Q-TIP

Once upon a time, a young, Hispanic, single mother became an EMT.  She worked her ass off to get through school, juggling kids and work.  When she got her first assignment, she was sent to a suburb known for catering to retirees, usually from the Northeast of the country.  Her supervisor gave her a tour of the facility on her first day.  She found it odd that on every computer, on every desk, nearly everywhere she looked she saw a Q-Tip. 

“Uh, why are there Q-Tips taped everywhere?” asked the EMT.

“Oh that.  Good question.  It’s to remind us to Quit Taking It Personal.  Q-TIP.  One day you’ll answer a call, and it’ll be a little old woman.  And you will try to help her, and she will scream, ‘Get away from me; I want a man.’  If you take it personally and back off, she will die.  You have to ignore her and do your job,” said the supervisor.

The teacher at the parenting class told us that true story and then related it back to parenting.  Often our children behave in certain ways or do certain things or say certain things, and we are so very sure they are acting out to get us.  We assign “adult” motive to behaviors that just are.  They are not insolent; they’re kids.  They’re not ignoring you out of spite; they’re ignoring you because they HAVE to finish their projects.  They don’t mean they hate you; they are just so angry they can’t express it.  Once you let go of the assigned “motive,” it’s easier to get to the root of the problem and handle it appropriately. 

When we take it personally, we let our emotions get the better of us.  And when we act in that way, well, we’re killing the souls of our children.  Slowly.  We want our children to question, to lead, to think for themselves, but we want our children to listen and mind us. Parenting is a balancing act of teaching a child morals, values, and social norms and allowing the child autonomy to be who he/she is meant to be. We don’t want to squash them, so we must give them enough rope and realize that we are the adults and need to act like it.

It works with adults too.  We are self-centered people.  We assume every action was done to us for some reason, but often what is done to us is done by someone just as selfish as us and did it for personal reason, not having to do with us at all.

So, Q-TIP.  Quit Taking It Personal.

The beginning of beautiful friendships

Parenting classes have started again.  For those keeping count, this is the third session of six-week classes.  Most of us have been together from the beginning, with one exception (and they were at the last session).  It is nice to be surrounded with smart, funny people being driven slowly insane by parenting.  While I’m sure the class has great value, I go for the entertainment.

Such as:

Dad A: So when do you suggest we start corporal punishment?

***

Dad B (in response to what would make your child feel treasured): Long dresses.  That’s all she wants.

***

Dad B (giving me helpful advice on how to get Tornado E to leave the school without a battle): Get in the car and drive around the block.  I guarantee he would never do it again.

***

Mom A: I learned to speak softly

Me: And carry a big stick.

***

Mom C: We have four children, ages 6, 4, 2, and 2 months

Dad B: And no TV.

The teacher: What?

Me: You know, because they have four kids.  (turning to the mom) They have some really great TVs for reasonable prices and DVDs too.

***

Me: I have three kids.  5, 3, and 10 months next week.

Mom E: So you haven’t slept in years, either.

Me: Oh, I have long ago decided I didn’t need sleep.

***

Mom B: I get it.  No sarcasm on the children.  But we can still use it on our husbands?

***

Next week I’m going to count how many times our teacher raises her eyes to the heavens and says, “They don’t pay me enough to do this.”  We are going to do what countless of parents sent by the state have failed to do . . . send this woman to early retirement.

Gotda- Sonofa- UUGH!!!

Ever had one of THOSE mornings.

The morning that should go right because you DID get up early, you DID make lunches the night before, hell you even HAD the breakfast dishes out and ready.  Yet, with an hour and 45 minutes to get three boys ready and yourself, you barely made it to school on time.  BECAUSE they were playing with this toy or that, playing this game or that, complaining about this thing or that.  All the while you’ve repeated yourself enough times that you just KNOW this is a curse from your mother because you must have done the same thing. Once you had it to HERE, you pull out the big guns.  The ones you save for special occasions like when your child is trying to cock-fight with his brother or your child is trying to get a jar of jelly while bringing down the rest of them or your son is displaying his little manhood in public to his friends.  (Wait, that last one might be just me.)  So you use The Voice and command like God to get their acts together and get ready so help you God, you may have to something drastic.  Like strangle them.

Yeah, I thought so.

I once felt so brilliant.  The morning routine chart worked, having my boys ready to go, being dressed and prepared, getting school to early to snag the best spot and let Tornado E run off some steam before school.  But then cracks began to appear.  Tornado E was A personality and HAD to do everything in perfect order.  Tornado E and Tornado S made it a competition where someone always looses (usually Tornado S) and there were tears and fights, and I began to wonder if I was causing permanent damage to their relationship.  Then Tornado E realized that he could get the chart done right away or at the last second.  Either way, it got done.  So why hurry?  Now he doesn’t bother to do the chart at all.

I don’t like yelling.  I sound like a Harpie.  I don’t want to use The Voice because it’ll lose it’s a effectiveness.  I don’t want to be late; I hate scrambling.  I worry that if I start a rewards system, I’m rewarding them for things they should always be doing.  Like picking up their toys.

So I ask you, wise parents, any one got anything?

Anxieties and Accidents

I knew the separation was going to hit the boys hard.  Their daddy wasn’t going to be there in the middle of the night.  The Husband didn’t think it would be that bad.  Maybe an outburst or two.  He figured that they would be used to him going away for two weeks and being back for two weeks that this would be cake.

But it wasn’t.  They’ve been sniffing the air, testing it, knowing something isn’t quite right with their family.  Tornado E asked one day months ago, “Daddy, why do you make Mommy cry?”  Here we thought we were having our tough conversations with them tucked in bed asleep.  Or the day after The Husband decided we needed a separation.  Tornado E said, “Mommy, is Daddy going away to live in California forever?”  “No, Baby; he’d never leave you.”  Or later that day when Tornado S said this, “Daddy, you don’t go away.  We need you.  We ALL need you.”  This was months before we even decided on the official separation and before we even told them.  So yeah, I knew it would hit them hard.

It will be two weeks from tomorrow when we told them.  Tornado E has peed his pants once a day, if not twice, since then.  Tornado S is having accidents almost every day too.  I don’t know how I can reassure them any more.  We hug them and love them.  We whisper our love into their ears.  We’ve kept the Saturday Fun Day with the family going.  My mom gushes over them, holding them.  But the accidents keep happening.

Any suggestions?

Bringing Home Baby . . . #2

Want to blow your kid’s world away?

Bring home a sibling.

Nothing changes the family dynamics like a new little brother or sister.  And everyone has heard the horror stories of the older sibling who now hates mommy and daddy because of that thing.  A friend of mine told me her son didn’t speak to her for three days.  When my baby brother was born, my grandma refused to tell me it was a boy in fear that I would turn my wrath towards her.  (I just refused to learn his name for six months or so.)  As we neared d-day of Tornado S, The Husband and I worried what Tornado E would do and tried to prepare.

First off, Tornado E was just under two.  Do you know that two-year-olds don’t have a very good grasp of gentle?  My first attempt of paving the way to a non-only-child-household was to buy Tornado E a baby doll to teach him gentle.  Tornado E loved Bobby and readily practiced gentle.

Second, I bought a Big Brother Gift.  Some experts say to have the gift be from the new baby; other experts say that your elder child(ren) will know a baby didn’t buy the gift so don’t insult the child(ren) with a lie.  Seeing The Husband has a hard enough time letting Santa have all the glory, we just had the gift come from us.

Third, I stalk piled small gifts for Tornado E just in case people brought only gifts for the baby.  Yeah, let’s start out an already rocky relationship with jealousy.  Lucky for us, we didn’t need one of those gifts because our friends were so generous with Tornado E.  The baby just got clothes; Tornado E got toys.  Sweet.  (I kept the gifts for birthday and Christmas.)

Fourth, we added Daddy time.  The Husband now made it a point to take Tornado E to the park or some small adventure every week, starting during the last trimester.  Tornado E was over the moon to go with just daddy.

Fifth, we made it a point to never say Tornado E couldn’t do something (like scream in the house during baby’s naptime) because of the baby.

Sixth, my mom came out for three weeks to help with the adjustment of Tornado S.  She came in the day Tornado S was born, staying the night with Tornado E, making it a special treat.  She let him help her decorate the house for the baby’s homecoming.  She let him pick out flowers for mommy and a gift for the baby.  She spent tons of time with him during those three weeks.

I’m not sure how we managed it really, but I waited for the other shoe to drop for months, waiting for Tornado E to start hating the baby, start hating me, start being angry and resentful.  But it never happened.  He adored Tornado S.  The birth announcements were a picture of Tornado E holding Tornado S, beaming with pride.  Tornado E didn’t begrudge Tornado S any time, any toy, any baby thing.

One day as I sat nursing Tornado S, Tornado E climbed on the couch next to me with Bobby.  He pulled up his shirt, cradled Bobby in his arms, and started nursing Bobby.  Yup, just like Mommy.  I turned to my mom.

Me: Um, what do you think?

My Mom: (Trying not to laugh too hard) We should get him a baby doll bottle.

Me: Especially before The Husband sees this.

Now we can only hope that bringing home baby #3 will be just as easy.

To cut or not to cut

(Note: This isn’t meant to change any one’s mind.  I think this issue is personal.  I really don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer.  This is just to say what happened in our family and why we decided what we did. )

We really believed Tornado E would be a girl.  The Husband was sure.  My mom was sure.  Heck, even my dad dreamed of a baby girl.  But somewhere in the third trimester, The Husband thought it would be prudent if we discussed circumcision.  Don’t you hate when your husband is right?

I had a lot of information under my belt.  I knew the religious, social, and cultural reasons for circumcision.  I even had to research the historical beginnings for several papers.  (In case you’re wondering, it began in ancient Egypt for boys at 12 to prove they bled into manhood like girls bled into womanhood.)  I even listened for several, several, several hours to a guy I knew who was against the whole thing.  He personally felt that because of his that his sex wasn’t nearly as good, but I’ll guarantee you that it didn’t ruin his sex life one bit.  In my sexpert research, many claimed that an uncircumcised man enjoyed sex better and so did his partner.  Unfortunately any girls I knew who could give me a personal account used condoms, which defeated the point.

The Husband had his own experiences.  He knew a guy who wasn’t circumcised.  After being married for a couple years, his wife made him get a circumcision because she thought his penis was gross.  It’s a painful procedure that lays a guy up longer than a vasectomy.  The sick part was his wife still divorced him less than a year after the procedure.

But I agreed that we should research it all.  We dove into it.  I taught The Husband how to search for qualified research.  For every article we found that supported circumcision, we found another against it.  Every time we decided we wouldn’t do it, we found evidence to change our mind.

The Husband: Well, read this one.

Me:  Hmm.  Yeah, but read this one.

The Husband: Hmmm.

Me: Would you be worried if he didn’t look like you?

The Husband: No, not all.  But what if girls don’t want to get near him because of it?

Me: Do we want him around girls that would take issue with his penis?

The Husband: No.  You’re right we don’t.

Me: This article says the foreskin is important for lubrication.

The Husband:  And this article says that circumcised men have a slightly lower chance of STDS.

Me: This sucks.

The Husband: Yes.  It does.

By the next OB/GYN appointment, we were both confused and still wondering what to do.

The Doc: So, any questions?

The Husband: Actually, we have one.

The Doc: (light up since we’re probably the only first time parents without questions) Yes?

The Husband: Fae and I have been debating circumcision, but everything we find just negates everything else.  We can’t see the difference.  What’s your opinion?

The Doc: Hmmm.  (He took a minute.)  It’s all a personal choice.  I don’t want to sway you.  But if you’re unsure, then the medical evidence does support that a male with a circumcised penis has a slightly less chance of getting an STD.  It’s so slight that if you didn’t want your son circumcised, I wouldn’t worry about it.  But if you wanted the extra evidence to make a decision, that’s the medical stance.

The Husband and I: Thank you.

As we left in the car, The Husband and I agreed that a slight less chance of STD was better than none.  Of course, my mom weighed in, saying she got my brothers circumcised because she didn’t know how she was going to teach and be sure a ten-year-old’s penis was clean.

So when Tornado E was born and in the hospital, I got to know the staff and rooms very well.  Including nursing in the circumcision room, which is scary with all its boards and straps.  I asked the nurses, who assured me that the babies were given pain medication, that the straps were tight but not uncomfortable, that the procedure was quick and nearly painless after the meds.  I was reassured.  Except Tornado E didn’t get his done in the hospital because of his meds.  I had to take him to the doctor’s office a few days after they took out his IV.

My mom and I arrived at the OB/GYN with Tornado E on a Friday for an appointment right before lunch.  I helped get Tornado E ready, and then they shooed me out of the room to wait with my mom.  A few minutes later the nurse came back with a screaming Tornado E.  A screaming, hurt Tornado E.  What did I do?  I let them hurt my baby!  I grabbed Tornado E from the nurse’s arms and started crying too.  My mom started crying because I was crying.

The nurse: Didn’t you give him any pain medication?

That woman is only alive today because I had Tornado E in my arms.  My mom and I shot her nasty looks.

My Mom: Well, it would have been nice if someone told a first time mom what she was suppose to do.

The nurse wisely and quickly left the room.  I cried and cried.

My Mom: Fae, you have to stop crying.  Tornado E won’t stop until you do.  We’ll go to the drug store, and I’ll run get him some Tylenol, and you can nurse him.  He’ll feel better with a full stomach.  It’ll be fine.  It’s over.

I nodded and eventually was able to compose myself.  We left, got the pain medication, and fed Tornado E in the parking lot.  My mom bought us a bag of chocolates because we needed it.

By the end of the weekend, I was sure I ruined Tornado E’s penis.  Monday I called in a panic because it was still bleeding a little.  The doctor insisted I came in and retaught me how to clean Tornado E up and assured me I was doing everything right.

Fast forward to Tornado S.  You would think I would have been against circumcision for the rest of my boys, right?  I honestly had forgotten all about Tornado E’s ordeal when Tornado S was born and I was asked what I wanted.  All I remembered was Tornado E had his for a medical reason, and it still worked for me.  They whisked Tornado S away and returned him 15 minutes later, a little fussy and wanting to eat.  Done.

The funny thing is Tornado E has a partial circ, and Tornado S has a full one.  And I’m sure I can prove that guy in college wrong about the pain and “flashbacks” that he was sure happened to many men.  Tornado E’s experience was traumatic, but the kid tugs on his penis all the time.  I can’t let him go nude or his hands are on his penis.  I don’t think he’ll have a hard time at all with the enjoyment of his penis.

So with this one, we’ll probably cut again.

For parents who are about to make this decision, I encourage you to make an informed decision, whichever way that takes you.  Anyone want to add why they did or did not?

Child experts, I dare ya

I have a picky eater.  And he’s driving me crazy. 

I’ve read and heard of all types of tips. 

Like don’t force him, he’ll eat when he’s ready.  Or he’ll go to bed hungry and wake up so hungry he cries and cries until you give him some bread to shut him up.

Like the no thank you bite.  I’ve sat there for hours waiting for him just to have a tiny nibble.  Plus then I read that if you force a kid to try something, he/she is less likely to like it later.  Awesome.

Like the empty plate that he has to ask for food to get it.  Guess what.  He asked for food, but he refused all vegetables, including the two he’ll eat, carrots and corn.  (And if some smart ass reader tries to tell me corn is not a vegetable, just slap the back of your head for me.)

Like give him a small amount.  Yeah, then he refuses the small amount.

Add cheese or dressings.  Vegetables still not eaten with cheese or dressings.

Always prepare something he likes with something he doesn’t.  Then he still doesn’t eat the stuff he insists he doesn’t like but has never tried.

Ignore him.  He still won’t eat.

Make him eat it.  (Old school and desperate) You want to know what happens?  He vomits.

Sneak vegetables into the foods he likes.  This works well, except now the kid won’t trust my pizza, even when I don’t add a puree.

So yeah, I’m getting a little desperate.  I save his meals until the next one unless he eats it all or tries a bite of each.  I don’t bribe with food (though the grandparents do occasionally).  I sometimes bribe getting excused from the table.  I’ve sat with him from dinner time to bedtime, squaring off for him just to take a damn bite.  I’ve sent him to time out, and that didn’t work At All.  Obviously I’ll never force feed him again.  I taught him the drink milk after you try something technique, but it only works if he takes a bite in the first place.  He’s liked something one day and refused to eat it the next time it’s presented to him. 

The kid just won’t eat. 

My BFF insists that some people are picky eaters.  Thanks.  But that’s not helping.  Since my kid refuses homemade mac and cheese, parmesan chicken (without sauce), bean burritos, and fried shrimp.  He won’t even try celery.  (And yes, I’ve smeared it with peanut butter and cream cheese, and he only licks that stuff off.) 

This last week or so has been particularly hard because I’m only cooking for the boys and me.  There’s a lot of food in the fridge left over from the meals.  If I was smarter, I would just make hamburgers and hot dogs all week, but no, I enjoy a challenge.  I also have the undying hope that one of these days he’ll try my cooking and enjoy it. 

So any other suggestions I haven’t tried?  Should we start a club?

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Valentine Crafts for Kids, Preschoolers and Toddlers, Part 2

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and my blog is being slammed by people looking for Valentine crafts.  (And some of them started right after Christmas!  Who are you highly organized, far-seeing people?!  I’m not worthy of you!)  I just couldn’t do the same old crafts, so I scoured the internet, racked my brain for some interesting crafts.  Zeemaid actually sent me this cool link about making a clay pendant, but I never went to get the clay.  Mommy fail.  But I hope you enjoy the other crafts.  Keep in mind that the younger the child, the more work you need to do to help the child; while older children will be able to do more of the craft than I plan for.  My sons are two and four when they did these crafts.

If you’re looking for more Valentine’s Day Crafts, check out my other post.

Heart Lawn

(Nothing says love like grass, right?  Ok, you figure out how to grow roses from a sponge.  The boys LOVED dumping the grass seed on the sponges.  They are waiting anxiously for the grass to grow.  You can change the shape of the sponge to use any time.)

Things you need:

  • Sponge
  • Marker
  • Heart-shaped cookie cutter
  • Scissors
  • Water
  • Plate
  • Grass seed
  • Plastic wrap

Use the heart-shape cookie cutter to trace a heart on the sponge.  Cut out the heart.  Wet the sponge to make it damp.  Have the child pour grass seed onto the sponge.  You can use a bowl and spoon to make it less messy.  Cover the sponge with plastic wrap.  Check every few days to make sure the sponge is wet.  As soon as you see grass poking out, remove the plastic wrap.  In about two weeks, you should have a little grass lawn.

Sewing Heart Magnets

( I modified a craft I did in Girl Scouts all those years ago to make it easier on the boys.  And a tad less feminine.  That’s really the problem with a lot of Valentine crafts.  The boys enjoyed “sewing,” and Tornado E creatively made more of a net instead of going around the heart.  It turned out great, so let your child experiment.  I used a four inch cookie cutter.)

Things you need:

  • Red craft foam
  • Heart-shaped cookie cutter
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Ribbon ( we used white)
  • Tape
  • Magnet
  • Glue

You can buy pre-cut foam craft hearts, or you can make your own.  Trace a heart-shaped cookie cutter on the read foam.  Cut out the heart.  Hole punch around the heart.  For younger kids, make fewer holes.  Cut the piece of ribbon to two to three feet.  Tape the end to make it a needle, making it easier for younger children to sew with it.  Tape the other end on the back of the heart.  Have the child sew in and out of the holes.  (My son is two, and I held the heart so he could put it in the hole; then I turned it over, and he pulled the ribbon tight.)  After the child is done sewing, tape the end to the back.  For older children you can have the ends meet in the front in a bow.  Glue a magnet on the back.

3-D Heart Flowers

(I modified a Martha Stewart craft for this one.  I hope she doesn’t mind.  The boys thought it was really fun.  If you would like, have the child decorate the hearts before making the flower.)

Things you need:

  • Red, pink or white construction paper
  • Heart-shaped cookie cutter
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Pony bead
  • Pipe cleaner

Trace the heart-shaped cookie cutter on the construction paper, making four to six hearts.  Cut out the hearts.  Hole punch the hearts at the tip of the heart.  Have the child thread the pony bead onto the pipe cleaner, leaving about an inch of pipe cleaner above the bead.  Bend the pipe cleaner down and twist, securing the bead at the top of the pipe cleaner.  Have the child thread the hearts (how many the child wants) onto the pipe cleaner to the top under the pony bead.  Knot the pipe cleaner underneath the hearts.  Have the child spread the hearts to form a flower.

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The Worst Things of Pregnancy

My BFF has been on me about writing The Top Ten Worst Things About Pregnancy since I wrote The Top Ten Best Things About Pregnancy.  I told her I would write it soon but before I became too bitter.  She believed I should wait until I’m bitter to make the whole post more humorous.  The real problem is that I don’t think many women can come to an agreement on the worst part of pregnancy.  Every pregnancy is different, and then those hormones come along and wipe our brains clean of the horrors that were visited upon us.  So I’ll try to capture them all, and I hope there are people willing to add if I miss one.

Morning Sickness.  I hate hate HATE the first trimester.  I think I complained about it enough here, here, here, here, and here.  Oh and here.  To say I’m sick and tired through those first months is to miss the point of what I endure.  I’m drag-your-ass-through-another-grueling-day-to-daydream-about-sleep-instead-of-sex-and-naps-are-like-orgasms tired.  I’m please-Lord-don’t-make-me-loose-this-meal-hey-shouldn’t-that-be-digested-by-now-and-I-peed-all-my-pants-again sick.  Every pregnancy it has become worse, and to top this last pregnancy off, I became sick, making morning sickness take longer, just to make sure I’ve given up that crazy dream of four to six kids I used to have.  Goodbye, dreams.  (It should be noted that not all women have morning sickness, and they are lucky; while some women are sick with it through their whole pregnancies, and they are saints, especially if they went on to have another child after experiencing that.)

Heartburn.  It sucks.  Your favorite foods turn on you, just when you’re getting good and hungry.  You snack on TUMS just to get by.  I had it bad with my second pregnancy.  So bad, I wasn’t gaining weight, so my doctor had me take an antacid every day for the entire pregnancy.  Unlike many women, spicy foods don’t cause me to have heartburn; oatmeal and water do.  No wonder I’m always thirsty.  I know I’m about to start a fire with a gulp.

Sore Breasts.  I only had this with this last pregnancy, but I have heard many women talk about it.  It’s honey-don’t-even-stare-at-my-huge-boobs-that-you’re-drooling-over-because-they-hurt-when-you-look.  If this doesn’t show a sense of humor in designing humans, I don’t know what does.  You get this huge rack, and before you can test them out or let your husband play with them, they hurt like a bi-itch.  Fun times.

Sore Muscles.  There are a variety of aches and pains women go through, and many women experience different ones.  Many of my friends had horrible back pain, which sent them running for a massage.  (Which is highly recommended.)  My aches are the inner thigh and around my uterus.  Not so massage friendly.  I get to wear a stupid belt that some days helps, some days doesn’t.  But swimming is highly recommended for all aches and pains.

The List of Don’ts.  Nothing like having your favorite things taken from you.  Like alcohol.  Like caffeine.  Like sushi.  Like even sex in that last month.  Thanks.  Luckily your doctor will give you the ok to have a glass of wine every once in a while in the last trimester.  Maybe your doctor will let you have a cup of coffee or a soda if you’re good.  My doctor confided in me that the only reason to stay away from sushi is the fear of food poisoning, but I’ve never caught food poisoning from sushi, only chicken, shrimp, and fried fish.  (Yeah, you’d think that a bath in hot oil would have killed those suckers.)  But most doctors would agree, n o sex because no one wants you to accidently go into labor early.

Other people.  Now let’s say you got the ok to drink ONE glass of champagne at your sister’s wedding, someone is going to give you the stink eye.  Or you’re shopping, minding your own business when someone comes up to rub your belly like a good luck Buddha.  Or (my favorite) someone (stranger, family, friend, friend’s cousin) will tell you about a) a horrible birth experience (like you needed that), b) how she didn’t gain a pound (someone’s fibbing, fibbing, fibbing), or c) some helpful advice about pregnancy, labor, birth, or child raising.  Like you care.  I never had the pleasure of stink eye, and I always look f-ing tough that no one would dare place a hand on my body, but I’ve heard enough about horrible labors, lies about pregnancy and babies, and child advice to feel a book or a blog post.

Your Body.  Whether it’s desiring strange foods you never liked before, despising foods you usually love, or just feeling like your body has been high jacked, your body is not always your friend while you’re pregnant.  I always feel like I’m going through puberty AGAIN.  No one wants that.  My body is doing strange things.  I don’t feel pretty, much less sexy.  I have to buy a whole new wardrobe because I’m growing too fast.

Being Big.  I never had a problem being big.  My dad, a big guy himself, and I always had fun with it, even taking belly pictures together.  But I know my friends hated it.  They couldn’t wait to get that baby out of them.  (Not that they wanted early labors, just they were tired of being big.)  Even though I didn’t mind it too much, I was annoyed by it.  In the middle of the night, you have to wake up to roll because that belly is so big it needs a tractor pull.  If your baby is big or you’re tiny, you’re going to feel hard pressed to get a good deep breath in your lungs.  Sometimes you even out grow your maternity clothes.  I recommend swimming because if you feel like a whale, you’ll be graceful as a whale in the water.

Stretch Marks.  Some women are lucky enough not to get them, but the rest of us, not so much.  We become desperate to get rid of them with all kinds of creams, ointments, and even breast milk, smeared onto out bodies.  “Science” says there is nothing to be done about them, but who’s going to listen to “science” when it looks like a road map was imprinted on your belly?  When I was pregnant with Tornado S, I had an adorable stretch mark shaped like a butterfly on the front of my belly.  After Tornado S, it wasn’t so cute nor did it look like a butterfly.

Labor.  I won’t lie to those of you who haven’t had the experience.  Labor is scary, and it hurts.  As one female comedian said “Smart women don’t forget about that kind of pain.”  Smart women do.  I personally start freaking out a little the month before hand, but the day of, I freak out because I’m not ready as in “The blinds aren’t up in the baby’s room “ or “I haven’t bought him a coming home outfit.”  Basically stupid stuff.  I also have quick births, so much so that my dad suggested I become a surrogate.  Of course, I would have to forgo the first trimester.

So does anyone else have anything else to add?

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Winter and Indoor Crafts for Kids, Preschoolers, and Toddlers

Many of you are stuck inside right now and have been for a while.  So I thought this would be a great time to do some craft ideas.  These crafts can be used for all ages, just adjust how much you do for the ability of the child.  Older kids can do more; younger kids can do less.

Chalk Snow Scene

(Some of you might remember that I did this last year too, but I figured it was worth the repeat.  Both boys got into this although they made blizzards.)

Things you need:

  • White chalk
  • Blue or black construction paper
  • Hairspray (optional)

Have the child draw a snow scene on the construction paper.  Spray hairspray to “glue” on the chalk if you want to keep it around for a while.

Variation:

The child can color with all colors of chalk on white paper, teaching him/her about impressionism.

Epsom Salt Snow Scene

(So why not make a 3D snow scene?  This can be messy.  Tornado S really didn’t care to participate, so he just did a few dots.  Tornado E went crazy.  The scenes turned out very cute.)

Things you need:

  • Blue or black construction paper
  • Glue
  • Epsom salt
  • Glitter (optional)

Have the child make a snow scene with the glue.  Let the child pour Epsom salt onto the glue.  If you want to make it extra special, let the child add glitter.

Variation:

Using silver glitter glue, let the child create a starry scene with blue or black construction paper.

Shells

(Some of you are sick and tired of snow, so let’s pretend to be on a beach with shells.  These were a lot of fun and clever.  The boys enjoyed them.  I only tried markers and glitter glue as mediums, but I’m sure you can do so much more.  I’ll try more and let you know unless you beat me to the punch.)

Things you need:

  • Large pasta shells (uncooked)
  • Markers
  • Glitter glue (optional)

Have the child decorate the shells, telling him/her how each shell is different.

Another fun thing to do is allow your child to color on a window with dry erase markers.  As an added bonus, my boys love to clean windows, taking turns spraying the window with window cleaner and rubbing it down with paper towel.