Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Moving Story about Infertility and Premature Birth

I just read a wonderful book - Tiny Toes: A Couple's Journey Through Infertility, Prematurity and Depression by Kelly K. Damron. It was easy to become immersed in Kelly's world and really "get" what she was sharing. While I didn't experience nearly the challenges that Kelly had to face, I did have fertility challenges and her book reminded me of so many of my feelings, fears and frustrations I felt when my husband and I were trying to get pregnant.

This book is a compelling and insightful look at Kelly & her husband's struggle with infertility and everything that goes along with it. You can't help but connect with the pain that Kelly goes through, as well as the joy. This is a truly an inside glimpse into Kelly's world and how she manages to ultimately survive and come out a champion - a champion for women, for moms, and for wives. From failed attempts at having a baby naturally to a variety of fertility tests to IVF and ultimately the birth of fraternal twin daughters that arrived 10 weeks early to a very delayed diagnosis or realization of depression. This is a must read for anyone who has faced fertility challenges as well as for someone who has a loved one or friend who is experiencing some sort of infertility.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

And Sometimes I Wish Allie Couldn't Read. ..

I never thought I had to hide my People magazines from Allie (unless of course I want to read them before she rips out anything Hannah Montana or High School Musical) - I mean she can't really read and its just entertainment news - nothing harmful, right?

So, Saturday morning I'm reading this week's People magazine and she grabs one from the coffee table and we are both reading. . ."Mommy - I didn't know Daddies can have babies - I thought only Mommies do!". I look up and see what she is reading and a number of expletives are running across my brain and I simply mutter "Huh?" to stall for time. I didn't really mean for her to repeat it, but not only did she repeat she read the title of the article "He's Having a Baby". So, I did exactly what I say never to do - I kinda sorta lied to Allie (I have always been a big believer in telling them the truth - as simple and as direct as can be- if they ask a question regarding "life" stuff - i.e., birth, death, sex, body parts, etc) and said "Oh, they are just joking.". I thought the conversation would end there, but no, Allie says, "then why is it in your magazine if its a joke? Is your magazine a joke magazine?" And I said at that point, yes, sometimes my magazine is a joke. . .

I think whatever any couple chooses to do is fine for them, but did I have any interest in beginning to discuss this with my 5 year old daughter whose only knowledge about where babies come from and how they got there is limited to some come out of bellies like she did and some come out of Mommies vaginas. That is it - finished, period, the end. No way, no how did I choose to even begin to tackle how or why this guy was in People magazine saying he was having a baby (and a he that still had some female body parts) - above and beyond where I want to go. So, yes, I chose to lie even though I always said I will never do that. And once I again I am reminded of the best parenting rule ever - NEVER SAY NEVER.

Just curious for any of you other People Magazine readers out there - did your kids come across this article and how did you handle it??? :-)

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Mommy Meltdown

Yesterday Allie's Kindergarten class put on a play for all the parents to come watch - The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle (one of my all-time fave children's authors!). I know I was just as excited as she was for the big day - not only was Allie in the play, but she was actually one of the narrators and just a mere 8 months ago when she walked into Kindergarten she couldn't read anything (other then recognizing her name) and yesterday she was reading from a book in front of a cafeteria full of moms, dads, grandparents and misc other adults.

The morning started off excellent - Allie actually was so excited she did her morning routine without the usual prodding from me (wash hands & face, brush teeth, brush hair, etc). We had laid her clothes out the night before (her "costume" for the play was a jean skirt and a bright blue t-shirt with an adorable flower on it) and she was all excited to wear it. So, she put her skirt on and has "that look" on her face - I said "what's wrong?" Knowing full well she had some reason I wasn't going to understand of why she didn't want to wear the skirt (I know her well enough to know that if she thought I was going to understand why she didn't want to wear it, she wouldn't have bothered to make a face as she would have just taken the skirt off and simply told me why she wasn't going to wear it). She told me (get ready for this) - "when I suck my belly in the skirt is a little too big for me and this is what happens (she points to the top of the skirt where a slight visible line from her panties are showing) and I don't want people to see my panties". So, I tell Allie she doesn't normally walk around like that so I'm sure it won't be a problem. She tells me that it could happen when she stretches really high or if she jump ropes really high.

Ok - not to panic yet, she has 3 more jean skirts she can choose from. We are doing okay. So - next jean skirt she doesn't like because it only has 1 button in the fly and one on top and she thinks people will see her panties. Next jean skirt has an adorable belt - but Allie doesn't like tucking shirts in and so unless a shirt falls just above the top of the belt she won't wear the skirt - and this shirt was a bit longer. So the next jean skirt was a skort and she refused to wear that because she was told to wear a jean skirt - no matter how many times I tried explaining to her and showing her that they were the same except one had shorts attached, she wouldn't go for it and was adamant that her costume would not include a jean skort. So, at this point I am like OMIGOSH - because we have no other choices - at least that I was aware of.

So Allie pulls this unfamiliar jean skirt out of the depths of her dresser and says she wants to wear this one because its really cute. I admit its really cute and so we put it on - thankfully I am confident we can resolve this issue and move on with our morning (we still had to eat breakfast and it was now 8:30am and she likes to be at school by 8:40 so she can play on the playground even though school doesn't start till 9am). She puts the skirt on and it was atrocious - I have never seen so many wrinkles and creases in my life (it was a very cute skirt that had white lace as an under layer of the skirt - so it was kinda like that Hannah Montana layered look that my daughter loves). I attempted to iron it - it did nothing. But there was no way I could let Allie wear this skirt, WHAT WOULD ALL THE PARENTS THINK OF HER MOTHER WHO LETS HER CHILD WEAR A WRINKLED SKIRT WHILE PERFORMING IN A PLAY NO LESS??

So I told Allie she couldn't wear it as it was wrinkly and looked messy and not appropriate to wear in a play. She told me that it didn't bother her and it looked fine and who cares if someone else thinks it looks wrinkled.

By this point in the morning, I was less focused on whether she had a point or not and more focused on the fact that why couldn't she just say okay and wear what I wanted and move on with our day. I tried negotiating with her more and the more I tried, the more she was adamant on wearing this skirt. So, I lost it. I shrunk down to a 5 year old level and said "Fine - if you want to look messy and shlumpy when you are in front of lots of people and have them wonder why you are so wrinkled looking then fine, you wear it, I'm done".

Then she burst into tears and we are now at 8:37am.

Then she came storming out of her room in the original skirt and while she no longer had the wrinkly skirt on, was she happy? No - she was upset and crying. Was I happy? No - I felt 2 inches tall. I did what I swore I would never do with my child - make a big deal out of clothes and put my insecurities as to what will people think of me as a parent on to her. At that moment I remembered exactly the clothes arguments that my mother and I got into growing up and how yucky I felt inside when she was short and sarcastic with me. And years later, I don't remember what clothes I wore or didn't wear, but I sure remember those awful episodes with my mother making me feel awful about how something looked on me when in reality it was her wondering what other parents would think of her if her daughter walked around looking the way she thought I looked.

At that precise moment, thankfully my husband came into the kitchen and went over to Allie and had a beautiful talk with her and next thing I know she was the big person and came over to give me a hug and said she was sorry.

I gave her the biggest hug in the world and told her I was sorry too and I didn't mean to make her feel bad and that even though I was frustrated, I shouldn't have talked to her that way. She started crying again and told me it was okay but that I had hurt her heart. Oy. I gave her a really big hug again and said I loved her and I was sorry her heart hurt and thankfully she went over to the garbage and pretended to throw something away - I said what are you doing? She said throwing her "sads" away.

Not only do I always hope she can continue to get rid of her "sads" so easily, but more importantly I hope I think twice when I get frustrated the next time and remember that my words and tone can be pretty powerful to this little 5 1/2 year old girl and is a wrinkled skirt really worth a mom being mean and making her daughter's "heart hurt"? I think the answer is probably not and its up to me, the adult, to figure out a better way of handling it in the future - because have no doubt, there will be another frustrating moment or two to come. . .

But rest assured, the day went on beautifully from there. My daughter's class performed wonderfully at their play. Allie was so excited because not just mom was there, but Daddy was able to come (she thought it was so neat because he came "in the middle of his work day" for her) and so was her Godmother. Then she went to her new gymnastics class where she did great - it was a lot harder, but she was happy and is already learning a front handspring and started working on a back handspring!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mom, You Are Such a Chit Chatter!

Both friends and people I haven't met who come to my website (if you haven't been there yet, please click on the Chit Chat for Mommies square button on the left-hand side of the page) have asked me why/how I came up with the name for my website - Chit Chat for Mommies.

One day last week as I was leaving my daughter's school, I ran into one another Mom who has kids older then Allie at the school and we started talking about a number of things I was getting nervous about for 1st grade (I know its 4 - 5 months away!). Then after she and I were done, another Mom I was friendly with started talking to me about the same subject - all the while my daughter patiently waiting for me. It was now about 3:45 (school is over at 2:45) and my daughter was clearly ready to end her day. She patiently came up to me and asked if we were ready to go and I told her "one more sec". About 3 minutes later, we finally left.

On the way to the car my daughter said to me, Mom you are the biggest CHIT CHATTER. Why do you always have to CHIT CHAT with everyone?

And I suppose that is why I have a site called Chit Chat for Mommies - apparently I excel in the Chit Chat department!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

To Move Up - or Stay Put for Now?

So, let me start by being really honest with you - my daughter loves gymnastics and I love that she loves gymnastics! Why do I love that she loves it? Probably because its one of the sports I truly enjoy watching other kids do and I don't mind going to lesson after lesson - I don't find it boring at all and the better they are, the more I enjoy watching. My daughter had her first gymnastics competition last week and while the best part was obviously watching her (especially because out of the 3 previous dance and gymnastic performances she was in, she backed out of two and only did one of them, so regardless of how well or not well she was going to score, it brought tears to my eyes that she simply competed in front of lots of strangers!), I truly loved watching everyone else as well.

I give my mother credit for all the years she shlepped me to my swim team practices and meets as well as my tennis team practices and matches - not to mention my brothers' soccer, football, tennis and wrestling activities. While every mom loves to watch their child - if we are truly honest, some things are just a little more boring to watch then others and while I would love and support any sport my daughter wanted to do, selfishly I'm kinda glad I'm not watching t-ball or softball or soccer as those would be a bit more challening for me to enjoy. And maybe gymnastics doesn't quite float your boat, but I love watching all the kids my daughter does gymnastics with as well as I love watching my daughter.

So the current dilemna is this - my daughter is 5 1/2 and in Level 3 where the other girls range from her age to a year or two older. She loves it and does well and truly enjoys it and some of her closest friends are in that class with her.

Her coach wants my daughter to move up to Level 4 which we tried out tonight. The differences between the two classses was simply amazing - from the workout and conditioning the kids were doing to the skills they were working on to the abilities of the girls. I truly have no doubt that if my daughter wants to get better, she should move into the Level 4 class. But she will be moving from a comfortable environment where she is age appropriate and at the top of her class to a very challenging (mentally and physically) environment where she will be the youngest (her other friend from school who is also in Kindergarten will be moving up with her and she is 6 months older and there is one other 6 year old girl as well but the majority of the girls are anywhere from 3 - 7 years older) and definitely at the bottom of the rung in terms of skills.

I'm pretty torn as I see reasons to stay put and reasons to move her up and perhaps if I felt strongly one way or the other I would gently try and steer my daughter to make the "right" choice. But instead I gave her the decision and its amazing how grown up little Kindergarten girls can be.

After we left to go home, my daughter asked if she is going to stay in Level 4 or go back to Level 3 - appropriately expecting that this was a decision mom was going to make. But I surprised both of us when I told her that the choice was entirely up to her and there was no right or wrong and she can choose whichever one she wants to go to. And I told her the most amazing thing was that after she makes her choice if she feels it was the wrong one, she can change her mind again. I told her that the most important thing was that she loves gymnastics and should have fun and so she should choose whichever class made her happier.

She was quiet for a bit and then told me it was a hard decision to make because she wants to do both - the Level 3 class was easier and she knew more people and she would miss being with her really close friends Amy and Lindsay but that the Level 4 class had lots of big girls that could do really neat things (those girls were actually in Levels 5 & 6, but they practice at the same time in 2 different groups) and they did neater tricks in Level 4. So, she was quiet for another minute and then said. . .

I want to come at the end of Level 3 so I can see Amy & Lindsay, but I want to do the Level 4 class and be with the big girls. I was actually really proud of her decision - never one to forget her friends, but yet she didn't let that hold her back.

So, on the sound and thoughtful advice of my 5 1/2 year old daughter, off we go to newer and bigger challenges - at least until she wakes up and says (as she is always famous for), "Actually, I changed my mind. . .". And that would be okay too. . .

And by the way, in case you were wondering, she did fabulous in her gymastics competition - she got 2nd place! I was so happy for her - but the best part of all was that she did it and loved it!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Allie Loves Playing Her Chores Game - My Reward Board

I first saw this ad on the blog for trendy mommy and I just had to check it out! It seemed like just the thing I needed because our getting ready for school and getting ready for bed activities are always full of negotiations and what should take 5 minutes always take much more!!

Ok - you are asking, HOW DOES IT WORK? And why can't I just do a plain ole' reward chart from my computer and tape it up on the wall and put stickers on it? Well you can - but does it work for you? It always loses steam for me. Last month I let Allie pick out any calendar she wanted (of course it was Hannah Montana) and every evening she got ready for bed without all the stalling and arguments and negotiations she got to put a sticker on that day - if she got so many stickers she would get a reward. Well - after a while it lost it excitement - I guess arguing about going potty before she want to sleep was more exciting to her then then putting a sticker on.

So -I came across
My Reward Board Software Chore Chart and loved what I read (although skeptical) - I was excited they had a FREE 15 day trial, so I downloaded it. Before I even had a chance to explain to my daughter all about it, she discovered the shortcut on my desktop and immediately assumed it was a game for her and she opened it and I went through everything with her. So - now she LOVES to open up the program and fill in her little boxes with smiley faces when she completes are her chores (trust me, her chores are simple - putting away her shoes, brushing her teeth, washing her hands and face, going potty before bed, etc)!! We created rewards that she can redeem for points (i.e., from small rewards to getting to choose a DVD to rent to picking a treat for her lunchbox to big ones such as choosing a restaurant for dinner to getting a new Webkinz). In any event, its been over 2 weeks and I bought the program because she seems to really enjoy it and loves that she gets to input the information. I think if your child likes playing on the computer, they will LOVE this and if you have the same challenges that I had with my daughter you will love this too!!

From the My Reward Site:
The My Reward Board program emphasizes a positive approach for encouraging kids to complete their chores, achieve their goals, improve their behavior, and save their money. New chores and goals can be added at any time, and kids mark off their own work using a cast of engaging happy face characters. Parents can configure the program to conform to their own parenting style, controlling how frequently rewards are earned and which rewards are available. Achievement certificates - suitable for framing, or at least hanging on the refrigerator - are printed at the end of each week, and an animated piggy bank squeals in delight when allowance is earned or a savings goal has been met. And here's the best part - you can get a FREE 15 day trial to see how it all works and if your kids are into it or not.

My Reward Board Software Chore Chart is a fun and effective tool to encourage children to do their best every day. Anyways - I just had to share this with you!! As everything with kids go, you have to find their magic button and this might not be it for you, but its sure working for me!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

I'm sooooo sick!!

I hope this feeling lasts - I truly feel disgusting. Its amazing that one dessert will do that to you - or maybe its eating off my plan (but not overly healthy) for the past week. But whichever it is - I'm momentarily glad for the feeling because I truly haven't felt this gross since I started Nutrisystem and you don't have to be a brain surgeon to figure it out - stay away from the unhealthy food!!!!! There is no way I won't remember how gross I feel - right???

Oh, by the way, did I mention I'm having 32 people over for Passover Seder tomorrow night - my favorite food out of all of the Jewish holidays?

Ok - back to my brisket. . .

Was the Oregeno's Cookie Dessert Worth It?

I just simply suck at being on diets. If it were socially acceptable to be chunky, fat, pleasantly plump - however you want to say it, I would excel at that!! It comes sooo naturally to me! Some people do really well at watching what they eat, having a good metabolism and being a skinny minny - unfortunately, that is just not me.

So - I have been on Nutrisystem for the last 2 - 3 months and overall have really stayed on it - I really like the diet - if you have to be on a diet. Its relatively easy in terms of figuring out what to eat and not eat and no weighing, measuring, etc.

I know women don't divulge their age or weight - but I've never been caught up with that. I'm 39 years young and I weigh - well, okay - I guess I don't want to go there, but suffice it to say I could lose a few (and then a few more and a few more). Anyways - I have lost about 17 pounds on Nutrisystem, but since last week I have BLOWN IT!!

My daughter had 2 birthday parties and I couldn't resist the cake. I did okay during the week but yesterday (Thursday) it was my close friend's birthday and we went to Chompies for lunch (the local deli) and she was considerate enough to ask me if I was going to be okay on my diet there. Instead of telling her that it was fine and I can make healthy choices, I tell her not to worry as I'm blowing it for your birthday. And then I knew we were going out to lunch today (Friday) with some more girlfriends for my friend's birthday to Oregenos and I told her that I was planning on blowing it then too and then of course I'm blowing it this weekend because its Passover and one of my fave Jewish holidays with all the yummy food!!

So - not only do I have a bagel, cream cheese and a veggie omlette w/ cheese yesterday for lunch, but today I have a caesar salad, pizza and Oregno's famous cookie for dessert (okay, not just a cookie, but like a big melted choc chip cookie w/ ice cream on top - acutally not melted, but like 1/2 baked) and every bite was decadent and delicious.

And now - I'm sick to my stomach and feel so sluggish and gross. Can I capture this feeling and remember it next time? I doubt it - I haven't figured that out for 39 years. So - instead of beating myself up (which I have been doing for the past 3 hours) - I'm going to enjoy my Passover Seders this weekend and then get up Monday morning and start fresh. . . .

So - was the cookie worth it? At those 5 minutes - absolutely yes. The next 5 minutes - absolutely no. Did I mention I suck at diets????

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Goodbye to Muncle Rick

Who is Muncle Rick? Muncle Rick is one of our closest and dearest friends and Allie's Godfather (no, not in that Italian mobster way - but in that really close relationship way). When Allie began to talk she could not say uncle - it was always "muncle" and so he became known as "Muncle Rick". Over the years Rick has truly become the best muncle to Allie - there is no one who can make her giggle like he can and to a mom, that is truly the most wonderful thing to watch. When you know that someone loves your child almost as much as you do and that he can make her laugh and giggle like nothing else - it is just heaven.

Anyways - we said goodbye - or see you later to Muncle Rick tonight as he is leaving his home of Scottsdale and heading to a new life with a wonderful new fiance and her kids in Cleveland, Ohio (we have never been and can't wait to visit!).

I have to say that as happy as I am for him, I am really sad he is leaving. Its not that we saw him every day, but it was enough to know he lived a few blocks away and he was just "here".

I didn't tell Allie he was moving, I just told her he was going on a trip (Rick does travel often with work and it wouldn't be at all unusual for him to be traveling for weeks at time) and he would be back soon - I said it would be too upsetting for her to know he was moving.

Ok - reality check - Allie is 5 and wouldn't really know what "moving" meant - truth be told, I can't handle the truth and its much easier if I say he is on a trip! :-)

I was almost like a child tonight- just as he was trying to say goodbye I would come up with a new stall tactic (wait - have you heard how well Allie can read? wait - Allie, don't you want to do your math homework with Muncle Rick? but wait - do you want to see Allie's gymnastics routine that you will miss on Thursday night because you will be gone? but wait - don't you want to do Allie's bedtime routine with her tonight? - but wait, but wait, but wait. . .). I think finally even I couldn't ignore the yawns that kept creeping out of Rick's mouth as the past few days of moving and packing were catching up with him.

I really tried to do everything I could to avoid saying goodbye and well, I did my best to avoid it. I gave him a big hug and told him to have a great trip and be safe and was thrilled to hear that he would probably be back in Phoenix before his wedding in June. It was then that Allie snuck out of her bedroom and yelled goodbye and giggled as she tried to run away from him. And when Muncle Rick picked her up to say goodbye - I saw exactly everything he felt for her in his eyes.

It was then that I was finally able to say goodbye and see you soon. . .I realized that that while he will be a few states away instead of a few blocks away, he will still aways be "Muncle Rick" - that will never change. . .

Allie took a shower by herself!

I will admit - there are somethings I am very relaxed about when it comes to Allie & parenting and perhaps let her do a little too soon and there are somethings, that I am learning, I am a little behind on the 8-ball.

So - Allie is 5 1/2 and up until a few months ago she always took baths. I always washed her hair and while she sometimes washed herself, I always did it because my gosh, a 5 year old can't clean themselves -right?

We started with showers around December -she only wanted to take them with me and those went well (much faster then the bath!) until Christmas Day when she slipped and we had to go to the ER to get stitches in her chin. Needless to say, we were back to baths. . .

Well, finally a few weeks ago I just realized that the water from a 5 1/2 year old was FILTHY!! I mean it was just way way too gross for her to take a bath after a day of playing at school. So - I finally convinced her to start taking showers again. And so we started in her bathroom - I didn't get in, but I stood outside w/ the curtain 1/2 open and I did everything (shampoo, body wash, conditioner, etc) - it didn't really occur to me to do it any other way - because, again, a 5 1/2 year old can't clean themselves - right?

So, this weekend we were at a birthday party on Sunday and a few of the moms were standing around talking and the conversation turned to showers. My close girlfriend who had Allie spend the night on Saturday night was telling me that her daughter and Allie took a shower because they were so filthy from a birthday party earlier in the day at a park and that while my friend handed my daughter the shampoo, my daughter washed her hair and cleaned herself.

I said - "What? Allie knew how to do that?" So my girlfriend was surprised that I was so surprised that Allie would do that. I told her that I always did it because I just assumed I was supposed to. One of my other friends, who happens to be a director of the preschool that my daughter attended last year (who I happen to think has some of the best parenting wisdom of anyone I know) looks at me and says "What are you doing? They have to learn how to clean themselves. at what age were you planning on teaching her and having her do it herself?" Wow - I had no idea how to answer that because I just always did it and never thought about a time that I wouldn't.

What if I told you that I still brush her teeth in the morning and before bed???? There is no way I'm telling you the truth on that one! :-)

So, guess what - on Monday after dinner I told Allie she was going to get to take a shower all by herself!! I thought she would be so excited. She looked at me with horror and said "how will I get clean?". I told her I heard she did it by herself this weekend and she told me that it was different because the shower was different, the set-up was different, the shampoo was different, the mom was different - do I need to go on??? :-)

I told her that we would try it and see how it went. I have to tell you it was the cutest thing in the world to watch her lather her hair and rinse it out (she squeezed her eyes shut so tight I was surprised she still had them when she opened them again) and then after she washed herself she declared that she did a better shower then I did because she was super fast! But she said that doing it at her friends was still better because she had "something that came off the shower like hose and rinsed me".

And as Allie was quite happy to learn this new task and my friends think its better late then never that my daughter start learning to clean herself, I must say it left me feeling like she needed me a little less and sometimes this growing up stuff leaves me a little sad. . .

Like my new design? Thanks Jen!

Hi everyone! I hope you like my new blog layout as much as I do!! :-) Jen from created it!! I just love it! Thank you a ton Jen!!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Crazy Sock Day

Ok - I gave myself a Mom Award today!! Yeah me!

So today at Allie's school it was "Crazy Sock Day". Now last week it was "Cowgirl/Cowboy Day" and I managed to spend $35 so my daughter was appropriately dressed in her cowgirl "duds". Insane - I know. But yet, for the mere price of $35 I knew that my daughter was all decked out (boots, jean skirt, western shirt and cowgirl hat) and there was no way she would feel that she was missing something. Oh yeah, and she had a "good Mom" who made sure she was all dressed up.

Ok - back to today. Well, on Thursday we examined each one of Allie's socks and there was not one sock she thought was "crazy". I even suggested mix-matching them and she still said the socks weren't crazy. Well, no-way, no-how was I going to spend one cent more on dressing up this week. Ok - yes I was because no-way, no-how was my daughter not going to wear crazy socks - what a bad mom I would be if I forgot or was too lazy to find some for her.

Then - IT HIT ME!! I took a pair of white socks and lots of colors of Sharpie markers and colored all different color stripes and polka dots. Not only didn't it cost me a penny, but Allie loved them and she was so excited to tell her friends that her Mommy made them and no, she didn't get them at Target!!

And I have to tell you - if I do say so myself - they are pretty cute!!

A Bribe I Can Live With. . .

Meet "Pinky" - the newest member of Allie's Webkinz collection.
If giving up 5 1/2 years of pacifiers (I know you are saying - HER DAUGHTER STILL USED A PACIFIER AT 5 1/2???) took no crying and only 10 days of later-than-usual nights and earlier-than-usual mornings to kick the habit - then I can certainly live with backing up my promise. The promise being that if Allie slept 10 nights in a row with no pacifier then she can get a new Webkinz. Yeah Allie!! :-)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Pacie Update

I owe you an apology - I'm sorry for not updating you as to our Pacie Status!! Tonight is 7 nights of being Pacie Free!! Yeah!! I'm so proud of my daughter.

The nights are getting better and while the mornings are still a little earlier then normal, they are getting better as well!!

Now the funny part - she has a sleepover this Saturday night for her sleepover club (another post for another day about that!) and a close friend of mine is hosting it. I called her and said "I hope you don't hate me, we need to talk about the sleepover". My girlfriend thought I was going to say that my daughter couldn't do it and I said "no, not at all, she is very excited. The reason I was calling you was to tell you that Allie gave up her pacies about a week ago and I feel really bad that your house is the first sleepover without the pacie". My girlfriend tried to reassure me and tell me that Allie would be okay, and I told my girlfriend that it wasn't Allie I was worried aobut, it was her and how long she would be up with my daughter before my daughter finally fell asleep!!

So yes, thanks everyone who asked about her status - we are still a pacie free house!! Yeah.

So, note to myself (and anyone else who is reading this) - take the pacie away from child way before 5 1/2 years old - or better yet, DON'T START IT!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Little Background

Hello!! I live in Scottsdale, AZ and I am a Mommy to an adorable 5 1/2 year old little girl - Allie -and I have been married to a wonderful man - Rich - for almost 13 years.
I am so excited to be taking those first steps in creating an on-line community for Mommies!
We are just in the infancy stage and each day we will continue to add new and wonderful things to my site -
In my blog I will share with you all the wonderful ups and downs that come with being a Mommy - and overtime we will get to know each other and learn from each other.
My goal is for to soon become a fabulous on-line community for mommies of all ages with kids of all ages and I welcome you now to join me on my journey of building that community for you.
It is now 2:01am and while building this site is a huge priority, I have a little girl who is going to be waking up in the next 4-5 hours and I will be lucky if our 2 year old lab, Pluto (named by my daughter!), doesn’t wake me up first. . .so its off to bed and please come visit again soon.

Why I Created Chit Chat for Mommies

I received a wonderful email today from a new visitor to my site -

She asked me why I started

I was amazed at how easy it was to answer that question - it was really a simple answer - because I love anything and everything having to do with being a Mommy and I am really committed to sharing this passion with other Mommies! I am looking forward to getting to know other moms and not only sharing my mommy tips, but learning theirs as well. My website is all about living. . .loving. . .and laughing as only moms can.

Until next time. . .

My Daughter Knows I'm Fat!

Well, the day I was hoping would never come, came a few days ago. I was really hoping I would lose weight and become a skinny-minny or one of those “hot moms” before she ever knew the difference. Well - I was not so lucky.

So - we were cuddling in the morning as we always do and she asked me why my belly was so jiggly if there wasn’t a baby in it. I was frozen - but I didn’t want her to know. I didn’t want her to know that I was mortified she found out one of my deepest darkest secrets - I am overweight!!! So, I said something brillant like “huh?” to stall for time. And she said, “Mommy, look, when I touch your belly its like a marshmellow - its jiggly.” And then I said that I guess it kinda is. That was the best I could come up with! So then she said, “Mom, I think you are fat.” Ok - now we have gone from jiggly belly to FAT!! How does she know what fat is?

She is only 5 1/2 and I don’t think fat or thin has ever been uttered by myself or my husband - so how does she know? Oh yeah - she doesn’t live in a bubble and she goes to school with those OTHER PEOPLE. Ok - so slow down my brain says - she is only making an observation and in fairness to her she is right - I AM FAT. She wasn’t attaching any judgment or meaning to her statement - just pure fact and observation. So, I simply say, yes I am. And then the torture was over - we were on to more important things - when was the Hannah Montana movie coming out on DVD?

My Daughter's Homework is a Reflection on Me

Ok - its out there. I have said it. Its in writing. Every time my daughter (who is only in Kindergarten) turns in her homework, in the back of my mind I think the teacher will feel its a reflection on me. Was her work neat enough? Was it lengthy enough? Did she do the minimum or a bit more? And clearly I need to make sure she does her best - why? Well, of course because its important that she always do her best - but perhaps, if I am going to be totally honest, because if she doesn’t do her best, WHAT WILL HER TEACHER THINK OF ME? I’m sorry - what will the teacher think of her? Wait, that is really not what I meant - I honestly mean to say, what will her teacher think of ME?

Sad statement? Perhaps - but a tad bit true. And if you are honest with yourself - don’t you kinda feel the same way? If you don’t, then you are a better person then I and I truly admire that.

Let’s take my daughter’s first report that she had to do for school. The teacher assigned it on a Monday - to write a report about an animal who lives in the Sonoran desert. Write at least 3 sentences (what it eats, where it sleeps, etc) and draw a picture of your animal.
So, I asked my daughter if she has learned about desert animals and she told me they had watched a video that day and she really wants to do a butterfly. I said, a butterfly (in my mind that is an insect, not an animal)? And she said yes, there were butterflies in the video.

So, that evening I proceed to email her teacher to ask her if we can do a butterfly because I think its an insect and not an animal - her teacher did inform me that if she wanted to do a butterfly, we had to so the specific species that lives in the Sonoran desert. So my daughter chose an elf owl. We went on-line and found a bunch of wonderful information about the elf owl - I read her everything and she picked all the things she wanted to include in her report. She picked about 12 statements - ever watched/waited for a child in Kindergarten to write 12 sentences, let alone 3???? Well - we took her 12 statements and she said what she wanted the sentence to say. While her teacher said the spelling didn’t have to be perfect, I didn’t think it should be filled with my daughter’s spelling of words (i.e., pridee for pretty, rilly for really, ) - so she dictated her sentences to me and I wrote them on the computer and the plan was she was going to copy all the sentences. I think I realized how silly 12 sentences were, so we ended up with about 6 of them.

Well - after watching her write 2 sentences (it was painstakingly slow as she had to make sure all her letters were perfectly formed on the lines) for about 20 minutes - we decided we still had too many sentences. So we cut more and we were down to 4. So, we wrote for another 20 -30 minutes. Four sentences in about 45 minutes. Oy. I was very very proud of her - I don’t think she has sat for 45 minutes at anything in her life!!

So - was I proud of her? Yes. But was I wondering what her teacher would think of my role in this? YES!! Did she choose a good animal? Did she say the right things about it? Was her picture good enough? Were 4 sentences enough - or was she looking for more, even though she said a min. of 3.

So - this was just a little glimpse into my daughter’s academic future and I realized something - that if I don’t get a grip and learn that truly, the most important thing is that my daughter tries her best for her own sake- not because of what the teacher will think of me as a mom - then I will have a long, stressful academic career ahead of us!!

Tell me, are you connecting with this concept a little bit - or do you not give your child’s work one other thought other then you hope they did well on it?? Let me know if I’m the only nut there.

The Path of Least Resistance

As I am looking out in the backyard at my 5 1/2 year old daughter singing and jump roping to Hannah Montana, I am amazed at how fast time has flown by and how much of a little girl and big girl she can seem to me at the same time. I am also thinking to myself, HAVE WE FINALLY SAID GOODBYE TO OUR PACIES (or you might call them nuks, nukkies, binkys, pacifiers, etc)???

Yes - I have a daughter who is in Kindergarten and until just 3 nights ago used a pacifier each and every time she went to sleep. And not just one pacifier, mind you. She had one in her mouth and one in each hand - it was a routine and ritual and there was never a night without one - even when she had sleepovers!! Yes - whether she was having a new friend from Kindergarten or a long time friend from preschool sleepover - or she sleepover at their house - she always used her pacies (as we lovingly refer to them). It amazed me that she was never embarrassed about her pacies to motivate her to kick this habit earlier. And trust me, her new friends from Kindergarten ALWAYS asked her about them. It was not a habit she could hide very well - she always had at least 12 of them in her bed at any one time. And her answers were always the same and very matter of fact when someone asked why she had them - “because I can’t fall asleep without them.” And you know what? That was it - no lingering conversation or anything, over and done with. Now, one time one of her friends said pacies were for babies, my daughter said she knew but she needed them to go to sleep anyways. And again - that was it - over and done with. Matter-of-fact. No excuses, no justifications, no reasoning, no convincing them that she was right and pacies were okay - just answering a question just as simply as it was asked and nothing more and nothing less.

Always in the back of my head I was wondering, when was she going to give them up??? Most of my friends would tell me she is never going to give them up, I as her Mom have to take them away from her. Well - I am a fan of the path of least resistance. It was not a fight to potty train her - she showed minimal signs of interest until she hit 3 and then she would go every now and then. She turned 3 in July and started preschool in August. She was toilet trained by Labor Day - thanks to peer pressure and her wonderful and amazing preschool teacher Robin (and one of my closest friends) who truly toilet trained her.

Then we move on to her bottles. On her own she gave up all of her bottles right on schedule - except that morning one lingered and lingered. Most of my friends kept pushing me to take it away - I tried once or twice and it was never very pretty and I never really bought into making her miserable to take away something that I didn’t really see a reason to take away right at that time. So, I always slipped and gave it back to her. By the time she was 3 1/2, all it took was one day at preschool where her friends expressed shock that she still took a bottle in the morning (now, I must tell you she drank it herself, I long ago stopped giving it to her - does that make it better???) because “only babies” use bottles. It was the next morning and I gave her the bottle and she took it and she said,”Mommy, its dripping, I think my mouth is too big for a bottle, I need a sippy cup instead”. And that was it - no fights, no arguments, no tears. She was ready on her own.

Same simple strategy for giving up night-time diapers. While she was toilet trained just a few months after turning 3, she didn’t give up night-time diapers until 4 1/2. Again, lots of friends told me I need to get rid of the night time diaper. So, I started limiting water after a certain hour (never found that made a difference with her - sometimes I’d limit it and her diaper was wet and sometimes I wouldn’t limit it, she was dry) and then I said I would put her in pull ups at night - less absorbent and supposedly she would “feel” it and not like how the wetness made her feel - all the pull-ups did was cause her to have diaper rash because they weren’t as absorbent as diapers. Finally, I decided she wasn’t going to go to Kindergarten in them (or was she as the months in her pre-k year seemed to fly by. . .) and she would do it when she was ready (just like everything else so far). So at some point in February of her preK year she said she wanted to sleep in panties. I told her I didn’t want to get up in the middle-of-the night to keep changing her sheets if she had an accident so she had to show me she was ready and have 30 dry nights in a row (so far she never managed more then 3 or 4) - guess what? After the 30 nights we put on panties and have never had 1 accident. We had more accidents when I was trying to bribe her to sleep w/ panties before she came up with the idea on her own.

So, let’s move into the here and now. As the time in her little life began to pass by I was realizing she was almost finished with Kindergarten and still using pacies. OMIGOSH - I’m a bad mom!! Most of my friends asked every now and then, but no one pushed the issue with me as clearly I was choosing to do nothing about this. One of my closest friends was the most vocal about it and kept telling me I was the parent and I needed to do something about this and it was my responsibility to get rid of it. I agreed with it - to a certain extent. But while parenting is the hardest job in the world and we don’t have all the answers, we need to use what we know to our advantage and one thing I did know about my daughter is that if she wasn’t ready, IT WASN’T HAPPENING!! And in all honesty, no, I wasn’t up for the fight of taking away a pacifier from a 5 1/2 year old - after all, I like my sleep too! :-) And this wasn’t a 2 year old I was taking it away from (probably a better age to take it away then 5 1/2) - but a Kindergartner who can talk, walk, feel and who clearly had a habit of using a pacie to go to sleep. My close girlfriend would keep telling me that I was being wimpy and I needed to step up to the plate and take it away from her already. And while yes, I suppose I can acknowledge I was wimpy, what about all those kids that need thumbs to fall asleep? While I know you can’t “take a thumb away” - the reality is that they need it just as much as mine needed her pacie and if you are silly enough like I was to wait until 5 1/2 to deal with it, I think you have to handle it differently then you do if you are trying to cut the habit from a 2 year old.

So, I say nothing.

Then last Wednesday (4/2/08) she comes home from school and tells me that the roof of her mouth is hurting and she thinks she is too big for pacies and she needs to stop using them. WOW!! So, I grab onto that and while I don’t make a huge deal about it (I don’t want her to feel bad if it doesn’t work), I certainly encourage her. She normally goes to bed around 8 (give or take) and wakes up around 7 (give or take) - well she finally drifted off to sleep (without a pacie!) around 10 and woke up around 5:15 to go to the bathroom, but couldn’t quite get back to sleep. BUT SHE DID IT!! Yeah!!

On Thursday night, she was able to get to sleep a bit earlier, by 9:30 and woke up a bit later, at 6:15. Well, I figure by Friday night she is wiped (late nights, early mornings, school, gymnastics and birthday party) and she will pass out early. Around 8:30 she tells me it is sooooooooooooooooo hard for her to go to sleep without her pacies and she is sooooooooooo tired, she thinks she wants her pacies back. I told her whatever she wants is fine with me, but I told her to try and count in her head and then she might fall asleep. She finally fell asleep around 9:45 - but she managed to sleep a bit later, until 6:30!!

Are we getting lots of good sleep? NO!! But are we getting to sleep and sleeping through the night without pacies? YES!!! Am I confident we have kicked the habit yet? Not really. What do they say, it takes 90 days to make or break a habit?

But I am so proud of her and I have told her that if she is able to do it one whole week without pacies she gets to get that Hannah Montana guitar purse she has been dying for. That is a bribe I can live with!

And what I have learned from this - my path of least resistance while making my friends crazy, seems to continue to work for my family. . .