I remember when my eldest daughter turned three, I was so happy and relieved – “Wow, the terrible twos are over and they weren’t even awful. Things will be so easy from now on!” I thought smugly as she blew out her candles. The twos were actually a very sweet, snuggly time. There were some tantrums but nothing I, Super Mama, couldn’t handle. Then the reality of three started settling in. And the universe laughed at me and my smug birthday smile.
I didn’t know this at the time, but apparently when a child turns three their brain connections go hay wire. They turn into insane dictators that expect you to telepathically understand their crazy world views (which change by the minute) and then anticipate their unspoken and unexplainable needs, desires, and judgments and act accordingly. Woe betides the parent unable to do this, or who dares, DARES, to set boundaries, rules, or go against the wishes of the tiny dictators. Hell hath no fury like a three year old scorned.
After living through this once, you would think I would be well prepared for my youngest’s recent transition from two to three. However, much like childbirth, my brain expunged most of this traumatic time period. It’s all coming back to me now, the crazy demands, the hysteria, the epic tantrums, the rush of adrenaline I experience when her crazy kicks in and so does my fight or flight defense. Seriously, sometimes I think, maybe I should just go along with her crazy idea just so I don’t have to deal with the inevitable freak out. But really, there’s no avoiding it, the freak out is coming. So now, I’m just trying to ride the crazy wave, like the surfers at Coast Guard Beach, and hope eventually we’ll land in calm waters again.
Here is a short list of tonight’s freak outs, occurring in the small time period between dinner and bedtime:
1) She wasn’t able to slurp her spaghetti in exactly the same way as her sister.
2) She didn’t look beautiful in her pajamas.
3) I wiped her after she went potty.
What in the hell is a mama to do? We are living in crazy town and I know we’ll be here for at least a year. However, there are moments that make our residence there worthwhile. When she asked her daddy upon his return home this evening “How was your day Daddy?” and really wanted to know. When she asked me today to buy red tights to wear with my red dress, just like she does, so we can match and be the “red girls.” The sweetness can make my heart ache and burst, especially when it’s in stark relief to the terror the rest of the day. It makes me see where we’re headed and it looks like a nice place. Now, we just need to get through the reign of the tiny insane empress!
Tell me your strategies to get through the Terrorizing Threes? What craziness has your three year old brought forth recently? Tell me your stories so I know I’m not alone!
You ask our Advisors questions, they give you the Answer!
Today we are featuring 3 Questions to Cape Cod Mom Advisor: Heidi Ingram If you have questions for Heidi or ANY of our Cape Cod Mom Advisors, please e-mail them to: email@example.com and we will get them answered.
1.) I find myself struggling to eat healthy. The chip, soda, candy diet is not working. What are some easy and quick nutritious meals to keep me energized enough to chase after my toddler? ~ Katie, Falmouth
I would suggest planning ahead and making small baggies of celery sticks stuffed with peanut butter, carrot sticks with slices of Swiss cheese, almond’s with dried fruit such as cranberries, raisins and apricots. You could also make
small Tupperware containers of yogurt with slices of fresh fruit such as apples, pineapple, cantaloupe and blueberries.
If yogurt isn’t one of your favorites, you could try cottage cheese. Essentially you want to create small, fresh packages of nutritionally sound meals. The less processed the better!!!
2.) I feel like my son is not getting enough vegetables in his diet. How much should he get a day or per week? What are some creative ways to incorporate them so he will eat them? ~ Lauren, Harwich
Toddlers should have (3) servings of veggies per day. A serving is one half of a cup of cooked diced vegetables – a half cup of tomato sauce also constitutes a serving of vegetables. Make sure your toddler’s veggie servings amount to a rainbow of color each day so that he or she gets a variety of vitamins and antioxidants. Sweet potatoes, broccoli, and tomatoes are all nutritional powerhouses. Any vegetable diced can be placed in scrambled eggs, in a dish of pasta
and on top of a pizza. Any vegetable covered with cheese is usually enticing and inviting to a toddler. I have even diced up butternut squash and added it to some macaroni noodles with some grated cheese at the daycare and the children never even guessed there was a vegetable lurking in their meal!!!
3.) What are some healthy snacks that I can share with my child? ~ Ashley, Mashpee
I suggest making snacks a fun time with your child to explore new tastes and textures. Make the event an opportunity for the both of you to discover different types of produce together… make it fun!!!!
About 1 cup each of fresh fruits: Watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, banana, pineapple, and strawberries.
Wash and cut fruit into ½ inch thick slices. Discard rinds and peels. Press cookie cutters into the melon and pineapple slices to make different shapes. Peel the banana and cut it into chunks with a butter knife. Put all the pieces of fruit in their own small bowls so they are easy to reach. Hold up a skewer so you can see the pointy end, and very carefully, start sliding fruit onto the skewer in any order you like. Lay the filled skewers
on the serving plate. Repeat until all the fruit is gone.
Tuscan Bean Dip
1 can or 15.5 ounces cannellini beans, ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 garlic cloves (peeled), veggies, chips and crackers for serving.
Open the can of beans and pour them into the bowl of the food processor. Add the olive oil and garlic. Process until the mixture is smooth. Remove the blade in the processor and use a rubber spatula to scrape the mixture into a serving bowl. Serve with your favorite veggies, chips, or crackers.
Tropical Celery Boats
1 can or 8 ounces crushed pineapple, drained; 4 celery stalks (washed and patted dry); 3 tablespoons soft cream cheese.
Open the can of pineapple and drain it through a strainer over a bowl. Save the juice to drink or use later. Trim the ends and any leafy parts off the celery stalks. Cut the stalks in half across the middle. Put the cream cheese in a bowl and add pineapple. With a rubber spatula mix the two together until even. Use a butter knife to spread the mixture into the hollows of the celery stalk halves. Place the filled stalks on the plate and cover in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
Most toddlers are ready to transition from two naps to one around 15-18 months. That said, if your toddler’s naps are going well, leave them alone! But when things start to get funky on the nap front, it might be a sign that she is preparing to consolidate her naps. Your toddler is ready to transition to one nap when she:
- Consistently gets 10-11 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night (if she’s not, work on improving her nighttime sleep before tackling naps).
- Consistently takes longer and longer to fall asleep for her morning nap.
- Consistently takes shorter morning naps or sleeps too long in the morning then refuses her afternoon nap
If your toddler’s afternoon nap isn't going well, try shortening her morning nap – don't let her sleep longer than an hour. Maybe even 20-30 minutes. Think of the morning nap as a catnap to take the edge off, so she isn't overtired for the more important afternoon nap. Eventually she will drop the morning nap altogether. But catnaps can be a really good stopgap measure, buying her body a few more weeks/months to adjust.
When the time has truly come to kiss the morning nap goodbye, brace for a 7-10 day process. Gradually push her morning nap later – 11am for 2 days, 11:30am for a few days, then noon, etc. Don’t let the nap get stuck in the late morning. Your goal is for her nap to start between 12:30-1pm and last at least 2 hours.
Some children adapt quickly to an “after noon” naptime, while others really struggle. I found that keeping my toddler out of the house from 9-11am made a big difference. Keep her busy at the playground, library, or a friend’s house before bringing her home for lunch and then nap. Just don’t let her fall asleep in the stroller or car ride home!
If your sleepy toddler wakes up from her nap after only an hour, try to encourage her back to sleep using whatever method works best for her and you. If all else fails, you can always let her crash in the car or stroller so that she isn’t falling apart by 5pm.
Bear in mind: this is a significant transition that can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. It often leads to short-term sleep deprivation since toddlers typically go through a "two naps are two many but one is not enough" stage. During that time, put her to bed earlier than usual and be open to an occasional two-nap day if you sense she is getting over-tired.
(Some excerpts from The Good Night Sleep Tight Workbook ©2010 Kim West LCSW-C, The Sleep Lady ®)
Welcome to our Hidden Freebies Series! Each week we will bring you a new hidden freebie located on Cape Cod & the Islands that you can bring the kids to for some great photo ops and a good time!
We are kicking off this series highlighting the Sandwich Fish Hatchery, a facility of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and the oldest hatchery in the country. Located at 164 Rte 6A near Dewey Ave, this year the hatchery is celebrating 100 years! Open year round, 365 days a year from 9-3pm, the Fish Hatchery is a well kept secret! Guests can come and see the trout run and even feed the fish for 25 cents, which provides amazing entertainment for children and adults!
We had a great time exploring the Hatchery, running from stream to stream, feeding the fish and watching them flip and jump! They have brook, brown, and rainbow, trout; which are raised here before they are used to stock the ponds. Its amazing to watch and if you have a child with you, I would fill up a cup with food and go crazy! An added benefit of this hidden freebie is not only is it fun and free, but it is educational! Great topics include: life cycles of the fish, the environmental impact of the hatchery, why being a responsible fisher is important, to name only a few. For kids, pair this with a book like Lightning's Tale: The Story of a Wild Trout by Hugh Campbell. Your local Cape Library may have it or you can get it from Amazon here!
Tip: Bring hand sanitizer with you, as they have no public restrooms to wash your hands after.
Call for more info: (508) 888-0008 or read more about the Sandwich Fish Hatchery here!
If you know of any hidden freebies on Cape Cod & the Islands that you want to share with other Cape Cod Moms email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Does your little one leak through his diapers? Like to strip down before falling asleep? Wake up whenever you cover him? If so, here are some practical tips to avoid these common sleep interruptions.
There are a number of simple solutions for a baby or toddler struggling with leaky nighttime diapers. Use diapers one size larger than his regular, daytime diapers. Or try an extra absorbent nighttime diaper. My children wear Seventh Generation by day, Huggies Overnights by night. If you find yourself without a nighttime diaper, consider placing a maxi pad inside his regular one.
Yes, you will certainly look back at these moments and laugh. But, when your toddler decides to strip as part of his falling asleep routine, it can wreak havoc on his (and your!) nights. My advice is to head him off at the pass. A strip of electrical tape, strategically placed across the top of his diaper (covering both tabs), can work wonders for keeping a diaper intact. Try placing his zippered pajamas on backwards (zipper up the back).
Summer is around the corner, but on the Cape and Islands, evenings are almost always cool. If you are losing sleep wondering if your baby has rolled out from under his blanket again or he wakes every time you cover him, it’s time to try a new approach. Layer up with two sets of pajamas or a onesy underneath his pajamas. Use a sleep sack over his
regular pajamas. It will keep his body and toes warm without impeding his movement. And it has the added benefit of preventing a would-be crib climber from making his escape (at least until he figures out how to work the zipper!).
There are many on the market, but my children use this one in the summer and this one for the rest of the year.
Thank you so much for welcoming me as an Advisor. I’m excited to be a part of the Cape Cod Mommies group and hope my insights will help you through your young family’s sleep challenges. Since Amy mentioned early rising, a very common sleep issue, I thought I would make that the focus of my first blog.
If your adorable little alarm clock wakes up at 6:15am refreshed and ready for action – though it may feel like the middle of the night to us parents – you may have to just go with the flow. 6-7am is a biologically appropriate time for babies to wake. However, if she is groggy, falling apart by 7am, or consistently waking before 6am, you’ll want to tackle the early rising once and for all.
Here’s a look at the most common reasons for early rising…
Too late of a bedtime.
I know this doesn’t seem logical. We tend to think that if our children stay up late, they will crash hard and sleep in the following morning. Alas, this is rarely the case. Depending on their age, most babies and young children naturally want to fall asleep (not start bedtime routine) between 7-8pm. Missing their “sleep window” triggers the release of cortisol, the “fight or flight” hormone, which can make for a harder bedtime, more wakeful night, and early rising.
Nap deprivation in general.
Babies and young children who are not getting adequate naps on a regular basis tend to wake early in the morning. It’s important to know approximately how many hours of naps your child needs based on their age (understanding that these are averages – some children will need more, others slightly less). For example, a six month old needs approximately 3.5 hours of naps spread out over 2-3 naps, whereas a two year old needs approximately 2 hours of sleep during their afternoon nap. For more information on how much sleep your child needs, click here.
Too big of a wakeful window
Too long of a wakeful window prior to bedtime means that your child is going to bed overtired, with cortisol running through their body. This means we need to base bedtime partly on when our baby woke up from their last (or only) nap. For babies under 6 months, the maximum wakeful window is about 2 hours. As babies approach one year, the window extends to about 3 hours. Some well-rested toddlers and preschoolers can handle a 4-hour window, max. It’s important to watch for your child’s sleepy cues and tinker with bedtime to find out what works best for them.
Too drowsy at bedtime
Bedtime is the easiest time to get to sleep. If we act as our child’s sleeping pill, getting them to sleep at bedtime by holding, rocking, feeding, or patting them down, then how can we ask them to do it themselves when they stir at 5am,
the hardest time of the day to get to sleep?
If none of these ring a bell, take a look at your child’s sleep environment and make sure that there’s nothing external contributing to the early rising. Perhaps the birds chirp in the tree near their bedroom window or the morning light is streaming in through their curtains. White noise or blackout shades can make a big difference during the early morning hours, when babies are feeling relatively well rested after 9-10 hours of sleep.
Wishing you and your little ones many happy mornings together!
Visit Rebekah at:
Counting Sheep Pediatric Sleep Coaching
I love finding simple, healthy recipes for my toddler. I've posted many recipes before that incorporate sneaking veggies, protein and fruit into meals. I thought I would share some yummy breakfast ideas that are always a hit in my house. I swear, these recipes are super simple and easy to make.
Sweet Potato - Banana Pancakes
-Pancake Mix - I like Trader Joes's Multigrain Mix - Following directions on the box to make the mixture. ***I usually use a less liquid due to the purees being added
-1/2 cup Sweet Potato Puree
-1/2 cup Banana Puree
-1/4 cup vanilla protein powder (any kind you like)
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix all ingredients. Use a non stick spray to make perfect pancakes that don't stick! Cook pancakes over medium heat for best results. You can even use fun cookie cutter shapes as well!
Oatmeal with Sweet Potatoes and Peanut Butter
1 package of instant oats - I like Trader Joe's Oats and Flax
1/4 cup of Sweet Potato Puree
1/4 tsp of ground flaxseed
1 Tsp Peanut Butter
1/4 cup of Milk - Use whichever kind you enjoy. I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 small handful of raisins
Stir instant oats, flaxseed and sweet potato puree together with water - usually enough to cover oats. Place in microwave for 90 seconds. Stir in peanut butter. When everything is nicely blended add your milk. Top off with a handful
Cheesy Green Eggs with Toast Bites
1/4 cup shredded cheese
1/4 cup spinach puree
1 slice whole wheat bread
Scramble 3 eggs, add spinach puree and cheese. Cook over medium heat.
- Toast Bites make a great side for the eggs. Add your child favorite topping - jelly, butter, cream cheese or peanut butter.
Making healthy meals takes some planning. But that can be difficult for working parents struggling to get home in time to pick their kids up from their latest extracurricular activity, or trying to feed a child that only wants processed foods like macaroni and cheese or pizza at every meal. Do not fret. Small changes in daily routine, nutritional understanding and fitness awareness can make huge differences in your family’s overall health. Incorporating healthy and nutritious foods into your family’s bellies can be done, but it may take a little work.
We all have heard the harsh statistics about the growing obesity and diabetes rates in the developed countries, especially in America. Our children will live a two- to five-years' shorter life span than us . . . if healthy eating and
physical habits are not adopted at an early age. Eat fresh, live, organic and green foods with your child/ren to show them how to be healthy. They will mirror your behavior and feel positive about food. Have your child/ren help select their favorite fresh produce at the grocery store or farmers market, and prepare meals with you in the kitchen. Even washing the vegetables before cutting them up will allow them to be a part of the cooking process. Children love to taste foods they helped select and make. It might encourage them to try a new food!
As a parent, you want to provide foods that nourish your child while promoting brain and body development. Super foods contain antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, healthy amounts of fats, carbs and proteins. Since such foods are nutrient-dense, even small servings pack a big punch, and with their minds and bodies growing at amazing exponential rates, they need the most nutritionally dense foods to help them develop optimally!
Below are the top SUPERFOODS for babies and toddlers:
This superfood is loaded with fiber, calcium, and plenty of vitamins and minerals, which helps child's eyesight and ward off cell damage. Eating it raw is the best way to ensure that your child gets all those nutrients, but that may be a tough sell to the little ones. Steam them for about five to eight minutes and drizzle parmesan cheese and olive oil or a little butter over the top. Let them dip them into salad dressing for fun.
2: Greek-Style Yogurt
Yogurt contains healthy live probiotic bacteria, which boosts your child's immunity and aids in digestion. Greek-style yogurt has two to three times more protein than regular yogurt--it also contains less sugar. To sweeten, add fruit, maple syrup or agave. Add a little honey if your child is older than 1.
3: Cocoa Powder
Cocoa powder contains high concentrations of flavonoids, which improve blood pressure, as well as heart and oral health.
Flavonoids also may protect your child's skin from sun damage. Look for at least 70 percent pure cocoa--avoid products processed with alkali, which removes most of the flavonoids. Sprinkle cocoa on pancakes, waffles or French toast. Mix a
little cocoa with milk to create a chocolate drink.
4: Black Beans, Lentils or Garbonzo Beans
Beans are full of protein, fiber and calcium. They also help guard against heart disease and high cholesterol. Add black beans to quesadillas or salsa and lentils to soup. Mash the beans with salsa or olive oil to create a black bean dip for crackers or chips.
Blueberries are packed with brain boosting antioxidants. This small fruit may improve brain function and protect against
heart disease. Because of their size, blueberries are a natural finger food, and children may enjoy eating them plain. Use blueberries in oatmeal or cereal as well. Mix the fruit with yogurt and granola or put blueberries and yogurt in a blender to make a healthy smoothie.
6: Whole Grains
Whole grains can be found in bread, cereal and crackers -- all foods kids usually enjoy. They're rich in folic acid,
iron, zinc and B vitamins and some are fortified with vitamin D and calcium as well. Start your kids on whole grains, especially sprouted breads and pastas early, to give them a head start against heart disease. Avoid the pre-packaged products that contain unsaturated fats, better known as trans-fats. Read the nutritional information on the labels carefully.
Avocados are the only fruit laced with monounsaturated "good" fats that may lower "bad" LDL cholesterol, which can harm the heart. The avocado is also a super source of soluble fiber, which helps stabilize blood sugar. And it's full of vitamin E, which protects your cells from free radicals. Mash avocado with a little lime or lemon juice and yogurt and using it on quesadillas or tacos — or as a dip for raw vegetables.
8: Wild Salmon
This cold-water fish contains healthful fats known as omega-3s that can lower the risk of heart disease. These nutrients
may also help improve mood and prevent memory loss. Choose wild salmon to reduce your child's exposure to toxic substances such as PCBs and mercury. Lightly crumb thin strips of salmon and bake them for healthy fish sticks.
9: Cage Free Eggs
Eggs are a clean protein. The protein in eggs is so beneficial that all other foods use it as the gold standard. Aside
from protein, eggs are full of more than a dozen necessary vitamins and minerals, and contain a huge concentration of choline -- a nutrient vital for brain development in young children. To boot, eggs are one of the most versatile foods on the planet. You can cook eggs many ways, but chances are your child has a favorite, whether it's scrambled or fried.
Walnuts make a great protein snack, and you can add them easily to your child's lunchbox. They contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help brain function, fend off disease and lift depression. Chop up walnuts and add them to salad, baked goods or cereal.
Slice up some cabbage with carrots and broccoli bits and add a simple citrus vinaigrette dressing to make a healthy
coleslaw or boil them in some vegetable broth for a hearty soup. Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable, packed with phytonutrients to help with digestion and keep illness at bay. Kids will appreciate the crunch and relatively mild taste
that can be mixed into many dishes.
12: Kale, Asparagus, Chard, and other dark leafy greens
These leafy greens boast high amounts of iron and folate and are rich in antioxidants like lutein and zeazanthin protect the eye and aide in its development. These amazing leaves are top super foods because they contain a large amount of vitamin C and good amounts of calcium and vitamin K. Together the calcium and vitamin K are superb bone builders (studies show that vitamin K is needed to activate bone proteins) to help give your baby a strong skeleton.
An excellent source of iron, calcium, and folic acid, along with vitamins A and C, spinach is great for growing bones and
brains. This versatile vegetable has a mild flavor and cooks in a flash. It can be stirred into hot soups, toss it into tomato sauce or an omelet, and hidden into quesadillas.
14: Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes provide a great source of potassium, vitamin C, fiber, folate, vitamin A, calcium and iron. Treat sweet
potatoes just like you would any other potato. They can be mashed, grilled, roasted or made into a delicious sweet casserole. The best bet to get your kids to eat them may be to make oven-baked sweet potato French fries with a drizzle
of coconut oil, cinnamon, and agave on top.
This gluten free grain is a protein rich seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. In addition to being a complete protein (contains all 8 essential amino acids), quinoa is has a good amount of fiber and is high in nutrients such as manganese, magnesium and iron. Quinoa is also an amazing alternative to whole grain rice in many baby food recipes.
Good morning Moms! I wanted to share a great snack idea I found on Pinterest: using ice trays as snack trays! What I liked about this idea was that I could put a little bit of everything in the tray. My first try with the trays is shown in the pictures. I included the following foods: dried cranberries, cucumbers, 2 Nilla's, clementine slices, zucchini bites, raisins, cheerios, cut up string cheese, applie bites, puffs, grapes, and Sesame cheese crackers. I then used two of the compartments for dipping sauces: strawberry yogurt and squash puree. The example I saw on Pinterest (which you can find by clciking on the Pinterest link on the front page of Cape Cod Mommies), had additional other foods and suggestions. Avocado, banana's, almond butter, and other things would also be great additions to the tray. I found by offering mutliple choices, he seemed more interested and patient in trying all the different foods. I definitely recommend trying to find a nice balance in offering equal amounts of fruits, grains and veggies. Veggies are always tough which is why I snuck one in as a puree.
What I really enjoyed about this idea was that even though he didn't finish all the snacks in the morning, I was able to easily pop the tray back out for the afternoon. They are incredibly easy to prep and I decided to prep up a few of them (minus the dry goods so they wouldn't get soggy). If you have multiple children I would imagine this would be great time saver. I also incorporated a little learning into this activity by sitting with him while he snacked and we pointed to each snack and said the name and color of it. Next time I plan on trying to incorporate all the colors of the rainbow! Happy Snacking!
I wanted to share my experience as a "lay" yoga person with all of you. Many of you read Whitney Parker Marshall's first blog here on Cape Cod Mommies about her experience as an Itsy Bitsy Yoga Instructor at Turning Pointe Dance Studio. My son Ethan and I are about to begin our THIRD session this week with Whitney and we are so excited and I wanted to share why!
Whitney is such a fabulous, patient, passionate and energetic instructor! Every week she comes in with a smile on her face for the tots and babies, excited to share her passion with all of us. The engaging songs and movements she leads us all in every week are catchy and fun, we reap the benefits of both in the long and short term!
Cape Cod Moms