MAM Oral Care Products Review & Giveaway

Proper oral care has always been at the top of my priority list and so was teaching Ethan how to take care of his teeth from very early on. Even before he had teeth, I was sure to clean his gums and mouth and now that he has a mouth full of teeth, I'm sure to make sure they stay clean and healthy, too. MAM Baby Products have always been some of my favorites ever since I first won one of their bottles when Ethan was a newborn. I love MAM as a company not just because of their great eye for design (is this not the coolest pacifier ever?) but because of the thought and consideration they put into creating their products. MAM were always huge proponents of a ban on BPA. For years before a ban was put into effect in Europe, MAM had already been using safe, healthy alternatives.

MAM gave me the opportunity to try out a bunch of their fabulous oral care products on Ethan. It's been two months since we began using MAM's oral care products on Ethan's teeth and not only are we so pleased with the results, but so was Ethan's dentist who was impressed by how wonderful his teeth looked during Ethan's first dental examination.

In addition to their massaging brush for those gums and first teeth, MAM offer two different brushes to familiarize baby with the ropes of oral hygiene. They have a training brush that features a long handle for baby and parent to brush together. The bristles are rounded and soft, perfect for tiny mouths, while still strong enough to clean plaque and bacteria from baby's teeth. The bottom end of the training brush also serves as a tongue cleaner or a massager for sore gums. Ethan loves holding onto the toothbrush with us, learning the right way to brush his teeth. Brushing his teeth is Ethan's favorite part of his nighttime routine.

In addition to their training brush, MAM also make a first brush for babies interested in brushing independently.

Perfect for babies six months and up, the first brush is a perfect fit for tiny hands. It features the same soft, rounded bristles to fit perfectly in baby's little mouth while effectively cleaning plaque and bacteria. Even with the compact handle, you don't lose a single thing, as even the bottom of the first brush contains a gum massager and tongue cleaner. Ethan loves to explore independent brushing with his first brush, trying to imitate the motions of brushing his teeth that we do when we brush together. With our oral care routine, we sing the ABC's while brushing the top and again while brushing the bottom, making it an enjoyable game to brush.

MAM also offer wonderful brushing tools that I've found are perfect for on-the-go cleanings. One of those would be the Oral Care Rabbit.

The Oral Care Rabbit is perfect for babies who haven't yet cut their first tooth or babies with mouths full of teeth. The Oral Care Rabbit fits perfectly into a pocket, purse or diaper bag, making it great for on-the-go brushing. When frozen or chilled, Ethan also loved the relief this provided for his swollen back gums as his molars began to come in. Most recently, the Oral Care Rabbit came in handy for an after lunch wipe down while Ethan had lunch with his grandma.

Perhaps Ethan's most favorite oral care product of them all would be MAM's Bite & Brush teether toy. This lighweight teether is rounded in shape so that baby is able to hold onto it easily. It features soft, elastic bristles on one end perfect for brushing on the go (this is Ethan's take-along toy for car travel). The handle portion is also soft and perfect for a teething baby to chew on.

After a quick afternoon snack, Ethan loves to play with his Bite & Brush and clean his teeth without even realizing it. He loves to chomp down on the elastic bristles, which are also designed to strengthen oral muscles.

The wonderful folks at MAM were kind enough to offer one of my readers the chance to win their own MAM Oral Care Pack!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


mother nature, she fills my eyes

Vacation time. I love vacation time. Days with nothing to do except spend time together as a family. My parents and sister have been hiding up at my family's lake house for a while but Ethan, my husband and I decided to drive up and join them for a little (much needed) getaway.

Day one of vacation didn't disappoint. This morning my mom and I took Ethan to a farm to do some berry picking. A real farm, one that exists only out in the country far, far away from the suburbs where we live. A real farm where blackberries grow out on the vine, without pesticides but with bugs sharing bites of the fruit, bunnies hopping out of the brush and scurrying across the farm.

I'm not a big soda drinker, but there is nothing better on a blazing hot day than a glass-bottled Pepsi, opened with the bottle opener in the real country store.


and oh, mercy me; god bless catastrophe

The past few days have been rough at best. Ethan and I have been stuck in the house the past few days and we're both going pretty stir-crazy. He and I like to be on the go, like to explore the world outside. Being cooped up in a house for days on end is the bane of both of our existences and it's been funny how much of myself and my own personality I can see in his during these days. It's interesting to watch him get frustrated, to bring me my car keys, to point at the door, to stare out the window and whine, whine, whine. His fever has been gone since Saturday and so I was looking forward to today as the start of a new week, one kicked off with our Stroller Strides class first thing in the morning to start it off right. Strangely, at 9:00 (the time Stroller Strides begins), Ethan was still sleeping.

This is suspicious for a few reasons, mostly because Ethan never in his life has slept past 7:30. It's just not his personality to waste the day away with something silly like sleep and so he's always up, waiting for his pancake and banana, first thing in the morning. Still, my husband theorized that he was just sleeping soundly because it was dark and rainy out. I got myself dressed, sat down in front of Boy Meets World and went to retrieve the video monitor from the kitchen table. That's when I peeked over at the video monitor and that's when I saw this wonderful sight.

I suppose sometime in the middle of the night, he'd ditched his jammies and his diaper. I thought it was the most hilarious thing I'd ever seen -- though I was a little scared as to what could be waiting for me inside that room. (As I should have been!) A few moments later he woke up and I entered the room to find the biggest mess in the world. No, really. I'm sure it was. I can't imagine a bigger mess, no matter how deeply I search my imagination. I'll spare you the details but let's just say that nothing was spared -- not the walls, the crib, the floor, my child's nostrils, fingernails or the space behind his knees. As I gave Ethan his third bath in the first 25 minutes he was awake, I could tell that a mess like this took all night to perfect. I'm still fairly confident he pulled an all-nighter working out all the intricacies of his, uh, painting.

I spent Ethan's entire four hour nap (this boy was up all night, I just know it!) trying to sanitize our house, scrubbing the bathtub, rinsing sheets and pillowcases and his favorite lovey-doll (who I don't have high hopes for, as far as survival rates go).

Motherhood. So glamorous.


remember spring swaps snow for leaves

Yesterday I carried Ethan in from the car where he'd fallen asleep. He stretched his legs and arms as I unbuckled the straps of his seat but he quickly fell back into a deep sleep as I laid his head on my shoulder and walked him into the house. The days of being able to carry him into the house while he remains asleep are ones that rarely happen anymore, reserved for special occasions where exhaustion reigns and sick days breed sleepless nights that create random midday naps. At the time I didn't think anything of it, his sleepiness, except for the fact that I'd simply gotten lucky in my car-to-crib transfer.

Today proved otherwise, that it was more than just luck but a reaction to a vaccination he had ten days ago. The splotchy, speckled rash and the low-grade fever made their appearances today and because his night was rather sleepless, our day was filled with random naps.

I'd like to say my neurosis only emerges during times of sickness or reason to worry, but that's not the case. I'm guilty of creeping into Ethan's room while he naps just to feel his chest, confirm the rise-and-fall of his breathing, make sure that he's okay and sleeping soundly and comfortably. Not too warm, not too cool, lullabies playing at just the right volume on his stereo. Today was full of these moments not only from a place of neurosis, not only to check the speckled rash on his skin or to ensure he was, in fact, breathing, but from a place of peace and love. From a place of just wanting to savor these moments of watching him sleep so soundly during these brief moments when he's still and calm. Lately he's appeared more grown up than I'm comfortable with, as if I blinked my eyes and now I have this child holding my hand as we walk through the house together instead of a newborn who slept the day away on my chest.

At first I struggled to find the silver lining to a day where our plans to meet Elmo were canceled, a day where red patches and polka dots crept up Ethan's back and legs, a day where a slight fever made Ethan whine with discomfort and not feel like playing but then I found it. I found it in the fact that for the first time in a while, my on-the-go toddler (mind you, this is the first time I've officially referred to him as such and how it breaks my heart!) was still and calm and I was able to watch him peacefully sleep as I did when he was still an infant. And for the first time in an even longer while, we spent hours curled up on the couch under our favorite blanket, munching on slices of a peach and pieces of cheese, laughing and tickling and playing peek-a-boo until the day just slipped away from us.


i strain my eyes and try to tell the difference between shooting stars and satellites

Today was another day of firsts, only this time it's one I'm gladly leaving out of the baby book. It's one I want to run away from and forget about (even though all the seasoned pro mothers of the world are reassuring me as kindly as they can that this will happen over and over and over again without me being able to do much about it). Today was water play day at one of our mommy and me classes. We've been looking forward to water play day for some time as any moment of time spent in the water is a total gift this summer. My mom and I were both there watching Ethan sit in a few inches of water and splash around happily.

And then, despite the fact we were both sitting right there, he flipped out of the pool and onto the pavers. Forehead first. It all happened in slow motion. I can still see the entire thing in my head no matter how badly I want to rid it from my memory. The angle he fell at was just so that he was inches out of reach from where we sat. I can still hear the sound his forehead made as it collided with the pavers. I'm fairly confident I will be up all night long hearing the sound of his forehead colliding with the pavers in my mind.

Then came the screaming and crying. You know, for about five minutes. As I watched in horror and tried to ward off the conglomerate of nervous breakdown and anxiety attack I was experiencing as black and blue splotches started taking over Ethan's forehead, he pointed at the pool and wanted to go back in and play. Of course he did.

I brought him into our pediatrician just to reassure me he was fine. (He was.) His wound is all superficial and wasn't even bothering him when the doctor pushed on it to feel his head. By bedtime, the swelling went down substantially but I can still see it, the fresh wound, the huge bump rising on his forehead. I can still hear that horrible sound of head meeting pavement.

We won't even talk about the fact that a motorcyclist going at least 50 MPH over the speed limit almost ran me off of the road on the way to the pediatrician's office. Let's just say that I ended today with an iced coffee and a hot bath and I'm not even sure I'm done crying about this all yet.


and now for something a little different

If you've been reading this blog for a while (heck, or even if you're a newer reader around here), you've inevitably heard me make countless references to RSV, to restricted airway, to Ethan's wheezing and "bulldog breathing." It's become a part of our daily lives -- all of it -- though it's been months since Ethan contracted RSV last November. I'm guilty of constantly complaining about having to use the nebulizer what with the stress of getting Ethan to sit through his treatments or just the unfairness of the whole situation and the way it hurts to hear Ethan wheeze or rattle for really no reason in particular. Recently I realized that, in a strange way, I should be considering ourselves lucky. After all, our medical insurance made it so we have a nebulizer in our home when Ethan needs it. I realized just how many mothers are forced to walk hours upon hours -- days, even -- to wait in line to use a community nebulizer while listening to their child struggle to breathe. Reading these stories made me want to do something and, well, I'm doing it.

On September 1st, I will be participating in a Blog-A-Thon to blog for 24 consecutive hours to raise money for the Global Links nebulizer campaign. Global Links is a fantastic medical relief organization that provides unbelievable medical aid and supplies to those in need. They have a specific campaign to provide nebulizers to those who need them so that everyone has access to them for their children, especially in areas where asthma is on the rise.

Along with my friend Katie (who will be blogging for Best Friends Animal Society), I will be blogging once every thirty minutes for twenty-four hours while people sponsor me by donating to the Global Links nebulizer campaign, much like a walk-a-thon or swim-a-thon.

You can visit my blog for the Blog-A-Thon by clicking the above banner or visiting www.aisforalbuterol.com. There is plenty of information there about Global Links, their nebulizer campaign, why this charity matters to me, what the blog-a-thon is and what prizes you can win. Yes, prizes. We've had countless donations by our generous, fantastic sponsors. That means for every $5 you donate, you'll be entered in a drawing to win some pretty epic prizes. Just the icing on the cake for helping out a fantastic cause.

I'd absolutely love your support during the Blog-A-Thon, especially any help getting the word out about my fundraising efforts. There is a banner to share and link back to my blog at A is for Albuterol!


the rest of the summer was the best we ever had

We have been trying to survive this Florida summer, constantly checking the thermostat and letting Ethan play in the bathroom sink just to cool down quicker after even the shortest trip outside. It has been a busy summer filled with birthday parties and doctor visits and playdates indoors where the heat can't reach us. It's been wonderful, this summer, despite the sweat and flushed cheeks and apathy that the heat brings with it. We've been busy, filling each day to the brim with friends and loved ones and laughter and any bit of anything that we can to avoid stepping foot outdoors.

Today Ethan and I went on a frozen yogurt date where we shared strawberry and vanilla frozen yogurt topped with organic blueberries and organic strawberries. This wasn't in the original plan. The original plan had us running errands and going grocery shopping and doing things that required several trips in and out of the car to accomplish. After our very first errand, I looked at Ethan's flushed cheeks and the mirages dancing on the brutally hot asphalt of the parking lot. That was it. We were making time for frozen yogurt.

From there, our errands continued. Ethan whined from the backseat. I didn't blame him. There is nothing about the sticky Florida heat that lends itself to grocery shopping. I turned around and we made a quick stop to grandma and grandpa's house to jump in their pool. No bathing suits? No problem. The water was cool and welcoming. Ethan squealed with delight until he had the hiccups as he splashed around in his diaper, putting his lips in the cool water to try his luck at blowing bubbles. (He must have swallowed a gallon of water trying to blow bubbles.)

It's the little things, the sound of Ethan's laughter while he splashes around in the water, the way he splashes back at me for trying to wet his hair. It's the sheer awesomeness of the age he's at now -- and I know I say that at just about every phase he's at -- and the way he sees the world around him. It's the way he stops splashing to watch a hawk circle overhead before pointing at it and asking "dat?" It's his curiosity and creativity that make these days so full and wonderful. The way you're not just a couple of idiots laughing and splashing around in a pool in your underwear, but you're uncovering just what magic an average hot, sticky summer day can hold.

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