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Meltdown Mayhem

April 30th, 2008

Today was a busy day for Kenny and I.   We spent the morning with our local MOPs group getting ready for a fundraiser… eight moms and twenty-some kids under age four in a our co-chair’s living room.   I was one of the “kid-watchers” and I have to admit that after a while I just kind of tuned out.   When you’re watching that many toddlers in that small a space, there is no sense trying to do anything other than get out of the way and hope no one sits on anyone too much smaller than them.   I actually got to hold an adorable and super-mellow three-month-old baby, so at least I looked busy.

After our two hours of organized madness, Kenny and I headed over to a friend’s house with lunch to share.   She just had a baby and has an 18-month-old that Kenny adores, so we dropped in to see if we could help.   I tried to get Superwoman over there to take a nap or something necessary like that, but she was content to just sit and chat and let  the kids entertain each other.   We stayed  nearly three hours, and by the time Kenny and I got in the car to head home, he was like a  soggy piece of toast.    Nap was a dirty word and scream, whine and wail were about as communicative as he could  manage.   I finally put in a Boz DVD and let him zone out (at least he was quiet) and I managed a little nap on the couch next to him.      The rest of the evening was rougher than rough.   Blech.

It’s tough  striking a balance between scheduling what’s best for a two-year-old and all the things you want to (or need to) do.   Kenny does best on the days when we either stay home all day, or only leave the house for a single event – say his Rolly Pollie class.   But how realistic is that for everyday?   I do try to have at least one day a week where we don’t go anywhere (in the car).   And at least three days a week we only do one thing (away from home  for less than 2 hours).   But then there are days of endless errands, or lengthy play dates (I need those too!!) or my bi-monthly visits to a specialty chiropractor who’s office is 45 minutes away.     Or days when Casey and I want to DO something, like go downtown.   What about you stay-at-home moms out there – how much do you actually stay home, and how often do you tote your toddlers out and about?   I’m curious.

Onto a “programing” note: I don’t know how many of you regularly check out the sidebar “The Web-Surfing Mommy,” but on today’s review post, there is a contest to win a free book and CD of children’s songs and nursery rhymes!   There are also several posts that have coupon codes for discounts on various websites.   Check it out!

Book Review: Humpty Who?

April 30th, 2008
jacket image for Humpty Who?

Humpty Who? A Crash Course in 80 Nursery Rhymes for Clueless Moms and Dads,  by Jennifer Griffen; Published by Workman Publishing, 2007

In the introduction to this charming and actually very useful handbook, author Jennifer Griffin describes the scene the first time she tried to soothe her newborn baby with a song: the only thing she could come up with was the commercial jingle for Sure deodorant.   Her second impulse was the title theme to the Love Boat.   Quickly she decided that it was high time to learn some real nursery rhymes, and after much research, settled on writing a book of her own for other “clueless” moms and dads.

Humpty Who? is more than just an encyclopedia of nursery rhymes; it’s actually an entertaining little read.   Whether you know none of the traditional little ditties parents throughout the last two centuries have used to soothe their little ones, or (fortunately or unfortunately) know them all thanks to your own toddler’s obsession with children’s CDs, you will find the little trivia and tidbits about each of the rhymes in the collection humorous and interesting.   And it is really nice to actually read where some of those wackier poems come from.

Griffin also includes instructions for hand signals and dance moves to some of the songs; very useful if you’ve got a toddler who really likes to move to the beat.   Also useful if you have a baby to distract, and nothing short of a Broadway production will do.

The book includes a CD of 35 of the songs featured in the book.   The CD is great!   Kenny and I received it on Friday of last week, and he’s wanted to listen to it every day since.   The tunes are updated with catchy arrangements and pleasant vocals, and it’s a nice variety to sit and listen to all the way through.   Kenny has even already memorized a few new ones, and he spent our walk today shouting out from the stroller, “Alice the Camel,” much to the amusement of the neighborhood.   There is only one track that rubs Kenny the wrong way, and each time we’ve listened, he’s bolted up from whatever he’s doing to shout, “Skip this one!!”   It isn’t my favorite track either, but I’m not telling which one it is, in case it turns out to be yours.

Humpty Who? would make a fun gift for any new parent, or even a great prize at a baby shower.    In fact, the good folks at Workman Publishing have sent me a copy for a give-away here at MommyBlog!   I will send a copy of this fantastic little book to the first person who emails me  here with the correct answer to this fill-in-the-blank (and no fair using Google!):

Lullaby and good night / In the sky ___________ / Close your eyes, start to yawn / Pleasant dreams ___________ / Close your eyes now and rest / Lay your _____________ / Go to sleep now and rest / May your Slumber be ___________.

Good luck!

So Close, and Yet…

April 29th, 2008

… so far away.     My due date, that is.   Only 8 weeks to go (if I stick with the scheduled c-section; 9 until the actual due date).   It feels like forever and it feels like way too soon all at once.

I am finally starting to really feel BIG.   As in, this belly is getting heavy.   Turning over in bed in the middle of the night is physically exhausting and usually wakes me up.   Getting up off the floor while playing with Kenny is starting to make me wish for a portable, remote control operated forklift.   Walking around the block with 85-pound Dudley’s leash around my torso and pushing Kenny’s stroller is starting to feel like a marathon – unless I’m going downhill, and then it feels like I’m on a free-falling roller coaster.   Eating means hours of indigestion afterwards, but I’m SO HUNGRY!   (Though thanks to the reader who suggested that I quit the Tums… the reflux has actually gotten better since I’ve made myself stop popping them all day, and waiting until I’m desperate…)   And I’m only 31 weeks!   I’m going to get Bigger!   Heavier!   Eeek.

I’ve actually gained less weight (so far) with this one than I did with Kenny.   By 31 weeks with him, I’d gained about 25 pounds (and ended up at 30 total), but so far with this one, I’ve only gained 19.   I think the reason is two-fold.   1) I chase Kenny and Dudley all day and neither of them will let me sit still for more than 30 seconds, and 2) Kenny is a vulture, and every single timeI start to eat something, he wants half.   (Wants, as in, begs, pleads, asks so sweetly and politely I can’t refuse,  and if I do,  turns a darkly tragic hungry face, eyes welling up with tears and “I’m hungry too, Mommy!” spilling from his lips.   Never-mind that I offered him something when I was fixing my own, mere seconds before.   Also never-mind that he’s not pregnant, and doesn’t need to eat every thirty minutes like I seem to.)  

So I can eat in secret (has anyone out there actually told their toddler that they’re going to the bathroom, but really slunk into the closet to wolf down a granola bar??) or not eat at all, unless I plan on forking over the good stuff.   It has been a good way to get Kenny to eat fruits and vegetables at snack time, but unfortunately, the  rascal also ends up with M&Ms at 9 in the morning and chocolate cake before lunch.  

At any rate, the countdown is on.

And Scheming Some More

April 27th, 2008

Today I asked Casey what he thought about my hopes for the birth of this little one.   I wanted to make sure that he was “on board” so that we didn’t find ourselves at the hospital with two different game plans, should I go into labor early.   He actually trumped me one, and suggested that we consider really doing our research, get all the facts, and then re-consider the scheduled c-section.  

My next OB appointment is in two weeks, and I’m going to call tomorrow to reschedule it to a time when Casey can be there.   We’re going to put together a list of questions and concerns and seriously talk to my doctor about the possibility of having a VBAC.   He may talk us out of it, and in fact, I know that he’s not a fan of it, but I want to dig a little deeper and find out why.   From what I’ve read statistically, a VBAC is often safer than a scheduled second c-section, so I wonder why so many doctors and hospitals don’t allow or support them.   I’ve read  it’s because of malpractice scares, but it doesn’t all add up.    

Of course, if you read about anything on the internet long enough, you will be scared witless.   After two hours of reading and research tonight, I’ve decided that it’s too risky to have either a VBAC or a repeat c-section, and therefore will be keeping the baby safely in-utero until he or she is ready for college.

Please keep the comments coming on this… I’d love to hear more from you mommies out there who have been through this.   Have any of you had a successful VBAC?   Have any  of you attempted on, and had a c-section anyway?   Has anyone encountered a hospital or OB practice that won’t allow them, and do you know why?   I’m eager to hear your feedback!  

(Note: Please no super-scary stories, though, or urban legends, or tragedies that happened to someone you know… I am a fragile, hormonal  pregnant woman!)

Be Super Cool at Chulamama

April 27th, 2008

As I hit 31 weeks of pregnancy, 14 weeks of those in maternity clothes, I have come to a new  craving for anything other than Target and Motherhood Maternity.   Enter ChulaMama, the super-trendy and hip “all-in-one” maternity and baby store.

Let me note from the start that hip and trendy come with a price tag, so be forewarned that clicking on this website may entice you into spending some green.   But the clothes are so cool!   And the baby gear and furniture is adorable.   This online store (they actually have a  storefront in Salem, Massachusetts) is easy to navigate and packed with colorful pictures and distinct product details.   Many of the furniture and linens are European designs, and some of the strollers look downright futuristic.

My favorite product (which I just ordered) is the “Hooter Hiders” – a nursing cover available in several stylish fabrics, that is lightweight and breathable, yet offers full coverage.   The design allows Mommy to look down at the baby while nursing, too.   So much better than the awkward, hot  blankets that baby can kick off at any moment.   The price is $34.98, and well worth it, when you consider how many times you find yourself nursing in public.

And as a special offer, the owners of Chulamama are offering a 10% discount to MommyBlog readers!   Just enter “mommyblog” in the coupon code box, and you’re all set!   Happy Shopping!


April 26th, 2008

I will be 31 weeks on Tuesday, and already the crazed-nesting instinct it kicking in.   On Friday, my sister came over to help me go through all of Kenny’s out-grown clothes.   They were in an mess of bags and boxes, not all quite clean and not in any kind of size order.   Not only did we go through all of it, but  I separated out the  “neutral” newborn stuff and got it washed and folded and put into the baby dresser, all ready to go.   I also had several newborn outfits for both boys and girls, and those are also washed and in the “extra” drawer, ready to pull out depending on which flavor pops out in 8 weeks.   The 3 to 6 months on up are all boy clothes, but they are now neatly labeled and in under-bed storage boxes, just in case Kenny has a little brother.

I am wondering if this early insanity is a sign that the baby will come early.   Or maybe just a sign that I’m fixated on finding out just who this little person is inside who is kicking me to death.

I’ve also bought fabric to recover the bassinet, which my mom is working on for me (because she can sew anything, and I am still stuck on buttons and zippers!).   And I’ve gone through most of the baby “stuff” to figure out what I need for this one that I either got along without with Kenny, or borrowed and had to give back.   The only box left is the baby toys, which I need   to sanitize.   I don’t have a nursery to decorate… this little wiggler will be in our room in the bassinet like Kenny for at least 3 or 4 months, then will move into Kenny’s room, unless we have bought a new house by then.

I am ready.

You see, I have this little crafty plan tucked into the back of my uterus.   I am not-at-all secretly hoping to go into labor on my own at 37 or 38 weeks, and have this baby the good old natural way.   No drugs, no whisking me off to surgery.   I had planned on having Kenny naturally, but it didn’t happen.   I know that there’s no “second rate” birth story, but I would really love the opportunity to give this one the old college try.   I hate the idea of getting cut open again; of the long recovery and trying to take care of Kenny and the new one.   My awesome OB is going on vacation the two weeks before my scheduled c-section, and I figure that if I can go into labor while he is away, I can do it.

Crazy?   It’s not like I’m going to start jumping on trampolines at 36 weeks, or drinking raspberry leaf tea by the gallon, or obsessively massaging my achilles tendon or anything.   I’m just thinking that it would be nice.   Am I crazy??

Out of the Mouth of Babes…

April 24th, 2008

Kenny sings to himself all the time.   It’s usually a Veggie Tales song or a Boz song or something from his Rolly Pollie class.   I’m talking “This Little Light of Mine” or “Circle, Triangle, Square” or “The More We Get Together.”     Sweet stuff.   That changed today.

While I was getting dressed this morning, I heard him singing to his stuffed animals in his room, and I tip toed around the corner to listen in, not wanting him to see me.   I expected, “Jesus Love the Little Children” or “The B-I-B-L-E” to be drifting through the air.   Instead, I hear his tiny little boy voice sing softly, “If you’re doe-in’ frew hell, keep on doe-in, don’t doe back, if yer scared don’ show it…”  

I have written many times over the last two years about Kenny’s  affection for  Rodney Atkins’ music.   (He actually just went through a  three month phase where he didn’t want to listen to it, but just this week, he heard one of the singles on the radio, and requested it in the car.   It’s been playing ever since.   THANK GOODNESS because that  three month Rodney-hiatus involved an obsession with this random “Go Diego Go” cd that was absolutely mind-boggling torture for me.)

The title song  on the CD, “Goin’ Through  Hell”  was the first of Rodney’s singles to be released,  and one that Kenny  (and I) especially like to crank up when we’re driving in the car.   It’s a great, catchy tune with really clever lyrics.     And why did it never occur to me that the two-and-a-half year old who knows every word to “I’ve Got Peace Like a River” would not also catch every single word to “Goin’ Through Hell?”   And that’s not all…

Fast forward to dinner time, and Kenny asked me to put in the “Dancing CD” so that he could cut a rug while I cut vegetables.   I obligingly popped in Abba Gold, and he was off like a firecracker, running exuberantly around the living room, jumping up and down and giggling.   I even took a chopping block break to dance with him for a few numbers, and we giggled ourselves silly.   After dinner, as he headed to the bath, he starts singing, “Dancing Queen” (although it came out more like “Dancing Tween”).  

Oh boy.   I can’t wait till he starts belting out these new tunes in Sunday School…

Welcome Spring

April 23rd, 2008

Today was one of the glorious days on the Chesapeake Bay when you know that winter has quit for good, and that Spring is really here; our Heron  returned for the first time since October!   It was the cause of much excitement from all involved:   Kenny ran shouting out the back door, “Look!   The HERON is HERE!”   Dudley ran so fast down the dock that I was sure we were going to have to fish him out with a net.   And I actually got choked up as I looked out at him, standing so regally on the piling (at least until Dudley came at him like a mad cheetah), then flew casually away across the cove.   Spring at last…

It’s amazing how different a day is when you have all the windows open, and instead of being confined to scramble for things to do all day, you have all the outdoors at your disposal.   Today Kenny and I went for a long walk, even stopping at the common area in our neighborhood to pick dandelions and blow the fuzzies into the wind, played t-ball, waded in the still-very-cold creek (Dudley even ventured out for a mini-swim), watered flowers with the garden hose and ate lunch on the porch.   At dinner time, the grill was fired up, and Casey, Kenny, Dudley and I sat on the deck in the still-bright sunlight and had a leisurely dinner, which concluded in a one-man-show by Kenny, who danced himself silly.   Cabin Fever be gone!

Book Review: The Bright Side of Disaster

April 21st, 2008

The Bright Side of Disaster,by Katherine Center, published by Ballantine Books, 2008

Opening the cover of The Bright Side of Disaster, by Katherine Center is like answering a phone call from your best friend; you don’t necessarily intend to spend half the night gabbing, but the more you hear, the harder it is to hang up.

Enter Jenny, engaged to Mr. No-Where-Near-Wonderful, and unexpectedly pregnant.   She is exuberant about her pregnancy — following all the “rules” and going so organically natural that any epidural junkie out there will be left chuckling and shaking her head.   Unfortunately, her fiance is starting to panic and leaves her one night on a cigarette run and never comes back.     So the girl who almost settled for a mediocre (at best) guy finds herself wading the trenches of single motherhood with a brand new sleepless and hungry baby girl.

One of my favorite parts of the novel was Jenny’s experience giving birth.   It is a hysterical comedy of errors, and I couldn’t help but be reminded that no birthing plan is complete without the clause, “This entire memo may be declared null and void by the jerk-OB on call…”   But it is the tender, even heartbreaking, accounts of Jenny’s first few days trying to nurse, trying to forge on ahead and trying to find time to sleep that really captures the heart of any reader that’s had a baby of their own.   I almost felt blurry-eyed myself remembering those nights of nursing every two hours, changing diapers in the dark, eating anything I could reach with one hand and answering the door forgetting that my shirt was still unbuttoned, nursing bra flapping in the breeze…

It turns out that Jenny doesn’t have to survive completely on her own: her feisty Texas Mama, new friends from her mommy group and a friendship with a handsome handyman neighbor pull her through with a series of antics and advice that make you laugh out loud.   And just when you think you you’ve got the ending all figured out, Jenny’s precarious contentment gets a blindsiding.

Center writes a cast of characters that are honest and real; they are people you know, you relate to and you believe in.   You find yourself rooting for the good guys and cringing over the bad.   The quirks and plot twists are slices of real life that you don’t find in most novels of this genre.   (And when I say “genre,” I mean that though this book has been categorized as “chick-lit” and “mommy-lit” I get the feeling that  this one  has the power to cross that border and appeal to a much wider audience.)  Katherine Center has more than her fair share of talent up her sleeve, and  The Bright Side of Disaster will leave you charmed and wishing there were just a few more chapters to this engaging tale.

Children’s Book Review: Sikulu & Harambe

April 20th, 2008

Most of the books I reivew on this website are sent to me by publishers and authors; I read them through, let Kenny flip through them (if they’re children’s books) and pass them on to friends for their comments.   But recently, I received an interesting request from the author of a soon-to-be published children’s book, asking if I would review his book online, as he was looking for press before the book’s actual release.   As much as I spend time online, reading a book online didn’t jazz me at first, but boy am I glad that I did!

Kunle Oguneye is the author of Sikulu & Harambe by the Zambezi River: An African Version of the Good Samaritan Story.   This vivid picture book, for children ages 3 through 8 not only introduces young readers to a beautiful  African folktale, but offers a glossary of new terms included in the book and actual facts about the Zambian culture.  

Sikulu & Harambe are a spider and a hippo who learn the value of overcoming their own fears to help others.   When an elderly woman washing clothes in the river needs help, they go out of their way to come to their aid, in spite of the fact that they have to overcome obstacles to do it.   With colorful and humorous illustrations and unusual characters and names, this new book is sure to capture young imaginations as it transports them to a world so different from their own.

Though not yet available in print, you can read it online now and even reserve a copy.   If your kids are like mine, and love to sit and see what’s on the computer, why not give them a surprise and read them a book online?

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