You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Parenting’ category.

One of my favorite mother’s day gifts


 

Mother’s day, Mother’s day….
 
 

Mother’s day was founded in 1914 by Anna Jarvis and by 1920, according to Wikipedia, she was already disappointed in its commercialism.  And I have to agree.  I feel like there is so much pressure on Mother’s day to get the right gift, send the right card, think of all the details, that is loses some of the meaning…to celebrate each families mother.
 
 

I think most moms agree, it doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t have to be fancy.  We just want someone else to think about it!  (but one mommy friend pointed out, if you have newborn twins or 2 kids under 2….it needs to be big and fancy!)
 

I took a little poll of my mommy friends and the resounding request for Mother’s Day???  No surprise here….alone time!  I mean, we all love those little rugrats that gave us the title of MOM in the first place, but we spend ALOT of time with them already.  A few quiet moments (or a few hours) to collect your thoughts and drink an entire coffee while it is still hot…priceless.
 

Here are the other things that made the top 10 list of MOST WANTED MOTHERS DAY GIFTS
 

1.  Sleep in until 10am (with no one else in the house)

2.  Vanilla Latte (or hazelnut!)

3. Handmade Card

4. Mani/Pedi  and a trashy magazine (alone!)

5. Engraved “mothers” necklace

6. Flowers (never a wrong time for flowers!!)

7.  A family picnic (that dad organizes and packs for, after mom gets to sleep in and drink her coffee)

8. Kids Artwork (check out some ideas here)

9. Favorite take-out dinner (no negotiations)

10. Framed Favorite Family Snap Shot
 
 

What is your most wanted mother’s day gift? Is it on this list??

My (soon-to-be) two chatter boxes!

 

This morning, Rylan and I were sitting on the couch before anyone else was awake and she was playing with my iPhone.  She pressed the button long enough to prompt Siri, the phone’s ‘personal assistant’ to ask; “how can I help you?” to which Rylan replied with a growl.

 

Siri contemplated, her little purple line spinning around and she said, “I didn’t understand Rrrr”

 

It made me laugh.  That, Siri sure is whitty!  But it also made me think about Rylan’s language and word count at 14 months.  Which is pretty small…and not only does Siri not understand her, but really no one else does either.

 

I admit, I was a little worried that Rylan wasn’t speaking too many words yet, especially since the baby we share care with has a whole slew of words!  But then I remembered that our baby friend is 17 months and I thought back to Brady and his big language surge right around the same time.

 

Babies all start to talk at different rates with a big explosion between 18-24 months.  Also, I learned with Brady that the “word count” also includes gestures and sounds that mean specific things.

 

Rylan’s first word was “Dada”- its fitting since they are both wrapped around each other’s fingers.  And she has a handful of variations on Dada…to only the trained ear of her mother.  She says “didi”…which indicates a dog is walking towards us.  And she says the cutest version of thank you – “Dee doo”.  When ever you hand her something, she is so polite for 14 months!  I’ve heard her say “Agua”, thanks to her Spanish speaking nanny and “mama” has slipped out a few times.

 

One of the questions the Pediatrician asks at the 15-month well baby check up, is how many words the baby is using.  I remember panicking at 14 months with Brady that he only had 1, and by his actually check up, he had 6 words, 4 gestures and could identify a handful of body parts.

 

So just because I am the only one who can understand her now…I know she’ll be bossing Siri around in no time.

 

 

 

 

Glitter Glue Nails Instead of TV

This week is National Turn Off Your TV Week…or maybe it is next week. (A few different sources say different dates.) I posted on Facebook to see who was “in” for the challenge.
Fellow parents wondered if it meant all screen time; lapsers, iPods, youtube?
Was it just for kids or did it mean US too…I mean, who really can go without SMASH for a whole week??
I had long been thinking that Brady’s TV time had been creeping up over the last few months and I had been wanting to slim it back down.   So, I took this suggestion as a chance to re-examine how I use TV with my preschooler and was their some room for improvement.
This is not the first time I have written about TV and my kids.
And I have tried to cut his TV viewing back before too.
What I realized this time, is TV viewing is just like our health in other ways. We can have normally good eating or exercising habits, but then life sneaks up on you and all of a sudden you realize you are eating movie thither sized boxes of Junior Mints on a regular basis and skipping your morning workout to do laundry (or lets face it, sleep in).
I think every healthy habit needs a reset.  So I decide to take this week to reset our TV viewing.
So did I keep the TV off all day yesterday, day 1 of Turn Of Your TV Week??.
No.
Did he watch 20 minutes in the morning while he woke up with his milk, instead of leaving the TV on all morning?
Yes.
Did he protest when I said it was time to turn it off?
Yes.
Did we get out playdoh and art supplies instead and did he entertain himself for at least 45 minutes while I got his sister down for a nap and did a little work?
Yes.
Did he get one time-out for hitting me after I denied his request later that morning to turn the TV back on?
Um…yes.
But we both recovered and we spent the rest of the day;

  • Building a ‘house’ out of boxes in the recycle bin (which he did at the table next to me while I worked)
  • Painting his toe nails with glitter glue
  • Playing Go Fish
  • Had a picnic lunch in the living room
  • He pretended to be a garbage man while collecting every scrap of garbage all over the house (score!)
  • Went to the library
  • Went to the grocery store
  • Had a rousing game of see how I can make my sister laugh while trying to ride in her stroller with her.

At the library, we checked out some books on CD. When it came time for quite time, he didn’t even ask to watch a cartoon first (as is his normal routine). He just went to his room to listen to his new cd. And when I went to check on him about 20 minutes later….asleep.
We’ll keep this up the rest of the week.  My husband is out of town next week and there is NO WAY I am going TV-free then without a co-parent to carry the load.
But I think both Brady and I realized we can survive with a lot less TV.

Now…my next challenge is getting the adults in the house to give up smart phones for a weekend. I’m not sure I could do it? Could You?

AH…nothin’ like a sleeping baby!  We have had a bit of a nap boycott in our house.  At 14 months, I know she is getting close to dropping her two nap a day routine, but I thought it was a bit too soon.  Most experts agree that between 15-18 months is a normal time frame to drop that second nap, and frankly I wasn’t ready to give it up yet!  So we pushed on through, trying to adjust her morning nap time a bit later and still convince her to take an afternoon nap.

We had about two weeks of her protesting at least one nap. Some days she’s refuse to go down in the morning, but still take a good afternoon nap, other days she’d take a long morning nap and protest the afternoon rest.  And on the darkest of days…she’d boycott BOTH naps…ARGH!!!!

But I persisted and just put her down twice a day, even if she just fussed in her crib for 45 minutes.   My husband managed to get her down twice on Saturday (I think sometimes a change in scenery helps) and she has taken two naps for me yesterday and today.

She may still be close to dropping that nap for good…and in some ways that will be fun too!  But right now, I am going to stretch out the two naps a day for as long as I can!!

What age did your baby drop the second nap??  Did you push it or just let it go?

If I have learned anything while being a parent, it is that things usually don’t go as planned.  And for a planner by nature, this has proved to be challenging for me.  Right now, one child is home from school sick and the other is in her crib boycotting her nap.  This was not how I had planned this day to go! But I have been working really hard to embrace the chaos and even enjoy it!

I had already thrown in the towel on this week, that nothing was going to “get done.”  I reminded my self that my children are the most important thing in my life and making sure they are happy and healthy is my main goal every day.  That means that everything else I have planned on any given day, just might not get done.

Then, while flipping through my favorite blogs, I saw this post on Babble about Parenting Mission Statements.  And I decided a mission statement was exactly what I needed to put this crazy days (which is really every day, right??) into perspective.
So here is mine;

 

To say “I love you” to my children every day.  To raise them to be kind, accepting, contribution members of our community and to always lead by example.  To learn to embrace the small moments and not sweat the small stuff all at the same time.

So, that is what I am going to do today, and tomorrow and the day after that.  And I hope somewhere in there I can go grocery shopping, get some work done and maybe clean up the cheerio explosion.  But only after I build a block tower.

What is your Parenting Mission Statement?

Candy-Free Easter Baskets. Good mom? Mean mom?

I’ve decided not to put any candy in my kids Easter baskets this year.

I am not against candy.  I let my kids have candy and treats pretty much on a daily basis (well, not the 1 year old…she still thinks yogurt melts are a treat).  But a few recent incidents have made me rethink the need for candy in their baskets

  1. Brady has a cavity– I am beside myself with parenting remorse over this poor little guy who now has to be sedated to have a cavity filled.  The dentist has said that some kids have groovy teeth and the ‘healthy’ All Natural Annie’s Gummy Bunnies we have been giving him are probably the culprit, despite teeth brushing.
  2. The need for treats is causing melt downs-  I am noticing more and more that he is not content to have 3 jelly beans or 1 Hersey’s kiss.  He is constantly pleading for ‘just one more’.   I feel the treats are becoming not a ‘treat’ but a norm.
  3. Sugar is Addictive– More and more research is showing the sugar triggers the same pleasure centers in the brain as drugs.  My husband and I both have a strong sweet tooth and we have just gone through a major detox ourselves.  We feel better and have lost weight because of it. It is so easy to become completely dependant on it, and I don’t want to set my kids up for this.
  4. We often use it as a bribe, not a reward “If you get dressed, you can have a treat” or “when you get ready to go, you can have a treat in the car”
  5. They still will get plenty of Easter Candy Between the community Easter Egg hunt and the easter gifts that came from both sets of grandparents, Brady is not going completely candy deprived.

I had already decided to severely limit the candy when I was out shopping for basket fillers.  Because of the cavity, I am trying to stay away from the sticky, gummy treats and go more with chocolate that is easier to brush away.  But as I started to fill the baskets…there were so many great fun things, that I put the few candy items I had purchased back in the bag and went with a completely candy free basket.

So here is what I put in each basket:


Brady:

  1. Bubbles
  2. Spider Man sunglasses (for our beach trip this summer)
  3. Spider Man night light (do you see his current favorite super hero)
  4. New Crayons
  5. Pool dive toys
  6. A painting craft project
  7. Play dough (I get the party favor bag, they are small)
  8. Plastic eggs filled with quarters for his piggy bank obsession
  9. Phinnes and Ferb Pez dispenser (I put the actual pez candy away in the cupboard.  He like playing with the dispensers too, and he can have the candy later)

Rylan:

  1. Bubbles
  2. A sun hat (also for our beach trip)
  3. Small sand toys
  4. Playdough
  5. Sidewalk chalk (I hope she doesn’t eat it)
  6. A stuffed bunny
  7. A light up toy (to match one Brady already has and wont let her touch)
  8. Empty plastic eggs (she’s one, she just like opening them anyway!)

We are going to color hard boiled eggs Friday and I think Easter morning they will be so excited to find eggs and their baskets hidden in the back yard, I don’t even think they will notice what is missing!

What do you think?  Candy free or am I being a scrooge?  What the treat policy in your house?

While playing the his favorite game on my phone the other day, Brady figured out how to switch over to the camera.  Later, I checked out his shots.  I LOVE them.  The neat thing, when he and I were looking at them later, he told me he was taking very specific shots on purpose, of Violet’s nose, of her eye.  Perhaps a photographer on our hands!

self portrait

There is something else about that I learned about these pictures and this post.  I shouldn’t say learned, because its something we all know.  Something I was reminded of.  To slow down, to take time to enjoy the little things, the little ones in your life.  To really get on their level and see the work through their eyes. Brady probably took 50 pictures in this ‘series’  and then he and I sat and looked at them all.  He told me about them, what he saw, what he was trying to do…it was amazing.

Things have been busy around our house lately, lots going on.  Like everyone’s house all the time right?!?!  I haven’t posted as much as I have wanted to over the last few weeks and I haven’t done some of the other projects on my never ending list.  AND I had a classic Megan melt down feeling overwhelmed and questioning how are we going to ‘get to it all’.

I still don’t know.

But I can stop to appreciate Violet the talking dog’s nose, or eye or most importantly the little eye behind that lens.

What will you do today to appreciate the little things (that are really the big things) in your life??

(and any tips for getting it all done would be appreciated too!!!)

This post marks the 100th article I have shared with you, the Bump Life community.  And the fact that this also marks my 9 months in the blogging world, somehow also seems very fitting.

To write this post, I went back to the beginning and re-read my very first post.  It is still one of my favorites and still brought a little tear to my eye to remember where I was 9 months ago, how far I’ve come, and how I am still in the same place in so many ways.  In fact, I am quite literally sitting in the same coffee shop I sat in to write that first post and I still question my parenting decisions on a daily, if not hourly, basis.

I don’t think I am the only one who hopes they are making good decisions when it comes to raising her children.

In another early post I talked about parenting being this weird, isolating club.   There may be millions of women in this club with us, but at times, we feel so alone, like we are the only person who has ever struggled with whatever we are struggling with at the moment.

As parents and as moms specifically, it is so easy to feel judged by others for the choices you make as a parent.  And if judgment from the outside wasn’t hard enough, usually the toughest critic of our parenting decisions is ourselves.  Mother guilt is an ugly monster that rears its head, even when you least expect it.

But through writing these posts, I hope to provide education without judgment.

Bump Life, for me, has been about talking about the hard parts of parenting and sharing successes .  It has been about discussing topics and weighing out choices.  But most of all, I hope bump life has been about realizing there are many right choices out there and the choice you make for you and your family is the best possible decision.

Breastfeeding? Potty training?  Co-sleeping?  YOU are doing it right.  Having a hard time with something??  Someone else is having the EXACT same problem.

A dear friend of mine wrote a beautiful essay about finally feeling connected to her newborn daughter after three and a half weeks of life.  They struggled with breast-feeding and when she found out her daughter was not getting enough milk and was losing weight she said;

“Discovering this on day four of her life was a tremendous blow for me. I felt guilt, shame, and sadness, creating a further disconnect as I felt I had failed in my role of sustaining her.”

I wanted to reach through the computer and give her a big hug and tell her she is a wonderful mother.  I felt a bit of guilt as a fellow mother and a member of this community for not helping her more to see that she was not failing.

This is what I am here to tell you.

YOU ARE NOT FAILING

So what’s next??

What is the next parenting hurdle we will have to jump over?  I have no clue., but we’ll talk about it here.

What is next for me and for Bump Life?  Well, if these first 9 months have been Bump Life’s “pregnancy”, than I am SO excited for the next phase- “birth”

Bringing this little thing out into the world and watching it grow and change and become its own little being.

I have so much planned for this little one.  From a new design and layout, to lots more posts, more videos and more guest experts.  And new additions like downloads, webinars and newsletters.

Most of all, for my 100th post, I want to thank you.  Thank you for being MY community, for being my sounding board, for being the voice that tells me and tells each other; “we are all in this together”

In those early days of parenting two kids, I found I had lost my groove a bit.  Starting Bump Life has helped me find my mommy groove and I hope it has helped you find yours.

here’s too the next 100 posts….

I am off to tour another preschool…so I leave you in the incredibly capable hands of todays guest blogger, Jessica Edelen.   Jessica’s article on how to pick a preschool is spot on.  The number one thing I took away from her article is an important parenting lesson for us all to learn – trust your gut.  It is so easy to get caught up in the ‘shoulds’ and the ‘have toe’ and the ‘maybes’, but at the end of the day, across many parenting topics, the most important thing is your parenting intuition. So, I am off to trust my gut about this next school…enjoy!!

**************************************************************************

How to Pick a Preschool
By Jessica Edelen
Now, I want to make clear right out of the gate that this is not a researched and tested methodology on choosing a preschool. There are plenty of books out there that will give you that. This is just *my* opinion based on *my* experience. But you’ll begin to see (hopefully, if I’ve written this article well) that *your* gut feeling and intuition are really what matters in this arena. So here we go.
You could say I was a bit overwhelmed when I had my first child. There were the usual joys of newborn-hood: sleepless nights, mysterious ailments and rashes, learning to swaddle, forgetting what a moment to yourself feels like…And then we moved from the city to the suburbs. And he wouldn’t take naps, and he got an ear infection, and I quit my job, and I joined a Mothers’ Club, and he smiled for the first time… And slowly, but surely, we started to get the hang of things. And then: SCREECH. What?! I’m supposed to have him enrolled in preschool by this point? He’s 9 months old!
Luckily or unluckily (because believe me you can look at it either way), my mom is a preschool teacher. So, on her kind words of wisdom, I put my child on the list at two preschools in the area. I had not been to either one. I did some research, if you can call research seeing the word Montessori in front of one (my mom is a Montessori teacher), and knowing that a friend liked the other one. Now, if you’re familiar with the suburban environment of any major metropolis, you probably know that being on two preschool lists is NOT a lot. Some of my fellow mom friends were on seven. I kid you not. That’s a lot of applications to fill out, not to mention the $50-$200 deposits!
After I officially had his name on the lists, I sort of forgot about preschool for a while. I had a lot going on. Then, one Spring morning, I got the call: It was time for his interview at school #1. “Interview”??? I called my mom. She said, “Have you even seen any of these places?”  “Um, no,” I replied. So with my mom in tow, we toured all two of the schools.
Here’s my summary of each:
School #1: Lots of “hardscape.” This was my mother’s assessment and I remember it to this very day as it was so accurate. But before I get to that, I want to make clear that this was a place where the children were happy. They looked occupied, stimulated, and healthy. And the classrooms were sweet, with bright raincoats hanging on wooden pegs, puzzles and dress up clothes strewn about, and little beds for those who napped. It was also very different than the preschool image I had in my head. Located in the downtown district of a neighboring town, there wasn’t much grass to speak of and the playground was on a patch of black asphalt shared with the parking lot. Now, you should know that I had lived in a big city for eight years; I was not unfamiliar with urban environments. But this wasn’t the city…it was the suburbs.
So I left with a good feeling about the children and teachers, but less so about the campus and what I could only describe as a bit of a distance between me and it. I didn’t feel warm and fuzzy. I didn’t necessarily “see” my little guy there.
School #2: The first thing I noticed upon visiting school #2 was the sense of calm in the classroom. I couldn’t believe there could be 30 three- and four-year-olds in the room and yet, hardly any noise. The children were “working” on their jobs (Montessori lingo), happily; sometimes together, sometimes alone. And the materials were clean, engaging and age-appropriate. I loved the sense of warmth during circle time, and believe me, the fact that the school is housed in an old Tudor-style home didn’t go unnoticed.
Now, here’s the thing: You might think I was biased toward school #2 because it was Montessori-based. But really, I almost wanted to NOT like it due to the fact that it was more expensive, philosophically narrow-focused, and of course, my mother’s first pick.
But in the end, my heart tugged when I saw the little “wash the baby” job at school #2 — something I just knew my son would love. And I could envision his name on a bright red cubby; I could almost see what photo we’d send in to stick on the front. It resonated with me, this Montessori school in a location not quite soooo close to home. And though school #1 was absolutely wonderful, it wasn’t for us, for OUR family. I know many children who truly thrive there, and I’m so happy they do. But we chose #2 and are still there today — three children later.
So please do your due diligence when choosing a preschool. Get on lists, go on tours, talk to your friends, go SEE the campuses. But in end, go with your heart. Because as your mother probably told you (and she’s right, darn it!), when you do that, you can never go wrong.

Sleeping like a baby? What about mom?

For the last three and a half years its seems than large portions of my day (and night) are filled with 3 topics in regards to my children;

1)   Sleeping

2)   Eating

3)   Pooping

You know, questions like; are they eating enough? Is breastfeeding working? What time are they going to nap?  How long will they sleep?  Did they eat their veggies?  Are they eating too much sugar?  Was that a normal poopy diaper?  When should we potty train?  How should we potty train?  Should we sleep train?  And on and on and on….

And at some point or another I have or will write a blog post on each of these topics…over and over again.

Today, we are talking about sleeping…or lack there of.

I am very lucky to have 2 pretty amazing sleepers.  With Brady, we followed a ‘sleep training’ plan at around 4 months and he got the hang of it in about 4 nights and basically was sleeping though the night at that point.  Rylan, was even easier, she never really even needed to be sleep trained, she just sort of figured it out on her own.

Now before you throw something at your computer screen or ‘unlike’ my blog, let me tell you that I was woken up no less than SEVEN times last night.

My main point of this post is to public admit that even if your kids are so-called great sleepers…as a parent, I don’t think I will ever get a full night sleep. ever. again.

Here was our night last night:

10:15– finally put down my book and turned off the light, closed eyes

10:35– Brady crying- he’s been having some sort of nightmares, which are apparently common at this age.  I went in and he had turned him self sideways in bed and was moaning “he didn’t like that.”  I got him repositions, recovered, gave him his ‘lovies’ and he was back to sleep

10:48– More crying- This time dad went to check on him to find he’d kicked off all his covers.  Recovered, and everyone was back to bed

11:15-Hysterical crying-This time he was sobbing that he ‘couldn’t find Uncle Adam,’  But he was hysterical and couldn’t be consoled.  We tried a trip to the potty, we tried back rubs, we tried holding him, we tried not holding him (he was kicking a flailing quite a bit).  Finally after 45 minutes, a sippy cup of milk, looking at photos on dad’s phone, he settled down and went back to sleep.

2:57-Noises from the baby’s room- listen for a few minutes to see if they escalate, they don’t, so I turn the monitor down and roll over.

4:28-Dog snoring.  And if you know anything about Boston Terriers, you know that she was probably keeping the neighbors awake with that mac truck snore.

5:33– EARTHQUAKE!!  I’m not even kidding…we had a freaking earthquake at 5:33am.  Yeah, yeah, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and we get these little (4.0) earthquakes.  But this might have been the first one I have felt since having two kids and the in the middle of the night, I just laid there waiting for the big one to hit and planning how I would get to both of my kids.

6:00– Husband gets up to go walk the dog

6:25– The baby is up for the morning and my day has begun.

Now this was a particularly crazy night, but it seems like every night there is something.  A 3 year old needing help getting to the potty, a baby having a fluke night and needing 2 hours of rocking to get back to sleep, a dog defending the backyard from some unseen threat with non-stop barking, the neighbors returning from a night out a little too loudly, a random text message beep,  a restless mind turning all the next days to-dos,  a clock ticking way louder than I have ever noticed during the day…

So, that elusive “sleeping through the night” that parents are always striving for??  Nobody told me getting the kids to sleep through the night was WAY easier than getting mom to.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 26 other followers

Follow Me On

About Bump Life

Bump Life is a place to support moms and families across all aspects of our lives. A place for tips, expert advice, parenting resources and entertainment. A great place to come for information, support or just a break from our crazy lives. From fitness to finance, from diaper bags to diaper duty, for everything bump, babies and beyond, you'll find it all here at BUMP Life!