13 Indicators of Healthy Children

When I first began my parenting journey over seven years ago (I really can’t believe it’s been that long), I remember sitting in a room with a bunch of other new moms and their babies, and wondering if there was a way to judge from looking at their babies, how well they were cared for. I remember briefly considering that if their fingernails were neatly trimmed, perhaps that would be a good indicator that they were well cared for. I dismissed this rather ridiculous thought quickly, but it stuck with me nonetheless. Now having three children, I have to laugh at myself (often) when all of a sudden I will look at one of my child’s hands and realize that it’s been far too long since her fingernails have been trimmed and that she is beginning to grow claws…

I now think that if there were an external indicator of a well cared for child, perhaps it would be completely counter-intuitive. Instead of it being a child with neatly trimmed fingernails, perfect hair, and great clothes that bear designer labels, perhaps instead it’s one of these things:

1. copious amounts of dirt under their fingernails after digging for bugs and playing in the sandbox
2. stacks of books beside their bed
3. insect collections
4. berry stained hands
5. a less than perfect hairdo that they did themselves and are so proud of
6. a terribly clashing outfit that they picked out all by themselves
7. tutus and costumes that are worn all over town
8. a kitchen table that is stained from the creation of all kinds of art projects
9. a fridge that is plastered in art
10. irregular shaped cookies that she made all by herself
11. funny looking robot high tops that were the perfect indoor shoes for grade 1
12. a messy kitchen
13. a living room turned blanket fort

Although we could consider many things indicative of a well cared for, healthy child, I think perhaps it’s simple. So simple that it transcends all nationalities and socioeconomic classes. Look at their eyes. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:22 that “The eye is the lamp of the body”. I have seen children whose eyes are full of sadness, and I have seen children whose eyes are full of joy and sparkle.

silly kids

My prayer this week is that you’ll have a week full of love and fun with your kids, and that they will have happy, sparkly eyes. And don’t worry about trimming their nails, it can wait until after another rousing game of Candyland!

Thanks for reading,

Karen

Show me you ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:4 & 5

 

Creative Parenting

Amid summer days that have had both highs and lows, and parenting moments that have been amazing as well as frustrating and exasperating, I feel like my parenting has had some creative moments that I thought I might share.

Creative Parenting Moment #1

I LOVE fabric, and I love to just look at fabric and imagine what I might create with a piece of cloth that has a beautiful pattern on it. As you can imagine, it doesn’t work very well to have 3 children under the age of 6 running around the fabric store and whining that I am taking too long, all while I try to look at fabric, calculate expenses and envision what I might create. Distracting doesn’t begin to explain it. I have had one particularly terrible experience in the past with the kiddos along that has caused me to normally go to the fabric store alone. This past week I was in the city with the kids along already, and needed to make a stop in order to avoid 2 extra hours of driving.

Just the mention of the fabric store caused whining to ensue (why do kids whine like that????), which almost made me turn around until I had an idea – perhaps even a brilliant idea (can I say that?). We parked in the parking lot and I looked at them with my most excited face and told them that we were going to have a scavenger hunt adventure in the fabric store, to which they were delighted! Inwardly I rejoiced. I found a scrap of paper in the car and immediately began to scribble a long list of things they had to find while we were looking at fabric: “Owls, polka dots, trains, zig zags, hearts, flowers, cars, rainbows…..”.

I was able to get all that I wanted to accomplished, and they walked with me intently looking at fabric and getting excited as they crossed off each item that they found (I was very thankful that my oldest daughter is a good reader and could head this up without my help with the list). We left the fabric store happy. All of us! This was a small miracle.

Creative Parenting Moment #2

The hot toy item this past week has been the basketball. Practicing to dribble the ball has become the pastime of the older two, who are definitely improving their dribbling skills. The other day we were outside and both older girls wanted the ball at the same time… Everyone was getting upset when I had the idea of setting up an activity rotation! We got out the walking blocks and they took turns dribbling and walking on the walking blocks for about half an hour until we were all hot and needed to go in to cool off and get some water. This would be fun to do with a whole bunch of activities, and a bigger group of kids too.

Creative Parenting Moment #3

We went into the kitchen to make some popcorn for a snack in the afternoon, and I had some very eager helpers. So eager that one little helper opened the bag of popcorn kernels and then proceeded to bend down to get the popcorn popper out of the lower cupboard with the open bag in hand. Well, I’m sure you can guess that this ended in half of the bag of kernels spilling all over the floor as well as inside the cupboard. I took a deep breath, thought about how unclean my kitchen floor was at the moment, and then had the idea that we could collect the kernels and make some beanbags out of them (I love it when I can get rid of some scraps of material!). So our next project is to pick out the material and sew them up. I also thought that it would be cool to make home made shakers with different things inside each for our impromptu musical singalongs – rice in one, corn in one, dried beans in one. The kids would love it and I’m sure would love the different sounds that they each would make.

I hope that these ideas have given you a bit of inspiration for creative solutions to parenting dilemmas. I know that I am going to try and think outside the box more when faced with everyday challenges. Creative parenting seems to make life go a little smoother, and that is something that I can appreciate!

 

Everyday Life with Kids

Lately I’ve been feeling so blessed. I love being a wife and a mom to three beautiful girls! As I go through everyday life with three girls 5 and under, I am savoring this time. I am able to be home with them and spend this time with them when they are so young, so impressionable, so loveable and let’s be honest here – so exasperating!

What do I love about everyday life? I love the singing and dancing, I love the baking, watching the baking, tasting the baking, I love the giggling and tickling, I love the hide and seek, I love the snuggling and reading, I love having helpers that make each job much longer but so worth it. I love seeing my kids grow up into confident little ladies, I love seeing them smile. Their smiles and bright personalities make all the work and energy that we pour into them SO worth it.

Z's smileS's smileK's smile

When I look into these faces, I am just so thankful that God has given me these precious little ones to look after.

Loving my everyday life with kids.

 

Diaper Free Baby????

I was at my midwife’s office for a prenatal visit a few months ago perusing her library, when a book on the shelf caught my attention. It was entitled “The Diaper Free Baby”. Well, I guess I am attracted to things that go against the norm and my interest was immediately piqued. I think that I may have been especially interested since my 3 year old daughter has been wearing underwear for over a year, and is “mostly” toilet trained, but still has an accident almost daily.

My husband saw the book on the kitchen counter later that afternoon and immediately sought me out with a look of concern on his face, and I gently reassured him that I was only curious and not to worry about it. Well, that evening I began to read this book and was almost immediately intrigued and excited to at least give this a try!  Apparently, over 50% of the world (mostly undeveloped regions) uses this technique with success. Well, I thought that if they can do it, I can do it!

To give a bit of information about all of this, this technique is called elimination communication (EC), and is based on the premise that just as we learn to read baby’s cues when they are hungry or tired, they also give cues for when they need to eliminate. When they give their cue or it is a time of day that they will almost always need to pee, you hold them over a bowl (or a toilet, or a small potty) and give them a cue that sounds similar to a peeing sound, and they go! Quite quickly they begin to associate the cueing sound with going to the bathroom, and they will begin to hold their pee and poop until they hear it.

Fast track a few months. Our third daughter Karis was 2 ½ months old and I finally got up the nerve to try this. I got out the bowl that I had chosen for this purpose, held her over it and made the sound and….. she went!!!!! (Now keep in mind that I had been making this sound every time I had seen her pee during a diaper change since she was born so she had already begun the association.) Well I was ecstatic!!! My husband was outside doing yard work and right away I opened up the window and announced to him that Karis just peed in the bowl, to which he gave me a look that meant he didn’t quite believe me. My excitement continued as she peed in the container many times that day.

Now Karis is 5 months old and we use less than half the amount of cloth diapers that we would normally use in a day and I have gone from washing them every other day, to every four days. How awesome is that?!!!! And, she does 90-95% of her pooping in the potty which means very little mess, AND no exploding poops.

So here’s the info if you are interested in checking it out: “The Diaper Free Baby” by Christine Gross-Loh. www.thediaperfreebaby.com

Thanks for reading!

Karen