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My Favorite Things

  • Naptime
  • Caffeine in various forms
  • Italy
  • The Beach
  • Family camping trips
  • The gym
  • Storytime at the Library
  • Rachael Ray
  • Running

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pregnancy Hits and Misses

Well, pregnancy number 2 is quickly drawing to a close. In less than a week, New Baby will be here and I will be whining about being a mom to a toddler and a newborn. I had high hopes for this pregnancy. I was going to eat right, exercise, stay attractive and then when I popped this kid out I'd be right back to normal! Well, here's the dirty details of what actually happened.

Hit: No stretch marks! As someone who is generally genetically unlucky, it boggles my mind that I was able to escape this one.
Miss: Belly button popped out. Even though I was a giant moose with my first pregnancy, my belly button remained an innie. I was dismayed to notice last week that it has turned inside out with this pregnancy. I'm guessing it will right itself eventually?

Hit: Managed to keep working out right up until the end. Yay me. Although I stopped going to the gym this week as I realized I was making others uncomfortable. I've been told more than once to not give birth in class.
Miss: Still gained pretty much the same amount of weight. 10 pounds less, but what's 10 pounds when you have a double/triple chin and love handles that may or may not be bigger than my actual stomach.

Hit: No weird dark line going down the center of my belly.
Miss: Had acne the entire time. That's 39 weeks of high school acne, people. And you know what helps pregnant acne? Absolutely nothing.

Hit: Was less panicky about movement this time around. I admit I was a complete spaz with Captain Destructo and swear it was much better this time.
Miss: Way more panicky about having a newborn, since I have had one before and know what's coming.

Hit: Actually got my toenails done and my hair highlighted during this pregnancy to maintain some semblance of attractiveness.
Miss: Now have dandruff, which inexplicably struck me right before Captain Destructo was born too. Thanks, hormones!

Hit: Less worried about other people's judgments of what I do when I am pregnant. I even posted about my scheduled C-section on Facebook and drank Diet Dr. Peppers in front of people.
Miss: Managed to frighten other gym goers in my attempts to show them I don't care if they think I am too big to work out. By the way? The baby never fell out during jumping jacks, my water didn't break while lifting weights, and, as I feared, I managed to maintain enough bladder control not to wet my pants on the treadmill.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Worst Parenting Advice

I don't know what it is about a baby that makes everyone want to offer you advice. Maybe I looked just completely clueless with a baby, but it seemed like whenever I brought Captain Destructo out in public, everyone and their grandmother had some timeless wisdom to offer. Here are a few gems. Feel free to add yours.

1. When the baby bites you, bite them back.
I'm not sure where this one got started, but I've heard it multiple times. Really, people? Bite them back? And when they are teenagers and yell "I hate you!" do you yell that back too?

2. Don't bring your baby out in public or they'll end up in the hospital!
Because I can't think of what a brand-new, sleep-deprived, slightly depressed new mother needs more than to be told that their baby will end up in the hospital. If I brought the baby into a daycare center or was allowing strangers to touch her, I concede that she may have a chance of getting sick. When I was offered that advice, we were in Target and she was wrapped in a sling. Unless someone opened the sling and sneezed on her, I think we were okay.

3. Don't pick up that baby or you'll spoil her!
Honestly, when I hadn't slept in a month (more if you count the high quality sleep I got the last trimester of pregnancy) I could have cared less if I would spoil her. I just cared about making her stop crying. Also? Pretty sure you can't spoil a 6 week old. I wasn't giving her ponies or anything.

4. Ooh, it's hot out. You should give her water in a cup.
While this is appropriate advice for a toddler, or even a baby nearing one year, I found it interesting when offered to my four month old. Give her a cup? Sure. After that I'll grill her up some filet mignon and asparagus.

5. Rub a little whiskey on her gums. It'll help with her teething.
Can we all just agree that giving alcohol to a baby is generally frowned upon? As is using alcohol as a pain killer. At least until the baby turns 28 and has their first child.

6. Why don't you just turn on the Disney Channel?"
Now, if you've been reading this blog at all you know I am pro-TV. Magic box that has pretty pictures so Mama can take a shower without yelling "no, don't eat that!" out the door? Awesome. However, I'm not sure 3 months old is an appropriate age to start with the TV watching. Also, if you have seen anything on the Disney Channel lately, you will know that most shows are highly annoying. We've been watching the tube for a good year now and have yet to turn on the Disney Channel.

That's just a few. Do you have anymore to add?

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Funny Valentine

Valentine's Day is upon us again. I have to admit I have a bit of a soft spot for Valentine's Day, as I generally enjoy holidays that revolve around chocolate. Also, I like making a big deal out of silly holidays for Captain Destructo. It breaks up the monotony of our weeks. I plan on basically cutting every food item into heart shape and browbeating my husband into buying her something (but not chocolate, as our "potty-training" lately has her eating massive amounts of Hershey Kisses. Still no peeing in the little potty by the way). It turns out that Valentine's Day and I have a long, torrid history.

When I was in high school, I to put this nicely? A huge dork. 20 pounds overweight, socially awkward, and overall a dork. Also, in a weird twist of fate, I was boy crazy. I pined over movies like Pretty Woman and Sixteen Candles and longed to find my Prince Charming. Although, shockingly, no one was coming a-calling. I spent 4 years of Valentine's Days alone, stuffing my face with an entire box of Russell Stovers.

College was much of the same. Although I weighed less and was marginally less awkward, I was always single for Valentine's Day. I dated here and there, but nothing serious enough to have a Valentine. College was possibly worse than high school, as all of my roommates were always in relationships and I got to sit around our dorms, watching them primp for their dates, stuffing my face with Russel Stovers and chasing it down with Boone's Farm Strawberry wine (mmmm).

So, as you can imagine, when my husband and I started dating, I made a huge freaking deal of Valentine's Day. He delivered, too. He tried to trick me by telling me to come to his house and bring formal wear, a bathing suit, and sweatpants. It turns out that he made me a fancy dinner, from scratch, and showered me with gifts.

As marriages evolve, particularly when there are kids involved, our Valentine's Days have changed over time. This year we are going out 3 days after Valentine's Day to see a musical. I am getting my toenails done (because I haven't seen them in 3 months and am not sure they're still there), bought a new dress and will be praying my water doesn't break at the theater. Captain Destructo has a babysitter and everything. As for romance, let's just say I walked into the lingerie department in Target, waddled right through to the back where the giant granny panties were, and bought a jumbo pack. So at least I'll be comfortable. My husband is a lucky. lucky, man.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Public Service Announcement: Pay Attention to Your Children

Or, The Story of Why I Left Chick-Fil-A Without a Brownie.

It's been one of those days. My husband has been gone all week, my back is killing me, it's crazy windy so Captain Destructo's bouncy house was blowing all over the place when we tried to jump, and I've been stripping cloth diapers for the past 6 hours. So I decided that Captain Destructo and I deserved a special treat. Chick-Fil-A for dinner it is.

I've mentioned my love for Chick-Fil-A before, but in case you missed it, let me reiterate how it is Mom Heaven. At our local restaurant, Tuesday nights are Kids Eat Free nights, so I got both of our dinners for $6. Customer service is awesome, meaning someone else carried my tray for me while I drug the high chair, giant purse and giant toddler. After scarfing down our chicken nuggets, I let Captain Destructo play in the play area.

Let me pause for a second here. When I say "let" her play, I don't mean I sat at my table and let her go into the play area by herself. She's 2. Common sense, right? Apparently not. There was a little boy who was probably 3 or so in the play area, playing with who I would assume was his older brother. His parents were nowhere to be found. Not in the play area, not (as far as I could tell) immediately outside the plexiglass. They may have gone across the street to Starbucks as far as I know. This will be important later. On with the story.

So Captain D. and I de-shoe her and make our way into the musty, slightly smelling of sour milk, play area. Little boy immediately runs up to us and pokes Captain on the back. She yells "no, my back!" which I have to say I was pretty proud of. I ignore this for the moment, until 3 seconds later when he comes back, pokes her again and yells "nanny-nanny-boo-boo!" I didn't realize that insult was still around, but I tell the kid to chill out. Nicely, I would add. "She doesn't want you to tease her, buddy," I say. Roughly 10 seconds later, he comes back and grabs at her again. "She doesn't want you to touch her either. Go play," I say in a slightly less nice voice. Of course he's back in her face immediately. She is starting to get fussy and I am starting to get irritated, so I walk to the other side of the play area to get her shoes so we can leave.

And then (voice of Sue Sylvester)....HORROR.

I sit down on a bench to put her shoes on and look up to see the Little Dude running at me with both of his hands outstretched. His hands land square in the middle of my giant, 9 months pregnant belly.

I am in complete shock for a moment and can't think of what to do next. I'm torn between getting out my hand sanitizer and squeezing it all over my belly and grabbing the kid by his collar and screaming "whose kid is this?!" into the restaurant. I settle for holding the kid's wrist, removing them from my stomach, and firmly saying "NO. We don't touch other people's bellies. There is a baby in there!" while he gives me a blank stare. I then sanitize Captain Destructo and myself and we head quickly home. I am so mad I leave without getting a brownie. That's pretty mad.

So here's my public service announcement: PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR KIDS. Where this kid's parents were during the whole night, I have no idea. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume they were on their phones or otherwise not paying attention. I'm assuming this because I see it all the time at playgrounds, restaurants, and libraries. I get that there are days when your kids are driving you nuts and you just want a break from them. I totally get it. Yesterday my kid's favorite game was "dump everything from the pantry onto the floor, make Mommy clean it up and then do it again." But you know what is great for taking a break? TV. Don't just dump your kid is a public place and assume that someone else will watch them. Chic-Fil-A play area is not a cage where you can throw your kid in and then let them out when you're done. Be a parent, not a zookeeper.

And, to that kid's mom, wherever you are, you owe me a brownie.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Ah, winter. The season of cold weather, getting fat from comfort food, and constant dry skin and chapped lips. Really it's an awesome time of the year. Despite the fact that I live in South Texas and our "winters" are what northerners refer to as "Indian summer" or even "spring," it's been pretty cold this year and I am desperate for winter to be over. Winter also is known for the #1 enemy of the toddler/preschool mom: germs.

We have been lucky this year and so far only have colds. And when I say "colds" I mean 2 solid months of runny noses and coughing. The pediatrician says that Captain Destructo has allergies, which is why her nose has been running for 2 months. Po-tay-to, po-tat-o, I say. Either way, she coughs a million times a day, has a runny nose, and looks gross enough to get me dirty looks from other moms when out in public. I want to get her a shirt that says "it's just allergies!"

I've noticed this winter that some places are germ havens and every time we go, Captain Destructo seems to acquire another illness. If germs were terrorists, these places would be on a map with bullseyes on them.

Germ Hotbed #1: Fast Food Restaurant Playplaces
When it is cold outside and Captain Destructo is sick enough to look gross but not sick enough to be any less active, I occasionally get to the point where I am about to lose my mind by keeping her quarantined. To me, Chic-Fil-A is the perfect outing. Yummy food, awesome customer service, and a playground that is in the warmth AND free. Apparently, every other mother of a slightly ill child must agree, because when we go it's like a Russian roulette of germs. There are kids wiping noses on sleeves (ok, that might be my kid), a chorus of coughing, and God only knows what else. Once, a dad told me that he took his daughter down a slide at McDonald's and his back smelled strongly of vomit afterwards. Oh, the humanity.

Germ Hotbed #2: Mall Playgrounds

Very similar to the fast food restaurant, the mall offers the added benefit of shopping for Mama. In the middle of winter when my days have consisted of pretending to eat plastic play food and changing Potty Elmo's diaper, shopping with a 2 year old actually becomes an attractive alternative. The mall playground, however, is actually more disgusting than the fast food restaurant playplace. Ours is constantly covered with a film of ground up Goldfish and Cheerios. Throw in the kids running around like wild, untrained monkeys because their parents are on their cellphones or otherwise ignoring them, the mall playground quickly becomes way less fun than I imagined.

Germ Hotbed #3: The Pediatrician's Office

The last, and most repulsive, hotbed of germ activity is the pediatrician's office. Inevitably, the 2 month cold/allergies/who-knows-what turns into an ear infection at some point and I am forced to go to the pediatrician's. Because every other kid in the city is also sick, there are always roughly 300 kids in the waiting room. There is a sick child/well child half wall dividing the waiting room, but Captain Destructo can't read and doesn't care what germs are on the train in the sick child room. I would personally love it if there were no toys at all at the pediatricians, since my kid still uses her mouth as a third hand, but it is filled with trains and books. The last time we went, we sat in the waiting room with who knows what disgustingness floating around, sat in a room waiting for the doctor for 20 minutes while Captain Destructo tried to put books in her mouth and crawled under the chair, and then learned that she didn't have an ear infection after all. "Just fussy." Awesome.

Only 6 more weeks of winter. In 3 weeks, I will become mom to The Toddler Who Eats Everything and Is Full of Disgusting Germs, and mom to The Newborn Who I Am Terrified Will Get Horribly Ill. I think I'm registering for a holster for cans of Lysol.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I've Created a (Cookie) Monster

(Sorry for the language in the picture, it was just too funny not to post!)

When Captain Destructo was born, as in most areas of her life, I had high hopes for her nutrition. Breastmilk only for 6 months, homemade fruit and vegetables purees after that, and then well-balanced, healthy meals from then on out. When she was 2 weeks old and I started supplementing with formula, I realized that my master plan may be going out the window. By 6 months, I was pureeing up a storm and still clinging to some hope that she would remain junk food-free. But yesterday, I was hit hard with the realization that my kid is a junk food eating, sugar loving freak like the rest of America. Let me back up a bit.

Many, many people have told me how well candy works for potty training. I am at the point now where I don't even think I care if she goes on the potty or not. I am having a baby in less than a month and really don't feel like shuttling a newborn to the potty every 30 seconds. However, I would love it if she would at least sit on the (brand-new, $30) potty so I'm not starting completely from scratch in a few months. So, genius mommy that I am, decided that I would give her candy for sitting on the potty, hoping to catch her at the right time and she would make the connection that going on the potty is awesome, diapers are for suckers, and Bob's your uncle, she's potty trained!

Well, as you may have suspected, things haven't gone as planned. Captain D. yells "sit on potty, get candy!," runs to the potty, demands that I take off her diaper, sits and says "tinkle tinkle," and then runs to the cupboard and yells "candy!" It's first class parenting at it's best. At her 2 year check up I was explaining the candy method to my pediatrician and her eyes widened a bit. "Maybe use stickers instead?" she suggested in a way that made me think she'd be calling CPS shortly after I left.

Fast forward to yesterday. I was lamenting to the husband about the pediatrician/potty training story and said "I don't think one piece of candy every day is a big deal."
"Is that really all she has in a day?" he said.
"Of course!" I replied, offended. And then I started thinking.
There was the scone from Starbucks yesterday. There was the cookie from the grocery store. There was the tube of icing that I caught her squirting into her mouth yesterday morning.

Oops. My kid is a sugar freak. Hopefully they make dentures for 2 year olds.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tiger Mom Vs. Blossom

There have been several moms making headlines lately, and as I am full of opinions, I'm going to lay them out. First, I'm sure you've heard about the "Tiger Mom," or as I like to call her "The Self-Righteous Chinese Lady." Amy Chua wrote a book called Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which lays out several parenting philosophies that she subscribes to. Some of her household rules are as follows:
-Any grade lower than an A (including an A-)is unacceptable.
-Children must be performing at least 2 grade levels above in math.
-Children should never be praised in public.
She reminisces several lovely memories of raising her children. One of my personal favorites is when her daughter made her a birthday card and she replied "I reject this" on the grounds that the card was not good enough. Doesn't that make your eyes well up with tears just thinking about it?
My opinion? I'm really not sure what makes this chick think she's authorized to write a book about parenting. I mean, who is she other than some completely self-righteous Chinese American? Does she honestly think that anyone would read her book and think, "hmm, it sounds like this lady is a great mom! I would love for my children to base their entire self worth on their grades and secretly resent me, too!" And although Chua makes the valid point that the Chinese are smarter and we Americans owe them, like eleventy billion dollars, I would make the equally valid point that the Chinese have a pretty high suicide rate. Besides never ever wanting to read her book, I also never want to be her playdate friend. And that sucks for her because my kid finally stopped eating crayons. I think.

Anyway, on the other end of the spectrum, Mayim Bialik (aka Blossom)has been all around online lately preaching her attachment parenting propaganda. I guess I don't have anything against attachment parenting per say. I do some attachy type things (breastfeed mostly, cloth diaper, and wear the baby sometimes). What kind of gets to me is people who proclaim themselves to attachment parent-ers and wear it like a badge of honor, like high school football players who wear their letterman jackets all the time. But back to Blossom. In this article, while extolling the virtues of elimination communication, bed sharing, and baby wearing, she throws this out there:
We practice gentle discipline. That means we don’t hit our children or punish them. We have a lot of boundaries and expectations of our children, and we are by no means permissive parents. We do not use timeouts, we do not bargain (“If you clean your room, I’ll give you a cookie”) and we do not force manners on our children (“Say thank you!” and “Say please!” have never escaped my lips). Our children are not perfect, nor are they robots. They are both even-tempered children by nature, but they have plenty of opportunity to “act out” and “flip out” and “make mama wonder why she ever thought she was qualified to be a parent.” We have had great success with gentle discipline and our children are, by all accounts, full of empathy, aware of boundaries, and pleasant to take to public places.
Ok, well that's all well and good. But what do you do? Like, say, just off the top my head here, your kid eats Play Doh. No punishment, no timeouts, no forced apologies...leaves what exactly? I think that's what bugs me about Ol' Blossom. Say vague, politically correct statements about parenting that make no actual sense and no one questions it because you're a celebrity.
I am a bit irritated by all the so-called parenting experts and the clueless moms who blindly follow them. Not that I blame the moms. I did everything in Happiest Baby on The Block because I was just so clueless and wanted someone who knew what they were doing to tell me what to do!I think for this baby, I'll try to remember that every kid is different, and even the experts really don't have a clue.