Monthly Archives: July 2013

Wednesday, July 31st 

When your child opens his sleepy eyes to see your face first thing in the morning and his response is to give you the biggest heart-warming smile as if to say, “Oh, hi mom! I was just thinking of you!”

Challenging Ages and Stages – What’s Your Opinion?

Crawling Under the Bathroom Stall (and other unforeseen quests of parenthood)

There are many challenges and issues that come along with parenthood and just as many surprises. This may be needless to say, but being a parent will put you in plenty of unforeseen circumstances and situations in which you may never wish to be. Here are my top 5 thus far that may add a little laughter to your day.

5. “Talk Mickey for me”: Little Man has the biggest imagination and can make friends with anyone/thing. Upon discovering my 2.5 foot Mickey Mouse that was given to me by a friend during our school years, he automatically received a new friend. Alas, Mickey cannot talk. So who should be his voice? Anyone willing (and often times I am not). Yes, full conversations in a high Mickey-like voice playing toys and having tea parties. I draw the line when he asks me to talk for Mickey pretending to be a kitten. My husband and I have decided to hide Mickey on a number of occasions just to simply avoid “talking Mickey.”

4. Bathtub Doody: Bath water is just the right depth, perfect temperature, the exact bubbles to water ratio and the right amount of bath toys. Little Man is having a blast, but just a short 5 minutes later, I see him squatted and red faced. Oh no! Don’t do it! Too late. I’m upset. I just ran this bath and it was perfect! And “you’re supposed to tell momma when you need to go and I can put you on the potty”. My first instinct is to pull the plug and re-fill with fresh clean water and remove the floaters. Bad instinct. Of course, everything is drawn to the drain. It starts to clog up a bit so I’m digging in there trying to get the poop out if the drain before it goes down. However, those aforementioned perfect bubbles are now in my way and I’m working against the strong pull of the water working its way down. The scoop I’m using is too big, the little cup isn’t picking it up, but nimble fingers work well. Sigh.

3. Lineup Throw-Up: My son has an impeccable gag reflex. We have learned this well on many occasions. He could be eating anything at all and as soon as something doesn’t sit well with him, a seed, a soft spot in a piece of fruit, a different taste than expected, up everything comes. During a recent visit to the grocery store accompanied by Nanny, said Nanny gave Little Man a cookie that the bakery was giving out. He was enjoying the chocolate chip cookie as we put our things on the belt in the line up but all of a sudden Nanny called out to me. “Uh oh. He didn’t like something” she said as he passed her the last bite of his cookie and tried to get whatever it was that he bit into out of his mouth. “Oh, he urged. Kathryn, he urged again. Oh!!!” With that, everything was on the floor, on him and in the cart. Grilled cheese happy meal with chocolate milk. Well, I wasn’t too happy. Since Nanny gets sick quite easily, she stepped aside while mommy did cleanup. Paper towel upon paper towel and baby wipes and anti-bacterial hand wipes until most of the floor and the child were cleaned. Then a quick change in the parking lot and a cart wipe down. Perfectly happy child though, bless his heart.

2. Under the Bathroom Stall: We have done very well with potty training. A few accidents and that is to be expected. But any parent knows that when a child has to go, you better find a place quickly to ensure those accidents don’t happen. So, in Wal-Mart, two children with me, Little Man has to pee. He hasn’t had much experience with public washrooms but I take him anyway. I can’t bring my cart in the tiny washroom so I take Bambino in his car seat and Little Man by the hand. LM casually goes into the stall but insists he can do it himself. I figured I’d give him a moment before he realized that he couldn’t even sit on the toilet without a boost from mom. So I told him I would wait right by the door, just don’t lock it. “I gotta lock it mommy” and so he does. I see through the crack that he’s dancing but he calls out that he no longer needs to pee. “Ok, unlock the door and mommy will help you.” More women are lining up in the tiny, cramped bathroom waiting patiently (or impatiently I’m not sure). “I can’t unlock it” “Yes you can, just slide it across like you did to lock it. Hurry up, the ladies need to use the washroom too.” I was faced with a decision: simply wait until the not yet 3 year old figured it out and risk more than one accident by him and one of the waiting ladies or take charge, slide under the stall and unlock the door. Sure enough, what did I have to do but get on hands and knees my belly as my entire body was touching the filthy, grimy floor, and crawl under the stall to his rescue. I had to leave Bambino just outside around the corner of the stall since the stall wasn’t even big enough for all of us to fit in. Little Man sat on the toilet and cheerily said, “I’m peeing ladies!” to which they laughed, which was good because I figured they must have been struck with horror at my treacherous feat, risking all kinds of germs and diseases. However, I made sure that we spent a little extra time at the sink washing up.

And finally, my number 1:

1. Projectile Vomit: There is a particular incident that I am thinking but experiencing projectile vomit at any time during my few years as a mommy is a situation in which I would rather not be. This particular incident was my first experience. Little Man was only a couple months old when I took then drive from my then place of residence to my hometown 3 and a half hours away. The husband had to work but my cousin and BFF Allison decided to take the drive home with me being that it was Thanksgiving weekend. We had been driving a while when Little Man started to let me know he was hungry. I pulled into a little place on the side of the road and breastfed him until he seemed to be satisfied and then put him back into his seat. We continued to drive again but Little Man began to wail! There was no where to pull  over so I kept driving hoping he would calm down after a while. No such luck. He was screaming! Finally I found a little gas station and pulled in. I got him out of his seat and tried to nurse to calm him. To my relief, he did. So I sat there in the front seat burping and rubbing his back, so glad that he had calmed down so we could get on with the trip. Without warning, everything gushed out of him in a long, powerful stream of liquid white, measuring at least 2 feet away from his tiny body and missing Allison by mere inches. It was everywhere. I quickly grabbed the diaper bag to take him to the washroom inside and change his clothes and clean myself up as best I could. For some reason, whatever angle I had been holding him, milk also managed to flow right down the sleeve of my sweater. My arm was literally soaked. When I came back to the car, Allison so graciously had most of the mess cleaned up (nearly a package of wipes later of course). It had pooled in the cup holders, got into the folds of the vinyl of the emergency brake, in the grooves of the floor mats, every nook and cranny of the console, but thankfully, very little seeped into the seats. Oh my, what an experience, one that I wouldn’t wish on any parent.

Hope some of my unforeseen misfortunes of parenthood caused a giggle or two. Parenting without humor would be boring…and traumatic. We’d all suffer. So might as well laugh.

-RFM, Kathryn

P.S. Numbers 2 and 3 happened on the same day just last week.

See How Much I Love You?

I recently read one of those insanely viral and annoyingly mushy Internet memes that read “Love is not seen, it can only be felt by the heart.” First I thought “Gag!” but I quickly had to disagree with the silly statement. Love is very much an action as it is an emotion. Love is doing as well as feeling. When my husband allows me an extra hour to sleep in in the morning after a restless night of diaper changes and feeding and he takes care of the boys, I see love. When he does dishes or laundry before heading to work because he knows I already have  my hands full, I see love (Thanks T-Man!). A small touch, a light kiss, a little cuddle before bedtime, taking the kids to the park after a tiring day of work-it’s love in action; selfless, tangible and very evident.

I absolutely love my husband and children but the feeling doesn’t always radiate out of me when I’m on my hands and knees cleaning up fresh puke under the dinner table.  I don’t particularly think it shines through when I’ve been up 3 or 4 times during the night for potty trips, night feeds, diaper changes and/or leaky boobs  and I desperately want to go back to sleep only to be met with incessant snoring. Seriously, a back hoe could be quieter. But in all honesty, Neither of these incidents would cause my love for my husband and my children to be any less. In fact, actions are what people see and love can be exemplified in many actions even when we may not feel it ourselves. I do these things because of love. I clean up the chunks of indestructible cheese slice and remnants of whatever nutrition I tried to get into the Little Man and then take the time to make sure he’s clean, feeling better, and gets something else for his empty belly because I love. I crawl into my son’s bed and let my husband snore it out all night long instead of digging him in the ribs when I know he has to work in the morning (there’s no sense for both of us to be crabby) because I love.

On one particular moody day for Little Man, I had to tell him “No!” We were at the dinner table and it was probably a discussion over his refusal to eat what was on his plate. He looked at me and said, “I don’t love you.” I wasn’t necessarily moved by it; he’s only 2 and doesn’t quite grasp the concept as much as maybe a pre-teen/teenager may. So I simply said, “Ok, if you don’t love me, I guess I won’t feed you anymore or clothe you or cuddle you and give you kisses and hugs or read you bedtime stories. I probably won’t even bring you to the playground or give you treats when you’re good.” He quickly changed his mind and decided “I do love you! And you love me!” My husband was impressed that I handled the situation well. I’m usually a very emotional person and at times, small things can affect me in big ways. But Little Man is young and still learning and I know that love can be expressed in so many ways. True love is seen in action, not simply felt. Yes Little Man, I love you very much. Do you see how much I love you?

Cheers,

Kathryn

“I Want to Go to School, Mom”

closedforsummer

 

For the past several weeks, my son has been asking to go to school. “There are a few things wrong with that,” I told him, “You’re 2 and it’s summer.” He was genuinely upset and tried convincing me that he was old enough and that school was open. As a teacher, I have been a little conflicted; I am thrilled with his positive and genuine desire to go to school but I’m confused as to why and why now and why-can’t-you-just-be-a-kid-and-play-and-love-summer-and-not-have-to-worry-about-school-because-you’ll-be-going-to-it-for-a-long-time-and-paying-it-off-for-even-longer-so-just-enjoy-this-freedom!

After posting a similar Facebook status, a friend of mine dropped off a school package complete with pre-school workbooks and a package of fresh, new HB pencils. Since he couldn’t go to school she thought maybe “school could come to him” (Thanks LP!) I was thrilled! And then my husband had a thought and said, “Do you think maybe he just attributes school with friends and other kids and just wants to play?” Don’t deflate my balloon. As his momma I’d like to think he’s gifted! He loves to learn! And I somehow feel I’m right because he was just as thrilled with his new books and wanted to start right away. I’d also like to think that he connects the playground with his social side as he has no fear talking and playing along with other kids (even twice his size), never wants to leave and always looks for those same friends at the next playground visit.

We sat and he counted, I read, we played. I taught, he listened, we learned. Children just thirst for knowledge. I could see his little mind working as he concentrated on circling the pairs of two. I don’t know if he felt like a big boy or if he thought it was all for fun or if he just liked doing something, but it didn’t matter, we were doing it together. Kids grow up quickly and their little minds are so mouldable so why can’t you take an ordinary day and turn it into a learning experience. Playing school helps prepare young and active minds for what lies ahead. It encourages patience and discipline.  It introduces them to pattern and order. It inspires imagination and independent thinking. Playing with your child strengthens your bond and connection with each other and builds deeper trust.  So what if you’re 2 and it’s summer. Although it breaks my heart a little that he is growing up way too fast, there is no timeline or schedule on learning. Sure Little Man, you can go to school. What do you want to learn today?

Things My Toddler Says That Make Me Feel Awesome

Sometimes our children say the funniest things and sometimes they can be really embarrassing. Then, every once in a while, there are the times when they say things that make you feel amazing and you think, “My child is just the most sensitive, caring and wonderful creature.” Here are just a few of those awesome moments.

____

Little Man: Mom, you have a big bum!
Me: Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
LM: A good one!

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Looking at a book with Disney characters, he points out The Little Mermaid:

LM: Hey look! It’s mommy!

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LM: Daddy, you be the dragon and mommy, you be the princess and I’ll save you.

____

LM: You have a nice bum, mom!
Me: What makes mommy’s bum nice?
LM: It’s big and shiny. (Not sure what that means).

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Me: Is mommy a girl or a boy?
LM: No, you’re a lady.

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LM: Aww. Baby is so nice, so cutie!
Daddy: I think you’re a cutie too.
LM: We’re all cuties!

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LM: I love you mommy.
Me: I love you too sweetie. How much do you love me? A lot?
LM: Yep. I’m going to get you a car.
Me: What kind of car?
LM: A red one.

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Daddy: Ok, get in bed and I’ll read you a couple of bedtime stories.
LM: No, I want mommy to read me stories.

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LM: Mommy doesn’t have a penis.

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LM: Mommy, I got a secret. (Whispers) I love you!

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LM: I smell you.
Me: Do I smell good or bad?
LM: Good!

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LM: Mommy?
Me: Yes Sweetie?
LM: I’m proud of you.

____

Plenty more to add at a later date. I love the innocence and imagination of a young child.

-Cheers,

Kathryn

Summer Safety

It’s finally summer and I know that many of you parents are excited about day trips, vacay and getting outside with the little ones to soak up the sun. But we certainly want to keep our little ones safe and protected at all costs because nothing is more precious to us than our dear children. So here are a few things to keep in mind this summer.

1. Slather on the SPF: As a fair-skinned, no-tan, burn-to-a-crisp redhead, I have had my experience of nasty burns in spite of summer excitement. Did you know that most skin damage and cancers in adulthood are a result of sunburns and sun exposure to the skin before the age of 18? Not good! Make sure you protect that skin with a Sun Protective Factor of at least 30 with a broad spectrum which filters harmful UVA and UVB rays (apparently UVA rays are the ones that causes our skin to look old). Make sure it’s water resistant and sweat resistant too, but don’t forget to reapply after swimming of heavy sweating; it’s not invincible, some water resistant SPF is proven for at least 80 minutes in water.

2. If you like it then you should’ve put a hat on it: I’m going to be honest, I don’t always wear a hat myself like I should but I make sure Little Man and Bambino do. Yesterday, after spending time in the sun, I had a major headache which I attribute to heat and sun exposure. We think about our skin but many times we neglect our heads and eyes. wearing hats keep our vulnerable parts covered. Wearing hats can help prevent heat stroke  which is a severe form of hyperthermia which can also be fatal especially to those higher risk such as children and elderly.

3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!: Another way to prevent heat stroke or even the lesser heart exhaustion is to keep hydrated! Water and other fluids help replenish what the body has lost throughout the day. Also keep in mind the important electrolytes that are “essential for normal function of our cells and organs” (Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, medicinenet.com). Avoid caffeine found in beverages such as coffee and tea as caffeine tends to dehydrate and some caffeinated beverages are known to be diuretics (makes you pee).

4. Put the cell down: I know this may seem like a “one of these things is not like the other” kind of deal but whilst at the playground with Little Man recently I couldn’t help but notice all the mommas with their heads down looking at their cell phones while their kids ran off and played. I think some may use this time as “Mommy Moments” or bonus time to check the newest Facebook statuses; “What’s everyone else doing while I’m being super Mom hanging with my kids at the park?” Your presence, guidance and ever-watching eyes are needed moms and dads! The playground can be dangerous masked by fun: high monkey bars that your child can fall off, flying pebbles causing potential cornea damage, unseen items hidden in the sand, playground bullies, and so forth. And not just at the playground, but when your child is swimming at a beach, playing ball, flying kites, high traffic events, etc. I live in a smaller community with but larger centers have greater potential for kidnappers or other wired psychos that may bring harm to a child. It only takes a moment. Pay attention to your child, interact with them. Summer can be a time for play and fun for you too. Watchful eyes can decrease the event of peril and emergency.

5. Summer toy inspection: We may take for granted that seasonal toys are safe since they only get played with a handful of times then stored away again until next time. However, many things can happen to our children’s precious toys from one summer to the next. Make sure you check inflatable pools, toys and floaties for small punctures or tears. Check over slides, swings and play sets for any plastic breakdown, rust, deterioration, and/or broken pieces. Check your child’s bike and safety gear and look at the manufacture date and ensure that the expiration date hasn’t passed. Inspect straps, snaps and buttons making sure all is operational and that it fits your child correctly. Ill-fitting helmets are practically worse than no helmet at all.

Keeping all of this in mind, don’t forget to have fun! Enjoy your summer and have a blast with your kids! Take pictures, make memories, relax!

Cheers,

-Kathryn