Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Going Bananas for Valentine's Day

Last week Baby Bear’s Tot Rock instructor announced that we’d be celebrating Valentine’s Day the following week. We should each bring a Valentine for the other children.

At first I was excited—I had been anticipating doing crafts with my child since I found out I was pregnant. But what exactly could a nine-month do?

I didn’t want to just buy those chintzy cards with a licensed character on it and sign her name. I also didn’t want to give the other tots candy.

Instead, I decided to go off the old Valentine saying, “I’m bananas for you.” I made banana bread and put a slice for each child in a small bag. Then I took a picture of Baby Bear holding a bunch of bananas and wrote “I’m bananas for you. Happy Valentine’s Day.” I printed multiple copies on regular paper with the saying next to it and taped them on the bags.

I later realized that I could have had Baby Bear participate in the baking after all. Since the bananas need to be mushed, I could have put them in a large freezer Ziploc bag and had her pound away. Of course, older kids can have fun making banana bread, stirring the batter and pouring in the measured amounts.

Another spin on giving out candy-less Valentines that doesn’t require any baking would be to buy oranges. You could then take a picture of your child holding an orange with the saying, “Orange you glad we’re friends?” and print them on large mailing labels to stick on the oranges.

There are so many different phrases you can play on with this. Older siblings can even help think of puny sayings and ways to “pose” your baby.

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.

Here’s my favorite banana bread recipe.

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 ½ mashed overripe bananas
1 container vanilla yogurt (6 oz)
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 ¼ tsp b. soda
pinch salt

(for the topping)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a loaf pan.
2. Cream butter and sugar.
3. Add in eggs, banana, vanilla, and yogurt. Mix.
4. Stir flour in, a little at a time. Then add in baking soda and salt, and mix again.
5. Pour batter into loaf pan.
6. Mix together cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle on top of loaf.
7. Bake for 60 minutes. Check if done with a knife or toothpick in the center.
8. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pesky Cradle Cap

You’re scheduled for pictures of your little pipsqueak only to find that your baby’s head is covered in scales. What is it? And how can you get it to go away?

After thumbing through my handy baby reference books (see sidebar), I found that cradle cap is considered a type of dermatitis of the scalp. To get rid of the scales, they suggest rubbing mineral oil (which is baby oil sans the fragrance) or petroleum jelly on the scalp, wait a bit, and then shampoo. When Baby Bear was still a tiny cub, she actually loved when I “massaged” her scalp using a Q-Tip and mineral oil. It really worked well.

Now that she’s 9 months, I noticed cradle cap returning. When I went in for her first haircut, I mentioned it to the stylist, who had her own theory. She said that cradle cap was actually caused by Baby Bear’s cheap shampoo. Supposedly, the wax in it helps protect the scalp. But the wax can also build up and block the hair follicles causing the hair to fall out. Yikes!

After frequent combings to remove the loose flakes and switching shampoo, the scales are gone. Now I’m not sure what to believe about cradle cap. Is it pieces of the scalp or leftover wax from the shampoo? Whatever it is, it seems that using an oily substance to loosen it helps, as well as possibly trying a different shampoo.

I’d love to hear what others have learned about cradle cap.