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Being parents hasn’t been easy, and we never expected the ride to be smooth. We knew that there would be lots and lots of challenges to face and learn from, and I think that we’ve done a fairly decent job. Part of learning from these difficulties is realizing that it’s ok to ask for help when you don’t know the answer and it takes practice. Another thing that I’ve learned is that you need tools to help you be the best parent you can be for that day. With each of my kids, I’ve learned more about tools that have now become absolute staples in our house, and I’m not talking about food. These are items that we use with our babies and continue to use them today. I even use these items on myself and my husband, they are that great.
We currently live in a rather dry state, so the humidity in our air is not very high if it’s not raining. Because of this dry desert air, the mucus in our noses hardens quicker than usual and can cause general discomfort and even the occasional bloody nose. Now when we brought our first baby home we began to notice that her breathing was more labored than usual when she was breathing through her nose. We weren’t initially worried because we had that handy-dandy blue nose bulb that we had received from the hospital and we could just stick it in her nose and suck out the blockage and she’d be breathing later. After a while, however, we began to notice that when we would remove the booger, she would occasionally get a tiny bloody nose too. This made us concerned, but we also knew that we needed to remove the blockage to help her breath better, otherwise she didn’t sleep very well or eat (which usually meant that I didn’t sleep well either).
She was nearly a month old when we first learned about saline nose spray to help lubricate the inside of the nose to prevent those sharp boogers from scratching the inside of the nose. We immediately went to the store to buy and little bottle. Since that day I’ve always tried to have an extra can of saline spray on hand at all times. It has since saved our bacon on several occasions (including one rather awkward occasion where my little 2-year-old managed to shove an M & M up his nose, but that’s another story for another post.)
Another tool that was recommended to us at the time of the saline spray was a humidifier. Even though we had found that the saline spray worked wonders for our daughter’s nose, I was still very interested in purchasing a humidifier. After a trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond we became the proud owners of a new Super Sonic cool mist Humidifier. I’ll admit that at the time I didn’t know too much about this product so I didn’t really come to appreciate it until my second child was diagnosed with asthma that was triggered by colds and allergies. It became such a need for us that we even bought a travel size humidifier so that he could still go visit grandma and have a comfortable night of sleep, free from coughing.
Watching your child get sick can make you feel so helpless at times, but having a humidifier on hand helped to alleviate some of the helplessness, not all, but some. You will be thanking your lucky stars that you have one of these when your child starts coughing or is struggling to breath when they have croup.
As you grow in experience as a parent, your arsenal of tools will continue to grow. The next tool that I always have on hand is Aquaphor Lotion, which you can usually find at your local Walmart or Target. This lotion is so amazing and so versatile in its function. I didn’t start to really use this lotion until my third child, because I initially didn’t like the texture of this lotion. It was too stiff and left my hands feeling too greasy, so I didn’t use it for my first two kids. When our little Smallish-Bear arrived, I began to notice little dry patches on his legs, which his doctor said was eczema. His eczema wasn’t severe by any means, but we needed to make sure that we kept lotion on his legs. Using baby lotion only helped his eczema a little bit, but then I remembered that my sister had praised Aquaphor lotion up and down and used it on her little boy on a nightly basis, so I gave it a try. Much to my delight, it took care of his eczema within two days, I was so happy! So when our little Bubba began to show signs of eczema on a bigger scale, I knew just the thing to take it away.
However, I don’t just use Aquaphor on my baby’s eczema, I’ve used it on my feet at night to take care of my rough heels. Our smallish bear also gets sores under his earlobes, our Ladybug gets really dry hands in the winter, and I also use it on freshly shaved legs to stave off the incessant razor-burn. There are so many things that Aquaphor can be used for, it is so wonderful.
The miracles of modern technology now enable practically all of us to take a camera with us almost everywhere we go and capture moments almost in the instant that they are happening. I also have found them handy in situations where I need a second opinion of a physician or a pharmacist. Pictures also come in handy for grabbing a pic of the shopping list or taking a pic of our storage to see what we may be running low on. Above all, though, some of the images I capture of our children are definitely worth remembering… if not just for the laugh.
So those are some of the big tools that I use just about every day, but they aren’t the only tools I use nor would I say you necessarily need them to be a ‘successful’ parent. But I assure you they’ve sure helped! What do you use or what have you found essential? I’d love to hear your feedback!