Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

Earlier this week Good Housekeeping.com published a story about a mother and pediatric dentist who reported that she found mold inside her son’s Sophie the Giraffe teething toy. For those of you unfamiliar with Sophie, she is an adorable little giraffe made of natural rubber and manufactured in France. At first glance, she may appear to be an overpriced dog toy, but she is so much more. Babies everywhere fall in love with Sophie’s texture, smell and shape, which makes her a baby registry necessity.
The article stated that Dana Chianese cut open her son’s Sophie and found it infested with black mold. Dr. Chianese is now sharing her story so other parents can be aware. Sounds scary, right? Let’s not panic.
Stories like this are not new. There have been numerous reports of mold found inside rubber toys previously. Here’s the thing, guys. If you let moisture sit in an enclosed rubber environment for an extended amount of time, it will get moldy. It’s science. No, really…it is actual science.
Sophie the Giraffe comes with specific care instructions. According to the Sophie website, “The best way to clean the surface of Sophie la giraffe is with a damp cloth and soapy water, which is also stated on the product packaging. We do not recommend immersing her with water as she may become damaged.” According to the Good Housekeeping article, Dr. Chianese states that she did follow these instructions but found mold anyway.
My daughter received two Sophies as gifts when she was a baby. As I am a germaphobe and a stickler for following rules, I made sure that no water got inside Sophie during cleaning as per the instructions. I made a point to put one of my fingers over the squeaker opening as I used a soapy sponge to wash her surface at all times. Sometimes a miniscule amount of water touched the opening causing the squeaker to sound a bit funny until it dried out, but Sophie was never submerged and water was never poured directly onto the hole.
When my daughter outgrew her beloved Sophies, we packed them away to save in case they were ever needed again by another bundle of joy. Five years later when my son was born in September 2015, we dug them out of the attic along with all the other forgotten baby toys.
My son is now 16 months old. He never took to Sophie like my daughter did, so she has not been played with in a while. Therefore this left me with two, now 6-year-old, adorable giraffe toys with which to conduct my own research. I will call them Sophie A and Sophie B.
Because of my diligent cleaning practices, I felt confident that I would not find mold inside my Sophies. However, for a split second I felt a twinge of doubt about what I would see when I opened them. I reached for the scissors anyway.
I cut into the first unsuspecting toy (which is not easy to do, by the way). When the incision was made, I folded Sophie A open. There it was – NOTHING. Phew! I felt better already.
Worrying that maybe Sophie A’s clean bill of health was a fluke, I proceeded to check Sophie B. Again as I struggled to cut the rubber teether toy open, I wondered if I would possibly find something undesirable inside. Slowly, I pulled Sophie B’s two halves apart and again – NOTHING. Both Sophies are spotless!
Mold Inside Sophie the Giraffe? Let's Not Panic. www.herviewfromhome.com
 Now, I am not saying that mold never happens. As I stated earlier, it is known that mold can form inside rubber toys given the right conditions. I can only speak about my own experience with Sophie. While some of these toys may have developed mold, it is not necessarily the norm as evidenced here. If you keep her insides dry and follow the manufacturer’s instructions, she should be OK.
I will continue to love Sophie as I did before and will continue to buy her for my expecting mommy friends, if requested. I will just make sure to remind them to follow her cleaning instructions.
Now after all is said and done, I just feel bad about doubting Sophie in the first place and about destroying two perfectly good (expensive) toys.

Mia Carella

Mia Carella is a stay-at-home mom and writer who lives with her husband and their two children. She likes reading, napping and spending time with her family. She dislikes cooking, cleaning and adulting in general, but absolutely loves being a mom. Her work has been published on Scary Mommy, Babble, Love What Matters, The Mighty and more. Read more on Mia's website, www.ThisMomWithABlog.com, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagramand Pinterest.

Being a Hands-on Dad Matters

In: Kids, Living
Dad playing with little girl on floor

I am a hands-on dad. I take pride in spending time with my kids. Last week I took my toddler to the park. He’s two and has recently outgrown peek-a-boo, but nothing gets him laughing like him seeing me pop into the slide to scare him as he goes down. He grew to like this so much that he actually would not go down the slide unless he saw me in his range of vision going down. When it’s time to walk in the parking lot he knows to hold my hand, and he grabs my hand instinctively when he needs help...

Keep Reading

5 Kids in the Bible Who Will Inspire Yours

In: Faith, Kids
Little girl reading from Bible

Gathering my kids for morning Bible study has become our family’s cornerstone, a time not just for spiritual growth but for real, hearty conversations about life, courage, and making a difference. It’s not perfect, but it’s ours. My oldest, who’s 11, is at that age where he’s just beginning to understand the weight of his actions and decisions. He’s eager, yet unsure, about his ability to influence his world. It’s a big deal for him, and frankly, for me too. I want him to know, deeply know, that his choices matter, that he can be a force for good, just...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Love is the Best Medicine

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child lying on couch under blankets, color photo

When my kids are sick, I watch them sleep and see every age they have ever been at once. The sleepless nights with a fussy toddler, the too-hot cheeks of a baby against my own skin, the clean-up duty with my husband at 3 a.m., every restless moment floods my thoughts. I can almost feel the rocking—so much rocking—and hear myself singing the same lullaby until my voice became nothing but a whisper. I can still smell the pink antibiotics in a tiny syringe. Although my babies are now six and nine years old, the minute that fever spikes, they...

Keep Reading

Right Now I’m a Mom Who’s Not Ready to Let Go

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter hugging, color photo

We’re doing it. We’re applying, touring, and submitting pre-school applications. It feels a lot like my college application days, and there’s this image in my mind of how fast that day will come with my sweet girl once she enters the school doors. It’s a bizarre place to be because if I’m honest, I know it’s time to let her go, but my heart is screaming, “I’m not ready yet!” She’s four now though. Four years have flown by, and I don’t know how it happened. She can put her own clothes on and take herself to the bathroom. She...

Keep Reading

Each Child You Raise is Unique

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three little boys under a blanket, black-and-white photo

The hardest part about raising children? Well, there’s a lot, but to me, one major thing is that they are all completely different than one another. Nothing is the same. Like anything. Ever. Your first comes and you basically grow up with them, you learn through your mistakes as well as your triumphs. They go to all the parties with you, restaurants, sporting events, traveling—they just fit into your life. You learn the dos and don’ts, but your life doesn’t change as much as you thought. You start to think Wow! This was easy, let’s have another. RELATED: Isn’t Parenting...

Keep Reading

Our Kids Need Us as Much as We Need Them

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy sitting on bench with dog nearby, color photo

During a moment of sadness last week, my lively and joyful toddler voluntarily sat with me on the couch, holding hands and snuggling for a good hour. This brought comfort and happiness to the situation. At that moment, I realized sometimes our kids need us, sometimes we need them, and sometimes we need each other at the same time. Kids need us. From the moment they enter the world, infants express their needs through tiny (or loud) cries. Toddlers need lots of cuddling as their brains try to comprehend black, white, and all the colors of the expanding world around...

Keep Reading

Your Kids Don’t Need More Things, They Need More You

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young girl smiling together at home

He reached for my hand and then looked up. His sweet smile and lingering gaze flooded my weary heart with much-needed peace. “Thank you for taking me to the library, Mommy! It’s like we’re on a date! I like it when it’s just the two of us.” We entered the library, hand in hand, and headed toward the LEGO table. As I began gathering books nearby, I was surprised to feel my son’s arms around me. He gave me a quick squeeze and a kiss with an “I love you, Mommy” before returning to his LEGO—three separate times. My typically...

Keep Reading

This Time In the Passenger Seat is Precious

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen
Teen driver with parent in passenger seat

When you’re parenting preteens and teens, it sometimes feels like you are an unpaid Uber driver. It can be a thankless job. During busy seasons, I spend 80 percent of my evenings driving, parking, dropping off, picking up, sitting in traffic, running errands, waiting in drive-thru lines. I say things like buckle your seat belt, turn that music down a little bit, take your trash inside, stop yelling—we are in the car, keep your hands to yourself, don’t make me turn this car around, get your feet off the back of the seat, this car is not a trash can,...

Keep Reading

So God Made My Daughter a Wrestler

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young female wrestler wearing mouth guard and wrestling singlet

God made my girl a wrestler. Gosh, those are words I would never have thought I would say or be so insanely proud to share with you. But I am. I know with 100 percent certainty and overwhelming pride that God made my girl a wrestler. But it’s been a journey. Probably one that started in the spring of 2010 when I was pregnant with my first baby and having the 20-week anatomy ultrasound. I remember hearing the word “girl” and squealing. I was over the moon excited—all I could think about were hair bows and cute outfits. And so...

Keep Reading

A Big Family Can Mean Big Feelings

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Family with many kids holding hands on beach

I’m a mother of six. Some are biological, and some are adopted. I homeschool most of them. I’m a “trauma momma” with my own mental health struggles. My husband and I together are raising children who have their own mental illnesses and special needs. Not all of them, but many of them. I battle thoughts of anxiety and OCD daily. I exercise, eat decently, take meds and supplements, yet I still have to go to battle. The new year has started slow and steady. Our younger kids who are going to public school are doing great in their classes and...

Keep Reading