The Kids are Watching
As I venture out more into the blogging world, especially the blogging world outside So Fla, I keep discovering all these other mom bloggers who dedicate their sites to providing actual useful information for other moms, sometimes even for other people in general. I find it so cool, because I only wish I had anything of real use or value to offer readers (well, I could school you in public relations like nobody's business, but I don't even like PR enough to bother).
So the latest blog full o' useful info is over a 1 Smart Mom. Angel offers all kinds of tips and suggestions not just about parenting, but also for moms and their well-being. It's a relatively new blog, but she's already tackled picky eating habits, life's tough questions, and a topic dear to my heart: taking your kids to the library.
I was particularly struck by this post, because Angel discusses something that many, may parents are in denial about: children watch everything we do. And they mimic it. Or react to it in unhealthy ways. It doesn't matter how much you tell them you love them - if you don't spend meaningful time with them, if you don't show that love with actions instead of with material goods - it won't mean shit. If you tell your kids to eat healthily and be proud of their bodies but you starve yourself to stay thin and constantly feel down in the dumps about your love handles, you don't think they'll pick up on that?
Anyway, you get where I'm going. I think that one of the biggest challenges in being a "good" parent is remembering that they're watching you. Your words alone are not enough. We delude ourselves and think "they're too young to understand," or "they know better than to do this, I've told them otherwise," but that "do as I say, not as I do" mentality is bogus. I see so many parents in denial - in denial about they way they behave and how that affects their kids; in denial about how they're not living up to their responsibilities as parents but figuring their kids "know better" or are picking up whatever they need to know about life and healthy behavior and healthy attitudes at school or from thei friends' parents, or someone. And I just don't ever want to be that person. I don't want to live in denial about anything, least of all my children and how they're turning out and the role I've played in that.
The kids are watching. And they're taking it all in.
Are You Ready for the Leg Warmer?
Get ready, people. The Leg Warmer is coming at you this Fall/Winter, courtesy of me. That’s right, babies, I’m bringing it back.
Back when leg warmers were hot, I missed out on that trend. Why? Because I was about 6 or 7 years old, and my no-nonsense mom was not about to waste what little money we had on silly trends to outfit a small child. And also, my fashion sense has always been a little off, and back then I was too busy wearing fish-themed shirts with striped shorts and jelly shoes to notice or play into fashion trends.
One of my sisters, though, was a ballerina, and so she had some leg warmers, albeit for actual dancing purposes. I don’t remember if she or my other sister ever wore them as fashion; all I know is, I was robbed! I love the thought of those cute little leg warmers wrapped around my legs. I’m too self-conscious to get the cute striped ones, but not too much so that I won’t have fun rocking my black pair.
I’ve already bought leg warmers for a couple of my gals who want to join me in bringing them back. Would you like a pair, too?
tags: leg warmers, 80's fashion, fashion
Dear My Gym: Are You F***ing Kidding Me? Love, Tere
I had a moment of panic a few days ago where I felt that I was not providing my son with any developmental activities. We have a routine: we get home, into his playpen thingy, and play for an hour or so before dinner, bath and bed. That's it. We play. He throws things, gives me books he wants me to "read" to him (which means I show him the pictures, invent stories about them, and he flips the pages), plays music on his little table toy, and toddles around. I don't let him loose in the house yet because... I haven't done much baby proofing (too many books, papers and magazines + not many places to shove it all into = me paralyzed and immobile on the couch), and to have him roaming with me literally hovering right over him seems worse than just letting him do whatever he wants within a contained area. For now, because I have about a week to get over it and do what I have to do so my son can be free to wreck my house. On non-rainy days, we take walks in our neighborhood.
Point is, we have a routine, and I panicked that this routine was doing him no good, from a mental stimulation standpoint. I don't know if I'm teaching him any specific skills - my tactic is to basically talk to him nonstop, react whenever he "says" anything, clap wildly whenever he does anything, and identify every single thing he points at or touches, in Spanish. That's it.
So I started thinking about the world out there of activities and challenges and techniques I should be exposing him to, and decided to check out My Gym to see if served any real purpose.
I will never know. The 45-minute class for his age group is $160. WTF? Oh no, wait, if I do a second class, I get 25% off that one, so it's $280 for two fucking classes. That are less than an hour long. That consist of my kid being exposed to the "exploration of movement." And pay a $50 membership fee.
Isn't this same exact thing FREE if I just start taking him to the park? Seriously, I expected to pay something, and by that something I mean a fee that I would most likely find expensive (because I find most things too expensive), but this is a rip-off. A total, brazen, shameless rip-off.
So, sorry Maxi. There will be no My Gym for you. Your mom sees no value in it and is now so turned off by the fees that she probably won't reconsider, not even if you throw a tantrum, because my stubborness can most likely outlast yours.
Am I being a cheap lazy mommy here? And yes, if you take your kid to My Gym or something similar, and you looooove it, feel free to share with me, because snark aisde, I really am curious.
tags: my gym, ridiculous overpriced bullshit that makes parents feel like shit if they don't buy into it, activities for toddlers
The Teenage Years: A Future That I Dread
So, I’ve been reading this log called Blended with Salt, right? And the author, Kelly, she has a son from a previous marriage and a daughter from her current one, right? And she blogs about life as a blended family, right? Well, the eldest, Ty, is a teenager now, and reading about life lately with that child is scaring me. Someone please hold me, because I fear my son becoming a teenager.
Wait! Ty’s not a bad kid. He’s just a teenager, going through typical teenager crap. But that’s the problem: teenagers suck, and I want no part in it.
Kelly is refreshingly honest about the challenges of being a blended family. In her particular case, her son is like his dad in many ways, and his dad is… Kelly’s ex-husband. So, how do you cope with a blossoming version of the man you left behind? Lord knows that if Ben and I called it quits, all those traits of his that Max exhibits would go from cute to unbearable in less than 15 seconds. And how do you react to someone who triggers painful old shit when that someone is your own child? Plus, he’s a freakin’ teenager!
I have high hopes for Kelly and her family, but for now, I’m making plans to go into hiding as soon as Max hits 13.
tags: blogjolt; teenagers
The Early Days
Looking for a particular picture of Ben and myself, I came across these from Max's first and second days home. I feel a mixture of sadness (my little boy isn't a baby anymore!), longing (those are such sacred days!) and relief (thank God I'll never have to go through those dreadful days again!) when I look at them.
(my boob was bigger than his head!)
(he slept on both of us like that for the first 2 weeks)
|Depart:|| 8:25am |
| Miami, FL |
Miami International (MIA)
| Newark, NJ |
Newark Liberty Int'l (EWR)
|Depart:|| 12:05pm |
| Newark, NJ |
Newark Liberty Int'l (EWR)
|Arrive:|| 3:10pm |
| Miami, FL |
Miami International (MIA)
So Fla Bloggers Mix It Up
This is why I'm loving the So Fla blogging community: we're a creative bunch of geeks who are game for some mischief. What mischief, you say? The Miami Cross Blogination is coming at you in a week, people. Are you ready? CAN YOU FEEL THE EXCITEMENT?
On September 19, a group of So Fla bloggers will do a virtual trading spaces and blog on other local sites. We were randomly assigned our trades, and you can check them out here.
Get ready for a bunch of links and a day full of fun reads.
tags: blogination, miami cross blogination
The Goal Guru Helps You Get Organized - and Then Some
Jill Koenig is the Goal Guru. Her blog is a good resource for all kinds of information and tips for getting organized, achieving your dreams, and setting goals.
Why you should care? Because this stuff isn't just for busy moms - if you need to get focused, or want some help in managing your time, her site will get you motivated. From getting a book published to inspiring stories, there's plenty she covers plenty of useful topics.
I particularly like how she ends each post by saying "live your dream." What a wonderful, inspiring thought. I think I might take that on as my mantra.
I somehow made my way down to the birthing stool at the foot of the bed and squatted on it, with Ben behind me to support my body. I was anxious, in pain, and very badly wanting to push.
As Betty and Lisa accomodated themselves, I saw Lisa pull out a flashlight. My room was dimly lit, as it was my preference, and they weren't about to change that. Still, they needed light to look up, um, me, so they could see what was going on in there. Lisa turned the flashlight on and examined me. To me, the baby felt like he was right there, so I asked her, "Do you see anything?" Her response - "Just your chooch," was the funniest moment of the night and proved to be a much-needed tension breaker. It's Ben's favorite moment of the whole experience.
So I began to push and breathe and push and breathe, and this kid of mine was just taking forever to make his way through. I kept saying things like, "Come on, Max, we're ready for you. We want to meet you so badly. It's o.k., baby, you can do this and we're going to be here for you." When suddenly - holy fuck in all that is fucking painful in this world, I'm feeling the most pain I've felt in my entire life, and it feels like my insides are being ripped out of me. And with that, my son's head has come through, and Betty's holding a mirror there, and I see a tiny head covered in black hair. And that was all I needed - with that amazing bit of inspiration, I take a deep breath, push, and there slid out the rest of him.
And just like that, he was in my arms and I was holding him, crying, laughing and covering him with kisses.
It was 1:40 a.m. on September 11, 2005. I was a mother, holding this tiny, wonderful boy in my hands. And I could think of no better day than this one to usher new life into this world.
Terry L-C 012/365
She introduced me to the magical poetry of Shel Silverstein and ice skating. Our favorite activity was playing “50 Ways to Die.” After her grandmother died, so did our friendship.
tags: 30x365, x365
Betty my Midwife 010/365
Without her, my pregnancy and labor would have been far less wonderful, empowering and moving. She was both teacher and cheerleader. No words will ever express my gratitude to her.
tags: 30x365, x365
(I took Gus' advice and put the name first. Because it's more attractive and I just want you to love me).
Chantel over at Fiction and Musings, with a Side of Yuca, tagged me on this book thingy. Great fun, and thanks, Chantel!
1) A book that changed my life: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Why? When I read it, I was going through an incredibly difficult and sad time in my life. The life I knew and thought I was going to have was destroyed, gone; and I as a person was in state of crisis and deep introspection. That I picked up this book at that time was pure coincidence, but it completely changed the way I view myself, my life, and the world around me, and set me on a new (better) path.
2) A book that I've read more than once: The entire Anne of Green Gables series. It’s like the perfect bowl of mac and cheese on a cold, rainy day.
3) A book I'd take to a deserted island: Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez because it never fails to get me thinking and being more honest with myself.
4) A book that made me laugh: Anything by Dave Sedaris. He’s brilliant.
5) A book that made me cry: I’ll never forget how Where the Red Fern Grows made a wreck out of me. Those poor, faithful ‘coon hounds...
6) A book I wish had been written: How to Get Your Baby to Cooperate and Not Throw Horrible Screaming Tantrums When You’re Just Trying to Buy Some Groceries, Damn It, Groceries, Can’t You Sit Happily for Just a Few Friggin’ Minutes??
7) A book that should never have been written: A lot of those sniveling pregnancy books that are full of misinformation and treat the experience like some kind of condition you just have to bear with and then get over with in the quickest, easiest way possible. Reading such drivel made me want to stab my eyes out.
8) A book I'm currently reading: All He Ever Wanted by Anita Shreve.
9) A book I'm planning to read: The Zahir by Paulo Coelho, unless I randomly pick some other book lying close by.
10) Who I'm tagging next:
A Year Ago Today
I was exactly one week from giving birth. And I looked like a monster. These pictures tell the horrific tale (and my sharing them is a painful exercise in not being so friggin' vain).
The Sunday before I gave birth, my sister threw me a wonderful Blessing Way, where we had a henna artist and the ladies made me a labor necklace.
My henna belly
The day after, my brother-in-law Pete took some great "mama goddess" commemorative pictures - which totally make up for the ones of the day before.
The end was so definitely near. I felt like he was dropping lower and lower and lower, walking seemed like the hardest task on earth and sleep was a distant memory. And yet, I didn't feel like I wanted it to be over; I never felt that "get this baby out of me" feeling so many pregnant women have. If he had come two weeks later than he actually did, maybe by then I would've felt done. But by this point, I was still feeling pretty in love with being pregnant.
(EDITED TO ADD: I removed most of the pics due to creepy people googling and ending up here.)
tags: pregnancy, blessing way, beached whales
004/365 Ms. Pompa
Ms. P was my fourth-grade teacher. She was young, funny, down-to-earth - but all business when it came to schoolwork. Great sense of humor, too; she truly made learning fun.
tags: 30x365, x365
My very first friend; raised by the same nanny. Troubled teenager, found Jesus, married young, baby followed. Our falling out was silly and sad. She never responded to my emails.
tags: 30x365, x365
So Fla Bloggers do a Cross Bloggination
Attention So Fla bloggers: we're doing a switcheroo! greenerMIAMI did a fine job of explaining it, so here it is, basically copied/pasted off the site:
On September 19, several Miami bloggers will do a bit of a switcharoo. Each blog will feature a post written by another blogger in the group. The post will be related to the blog on which it will be featured. It's basically going to be a fun, silly day in which we can use our blogs to create a bit of confusion, mischief, or maybe just great new content by a guest blogger!
Blogs on board so far:Critical Miami, greenerMIAMI, Miami Vegan, Stuck on the Palmetto, Sex and the Beach, A Mom, A Blog, and the Life in Between, Transit Miami, "Klotz" as in "Blood", Fanless, 26th Parallel, Urban Paradise, Hidden City.
So, if you're based in So Fla and want to participate, please go to greenerMIAMI and leave a comment or email Rebecca. Deadline to sign-up is Sunday, September 10, 2006.