one thousand and one

As moms, we are everything to our children. They see us as the smartest, the funniest, the nicest, the prettiest, the cuddliest, the oldest, the fastest, the strongest. Meeting their day-to-day expectations of us can be hard and daunting sometimes, but it can also be quite simple, really.

This is part of a conversation I had with my three-year-old little boy the other day:

No honey. Besides the fact that dinosaurs don’t live here anymore, I’m pretty sure we couldn’t fit one in our living room or in our kitchen for that matter. They are kinda big.

thanks kiddo.

lisa

when parenting meets reality

reality

Have you ever met the perfect parent? Well I have to say that before I had kids, I was the perfect parent. In my pre-kids era, I had a big old list of all the things my kids would NEVER ever do, say, or wear. Here are some examples:

  1. My kids will always listen.
  2. My kids will never have boogers hanging from their nose.
  3. My kids will always be respectful and use “inside voices” in appropriate places and situations.
  4. My kids will never hang off the shopping cart crying at Target or run away from me and hide in a sea of clothes racks.
  5. My kids will never have meltdowns in public places.
  6. My kids will never jump on furniture or on each other for that matter.
  7. My kids will always say “please” and “thank you.”
  8. My kids will always be dressed neatly and will never “wear” their breakfast, lunch, or dinner or eat off of the floor.
  9. My kids will never push, hit, or pull the hair of another human being.
  10. My kids will never throw things while having a tantrum. Oh heck, my kids will never throw a tantrum.
Then reality set in when I became a mom. I had to tweek my list a bit. Here goes:
1. My kids will always listen. Except when they don’t and I have to send them to time out.
2. My kids will never have boogers hanging from their nose. Except when they’re sick or when I haven’t gotten around to wiping them yet or I forgot to use my sleeve.
3. My kids will always be respectful and use “inside voices” in appropriate places and situations. Except when they shout and I have to remove them from said place (museum, movie theater, grocery store, library, etc.).
4. My kids will never hang off the shopping cart crying at Target or run away from me and hide in a sea of clothes racks. Except when I lose sight of them for one second and I start frantically calling their name and searching for them, only to find them hiding in a sea of flannel pajamas. 
Can you find my kid? Yeah, me neither.
5. My kids will never have meltdowns in public places. Except when they are cranky and they want something and I say “NO!”
6. My kids will never jump on furniture or on each other for that matter. Except when they get excited about something and decide to celebrate by cannon-balling off the sofa.
7. My kids will always say “please” and “thank you.” Except when they forget or don’t want to and I have to remind them. {again and again and again and again}.
8. My kids will always be dressed neatly and will never “wear” their breakfast, lunch, or dinner or eat off of the floor. Except when they are babies and toddlers and kids, because HELLO- kids are messy and get dirty.
9. My kids will never push, hit, or pull the hair of another human beingExcept every so often when said human being steals their toy and I can’t get in there quick enough to prevent the pushing or hitting or pulling from happening. 
10. My kids will never throw things while having a tantrum. Oh heck, my kids will never throw a tantrum. Except when they do. Because kids are kids and sometimes they get upset and don’t have the capacity to control their feelings. After all, they’re just kids. 

As you can see, I had extremely high parenting expectations before I had kids. I think a lot of (first time) parents do. But now that they’re here in the flesh, I have succumbed to the reality that I can’t control everything. My family is not perfect. The best I can do is teach my kids right from wrong, instill proper values into their lives, and above all else, love them unconditionally. Oh and hope for the best.

sleep baby sleep

At 2:49am, I was awakened by my three-year-old crying. I ran to his room and found him sitting up in bed asking for his Lightning McQueen car. I’m sure he was dreaming because all I did was hush him a bit, hold him for a few minutes, and cuddle him (and myself) back to sleep. At 4:15am, I awoke in his bed (make that partially in his bed since the whole right side of my body was hanging off the edge), my neck cranked, my body freezing (he stole all the covers), and my left arm stuck underneath his pillow. I tried to gently free my arm without waking him so I could quietly head for the door and back to my own room. Success! Well sort of.

In a sleepy stupor, I was making my way down the hallway to my bedroom only to be met by my five-year-old doing the pee pee dance. I escorted her to the bathroom and then to her bedroom, tucked her back in and kissed her goodnight. Checked the clock (4:27am) and plopped my body back into my own bed. Oh good, the husband didn’t hear a thing. He is sleeping soundly. I’m so glad the kids didn’t wake him. Sigh.

If kids sleeping through the night is any indication of parenting success, I am a complete and utter failure. I’m not saying we’re up every night, but we’re definitely not where I’d like to be in the “Please Sleep Through the Night Challenge.” And my kids are three and five!

So when do babies start sleeping fully through the night?

I believe there is no set age for which a baby should be sleeping through the night. In fact, to me it sounds almost illogical that we as a society have put these demands on ourselves to “train” our children to sleep when really we have little control over the outcome. Yes, when they’re young we can make sure they are fed and changed. We can develop a night time routine of bathing and rocking to sooth and calm them. We can make sure they are warm enough or cool enough by dressing them appropriately. We can accept teething for what it is- a nightmarish disaster in terms of ruining the months of hard work we just put in!! And when they’re a wee bit older, we can make sure they get plenty of exercise during the day. We can continue to give them a warm bath and start reading them books before bed.

But the bottom line remains: All kids are different. All families are different. Some are breast feeding, some are bottle feeding. Some are co-sleeping, some are crib sleeping. The sleep/wake development of children is more nature than nurture. Personally, my kids have never been great sleepers. I used to compare myself to other moms, but no more. I have found that for some reason we take pride in having a “good” baby who quickly takes to sleeping through the night. The pediatrician congratulates you, society congratulates you. Yet we feel shame if our child is not. Apparently because they haven’t conformed to the “newborn baby rule book.” The pediatrician is sometimes quick to judge and others often express opinions about what you may be doing wrong.

Unless there is an underlying medical reason your child is not sleeping through the night, there is no need to worry. Do the best you can to accommodate the needs of your baby and your family. If you know you’re kids aren’t great sleepers, go to bed an hour earlier each night or try and sneak in a nap during the day (if possible).

And if tonight, I find myself semi-conscious, wandering the halls of my home at 2:00am with one kid in my arms and one by the hand- I’m beelining it back to my bedroom and telling the hubby it’s his turn. It’s only fair.

dr. lisa

i see red

In keeping with the red theme for Valentine’s Day, I’ve decided to revisit one of my biggest annoyances when it comes to holidays and children, and that is stuffing them with tons and tons of treats and candy. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all about fun and the occasional cookie or bag of skittles here and there. What I can’t stand is the fact that children almost always associate holidays with junk food and crap that’s not good for them. And in our culture, it’s acceptable for them to think that way. In fact, society actually pushes this trash on them- and teachers, parents (me included), and grandparents, etc., fall for it hook, line, and sinker.

Let’s take Valentine’s Day for example. When did this day turn into an all-out cookie, cake, and every-kind-of-candy you can think of festival? When I was younger all I remember doing is exchanging folded Scooby Doo or Barbie valentines. Oh and the little candy hearts with sayings on them. Not anymore. My kindergartener came home yesterday with a huge bag filled with valentines plus all sorts of goodies- from M&M’s and red suckers to foiled chocolate hearts and pixie stix. Besides the diabetes-in-a-bag treats, her class also had a St. Valentine party. This included a plate filled with chocolate chip cookies, Hershey kisses, and cupcakes. All at once! For five year olds! I don’t know about you, but I find that completely insane.

While I happily participated in sending in a bag of goodies (in my defense I sent in plastic rings, bouncy balls, and stickers all of which were probably made in China, but I’ll save that for another post), I don’t place blame on any of the other parents for sending in treat bags at the school’s request. I think it’s pretty safe to say the blame should be put on all of us as parents for tolerating and participating in the rising epidemic of type II diabetes and obesity and hyperactivity that has gripped our nation’s youth in the last decade. I know Valentine’s Day is only one day of sugar fun for kids in school and there’s no need to overreact, but-

From Boo! Wake up!

The problem is that for most kids in the US it’s not just one day, it’s every day. Every day our children are bombarded with ads for crap food and sugary drinks. Fundraisers at school for cookie dough, frozen pizzas, potato chips, and chocolate candy. SpongeBob and Dora spewed all over every fruit gummy treat in the store. Colored food products targeted to children around every corner. From popsicles and colored goldfish crackers to fruit loops cereal and M&M’s.

I really believe it’s time for us to ban together and say enough is enough. I’m starting NOW. Tomorrow for snack, I’m sending in Raw Revolution Organic Live Food Bars made with all-natural organic ingredients including cashews, dates, spirulina, almonds, and sprouted flax. Oh boy, the kids are gonna love me. What are you sending in?

Health is contagious.

dr. lisa

my ♥ affair with Pinterest

Since Valentine’s Day is upon us, I feel the need to express my love for a social networking site that has me pinning pretty potted plants to my gardening board, organizing my fitness goals, decorating my home and LOVING every minute of it! Pinterest to me, is a dream. From fun-to-do crafts for the kids, inspirational quotes and books worth reading- to products I love, places I’ve been and music that moves me. Pinterest is a rainbow of sunshine and yummy goodness all wrapped up in a neat little package just for me, and I’ve fallen HEAD over HEELS!

Everything is perfect and pretty and inspiring. Pinterest is like a superlative parallel universe where weeds don’t grow, everyone is overcome with happiness, and no one is raining on your parade, ever. You can build, redecorate, create, and bake, even if it’s just within the parameters of your own head. Imagination, thoughts, and ideas are endless. It’s living life through a Pottery Barn catalogue, except way better.

Does it mirror real life? Obviously not. Is it better than real life? Maybe, but probably not. Do I enjoy it? Yes. Do I sometimes feel less than adequate when I’m rummaging through pins and suddenly get the reality check that I’m probably not the craftiest mom on the block? Yes. But I don’t let that get me down. I’m in Pinterest world.

A world where I can build my kids a Dr. Seuss tree house:

 http://pinterest.com/pin/14707136252634831/

and have their play area look like this:

http://pinterest.com/pin/242631498644094701/

 and serve them up lunches that look like this:

http://pinterest.com/pin/197032552416938628/

A world where I just renovated my bathroom:

http://pinterest.com/pin/159033430561047067/

and finally added on that sunroom:

http://pinterest.com/pin/210402613810700157/

Tried my hand at a little baking:

http://pinterest.com/pin/153192824794253679/

and a little crafting:

http://pinterest.com/pin/139541288424175562/

Oh Pinterest, how I love thee. You are unstoppable with your limitless categories and superfluous pins that keep me oohing and ahhing and pinning like it’s my job. I have a date with my husband tonight (it is Valentine’s Day, ya know), but I promise to meet you a little later after he goes to bed.

be mine.

lisa

momthropology 101


Knock knock.
Who’s there?
High School.
__________

Why is it that it’s the year 2012 and yet sometimes I feel like I’ve been transported back to the mid-90’s? It’s not the latest fashion trends. It’s definitely not the music. And it’s not even the fact that today I spotted at least 3 women (4, if you include me) at the grocery store sporting “The Rachel.”

After careful observation, I have concluded that mommyhood is basically high school all over again. You know, the time in your life when you’re desperately searching to find out who you are and where you most fit in.

In high school, we had the jocks, preps, punks, popular, dramas, nerds, grunge (yes, grunge).

In mommyhood, we have the working moms, stay-at-home moms, soccer moms, helicopter moms, tiger moms, crunchy moms, yoga moms, yada yada yada. And just like in high school where I floated from clique to clique never really cementing myself into one particular group- motherhood has been a similar experience for me. From the outside, most people would probably say I am more of a crunchy-granola-yoga mom because I choose organic foods, I love to exercise and do yoga, and I try to implement an all around healthy and green lifestyle for my family. But to me, I am just a mish mosh of mom types that never really fit into a mold pre- or post kids:

  • I breast-fed both my children well into toddlerhood, but used disposable diapers.
  • I co-slept initially, but kicked them out as soon as I possibly could.
  • I wore my babies for about 30 seconds, then opted for a stroller.
  • I made my own baby food (once or twice), then busted out the Earth’s Best.
  • I put my kids in time-out and yell when I’m mad.
  • I get tired, cranky, irritated- and am not afraid to admit it.
  • I say “no” to my kids, then change my mind so they will stop nagging me.
  • I make mistakes, but try my hardest to learn from them.
  • Potty training is/was a pain in the ass.

In my experience with motherhood, I think it’s safe to say that versatility is key. Decide what works for you and your family and use it. Keep an open mind and be willing to change and adapt. Take our culture’s obsession with fitting moms into a particular group or category with a grain of salt. The bottom line: We’re moms leading different [crazy] lives and we need all the support we can get to feel confident in our parenting choices. You might be surprised to find the best mom friends you meet could be the ones that do the exact opposite of you.

lisa

ps. Meet me in the cafeteria, I saved you a seat.