Thursday, December 1, 2011

Name the Blue!

After the fabulous suggestions received through the Name the Pink contest I hosted on Facebook, I decided that the name Cobalt Blue probably isn't that great after all. My favorite name for the bright pink Baby Dipper bowl is Tickled Pink. A name for a children's product should be fun, right? So, if the pink is Tickled Pink, help me come up with a blue name that is equally as fun.
This time there will be five possible entries (first one is mandatory; one entry per person per entry type - ie. only one blue name suggestion). The giveaway is open to entrants from anywhere in the world!

--> Name the Blue: suggest a fun blue name that goes well with Tickled Pink.

--> Like Baby Dipper on Facebook

--> Follow Baby Dipper on Twitter

--> Subscribe to Baby Dipper's newsletter

--> Suggest a new retailer (online or brick & mortar) for the Baby Dipper bowl(NOT the big national stores - believe me, I'm doing what I can on those!)

Please leave a separate post for each entry (even if you already like or follow Baby Dipper) and be sure to leave contact information as well as your Facebook name or Twitter ID (for those two entries).

The winner of the contest will receive a Baby Dipper bowl set of her/his choice of color. The contest will end on Friday, December 9, at midnight CT.

Thanks in advance for all of your help!

Barbara

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I Can Do it Myself! Messy Steps to Self Feeding

Chapter Three from the book “Happy Mealtimes with Happy Kids: How to Teach You Child About the Joy of Food” by Melanie Potock

Isaac’s grandmother diligently swiped his chin with the tip of the spoon after every bite, ensuring that no puree remained on his face. She kept a wet washcloth nearby for swiftly wiping down soiled fingers and the high chair tray should any food drip off the spoon. “He likes to be neat and clean,” she stated proudly. Isaac was 18-months-old and had yet to touch a spoon or any food on his tray. Thankfully, this grandmother was open to my suggestions and, months later, Isaac, Grandma and I were elbow-deep in chocolate as we played pudding car wash on his back patio! That grandmother later told me: “If you haven’t played pudding car wash, you’re missing out on life!”

I always turn my radar up a bit when I see a one-year-old sitting in his high chair, being fed by his parent and spotless — not a mess under the high chair, not a stain on his bib, not a speck on his tray. Well-meaning parents try to spare their child (and themselves) the mess by continuing to spoon feed their little one. Not only is the mess part of the learning curve for self-feeding, it’s essential for children to encounter the sensory experience of each and every food. Many children need to first explore new foods with their eyes, ears, nose and hands before putting it in their mouths. Please refer to Chapter 4 for more information on sensory experiences with food.

Once your child is sitting on her own or with a bit of support and you have her properly positioned in her high chair (see Chapter 1), she is ready to begin more independent feeding. This stage of the game is all about you providing a variety of safe foods for her to try, engaging with her as she eats and letting her get messy as she explores all of the new foods.

Self-spoon feeding is an art. You can support your child by encouraging her to hold the handle of the spoon fairly close to the bowl. This varies depending on the shape of the handle, but, in general, the closer her little fist is to the bowl, the easier she will be able to guide the bowl into her mouth with less mess. Keep in mind that the closer her fist is to the bowl, the messier her hand will get when she scoops up that first spoonful of applesauce!

Try coloring a wide circle around the handle with a permanent marker so that she has a consistent spot to aim for when she grasps the handle. Pick a spot for her grasp about one inch from the bowl, or, if the handle is curved, have her grasp it at the top of the curve. A short, fat handle with a curve or “hill” built into the handle is often ideal. The deeper bowl will hold the puree or chopped food as it travels the long trek up to your child’s mouth, but the child may not be able to clean the spoon with his top lip as easily.

Some spoons come with holes in the bowl to allow liquid to drain and solids to stick to the bowl. Other spoons have textured bowls for those children who need the added tactile input to their mouths in order to tell where the spoon is about to dump the food. Some spoons come with bendable “necks” where the handle and the bowl meet, so that parents can adjust the angle of the neck to facilitate better hand to mouth coordination.

Provide extra traction beneath the slippery bowl with a sheet of shelf liner (see Chapter 1) or use a suction cup bowl. Suction cup bowls that are deep with high sides are ideal, especially if filled with non-slippery foods such as cottage cheese, oatmeal or chopped, room temperature macaroni and cheese.

I am not sure which is messier — independent spoon feeding or independent finger feeding! A washable mat under the high chair tray is a must. Finger feeding is the perfect opportunity for your little foodie to begin to develop his pincer grasp, where he engages his thumb and forefinger to pick up pea-sized foods, such as halved blueberries and cheerios.

At about six months, your child will begin to rake up objects by using his whole hand and curling all four fingers around the desired item. Letting go of the food can be tricky. You may see your child use his mouth to grab the food while he fists it in between his little fingers.
Slowly, between seven and nine months, the pincer grasp will begin to emerge. This is also the time that children have enough trunk stability to sit in a high chair and focus on this new skill. Typically, by the end of the first year, the pincer grasp is perfected! At that time, you will see your child begin to pick up small pieces of food and place them in her mouth with more precision and thankfully, less mess.

Support the natural progression of finger feeding by offering soft or meltable foods first, such as a buttery cracker. It’s relatively easy to grasp and mouth until a soft, mushy piece falls into his mouth. Over time, he will develop his ability to grade his jaw movement and truly bite into the cracker in a controlled, even manner. As his skills improve, offer pea-sized pieces of soft and/or meltable foods that expose your child to a variety of tastes, safe temperatures and textures. Small chilly blueberries cut in half, warm, buttery pieces of pasta or tofu or cheerios spritzed with apple juice are all good starters. See Chapter 15 for additional ideas.

To encourage pincer grasp development, try the following games with your favorite round cereal or pea-sized pieces of soft food:

1. Using a plastic “shot glass” or similar sized narrow container (about two inches tall and just wide enough for your child’s thumb and forefinger), put a few pieces of cereal in the bottom and encourage him to get them out by reaching in and picking up the pieces using a pincer grasp.
2. Take a round plastic coffee stirrer and thread three pieces of circular cereal on it. Hold it perpendicular to the high chair tray and let your child pull off the cereal one by one using his thumb and forefinger.
3. When giving your child a piece of the cereal, hold it in your pincer grasp (with half sticking out and available for his little fingers to grab onto) as you move it toward his hand. Wait. Let him take it from your grasp before putting it in his mouth on his own.

As your child learns to feed himself with fingers and/or spoon:
• Rejoice in the mess! It’s good for his sensory system and just part of the learning curve.
• Position little fists near the bowl of the spoon.
• Layer shelf liner under a small, deep plastic bowl or use a suction cup bowl.
• Offer pea-sized soft and/or meltable foods to encourage pincer grasp.

About Melanie Potock and My Munch Bug

As a speech language pathologist who specializes in feeding, I observe first hand the daily stress that encompasses a family when a child has difficulty eating orally. Although our role as therapists is to help the child develop oral motor skills and organize his sensory system in order to try new foods, the ultimate goal is to establish consistency across all environments – and that, simply put, means fun, social and relaxed mealtimes for the entire family.

My Munch Bug products were developed to reach more families and teach them to focus on the fun when gathered around the table. The new children’s music, Dancing in the Kitchen, was launched in November 2010 to wonderful reviews from parents and press, but most importantly, to little munch bugs ages 2 to 6 who love to celebrate the joy of food! The children’s CD offers multiple genres – Latin, pop, and even a silly opera! The CD packaging opens up to include professional tips on how to foster stress free mealtimes and the lyrics to the original songs are designed to build confidence in not only the kids, but in parents too. Moms and Dad appreciate the festive atmosphere that they can create as they sing and dance their way to what’s really important – being together over a family meal and loving it!

Happy Mealtimes with Happy Kids: How to Teach Your Child About the Joy of Food is the new parent guidebook that teaches the fundamentals of parenting in the kitchen. Babies don’t come with an instruction manual –especially when it comes to eating at the family table! Happy Mealtimes is designed to be a quick read and offers a touch of humor to help parents understand that they are not alone in their child’s new learning adventure called “eating”. An easy read for the busy parent, Happy Mealtimes is ideal for every parent who wants to foster joyful memories around the family table.

Melanie’s website – www.mymunchbug.com will link directly to resources for both products – Dancing in the Kitchen is available at www.cdbaby.com and Happy Mealtimes with Happy Kids is available at www.lulu.com and on Amazon.com. Be sure to visit My Munch Bug’s Facebook page for coupon codes and the latest news on the joy of food!

Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP has specialized in the treatment of feeding disorders for over 12 years. She can be reached at Melanie@mymunchbug.com.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Help Name the Pink!

As we are fast approaching 4000 fans (likers) on our Facebook page, I decided it is time to offer another giveaway. This time, the only entry for a chance to win a Baby Dipper bowl set in the color of your choice (blue or pink) is to suggest a name for the new pink color we offer. I like Cobalt Blue for the blue, but am at a loss as to what to call the pink.

To enter the giveaway, like the Baby Dipper bowl on Facebook and comment on the Facebook post about naming the pink. Only one entry per fan. Only entries with suggestions for the pink name are eligible for the giveaway. Comments posted on the My Double Life blog do not count for the drawing. The drawing will be held on November 1, 2011. Hopefully a new pink name will be selected that day, too!

OK, everybody get pinking, uh, thinking.... :o)

Barbara

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My 9/11 Memories

We will never forget where we were on September 11, 2001, will we? For my husband Hans and me, that location was on a train in Europe. A couple of weeks after getting home, I documented our experience of September 11 and the days until we were able to return home on September 14, which was our scheduled return date, but did not occur as scheduled. We had started our trip on August 30, including stops in Zurich, Switzerland; Paris, France; Prague, Czech Republic; Bratislava, Slovak Republic; and Salzburg, Austria; before boarding the train to spend our last few days in Europe with my German friend Andrea and her family in a little town called Goldbach, which is near Frankfurt. Here is what I wrote on September 26, 2001:

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We left Salzburg midday and headed to Munich to change trains. We had wonderful ham & cheese and chocolate pastries at the Munich train station to tide us over in anticipation of the wonderful meal Andrea's mother would prepare for us that night in Goldbach (the small town where Andrea’s parents live, which is near Aschaffenburg, about 30 miles from Frankfurt).

We boarded the train at 1:42 p.m. local time and settled in for the four hour ride to Aschaffenburg. Again, we mostly watched scenery, but did get in a little reading and a few hands of Crazy Eights. Arriving Aschaffenburg at 5:09 p.m. [9:09 a.m. Eastern Time - the first plane hit the WTC at 8:46 ET], Andrea's mother picked us up and we made the 10-minute drive to their house in Goldbach. As we neared the house, she remembered to ask us if we had seen the news. We told her that we had bought an English-language newspaper in Salzburg the day before. She said that something had happened, “today, in New York.” She didn’t know the details, as the attacks had probably happened shortly before she left. She knew that the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane.

When we went in the house, Eva, Andrea’s younger sister, was there and broke the news to us in one sentence: “The World Trade Centers are gone.” Hans and I looked at each other in disbelief and immediately settled in front of the TV, which they kindly tuned to CNN (the only English channel they get) so that we could see what was happening to our country. We watched in horror as they showed the footage of the towers collapsing and people running for their lives or jumping from the towers. We never would have thought that something so catastrophic would happen while we were on vacation. After staying glued to the TV for over an hour, we finally came up for air and realized that we needed to try to get in touch with our parents to see if everyone at home was OK and let them know that we were OK.

We were not able to get through to the U.S. via telephone and her parents do not have internet access at home, so we had to wait until the next day when Julia, Andrea’s older sister, sent emails to my mom (who forwarded it to Hans’ mom) and our bosses. We were finally able to call home late in the day on Wednesday, 9/12. My mom had written Julia saying she would try to call at 7 p.m. our time, but the phone never rang, so we tried calling her and got through. We talked for a few minutes and promised her we would not travel unless it appeared safe to do so.

It was interesting to watch German TV along with CNN. I could understand enough to know basically what they were saying. They were truly upset by the events in the U.S. I remember seeing a segment about Berlin’s five minute pause for reflection. They showed traffic, including buses and streetcars, at a standstill in downtown Berlin for five minutes. We spent the day Wednesday with Andrea, then went to dinner with her and Giuliano (her boyfriend) and Julia and Marcus (her boyfriend) at the castle in Aschaffenburg.

Thursday we hung around the house part of the day and spent the afternoon running errands with Andrea's mom. She took us to the butcher shop where we bought N├╝rnberger bratwurst and fresh sauerkraut for dinner that night. We also went to their “supermarket” and looked around, buying a few items in case we got stuck there for a few days. (And we laugh at Andrea for thinking Kroger is interesting!) That night, we had dinner with her parents and shared a little of the whiskey Hans had gotten on the airplane. We tried to find out if our flight would be on for the next afternoon (1:50 departure), but could get no answers on TV [they have a channel that shows flight schedules] and could not get through by telephone to Delta.

We got up early on Friday, 9/14, and headed by train to the Frankfurt airport. We hugged Andrea's mom, thanked her for everything, and told her we would call if we had to come back to their house that night. Andrea even got us passes to the Frankfurt Auto Show just in case we got stuck there over the weekend. Once at the airport, we waited in line at the check-in counter for a while before being approached by an agent who told us to go stand in the ticket line, so we did. We waited in this line for about an hour before reaching the front. Having worked at Delta, of course I sympathized with the agents. Dealing with the occasional cancelled flight is bad enough, but when your entire schedule is cancelled except for 2 or 3 flights, every passenger presents a unique logistical problem.

We noticed while waiting in line that everyone was an American trying to get home and we were all sharing our situations with the others. One group had been in Greece for a photo shoot and flew to Frankfurt in hopes of getting home faster, since Frankfurt is a major airport and Athens is not. The other half of their group had gone to Munich and it appeared that they would not get home for days. The man in the next line over was going to Florida, the lady behind us was going to Rhode Island, and the entire line was abuzz with people sharing their stories.

Once we finally got up to the counter, we were told that the only flight left to the U.S. that day would be going to JFK in New York. We said that we would take it if we could, then find a way home from there. Once our tickets were corrected, we had to go back to the check-in counter to be asked the security questions and check our bags in. We had already made sure that any sharp metal object was in the checked bags, but they made us put all of our bottles of alcohol in the checked baggage as well. Then we went through airport security, which also checked boarding passes and IDs.

As we were walking down the deserted corridor to the gate area, the announcement was made requesting a moment of silence. It was already so quiet, you couldn’t tell a difference. When we got down to the final hallway to our gate, there were tables set up and German guards armed with automatic weapons standing by as airport employees hand-searched all of our carry-on luggage item by item. They looked at every crystal glass, inside every item of clothing and smaller bags, and even took my camera around the corner. I guess they were making sure it really worked. After repacking all of our previously perfectly-packed bags, it was on to the next table for the metal-detecting wand and a slight frisking. Finally, we were clear to go to the gate area.

At this point, we decided to call Andrea's mom and give her the flight information and have Julia email it to Mom so that they would all know if we got out or not. There was only one telephone in the gate area, which was a secluded room, so as people waited in line to try to figure out how to use the German telephone, we shared stories again about how long we’d been stuck and where we were trying to go. I did manage to get hold of Andrea's mom and give her the information.

As we were waiting in the gate area, the ground crew announced that the airports in New York were closed again and that the flight would now be going to Cincinnati, which was fine with us since we could get a direct flight to Huntsville, which we would not have been able to do from JFK. Shortly thereafter the flight attendants showed up en masse and the gate area erupted in applause for them. They were followed in short order by the pilots who also received a round of applause.

Finally, it was time to board at around 1:30. After they called first class, a girl a few rows away from us noticed that a black bag had been left unattended. Everyone scattered and an agent went running up to the counter. The girl yelled to the crowd to ask if anyone had left a bag and, to everyone’s relief, a man checking in realized that it was his. We all breathed a sigh of relief.

The flight was originally scheduled for 12:00, but the extra security measures and ticketing/check-in issues caused a lengthy delay. We actually didn’t end up taking off until about 3:30. They filled the plane slowly as they were able to change people’s tickets and get them through security to the gate area. As we waited after boarding, the main pilot wandered through the cabin speaking to anyone who was interested in saying hello. He assured us that he had every intention of getting us home safely. Once he spoke over the intercom, he told us a little about his family back in Texas and said he was ready to get home to see them.

There was a large group that boarded right at the end and a gate agent who accompanied them on-board to help out with last-minute logistics. As she left the plane, the entire group of about 20 applauded for her. She must have worked really hard to help them arrange their schedules.

The flight itself was uneventful. I found it hard not to look at everyone suspiciously, particularly those who looked Middle Eastern. The other language on the video and announcements on the plane was Turkish, which was rather odd. I kept reminding myself that Turkey is a safe country to visit and that I should not judge someone by the way they look. Once we got out over the ocean I felt better about being on a large plane with a full tank of fuel.

We landed in Cincinnati later that evening to another round of applause and easily made it onto a direct flight to Huntsville. It felt amazingly good to be home, even while we waited at the Cincinnati airport. Of course, when we got to the Huntsville airport and met our friends who came to pick us up, we felt much more relieved. The kitties were ever so glad to have us home and tried to keep us from sleeping those first couple of nights home.

I wanted to record my own memories of this strange vacation that was so wonderful at the beginning and so clouded by tragedy at the end. I will certainly always remember where I was when I heard about the attack on America and the world.

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When I woke up this morning, September 11, 2011, I realized what today is. Hans and I now have four children and two companies of our own, things that those who perished on 9/11 lost the opportunity to do. We Americans have not forgotten and will never forget. We do not go on as though nothing happened. We go on as though something significant and life-changing happened ten years ago today.

Feel free to post here where you were on 9/11. It is always fascinating to me to hear what others were doing on that fateful day.

Barbara

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

PINK! PINK! PINK!

Yes, the Baby Dipper bowl is now available in a vibrant PINK color! I have received many requests for pink since the Baby Dipper bowl debuted in 2008, so I am happy to be able to announce the arrival of pink bowl/spoon/fork sets.

Also new to Baby Dipper's line of products, we now have spoon & fork sets in either blue or pink. Again, there have been many requests for replacement or additional utensils, so here we go!










These products are currently available at Baby Dipper's web site or through the Baby Dipper Facebook page (fans get 10% off). Shipments are on their way to the retailers and to Amazon.com, so keep an eye out for pink Baby Dipper bowls everywhere.

Thanks to you all for your support of this mom-invented product!

Barbara

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Time for a giveaway!

Hi everyone!

I know it has been a VERY long time since I posted anything to the blog, so I thought I would reward a lucky fan with a giveaway of a Baby Dipper bowl set. This is in celebration of our recent passing of the 3000-fan mark on Facebook. Needless to say, life with two sets of twins is insanely busy. I had thought that once my girls were in school (they just finished first grade) that life would get easier. Uh, nope. I had to do a lot more shuttling around of the kids these past few months. Summer really hasn't been much calmer, what with having to keep them all entertained at home or run them around to various activities. Maybe (just maybe) it will be a bit calmer this fall when my girls can ride the school bus (no bus to their school last year) and the boys will be in three days of preschool....

Speaking of these past few months, don't think that Baby Dipper has been ignored. Quite the opposite! Big things are on the horizon, but they all take a lot more time than I ever imagined. Keep an eye out for announcements from Baby Dipper coming soon!


Here are the details of potential entries in this giveaway (be sure to leave a way to contact you):

Since this giveaway came about because of Facebook, the required entry for the giveaway is to be a fan/liker of the Baby Dipper bowl Facebook page. You must post here that you are a fan/liker before completing the additional entries:

1. Follow Baby Dipper on Twitter @BabyDipper (1 entry).
2. Blog about this giveaway, including a link to this giveaway. This is worth 5 extra entries. You must leave 5 separate comments and include the link to your blog entry.
3. Put our button on your blog (in the sidebar to the right). This is worth 1 extra entry and you must leave the link to your blog to verify.
4. Follow this blog via Google Friend Connect. Leave me your name on GFC in the comment (1 entry).
5. Tweet daily - Up to 3 times a day, at least 2 hours apart! Include the link to this giveaway and @BabyDipper in your tweet. Post your Twitter status here (1 entry per tweet). Here's a sample tweet: "#Win a @BabyDipper bowl at #Baby Dipper's blog, My Double Life (ends 7/10)! http://t.co/yiV2wNo #giveaway #contest #toddler"
6. Subscribe to the Baby Dipper newsletter (1 entry).
7. Follow Baby Dipper, LLC, on LinkedIn (1 entry).
7. Have a suggestion for a new retailer for the Baby Dipper bowl? Suggest a retailer, either brick-and-mortar or online that you think would be a good match for us (and that does NOT include the Big Box stores like Wal-Mart, Target, Buy Buy Baby, Babies 'R' Us, grocery stores, etc.). I'm looking for something that maybe I haven't heard of. :o) (1 entry per store, up to three stores).
8. Share with us what you think is coming from Baby Dipper. (1 entry - I will not verify if you're right until the official announcement)

This giveaway will end at midnight CST on Sunday, July 10. The winner will be notified by email (be sure to leave that for me!) and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Previous recipients of Baby Dipper bowls (in giveaways or for reviews) are not eligible to win.

Thanks to all of you for being loyal Baby Dipper fans!

Barbara

OK! The winner was selected by Random.org: 23 out of 54, which is katers2714. I will send an email and the winner has 48 hours to respond before I select a new winner. Congratulations, katers2714!