Friday, July 29, 2011

The Co-sleeping Debate

I co-sleep and I know lots of parents who do. I also know lots of parents who lie to their doctors, family members, and friends about it because it can be unsafe and you are never, ever allowed to do anything with your child that might be slightly dangerous. Ever.

The fact is parents are going to co-sleep with their babies. It just happens, especially if you are breastfeeding and the baby is waking up every couple of hours to eat. For me, it comes down to this. My baby does not sleep through the night and is up every few hours to breastfeed. If I had to get out of my bed, pick her up, sit and feed her, and then put her back down I would be a walking zombie everyday. I think this is more dangerous to my children than the risks that co-sleeping may pose. I am far more likely to get in a car wreck because I am sleepy than I am to roll over on her in the middle of the night and not notice. I think many parents have come to the same conclusion I have.

It would be more responsible for the powers that be to instruct people on how to safely co-sleep rather than simply saying not to do it. A little education can go a long way. If parents know the basic rules, they will follow them.

Co-sleeping has saved my sanity for sure. I would not be able to fully function day to day if Princess B didn't spend most of the night right next to me in bed.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bubble Blunder

I was very excited to do a little activity with the boys today. I have a book with 365 fun ideas  to keep your kids busy and I have never used it. I decided to open the book today and do the first activity I saw. Here is what I turned to:
Bubble Pipe
Help your child make this simple bubble pipe. Poke a pencil hole on the side of a paper cup, one inch from the bottom, and stick a drinking straw through it, halfway into the cup. Pour dish detergent into the cup until the straw is covered. Add a little water and a few drops of food coloring. Blow gently until beautiful colored bubbles froth over the rim of the cup and fill the air.
Sounds fun right? So we construct our pipes. Immediately the soap solution starts seeping out of the edges of the poked holes and gets all over the counter. I put the cups on a tray and carried them outside to the porch before they made a bigger mess. Now we are outside and I hand the boys each a pipe.

Little Man immediately sucks instead of blows and gets a good taste of soap in his mouth. Luckily it didn't seem to bother him. Straight straws do not work because the liquid soap just seeps out, so I run back inside to get some bendy straws. 

By the time I get back outside, Little Man has poured all the soap out of his pipe and is rubbing it all over his body. "Don't touch your eyes," I remind him. He listens to that and happily rubs soap all over his body from his soap puddle while Big Boy and I try out our bubble pipes. They work how they were supposed to and we have fun blowing out frothy bubbles for about two minutes before our soap solution r out.uns

Then Big Boy rubs his eyes. I will give him credit for being tough and not crying about it. We go inside and rinse out his eyes in the sink. While I am doing this, I see Princess B crawling out onto the porch through the door I forgot to close. By the time I get back over there she is sitting in the soap puddle!

I grab her and go to the kitchen sink, which is not full of dirty dishes for once. I plop her down, spray all the soap off, dry her, and put on a new diaper.  Back outside I go to check on the bubble fun. Little Man is covered head to toe in slimy dish soap film. He goes in the sink and gets rinsed off. I leave him sit there with the water running to run after Princess B who is headed for the open door again. By the time I get back, Little Man has sprayed water all over the kitchen floor.

Two minutes of fun for all that effort. They are now watching cartoons and I am glad I decided to skip the food coloring.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon . . . and was TORTURED!!

We checked this book out of the library last week and boy were we in for a treat! This is a little story about what happens to the dish and the spoon after they run away. They turn to a life of crime, serve prison sentences, and eventually reunite in a shady second hand shop. The best part by far is when the dish gets tied to a chair and tortured by a thug played by a vicious looking serrated knife.

I'll admit, I kind of enjoyed the edginess of the story. We don't shield our kids from scary things and we speak frankly with them about most things. It was just really odd to come across a torture scene in a children's picture book. (cue rant about America's violent culture.)

The illustrations are grand and the story is witty, if you don't mind reading a book about loan sharks, kidnapping, torture, and prison to your kids!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's just business

One of the things I hear often about stay at home moms is how nice it must be to have the opportunity to hang out with your friends during the day while your children have playdates. It's true. It is very nice, but I don't look at these "playdates" as mere social visits.

When I was working I enjoyed the company of my work colleagues and considered them friends. I was a teacher so we each had our respective classrooms, but would also have regular daily and weekly meetings, including eating lunch together most days. The playdates that I attend are similiar to those meetings and lunches.

Most of the time I am home with my children doing the tasks that are required when you have three children and a home to care for. Loads and loads of laundry, the coordination of arts and crafts projects, shopping, preparing, and cleaning up after three meals a day plus snacks, diaper changes, potty training, ABC's and 123's, and so on.

But a few times a week for a few hours at a time, we get together with our "work" colleagues. The children scamper off and play with their friends. This is called "socialization" and it is very important because it gives me a chance to sit and talk with the other mothers. This is when we discuss the business of being mommies. We discuss our childrens' schooling, our discipline methods, where the week's best deal on milk is, and we share tips and advice on how to best manage the things we do. We also delve into more interesting topics, but somehow it seems we do spend much of our time discussing this whole parenting thing.

So yes, as a stay at home mom I get the opportunity to "hang out" with my friends often, but I would be lost without these "business" meetings. These sessions give me a chance to run by other mothers what I am doing and get their input and ideas on how to improve things. This is exactly what I used to do at work, except now I get paid in slobbery kisses and poopy diapers instead of dollars and health coverage.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


So your two-year-old has just shoved a pea up his nose. What do you do? Here are step by step instructions for handling this problem.

1. Ascertain which nostril the pea has been shoved up. You may have to hold child upside down and use a flashlight.
2. Press your finger down on the opposite nostril.
3. Tell your child to blow their nose. (hopefully this is a skill they have developed! If not you may have to get creative.)
4. Duck as pea launches out of the nose. If you have other children make sure they do not pick up the pea and put it in their mouth.
5. Laugh as loud as you can.
6. Try to explain between laughs that they shouldn't put anything in their nose, no matter how funny it is.

I'm embarrassed because I considered getting the tweezers before I did the obvious thing! Either way, there is no more pea in his nose and we all had a good chuckle.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I want some chocolate. Really bad. Maybe some of that Dove stuff with the inspiring quotes on the wrappers. Heck, even a bag of M&Ms would be excellent right now. But there is not a piece of chocolate in my entire house.

Three years ago I would have loaded up the baby, went to the store, purchased five different kinds, and enjoyed them in relative peace. The dynamic has now changed. First I have to consider the logistics of getting all three ready to go out in public, loading them in the car, unloading at the store, and then wheeling around the store. Is the chocolate worth it? Then I must consider the inevitable whining for them to have candy also. Do I want them to have candy? Is it possible to hide it from them? Most importantly, do I want to share? Ugh, such a hassle to calm a craving.

I guess a squirt of Hershey's syrup will have to do for now.

Monday, July 18, 2011


An interesting article. This isn't about adoption, but I have had similiar experiences.

Many parents that I know have kids that don't "match" them. Some of these children were adopted and others have parents of two different races. Even two people of the same race can produce an offspring that doesn't look like them. My two bio kids look like their dad's side of the family and my adopted son is a different race. I often get asked by strangers if I am babysitting. I have been asked if I work for a daycare. I have had someone tell me that it is very nice of me to take on someone else's kid even though I was already busy with two of my own.

There is obviously a racial element to some comments because my son and I are of different races, but I wouldn't call the people making these comments racist or even prejudiced. They are making assumptions about the relationship between two people and that is something that will start to change as Americans become more comfortable with the reality of adoptive families and multiracial families. The best thing I can do is politely correct people and explain that he is my son and I am not the babysitter. By politely correcting people when they make assumptions, I can help more people realize that not all families "match."

It is especially important to answer questions from children at the playground and other places. I have been asked some incredibly nosey and rude questions by kids under the age of ten! One little girl once asked if Little Man's real mommy was dead. Yikes! Luckily he was just a baby when that happened and I was easily able to talk to her about adoption and what that means. I hope her paradigm about what a family looks like was changed by our conversation.

I hope to set a good example to Little Man that adoption is a source of pride and there is nothing wrong with telling people. I have come across strangers who help him with this process. Just the other day a cashier was grinning at him and when we were done checking out she leaned over and quietly asked me if he was adopted. I told her he was. She then gave him a high five and said, "I was adopted too and it is so cool to be adopted!" He was smiling from ear to ear.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer Camp

Big Boy is off to another week of summer camp. This is his third summer camp experience and he is really enjoying it. The Parks and Rec in Raleigh, NC is amazing and offers great opportunities for all these little city kiddos. All you local people should really check it out. And if you don't live here you should move here cause it is pretty awesome.

He will be at camp from 9 - 2 each day this week so I have to drag my butt out of bed to get him up, pack a lunch, and get him to camp on time. Quite a feat for me. I guess this is what starting kindergarten will be like. And I probably should have put him to bed before 10:30 tonight. We'll see how he is in the morning!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


All the advice out there says that you shouldn't try and force your kids to eat. That it will only backfire. Just serve them dinner and let them choose what to eat or not. Yeah, whatever. We spend way too much money on fruits and veggies to have them sit on a plate untasted. I think there is a way to get a child to eat new foods without damaging them for life. It is called bribery.

In the past two days, Big Boy has eaten tomatoes, lettuce, a hamburger with all the trimmings, asparagus, and raw broccoli because my husband bribed him with a trip to the movies for eating his veggies. At first I thought this was a bad idea, but then I thought about it. I didn't eat tomatoes until I was 25. Seriously. I avoided tomatoes at all cost. There was no particular reason except I had at some point in my youth made up my mind that I didn't like them.

One day I sat down with a container of grape tomatoes and I ate every single one. By the time I was done, I liked tomatoes. I don't want my kids to miss out on foods just because they are stubborn like me, make up their minds when they are two that they don't like a particular food, and must stick with that decision forever in order not to lose face.

So maybe this whole extrinsic motivation thing will have dire consequences on Big Boy, but I think he will be fine. I hope that he will be far more open to trying new foods than I was. I don't want him to miss out like I did. Now if only I could get over my aversion to onions!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Being Mom

Today I was taking a bath and heard a little knock on the door.

"Mommy," Little Man sobbed.

Slightly annoyed at my alone time being interrupted I said, "I'll be out in just a little bit baby."

"Mommy, I sad. I want a hug."

I doubt many mothers could resist those words. So I wrapped a towel around myself and opened the door. I sat down on the floor and gave him a good squeeze until he felt better.

I guess that is what being mom is all about. I have no doubt that my son and I are attached and continuing to do so with each day. He has been in our home nearly two years now and my life would not be complete without him.

I am sure many adoptive parents latch onto the moments when they knew for sure that they had attached with their adopted child. For some, the moment comes right away. Other parent's slowly form that attachment. Sadly, some parents and children are never able to form the secure attachment that is desired in an adoptive parent and child relationship.

I fell in love with Little Man the moment I laid eyes on him, but attachment is different than love. There are many children that I love, but I am attached only to my own. Parents know that feeling of attachment. I have attachments to both biological and adopted children, but there are differences between the attachment I have with my bio kids and the attachment I have with my adopted son. My biological kids will never wonder about their other mother and how much better or worse she may be than me.  I am sure at some point they will wish they had another mother, but for them it will always be a fantasy.

This may be a crass way to put it, but with Little Man I have competition because there is someone out there who brought him into this world. I hope she had the opportunity to gaze into his eyes at least for a moment and feel that tidal wave of love the way that I get to everyday. Will he wonder about what life would have been like with her? Definitely. Will he compare me to her? Probably. How do I feel about that? I don't know yet.


I was reading an blogpost about having more kids to make sure your child doesn't turn into a spoiled narcissist. While I understand the sentiment, I don't like the attitude that somehow your child will be damaged if they are an only child. 

If you have an only child, you are more likely to be able to afford some of the things that families with multiple children cannot. You would only be having to help one child through college. It would be affordable to take more vacations. Your child will have more attention from the adults in their life.

As a mom of multiple children, I have accepted that many of these things will not always be a reality for us. At least not until our big lottery win! We gain some things though. Our kids always have playmates and when they are adults they will have a shared history with each other. We will have more people to support us when we are older. I totally plan on living in one of their guest rooms at some point.

I know many adults who were only children and they are perfectly normal people, mostly. I have friends who have chosen to have one child and stop there. Their children are just as wonderful and delightful as mine, mostly. It seems like the number of children you have is another pointless battle in the mommy wars. Either way, the kids will be fine.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Enjoy It

Earlier this summer we planted several planters full of flower seeds. The planters are now full of blooms and the boys are seeing the payoff of the work. Big Boy is careful to remind me to water the plants everyday and each afternoon they take a few minutes to check on all the planters.

Yesterday one of the blooms had broken off during a windy summer thunderstorm. The flower still looked nice. It was laying on the cement and I probably would have left it there. As we were coming in the house, I noticed that Big Boy had picked up the flower and was examining it. Being a family prone to allergies, I asked him to leave it outside instead of bringing it in.

He looked at me and said, "But Mommy we can still enjoy it." Indeed.

The flower is in a vase on my desk now and I am sniffling a bit, but I'm not sure if the allergies are the cause.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Playground Socialist

I freely admit that I am a playground socialist. It's a loaded word, but I take no shame in it. Playground socialism helps my kids learn that they are not the only people out there and it pays to be nice to others. Here are some of my "socialist" rules of playground etiquette.

1. If you bring a toy to the playground, it is your toy unless you put it down to play with something else. Once you put it down you do not get to take it away from the kid who wanders up to play with it. If you don't want to share it, don't bring it.

2. You may play with other children's toys provided they are not playing with them and you ask nicely. If they say no, then move on.

3. Don't hog the equipment. If someone else is waiting to swing or go down the slide, you finish up and let them have a go.

4. Others are freely welcome to our sunscreen, diaper wipes, band-aids, and snacks. If we forgot something important, we would hope that others would also share with us.

5. If we are at a play area with mechanical rides and there is an extra seat, let another child ride on it too. Even one you don't know and even if it was your money.

6. If you see a child running away from the playground, getting hurt, or in danger of some kind and the parent doesn't notice, bring attention to it. And bring attention to it without judging or being rude.
7. Don't hover over other people's kids if you know the parent/caregiver is right there. Some five-year-olds look like three-year-olds. If you are really worried, ask  (nicely) if they know what the kid is up to. A good way to do this is by saying, "Is he good on here?"

Wow. I could carry on with this list for hours, but I will stop there!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


When you go to the beach, you must give your whole self over to it. If you think too much about the sand in your hair and between your toes, it will drive you crazy. Sunblock is important, but just makes more sand stick to you. It gets everywhere, in every crevice. You can't win if you try to fight it. You have to simply accept the fact that there is sand everywhere and it will get on you.

The waves keep coming. Sometimes they are big and you have to lock your knees to keep from falling over, but other times the gentleness of the waves can calm you. . If you sit next to the ocean, the waves will keep coming. There is no break. There is no vacation.

Parenting is the same. You really have to give up that in control feeling to fully enjoy what you are doing. Like the sand and the waves, kids will get everywhere and do whatever they want. I figure we can either curse and fight or we can give in, sit down, and make a sand castle.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Closet Shall Remain Locked

In my house there is a closet. In this closet there are treasures many. Games, paints, books on every subject, puzzles, markers, and the list goes on. . . . This closet is locked. I experimented with keeping it open for a few weeks. This loosening of the rules meant that everyday I was faced with games, paints, books on every subject, puzzles, and markers scattered all over the entire floor. I appreciate the impulse to allow children free access to these sorts of things, but I just can't do it. I don't like throwing to be the main use of these items. I want my kids to sit and do puzzles, play games, color, and paint. I want them to read books and sit quietly all day long, but it isn't going to happen. So the closet stays locked.

The other day I noticed the closet hadn't been opened in a long time. The art on the walls was months old and the only books we had read were the ones we had checked out from the library. Puzzles sat unappreciated. I decided I had to be more active in giving the kids an opportunity to use all these things in a controlled way. Enter the Do Box. (Lots of giggles on that one. Good thing I didn't call it the doodoo box.)

Every evening before I go to bed (or in the morning while the kids eat breakfast) I sneak into the closet and put things in our Do Box. Today we had finger paints, a geometry game, a book about the planets, a puzzle of our solar system, some writing activities, and a matching card game. The kids look in the Do Box and pick out which activities they want to do. Brilliant! I have been doing it for a week now and my kids are way more engaged with each other and with me. It is a load of fun!

So the closet will stay locked for now, but I'll take the time to get things out of it.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Why July Fourth is the Best Holiday!

#1 - You can wear an American flag bikini top at the festivities and only look slightly ridiculous.
#2 - Fireworks!
#3 - You don't have to worry about choosing the wrong gift for someone.
#4 - Fireworks!
#5 - Eating outside.
#6 - Fireworks!
#7 - Corn on the cob, watermelon, those cakes decorated like flags, etc
#8 - Fireworks!
#9 - Parades.
#10 - America is awesome!

That being said, the fireworks here in Raleigh were cancelled because of thunderstorms. Boo!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ode to the Barnes and Noble Train Table

Perfect height for little guys and gals,
Full of fun trains like Thomas and pals,
But look out, no, wait!
Someone else had that train!
Give it back and please don't cry.
There's plenty of trains for you to try!
Say excuse me, don't be rough!
Being the little one can be tough.
Let's play together that will be fun!
No, you don't want to and you're done?
This train table isn't really that fun.
Let's go while you're still stable,
And get away from this cursed train table.