Saturday, March 26, 2011

Climbing the Walls

Oh, it's on! The Baby has discovered her inner primate and there is no looking back.

How does this happen? One day, you have a sweet, docile little toddler who is cautiously teetering around on those tiny feet and then suddenly you wake up to a brazen mini-child who can scale the furniture.

How in the world can they barely feed themselves at this age, and yet possess not only the strength and agility to climb, but the engineering know-how as well? I know, gross motor skills vs. fine motor skills. Blah. Blah. Blah. All I can say is, it can be extraordinarily annoying rather inconvenient when your child-proofing suddenly has to go vertical.

It started with the stairs. She got really good at climbing them, really quickly. Within a few weeks, it was on to the couch. She figured out how to use just about any solid object (and sometimes, not so solid, with less than favorable results) as a stepping stool to get herself to the next level of what ever piqued her interest.

The next thing I know, she is SITTING ON THE TABLE. Oh yeah, pulling the chair out, hoisting herself up, the whole nine yards, or in this case, 30 inches from the floor. That. Is. Scary.

I guess the view is just better up there. Or maybe it is the treasure trove of no-touchables that we got into the habit of moving into the center of the table when she realized she could reach up and grab anything perched precariously close to the edge. Favorites here were Little Diva's nearly full cups of milk, and markers. Oh the markers!!

Worse yet is the kitchen. I cannot even begin to cook a meal unless she is safely strapped into her high chair, which although technically at the same height as the super-fun table, apparently not nearly as interesting to sit on. If I keep her on the loose, I am constantly interrupted by having to prevent her from attempting to mount the counters. Or having to extract her from whatever other surface nearby, she has elevated herself onto.

Because, oh yeah, the getting down part apparently doesn't come so easy. And she has her "ups" and "downs" confused, so I am serenaded all the while with "up, up, up!!" which means "I am stuck up here so hurry up and get me down NOW!"

Since my first born was not a climber, this is all new to me - any words of wisdom?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Being Sick Stinks!

Being sick really stinks. And I mean that quite literally. It does not smell good. The stench of sickness has laid itself over my house like an wet, grimy blanket. After almost a week of stomach bug infestation, I have thrown open the windows in attempt to rid our place of the offending odors. This round of ailment saw just about every part of the house get christened with one form of refund or another. From the couch to the car seat, it seems that no place was safe.

And despite my constant fumigation attempts via Febreze, Lysol and cornstarch powder, the lingering smell just won't go away. I can smell sickness in my cloths, my hair, and on my hands - no matter how many time I wash, no matter how hard I scrub.

Yesterday was a warm and beautiful day, and I tried to keep the windows open to clear the air, but I, myself, was suffering a mild case of the hurl and runs, so I had to close the windows when I wanted to rest. Apparently, my neighbors think that nice weather means you should stand on your deck and smoke, or ride your Harley around the block twenty times. Neither scenario blends well with nausea and fatigue. 

Even though the temperature dropped by about 20 degrees today, those darn windows are open and the cool, fresh air is coming in!

But ever the eternal optimist, I figured that I could wrangle a little good out of a nasty situation, by sharing what I have learned over the past week.

1) As soon as anyone in the house gets sick, put a large mattress cover and sheet over the couch. It took me more than one round of trying to scrub and Febreze the hell out of my couch before I wised up and did this. Next time, it will be like second nature.

2) Don't put a sick kid in the car. Even if you have to run out of the house for twenty minutes. Car seats are a mother to clean. And if you happen to be in the market for a new car seat, do yourself a favor and buy one that has an easily removable, launder-able cover. Just in case you ignore the first part of this advice absolutely must leave the house with sick baby in tow.

3) Have an extra set of crib sheets and mattress covers at the ready for those middle of the night bed changes. Have a little bucket and washcloth ready too, for the midnight sponge bath. If you open the door, and smell a tell tale smell, grab what you need before you pick up the baby so you can complete the operation without missing a beat.

The likelihood of your child ever
actually throwing up in the toilet
is very small.
4) If you are by yourself, and have a smaller baby or toddler that you need to corral while you change the bed, consider setting up the pack and play in the child's room in advance. You will thank me for this if your child is suffering from cluster barf. There is nothing quite as defeating as getting your child cleaned and dressed, getting her bed changed, then turning to find she has thrown up again all over the wall-to-wall carpeting in her room.

5) Check your children's fever reliever for its expiration date prior to the time that you actually need it. Because if you don't, it will certainly be expired at 1:00 a.m. when you really need it.

6) Don't feel guilty about a little extra TV time for your sick child. If they are lethargic and just want to lay around, let them. I realized after coming down with the same bug as The Baby, that all I wanted to do was lay around, because it was a strength-sapping kind of illness, and I did not even feel like sitting up. I most definitely did not want to play with blocks or do Itsy Bitsy Spider either.

7) In addition to having the time honored sickness staples like Saltines and ginger ale, make sure you have some easy foods on hand like peanut butter, bread, frozen waffles and bananas. These are easy things that you can slap together for a make-shift meal, should you find yourself with at least one child at any given time who can actually keep food down.

8) Do. Not. Get. Low. On. Toilet. Paper.  EVER! Enough said.

So with all that, I am happy to report that we are seemingly on the road to better health, and fresher air.
I hope that you all avoid as much sickness as possible, but if you happen to get afflicted, perhaps these tidbits of nonsense wisdom will help!

Does any one else have any sick time strategies that make things a little easier?

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Well, as I do with so many trends, I clearly missed the memo on leprechauns being the new Santa.

When I was a kid, St. Patty's Day was for wearing green and pretending you were Irish so you could get kissed. We sang songs about looking over a four leaf clover, traced oak tag Shamrocks, and ate green cupcakes at school for lunch.

As we grew a little older, we learned about the Blarney Stone and saw filmstrips about Ireland.

Of course, the leprechaun image has always been an integral part of the festivities, but we never really personified the leprechaun much beyond the Lucky Charms commercials.

Now, all of the sudden, it seems like the leprechaun is the rock star bad boy of the holiday circuit.

I'm hearing about leprechauns that are going wild at school, making messes and leaving trails of green glitter in their wakes. Little Diva came home yesterday with a complete lesson on how to make sure you don't get tricked by a leprechaun.

Crafty moms are helping their kids construct elaborate leprechaun traps with gold coins and Lucky Charms for bait. My nephew didn't catch a leprechaun, but instead woke up to find the impish trickster had left him gold dollar coins. Lucky.

I, myself, was unaware of leprechaun-mania and, as such, found myself completely unprepared to stage any leprechaun-themed activities. My bonny lass did not wake to find any trace of a leprechaun encounter.

You know, by the time we get to March, the double whammy of Christmas and Valentine commercialism has done me in. Putting effort into another holiday seems beyond my reach. I had a hard enough time tearing through unopened bags of hand-me-downs just to come up with one sort-of green shirt for Little Diva to wear to school.

I just want to enjoy St. Patrick's Day the way any good American should. With a Shamrock shake for lunch and green beer with dinner. We will have our corned beef next week when I can get it on sale for half the price.

And I'm not buying any stories about leprechauns making the mess at my house. I know exactly who tears my house apart and St. Patrick's Day is just like any other in that way.

The creative moms out there need to come up with a holiday figure that actually cleans all the crap up. For that, I'd be willing to build a trap and eat lucky Charms for a month.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Share What You Love AND Make Some Money!

Big news brewing here in the crazy house! Mommy got a - wait for it - JOB!!

Well, I am really more of an "independent contractor" but if it means a little money coming in, to finance my retail therapy/fast-food addiction/credit card payments, then I can cheer about it!

I have started tutoring. I got the idea from an old friend that I spoke with a couple of weeks ago, who mentioned that she had been doing a lot of tutoring, and it dawned on me - "hey, that would be a start!"

Sweet Hubby and I have recently had "the talk" about when Mommy might need to get back to bringing home the bacon, and not just frying it up in the pan. Our original target date of me getting back into the outside-the-home workforce (a year after The Baby was born) came and went with very little fanfare but it seems like that money tree I planted in the back yard did not survive the winter, so it was time to think about some income options.

I realized that it would make the most sense to look for something that would allow me to use my degree and the skills I am passionate about, rather than returning right away to my old career path which had sent me in a different direction all together from where I thought I would go from college, about a million years ago. It's not that I did not enjoy what I had been doing pre-The Baby, but I was not eager to return to the crazy hours and large quantities of stress that came along with that industry.

That's where the tutoring came in. Of course, I "googled" the subject and came across WyzAnt.  It's an online service for tutors and students to find each other. I simply signed up, created a profile, and less than a month later, I have two different tutoring gigs, and have already gotten my first paycheck!! The service allows you to search for jobs, search for tutors, evaluate and they even manage all the payment stuff.

If you are interested in finding out more about Tutoring Jobs available in your area, you can check out their link here, or search for tutoring jobs in the Side Bar box above.

I certainly don't know if I can parlay this into a steady stream of income and avoid the "back to work" scenario all together, but at least it will help, and I get to do something I really love. I will keep you posted!!

Has anyone else out there ever done tutoring? Any tips?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Daylight Savings Has Kicked My Butt

I think the time change has been way harder on me than the kiddos.

Either that, or it was the five hour road trip I took solo with the kiddos, plus the major party we threw for my sister, plus the intense insanity excitement of having four generations of women in my family under one roof for a weekend, plus the fact that The Baby is sick yet again, this time with vomiting and the runs. (Oh hello, washing machine!)

In any case, I am pretty exhausted, and don't have much in the arsenal of interesting anecdotes to share today.

I think I will just pass along the mantra we adopted for the weekend with my family (and I must credit my sister-in-law with coming up with it).

"You just can't argue with crazy!"

It was the quote of the weekend, and pretty much summed up the general course of conversation throughout our time together.

This particular quote of the weekend was almost eclipsed by my mom asking said sister-in-law, "Do you Lambada?", but when the answer was no, and the uninvited resulting lesson ensued, we were back to:

"You just can't argue with crazy!"

By the way, I love my family, love my dirty-dancing momma (who is one of my faithful readers), and had an awesome time with everyone who was there. Just wanted to share why I am a little tired.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Parenting for the Complete Klutz

A bloggy friend and former classmate of mine recently wrote about how a little humiliation is actually good for the soul, and helps you keep things in perspective. She is a great writer, so you should read her entire post here, but in the spirit of her sentiment, I thought I would share my day's humiliating story.

As I get older (and perhaps not so svelte), I find myself more and more clumsy. Yesterday, however, my complete lack of grace and coordination was at an all time high.

I was at the preschool to pick up Little Diva as usual. The regular group of moms were assembled in the gymnasium waiting for our minions to be released. I spotted Little Diva prancing toward me with a big hug (which I welcomed willingly, because it is so much better than the indifference that sometimes comes along with being a teenager trapped in a preschooler's body). Meanwhile, The Baby had scampered off to entertain herself in their play area.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw The Baby wedging herself into the footholds to hoist herself atop the slide, and I got nervous. It has not been a good week for us and play equipment. I started off quickly to prevent any mishaps, caught her in time, and turned to see Little Diva glaring at me.

She snarled, "Mom, you should have watched out for that little baby."

I answered with a dazed, "huh?" then realized that I had just overheard one mom saying to another, "oh it's okay, she is used to getting knocked around." Mortification began to set in.

"Um, what do you mean, sweetie? What baby?"

Little Diva answered, "Mom, you knocked over that little girl and didn't even say sorry".

Oh my God! I had committed a toddler hit and run. In my exuberant dash to save The Baby from the perils of playland, I had somehow managed to bowl over an innocent little girl, and I did. not. even. realize. it.

And it was not just any little girl. It was THE LITTLE GIRL, the one who is always dressed in baby couture and six inch bows and flowers on top of her head. Thinking back on it, I have no idea how I could have missed her.

But luckily her mother is quite nice and friendly.

I hurried over sheepishly, and apologized profusely, admitting that it was Little Diva who told me what had happened and that I hadn't even realized what I had done. She was incredibly cool about the whole thing, although I am sure, at first, she was like, "What the Hell, lady, you just ran over my baby and didn't even look back?!"

Of course, who knows how many other moms witnessed the run-in but did not see my return to the scene. I may forever be known as Big, Scary Mom Who Knocks Kids Down and Doesn't Give a Damn. If that is not enough humiliation to keep me grounded for a while, I don't know what is.

What have you done to thoroughly embarrass yourself lately?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Find It Yourself!

I have seen a few recent posts about Mommy Pet Peeves, so I thought I would chime in with my own two cents about the number one parenting responsibility that irks me. If there is one task above all, that makes me want to tear my hair out on a regular basis, it is looking for lost crap.

You know what I mean, right? When your darling little child starts a sentence for the umpteenth day in a row with "Mommy, where is my _____________?" Usually this inquiry is shouted from the bedroom upstairs while I am downstairs trying to conduct some sort of household duty, and my hearing is no good anyway. It always requires me yelling back "Get your lazy little butt down here and ask me I can't hear you, come down and ask me your question, please." The exchange is even more frustrating when The Baby has finally fallen asleep for a nap after 45 minutes and is jolted awake by the "conversation".

Why is it that kids believe their mommies possess some sort of radar to find their missing items? And why do we attempt to prove we do when they ask?

And so the search begins. Of course, they never know where they last played with/wore/looked at whatever they need RIGHT NOW. And in my house, a thorough search means ending up with a bigger mess than we started with.

We look in the "obvious" places ...
- under the bed, an area which seems to attract just about everything Little Diva doesn't feel like putting away when she is done.
-in the drawers, which have usually been pulled apart by Little Diva earlier in the day while she was attempting to construct her fashion ensemble for the day. ("Ensemble" is a fancy word for a ridiculously mis-matched outfit including short sleeves and flip-flops in the dead of winter.)
-in the closet, basically just a war zone. Enough said.

After 15-20 minutes of tearing through every possible inch of space, we either find it or we don't (by this time, Little Diva has usually lost interest anyway and is on to making more messes finding something else to play with). And the piles of crap relocated by our quest must be left unattended because The Baby's quiet whimpering has escalated into full-blown "get me now or I will puke" cries for attention.

I wonder if anyone out there has good strategies to help your kiddo keep track of their belongings. Anyone? Anyone?!

Today I Made a Pledge!

Today I took "The Mom Pledge" to join with my fellow mommy bloggers who want to keep our blogosphere free from bullying and negativity.

For me, blogging has become a wonderful way to connect with other moms, and share our triumphs and disappointments. It stuns me to think that some bloggers are waging war against each other via negative comments, and online bullying. I am lucky that I have only interacted with kind, honest and sincere bloggers since I started a couple of months ago.

We moms face enough challenges in our "real lives". I have a five-going-on-fifteen-year-old so I have all the drama I need, thank you very much! We have to stick together, share our stories, and have a good laugh at it all when we can. Or be a virtual shoulder to cry on when need be.

Of course, we are all very different, and just like in real life, we can embrace diversity and learn from it.

For more information about The Mom Pledge, check out
Won't you take a moment to see what it's all about, and join the effort?

Sunday, March 6, 2011—Be Heard. Be Happy.

I just signed up with this program to test out products and share my feedback on them. Not exactly sure how it works. All this techno stuff is sometimes a little much for me but it looked like a cute website, and I like smiles so I will check it out and let you know how it goes. Here is the link if you want to take a look:—Be Heard. Be Happy.

Hello Dolly

Little Diva made her very first visit to the American Girl Place last week, and it was a day to remember. She loved having a fancy lunch and having her own little shopping spree with the gift card she got for Christmas.  Santa brought her an American Girl doll for Christmas this year, so she was eager to pick out some new outfits and in her words, "fantastic accessories."

Now Little Diva is technically "too young" for the American Girl doll. The recommended age for children on all the packaging for these dolls and their gear is 8+. I am not sure I totally get this. The dolls are sturdy, their hair stays nice and the clothes, for the most part, fasten with velcro and are easy to get on and off. (Not the shoes, though - they are even adult-proof, but whatever).

But more importantly, they seem like a logical toy for her play level and maturity.

Take for example, Barbie. The recommended age for Barbie is age 3+. Put the two dolls side by side, and which do you want your little girl to play with? Somehow, the American Girl seems a little more age appropriate.

I mean really, your three year old is old enough to play with a doll that dresses like a hooker runway model, wears tons of makeup, and is well-endowed, but not old enough to play with a child-like doll who wears kid's clothing and has a fresh young face? I find that strange.

And it is not as if you can blame it on the differing marketing ideals of two different companies. American Girl is a subsidiary of Mattel, who also happens to own that little empire known as Barbie.

Don't get me wrong, I like Barbies, and we have a vast collection of the dolls and her 1000+ piece accessory sets. We have had them since Little Diva was, oh yeah, 3. Basically since she was old enough not to inhale the miniature shoes and purses.

But I cannot understand what focus group at Mattel decides to market the hoochi-mama style doll to pre-schoolers, but wants you to wait until your kiddo is 8 before having a doll that she can should be able relate to. If I had researched this all thoroughly as a conscientious mama might do, I may have skipped the Barbies all together, and started her American Girl collection long ago. Somehow I like the idea of my little girl getting her doll ready for a play-date rather than a hot date. But I guess the toy execs might not agree.

Perhaps the Barbie is an iconic American toy, and to keep her place as the first lady of playthings, you gotta get them hooked young. But at the very least, it would do them good to re-evaluate Barbie's fashion choices of late. For example, the "I Can Be" series is a great nod to teaching kids about how to be anything when they grow up, but if the dentists, vets and teachers of tomorrow are going to dress in 3 inch heels and 3 inch skirts, we may all be in trouble.

And as for the American Girl doll, I am glad we did not wait until age 8.  For the cost of the darn thing, I want Little Diva to have as many years as possible to get our money's worth.

What kind of dolls does your child play with?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hot and Bothered This Morning

Well, of course, it is time for another visit to our nearby medical professional! Merely a week has passed since Little Diva's mishap, and she is most definitely on the mend. So, now, guess what? The Baby is sick with a high fever. Again.

We are starting to become regulars at our pediatrician's office. I no longer need to say I have the after-hours doctor line on speed dial, because I actually have it memorized. I did manage to avoid another late night ER jaunt, thanks to the infant acetaminophen coming through around 10:30 pm, but we are back to a burning hunk of love this morning.

I am pretty sure I activated the jinx of all jinxes about 8 months ago when I commented on how lucky we were to have avoided the ER and most common illnesses with our kids. I cannot even remember the conversation very clearly, I just know I mentioned that I really would not even know how to go about getting to the ER because we had never had the need.

Well, I figured out it nice and quick. Me and my big freaking mouth.

So, it is on to another weekend with very little sleep, very lot of coffee and quite possibly a second mortgage to help cover the cost of co-pays for our play dates with germs visits to the doctor.

Happy Saturday!