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Denver Babies Take A Stand Against Toxins in Nationwide Crawl to the Capitol

Calling all babies!

Mile High Mamas is teaming up with Seventh Generation and the Bachelorette’s Trista and Ryan Sutter to participate in the Million Baby Crawl, a cause that will demand stronger protection from toxic chemicals in our homes.

Bring your children, friends and your desire to make lasting change on November 18th to Flatiron Crossing’s Nordstrom Court from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The CRAWL TO ACTION will include:

* Entertainment by local family-themed musicians and performers.
* Appearances by local dignitaries and celebrities showing support for the cause.
* A Crawl to the Capitol children’s area.
* Soapbox Photo Op area where Mom and Dad can capture their little activist taking a stand. All children will receive a “Say No to Toxins!” rally flag.
* A sign-making station where participants can make their voice heard on their own custom sign.

What Ford’s new technology, babies and boob jobs have in common

In March 1996 I was hit and run over by a semi-truck while driving on the freeway. I obviously survived. I should not have. My car was broadsided by the semi and after a deadly pinball machine game, I wound up splattered against the median. The semi’s tire tracks mere inches behind my seat.

An experience like that forever changes your perspective on car safety. I was fortunate to be wearing my seat belt, a fluke because I was a carefree college student who rarely wore one. I have no doubt it saved my life.

Since having children, I have researched the best car seats. I always have them professionally installed by the fire department after hearing staggering statistics that 80 percent are done incorrectly. But I have to be honest: I have never really considered how safe my car is. I drive an SUV that was built in the last five years. Price, reliability and consumer ratings were my utmost concerns when purchasing it. It has safety measures like airbags for the front seats but never once have I thought about the backseat, generally viewed as a safer place to be but without protective measures in place.

Until now.

I was invited to attend a Ford safety event in Michigan last week. Even though I have worked with Ford in the past, I thought it was strange they would fly out a handful of perky mommy bloggers to a press conference that was dominated by brooding automotive journalists.

And yes, we did stand out just a wee bit.

Then Ford unveiled the auto industry’s first-ever inflatable seat belts, which are designed to enhance protection for rear-seat occupants in a crash (basically, a backseat version of airbags). This groundbreaking new technology will make them a champion among parents. The reason: Our children are often seated in the back and are the ones most vulnerable to head, chest and neck injuries.

airbag

The room was abuzz after the announcement. This technology has been in development for almost 10 years and these automotive dudes were excited. Ford had a sample inflatable seat belt and I gave it a try. The seat belt itself appears normal but its rounded edges are more comfortable than traditional ones. It inflated like an airbag upon impact and spread the crash forces over five times more area of the body than conventional seat belts, reducing pressure on the chest and helping control neck motion.

The moms banded together to pepper the safety technical leader, Srini Sundararajan, with questions. Yes, he said Ford had thoroughly tested it with all kinds of car and booster seats. Yes, they had experimented with it in a number of different positions, such as when children are slumped over sleeping or they twist the seat belt. No, it is not currently available but will launch on the 2011 Ford Explorer.

Then one of the moms hesitatingly whispered to me, “What about breast implants? How will it impact them?”

I brazenly stepped forward and asked this question of all questions. To his credit, Mr. Safety Man did not flinch and assured me the seat belts are perfectly safe for breast implants.

I can guarantee that question was never posed by any of those brooding automotive types.

In the end, I was given a greater appreciation for automotive technologies and the years of experimentation that are for our safety and benefit. I was especially impressed with Ford, which was the first company to develop and launch seat belts (1955) and airbags (1985). I later toured the safety lab and witnessed various Myth Busters-esque crash tests (and even performed one myself).

Anyone who has known me more than 10 minutes will find humor that I, of all people, was entrusted with such a responsibility.

And I’m also impressed with their latest technology:

Ford’s Rear Inflatable Seat Belts: Friends to Both Babies and Boob Jobs.

I think I may have clinched their next marketing campaign.

Mama Drama: Brotherly Love and Playgroup Problems

Dear Mama Drama:
I have three sons, ages 7, 4, and 2. Everyday after picking up my oldest son from school, within five minutes either the seven year old or four year old is crying. The struggles are often related to rude behavior and hitting. The oldest wants time to himself at this time of day and the younger brothers have been eagerly awaiting his return. The reconnection between the oldest and youngest is a love fest, but the middle and oldest set each other off. It seems like this should be a fun and exciting part of our day, but it quickly deteriorates into frustration for all of us.
~Hoping for a peaceful ride home

Dear Hoping:

Kids put out a ton of energy being at school all day and even though they may be running around, they are often exhausted emotionally and physically. Re-entering into their families low on energy can often lead to irritability and frustration.

Re-engaging with younger brothers after being with same age peers all day can be a challenge for older siblings. The older brother often struggles to remember that the younger brothers don’t have the same skills as his peers. He may have unrealistic expectations that lead to frustration for everyone. His low energy may prevent him from handling the situation with compassion and understanding.

From the perspective of the middle brother, he has been the big brother all day so giving that up when the bigger brother returns may be difficult for him. Aggression may be his outlet as he doesn’t have the language to conceptualize what he is experiencing. It may be even more difficult for him given the loving interactions the two other brothers demonstrate.

Reflecting with each child about how they perceive the after school experience is the first step. Understanding their thinking, helping them to understand the perspective of the other brother, and coming up with ideas for how they can handle that time of day is a good place to start. They may need more structure for this re-entry phase such as a secret brothers only handshake or hug ritual, a catch and release connection (meaning a quick hello, then let big brother be on his own for a few minutes), or a quiet time in the car or at home where everyone takes a break to rest or read. Having snacks and drinks available for the ride home gives them something to do and a chance to re-fuel without waiting too long.

Part of your problem solving should also involve helping them recognize their own internal cues of tiredness and frustration and how to read and respond to the non-verbal signals and body language of each other. This will take lots of time and practice, but you can help them by describing what you observe in them and explaining how you handle such feelings. Teaching them how to tune in to their own needs and read the signals from each other is a great life skill to start now.

Dear Mama Drama,

One of the children in our playgroup has a problem with hitting, and often uses my child as a target. (They are both approximately 3.5 years old.) The mother knows it happens and tries to discipline her child, but to no avail. It’s gotten to the point where my child doesn’t like playing with the hitter and is afraid. My child has tried telling the other child that kids won’t want to play with people who hit, but that doesn’t seem to be working either. Because the child’s behavior isn’t changing, which would be the best route to take: avoid playing with this person altogether, or keep playing and hope for the best?

Logistically, it would be a challenge to not see this child, and we love our playgroup, but I hate putting my child in harm’s way (literally!).

~Hit me with your best shot

Dear Hit me:

Hoping for the best without changing the interventions will lead to more of the same behavior. It is apparent that both the child and mother are struggling with the skills to handle this situation. My guess is that they are as frustrated with the problems as you are. If these relationships are important enough for you to continue in this playgroup, I suggest a direct conversation with this mom.

With compassion you can share how you have noticed her struggles in handling the hitting behavior of her child. You can also tell her how it is impacting your child’s feeling toward hers and that this is concerning to you. Let her know how important your relationship is and that you would like to support her in helping her child so that your relationship, and that of your children, can continue to be positive and successful.

For ideas on how she can support her daughter in using more appropriate social skills during your playgroup, you can refer her to last week’s Mama Drama column on Playtime Struggles. They may also need more direct support from a family behavior consultant or counselor.

If she is receptive and willing to work on this issue, then continuing may be a good idea. If she is not, you may need to take steps to limit or avoid contact with her and her child.

Holy snow, Batman! How did you spend your snow days?

When you grow up in Canada like I did, you know and love snow.

Unless you’re my mother and just complain about it all winter long.

I took after my Arctic-weather-loving father and learned to embrace it. Winters were spent sledding the nearby gully, cross-country skiing on the golf course near our house and skating for miles on rivers and lakes.

Getting buried underneath two feet of snow last week was an unexpected surprise and brought back childhood memories of our Halloween costumes that were made to fit over our snowsuits.

Not ones to hunker down, many Mile High Mamas made their snow days a day at play. Here is a small sampling:

Kim’s little one is “helping Daddy shovel.”

rake

Chris’ daughter Reagan took to her first snowfall like the professional snowbunny that she is.

reagan

After a week of sickness at Amy’s house, Colorado’s snow days were

Parents’ Ten Most Frequently Asked Questions about H1N1 Flu

Experts at The Children’s Hospital Answer
Parents’ Ten Most Frequently Asked Questions about H1N1 Flu

1. Does my child have H1N1 flu?

The classic symptoms of H1N1 are a fever with a cough and a sore throat. If your child has flu symptoms and H1N1 is widespread in the community, he or she probably has H1N1. Your child doesn’t need any special tests to reach this conclusion. Currently only patients who need hospitalization are tested.

  • If your child has a sore throat with a fever and doesn’t develop a cough, he or she may need to be checked for Strep throat.

2. How can I make my child feel better?

The treatment of H1N1 depends on your child’s main symptoms. To open a blocked nose, use a nasal wash with saline. For a cough, use one to two teaspoons of honey (do not use for children under one year old). Ibuprofen will help a sore throat. To prevent dehydration, encourage extra fluids.

  • Check out The Children’s Hospital Web site for an Influenza handout with detailed information about treating flu symptoms.

3. My child hurts everywhere. Is that serious?

H1N1 can cause soreness everywhere: headache, back pain, chest pain and leg pain. To soothe sore muscles, give ibuprofen to reduce inflammation. To prevent stomach irritation, always administer pain medication with food. If pain is severe and lasts more than 90 minutes after taking ibuprofen, your child probably should see a doctor.

Mama Drama: Sibling Rivalry and Playtime Struggles

Dear Mama Drama,

I recently took my 6 and 8 year old daughters to a pumpkin carving contest. It is a wonderful family event that focuses more on community than competition, but the pumpkins are judged and there are winners. My 6 year old won and my 8 year old did not.  At first, the 8 year old was very supportive of her sister, but then she started crying. When we finally got to the root of the problem, she was upset that she had given her sister ideas and that her sister had won and she didn’t.

This sibling competition expresses itself frequently in negative ways in our family and I am unsure how to react or what to do about it.  Growing up most of my life as an only child, I really don’t understand and am not very sympathetic to sibling rivalry.

How can I encourage my children to be loving supportive sisters and discourage them from being self-centered and competitive?

~Seeking Harmony

Dear Seeking Harmony:

Sibling rivalry is a normal part of growing up with brothers and sisters, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have that harmony you are seeking.

Expecting…minus the baby bump and stretch-marks

Here we go…

We’re expecting. For the second time. Technically we’re about 2 days along with ohhh, 2 months, maybe 9 months, who knows…maybe 2 years to go before the teeny weeny joins our family. The first time around, we were “expecting” for 3 months and BOOM! Our little dude entered our home and invaded our professional, financial and personal lives, but most importantly, our hearts, in a matter of 24 hours. Just..like…that. I am (was) a planner. Big time. And there’s no planning when you’re traveling down the adoption road. We learned that firsthand with our dude, so we’re holding on tight this round. Holding tight to faith, hope, patience and most importantly, our senses of humor.

Why this blog? Well, we’re starting the process again, pretty much from scratch. We’re pumped…we’re anxious…we’re giddy and we’re overwhelmed. The hardest part for me though is that the most important people in our lives, in addition to complete strangers, don’t really get what this all means for us. They’re not sure how we’re feeling from day to day and they don’t want to intrude. They don’t want to assume or not assume or over ask or under ask. It can be isolating, so we’re trying to find ways to show people what this process looks and feels like. And it’s tough. Infertility and adoption are like so many situations in life…if you haven’t lived it, understanding it is impossible. And we get that. Many people see the “Hollywood adoption” as the norm, but common folk in the real world don’t hop on a private jet, swoop up a child in distress and live happily ever after in their home in the hills.

Mound-of-whitenessAnd so here I go. My intent is to walk you through a domestic (in-USA) adoption. This freaks me out a bit, since we have no clue what’s going to happen. We just got our paperwork this week and we’re spending some time observing the mound of whiteness…allowing it to get lost on the kitchen table for a good while before we tackle it. And I mean tackle it. So join us. I promise to be honest and candid and will try to avoid a ton of “sap.” The sap does come with the territory though. It’s just a given. Check back for updates from time to time. Get a feel for what it’s like to be “expecting,” minus the baby bump and the stretch-marks.

Guest Blogger Gwen is expecting…for the second time. And once again, no baby bump or stretch-marks will grace her with their pending bambino. Step inside their world of growing a family through adoption. Follow along here at Mile High Mamas and her blog and get a candid feel for the ups, downs, highs, lows and surprises that go hand in hand with the struggles of infertility and the miracle of adoption.

Mama Drama: Morning Routines and Evening Hysteria

Dear Mama Drama:
Every morning we struggle with my five-year-old son to get him ready for school and out of the house on time. He needs lots of one on one support to complete even the most basic tasks such as getting dressed. He can’t remember what to do next and often stops to play with toys or sing the song on the radio.
~Tired of running late

Dear Tired:
Many children need extra support getting through their morning routine. When we stop to think about all the small steps involved, it can be quite daunting. As adults we have practiced these routines thousands of times throughout our lives. Our children are often still figuring out what each step is and how to keep track of it all.

Creating a visual schedule for your child is a great place to start. You can use pictures of your son doing each activity, clip art, pictures from the web or cut out of magazines. Add captions or directions with the picture even if your child does not read well yet. Start with the basics such as getting dressed, bathroom routine, and heading out the door. Then break these down into the steps they require. Having separate charts for each of these tasks helps to keep it simple.

An example is

When “last” means “best”

I had long struggled with the idea of adoption as a second choice — pregnancy being the default setting and thus the first choice.

Why the struggle? After all, I had ended up in exactly the right place. I wouldn’t want my family to be any different than what it is.

But how to explain this to my children, who are likely to ask questions in the coming years? Would they someday feel like we settled for them, that they weren’t our first choice, that they were second-best?

I shudder at that thought.

I found resolution to this dilemma through another blogger, who addressed the term “second” as a chronological term rather than an ordinal term.

And with that, my problem was solved.

Was Roger my first choice as a husband? Well, considering I kissed a few frogs before I even met him, Roger wasn’t chronologically my first choice. I wonder how my life would be now if I’d ended up with Alan, the boy who helped me collect worms when we were 8. Or Doug, the disk jockey turned radio-mogul, or Brad-the-farmer or Clay-the-slacker or Iain-the-commitment-phobe.

Roger was definitely my best choice. But I meandered to get to him. The meandering is what made me worthy of him and appreciative of him.

It’s oddly coincidental. Tessa developed her first crush recently at school. She is smitten with a much older boy, a 6th grader named Cory. She dressed for him, had me braid her hair for him, talked incessantly about him, and dreamed of him. She claims she’ll marry him.

Not bloody likely. Cory may be her first, but what matters is the last. That’s the keeper.

Just like Tessa, and just like Reed. My meandering to them is what makes me worthy of them. The process of our family forming was absolutely the best choice, even if we started out not knowing that.

Where in your life has last meant best?

Time Is Just Whizzing By

When I was a kid, I thought time moved at a snail’s pace. And the proof is in my offspring. This weekend, when we were cleaning, Declan said the poetic words that we *all* think of at one point of another. “I wish time felt slower when I am having fun and faster when I am NOT having fun. Like when I am CLEANING.”

He’s full of other wisdom, some of it not so sage (think: body humor) since he turned seven in September.

But, look at that photo. LOOK! Does that photo look like a 6 year old boy? Because that photo was taken nearly a year ago, way before his 7th birthday, and way before he started sounding all “if a tree falls in a forest, do I have to clean it?” I think he looks about 12 in that photo, giving me a glimpse into the future.

Except I don’t want a glimpse! I was to hold on to the time right now. And sure, when he falls into that weird baby talk voice it drives me up the wall faster than nails on a chalkboard. But it still reminds me of him being a BABY.

Because the view from here is getting more and more obscure every day.

Is time whizzing by for you too? How old are your kid(s) and when did they start showing signs of major maturity?