Q&A: introducing nuts at a year, plus a question about post format for the readers

Sorry about skipping yesterday. I was off work to take everyone to the dentist, and thought I’d have time to write a post in the morning. Ha. No one had any cavities, but it was a loooong day for me.

Here’s an admin question from Rachel:

"Adore your site, adore your advice, but is there anything I can to do convince you to split up the multi-part posts?  I mean the ones where you put out three or four unrelated topics in one post.  Instead, if you have a lot on your mind, could you put up multiple posts in one day?  That way people could comment on the different topics separately.

Part of what’s great about AskMoxie is the sustained conversation that goes on in the comments, and if there are multiple topics, you lose that continuity.  Yesterday was particularly distressing to me on that front, because the very personal and worried-sounding post about sex dreams got swamped by everyone talking about T-Tapp.  Both interesting, but they really didn’t belong on the same plate.

Thanks for considering it."

What do you guys think? I was putting them all together figuring people wouldn’t want to have to click on multiple posts, plus the ones below the first one just wouldn’t get viewed. What do you guys think? (And can I just say how much I love that my readers don’t just write in saying "I luuuuv you" or "You suck," but instead give thoughtful comments with well-reasoned positions? It makes me feel special.) I’ll go with what the crowd wants.

And now, especially to annoy Rachel and people who agree with her (ha! not really, just because it’s a shortish question and I don’t actually have a real answer) is a question from Kate about nuts:

"At our daughter’s one-year well check today, we discovered that she hadn’t grown much since her nine-month appointment.  She’s not falling off the charts, but has slid down considerably.  The pediatrician wasn’t too concerned but suggested making everything J. eats count, meaning that we should give her as much healthy high-fat, high-calorie food as she’ll eat.  I was shocked when the pediatrician recommended nut butters.  We’ve all heard the no-nuts-until-age-three mantra repeated ad nauseum, but our doctor claims that the latest research shows that it really doesn’t make any difference whether you introduce nut products to your child sooner rather than later, as long as the child’s parents and siblings don’t have nut allergies.  I’d be curious to know whether you or any commenters have heard this, and if following said wisdom has backfired on anyone."

Maybe my brain is just fried from too much time at the dentist’s office, but I think my pediatrician said a year for holding off on nuts way back when my older son was a baby. And we never asked if there were any revised guidelines for my younger one, mostly because he grabbed a hunk of his brother’s peanut butter and honey (yeah, I know) sandwich when he was 6 months old and shoved it into his mouth. Yeesh. But I’ve been laboring under the impression that it was one or two years for nuts, not three.

Anyway, my thought is that they’re now finding out that the nut allergies are a gene, so that they’re something you either have or don’t, not something that you develop from too-early or repeated exposure. Who knows if that’s what’s going to shake out to be the recommendation in 10 years, but I’m guessing that’s where your ped is going with this.

The bottom line is, though, that if you don’t feel comfortable introducing nuts to your daughter, don’t. I mean, there are tons of people who don’t want to give their kids juice, or trans fats, or meat, or things that aren’t kosher, or brussels sprouts, or whatever. And no one should feel forced to give their kids something they don’t want to, as long as the child’s nutritional needs are being covered and there’s no food coercion going on.

So go with avocado (tons and tons of vitamins, plus good-for-you fats) until you feel fine with nuts (if ever) and be thankful that you have a pediatrician who sounds so a) sensible and b) up on the latest research. Perhaps we can clone her/him.

Comments?

Digital storage, eczema, T-Tapp, sex dreams

1) Alison is going to write a post exclusively about digital storage. I don’t know when it’ll post–maybe next week, or the week after–but be on the lookout for it. I’m so happy she’s contributing all her wisdom, and the whole keeper vs. purger concept has already helped me immensely. The digital storage thing is frightening me, but I’m sure she’ll help us wade through it.

3) Does anyone who’s been doing T-Tapp want to write up their experience? I’ve been getting emails from people asking me if it’s for real (from both a health improvement and weight-loss standpoint), because the T-Tapp website sounds too good to be true and too infomercial-esque. I figure it’d be easier to trust reviews from people we "know" from here. (My babysitter started doing the 15-minute workout last week, and measured after a week of doing it and has lost 2.25 inches off her waist.)

4) Here’s one for you to comment on anonymously. Anonymous writes:

"I am pushing past the embarrassing nature of this questions because I
really just need to confirm that other people have had the same
experience! My 9-month old daughter sleeps in bed with me in the
mornings after my husband leaves for work, usually between 6-8am. I get
her from her crib when she wakes, we lay down and I begin nursing, we
both fall asleep and it’s great. Lately she continues to stay latched
and sucking for what seems like that whole two hours, and I’ve started
having sex dreams (about my husband, THANK GOODNESS) during that time,
probably twice a week. I can only guess that it’s from the nipple
stimulation! I know it doesn’t make me a pervert, and I know there is
likely no way to stop it from happening (other than stopping the
nursing/sleeping set-up altogether), so I’m not necessarily looking for
advice. Just please let me know I’m not the only one!"

Hee hee.

Anyone?

"This just in") Thanks for making me runner-up for Best Family and Parenting Blog of 2007 on Performancing.com! Especially since I completely forgot to mention it while the voting was still open. Duh.

Guest post: Archivist on managing your kids’ stuff

Remember the post two weeks ago about organizing kids’ stuff? I got an amazing response from archivist Alison Langmead that I had to share with you. Alison writes:

"First of all, please let me reiterate that I am an archivist and records manager, not a professional organizer or life manager or any such thing. It is my job to help organizations maintain, access and
make use of their stored information for both the short and long terms. That said, more and more information professionals are starting to look in to the serious issue of personal information management as it relates to the information economy and other broader social trends.

I have read through all the comments (pre-January 5th) to the "Help with Organization of Kid Stuff" thread and I have found them fascinating from both a personal and professional point of view. One
general response came to me right away. In my experience, I have found that people have natural tendencies towards keeping their stuff or destroying their stuff. Some people, for example, feel lighter when they clear out an entire closet, while others feel only loss. I call these extreme types "Destroyers" and "Keepers." I think most folks would consider Destroyer a harsh term, but I love it. I’m a natural-born Destroyer. Think Shiva. Perhaps the term "Purger" used so often in this thread is better. On the flipside, "Hoarder" has a major negative connotation for me. So, let’s compromise and call these basic types Keepers and Purgers. Quibbles over taxonomy aside, I have found in both my personal and professional experience that there is a kind of personality continuum between these two ends of the spectrum, but
that innate tendencies do exist. Reading the comments to this thread, it has been very easy to differentiate the Keepers from the Purgers and all the gray areas in between.

All of this explanatory build-up has been to say the following: There is nothing so difficult or so emotionally burdensome in the personal domain as being a Keeper who feels social pressure to purge
excessively or being a Purger who feels social pressure to keep excessively.

Many commenters have noted thoughts such as, "I like to purge. Is this bad?" or "I keep everything due to an inappropriate sense of sentimentality." I am of the firm personal conviction that rebelling
against one’s natural predilictions does not help us as we go through life. If you like to purge, then you need to accept that, and work with it. The reverse also holds. This is not to say that we can always
just keep and purge at will. We are in this world with other people who have other tendencies and needs. In my professional life, I am constantly in the position of reminding people that the process of
information management is a necessary balance between keeping and purging (or, to be terminologically precise, retention and destruction). If we keep absolutely everything, it becomes almost impossible to find any one given thing, which is almost precisely the same state of affairs that we find if we destroy absolutely everything. Finding the balance, then, between appropriate keeping and purging is what we are all looking for in this thread.

But, compounded with this, I believe that there is general social pressure for women, mothers especially, to be super organized. It is as if we are all supposed to be born with the innate ability to keep it all together. Some of us do indeed have this capacity, others do not. But those who are not so inclined often feel that they are somehow inferior to those who can. This is a crying shame. We should feel free to do whatever makes us feel happy and healthy and what facilitates our ability to raise happy and healthy children. This will be different for everyone.

For some of us, however, it is not social pressure that is the problem, rather physical constraints. If you are a born Keeper who lives with a partner and a child in a 450-square-foot apartment, your living conditions will pose extra challenges for you. Some of the really creative storage ideas found in this thread could really help you out. Balance and acceptance will again always be key.

Enough with that diatribe for now. As promised to you Moxie, I have a few general comments that you and my fellow readers might find helpful.

1) There is a difference between the act of reducing your family’s holdings and finding a more compact way to store things. Decide which one of these things you want to do and do it. Do not confuse the two
issues. The first is an act of purging, the second, an act of keeping. They are both good and proper.

2) Scheduling things for purging can be a very good thing ("the one year rule," the toy "death row"…would "toy purgatory" be slightly less morbid? Maybe not.). But as other commenters have already noted, the key to this process is finding the precise right length of time to keep things before you purge them. Otherwise said, the trick to this is not the act of deciding to keep things for a certain period of
time, it’s deciding what that "certain period of time" is and what action you will take at that time. By the way, I am less comfortable with the "everything that fits in this small box" rule. I think it leads to preferential treatment on the basis of size and not meaning. Which leads me to…

3) When trying to decide what to keep and what to purge, the pros are always considering their mandates and their user base. Maybe this would be a good thing to do in the personal domain as well. Ask questions like, "Who am I keeping this for?" And, "What will they be doing with it and for how long?" BE HONEST. If you are keeping your children’s art for your own sake, then do it up right! If you are
keeping it because you want your kids to have it when they have their own kids, then do that up right as well! In addition, I couldn’t agree more with those commenters who suggest that you involve your children
in these decisions when they are capable. Finally, if you are doing it because you are
afraidthatyoumayonedaywishtoseeitagainbutthenagainyoureallyneedthisspace,

then it is my opinion that you should confront that fear and come to some sort of compromise. This might be a moment for the swift one-two of transferring the items to compact storage with a plan to revisit the items later on.

4) Charity is always a good thing.

5) I really do not wish to be a scaremongerer about this, but making digital copies of physical objects is absolutely not a panacea for these issues. I could go on and on about this, and will do so, if requested. Suffice it to say here that, unless you are willing to go to your CD’s every two years or so and make sure that all of the data you put on them is still there—meaning, you will need to open up the files and look at them—you might find that you have lost your records of these objects. All types of digital media are prone to corruption and failure. Hard drives even have an accepted "mean time between failure" figure associated with them. CDs, DVDs, hard drives, tapes…all of these objects _will_ fail. It is just a matter of time. Now, let’s all take a deep breath. We can get around this problem. It simply takes effort. You have to go back from time to time and check in with your stuff. Just make sure it’s still there. Copy it onto new CDs from time to time. By the way, professionally speaking, hard drives are preferred to CDs for longer-term storage, mainly because it’s easier to check in on your stuff with a hard drive. You’ll do it more often because you aren’t sitting there for hours swapping disks in and out. And, one more thing, it is now well-understood in professional circles that, for the long-term, digital objects are *more* expensive to store than physical ones.

I think I’ve been on my soapbox for long enough. Please feel free to ask any and every follow-up question that comes to your mind. I love talking about this stuff.

And, thanks, Moxie for putting yourself out there and maintaining this fabulous resource. I cannot tell you how many times I have read and re-read a posting at 3am reassuring myself that I am not alone with my perceived faults and my very real fears. With all of our similarities and differences, we are all fantastic mothers."

You’re certainly welcome, Alison. Thank you so much for your wonderful post! Questions, anyone?

Q&A: Do I have to go outside?

If you watched "Persuasion" last night on PBS, check out the piece I wrote for the PBS.org blog.

Christiana writes:

"I am 33 weeks pregnant with my first child and have been reading books/websites on pregnancy, breastfeeding, and child-rearing for awhile. I love Ask Moxie and am hoping you can help with my current question that I haven’t yet seen in any of my books.

I’m not an outdoorsy person. At all. Never really have been, though I remember spending the normal school-time amounts of time outside, going to parks, etc. as a child. But I was always of the opinion that if I could have the choice of indoor or outdoor activities, I would always choose indoor. (Part of this may be attributed to my extremely fair skin that would burn easily and I have always lived in FL so sun and heat have always been a big part of the weather here, but part of it was just my personality. I don’t like heat, to sweat, to get dirty, etc.)

But I know it’s healthy for kids to spend time outside and not cooped up indoors 24/7. So what do I do about exposing my child to the great outdoors while not driving myself insane? I’m obviously capable of slathering on my own sunscreen at this point in my life, so I’m not quite as worried about getting my own self sunburned (and I know there are plenty of parks and the like that have a ton of shade to keep the sun away from the children). Am I one of the few mothers that deal with this issue, or are there plenty of others who can’t really bear the thought of spending tons of time outside with the bugs, the dirt, the heat and the like?"

I am fair-skinned and light-eyed and burn easily, so I hear you on the sun aversion thing. And I’m not crazy about bugs and sweat, either.

The good news about little kids, though, is that for a long time they don’t really care where they are, as long as they’re with you. And then by the time they’re old enough to care, they’re taking naps during the hottest time of the day. So you can be outside playing in the morning, but then by 10 or 11 you have to go inside so you can have lunch and then have naptime. And by the time naptime is over the worst sun of the day is over.

If you do have to spend time outside in the sun and heat, your own problems with it will probably help you know how to pace your child. Both of my own kids would just play and play outside until they keeled over from heatstroke, so I think my built-in annoyance with too much sun was good for them. They learned pretty quickly that after awhile out in the sun at the playground we’d go inside to have an ice cream, and I’ve never had more than a slight pinkness on either one of them. You’ll be happy to be so aware because it’ll help you avoid problems.

Every locale has areas that parents and kids congregate in to beat the heat, whether it’s the public library, a chain bookstore, an indoor farmer’s market, big box retailers, museums, the mall, or any other big building. If you can learn to balance time in these big spaces with outdoor time at non-peak hours, your kids will be happy as clams and never notice that they’re not spending eight hours at the playground.

People in hot climates: What do you do to beat the heat, since you can’t stay in your houses 24/7?

People in cold climates: What do you do when it’s cold, so you don’t end up with cabin fever?

(One of my favorite indoor places in NYC is Chelsea Market, between 15th and 16th Streets and 9th and 10th Aves. It’s just a big long food court, but there are plenty of nooks and crannies for kids to play in, an amazing ice cream place, and enough other food that you could spend the entire day there eating.

Another one of my favorites is the Natural History Museum, because it’s just so cavernous, and kids love all the dioramas and the dinosaur bones.)

Q&A; Rolling over in sleep…ACK!

I love it when readers answer their own questions. Nancy writes:

"File this under "don’t brag about how your baby sleeps 11-12 hour pernight" as it will come back to haunt you!  We sleep trained our 6 month
old son with excellent results about 6 weeks ago and have had mostly
amazing sleep-filled nights ever since (with the exception of a couple
of teething incidents).  Last night at 1 am, he decided to roll over
for the first time in his crib.  As he found himself on his belly, he
immediately started screaming.  My husband flipped him over and was
able to quickly get him back to sleep only to have him do the same
thing again about an hour later.  This waking was much more involved
and required about two hours of rocking, feeding, shushing to get him
back to sleep.  He has very strong legs but his arms haven’t quite
caught up yet, and rolling over has been a pipe dream of his for the
last month or so.  Any ideas about how to help him get through this?
Is the prescription just lots of tummy time so he can master this
milestone during the day?"

You’ve got it. He’s more wakeful in general because he’s working on the rolling over, and the only way around rolling over is through it.

There’s no way to force a kid to get through physical milestones (hearing stories about someone "teaching" their kid to walk always makes me laugh), but the more a child can work on the skills the sooner s/he’ll get good at them. So tummy time is exactly the prescription to end your nighttime wakeups.

Once he can roll over easily on his own, he’ll stop waking himself up by rolling, and he’ll also stop being up and cranky and needing to be soothed so much, because that part of his brain will be able to relax again.

You’ll probably have to sleep train him all over again after this is over (the dirty little secret of sleep training), but depending on how old he is when he gets through this, you might be in the middle of the 8-9-month sleep regression. Which is one of the worst times to try to change your child’s sleep, and will make you really frustrated. So I’m hoping he comes through it more quickly and you can get on a more even keel first, but if you end up with this movement leap transitioning into the developmental stuff of 8-9 months, just know that it won’t last forever, and he will sleep all night again eventually.

Oh, and here’s a good point to mention that although we’re all told to make sure our kids sleep on their backs, once they can roll onto their stomachs we can let them keep sleeping that way (if they will).

Comments on rolling? Milestones? The upcoming weekend? Which of the new toys are still in favor and which ones have already been ignored?

Q&A: Online interactive video games?

Kelly writes:

"My five year old sonhas become smitten with Toontown, the Disney "Second Life" interactive web
site.  He was turned on to it by friends at school and those smart Disney
folks will allow anyone to register to go into "Toontown" but you can only
participate in certain levels of activity by, you guessed it, subscribing. 
He is now begging to spend way more time than he is allowed on the web
site.   He gets to play for a maximum of an hour a day on the computer
at this point.  He can go to Toontown or the other sites we have deemed
okay for him to visit.

Because he was so
enthralled, I spend an evening on the site myself to really check it out and I’m
so torn about whether this is something I want him to have access to or not (we
are considering subscribing as a birthday gift or banning entirely). 
Once on the site, you create a character with name and you manipulate that
character’s actions in a 3-D Toontown.  There’s a Goofy Race Track, Donald
has a boat you can ride to other places, and an area where you can go to
"destroy" Clogs – guys in suits with funny business names (not really
violent, just pie throwing and water squirting and they get mad and explode if
you hit them correctly).   The games you get to play to collect "jelly
beans" are fun and at that great place of not too hard, but not too easy. 
That is harmless enough.

But you can also
interact with the other characters.   Kudos to the Disney folk for
limiting the allowable conversations to already scripted remarks from a pull
down menu (you can’t ask anyone for any personal information, you can’t respond
to anyone except in also prescripted form) .  You can ask them to "be your
friend" and that both helps you with some of the tasks you can achieve and
alerts you to when you are in the same neighborhood as one of your
"friends".  For instance, you can ask some one to help you find a location
within Toontown or if they want to be your friend (again, if you are a
subscriber, you can ask them to help "teleport" you to other fun areas). 
When you team up with other players it helps everyone score more "jelly
beans" when they complete a task together.

When he is playing
and another Toon character comes up to him to ask to be his friend
(our computer is in a common area and his reading skills often require some help
to decipher the instructions for games or read what someone has asked), I get
rather freaked out.  Yes, that may look like a happy duck in green shorts
named "Snackelberry Happyface", but I’m convinced it is really a
thirty-something freakoid who really wants to…. interact secretly with
children on a web site.  Ugh. 

So, my
questions:

1. Like TV, are
interactive websites/computer games poison for our kid’s minds?  Or are
they an okay way to divert a child so I can get the
laundry folded, dishes put away, checkbook balanced (okay, I’m giddy here)
while his baby sisters sleep?

2. Can I use these
limited interactions as the spring board into conversations about good
communication on the web vs.. bad communication or is that too subtle for a
five/six year old and encouraging him to "make friends" on the web is just a
bad, bad, bad idea."

Holy crap, there are interactive sites for kids that age?

And here I was already wondering if I was doing something horribly imprudent by letting my older son (the same age as Kelly’s son) play the games on PBS online. He also has a time limit, but will play happily for that entire time without paying attention to anything else that’s going on in the room.

I’m going to start with question 2, because I know the answer to that one: Yes, you definitely use Toontown as the beginning of the "keeping yourself safe on the internet" conversation that’s going to go on for the next 20 years. I think it’s a lot like talking to kids about sex. You don’t want to hit a 3-year-old with every detail, but you also don’t want to wait until your kid is 15 to tell them anything, because by then it’s too late. So you start with the small bites, and then by the time your kid is let loose outside of the prescripted world (or at a party) they’ll have enough knowledge to be able to discern reality from fiction when it counts.

It seems that starting with the idea of avatars might be a good way to introduce the idea that you don’t really know who’s typing at the keyboard to a younger kid. "You made your ‘guy’ look like Goofy, but are you really Goofy?" and other questions that help them start to understand playing a character could be a way to help them develop that awareness that not everything is literal.

If you’re a family that watches TV, I’m guessing you’ve already had some conversations about commercials, and how they’re trying to get you to buy things, and they’re not always telling the truth, and you don’t always need everything on the ads (and even if you do need it, you might find it better, or for less money, etc.). You’re eventually going to get to that point about the internet, too (no, you cannot cite Wikipedia as a source in an academic research paper), and it’s kind of the kissing cousin to internet safety.

Now, to question 1. I, personally, don’t think it’s good for kids to watch any TV or be on the internet at all. I think they’d all be better off running around outside and digging in the dirt all day. But that’s not realistic for many of the kids in the world, and probably most of the kids of people reading this blog right now. My own kids watch TV, and my older one plays computer games. Do I ever think about unplugging completely? Of course. Do I think about it a lot? Not really. It’s just too–I’m looking for the right word here–sensible to let them watch a half-hour show while I’m making breakfast and getting their stuff ready in the morning. (I’m still trying to wrap my head around the computer games, although logically they seem like they should be better than passively watching TV.)

I’m sure it’s not the best thing possible for their brains, but I also think they get some positive things out of their limited media time. So I’m spending my energy moderating what they watch and play and trying to keep in mind that it’s just a small slice of what happens in their lives on a daily/weekly/monthly/yearly basis.

I would LOVE to hear from some people with older kids about how you deal with media, especially the internet, as kids get older. I feel like I’m slowly finding a balance now while he’s in Kindergarten, but suspect that it’s only going to get more complicated as my kids get older. What do you talk about with your kids and when? How do you create rules to keep your kids safe, while still allowing them their privacy?

Help for parents of early wakers?

I’ve been getting several emails from parents who have toddlers waking up really early (like 5 am). The kids are obviously still tired, but can’t get back to sleep or stay asleep. Then they’re cranky for the rest of the day.

I’m sure many of us have gone through this on limited occasions (it happened in my house yesterday, which is why I didn’t post and was foggy at work all day), but having it happen morning after morning would be truly demoralizing.

Here are the things I’ve suggested:

  • Blackout shades on the windows. You can buy actual blackout shades, or you can buy blackout material at a fabric store, or even just heavy drapery cloth and make your own.
  • Mess around with bedtime. Sometimes it seems like the kids are just in the wrong place in the sleep cycle, and that’s why they wake up. So switching the starting sleep time around might alleviate the problem. (I also think it may be sort of the same effect whacking the side of the TV has to get it to stop fuzzing out, but that’s just me.) As counter-intuitive as it sounds, I’d start with bumping the bedtime earlier, unless you’ve already got a 7 pm bedtime, in which I’d try 8 pm. (FWIW, it seems to me just from hearing people talk that most kids have a sleep-time sweet spot between 7 and 8 pm, so if you’re totally up in the air I’d start with 7 and see where it gets you.)
  • Check out the naps. How old is your kid? Most kids older than 18 months are down to one nap a day, in the early afternoon. If your toddler is still taking two naps, the early waking might be part of trying to drop the second nap. Messing around with that might give you some more information.
  • Look at what your kid’s eating. I think diet problems (including bad reactions to artificial things or acids, and reflux) usually manifest themselves earlier in the night (waking up screaming an hour after going to bed is a classic sign of reflux or too much acid, for example). But you never know. Anything that’s causing stress on a kid’s system can make the difference between being able to go back to sleep after the slight arousal of finishing one sleep cycle, and if they’re having a tummy problem of any sort, that could do it.
  • "Psychological" causes. I didn’t know what else to call it, but some kids go through a monster phase, when they wake up and are scared of random things or of monsters or of being alone. You could definitely try some kind of monster-scarer or other comfort object (I think you’ll have better success with something you get specifically to scare away the bad things than just trying to use an old comfort object) and explain that it will help them get back to sleep in the middle of the night and keep them safe.

But if none of this is working, what do you guys recommend? Like everything else in parenting, you could just wait it out. But if your child is desperately tired, and you can barely function at work, you need to  get everyone sleeping longer ASAP.

Does anyone want to offer solutions, suggestions, anecdotes, or commiseration?

Mix-a-lot

1. Do not buy The Wonder Weeks for more than US/Ca$20. It is absolutely not worth more than that.

2. I just wanted to call some attention to the new website PPD Connect, a place for moms with PPD (or who think they might have PPD, or are even just feeling a little crappy) to go and tell their stories and get some support from other women who are going through it, or who have been through it. If you’re a PPD survivor, you might want to stop by to leave some support and light at the end of the tunnel. http://ppdconnect.typepad.com/

Don’t forget you can download my "14 Tips To Prevent Postpartum Depression" PDF over there in the left-hand column for free.

3. And now a question from Tegan:

"Since I’ve become a breast-feeding mother experiencing the occasional painful clogged duct, I’ve had no problem finding problem solving tips, i.e.:  warm compresses, massaging the breast, and nurse nurse nurse on that side to clear the clog.  But I’ve always wondered, does that mean that the baby gets a mouth-full of cloggy coagulated milk at some point?  Just curious."

It does, but they don’t seem to care at all. I think it’s probably more
like yogurt or the skin of vanilla pudding than anything else.

FWIW, you can help prevent plugged ducts by taking flax seed oil or lecithin capsules daily.

Now I’m craving pudding.

4. If anyone’s interested in a T-Tapp challenge for the new year, I just signed up for the "6 weeks to a new you" thread on the T-Tapp.com forums.

Help with organization of kid stuff

Iowa caucus for Americans today. I’m really curious about how things will go. [Confession: I am so not paying attention to anyone but the top three contenders on each side, and confused the candidate Ron Paul with rapper Sean Paul (turn down your speakers if you’re at work). And every time I saw a "Ron Paul for President" sign I thought it was an ad for a new album coming out. I only figured they’re two different people the other day while watching CNN. Duh.]

Can we talk about organization? I am not a great organizer in general, and was barely holding on with the new holiday influx of toys. But yesterday my older son brought home a beautiful little pinch pot from his art class at school. And I realized I was going to have to start really processing 3D art projects and figuring out what to do with them. (I’ve been putting the drawings and paintings into file folders and saving them.)

Gah!

So I guess what I’m looking for is ideas from those of you who are good at this sort of thing. I could use ideas on processing the unbelievable amounts of clothing we end up with, the toys, the art projects, and the seasonal stuff. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like it’s all getting away from her.

I wish I could just shove it all into an attic or a garage, but I don’t have either of those right now. (I’d be willing to bet there are readers who could use tips on organizing basements, attics, and garages, if you’ve got any ideas for that.) And I watched a show about hoarders that scared the living crap out of me, and now I’m actually afraid I’ll get rid of too much stuff in an effort not to end up with stuff that runs my life.

What do you keep and what do you get rid of? How do you manage and store the kid stuff you do want to keep? Will I magically become organized if I buy a labelmaker?

Thank you.