Originally posted on Mommy Nearest.
You had chicken pox when you were a child and it was no big thing, right? That’s what I thought till I started researching. In mild cases it is really just an inconvenience – your child is uncomfortable and has to stay home from school, which means you have to stay home from work or arrange for child care. But did you know 1 in 80,000 healthy children who get chicken pox will die from it?
In 1995 they came out with a vaccine, but unfortunately it’s only 90% effective in preventing chicken pox, and because it’s so new we don’t yet know how long the vaccine is good for. On the other hand it’s 100% effective in preventing severe cases. For this reason it has become a standard vaccine given at between 12-15 months. To enter school you have to prove your child has immunity through the vaccine or having had the illness. Because many people are wary of vaccines, and probably had such mild cases of chicken pox themselves, they would rather their children gain immunity through the illness. And thus we have the introduction of the Pox Party. Say what!?!?!
Yep, Pox Party
You want your kid to get chicken pox? Take them to a pox party where one of the children has chicken pox! It’s highly contagious, you know.
I’m not endorsing pox parties by any means, but I can see why some might find then enticing. While I’m definitely wary of vaccines, I have decided to vaccinate my child for all standard ones, on an alternative spread out schedule. Most recently, he just got his first MMR (which is what he was waiting for in the above photo), and we'll be back in a month for his chick pox vaccine. This is for the sake of my child as well as the community. Having a high enough percentage of people vaccinated in a population helps prevent outbreaks (and we are in the middle of an "outbreak" of measles here in NYC - there were 21 cases as of last week).
Think about all the babies and pregnant women and other immunocompromised people out there. I see vaccines as taking one for the team. But, to each her own and I don’t judge anyone on their decision to vaccinate or not, as long as they’ve done their research!
It also comes down to which kind of guilt I would feel less guilty about, in a worst possible case scenario. Frankly, I would feel worse if my unvaccinated kid spread a terrible illness to an itty bitty baby (perhaps his own sibling or that of a friend), than if a vaccination caused him to have a nasty reaction. Of course, both of these scenarios suck, you just have to decide which is the lesser of two evils for you, make your decision, and hope for the best!
Related: Cuddling Through Vaccines
So, how do you feel about vaccines? Comment below!
NYC Baby Expo Guide for Spring 2014
Originally posted in Mommy Nearest Magazine / App
Living in New York City certainly has its perks. Besides having everything at your fingertips or a short taxi or subway ride away, there are events and expos going on at every moment for just about anything you can imagine, including all things pregnancy and baby! I’m happy to share with you my list of very cool must-do Baby Expos coming up this season!
Mommy to Bee Expo
Location: Bronx (Villa Barone Manor @ 737 Throggs Neck Expressway).
Date: March 23 (Sunday) @ 11AM – 3PM.
Tickets: $8.50 for 1 or $15 for 2, register here.
Other Info: This event is for moms-to-be and new moms in the Tri-State area, featuring over 60 top companies in the baby industry, a one-stop-shop for growing families. Parents, friends and family will enjoy mingling and shopping with other expectant moms while learning how to prepare for their growing families. This is the biggest Baby Shower event in the Bronx. You’ll receive a gift bag valued over 2x your ticket price and enjoy free onsite childcare!
Brooklyn Baby & Family Expo
Location: Brooklyn Heights (St. Francis College @ 180 Remsen Street).
Date: April 6 (Sunday) @ 11AM – 3PM.
Tickets: From $15 to $120 per person, register here.
Other Info: Presented by A Child Grows, this is a family-friendly event for expectant, new and seasoned parents (of children up to age 8) and will be a day of fun and education, where participants can interact with other parents, exhibitors and experts. Exhibitors will showcase products and services covering all phases of life as a parent of young children! Hands on activities, raffle prizes, gift bags, & live kids’ entertainment!
Big City Moms Biggest Baby Shower
Location: Manhattan (Metropolitan Pavillion @ 125 W 18th St).
Date: April 29 (Tuesday) @ 6:30PM – 9:30PM.
Tickets: From $65 to $200 per person, or $175 to $250 per couple, register here.
Other Info: Big City Moms Biggest Baby Shower is held several times a year in several cities (the next one in NYC is November 13). With over 100 of the best companies in the baby industry, it's a one stop shop to test out, touch, feel and get educated on everything you can possibly need for your growing family. Enjoy mingling with other expectant and new parents while you enjoy sweet treats, mocktails and more in an elegant setting.
The Mamas Expo
Location: Queens (NY Hall of Science @ 47-01 111th St).
Date: May 4 (Sunday) @ 10AM – 4PM.
Tickets: $15 (General Admission) and $45 (VIP), register here.
Other Info: The Mamas Expo is open to all parents, expectant moms, and children, from pregnancy to age 6. Part baby expo, part county fair, and part something entirely different, the Mamas Expo is a one day family friendly gathering that celebrates parenting culture in New York City and beyond. It brings together local resources, businesses, brands, educators, caretakers, parents, grandparents, performers, artists, and of course kids to receive an exclusive look at all of the new resources available and of course, have fun!
NY Baby Show
Location: Manhattan (Pier 92 @ 711 12th Avenue).
Date: May 17 & 18 (Saturday & Sunday) @ 10AM – 4PM.
Tickets: Single $20, Family $30, register here.
Other Info: Presented by New York Family, the New York Baby Show is a family-friendly event for new and expectant parents from the Tri-State area and beyond. Explore a mix of top products and services for maternity, baby and toddler (over 100 brands!), along with an inspiring menu of speakers and demonstrations from highly regarded and beloved figures in the world of parenting and pregnancy. You’ll also find mom and dad lounges, play area, classes, and a stroller test track!
No, a public Japanese-English bilingual school doesn't exist in New York City... yet... but could be in the works!! Just saw this posted in one of my Facebook groups:
We are in the process of gathering a list of families that are interested in being a part of the first ever Japanese dual-language program in a New York City public school. If the idea of your child learning and speaking both Japanese and English from K-5 is appealing to you, please fill out the information below for our list. This list will help us in getting support from the Dept. of Education and other organizations that we are looking to partner with in making the program a reality.
We have been very lucky to have found two possible partnership schools in District 14. At this point, it is paramount that we show them in person just how much interest there is in starting a new dual-language program in Brooklyn! This vision is not just to benefit families interested in studying Japanese; dual-language programs have been known to transform school communities. Our efforts to bring more dual-language programs is part of a larger effort to improve and provide for more high quality choices in our very own public schools. Our decision to move forward with Japanese in D14 is because 1) Williamsburg and Greenpoint has the 2nd largest Japanese population in Brooklyn and 2) how is it possible that Japanese dual-language programs do not exist in all of DOE?
If you have time to come (with or without your wee ones) either tomorrow / Friday of this week to PS 147, we urge you to please come! We would love to have your support in droves! If you can also come next Wednesday to PS 196, they have invited Councilman Antonio Reynoso to address our wishes for schools in our district. What an opportunity to let decision-making folks know now what we want for our kids in the near future!
OPEN HOUSES (General, not just for the J-E Program):
Thursday and Friday, 3/20 & 3/21 at 9am PS 147 325 BUSHWICK AVENUE
BROOKLYN NY 11206 Map Phone: (718) 497-0326
Wednesday, 3/26 at 9am PS 196 207 BUSHWICK AVENUE
BROOKLYN NY 11206 Map Phone: (718) 497-0139
Finally, fill out this Google Docs form if you'd like to be kept in the loop by the movement's organizer, Lanny Cheuk! If you're like me and have no idea what school district you're in, you can find out here!
I can't say I'm not terribly bummed they're pushing for District 14. I mean, Williamsburg/Greenpoint is like another state when you're way down in Bay Ridge!!
Originally posted on Mommy Nearest, the best resource for NYC moms!! Download the app and never wonder where you can find the nearest changing table, drop in music class, or kid-friendly gluten free restaurant with outdoor seating! HA!
Living in New York City without a car… no problem. Living in New York City with kids and no car… not quite as easy, but totally doable!!
Taxis / Car Service:
Legally you don’t need a car seat in taxis and car services, so the ball’s in your court here and though I've done it, I really really don't recommend taking a taxi ride without a car seat. As if a ride in a NYC taxi isn't terrifying enough, this really takes the cake. Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures, but know that there are several companies that offer car seats and boosters when reserved ahead of time (my personal go-to is Eastern Car Service based out of Park Slope, they usually charge $5 extra for the car seat or booster). There’s also a service geared especially for families called Kid Car.
You’ve got a small selection here, and depending on where you live they may or may not have parking locations convenient to you. But they offer hourly rental, and gas and insurance is included in the price! How awesome! Check out Zipcar, Hertz 24/7, and Carpingo. You’ll have to provide your own car seat, which is required by law.
Not a glamorous way of travel, but cost effective and for the most part, pretty easy. My contention with the subway is the dearth of stations with elevators - check the MTA’s accessible list.
The tough part on the bus is you are required to collapse your stroller. With an infant, diaper bag, and who knows what else you’re lugging around under the stroller, this can be a mama’s worst nightmare. For this reason, the subway wins out in my book, even if you have to solicit help to get up and down the stairs (go here to see which "Subway Mom" you are!)!
Most parts of NYC are pretty pedestrian friendly, so throw on some sneakers and show your little one all there is to see around the city! And bonus, you’ll save some money and work off some of that baby weight while you’re at it! I recommend at least one of the following: a carrier, a stroller, or a leash/harness (if your little one is walking and likes to dart into traffic).
Here in Bay Ridge, we often organize a "stroller caravan" where we walk in groups to meetups such as Babies and Books at the library or open play at Baby/Mama. I think our record was an intimidating lineup of 15 strollers!! We seriously rule the sidewalks in Ba(b)y Ridge!
I'm psyched to have one of my Miny Moe diaper samplers included in an awesome giveaway for new moms organized by Rookie Moms and Eepples! The jackpot of 11 prizes is valued over $700, here's a look at what the grand prize winner will receive (enter in the raffle box below or visit Rookie Mom's giveaway page for more details):
10 Signs You're a New Mom
Originally posted on Mommy Nearest
1. You can’t stand in place without rocking, even if you’re not holding your baby.
2. You’re constantly getting a whiff of either B.O. (thank you postpartum hormones!), spit-up, or poo.
3. Your old standards have become lusted after luxuries – i.e. sleeping more than 4 hours in a stretch, taking a long shower, and going to the bathroom alone.
4. You haven’t bought anything for yourself since you were pregnant.
5. You lied to your husband after being OK’d for sex by your OB. A few more weeks won’t kill him.
6. You still have pregnancy brain but now you can’t blame it on pregnancy, just exhaustion (#Mombie)!
7. You have no idea what’s going on in the news and it turns out ignorance really is bliss.
8. You speak in the 3rd person (“Mama is going to change your stinky diaper”) and only call your husband by his new name, Daddy (or worse… DADA!).
9. You feel absolutely naked when you leave the house without a stroller, diaper bag, and baby.
10. You struggle to carry on an intelligent adult conversation, not that the opportunity ever presents itself (unless you’re a working mom).
But above all of this, you now love something more than you ever thought possible, which makes it all worth it!! *tear* Did I miss some other signs of a new mom? Leave yours below!!
I'm always looking for hidden gem companies out there. All those big box retailers and ginormous name brands, of course they get my hard-earned dough occasionally, but I'd much rather buy from my fellow mompreneurs, up-and-coming businesses, and environmentally-friendly brands. I think a lot of my readers are in the same boat, so I'm happy to introduce you to a great company I've just come across called Mezoome!
Mezoome Designs brings us adorable modern, organic and eco-friendly children and baby products - everything from wall stickers to organic baby bunting bags to crib sheets! The line is designed and manufactured by Israeli designers Anat & Maayan and distributed in the US by IMA Design Imports. I've really fallen in love with this stuff - the design is simple and modern, but oh so cute. And the materials, besides most of them being organic cotton, are SUPER SOFT!!
On both of the Mezoome products I've gotten, I saw "AZO-free" listed on the packaging. "What the heck is AZO," I thought. Off to Google I went and found out this: AZO are the most commonly used chemical compounds of dyes used, and some (a small number) are possible carcinogens. UGH!!! So, PHEW, AZO-free - yes please! Thank you, Mezoome, for green-schooling me a wee bit!
The first Mezoome product I got was their Stroller Liner. I love the pattern, popping with color but not over the top. It's reversible, machine washable, and made from 100% Egyptian cotton in Israel. It's really thick and seems like it would be super comfy for babies and toddlers. On the website it says "fits most strollers" but beyond disappointed was I when it did not fit MY stroller (Britax B-Agile). Basically, the seat belt slots on the stroller liner are fixed, so you can't feed through a seatbelt that has the shoulder and waist straps connected, as mine are. A 3-point harness would work, and even a 5-point harness would work if the shoulder and waist straps connect could be fed through the 2 slots independent from one another.
The second Mezoome product I got was the Wabbit Organic Baby Blanket. I noticed right away how thick it was - it's actually got two layers of 100% organic cotton, and of course is colored with eco-friendly azo-free dyes :) It's a very simple design, but very cute and big (40"x32")! I can't wait for the snow to finally melt - I'm totally taking this blanket to the park with my little guy for many a picnic and soaking up some Vitamin D! Ahhhhhh Spring, please come soon!!
Long story short, if you're looking for some eco-friendly totally cute stuff for your little one, or for a baby shower, definitely give Mezoome a looksy-loo!! And if you're on social, check 'em out on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest!
*Disclaimer: Although I did receive these products free of charge, I was not compensated in any other way to do this product review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
Do you know why bamboo is so awesome? No? Let me tell you. It grows super duper fast, and therefore can be used as a much more environmentally-friendly alternative to trees for making anything from the floors in your home to your little one's baby wipes! BAMBOO BABY WIPES!? SERIOUSLY!? Seriously!
Bum Boosa uses bamboo to make not only baby wipes but also toilet paper and flushable liners for cloth diapers! You might be wondering, as I was, what exactly bamboo baby wipes feel like. After getting my hands on some Bum Boosa wipes, I can tell ya, I wouldn't have had a clue they were any different from regular baby wipes made from wood pulp!
The first thing I noticed was that they smelled really good, citrusy (after reading the ingredients I see this must be from the sweet orange essential oils). The wipes we've been using are unscented, so this was a really nice change for me. Like aroma therapy while doing diaper duty, haha! The moistness factor was spot on - very moist without being overly so. And here's where they really stand out - they are really really strong, but also very soft! Pretty much the perfect combo of soft and strong you could ask for in a wipe. This is not a wipe that's gonna rip and give you grief in the middle of a big job!
What's more? Bum Boosa baby wipes contain no alcohol, sulfates, parabens, or phenoxyethanol, and the company is B Corp, Cruetly-Free, and Certified Women Owned Company - hoorah!
Annnnnnnnnnnd because I love you all so much, I'm gonna let you in on a little secret... You have TWO ways in which you can score some FREE SAMPLES!!
Shorter version originally posted on Mommy Nearest.
Unless you're a hardcore attachment parenting kinda parent, you need a stroller for your baby or toddler. Any will do, right? WRONG!! Here is a list I've come up with to keep in mind while stroller shopping (and test driving – yes, it’s very necessary!!). There's no one stroller that will come in first in each and every one of these categories, so figure out what is most important to you and go from there!
1) Price: Sometimes price means quality, other times not. You can find an umbrella stroller for all of $10 or a luxury big-brand travel system for well over $1,000! Don't think you need to break the bank or take out a loan to have a fabulous stroller!
2) Weight: The travel systems with car seat and all can get really heavy. Like, difficult to turn a corner and really tough to get up a flight of stairs (definitely test drive for this function!). If you have a car that you’ll be in and out of, this might be worth it, but probably not something to consider if you are sans car.
3) Height: If the handles are too tall or short for you, it will quickly become annoying and possibly painful. Short handles are especially prevalent in the umbrella strollers.
4) Width: Check that your feet don’t bang into the frame or tires when walking, it should go without saying that this would be really annoying. If you're a city mom such as myself, you may want to take measurements at your go-to shops and make sure the stroller will fit through the aisles and check-out lanes. In some countries, you should verify the stroller will fit through the subway gates, but in NYC this is pretty much never going to happen.
5) Carrying Capacity: How much can the basket under the stroller carry, and what is its accessibility like when the seat is sat up and reclined.
6) Max incline and recline: If it doesn’t recline to 180 degrees or close to it, it won’t be suitable for a newborn (even if it does, you're advised to incorporate a body support pillow). And if it doesn’t sit up fairly vertical, your older child (10+ months) might be annoyed and constantly straining against the harness to get a better view of the world.
7) Maneuverability: Can you easily maneuver it with 1 hand (i.e. when holding umbrella or phone or coffee)?
8) Ease of Open/Close: Doable with 1 hand (i.e. while holding your baby)?
9) Tip-ability: Technically you’re not supposed to hang anything from the handles, but everyone does. Throw your bag on the back and give a good tug down and back on the handles to make sure it’s not easily tipped over (warning: do this when baby is NOT in the stroller).
10) Convertibility: Does the seat switch from forward to rear-facing? Will it easily convert from a single to a double stroller? Does it allow for a car seat or bassinet to snap in?
11) Accessories – Check prices of that brand’s accessories and if off-brand ones will work for: rain/bug/sun shield, tray, cup holder (for child or stroller-pusher), stroller lining, winter bunting, rumble board/seat, etc.
12) Size / Structure when folded: Will it fit in the trunk of your car? Will it hang on the inside of your closet door at home? Does it stand on its own when folded or do you have to lie it down?
13) Canopy: Is it large (i.e. covering most of the child when opened) and can you move it depending on sun’s angle? Does it have a peek-a-boo sun roof and ventilation?
14) Cleaning – Does fabric remove for easy cleaning? Will the color stain and look dingy quickly? Black may be boring but there is a reason it's so darn popular. You may consider a black stroller and accessorize it with more exciting colors.
15) Style - You'll be pushing around this stroller for years, so make sure it meets your needs on what you find to be the most important for you in the above 14 categories, but also that you feel good (physically and emotionally) pushing your little one around in it around. If you are a brand-whore (sorry, it's a term isn't it? haha) but budget is low, maybe you should consider buying second hand... there are worse things ya know! Just be careful, there is a whole nother list of things to watch out for in used strollers!! Please do your research!!
I won't deny it - I used to watch a LOT of TV, and now just don't have time for it. I even blogged on Mommy Nearest about missing my TV family! Ha! So when the Oscars were set to air last night, I hadn't really planned on watching. You know - so much to do, so little time and all! But, little one was quietly sleeping, and with our big move coming up in a couple of weeks we've got to drink all the booz in our fridge hubby and I threw caution to the wind and sat down with a couple of bottles of cider in front of the boob tube!
I love love love Ellen, so I really enjoyed her opening dialogue and running commentary throughout the night. She has such a dry sense of humor that always has me LOL'ing! Watching it with my ESL husband, I have to help him get a lot of jokes, most of which are lost in translation, but it's such a sense of accomplishment when he actually gets one and LOL's right along with me! Phew!!
I was really touched by the speeches of Jared Leto and Lepita Nyong-o's acceptance speeches - I love when actors can be so gracious and also bring light to incredibly important causes without beating us over the head with them.
But right before I was about to call it a night (at 10pm, sorry I know it's lame but Kenzo is at night 5 of waking up about 4 times a night - damn canines and molars are all coming in at once!!), Ellen did something I found to be super duper cool! haha!! She joked about Meryl Lynch being nominated a record 18 times, and said she wanted to set a new record with her - for retweets on Twitter! All of a sudden, a bunch of other celebs (Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Kevin Spacey, Lupita Nyong'o, Jared Leto, Channing Tatum, & Bradley Cooper) all jumped in the MASSIVE selfie photo and BOOM, history was about to be made! At first, I logged onto Twitter just to see if the photo was for real. And for real it was! It took me a few attempts to retweet because Twitter must have been on complete overload. I mean, in the 30 seconds it took me to finally retweet, it had jumped from 60K to 80K retweets! Apparently it hit over 1 million in an hour, and now 12 hours later it's over 2 million!!
I don't know why I am just getting a kick out of being part of this! Haha!! I love it for one, because it's so fun to see celebrities acting "real" and being silly. And 2 because it's cool to see how powerful Social Media can be. It wasn't part of a campaign to save the world or donate X amount to X charity for each retweet or anything like that. It was just PURE FUN.
So, are you part of the record breaking retweet?? Or think it's a rediculous waste of time? Comment below!!
About Me ^_^
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1). This blog is chock full of product reviews, family travel guides, and giveaways galore! It's also home to Bay Ridge Families, and several guides focused on kid-friendly activities and guides to South Brooklyn, Hudson Valley, and New Jersey, as well as family-friendly destinations beyond the NYC area (check the menu bar!)