Author Archives: Alicia

The Ups and Downs of Being A Mom

When other parents say that raising a child is a magical thing, they are probably hiding the truth from us. Yes it can be magical and rewarding at times, but what they “forgot” to tell us is that parenting can be scary, nerve-racking and can push you to the brink of sanity.

I’m not trying to make you freak out or scared. I am just saying that with each “Ups” we experience with our baby, we will receive “Downs” as well. Sometimes those “Downs” even outweigh the “Ups.” I want to share with you that parenting is not all rainbows but rather a very unpredictable weather that can go from sunny to a typhoon in just seconds.

One of the most feared “Downs” of any parent is illness. Babies are terribly susceptible to infections, diseases and sickness during the first few years of their lives. So we as parents need to know the basics of how to spot a starting illness and prevent it for worsening.

The most effective we weapon that we can use for our child’s heath is their very own body temperature. Knowing the basics of baby temperature will give you an affirmative “heads up” with regards to your child’s wellbeing.

Knowing the Norm

Before you get to know the normal range of your baby’s temperature, you need to check a few things first. Here are some of my need to know tips before temperature taking that I came up with:

  • Do not take a temperature reading on the side where your baby is lying.

This is probably the most forgotten fact when it comes to taking your child’s temperature. Basically, the side where your baby is lying down or is in contact with you (when you carry them) is much more warmer compared to the other side. If you take your child’s temperature in that particular area, you will eventually end up with a false reading.

  • Use a tympanic (ear) or an axillary (armpit) digital thermometer

This is the best item you can use for you temperature taking. If you still have those mercurial thermometers, better not use it. The former variety of thermometer can easily break and hurt your baby. It can also lead to mercury poisoning. So better be safe than sorry.

  • Make sure your baby is not too swaddled up

If your baby has one too many clothes on them, it will most likely give off another false temperature reading. Always remember that the rule for your baby’s amount of clothing is as follows: You child’s clothing must only be one layer more than what you are currently wearing.

  • Check the room temperature

This is plain and simple to understand. When your room temperature is too cold of warm, your baby’s temperature will be affected as well. So make sure the temperature of your surrounding is at the normal level that is conducive for your little ones.

Once you have done checking all of these factors, you can now safely take your baby’s temperature. Do it around three times a day for three days for comparison. Get the lowest and highest reading you got. These results will be your normal baseline temperature.

Know When to Ask For Help

If you have done all of the above-mentioned guidelines and your child still has a reading above their regular temperature, start to observe them first. Keep in mind that once your baby’s temperature reaches 36.4 degrees Celsius, then they are already experiencing a starting fever.

First thing to do is to check your baby’s clothing and the room temp. Maybe the clothing is a bit too warm for them or the room temperature is making them feel hot. Once you have done this, the next thing to do is to give them a quick yet frequent sponge baths. This will help disperse their body heat faster.

If your baby still has fever and is still increasing in reading, you need to see other warning signs of an illness. Make sure to check if your baby is:

  • Not eating well
  • Showing weakness in movement
  • Cold, clammy and sweaty when touched
  • Vomiting

Once one of these are present, you need to go to the nearest hospital for medical assistance. The usual cause of a baby’s fever in the first few months of their lives have something to do with either a viral or bacterial infection. These are usually treated with antibiotics and a lot of fluid intake.

What you can do to help speed up your baby’s recovery time is to continue your sponge baths. You can also be more vigilant and eager to feed them and give them more fluids. These can greatly help in your baby’s recovery to better health.

All in all, what you must to as a parent is to always keep calm and think critically and logically. Your enemy is fear and panic so don’t let those extreme emotions get you and your better judgement. Think wisely and make all the necessary choices without any hesitation.

A mother’s best friend is her “motherly instincts” so better follow it. Usually, your innate motherly predisposition is always right. If you “FEEL” that something is wrong with your child, then it probably is true. Trust yourself and your decisions all the time, especially when you have a strong gut feeling that what you are doing is right.

Know How to Organize Your Day

When your new bundle of joy has finally been discharged from the hospital is now home with you and your family, you will be in for a roller-coaster time of your life. This is probably the most difficult phase I had to endure and up until now, I could not imagine how I overcame it.

Having a baby at home will turn your world upside-down to the point you will lose track of what you are doing. I even had an instance that I burned all of my baby’s bottles and my breast pump because I forgot I was sterilizing them. But luckily, I was able to make a daily routine that worked well for me. I would like to share this with you and I hope it can help you as much as it helped me.

Start Early and Finish Early

I know you are experiencing sleepless nights and round-the-clock feeding but trust me when I say that starting your day early will benefit you. Try your best to multitask your chores as much as you can. You can do the laundry while eating breakfast or even write your to-do list for the day while you are using your breast pump.

The important thing is to make the most out of your free time. Do this transition slowly so that you won’t be too overwhelmed. Start by asking some help from your husband, mom, sister or anyone who is willing to assist you with chores. Begin with just one task for the meantime. When you get the hand of it, add another chore and another and so on, until you can finally juggle your errands for the day.

Once you are able to get the right pace and “groove” for your daily tasks, you can end earlier. This will give your more time for your baby.

Learn to Anticipate and Prepare Beforehand

As time goes by, you will eventually learn your child’s daily routine. You will figure out the time the y wake up, feed and even the time to change their soiled diapers. One you get the hang of it, you can prepare your needed items beforehand.

For example, I knew that my baby usually wakes up every two hours after her last feeding with a dirty diaper. So what I do is I set up the changing table with all my needed items and prop a bottle of breastmilk and thaw it a few minutes before she wakes up. Then I ready my rocking chair so that I can burp her immediately after feeding her. Once she wakes up, it’s smooth sailing from diaper changing to sleeping once again.

Take it One Day at a Time

Like what I have stated above, organizing your activities is not a “one time big time” thing. It requires a lot of effort, observation and most importantly, patience before you can create the right routine for yourself.

Do not rush and do not stress yourself into trying to make a routine within just days. You also will be experiencing failures and struggles and that is perfectly fine and NORMAL. Do not think less of yourself being a mom just because you made a mistake. Remember, we ALL have created mistakes and we LEARN from them.

Keep a Diary and a To-Do List

During those rough staring days, it is a good idea to keep a tab on everything that you do. Taking notes of what you do each day can help you adjust and arrange your chores and tasks to fit to your daily routine.

Having a diary and a to-do list will also aid you in making the best routine for you and your baby. Write your progress and adjustments in your diary so that you would not forget. Your to-do list can be hanged onto somewhere you usually look at (for me it was my baby’s crib) so that you can be on time with your method.

Take Short Naps as Much as You Can

Whether it is a short “power nap” of just a few minutes or an hour long nap, take it. If your baby is sleeping and you are done with your chores, join them in their sleepy time. Try to recover as much restless nights by sleeping during the day.

Have a Well Deserved “Me Time” at Least Once a Week

This rule was originally made by my husband for me. He wants me to have one free day that I won’t do anything except feed our daughter. The reason behind this is because I experienced post-partum depression that I was not even aware of. Thankfully, my husband saw my changes and decided to make this rule.

He did everything during my “me time” and did not ask for my help unless he really needed it. At first I was really reluctant to agree with this and I felt guilty in making my husband have additional chores to do instead of resting. But later on, I finally understood why he wanted me to do it. He wanted me to recharge, recuperate and ready myself for the upcoming week.

Organizing your daily activities with your child and your family is really difficult. But all you need to do is to start slow, study your routine, ask for help and work your way until you get your own pace. And always remember that your also need to care for yourself in order to give the best organized itinerary for your daily living.

Tips On Planning Your Kid’s Party

Planning a kid’s party is definitely not a walk in the park. Unlike adult parties, kiddie parties require more preparation and organizing. The reason why I am saying this is because you will not only be accommodating kids but at the same time adults.

With this in mind, you need to create a party that will both entertain and accommodate both the young crowd and their adult companions. This also means that everything is doubled. The reason behind this is that for one child there will be a minimum of one up to two adults escorting them.

Budget and Theme

A kiddie party is much more expensive compared to a regular adult party. You will have a total of one kid with one or two adults along with them. So better make your budget triple from your original plan which is for just one kid.

The theme of the party will set the whole mood and aura of the party. Make sure to include and prioritize your child’s preference when planning party theme. If they want an underwater themed party or even a robot party, it is your role as parents to make it happen. Remember, this is their party, not yours.

Food and Menu

You have to prepare two set of menus for your guests. Remember that not all kids enjoy “adult food” and vice versa. So make sure that each group will have their own set of meals according to their preference.

Venue and Table Setting

Check your daily weather updates before your book a venue. When my daughter had her first birthday, it was the time of the year when rainy days was more frequent than sunny ones. So I made sure that I chose a venue that can accommodate both rainy and sunny weather.

With regards to the table arrangement, just follow the “kids on this side and adults on this side” method. Kids would just run around and go where ever they want so a seating arrangement would seem useless. As for adults, they can just sit at the back but just make sure that they can easily view their kids.

Program and Games

Make a program that is kid friendly and entertaining for adults at the same time. If you are choosing to hire an emcee, remind them to keep their jokes and spiels wholesome at all times.

Games will also be based on the age groups that are present at the party. You can divide the game into three categories. One for the kids another for the adults and the last category is for both the kids and adults. Be creative and innovative with your games so that everyone can enjoy them.

Gifts and Giveaways

A children’s party will definitely have tons of birthday gifts so make sure you have enough space for it. You can also give some suggestions for gifts before the party to your guests. This is what I did for my daughter’s birthday so that her gifts are exactly what she usually uses and play with.

Giveaways are usually reserved for kids during parties. The most common and versatile option is a loot bag. You can choose what to put in it and at the same time you can decorate it according to the party theme of your kid.

You can also think of giveaways for adults as well if you have a little extra from your budget. You can use cupcakes as giveaways or even rent a photo booth for everyone to enjoy.

This summarizes the basic things you need to consider when planning your kid’s birthday party. From here you can figure out what you need to plan for your kid’s cake, attire, party decoration and many more. Just remember to make it fun, flexible and fantastic for both you, your family, your guests and most importantly, the celebrant.

Fun and Educational Activity Ideas for Kids

As your child grows you need to introduce activities that can help hone and build their intelligence and start their educational exposure at the same time. It is also best to start them as early as you can. But of course, you have to make it fun and entertaining in order for them to enjoy it.

Now that my daughter is almost three, I had a ton of experience when it comes to activity ideas for kids. What I keep in mind with these activities is that it needs to transitions along with your child. It also needs to be flexible and versatile in order to fit your child’s interest and taste.

Here are some ideas that I have done for the past few years that I think seemed to work wonders for my baby girl. Of course, not all children are the same. So use this guide as a stepping stone for your own personalized kiddie activity ideas.

  • Books, Stories and Imagination

I started reading fairy tales stories to my baby girl as soon as she was kicking inside my tummy. This activity is the most versatile and can be used consistently as our child grows up. What you just need to remember is that you need to change your approach on how to execute your story telling.

You can use funny voices, exaggerated pitches and facial expressions to keep your child attentive. This is what I did for my daughter and now she mimics how I read each story. Observe how they reach and use the method you think that makes them enjoy the story the most.

  • Outdoor Play

I am a fan of outdoor play when I was a kid. Now I want my daughter to experience the same thing. I let her get dirty, run around the playground, explore Mother Nature and enjoy being a kid out in the open.

Let your child’s curiosity and explorative side wonder. Let them learn on their own and enjoy it at the same time. This is also a good means of honing your child’s social skills as they interact with other children.

  • Role Play

Let your child be a doctor, a chef, an astronaut anything they want. Let them imagine what they want to be. Help them create their future by engaging in their role play. Make them feel you support them every step of the way.

  • Scribbles and Doodles

Buy washable and toxic-free markers, loads of paper and coloring books for your little artist. Allow them to squiggle, sketch and create their very own unique work of art. Keep these as mementos of your child’s first artistic creation. I did.

  • Music, Dancing and Singing

AS the saying goes, “a happy child is a singing and dancing child.” Play the ABC song or even Disney theme songs. Let your child explore the world or music and allow them to dance and sing along with it. Right now my daughter’s favorite songs are “How far I’ll Go” from the movie Moana and the Sesame Street “Alphabet Song.”

  • Let Them Explore

The best activity ideas for kids in my opinion is to let them explore as much as possible. Do not limit their wonder and deprive them of learning because you are scared they might get hurt. Remember that pain and failure is one of your diving forces in becoming a better person.

What you can do is to make sure they are safe wherever they go and to always be a few steps away from them. But try your best not to interfere with them especially if your see them deep in thought or in a trance because of their curiosity.

These are just some activities that you can use and can be used for a long time. Like what I have mentioned before, just make sure that the activity your will give your child will match their attitude, interest and educational capacity.

Parenting Topics and Discussions That is Important to Me

Hi, this is Alicia Dabney, at your service. I do hope you enjoy reading my blog and thoughts about “mom topics”, parenting and the whole package that comes along with it. But most importantly, I hope that you will learn a lot from my future posts.

I will be posting about my parenting and child care ideas, thoughts and experiences in the weeks to come. I would love to talk more about parenting techniques, recommended baby products and even sharing appropriate child care.

I would also want to take this moment and share my sentiments and thoughts about parenting. I am a firm believer that parenting is a unique structure that you make. This will be based on your child’s attitude, age and understanding. That is why I agree with the fact that each parenting strategy differs from one parent to another.

Parenting is a lifetime commitment that starts with your child’s first breath up to your last gasp. As parents, we never stop helping, guiding, caring and loving our children as long as we have enough strength to do so. Our roles as parents does not stop just because our babies are now adults. They will, and always will, need us for support and guidance. We must always be there to help them.

That is why, we have to start our parenting the right way. We need to understand our child the best that we can. From there, we create our own “recipe” with unique “ingredients” in order to create the perfect parenting “meal” to serve our hungry babies.

I hope I can discuss topics like these with you in the future. I would also love to hear your personal thoughts and ideas about it. Please do not hesitate to reach out and talk to me. I hope my future blogs can be your guide and stepping stone in creating your very own “one of a kind” parenting strategy.