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Hey Laura, how do I balance me-time and attentive parenting?

Guilt-ridden writes:

How do you balance being on the computer with being an attentive parent?  And then add in that I work almost full time and am a full time college student and there’s just not enough time in the day!

When I come home from work I just want to sit and veg out on the computer for a little while.  My husband’s the same way.  We both feel like we’re ignoring our daughter, but waiting until after she goes to bed (around 9pm) doesn’t seem plausible either.  HELP?!  How do we play with her as much as she needs it but still get our much needed PC/break time?

As any parent knows, kids require so much attention, especially in the early years. It can feel like you are being...

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Snippets: Gifts for New and Expecting Parents

A while ago (before I started this blog), a friend of mine asked for some suggestions for useful and unique gifts for new and expecting parents. I’ve expanded my original answer just a bit for posting here. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill diaper cakes and layettes! ;)

Big Stuff
If the new parents are particularly special to you, or if you are feeling particularly generous, here are some big ticket items I highly recommend.

Miyo Baby Baby Hammock - Just what it sounds like - it’s a great bed alternative for the first 5-7 months. I like the Miyo best because it is simple and has a really beautiful looking stand, but there are other brands/styles like: the Kanoe, the Hushamok, which has a...

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Hey Laura, is soy okay for babies?

Sophia writes:

I’m a vegetarian.  Thus far, so is my 1-year-old daughter. 

Anyway, a big source of protein for her (now that she’s about 70% on solids), is soy.  I do have some concerns now though, since I’ve been coming across some literature suggesting that soy could be harmful to babies- particularly baby girls- in their future years.  Your thoughts?

You’ve probably been reading about phytoestrogens. Here is a thoughtful article discussing the issues. Mark’s Daily Apple, a primal eating blog that I’ve been enoying lately, gives a nice summary as well. Basically, the plant estrogens in soy mimic estrogens in the body and can contribute to cancer risk and tumors. Studies also show that...

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Recipe: Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Take advantage of all the gorgeous farmers’ market produce this summer and put some up for winter. (Don’t you love the term “put up” when referring to bountiful food? Makes me feel so homesteadish.)

This is the super easy “Clausen-style” (ie: never heated) pickle recipe that my family uses. In my opinion, it produces the best tasting result and best of all, you don’t have to have any skill whatsoever to make your own delicious homemade pickles!

No-cook Dill Pickles
3 Quarts Water
1 Quart Vinegar
1 Cup Salt

Cool overnight.

Scrub 5 pounds cucumbers. You can slice them now if you like, or pickle them whole. You can also pickle lots of other veggies! Don’t limit yourself to just...

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Hey Laura, how do I help my preschooler combat his nightmares?

Brandi writes:

Hey Laura—my almost 4 yr old has started having nightmares every night; usually around 2:30 in the morning.  What can I do to try to head these off?  I’ve talked to him about what’s going on and he says, “I can’t sleep—I went into a scary story!”  It usually takes me about 45 minutes to get him back to sleep and I’m exhausted from being a nightmare warrior every night.  :(

First of all, according to child development experts, this is totally normal for your son’s age. No doubt, there are a lot of transitions occurring in his life right now (new baby on the way, preschool starting in the fall, potty training, anticipation of new “big boy” responsibilities and...

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Hey Laura, how do I get my 8 month old to sleep longer?

Jaime writes:

I am staunch attachment parent advocate. Love the co-sleeping, baby-wearing, no CIO philosophy. That said-I have a 7.5 month old that seems to be no closer to sleeping through the night than he was at birth. I have put him in his own bed and he wakes up within an hour. Next to me he may make it 2 or sometimes 3. Help! I love my little chubbers, but mama needs some sleep!

Ironically, my progress in responding to this question has been interrupted 3 times now by my nearly-5 month old waking up! :)

I think I’ve linked to my favorite parenting advice blog of all time, AskMoxie.org. Man, she (along with her awesome community of commenters) has saved my sanity many a time! It was...

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Snippets: Hyperactive toddler

Harmony just had a baby and her (still-also-nursing) 2 year old daughter is going a bit crazy in the transition. While a lot of the manic energy and behavioral issues can be explained away by all the upheaval in their home right now, Harmony’s gut feeling is that there is a nutritional element involved as well. Since Harmony’s family eats very clean already (very little refined flours and sugar, small amounts of organic dairy), she asked me to look into what happens to kiddos when they are overdosing on fruit. Here’s what I found and emailed back to her.

The fruit thing you’re probably thinking of is salicylates - naturally occurring chemicals in…pretty much everything. NOT fun to try to...

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