Scary things

When I was young I was afraid of balloons. To this day I can still remember why – I was afraid of the sound they would make when they would (inevitably) pop. I can still feel the dread.

Last weekend we celebrated my birthday together with Ulysses' birthday at my parents' house, and it was all decorated with balloons. My mom reminisced on how she could never decorate with balloons on my birthdays because I would go into hysterical convulsions, and she alluded to the fact that she could never understood what my problem was exactly.
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5 reasons to look at the bright side when your child is sick*

1. They sleep more, so you get more child-free time.

2. They want to cuddle in bed all day, so you get to do that too.

3. No need for all the hardcore parenting activities (setting boundaries, making sure they eat properly and the rest of it) – you get to just baby them and make them feel better.

4. If, like me, you have boys, then you get to enjoy the laid back pace they get into, instead of running around shouting and getting bruised all day.

5. Jokes aside, it sucks to see your baby all sick and weak and miserable, so looking at the bright side is really the best option for staying functional when you are most needed.

*dedicated to Pollyanna week and to the fact that Ulysses and the Dandelion have been taking turns in being sick for the last 2 weeks.

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The mamma wore yoga pants

Meredith O'Brien wrote at dotMoms about the expectation from moms to look all "desperate-house-wives" in the midst of soccer practice/doing the laundry/making dinner. You'll be hard pressed to find me in anything other than my old ripped jeans and t-shirt while with my kids. Not only am I too lazy to dress up if I don't absolutely have to, it's just so impractical – I'll be covered in chocolate or some other unidetified goo in about 5 seconds.

Anyways, while reading Mary Tsao (see last post), I found this. It just meshes together so well with the whole momwear thing that I had to bring it up here.

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Autism, TV: let's not jump to conclusions.

TV, always the target of much parental criticism, has suffered another blow lately with the publication of a research that correlated the exposure to it with autism. kids and tv Let's say it right away – the research was not embraced unanimously in the academic community nor in the parents communities.

Mary Tsao from BlogHer made a concise summary of what is being said in response to this research in the blogosphere, and is levelheaded enough to bring both the for and the against opinions. The response I liked best was from the Freakconomics blog. Here is what he said:

"The more I thought about it, the more it seemed to me that there might be a causal link between rainfall, TV, and autism, but not the one suggested by the paper.
My theory: when it rains a lot, parents watch more TV, see more shows about autism, and this leads them to seek out a diagnosis of autism for their kids. They have the same kids, it is just that TV makes them believe that their kids are autistic."

Not being a big fan of TV myself*, I'm still not comfortable with how easily it is branded as the Root of All Evil. I'm especially not okay with presenting analysis of statistical information as an Everlasting Truth.

*That is not true. I'm a complete slave to TV. I rehabilitated myself 4 years ago and has been without any cable provider since, only Ulysses and The Dendelion watch their DVDs on it.

photo credit: Colin Mutchler

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That's Mine!

I have a little story-slash-complaint to share, but first I have to properly introduce my children. As you might remember, I have two:

  • My first-born, aka Ulysses, Age: just turned three, Interests: cars. Trucks. Trains. Motorcycles. Go-carts. Anything with wheels on it, really.
  • My baby, aka The Dandelion, Age: 10.5 months, Interests: climbing where he shouldn't, putting things in his mouth that he, you guessed it, shouldn't. (By the way, if you turn your gaze about 300 pixels upward, you can see his cute little face right there on the masthead.)

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And now a word from a real-life grandma:


Photo credit: Gavin Wilson

My mom has read my last Grandma post (thanks mom, it's nice to know at least someone has… *sigh*) and had some enlightening comments to make about the whole grandma thing. I paraphrase, but here's the spirit of what she said: If you look past the so-called material things (presents, house-chores etc.) the importance of grandmas lies simply in their being there. Giving a child a sense of belonging to a family, a large multi-generation family, is invaluable. להמשיך לקרוא


The milestones on the pediatrician's chart tell the story of children. The milestones you remember tell the story of your child.
(Damomma at The Parenting Post)

Development is a Big Issue. Even the most laid-back parents worry about their child's development: shouldn't he be crawling at his age? Isn't she supposed to be talking by now? You find yourself comparing your child to other children almost involuntarily, and there is always something to worry about. If she's talking great, then why isn't she walking? How come he can climb stairs so easily but still can't use a spoon effectively?

With my first boy I was much more anxious about this kind of stuff. I remember he couldn't name colors until a pretty late stage, and my husband and I were really worried that something was wrong. (Of course, today he's into advanced colors: aquamarine is one of my latest favorites.). With my second, we were less anxious but much more in a compare-and-contrast mode, constantly looking at what his older brother was doing by his age.

The thing is, development is important. Granted, every child has his or her own pace, but still, there are certain benchmarks that need to be considered. Since we deal with developmental toys here at Tiny Love, we've developed a system to track baby development. You can find it here. I think it can be helpful, especially when it comes to knowing what to expect and how to encourage certain behaviors.

Having said that, I still believe that the above quote is as correct as it is beautifully written. The story of your child is so much more than the total sum of his developmental achievements, and it's important to remember that, so you can fully enjoy it.

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Translation to grownup

"The idea here is that toys are protogames – requiring only context with other toys to produce games emergently."

This discussion about the difference between toys and games is from the 'elsewhere is where you always are' blog that talks about development of RPGs (Role Play Games) and the theory behind them. Basically the argument is that games are structured, goal-oriented activities while toys are instruments in games, and do not have narratives of their own.

It got me thinking about our toys. As part of my job, I'm responsible for updating the toys on the website. For this purpose I work with our developmental psychologist on the developmental values and usage tips for each toy. If you get a chance to read these texts (here for example), you can see that our toys do come with narratives.

What do I mean by that? According to the smart guys at 'elsewhere is where you always are', a toy is played with in the context of a structured game. But when you are in the business of making baby toys, you can't get too structured, can you? Baby's toys need to entice baby to play with them. Therefore they must, in a sense, tell a story, and a fascinating one at that, so baby will want to listen. Our developmental values are a translation of the toy’s story to grownup language.

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