Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Khloe Kardashian Talked to Me

Ok, so the title is not all this blog post is about, although it did happen, I just needed to get your attention so that you would read this post.  I do plan on telling the KK story, so make sure you stick around and finish reading this if that is the only reason you are here.  Who knows, you might laugh. 

I decided to take all three of my kids the swimming pool by myself.  I know, I am either crazy or amazing, and I can guarantee it is not the latter.  However, it was not that bad, even though I was sure those were the ingredients to a recipe for disaster.  Of course, there might have been reasons why this isolated even was not so terrible.  We actually missed the crowd, so there were no little kids splashing my one-year-old by doing cannon balls in the shallow end beside the "No Jumping in the Pool" sign while their moms, covered in oil, lay frying themselves on their towel beside the pool reading their phone and forgetting that they have kids that they are supposed to be watching.  Or maybe it is because my oldest can swim so there was a little less stress associated with her being in the water.  My middle child can sort of swim, but she is more interested in pretending to be a mermaid sitting on the steps.  Of course this is also the child who can be heard from the back of our house saying "kids, don't try this at home" followed by a loud crash and "ummm, I'm ok, but don't come back here," so she does need to be watched (constantly).  My one-year-old actually likes the water, so she did not scream at the water's cold temperature, that was me screaming.  I also took her stroller with us (I know, it seems like a strange concept at the pool, but keep reading), not because I wanted some place to put her when she got tired, but with three kids, the amount of things I had to bring to the pool would have required additional fees had I been checking baggage at the airport.

So even after I so graciously and selflessly took my offspring to the pool so that they would have a fun, memory-filled childhood, later (after we had gotten home) the older two had the nerve to tell me that they were "bored."  I do not know about you, but in my house that is a bad word.  Actually my middle child said the word while her older sister was trying to hurdle furniture to put a hand over her mouth to keep her from saying "that word."  I will not go into the details of what happened next, but I will just tell you that my baseboards in the bathrooms are now clean and my kids are no longer bored.  I am sure that made for a great memory.

As far as Khloe Kardashian goes, I tweeted her on Twitter, and she replied to my tweet.  So, see, I did talk to her.  Josh Wolf (you know, one of the comedians on Chelsea Lately) also responded to one of my tweets.  Sure, that is not a big deal to most people, and that is fine.  However, to this sleep deprived mommy who was sleeping on damp sheets because she realized that her kids put their wet bathing suits on her side of the bed but was too tired to change the sheets, it was a big deal and made my night.  Actually, that did not make my night, my one-year-old sleeping through the night for the first time since she was born made my night, but KK was a nice bonus. - So a famous person

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hi, My Name is _____, and I am a Fad Follower

I am a fad follower.  Sad, but true.  I jumped on the South Beach diet bandwagon back in '04 and the Sugar Busters diet in '00.  None of those lasted, but I took what I needed from them and learned some things in the process.  I've moved on.  Now I am on to organic foods, no dairy, and as little meat as possible (at most, three times a week).  I know, I know, it sounds drastic and impossible.  But is it?  We are on day 3 and we seem just fine (actually more than fine because I have lost 2 pounds, bonus). 

Here is how it started.  My kids (ages 8 and 6) were watching a farm show for kids with my one year old.  My six year old thought that the chickens were cute.  My eight year old wanted a pet pig.  Then we sat down to eat supper.  We were having chicken, some vegetables, and a salad (with bacon pieces).  My six year old asked if she was really eating a chicken like she just saw on tv.  When I told her yes, she started to cry.  My eight year old told her just to eat her vegetables and salad so she would not have to eat the chicken.  Then a conversation started about where bacon came from.  The salad was not eaten after that.  I had gotten through eight years of parenting and had never had these kind of questions from them (I had considered myself lucky).  So, with my one-year-old never eating anything, I decided to go buy a book on what to feed these kids who had obviously become adverse to eating animals that they wanted to pet.

I bought The Organic Nanny's guide to Raising Healthy Kids.  It was a great book, made a lot of sense, and it made me want to buy organic vegetables because the thought of the pesticides in foods was a little more that I wanted to ingest (or maybe I should have said digest).  I won't go into the specifics because you can look those up for yourself.  The amazing part of this is that I got my kids on board with me (well, they vetoed meat by themselves, but they got on the organic train with me).  The thought of going to the store and picking out the fruit that they wanted and the vegetables that they wanted was exciting for them (not such a great thrill for me, I hate grocery shopping, but I enjoyed the fact that they liked it).

Going organic and virtually meatless was easy because my husband and kids were on board.  The one that I was worried about was the no dairy.  My reasons for this were more health related than anything else.  Two of my children have chronic ear infections, one (and I am thinking as of lately two) has asthma, and they all have sinus issues.  There are studies to support that milk (dairy) might help contribute to these things.  All three of my kids had colic, and the younger two were switched to soy formula which appeared to stop the colic.  When they were switched to dairy milk at a year, they have seemed to develop gastrointestinal issues.  We have been at our wits end with ear infections (among everything else, if you have been reading my blog, you know what I am talking about), so cutting dairy from our diet seems like the smart choice at this point to see if it helps.

The first meal that I cooked that was completely organic and vegan was actually really good.  We did not even miss the meat, not even my husband.  (I will post the recipe for this meal)  The interesting part?  The kid (one year old) who never eats anything since she got off of her organic baby food (the only baby food she would eat), has actually eaten everything I have prepared since jumping on this bandwagon.  Maybe she was trying to tell us something all along.

All of the food that the kids chose at the store.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bottles to Potties: Laughable Advice Parents Should Not Take

Being a new mother is hard.  It is a time that can leave you feeling confused, irritated, annoyed, frustrated, tired, and wonderful all at the same time.  These feelings are often exacerbated by people giving you "helpful" advice that you most likely did not ask for.  No matter where you are, whether it be at the grocery store, the doctor's office, or strolling your baby down the highway (although I might stop and give you advice here because you are obviously in need of some guidance because what sane person strolls their baby down a busy highway?  It happens people, I have seen it), you will receive unsolicited advice.  Now, if you are a normal parent (which means you are not the one strolling your baby down a busy highway), you will have advice hurled at you that you will file away in your brain and use it later to question your parenting skills (oddly enough, I do not think that the ones strolling their baby down the highway question their parenting skills, ever).  At some point or another, whether we are new parents or veterans, we all question our parenting skills.  Usually we do this when our kids are behaving poorly, like when you are questioning whether there was a mix-up at the hospital because this child could not possibly be related to you and act that way.

These are the things that I was told that I mistakenly believed when I was a new parent:

1.  Babies will will stop taking a bottle willingly when they are one.  Are you crazy?!  That bottle is like baby crack, and they are not about to give it up without some serious rehab.  And there are nights that you will become their dealer and give them that bottle to restore some kind of sanity and balance in your house.  It is ok, no one is going to turn you in to the baby police for slipping your kid a bottle every now and then.  I have even been known to do it in public, just to save the hearing of the other people within earshot (those people can thank me later, after they get done with the judging stares; on second thought, maybe I should not have spared them).

2.  Your baby will give up their pacifier.  Um, no.  This does not always happen.  Your child does not care that it is not "age-appropriate" for her to still have a pacifier.  Do you think she cares that people are staring because she is three and has a pacifier?  Answer: no, she does not, and she also does not care that you think she does not need to have it.  She only cares that she has her "fix" which once again makes you her dealer.  So, you will have to be her dealer and then her rehab specialist and stage an intervention at age 3.999 to take it from her.  Oh, and waiting until she is old enough to reason with does not work in your favor.

3.  Your child will use the potty when they are ready.  Yes, and with a much needed shove from you because why would they take time away from playing to do something so unnecessary when they can just go ahead and do it in their diaper?  I know, it makes sense to use the potty, but sense when has a toddler ever been reasonable?  Just do not try to take away the pacifier and do potty training at the same time because it is akin to a child going through detox and it just does not work.

4.  Fits are just a child's way of expressing themselves, they will outgrow them.  This was obviously said by the mother of the ten year old throwing a fit in the toy department of Wal-Mart, calmly waiting for it to pass, while the other shoppers are staring with their mouth agape at a child that age behaving that way.  Now, admittedly, none of us should ever stare in shock and amazement at such a display, but we are all guilty, whether right or wrong, because it feeds our own egos (we are only human).  No one should ever judge another mother, ever; I firmly believe that.  However, that being said, come on, no body should ever let their kid throw a fit in public and actually let them finish it without some kind of intervention.  Fits need to be nipped in the bud, and if they can't, then leave the store with your screaming child.  That way when you try to put them in the car, someone can call the police and child services because it appears that you are kidnapping your own child with the way they are flailing around and fighting you as you try to strap them in to your car.  (Note to the people who are calling the cops because they think the child is being kidnapped: if the inside of the car has car seats, toys, old food, trash, and carpool line paraphernalia, odds are the parent of the child is the one wrestling the kid into the car not a kidnapper, but thanks in advance for the judgement you passed on someone else's parenting skills.  Other note: If you really think my child is being kidnapped, I appreciate the help, but I just hope it is not the aforementioned situation.).

5.  It's just a phase, it will pass.  Eight years later, I am still waiting for it to pass.  Too bad the advice did not come with an expiration date. - Thank you so much for giving me the advice that I did not ask for [or want]....

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

School Rules for Next School Year to Prevent a Mommy Meltdown

This school year is coming to an end and we are limping across the finish line (in some cases, literally).  Only two of my kids are in school, I can only imagine what it is going to be like when all three of them are.  Which, as my six-year-old pointed out, will only be one more school year because then the one-year-old will be in a morning program for three days a week and begin taking dance classes.  Oh, and as a bonus, my eight-year-old threw in the statement, "and you will be older then so you might not have as much energy."  Thanks, now my outlook is so much brighter.

With my perspective on how this school year went, I now have some rules for my children for next school year:

1.  If you are going to be too sick to go to school, get sick the night before.  That way I do not waste time cooking breakfast for someone who is going to regurgitate it on the floor a half hour after eating it.  Thus placing carpet cleaning at the top of my to-do list for that day.

2.  If you are going to fall down in a mud puddle on the playground at recess, pick a day and time that I am at home, not a day that I am at the doctor's office 20 minutes from the school.  Oh, and if you could plan this in advance, I could even have an extra set of clothes in your backpack and you would not even have to call me at all.

3.  If you are going to get sick at school and have to come home, do so before 11:30 so as not to disrupt your sister's nap and, more importantly, my only time of sanity in the entire day.

4.  Remembering that you are supposed to wear something specific to school the night before is helpful.  Remembering that you are supposed to wear something specific five minutes before walking out the door to go to school, not so much. 

5.  Practicing your budding sarcasm skills on your younger sister before school and making her cry is not going to work.  It only makes me break out my experienced sarcasm skills on you and makes everyone's morning only that much better.  Save the sarcasm for your friends. - Do you remember the rules so that I don't have a Mommy Breakdown?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

So Over Trying to be the "Perfect Mommy"

Back when I was a young mother (and I am not talking about my age, I am talking about how long I had been a mother), I was "that mother."  I was one of those who cared what people thought.  I wanted people to think that everything was always perfect in motherhood, that nothing ever went wrong.  That my kids actually played outside in their smocked dresses and never got them dirty.  That I had everything figured out, and there was not one question about being a mommy to which I did not know the answer.  I was that irritating mother that you want to strangle because you know that her life is not really like that, and if it is like that you still want to slap her because yours isn't and you do not know why (I wish I could reach back in time and slap myself).  Here's a secret: no one's is, no matter what people try to get you to think.

I am obviously not "that mother" anymore.  I think being pooped on, peed on, and puked on enough times changes you.  Or at least it changed me, nothing feels perfect when you are covered in poop, pee, or vomit.  I got tired of my kids ruining their expensive clothes playing in the sandbox (or mud hole), so I stopped insisting they look like they stepped off of the pages of a magazine.  Guess what?  They did not care what clothes they were wearing (if they had it their way they probably would have been naked).  I also realized that birthday parties did not have to be so elaborate. While it is nice to "repin" all of those fabulous birthday party ideas on Pinterest, do you really think your kids care how intricate the details are as long as there are friends and cake at their party?  Also, I cannot tell you anything about any party my kids have been to.  If it was elaborate, I did not retain that information for more than two days before my mind was thinking about something else.  Scrapbooking is another thing that I have long since given up on.  There was a point in time where I would not put a picture in a scrapbook unless I had some elaborate page designed to hold the three pictures that would fit on the page.  As a result, I never put anything in the scrapbook, and I had boxes of pictures dating back nine years because I did not have a "perfect" page on which to place them.  Last summer I bought a bunch of cheap photo albums, and I stuck the pictures in there.  Now my kids can actually look at pictures from their childhood.  Oh, and guess what?  They do not care that they are not on an elaborately designed scrapbook page.

It was tiring being "that mommy."   It  is exhausting enough doing everything that is actually necessary to raise children, not to mention putting up a front in order for the world to think that my life was "perfect."  What was the point?  Nobody buys that line anyway because they know what life is like with kids: wonderful, but definitely not "perfect."  

Saturday, May 12, 2012

What Age is Appropriate to Leave Your Child Home Alone?

I am the type of parent who is truly paranoid and over protective.  When I drop my kids off at school in the mornings, I have to watch to make sure they make it into the building.  If I don't, I might have a neurotic episode where I have to call the school with some excuse so that they will have to buzz the intercom in my child's classroom to ask her a question (such as did she have her glasses) to make sure she is there and that no one kidnapped her in front of the school.  Not that I have ever done that...much.  I get nervous when they spend the night somewhere else.  What if those people don't have a security system or they forget to lock a door?  Who am I kidding, I get nervous during the night when they are at home.  I have to check on them at least once during the night to make sure they are all still breathing.  I should probably seek therapy.

All of that considered, when broached with the subject of what age can you leave a child at home alone, my vivid imagination immediately runs wild.  My mind immediately conjures up images of child predators who stalk our home waiting to see if I leave, and if I loaded all three children in the car.  Or my accident prone child running head first into a wall and knocking herself out or worse.  A few scenes from "Home Alone" also pop in my head.  Again, I have issues that probably need professional help.

However, after talking to some of my "mom friends," I have come to the conclusion that there is no magic age in which it is okay to leave your child home alone for short periods of time.  Instead it is a point in which you, as the parent, feel comfortable leaving your child at home alone.  For some that age is 10, 12, or 14.  For me that age is 24.  I know I am paranoid.  I was left home alone for short periods of time when I was 8, but that was a different time.  Things have changed a lot since the 80's when I was a kid.  We did not have a security system, deadbolt locks, or technology that would alert us to the locations of the child predators' homes.  I am not sure how I am still alive to be sitting here writing this.  My parents must have been nuts, or maybe they did not need the professional help or medication that I appear to need in order to treat my paranoia issues.

Monday, May 7, 2012

What it Means to be Called "Mommy"

I have not slept through the entire night or visited the restroom alone since 2003.  Showers do not go uninterrupted because there is always someone standing at the shower door with some sort of "emergency."  I have long since given up on having a clean van.  The windows at my house are constantly covered in fingerprints no matter how many times a day I clean them.  The floor of my house has been turned into a battlefield when walked across barefoot because there is always a Lego or Barbie stiletto hiding, waiting to be stepped on so that I may shriek in pain.  I seem to be the only one who knows where the dishwasher is located, or that we even have one for that matter, and where the hampers are located.  The laundry is never "finished" for more than an hour, my house never remains clean for more than two hours (and that is only during naptime), and I usually look as if my shirt has been used for a Kleenex.

My eight-year-old constantly spews "life's not fair," if only she knew.  My six-year-old complains "Why do we have do everything and you don't do anything?" when I ask them to pick up their toys.  And my one-year-old has deemed the dishwasher, the oven, the washing machine, and the dryer to be "Mommy's."  There are days I think that I want a break from "Mommy duties" just for a day, but then I start thinking... 

I thought I wanted someone else to clean the house, but then I would have to do a "pre-cleaning" for a cleaning lady so I decided against that, too much trouble.  I thought maybe I might want someone else to do the laundry, but then I remembered what happened to my clothes the last time my husband "tried to help": I had to buy new clothes because they looked like they would fit the kids.  A night away somewhere with my husband sounded good, but we have tried that and we end up being upset and nervous about being away from the kids (yeah, I know, we have issues).  I could get a manicure, but it would be ruined after giving baths every night.  I could get a pedicure, but with my feet being stepped on by little people, all it does is chip the polish.

So that being said, I guess I will not relinquish my "Mommy duties" for the day.  I will just enjoy chasing my kids around the house while praying that Barbie hasn't kicked off her shoes or tried to build a house of Legos, help my six-year-old pick up her toys so that she thinks that at least I do something around here, and somehow convince my eight-year-old that life isn't always fair, but most of the time it is pretty great. -

Friday, May 4, 2012

Carpool Road Rage

We have all had those mornings.  Those morning when nothing seems to be going right when trying to get out the door to take the kids to school.  In my defense though, I do not usually take the kids to school, my husband does.  But he too was running late so I had to do it.  So by 7:30 this morning, it had already been one of those mornings.
Not only could my third grader not find her glasses, we could not find the car keys.  After ten minutes of searching, we fiinally found them and got the kids in the van (yes, a minivan, I like it because it hoards, I mean holds, all of our "stuff", I even wrote a blog post about it.) I opened the garage door to find out my husband's car was parked behind me.  Change of plans, we switched cars. We got half way through the neighborhood, and my third grader said she forgot the cookies for her picnic (the ones that I had reminded her to grab on the way out of the door).  I threw the car in reverse and drove through half of the neighborhood backwards (which I'm sure caused some scorn from the people drinking their coffee on their front porch), but she got her cookies.  Meanwhile I had to convince my kindergartner that I was not mad at her sister, I was just frustrated with myself because I could not get it together this morning.  She replied that it was Daddy's fault because he was running too late to take them to school.  I dropped it at that, it made me look better. 
By the time that we got to the school to get in the carpool line, the kids had about three minutes until the bell rang.  So, that hostile parent in the carpool line that was honking their horn because they got cut off?  Yeah, that was me this morning.  That guy getting out of his car to talk to the person who was honking at him?  Yeah, that was me he got out to go talk to.  "Was my signal light not working?"  "No, moron, your brain wasn't working."  No, I did not actually say that, but I wanted to.  However, I had kids in the car and my cooler head prevailed. The person with the embarrassed kids because their mom made a scene in the carpool line?  That was NOT me this morning because my kids were yelling about how the driver of that car could not drive.  I don't know whether to be proud or seek therapy for my obvious road rage issue.  At least I was in my husband's car, so now people will think he is the one with the carpool road rage and not me.  As for me?  This needs to be added to my list of "The Top 5 Reasons I Will Not Receive the Mother of the Year Award."

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Top 5 Reasons I Will Not Receive the "Mother of the Year" Award

I have kids, three actually, which makes me a mother.  Lately in our culture it seems that there has been an unwritten "parenting policy handbook" in which mothers (parents in general) should adhere to.  If that committee that is in anyway looking at me, I must be their muse for the "what not to do" section of their policy book.  There are many reasons that I will not receive the "Mother of the Year" award, but here are the top 5:

1.  When our third child was born, I taught my then-7-year-old how to wash her own hair and her 4 1/2-year-old sister's hair in the shower so that I would only have to bathe one child per night.  I cannot tell you how much time it has saved me to not have to wash three heads of hair. 

2.  I have a tv in each of my kids' rooms.  Even the one-year-old's room.  I know, it is against all parenting policy.  However, when the older two are arguing over what to watch, I can send them to separate rooms.  When the one-year-old will not sleep at two in the morning, I can turn on her tv, set the sleep timer so it goes off in an hour, and go back to bed and sleep.  This way no one is sleep deprived (well, usually anyway), I can watch my own tv, the kids can watch their show or movie, and no one is arguing.  Silence is very peaceful.

3.  My kids do not play every sport offered.  I know, I know, in today's society they have to play everything in order to be well rounded.  So my kids are going are apparently going to be as flat as pancakes because I'm not hauling them somewhere every night of the week.  They each get to pick one thing per season that they want to do (yes, only one because I am the unrealistic mean mother).  Believe it or not, I actually enjoy my kids' company and do not want to do every activity under the sun because I want to see them during the week.  That, and do you know how much we would be gone if I let ALL of them do everything?  We might as well sell the house and pitch a tent at whichever parking lot or field we are going to be at that day.  I feel as if we live out of our car as it is.

4.  I do not let my kids put together their own outfits to wear to school.  Astonishing, I get it.  However, I feel as if they will just have to express themselves in some other manner (they seem to be really good at the talking thing so we will go with that, they can tell me how they feel instead of wearing it).  They need to learn what is appropriate and what is not.  I do not care what they wear on the weekend to play (as long as it is weather appropriate), but to school they must at least look presentable.  When they grow up and go to work they will have to dress the part so school is practice.

5.  I let my kids in on the secret that life is not fair.  "Molli, I don't care if you don't want to go to kindergarten today because it's not fair that you have to go to school for five days and the weekend is only two days, life isn't fair, now go to school."  At least she learned everything that she needed to know in kindergarten.  "Morgan, I'm sorry that you don't think it's fair that your sister gets to stay at home because she's sick and you aren't, life isn't fair, that's the way the cookie crumbles, now get in the car."  I have an arsenal of things deemed "not fair" by my third grader and kindergartner.  I am
sure as soon as the one-year-old gets a large enough vocabulary something in her life will not be fair either.

Maybe I should have thrown a bonus reason in there too.  I inadvertently taught my third grader what sarcasm is.  Amazing how their little brains pick up something so fast and hurl it right back at you.... - I may not be