I’m not the fun parent

I’m not the fun parent

20171117_2256111354219021.jpgThere are times when I wonder how my children really view me.

I know they love me. I’m essential personnel around here. I’m the one they cry for when they fall and scrape their knees. They scream my name in the middle of the night to rescue them from a nightmare. And they blame me when dinner doesn’t suit their fickle tastes.

20151213_1905231925404260.jpgBut when they want to wrestle on the floor, or get a piggyback ride, or get flipped off the couch onto the hard floor, I’m not the one they call. They always ask for dad.

I’m not the fun parent. But I really want to be.

I want to live in the moment with them and race cars along the dining room wall and throw all the toys out of the toy box just to hear them crash on the floor and delight at the mess. I want to help my three-year-old line up every shoe from the front door to the back of the house and then insert toys into the shoes and pretend they are all standing in line.

Because it looks like fun.

screenshot_20171117-2154381438551004.pngBut there’s just SO MUCH TO DO. Let me figure out what to cook for dinner. And oh, let me finish that other load of laundry. I should really take a minute and call my mom. Or my dad. And my grandma, lord bless her most folks don’t have grandparents around anymore.

So I shoo the children away to work on something that needs to be done, fixed, finished, cleaned.

And when I do get a minute, I actually just want to sit and play with my phone and be by myself. You feel me?

Thus, the angst. Because I wanna be fun.

My husband shrugs it off. “We all have different roles,” he says. He reassures me that I’m needed and loved and that the house would totally fall apart and be nasty and everyone would starve without me.

For me, that’s not the point. I want to be fun. And I want my kids to see it and feel it. And love it.

After dinner and right before bed, my husband’s routine is to take the kids to our bedroom and let them jump on the bed and his head. While I clean the kitchen. Sometimes I relish the time alone to think or listen to music or just be alone for a few minutes.

But most times, I want to be right up there with them.

So the other day, I just decided to leave the kitchen as is. I went upstairs and belly-flopped on the bed with my family. The kids screamed and squealed. And I was happy to hear it.

After five minutes, my back started hurting. One of the kids kicked me in my c-section scar. And I had to use the bathroom.

This is why I’m not the fun parent.

 

 

 

 

 

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Pee and Poop on Demand: Potty Training Baby #2

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Has your kid ever screamed, or got pee all over the floor, when the automatic flush in a public bathroom went into action and scared them half to death?

Have you ever thought of covering those sensors with a post-it note so your kid could finish the deal in (relative) peace?

Genius, right? Well, I didn’t come up with that. That tip came from Tot on the Pot, a new potty training system designed to coax toddlers to use the bathroom by encouraging play time and rewards for success. They advertise themselves as “potty training simplified for parents.”

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My Tot on the Pot came with the toy doll, toy potty and activity cards that are part of the rewards and incentives to help your child be successful using this system.

I came across their site on Instagram and reached out to them, particularly after several frustrating days of encouraging my two-year-old to use the potty and having her pee on the floor EVERY SINGLE TIME. Aren’t girls supposed to be easier to potty train?

My Tot on the Pot system came in the mail this week (it’s not available in stores yet; the company is raising interest and money on Kickstarter) and included a toy potty, an anatomically-correct girl doll, activity cards and a parent guide (an illustrated book introducing the doll was mistakenly not included but hopefully will come later).

First impressions: This simplified system requires you to read a 35-page guide to get started.

But don’t let that scare you. It’s pretty large print. And as I started to skim the book, I actually found its advice and tips quite helpful, even though I’ve already potty-trained an older child. The parent guide helps you find ways to use the doll, the book and activity cards as a reward system when your child successfully pees or poops. It also keeps the process engaging and fun for them.

But do I really need a system to help me potty train my kid? Big Mama said she potty trained six kids at the same time all on the same day.

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The guide was a fast read and informative. Now if someone could just publish a guide on parenting and motherhood….

You can start this process over confident if you want to. But trust, know and believe: a self-willed two-year-old will break you down and render you emotionally inept very quickly.

I started off skimming the parent’s guide but I’m glad I ended up reading it. It feels like a preemptive pep talk, encouraging us to be mentally ready, remain positive and consistent throughout the process. I need all of this right now.

Some of the advice includes: Don’t compare this child’s potty training progress to that of another child, even a sibling. This is your child’s very own journey.

Another tip: Some children need to be alone to poop. Casually walking out of the bathroom for a moment might give them the privacy they need to succeed.

And keep the mood light: If your child seems anxious when they catch sight of the poop swirling down the drain, encourage them to wave bye-bye as it disappears from sight.

The guide seems to incorporate some of the science behind potty training without overwhelming readers, as well as Tot Tips based on the experiences of countless parents who have already been through this. There’s also modified tips to support parents who are potty training children with developmental delays.

The system encourages setting aside a block of time–around four days– when the parent and child will be home or nearby to start this process.

So I’m prepping now. Next week, we begin.

I think my little girl is ready. I hope I am too.

 

 

 

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5 Fast Facts About Whole Foods’ Merger with Amazon

Ever since Whole Foods and Amazon announced its merger, I’ve been wondering if they could find a way to get that food bar shipped to my door.

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Think of it: a selection of up to eight hot soups during cold months. Fresh sushi. Kale tossed in that amazing garlic tahini dressing. The Entire. Cookie. Bar.

Sign me up! Show me the app! Free shipping, right?

Apparently, not quite. Whole Foods doesn’t provide delivery on hot bar items. Their private label products, like the 365 Everyday Value, will be available via Amazon.com and AmazonFresh, an online grocery delivery service, as the company integrates its systems over time. But in between time, the public may see some benefits we’re not used to seeing at Whole Paycheck, I mean Whole Foods. 20170829_093448Like lower prices. On selected items. As I shopped the aisles this morning in a Maryland suburb, I found quite a few items marked down. Hass avocados are now $1.49 each, marked down from $2, which is a lot better than the 2 for $5 avocados my neighborhood grocer was offering yesterday. Organic Whole Trade Bananas are 69 cents a pound now, down just 10 cents. Organic Fuji apples are $1.99 a pound, down from $2.99.

But before you go and fill up an entire shopping cart, there’s a few things you should know.

5 Fast Facts About the Whole Foods Merger with Amazon

  1. Staple grocery items will be cheaper. Think butter, eggs, and select organic produce like avocados, apples and bananas.
  2. That fantastic organic rotisserie chicken will also be part of the price cuts.
  3. Expect lower prices on their line of responsibly-farmed salmon and tilapia.
  4. Amazon Prime will become the customer rewards program at Whole Foods. Eventually, shoppers with an Amazon Prime membership will have access to coupons, special savings and other “in-store benefits,” the company says.
  5. Amazon Lockers will be available in some Whole Foods stores. So if you need to return an item to Amazon.com, you can drop it off at the locker during your trip to the store. You can also have products shipped from Amazon.com to your closest Whole Foods with a locker for pick up.

The merged companies called the lower prices a “down payment” on their vision to make healthy and organic food affordable for everyone.

It will probably still be necessary to shop the “outer aisles” at the store–focusing on produce and staples- to keep the shopping bill down. This morning I didn’t see any of the Amazon sales stickers on the middle aisles near the boxed food, bread, tea and coffee. Don’t expect discounts on their prepared foods, like the hot food bar or the coffee station. At least not yet.

20170829_093533-e1504019425463.jpgWhole Foods is not my main grocery store, but I end up shopping there at least once a week to find allergy-free snacks and treats for my youngest baby. You can’t imagine how hard it is to find snacks free of dairy, nut, tree nut, soy, or lemon extracts–all of my daughter’s allergies. It’s also very challenging to cook family meals with these allergies in mind.

At Whole Foods, I’ve been able to find vegan muffins in their bakery section and baked crackers and cookies without those allergens.

I’ve never included Whole Foods in my weekly price comparisons; I have several options, including an Aldi’s, Costco and several other natural grocery stores within a few miles of my home. But now that Whole Foods is touting lower prices, I may look for more reasons to go there.

 

 

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The Eclipse: Finding time to make memories

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Sometimes it takes a rare celestial event – like the alignment of the sun and the moon – to make you drop every thing and alter your crazy busy schedule to witness a breathtaking event.

Initially, I planned to just keep my oldest kid home from daycare and just go get some solar eclipse glasses from 7-11 and go out in the backyard and look up in the sky and hope we see something without going blind. That was my plan. Then come back inside and try to get them to take a nap after 3 pm. Good luck with that.

But my hubby was working from home. And we kept hearing about the best places in the city to watch the eclipse. 

And then I read this article about how the eclipse is best witnessed in a crowd of people. My brother in the Midwest called me and said he was witnessing the eclipse while we were on the phone and it was “pretty awesome.”

Peer pressure (and the Internets) prevailed. We packed the kids up and headed to the nearest public library, where they were holding an eclipse party and handing out free glasses for kids.

20170821_135042And I’m glad we did.

My family loved it. It’s funny how something so constant– I mean, the sun and the moon are always out there and they aren’t leaving anytime soon– could stop us in our tracks and make us take note of its beauty.

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EclipsekidsAnd not just its beauty but each other’s too. We were outside the library with tons of other kids and families, office workers, commuters, passersby.  College students spilled out of a nearby dorm to watch it with us. And we all chose to be together instead of watching it on TV or the Internet or in our backyards. Kids colored their depictions of the eclipse on a group coloring page. Another group of preteens threw a football.

EclipseColoring.jpgWe were all just spending time together really, watching the sun pass by the moon.

It wasn’t quite a once in a lifetime event– this is supposed to occur again in 2024. My kids will nearly be preteens so they won’t remember this one. But we have the pictures to prove it.

More importantly, I have the memories. Because we were all there, together.

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