Monday, December 31, 2007

Mom's #1 Christmas Rule

Actually, this rule is not just for Christmas - but it most recently came up during some post-holiday shopping, so I thought I would give our biggest gifting season the credit. The rule is not actually for children - it's a rule for adults. And it's aimed at gift-givers and post-holiday impulse-shoppers alike. The rule is:

If it's more breakable than children, there is not a place for it in my house.

Not that I try to break my children - but they are, in fact, quite sturdy. As most moms out there have learned, it's not the actual child breaking that you worry about, it is what the child CAN break (which is most everything). Yes, this comes from the mouth (keyboard...) of a mom who is eternally baby-proofed. A mom who doesn't have a mantle upon which to perch the delicate, decorative set-abouts that most adults who have a home use to decorate (besides, my kids have already conquered the 3rd dimension). A mom who has no place in her home that the children are not allowed (that's how it was when I was growing up, so that's how it is in my home). "Where," you ask, "do you hide all of the Christmas gifts?" I'd answer that for you, but then my kids would figure out that I picked the least-interesting place in the house, and then it would suddenly become the most interesting, so I'm not telling you. And it worked beautifully this year, so I'm not sharing the secret. Not today, not next week, but maybe in 18 years... or whenever they figure it out.... In the meantime, I'll be teaching my kids the meaning of gentle, breakable, delicate, and PUT THAT DOWN RIGHT NOW!!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Stuffy noses, goopy eyes, ear infections - whine, whine, whine!

Yep - you guessed it, illness has taken over our household. In a BIG way. I was sick for 10 days upon our return from Disney World. A week into that, Daddy got sick. I felt better for about 3 days when my second wave began, and my daughter joined in the fun. So, I took myself to the doctor and my daughter to her pediatrician. The three of us are now on prescription medication. Lest you think my son got out of this unscathed, he's been on over-the-counter medicine, and also threw up in the car on Friday night (thankfully, that was the only episode). My daughter was back at the pediatrician's office on Saturday morning because she was worse, not better. I think that things are finally turning around- and hopefully we'll all feel better in just a few more days. I'm dreaming of it now ....
"Merry Christmas to All, there's not a tissue in sight!"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Patience Pays Off

This is a cut-and-paste from an email sent back in March of 2006. Why so far back? Well, it's just a classic story of our day-to-day, and I was reminded of it as our daughter asked for "gook" a few days ago....

OK - big milestone moment today - and I just had to share.

For as long as he could ask for milk, our son has been calling it "noos." My husband and I have been very patient, knowing that ONE DAY, our son would figure out how to say "milk."

As we were sitting down to dinner this evening, I heard our son ask for something using a new word. I asked him to repeat what he just said, and he asked for "nil-k" (big accent on the final K sound). I was so stunned, I laughed and cried and made him say it again for my husband (who was also stunned). Of course, he got his "nilk" - and got asked to repeat the new word over and over again - never going back to "noos." We laughed and celebrated this new milestone in a huge way - probably as big a deal for us as his first steps (and I'm not exaggerating!).

I also overheard him - while he was outside with Daddy this morning - say, "Oh, Abby. Where are you?" Of course, the enunciation isn't perfect, but I'm so impressed with how his verbal skills are expanding on a daily basis! (By the way, Abby is one of our cats)

But - back to the whole noos/nilk story - our patience has finally been rewarded, in a big way (at least to us), and I'm the proud Mama that just wanted to share :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Streak

(More appropriately titled, "Why Children Should Nap Fully Clothed")

OK - it's been awhile.... It's the holiday season (it stretches from Halloween through the New Year...) and I've been distracted with vacation and birthday plans as well. My oldest just turned 4 - what a milestone! He's looking forward to getting a twin bed soon (after "the holidays") and our ever-more-monkey-like, almost 18-month-old daughter will soon transition to the toddler bed. Early, I know, but her death-defying antics lead me to believe this is the lesser of two evils (more on that in another blog). However, it is this tall, slim, adorable ball of fire that inspires me today....

I have always thought that there should be some sort of small transition at naptime so it feels like a shorter version of bedtime (which, in fact, it is). So, rather than reading and singing, I usually get my kids down to shirt and underwear/diaper, tuck them in, turn on their bedtime music, and leave the room. They almost always stay in bed. They almost always go to sleep. They almost always awake in the same manner of dress that I left them. Except for "the Streak."

My darling daughter has now, twice, been diaper-free upon waking from her nap. And I don't mean diaper-free in the "hey-look-I'm-potty-trained" way. I mean diaper-free in the "hey-look-isn't-this-neat-I-learned-about-Velcro-today" way. I won't go into the details from there, but suffice it to say that I've had to wash bedclothes.

Admittedly, it's quite amusing (otherwise I wouldn't have posted this). And, yes, there's an easy solution - put her in one-piece tops instead of shirts - but onesies aren't always the cutest thing out there for your nearly-18-month-old, my-new-haircut-makes-me-look-
rather-like-Posh-Spice, monkey-like, daredevil daughter. And yes, she already flashes her belly button to anyone who's interested. Perhaps a unionsuit is the best option for the girl - and the parents. But still, not so attractive. I'll find a solution - I will! - and I'll tell you when I do.

One point of honor in all of this - I gave her the haircut!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rhinoceroses Can't . . .

At bedtime last night, my son was once again worried that rhinoceroses would come and get him. Months ago, when this fear first surfaced, I told him that he was safe, because his bedroom is upstairs and rhinoceroses can't climb stairs. This reminder did the trick once again, but his concern also reminded me of some of the other explanations we come up with to allay our childrens' fears. On the night he was concerned about giraffes coming into his room, I reminded him that a giraffe is waaay too tall to come through our front door. When he was concerned about lions, I told him that with that great big mane, a lion's head was just too big to fit through the front door. (By the way, there's a zoo on my front porch now - all those animals lined up trying to get through my front door.... And why, why, is a rhinoceros able to get in when the others can't? So, you'll find the rhinos in my dining room, at the bottom of the stairs that they can't climb, while everyone else is stuck on the porch.)

One of my favorite stories, however, was told by a friend whose daughter was also afraid of lions. She sprayed "Lion-Away" all over her daughter's room - night after night - to get her daughter to go to bed. And when I say everywhere, yes, you guessed it - under the bed, in the closet, everywhere. (Lion-Away, for those of you who have not heard the story, was just water in a spray bottle. Clever, eh?)

If you have a great story to share about calming your child's fears, please share so others can benefit from your idea!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mommy Pride

As moms, I think that each of us takes pride in some aspect of our parenting. I tend to take pride in being able to get places on time (and often early) with two young children. I also take pride in my ability to not lose things - at least not permanently. I might lose track of a small toy, book, or other non-mandatory item, but usually I find it with a more in-depth search of car or diaper bag. We rarely leave things behind in stores or at friends' homes. We NEVER lose things permanently. Granted, it's usually because one of my kids cries about the dropped item until I understand what's going on and find the "missing" thing. But still, we don't lose things. UNTIL TODAY. My daughter lost a pacifier at the mall today. And not a green one (which we have 4 of), but a girly pink one (of which we now have only 2). Of course she lost one which would coordinate with 75% of her girly pink clothes. Yes, I'm obsessive and sometimes care about that stuff. Anyway, WE LOST SOMETHING. I don't lose things. So, while I'm not totally torn apart (after all, it is just a pacifier), I'm still having trouble with the fact that I don't have a perfect score anymore.

I have come up with a bright side to the situation. My daughter did not cry when she dropped it. Maybe she thought she was putting it in the tray on the front of her stroller, and didn't realize it fell, but still she didn't cry for it when she realized it wasn't there anymore. Perhaps this is the beginning of the end of the days when she will need it (oh no, she's growing up - back to the positive spin....). Perhaps later I'll find it in the diaper bag and remember, "Oh yeah, I traded the paci for the sippy cup when we were in (store name here) and she was getting fussy," (though I can't imagine why I didn't put it in the parent tray of the stroller). If I ever do find it, then I'll have to confess to you that I have a never-ending case of Mommy Brain. When it comes to short-term memory, well, I'm not overflowing with pride in that department. But at least now, I only have 7 pacis to keep track of!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

It's the Great Shoe Hunt, Buster Brown

I did not harm anyone during the latest shoe-hunting excursion. I was not actually looking for Buster Browns. I was looking for shoes at a children's shoe store that you can find in most malls. Here's my story:

I met a friend (and her kids) at the mall yesterday. Among other things, we both needed to get shoes for our kids. The shoes I finally decided on were not in stock in my daughter's size. After looking, asking, trying on, and rejecting other shoes, I finally knew which non-sale price I could most easily stomach. But, the right size was not to be found in that store. I left the shoe store disappointed, but still determined. I looked at another store in the mall, but they don't carry children's shoes in wide width. I went back to the mall today to complete my shopping (which I could not finish yesterday with 2 kids in tow, lunch time over, and nap time steadily approaching). I looked at another store that had the brand of shoe I wanted, and yes, they carry wides, but they, too, were out of stock and would not be getting more in until next week. The sweet, chirpy, size 2 salesgirl politely encouraged me to check back. But I was determined to find shoes without another hunting expedition. So, I went back to store #1, where I prefer to shop, to find out when their next delivery would arrive. It arrived yesterday afternoon (I wish the salesperson had told me that when I was there yesterday morning). After reminding her which shoes and size I was looking for, she checked the stockroom, and they still did not have what I needed. She THEN then told me that she could order it for me, and there would be no shipping charge (words that were a balm to my steadily-more-frazzled self). Again, I wish she had told me that yesterday. So, I considered ordering the shoes, but since we hadn't been able to try any on, I was hesitant. I asked if we could try the same size in a different color. I was shopping for white leather shoes of a certain name brand that you can find at various department stores. I asked if we could try the same style in canvas. They didn't have white canvas in my daughter's size. They had navy and red, so I suggested trying one of those. The salesperson told me the sizes in the colors run different than the sizes in white. WHAAT?!?!? She then said that if I order what I need, I can bring it back to this store if there is a problem. OK, I finally agreed to order the shoes - and to end the shoe hunting expedition. The salesperson called a store in the next city and let me talk to THE NICEST GUY I think I have ever spoken with on the phone. The shoes are on the way (I still have to make another trip to the mall, I think, or are they coming to my house? By now I am so confused I'm not sure). My card has been charged, but I have nothing to prove that they are mine when/if they ever arrive. It's been an odd/annoying/time-consuming experience so far. I hope I am pleased in the end. By the way - I hope your little one doesn't have wide feet. Or extra wide. For those of you expecting children, if you are going to pray for something, pray for a happy, healthy baby with REGULAR WIDTH FEET.

(End of rant. Looking back, it was much worse in the moment than it seems here.)

Monday, October 1, 2007

I couldn't have said it better myself...

With her permission, I'm sharing a message from my dear friend, H, who is about 4 months away from delivering her (first??) bundle of joy:

I promise I've been meaning to call, but things are so crazy!!

Just thought I would write you a note that says mood swings suck. This is more for my general well-being (venting) than actual informative value because all women know this.

One, I know I'm having emotional instability, but don't want to admit it because that means I'm giving IT power. IT doesn't deserve power because I'm still in control. Ok, at least that's what I tell myself.

Two, just because it's a mood swing doesn't mean the points I'm trying to make aren't valid. Of course, people who love and are surrounded by me give me that dreaded "sympathy" look while saying to themselves, "poor thing...she's just not herself." Well that's not true. I'm myself, but without a filter. Yes, I'm as blunt as safety scissors. Deal with it!

Three, I don't want to think so much, but that's a by-product of the mood swing. Crazy thoughts creep into your head and linger there like last night's leftover dinner aroma. Of course, we're prepared to raise a kid. I mean, heck we've gotten the bedding. Doesn't that count for something? No crib, no changing table, stroller, diapers, bottles, anything, but we've got the bedding! My kid can sleep in comfort on the carpet. Yep, check the prepared box.

Four, why does nobody else seem to be concerned about anything? And by nobody else I mean my dear husband. Mr. Cool as a Cucumber, the sky could be raining naked babies and he wouldn't notice. I think this is a tactic he's using to deal with the mood issues, but little does he know it's back firing. I don't need calm....I need ACTION. Read the books, choose between green leaf or prickly pair paint chips, be prepared. Isn't this the boy scout motto for crying out loud?

Ugg, mood swings suck. Happy and blissfully naive are better places to be, but some how the brain gets fired up and there's no extinguisher to put it out. I just want to yell out, "Four alarm fire boys. Bring the big hoses!" But they all think I'm crazy.

Breathe in, breathe out. I think writing this made me feel better or convinced me that I really am crazy. Either way thanks for lending me an e-ear.

Dear H: Thanks for sharing with me!!! Either you are not crazy, because I've been there before, or we are both crazy. Either way I feel better, too :) Lots of love from me to you! XOXO and PS - I wish I could write like that! Truly, I could not have said it better myself!

Friday, September 14, 2007


I know you get baby advice from everyone, so here's a tidbit from me: see as many movies (in the theater) as you can before baby arrives. We aren't really big movie-goers, but we have only been twice since my son was born (he's nearly 4). You can take a baby a lot of places - but a movie theater really isn't one of them. So, now that you have an idea for something to do on Friday night, are there any movies in the theater worth seeing?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Normal, I'm learning, is a constantly evolving state when you have two children.

It's taken me about a year to really find what works for us as a family of four - and I bet that will change again soon. My daughter's morning nap was finally on a schedule - and both kids were napping at the same time in the afternoon. Awesome, right? Envious? If it was you, I would be! And now? Well, some days it still works, and some days it doesn't, no matter what I do. Add preschool into the mix and it's anybody's guess.

A trip to the park to burn off some energy? My daughter falls asleep before we get home. My son, well, he seems to have even more energy than before. How do you balance an energy-filled 3.5-year-old's need for activity (usually noisy activity) with a 14-month-old's need to sleep? Did I mention she wakes up at the slightest sound? I hope - today - that he will actually nap after TJ Bearytales reads him a story. It's our "bargain" to keep him in bed, at least for a little while. And I hope, today, that he will remember that "in bed" means his entire body, not everything but my feet which I don't know how to keep still.

Update: It's been 2 hours (amazing!) and no noise (so far!) from upstairs. I'm glad my work is almost done - I'm sure I just jinxed myself, and the children will be hanging from the gate at the tops of the stairs, calling my name, ready for snacks any minute now! But, maybe just for today, there were a few peaceful moments in my home (did I mention they were almost RUINED when the FedEx delivery person rang the doorbell?!?).

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Why Blog? And Why Blog About This?

Well, I'd never really considered blogging until some friends suggested it just a few days ago - after witnessing the event that inspired my first entry. And, since I'm first and foremost a mom, that's where I can get the most "stuff" to write about. And the name of my blog? Well, my first choice was "Mama's Magic" - but it was already taken. And that came from the title of the book my Mom and I plan to write one day - all about the wit, wisdom, and helpful stuff we have learned from being mamas. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, September 2, 2007


To me, it's all about practicality - at least most days. Want to take 2 kids to the mall? Your stroller should probably be a two-seater, then. And if your 3-year old - who is prone to wandering - wants to walk, well, be sure you have a harness in your diaper bag. I know - it looks like a leash. Some people are opposed to the idea - maybe even some of you reading this right now. Well, if you don't want your dog to wander away, don't you use a leash? (OK - some of you use an invisible electric fence - more about that later....) Isn't your child more precious than your dog? I know my 3-year-old tries his best to "hold on to the stroller" - but invariably he lets go within about 5 steps. The harness solves the problem - until he runs with all his might and I'm left simply trying to maintain my balance....