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

A Summer Tale of the Mystery Rash


A few weeks ago my oldest noticed a red rash and a few odd “spots” on his forearm. The spots itched and looked like bug bites so I applied anti-histamine ointment and told him to ignore the area. If you scratch you’ll only make it worse! Days went by and new spots manifested daily.  I was boggled.  Was this hives?  Did we have a bug problem in the house? Did he get into poison ivy?

Two weeks into the saga his skin condition worsened and he  grew more and more uncomfortable. Sites of the rash that were once small, separate entities, coalesced into large, rough, red regions fully covering his arms and legs. When it began to spread to his upper chest and face I became concerned and was clear out of ideas – what on earth was causing this?

I sent some pictures to my Pediatrician and she agreed we should come in for an evaluation.… Read more

The Shy Factor

FullSizeRender (9)

I know the posture well.  Brows raised, eyes wide.  Head barely peeking out from behind my leg.  Little arms wrapped so tightly around my thigh it’s near impossible to break the hold.  This is my three year old being shy.  This was him at soccer practice a few Saturdays ago when we encountered a chaotic swarm of unfamiliar three and four year olds.  The kids were hyped up and squealing with energy as they awaited the start of practice.  Tiny legs jumping, bodies spinning, and hands high-fiving their energetic coaches.  My little guy loves soccer and loves other kids, but warming up to chaotic environments, especially with unfamiliar people, can take him some time.  Watching the others and observing the crazy of it all, he felt intimidated.  Instinctively, he clung to my body and hid his face.

My child was in good company, there were a few other hesitant kids on the sidelines. … Read more

Apparently I make a good vagina model


A couple of weeks ago I had my debut as a model.  A vagina model.  Please don’t be disturbed,  it was a legit gig!  I landed a job as a gynecology model for a graduate level physical examination course taken by nurse practitioner students.  My role was to act as a “mock” patient for the students to practice their pelvic exams.  You know, the type of medical exam where a female patient spreads her legs, puts her feet into the fold out stirrups of an exam table, and has her lady bits assessed for problems by a medical professional.  In the real world, it’s common to undergo this type of examination for needs such as a pap smear, testing for vaginal infections, and assessing for other vaginal, uterine, or ovarian conditions.

With two kids in daycare, and the growing expenses of life as a family of four, becoming a gynecology model seemed a creative way to bring in additional income.  … Read more

That time I got the flu

image (3)

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

#TheDollEvolves: What Barbie’s New Body Can — And Cannot — Do For Our Girls’ Body Image

Petite, Tall, Curvy, and Original Barbie

Also check out this article as published on Cognoscenti, a new ideas and opinion page developed by WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station.

Last week, Mattel announced a new line of Barbie dolls, complete with a new hashtag: #TheDollEvolves. The dolls have one of three “real woman” figures — curvy, tall and petite. The new bodies are outfitted with various skin tones, hair colors and hair textures, so that when kids peruse the Barbie aisle, they will see dolls resembling the real people in their lives. This is Mattel’s latest attempt to increase their bottom line, to win back the fandom of families, and to give Barbie more realistic features and proportions. Of course, the standard white, thin, blonde and busty Barbie will still exist, but now kids (and parents) have a more diverse set of options when choosing which doll to take home.

It’s helpful that Mattel is expanding the diversity in their doll line, but I’m not convinced that the new Barbie will sell.… 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

Lead poisoning: What you need to know

Image by Steve Johnson of,

Image by Steve Johnson of,

This week my news feed is flooded with articles about Flint, Michigan.  Recent media exposure of the town’s lead crisis has brought to light several disturbing stories of lead poisoned children and families desperately searching for answers and solutions.  It is frightening to think that town officials of Flint may have knowingly put local children at risk by allowing distribution of lead contaminated water.

Certainly the story of Flint is the exception and most of us have safe water sources, right?  How can we know for sure?

When I was pregnant the first time around my husband and I lived in a two family home, built in the early 1900’s.  The home had gone through many owners and plenty of renovations; it was anyone’s guess how many layers of paint were on the walls.  When we first moved in I hadn’t considered the possibility of lead, but with a new baby on the way it surely entered my mind.… Read more

Scroll To Top