Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What Does 10 cm of Dilation Really Look Like? A Visual Guide (YIKES!)

Maybe it's just me, but it's super hard for me to visualize anything using the metric system of measurement. I know, I know - but that's what years and years of Honors Math will do for you (I can also not add or multiply simple numbers without my handy dandy scientific calculator... but I can solve X equations in my head in a matter of seconds - go figure). There is just something about the words "centimeter" or "gram" or even "litre" for that matter that sends my brain into a complete tailspin of confusion. Inches, pounds, miles, feet - I'm all over that. But tell me something is 10 cm or 5 grams and I couldn't even begin to tell you how big that is. Which is why this chart I created is absolutely PRICELESS for all the pregos out there (or mamas who were prego and could not visualize what their bodies were doing while in labor). And here you have it - a visual guide to Cervical Dilation.

But now that we know our cervix is supposed to open up to the size of a bagel - is anyone else a little freaked out? Maybe ignorance was bliss : )

My Daughter, The Hypochondriac

Dr. Phil - if you are reading this right now - I promise you I am not enabling my child's addiction. And even though I think she's a little too young to be put out on the streets (as you often recommend), I'm going to try to create a "rock bottom" and then put her on a plane to a wonderful "center for healing" in Malibu within the next few days. I swear : )

It all started with cherry-flavored chiildren's Tylenol (or "Schmylenol" while Tylenol was off the shelves)... It's ok. I can admit it: Cherry-flavored children's Tylenol was my daughter's gateway drug.

First - I just have to ask - whatever happened to terrible tasting medicine?! When did medicine start to mirror the flavors in the Jelly Belly Jellybean Variety Pack? I remember DREADING having to take medicines when I was a kid - to the point of pretending I was sleeping so I could skip a dose. I still gag thinking about the terrible tastes. ANYWHO... Back to the matter at hand.

A month or two ago, Miss Paige took a tumble and roughed up her knee a little bit. The week before that, she had a hang nail. And a little bit before that, she got a few bug bites while playing outside. And each and every night before bed, Miss Paige walks me through each "boo boo" and expects they be medically treated with the utmost TLC. Did I mention they have all healed up? That's right - each night we apply "ointments" (aka: hand lotion), take syringes full of "medicine" (aka: water) and go through the motions of treating her boo boos as if they just happened.

The best part? Her dramatic interpretation of how much each of these boo boos hurt. Sad eyes. Pouting mouth. Furrowed brows. A timid finger pointing to the boo boo as if even the thought of it is painful. And then the biggest smile you could ever imagine as I "treat" each of them. It's absolutely hilarious. And adorable. Which is why I play into it each and every night. And sometimes during the day : )

Luckily we skip the "Pharmacy" during the day and jump right into the "ER". Miss Paige seems to get head injuries at least 5 times a day. Now, before you call Child Protective Services, this too is pretend. I promise! It's all a ploy to get ice packs out of the freezer. She'll slowly saunter up to me - again with an Oscar-winning dramatic performance - point to her head, and say "boo boo". To which I respond, "Oh no! Poor Paigey! We better get the ice!" Then she'll side step slowly to the freezer door and stand there with a fake pout until I hand her an ice pack. And then - like clockwork - she busts into hysterical laughter and runs off into her playroom. Is this a little odd? Maybe : ) But it's just so hilarious I can't not participate.

So is Miss Paige destined for a life of hypochondria? I sure hope not! Any other boo boo addict babies out there? Or is my little drama queen the only one?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How 'Bout Them Apples?

He's lovin' it
Can one restaurant make a massive improvement on the way our kids eat? Maybe. Definitely worth a shot, right? Well - McDonald's is giving it a go with their *NEW* Happy Meal. Last week Miss Paige, Big D and I headed over to our local Mickey D's for an event to try out the new and improved Happy Meal - and I have to say, I was pretty impressed. So what's so different about this *NEW* Happy Meal? Apples. Lots and lots of apples. An additional one million pounds of apples each year to be exact.

I know what you are thinking - we could ask for apple slices in our child's Happy Meal as a substitute for fries for a while now... so what's the big deal? WELL - now apple slices are included automatically with each and every McDonald's Happy Meal. Every time I drove up to the Drive Thru window, I always had the best of intentions to remember to ask for apple slices instead of fries. But just like brushing my teeth before I leave the house - sometimes my mind takes a vacation and it just doesn't happen (ew, gross, I know... PS: if you are going to view me differently after reading that tidbit, then please pretend I didn't just say that!). So it's one less thing I have to think about. Also - the new Happy Meal has a "Kid's Sized" fries - only about one oz. or so. And if you are a super healthy mama, you can skip the fries and get double the apple slices instead.

She's lovin' it too! : )

I know as the reigning Super Mom of the Universe I'm supposed to say I don't feed my kids fast food... but every once in a while it happens. Whether its a million and one errands that are keeping us on the go or a last minute outing that took too long (of course) and lunch time snuck up on us, sometimes fast food is a part of life for my kids. I don't really beat myself up over it or anything like so many mamas do. As long as chicken nuggets and french fries aren't a daily occurrence, I feel like a trip down the Drive Thru lane won't hurt anybody. And now that apples are included automatically in each and every Happy Meal? Well jeez! Maybe I can keep my Super Mom of the Universe crown after all! : )

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Do I Have Time to Worry About Wrinkles?

The "29 year old" from Most Eligible Dallas show on Bravo
I've decided that it's about time I start thinking about keeping my skin looking young and fresh. And my inspiration are the women of Bravo's latest show - Most Eligible Dallas. Because they look so wonderful? NO! It's because you could have pushed me over with a feather when they said their ages of 29-ish. I would have bet money they were in their early 40's. And not a fresh, vibrant 40-something. A forty-something who never wore sunscreen and tried to remedy the problem at some point with too much Botox. But no - they are in their late 20's / early 30's. And it scared the crap out of me! I'm 28... do I look like that?! We all know that there can be some major discrepancies between what we see in the mirror and what we see when a picture of us is taken. I don't see wrinkles and abused skin when I look in the mirror - but then again, I don't see my back fat either and we all know it's still there : ) I'm not into Botox or anything like that (but I might be one day - so don't hold me to that statement!Give me 10 years and ask me again...) so I decided to seek out a more natural solution that doesn't involve shooting poison into my skin. And so on a recent trip to the mall under the guise of picking up my husband's new Falcons visor at Lids, I step into my little slice of heaven on Earth - SEPHORA - and began my search for the fountain of youth. My requirements? Something super simple that can be applied once a day and didn't come in the form of a moisturizer or cream. I have a weird aversion to putting on lotions and creams and feel like a major grease ball if I use even a dab anywhere on my skin. The only lotion I use is cocoa butter to remove my makeup - but it's applied and then rubbed off along with the makeup residue. Oh - and this fear of lotion is in direct contrast to my husband who slathers on a pound of lotion each day. Anywho... back to the anti-aging solution. So after scouring the store I finally found a toner that can be applied daily with a cotton ball. It removes impurities from the skin, and is also supposed to help decrease fine lines and wrinkles. So I bought it. And I have to say that after 2 days of use, my skin does look a lot fresher. I don't have any wrinkles or "fine lines" yet (well, according to the mirror) but I feel like this is a preventative measure. A small step in ensuring that I don't end up looking like the ladies of Most Eligible Dallas next year, when I too turn 29. Here is a link to what I got - don't know much about it beyond what I read on the label, but so far so good!

Perricone MD - Firming Facial Toner

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Banning Babies?

For the last few months, I've heard a lot of talk about banning babies children from different places - restaurants, airplanes, stores. I'm sitting here now watching the Dr. Phil show, which happens to be on the topic. Guests on the show are spouting off their opinions like diarrhea of the mouth... and there seems to be a very obvious similarity between the people who believe in limiting the places where babies and children are allowed to go - none of them have children. One is a restaurant owner who has banned children under the age of 6 from his establishment. One is a waiter who thinks it's annoying to have children sit at his tables because they are messy (specifically citing Cheerios as a major point of annoyance). And the other two guests are a couple who compared children to second hand smoke. Nice. So do you think people who don't have children should be allowed to dictate what you should do with yours?

This may be surprising to some, but I am not 100% opposed to the idea of banning children from certain restaurants. Before you start thinking that I've lost my mind, let me explain. I do not agree with the practice of banning children in any way, shape or form, but I feel like it is that business owner's right to set the rules for his/her establishment. If he wants to make it "adults-only" then I think he should have that right. However, I think it is a very slippery slope. Also, by banning my kids, you are essentially banning families - and I can't imagine that would be good for business. My biggest issue with the concept is this: where does the "banning" end? We had rules and laws like this at a point in time and it was called segregation.

As far as the waiter who doesn't like cleaning up Cheerios? I would ask him: Did you enjoy putting the tip in your pocket? I obviously can't speak for all parents, but I try really hard to clean up after my kids when we go to a restaurant. I don't think it's fair to trash the place and then have someone else clean up after you. But if we had a particularly messy dinner and a rather large pile of crumbs is sitting under Miss Paige's highchair when it's time to go (tortilla chips, anyone??), then we'll leave a few extra dollars on the tip. I'm guessing this is common practice for most parents. It's not easy accommodating children at a restaurant, and I make sure the tip I leave for the waiter reflects that. But - after being a waitress through out high school and much of college - I can tell you that there are adults who are MUCH MORE OBNOXIOUS than any child I've seen in a restaurant. I say we ban the loud cell phone talkers, the people who yell at the waiter, the overly-demanding people, the people who spill the salad dressing all over the salad bar, the ones who "forget" to flush the toilets in public bathrooms - babies and children are the least of the problem in restaurants.

And then there is the childless couple who wants children banned. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure they were both babies at some point in their lives. And when they were babies, I'd bet money on the fact that they cried on occasion. And if we asked their mothers, I'm sure we would find out that some of those fits of crying were in public. GASP!!! Children are going to cry. They are going to get upset. Sometimes even though a fit in a public place like a restaurant or airplane - but I don't think the solution is banning them from entering those spaces. The solution is better parenting and teaching our children how to behave in those spaces and places. If we can't take our children out, then how will they ever learn how to behave in public? You can role play with them, read them books on the topic and tell them until you are blue in the face, but until they are sitting strapped into a booster seat in a restaurant with white table clothes, they really won't get it. It's the experiences our children have that really mold them and their behavior. When Paige acts up in a restaurant, we tell her to stop. If she doesn't listen, we take her outside for a "time out". A few weeks ago Daniel brought her outside at least 5 times during one meal. And it was frustrating. But the next time went a lot smoother. And I'm sure each time we go, she will behave better and better. If we had been banned from entering a restaurant, Paige never would have had the experience of learning to control herself in that space.

And then there is behaviors that can't really be controlled or taught or cured with a "ban" on children. Because children are just that - children. Sometimes they are just going to be loud, cry or so happy that they can't contain themselves. In my opinion, it just needs to be accepted as part of life. We accept everyone else's quirks - how about we give kids a break sometimes too and stop expecting them to be 100% perfect 100% of the time.

So last weekend I met my sister and niece at a Fall Festival the next town over. After about an hour or so of being her normal playful self, Paige had a meltdown. A major meltdown. A fall on the ground, kick her feet, scream and cry like I'm abusing her type of meltdown. My first reaction? Oh my gosh - what just happened? Did she get stung by a bee or something? And then I realized she was throwing a tantrum and so I had another thought - absolute mortification. As I struggled to strap a screaming, kicking toddler into her stroller, people turned and looked at me like I was the worst parent in the world. I'm sure they were thinking - "Wow. She really needs to control her child." or "She needs to discipline her child." And after I got Miss Paige strapped in her stroller, I gave a quick wave to my sister and made a beeline for the car. Before we even left the parking lot, Paige was asleep in her car seat. The tantrum was because she was tired - not because she is out of control or a bad kid or for lack of discipline on my part. It's because she is a child and acts childishly. She cries when she is upset or doesn't feel right. And I think that is ok. There's no amount of discipline in the world that can change that when she is just 20 months old.

Dealing with children is part of the world we live in... whether you have children or not, you have to accept things for what they are. If it truly is a discipline problem, then of course it is annoying and should be dealt with by the parents. But if a child starts crying on a plane, laughing loudly in a restaurant or throwing a tantrum because they don't feel well - it's just part of life. We were all babies at one point in time. We all cried and did the same exact things. And then we grew up and were better able to control our emotions and actions. The answer isn't banning children - it's adjusting our expectations slightly, being patient and kind, and supporting the parents who are trying their best to raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted children.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Crib to Bed Transition: FAIL

I take my job as a mama very seriously. Before any major transition or circumstance we may encounter on the road from baby to toddler, I research and study and contemplate and strategize until I come up with the perfect solution for my children. I'm already researching potty training and ready to jump in as soon as I get the vibe Paigey is ready (even if it is 6 months from now). So as someone who likes to have a plan for the plan when it comes to my kids, can I handle the curve ball? Little curve balls - no prob. I can roll with them. But big, major, life changing curve balls? Well - come to find out - not so much. Here's what happened...

Last week was crazy, but super fun. My besties Jill and Jilly (from now on to be referred to as "Jill Squared") came to visit from Pennsylvania - WOO HOO!!! (More on their visit in another post...) Of course Miss Paige loved every single second of the extra attention. She was hamming it up like a pro. Fast forward to Monday night (Labor Day) and we are all EXHAUSTED. D-Man is down and I'm reading Paige her last "seepy time" book before it's time for her to hit the hay. And that's when it happened... Paige flipped head first out of her crib! Thank goodness I was sitting right there and caught her just a millisecond before she took a full-on nose dive on the floor. I started screaming in panic, and Paige started laughing as if it was the funniest thing that ever happened. With Paige in my arms, I ran downstairs (still shaken) and announced to Daniel that she could no longer sleep in her crib. To which Daniel replied, "Ok - so what's the plan on getting her to sleep in a bed?"

And for the first time in my career as a mama, I didn't have a plan. Up until two minutes ago, I had thought Paigey would be in her crib AT LEAST another 6 months. She loved her crib and had never made any attempts to escape. I was completely caught off guard and went into "crazy mama" mode, attempting to remember any and every episode of "Super Nanny" I had ever seen - all while frantically "toddler-proofing" Paige's room. The crib mattress went onto the floor, furniture was rearranged to cover all electrical outlets (because we all know those plug covers last less than half a second with a precocious toddler on the loose). I started to calm down a bit... and then I realized that if she wasn't in her crib, she could open the door and leave her room at any time throughout the night. OH. NO. Am I really about to put special locks on my child's doors to literally cage her in her room at night?? The answer? ABSO-FRIEKEN-LUTELY! And not only does Paige's room have a door to the hallway, of course, but also a door to the Jack-and-Jill bathroom she shares with Deacon. I had visions of her hopping in the bathtub in the middle of the night, playing in the toilet... and I had another mini heart attack. Unfortunately we have those lever-type knobs on all our doors, so baby proofing them is a little more challenging. After a quick google search, I saw they make some sort of contraption - but how am I going to keep Paigey in her room while I run out to get these? Bookcases, of course! (Still waiting on the phone call from Child Services on that one...) After about an hour of prep and a very confused Paigey laying on her crib mattress on her bedroom floor, Daniel and I ran out of her room, and quickly pushed a huge heavy bookcase in front of the door. It was like a scene out of a zombie movie... were we in the clear? Could the zombie find us? We look through the book case shelf and see the door handle trying to open. Then we see little fingers wiggling under the door. Than a voice saying: "Mama? Dada? Out!"

With Daniel stationed outside her door to listen for any major catastrophes, I ran out to Babies R Us to buy more child-proofing gear. An hour later (and nearly $100 out of our bank account) I was home with the supplies. Daniel was downstairs and said he thinks she finally went to sleep. Could it be? Was it that easy? Did Paige really transition to her big-girl bed that quickly? So I went upstairs, slid the book case away from the door and tried to peek inside. But the door didn't budge. So I pushed a little harder. And that's when I realized Paige wasn't in her bed - but sleeping in front of the door - binky, blankie and her Dora the Explorer flashlight in tow. Of course she woke up and started screaming bloody murder. My poor baby girl! It was absolutely pitiful. So I put her back in her bed and laid down next to her for a little while. She started to doze off and I made a run for it. Phew - 11:00 p.m. on Night 1 and she is finally sleeping - in her bed this time - only 4 hours after her bedtime : (

Well, Day 2 was ok. She took her first nap in her bed - but when I came to get her I noticed she had different books than I had put in her bed originally. Which means she had been up and wandering for who-knows how long. The second nap didn't happen - I could hear her playing the whole time. And when it came time to put her down for the night, it was absolutely disastrous. Lights went out at 7:00 pm. And after going in at least 10 times to put her back in her bed, we finally threw in the towel at 11 pm when we pressed our ears against her door and could hear her "reading" her favorite Elmo book. It was like she was way too overwhelmed with the freedom of a big bed that she couldn't fall asleep. So the crib came back in - and Paigey started clapping - and Mommy and Daddy breathed a sigh of relief.

She wasn't ready for a big bed. We DEFINITELY were not ready for her to be in a big bed. And so we are back to the way things were - with fingers crossed that Paige's trip over the side of the crib was a one-time thing. But in the meantime, I really need to start reading up on this crib-to-bed transition. Next time, I'm totally going to have a plan!