Find support and meet other local moms with large families

Two parents sit with their four children in a park

There is a group for almost everything and everyone online these days, the key is knowing where to look. The Durham Region Big Happy Families Facebook group is one of those hidden gems. This group was created for moms raising large families in Durham to provide support both online and in-person with meetups. This is a great resource for local information to answer any burning questions that apply to large size families – things like what vehicle to buy to fit the family, how to manage family schedules and more. There are no requirements set by the group for what’s considered a ‘large’ family, so if you feel you fit into this description, I encourage you to join and start meeting some other moms in the area just like you!

 

photo credit

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What to do with baby’s old clothes: Resale Store

What it is: A resale store is different to that of a consignment store in that they are able to offer cash (or store credit) outright for any clothes that they offer to take.

Racks of childrens clothes

How it works: You do not need to make an appointment to visit a store and have your clothes looked at. Staff will review your items on the spot and you can wander round the store while they review your items, or you can wait up front while they go through whatever you bring in. Buyers will then pick out the items and make an offer on these based on the style, condition and the current stock levels in-store. If you accept the offer you will receive either cash or store credit. As a general rule for all resale stores, clothes over five years old will not be accepted. Typically, clothing with any holes, fading or pilling will not be considered. Below are some of the child-specific resale stores in the Durham region:

Pros: This option is perfect for moms that don’t want the hassle of selling their old baby clothes themselves. You’ll be saving time as it only takes one interaction with a store (not multiple interactions with sellers like you would get with Kijiji or Facebook buy/sell groups) and you are compensated immediately. You do not need to make an appointment to have your clothes reviewed by a buyer, so you’ll be selling on your own schedule.

Cons: Stores will pick and choose what items they want to take based on the kind of brands you have, what’s in style, and what stock they currently need. You will most likely be out of luck if you want to offload summer items at the beginning of winter. Not all stores will take certain items like socks or cloth diapers, so you may need to visit a few resale stores to get rid of everything or offload your remaining stuff another way. To save the most amount of time when you visit a resale store, you will have to prepare your clothes for easy sorting in advance. This includes sorting clothes by brand or by age group.

Value Rating: 2 out of 3. Your potential for cash is very low than if you were to sell the items yourself or take them to a consignment store, but if you value the time saved managing the sales on your own, then this is the option for you.

Cost: There is no cost involved to bring your clothes to a clothing resale store.

 

pic via brendawritesablog.com

How to manage a baby meltdown when you’re not at home

Ah, we’ve all been there at some point with baby meltdowns. There comes a time when the cries begin to sound like requests rather than just noise. This is when you begin to hit your stride as a mom and realize you know your little one best. When a baby meltdown hits, I like being home to have everything I need handy. Nursing pillow is always near, there are lots of places to lay down for quiet time, and even a roomful of toys in case baby boredom has struck. But being out of the house with a meltdown on my hands? That takes a special kind of resourcefulness that only a mom can understand.

A baby crying

It takes time to build up the confidence to leave the house for any period of time with baby, especially as you’re learning that perfect mix of items to keep in your diaper bag to help you while you’re out. Here are a few strategies that I’ve learned from my many meltdowns so far:

  • Scan the area for a sympathetic face. If you’re somewhere public like a supermarket or shopping centre, someone will be empathizing with what you’re going through. See if your baby is interested in interacting with this person. The change in energy can lighten the mood for both baby and you.
  • Show baby an item they haven’t seen before. I bring toys with me for baby wherever I go but sometimes even this doesn’t work in my favour. There are usually plenty of items available out of the house for baby to see which always ends up being far more interesting than what I bring along. These don’t need to be other toys either – A kitchen spatula at a department store or a bright red fire extinguisher may catch the attention of those curious little eyes.
  • Consider removing or adding a piece of clothing. If baby is hot, then loosening a onesie or popping open a few buttons on a sleeper can help cool them down. If baby is cold and you don’t have extra layers on hand, consider using a sweater or shirt of your own to drape over them.
  • Find a quiet area to recharge. Overstimulation is tough on a little baby, and what calms them down will depend a lot on their little personality. Public washrooms may seem like a good idea but I’ve found that the loud sounds in a washroom (hand dryers, multiple toilets flushing) can be disruptive. Instead, ask an employee to direct you to a quiet area in a store or venue so that you can be alone with your little one and give them time to calm down.

What are some of your strategies for baby meltdowns? I’d love to hear what’s worked for you in the comments below.

 

pic via earlyinterventionsupport.com

Take time out for you with a comfort food cooking class

Whether we like to admit it or not, all of us need time to ourselves during the first year with baby. It’s exhausting being on all day for our families, no matter what our circumstances.  If you find yourself forgetting what it was like to have some fun on your own, now is the time to try something new. Focus on just getting out of the house alone (gasp!) and doing something just for you.

A woman chops carrots on a chopping board

For any moms that love to cook or perhaps want to try some new recipes with the help of an instructor, there is an upcoming President’s Choice Cooking Class that may be for you. The focus of the class will be to make comfort food meals using Fall ingredients – Dishes include Braised Beef Short Ribs, Arugula and Celery Root Remoulade and Apple Cinnamon Beignets. The class is taught by a chef who also teaches at the George Brown Chef School, so if you have any desire to continue developing your culinary knowledge, the chef should be able to tell you more about her program.

The President’s Choice Cooking Class, Upscale Comfort Food for a Cold Night with Chef Harrison, will be held Wednesday, November 12th from 6.30-8.30pm  at the Ajax Superstore location (30 Kingston Road West, Ajax)

Cost: This class is $35 + tax, per person.

 

For more information, visit the PC Cooking School website for details.

pic via meetup.com

 

Apply for a passport for baby

Mat leave is the ideal time to apply for a passport for your little one. I say this for a few reasons – if you ever find a must-book vacation deal or have a family emergency that requires you to fly out of Canada – having a passport ready to use for baby can save you a ton of time (and worry) in the future. Plus, getting passports made when your little ones are still small in their photos is pretty cute.

The cover and inside pages of the 2014 Canadian Passport

If you’re feeling a little daunted by all the steps involved when applying for a passport for baby, here are a few key tips:

pic via nationalpost.com

Swap newborn stories with moms at Babyville

Babyville is a support group run through the region of Durham health department for parents of babies aged between 0-6 months.

Babyville is a free program available to Durham Region residents

All groups are facilitated by a Durham Region Public Health Nurse which is a great opportunity to get reliable answers to a lot of “is it normal when… ” questions. The best part is, Babyville groups have strict rules about how group members treat each other. This includes a no judgement rule for any of the topics raised by attendees. I’ve now learned overcome any shyness pretty quickly in a group setting when question time rolls around, because most moms usually have the same questions that you might want to ask and this is a safe environment to do so.

The Babyville program consists of four weekly group sessions. To participate you must pre-register. Registrations can be made through the Durham Region Health Department at 1-800-841-2729 or 905-666-6241 ext. 3366

Cost: Free!

 

More information about the program is available on the Durham Region website with a Babyville pdf brochure available for download.

Find a local playground with an infant swing

In the past few weeks I’ve been taking my little one to try out the swing at the park. He’s long outgrown his baby swing that he loved when he was smaller, so I figured that trying out the infant-sized swings at my local park wasn’t too much of a stretch out of his comfort zone.

An infant swing

I’m able to fit my little guy into this swing comfortably but depending on the size of your baby, you can always add a rolled up receiving blanket around your little one to help make them more comfortable.

Many playgrounds around Durham have these type of infant sized swings installed, but from what I understand not all of them do. I found this great post written by a local mom that catalogues the top 10 infant and toddler friendly playgrounds in the Durham area if you want to do some pre-research to find the best park or even a new park to give this activity a try.

pic via babble.com