Child Safety and Travel: A New Series

Hey everyone,

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!! Our was not the best, Travis gave me the gift that keeps on giving, his cold. But he did take super good care of me while I was recovering. Thank God none of the kids have gotten it yet. And this morning we made a wonderful discovery (after a very long night of crying), Timo has his first tooth!! He is getting so big already, it makes me happy and sad at the same time. That is especially true since this will be our last baby (unless God has plans we don’t know about). Now onto some news about a new series I am super excited about.

travel safety

We have been out with the kids a lot lately and I started thinking about all the little things we do that specifically have to do with safety. I was talking to Travis about it and he suggested that I write a series all about child safety when traveling. I am thrilled to start this series titled, “Child Safety and Travel.” I plan on going over everything from physical safety to stranger awareness and airport security. First of all let me give you a little background about me that you won’t find under the About page. I worked for a Police Department as a Clerical Assistant for 10 years on and off while going to high school, college, and even after Ksena was born. My job was to turn written reports into digital ones, and I have seen more reports having to do with children than anyone should ever see (one is too many in my opinion). My husband is also extremely aware of public safety as a former security officer and police officer. I will definitely be getting his input when writing these articles. And no, we did not meet at the police department, in case you were wondering.

Here are the articles I plan on writing over the next few months (this is a larger series than I have done in the past, but it is so important!):

Establishing Rules and Boundaries

-Physical Safety and Child Restraints in Planes, Trains, Cars, and Buses

Standards to Teach Your Children about Strangers

Dealing with Figures of Authority

-Human Trafficking

-Creating Awareness, Not Fear

Holding Hands: A New Technique

-Never Leave Your Child Unattended

-Keeping Track of Everyone

Restroom Safety

Careful vs. Paranoid

Of course, it is likely that this series will change as I write it (like they all do) and if you feel that I’ve left something out, please feel free to comment below. I will address any concerns or questions you have as we go. I’m not a perfect mom, by any means, I just do what I can to keep my kids safe, and I know you do the same. So let’s work together to become more aware as parents.

Happy travels!!

Kristin

Traveling While Pregnant: The Right Equipment

When you read the title of this post you might be thinking there is some magic belly support or transportation module that you need when you travel while pregnant, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Unless there is a working tele-porter that I don’t know is available to pregnant women, in which case, let me know because I’m all about that. I want to talk about the basic equipment for traveling (whether pregnant or not), good tennis shoes and comfy clothes.

I’m sure we all have our favorite travel clothes and tennies that we fall back on whenever we are going to be traveling for leisure, but things get a bit more tricky when you are pregnant. You have to deal with the fact that your feet are widening, your belly is bulging, and there are few other places that might be bulging as well… it’s ok, wear the few extra pounds (in my case some of that can be attributed to swelling) as a badge of honor because you are about to be a mommy! Now that I’ve given you a well deserved pep talk, let’s get down to picking the best travel wear for your trip.

When you are looking for good pregnancy shoes, don't get something that is full leather like these. Look for shoes that stretch and flex, ideally with some kind of mesh.

Starting at the bottom and working our way up, let’s talk about shoes. Tennis shoes that you can fit into when you are pregnant are a MUST. I am not saying to go drop 80 dollars on a pair of shoes that you are going to thrash (yes, you are going to thrash them, just accept it), but you need to find a decent pair of shoes that will last and tolerate the adequate swelling that will probably happen towards the end of your pregnancy. Here are my tips for finding shoes for your last 20 weeks:

-Check out Goodwill or the Salvation Army! Don’t cringe, you know you want to save all the money you can for those ridiculously cute tiny outfits your baby will only fit into for a month. Look at used shoes, check especially for wide (marked by “W”) sizes, and if you are buying ahead of time, make sure to buy at least half of a size bigger than you pre-pregnancy shoes size. Sometimes you can find really nice brands at used stores that are barely worn in. Make sure you try them on.

-Look in the clearance isle!! Normally you might not be willing to compromise on style, but those neon yellow trainers don’t really look THAT bad, do they? Scour through the clearance isles in your favorite sporting goods stores, and keep the sizing in mind. Always, always try on shoes and take them for a spin around the store in case the color is not the reason they are on clearance. There is nothing worse than spending money on shoes that pinch!

-Invest in inserts. Spending an extra ten dollars might make a world of difference for your feet and back. Remember that your lower back is taking a lot of the brunt of this pregnancy, and you want to pamper it whenever you can. Good inserts will do that, especially if you plan on being on your feet for hours.

Now onto the next item as we travel up the body, pants or shorts. You want to find something that is loose fitting in the belly area because prolonged pressure in that area is going to drive you crazy. At the same time you want to make sure the fit is not too baggy, because they will end up falling down a lot and will cause chaffing on your inner thigh. Not fun at all. I recommend something that has a full belly top that isn’t too tight, that way you can leave it scrunched around the lower half of you belly (in other words, don’t pull it all the way up). That is my favorite way to keep my belly comfortable without my pants or shorts falling down constantly. You can also wear maternity leggings or athletic pants or shorts. Those are fashionable, and super comfy.

That brings us to the top. You want to find a travel shirt that is not too tight, and goes well with your most comfortable bra. I tend to like longer shirts that I don’t have to worry about pulling down all of the time, especially towards the end of the pregnancy. As for a coat, find something that you can leave open and will keep your arms and shoulders warm. There are a lot of cute sweaters out there right now that are meant to be left open, and the great thing about it is it doesn’t even need to be maternity because you won’t be attempting to close it over your belly. And if your neck is getting cold, try a matching, loosely tied neck scarf.

There you are. Now you can be comfortably, sporty, and cute all at the same time! With the proper footwear and attire, traveling while pregnant will no longer seem like the obstacle it used to.

What is your favorite outfit to travel in?

Did you like this post? Check out the other articles in the “Traveling While Pregnant” series right here.

Happy Travels!

Kristin

Traveling While Pregnant: A New Series

Update February 5th, 2013: For a post related to this series check out Traveling While Pregnant: By Plane (Guest Post).

If you are dedicated reader of this blog (just let me pause to say how much I adore you!), you know that in less than two months we are expecting our third child to arrive. With that in mind, I thought it was only appropriate to do a series about traveling while pregnant. Travel is not only about airplanes and security, traveling comes in various different forms including road trips, bus rides, and adventures on the train. I want to walk you through all of these different adventures, while we try to maintain sanity while thinking about our bundle on the way. In addition to our new bundle, many of us also have to think about the best way to care for our other children while in our pregnant state, and this can get a little tricky when it comes to travel.

A Bump In The Road

Yesterday I figured out the hard way that Travis needs to be the parent paired with Katienne for getting on and off of the bus because she doesn’t like to step on the street when transferring from the sidewalk to the bus step. After both of us almost fell, I realized she didn’t understand that she could step onto the street first. Thankfully there was a Γιαγιά (Greek for “grandmother,” and also used to describe women of a certain age) there to help me out, and save Kati and I from a clumsy incident.

Here are the topics for the “Traveling While Pregnant” series:

May The Force Be With You: Mentally preparing to travel while pregnant

The Right Equipment: Choosing the right shoes and clothes for easy pregnant travel

I Didn’t Bend There Before: They joys of hormonal elasticity in your joints

Sitting, Standing, Or Lying: Comfort Mission Impossible

A Trip You Will Never Forget: How to pack a hospital bag and what to expect when you go to deliver your baby

So please join me over the next few weeks as we take this exciting journey into motherhood (for the first time or again) and figure out the best way to get around with this giant (or in my case, SUPER giant) belly.

Happy Travels!

Kristin

Potty Training: Think Ahead!

I wanted to start this post with a quick story of horror and disappointment (on my end). But before I get ahead of myself, if you haven’t read the other two posts in the Potty Training Series, please go and check them out so we are all on the same page.

Potty on the floor of the UPS Store.

When I was 18 years old, I paid for all of my non-tuition fees for university by taking a part time job at a local UPS Store. The first store I worked at was in Palos Verdes, California. For those of you non-Californians out there, PV is a very rich community! In fact, one time I had a 5 year old customer’s son tell me that he was going to Paris for his birthday (was I a little jealous, yes… may the Lord forgive me). But one of the things I remember most vividly from working at that store was a mother and her two children. She had a son and a daughter, and her son looked to be about 3 and a half. About halfway through packing something for her, I noticed that her son started to do the potty dance. You know the dance I’m talking about… hopping from one foot to the other, holding your crotch. It’s a dance that causes a lot of anxiety in every parent. I knew what was coming next, but there was nothing I could do to stop the chain of sad events that was about to unfold in front of me.

“Excuse me, my son needs to use the bathroom? Can we use yours?”

“I’m sorry ma’am, but we do not have a bathroom that is for public use.”

“Well YOU have to go to the bathroom, don’t you? Can’t he just use the employee bathroom?”

“I’m sorry ma’am, but he cannot use the employee bathroom.”

“But he really needs to go, can’t you make an exception this one time?”

“I’m sorry ma’am, I really want to help you out, but I really can’t allow him to use our bathroom.”

“Well just forget packing my item then! We’re leaving!”

“I’m sorry but you will have to pay for the packing supplies I already used first. I cannot reuse them at this point.”

“I can’t believe you are doing this! Can’t you see that my child has to go to the bathroom!! He’s going to have an accident!”

“Why don’t you leave your package here, I promise I will keep an eye on it, and go next door to use the bathroom in the Tea Shop. I will keep everything how it is until you come back.”

“Fine!!” *angry mother storms out of the door*

Ten minutes later…

“Let me pay for the packing supplies you used, and give me my package. I will never be coming back to this store again!”

At this point I noticed her son’s pants were wet. I quietly rang up her bill, told her the total, gave her the change, and watched her storm out the door in whirlwind of rage.

At this point you might be thinking something like, “I don’t like pre-mom, 18 year old Kristin very much! Couldn’t she just let the boy pee in the employee bathroom?” Well, let me explain my side of the story, and hopefully it will keep you and your kids from being in a similar situation.

When I first started working at the UPS Store my manager was very adamant that we never let non-employees use the restroom. She explained that since we stored chemicals and copy toner in the bathroom, that if there was an accident, the insurance would only cover it if the accident happened to an employee. If there was an accident with a customer, it left the shop open to a lawsuit. Her instructions were very simple, don’t ever let a customer use the restroom or you will be fired. If that alone wasn’t enough of a deterrent, the bathroom really wasn’t safe for children to be in. There were chemicals and other things stacked all around the toilet area, and I would have had to watch the woman’s daughter while she took him in there. Listen, I really wanted to help this lady out, but she obviously didn’t care about putting my job at risk, or the moral dilemma she was placing me in by trying to convince me to disobey my manager.

This horrible memory brings me to the main point of today’s article: Think ahead! As a parent with a potty training child, it is your responsibility to make sure you stop at a place where your child can go to the bathroom in a timely manner. You can’t just go out and run errands for 3 to 5 hours and hope that when your child has to go to the bathroom, you will be somewhere with an available toilet. Think about your day, where you will be, and plan out where you can stop along the way so your child can relieve themselves. Make sure that you have them go to the bathroom right before you leave the house. You can also have them wear trainers when you first start taking them on outings to give you a few minutes of extra insurance. I also bring a complete change of clothes wherever we go, because accidents happen.

When you first start going out with your child after they have gone two weeks at home with minimal accidents, be prepared to have to stop and change clothes, or to find a bathroom halfway through your trip. If worst comes to worst and your child has an accident in their second change of clothes, go home! It might be a huge inconvenience, but being a parent is about making sacrifices for your children. Plus this works as an incentive for your child not to have an accident. Kids like going out of the house on errands, or going to the playground. Use that to your advantage. And remember that it is counteractive to punish or yell at your child for having an accident, no matter how angry you may feel at the moment. Take a few deep breaths, remind yourself that they are new at this and need grace, and start over with a new pair of undies. We have been giving Kati a treat when get home if she can manage to keep her trainers dry the whole time we are out. This means there is a positive incentive for her telling us when she has to go to the bathroom in time.

Next week we will be talking about traveling with a newly potty trained child and how you can prepare and approach this interesting challenge with your family. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Happy travels!

Kristin

Potty Training: A New Series

This is the first post in a new series about potty training. Why now? Well it just so happens that we are potty training our 2 and half year old, Katienne. Whatever potty training approach you are taking, eventually you will have to leave your house. Things get even more complicated when you are going on a road trip or flying somewhere with a newly potty trained child. So come along on this potty training journey with me, and we’ll get through it together.

Potty training in style! Ksena @ 2 1/2 years old.

Let’s start with the basics. How do I choose to potty train my children? Well, I have a 5 year old, and I potty trained her while we were living on a bible college in Hungary over two years ago. So technically this is my second time going through this process. She was fairly easy to potty train, especially because she was coming out of wearing cloth diapers, not disposables, and she was sick of feeling wet. I was surrounded by other awesome mommies at the time and decided to go for the all or nothing approach based on their advice. We stopped diapering completely, including at night, put undies on her, and gave her a gummy bear every time she went on the toilet. Every 30 to 40 minutes I would remind her to try again and put her on the potty. After a week of constant accidents, things got better, and I was thankful that we had hardwood floors, and not carpet (yikes!).

We finally ventured to go play with other kids and she had an accident. She didn’t get punished or anything like that, but her consequence was that we had to go home and change her clothes and as a result her play time was cut short. It only took a few times of that happening for her to realize that if she asked me to take her to the potty, she could go, and then continue playing. At the time when we were potty training Ksena, we were traveling on a pretty constant basis, and I learned a lot of lessons the hard way. Potty training our second child has made me think through a lot of the ways I dealt with it the first time around, and I want to go over our potty training journeys with you through this series. Potty training can terrify and stupify mothers and fathers all around the globe, but it doesn’t have to, and I hope this series will help you in your own potty training adventures. Here is a breakdown of what this series will look like.

Accidents Happen (No, But Seriously)

Think Ahead! Potty On The Floor Of The UPS Store

Taking A Flight, Train, or Bus While Potty Training

Setbacks

Where Is The Finish Line?

I am so excited to write this series, and I can’t wait to hear your horror and victory stories about this topic!

Happy travels!

Kristin