2015 – Keep doing what you do best!

Oh God – looking at my last date post is a terrible thing – I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that so much time has passed and I’ve done so little on here. Yes – I feel guilty for not giving my blog some major TLC. I mean, it’s 2015 – the chance to start fresh, list down all these resolutions that I want to accomplish by this year, live the dream and get all psyched up about my new beginning. Hell – I didn’t even make the time to list them, so chances are I won’t even be able to achieve them.

My point is – and I think so many mothers and fathers out there will agree – we’re literally kicking butt by making it through every single day with all the other responsibilities that life throws our way. We should all give ourselves a huge pat on the back, maybe treat ourselves to some fatty Hershey Pie for making it this far, going through each day like a fighter and being amazing parents. So to all those who are in my shoes; who feel like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders, from juggling a dzillion things from managing to make a career and a living, to changing diapers and folding through endless piles of laundry – you are doing an awesome job. WE are doing an awesome job. Lets keep doing it the way know best and don’t bother by anything or anyone else.

 

The Pacifier Review_AnanIbrahim_TPR_MOM_2015

Five Survival Tips for Travelling with a Toddler

PhotoGrid_1417700673992I recently took off three weeks from work and traveled back home to Egypt with the fam. It’s been more than a year since I boarded a plane with my little Yehia and I must admit – it wasn’t as easy and breezy as travelling with him when he was younger. In short, yes – there was a lot of running around, chasing, hiding under counters and trying to jump on baggage belts. But there’s hope; there can be some tricks that can help you keep tabs on your excited little traveler and minimize your urge to pull that exit door handle and just jump off the plane.

Rise and shine early in the morning: I’m not really an advocate of using cough drops to make your little one drowsy so they can doze off on the plane. However, if your child happens to have the sniffles, then you’re in luck. You can give him his regular meds an hour before the flight takes off. What I strongly recommend you do is wake your toddler up really early in the morning, so by the time you’re at the airport for passport control, baggage claim and your duty free shopping, your little Columbus would be worn out and exhausted; all ready for his nap. At least this way you can enjoy a hassle-free trip on the plane, read a book in peace or enjoy a good movie.

  • STROLLERS, STROLLERS, STROLLERS: For some odd reason, I gave in to Kais’s constant pleads to leave the stroller behind. I ended up having to run after Yehia in terminals, duty free shops and toilets and the killer part: carrying around for what seemed like hours on end. Yes, I was plotting Kais’s ‘accidental death’ on my three-hour flight to Egypt and kicking myself for not doing it my way and taking the stroller anyway. Rule of thumb: ALWAYS TRAVEL WITH A LIGHT-WEIGHT STROLLER.
  • Charge up that smartphone/iPad: If you have some animations or movies that you know your baby likes on your iPad/Tab or smartphone, then make sure to charge up your devices. You can also purchase a power bank from the airport’s duty free, if you already don’t have one in your hand luggage. Most airlines have a good set of movies on their in-flight entertainment programs, but just so you can keep your little one distracted while you shop or as you roam around the airport terminals, some movies or games can be handy. I also had to resort to Youtube, since Yehia seemed to want to watch some random car videos rather than his actual favorite cartoons. So a device with an enabled data package would also be a plus.
  • Pack your toddler’s favorite items: If your little boy has a favorite stuffed animal, book, blankie that you know keeps him sane – make sure to pack them in your hand luggage. Avoid small toys that can be easily lost – otherwise, you’ll have to deal with constant tantrums once when you can’t find them in the airport or on the plane. Also make sure you have extra diapers, a change of clothes and a whole bunch of pacifiers – we all know how they magically disappear when you need them the most.
  • Where you sit on a plane makes all the difference: When my kid sees open spaces, he gets a sudden urge to just get up and run around. For that, I insisted that we get three seats by the window and have him sit in the middle. With not much to see and barely any room on an EgyptAir Economy class seating, he was settled and dozed off since we woke him up at the crack of dawn. If you are travelling with a younger baby, it’s always best to sit at the very front facing the separators so you can ask the flight attendant to get you one of those baby cribs for your munchkin to sleep in.

Traveling with a child will never be easy; so say goodbye to those old days when flying solo was a walk in the park, but I do hope that these tips help make your travel experience a little less painful.

If you have any other tricks up your sleeve that work wonders for you – share them in the comments section below!

 

The real deal about TV time

After a long, stressful day at work, I drive back to pick Yehia up from the nursery. He’s had his nap, a snack and is super excited to see me after spending so much time apart. I shower him with kisses and hugs and we drive back home. 1But the minute I step into the apartment, the nagging starts. ‘Mama upp!’ ‘Cubby Cubby’ (Come here), and ‘open’. I laugh at how adorable he is, but I can’t even get him his lunch meal ready because he wants to be carried around everywhere I go. I try to get him to settle down so I can feed him; but he’s all excited, restless and wants to play with all his trucks and cars. Thoughts of all the other things that I need to do before I hit the sack race through my head and it looks like I’m never going to head to bed before 2AM. Yehia still won’t eat. He’s still running around, jumping off the couches and spilling all sorts of things on the couch and carpet. I finally give up and pull out my secret weapon: the remote control. I hit the ‘play’ button and Mike Wazowski’s voice beams through the TV’s speakers and just like a magic spell, Yehia is in his seat eating his lunch quietly. Aaahhh the RELIEF!

Like many other mothers, when all else fails, I turn to my favorite baby-sitter; my 52-inch LED savior: the TV. But after noticing that Yehia completely tunes out when he watches TV that I can’t even distract him for 10 seconds, things had to change.

What can too much TV do to your baby/toddler:

  • Children who consistently spend more than four hours per day watching TV are more likely to be overweight.
  • Excess TV can also delay speech and brain development for babies and toddlers.
  • Kids exposed to various acts of violence from TV may develop aggressive behaviors and fears of a scary world, or develop notions that something bad might happen to them.

Toddlers and preschoolers have other, very important developmental work to do. However, when they’re glued in front of a TV set, this cuts down on better brain-engaging activities that they could spend their time on; such as building blocks, painting, running around or interacting with parents or other people. These activities pave the way for children to get to the next stages of learning.

What the experts say:2

After doing some research, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) findings indicate that:

  • Two-thirds of infants and toddlers spend an average of two hours everyday watching TV.
  • Kids under age six watch roughly two hours of screen media a day.
  • Kids and teens (ages eight to 18) watch nearly four hours per day watching TV and another two hours on computers, smart devices (phones, iPads, tablets, etc)

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under the age of two should not watch any TV and toddlers aged two and above should not watch more than 1 – 2 hours per day of age appropriate, quality TV programming.

Even if it keeps them quiet and occupied when you need a moment of peace and quiet, or need to get some house chores out of the way, excess TV time gets in the way of exploring, playing and interacting with other people. Lets get real though; you can’t not have them watch TV all together, so here are some tips that even I’m trying out right now to help limit TV time and still keep my sanity.

  • Choose age appropriate cartoons: Pick out violence-free, slow paced cartoons that are easy to absorb. Things like Oswald, Jarmies: less plot and fast-paced random events to give them time to understand and make sense of what’s happening on screen.
  • Be very selective with what your child watches. Never turn on the TV and wander off. You never know what’s up on TV next when their show or movie is over. It also helps to set a timer on the TV for it to automatically turn off 3once their show is over. This could help them understand that TV time is over and now its time for some other activities.
  • Try and avoid kids tuning out completely when watching TV by talking to them and explaining what’s happening on TV. Name animals, colors and shapes in front of him so he/she are also encouraged to talk, interact and ask questions.
  • Set an example as a parent by not spending too much time in front of the TV yourself. We are our children’s role models, so whatever we do, they will want to take on and when they do, acknowledge and reward it.
  • Try distracting them from TV by doing other random things around the house if you have no plans to go out. Get down on the floor, play with cars, trucks, building blocks, color, read books together, paint or even let them splash in the tub. The more engaged in activities they are, the more settled they are at night and all ready to get tucked in.

I’m sure you may have some more tricks up your sleeves. I would love to hear some of your thoughts about this and how you’ve managed to limit TV time for your little ones. Feel free to post your thoughts in the comment box below!