Dear Jack: You Taught Your Sister How “Make Juice” From Leftover Halloween Candy

7 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

I admit: I don’t exactly know what you and your sister are up to all the time.

Fortunately for me, she is now old enough to where you are able to entertain her while I get stuff done. So while I’m hurrying to sneak in unloading the dishwasher, or taking a shower, I just trust that whatever you’re “helping” Holly do is something I would approve of.

For example, one morning last week, I learned after that fact, that you had taught your sister how to “make juice” by mixing together old Halloween candy (yes, from nearly 6 months ago) with water and ice.

I showed up right as your lifted the mixing bowl and asked me, “Daddy, can you help me carry this over to the fridge? The juice that Holly and I just made needs to settle in the fridge while I’m at school today.”

That’s been several days ago now. I never heard how that project ended. I had speculated that you were going to want me, or your sister, to try the juice once it was ready.

However, I think what really happened was that Mommy discovered the bowl of “juice” while she was preparing dinner that evening, and the juice mysteriously disappeared… down the kitchen sink drain.

We may never know for sure.

But what I do know is, your sister definitely enjoyed the adventure in the kitchen. It takes the creativity of a 7 year-old brother sometimes for her to have fun like she should.

She took your activity seriously. In her mind, she learned a new skill.

In her mind, she learned that if you are in the mood to drink some juice but can’t find any, you can just make it yourself.

I have a feeling that had she had the chance to try the juice the two of you made, she wouldn’t have thought it was half bad.

Love,

Daddy

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3 Bits of Parenting Advice I Wish I Had Received Beforehand: Cry It Out Method, No Fruit Juice, Discipline without Spanking

Louis CK Spanking

When you are expecting your first child, by default you are bombarded by people giving you what they think is good advice, when in reality, it’s just nonsense:

“Make sure you get plenty of sleep now, because once the baby arrives,

you’ll be wishing you had more of it!”

Lame.

That doesn’t even make sense. Even if you sleep 12 hours every day leading up to when that baby arrives, that won’t change the fact you still will be deprived of sleep once the baby is born.

It’s not like the outdated concept of “rollover minutes” on your flip phone from 2003.

Now that my second child is due in April, I’m collecting my thoughts on how to prevent making the mistakes I did with my 1st child.

Last week one of my friends I grew up with, whose first child is due a week before my second child, asked me over Facebook if I had any tips for him.

And that, of course, inspired this blog post today.

I should give this disclaimer, though: All 3 of my tips today are unpopular with the majority.

However, I know that these three tips have led to me being a more efficient parent personally and have led to the making of a good kid.

Seriously, my 5 year-old soon is a good kid. He’s bright, he’s creative, he’s active, he’s funny, he’s well-behaved, and he’s healthy. And he doesn’t get in trouble at Pre-K.

I say those things not to brag, but to provide evidence that the parenting tips I am submitting today are personally effective; not just simply my opinion.

This blog post today is written for open-minded, soon-to-be first time parents, who I am grateful are taking the time to hear what I have to say, in an effort to proactively seek help.

1) Use the “cry it out” method. I have now just revealed that I am not an “attachment parent” or a “helicopter parent”. Unfortunately, my wife and I didn’t learn this lesson until our son was 7 months old.

Your baby is depending on you to learn when night time is and when he or she should be asleep for several hours at a time. By answering your baby’s cries each time during the middle of the night, it is actually counter-productive as it prevents your baby from getting the necessary rest he or she needs; as well as yours and your spouse’s.

Yes, it can be psychologically challenging as the parent to apply the “cry it out” method, at first. It can difficult to choose efficiency over emotion, but my child is proof that this method is not damaging to the child’s psyche.

2) Fruit juice is not a healthy drink option. Yes, fruit juice contains vitamins and is hydrating. However, it doesn’t contain the fiber from the fruit needed for digestion and to balance out the sugar. So what happens is your child gets an unhealthy sugar dose (and possibly excessive gas.)

My son gets a skin rash anytime he drinks juice. That’s what fully convinced me it’s not good for him. Even my son’s dentist, Dr. Snodgrass, quickly agreed with me when I mentioned it to him during my son’s visit first. The dentist immediately acknowledged he can always tell when a child regularly drinks juice, because their teeth typically aren’t as healthy.

So with that being said, obviously sports drinks (like Gatorade) and soda are nothing less than taboo in our household.

Instead, your child can get vitamins from actual fruit and vegetables found in fruit packets; plus I highly recommend buying a Baby Bullet, to provide your child with the right nutrition.

3) Discipline your child without spanking them. Your job as the parent is to provide certain things for your child that, on their own, they are not capable of understanding they need in the moment. They are depending on your lead for these things.

They need to know when to eat (hungry), when to sleep (tired), when to play (bored), when to engage in conversation (lonely), or when they are physically incapable of feeling well (sick).

Unfortunately, it’s only natural as a parent to, in the moment, forget about these things and instead, assume your child is “misbehaving”.

Five years into this, I now know to go off the check list when I am tempted to think my son is “misbehaving”. Each and every time, he’s either hungry, tired, bored, lonely, or sick. (I invented that check list, by the way.)

My role is to proactively provide for his needs, not to physically strike him for seeking negative attention for those symptoms.

Additionally, here are my 5 alternatives to spanking that I learned from when I blogged for Parents.com:

Ignore attention-seeking behavior; pay attention to good behavior; redirect your child; teach consequences that make sense; and use time-outs for serious offenses.

Consider that professional psychologists who have actually studied spanking have come to the same conclusion: Spanking is actually less effective. Even if it was only equally effective, why physically strike your child if you don’t have to?

For me it’s all about efficiency as a parent. It’s about working smart, not necessarily hard.

No need to make yourself a martyr if you know what’s really going on in your child’s brain.

If you are open-minded to my personally effective methods I have shared today, please feel free to comment so I can get back to you.

Dear Holly or Logan: Daddy’s “Sympathy Hunger Cravings”

15 weeks.

Dear Holly or Logan: Daddy’s “Sympathy Hunger Cravings”

Dear Holly or Logan,

Mommy is now officially one week into in her 2nd trimester with you. I have noticed her nausea has seemed to have majorly subsided since crossing that line.

However, her hunger cravings are on still on full speed! And as for me, I’m along for the ride and enjoying it…

After all, it’s only right that I should “sympathize” with her hunger cravings. The best way for me to do so is to join Mommy on this!

She and your brother Jack made some vegan chocolate chip cookies this weekend. And yesterday, Mommy had me pick up some vegan cake from Whole Foods.

(And Halloween is coming up this weekend. I can only imagine the temptations Mommy will face!)

Until now, we’ve never kept fruit juice in the house, because truthfully, it’s just sugar water with vitamins. It’s a processed food so we stay away from it. Once the sugar is extracted from the fruit’s fiber, so much of the nutrition is gone and it just becomes a classier form of high calorie junk food; mostly empty calories.

But here lately, Mommy has been craving grape juice, so now we always keep some in the fridge.

It had been about 6 years since I had enjoyed a nice full glass of grape juice. Because I used to have eczema (dyshidrosis), I had to stop drinking juice because it always instantly flared up my rashes.

But now that I’ve been a vegan for 2 and a half years, I guess it somehow flushed out my body of the toxins causing my eczema to even go back into remission.

Therefore, I discovered that I can now get away with drinking grape juice again! It’s like candy to me!

I see it as a bad habit that I am enjoying a little too much right now. However, this is the time to live it up. (I’ll need to pull the plug on that once you are born, though.)

Your development inside of Mommy’s tummy is causing her to crave more of stuff she wouldn’t normally want. So I might as well enjoy a little bit of the fun along the way.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly or Logan: Daddy’s “Sympathy Hunger Cravings”

Why I’m Weird About My Kid Drinking Juice

July 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm , by 

19 months.

“Jewish?” asks my son Jack every Saturday and Sunday morning. His pronunciation of the word “juice” is still a little off.

Be glad you’re not my kid. In the economy of food at our house, juice is just one notch down from holy and sanctified.

Or liquor.

When can Jack have juice? Only on the weekends, in the kitchen. And it’s 100% organic juice, which we water down greatly.

(He can drink a little bit of  juice when he’s sick, like right now.)

Why am I so weird about my letting my kid drink juice? At least it’s not soda, right? Or some sugary, food-dyed cocktail.

People across the world and throughout time have wondered why we’re all here; as in, what’s the meaning of life?

Similarly, everyday thousands of people are looking for an answer to help get rid of their kid’s eczema.

Well, I have an answer.

For nearly a decade, I suffered from excruciating eczema; in particular, dyshidrosis.

Mine is completely in remission now, but only because I radically changed my diet and lifestyle. About three years ago when I starting experimenting with ways to get my “Freddy Krueger hands” to stop oozing, I discovered that if I stopped drinking juice for a couple of days, my skin condition improved.

So I stopped drinking juice all together.

While my son may look nothing like me, he did inherit my sensitive skin condition and he is prone to eczema.

And sure enough, if he drinks more than one serving of juice for more than one day in a row, the back of his neck and his thighs break out.

This didn’t happen just one time. It happens every time. In fact, I’m pretty sure his eczema will bad tomorrow with how much juice I’ve let him drink since he got sick a few days ago.

But why does 100% organic juice make eczema worse?

Because it’s a processed food.

The vitamin-packed juice of the fruit is separated from the healthy fiber of the fruit. Together, the juice and fiber digest properly in our bodies.

But apart, it’s messin’ with nature and stuff.

That’s why we feed Jack actual fruits and veggies, even if we have to puree them and mix them together. So he gets all the nutrition he needs from the whole fruit or veggie.

And that’s why he thinks prunes and broccolitaste good.

Jack’s dentist, Dr. Snodgrass, even warns against giving kids juice regularly, in his brochures. The high consistency of sugar in juice, especially when the child sleeps with a sippy cup full of juice, can lead to cavities.

This is taken from the guidelines of The American Academy of Pediatrics in regards to the subject:

  • Babies and toddlers should not drink fruit juice at bedtime.
  • For children ages 1 to 6, intake of fruit juice should be limited to 4 to 6 ounces per day (about a half to three-quarters of a cup).
  • Drinking too much juice can lead to poor nutrition, diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, bloating, and tooth decay.
  • All children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits.

So am I really that weird after all when it comes to being extremely conservative about my kid drinking juice?

I invite you to read a blog by Lisa Leake, who is not okay with juice either. Her blog is 100 Days of Real Food.

Here’s what she had to say today on her Facebook wall:

“A few readers have asked what my kids drink besides milk and water…and I hate to say it, but the answer is not much! They occasionally have juice (which is usually store-bought 1-ingredient organic apple juice) and by occasional I mean 1 – 2 cups per week on average and it’s diluted with water.”

The way I see it, a kid drinking juice is like an adult drinking alcohol. It is to be consumed in moderation.

So that’s how it’s treated in our house:

Juice is “baby booze.”