Parenting

Last week, The Fellows and I went to see Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella at the 5th Avenue Theater. This was her first big musical and I was a little concerned. At first, she was a little luke-warm about the whole thing.

She promptly informed me that she didn’t want to go if she had to miss practice. Always dedicated, she is. Well, I promptly informed her that I had purchased the tickets and we were going, but that we could compromise and go to the first half of practice and leave straight for the show.

Besides the gymnastics factor, we had several more stacked against us. First, she is not a princess kind of girl and Cinderella is her least favorite of the princesses. Also, she had seen a children’s performance of another play and had enjoyed it but wasn’t really all that impressed. I don’t think she really had any concept of what a major theater production was all about.

As the day arrived, she seemed to be a little more enthusiastic. It probably didn’t hurt that she had accomplished two major feats at the gym that week and was putting a little less pressure on herself for the upcoming first meet ever.

She also found out that several of her teammates had gone to the show as well and they had liked it. A little friend endorsement certainly never hurts.

So, we went to dinner and over to the show. The lobby was overflowing with little girls in princess dresses and tiaras. Meanwhile, The Fellows is dressed very cutely in a cotton dress and leggings over her leo. We did the best we could to clean up but a sweaty pony and chalk smudges were unavoidable. She still looked beautiful to me. I think she looks the most adorable right after gym; sweaty, red, and covered with chalk. Someone asked her where her tiara was, and she just looked at her blankly and said “HUH?”.

But, then the show started. I have to say, it wasn’t my favorite of the musicals I have seen lately, but watching her loving it so much was absolutely priceless. She got a little restless during the slow numbers and romantic parts, but she thought the stepsisters were hilarious and the fairy godmother’s pyrotechnics were awesome. There was a point when the entire stage was lit up like the fourth of July. Very cool.

The one thing I thought was really great about this show was the message. The story was updates, the cast multiethnic and the moral was very good. The focus was on taking responsibility for your dreams and doing the work and then anything is possible, even if everyone else says it is totally impossible.

Here is Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother rehearsing our mutually favorite number “Impossible”.

My absolute favorite part of the evening and my most recent flabbergastedly proud mama moment was the car ride home. Here is how it went…

The Fellows: Mama, are impossible dreams really possible?

Me: Well, yes, most of the time.

The Fellows: Then I want to be a princess when I grow up.

[At this point my jaw dropped and heart sank just a little. Great, taking her to see Cinderella had turned her]

Me: Wow, so what does being a princess mean to you?

The Fellows: [Thinks for several seconds and then answers] Being responsible for yourself and really really nice.

Me: [I think I may have made some strange sound at this point] I think that is a wonderful thing to want to be honey.

God, I love that kid. She makes me so proud every day.

This is my new favorite children’s book and I just needed to share it with you.

An important and inspiring message of living life more fully.

A must have addition to every child’s book collection.

I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine has.

The Pink Refrigerator by Tim Egan

Ok,  call me a total cheese dog and I really can’t believe I am admitting to the world that I listen to Taylor Swift — We all have our weaknesses :) —  but give me a break here, I’m pulling the sentimental mom card.

As a mom and someone who loves there mom dearly, this song makes me cry every time I hear it – every time.

Mom, I love you so much.

I have been a little absent for the last week or so, somewhat due to the fact that summer just boggles my mind.  I always wonder how we are going to fill the days and we strategize about how to best take advantage of the summer with trips and bbqs and house projects and then all of a sudden the summer is booked solid and half over.  It gets so busy…  How does that happen?

But the main reason for my absense has been the sickness that has run rampant through our household for the last week.  I got a really bad cold at the beginning of the week and then by tuesday Ian was throwing up.  As the week went on we both got sicker and sicker.  Mine was manageable under normal circumstances, but with him being almost scary sick, I never got the chance to rest and get better and by friday afternoon I was just in tears.  I was so damn tired I couldn’t think straight.  Thank god my mother arrived later that day and did a really impressive job of knowing exactly what would help me the most and make me feel better.  Thank-you Mom!

Ian has never  been this ill.  He is generally a really healthy kid.  I am pretty sure he got rotavirus, a very common childhood illness but it also could have been viral gastroenteritis (although none of the rest of us got sick so I doubt this).  It says that almost every child will get rotavirus by the time they are three and that in parts of the world it can be a significant cause of childhood death.  Scary and I can see if you didn’t have resources or access to decent healthcare that this could turn into something very significant for many children.

I remember Ada had this when she was about eight months old and both Karli and I got it as well.  I have also heard from several friends on their first kids that they have gotten it along with their kids recently.  Must be going around.  From what I read, you usually will not get it again or if you do it will be very mild.  When you do get it again it is often due to a new strain, which would make sense why we get it when we have kids as I am sure the strain has changed since we were kids.

So days of fever and puking and diarhea came and went and Ian aquired one nasty case of diaper rash.  Ooh, it was ugly.  We tried everything we had left over in the house and nothing was helping and he was experiencing a significant amount of discomfort.   Finally I remembered that I had heard someone at a baby shower recently talking about this amazing diaper cream you could get by asking the pharmacy.

Unfortunately I didn’t remember what it was called.  So I sent Karli to talk to the pharmacist who looked at him funny and said Uh a lot.  But finally she gave him a tub of cream called Calmoseptine.  It contains 20% zinc oxide, which is significantly higher than your average diaper cream.  It also contains menthol, calomine and lanolin among other things.

Well, let me tell you, it totally worked.  Within 24 hours the rash was really starting to look better and was all but gone in a couple of days.

I’m not sure that this was exactly what was recommended at the baby shower, but I know that I can now fully recommend it.

Mom Tip:  Calmoseptine Diaper Rash Ointment

for persistent, severe, and painful diaper rash

At our pharmacy we had to speak with the pharmacist to get this stuff, but it does appear that it is available at amazon so it may vary from place to place where you will find it.

A friend of mine was having problems transitioning her son off his bottle.  She had waited a little longer than recommended and he was very attached to it.  I think this is a very common situation for many of us. 

I shared with her a product I had found that helped me to transition Ian off the bottle and it seemed to work well for her so I thought I would share it with you as well.

Mom Tip — 9oz Nuby No Spill 3-Stage Bottle

This bottle has handles like a sippy cup and two types of nipples.  One regular bottle nipple and one soft no-spill sippy cup shaped nipple.

When you start your transition,  you can give him the regular bottle with the handles so he gets used to hold it himself (assuming you are starting at this stage).

Then you can change out to the sippy nipple and he will learn the different feel of that and how to drink effectively from a cup in a form factor that is still familiar to him.  

My friend and I both found that a little while of this and our boys were ready and quite willing to switch entirely to a cup.

One of the major things for Ian is that he really liked cuddling up with his milk and snuggling on my lap while he drank.  I highly encourage you to keep up whatever your bottle routine is when switching to a cup.

Ian still snuggles in for his warm before bed milk.   He is growing up so fast and is always so busy that I cherish this time with him.  I smell his head and it reminds me of when he was still a baby.  How quickly they grow up.

9oz Nuby No Spill 3-Stage Bottle

So Dr. Laura is on Larry King right now discussing her new book “In Praise of Stay at Home Moms”.  I have to say that I am a little confused about what to say about this.

I am more than slightly uncomfortable with the fact that Dr. Laura is the new spokesperson for stay at home moms.  Her traditional value system and outdated theories certainly don’t represent me as a stay at home mom.

But with that said, I am glad that someone is speaking to and about stay at home moms.  I have said before that I feel very fortunate to be in the position to stay at home with my kids and I do, but it was a choice that we made for our family because we felt that was what was best for our family.

This was a very significant sacrifice for us and  we struggled financially for a long time.  But with careful planning, stategic budgeting and a lot of self control, we have been able to not only survive, but thrive in our situation. Karli has worked so hard to advance his carreer so that we can build our life and provide for our kids.

And now that the kids are getting  a little older there is an opportunity for me to remake myself professionally as well.  I put my career on hold to stay at home and it is undeniable that I would have been very successful by now in that career.  But, that doesn’t mean that I can never work or build a new career for myself.  It just looks a little different now and for me that is the best thing that could have happened.  I feel like I am going to get my cake and eat it too –  a professional life that fits my lifestyle and the family life that we have chosen to build for ourselves.

Choosing to stay home has been the most rewarding and challenging thing I have ever done.  It isn’t easy and I am certainly not lazy or stupid.    I have heard that this is a common perception, but I have never experienced that.  I work very hard and give of myself on an emotional level that I think is hard to understand or relate to unless you do stay at home.  But I also reap the biggest rewards and I think my kids do as well.

But, I also don’t think it is productive to perpetuate the divide between stay at home and working moms.  We all work very hard to care for our children in the way that works best for our families.   My closest girl friends work outside the home and I have a great deal of respect for them and there choices just as they have respect for mine.

We often joke that we couldn’t imagine how hard it must be to do it the other way around and I think that says that we have made the right choices for us.  Moms should support and respect each other, no matter what our circumstances are.

On somewhat of a side note…

A while back my step sister in law (is that the way I say it?) posted the article below on facebook.  I felt this was a pretty good representation and until now forgot how much I wanted to share this with you all.  Now seems like an appropriate time.  Click on the image to make it big enough to read.

mom_articla_washpost

When Ada was younger, she had terrible cradle cap. Not your average cradle cap that most kids get, but persistent cradle cap that would not go away and lasted until I finally beat it when she was three.

I was especially panicky about this because I had the same thing when I was little and it took my mom until I was five to get rid of it. By that time, I was picking at it and pulling off the scabs. My scalp was so damaged that I still have bald spots where the cradle cap used to be. I was totally freaked out and determined not to let this happen to Ada, so I scoured the Internet for any ideas.

My pediatrician, although wonderful and I love her dearly, was really useless with this. She just kept saying to put olive oil on her head and then scrub as I washed it out. Well, this didn’t work worth a damn.

What finally worked for us was The Original Little Sprout – Moisturizing Baby Shampoo (4 oz).

This shampoo is especially made for gently getting rid of cradle cap. It comes in a 4 oz and 16 oz size. It is very concentrated and it only took one 4 oz. bottle to get rid of Ada’s cradle cap. You have to use very little, the size of a dime is plenty, especially for a small child. I would recommend starting with the small bottle and don’t be alarmed by it’s small size, just use a little bit.

When washing the hair, I recommend letting the shampoo sit on the head for a few minutes if you can. I know this can be difficult with small kids in the bath, but if you can manage it, letting it site for even just a minute will help.

This will take a little while to work, but I started seeing results quickly and within a month or so it was completely gone and has not even threatened to make a reappearance. And, the biggest thing for me was there was no scraping or scrubbing, which my daughter simply would not tolerate. It is a gentle and natural product  that I felt good about.

There are a couple minor downfalls. It is pretty spendy, but you will likely only need one bottle and I believe well worth the price tag. The other thing is that it isn’t tear free so be really careful around your child’s eyes. I find that putting a washcloth over her eyes worked well. She was old enough to hold the washcloth herself, which gave her a sense of control during an activity that she absolutely hated.

Another great product that I discovered for hair washing is the Lil Rinser Splashguard. Forms a seal on the forehead while still allowing the water to run over your child hair. Pretty slick.

This is part 1 of 1 in the series Mom Tips

There are many times when the little pieces of wisdom learned from other parents, friends, teachers, grandparents, coworkers or whomever come screaming to the rescue. These bits of information that lie in the back of our minds are very valuable and should be openly shared and cherished between parents. It is our job as parents to support each other and we have so much knowledge and experience that we may never share with each other, but definitely show.

A couple of weeks ago some dear friends of ours were visiting for dinner. As you do when visiting with other parents we were sharing our little worries and goings on with our kids. It just happened that I had also recently dealt with similar issues as my youngest is just a few months older than her youngest. I was able to share a couple of products and experiences that turned out to really work for her. These same products were passed onto me from other moms who had dealt with similar situations in their pasts.

I also have a few lines of wise words that were shared with me by teachers of classes I have taken that have shaped who I am as a parent. I find myself sharing these with others regularly.

This is how is goes in the world of parenting and these things have inspired me to start a series of articles called Mom Tips.  Although I will be sharing my mom tips, I would also love to hear yours.  You can share in this discussion by commenting on individual posts with ideas or questions about that particular topic. Or if you have a mom tip or would like to discuss a new topic, I would encourage you to contact me with your mom tip or question and If it is appropriate for my readers I will post it to the Mom Tips article series. Just use the contact me form and make sure to include your website URL so that if I use it I can give you proper credit.

I really look forward to sharing in an open dialog about products, tips and words of wisdom that make us all the fantastic parents that we are.

I am proud to announce my latest project.  Morningstarschool.com

morningstarschool.com

This wonderful little school is my daughter’s preschool and my son will start attending here in the fall as my daughter goes off to Kindergarten.  I am proud to be able to contribute to my children’s school by using my skills to help them create a whimsical yet professional website that helps them to grow their business and take away the headaches and expenses of maintaining a website.

This is a custom themed WordPress implementation used as a simple content management system using pages and custom navigation.  Although WordPress is usually used as a blog platform, as it is on the redesigned mom, it lent itself nicely to this application.

The director’s goal was to be able to easily update the content on her own site without having to worry about coming in contact with the structure of the site.  Wordpress enables her to update the text, images, downloadable documents, photo galleries and school closure information at the touch of a button in a “word-like” environment that she felt comfortable with.  I was even able to provide her with quick reference tutorials using draft posts that are available right on her administrator dashboard.

There are many content management systems available and I looked at drupal as well, because it is the other one I am familiar with, but for this simple site there just wasn’t the need for a more complicated and robust system like Drupal.  Wordpress in all it’s blogging glory was just what this little static site ordered.

For the last several weeks I have been on the verge of literally tearing my hair out.  My son, now 22 months, has been a total nightmare.  Cute as the dickens, but a total nightmare.  He wakes up in the morning grumpy and whines and complains and screams at me until it is time to go to bed.  For a while he wasn’t sleeping very well, waking poor Karli at the wee hours of the morning.  He just seems really discontent and driving me to my limit of patience.

Of course, when one is not themselves and needs extra attention the other puts it into high gear.  In this case, my daughter has become combative and argumentative and generally just pissed off at the world.

The two of them combined was threatening to push me straight over the edge.

This is all perfectly normal of course, but sometimes you can’t help but feel like the world is closing in around you and you are all alone in the world.  That you must be doing something wrong and that no one could possibly understand what you are going through.  

It’s also amazing how exactly what you need comes to you just when you need it.  This behavioral chaos that has invaded our home was coming to its peak the last couple of days and I started looking around and reaching out a little.  

The kind and commiserating words of friends, a forum thread I found yesterday and similar developmental information from various sources convinced me that I just needed to let it go and relax.  My goal for the rest of the day was to simply stay calm.

Of course, this didn’t mean that he wasn’t frustrated or getting into everything or being a general menace, but my attitude toward it started to change and he seemed calmer as well.   After his nap, he was running around pointing and saying the name of everything.  This is a huge step as he has been a little slow to expand his vocabulary past the basics.

Then this morning, he’s like a brand new kid.  Or really, just more like his old self with an expanded vocabulary.  I had a feeling that this was one of those ‘disequalibrium’ stages that happen before a huge development shift, but is it possible that like a switch his words kicked in and the never ending bad attitude is out?  Just like that?  I’m tentatively and realistically hopeful.

And just to remember all the joy they bring us, click on the first photo below for slide show.

Ian the PurpleElmo RocksRobotThe Ultimate Cheesy GrinFiremanFloor Sleeper from Under TableNot long now and he will be bigger than herTaking on the Monkey BarsHis obsession with shoes continuesSilly Daddy - Ada took thisAda and Karli - Feb 2009Ada and Mama - Feb 2009Sneaky