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You are lovely. :)

Re: constipation - my son was just like that at that age and as soon as we got more fruits and veggies into his diet he did fine. Maybe do sweet potato or peas next? :)

re: toys - I always thought I was going to be a minimalist parent, with a train set and a few pots and a sandbox. Fast forward to today when the Little People have taken over my house... and my son is TWO! TWO! I can only control the gifts of others so far but my attempts at regulating myself have been:

1. I buy used toys. Yes, this requires extra research about what has been recalled, but it cuts down on landfill - plus toys that have lasted 15 years are pretty good. I am picky about what I buy though. I bought a Brio train set (fits Thomas) on craigslist and I am currently collecting Playmobile (German made plastic) and Lego. And our local neighbourhood garage sale day was the source of much Little People stuff. I am so sad about the Little People - great play value, but I am sure they are made by orphans somewhere, given the cost and ubiquity of them. Plus, plastic. My son adores them though. Especially the schoolbus.

2. I rotate toys in bins so that there is always something hidden away to be "new." Several somethings. I find this is key in staving off the "it's been raining for three days" buy. It also keeps the clutter down a bit.

3. I chose expensive sets of things (if buying new) for the reasons you mentioned 'cause I'm middle class and can be picky (no judgement on those who can't be). I let everyone know that we're collecting Brio right now, the Plan dollhouse is next, and then after that Playmobile, and Duplo now and Lego later. Some people hate this because they think it looks cheap for them to just buy a small filler set that still costs $22, and that's fine, they can buy what they like. But I give them the chance!

4. There is nothing to be done about sons and dinky cars. At night, the dinky cars multiply. I don't know how.

5. I am currently battling Guilt as I just went back to work full time and I MISS my son and if he is surrounded by plastic crap from the gas station where I just wrecked my pantyhose this morning surely he will know that I love him and think about him all the time? Except, of course, it doesn't work that way. I have decided that if I MUST do the guilt thing, it MUST be art supplies or a book, at least, so that my time is involved later.

6. All this will be irrelevant soon when he is old enough to have his own tastes, and then I will have to educate him as best I can, give him an allowance, and cut him loose.


Oh and #7: We buy a lot of things that aren't TECHNICALLY toys like used pots at garage sales, and my dad (bless him) is making both those huge cardboard blocks to make forts and wooden blocks himself. That's sort of special though. :)

And #8: I am back to work and feeling pressed for time but some of the moms I know are talking about building a toy library so that everyone buys a really good expensive thing and then they rotate around.


You can keep plastic (if you find plastic OK, some don't) so long as it's not painted. All the problems have been with paint on the toys (like Ernie's red nose on an orange plastic Ernie).
Also, fabric toys are OK and the decorations are on the toys with stickers instead of paint, that's a good sign (if a problem, you could always spend your whole afternoon scraping the stickers off).


Ah, Moxie. I love your self-righteous navel-gazing. You should do more.

About the toy recalls: I've learned a bit about the lead in paint that I can share, as a lot of the toy recalls lately have been because there were allegations of high lead levels in paints used on many things, including kid toys. Because it is the paint that is a problem, you'd have to watch out for wood toys that have been painted. In addition, people should be careful of lead in paint on things like drinking glasses and dishes. The consumption of some lead is not too bad for adults, but HORRIBLE for babies, children, pregnant women, etc. who are growing and developing. You know, the ones who stick painted toys in their mouths (well, maybe not the pregnant woment). Lots of research on the harmful effects.

A certain amount of lead in paint is legal, although this legal amount has been determined too high by most research. HOWEVER, the US industries have been self-regulating the amount of lead in the paints they use, therefore the US government didn't bother to change the law (IMO). US factories have testing procedures and are generally pretty careful about the amount of lead in paint.

The problem now is that some other countries (most notably China in these current recalls) are within the legal limits set by the US government for lead in paint. It is still higher than is safe and healthy, for children especially. Benefits to using lead in paint are brighter colors, longer lasting colors, and of course that it is less expensive. So, manufacturers use it ship it over here completely legal.

So what are we to do? Can we simply buy only those things marked with "Made in America"? The problem there is that parts can be manufactured (and painted) in other countries but put together or packaged here and still get the "Made in America" seal. Besides, how does that help other countries and their children from getting the ill effects of too much lead in paint.

I have no answers, just information that I've learned from reliable sources. I hope this somehow at least helps people understand some of the greater issues, like the need to change the law and to encourage manufacturers everywhere to do what's safe for the children of the world. And someone start that database Moxie suggested!


One more thing: There has been a recall because of an issue with little magnets, which babies/children can swallow. Which is a safety hazard, especially if more than one is swallowed. But I hope that is just a one time thing and is not as pervasive as the lead in paint issue.


Toy library is my friend. Basement shelves, bins, dump excess there. Kids can fish when they wish to. I leave the best/highest quality toys out more than the lower ones. Plain wooden blocks (no paint on some, others with paint), wooden castle (paint), legos, stuffed toys, and weaponry (plastic, wooden).

My kids still beg for cheap crap. I sometimes cave. But the recalls make it easier for me to hold my ground. It isn't about denial, it is about... well, navel gazing. I can SEE the implications of the issues I care about more easily. And I do care about the environment and human rights. Being reminded in concrete ways is useful to me. As is other people openly navel gazing so I can nod my head and remember to remember that I care.

We've also found that once the Grandparents were convinced that we really DID have too much stuff, they've focussed more on high-quality pricey items (like the wooden castle). The castle, despite great construction, has needed repairs twice now, because of extensive use. THAT is a toy, IMHO. Focus on quality quality quality, do a little research, and spend as much (or even more, sometimes) on LESS. It feels GOOD doing that. I can feel like I'm indulging my kids wonderfully, while supporting my life (less crap, more quality), and my values, too. Okay, the consumerism still shows up, but hey, I still feel better about it.


Amy at angrychicken wrote this great post about alternatives to toys that are "made in china":


Personally, all I can think is: "There's a method to manually check your child for constipation? How did I miss that? Do I want to know?" lol



The recall last week came right in the middle of our vacation. OF COURSE we had brought a big bin of Polly Pockets and Princess Polly Pockets because my daughter is obsessed with them and has SO MANY-- due to them being so cheap. We went through the bin together and took out everything that had cracked paint and everything that had a magnet. Then we took everything that was crusted in glitter and stored it in a separate bag. Those only can be played with by DD4 when no smaller children are in the house. (She no longer mouths her toys.) Meanwhile, she knows that Mommy is researching the glitter (I NEED to know if it is safe because it certainly comes off of the toys easily enough.)

Our new rule: if it reeks coming out of the box, we'd rather not play with it. This includes all of the "Princess Pollys" Meanwhile, I have stored all of those not-yet-recalled toys in opaque containers on the second shelf up in the closet. I have brought out and prominently displayed the Madame Alexander Just Like Me doll, my old MMe Alexander babies, and her My Disney Girl doll (just like an American girl, just not as nice. Still made in China though.) She has been very into those toys and not asked where the others are.

She is getting American Girl, books, or craft supplies from most family for her birthday. I wish that American Girl was not made in China, but I have some faith that they are expensive enough to be out of a recall (and generally don't sport the bright paint colors most likely to be lead.)

I also took a page out of Moxie's book and have told some people who have asked that they should give and experience, not a toy. As a result, her Aunt and Uncle who have a smaller gift budget will be taking her out to a showing of Wizard of Oz at our local art house (using coupons) followed by ice cream cones. Her Great Uncle and Great Aunt will be taking her to *Ride* *HORSES* on the Eastern Shore. I think she'll like those outings better than any Polly Pocket.


Hedra - who makes the wooden castle? I'd love to get one for my son (read: for my husband).

As for the constipation - at that age my son was only pooping once every 10-14 days (not constipation, just the wonders of breast milk), so when we introduced solids we decided to skip rice cereal and start him off with prunes and other fruits/veggies and then gradually introduced oatmeal (whole grain) and we managed to avoid the whole constipation thing. And it might be just coincidence, but he's loved fruit and veggies ever since!


CONSTIPATION -- A trick to helping the poop along without drugs or diet (not that using diet is bad -- just not as quick) is the q-tip. Grease up the tip of a q-tip with Aquaphor or Vaseline. Take off the diaper, hold baby's legs up like you are going to take a rectal temp and swirl the q-tip (TIP ONLY) around the anus. You can tell the baby will relax because the anus will change shape. If the baby relaxes enough and the anus opens a little, swirl the q-tip around the inner edge, but ONLY if it opens a little naturally. DO NOT shove the q-tip inside if the anus is firmly closed. This does 2 things -- relaxes that area as well as stimulates the rectum. Often the baby will poop while you're swirling, or just after.

Now stop laughing!!

TOYS -- As usual, "I totally agree with Hedra." I could copy and paste that under every comment you post, Hedra!! We now spend more on fewer toys that are safe. All our plastic "Made In Chinas" went out with the recycling yesterday, for both lead paint and philosophical reasons. We're down to blocks and fabric ... at 8 months, nobaby is traumatized and I am much less worried about what those little teeth are scraping off. Friends and relatives are on notice -- wood / fabric toys or books only, please.

Check out Kathie's link to Angry Chicken, y'all. I sent that link to about 8 million parent friends when Amy posted it. It's excellent and saves lots of legwork.


Oh, man am I already dreading Christmas and the uncomfortable conversations that lie ahead.

It drives me crazy how this conversation somehow make me feel like an elitist a**hole. Because that stuff drives me crazy (conversation overheard while waiting in line at the "organic" kids store in our city--I was there for the cloth diaper supplies, as it's the only place, for some bizarre reason, to get them--a woman saying her son would 'turn his nose up at any plastic toys'--barf!) So I do think along with our (admittedly middle-class)movement of consumer dollars to more environment and child-friendly products we need to advocate, always, for the working poor and insist that they too have access to clean and healthy products. And I wish I had an easy answer for how to do this!

Exactly along the same lines as toys and other such products for children is, I think, the whole issue of what we *feed* our children, primarily in regard to animal products. Do we really want meat that is dirt cheap? What the heck is in there? What did they do to that animal that the meat is priced so low? Maybe animal products SHOULD be expensive (I'm obviously highly influenced by The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, which I cannot recommend enough) But again, I run up against the "what a classist jerk I am" issue--and again turn to the "we need to advocate clean and healthy food for all people, regardless of their income."


ITA with you, Moxie - this toy recall thing has really surprised me. I mean, I don't trust things that I buy to be perfectly safe and non-toxic as a rule, but I really figured there were more safeguards in place for TOYS. I don't know how I could be so naive, but there it is. The state of our economy makes me sad - it is so far removed from the personal accountability that you'd have in a small, local, or perhaps regional trading system. I don't LIKE globalization when I realize that it cuts off the consumers from the dangerous, soul-crushing and toxic process that fills their bright shiny aisles at Target. We've constantly been told that the world being so connected is a good thing, and certainly it means that I can afford endless toys for my child, more clothes, endless STUFF. But - I just came back from Greece yesterday to a house that is full to bursting with STUFF, like everyone else's house I know. It's not really adding anything to my life. I need to figure out a policy about this...that won't stress me out unduly or make me feel like I'm denying my daughter or being uptight and anal. Usually when I have a realization about something like this I have a dramatic reaction, like when I became a strict vegetarian for years when I found out about how our food is produced. And then I burn out and go back to my previous unthinking practices but this time with the guilt that I "know better", but can't keep up with how difficult it is to go against the grain. There's got to be a way of living life according to my values that's not so damn DIFFICULT.


Also, rudyinparis, right on. I feel sickeningly elitist sometimes when I attempt to avoid participating in mainstream culture. And unfortunately I have run into soooo many people who also can't seem to stop telling me about things like only using handmade wooden toys or eating organic food, with an unmistakeable air of superiority. It really makes me want to run screaming and just be ignorant, because I can't stand the idea of coming off like that. These choices are complex because they are not JUST rationally based, they are not ever "neutral", they have a status comment attached to them. When I hear of someone who is doing more than I am to be a responsible global citizen, the unfortunate result (besides admiration and appreciation) is GUILT, and also envy that they are able to arrange their lives this way, able to afford all these wooden toys and organic mattresses, whereas I just can't spend $30 for a few pieces of HABA food or $40+ on organic, fair-trade pajamas for my 2-yo. And I do feel like many people I have known who make these kinds of choices do not give poorer people "credit" for the fact that they really cannot easily afford a lifestyle that opts out of Made in China to a large degree.


My son would go days without pooping, even when he was breastfed. Not constipated, it just was days in between poops. But when he started on solids, just to make sure, my doc advised starting him on oatmeal and skipping the rice cereal altogether, just to add a bit of fibre and to avoid any confusion between what is a normal pooping pattern for him and what is due to developmental or dietary changes.


I haven't read all the comments so I apologize if I'm repeating something.

For constipation - try soaking a prune in water for a few hours. It will get nice and soft and squishy. If your daughter doesn't want to gnaw on that then throw it in the food processor and mix it in with her rice cereal (or whatever pureed food you are giving her). I try to give my daughter a prune every other day to keep things moving and it works wonderfully.

As for the toy recall - I'm the one that emailed Melissa & Doug to find out about the lead paint. Since then I've received word from others who have also contacted them and received the same reply. Personally I didn't think it was that vague but I'm not sure what Moxie was asking them about. I'm sure they are getting bombarded right now with letters from concerned parents. I'm really surprised they haven't posted anything on their website.

Toys are tough but there are plenty of websites out there offering advice on how to make your own toys, or where to find toys made in the good 'ol USA that aren't too expensive.

If your child already has a lot of toys but is bored with them then you can do what my husband's mom used to do and pack some of them in a suitcase telling the kids they are "going on vacation". Then in two weeks you bust them out and its like they are new again. My MIL had a cycle of the same old toys going in and out of the toy box which kept the kids interested in them a lot longer than when they were all readily available.


Wouldn't you know, our little girl had a great bowel movement not soon after. I think it is a combination of being breastfed and going through a growth spurt (not too hard to put that together after reading all the wisdom you experienced moms passed on!)

As for the toys...its a work in progress. Since she's so young she doesn't want anything in particular, no favorite shiny plastic, magnet and lead laden items that she can't live without. Thanks for all the information-


Re: constipation

I don't know if I would treat it so lightly. My daughter, now 2, sometimes wouldn't be able to go for 3 days and would have a very hard and painful time trying to go. She would push and cry for 45 minutes to an hour,with no end result. Now she is on medicine for this, but if I don't start giving her the medicine soon enough, the painful bouts of trying to go can happen 3-4 times in 24 hours.

When she was younger I tried to go the natural route--prunes, increase water, staying away from the binding foods, etc. When I took her to the doctor, the first medicine she received (a syrup) didn't do the trick. After mentioning the constipation on every trip to the doctor for other things, for several months, her primary care dr. finally prescribed a powder that you dissolve in water that does work.

The thing is, I can't always tell when she's constipated until she's very uncomfortable. Even during the 24 hour period when she's very uncomfortable, she only cries when she's trying to go. Otherwise she's pretty much her normal self. But, after she goes, she is so happy for at least an hour afterwards! She literally dances around the house.

Her problems started a few months after starting solid food and almost immediately after starting on regular milk. So, your baby/toddler may be more uncomfortable than you know and it may take more than 1 conversation with the doctor to clear it up.

Then again, with some kids, it could just be teething or whatever.


Re: constipation

I don't know if I would treat it so lightly. My daughter, now 2, sometimes wouldn't be able to go for 3 days and would have a very hard and painful time trying to go. She would push and cry for 45 minutes to an hour,with no end result. Now she is on medicine for this, but if I don't start giving her the medicine soon enough, the painful bouts of trying to go can happen 3-4 times in 24 hours.

When she was younger I tried to go the natural route--prunes, increase water, staying away from the binding foods, etc. When I took her to the doctor, the first medicine she received (a syrup) didn't do the trick. After mentioning the constipation on every trip to the doctor for other things, for several months, her primary care dr. finally prescribed a powder that you dissolve in water that does work.

The thing is, I can't always tell when she's constipated until she's very uncomfortable. Even during the 24 hour period when she's very uncomfortable, she only cries when she's trying to go. Otherwise she's pretty much her normal self. But, after she goes, she is so happy for at least an hour afterwards! She literally dances around the house.

Her problems started a few months after starting solid food and almost immediately after starting on regular milk. So, your baby/toddler may be more uncomfortable than you know and it may take more than 1 conversation with the doctor to clear it up.

Then again, with some kids, it could just be teething or whatever.


OK, I'm going to come over even more self-righteous here, but I'm finding it hard to credit just how much we (collectively) are getting worried about 'safety issues'with relation to paint on toys - in comparison to the safety of the workers who are making them at such cost to their own health & lives. Once your conscience has been raised about the real costs of cheap stuff - food, clothes or toys - it's pretty difficult to go on buying it, I find. And I think that is a lesson worth passing on to our kids.


RE: Constipation

My son, now a year old, pooped every 10-14 days (no joke) for the first six or seven months, when he was primarily a breast-fed baby. If you're nursing, that could explain the infrequent poops. And, to echo something Moxie said in her comment, constipation in infants refers not so much to the frequency of the pooping, but the consistency of the stool itself: if its similar to peanut-butter then all is well. If it's too runny (diarrhea) or if it's coming out hard and/or as little hard pellets, then you could have a problem that is easily remediable. Good luck!


Constipation: I found that when I switched to the Oatmeal instead of the Rice cereal, her bowels went back to normal. At least it did until we started in on the fruits and veggies. It's amazing how our bowels react so differently to foods that seem similar!

Toys: I don't know what I'm going to do in this department. Heck, my daughter's favorite toy is a water bottle! I'd like most of her toys to be hand-made, but her Nana LOVES buying her things. I've convinced the woman to start putting her money into future clothing sizes instead of toys, though.


One thing about the magnets....when these tiny, strong magnets were first used, the design engineers didn't know as much about them as we do now. I mean, what's to know? It's a magnet. They've been around a hundred years. But these small magnets are powerful and, if two are swallowed, can cause bowel obstruction. So, this wasn't so much a case of China or poor practices. It was more evolution of our knowledge. Kind of like lead in paint 75 years ago...we just didn't know enough. They have not changed the kind of magnet they are using, but they are affixing them to the toys better. So, the magnets are not dangerous unless (a) they come out and (b) they are eaten in quantity. If your kid is 4 or 5 and you have no smaller ones around, probably not a problem (I assume a 4 or 5 year old would not eat a magnet, but heck, I guess they could) even if the magnets come out.

By the way, I have a set of dirt-cheap Made in China police vehicles (police Jeep, helicopter, tank, cruiser, etc). They are molded plastic and have no paint or stickers. Each piece is a different molded plastic color that snaps together. I also have access to a mass spectrometer (lucky me!). No lead in these (actually it is considered <0.0005 wt % threshold). They might have phthalates in them, but we are passed gnawing on toys for teething, so even though these are our most highly-suspect toys, they are clear. It's sort of odd how the really, really cheap stuff is actually safer than the mid-priced stuff.


Just had a conversation with a co-worker, who splurged on so expensive but beautiful wooden painted blocks and then freaked out about the lead paint issue. He emailed to ask about it, and within 10 minutes got three different responses from three different people from the company saying, "Soy paint--chew away!"

He sent me the link. Yes, expensive, but again, excellent customer service:

(I still have no idea why Melissa & Doug hasn't replied to my inquiry. And I thought it was a vague reply because I wanted details on their procedures for insuring safety, not just a "Yes, we're safe" assurance.)


Just out of curiosity, I took a look around my house to see just where the stuff I depend on every day comes from, and I found many things made in China, USA, Mexico, Canada, even the computer I'm now typing on was made in Taiwan. I have several thoughts on this topic.

First, having read extensively about China and it's recent history, I suspect it's people and those in many other countries where things are manufactured inexpensively would be much, much worse off if those of us in the richest countries in the world ceased to purchase products made there. This recall involves a small number of factories amongst thousands in China and I think it is a mistake to make wide sweeping judgements based on that. The more media coverage, hoopla, and calls for legislation I hear surrounding this recall makes me wonder if this is not being blown way out of proportion.

Second, as a mom who fights the Battle of the Plastic Crap on a daily basis and would rather give my children a cardboard box to play with, just like everything else, I feel it's my job as a parent to teach my kids to be objective consumers, and that they do not *need* more crap to be happy, like the commercials say they do. Most paople who buy for my kids (grandparents) ask what they'd like/need for bdays, holidays anyway, and can be easily steered away from more plastic crap. However, my son got a Transformers Megatron Voice Changer Helmet for his birthday last week that even the adults are having a blast playing with.

Third, though I am also middle class, I could not afford to buy free- trade, organic everything for my family, nothing against those who do, but I gotta say a shiny new pair of Target pumps for less than twenty bucks puts a smile on my face without being painful at the register. Consumerist? Yes, but I think I could make myself crazy if I concerned myself with *all* the evils our capitalist society inflicts on the world. All I can do is educate myself and do my best not to patronize the evil doers, within reason.

Finally, as an artist and craftsperson, I recommend you check out local craft fairs, festivals, and area Arts co-ops for handmade wooden and fabric toys and dolls (as well as pottery, home furnishings, etc.)that are reasonably priced, well made, ecologically friendly and about as fair trade as you can get.

I really hope I haven't offended anyone, just wanted to voice another opinion.


I don't know who sells the wooden castle we got - my ILs got it from a small independent toy store.

I know that there's one at one of the Mall stores... is it Company Kids? Pottery Barn Kids maybe? Or ... gah. Can't remember. Very 'upscale' kind of store, very nice wooden puzzles, and two different castles that are freakishly expensive, but absolutely fabulous.


I do think that all of us who are able to be concerned about the issue are, by definition, privileged. That does not make us twits, however ;)

The whole thing is so frustrating, though. I want my daughter to be safe, and I want the children of foreign factory workers to be safe, and I want the environment to be clean. If I have to pay more for my daughter's toys, I have NO problem with that. Capitalism doesn't seem to be doing any of us any favors in this one, KWIM?


I don't think it's at all elitist to be concerned not only about the safety of children's toys and other consumer goods, but the conditions in which they are created.

Personally, I'm really SICKENED that our anti-intellectual, me-me-me consumerist culture is indoctrinating people to believe that responsible buying and being careful stewards of what we bring into our homes is somehow effete, a luxury of the rich.

I'm not rich. In fact, my income this year may total four figures, not five, so I'm quite literally below the federal poverty line. But I think we all have a responsibility to teach our children that this appetite for more and more cheap stuff is neither natural nor insatiable ---- it's an appetite that is taught by the television, not innate.

I highly recommend a DVD called "WalMart: The High Cost of Low Prices" (which you can probably rent from your local library rather than buy!) which was REALLY eye-opening for me. I haven't stepped in a Wal-Mart since.

Not that I'm perfect or anything, and it's easy for me to say this because I don't have children of my own yet. I almost exclusively buy my nephew books...and even then I feel guilty because he could always go to the library, but I like the ability for him to have his own books at home.

One of the best practices I've ever seen parents do is teaching kids that when they get new toys, they choose another toy out of their current collection to donate to charity or give to a friend -- one they have grown out of. That way, their inventory of toys never grows out of control, and they learn to share their wealth with others who are more needy.

'Course, I only know one family who actually does that consistently -- I know it must be difficult!


We do have some plastic toys (Duplo, Little People, etc.) and some things made in China.

What we don't have are battery operated toys (which sort of automatically puts us more into "Melissa & Doug" terrority). For a couple of reasons--first is that they are LOUD and FLASHY and OVERWHELMING. We live in an apartment--not a house with a finished basement/play room. (I love the idea of a toy library, but nobody in my neighborhood would have a place to store all those things.) Do I really want to hear these things all day long? No.

Also I think the noise overwhelms the creativity. My ILs still have the 1976 Fisher Price toy cash register (with *coins*, not credit cards!)--my daughter fell in love with it and my BIL & SIL bought her one off Ebay when she turned 2. She has great little conversations with herself over it instead of hearing canned voices coming at her. (Of course, the coins are a total choking hazard for the little one, but eventually they'll both fight over, uh, play with it.)

We also, for religious reasons, have one day a week when playing with electronic toys is unacceptable. I knew from the time our daughter was born that I did not want to spend her childhood taking away toys for that day (or worse: letting her play with them for "x" period of years and THEN saying she couldn't). It's bad enough that we say no to videos and no to drawing/playdough/Magnadoodle on Shabbat, activities she loves. At least we don't *also* have to say no to other things--she can play with legos, her magnetic dress-up bears, Colorforms, blocks, card games, puzzles, etc. Which isn't to say there isn't whining about it, because there is; it could just be so much worse. (We also read a LOT of books.)

We struggled to find a wooden play kitchen, my daughter's reward of choice for saying goodbye to her diapers, that would meet our needs--why pay for a plastic "talking" kitchen when we'd just leave the batteries out?--and was the right price/size for our apartment. We finally found one at an on-line site whose tag line is "No batteries. No blinking lights. No cartoon-themed toys. Period."

I guess with us it's not so much a philosophy as just trying to be practical in How Our Life Is Right Now (and How We Want It To Be). I do feel pretty out of the loop when it comes to dd's peers, though--last week we went to another 3 year old's birthday party. I overheard what some of the other gifts were (Barbie this, fashion whatever, manicure something else) and I was pretty horrified. We gave the birthday girl a copy of "Olivia," one of my daughter's favorite books. At least it's a nice thing to re-gift :-)


I have no light to shed on plastic and lead paint - I'm lost re: what to do/buy/throw away/keep/etc.

Regarding the rice cereal and constipation...I don't know if this is useful at all because I don't know what brand you're using, but our pediatrician told us that in her 30 years of practice, she's noticed a large number of babies being constipated on Gerber cereals. She suggested we try Beech Nut or Earth's Best. We switched to Earth's Best rice cereal, and voila, no more problems.

My baby had initial constipation problems after he was born, and my mother (a nurse) told us to try the trick with the rectal thermometer. You put a little vaseline on the tip, insert it just a tiny bit, and twirl it around gently a couple of times. This can produce a poop very quickly or in several hours. Our ped. also told us that if we were really upset about it we could use a glycerin suppository - I believe she said to use half of one. We didn't do it because the thermometer worked. (just saw the q-tip solution up above - pretty much the same thing)


Prunes and/or prune juice are a never-fail solution to get the kid to poop.



Here's a great site for handmade items, including toys:



Lead paint test kits are cheap, under $10 in some cases and available from regular hardware stores if you are really worried that a much loved toy might have lead paint.....easy to use too. Do a search on lead paint test kit


Another great wooden toy "store" http://www.woodentoy.com He does wonderful work, and it is all made by him.


What Maura said!

Why is it that class never gets talked about except when people are trying to defend the environment or public health? Then all of a sudden every pro-business, pro-growth, pro-prosperity pundit is the hero of the working man (and his culturally constructed need for unlimited access to stuff). It seems to me that pointing out that a proposed change will have a negative impact on any group, without proving the degree of that negative impact has become a legitimate checkmate in public discourse. This is silliness!

Thanks, as always Moxie, for the insight.


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This method worked well for our baby start rubing his anus until it's easy to insert the tip of the vaselined q-tip just past the anus and slowly turn it until the anus is relaxed at the point were you can pull the q-tip out of the anus without the baby feeling a thing or can push just a little further without the baby feeling a thing at all.Remove the q-tip out of the anus while still slowly turning it.I would still take his temperature,just i case.


It used to be (back in the olden days) that you would have a select few toys, because they were too expensive to have a lot, unless you were rich of course.

You also had a select few suits or dresses.

I'm kinda tired of this "get anything for one dollar" crap. The stuff falls apart and is now showing signs of causing us cancer.

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Regarding with the toys, safety should be the priority of every parent. Choosing quality toys would be good at same time choosing those toys with a proper label and recommended by the experts and authorities.

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  • My expertise is in helping people be who they want to be, with a specialty in how being a parent fits into everything else. I like people. I like parents. I think you're doing a fantastic job. The nitty-gritty of what you do with your kids is up to you, although I'm happy to post questions here to get data points of how you could try approaching different stages, because, let's face it, this shit is hard. As for me, I have two kids who sleep through the night and can tie their own shoes. I've been a married SAHM, a married freelance WAHM, a divorcing WOHM, a divorced WOHM, and now a WAHM again. I'm not buying the Mommy Wars and I'll come sit next to you no matter how you're feeding your kid. When in doubt, follow the money trail. And don't believe the hype.
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