Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sadie and a Haircut, 2 Bits

Tonight I took Sadie to get a haircut. She decided she wanted it short in the back and long in the front. It looks pretty cute on her - she's growing up so fast now that I don't really know how to deal with it. I've been trying to talk to her more about things, though. Like tonight, when we got finished at "the haircut store," we went over to the mall. I had to go in Victoria's Secret (which I try not to do) and so we had a nice discussion about modesty and keeping your body as a special gift for your husband. I tried to explain it like if she had a special present that she'd been saving and saving for a long time for just the right person, she wouldn't want to just run out and give it to the first person she saw walking down the street. She'd want to make sure she gave it to just the right person - one who would appreciate it and not take it for granted and who would LOVE her so much.

Anyway (after a pretzel and a Julius), she also wanted to stop in at the Kidgits Playground - even though there was no one else with us. So we did, and even though she was the biggest kid in the playground, she got right in there and started running around just like always. She jumped off the big baseball, she climbed up on the Cow that Jumped Over the Moon, she climbed in the rocket and tried to fly it. Then she went right over to the little kids that were playing... she helped a little 2 year old boy climb up on the cow, then she climbed up behind him and held him so he wouldn't fall off. She played with a little 4 year old girl who totally took right up with her - she kept turning upside down on the tunnel and yelling "Boo!" and the little girl would just crack up. I loved watching her with all these kids - from 1 all the way up to 5 or so... Sadie towered over all of them, but she had the sweetest look on her face - you could tell she was just happy to be playing with them. And they all followed her around like she was the Pied Piper or something - she had them playing tag and holding hands and playing "the jumping game" and she made sure no one was left out. I guess little kids can tell who is gentle - and who is a friend - right away. I just love that girl.

Monday, February 25, 2013

What's your name?

A big "T" comes on the screen of our new TV when you first turn it on.

I said, "What is that T for?"

Sadie replied, "Oh, that's just the name of the TV. Its first name is 'T.' Its last name is 'V.'"

 Now, whenever I ask Jed what his name is, he replies, "'Diah Hayes." Cutest thing ever... but why doesn't he just say, "Jed?" Have I already resorted to calling him by his full name??

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mother of all playlists

Earlier this week I looked through my iTunes playlist to see if there was anything I could delete (I’ve become somewhat addicted to Pandora, so I need more space for new songs – ie: anything by Zac Brown.)

As I scrolled through, my kids were chattering away in the background (as usual.) I happened to come across the old Eric Carmen song All By Myself and I thought, “Wow, being all by myself sounds pretty darn good at this moment.”

This led me to my newest list:

Songs for Moms. I had so much fun with this that I think I might have to do two lists.
Now, the lyrics of these songs do not necessarily coincide with the plight(s) of motherhood. It’s more the titles that I’m interested in. Keep in mind that this list came from my personal music collection. Therefore, you’ll probably think it’s pretty lame. I tend to like old stuff, since I am old myself.

All By Myself – Eric Carmen
Isn’t this every mom’s dream? I wanna be… all by myself! In the bathroom, all by myself!
Beast of Burden – The Rolling Stones
This is what I have become. I find myself carrying diaper bags, overnight bags, at least one kid, a purse, a set of keys, a violin, some yoga mats, a water bottle and a box of animal crackers pretty much everywhere I go.
Somebody that I Used to Know – Gotye
Not only is this my 4 year old’s “very favoritest” song, but this is also what I sing when I look in the mirror. Who is this person with the frizzy hair, the dark circles under her eyes and the flab from four babies where her jeans should be zipping? Yeah… let’s top that off with my mother’s voice is coming out of her mouth, too. Yep, I’ve turned into somebody that I used to know.
Pour Some Sugar on Me – Def Leppard
My 2-year-old son’s theme song. He chases me around the house saying, “Can-nY? Can-nnYYY? PEASE! Do-dut! Ice Cweam! Want some!”
Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
You sing this to your kids when their cousins tell them that there is no such thing as Santa Claus.
Mama Said – The Shirelles
The answer to pretty much every single “Why?” question that I hear throughout the day. I counted once – it’s roughly a total of 237.
Every Little Thing She Does is Magic – The Police
What you think about your little girl when she starts cooing, laughing and babbling. And then again when she’s five, gets a $4 magic set and says, “Hey! Watch this twick!” every five minutes.
Feels so Right – Alabama
What your 4-year-old tells you when she just CAN’T figure out which shoe goes on which foot – after you try to teach her EVERY SINGLE DAY for the previous SIX MONTHS. It’s on the wrong foot! “But, Mommy, it doesn’t feel wrong! It feels so right!”
Every Step You Take - The Police
Every move you make, every breath you take, every step you take – they’ll be watching you. Yes, they are, in fact, little pint-sized stalkers.
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – U2
I put the cereal in the dishwasher and I put the milk in the microwave. I put dirty clothes in the bathtub and I put yogurt on the washing machine. I put my iPad in my sock drawer and I put my Bible behind the coffee maker. I doubt I’ll ever find my original set of keys and there’s absolutely no hope for that earring I misplaced last week.
First Time Ever I Saw Your Face – Roberta Flack
This one’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? I’ve loved all four of my babies with a desperate, heart-wrenching love from the very first moment I saw their scrunched up little faces in the delivery room.  These lyrics have been printed out and permanently attached to every “Baby’s First Year” book in this house.

from my 2/24/13 post for www.mentorpatch.com 

You're Not That Special

It seems like some people only think about themselves.

You see the evidence everywhere these days: rude drivers, foul language, bad tempers and frivolous lawsuits. I'm guilty of selfish thinking, too – I’ll be the first to admit it.

Where does this behavior (in adults, especially) come from? It had to start somewhere.

I want my children to grow up to be good citizens, good people, good friends. I certainly don't want them to end up with a “me-first mentality.”

How to avoid it, though? How can I train them to avoid being contaminated by the selfishness that's around us every day? I can’t help but think of how we are constantly bombarded with reality shows, teased by ads for $2500 shoes and made aware of millions of political campaign dollars spent recklessly in our country while thousands of Americans are out of work, cold and even starving.

At the risk of sounding like an old fogey (do people even use that word anymore?) I've noticed that "kids these days" seem to be entering young adulthood with a sense of entitlement. They expect success (and the accolades and rewards that come along with it) even if they've done nothing - or very little - to earn it. They think they’re special - and then when they aren't treated that way in “the real world,” they become highly offended, dejected – even despairing.


Other than the obvious media hype, there must be other things, too. I've been thinking about this. I try really hard to make my kids feel like they’re special. They are special to me, to their families, to their friends, to God.
But are they better than anyone else? Nope.
Wow. Now that I type that out, it seems much more like a concrete truth. I don't want to raise them with a sense of entitlement. How can I teach them that while they are important – and even “special” – that they don't deserve "special treatment?"

These days, it seems like there’s a trophy for everyone. No one wants to feel bad – and of course no one wants their kids’ feelings to get hurt, including me. But guess what? If my child never feels bad – if she never has to learn to deal with feelings of rejection or sadness, then how the heck is she supposed to deal with those feelings when she’s an adult? Childhood is training for life!

I guess what I’m trying to say here – even to sort out in my own mind – is this: am I doing things that might cause my kids to be inconsiderate? To feel entitled?

I recently read something along the lines of this: If a little bit of praise is good for a child’s self-esteem, then a LOT of praise must be great for a child’s self-esteem. Right?

Hmm. I don’t think so. If I praise my child for regular old everyday things, like: “Hey, good job brushing your teeth! Good work hanging up your coat! You are the best scooter rider ever!” just so they’ll feel good about themselves, doesn’t it downplay the times when they actually work hard to achieve something? In their heads, they must be thinking, “What’s the big deal? Anybody can brush their teeth. Sheesh.”

I don’t want them to feel good about themselves because I am proud of them. Who knows? I may not be around forever.

No, I want them to feel good because they are proud of themselves.

I want them to feel good because they earn that feeling – because they actually accomplish something or they help someone or they stand up for what they believe is right.

Not because they are entitled.

-from my 2/24/13 post for www.mentorpatch.com 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Self-Esteem Building with Adelaide

Today's self-esteem builder, brought to me by Adelaide, age 4: 

A: "Hey, you don't look like my mom."
Me: "Oh? Who do I look like, then?"
A, in all seriousness: "Well, kind of like a witch."

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Adelaide has seen the wind!

She's got it! Adelaide has finally "got" rhyming. No more weird "Have you ever seen a bear eating some cheese?" or "Have you ever seen a dog wearing a hat?" Nope! She's got it! "Have you ever seen a goat riding a boat?" and "Do you ever see a chair wearing underwear?" Down by the bay! Yahoo! She's got it!

I was beginning to wonder... I think it helped that she memorized "The Wind" by Christina Rossetti.

Poetry "reading"

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Family Valentines

I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day.
When I was a little girl, I loved signing teeny little cards and sealing them with teeny little stickers. I loved putting notes in my friends’ cardboard mailboxes, and I loved reading all the valentines I would get in return from them.

I loved the big red paper heart my mom always put on the kitchen door and the cupcakes she made for me with heart-shapes stuck in the icing.

I remember getting a gift from my daddy every year: flowers, a basket holding two little stuffed white kittens with pink ribbons around their necks and a little pin with two teddy bears sitting on a loveseat (I still have it, thirty years later.)

When your parents make you feel extra special, those times that stick with you.

This week, my husband took our three girls to a program at the library called Chocolates for Dads and Daughters. Together, they taste-tested all kinds of chocolate, played a guess-the-candy game (think Swashbuckling Trio = Three Musketeers) and then the four of them made chocolate-dipped spoons (with sprinkles!) and little Hershey Kiss rose bouquets.  

When I asked 7-year-old Josie what the best part was, she thought for a second. Then she said, “Well, I liked making the roses, but my really favorite part was having Dad there. He acted like a kid. He did crafts with us and everything.”

Later on in the week, we spent an entire evening making homemade valentines (and I don’t mean Martha Stewart homemade. I mean pink-construction-paper-stickers-and-creativity-homemade.)
It was fun to see their final products, though: little lop-sided happy faces, slanted hearts and squiggly handwriting proclaiming “I love you Mom!” or “You’re cute!” or “I love my family!”

This is the first year that 4-year-old Adelaide has been able to sign her own name and use scissors well enough to cut hearts from paper (well, sort of.) She also made a collage with pretty valentine-y pictures she found in a magazine.

Jed, her 2-year-old brother, “helped” her by stealing the glue-stick and rubbing it all over the table and then his head. He also tried to swipe her scissors while yelling “I cut! I CUT!”
8-year-old Sadie, decorator extraordinaire, put herself in charge of covering the kitchen and family room with hearts, cupids and pink paper lanterns.

Once the house was appropriately decorated, we played a game I found on-line called “Don’t Eat Pete.” It’s very simple – just a sheet of paper with 9 cute little Valentine monsters on it. After we put a little candy conversation heart on each monster, one person had to leave the room. Everyone else looked at the paper and decided which monster was “Pete.” Then the child who left the room came back in and started taking the hearts off one by one. But if the child grabbed the heart on the monster designated as “Pete,” everyone else yelled “DON’T EAT PETE!” and cracked themselves up.

The game was a rousing success. We would’ve played longer, but after our fifth round, Jed gobbled up half the candies while we were trying to decide which monster was going to be Pete.

Later, we made heart tarts with puff pastry and strawberry jam, and then the girls helped their dad make some chocolate-covered strawberries and bananas for me.

Now, I like a chocolate-covered strawberry just as much as the next girl, but one thing I’ve learned about Valentine’s Day over the years is this:

The sweetest thing of all is spending time with my family.

-from my 2/17/13 post for www.mentorpatch.com 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Investigations by Josie

Josie now calls her brother "Sonny Boy." Her brother, in return, goes around saying, "My turn! My turn! My turn! My turn!"

She also recently learned to do 3 digit addition. This is the strange conversation we had that followed her first page of them: "Mommy, PLEASE can I have more math problems? PLEASE!!!?"

Adelaide wanted to use the battery-powered screwdriver that Jed and Josie were using to "work" on a block of wood in the family room floor. It was rightfully her turn, and she told Josie so. Josie told her, over and over, "Wait! Can't you see that I'm INVESTIGATING something!? I will let you have it when I am done with my INVESTIGATION! Seriously! This is a serious INVESTIGATION that I am INVESTIGATING!"


And Josie still says "Breftast" and "Callapillar." I don't correct her anymore because, honestly, I don't want her to stop saying it that way.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Do Storks Honk?

My kids and I recently started a yoga class.

It’s really for kids, but moms like to join in and pretend that they are working out. At least that’s what I do.

My girls were skeptical at first. They didn’t want to go, they weren’t sure about taking off their socks, they didn’t know the poses, blah blah blah.

I’m pretty sure I was even more skeptical than they were. A yoga class for KIDS? How can kids do yoga? Isn’t it all about breathing, peace, quiet and relaxation? (These are four areas in which my children do not tend to excel .)

Today when we arrived, Jedidiah (age 2) took off his coat and yelled “Soos! Off! Soos!” then he stole his sister’s mat and draped it over his head.

Then there was a minor incident amongst my daughters regarding who would get the dark purple yoga mat and who would get the light purple yoga mat. (Really, people?) Finally, everyone found a spot and sat down.

The teacher was great. She kept them focused, interested and laughing. She explained how each of us is like an onion with three layers: spiritual, mental and physical. Yoga helps rejuvenate and sustain each layer.
She started off the class by having everyone wake up their entire bodies. As you can imagine, this involved a lot of jumping, wiggling and spinning.

Next was the fireworks pose. Zip! Hands zoom into the air. Boom! Hands clap over heads. Woooooooo. Hands fall back down to sides. This was a major hit.

After that was the lion pose. Apparently, it’s really fun to stick your tongue all the way down to your chin and ROAR like crazy.

Then they flapped their arms while they did the stork pose. There were a couple of honks from the back of the room. (Do storks honk?)

They enjoyed practicing what she called the “downward-facing doggy-dog” position. Jedidiah copied his sisters. He bent over, head between his knees, little butt up in the air. This was followed by a loud, inevitable toot – which was then followed by inevitable giggling.

They turned into cobras, flat on their stomachs with their heads up – searching for (nonexistent, thankfully) rats and mice.

They balanced on one foot to do the tree pose. The teacher said, “What beautiful trees! Look how those branches sway in the wind!” Someone lost their balance and called out “Timmm-ber!”

She also taught them a modified frog pose, which really worked out the old thigh muscles. The kids cried out for more, but the moms cried out, “Please stop!”

My favorite part of the whole class was the last pose, called Shavasana. You are supposed to relax and feel yourself melt into the floor. Everyone is supposed to be quiet and calm.

I have a sneaking suspicion that it was every mom’s favorite part. I wish it lasted longer.

The teacher rang the chimes. Then we bowed and said “Namaste,” which means “My soul bows to your soul.”

Afterward, the kids ran around playing freeze tag. I heard the occasional shout of “Namaste!”
I guess it can also mean “My soul unfreezes your soul.”

It just goes to show you – you can take the kids to yoga, but you can’t calm them down.

-from my 2/10/13 post for www.mentorpatch.com 

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

February Funnies

"I am not a nomad! I'm an Egyptian!" "Well, I'm an Indian princess from Pondicherry!" "No, I'm the president!" "Well, I'm a teenager, so there!"
 Discussion of a possible beach trip: Me: I hope there are tide pools close by! Josie: I hope there are lots of seashells! Adelaide: I hope there is a squished dead bird head! ....
Sadie, pointing to the back of her knee: "This right here is my leg pit." 
So my iPad (Siri) just called me Monkey Butt Stinkhead Poop Face. Looks like I'm going to have to use a passcode....
Adelaide: I hurt my finger in the door! Me: should I kiss it? A: no. Me: should I laugh? A: no. Me: should I cry? A: no. Me: well, what should I do then? A: "You should call on The Lord, that's what! And say, hey, oh Lord, come over here and help me with my finger!"
Jed just came into the kitchen with his toy hammer and said (I kid you not), "hammer time!"
Jed: "I hungie." Me: "What do you want to eat?" Jed: "FOOD!"
I love the color-blindness and sweet innocence of children. Today when we were talking about civil rights and Dr.MLK, Adelaide said, "Wait... We're WHITE?"     

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Solutions for Chubby Moms

I’m not fat.

Okay, so maybe I’m a little bit fat.

I had four 8-pound babies in 6 years – all of my deliveries were C-sections because I have a spinal deformity. I gained 40 pounds with each pregnancy.

I’d lose 30 fairly quickly each time, but then hold on to the remaining ten. Let’s see… 10 lbs. x 4 kids = 40 pounds more than I’d prefer.

I experienced some depression after my last baby. Having weird post-partum hypertension headaches and carpal tunnel in both arms did not help matters. I’m also not one of those moms who shed pounds like crazy while breastfeeding. I was ravenous.

Anytime the babies were nursing, I’d be shoveling food into my face faster than they could suck it out (please pardon the visual.)

My oldest is now 8, my youngest now 2 – and I still haven’t been able to lose all of the baby weight. With my back issues, some days I’m barely able to walk, much less hit the gym early in the morning.

I’m not obese. I don’t eat horribly and I’m not lazy. I ride my bike when the weather allows. I swim when I can. If given the choice between fried or grilled, I choose grilled. I eat vegetables. I drink water. I rarely eat dairy.

But I don’t want to break my leg and have gravy fall out, if you know what I mean.

So, sometimes I’ll eat the watered-down version of what I serve to the kids. For example, if they have cheeseburgers with lettuce, I’ll have…lettuce.

Or if they have PBJs, I’ll have a turkey on wheat.

But when I sit down to eat (which is a rarity, as all moms know), I am constantly distracted by spilled drinks, strange questions, flying forks and requests to go potty. Usually I get up from the table and think, “Wait…Did I eat anything?”

Then I proceed to scrape the leftovers into the trash can – otherwise known as my mouth. Cheese! Gooey peanut butter crust!

I’m pretty sure this is how calories sneak into my body. They’re very stealthy, those calories.

That has to be it, because I’ve stopped eating Oreos. I haven’t had Crab Rangoon in months. My taste buds have forgotten the frozen deliciousness of Mountain Dew Slushies.


Because I want my kids to make healthy choices. When my little one asks for more cauliflower or says how great the broccoli is tonight, it totally makes my day. But I also want to lose some weight. Not so much for the sake of appearance, but because I need more energy.

So I looked for advice. I came across a study which informed me that moms of children ages 6 and younger are eating worse, getting less exercise and therefore gaining more weight than women who don’t have children.

Wow. Really? This is news?

The main problem I had with this study was the fact that they didn’t even address the extra weight that moms gain while they are busy GROWING A NEW HUMAN.

The study also mentioned that “mothers had a slightly higher average body-mass index than childless women — 27 versus 26.” Gee, a whole point? We are really beefing up. I find it rather hard to swallow (no pun intended) that it’s necessary to make us feel bad over one measly point.

The study went on to say that they weren’t trying to blame moms (oh, thanks very much), but warn them so that they can figure out some solutions. Looking for solutions, are they? How do my solutions sound to you, moms?
  • Two years of paid maternity leave, so we don’t have to a) go straight back to work and stress out over breastfeeding, pumping, childcare and housework OR b) stay home and stress out about money, bills and threat of foreclosure. In either case, most of us sacrifice ourselves on the altar of neglect - in favor of our babies, of course.
  • A free personal chef/nutritionist/trainer that can single-handedly turn us into the hard-bodied stereotypes that the media wants us all to perceive as “ideal women.”
  • Paid time off for new dads, so we can have help with the laundry and fifteen minutes to ourselves once in a while instead of gorging on chocolate and Red Bull just to keep ourselves going past two in the afternoon.
  • Healthy food on the value menus at every drive-through. Let’s face it. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time to prepare healthy meals. And why are salads so much more expensive than cheeseburgers?
  • Free baby-sitting, so we don’t have to pay money that we don’t have in order to go to a Pilates class (also costing money that we don’t have.)
  • Someone to take over at night so we can get more than 3 hours of sleep at a stretch. Did you know that lack of sleep is directly related to weight gain? I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in eight years!
The point is, we all have issues with our bodies. We could all probably eat healthier, live healthier, be healthier. But the focus on my weight – I think I’m just about over it.

Could I stand to lose a little? Yes. Would I feel better? Definitely.

Do I feel bad about that one extra BMI point? No way!

And neither should you.

-from my 2/3/13 post for www.mentorpatch.com