“I’m Nine Months Old, and My Pediatrician is Okay With It.”

I want a shirt like that for my child.

This is my sweet Caia.

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It’s hard to tell in that picture, but she is small for her age. I just have small children. That’s just how they come.

At two weeks early, she weighed 5 lbs. 10 oz. I’m told that’s small even for two weeks early. I have no frame of reference for “average” baby size as my first was a week late and only weighed 6 lbs 2 oz.

I’ve seen the stares when I take her out to eat. I am keenly aware of the odd looks other mothers give me when they see my child snarfing down table food.

But today, we got to actually hear some of the nasty comments that until now, I only knew people were THINKING.

We were at Arby’s with Jon and Paula. (That’s Stephen’s brother and his girlfriend.) As I came back from the bathroom with McKenna, I noticed two older ladies at a nearby table, staring at Caia.

And it wasn’t that, “Awww, she’s cute” kind of stare. It was the kind of stare that seemed to imply that she felt that SOMEONE needed to be attentive to this child, because obviously her parents were clueless and didn’t know what they were doing.

Paula looks at me and says, “Don’t turn around, but those women keep whispering and staring at Caia.”

Jon then tells me that he heard one of them comment, in what I’m sure was complete horror and disgust, that they couldn’t believe we were feeding that tiny baby table food.

For real?

It gets to me when other women try to parent someone else’s child. Please. Unless you know that child and you know that situation, just back off. That sounds harsh, but please.

What works for my kids and what works for your kids may be totally different, but should that give me cause to judge you and your child-rearing abilities? Unless someone is harming their children, physically or emotionally, I don’t care.

And I certainly don’t care what you feed your children. Just feed them SOMETHING, and I’m good.

I do have harsh words for those that belittle their children in public. Stephen and I both do. And if you’d like a really good example of this, just go to Wal-Mart on any given day, and you’ll see someone yelling at their kids to “get their a** back over here”. Throw in some name-calling here and there, and you’ve got yourself a fine parenting example.

Back to my Arby’s experience.

I said to Paula, hopefully loud enough for these women to hear, “Yeah. It happens a lot. People think that she’s younger than she is. But nope. She’s nine months old. And her pediatrician is okay with it.”

Paula made me giggle.

“Seriously. What if it were like ‘Little People, Big World’, and she were really like, four? What would they have to say then?”

Why do we, especially as mothers, want to assume the worst of another mom? Do these women really believe that I am giving my five month old baby chicken nuggets and french fries?

Just for reference, I asked a friend later on in the day, if she saw my child and didn’t know how old she was, what she would guess her age to be. She said five or six months. She’s right.

When Stephen finally picked up on the conversation taking place, his answer to the situation was this:

“Well, let’s just go ask her, since she’s such an expert, if she thinks it’s okay that we don’t have a car seat for her.”

He’s kidding.

 

I Have Enough Eggo Waffles For a Small Army…

Total random post of the day.

Thanks to coupons and Publix BOGOs, I spent a total of $13.64 and came home with:

2 boxes of Cheerios

1 box of Reese’s Puffs

1 box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch

6 boxes of Eggo waffles

4 8packs of Juicy Juice boxes

2 Glade candles

1 Publix 1/2 gallon sweet tea (mystery coupon)

1 jar of those nasty Gerber meat sticks

 

My husband was laughing as I loaded the eight shopping bags in the car.

He laughs at me, but secretly, I think he gets into my bargain hunting as much as I do.

 

 

Potty Training Update

This is the subject.

A week ago Monday, we took away the pull-ups, and put on our big girl panties. Literally.

The first day I had washed 6 pairs of underpants by noon.

Day Two: Mommy and McKenna go to the store to buy LOTS of big girl underpants. Every time she pee pees in her pants, she says, “I have to go potty.” She then marches herself to the bathroom and proceeds to change her wet clothes.

Day Three: Lather, rinse, repeat the latter part of Day Two.

Day Four: She goes to Time Out for yelling at Mommy about something and pee pees in her pants to spite me. No, I’m serious.

(If I were going to psychoanalyze her at this point, I would assume that she is really testing me at this point to see if I really do care if she wets her pants or not. Between you and me, I do. Between her and I, I don’t give a rat’s patootie.)

On the eve of Day Six, her Horton the elephant doll gets a pair of dry underwear. (Thank you, Stacey, for this idea!) We’re wondering if Horton can keep his clothes dry.

Day Six: No wet pants for a couple of hours. McKenna gets rewarded for dry pants. (Again, thank you Stacey!) She is asked if she needs to sit on the potty, and she emphatically replies, “Yes!” She goes pee pee and is amazed at how much she’s going! (Apparently she’s held it in for quite some time.)

Now, here’s the cool part:

SHE STAYED DRY ALL DAY LONG!

We are now on Day Nine. We have only had four accidents in four days. (And one of those was when she saw a bumblebee outside that quite literally scared the pee pee out of her!) 

I feel like Dr. Phil right now. “This is going to be a changing day in your life!”

No joke.

She even….I think I might cry…..asked if she could…..I’m getting a little choked up here….wear her big girl underpants to sleep in.

Of course, we frantically began searching for the waterproof mattress pad after that. 

I don’t know what the trigger was for her, and quite honestly, I don’t care. The biggest thing I learned about potty training the strong willed child was to get rid of the pull-ups. I think that was a major part of it. Who likes to walk around in wet jeans? Seriously. That’s just plain uncomfortable. And gross.

Oh, and we never did find the waterproof mattress pad. 

 

 

 

What Happened to Customer Service? WARNING: Rant Ahead!

Today I was at IHop. And yes, I had coupons. 

But does that mean I should get poor service?

Well, I guess I should clarify that the service itself was fine. It was the waitress’s assumptions and attitude that bothered me.

Our coupon said “buy one entree and two drinks and get an entree free”. Score! So, my friend orders the drinks and her entree.

Then I order the Original Buttermilk Pancake Breakfast. $5.29. Right there on the menu. And it says it comes with FIVE pancakes.

Sounds good. We’ll take it. That’s plenty for me and both of the girls.

The waitress returns a short time later with the food. It’s hot and it came out quickly. No problems.

Except there are THREE pancakes on my plate.

“Ummm. Excuse me, but it says it comes with 5.”

“Not the short stack.” (I’m confused…but here’s the kicker…) “You said you wanted a short stack.”

Wait. A what? How could I order something that I didn’t know existed? I tried to explain (and really, I felt I was being cordial here) that I ordered what was ON THE MENU for $5.29, and that I’m pretty sure that I didn’t order a short stack, especially since I didn’t know what one was…or that it existed. Did I mention that I didn’t know you could order a short stack? (I’m pretty sure when I ordered I said “the 5 pancakes” too, but that’s beside the point.)

She tells me she’ll bring out the other two if that’s what I want. Uh, yep. That’s what I want, cause that’s WHAT I ORDERED. Sheesh.

Then when she comes out again, she tries to tell me a second time that I said “short stack”.

NO, I DIDN’T. 

I must digress here, because if there is one thing that gets me more than poor customer service, it’s being falsely accused. Granted, I know she’s not “accusing” me, per se, but please…don’t try and insist I said something that I know I didn’t say. (Did I mention that I didn’t even know you could order a short stack?)

So, then she says, “It’s okay. I’ll say it’s my fault.”

Uhhh, excuse me? 

I know. It sure doesn’t sound like I am showing this lady any grace, but if it had been a mistake on her part that she realized and tried to resolve, that’s fine. But, she kept insisting it was my fault. 

Whatever happened to “the customer is always right”?

Oh, grrr.

 

Kenny Rogers Had It Right When He Wrote “The Gambler”

Welcome to transparency in blogging.

This is my sink.

This is my laundry hamper. Okay, okay…this is ONE of my laundry hampers.

Two days ago, as I was making yet another round through my house, picking up and wiping up and sweeping up and mopping up, I was swallowed up in my exasperation.

Would I ever be able to not have to keep picking things up? Why do I even bother mopping the floor? The minute I have it finished and dry, one of the girls spills some unknown sticky substance on it.

(Little side note here: I have resolved in my heart that anytime I serve rice, pasta, cous cous, or any other starchy and sticky substance, that I will let the fallen (or thrown) food lie on the floor till morning. That way it’s had time to dry instead of rolling up into little sticky balls when I try to sweep it off the floor. Yeah, it’s probably just asking for bugs. But I figure that’s part of why we pay the bug man to come every 3 months.)

Will the laundry ever be completely folded and put away?

And somewhere in between putting Elmo back in his place and retrieving my Easter-themed salt and pepper shakers from the toy shelf (they’re bunnies and McKenna thinks they’re hers), God quietly spoke to my heart.

Yes. One day. When the babies are grown.

There will be no more middle of the night wake-ups. You won’t need to clean the goldfish crackers out of the bottom of your purse. There will be no more bottles or sippy-cups to overrun your limited cabinet space.

And there will be no more sounds of Mickey Mouse or Elmo floating through your house. You can watch all the Dr. Phil and Good Morning America that you want to. 

There will be no little hands to grab your face and say, “Mommy, you’re a part of my family. And I love you.”

There will be no more broken crayons to trip over, and no more pictures to proudly display on the fridge.

No more diapers. No more wipes. No more….no more….

The thought brought tears to my eyes.

How often we want to run to the next phase in our life. We think that, then, it will be easier. And yes, after we have waded through the baby and toddler years, it will be easier in a sense. We will have more time to wash our dishes and fold our laundry.

But I pray that I don’t long for a clean house more than I do creating precious memories with my babies.

Kenny Rogers wrote, “You got to know when to hold ’em, Know when to fold ’em.”

Did he know what us mommies sometimes forget?

Know when to HOLD your babies…

Sometimes when Caia is having a cranky teething day, or Kenni wants to play Candyland while I’m trying to fold clothes, I sing that verse.

Know when to hold ’em….the folding can be done later.

Much later.

Bathroom Art

This is what I found when I walked into the bathroom where my three year old was SUPPOSED to be changing her wet clothes.

“I made a man.” She also had a song for her “man”.

I thought it was pretty creative. 

But her artsy side distracted her from changing her pants…FOR 20 MINUTES!!

This potty “no” training thing is really starting to wear on me!

The Lamb. The Love. The Legend.

This is Choppy.

He came to live with us the Christmas season of 2005. He was bought on a whim and has never left our house. He is my daughter’s lovey.

Yes, I know that the proper name for said puppet is Lambchop. And I also know that “he” is really a girl. But not in our house. And that’s the only place that the name or the gender really matters.

Choppy was purchased by GiGi, my mother-in-law. (No, her name is Brenda. But to McKenna and Caia, she is GiGi.) We had gone to see Santa and ride the Pink Pig at Lenox mall. We came in one entrance, and GiGi came in another. She happened to pass a mall kiosk that sold the puppets, and she decided to purchase one.

That was the day the relationship began. And two and a half years later, it’s still going strong.

Other animals and toys may come and go, but the lamb remains.

We have gone back to many a restaurant, store, or other venue to retrieve the Chop-ster. And once the two parted friends unite, “he” is met with excitement, joy, embraces, and kisses. 

But I have a secret. This is NOT the original Choppy purchased that winter day.

This is the “original”.

He met with a freak accident involving a magazine rack at a friend’s house. My husband said he had what looked to be a flesh-eating bacteria.

We had to put the puppet up after that. We were too afraid Kenni would become ensnared in the long strings that now replaced what was once his face.

Fortunately, a friend of ours had purchased replacement Choppys. But, they were not looked upon with the same affection as original Choppy.

I don’t know if it was the smell. I don’t know what was different to her, but she didn’t take to the new one as well. Just yet.

After a month or so, the new Choppy began to get dirty and broken in. And suddenly, she embraced the clone as though it were the original. 

Choppy stands as a source of comfort for McKenna. She must have him to go to bed. She must take him to all events and all outings. Even if he stays in the car. If she is scared, Choppy is scared. If she is cold, Choppy is cold. If she is sick, you guessed it. Choppy is sick, too.

Once in a movie theater lobby, another little toddler came running out of nowhere and snatched the companion right out of my daughter’s arms. It was like a looting or something. A total smash and grab kind of situation.

All my child could do was stand there and scream. She had been violated in so many ways!

The mother lion in me came out. No one, I don’t care if you are 2 and 1/2 feet tall, NO ONE takes my child’s Choppy!! 

I took off at a sprint and snatched the lamb back almost as forcefully as it had been taken. Uhh…oops.

This happened almost two years ago. My child still remembers the offense.

I’ve been asked by other parents how I got my child to take to a lovey.

My response is always the same. 

“You don’t force a lovey. It just happens.”

I discovered yesterday that my nine month old has adopted a lovey of her own. It is a small square blanket that someone sent to us shortly after she was born.

She hadn’t been napping well for a couple of days, and I assumed it was developmental or teething or….anything else besides missing a lovey. It never even crossed my mind that the reason she was having a hard time getting her zzzz’s might be because she was missing her blankie.

I happened to dig it out of the laundry last night and take it to her at bedtime. 

The crying immediately stopped. She took the blankie, laid down, cuddled with it, and went to sleep.

Ahhhhh, thank you dear loveys.

The Good Wife’s Guide

I found this very interesting.

The Good Wife’s Guide

Now, according to snopes.com, this piece may actually be a fabrication that didn’t actually appear in a high school home economics textbook. Apparently, the picture may be a mock-up, but nonetheless, I still find the article very interesting.

Personally, I think that some of the things mentioned in this article, real or not, are actually SOME pretty good advice. (I don’t know about offering to take off his shoes, though. And the “you have no right to question him” thing…well, that’s a little weird to me too.) The idea I think that the “rules” may be trying to convey is that, as a homemaker (if you choose that as your path…let’s not go down the road of discussing THAT today) your role is to make your home a place of peace and refuge. A place that your husband is excited to come home to.

Here’s where I have to add that, although that may be my goal, I am nowhere near obtaining it. It’s a daily journey. Ask Stephen how many times he has walked into a house of two crying babies, dinner nowhere near ready, and one frustrated mommy who wants a break.

Hmmmm….I’m going to have to dig out the old 1950’s pregnancy and childbirth guide I snagged from my great-grandmother’s things a few years back. I know it’s “real”…and it is hilarious! Did you know that it’s perfectly safe to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day and have a few glasses of your favorite alcoholic beverage while gestating? 

 

Laundry Mistakes by Annette

Well, I bragged about throwing everything in the laundry together and washing it all on cold. I’ve never had an accident.

Until yesterday.

My husband has a sweatshirt that he loves from American Eagle. It is white. Well, it USED to be white.

It looks a little like a peppermint swirl candy now.

I washed it with a bunch of clothes that came out of Caia’s room. Some of them were hand-me-downs that I assumed had already been washed.

Apparently the cute little red dress had not been.

Lesson learned: always sort your laundry.

Now to figure out how to get those stains out. 

Potty Training the Strong Willed Child 101

                McKenna, 3 year old Potty Avoider

Meet McKenna. Cute, isn’t she?

She’s three and a half. She’s intelligent. She’s creative.

And she is the epitome of the strong-willed child.

She has a resolve in her that is as steadfast as an immovable mountain that unless she WANTS to do it, it WILL NOT be done.

No amount of bribing, begging, guilt, or pressure will get her to do ANYTHING unless she has deemed it necessary.

Don’t get me wrong. I am sure that as she approaches her teen years, I will be more than thankful for this trait. But, right now, she’s testing me.

We are locked in a battle of wills over….

The Potty.

And let me just be the first to admit, she’s winning. Hands down.

I assumed (ha!) that she would train easily. After all, she’s a bright one. Yeah, I know…every parent says that, but really, she is.

She knew all of her colors by the age of 14 months. She can put together jigsaw puzzles straight out of the box. She’s an abstract thinker if I’ve ever seen one. She colors inside the lines. She knows all of her letters and most of their sounds. 

And she’s insanely creative. Everything has a song…that she made up. She makes up words for things that she doesn’t have a word for. She has an imagination that would give Walt Disney a run for his money.

With all of these abilities, also comes the stubbornness of an ox. And trust me, she’s had it since birth.

You couldn’t MAKE her nap…even if she needed it. She gave up consistent napping at 9 months old, and refused to nap altogether at 18 months old. 

She eats only carbs. I’m not kidding. Promise her a pony, and she wouldn’t eat a green vegetable to save her life. (Don’t misunderstand. I don’t make special food for her. She gets what we get on her plate for dinner. If she doesn’t eat it, she is not offered anything else.)

Go ahead. Call me a push-over. But until you’ve lived with this child, or one like her, you do not know. We pick our battles in this house. We have to, or we’d be battling all the time.

And so…potty training. I CHOSE to make it a battle. That was the wrong idea.

We started her at 18 months. No pressure, but we figured that she had done everything else early (crawl, stand, walk, talk, algebra…I’m kidding…), why not try the potty. There was minimal success, but success all the same. We picked out a toy at Target, and naively thought that this was going to be a piece of cake. 

After no lasting success, we stopped. We just assumed she wasn’t ready. 

Then, before her sister was born, we tried again in earnest. Much more successful this time around, but still the “want-to” on her part was missing. So, we backed off again.

I didn’t even bother to try right after Caia was born. One word…regression, kept echoing through my head.

Then one day, on her own, she told us while eating pizza at a restaurant, “I need to go potty.”

Out of the blue. Just like that.

I took her, and she went. Okay! She’s ready! Let’s get to it!!

We pressed on in earnest. And she resisted in earnest.

I tried everything. Stickers. M&M’s. Play-doh. Bribes of parties at Chucke Cheese. Incentive charts. New panties. I even bought a Play-Doh Fun Factory she had seen while grocery shopping one day. I sat it on the towel rack in the bathroom, in plain view from the toilet. She was told that she could have it once she learned how to go potty on her own. 

She loved LOOKING at it. And that’s about as far as that got. (It’s now sitting in the bathroom closet, just waiting for the day that I can give her the darn thing!)

We came back from vacation last week, and we were desperate. She’s enrolled in preschool this fall, but they will only take her if she is….potty trained.

We tried putting her in Time Out. We tried taking away toys. Nothing worked. (I know, I know…I’ve taken the classes in Child Psychology and Behavior and Development. “Never, ever punish a child for not going potty.” Rest assured, we only did it for two days. It was obvious that it wasn’t working.)

So, here’s our new plan:

We’re not doing anything.

The ball is now back in her court. She has all potty responsibility now. She has an accident, she cleans it up. That means changing herself, putting on new clothes, and putting the wet ones in the hamper. She wipes up all messes, and we’ve stopped asking her to go to the potty altogether. If she wants to go, then the bathroom is open. 

I told my husband that this was probably what we needed to do. And then I researched it.

Here’s what I found…

We are on day one of this new process. 

And I have washed 6 pairs of underwear. 

But, I can slowly see the awareness coming around. I don’t know how long it will take, but I’m thinking I may need to stock up on the big-girl underwear.

I’ll keep you posted…