Potty Mouth

Blog 02-04-2012 edMost parents cannot wait to hear their precious baby utter his or her very first word.  Mama or Papa would be the preferred choice, of course, but there are also many other acceptable selections like cat or car or bye-bye.  I think I can safely say that booger, tush, peepee, and butt are not amongst them.

Poop is going to be my daughter’s first word.  I just know it.  She is only four months old now, but the words mentioned above are the most commonly spoken in my household by my almost three year old son (who, mind you, has recently changed his name to Poophead).  Initially, I tried to avoid the potty humor.  Then, I tried not to encourage it.  However, I found it very difficult to not laugh because, well, let’s face it, these words are pretty funny.  Who hasn’t laughed at a good fart joke sometime in his/her life?

I have come to accept potty humor as a normal stage of development in toddlerhood.  I can even appreciate my son’s creativity and his ability to change lyrics of his favorite songs, for example, “The wheels on the tush go ‘Poop, poop, poop,’” and “A, B, C, D, E, F, Butt!”  He has even taken to composing original works!  The lullaby he wrote tonight (and then had his father and me sing to him before bed) went something like this: “Booger, butt, booger, butt, booger, butt all day!” Repeat until the giggles stop.

I do look forward to my daughter learning to speak (though I’m in no rush), but I dread having to write in her baby book that her very first spoken word was related to fecal matter or some other bodily function.  Butt, we’ll just have to wait and see.



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Independently My Way

I want my son to play.  I want him to explore.  I want him to be independent.  I want him to learn.  But, I want him to do it my way… and that defeats the purpose.

I am trying very hard to let go of the “right way” to play or paint or work on special projects.  The right way is however (as long as it’s safe) he wants to do it.  So, why am I getting in the way?  Why do I jump in when he’s perfectly content and try to change things up?  Why do I place restrictions when there’s no harm being done?

Messes can be cleaned up, pictures can be painted any color, and all different toys (animals, construction trucks, and play food, for example) can all interact.  There’s nothing wrong with that – in fact, that’s how it should be.  Books can become tunnels, dinosaurs can go for rides on fire trucks, and shoes can become garages.  All of the fingerpaints can be mixed together so that every picture ends up brown.  The macaroni that was so carefully dyed and sorted to use for art work or jewelry is, we have recently discovered, really fun to crush.  Smashing it with a block or stomping on it with our feet can provide just as much entertainment (if not more) than gluing it to a piece of paper.

Parents, myself included, need to stop pushing their own agendas when it comes to play.  Since I’ve become more aware of my own control issues, I’ve been better about letting him take the lead.  But, when I come up with a new and different way to play with something, I still find myself trying to influence and get my son excited about MY idea.  Now, I know that scaffolding is an important part of learning and, in my mind, that’s what I’m trying to do.  However, I think I’m still running the show a little too much.  I need to back off.  I need him to investigate.  I need him to be creative.  I need him to grow.  I need him to teach me – his way.

For more information on this topic, please see this article that I stumbled upon the other night: http://childhood101.com/2012/02/let-go-and-let-them-learn


Car Hoarding

I’m not a hoarder, really I’m not, though my husband thinks the tendencies are there.  But recently, I started wondering if I was starting to slide down that slippery slope.  My house still has floor space, I still throw things away… but then, I went to the car to look for something.  I knew the car was a mess.  I knew it was cluttered.  But until I took inventory, I didn’t know just how bad it had gotten.  I decided to take every last thing out of the car and start from scratch.  This is what I found:

8 random toddler shoes (only a few matched up as pairs)

7 mismatched toddler and baby socks

3 sippy cups

2 stainless steel coffee mugs (still with coffee inside)

4 baby blankets

7 jackets (3 baby, 3 toddler, 1 mama)

14 hats (8 baby, 4 toddler, 1 mama, 1 papa)

4 bibs (now, my toddler doesn’t wear them and my baby is exclusively breastfed, so…?)

3 pairs of Babylegs

4 pairs of sunglasses (3 toddler, 1 mama)

1 diaper bag

1 bag to throw bare necessities into when diaper bag gets too heavy

$3.17 in change

11 mismatched gloves

3 board books

2 reusable shopping bags

1 Ziploc bag of Fruit Snacks, pretzels, Cheerios, and granola bars

17 CDs, with and without cases

36 toys

Copies of The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution by Elizabeth Pantley and Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen, PhD

Many, many gas station and drive-thru receipts

I can explain.  See, my priority when I get home is getting both the baby and the toddler from the car into the house.  The “stuff” can wait… and it always does.  Take the hats, for example.  I put the kids in the car and make sure each of them has a hat.  When we return from our adventures, I get the both kids into the house, but the hats are now on the floor of the car and, well, they aren’t needed in the house so they stay there.  When getting ready for our next adventure, I look around the house and wonder where their hats are.  Since we are usually in a hurry, I just go ahead and grab another hat for each child, forgetting that they already have one in the car.  Rinse, repeat.  It’s not my fault.  It’s mommy brain.  Hey, at least I remembered to bring the kids!

And, no, I never found the one thing I was looking for – that remains a mystery!

Please, Son, Can We Go to the Playground?

It was 63 degrees in New Jersey today.  It’s February.  It shouldn’t be 63 degrees.  Following my son’s Kindermusik class, we drove 40 minutes back to our house.  Luckily, both kids napped in the car.  I didn’t want to go home.  It was gorgeous out.  We’ve been cooped up in the house all winter, mainly because my baby daughter absolutely hates the cold.  How awesome would it be, I thought, for my son to wake up and realize that we were at the playground?  We went for a little bit yesterday, but today we had the whole afternoon to spend there.  No time restrictions, no commitments – just time for fresh air, sunshine, and play!  Yay!

My daughter woke up, nursed, and we played together in the car until finally my son woke up.  He looked around and I watched as he tried to process where we were.  I told him how excited I was that we could spend the next few hours on the swings and slides and whatnot.  I even had snacks!  “Let’s go home,” was his response.

I was flabbergasted!  “Home?  Really?  But I want to go to the playground!  It’s so nice out.  Pleeeeeeease!!!”  I begged him, but he was insistent.  There was no reasoning with him.  He just wanted to go home, plain and simple.

So, I put my daughter back in her car seat and tried to persuade my son one last time.  No luck.  We went home and I sulked for a bit.  I never get to have any fun, I thought.  But, realizing that I sounded like my two year old when he doesn’t get his way, I decided that I had to shake it off and get over my disappointment (but, I still don’t think it was fair…).

January 31, 2012, 5:00 am

At 5:00 am on January 31, 2012, I was awakened by my daughter who needed to be nursed.  Though I am used to this and know that it’s a normal part of mommyhood, I was slightly annoyed because I was in the middle of a pretty good dream.  No sooner than I got her back to sleep, I heard my toddler son hollering for me in the other room (we’ve been trying to night wean so he sleeps in a different room with my husband).  Although my husband was doing everything in his power to soothe my son, he was consistently crying for me.  I eventually got up and went into the other room to see if I could help all of us get back to sleep, even just for an hour or so.

At 5:00 am on January 31, 2012, I was annoyed that my son couldn’t be soothed by my husband.

At 5:00 am on January 31, 2012, I was ticked off that he was asking for “milkies” when he knows he’s supposed to wait until the sun comes up.

At 5:00 am on January 31, 2012, I was frustrated that, after almost 3 years, we still haven’t been able to figure out how to get him to sleep through the night.

At 5:00 am on January 31, 2012, I was aggravated that even after my attempts to calm him, my son was wide awake and wanting to play when it was still dark out.  This was the second day in a row.

At 5:00 am on January 31, 2012, I was annoyed with myself that I had gone to bed so late, but had been trying to catch up on household tasks.

At 5:00 am on January 31, 2012, at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, two people were saying goodbye to their precious two year old daughter who finally lost her battle with a rare bone marrow disease.

Ayelet Galena was the granddaughter of my mother’s best friend from childhood and I have been following her fight on Facebook.  Every day, her parents posted her progress – from the bone marrow transplant to her kidney function.  Every day had its ups and downs, but no one ever gave up hope.  At 5:00 am on January 31, 2012, little Ayelet passed away.  When I learned this sad news, I was heartbroken for the family and I was also ashamed of my reaction to my son waking up just a bit too early.  I am truly blessed to have two healthy, happy children, and in the grand scheme of things, a little sleep deprivation isn’t really that big of a deal.  The tears that had been in my eyes from my frustration, turned into tears of sadness for the Galena family and tears of joy for how truly blessed I am.  I hugged my kids a little tighter and a lot more often, and although still quite tired, we went out and played our little hearts out.  We laughed, we wrestled, we read stories.  We had a fun day.  Now, I can’t say for sure that if my son wakes up at 5:00 am tomorrow, I’m going to be happy about it, but I will certainly try to keep things in perspective.







For more information on Ayelet Galena, please visit:



Dinner for My Husband

Dearest Husband,

Remember when we were first married?  I never had the know-how or desire to cook before we were together.  Once we said our vows, I took to the kitchen with gusto.  I scoured the recipe books, shopped smartly for the finest and freshest ingredients, and spent hours preparing meals that were bursting with color and flavor.

Now, five years later, I still strive to provide healthy, well-balanced meals for our growing family.  While our son took his afternoon nap, our daughter and I rummaged through the freezer to find a protein to be the source of tonight’s dinner.  I found two small chicken breasts from who knows when.  I then stared blankly at the pantry looking for anything that could be paired with it – a sauce of some kind, a canned vegetable, several half-empty boxes of pasta.  I opened and closed the pantry many times, hoping that new ingredients might magically appear.  But, I had to suspend my efforts upon our son’s waking.  I looked to him for ideas and he told me that we should dine on salt that evening.

After our baby girl was put down for her afternoon nap and our son was occupied with his good friend Thomas the Tank Engine, I resumed my search for the healthiest, most flavorful, and pseudo-gourmet meal I could create.  Every recipe I found called for an essential ingredient (or two) that we didn’t have.  Meanwhile, my window of opportunity was slowly slipping away.  Thomas was now over and our son, aggravated that we weren’t going to make cookies at that very moment, informed me that he “doesn’t like dinner.”

I decided to wing it and hope for the best.  I dug some frost-bitten vegetables out of the freezer and began to sauté.  I sprinkled them generously with spices.  Then, our daughter bellowed and I had to turn off the stove to attend to her needs.  Once settled, I took to the stove again.  But our potty-learning son had to poop, so off went the flames.  Twenty minutes and several books later, I was able to resume cooking, and just in time, as our daughter was now awake and wanting to play.

Two hours later, my dried out chicken still sat on the stovetop.  I began to reheat it, knowing that you would be home soon and we could all sit down and enjoy this, um, delicious meal together.  But, our meal wasn’t complete without sides.  I returned to the freezer once again and discovered some sweet potato fries.  Twenty minutes later, they were done and scattered all over the inside of the oven door as the tray slipped from my hands in slow motion.  I made sure the children were safe in the other room and I gathered up the fries.

Dinner was ready only a few minutes after you came home.  Pretty good timing on my part, I think… though it had taken several hours to get to this point.  We sat down as a family, but our son decided that he needed to wear his winter gloves.  Dinner began getting cold as you addressed his needs.  Since the baby started hollering, I gobbled up my food as quickly as I could, not pausing long enough to even taste it.  You helped our son take his first bite, which he then spit out and refused to eat.  I said goodnight and brought the baby upstairs for bed.  I returned to find both of your dinners uneaten – his because he, as we know, doesn’t like dinner, and yours because you were playing with him.  And then, it was bedtime for our dear son who barely ate anything for dinner despite the several other choices that were, against my better judgment, offered to him.  Your dinner remained untouched while we read stories, shared nighttime cuddles, brushed his teeth, and got him tucked in for the night.  We each ventured back downstairs several hours later.  Your unappetizing, unappealing, uninteresting dinner still remained untouched.  I took it away and decided to serve you a healthy dinner alternative packed with vitamins, minerals, and whole grains.  I hope you enjoyed your Cheerios.


Your wife

Good Mommy, Bad Mommy


Every mother (or father) thinks she knows best on how to parent her own children.  Yet the shelves at bookstores are filled with books on how to get children to sleep, have proper nutrition, which way to parent, how and when to potty train, whether or not to vaccinate, and so on.  I should know because I own half of them.  I seriously should have taken out stock in Amazon.com when I became a mommy.  I read and read and read and I still make plenty of mistakes.  I have an ideal picture in my head of the kind of mother I should be, how my household should run, and how, just because I read something, I should be able to execute it immediately and flawlessly.  I am learning more and more each day that mothering takes an enormous amount of practice, patience, and perseverance.  I have many days where I feel I exemplify what a “good mommy” should be and days that I’m just trying to survive.  For example:

I bought, washed, cut, and stored several organic fruits for my toddler son to snack on throughout the week.  I am a good mommy.

I bought him a chocolate frosted donut for breakfast as we rushed to a class after having overslept.  I am a bad mommy.

I prepared several new activity bins for sensory exploration.  I am a good mommy.

I let Thomas the Tank Engine babysit for much longer than I should have.  I am a bad mommy.

I let my son make a mess for learning’s sake.  I am a good mommy.

I have let my son stay in the same soaking wet diaper for several hours to avoid arguing with him.  I am a bad mommy.

I breastfed my almost three year old through pregnancy and now tandem nurse with his sister because he wasn’t ready to wean.  I am a good mommy.

I have had the urge to run out of the room screaming, “Get off of me already!” when he’s nursing (though I never would).  I am a bad mommy.

I take my kids to gymnastics, music, swimming, the library, playdates, and the playground.  I am a good mommy.

I have crammed so much into a day sometimes that I don’t get to read my children a book.  I am a bad mommy.

I take my son on nature walks (weather permitting).  I am a good mommy.

I let him eat lunch in front of the tv.  I am a bad mommy.

I support his decision to rename himself “Poophead.”  I am a good mommy.

I once let him go for about five days without a bath.  I am a bad mommy.

I wore my son in a carrier (that wouldn’t cause hip dysplasia) until he’d no longer let me and now I wear my baby daughter.  I am a good mommy.

I occasionally forget to physically reconnect with my son and try to make up for it by showering him with multiple hugs and kisses until he pushes me off.  I am a bad mommy.

I let him wear his Superman costume out in public whenever he feels the need.  I am a good mommy.

I have left the house without his jacket and/or shoes.  I am a bad mommy.

I attend to the needs of my children as quickly as possible and never let them cry.  I am a good mommy.

I give in to my Words with Friends addiction with one hand and rub their backs with the other when they wake during the night.  I am a bad mommy.

I share my bedroom with my children.  I am a good mommy.

I have been willing to sell my children for a decent night’s sleep.  I am a bad mommy.

I love, nurture, feed, clothe, bathe, play with, laugh with, teach, praise, and adore my children.  I am a pretty darn good mommy.