Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ruach! (That's Hebrew for "spirit")

I had every intention of writing a sappy, sentimental story about the Full Circle Moment that we had while attending our first Family Shabbat Picnic at Max's preschool. You know, something about how I sang all of these songs as a camp counselor for 5 amazing college summers. I loved my campers like Max's teachers love him. He is learning to sing in Hebrew, and the words that he dances along to will make the memories that shape his life. That kind of stuff.


But watching him dance right in front of Teacher Zach was just too damn funny. I know, I know...he gets his moves from his Mama....

(Yes, the video is on it's side. Yes, that's embarassing now that this blog is all PUBLIC and everything. But just because we're wanna-be blog gangstas now doesn't mean that we can figure out how to edit the video and put it right side up...so quit your whining and tilt your head to the side....see? Looks fine now!)

video


Some would call this creativity, some would say he's a little left of center. I say he's ALL MINE!

video

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mind Your Business



The old man in Starbucks today walked right over to Max and I and nodded towards Max's drink.


"Is that for him?" he asked.


I had a moment of Mommy Pride. In my head I responded "Of course! Isn't the little child sized cup so cute! I'm such a great, smart Mommy for figuring out that I could buy him a baby version of my drink....it's a mini soy milk....for 2 bucks!" But instead, I politely answered "Yes, it is".


"You're giving him SOY?" he said.


"I am" I responded. "Don't you know what soy can do to him?" he countered.


I smiled. Politely, again. "He has a dairy allergy" I said. Nicely.


"But he's a boy" the old man offered. "It'll turn him into a girl".


Suddenly I was back in the parenting workshops that I used to teach. Say what you want your child to hear, we said. So I (nicely, politely) said "No, it WON'T. And he doesn't even drink that much." And I left.


I hated myself for walking out the door. I wanted to turn around and say to him "Please, buy him a cup of milk. And then he will throw up all over your shoes."


"Yes, it's soy. Is that a latte you're drinking? Because caffeine is bad for old guys like you."


"Getting him to drink ANYTHING has been a major battle. I'm proud of him for drinking from a cup. I'm proud that he drinks out of a straw. I'm thrilled that he is finally able to drink a $2 cup of soy milk from a chain store instead of the $42 can of prescription formula that saved his life when he was diagnosed with multiple food allergies and GI issues, so SHUT THE HELL UP YOU STUPID JERK."


But of course, I didn't.


Say what you want your child to hear.


Maybe next time, MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS would suffice. If said politely, of course.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pimp My Ride

What happens when Mommy enjoys an afternoon away, celebrating her sweet friend C. at her baby shower?

Max and Daddy go shopping, and come home with this.... (The wagon, not the car. The car is another story all by itself. You can file it under "male impulse purchase" though, just like the tricked out toddler wagon. But I digress....)

They also bought this blue monkey, and these cool shades. You know, for when you're riding in your Jersey muscle car. I mean, your new wagon....


Hey Mommy! Don't you have another baby shower to go to this weekend???

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mmmmmmmuffins!

I'm not a baker. In fact, I'm not much of a cooker either.

Which is why I have been waiting to attempt any kind of "kitchen experience" with Max. Of course, I let him stir things when I cook, or sprinkle cheese on a taco now and again. And he watches me take lots of things out of the microwave.

Now that he's two, and no longer entertained with baby toys like blocks and puzzles and cars and well...pretty much everything that lives in his playroom, I figured that we should learn some mad cooking skills.

So we made muffins.

First you have to put the muffin cups in the muffin pans. This is easier if you're not wearing pants. Yes Betty Crocker, note to self.


And then we mix. Rather, Max mixes, and gets muffin crap all over the counter. Then Mommy tries to take the mixer thing (a beater? what the hell is that?) and Max screams. So Mommy says "OK, Max gets three turns, and then Mommy gets three turns". And we count out loud while Max stirs. "One, two, three! Yay! Now Mommy's turn!" And Max screams. So he just keeps mixing. And raw egg and batter and oil lands all over the counter.

But he's having fun! And this is keeping us busy for a whole 15 minutes! Isn't that how you measure success with a two year old?


We watch the muffins rise in the oven. Which is good for 30 seconds at a time, over about 20 minutes. And then we eat them!

Note: We had our first "food fight" of toddlerhood with these muffins. As in, Mommy tried to peel the paper off so Max could eat the muffin, and he FLIPPED OUT. Started screaming "Nooooooooo!" because he wanted his muffin intact. He wanted to eat it with the paper ON, and would not touch it if it looked any different. And in about ten seconds I realized "OK...we have now arrived at a brand new destination and I do not have a roadmap or my Triple A card". And I remembered the little boy that I babysat for many years ago who FLIPPED OUT when I sliced his hot dog down the middle to cook it (in the microwave of course). He started screaming "Nooooooo cut it!" and refused to eat it. And in the two minutes that I spent changing his sister's diaper, he plucked the damn hotdog off the counter and HID it. To this day I have no idea where he put it. But I remember thinking "That little BRAT. It's just a hotdog!". And his mom was a VERY FAMOUS author who wrote all about how to raise well-behaved children. I thought I was waaay smarter than she was, because there was no way my future kid would ever act so ridiculous! Like someone said to me the other day....I WAS A MUCH BETTER PARENT BEFORE I HAD KIDS.


So we got another muffin, and kept the wrapper on.



This sweet face? Well, that's how you measure a successful cooking project in my book!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mommy Confessions

In the spirit of being honest and open, and encouraging all of you to feel a little less alone, I thought I'd share some secrets. Wanna know a big one?

About two weeks ago, I bought a six pack of Kraft Easy Mac bowls. They're all gone. I may have eaten one myself, but the other five? Yep, I let my toddler eat instant noodles and powdered cheese for FIVE different meals in the last two weeks.

We're calling this post "Mommy Confessions", because I know you have some of your own.

I don't for a minute think that I am the only mom who doesn't bathe my toddler every. single. day. OK, sometimes......I go for three days. I know?! Right!

I let Max watch TV. I justify it by saying that it's only PBS shows. But now it's also Nick Jr. And every time they have that "Preschool on TV" commercial (you know, where they say that watching their crappy programming is like "Preschool on TV") I feel even worse....because of COURSE it's not preschool on TV. I took Developmental Psychology in college. I know that the glazed look that Max gets when Diego is teaching him Espanol is not the same as real life human interaction. Which honestly, I am sometimes too tired to do for all 14 hours that he is awake every day. Enter The Fresh Beat Band, stage right. For all of my Uppies who are reading this blog, The Fresh Beat Band is like a REALLY BAD VERSION of Up With People, but with the same jazz hands and horribly catchy songs. But I digress....

I often give Max canned vegetables because it is SO much easier.

Sometimes I make Max leave the park when he's not ready, because I am tired of chasing him up and down and around the enormous play structure that he could really hurt himself on. Who the hell makes a play structure with huge holes that toddlers can fall through anyway?

I worry about EVERYthing. I'm afraid that Max will fall out the window. I'm afraid that he will choke on a grape or slip in the bathtub and crack his head open on the stupid soap dish that should never be in that spot on the wall to begin with. Max is two years old and he still sleeps with the motion sensor monitor on his crib, because I am terrified of SIDS. Or that someone will break in in the middle of the night and try to steal him. Maybe I watch too much TV.

And you? I'm sure you've had a day where you made your kid leave the beach after ten minutes because you totally forgot to bring sunscreen. Or you made sure that you saved all the good, healthy snacks for Tuesday when your kid will be eating lunch at preschool....you know, so the teachers can see him munching on bell pepper strips and hummus, instead of the powdered cheese and instant noodles that he may have had five (five!!) times in the last two weeks.

So fess up Mommies! I know that you have some confessions of your own, and if you comment HERE on this blog, instead of on Facebook....you'll have the option of staying anonymous....

Anyone else ever let their kid stay in PJ's and a cowboy hat all day, and then blow bubbles in the living room?
Or grabbed your toddler's dirty socks out of the laundry because you were too lazy to run upstairs and grab clean ones for him to wear? (Really...he's two....it's not like he sweats in them and they get all nasty or anything).

Go ahead....I'll tell you more of mine if you tell me yours....

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Parenting In Public

I can hear the chorus of mommy voices rising over the din of toddler tantrums. "Why is she putting her life on the internet for everyone to read?"

"Does anyone really care what her kid ate for lunch?"

"Isn't anything private anymore?"

"I really want to 'hide' her on Facebook. I can't believe she thinks we care every time she posts another blog"

So I'll sound the warning now. If you don't like it, don't read it.

And while I'm at it, let me explain why I am suddenly "Parenting in Public". Across the internet. Blasting the mundane and the every so often extraordinary delights of parenthood to mobile phones, iPads, and laptops from Cincinnati to Chula Vista.

I started this blog as a way to keep our far-flung family connected to my pregnancy. I wanted the grandmas in New Jersey to feel like they were part of every little flutter and kick that I felt. I wanted the grandmas in San Diego to know how every doctors appointment went, and what I was dreaming about as Max grew. I wanted my girlfriends to see how ridiculous my huge belly looked in trendy maternity jeans. And most importantly, I wanted to chronicle Max's beginnings, so that one day when he was old enough, he would know his story. I wanted him to be able to read what I had written, and know every single ounce of how very much he is loved.

And I think he's really fucking cute. So I wanted to share pictures. By the way, he is not picking his nose here. He is saying "shhh", and that's where he puts his finger when he does it.
Once Max came into this world, the reasons for blogging multiplied. I still wrote to keep everyone connected. I still used my blog as a cyber-baby-book. I still let my heart overflow in love letters to Max. But I also realized that this blog was a way to connect with other moms, who might be going through similar things. I started learning (and sometimes living) the lies of motherhood. You know, lies like "breastfeeding doesn't hurt if you're doing it right" and "your baby will sleep through the night by the time they're 3 months old". Even though I have been enamored with my son from the moment I knew he existed, I have at times felt depressed, lonely, and ridiculously fearful. I have felt like I'm doing it all wrong. I've felt like I super-suck at this parenting thing. I've felt like Max's health issues are my fault. And every so often I've felt like I am the best rock star mom on this planet, if only everyone else could see it. Then Max chokes on a cracker while sitting in his carseat and I almost crash while frantically trying to pull over and save him, and I'm right back to feeling like I may be the only mother who has ever mothered and fucked up this much. And I start laughing, because Max just came home from preschool and apparently the most important thing they taught him today was "A-CHOO! Bless!", and he is saying it over and over again, and being a mom is just REALLY FUNNY most of the time. Even when he has silently climbed to the top of the sofa and is lying very still along the highest back cushion, hoping that I don't walk in and see him. And especially when he is dancing down the block with his shadow, and I wonder what the neighbors must think as I am getting my groove on right next to him.

And I promise I won't tell anyone, that you've felt all of these things too.

What helps?

Hearing from the hipster moms, the hippie moms, the career professional moms, the stay-at-home-moms, the old friend and new friend moms, the playgroup moms, the rich and poor moms, the naive moms and the grieving moms. Knowing that your kids are jumping out of their cribs and coloring on the walls during naptime too. It takes a village, an entire community, to teach each of us how we want to mother. And while a lot of that support comes from well-planned girls-nights and late-night phone calls, park playdates and private emails, some of it comes from the stories we share on Facebook and on our blogs.

I'm parenting in public, because we all need each other. I've read your blogs and felt a kinship with your experience, and my hope is that someone might feel a connection to my family, when they thought that no one understood. So yes, this is Max's baby book, but it's also my open invitation to all of you. I invite you to start a conversation, share your experience, and add your voice to this all-encompassing experience of parenthood.

So let me introduce myself. My name is Kim, I am Max's Mommy and Sean's wife. I am trying to laugh out loud about the chaos that is motherhood, and to be honest about our experience growing our family. I'm honored that you stopped by, and I hope you'll pull up a chair and have a chat. We'll be here if you need us, spitting watermelon seeds at each other and chasing bubbles down our driveway. I'm parenting in public, and I'm glad you're along for the ride!



Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ten For Tuesday: The Preschool Edition

Top Ten reasons why we love preschool? Well, here you go....

1. Painting. Picked Max up from school today (he he, doesn't that just sound so grown-up? For him, I mean....and I guess for me too!) and immediately thought "Oh my GOD! Why is he bleeding from his ear?!" Closer look? It's just orange paint, and glitter. Max loooves to work on art projects at school, and Mommy looooves that he makes a royal mess on someone else's floor.

2. Rice Table. As in, uncooked rice in a huge tub. With two year olds sifting, pouring, and spilling it all over the floor...I mean, in the tub. Again, hooray for messes, that's how they learn. On someone else's floor.

3. New friends. We ran into Max's new friend E and his mom and dad this weekend. Max immediately started yelling "E!!!" and the two of them chased each other around the restaurant for a good 20 minutes, shrieking with delight. At school last week, another mom came up to us and said "So this is the Max my son keeps talking about!". Apparently there is now a group of 3 or 4 little boys who do everything together in class. Is it bad to be thankful that Max is part of the 2 year old "in crowd"?

4. WE BELONG. These are our people. I chat with some of the other moms in the courtyard at pick-up and drop-off, and it's nice to be sharing a common experience. Making new mom friends is like being in Junior High all over again. Everyone is a little depressed, you're not feeling like your best self, and you're dying to find just one true friend who really understands you. After learning the Politics of Play (don't worry ladies, if you're reading this it wasn't you I'm talking about in that post!) during Max's first year at Day One, I was sad about leaving my hard-earned new friends who **sigh** really GOT me and made this whole parenting thing so much easier....and having to start all over again. But I suppose it's easier the second time around. More like college. You have a little more self-esteem, and you know how this whole "be a friend to make a friend" thing goes down.

5. MAX belongs. He calls his teachers by name, and they greet him with a huge hug and a big smile. They stop me in the hallway to tell me how much they enjoy him, and I am thrilled that his true personality is shining through here.

6. We belong in the "Jewish Way". Now I remember why I felt so strongly about sending Max to a Jewish preschool. I think back to the workshops that I used to teach about adoption, and how strongly I felt about never wanting your child to feel like they were "the only". I don't want Max to ever feel like he is the only kid without a Christmas tree, or the only kid who doesn't go to church. What's even better? In this school, every single child helps to make challah for Shabbat. And every single child learns the same Hebrew songs at circle time. And Max's new friend E. has a Baubee too. When we talk about our traditions, our religion, and our culture, these people know exactly what we mean.

7. Max has an independent life, seperate from me. He eats what he wants for snack. He falls on the playground and someone else scoops him up and gives him a hug. It's hard to be out of the loop for 3 whole hours, but I know it's great for Max.

8. Max is a preschool ROCK STAR. The first week he cried and threw up. Both days. Sometimes twice a day. But he recovered well, and they haven't had to call me to come pick him up. They've called other moms, but Max....Max hung in there. THIS IS A HUGE WIN. This kid impresses the hell out of me.

9. The second week he still cried, but on Thursday he didn't throw up. And he had a smile on his face when I picked him up.

10. Today? No tears AT ALL. My brave little guy let Teacher L. hold him when I dropped him off, and with Teddy in one hand and a whole lotta guts in the other, he had an AWESOME day. I am fiercely, fiercely proud of my amazing boy.