Monday, February 28, 2011

Understanding Your WHAT?

So today the Pre-K calendar comes home for the month of March. It may give you a glimpse into the excitement of my life, for me to say that I actually get amped up for the arrival of monthly calendar. Not really sure why. I think it gives me a sense of control, wherein I can actually put special dates for things on my own calendar, and make sure I don't forget things like Pajama Day.

(They never forgive you for forgetting Pajama Day)

Nothing irritates me more than getting the month's calendar AFTER the month starts. Inevitably, there is always something super-important on the first day of the month, and no, the answer to their annoying "but didn't you see it in the email blah.blah.blah?", is NO, I did not see the email, or else Little Diva would not be in tears because the rest of the class got to go to the Book Fair and she had to sit in a classroom alone because she had no money in her My Little Pony backpack.

But anyway.

Needless to say, I was, indeed, thrilled that the calendar came home one day before March started. Yay.

So I can tell after a cursory glance, that they are obviously studying about space and planets this month.

"Neptune is Neat"
"Something about Saturn"

Okay I get it.

But really, "Understanding Uranus?!" Is it just me, or that a can of worms just waiting to explode in a classroom full of potty-mouth lovin', five year old comedians.

I really hope I am not Science Mom that week.


Now that more than thirty-six hours have elapsed since our medical crisis over the weekend, I can get back to my usually unsuccessful attempts to be witty . As you know already, there is nothing even slightly humorous about your kid being sick or in pain, so yesterday's post was a little heavier than my norm.

But after an incredibly rough morning yesterday, Little Diva started improving quickly. In fact, her tongue is almost HEALED already!!

It is the most amazing thing I've ever seen. The ER doctor told us it would heal quickly but wow! It is healing so fast we almost wonder if she might have some super-human alien DNA or something. What was a deep angry gash less than two days ago is barely a scratch on the surface now!

It would not be the first time we have wondered if Little Diva was from another planet, but that usually has more to do with her dance moves or her choice of fashion.

So now that she is well along the road to recovery, I can look back and chuckle at a few Little Diva-isms on the way. Even in her darkest moments, she does amaze me.

Like, for example, her desire to interact with the ER doc. She answered almost all the doctor's questions herself, and decided to show the doctor the iPhone photo of her tongue that I had taken to email my mom. She was very proud of the extent of her injury. Then she proceeded to switch over to last week's video of her attempting a handstand and landing flat on her back. I was kind of mortified, and quite sure we were one incriminating revelation away from a visit from a case worker. But the doctor was amused, so in usual fashion, Little Diva had lifted the mood.

Sometimes I find that there is a sweet simplicity to a kid's perspective even when the going gets tough. I asked Little Diva later why she hadn't said anything about her mouth when she first fell. Her explanation was quite simple. She was scared because she thought her tongue was broken. Just a little bit later, she got quite a kick out of me telling her about the expression, "cat got your tongue?" Getting that first smile of the day was priceless.

I also have to wonder WHAT the heck they put in Gatorade. It had the power to almost instantly transform my sullen little lump of girl into her almost normally vibrant self within a few minutes. It was also the first thing she was able to keep down all day. Wild! That plus a little fresh air made for a much happier afternoon.

The eerie silence in the household was gone and I could hear her yelling her favorite catchphrase from the Electric Company "Hey. You. Guys!!" I must admit, the quiet was a kind of nice, but it was much better to have my Little Diva back.

So today she is off to school. We had our normal battles over what to wear and getting her hair combed.

I don't know if I would have freaked out any less had I understood that such an injury was so quick to heal. In that I don't have much of a stomach for guts and gore, probably not. I'm not gonna lie. It was pretty gross.

Has something with your kiddo ever freaked you out?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

No Day At the Park

Warning: our day involved some not-so-fun medical drama. Please don't read on if you are super-squeamish.

We just needed something to do. The slightly surreal Dr. Seuss Storytime in our local Target was not riveting enough to serve as the day's requisite "activity". In an effort to get out of the house and get some fresh air into my two crazed little girlies, we headed to the park.

I probably should have turned around and gone home when I discovered, upon our arrival, that The Baby's sippy cup had leaked its entire watery juice contents all over her and her car seat on the ride over. Of course, I did not have an extra change of clothes in the diaper bag, because that would have been way too organized for me. So I assessed the dampness of her jeans, and decided it was not enough to abort the entire park mission. And it seemed like her coat was only wet on the outside, and Little Diva was itching to play, so on we went.

Little Diva has newly discovered her ability to swing hand over hand on the monkey bars, and was eager to try these out. She had made it all the way across on our last park visit, to the other park we go to, about a week before. I put The Baby into the swing and she was happy as a lark. She would spend all day swinging if you let her.

Little Diva called me over as she was about to embark on her monkey bar crossing. I stood right next to her and cheered as she confidently swung from the first rung to the second. But on the next rung, she lost her grip and came down on her rump with a thud. She was silent for one second, and I expected her usual, "I'm okay!!", but instead got an instant waterworks show. I picked her up and held her close. She cried and cried. I felt so bad, and was trying to process how this had happened, and why I was not able to grab her quickly enough. I was clearly no longer in the running for the "Best Mommy in a Comedy or Musical Number" award. She only cried, and would not say a word, as I said, "tell Mommy what hurts."

I figured that she may have bruised her tailbone (I can remember doing that a couple of times as a kid), so I asked if her bottom hurt. She murmured a yes, and just clung to me. After a couple of minutes, she said she wanted to go home. Taking The Baby by the hand, and carrying Little Diva, we walked back to the car. Once buckled in, we started driving home, and I glanced in my rear-view mirror, to see Little Diva looking very solemn.

I figured she was really pissed at me for not preventing this whole debacle, and wondered if her delicate ego was more bruised than her tailbone. I tried to tell her that it was no one's fault, and we could give her some medicine at home if she was still sore.

Five minutes later we were home. She wanted to be carried in and I deposited her on the couch. As I brought in The Baby and dumped our various coats and bags by the door, I saw that Little Diva was laying down with closed eyes. I thought I would give her a few minutes to rest while I got The Baby out of her wet clothes, and then give her some pain reliever.

But as I was leaned over her, to see if she had fallen asleep, she opened her eyes and said her tongue hurt. I had her sit up and open her mouth. I was not prepared for what I saw. She had bitten her tongue so severely that I cried out in shock and horror (this, by the way, is not very comforting to five year old, and I am usually able to keep it together, but I just wasn't expecting that). I will not go into the gory details, but let's just say I knew an Emergency Room visit was in order. My poor girl.

I could not believe she had suffered silently for the last twenty minutes with such a deep wound.

After my not-so-smooth-reaction, her guard was up, and when I mentioned visiting the hospital, she got really scared, saying, 'no, no, no!" She did agree to let me call our friend who is a nurse. I caught a small break, when it turned out my friend was nearby and was able to drive by, if for nothing else, but to take a look and confirm that I indeed needed to get Little Diva to the ER. She also, thankfully, was able to take The Baby so I would not have to drag her along to the hospital.

Of course, this involved me having to remove The Baby's car seat from my car, and facing the shame as a month's worth of cheerios and pretzels came showering down upon me in the process, but in this kind of situation, the hell with pride.

I quickly send Sweet Hubby a text at work to let him know what was going on, and headed to the hospital. I also called our Pediatrician to get their "yes, you should go to ER" blessing and cover my butt in case the insurance company tried to claim this was a non-essential ER trip, which they have been known to do from time-to-time.

The whole ER visit was actually pretty tolerable. On the few occasions that we have needed to visit the ER, I have gone to the children's hospital in the city. It is only takes another 10 minutes, and I feel like it is a much better environment for kids. Assuming it is not rush hour, and it is a non-life threatening situation, I think this is way better for both of our peaces of mind.

So they got us in and my Sweet Hubby, who is a rock, was able to get away from work for a little while to meet us there, and give his little girl a whole lot of comfort.

It turns out they don't do much for a badly bitten tongue, unless it is literally severed at the edge, so they gave us some info on how to care for the wound, and said we just have to wait for it to heal. Maybe a week to ten days.

So now my sweet Little Diva is home, and it is so quiet around here, because she, who usually provides an ongoing soundtrack to our day, is silent and stoic. She is also vomiting thanks to the upset stomach that you can get from swallowing blood.

I think it's going to be a long week.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What Real Moms Look Like?

As I was spending some time reading blogs this week, I happened upon a post by Crystal Jigsaw entitled Curves in All the Right Places. Her well written post discusses the phony portrayal of "typical" women in catalogs. She notes, and I quote, "Why do catalogues insist on featuring skinny models to show off their products? It's one of my pet hates. I get so frustrated when I turn the pages, only to view similar looking young girls, always long hair, always slim and always lacking in the curvaceous department, staring at you from the page, trying to make me believe my size 16 figure will look just as good wearing the size 8 she is currently modelling. What a load of utter tosh!"

I could not agree more with her observation. (I also adore the use of her word "tosh"- I may start using it)

So I started to realize, while flipping through the latest arrival of "mommy magazines" to hit my mailbox, that the images you see in magazines for parents do not resemble IN ANY WAY what a real mom (or Dad) and her life looks like, either.

I subscribe to way more magazines than my bathroom breaks allow for I have time to actually read, so I often just skim through the photos until something catches my eye. And my collection runs the gamut from your "filthy-rich-mom-who-can-afford-designer-burpcloths" magazine to your "mother-earth-munchy-crunchy-mom" mag and everything in between. (And I promise I don't actually pay to subscribe to all these, Sweet Hubby, they are either free trials, gifts or free with whatever I got suckered into signing up for at the mini gym).

What I am seeing in these magazines are young, slim, healthy-looking moms who play ring-around-the-rosy with their adoring infants in fabulously furnished living rooms out of Architectural Digest. Last time I checked, that was clearly not me. I need to see some pictures of a mom whose runny-nosed kid is hanging on her leg as she opens a can of Spaghetti-o's next to a sink full of last night's dirty dishes that her husband may or may not have left in the kitchen when he got home from work around midnight.

Then I could relate.

And I love the photo of a "mother" in the article about getting your pre-preggers body back. I am sorry, but unless this magazine comes with a gift certificate to Dr. Nip/Tuck and his happy scalpel, there is no way my body will EVER. LOOK. LIKE. THAT.

Even the photos in the "natural parenting" magazines are totally misleading. Take one pic, for example, of a serene new mama, blissfully breastfeeding her baby in public. I have definitely nursed my babies in public places and it was anything but blissful or serene. A picture of me in this instance, would resemble a mama gorilla trying to hold a flailing baby pinned against her chest, while attempting to hide, no, not my breasts <gasp>, but all that sexy belly fat creeping out from under the nursing shirt that just doesn't fit the way it did the "nursing" model in the catalog.

How about the one of the jaunty, well-coifed working mom, in her snazzy suit, juggling a happy baby on one arm and her Coach briefcase on the other? I don't know how any mom can get out of the house without at least one yogurt stain on her clothes, and I can tell you, that my baby was rarely so jovial when I left the house.

Which brings me to the next question - where do they get all these happy freaking kids to pose for the pictures? Are they slipping something into the sippy cups or what? No mother gets to see so much enthusiasm and cooperation from her kids, ever! Especially when the camera is on them.

I understand that these magazines want to make mothering look healthy and happy and fun, because it truly is. But I think that sometimes when we see pictures like these, we can't help but feel a little inferior. It is hard to live up to the images planted in our brains by these super-model mommies living in the perfect home with their well-dressed kids and Pottery Barn lifestyle. Or by the super-eco-friendly mommies whose every waking moment is dedicated to raising enviro-conscientious, pesticide-free stewards of the Earth.

I do what I can to make sure my kids are well-adjusted, well-fed, and well-educated. But most of all, I want them to know that they are loved and that our life is just as it should be with them in it.

I think it would be nice to see some pictures that look like us, boogers and all, every once in a while.

Who is with me?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Martha Doesn't Live Here

Before I start the post today, can I just say that a snow day following a Monday holiday is just cruel?  Okay, with that out of the way, let's get on with it.

So, no, sadly Martha does not live here. (Rachael Ray doesn't live here either, because I cannot make a meal in thirty minutes to save my life, no matter how much food I grab from the fridge at one time, but more on that another time.)

If you are looking for a "how-to-organize-and-beautify-your-home-while-a-pot-of-homemade-stew-simmers-on-the-stove-and-your-angelic-children-occupy-themselves-with-yet-another-brilliant-craft-you-dreamed-up" blog, you have come to the wrong place.

In fact, Martha just could not live here, as the mere sight of my clutter and filth would send her on a bender unlike any since her days of three martini lunches with her hedge fund managers.

Organization is apparently not my strong suit. This comes as a complete shock to me, but apparently not to anyone who has ever lived with me. In my mind, everything has a place, but in my house, not so much. The lack of clutter control is due in large part to the overabundance of toys, books, papers, crap that we have crammed into every nook and cranny of our 1500 square feet of living space. Don't get me wrong, we are not signing up for Hoarders any time soon, or anything, but it is a little much.

I find it really hard to organize when you have two little creatures constantly pulling everything out of its place and moving it to another place all day long. We have tried baskets, bins, and boxes. But it seems like the toys just like to live out in the open. And the toys usually are not exciting enough to keep everyone entertained all day long any way.  At least some part of every day is dedicated to removing every DVD from the shelves, pulling every book off the bookcase, grabbing food boxes from the pantry and taking out of every piece of Gladware from the drawer.

It would probably make sense to keep all of these areas off limits to curious little hands, and believe me, we have tried. But there is always someone who forgets to close up the cabinet locks after themselves. And The Baby's radar makes her instantly aware of any opportunity to get into the fun and games within seconds.

I also remember someone telling me once that you should leave at least one kitchen drawer with safe objects inside, for your toddler to "explore".  I am thinking now that person must have had an au pair or something who was responsible for tidying up after the little monsters angels. Of course, now it seems like it would be cruel to suddenly lock up the Tupperware drawer, when The Baby clearly thinks that the space belongs to her.  It actually comes in handy, because I can usually look in there for anything else that has gone missing around the house. In the last week, I have found my car keys, the remote control and my credit card all carefully squirreled away inside.

There is also the small issue of picking up after one's self, a trait that not one of us, seems to have inherited from the more retentive members of our respective families. It is not as if we just leave our crap all over because we are too lazy to do otherwise; it is more like we are easily distracted and onto the next thing before we get through it.  (Which reminds me that I was in the middle of cleaning the dinner dishes when the idea for this post hit me.  Awesome, can't wait to get back to that!)

And when we want to put stuff away, the lack of organization piece makes it difficult for us to know exactly where to put it. As a result, we have a lot of jam-packed drawers of who-knows-what. Growing up, we called it the Junk Drawer. Oh, would that it were only one drawer-full now!

There are some days when I feel like I could spend every hour of every day cleaning and putting stuff away, and it would never been done. It is definitely worse on days when we are stuck at home all day, so I know it has something to do with the constant tornado of playtime that whips around here, which is why I like to get out whenever I can.

How do you (or do you not) control the chaos?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Why I Blog

The question has come up from friends and family, about why I decided to start a blog.  I am already five years into this thing called parenthood, so I kind of missed getting in on the ground floor of the whole mommy blog phenomenon. But I never really felt motivated to blog before.

I could say, that when I worked outside the home full time, I did not have time to blog.  But that would be untrue. I probably had more personal computer time then than I do now.

Part of it stems from the general amusement I get from being around my kids all day, every day. It's kind of like the amusement that you get when you ride the carousel. Looking at the carousel from afar, it is so beautiful; and it is cute to watch to the happy faces as they whirl by, but once you are on it, you feel like you are just going around in circles and you start to feel a little dizzy after a while.  The droning circus-like music suddenly seems like the soundtrack to a nightmare and you just cannot wait for the thing to stop so you can get off and walk in a straight line for a little while.

Okay, that is probably not why I blog.

You see, I talk to kids all day.  And not in the "I-talk-to-kids-all-day-but-I-can-chat-about-last-night's-episode-of Glee-with-grown-ups-over-my-multigrain-turkey-wrap-in-the-teacher's-lounge-at-lunchtime" kind of way. Depending on Sweet Hubby's schedule, I can literally go days without adult face-to-face conversation. Sure, I chat from time to time on the phone, but anyone whose has had the pleasure of conducting a phone call in the presence of small children knows that your discussion is punctuated by interruption after interruption to the point that it's just better to get off the phone and deal with whatever Barbie-in-crisis/building-block-demolition/juice-box-catastrophe needs your immediate and undivided attention.

So it comes as no surprise to me that 16 months, 26 days, 5 hours and 10 minutes into full-time professional mommy-at-home-hood, I feel the need to express myself in something other than uni-syllable words and references to myself in the third person.

I am neither a wordsmith nor a humorist. In fact, my own confidence in my comedic ability was shaken long ago, when my first real boyfriend told me that no joke I ever told was very funny.  Of course, I eventually dumped him and broke his heart. Who was laughing then, buddy?  I digress.

I have always enjoyed a little sarcastic exchange, and was known to let loose my inner wise-ass from time to time.

But guess what! Sarcasm is completely lost on little kids. For example:

Little Diva, in her infinite grace, trips and spills an entire bag of Pirate's Booty all over the kitchen floor.
Me:  Good one, dude! Just put that anywhere!!
Her: Really, mom?

By the time I was done explaining the subtle nuances of saying one thing when you mean another, to be funny, The Baby was furiously stuffing her face with organic cheese puffs, and Little Diva had climbed up on the counter to get herself a gummy vitamin to cure her clumsiness. That lesson was a bust.

So I guess I blog for the opportunity to use big words, and throw in a little sarcasm and self-deprication. It keeps my mind sharp, and according to a recent article in Health magazine, that's one way to increase longevity. Hopefully, it will also help me to record certain moments from my kids' childhoods, since I am quite sure I will have absolutely no recollection of them, in like, two weeks.

So to my fellow bloggers out there - why do you blog?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ten Commandments of Toddlerhood

1.  Thou shalt climb on every surface that is more than six inches about ground. Thou mustn't learn how to descend from said surface but rather stand atop it paralyzed and crying until you are rescued.

2.  Thou shalt pull and pull and pull on every locked cabinet until "child-proof" mechanism is either disengaged or broken to bits.

3. Thou shalt express distaste for any healthy snack that is served to you by upending serving vessel and scattering its contents far and wide.

4. Thou shalt then cry until you get a cookie.

5.  Thou shalt remove all DVDs from the cases, and disperse around the room, taking special care to leave where they will be stepped on and shattered.

6.  Thou shalt refuse napping at all costs. Except for in the car.  In this case, thou shalt wait until you are almost at your destination before falling into deep slumber.

7. Thy clothing is merely a distraction. Thou shalt attempt to remove all articles as fast as possible, especially right before it is time to leave the house for any purpose.

8.  When outside of the domicile, thou shalt investigate any and all objects in your path by crushing them with your foot.  This is particularly applicable to dog excrement which thine tacky neighbors leave behind.

9.  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's toys. Thou shalt just grab them away from neighbor and pretend they belong to you.

10. Once this is all done, thou shalt eat lunch.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Club Can't Handle Me

Yes, better go check out the weather report, because I think Hell has indeed frozen over. For the first time in a long time, I set foot in a gym.  I even worked out, and I am still alive to tell about it.

I am not really much for exercise. I have, at times, forced myself into some regime, and often, even very much enjoyed it. But making it a lifestyle has never been my way.

Usually, I have turned to fitness when I needed to lose some serious weight.  You could say I am not very consistent with maintaining weight loss or staying in shape. Since 1999, I have gained and lost over 220 pounds cumulatively.  That is a LOT of roller coaster action!  Now cut me a little slack, because I did produce two lovely little butterball turkeys children during that time, but I am the first to admit that I used pregnancy as a BIG excuse to get nice and chunky.

Unfortunately, right now, my weight pendulum is swinging so hard towards heavy that it might fly off and knock some sense into poor Sweet Hubby who is so blinded by his love for me that he doesn't even notice. (Or at least, he is too nice to mention the extra junk in the trunk)

So going to the gym is part of my renewed effort to shed more than a few pounds.  After my last baby, I eventually turned to Weight Watchers and had great success, but I am finding that I am too emotionally dependent on food to make that work this time around.  So I am hoping some physical activity will give me the jumpstart I need.

It will take me a little while to get over my mini panic attacks as I walk into a fitness establishment. I quite literally feel like the proverbial "white elephant in the room".  I struggled to keep up with a brisk walk on the treadmill, while the guy next to me trained for the Boston Marathon or something. But I figured it was better to start slow, and not pass out on the machine. I am sure that would have been more embarrassing.

I think that a good music selection on the iPod will definitely help motivate me. One tune that came on during my "walk" was Flo-Rida's "Club Can't Handle Me".  Ha! I thought, as I picked up my pace, and the machine started to shimmy a little, I just hope this treadmill can handle me right now.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Heart Shaped Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

It has been such a busy day, I am too tired to work on an interesting post (not sure how that differs from any other day, but I will take the excuse and run with it), so I am just going to share a little about what we did.

Sweet Hubby and I started out early by getting 20 five year old kids hopped up on sugar hosting the Pre-K Valentine's Day party at Little Diva's nursery school.  Then my valentine had to go to work (ugh. one of those holidays for which people just love to go to restaurants).

So with my two little valentines in tow, I set out to make this a special day.  We went to baby/toddler music class (which actually seemed like a trip to the spa, after the chaos of the preschool party) and checked out books and movies from the library.

Little Diva had her dance class this afternoon too.  While she attended class, The Baby and I ran out to get Valentine gifts for the dance teachers, because apparently that is what you are supposed to do, and I always seems to drop the ball completely. Thank goodness the dance school is located in a big strip mall, where you can find just about anything to quickly cover up the fact that you lack basic social graces.

But the main focus of my day with my girls was to celebrate how wonderful they are to us and to each other (and to try to prevent Little Diva from eating the pound of candy that she received along with the valentines from her classmates - um yeah, whatever happened to just handing out cute little cards and putting them in tissue boxes decorated with lace heart doilies?)

Anyway, I decided to plan a special dinner, just for us three girls.  And I wanted everything to be heart-shaped.

On the menu:
Heart Shaped Grilled Cheese
Red (Tomato) Soup
Pink (Strawberry) Milk
Strawberry Heart Jello Jigglers

The table was set with a white (obviously not ironed) tablecloth, a rose, candles and red, heart shaped napkins.  

We also displayed a special plate that Little Diva made at school as a gift for us.


We loved our dinner, and hope that you had a super sweet day too!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Ball Pool from Hell

What was I thinking?? I will not be too hard on myself for buying the funtastic Ball Pool five years ago when Little Diva was a Little Baby. We will call it a Rookie Mistake. It looked harmless enough.  Our very own, germ-free inflatable slice of toddler heaven. And yes, I could read that it came with 125 little plastic balls, and that you had to blow the stupid thing up yourself. But no biggie, right?

No amount of air power, human or electric
can actually get this thing to look
so round and circular.
Sure, until it arrived. First of all, it took every last breath I had to get the thing inflated to a semi-full state that would at least stand upright enough to keep the balls inside. But ha, ha, ha. Apparently, no toddler just wants to sit in a tiny little pool filled with balls. Oh no, they want to get up and throw the balls everywhere. And those darling little orbs are so light and elusive. They roll under every piece of furniture. Hide themselves in every corner. After a short while, we were able to keep about 100 balls with the set, and still find the occasional rogue ball from time to time. Under the couch. Behind the bookcase. In the washing machine.

It should come as no surprise that after a few months of me chasing after the balls, the whole plastic extravaganza found its way to the crawl space.

That is until, for some reason unknown to me at this moment, I decided that The Baby would LOVE it so I pulled it out. I got smart and used the electric air pump this time because I did not want to pass out and miss the look of joy on The Baby's face.  Of course, after 15 minutes of hearing the roar of the air pump, The Baby wanted nothing to do with the strange yellow mass groaning (the pool, not me) on the kitchen floor, and Little Diva had increased the volume of Abbie's Flying Fairy School to near tarmac decibels. Yeah, this was going well.

But I was determined to HAVE FUN today, so I got the thing inflated and poured in the bag of balls.  For a moment, it was still. The Baby was curious. Cautious. She climbed in and tentatively kicked a few balls around. She smiled with interest.  THEN, Little Diva decided to show The Baby how much fun she used to have throwing the balls all over the house and chaos ensued.  Within seconds, my living room looked as if a gigantic rainbow beanie baby had exploded.  I futilely started singing the Clean Up song, and putting the balls back into the pool, hoping the girls would follow my lead.  They did not.

Eventually, I got everyone redirected, and managed to get the thing collected and out of sight.  Well, actually, I just moved it downstairs to the play room. By the time I find the rest of the balls, and get it put away, The Baby will probably have outgrown it anyway.

LEGO Quatro Bucket
This set only has 70 pieces
So this time, I learned my lesson.  Don't pull out the toys that were a huge pain in the ass the first time around.  Unless you are a glutton for punishment.

I guess I will go look for the set of Lego Quatro blocks now.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Quick Dinner Idea

Every once in a while, I find something that makes my life seem a little easier and less chaotic.

I just had to pass along what I made for dinner tonight, and I will tell you why I am so darn pleased with it.

I am actually a pretty good cook (Little Diva is quick to point out that I am NOT a Chef, like her daddy, but I can definitely hold my own in the kitchen). However, my current culinary repertoire is limited to meals I can cook in the 20 minutes or less that I can hold off The Baby from tearing the entire kitchen apart AND something that Little Diva will actually eat. I refuse to spend a substantial amount of time preparing a nice meal for myself, knowing full well that it will be scorned and I will have to nuke a batch of chicken nuggets before I actually get to sit down and eat.

So when I can find something quick, easy and cheap, that is not Hamburger Helper from the clearance rack, I get a little excited. (Yes, my life IS really that boring)

This was a really simple little dinner that reminded me of France for some reason. In my early adulthood, I was quite a Franco-phile, so it was fun to eat something that brought back memories. I am not even really sure why it seemed like a French dinner, but I kept calling it jambon aux asperges to impress Little Diva, so maybe that is why.

Dinner consisted of Ham, Sauteed Asparagus and Baguette with Butter. The ham steak was buy one, get one this week, asparagus was on sale for $1.99/lb and the bread was left over from yesterday's meal. It literally took me 20 minutes, the majority of which was waiting for the water to boil to blanche the asparagus.

Here is how I did it.

1) Boil about an inch of salted water in a large skillet. Add trimmed, peeled asparagus and blanche 3-4 minutes until tender crisp.

2) Meanwhile, heat non-stick frying pan over medium heat and add ham steak. Turn it a couple of times during the next step. Turn heat to low when ham steak has lightly browned on both sides.

3) Drain asparagus. Wipe skillet dry. Add about 2 teaspoons olive oil. Heat until shimmering. Add 2 peeled and slightly crushed cloves of garlic and asparagus. Add 1 tablespoon melted butter.  Season with salt and pepper. Saute until asparagus starts to brown slightly. Drizzle with about a teaspoon of lemon juice. Remove from heat. Toss with 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley.  Move to serving dish and grate parmesan cheese over the top.

4) Cut ham steak into 2-3 servings. Serve with dijon mustard if you like it.

5) Serve with fresh bread and pour yourself a nice glass of crisp white wine. Yum!

Neither kid ate the asparagus, but it was so good, I was happy there was more for me. I will make sure they get an extra spoonful of grape jelly on their toast tomorrow to make up for the lack of vegetables tonight.

I guess there is something to be said for keeping it simple.

Bon apetit!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Baby Crazy

Let me begin by saying that Sweet Hubby and I have no intention of having more kids.  We are barely able to handle the two we have quite happy as a family of four. I am even willing to let at least one of my girls play hockey some day to put to rest any ideas Sweet Hubby might have of needing to try for a boy. So, if we were to spawn again, it would be an "oops" of epic proportions.

With that said, I must admit that I get totally swept up in all things baby, with a fervor that rivals the Target parking lot on Black Friday. There is a new wave of baby mania sweeping our social circles these days - one gal in labor, a recent pregnancy announcement, even my sister starting to plan for a possible new addition to her family sometime in the near future.  I get totally pumped up on baby energy. I thought would try to channel some of my enthusiasm into sharing some thoughts about preparing for motherhood.

I know it can be completely overwhelming to start thinking about giving up every moment of your freedom and free will becoming a parent.  You are inundated with so much information and marketing, that it makes your nauseous, hypersensitive-smelling head spin.

Through every step of our journey through life now, there is some kind of resource to guide you/inspire you/connect you with others basically get you to buy more stuff.  Take the whole The Knot-The Nest-The Bump conglomeration for example.  What an advertising hoo-rah!

I am actually developing a new idea to pitch to the fine folks at that Lifestage Media group (the brains behind the Knot, et al), for the next installment in their series.  It is a place for you to go once you have Knot-ted, Nest-ed and birthed The Bump.  I will call it "The Nuthouse". (I was originally planning to call it The Noose, but my focus group thought that might be perceived as a teensy-weensy bit negative. Cry babies.)

I can see it now.  The gorgeous honeymoon photos from Jamaica on your profile would be replaced with shots of dragging little junior screaming out of the germ tank swimming pool at Sesame Place. Ladies with screen names like xanaxmama and mothergetsgoosed would trade advice on how to get the go-gurt stains out of their used-to-be-new living room carpets.

New mommies find out pretty quickly that no matter how much Dreft you use on your laundry, life with kids stinks from time to time. Even the most fully-stocked, best-equipped and well-guided mothers will wonder "what the hell was I thinking?", once in a while.

So whether you are armed with an entire arsenal of Pottery Barn Kids accessories, or picking through bins of baby goods at your neighbor's yard sale, I can tell you this.  There is not a single piece of baby gear out there that will prepare for the world of Motherhood, nor is there a fail-safe guide to doing it all the right way.  

There is also nothing more wonderful, more empowering, than the love of your children and the chance to help them make their way in this world. So if you are just embarking on your journey into motherhood, hold on and enjoy the ride. It'll be a wild one!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Current Events

I basically have no idea what is going on the world right now. Apart from Christina Aguilera's flub of the National Anthem, and something about the Philly city government's shady doings with their retirement program, I am 100% clueless. The only reason I am "up" on these is because The Baby was man-handling exploring the operation of the remote the other day during Sesame Street and happened to switch over to Fox News.

By the way, I do not have a cat, but
The Baby would do the same thing to a
newspaper given the chance. 
I am ashamed to admit it, but I do not follow current events at all. Though my intellectual brain understands that it is important to keep abreast of world news, my mommy brain can barely handle the Letter of the Day, much less the headlines of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The use of news print around here is relegated to table cover for paste projects and painting by numbers. My daily interaction with the Internet includes Facebook, Blogger and (or if we are feeling scandalous). I glean an occasional tidbit or two from the first two, and I can tell you exactly what is going on in Barbie's love life, but that is about it.

It has not always been this way for me. There was a time when I was quite knowledgeable about world events. Those days are long gone for now.

I mainly blame this on three things.

First of all, I don't make time to follow what is going on in the world. Though my day has very little structure to it, compared to the amazing mommies out there who operate like a fine Swiss timepiece, the routine is pretty simple. We get up, we play, we eat. Lather, rinse, repeat.  (I left out the sleeping part because, really, who am I kidding?). I barely find time to check my voicemail, much less find out what is newsworthy these days.

Secondly, The News doesn't often seem relevant to me. I don't chat with co-workers at the proverbial water cooler, nor do I often find myself engaged in intellectual conversation with other adults. It's not that I don't socialize with grown-ups. I do. But, while surrounded by the Little People village and Melissa and Doug, we, in the play-date set, do not talk politics or the economy. Our current events are more like what is your kid's nap schedule, or what happened to Steve on Blues Clues? For a more deep discussion, we may bring up the outrageous price of a gallon of milk, or the latest debate on potty-training readiness.

And last, but not least, I find the news quite depressing. It is hard enough to keep your head out the oven when you are stressed out about your child's refusal to clean up at preschool, or you are spreading out a decent night's sleep over 4 days. It may seem selfish, but I cannot add more to my mental list of things to worry about. I know it sucks out there, and believe me, I count my blessings every day. I just choose to leave it at that.

I will say, that blogging has slightly rekindled my interest in knowing what is going on in the world. I have come to realize that people actually pay attention to current events, and take the time to comment on them in public forums. It has made me feel slightly guilty about my complete lack of interest.

In my heart, I know that we cannot make the world a better place if we don't know how it works. And I certainly do not want my kiddos to grow up apathetic to current events. I would first appreciate if they can learn how to put their toys away, communicate without screaming or pouting, and sleep for more than two hours at a time. But we can definitely spend some time acquainting ourselves with who and what is making news right now.

Do any mommies have advice for keeping yourself (and your family) in the know, while balancing all the other needs of the day?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Bath Story

I do not give my kiddos a bath every day.

I know I am probably violating some sort of parental code that dictates the evening bath is an important part of your child's bedtime ritual.

It is just not happening here.  I am flying solo at bedtime most nights, so I have streamlined our "routine" to make bath time optional.  And by optional, I mean when mommy feels like doing it, maybe a couple of times a week.

There are a number of things that make the daily bath an unattainable expectation in this house.  First of all, I don't think they get very dirty.  Especially right now, in the dead of winter, when the most dirt they are exposed to is that which I have not yet vacuumed off of my floor.

When bath time does come around, the girls bathe together.  I cannot see the point of using enough water to fill two tubs, when they both fit in the same tub now.  I also do not have the time in the evening, to give them each a bath.  It would 10PM before Little Diva got to bed if that was the case.  She would love it. I would not.

Even getting both baths done at the same time takes a while.  One set of grown up hands can only wash, dry, diaper and pajama one kiddo at a time.  No bath often equals earlier to bed which means mommy gets a little extra grown up time later on.  I mean Glee is on tonight, right?

Having a five year old and a one year old in the tub at the same time, creates some interesting dynamics that I cannot deal with more than a few times a week.

Some times they just like to irritate one another.  Little splashes, little pokes. It just ends up in a lot of whining - my favorite.

Other times, they get along fabulously and like to proclaim their congeniality by screaming in unison.  This is awesome at the end of a 12 hour day, when mommy may or may not have a migraine coming on.

Some times, they find splashing fun.  They start with little scoops of water, and end up showering each other, me, and the rest of the bathroom.  It escalates very quickly, and I have no tolerance for wiping down every surface in the bathroom on a daily basis.  And, if I did, I would save that energy for actually cleaning the bathroom everyday.  Yeah, right.

There are a few other tub behaviors that I either annoy me or gross me out.

Little Diva loves to play with Barbies in the tub.  I am over getting mad about the ensuing mess of their hair after a few trips to the tub.  I have just warned Little Diva that I have no intention of trying to brush out that gooey tangle of synthetic doll hair ever again once those Barbies hit the bath. So those Barbies live in the bathroom now, and that is fine.  But what gets me every time, are the wet Barbies getting draped over the side of the tub, dripping MORE water all over the floor.  I end up having to build sand-bag style towel rolls along the side of the tub to prevent little floods all over the tile. The end result is more laundry later, another one of my favorite things.

The Baby is at the age now where she wants to drink, lick, suck water off of every items that floats by here in the tub.  I try to keep all of the cups and cup-like toys out of reach, but it doesn't matter.  She will suck on a washcloth, or one of those little foam letters.  I think it is disgusting, and it is not as if I don't hydrate the girl all day long.  I totally don't get it, and have not found a way to curb the habit. She gets really mad if you take her stuff away, like screaming-bloody -murder mad.  So much for the relaxing, soothing power of the bath.

So with all that in mind, I am convinced that non-mandatory bath time works for us better than trying to deal with a daily bath for the sake of routine.  Sanity is a big part of effective parenting, right?

Do any other mommies ever feel the need to sacrifice a little of "what you're supposed to do" in favor of "what prevents you from going nuts?"

Monday, February 7, 2011

Restaurant Wars

It's 12:05 p.m. And I hear the almost daily battle cry of Little Diva ready to negotiate the terms of todays's peace treaty, "Mommy, can we go OUT to lunch?". You see, she is almost maniacal in her desire to dine out on an almost daily basis. We did not intend to groom her for this, but I can see where it all started.

When she was a young and impressionable toddler, Mommy worked full time and was often too wiped out at the end of the day to even think about cooking anything. And with her daddy, the chef, working late into the night, our little twosome spent plenty of suppers at the plethora of dining spots within a two mile radius of our house in suburbia. Besides, mommy and daddy have both been in the biz for a long time, so we like to eat out just as much. We are foodies and going out to eat is a big part of our lifestyle.

So it should come as no surprise to anyone that Little Diva prefers a restaurant to the comforts of home. And she is a fantastic little diner, too. She loves to show off her best manners and impress those around her with her ability to order articulately. But it should also not come as a surprise that out ability to afford such an extravagant lifestyle is non-existent thanks to my current payscale as a stay-at-home mom. On top of the financial burden, there is also the small matter of having a one year old added to the mix. The Baby, by contrast, is not the model restaurant patron.

So I have devised a series of strategies to help us a) keep our costs low when we eat out, b) make the dining experience as pain-free as possible for all those involved, and c) have fun in-the-house alternatives to avoid the restaurant scene altogether.

I am also planning to start a Tab on this blog where I feature various restaurants, and provide family friendly reviews and tips. Stay tuned for that!!

Saving Your Pennies
1) Try some place with a salad bar. This has become a favorite of ours.  When Little Diva was a baby, we could just give her some beans, cheese and veggies from our salad plate and she was happy. Now she likes to order her own, but will make a whole meal of it. She feels like such a "grown up" picking out all of her food and is almost tall enough to actually get it herself! Still keeps our costs low, and saves us money for beer for Sweet Hubby.  Usually a requirement of getting through the meal with both kids in tow.

2) Choose your Kid's Meal wisely.  Especially if you have more than one child.  The typical kid's meal at any restaurant, is usually a portion large enough to feed at least two kids, and top off an overly hungry mommy who nibbles at the French Fries from time to time (who me??) What you miss out on, is usually the extra drink. So I always make sure I bring The Baby's sippy cup, full of milk.  Most places don't have Whole Milk available, and that is what she drinks anyway. And even if your kiddos don't always eat the same thing, you can make this work.  When we go out to our favorite pizza place, I order one chicken fingers kid's meal and one slice of pizza. That way, Little Diva gets her pizza, and gets the drink and carrot sticks that come with The Baby's meal.

3)You may consider skipping the kid's meal altogether if you are paying extra to get a junky toy that will be buried under the car seat before you get home, or the ice cream sundae that will have them hopped on sugar just in time for bedtime.  The most frugal of mamma's can save the containers and toys from previous "happy" experiences, and "refill" them with items off of a dollar menu for less than the cost of a single kids meal. Believe me, the Ronald McDonald police are not going to be on duty to bust you for that move.

4) Find free food!  Many places offer "Kids Eat Free" night.  Usually you have to order one adult meal per free child meal, so plan ahead.  Locally, I use the list on Playground Buzz as a guide.

5) "Like" your favorite places on Facebook.  You will find out about special promotions that will save you a ton.  Our Chick-Fil-A always has something going on - "Dress Like a Cow", "Eat Like a Cow" whatever.

6) Look for deals on Living Social or Groupon or clip coupons to save money.  I subscribe to the Never Pay Full Price philosophy.

Saving Your Sanity
1) Bring your own crayons and paper.  Just in case.  Bring a few little toys and books too.  But don't pull them out until everyone needs a new distraction.

2) Get bread right away.  Little Diva always likes a little bread to go with her butter, so we make sure we ask as soon as we sit down.

3) Arrive before the rush.  Having to wait for the table is the kiss of death for us.

4) Choose places that have something interesting to look at. We just found a spot near us that has a gigantic fish tank right next to the booths. This was a fantastic distraction.

5) Let your little charmers go to work.  Nothing smoothes over a little frustration on the part of your fellow diners, like a happy hello and big smile from an adorable child.  Let your little one charm the pants off that group of ladies who scowl at you as soon as you sit down.  They will be all warm and fuzzy before you know it.

6) Keep your expectations in check.  Dining out is usually a special occasion (we, err, usually just have a lot of special occasions) so you can let some of the rules go and not get too worried if your child doesn't eat all their veggies or drink all their milk.  In fact, I am just happy if they don't throw all their veggies and spill all their milk.

7) Don't go when you are super hungry.  When I don't eat, I get grouchy.  When I can't eat because my kids are acting like maniacs at a restaurant, I get REALLY grouchy.  Enough said. Just eat a banana in the car before you go in.

Chez Nous
Though I am the first to want to ditch the cooking (and especially the clean up), I must admit that it is easier on everyone and the budget to just stay home to eat. Here are some ideas to make eating at home more of an "experience."

1) Theme nights - Sometimes we do Mexican Night.  Little Diva loves to make her own tacos, and actually eats them. We set the mood with the Mexican channel of Music on Demand. We dim the lights and light candles.  Mommy washes down her meal with a shot of Tequila and all is well. (I made that last part up, but it kind of sounds good. I might try it next time)

2) Pint Size Salad Bar - I set up a low table with little bowls of all of Little Diva and The Baby's favorite salad bar options.  This is just as good as being at the restaurant, according to Little Diva, and even better for me, because I don't have to worry about her dumping an entire plate of food on the way back to the table.

3) Make Your Own Pizza - I have said it before, kids love to make their own food.  You can pretend that you have your own pizzeria and start using funny accents and twirling your Bobolis around in the air. We set the table while the pizza is in the oven and pretend that we are getting ready for the dinner rush. If your family likes toppings on your pizza, you can save some money by visiting the salad bar at the grocery store and filling your container with a little of everything you need. This is much cheaper than buying a whole package of pepperoni, an onion, olives, etc. Plus it is all washed and cut already. Bonus!

4) Playing server -  Little Diva loves to take orders.  Well, actually I think she prefers to give orders, but when we pretend that I am the customer, she likes to write down every word with meticulous detail.  This is best suited to the days when I have a casserole in the oven or a roasting chicken, because that is about how long it takes for me to spell out of every word of the order for her to write down. But, hey, it is a learning experience, right?

With a little luck and creativity, I am hoping to limit our restaurant visits to reasonable amount, keep the kids happy when we are there and try to stay on task financially speaking.  I have a hard, hard time saying no, so I will need to work extra hard at sticking to the plan, but I am hoping we can make it happen.

Do you have any tips or tricks that help you control the crazies when it comes to eating out?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award !

I am so excited because last week, Chunky Mama from Chunk and the Game awarded me with the Stylish Blogger Award.

I accept this award on behalf of my children. Without them, I would not need an outlet to express myself in more than one syllable words.

I'd like to thank the Academy, err I mean Chunky Mama, for giving my blog a chance and becoming one of my first followers to whom I was not actually related. Her blog always makes my day and we may or may not have been separated at birth.

In order to accept this award, the rules state that I must share seven things about myself with my fabulous readers, so here they are:

1) I do not own a laptop. I think I really need one. Not having one is really cramping my blog style!

2) Sometimes I really miss my old office. It was my own personal space, and anyone coming in to bug me could see over the desk and typically did not need their diaper changed.

3) I spend a lot of time watching my girls sleep.  There is something so soothing and relaxing about watching their little faces drift in and out of dreams. It is not as big of a time commitment as you might think.  They don't like to sleep very much.

4) I really want to be a hockey mom. I also really want my girls to grow up with straight noses and all their teeth. Therein lies the rub.

5) I have a hard time going to bed before 11:30 pm. Usually it's more around midnight, at the earliest. I often wait for Sweet Hubby to get home from work because I actually like to spend more than 15 minutes a day with him.

6) Food is my only vice. (Well, maybe Diet Coke too, if you don't think that counts as food) I may even have some kind of weird eating disorder that makes me want to eat everything, all the time.  This has gotten much worse since I have been home full time.

7) I feel personally aggrieved by the new Weight Watchers Point Plus system.  I did so well on the program the last time I needed to lose weight, and this time, I just cannot get the hang of it. Please refer back to number 6.

Now for the really fun part, I get to pass this award along to blogs (I am going for five) that I have discovered recently, and my picks are:

Practical Parenting
Katie is a licensed clinical social worker who gives amazing advice on how to relate to your kids.  She gives me hope that I may someday get my act together and figure out what makes these girls tick!

Donkeys to College
A hysterically brilliant combination of humorous anecdotes, editorial commentary and current events.

Natasha's Blog
A brand new blog by a writer, who I happen to know got an awesome college education. She has a gorgeous outlook on life, and a family to match.

Party of Five
April has great things to share, and her blog is fun to follow. Besides, she quotes Dave Matthews Band on her title page. How cool is that?

Funambulism for Beginners
Another amazing new blog by a woman who is trying to balance it all and tell her story along the way. I can totally relate!

So that is it for this fantastic Sunday afternoon! Time for some QT with the kiddos and Sweet Hubby!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Three Tough Questions

How do you keep your emotions in check when your child's behavior is totally disappointing to you?

How do you teach your kids to act responsibly and understand consequences without making them feel like they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders?

When they fall short, do you explain to your child that their behavior has upset you and explain why?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dear Santa,

I know it's a little bit early this year, but I have just finished throwing a bunch of crap away organizing the play room, and I know exactly where I want to go with this year's list.  What, you say, don't I let the kiddos create their own wish list of wants and NEEDS to you every year? Well, first of all, Santa, it may surprise you to know, given the skills of your elfish North Pole co-inhabitants,  that the little beings in this house cannot read or write.  Therefore the task of list-editing falls directly on my already way too burdened shoulders.  Second of all, I am no fool, Santa.  I know exactly what I do and do not want to be forced to endure with mind-numbing repetition play with my children, so I tend to use the power of suggestion as I guide their choices.

But this year I think I am going to work in reverse. It is way to early to know what over-priced, poorly manufactured box of plastic and chipboard will be flying off the North Pole shelves come Christmastime, so I think I will just tell you want we DON'T want this year.

On the list of No Thank You's this year:

Any sort of choking size piece of paraphernalia for the Barbie Nightmare Tower. We especially don't need any more of the fantastic 5 piece dinner place settings. Barbie and the gang can make do with the 2 forks, 1 knife, 1 saucer and 2 plates that we can still find.

Riding toys.  We do not live on a 20 acre piece of property nor do we have 10 kids, which is what we would need to be able to use all of the bikes/scooters/ride-on toys that we have here already on a regular basis.

Stuffed animals.  I know that every single one of the Wonder Pets is freaking adorable and every kid should HAVE THEM ALL, but really, we have more fake fur here than a Paris runway. I already donated over 50 stuffed animals to charity last year (That was no easy task, by the way.  Apparently, most charities don't want the things either!)

Fake food.  Here again, we are well stocked. Now, REAL food? Absofutely!  Have you seen the price of groceries lately?  I am not too proud to beg, Santa. If you are worried about the perishable stuff, then a Giant gift card is fine too.

Retro-style toys.  These are popping up all over to bring back our fond childhood memories - Fisher Price Record Player, Spirograph, Lite Brite.  Unfortunately, the lame attempt to recreate these classics is turing out cheaply made copies that just aren't the same.

Did I mention the Barbie stuff?  Sweet Hubby just wanted me to be sure. He also wanted to stress that none of the two dozen Barbies that live here need any more hot pants, mini skirts or FMe boots.

So I hope this gives you a place to start, Santa.  Even with Christmas so far off (and many months left to lose the rest of the Barbie dinnerware), we are looking forward to a happy and healthy holiday, enjoying the company of family and friends. Maybe this year will be the one where we can really focus on the true meaning of the holiday and not worry so much about material goods.  I think now is as good a time as any to start!

Enjoy your vacation and see you at the mall in September!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sleep Issues

We have been waiting for a good long time for The Baby to sleep for more than 4-5 hours a night. As a newborn, she spoiled us with a couple of months of solid sleeping from the get-go, but then around four months, settled into a pattern of waking several times a night. Not unusual for a nursing baby and what is motherhood without a good daily dose of sleep deprivation, so we just came to accept it. But as she is closing in on 18 months, we (and by we, I mean me, the one who gets up to soothe said baby throughout the night) were starting to be ready for a full night of uninterrupted sleep.

It took Little Diva a good 16 months to start sleeping through the night so the timing seems about right. And low and behold, for the past few nights, The Baby has actually been sleeping for about 10 hours. Most likely she wakes ups, as all babies do, but she must be getting herself back to sleep. No crying required.

Sadly, this fabulous milestone has coincided with a sudden dramatic change to Little Diva's sleeping pattern. While she has always been prone to the occasional middle-of-the-night venture to our bed, she has just begun to regularly wake up and come into our bed around the same time EVERY night. And given her flair for the dramatic, she doesn't just quietly creep in. She flings herself into the bed, tosses and turns to get comfortable until she is finally able to wedge herself in perpendicularly between Sweet Hubby and me. As I've mentioned, I'm pretty laid back. I don't object to a child in my bed. I do, however, object to a jagged toenail jabbed into the small of my back all night.

I'm not sure of the cause for the recent night wakings. Scary dreams, room too hot or cold, the lack of the nightly cries of The Baby to which we had all become conditioned? Perhaps that's it! Perhaps little Diva is so finely attuned to the needs of her baby sister that she wakes herself in panic when she doesn't hear her cry at least once per night.

But I feel bad for the poor girl - clearly something is disturbing her. Perhaps one of my more psychologically-minded blog friends (hint hint) will address the topic of night wakings.

But in the meantime, I guess my nights of unrest and coffee-and-Diet Coke-fueled days are not over just yet.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Oh Brain, Sometimes I Miss You!

Most mommies will agree that our brains just don't seem to function like they used to.  With each subsequent child, this affliction, creatively called "Mommy Brain" just seems to get worse.  It seems to start in pregnancy, where we can laugh it off, and blame it on the hormones, and most people will cut us slack because of our "delicate condition".  But to our surprise and horror, our keen ability to remember things like giving the kids breakfast what we had for breakfast, never really comes back. And at this point, what used to be cute and funny, seems confused and irresponsible.

Now, we mommies are resigned to using all kinds of tricks and tools, to keep us operating with minimal damage to ourselves and our reputation. I have heard of some moms using a Sticky Note system. They just write everything down on a series of sticky notes and this keeps them organized throughout the day. I am not sure this system is for me.

First of all, most days, I can't even find the Sticky Notes. And when I do, the entire pad is usually covered with Little Diva's scribble-scrabble artistic creations. She also likes to stick them all over. So there is a good chance I could defeat my effort to appear slightly more put together, by leaving the house with a reminder to "brush my teeth" stuck to my a$$.

Other mommies will stick to a very strict daily schedule to keep them on task. I LOVE this idea. Unfortunately, I do not seem to possess the ability to schedule myself or my day with any regularity. I find this absolutely deplorable, considering that in my former "professional" life, time management was actually one of my most revered skills.  I used to accomplish 12-14 hours of work a day within a 9 hour timeframe so I could get out and get Little Diva picked up from the daycare on time. Now it seems like there are just too many conflicting needs between the two kids to do anything at the same time every day. More on my complete inability to create a routine for us another time.

A regular To Do list is also a popular choice for mommies who are trying to make sure that we don't forget things like buying stamps, and oh say, picking up the kiddos at school. I tend to employ this method myself. The only problem is that I sometimes forget what I want to write by the time I get over to the list on the kitchen counter. Then I spend the next 10 minutes trying to remember what I did not want to forget. Multiply this by 5-10 times a day, and it starts to seriously cut into my daily schedule. I am not exaggerating when I say that it has sometimes taken me upwards of half an hour to write my list of errands and by the time I am done, I don't have time left to go out and actually do them!

I often rely on the kindness of others to make sure that I remember what needs to get done. Like the nice lady at the dentist's office who calls to tell me when we have a check up scheduled. And sometimes, the generic robo-receptionist from the doctor's office who leaves a pre-recorded reminder for our appointments. The latter is only useful, though, when I remember to check the messages, so we have missed a few of those!

Also less sharp these days - my ability to remember names and faces. This is awesome when we run into pre-school moms, or friends from other activities. I recently enthusiastically greeted a fellow mom at Panera and asked her how her daughter like Kindergarten. She had no idea what I was talking about (her oldest is three) and then I realized that I had her confused with another mom at the ballet school. Oops!

I will proudly say that I still have an uncanny ability to remember where in the piles of dirty laundry you will find any particular article of clothing. For some reason, I have an almost photographic memory when it comes to finding dirty clothes. I think this is made possible by the large qualities of dirty laundry that we have at any given time, but I am proud nonetheless. I mean, not everyone can do that, right?!

So most days, I am just a train wreck. Fortunately, I can usually use my cute kids to divert attention away from my "hot mess"-ness.  And I take solace in the knowledge that I am not alone in the whole mommy brain thing.

To those mommies out there who do have their sticks together, you know I love you, and wish I were you.  If you have a chance to bottle up some of your "Cool Mama Mojo", please send some my way.  For the rest of us, just check your behind for a Post-It before you leave the house today, okay?