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10 Rules Toddlers Live By That Are Designed to Break Your Spirit

Someday, with any luck, my kid will read this post and thank me.

And also one day, with any luck, my kid will read this blog and thank me.

10) Once a routine has been established and you’ve both settled into it, that’s when the toddler will decide the routine is no longer valid.

9) Diaper blowouts will always be more likely to occur in the car seat than at home. This doubly applies to infants.

8) Events you schedule in advance at certain times suddenly and inexplicably become the prime napping time.
eviltoddler
7) The more tired you are, the less likely it is your toddler will go down for a nap without a fight.

6) Toddlers (and infants) have adult sized farts, adult sized poops, and generate as much laundry as twelve adults.

5) The best place for a tantrum is always in public.

4) No matter how clean your house is, they will find something gross to stick into their mouths, like dead flies or year-old-raisins from under the couch cushion.

3) They refuse to understand the concept of “no” until they’re old enough to loudly, and forcefully, repeat it themselves.

Toddler octopus

Toddler octopus

2) Sharing is caring, but toddlers are selfish little miscreants.

1) Your comfort is always, always, inversely proportional to theirs. This means they’re the most comfortable when you’re standing up and less when you’re sitting down. If you’re actually laying down, you better get used to being perfectly still and ridiculously quiet, like you’re hunting wabbits.

Don't move. The baby's sleeping.  Source: http://dailypicksandflicks.com/

Don’t move. The baby’s finally asleep.
Source: http://dailypicksandflicks.com/

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Fears With Having a Second Child

first child second child

I was talking with my OB the other day (who is so far my favorite doctor I’ve ever had, but ask me again after she delivers my kid) about how different carrying the second child is from carrying the first. I told her I felt a little guilty because this time around, I don’t even know what week of pregnancy I’m on unless I go online to find a due date calculator. She laughed and said that was normal.

“I was talking to a friend who said he noticed that his parents had tons of pictures of his older sister and barely any of him,” I further confided. “I’m really terrified that I’ll neglect the second one and she’ll grow up with some sort of complex.”

My doctor laughed. “My husband was the second child in the family and was adamant we be extra careful. We try to take pictures of number two, but the first one always manages to sneak into the picture.” I wondered if I should tell my friend that.

* * *

I grew up as an only child, so I had no idea what it was like to have a brother/sister that you loved/hated. I could only look at my friends and draw my own conclusions, such as:

For families with only two kids: if the girl is born first and then the boy is born second, they’ll both turn out really awesome. But if the boy is born first and the girl is second, then the boy will be a total weirdo but the girl will be awesome. (This one is based in part on my ex-boyfriend, who was totally lame but had an awesome younger sister, as well as my close girlfriends who had totally weird older brothers. Too bad I’m about to prove this theory wrong with my first born son and soon-to-be-born daughter!)

get along

There are also the things my friends have told me: The more kids the mom has, the dumber they get. All the smart genes get passed to the first couple of kids. (My friend who said this is the youngest of three).

And per my mom: No matter how many kids there are, the third kid is always the smartest kid. (What if there’s only two kids, mom?”)

Another friend shared this bit of wisdom, which I thought was interesting: The first child is a gift for your husband. The second child is a gift for your first child. The third child is a gift for yourself. (She summed this up by saying, “I have three kids and it’s the perfect number. One is cooking breakfast right now, the other is doing the dishes, and the youngest is folding clothes!” But two might be the perfect number for us – although I’ve learned through parenting to never say never.)

I'm almost as afraid as this kid. Almost.

I’m almost as afraid as this kid. Almost.

Then there are the many fears that have suddenly come up as I’m getting closer to my due date. Some of these anxieties are legit; others are simply because I’m batsh*t crazy. I’ll let you be the judge; here they are:

Fear #47: “what if I love one child more than another?” 

not_the_favorite

Fear #212: “what if the second one wants to sleep in bed with us too?”

expectationvsreality

But with TWO kids. One for mom, one for dad?

Fear #6: “what if they REALLY don’t get along?”

Fear #2,098: “what if she’s even harder to raise than Tiny Boss?”

Fear #874: “what if she ends up hating me?”

And the list goes on and on. I guess in the end, like all things parenting, you just do the best that you can and hope that they don’t turn out to be psychopaths. Or Miley Cyrus.

MCfunny

I’m not into slut shaming. I really am not. But I also don’t want my kid’s photos to permanently be in the spank bank of a bazillion dudes. Not that this particular picture necessarily would make it there.

How Asian Dora Got Her Groove Back (Well, Not Yet)

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“If you look at your son’s nipples and there’s no line through them you’re going to have a baby boy.” Wrong. I’ve double checked Tiny Boss’ nipples – still no lines, but I’m going to go with the ultrasound tech on this one.

“If your husband is getting fatter during your pregnancy, you’re going to have a girl.” No comment. But I don’t think he’s getting fatter. I mean, less skinny.

Out of all the pregnancy superstitions that I’ve heard regarding having a baby girl, here’s the only one that seems true: a baby girl steals her mother’s beauty.

Because lately I’ve been feeling utterly … blah. All those ridiculously cheerful pregnancy websites are totally wrong. BabyCenter has this hilarious article – from which I quote, “Believe it or not, your guy may be loving your new physique. Men tend to see the sensuality in blossoming breasts and soft curves. Plus, the sight of your pregnant form is a constant reminder of his virility.”

Pretty sure the sight of my “pregnant form” to my husband is less a constant reminder of his virility and more of the inevitable upcoming sleep deprivation.

As for me, I don’t feel sexier because of my new bustline or my hormones. My hormones generally make me feel angry, turned on, or like eating chocolate covered gummy bears, sometimes all at the same time.

BUT LEAVE THE GUMMY BEARS!

But leave the gummy bears.

The growing bustline might have made me feel sexy, except for the fact that my nipples seem to be in some sort of growth competition with my boobs and everything below my boobs is growing at a similar rate, if not faster.

The full head of hair? I cut my hair early on in pregnancy. At first I loved the ease and not going to bed with a head full of wet hair (ain’t nobody got time for a blow dryer), but now the added fullness is making me feel like Dora the Explorer.

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Just imagine an Asian Dora and that’s pretty much me.

And forget the alleged glow – my skin actually gets worse during pregnancy – I get bumps on the back of my arms, and super dry skin everywhere else. I also kind of look like Neapolitan ice cream, with my sunburned shoulders, pale midsection (I am not wearing a bikini pregnant) and tan legs from dragging Tiny Boss to water parks and beaches on my days off. Mmm, ice cream . . .

icecream

And my maternity clothes. Sigh. Can someone please tell Motherhood to stop making so many flower prints? I see them all over my maternity underwear and tops. They’re not sexy, unless you’re really into the Anne of Green Gables look. And yes, I know there are lots of nice maternity clothes, and even some sexy f*nighties, but I really don’t feel like spending five billion dollars on clothes I’ll wear for less than a year.

So what’s the plan to get my groove back? Well, tattoos and piercings are out of the question (they’re off limits during pregnancy due to the risk of disease) and I already colored my hair, something I avoided for almost two years due to my first pregnancy and breastfeeding. I think I’ll go thrifting tomorrow. Maybe I’ll find some awesome, ginormous, non-flowery, vintage print t-shirts that I can wear for the next three months. But don’t worry, I won’t be buying any secondhand f*nighties!

10 Signs You Need a Break From Your Kids

sleepy

This lack of sleep thing is catching up to me, and since I’m unable to think coherent thoughts that are longer than the span of one sentence (see? did that even make sense?), I’ve decided to do a list. So here are 10 Signs You Might Need A Break From Your Kid(s):

10) You accidentally ask for a venti “wawa” at Starbucks, because that’s what your kid calls “water.”

9) You call your spouse up solely to yell at him for something he did or didn’t do.

8) You gave up on your diet because the food you order has to be compatible for picky eaters. Ordering a sald at a restaurant for yourself feels luxurious.

7) You either miss having sex, or wish your partner would hurry up so you can fall asleep. There’s no happy medium.

6) A spa day would be awesome, but at this point you’ll settle for a haircut.

5) Driving by yourself and listening to your own music in the car as loud as you want feels like a vacation.

allbymyself

These are tears of joy, mind you.

4) You know the words to more Yo Gabba Gabba songs than on the current top charts.

3) You’ve seen more photos of “Attachment Parenting Ryan Gosling” than just of Ryan Gosling.

2) When you finally get a break from your kid(s), your first impulse is to start cleaning the house, rather than take time to pamper yourself.

stfu

1) Someone wakes your kid up from his nap and the first thing that (almost) escapes your mouth is, “I will cut you!” Yeah, I’m looking at you, neighbor with a Harley. Oh, and gardeners, UPS/FedEx, those guys with the leaf blowers, people who talk too loudly on their cell phones in public. I WILL cut you.

Yeah . . . I think I need a break.

The Case For Sleep

The Case For Sleep

As a (former) trial attorney, I’ve actually thought of some pretty compelling closing arguments that I could deliver to Tiny Boss, convincing him that the only reasonable decision, given the facts at hand, is for him to lay down, close his eyes, and drift off peacefully into an eight-hour-slumber. What I didn’t realize is that this same message needs to be said, and said again, to moms everywhere, myself included.

Sleep. I know you can come back to me with that verdict.

Hey toddler: the evidence will show that sleeping is the only reasonable thing to do.

A little background on why I’m coming up with closings on sleep for a one-year-old: tonight was the first time this week that we didn’t have to drive Tiny Boss around to get him to fall asleep for the night. My son is like a drug-resistant microbe. We’re constantly changing our methods of inducing sleep because he seems to adapt and become immune to each routine after a while.

Our latest routine is to play the “We Are Young” music video by Fun (how ironic) on the iPad and drive down straight roads with mostly green lights until Tiny Boss knocks out for the night. I don’t know what it is about this music video that makes him sleep, but the lord works in mysterious ways. By the way, if you don’t have an iPad mount for the car, I highly recommend this one, which was a gift from my dad.

As a result of our latest sleep battles, I’ve been exhausted, and I was planning on writing a lighthearted post about fatigue, stress, and motherhood, until I came across this heartbreaking story, written by Stephanie Gray in remembrance of her son Joel.

Last summer, Stephanie Gray lost her five month old son to heat stroke because she had forgotten to drop him off at day care, leaving him in his car seat instead while she went back home, where she runs her own law practice.

When I read this, my heart went out to her. I can’t imagine the pain she has gone through. Like me, Stephanie Gray is a work-from-home attorney. I completely understood where she was coming from when she said her mind was on her cases that morning and how her practice was in a complete disarray. The day of that horrible accident was the first day she would have all four of her kids out of the house. This would give her uninterrupted time to catch up on work.

I totally get it – when I have just one kid out of the house, my mind goes into a frenzy trying to figure out what I can and should get done. Alone time is the most precious commodity when you’re a mom, especially a work from home or stay at home mother.

Jeanne Sager over at The Stir wrote a really good article defending Stephanie Gray, pointing out that on the day of the accident, she would have been dropping Joel off for only his second day of daycare – meaning, this was a new routine for the family. She points out that parents depend on routines:

“When you’re a mom, especially mom of a baby, routines are everything. They keep us functioning when we’ve had so little sleep we can barely stand up. The little stuff (ahem, showering, washing the dishes), might not get done, but as long as you’ve got a routine down for the big stuff , your body can function on a sort of auto-pilot.”

This is true. But it made me think, how often do we mothers, go on autopilot? I know it’s somewhat of a necessary evil, but if we can all somehow to get some help when we need it, maybe we can avoid tragedies like Stephanie Gray’s, or even simple, stupid mistakes we all make as parents that could be avoided.

If only I looked this good sleepy. What? The 90s are making a comeback.

If only I looked this good sleepy. What? The 90s are making a comeback.

When I was a new mom, I was exhausted from breastfeeding and taking care of Tiny Boss every night. Diaper changes, feeding – these were all my tasks, and mine alone. I let my husband sleep during the night – my attorney brain convinced me that because my husband was the main breadwinner, I would let him get as much sleep as possible so he wouldn’t be tired at work.

I didn’t yet realize that 1) as a parent, he signed up for this and 2) I needed sleep as well because it’s dangerous to take care of an infant when you’re as fatigued as I was. Here’s a mommy confession: I was so tired, I dropped Tiny Boss twice because I fell asleep while holding him.

The first time, I was nursing him in bed. I don’t remember falling asleep, but the next thing I knew, Tiny Boss had rolled out of my arms and landed on the edge of our bed. Fortunately, the nightstand was there, otherwise he would have completely fallen to the floor. I’m also grateful he didn’t land face first into a blanket or a pillow, or suffocate.

The second time, I was nursing Tiny Boss on our couch. I fell asleep and woke up because my arm had also relaxed, causing Tiny Boss’ head to hit the armrest with a horrifying clunk. He cried, but fell back asleep quickly. That was the first time I had hit his head.

But I was fortunate. Beyond lucky. I swear Tiny Boss has someone watching over him because of incidents like this, and others – for example, the two times I forgot to strap down his car seat in the rental car, and who knows what else.

Now that Dad's on board, he's just as tired as me! Yay!

This is pretty much what happens every time we try to put Tiny Boss to bed. But now that my husband’s on board, he’s just as tired as me! Yay!

Now I know my limits better. Although it’s hard for me to ask for help, I try my best to do it. I still have a hard time carving out that alone time, but I’m improving. I have to do it – not just to be a safe and effective parent, but also to feel kind of like a normal person, at least from time to time.

By the way, if you still aren’t convinced about the necessity of alone time as a mother, read “What We Mean When We Say We Need A Break” by Amanda King. It’s worth your five minutes. Which you can spare, by the way.

It’s a Girl!! Now What?

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We found out yesterday at our anatomy ultrasound that we’re having a girl! It was a big day for us too, since this was the same ultrasound that showed us Tiny Boss’ cleft lip when I was carrying him two years ago. Fortunately, everything looks intact with the face and lips, although as far as birth defects go, I know we were lucky that Tiny Boss only had a cleft lip and cleft palate. If I had to choose one of the congenital birth defects, I wouldn’t choose any other one.

After the ultrasound, I started thinking what I should blog about and I’ve been coming up with . . . absolutely nothing.

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I have to admit, I’m a little freaked out by having a girl, so I’ve been dealing with mostly just the logistical side of things – baby names, the compulsion to buy pink onesies and those adorable cute flower headbands, how diaper changing is different between boys and girls.

It’s funny, because I am quite obviously female, but I feel like I am at a loss as to how to raise a daughter. How am I supposed to teach her self-respect and strength? How can I help build a positive image of herself and her body at a young age? How do I explain things like double standards and glass ceilings, or the more violent aspects of gender inequality?

At least I can start memorizing Tina Fey’s awesome “Mother’s Prayer for Her Daughter.”

Well, I guess I’m getting ahead of myself. Like with all things parenting, I’ll start by taking one step at a time. Plus, I’m sure my many friends who have daughters will offer me invaluable advice and wisdom. So for now, I’ll just celebrate and continue the name debate with my husband . . . Mina, Claire, Brynn, Avery, Erin . . .

Thank you, pregnancy brain!

maternity pants

Re-enactment. By the way, to add today’s humiliation, our neighbors walked by while my husband was taking this picture of my wet ass on the front lawn.

Pregnancy brain.

I blame you for letting me walk into a tree branch yesterday. For leaving the backdoor unlocked twice in one day. For asking the barista at Starbucks for a “venti ice wa-wa.” That’s my son’s word for water. He is speech delayed, but “wa-wa” is one of the four words the therapists give him credit for. I use it often, and I use it proudly, but I hadn’t used it in adult conversation until this week.

Totally kidding. I said it was a venti ICE WATER. Source: http://www.betcheslovethis.com/article/starbucks

Totally kidding. I said it was a venti ICE WATER. Source: http://www.betcheslovethis.com/article/starbucks

I blame you, pregnancy brain, for not closing that water bottle tightly enough today, causing it to leak slowly through my purse and onto my seat as Tiny Boss and I sat in the waiting room for his appointment.

Forty minutes of waiting means forty minutes of my pants absorbing the liquid. Did I mention I wore light maternity khakis today? I didn’t even notice anything was wrong until we headed down the hallway into another waiting area and Tiny Boss decided he was tired and refused to walk. As I turned around to pull him up off the floor, I noticed a huge wet spot across my entire left butt cheek. I hoped the other patients didn’t think that I peed my pants in my with-child state. I tried to make a big show of drying off my wet purse, but then I realized they might think I peed on my purse too. I’m just glad we weren’t at the OB/GYN.

Unrelated, or maybe this can be attributed to pregnancy brain as well – I nursed Tiny Boss today while he was naked. I’m pretty sure I caught a fart in my hand.