Thursday, August 29, 2013

MORE things that will NOT kill your child

I got such an awesome response to yesterday's post about things that won't kill your kids that I decided to continue the post today.  Below are 5 more things that will not kill your child, along with a list of things that other people assured me (via my Facebook page) will not kill your child.

1. Dog Mouth Kisses.  Yup.  We are those people.  Scooter is a part of our family and we have always treated him that way.  He has been allowed to kiss her since day 1.  Sadly for her, he is a deep throat kisser.

Kisses from her big brother.

2. Store Bought Baby Food.  For the first 6 months or so, I made most of Moose's baby food.  It had been something that was always important to me.  Then I discovered those handy little packets of organic baby food.  Brilliant!  Not only were they convenient, but they exposed her to foods that she would not have otherwise been exposed.  I mean, where the hell can I find organic rutabaga?  I still make a lot of her food, but I also buy a fair amount, including those amazingly convenient packets.  So, for all of those Mamas who are grinding out food from their Baby Bullets, good for you.  If you are too tired to do it though, take this post as reassurance that buying some food won't kill your baby.

3. Eating directly off of the table at restaurants.  Is it the cleanest thing in the world?  Probably depends on the restaurant.  Do we do it anyway?  Sure do.  What's the alternative?  Oh, here you go, Moose, eat off of this glass plate.  I trust that you won't throw it against the table and cut a major artery.  Right.  I know what you are thinking: could I bring those disposable placemats?  Yup.  Do I ever remember them?  Nope.  Hasn't killed her yet.

4. Dessert for dinner.  Sometimes it just happens.  Especially in the summer when you are having fun playing outside on a beautiful evening and don't want to make your toddler come inside for dinner.  Those are the nights that you bring out the chocolate peanut butter cups (full of antioxidents, dairy, AND protein, I am not sure why they are not considered a superfood) and call it a night.  It doesn't happen most nights, but it happens enough to create special childhood memories.  Sometimes you just gotta have fun.  It won't kill them.  I promise.

Milkshake for dinner.  Yummy!

5. Watching TV.  Ah, this one I struggle with and I added it for your reassurance.  Although I know that watching TV in moderation won't kill my child, I still feel guilty if I turn it on, even for a few minutes.  Moose's TV is limited to long car rides (or shorter ones if we are in meltdown mode).  I haven't let her watch TV inside yet, mostly because I am afraid that I will like the "break" so much that it will become a habit.  It is stupid, I know.  I am a logical person and I truly believe that everything in moderation is okay, but the TV thing makes me feel lazy and guilty.  So, PLEASE, I beg you, talk some sense into me and tell me that your kids watch TV and that it hasn't killed them.

Other things that will not kill your child (provided by my friends on Facebook):

  • The occasional hot dog. Agree!  Moose had only eaten grassfed "hot dogs" until we went on vacation.  When she first bit into the "real" hot dog, it was like she had gotten a new lease on life.
  • Eating food that has fallen on the floor.  We do it all of the time, especially if it is dessert.
  • Cleaning the paci off with your mouth.  Agree. Why not?  It beats not cleaning it off at all.
  • Letting them drink juice or, God Forbid, the occasional caffeine free soda.  You gotta have "treats" in life or you will go nuts.  When we go to our neighbor's house, they always give Moose a juice box and you would think she had won the lottery.
  • Drinking a glass of wine while nursing your child.  If nursing would have worked out for me, I would totally have done this.  Worst case, it is a non-issue for the baby.  Best case, it helps them sleep.
  • Letting the baby drink from the sippy after the dog has licked the top of it.  We do this all of the time.  For some reason, Scooter loves the sippy and Moose likes to share it.  Win-win.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Things that will NOT kill your child

There is a lot to be nervous about as a new mom.  It seems like everything in the world is bad for you. You often feel that one wrong move could jeopardize your child's safety, health, or happiness.  It can be overwhelming.  Every time you open the computer, there is a story about something else that is going to cause some awful illness.  Almost worse is that having a child is pretty much the same thing as wearing a sign that says, 'hey stranger.  Please tell me what I am doing wrong.'  It is exhausting.

I know all too well how those "bad" things can consume you, so I thought I would help you out by giving you a list of things that will not kill your child.  I will admit that I am not a doctor though, so take it with a grain of salt.

1. Sitting directly on the cart at Target.  I spend a lot of time at Target and I can tell you that I am the only mother whose child's tush is sitting on the cart and not on some Egyptian cotton cloth seat barrier.  Seriously?! Like I don't already have enough crap in my purse when I go to Target.  The last thing in the world that I need is to add a giant, 5 pound cloth ball to my 50 pound diaper bag so that Moose's golden a$$ doesn't have to touch the seat.  Do carts have germs?  Yup.  Is that going to kill her?  Hasn't yet.

2. Eating Sand.  Trust me on this one.  Moose has been living at the beach for the past 3 weeks and, during that time, has eaten at least 6 gallons of sand.  At least.  I wish I was exaggerating.  This kid LOVES to eat sand.  It is her sole reason for going to the "beachy."  When she first tried it last year, I made the rookie parenting mistake of saying, "yeah, go ahead, let her try it.  She won't like it anyway."  Ha.  She loved it.  Same thing this year.  The first day at the beach, she looked around like she was in a giant vat of ice cream.  And much like being in a vat of ice cream, she immediately dug in.  And you know what?  I let her.  Why not?  You have to pick and choose your battles and it hasn't killed her yet.  Plus, it is a hell of a lot cheaper than the $5.00 pint of berries that she typically snacks on.

Happily eating sand on the beach

3. Having people touch her without first sanitizing their hands.  We have many friends who had us sanitize our hands before touching their newborn.  I have no problem with that whatsoever.  To each his own.  We did not do that.  And it didn't kill the Moose.  First of all, we had already decided that some germs were good for the baby.  Secondly, if you are in my house with my newborn baby to begin with, it means that I have great faith in your cleanliness.  If I think that you are someone who wipes their a$$ with their bare fingers, you probably aren't going to be invited into my home.  Obviously we wash our hands at normal times: after using the bathroom, after going to a store, handling meat, etc.  Beyond those extremes though, some germs are good.  Not only did this one not kill her, but she was a really healthy baby.

4. Formula.  In my post-pregnancy, breastfeeding nightmare, crazy hormone haze, I was pretty sure that this one was going to do her in.  Maybe it wouldn't kill her right away, but I bought into the propaganda that assured me that it would kill her eventually.  After all, the only way to prevent death by ear infection or diarrhea in this country is to breastfeed, right?   Turns out the answer to that is no. I was wrong.  Formula didn't kill her and it still hasn't.  In fact, she is healthy, happy, and intelligent.  Who knew?!

5. Not washing the paci after it hits the floor.  I was walking into Target one day (yes, my entire life takes place in Target) when Moose's paci hit the ground in a fit of rage.  There were two male employees behind me who saw it and said, in a teasing manner, "whoa, Mama, what are you going to do now?  Better go wash that off!"  My response was to pop the paci right back in her mouth.  The Target guys LOVED it.  Literally, they started to holler and clap (as a side note, it is so sad that I now get hollered at for things like that rather than for being hot...sigh) and told me that I was the first mother they have ever seen do it.  Are you kidding me?  If I chose to go through the entire store without her paci, I would be forever banned from going back (and then what would I do everyday?).

That being said, I do have some standards.  If it falls in a public bathroom or some other disgusting place, I don't put it back in her mouth.  Otherwise though, I give it a quick wipe on my shirt (gotta keep up appearances) and do the world a favor by popping it right back in her mouth.  Hasn't killed her yet.

Sucking on her filthy paci ;)

While compiling this list, I realized that I had way too many for one post, so this is going to be part 1 of things that will not kill your child.  Part 2 will follow soon.  Please share things that you know of that will not kill your child.  Have you been judged for doing any of them?

Disclaimer: Prior to having a child of my own, I had 15 years of experience working with children, including my most recent job of running a daycare center.  Without that experience, I wouldn't have been nearly as laid back about the above listed things.  As with all of my posts, there is no judgement.  Everyone should do what makes them comfortable.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Favorite Recipes

I wrote a post a few days ago about some tips for clean eating.  I wanted to follow up by sharing a few of our favorite tried and true recipes.  None of these are ones that I created, so I included a link to the original source.  If you have any awesome recipes, especially quick and easy ones, please share them with me!!  We are always looking for new things to try.

Enjoying a banana peanut butter cookie (#2 below)

1. Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Pancakes from the Minimalist Baker. This is one of our all time favorite recipes.  I double the recipe so that we can reheat these for Moose over a few day period.  Instead of a flax egg, we use a real egg.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Pancakes

2. Banana Peanut Butter Cookies (no added gluten or eggs).  I thank the people from for suggesting this recipe on my Facebook feed.  These are actually really good.  I couldn't believe it.  Because there aren't any eggs, they tend to crumble, but you can fix this problem by flattening the cookies before you bake them.  We are a big egg family, so I am not opposed to using them in recipes, but I have yet to try it with this one.

Banana Peanut Butter Cookies (no added sugar or gluten)

3. Kale Chips.  Thank you to Once Upon a Chef for introducing me to these kale chips.  I first started making these when I was home on maternity leave and had a great deal of spare time.  As someone who is not a huge kale fan, I can say with full honestly that I love these "chips."  The Parmesan makes them taste great and you actually feel like you are having a real treat.  The best part is that you can feel great afterwards because it is not often that you can eat a superfood for a snack and actually enjoy it.

Lemon and Parmesan Kale Chips

4. Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf from the folks at  I am of the opinion that if it has bacon, it is going to be good, so this one is a sure winner.  My husband is obsessed with this meatloaf and often asks that I make it when we are going to have company.  As suggested in the recipe, you can use Panko instead of bread crumbs (no trans fat), but you can also used crushed up cornflakes for a gluten free option.

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

5. Satay Wraps.  We have been making these for years and love them.  We use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil.  You can also use a peanut butter and/ or soy sauce substitute if you want.  We sometimes use gluten free soy sauce, but have not yet

Satay Wraps

6. Moose's favorite meatballs.  She is obsessed with them.  I usually triple the recipe so that I can freeze them.  To add even more nutrition, I usually grind up some carrots and throw them in the mix as well. You can't even taste them.  I also make my own breadcrumbs using organic cornflakes.  Be sure to use real Parmesan cheese for this (not the stuff in the unrefrigerated green container).  Also, we broil these for about 20 minutes (flipping them over once halfway) instead of putting them in a boiling pan.  It locks in the moisture without cooking and they freeze well.

Moose's Favorite Meatballs

7. Avocado Pesto (gluten and dairy free).  This stuff is delicious.  We are big pesto fans, but love this recipe because we can eat it without feeling guilty.

Avocado Pesto

8. Banana Peanut Butter "Ice Cream" from the folks at  You have to try this one to believe it, but it really does taste like ice cream, only it is really good for you!  The only ingredients are bananas and peanut butter.  You can add other ingredients if you would like.  I usually add chocolate chips.  The recipe below uses cocoa power.

Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream

9. Cilantro Lime Shrimp from  This is a very easy and delicious way to make shrimp.  After marinating them, we throw them on the grill, but as the recipe suggests, you can also cook them on the stove top.

Cilantro Lime Shrimp

10. Quinoa Spinach Feta Toss.  Okay, so I lied earlier.  This is one that we did make up.  It is one of our favorite summer go-tos when we have fresh tomatoes.  We cook quinoa and then add cut up (raw) spinach (we used kale this summer because we had an abundance of it in our garden), cut up tomatoes, cut up avocados, and crumbled feta.  We then mix olive oil, lemon juice (from fresh lemons), and a tiny bit of salt to make the dressing, which is mixed into the entire dish.  Voila!  A fresh and delicious summer salad.

I hope you enjoy some of these recipes, and, again, please share you favorites!  As we get ready to start the new school year, it would be fun to have some new things to try.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Clean Eating Tips and Advice

This totally strays from what my blog is about, but I have seen so much about "clean eating" lately that I felt the need to chime in.  Gotta stay current.

First off, to all of my friends who have started to eat cleaner, good for you!  What an awesome lifestyle change.

Secondly, I want to start out with a "disclaimer" of sorts.  While eating clean and organically is very important to me, especially in the case of my daughter, it is not important to everyone.  And that is okay.  Maybe you don't eat as well as you would like, but you exercise daily.  Or maybe you don't eat as well or exercise as much as you would like, but you work two jobs to provide for your family.  All of those things are okay.  Whether I am writing about pregnancy, toddler tantrums, or clean eating, I want my message to always be that you are doing just fine.  All moms who love their kids are good moms and should never feel judged.

Josh and I started to "eat clean" when I found out that I was pregnant with the Moose back in April 2011.  We had been trying to clean up our diet before that, but being pregnant was the kick in the butt that we needed.  We switched to an organic diet, which we have stuck with ever since.  I would say that 90% of our food is organic.  We also gave up most processed foods, including things like salad dressing.

Since the Moose has started eating food, we have been crazy vigilant about her diet.  She eats strictly organic food, no gluten, and very few processed foods.  Because of the time and effort that takes, Josh and I have seen a little lapse in our diets because we are just too tired to put the same amount of time and effort into ourselves.  No biggie though; we do what we can.

So, as someone who has been doing this "clean" thing for awhile, I figured I would add to the discussion and share what I have learned.  I am neither self-righteous nor I am a nutrition expert, so take this for what it is worth, which is just my opinion.

* Start by avoiding the "dirty dozen," which are the top 12 fruits and veggies that contain the most pesticides.  Those are the foods that you should always buy organic.  The same list (there are 50 fruits/veggies total) includes a "clean fifteen," which are the 15 fruits and veggies that contain the least amount of pesticides.  Those are safe to buy conventional.  The entire list can be found on  There is also a handy app for your phone.  This is a great tool because it allows you to switch to the most important organic foods, while giving your bank account a break.  Dirty Dozen / Clean Fifteen

Moose eating a freshly picked tomato

* Give it 6 months.  Once you commit to organic for 6 months, you won't be able to go back to conventional produce.  I am not kidding about this.  The thought of buying conventional peppers literally gives me the same feeling as touching a public bathroom door handle does.  It gets in your head.

* Give yourself a break.  I would say that after almost 3 years of making a clean eating commitment, we are about 75/25 clean food/not so clean food.  We eat healthy during the week and then relax on the weekend.  Sometimes, if we are tired, we lapse during the week.  It keeps us from going insane and gives us something to look forward to.  Life without pizza is a life that that I am not willing to accept.  Same thing with lapsing on vacation.  I had a milkshake for lunch today.  Not like a protein shake, but an actual dairy fat with coffee and chocolate chips milkshake.  It beat the hell out of the salads that I have at home.

* Switch from vegetable oil to coconut oil.  It is such an easy switch, but it can make a huge difference in your health.  Costco sells a giant tub of organic coconut oil for around $16.00.  It will last you forever.  I love Costco.

* If it comes from a natural source, it is probably better for you.  A perfect example: real butter is much better for you than any butter substitute that is really just a tub of chemicals that was made in a lab somewhere.

* Switch to grass fed meats.  They are low in Omega-6s and high in Omega-3s making them much better for you than traditional meat.  Because we live in the country, we buy directly from a local butcher.  If that is not available, Costco sells organic, grass fed ground beef for a great price and it is conveniently packaged.  Did I mention that I love Costco?

* Have good foods on hand at all times and buy a grill.  We always have meat and fish in the freezer because it is easy to thaw and throw them on the grill when we are in a pinch.  I also make homemade meatballs to throw in the freezer and we keep smoked wild caught salmon on hand at all times (it is Moose's favorite food).

* Realize that it sometimes sucks.  When you first start eating clean, you feel great because you have made positive changes, which impact you both physically and mentally.  Once you have made the change though, you see recipes on Pinterest for something that includes spaghetti and cheese and you literally start drooling.  It sucks.  Such is life.

* Real baked goods that contain flour, sugar, and butter are always better.  I bake with peanut butter and bananas.  It doesn't taste as good.  Just accept that now and adjust your expectations.

* If you make it at home, it is probably better for you than anything you can buy at the store and definitely anything that you can find at a restaurant.  This one kills me.  I love carryout.  If carryout did not exist, we would be rich.

* Best tip: you can't miss something that you have never had.  Moose has never eaten gluten, so she can't miss pizza and pasta like I do.  Human nature makes it almost impossible to take away what people have already had, so just get into the habit of never giving overly processed food to your children.  The real challenge to this one is finding balance though because you also don't want your kid to be the weirdo who has never eaten a chicken nugget.

* Don't get all self-righteous about it.  We all know the person who loves nothing more than to talk about his or her clean eating.  HINT: if you got to this blog off of my Facebook page, you are NOT that person.  I don't maintain personal relationship with people like that because no one wants to be judged.  There is no shame in enjoying the occasional hot dog.

* Do the best that you can and don't beat yourself up.  Sometimes we just don't have the energy to eat healthy.  Those are the days that we have a frozen pizza for dinner.  One night won't kill you.  Plus, if you add organic arugula to the top of the frozen pizza, you can trick yourself into thinking it is a health food.  It's a win-win.

Cheesesteak and chocolate.  Not one of our better eating
days, but you gotta love vacation!

So, there it is.  A few of my healthy/clean eating tips for what they are worth.  If you take one message from this blog post though, let it be this: It is my opinion that being extreme anything is never good, so I would advise you that moderation is best.  Making a few key changes towards clean eating will make a huge difference in your health, just as keeping a few guilty pleasures will make a huge difference in your sanity and overall satisfaction.

Monday, August 19, 2013

You will cry. All. The. Time.

Oh my is obnoxious.  I used to be this normal person who cried at appropriate times (weddings, funerals, sad books, etc), but somehow pregnancy turned me into the freak who cries during erectile dysfunction commercials (try and tell me that those old people are in a bathtub aren't so sweet).

I wish I was kidding about this, but I am as serious as, well, those above-mentioned commercials.  The hormones that overtake your body during pregnancy turn you into a fat, blubbering, sobbing mess of a human being.  I guess that is to be expected though, right?  The thing that shocked the hell out of me is that IT DOESN'T GO AWAY.  You will just keep crying all of the time.

Let me first mention that there will be another post in the future that details how being a mom essentially makes you everyone's mother, so you will cry at anything child related.  That makes sense.  Empathy makes sense.  This post is about the ridiculous, embarrassing, unbelievable things that will make you cry.  And that don't make sense.

I have this vivid memory of one night when I was pregnant and I was laying on the floor (because laying on the hardwood floor relieves backaches) watching TV with my husband.  He was surfing the channels for something to watch when he stumbled upon the end of Home Alone.  It was the very end, right at the moment when Kevin's mom finally gets home and opens up her arms for him.  He hesitates briefly and then runs into his mom's arms.  I started bawling.  Literally.  Sobbing.  My husband was like, "wtf, Beck" to which I could only respond, "Macauley Culkin is just so convincing."

I am not going to lie, it was a low point for me.  Home Alone, seriously?  It wasn't even like I had been watching the movie for hours.  I saw the last two minutes.  Of Home Alone.

I wish it ended there, but it didn't.  The evil pregnancy hormones seem to stay with you forever.  It is nature's way of reminding you that, above all else, you are a mother.  For instance, I didn't cry when I got engaged. It wasn't sad.  Post-pregnant Becky though?  She cries when people on TV get engaged.

I am not ashamed to admit that I love the Twilight series of books.  The good thing about enduring the miracle (gag) of pushing a baby out of your who-ha in front of a roomful of people is that you really have no shame left.

Even though the Twilight movies are God-awful, I find myself sitting at the theater on opening weekend every year.  It is a fun tradition.  My girlfriend and I went to see the final movie last November and I cried 3 times.  3 times during a teenage Vampire love drama starring K-Stew.  The kicker though?  I cried during the credits.  The freakin' credits.  Who the hell does that?  Luckily, my friend N is an avid crier herself, so she didn't mind at all.  Embarrassing displays of inappropriate emotion love company, right?

*As a side note, that last paragraph made me realize that I do have a little bit of shame left. *

If you have not yet had kids, enjoy having control of your emotions (and bladder, but that is a story for another day) because it won't last for long.  And, if you are already a mother, know that all other mothers relate.  When we stare at you while you cry over the "Love You Forever" book at Barnes & Noble (it's freakin' sad...gets me every time), we are staring as an act of solidarity, not judgement.

So, cry on, Mamas, you earned it!  And, while you are at it, please share with us any embarrassing crying stories you have had.  Honestly, it will make me feel better about the Home Alone incident.  Home Alone.  Oy.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Constant Worry

No one told me that having a baby was the end of your peace of mind.  Forever.  I guess I don't blame them though; if you told people that, they would either A) find you crazy or B) be scared off from having kids.  I am going to tell you about it though because you need to know.  Also, if you haven't been scared off my my tales of pregnancy and babies pooping in the tub, you will be fine.

It is common sense to worry about the big things.  You put up baby gates because you worry that she will fall down the steps.  You hold her hand because you worry that she will run off into the street and get hit by a car.  You feed her good foods because you worry about her not growing up to be healthy. Parenting 101, right?  What no one tells you though is that you worry about really stupid shit.

The birth of my sweet girl = the 
death of my peace of mind.

I was sitting around watching Glee one night (don't knock it 'til you try it) and there was an episode about Prom.  All of a sudden, I got this shock through my entire body and turned to Josh, in a total panic, and said, "what if no one asks Moose to prom?"  

Poor Josh was so dumbfounded that he couldn't even formulate a response other than, "she is 4 months old."  I was legitimately worried though.  I still am.  I couldn't even finish watching the episode because it was that second when I realized that the "big" worries are actually the least of my worries.  Those gates and outlet plugs, the shopping cart covers and paci wipes; those things are nothing.  Those are things that we do to convince ourselves that we have some sort of control, but they don't take care of the constant nagging worries in your head.  That prom episode was the second when I realized that there were an entire world of worries that I had not yet thought of and that I could not control.

I am not exaggerating, people.  I am not a mellow-dramatic person; in fact, I am pretty laid back, but ever since then, I have seriously been worrying that no one will ask her to prom and that she will be devastated.  Can you imagine the heartbreak of your little girl wanting to go to prom and no one asking her?  It seriously makes me tear up.

If you don't have kids yet, you probably think I am nuts and that is okay.  I would have thought the same thing, but having kids makes something in you shift and you have no control anymore.  The worry takes over.

I was talking to one of my Mom friends at the daycare when she called one day to check on her youngest girl and we started talking about how motherhood just means constant worrying.  Her oldest daughter is getting ready to go to kindergarten and she was nervous because it is an entirely new world that she has no control over.  Her little girl is beautiful, sweet, and funny, an overall great kid, but other kids can be mean.  And you have no control.

Moose has years until she goes off to Kindergarten, but I am already worried about it.  What if the other kids make fun of her?  What if she has no friends?  What if she doesn't have the right clothes or right hobbies (I used to teach Kindergarten; that sh*& already matters to those little boogers). I feel like I would die inside if one of those things happened.  The thought of her fat, excited little face getting ready to go school and then having her entire day crushed by a mean little kid just kills me.  

The worries then go to the next step.  What would I do if someone was mean to Moose?  My first response would be to go in there and let them have it, but unfortunately that is not an acceptable thing to do.  I would obviously go to the parents, but usually with mean kids come meaner parents.  What then?  

Just writing this blog has raised my blood pressure.  This isn't one of those things that you can make light of because it sucks.  This little person just takes over your entire world and consumes it with worry.  The parenting instinct in you just yearns to protect this little being, but every step that they take into the world, starting with their first one, leaves them, and you, that much more vulnerable.  

Am I the only one?  Does anyone else worry about all of these little things?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

You are not special: Get in Line

This is going to be part 1 of a "you are not special" series.  Somehow our society has become such that everyone thinks they are special, and therefore deserve better treatment than the rest of us.  I am here to tell you that you are wrong.  You are not special.  And neither am I.  We all exist in a society based on equality.  

The best/worst example of this is entitlement is the inability for people to wait in line.  It seems like everywhere that I go, there is a line.  And where there is a line, there is a jacka$$ who thinks that he is too special to wait in line.  So, here goes.  You are not special: get the f*%$ in line.

This morning, we woke up at 6:30 to make sure that we could catch the 7:30 airport shuttle and arrive at the airport within the suggested 2 hour timeframe.  Because that is what responsible people do.  

As we were navigating our way through the clusterf*&% that is the San Francisco airport, some woman comes barreling in front of us and says to the airport attendant, "can I just get in front of the line because I have to catch my flight in 40 minutes."  Of course, the United representative said no, to which this imbecile replied, "well, what should I do?"  I had not yet had my coffee, so I chimed in to say, "you should wake up earlier next time so you can get to the airport in time."  What I wanted to say though is, "what the hell do you think you should do, you ignorant piece of bird poop?  Oh wait, you think you are so important that every single responsible person here should just let you in front of them.  NO."  Not getting the answer she wanted, this woman quietly took her chances and got in line with the rest of us.  

Oh wait, just kidding, that is not how the story ends.  She went to every other United representative and finally weaseled her way into the disability line.  I guess no one told her that being ignorant is not a disability.

You might think I am being harsh, but seriously?  Did she think that everyone else in line enjoyed getting up at the a$$ crack of dawn to get to the airport and stand in ridiculous lines for the privilege of paying your right arm to check luggage, throw away liquids, and be herded like cattle onto a delayed 5.5 hour flight.  No, we didn't enjoy it, but we did it.  Because we are NOT special.  No one is special.  Get the f*&% in line.

On our vacation, we rode our bikes from San Francisco to a little town called Tiburon.  From Tiburon, you catch a ferry back.  The ferry was scheduled to leave at 5:10 and the next one wasn't until 6:45.  We busted our butts, on a tandem bike, against gale force winds and ridiculous hills to get there in time for the 5:10 ferry only to be told that they were not sure there was room, but to stand in line and wait with fingers crossed.  Fine.  

A few minutes later, the ferry attendant came to tell us that there was room for a few more bikes.  Score!  As we unhooked our bikes, some woman comes charging around me to get on the ferry first.  Are you f'in serious?  I stepped out and told her firmly, "this is a line."  Her response, naturally was to ram into me with her bike.  Not being one to be discouraged by rude European tourists, I stuck my hand up to her face and again, informed her, "this is a line.  Wait your turn."  The kicker to this?  The urban hipster behind her pipes up and says, "well, the ferry attendant told her that bikes are allowed now."  

Again, is this for real?  What the hell?  Do you think that I am standing here with my bike, in a line, because I DON'T want to get on the ferry?  Do I somehow give off the impression that I am a person who wants to stand, holding her bike for the entire 2 hours that it will take for another ferry to arrive?  Or maybe you think that I do want to get on the ferry, but quite frankly, you just don't give a crap because you think that your time is more important than mine.  Guess what, you turd, you are not special.  Get the f*&% in line.

Biking on our first trip to San Francisco in 2009

I think that my favorite type of line-hopper is the calculating, tries-to-act-subtle, somewhat passive-aggressive one though.  While in line at Starbucks, this person slowly meanders up to the menu, squinting hard like they are really trying to focus.  Which, as a side note, is BS. You came up behind me, talking business on your smartphone, with your thick framed glasses, power suit, and $300 Prada laptop tote...don't tell me that you have no idea what skinny drink you order at Starbucks.  Anyhow, they stand there and slowly inch in front of you until the cashier says, "can I help you?" and then they all of a sudden turn around and say,  with the disbelief of someone who just spotted Christ himself, "oh! were you in line?"  

No.  I am not in line.  I had some spare time today and didn't want to sleep in, watch TV, exercise, go shopping, talk on the phone, walk the dog, or go swimming; I  just  wanted to stand here at Starbucks and watch them make coffee.  I mean, for God's sake, you can't be so totally lost in your own self-indulgence that you actually wonder if I am in line.  Or wait, maybe you can because you are an entitled little tool.  Bad news for you though, I am not your mother, and I don't think you are special.  Get the f*&% in line.

And so, I am begging you, all of you parents out there, PLEASE teach your kids about waiting in line.  Please teach them that they are special to you, but that is where it ends.  When you go out into the world, you are not special.  You are no more important than the person in front of you in line, whether that person is the CEO of Google or whether that person is homeless.  This society in which we all chose to live functions better with a little human decency and with the understanding that we are all equals.  

If you choose not to follow those rules though, I will teach my child to knock you out.  Kidding, but seriously, don't be that person.

Who is your favorite kind of line hopper?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Rules for Play Dates

This is an awesome guest post from my friend Courtney (mom of 3) about a few little-known playdate rules!  

My kids love playdates.  They get so excited about having friends come over to our house to play.  While I like the idea of my children improving their social skills in a more informal setting than school, playdates can be high maintenance affairs.  Most parents are aware of the basic issues when hosting a playdate, like cleaning, addressing food allergies, expecting your playroom to look like a tornado came through, etc., but I’ve discovered that there are some additional not-so-obvious playdate pitfalls that I wish someone told me about.

1.     Potty

By the time kids are ready to play at someone else’s house without a parent staying, they are usually potty proficient and independent, meaning they do not need an adult hovering when they go to the bathroom.  That is, unless you are a child coming to play at our house.  I’ve had boys come over and get pee everywhere in the bathroom, other than in the actual toilet.  One child came waddling out of the bathroom in the Downward Dog yoga position telling me that I needed to wipe his butt since he just pooped.  He was five.  I propose adding “Wipe Butt Independently” as an evaluated skill in Pre-K.

2.     Fears

If your child is afraid of something, please tell the parent hosting the playdate.  For example, my middle child used to be petrified of cats and would start screaming bloody murder if he spotted a feline 100 yards away.  I made sure I told other parents about this so they knew what was happening when he started shrieking at their house.  We had a child come over to play at our house that went into hysterics when I brought out the vacuum while the kids were in the basement and I was up in the family room.  I actually had to call his mom to double check that he was afraid of vacuums.  Those crushed pretzels in the carpet would just have to stay put until he left.

3.      Lock Up Permanent Markers

Putting Sharpies out of reach on a seven foot high cabinet is not sufficient.  There is some kind of beacon kids hone in on when permanent markers are concerned.  I picture it looking like the scene in Tom and Jerry, when Jerry catches a whiff of cheese and starts floating along, following the scent.  Helpful note to everyone: Rubbing alcohol gets Sharpie marker out of the carpet.  Trust me, my light gray carpet has been tested.

4.      Sense of Humor

When non-life threatening issues arise on a playdate, I’ve found that it’s best to have a sense of humor about it.  Last week, my oldest had a friend over, and while they were playing MarioKart on Wii, I went upstairs to pack for vacation.  While I was upstairs in the bathroom, I heard little footsteps coming into the bathroom, and as I peaked around the half-wall, I saw my son’s friend.  He giggled and asked for more snacks.  I told him that I would take care of that when I was done in the bathroom, and he then proceeded to climb up onto the tub to look out the window.  After I told him again that I’d get more snacks after he went back downstairs, he looked right at me and asked me if I had princess underwear.  After he went back downstairs, I texted his mom to let her know, and thankfully, she found it as funny as I did.

How about you?  Any playdate tips for parents or other random things you wish someone would have prepared you for prior to hosting a playdate?

Can't you tell how much fun these
 girls are having together??

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Naming the Baby

Oh my God..this one was so hard for us.  I mean, let's face it, we have all talked about what we want to name our kids.  I am pretty sure that my friends and I had deep conversations about this in Junior high.  When it comes to actually naming a person though, it is an entirely different story.  It's a big deal.  Your kid will carry this name for the rest of his/her life.  It is the first decision that you make for your child.  You don't want to screw it up and end up with a Mike Hunt or a Barb E. Dahl.

Here's the thing.  Every single person that you meet in life (aside from your baby) has a name when you meet them.  Because of that fact, you never think, "oh, that person doesn't look like a Claire."  Because you have always known that person as Claire, they totally seem like a Claire.  So, then I ask, how the hell do you come up with a name for this little blank slate?  Talk about pressure.

Let me start out by saying that some people have names chosen from the day they get pregnant.  Those are generally the same people who have the cute little pregnant bellies and don't throw up once during their pregnancy.  It's like this pregnancy/baby bulls*^% is all or nothing.  Mine was nothing.  I was fat and sick with a nameless baby.

To be fair to my husband and I, there are no girls in his family, so we were really thrown when we found out that Moose was going to be a girl.  My husband's dad is one of three boys and my husband has one sibling and 5 first cousins...all boys.  Based on that, we just decided to focus on boy's names.  If it would have been a boy, we would have been set.  Not only would he have had a name, but he also already had nautical themed bedding from Pottery Barn kids all picked out.

Alas though, it was a girl (to my absolute delight) and we were at square 1 for names.  The day after we found out it was a girl, my husband came to me with three names, "Dana, Madeline, and Gina."  I told him that I would consider Dana and Madeline.

Our first productive step was to just throw names out there, which turned out be a total disaster.  The conversations would go something like this:

Me: How about Sam?
Husband: Eww.  All Sams are fat.
Me: Are you f'in kidding?  What a stupid thing to say.  Name one fat Sam.
Husband: I went to school with a Sam in 3rd grade and she was fat.  Boom.
Me: Silence, because what can you say to that??

Me: Harper.
Husband: What the hell is the matter with you?  Do you want her to be made fun of?  What is with you and these new age names.  What happened to normal names?
Me: Okay, how about Laura?
Husband: Seriously, Beck.  Do I really want a kid name after Little House on the Prairie.  Think outside of the box.

Me: Dylan.
Husband: OH MY GOD!  I am so mad that I can't even talk to you right now.  That is a boy's name.  Why do you love giving boy's names to little girls.  Why don't we name her Brian.  Or Melvin.  How about Harry.  Yeah, that's it.  Harry.  That can be a girl's name too.
Me: A simple no would suffice.

Me: Becky
Husband: Oh no...that name can only go one of two ways and they are both extreme.  She could either be a stripper or a lady who lives alone with 20 cats.
Me: You do realize that is my name, right?

And so we went to the name book.  That thing was my Bible.  We read it for 8 straight hours on the way to the beach and were able to come up with a list of about 30 names.  On the way home from the beach, we went over the list and realized that we pretty much hated all of the names that we had chosen.

Soon after, we were sitting on the couch and my husband, out of the blue, says: "Let's call her Brumhilda."  I know what you are thinking...WTF?  As it turns out, Brumhilda was the name of an African American slave in a Quentin Tarantino movie that was getting ready to be released.  A normal person would have put her foot down, but I was not a normal person, so, from that point on, she was Brumhilda.  Not just to us, but to everyone we knew.  I was officially pregnant with a Baby Brumhilda.

Having a Brumhilda did take some of the pressure off because I figured that whatever we came up with had to be better than that.  By this time, it was the fall and I had had plenty of time to think and decided that Madeline was a good name.  Bam!  Case closed...she has a name!  I waited until my husband came home from work to tell him the good news.  Drumroll please....and...Fail.  He had decided that he no longer wanted the name Madeline.

Back to square 1 again.  At this point, there was some major stress on the part of both of our mothers.  They were entirely convinced that the baby was not going to have a name.  I actually wasn't stressed because I was taking comfort in the fact that if we couldn't come up with a name, the government could give her one.  They do a fine job with naming hurricanes, so I am sure they have a similar system for babies.

We finally pared it down a bit and went into the hospital with three names: Ella, Morgan, and Myra.  As soon as she was born, my husband decided that she looked like a Myra.  I, on the other hand, was just so relieved that she did NOT look like a Brumhilda.  'Cause ya never know, right?! On day 2, my husband forced me to decide and I agreed that her name would be Myra.

And, you know what, I love her name.  It is feminine, beautiful, and just so her.  Here's the thing though.  If we had named her Ella, Harper, Sam, Morgan, or Dylan, I would be saying the same thing right now.  Because, at the end of the day, it isn't as big of a decision as we made it out to be.  So take solace in the fact, that although it is a big decision, if you exert even the slightest bit of commons sense, it is one that it difficult to screw up.  When in doubt, just Google "funny fake names" so that you don't end up with an Anita Bath.  Or a Brumhilda.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Parental Competition

I am going to start this post out with a little trivia.

Does anyone know know what Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, and Martin Luther King Jr. have in common?  I am not sure what you guessed, and off of the top of my head, I can think of a few good answers, but I can tell you with complete certainty what the answer is NOT.  It is NOT that they spoke their first word at 3 months old.  Because guess what, super-Mommy?  Those things have no relevance on the type of person your little baby will become.

Ugh...parental competition is one of the more irritating things about parenthood and nothing, not even this brilliantly written blog post, can prepare you for it.  You have truly not seen competition until you become a parent.  It puts the Russian gymnasts of the 80s to shame.

I work at a daycare and I recently had a dad say to me, "have you heard Nahala (name has been changed) say 'pink elephant?'  It is clear as day."  I literally almost punched him in the face.  His daughter was 4 months old at the time.  4 months old.  And he was serious!  I know that parents have rose-colored glasses to some extent, but I assure you that his daughter did NOT say pink elephant.  And you know what, that is okay.  She was 4 months old.  She should have been enjoying learning to roll around and pooping in her diaper.  That is what 4 month olds do.  They don't put two words, especially not when one of them is elephant, together.

I don't want you to feel bad, but while your baby
was busy chewing on his fingers and drooling,
mine was reading poetry.  No big deal.

I think that the competition/bragging thing is worse now than it was in previous generations due to the prevalence of social media.  If you have parents on your facebook feed, you know what I am talking about:

* Baby Remy crawled at only 2 months, 3 days, 1 hour, and 4.5 minutes.  Amazing!
* Little Mary decided that instead of presents for her 2nd birthday, she wants people to give donations to the local no-kill animal shelter.  I am just blown away by how big her heart is at such a young age.  Blessed!


Almost worse than the above listed are the ones that dig for compliments.  "OMG.  Is it normal that Truman rolled over when he is only 1 month old?  Kind of concerned."  F'n bulls*^#.  Your post-pregnant lactating butt is doing the happy dance in your house right now.  You have already called your husband (who is SO glad that he is at work) to tell him that he no longer has to worry about paying for college because surely lil' Truman has secured himself a Division 1 Athletic Scholarship.

Who, and I repeat, who, gives a rat's butt?  Oh wait, I digress.  It has been so long since I applied for college that I almost forgot that they DO ask you how old you were when you started to walk.  If my memory serves me correctly, it is right under the question about how old you were when you first lifted your head (because I am pretty sure that a recent study out of Antarctica cited that developmental milestone as a sure predictor of future success).

I am here to tell you that I am fighting back.  I refuse to bite.  Maybe your child is more advanced than mine.  Maybe not  But guess what, I don't care!  I just want my child to be happy, kind, and secure.

Our society has somehow lost sight of what matters.  Early on, I was talking to my pediatrician, who is wonderful, and he said something that has stuck with me.  He said, "somehow our society has lost sight of the fact that average is okay."  And you know what?  He is right.  Sure, it is great when your kid is exceptional in a certain area, but with exceptional talent and/or intelligence comes exceptional pressure and, often, exceptional problems.  Average people do okay.

Do I want my daughter to be smart?  Absolutely.  But, as long as she is happy, healthy, secure, and kind, anything else is just a bonus.

Let's just all set the competition thing aside.  I want to hear how your child is doing and I LOVE seeing pictures of your kids, but, let me be honest, no one cares how many times they pooped today.  It's really not that interesting.  Unless, of course, it is a pooping in the tub story because those are hilarious.

All of that being said though, I still bet that my kid is waaay better at throwing tantrums than your kid.  ;)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Temper Tantrums

I am not one to brag about my child, but she is an advanced tantrum thrower.  Most kids don't start throwing tantrums until they are toddlers, but mine started throwing tantrums at the ripe old age of 10 months old.  In fact, she was throwing tantrums before she was able to walk or talk.  No big deal.

Despite the fact that she does not get her way when she throws tantrums, she continues to try.  Apparently she is holding out hope that one day I will change my mind.  

Maybe your child won't be as advanced in this department as mine, but guess what?  He/she WILL thrown a tantrum at some point.  Most likely, the tantrum(s) will come in a public place where you have to grit your teeth and try to be appear nice while the other moms are looking at you with judgmental eyes (which is total bulls*^% because their kids do it too).

Why, you ask?  Why do they throw tantrums?  Well, the answer to that should be obvious.  Toddlers are forced to endure a series of injustices, mostly at hands of their parents, on a daily basis.  To help you  better understand this, I have provided a list that, while not all-inclusive, will give you an idea of what drives these emotional little beings of ours.

I do ask though, please don't judge me, as many of the things listed below show what a cruel parent I really am.  Here goes:

  • I make her sit in her plush $350 jogging stroller, snacking on organic fruit pouches, enjoying the beautiful scenery on the local trail, while I push her in a desperate attempt to jog off the stomach weight that I gained carrying her.  Cruel.

The calm before the storm.  You can see
how hard her life is and why she would
feel compelled to fight back against this situation.

  • There were no more crayons left in the crayon box.  Damn you, Mommy, for only buying the 24 pack!

This demonstrates the "I am forcing
myself to cry" tantrum.

  • I forced her to poop in her diaper and then had the audacity to try and change it.  Selfish, I know, but I just love changing poopy diapers.  It is pretty much the reason that I had kids.  

  • After playing outside for hours, Daddy made her come in to go to bed.

"You can cuff me, Officer, but I am
NOT getting out of this car."

  • Mommy made Moose throw her pacifier on the floor while driving on the highway, so Moose no longer has a pacifier.

  • All Moose asked for in life is for her teeth to rot, but Mommy and Daddy insist on brushing them every single night.  Why should she have to suffer so that Mommy and Daddy can pursue their hobby of forcefully brushing the teeth of a toddler who bites their fingers?

  • I insist on pushing Moose around in the shopping cart and handing her snacks to eat while I spend my hard earned money to buy things.  For her.

She simply cannot take it anymore.

  • I refused to let her run through the parking lot and get smushed by a car.  Could Moose have chosen to hold hands and continue to walk?  Sure.  But is throwing a fit and having to be carried into the store more fun?  Apparently.

  • The Easter Bunny brought her presents.

Why did he choose to visit my house?!

  • Mommy and Daddy took her to the pool for the sole purpose of tormenting her by not letting her walk off the edge into 8 feet of water.  To add insult to injury, when it was time to go home, they made her take off her wet swimsuit.

And, my personal favorite:

  • Mommy and Auntie C took Moose and A on vacation where they forced them to go to the beach and play with the endless sand toys and pool that they schlepped down with them.  In the interest of full disclosure, snacks and sippy cups were also brought and offered to these poor, tortured girls.  Let me ask you, who can blame them for having this visceral reaction?

So, there is is, folks.  A few of the many injustices that My Moose endures on a daily basis that cause her to throw herself on the floor in a fit of rage.  What terrible things do you do to your toddler to make them throw tantrums?  Please share, especially if a hilarious picture (like the ones above) accompanies the story!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Best Baby/Toddler Products

Going to register for a baby is harder than applying for college, more stressful than the 1st of the month at the DMV, and more of a scam than Bernie Madoff selling used cars.  Add that to the fact that, if you are like me, you are trying to navigate through it while simultaneously trying to ignore the foot kicking your bladder and the rising vomit in your throat.  Overall, not a great combination.

Hindsight, I wish I would have done more research before registering, but I was just too sick.  I did the necessary things like obsessively reading the ratings on carseats, but I didn't do enough research to prevent over-registering.  To be fair, it is hard to know what you will use and what products are the best until you have been there.

The good news for you is that I have been there, so please read on and benefit from my experience.

1. Carseat.  You don't need to read my blog to know about this one.  It is the law.  The law that will ultimately lead to you throwing out your shoulder and back because you are lugging a 19 pound baby around in a 90 pound carseat.  The law that will leave you with one Popeye-esque arm simply from the daily grind of walking from your car to your front door.  Gotta do it though.  We went with the Chicco KeyFit 30 and loved it.  It was comfy and had great ratings from Consumer Reports.  I would highly recommend buying a second base so that you don't have to keep moving it from car to car.  We now have the Britax Boulevard convertible seat, which I love.  It is top rated by Consumer Reports and very easy to use.  I would buy it again in a second, although I am glad that I don't have to because, like most other baby stuff, it doesn't come cheap.

2. Video Monitor.  I actually consider this to be one of the top two baby things that I own.  When I registered, I decided not to go for the video monitor.  I felt like it was excessive.  Do I really need to watch my baby sleep?  Well, Ms "I know it all from being pregnant for a mere 5 months Becky," the answer to that is yes.  Too bad I didn't realize that until 4 months into my Moose's life and then had to go buy one.  It would take an entire post to tell you why I love this, but here is one reason: sometimes babies cry, yell, or even talk IN THEIR SLEEP.  My baby was one of those babies.  I would run into her room only to find that she was actually talking in her sleep.  Guess what though?  She was no longer asleep because my bursting into her room just woke her up.  This happened more than a few times.  Waking up sleeping babies it the ultimate Mommy no-no.  Get the video monitor.  These suckers don't come cheap though, so don't do what I did.  Just register for the damn thing and get it over with while someone else is paying.

3. VTech Learning Walker Toy. "Welcome to our learning farm.  Mommy's going to go crazy We have lots to show you."  Despite the fact that I have that song playing on repeat in my head, I LOVE this toy.  Of all of the toys we have bought, we have gotten the most mileage out of this one.  It is a sit to stand toy, so Moose played with it on the ground when she first got it.  It has lots of fun songs and activities to keep babies and toddlers occupied.  Once she became mobile, her favorite activity was pushing this around our house.  The kid could literally push it around the house for hours without getting bored.

As a side story that will not leave you impressed with my parenting (or dog-rearing), one of the funniest things that she did with this toy was learn to run into the dogs.  We let our dog finish whatever food Moose doesn't eat off of her tray (yes, we are those people.  Germs are good).  Somehow, Moose figured out that when the dog was distracted by eating, she could run full speed and ram the Learning Farm into him.  It shouldn't be funny, but, let's face it, it is.  It wasn't hard enough to hurt him and after one time he was smart enough to move out of the way.  Being the crafty little booger that she is, she then transferred this skill onto people, ramming into my husband and I.  Again, it shouldn't be funny, and it wasn' was downright hilarious.

Back on point though, this toy is awesome.  She still enjoys pushing it around.  Hands down, of all of the toys she has, this has been the best money spent.

VTech Learning Farm

4. Diaper Genie.  Unless you love the smell of stale, rotting poop.

5. BOB Revolution Stroller.  This one is a total splurge, but I feel obligated to list it because it is truly one of the best two baby things I have bought (along with the video monitor).  I wanted a stroller that could be used for jogging (translation: walking) and also everyday use.  I was dead against buying a BOB because they are so much more expensive than other jogging strollers, but after buying and returning 3 other models, I took the plunge and am absolutely in love.  When I use any other stroller, I get so frustrated because of how hard they are to push.  I didn't realize it until I got my Bob.  I cannot say enough good things about my Bob.  I can literally push it with one finger.  It folds up nicely for travel.  It maneuvers like a dream.  My love for this stroller is even making me uncomfortable and I am pretty sure my husband is getting jealous, so just go test one out.  You will not regret it.

BOB Revolution

If you don't want to pay that much money, look for gently used ones on Craig's List.  Be obsessive in your pursuit though.  They sell quickly on second-hand sites.

6. Baby Bathtub. Some people think they are unnecessary, but we actually still use ours.  Obviously Moose is old enough to sit in the real tub, and has been for a long time, but her whale tub uses much less water and she likes it.  Also, and here is a toddler parenting tip, she can lay back in it, which makes it much easier to brush her teeth.

Could you use the sink to bathe your child?  Yes.  Do you really want to put the butt of a person who poops in her pants in the sink that you use for dishes/food?  You be the judge.

Whale of a Tub

And there is it, folks.  My top 6 baby purchases.  Do yourself a favor and check them out.  Especially the Bob.  ;)

Playing together nicely with Fighting over the Learning Farm.