Sunday, February 27, 2011

"You can't have two fun parents..." ~ Claire Dunphy, "Modern Family"

I'm not a helicopter parent.  I don't spend every second with my child hovering over him, making sure he does absolutely nothing out of line.  Don't get me wrong; I don't let him stand on the furniture, or stick his fingers in the electrical outlets, or play with chemicals under the sink or anything like that.  But when he runs over like he's going to climb up the stairs, I don't immediately chase him.  I normally ignore him for a second, and he comes back on his own, crisis (and tantrum) averted.

And, so far, being a laidback mom has worked pretty well.  My kid's healthy, smart, and has had only a couple ER visits.  One was for a bad ear infection, and the other was when he took a bite out of a glass holiday ornament (but seriously, that really wasn't my fault).  But all in all, my little man has been doing pretty well.

My husband's like me, and most of our extended family takes it pretty chill as well.  The exception is my dad, who cuts the kids' food up so tiny he might as well run it through a blender, and thinks every sneeze warrants a call to the doctor.  We all give him a hard time for being paranoid, and he's convinced we're all dangerously unsafe.

So of course it would be at his poppa's house that my son got his first major booboo.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

We've all gone crazy lately...

Busy this weekend with church, feeding the homeless (no, really), family-time, etc.  Anyway, I won't be posting much.  In the meantime, enjoy my random little therapeutic cartoons I make for myself in MSPaint.  (My husband's exact quote when he saw this:  "That's gross.  Please don't post that on your blog.")

Friday, February 25, 2011

Groupon!

This is a sponsored post.

I'm going to assume the majority of you have heard of Groupon.  For those who haven't, I'll give you the quick rundown:

Groupon works via a premise similar to when you buy in bulk at a club store.  Only it's local businesses doing the "buying" of customers, through huge, "bulk" coupons.  Local businesses are willing to give insane discounts in order to draw in more customers.  They know they'll make up the costs of the coupons in increased revenue.

The way Groupon is different than regular coupons is, the more people who accept the offer, the greater the discount.  This means it's in your best interest to get as many people as possible to accept the offer.  Groupon makes it easy to share deals with friends via Facebook, Twitter, etc.  You can even get Groupon bucks for referring friends.

I signed up today, and it was very quick and easy (and FREE).  (They didn't ask for my SSN or blood type or anything.)  Follow the link from this site, and give Groupon a try.

Why should babies get all the good stuff?

You ever look at the cool stuff kids get, and think about how much you wish they made the same things for adults?  Well, in news that would seem wonderful, they do.  Unfortunately, the actual effect is deeply, deeply, disturbing.

Because I am a kind and benevolent blogstress, I've scoured the seedy underbelly of the internet for the real-life versions of childhood products that should have been left to nostalgia.  I now present the sanitized version of my findings for my readers; though my mind is permanently scarred, it's not too late for you.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I need a few good (looking) people...

Majorly exciting things going on with the 8PP Store!  I've been putting a lot of work into this bad boy, and am really happy about what I have to show for it:
  • There's about a dozen new designs, including Maternity wear for before you're showing, and oh-so-exclusive Paternity wear.  (Exclusive because, can you name another baby blog that sells paternity gear?  See?  Didn't think so.)
  •  The store layout has been really revamped and streamlined, so it's a lot easier to find the products and designs you're searching for.
  •  I'm also offering free design customization upon request.  Simply drop me a line over at the Contact Page (just be sure to leave a way I can contact you back, like an e-mail or phone number).
 And, for today through Sunday only, Printfection, the company which hosts the store, is having their massive birthday sale.  Enter the following coupon codes prior to check-out to save:
  • PFBDAY$5 Save $5 off your subtotal of $25+
  • PFBDAY$15 Save $15 off your subtotal of $50+
  • PFBDAY$35 Save $35 off your subtotal of $100+
Lastly, as you might have inferred from the post title, I'm interested in finding a few people to model 8PP gear for pics for the store.  I can't offer much in monetary compensation, but I can pay you in internet fame and free swag.  (Which is way better than money, right?)  Again, hit me up at the Contact Page if you're interested.  I'm ideally looking for:
  • One adult male, mid-20s to early-40s.
  • One adult female, mid-20s to early-40s.
  • One pregnant adult female, far enough along to be showing.
  • One child, between the ages of 2 and 8 (preferably a girl).
Thank you so much to all who read for all your support.  You guys make this fun.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What to do when all you hear is "Mine!"

Just starting this week, my son has had an odd new habit in the mornings.  Whenever it's time to leave for school, right as we're heading out the door he'll grab one of his toys, or maybe a favorite book.  If you try to convince him to leave it at home, he'll just hold onto it more tightly and yell.

Given that the last thing we want to do right before work is defuse a toddler tantrum, my husband and I have been just letting him carry the possession into the car and hold it during the ride to preschool.  Sometimes we can get him to leave it in the car, other times, he's insistent on bringing it inside.

His teacher, the lovely Mrs. B, has also informed us that he's starting to use the words "mine" and "no" a lot more frequently.  This bothers us a little.  He's always been great about sharing with other kids, and he's normally pretty agreeable.  But lately, we've been seeing him act out this way at home, too.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

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Why I'm a terrible patient...: Part 3

(Continued from Part 2.)

When my son and I finally got home from the hospital, I thought we were in the clear.  I had a nasty case of mastitis, but I went to the doc, got some medicine, and it cleared up, no problem.  Recovering from pregnancy was tough, but I figured it would take a while for the aches and pains to go away.

Then, right around the time my son turned 4-months-old, one day at work, I got this bad pain in my abdomen while I was standing at the register.  It kept getting worse, until I was just about doubled over, but I figured it was just a stomach bug, maybe food poisoning.  But I tried to use the restroom, and nada.  I was off the next day, so I just stuck it out for the rest of my shift.

I spent most of the next day in bed, only getting up to take care of my son.  (Fortunately, 4-month-olds are relatively low-maintenance.)  Around 2:00 that afternoon, I couldn't take it anymore, and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to give my son the attention he needed.  So I did something for the first time ever in my life.

I called my husband at work, and asked him to come home and take me to the hospital.

Why I'm a terrible patient...: Part 2

(Continued from Part 1)

When I got pregnant with my son, I was determined to do everything right.  I cut caffeine cold-turkey, even though I was told a little bit wouldn't hurt.  I started eating more organic things, adding lots of fresh fruits and veggies, cutting down on fat and sugar, and I was diligent about taking my prenatal vitamin every day.  When I started losing weight (which I later found out is normal in 1st trimester and even early 2nd trimester), I calculated exactly how many calories I was supposed to be eating, and even supplemented with a disgusting, chalky protein shake.

I was the ultimate paranoid mom-to-be.  After slamming on brakes and barely missing a spinning-out SUV on I-40, I had a few stress contractions, and headed straight to my OB-GYN to get the baby checked out.  (Obviously, he was fine.)  I drank 10 glasses of water a day.  I did my kick counts.  I was doing it all by the book.

Why I'm a terrible patient...: Part 1

I used to be a pretty tough chick when it came to getting sick.  I hated (and still hate) going to the doctor, so whether it was a sprain or strep throat, anything that didn't require an ER visit, I just pretty much toughed out and got over.

But when I got to college, the strep throats got more frequent.  Then I got a really nasty case of tonsilitis, with my tonsils swollen so tightly I could hardly breathe, much less eat.  I subsisted on protein shakes and antibiotics, and even managed in my misery to accompany my mom to see a show of "Cats" a few hours away from home.  (I'd gotten her the tickets months earlier for Christmas.)

Eventually, not being able to swallow without agonizing pain wore me down, and I went to a real doctor.  (I'd been visiting the Student Health Center, who blood-tested me for mono and pregnancy eight times, those being the only two illnesses college girls get.)  The GP I saw took a quick look at my throat, vomited in her mouth a little, and sent me to a specialist.  The specialist asked about my symptoms, took a look, and gave me a diagnosis.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I think my son's in Coldplay...

...He's kinda presumptuous, and he thinks everything is yellow.  (:ba-da-dum:)  Thank you, thank you.

But seriously folks, I'll explain.  The first is, my son is learning his colors.  The problem is, he thinks every color is pronounced "yeah-yo".  (We don't know if he really is having difficulty remembering the names, or if he just thinks it's fun to say because it sounds similar to how he pronounces "hello", i.e. "heh-yo".)  And on the other point, my kid has gotten pretty full of himself.  And I blame YouTube.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Caryites aren't born...they're self-replicated.

Since it's ridiculously beautiful for February, and since I've escaped retail hell and now have my weekends free, hubby and I took baby boy to Marla Dorrel Park in Cary today to meet Nana and eat a picnic lunch and play.  It's over 70 degrees today and sunny, and I had no intention of wasting it inside.

Every time I've been to this particular park/playground in the past, it's been awesome.  It's massive, with separate playgrounds for kids of different ages, sandlots, three different types of swings (even a tire swing), and, as evidenced by the picture in the upper-left corner, a sweet climb-on dragon built into the side of a hill.  (I wish I had a better picture.  In real life the dragon is huge, and looks like Nessie surfacing from the ground like it was water.)

Unfortunately, the big distinction between my prior visits to Marla Dorrel and my visit today, was that, in the past, I've only ever come on weekdays.  Today was my first time visiting on the weekend.

And, oh, what a difference a day makes.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Good news, and bad news...

The good news is that it appears I've managed to fix all the coding/formatting issues with the site.  Hooray!  The bad news is, I'm finding out that quite a few of the ads showing are for booze (which I'm cool with) and Russian mail-order brides (eh, not so much).  I'm going to be working with adBrite to address these issues, and see if we can't appropriate some more family-friendly advertisers.

But I'll send you off with more good news!  A reminder that all 15 oz. mugs in the 8PP Store are $3 off now through Sunday!  I even added some new designs for the occassion AND am willing to do custom designs, so long as they're 8PP-appropriate (nothing trademarked, obscene, etc.).  Just use the contact page to let me know what you'd like.  Remember to use coupon code 2011BRRMug for savings!

Good information, and free swag.

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of CryoCell International. All opinions are 100% mine.

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Unfortunately, for many of us that's not a viable option.  Having a baby is expensive; you have to take time off work, stock up on baby supplies, and a pile of medical bills before your child even comes.  Adding another medical expense is often the last thing on a new parent's mind.

But www.Cryo-Cell.com can make it easy on you.  They offer some of the best value for your money, and financing options to help with payments.  Later, if your child needs to use the stored cord blood, Cryo-Cell will even make your family a $10,000 payment to help cover transplant expenses.

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Easy-to-use trading site

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of votrust. All opinions are 100% mine.

Ever shop around on e-Bay and want stuff, but know it's out of your budget?  Think it might be nice to unload some of your stuff that you're not using, but don't want to go to the hassle of setting up a store just to sell a few items?  Well, I got an offer to check out the new trading site Votrust.  You trade things you want to get rid of for items of a similar value.  I played the How to use mini-game, and it's really a pretty simple system.  Here's how it works...

Step 1.  Create an account.  (Totally FREE.)

Step 2.  List an item.  (You describe the item, upload up to three photos, and pick a category for it.)

Step 3.  Assign your item a value.  Value is different from price.  When you're receiving proposals to trade, you will only get offers for items listed at an equal or higher value to your item.  (To help you with this, Votrust includes a handy Value Calculator.)

Step 4.  Receive proposals.  Others can view your listing and show you what they have to offer in exchange.

Step 5.  Accept a proposal, and wait for your item to arrive in the mail.

Pretty simple, eh?  You can also create wishlists, and view other users' items to offer proposals of your own.  Bartering at its finest.  Visit the Votrust About us page for more info.

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In defense of Justin Bieber...

(Ed. note:  Before anyone accuses me of Bieber Fever, I'm not a fan.  I can name two songs the kid's done, and those are the two that they covered on "Glee".  In fact, before that episode, I thought his song about "I just need somebody to love" was sung by a 20-something black woman.)

So, apparently everyone in America who isn't a tween girl is mad at Justin Bieber right now.  (At least it seems that way if you do a Google news search for "Justin Bieber Rolling Stone interview".  Over 500 results for that phrase alone.)

For those over the age of 30, let me enlighten you to what all the fuss is about.  Justin Bieber is an adorably little squeaky-clean teenage boy who looks and sings like a tween girl.  Tween girls, being largely narcissists, go completely nuts for this.  He got discovered when he became a YouTube sensation after broadcasting videos of himself singing.  (He YouTubed himself singing pop songs.  Again, the tween girl comparisons just don't stop.)  He became Usher's protegee and skyrocketed to fame.

Part of his appeal comes from the fact that he mostly appears to have remained a pretty sweet kid, and wasn't the result of crazy stage parents selling him to Disney at a young age, but is rather just a little Canadian boy he wanted to be a singer so bad, he self-promoted and made it happen.  (Yes, he's Canadian.  This fact will be relevant later.)

Now, presumably because his publicist is a moron, he was interviewed for his cover issue of Rolling Stone, without a pre-agreed-upon set of questions.  (Something that is very common when interviewing younger celebrities, or those with diminished mental capacity, like Britney Spears.)  Rolling Stone, being pot-stirring sadists, decided to launch a pop quiz on hot-button American political issues on the 16-year-old Canadian singer.

The results were, quite predictably, disastrous.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Site Lay-out: Temporary issues

Just wanted to give everyone a heads-up that, due to a little glitch from an advertiser, the site isn't displaying correctly at the moment.  All of the regular functions, such as facebook feeds, twitter subscription buttons, etc., are still here; they're just at the bottom of the page (instead of in the sidebar where they should be).  Please bear with us while we get this fixed.

Oh, and a reminder, check out the 8PP store between now and Sunday for $3 off a 15 oz. 8PP mug, any style.  Use coupon code 2011BRRMug.

My doctor has a "Napoleon Dynamite" poster in his office.

Some people freak out when their favorite hairstylist announces she's retiring or moving.  Other people have a certain mechanic they've gone to with every car over the last three decades, and they just don't trust anyone else to take care of them.

I have a doctor I saw at various times throughout my pregnancy, who was there while I was in labor, and who performed my three subsequent surgeries.

And he's retiring in July.

Well, "retiring" from private practice.  He and his wife are actually going on a two-year appointment to provide medical care to suffering people in Africa.

Leaving me here without a specialist/surgeon I trust.  Those selfish jerks.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Where is the pill for men?: Part 2

(...continued from Part 1.)  Hormonal contraceptives work via four steps.  Each subsequent step is a back-up of the prior steps, i.e., if the first step fails, the second step comes into play, if they both fail, then the third step is utilized, etc.  Here are the steps.

Where is the pill for men?: Part 1

Some of the most important decisions we make in raising kids is deciding when we want to do so.  We want to wait until we've been married a little while, our finances are better, our health is better, when our first kid's a little older, etc.  You know you want to have a kid (or another kid) someday, just maybe not today.

And, thanks to modern medicine, women have a ton of options when it comes to delaying pregnancy.  So it falls to us to figure out how we want to do that.  And the husbands just let us be the ones to take care of it.

Well, I'm sick of it.  Maybe it's just me, but it's my personal opinion that birth control sucks.  I'll even run you down the list and tell you what I hate about every method.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Such a romantic day, you'll cry rose petals and vomit cupids.

Remember back when you were dating or newlywed, what Valentine's Day was like?  You started it off all romantic, maybe breakfast in bed, or meeting somewhere for a nice breakfast or brunch.  Maybe flowers got delivered to your workplace or classroom for you (or were left waiting for you on your car, along with a lovely note).  When you got home, you got all pretty and primped up and went out to a high-end restaurant, where you ordered wine and dessert, and maybe received a nice gift of chocolates, or even jewelry.

Then you had kids.

Here's how my "romantic" Valentine's Day has gone so far...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

An open letter to Hulu...

Hulu, there's no easy way to say this. We need to talk.

You have been an awesome roommate with the hubby and I these past couple of years. You're so funny, and entertaining, and giving. It's like you always know what we want, and ask nothing in return.

Well, almost nothing. You like attention. Nothing wrong with that. So, a couple of times a show, you have your commercial breaks. And we just accepted it as one of your adorable little quirks.

But, just like with any friendship, relationships change when a baby is thrown into the dynamic. And some of the things you used to talk about, well, they're just not appropriate in a toddler's presence.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Letting your kids leave Nazareth.


"And Nathanael said to him, 'Can anything good come out of Nazareth?' Philip said to him, 'Come and see.'" ~ John 1:46

Even in the happiest and most close-knit of families, there comes times when everyone dreads a big family get-together. Because there seems to be one thing that families everywhere are guilty of.

Not letting each other change.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

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That'll be four adults, and four high chairs.


There are many times when I am overwhelmed with a deep sympathy for a complete stranger. Reading a tragic autobiography, or watching a sad news story.

Or this past Tuesday night, when I felt sorry for our waitress.

Here's the deal. It was my mom's birthday, and my sisters and I, along with the four grandbabies, were taking her out to eat. As I've mentioned before, the grandbabies are 2 1/2 years, 18 months, 9 months, and 10 weeks. So, as the title states, we needed seating for four adults, and four high chairs.

I was the last one to arrive, and as I was walking my son into the lobby, the hostess spotted me. "Are you at the table with all the moms and babies?" (Like we're having a convention? It's only 8 people, and half of those are tiny.)

"Yeah, I guess so." What else could I say? Maybe there was a Mommy's Night Out group meeting. Or a baby shower. I had to assume that what tipped her off is the fact that my sisters and I do share a bit of a family resemblance. Still, it would have been embarrassing if she'd accidentally sat me with another table.

Chore chart for my preschooler kids

Thanks to Lemuel Craft
I hated doing chores when I was younger but when I got to college and already knew how to clean a bathroom and everything, unlike my roommates, I was grateful to my parents for making me do those chores for all of my life. Now that I have kids of my own, I want to make sure that I raise them the same way and am trying to find a way to make those chores fun.
I went online to get some ideas and came across this website Get.WildBlue and read through it some. After that I ordered an internet package from it and decided that I should make a fun looking chore chart for the kids.
I had a lot of fun making the preschoolers chore chart and incorporated all types of bright colors into it to make it look more like a play thing than something associated with housework. They really liked it and were actually excited to do chores! I'm not sure how long that will last, but I'm trying to take advantage of that.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Boudreaux's Butt Paste: Makes baby laugh when his butt feels better; makes mommy laugh when she says it.

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Boudreaux's Butt Paste. All opinions are 100% mine.

Even though my son was very large for being born early, he still faced a lot of the typical "preemie" issues, like a very sensitive stomach and skin, and, along with that, some very bad bouts of diaper rash.

Along with addressing his digestive issues, we tried a variety of diaper creams, even medicated ointments, to try to treat his diaper rash.  Finally, with a prescription treatment, we were able to ease his Along with addressing his digestive issues, we tried a variety of diaper creams, even medicated ointments, to try to treat his diaper rash.  Finally, with a prescription treatment, we were able to ease his pain to a degree, though his poor little behind still often stayed raw.

So I was very surprised to hear my younger sister talking about her success in using Boudreaux's Butt Paste on my baby niece.  Now, my sister speaks somewhat more colloquially than myself, and at first, I thought she was just using some sort of redneck slang for diaper cream.  Then she explained to me that Butt Paste is, indeed, a real product, and a very effective one, at that.

At first, I just couldn't get over the name.  Who would call their product "butt paste"?  It sounds like a fraternity initiatiation dare.  "Hey, go tell that hot mom over there you want her to buy a tube of your 'butt paste'.  Do you want to be a Delta Sigma Gamma?  Go sell some butt paste, bra!"

You would have to be either crazy, or really confident about your product, to call it something so ridiculous.  But the stuff works.  The evidence is certainly there to back it up.  In addition to all the positive word-of-mouth I've gotten from other moms, I've also found out that it's pediatrician-recommended, and was even formulated by a pharmacist You would have to be either crazy, or really confident about your product, to call it something so ridiculous.  But the stuff works.  The evidence is certainly there to back it up.  In addition to all the positive word-of-mouth I've gotten from other moms, I've also found out that it's pediatrician-recommended, and was even formulated by a pharmacist under direction of a respected pediatrician.

And unlike the nasty, sticky tubes of medicated ointment we received by prescription, Boudreaux Butt Paste is easy-on, easy-off, and comes in tubes with a flip-top cap.  It also smells a lot better, as opposed to my son's prescription ointment, which smelled a bit like motor oil.

It may be a bit too late for me to join in the Butt Paste-revolution with my toddler.  (And if you visit their website, you can try it out for free, right now.)  However, should the need present itself, I will definitely be using this product for any future kids' diaper rashes.

If only so I can see a cashier's face when I ask him where they keep their butt paste.

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I want to be a toddler for a day.


I used to always say that, if I had to come back for another life, I wanted to be a housecat. They live like ancient royalty, with servants waiting on them hand and foot.

But, looking at my son's life, I think it'd be pretty cool to be a toddler again.

My husband is the one who got me thinking about it this morning. It's gotten miserably cold (again), and we both had a hard time getting out of bed for work this morning. While helping my son get his coat on, he said, "Daddy wants to go to preschool with you, and play and nap and have snacktime."

Which really doesn't sound too bad. Do some arts & crafts, listen to storytime...That's an awesome day. And it's not just preschool. My son's weekends are pretty sweet, as well. He lives like a celebrity every day of the year. Let's take a look at his typical Sunday.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

He just wants attention.



The typical weekday morning routine in our house goes something like this:

Alarm clock goes off. Mommy gets in shower while Daddy gets dressed and packs diaper bag.

Mommy gets out of shower right around time Daddy is about to head downstairs to wake up baby.

Mommy gets dressed while Daddy dresses baby and makes everyone breakfast.

Mommy comes downstairs to fix hair and make-up while boys eat breakfast. Mommy chats and is generally silly with baby during this time.

Everyone heads to their cars (Mommy takes breakfast with her). Mommy kisses Daddy and baby good-bye and they head to daycare while Mommy heads to work. (A favorite morning game of my son's is to initiate a little rehearsed call-and-response while Daddy straps him into his carseat. He says, "Mom-my!" and I reply "Bay-bee!" in the exact same tone. He will do this indefinitely.)

So, for the little bit of time I get to interact with my son in the morning, he is either underfoot while I put on eyeliner, or stuck in a high chair while I buzz around the living room trying to find my id badge. We chatter at each other a lot, but there simply is too much to do to have any real, physical, quality time.

Post exchange: I still don't know exactly what "cricket" is as a sport.

I'm not going to lie. When I first found this cricket blog, I thought perhaps it was an auto-generated blog. It's not that there's anything especially wrong with the writing; some of the sentences are a bit run-on, perhaps, and the syntax is structured oddly. But there are also an inordinate number of links, as well as running news feeds pertaining solely to cricket. So I looked into the author's profile.

The differences in language structure were quickly explained. The blog is written from India, and is written quite well, when you take into account the vast disparities in language between English and Hindi. (In fact, the author writes English as second language far better than too many Americans do their primary.)

The other thing which is very obvious from the author's profile is that Pramukh loves cricket. *They have two blogs, both about the sport, discussing such intricacies as after-match interviews with team captains and batting line-ups. (Is cricket like baseball? I HAVE NO IDEA.)

And I find all of it fascinating. As Americans, we love to razz our European friends about their devotion to "football" (soccer) "clubs" (teams). But at least we have a pretty good handle on what soccer is, even if we don't know all the more minor rules.

But cricket? I could explain curling to you better than I could cricket. But the author of this cricket blog is crazy about it. Which kind of makes me want to watch a game (match?) just to see what it's all about.



*Forgive my ignorance, but I have no idea whether Pramukh is a traditionally male or female name, hence my use of the gender neutral "they".

Monday, February 7, 2011

A fish called "Melmo".


My husband and my son took a very special trip to the petstore after school this afternoon. It was decided that the little man is old enough to pick out a pet.

Obviously, there were severe limitations on his choice. While the baby bunnies were adorable, lagomorphs are simply a bit too high-maintenance. Ditto for psittacines (who are also too noisy). No, baby boy was allowed to pick out a betta splendens. He picked out a spunky little male with a pink body and purple fins, and named him "Melmo" (how he says "Elmo").

Post exchange: Insert dog-related pun here

Sorry, but saying "8PP is going to the dogs" seemed way too easy. Something about me possibly catching fleas? No? Eh, I'll come up with something good as soon as I hit the publish button. That's the way it always works.

Anyway, I want off by revealing something a little personal and embarrassing (but in a cute way.) As those who know me in real life can attest, I love aquariums, and my husband and I have been keeping many for years now. One of the things he does to crack me up is to provide dialogue for our fish's "conversations", often with different voices and accents based on the fish's appearance. (At one point, we had a french rainbow shark, and a puffer with a lisp.)

That was why I had to laugh out loud when I stumbled across Fluffy's Day Off. It's a blog written by a stay-at-home shih-tzu. Alongside complaints about cats are lamentations about getting fat and needing a bath. It's very cute stuff.

Also, my son is at the age where he has major puppy love. This weekend we visited a greyhound rescue event, and the workers complimented us on his good manners and general easiness around dogs. (He got really happy and giggly when two greyhounds besieged his face with kisses.) Then, at our friends' Super Bowl party last night, he made fast buddies with their 6-month-old pitbull puppy. (Despite breed stereotypes, staffordshire terriers are great with kids, so long as they're introduced at an early age.)

So when I find blogs like Fluffy's Day Off, I can't help but think how much fun it will be in a few months when my son will be entertained via stories narrated by a doggy.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Important life lessons from the Pussycat Dolls.

You see, when I was younger I would say,
When I grow up, I wanna be famous
I wanna be a star, I wanna be in movies...

Sometimes I look around at the world around me, and I'm so overwhelmingly grateful that I was given a son and not a daughter. Not that I think that boys are superior; it just seems like they're less difficult to raise.

Culture just seems to be attacking little girls, their self-esteem and their self-image, from an earlier and earlier age. Look at that child on the left, a contestant from "Toddlers and Tiaras". She's a preschooler in veneers and Aquanet. It's creepy, but that's the standard of beauty that very little girls are presented with from the time they can walk.

And even if you can get away from the impossibly high expectations for outward appearance, what about the new perceived standards for success? When I was a kid, my friends wanted to be doctors, or racecar drivers, or artists. (I wanted to be a gymnast, despite the fact that I'm now just a couple of inches shy of 6 feet.) But whatever our dreams were, we understood that they were things we would have to strive to attain our entire lives, goals that would only be reached through hard work and talent.

What do little girls want to be now? Famous. That's it. Not famous for curing cancer, or famous for Oscar-worthy acting ability. The only desire is for celebrity, and all the trappings that come with that lifestyle. How you get there is insignificant.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Schizophrenia is cute on babies.

It is a cold, rainy Saturday morning in February, so my boys and I are happily snuggled inside. (My son is wearing footie-pajamas, which are the most wonderful things, because they package him up into one little fuzzy cuddle-bundle.)

As he runs around the room and plays, he bounces from toy to toy, riffing a quick song on his guitar here, tooling around on his workbench there, climbing up on his spring horse for a quick ride before getting down to a song from his keyboard.

But, even as he jumps from one activity to the next, he does not lose his grip on Mao.

Friday, February 4, 2011

It's funny how good you can feel about both the small and the big achievements.

Just a couple of mornings ago, I wrote a post about the dangerous legislation proposing to redefine "rape" in the Hyde Amendment to "forcible rape".

I was one of millions of bloggers, tweeters, and other utilizers of social media to speak out against this issue. And, behold! The power of the people (with a hi-speed connection)!

The new wording of the bill has already been recanted. Props to everyone who called or wrote their congressperson to protest the rewording of the bill; your voice was heard. As much as we love to criticize the internet, isn't it cool how well it serves to spread information and opinion?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mommy Date Day!

The bad thing about yesterday was that the only time I could get an optometrist appointment was smack-dab in the middle of the day; both too early and too late to make going in to work feasible.

That was the only bad thing about yesterday.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

You want to see a woman fight back? I'll do it now.


I know this is a post I have to write, but I don't know if I'm going to get through it. I'm so overwhelmingly angry and hurt and shocked, I barely know how to force the tumbling thoughts in my brain down through my arms, out my fingers and into my keyboard. I doubt I could speak a coherent sentence at the moment, but I hope I can write one.

Some of you may have already seen the news about a proposed bill attempting to redefine rape. Under this new legislation, only "forcible" rape would count as rape.

"Forcible", by the very term, implies that "coerced" rape would no longer be rape. So a woman who complies with an attacker out of fear for her life (or another's) life is no longer raped. A college coed who passed out drunk and awaits with a stranger on top of her, is no longer raped. What term would these politicians like to use then, exactly? The less offensive (and more minor charge) "sexually assaulted"?

The fact that this law is even being considered in the new millenium is sickening. It hearkens back to the days when a woman had to prove she fought tooth and nail against an attacker before the authorities would consider her case. If a woman didn't (or more likely, couldn't) fight until she was physically exhausted or overcome, then she was considered legally compliant (or "asking for it").

This bill, in its attempt to redefine rape, drags women's rights back to the days before "no means no".

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The enemy of my enemy is my cousin.


This past weekend, as I've mentioned, my parents watched my son for me. Well, they also had my middle sister's two kids, my 3-month-old nephew, and my 2 1/2 year-old niece.

Given as my son is 18-months-old, he is just the perfect age to infuriate my niece. He is neither young enough to be a cute little baby, nor old enough to play at her level. He is also impossible to boss around (which is, sadly, one of the favorite hobbies of 2 1/2 year-olds).

So my parents (their grandparents) spent a good deal of the weekend intervening when my niece find my son irksome. (One oft-used phrase was, "He has parents; you don't need to tell him what to do.")

There is also an element of jealousy too, obviously. My niece was the oldest cousin, and until my son was born a year later, was the sole grandchild. This led too a great surplus of attention. She also has never been in formal childcare, so interaction with other kids has been low. When you add her newborn little brother into the mix, you create the perfect storm for rivalry.