Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Corky & Wendy Recommend

Every day we have new Mom's and Dad's enter our shop asking us what they need before they bring Baby home from the hospital. They are inundated with literature and marketing materials but don't know how to sift through everything and make the right choices. Well, we decided to help simplify matters. As you know we carry an extensive assortment of baby care products, but we'll be the first to tell you that you don’t need to buy everything at once! So, we've come up with a list of Corky & Wendy's Top 10 recommended Baby Care Products. These are items we think every Mom & Dad should have. We hope this helps to make you feel more secure in your buying decisions as they pertain to your new Baby!

  1. Pump Station & Nurtury™ Soft Bottom Cloths
  2. Pump Station & Nurtury™ Burp Cloths
  3. Harvey Karp's “Happiest Baby on the Block”
  4. Thermal or Muslin Swaddle Blanket
  5. Baby Pouch Sling
  6. Any book by Dr. William Sears
  7. Exercise Ball
  8. Kissy Kissy Onesies & Convertible Gowns
  9. Baby Tracker
  10. Skip Hop Diaper Bag

We also highly encourage you to attend our Hot Topic Lecture Series. As a new parent, you need to become knowledgeable about everything from diaper rash & first aid to brain development and environmental pollution. Our Hot Topics Lecture Series can help you to learn what you need and still give you plenty of time to spend with your little one – we encourage you to bring them with you to class!

You might also want to check out our Baby Care Class at UCLA Santa Monica, It is offered once a month.

Classes fill fast so make sure you sign up early!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Father's Day Parade

By Bruce Tyson

New York City is famous for its parades, and Park Avenue is the perfect place for a Father's Day parade. Haven’t heard of that one? Well, it's a bit on the understated side. It’s not televised, and there are no Snoopy balloons, but you would never forget the day if you’d been there.

I was there just once, twenty-three years ago.

On that sunny Sunday morning, I got up early, and put two-month-old Juliana into a baby-backpack. We headed out to the grocery store – some twelve blocks away – to get supplies for the apartment. We walked to Park Avenue to take the scenic route, passing the uniformed doormen and the green awnings at each stately apartment building. People were enjoying the morning – on their way to breakfast or church or out for a jog. It was early enough in the day that pedestrians were still individuals, not yet part of a throng. As they saw Juliana's little head bobbing behind my own, each person we passed on the sidewalk and each doorman at his post could see that this occasion was something new and wonderful for us. One after another, they greeted Juliana and me with a smile and a salutation, “Happy Father’s Day.” As it turns out, we were the parade.

Two decades later, that morning remains vivid to me. Some of the older doormen, fathers themselves, wanted to make note of my new fatherhood, and in their smiles I read a further message, “Welcome to the journey begun.” This was one of those wonderful moments in life when very little is said, yet so much is expressed.

On that first Father’s Day we celebrated with a parade; as Juliana grew older, other traditions evolved. One year, Juliana asked what gift I would like for Father's Day. In addressing her question, I said to her that a father would like to be honored and appreciated in a personal way. It is the expression of care and love for a child that makes a man a father, and that kindness returned becomes the most appropriate gift. Translated, that meant her dad, like most men, can discover a wellspring of love in homemade desserts. We agreed on Chocolate Cream Pie.

Along the way, there were lessons learned from Chocolate Cream Pie. This dessert became Juliana’s first “specialty” in matters of the kitchen. She shares it with others, and, of course, sharing with others is an essential ingredient in a life well-lived.

Father’s Day Chocolate Cream Pie

  • 1 box (5 oz.) of Jell-O brand “cook & serve” Chocolate Fudge pudding mix (The chocolate fudge is much better than the plain “Chocolate”, but more difficult to find. If only plain Chocolate is available, add two tablespoons of good unsweetened cocoa powder to the mix.)

  • 3 cups of low-fat milk (skim milk is fine, too; it will offset the cholesterol in the whipped cream)

  • Use one-and-a-quarter of the three packages inside a one-pound box of Graham Crackers (Low-fat graham crackers are preferred, as Dad will consume at least half the pie. If Dad cannot be allocated at least half a pie, then make two pies. Don’t forget that Dad will be having pie for breakfast the next morning.) Do not use the pre-made crusts as they have certain similarities to cardboard. (We use the 14.4 oz box of Nabisco Honey Maid low fat graham crackers.)

  • One-eighth cup of sugar (There is already sugar in the graham crackers and in the pudding mix, so not much additional sugar is needed.)

  • 6 tablespoons of butter

  • Whipping cream (one cup)
    Amaretto liqueur (vanilla extract will also work.) (2 to 3 tablespoons)

  • (optional) 1 heaping teaspoon of instant coffee (to give the pie a mocha flavor)

The Pie Crust:Place the Graham crackers inside a large zip-lock plastic bag. Zip tight and then crush the graham crackers with a rolling pin. (If you don't have a rolling pin, use the bottom of a wine bottle.) This zip-lock technique should keep the rogue graham cracker crumbs in check. Melt the butter in the microwave in 10-second intervals; it will take two or three tries. (Cover the butter dish in the microwave with a paper towel, or you will be scraping butter off the walls.) Mix thoroughly with a whisk the graham cracker crumbs, the sugar, and the melted butter in a large bowl. Pour the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie pan and fashion a crust. (This can be made easier by using the bottom of another pie pan to shape the crumbs more evenly.) Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and then bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust appears slightly browned.

The Pie Filling: Follow the instructions on the Jell-O box. This means emptying the dry pudding mix into a large saucepan (and perhaps the optional instant coffee and/or cocoa powder), adding 3 cups of milk, and cooking at “medium” heat. Stir continually (especially along the bottom of the pan) for about 10-15 minutes until the pudding thickens and begins to bubble. Turn off the heat and let the pudding cool for 5 minutes. Then pour the pudding mixture into the cooled pie-crust and place in the refrigerator for at least three hours.

The Whipped Cream: Pour the cup of whipping cream into a mixing bowl. Add the Amaretto. Whip the cream until it begins to thicken. When lifting the mixing blades out of the cream, they should leave little soft peaks of whipped cream. Avoid mixing too long and letting the peaks get too firm, otherwise, you will have made Amaretto-flavored butter. The whipped cream should be added to the top of the pie just minutes before serving.

Serving the Pie
Make sure Dad gets the first and biggest slice.

Additional serving suggestions !!!
The pie can also be served on other occasions throughout the year, including times when Dad helps out with homework, chauffeurs everyone all over town, and picks up that thing needed for school tomorrow on his way home from work.
© 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

No More Mr. Mom Guy

by Alek Lev

I think the reason that people keep their placenta is because they think there might be some kind of instruction manual in there. Or a nanny. Or cash. Anything to help them through the first, say, 18 years or so of parenting.

As time passes, however, the problem is not a paucity of information but an abundance. And avalanche. A Diaper Dekor full. The problem, then, is sifting through it all. And for what it's worth, after my first year of fatherhood, I have developed a little rule I'd like to share:

Avoid labels. Avoid negativity. Avoid anything that begins: “Just wait until…”

You're taking care of the kid? Aren't you a regular Mr. Mom!
No. If I'm “Mr. Mom,” then is my wife, who works a full time job, “Ms. Dad”? If I'm a “stay at home dad,” then what am I doing with this $300 stroller? And this sun tan?

It just goes by so fast!
No, it doesn't. Not if you're paying attention. Every moment is so full that time just expands. (Of course, I'm also waking up three hours earlier than I used to, which could account for the phenomenon. But I also take two naps, so it's all balanced out.)

Just wait until he starts walking, then you'll be in trouble!
No, I won't be. And I'm not. He's walking. He's not walking on hot coals. Yes, he gets into everything, pulls things off the shelves, and threatens to break many breakable things, including himself. But isn't he supposed to? It's he… what's it called… learning?

Just wait until they start talking back to you.
It's so nice when they can't.No, it's not. Actually, this is the advice that makes me think to call Child Protective Services. What are you saying to your kids to which you don't want a response? “I might have killed someone today. Don't tell anyone. Wait – you can't! Hahaha!”

Just wait until he gets older. Then we can talk.
No. No thanks.

To have a healthy child is to win a lottery with longer odds than people realize, and it's a lottery that I am lucky enough to win every day. We're not big on holiday celebrations in our house. No flowers on Mothers Day, and no ties on Fathers Day. Instead, we'll spend both days like every other – appreciating each other, our son, and our outrageous luck.

Just wait until he goes to high school.
Okay. That one scares me.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Father of twins

by Wanton Davis

On March 12, 2008, my wife and I were blessed with the arrival of twins, a boy and a girl – the newest additions to our expanded family. We also have a two and a half year old daughter. Needless to say, there is never a dull moment in our household. There are many occasions where all three children are in tears and this gives a new meaning to the word “multitasking”. Even though things can get a bit chaotic, I wouldn’t trade this situation for the world.

My twins, Piper and Cody were born premature at 34 weeks and had to spend some time in the UCLA Santa Monica NICU. They were born healthy, but just needed a little assistance adapting to life outside the womb – “feeders and growers” is what they are called. Although we were assured that everything would be fine, nothing can describe the feeling of going home without your children. After a couple of weeks, my twins came home and the real fun began. We found out just how much attention twins get! People are constantly stopping us to ask questions: Are you getting any sleep? Was it natural or did you have help? Do twins run in your family? Are they identical? (No, a boy and girl are never identical!) While I get all of the questions, but this so quickly became just my life. Only a parent of multiples would understand a double latching or how quickly a jumbo pack of diapers can disappear.

Although they share a special bond, my wife and I have discussed the importance of not categorizing them as “The Twins”, and to encourage individuality. I know the years ahead will bring excitement to say the least, and I am thrilled to watch the unique relationships that my children will share.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

“Second Time Around”

by Bruce Tyson

I am fifty–five years old and the father of a newborn. My other child, Juliana, graduated college last week.

Juliana is happy, funny, accomplished in her fields of study, and well–liked by her peers. In a word, she is flourishing.

What does that mean for Isabella, Juliana's baby sister? On the eve of Father's Day, I ponder the second time around.

The main thing is that I will worry less. Particularly about the path to college. That point was driven home when, after much hard work getting into her first-choice college in New England, Juliana chose to return to California to start her sophomore year. While I questioned the move at the time, I now see that she knew what she was doing, and she absolutely made the right decision.

So I will trust more, too – trust more readily my child's instincts. When we applied to middle schools, Juliana was accepted by two of her top three choices. At the third – the one she really wanted to attend – she got waitlisted. When I asked her, “Do you want me to call the school and try shaking the tree a bit?” No, she told me. If they couldn't see her qualities, she didn't want to go there. Big Mistake, I thought to myself. Instead, she stayed on at her parochial elementary school which continued through 8th Grade. By staying the extra two years, she became one of the “big kids” and developed her leadership skills there.

Early on, Juliana had a sense of identity – something more complete than (I'm sorry) the tired phrase “self-esteem.” As a family, I think we were successful in giving her that identity by showing a kind of tangible family history. By that, I mean history brought forward through family holidays, rituals, recipes, and healthy dialogues at the dinner table. One ritual that resonates is the Five-Mile Walk. Juliana's, and now Isabella's, grandfather Herbert grew up in the 'old country'. According to Grandfather, he walked five miles to school each day, through the snow, barefoot, and uphill in both directions. As we grow older, we know this cannot be completely true: we all know the old country is strung together by kilometers – it doesn't even have miles. But for an eight–year–old child, there is some grace in following in her grandfather's footsteps and making that five–mile walk to school. At least once. Particularly if hot chocolate and scones can be had at the 3–mile mark. And every so often, over the next 15 years and more, my child might look back at the photo album, remembering the adventure and getting a fix on Grandpa Herbert.

I can see clearly, in retrospect, that it is the home life, in tandem with the school life, that forms the child. We help the child with the homework (and, yes, practically do the science fair project for her – don’t get me started on the giant eyeball and the stinking pot of gelatin cooking on the stove). And, at the proverbial dinner table, we also talk about social parts of school – how the child interacts with teachers and other students. We talk about which battles to fight, when to stand up, and when to take one for the team.

If my first go–round will serve as my guide, I will be focused much more on the home life than the craziness of school applications and which is the “best” school. And if and when Isabella's middle school workload makes her crazy from time–to–time, we might just skip a day of school in favor of the movie theater, followed by a stop for hot chocolate and scones.
© 2008