Words of Wisdom: Morning Sickness

My mom owns the Better Homes and Garden Baby Book, published in 1943.  I am always quite interested about . . . let’s call it Modern History.  I am amazed how much our society has changed in sixty/fifty years.  My favorite example is my copy of a reprinted Betty Crocker Cookbook, where in the back it suggests lying on the kitchen floor to take a quick nap with a cartoon illustration of a woman actually lying on the kitchen floor as though she passed out from the wrong cleaning fumes.  It’s hilarious.  So far I have only skimmed the first part of the book, and I would like to share one of my favorite passages.


Although one-half to two-thirds of all expectant mothers have experienced nausea, especially in the first months of pregnancy, doctors today feel that much of the morning sickness in early pregnancy stems from a psychological rather than physical cause.  They believe that it results from the deep emotions that are aroused when a woman becomes aware that she is pregnant.  Some doctors think, too, that the fact that many women expect to be nauseated and vomit when they’re pregnant may account for “morning sickness.” (pg 39)


Now you can understand why I am filled with deep emotions when I read this as I am not sure whether to laugh or cry.  I can guarantee you that my morning sickness was not due to a psychological cause but that for some reason I couldn’t keep anything down for several months and that fetus Tornado E despised Baja-style tacos.  Since my mother and my grandma never had morning sickness (which I do believe just shows that life is just unfair and this is not genetic), I did not expect to have morning sickness.  But I had it in abundance, getting worse with Tornado S’s pregnancy.


Obviously the passage was written by a man and those “doctors” were men too.  Before you think we’ve moved on, let me assure you my husband came home one day to tell me that he thought my morning sickness was all in my head.  That my husband is alive today is a testament to my sainthood.  Please let the Vatican know.


I find it crazy that one-half to two-thirds of pregnant women were blatantly ignored, brushed over, disregarded over their feelings, their vomiting.  Heck, when they noticed that one-eighth (not a meager one-half) of men become prematurely bald, researchers were falling all over themselves to find out why, when, how, and a goddamn cure.  So where’s my goddamn cure?  (Sorry, I’m getting a little carried away.  Just wait until I return to the throws of morning sickness.) 


Today researchers believe that morning sickness is caused by the increased amount of hormones in the body.  Research shows no good evidence that morning sickness is in the head.  Many nurses will gleefully tell you that morning sickness is a sign that the baby is developing well.  My doctor assured me it was a good sign without the glee probably because I would not except the glee from anyone with a pair of testicles without a good kick to them.


It’s just nice to have a laugh once in a while at what used to be.


However if you’re experiencing this discomfort, it would be hard for anyone to convince you that you’re imagining things. (pg 39)


No shit.  It’s sort of like someone telling you that your broken arm is all in your head even though the arm is hanging crooked.




To be continued  . . . With words of wisdom of loosing baby weight.

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More Halloween Crafts

Tissue Ghosts

(The boys enjoyed this one.  It was easy and fun.  They especially enjoyed decorating the ghosts.)

Things you need:

  • 2 sheets of white tissue paper
  • ribbon or string
  • markers

Wad one sheet of tissue paper into a ball.  (Evan loved that.)  Place the tissue ball into the middle of the other sheet.  Pull the ends together, and tie the ribbon just over the ball, creating sort of a bag.  Flip it over, and decorate the head with a face.  If you want, decorate the rest of the ghost like Evan did.

Paper Pumpkins

(While I was looking for a template to make a pumpkin, I came across this site.  I was planning on cutting out the pumpkin in orange and cutting out eyes, nose, and mouth out of black or yellow.  I liked this idea better.  I let the boys color them however they wanted, and because my boys are young, I cut out the shapes and allowed them to glue them on.  The boys had a lot of fun with this.)


Halloween Countdown Calendar

So Evan is dying for Halloween.  It doesn’t help that everywhere we go there’s a Halloween store.  He just can’t wait to be a witch, or a ghost, or a bat, or whatever it is that comes to him mind that day.  So I was reading dooce.com (a great blog, which I highly recommend if you haven’t seen it), and Heather posted about a Halloween countdown calender someone had toddler her about.  Well, no time like the present.  I will post this in crafts, but I figured parents out there might want to see this.  This will be a great activity for elementary school kids, but for toddlers, you will have to do most the work yourself.  I made the boys paper bracelets to keep them entertained. 

Materials you need:

  • several pieces of construction paper (black and orange look nice)
  • staples
  • scissors
  • Halloween picture (like a coloring Halloween sheet that you can have the kids color as you cut)

So allow the child color the Halloween picture and even the construction paper if you are inclined.  Fold the construction paper in thirds and then in half.  Using the folds as guides, cut the paper into strips.  Use the strips to make a chain, stapling the ends of each circle together.  Make as many links as there are days intil Halloween.  Staple the chain to the Halloween picture.  Now from the day you made the chain until Halloween, let the child tear off a link as a visual reminder to how far Halloween is away.

And yes, like Heather’s daughter, my son wanted to tear off all the links at once to have Halloween come sooner.  But every time, Evan asks for Halloween to be tomorrow, I point to the calender and tell him that when the links are gone, then it’ll be Halloween.

Halloween Party

I LOVE Halloween! Every since I had my own place to throw a party, I threw a huge Halloween party every year.  I even throw a Halloween part in the middle of March.  My friends start bugging me about a party just around this time, and I get all excited with all the different magazines and stuff I have to plan a great bash.  But last year we ran into some horrible drama, which I would rather not discuss, and I realized with two toddlers, whose bedtime means my sanity; it doesn’t quite fit with throwing a Halloween party, that ALWAYS runs late.  But I DO love Halloween, and I assume some of you might be throwing your own bashes, so I thought I would offer up some of my best ideas.

First off.  I love Evite.com.  They have the best invitations, and it forces people to RSVP.  (Yeah, you know who you are that didn’t RSVP to any of the birthday parties.)  It also keeps a running count on those RSVPs.  Of course, I have also hand delivered invites.  They were written on brown paper sacks that I had spilled coffee on, burnt the edges, and wrote in red, sealing with wax.  It looked awesome. 

Next the food.

I apologize for stealing any recipes.  My computer died last year, erasing all the sites with recipes.  Besides I modified most of them for my guests’ tastes.

My favorite: Witch Hats

Get the Snackwell’s Devil Food cakes (the original recipe called for the chocolate covered Oreo’s but they were too rich.  And I have a high tolerance for rich and sweet) and Hershey kisses.  Melt a few kisses to “glue” the kisses on the cakes, leaving some melted chocolate spreading out from under the kiss.  Sprinkle some colored sugar or nonpareils as decoration or frost a head band.  (These go fast!)

Twinkie Ghosts

Get Twinkies, white frosting and chocolate chips.  Frost the Twinkies and add the chocolate chips for eyes.  (Simple, rich, sweet, and everyone LOVES these.  Correction, the women love these!  The men eat the salsa.)

Dirt and Worms

Get Oreos and gummy worms.  Crush the Oreos and add the gummy worms.  (I love this.  The kids love this.)


Make a meringue (beat 2 egg whites with 1/8 t of cream of tartar until you have small peaks then gradually add 1/2 c of sugar as you beat into stiff peaks).  We added chocolate spinkles to give it a darker look.  Pipe a milk bone shape on a parchment covered baking sheet.  Bake for an 1-1/2 hours at 225 degrees.  Store in air tight container or they get a little soggy.  Be careful because if one side of the bone breaks they look a little “adult.”

Sea Serpent Sandwiches

Get the Pillsbury refrigerated French bread and sandwich toppings.  Make the French bread into an “S” shape, cut triangles with scissors for scales, and make a mixture of Italian seasonings and melted butter for an extra kick on the bread.  Pillsbury recommends cutting a mouth, but it’s pretty difficult.  And for a good “S” shape, we shaped the bread around two glasses (glass, not plastic) as it baked.  When the bread is cooled, Cut it and make the sandwiches.  Use pimento olives and toothpicks for the eyes.  We cut it into slices once people get there.  (These go amazingly fast.)

Bat Wings

Get chicken wings, food coloring, and bar-b-que sauce.  Dye the sauce black.  Marinate the wings, and grill them.  (Depending on the years and the guests, they go fast.  Sometimes they don’t.)

Halloween Salsa or Brochette

Substitute orange tomatoes for red.  Be cautioned orange tomatoes are juicier.


In the front yard, we have chalk body outlines (the cop, aka my dad, thinks it’s crazy because in thirty years on the force, he never had to do a chalk outline.  Thanks, Dad, but it’s STILL spooky.), cemetery with soil topper as fresh mounds, and real police line tape (Ok, I cheated.).  We also spray painted a couple tiki torches and have them line the walk way to the house.

Inside we have fog machines and a dozen black lights.  There are candles everywhere.  I cover the furniture with white sheets from a second hand store.  We literally take down everything that isn’t Halloween.  I am an artist with fake cobwebs; a little goes a long way.

In the bathroom, I use the cheap red paint from Wal-Mart to leave hand prints and “help” on the mirror.  I also let a few drops run down the sink.  This totally got a friend of mine, who thought I actually did cut myself.  Don’t worry about the paint; it’s easy to clean up the next day.

My favorite is the Halloween Tree, which we did for two years.  It’s just a branch I would find and drag home.  I decorate the tree with those plastic Halloween rings, black light Christmas lights (green, purple or blue lights work too), and fake barbwire.  Last year Martha Stewart had a Halloween tree that she put treat baggies on for kids.  I thought that was cute, but I haven’t tried it.  As entertainment, I ask people to bring a gift for a gift exchange around the Halloween tree.

What we did try was cutting pumpkins to hold ice and beer bottles.  Instead of finding a bowl to fit in to it like Martha (I bet I could if I had assistants and a prop room), we lined the pumpkins with plastic wrap.  I also filled latex gloves with water to make finger ice.  I also filled one with ice and fruit snacks to float in the punch bowl.


If you have little goblins coming, you HAVE to have entertainment.  The first year people brought their kids, one of the kids went half way down the laundry shoot.  Great.  Now that I’m a mom I feel guilty giving away candy right before Halloween, so last year I gave away pirate coins that they could turn in for prizes at the end of the night.

The favorite: Halloween Egg Hunt

I’ve tried this several different ways.  You could spray orange reflective paint on hard boiled eggs, and draw jack-o-lantern faces.  Of course, no one will eat the eggs, so I found it a waste.  You can spray paint plastic Easter eggs.  A little bit of a pain because you have to coat them with the plastic paint and then the reflective paint.  But they look cool.  Use glitter Easter eggs.  Or we found plastic jack-o-lanterns and coffins (original use: to hold candy for class parties).  We hid them everywhere.  When it gets dark, we let the kids find them with flashlights.  So the coffins weren’t the best idea, and you have to remember where you hid all the “eggs” or make a map for yourself.  I told them first person to 6 (or whatever number) would get a special prize, that way all the kids have a chance of getting a few.  But the kids love it.  Just remember to tell and remind people to bring flashlights.  And have a few ready to go.

Drawing on your head

Have the kids draw a jack-o-lantern on a piece of paper on their head.  Last year we had the kids vote for who they thought did the best.


Have the kids lie down like they’re dead.  They can’t speak or move or they are out.  I used to use this game when I was a babysitter.  The kids LOVE this game.  It is a good game to mellow them out or to give you a break.

Donut eating race

You know hang the donut from a string.  Have several hanging from a pole, allowing some people to hold it.  Make the kids eat without their hands first, and then half way let them eat with their hands.

Candy corn in a jar

Guess the candy corn.  Don’t forget to count as you fill the jar, and put the number somewhere safe.


I painted Styrofoam balls black.  (No spray-paint because it’ll eat the Styrofoam.)  Give the kids eight pipe cleaners cut in half to stick in the body for legs.  Bend the pipe cleaners at the “knees”.  Glue goggley eyes and jewels to decorate.

Costume Contest

Have a vote

Matching Game (for the adults)

My husband loves this game.  We find like twenty or thirty pictures of villains: living, dead, fictional.  We have people write down who they think they are.  You can either give them a list of the names or make it challenging and force them to guess.

We used to show Attack of the Body Snatchers or Jaws on mute, but now they are kids, so we show a Nightmare Before Christmas.  My baby brother mixes me some really cool CDs.  ‘

So I hope that helps.  If you have any questions, let me know.  I’m sure I can give step-by-step instructions if asked.  And if this stuff works for you or you have other suggestions, please let me know. 

Food Fights

Today I opened up Yahoo to find the news article “6 Food Mistakes Parents Make” by Tara Parker-Pope (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/15/health/healthspecial2/15eat.html?no_interstitial) , and guess what number two was.  Yup, forcing your kid to take a bite of something they wouldn’t eat any ways.  Apparently this will back fire, and the child may end up hating the food.  Probably to show some independence of “see you can’t make me.”  Last night my dad said the same thing.  I think it’s a sign.

As I mentioned in an earlier post about Picky Eaters, I am trying to tackle the challenge of Evan not trying any food by forcing him to eat one tiny, little bite.  Results have been mixed.  The first night after two hours, I forced in a sliver of spinach into his mouth and crammed the juice straw after it.  The second night Evan took a bite of corn after fifteen minutes, and he declared it tasted like candy, which it should because it was sweet corn.  The third night I left my husband in charge, and he just let Evan run off.  The fourth night was almost three hours of whining, pleading, crying, and sulking.  (Guess who did what.)  He went to bed without eating anything but a slice of whole wheat baguette.  The fault was partially mine for putting the whole meal together without more things Evan would eat.  Finally last night, he ate a chicken leg, soy beans, a roll, and some watermelon, but he would not touch the potato salad. 

After two hours of stalemate, I called for help.  My dad explained it was a losing battle and I should back off.  I told him he forced me to eat things.  He countered that I was much older.  Well, I don’t exactly remember my toddler years, so I guess I’ll have to believe him.  And Evan did eat soy beans and watermelon.  So it’s time to sound a retreat and regroup.  Or not necessarily a retreat, just a fall back to evaluate the situation.

So I read the article, twice.  The new plan is to pull out that stupid puree book.  Ok, it’s not stupid; it’s just time consuming.  Of course, I did figure out you could easily use baby food instead of pureeing. The other problem is the meals are somewhat time consuming when you have a little toddler begging to be picked up, pushing you from the counter, trying to turn your legs.  (Yes, Sean actually grabs on to my legs and tries to turn them around.  He’s surprisingly strong.)  When your husband isn’t home to help manage the kids (or he got sucked into a rerun of a Superbowl from twelve years ago), it’s a little hard to fry chicken or bake a lasagna. 

The other part of the plan is to really put out the vegetables.  Three or four, instead of one or two.  I’ll put out more than just raisins at lunch time.  I’ll start trying berries with the banana and watermelon at breakfast.  I’ll have to figure out a new fruit because summer is almost over.  Evan LOVES watermelon.  I’ve got to replace it with something.  The hope is he may just be curious enough to try something as long as I’m eating it.

The last mistake in the article was parents giving up too soon.  Well, that’s not me.  I’m pretty stubborn, more stubborn than my mom and my husband give me credit for.  I will not raise a picky child.  I will not raise a picky child.  I will not raise a picky child.

I really hope I don’t eat my words.

Picky Eater

My husband tells of how he used to HATE to eat.  HATE.  When he was a kid.  He didn’t want to eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  He hated coming in to eat dinner, to stare at dinner and try to swallow it down.  He naturally assumes all children are like that.

My brothers and I loved to eat.  Of course, we hated certain foods.  Like fried okra.  To a one, we hate fried okra.  We would walk into our grandma’s house, smelling the delicious smell of fried oil, mouths watering over the thought of fried chicken, mock chicken legs, or chicken-fried steak.  Only at dinner we would be greeted with fried okra.  My baby brother actually threw up once from eating it, and he was never forced to eat it again.  Tim and I were so jealous.  I can’t even eat fried bananas because it’s the same texture.  Yuck!  But back to loving food, we would race through our meal because seconds were up to first come, first serve.  In our teen years, we would compete on who could eat more at the buffet.  And to this day, we still sneak treats from the kitchen, devouring like a swarm of locusts as we converge on my parent’s house.  (Of course, I’m the only one who gets dirty looks from my mom because I still have weight to lose.  Thanks mom.)

Since Evan became a toddler, the discussions of our youthful eating habits are very popular at our house. 

Husband: I hated my mom’s cooking.  I think she was a bad cook.  The only thing I liked were her breads.  Your mom is a better cook.  Better than you.

Me: Hey!  I use the same recipes!  But she is good.  Mashed potatoes, fried chicken, enchiladas, chimichangas, potato soap.  Mmmm.  What did you eat?

Husband: Casseroles.  Lots of casseroles.

Me: Well, that explains it.  Yuck!  That and one pot dishes.

Husband: Yeah, I ate a lot of those too.

Me: Really, there are only a few good ones.  She was cooking with her time.  Everyone did casseroles or one pot dishes back then.  Goulash.  Yuck!

Husband:  I hated steak as a kid!  I hated steak!?  Who hates steak?

Me:  Mmm, steak.  The only time we got steak was when it was on sale and we were going camping at The Cabin.  Nothing like a t-bone over an open flame.  But anyways, your mom had brain surgery in ’69, didn’t she?

Husband: Yeah.  She lost her sense of smell.

Me: Well, that’s an answer.

And yes, we have this conversation several times a month.  Because Evan eats sparingly.  He likes meat but won’t touch a vegetable.  He likes raisins (we’re stocked), grapes, and watermelon (what will I do when summer is over?).  And of course, he inherited my sweet tooth.  And I’m at my wits end.

The other day I served mozzarella-spinach stuffed ravioli.  I swear I have seen him it it before.  Sean was woofing it down, and Evan stared at the plate and asked what it was.  Mini quasidillas.  (ok, Lying is bad.  but really?)  He nibbled.  He nibbled.  Then he saw the spinach.  “Yuck!  The green stuff is yucky!”  Fine, don’t eat.  But the rule stands as you don’t eat dinner, you don’t get anything else.  Until you ask your dad for cereal.  And he says “at least it’s healthy.”  Awesome.

My husband and best friend say that there are just picky eaters out there.  Well, swell, but they have to eat more than a dozen things.  And the hell I’m raising a picky eater.  Not in my household, not when I am armed with my mom’s recipes. 

Then the experts say not to force your children, not to beg.  After 15 times, they’ll learn to love it.  Ok, how do I get him to try it once, twice, the fifth time.  My dad insists that I don’t force Evan to clean his plate because he doesn’t want Evan to eat after he is full.  Where was this logic when I was a kid?  Remember the fried okra?  And I have stooped to pureeing and hiding it in the foods, which my grandma thinks is crazy.  Hey, I still serve vegetables.  Besides, it makes the meal fuller, adds more vegetables, and is helping me loose weight.

So I finally found some options to try to makes him eat, as I watch the Supernanny demand the kids eat vegetables before they leave the table.  Ok, again, I don’t want to force past the fullness.  And as I tell my mom about one crazy scheme after another, she said, “I thought you were going to try the no thank you bite.”  Oh.  Right.  I forgot.

So tonight,  I was determined.  Damn it.  He was going to eat a bite of everything.  The chicken, the rice, the cucumber, the spinach.  And it was crazy.  He loved the chicken.  As it was a new recipe with a soy sauce-honey glaze with sesame seeds, I was worried.  He ate the rice.  He even took a few bites of the cucumber, dipped it in his milk, and took a few more bites.  (At one time, he loved cucumbers, then he stopped six months back.  I serve them a lot hoping for that love to return.)  Then he was done, and I asked him to take a bite of spinach.  One bite.

So began the two hour ordeal.  My husband left to work in the home office, as I tried to entertain Sean, clean up dinner, and force Evan to eat one little bite of spinach.  Evan didn’t want us to play, didn’t want us to watch TV, didn’t want us to blow bubbles or dance.  He spilled his milk on accident.  I got him a new plate with new spinach.  He had to go potty.  He had to be naked.  He wanted his daddy.  He was too cold.  He needed a sweatshirt.  He needed a diaper.  He wanted his daddy.  He wanted to hold his mother’s hand.  All the while “Eat one bite of spinach.  One bite.  A no thank you bite.”  “No, thank you, Mommy, spinach is not for me.” 

Finally I told him grandma would have made me eat the whole thing.  My son did not believe me.  Not Grandma.  She’s a saint. She’s so sweet.  And I remembered what Bill Cosby said, “These people are getting old, they’re going to be judged.  They’re trying to make it up.”

So we called Grandma and Papi.  And they talked to him.  Then after they hung up the phone, I had an idea.  I explained my idea to Evan as I handed him his no-spill juice glass.  I got the tiniest bit of spinach on his fork.  I jammed it in.  I forced the straw of the juice into his mouth, clamping his jaw to make him sip.  I kept saying drink, drink, it’ll make the taste go away.  And the kid didn’t spit out the spinach.  And we were so excited!

And am I crazy?

The Fashion Police

I think it’s time to discuss the quote of “We are the fashion police,” by Susan Jane Gilman, who Kiss My Tiara.  It’s a philosophy that I am trying desperately to live by with some success but not always.  I have it on my cell phone, on my wall in my office, and now on my blog.  It is a call to arms, a reminder that behind every judgement is us.

I have read Kiss My Tiara more times than I count, and I have bought about a dozen copies, only to turn around and give them away again.  Its a great read, an answer to The Rules book that came out years ago.  Gilman thought women needed rules, just not rules on how to catch a man, rules for life, handed down from her gin drinking, cake eating grandma.  While I live by the suggestion of using my PMS to badger politicians like the president, I have trouble with realizing that I am apart of the fashion police.

Behind every sneer or rumor is usually a woman, or more likely a group of women.  In middle school, who gave us girls a hard time, it was other girls, some who were actually old friends.  Who usually started the vicious rumors about people in high school?  A group of girls.  When we see some women in too-short of a dress or a hideous outfit, we immediately make a snide comment to the nearest woman, who will agree.  (Now, I understand that I’m making generalizations.  I’m a perfect example.  While I had a girl bully and was harassed by girls in middle school, it was the boys who were meaner by handing me a razor, telling me to go shave in the bathroom.  In high school, it was a boy who spread the rumor around that I was a lesbian.  But I would bet nine times out of ten, it’s a girl.  So please bear with me.)  But honestly how many times have we gossiped about other women at the party or even other friends? And I’m right there with every one else.  I love to talk, which usually leads straight to gossip.

Just remember when Hillary Clinton was running for the nomination on the Democratic ticket and some of the media criticized her when her make-up and hair wasn’t done to perfection.  Or those stupid tabloids that catch celebrity women without make-up.  I remember one cover had Juliet Roberts without make-up and in sweats, but the woman had just had her twins like a month before.  I mean honestly.  How many times has the media pounded on a teenage star who gained to much weight?  How many of us were discussing Jennifer Aniston’s divorce from Brad Pitt?  Really, what do we know?

We have all these examples around us.  Since we are quite communicative, I’m suggesting we just try to judge and go by “we’re all doing the best we can” philosophy.  I don’t like Dr. Laura Schlessinger because she judges so much.  It’s despicable to have an advice call in show where instead of helping, you criticize the very people who call in.  We get it.  No one should have kids out of wedlock, but something happens and now they’re calling you for help.  And if you’re going to be so adamantly anti-abortion, then you can’t be so pissed off at babies born to unwed mothers.  Shit happens.  People have to take responsibility.  Some moms have to, need to, want to work, and that doesn’t make them bad moms.  Honestly, we’re all in this together and trying to make do the best we can with what we have.

A few months ago, I actually realized I’m making progress with my philosophy as I quoted it back to my friend.  Earlier at a dinner with friends and the boys, I mentioned the high statistic of how many toddlers had had soda in their bottle.  Later that night as we bought the boys ice cream (yeah, I know, I’m a good mom.), a family walks in with a little boy about 18 months drinking orange soda from a bottle.  I think my best friend’s and my mouths dropped open. 

My best friend turned to me and whispered, “What the hell?  He’s too old for the bottle.  And orange soda!  That’s lousy parenting.” 

And before I could agree, I thought of my philosophy and shrugged.  “We’re all doing the best we can.”

“Really?  That’s just neglect.” 

“Well, it could be a special treat or a one time thing.  We’ll never know.  We just have to hope that this isn’t normal and the parents are teaching their kids better.”

Yes, we’ll judge.  We’ll gossip.  We all have opinions.  But I think we need to take a second and cool down over the non-threatening stuff.  If a parent is doing something dangerous, step in, but if the kid is two and has a bottle, well, the parent will learn.  Just like we’ll make judgements over that woman who wears the short skirts and goes home with guys, but we will never know what she actually does or feels.  And yes, I joined my best friend in calling her STD girl, but I hope now I can shrug and say, “She can do what she wants.  I hope she’s doing it safe.”

We are all the fashion police.  We are all doing the best we can with what we have.