Tuesday, March 18, 2014

If Toddler's Ruled the World.

If toddler's ruled the world, it would be a much simpler place.

A place where fights and wars ended with two words. I'm sorry.

A place where polution would never be an issue because NOTHING is trash. Everything is a treasure.

A place where we wouldn't use so many plastic water bottles a year that we could circle the earth so many times because once you have your favorite sippy cup, that's all you would ever use.

A place where every animal would be adored. Trust me. There are kids who love rats and pigeons.

A place where beauty wouldn't be a consideration for children don't judge appearnces.

A place where any house that has a toy, cup, ball, train, hose, doll or pet would be just the right size.  It wouldn't matter how big or small or fancy.

A place where sadness would end with the promise of a "special treat."

A place where people shared their belongings so everyone would always have something.

A place where pain would be alleviated with kisses and band-aids.

A place where chicken nuggets were a staple of one's diet.

A place where medicine only came in cherry, grape and bubble gum flavors.

A place where naps would be mandatory. And if you couldn't sleep, you would be required to at least rest in cozy jammies for an hour.

Now granted, this would also be a place where people pee and poop in their pants.

A place where anger would be expressed by stomping one's feet and then crumbling to the ground and laying there. Face down.

A place where tiny sober people would wander the streets aimlessly like little drunks.

As I piece this all together, it's quite clear that 3 year olds have a better base on fundamental principles of how the world should work than those who actually lead it.  Where's that kid president when you need him?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

One Direction's "The Story of My Life" - The Sleep Training Edition

Written in these walls are the stories that I don't want to explain
I leave the door open as if a masochist to hear her pain
If she could talk, she would tell me in the morning she doesn't want me to leave her to cry it out alone
Seems to me that when I die these words will be written on my stone

And I'll be gone, gone tonight
May the ground beneath my feet suddenly open wide
The way that I've been up all through the night
Is it heaven or hell?  I'm somewhere in between

The story of my life
I take her home 
Only to want to drive all night just to be alone
And time.... Is frozen
The story of my life
I've lost all hope
I give her love
Which she takes until I'm broke
The story of my life 

Written by doctors are books that address her sleepless rage
Leave the door open but baby stays right there in her cage
I know that in the morning now I will feel relief that nighttime is done
And though I'll wake broken, another day will have just begun

And I'll be gone, gone tonight
There's going to be another screaming fight
The way that she refuses to sleep tight
And there's nothing in between

The story of my life
I swaddle her tight
I've practiced for months to make sure it's right
And time.... Is frozen
The story of my life
I've lost all hope
I give her love
Which she takes until I'm broke
The story of my life

And to think I had been waiting for this time to come around
But baby trying to teach you to sleep is like chasing the clouds

The story of my life
She just won't sleep
I've read the books,
Just f-ing do it please
And time.... Is frozen 
The story of my life
I've lost all hope
I give her love
Which she takes until I'm broke
The story of my life 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Isn't it ironic? Welcome to parenthood.

Almost everything about being a parent is ironic.

You spend your formidable years trying to prove your parents were wrong about everything, only to learn once a parent yourself, that they were pretty much right about everything.

You become a parent of young children and suddenly switch from coffee mugs to drinking from a hot beverage to-go cup with a lid even though you're not going anywhere. Ever.

Everyone in your house is tired, yet no one sleeps. My least favorite irony.

You yearn for your child to say "mommy" or "daddy" only to later resent the sound of those two syllable words as the name is generally followed by the words "I need" or "come here" or "I want" or better yet.... shrieks.

You spend your teenage years and twenties (if not longer) learning self love and how to take care of yourself emotionally and mentally. Only to later give yourself entirely away to these little people and forsake your own sanity to raise them as best you can.

You wait for major milestone moments to happen, praying that you don't ever miss one. Then the moment comes and you're watching it through the lens of your iPhone, totally missing the chance to be "in" the moment.

You have an instinct to run to your child when he or she falls, but later learn not reacting or even laughing or clapping are more productive. They learn it's ok to fall and you learn it's ok for them to fall, too.

You think your child is the most beautiful thing you've ever seen, yet society tells us not to tell our daughters how pretty we think they are.

You think your child is bright, but studies show reinforcing "smart" doesn't help your child gain confidence. So what are we left to tell them you often wonder?

You encourage them to be social and make friends, yet you wonder if those friends will be the very ones your own parents often referred to when they would say "We trust you. We just don't trust your friends."

You encourage independence, yet fear the moment you're not longer needed.

You want to be their friend, but know there's a difference between friend and parent. And parent is the job title.

At this early stage of parenting experience - only three years in - the greatest irony of all is that for as much as I "prepare" by reading and talking with friends and total strangers I meet in the park or play groups - I'm completely unprepared. I guess it really just comes down to doing the absolute best job you can, even though the child may not feel like we really tried at all. And this is when I will refer them to irony #1....about finally learning that our own parents were mostly right about everything.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Lost and Found

"Mommy! Where is my xx?"

The words are not spoken, but rather shrieked. Peppered with equal amounts of frustration, blame, anxiety and immediate need. It's not even so much a question as it is an accusation. As if you, the one who is responsible for finding said object is the very person who hid or lost said object. And only because of a child's ability to ask the same question incessantly, you immediately drop whatever you're doing to try and solve the caper of the missing whatever it is that's lost. 

For all the grating pleas. All the items presumed lost, but only intentionally hidden by my three foot tall perpetrator, whenever I am not looking for something and just uncover a child's treasure in a random place in the house, I can't help but smile. It's as if their treasures become as valuable to me as they are to them.

Today, in the quiet of the house as both kids were napping, I climbed into my bed to watch Bravo - naturally an episode of what I like to call The Not So Real Not Even Housewives of (insert any city for which there is a show). But as I went to sit down I noticed a lump under the duvet. It was Reece's stuffed bunny. I held it and smiled, thinking of how it got in my bed - during the ritual of cartoons in my bed when he wakes each morning. And then I reached for the remote and next to it was a matchbox car. Again, I smiled, thinking of how happy he will be when he sees it. A toy he didn't accuse me of losing today, but surely will be just as happy being reunited with it as if it had been long gone.

To me, this is all a metaphor for parenting. 

My parenting journey has so far been part hidden moments, part stolen moments and fear of moments lost.

For the aggravation associated with the dire pleas of "mommy! Where is my xx" there is also tremendous satisfaction in being able to answer that question most of the time. So for now I will just remind myself that this is my journey as a mom. Keeper of the lost and found.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Birthday Party Venues - DC/MD

This isn't a sexy post (are they ever?), nor is it an attempt at wry humor and witty sayings. This is just a post that I hope someone will find handy as they tackle the birthday party planning process in the DC area.

I would LOVE to be the creative, crafty, clever mother who can create a party with some fresh ideas, help from Pinterest and baking skills. But, I'm not. So, I'm forced to resort to either having a pizza party at my house for Reece's upcoming birthday, hiring entertainment for said pizza party or doing an "off site" party. 

So to hopefully save at least one person the trouble of trolling the Internet and that terrifying DC Urban Moms and Dads blog, I've put together some general information on party options in the DC/MD area.

Please add your experiences or favorites!

Hiring Entertainment:
Ah, how it would be so exciting and fresh if this actually referred to some good ole risque entertainment. And in fact the first two companies have names that made me giggle...but then I quickly recovered as I thought of my son and a dozen 3 year olds.

Some options for those who have the space and desire to host a party at home, but would like some entertainment for the kiddos:
Party Venues

When you don't have the space at home, or don't have the desire to turn your home into a zoo, here are a few places in the area that you can turn to for parties:

Museum Venues with activities

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Playground Etiquette

While home on maternity leave, I have frequented two playgrounds on an almost daily basis and I have witnessed too many violations of playground etiquette to hold my tongue any longer. I've been left with no choice other than to pen this first draft of Playground Rules. I welcome you to add to this list.

Rule #1) PARENT!  Don't just "be" a parent at the playground. Actively parent. Keep an eye on your child.

Rule #2) Discipline your child if he or she misbehaves. This includes the following playground "crimes" -- shoving, biting, kicking, throwing sand on other kids, refusing to share a toy that's communal property, taking toys from other kids, cutting the line for the slide.

Rule #3) Don't change a diaper on a picnic table. Do it on the ground or on the bench. How would you like it if I put my kids dump on your table? Yeah, take that. It's just not good manners.

Rule #4) Do change a dirty diaper. No one wants to play with the "stinky ass" kid. And the poor kid can't do anything about it so it's your fault mom and dad.

Rule #5) Watching your child through the lens of your iPhone camera isn't as good as actually watching your child. You're not going to frame a photo of your kid doing anything at the playground, so just enjoy the time with them. 

Rule #6) I applaud the working parent who tries to also squeeze in playtime at the park, but please do not do a conference call on speaker phone. I really don't care about your job.

Rule #7) Don't let your kid pee at the playground. I realize that you might be potty training or your kid might be in desperate need to pee, but LEAVE the playground. The sandbox is not a bathroom.

Rule #8) Don't let your kids run up a slide when there are other kids trying to come down. This seems trivial, but is highly annoying.

Rule #9) A playground isn't the cure for the common cold. If your kid is sneezing, coughing, has a faucet of a runny nose or worse - pink eye - KEEP THE KID AT HOME!

Rule #10) Don't judge other parents. To the woman who told me I should have taken my daughter home because I didn't dress her properly....I hate you. To the woman who took a toy from my son because she thought he was too young to play with it....Don't ever come near my kid again. To the two moms with brand new BOBs who stared at me while I pushed my stroller..don't hate on my City Mini. To the women who clearly were horrified by my no make-up and sweats....see you again tomorrow!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Stars. They are just like Us.

If you read US Weekly, you have seen the "What's in her bag" 1-pager featuring various celebrities. It's the profile where the mag asks a celeb to empty the contents of her purse and give a little lowdown on the products. I find this piece both bizarre and fascinating.  I mean, really? We need to know what's in her purse? We already know who she dates, sleeps with, what she eats, where she shops, where she lives, where she vacations...and now we need to know what's in her bag? The answer to that is yes, apparently.

Well, I call bullshit on all the lip gloss, hair brushes, lotions and potions that celeb moms claim to keep in their bags. And let's be real. No mom of young children carries a purse. We all carry bags the equivalent in size to what we would have packed pre-baby for a long weekend away. Yes, mom = luggage size purse. And new moms, don't fall prey to the cool/hip looking diaper bag. It's too small. Trust me. If you want to actually be able to carry with you all the basics and troubleshooting tools on the market, you need more than a diaper bag. You need a weekend bag.

Now what, you may ask, is in the average mom's bag? Well...as far as I can tell, here's "What's in her bag":

  • Goldfish. Both in a small ziploc and also crushed into an orange powder lining the bottom on the bag. You can only remove the remnants by fully emptying your bag and shaking it out Something you will never do, so stop being bothered by it.
  • Pacifiers. For a first child, stored in a sanitized pod. For a second child, it's just loosely tossed in the bag.
  • Baby wipes for diaper changes and wiping off puke (both from you and whatever public surface you child boots on while you're running errands).
  • Boogie Wipes for runny noses.
  • Hand sanitizer for after your child jerks his/her head and you miss their boogies with the wipe and end up just using your hand.
  • Excedrin because you need the boost of caffeine and to manage the dull headache that has lingered ever since leaving the hospital post-birth.
  • Diapers. And if you ever run out of them while on the go, remember this. Moms and diapers are like smokers and cigarettes. Just as it's smokers etiquette to always give a stranger a smoke when they kindly ask for one, it's mom code to hand over a diaper to a mother in need.
  • Sippy cup. A leaking sippy cup. They all leak. Don't be fooled..
  • Gum. Like goldfish, the gum is all over the inside of your bag. It's fallen from the package and you just hope that it's not soggy from the leaking sippy cup.
  • Wallet. Not a good, pretty wallet. But a beat up, receipts from doctor's appointments, no coins because your kids throw them in fountains, crumpled up bills because your kids make a game of emptying your wallet contents regularly, kind of wallet.
  • Poop bags. Like dog owners, as parents you also need to carry these for polite disposal of dumps.
  • Candy. Because the number one successful rule of parenting is BRIBERY.
  • Phone. A must carry item, not in case of an emergency, but because you only catch up with friends on Facebook, you need to time breastfeeding sessions (yes, you read that correctly), and for an older child you need some mechanism for getting them to sit still after the sugar high of the candy bribe wears off.
  • Change of clothes. You will - mark my words - one day pick up your smiley sweet baby from a car seat nap and find that even while seated, they managed to shoot poop straight up his/her back. It's really quite an achievement. Really. I mean, how do that do that?!
  • Hooter hider. As you no longer go to the bathroom by yourself once you become a mom, this gives you at least a small amount of privacy. I know... I'm grasping at this one.
  • Breast pads. Oh yeah. I saved the sexiest one for last. Nothing says "new mom" like a wet stain around your breast because you forgot the pad and leaked through your clothes. Yes. This is real. And it's happened to me. And I didn't know until I got home and realized I had sat through an entire group dinner with one wet boob. You're welcome.
I could actually add to this list, but now all I'm thinking about are the number of things I need to restock to get ready for tomorrow. Or...while the bag is only half full, I'm thinking about dumping out the goldfish.