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Monday, August 27, 2012

just do it already!

Here’s the thing, as mothers we are all busy, all the time, every single day, every moment of every day. Even when we’re blogging or Facebooking or sitting on the couch Pinteresting, we’re BUSY people! We don’t stop. There is always something more to do. I get it. You’re super busy, can’t think to do another thing.

Yet that’s my point.
The busier we moms are, the more we tend to make excuses for avoiding doing tedious tasks that we know we need to do, that perhaps will even make our busy lives much easier and less overwhelming. And yet we find reasons (ahem, excuses!) for why we can’t or shouldn’t or, quite frankly, won’t do these tasks.
Typically the tasks are household chores. Things like weeding through kids old clothes or shoes to find what doesn’t fit anymore, cleaning out the car, or tossing out the old magazines in the recycle bin, or cleaning up the desk that is cluttered with papers and old mail and pens that haven’t worked since the baby arrived three years ago.
It’s things like this that we find no use for, no time for really, so we end up not doing them and then our lives become more cluttered, more scattered, more challenging in the end. A simple task of writing out a bill or thank you note at the desk takes 10 minutes longer because we can’t find a pen that works or where we put the stamps that we swear we just purchased the other day!
Stop for a moment, write a list of all the things in your home, car, life, work, etc. that make your life more complicated, more difficult, and then take even two of those things and attempt to fix them to make them work for you not against you, I swear your life would be A LOT easier.

It usually feels like a bigger task than it really is. I make it up in my head that it’s going to take SO long and I don’t have time and I’m too tired… until weeks go by without me doing the dreaded task that I know will make life better if I’d only just do it already! Then once I do it, just like with working out, it always goes by quickly, takes little time, and I do feel great afterward.
Tonight my task was something that’s literally been on my list of things to do this summer since June! I finally forced myself to do it and honestly it took me 35 minutes tops! I cleaned out the bottom of my kitchen sink where all the cleaning supplies, trash bags, candles, vases, etc. have lived for the last 3 years since we moved in and have never been touched or organized! Pinterest gave me the idea to get it organized, so there you have it. I threw out an entire garbage bag worth of old supplies, as well as found a bag worth of candles and vases to donate.

I forgot to take a “before” picture, but it was SO cluttered and messy in there. Now, things have a place and are all in buckets and organized. Love it! I know this will make it easier for me when rushing to clean. Things won’t fall out anymore. I won’t have things in there we don’t need just wasting space, and I won’t buy a third bottle of floor cleaner not knowing if we have any or not, so I’ll save money! Perfect? No, but it’s so much better than it was!
My point is yes, we’re all busy, of course we are, we’re mothers. Yet we need to act like the CEOs of our household companies that we are and take a step back to analyze and reassess the situation here. Is everything working the way it should? Are we doing things the best possible way we could be? Is it efficient how we run this household? Could we do better? Are there things that just take too long and if we did it differently we’d actually save time? Could we be saving money, helping the environment better, making our spouses happier with us in the process?
Take a moment – during nap time perhaps – and walk around your house. Find what works and keep it going. Find what doesn’t and write it on a list. Eventually get to it. I try to get to one thing a week or a month, whatever you end up having time for is fine. Just get to it, make sure you actually do it!
Time is too precious to not have things in top working order. Again, I don’t mean perfection or even spotless cleanliness. Just things where they need to be to make your life easier. Organization is key. Pre-planning helps. But really, kicking your own butt to just get to it is what will really do the trick! So move like Nike and “just do it!”
 (More on this topic coming soon - ideas for ways to simplify your life by getting organized, and more! Don't be scared!)

step to it - week 7

Day 1
I ran outside, in the afternoon, with two sleepy kids. Perfect. It's getting SO much easier to pack us up and out the door now that baby goes a little longer between eating sessions and son is loving walking outside. It's all how it goes with two kids now I'm realizing, it all gets easier, little by little.

Day 2
I ran today even though my son is in full potty training mode and I'm supposed to be reminding him to head to the potty every like 2 seconds! I HAD to escape out of the house after being here for days doing nothing but potty clean up. So after he successfully peed on the potty, I quickly got us ready and out the door for a run in the amazing fall-like sunny morning we had here in Maine. It was perfect, too. I ran the whole way without needing a quick stretch break for my poor knee. The air felt so good and it's so much easier breathing when it's not sticky and humid out.

I felt today like I'm getting there!

Later that day
Twisted my ankle taking laundry down to the basement to wash. I think it's a sign for me to SLOW DOWN. I was literally praying "pleeeease be OK ankle, I NEEEED to run! please be OK!" It's still sore, so perhaps taking tomorrow off from running... but hoping to be fine after that. Ah. I am so close, don't want to mess it up now!

Day 3
So the thing is, day 3 didn't happen this week. I intended to make day 3 running session happen, just a few days late, after resting the very twisted and sore even when walking around the house ankle I twisted a few days ago, yet that didn't happen. Because the day I intended to try out walking faster on it to see if it was ready to run on I got this terrible ear infection thing and am on some steroid medication that makes me feel weird and I can't hear and it's hard to breathe as it is let alone attempt huffing and puffing on the treadmill running. So I was planning to just post this week's post later than normal. Yet now I'm giving in and realizing I can't run this third day session of this week 7 because I still feel like crap and it's 4 days later. So I'll forego this run. And remind myself that it's OK, I will still run my 5k soon and I will be just fine and run again. I need my health first for my kids and going back to work this week, so running has to wait until I feel better. Week 8's running will start SOON, I swear! Can't keep me down for long!

(I'm realizing a lot about running and being a mom. The two are quite similar really. You have to put yourself as a priority or else nothing else in your life will work out or be strong. You have to be strong first above all else. Hard lessons to learn... but you can get there one step at a time. Love it.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

book - The No-Cry Potty Training Solution

(NOTE: How CRAZY is it that I started writing this review at 6 a.m., and by 7:45 a.m. my son was completely out of the blue telling me "no more diapers, Mama, wear big boy underwear" and I was spending the morning in the bathroom reading books with him and watching him pee on the potty and then have a few pee accidents around the house and outside... but starting his own potty thing?! CRAZY.)

I received the coolest email a few months back from the very author of this and so many other well-known No-Cry Solution books! She complimented me on my blog and other reviews I had done of her sleep books (found here, and the next thing I knew in the mail came two awesome brand-new books of hers! I'm still excited about this! (Review of The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution book coming soon!).

I LOVE these No-Cry Solution books. Mainly because they are SO straight-forward, easy to read, and just REAL. You can tell Pantley is a mother - of four no less. She has been through all that she writes about, and it shows with her real-time tips on how to navigate some of the toughest situations.

The No-Cry Potty Training Solution - Gentle Ways to Help Your Child Say Good-Bye to Diapers by Elizabeth Pantley

This was an awesome book! Easy to follow, short and sweet, to the point, and included great potty training tips.

What is this all about? Some basic tips starting on page 2:
-It takes 3 to 12 months from the start to end of training to be dry during the day. "The more readiness skills that a child possesses, the quicker the process will be," Pantley wrote (page 2).

-Kids are physically able to independently toilet between ages 2 1/2 and 4.

-Nighttime dryness can't be rushed, it's based on physiology.

-"A parent's readiness to train is just as important as a child's readiness to learn," she wrote (page 2).
This wasn't something I had considered before. But it's true, the more frustrated parents act at a kid peeing on the floor for the 10th time, the more frustrated the kid is going to be and therefore not want to learn anymore.

-Most toddlers go pee every 2 hours or so and have about 2 bowel movements during a day.

"More than 80 percent of children experience setbacks in toilet training," she wrote (page 3).
This is comforting really!

On page 9 Pantley gives a great quick guide of "Solving Common Toilet Training Problems." You can find an issue and she gives the possible reason it is happening, as well as some solutions. A great list!

It ain't over til it's over.
I love this quote about when this process of training will be over:
"A child will complete toilet training when his biology, skills, and development have matured to a point that he is capable and willing to take over complete control of his toileting. Only then can he recognize the need to go, stop his play, go to the toilet, handle the entire process, and return to his play." (page 15)

It takes time!
Pantley mentioned in her book that it's really not potty "training," per se, but rather it's potty "learning." She uses the term training though because she polled many parents and found that most would research training instead of learning and she wanted the book to serve as a resource people can find easily. However, she agrees it's really a learning process, like teaching a child to walk or eat. It takes a while, they need to be developmentally ready for it, and you can lead the way but stick close to what the child needs and wants.

In chapter 3, Pre-Potty Training: Getting Ready!, Pantley explains how one can prepare a child to get ready to learn to use the potty. She wrote on page 39, "When children learn a new skill, they rarely learn it all at once. Typically, they learn in manageable pieces, a little at a time. Think about how your child learned to run. The process began way back when he was an infant and learned to hold up his head and shoulders to control his body. He progress to sitting, then to crawling, and on to walking while you held his hands. Soon he was cruising the furniture. After a time, he took those first shaky steps, and once those were mastered he began to run. This natural sequence of events took anywhere from ten to twenty months of time. In the same way that you patiently and methodically helped your child learn to run, you can encourage him to learn about the many details involved in toilet training." 

This was the most important part of the book to me - realizing that "potty training" is not just a few days or a week-long thing and your kid gets it. That's what I honestly always imagined. I don't know where I got that idea, but before becoming a mom that's what I thought. After reading and talking to other moms the term "potty trained" is a lose term that really means a whole bunch of stages of learning to potty. Now that I see this process the same as my son learning to walk or run, it's broken it down a lot for me and actually is less daunting and less pressure.

On page 26 is a great list of things that are needed in order to successfully learn to use the potty, such as communicating the need to use the toilet, controlling the release of urine and stool, having interest in the process, etc.

On page 51, Pantley explained "The Magic Two." These are the two things that are paramount when teaching a child to use the potty - "The teacher's attitude and the teacher's level of patience." This is SO true! I had so many people ask me why we were waiting to potty train my 2-year-old, when we had a baby on the way in a few months and wouldn't it be easier to have him trained and out of diapers by the time another came along in diapers? Heck no, I said! Of course it'd be ideal, but I knew he was not ready, and frankly neither were my husband and I. We didn't have the patience or time or energy or for me even the physical stamina at 8 months pregnant to train our 2-year-old. Also, our toddler was already experiencing many changes around the house and in his life that we knew adding one more thing to his plate would not go well. Had he been shouting from the rooftop that he wanted to get out of diapers, sure, we would have listened, but he wasn't so we didn't push it. It's true though, everyone needs to be on board in this process.

Tip: Just getting your busy toddler to sit on the potty is considered success. LOVE THIS straight-forward point. I've always wondered when do we get excited for him, when he's pooped? when he's sat there long enough to read a story? I love this answer.

On page 78, Pantley offers some great ways to get your child interested by saying things like, "Do you want to use the potty upstairs or downstairs? Do you want to walk or run to the potty?" versus saying "Do you want to use the potty or have to use the potty?"

Tip: Teach boys sitting down first. I've never had a reason until now I read this book. Pantley suggests it's easier to teach a child one thing - sitting down for both pee and poop - versus having to teach him to stand for pee and sit for poop. Standing will come with time.

Overall, a great resource. I'd definitely recommend this as the go-to potty-training book because of how easy it was and how specific the tips seemed to be. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

toddlers - they're ALL crazy.

Me + 2-year-old toddler + infant + home during maternity leave and then summer vacation from work as a school employee = CRAZY but FUN!

It's meant we've been on the go a lot. When people ask me what my daughter's nap routine is now that she's less a newborn and more a little person, I laugh and say "Um, whenever we're in the car on our way to a playground?!" Truth is, we've needed to get out of the house. Desperately some days. Sure, we've had our share of lounging around in the mornings until 10 before we get our of our pajamas, toys strewn around the house like Christmas morning after Santa's dropped off a ton of loot. But most days we are so eager to find something to kill a few hours out of the house.

So you get the picture. I've been everywhere this summer. Every playground you can find from here to northern Maine. Weekly story hours. Many, many, many family and friends play dates, parties, barbecues, beach outings, lake days, camp afternoons, vacation weekends, etc.

Through all of these travels and adventures we've found lots and lots of kids. Many of them toddlers like my son. And because I'm a mom, an observant counselor, and even a blogger always seeking new things to write about, I watch. I pay attention. And what I have seen this summer makes me so damn relieved. My son is totally average! He's just a toddler! Not a crazy maniac whom I had no clue how the hell developed from that tiny little adorable innocent infant he once was, cooing and laughing yet never talking back or screaming "Noooo, miiinneee!" I want to shout from the top of the spiral slide at the nearest playground my excitement at how normal he truly is!

I've been distraught for months now at my son's shortcomings in this toddler phase, thinking there is something wrong with us or with him. Yet now I know they're all this way! Every single toddler is Crazy with a capital C. Seriously.

Here's what I've learned, in all my toddler watching: Every toddler has his or her thing. They ALL do. I don't care whose kid it is, where they grow up, if they watch Sponge Bob or PBS or no TV at all - they ALL have their thing. That thing that would drive you nuts if you were their parent because your kid doesn't do that thing. (YET!) That thing that makes you silently think to yourself, "Man, I'm lucky my kid doesn't do that," or even more silently judge, "If my kid ever tried to do that, I'd_____" (fill in the blank with some superiority complex you have and your quick answer for how you'd deal with said issue you see in the other person's child.).

Here is what I've seen, again from an array of toddlers, at least 40 kids I'm talking about here. Some up close and personal at family or friends' houses, others from afar at playgrounds, grocery stores and other kid events:
hitting, slapping
flailing emotional mess on the floor after being told to put toys away
only eating certain foods and screeching at anything that doesn't resemble their well-known pasta or other
gibberish (talking in some random language nobody else understands)
asking why 10,000 times in a row
refusing to nap
waking up too early, screaming at being put to bed at night
playing with poop in the diaper in the crib
eating boogers
unbelievably bad at sharing
screaming noises that sound like an animal giving birth after being told no they can't have something they want
crying hysterically
ignoring whoever is talking to them
begging to watch TV / play with the iPad / listen to music over and over
overly emotional
fast, quicker than any parent can go
angry, grunting noises
saying "no," even to things the kid actually wants
throwing (toys, sand, shoes, Mom's cell phone, etc.)
mama/dada's boy/girl, won't leave their side
running away from parent in a public space
stealing food from another child
unbuckling seat belt in car
etc. etc. etc.

Sounds like a walk in the park, doesn't it?
Ah, toddlers! The joy! 

Seeing these challenging traits in other kids doesn't make for a pretty picture. It doesn't make me all giddy inside to see other parents struggle to manage this insane phase called toddlerhood.

However, in many ways it kinda does. It does make me feel much less crazy myself. It makes me feel less alone, like perhaps I'm not the only parent out there who doesn't know how to derail the runaway train that is my two-year-old who has learned to do this naughty behavior to get my attention. It makes me feel like my son is just what he is right now, in a phase, a totally active toddler - the way he is supposed to be. Exactly the way he's supposed to be - smart, figuring things out, finding his way in this big world, seeking independence, learning new ways to express himself, easily jealous, self-centered, free-spirited, and tantrum-prone.

It makes me feel like yes, sure, my husband and I have this toddler thing we have to deal with of hitting, terrible, ridiculous hitting of other kids when my son's overtired, hungry, jealous or frustrated and can't explain how he's feeling. This terrible toddler trait that makes us feel like loser parents, including many, many crying fits of our own late at night when we can't figure out how to make it stop before we lose our minds or invites to birthday parties. So seeing others struggle with something that isn't all that great either makes me know for sure that they're all this way. They all are growing, developing and coming into their independent selves. And it's supposed to be messy. No one ever said, "Oh, no, my toddler never ever acted in a negative or challenging way. She was absolutely perfect from age 1-4, no issues whatsoever!"

The biggest thing I have learned this summer through toddler watching is that we parents do the best we can. Our toddlers' terrible tantrums and other behaviors are not entirely a reflection of us as parents. Because my son hits does not mean he learned it from me or that I'm letting it go or saying it's acceptable. In fact, I would venture to say, from personal experience, that those kids who are behaving the worst in front of you probably have parents who are at their wits end from having tried 1,001 things from the Nanny 911 and Dr. Sears books that they are exhausted and have run out of tactics to try to prevent or stop this behavior altogether, and they can't just shelter their kid behind closed doors until the toddler years are over.

The best thing we parents can do is to realize that we aren't alone, ALL toddlers have their things. They're all a little nuts, really! And secondly, we can stop judging other parents and their kids for the messes they appear to be. The brain activity from age 2-4 is the exact same brain activity that is shown when these toddlers become teenagers from age 12-15. They are spastic, hormonal, growing, hot messes! And we get the lovely job of trying to take care of them - and ourselves - during that long phase. The least we can do is be a little understanding in the process.

So the next time you see my son misbehave, look closely to see me sighing and feeling like I suck at life and on the verge of tears because I don't know how to make this toddler thing go away ... just remind me that your kid has a "thing," too. Even if it's not hitting, it's something else on the list, I'm sure. It will make me feel better for one second to know that you get it. And when your kid does something equally embarrassing I'll remind you that "this too shall pass," and then probably ask you to go get a margarita with me during nap time so we can laugh with sad understanding at someone else's kid's thing!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

step to it - week 6

Day 1
This run was not fun. Baby was screaming, I mean screaming. I timed it wrong for sure with her. I had to hold her twice mid-run, to calm her down. I ended up going home to take care of her and finishing the last 2 minutes of the run later in the evening. Ah! Every time this happens I just remind myself that it is what it is. I can't time it better some days. I'm lucky to get in a run when I can. A lot of the time that's when kids are around. So be it. It makes for interesting blog posts, yeah, let's go with that!

Day 2
On the treadmill, in the heat, but I did it anyway because that's how it goes. The thing is, you just have to. You have to do it. You can't make excuses, because honestly there will ALWAYS be a thousand excuses why not to do something for yourself. So I'm realizing that even on the worst days - when baby is screaming or toddler is being well, a toddler, and I'm hot and tired and didn't sleep well last night and the laundry needs to be folded - you still have to do it. Because even with those obstacles and distractions it's better after I've run than if I had listened to the excuses in my head. Running makes it all better. It just does. So just do it.

Day after
I signed up for my second 5k ever, first one post-baby #2! YAY! Sooo excited, and yet nervous, too! I'm not sharing where or when it is though, as I only like my husband and kids there. Nobody else wants to see me be a sweaty mess, and I feel like it's less pressure to actually do it if I'm the only one who knows when it is. I'm so excited! I remember how accomplished and strong I felt after my first 5k two years ago. I hope to feel that way again.

(post-run, sweaty, happy glow! and I'm totally a mom - baby in stroller, toddler digging in the background, toys everywhere! love it)

Day 3
This was the best run I've had in a really long time. It was late in the afternoon, the air was cooler than it's been in a while. It made me think September is coming, which I suppose it is. I LOVE this time of year the best for running. August moving into September is the BEST running weather ever. It's crisp and makes me think of picking apples and wearing a sweatshirt and leaves falling and changing colors. That's my favorite. It makes me run quicker, breathe easier, and just feel amazing when my feet hit the pavement.

I ran the 25 minutes! That's the longest so far all at once in this Couch to 5k program. It felt good! My knee is still bothering me though, so I have to stop for like 30 seconds twice during the run to stretch it out. I'm sooo nervous of my knee getting worse and me having to stop running like happened to me the summer after I had my son. I ended up having to quit running for a couple of months then. So now, I try really hard not to push it and to listen to my body so that I can keep up with this running gig. So far, so good.

After I finished running and we got home my son wanted to go "run-ging" with me in the driveway in his new sneakers. He was so excited about these new shoes we got today that he wanted to run around - arms and legs waving around like a duck, adorable! - that we ran up and down the driveway a little bit. We had "the talk" - the one about how running makes your legs strong so you can run and walk and play and do cool things. I love this added bonus of having the kids with me while running - my son gets to learn that taking care of yourself and exercising are great things.

(my little running man!)

Friday, August 17, 2012

baby-led weaning resources

Someone recently mentioned this term I'd never heard, baby-led weaning, on the Mommy Stories Facebook group. I had never even heard of it, but apparently it's been out there for a few years. I figured I owed the readers of this blog some info about it. 

Though I can't quite make up my mind how I feel about it personally. I think I'd be too nervous that my child would have an allergic reaction or choke on something when so little starting this way at 6 months old. But I might possibly try it around 8 months old perhaps when baby has been eating for a bit and I know a little more of what she can handle in her mouth. I like that the food process can be a slow one at the beginning, seeing which cereals he likes best, trying them all one by one, making sure not to introduce too many foods at once. I also LOVED LOVED LOVED making homemade baby food, pureeing, feeding my son, being a big part of that new stage with him, seeing the new foods I could put together that he'd devour up. So I think I'm also conflicted there. Just my personal experience. 

Anyway, hope this helps anyone who may be curious or deciding to go in this direction when starting solid foods with their baby!

The first thing we need is a real definition:
Wikipedia offers this: baby led weaning "is a method of ‘adding complementary foods."
This is the first Web site that comes up when you type the subject "baby-led weaning" into Google. It's an author from England who started a blog and this site about 6 years ago from what I can gather. They also have a book, Baby Led Weaning by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett, which I've ordered from the library and hope to review soon for you.

They also have a Facebook group with more information and updates.

The subtext under the title of this site is "The Mush Stops Here!" essentially giving more info about what baby -ed weaning is all about:

*no purees
*no spoon-feeding your child
*letting baby be in charge of what she wants to pick up off the tray
*no baby food jars, homemade baby food ice cubes, no purees or food processers. Solid foods only, cut into chunks the size of a chip so baby can hold onto and gnaw on it as she pleases.
*begin by chewing first, then swallowing, versus puree foods which teach swallowing before chewing.
*suggested starting point is 6 months old because before that baby's digestive system is not ready to handle this size and texture of food, as well as babies are not able to process the food in their mouth yet.

This site seems to offer a lot to anyone interested in baby-led weaning. There are discussion forums on many various topics, not just that of feeding with solid foods. There are recipes and a blog. There are pictures of adorable babies eating things like big chunks of broccoli trees!

I like that on the first page of this site the author explains what the term "weaning" refers to with this process, as that is the first thing that completely confused me about this baby-led weaning stuff. I wasn't sure if it meant breastfeeding or something else. The author wrote: "* re ‘wean’. This is meant in the Brit sense, not the American. In the UK, ‘weaning’ means ‘adding complementary foods’, whereas in the States it means ‘giving up breastfeeding’. Two nations divided by a common language, and all that. In fact, there is even a helpful hands-across-the-ocean translation thread on the subject on the forum, which solves the mystery of what the UK equivalent of the Graham’s Cracker might be. (While we’re on the subject of terminology… if it was up to me, I’d have called this whole thing Baby Self-Feeding, but that ship has sailed, my friends, and Baby-Led Weaning it is.)"

Another good resource that I've used before when making baby food is Wholesome Baby. This site offers general questions and answers about this process, as well as a few great Web sites to check out, including this one by the founder of baby led weaning, Gill Rapley:

She offers an excellent leaflet on baby-led weaning how-tos and tips for success here that you can print:
under the lefthand side of the home page. It's worth checking out and hanging on the fridge if you are planning to do this with your child.

It sounds interesting and fun for sure! Who has tried this? Please post comments!

Monday, August 13, 2012

step to it - week 5

day 1
I took the kids out in the stroller this morning. It was perfect. It was like somehow we figured it out - the timing (not too soon after a bottle for the baby or else she'd spit up, and not too close to the next bottle feeding time). We just worked. Even singing songs to my son to keep him entertained is getting easier, less huffing and puffing while running! Yay, progress!

day 2
I ran tonight with the baby staring at me from her bouncy chair and with my son coming in to see "mama run-ing." It was a busy time of day. But I ran anyway, because I just wanted to get out some energy. My daughter sitting in her bouncy chair smiling at me... that was worth it, her cheering me on.

day 3
Ran the best run I've had since I started this program in five weeks - at 7 a.m., bright and early before it got hot and before any excuses or exhaustion could set in to make me not want to run. It was beautiful out. I actually escaped on my own, too, which was awesome! I forgot what that felt like - getting out on my own, going anywhere, but especially running. It felt like I was missing something for the beginning of the run. I kept touching my phone, my pockets, my sunglasses, making sure I didn't forget something. Then I realized it was my kids, they are what I forgot! And how amazing, it was OK that I forgot them (back with their dad, no worries!). I ran faster after I realized all was well and it wasn't my Mom Brain taking over here.

I was away for the weekend in Cape Cod for a family reunion. The fact that I packed my sneakers, sports bra, shorts and running tank top shows you how serious I am into this Couch to 5k thing, because quite honestly I forgot to pack pajamas for myself and an outfit for one of the evenings (I was packing for 2 kids, too, and with 2 kids around me making noises while packing, aka hard to focus on what I needed - imagine that?!).

Keeping up with this program takes dedication and planning, and certainly determination.Almost there!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

MBS - Mom Brain Syndrome

So we've all heard the term before, Mom Brain.
We all suffer from it, starting I believe the second we become pregnant in fact. It's sort of like we lose a part of what we once had up there in the noggin department. We start forgetting things. We can't speak correctly, get tongue tied, stutter, can't recall the word for certain things we are attempting to explain to someone else. We no longer act like we took a single class in college or hold a Master's degree. We seem naive and silly, like our brain fell out somehow.

For a while we can blame it on the lack of sleep or the raging hormones. But once those go away, we're just left with, "Well, it's Mommy Brain." We're moms now. With WAY too much on our minds, way too much to do and think of and prepare and plan for. So instead of being witty and charming and well, intelligent, we change into being smart about only one thing - our kids - and even then we can't speak as well as before.

But I'm here to say it's NOT our fault! We are STILL smart women! It's just that with all the new things we have to learn and remember now that we have kids, well, we can't keep it all straight, dammit! Give us a break. It's a lot to be a mom. Takes a lot out of us.

Just how much do we have on our minds? Below is a list - a very minor, starting point really - of all the things that are in our Mom Brains on a typical day. You may need to sit down to read this, or else be prepared for MBS to kick in immediately due to exhaustion from reading.
Things Moms Think of Just About Daily:

*How many ounces of milk goes in the bottle.
*Which size nipple the bottle should have right now.
*How many hours between feedings.
*Counting the hours to find out when we last pumped, and should pump next.
*Trying to remember when we last boiled the nipples, steamed the pump parts, washed any bottles.
*Trying to remember how many hours it's been since we pumped that milk and left it on the counter to see when it needs to be put in the fridge.
*Counting how many days the milk's been in the fridge, and how many months the frozen milk is good for in the freezer.

*What time our toddler ate his last snack, needs the next snack, how many veggies and fruits he got today or this week, what's on the list of foods he likes this week, etc.
*Which foods the infant has already tried or cereals that are next on the list to try.

*How many hours it's been since we last applied the sunscreen at the beach.
*How many days it's been since we last wrote in the baby book.
*What month the baby should be rolling over, walking, getting teeth, etc. 
*When the library books are due back.

*How many weeks old and months old baby is.
*The date of the next baby well visit.
*The most recent weight and height digits and percentiles.
*What page we're on in the What to Expect books - first year, toddler years, etc.
*What setting on the swing baby likes best or number on the lullaby music CD or notch on the fan to drown out the noise.

*Baby's birth weight, height, birth date and time of birth.
*How many hours we pushed for, were in labor for, had contractions for, were dilated, and how many weeks recovery it took us to feel slightly better.
*How old the child needs to be to visit the dentist for the first time, to start preschool, to get immunization shots, start swim lessons, etc. 

*Which size diapers the baby wears now and is moving into next.
*How many diapers are in the diaper bag or if they need to be replenished. 
*Which size clothes the baby wears, which can vary (3-6 for shirts but 6-9 for pants because she's long!).
*Which size shoes the toddler is wearing now, yet won't be for long because he's growing so fast, so then which size we need in a couple of weeks.
*How many pounds baby needs to be to sit in the infant carrier and then how big she should be when needs to move into the bigger car seat.
*How old he should be before moving the car seat forward facing. 

*Which channel on TV is the good one to show cartoons in the morning while Mommy is getting ready for work.
*Which app on the phone has cool pictures and videos to keep the child quiet for a bit.
*When the next play date, library story hour, birthday party, dance class, open house, half day, etc. is on the calendar.
*How much money to pay the babysitter... and all those other bills.

and..... and ..... and .....

My head hurts.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dear 2 1/2 year-old Owen,

Dear Owen,
Today is your Half Birthday! August 9th, you are officially no longer a 2-year-old. You're 2 1/2 now! We are officially on the downward spiral toward 3. That is crazy to me, your mom, who still sees you as this little man of mine who loved (still do!) to suck his thumb and carry Sophie the Giraffe around with you, and who would take off his socks in the car seat even in the middle of winter to eat his feet, and who used to only call me "mama" instead of now when you call me Mom, Ma, Mommy, Mama...

You aren't a baby anymore. You are even moving at the speed of lighting through your toddlerhood. And I'm in awe at the growth. These pictures below are of you last summer, this exact day last summer actually. Wearing the Elmo shirt that was too big for you back then and is way too small for you now, despite that we give in every time when you ask to wear it to bed at night still. These pictures, where you would actually listen to me about the sun getting in your eyes and you having light skin like Daddy and needing to keep your hat on... instead of now where you say "No hat Mama, I big boy. No hat."

One thing this year that is the same as last is that you are a Man on a Mission, that's for sure. Always somewhere to go, something to see or pick up or throw or play with. That picture above, of you walking like a big guy toward the water, shovel in hand, that is the moment I realized last summer that you were now a toddler. You were no longer my "1-year-old." You were a toddler, growing fast and moving away from me in that independent way toddlers seem to do. You had ideas of your own then. You do even more now.

You are growing so fast that I want to remember how you are now, today, at 2 1/2... just like I remember last summer and all the new things you were learning.

So here's you, Mr. Owenstein, at age 2 1/2...
You like to wear Dad's shirts and his "work belt" with your rain boots, even just around the house.

You LOVE playing in the dirt, with shovels and rakes and getting all sandy. You are obsessed with being outside. It's your favorite thing in the world. We spend at least a couple of hours out there every single day. You run, "mow" the lawn, ride your tricycle and hammer all kinds of things with your tools. I love this about you. You have certainly taken me out of my comfort zone. I didn't really like being outside much before you came along. Now, it's our life. And I appreciate it.

Even though you are as tall as a 4-year-old (literally people in stores ask me if you are 3 or 4 already!), you still are on your tippy toes all the time, wanting to see more, do more, reach more.

You are Mr. Independent. You like to put your shoes on "by self." You pull up next to something and stand there moving your foot around until all of a sudden it goes in, and every single time you get a huge grin on your face. I clap and smile for you, because yes, it IS that cool, Mr. Putting your shoes on "by self" is pretty damn awesome actually!

You get pretty determined these days, too. You want to do it now. You lack patience. You are fast, moving all the time, very energetic. You get this look on your face sometimes (like this one below!) where you are just all about doing it your way, right now! You are becoming this big kid. Riding your bike all by yourself, having plans of your own, things that surprise me sometimes. You're pretty creative and oh, so smart. Last night I counted you saying 11 words together in one sentence! 11 words! I counted on my fingers just to have the visual.

You make me proud every single day. And a lot of it I don't even know that I've taught you... but then sometimes I realize it and take credit for teaching you something. And that is the coolest thing I've ever seen in my role as Mommy. The fact that I've taught you something I didn't even mean to teach you, and it's a cool thing, something you should know, like saying "love you" in the right moment or like running to the side of the grass when a car is coming or like shushing your baby sister when she's crying and saying in a high pitched, sweet voice, "O here, Addisyn, it's OK, it's OK, O here."

You walk around wearing my shoes sometimes, too, in your little squishy diaper that still makes that little noise when you move. You are obsessed with milk, which you call "milk time." You drink from a big boy cup now at every meal at the table. It's pretty amazing. I didn't even know it was time to give you a big boy cup, but Dad apparently knew and taught you how. 

You're a typical two-year-old. You have tantrums and scream really loud sometimes. You hit and pinch and throw sand at the beach. You aren't too fond of sharing with other kids. You climb the slides the wrong way sometimes. You ask "Why Mama?" A LOT. One of your favorite words is "no." You have no concept of the phrase, "wait just a minute."

But you smile. A LOT. It's like who you are, that smile. It's the one thing I see on you that is all me and not your dad. I adore that smile, more than anything in the entire world. You laugh like it's your job. Every little thing makes you happy. You are super sweet. When I stub my toe, you jump up and get your doctor kit stethoscope and put it up to my foot and say, "O here Mama, feel better." You pack me "lunch" every single day from your play kitchen. You ask me to sing you songs before bed, and you're still obsessed with the Osbert book about a penguin. You say please and thank you all the time. You give the best hugs and kisses every day.

You snuggle with me still, like you are my little guy again.

You are a really good big brother to Addisyn. You adore her, share toys with her, shush her when she's crying, maker her smile... it's very sweet.

You still suck your thumb. Something I'm in no rush whatsoever to get you to stop. It's just who you are. I tell people all the time that I have a picture of you sucking your thumb at 45 minutes old! You came out of me sucking your thumb. It's who you are and something I adore.

You work. All the time. You're a worker. I've had several people tell me how you walk like a man, move like a man, act like this big guy on a mission. Dad and I know you are going to be the boss someday of some hard working people, showing them how it's done. We love that you'd rather be playing in the dirt or with hammers and buoys than watching TV. Although I admit I do try to get you to watch TV for like 10 minutes here and there when I'm feeding your baby sister... and so far the only things that will capture your attention for those 10 minutes are Bob the Builder and some Mighty Machines show Dad found for you all about trucks and tractors!

At the end of the day, you're still my little boy... growing up or not, you are my little O. You still look the same asleep as you did more than 2 years ago. All dreamy and sweaty and shiny and precious and silent.

And while you no longer fit in the Boppy like you did as a baby, which makes me sad sometimes, I know that the phase you are in now, headed toward 3-year-old world, is even more fun and amazing. Challenging at times, yes, for sure, but incredible all the same. Hearing you repeat everything I say and telling your Dad something that happened 12 hours ago... that's pretty awesome. 

So happy half birthday, Owen! We enjoyed our beach trip and ice cream to celebrate. 
Looking forward to all the new fun things you plan to do in these next 6 months before you turn 3!

P.S. I found this today, randomly... perfect! Sums up how I feel. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

step to it - week 4

day 1
I ran today. Yup, I did. In my driveway and yard! With my 2-year-old chasing after me, pushing his lawnmower. With the sleeping beauty infant daughter asleep in her swing inside, as I kept going in the house every 5 minutes or so (on the walking parts of the running program) to check on her. It was nuts. It was too much. BUT I did it. I RAN. I got in my run. That is what matters. I finished the first run of this 4th week of the Couch to 5k running program. Who cares if it was boring and not with great scenery like my old runs back in high school and college when I was home in the summer, running along Long Sands Beach in York or up by the Nubble Lighthouse? At least I ran - even if it was around wagons and tricycles and shovels and around my car. I ran. I did it. I can cross this off the list. It was definitely the most insane run I've ever done. But hey, this is motherhood. It's busy, chaotic, slightly frustrating, and yet invigorating in the end.

(me and my tired boy, after running around the yard and driveway together!)

day 2
I ran at 9 p.m. because that's the only time I had to do it. At least I had MTV'S 16 and Pregnant on the lap top in the treadmill room to motivate me. Love that ridiculous and addicting show! I'm realizing that running is going to have to just fit in wherever I can fit it in, because as a mom we can't always have us time when we want it. Sometimes 9 at night is when it has to be. So be it.

(it's getting fun to cross off the running sessions on that paper above my treadmill - same paper I used the last time I did this Couch to 5k program after my son turned a year old!)

day 3
Woke up at 5 a.m. with two kids because we were at my dad's house on an island in northern Maine, aka different place so babies didn't sleep in longer. So up and at 'em for us. We were outside in the stroller running by 6:35! It was gorgeous! Seeing the sun over the ocean as I breathed in and out, both babies content in the stroller. It was a great way to start the day. I was glad I got the run in while away for the weekend and during the morning, because it got so hot later I never would have gone running.

My knees are bothering me though. I had knee issues since high school. I'm hoping they don't start slowing me down now. Crossing fingers!

A month down! A little more to go! YAY!