The Moldy Truth About Bath Toys


I’ve heard warnings about bath toys being vectors for mold.  There have been stories from friends, social media posts, and plenty of viral articles circulating.  I figured, sure, tub toys can get grubby, but not in my house.

Each month I soak our kid’s bathtub, and the toys, in a bleach solution.  It’s part of my cleaning routine.   I also collect the toys after my kid’s bath, dump or squeeze out standing water, and let them drip dry in a KidCo bath toy organizer.  Given this, and that I’ve never seen visible mold on the surface of anything, I figured we were good.  Until recently.

Over the weekend I noticed little black flecks squirting out of a favorite tub toy.  With the help of a pair of scissors, I soon isolated the source.

Squirt toys. Pretty innocent looking, right?
Squirt toys. Pretty innocent looking, right?
Eww. Mold.

Yep. Mildew and mold. Full of it.  Completely disgusting.  … Read more

Weaning the pacifier, Elmo, and why I think security objects are awesome


This past weekend our family took the plunge: We weaned our 20-month old off the pacifier.  I say “wean,” but the reality is we went cold-turkey.  I didn’t have the patience for a more subtle approach or the time to formulate some complicated plan.

Saturday morning was game-time so my daughter and I sat together on the couch to watch a YouTube video of Elmo’s “Bye Bye Binky” song.  I searched her face for buy-in and she honestly looked intrigued.   After she watched the clip we collected her binkies in a little bag and I asked, “Can you say bye-bye to your binkies and throw them away?  Just like Elmo?” She looked curiously at me, like it was a game, then confidently said, “Yes.”  She clutched the bag in her tiny hand, held it above the trash, released her grip, and away they went.   She waved with a smile, “Bye-bye binkies,” then ran off to play.… Read more

On loving the earth

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“Holy mac!”

The day my son was introduced to real mountains, the Rockies of Colorado, he was awestruck.  “Holy mac!” he exclaimed.  Short for mackerel, apparently.  We were driving up I70, deep into the rocky terrain, with peaks all around us.  “Wow!  It’s beautiful, right Mom?  Let’s hike to the top of the mounts’!”  He was into abbreviating his words this vacation.  It was beautiful, so beautiful.  We did end up taking him hiking on that trip, but turns out, despite the enthusiasm, his little three year old legs weren’t quite up to the task of summiting.  Maybe when he gets older.

No one teaches us to love the earth.  It’s in us.  Babies giggle at playing in the dirt, attempt to climb trees the moment their limbs are long enough to reach the first branch, and display wonderment at rippling water long before they can form proper words.  Given this innate drive within us to seek nature, it’s not surprising that there are a wild array of health benefits to spending time in the great outdoors.… Read more

That time I got the flu

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A few weeks ago I got the flu.  The real flu.  Influenza, not just a bad cold.  My symptoms were classic – body aches, fever, cough, and a sore throat.  I’m pretty certain I know precisely when the flu virus entered my body.  I was caring for a sick patient, somewhat up in the child’s face to swab their nasal passages for a flu test, when the kid coughed directly into my mouth.  Gag! In desperation I actually Purelled my face as I left the room.  Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and I should have been wearing a mask, but it was too late.

Spew! Credit: Andrew Davidhazy/RIT
Spew! Droplet spray from a cough.
Credit: Andrew Davidhazy/RIT

It didn’t take more than a day or so before I started feeling ill.  Being a relatively healthy person I figured I’d get through the ordeal with only supportive measures: namely, hydration and rest.  Heck, I thought this would be a good excuse to entrust the kids to my husband, lounge out on the couch, and get caught up on Netflix. … Read more

Surviving a Stomach Bug

Folded Baby Laundry Kids' Health with Sarah

Can’t even. Piles of folded baby laundry after countless loads run in the wake of my daughter’s stomach bug.

The last four days have been miserable. It is no surprise that my 11 month old, who is constantly putting things in her mouth, crawling around in public spaces, and going to daycare full-time, came down with a stomach bug. She is absolutely beside herself with a crampy belly, low-grade fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. I am beside myself trying to keep her happy, disinfect, clean-up, and run laundry. Ugh. The medical term for her condition: gastroenteritis.

You may have heard gastroenteritis more commonly called “stomach flu.” Personally, I’d like to go on a campaign to remove the term from colloquial language. Calling a stomach bug a “flu” is confusing and a misnomer. Gastroenteritis is not flu. The only illness that is flu is influenza.

The term gastroenteritis is self-explanatory when you break it down: gastro (stomach) – entero (intestine/gut) – itis (inflammation).… Read more

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