Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Best of Intentions…

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We (Brecken and I )frequently make up little games and songs. The newest little game is where I huff and puff and blow air at his face so his curly hair flies all over the place. Sometimes I even say I’ll huff and puff and blow your hair all over, borrowing a bit from the three little pigs. This has come full circle to bite me in the ass. After getting Brecken after he awoke from his nap and changing him, he kept saying something like “I bow” (think bow as in rhymes with mow or you shoot a bow), after a few “what’s that honey”, finally as in a voice full of sheer exasperation rather loudly says “I BLOW YOU”. Not exactly something you want your 2-year-old walking around saying, which he will, although I understood exactly what he wanted, me to lean forward so he could huff and puff and blow air on the top of my head. After which he goes “You blow me.”

I think it’s time for a new game, or at least some fine tuning of the language used to describe this game!

Brecken is 26 months old and please disregard the mess in the background =)

Desperate Plea of the Sleep Deprived Mother

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Dear Children,

Did you know, that in fact, it is recommended, advised, necessary for your health and well-being that infants age 7 months and 2-year-old toddlers diligently average 13-14 hours of sleep in a day! If you do the math that means you should basically be sleeping for all but 10 hours of the day. Imagine what Mama could accomplish in 13-14 hours a day, the possibilities are endless. Even if I were to sleep 7 hours, that would give me nearly 7 hours to do things like clean, cook, blog, work, sleep, shop online, read a book, paint my nails, play on Facebook and Pinterest, have a glass of wine. Clearly I have a lot of things to do, I am way behind on laundry pinning, tweeting and I have a million digital pictures to organize on this new computer and a pile of novels I’d like to read. So, I know I preach about how I want you to be unique little butterflies with your own brightly colored wings exploring the world blah blah blah and not being like every body else blah blah blah. But for once can’t you just be “normal”, I mean sleeping that much is probably good for you, there’s a reason it’s recommendedadvised, necessary for your health and well-being and not just because I think it’s necessary for MY health and well-being, i.e. sanity. So let’s get together on this Team Jackson and sleep, LOTS. More. than. you. sleep. now. And while I’m making demands, let’s make it be known that you are SUPPOSED to sleep at the same time, when one of you sleeps that is a clear indication that it is time for the other, lets all get together on this. Isn’t there some saying about the family that prays together stays together, well clearly it doesn’t work to say the family that sleeps together… because that just sounds awful for reasons you’re far too young to understand so we’ll change it to the family whose children nap at the same time, have parents who don’t lost their minds! Why you say? Because I’m the Mom and what I say goes! Yup I said it.

With Love,

Your Mama

Photo Credit someecards.com

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The Great Food Dilemma

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If there was one thing that my husband and I unequivocally agreed upon with respect to how we wanted to raise our children, it was that we both wanted them to have better eating habits than we do. This encompasses many things, it is not as simple as just “eating healthier.” It’s also not to say that our parent’s failed us either, but science has changed, we’ve evolved and there is a lot more knowledge in the areas of food science and nutrition than when we were children. Our primary goals with our children are first and foremost that they are exposed to new and different foods and are encouraged to try new foods including foods of traditional of other ethnicities. Trying foods needs to be fun and we wanted it to be something that our kids were always open to. Beyond that our goals in no particular order were that they ate healthier foods, ate fresh and/or organic foods and finding the balance between enjoying eating and knowing when enough is enough. What does that mean, to us it means trying to cut down on processed foods, reading ingredients, understanding what toxins or fillers we don’t want in our foods, letting go of the clean your plate mentality (we we’re both glad to see this approach go out the window as we’re both total failures who never cleaned their plate) and approaching food with a whole new attitude. In doing this we realized that this is a lifestyle change, you cannot simply force your child to engage in better eating habits without active participation on your behalf if you want to make changes that will last a lifetime.

This began first with the choice of breastfeeding our children, this is not a light decision to make and involves an incredible time commitment on the mother’s behalf. However the nutritional benefits of breastfeeding far outweighed the convenience of formula and other than admittedly some okay maybe a lot of whining on my part at times, this is a decision we have never regretted. When it came time for Brecken to begin eating solids we really began to look at what was in the foods we were eating and what foods we were going to be feeding him. I was still commuting 70 miles each way when he began our transition to solids and consequently our eating habits were not particularly conducive to Baby Led Weaning (BLW) and admittedly still a colossal work in progress. They still are a work in progress and probably always will be but we’ve made leaps and bounds. Instead we joined a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA) bought a summer share of organic fruits and vegetables and begin working on our own eating habits as well as using the fruits and vegetables we received to make purees which we froze in 2 oz cubes for Brecken. For anyone who is looking to expand their food  knowledge, needs to make baby food purees for their lithe one, wants eat healthier or buy fruits and vegetables for less, I would greatly encourage you to look for a local CSA.

CSA Haul the First

Typical CSA Share (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a CSA a group of individuals commit to purchasing a share in a local farm thereby supporting their local farmer through the growing season, as part of their share, purchasers receive a share of seasonal fruits and vegetables each week (sometimes there are also coffee, egg, milk, flower shares as well) throughout the growing season. Often many farmers will also have an option for a working share, whereby if you cannot afford to purchase a share you can assist the farmer and exactly as it sounds, work for your share. This is a fabulous way to support your local farmer and often has wonderful environmental impacts as well. Most CSAs limit their delivery zone and often generally deliver food to only certain locations whereby a purchaser then picks up the food at a central location. This limits the need to transport food beyond the local area it is grown, greatly reducing the emissions to the environment. Further, most CSA’s either grow their food organically (whether certified or not) or with very little use of chemical pesticides.

It was a great source of vegetables to make baby food, with more summer squash and zucchini than we knew what to do with and later carrots, broccoli, winter squashes. We tried a lot of new foods that summer including kohlrabi, kale, parsnip, spaghetti squash among others. While these may be the norm for some of you, I led a pretty sheltered childhood when it came to food. I can now say that I can make a mean colcannon and identify a parsnip in the grocery store, which admittedly I could not previously do nor had ever really aspired to. With Brecken we really pushed vegetables vegetables vegetables first. We were trying to get him accustomed to eating veggies before we introduced fruits and other things with higher sugar content. We also limited his liquid to just water and milk though after he reached about a year and a half we have allowed him to have some usually watered down juice sometimes just juice occasionally. Some people think we’re ridiculous, others don’t understand what we think is  wrong with spaghetti o’s and other’s don’t think we’re doing enough. Everyone has to find what works for them. Our goal in pushing vegetables was to simply build a good foundation of vegetable love for our son so that when we did introduce some of those less healthy options he wouldn’t lose all love of vegetables in favor of more processed or sugary foods. Ultimately this has worked well for us. At 26 months he happily eats steamed broccoli and cauliflower and most any vegetable placed before him. He tries things and is starting to develop his own taste buds, telling us when he doesn’t like things.

There’s always a however though. Trying to change your food habits nearly three decades after they began is not easy. Actually it freaking sucks sometimes. This is made more difficult by the fact that we simply cannot always eat at home. Whether it’s for social reasons, various commitments, or simply because we don’t have the time or energy, sometimes we have to eat out. This presents serious challenges. We live in an urban area with nearly 100,000 people in a sixty  mile radius yet it is still difficult to find restaurants that have things other than hot dogs or french fries on their children’s menu and sometimes the adult menu isn’t much better. When Brecken first became old enough to eat his own food at restaurants I thought we may be doomed to Panera for life, which while I enjoy their food, one likes/needs variety, see foremost goal above. We began to find that many of the restaurants that cater towards either convenience or kids still had some pretty awful selections for children with the food often being both high in calories and fat and extremely processed. While I would like to say as we work toward achieving our healthy eating lifestyle change we no longer eat at fast food restaurants, that’s not a reality, sometimes it is the easiest option and thereby being the only option due to other commitments/reasons etc. of feeding us. So kudos to some of the restaurants that are slowly offering healthier options in their kids meals including offering bananas at Dairy Queen, unsweetened apple sauce at Culvers and organic yogurt at Panera but our options are still very limited. Further there has to be another part of this meal that entices my child who does not like hamburgers/cheeseburgers (we are not Vegetarian this appears to be his personal preference, sometimes he’ll eat a little at home), and I refuse to introduce him to chicken nuggets or buy hot dogs, often leaving if we’re lucky grilled cheese usually with lots of processed cheese as an option. Does anyone else out there have this problem?  Am I the only chicken nugget loving mother who will not let her child eat them? (BTW I cannot help it, I became addicted at a young age back when they probably weren’t even made of meat, maybe they put crack in them, who knows, it’s something I’m working on). What has worked for other parents, are there any restaurant chains that I’m missing out on and that we might have here in western Wisconsin? If you have any tips for how you’ve helped turn your family’s eating habits around I would love to hear them!

 

Thanks but No Spanx

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If you thought that shopping for swimming suits prior to birthing a child was some form of your own personal hell, like your very own Hunger Games but instead of being hunted down by Careers and fellow tributes you’re resigned to a slow death by being crushed by the three-way mirrors that close in on you  while you’re horrified and staring at how fat you think you look in that tankini… then let me be the one to tell you that unless you’re the lucky über fit type or have the kinds of genes that make me loathe you, post children swimming suit shopping is a million times worse.  If someone you think is your friend invites you swimming suit shopping, this is the surest sign they are in fact your frenemy, set out to ruin your day by dragging you through such a miserable ordeal, further evidence of this will be if you’re staring at yourself in those mirrors they claim make you look better, but really only make the super thin look, well super thin, and they say something like “no way that swimming suit makes you look like a cow, its super cute!!!” read “She looks like a total cow and I will look super cute compared to her this summer, mission accomplished!”.

My advice is if you’re going to take someone with you swimming suit shopping they should be someone in your very inner circle, relatives you like, best friends FOREVER, and probably not your husband unless he’s willing to actually tell it like it is and has a good eye for fashion. That being said let me tell you about a swimming suit idea that completely FAILED. Did you know there are Spanx swimming suits? I was meandering my way through Target today while waiting for a prescription, I think they purposely make you wait longer knowing you will spend more moola if required to spend at least 20 minutes in their store, and I saw that the swimming suit section was really well stocked. This is something that it will not be in a month. So I haul the kids over looking for a one piece so maybe I can actually take Brecken to his swimming lessons and for this summer. I must say this is one part of pregnancy I totally miss, the maternity swimming suit, it was cute, covered everything and no one cared that you looked like a total cow, it was expected and made you look even cuter.

spanx_powerpanty1

spanx_powerpanty1 (Photo credit: Vince_Lamb)

Needless to say I saw some black one-piece suits and a black and white tankini and thought hey we’re here, we’ve got some time to kill and shlepped the kids to the fitting rooms. This is when I learned that Spanx makes swimming suits, when I glanced at the tags of thethe suits I was going to try on. First thought “These people are BRILLLLLLIIIIAAANNNNT” ( picture that in a sing-song voice in my head because that’s very much how it happened). A swimming suit that lifts and tucks, makes my stomach flat, what could be better than this. Clearly the spanx people are genius.

Then I tried one on and realized the major flaw to the brilliant idea. How the hell does someone put this on? These swimming suits are NOT stretchy, they are super spandex stiff in order to keep your stomach and middle nice and flat, which means I can’t pull the middle over my fat ass and I’ve grabbed a medium, but am pretty sure neither a large or extra large will remedy this and once on would not fit. Is there a zipper to this swimming suit? Perhaps it is like a giant onesie and there are buttons on the bottom so I can just slide it over my head (umm spanx this is a good idea you should consider it)? There are neither, I muscle my way into the first swimming suit, grateful that I’ve probably lost a few calories in the process and I’ll be honest it does actually flatten and lift in all the right places and isn’t too shabby minus the fact that I feel like I just finished a triathlon trying to get into it. Since this is something I will likely need to throw on while shlepping two kiddos around, I don’t think I can exert that much time and energy every time I need to wear a swimming suit regardless of the results. I decide to try the next one, which was the one I really liked to begin with. It’s NOT GOING TO HAPPEN, there is no way this suction tube is going to go over my legs and since it’s a one piece the only option is stepping in and pulling up.

If you’re thinking maybe I’m just in denial that I’ve returned to almost my normal size, I went to Spanx website and checked their measurements/guidelines for swimming suits and fall squarely in the small/medium category based on bust/waist/hip measurements and I tried on a medium swim suit.   I had absolutely no problem with their tankini with its two pieces coming on super easily I just didn’t love the pattern. I also really wanted a one-piece so as to avoid that horrible moment when I am splashing around with the kids only to discover my tankini top has suddenly flipped up exposing my  no longer remotely flat stomach. So after spending a horror filled twenty minutes in the dressing room trying on swimming suits with two small children, I said thanks but no Spanx and can now look forward to the hell that is swimming suit shopping again some other day!

Why can’t bathing suits like this come back into fashion?

Woman's one-piece bathing suit, c.1920

Woman's one-piece bathing suit, c.1920 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Size Matters

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Having given birth to one of the opposite gender, I assumed at some point in his life this would be an issue, much the way weight is with the female gender. Whether the “perceived” issue was his actual physical size, of which there is a strong possibility at some point he will dislike having been born of two people who do not weigh a combined total of 300 pounds together and are each below average height for their respective measures, or whether out of some perceived stroke of genetic misfortune would come in some locker room comparison in the form of a small penis syndrome sort of way, (btw did you know there are support groups for this, don’t believe me, check this article out for an interesting perspective on how Americans set immeasurable standards based on the porn industry and the related problems that causes). Admittedly, I assumed, ok hoped, if it came in the locker room sort of way, I would probably be left in the dark of such situation because what could be more humiliating than having to explain said situation to your mother and that we would have instilled enough self-confidence in him that it would be a non-issue. What I didn’t expect was for my first-born to want to grow up before the age of 2 and to direct his unhappiness with being little by trying to compensate in the form of “big” everything. It started when we first began dancing around potty training and bought the standard potty chair for our bathroom, before he was even 2. He humored me with sitting on it for maybe a week, and by humor me I mean he would plop his little bum down for like 10 seconds stand up and say “all done” then dive for the standard toilet saying NO BIG ONE!!! Back then he couldn’t even climb on it himself, but already he was determined not to be “different”, in this case different from his Mama and Papa. Despite all measures taken to ensure that he will always feel like he could/can be whoever he wants to be, he wants to be just like us. Heart Flutters. Don’t worry I’m not naive, I understand this stage will pass, probably soon and when later in life he has his hearts set on being a professional wrestler or some unlikely role model, I’ll wish back to the days he wanted to be like us, although a better us because there’s always room for improvement. What I wasn’t prepared for was the constant battle and demanded reassuring that everything he was doing/getting/eating was “BIG.” Give him a sippy not full to the brim of milk, how.dare.you, No Mama BIG MILK BIG ONE. Don’t even dream of trying to give him toddler eating utensils, who do you think you are. Thank G-D, he likes his toddler plates because there is no fecking way he is getting to use our “big” and oh so very breakable more like easy to shatter ones. The newest most popular word in the house is now “BIG”! Usually used argumentatively when given something he perceives as “small” in the form of “NO BIG ONE.” Everything must be super sized to adult proportions. Because it is impossible to always have the time/effort/sanity to counter these demands we try to use them as a learning experience and I just try to accept the fact that this one wants to grow up too quickly and other times let’s be honest I just comply while I bite my nails and hope to fecking g-d that he doesn’t break something or spill his entire cup of milk on his sister’s head.

To further illustrate what is wrong with our society and why there are articles on “Small Penis Support Groups” an illustration from someecards.com

The Great Hair Cut Boycott

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I refuse to cut Brecken’s hair. The more friends, family and acquaintances that inquire, the more I refuse. I wavered briefly but have made my decision, I will not cut his hair anytime soon, maybe when he turns 3, maybe not. I can’t help it the golden curls he has on the warm humid days simply make my heart swoon. Besides once I cut his hair, that’s it, I’m done, I have to keep cutting his hair. I am also simply not ready for the transfiguration that I believe will occur, my darling little baby boy will transform before my very eyes into a little boy, I just know it. Further, when you think about it, it’s the one milestone that we as mothers have complete control over. I couldn’t pick when he crawled, walked, talked, sprouted that first tooth, but I can control when I cut those first locks of golden hair. Not to mention this hair is precious, we worked really hard at getting this hair (and by we I mean he). He spent his whole first year nearly bald and at 1 year just had a sort of mop that had just sprouted on the top of his head. Then it took forever to grow from there and only recently has he sprouted a full mop, but it’s filled in so randomly. I’ve convinced myself if I were to cut it, it would just be a disaster, all full in places and sparse in others and I would be the mom who gave her kid the worst first haircut in their life. Is that any way to start out, didn’t think so.

(Brecken @ 1 Year)

I thought maybe then his hair would fabulously take off and he would grow tons of beautiful locks.

This was not the case, as if reading my mind, I think his hair growth slowed down.

Because 6 months later, he looked like this.

Can we discuss this picture briefly, I LOVE THIS PICTURE

read: Hey Mama, no way I just shoved the last of your ice cream cone in my mouth, wasn’t me?

Musta been some other kid!

See the little curly Q’s forming on the side, swooning, I just want to play with them

which is what he does when he is tired.

Finally, yet another 6 months later, we’ve made enough progress that the complaints have started…

when are you going to cut that kid’s hair?

Ummm, maybe when he’s 3?

And so begins what I’m dubbing the “Great Hair Cut Boycott”

we’ll see how long I last?

and now folks, we’ve got wild hair!!

Epic. Potty. Fail.

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I think I’ve been ready for potty training since we had to switch from cloth diapers to regular disposable ones because no matter how many natural butt creams, not so natural butt creams combined with diaper liners, diaper stripping, fleece vs. flannel we tried, Brecken got horrible blistering butt rashes from cloth diapers. We eventually had to choose between screaming, tantrum filled, painful diaper changes with a miserable toddler suffering through cloth diapers or permanently switching to disposables. That isn’t to say they magically cleared everything up but it was like 20x better with only occasional teething/heat rashes. So we cringed and started to buy “disposables”, honestly how can something that is estimated to take between 250 -500 years to decompose be called disposable? They should be called diapers we use and leave for our future generations to deal with, DWULFGDW for short. It literally pains me every time I buy a package, like I am personally stabbing some future generation of me with a knife, feel that, deal with it, it’s your problem. Maybe you think I’m over reacting but in 1998 the Environmental Protection Agency found that diapers made up 3.8 million tons of waste or 2.1% of U.S. garbage in landfills and that was 13 years ago, I was like a freshmen in high school, can you imagine how many more diapers there are now. Then there’s all the nasty chemicals and crap that goes into them that we are constantly putting on our children’s bums, have you ever seen the inside of a “disposable” diaper, those little beads are like alien substance made from god knows what to be able to suck in the pee and just hold it there.

diaper: absorbing inside

diaper: absorbing inside (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So now that I’ve given you a small glimpse into why “disposable” diapers make my skin peel,, I could go on, all night, it could be an entire post in itself, but I won’t do that to you, at least not today, but now you may understand what I mean when I say that I’ve been ready for potty training since we started having to use them  around when Brecken was 14 months old. He is now nearly 26 months old and I barely have any skin left.

Needless to say my being ready, doesn’t mean he is ready. We have danced, tangoed, waltzed, and hokey pokeyed around it for months now. We have talked potty, sounds dirty doesn’t it, it’s really not, we have potty cheered, we have tried to lead by example and gotten excited about the potty. If for some reason you’re reading this and don’t have kids, don’t let it scare you, just think of it as the “SHIT KARMA” someone did this for you, and one day you must pay it forward and do it for someone else. We started trying to get Brecken to go potty between diaper changes and he had him all excited right after Christmas but then he kind of fell out of it, so we left it alone, then recently he seemed to really get back into it. He would happily go potty during diaper changes, cheering, clapping and happily accepting a few jelly bellies for peeing. We even got him to poop once or twice. So feeling high on all this potty business, never thought you’d hear that did you, I decided to go for it, NAKED POTTY TRAINING. Never heard of it? You can read about it here.  I couldn’t follow the recommendations precisely because who the hell has three whole days to give up with their spouse to do this kind of crap. Clearly these people don’t work. So I naked potty trained solo, perhaps had I had my husband here and we came up with snappy cheers like “Give me a P-E-E in the P-O-T-T-Y  You RAH RAH YAY Potty”, then we would have been more successful, or maybe said song would have driven me to hiding in the depths of our largest closet, either are possible.

It didn’t go awful, we started out playing in the playroom and time just ticked away. After an hour I was like WTF there are no accidents, no going potty, no nothing. He claimed he didn’t have to go and wouldn’t try going. So I began, cringe, giving him juice. I’m not a huge fan of giving toddlers/preschoolers juice, it doesn’t have any particular nutritional value and I just don’t feel it’s really a necessary part of their diet but I knew that since he already had his morning milk that it was the one thing I could be sure he would suck down like his life depended on it. So he drank like a fish and we waited… that’s pretty much how the day went. After a couple of accidents, where he generally caught himself about half way through then wanted to finish on the potty I thought progress was being made. Then out of nowhere he decided he could only use the potty by himself and terrible screaming tantrums would ensure if I tried to help or be in the bathroom at the same time. When left to his own “business” he would pretend to potty and then wash his hands like 10x. As if that weren’t enough then out of nowhere he decides he is going to pee like Papa. This means he stands in front of the toilet, lifts his mini mandango up there so that it basically rests on the edge of the toilet because that’s about how tall he is and we have really short toilets. Thank GOSH he never actually peed like this or we would have really had an accident. By bedtime he was begging for diapers and absolutely refused to go anywhere near the potty.  I was not optimistic for day two. This morning he threw a total tantrum, real tears and everything, begging for his diaper, I’m pretty sure because he knew he had to poop having refused to last night and wouldn’t use the potty to do it. Regardless of my hate for “disposable” diapers, I am not going to force potty train my 26 month old under duress. I do not want him to hate the potty, at least not until he is almost 4 and still not potty trained, so we will chalk this up to an epic potty fail and wait, while I continue to take small stabs at my future generations every time we go to Target.