Thursday, August 31, 2006

Day 192 - Mamas and Dadas

Today's first time parenting tip - Don't gloat too much over whether the first word is dada or mama

Between my wife constantly babbling "Mama mama mama mama" at our baby and the other non stop barrages of baby talk our son gets, I'm sure he won't be able to help being anything but a babbling idiot. When he does say mama or dada for the first time, whoever its directed towards will feel so much pride they'll want to burst.

For the other parent, don't worry. Even though they may say your partner's moniker first, be assured that the baby has no idea what they're doing. They'll be saying it indiscriminantly and won't build the actual association until much later on.

So don't go moping around and being bitter. There will be plenty of ice cream trips, gifts and other bribes to get your child to like you better much later on.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Day 191 - Sleeping through the night

Today's first time parenting tip - Try systematic waking to help your baby through the night

So you've tried crying it out, and you've tried getting up with him. Solid food doesn't help, and you're nearly at your wits end with trying to get your baby to not wake up twice a night. Maybe you've got a kid that wakes up at night. Everyone does, even adults. But the trick is learning to go back to bed.

A possible answer, and one that seems contradictory to what you are trying to accomplish, is systematic waking. Basically, you note your baby's usual wake up times. Then, you set your alarm for a half hour before they would wake up. Get up, change them, nurse them, do whatever you would do if they woke up on their own. Then, gradually extend the time between waking them up.

The idea is they come to rely on you to wake them up. They learn to stay asleep longer, and to associate you coming in to wake them and take care of them as usual. It may or may not work, but give it a try if nothing else works, or if you don't want to let them cry it out.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

West Coast

You might have noticed that I haven't been posting for the last week or so. It wasn't because I'm lazy, or because I ran out of tips, or because my son became too much to handle that I drove myself insane.

No, it was because I took a business trip out to San Francisco, ground zero for all things interactive. You'd think one would be able to get a reliable connection out there.

Alas, you thought wrong. The office I was in out there had nothing. My hotel had wireless, but no one knew how to maintain or service it so I was left without any means of communicating electronically.

So I'm working on getting my tips up to date. Bear with me, things should be back on track by tomorrow or the day after. Thanks for understanding!

Day 190 - Slow down, son!

Today's first time parenting tip - Consider organic foods if your baby is off the charts for height and weight

Our son, simply put, is an absolute monster. At 6 months, he was 29 inches tall and 20 lbs...which is crazy big. My co-worker has a 14 month old that's smaller than him. I don't know what it is that we're feeding him, but it sure is working.

Babies at this age need a diet that's high in fat and rich in vitamins and minerals. And boy, is he getting them. But regular foods could have more steroids or growth hormones in the foods, which then transfers to the person eating them, and causes them to shoot up like a beanstalk.

This could be why kids always seem bigger and develop earlier these days. All our foods are shot full of additives and steroids to make them grow bigger. Makes sense that as we eat more of these steroid riddled foods, we get bigger too.

If your pediatrician is concerned that your baby is too big, you might want to try organic foods. They're more natural, and will still give your baby all the nutrients they need. And they'll help your baby not look like a mini-arnold. Never give your baby less food or attempt to put them on any kind of diet that your pediatrician doesn't recommend. You'll be doing more harm than good.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Day 189 - Take Your Vitamins

Today's first time parenting tip - Give your baby a multivitamin during the winter months.

Now that your baby is moving into a solid food based diet rather than a breast milk or formula based one, you might be wondering if your baby is getting the right nutrients and minerals. A good way to make sure is to feed them all kinds of different fruits and vegetables. Different colors mean different vitamins, so feed accordingly.

One vitamin that often gets missed is Vitamin D. It usually comes from the sun, but is missing from breastmilk and formula. So around the age of 7 or 8 months, you might want to think about giving your baby a multivitamin, like Provisol from Enfamil, to supplement their diet and give them the Vitamin D they miss out on during the winter months.

Talk to your pediatrician about when to give a multi, and what one to give. Just to prepare you , they smell absolutely horrid and taste even worse. Just the high price you pay to have a healthy baby I guess.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Day 188 - Big Changes

Today's first time parenting tip - Be prepared for your baby to change a lot in a matter of days

Maybe you noticed that there was a complete lack of posts over the past week or so. That was because my work sent me out to San Francisco, the interactive capital of america, to work on an internet banner buy for my ad agency's main client. Expenses paid, cool city, cool work...I was ecstatic.

Of course, I knew I'd miss my son. But what I wasn't prepared for was the amount he changed while I was gone. Before, he'd grab for things, look at things, make noises...but you could just tell he didn't know what was going on. Anything he did was by accident.

When I cam back, it was like he was completely different! He had his exersaucer figured out, he could work his way over to a toy and look for it when he dropped was like he was a conscious person for the first time.

I was taken much as I loved heading west, I wish I had been around to see the first time he figured out how to play his baby keyboard. A lot of people told me that a big personality change happens in baby's around 6 months...I guess I didn't realize how much so until now.

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Day 187 - Beach Boys

Today's First Time Parenting Tip - Get your baby a pop-up tent for trips to the beach

Took our son to the beach for the first time this weekend, and he absolutely loved it. Loved playing in the sand, loved being in the water, seeing all the people and boats. Smiled the whole time we were there.

And we were able to stay for awhile because we had a little pop up tent we brought with us. It packs down completely flat, to about a foot-and-a-half circle. Even though we had him slathered with 45 spf sunscreen and had clothes on him, being out in the sun for an hour or even two would have been bad for him. Plus it would have been heck on his eyes.

The tent was great because we could throw him in there, he was shaded, we didn't have to worry about the sun in his eyes, and we had a place to feed and change him without getting sand everywhere. Plus he loved playing in it. I think he could have slapped the sand underneath the floor for hours and been completely content.

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Day 186 - Aqua Tots

Today's first time parenting tip - Get your baby into swimming lessons as early as possible

I'm always shocked and amazed when I meet someone who doesn't know how to swim. I always remember taking swimming lessons and going to the pool and the beach every summer...and I can't imagine not knowing what to do if I fell in the water, so much so that I'd be afraid of it.

Even if you have a trepidation about water, don't pass it on to your child. It's a simple thing you can do to help you child be safe around water. And its a great bonding experience, since you get to do it together. Plus, think of all the fun summers your kid will have playing at the beach and pool with his friends.

You can sign up for a parent-tot swim class at your local Y, and most city community recreation centers have one. If your baby is young, like mine (6 months), you want to make sure you go to an instructed class. I don't think just tossing your baby into the water and letting them figure it out is a good option. My class ran me about 45 dollars, and classes at the Y were 60-100.

It should be a required skill, and its one they'll never forget.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Day 185 - Yucky Fruit

Today's first time parenting tip - Keep trying with new foods, even if your baby seems to absolutely hate them

Our son hates fruit. Literally, he gags and shakes his head back and forth as if we were making him suck on lemon rinds. It's the wierdest thing...since I'd think vegetables would be a big turn off.

In any case, we're not ready to give up on him yet. We always make sure he gets a taste of the new food, even if he doesn't want to eat it, we always encourage him without being pushy. Sure, I would never eat prunes in a thousand years, but for babies, they need a full range of fruits and veggies so that they get a wide array of vitamins and minerals.

Plus, it can take up to ten times for a baby or child to warm up to a food. So make it fun, and don't put away the prunes yet...they just might learn to love them.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Dy 184 - Allergic Reaction

Today's first time parenting tip - That cough, sniffle and tired look could be allergies.

Our son had a little nagging cough that wouldn't go away, and right around the time of his six month appointment, he got bad circles under his eyes and he was a little stuffy. We thought for sure he was sick or had a cold, but we thought it was wierd that he wasn't in a bad mood, was eating normally and didn't have a fever.

Our pediatrician thought it was probably allergies, and she perscribed Claritin, which we have yet to give him. We didn't really like how Claritin makes him drowsy, and if he's not at risk from another disease and its not keeping him from being healthy, we didn't want to give him drugs just for the sake of giving him drugs. But that's just us I guess.

Pay attention to all the symptoms your baby has. If you notice something out of the ordinary, try to think what's changed. Did you just get a pet? Is it allergy season? Was he exposed to a new food? Was there someone sick at day care. Usually you can track down the source of the symptoms by doing some simple detective work, and that'll help the pediatrician diagnose your baby as well.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Day 183 - Six Month Vaccinations

Today's First Time Parenting Tip - Get your baby vaccinated at his six-month appointment

It's nearly time for the six month appointment. Along with checking your babies physical development (height, weight, head circumfrance), ears, throat, eyes, and overall health, your pediatrician should recommend vaccinations for your infant. Your doctor will probably also recommend that your baby get continue with new solid foods, and possibly a baby multivitamin.

He should be due for vaccines against:

  • Diptheria

  • Pertussis

  • Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib)

  • Polio

  • Pneumococcal Conjugate (PCV7)

While he's getting the shots be sure to stay near, he'll need comforting. Afterwords, you should expect your baby to be more tired and fussy than usual, maybe for a day or two. A fever is also a possibility, but if he gets above 102.5, call your pediatrician. The injection site might also be red and irritated, but if it becomes bumped up, call your pediatrician.

Give your baby infant tylenol before the appointment and it may make the shots easier to take. After the shots, give him the recommended dosage of infant tylenol every four hours if he develops a fever.

DIPHTHERIA - Diphtheria is a very serious disease. It can make a person unable to breathe or cause paralysis (unable to move parts of the body) or heart failure. About one in every 10 people who get diphtheria die from it.

PERTUSSIS - Pertussis (whooping cough) may be mild or serious and is easily passed from person to person. Pertussis can cause spells of coughing and choking that make it hard to eat, drink or breathe. The coughing can last for weeks. Pertussis is most dangerous to babies under one year old. Babies with pertussis are so sick that nearly half must go to the hospital. About one baby in 100 with pertussis either dies or is left with permanent brain injury. Serious illness is less likely in older children and adults.

HAEMOPHILUS INFLUENZAETYPE B (Hib) - Hib disease is caused by an infection spread by coughing, sneezing or close contact. Hib disease can cause a swelling of the brain that can lead to developmental disability, hearing loss, weakened sight, or speech problems. Before a Hib vaccine was available, Hib infected one of every 200 children before age five. It is most dangerous for babies under age one.

POLIO - Polio is a very dangerous disease. Some children and adults who get a serious case of polio become paralyzed (unable to move parts of their bodies). Sometimes polio may make it difficult to breathe without the help of a machine. In some cases, it can even cause death.

PNEUMOCOCCAL CONJUGATE(PCV7) - Pneumococcal disease is a serious illness that is responsible for about 200 deaths each year among children under five years old. Children under two years old are at highest risk for serious disease. It is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in the United States. Meningitis is an infection of the covering of the brain.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Day 182 - Can You Do This?

Today's First Time Parenting Tip - Track your baby's milestones to make sure they're developing correctly

Its important to make sure that your infant doesn't have any developmental problems, but if he or she seems slow in one area, don't worry about it too much unless they're way behind or your pediatrician seems concerned. Everyone loves to compare their accomplishments to others, but the fact is some babies are fast in verbal development, but slow in the physical department, or vice versa. If you're worried about it, ask your pediatrician. At the end of the sixth month, your infant should be able to:

  • Keep head level with body when pulled to sitting
  • Say ah-goo or similar vowel-consonant combinations

Probably will be able to:

  • Bear some weight on legs when held upright
  • Sit without support

They might also be able to stand holding on to someone or something, feed self a cracker, object if you try to take a toy away, work to get a toy out of reach, pass a cube or other object from one hand to the other, look for a dropped object, rake a raisin and pick it up in fist, turn in the direction of a voice, babble, pull up to standing position from sitting, get into sitting position from stomach, pick up tiny object with any part of thumb and finger, say mama or dada indiscriminantly.

Taken from What to Expect the First Year

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Day 181 - Scratchy Clothes

Today's First Time Parenting Tip - If it would be uncomfortable for you to wear, its probably uncomfortable for your baby to wear.

We put our son into a little "Finding Nemo" onesie the other day. Pretty cool, it's got a nice green color and the orange fish stiched right onto the chest. Took it off him and noticed that he had a little read agitated area of skin on his chest. Hmm. Whatever could it be?

Now if you handed me a shirt with a big Nemo on the front, but the inside of the shirt had that starchy, scratchy material that gets sewn on the back to hold it on, I probably wouldn't wear it too much. Likewise with clothes that are made of scratchy material on hot days, etc.

Just something to pay attention to. I know kids get away with wearing things that adults could never wear cause they're so darn cute, but there's no reason for them to be uncomfortable. If you wouldn't wear it because of comfort reasons, they shouldn't either.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Day 180 - Juicy Fruit

Today's First Time Parenting Tip - Mix the fruits in with other foods your baby is a fussy eater

Once your baby gets on fruit, there's a chance he'll start only wanting that sweet flavor and start rejecting the cereal and vegetables he was eating so well up until this point. Can't say I blame them...the cereal and vegetables taste pretty gross. But, without daily cereal and veggies, your baby might not be getting the vitamins and nutrients they need to grow and stear clear of conditions like anemia.

If your baby starts to turn the other way when vegetables and cereal comes near, try these two things.

For cereal, you can try mixing the fruit right into the cereal. Gerber makes one with bananas in it too. That way he'll be eating the fruit and the cereal all at once, and it'll taste good for him too.

For veggies, it's a little more complicated, since a mix of fruits and vegetables would be uber-gross. Instead, alternate spoonfuls. Get him in the mood to eat with a spoonful of fruit, and then trick him into gobbling down the veggies with a heaping portion of peas. Repeat.

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Day 179 - Check in

Today's First Time Parenting Tip - If you're doing the cry-it-out technique, still check in periodically

Some parents let their babies cry it out, some pick them up at the first sign of a whimper. There could be an endless debate on which one is more right, which I won't get into here. But if you are doing the cry-it-out method, that doesn't mean leave him completely alone until he stops.

If you can see your baby, that's safest, but it might agitate him more to see you and have you ignore him. Even if he's in an area where he can't hurt himself, you should check in every five - ten minutes, and immediately if his crying suddenly becomes frantic or labored.

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Day 178 - Quiet Please

Today's First Time Parenting Tip - Don't tiptoe around during daytime naps

Your baby just went down for a nap. Finally, you can get something done! You reach for the vacuum cleaner...oh wait. Baby's asleep. You go to flush the toilet. Rats, sleeping baby again. You need to open a bedroom door that creaks. Better not till baby wakes up.

All rules you should break.

It's good for babies to learn to sleep with other things going on. It'll be easier for them to go down in a strange environment with new sounds, and it'll help you get around to chores while they sleep peacefully. As they get older, will babies naturally become conditioned to sleep with noise.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Day 177 - Bad Evening

Today's Tip - Try a variety of tactics to get through the witching hour

Is your baby fussy and cranky during the evening like our son was? That's right, you're not alone. Many young babies cry or fuss in the late afternoon, early evening. It's pretty frustrating, especially when you can't seem to get them to stop.

If you've got a baby who just won't calm down, try the following:
  • Feeding - He might just be hungry, or need a snack that's not in his "schedule" be flexible
  • Swaddling - The comfort of feeling like he's back in the womb might be just what he needs
  • Go outside - Our son will calm right down and watch cars and trucks go by for hours. The sights and sounds of the outdoors just might distract him from his current funk.
  • Move - Gentle movement, rocking, cuddline and white noise are all excellent calming measures. Sometimes babies are just overstimulated and need to calm down
  • Nap - Just like needing another snack, your baby just might need an unscheduled nap. Don't feel bad about giving in, its good to be flexible

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Day 176 - It's a Dry Heat

Today's First Time Parenting Tip - Try treating a cough with a humidifier

Instead of reaching right for the infant cough suppressant or nasal decongestant, try turning on the humidifier instead. During the winter and even during the summer in dry areas, dry air aggravates respiratory problems if the air doesn't have enough moisture in it.

So if your baby is constantly stuffed up or has a nagging cough, the problem could be air that's too dry in your house. You can get whole house humidifiers or ones that'll do a single room to help control the humidity of your house.

And there's also some energy savings in store for you during the winter months too. We're all too painfully aware that humid air during the summer is unbearable. But during the winter, it'll let you keep the thermostat a little bit lower and you'll still be comfortable.

If problems are nagging, you also want to make sure that the problems aren't more serious, like pneumonia or asthma. Give your pediatrician a call if there's a fever or other more serious symptoms, or if the cough and stuffy nose don't go away with treatment.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Day 175 - Signs and Symptoms of Pneumonia

Today's First Time Parenting Tip - Watch for the signs and symptoms of pneumonia

My son's had a litte cough for the past couple of days, and on the pediatrician's recommendation, treating it with PediaCare, since there are no other symptoms to go along with it. She said to bring him in if the cough doesn't go away in two days, or there's the possibility he could develop pneumonia.

Which got me thinking...I don't even know what the signs and symptoms of pneumonia are!

The most common symptoms are rapid breathing or breathing problems like shallow breath or coughing, but those could be absent and your infant could still have pneumonia. Fever, abdominal pain and vomiting could be a sign if the infection is in the lower lungs. Other symptoms include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • cough
  • unusually rapid breathing
  • breathing with grunting or wheezing sounds
  • labored breathing that makes a child's rib muscles retract (when muscles under the rib cage or between ribs draw inward with each breath)
  • vomiting
  • chest pain
  • abdominal pain
  • decreased activity
  • loss of appetite (in older children) or poor feeding (in infants)
  • in extreme cases, bluish or gray color of the lips and fingernails

Call your pediatrician if any of these symptoms pop up, and they'll be able to give you a home treatment. In severe or special cases they may be kept at the hospital.

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    Sunday, August 13, 2006

    Day 174 - Thy Cup Overfloweth

    Today's First Time Parenting Tip - Introduce a cup earlier rather than later

    No matter when you start teaching your baby to drink out of a cup, eventually they will get all their fluids from one. Starting early is easier rather than later, because your baby is still infinitely open to teaching at this point. Older, and they may fuss and refuse to go after it.

    A good age to introduce it is around the time they start being able to sit unsupported. That way gagging is less of an issue.

    Start by putting a little breastmilk or formula in a un-breakable, baby-safe cup. You don't want them to get too much once they do have success and gag on the contents. If your baby has trouble grabbing on or doesn't seem interested, try a different kind of cup. Some cups have one handle, two handles, or none. Some have a spout that'll protect you from spills, but others don't have any.

    Like starting solid foods, resign yourself to the fact that this is not going to be a clean affair. Even if you have a spouted lid on the cup, there will be some spilling. If your baby is grabby and all they want to do is take the cup and do it themselves, let them. The learning process will probably be a mixture of you helping 100%, sharing the effort and also them going it alone.

    If your baby turns his head or acts like she doesn't want the cup, don't force the issue. And if you've tried every cup on the face of the earth and some different liquids like water, formula or breast milk, and your baby still doesn't want it, give it a rest for a month or so. Then start anew, with the same excitement and fervor you started with. Another tip for getting a fussy cup learner to pick it up is to offer it as a toy for them to play with.

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    Saturday, August 12, 2006

    Day 173 - His Own Special Meal

    Today's First Time Parenting Tip - Feed your baby his own mealtime until he can self-feed

    I was watching "The Incredibles" the other day and Elasta-girl was feeding Jack-Jack at the table while she ate and the rest of the family ate. I guess it would take a super-hero to accomplish wife and I can barely eat by ourselves with the baby at the table. He's always grabbing for our food and our glasses.

    Give him his own seperate meal, at least until he can feed himself. He'll get more of the food he needs and you'll be able to focus more on teaching him to eat rather than trying to scarf your own meal before it gets cold.

    In the mean time, do include him in adult meals. Give him his own seat, some finger foods if he's able, and some baby-safe utensils and dishes of his own to fool with. Include him in the conversation, and he'll get used to the activity of sitting down and eating with mom and dad.

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    Updated Design

    I think this was long overdue, but I changed the look of the site to make it a little more personal, and hopefully easier to read and use too.

    Love it? Hate it? Couldn't be any more apathetic? Let me know!

    Friday, August 11, 2006

    Day 172 - Climb Around

    Today's First Time Parenting Tip - Give your baby some pillows and blankets to climb around on

    By now your baby is probably using his hands as much as his feet to try and motor himself around the house. Problem is, carpet and hardwood floors aren't really good to grab onto.

    In addition to giving him some floor time to teach him to crawl, put him among some pillows and blankets on the floor, preferrably, on your bed. (That way if he rolls off he's got a soft surface to land on.) Stay close and encourage him to roll over, pull himself up and push with his feet to conquer the mini-Everest. This isn't really something you want him to do on his own, he could get tangled in the blankets or caught on a pillow.

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    Thursday, August 10, 2006

    Day 171 - Build a First Aid Kit

    Today's First Time Parenting Tip - Have a first aid kit in your house, the car and the diaper bag

    Part of being prepared for an emergency is not only knowing what to do, but also making sure you have the supplies you need. Everyone should have a first aid kit in their home, one in their car, and one in their diaper bag, purse or backpack.

    Home First Aid Kit
    This is the big one. You spend most of your time at home, so it makes sense that most emergencies are going to occur here. And you don't have to lug it around, so it can be a little bit bigger. Make sure children that are old enough know where it is - you can get hurt too!

    The home kit should contain:
    Adhesive Strips, Antiseptic Wipes, Fingertip Bandages, Knuckle Bandages, Butterfly Bandages, 4" Pressure Bandages, Pair of Power Scissors, Triangular Bandages, Instant Cold Packs, Elastic Bandage, 3" x 3" Gauze Pads, 5" x 9" Trauma Pads, 3" x 4" Non Adherent Pads, Pairs of Gloves, 2" x 5 yd. Conforming Bandages, Poison Ivy Relief Pads, Pair of Tweezers, Emergency Blankets, Adhesive Tape, Biohazard Compliance Kit, Water-Jel Bandages, and a CPR Barrier.

    According to Southeast Michigan Red Cross

    Car Kit
    This is a smaller kit, and usually contains some non-first aid items like road flares or spare gas to help you out if you get stuck. Build an auto emergency kit with:
    Triangular Bandages, Elastic Bandage, 3" x 3" Gauze Pads, 5" x 9" Trauma Pads, 3" x 4" Non Adherent Pads, Pairs of Gloves, 2" x 5 yd. Conforming Bandages, Poison Ivy Relief Pads, Pair of Tweezers, Emergency Blankets, Adhesive Tape, CPR Barrier, two roadside flares, a quart of oil, small first aid kit, extra fuses, flashlight, Leatherman Tool (or any other multipurpose tool commonly containing pliers, wire cutters, knife, saw, bottle opener, screwdrivers, files and an awl), tire inflator, rags, pocket knife, pen and paper and a help sign.

    According to Edmunds

    Personal Kit
    Take this one everywhere. It's handy, small and as you use supplies you can replace them from your bigger stash at home. It should be small enough to just toss in your bag, but big enough to have the essentials, like:
    Adhesive Strips, Roll Adhesive Bandage Tape, Antiseptic Wipes, 2" x 3" Non-Adhesive Pads, Fingertip Bandage, Knuckle Bandage, Sting Relief Pads, First Aid Cream Packet, Pairs Disposable Gloves, 2" Rollar Bandage, Instant Cold Compress, and an Emergency Action Guide.

    According to Southeast Michigan Red Cross

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    Wednesday, August 09, 2006

    Day 170 - Give Everything a Name

    Today's First Time Parenting Tip - Give everything a name to help your baby learn associations

    Instead of saying "Do you want this?", or "What's that"? Start ditching the pronouns and start using the nouns. It'll help your baby learn word associations and expand their vocab, even at this young of an age. And when you're whipping out those adjectives, use lots of different ones, for the same reason.

    When I'm feeding my son dinner, I use lots of things to describe what he's eating. Words like, good, delicious, succulent, delish, delectable, etc. My wife looks at me like I'm insane but he seems to enjoy it. And it makes it easier to have a running commentary, so you don't feel like you're contantly repeating yourself.

    My son loves to sit outside and watch cars and trucks go by. We think it's one of the first words we can get a response out of him. My mom says "Want to go look at some trucks?" and his head whips over to the window that looks out over the road. Not quite the same as the whirlwind that starts when we ask my dog if she wants to go outside, but pretty exciting nonetheless.

    So next time you're talking to your baby, say the names of things, and start asking him where things are. He might just surprise you one day.

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    Tuesday, August 08, 2006

    Day 169 - It's the Instructor, Stupid

    Today's First Time Parenting Tip - If your first aid class doesn't have a good instructor, complain

    About a week ago I blogged about how our first aid class wasn't that great, I was questioning it's worth, I was still worried that I'd be equipped to help my son or another child in an emergency.

    This week was a complete 180...someone from the class last week complained and asked for their money back from the Red Cross. Not only did they refund her money (she didn't show up for the second session), they gave the rest of us another instructor to help the one we had last week. What a difference!

    The new instructor was friendly, knowledgeable (she had first aid, EMT and sports injury background), and she engaged all of us and covered more material than our previous instructor had. I felt bad for him, since he played the part of trainee rather than lead, but I hope it was a good learning experience for him and the next classes he teaches benefit from him.

    But, even though I felt bad, I was glad the new person came in. After all, these skills are about saving someone's life. Pre-school teachers and day care employees take these classes to protect the children they look after. Far too high a stakes to hold your tongue if you don't feel you're getting adequate instruction. So don't be afraid to make a stink...the Red Cross completely redeemed themselve in my book. Plus, it just might save a life someday.

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    Monday, August 07, 2006

    Day 168 - Talk About Parenting Decisions

    Today's First Time Parenting Tip - Talk about parenting style...before the issue comes to a head

    How will you discipline your child? What chores will he do? What activities do you want him to be involved in? What lessons must he learn, if he learns nothing else from you? What will you do to make sure you're not like your parents were gosh darnit!

    It's good to chat about these things before hand, so that you can be consistent from the very beginning and not feel like you're being forced down a parenting path that you don't want to go on. So when the ice cream hits the mouth for the second time and mom says "that's enough," dad's not saying "but he's just getting started.

    It'll help you work together as a parenting team, which is really what you need to do to be successful. For all you single parents out there, you've got it easy. You can run a dictatorship!

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    Sunday, August 06, 2006

    Day 167 - Enjoy it While it Lasts

    Today's First Time Parenting Tip - Take some time to enjoy 'em while they're young

    It's wierd to think that as we hold out son tonight, sprawled out across our lap, happily sucking away at a bottle, that someday in the not too distant future he'll be a walking, talking, into everything-because-I-can toddler. It won't be too long before we can't hold him like this anymore, or have him just fall asleep on our chest with his arms wrapped around our neck.

    It seems like we too easily get caught up in the daily activities, the feeding, changing, napping cycle, and we don't really take the time to appreciate his royal infantness. How he always grins from ear to ear whenever we come home, or when the dog saunters by. How he gets so excited over bouncing on the bed or seeing himself in the mirror.

    I know we'll miss it, and I know this time is getting near an end. So for all you new parents just bringing home your babies, yes, it is stressful. It's tough. But it won't be too long and you'll be looking back on that time fondly, wishing you'd wake up at 2:00 a.m. to comfort him and just stare into each other's eyes until you fell asleep. Enjoy every second of it.

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    Saturday, August 05, 2006

    Day 166 - The Gerber Food Schedule

    Today's First Time Parenting Tip: If you're feeding Gerber Foods, visit their site and get the feeding schedule

    We've got our son on Gerber Foods for cereal, vegetables and fruits. They're a name we trust and they've got all the additional nutrients and vitamins our son needs. The organic, generic and home-grown options are all viable too...we picked Gerber because a lot of our friends and family recommended it.

    But when you go to the store, they've got a million and a half varieties. 1st Foods, 2nd Foods. Graduates, etc. enough to make your head spin. How do you know what to feed, when? I asked myself, figuring the answer would be on the box.

    Thankfully, it doesn't require a super sleuth to figure it out. There's a feeding schedule at their website that outlines it by stage, which is nice. Rather than doing it by arbitrary ages or weights or heights that probably don't have much to do with what they're ready for. Take a look at it before you start feeding with their foods. That way you understand what you're feeding your baby.

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    Friday, August 04, 2006

    Day 165 - Photo Storage

    Today's Tip - Keep your photos online for easy sharing and safe backup

    Digital cameras have become extremely cheap the past few years, so much so that buying one will pay for itself in a couple months in saved developing fees. Chances are you've got them all on your hard drive or still on the camera.

    What you might not know is that all data storage goes bad - its not a matter of "if" its a matter of "when." And if you're baby's memories are all digital and you lose them...that's it. They're gone.

    You can backup all your pictures, but that's hard to remember. Plus, if you keep the CD at your computer and there's a fire or water damage, that's gone too. Plus, how do you show off your baby's latest foray into unrolling toilet paper without sending big clunky files through email.

    The answer, is Flickr. Run by the folks over at Yahoo!, its a nice, easy to use free site where you can store all your photos online. Your photos will be safe from pretty much everything, and its a no cost way to keep them somewhere other than next to your computer. And anyone can look at them anywhere, any time. The more technically saavy of us know its been around for awhile (at least in web terms), and there are a whole host of techy things you can do with it if you're so inclined.

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    Thursday, August 03, 2006

    Day 164 - A Little Lighter Fare

    Today's First Time Parenting Tip - Try a lighter colored vegetable like squash if your baby doesn't want to try veggies

    If you're having trouble getting your son to stomach vegetables, try giving him a veggie that doesn't have that strong vegetable taste. You might be able to get him to go for a blander food, and then build on that by introducing one with more taste.

    Squash is a good one, because the taste isn't as strong as the darker colored carrots or sweet potatoes. And remember that sometimes it takes up to ten tries to get a kid to start liking a new food, so don't give up easy.

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    Wednesday, August 02, 2006

    Day 163 - First Aid

    Today's Tip - Consider splitting up for your first aid class

    I talked about the definite need for taking a first aid class in a previous post. My wife and I had our first session today, where we learned infant and child rescue breathing and CPR.

    We sort of wish just one of us had went and taught the other one when we got home. Our Red Cross instructor pretty much just read to us out of a book, and we got a little practice on the dummies. But, he didn't have breathing barriers for us. Since we didn't really feel like making out with every single person who had ever put their mouth on those ancient dummies, we passed on the breathing.

    We could have just as easily split up and each taken a different course on different topics and shared the knowledge. And we could have brought the books home and done it ourselves.

    That was just our experience though. Others might have a really great instructor, and breathing barriers, and that makes the class entirely worth it. Or, if you're a day care provider or pre-schoolteacher, you do need to take the class. But splitting up to divide and conquer is something to consider, and I definitely feel we could have benefited by taking a different class and expanding the knowledge between us.

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    Tuesday, August 01, 2006

    Day 162 - Don't use Baby Powder

    Today's First Time Parenting Tip - Don't use baby powder if you're using disposable diapers

    Nowadays, disposable diapers do a fantastic job of taking the moisture away from the baby and locking it inside the diaper. That's what baby powder does too, but if you use baby powder with disposable diapers, it actually keeps more moisture closer to your baby's skin, which works contradictory to its purpose.

    If you're using cloth or some diaper that doesn't lock away moisture, keep using the baby powder or butt paste to prevent diaper rash and keep your baby comfortable.

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