Motherhood Defined

June 5, 2014

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I have an inquisitive four-year-old. He wants to learn about everything. I mean everything. In full detail. Then, he wants to pretend to be whatever it is that he learned about.

Last week it was chimpanzees. For a week he was outside cracking nuts with rocks on a log.

One day, he even refused to eat anything a chimpanzee wouldn’t eat. Because he would “only pretend” to eat the bugs, by dinner time he was so famished he ate an entire steak. I guess nuts and berries weren’t quite enough for this growing boy.

Today, I was outside trimming trees and cutting back our overgrown bushes. As I stood inside our small dogwood tree, I told him I felt like a bird.

“That’s because we are birds” he said.

“We are?” I asked, “I thought we were chimpanzees.”

“Today we are birds and we have to build a nest up really high to protect us from predators” he explained.

For the next half hour he ran around cawing like a crow, yelling “Predator! Predator!”

I didn’t think much about it until he pointed to a van driving around our cul-de-sac with their window down. “Predator!” he screamed, pointing at them. I went with it. I didn’t know who they were. Nothing wrong with a little stranger danger.

After he tired of running around, he really wanted to make a nest. I told him that birds fly around and collect things like twigs, grass, and dirt to make their nests. He looked at all the trimmings on the ground from the trees I’d been cutting and asked him he could use them. Of course I told him he could.

“We are a whole family of birds.” he told me as he began to build his nest on the ground next to me. “You can be the Mama bird.”

“I like being the Mama. That’s a good idea.” I replied.

“And then you can lay the eggs and sit on them.” he continued.

“Well, what if I don’t want to sit on them?” I asked.

“You have to. Daddy doesn’t want to do it. And I don’t want to do it.” he explained. I felt like this was all the sudden becoming a gender stereotype and I didn’t like where it was heading. I wanted him to think of mothers within many roles.

“That’s not fair. I have to sit on eggs all day while you and Daddy get to go out and do fun things?” I got a little defensive.

“It is fair.” he said, matter-of-factly.

“How do you suppose?” I asked for clarification.

He looked at me, as if I were crazy and said, “Because it’s the most important job. You have to make sure the baby is safe if a predator comes.”

And with that, he defined “motherhood” in it’s purest form. My son either has a future in politics (because he knows what people want to hear) or he has a greater understanding of the world than most adults. This kid amazes me.

 

The Child Philosopher

May 14, 2014

IMG_1529When I was pregnant with my oldest and found out I was having a boy, I was terrified. I was just about as girly as you could get. I had no idea what to do with a boy. That was four-and-a-half years ago.

As I was outside with my both of my boys this morning, working in the garden, I had to wonder if I would even have a garden had I had a girl first. As sexist as it is, the only reason I started gardening was to make sure I didn’t pass my “girly” behaviors of running away from bugs onto my son. Had he been a girl, I wouldn’t have even thought about making her comfortable with bugs.

When I started my garden three years ago, I had to fight my inner demons to be out there, covered in dirt. Today, it energizes me to get my hands dirty, make the yard beautiful, and provide food for my family. It amazes me how much I have changed over the past few years all because I was given a boy and the opportunity to grow.

Maybe every parent grows exponentially with each and every child. I don’t know. I only know my own experiences. This boy opens my eyes to so much in life and makes me a better person every day. Today, as I pulled weeds and daydreamed about how great it would be to have software that could record our thoughts so the good ideas could always be recollected, he found a small hole in our fence, which backs up to a greenbelt. He decided it would be the perfect way to feed all the animals in the forest. He sat there for hours putting scraps of weeds and grass through that little hole.

He eventually tired of it and came to me and told me about his animals in his zoo. I asked where their cages were. With eyes full of wisdom, he looked at me and said, “Look around, Mommy. We are the only ones in the cage.”

And with that, I grew a little bit more.

Just to be clear, my younger son makes me grow too. With him, I grow more aware of cleaning up after myself and locking everything behind me, lest he ingest it and have to be rushed to the hospital.

I love having a dishwasher. I don’t think I would ever even consider purchasing a house without one. I am, however, beginning to wonder just how clean our dishes actually are when we use them. I’m not sure if it’s the dishwasher or the detergent, but something’s not adding up…

Here is a picture of what my mugs look like when they come straight out of the dishwasher.

cupsbefore

Now, I’ve had these cups for several years. The stains have evolved over time. Recently I’ve noticed all of my mugs have stains on them. That is when my husband told me that he had something soaking in vinegar in one of the cups and the stains came right off. I didn’t believe him. So I tested it out.

Here is my test video.

My Mug Cleaning Demo on YouTube.

It was as simple as rubbing the stains, rather gently, with white vinegar. They came right off! Here is the after picture.

cupsafter

I’m not sure I can trust my dishwasher anymore. I know this will always be in the back of my mind when I eat off anything straight from the dishwasher. Are my dishes actually clean?

So I am going to open this up to you out there in blog land… What is your favorite cleaning detergent? I think it may be time to switch mine…

A Knightly Affair

February 16, 2014

My son celebrated his 4th birthday with his friends today. I may have gone a little overboard with the party favors, but it was fun.

We took our kids to Medieval Times. Our older son instantly fell in love with everything knighthood. Even though his birthday was still two months away, he told me that he wanted a knight party with everything that knights had. I tried my best to make it happen. I searched the internet for ideas, created a Pinterest board, and got to work.

Felt tunics, stick horses, and shiny armor… I made everything a knight has. When my son saw it all, he was very excited, but he wanted to know where the “real medal armor” and “live horses” were.

Some people… you just can’t please them. ;)

Knight Party

Celebrating four years with a knight party

A Boy’s Valentine Story

February 12, 2014

One night I was searching Pinterest for cute Valentine ideas for preschoolers. There are only four kids in my son’s class, so I figured I could do something really cute for them. Then, it dawned on me… If I do a super-cute crafty valentine this year for four, what happens when he is in elementary school with 20?

No, I thought… I am not going to be in charge of making his valentines. I decided to use it as a teaching moment. I would teach him the importance of giving a gift to the people who are special in his life.

So, I told him we were going to go on an adventure, looking for gifts for anyone he thought he wanted to give a Valentine to. Fortunately,when I asked him who he wanted to give to, all the kids in his class and his teacher were named among others. Phew.

As soon as he heard the word adventure, he went into his playroom and grabbed a hat. You can’t go on an adventure without a hat. He emptied a suitcase and told me he’d fill it with the gifts he finds.

We set out on our search. He decided his gift of choice for everyone was going to be rocks. He carefully inspected stones along the way, picking through them and discarding any he deemed unworthy. Each rock he chose was selected for a specific recipient.

It only took a matter of about two minutes before he found a stick, suddenly, our world morphed. We were no longer looking for gifts. We were searching for treasure. We turned into the woods and he told me about the “bad guy” who was after the same treasure. The treasure was a special rock for his teacher. It was a “singing golden rock” and there were two of them. He fought off bad guys as we walked through the woods and we barely made it home in one piece.

As he painted his rocks for his friends, he asked me to write down his adventure. I would start a sentence and he would finish it.

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This is his story.

Bad Guys and Good Guys

The great explorer, Louis, set forth to find a pair of singing golden rocks. But, lurking in the distance was the evil Lord Cannonball! He too had his eye set on the magical stones.

Louis’s watch navigated the way. He journeyed through the dark forest, collecting stones as he went. With Lord Cannonball on his trail, Louis used his mighty stick to protect his treasures. 

Barely escaping the evil Lord Cannonball, Louis discovered the location of the Singing Golden Rocks. To his surprise, Lord Cannonball followed him! In a daring battle, the courageous Louis fought off Lord Cannonball’s army. 

He returned home, safely, and the people honored him as a hero.

The End.

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Post Baby Body

January 10, 2014

After months of back and hip pain, following the birth of my second son, my OBGYN recommended I see a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor rehabilitation and postpartum recovery. The therapist noticed I had a 2.5 finger-wide separation in my abdominal muscles (a.k.a. Diastasis Recti). She created this magical brace made of Lukeotape, pulling my muscles back together, from left to right and then right to left. It was instant pain relief. I could easily carry my children around and had no more back pain.

I was so amazed by this change that I went on Facebook and told everyone I know.

“For the past 8 months, I have had considerable back and hip pain. In short, I felt like an arthritic 90-year-old woman. I have been to several doctors and have been seeing a physical therapist for 6 months. Earlier this week I went to another physical therapist who specializes in postpartum recovery. She discovered I had a split in my abdominal muscles and she created a corset across my belly, made of therapeutic tape. It has only been two days (*knock on wood*) and I see a HUGE difference. I feel like my “old” self again. I can move with ease and even carry the 20+lbs baby around without back pain. If you are having pain post-partum, don’t wait to see if it will go away. It may be a “simple” fix.”

That first week with the tape was great. The therapist warned me that some people’s skin have a bad reaction to this tape. Mine seemed fine leaving it on for 48 hours at a time.

The second week, I was still seeing benefits from the tape. Every time I took the tape off, my back pain would return. Near the end of the week, though, it became harder and harder to remove the tape, as if it were sticking to me harder than before.

The third week, it was quite painful to remove the tape, but I saw such a great benefit from it that I grinned and bared it.

The fourth week, as soon as I put the tape on it hurt. So I didn’t leave it on very long. It had left a huge rash across my belly, that lasted the entire week.

I went back to the therapist yesterday, 5 weeks later, and my 2.5 finger gap is now down to “no more than one finger”.  So the pain was not for nothing. There was improvement! Not only has the gap become narrower, but it has also decreased in length.

The therapist told me that I could also use an ace bandage, so I tried it out today. It is working great. 

I was going to just post an update on my Facebook to my friends, but I decided this is good information to put out there on the interwebs. If you are having back/hip pain months after giving birth, find a good physical therapist in your area who specializes in postpartum recovery. You won’t be sorry.

Please do not put this tape directly on your skin. There is a white “cover-roll” that goes beneath it to protect your skin. I used the cover-roll and still had irritation. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist for full instructions!

If I were brave enough to take a picture of the nest, I would, but I'm not. So, enjoy someone else's picture

My new security system is as simple as a robin’s nest, nestled into the arborvitae outside my fence. The birds keep a careful watch, perched on the fence at all times, ready for attack. No one gets in or out without a cry for backup. If you come through my gate, you better be prepared for a bird dive.

If you know me, you probably know my fear of birds. I do not hide it well. In fact, I have a very real fear of anything that flaps and/or pecks. It’s not the birds, themselves, that I am scared of, but rather, their wings and beaks. I like looking at the little guys, I just don’t want them flying around my head and pecking my eyes out.

These particular robins chose the bush right outside of my gate to nest in. For me, the annoying part of this is that I can’t take the garbage out without being yelled and swooped at by birds. For my neighbors, their front porch has become a birdie toilet. I’m not sure which is worse.

Because little baby birds are involved, I feel out of control of the situation. I can’t blame the little creatures for wanting to protect their innocent eggs. I get it. Animals, including humans, will go through great lengths to protect their offspring. I hope these birds are strong, though. They nested next to my compost bin, which means their competition will be the friendly neighborhood bears.

As for now, I know when something is not quite right in the yard by the cry for help coming out of their little beaks. You hear that, bears? And you too, burglars… I’ve got my bird’s eye on you!

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