Children's TV

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Since we have all been under the weather TV has been a bit more of a crutch of late than I would care to typically admit. But I have noticed somethings- or maybe it is my illness addled brain playing tricks on me.

There is a lot of relationship tension in some PBS shows. One such example is Bob The Builder. Wendy- Bob's assistant and Bob certainly have some underlying tensions that may not be suited for children's programing. Seriously! The way she says 'OH, Bob!' and sighs with a note of longing in her tone.... I suppose though it would be very odd if they were to get together. I mean neither of them seem to have had any relationships and first time relationships rarely work out- so then what? Wendy quits in a huff of a woman scorned?? A bit heavy for PBS.

Also Professor Wiseman and the Man With the Yellow Hat on George...what is going on there? He has her for her favorite birthday dinner and buys her gifts that he knows are what she likes (which come to think of it is more than I typically got from my husband). So what- The Man With the Yellow Hat has no career to speak of seemingly- aside from helping out here and there and aiding in scientific research and taking care of his monkey (wait, aside from the research story line this is beginning to sound and awful lot like a "Friends" plot) maybe if he got a job she would be more amenable to a relationship with him. Again subtext--- sometimes is where the story really is. Or maybe I need more romance in my life and I am over analyzing children's cartoons.

Which is more challenging?

Monday, October 26, 2009

From a parenting point of view: two's or three's?

Everyone has heard about the 'terrible twos' and the challenges that parenting them present. I however argue that three's are harder. At least for me. With the understanding that of course every child and every parent are different- so their particular interactions and strengths and weaknesses as well as interaction dynamics will be vastly different.

In my parenting experience limited as it may be I have a hard time with three's more than two's. Temper tantrums sure- but a two year old is more easily distracted; whereas a three year old is much more stubborn, verbal, willful, tenacious and well in general just MORE. Limit pushing may be developmentally appropriate but it does not mean I have to like it. Arguing and back talk as well. The stubbornness is especially challenging as once an idea takes hold it will NOT leave. They are also more intellectually complex than a two year old in that they try and manipulate you in more ingenious ways.

My three year old is the picture of this. And heavens is it challenging. He will go after not just me but his older sister too- just to push her buttons- while I am more able (sometimes) to remain calm- explaining to a five year old that her brother is being a snot because he is learning his limits is decidedly harder- she is quite likely in fact to haul off and wack him. Which then I have to address even though I had been tempted to do the same.

So this mama spends a lot of time deep breathing- refocusing- praying before responding to any number of situations. Which has been helpful. If I can remain calm it helps him to get himself together.

The challenge that I am currently learning to embrace is that I have said three year old and another child rapidly approaching two but already a pro at tantrums.

It is all worth it though (you can't think I'd ever think that it wasn't, right?). Stinky can charm like no other. And for all of the times he is a handful and half there are easily just as many times when he is the sweetest little guy you could ever imagine.

Nurturing Touch

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It is pretty easy as a mama to nurture your least for me. It come almost as naturally as breathing. Hugging, cuddling, snuggles are a part of out lives. As my children were preemies I learned some very basic infant massage techniques that have carried over into their childhoods. They are tactile beings- they love the contact the connection it brings. I by nature am also tactile- but selectively so- I like to be touched on MY terms- and only by people I want to.

I have no problem nurturing my children using touch. But sometimes us mama's need to be touched too- and not by husbands or boyfriends who want something else from it- by someone who uses touch to heal, to restore, to give some back to you so you do not run out of emotional energy. For me this is where massages come in. They are great for relieving stored tension- I store all of mine in my neck/shoulders/and upper back- and it sure does feel great to have that released. However there is more too it than that. Feeling someone take care of you and nurture you is wonderful and restorative.

Recently, I had a massage with one of my good friends, Heather Maynard with Massage Therapy for Women and Families (admittedly I was nervous because well she is my friend and exposing myself to her I was afraid would be awkward- this anxiety was COMPLETELY unfounded). And it was fantastic. She is gifted with a calm and spirit and the ability to convey caring and healing through her hands. Her space is peaceful and calming- the table is really really comfy too! If my bed was so comfy I may never get out! When my time was up I wanted more- but I felt refreshed- relaxed and oddly energized. I had more to give to my family as a result of taking time for myself.
Which I suppose is the overall lesson I garnered from this: if I take care of my needs- I can take care of my children's needs that much more effectively.

No One Said It Was Easy!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

With the start of a new school year- the first 'real' school year in this house- kindergarten came the onslaught of germs. Which last week led to colds for my family. Parenting is a marathon in and of itself. Most defiantly not a sprint by any stretch of the imagination. Add in cold virus, three kids, and a mama and shake until disoriented and you pretty much have the week here.

The TV becomes much more of a staple- meals simpler- house chores get stuck on the cycle of 'when I have enough energy to cough I'll think about mopping the floor'- which in essence means my floors are in desperate need of attention..and they may actually get it tomorrow.

As I have talked about before getting medicine in my kids is not worth the fight so the MOST I do is honey for throats- unless there are issues that mandate the use of medicine- like breathing issues.

Anyway. Colds. and icky wet, cold fall weather made this week seem interminable. I found myself rejoicing for Wednesday- because I was half way done- by Friday I had thrown in the towel and just ordered food.

One way or another parenting when your kids are sick and more whiny/clingy/needy and when you are sick is hard. Because like the kids you are tired, uncomfortable, and crabby. The way I managed to keep most of my sanity this week is to try (key word TRY) and remember that they were looking to me, as mama, the one person who had the potential to make things not suck so much. 90% of the time I did okay... that other 10%??? Well therapy is covered by insurance right?? Seriously- I yelled and am not proud if it.

So since I am down to a cough that will likely linger until Spring- tomorrow I will start to excavate our house from the mess that we are currently buried under.

Because I Love You

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You know how parents (moms) say "because I said so" a lot? Especially when we cannot think of something else to say that essentially means 'no, and I cannot think of a better reason at the moment."

Well, enter one of my mama friends and a very wise woman. She has come up with a perfect response that is not quite so cliche: "Because I love you".


Kid "why do I have to eat my carrots?"
Mama- could either say "because I said so" which has no real meaning.... or explain the benefits of a well balanced diet or she could say "because I love you" I vote "because I love you". Honestly that is the reason. I want my kids to eat their vegetables etc because I want them to be healthy and grow strong bodies....why?? Because I love them.

Kid: "Why can I not run across the street?"
Mama: again "because I love you" is an appropriate answer- I do not want them to run across the street because I do not want them to get hit by a car or get hurt. Because-I love them.

So instead of using a cliche that means so little I should opt for a choice that makes a lot of sense and actually means something.


My house is loud. Always loud. My husband used to stop me when there was silence and encourage me to listen to the quiet. It was delightful.

As the kids have gotten older the noise has gotten louder. From chatterbox kids, to shrieking to just loud toys, and play... Sometimes I can tune it out. Sometimes it is like nails on a chalk board- most of the time it is like that. But if it is too quiet I get nervous.

The chatter gets me a lot. Stinky often starts: 'mama! mama! MAMA!' said then, yelled, then shrieked.... 'what dear...?' 'I see a leaf!' said with amazement. If I per chance do not respond fast enough he admonishes me: 'mama I need you to talk to me!' I like to talk- but sometimes I just want quiet.

Princess is a little different. She does not always require a response- but she is always singing, telling stories, talking- something. Admittedly I have asked her to quiet down- just because my head feels like it might fall off if I keep hearing chatter.

A big weekend!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I have been absent here for a few days! We have been SUPER busy!

Saturday Princess had her first sleep over. Yes you heard that right her first sleep over. She had her friend and her friends little sister spend the night. Which made a total of FIVE children in my house. Five is a lot of kids. And I was apprehensive (terrified). In the end it was super though. The girls were fantastic. Dress ups abound and they had such a fun time together. I very rarely had to do anything- aside from making sure they ate- and changing little sister's pants. So it worked really well.

On Saturday afternoon my nephew was playing a hockey game close by and we were invited to watch him play. Which was a super treat because the kids had not been to a sporting event like that before- and this actually was hockey- with less violence. My nephew can skate really well! I was proud of him and really impressed. Add that to the shock that I experienced when I learned there were girls on the team- including the goalie. They were great. The best part? My nephew's team won! Their first win of the year and we got to be there!

They went to sleep really well too- on the pull out down stairs. It was so nice to see them play and sleep so peacefully together.

In the morning everyone was up bright and bushy tailed- and I admit I cheated we had Dunkin Donuts for breakfast- not healthy but it was a hit!

The day followed up by going to the firehouse for open house and the kids being awed by the firefighters 'rescuing' and putting out a fire. They had a great time.

blah blah blah

Monday, October 19, 2009

Totally not in a great mood today. But well what can you do right? Can't be perky everyday- and unlike morning news anchors this mama's contract does not include a 'perky clause'

So anyway.

A week ago (seriously a whole week? Where was I?)- some mama friends and I along with our broods went to a local fall festival place. A place that has been there actually since I was a kid- and is STILL doing a great autumn fest business. There are carnival rides, pony rides, pumpkins, hay rides all sorts of fun for the kids.

Also on this particular day they had a radio show going by Disney Radio- admittedly- my kids do not watch Disney- nor do they listen to Disney Radio- but they sure loved the live broadcast! They danced and had contests and all sorts of fun. They had no idea who the people were but they knew they were supposed to be excited- and good heavens were they!

Peas went on a Pony ride- her first one- as did Stinky and Princess.

The problem with this kind of place is that with one child it is mildly expensive with three it is darn expensive! I need a group discount people!!!

I'll write a post later- promise- but am stressed now...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

No it is not 'just a vacuum'

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It is a DYSON. A purple animal DYSON that I love more than I love my children somedays (totally kidding) but if the kids could clean up on command like that they would certainly endear themselves to me.

Whatever. Yes the darn thing cost more than 2 car payments- but wow can it suck stuff up. It is more than a vacuum it is family- that may be a weee bit extreme..However you mess with Dyson you mess with me.

Which is what some poor soul did. Foolish person. He came over to help because he knows I can get overwhelmed single parenting my small herd of children and animals and sadly one of the first things to hit the priority chopping block is housework...(Mom if you are reading this- I am sorry- you raised me better but I apparently do not have the superwoman clean gene that you do).
So he attempted to help. By coming thisclose to breaking my love- my Dyson- by attempting to suck up cat poop that they had shoved out of their litter box. a) ewww b) no c)who DOES that? seriously- a vacuum is not designed to suck up crap- the literal kind.

I was livid- more angry than when the dog broke my Kindle. The dog has an excuse- he is after all a dog- a person I expect better from. Thankfully, the Dyson was resurrected from the dead. It was severely clogged with poop and had started to overheat and in an effort at self preservation turned itself off (not only is it useful- it is smart too!). After a thorough unclogging and letting it rest and reset itself- the Dyson was back in action. Lucky for the friend that it was able to be saved. Because I may have confiscated whatever of his I could until I replaced my vacuum.

It is more than a vacuum people.

Another Year Another Candle

Today is October 15- Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It is a day that kind of sneaks up on me every year- a day that I look at on the calender for a few weeks before- somewhat dreading- somewhat relieved.

It is a day that I can remember my almost babies without feeling like wallowing- without looking to outsiders like I have not yet moved on. It is a day that I can honor my feelings of loss and grief without looking like a depressing mama not grateful enough for the blessings I have.

It is a day that tears can flow unabated- that I can feel the fullness of love that comes from being a mama to my wonderful kids here as well as those with G-d.

It is a strange thing becoming a mother. It starts the day you find out you are pregnant and your body starts being bathed in all sorts of hormones as far as I can tell the journey to motherhood is an on-going one... it has not ended yet. As a mother I have loved all of the babies I have carried.

Miscarriages are wretched things. I have felt betrayed by my body. Sure, one can intellectualize that probably there was something wrong- that something wasn't right--blah blah- but the emotional connection is still there. My body failed me. As a woman it could not do what it is designed to do. To have such a betrayal such a failure at such a base level is hard to swallow in and of itself.

It is tragic to go through a loss- it is also tragic to watch someone go through one- and know that she has to see her way through to the other side. That you can support her and help her but her journey has to be her own. My heart breaks for the women I know who have had losses. As much as I can say I know what she is going through- I don't. I know what loss was like for me, not for her. I can say I know that she loves her babies all of them with the kind of love that mothers feel- the kind that stretches out from you and wants to hug and protect.

So today I am remembering my losses- my families losses. Today I am remembering my friends losses. Today I am remembering that even if the babies are not in my arms or on this Earth. They are in my heart- and loved- and missed.

In pre kid days

Wow- I had a lot of opinions about people. I still have opinions but I like to think I am a bit more open minded about at least some of them.

For example Drive-Thrus. How much energy/time could it take to park the car and walk the 15 feet into the store to get food/meds/well anything? If you are on your own as a reasonable functional adult with no impediments-I still hold this opinion when you add kids however something that an adult could do in 5 minutes may take upwards of 45 minutes. Especially if the children are not in the mood to be strapped into carseats- then to buckle, unbuckle, exit the car, accomplish errand, then re buckle is enough to send me running for Xanax. Then you add more than one child- then mobility- and a parking lot- and the actual store- and you have a frazzled mama waiting to lose her patience.

So I have learned through necessity about the various establishments that have available drive thru's in my area. If there is no drive thru or no other adult to look after kids while I go in solo- I usually try and delay- delay- delay.... so because of that some of my favorite establishments are not receiving my business. Subway for one- how I love the Sweet Onion Chicken Teryaki- but no drive thru and alas- my craving is not that strong to make me face the trials of three kids on the loose for a sandwich. Or my beloved Panera Bread. Yum. Again no drive thru. This is a tragedy.

Now if Trader Joe's would have a drive thru to pick up one or two things (so I do not have to spend an hour looking for the heaven forsaken monkey- or getting my feet rammed into) I would be thrilled.

If you are looking to open a business and market toward harried moms..... offer a)childcare or b) a drive thru.

and with the flip of a switch

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My wonderful three children turn into over-tired intractable monsters.

Dramatic?? Yep- but you did not see the events of today first hand. It was like Invasion of the Body Snatchers- I can only assume as I have never seen the movie.

The thing is I KNEW it would happen like this so I fed them EARLY because if I waited for normal dinner time I would be cleaning food of the ceiling fan now.

Thankfully they ate- so tomorrow they may not wake up in a hypoglycemic rage.

In seconds they went from coloring nicely together to Stinky squishing Peas hand in a wicker basket, Princess having a fit over a broken crayon.....etc....

I am not sure what set off the chain of events but once it had started all one could do was hold on for the ride because it was going to be a bit bumpy- you know like the Rockies.

When my kids at least get overtired they go into this strange hyper sleep deprived irrational manic state during which they quite literally run in circles. While it can be at least somewhat entertaining to watch it can also be exceptionally frustrating if you, as an adult, want them to do something, like maybe say brush their teeth.

Oh the teeth and the drama. My heavens. The shrill cries from our bathroom must have scared half the dogs in the area- my two were downstairs hiding...seriously for brushing teeth. Stinky has an issue going pee alone.... not a clue why but he is convinced he needs help and he needs it now because itisanemergencyandthepeeiscomingtoofast. Even if all I do is stand there. He needs moral support I guess. Then came tears. Why? no idea. but something induced a throw his little boy body on the ground an cry melt down. After that was resolved- hugs and snuggles are magic- and the two older kids were put to bed he decided that the shadows in his room were scary- ok- but he KNOWS and admits they are shadows.... oh well. I left the light on.

Next Peas was up at bat for bed. She too had reached def con overtired toddler. Which to her means she will attempt any means necessary to not go to sleep. She will pull my hair, her hair, kick her feet, babble, anything because who wants to sleep? (aside from me). Finally get her to doze and enter cat from the depths of some place really bad. You know the one who hates closed doors...she opens the door and wakes Peas... I was so frustrated I thought my head would spin around.

Now they are all asleep and I can mellow until the first round of potty's, drinks requests, and bad dreams occur.....

I am awake darn it!!!

Why do cats get hair balls at three am? Is there some kind of alarm that goes off that tells them to start gagging- typically on your bed at that point? What is it about that noise that makes it shoot up my body and force me into action- usually getting up and moving her off the bed on to the floor.

I would not mind so much but once I am awake I have an awful time falling back asleep- so after I hear the wretching noise and remove the cat from the bed I am stuck laying in bed reminding myself to turn on the lamp before getting out of bed.

A somewhat logical solution would be to keep the cat out of the bedroom at night. She however does not like closed doors. She will scratch at them and make these throaty meows that sound like someone is pretending she is a squeaky toy who's squeaker is malfunctioning. Either way she will make darn sure I am up at least once at night.

Weird Things

Monday, October 12, 2009

I am a pretty girly girl. I do not mind getting muddy though- or sweaty- or well most kinds of dirty. But a strange thing struck me today. For all of the tolerance I have with that kind of stuff there are somethings- well a lot that I cannot stand touching or being near me.

One thing dirty plates and food left overs. Especially the icky stuff in the sink. I cannot stand it. It totally disgusts me. Like shudders and everything.

Am I the only one who has weird things like that? Seriously how odd is that? I can change diapers, clean up crap but ask me to clean a plate or the sink and I am grossed out.....

you know...

I have no idea what to do today. Not a clue. I made the first cups of hot chocolate today for the season- it just seemed like that kind of morning. The kind of morning that a few years ago B and I would have snuggled down in bed and curled up together- then considered getting up a few hours later. These days? Stinky comes in bright (or cloudy) and early and announces it is 'Morning time'. Which means 'get out of bed mama!!!!'.

I stagger downstairs half blind, half asleep, very uncoordinated and discuss breakfast, let the dogs out, unload then re load the dishwasher. All of the trappings of typical suburban life. Less than exhilarating, but comforting in the routine.

Today- as again Chicago seems to be a little manic depressive in the weather department- it was freezing cold I started the day making hot chocolate. Which has a really comforting feeling about it. There is something unique about sitting on the sofa with your legs curled up holding a mug of hot chocolate feeling the steam on your face, smelling the aroma, and letting the thick hot liquid coat your mouth and throat.

There are a few notes to this- calling "Hot Chocolate" 'hot' intimidates the kids- so it must be referred to as 'warm chocolate'. And they very rarely sit still long enough to enjoy the multisensory experience of drinking hot chocolate.

So now that I have indulged in the sweet warm cocoa- I am back to the start- what should we do on this chilly day??

Where exactly is that gene located??

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I seem to be missing a gene that comes naturally to a lot of women and girls. The decorator- designer part- a long with the sense of style gene- they must be closely related- and I have neither.

My house is a great house. But I would like to make it a home. I would like to have it decorated with pretty colors and textures as well as just well look nice. But I have no idea where to even begin. How to chose colors? Accessories any and all of it.

I know no names of any 'styles' of decorating- but I know what I like when I see it. Example: I can go to Ikea or something and see a room layout and know I like it but have no idea how to get from the walls to the product. Even worse- stores like Bed, Bath, and Beyond- where I can see something and like it but not have a clue how to work it into a room or use it effectively. Then to add more of a challenge- seasonal decor- makes me want to bury my head.

Where can I start? Would any of you volunteer to help a desperate person struggling? Please.

Fall Fun

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My family like so many others has been tested during this troubled economic time. Our trials have not been as dramatic or as crushing as others and for that I am very grateful- though I recognize it could turn that way in a heartbeat.

But it has challenged me to become more frugal about entertainment and such especially as the Great Lakes winter makes itself known. I am not an obscenely frivolous spender generally but I have had to cut back- which has not always been easy.

Today was a prime example- it was the first 'cool' day in Chicago- it actually snowed in the area. So what did we do? We went to the park. Which granted is new and right around the corner but we played there for an hour or so until we got chilly and came home to re-warm. This is not to say that we do not typically go to parks or anything but more to re-acquaint ourselves with the community in which we live. Our community does have pretty great parks too- which certainly helps matters. Anyway- the point is-

We did not need to spend a dime to play and laugh and get all tired. We played tag and played the swings and in general just well played. Sometimes it is all too easy to get things lost in the chaos of life. Sometimes it is far to easy to forget the squeals of laughter from 'underdogs' on the swings or the zip of a fast slide. Today I was reminded and today I will cherish.

end of my rope.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sometimes making it through is a struggle.

I am at the end of a rapidly fraying rope. When there are too many feelings that are filling you up and there is no pressure relief valve and crying-screaming- hitting- throwing things all seem appropriate ways to cope with it but deciding an action seems paralyzing. When the fear and everything else are overwhelming what do you do? What do you do when you feel so trapped and so stuck that you literally see no way out from this dark?

When the rope you have been hanging on too for the past few months seems to be fraying faster than I can climb.

When needs of the kids from nursing to snuggling to all of it...overwhelm the ability that I have. Someone always needs to cuddle- I however do not have that much to give at this point.

Sleep Glorious Sleep!

Night before last I had the pleasure of spending the night in a hospital tethered to IVs and such.
Sounds awful right? Well you have never parented my children overnight.

Someone else made dinner and brought it/cleaned it up. Then I was jumpy so the nurse brought me a medication to help me relax and sleep. It worked so fast- 10 minutes and my friend who was keeping me company was giggling about my 'drunken' state. Honestly I have no recollection of this interval. Also I have never taken anything to help me sleep- so this was entirely new- then I feel into a deep glorious sleep. That was not interrupted by crying, diapers, accidents, bad dreams, falling out of bed- any of it. It was miraculous.


Now Who Is The Looney Toon???

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

This is delayed by about a week- but I have not written it...

Remember when I took five kids blueberry picking in the rain?? Well I got a few emails about the sense of adventure that I apparently have. haha I am in the minor leauges compared to one of my friends.

She decided to take one of her children on an impromptu road trip to Traverse City Michigan from Chicago- so a significant drive. Oh yeah- she did this alone (which coming from me who hesitates to go outside of my 'box' alone is intimidating). She left at 1 am with her girl in tow. A) at one am I am not coherent- at all- let alone safe to operate a car. B) wow.

So off she went. She had a GPS so in theory she should be good right? That is the interesting about theories- sometimes they are wrong. The highway turned into a four lane road- which turned into a smaller road...all well right?? Well a highway has to end somewhere.... and the GPS was indicating she was on the right track. Well it was wrong. The smaller road turned into a gravel road- which turned into a dirt (mud) road all the while the GPS encouraging her-until she got stuck- in the mud- before dawn- with a four year old- alone. FANTASTIC!

She decided to call for help on her cell- which at best had spotty service- after being told that the cell tower that picked up her distress call was in a different county from her location based on her latitude and longitude and they could not help her- and her laying the mama smack down- she was transferred the appropriate county. Who then helped her find a tow service. She being the ingenious woman she is decided to try and put branches under the car tires for traction- and ended up cutting herself (seriously I never would have thought to do that- the branches not the slicing and dicing). Then she described in detail how she got were she was and attempted to give her approximate location. She gave him her coordinates so he could find her- great- if he had a GPS. So he attempted to follow her direction to rescue her. While searching he also found five others who had gotten lost in the convolution of Michigan roadways (which says something about the navigability of them). Eventually, he had her honking her horn to see if he could hear her and zero in on her that way. Oh so high tech- but he found her and rescued her- my friend the damsel in distress. The part that amazes me is she kept her cool and then continued on her journey and had a great time- to me it would have been unsalvageable at that point.

So now who is the one with the sense of adventure??

This is so totally not a big deal

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

and I know it but it is bugging me.

Yesterday, American Girl sent out an email that they were going to discontinue Kirsten Larson. She happens to by my first American Girl doll. That made me really sad- like they were taking part of my childhood away.

For those of you who are unfamiliar- American Girl used to be about educating girls about life (for tween girls especially) in various historical time periods- often at least touching on the social and political topics of the time. They had historical items as well as clothes and stories about their lives and experiences that girls of today could relate too- such as birthdays, first days of school, holidays etc. Which was an awesome jumping off point to interest girls in history and allow for a lot of discussion.

Enter Mattel. Mattel bought out this company and it no longer seemed focused on the historical element- but on commercialization and the self instituted dichotomy between the have and have nots of society (lets face it- these dolls are NOT cheap)- there of course have been a few scandals now that a global brand is in the mix- but have marketed well. The company has achieved a status of "Tiffany for Tweens".

So why the upset?

I personally have really great memories of reading Kirsten's books in bed with my mom and then being so intrigued that I independently researched immigration in the 1850s. Of course I also have pretty awesome memories of playing the girls adventures with my friends and spending HOURS dressing, undressing, and narrating stories.

The holiday when I received Kirsten stands out in my memory as one of the best in my life. This of course was in the pre-status symbol days of American Girl (then Pleasant Company). I loved that doll and brushed her hair over the years until she was darn near bald- thankfully you could send them in to a hospital to get a new head.....

Of course I am tempted to run out and buy the darn doll for my 5 year old Princess- who may or may not already have 2 American Girl Dolls- maybe I would not give it to her- but save it until she can understand it a bit better. The biggest part I am struggling with is- it would not be about the historical stuff for her- she may never appreciate that- as the focus has totally shifted and I wish I could share that with her.


Monday, October 5, 2009

There are a lot of differing opinions on getting kids to sleep- it can be venomous- like staying at home vs. Working or Bottle feeding vs. Nursing.

I do not intend this to be divisive or angst inducing. Just my opinion and experience as a mom of three children who have very different personalities and sleep needs.

Princess has always been independent. But she has liked to snuggle when she slept. The first hundred or so pictures I have of her and B they were sleeping together- there are even a few of us snuggled up cozy. But she then decided she wanted to sleep on her own- how did we know? She put herself to bed in her own bed. Really I swear. She had a crib that she learned how to get out of at a very very early age- so we took that apart and put up her toddler bed-which she loved. Granted she would also get out of it and line up her shoes or take out her entire wardrobe. She liked her sleep- she still does- and she needs a lot of it. We were lulled into a sense of security that comes with an 'easy' baby. Now she is back to wanting to sleep with a companion. She and Stinky end up sharing a bed more often than not.

Stinky was and is vastly different. From birth he has loved to be warm and cozy. Ideally snuggled right up next to me. He and the crib did not fair well together. He also does not need nearly the amount of sleep Princess does. He is a bit more difficult to get to sleep- stay asleep etc.

And Peas....'le sigh'... wow. She has always had her own opinion and known it- and expressed it loudly. She does not sleep without snuggles. She does not willingly sleep alone. She did not like a bassinet, a crib, any of it. Mama is a body pillow- and hers.

Here is where things get hairy- I would really like a full nights sleep. Ideally without being a body pillow. But *I* (and this applies only to me) do not do "cry it out" well. I feel that I am mama and when they need me I should oblige- that when they go to sleep part of them 'gives up' and believes that no one is coming- and that makes me sad. But it seems that the only way to get some good sleep is to at least consider 'cry it out'.

My end belief is that parents should do what works for their family. My approach may not work for anyone else and that is fine. Someone else's approach may not work for me and that is fine.

Beyond the Barricade!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

"It is the music of the people who will not be slaves again..."

My children and their friends anthem.

In addition to lobbing mud balls into the road one of their other favorite games is "Barricade" well to be honest I do not know if it has a name. The game involves building a makeshift barricade from all of the outside toys that live in the garage. Today it even included a few umbrellas that were left because of the recent rain.

My friend- and neighbor- and mama to my children's playmates- and I have commented how much it resembles the 'Barricade' featured in "Les Miserables" and it really does!!! Maybe we'll dress them up and arm them with marshmellows or something.

I'll admit that age five may be a bit to young to understand the Paris Uprising of 1832 and the several plots and sub-plots of the novel. I mean are antimonachism or familial vs. romantic love or justice topics that are really ripe for discussion with a kindergartner?? For now I'll play the music and she can sing and dance to it- maybe she'll grow to love it. Then maybe when she grows up I'll foist a copy of the story on her.

It is really funny though especially with Stinky has his face covered with dirt to imagine him as a small Gavroche...hopefully his plot line does not end the same way.

But they can build their barricade and I'll watch thinking of so many things that they are so blissfully unaware of- thankfully. And let them enjoy the simple part of being a kid.

How the heck???

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Do you do photo editing? I downloaded an open source application to try my hand at some basic editing. I have ended up more confused than ever- and overwhelmed.

There are a ton of things to mess with and I do not know what half of them mean- then when I try something I have no clue how to do it or improve or any of it. It is so frustrating! I just want to make my pictures prettier- Specifically some of B an my wedding pictures. I would love to get a few framed and hang them around the house but they need some help. Ok well lots of help.

Any tips any tricks or anyone want to do it for me?

Fun things I have said in public as a mom

Photo credit to Jenni at Lions Roar Media

At one point in my life I would try and maintain polite conversation and basically good manners. That ended when I became a mom- well actually when my kids were old enough to say/do/things that may not (ok are definitely) not appropriate in polite society- or even impolite society- but they are said like it is nothing unusual- partly because it is nothing unusual.

One such thing is 'please leave your penis alone'. Stinky- like a lot of boys (and men) has a strange, and what I would consider to be bizarre fascination with his penis, he holds his parts through his pants more often than not. After asking repeatedly if he needs to go potty and being issued a stern denial each time I just ask him to leave his penis alone. That has gotten a few interesting stares from people in the market.

This summer Stinky was new at the potty learning thing so the 'place' to go was occasionally an issue. One such time was at a spray park- when he dropped his pants and peed into the fountains. I looked up and there was his little naked bottom and a stream that delighted him and made me want to pretend I never knew him. So again we had the discussion of good choices of places to go to the bathroom.

Another is "please leave my pants alone". For some reason my children hang on me- I am a mama- a jungle-gym, a maid etc...but especially when standing in line places the kids treat me like like a human stripper pole and go around and around my legs- occasionally putting my pants in jeopardy.

An additional comment to boundaries especially as they pertain to my body is - 'Those are mama's nummis (breasts) please do not touch me there' It is like having a teenage boy around me all the time.

There are lots more of these interesting comments- Princess is improving though. She one time pointed out a person who she did not feel was attractive. And said "look mama she is really ugly!!!" rather loudly. When I tried to remind her that some things could make other people sad if they heard them she defended her comment in a very very interesting way- she was shocked- she commented then "but she is really ugly mama!' (sigh).

Of course there have been a questions that may be inappropriate relative to people with special needs or other medical issues. That I try and be as honest as I can about.