Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Sick Baby Makes Mommy An Unhappy Girl

Zev has been sick all week. It is not the first time, but it is the second with a true fever and because of that, probably the worst. Next to the lack of sleep and my heart aching for my little man, the most challenging part is having my twin boys doing different things. Elan is healthy but wants whatever Zev has, including the extra care and attention. In response to his dislike of this current state of affairs he has peed in his pants and thrown a few tantrums. He has also been waking up in the middle of the night wanting just to get out and sleep in my bed. So, here I am exhausted physically and emotionally because both my boys demand the equal attention I generally give them. You really can’t win as a twin mommy.

PostHeaderIcon Your Kid Is Not Potty Trained Yet????

I was helping a friend register for her baby shower and the entire process reminded me of how territorial parents, particularly mothers, are when it comes to infant care. Everyone knows the best diapers, wipes, stroller and onesie. The truth is, as I told my girlfriend, everyone does things differently and there is really no right way as long as your baby is happy and healthy. This sense that there is only one way extends to milestones and stages with your infant and toddler. Is your kid still using that sippy cup? You still give them a bottle before bed? Pacifiers at this age?

Here is what I say: Will they be wearing diapers, sucking on a pacifier and drinking from a sippy cup as they walk down the aisle for their high school graduation? While the image is hilarious, you are probably shaking your head no. The truth is, regardless of the pressures from all of the perfect parents and their meeting their milestones right on time kids, your kids will get where they need to get in due time. Sure, you need to manipulate the situation a bit and show them how to use the potty and bribe the pacifier away, but no need to rush it. I personally find it best to slowly transition. For example, you can’t pull dump the diapers, the sippy cups and the pacifier in one week or even one month. Go with the flow and see how your kids react.

In regards to dealing with those judgmental parents, learn to do it. These people are not going away. They will be telling you about their kids top grades, ability to make a goal in soccer and top 100% height until you turn blue in the face. Come up with responses that make you comfortable and don’t open your kids’ personal goals up for discussion. I suggest something like, “I’m proud of my kids. They really make me smile every day.” It’s true and no one can compare that to anything!

PostHeaderIcon The Toddlers Rule The World

Well at least that is what it feels like (see title).  Since the potty training boot camp a lot has changed. Just two weeks after the start of potty training the kids began daycare part time. I thought about these endless hours I could spend catching up on chores, reinventing my future life and career, exercising. I mean, seriously. All those hours. Truth is, I have less time.  It’s all because toddlers rule the world.

Nearing our third birthday the boys are super quite and twice as exasperating. Their minds are molding and they are making acute and cute observations. They listen more (when they feel like it) and remember more. Basically, they are entertaining me, challenging my ability to mother and distract simultaneously, and teaching me to be humble and accept bodily fluids. I have heard many a person say that this is the best and worst age and I would have to agree, although I can only compare to what was. Somehow, they make me feel that the extreme sleeplessness that came with infancy was easier than explaining to a toddler why he can’t have something, go somewhere or drive a car without ending in tears yourself.

Yes, people, parenting is tough.

So, back to changes. I’m not sure if it is school or just the addition of 2 and a half months, but my boys have seriously matured and grown tremendously. All the little life skills like dressing, putting on shoes and eating messy soup come easier to them. In fact, sometimes their extreme desire to try something new can be a challenge in itself (note tantrum over putting on shirt by ones self). These changes are welcome. Yes, I miss the little cuddly babies, but these beings can converse with me and share some likes and dislikes. They tell me when something hurts and exactly where. These advancements have made outings more interesting. I just love to see their joy in going to a store or sharing their observations with me.

The developing independence is a blessing and a curse. As I said, they rule the world. Oh, and parents, the term terrible twos is inaccurate. It’s about 2-3 years of ups and downs with tantrums, tears (yours and theirs) and lots of laughter. Even poop can be funny (I have stories).

PostHeaderIcon Twins: The Road Trip Edition

I am a week into a road trip with my two and a half year-old twin boys. Oy vay. Seriously. All things considered, they have behaved pretty well. The over 1500 mile journey to Florida saw very little car napping time (like a combined 40 minutes) and some white hair causing whiny time, but we cam out unscathed. After a few days of chasing the boys around Grandma and Grandpa’s house (no amount of hiding things up high really seems to do it) we left on the second leg of our journey, Orlando and Disney World.

To get to Disney we had to spend another 4 hours in the car. The boys were not thrilled. Apparently, the sight of the hotel room door also really freaked one of the boys out (until day 4 when we were leaving). We were tired, cranky and trying to eat dinner in public at an hour the boys usually slept. They were troopers. I felt like I deserved a raise. Like all things in parenting, it is these little sacrifices of your hair color, patience and fun that really pay off when they smile and enjoy themselves. This trip had a lot of both (sacrifices and smiles, my new band name).

In Orlando we experienced several firsts: vacationing with friends, swimming in a pool, camping out in a hotel with Uncle “Uvi” and, of course, Disney. If you are asking yourself what a 2-year-old can do at Disney, the answer is a lot. I was asking myself the same thing about parents of infants. Aside from the thrill of walking through this new and magical world, much of Disney is a slow moving vehicle with a feast for the eyes. Some of it scared the boys, but they soon learned that a little bit of dark or waiting in a line was rewarded. I had to learn to let the routine go and live in the moment. All in all, I am pleased with the results.

Although we have several more days, including the long trek up north and another hotel stay, I have already experienced and learned more than I thought possible. I have learned to reach for patience I did not think was there and to ignore whining while driving 80 down the highway. Those are the valuable lessons. The others, well, when I finish this bottle of wine I will whine about them and get over it. That is parenting. Stay fierce parents. Just stay fierce.

PostHeaderIcon Food options

My boys are getting temperamental during meal times. From my research I learned not to push and to try to give them a couple of options. Previously, we did this right on the height chair tray because plates ended up on the floor.

This week we tried something new and we have success! Next step: utensils and mushy food!

20111015 084249 Food options

20111015 084256 Food options

20111015 084304 Food options

PostHeaderIcon Tantrums, tears and laughter

The twins have been taking up so much of my energy this weekend. Even with Dad’s help, some days are more trying than others. After a rainy, gloomy weekend we decided to brave the crisp fall weather and get the kids out Sunday afternoon.

My wise idea was an indoor, wallet emptying, children’s paradise. I had been there with friends before and knew it was promising. I also did my research and found that there was a toddler room (music to my ears!). The toddler room left something to be desired, but it was free for my 21 month old twins.

The kids loved the freedom and the real winner of the day was a big water activity area. The smocks provided did nothing to protect them and I felt guilt over not bringing a change of clothes for our short excursion. But, a coat and a quick walk to the warm minivan was okay.

Our toddler play was followed by a tantrum (leaving) and then by joy as they took their first carousel ride. Then another tantrum (leaving for good). The kids were hungry and tired and mom and dad even more so. Mind you, this whole thing was a little more than an hour. Thank goodness for sippy cups and crackers!

20111003 095338 Tantrums, tears and laughter

20111003 095355 Tantrums, tears and laughter

20111003 095407 Tantrums, tears and laughter

20111003 095416 Tantrums, tears and laughter

PostHeaderIcon Once Bitten

Well, not once really…. My little brute, Elan, gets such a horrible reaction to mosquito bites. They always get huge and kind of hard. He seems to ignore them for the most part, as do I. I figure that it is best to not invite problems and putting anything and everything under the sun on them does not necessarily help. Until now. Yesterday afternoon he got a bite right below his eyebrow. By bedtime it was a tad swollen and this morning, behold the one eyed twinlet.

My husband freaked, as he often does. I saw that my kid was happy and didn’t seem to mind having one beautiful blue eye and another pitiful, puffy mound of redness (poor baby!). At 9am I called the pediatrician and they confirmed that one teaspoon of benadryl every 6 hours was fine for a kid his size (32+ lbs) at almost 21 months. So, I complied. He ate it and nap time was great. He slept for three hours and allowed his brother to sleep without the normal screaming wake up. Mommy bliss.

I have since heard other opinions. I know what opinions are like, but I first give the benefit of the doubt, mostly because people like to be heard. Salve, cammomile, blah, blah and whatever. I would normally want to take the natural route, but this is a toddler and this is his eye. He rubs it, rubs elsewhere and back again. I don’t want to create more of a disaster. Any other opinions out there in mommy land?

PostHeaderIcon Tightening the Purse Strings with Twins

As most may guess, raising twins on one income at the height of a recession is tough. For the first year, we were so sleep deprived and hazy we paid no attention. We purchased a new home, made some improvements and just coasted by on some unemployment, one paycheck and savings. Once the fog lifted, it was hard not to worry.

I truly think that the best scenario for any kid is to be at home with a parent, particularly with twins. Twins, first of all, require twice the daycare payment and, in my case, they were later to develop and are talking later (we just started hearing the first words between googly googly recently). If this is a sacrifice (i.e. income) you are able to make, then you need to focus on cutting costs wherever you can.

I started with the frugal thinking prior to the twin’s birth. When I found out I was having twins I considered the price of formula and vowed to breastfeed for the first six months at the very least. I actually made it 14 months. When the boys started on solid food, I vowed to make everything from scratch. Both of these decisions were both healthier and more cost effective.

As the boys get older, I always try to find new ways to pinch a penny. Here are just a few methods that have helped make me a frugal mom.

  1. Collecting hand-me-down toys, clothing and books- Since I became a mother long after many of my friends it was easy enough to ask for the used stuff they couldn’t wait to unload. Since my house has plenty of storage space, I have plastic bins of clothing and toys stocked through age 5. I plan on continuing my collecting efforts as long as possible.
  2. Buy used: When I do need some toy (like when I realized my kids loved instruments) I try out Craigslist or garage sales to fill in the blanks. I have purchased some really nice strollers and toys this way. When we went to visit my folks, my Mom bought two playards for $30 total!
  3. Clearance and coupon: While used is great, sometimes the clothing you get does not satisfy the needs to two, nor the right size for the season. I take stock of what I have, make a list of what I might need and scour the clearance sales, along with coupons. I especially like the outlet malls. This has been great for shoes, which we always seem to need.
  4. Bring your own- Whenever possible I bring the kids our homemade meals, snacks and drinks. I check to see if food is allowed and pack what I need. Plus, my kids are so used to fresh they turn their nose up at processed foods.
  5. Don’t be brand loyal- Although there are times when I feel that one brand is superior to others, I try not to be brand loyal and shop around for diapers, wipes and other necessities. This means a combination of online, in stores and armed with coupons. This may require some research, planning and space for storage to really do it right.
  6. Cut costs in spending on yourself- It’s the name of the parenting game; sacrifice. So, we sacrifice. There are fewer date nights and parties at the house. In addition, we really look carefully at the money we spend on groceries and other essentials.
  7. DIY- Be realistic based on your skills. Not everyone is handy, but some who think they are not just haven’t tried. We have used our own skills and plenty of YouTube videos and blogs to slowly remodel our fixer upper home. We employ the DIY method for other elements such as bread making, repairs, lawn mowing, upcycling fashion, building a compost and raised garden and much, much more. For everything we need or desire we think long and hard about whether or not we can make it ourselves, the cost of materials and time and compare that to purchased goods or services. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense and other times it just doesn’t make sense right now.
  8. Yard sales and Craigslist- Like any frugal person I have tried to sell anything I don’t need. I used to donate everything, but those days of a disposable income are gone. To be honest, I have only once participated in someone else’s huge yard sale. Most of my items I have sold via Craigslist. I am currently planning a huge yard sale that will bring in money for little bikes for the boys (used of course!).
  9. Rewards Memberships- I have collected rewards or loyalty points wherever possible. For example, Huggies has them on their diapers and wipes. Since we buy so many it really pays off to save them and utilize the rewards points for coupons or freebies. Take it where you can get it!
  10. Barter- Wherever you can. Seriously. Barter with friends and family for babysitting, carpooling, memberships for places like the zoo and aquarium (many memberships allow up to 6 guests at a time), hosting play dates and more. You can even barter with friends on the task of cooking. You make the two month supply of black bean burgers and they make the casserole. This can be a time and money saving opportunity.

PostHeaderIcon Hit me

Discipline. At 20 months my boys are a little young for it. We do our best to tell them right from wrong, but explanations are still lost on them. So it’s a lot of “no!”

Still, I feel compelled to find a way to stop the hitting early on. I am most concerned with the times they hit me. You’re going to change my diaper? Take that. I can usually distract them and put the kibosh on the hitting, but is that enough?

I keep saying we will wait until that magical age of 24 months when all the books and studies say kids start to really get it. Here’s to that.

PostHeaderIcon Sing, sing babies

My boys love music. At first we thought Zev was our little musician. From very early on he would focus on any music playing, eventually bopping or swaying along. As the boys started to babble and learn real word, everything changed.

My mornings now start with the sound of Elan singing made up words to melodies of the songs he knows. He gets the melodies spot on and has an amazing recall for music. He even knows that certain melodies are associated with tv characters. I love it.

Time to start planning some teaching moments via music. Maybe something more frugal than a Mommy and me class with tuition times two!