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C-Section Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom and Baby

C-Section Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom and Baby

 As far as my hospital bag was concerned, I was wildly unprepared after the birth of my first child. I had not yet prepared a bag when my water broke at 37 weeks, and I had not anticipated staying in the hospital for 5 days 

Is it Good for Kids to Get Sick?

Is it Good for Kids to Get Sick?

Over the past couple of months, I have had some sort of flu, a stomach bug and most recently covid. There have been a few days of reprieve in-between viruses and bugs, but for the most part, I can’t remember the last time I felt 

Morning Sickness Misery

Morning Sickness Misery

It has been a brutal pregnancy so far. 17 weeks in and I’m finally starting to experience some relief from my morning sickness misery (aka 24/7 sickness). Why it’s called “morning sickness” makes no sense. In fact, I often felt the worst in the evenings and in the middle of the nights.

In the movies, the woman who runs to the bathroom to vomit once at the start of the day is not at all a realistic depiction of morning sickness. At least not in my case, or in the case of many other women. But, who wants to watch a sad movie of a sick, grungy, depleted woman moping about all day and night for weeks or months on end? It would just be a really bad movie.

When Does Morning Sickness Start and End? My Morning Sickness Timeline 

In my case (keep in mind, everyone is different), morning sickness kicked in around 6 weeks pregnant. It got worse between 8 and 10 weeks, then I had a few days of some relief, and then it came back with a vengeance a week later at 11 weeks. And from 11-17 weeks, it was off and on and ranged from only slightly horrible to horribly-horrible. I have never felt so incapacitated for such a long period of time in my life. 

So now at 17 weeks, I still feel like garbage a lot of days and am constantly exhausted to the core, but that feeling of having an unrelenting hang-over combined with the flu has certainly eased up. And I am functional most days, while just operating at lower speeds and with a lot of breaks.

Update: Finally at 20 weeks pregnant, I am happy to report that my morning sickness is gone! I still don’t feel fantastic by any means (a whole other set of symptoms kicks in once that bump starts expanding), but life feels manageable and I feel like I can do things again!

Throughout my first trimester and a good chunk of my second trimester, I was really struggling to get through the days. I felt like I was always just waiting for the days to pass, so that there was some hope that the next would be better. 

I googled “when does morning sickness end” at least a hundred times always hoping for some magical and definitive answer. And some days, I would feel better and think, “Thank god, I’m finally turning a corner!”. But then wham, I’d be knocked back down the next day and could barely stand to be in my body.

What Does Morning Sickness Misery Feel Like?

The ongoing headaches, nausea, digestive issues, and general feelings of misery and exhaustion are enough to drive a person mad (not to mention the billions of trips to the bathroom to pee day and night to really just make the whole experience beautiful).

And I truly don’t even know how to describe my morning sickness, because it was unlike any other sickness I’ve ever felt. The best I can do is say that it was like a combination of feeling car sick, having the flu along with a hangover, and feeling like an alien had taken over my body- all combined to form its own special kind of torture. I know it sounds dramatic, but it was!  

Emotional Effects of Morning Sickness 

I’m not trying to be a negative Nancy here and only focus on the bad, but let’s be real, morning sickness can really take over a life – not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

For me, it was the prolonged nature of it that really ate at my emotional wellbeing. Constantly feeling horrible is just plain old demoralizing. I also felt like I wasn’t being a good parent to my 2 year old son, because I simply had no energy to play with him. And I felt incredibly guilty that my husband was picking up all my slack, even though he never did or said anything to make me feel that way. 

I discuss being a stay at home mom and overcoming some of its challenges in Fighting Stay at Home Mom Shame. The guilt and shame that can creep up on many stay at home moms can be compounded by those feelings of guilt that invade due to morning sickness and vice versa. So it is important to address those feelings and remind ourselves that we are doing just fine when it comes to being valuable human beings. And that’s not just for stay at home moms, but for all moms.  

women feeling depressed due to morning sickness

So while yes, I am so grateful to have the opportunity to have a baby, no, I hated the experience of morning sickness and there’s just no way to sugarcoat that. Even having had a miscarriage and 2 chemical pregnancies prior to this pregnancy, that doesn’t change the fact that a healthy pregnancy is certainly not all sunshine and rainbows. 

So to anyone who hates being pregnant, you are not alone.

And to all those women who experience zero morning sickness and try to explain why they have not had any, no, advice to drink more water and eat more nutritious meals is not helpful. While those are certainly important elements to staying healthy, I truly do not believe that they are enough to battle raging hormones and whatever other evil forces are at work that make some women feel like death during early pregnancy.  

Is Morning Sickness Different for Everyone?

Every pregnancy can be very different. Not only different from woman to woman, but even very different from one pregnancy to the next, for the same woman. For example, my first pregnancy was a breeze compared to my current pregnancy. I had morning sickness and fatigue early on with my first, but nothing like what I have experienced these past few months with this pregnancy.

I also want to acknowledge, that morning sickness is more than just vomiting. I haven’t vomited once during either of my pregnancies, but I assure you, I have felt completely incapacitated and miserable. 

Women who are struggling with morning sickness and pregnancy need support and empathy. They don’t need comparison and invalidating comments about whether or not their morning sickness is legitimate, based on an incomplete or inaccurate understanding of morning sickness. 

No One Really Seems to Know What Causes Morning Sickness

And this leads me to think about how our society in general really doesn’t understand morning sickness. We literally haven’t figured out why exactly morning sickness happens, despite the fact that so many women experience it and it is a fundamental process that perpetuates the human race. 

There are theories, but apparently no one can say for sure why morning sickness occurs for some women. For example, Mayo Clinic explains that often times the severity of morning sickness is associated with higher HCG levels in pregnant women (a hormone your body makes when you are pregnant), but not always. And that many women with healthy pregnancies may experience no morning sickness at all. 

Resources to Help Women Struggling with Morning Sickness?

I imagine this lack of understanding is why there aren’t more resources and support for women experiencing morning sickness. It’s just accepted as something that women have to go through and deal with on their own, and nobody really understands it. 

For example, how many work places have policies in place to support pregnant women with morning sickness? And what kinds of resources are there for stay at home moms who have morning sickness and are trying to take care of other children?

There are of course plenty of articles and brochures you can find online about morning sickness remedies and those can be helpful, but when it comes down to it, resources in terms of direct help are pretty limited outside of your immediate family/inner circle and medical provider. And if you happen to be someone who doesn’t have much support at home or in your surrounding community, it can be hard!

  • I also like the app Peanut for mamas/mamas to be. You can write posts in groups and ask questions, share your pregnancy experiences and make friends!

I will say that for myself, there is no way I would have been able to take care of my 2 year old these past few weeks if my husband had not been playing a huge role. By some wild stroke of luck, the worst of my morning sickness fell almost exactly between the dates my husband was in between jobs and we were moving to a new state.

My husband became our toddler’s main play buddy and took care of essentially all his basic care needs (brushing teeth, preparing meals, etc). I’m sure many stay at home moms who experience prolonged morning sickness do not have another adult taking care of their children all day. 

And how they survive, I do not know. I also do not know how women who are working at paid jobs throughout their pregnancies manage. So kudos and hugs to all who are getting through the treacherous days of morning sickness.  

Morning Sickness WILL End

So for all the women who are experiencing debilitating morning sickness, all I can say is that you are not alone and that it will eventually pass (even if it’s not until the end of a pregnancy). When it’s happening, it feels like years have passed and that you can’t possibly stand one minute more of it. But there is an end in sight and hopefully the horror of those first few months of pregnancy will be forgotten one day!

If in the throes of morning sickness and you need to vent or have a space to be heard, please leave a comment below!

Sandwich Generation Planning

Sandwich Generation Planning

According to Pew Research, the “sandwich generation” describes, “those who have a living parent age 65 or older and are either raising a child under age 18 or supporting a grown child”. And they explain that the sandwich generation often is providing financial and or emotional support for 

Fighting Stay at Home Mom Shame

Fighting Stay at Home Mom Shame

After meeting someone new, I always dread that question, “What do you do?” This question used to be a source of pride for me when I was working (in a paid position) and/or was studying in school. Now though, I feel a touch of shame 

Simple Homemade Granola Bars for Toddlers

Simple Homemade Granola Bars for Toddlers

The concept of store-bought granola bars is great – easy, convenient grab and go snacks. The taste of them however, is often overly sweet and unappetizing in my opinion. And there’s just something about unwrapping food from shiny plastic that has been sitting in a box for who knows how long that doesn’t feel quite right.

Don’t get me wrong, I purchase my fair share of processed snacks from the grocery store. But I try not to rely on these types of snacks for my toddler all of the time. 

So I have been thinking about how great it would be to find a recipe for simple homemade granola bars for toddlers. My criteria for a worthy recipe includes the following;

  • Easy to make
  • Few ingredients
  • Whole food ingredients (unprocessed or minimally processed)
  • Tasty

I also wanted an apple flavored granola bar, because my toddler was having absolute meltdowns over some of the store bought apple Nutri Grain bars (he can’t get enough of those!). So I started experimenting with some apple based granola bar recipes, that didn’t have all the strange ingredients found in the store bought varieties. 

I landed on a recipe for “Healthy Apple Pie Oat Bars” from My Kids Lick the Bowl, and just added some fresh apple to it and experimented with some of the substitutes/options. I tried a couple of other apple bar recipes, and this one adapted from My Kids Lick the Bowl was definitely my favorite!

Ingredients for Homemade Granola Bars for Toddlers

  • 2 Cups Quick Rolled Oats
  • 1 Small-Medium Sized Apple
  • 1 Cup Applesauce
  • 1 Egg
  • 1.5 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons Unrefined Coconut Oil
  • Butter or coconut oil to grease a baking dish
You could also add other granola bar type ingredients your toddler likes to the mixture (eg, raisins, dried cranberries, shredded carrot, etc).

Directions

Aside from the ingredients, you only need 1 large mixing bowl, a baking dish and a fork to make these! Basically just mix all the ingredients together well, then smooth the mixture out flat onto a buttered baking dish, and bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes or so!
 
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Add 2 cups quick rolled oats and 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon to a large bowl and mix them together.
  • Add 1 cup of applesauce to the same mixing bowl.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in the microwave, and then add it to the mixing bowl.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to the bowl.
  • Crack an egg and add it to the mixture.
  • Mix all the ingredients together well. 
  • Finely chop a small-medium sized apple (ends up being about 1 cup) and mix them into the mixture. If you are making this for a very young child, be aware of the size of apple bits to avoid any choking hazard. You can also leave the apple out, but I like the texture, extra flavor and nutrients it adds.
  • Butter a baking dish, and add the mixture to the dish. Flatten it out evenly and put it in the oven to bake for 25 minutes.
  • Cool and cut.
soft baked apple toddler granola bars
simple homemade apple granola bars for toddlers

My toddler eats these bars for snacks, breakfasts or as side options for lunches and dinners! He also loves to help make these bars. There aren’t so many ingredients that it takes forever, and he enjoys dumping in all the ingredients and stirring them together. So it’s a great indoor activity to do with little ones. 

I store these homemade granola bars in a Tupperware in the fridge for a couple days. They’re usually gone pretty quickly because they are such an easy and convenient snack or side option! I like to have one for breakfast myself, or grab one to snack on as we are running out the door.

toddler eating homemade apple granola bar

How did these homemade bars turn out for you and your toddler? Please share in the comments below!

For more simple, delicious and nutritious toddler snack and meal ideas head to my Easy Toddler Recipes page!

Is a Chemical Pregnancy a Miscarriage?

Is a Chemical Pregnancy a Miscarriage?

My Chemical Pregnancies – What is a Chemical Pregnancy? – Is a Chemical Pregnancy a Miscarriage? – Do Repeated Chemical Pregnancies Count as “Recurrent Miscarriage”? – After a blighted ovum miscarriage about 6 months ago, I was cautiously optimistic that I would go on to 

Fighting the Mom Guilt Monster this Mother’s Day

Fighting the Mom Guilt Monster this Mother’s Day

While TV ads and hallmark cards often suggest that all “good” mothers want to spend Mother’s Day with their families, I am here to tell you otherwise. Most moms with young kids that I know just want some guilt free, luxurious alone time. To simply 

Why Does my 2 Year Old have an Imaginary Friend?

Why Does my 2 Year Old have an Imaginary Friend?

Meet Bobby: he is approximately 2 inches tall, has grey hair, blue eyes and wears train pajama pants. Bobby likes to run fast and he also like to hide in things – like pillows, snack cups and avocados. He can even go into other people’s bodies and become them!

This is the gist of what I have gleaned about my 2 year old’s imaginary friend. Bobby first came into our lives when my son was about 27 months old. And now a month later, Bobby seems to be a nearly constant presence.

When my 2 year old first started mentioning Bobby, my husband and I were not sure what he was talking about. When my husband brought up the possibility of an imaginary friend though, my son’s constant chatter about “Bobby” started to make more sense.

And while I was amused by Bobby, I started to wonder, why does my 2 year old have an imaginary friend? Should I be worried? Is my toddler lonely? Is it normal for 2 year olds to have imaginary friends? And what exactly are 2 year old’s envisioning when they talk about their imaginary friends?

Child Development and Imaginary Friends

As it turns out, Healthline explains that imaginary friends are usually nothing to worry about. In fact, they are often a sign of a healthy imagination and a desire to explore and develop new social and emotional skills. And in terms of prevalence, The Atlantic reports that “…by age 7, 65 percent of children will have an imaginary friend…”. Furthermore, imaginary friends can take all sorts of shapes and forms; fantastical creatures, objects, entities, there really seems to be no limit!

Important to note though, Romper shares some scenarios in which an imaginary friend could signal cause for concern. Examples of this might include something like your child saying something bad has happened to their imaginary friend, or blaming inappropriate behavior on their imaginary friend. This could indicate they are using their imaginary friend to talk about something bad that has actually happened to them, or that they are struggling with certain behaviors. 

Since my toddler has not expressed any concerning issues regarding Bobby, and Bobby has only once mischievously poked me in the eye, I’m inclined to celebrate my 2 year old’s imaginary friend. I love hearing about Bobby’s latest antics and my son lights up and giggles whenever he talks about his imaginary friend. And despite my son’s wide eyed amazement whenever he spots Bobby running around the house, Katie Lear explains that kids usually know that their imaginary friends are imaginary. 

So as I learn more about Bobby everyday, I also learn more about my son. I learn about his imagination and creativity, his growing social awareness, his interests and likes, his personality and his emotional development. When I started seeing Bobby as an extension of my son’s internal world, I realized just how much he was expressing about himself!

Toddlers Express Their Emotions through Imaginary Friends

It is easier for kid’s to understand and talk about their emotions when they assign it to a character outside of themselves, or in my son’s case, his imaginary friend. Kaiser Permanente uses the term “symbolic language” to define this phenomena of children using other people or animals from stories to express their emotions. By using a character, they are able to explore and talk about what they are experiencing and feelings, without having to directly talk about themselves. 

Here are some typical comments my toddler makes regarding his imaginary friend;

“Bobby’s angry.” – Like any toddler, my 2 year old gets angry and frustrated sometimes. But he is learning how to identify and express those emotions! And this indicates that he is learning to regulate his emotions, which is an important part of healthy emotional development. You can read more about emotional regulation development and toddlers in my post on “Helping Toddlers Deal with Big Feelings”. 

“Bobby loves mommy.” – While my 2 year old has never said, “I love Mommy”, I am super touched that Bobby loves me :). I often tell my toddler, “I love you”, and so I think he is learning more about our parent-child relationship and loving one another.

Toddlers Express Their Interests and Personalities Through Imaginary Friends

It makes sense that kids would create an imaginary friend that shares their own interests and personality traits that they can have fun playing with! And having an imaginary friend can help them practice their social skills before they make friends in the real world. 

Below are a couple of examples of statements my 2 year old has made about his imaginary friend;

“Bobby jumped in the snack cup!” – The fact that Bobby is only about 2 inches tall and is constantly running and hiding in things makes me think about my toddler’s active and playful nature. It is not surprising that Bobby is always on the move and playing games. I’m sure my toddler will be making some wild little friends in the real world soon. 

“Bobby is running outside with a banana!” – My son loves to run. Anytime, anywhere. And he loves bananas. So, often interpretations regarding imaginary friends’ behaviors are pretty straightforward!

Supporting Imagination and Social-Emotional Development in Toddlers

I often ask my son questions about his imaginary friend to get a better understanding of what is going on for him internally. And I’m often amazed at how much my 2 year old is able to communicate about his imaginary friend and indirectly himself!

So I always let my toddler lead the conversation and have full ownership of whatever vision he has cooked up of his imaginary friend (unless it’s something regarding an undesirable behavior like hitting etc). It’s always entertaining to hear his responses, and I love supporting his wild imagination!

Does your child have an imaginary friend? Please say hi and tell me a bit about it in the comments below!

Homemade Kinetic Sand for Toddlers

Homemade Kinetic Sand for Toddlers

Homemade kinetic sand is made up of oil, cornstarch and sand. These ingredients turn the sand into a crumbly claylike material. So you can mold kinetic sand similarly to how you can mold wet sand, but it doesn’t have the weight and moisture of wet