one likes it, then maybe you can have a peanut butter sandwich or something to tide you over. For breakfast and lunch I’m willing to play short order cook as long as each meal includes some fruit or veggies, protein and carbs (preferably in that order)

Now at 6, my daughter is still the pickiest of the bunch but her recent choices have included Hamburger Stroganoff, Chicken Cordon Bleu and Bee Bim Bop. Sometimes when I make something new I’ll be sure that she won’t like it, but then surprises me and asks for seconds.

  

My girls are 22 months and 7 months, so I haven’t really dealt with this scenario yet. They both eat whatever I put in front of them. I will relish it for as long as I can (wink wink).
Luckily my little one hasn’t been too picky. However, I have learned that just because she rejects something once, doesn’t mean I should give up. For example, chicken nuggets. She wouldn’t eat them at first. I kept offering her tastes of them every once and a while, and now she loves ‘em!

I’ve also found that it helps when someone other than mom or dad offer her things that are different. She’s more likely to try something new if a cousin, aunt, uncle, grandma, or grandpa offer it to her.

Maevri is our only kiddo who eats finger foods right now, but she hasn’t been too picky yet! If she doesn’t like something, we’ll usually try it again the next week. We probably need to add more veggies to her diet though! Honey has become a staple in our household too ;)

I have been pretty lucky with this topic. My kids haven’t been to picky of eaters, but there have been times where they don’t want to eat what we are having. With our oldest who is almost 4- we tell her that she has to eat what we are having or else she goes to be hungry and can’t eat again until breakfast. There have been VERY few times that she doesn’t eat. Most of the time she finally tries it and ends up loving what we are having! For my little guy who is 18 months, I sometimes will just make him something else if he doesn’t like it just so he is getting some nutrition in him. We will start switching over to our other tactic when he is a little older!

Before we started having children my hubby and I talked and both agreed that we were never going to cook something else for a picky eater child. Unless it finally became necessary. So far it has worked!

Jackson is just starting to eat finger foods, so I try to act very excited when he’s trying new things. Usually if my husband and I make a big deal about it, he’ll love it! I’m hoping to have a good, healthy eater on my hands!!


My daughter is 15 months and a fairly good eater. However, there are certain things she doesn’t like, for instance, green beans. I just offer them to her often because I know it sometimes takes little ones multiple tries to develop a taste for a food. I also try to offer a wide range of flavors and food combinations so she’s used to eating diversely. I don’t mind if, ultimately, she has a handful of foods she doesn’t enjoy, but I won’t ever get into the habit of making separate meals for each family member. I spend enough time in the kitchen as it is!


I used to make adult dinners and kids dinners but now I just make one thing and they can choose to eat it or not. But, in order to get down from the table, my boys have to eat however many bites as they are old…so my 2yr old has to eat 2 bites and my 5yr old has to eat 5 bites. If they are hungry later in the evening they can go finish their dinner (which I put in the refrigerator for them). If they eat all their dinner then they can have snack before bed :)

We don’t have a lot of pickiness at our dinner table, but we do sometimes have stubborness (ahem, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree) My mom gave Olivia (3.5 yrs) a pair of giant dice. When she starts slowing down before she’s really “done” we give it a roll and let fate decide how many more bites to have. Sometimes, we have to roll a few times for each item on her plate, but it’s a counting game to her and she doesn’t realize we’re getting our way!
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The Mommy Panel – How Do You Unwind

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How do you unwind as a momma?


The gym ! That’s my main way to unwind after a long day.


I unwind by spending time with my husband, hanging out with my friends or being outside and gardening alone. Every Momma needs to have some time to herself



A pedicure and a good glass of wine! 

Lucky for me, my little miss goes to bed at 8pm like clockwork. That gives my husband the time to have dessert and catch up on TV that we’ve missed before we go to sleep. Its nice to have built in time to ourselves every day. It also gives me time to take a nice, long bubble bath if I’ve had a hard day.







I craft. Or garden. Or bake. Now that the kiddos are bigger and have activities away from home, I get more “me-time”.  





- I unwind with a cup of coffee (in the morning), catching up on my TV shows, or crafting!

  – Growing up I always needed some type of noise near me. I hated it to be silent. After having kids that has TOTALLY changed!!! I LOVE it when I have some silence. My favorite way to unwind is to go either outside or just in my bedroom and sit in silence. I helps me so much to be able to unwind. I also love to read books as well when I am able to have sometime to myself.
 -SHOWER!!!!






Sewing, chai latte, hot bath, or time at the Barnes & Noble Cafe while my husband chases after the little one. Blogging helps too!

- My kids are getting to the ages where I don’t have a moment of rest through the day. Life as a Mom used to be so easy when their naps lined up and I had 2hrs of free time a day.

So now, to unwind, I collapse on the couch and rest/recover for 30 min. Then I go make an iced coffee and I talk my husband’s ear off. The resting & then the talking combo does the trick! My husband and I enjoy the rest of our evening together and that is always awesome!


Having a break (even a short one) from the kids and the house is usually very refreshing. If I can get a walk in, work in the garden, or blither around JoAnn’s for an hour, I am relaxed. Other days if I am too tired I unwind on the couch next to my hubby watching old TV episodes online.

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