Monday, April 26, 2010

Book reviews

New book review - don't miss this one!

Friday, April 23, 2010

I have to clean where?

Even when babies are relaxed, they keep their little hands clenched in fists. This results in a build-up of lint.

No one told me that I would have to de-lint my kid. I found that one out on my own.

This has to be done on their little toes too. Luckily, baby feet are a hell of a lot cuter than the adult variety. A hidden perk - those little feet are usually ticklish, so toe de-linting may lead to your baby's first giggle. Well worth the very strange step in baby maintenance.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Grocery store swayers

Next time you are waiting in line at the grocery store, look around and see if you can spot a woman who is, ever so slightly, swaying from side to side. This woman is a mother. How do I know this? I know this because she has spent so much time rocking a baby at home that she does it automatically any time that she is not sitting in a rocking chair. Since having children, I think I am incapable of standing still. When I find myself standing, with or without a child in my arms, I start moving before too long. Movement is comforting to babies and even toddlers and, after a while, it becomes comforting to mommies too.

So, now I promise you two things: one, you will notice a woman standing alone and swaying at some point; two, you will laugh because you know I am right.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I stand corrected

Well, F proved me wrong last night by sleeping straight through again. You would think that by my third kid I would know what is coming. Just goes to show you that, when it comes to kids, all you can really expect is the unexpected. That and no one really has a clue what they are doing - the best you can do is roll with it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Oh, sweet sleep!

There are many milestones that you will experience in the early stages of parenting. The first smile in the most beautiful thing you have ever seen. The first smile is the greatest sound. There will be others that will hold high rank as well. But none of them will be as personally rewarding as the first time the baby sleeps through the night. I am not talking about almost sleeping through the night - I mean when he goes all the way. The first night is the greatest because you don't expect it. You put the baby to sleep fully expecting to be woken up around 3 or 4 or whenever he usually wakes up, except it doesn't happen! You will role over in the morning and glance at the clock to find it is 6 or 7 and shoot up out of bed like someone just hit you with a cattle prod because you just assume that something is wrong (and hopefully all is well). You'll rush into the nursery and sigh with relief when you see him breathe and fidget. This is then followed by a cocky saunter back to bed and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for this little creature that has given you the gift of sleep.

But, my fellow new mothers, be warned: very rarely will this phenomena be a permanent fixture right away. Following this magnificent occurrence, the baby will most likely resume his previous schedule for a night or two. Basically, he was teasing you. But have no fear. A night or two more and it will happen again. And then maybe again the next night. Then you are well on your way to having a full night's sleep every night. From then on you are a new person, my friend.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mom Law #54

Come up with a swear-word alternative. When your children reach mimic age (a dangerous time), having a neutral word to use in place of cursing comes in really handy. My advice, start training yourself to use this word when the baby is born, so when you hit mimic age, you are ready. I have a few different ones, but "fudge" gets used the most. I should probably come up with a more inconspicuous one.

Book reviews

Two new book reviews! Check them out!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Babies - the master manipulators

There are those in this world that have a special talent for bending the will of others and using their assets to their advantage. Interrogators lulling suspects into a false sense of security to obtain a confession. Teenage boys cooing words of love and forever to coerce their naive girlfriends into a more intense make-out session or teenage girls giving promises of a date to the geeky boy in class in exchange for a completed homework assignment or two.

None of these people hold a candle to the cunning guile of babies. Let me set the scene. It is 2:30 in the morning and this small creature has been fussing just often enough to prevent his parents from getting any quality sleep. Mom gets up with the baby to feed and change him. Fumbling with his diaper through hazy eyes and grumbling under her breath about how she would give anything for just one night of uninterrupted sleep, the baby stops crying, looks up at her with his glassy eyes and smiles. The mother forgets entirely that she hasn't slept, forgets entirely that the baby has been crying and even forgets that it is 2:30 in the morning.

Sensing that his mother is at the peak of frustration, this baby outright played his mother. That smile was like the memory eraser that Tommy Lee Jones used in Men in Black, one flash and everything else was gone. She no longer cared about most things. Her little angel smiled and all was right with the world.

Toddlers have similar abilities to dazzle and distract their parents, but their skills aren't quite as finely tuned as their infant selves once were.

So, next time you are up with your baby and have reached the brink of madness with sleep deprivation, pay careful attention to your baby. You won't care that he is doing it, but it is fascinating to watch him completely change you with one deft move. You don't stand a chance, so just accept your fate and smile back.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Book reviews

If you enjoyed my post on books (see below), take a look at my new book review page. There is a tab at the top of the page that will take you there. I'll post new reviews as quickly as I can read new books!

Girlfriends, a necessary ingredient for sanity

There are many luxuries available to modern mothers. Disposable diapers, childproof locks and Valium are all things that we have, but could probably live without and still make it through the day. There are a few absolutely non-negotiable things you must have as a mom and, in my expert opinion, one of those things is a girlfriend that you can always rely on. I am not talking about the other moms that you casually strike up a conversation with at the playground, although one of those mothers could turn out to be the quintessential girlfriend. I am talking about the one, or if you are really lucky, ones, who you can call at any time for any reason and they will be there. The chosen girlfriend doesn't have to be a mother, as long as she can tolerate the endless mom-talk that may be required at times and would make most non-mothers phase you out as a friend.

Particularly in the immediate postpartum phase of motherhood, you will be so overcome with hormones and sleep deprivation that you won't know what hit you. I have, on more than one occasion, called my best friend and done nothing more than blubber on the phone. There were times that I wasn't able to form complete sentences and she provided the words of encouragement that I needed. Sometimes, you will just need someone to complain to. There will also be times that you need to listen to someone talk about something else entirely. My best friend is particularly gifted at taking my mind off of whatever it is that is troubling me.

I am fortunate to have a few friends who fit the bill and one, in particular, that is my number one go-to friend for leaning on. Try to never alienate this friend, as she has the ability to single-handedly save your sanity many a time.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mom Law #178

Always carry gum. You never know when you will be halfway to your destination before you realize that you forgot to brush your teeth. While it is better than forgetting one of the kids, it is still unpleasant.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Books that I would ignore my children to read

A friend of mine was recently discussing a book club she is in and some of the books they have been tackling. She said that a few of them were so good that it was hard not to ignore her children when she was reading. That got me to thinking - which books have I read are so good that I would shrug off my motherly duties to lose myself in their pages?

I am a serial re-reader, so the mark of a great book, for me, is one that I pick up again and again and it still captivates me like it is the first time. That being said, I am not claiming that these books are great pieces of literature. I would love to be a book snob and list some of the really complex, tedious classics to make you think I am really smart. While I have read my share of high-brow stuff, sometimes you just want to disappear into a really good story!

So, here are a few of the books that I can't read when my kids are around because they are too hard to put down and, before you know it, one is crying, one is hanging off of the microwave and I can't find the third.

Harry Potter 1 - 7, by J.K. Rowling
Talk about disappearing into a good story! Not only does reading these books make me ignore my children, I forget I have children at all. J.K. Rowling provided her readers with the ultimate fantasy world. After reading the series more than a few times, I am not entirely convinced that there isn't a secret wizarding world hidden from us muggles.

The Twilight Saga 1 - 4, by Stephenie Meyer
I'll take some flack from my book snob friend, Joe, for putting these on my list, but I don't care. I read all four of these books over a two-week period and immediately read them again. I have mentioned how amazing my husband is in past posts and even he paled in comparison to Edward. The first book transported me right back to high school when my crush would walk past and I would get butterflies in my stomach. We should all have an Edward. Unless, of course, you prefer Team Jacob (you know who you are).

Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
Funny, moving, enlightening and very entertaining. There are elements of this book that I have incorporated into my life, so I can honestly say that it was life-changing. If I had read this book before I had kids, I would have been on the next flight to Italy and this blog would be about my crazy travels.

The Other Boleyn Girl, by Philippa Gregory
That King Henry was a naughty, naughty boy. Not many men have the nerve to sleep with a girl and then marry her sister. I have always found English history fascinating, so Philippa Gregory's books are right up my alley and this is her best by far. Make yourself a proper cup of English tea and curl up with this one on a rainy day.

The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson
This is a true story about a gruesome murderer, the building of the World's Fair in Chicago and how their fates were intertwined. The thing that I love about this book is that I constantly forget that it actually happened. It reads like the best of crime novels, but the pictures scattered throughout the book remind you that it was all real. I have read it a few times and it still gives me chills. This is a book that I recommend to absolutely everyone.

The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
The one piece of classic literature on my list is one of my most worn out books in my collection. And don't go and cheat by buying the abridged version. You need to read this one in all of it's 1,243 page glory. It has one of the best chapter titles ever written - How To Rescue A Gardener from Dormice Who Eat His Peaches. This could have ended in a few places and I would have been satisfied, but it keeps building and getting better and better, culminating in the ultimate tale of revenge.

I have other favorite books, but I would be writing forever if I dared to tackle my entire list! These were the can't-put-it-down-even-when-the-kids-are-tearing-my-house-to-shreds books. Let's face it, they are tearing apart the house anyways, so I might as well entertain myself while they do!