How To Get Your Toddler To Keep Their Glasses On + "Glasses" Board Book Giveaway!

A quick preamble: I know many of you regular readers don't have children in glasses and so you may not find this post as relevant as some others, but I hope you can understand why the topic of children's vision and particularly children in glasses is important to me. While posts on glasses will likely always remain few and far between, it is a topic that's near and dear to my heart and therefore will always have some sort of a presence here. Plus, I do think it's great info for all mommas to know, just so they can be aware and on the lookout for vision issues with their own kiddos. And bonus, there's a giveaway for a great book at the end of the post - whether or not you have a child in glasses, so at the very least, scroll to the bottom to enter to win. Thanks for understanding! 

Eli recently hit the three month mark for wearing glasses. Of course, the day came and went with none of us noticing, but recently I realized that glasses, patching and eye doctor appointments have quickly and easily become apart of our daily life. I don't view his glasses or patching as a burden to get through each day like I used to, and eye doctor appointments have become old hat to us - I mean, I don't even have to use Google Maps to get to the offices anymore! 

I can't believe how quickly time has passed, just four months ago I was crying on the couch, worrying about Eli's vision and how we'd all adjust to him wearing glasses. But I'm so grateful to be able to say we're on the other side, and that the transition was much easier than I ever thought it would be. 

I remember that one of my biggest questions going into Eli getting glasses was how we'd get a 15 month old to keep them on. But I was honestly surprised at how well Eli did right from the start, it only took about a week for him to wear them consistently, and at about three weeks he even began asking for his "Gogs," each morning when he woke up. While he'll still tends to mess with them during a toddler tantrum or long car rides, overall, he wears his glasses just as easily as he wears a shirt. 
But for those of you just starting on this journey of having a baby or toddler in glasses, I know how scary it can be - so here are a handful of tips I learned for helping a toddler keep glasses on. 

Plus, stay tuned, because there's a giveaway for the awesome board book, Glasses, that all toddlers will love. So even if you don't have a little one in glasses, be sure to enter the giveaway below! And if you don't have kiddos, it would also be a great gift for anyone with a tot.

Alright, here are my top tips for introducing glasses to your toddler for the first time and how to get them to wear glasses consistently. 
  • Have low to no expectations. According to several polls, many children actually take to glasses right away, but it could take up to two months for your child to be willing to wear them consistently. My best advice going into having your child wear glasses is to not have any expectations as to how they will do and how quickly they will adjust. In fact, it's likely best to prepare mentally that it will take a long time, and then be happily surprised if it doesn't.
  • Be consistent. As much as possible, have your toddler wear their glasses anytime they're awake. That meant putting them on Eli right when I went to get him from his crib, and even before picking him up, I'd put on his glasses. Throughout the day, if he'd try to take them off, I'd just keep putting them back on, as long as he wasn't fighting it. 
  • Use distraction. As soon as you put the glasses on, distract your child. Eli had never really watched TV before glasses, but we let that go pretty quickly when we realized how well it distracted him in those first few days. We also took him to a park and the mall, essentially places that have lots to do and look at, pointing out all there was to see and playing games to distract him. 
  • Stay positive. It can be easy to get frustrated, especially in those first few days when your child's ripping off their glasses every five minutes. Try to stay positive for your child's sake - keeping the glasses a good experience. Even when I didn't feel like it, I would always force myself to put the glasses back on and say in a happy voice, "Keep your glasses on Eli!" Toddler's emotions can play so much off their parent's, don't give them a reason to get more upset than they are. 
  • Don't clean the glasses unless they are already off. It seems like a toddler's glasses get dirty within two seconds of cleaning them and often, I'll notice how smudged and dirty Eli's are and I'll immediately want to clean them. But I found in the beginning, the more I messed with his glasses, the more he wanted to play with them. In those first few weeks, I just let the glasses get dirty and would only clean them during a natural time, like before naps or bed, or when Eli himself had already pulled them off. 
  • Be okay with breaks. Even now, there are times when glasses just aren't worth it. While you want your child to be wearing their glasses as much as possible because you know how much they help, if they're becoming a source of frustration for you toddler, it's best to take a break. Particularly when Eli is throwing a tantrum, his glasses tend to be the first thing to go. So instead of letting him pull them all over his face and neck, I'll quickly take them off until he calms down so they're not adding to his frustration.
  • Take off the glasses in the car. Eli's ophthalmologist warned me about this one right when Eli got glasses. Particularly when just starting out, it's best to not have your child wear the glasses in the car. They were the first thing Eli started playing with and they always ended up uncomfortably skewed across his face or wrapped around his neck, and since I was driving, I couldn't help him with them. These days, Eli's great with wearing them around town, but I still take them off for car rides that are an hour or more. 
  • Help them feel identified with. Toddler's love imitating people, and I was a bit worried that because neither my husband nor I wear glasses, he wouldn't want to either. I've heard of some parents even getting fake glasses because of this! I've also heard of some people purchasing a stuffed animal or doll that wears glasses for their child - which I think is a great idea and something we may do in the future. Thankfully, we didn't need to do either of those things to help him wear his glasses, but we did purchase a couple of books to help Eli see other children in glasses and that it was normal. Hands down, our favorite book is "Glasses," a simple board book showing children in glasses doing everyday things with a cute rhyme to go with. 

Eli loves flipping through it, looking at the bright photos, and lately he's started pointing to each pair of glasses and shouting, "Gogs!" It's adorable. And of course, I love the message of the book, reinforcing that glasses can be a normal part of a child's life. 

And bonus, it was even written by a local Twin Cities author, Anne Zawistoski. She's the founder and author behind the blog, Little Four Eyes, a wonderful website for parents with children in glasses that I've already shared my deep love for a few times.

When Anne reached out to me about giving away a couple of these books to my readers, I jumped at the chance. It's seriously an awesome book, and hands down the best one about young children in glasses on the market. I love that it features real children with real prescription eyewear doing normal things. So today, I'm so excited to be giving away two copies to Oakland Avenue readers!

All you have to do is fill out the Raffelcopter widget below. And if you don't win, or just want to be sure you have a copy of the book right away, you can purchase it right over here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other Posts In This Series on Oakland Avenue:
Seven Things Moms With Toddlers In Glasses Want You To Know
Eli Four Eyes (Our experience getting Eli diagnosed and introducing glasses for the first time)
Kids In Glasses: Frequently Asked Questions

My writing on other websites about glasses:
Little Four Eyes Blog: The Benefits of a Second Opinion
Twin Cities Moms Blog: How To Tell If Your Child Needs Glasses

New Mom Confessions

Eli loves stickers, so to save money, I'll just hand him a piece of colored masking tape and shout, "Sticker!" and he gets insanely excited. I'll be running that charade just as long as I can.

Eli dropped a small round ball down our toilet and used my hair brush to really make sure he shoved it up the plumbing. When Mike couldn't get it out with the plumber's snake, we had to call in a real plumber. Five minutes and $111 dollars after the plumber arrived, we had a functioning toilet again. Thanks Eli. And for the record, I still use the hairbrush.

Every day Eli and I play a game (Exhibit A above). I lay on the floor "pretending" to be asleep and he covers me with every stuffed animal he can find. Then he sits on my head to "snuggle" and go "nigh, nigh" with me. I figure it's better than him sitting on his sister, which is his preferred seat of choice these days. I secretly love this game because I've decided having my head crushed is worth getting to close my eyes when I'm exhausted and just want to nap at 4 p.m. #pregoproblems

I totally ripped a pair of maternity pants the other day. Right where the jeans meet the stretchy fabric. I'm chalking it up to poor construction, rather than the fact that I'm so large and in charge these days.

I don't know about your toddler, but mine can be pretty lazy sometimes. Often he'll give a half hearted reach for a toy on the couch or the sippy cup on the table and then look at me with begging eyes, saying, "Help?" I'll tell him he's a big boy and that he can get it, to just "try." So he continues in his half hearted ways, and continues in his begging, so I'll give it a half hearted shot and "won't" be able to reach it either, letting him know it's too hard for momma. It almost always works in getting him to put a little effort into it and snag whatever it is he wants.

The other day Eli walked into my bathroom with his finger in his mouth, a disgusted look on his face and he kept repeating, "Icky!" I looked at his other hand and low and behold, the kid had eaten over half a tube of Burt's Bees chapstick. Don't worry, I called poison control. Sounds like he'll be just fine.

Sometimes, I'll be thinking to myself and suddenly Eli's little voice will pop into my head and my mind-voice starts to sound like Eli. Like if I'm thirsty, "Dink? Dink? Dink?" is all I'll hear in my head. Or if I'm going outside, "Side? Side? Side?" I have literally began to think to myself in a high-pitched voice with one word sentences. And they say toddlers are the ones that regress...

My husband calls me every day when he leaves work. That means that I have 25, maybe 38 minutes max (traffic) to blitz the house, clean the kitchen, pick up toys, wipe of Eli's peanut butter face, make myself look presentable and really, make it look like I actually kept the house in one piece that day. With any remaining time, Eli and I sit on the back deck, watching the alley like a hawk, (Well I do, Eli just points at airplanes.) and nearly we tackle Mike with happiness and relief when he gets home. It is seriously the best part of my day.

I Don't Know About You, But I'm Done With The Motherhood Martyr Act

It's true when they say motherhood is hard. There's nothing else like it and you really can't define it, describe it or relate to it until you become one and experience it first hand. They also say that nothing can prepare you for it, which is true too. But more than how unprepared I was for keeping a child alive, I was most unprepared for the constant deluge of martyr messages that would come my way once I entered the stay-at-home-mom club.

"Being a stay-at-home-mom is the hardest job in the world. I wore the same shirt three days in a row. When my head hits the pillow, I wonder what I accomplished. My heart is so heavy because the job is never done. I can't remember the last time I had a full nights sleep. I'm so exhausted, I just need a moment to myself."

Over time, I found these messages making their way to my heart. Wrapping around it and tightening their grip, telling me that it's okay to constantly vocalize and lament about my complaints, hardships and woes as a mother. In fact, I started finding that the messages began to create frustrations and indignities, not just highlight them.

I began feeling like I was supposed to wear a spit-up ridden shirt all day. Like I should be in a constant zombie state. Like toys on the floor must annoy me every single minute. That motherhood should be difficult, dirty, disgusting and tiring - and if it wasn't, I was doing something wrong.

It seems today's stay-at-home mom has become a new kind of citizen. We've elevated her to an angelic status, a martyr for the greater good of society's future. She has become a self-sacrificing saint, tirelessly wading through her duties of chauffeur, chef, maid, accountant and administrative assistant all while covered in puke and throw up, with the sound of crying babies and screaming toddlers in the background. While she recognizes how blessed she is to soak up cuddles and kisses from her littles all day, deep down she is unhappy, restless and searching for a greater meaning among the diapers and pacifiers.

She's allowed to complain unhindered, wearing her victim-complex badge loud and proud, front and center, because she will always win the, "Who has it the hardest?" game. A game that seems to only have one contastant - the SAHM.

As a SAHM myself, I see it (and have participated in it) more often than I care to admit. We conglomerate together, in person and even more so online, rallying around our "woe-is-me" status. We lament about how no one understands our job, envying "other people's" ability to finish a still-hot cup of coffee, not have their noses singed by the stank of bodily fluids, and to start their day with a shower and end it with clean pants.
We wallow in our sleepless lives, the stress of taking three kids to Target, the fact that we have to hide in the bathroom for a moment alone, how we're covered in stuffed animals all day, (Ahem, above.) and the trial of having to make breakfast each morning while simultaneously cleaning up last night's dinner and quelling arguments over who gets to play with the digger. And while we'd say we're the most blessed people on the planet to get to stay home with our children in a heartbeat, it seems our lives are highlighted by injustices that no one understands - yet we long for others to know of, to feel both pity for our lot and wonder at how we somehow manage it all.

It's a fine balance, this line we toe. On one hand, everyone needs a space to vent, to have their feelings acknowledged and affirmed, to know they are not the first to feel these things and they won't be the last. It's healthy and necessary to talk through what we're going through, and a SAHM needs a support system just as much as anyone else.

But there's a difference in venting and complaining. And I feel, particularly online, it's a line we've crossed all too often. It's become not only tolerated to express our sighing and grumbling over yogurt on the walls, the 15 loads of laundry in the basement and having to cart two screaming children to the doctor's office with us, but it's expected and reinforced that we let everyone know just dire our situation is - in hopes of receiving some accolades and affirmation for our self-sacrificing ways.

It seems talking about the life a SHAM leads has become more than just an outlet where we can identify with each other, encourage each other, and move on to the next sleepless night. Instead, it's now often moved to griping and complaining about how exasperated and annoyed we are with our duties, children, spouse or all-together life. It's moved beyond just a type of healthy group therapy to become a self-depreciating pastime and hobby - and it's definitely something that we all seem to be enjoying just a little too much.

And as for me, I want out. I came into motherhood with visions of frosting and sprinkles and while it's no cake walk, I think motherhood is a whole lot sweeter than the dish I've recently been served up by my peers. I'm done with the motherhood martyr act. I'm done indulging in every little difficultly as if it just adds to my victim resume. I'm done feeling like I need to live my life in an unkempt state, like I need to feel frazzled and worn and just a little bit out of control all the time.

The woe-is-me act just makes motherhood harder. Thus far, motherhood has been some of the best years of my life and I don't need outside messages telling me that it's harder than I perceive it is. There are certainly days that I need a quick wake-up-call to remind me that I'm making it harder than it is, but do I really need to hear that I'm not viewing it has hard enough? I don't need more reasons to throw myself a massive pity party - I can generate quite enough on my own, thankyouverymuch.

Yes, motherhood is hard. And being a SAHM comes with it own unique difficulties. But so does everything else this life throws at us. Let's stop throwing rocks on the mountain of martyrdom we're building by complaining together, and instead mute our natural desire for self-pity before it can creep its way into all our conversations. I think we'd all find our day is filled with less frustration if we unwrapped the victim message that is wound so tightly around our hearts. Let's hit the brakes on our stress-filled dialogues containing all the reasons why we have it the worst and remember why we'd really say time and time again, deep down, that we have it the best.

It's a good life we lead. Let's not make it harder than it is.

The Sick Toddler Toolkit: All The Essentials To Care For A Sick Child

Before my son, I didn't know much about how to care for a sick child, let alone myself when I was sick, but nothing teaches you how to be a good caretaker better than becoming a mother. After last year's long season of seemingly never-ending colds and flu hit our house, I'm prepping for this winter's sickness like a Doomsday Prepper prepares for the end-times. I learned a lot last year as to what works and what doesn't in soothing Eli's cold symptoms, and while I tend to error on the side of not taking him to the doctor with every little cough or runny nose, I do like to be sure he is as comfortable as possible while he fights off infection.

So these days, I have a go-to toolkit with all my supplies for taking care of a little one that's under the weather. With Eli being sick last week and baby girl coming in just a couple months, I was recently motivated to re-stock it so I'm as prepared as possible to take great care of both of them during the long Minnesota winters.

Here are the top items in my toolkit for taking care of a sick toddler. I'd love to hear about any great products or tips you all have to care for your children when sick!
  • Vicks Baby Rub - I rub a bit of this on his chest and feet (then cover with socks) before bed to help clear his lungs and nose. 
  • Humidifier - We have the Crane Drop Humidifer and we actually run it all winter, whether or not Eli is sick. It's a bit of a pain to clean out and refill all the time, but overall, it's definitely worth it since the Minnesota winters are so dry. 
  • Raw Honey - Eli loves when I pull out the honey and sometimes it's the only thing I can get him to take when his cold is really bad. It's great for soothing sore throats and to ease a hoarse cough. And as you saw earlier this week, I also tried my hand at making honey lollipops and Eli loves them whether or not he's sick. Here's the recipe!
  • Boogie Wipes - I totally thought these were a hoax at first. Just another way for the baby industry to make a little more money - but no. If the nose is really runny, plain kleen-x will make their noses super raw  - and please, don't make the mistake of using a baby wipe on your child's nose - those things start to sting, especially after the nose is already raw! Boogie Wipes are great for quickly loosening the hardened stuff around the nose and wiping it clean without a stinging sensation. But use them sparingly - those things are spendy. 
  • Aquaphor - Speaking of dry, raw noses, I rub a bit of this on his nose to alleviate the dryness. You could also use vaseline.
  • NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator - Nasty concept, amazing results. Every single time I use it I pray that it doesn't malfunction. 
  • Nasal Saline - I don't use this too often, although we keep it on hand. Eli doesn't like it at all, but it does loosen the dried crusties (ewwww) in his nose, and the NoseFrida is perfect for clearing it out right after. A steamy shower also works well for this, so often that's what I do instead. 
  • Eucalyptus Oil - Speaking of a steamy shower, if Eli is really congested or has a bad cough, I'll turn on a hot shower or run the bath with a bowl of eucalyptus oil nearby. Then I'll sit with him in the bathroom for a bit to help clear things up. I also like to put a few drops of the oil in a pot of water on the stove and simmer it all day long during the worst of a cold. 
  • Homemade Pedialyte - My pediatrician said it was perfectly safe to make a homemade solution, so this is the recipe I use. It's super easy and Eli (usually) sucks it right down. 
  • Rectal Thermometer - I still take Eli's temperature rectally, simply because it's the most accurate. We do have a forehead thermometer, so eventually I'll switch. But I just like the peace of mind knowing I'm getting the most accurate reading possible. 
  • Ibuprofen/Acetaminophen - If I'm going to use it, I tend to use Ibuprofen. It's a bit stronger than Acetaminophen, but it's also more effective. But overall, I tend to try to error on the side of not using it at all. Often I'll only use it before bed - because sometimes you both just need some sleep and that's the only thing that will help.
  • Nublizer - Now that we have a nebulizer, I figure we might as well use it. When we first received it, the doctor sent us home with way too much medication than we really needed, so we have lots of extra. They told me to just keep it and use it when he was extra congested. It can't hurt him by taking it, only help, so I plan on pulling it out if his cough is extra tight or he needs additional congestion relief that the other remedies can't provide. 
And a quick heads up, in the coming weeks, I'll be sharing some of my best tips for soothing Eli's cough and congestion on Twin Cities Moms Blog - keep an eye out if you're looking for more ways to help out your toddler.

 What about you all? Any you'd add? 

This Is How I Feel, XVII

When Eli falls off a chair in a room full of non-parents. (They don't realize yet kids are made of rubber.)

When I'm craving fried food, but made the "right choice for me and baby," by eating an apple.

When someone asks me if that apple "hit the spot" and if I'm no longer hungry. 

When my 18 month old decides it'd be fun to just walk down the stairs facing forward and falls on his face.

When a J.Crew catalog comes and I start flipping through it, but then realize that I can't buy anything for at least a year until I (fingers-crossed) lose the baby weight. 

When I first learned the true pronunciation of Britax and Chicco and I realized that I'd been saying it wrong for more than a year of motherhood.

When I see my toddler share without me having to prompt/force him to.

When my Midwife asks me, "How I've been eating," at a baby appointment. 

 During afternoon nap, when I'm feeling a little lonely and wish I had someone to talk to.

When a waitress sets down several hot plates of food right in front of my son before I can intercept them. 

When I see a mom with four kids cruising around Target like it ain't no thang. (Ahem, Amber at Mommy's Me Time - I'm looking at YOU!)

When my toddler's throwing a huge tantrum and I'm scared if I make any sudden movements or try to talk to him it'll escalate further.

When listening to two moms debate the pros and cons of co-sleeping vs. sleep training.

When a man off-handedly mentions that pregnancy and childbirth "can't be that bad."

When my husband asks me if I went to Starbucks that day.

DIY Homemade Honey Lollipops or Honey Pops

Yum, do I have some goodness for you all today! When Eli is sick with a cold, I often like to offer him a small spoonful of raw honey to help ease a sore throat or clear up a cough. I do the same for my husband and I when we have a cold, but usually I just put some honey in hot chamomile tea. It'd be an understatement to say that Mike doesn't like tea, but he actually does love chamomile with honey and always requests it when he's starting to feel under the weather. 

A while back I saw a recipe for honey cough drops, and after Eli got sick last week, I was motivated to try to make a few so we could have them on hand when any of us gets sick. 
And let me tell you, they are super simple to make, and Eli LOVES them. Sick or not the kid gobbles them down. The day I made these, they were out on the counter for a while as I was packaging and photographing them and he could not keep his hands off of them. I think he had three? Gah! They were small, promise! Here's him enjoying one: 
Showing me his "sweetie."
I'm pretty sure I'm going to need to make another batch of these asap or we'll never even have them around for an actual cold. Mike keeps snagging them when he has a sweet tooth after dinner and I don't have any desserts around. Heck, I crave them after lunch every day so I'm just as much to blame for their quick disappearance. 

Good thing they're super easy.  Here's what you'll need to make them too:
  • 1/2  to 1 Cup Honey - Really, any amount will do. I just eyeballed about a cup and got about 20 lollipops. 
  • Lollipop Sticks - I had some lying around - yeah, I don't know why either - but you can snag these at JoAnn, Michael's or another craft store.
  • Silpat Mat or Parchment Paper
  • A Candy Thermometer - This is helpful, but not necessary. 
Here's what you do: 
  1. Pour honey in a small sauce pan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. If you have a candy thermometer, use it to tell you when the honey reaches about 300 degrees Fahrenheit. It'll take about 10 minutes. If you don't have a candy thermometer, you can test the honey by dropping a bit of it into a cup of ice water. If it hardens (like candy) it's ready. If not, keep on boiling. *Keep a super close eye on your honey. It will seem like nothings happening for a while, then it will increase in temperature very quickly. It's better to test often and too soon, than to miss the mark and burn a batch. 
  2. When the honey reaches 300 degrees, remove it from the burner. 
  3. Pour small circles on the silpat mat or a piece of parchment paper. After pouring five or so circles, stop and put the lollipop sticks in each circle of honey. Give the sticks a little twist to be sure they're really stuck in there. Continue creating small honey circles on the mat, stopping every few minutes to put in the sticks. *When you first pour the honey, it's very thin and difficult to get a good circle (second row below), but as you continue on, the honey thickens and is much easier to pour (the darkest ones on the mat). Feel free to go back over your first few to help round them out and make them a bit thicker. 
  4. Allow them to cool and harden on the counter completely at room temperature, about a half hour. 
  5. To store, wrap them with a bit of plastic wrap and secure them with string or a twist tie. I used some pretty blue and white bakers twine from one of my favorite Etsy Shops, Give It Pretty.  If that's too much work for you, just cut up some parchment paper and fold it over the sucker heads. It'll keep them from sticking together when you store them, but will peel off easily when you're ready to enjoy them. 

These would also make super cute "get well" gifts or even favors at a party. If you want to play with the flavor a bit, I've heard of adding a few mix-ins to these. I'm planning to make a few that have lemon and cinnamon next! Just add your flavoring (about a 1/2 tsp) right at the beginning when you put the honey in the sauce pan.