A fun Sunday activity from a fellow blogger who was kind enough to play along. Got any parenting haikus waiting to be born?
Month: March 2015
Park Etiquette 101: How NOT To Be The Ass Everyone Hates
Oh, the park. How I love thee, and your rolling green hills. Your trees, the only survivors of the unstoppable urban sprawl, provide shade from the hot afternoon, post-nap sun (or the drizzle if you live in the Pac NW). Your sandpit, with it’s lot of broken, discarded, plastic toys, is one of few places I can sit still while Baby 1.0 happily digs, piles and eats sand like she is one of those giant angry worms from Tremors. Your swings bring back the memories of the only way we could get our precious daughter to sleep for the first 7 months of her life. And your constant parade of playmates provide a welcome bit of socialization from what can otherwise be a bit of a lonely existence. But it’s not all sunshine and sidewalk chalk rainbows. Every once in a while, someone comes along and sullies the experience. So for you, the clueless, I present to you How Not To Be A Douche Canoe At The Park.
1. Don’t do drugs at the park. You see those tiny humans running around, all giggly, and squealing with delight? Unlike you, those tiny humans are not high. Those tiny humans are kids. These kids are pretty impressionable, in case you didn’t notice, and I think it would be better if they kept playing “Lava Monster” instead of needing to have their daycare teacher answer awkward questions about why you are staring so enviously at their rice cake.
2. While we’re on the topic, don’t sell drugs at the park. I thought this scenario was made up by D.A.R.E officers to give you an example of where you may encounter people to whom you could “Just Say No,” but it turns out people sell drugs at the park all the time. This is bad. Please don’t do this.
3. Pick up your dog poop. I think we can all agree poop is gross, and kids, much like dogs, are very curious about anything and everything that stands out as abnormal from it’s surroundings, i.e., a pile of brown poop on a swath of green grass. It’s a magnet for mayhem and flies alike. Pick it up.
4. Acknowledge other people. Look, I know stranger danger is a real thing, and the last thing you want to do is strike up a conversation with a weirdo. But if you see the same person 5 days a week, at the same park, with their child? Maybe just throw a nod their way now and again. Chances are they aren’t any more crazy than you are. And if you can’t bring yourself to acknowledge the adult, at least say something to the tiny person standing to your right saying “hi” over and over, like a broken Repeat Pete parrot.
5. Parent your kid. The park is supposed to be a fun place where kids can burn steam, so running, screaming, and being wild are to be expected. But when your kid crosses the threshold from “that will need a band-aid” to “that will need a body cast,” maybe step in to bring it down a notch?
6. Don’t bogart a high value play item, like the digger, for an unreasonable amount of time, like the whole month of March. Sharing is caring. Preach it, and teach it.
Anyone have anything else you’d like to add?
Image credits: Park sign, Tremors, D.A.R.E., Repeat Pete, Digger
To All The Other “Bad Mothers” Out There
Well hello, Lovelies!
Let me start by saying welcome, and thank you for joining me in my first ever “Bad Mothers Club” meeting! My name is Emily, and according to strangers on the internet, I’m a bad mother (amongst many other less than desirable things). See, a few weeks ago I wrote a post about Why I’m Never Getting My Daughter A Pony, and wouldn’t you know it, it awarded me membership to the club with gusto (awesome comments can be read here)!
Shortly after receiving my membership notification, via multiple comments along the lines of my personal favorite, “You’re a blithering IDIOT!!!”, and of course the old stand-by, “You shouldn’t be a mother,” I came across another poor fellow mother and blogger who was ripped a number of new assholes from hundreds of angry mothers who didn’t agree with her message. If you’re wondering what her message was, it was simply that she doesn’t like to play pretend with her daughter. OH THE HORROR! Get your pitchforks, ladies, we’ve got a monster on our hands! Someone who doesn’t like being bossed around by her 4 year old?! GASP! As long as you promise to play nice, you can read it here.
I was fully intending on pulling a T. Swift, and just shaking it off, but seeing the pack turn on another mother got me thinking: Isn’t there a better way to deal with this? And so I present to you, The Bad Mothers Club. The membership rules are simple:
1. Make a pledge to be nice. You don’t have to agree with everything someone says, but if you choose to voice your opinion, do it without personally attacking the other person.
2. If you see a fellow blogger getting ripped any number of new assholes over a topic as uncontroversial as not enjoying being bossed around by her 4 year old, maybe pop by and tell her “You are not a bad mother.” Unless of course you believe in your heart of hearts this makes her a bad mother, and if that’s the case, you don’t belong in our club.
3. Say this out loud to yourself until the icky feeling in your stomach goes away: “I am not a bad mother.”
4. Continue to write out YOUR truth. Maybe other people don’t like it, but that’s on them. Motherhood is a wild experience, and it’s different for everybody. Of course your truth won’t fit perfectly someone else’s, but if they don’t like it, they don’t have to read it. And if they say something nasty, come here and vent about it.
So welcome! Make yourself at home. Feel free to dump that horrible comment someone once left you in the comments section. Leave here with your heart a little lighter.
7 Parenting Terms To Know If You Have A Toddler
Of all the surprising things I’ve accomplished since becoming a parent, learning how to speak, or at least understand, a new language is somewhere near the top of my list. I’ve always known babies babble, but what I didn’t realize is that over time, one can actually come to make sense of their own baby’s nonsensical drivel. At least most of it. Sometimes. Maybe.
In addition to now knowing “apple” means “pear” and “no” generally means “yes” except for when it really means “no” or “maybe later,” I have also developed a special language with my husband to quickly communicate about our most common scenarios.
Here are our 7 favorite toddler terms:
1. Rage Planking- When a cloud of hot rage overcomes your toddler, and they drop to the ground, in perfect plank position, and scream until they turn purple. Burns calories, and scares off anyone within a 30 foot radius.
2. Textertaining– When you get stuck in your rocker because your toddler will only nap if you hold them, and you force your husband to text you jokes and gossip after you already read through everything Buzz Feed has to offer, and are certain that if you see one more vacation photo on Facebook, you’re going to combust.
3. Spite Licking– When you say “no” to something redonkulous, like your toddler’s request to use the litter box scoop as a toothbrush, and they immediately turn and lick the closest thing to them. The licking target could be ANYTHING, so caution must be used when determining when to deliver the bad news that no, they cannot stand on the TV stand and rip holes in the paper lampshade with the dirty fork they took out of the dishwasher.
4. Chipmunking- The art of a toddler packing 4 crackers, a hunk of cheese, and a bit of strawberry from two days ago into their cheek until the moment they decide they no longer want them, and they then spray them all over the wall, like a slobber-filled culinary machine gun, and promptly demand more crackers.
5. The Abyss- Describes the exact location in the car where a toddler will drop a high value item (water bottle, Dog Dog, snack cup) that cannot be reached without pulling over, getting out, and opening the door. (It should be noted I stole this particular term from my brother-in-law. Sorry, bro.)
6. The Classic Hold Me, Don’t Hold Me- The inspiration for this blog, and the way I lost all the baby weight. As the name implies, it’s the action of requesting to be held, and then upon being picked up, deciding they don’t want to be picked up, unless of course you plan on putting them down, then they will resist mightily and cling to you like a vivacious starfish.
7. The Temple of Doom- When a toddler attempts to remove your soul via your nose or the deepest recesses of your mouth, by use of shockingly inhuman strength, and lack of empathy regarding pain being inflicted.
Anyone else have anything the have a funny name for? I’d love to hear it!
Image credits: Cover image, others belong to HMDHM
Fill In The Blank
Recently I did something I’ve never done before, and wrote a fictional short story for another blog who provided a small writing prompt. It was exhilarating and fun, and reminded me of how wonderful it is to have a community of like-minded individuals sharing their experiences throughout this journey called Parenthood (if interested, you can find that post here). It got me thinking about how different all of our journeys can be, yet how similar many of our experiences are.
This week, rather than doing a Parenting In 5 Words Or Less, I thought I’d do something even crazier. I want to know in one word, how you would sum up how becoming a parent has made you feel. Maybe your choice is tired, or fulfilled, or connected, or confused – anything goes, and anything is fair. But I want to hear from you, fellow bloggers, friends and readers of HMDHM, what word would you choose? And before you quit because you feel like you can’t find one word, just list the first one that comes to mind, even if you are biased because you are having a really terrible day, or a really fantastic day for that matter. Just one word.
As for me, I’d say the one word that sums up how becoming a parent has made me feel is aware. I am much more aware of the good, and aware of the bad. I am aware of how lucky I am, and also of how tired I am. Aware may seem like a boring choice, but it summarizes it pretty well for me.
So let’s hear it. Becoming a parent has made me feel ______________. Fill in the blank, and leave your word in the comments section!
Getting A Toddler To Sleep Through The Night (Without The Heavy Use of Narcotics or Alcohol)
I’ve said it time and time again: Baby 1.0 is just not a sleeper. 19 months into it, and we’ve only had a handful of blissful nights where she has actually slept all the way through, and subsequently woke the next morning with enough energy to burn a hole through concrete. Finally, after being pushed to the absolute brink of sleep deprived madness, this weekend my husband and I decided to put our collective parenting foot down, and declared, once and for all: “Enough is enough, Child!”
Until this weekend she would wake, like clockwork, several times a night and cry (scream, wail, holler) until I came in and nursed her back down, which, out of habit and fear of her waking up more, I would do shortly after she started up. While I understood my participation via multiple nightly nursing sessions was contributing to the problem, until this weekend, I didn’t understand it was the whole problem.
In my mind, there were any number of things that factored into her wakefulness. Laying in bed at night, fighting the urge to go in and put her back to sleep with a warm milk nightcap, I would think about all the things that could be keeping her from sleeping, like for example:
1. The air. It’s touching her face. And her hands. Can’t sleep when there’s air, you know, touching your face or hands.
2. She has just discovered she is incapable of moving her ring toe independently of her other toes, and for reasons I will never know, is utterly devastated.
3. Her hair is growing.
4. She can’t find her belly button.
5. She is trying to figure out if she’d rather be stuck on an island with M.C. Escher or MC Hammer.
6. She just realized the important role the thumb plays on the human hand, and her mind is blown.
7. She doesn’t know what a fox says, and doesn’t understand why that video was an internet sensation because obviously a fox wouldn’t say any of those things.
8. She is a vampire, or a mostly bald nocturnal opossum with no tail, and very cute, human-like features.
Until this weekend, these things seemed more plausible than me being the source of the problem. I mean hello? I’m the mom! I’m not the problem! I’m the solution!
And speaking of solutions, we have tried them all. About a year ago we tried the Cry It Out method, which ended in vomit for her, and about 15 gray hairs and a stress ulcer for me. We tried every device, potion, book, website -anything- you name it, we’ve given it a go, all to no effect. Everything, that is, except the old “You Just Have To Figure It Out” method.
After another heinous night of interrupted sleep, my husband looked at me with weary eyes, and for the 100 bagillionth time, asked me in his unflappably gentle way, “what if we just turned the monitor off tonight?” and for the first time, I didn’t fight it.
We knew she was safe. We knew she was comfortable. We knew if she worked herself up enough, we’d hear her through the wall we share. We knew it was time.
That night, after much hemming and hawing, I placed the monitor next to our bed, turned it on, and then with great effort, turned the sound all the way down. For a few minutes I thought of all the horrible things that could happen with the sound off (alien abduction, spider infestation, Bermuda Triangle), and then mid-totally unrealistic worrythought, I fell asleep and slept the whole night. The. Whole. Night. And even better, when I woke up, my baby was alive, sleeping, clothed, and totally fine. Did she sleep the whole night? I honestly have no idea. But if she didn’t, she figured out a way to get herself back down, which is something we’ve been begging her to do (but not allowing her to do), for her whole life. The next night, we repeated the process, and again, we (all?) slept like champs.
Should I have done this months and months ago? Probably. But could I have done this months and months ago? I don’t know. I think as much as she needed to be ready to figure it out, I needed to be ready to let her try. Is this the end of our sleep problems? Probably not. But maybe, just maybe, by showing bravery and trust, we’ve unlocked a new tool to use in the battle against turning into sleep deprived zombie parents.
Image credits: opossum , sleeping child, Street Fighter graphic, cover photo belongs to HMDHM
Why I’m Never Getting My Daughter A Pony
Last week, my daughter and I had the pleasure of spending a week in my beloved home state of Colorado. We were visiting my dad and step-mom, two incredible people who own and operate Ruby Ranch Horse Rescue, a non-profit dedicated to bettering the lives of horses in and around El-Paso county. It’s a beautiful ranch, nestled within the rolling hills of the Eastern Colorado plains, where countless horses have been lovingly cared for and nursed back to health after falling victim to circumstances beyond their control.
Being there I am always amazed by the peaceful resiliency of animal spirit, and it has been a true joy to witness the rehabilitation of so many wonderful creatures over the years. Watching these horses transform from shadows of themselves, to full-bodied, full-spirited, whole animals time and time again is nothing short of miraculous. It is also why I can say with 100% certainty, I will never get my daughter a pony.
Don’t get me wrong, I love horses. They are elegant, engaging, smart and kind. They are personable and powerful, quirky and fun. Looking deep into their glossy brown eyes, their velvety muzzle tickling my palm for cookies, I can’t help but feel grounded by the pull of their serene nature. I want this experience for my daughter, I really do. But I will not facilitate it at the cost of another creature’s wellbeing.
Does that sound dramatic? It should. All too often, horses -and other animals, though that is another soap-box for another time- fall victim to uneducated peoples good intentions. Kid wants a pony? No problem. Until a few years down the road you discover the pony has a ligament problem, or a tooth problem, or an attitude problem. Or maybe the kid goes to school, or decides they like ice skating instead. Then what happens to pony? Does pony sit in a stall, day after day, waiting for someone to let her out? Does pony stay in a paddock somewhere, longing for the company of another horse? Do you give pony to someone who also doesn’t know how to treat pony’s ligament problem, further delaying necessary treatment to keep pony comfortable? Or do you sell pony at auction, where she is shipped to Mexico to spend her last days on the floor of a slaughter-house?
If this seems unrealistic, let me assure you it isn’t. All day, every day, Ruby Ranch receives phone call after phone call from people looking to unload their once treasured pets. Some reasons are understandable- a death in the family, or an illness that has left someone unable to care for their horse. Others seem to fall under what I will kindly call the “accidentally uneducated” category, which is what leads me to this rant.
It is inexcusable to knowingly take on the responsibility of another creatures life, without fully understanding the ins and outs of their day-to-day needs.
It’s that simple. I love horses, but I don’t know how to take care of them. Bringing a horse into our family, regardless of how good our intentions are, would ultimately be terrible for the horse. Love, as it turns out, isn’t enough to keep anything healthy and happy forever.
I’ll be the first to admit, I have a bit of a biased perspective on this. Ruby Ranch, being a horse rescue, more often than not sees the worst of the worst. Horses literally starved to death, or so poorly cared for they require humane euthanasia after a vet visit, and a chance to fill up their empty stomachs. To see this level of abuse with the frequency they do absolutely breaks your heart. But I also know that for every starved, neglected horse out there, there are any number of horses being loved and cared for properly by people of all ages. These people get it. They have made a commitment of their time, money, energy and love, and do their part in creating a proper home for their horse.
Until my daughter can fully grasp this concept and make that commitment, we will remain a horse-free family. In the mean time, to get her horse fix she can volunteer at a stable, or take lessons to learn about how to care for a horse, and use those experiences to decide if she does really want to take on that kind of responsibility further on down the road. And there’s always Papa and Gramma’s ranch, though if she’s anything like me this may just lead her to love them from afar.