Parenting Pet Peeves

You know I have something really good to talk about when I come out of my blog hibernation {unintentional} and ACTUALLY WRITE SOMETHING. But yesterday’s events were too much for me NOT to share. My fellow bloggers can identify with those times when something happens to you or around you and the first thing you think {after, “Oh-my-lanta, did that really just happen?”} is “I’m SO going to blog about this”.

I’ve decided to make this a sort of staple here at Life in these times… because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 19 months of being a parent, it’s that I will never be short of moments where I question parenting choices… whether they are someone else’s or my own. So I would like to officially welcome you to the first installment of Parental Pet Peeves, or P-Cubed.

But before I jump up on my soap box and into my rant, let me just say this… In the grand scheme of things I’m still a fairly “new” parent so I realize my understanding of discipline and what it takes to raise a well-rounded, respectful, intelligent, and happy child is much smaller that that of someone whose kids have kids of their own. We are just breaking the surface on the terrible twos with the Bean and learning as much about ourselves as she is about the world each and every day. I don’t think I’m the best parent in the world or that my methods are any better than the next mom, whether new or experienced, and I make a conscious effort to remind myself that every family and child are different before I turn into judgy judgy Lucille Bluth.

But some things are just TOO RIDICULOUS to not call out. Like the events that transpired yesterday morning during mass.

A woman walked in with her two children {a boy, 5-6 years old and a girl, 8 or 9} about 35 minutes after mass had already started. The hubs and I like to sit in the balcony during mass, because we have friends that often sit there and the music from the organ is far too beautiful to enjoy anywhere else, despite the fact that it seems to be where a lot of people go when they arrive late or have unruly children. Needless to say we’ve learned to enjoy the service with a few distractions present. You know how easy it is to get distracted by latecomers no matter what the event but generally once they take their seats you’re able to regain focus. Not so neighbor Joe. This family could not be ignored. More specifically the little boy. I’ll call him Sherman. They sat in the pew in front of us and it was evident from the start that Sherman either had not been taught the traditions of a church service {when to kneel, stand, sit, etc} or simply had no intention of following along. At first he was like any other young child in church, playing with the books and envelopes on the back of the pew in front of him and trying to figure out whether he wanted to sit next to his mom or sister. The usual. We’ve all seen it. No big deal. But eventually most mothers usually get them to pick a seat and settle into the service. Well, that didn’t happen.

Once Sherman lost interest in the goodies on the back of the pew he noticed that he could slip his body down in the space between the floor and the pew in front of him. AWESOME! Let the adventure begin!!! Again he’s not the first kid to notice this little bit of balcony magic and immediately drop down to the next level, but it’s usually not long before mom or dad has snatched him or her back up to the appropriate level. Yeah, that didn’t happen either. This mama looked over at her son, saw that 75% of his body was UNDERNEATH the pew in front of them, reached over and touched his arm, {as if to say, “Oh no honey, that’s probably not the best idea”} and returned to her previous position letting him continue on his little adventure.

Ok. A bit more distracting. But not a big deal, focus on the service.

Next, Sherman decided that crawling down on the floor in front of him wasn’t enough, his unexpected Hobbit journey then led him to crawl, on his back, underneath the pew that his family was sitting on. He crawled under his sister, {who was the epitome of a well-behaved child} under his mother, and popped his head out on the other side. Mom didn’t seem all that shocked when she saw Sherman RISE from the depths beneath her and again, did nothing to stop the action. In fact, as Sherman brought himself to his feet, his mother leaned back and pressed against her daughter’s shoulders so she’d do the same, so that Sherman could pass in front of them and do it all over again.

Mama’s new name is The Enabler.

So, Sherman is having a grand old time, his sister is sitting like an angel, and The Enabler is letting it all happen without a second thought. Did I mention she still had her sunglasses on? It seems important to note. At this point in the service I am only able to catch a few sentences here and there. Not the way I like to spend my time at mass.

Then it’s as if Sherman realizes the freedom and approval that The Enabler has given him and pulls out all the stops. In another trip below the pew, he decides that Z and I must find his adventure as awesome as he does because he scoots himself over so he is now looking up at us from the ground. Looking up, from below our feet, while we are standing, when I’m wearing a dress, with the most obnoxious grin imaginable plastered across his face. Is anyone else feeling uncomfortable?

I immediately scoot back and politely tuck my dress between my legs so the worlds smallest creeper doesn’t see up my skirt. I can’t say with 100% certainty that it was his goal to see up my skirt, it mostly seemed like was just so unbelievably awesome that he could see us from his little tunnel, but I was still really uncomfortable. And pissed. Yes, I was pissed in church. I was pissed that this was happening two inches away from The Enabler, and it wasn’t like she didn’t know what Sherman was doing, she kept looking over to see where he was and could see his feet pointing upward on the floor. At one point she saw me shaking my head at him and she grabbed his foot to pull him back to standing. I thought {with fingers crossed} that we were finally in the clear and could enjoy the rest of the service.

As we knelt in preparation for communion I watched Sherman slip back under the pew. Oh boy. A few seconds later he was not only looking back up at us, but was grabbing Z’s knee. Thank the sweet lord he didn’t grab mine because he would have gotten his hand smacked so fast he wouldn’t have known what hit him. No pun intended.
Z, trying to be inconspicuous and not add any more disruption to the service, {I should note that there were a number of other families all around us who were also watching this mess unfold.} tried to shake Sherman off his knees and joined me in giving him the evil eye while shaking our heads. The Enabler noticed all of our movement and looked back at us like “what’s your problem?”. We both gestured down at Sherman and she grabbed him back out from underneath us. once again Thankfully it was time for us to get up and receive communion after which we happily slid down the pew, away from Sherman the future peeping Tom.

Once the service was over we grabbed the Bean from the nursery, walked outside, and looked at each other with the exact same “did that seriously just happen?” expression. We were dumbfounded that 1. Sherman hadn’t been taught what kind of behavior is appropriate in public, let alone at church, and 2. that The Enabler wasn’t doing anything to change his behavior. We both commented that if we had acted the way Sherman did when we were kids our parents would have taken us out of whatever public place we were in and tanned our hides. I mean seriously, no discipline whatsoever? Not even the slightest bit of correction to blatantly inappropriate behavior? It wasn’t as if she was having a hard time wrangling both children, she and her daughter were both sitting politely still as if nothing was even happening while creepy mc creepster tormented the pews. I’m not saying cause a scene in the middle of church, as if anything the mother could have done would have been more distracting than what we were already enduring, but there is NOTHING wrong with taking your child out of the room to correct the behavior to {hopefully} teach them what is appropriate. I’m mystified every time I think about it. And oddly enough, we were still talking about it during our after-church lunch trip to Panera and the woman at the table next to us leaned over and said, “Excuse me, but I just had to compliment you on how well behaved your daughter is. It’s so nice to see her sitting calmly at the table with you instead of running around the restaurant causing a mess.” I will admit she definitely stroked our egos. Especially when she went on to tell us she had hope in humanity knowing there are folks out there who can raise well-behaved children. More ego stroking. Then she gave us permission to have another kid. Just plain creepy.

So. There you have it. The first {of many} Parenting Pet Peeves. Parents who don’t discipline their children. After all discipline, whether it’s with time out, a spanking, or a more peaceful “chit chat”, is one of the ways we teach our children. We teach our children the difference between right and wrong. We teach our children how other people deserve to be treated.

Thoughts? Discussion? Similar experiences? Share your own parenting pet peeve!

Until next time…

Link UP Week: Raising Imperfection

link up week

The 2nd link up of the week is brought to you by the dynamic duo at Raising Reagan and Violet Imperfection. Their weekly link up invites you to share… just about anything! Funny stories, parenting successes, parenting fails {way funnier}, DIY projects, recipes, whatever you’re in the mood to share! They choose their favorite link each week and feature them on their Featured Friday post! Sounds like fun, eh? Let’s begin.

Since I have plenty of parenting FAIL stories to share, and they openly invite them, I figured it’s about time I share one.
This is one of my more recent proud parenting moments. One for the baby books. One of those times where you just have to stop and think, “Well, at least she’s still alive”.

My little one is almost 14 months old {that’s 1 year and 2 months for those of you who hate when parents refer to their toddler’s age in ‘months’} and is constantly on the move. She’s a skinny minny monkey because she’s burning like a million calories a day and the chance that I’ll lose track of her somewhere in our house at least once a day is great. I’d say 100%. It’s not that my house isn’t safe – we have baby-proofed cabinets, put gates on the stairs, and are pretty careful about shutting doors to the rooms we don’t want her in, but she is constantly sneaking around like a little creeper. And lets face it, we’re human, and I have mom brain, so mistakes will me made when it comes to keeping her OUT of the things she’s not supposed to be IN.

One such mistake occurred just a few weeks ago when I was neck deep in laundry. Keelin was roamed around upstairs, pulling all the books off the bookshelf, attacking the dogs during their morning sunbathing session, and talking to herself in the mirror in the guest room. The usual. I’m generally pretty good at remembering to close the door to the guest bathroom when I know I’ll lose sight of miss into-everything, but this particular day, mom brain set in and I forgot. Actually, mom brain was in FULL FORCE because not only did I forget to shut the door, but I forgot to put the toilet seat down after rinsing off her latest diaper.

Pause – this is not a frightening story about her falling in the toilet so don’t call social services on me just yet.
You should also know that my kid is a total weirdo and has some strange fascination with the toilet. She loves to drum on the toilet lid, which I admit is equal parts cute, comical, and totally gross. Don’t worry, I keep things extra clean to counteract her weirdness. So what do you think happens when a kid who likes to drum on the toilet lid stumbles upon a toilet with the lid up? Ponder that for a minute while I continue with my parenting fail tale.

Like I said, I was doing my wifely/motherly duties and kicking some laundry butt when I noticed it had been about a minute since I heard Keelin blabbering to herself or caught a glimpse of her dashing across the hallway. So I turned on my spidey sense hearing and tried to guess where she was while I finished folding the bathroom towels. What I heard was not her normal toilet lid drumming, but something similar. It was a much more prominent slap, as if her hands were wet. WET? TOILET DRUMMING? Oh crap.
She turned to look at me right as I stepped into the bathroom doorway, hands, toilet bowl, and FACE dripping with water.
Mom WIN.

So the answer to my previous question – What happens when a kid who likes to drum on the toilet lid stumbles upon a toilet with the lid up? She drums on the toilet SEAT, but not before dipping her hands in the toilet water, and sticking her hands in her mouth.

Gross.

So after having a quick laugh… because you have to when you’re a parent… I proceeded to wipe off the toilet, and my child. I then got some good use out of my pack of sani-wipes, just for good measure, and immediately called the hubs to tell him of the day’s events.
I’m the best mom ever.
At least she’s still alive.

PLEASE join me and Raising Imperfection by sharing a funny story… hopefully your own parenting fail so I cal feel less like a loser mom. K? Thanks.

Until next time…

Where did my baby go?

1 year is such a fun age.
I’m pretty sure I’ve thought that every 3 months since Keelin was born but seriously, 1 year is SUCH a fun age.

I find so much pleasure in watching Keelin entertain herself with books and toys and X-Box remotes. I was inspired to write this blog after spending about 10 minutes just stalking watching her “be” in the corner of the living room. As she explored her big basket of books {I feel like it should have its own name… B-cubed perhaps} I could see the wheels turning in that sweet {75th percentile} dome of hers. Leaning up against the giant stuffed elephant we got her as a birthday gift, sifting through dozens of books to find her favorites, I am in awe of how much she has grown in just a year.

I was in a little bit of denial when she turned a year because people start calling their kids “toddlers” instead of “babies” at that point. No way. She’s still a baby. She will obviously always be MY baby but still a baby-baby, right? There is no way my daughter has surpassed the title of ‘baby’. But no. She’s not just a baby. She’s a smart, silly, walking – sometimes running, cut up who loves to scrunch her face up and giggle for no reason, snuggle with all members of the family {two-legged and four-legged}, throw all of her stuffed animals out of her crib during each nap, bring me the same book to read to her at least 20 times in the span of an hour, remove her socks at every possible opportunity, toss her bibs into the trash can, press the button on her Veggie Tales “God Made You Special” book over and over again just so she can ‘dance’ to Junior Asparagus’ pitchy-tune, and eat dinner ONLY when she’s having the same things Z and I are having.

She’s definitely not “just” a baby any more. She’s my little girl. She’ll be a ‘big girl’ in no time. And then she’ll be a college grad, engaged to a sweet guy who asked her father for her hand in marriage, a new owner of a great dane puppy with an affinity for eating her shoes, planning to move across the country to start a new stage in her life. Woah.

Is it me or did this just get sappy? Oh well.
Perhaps it’s the start of a new year and the loss of a loved one that has me taking the time to really appreciate all that I’ve been blessed with in this moment.  I’m gonna run with it.

And just to keep things from being TOO sappy… here’s proof of one of the above mentioned habits my little girl enjoys…

caught in the act

Caught in the act compliments of my iPhone… the bibs on the floor were actually ones I’d just pulled OUT of the trash. She decided I was mistaken by removing them and needed to remedy the situation. Stinker. Please notice the sock that is only a few shuffles away from coming off.

Until next time… 

 

The Santa Struggle

Disclaimer… This post may or may not question the existence of a magical man in a red suit who shows up on Christmas eve and eats all your cookies. If your kids like to read over your shoulder… you may want to kick them out of the room.

There are some things that I just didn’t think about when we found out we were going to be parents. Obviously there was plenty of excitement and uncertainty, thoughts about finances, who he/she was going to look like, and how different our lives are going to be… that’s all to be expected. But the one thing that I didn’t really think about was what kind of a role Santa would play in my kids’ childhood. I know some moms-to-be think about these kinds of things but to be totally honest it never really crossed my mind until recently when I started seeing some of my mommy-friends posting photos on Facebook of their little one’s sitting on Santa’s lap for the first time.

This time last year the hubs and I obviously weren’t thinking about whether or not we were going to make it to see Santa… considering our main thoughts were something closer to “get OUT of my bellay!” But now that we celebrating our first Christmas as a family of 3, we’ve got to ask ourselves if we’re going to ‘play along’ with the mystery of Santa Claus or live the next years of our lives braced for the phone calls and hate emails from parents of classmates who “heard from the Pierce child” that Santa isn’t real. Eeep!

First we looked at how much of a roll Santa played in our own childhoods.

I have an utterly terrible memory {seriously I think sometime between high school and 2012 I must have run into an MIB who totally flashy-thinged me because my childhood recollection is toast} but I do recall being really excited when ‘Santa’ brought me that hot pink Barbie camper with “working” grill and  fold out cabana. It was only later that I learned my mother spend hours putting that piece of crap together while Santa was nowhere to be found. What’s up with that Claus? Anyway. My brother and I did the sit on Santa’s lap thing a few times… definitely not every year. And I don’t even really remember the time when I ‘learned’ that Santa wasn’t real… I don’t know if it was something I learned or just realized. I think my parents had fun with it and let us enjoy the magic of it all but they were always very clear on the real meaning of Christmas, both in the biblical sense and in terms of the holiday NOT being about what presence we got. So if I can’t say that Santa’s ‘existence’ really had that great of an effect on my life, should it be that important that my kids believe in him at all? Ponder, ponder, ponder.

As for Z’s upbringing, his parents were very upfront with he and his brother about Santa not being real. No shenanigans in that family {and coming from two mimes, that says a lot!}. They didn’t want either of them expecting that some fat man in a velour suit was going to get them exactly what they wanted for Christmas and, much like my parents, really strived to make sure they understood the real reason to celebrate – the birth of Christ. They did make sure to tell both of them not to go off and spoil it for the other kids who did believe… which Z ignored on a number of occasions. Yeah, he was THAT KID.

So… what does a Christian {and Catholic to boot} family, who grew up with slightly different Santa experiences, who want to make sure they maintain the true spirit of Christmas for their children, while still having fun DO when it comes to Jolly Old St. Nick?

YOU TELL ME! We’re still figuring out the details. It’s highly unlikely that Keelin will even remember this Christmas so we’ve got some time to finalize our Santa-Plan but here’s what we’ve got so far…

#1 at Christmas for us is, without a doubt, understanding our faith’s reason for celebrating. We are Christians, we believe in the miracle birth of Christ, we use Christmas to celebrate that event. Plain and simple, that is what Christmas is about for us. As long as our kids understand that, you could say that the rest is just extra fun stuff, right?

I think the story of Santa Claus, with the reindeer and the sled and the Ho’s {I mean…}, and the big-fat-jelly-belly, is sweet and totally fine to incorporate into a child’s Christmas experience. I STILL love reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, signing “From Santa” on gifts, and watching all the fun Santa-Christmas movies. It’s festive, spirited, light-hearted, and FUN. We’re definitely going to make sure our kids know the original story of St. Nicholas too – where the common story of Santa Claus is said to have originated. There is far too much Santa out in the world to try to ignore it all together. Plus, how lame would that be?!

I DON’T think the idea of Santa should be used as a way to make kids behave. It’s one thing to joke about getting coal in your stocking if your kids are being particularly pesky {I still do that with friends and family today} but I’ve been witness to a mother GOING OFF on her kid mid-supermarket telling them with all sincerity {and intent to frighten} that Santa is not going to bring them ANYTHING because of their awful behavior. Seriously I think I saw steam coming out of her ears and her eyes were definitely set to LASER mode. I’ll admit her kid was being  a little demon but I want my children to behave properly because they know it’s the right way to act, not because I threaten them with fewer toys at Christmas. Just doesn’t seem right. And if Santa were real I don’t think he would appreciate you making him out to be the bad guy like that. Tisk.

So do we say, “Hey kids… there’s this guy named Santa Claus we’d like you to know about. The story books say he shimmy’s down chimneys on Christmas Eve to deliver gifts to every little girl and boy. He’ also has magical flying reindeer, and perfect no-blush-necessary cheeks. He’s not real, even though some children think he is, so just go along with it when they talk about him at school, and know that it’s all in fun when you come back home. Ok?”  Maybe. It’s upfront, simply put, lets them know we’re all about enjoying the legend for the STORY that it is, but set on knowing the truth from the get-go.

At the end of the day as long as my kids know the real meaning of Christmas, and don’t go around being the jerks that spoil the ‘magic’ for everyone else, I don’t think there’s any reason to ignore the story of Santa. Just be clear on its truth and appreciate it for the fun that it brings to the holiday.

What do you think. Any parents juggling a similar issue? Did I lose you all when I started an 8th paragraph? How did Santa impact your childhood?

I know it’s none of my business but…

Rule #1 in the guidebook on how to avoid being a total deuchebag… if what you have to say needs to be prefaced with, “I know it’s none of my business but…” then you should probably just keep your mouth shut. Otherwise it is guaranteed that you WILL turn into a deuchebag. A big, stinky, hippy, deuchebag. Okay, you probably won’t turn into a hippy, but my recent deuchebag encounter was one.

I mentioned on facebook that Z and I were given a little unsolicited parenting advice a few nights ago. It’s a story worth sharing… so here we are.

Friday night Z and I were out to dinner celebrating a friend’s birthday. After driving around the block a few times looking for parking we finally found a spot. It was Keelin’s normally scheduled time to eat so after parking I hopped in the backseat to feed her. For some reason she was too distracted to eat so I decided we should go ahead and join the rest of our party and I could slip out and feed her if she started getting fussy. Her schedule has been changing a bit within the last few weeks so I wasn’t too worried about feeding her a little later than normal. The restaurant we were at had a great outdoor seating area complete with snappy background music and fans to keep us cool! It wasn’t the type of restaurant where you sit quietly with the sounds of slight murmurs, cool jazz, and clinking forks accompanying your meal. It was on the louder side, relaxed, and fun. As if by clockwork, the SECOND we sat down at our table Keelin started crying. NOW she was ready to eat. She has such impeccable timing! So, I quickly looked at the menu, gave my order to the hubs, and slipped out to feed the bean.

Before getting back to the table I headed into the restroom to change Keelin’s diaper. It was there… in the restaurant restroom… that the waterworks truly started flowing. As soon as I put her down on the changing table she started wailing. Between cries and cloth diaper snaps I heard the woman in the stall next to us let out a lengthy, “Awwwwww” at the adorable and/or heartbreaking sound coming from my tiny girl. She calmed down during the trip from the restroom back to the table but only lasted a few more moments after I sat down before she was fussy again. It was one of those moment where you REALLY REALLY wish your infant could talk so she could tell you what is upsetting her and you could make it all better.  However, being the cool and collected mom that I am {at least on the outside}, I was happy to pass her off to some of the other folks at our table who wanted to hold her… tears and all. She would go in and out of crying but it was clear she was not having it. Since I knew she wasn’t hungry and she had already given me a nice BIG burp I could rule out hunger and gas. So, I decided that it was a mix of being in a new place, seeing a lot of new faces, having a stuffy nose, and NOT wanting to take a nap. Combine all of those things and you have a cocktail of screams and tears, my friends. The thing was, even with the crying, she wasn’t all that loud. Had we been inside I’m sure her volume would have carried over the other tables but because of all the noise outside, it really wasn’t that disruptive.

At one point the birthday boy’s mother had hold of her and had managed to get her settled for a few minutes. I look up from my glass of water and see that a very ‘hippy’ looking woman from another table, holding her 3 or 4 year old daughter, had come up to Keelin and was asking questions to our friend’s mom. I couldn’t hear what she was saying, but it looked like the average inquisition. How old is she? What’s her name? Etc. Nothing out of the ordinary, and she went back to her table.

After Keelin started back up again I took her to try to calm her down. Again, she was breaking in and out of crying with my friend Leah {the birthday boy’s wife} stood from the table, took her from me and insisted that I sit so I could eat. She’s such a sweetheart. I happily agreed and carried on finishing my meal, which was delicious by the way. At this point there were very few breaks between Keelin’s cries and Z got up to go make funny daddy faces at her to see if a familiar smile would help calm her down. {I realize now that the image in your head probably makes you think of jumping beans how we were all getting up and down to try making her happy… and you’re probably right} Right as Z walked over to Keelin and Leah, the same hippy lady, still carrying her daughter, was stretching her neck into the situation. Because I was sitting at the table I couldn’t really hear what was being said but I could tell by the looks on Leah and Z’s faces that they were not interested in hearing what this lady had to say. She stayed near them for a minute or two and then walked back to her table. I had a hunch that she had just given parenting advice so I watched her as she went back to her seat where she proceeded to talk about Keelin to her family members, looking back at her with THAT LOOK. I’m sure you all know THAT LOOK. THAT LOOK that people give you when they think they are above you or when they think you’re wrong and they are right. Yeah. THAT LOOK.

I whipped my head around to Z, who had since gotten Keelin fastened back into her car seat. Swinging calms her down so when we’re not at home to utilize the standing swing we have, daddy becomes the swing. I leaned over and LOUDLY blurted, “I’m sorry, am I not being a good enough parent to my child?” I admit I was hoping the hippy mom would hear me.  It was then that Leah informed me of what the hippy mom had said to them. It went a little something like this…

Hippy Mom: Um, I know it’s none of my business {GAH! Breaking rule #1} but, I have TWO children, and I think that baby might be hungry.
Leah:  Actually her mother just fed her, so I don’t think she’s hungry.
Hippy Mom:  Well, with babies, sometimes even after you feed them they are still hungry. She is crying because she is still hungry so she needs to be fed again.
Leah: She’s fine, thank you. 

SERIOUSLY LADY???

Thank goodness I was out of earshot when the actual conversation happened because if I were I would have probably responded with something along the lines of:

You’re RIGHT, it IS none of your business. I see that you have two children, because I’ve been watching them throw rocks and climb up the walls since we sat down. Maybe they are hungry too. Because, you know with kids, when they act like complete idiots it might mean that they are hungry. So how about you go back to your own table, get your own kids under control, and stop trying to parent mine. Thank you *obnoxious grin*.

First of all, it was far too loud on that patio for her to have been all that disturbed by Keelin’s cries. Our table was much closer than theres and everyone else was carrying on with their conversations just fine.
Secondly, mom to mom, if you’re going to stick your nose where it don’t belongs PLEASE don’t also dish out advice that calls me out as not knowing anything about my own daughter.
Thirdly, take a look at your own kids’ behavior before questioning someone else’s. Especially when your kids are 4 and 6 years old and not 4 months. My child cannot tell me why she’s crying, where yours are old enough that when they are told to do or not do something, they SHOULD listen. Is there a reason you weren’t keeping your daughter from throwing rocks in the air while waiters are walking around carrying trays of food? Is there a reason  you weren’t telling your son NOT to jump and climb on the raised hedge walls, right behind another party’s table?  Or how about the reason you were letting your son pull on your daughter’s legs while she was riding you piggy-back? You must be an EXPERT so I really want to learn your wise ways oh hippy mom! Your kid’s screams were louder than anything Keelin was dishing out, and yet you didn’t have a problem with it!

After learning about my little “lesson” in parenting, you can bet she got my most evil of evil eyes. AND STILL, after Keelin had settled down thanks to Daddy-Swings-A-Lot, she would still look over, point, and talk about her. Seriously lady? I know my daughter is beautiful and hard not to stare at but should you really be putting that much energy into telling me how to raise my child when you’ve got 2 hyperactive future hippies running a muck? Priorities people… priorities. I basically stared her down until they left the restaurant. It was fun.

A lesson to all parents. Unless you see a mom or dad really struggling with their child with a look of desperation in their eyes as they seek assistance, please resist the urge to voice your opinion and just focus on your own kids. I know you may think having one or more babies means you’re expert on everyone else’s kid… but you’d be wrong.

Sheesh! So that was my rant, and now it’s over, and I feel so much better!

Until next time…
Tell me about your most unfortunately unforgettable experience with unsolicited parenting advice!

NINETEENsie

And last week’s favorite fabric was…

HOO’s Your Daddy! Another of my favorite fabrics so far! Especially their little ball caps. I didn’t notice them until my gal pal Layna mentioned something about it but now it’s my favorite part!

Keelin had so many hysterical faces and poses this week during our photo shoot, it was hard to pick ONE to feature for the onesie blog but I got the hubs to help me decide. She is just too happy and excited in this one NOT to share! And I think this was one of the first {if not THE first} pictures I snapped! I’ll be sure to add more of the funnier pictures on Facebook so make sure you check them out and “like” my page! I’m thinking of hosting a giveaway once we reach a certain number of fans. I tried to do it before but didn’t get much feedback so we’ll see if it happens. In other words… you want a giveaway… visit, like, and SHARE! :)

As for the past week, the main update is that Keelin had her 4 month check up! I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but I absolutely ADORE our pediatrician and was excited that Z could come with me this time to meet him. {He quickly gained the same opinion that I did… it’s seriously hard not to love this guy!}

Keelin did GREAT at the appointment. One of the things I love about the doctor is that he really takes time with his patients. I know that can be annoying to some people because at times it means more waiting, but I’d rather wait an hour to see a doctor that lets me ask a bazillion questions and is actually invested in my child than be seen within 5 minutes and get rushed out the door. That being said, Keelin was actually asleep when he came in but was actually pretty mesmerized by him while he checked her over. She is right on track development wise {of course!}, weighed in at 13 lbs {50th percentile}, and is 24 1/2 inches long {75th percentile}. Looks like she’ll be tall and skinny like I was as a child! Her noggin is growing too… Obviously because of that BRILLIANT brain of hers growing and growing!

We will probably start adding food into Keelin’s diet soon which means I get to bust out the BABY BULLET! I know its way easier to buy canned food but since I’m home and can save big bucks by making my own, I’m all for a little extra work. I’ll be sure to let you know how that goes when it happens! If you have any tips for making your own baby food, feel free to pass it along!

The NOT SO FUN part of the visit were her 2nd dose of vaccines. She did great though. She only cried during each shot {she only got 2 again… you can kind of see her right thigh is a little swollen at the top} and for about 30 seconds afterwards. Once she was up in mommy’s arms and had her paci she was great! Such a trooper! AND, thankfully the nurse used the tiny circular band aids this time instead of the larger long ones. I made sure to avoid any more tears by taking them off in the tub this time around. I am going back tomorrow to get an oral vaccine for her. The shipment was late so they didn’t have it for us on Monday. Luckily the office is close to the house… and in close range of a Zaxbys… so it’s not a big deal. Keelin was so happy and smiley the rest of the day, you’d have never known she got pricked at all! I can’t believe how truly blessed we are to have such an amazing, happy, HEALTHY child! God definitely hit the jackpot with this gift. :)

Outside of the doctor visit, I don’t have any big updates from the week. Z is starting the 17-day diet {yesterday was his first day} and I’m obviously taking part by default. I’m not cutting out as much as he is since I’m technically still eating for two {no I’m not preggers again, but I am Keelin’s only source of food at the moment} but there’s no way I’m making double dinners every night! Plus, I’ve been looking for a nutritional boost for a while now and this will be a great opportunity. I’ll probably do an update every cycle on his progress, and share some facts, recipes, and exercises from the diet in case anyone is interested in trying it out yourself!

Until next time…

TENsie

This picture basically describes her overall mood yesterday... read why below

What an eventful week it’s been! From baptism to boo boos, we’ve had it all!

As you know from Monday’s post, we were blessed enough to have some amazing friends and family join us for Keelin’s baptism. It was such a beautiful, emotional, and uplifting service and Keelin was a complete angel… despite a minimal meltdown after the priest was finished speaking. My parents made the trek from VA and spent some real quality time with the bean…

Keelin also participated in her first SUPER TUESDAY! Obviously she didn’t vote, but she did come with us while we cast our ballots and got some very nice compliments by a few of the workers! She’s basically a celebrity.

But I would have to say that the most eventful part of the week was yesterday’s 2 month check up where she received 2 nasty old shots that made both of us cringe. I was actually surprised at how well she handled it, and pretty impressed with my own courage as well!

She had been fussy on and off throughout the whole appointment and I knew all hell would break loose once the needles came out. She received 5 different vaccinations but THANKFULLY one of the shots was a three in one. I don’t know what I would have done if she needed five different sticks. Actually, cried my eyes out… that’s what I would have done! Anyway, as the nurse came in with her evil tools of torture I braced myself for screams and waterworks and my heart broke slightly when she asked me to hold her legs down while she administered the shots. Thank goodness we don’t remember anything from this time in our lives or we would all hate our parents. Good intentions or not, we’re all guilty by association when it comes to the pain of shots. :(

I made a point NOT to watch the needle, but to focus on my sweet girl’s face. The second the first shot went in Keelin’s eyes got HUGE and her mouth slowly started to quiver. It was basically the saddest thing I’d ever seen. She let out a WAIL and I did everything I could to fight back my own tears. The nurse was great at being quick with the 2nd shot and after another loud cry from the bean, it was all over. I immediately let go of her legs and went to pick her up, but noticed she was totally silent in shock from the pain and slightly blue in the face from holding her breath. Clearly she’s practicing for future protests when something doesn’t go her way. I blew in her face to make her take a breath in {a fun little reflex, if you ask me} and we snuggled for the next 10 minutes.  The rest of the day she was pretty mellow {I gave her some infant Tylenol to help with any soreness} and QUITE the sleepy bean.

But then it came time to take the band aids off of her tiny thighs.  I thought I was pretty tough for being able to hold back my tears when she got the shots, but I basically crumbled when she let out an even louder cry after I… me, her mother, who is supposed to comfort and protect her… pulled the first band aid off. Hear that? It’s the sound of my heart shattering into a million pieces. It threw me off so much that I had to get Z to do the 2nd one, at which point the pieces of my heart that had previously shattered were turned to dust with another pitiful scream. Oh the horror! Next time I’m taking the advice of some mommy friends and making sure I don’t wait as long to remove the band aids and putting her in a warm bath to help calm her and soften the sticky. Shame on me for not doing that this time anyway. Puh.

Besides the EVIL and heartbreaking vaccination/band aid experience, the report from her check up was all wonderful! She weighed in at 10 lbs 4 oz and is in the 50th percentile for height, length, and head circumference.  I love love love her pediatrician and am so happy to have the infamous “first shot” trauma behind me. Now I have two months to prep for the next round. Sniffle sniffle.

Until next time…

If you look closely in this week’s photo, you can see the tiny marks on her thighs from each shot. Here, let me illuminate them to make myself feel even worse. Sniffle.

puh. :(

NINEsie

Look at those tiny fingers! Cocked and loaded

Hooray for another weekly onesie post! If you all enjoy reading these half as much as I enjoy taking the pictures and bragging about my girl, then it’s a good day for us all!

Before I start gushing I have to give a HUGE congratulations to my sweet friend Pam who just had her baby yesterday! Morgan Reese is absolutely adorable and I’m so happy for Pam to join the mommy club! There’s nothing quite like it!

Now onto my sweet bean!

Monday Keelin turned 2 months old and I can hardly believe that much time has passed. She’s getting more and more expressive every day and I’m getting so many sweet smiles I’m practically holding my breath for her first real giggle.  She seems to get such a kick out of herself just by smiling so she’ll open her mouth real wide and pull her shoulders up to her ears. It’s basically the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!

She’s also become a WIZ at sleeping through the night. I can generally put her down around 11 and not wake up until near 6:30-7 am. She’s definitely making life easier on here mama. I do, however, tend to wake myself up to check her out on the monitor. We have a Summer Infant Day and Night video monitor {love love love} that can be set to video only, sound only, or video and sound.

It’s really nice that we can hear her when she gets fussy and still check on her visually before rushing into the nursery. That way if she’s just having a little chat with herself, I can see what she’s doing before getting up. The reason I often wake myself up to see what she’s doing is because this my sweet daughter is one shifty lady. I will lay her down in the middle of the crib and it never fails that by the time she wakes up, she has managed to wiggle herself sideways and down to the end of the crib. I keep meaning to get a picture of the journey she takes {I’ll be sure to share them once I remember!} but it truly is hysterical. I have rolled up a quilt and placed it at the end she tends to travel to, so she not only doesn’t go too far, but also doesn’t end up right against the side. So, needless to say, I’m prone to checking the monitor to see where she is in her nightly adventure.  What a silly girl!

Keelin’s baptism is this weekend and I’m so excited for the day! I tried on her christening gown {which was originally my grandfather’s and also the one I wore} and it’s absolutely beautiful. She’s such a little angel in it as long as she doesn’t barf all over it. :) It’s a little big on her but I kind of like that it swallows her. Makes her look like she’s surrounded in a white fluffy cloud!  Le sigh… :)

Until next time…

I couldn’t leave you without a few blooper shots from this week ;) She cracks me up!

clearly I was boring her.

HA... double chin

mid-sneeze

PS… Happy leap year!!!

Guest Blog: Jell Jell from ‘I’ll Sleep When They’re Grown”

Sara is kind enough to let me guest blog during her entrance into motherhood.  I go by Jell Jell or variations of that nick name on my blog called “I’ll Sleep When They’re Grown,” which is a mommy (+ other stuff) blog.  I write about my toddler and trying to get pregnant again, and other superawesome stories about my life that I find humorous.

My daughter is 20 months old and I call her EB.  She’s amazing and smart and super funny.  But we’re having a problem with hitting.

When I pick her up from day care, she runs and hits other nearby kids.  When we’re playing and having fun, she’ll just turn and bop me or our two dogs.  When we’re on a play date, she will hit over toys or snacks.  It’s embarrassing and frustrating to have the hitter.  And I didn’t like feeling that way about my kid because I know she’s not devious or mean – she is learning to talk and express herself and can’t quite get her point across.  Of course that’s frustrating for her.

So what can we do about it?  I started getting advice from other mothers.  They would tell me to say “soft touch” and “gentle” and “we don’t hit our friends.”  But that wasn’t working.  And I didn’t like saying “no” all the time.  She wasn’t getting it either.  I needed to figure out the cause of the hitting and not just react to her behavior.

The Hubs and I decided to take this into our own hands and go to a parenting seminar.  If you live in Austin, TX, you should check out Carrie Contey’s Toddlerhood classes.  She has a bunch of offerings on various topics.  There were about 20 of us who met in her house and I felt very comfortable asking lots of questions.

I wrote about a couple of topics so far on my blog about:

How do I react if my kid is hitting?

Am I giving my kid too many bottles in the night?

So in this installment, I want to talk about parenting for the boundaries of your household.  It’s really hard when I see my EB hitting one of her friends or even her cousin.  The other parent’s first reaction is to tell my kid “no” to protect their own child.  That totally makes sense and I don’t fault them for that.  But from what I’ve learned in this class and from what I know in my heart, just saying “no hitting” doesn’t keep or from doing it, calm her down, or solve the inherent problem.  If she’s hitting because she’s overstimulated from playing, it’s my job to regulate her emotions and calm her down.  So we could go outside, or take a bath, or sit in another room and read a book.  We can talk about how much I appreciated when she was playing nicely with her friends.  And that’s when I can start defining the boundary for her.  I can say “we can hit the couch or our stuffed animals, but we never hit the dog.  But isn’t it fun to hit this pillow?”  That way she can see what her options are.  How would you feel if you were upset and overwhelmed and someone just goes of on all the stuff you’re doing wrong?  Yelling “no” at you when you really just need a hug?  Think about how you would want someone to react to you.  Kids are people, after all.

If I am only worried about how I feel about what my kid is doing, it is more authentic when I set the boundaries for EB.  If I tell her she can’t get on the coffee table because I know other kids don’t get on their tables, it’s not really a rule set from my comfort zone.  I actually don’t mind if she sits on the table.  But I do mind if she stands on it.  And amazingly, she is pretty respectful of this rule.  Every once in a while she makes sure the rule is still in place and we kind of laugh about going through it – “you can sit but please don’t stand because I’m afraid of you falling and getting hurt.”  She relates to it and believes me.  That doesn’t mean she won’t try again later because she is just figuring things out.  And it behooves me to be patient and not get mad about this.

So the hitting.  And other people’s kids.  That’s where it gets tricky.  Because I don’t want the other parent to feel any strange emotions towards my child or me.  But that’s not solving the problem.  If I step back and analyze the situation sooner, we can eventually learn to avoid the triggers that cause the hitting.  And when I talk to EB to regulate her emotions, it can be because I want her to be calm, not because I don’t want the other person to judge us.  She can’t relate to those feelings.  She can relate to me saying it hurts me when she hits me.  And it hurts other people, too.

So what you can take home from all of this is the following:

  • Set boundaries from what you need from your child, not what you think is expected.
  • Talk to your child calmly and try to solve the problem instead of punishing
  • Talk to your child like an adult that will understand your feelings (no baby talk).  Kids are smarter than you think.
  • Watch for warning signs early that your kid is about to hit.  Being aware of triggers like food, being tired, being over stimulated, or an upcoming nap time can help you avoid the hitting altogether.
  • Be clear about what you want and not just tell your child what you don’t want.  In other words, appreciate them verbally when they’re behaving or being sweet or just being a kid and having fun.  Redirect them when the behavior is not what you want to see and reiterate what do you do want to see.

Do you have a hitter?  How did you handle it?  If you are having trouble is other behaviors, ask in the comments.  And thanks for letting me have this guest blog slot!  Good luck with that new baby, Sara!  It goes by so so quickly.

Jell Jell

ABOUT THE BLOGGER…
The best way to learn more about Jell Jell is to check out her fantastic blog: I’ll Sleep When They’re Grown!

What was going to be a post about funny baby names that ended up being a rant about how sometimes it’s just better to keep your mouth shut.

Happy Friday!!!

The sun is shining, it’s the first day of fall, it’s my dear friend Laura’s birthday {Happy Birthday Hot Stuff}, the weekend is peeking it’s beautiful head around the corner and there were two rainbows smiling at me as I drove to work this morning so I know it’s going to be a good day!

I may have been driving when I took this picture, but both hands {wrists} were STILL on the wheel!

As you can tell by the title of this post, I didn’t originally intend on this topic turning into a vent session… it just kind of happened. But at least it’s still upbeat and witty! What more could you ask for on a cheery Friday morning?

Z and I have gotten a number of inquisitive looks and questions about the background, origin and reason for choosing the name Keelin Noelle for our little manatee. I feel like people are always expecting some long, drawn-out explanation filled with family history and personal connection but the truth is, our reasoning is quite simple. But before I unleash said simplicity, a little background:

When we found out we were going to be parents we instantly started thinking about names. Well, let’s be honest, we had talked about future baby names even before we got hitched but the conversation really got serious after I peed on the preggo stick and our lives changed forever.

When it came to possible boy names, we were set. Z and I have a lot of really strong, “all-American” male names on both sides of our families so we knew that all we’d really have to do was find the perfect combination if, and when a boy came along. In fact, one of the reasons I thought we were going to have a boy was because we decided on our favorite boy name so quickly! BUT, we all know how that turned out.

On the other hand, when it comes to the female names in our family, we have less to choose from. No offense to all of our female relatives but we quickly learned that carrying certain names across numerous generations sometimes doesn’t fit as well as one would like. For example: I know that my grandmother {mom’s mom} was once a baby but I think I might do a double take if I heard someone call an infant “Martha”. It’s a beautiful name, but the only Martha’s I have ever known have been women my grandmother’s age. Catch my drift? {Note to self: prepare for hate mail from Martha’s of the world}

So we went searching for alternatives and immediately started looking at names by origin. Z and my families are a melting pot of sorts with German, English, Scottish, Irish and who knows what else all thrown into the mix. We decided to look at Gaelic names first to see if anything popped out at us and Keelin grabbed our attention right from the start. It was unique, sounded great with Pierce and is pretty tough to mispronounce. Plus, Z got a big kick out of the fact that it means “fair and slender”. {“Like her mother” he always says… he’s so sweet!} So although there were a lot of really beautiful names, we kept going back to Keelin {and bookmarked a few others for the next little girl!}. Whenever we tell people the meaning of ‘Keelin’ it never fails that someone asks, “But what if she isn’t fair and slender?” Jerks. My go-to reaction has become, “well then, the joke’s on her!” but in my mind I’m really thinking, “Go away now and be thankful we aren’t naming her Apple or Hazel.” {No offense Gweneth and Julia}

As for her middle name, Noelle, this is where it get’s really simple. Her due date is right around Christmas. Noelle {or Noel} means… YOU GUESSED IT, Christmas or “born on Christmas” and we loved the French spelling with the ‘lle’. It also fit perfectly with the rest of her name, and we got all giddy, smiley and filled with love every time we would say it so we had a winner! It’s at this point in the explanation that people ask, “What if she’s off schedule and not born around Christmas?”. Jerks. At which point I resist the urge to say, “Well then we’ll name her either Keelin Thanksgiving or Keelin NewYear and train her to be a cage fighter so she can lay the smack down on all your kids some day.”

warning… unintentional rant begins here: I mean seriously people. If you are going to take the time to find out why a couple chose a certain name for their child, why are you then going to come back with contradictions that challenge their reasoning? Unless of course the purpose of you asking is just so that you can be a big ol’ douche bag and try to make future mom and dad feel like fools for their decision… jerk. Is it your intention to get them to change their minds so YOU can name their child instead? There are people in this world naming their kids Blanket, Audio Silence, Jermajesty {not kidding}, Shithead {also not kidding} and Moxie CrimeFighter. Lord knows what kinds of questions you would prod them with if given the chance. You are more than welcome to name your child Peach Cobbler, Bamboo Lotion or California Dreamsicle as long as you love it. Others might think your choice is beautiful, unique, stupid, strange or even inspiring but in the end, it’s not only NOT their decision to make, but it’s really none of their business. ERGO if you’re going to ask, and are actually interested in learning the answer, do NOT follow their response with the Spanish Inquisition. Even if you think it’s a really stupid name, just keep your opinion to yourself, nod, smile and muster up some kind of comment along the lines of, “Oh, that’s nice!” If you want to walk around the corner and trash talk, by all means go ahead. Like I said before… no one’s opinion really matters outside of mom and dad.

WHEW! Apparently there was some pent-up frustration surrounding this subject. Who knew! I actually had every intention of just filling you all in on Z and my choice of Keelin Noelle for our sweet baby girl {which hopefully I somewhat accomplished} but lucky you got to hear some of my inner monologue as well!

Until next time…

Have you ever had to deal with any STUPID comments from people asking about your parenting choices? Or overall life choices for that matter? TELL ME ALL ABOUT IT!

** Quick disclaimer… Z and I are 100% confident and in love with the name we’ve chosen for our daughter. No one has or will ever be able to change our minds, so don’t think that I’m at all concerned about our choice!