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Bad Parenting

25 Apr

What would you say if I told you I never take my kids to the doctor? Not even for annual check-ups? Or that I don’t make them take their vitamins? That I let my daughter eat as much fast food, chocolate and candy as she wants? Kool-Aid instead of water? It’s shameful, I know.

What if I told you my kids go to bed at 1 a.m.? That they spend most of the day sitting, in chairs or on the couch? That they don’t watch much TV but can spend as much time on the computer as they want?

What if I admitted that not only do my children not get enough nutritious food, sleep, or exercise, but that they also aren’t given time to play with their friends during the week? And don’t even get me started on art projects. Way too messy for this house.

Are you judging me yet? Maybe just a little, right? Because you might believe that things like annual check-ups, nature walks, broccoli, naps, finger-painting and socialization are super important for kids. Maybe even vital.

So do I.

But tell me this: When did it become satisfactory, normal even, to enforce these rules upon our children but give ourselves a pass? How many parents do you know who do all of those things for themselves? Are you one of them?

What would we be like if we took care of ourselves the way we take care of those adorable little people who run our lives? Happier? Healthier? What if we held ourselves to the same standards?

No Mom, you may not have more chocolate because you will ruin your dinner.

Dad, you may watch one show before bed and then it’s lights out. You know the drill; bedtime is 8 p.m.

Mom, you’ve got playdates scheduled two evenings this week and an art class on Thursday night. The only rules are to share with your friends, wash your hands after using the potty, and HAVE FUN.

Gosh, even as I was typing that last paragraph I was mocking myself. “TWO playdates a WEEK? HA! That would never happen. I’d be lucky to fit in one a MONTH.” For myself, anyway. For my kid? Two a week is easy. Standard, even.

Why are we always last? Because we put ourselves there. But as anyone who has flown on an airplane knows, someone needs to be there to put an oxygen mask on your babies in the event of a decrease in cabin pressure. And if you haven’t put yours on first, there’s a decent chance you won’t be up to the task.

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I’m Not Crazy, I’m Just Pregnant

3 Dec

I forced myself to take a bit of a break from blogging, in an attempt to gain some sense of sanity in my home.

It didn’t really work.

Well, it did in one aspect. I haven’t been staying up until 2 a.m. sewing a bud vase cozy so I could take some pictures and write about it. Instead I’ve been staying up until 2 a.m. with killer pregnancy insanity insomnia. So I guess the joke’s on me.

The past month has been about trying to start (and finish) our Christmas shopping, gathering baby supplies, receiving entirely too many packages from UPS/USPS (because surely we won’t have any time to run to any of the various stores within a one-mile radius to purchase toiletries and cleaning supplies while we are on newborn lockdown, so I needed to place yet another Drugstore.com order), feeling grateful and overwhelmed by the generosity of family and friends, panicking over our decision to change insurance companies from a PPO to Kaiser (a change that will take effect exactly 15 days before the baby is due), dealing with The Cough That Never Ends and related trips to pediatricians and urgent-care units for mama and daughter, obsessing over minor things like Tinkerbell wrapping paper vs. Toy Story wrapping paper for Kaitlyn’s upcoming birthday, and finally dragging my dear, sweet husband and child to IKEA because our dresser drawers were nowhere near large enough to accommodate the baby’s wardrobe, cloth diaper collection and assorted linens and we needed to buy new ones pronto or all of the precious newborn-to-3-month clothes I had just washed in Charlie’s detergent would languish in the laundry basket, forcing me to rewash it all or risk it gathering dust that would somehow get into the baby’s lungs when he was at his most vulnerable and cause lung disease. Or something like that.

Phew. Now do you see why I can’t sleep? Pregnancy. Insanity.

Here’s how I’ve coped:
I bitch and moan.
I buy things online (but only for free shipping) because if I try to buy them in the store, I will end up staring at a rack of carpet cleaner/wrapping paper/invisible tape/nasal aspirators for 30 minutes and ultimately walk out of the store empty-handed because I couldn’t make a decision. About tape.
I make lists – in my desk calendar, pads of paper, Excel files, the notepad on my phone – and usually discover that I am writing down the same thing many, many times.
I eat entire packages of OREOs in a 24-hour period.
I call my fellow pregnant friend so we can bitch and moan together.

Sounds like a recipe for success, no?

The good news is, I’ve only got about six weeks to go until Baby J is here. And then the pregnancy insanity and nesting will cease and I can go back to going to bed at a reasonable hour and sleeping a solid uninterrupted eight to nine hours.

Wait… I feel like I’m forgetting something.

Oh well, I’ll remember eventually.

10 Lessons We Could All Learn from Preschool

18 Sep

Preschool

1. Read a book, sing a song and do a little bit of silly dancing every day.

2. Sharing makes others happy.

3. Nine out of 10 times, a nutritious snack will cure grumpiness and temper tantrums.

4. Specific praise means more to the receiver than a “good job.”

5. Don’t hesitate to use the sparkle paint generously.

6. Hitting, biting and name-calling are not acceptable behaviors.

7. Clean-up is futile. (But singing a song while doing it anyway makes it seem more fun.)

8. Listen.

9. Always wash your hands after you use the potty.

10. Chances are, the dirtier you got, the more fun you had.

Indecision

9 Sep

If I learned anything about myself during the six years of performance reviews I received pre-motherhood, it’s that I tend to analyze things to the point where I am unable to make a decision. Weigh this, weigh that, write a list, make an Excel document with five different worksheets showing alternative scenarios, cost each option out and then ask everyone I know personally (and hundreds of people I don’t via online forums) what they would do in my situation.

I have never been one to make snap decisions.

Right now I’m tossing around a few ideas and I can’t seem to make up my mind. For example, I am on the verge of declaring this Christmas (including Kaitlyn’s birthday, which falls just a few days before) “Handmade Only.” I have a huge list of gift ideas for everyone on our list, and if I got started soon I could knock them all out before my belly gets too big to sit in front of the sewing machine. But I can’t pull the trigger. Mainly because I know I will go into Costco sometime in November and get sucked in to the five aisles of toys Kaitlyn doesn’t need, like giant ride-on ponies and huge kits of art supplies suitable for a preschool class. And I probably won’t buy anything there, because it will be too overwhelming, but it will get the wheels in motion. Not to mention this non-toxic nail polish for kids recently reviewed on Safemama.com. And Candyland. Because every 3-year-old needs Candyland, right? So maybe her birthday can be store-bought and Christmas handmade?

Then there’s this blog. I have so many projects I want to try out and share with you, sewing and baking and Halloween decorations, and I have two boxes of fabric waiting for a purpose in life. But I can’t decide what’s next. Toddler fleece pants? Flannel receiving blankets? Trick-or-treat bags, princess tutus and superhero capes? Art portfolios and crayon rolls?

You know, I think I’m just going to take a personal day and spend it on projects. Because, you know, that’s something within the realm of possibility with a 2 1/2-year-old.

Maybe I should just start a new spreadsheet instead.