The Efficient Parent Blog


I Ate a Chip off my Daughter’s Head September 20, 2009

Filed under: Nurture — theefficientparent @ 00:15
The baby sling sucks in all the baby fat!!
A bonus: This baby sling sucks in all the baby fat!!



Watch out for falling objects while wearing a baby sling.    Because of something called gravity, the sling serves as a catch-all for all things falling.  I  once ate a chip off of my daughter’s head while she was in the sling but it was within the 3 second window, so it was perfectly sociably acceptable to do it.     



Other notable items that have fallen on my daughter’s head in the sling:


scrambled egg

coffee (but not McDonald’s hot)

a cracker box (she wasn’t injured)

money (probably the only time money will just land on her from out of thin air)




Other than medical care…my  Peanut Shell baby sling has been the best baby investment we’ve made during the 3 months of our daughter’s life.   And the sling was at least a thousand times less expensive than we dished out for her medical care.   I’m not exactly sure how I lived without it when my son was a baby .  Since I’ve had the sling, I’ve completely DITCHED the stroller, except for the jogging stroller.  I simply wear her everywhere….even shopping at the grocery store is a breeze.   I love, love, love this concept.



Why didn’t I know this type of thing existed before?   I only got it out of necessity…but I’m not sure why I didn’t “need” something like this when my son was a baby.  


I was on a desperate search for help because my daughter was a colicky baby.  So, I pretty much purchased it out of desperation.  But now I wear it all the time…not out of desperation but because I want to and it feels so natural.  It didn’t solve all our colic problems 100%, but it’s a close answer.  It must  make her feel like she’s back in the womb because she looks so comfy and cozy in there. 


 I sure wish I could crawl in there with her and take a siesta too. 


She has taken up residency in her sling….she has officially moved in.    The only downfall is that she can’t bathe in it.  It’s her  favorite place in her whole wide world!    Once I discovered this sling, a whole wide new world opened up for me also!  It gave me freedom. 





I feel naked without my Peanut Shell and sometimes I wear it even if she’s not actually in it.  “Wearing” her frees both of my hands and allows me to function as a productive human being once again.   But okay, I admit, there are things I can’t do with the sling…like drive, bathe and sleep.  But I can unload the dishwasher, vacuum, and do laundry.  OH, now that I put it that way, it doesn’t sound so great huh?!



After I wrote this entry, I came across this challenge from Adventures in Babywearing….sounds like my kind of challenge!


Top 10 Best Places to Grow Up September 13, 2009

Filed under: Nurture,Uncategorized — theefficientparent @ 16:02
A new reason to go to the library

A new reason to go to the library


U.S. News & World Report listed the Top 10 Best Places to Raise Children.   I was shocked that our town wasn’t on their Top 10 list.     Apparently U.S. News & World Report hasn’t heard about our library.  Not only is it fun for reading books and checking out dvd’s, our library has a waterpark and an amphitheater that features outdoor kid movies during the summer for just 2 bucks.  Half the  town shows up, blankets and picnics in hand, ready for some good wholesome family entertainment.    It’s tons of fun.  


A picnic and $2 to watch a movie under the stars

A picnic and $2 is all you need to watch a movie under the stars


I recently took my son and his friend (with my 2 month old daughter in tow) to see one of these outside movies at the library and they didn’t pay a bit of attention to the movie!  Instead, they gobbled up all the snacks and chattered amongst themselves the entire time.   Just in case I was unsure that they weren’t interested in the movie, my son kept telling me that he didn’t want to watch the “T.V.” anymore and to please pause it.  He didn’t notice that I wasn’t the one in possession of the remote!    It was cute listening to the two of them talk to each other and hear how their little brains process information.


All of the conversation between them was hilarious.  One conversation went like this:


Little Friend to my son:  “Hey, where did you get that baby from?”  (he said it as if he was inquiring about a “special” on babies at the supermarket)

My son:  “We didn’t get her from anywhere…she came out of my mommy’s tummy.”  (I thought he was going to add the word “duh” to this sentence, but he didn’t)

Little Friend: “You mean the baby just came right out of your mommy’s tummy?”  (something just didn’t sound right about that, so he was checking for clarity)

My son: “Yeah, we went to the doctor and the baby just came out.”   (maybe adding the doctor’s role with aiding in the process would make more sense)


Then there was a loooong pause, as the little friend was deep in thought about how the baby could possibly have entered the world in such a manner.  I’m sure the thought crossed his mind that my son was absolutely nuts, but instead of going into detail about how crazy the baby story sounded, the little friend simply changed the subject in the best way he knew how by saying  “Oh, well you know,  popsicles are cold.”     I think he figured he should keep the conversation simple because the baby discussion was a little too much!


At this point, I wasn’t interested in the movie either because the boys were so much more entertaining.


My son was interested in the space museum because he watched "Fly Me to the Moon" about 100 times before we visited the museum.  It's funny how cartoon flies helped my son make the connection between the Saturn V and the Moon.

My son watched "Fly Me to the Moon" about 100 times before we visited the museum. It's funny how little cartoon flies helped him understand what the big deal is about the Saturn V.

The Saturn V helped put Madison, Alabama on the map!

The Saturn V helped put Madison, Alabama on the map! I'm not smart enough to live there, but they did allow me to visit!









One of the towns listed in their Top 10 is Madison, Alabama.   Madison is such a popular girl name….I wonder if there is any connection between the Top 10 Place to Live list and the Top 10 Baby Name list?  Hmmm…






This is a neighborhood has earned a spot on my Top 10 Neighborhoods list

My son at someone else's neighborhood has earned a spot on my personal Top 10 Neighborhoods list

U.S. News & World Report: 
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Madison, Alabama
  • San Jose, California
  • Overland Park, Kansas
  • Boston, Ma
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Rochester, Minn
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Plano, Texas
  • Edison, N.J.

Family Circle:

  • Rockwall, Texas
  • Evans, Georgia
  • Sherwood, Oregon
  • Indian Trail, North Carolina
  • Edina, Minnesota
  • Noblesville, Indiana
  • Perrysburg, Ohio
  • Hendersonville, Tennessee
  • Kenmore, Washington
  • Sun Prairie, Wisconsin



I told my husband that I want to make a point to check out some of the places on these top 10 city lists just to see what in the world is so exciting about them.  So we went to Madison, Alabama.  We really didn’t find much except for a military base.  But right down the road in neighboring Huntsville there is the Space Museum and Space Camp.   We also discovered that Huntsville is a very smart town, as there are lots of scientists swarming the place.  It didn’t take me long to figure out that I’m not smart enough to live there, but at least they did let me visit!


By the way, beginning at age 7, kids can attend space camp with their parents.  But let me warn you, if you were ever in the airwing of the military,  you’ve probably already experienced some of the Space Camp adventure as part of your military experience.  Still, the memories created with your child would be well worth it and I’m saving up now!  By the time my kid reaches age 7 maybe we’ll have enough saved to actually do it.



Don't worry!!  If you didn't get to experience Space Camp as a child, you can go as an adult with your kid.

Don't worry!! If you didn't get to experience Space Camp as a child, you can go as an adult with your kid.

I know that data such as crime rate and school quality are strong considerations in determining the top places to raise children.  But more than anything else  it’s the quality of the parents,  not the town, that shapes the quality of our kids’ experiences in childhood.  So, instead of picking up and moving to one of the towns on the list, let’s just nurture, teach and protect our children right where we’re at!  
In the meantime, my husband and I will  plan on creating some alternative low-cost memories with our kids.  And even if we never make it to Space Camp, we have lots of pictures to help us remember our moments at the museum.

Nurture. Teach. Protect. = The Efficient Parent September 3, 2009

Filed under: Nurture,Protect,Teach — theefficientparent @ 17:59
The concept of  THE EFFICIENT PARENT  is very simple.  
If we strive to nurture, teach and protect our children in positive ways, then we are striving to be the efficient parent, and we are fulfilling our role as parents.    
More than anything, it’s the quality of our parenting  that determines the quality of a child’s future.  Exposing our kids to different fun experiences reinforces what they  learn in their church and school classrooms, and helps them make those educational and spiritual connections on a deeper level.  Nurturing our children with the unconditional love that God shows us shapes their hearts and creates their kind spirits. 
Protecting them from the dangers of the world…whether it’s the dangers of world “out there” or the daily dangers that pop up inside our own little world…makes them feel safe and secure in their home.  
It’s our job as parents to prepare our kids for what lies ahead. 
My personal indicator by which I will determine if I’ve been successful at being  The Efficient Parent is if my children develop into adults who are living in a way that is pleasing to God.  Of course, that means I have to parent them in a way that is pleasing to God.  That’s really all that matters. 
Time tells all truths.
Parents will always be the most influential factor in shaping our children.  Our job as parents is the most important role we’ll ever play.  It’s too important to mess it up.  Of course, there are certain days when I feel like this blog could arguably be named “The Deficient Parent”.  But if we get it right…the efficient parent part….most of the time, then I think our kids will turn out fantastic.  Here are just some thoughts about what nurture, teach and protect mean to me.
Nurturing goes a long way and determines if a child will grow up to be an angry person or not.  Adults who have anger problems…”the perpetually angry”…were not perpetually nurtured as kids.  Kids learn to love by being loved.   If a child is nurtured by at least one person consistently, then they will be better equipped to nurture others – and themselves – as well. 
Any situation can be used to teach.   Exposing them to different situations and experiences truly helps make a deeper educational connection when they are studying particular topics in school.  It doesn’t have to be a lot of work to create a teachable moment.  Just remembering that our children need guidance and direction can prompt a simple discussion or activity that they’ll benefit from.  
Protecting our children is the one area that a child might not be able to rebound from if we don’t do it.   If we let our guard down in this one area, then we’re putting our kids at risk.  I don’t have to teach and nurture my child every moment of every day, but I do have to ensure their physical safety every moment of every day.  Otherwise, our kids are at risk for not just having a ruined day, but a ruined life.   If I miss an opportunity to teach them something, then the information  can always be learned at another time.  If I snap at my son when I’m impatient, I’ve ruined the moment, but I haven’t ruined the future.  Kids are resilient like that.  But if I fail to protect my children from a physical danger then their futures could  be forever altered negatively.
  • Main Entry: ef·fi·cient
  • Pronunciation: \i-ˈfi-shənt\
  • Function: adjective
  • Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin efficient-, efficiens, from present participle of efficere
  • Date: 14th century

1 : being or involving the immediate agent in producing an effect <the efficient action of heat in changing water to steam>
2 : productive of desired effects; especially : productive without waste <an efficient worker>

synonyms see effective  — ef·fi·cient·ly adverb
So, let’s go forward and parent our kids the   NURTURE, TEACH AND PROTECT way!!

Who Wouldn’t Want A Cavity? August 21, 2009

Filed under: Nurture,Protect — theefficientparent @ 12:11
Tags: , , ,


I would give anything to be a kid in 2009.


Even a trip to the dentist today is a great adventure…just ask my son, who was disappointed to learn that he has to wait 6 more months before he can go back because he doesn’t have cavities or other dental needs.  

How cool is this place!

How cool is this place!

This type of  kid-friendly atmosphere is common today, as we are more in tune with the meeting the needs of kids.  Some may view it as just a ploy to lure repeat pediatric business, but it is definitely nurturing the needs of children and creating positive experiences for them. 

Even the dental tech was extra sweet to my son, speaking in such a soft, kind tone as she was about to insert a sharp scraping device into his mouth.  And he willingly let her!    Does she talk like that in real life, or just because she gets paid to?  



a peek inside the dentist office

a peek inside the dentist office

 Is she truly that sweet and soft  for real?  She was so sweet to him that I felt a little “deficient” for the moment.   And then she gave him a prize, a little itty bitty monkey which he actually adores.  Our challenge as parents is to find a good balance between soft and firm, while still nurturing a child’s sense of security and trust.

And, in case you were wondering, here is the expert advice we got from the dentist to maintain healthy teeth (but getting a cavity sounds like much more fun!!!):
  • Limit beverages that contain any sugar to MEAL TIMES only.  Examples of these beverages include fruit juices, juice boxes, sweet tea and milk (milk has sugar too…who knew?!)
  • Between meals, offer water or sugar-free beverages.  Examples of sugar-free beverages include Crystal Light, sugar-free kool aid, Wyler’s brand, Fruit20, and Fuit Falls by Minute Maid.
  • No sodas, Gatorade and Powerade.  A good alternative is Propel Fitness Water.

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