Setting Limits for the Screen

It had become as routine as blinking in our house. Without realizing it, my family had become so accustomed to having the television on that we didn't even think about it when we walked in the door each day. Drop the keys, kick off the shoes, grab the remote.

It hit me the day I did not turn on the TV and my 1-year-old pointed at the screen and started whining. When I said "no," it was a full-on brat attack.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under 2 not watch any TV, or have any screen time. Since my 16-month-old can unlock my iPhone and access her animal flashcard games, I think that goal is a bit unrealistic.

Matt and I decided to severely limit screen time in our house after the TV tantrum. The rules:
One hour of Mickey Mouse for CeCe each day. An episode while we get ready for work in the morning and one in the evening.
Mom and Dad don't leave the TV on unless we are actively watching something. This has spiked because of March Madness, but overall is much less.

The results?
We play outside for longer stretches of time, and CeCe will even run to the front door and bang on it wanting out.
Daddy gets his work done quicker and Mommy reads more books.
And my favorite outcome of it all:

My little bookworm cracks me up. While we haven't eliminated TV entirely, I think limits on the screen are a great thing for a family of any age. You can read about the guidelines from the AAP and more info about the effects of too much screen time for children here at kidshealth.org.


A Sweet Reason to Run

The thought of not being able to celebrate your child's birthday is a heartbreaking one. But because of financial or health circumstances, many Kentucky families can't afford to throw their child a party, let alone buy presents.

Sweet Blessings is a charity I support with all my heart. This non-profit has volunteers working hard in the kitchen every week to provide amazing, "Cake Boss" style birthday cakes for children living with a life-threatening illness or in poverty. Every child deserves to feel special and loved- especially on their birthday. That is the mission.

This May, Sweet Blessings is hosting its first Fondant 5K and 1-Mile Family Cake Walk. I'm going to strap CeCe to my back and walk, and I hope as many families as possible join in. Here is some basic info on the 5K/Walk:

  • The event will be held Sunday, May 6th at Keeneland’s Keene Barn.  
  • The 5K will begin at 4pm and the 1Mile at 4:15.
  •  Pre-registration is preferred, however on-site registration is available beginning at 3pm
  • 5K entry fee is $25
  • 1Mile entry fee is $10
  • T-shirts provided for the first 200 5K registrants
  •  You can run, walk, skip, dance or whatever else you want. There is no time limit, and prizes will not be given for the fastest times.
  • Blue Belle will provide ice cream after you cross the finish line
  • Blue bell will also provide its famous inflatable for the children to play in
  • Four rock bands will be playing.  All musicians are between the ages of 8 and 18.
  • Vendors will be available
  • Other surprises!

The registration form can be downloaded at www.sweetblessingscakes.org. You can also read more about the organization and see a gallery of past birthday cakes on the website.

I hope to see you there!


My Little Helper

CeCe has a natural instinct for helping. Or at least, what she thinks is helping. Really it's more of "I want to do what you are doing, but I'm going to end up making a mess!"

When I unload the dishwasher, she loves to pick up the silverware and hand it to me. Perfect team, right? Until she decides it's more fun to drop the clean silverware on the kitchen floor and yell "Uh-Oh!"

Or when we need to put away her toys, but she throws them so hard into the basket they just go bouncing out across the room.

Laundry has to be her favorite though. First we separate the clothes into baskets, and she promptly throws them onto the floor. Then when the laundry is done, we fold the clothes and she promptly throws them on the floor. Or sometimes, she gets creative with it:

Mommy's (clean) underwear make wonderful scarves, or necklaces, or whatever she was trying to accomplish there. I would never dare to stop this cuteness, but I hate getting to the point where I just say "You are NOT helping. Please go watch Mickey Mouse."

Tasks where my child helps take three times as long to get done. But I know letting her participate it a major part of learning and bonding for us. 

Last week at the grocery store, I allowed CeCe to walk beside me while I carried the basket. After setting the basket on the ground for a moment, I realized there was suddenly a can of coffee, tuna fish and some sort of microwaveable beef stew meal in my basket. CeCe was contributing as many bottom shelf items as she could find.

I returned the unnecessary groceries to their rightful shelves, but was overall pleased that my daughter grasped the concept of putting food from the shelves into the basket. I even gave her the money to hand to the cashier and she did a great job, waving bye-bye to everyone in the store as we left.

It frustrates me to have to re-wash clean dishes or take an extra lap at the grocery just to return all the items my toddler tried to shoplift. But I'm glad that along the way she is picking up new skills. As long as she still is this enthusiastic about chores when she is a teenager :)


The New Bump!

Listen up, readers!

I haven't been so excited to share some news on my blog since the initial day I informed the Internet I was pregnant. Or maybe that CeCe was standing up. Or that she was walking. Or the first time she uttered a consonant sound.

The Baby Bump  has been an annual print maternity guide through Lexington Family Magazine, but I have happily taken on the task of churning out pregnancy and new parent articles year-round. Check out BabyBumpLexington to see our first posts!

I want the site to be a place where you can find health tips, shopping guides, recipes, fun projects and serious news all about your bump and the baby within. I invite and encourage all parents to contribute your ideas, questions and suggestions to The Baby Bump. Let me know what pregnancy- and newborn-related thoughts are swirling around your head, because that is what we want to write about!

Feel free to email me at kathrynrsaltz@gmail.com, or you can find me on Facebook as Katie Saltz. And don't forget to check back each week for new content at www.lexingtonfamily.com/baby-bump.


Our Very Own "Water Park"

Forget DisneyWorld- it seems I have an amusement park in my own home. Who knew what thrills and excitement a 1-year-old could find in a simple bathroom?

CeCe has made it very clear where her new favorite playtime spot is. The germiest place on earth, of course!

Getting ready for work each morning in the bathroom is a family affair, as is bathtime in the evenings. Through all this time crammed into what was once a private space, I have realized what my daughter finds so enthralling about the bathroom.

We have the Wave Pool. CeCe transforms a regular bath into a Splash Mountain adventure, flinging water every which way, flapping her arms to create a rough current, and courtesy of her little butt- plenty of bubble jets.

The shower is her Haunted House. When Matt is showering, CeCe will start pulling aside the shower curtain and he pops his face out and shouts "HI CECE!" She squeals with surprise and runs behind me legs, only to repeat the event as many times as she can before Daddy finished washing his hair.

There is the Tossing Game- meaning anything and everything she can hold, she attempts to toss in the toilet bowl. Extra points if the item is electronic.

We also visit the Gift Shop for souvenirs- which you and I may know as the trash can. Ce really wants to keep those used tissues and strands of dental floss as mementos of this trip.

And we always end with the parade, Grand Marshall CeCe marching everyone out of the park and down the hallway with a toilet brush as her baton.

I know in a few years we will venture to good old Disney and see the real Cinderella's castle, but until then CeCe is enamored with the Tinkle Palace. At least it gives me extra motivation to keep it clean.