Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

I discovered The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle when my now 7 year old granddaughter was a baby.  What I found  was a stuffed caterpillar with a jingle bell inside.  She absolutely loved it and wanted it all the time.  It went to town and to bed with her.  Later I found the book for toddlers in a board book. I think we now own about 3 of the same book but in different forms. 

I have found that there are so many developmental toys, games, and figurines, snow globes, cards, and other things  that go with the book that I have been amazed.  Of course, he has written several other books that the children love too.  So, I was delighted when I found out that Totsy was having a sale on these books, and other items.  Take a look and see if you can find something you like.  They are up to 50% off right now.  There are also the books he has written with Bill Martin Jr., like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See?  

Of course, Totsy always has lots of good bargains on children's clothes, toys, shoes and things for mom too. One of my favorite websites.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Time for Easter Clothes or Not

   I think Spring is going to be late this year, and Easter is early.  Do you remember having snow on Easter when you were a child?  I remember it when we lived in PA.  All those little short-sleeved dresses and Mary Jane shoes were still worn because, after all, it was Easter.

    Here are my grandkids on Easter last year.  It came in April, and was warm enough to at least get their pictures taken outside. The iris and the day lilies were up behind them. The garden space was waiting to be tilled and planted. We hunted for Easter eggs, and played games outside. 

    Finding clothes for kids for Easter can be hard especially since some of the places here have gone up in price and down in quality.  I found this place online and it has Brand name kids clothes and toys up to 80% off.  They have sales all the time and while there are time limits on the sales, you can get some really great deals.

Here is another really nice place I like to visit too. If you are like me, going shopping with kids can be daunting, so I love to shop from my computer.  Let me know if you find something nice for Easter.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Preemie Babies and Holidays

         As Spring approaches, along with Easter and Passover, many families enjoy having the whole family over for dinner and other traditional activities.  If you have just brought home a preemie baby, there are things you may not know that makes bringing a preemie home different than bringing a full-term newborn home.

            Two of my  preemie granddaughters were born in November and were in the NICU for about 3 weeks.  As a result, our holiday plans were changed.  Alexis was born Nov. 22 and her mother spent Thanksgiving with her in the NICU.  We were afraid we might not have her home by Christmas and cancelled some other plans for family get-togethers until well after the first of the year.

             If your baby is still in the hospital over the Spring holidays it can be a very emotional time for the parents, and other children in the family.  Mommy will probably spend part or most of the Holiday  with the baby, and the rest of the family may or may not be allowed into the NICU.  

          The most questions come up when you have brought a preemie baby home from the hospital just in time for the holidays.  Everyone wants to come see the baby, hold the baby, and kiss the baby.  What do you do?

        Preemies are much more susceptible to germs than full-term babies.  Although mothers have always been cautioned not to take the baby out into crowds for several weeks, I see more and more tiny newborns out at Wal-mart and other places during the holidays.  You definitely do NOT want to do this with your preemie.  Here is some good information from the University of Wisconsin Medical School website. 
”When your baby gets home there will be many well meaning people who want to come and visit. Some things to keep in mind are:
  • People with colds or the flu will have to visit at a later date.
  • Your premature baby will be more sensitive to stimulation and may do better if not held or only held for a limited time by one person.
  • You can limit the number of people who visit at one time and limit the amount of time they visit.
  • Don't let people drink hot liquids or smoke and hold the baby at the same time.
  • Remember you are your baby's best advocate. It is okay to say that your doctor said it is not good to have visitors until your baby is a little older. “
         It is also recommended that you not take your baby out in public places for about three months after you bring him home.  This can be a very long time to be “stuck” inside with a baby, so you need to find some help. Hopefully your own parents, or other trusted friends will be available to watch the baby for a couple of hours so that you can do your , or just get out for a little while.  Mommy and Daddy still need a little time for themselves too, so try to get someone to watch the baby for just a little bit, take a walk, go get a cup of coffee, or just spend some time on the couch together.

         As far as Holiday get-togethers, it will probably be best to wait until next year.  By that time everyone will be able to participate. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Temper Tantrums and the Preemie Child

This is something that we have been dealing with for several years with two of the granddaughters.  They will seem just fine, and then they are told "no", or some other child does something they don't like, and the screaming, throwing themselves on the floor, running away and similar behaviors start.  Anyone else deal with this too?

I have tried to find information on the web and haven't had a lot of luck, so I'm just going to tell you about our experiences and what we did.  If you have any ideas or advice, please comment and share it with the rest of us.

One granddaughter, who was 28 weeks and weighed 2 lb 10 oz has had lots of temper tantrums and "melt downs".  She is now seven, and is actually outgrowing some of it.  We have had lots of talks about her behavior, and we have prayed over her and with her to ask Jesus to help her control her anger.  That is what it boils down to sometimes is great anger.  We make her go to her room and tell her to get herself under control.  At first she ended up beating the walls or kicking them, and throwing things all over the room.  So, we had to go upstairs and stop her from doing that.  I had held her in my arms and kept her from hitting and kicking many times  the same way you would restrain an autistic child.  Thankfully, as she has gotten older and bigger, and I had trouble hanging on to her, she has also tried to control herself more.

I talk quietly to her, telling her to take a deep breath and calm herself.  She will most often come across the bed to me, to hold her.  She cries and tells me how upset she is.  We pray together, breathe together (holding her to my chest and doing deep breathing--in through the mouth, out through the nose--helps her to regulate her own breathing.  Eventually, the anger will pass and you wouldn't even know she had been that upset. I think that these children can learn to control themselves, as long as they know you will be there to help them.  

I know that that works with the other granddaughter who exhibits symptoms of autism.  However, she is older and gets more violent in her "trashing" around.  I have to go to her and speak quietly, and sometimes just take her face in my hands to get her to focus.  It is more difficult to handle her, but we work at it.  She and the other granddaughter really have different issues, but the melt-downs are pretty much the same.

Anyone handle these things differently?  I will continue to search for information on this issue.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Issues Former Preemies Face as They Get Older

I thought I might address some things today, as they are also things that we, as a family, deal with on a daily basis.  Four of my granddaughters (including the oldest who now lives in heaven) were less than 4 lbs, weighing 3 lb 13 oz, 3 lb 8 oz, and 3 lb 7 oz.  One weighed only 2 lb 10 oz.  

Most people think that preemies will "outgrow" any problem they have had, just as they gain weight and usually are normal in size compared to full-term children.  This is not true.  Because they were born early, some things that should have  developed before birth may never fully develop. These are mostly neurological development issues that must be overcome or coped with. They may experience coordination problems, both large and small muscle development.  They may experience language problems: speech, understanding directions, learning to read.  They may experience thinking problems: memory, abstract understanding and understanding explanations. 

While these problems may be disconcerting, the issues that bother parents and teachers the most are the behavior difficulties.  They can vary from being too shy, to too "outgoing".  From being too loud, to refusing to speak to people.  Temper tantrums and refusal to obey those in authority can be big issues. Some can be overly aggressive and boisterous in their play.  Others may refuse to play with other children. 

When I deal with one of these behavioral problems I have to remember that the child simply cannot control his emotions, much as an autistic child. While some parents really want to "baby" the child because of all he/she has been through in the hospital, they are really doing the child a disservice.  They must remain consistent, and structured to give the child security.

Here are some links you might find helpful:

In the next blog I will address things I have done to help these children in their development.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

When You Need a Fun Day

To those of you who homeschool, you know that some days just don't start well, and go downhill from there.  This has been one of those days.  Sooo, we need some fun to do today.

The three kiddos from next door (also grandchildren whom I help homeschool) are here with the three that live here.  A little noisy!  But they are breaking up into a three groups and working on some puzzles and playing some games they got for Christmas.  That got me to thinking about something else I needed to do, and that is make play dough.

Many of you already have this recipe but I thought I'd put it here.  My own children (who are adults) were talking about it the other day, and how much they actually like the homemade play dough as compared to the commercial play dough.  Some children like to build things with the play dough. My grandchildren like to use the cookie cutters and cut out all kinds of things.  

Here are two recipes.  One is cooked and that is the one we use for just about everything.  The other is not cooked, so you can let the children help you make it.

Play Dough #1

1 cup flour                                            
½ cup salt
1 cup water
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 tablespoon oil

     Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan.  Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken and change consistency.  It will begin to pull together in a ball.  Remove from pan.  Let cool enough to handle, then knead well.

Food coloring can be added with rest of ingredients.  It will get darker as it cooks.  After dough has cooled completely, put in covered bowl or plastic bag.  This is almost like commercially produced play dough.

This can be dried in the oven on very low temperature, or allowed to air dry several days.  If it is painted, watercolors tend to soften and make it “mushy”.  Therefore, if you want it colored, add the color to the mixture when it is in the pan, or use very thick tempera paint.

Play Dough #2

Equal amounts of flour and salt.  Blend thoroughly.  Moisten enough to model.  Add coloring or paint later.  May be used for maps, bases, cut with cookie cutters, etc.

Gluten Free Play Dough

If  you and/or your children are on a gluten-free diet, you also have to watch other things that come in contact with your skin, or you breathe in.  My grandchildren do not seem to suffer any ill effects from the play dough, but some may.  Especially if you have a toddler who may decide to sample the play dough.
So all you need to do is substitute rice flour and cornstarch or arrowroot flour  in equal amounts to equal the  amount of wheat flour.  That's it.  One recipe suggests cornflour too.

Get out the cookie cutters and let them "bake" some gingerbread men.

If you have recipes of things you use with your children--finger paints, other play dough recipes, beads, sculpturing dough, please share it with us.

As always, I'd love your input.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Saturday Musings

After two years I got my son to bring in the two filing cabinets and put them in the basement in "my room".  It is about 1/3 of the basement area and will eventually be my sewing/storage room.  

I pulled out the drawers to check and see if there was anything in there that needed to be thrown away but they were all empty except for some empty folders and things.  However, in the back behind one drawer was a big envelope full of greeting cards and the drawer wouldn't close.  I finally got a broom handle and pried it out.  These cards date from June 1974 when my father had an Open House to celebrate his getting his Doctor of Philosophy degree.  I went through them all, memories of people, since gone to be with the Lord almost overwhelming me.  Here are some thoughts I found in some of the cards and I thought I would share them today. 

These are things I have tried to teach my children and my grandchildren to help them in life.

"This above all - to thine own self be true,
And it must follow as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."
--Shakespeare (Hamlet)

"I expect to pass through this world but once.
Any good therefore that I can do, 
Or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature,
Let me do it now.
Let me not defer or neglect it,
for I shall not pass this way again."

"Ashley Montagu, the anthropologist, defined education in these words, "To nourish and cause to grow."  The art of education is to continue grow as long as you live.  Grow from what you are into what you desire to be.  Live to learn and learn to live." --Wilferd A. Peterson

This is my father, my mother, my father's sister in the back, and my sister and myself in the front.  This was taken in the early 50's.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  As always, I enjoy your input.