An Open Letter to Cold & Flu Season

19 Nov
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Let’s all get sick at the same time. Yeah!

Dear Cold & Flu Season,

The seersucker and swimsuits had barely been retired for the summer before you seized upon my home. (RUDE.) But four weeks, three doctor visits, two projectile vomits and many tissues later, my family has come to a singular conclusion: we’re better than you, germs. Here’s why:

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  • I Married THAT Guy. No, not THAT one. The one who actually knows his children’s routines, has diaper changes dialed and doesn’t call his mommy every time he’s responsible for his own children for more than 45 minutes. You know: an actual grown-up, co-parenting, capable man. They DO exist.
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Pizza sauce ad infinitum.

  • Superior Freezer Performance. When you’re such a hot mess that you can barely get upright, let alone make dinner, a properly provisioned freezer can still help you feed your family like a boss. All of those gigantic batches of soup, meatballs, pizza sauce, and homemade macaroni & cheese I’d dutifully frozen in the preceding months rescued us from a life of starvation and crappy takeout.

Ew.

  • Sizzurp: Not Awesome. Bronchitis means you get cough syrup with codeine, which as it turns out is Justin Bieber’s favorite mixer. And he’s insane because that stuff tastes like sugary death and my husband had to talk me into taking it like I was a petulant, medicine-dodging toddler. After one hideous dose, I decided coughing was better than drugs.

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  • Call in the Cavalry! We live close to most of our extended family and would be totally screwed if that were not the case. Dear young marrieds considering starting a family: this really does make all the difference.

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  • One word: Electronics. Every family has to make its own decision about the boob tube. For what it’s worth, I’m not prissy about moderate television viewing or iPads and *praise jebus* for that because snuggling in front of a movie was about the only kind of parental interaction I was capable of for a solid week of infirmity.

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  • Because We Have No Choice. Parenthood is the ultimate suck-it-up moment for everyone. There are no real sick days, personal days or “vacations” from parenthood: it simply is, for every day for the rest of your life, in all of its messy, magnificent glory.

Truth telling from the front lines of new parenthood

23 Oct

priss&vinegar:

My sister-in-law and her husband recently welcomed their first child, a beautiful, alert baby boy with his father’s mighty paws and his mother’s full lips. When our family descended upon the hospital to meet him for the very first time, the nostalgia struck me more mightily than I’d expected. It felt like a lifetime ago and not merely three years that my husband and I snuggled in a hospital bed with our own firstborn. Yes, we’ve been blessed with another baby since and may add to our family in the future, but those early days with your firstborn are…incomparable.

Not that my sister-in law and brother-in-law need any advice from me (they’re totally nailing parenthood), but this long-ago post about my husband’s and my first month as parents remains hilariously true.

Originally posted on Priss & Vinegar:

Don’t let those chipper smiles fool you: these people are mere hours of sleep deprivation away from legal insanity.

We’ve been at this parenting thing for a month now, and thus far it has been equal parts heartwarming and hilarious with a side of exasperation. Caring for a newborn is a crash course in the limits of one’s patience, sleep requirements and general standards of hygiene. The learning curve is unrelentingly steep, and the Hus-b and I are doing the best we can to keep up while still showering regularly and occasionally leaving the house. For better or for worse, these are our observations so far:

  • Disposable nursing pads make excellent beverage coasters.
  • Baby yawns are seriously adorable.
  • In two visits in to the pediatrician, the only ones who have gotten shots or cried have been me and the Hus-b.
  • Despite decades of doing your own hair with reasonable proficiency…

View original 234 more words

Television & Takeout: The Surprising Magic of Things You’re Not Supposed to Do With Your Children

22 Oct
Thank you, ({gulp} television?

Thank you, {gulp} TELEVISION?!

At the end of the day once the baby is asleep and big kid bedtime hasn’t quite arrived, I’m wiped, which means my daughter gets to watch a little TV. (Depending where you fall on the parenting spectrum, this either makes me a monster or your soul sister.)

My daughter’s recent shows of choice? “Doc McStuffins” (I’m feeling you, Ron Swanson) and “The Incredible Dr. Pol.” Far from rotting her sweet little brain, they’ve instead been…thoroughly enriching? Her comfort with the graphic veterinary procedures shown on “Dr. Pol” (always watched with a grown-up by her side) meant she was game when I suggested mounting a dead moth we’d found on a toothpick for “examination.” The kid doesn’t spook at the sight of an owie, or even blood; she’s riveted.

Watching these shows has also unveiled some surprising competencies. My daughter’s Doc McStuffins doctor kit taught her to say (and use) an “Otoscope.” When toys need new batteries, just like Doc McStuffins she evaluates what’s wrong and (supervised) uses a grown-up, non-toy screwdriver to replace batteries. When I’ve asked why she likes these particular shows, her response is “Because they help people.” I mean…

Takeout dinner (the other cornerstone of exhausted parenting) has also proven itself not to be the monster I’d feared. Because I’ve followed through with my commitment to home cooked meal planning, the contents of the white paper takeout cartons I brought home last night were suddenly exotic. “What IS this food?” my daughter exclaimed as she dug into a plateful of rice noodles and grilled pork. What followed was a conversation about Vietnam, the difference between countries and continents, and where we might identify them on the globe in her bedroom. Once confirming that they sell dolls in Asia (a crucial detail), my daughter declared that she would like to “fly to Asia, eat noodles and buy a pink baby doll.”

This is not an ode to my being a “bad mom.” (I’ve grown weary of those thinly-veiled humble brags. “I’m suuuuuch a bad mom because my little darling has a regular bedtime!”) Instead, it’s a liberation: as long as you’re being a thoughtful, engaged parent, it does’t really matter what you do with your children. So cut yourself some slack: put Postmates on dinner duty and pop on a “Wild Kratts” episode. Your kid isn’t just going to be “just fine” if she watches a little TV or eats the occasional pad thai dinner; she’s going to be great.

{Expert Only} Advanced Maneuvers of the Seasoned Parent

20 Oct

There is a moment in parenthood when you surpass the foreignness of your post-kid existence and start to think: I’ve got this. You know, when you can fold the stroller without cursing; breastfeed in any number of public places; and survive outside your home for at least an hour armed with only a swaddle blanket, keys and $20.

These moments can fool you into complacency. It is often precisely when you think you’ve got this baby thing dialed that things get weird. The universe will not hesitate to send an exploding diaper your way just to remind you that parenthood is the most humbling (and profoundly messy) of human experiences.

But still, it feels good to be a gangsta. In addition to nursing while hiking Mt. Tam and staging our entire San Francisco apartment while my kids had hand, foot & mouth disease (and my husband was gone all week on business), these are my finest moments:

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Mastering the tandem kid hold. (I pity the fool who pisses off the natives when everyone demands “Uppy!” at the same time.)

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Mise en place avec Ergo Baby.

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Two kids, one swing.

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Snapping the elusive two-kid selfie.

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Walking a mile-and-a-half roundtrip for preschool drop-off (and a coffee break) without waking the newborn. (Three weeks postpartum.)

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In case you were wondering, my husband is also a ninja. Moscow mule? Check. Sleeping infant? Check.

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Taking a newborn and a two year-old to a super hipster-y brunch joint. With an hour-long wait list. (We so crazy.)

On Not Capturing *Every* Moment

16 Oct

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Have you ever seen your child do something awesome and your very first thought is, Where’s my phone? GUILTY. Once you get in the habit of Gramming your kids’ unstoppable adorableness on the regular, it can become a difficult habit to break.

So it seemed prescient when, as I read Peter Reynolds’ “Ish” to my children last night (a truly magical, must-have book to those unfamiliar with it), we happened upon this passage. BOOM. I just got served by children’s literature.

This is not to say I’m going to stop snapping pictures of my children all day long. (Because, please.) I treasure those pictures, whether they end up on social media or just lost amongst the thousands of snapshots on my phone. But sometimes, there are moments so delicious that to capture them would be to miss the point entirely. The next time that happens, I’m going to resist my twitchy iPhone hand and just marvel.

 

Excerpt from “Ish” by Peter Reynolds.

 

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