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Parenting Handbook – Meals

September 14, 2010 Leave a comment

I got the BRILLIANT idea of writing a “parenting handbook” in which I would pass on my super secret, full-proof parenting wisdom.  If this feels like a to-good-to-be-true gimmick, then you’re on the right track!  NONE of my parenting advice is full-proof and it is rarely wise, but I’ll share it with you anyways for the amazing low price of $20.00 – that’s the price of my co-pay on my kids therapy, from being subjected to my “wise” advice.

Because I have SO much wisdom to share, I will break it down into sections, starting with meals.  Meals are tough in our house.  I think this is because I am a control-freak and try too hard to prove how great of a mommy I am (a-hem) by getting my kids to eat what I think they should, when I think they should.  So here’s how you do it:

  • Eating games: Show me how a dinosaur eats (and every other possible animal)  This will not teach great table manners.  As it turns out Dinosaurs and other “cool” animals are VERY messy eaters!
  • Reverse psychology: “Do not eat your chicken because I really liked it and I am going to eat yours when I finish mine”.  The problem with this approach is the possibility of, “Here you go mom…”
  • Fun with counting: “I bet you can’t count all the bites you can eat!”  This is my crowning glory as I get my kids to eat and can check off working on their numbers.  I am huge multi-tasker, so the only way I could improve this is to incorporate reading or social skills.  Hmm… 
  • Cool names.  Turkey Lurkey is one of their favorites and it’s chicken, not turkey.  We have confused our share of waiters and dinner guests with our secret code names for food.

When these fail (absurd as that may seem…) here is Plan B (read the fine print):

The following is meant for entertainment purposes only.  Use of the below tactics is done at your own risk. 

  • Negotiation: “I’ll give you $5 to eat your whole dinner”
  • Fear: “Your friend Aiden barfed one night because he didn’t eat his dinner…” (I really used that one in a less than spectacular parenting moment)
  • Proximity: Duct tape the little darling to the chair until dinner is done.
  • Supply and Demand: Starve them for a few days, then they are bound to eat just about anything.
  • Peer Pressure: All the cool kids are eating this.
  • Listen to Their Bodies: Feed them whatever they want.  If they are craving it, their body must need it.

What other parenting challenges would you like for me to solve?  I am taking requests! 😉

It's what my body needs Mom!

Mommy’s Hierarchy of Needs

September 8, 2010 3 comments

My husband walked into the kitchen after we put our kids to bed and found me serving up a bowl of ice cream and stealing part of my kids homemade ice cream sandwich.  He looked at me, recognized the seriousness of the situation and kept walking.  He knew his life was in jeopardy if he tried to stop me or reason with me.  He understands the “Mommy’s Hierarchy of Needs” based very loosely on the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Based on how tough of a day I have had, I have different needs for coping.  Here is the graphical representation:

As you can see, from the scientific diagram above, there are 5 levels of need.  Within each level, the amount needed to cope can vary based on the severity of the day.  Sweets is level one, but one M&M is a good day compared to a whole chocolate cake which is a catastrophic day.  The most rare and severe level is a shot.  If the day requires a shot, alternative child care should be arranged!

However, the pyramid can also represent exceptional days, where each level would denote the amount of celebration appropriate for the occasion.

With good days and bad days, levels can be combined to most accurately represent the situation and mommy’s psychological state.  For example, a shot and a cupcake means that the principal, poop and stitches were involved.

So as not to discriminate, I will put together Daddy’s Hierarchy of Needs in a future post.

What New York Taught This Suburban Mom

September 7, 2010 7 comments

I am home from New York.  I spent four days with my husband, WITHOUT MY KIDS, in a town of incredible sights, history, food and culture to celebrate the wedding of a friend.   It was my first trip to the Big Apple and I was delighted, overwhelmed and more than a little off-balance.  Here are my lessons learned…

Flights Are Fabulous: Normally, when my husband and I fly together, we have the kids with us, which means I come off the plane sweaty, exhausted, cranky, stained and ready for a parachute.  On these two glorious flights I read books, drank wine (yeah, the break-up might be over), watched movies and RELAXED.  I didn’t actually care where the flight landed since the experience itself was so therapeutic.

Size Does Not Matter, It’s All About the View: My 2,800 square foot house can seem too small with the kids and all their toys, but a 1,000 square foot corner suite hotel room (thank you hotel points) over-looking the harbor is a little piece of Heaven. 

I Hate Crowds: I am a people person but  I DO NOT love swarming crowds of tourists.  Yes, I get that I was one of those tourists, but I think the problem was that I would like to sight-see like a celebrity, while everyone else stays home.  The sensory overload of Times Square is craizer than 25 kids for a six-year-old birthday party!  If I am in the mood for sensory overload I will chaperone my daughter’s preschool field trips.  At least then I will know the kids who own the sweat I rub up against. 

Suburban Life Requires Less Showers: I have shared in my posts that, since I work from home,  there are times, a-hem.. days, when I do not shower.  I had to wash city life off of me at least twice per day.  If I stepped off the curb wrong, I was splashed with gutter grime (water would not be an accurate word to describe what hit my legs). 

Moms Should Teach Taxi Driving School:  I can get an SUV full of 6 year olds anywhere on time without inducing motion sickness.  I can drive the carpool, while putting on a movie and passing back the juice boxes, without breaking any laws or startling anyone. (Unless I yell, “Don’t make me pull this car over”).  The taxi to the airport took two ginger ales to recover from.

Moms CAN Sleep-in After Having Kids: It turns out that staying up until 2:30 in the morning, having cocktails is doable if you can sleep until 11:30 the next morning.  I didn’t even know if I was still physically capable of sleeping late.  I have confirmed that mothers can still do shots and be the life of the party if given time to recover…

Adults Need Moderation Too: We don’t hand our children the candy basket and tell them to use their best judgement.  The same rule should probably apply to parents re-released into the wild – aka at an event with a fully hosted bar.  Just because it is there and free, doesn’t mean one (okay, me) should try to take full advantage.  The extra sleep helped, but I still had to relive the hazy memories of giving breast-feeding advice to someone I had just met.

Parks Are For Adults Too: My favorite part of my kids-free trip was a park!  We had a delightful brunch at The Boathouse in Central Park and then strolled around the lake. I turned to my husband and said, “oh the kids would love this”.  He said, “You’re right, but we’re not bringing them while they’re young”.  He’s a smart guy.

Thank you New York for reminding me what being a civilized adult feels like.  Thank you for the one-on-one time with my husband, for the beautiful sites and delicious food.  Finally, thank you for perspective – when I had my first dose of mommy frustration upon coming home, as the kids were being loud and rowdy, I was able to say, ‘Thank God I am not in the heat of Times Square with all those crazy tourists!’

I Have Slept in the Rain, I Am Not High Maintenance

September 2, 2010 2 comments
I realize that yesterday’s list of rules may have made me sound a bit high maintenance.  So I would like to set the record straight: I am medium maintenance.
My husband always says being high maintenance is relative and that on the spectrum, I am “not that bad”.  I think I was on the path to high maintenance, and then I had kids.  They took my wallet and kicked me off the path.  They keep me balanced.  Here’s the proof:
  1. I don’t belive in manicures. (Although I have vastly different views on pedicures)
  2. If there is food involved I can be ready in under three minutes to walk out the door. (But you may not want to sit across from me)
  3. If you’re cooking, I will eat it, no questions asked.
  4. I drink beer, not just wine and cocktails.  The Silver Bullet suits me just fine.
  5. I love hand-me-downs for my kids.
  6. My Nieman Marcus is Marshalls.
  7. Filet mignon and pizza are pretty much on the same level for me.
  8. Days, okay I won’t lie – weeks, go by without me doing my make-up or hair.
  9. If I don’t leave the house, I don’t dress up, or get dressed…
  10. I will camp.  In a tent.  In the rain.  And have fun.

Just like the Four Seasons!

The Difference Between Men and Women: Vacation

August 27, 2010 3 comments

My husband left today for a guys’ house boating trip.  I was thinking tonight about the stark difference between his boys’ weekend and a girls’ weekend with my friends.  Allow me to compare:  

  • His trip:  3 days of house boating
  • My trip:  A weekend in Napa
  • His luggage: a backpack and toothbrush
  • My luggage:  Rollerboard, large tote bag, make-up case and purse
  • His shoes: Flip flops
  • My shoes: 2 pairs of flip-flops, running shoes, 2 pairs of wedges and  heels
  • His activities: Skiing, wakeboarding, drinking
  • My activities: Wine tasting, spa treatments, pool time, shopping, eating (yes for us, it qualifies as an activity) and drinking
  • His time spent getting ready: 45 seconds to brush his teeth (which is optional)
  • My time spent getting ready: 90 minutes if I hurry
  • His conversations: boats, trucks, work
  • My conversations: CENSORED

   

  • His bedtime: 11:00 pm
  • My bedtime: 2:00 am
  • His cost: $150
  • My cost: More than $150… no exact figures if I hope to do it again someday!

I hope he is having a wonderful time and knows that I am planning a girls trip as I write this!  

His

Hers

I Have Mold In My Shower and Other Confessions

August 17, 2010 19 comments

I like to quote the Wizard in the “The Wizard of Oz” when he says, “Don’t look behind the curtain”.  For me that means I usually appear to have it together, but it’s typically held together with scotch tape and dental floss. 

I was reminded of my wizard mantra yesterday when my friend and I agreed we were ‘going to pull it together’.  You know, the day where you vow to catch up on everything.  Why do we set such lofty goals?!  So I went for it.  I am 90% caught up on work, filled out my daughter’s preschool paperwork (that was due weeks ago), worked on a birthday present for a friend, blah, blah, blah. 

I am really proud of myself.  I started congratulating myself on being amazing until I looked behind my curtain

  • I picked up my house and cleaned my stove, but there is mold in the shower
  • I fed my kids dinner BEFORE soccer practice, but it was a microwave meal
  • I arranged to take a family with a new baby dinner tomorrow, but I went store-bought instead of homemade
  • I did the grocery shopping, by putting a fake meeting on my work calendar
  • I had to put my friend’s son’s first day of school in my calendar so I wouldn’t forget to ask how it went on the correct day
  • I took my FIRST shower for the “day” at 10:00 pm

I also have a few standing tricks I pull to appear more together than I am:

  • I use dry shampoo so I don’t have to wash and style my hair as often
  • I have big drawers behind cabinet doors where I store all the kids toys at night
  • I keep a stash of cards, presents and wrapping paper so I don’t show up without a gift (because I am not organized enough to mail birthday cards)
  • I have dimmer switches on my lights so you can’t see the dust if you come to my house for dinner

Now, I could easily say that I work smarter, not harder (with the exception of the mold in the shower) but the point is, we all do the best we can.  We can usually make things livable, but rarely perfect.  I did not write this list to put myself down, but rather to keep a firm grip on reality.  I can only do what I can do and it is what it is. (Yes, I am going for a cliché record).  If my shower was mold free (it will be Thursday) and the meals were homemade, I would be even more off-balance than I already am.

Therefore, I am celebrating the chaos behind the curtain!  Please join me in this celebration and share your tricks for keeping it together or giving the appearance that you have it together.

Don't Look Behind The Curtain

A Quick Sweets Update

July 31, 2010 3 comments

I am still in a bet with my friend, I still have not had sweets.  He called three times yesterday begging for chew, when I said no, he resorted to trying to get me to eat sweets.  When that didn’t work he explained why I was going to lose the bet, hmmm… not likely.  He’s a trainwreck, this should be an easy victory.

Well, I have a new problem.  One of my friends, Sasha (names have been changed to protect the truly nuts), thinks the bet is dumb.  She is coming over later and is bringing dessert.  SHE DOESN”T EVEN LIKE SWEETS!  She’s doing it just to make it hard on me.  Her and my husband are conspiring and he is now talking about making his famous chocolate soufflé – Really!?  But I will not give in, I will win this bet, I will exercise will power.  Why, because I am stubborn and my dessert toting friend, Sasha, is crazy (said with love).   This isn’t about helping my friend quit chewing anymore.  Now it’s a grudge match.  It’s me against the world.  Am I pointlessly depriving myself of one of my passions?  Maybe.  Am I taking this too far and being over dramatic – absolutely!  But I am having fun and laughing hard and that is more therapeutic than sweets – at least that is what I am telling myself.

One last thought, when the best is over, I am going to face first into anything sweet.  I might even try bacon ice cream that Jen at My Morning Chocolate has been experimenting with.  Or, I might just get an IV of Hershey’s syrup and cut to the chase.

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