Monday, January 31, 2011

Breaking News: Giant Baby is still Giant

My son, the 8-pound preemie himself, had his 18-month check-up today. He scaled in at 31.2 pounds weight, 34.5" inches tall, and 51 cm head circumference. He was in the 95th percentile all the way across the board.

Which puts him at roughly the same size as the average 2 1/2 to 3-year-old.

So, it looks like his growth rate is not going to slack off any time soon. Which is cool, because Mommy likes the idea of retiring young to be supported by her professional athlete son.

But, as it turns out, apparently my kid is really smart, too. I'm not especially surprised; I figured he was bright. But they gave him an assessment at his pediatrician's and he scored in the 87th percentile on cognitive development and 95th on motor.

However, now that I've found out my kid is really advanced for his age, it makes me curious how he is doing in other, less easily measured areas of development. So I'm doing some assessing of my own...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Christian feminist mom raising a Christian feminist son

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for all are one in Christ Jesus." ~ Galatians 3:28

Many people tend to create a very specific, often negative, image of a "feminist" in their minds. Feminists wear ill-fitting suits and have butch haircuts, they're either openly lesbian or deep in the closet with mousy, browbeaten husbands. They play softball with alarming skill and own many cats.

This is a rather specific image, and its absurdity is obvious when paired against the literal definition of feminist, i.e. "a person who advocates equal rights for women".

I mean, I'm a feminist. My hair is short, but it's a pretty cute style, not butch at all. I have three cats, but I suck at softball. (I swing like I'm chopping wood.) And I don't think anyone who's ever met my husband would describe him as "mousy".

But somewhere along the way, people got it in their heads that feminism was somehow anti-Christian. Despite people like Saint Joan of Arc, who didn't let her gender stop her from leading armies, and who was subsequently martyred for it. Despite early church leaders, like Lydia and Chloe. Despite that groovy little verse from Galatians I quoted at the beginning.


It's been brought to my attention that some people are having difficulty finding the separate pages of the site. The tabs for the contact form and the store are across the top of the page; not on the sidebar with the other links. Furthermore, since the store is hosted on a different site, the 8PP Store tab is just where you need to go to find that link.

Again, if you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to comment or to send an e-mail via the contact form.

"I want to live in America, where even the poor are fat." ~ source unknown

Last Sunday, the sermon was on wealth and materialism. My pastor compared American definitions of wealth and poverty to those of people in 3rd-world countries. And, just like any other American churchgoer, I hate those sermons.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

An addiction that really sucks

My son has almost fully transitioned from "baby" into "toddler". He sleeps through the night. He eats regular meals with the adults. He uses and understands speech. He knows rules, and how to follow them. He even finally got his first haircut. None of his outfits include onesies anymore.

But, though he's 18-months, he still uses a pacifier. And I hate it.

I hate to see my walking, talking, exploring little boy marching around with a little baby binkie in his mouth. He doesn't really need it, and it looks ridiculous. They're easy to lose and hard to clean. I'm so ready for this paci-habit to be over.

We've got the pacifier-use limited to sleepy times, but he still wants it when he gets upset or tantrumy. If he digs it out of his diaper bag when we're not looking, he'll pop it in his mouth and go about with it while he plays, trying to talk around it. And, while I'm not generally a very strict or structured mom, something about seeing the pacifier in his mouth drives me crazy.

So I'm ready to ditch the pacifier. And, like any new mom with an internet connection, I've been researching online for the best methods by which to do so.

Here's the methods I've found, and why I'm almost 90% sure they're not going to work:

Exciting changes!

If you haven't noticed the tabs across the top, we've made some updates to the site. We now have a contact form for any of your suggestions/complaints/praises to the webmaster. AND, the 8-Pound Preemie store is now live! Working on many designs as we speak, so check in frequently. (Some really cool new maternity designs on the way.)

If you have any feedback about the changes, as always, you can comment below, or use the new contact form.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The land between guilt and relief...

I have bruises forming all down my back, and on the palms of my hands. My calves are cramped up, and my shoulders are stiff in the way that lets you know the real pain is coming tomorrow. I haven't fallen asleep yet, but I'm somehow starting to already feel hungover.

I've seen my son for maybe a grand total of three hours, combined, all day, and more than anything I really wish he was here with me to cuddle right now.

But for all that, to be perfectly honest, this has been one of my best days in a long time.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kids' shows that aren't painful to watch!

To me, one of the ultimate perks of being a parent is getting to watch children's programming without people assuming you're

a.) a pervert
b.) a stoner
c.) mentally-handicapped.

In high school, I enjoyed having "Teletubbies" on in the background when I studied, and I took Spongebob Squarepants sheets with me to college. So for the edification of those of you blessed with kids, but not a love of children's programming (yet), allow me to present:

Kids' shows that aren't painful to watch!

I would be happy for $75,000.

You may have heard about the recent study published stating that a $75K annual salary is the threshold at which money can buy you happiness; any money on top of that doesn't contribute to your day-to-day mood.

And, of course, all I can think of reading that study is, "I'd be freaking ecstatic for $75,000!"

I could go into all the bills I could pay, the car I could buy, etc., but I figured it'd be easier if I put it into mommy units of money. Here's what $75,000 could buy a mom.
353,120 size 5 Luvs diapers

4,033 pounds of Enfamil AR formula

63,613 Circo colored bibs

3,302,358 Luvs Ultra-Clean baby wipes

17,061 pounds of Gerber baby food

5,361 Fisher Price Light-and-Glow Seahorses

8 years + 4 months of childcare (at my son's preschool)
I'd love to hear some other moms chime in here. What could you buy with $75,000?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm an ambulance-chaser.

First a bit of background: My husband generally picks my son up from daycare, as he gets off before I do. Today, due to circumstances at his work, I had to pick my son up. Both of our workplaces and my son's preschool are very close to our house. One main road takes me from my office, past my husband's workplace, past my house, and to my son's preschool. Okay, got it? Eh, close enough.

I had just pulled onto the main road off my office's campus when sirens interrupted my wailing along with the radio. (I was listening to Taylor Swift very loudly, and between her twang and my singing, didn't hear the sirens at first.) I pulled over to the side and, once the ambulance passed, got into the lane behind it.

Then it turned right. And I realized that it was heading down the road that leads to my husband's work. And my son's preschool.

It's a parent's responsibility to plan for the future.

This is a paid post.

Life insurance is not something we typically want to think about. However, if you are a parent, it's something you need to think about. It's painful to think about the possibility of leaving our kids behind, but it's even more painful to think about leaving them with financial hardship in the wake of our passing.

America Life Quotes helps families prepare for the tough times. They offer free comparisons on insurance quotes, including family insurance and term life insurance. And life insurance can cover many more expenses than you would probably expect, including last medical expenses and remaining mortgage payments. Even a cheap insurance policy can supplement your income during retirement.

Visit America Life Quotes to take advantage of Best Rates Life Insurance. As a parent, it's never too early to plan for your child's future.

Feature Interview: Exclusive after-hours look at Kid to Kid in Cary!

The very lovely Loretta, a Kid to Kid full-timer, was kind enough to grant me an interview and a behind-the-scenes look around the store this past Sunday after-hours. Considering how this is one of my absolutely favorite stores (my sisters can attest that 90% of the kids' Christmas presents came from here), I was obviously excited.

The first thing that impressed me was how clean and well-organized the store is. The employees are clearly very diligent in maintaining the store's appearance. The shoes you see on the left? That's how the shoe aisle looked at the end of the weekend. Anyone who's worked retail knows how impressive that is.

Being that I am an amateur journalist (well, blogger), I couldn't just ooh and aah. I had to get down to business, in this case, the interview:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Site Disclosure

This site receives revenue from hosting adspace and through writing paid posts. All paid posts will contain a disclaimer stating such.

The mythical "perfect" age gap

When I daydream about my son having a younger sibling, I tend to jump a few years in the future. When the baby crazies kick in, I get that pretty picture of my little boy at around six-years-old, sweetly and protectively playing with a younger brother or sister around three-years-old.

Or I think of having a big round preggo-belly and explaining to my son that his little brother or sister is in there, and him giggling when mommy's tummy jumps and bounces around.

Or, having a newborn baby, whom my son will stare at adoringly and beg to be allowed to hold, and we will if he sits on the couch right next to us and is very careful.

Fortunately, the real me is cynical enough to shake off these hormonal delusions and foresee the realistic scenario a 2nd baby would mean right now. And because I'm one cold, analytical chick at heart, I like to carefully weigh out the pros and cons.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ooh...pretty things for Mommy...

This is a paid post.

I may not be your typical material girl or shopaholic, but I do like getting good deals. (In fact, I tend to hold off on purchases until I can get a good deal.) So when I decide to make a purchase, I do what most frugal moms do: research various brands, and look around at different places until I can find the lowest price for the specific item I want.

If I don't feel like going to all that work, I can now just go to They're a price comparison site, so they find the best deals for you. In fact, right now they are featuring some of their best deals on products that make for wonderful mom-goodies. (After all, we spoil our kids all the time. Daddy can spoil us every once in a while.)

Here are some of their products in top-demand:

Shiatsu Elite Footmassager FMS 200H. May sound space-age, but it's a guaranteed foot massage. (As opposed to one you have to nag your husband for.)

.40 Micro Pave Platinum Anniversary Band. Anniversary bands are nice because your guy can only buy you an engagement ring and wedding band once (well, ideally).

Bahai Pendants Aquamarine. They also have this truly beautiful "Mother's Embrace" birthstone pendant. (You use your kids' birthstones in it.)

Don't let the links fool you. They have thousands of more products in all categories, including some amazing deals on electronics. So if you've got some online shopping to do, is the place to do it.

I'm throwing a pity party, and you're all invited!

I generally prefer not to whine and cry, because I feel like I truly am blessed in the life God has given me, but I'm having a really bad day pain-wise, and sometimes it makes me feel better just to vent a bit.

As I've touched on in the past, I've gone through multiple surgeries to treat ovarian cysts and resulting abdominal adhesions. Adhesions come from trauma experienced during surgery, so more surgery can only do so much to help, and is typically used only as a last resort, as a temporary fix.

Well, to try to keep a long story short, this very cold winter has been causing me a great deal of adhesion-related pain and illness (just like with every other type of chronic pain, cold makes it worse). I know for a fact that I have no interest in receiving any further surgeries. I also refuse to go back on any narcotic-based pain medications. (At one point I was on Vicodin, Flexeril, and Toradol...all simultaneously. They also had me on anti-nausea meds to combat the sickness from the pain meds.)

That leaves me open to alternative treatments and therapies. If any of you out there have had any experience with these, please let me know.

For those of you looking for car insurance:

This is a paid advertisement.

Even though I have a house, a husband, a good job, and a child, there are often times when I need to make decisions that I still don't feel like enough of an adult to make on my own. I ask my dad for financial advice before I talk to the bank, and I ask my husband to look at my car before I take it to the mechanic. I ask my mom questions about my son before I call the pediatrician. But I don't really have anyone in my life I can ask about car insurance.

And I bet a lot of you out there feel the same way. Life would be much easier if we all had law degrees and masters in economics by the time we're 18. But, 99.9999% of us don't. And we don't always have an expert on hand to answer those tough questions for us. But there is help.

AIM Auto Insurance is rated No. 1 by User's Choice, and offers 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed. I checked them out before I agreed to write a post for them, and their website does a great job of explaining the different types of coverages and policies available, things that, to be honest, I didn't really understand all that well myself. They even have affordable options available for students and drivers with bad records. (Not that I'm lumping myself into that second category, no matter what my family says.)

AIM Auto Insurance compares between competing companies, guaranteeing the customer the best deal. So if you're looking for car insurance, or are just curious about changing your policy, check them out. Filling out the information for a quote only takes a few minutes, and is 100% free.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I'm starting to understand the appeal of homeschooling...

When I was 14, I went on a missions trip to Chicago with some other teens from my church. We were partnering with a local church to run a Vacation Bible School in the very dangerous and gang-ridden neighborhood of Chicago Heights.

Despite the fact that I was 14 and the VBS was for kids up to age 10, I got put in charge of recreation (i.e. find games that require no equipment, can be played, literally, in the street, and that will keep entertained about 50 inner-city kids ranging from ages 3 to 10). Surprisingly enough, recreation time went relatively smoothly. Sure, there were a few near-scuffles, and a couple of kids that would try to wander off unsupervised, but we kept an eye on them, and there were no major problems.

But then, there's the trick...we kept an eye on them.

If you haven't been watching the news since yesterday, an Oakland 2nd-grade school teacher has been barred from campus during investigation of reports that, on at least one occassion, students partially stripped in his class and that, on a separate occassion, two students engaged in oral sex in his class, all while the teacher was in the room with them.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kidz Bop - Volume 42. "Classics"

Mostly so I can beat them to the punch, I've decided to write my prediction of the song list Kidz Bop will use when it comes out with it's "classics" compilation album.

This post is brought to you by Miley Cyrus pole dancing at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.

Track 1. "Addicted" by Saving Abel
Track 2. "Georgia Dome" by Ying Yang Twins
Track 3. "The Beautiful People" by Marilyn Manson
Track 4. "Nazi Girlfriend" by Iggy Pop and the Stooges.
Track 5. "Take a Walk on the Wild Side" by Lou Reed
Track 6. "Candy Shoppe" by 50 Cent
Track 7. "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails
Track 8. "Lola" by the Kinks.
Track 9. "Stan" by Eminem
Track 10. "Hurt" by Johnny Cash
Track 11. "Miss New Booty" by Uncle Kracker

Now of course, this is just a starter list. Kidz Bop often sells "ultimate" versions of albums, that include more songs. What are some ones you expect to see on Volume 42?

Someone please explain "Kidz Bop" to me...

These are all real Kidz Bop songs. For ease of reading, I'm breaking them down into categories of inappropriateness.

Too Oversexed for Kids:

"Come On Over Baby" by Christina Aguilera. Hint: she's not inviting him over to play XBox.

"1985" by Bowling for Soup. Kids don't need to hear about mom's groupie days, as anyone who saw me at that H.I.M. concert in 2003 can attest.

"California Gurls" by Katy Perry f./ Snoop Dogg. Even if you could discount the lyrics, Snoop Dogg has his own porn series. (It's called...well, exactly what you'd expect.)

"Low" by Flo Rida. Explain to your 4th-grader what "apple bottom jeans" are. Go ahead.

"If I Had You" by Adam Lambert. At least they cut the line about him wearing stripper heels.

"Makes Me Wonder" by Maroon 5. This is one my favorite bands, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm pretty sure all of their songs are about hate-sex (even the slow songs).

"Animal" by Ke$ha. No one, especially children, should ever be exposed to Ke$ha, not even aurally.

Dysfunctional Relationships (mostly infidelity):

"Follow Me" by Uncle Kracker. Best example line: "I'm not worried about the ring you wear, 'cause as long as no one knows, then nobody can care."

"Dilemma" by Nelly. The dilemma is whether or not to continue an affair with a woman still involved with her son's father.

"Lips of an Angel" by Hinder. You know the song.

Nickelback makes this sub-list twice, with "Someday" and "How You Remind Me". Double bonus for addiction references in the latter.

"Paparazzi" by Lady Gaga. No one cheats, because this song is from the point-of-view of a stalker. Bonus: Alexander Skarsgard plays her boyfriend in the video, and she straight-up murders him.

Too Depressing for Adults, much less kids:

"Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day. AKA "that song in college we always played and cried to when we were drunk and it was really late in the night"

"Photograph" by Nickelback. Fun fact: This entire list contains only about half the Kidz Bop covers of Nickelback. Is Kidz Bop Canadian?

"My Immortal" by Evanescence. I still cry to this song. This is like making kids read Steinbeck and watch "Old Yeller" at the same time.

"How to Save a Life" by the Fray. Yes, the song that is entirely about an intervention. Great for kids whose parents suffer from substance abuse issues.

"If Today Was Your Last Day". Nickelback again! And, yeah, that's what I want my child to be thinking about: their inevitable death.

Honorable Mention:

"Disturbia" by Rhianna. This song's not clear what its message is about, but if hearing it played repeatedly at Legends is any indication, it's about hallucinogenic drugs and cross-dressing.

This is a two-part post. Up next...I write my own song list for Kidz Bop: Classics!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Your kids aren't listening, but they're practice what you preach.

Went out to lunch with my dad (my son's "Poppa") today. There's a nice little sportsbar with a decent menu super-close to my work, so we headed there. It's a "seat yourself" type place, so we grabbed a table in the corner.

Then we sat there for a while. We had arrived around a quarter after noon, so the place was fairly full by the time we got there and, apparently, no one had noticed us come in. Once we reached this realization, my dad and I promptly began to argue about who should go alert the bartender to our presence.

Dad: She'll think I'm a creepy old guy hitting on her. Go tell her we're here.

Me: But...I don't wanna.

Dad: You need to be more assertive. They're here to wait on us. We're the customers. In fact-

Me: Okay, fine. I'm going.

I told the bartender where we were sitting, and she came right over to take our drink orders. The service remained okay up until a little while after our food had arrived. Being the middle of the lunch rush, the place was pretty full, and my dad's glass sat empty for a while awaiting a refill. Since our waitress looked to have her hands pretty full, the manager walked over and offered to grab a refill for us. Sure, that'd be awesome. Right after he walked away from our table, the waitress came over with refills.

Dad: Oh no. He's coming back over here with a refill. He's going to have wasted a trip and be mad. Here, help me hide this drink.

Me: I thought you said we were the customers and they were here to wait on-

Dad: Let's put the napkin holder in front of it.

So, what lesson do you think I learned from my dad today? To be assertive? Or to pretend you're out of beverage so a server doesn't think you put them out?

Not that I'm any better. I'm constantly telling my son not to climb on things because it's not safe, but I'll also climb on top of the counters to get something off the refrigerator.

But then, isn't that one of the perks of having kids...mild hypocrisy?

If it's something you're in the market for, Mailboxixchange makes really gorgeous mailboxes.

This is a paid post.

How many of you take a lot of pride in how your house and lawn look? Probably quite a few. You want to make a great first impression on your neighbors. So you may have a perfectly manicured lawn, nicely tended garden, decorative door knocker, or perhaps a seasonal wreath or flag hung.

Now think about what your mailbox looks like. If I have to guess, it's black or white, probably wood or metal, and definitely boring. If you want to fix that, and make your mailbox match the rest of your gorgeous home, you need to check out Mailboxixchange. They have a lot of really nice, contemporary and classic (but never tacky or overdone) mailboxes. If you're townhome dweller (like me), they even have wall mailboxes.

Again, I'm not here to tell you how awful your house looks without a really fancy mailbox. But it's it's something you're looking for anyway, or you just want that nice little extra touch, browse Mailboxixchange first.

Pregnant is the new black.

We all (at least, all the women) know how it is to get the baby-crazies every once in a while. For me, I'm dealing with the fact that my baby is now really a full-fledge walking, talking (kinda) toddler. Just about every woman at my church is pregnant or just (like, within the past month) had a baby, and one of my best friends is firmly in "I want another baby RIGHT NOW!" mode.

My sister has an adorable little newborn, as well. But still I know the timing's not right and I need to wait until it is. (Till my health is better, till I've been at my job a little longer, till we have more money saved up, till my son's potty-trained, etc.)

But being around all these pregnant women and babies makes me really want the chance to do it over. My pregnancy and delivery of my son were so difficult and traumatic; it'd be nice to get a chance to do things over, with more knowledge, with more attentive doctors...

So I started wondering, is pregnancy really contagious? Obviously not on its own, but do the people around you influence your decision? According to this one workplace study, totally.

Of course, they only studied women in the workplace (as opposed to family, church and social circles, etc.), so I guess I'm lucky to work with 11 guys in my department.

Still's like everyone once in a while all my brain can think is "baby".

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Big Business of Breastfeeding

All throughout my induction at 8 months pregnant for preeclampsia, difficult labor and delivery, the second epidural I had to have (after the first came out), my son's stint in the pediatrics ward, the total of about a week my son and I spent in the hospital, there was only one time my husband got so frustrated he almost punched a member of the staff...

It was that uppity lactation consultant.

I'm so proud of myself for actually reading Leviticus.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my Core Group (me and two awesome ladies a lot cooler than me) is currenty slogging through Leviticus.

Leviticus is not an easy read. There are rules for building the temple. And rules for sacrifice. And a few thousand (it seems) rules about what's clean and unclean, whether it's clean or unclean to eat, whether it's a clean or unclean affliction, or clean or unclean time to have sex (I don't know how they enforced that one, or rather, I don't want to think about it).

And this is why people sometimes feel like the Old Testament is a buzzkill, because of "Thou shalt not" books like Leviticus. But reading it now, as an adult, I'm starting to see how a lot of those laws made sense.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sanitizing the Bible: Explaining ancient Judaic wedding customs to 3-year-olds

Everyone remember the story of Jesus's first miracle? You know...He was at a wedding and the guests were upset because their celebratory beverages were running low, so he turned water into wine. (Or, if you're Southern Baptist, you can pretend it was "grape juice". Just kidding; I love you crazy fundies.)

Anyway, in my preschoolers children's church this past week, we were talking to the kids about helping our friends, like Jesus helped his in the story. Now, every week as we're telling the story, we ask the kids questions to get them to interact, since it would require sorcery or thorazine to get toddlers to sit still quietly for 10 minutes.

Being that I'm one of the teachers, their answers to questions normally border somewhere between "hilarious" and "disastrous". Fortunately, I was not the one telling the story this week, so all I had to do was try to stifle laughter and wrangle younguns (similar to cat-herding) while my friend taught the kids.

Here's what we got:

My family talks with our hands.

If, like me, you sat through "Meet the Fockers", you may remember that the only redeeming character was the adorable signing baby.

And if you watched the video linked above, you saw an even cuter little baby signing with her mom. And you may be thinking that is impossible.

But it's not! I tried baby sign with my son when he was very young, starting around 4 months, and he never really got into it. He understood a few signs, but he never reciprocated and, since I was the only one working on it with him, there wasn't a lot of consistency, and I gave it up.

But they recently introduced baby sign at his daycare, and HE LOVES IT. Being a boy, he doesn't have the same level of vocabulary his female-majority classmates enjoy (again, he understands a lot, but doesn't repeat a lot back). Unless he knows the sign for a word. If he can sign it, he can say it.

This may seem counter-intuitive. A lot of people worry that signing with their baby will cause their child to speak later, since they'll just be using the signs. But signing actually helps a child understand the principles of communication, and that words and meanings are associated with objects. Also, the signing adult, consciously or not, is typically communicating better with the child, facing them so that the child can see the sign, but the child is also watching their mouth and learning how to form the words.

If you have, or are expecting a little one, pick up a book on baby sign. It's probably only going to run you about $20, and you could be doing both yourself and your child a huge favor.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Breaking Bad (Habits)

Recently my niece started biting her fingernails. This is an issue, not only because it's an unhealthy and difficult-to-break habit, but mainly because it's something I do constantly and now have to be careful to not do in front of her.

And since I can't bite my nails in front of her, I probably shouldn't do it in front of my own impressionable kid. Or do any of my other bad habits, either, like: popping my knuckles, popping my neck, picking at scabs, popping my elbows, popping my knees, biting and picking at dead skin on my lips, popping my toes (yeah, I know).

But it sucks, because breaking a bad habit is really, really hard. And I certainly don't want to be a bad influence on any of the kids in my life, but,'s so freaking hard. And, not to make excuses, but it doesn't help that OCD runs so high in my family (I was diagnosed at 14).

So, to help me out, I turned the best advice people on the internet pretending to be doctors has to offer, WebMd.

Great news for the frugal and caffeine-addicted!

For those who know me personally, it's no secret that I have a great love affair with Dunkin Donuts coffee. Though I drink black coffee by the pot at home, there is something that's such a special little treat about grabbing a paperback and dropping in the Dunkin' Donuts near my house to sip on an extra-large Toasted Almond coffee w/ cream and sugar. For me, it beats Starbucks taste-wise any day of the week, and nothing can compare to that $2.39 price tag for the largest size (which is much, much larger than a, ahem, venti).

So, my caffeine-fueled heart was crushed when I discovered my local DD closed down for renovations. But I did a bit of digging, and a wonderful new dawn is on the horizon! Dunkin' Donuts is going WiFi!

So when my beloved DD finally reopens, I'mma ask hubby to watch dear son for about an hour, and I'm going to jet off to the coffee shop to enjoy tasty fresh-brewed while I work on this blog...and all for under $3.

When the problem is YOUR kid...

Just last week I got a call from my husband as he was driving my son home from daycare.

"Well," he said, "there's been another biting incident."

Oh no, I thought, not again.

"He got bitten by one of the little girls in his class."

My first response? "Oh, that's great!"

Now, I'm not sadistic towards my son, nor do I think teethmarks make for attractive body modification. But this was the fifth time the daycare reported my son had been involved in a biting incident...and the first time he was the one bitten.

That, and it had been a good long while (and still has) since he bit anybody, so I was (and still am) hopeful that that phase is largely behind him. And if another kid has to become the biter of the class to take the title from him, well, that's cool, my kid's tough.

Not that I don't feel for the other parents finding out their daughter's a biter. I still remember my son's first biting incident...:cue flashback music:

When we went to pick him up, the teacher informed us there was a write-up of the incident on his daily report (which usually just says things like "He loves the playground!" and "He had three helpings of applesauce!"). But, this day, his report stated this:

"He bit another child during playtime. He was put in time-out for 1 minute, and given a talk about how our teeth are for our food, not hurting our friends. He gave the other child a hug to make-up, and they played nicely the rest of the afternoon."

The kicker? The 1st time biting, when my son had to sit in time-out (only 1 minute, but still) and get a lecture? He was 10 months old. He couldn't even walk yet.

I guess, biting phase-wise, he was just an early bloomer.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The inevitable "vaccines and autism" post...

I can't imagine the heartache of finding out your child has a severe developmental disorder, especially a spectrum disorder, such as autism. And, thinking back to the early months of my son's life, and how I worried (and still do) about his development and overall health, I can understand wanting to do everything within your power to prevent your child from suffering a debilitating disability.

So it is with all due sympathy that I make the following statement: Trusting Jenny McCarthy for medical advice is like asking Snooki to do your taxes.

Yes, Jenny McCarthy is a mom, so she probably has opinions on the field of pediatrics. Snooki also spends money, so she probably (maybe) understands that such a thing as the IRS exists (again, maybe). However, McCarthy's anti-vaccination crusade is more dangerous and irresponsible than if Snooki went on Oprah to promote a book advising young women to invest all their money in jars of dill pickles.

But that's not just my opinion. That's the statement coming from a few someones known as every reasonable member of the medical community. The most disturbing quote on the matter? A recently published doctor referring to the fraudulent study which first (and, was alone in) proposed the alleged vaccine/autism link: "That paper killed children."

And that is what's heartbreaking about the whole issue. Misinformation caused loving mothers fearing something horrible to do something even worse. And there is your tragedy. Babies died from completely preventable diseases because their mothers feared something that, at least not yet, cannot be prevented, but can be treated, and lived with.

I want YOUR reviews!

I've got talks in the works with a couple of places to do some reviews on Triangle (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill) kid-friendly businesses here on the site. (Look for those posts coming up in the next couple of weeks.) But the problem is, as only one person, I can only cover so much ground.

So I want your suggestions. Where in the Triangle are the best places to bring kids? And I'm talking stores, restaurants, entertainment, you-name-it. Tell the place and what you like about it, and I'll try to contact them to arrange a feature. Easy as that!

Leave a comment below, or join the conversation on facebook or twitter. (Handy little subscription buttons are over there to the right!) ---------------------->

Why I won't discuss race with my son.

I have no intention of ever initiating a conversation about race with my son, and here's why...

It is my honest hope and belief that I will never have to.

And I don't think that's too unrealistic to strive for. Our children's generation is going to grow up in a world completely foreign to the one of our childhoods. Right now, I am running this blog with technology that was the subject matter of science fiction when I was a kid. And I'm only 25. But I remember when we first got internet access when I was 10 or 11, and how my sisters and I were so excited to see our first website at (Yes, the beanie babies website.) And the whole page only took an hour to load.

"Okay," you may be thinking to yourself, "What does that have to do with race relations? After all, racism is still a huge issue in America." And, obviously, it is. If anything, we've gotten more diversified with our bigotry. It's not longer just white vs. black; we've got asian vs. hispanic, black vs. gay, and just about everyone vs. middle eastern. (Seriously, Muslim people, I know I can't apologize for all white Christians, but I really am sorry about how much crap you've had to deal with in the last decade. I really do feel badly about it.)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

It's not "uh-oh" if you do it on purpose!

All you parents of toddlers know exactly what I'm talking about. We look forward to baby's first words for so long, it seems so incredibly adorable when they pick up that first phrase: "Uh-oh!" Your eyes shine with adoration, and your heart melts with pride. Not only is your baby parroting words, he or she is conversing. Your baby said "uh-oh" when there was an uh-oh. This proves association! Language recognition! This is a major milestone in development and can you believe what an absolute prodigy your child is! "Uh-oh" is just the first phrase! Soon it will be "Yes please," and "Thank you," and, yes, someday soon, "I love you mommy."

So when we hear that first "uh-oh", we do everything in our power to encourage. "You're right baby! That is an uh-oh! Good job!" And....herein lies the problem. Babies are the greatest. They are. My son is the most perfect and wonderful thing to ever happen to me, and I know there's nothing I could ever do to deserve him. But that doesn't change the fact that babies are master manipulators. You know it, and I know it, so let's not kid ourselves.

And it only takes about, oh, 4 minutes for your precious little angel to realize that they can pull off just about any misdeed if they throw an oh-so-sweet and innocent little "uh-oh" behind it. Which is when mommy and daddy learn a new phrase, one the average parent repeats an estimated 2,872,143 times over the course of their child's first 26 years:

It's not "uh-oh" if you do it on purpose!

The fluidity of time based on day of the week.

This is going to be more of a blurb, really, but this is something my family struggles with, and I wonder if it's an issue for other parents out there, as well.

My husband and I have to be at work by 7:15 and 7:30 every weekday, respectively. This is compounded by the fact that we have to get my son ready and out the door also, and his daycare doesn't open until 7:00. Nevertheless, we have our routine down to a tee, (honestly, I could give the exact time at which I brush my hair, my teeth, put on make-up, etc.), and we are very rarely either of us late to work.

On Sunday, all we have to do is roll out of bed and get to church by 9:00. Now, despite what the image would have you believe, our church actually meets in a movie theater and is very casual; I dress up a lot less for church than I do for work. Also, our church is very close to where we live, actually about the exact same distance as we are from our work. We also don't have to get my son's diaper bag so packed, since he only stays in the nursery for about an hour during service.

Despite all this, we are almost always running late to church, week after week. Does anyone know why this happens?

Uh-oh. Took too long posting. Gotta run.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

"He's like Gandhi, but better; he likes puppets!" ~ Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Everyone knows that a lot of aspects of your personality change when you become a parent. Along with your priorities, every region of your brain chemistry seems to alter, whether slightly or drastically.

One of the weirdest differences I've noticed in myself is the fact that my taste in guys radically changed when I became a mom. I used to be all about the dark, sexy, brooding types (definitely more Team Edward than Team Jacob). I was definitely more into the Johnny Depps than the Brad Pitts (excluding Tyler Durden, of course).

But then I had a baby. And you know who I now absolutely adore? (The picture should be a clue.) That's right: Jason Segel. The big goofy guy from "How I Met Your Mother", with two of the unsexiest nude scenes in movie history (both in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall").

But sit me down to watch "I Love You Man", and I could just about swoon (though "FMS" is by far my favorite). And you know why? Because something about this big, childish dork just screams that he would be an awesome dad. And now that I have a son, that is a huge turn-on for me. (Not that I plan on replacing my son's dad any time soon, but, should something happen, Jason, you're definitely top-choice for a back-up.)

Anyway, now I have reason to crush even harder on Jason Segel. Just like his character in "FMS", he loves the Muppets, and thanks to his begging of some studio execs, is going to the starring live-action character in a new Muppets movie! He's even promising to keep it a very old-school, classic type, with the muppets putting on a big production to save their theatre.

Swoon, indeed. : )

So good, no one had to pee on the floor...

After relating my disastrous experience at On the Border last night, I was pleasantly surprised at the stellar service I just received at Mimi's Cafe.

I was, admittedly, a little apprehensive about attending a friend's baby shower in a restaurant. Baby showers tend to be crowded, loud, and messy, all things you don't want to be around your food. But the staff at Mimi's Cafe in Cary exceeded all expectations.

We're now live on Twitter!

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Shameless Plug!: Crayola Washable Finger Paint turns your child into a mini-van Gogh (but without ear amputation)!

I am a firm believer in the value of arts for my child, if only because it gives my talentless-self an excuse to play with fun arts and crafts. Some of the most fun I've had with my son and husband was this summer when we decided to do a family finger painting.

I got some of these awesome Crayola finger paints, and a big piece of posterboard. We all put on our rattiest clothes (in my son's case, some things he would soon outgrow, in my husband's case, what he wears everyday), and we took our art supplies out to the front yard.

It was so much fun. My son was only 15 months at the time, so he didn't just finger paint, no no. He got on his hands in knees and crawled all over the canvas. He got up on his feet and danced on it. In fact, after drying, amidst all the colorful smears remains one very defined rainbow baby footprint.

When we were done, it was early afternoon and plenty hot, so we all washed off with the hose. With just water the fingerpaint washed off us with no problem.

I still have our little family mural, and I've been looking for a frame the right size so I can hang it in my office. I can't wait for my co-workers to see my gorgeous piece of abstract art and ask about the footprint in the lower left corner.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Asking to speak to a manager vs. Just peeing on the floor

Went out with the family to On the Border in Cary tonight. The food was awesome (mmm...avocado enchilada) and the drinks were pretty good, too. Unfortunately, that's where the praise ends.

The problems started when we got there. We arrived on the early side of the dinner rush, since Friday night restaurant waits are notorious for their length. We asked for a table for five adults, two high chairs, and a sling (for a carrier carseat). This is a few people less than when the whole family goes out, so we were pleasantly surprised to hear that the wait was only 20 minutes. Awesome. So we snagged some chairs, and commenced with waiting.

20 minutes passed. The kids were starting to get a bit fidgety. Okay, no big deal, they underestimated the wait a little bit. Maybe if one of the four hostesses standing around up front was actually serving or bussing tables, and not just holding the wall up and chatting, but, okay, cool whatever. We'll give them a few minutes.

30 minutes. My son has started to throw intermittent hungry/bored tantrums, and my niece keeps trying to wander off towards the bar, and I'm very tempted to follow her. My 2-month-old nephew is starting to stir, and my sister had really hoped we'd have a table before he woke up so she wouldn't have to feed him on a booth in the entryway. We ask the one hostess who actually appears to be working if they have any idea when our table would be ready and, oh, don't worry, a big group just got their bill, they'll be clearing out in just a few minutes.

We finally got sat after forty minutes of waiting. Now, I know that forty minutes really isn't a terrible wait for a Friday night. The problem is that it was twice as long as they originally told us. If they had just told us at the beginning the wait was forty minutes, no problem! And I'm not just hating on restaurant workers, here. I've waited tables, and I know that you always tell the customer the worst-case scenario on wait time; you never undershoot it!

Facebook Pedophiles

Let me start by saying I am absolutely sure there are pedophiles on facebook. It's a law of averages. Even if 0.0001% of the population is pedophiles (though I hope it's even less than that), there are so many people on facebook that the numbers dictate there are bound to be a few pedophiles on there. That, combined with the fact that pedophiles frequently use social media to locate and "groom" their victims (though it seems more common on MySpace), and you've got a pretty solid guarantee that their are a few lurking around the social network.

However, that doesn't mean that joining a group or including yourself in a trend is being somehow used by pedophiles to gain access to your kid, whether through your pictures or their accounts. Mainly because it's too much effort.

The internet is a realm of instant accessibility and feedback. The image I used for this article is on the first page if you Google image search for "pretty little girl". In researching this article, I've also possibly ended myself up on some FBI watch lists (if I wasn't there already). Hey feebies, it's just for an article, promise.

But my point is, pedophiles don't need to jump through a bunch of elaborate hoops on facebook to get pictures of kids. If they're on facebook, they already have the whole internet right there. They could even find child pornography if they wanted it. The b/ board on 4Chan is notorious for being full of pedophiles.

If you want to keep your kid safe online, the answer is simple, but the execution is not: be involved. Know what they're posting, and who they're talking to.

And please stop flooding my facebook feed with alarmist urban myths.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Shameless Plug!: Fedex custom calendars will keep the grandparents from complaining about how rarely you call!

This is just going to be a quick one, but I have to tell you about these awesome custom calendars we got for all the grandparents this year. You just go to , and they have hundreds of design options for you to choose from. Then, you just upload the 12 (or 13, if you want something different for the cover) pictures you want them to use for each month. You can even add custom holidays to the calendars. (We added all of the kids' anniversaries and all the kids' and grandkids' birthdays.)

You can get the wall calendars for just under twenty bucks apiece, and there are also tons of other customizable products available. And because it's FedEx, they arrive crazy fast, even if you don't choose to upgrade the shipping. (We designed and ordered ours on a Sunday night and they arrived that Tuesday.)

These calendars are perfect for if you're on a holiday budget, or if you have a relative that would really love some pictures of the kids. Also great presents for if you delayed in your shopping and you're in a hurry. I know it's past the Christmas season, but it's still early enough in the year that it's worth it if you want to get a calendar for yourself.

And just a remind about the "Shameless Plug" posts: I am not getting paid a dime from any of these companies to endorse this stuff. The "Shameless Plug" titles are meant as a joke. These are all just products that I genuinely love and which have made my life easier.

My imaginary mom-friends

I think most people would agree that, when you have a kid, the group of people you hang out with changes. There's nothing wrong with that; it's just the natural passage of time.

The problem I had was, once I had my son, my interests changed so drastically that I stopped hanging around with my old gang before I'd found suitable replacements. And making friends with other moms is hard. It's like being back in high school and trying to break the impenetrable walls around the cliques there, only, with moms, it's not whether you have the right brand clothes or shoes, but whether you have the right whole-grain natural snacks and organic juice boxes (made from recycled materials).

I had a sense that this was how guys must feel getting shot down at bars. I'd be sitting next to another mom at the playground and try to introduce myself, ask which kid is hers, etc. only to get the coldest one-word answers before the inevitable brush-off. It really, really sucked.

So I found myself daydreaming about what it'd be like to be friends with some of the ultra-cool female celebrities that seemed like they'd make great moms. Women like...

Who are you reading?

One of the many things that's a lot of fun about writing a blog is that you get to read a lot of other, better, blogs and pretend you're doing research, and not just killing time. The following are some of the best ones I've found in my scouring of the internet's murky waters. Vyckie Garrison, along with others with similar experiences, writes a heartbreakingly hopeful (and often very funny) blog of her time in, and eventual escape from an abusive Christian cult. Her strength and insight is amazing, and I can't begin to fathom the number of hours I've spent poring over hers and other women's stories. This lady is simply amazing, and any time I feel overwhelmed with my one kid (well, two, if you count hubby), I just remind myself that whatever I'm going through, Vyckie Garrison is doing it seven times over. I love this blog full of easy recipes intended for kids. Not that my son's old enough to help in the kitchen, or that he's a picky eater. It's just that I'm such an awful cook that I can only manage things intended for gradeschoolers (and even then I still have to ask my husband to turn on the oven for me). Okay, so I'm not a spendthrift, but I'm not exactly "frugal" either. (It's more that, I typically care so little about material things, on the rare occassion when I find something I really want, I don't mind splurging a little.) And I hate most "frugal living" blogs because their authors are insane. (No, I will not be unravelling my two-ply toilet paper, thank you.) But this blog actually has really cool tips on where to get good deals, not just recommendations to resole old shoes with leather from dead pets. (Seriously, some of those frugal bloggers are crazy.)

If you've got any great blog recommendations for me, hook'em up in the comments, or on our Facebook page. I read like the Tasmanian Devil with hyper-literacy, so I can promise you I'll check 'em out.

To cut, or not to cut...

My husband and I are having a bit of a parenting disagreement as to something pertaining to our son's...hygiene. I think the way it is now looks messy and stays too dirty. His dad wants to just let it be natural and not cut it.

What? No, I'm not getting into the circumcision debate. I'm talking about his hair. His gorgeous, downy, blonde (really, yellow) baby hair is getting a bit too shaggy for my tastes, and I really want to take him to get his first haircut.

My husband thinks it's cute, and that babies are supposed to look messy. My point is that he's a year-and-a-half, more toddler than baby, and is starting to rock a Joe Dirt-esque mullet.

So, what do you think? Is 18 months too early or too late for baby's first haircut?

Oh, and as for the whole circumcision thing...We had that done in the hospital when he was born, and the only thing the nurse asked me about it was whether or not I would allow them to use a topical analgesic to numb the area. I agreed, not just to minimize my baby's pain, but because my male relatives assured me that they would tell him when he was older if I didn't.

On "Fall Festivals" and "Trunk or Treat"s

"Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean." ~ Romans 14:13-14

A few months back, hubby and I were in the full swing of getting things ready for Halloween, since it would be our little man's first time trick-or-treating. (The year before he was only 3 months old at Halloween, so we dressed him up like a cow and pulled him around the neighborhood in a wagon with his older cousin.)

I love Halloween, or, as they call it at our local drag club, "Gay Christmas". I love costumes, I love the decorating, I love pretending non-scary things are scary. I looove candy, especially on the one day of the year when grown adults are condoned to tear into it like diabetic 3rd-graders on hiatus. So I was more than pumped now that my little boy was old enough to join in the excitement.

My dad found an amazingly adorable full-body shark costume with little feet, so he looked like a miniature Chevy Chase dressed up as the "land shark". We went to two church fall festival/trunk-or-treats before the 31st, one at his daycare, and one with our church, so we got a lot of wear out of the costume. The morning before we went out for Halloween, we carved a pumpkin into an anime-cat Jack-o-Lantern, and I found out my son loves eating raw pumpkin as much as I do. (BTW, healthy snack for kids = raw pumpkin.)

Being that I am a member of the social media generation, throughout all this I was posting pics on Facebook; pics of the cat-o-lantern, pics of my son in his costume, etc. That was when I started noticing a few weird comments from some of my fb friends. The most alarming ones I saw:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Shameless Plug!: Huggies baby wash will make your baby smell sweeter than angel farts!

I know I'm bucking tradition here by recommending any baby-cleaner other than Johnson & Johnson's, but we've been using Huggies brand baby wash all of my little man's 17 months of life. (And in case you think I'm just somehow pro-Huggies brand, their diapers leak and are awful and I hate them in the face.)

But their baby body wash is baller. It's perfect because it serves it's primary function, a.k.a. "gets baby clean". But, in theory, most baby washes do that. So what makes Huggies special?

It doesn't smell like much of anything at all. Which is perfect! "New baby smell" is possibly the greatest smell in the world! Huggies baby wash is like a fine claret with a gourmet dinner. It enhances and brings out the "baby smell" bouquet without overpowering it, while getting rid of the less pleasant smells that sometimes cling to my son (poop, dirt, poop, Lucky Charms crumbs, poop, partially-digested crayons, poop, etc.).

Most grocery stores sell it. Or if you want baby smell delivered to your home, visit this website and just order it.

Love is a battlefield. PvP is a battleground.

One of my favorite websites recently published an article about what's it like for the kids of the home video game generation who are now growing up to have kids of our own. http:// Considering my son created his first WoW character and logged on with it at the age of 14 months, I consider these lessons that I really need to take to heart. (Okay, so he just happened to get hold of my husband's mouse and keyboard and through chance just happened to press the right things to get him logged in. Also, it was a night elf rogue, but I won't hold that against him.)

So even though he still hasn't quite mastered the basics of spoon technology, there is no doubt in my mind that, in a few short years, my son will be a gamer. He doesn't have a chance. My husband and I both have level 85s on the Cairne server (warrior and paladin, respectively), and from the time my little man was born, he's spent many a cuddly night in Daddy's lap during guild raiding runs. And since then, we too have learned a thing or two about being gamer parents.

During high-intensity raids or dungeons, turn Ventrilo or TeamSpeak off. My son doesn't need to hear the stream of profanity Daddy's childless guildmates tend to unleash during a wipe. Also, my little monster is (as I've mentioned in previous posts) a bit of a ham, and tends to think that the microphone is there for his use, ability to, you know, actually speak be darned.

During highly contested battlegrounds, turn Mommy's mouth off. What? I'm competetive. And Alliance sucks (especially rogues). "Glory to the Sin'Dorei!"

Babies are absolutely awful at Dance Dance Revolution. Not that he doesn't try. He already spontaneously bursts into dance any time there's music with a beat (but he's not cheesy, more "Glee" than "High School Musical"). The problem with DDR is that he's still at the age where he wants to copy everything his parents do, at the exact same time they're doing it. So, while I'm busting out a move to "Bad Romance", he's squeezing his way onto the dance pad with me and completely monopolizing the up arrow (really kills my combos).

Toddler bowel movements are timed for precisely the moment you leave the checkpoint in the final stage. You know those nasty, soggy bottom, has to be addressed the second they happen poopy diapers? At the most critical moment in your game, your kid is going to have a complete blow-out of one of those. (This is doubly true for games that can't be paused.)

So those are just a few of the things I've learned, off the top of my head. Share your parenting/gaming experiences in the comments below!

8-Pound Preemie is on Facebook!

Click the link to check it out and hopefully "like"!!/pages/8-Pound-Preemie/143443762379197

I've also added "Share This" widgets at the bottom of the page.

Sanitizing the Bible: When Christianity isn't baby-friendly

For those who may not be aware, the Bible is not PG. Not even PG-13. There are more than enough passages to warrant a solid R rating.

I'm not just referring to the obvious stuff either, like Song of Solomon, or the massacre of the innocents. There is some very depraved and raunchy stuff in the Bible. :cough: Lot's daughers :cough:

But you don't normally think about that stuff. Or, at least, I don't. Normally, when I remember things from the Bible, I just think of the books I really enjoy, like Galatians, or Proverbs, or Ecclesiastes. (A really cool and visual verse is Ecclesiastes 10:1, "Dead flies doth cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour, so doth a little folly ruin a reputation for wisdom and honour." The unnecessary "u"s should be indication that I learned it in the Old King James version.)

But a couple of months back, our church charged us with trying to read all the way through the Bible in a year. They even gave us handy little reading charts that break it up so you read about three chapters a day, two from Old Testament and one from New. (The idea is that you have the New Testament there to help you get through some of the really slow parts in the Old Testament. Can you imagine reading nothing but Leviticus for a month? I've tried to do it in the past, and it was mentally painful.)

It's always been a goal of mine to read through the whole Bible, so I joined a small group with two other women in my congregation and we meet once a week to hold each other accountable and discuss what we thought of that week's reading. I even started looking back through the toddler-friendly collection of Bible stories I got my son as an infant, figuring he's about to the age where he can enjoy it, and relate it back to the stories they're learning in class.

It was in comparing my adult, big-girl Bible and my son's "Bible" that I realized just how much they had to leave out. And, even worse, how much more they should have left out.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Baby-wearing: Of slings and harnesses...

One of the tenets of attachment parenting with which I completely agree is baby-wearing. Not because I think my child is going to be psychologically traumatized by being pushed around in a stroller, but because it's pretty dang convenient.

As I've mentioned before (for instance, in the title of this blog), my son was a huge baby, and I was often recovering from abdominal surgeries in his early months. I never got him one of those carseats that doubles as a carrier because I couldn't imagine ever being able to lift the thing. My baby was heavy enough without adding 20 lbs.

Strollers seemed like an okay option, but they required two hands, and my car is kind of tiny. (The few times I used his stroller, it had to ride in the front passenger seat, since there was nowhere else to put it.)

So I had one of the Munchkin brand Jelly Bean reversible slings shown in the picture. And, in the words of "Yo Gabba Gabba", "THAT...WAS...AWESOME!" (What? DJ Lance Rock says it every time after "The Super Music Friends Show". Hatas, don't even be pretending like you don't know.)

My Toddler is a Truant

My husband and I are not overly picky about what our son eats, so long as it's relatively healthy (i.e. "better than a Happy Meal"). We don't care if he ingests soy products, or milk that doesn't come from organic, grassfed cows. There are two things about which we are pretty strict, however: no red meat, and no juice.

There isn't any sort of moral issue with the red meat. It's just that, for health reasons, my husband and I don't eat it so it's not kept in our house. So our son is not used to eating it, and if he does, it'll give him the runs.

We also don't want him drinking juice because his pediatrician told us it has very little nutritional value and is more sugar than he needs. Since he's not used to it, juice will also give him the runs.

A lot of our life decisions revolve around messy-diaper avoidance.

Adventures in Potty-Training: Prologue

I know that potty-training should be the furthest thing from my mind. My son isn't even a year-and-a-half yet. But I've seen others' struggles with potty-training, and I know that boys can be even more difficult. So I'm not taking any chances.

We've gone ahead and introduced the little man to the potty. We've heard horror stories of kids so afraid of the potty that they'll just scream uncontrollably the whole time they're sitting on it. So we're trying to acclimatize him to the toilet early. Here's what we do:

Step One: We let him come in with us when we use the potty. This way, we figure he can get a very basic idea of what it's for. (You sit on it and the stuff that, in his case, would normally come out your behind onto a diaper instead comes out into a bowl.)

Step Two: We get off the potty.

Step Three: Close the lid. THIS STEP IS VERY IMPORTANT.

Step Four: Sit baby on the potty.

Step Five: Let baby flush the toilet.

Step Six: Enthusiastic applause.

Basically, I've got my kid conditioned that he receives praise for sitting on, and flushing the toilet (what is generally considered by kids to be the two scariest parts of toilet training). Of course, in a few months when we start toilet training for real, and he absolutely refuses to actually use the thing, I'm sure I won't be feeling so smug about all this early preparation. But for the moment, at least his exuberant flushing ensures I won't ever lift the lid to pee and get greeted by a moldy floater.

There's some unnecessarily visual food for thought.

Taking a fingernail to the nostril: My son keeps poking me in the face

You know how sometimes your kid does something that you don't want them to do, but they're not technically doing anything wrong, so you kind of just let it slide? Well, apparently they're learning to identify parts of the face at my son's preschool. Hey, fine by me; I'm just happy they're taking the initiative to actually teach the kids as opposed to just babysitting them for 9 hours.

The problem is, my son has brought this new knowledge home, and with too much enthusiasm. So we're on the floor, playing and laughing, and he suddenly yells "Nose!" while proceeding to jam his index finger two knuckles deep in my left nostril.

Or, let's put it this way...Does anyone remember the wrestler Mick Foley? And how his finishing move involved hooking his fingers into the bottom of his opponent's mouth? Yeah, my son does that. He says "Mouf" and I find myself trying to simultaneously tap out and dig my gum tissue out from under his nails.

I suppose it could be worse. He doesn't seem to have learned "eye" yet.

Decoding your baby's poop

Let's talk about poop. Ever since my son transitioned to solid foods, my mind has been besieged by this mystery. Why is it that my son's solid, easy-to-clean bowel movements smell like chemical warfare, while his disgusting, diaper-blowing-out bouts of diarrhea are relatively odorless?

All of my research on the subject (scanning the first few links that pop up on Google) has yielded no results. So are there any pediatricians/nurses/nannies/moms-who-know-more-than-me/etc. out there who can answer this one? Why are the solid ones so much smellier?

Shameless plug: Baby Legos will make your child into an architect prodigy!

My son has some of these baby-appropriate Legos. They're big enough that they're not a choking hazard and are also easy for him to manipulate and build with. His favorite thing to do is encase himself in a little baby fort and then rise as a Godzilla-like behemoth, crushing his own creation under his little baby fist and heels. It's the most adorable destruction.

Here's the link if you want to check them out.

Skills to Pay the Bills

Yes, I took the title of this post from a World of Warcraft achievement. I never said I wasn't a colossal nerd. (BTW, just got that achievement last night. w00t! inscription.)

Anyway, just wanted to offer a heads-up for those who were maybe new to the blog or just plain hadn't noticed; I have set up an Adsense account on the blog, so there will be ads on the sidebar and following every post. I hope that doesn't offend anyone or stop them from reading, but, hey, you know, I gots to get paid.

You wanna help a sista out (I can say that, I am somebody's sister), click on an ad every once in a while (editor's note: but only if you are legitimately interested in the product, so as not to encourage ad-click fraud). I promise that at least 90% of them don't lead to miniature horse porn. (editor's note: I have no way of substantiating that promise.)

How to Tell if your Toddler is Hyper-Masculine (or Feminine)

I remembered not long after submitting my last post that I'm acquainted with far too many people with far too little sense of humor. That's why I feel the need to follow up here and assure you: No, I don't really think my son is gay. (Again, I think he's still only, you know, 1, so it's probably a little early to tell one way or the other.)

But, in the interest of presenting both sides of the grime-encrusted coin that is my boogery little toddler's personality, I present to you all the ways that I fear my son may actually be too masculine:

How to Tell if your Toddler is Gay

Okay, so, for starters, let's get the obvious out of the way and let me ensure you that the title of this post is a joke. Part of my amusement comes from the whole "Shiloh Jolie-Pitt is transgendered!" debacle. (A four-year-old doesn't like wearing frilly dresses? Unheard of!) The other bit started a few months ago when we were Christmas shopping. Taking a little breather in Toys R' Us, my son seemed really interested in a little doll baby that babbled and cooed when you held her. He very gently played with and rocked the little doll, just barely touching her hair and hands. son's gay! Or, maybe he's curious about babies due to the fact that, between myself and two sisters, there's always someone in a stage of pregnancy or with a newborn. (He is the 2nd oldest of four cousins, all under the age of 3.) So when he saw that little doll, he treated it the same as he would his baby cousins, smiling at it and touching it very gently.

I almost got it for him, but I knew some of his less open-minded extended family would have a fit over buying a doll for a little boy. After all, I might "confuse" him. In my opinion, I think he should be more confused at the idea that males can't take care of little babies, especially considering how great his own dad is with kids, but I don't expect outdated gender roles to reverse themselves overnight.

Shameless plug: The amazing seahorse makes babies sleep!

Okay, so does it count as a shameless plug if I'm not getting paid a cent to endorse it, and just really, really love the product? No? Okay cool.

I bought this seahorse for my boy when I was still pregnant with him. I loved the fact that it made ocean sounds in addition to lighting up and playing music, and was machine-washable on top of that. (You just take out the mechanical part in the middle, easy-peasy.)

From since he was born, this awesome seahorse has been my son's bedtime lovey. It takes very little pressure to make the belly light up and play sounds, so it's good for even a little baby, and it turns off after 1o minutes, which is just about the perfect amount of time to soothe a little one to sleep.

At 18 months, my son has two so that one can stand in while the other takes a run through the wash, and he'll normally signal that he's ready for a nap by picking up his seahorse, hugging it on, and coming over and asking to be picked up.

His two younger cousins also each have one now, too. : D

I got his at Babies R' Us for about $15, which is a really good deal for the triple-threat combo of a stuffed animal/nightlight/sound machine, not to mention all the good nights' sleep.

Mommy in the middle: The lost generation of mothers

I don't meet a lot of other moms in my demographic. Or, any, really. I seem to fall smack-dab in the middle, agewise, of everyone I know who has kids around my kid's age. It's either moms who conceived accidentally when they were still practically kids themselves, or the women who wait until the 401k is secure and the mortgage is stable before charting their ovulation calendars and getting pregnant in the oh-so-in-vogue 28-30 age range. I belong to neither of those groups. I had my son at age 24, after three years of marriage to my best friend. (And I'm not calling my husband my "best friend" in some sort of cheesy way. I mean the guy with whom I still stay up late to watch cartoons, drink beer and eat pizza, and play DDR with, just like we did in college. One of the few people who curses at the tv as much as I do watching sports, and who possesses an even greater love than mine for SNL digital shorts. THAT husband/best friend.)

So, I got a little off-track there. But, yeah, I don't know many moms my age. That's not all so bad though. I tend to get along better with people a little older than me. I've even made some mom-friends at church through "Mommy's Morning Out", and bible studies, and prayer groups and things. But there's still another glaring difference: I work. And not just some little admin job a few days a week to help pay the bills, or substitute teaching. I'm the breadwinner. I have a career, and no intention of leaving it, even if I financially could. In fact, if we could afford, my husband would be a stay-at-home-dad. As much as I love my little monster, the idea of being home every day changing diapers and making snacks, singing along with "Yo Gabba Gabba" (though it is really awesome, for a kid's show), is almost physically painful for me. I only took 3 weeks of maternity leave when my little man was born, and by the end of it I was craving adult interaction so badly, I'm surprised I didn't resort to drastic measure, like ChatRoulette. So, the acronym SAHM does not, and will never, describe me.