Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Neurotoxins and hormone disruptors in our cosmetics

Siobhan O'Connor and and Alexandra Spunt, co-authors of No More Dirty Looks: The Truth about Your Beauty Products--and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics appeared on the Today Show this morning to promote their book.  An industry spokesperson and toxic chemical researcher (Drs. John Bailey and Shanna Swan) appeared along with them. Here's the clip:


I'm always thrilled when the dangers of toxic chemicals receive national media attention. So - YAY!

But I wasn't thrilled with the piece. The authors of the book could have been far more compelling and the industry spokesperson could have been rebutted on a number of points (particularly where the law is concerned and how the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 does not put the onus on the chemical industry to prove safety before introducing it into the market). 

Here's an excerpt from the book. It's compelling stuff for anyone who uses beauty products on a regular basis. What about you? Are you concerned with the chemicals in your daily beauty routine?

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Driving Master Nathaniel

We drove to my parents house for Thanksgiving. Pre-Nate, it took about 5 to 5 1/2 hours to get there. But with Nate it now takes at least another hour for extra stops and longer mealtimes. I did not prepare well for the car ride. At all. I had a bag full of our favorite books and stuffed animals. A few noise making toys from when he was younger. But five hours of driving is a long time. Especially when your son is a robot and refuses to sleep in the car like a normal child.  Those books and toys just didn't cut it.

I read the books to him, he looked at books by himself. I sang songs. We played music. He got sleepy but refused to nap. He cried. He fussed. He ate crackers. He cried some more. We stopped for meals and let him run around. More books, more songs. More miserable fussing. In desperation, we stopped again to breastfeed. I begged him to fall asleep. Pleaded. Eventually he did. On the way up for fifty minutes. On the way back almost two hours. But since it was preceded by over four hours of misery, it hardly seemed like a victory.

pit stop at a mall food court to stretch our legs

Next time I'll bring crayons. But short of buying a portable DVD player or having an iPhone - what else does one do with a miserable toddler on a car trip? What are your tricks? Tell me, tell me. It would be nice to eventually see my family again!

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Baby sign of the week: Potato

I planned on posting this video of Nate signing POTATO before Thanksgiving. Because what's Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes? Unfortunately, in the chaos of dropping off our dog to board at a kennel (for the first time ever in her eight years!) and loading up our car to drive to my parent's (if you've ever traveled with a baby, you know you have to pack up three quarters of your home for a four night excursion) - I didn't get the chance. So belatedly, here's Nate briefly signing POTATO in the midst of his bean feast:

video

Nate loves sweet potatoes, but when I searched for the ASL sign, I couldn't find anything. Since Nate is a hearing child, we use the ASL sign for potato (two fingers on the dominant hand pricking the balled up non-dominant hand - as if you were sticking a fork in a potato to test whether it is done) whether we are talking about regular potatoes or sweet potatoes and just verbally specify which type of potato we are discussing.  Since I missed the boat on Thanksgiving, perhaps this will come in handy when you're eating your leftovers.

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving as much as we did. It's great to see family we don't get to see often enough, especially now that Nate is older. And it just never feels like a proper Thanksgiving to me without my dad's stuffing. I'm looking forward to catching up on all my favorite blogs and hearing about everyone's holiday.

How was your Thanksgiving? What dishes are mandatory at your meal?

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chop, chop: First haircut

A few months ago, Nate's hairstyle was starting to resemble a mullet. I've spent substantial time living in Texas and Upstate New York so I advocated for keeping the party in the back. But Dave insisted, so I trimmed a little off the back and sides to neaten it up. But Nate's hair grows fast and this past weekend we decided it was time for a real first haircut.


The poor guy was miserable. He hates to have his space invaded by strangers. But since he didn't have any crackers to throw at the hairstylist, he cried instead. The fancy jeep seat and the Elmo dvd could not persuade him to relax and enjoy the experience.  At first I was not going to highlight the super flattering picture of me on the bottom left, but you can really see how upset he was in that photo. I felt so bad. In the end he got a great new 'do (and a BOON!) so I think it was worth it.

p.s. Please join me in wishing my mom a very happy birthday. Happy Birthday Mom! xox

What was your baby's first haircut like? And don't forget to enter my Earth Mama Angel Baby giveaway HERE.

Are you a breastfeeding mama? You may be interested in my breastfeeding articles HEREEnjoy reading my blog? Help me reach a wider audience about the benefits of baby sign language and non-toxic toys by voting for me below at Top Mommy Blogs or Top Baby Blogs. You can vote daily!   Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!
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Monday, November 22, 2010

The importance of bedtime routines for infants

Most of you probably already know how we've struggled with Nate's sleeping. I've complained  explained our issues many times over (read here, here and here). When you're trying to figure out how to solve infant sleep problems, one of the first things you read in books and online is about the importance of a bedtime routine. It helps the baby transition from awake time to bedtime. As in most areas of life, children are comforted by routines and predictability. And of course it makes sense. I have a bedtime routine for myself. It doesn't involve lullabies or butt cream (usually), but I always feel more settled after I've washed my face and completed my three hundred Kegel reps.

Sesame Street Bert Finger Puppet
I think we instituted a bedtime routine for Nate when he was about four months old. It's changed over time to adjust to his likes, dislikes, wants and needs of the moment. Now our bedtime routine begins between 6:20 - 6:45 pm depending on how well he's napped that day and how grumpy the lack of napping has made him. It starts with bath time and teeth brushing. Then we move onto diaper and pajamas in a dimly lit room with music, white noise and humidifier running. We read a story with Bert and Ernie...or at least we try to read a story. Sometimes Nate throws the book on the floor or grabs it away and flips the pages himself for awhile. Then he nurses for a few minutes. Literally a few minutes if he's exhausted. Longer if he's not as tired. He'll take breaks to sit up and read his story to himself or play with his loveys. And by play, I mean bite Bert's nasty black hair and then laugh at me when I tell him that's disgusting and the hairs are getting in his mouth.  Of course I wanted the Green Sprouts Organic Terry Circus Animal  to be his nighttime lovey, but as my mother warned me - the baby will always pick the lovey, not the parent.

When he's done nursing I turn the light off and put him in his crib after kissing him goodnight and wishing him sweet dreams. I used to lay his head on his pillow, but have given up on that. He always sits up and falls forward so that he's folded in half, face down. Ah, the flexibility of babies. Imagine sleeping like that? He's usually asleep between 7:00 and 7:45 pm. I'd like to push it back a bit later but he's just not cooperating in the nap department. Oh well. I'm sure it will change. It always does.

What's your children's sleep routine? How has it changed over time? What books do you recommend to friends who are having sleep issues with their little ones? I always recommend  The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night, The Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight: Gentle Proven Solutions to Help Your Child Sleep Well and Wake Up Happy and Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems: New, Revised, and Expanded Edition.

Don't forget to enter my Earth Mama Angel Baby giveaway here. Their products are non-toxic and fantastic! Ends 12/1/10.


Are you a breastfeeding mama? You may be interested in my breastfeeding articles HEREEnjoy reading my blog? Help me reach a wider audience about the benefits of baby sign language and non-toxic toys by voting for me below at Top Mommy Blogs or Top Baby Blogs. You can vote daily!   Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Earth Mama Angel Baby Organics ~ Angel Baby Lotion ~ GIVEAWAY

When it comes to eliminating toxic chemicals from our home, I prioritize Nate's toys, food and skincare. While I don't rush out to replace all of my daily products with safer ones, I'm learning to make more informed choices when I do purchase new items. Before I invest money in a new product, I see how it rates on sites like Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep and Good Guide.

Earth Mama Angel Baby LotionNow that it's getting colder outside my skin is drying up and I desperately needed a new lotion. Nate's skin hasn't appeared dry yet, but last year (before we switched to Earth Mama Angel Baby's Angel Baby Shampoo & Body Wash) he had tons of little scaly patches. I previously used a Neutrogena lotion on myself and the standard Johnson & Johnson baby lotion on Nate. Both score a 6 out of 10 (with 10 being most toxic) on Skin Deep for chemicals linked to - among other things - developmental and reproductive toxicity. That's just gross. I want to be able to smother my hands in cream and not worry about being able to provide Nate with a sibling in the future. And I want to be able to put lotion on Nate without worrying about him growing a tail. Okay, he probably won't grow a tail with any lotion I use, but you get my point.

So I tried Earth Mama Angel Baby's Angel Baby Lotion. Like all of EMAB's products, the lotion scores a zero on Skin Deep. ZERO TOXINS.  It smells fantastic. Just like the shampoo, it's a very light orange vanilla. The smell is fresh, not cloyingly sweet. The lotion is rich and creamy with no weird "after feel" like I've experienced with so many other lotions.  I absolutely love it! And I love that I can use it on myself and on Nate.

Here's more info about the lotion from the EMAB website:
The first US personal care product certified to the NSF/ANSI 305 Standard, Angel Baby® Lotion contains organic ingredients but of course zero toxins and no artificial preservatives, fragrances or dyes. Just pure ingredients to moisturize and protect sensitive, delicate skin, for babies of all ages - top to bottom, cheeks to cheeks.
Angel Baby® Lotion is zero toxin, cruelty free, and certified vegan.
Made with organic rooibos, soothing to eczema, skin allergies and diaper rash, and smells so naturally good you'll have to nibble on an adorable little tootsie or two!

•100% Organically Preserved
•Clinically tested, Hypoallergenic
•No Artificial Fragrances or Dyes
•Cruelty-Free
•Toxin-Free
•Certified Vegan
BUY: Find Earth Mama Angel Baby products at Earth Mama Angel Baby Organics, Amazon and The Soft Landing.

WIN IT! One lucky Nater Tot reader will win a bottle of Earth Mama Angel Baby Angel Baby Lotion.

To enter: Visit Earth Mama Angel Baby Organics and leave a comment here telling me which product (other than the lotion or shampoo) you would love to try.

Extra entries: Leave a comment for each extra entry.
  • Follow @EarthMamaHQ on Twitter
  • Sign up to receive Mama's Monthly Newsletter here.
  • Follow @Natertotblog and tweet the following (CAN BE RETWEETED ONCE A DAY – Just leave the link to the tweet itself each day in the comments):  
#WIN a bottle of Earth Mama Angel Baby's Angel Baby Lotion @natertotblog @EarthMamaHQ http://bit.ly/cKhxOv #giveaway ends 12/1 Open US/CAN.
This giveaway ends Wednesday December 1, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Open to US and Canadian residents only.  CONTEST CLOSED.

Each comment under this post is equal to one entry and is assigned a number corresponding to the order in which it was left. A winner will be picked via Random.org on Thursday and announced here on Nater Tot, on Twitter, and Facebook. Winner will be informed by email and will have 72 hours to respond. If winner fails to respond within 72 hours a new winner will be chosen at random.

Disclaimer: Earth Mama Angel Baby provided this product for my review at no cost. All opinions are my own.


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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Activities for toddlers: Homemade play dough recipe

I have to say...I had a pretty awesome childhood. I have about a billion fond memories and one of them is playing with the homemade play dough my mom would make for me. Since I've been feeling pretty non-creative with our playtime lately, I thought it was time to whip out the big guns and do a fun crafty thing. I don't know if making play dough actually qualifies as a craft, but you get the point. I was ready to do something different and fun. The great thing about making it from scratch is that even if your kid stuffs a bunch in his mouth, there is nothing to worry about. Well, I guess you could worry about the state of your carpet when he spits it out in disgust.  Here's my mom's recipe, it's actually super easy:

Lelly's Homemade Play dough

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tbs. cream of tartar
  • 1 tbs. oil
  • 1 cup cold water
  • food coloring

Directions:
Mix flour, salt and cream of tartar in a pot. Add oil, water and food coloring. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly. Cook until mixture forms a dough-like consistency and stirs into a ball. Let cool and wrap in plastic or air tight container.


That's it. It's really easy. As for containing the play dough, I hate using plastic wrap. If you have a glass container with a snap-on cover, that would probably be ideal. Nate was pretty freaked out at first:



But he got the hang of it today...


 

What about you? Do you have a homemade play dough recipe? My friend told me about one that includes cinnamon, so it smells amazing. It sounds great, but I don't think I'll be adding cinnamon next time. Nate would definitely eat it if it smelled like a giant cookie. I probably would too.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Baby doll or newborn best friend?



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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Allergy season ...in November?

Nate's been sick with a cold for about a week and a half. Caring for a sick baby, however mild the symptoms, is never fun. You feel bad for your kid, who feels crummy. You feel bad for yourself, because you have to cope with extra whininess, clinginess and drastic departures from the sleeping routine you worked so hard to get in place. You know, that awesome schedule where you get to sleep until 6:00 am. Sigh. High school me, college me, law school me and working in the city me had NO idea how good I had it. Well, maybe college Amber did. Sleep, glorious sleep! Oh, yes, back to sick Natey...

So assuming Nate and I were covered in cooties, we skipped out on our mommy and me class last week, cancelled play dates (well, okay, just one) and tried not to infect our town. I even postponed seeing my good friend and her brand new baby. It's no fun driving a couple of hours to see a newborn only to look at her through the window with your face smooshed against the glass. I have to hold that little girl and smell her little baby head.

Nate had his fifteen month well visit today at the pediatrician's office, where we discovered that we were not dealing with an infectious cold; he was suffering from allergy symptoms. The doctor mentioned a few things that helped determine her diagnosis. I'm not completely sure, but I think she said: Nate's nasal passages were pale, instead of inflamed; he had circles under his eyes (I just thought it was trying to look like mommy); those pink things in the inside corner of each eye was a bit swollen; and, he appeared itchy. I feel like kind of a dumb ass for not noticing that last one. This whole time I've been thinking he was trying to wipe away his boogies. It makes sense that the kid who plays in his own poop filled diapers would not suddenly feel the deep, frequent desire to wipe away his snot. He was just itchy. Poor thing.

Apparently, allergies are just raging around here. The good news is that he can just take over the counter Claritin in liquid or chewable form. The liquid smells like grape gum and I kind of want to eat it. I can't tell if it's working yet, but I'm hopeful it will solve all of our woes pronto. I am very anxious to get him sleeping back in his own bed, through the night. And equally anxious for nap time to return in some meaningful form.

time to go back to your crib, sweet pea!

Anyone else have allergy issues?

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Monday, November 15, 2010

How soon we forget: Things to do with your three month old

My friend has a three month old and we were discussing things to do with a baby that age - one that's ready for some extra stimulation but not quite ready for exersaucers and jumperoos (which are probably all toxic, but really fabulous toys). And already, I see that my memory is failing me. It was only a little over a year ago and yet I don't have a clear picture of our day to day life back then.

I reviewed our 300+ pictures from that time, hoping to get a better idea of how we passed the days. I think in between breastfeeding, twenty minute naps and diaper changes, we spent our time at various "stations." Those stations included:

time in the bouncy chair with toys 

time in the crib with his best friend

time alone in the pack and play watching the mobile

time in the swing

 and tummy time on various blankets

Nate also spent a lot of time sitting on my lap while I read to him, sang to him or played games like "This Little Piggy" and "Itsy Bitsy Spider." He gazed up at the toys on his play mat and we took walks with him snuggled in the baby carrier or in the stroller. Nothing very imaginative (except for those times where we collaborated on haiku). More than anything I was probably still just trying to figure him out and adapt to life as a mother.

How about you? What did you do with your three month old? Any creative ideas?

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Zany zoo

Nate loves animals, but since he's only fifteen months, we hadn't bothered to take him to the zoo yet. It was a gorgeous fall weekend here and we thought it would be a shame to wait until spring to take him.  We had a great time despite the fact that he didn't nap beforehand and was exhausted. He was so exhausted that he passed out on me as we walked back to the car. He NEVER does that. Ever.


It was difficult to get good shots. He was a grump at times (see bottom right), but most of the time we just had our hands full with Mr. DOOOWN...who refused to sit in the stroller or be carried. Not easy to navigate the windy, heavily populated paths of the Bronx zoo while you force your toddler to at least hold Mommy or Daddy's hand while he toddles along.

What did you do over the weekend?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tiny dancer

I love watching babies dance. I think it's so cool that we have this innate ability and desire to move to the music. No one taught Nate these fabulous dance moves. They are all his own...

video

I am trying to figure out which music Nate prefers for dancing. He definitely enjoys house music, U2 and Enimem. Pretty much any snippet of music with a good beat will get those shoulders wiggling.

What music makes your baby move? Bloggers, do you have a post or video (new or old) about your little one dancing? Share it in the comments below - I can't wait to see them!


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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Letter to my baby: Fifteen months

Dear Natey,

Oh lovebug (I promise to stop calling you that before you reach high school) - the time is going by way too fast. I feel like you just turned one year...and then I turned around - for only a second - and you're already fifteen months old. You're really turning into your own person now. You have opinions and demands and you don't hesitate to share them ("DOWN! DOWN! DOWN!"). Your feisty little temper (best exemplified by consistently throwing food at the strangers who dare to gaze upon His Royal Highness) is balanced out by your generous laughter, sweet hugs and little kisses.

New Stuff
You've added some new words to your vocabulary. Due to my total breakdown on the television rule, we watch an episode of Sesame Street everyday. You now say Bert ("Buht") and Ernie ("Ehhney") quite well. When I ask you who I am, you grin and say, "Maaamaaa." But when you call to me throughout the day and sometimes at night you still call me "Da Da." We're getting there. You call both grandpas "Bubba," even though only one is supposed to have that moniker. Hmmm...a picture of an older, friendly looking dude, must be... "BUBBA!" You can pick out many family members in pictures, but only call one aunt by name. My favorite new word of yours is "Deet," which is what you call yourself. You saw your picture on my cell phone the other day, pointed to it and then pointed to yourself proudly and said "DEET!" That was such a cool moment.

In the car...signing CAR

You're now signing over fifty words. Some new additions include SQUIRREL and THANK YOU.  Honestly, now that you're talking more, I have been slacking. I need to learn some new ASL signs and keep focused on improving that fantastic vocabulary of yours. I recently discovered that you know the difference between gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees (which we sign all the same: by pounding on our chest with both fists) - well, sometimes you mix-up orangutans and chimps. But you never miss a gorilla and you never confuse apes with monkeys, which is better than most adults. That's my boy! One of my favorite things in the world is to watch you sit down with a book, signing to yourself as you turn the pages. If you don't turn out to be an avid reader, I will be absolutely shocked.

Nate reading to himself

Favorite Things
Shockingly you love my singing. It is a voice only a baby could love. I sing you songs and you ask for MORE. A song comes on that you like and you wiggle your shoulders and bend your knees. I love when you dance. You speed around the room looking for non-baby proofed areas to explore...because really you just adore getting into things you shouldn't. The instant I stop you from doing one thing you shouldn't, you are on to the next. You are too quick, you little bugger!

running in the park

You continue to love animals, with gorillas, squirrels, dogs, cats, bears and ducks being at the top of that list. Gorillas = my influence; squirrels =  our dog Ava's influence; bears = must be Daddy's influence. Anything motorized or household appliance-related also continues to amaze you. The highlight of your day is when Daddy irons in the morning. Odd child, you are. Thank goodness you're so cute. Whenever landscapers are working nearby, you demand to watch them from either the window or the front yard. You squeal and laugh and sign "LAWNMOWER" over and over again. You are full of joy. And you bring us so much joy.

Deet

I love you more than tongue can tell.

~ Mama


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