Saturday, November 28, 2009

Motherly Advice

I have two facebook friends who recently had babies. There is so much advice I'd like to give them, but they really need to learn it on their own. Such as...
-Hold your baby as much as you want. Hold him when he sleeps, when you sleep, when you are both awake... He's only a baby and non-mobile for such a short time. Take advantage of it.
-Let your baby sleep with you. You both will sleep better, and isn't that the goal of weathering new parenthood? It's not like he'll be 14 and want to sleep with you. If he does, you've done some other things along the way that were questionable...
- Expose them before the age of one to a variety of foods. If you don't do this, you will hear, "I don't like that..." for every meal.
- Don't leave your baby on a bed without you holding/touching him. He may not be rolling over yet, but there is always that first time...
- The don't have to eat healthy EVERY day. It's OK to have a meal of hotdog, chips, soda and sweets as long as the rest of the meals that week are good.
- The world will not come to an end if they spend the day in their jammies, or go to bed with clothes on.
-It's OK if they don't brush their teeth every single night. They are baby teeth, they fall out anyway.
- Get them a pet, it will teach them love of living things (something my step-mom should have had), empathy, and will cut down on their chance of allergies later.
- Clean when the baby/toddler is awake. Doing housework while there is peace and quiet is just wrong.
- If the choice is clean or hold your baby, choose hold the baby. The dirty dishes will always be there, blink and the baby is running around naked in the backyard.
- Speaking of running around naked in the backyard, don't push potty training. Tell them, "Fine! Go to Kindergarten in diapers!" They will thank you and let you know when they are ready. I taught Kindergarten for 7 years and they never came to school in diapers- mostly because there's a school policy against it.
- Two words Baby Einstein. I let Ethan watch an hour of Baby Einstein every day between the ages of three weeks and four years. He's smart, appreciates classical music and I got to shower in peace.- Not at all bad!
- Don't let the TV be the babysitter. Sponge Bob is a funny guy, but a poor excuse as a parent. Talk to your kids. READ to your kids. Take them new places. Their future success in life is determined by the first three years. Comfort them, feed them, TALK to them, keep them safe, give them new experiences- even going to the grocery store is new and exciting to them.
-It's OK to teach your baby sign language, but don't be all shocked when he won't talk when he's three.
- Don't be afraid to say no. They will get used to it and listen when they are older. And BELIEVE me, your child's future teachers will thank you for it, as well as your child's friend's parents.
- It's absolutely OK to influence who your kids choose as friends. In fact you should. Would you sit by and let your child be friends with a jack-knife or crack cocaine? NO- think of telling your child "no" to the "bad" kids as keeping them safe, which is the parent's first responsibility. It is irresponsible to allow them to be friends with a "bad" kid. You are setting them up for trouble and you up for heart-ache. Of course those kids need to be "saved", but NOT at the expense of your child.
- That being said, it may seem for a while like your child has no friends. Trust me, one day - about the time when kids pick their friends and invite them over, rather than playdates arranged by their parents, and when being naughty isn't that "cool", your child will be Mr. Popularity because what parent wants to have a naughty kid at their house all afternoon?
- Last but not least, I know it's expensive and Payless is tempting, and they outgrow shoes every three months, but bite the bullet and buy quality shoes. They will hopefully be walking on those two feet for the next 100 years. There are over 50 bones in their feet and some aren't formed yet. Take it form me, it's a pain in the ass- and feet to have screwed up feet because the cheep shoes were too appealing.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Am I Old?

My student teacher was trying to teach the concept of then and now. He is using communicating as an example.

“How many of you have a land line phone, a phone on the wall? When I was in third grade, the only phone we had was a phone like the one on the classroom wall except you could carry it around with you. It wasn’t a cell phone, it had buttons to push, but you had to put it back on the wall unit when you were done talking. It was called a portable phone. When Mrs. Fairfield was in third grade, I bet she had a phone on the wall with a cord and a dial that you had to put your finger in and physically dial. On the Titanic (we just finished learning about it) they used Morris Code to communicate….”

Do you also find it sad that he relates the next step up of phone technology during my childhood was Morris code? How old does he think I am??

I am also noticing fine wrinkles. I compared my last three school ping-pong pictures. There is a definite progression. The first one, I have shorter hair, look perky and no wrinkles. Last year I look tired, but no wrinkles. This year I look perky, have nice hair, look happy, but I have wrinkles on my forehead. I've never had wrinkles on my forehead. What's with that? In fact I took the last 14 ping-pong pictures from the last 12 years and if you hold them together in order and flip them like one of those books that "move", you can see the progression. The years my kids were little, I looked like death warmed over. I am amazed I could keep my eyes open being I sat down for the photo. My first year teaching, I looked like a 14 year old. In fact I taught at a middle school and a teacher told me to get back to class. That would never happen now. I have a Christmas party that goes until 12:30. My first thought was, "Who can stay up THAT late?" I think I may be officially middle aged. I heard a song on the radio today talking about a young mother and I thought, "that's me". But it's not anymore. Where did the time go? It seems like I blinked and Boom- add about six years to my age and double it and that is my expected lifetime. Last Wednesday I went to the gynecologist. I mentioned I can't lose weight as easily as before and he replied, "welcome to the world of middle aged." What!!? He also informed me that I should consider having a mammogram in the next few years. I remember people I worked with at Hornbacher's in college talking about having a mammogram and I distinctly recall thinking, "that sounds like no fun. Thank God it's just for OLD people."
Well, it's 4:00, I can't decide if I should take a nap or eat supper...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I Miss My Mom

This time of year has been kind of sucky for me for the past eight years. My mom's birthday was in the fall, she died in the middle of November, and Thanksgiving was three days after we buried her. It's been eight years. I never thought I'd miss her less, but I thought it'd be easier by now. It's not really easier, I think I just have gotten used to it. I still think about her every day. When I have issues and need to talk to someone, or ask about my health history, or her health history, I wish she was here. She had a brain aneurysm when I was eighteen, so it's not like she'd be able to give solid advice, but she'd always be in my corner and that's really what we all need. I wonder what she'd think of her grandchildren? I wonder if she'd be proud of me? I think the fact that my relationship completely changed with my dad makes me miss her more. Dad got remarried five years ago. Although I am glad he is happy, I miss him too because since he got married he wants to pretend the 40 years before his new marriage didn't exist, and when his kids and grandchildren keep showing up that's hard to do. Weeks will go by without talking to him. Months will go by without him seeing me or the kids. He's forgotten mine, my sister's, Noah's and Ethan's birthdays. It sucks because even though I am a grown-up, I still feel like I need a parent. I always wanted my children to have a special grandparent/grandchild bond, but they don't. I wonder if they will ever feel cheated?

God's Talking to Me

Ethan is constantly talking to himself. One day he asked as we were driving, "does God talk to you? He talks to me all of the time." I asked him if God says, "Ethan... Quit doing that." He said, "Ya. Stuff like that." He has a constant outloud comentary of what it going on in his head. The best is when he argues with himself. He'll also play board games with an imaginary friend, and cry when the imaginary friend wins and accuses the imaginary friend of cheating, "mommy! I'm not playing that game anymore, he cheats!" I'm waiting for the day he starts talking with his pointer finger like the creepy kid on The Shining. "Redrum. Redrum..."

Friday, November 20, 2009


Last night after several promptings, a stuffed dog being thrown upstairs (where I was) with an attached note saying, "Pleez help me put away my cloths" and whining, Ethan finally put away his clean, folded clothes from his laundry basket. Fifteen minutes later he comes upstairs with tears in his eyes saying, "I need to sell some of my clothes!" Apparently they wouldn't all fit in his drawers. Take into consideration that he refuses to use his top two dresser drawers because he "can't see what's in there." I told him to use the top two drawers for jammies and he'd have room for the rest. Ethan's dilemma made me think of my dresser drawers. I have two drawers that I have "guilt clothes" in. I have pants that I've gotten as a gift, yet they don't look quite right. I keep them because they were gifts and if I lose/gain weight they might fit and look nice. I also have a few shirts like that. I have sweaters that are nice, but really not my style. I have a sweater I spent a mint on, but I wore it for one day and felt like I looked like a librarian all day. I can't part from it because I spent a lot of money on it. I have jammies that were cute on the hanger, but not that comfortable to wear. I have the sweater iIwore the day my mom died that I can't bare to wear or get rid of because of the memories attached to it. I have a t-shirt I received as a gift on my first Mother's Day that says, "I love my mommy", however I never wore it because it would be a little creepy if a grown woman were advertising their love for their mother. I have a sweatshirt that belonged an old boyfriend that I really should throw, but I haven't. It's not like I am a pack rat. I clean my closet every spring and fall. My rule is if I haven't worn it in a year, it goes. I wonder if other people have a "guilt drawer"?
Thoughts that I think: Why don't we go around shooting our own turkeys for Thanksgiving like in the olden days?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth

Ethan finally lost his other front tooth. No more snaggled tooth hanging there crooked. He went to bed Saturday night and pulled it out while laying there. The tooth fairy forgot to come, so she left him a message the next night that said, "I'm sorry I missed your tooth the night before. I think you lost it so late at night it didn't register on my lost tooth radar." He got double the money and got to keep his tooth. He is so honest it's funny. On Friday, after he went to bed he came up to tell us that, "Kate and Emma (friends from daycare) dared me to walk on the street from the bus stop to Jo's (daycare lady). But I only did it for 5 seconds." He comes out a little later, "Well, it might have been more like 7 seconds." A little later, "It really was more like 13 seconds." Why the sudden need to confess? Well, he thinks if he feels guilty about something he'll have bad dreams. Being the mother of the year I am, I totally fed into it, "You are right Ethan, you should always tell mommy everything so you won't have bad dreams." This has gotten him to tell on Noah- he let go of Sam's leash on a walk to see what would happen, and he's told on himself- he kicked the hacky sack way up on the lights in gym and didn't tell the teacher. He has the whole Catholic guilt thing going, and we aren't even Catholic.

We've officially had Sam for one year. 367 days ago, Sam became part of our family after we saved him from the destiny of the icy cold river, or a life in the liquor store. He got a big bone for his birthday. He carries it around with him all of the time. If he accidentally walks away from it and one of the other dogs (mostly Abby) goes to lay by it, Sam is too chicken to get it back. He just sits staring at the thieving dog and barks. I tell him he is three times bigger than them and to just take it back, but he doesn't listen. I tried to cut his massive leg hair this morning so he'd look more like a dog and less like a Clydesdale. I also had the tub filled with water, thinking I'd give him a bath after his new hair-do. He ran away from me as I was starting to cut his hair and jumped into the tub not knowing it was filled with water. Sam hates baths, so he looked at me like, "why you do this to me? I am not mean to you..."

Noah had his first basketball tournament last weekend. His team took second place. I hope Noah sticks with basketball because unlike baseball it doesn't bore me to tears, unlike football, I understand the concepts and rules, and unlike soccer, I can see the ball and don't have to sit in the wind/rain/sleet/cold to watch him. Noah also decided he's "going to ask Santa for a guinea pig this year because Santa always gets you what you ask for." I assured him that Santa does not deliver live animals. I told him if he wrote a persuasive letter to me telling why he should be allowed to get one AND did a lot of research on guinea pigs so he can answer any question I ask, I'd think about it. My concern is if they stink. I have been doing my own research and I asked my students, but none of them have every had one, so I still don't know about their aroma. One girl said, "We don't have guinea pigs because my mom says they are just fat, hairy rats." Maybe a kitten would be the better avenue to take...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Post Conference

I had parent teacher conferences on Monday and Tuesday. And yes, I was sick. I can't possibly buck that trend can I? I so rarely get sick- but the two times I do each year are during parent teacher conferences. I was getting sick two and a half weeks ago, decided I'd buck the "conference curse", but no. It lasted through conferences. I have bronchitis. I can't stop coughing. I haven't slept the whole night for three weeks because I am up coughing most of the night. I went in and got four kinds of medicines, but they are not working and I am still sick. Thankfully conferences went great. The parents all understood when I'd leave the table to have a coughing fit alone, and I didn't have anything negative to say about anyone. They are all great. I am so lucky this year. I absolutely love my class, they are well behaved, they are nice and they try. What more could I ask for? At Noah's conferences his teachers never have anything to say and I, as a parent, feel a little "jipped" having not filled the allotted 20 minutes talking about how wonderful my kid is. This week, I felt their pain. I had a hard time filling up 20 minutes when the kid is awesome, they are learning, are well behaved and I have no worries. You know me, I could talk to a wall (in fact I do most evenings), so these are some of the topics also covered during my parent teacher conferences 2009- please note- I did not bring up any of these topics, the parents did; millennium babies and how 1989 may have well be 1789 because they can't fathom the 20th century, in 1880 a mob broke into the prison in Grand Forks and lynched an inmate, how the 1880 lynching was news to me, the right age for contacts, orthopedic surgeons, Meritcare's emergency room, one mom thinking her left side is going to pot, traveling basketball teams, hocky for girls, if "pink" wine is really wine at all because there are no pink grapes. the guy who gardens in the nude on the road my dad lives on which happens to be on the way to the lake, and the highlight, how can the camels survive at the Fargo Zoo?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Advice? Venting?

I don't know if I am as much asking for advice as I am venting. My children (mainly Ethan) have been making me so crabby lately. I have been sick for over a week. Not swine flu, dying sick. But I have a sinus infection. My teeth hurt, all day my nose alternates between being plugged and runny, all night I cough and cough and cough. I am so tired of coughing. You know how you start coughing, then gasping for air and think, "This is it! I am going to die from a coughing fit right here in front of my non-CPR certified third grade students! I hope they know they have to dial 9 to get an outside line when they dial 9911. Maybe this is something I should review with them. If only I could stop gasping for air..."- That's me. I can't tell you how many times today I had to stop teaching and have them read at their desk, so I can finish my coughing fit. I know it's a sinus infection, but I don't want to go to the clinic, because what if I catch something worse while I am there? I could wrap myself up in saran wrap from head to toe, but the hours of waiting to be seen would entail me having to have saran wrap around my head too long, I'd probably suffocate. Let's see. Die from a saran wrap mishap, or from a coughing fit? The saran wrap option might make the newspaper, so maybe that would be the better choice... Anyway, I haven't slept and I am tired. If you know me at all, you know I am really not a happy camper when I am tired. It makes me not care about anything other than sleep. People have asked me to do fun things, that I turned down, I didn't stop at the liquor store OR get gas today because I don't care about anything other than sleeping and a way to stop coughing.
My question for advice is what do you do with two kids who fight constantly? My siblings were so much older than me, they either let me have my way, or were too tired to fight by the time I came along. Before I had kids, I had a "plan" about what to do with fighting. That "plan" sucks!! It doesn't work at all! Noah and Ethan fight constantly. They used to never fight. Ethan is (well he has more personality traits in common with his other parent)-touchy. You don't know what will set him off. You don't know which Ethan is showing up. You walk gently on egg shells. Noah has never stood up for himself. This is something I have been trying to teach him since kindergarten. When he was two he went to mean Jenny's daycare and she squashed all of his ability to stand up for himself, and I have spent the past five years trying to install it. Well, now it works. Too well. He is always criticizing Ethan, and Ethan gets mad, over-reacts and yells, which makes me yell. I have said the words "shut- up" and "knock it off!" to them this week. I have NEVER said those words to my children ever. At first I was ashamed, then thought, "Maybe there will be shock value in this and I can run with it." Nope. In fact the "knock it off" was on the way to Sunday School, and it didn't phase them in the least. Are you kidding me? What is driving me to such extremes? THEIR non-stop fighting. I told them through clenched sore teeth, "YOU WILL STOP FIGHTING OR ELSE!" Of course, Ethan (I should have expected it) said, "Or else what?" I've tried making them stay in their rooms. I tried making them stay in a room together until they write or say three nice things to each other- which resulted in Ethan having to stay in a room with me to think of three nice things to say to me for calling me "dumb" because he can't write and throwing a tantrum about it. - By the way all I got was him holding up three fingers and ticking them off as he said, "GO A-WAY!" All I could think is "YOU. LITTLE. BRAT." I've made them go outside to fight. I've taken away video games. I've taken away so much from Ethan, all he has left is his bed. He currently can not play video games, watch TV, talk to Noah, or go to the neighbor's house. Oh and to top that off. All day today ALL I wanted was to come home and sleep. Nope. I had to do laundry, drive Noah all over the city, and make supper. Ethan has a huge aversion to anything red. In the rice tonight were tomato skins (like tiny 12 squares total). He refused to eat it because it has something red in it, was by something red once on the shelf, could look like something red could be found in it, etc... I was about to string him up. I didn't want to cook for the little angel any more than he wanted to eat it, but I did. I am at my wits end. Noah does taunt him, but Ethan needs to chill out and not get so worked up about every little thing. I try to tell Noah to stop teasing him, and Noah acts all, "what??? me???" As if I were born yesterday. Even now as I help Ethan with homework we just had a heated debate about their not being an "h" in away. UGGGGGGG
Speaking of being born yesterday- or on another planet, I was making my bi-weekly run to Walgreen's to buy my fake sudafed and benadryl and I overheard a middle aged lady (YOU had better not be thinking- or like YOUR age Sara?) talking to a college age girl with dread locks. "How is your mom?" Dread lock girl, "Oh good". Old lady, "Have you been healthy" (now I am thinking, well she won't get planters warts on her feet from sharing a shower because I don't think you can shower if you have dread locks)- see I am even a bitch in my head. The dread lock girl answers- I kid you not- "Oh yeah, We're like vegetarian most of the time, but we still will eat hamburger once in a while, but NOT pork, so we won't get the swine flu." Really?... Just think, She might be taking care of me someday in the nursing home. I better load up on ham now.
Thoughts I think: I used to care, but now I take a pill for that.