Friday, July 30, 2010

Weekend Reads

Hey Lovelies!

Here are some good reads for this weekend's link roundup.

Motherhood ain't easy. You can say that again... motherhood ain't easy. And, because I love you, I've included this post by Shiny Brite with effective tips and tricks for calming the chaos in this thing we call motherhood.

Stressed about finding that perfect diaper bag? No worries! The gals over at Mom Finds have got you covered.

Now that we're living in the America's-Next-Top-Model-I-must-have-a-thin-and-perfect-body era, for the moms out there with little gals, this post from A Child Grows In Brooklyn is a must read.

We've all been there. We need to go to work or get work done, which means less time with our kiddies. And then we feel guilty about it. Ad hoc Mom puts a whole new spin on the mommy guilt trip by allowing bribes to become commonplace.

Mommies, it's totally okay to be a little selfish and put yourself first sometimes. Just ask the fabulous writer over at The Young Mommy Life!

Happy reading and have an awesomerrific weekend!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Now You Look Like A Mother

Hey Lovelies!

Over the weekend Aiden and I saw someone that we haven't seen in about a year and a half. And after hanging with her for a bit, she looked at me, smiled, and said, "Now you look like a mother."

While I'm not entirely sure what she meant by that comment, judging by her peaceful, content, and assuring smile, I'm going to take it as a compliment. Hey, sometimes you have to pat yourself on the back, right?

You see, this time last year, I wasn't always sure of my approaches and myself as a mother. I mean, I knew that I had to take care of Aiden and handle all of the particulars and technicalities of his everyday life. But what else?

What if I had to make an on-the-spot decision concerning him?

What if I had to reprimand him in front of others? What would they think of me? What if he threw a tantrum? In public? What would I do? Would I just give him the candy to hush him up (which I've done), cover his mouth (which I've also done!), or brave the stares from his audience?

What about days when I felt totally and completely overwhelmed? Would I look sure of myself or like I didn't know what the heck I was doing?

Babies don't come with manuals, ya know?!

I can honestly admit that not only did I NOT know what the heck I was doing, I also did NOT know how to hide it either. I looked unsure. When Aiden was an infant, I did a pretty good job at faking my sureness and certainty. After all, all he did was just sit there. But when he became mobile, I was totally flabbergasted. And it showed. A lot.

But you live and you learn. And I've learned a lot about myself and my Aiden in this past year and a half. I finally feel sane again... almost as if I'm coming into my own. Almost. I finally feel like I'm swimming instead of sinking in this thing called motherhood.

And although everyday isn't perfect and I don't feel totally confident everyday, I was able to feel a little pride and joy in that single moment when a 30-something year old woman and mother said to me, "Now you look like a mother."


Let's Quit It With The Judgement Already... Really.

Hey Lovelies!

On our way to Aiden's preschool this morning, we were waiting at the bus stop minding our own business. As always, Aiden began looking for rocks. He loves to look for rocks and always has to find one whenever we're waiting for the bus. Is that a "boy" thing or is it just my son? Hmm...

Anyway, this lady who was also standing at the bus stop NOT minding her own business decided to take it upon herself and yell at my son for bending down to pick up a rock.

Now, don't get me wrong. If Aiden did something that merited her to speak at a volume that's a little higher than normal, like say, try to run into the streets to get a rock, then it would have been no problem. I only have two eyes and it takes a village, right?

But as I have done a zillion times before, I said to Aiden (right in front of her, which means she heard me) NOT to stand too close to the street. And I told him NOT to throw rocks at people, but back unto the sidewalk when people aren't coming. And I told him NOT to pick up anything else but rocks. No paper, no garbage, just rocks.

I always remind him of those few things whenever he's searching for rocks. Just in case he forgets. And this lady heard me remind him this morning. So I had my bases covered. Great, right?! Wrong!

As soon as Aiden bent down to pick up a rock, she yelled (yelled!), "No! Don't touch it! Don't touch it!"

First pause.

I figured this lady was some sort of hypochondriac or suffered from germ phobia or something and didn't want him to touch the dirt. So I didn't sweat it too much. I just responded, "It's okay, he's just looking for a rock. He likes rocks."

"Yea, but you young girls have to be careful because there's a lot of bacteria on the ground."

Second pause.

So at this point, I'm annoyed. She's not just a hypochondriac, she's judging me because of my age. This lady has yelled at my son, scared both him and me with her yelling, AND insulted my parenting techniques because I am a "young girl."

Third pause.

With a slight attitude, I responded, "Ma'am, I am perfectly aware that the ground is dirty. We are outside. But I always wash his hands when we get to our destination."

And then the bus pulled up. Thank goodness because I didn't want to have a battle with her right then and there in front of my child.

But seriously, did I really owe her an explanation? And why did I feel the need to give her one just because of the statement that she made? Young mothers should not have to defend their approaches with their children. In fact, we shouldn't have to explain anything to anyone.

And maybe if we would all just quit it with the judgment already, we could all just go about our day and our children could just pick up rocks, gosh darnit!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jealous Of My Childless Friends? I'll Say...

Hey Lovelies!

The other day I was engaged in some light Facebook stalking and saw a status update from one of my friends from college. It said that she was vacationing in Greece (nice!). Actually, this particular friend vacations a lot. And all over the world. From San Francisco to South East Asia to Peru to London... the girl's been all over the globe.

I must admit that I was a little bit jealous upon reading her status. Okay, okay. I was a lot jealous. I love to travel, but obviously I don't have the opportunity to do it as often or as long as I would like to because, well... I'm a mom.

When I was in college, whenever I had the opportunity (and finances!) to travel, I took it. And when I graduated, I was totally psyched about the life I was about to embark upon. In the words of Mya, I was "single, sexy, and free." Free to do whatever I wanted.

Just get up and go. Whenever. Where ever. Well at least whenever I had a vacation from my teaching job.

I had BIG dreams. To travel, that is.

Less than a year of living-it-up NYC style, I found myself pregnant. And all those dreams quickly faded away. I've always wanted to go to Spain and when I was in college, I vowed that I would go once I graduated and could afford it. So when I got pregnant I thought, guess that trip to Spain is never gonna happen.

I must admit, I resented my pregnancy a little. Okay, okay. I resented my pregnancy a lot. But at the same time, I wanted to be a good mother for to my unborn child. So I read all of the books and magazines, went to the birthing classes, and kept all the doctor appointments. But that's a total tangent and a whole other post. Back to the point.

Now that I'm a mother, I still feel a bit jealous of my childless friends from time to time. Sometimes I want their freedom. The ability to get up and go. Whenever. Where ever.

But I'm happy and grateful that I get to experience the world with my son. It may require saving and planning months (months!) in advance.

And I may have to worry about keeping him busy while at an airport or on the airplane.

And I may not be able to stay out too late or party once we're on that fabulous vacation.

But seeing the world with him will be a little exciting. No, no... it'll be a lot exciting. This summer, we're going to Hawaii. Next summer, maybe Spain.

We'll both add stamps to our passport at the same time. And nothing (nothing!) beats that!


Friday, July 23, 2010

Weekend Reads

Hey Lovelies:

Here are some good reads for this weekend's link roundup.

NYC mamas, before taking your little ones to Coney Island this summer, check out this post from Shiny Brite.

Because I personally know a few children/adolescents with eczema, I've bookmarked this post from A Child Grows in Brooklyn about this skin condition.

Having trouble finding the perfect baby shower gift? No worries! Head on over to Mom Finds and check out the best baby shower gifts.

Ever felt like the only unprepared mom on the playground or at a play date? I know I have once or twice! And what do your children have to say about this umm... problem? Read what NYC Single Mom's daughter had to say. You're in for a good laugh.

It's not too late to book that fabulous and cheap summer family vacation. Check out the benefits of a cruise at Culture Mom.

A maternity line for teens? Well, not exactly, but everyone's in a frenzy over the launch of Forever 21's maternity line. Here's what The Young Mommy Life had to say about it.

Happy reading and enjoy your weekend!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

So... Patience Really Is A Virture

Hey Lovelies!

Since Aiden became a toddler, I've always thought that whoever coined the phrase "patience is a virtue," must have been referring to their toddler son. And now I'm beginning to think that it was during their son's swimming lessons.

I learned how to swim when I was 9 years old. It was during the summer before going into the 4th grade at sleep away camp. Homeward Bound. I loved that place! Amongst other things like hiking, canoeing, and sleeping in a tent in the middle of the woods, I learned how to swim. I figured that 9 years old was pretty late to learn how to swim and all about water safety so I decided to give Aiden a head start on his water sports.

So we finished up his last Gymboree Play and Learn class a few weeks ago (it starts back up in the Fall) and since then we've been spending our Saturday mid-mornings (thank goodness it's not early mornings) at one of the YMCA's in NYC (love it!).

The week before his first swimming class, Little Dippers (such a cute name!), I was super excited. I prepped him like crazy and kept telling him how much fun he would have in the pool with all his new friends. I even bought him a new pair of swim trunks. A little excessive, I know!
He seemed excited at home, but once we got to the pool, this did not work. Maybe it was because of the huge size of the pool or something, but my lovely Aiden was not excited to go swimming. At all.

So... we sat on the edge of the pool. The. Entire. Time. As I watched the other "little dippers" learn the proper way to climb in and out of the pool, jump into the pool, blow bubbles, use a floating noodle, swim on their stomachs and on their backs, I sighed and great sigh.

Then the thoughts poured in: What a waste of money! Does he know what I could be doing with this money? I could be somewhere shopping... for shoes! I should just force him in there and he'll get over it eventually.

But then I had all these images in my head of him having a lifelong fear of water or, even worse, of him hating me because I forced him in the water.


So I just sat there at the edge of the pool with him on my lap and pointed out how much fun all the other "little dippers" were having. He liked that a lot. He even clapped for some of them as they did their thing. After he clapped, the instructor and I would ask him if he wanted to try, in which he would respond, "No. Aiden no want to try!" or "No. I okay."

Hey, we tried.

But patience really is a virtue.

For some reason, he was afraid that he was going to fall to the bottom of the pool (their lessons are in the 3 feet deep section), and he would constantly ask, "I not going to fall down there?" Once the instructor and I convinced him that he wasn't, what a difference! Really, what a difference a few weeks make!

Now he loves the pool! And he talks about swimming all the time. And his favorite toy during the "free play" time is the squirting submarine, which he LOVES and raves about all the time. He climbs in, climbs out, jumps into the pool, blows bubbles, and swims on his stomach. We're still working on him being comfortable enough to swim on his back.

Since his new found love of swimming, he's been saying to me, "Mommy, I want to go to a cool" [translation: cool = pool]. He even stopped to let me take this picture of him on my blackberry. A little blurry, but funny, right?

Even though it took me doubting myself and my decision to put him in swimming classes (hey, we all do that sometimes, right?), I'm so happy that he's there. And learning. And I'm even more happy that he's absolutely loving it.


Friday, July 16, 2010

2 1/2 Years Later and...

I'm still NOT a morning person.

Aiden has always been an early riser. I, on the other hand, hate getting up before noon. I mean, I do it because I have to, but I don't like it. And I'm cranky 85% of the time. Yup, I'll admit to that.

Catch me in the morning and catch me again after 12pm, and it's like night and day... two completely different people. When I taught 3rd grade, some of my students used to say, "Ms. H, sometimes you're mean in the morning." I couldn't argue with that one. Sometimes kids can be so insightful...

Being a mother has not changed that. At all. 2 1/2 years later and I STILL absolutely hate getting up early in the morning! Last week, The Young Mommy Life (love that blog!) had a post about being the "preferred parent." I can totally relate to the post -- especially when I'm called upon during my miserable mornings. Oh man, it's brutal.

When Aiden had a crib, it was all good if he woke up early. I simply gave him a bottle with milk and he stayed in the crib until I woke up.


I must admit, I was reluctant to move him to a toddler bed because I was afraid -- not that he would fall out of it, but that he could get out of it whenever he wanted -- especially during my miserable mornings. But since he started climbing out of his crib at 22 months, I had no other choice. Now whenever he wakes up at 5:30am, the first thing he does is come over to my bed.


And I can't just give him a cup of milk because he wants to hold unto my arm as he drinks. You see, ever since he was a teeny tiny baby he needed to hold my arm whenever he drank his milk out of a bottle.

And when he started drinking it out of a cup, there was no difference. So now, if he's drinking a cup of milk and I'm in the kitchen washing dishes or attempting to cook, he has to hold my arm.

If I'm cleaning the living room and he's drinking a cup of milk, he follows me so that he can hold my arm or my leg or some other part of my body.

If I'm using the bathroom, he comes in behind me so that he can hold my arm! I've since learned not to give him a cup of milk when I have to go to the bathroom.

But that's a tangent. Back to the point. Every single morning when he wakes up at the crack of dawn, he ignores his dad and comes right to me for a cup of milk... Every. Single. Morning.

Now, it's kinda okay in the afternoon or some other time throughout the day because I'm his mommy and I'll do anything for him, but during my miserable mornings... SIGH!

Anyone else have an early riser on their hands? Got any tips and tricks to get me safely and sanely through my mornings?


Weekend Reads

Hey Lovelies!

Here are some good reads for this weekend's link round up.

Public school or private school for your little ones? The debate continues. Read this post by Shiny Brite and weigh in on the issue.

Don't forget about Dad! He needs a diaper bag too. Check out these great finds from Mom Finds.

For some reason, New York magazine endorses the idea that "parents hate parenting," which is simply untrue. I know I don't, do you? Read what NYC Single Mom has to say about this.

Thinking of taking a trip to Sesame Place this summer? Check out a list of tips and tricks complied by A Child Grows in Brooklyn. I definitely found it to be helpful!

Are you at a loss for unique baby names? Here are a list of cool, but not totally absurd names from ad hoc Mom.

Calling all young mommies (like me)! You must, must, must check out The Young Mommy Life review of the book Professor, May I Bring My Baby To Class? There's a giveaway involved too!

What's up with society idolizing celebrity single moms, but not the average single mom? Mommy Glow shares her thoughts in this inspiring post.

Enjoy your weekend lovelies!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Womanhood vs. Mommyhood

Hey Lovelies!

Last Friday I had two dates with two different set of friends. I met one friend for lunch and then another set of friends for dinner/drinks. That never happens anymore. I used to meet friends for lunch and then meet up with another set of friends for dinner all. the. time.

Then I had a baby. And I kissed those days goodbye. So I was super psyched when I was able to find a babysitter and engage in this once-in-a-lifetime-activity once again. And it was a blast!

During my first few months as a new mother, I had this false idea that in order to be a "good mother," I had to become totally and completely engrossed in my son and all of his wants, needs, activities, etc. This made me feel like I was doing a great job as a mom. The problem was that in the process of trying to become this "great mom," I'd completely lost myself as a person. No bueno.

As Aiden's first birthday drew near, I realized that I'd completely isolated myself from my friends. Maybe it was because I was the first in the pack to have a baby and felt that they didn't understand my new life as a mommy. Who knows?

After realizing that I needed some adult conversation in my life (duh!), I started to make the effort to reach out to friends again. That's when I realized that it's perfectly okay (and healthy!) for me to still like things that are not kid-friendly. Like Jay-Z and Rihanna. No, they're not Dora or Diego, but it's something that I like. Something that makes me me.

Working (we need to eat and live well, right?) and going to graduate school (hooray for upward mobility!) is personally fulfilling for me.

Spending time with friends (fun!) and going to the gym to workout (well-needed stress reliever) makes me happy.

Although it took me some time, I have learned that I do not have to choose between motherhood and womanhood. I can choose both!

See, what makes me a "good" mommy isn't just that I am able to be engrossed in a game of tag or read a book or give a bath. It's not just all the "mommy things" that makes me a good mommy. It's also the "woman things" as well.

When I make time for myself and my social life it makes me refreshed, rejuvenated, and HAPPY... and that's what ultimately makes me a better mommy.


Aint I A Woman?!

Hey Lovelies!

A few weeks ago I met some of my college friends for drinks (love when I have the opportunity to do that!). One of them I hadn't seen since college and so we never really got to discuss all the juicy little details of my pregnancy and delivery.

Here's a portion of our conversation during our second round of mojitos (love 'em!):

Her: So did you beg and scream and cry for the drugs?
Me: Nope. I had a natural delivery.
Her: Whoa! OMG! Wasn't that painful?!
Me: Umm... yea. But I wanted a natural delivery so to fool myself and trick my body to go for it, I kept referring to my contractions as "intense" instead of "excruciatingly painful."
Her: Wow! Aren't you a woman?! (She then turned to everyone at the bar to tell them the tale of my natural delivery and to get confirmation that that's what made me a "woman.")

During my pregnancy when I decided that I wanted to have a natural delivery, never once did I figure that that decision made me more of a woman than someone who used an epidural or any other form of pain relief. I just made the decision because I felt that it was the right choice for me and my situation.

I'm terrified of needles and the thought of having an epidural scared the bejesus out of me.

I labored as long as I could at home (in Brooklyn, NY) and then we (daddy dearest, my sister, and me) took a taxi to the hospital (in Manhattan). By the time we got to the hospital, I was already 5 cm dilated so I figured, hey, I could go the rest of the way without the meds.

After being stuck at 5 cm for some time, my OB/GYN wanted to give me a drop of pitocin to get the labor going again, but she didn't because as soon as she made that announcement, I had two of the strongest contractions known to mankind (at which point I was screaming and hollering like a maniac!). But they pushed me to 7 cm.

I always tell people that I think it's because my body knew that I didn't want the epidural and if my OB/GYN would have given me the pitocin, I may have asked for the epidural after all. Who knows?

But that's a total tangent. Back to the point. What makes a woman a woman? I had my son naturally. But does that make me more of a woman?

At this point in time, I'm choosing not to have any more children. Does that make me less of a woman than someone who wants to have more than one child?

I've decided to put my son in preschool 5 days a week so that I can work and go to graduate school. Does that make me more or less of a woman than someone who puts their kid(s) in preschool 2 days a week? Or a SAHM?

I think that getting into the "Mommy/Woman Wars" is very dangerous territory. Isn't it really about exercising choice? What's right for you and yours?

Any mommy who carries a child for nine months, gets it out anyway they choose, and raises it to the best of their ability is definitely woman enough for me. And any woman who exercises the best choice for themselves and their family is also woman enough. Not just woman. Super woman.

Cheers to all you fabulous Super Women out there! You deserve a medal.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Weekend Reads

Hey Lovelies!

Below are some good reads for this weekend's link roundup.

If you're preggo and your baby bump is growing faster than you imagined, check out these stylish and cost effective maternity clothes from Mom Finds.

Interested in starting a Babysitting Co-op, but unsure about the particulars and technicalities? Head over to A Child Grows in Brooklyn for the nuts and bolts. When you've got a free sitter for some much needed quiet time, you'll thank me later. 

For those of you who are tired of reading the same few books to your little angel(s) every night, check out Shiny Brite for a list of other fantabulous children's books. 

Umm... exactly what is going on with TLC's show Kate Plus Eight? And why is she being passed off as this struggling single mom? NYC Single Mom states her beef. 

True love is... wearing a bathing suit in public. Agree? Well, so does ad hoc MOM

Check out The Young Mommy Life to see what made yours truly cry this week. And while I was in Starbucks!

Happy Reading! And have a great weekend!



Thursday, July 8, 2010

Easing Up A Bit: A Personality Makeover

Hey Lovelies!

Before I had Aiden, I was pretty much always on top of things. Whenever I had an incredibly long list of things-to-do, I'd feel so happy when I was able to cross them out one-by-one. Fast. And that feeling was the best thing ever. It really kept me motivated. And it kept my adrenaline going. I felt like I was in control and I loved, loved, loved it!

When I got pregnant, I got all sorts of "advice" from people. You know, the kind of advice that you just take with a grain of salt or just smile and nod, turn the other way, and roll your eyes. If you're sarcastic like me, anyway.

First I'd hear, "you will never have time to sleep again." I was used to not sleeping much, so hey. Next I'd hear, "you'll never have time to shower again." Umm... yea, okay. Then I'd hear, "try not to be so controlling because when the baby comes you won't be able to control every little thing." Obviously these people didn't know that I had a system in place and was used to sticking to it. They just don't know, right? Wrong!

Enter baby. That incredibly long list of things-to-do suddenly became longer and longer, and I suddenly became less and less able to "just do it." I felt as though I was losing control. And I did not like it. Now that last piece of advice was something that I should have listened to!

I spent the first few months trying to balance everything, aka control everything, and let me tell ya... I was fighting a loosing battle.

Since then I've learned this one simple thing: I cannot control every little thing -- a fact that I just had to deal with. I learned to chill out with that Type-A, everything has to be perfect personality and just go with the flow sometimes.

  • Our apartment will never be completely spotless; there will be toys (and stains!) sometimes
  • My son will not eat everything that I would like him to eat because "picky eaters" is a real phenomenon; I can only encourage him to eat the good stuff (fruits, veggies, grains... you get it)
  • If Aiden doesn't want to try something new (like swimming), believe me, he won't. I can't make him do it, I can only encourage him to do it.
  • Sometimes the laundry may get piled up... to the ceiling. But that's okay. I'll just do it when we don't have anymore clothes left to wear
  • As carefully as I have mapped out our day, there will always be detours along the way. And I have to be prepared to deal with them

This list could go on and on, but who has that much time, right? Since giving birth to my lovely little Aiden, I have actually taken the advice (gasp!) and stopped trying to control every little thing. I have given myself a personality makeover and lightened up a bit.

The bottom line: Motherhood has taught me how to be more flexible. Period.



Tuesday, July 6, 2010

When Preschool = Major Mommy Guilt

Hey Lovelies!

This morning Aiden and his classmates moved on to the 3's class. Last week they "transitioned," meaning that they spent the mornings in their soon-to-be classroom and with their soon-to-be teachers. All weekend I'd been preparing him for the BIG move with lots of exciting talks about his new classroom and new teachers.

What I didn't tell him was that his best friend (let's just call him Smith) would not be in that class with him.

Because there were two 2's classes and two 3's classes, the school splits the classes up whenever they move on to another level. So half of his classmates are going to be in his class (along with half of the children from the other 2's class) and half of the children are going to the other 3's class. Smith is going to the other 3's class.

For some reason as we were on our way to preschool this morning, Aiden asked if Smith was going to be in his class. And I had to be the bearer of bad news and tell him no.

When we got to his preschool, he cried for Smith to be in his class, he cried to go back to his old classroom with his old teachers, and he cried because he didn't want to wear the school's t-shirt. That I could deal with.

But when I was going to leave him, he cried for me not to leave. It wasn't like a whining cry either. It was like one of those silent cries where the tears just flow down his sad-looking face. I could tell that he was trying to be a really brave "big boy" by not whining or throwing a tantrum.

In situations like this, it has always worked best for us when our "good-byes" are swift and to the point. So when it was time for me to leave, I reassured him that he would have fun in this new class, pointed out some of his new and old friends, said "I love you and have a great day," and gave him a huge hug and kiss. Then out the door I went!

But the look on his face. Ouch! It just breaks my heart.

I know that it's perfectly normal and developmentally appropriate for him to cry for me as I leave, but it sure makes me feel extremely guilty.

Since I don't have class today (Summer Session B has not begun yet), I am going to pick him up a couple hours earlier. Maybe we'll go out for some frozen yogurt or something.

I think we both deserve the treat.



Splish Splash Extravaganza

Hello Lovelies!

A couple weeks ago Aiden and I went on his preschool trip to Splish Splash Water Park and I had a blast! It'd been quite hot out the days leading up to the trip and I was super excited to get down and dirty and wet.

Little did I know Aiden would have been intimidated by almost all of the rides.

As we walked towards our first ride of the day, mini-water slide, he seemed excited. I thought he would love it because he loves the slides at the playground. But then again, that slide doesn't have water all over it. As we slid down together, landed in the kiddie pool, and got soaked, Aiden began crying. That's when I knew it was going to be a long day!

I took him around the park to show him the different rides. I wanted to see if he would have wanted to go on any of them. He vetoed all of the rides -- the lazy river, the water slides, the pirate ship, the kiddie pool -- everything! But hey, I can't expect more from a 2 1/2 year-old who's never been to a water park, right? Everything was new and different and he tends to be skeptical and clingy at the beginning of every new experience. It takes him a while to warm up.

As his friends played in the pool and asked him to join them, we sat poolside in the lounge chairs and every few minutes I encouraged him to go in the water. No forcing. No stern voice. I just gently asked if he wanted to go in with his friends and he gently responded with a "nope."

The entire time I kept thinking that I should have prepared him better for this experience. I should have read a book or showed him a picture or something. I just told him that we were going to a water park the morning of the trip. Like he knows what a water park is.

He finally made his way to the edge of the pool and put both his feet in the water while I sat there with him.

After a while, he made his way into the pool! Yay! That was at 3:30pm. Unfortunately, we had to get dressed at 4pm. At least he got some swim time in.

Ah well, maybe next year...



Friday, July 2, 2010

Weekend Reads

Hey Lovelies!

Below are some good reads for this weekend's link roundup.

Preggo ladies, you'll surely make your non-preggo friends wish they had a baby bump with these super HOTT maternity party dresses from Mom Finds.

My son is a few years away from Kindergarten, but this post from Shiny Brite surely helped me think of ways to prepare him. Included are tips and tricks from a seasoned Kindergarten teacher.

I'm no health freak, but these tips on 9 ways to reduce enviornmentally-induced cancer from the blog A Child Grows in Brooklyn were super informative.

If you or your little ones love circus acts and you're in the NYC area, this post from Culture Mom is a must-read!

There's still time to vote for The Young Mommy Life for the Best Parenting Blog Award! As the creator and fabulous writer of this all-things-young-mommy-related blog would say: young mommies, please stand up!

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

6 Things I Wish I'd Known Before the "Terrible Twos"

Hey Lovelies,

Aiden is 2 1/2 years old, 32 months to be exact. That means he is well into his "terrible twos." And boy, has it been a crazy roller-coaster ride so far! We've had good days, and not-so-good days, and I've learned a bit along the way. Here are some things I wish I learned before he turned two:

1. Long gone are the days of doing things "because I said so." I've learned that Aiden needs an explanation as to why I expect him to do certain things. This works especially if I want him to internalize it and just do it... without to much prompting (or nagging) from mommy.

2. Forget the "what I say goes" attitude. This goes hand-in-hand with #1. Sometimes it's totally okay to negotiate with a kid. Case in point: We usually read one book before going to bed, but sometimes Aiden asks to read two books, and that's totally cool.

3. Positive reinforcement works WAY better than punishment. The thing about punishment (as in, when I take something away from Aiden as a result of him doing something I don't like) is that it is a way for me to gain control over a situation that I've lost control over. It helps me feel better and Aiden feel worse. Plus (and this is a big one!) it shows him what not to do, but it does not show him what I'd like him to do instead. I've learned that if I model for him what I'd like him to do, and praise him every time he does it, it works wonders. Really.

4. Turn the "nay" into a "yay." Let me explain. It's totally developmentally appropriate for Aiden to respond with the word "no" for just about everything. And it's totally frustrating for me to hear it. But me saying "no" to him all the time does not help the situation either. I've learned that saying "yes" to him almost always works better. It goes a little something like this -- Aiden: mommy, I want to watch Barney; Me: yes, as soon as you eat your snack. This has worked better than me saying, "no, eat your snack first." And, apparently, it works both ways. The other night I said, "Aiden, let's go take a bath" and he responded, "okay, when Barney is over."

5. Tailor some of my expectations. It was about a month after his 2nd birthday party when I realized that I was expecting way too much from Aiden. It was totally unreasonable to expect so much from someone who has only been on this earth for 25 months! No, he won't sit still for 45 minutes while we're on the city bus. No, he won't stop whining when he really wants something. No, he won't share his things. Not without me teaching him anyway.

6. Put my big-girl pants on and be more thick-skinned. Kids throw tantrums. In public. A lot. And if I were more thick-skinned and less concerned with what others had to say, it would have been less embarrassing the first time Aiden threw a tantrum in public. And 2nd, and 3rd, and 5th... you get the point. Once I put my big-girl pants on and dealt with it, it became much easier to focus on Aiden and less on his audience.

Knowing these things before Aiden hit two would have made the "terrible twos" more manageable. But hey, experience is your best teacher, right?



Young Mommies Need Love Too

Hey Lovelies!

A few weeks ago as I was getting on the bus with Aiden, the bus driver looked at us and asked, "Is that your son?" When I replied, "yes," he responded with a very inappropriate "You can't be his mother; you look too young."

*Blank stare*

Huh? So just because I look young, I couldn't be his mother? Again I say... Huh?

So I just laughed and said, "Yep. He's my son."

But I shouldn't have laughed. It wasn't that funny. And it wasn't the first time that someone told me that I looked too young to be a mother.

This blog is about three months old and whether you've just joined me in the "motherhood" journey or you've read all 15 of my posts, it doesn't take much to see that I look pretty young from my pics. In fact, I'd put myself in the 19/20-year-old age range.

When I was pregnant with my son, I'd get a lot of looks from people who were probably thinking, "that poor little girl is gonna give birth and not know what the heck to do." They were right. I was going to give birth and not know exactly what to do. Babies don't come with manuals, ya know! But I wasn't a poor little girl. I was a 23-year-old young woman, college educated with a full time job, AND I'd been living on my own since the age of 18.

After I gave birth, whenever I was out with my son, the looks and comments came on strong. From the "you look so young!" to the "how are you managing with him?" to "that's YOUR baby?" to the raised eyebrows... from bus drivers to Aiden's teachers to his pediatrician to random people on the street... I got it all!

So here I am trying to figure this whole motherhood thing out and make the best life for my son, but every time I step out of my house, I get "the look" from people. As if motherhood isn't hard enough!

My question is, why are young mothers depicted in such a negative way? Why do we receive "the looks" and comments from people? Why is it assumed that we are inadequate mothers? Unable to take care for our child[ren]? Irresponsible? Job less? Uneducated?

All mothers need support in order to survive and thrive... so where is the love?



Mommies Beware!

Hey Lovelies!

It's summer and that means that Mr. Sun is out in full force. And so are the talks and advice about how to use sunscreen, how much to apply, when to apply it and blah, blah, blah. If you're anything like me, you've probably read every article about it and stocked up on the best sunscreen out there. And, like me, you're probably sick of hearing/reading about it, but I've got news for you lovelies. Read on.

Yes, fun in the sun is fantabulous. Really. It's totally awesome-rrific... until it's not. Let me explain. Last weekend, Aiden and his 3-year-old friend were innocently playing soccer, basketball, baseball, football, any kind of ball they could get their little hands on. And they were running up and down, back and forth like crazy. We applied a bit of sunscreen on them and I gave Aiden a drink to hydrate him before they continued their game.

After about 15 more minutes in the sun, Aiden's friend suddenly stopped, walked out to where the grown-ups were sitting, and sat down. At first, we didn't think anything of it because she didn't say anything. But then she turned really pale and threw up out of nowhere. She was suffering from heat exhaustion.

Don't let this happen to your child!

Heat exhaustion happens when kids bodies can't cool themselves down fast enough. It comes on suddenly and they might feel overheated, tired, and weak (just like Aiden's little friend!). Sometimes, they can just collapse out of nowhere (thank goodness this didn't happen to her!). It can also leave them feeling tired for hours, or DAYS after it happens.

What can parents do?

  • Apply spf 30 or higher and reapply often
  • Take breaks from the sun and sit in the shades
  • Give 'em lots of water to refuel
  • Make 'em wear a sun hat. Yes, I'm serious! A hat can further protect them from the excessive heat of the sun

I say all of this not to scare you, but just so you can be aware. Some of our precious little ones do not have the vocabulary to let us know when they are not feeling well. Plus, heat exhaustion comes on suddenly. So we have to take proper precautions. Once we've done all that we can, fun in the sun can once again, be fantabulous!




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