How a Baby Living in a Shelter Falling on Her Head Showed Me I’m the Same as Her Mom

My five-year-old daughter and I volunteered at a homeless shelter today.

I’m not sure what I expected to see when I got there, but I was a bit surprised/saddened to meet a mom who had a five-month-old baby. I immediately shared with this mom that I too had a five-month-old at home. My announcement was met with silence. Okay. I guess we weren’t going to launch into a discussion about teething and sleep cycles. I accepted that besides having a baby, I probably had little in common with this woman. Ugh, isn’t that awful that I thought that? But I did.

I proceeded to organize a craft for some of the older kids.

About an hour later, I would realize how foolish my assumption that I had nothing in common with this other mom really was.

The heartbreaking moment I would learn how similar we truly are started innocently enough. The mom was getting ready to feed her baby. The little girl was lying next to her mom on a sofa. I was reading through some volunteer information packets in an adjacent chair as my daughter colored nearby with another girl her age. By chance I looked up to see the baby about to roll right off the sofa.

“Your baby is going to fall!” I called out, but it was too late. As her mom watched, the infant tumbled right off the sofa onto the floor, banging her head on a TV table on the way down. She immediately began to wail in pain.

I leaped to my feet just as the horrified mom scooped her baby up and began to wail herself. I found myself frozen in place watching this frightening yet tender exchange playing out in front of me. The mom cradled her daughter, tears of guilt and fear streaming down her face. “Mommy’s here, baby. It’s okay,” she cooed to her distraught baby.

Without even thinking about it, I began to cry. I saw in this mom the kind of love I feel for my baby. I identified with the guilt of “allowing” your baby to get hurt. Indeed, just a few weeks earlier I’d accidentally clipped the tip of my baby’s finger as I was trying to trim her nails. She’d started screaming and I felt like the worst mom in the world.

Now, I saw this this mom living in the shelter was crying over more than just her baby’s bumped head. I sensed that she was crying for all the ways she’d “failed” as a parent. It was both shattering, relatable and beautiful to behold.

I realized how little it mattered that this mom had fallen on hard times and that I was there as a volunteer. We both loved our daughters immeasurably. We were both moms, and that was all that mattered.

I’m pretty sure my fellow mama felt connected to me as a wiped away my own tears and assured her that I’d been there; I too had seen my little ones get hurt right underneath my nose and I knew how she felt. I told her not to be too hard on herself but I could see wasn’t able to forgive herself yet.

I left the shelter a few hours later but I won’t forget that experience.

Angelcare Baby Monitor Recall

Over half a million Angelcare Baby Monitors are being recalled after two infants tragically died from strangulation. Two more babies became entangled with the cords attached to sensor pads that are placed under the crib mattress as part of the monitoring system but thankfully they are okay.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, if you own a Movement and Sound Baby Monitor made by Angelcare, you should stop using it immediately and contact the company for a repair kit. The kit will include a cord cover that prevents a baby from pulling the 11 foot cord connecting the sensor pad to the monitor into his crib.

Check the back of your baby monitor for the following model numbers: AC1100, AC201, AC300, AC401 AC601 and 49255. You would have purchased the monitor between October of 1999 and September of 2013. The Angelcare baby monitors were sold for between $100 and $300 by major retailers like Babies R Us/Toys R Us, Burlington Coat Factory, Meijer, Sears and Walmart and online on sites such as, and

If you have further questions about this recall or to contact Angelcare, call (855) 355-2643 or send them an email at You can also visit the company’s website for more information.

This recall is scary plain and simple. As a mom of a four-month-old I feel heartbroken for the parents of the two infants who died. Obviously they are living every parent’s worst, worst nightmare.

For me, this recall also underscores the importance of crib safety. Let’s take this as an opportunity to review our child’s sleep environment.

It’s essential to keep a baby’s crib free of any and all hazards. Simply placing a crib near a window with a blind cord can be a serious danger. Placing a stuffed animal in the crib can pose a suffocation risk.

Tonight look at your baby’s crib. Make sure it is safe. And spread the word about this dangerous baby monitor recall.

Do you or someone you know own one of these monitors?

Photo credit: CPSC

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Aggravation Challenge: Update

So here’s where I am with my aggravation experiment: I’m working on just being more mellow and truly it is working. As long as I’m consciously thinking about my level of irritation, I do okay.

As a result, my kiddos have been more mellow too. All around things in our house are more enjoyable.

But it’s a daily challenge; don’t get me wrong! Still, having an actionable goal for myself has really worked. I’m not letting the little things get to me and I’m managing my stress level better.

I feel good. Deep breath. Onward.

Motor and Cognitive Developmental Milestones Birth to School Age

Motor development refers to a child’s abilities with movement while cognitive development is how a child’s learns. Some kids will develop faster in one area than the other. So don’t fret if your neighbor’s toddler is climbing and jumping while your little one has just started walking. And relax if your tot seems puzzled by a toy your friend’s baby has mastered. Every child develops at his own rate.

Baby Business

Baby’s motor development starts at birth according to From the time your tyke starts rolling over, sitting up and crawling, she is on the fast track to moving and grooving just like a big kid. In her first year of life, she’ll also learn to hold and grip toys, among many other exciting physical developments. As the reputable parenting site notes, baby’s curiosity is also growing at a rapid pace. Your wee one will want to explore the world around her with increasing interest. Age appropriate toys will help her fine tune both her motor and cognitive skills. Also, give her plenty of opportunities to get down and move around safely so she can work to become independent and strong.

Toddler Transformations

A toddler’s play reflects his cognitive growth according to You will notice a two-year-old imitating adult activities through games of pretend shopping, cooking and driving. A toddler’s understanding of the world around him is expanding rapidly too, but as the reputable parenting site notes, he may still be difficult to reason with. “You are going to bump your head if you jump on that!” Reading to your little one is one of the best ways to help his cognitive development at this stage. As points out, tots gain early literacy and problem solving skills as you turn the pages of their favorite stories. Meanwhile, a two-year-old is learning to run, kick a ball and climb, among other motor developments. notes that taking your tot outside to play is all that’s needed to encourage him to go, go, go.

Preschool Progress

A preschooler is exploring the world with wide eyed wonder. According to, a child this age is consuming information with voracious hunger. The noted parenting site recommends fostering your kiddo’s interests at this stage to nurture her development. When it comes to motor development, points out that your preschooler is still fine tuning some skills. Important movements to master now are catching a ball, balancing and bike riding.

School Age Advances

Once your sweetie hits school age, she will likely astound you with her cognitive development. From reading and writing to math skills, there is no limit to how much your kiddo is learning. Continue to read with your child and be involved with his schoolwork to support his advancement. Meanwhile, notes that between the ages of 6 and 9, children are still learning how to follow directions. That is why signing your sweetie up for sports can be beneficial for his cognitive and motor development. Indeed, encouraging exercise is key to continued motor development and a healthy lifestyle for all school age kids.

Key Concepts

  • movement and coordination
  • reading to learn
  • kids development



Aggravation Project: Derailed by Outside Stimuli

So the rest of the week with my kiddos went fine. I truly felt better about managing my level of frustration over little things. Then my husband came home for the weekend…

I find that by the time I’ve dealt with the children all week, my fuse for my spouse is short. It may not be fair, but it’s reality. I definitely fell of the wagon and got snippy with the hubs.

Then, I felt the following unfortunate emotions: guilt, regret, disappointment. Luckily the husband I’d just yelled at told me not to be so hard on myself, despite the challenge I’ve put myself up to. What a nice guy…who is also aggravating.

I’m not sure how to avoid getting aggravated when everyone – my kids, my husband, my dog – needs something from me all the time.

Indeed, I’m learning I can keep my aggravation at bay when it’s just my daughters; but add anyone or anything else – the phone, an email, really ANYTHING – and my aggravation level goes off the charts.

So that’s where I am at about a week into my aggravation project. I clearly need to find a way to cope with outside stimuli, be it the man I married or a bad driver. Grr.

6 Gifts for my Kid That Will Prove You Hate Me

Okay, I get it; you hate me. Why else would you give my kid one of these clearly ill intentioned birthday gifts:

1. Play-doh. This sticky, icky goo should come with the following greeting: “Ha, ha good luck getting this out of your rug!” Here’s an idea: why don’t you just wrap up a carton of eggs, stick a bow on it and bring it to my little one’s party?

2. Anything glittery. My hubby especially thanks you for the fact that he couldn’t get the glitter from that princess costume out of his beard before work this morning. He’s sure his new look will go over real well during his big presentation later.

3. Anything alive.  What leads you to believe I need another living thing to care for?

4. Clothes. Face it, we don’t have the same taste in mini fashion. I tend to stay away from clothes that make my daughter resemble a teenage slut.

5. Play makeup. That bright blue eye shadow will undoubtedly look just as pretty on my daughter as it will on the couch, but I’d rather imagine this nightmare scenario instead of live it.
6. Toy weapons. My child will cry, beg and plead with me to let him have that super realistic looking gun you so thoughtfully chose, but I really don’t want my neighbor ducking behind her car the next time he plays outside. So, please don’t turn me into the bad guy and skip gifting my tot with a toy weapon of any kind.

Of course any gift for my child is greatly appreciated as I know you did not have to spend your money on yet another birthday present for someone you only causally know. That being said, can you be sure to include a gift receipt next year?

Aggravation Project: Day 2

So I had someone say to me, “Wow. I couldn’t keep myself from getting irritated at everything for one day let alone 30.” Well, that is kind of the point. Anyone can take a proverbial deep breath for 24 hours. But 30 days? That will be a challenge.

Meanwhile, my kids seemed pretty chilled out yesterday on day one as I tried to set a new tone for our home.

Although last night’s ballet class frenzy lead to the typical feelings of aggravation as I battled dirty diapers, slow dinner eaters and kids who feel the need to bring 82 toys with them for a short car ride.

Certain triggers that never fail to tick me off are tough to avoid. Not sure how to keep from getting frazzled and fed up during particularly challenging times of the day.

Any suggestions?



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