Author Archive

Dressers, Drills, and the Message You Can’t Ignore

Written by Rachel Morrow on . Posted in 3Moms Blog

child safety

You know those dreams you have that stick with you? No matter what you do you can’t get them out of your mind. When I read about Kyrie, it was like one of those dreams was coming true—but for someone I didn’t even know.

It all started when my daughter was about 20 months old—the magic age where she still slept in a crib, yet I went to bed every night wondering if she was going to figure out how to climb out. I had a dream so vivid my heartbeat increases just thinking about it. The dream started with my daughter figuring out how to get out of her crib. And what did she do first? She went to explore her dresser, of course.

But she started with the first drawer.

And then she opened the second. This was an Ikea dresser, so it wasn’t the greatest piece of furniture known to man. It did the job, but it was not made to stay upright with the top two drawers, full of clothes, open.

As that second drawer extended, the dresser came tumbling down. Right on my daughter. I saw it all, including the never-want-to-see-in-real-life vision of my daughter squished underneath it. I popped up in bed just like you see in the movies. My heartbeat was insane, and I grabbed the video monitor to make sure my daughter was sleeping soundly in her crib. She was. Thank goodness. But I didn’t stop there.

There was no way I was going to sleep soundly until my daughter’s dresser was mounted to the wall. Since it was about 2:00 AM, I couldn’t exactly do it then, so I did the next best thing. I grabbed my sticky notes and pen and went to work.

When my husband woke up the next day, a sticky note greeted him on our bathroom mirror. It read “Mount Maddie’s dresser today!” As he went to leave our room, there was another sticky note on the door, portraying the same message. And another on Maddie’s door, and on the fridge, and on the garage door. By the time we went to bed that night, the dresser looked like this:

 mounted dresser

Back to Kyrie.

When I heard her story, this very vivid dream of mine played out in my head. I didn’t know any details at this point, just that something fell on a little two-year-old girl, and she was in the ICU. I saw a picture of her, and she looked surprisingly like my daughter did at that age, and I couldn’t shake the image of that dream, how I felt when I thought it was reality, and how these parents must be feeling—which surely is a million times worse than what I can even imagine.

I basically stalked the Kisses for Kyrie Facebook page for updates, bawling with each announcement of good news. And when Kyrie’s mom, Shauna, said she wanted to get the word out about the importance of mounting furniture (for them it was a TV that fell), I knew just how crucial this message was.

We already covered Kyrie’s story last week, but I felt compelled to expand on it even further. As Shauna said, if even one child can be saved, it gives her a sense of peace.

Thank goodness Kyrie shows more improvement every day. But not every child is so lucky. And not every parent has a nightmare warning them about the dangers of unmounted furniture.

Did you realize that every two weeks a child dies from a tip-over accident?

Every 15 minutes, a child is injured from one.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, this includes televisions, furniture (bookcases, dressers), and appliances. In most of the stories I’ve read, it happened in the child’s room, and it was silent. Either the carpeting or the child’s body muted the sounds, so the parents didn’t even know anything happened until they went to their child’s room in the morning. Even if the parents were in the room, it happened too quickly for them to stop it.

And in the majority of the homes these fatal accidents occured in, the parents didn’t even realize they were putting their children in danger.

Image Credit: CPSC

Image Credit: CPSC

But now, you do, and it’s time to take action:

  • Properly secure any dressers, bookcases, and television stands/televisions to the wall. It just takes a few dollars and a few minutes. From the hardware store to Amazon, the tools you need are readily available; you just have to buy them and install them according to the instructions. Many dressers even come with the proper hardware for mounting (make sure you screw into the stud!).
  • Don’t worry about holes in the wall. Seriously. Just mount the furniture. Any repercussions from a landlord for a hole in the wall are minute compared to the alternative.
  • No item of furniture is too small, as Meghan’s Hope points out. Her story is heartbreaking, and when you see the size of the dresser that killed this sweet little girl, you will be shocked.
  • Keep anything tempting off of the top of dressers. (This is something I need to change myself right now! I didn’t even think about this until reading the CPSC’s suggestions.) As cute as the stuffed animals and pictures are, they aren’t worth it.
  • Consider just tossing that old front-heavy television.
  • Have a chat with grandparents or owners of other homes your children visit to make sure the furniture is mounted there, too. These accidents don’t just happen at home.

And spread the word.

There are parents out there who don’t know this is a danger (you might be one of them!). They place their toddlers in their rooms without a second thought. Even if they are in a crib, there is no saying when they will decide to crawl out.

Parents would never put their precious children in danger on purpose, but if they don’t know, they won’t do anything about it.

The Stranger Who Got it Right

Written by Rachel Morrow on . Posted in 3Moms Blog

new mom tips

“You are so beautiful.” This is the comment my daughter hears every time we go out. Either that or, “Oh my goodness, look at your gorgeous curly hair!” As a mom, of course I love hearing these comments, and I’m sure my daughter loves them as well. But there’s just one problem: There’s a lot more to my daughter than her beauty, and I want her to know that the rest matters too.

So when we were at Target yesterday and a stranger came up to us and started with the usual, “You are such a beautiful girl!” My daughter smiled and started to get her I’m-acting-shy-but-I-really-love-the-attention look on, and then the woman continued, “And I bet you’re mighty smart, too!” Now my daughter’s face went to full-on light-up mode and she didn’t even know what to say. I actually had to remind her to say thank you, which I rarely have to do. And after that thank you, the fire had been ignited and she went on to explain to the lady what her name was, that this was her little brother, and here is my mommy and daddy.

That stranger got it right. She still gave the compliment about beauty, which I believe is important for every little girl (and woman, for that matter) to hear. When a person feels beautiful, they gain confidence and self-worth. These are traits that are vital to success in the world: Characteristics that lead to resisting peer pressure, standing up for herself, and reaching for her dreams.

But she also told my daughter how smart she is. Clearly, this woman couldn’t really know my daughter’s IQ just by looking at her, but she did place emphasis on something other than her looks. She reminded my daughter that there is a lot more to her little soul than the way she appears on the outside. Of course, this is something I always try to do (e.g. You are so smart, and kind, and generous, and thoughtful, and funny, etc.), but it carries more clout from a stranger.

Now don’t get me wrong: I am just as guilty as the next person of complimenting other kids on their outside appearance, because, obviously, I can’t tell much about their other personality traits from one glance. But does it really matter? No, it doesn’t. To the innocent, impressionable children, your words may mean more than you realize.

By all means, give those compliments about cuteness, because they are important. But also throw in something not so superficial. I know from now on, I will. 

Don’t Judge Me!

Written by Rachel Morrow on . Posted in 3Moms Blog

parenting

Don’t judge me. Or the woman breastfeeding at the mall. Or the mom giving her newborn baby a bottle at the park. Or the dad whose three-year-old is still in diapers. Or the toddler that is using a binky. And yes, especially don’t judge the parent whose child is being louder than you would like (whether that be by crying, throwing a tantrum, or shrieking with excitement). Why? Because you don’t know their story, and you don’t know mine.

Here’s the thing:

I am always doing the best I can, and I know that you are too. I don’t ever start my day thinking, “Today, I’m just going to give parenting half of what I have. I’ll let my kids misbehave and cause a ruckus while I just sit back and relax.” Nope. Never happened and never going to. I start each day with a desire to keep my kids happy and healthy, and I always give it my all. I’m sure you do too.

Let me tell you a story:

The other day my family went out to eat. It was a casual dining restaurant that was full of people from every age group. My husband took my one-and-a-half-year-old son outside to go for a little walk so that I could finish my meal. When they came back in, my son saw me from across the restaurant and screamed with excitement (what can I say, he’s a momma’s boy). Of course, I smiled and reached my arms out for him.

And then I noticed that the entire population of the restaurant was staring at me. No, they weren’t smiling with fondness of how sweet it is that this little boy was so thrilled to see his mommy. They were glaring at me with looks full of judgment.

Their eyes said:

“How are you letting your child scream?”

 “You are a horrible mother.”

“Why aren’t you stopping his shriek?”

You know why? Because I don’t want my child – my happy, excited, unscathed-by-the-world child – to lose his delightfulness. I don’t want him to think that it’s not okay to show his emotions. And I am not about to teach him that he should make himself less happy to appease others.

When you see other parents out and about, and they aren’t doing things exactly as you would, know that they are doing the best they can. They have a reason for doing what they do. You don’t have to agree, but you should at least smile (or even ignore them!). Because the last thing any parent needs is degrading looks from strangers that make them feel about one inch tall.

Why I Let My Toddler Watch TV

Written by Rachel Morrow on . Posted in 3Moms Blog

kids watching TV

Before I had kids, I swore I would follow all of the parenting rules from the experts. Specifically, I promised I would never let my kids watch TV. “It’s so bad for them.” The studies say. “It will rot their brains.” The older generation says. “It makes you a bad mother.” The specialists say. But then I had kids, and everything changed. So, yes, I do let my kids watch television, and here’s why:

It is Very Educational

First off, I do think it depends on what you let your kids watch. For us, it’s usually PBS Kids, because their shows are more educational instead of just entertaining, but we make our way to Disney Junior and Nick Jr. every once in a while, especially for Dora.

Kids are born into this world with so much to learn. When you think about it, it can be a little overwhelming as a parent. It is my job to teach my kids integrity, honesty, kindness, and how to brush their teeth and go potty in the toilet. There is so much to teach them, and it can be hard to get things through with just me talking to them. But TV shows communicate these lessons in a fun, entertaining, and memorable way.

For example, we were watching a Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood episode a while back about stopping, listening, and staying safe when Daniel Tiger went on an outing to the beach. All of the Daniel Tiger episodes have catchy little songs to get these lessons across. Fast forward a few weeks later: We took a family outing to the beach. As we were setting up our spot, I explained to my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter that the ocean can be a lot of fun, but it can also be very dangerous, so she needs to really listen to me so she can stay safe. She looked at me with complete understanding and sang, “Stop, listen, and stay safe.” (the little jingle she learned from Daniel Tiger a few weeks prior). And you know what, she did listen especially well while we were there. So while I don’t think TV should be the sole teacher, it sure makes a great supplemental tool.

It Lets Me Work

Like many of you, I am a work-at-home mom. I get to stay home with my kids, which is great, but I also have to bring in a little bit of an income to make ends meet. As much as I don’t like to admit it, sometimes I have to use TV to help me get my work done. I always try to get it all done before they wake up or during naptime, but that is not always possible. And for these moments, I am forever grateful for the genius minds behind Super Why! and Barney and Sesame Street. I can get my work done and my kids get to have their mommy with them all day.

I Get Snuggles

Kids grow up fast, we all know that, and I know that my chances to cuddle my little ones will not always be here. So if watching TV keeps my daughter still long enough to get some cuddles on the couch, then you better believe I am going to take advantage of it.

It’s all about balance. We do plenty of arts and crafts, reading, playing with blocks, using our imaginations, running around, dancing, and having tea parties. But we also watch TV, and I’m okay with that.                

Top 5 Must-have Baby Registry Items

Written by Rachel Morrow on . Posted in 3Moms Blog

baby registry

If there is one thing every pregnant woman looks forward to, it’s creating a baby registry. I mean, it’s one of the few times in your life where you are expected to tell people what you want them to buy you. Who doesn’t love that? However, when you walk into Babies”R”Us to complete your baby registry, you are handed a scanner and set loose in a store that has more baby items than even the Royal Baby needs. To say it can be overwhelming is the understatement of the year. Don’t worry; I’m here to help.

After two kids, and way more trial and error than I would care to admit, these are the baby products that should not be left off of any baby registry. Because they are necessary? No. In all honesty, all a baby really needs is clothes, food, diapers, and a safe place to sleep. But these products will make your life way easier, and they are tried and tested and backed by me.

Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer

After you have had to get your baby to stay still for a full minute so you could get an accurate temperature from his armpit, you will understand why this little tool is such a gem. There is a reason they use it in hospitals: it’s easy and accurate, and you don’t even have to wake your sleeping baby to use it. You simply place it on your baby’s forehead, press a button, and slide it across his head. That’s it. And it gives you an accurate temp every time.

HALO SleepSack Swaddle

Swaddling a baby with a blanket is an ancient art form that has been perfected and passed on from generation to generation. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the memo. Luckily, I didn’t have to because I was told about the SleepSack from the very beginning. It is so easy to use, and is super safe for the baby because he can’t break free from it as easily. They come in so many adorable fabrics, too, so you don’t even have to sacrifice your baby’s suave style.

Baby Buddy Baby’s 1st Toothbrush

If your baby ends up being anything like mine, getting him to open his mouth to let you brush his teeth will be a struggle. Well, this genius invention lets your baby brush his own teeth. It is very soft silicone, has a perfect baby-sized handle, and has three sides of bristles to massage your baby’s gums and teeth. And he thinks he is just playing with a toy.

Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes

Are there a lot of light-up, musical toys for babies? Yes! Do they all work at calming a baby? No. I don’t know why, but this baby MP3 player is nothing short of a miracle worker. I keep it in my diaper bag for those “emergency” situations where you can’t get the baby to stop crying and you have no idea what’s wrong. It has worked every single time. No lie. For both kids, too. An added bonus: It plays classical music, which they say can make your kid good at math.

Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion Spray

Once again, there are a million different diaper rash creams out there. Heck, in our book (that was written before I discovered this product) we even recommend a few budget-friendly options, but this one keeps the stuff off of your hands and out of your fingernails. All you have to do is spray it on your baby’s bum: No harm, no foul. Oh, and did I mention it uses all-natural ingredients? That’s what I call a win-win situation.

Note: I have not received any reimbursement from any of the manufacturer’s of these products. They really are what I recommend to (and buy for) my own friends. Read our Disclosure and Disclaimer

What are your must-have items for your baby registry?

Google+