The Electric Fence of Mamahood

About a month ago, I was out with some friends for karaoke and a pitcher of marvelously cold  Narragansett beer. I like to sing in two places: the car, and halfway through one of those pitchers with my neighbor and good friend, Jan. So, there we are, having some laughs, chatting with some other regulars and enjoying the other singers, when a song came on, and a group of twenty-somethings started to sing, gleefully, about an explicit sexual encounter, rife with violence and appalling language. It made my skin crawl. I looked for the door.

Now hold up. YES, I was in a karaoke bar, not Mickey’s Play House. I get it. I hear things now and then, deftly dodge the occasional unsavory person in the name of a relaxing night out with my ladies. It comes with the territory.

But this was so far against my principles as a feminist and an anti-racist, that I simply had to remove myself, both as a sign of displeasure and frankly to get some air and get the hell away from that rubbish. But there was one other thing, something that nagged at me (clearly) for weeks and weeks; this sense that, as someone’s mother, I owed something to them even when I wasn’t with them. A certain comportment, maybe. And that moment of discomfort and agitation was as much about myself as it was about them.

Reason #1: Women, Trans-Women, and Girls.

I teach my boys respect for women and girls. I have a high bar for this, as should every parent, especially of boys. Say what you will that “everyone should be respected”, that isn’t my point. Of course they should. But women are constantly targeted by men, girls by boys, it is a fact we cannot ignore.

Recently at an indoor bounce-house playspace, my oldest knocked into a little girl, received a warning from me, then pulled it again. He got yanked out by his foot and gently placed on a bench to take a break. When he stopped whining, I explained to him that it was not OK to touch her or be in her space (I would add “without permission” but he doesn’t understand that yet so I’ll add that detail in a year or two) and that I expected an apology to her and her mother. After he begrudgingly complied, he received copious hugs, kisses and praise, then ran off to dismantle a play kitchen. The mother of the little girl approached me after and said rather coolly, “You know…they are just kids its what they do. I’m not worried about it.” I don’t know what possessed me to go deep on this one, but I looked at her evenly and said, “This is how it starts though. This is when he starts to learn what is acceptable behavior towards friends, especially girls. I can’t help that he will grow up in a world telling him his maleness gives him the right to be in your daughter’s space or touch her body without permission. But I have to make it explicit in my discipline, that it is completely unacceptable. That it will not go unnoticed or excused by the people he learns from the most. In ten years, twenty years, do you want him to think it is ok to lay a finger on her, or violate her space in any way with explicit consent to do so?” She paused. I had gone there. “I see your point” she conceded, and walked away.

Reason #2: People of Color:

I work to be an ally to folks of color. It’s not something I think I can self-identify, either, that just feels like another way of using my white privilege. The very fact that these songs are just “soon funny” is beyond me. This particular song chronicled getting beaten by a white man for engaging in intercourse with his daughter. So many identities, privileges and oppression swirling around in that narrative. My kids haven’t expressed any apparent notice of color or behavior that would suggest a relationship with the race of themselves or anyone else. And yes, they have plenty of playmates of color, largely black boys. But it will come up, I am sure of it. Or they will behave in a way that signals to me that they have already internalized their superiority as white kids. Privilege is like that. And in that moment, and dozens and dozens after, I will need to teach them what that narrative is, why it is immoral, untrue and an incitement to speak out, but also that as my sons, they are expected to simply…act right! And racism isn’t simple, my journey thus far has told me that. It is sneaky, seemingly invisible most of the time, but it is everywhere. And it hurts my friends, their beautiful children and our community. If I let my boys hear songs like that, during this impressionable period, when they are defining norms and cultural reference points, or if I sit passively while that hate speech is expressed, I am a hypocrite. More than that, I would be a liar. Truth is, it pissed me off. It should piss me off, and it should piss everyone off.

Like an electric fence that stopped me at a certain number of drinks (which five years ago, wouldn’t), or that made me hand over my keys without a single second of protest to a friend on New Year’s Eve (again, 2011), I knew that I could never shake being someone’s mama. I can never shake the responsibility, the complete inability to behave recklessly. There was a time when I did, and it won’t come back. The truth is, there was so much freedom in not caring, growing in spaces when I felt like it. But that time has given way to the constant, unchanging reality that two people will either contribute to a better more just world, or they will be part of what unhinges it. So maybe that’s it then, the options: laziness or legacy?

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Wow. Talk about a Sabbatical.

When I started this blog, I was pregnant with my second son. I had a 1 year old, who was in school 2-3 days per week to accommodate the barrage of cooking and chores my husband and I agreed that I would do. Well, a lot has happened in a little over a year! My new baby, ZBB (Ze Baby Bear, for those unfamiliar with my conventions) and I stayed home full time for about a year. It was a great year, and it FLEW by. My big boy went off to school 5 days a week, happy as a clam. Soon after starting school full time, it became clearer and clearer he was struggling to speak and to feel comfortable enough to learn in certain environments. While the latter discomfort had always been intuitive to me, we soon learned that he (and possibly I) have some sensory processing needs which help him feel better, and thus focus more on using language expressively. He has seen an Early Intervention Educator, Speech Language Pathologist and an Occupational Therapist since then. Recently, ZBB has started seeing the same Early Intervention educator, a Nutritionist and an OT. More on that as we move forward.

Shortly after that time, I started a wildly unsuccessful job search, in which I was invited to present in third round and second round interviews, only to get that dreadful e-mail a week later. Deeply demoralizing,  that search ended in my husband and I deciding that I would take on both kids full time. It was a tough choice, but we needed to do it. So, it’s been about 5 months, just me and my boys. And we know those chores haven’t gone away, Mt. St. Laundry beckons each morning. However, the cloth diapers did have to go. it was one thing to wash them while the boys were in school and stuff them at night, another thing entirely when my entire day is packed to the brim. Even so, this has been HARD. I think it has been tough on all of us. Being a stay at home mama is not for the weak, people. Not with two toddlers, and while I’m sure many mamas do it with more, it has been exhausting. While my job search is not as voluminous as it once was, I’m still placing applications when a great position comes along. I have been ready to go back to work for some time. In the meantime, I’m certainly busy enough.

Nevertheless, I’m back. I’m here. And it is time to start writing again. Recently, I have had a wonderful freelance opportunity come my way as I do some articles here and there for the local Jewish newspaper. It’s actually been kind of fun; they keep asking me to cover these fascinating cultural events; film screenings, plays, family portrait, art exhibitions. So, it is time to revisit my own writing. This humble blog is that. Frankly, I haven’t a care whether anyone reads it or not, I blog the way Plato learns– for the sake of it. So, with my (lofty?) ambitions in mind, let’s proceed.

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Top Five Winter Picks for Cold Weather Dwellers

One of my most faaaaavoite mama-bloggers out there, Meagan Francis of The Happiest Home, put forward a post (found here) last year on this very same topic and it seems to be making the Pinterest rounds again this year, which I think means we are all freezing our collective toucases off. Once I went through her picks, I found many that I thought to myself  “Oh yeah? Not in New England, sister!” So I had to go and make my own picks. Behold…My Top Five.

1. Wool socks.

Don’t play games with your socks, ladies. They have to be wool and the wool has to be THICK. I am a fan of the Smartwool ankle socks for around the house and under my Merrells. I get the ones that go up to your knee for my boots. Not gonna lie, I typically layer an ankle sock over the boot socks for extended time outside. Expensive? Yep. For the two years I was in graduate school in Vermont I literally had two pairs of winter socks, which I lovingly hand-washed and dried over a heating vent in my tiny apartment. Worth every single penny.

2. Down-filled coat OR wool coat.

I go back and forth here. While the down filled coat is always #1 for warmth for me, you have to love the lack of bulk a good wool coat provides. And, you don’t have that swishy nylon sound…I hate that swishy nylon sound. Maybe that’s just me…

Again, don’t play games with materials. Acrylic-wool blend? No. Down-substitute? NO. LLBean and Lands End have such excellent return policies, it’s nuts not to save your pennies and get a coat from them. It will be he last coat you buy provided you keep that receipt!

3. House sweater.

This is one where Meagan and I agree. A house sweater is muy importante. It feels like I am more pulled together than I actually am and unlike a bathrobe, I can actually throw a coat over it if I need to dash out for something. I have a wool-blend one that seems to do the trick, and helps us persnickety New England folks keep the thermostat at a reasonable level.

4. Fleece headband.

I love these. Partially, it is because I have ears that like to stick out, which in turn become FREEZING, but also because there is a distinct snow-bunny appeal I never grow tired of emulating. Hats are good, some people are hat people, but I love a good fleece headband, especially high quality fleece, because that generally ups the warm-factor. Frankly, I can usually find a good one at Target.

5. Waterproof Too-Legit-To-Quit Boots

Look, I’m going to be shoveling snow, and shlepping a carseat, diaper bag, lunch bag and a toddler who just wants to be carried down the icy front steps of my house: my primary concern isn’t exactly fashion, it is avoiding breaking my goddamn neck. These are my go-tos, and frankly, they grip ice and snow like nothing else. I also appreciate that they come in wide sizes for women like myself who have hobbit feet.

Quickie Fall Wish List

OK. Labor Day is over. I don’t give a damn is the autumnal equinox isn’t for another 22 days, I’m calling it fall. Or, at the very minimum, Indian Summer. Now I can start dreaming of my perfect fall activities and traditions.

YES. I am one of those people.

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Thing is, I’m not a summer-person. Sure, I can get it up for a few backyard bbqs, and I do love a good pool swim or dip in the ocean (no seaweed, please). But the other seasons are far more introvert-friendly, and no season captures the romance of nature and the coziness of home like fall. So, since it’s late and I have five minutes, here it is…

my Autumnal Wish List.

1. Beta test a DIY light table with The Boy

2. Watch Hocus Pocus, It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, It’s a Wonderful Life, 

3. Knit one scarf per month to be gifted to friends for Holidays. I got a jump start and finished my August one a week ago.

4. Make pumpkin spice scented play dough. JUDGE ME I DARE YOU

5. Make Rice Crispy Treats

6. Enjoy Angry Orchard cider after the kiddos go to bed with my adorable husband (omgomgomgomgomgomg)

7. Stroll (with a layer!) around the neighborhood

8. Make Popcorn Balls for trick or treaters, and for the hooligans in general

9. Order new Treat stickers (I put them on the outside of our wrapped popcorn balls so parents don’t throw them out. It just says “Happy halloween from the (our last name) family” and it lists our address.

10. Have several backyard bonfires, with cider.

11. Bangs?

12. Get lots of pictures of the boys playing with brightly colored leaves

13. Do a proper trick or treat as a family

14. NOT spend all day on Halloween dressing up husband as an oompa loompa only for co-workers not to recognize him and hand their costume trophy off the a less-deserving candidate. (seriously? what is wrong with these folks?!), then scrubbing orange face paint off his face…ugh….pick something easy!

15. Davis Family (our sort-of adopted ‘other family’ whom we adore) football games

16. Squash soup.

17. Curried Squash soup.

18. Squash lasagna.

19. Squash muffins.

20. Apple-picking and applesauce canning.

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Night folks, Happy Premature Fall.

How It’s Different With My Second Baby

When I was pregnant, older women kept saying thing to me like, “the second one is always SO DIFFERENT”, and of course, me being me, I found this tremendously annoying. Why would the second be SO DIFFERENT? Because your second child was? Of course, I think the real reason I was so irritated was because my first child has always been really chill. I mean yeah, he is a toddler and has his moments, but otherwise, I would say he is pretty mellow with a dash of moody (aka: my temperament). So when someone would get all haughty about my second child being this huge departure from what I was used to, I felt like they were chuckling, “yeah, see how long THAT lasts.” Ugh, infuriating.

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The allegedly “DIFFERENT” baby-bump

But the joke was on them. Because my second child is even more mellow than my first! HA! How do you like them apples? Seriously. This kid slept through the night (or the breastfeeding version of it) from the get-go, like 2 weeks in. THAT’S NUTS. That’s not even something you talk about as a mother because you KNOW that it doesn’t happen to anyone. That’s like telling everyone you have a freakin unicorn in your backyard and then acting all shocked when people call baloney. He giggles at everyone (even ugly people and old men with long hair growing out of their noses!) and loves to be held and cuddle. He is a love-nugget. Now, The Boy was like this too, to an extent. Like I said, super-mellow. But the sleeping thing? Uh uh. We are talking about waking up EVERY HOUR ON THE HOUR FOR WEEKS AND WEEKS. Then, I got some two-hour intervals here and there. This was while working full time and before I had demonstrated to ZBP how cooking and cleaning is its own full time job. In a word, it was NUTS.

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Look at this guy. I could eat him.

But The Baby also has a different mama than The Boy, because I am much more confident now. Much less anxious and afriad. Although I tried to be more relaxed with The Boy, there were times wen I was borderline frantic about ensuring he was constantly held and that is schedule was rigidly adhered to. Of course, I will also say that that rigid schedule helped him to finally get it together and sleep through the night. When he was ONE YEAR OLD.

But there are other thing too. Like how I validated my own guesses about what I might need to be my best mama-self from way back before I had The Boy. For example, I felt certain that having a mother’s helper around would be huge in helping me get organized and keeping my balance as a parent, wife and the family cleaner/chef. ZPB doesn’t really do chores, ever. Not unless I ask for it, which is to say that I feel overwhelmed. Love him to death but the poor guy doesn’t know where anything is in the kitchen and he is all thumbs trying to cook. It’s not interesting to him, and that’s cool because I enjoy those tasks. He enjoys making money. There ya go.

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I will use this GIF as often as I can.

 

And there were other things I correctly anticipated; having a daily rhythm was one of them, and so was the importance of family nutrition and high quality of childcare. Eventually, I realized that the things that needed attending to: laundry, cooking, cleaning and helping out when cars need servicing or someone gets sick…these were all tasks that would fall to me 90% of the time, full time job or not. So, we talked about it, and given the immense stress of my position at the time (3 months pregnant with The Baby), I resigned. Almost a year in hindsight, that was the right choice. I spent my pregnant time with The Boy really engaging with him, playing with him and spoiling him. It was our time, and I captured it and savored every second. Every night I held him in our glider chair and breathed in his baby-ness. I pressed those scents and sounds into my mind over and over again, because before long, he wouldn’t be a baby, he would be a boy.

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Date at Children’s Museum and nearby breakfast joint

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Pet Store. Best place to go on a gross snowy day.

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First Milkshake.

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I’ll never let this moment go.

Now, I balance and I juggle. It’s different with baby #2 because instead of being focused on THE BABY allll the time, suddenly I am focused on THE FAMILY. And that has a very different flavor for me.

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Ever the Ham, ZPB and his boyz.

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My littles. Someone has to hold the camera.

Summer Reading, Mama-Style

I used to ADORE my summer reading lists. Seriously, you would have loathed me in grade school. But, I was just so earnest, and eager to travel to ll the marvelous places my YA books would take me; The Ramayana, The Illiad, every Scott O’Dell book ever published, The Book of Virtues, The Nancy Drew series…I was such a book nerd my mother once enrolled me in one of those book clubs where they send you a new book every week along with stickers for your diary and posters of pop stars. I treasured those weekly packages which then set up an unrealistic expectation as to the excitement my mail should contain. This likely is why I ask ZPB to open all our mail… in any event….BOOKS. BOOKS IN SUMMER.

 

This was all well and good when I had hours upon hours to just decide what to do, which tree to climb, which game to play and which doll to bring. But as a mama, I’m much more judicious. Summer will pass by more swiftly than I shall realize and the next thing I know, I’ll be peeling apples for applesauce and screwing around trying to make those infernal popcorn balls I never seem to master.

 

Behold, the 2014 Summer Reading List:

1. Packaging Boyhood: Saving Our Sons From Superheroes, Slackers and Other Media Stereotypes

2. French Women for All Seasons (hold the guffaws, please)

3. The Everything Potty Training Book

4. 1,2,3…The Toddler Years: A Practical Guide for Parents and Caregivers

5. Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get You Kids Eating Good Food

6. Quiet: The Power of Introverts (Check out her TED Talk, it’s fabulous)

 

Not as exciting as my canonical texts of yore, but equally interesting for this sleepy mama. I’m also unabashedly catching up on my old Real Simple magazines…to which ZPB teases me mercilessly…”Who reads a magazine called ‘Real Simple’? Do you NEED it to be explained that much? Is it for simple people?” Oye. In a perfect world, I would be reading these on the beach with a cocktail in one hand rather than at 3:45am through one squinty eyeball post-nurse, but reading is reading, and I feel it strengthens the soul regardless.

 

What about you? Reading anything good? Waiting for a golden moment of quiet to begin reading something? Share!

 

Cloth Diapering, Fun With GIFs and Eatin’ Vegan-ish

Long time, no posts, I know, I know. See I had this beautiful baby boy on March 11th and well…things got kind of intense from there. See, I’m a serious introvert. And, if I know anything about how I respond to having a baby, it is that the ubiquitous “nesting phase” is something my animal instinct takes VERY seriously. I don’t like unannounced visitors, people screwing around with my household systems (laundry, the fridge etc.) or general requirements that I leave my tidy, happy warm little nest, where I spend my days caring for (and adoring) my happy, warm little baby.

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Well…it’s July. Damn near August, frankly. It’s time to start moving out into the world a bit. So here I am! Other updates? Well, The Boy is doing quite well, if more imbedded into his new toddler routines of yelling “mine!” and “all done!” when he wants me to stop doing something, whether that be brushing teeth or changing a diaper. He likes to thrash a lot when I am dressing him/hugging him/changing him. Which of course is, SO MUCH FUN.

Also, a word on diapers: in the last four months I have switched to cloth.
Mind = blown.
Did you know you can save something like 2500.00 PER CHILD by switching to cloth?? Now, if you get really crunchy and do cloth wipes too (NOT as bizarre or gross as it sounds, folks), you are talking some major cheddar. Now, I know a lot of folks don’t like the cloth diaper thing because they moan about how much it costs to get set up, especially when making cloth diaper purchases for more than one child. It costs our family about 350.00 altogether, once we spread the cost across four months and a few trades (I make a really nice lavender tea tree laundry detergent my local work at home mom/diaper-sewing queen really likes… So yeah. 350.00 bucks is some dough, for sure. But check this out.

Here are our diaper costs breakdown. Let’s start with The Boy, and add The Baby in at the end.

$60.00 per month Huggies Pure and Natural (via Amazon subscribe and save with FREE prime shipping)
$20.00 per month in disposable wipes (I used Target brand)
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= $80.00 per month

With The Boy turning 2 in November and the average boy potty learning by 3.5, let’s just add another year and nine months of savings…

$80.00 x 22 months = $1,760.00

And let’s not forget the next oh, two years and two months of The Baby’s life in diapers (plus the four so far…)

1,760.00 + (80.00 x 30 months = 2,400.00)= $4,160.00

$4,160.00 – $350.00 = $3,810.00 in household savings. Sure, we pay for water and for Tide detergent. But, even if we saved half of that, we are looking at a sum that, if deposited into The Boy’s 529 College Fund could be $4,000.00 by the time he goes to college. GO TEAM.

Also, cloth diaper “fluffy bums” as we call them…are super adorable, and way better looking than paper diapers, for sure.
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And, if you think this is like the final frontier of crunchy mama-hood YA’LL DON’T EVEN KNOW. Ever heard of The Family Cloth? :O

No, friends. THAT right there is the final frontier.

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In other news, I am working towards eliminating 99% of dairy products from my diet and all meat except for occasional seafood. I do eat eggs if I know where they come from. See…like most women I gained a little weight during this pregnancy. Ok, way more than I should have. I’m not a tall person. 5’4, friends. When you are this low to the ground, every extra ounce makes you closer and closer to a snowman, or a balloon animal. Yeah, like a bloated giraffe. Whatever, you get the picture. Point is, I need to change my eating habits and actually exercise (which would involve actually leaving the house, yesiknow). So I am making strides towards a much more plant-based whole foods diet. I don’t like restricting amounts of food…it just feels really wrong to be like, “No! You’re all done.”

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when my hindbrain impulses are all like, “but wait…I want another slice of toast…” It feels kind of evil and masochistic, and, being French, we don’t do that, so I just eat my toast and get on with it. Being a Jew however, I am going to deeply DEEPLY miss brisket. And that’s all I have to say about that piece because thinking about it makes me stare at the ceiling and recollect my brisket crock-pot recipe, which is the closest thing to heaven my hedonistic, rather naughty self might ever achieve. If anyone cares, I’ve lost 10 pounds (yay!)

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and have another 15 to go. I won’t be thin. I won’t be athletic. I will be physically active, comfortable, curvaceous and fabulous. People will make marble statues out of me and revel in my round bits. On that note, this.

 

Talk soon.

The Marshmallow Sensory Tub

&^%$ing winter. Seriously. It’s cool though, I can SEE the finish line. We had a crazy weekend where it was tantalizingly close to 50 degrees outside and everyone wore capris and walked around the village acting all jovial and excited. Even I went to the playground with the boy, thinking it would be packed…only to find my hopes dashed.

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We couldn’t even open the gate 😦

Truth is, the real determination will be when the crocuses start peeking through my front garden bed. That’s when we will KNOW. For now, we have 20 degree overcast weather, the vestiges of snow on the ground haunting us from a week ago (OMG almost 2 feet in my neighborhood) and a weather forecast predicting we will get even more in the next two days. Sigh. But I am not giving up on a good time. I take being a SAHM very seriously, and that means it is time to get creative and start making plans. Let’s start with my FABULOUS new sensory table…

OK, to begin, I ADORE Tinkerlab’s sensory table with wheat berries. I think it is amazing. But um…wheat berries are expensive. And we eat them. So, I thought, maybe good old rice? But we didn’t have enough to fill the container I had in mind. (FYI, I have big plans to make a sensory table–check out this one from Apartment Therapy. Drool.) So I fished around in the cabinets and remembered how I went hog-wild over the holidays making rice crispy treats…and thought, “MARSHMALLOWS”.

Yes folks. It is a marshmallow sensory table. Be excited.

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Primary components beyond marshmallows and a bin: scooping items, mixed cups and coffee filters, wooden spoon etc. Best laid plan was the small enclosed tupperware contained with colorful plastic straws cut into 1/3s to give him something to try and open on his own. Also curious to see what his plans are for the straws once he figures out how to liberate them…

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Then I added an empty egg carton. Because…they are awesome places to hide popsicle sticks and cookie cutters. 😀

So he started out with the wooden spoon, banging and flinging marshmallows. Ok. Sort of expected that.

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What I did not expect was his interest in the tupperware full of cut up straws to be so high. HE HAD TO GET IT OPEN. There was serious commitment on his part. We had a sweet little moment, when, in his frustration to find a little lip he could use to pry off the top, he threw the thing into my lap and indicated I was to open it for him. No, buddy, that isn’t how this works… Slowly, I turned the bowl on it’s side so he could see the the lid actually HAD a little lip he could use, and I gently got it started for him. He caught on fast. Grabbed the lid, pried it off and squealed like a piggy when all the straws fell out, which occupied him for the better part of ten minutes. I call that a win in ToddlerLand. The marshmallows? He seemed more interested in lining them up on my skirt than anything else today. He was also very excited by the egg carton, and al the little ‘surprises’ I hid inside (2 cookie cutters, three tongue depressors and a baby bottle top). I am going to put a lid on the bin and reintroduce it on Thursday again to see if he tries anything else. All in all, this was a 45 minute activity that was the perfect provocation after his mid morning nap and snack.

Field trip to the Pet Store! Rookie Mama Challenge #37

Rookie Mama Whitney Moss of one of my go-to favorite blogs http://www.rookiemoms.com has a challenge which I think is POIFECT in this dismal crap weather us East Coasters are experiencing–the petshop. Now, she has her finger on the pulse here because she does suggest doing this challenge with an older baby. The Boy is 15 months old, so I figured he falls right in that range. It was a short trip, but a perfect one when you are schlepping through snow and ice to get from car to store with a kiddo who needs to be carried (sure he CAN walk, but I’m not chasing him through an icy parking lot 8 months pregnant. Nope.)

 

Wait...something in there moved!

Wait…something in there moved!

So, my notes? It was great! The only thing I could have done to plan for it better was to go on one of the days when they had dogs visiting from the local animal shelter. I am generally not a fan of pet stores in general, as I think they are overpriced for the stuff you want and they support puppy and kitty mills, which is horrid. but this pace is decent–they source all animals from local shelters! So we probably killed about 15-20 minutes, but it was an excellent vocabulary-building moment; kitty, doggy, fishy, birdy, GENTLE…plus lots of terrarium items that were fun to touch (like those half logs and all the colorful plastic ‘seaweed’ or whatever that stuff is supposed to be.

Then there was watching the gerbils and guinea pigs scurrying around (awkward moment of the day was when one guinea pig started to erm, ‘make friends’ with his pal there in the spinning wheel (kinky?) while The Boy looked on. I didn’t say anything. He didn’t ask anything.

The guinea pig incident

The guinea pig incident

We moved on to the birds, which he loved, especially the cages of parakeets, because they were so animated. The one parrot didn’t really impress him.

What parrot?

What parrot?

 

Justifying Excessive Winter Screen Time-MAKE IT AWESOME

We all TRY to limit screen time. I know. I KNOW. It is so hard though when your backyard looks like a snow-globe and your kiddos are not old enough to just strap on some snow-pants/gear and start making stuff out there. My 15 month old doesn’t even own snow-pants…maybe he should? Next year is the year, I think. So the inevitable happens…something like this look familiar?

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Sure…this was taken a few months back…but you get the point. Squalor+TV ON+kiddo=crazy screen-time festivals.

The challenge becomes…how do we make it ok? CAN we make it ok? Do we just lie and pretend we played educational puzzles all day instead of the ten minutes it took the toddler to hide the pieces under the couch cushions and/or (The Boy’s new favorite) just throw them up  in the air, all pissed off like a Cosmo Kramer GIF? No. If you can’t beat em…make it fabulous. Thus I have decided to just roll with it, and not by any means in a passive “I give up” way. No, if we are going to do screen time, it is going to be AWESOME.

Here is the new equation:

Pick a movie…make it a really good classic too. Today, we are going all in for Fiddler on the Roof with Topol, an awesome film. We are making milkshakes with chocolate and bananas and I don’t give a sheet who knows it. Kiddo just learned to drink from a straw…isn’t that why they were invented? To slug down milkshakes?? We are going to take it to the next level and make popcorn from the microwave and a fort in the living room to store our booty and watch our movie. I will have some books nearby for us to flip through, and of course quiet provocations like puzzles, mind teasers and sensory toys. I always have those out and ready for play. But today we are going all out.

Because you know what? It IS gross outside. But this is still HIS DAY and it is still MY DAY…so why not enjoy it for all it is worth? For me, this is the joy of parenting…teaching my kid(s) to go with the flow, and to make it great while we are at it. Yeah yeah, I know REEELAX…I don’t serve him junk on a regular basis.  This kid eats healthier than most vegan hipster-yogis, let me tell you. He doesn’t watch loads of TV except for his morning Curious George ritual.

That is why it is special. A snow day doesn’t have to suck, it can be an opportunity to do something you might not otherwise do, because it is overly indulgent or ‘too much of a good thing’. Will post pics to recap how it goes…but I know the ending of this story already. Little boy falls asleep smiling because his mama and he played together and were silly and did fun things on a yucky day.

Image

**RECAP**

I’ll let the pictures do (most of) the talking from our day…

After 1st nap (9:30ish)

Errands. Target and Petsmart to see the animals. (Read more about why you should check out the pet store with your older baby here, as it is one of the Rookie Mom Challenges and a great outing idea). Snow begins. AGAIN.

Lunch, second nap. Kiddo sleeps til 2:30 (whoa??). Party time.

The squalor.

The squalor.

The film.

The film.

milkshake1

Baby’s first milkshake.

milkshake2

He likes it! Hey Mikey!

He is so disbelieving that all this can be for just us. Look at those eyes!

He is so disbelieving that all this can be for just us. Look at those eyes!

Snuggle.

Snuggle.

This is the good stuff.

This is the good stuff.

ZE END.