Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Eryn Kurin: Things I Did Not Truly Appreciate Until I Had Kids

Eryn, the illustrating mommy genius, is at it again.  In her latest cartoon, Eryn expertly captures what it really means to "shower alone".

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What I am Thankful for

This morning both girls woke before the sunrise ready to eat/play/read/color.  I, on the other hand, was not ready to do any of the above.  Being the clever and resourceful parent I am, I employed the use of two very trusty helpers, Max and Ruby.  Unfortunately, the show only lasted 22 minutes and 34 seconds, so 22 minutes and 35 seconds later I was forced to open my eyes, roll out of bed, toast some waffles, and begin the day.

After breakfast the girls played well together until Maisy, my adorable and terrible two-year-old, decided that she must, right then, have the exact royal blue, plastic gem sticker that Elana was pretending possessed magical fairy powers.  When "Give it to me!" didn't work, Maisy marched up to her big sister pinching Elana's arm and scowling.

While Maisy was spending a few minutes alone in her room (thinking about her actions?), Elana rolled around the kitchen floor wailing, "Let's give Maisy away!  I don't want her anymore!" Imagine my surprise when four-and-a-half hours later I picked Elana up from preschool and she proudly presented me with her latest art work:
Oh, the fickle little minds of toddlers.

So began my own annual (well, this will be the second annual) tradition of reflecting on the top ten things, parenting related, that I am most thankful for in the past year. 
  1. Nick Jr made the brilliant decision to push all commercials to the end of each show.  Now, instead of needing to sit next to my children during each Dora episode, I can go about my own business, only to return 23 minutes later.
  2. The legacy of Steve Jobs.  Without his vision how would I ever be able to fly cross-country with toddlers.  See Thank You Steve Jobs: A Mother's Tribute.
  3. Barilla Plus: pasta with protein.  I will readily admit to just about anyone that I am a lazy cook.  My skills in the kitchen are minimal at best and I cater to my children's picky pallets.  However, when I boil a box of Penne Plus, protein (a tricky food group) is eagerly consumed by both fussy foodies.
  4. Juice boxes that are 50% juice/50% water.  In the past year Maisy has decided that she would favor a liquid diet.  If she had her druthers, breakfast, lunch, and dinner would be sipped through a straw- preferably purple.
  5. That my youngest is too old to be a lap-child.  Flying alone with two kids under four, one of which squirmed relentlessly on my lap, was painful.  I feel blessed to now be able to book all three seats of an airplane row and actually reclaim my legroom.
  6. Stanley steamer was able to clean the rotten milk stain from my car upholstery and rid car of the stale urine smell. This one is self explanatory. 
  7. My first born is finally old enough for drop-off playdates and birthday parties.  Why didn't anyone tell me how awesome this would be? 
  8. The hours between 8 pm and 7 am.  Yes, I was thankful for this last year too.  But, when something is this valuable, it deserves to be repeated.
  9. Toddler clocks.  Who knew that such a small and simple gadget could bring a parent so much peace?  After only a few nights of training, Maisy knows to wait for the green glow of her clock
  10. Elana is now through with her princess obsession- has graduated to all things fairy.  It's true.  We now longer live in the Disney aisle of Target.  We are now privileged enough to be able to read all one-hundred-and-eight Rainbow Magic Fairy books.  (There may be over a hundred books, but there is only one plot.) 
What are you thankful for?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bubble Wrapped Babies- Huff Post Parents

Today my Bubble Wrapped Babies piece was published on the Huffington Post.  So far I am digging the comments, which are mostly reasonable.  However, I fully expect some over-anxious vigilante to remark that I am putting hundreds of young babes in danger by advocating free access to electrical outlets and hot stoves.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lies We Tell Our Children

I am a liar.  I lie daily to my children, if not two or three times a day.  Some of these lies are mere bluffs. Imagine my lovely four-year-old refusing to brush her teeth before bed.  Frustrated, I tell her that if she isn't polishing her pearly whites by the time I count to three, she's in time out.  In actuality, there is no way I am going to prolong the bedtime routine another five-minutes while I drag her kicking and screaming to her room.  However this one little lie accomplishes my main objective; its a quicker path to me sitting in front of the TV watching Bravo.
Photo courtesy of Karin Ascencio.
My lies vary in great degree.  There are small lies like "Sure I'll buy you that princess ballgown for your birthday!".  In reality I am just attempting to make it through Target without a collasal breakdown and her birthday is over five months away, so the possibility that she will remember this request come April is nil to none. 

There are also big lies, such as, "Neko (our cat) went to live on a farm."  We all know what the farm metaphor really stands for, but at the time I wasn't prepared to tell my three-year-old about the harsh realities of pets and death. 

As parents we lie for various reasons.  Many of them are for the benefit of our children, but in all truthfulness, the majority are for our own sake.  Here are just a few:
  1. To save time.  On a typical weekday morning I am in a rush to wrangle two kids into their carseats and make it to preschool by 8:45.  In the process one asks, "Can we watch Team Umizumi this afternoon?" Instead of explaining that there will be no time, what with the myriad of errands I need to accomplish, including toting both girls to the doctor's office for their annual flue shots, I simple respond, "We'll see." The child, satisfied with the response, climbs into the car.
  2. We lie because sometimes we don't know all the answers.  "Mommy, why is that flower blue?"  Having no clue, and knowing that admitting this will get me nowhere with a toddler, I respond, "So that it can combine with the red flowers to make purple ones."
  3. We lie because it is often easier than telling the truth.  "If you don't eat your vegetables, you won't grow big and strong."  To be honest, I've known plenty of children who refused all things green or orange and lived to be healthy adults.  However, explaining nutritional health, the national obesity epidemic, and the value of consuming one's daily vitamins is futile with the four-and-under crowd. 
  4. We lie to be nice.  "I made you a beautiful picture of a butterfly.  Do you like it?"  Umm... what butterfly?  All I see is a pink scribble next to a green one.  "I love it!"
  5. We lie to keep their innocence.  That is what Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy really are- lies we perpetuate to keep our children innocent, young, and believing in magic.  
  6. We lie to protect ourselves.  For parents, simple lies to avoid the subject of death, flow from our mouths like cheap wine-in-a-box.  When seeing a dead pigeon on the sidewalk, I have effortlessly fibbed, "Oh Honey, he is just sleeping."  While I do want to protect my girls from sorrow, I know that the larger part of me is lying to guard my own uncomfortableness with mortality.
I am not advocating dishonest parenting- I know fully well that these are just excuses for my behavior.  I've read the articles that explain how children learn to lie from their parents, and I hope to raise my own girls to be honest and trustworthy.  However, I am still not sure if I am ready to give up my white lies; I just foresee too many extended conversations delaying getting out the door for school, not to mention dinnertime and bedtime.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

New Babble Piece

Lately I have been writing a lot of stories for other sites, so even though there is fewer new material on Married With Toddlers, I will be sure to post links to my latest articles.

My latest Babble.com piece, The Humble Brag, is derived from an earlier blog post on the parental humble brag.  Some of the brags have been modified, and some are brand new, so be sure to check it out!

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Non-Perfect Parent

This is the  first few paragraphs to my latest Huffington Post Parents article.  It is completely new material, so you need to click on the link at the bottom to read the rest. 

I'm a really good mom, but I'm far from perfect.

I've been known to buy myself twenty minutes of peace with a cheap Disney princess toy from Target. Both of my girls can readily identify the theme music from at least a half dozen cartoons and even the two-year-old knows how to enter my password to unlock the iPad. Sometimes, when a day has been particularly challenging, I may even bribe them to stop whining with extra Sprout programming.

I can also be inconsistent with discipline. While I try be unwavering in my rules, I would be lying if I didn't admit to occasionally surrendering to my toddler's tantrums. What's worse is that I sometimes lose my patience and yell "Stop It!" I've locked myself in my bedroom with both girls wailing on the other side of the door while I had my own mini-mommy meltdown. 

Read the rest.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Huff Post Parents Piece #4

The Sexualized 4-Year-Old?

I'm not quite sure if the Huff Post readers are totally understanding my relax-it's-all-going-to-work-out tone that I try to impart with each post.  However, I am still typing away, and they keep publishing the work, so maybe somebody does get it... 

With this post I wasn't suggesting that young girls are not sexualized, but that it isn't anything new.  Maybe we don't need to be so wary of every new doll that is introduced and every new clothing fad.  (Notice I said "don't need to be so wary", not "we don't need to consider it at all".  There is a big difference.)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Weenie, Pee Pee, Hot Dog? What do you call it?

This week on Up All Night, Reagan and Chris lovingly avoided referred to their daughter’s private parts.  Reagan's mother, a psychiatrist and published author on parenting, was horrified, telling Reagan that she must take the time to carefully christen her daughter's genitals- a name that inspires whimsy and pride- like she had done when baptising Raegan's vagina "Bobo".    
The episode inspired me to write an article for Babble about private parts- what we call them, how we talk to our kids about them, why we try to evade said talks.  The first step in my research was to ask my friends and family what terms they used to refer to "down there".  Thanks to my awesome friends,my Inbox was immediately flooded with words like "bits" and "winkie".
Even though the article is still a month or more away, I thought that I would share some of the nicknames now.  If you care to add yours, I would love the additional data!
Girls’ Front
Boys’ Front
Pajarito (little bird)
The Guys
Jay Jay
Vee Vee
Pee Pee
Bum Bum
Hot Dog
Zizette (French)
Zizi (French)
Girl Parts
Boy Parts
Fanny (it’s an Australian thing)
Penis and the No No Berries

Ochinchin (Japanese)

Fu Fu

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Baby Talk

Today my latest Huffington Post blog was published on baby speech development, Baby Talk.  It is the third piece I have written for Huff Post Parents, and while I am very excited about all the exposure I am receiving, I am still adapting to reading all my negative comments.  Eh, 'tis the life of a blogger, right? 

Anyone out there have advice for thickening my skin when numerous readers call me a "bad mother"?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cartoon #3- By Eryn Kurin

Eryn is at it again, beautifully illustrating how a mother can simultaneously love her family, her children, her partner, and yet still....

Below are seven insightful glimpses into the inner thoughts of the everymom.