Introducing Solids: 5 Easy Steps so You Don’t Lose Your Shit

So your baby is ready… or your pediatrician says your baby is ready for solid food.  If you’re a first time parent… Yay!

If you’re like me, and this ain’t your first rodeo.. not so much.

Ugh.

Starting a baby on solid food is a milestone for sure, it’s also a huge, fat, pain in the ass.  It takes babies much longer to eat solids then it does for them to drink a bottle.  They (and their little intestines) have just gotten used to processing breast-milk or formula… now lets chuck some processed vegetables or fruit into their GI tract, or, if you’re really balls-to-the-wall daring, meat.  As you can imagine, since it’s only taken anywhere from 4-6 months to get to this point, I’m sure it’s going to be a cakewalk.  Keep dreaming, John Lennon.  You will end up with something on your face, but it won’t be cake.

Step 1, Dress the part

I have loads of my friends who do Tough Mudders, Color Runs and the like.  They wear spandex and tutu’s and they are ready to get dirty and look pretty.  Here we concentrate on the former not the latter.  You are going to get dirty, pretty… not so much.  Be prepared.  Be prepared like a Wilderness Girl at the annual jamboree with Phyllis Nefler at the helm.  And I don’t mean Gucci bitches… I mean a shirt you hate and comfy pants, maybe even just underwear. But don’t forget some sneakers in case you need to make a fast getaway from a baby about to projectile vomit.  New textures can do that to a baby.  This is one of the infinite number of reasons every shirt I own is stained with something.

Step 2, Mind your Peas

Some people say cereal first, some say cereal never.  Since I’m on my third and the other 2 have no food allergies my doctor said to start him on vegetables.  On my 2nd child I thought it would be easier and more cost-effective to make my own baby food.  In the end it was neither, and I could never get the consistency right. Just another waste of time to add to the time suck.  This time around I didn’t even try that route.  We began with peas.  Who doesn’t love peas?  Let me take that back, lots of kids hate peas when they are growing up because they are green and similarly named to number 1 in the bathroom.  But babies?  Babies love peas.  Although peas are usually a hit with taste, they also look like the dirtiest food to pass from your spoon into your baby’s diaper.  And that is gross.  You’ll be in hell for the first bowel movement post peas, but they usually eat them up just fine.

Step 3, Have the proper equipment

You need the proper tools to successfully feed a baby solids.  A bib is a must (unless you have them shirtless, which I rarely ever do).  You’ll need one of those little spoons with the a plastic tip (trust me on this) and you’ll need a 5 point harness of some kind as baby is probably not able to fully sit up by himself.  Now you might even want to make sure you have a bucket or garbage can right next to you (especially if you are already pregnant again) while feeding little Johnny because watching him eat, and spit out, and re-eat the spit out, can make anyone nauseous.  If you have a really queasy stomach you might want to have Hubby do all the solid feeding and hide in the bathroom with a bottle glass of wine until it’s over.  It’s not pretty.

Step 4, Know your audience

Okay, so you’ve feed little Johnny twice and he’s done really well.  Next time you are sure to be over ambitious and schedule a meal when other people are going to watch him.  Do not do this.  I repeat, do not walk down the path to show off to the Jones’, Grandma, or even your own older children.  This will not go over well.  Unless you consider Exorcist as movie with a good ending.  Just know your role, stay in your lane and keep feeding time under wraps and during down moments until he’s been doing it for months.  Then you can try to show off.  But I can pretty much guarantee that his first time in front of an audience he will sneeze peas all over grandma, barf on older brother or just refuse anything you offer him outright (thus making a liar out of you).  And as cute as it can be to watch him eat, it’s just not worth the aggravation.

Step 5, Expect failure and deal

Solids will start off bad.  He’ll spit them out, he’ll cry, he won’t want them. But, like it says on the bottle… Lather, rinse, repeat.  Eventually, at some point in his life…. he will be a good eater.  Or at least an eater.  He’s going to get big and learn that he needs food to survive.  Hopefully he chooses something other than chicken nuggets and french fries, but lets not worry about that just yet.  Right now, it’s your job to just keep shoveling things, lots of different things, into his mouth, and take the massive time-suck that introducing solids is, and make it your bitch.

Best of luck moms! Happy Feeding!

 

 

 

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The Stay-at-Home Mom’s Guide to The Summer of George

I was a Seinfeld fan from the start.  Maybe it was the story about nothing.  Maybe it was Kramer.  Maybe it was the fact that it was so freaking scripted but it wasn’t Who’s the Boss or Cosby Show scripted.  I still can’t put my finger on the full reason for my reverence… but “The Summer of George” was my favorite episode.  Hands down.  Ever.

If you’re familiar with Seinfeld (and this episode) then you remember that George had been fired from his job with The New York Yankees.  While he’s wallowing in his sadness he discovers that he has been allotted a severance package that will last for approximately 3 months.  And that is when George decides he is going to “really do something with those 3 months.”  He’s going to read a book (from beginning to end, in that order).  He’s going to learn to play Frolf (Frisbee-golf).  This is going to be the time for George to “taste the juices and let them drip down his chin.”  Now, being the lazy bastard that he is, George doesn’t really accomplish many of his goals but every time summer rolls around, I’m so fucking jealous of George and the idea of “that” summer.

It is currently the third week of summer camp for my older kids here.  I’ve been feeling, a bit, low…. let me take that back,  the monotony of it all has made it Groundhog Day around here.

Summer is turning out to be just like Fall, Winter, and Spring.  The same.  But hotter… It’s like a shitty song on repeat and I’ve already skipped too may songs on Pandora to listen to something new.  The incessant loads of laundry and meal planning, the grocery shopping, the drop-offs, the pick-ups… there must be something else I’m supposed to be doing…

And then it hit me.

My older kids are in camp until 3:45 EVERYDAY!!  That is almost 2 hours longer then the normal school day for my Middle Monkey and my Hubby isn’t an asshole about my jobs around the house.

It’s almost like I’ve been given a severance package too… but this one is with TIME!

And around here, time is like money.

I’m really going to live.

I’m going to do all the things I don’t normally do!

I declare this… “The Stay-at-Home Mom’s Summer of George”!

Here is my Top 10 list of things to do…

10. Go see the movie Chef, during the day, with my 4 month old baby.  {Because no one takes a baby to the movies… but I have to see this}

9. Drive to the Eden “strange fruit” winery (which is over 1 hour away) and buy kiwi wine.  {Because no one takes a baby to a winery… but I have to try this}

8. Finally hit up a spinning class.  {Even though I’m petrified}

7. Put on a bathing suit and take the baby to a public pool.  {Ugh, but it has to be done}

6. Get a pedicure. {Because damn, my feet are toe-up}

5. Travel the 30 minutes to the Norman Love Confections and take the chocolate tour.  {Because chocolate}

4. Take the baby to the beach and only pack one bag and an umbrella.  {It’s harder than you think}

3. Have lunch or brunch with a friend once a week.   {Because friends and food}

2. Read a trilogy.   {From beginning to end, in that order}

1. Eat a peach, alone, without any children asking for a bite, and let the juices drip down my chin, just like George.

You Want a Piece of Me?

Everyone wants a piece of mommy.

Everyone.

This isn’t always a bad thing.  But it is an exhausting thing.  And I’m starting to wonder where their need for me ends and where my need for myself begins.  And just writing that sentence down makes me feel super guilty.  Which is really fucked up.

I’m not blaming my family.  Don’t think that for a minute.  I made the conscious choice to bring all of these little people into the world.  There were no surprises, no “oops” babies, no regrets.  But how can I still tend to all of their physical and emotional needs, while still preserving a slight sense of self, and not feel bad about it?  Considering it’s 1pm and I just realized I haven’t brushed my hair or teeth today (I know, gross) I really need to figure this out.  I did remember deodorant though, so I’ve got that going for me.

A good mommy friend of mine just opened a spinning studio.  It looks beautiful and exciting and she’s been asking me to come in and take a class.  Who am I kidding?  She’s a personal trainer, she doesn’t ask.  She’s got my number because I need a drill Sargent and I love her sweet ass for it, but I’m not gonna lie… I’m scared shitless of so many different things about this, so much so, that I’m really walking the plank with little baby steps.

Fear number 1…

I am in awful shape.  My baby is 4 months old and the only exercise I’ve done is lift a wineglass to my mouth.  I have no endurance, a sagging, three-peat, c-section belly and I’m winded after a diaper change.  What if I make a fool of myself, even more than normal?

Fear number 2…

I haven’t had great experience with spinning class.  I took a spinning class once at the local YMCA.  I was young, in shape and childless at the time.  I did the class for 10 minutes, said “Fuck this”, hopped off the bike and scrapped the shit out of my shin on the pedal.  While I hobbled from the class, bleeding, I vowed to only stick to workouts I like. Which, by the way, have turned out to be “no workouts”.

I’m amazing at not working out.  I could take the gold medal in that.

Fear number 3…

And this is the most completely ridiculous and irrational fear… What if I really, really, like it?  What if I like it so much that I have to get a sitter for my kids and actually make time for myself?  What if I actually get in shape?  Will I be able to maintain?  Will I have to make separate meals for me and the rest of my family?  Will working out cause me to miss out on things I’d normally have to sit around and bear the burden of being the only one to do them?  Can I make a plan and follow through on it when it has nothing to do with my children’s happiness but everything to do with my health?  Would that make my selfish?  I feel so strange about taking time for myself although it doesn’t make any sense when I say it aloud.

Eek!

She tells me that all I have to do is stay on the bike.

If I can stay on the bike I’ve done it.

If that’s the case I might just sit there and not pedal.

The Mother I Thought I’d be Versus The Mother I am

I always knew I’d have children.  That was just something in the cards for me.  I never thought I’d have 3… but that’s for another blog.  I remember being a teenager and talking with a friend about where we saw ourselves at 35… I said, point-blank, married with kids.  And she said she was never having kids because she’d never be able to be “the mother she wanted to be”.   At the time I thought her words were so bizarre, so strange.  How could she know the future?  You are the person who decides how you will act, what moral compass you will follow.  You dictate your future.  At 15 I was really into that whole dogma.

Now, looking back on that conversation, I’m shocked at the words of wisdom provided to me by a person who was so young.  She was TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY right on.  I am nothing like the mother I thought I would be.  That doesn’t mean that I’m not a good mom, although I do have my moments of total insanity.  But I’m not “that mom”.  That imaginary figment could never fly around here.

Mother I Thought I’d be…

My children will always be able talk to me, about anything, and I won’t judge them.

Mother I Am…

They talk to me, about anything, and I judge the ever-loving shit outta them.  I judge them so hard I’m Judge Judy.  I don’t always hand down a sentence but believe me, I judge.  And they aren’t even teenagers yet. Oy.

Mother I Thought I’d be…

My kids will always be able to pick the radio station in the car.

Mother I Am…

Fuck that.  After hearing Timber a million times I’m picking the radio station.  “When you have a car you can listen to what you want.”  {Did I just say that? My mother used to say that}

Mother I Thought I’d be…

I will actively play with my kids all the time.

Mother I am…

I can’t believe I even thought this was possible when I was younger.  Like, I actually resented my mother at times because I didn’t think she played with me enough.  And she played with me a lot!  Between the housework, the siblings, the drop-offs and the pick-ups, I’m lucky if I get to eat a meal sitting down.  Play with you?  Another game of Candy Land?  We’ve already played 5.  You must be joking.

Mother I Thought I’d be…

My children will travel.  We will see the world together.

Mother I am…

Traveling costs money.  Traveling with small children is a mind numbing siege that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy.  The last trip we took was a 2 hour car trip to a soccer tournament and I actually considered putting duct tape over the mouths of the older 2.  Travel?  I don’t fucking think so.

Mother I thought I’d be…

Each of my children will have their own personality, and I won’t let their behavior, good or bad, change how I feel about myself.

Mother I am…

Wrong, wrong, wrong.  When they accomplish something fantastic… I too, feel fantastic.  When they act like animals… I see that as a direct reflection of my parenting failures.  Just because I feel this way doesn’t make it right.   But it’s still how I feel.

No, I’m not the mother I thought I’d be.  Far from it.  I have cobwebs in my house, I’m not hip, I’m embarrassing, and I’m not always fair.  But I am here for them… 24/7, no matter what.

And I’m laughing.

And I’m trying.

 

 

The Cable Company That Has Us by The Balls

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It’s no secret that I hate Comcast.  They have monopolized the area in which I live and other than Dish we have no other choice if we want cable and internet.  Fine, fine, fine, this is a first world problem, I get that.  But I grew up with the understanding that if I want something… and I FREAKING PAY THROUGH THE NOSE for it, I should get what I pay for.

This is not the case with good ol’ Comcast.

Besides the fact that every time I write them a check I feel like a rape victim, the service is shoddy at best.  Our internet goes out at least once a day, often the OnDemand feature doesn’t work at all and don’t even get me started about the cable boxes “rebooting” out of nowhere in the middle of a show… or the service being down sporadically for the first 2 days of the world cup… the list is endless. Reminds me of that scene in European Vacation where every channel is cheese-making or snow.  I’ve had enough.

I’m starting to realize I’ve spent more time on the phone with Comcast attempting to get them to remedy the trillion situations I’ve encountered than I have actually utilizing their shit service.  A disheartening thought to say the least.  And although I love TV, I would drop Comcast in a New York minute if I didn’t have kids.  That’s why the utter shitshow I’ve encountered today really makes my blood boil.

Last month I upgraded my phone to an iPhone 5. Upon reviewing my current bill with AT&T I realized I was using less than 1GB of data a month, although I was paying for an unlimited data plan.  This didn’t make a great deal of financial sense so I let my unlimited data plan go (even though I had been Grandfathered into a plan they no longer offer) and opted for a 2GB plan (still leaving me with a less expensive monthly bill).

I do not use a lot of data on my phone. I don’t stream movies or watch long YouTube clips. I use WordPress, FB, Twitter and Evernote. That’s why I was fucking shocked when I received a notification from AT&T today that I’ve reached 90% usage of my 2GB, AND I STILL HAVE A WEEK LEFT IN THIS BILLING CYCLE.

I called AT&T to try to figure out the drastic data usage change. I explained to the customer service guy that I’m usually home and hooked up to WiFi while using my phone. The whole thing didn’t make sense.

Unless you factor in Comcast.

The costumer service guy was able to tell me every date and time where my data usage spiked. The highest day spike was on June 4th where I used 3/4 of 1GB just in that day alone. “What happened on June 4th?” he asked. Yup. you guessed it, Comcast had an outage for the entire county that day, that lasted ALL DAY (granted it was due to an accident, which wasn’t Comcast’s fault, I’m not completely blinded by my dislike of this giant) but because of that day I was able to trace every spike in my data usage to a day where my internet was down. And those times… ARE Comcast’s fault.

I wouldn’t even be writing this right now if Comcast was better with their customer service. If every once in a while they offered a credit for outages, or shitty service, or making me hold on the phone for hours… I would be totally pacified.

But they don’t do that.

So I’m pissed.

And I’m proving to Comcast that the pen is mightier than the sword.

Rant over.

I feel better now.

 

 

 

Up Your Mass

This is a story about fate, love, perseverance, genetics… and sweet, sweet ironic bullshit.

A healthy weight and I have never been friends. When I’m super fat (and usually relatively mentally happy) the first words out of people’s mouths are… “What’s wrong?” Then consequently, at times where I’ve been freakishly thin (and mentally miserable) the first words out of people’s mouths are… yup, you guessed it, “What’s wrong?”

People are judgmental.  They are cruel, they are selfish and they usually don’t even realize what they say.  Especially when it comes to a 12-year-old girl, a 21-year-old college graduate, a 30-year-old mother of 1, or a 37-year-old mother of 3.  So I don’t even wonder why I have negative body imagine… I know, straight up know, that’s it’s because the mirror I use everyday is really the attitude of the people I surround myself with.   I’m not one of those bitches who checks her makeup (I rarely put on makeup) or whips out a compact to see if she has stuff in her teeth.  Now that I’m a bit older, I know what’s up, and surround myself with positive people, who make me feel good, more often than they make me feel bad.  Obviously, this doesn’t include my children, whom I have no choice but to cater to their needs.  That I can handle.  None of the wee ones have ever called me a “fat ass bitch”, but they’re still young.

So here’s where the story get’s ironic.

My Hubby had some hardcore dental work a couple of months ago.  I commend him for doing what needed to be done and it just makes him more of a hero in my eyes that he was in crazy pain dealing with our motley crew.  And while his teeth are fabulous now, he had about 2 weeks of bad pain (which lead to eating less) afterwards.

My husband has the metabolism of a hummingbird.  I’ve never known him (in 20 years) to weigh more than 160 pounds.  He’s actually worn the same pants size since we met, extremely opposite from how my weight has fluctuated at least 30 pounds from here to there.

That’s why when I finally noticed his weight loss I was shocked.  Like, over the top, holy shit, floored.  We were changing for an event we had to attend and I saw him shirtless… {OMG, he’s so thin… holocaust thin}.  Of course the first thoughts in my head were that his heavy workload and too many kids was just too much for him.  I felt so guilty that the man I want to spend my life with was burdened.  Ugh, and I burdened him…. It was a very scary, guilty feeling.

When I asked him about it he laughed at my fears…

“Burdened? That’s a laugh.”

I guess I have a marvelous imagination.

He explained that the weight he lost after dental surgery hadn’t come back on easily… or at all.  What kind of bullshit is this?  The dentist could wire my jaw shut for a fucking month and I still wouldn’t lose weight and here is my Hubby trying to put weight back on?  Oh hell no.

So, because I’m not about to be the fat person in this relationship and because I love my husband, I vowed to see this “weight gain thing” through… “I am going to fatten you up if it’s the last thing I do!”

Off I rush to the local vitamin/nutrition store… as I wheel the baby in with his stroller I find a sales clerk…

What do you take when you’re trying to gain weight?

{See gives my body a once over and raises an eyebrow at me}

Not me, I’m not trying to gain weight… Jeez.

I explain to her the whole long story and she sells me a protein powder that’s call… get this… “Up Your Mass”.  The name alone had me in hysterics… proving, once again, that I have the Benny Hill mentality of a 10-year-old boy.  I completely blame Mel Brooks for my sense of humor.

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It’s been 2 weeks since Hubby started with the daily “Up Your Mass” shakes along with homemade lunch (in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lunchbox) and the usual dinner.

He’s put on 2 pounds.

When the premixed protein powder makes contact with my skin I gain 2 pounds.

It’s just not fair.

I wonder how much it costs to have your jaw wired shut?

The Books

 

This morning the baby and I had to go to our local Barnes and Noble (something I don’t do nearly often enough) to get a birthday gift for my nephew. As I walked into the large building I was transported back to my childhood summers. Spent with a weekly trip to the local library because I loved to read and my parents wanted to instill the love of reading in us. Each summer they threw down the gauntlet and issued us a challenge… read 10 books over the summer and write a report on each and they would reward us with a trip to Great Adventure.

In today’s society this might not seem like a huge deal. Summer vacations are the norm now, which can sometimes cheapen the actual monstrosity that planning and executing a vacation is to parents. But for me, in my childhood, summer was spent at the beach or camp and a vacation (especially to an amusement park) was a major deal. I’m thinking that along with the Minecraft book he wants, maybe I’ll also get my little brother’s son his first Harry Potter book for his birthday. A reading-right-of-passage for sure.

As I’m standing in this bookstore I could feel that feeling…  exactly the same way as when I was a kid. All of the stories that live inside these pages, all of them at my fingertips, the choices… it’s one of the most exciting adventures you could go on. The written word is indeed powerful and storytelling is an art. The fact that someone can paint a picture with their words and allow you to step into the world they created is the ultimate fantasy. I think we all need a bit of fantasy in our lives. It helps to keep up with all the mundane bullshit. We all have things we “have” to do… a small escape can be the difference between enjoying the ride or dreading the journey.

I love technology. I love the practicality it brings to my already cluttered life. But I will never love an e-reader the way I love holding an actual book in my hands. Just feeling the pages in my fingers and the weight of its spine… No Nook could ever replace an actual book to me.

This makes me think about the summer I was 12 years old and my Mother introduced me to the Thorn Birds. I was a confused tween who felt like every adult (especially my parents) had it in for me. Reading that book, knowing how much my Mother had enjoyed it too, felt like I had been indoctrinated into a secret society. One where we had something in common other than our DNA. It was a marvelous feeling that makes me always appreciate when my Mother points me in the direction of what she thinks is a good read. I must hand it to her, she has never given me a bad book. Wurhering Heights, Anne of Green Gables, Beach Music. Mama’s got skills that rival the New York Times Bestseller list.

While all the promise of the bookstore is laying right in front of me along with the joy when I realize I actually have time to browse, I am brought back to the real world from my amazing trip down memory lane by a 19-year-old kid with dyed, jet black hair, skinny jeans and boots on in the middle of Florida summer…

“Hello… {while shaking his head}”

Um, yeah Hi. {I smile, what does this kid want?}

“Could you move your stroller? {Then mutters under his breath} Didn’t you hear me the first time?”

Oh, I’m sorry, I must have been somewhere else…

As I move my stroller out of his way he reaches over to grab a skull and crossbones patterned case for his Nook and walks off saying to his friend… “I swear, these Moms act like they own the place. Let’s go get a latte.”

Back to reality.

I doubt he knows where to find the Harry Potter.