Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Flour power

preschool boy playing by driving trucks through flour

preschool boy covered in flour



Find sites to link up your Wordless Wednesday post
at my super-cool collection of Wordless Wednesday linkies,
and let me know if you have one to add.
You can also link up a thumbnail from your post below!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Prevent child drowning: It's not like you see in movies

Prevent child drowning: It's not like you see in movies == Hobo MamaThis is a really sobering PSA to write, but I hope it might help someone.

Most child deaths after 1 year old are due to accidents, and drowning accounts for approximately a quarter of deaths for the 1-4-year-old range. Put another way, drowning is second only to motor vehicle accidents1 as the leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 5.

Tina from The Making of a Modern Mommy sent out an email with the following link from gCaptain to remind us all of water safety, especially as we enter the summer months (in my hemisphere and latitude, at least). This is chilling to read, but do so anyway and help save a life this summer!

Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning, by Mario Vittone


"Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for, is rarely seen in real life."

Children (and adults) who are drowning do not exhibit the TV-acculturated signs of distress we tend to look for, such as screaming and thrashing and waving their arms.

Here's what a (real) drowning child (person) looks and sounds like:
  1. Quiet. Drowning children cannot talk or yell for help, because they are too busy trying desperately to breathe. Talking and screaming are out of the question. If you're in doubt if someone's drowning, ask. If he can answer, he might still be in distress, but he is not yet drowning. If the child doesn't answer, assume the worst and help!
  2. Immobile. Drowning children do not have strength to swim toward help or wave their arms to get attention. They bob quietly up and down vertically as they struggle to keep their head above water. They use their arms instinctually to push them upwards. The body is very low in the water, with just part of the head showing.

From the article:
"Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck."
Read more signs of drowning at the article.

Children who are drowning can have under a minute before they sink and succumb. Help a drowning child immediately by following these steps, from WikiHow:
  1. Yell for help, no matter how good a swimmer you are.
  2. Stay calm, and encourage the child to stay calm as well.
  3. Try to reach the child from safety (such as a pool deck or boat deck). Lie facedown and use your outstretched arm, a t-shirt, or a tool such as a lifeguard's hook. If you must be in the water yourself, try to hold something strong to anchor yourself, such as a pool ladder, so that the child's frantic grabbing does not push you under, or row in a boat to the child.
  4. As a last resort, swim to the child. It is very dangerous to attempt to rescue a drowning victim in the water and could result in your own injury or death. Try to bring an assisting device with you if at all possible, such as a life buoy or float to place between you and the child. If you must swim the child back to shore or the side of the pool, approach from behind and slide one or both your arms under her armpit(s) from the back. With both of you more or less on your backs, kick or sidestroke toward shore. Continue speaking in a calm voice to reassure and calm the child. If you have a flotation device, have it against your chest between you and the victim. If the child is clutching frantically at you and inadvertently bringing you under water, swim downwards until she instinctively lets you go, and then try again or seek additional help.
Even near-drowning and secondary drowning can be severely costly in terms of brain damage and other injuries, so follow these safety tips when your children are in or near water:

  1. Never leave children unattended near or in water. This includes the bathtub. Don't slip away for "just a minute." Remember that babies and children who drown will not yell out or splash the water to alert you to their distress. They will sink quietly under the water, and you will never know if you're not there to help immediately.
  2. Do not rely on water safety devices. Your children can use and enjoy water wings, bath seats, pool floats, and lifejackets — but they are no substitute for adult supervision at all times. Children can and have drowned while wearing or using these devices.
  3. Do not rely on swim classes. Children can start learning to swim from infancy, but even strong swimmers (even strong adult swimmers) can succumb to fatigue or water obstacles and drown. Have a trusted adult close at hand, no matter how good a swimmer your child is, and encourage older children to use the buddy system and keep an eye on each other.
  4. Lock up family pools. "Drowning Is Quick and Quiet, Keep Your Eyes on Your Kids Around Water" from the Kansas City Kids infoZine has helpful tips:
    • Fences around pools and hot tubs should be at least 5 feet high and have a self-latching mechanism.
    • Hot tubs need to have appropriate drain covers and vacuum releases to prevent entrapment. Children's hair or suits can get trapped in the drain, and the suction is too powerful for children (and even some adults) to fight.
    • Remove covers completely before using the pool for the season.
    • Consider attaching alarms to pool gates, or even exterior doors leading to the yard. There have been children who have gone outside to inspect the pool while their parents were sleeping.
  5. Be cautious around outdoor sources of water. Cover and lock up wells on your property. Be aware of drainage ditches and holes that fill with water after a rain, and supervise children around them. Stay within arm's reach at a public swimming pool, wading pool, or in the ocean. Know your own limitations as a swimmer, and do not let yourself get fatigued in open water while caring for a child or infant. Never take children (or yourself) swimming in dangerous conditions, such as choppy seas, strong winds, or lightning storms.
  6. Do not keep standing water accessible to children in the home. Drain bathtubs immediately following a bath. Keep cloth diapers in a dry pail rather than a wet one. Close toilet lids, and use a lock if toddlers are curious. Empty buckets and other containers immediately after using.
  7. Do not let children ingest water while swimming or bathing. There's a rare and sometimes fatal condition called "secondary drowning" where the lungs are damaged by filling with water, even though there was no acute immediate drowning. This is particularly critical in saltwater. Look for signs of lethargy and coughing or other breathing problems after a swim.
  8. Learn infant and child CPR. To be prepared for the worst-case scenario, take a class at the Red Cross, and brush up your skills at least yearly.
  9. Teach children about water safety. Talk to your kids about the risks of drowning, and don't let older children supervise younger siblings in the water without being close at hand yourself. Children are easily distracted and not necessarily strong swimmers themselves and should not be entrusted with the care of an infant or young child in a dangerous situation. Start talking even at toddler age about how to dial 911 (or whatever number is applicable in your area) in an emergency, and let children know that the first thing to do if they suspect someone else is drowning is to seek adult help.
All right, I'm scared just writing this post. Please keep track of your children around water outdoors and indoors year-round. There's a lot of fun to be had playing in wading pools and swim parks in the summer, so just keep it safe!



1 Please keep children in rear-facing car seats as long as possible.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The magic of wool: The benefits for cloth diapering at Knickernappies

I am thrilled to have a guest post today over at the Knickernappies blog:

"The magic of wool: The benefits for cloth diapering!"


Woolly Mommath wool diaper cover standing at window 17 mI was a wool skeptic before beginning cloth diapering, but I am now a die-hard convert!

Organic merino wool is so soft against the skin, and the properties of natural wool are truly astounding: both absorbing and repelling liquids, with antibacterial and hypoallergenic powers.

(Yes, powers! It's magic, I tell ya!)

Take a look at the article to find out why you should consider wool fabric, knitted, or felted covers and accessories for your cloth-diapered little one.

I didn't want to link to specific products or affiliates on Knickernappies' blog, but if you're curious about what precisely we used, I'll give you some links here.

We used prefolds from a diaper service as the foundation with a variety of covers on top. We used non-wool covers and wraps during the first few months until we had a blessed opportunity to try out wool and were sold. After we figured out what we liked, we used our wool covers exclusively unless they had all gotten dirty and we had to reach into the second-tier of our cover stash!

We first tried out wool soakers from LANACare and Aristocrats. We were fortunate to have a relative agree to foot the bill, but you can find less expensive handmade or used soakers (aka shorties and longies) from work-at-home sellers or resellers on eBay or at cloth-friendly consignment stores. You can also knit some yourself if you're feeling handy!

I liked this simple pattern to make an adult's wool sweater into a repurposed soaker, and I had a dryer-ruined sweater that was just the ticket … but never got around to sewing it up. Next baby?

Eventually we realized that for ease of diapering, a fabric wool cover that opened like a wrap with a closure (such as Velcro or Aplix or snaps) was easier for us as we switched out the prefolds underneath. Name-brand options there include the Sckoon Merino Wool Diaper Front Cover, Imse Vimse Bumpy Wool Diaper Cover, Little Beetle Organic Wool Cover, or Swaddlebees Merino Wool Diaper Cover. We tried out a few name-brand and homemade varieties.

But our hands-down favorite for price, convenience, and sizing for our unconventionally large infant ended up being a custom wool fabric cover with Velcro closures made by a work-at-home mama and sold on eBay. You can see one such cover on 17-month-old Mikko in the picture at right. Unfortunately, she isn't making them at this point, so good thing we stocked up! You can still check on eBay or Etsy for similar options and other helpful sellers.

I cared for our wool covers with Eucalan fine fabric wash (I love the lavender and grapefruit scents, and I heard lavender was good for repelling moths) and lanolin. I used just the generic breastfeeding cream I had on hand, but pretty much any lanolin will do. If you're giving birth at a hospital, you can even ask if they have some to take home. I didn't get through one whole tube of lanolin in two years of cloth diapering with wool covers, so you don't need much.

Mikko and I slept on a soft and thin organic merino wool blanket we used as a puddle pad to soak up leaking breastmilk and accidents.

Let me know if you have any questions about specific wool products, and add your own recommendations in the comments here or at Knickernappies!

Remember to read the Knickernappies guest post for more comprehensive information about the benefits of wool!

Call for submissions for the July Carnival of Natural Parenting

We continue to be delighted with the advice and stories our Carnival of Natural Parenting participants share, and we hope you'll join us for the next carnival in July! (Check out January, February, March, April, May, and June if you missed them.) Your co-hosts are Dionna at Code Name: Mama and Lauren at Hobo Mama.

July CarnivalHere are the submission details for July 2010:

Theme: Let's Talk About Food: Do you try to eat locally? Organically? Do you have a whole foods diet? What are your struggles and successes?

Deadline: Tuesday, July 6. Fill out the webform (at the link or at the bottom) and email your submission to us by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time: CodeNameMama {at} gmail.com and mail {at} HoboMama.com

Carnival date: Tuesday, July 13. Before you post, we will send you an email with a little blurb in html to paste into your submission that will introduce the carnival. You will publish your post on July 13 and email us the link if you haven't done so already. Once everyone's posts are published on July 13 by noon Eastern time, we will send out a finalized list of all the participants' links, to generate lots of link love for your site! We'll include full instructions in the email we send before the posting date.

Please submit your details into our web form: This will help us as we compile the links list. Please enter your information on the form embedded at the end of this post, or click here to enter it on a separate page: July Carnival of Natural Parenting participant form

Please do: Write well. Write on topic. Write a brand new post for the carnival. As always, our carnival themes aren't meant to be exclusionary. If your experience doesn't perfectly mesh with the carnival theme, please lend your own perspective. Please also feel free to be creative within the gentle confines of the carnival structure. If you're feeling so inspired, you could write a poem, a photo essay, a scholarly article, or a book review instead of a regular blog post (though those are welcomed, too!), as long as what you write is respectful of the carnival's intent. If you want help determining that ahead of time, please talk with us.

Please don't: Please don't use profanity of the sort that might be offensive to more sensitive readers or their children. Please don't submit irrelevant or argumentative pieces contrary to the principles of natural parenting. You don't have to agree with all our ideals — and certainly you don't have to live up to them all perfectly! — but your submission does have to fit the theme and values of the carnival.

Editors' rights: We reserve the right to edit your piece or suggest edits to you. We reserve the right to courteously reject any submissions that are inappropriate for the carnival. Please also note that since there are two co-hosts on different schedules and conferring over email, our personal response to your submission might seem delayed. Don't be alarmed. We also reserve the right to impose consequences if the responsibilities of the carnival are not fulfilled by the participants.

If you don't have a blog: Contact us (CodeNameMama {at} gmail.com and mail {at} HoboMama.com) about potentially finding you a host blog to guest post. Please write your piece well in advance of the deadline in that case, so we can match you up with someone suitable. But if you really have something amazing to write — why not start your own blog? If you want advice, we find Scribbit's free Blogging in Pink ebook to be a very helpful and down-to-earth guide, for beginners on up.

If you have questions: Please leave a comment or contact us: CodeNameMama {at} gmail.com and mail {at} HoboMama.com

Links to tutorials: Dionna (and her hubby!) and Lauren have written several tutorials for our participants about how to schedule posts in advance, how to determine post URLs in advance, how to edit HTML — all for both Wordpress and Blogger users. For these tutorials and more, please see this handy summary post at LaurenWayne.com.

Stay in touch:
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama

Show off: If you are a (former or current) participant or supporter and want our delightful button to put in your sidebar, grab this code and proclaim to the blogosphere that you are a natural parent!

Photo credit: TerenceOB


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Surf: From reused kitchens to disposable towels with plenty a stop in between

Did I make it? Did I make it?


Just barely (if I cheat).


I'm joining Authentic Parenting and Baby Dust Diaries in doing a Sunday Surf! It's a way to bring you some of the best links I've read this past week.



Speaking of which, I'm so glad I've gotten some feedback that you like these here posts; that means I'll keep putting them together at the last minute…


You can find more shared items during the week at my public Google Reader recommendations feed.


Feel free to add your recommendations in the comments. Happy reading! BlogHer Ads Suggested Posts - Hobo Mama included


P.S. I swear I just looked at the list of BlogHer recommended posts under the ad there in the sidebar and saw mine on "Remember how young your children are (and you, too)" and honestly thought: Oh, that sounds like something I'd like to read. Up too late blogging much? At least I'm my target audience.


P.P.S. I've had "Both Sides Now" going through my head for the past two hours solid thanks to Her Bad Mother.




1 Granted, it might have more to do with my habit of reading chunks of one blog at a time rather than going through my Reader chronologically, but we can call it a crush.
2 You know who first introduced me to the deliciousness of footnotes in blogs, don't you? Arwyn.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Grab an elephant ear — it's carnival time!

Tickets, anyone?It's time for another carnival roundup, from the already posted to the soon-to-post to the calls for submissions!

LIVE


COMING SOON


SUBMIT NOW

  • Babywearing Carnival hosted by Babywearing Videos Blog: Submit your babywearing post by June 28 for a carnival on June 30. Submission details are in the sidebar.
  • Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism hosted by Bringing Up Baby Bilingual: My article for the carnival is "Finding bilingual children's songs: Tips for non-cheaters," about finding and learning authentic minority-language songs online. Submissions are due June 29. Carnival goes live July 1.
  • Carnival of Feminist Parenting hosted by Mothers for Women's Lib: Submit your own or others' articles by July 11. Carnival goes live July 18.
  • Crisis in the Crib Blogging Challenge hosted by The Unnecesarean and Blacktating: Watch the 36-minute documentary Crisis in the Crib: Saving Our Nation's Babies online, and blog about your reaction. From Blacktating: "Black babies are three times as likely to die in their first year of life as white babies. … Black women in New York are seven times more likely to die in childbirth than white women. … Babies born in Sri Lanka have better health outcomes than black babies born in Milwaukee do." A sobering look at our nation's inequalities when it comes to birth outcomes and health. Watch, learn, and write. Link up your post by July 2. Carnival goes live July 4.
  • Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Code Name: Mama and Baby Dust Diaries: Art by Erika Hastings at http://mudspice.wordpress.com/To help normalize breastfeeding in public, submit original posts, photos of breastfeeding in public for a slideshow, NIP Tweets, and/or Crème de la Crème archive posts (by you or another blogger). You can submit multiple ways and multiple posts on any topic related to nursing in public, as long as it's positive and respectful of mothers who make different choices. Find an assortment of international badges and giveaway prize information here, including an ERGOBaby Carrier, my fave! Submit by June 30 for a carnival July 5-9. Possible topics to write about include:
    • The problem with defining discreet
    • Your own experiences
    • The right to NIP
    • The sexualization of breasts and its consequences
    • NIP and religion
    • NIP and babywearing
    • NIP past infancy
    • What family and friends can do to support mothers who NIP
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama: Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaStay tuned for a dedicated post to call for submissions, but here are the basic details.
    • Theme: You are what you eat. Let's talk about food. Do you try to eat locally? Organically? Do you follow a whole foods diet or practice ethical or health restrictions? What are your goals and ideals, your struggles and successes? Feel free to share blog posts, recipes, shopping lists, book reviews, gardening advice — anything germane to the topic of feeding yourself and your family. You don't have to be a crunchy-food superstar to submit, either; we'd love to hear the choices each one of us is making, how we feel about those choices, and what we want to change.
    • Submission deadline: July 6
    • Carnival posting: July 13

If I'm missing any carnivals, let me know. Otherwise, line up, buy your tickets, and prepare for a thrilling ride!

You can find more carnivals and weekly meme link-ups at Breastfeeding Moms Unite!


Photo courtesy Kevin Labianco on flickr (cc)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Calling cards for parents & parent bloggers

When I was poking around Amy Adele for my review of children's stationery, I was seized by an idea. It wasn't, to be fair, my idea. It's Amy Adele's. But I love it, so I'm running with it.

Calling cards for parents!


Check out this action:

Playground Calling Card


How many times have you been in a social or potentially social situation, like dropping the kids off at dance class, or hanging at the play gym, or browsing through the kids' section of the library — where you could be making friends and gathering a tribe around yourself — but you chickened out in terms of connecting? Or you chatted a bit with another parent but then left the playground or story time or whatever it was and realized, "I have no idea what the person's name is or how I can ever get in touch again."

The answer? (I'll say it again.)

Calling cards for parents!


It's brilliant, really. Just plop some of your most essential info onto a cute little card. Depending on how you like to be contacted, maybe it will have your name, your kids' names, your email address, and your cell phone number. And then hand them out like candy to anyone who looks likely to be a friend to you or to your kids.

I bet you'll be remembered!



Calling cards for children!


As your kids get older, they might appreciate having their own calling cards as well. I thought this idea of a camp card was really clever, because I remember scrambling to write down my camp friends' addresses and phone numbers on the last day of summer camp. How much easier would it be to just hand over a card?

Tent Calling Card


I was also thinking of another magnificent use:

Calling cards for bloggers!


With BlogHer coming up, plenty of bloggers who are going (boohoo, leaving me behind) have been talking about getting business cards made up. I can totally see the need for something professional and businessy if you're going to a conference or other professional event and want other writers, PR reps, potential clients or employers, etc., to take you seriously.

But I could see more casual occasions when you might want a blog card to hand out. Something … like this:

Amy Adele lily of the valley calling card for blog HoboMama.com


And wouldn't it be über-adorable to get the real, live Amy Adele to draw a custom design to match your blog's theme? Like a mama and baby nursing, or I would love to see representations of Mikko and me snuggling.

True story:

Once, about a year ago or so, I was at the pool with Mikko. We were hanging in the hot tub, and there was a mama there about my age with a baby a few months old. We, too, started bringing Mikko to the pool and hot tub around that age, so I already felt a camaraderie, but I'm not always comfortable launching into conversations in hot tubs. Then she stretched her arm out along the side of the tub, and I saw she didn't shave her armpits. And, seriously, my next thought was, "I bet she might like my blog!"

Yes, that's how I picture my dear readers, or at least a solid 40% of you. Cute, with a cute baby, and natural pits. (Raise your hand if this description fits.)

And I kept obsessing about it the rest of our swim, wondering if I'd have the nerve to approach her with my site's name. But telling someone a URL is invariably awkward. Even though mine's thankfully not too long or with a tricky spelling, there's always the chance for a game of Operator to take place in the communicating. ("Oboe Mama?") She left the pool before the swim hour was up, and I imagined her nursing in the locker room, where I could give her a not-at-all-creepy smile of encouragement, but when Mikko and I went in, she and her baby were gone.

Now, I can see where you could point out the one fatal flaw in my story: Even if I had calling cards, would they be waterproof? Would I have tucked them down the bodice of my swimsuit just in case I happened upon a kindred spirit in the hot tub?

So we'll let natural-pits girl go. But the principle remains, because there have been so many other instances where I've wanted to or have told other people of my blog but didn't have a handy piece of paper to write the address down for them.

But if I had a blog calling card, I'd be all set! Can't you picture something like this with a URL below your name?



You could also use blog calling cards to tuck into packages you're sending to readers, such as if you're sponsoring a giveaway or if you sell handmade items on Etsy.

Amy Adele discounts & plug


You don't have to order your calling cards from Amy Adele, though if you do:
  • First of all, you get your pick of two nice discounts right now:
    • Calling cards are currently on sale for a whopping 50% off until this coming Sunday, June 27. That means they start at under $10 for 20, or just under $14 for 40, and the price gets cheaper and cheaper per item the higher the quantity.
    • Typing in hobomama gets you 15% off your order. (I honestly don't know if the discounts combine or not, but I don't see why not. ETA: They don't! But if you're buying something else at regular price, feel free to use this discount code to help you out there! Also, shipping is free over $50, which I forgot to mention.)
  • Secondly, you get an adorable and high-quality product, I get a nice little commission, and Amy Adele gets support for their lovely and eco-friendly company. Win-win-win, all around!



Amy Adele has a whole section of calling cards categorized as "Distinct Designs" that is a selection of more adult-style drawings, such as a house, a palm tree, or simple floral accents, so whatever you choose can fit your own aesthetic.



Calling cards the cheap and easy way


You could also easily make your own calling cards — they wouldn't need to be fancy.

You could seriously just print your info on a slip of paper and repeat, or you could go photocopy an original a bunch of times. How many you make depends on how much use you think you'd get out of them, and how much space you have to store them in your bag or pocket. If they're not printed on cardstock, you might give some thought to making them a little case or tucking them into a wallet or similar to keep them uncrumpled.

Or you could design something cute on the computer with your blog's logo or your child's picture and print it at home, then cut it out. You can even buy business card printer sheets that are pre-perforated for you for just that purpose.

And if the target audience for your blog is the same as the target audience for potential friends, you can combine both sets of information and save yourself some effort!

Something like this:

Amy Adele sunflowers calling card for blog HoboMama.com


Oh, the cute!

How do you connect with new parents you want to befriend?

Disclosure: Amy Adele links are affiliate links.
I did not receive any calling cards from the company
(and images with my URL are from the site's preview function),
but I thought it was an awesome idea when I was poking around
the site for my thank-you notes review and wanted to share it
with you as a fun and achievable way to start building
a community
around you. It's time to stop being lonely, yes?
See my full disclosure policy here.