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Written by Mama Monday

Blog posts written by mamas on cloth diapering, green living, natural parenting.

Kate the Black Cat, Cooper the crabby Robin and Lauren a Monster High Doll

Kate the Black Cat, Cooper the crabby Robin and Lauren a Monster High Doll–Halloween 2013

Halloween is a fun time of year for most families with small children. It’s also a little stressful–finding the perfect costumes, the over-consumption of junk food, keeping track of your Trick or Treaters on dark streets. Thankfully Cooper wants to be a ghost this year…a pillow case with some eyes cut out. That’s his idea of a costume. Three cheers for low maintenance! My girls on the other hand, have always been more particular about their costumes. This year we will have a ghost, a black cat and a witch. Unfortunately, Kate the black cat, now wants to be Elsa because her best friend is being Elsa. Kate was also a black cat last year (see picture) but since the Elsa costumes are all sold out she’s decided she’ll just be a cat again (unless she changes her mind at the last minute and goes as something else entirely).

Until I had children of my own, I wasn’t a huge fan of Halloween as an adult. Once I outgrew my own childhood desire to dress up, I went through an Anti-Dressing Up for Halloween Stage that lasted until Lauren was a toddler. Suddenly Halloween was fun again because I had an appreciative audience–my child who got a kick out of seeing mommy and daddy look silly. This year I’ll don a hot pink wig and some funny glasses and call myself Crazy Mommy. My husband’s favorite go-to costume is an alarmingly realistic mullet wig that looks alarmingly natural on him and some fake teeth.

One thing that I love about living in the suburbs, that I didn’t have growing up in rural Vermont, is that we live in an actual neighborhood. It makes for good old-fashioned-family-friendly Trick or Treating. We know at least a dozen of the families around our block and it feels really safe  to trail behind our little creatures, princesses and ghouls, just enough to let them feel like they are on their own. It also means that we get lots of trick or treaters, another thing we never had growing up–both little kids with their parents and partially-costumed teenagers. We give out candy happily to anyone who knocks. Who are we to spoil the fun of someone who just wants to celebrate? Our kids will be that age before I know it. Even when they are gangly, braces-wearing zombies with a little acne on their chins, they’ll always be my little ghost, my black cat and my little witch which is why I really enjoyed this blog in the Huffington Post: What You Need To Know About Six Foot Trick or Treaters.

What are you kids dressing up as for Halloween? And if you have a diaper wearing infant or toddler, under what costume will you stuff their fluff?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love blogging. I love writing about my experiences with my kids, sharing ideas and tips, and getting feedback and hearing the opinions of the readers who leave comments. For the most part, I try to keep my blogs upbeat and positive, even while discussing something challenging–like a hospital stay with a sick child or the never-ending cycle called housework. But just for fun, here are a few examples of blogs I might write, followed by what I might really be thinking:

 

Instead of:

10 Fun and Easy Ways to Braid Your Little Girl’s Hair

I want to write:

Crew Cuts: The New Look for Girls in 2014

Instead of:

Six Recipes that Will Appeal to Even the Pickiest of Eaters

I want to write:

Welcome to the Trough: Self-Service Dinner at Our House

Instead of:

Sibling Rivalry: Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I want to write:

The Trampoline: The Cage Fighting Ring Right in Our Backyard

Instead of:

Date Night, Keeping the Spark Alive

I want to write:

Date Night, What’s That?

Instead of:

Holiday Recipes to Try With Kids

I want to write:

Flour, Sugar, Raw Eggs, and Too Many Bossy Little Helpers Elbowing Each Other Off the Stool: A Recipe For Disaster

 

If you could write a snarky blog today, what would you call it?

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I am far from a jock. I am not a fitness guru either. I don’t do yoga and I have a deathly fear of group aerobics classes. But I try to stay in shape in the limited time that I have between school drop offs and pick ups, grocery shopping, dentist appointments and all of the rest of parental duties we all have.

We are members of the YMCA so I have access to the daycare for two hours a day. But I don’t always make it. And I love to exercise outside in the fresh air so that I can get both the kids and our crazy little dog burning off their excess energy at the same time. Kate’s first grade class had a play date yesterday so the kids and parents could get to know each other better. It was about a mile and a half away and I had so much to do that I knew if I was going to get the dog walked and get any exercise myself, it was going to involve having Kate ride her bike while Clover and jogged behind her.

One confession I must make is that I.Hate.Running. I hate it. I have bad memories of doing the Presidential Fitness Test and having to run the mile in grade school. I had exercise induced asthma as a child so I was the kid gasping and crying trying to finish. Now my idea of pleasant exercise involves running and walking on the treadmill while plugging my headphones in to watch some daytime TV (a treat for me since I don’t watch any TV during the day at home). I’d rather hike outside but hiking with the kids (and trying to get exercise myself) just doesn’t work. They are still young enough that we go very slowly and stop about every three feet because they need to look at a bug, pick up a pretty rock or whine about how tired their legs are

Having Kate ride her bike while the dog and I followed turned out to be a great solution. In fact, my slightly paranoid parental instinct kicked in as we rode past driveways, the public shopping center and constant traffic (and we were even on  the sidewalk!). Nothing makes you run like chasing after a child you are afraid might forget to stop before coming to an intersection! The agony of sprinting, trying to catch my breath and cramping muscles all go unnoticed while Mommy Adrenaline is pumping through my veins. It’s an amazing experience really. The fight or flight response to stress and danger allows ordinary people do extraordinary things when they need to and for me, sprinting that fast, for that long, is truly unnatural–but when I am chasing my baby, I don’t even feel it.

My view as the dog and I sprinted to keep up with Kate. This is staged of course! I was like "Pant, gasp. I need you to stop for a minute so I can get a picture for my blog. Wheeze!"

My view as the dog and I sprinted to keep up with Kate. This is staged of course! I was like “Pant, gasp. I need you to stop for a minute so I can get a picture for my blog. Wheeze!”

Often when I try to exercise at home–doing sit-ups, the plank or lifting my little weights, I find myself being treated like a piece of gym equipment…suddenly mom looks like something to jump on, climb up or balance on. I suppose it just adds to the workout when you are constantly dodging, lifting and carrying the extra weight of a toddler.

How do you incorporate your little helpers in your exercise routine?

 

 

 

 

Cooper, at 2 months, doing his favorite thing in the world at the time.

It’s hard to believe that about one year ago, right around this time, Cooper finally weaned. I say finally, only because he was over two and half years old, but not because I particularly wanted him to wean. As with my other two children, the experience was bittersweet. Breastfeeding for me was a wonderful and easy way to comfort my babies and bond with them. When it ended it was liberating in a way, but a symbolic moment of “growing up” for my children and a reminder to me that I will not always be the center of their universes. We are raising them with the hopes that they will one day leave the safety of the home nest and soar off to a successful and happy life, complete with their own nests.

I always knew I would nurse my children, from the time I was very young and watched friends and family nurse their babies. If I count the total months I spent breastfeeding our three children, I get a grand total of 73 months. I guess I can cross that off my bucket list! But when I finally experienced what I expected to be a blissful and beautiful moment, I was surprised by something. How much it hurt!

When my body was going through the many changes that occur during pregnancy, like most women, I experienced incredibly tender breasts. I should have guessed that having a baby latch on wasn’t going to tickle but honestly, it never even crossed my mind. I just pictured a quiet moment with my baby and I gazing into each others’ eyes. I didn’t imagine that my eyes would be red and watering or that I would biting my lip trying not to scream.

Breastfeeding. Pain. For the first few weeks the two went hand in hand for me and they do for many women. It was the worst during the few minutes of nursing, before my milk let down or when I was engorged. Then it would get better. I remember being, after about six weeks of breastfeeding, pain-free! It was amazing and liberating and Lauren went on to nurse for 15 more months. I didn’t experience anymore pain while nursing–until she started biting!

When our second daughter was born, breastfeeding was much easier. My nipples were (ahem) broken in, so to speak. Not only was she able to latch on much more easily because of this, it was much less painful from the get go. Kate nursed until she was almost two and a half years old.

Whenever I have a friend who is expecting a baby and plans to nurse, the one piece of advice I always offer is not to feel discouraged by first few weeks of nursing. You may not experience any discomfort while breastfeeding or you may find it is fairly uncomfortable for the first few weeks. The good news is, it does get better and I found that toughing it out was well worth the benefits for both me and my babies.

**I would like to add, as a bit of disclaimer, that I know breastfeeding can be a sensitive topic for women who choose not to, or are unable to breastfeed. Know that I do not judge! My mother nursed me for six weeks and then had to go back to work and from that point on, I had a bottle. Could she have pumped and continue to breastfeed? Probably, but she didn’t and that’s ok with me. I love her just the same and I turned out just fine being a formula fed baby!

Today is Friday, September 19th, 2014 and it is 8:30 p.m. I am sitting in the pediatric wing of the Boulder Community Hospital with six year old Kate who was admitted earlier today for pneumonia. It’s not where I want to be and it’s certainly not where she wants to be, but when you have a child this sick, the monitors clearly showing me her heart rate and oxygen levels are comforting. The last time I was in the hospital overnight with Kate was when she was around ten months old when she was also admitted for pneumonia. Thankfully, this time around she is being a much better patient.

Ten-month old Kate was a lousy patient. I remember the doctor telling me that the albuterol they were giving her through a nebulizer might make her a little cranky. That turned out to be the understatement of the century. Kate, looking sweeter than I thought it was possible to look in the smallest hospital gown I have ever seen, soon became a thrashing, screaming, inconsolable mess. The abuterol made her agitated and hyper and the fact that she couldn’t get her wiggles out by crawling around (because she was attached to her oxygen tubes and IV) made for one angry little girl. I clearly remember the crib they had for her in the room—it was a cage really, so that if the baby needed to be left unattended momentarily, there was no way she could climb out. Kate was climbing onto table tops before she could walk so from a safety standpoint I could more than appreciate the need for the baby cage. On the other hand, it had the same cold, mean look as a kennel at the dog pound.Kate at 10 months with pneumonia

One thing that surprised me, was that despite hearing Kate scream non-stop for at least two hours, none of the nurses came to help me. Had her monitors beeped indicating that something was amiss, they would have come running, but she wasn’t in danger physically, she was just crabby. Really, really, really crabby. Consoling a child is a mother’s job, right? But she wouldn’t nurse, she wouldn’t play. Nothing was working to stop the crying. I kept carrying her out into the hallway, as far as her tubes would stretch, so that the nurses might see her agony (and mine) and come to our aid. They did not. Finally, on the verge of a nervous breakdown myself, I put Kate into the cage and pushed the call button.

When the nurses came in, I burst into tears. I was at my limit and I couldn’t console my own baby. It was a horrible moment. The moment became more horrible when the nurse said, “Well, why don’t you pick her up? She just wants to be held.” “She just wants to be held??” I screeched, indignantly, “I have been holding her! I just put her in there a minute ago to call you!” At that point a second nurse popped her head in and said to the first nurse “Well, why doesn’t she just get her out and hold her?” Nurse One gave Nurse Two a look of warning and informed her that I had just put Kate in the crib. She was screaming at the top of her lungs without or with Mommy’s loving arms wrapped around her flailing body.

We are now on our third day staying in the hospital. This pneumonia is the pits. Kate is getting grumpy (who can blame her) from boredom and probably from the red dye that it is her antibiotics. But she’ll be fine soon. This is a lesson in empathy for me  because so many parents across the world have children in the hospital who don’t have outcomes that will look as good as Kate’s will. We are lucky and I am thankful that she will be coming home soon.

Staying Happy at the Hospital  <——- Check out our attempt at staying sane and in good spirits during our stay.

Have you had a long hospital stay with your child? How did you stay upbeat?