One evening at dinner, when my children were particularly whiny and ungrateful, as children have a tendency to do sometimes, I decided to have everyone in the family say what was their favorite part of the day. We went around the table, and if anyone slipped into a complaint or a comparison instead of putting forth a positive thought, they had to start over. And the favorite part of the day cannot involve something that could hurt another’s feelings, such as, “My favorite part of the day was when Sarah left,” because siblings are prone to this type of thing.
In an ideal world, Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner would be a warm, festive experience, where everyone remains sober, no one brings up old family feuds, and children sit with their napkins in their laps and chew with their mouths closed. I wish this kind of Normal Rockwell holiday upon everyone and everyone I know…but I am betting that if you’re like most of us, Aunt Jane will drink too much wine, your kids will last all of 10 minutes before someone has a meltdown or breaks heirloom crystal, and your little sister will accuse you of ruining her life. (Again.)
I grew up in the ‘80s – the era of fruit punch and boxed mac and cheese. I didn’t give much thought to what was good or bad for me. My single, working mom, an avid veggie lover and modernized Hippie, cooked homemade meals when she could and did her best to make good choices for our family when she couldn’t. As I got older, I became aware of the good habits she had instilled in me. And when I had my own children, I realized how important it was for me to help them understand how to make healthy choices in today’s even more complicated food climate.
We all have those days, where everything seems to be on our very last inflamed and irritable nerve. From the car breaking down to the kids flipping out, everything feels like it’s all just too much! While we can’t control the fate of the universe, what we can do is be prepared with a few tricks to help ourselves cope.
Maternity leave usually comes to an end around the time your baby’s “fun” phase is beginning: the cooing, the smiling, the (almost) sleeping through the night. And if you’ve been nursing, 12 weeks is also around the time when you feel like an old pro (rather than a flailing newbie). You’ve seen how your baby has grown, thrived and turned into a little butterball on your milk. Sore nipples and engorgement are a thing of the past.
I’ve always been envious of parents who were able to enjoy taking their little ones out to dinner. As babies and toddlers, my kids always seemed to have a 30 minute time-limit at restaurants. After that point, we could expect whining, crying, standing on the furniture or other behavior that put a damper on the evening—for us and the other people who had the misfortune to be seated next to us!
How can you forget the first time you gave your baby a bath? Remember those tiny limbs that refused to uncurl, and how scary it felt lowering that little body into the water? It’s hard to believe that one day that very same child will be stealing your shampoo and maybe even your bathrobe—but trust me…sigh. That moment will arrive.
Of course, no child goes from infant tub to shower stall overnight—and the transition can be a messy one…filled with dirty puddles on the floor and more than an occasional unwashed elbow. Here’s how to help your child with this important milestone:
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