Saturday, March 31, 2012

Shutterfly Winner!

The winner of the giveaway from Shutterfly is... jaclyn! Congrats jaclyn! Please email me at valplowman@gmail.com to claim your prize. You have one week or another winner will be chosen.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Pregnant and Coughing?

image source
At my last OB appointment, I was running through my list of questions. My final question was, "What kinds of cough suppressants can I take while pregnant?" because I had this cough that was just lingering (I didn't tell her the lingering part--just asked the question). She told me, we wrapped up, and she started to leave.

Then the House moment happened.

You know--House, the show?

"Do you find that you have heartburn constantly?" she asked.

"Yes." I replied, wondering why she asked. I always have heartburn when pregnant. Always.

She then explained about the sphincter relaxing during pregnancy due to the hormones released to help birth the baby...Yes, I know. This is my fifth pregnancy.

"And the number one cause for a chronic cough is reflux. You don't have a headcold or anything, so if you are coughing, it is probably due to reflux."

What!?!?!?!!!!!!!

Lightbulb going off.

I coughed when laying down. I coughed immediately after eating. But other than that, I did not cough. This made sense!

She recommended I take Prilosec or another OTC reflux medication. "I know it is medicine, but it will help." See? She knows me. She knows how I hate taking medicine, especially when I am pregnant.

So I went home. I did not buy any medication, but I did take a nice drink of Mylanta every time I started a coughing fit, and it worked! And it continues to work!

So if you or your baby have a chronic cough, consider the possibility of it being caused by reflux. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Baby Body Signs: The Nose



Did you know that a newborn recognizes a mother through smell first? Scientists even say a baby at 27 weeks gestation can sense 120 different smells found in amniotic fluid. 

The nose can cue you into problems. Baby Body Signs  has a chapter dedicated to the nose. Here are some things to notice and things not to worry about. This is not a complete list of what is discussed in the book, so for more information on the nose, see the book.

Nose-Flaring
When a newborn breaths, she will likely flare her nose, especially while eating. Nose-flaring when not eating can be a sign of illness, so if your child also has grunting, rapid breathing, sucking in chest muscles, tightening belly muscles, or contracting or flexing neck muscles, you should consult a doctor.


Stopping Breathing
"All babies occasionally stop breathing for a few seconds during sleep" (page 98).  This typically lasts no more than 15 seconds. If your baby stops breathing for longer periods than 15 seconds, goes limp, turns colors, or seems to be choking, you want to get to a doctor immediately. Try to wake the baby without shaking.

Some apnea is caused by enlarged tonsils and adenoids, obesity, reflux, or facial or head abnormalities. This may or may not be accompanied with snoring. I would bring snoring and/or apena to the attention of your doctor so you can be sure there is not some issue that needs to be resolved.

Stuffing Noses
This is not stuffy noses, but the act of shoving things up the nose. Girls are more likely than boys to put things in their noses. 

So what do you do if your child puts something up the nose? 
  • Do not try to get it out if you cannot see it or if you cannot easily get it
  • Do not use tweezers or cotton swabs to remove an object
  • Do not try to induce sneezing
About a year ago, McKenna put a peanut up her nose. It was our first time encountering such an action with one of our children, and we had no idea what to do. We tried to get her to blow her nose, my husband tried to use tweezers to get it out (oops! Nothing bad happened because of it, but apparently tweezers can damage nose tissue and/or push the object further). It was almost her nap time, and I knew I would not feel comfortable putting her to bed with something in her nose. We took a trip to the pediatricians office.

We sat in the exam room waiting for him. He came in, looked, and left to get something to remove it. When he was walking back in the room, it came out on its own. Her nose had started running like crazy and it just carried it out with it. Our doctor is awesome and didn't even charge us for the visit. It taught me to leave it alone, keep the child sitting up, and let time work. However, if it didn't come out rather quickly on its own, I would definitely visit the doctor to have it removed.

Nose Picking
Nose picking is pretty common and pretty normal. It can cause problems by forcing bacteria further into the nose. The book suggests talking to your doctor if it becomes a big problem.

Something I found interesting is a doctor in Austria says picking your nose and eating it "is a great way of strengthening your body's immune system" (page 102)--he says the bacteria found in the buggers acts like medicine when it reaches your intestines. I found that amusingly interesting and thought I would share. 

Related Posts/Blog Labels:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Babywise Nap App

Exciting news! The Ezzos have released a Babywise Nap App available through the App Store for iPhones 3 and 4:

About The Babywise Nap App:

Your baby has always been a good sleeper, especially at naptime, but is suddenly waking 30 to 45 minutes into his nap with a forceful cry. The cry is not the problem but it does signal a problem that must be solved.

The Babywise Nap App is an analysis tool that can help any parent isolate the underlying cause of nap disruptions and sleep disturbances for infants between 2 to 12 months of age. By working through five basic question, the App will help reduce the hundreds of nap disturbance variables to the most likely cause for
a baby’s sleep disturbance and create a list of the most appropriate solutions based on the data provided. The App is intuitive! The application can distinguish between the naps of a three month old and a six month old, a breast fed baby and a formula fed baby; and babies already taking solid foods. Watch the Babywise Nap App

Video: www.PocketParenting.com

(App will be available for Android devices in May 2012)

Poll Results: WHAT AGE DID YOU MOVE TO A BOOSTER SEAT AT MEALTIME?

15 months or younger
  26 (30%)
16-17 months
  8 (9%)
18-20 months
  16 (19%)
21-23 months
  10 (11%)
24 months or older
  20 (23%)
Never
  4 (4%)

Votes so far: 84 

Facebook Results:


15 months or younger

16-17 months

18-20 months

21-23 months

24 months or older

Never
15 months or younger=8 votes
16-17 months= 3 votes
18-20 months= 5 votes 
21-23 months=1 vote
24 months or older= 3 votes
Never=0 votes
20 votes on Facebook

RELATED POSTS/BLOG LABELS:


Reminder: You can leave comments on poll results posts if you would like to add to the poll after it has closed. This would be helpful for those who have more than one child, those whose children have reached certain ages after a poll closed, and those who didn't visit the blog while that poll was open. To find closed polls, click on the poll results link above

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The 4 S's (three years later)

image source
When McKenna was a baby, I used Tracy Hogg's Four S's to help her sleep (though we only used the first three). It seemed to really help her settle in for sleep peacefully. When I shared about us using it, a reader commented about it seeming to be a bit more of "a production" than she wanted, and another reader wondered how this would translate long-term.

Well, McKenna is now three years old, so I thought I would post about the 4 S's from the perspective of her  being an older child.

I really liked our 3 S's we used and I plan to do them with my next child.

I continued to hold McKenna with her face over my shoulder while I sang her sleep-time lullaby until she was around 2.5 or so. I was amazed that every time we went into her room, I held her like that, I could literally feel her body relax just like I did as a newborn. She was instantly ready for sleeping. I found this to be fabulous because toddlers are often very wound up for nap time, so it was great to have something like that to calm her and prepare her so quickly.

Once I became pregnant, I knew that this wasn't something I was going to do as a large pregnant lady, so I started putting her in her bed while I sang instead of holding her. She has done just fine! She sleeps great and hasn't protested at all with the change.

And so my conclusion is that this action of the 4 S's did not create a sleep prop. It was beneficial not only for a newborn, but for a toddler as well. It didn't cost me any more time than I would take to put her to bed anyway. Therefore, I find it very valuable in helping your newborn baby to sleep. It is definitely not a move I regret making, and it is a move I intend to repeat.

See Sleep Training: The Four S's for more.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pre-Toddlers and Emotions



Emotional responses are a complex thing--even adults often can't explain why they "feel" a certain way. On Becoming Pre-Toddlerwise has two great ideas for helping parents encourage happy emotions while discouraging angry emotions (pages 100-101).

The first tip is to respond to joy with joy. When your child is excited, you be excited, too. Reinforce that joy by showing you are happy for your child.

The second tip is to respond to anger with gentleness. Do not respond with anger. If your child yells or talks unkindly, do not respond in the same manner. Respond with kindness, gentleness, and patience. This is of course not always so simple to do, but I have personally found this to be very effective. Responding with anger reinforces the anger. Patience does not reinforce it, and it demonstrates the correct way to react when upset. 

These are very simple and yet very effective tips. They are also great because they are something you control completely. You control your reactions, so you have full power over this tip!

Related Posts/Blog Labels:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Shutterfly Giveaway!



I am sure many of you have heard of Shutterfly.com and the many great things you can do there! Shutterfly has some new things they are just coming out with:

1.       Storybook of Facebook Photos
Pull pictures straight from a proud parent's Facebook page to create this stunning personalized storybookfor baby.  It's a sweet suprise for the family when you gift it upon meeting the child.
2.       Birth Invitation
In this age of the modern family, parents aren't the only ones in the room when baby makes his or her debut! A birth invitation is a formal way of getting those closest to you enthused about attending the labor and delivery.
3.       The Moment We Met Momento
To commemorate the first moments shared between baby and special friends and relatives, use the images taken to create photo plaques that can be gifted or used as nursey deco
4.       Explain the Name
Parents fret for months about choosing the perfect moniker for their child and often the story of how the name came to be is rather interesting.  Include it on the back of the baby's birth announcement.
5.       Don't Play Favorites!
It's tough to choose a single portrait of baby so don't!  Have each family member (older siblings included) select their favorite snapshot to create a collage announcement.

Lots of fun things especially for parents.

Today, Shutterfly is giving away 15 flat 5x7 stationery cards to a lucky winner! Here is how you enter:



For Your First Entry:
Become a follower of this blog. Then leave a comment. If you are already a follower (the
thing where your cute face pops up with all the other cute faces of people following),
comment telling me so.

Sample Entry
I am a follower of Chronicles of a Babywise Mom!

For Your Second Entry:
If you are the winner, you will need to have a Shutterfly linked email address. If you do not have one, set up an account at Shutterfly (it is free!). Once you have an account, share that you have one (you don't need to share the email address)!

Sample Entry
I now have an account!

For Your Third Entry:
Like Chronicles of a Babywise Mom on Facebook. Already do? Tell me so. Comment saying you like it.

Sample Entry
Hi! I like Chronicles of a Babywise Mom on Facebook!

For Your Fourth Entry:
Follow Chronicles of a Babywise Mom on Twitter.

Sample Entry
Hi! I follow Chronicles of a Babywise Mom on Twitter!

For Your Fifth Entry:
Free Entry! But you have to enter to get it.

Sample Entry
Entering for free!


For Your Sixth Entry:
If you win, what do you think you will get? Birthday invites? Family cards? Birth announcement? Comment with your choice.

Sample Entry
I am debating between birthday party invite and a birth announcement...

For Your Seventh Entry:
Blog, update your status, or tweet about this giveaway. Then comment saying you did so and which you did.

Sample Entry
I tweeted! @valplowman

Entry Rules
  • You must leave a comment in order to have an entry.
  • You must leave a separate comment for each entry. This is not so I can get lots of comments--it is because it makes it a million times easier to choose a winner. It takes less time, and less time is good. Plus, it makes sure I don't miss an entry.
  • You don't have to do all seven entries...for example, if you just want to follow this blog, you can just do entry one.
  • One entry per comment.
  • Up to seven entries per person.
  • You must fulfill the rules of each entry for each entry to count. If I see the entry is not valid (did not meet entry requirements), I will disqualify your entry. Trust me, I check.
  • Entries will be accepted until Saturday, March 31 when I choose the winner.
  • The winner will be randomly selected at random.org
  • The winner will be announced Saturday, March 31.
  • If you would like, you can add your email address to your entry. If you are the winner, I will email you to let you know. You do not need to add your email address in order to win. I understand not everyone wants to share their email addresses with the world. I will announce the winner on the blog, so you can check the blog Saturday to find out if you won.
  • Once the winner is announced, you will have one week to contact me or another winner will be chosen. Be sure to check back. The only thing worse than not winning is to win but not realize it in time!

The Winner is...

The winner of the gift  bags from For Your Little Monkey is...

Serra!

Please email me at valplowman@gmail.com. You have one week or another winner will be chosen. Congrats!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Pinteresting Fridays: Hair Ideas

Here are some great sites to find ideas for doing hair--yours and your little girl's!

by The Small Things

Cute Girls Hairstyles--for Moms and Girls



by Hairstyles by Mommy


by The Story of a Princess and Her Hair



by My Yellow Sandbox


You can find many, many more great ideas on my Hair board.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mistakes with Shaping Influences

 Shepherding a Child's Heart  talks about six influences that shape a child's life discussed in chapter two: Structure of Family Life, Family Values, Family Roles, Family Conflict Resolution, Family Response to Failure, and Family History. Each of these things impact who a child is.
image source

Tedd Tripp gives parents two warnings, however, when thinking about shaping influences: Determinist and denial.

First, denial because that is short and simple. Denial is believing a child is unaffected by early childhood. Life experience impacts you. That needs to be accepted and worked with.

Next is the determinist. Seeing influences deterministically means you believe "...the child is a helpless victim of the circumstances in which he was raised" (page 15). I really love Tripp's advice on this topic. This determism can impact in two ways: one, you make excuses for a person because of the child-rearing and expect less of that person. Two is that you mistakenly think that you can single-handedly control the influences in your child's life so that all shaping influences will be positive. 

"You make a grave mistake if you conclude that childrearing is nothing more than providing the best possible shaping influences for your children" (page 15). He then goes on to talk about how many Christian parents think they can do this by sending to the right Christian school or by homeschooling and provide the best possible childhood and the child will turn out okay. He points out "Children are never passive receivers of shaping. Rather, they are active responders" (page 16) and "...the outcome is more complex than whether you have done the right things in the right way. Your children are responsible for the way they respond to your parenting" (page 16). 

I know several older people with grandchildren that I greatly respect. Some have children who have turned out amazing. They will also have children who have strayed from what their parents have taught them. No matter what the parent does, the child always has the ability to choose his or her own path. Hearing women with children who have strayed talk, I know it is a painful thing for them to watch. I know it wrenches their souls. And I know that it can happen to any parent. 

Of course, there are a lot of things you can do. You can do your very best. And that is it. After that, it is your child's decision. Life experience does have a huge impact, and knowing the past experiences can help us know better how to handle current experiences.

A huge influence in how a child turns out is the child's heart--the moral compass--the child's values. Shaping influences are important, but they are not it. You can't just control environment and call it good. There needs to be heart training. And even after all you do, your child will still be a person who can choose for himself his course in life. 

Related Posts/Blog Labels:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Balancing Technology

Ha ha! I found this so funny. Source.

Technology is everywhere. We have our smartphones, computers, TVs, iThings, video games. Since we are really the first generation of parents to raise children in a complete technology era, we do not have the benefits of seeking wisdom from those who have "been there/done that" and get the tips for what to do, what not to do, how to limit, and what freedoms are appropriate. 

I recently read  "Keeping Safe & Balanced in a Google-YouTube-Twitter-Facebook-iEverything World" by Jan Pinborough and loved the ideas and advice in it. It is about staying safe and balanced with the technology around us. I will share ideas from it in this post. 

Technology has many great purposes. We can accomplish a lot of amazing things with it--for example, grandparents living across the country (or world) can still see and talk to their grandchildren daily. Technology connects people. Technology can save our time. 

But for every good, there is a potential bad as well. It might have the ability to save time, but I think we all know it can definitely be a time suck. I know if I don't sit down at the computer with goals in mind, an hour can go by and I haven't actually managed to accomplish anything other than some aimless surfing. And not the kind that exercises the body.

It can also distract us a great deal from reality, and I believe it is addicting. Not that it can be, that it is and that it needs to be monitored. I have read that technology creates a chemical process in your brain that is addictive to the mind just as drugs are addictive to the body. I personally have no trouble believing that.

So I think it has great purposes--obviously. I wouldn't be a blog writer if I thought technology was pure evil. I don't. But I do think it is addictive and that you need to monitor yourself and your children and often reevaluate your use of technology. 

The article I linked provides some ideas on safety measures for technology--I wouldn't consider myself knowledgeable in those areas and leave that kind of stuff to my husband, so I won't pretend to know about it. If you are interested in the articles recommendation, it is linked for your reading pleasure. There is a lot of information out there on internet safety. 

Finding Balance
Like I said, our children are the first to grow up their entire lives with technology such a prevalent part of it. I remember my senior year of high school seeing some advertisements during the super bowl for some internet sites. I remember my Dad and I making fun of those commercials. Who wants to hear about a website when they were watching TV? Well, we obviously were clueless. 

When I was growing up, if I wanted to talk to a friend, I had to call the friend's house and there was a good chance I would talk to a parent first. In our modern day, most teenagers have cell phones and many won't call a friend if they have to call a house phone. Not having a cell phone can exterminate a teen's social life.

I often see adults around my age or older on the Internet declaring an Internet fast because they have determined they have become addicted. These are responsible, busy adults with children who have realized they are spending more time than they should on...whatever. We are in an interested situation because we have this technology available to us that we didn't have the benefit of having parents guide us on using responsibly as children. It didn't exist when we were children (I know some of you are young enough that it did for you--just let me pretend I am younger than I am for now--thanks). 

Jan Pinborough, author of the article I am referring to, says, "An important element of parenting in the digital age is helping children establish limits for digital use. Children also need guidance in learning to wisely balance digital activities with reading, outdoor activities, physical exercise, creative play, service, work, and time with family."

I love that. I believe it. I think an interesting challenge we face is that we are really learning how to balance all of that ourselves right now, aren't we?

Some people could react by completely banning technology from their homes. I can't say if that is good or not, but I will say it isn't what I think is best. I think technology is here to stay, and rather than burrying it, I think it is wise to take Pinborough's advice and teach our children how to balance technology so it is a normal part of life--not an obsessive part.

Ken Knapton, an Internet safety expert, says, "One reason it's so easy to overuse digital activities is that they lack the kind of natural boundaries that help us moderate other activities. A child stops playing softball when his or her arm gets tired or when it gets too dark to see the ball. It's much easier to ignore the subtle cues that tell us when it's time to stop watching funny animal videos, looking at friends' Facebook photos, or beating the next game level."

That makes a lot of sense! I hadn't ever thought of it in that way before. 

We have a unique responsibility as parents right now. We need to teach our children something that we not only didn't experience as children, but haven't necessarily mastered as adults.

Digital Rules
An important step in this responsibility is to set up digital rules for your family. Here are some general ideas for rules:
  • Set time limits
  • Have days and or times when technology is off-limits. 
  • Keep technology in full view of family (regularly check iPods, phones, etc. Also have the computer in a location that can easily be seen by family members)
10 Questions to Ask Yourself
As we think about the rules for our family, I thought of these questions to help guide policy:
  • How much time is of value (even if the value is purely entertainment) and at what point does that value become overshadowed by a potential negative OR has simply reached its climax for value?
  • What age do I want my child to have a cell phone (I have no conclusion on this at this point for our own family)?
  • What types of technology are appropriate for my individual child?
  • What, if any, impact do I see on my child after using various technologies?
  • What will our policies be on technology outside the home (in waiting rooms, at siblings sporting events, etc)?
  • What will our policies be on technology in the vehicle?
  • What do I need to teach my child about using this technology safely?
  • Is the use of technology impeding with my child's other activities? Is my child still interested in playing with friends and family members? Is my child still getting enough exposure to the other varied facets of life?
  • What will be our policy on technology when a child is sick or has other out-of-ordinary circumstances?
  • What do we hope to gain from the use of this technology?
Next time, I will share the 10 signs of digital overload along with 10 ways to cut back that are found in the article. If you can't wait, you can go read the original now :)

What guidelines do you use when setting technology rules for your family? What tricks have you found that help you and your family balance technology? Do you have specific rules at this point?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

7 Things Having Pets Taught Me About Parenting

by Valerie Plowman from www.babywisemom.com

When I was growing up, I had all kinds of pets. We always had pets and always had a lot of pets at once. We had the standard for our area of the world: dogs, cats, and fish. We also had less common but not outside the range of normal with birds, hamsters, gerbils, and rabbits. We  also had less common horses, miniature horses, sheep, and pygmie goats. Among those animals, I helped train many of them and I showed miniature horses and lambs. Needless to say, I had a lot of experience working with animals.


Now that I am a parent, I am less enthusiastic about pets. They take time, money, and attention I would rather be spending on my children. As a child, my pets were the things I loved and nurtured. As a mother, I have my children. As anyone who has had a puppy before can attest, a puppy is much like a toddler so far as time and attention required along with messes made. 

Despite my lowered enthusiasm level, we have dogs and cats. We have also had rabbits and fish. 

As a parent, you do a lot of pondering on what made you into the person you are--more specifically the parent you are. In my reflections, I have been surprised at how much impact taking care of pets has had on me as a parent. 

Because of this, I have a strong value for my children having pets. A secret really known among mothers is that the person who takes the most care of a pet in the family is mom. Our first night home with a new puppy when Brayden was barely a year old taught me that lesson. I realized my mom did a lot more than I ever knew she did. So yes, pets are a lot of extra work for mom. Most moms aren't really looking for ways to fill their time--it is pretty well filled already. Despite that, I know there is value in pets so I am willing to put that time in.

So what did I learn that was of such great worth? Here it is:

How to Nurture
As I watch Kaitlyn oogle over her cats, I can see how much having a pet feeds that natural nurturer within you. You love the animal. You hold, pet, hug, and/or talk to this animal. The great thing about many pets is the amount of love you receive in return. It really helps you develop your nurturing abilities.

How to Provide
Even if a parent is in the background making sure things get taken care of, having a pet teaches you how to provide for another living animal. It teaches you about putting others before yourself. Growing up in a farming community, there were certain rules people lived by. "If you wouldn't drink from the bucket, don't make your animal drink from it" and "Feed your animal before you feed yourself" are a couple of rules that come to mind. Having pets teaches you responsibility and it helps you understand the meaning of another living creature being dependent on you for life.

How to Teach
Training an animal teaches you a lot about how to train and teach anyone. You quickly learn that an animal will take a mile if you give an inch and that positive reinforcement enhances the behavior you are seeking. Children are of course much smarter than animals, so in many ways they are easier and in many they are harder. They are better able to test limits, but also pick up on things faster. 

Another valuable lesson from animals and training is that it takes time and repetition to learn a new skill. A puppy isn't shown how to "sit" one time and then is a master at it from that point forward. It takes time, patience, and consistency to get there.

How to Discipline
When I showed miniatures horses, I showed a stallion. He had a full sized personality in a small little body. One class we did was an obstacle class. In this class, we had a shape on the ground (typically made from PVC pipe) where I was to lead my horse, drop his lead line, walk all the way around him, and then pick up his lead line. His job was to stay in the shape.

We were incredible at this task. I was not the type of trainer that used a whip or ever hit my animal--that has never been my way. I have a nice firm voice and a killer "mommy glare." We trained in a small field next to a pen where we kept a full-sized gelding. This little stallion loved to try to attack the gelding (for those who don't know, a gelding is a male horse who has been neutered). 

I would drop his lead line, and he would make a run for trying to get to that gelding. I would grab his lead line, force him to look me in the eye, and tell him that was not acceptable.

I got that horse to hold perfectly still in that field. If he so much as moved his head to the side, he got the eye glare and lecture. In our halter class, the only muscle he would move was his eyes as he watched me walk around him. The judges were always impressed. 

The eyes are also very important in dealing with dogs and above all cats. 

I learned about the power of love and trust when working with lambs. A lamb who trusts you is easily led without a halter. A lamb who does not trust you is practically impossible to move even with a halter. 

I also learned about dealing with trying to train a cat (not easy)--essentially akin to a strong-willed child

Through training my animals, I learned a lot about discipline. I learned about consistency, eye contact, and the power of a look. I also learned about the importance of love and trust. 

How to Work
Animals take work to feed, water, clean up after, and groom. Then you need to make sure they get plenty of exercise and love. Some you even have to potty train. Sound familiar? 

How to Schedule
My animals were fed and exercised on a schedule, and they were hungry at the times they usually got fed. When I became a mother, I had no problem understanding that eating at the same time of day=hungry at the same time each day.

I also learned how to balance time between caring for the animal and attending to my other responsibilities. I learned how to schedule myself to get everything done I needed to.

How to Understand Non-Verbals and Non-Talkers
Animals don't really talk--not like humans do. Some pets, like parrots, can be trained to say words, but you won't be having any real conversations to get at the heart of the needs of the animal. 

Children are the same. As babies, you need to learn to recognize what different cries sound like (I could totally tell you exactly what my cat wanted by the way she mewed) and what their non-verbal language is telling you. Toddlers and even preschoolers are very much the same. Even though they can talk, they have a hard time verbalizing what it is they want and need for quite some time. 

I learned to recognize boredom, hunger, and even "I am about to be naughty" to name a few. This was a great skill to transfer over into being a mother. I already had experience in reading non-verbals and listening to tones from my animals.  

So What?
You might be wondering that. So what?

I share this because I don't think it is something you would know unless you have a similar experience. I share it because I think having a pet is very valuable in preparing our children for their futures. So if you are inclined to have a furry friend at your home, I would encourage you that despite the difficulties, it can have some great value for your children. A pet can be a great pal, and it can be even more than just that. Your child can learn valuable skills that can help greatly down the road.

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