Monday, April 22, 2013

Plagiocephaly: What to expect when getting a helmet

I was really nervous going into the orthotics office to get a helmet. I was really didn't know how the whole process would work. I didn't know if it would be uncomfortable or even painful for her. I looked around, but didn't find much solid information about what to expect.

It seems like people only put stories out there if they are 'worth telling'. The ones that are interesting, where something goes wrong or something unexpected happens. If things go by the book, people don't really write about it.

So there I was, more nervous than my little one, having read only horror stories about the process. I expected the worst. I felt like a scumbag mommy playing with my little one in the waiting room when I knew what awaited her. They called us back. And then... Things went smoothly. The doctor was competent and my little one handled it all like a champ. The process was really was fairly straight forward and really interesting and we now have a custom helmet that I am thrilled with.

The whole process took 3 short appointments that I will discuss in more detail in the next few posts.

This is the first in a short series of posts about what to expect when getting a helmet. Here's links to the full series.

What to expect when getting a helmet
Appointment #1: Measuring
Appointment #2: Fitting
Appointment #3: Fine tuning

Monday, April 15, 2013

Summer Infant SuperSeat Review and Plagiocephaly Update

This is a review for Summer Infant 3 Stage SuperSeat. This is basically a small baby seat similar to a Bumbo brand seat with a round activity tray. With the tray removed, the seat can buckle onto most standard chairs and act as a booster. It can be purchased through or Babies"R"Us.
I mentioned before in a post entitled The Latest Mommy Guilt : Plagiocephaly that my daughter was having trouble with plagiocephaly (misshapen head). It was present at birth. In that post, I mentioned that we were getting ready for an appointment with an orthodics office. At that appointment they measured her head and she was outside the normal limits, but close. They suggested some exercises and gave us one month to try "aggressive repositioning" (keeping her off the back of her head as much as possible).

We immediately began looking for options to help her enjoy tummy time more and to keep her off her back when she wasn't doing tummy time. After looking at different baby seats, this is the one we chose.


Usable from a young age
The instruction manual says that this product can be used with children as young as 4 months old. I'd say it is most likely safe for younger children if they are holding their head up well.  My little one was 3 months when we started using it and seemed just fine.
Disclaimer: This is not official. I'm not a doctor. I will not be responsible for anything that happens. Watch your child carefully when using this product, especially if they are below the recommended age. Stop using it if there is any sign that they are not ready for it.
Wide age range
The orange foam in the seat is an insert. When the child outgrows that seat the insert can be removed allowing the child to use the seat for a longer period of time. The instruction manual says the seat can be used  for children up to 4 years old. This is a big advantage over the Bumbo. Being short on space, we didn't want anything that we'd use for only a few months and then have to store for the next kid.

Toy tray
The 360 degree toy tray spins so you can give the little one access to different toys. My little one loved the toy tray. As soon as I put her in she began grabbing at the toys. Before that I'd never seen her so immediately interested in anything plastic.

Large leg openings
Reviews I read about the Bumbo say that the leg openings are rather small and not well suited to chunkier babies. We have a healthy, robust little one with beautiful roly-poly thighs and have never had a problem with this seat. She has plenty of space.

Booster seat functionality
We needed a way to keep her off her back while we were out at restaurants with friends. At that time she was much too small for a restaurant highchair. We wound up bringing this to many restaurants. It has buckled easily and fit on every chair we've tried. Even the wide, rolling Olive Garden chairs, though the straps were barely long enough. She loves being up where she can see everyone at the table instead of in a car seat sling.

It's a little bit bulky, but I've never had a problem with it. I'd compare carrying it in restaurants and other public places to carrying a loaded diaper bag. We've taken it almost everywhere with us.


Gaudy Colors
This is a personal preference issue but where is it written that everything for babies has to use every bright shade they can possibly think of?

Difficult to clean under the spinning toy
My little one spit up once on top of that spinning ball and some of it pooled up in the base of the toy. That was a major pain to clean.

Babies can't spin the tray themselves
At 5 months now my little one seems to know that the tray spins, but cannot spin it to get at the different toys herself.

Can't use tray while using the booster functionality
It would be nice if this seat could work as a highchair, or if she could have the toys she can't drop to play with while we eat.

Insert is difficult to remove and replace
This isn't really a problem if you are planning on using the seat for only one child at a time. You would have to remove the insert once when the child outgrows it and replace the insert to use the seat for the next child. It would be really annoying to use this seat for 2 children of dramatically different sizes.

Toy tray is annoying to get on
Putting on the toy tray is not terribly difficult. It is just annoying to align everything correctly. It is not half so hard to take the tray off.

Things to look out for

Babies arms can get caught when rotating the tray
Occasionally when my daughter has had her arm outstretched while we are spinning the toy tray, her arm has gotten caught by one of the two taller toys. Those toys are not rigid so it hasn't really hurt her, but it has startled both of us.

Feet fall off
There are small plastic covers that snap onto the bottom. I assume they are to protect the floor. They don't stay on well. Being small and fairly neutral in color, it is not immediately obvious when they fall off. I don't know if they are the right size to be a choking hazard. As soon as I noticed that one fell off I took them all off and got rid of them. I'm not worried about my floors. If you are, I'd suggest buying a non-slip bathroom mat or something to put under the seat.

We have really enjoyed having this product. Our little one enjoys it. It keeps her contained, safe, and nearby when we can't hold her. We've only had this product for about 2 months, so I can't say much about the long term durability, but it was 2 months of almost constant use so I think I have a pretty good idea of the functionality. Using this seat really helped with the bi-lateral symmetry of her head which is what we were most worried about. (However, her other measurements are still off enough that we will be getting a helmet.)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Cranberry Limeade: for brighter sunshine, extra courage, and less morning sickness

also entitled
Every Saturday at 2:00pm the alarm on my phone goes off. A message associated with that alarm pops up on my screen.
Cranberry Limeaid and Mozzarella Sticks

Why Saturday? The Sonic nearest our house does a deal every day of the week. Saturdays deal is my favorite. An order of mozzarella sticks for a dollar.

Why 2:00pm? Because that is happy hour. That is when you can get half priced drinks at Sonic.

This alarm is a remnant from the early days when I was pregnant. The days before I could down an entire cheesecake. The days when eating was an accomplishment. The days where I was losing weight and worried to death about whether the little lima bean sized alien inside me was getting what she needed.

There was only one thing I could find that would always stay down and often calm my stomach enough to keep down some solid food. I'll bet you can guess what it was...
Sonic Cranberry Limeaid
Image borrowed from

To me this stuff was a literally godsend. It made me feel human. It made me feel that I could continue another day, that my little one and I were going to be alright, that this wasn't all a mistake.

To this day, I like to face a difficult with a limeaid in hand, but back then every day was difficult. I drank that stuff by the pitcher-full. I needed an alternative solution for days when money felt tight or I didn't feel up to going out.

Here's what you need:
- Lemon Lime Soda (I prefer Sierra Mist Natural because its the only soda I can find that comes in big bottles and has no artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup)
- 100% Cranberry Juice, Unsweetened (don't worry, with the soda it turns out plenty sweet) 
- Lime Wedges to taste
- Pellet Ice (optional, but it makes it so much more authentic, you can buy it in bags at most sonic locations and keep it in your freezer at home) 
Combine the soda and the cranberry juice using a ratio of about 6 parts soda to 1 part juice. Pour gently so you don't loose the carbonation. Add lime wedges and ice.
To fill a 2 quart pitcher I would use about 6 cups of soda, 1 cup juice, and a couple limes cut into wedges. 
To fill a 16 ounce glass I would use a cup and a half (about 1 can) of soda, 1/4 cup of juice and maybe half a lime.

We had a punch bowl full of this stuff at the baby shower my friends threw for me. It was a big hit.

Here's some random shoutouts with links to other bloggers who like Sonic Drinks.
Linda at My Name is Momma (cute picture of tiny child and giant cup)
Erin at A Nickell for Your Thoughts (another cute cup as big as child pic) 
Camille at Makoodle (cute visual message about things that make us happy)
Shannon at Sweet Blessings (Printables "This home runs on LOVE Laughter and LOTS of SONIC DRINKS." I love it!)


Thursday, April 11, 2013

So It Has Come to This (Nursery Disaster)

My nursery has become a huge dumping ground. 

My little one outgrew her bassinet before I was ready to have her in her own room. So her crib moved into our room in the only spot it would fit...the closet. That crib takes up the entire closet. It's not a walk in. With both sliding doors removed from the closet, the crib just fits in the doorway and sticks out into the room only a couple inches.

So everything that was on the floor of the closet had to be moved out.

The desk that was in our room had to be moved out.

Everything that was hanging over the crib had to be moved out.

Everything that was on the shelves above the crib had to be moved out.

We live in a small 2-bedroom apartment so all that stuff went into the only unoccupied space: the baby's room. 

There's a funny thing about places full of random things...the random things multiply! Soon we didn't just have a desk and some craft supplies where the crib used to be. We also had a beanbag chair, all the extra linens, a broken computer, 2 baby bathtubs, a fan, towels, broken down boxes, a towel warmer, old suitcases, bulk orders of diapers and wipes, a sewing machine, a broken computer, extra home decor items...
Here's a shot from my baby photography experiment (DIY Baby Photography: Part 1 and 5 Tips for DIY Baby Photography). And this isn't even as bad as it got... Needless to say, that room is not baby safe anymore. There are many things I don't want her getting into, both for her safety and for the safety of my other treasures.

She's 5 months old now and I am feeling more at peace with the idea of her sleeping all the way across the hall (gasp), but I am not okay with her sleeping in that room the way it is. Nuh uh.

We are leaving to visit family on the 23rd. I have a goal to have her room ready before I go. She'll sleep in there as soon as we get back.

It is time for a massive Nursery Makeover! Stay tuned for updates.

Monday, April 1, 2013

DIY Drawer Dividers

I've said before that I don’t need more kitchen gadgets. Part of the reason for that is that our kitchen is super tiny. The other reason is that we already have a ton. My husband and I both had a collection when we moved in and it’s only grown since then.

A little at a time I've been working on weeding out duplicates and items we don’t need, but even more I've been working on organizing what we have. My latest project was organizing our silverware drawer. It’s been used as a catchall for all the other little gadgets that we don’t know what to do with and it was getting a bit out of hand.

I tried thinking of different solutions. For a while we had all these things in a container on the counter like the taller utensils. That didn't work because 
1) sharp objects kept getting put into the container
2) the container kept getting top heavy
3) our counter top space is even more limited than our drawer space.
I started looking around for wasted space and I noticed that, while the front of the drawer was full to the top, the back of the drawer had extra vertical space. So I set to work making that space useful.

I originally wanted to do a drawer within a drawer organizer like this one on the DIY Network website.
But my lack of material, tools, and funds along with my desire to have the project done a year ago as soon as possible led me to develop this $0 DIY version.

Materials and Supplies:
- Empty Cereal Boxes
- Ruler
- Scissors
- Marker

Step 1: Measure the width of the inside of the drawer.
Step 2: Use that measurement to cut off the top of the cereal boxes. When you are done each cereal box should be as tall as the drawer is wide and you should be able to lay it sideways in the drawer like this:

Step 3: Measure the amount of vertical space you want to use. 
If this is the only organizer in the drawer: measure the depth of the drawer.
If you want to stack this organizer with a silverware organizer: measure from the top of the silverware organizer to the top of the drawer.

Step 4: Use that measurement (marked with red arrows) to determine where to cut up the sides of the cereal box (marked with red line).

Step 5: Insert custom size cereal box trays into the drawer and organize. Put less often used or more dangerous objects towards the back and more frequently used objects towards the front.
Step 6 (optional): Replace silverware organizer on top. And you are finished.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...