Tag Archives: wisdom


baby dressed in a monkey costume for Halloween


As you enjoy the holiday, please keep in mind the importance of keeping sugar away from babies.  A recent article in the Wall Street Journal examined how much sugar Americans are consuming.  “Sugar Math for Halloween”  states that on a daily basis we consume more than twice the amount of added sugar than is recommended.   In the article, author Bonnie Rochman explains why children love candy and develop a strong craving for it.  She writes that taste buds in children are more clustered than in adults.  Although they have the same number of taste buds, the size of the tongue is much smaller and therefore pushes them closer together.  This makes flavors more intense.  This is also why children do not like bitter foods, she adds.  Develop habits with baby that develop a sugar-free Halloween tradition.


Some parents are learning tricks to limit treats as education increases parents’ knowledge of the harmful effects of sugar.  Consumption of sugar contributes to baby cavities, obesity, and other harmful health conditions.  As baby grows up, try some clever ideas to reduce the sugar consumption while enjoying the spirit of the holiday.  One parent of a toddler and teenager shares her tip for an almost sugar-free Halloween with WSJ.  She invokes what she calls the Great Pumpkin.  Her children are allowed to choose a handful of candy to eat while leaving the rest next to their pumpkins before going to sleep on Halloween night.  The next morning they discover the Great Pumpkin took their candy and placed a gift in their pumpkin instead.

Here are a few of our posts on the topic of baby cavities:








Mind in the Making by Ellen Gallinsky


Ellen Galinsky, president and cofounder of the Families and Work Institute, is one of the most noted experts on child development today.  She has published more than 40 books, including the classics The Six Stages of Parenthood and Ask the Children:  The Breakthrough Study The Breakhthrough Study That Reveals How to Succeed at Work and Parenting.  She is a noted keynote speaker and recipient of numerous award and honorary degrees.  Her book Mind in the Making:  The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs is one of Galinsky’s most unique and valuable parenting books.  We highly recommend it for the parents of our Stellar Caterpillars.  For more info, visit mindinthemaking.org.


Galinsky examines how our interactions with children in conversation and play potentially cultivate seven valuable life skills.  The book is organized with each chapter devoted to one of these seven skills.  Tips for parents and specific activities for children are included in each chapter for play with children. These seven life skills are:

  1. Focus and Self-Control:  Includes paying attention, remembering rules, and maintaining self-control.  This is necessary for achieving goals in life.
  2. Perspective Taking:  Learning to figure out what other people are thinking and intending.  Children who learn this skill are less likely to engage in conflicts.
  3. Communicating:  More than just speaking and writing, communicating is the ability to know what one would like to express and then figuring out how to make that understood by others.
  4. Making Connections:  Sorting into categories what is the same, what is different, what is unusual, and then using this information.  This skill is at the core of creativity.
  5. Critical Thinking:  Learning to search for accurate or reliable information to guide decisions, beliefs, and actions.
  6. Taking On Challenges:  Some children learn to avoid challenges and others learn to take them on.  Accepting challenges and working with them is an important part of learning and development.
  7. Self-Directed, Engaged Learning:  We will not always have someone like a teacher to direct us in life.  As children learn to follow their own curiosity and learn they thrive in school and outside of school.


Through several examples Galinsky teaches the concept of guided play with children.  This means that parents can not be the boss and tell the child exactly what to do such as “put that block over here.”  Instead they must guide the child to see more clearly what is in front of them.  For example, if you explain to the child that a particular block in their hand does not fit because it is “too long,” then you can ask them to find a shorter one. They now learn the difference between short and long.  Focus on describing the experience rather than telling them what to do.  This is part of their learning process.

Mind in the Making:  The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs:  by Ellen Galinsky: (New York:  Harper Collins, 2010).


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A friend of mine who is also a grandmother and nursery school teacher shared with me which of the songs for baby she felt brought the most emotion to the mothers.  “Your Are My Sunshine” does it every time.  “Each time a mother sings this song to her baby she can not help but feel so much love and joy for her beautiful child,” she explained.  I decided to find an easy to learn version of the song for the mothers of our stellar caterpillars to learn.  The above video from Cedrique Rababut’s youtube channel is a sweet version of the song that includes the lyrics for you to sing along.  The accompanying photo essay includes gorgeous nature shots, adorable animal pics, and visual images of love and affection.


You Are My Sunshine
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You’ll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don’t take my sunshine away

The other night, dear,
As I lay sleeping
I dreamt I held you in my arms.
When I awoke, dear,
I was mistaken
So, I hung my head and cried.

You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You’ll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don’t take my sunshine away.



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At the University of Pittsburg Medical Center (UPMC) in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, babies receive a very warm entry into the world.  Dr. Carey Andrew-Jaja, MD, FACOG, welcomes babies into the world through song as he delivers them.  “Happy Birthday to you!” rings through the delivery room lead by Dr. Carey-Andrew’s powerful baritone voice, communicating much warmth and security to the newborn baby.  The above video from UPMC’s youtube channel shows him in action.  Although the baby is not able to sing yet, the singing engages his attention and he feels what is communicated through the voice.  Singing is a wonderful way to engage with your newborn baby.

Dr. Carey-Andrew’s practice of singing to the newborn baby immediately following birth in the delivery room and during his visits to mother and baby in the hospital room were inspired by a colleague.  An older OB-GYN on staff at UPMC had a habit of singing to the babies and one day as he was nearing retirement he asked Dr. Carey-Andrew if he sang to the babies.  He said, “They love it!”  That was the moment the baton was passed to him to sing to the babies he delivers.  And he has delivered thousands of babies, welcoming each one into the world through song.

Dr. Carey states that he thinks “I am singing to a future important person” and “it is a beautiful world we live in.”  He describes this as a moment where he forgets about all of the tragedies in the world around us and focus on the beautiful moment occurring in his presence.  Maybe singing lessons can be added to the roster of OB-GYN courses required in medical school?



We wish to take a moment and share a couple music videos of songs written by artists to celebrate the special relationship between a father and child.  First, Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso sings “How Beautiful Can a Being Be.”  The entire song is comprised only of this single line of text.  The story of the origin of this song varies from Caetano writing it for his newborn son or his son writing it as a gift to him when he was older.  Either way it is quite sentimental and endearing.  Watch the video below from fpiana77′s youtube channel.

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The second video, “Danny’s Song,” is a song written by the American musician Kenny Loggins for his brother upon the birth of a son.  This song was written in 1973 and a version of the song was made famous by Anne Murray.  The video below is from Trueromance100′s you tube channel and contains the lyrics for you to read.

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We would like to share a few quotes from our “Inspiration” board on Pinterest for all mother’s of babies, teachers of children, grandmothers, aunts, nannies, babysitters, and friends and neighbors who lend a hand in the community of raising healthy and happy babies.  Nurturing can be done by many individuals, so in these quotes the word “mother” can be substituted with “grandmother” or “nanny” or anyone who lends a caring hand.

box of crayons with words "Color Outside the Lines"

Mothers encourage our creativity.

Mary Poppins quote about finding fun in every job

Mothers show us that the mundane can still be playful, and babies teach us the same.

A Ticht Nat Han quote about the presence of mothers.

Mothers are always present for us.

a quote for mothers about not comparing children

Motherhood is not a competition.

An inspirational quote, "Keep calm and make tea."

Offer a mother the chance for a simple break. Watch her child while she makes a cup of tea.