FYI Moms: We are in this together

20130906-214924.jpg

FYI Moms: We are in this together

Wow. I have never seen blog banter like I have the past few days. And like any shameless, opinionated blogger, I feel the need to weigh in.

But I’m not going to give you my take on whether teenage girls need a little education in social media or whether boys can only think of towel-clad girls after seeing such in photos. I will say this: all of these Moms are saying essentially the same things. To save you time from reading blog post after blog post, I have summarized them for you here:)

Dear Teenage Sons and Daughters of America,

Here’s a list of lessons I have gleaned from a set of blog posts from some very loving, thoughtful and respectable Moms. They have had a LOT to say, but I just gave you the bullet points here.

Respect yourself. And respect me enough to understand that some things I tell you won’t make sense until you are older.

Express yourself, just maybe not in a public forum or text or email via photograph. Choose wisely.

Don’t think a photograph represents everything you could possibly learn about someone. Or—don’t let a photograph be the exclusive reason you are attracted to any one person. I hope you like his/her personality, sense of humor, mind, values, etc.

Make mistakes and fix them. If you lose people along the way because of your mistakes and can’t mend the relationship, they probably weren’t worth it anyway.

Attention from your peers be they romantic, affectionate or something more is something every teenager wants. You just have to choose what type of attention you want to trump all others. You have many amazing traits and talents that have nothing to do with how you look, just so you know.

Protect your reputation. On your worst days, it’s all you’ve got. People will tell you to “live your life without regret” or “don’t care what anyone thinks.” These are things that people say who have a lot of regret and who also happen to care a lot about what people think.

If you see a girlfriend, sister or brother selling themselves short, in any way, clue them in.

Love yourself first. Don’t let any number of likes you receive on a photo be the metric of your worth.

If you are having a day when you are not loving yourself, call a friend, a brother, a sister or your Mom and Dad. Or anyone who you know will always love you unconditionally.

Don’t ever do whatever you call that thing Miley Cyrus did. Just don’t. Like ever. I mean it.

Beware of any man that talks about blurred lines. All boundaries having to do with you and your dignity should have very precise, crystal clear lines.

Remember who you are without having to look at a Facebook profile or Twitter handle for help. Know what you stand for in your real life face to face relationships. Because those are the only ones that will really ever matter.

And, while you’re at it– make sure you thank your mother for the 76 blog posts she read and commented on deliberating what were the most important values to instill in you. Because, she, like every Mom, wants the best for you and the people you may choose to love someday.

Sweet, Innocent Summer

20130901-212204.jpg

You can’t help having a pit in your stomach at the end of summer. The arrival of Labor Day reminds you of all the things you didn’t do that you wanted to, the people you didn’t get to visit with and the things you just couldn’t pack in–in time.

One summer of my childhood memory, my family was coming home from a rare trip out to dinner. There was a band playing at the park in my hometown. At some point, the band initiated a dance contest. I danced my little girl heart out hoping for first prize. It was a couples contest so my Dad was my partner. Slowly, couples were eliminated all around us. Then, much to my little girl expectations–we WON!

Is it my fondest memory of summer? Probably. It’s now a blur in my mind but I will always know for certain that one summer my Dad and I danced in Johnson park together and won a dance contest. It was pure. It was peaceful. It was innocent. It was summer.

Looking at my own children at the end of each summer unloads this same type of sappy overwhelming nostalgia. As parents, summers become emotional threads by which you hold onto your children. You tug gently on them, to pull them close, to take a mental snapshot, to keep them as the little people they are this summer.

But you also bear the burden of being the to ringmaster of their summer circus. You want the memories they have to fit the very carefully composed painting you have of the-perfect-summer-you-want-them-to-have.

My days this summer were filled with sandy feet, snarly hair, sticky fingers and sunscreened cheeks. I watched them wade in the lake, bury each other in the sand, suck on purple popsicles and race each other all over the beach. I saw, in them, what summer truly is: sweet; fleeting; precious.

You hope for their memories to be as sweet as your own. The hunt for “beautiful rocks” to add to our rock collection, the way you danced with them to “Wagon Wheel” with the Friday Night band. You want them to have your own memories and be able to say, “I had such great summers when I was a kid.”

But your memories, over time, will become their memories too. I will be able to tell Parker ten times over about the time he posed with the Asian family for a photo at Central Park Zoo. I will be able to tell Celia how she at two years old would putter around the shops with me and her grandmother, as if she were just another girl on the shopping trip, checking things out. I will tell them about our summer bucket list, our long car rides and even the struggles I had with them as a parent.

So, my sweet Parker and Celia, this is what I hope for you:

That you appreciate a refreshing swim in the lake, a stunning Adirondack view, a good hot dog with ketchup. That you carry the zest for playing– everything in your life and never grow tired of games of any kind. That you cherish quiet, long, pajama mornings as much as you love loud, boisterous family gatherings.

But mostly, I hope this summer and every summer you have is pure, peaceful and innocent. Just like that girl dancing in the village park.

20130901-212140.jpg

20130902-085920.jpg

17 More Reasons My Toddler is Losing His/Her Mind

20130729-065804.jpg

1. There’s a balloon. In a store. And he doesn’t own it.

2. Tomatoes aren’t apples and she keeps biting into them expecting them to be.

3. I have showed him a dip in the vicinity of where he is consuming his chips and HE DOESN’T LIKE DIP!

4. There’s a black speck on his grilled cheese. Suddenly the sandwich “doesn’t taste such good.”

5. I have bought a new toy in his and hers colors and neither are a color he likes.(She, however, likes them both).

6. I’m making him/her brush his/her teeth more than twice a week.

7. I won’t let him bring 14 different stuffed animals into the grocery store.

8. I cannot make a show that he wants to watch come on the TV in the 3 seconds after I turn on the TV.

9. I’ve asked him not to wake me up at 5 am all summer long.

10. I won’t let him chase ducks and seagulls at the beach for fear of my children being pecked into submission.

11. I’ve asked her not to play with sand toys and eat goldfish at the same time.

12. Someone called his “circle toast” an English muffin.

13. Her gogurt is “broken.” (Read: she doesn’t know how to push up the yogurt yet.)

14. I’ve asked to use shampoo in his hair in the bath. He screams “My eyes! My eyes!” before I even squirt it on my hand.

15. I’ve told him he’s not the boss of me.

16. I didn’t pack a cold refreshing beverage to hand to him/her as soon as the car starts moving on a ten minute drive.

17. He or she is hot/cold/itchy/sweaty/ and/or has an invisible boo boo.

20 Reasons My Toddler is Losing His or Her Mind

20130722-072307.jpg

Okay, so I totally stole this from these Daddy blogs here and here. But, as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

The summer schedule has been great. The lazy mornings, the sandy feet naps and sunscreen greased pigtails. Popsicles, ice cream cones and S’mores. My kids are having the best summer ever and I think some of the credit goes to their dear old Mom here. After all, if I still am able to organize craft and story time after seeing each of them, on a daily basis, lose their mind over various not-really-apocalyptic events, I think I deserve a great, big, sparkly gold star. And a hot bath. And a pedicure.

Reasons my Toddler is Losing His or Her Mind.

1. I have mentioned that hot dogs are for dinner and he does not eat hot dogs, he only eats hot dog buns.

2. He’s NOT TIRED and I have implied, said, thought, or looked at him in a way that has indicated that I think that he could possibly be— tired.

3. I’ve asked her not to take her diaper off after she poops.

4. I did not “catch the bubbles” that he blew over my head.

5. I would not let her bring her wet towel to bed with her.

6. He pushed his straw into his juice box and can’t get it out.

7. His sister ate the breakfast that he didn’t want that has been sitting at the table for the past two hours.

8. I am not able to pick up the toy he dropped and know exactly where it is on the floor while I am driving the car.

9. The restaurant we went to “just ran out” of chocolate milk.

10. I am not able to dice up his waffle 3.4 seconds after putting it onto the plate in front of him.

11. I did not let her hold the entire bag of chips as she took a bite of each chip and put it back.

12. I got sunscreen in his mouth when he shook his head while I was applying it.

13. I’ve mentioned a word that rhymes with, has the same connotation as or somehow implies the word “nap.”

14. I won’t let him bring the Ipad in the shower.

15. I am trying to put pigtails in her hair.

16. I keep switching her shoes from the wrong feet to the right feet.

17. I won’t let her put on a hooded sweatshirt on a 98 degree day.

18. I won’t let her play with Windex.

19. I’ve mentioned the word “banana” and HE DOESN’T LIKE BANANAS!

20. I’ve asked if maybe he would like anything other than a butter sandwich on the beach.

 

If you have any reasons YOUR toddler is losing his or her mind, feel free to comment below!

 

20130722-072419.jpg

10 Ways to Manage Your Picky Eater: A Satire

20130117-085231.jpg

This is Weenie Man. Toothpick not edible.

20130117-085311.jpg

For the record, He would not eat this grape smiley face.

1. Deception: I bought chocolate Chobani and tried to pawn it off as “yummy pudding.” Ultimate fail? When he said, “I don’t like this pudding, can I have plain yogurt?” God Dammit.

2. Celebrating Mini Victories: Last night he had grapes, broccoli and olives for dinner. This was a major coup. He got a sticker, a prize and got to watch a show. I mean— my kid ate BROCCOLI! And he LIKED IT!

3. Parenting Skillz: When he doesn’t eat something, we threaten to give it to his sister. Officially giving him sibling issues and possibly causing our daughter’s future chubby phase. Amazing parenting right there.

4. Preventative Deception: Afraid of causing a “I don’t YIKE that!” meltdown, we have developed code words for certain foods. English muffins are called “circle toast,” almonds are called peanuts, cranberries are called raisins. You get the idea. Everything else he eats is called “just plain.” Just plain waffles, just plain bagels, just plain vegetables, just plain cereal, just plain yogurt— everything— just plain. I almost bludgeoned my husband with a frying pan the day he referred to the pumpkin pancakes I was making as, well, pumpkin pancakes. “They are JUST PLAIN!” [Imagine slow motion wide eyes as we look, in horror, to see if the toddler heard him say the word pumpkin]

5. HOLY CRAP! HE’S EATING! The few times I have actually gotten him a happy meal, I have sat, mouth agape, watching at how he tears through fries, nuggets and apple slices like he’s some “I eat like this all the time” toddler. I mean, it’s incredible. He eats ALL of it!

6. Creativity Counts: I made a hot dog into a person and called it a Weenie Man. And he still didn’t eat it.

7. Sweets: When we go to my mother’s, she lets him have three helpings of ice cream because “you should see how well he eats it!!!!” Yeah Mom, ice cream isn’t really the problem.

8. Choose your battles: One day I caught him drinking syrup. And I paused to think if syrup actually satisfied any of the four food groups. Then I offered him a straw to drink it faster. I mean, there’s got to be some calories in there, right?

9. The plain train: The only sandwich I can get him to bring to day care is a butter sandwich. JUST PLAIN, of course. My kid doesn’t even like peanut butter. Or jelly. Or meat. Or cream cheese. I mean, whose kid IS he?

10. Don’t you. Dare. Look at him: I buy into the “don’t look at him” mentality while he is eating. The second he catches you watching him take a bite, he stops and remembers to maintain full control over all meal times. Therefore you do a lot of looking away from your toddler during a meal. This is only weird when you are at Friendly’s and people see you openly trying to ignore your child. They probably wouldn’t understand if you said, “Well, if you look at him, he stops eating.” No, that sounds crazy. I’d rather be perceived as the ignoring parent with the well fed child.

12 Days of Shortcut Girl: 12 Toddler Tricks

20121206-140204.jpg

So, in order to entertain myself and my readers, I have put together a series of 12 posts, ranging from serious to sarcastic, witty to ridiculous, poignant to preposterous.

Today I bring you: 12 Ways to Survive Your Toddlers at Christmas

Whenever I tell people I have a one year old and a three year old, the retort is, “Wow, then you’re REAL busy!” It’s kind of like telling people you’re an undercover ninja. “Yes, I might seem really, really normal and have it together here at the grocery store, but you should see the mounting laundry pile at home, it’s a doozie. Actually, being here at the grocery store is kind of a little vacation. I’m just driving my cart in circles until I am ready to pick them up from day care at a socially appropriate time” (not too early, not too late).

1. The Big Guy.

I know, I know, it’s cruel. Busting out the threat of no presents is a rookie toddler Mom mistake. But, take heed, there is a small period of time that this threat will actually inject pure fear into your child, so why not make the most of it?

Some good tips: Parker has decided that there are more than just naughty and nice lists, there is also a mad list, a happy list, a sad list, a mean list, etc. He has appropriately said that only the good people (the happy and the nice) will receive presents and the bad (naughty, sad, mad, mean) do not. This is a major coup. Any time he pouts and glares at me or shows anger towards me turning off another episode of Doc McStuffins, I can say, “do you want to be on Santa’s ‘mad at your Mommy’ list? Or Santa’s ‘you don’t ever eat vegetables list’? THOSE kids NEVER get presents.”

And it works like a charm.

2. The Little Guy

I wish someone had told me about all of the craziness that is Elf on a Shelf. Like, for instance, I wish I read this blog post. Because, even though I consider myself a rather creative person, being chained to moving and putting this elf in crafty and silly positions every day is just another thing on my list that I’d neglect. I am already successfully ignoring the pile of laundry in the laundry room—don’t give me ANOTHER chore to ignore!

But, he does work. Along with Santa threats, “Eddie is watching you” threats also work. And yes, it is creepy and commercial. And yes, it is a pain, and yes, the book is written really poorly. And yes, you will disagree with your spouse about the elf on the shelf “technique.” (Side bar: Mike thinks the elf should always be up high to show his “magic” and that Parker should never be able to touch him. Ugh, this makes it hard to be Super Mom and try all the Elf positions I have seen on Pinterest. Elf cotton ball bubble bath? Elf cereal party? Elf driving the Barbie car? In other words, your rule is making me fail at motherhood, just so you know.)

3. Your Guy

Husband/Dads can be depended on for rough play, loud play and sports play. If you have a warm day, get the kids O-U-T of the house with Dad. It’s your only chance to clean that dried yogurt under the table or fold every last pair of Woody underpants (Tee Hee).

4. Date Night

For the love of all that is good and holy, at least ONCE around Christmas time you should get out with your significant other to just, well, kind of, be able to talk about where you will next hide the elf on the shelf when you get home.

5. Pump up the Volume

This is something I have taken part in thrice already this Christmas season. Blaring till your ears bleed “All I Want for Christmas Is You” in the car with silent and slightly deafened children in the backseat. Just look in the rearview mirror, that’s Christmas spirit you see.

6. Run, run, run, run.

Many Moms have the same focus for their afternoons: Tire the heck out of every toddler in sight so you can have an early bedtime and watch more Breaking Bad.

Other Tip: My son has started soccer and we have found that his endurance is not that great (read: he lies on the floor during practice?). So, we have started doing some laps with him on the indoor track at the high school. A. Hilarious watching a three year old run the track. B. Makes you look like “one of those parents” who get their kids into psycho exercise at a too early age. Either way, fun to see what kind of looks you get.

7. Be cognizant of Toddler Time

“Next week,” “in two weeks” and “Christmas” all mean the same thing= NOW. Don’t mess with telling them what’s coming up in the weeks ahead. Let’s just take this day by day. My son actually started crying three days after Thanksgiving because he realized he never ate any turkey. They aren’t exactly firing on all cylinders when it comes to concepts of time.

8. Don’t use up all your carrots too soon.

Pace yourself. If you bake all your cookies, see all your Santas and do all you’re decorating before December 6th (I did), what the hell are you doing for the next 19 days?

9. Car Survival Kit

So that you can go anywhere you want when you throw those two tots in the car and take off, make sure you have a Winter Car Survival Kit (has nothing to do with being stranded with a broken car).

  • Goldfish
  • Wipes
  • Nutri-grain bars
  • Diapers
  • Plastic bags

You know why. You will get stuck “just picking up a few things” and feel like fast food might be your only method of making it through the night. No way, Jose. That’s only for emergencies. Give them some of these no-fail car snacks and you are good to go. And you’re good if they go— in their pants.

10. Toy Storage

It’s important to do a “where is _______gonna fit?” survey before the big day. Clear out old toys, toys missing parts, toys that are annoying or toys your kids fight over and make room for the ridiculous ones you know that big guy is bringing.

11. Embrace your addiction to creating a Baby Gap model.

Winter gives you the chance to layer the crap out of your toddler and give him all the accessories needed to be C-U-T-E. Zip sweaters, puffer vests, fancy hats and mittens. Just live it up, this time only comes once a year.

12. Chocolate Anything.

This is for you. Just eat it. The carbs and the sugar are cancelled out by the number of calories you burn shuttling around little people on your hip. Don’t think about it for a minute.

Mommy Monday: The Summer She Lost Her Mind

I’m a good Mom. Okay, I’m a great Mom.

I do arts and crafts (coloring books with fancy–like sparkly crayons), speak different languages (Dora and NiHo Kailan), discuss and expose my children to the animal kingdom (petting zoos and parks with ducks), eat ethnic foods (buttered Naan a.k.a. “butter sandwich”) and most definitely expose them to culture and the arts (banjo player at a street fair, thank you very much!).

But the Mom Gods have been throwing me curveballs today. And so, I want to give a standing ovation (stand up, dammit!) to my stay at home Mom friends. Not only am I impressed by them but I am also wondering what kind of therapy slash medication they have been relying on.

Today, in Summary. Let’s Run the Numbers:

    72 threats to throw away toys, send them to good children in foreign nations and/ or well behaved neighbors (The pitfall is that now when Parker does something wrong, he makes a request of where it should go, “You give it to Declan?” Uhm, NO. I’m not going to give your toys to your friend–that’s just all my Mommy arsenal had left at that point in the morning.)

    6 brother on sister bullying incidents including one bite.

    5 time outs related to said bullying. 500 tears were shed during these timeouts cumulatively. Only some of those by Mommy herself.

    1 child took a nap (I have two, so that’s bad- especially considering the 10 month old didn’t sleep)

    37 “I want…” related conversations (and only one child can talk).

    1 incident of an entire loaf of bread getting intentionally squished in the grocery store.

    5 miles covered in jogging stroller in an effort not to lose my mind (didn’t really work and very sore now)

    24 trips to the potty seat to pee a thimble worth of toddler pee.

    2 1/2 hours spent in the car looking for an open blueberry farm (apparently farms close on Mondays?). We went to two. More tears resulted.

    9 minutes spent with potty training toddler in porta-potty.

    10 minutes Mommy spent in the corner of the kitchen where no child could see me.

    9 moments of “I don’t think I can take this.”

    0 minutes spent showering

Good night and God help all the crazy mothers who do this 12 months a year.

20120723-235912.jpg