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Mom Tricks and Tips ’ Category
Tuesday, December 10th, 2013
I didn’t throw myself in front of a bus. I didn’t check myself into the psych ward. Yet. I didn’t buy more meat. And I’m trying like mad to remember the most basic human instinct: to breathe.
But I do know I’ve largely disappeared. Joe, my guest blogger, is writing some hilarious and oh-so-true blog posts to help me out while I swim upstream.
We are moving this week. All reasons for the above scenarios. Especially when I woke up this morning to Emmett vomiting. The ticking time bomb is upon us. I’m fully expecting us all to get sick. Which will happen first? Massive family barfing or the move? I’m guessing it will all happen at once. Except…I think the east coast snowstorm may have helped me out a bit.
We are moving into a house that is still under renovation. I pushed the date as far as I could. Movers booked for Wednesday and Thursday. But the place is full of sawdust and 17 workers. Now, my landlord is delayed on the east coast. So even though the movers are coming, we can now stay at our rental through the weekend. This is huge since I prefer to barf in a scenario I will soon be leaving. Bye germs. Have fun with the next tenant! We’re out of here.
But in the midst of all this chaos, I forgot about the moths. For two years we rented this place we have watched our wool and cashmere sweaters whittle away, piece by piece. My moths must be obese with the amount they’ve eaten. Once we realized it was happening (and threw away so much, as it was completely unsalvageable) I now have everything wool/cashmere in airtight bins with cedar planks. However, I am worried about the eggs that could be in all of our clothing. I want to make sure I don’t take any of these money-grubbing, wool-sucking pests with us.
So I woke up this morning and realized “F-ck. I have to wash every piece of clothing.” Then Em started barfing. Perfect.
My question is, do I really have to wash everything? Even Fia and Emmett’s clothes? I don’t think they have moths. I’ve never seen one in their rooms and they don’t have wool or cashmere. And what about our sheets and towels? This seems to be a huge undertaking the day before we move. I know they can lay their eggs anywhere though. They only feast on wool/cashmere. Right now I have 4 huge plastic garbage bags full of clean clothes, tied up and staying moth-free. What’s another 10 more loads?
I know that the east/southeast coast is paralyzed with ice and snow and this may not be the biggest problem to anyone. Not even me, really. But I just wanted to check in, tell you why I wasn’t blogging so much, and on the off chance anyone has had a moth problem, I’d love to hear your advice.
Em just woke up from his nap and has diarrhea. So now I actually do have a bigger problem.
I will check in soon. Bye for now.
Pic of sick baby via Shutterstock
Moth pic via Shutterstock
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baby barf, cashmere, cedar, construction, cotton, diarrhea, fever, moth balls, moth eggs, moths, movers, moving, new house, renovation, stomach flu, wool | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips
Thursday, November 28th, 2013
We are about to enter Black Friday. A day I could care less about. I hate shopping and on that day it takes it to a suicidal level. But some people like the chaos of it. Others, like me, would rather eat cat food than step foot in a store. So I order a lot of stuff online.
But no matter how you shop, I want to give a shout out to my best friend Suzy Ultman who has a line of products at Land Of Nod, Crate and Barrel, Etsy and Chronicle–all of which you can order online. Some of her stuff you can find in the stores as well.
It’s super fun, whimsical items/toys, creativitely designed and perfect for your Christmas tree and for your kids at Christmas.
Here are a few of her ornaments from Crate and Barrel. Click here to see the whole collection.
Her “Box World Adventures” was chosen by FamilyFun magazine as one of the “Most Creative Toys and Games of 2013.”
She also has a Shrinky Dink Craft Kit and some Needlepoint Fun at Land of Nod.
Suzy and I met in 9th grade and have been through so much together over the years. She has been a single mom of 2 boys for the past 5 years, trying to build up her career and make a living as an illustrator. She has made extraordinary strides in the marketplace. Check out her entire collection at Etsy and all of her product line from Chronicle.
Here’s to a stay-at-home-Black -Friday!
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Thursday, November 21st, 2013
I like to think I’m not a helicopter parent. I certainly worry but I try not to hover. And as much as I want Fia and Emmett to stay with me forever and never leave (kidding, but I do have my moments of wanting to bottle this time in my life with them) I consider it my duty to teach them independence from me.
I see friends who coddle their kids incessantly. I had a playdate once where Fia took a toy from a kid. She was 2. The mom kind of freaked. “Fia, give the toy back. You can’t take it from her,” she yelled. I remember thinking, seriously? Sure I want to teach my kids to share, and no, I don’t believe in the RIE movement of letting your kids work everything out on their own. But come on. Hovering over them at every moment is ridiculous.
Sidenote: here is my favorite RIE moment: a mom brings her kid over and he finds a 4 foot long tree branch and starts waving it around, nearly pummeling Fia. Instead of taking the stick away she says, “I try not to get too involved because I want him to learn the space around him.” Um, okay, what about my child’s brain that almost got fractured? RIE parenting at its finest. Needless to say she never came over again.
So now I ask: who is aware of Stephanie Metz and the blog post she wrote, about helicopter parenting and bullying, that went viral? Who agrees and disagrees with what she is saying? On many points, I agree with her. But on others, I think she needs to realize that with bullying, we do live in a different world than the one she and I grew up in. There were not the Columbines and the Newtowns of the world. I’m guessing since she lives in North Dakota, she is pro-gun. Most people in that part of the country are. So her “world” is probably different from someone who is raising a kid in LA, Chicago or NYC.
Nevertheless, here are some of her points (and click here to read the entire blog):
Many years ago, there was a time where young boys could run around with their toy guns, killing the bad guys. You could take the toy guns away from the little boys, and they’d find something else around them – a stick, their fingers, etc – and pretend it was a gun. Today, those little boys – if caught doing that – are labeled as threats, and immediate action is taken to remove that threat from the group.
I don’t totally buy that. I know plenty of little boys who run around playing pretend gun who don’t get removed from their group or school. But with gun violence at record numbers, shouldn’t gun-playing other than the Lone Ranger and Tonto, be, if not discouraged, at least not encouraged? And I do know that boys typically do display that behavior even if they grow up in an anti-gun house. They just pick it up somewhere, like preschool. I will say that I am not going to encourage Emmet to run around “playing gunfight” and I’m not going to buy him a toy gun. At least not now. Maybe when he’s 7 my perspective will change.
Your child, who you cater to every need, who you shelter from all things “evil.” How will this child react when he or she grows into adulthood? ”Debbie” graduates from high school and goes to college. She writes her first paper and meets with her professor about that paper and the professor tells her that it’s junk and it will get a failing grade. How will Debbie cope with that if she’s always been made to feel that no one should ever make her feel sad, or criticize anything she does?
I totally agree with her. That’s why I’m against giving rewards for every little accomplishment. Or when they play team sports and “everybody wins.” Kids need to learn how to lose. Just like they need to learn how to be bored (in regards to my technology post this week that frankly scared the crap out of me with the new research related to kids and boredom). And I do think technology has a lot to do with this as well.
Stephanie writes about how kids grow up and find rejection in the workplace and the real world. She writes about how they can’t handle it. I agree. Kids can’t learn coping skills on any level when they grow up buried in their gadgets. They can’t learn proper socialization either. So for me, this is a combo of helicopter parenting and parenting with your iPad. She seems on the mark with that too.
My children are all but ignored when they ask for something without using manners. They understand that when someone addresses or speaks to them, they are to speak back. When we go out to eat, we don’t take 5 electronic devices to keep them “entertained” for the 15 minutes we have to wait for our food. If Hendrix is “bored” (and I use that term loosely), then he can put on his jacket and go play outside.
But where I don’t agree with her is in her stance on bullying.
There was a time – not too long ago – when bullying was defined as slamming someone up against a locker and stealing their lunch money. There was a time when kids got called names and got picked on, and they brushed it off and worked through it (ask me how I know this). Now, if Sally calls Susie a bitch (please excuse my language if that offends you), Susie’s whole world crumbles around her, she contemplates suicide, and this society encourages her to feel like her world truly has ended, and she should feel entitled to a world-wide pity party. And Sally – phew! She should be jailed! She should be thrown in juvenile detention for acting like – gasp – a teenage girl acts.
Again, factor in the technology. Factor in that peers can totally f–k with you on Facebook, Twitter, etc. This is the first generation where this is happening. And it’s not good. Add that to the peer pressure of a teenage boy and girl and we’ve seen tragic results. I don’t think kids who are bullied become suicidal solely because they had helicopter parents. But once again, when kids aren’t taught to lose, cope or be bored, it’s a lethal combination on many levels.
So go read her post, weigh in and let me know your thoughts. Her post went from 8 readers to over a million, so it’s worth taking a look at.
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pic of helicopter and stroller via Shutterstock
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bullying, Gun control, gun fighting, gun violence, helicopter parents, kids and ipads, Metz family, Newtown, North Dakota, play guns, rie parenting, Stephanie Metz, technology addiction, television | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Must Read
Sunday, November 17th, 2013
I had a sitter the other night who the kids love. But this time they were antsy. Bored. They wouldn’t let me get ready. Emmett wailed when I tried to leave the room.
“Fine, you guys can watch a Super Why,” I said.
Yes, it was the path of least resistance. Yes, it was easier. But according to some new studies, there is a real danger in what I did.
Research is showing that kids who watch a lot of television and play on the iPad, iPhone, etc., are growing up to have “sustained attention” problems. Now before you stop reading and think, “Yeah, yeah I’ve heard this before,” hear me out. There’s some really new–and interesting– information surfacing. You have to remember that middle and high school kids who are growing up with this modern technology are giving us more and more insight into what it all means and the impact it is having. This is important stuff. Here’s the scoop:
When you walk in the door with your phone or text in front of your kid, you are sending a message to them that they aren’t as important (yes, we’ve heard that before). But you’re also sending a message that this device keeps your attention a lot of the time. When’s the last time you sat in the doctor’s office doing nothing while waiting for your name to be called? Or just sat quietly, not on your phone, waiting for your take-out meal to be ready? How many times have you given the phone to your kid at a restaurant because you want to enjoy your meal? I’m guilty on all counts.
All of the above is teaching them that technology soothes. What’s happening is kids are losing the ability to “self-soothe.” They aren’t just sitting still, using their imagination. Kids need to be bored in order to figure out how to become “un”-bored. They need to misbehave to learn how to behave. If they are being difficult at a restaurant, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that giving them your phone is the wrong thing to do. Have them color or play some sort of game. Or leave and give them a time-out. Yes, your meal gets cut short. It sucks. But giving them a phone when they whine is not in their best interest. Especially as they grow.
The brains of infants through preschoolers begin making deep connections that teach them to use their imaginations and creativity to “soothe” for lack of a better word, when they’re bored. Researchers are now finding that kids who grow up watching television when they’re bored and playing on the computer/iPad, are getting to middle and high school and not being able to complete “boring” assignments. For example, if you have to read a boring book and write a term paper about it, which when I was in school, was a reality, you had to just push on through. Nowadays they are finding kids don’t have that deep connection to even get through the work. So academically many kids are hitting a wall. It’s a wall that apparently could have been prevented if parents hadn’t been so quick to let them watch a lot of television or play on the computer.
It then trickles into the work world. They get a job. They are bored. They quit. The consequences are dire.
My pediatrician gave me some tips.
- Don’t even let your kids see the phone. Put it in your purse or your pocket when you walk in the door.
- If you have to go send some emails, leave the room to do it. Tell them you have some work to do for a few minutes and to entertain themselves.
- When you are with your kids, focus on them during the crucial times. She gave an example: 30 minutes of play, then dinner, bath, book, bed=NO PHONE.
- No more than an hour of television a day.
(I’d say we usually let them watch 1 1/2 hours a day. On weekends more. Yikes).
- No TV for kids under 2 (which I know we’ve heard and has been hotly debated by the American Academy of Pediatricians).
I’ve failed on that and now Em gets excited when Fia gets to watch a show, so I’m not backtracking. What I will do is cut down on the TV she is allowed to watch, so he naturally will, too. And honestly, he watches for about 10 minutes then leaves the room and plays with his cars or something.
The thought of my kids growing up not knowing how to use their imaginations to their full ability because their brains weren’t trained properly is really scary to me. I am not one to sit still and I’m not promising when I’m at the doctor by myself, that I won’t pull out my phone while waiting. But I don’t have to write term papers in 8th grade. My brain development is done. Actually I’d say it’s on the decline judging by my meat fiasco last week. So I take that back: Maybe I should work on sitting still and doing nothing. That’s what my meditation app is having me do. Okay, I’m going to make a commitment to do this.
My guest blogger Joe Deprospero decided to stop playing Words With Friends on this phone because he could feel the distraction it was causing at home. If we each decide to change one part of our technology lifestyle, think of the ripple effect that could have. Especially on our families. And you don’t have to go all or nothing. Just tweak.
I did cut down a lot on technology after I wrote about it last year. But this is a good reminder. Anyone else want to join?
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Pic of girl on iPad via Shutterstock
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ADD, ADHD, boredom, computer, imaginations, ipad, iphone, sustained attention, technology, technology addiction, video games | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips
Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
I get a bit giddy when it comes to snot. Slightly obsessed too. I am also happy to report Fia is actually beginning to blow her nose. She can push out some good stuff when she’s in the mood and really tries. I also have to beg her. And bribe her.
But I’m a bit confused on the color for snot when it comes to sickness. I always thought that clear meant no infection and you could be around other kids, but yellow or green meant an infection/contagious. However, my friend just told me that both her son’s teachers and her pediatrician said the opposite. They said that when the snot is clear it is contagious, since the cold is just starting. Yellow and green snot means it’s on its way out and you’re okay.
I looked online and got more confused. WebMD lists so many colors and variations, I need a color wheel and more brain cells to break it down. Dr. Oz said the opposite of what my friend was told:
- Clear/white: healthy
- Yellow/green: bacterial or viral infection
- Pink/red: bleeding or damaged tissue
So what’s the truth? Anyone?
I will tell you all about one device you must run out and get if you have a kid 3 or under. Not sure over 3 would tolerate it. Fia won’t. It is the most incredible thing I’ve ever experienced. It’s a snot sucker called The Nose Frida. But YOU suck out your kids’ snot. It sounds primitive (and gross to some). But it was developed by doctors in Sweden and we all know the Swedes are brilliant. You put a tube in your kids nose. On the other end of the connecting tube, you put your mouth. Then you suck. What comes out and the gratification that follows is nothing short of glorious. For the sucker. Not the one being sucked. Emmett shrieks. But what kid likes any of that stuff? Fia of course always wants me to do it to Emmett because when it comes to her little brother, she’s a bit of a masochist.
Warning: It’s not for the faint of heart. Phil gets so grossed out, he can’t even be in the same room. I, on the other hand, confessed recently to being a picker. So I think if you have the “picker gene” you’ll be as excited as I am.
BTW– It’s totally hygienic because there is a filter by your end of the tube. You never swallow your kids’ snot. It’s impossible.
Okay, let me know your thoughts on the color of snot so we can continue what I hope will be a very lively discussion.
Use this handy quiz to decide whether your kid is too sick for school. Plus, find out which 12 sick kid symptoms you should never ignore.
Image of snotty baby via Shutterstock
Photo of Nose Frida from Amazon
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clear snot, cold, contagious, contagious snot, green snot, infection, infection snot, nose aspirator, nose blowing, Nose Frida, Pediatrician, sick, snot, snot sucker, toddler nose blowing, yellow snot | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Must Read