Friday, August 4, 2017

🎢🎢🎢 Random dancing! πŸ•ΊπŸ•ΊπŸ•Ί


In case you are looking for cute dance-able music for young kids, here are two songs that are almost-guaranteed to get my kids to stop fighting/complaining/whining & start dancing!

1. The Goldfish by The Laurie Berkner Band
2. Pop See Ko by Koo Koo Kangaroo


Maybe your kids will like them, too.

Other songs are also loved by our family. But these two seem to most consistently (right now) get my boys moving and grooving. My youngest son has a whole routine (created by himself) for The Goldfish, and we like to occasionally (and usually quite randomly) call out to each other and start our round of Pop See Ko. Most significantly, if I hear grumpiness happening in my house, I can just pull up one of those songs, and get a dance party started!

This concludes this brief musical blog post. πŸ˜ƒ


Friday, June 30, 2017

Danger everywhere

Walking to a Fun Somewhere
Yesterday, my two sons and I were crossing a road. We had walked along the sidewalk to a crosswalk. I looked both ways. I held their hands. There were no cars coming. We swiftly walked across the road. Suddenly the car parked on the far side of the road, to our left, backed up. Suddenly and quickly. I stopped. I pulled the boys back. The people on the sidewalk in front of us gasped. The car stopped. I finished the final few steps and moved onto the sidewalk with my boys. I gave the driver, who was now in the far lane--having done a u-turn out of his parking spot, a dirty look. He seemed a bit shocked, maybe apologetic. (The expression may have been my imagination, but I'm 99.99945% sure the guy wasn't trying to hit us.) Many of the people on the sidewalk shook their heads and said, "He didn't even look!" I calmly told my kids that's why we hold hands when we cross the road.
I tried not to look at my sons. I had to use everything I had inside me to hold back tears, stop my body from shaking, and chase away the image of my sweet little boys so close to the bumper of a 4,000 pound monster. I was right there with them, and I still almost failed them. Everything about our lives, all parts of our world, could have changed right in that instant. And I was leading them, hand-in-hand.

It wasn't a big deal. No actual damage happened. But it was still terrifying. And after it happened, I acted like it was no big deal. Because I wanted to be brave for my brave little boys.
Today, Facebook told me I hadn't written a blog post in a while. The memory of yesterday repeated itself, and I also remembered something I wrote a while ago. So, here it is.

Any time (ok, every time) I hand over one of my sweet little boys into the care of someone else, I want to send this letter with him.

I need you to take care of him.
I've been working hard to keep this little dude alive. I've been there to catch him when he ventured so high he ran out of the strength, or the bravery, for the climb down. I've been making sure he doesn't get hit by cars, or bitten by dogs. I've been keeping his skin safe from the sun, his belly safe from dirty toys and spoiled food, and his eyes and ears safe from nightmare-inducing scenes. I've been trying, at least.
Warning: No Answers Inside
Keeping him alive really has been hard work at times. Because kids are people, with their own minds and ideas, not lumps of clay. And sometimes my little guy's brain tells him to run across a busy parking lot, or follow a stranger with a dog, or reach for shiny objects without even wondering if they could be sharp.
I know you are a trained professional. Or a loving relative. Or a trusted friend. And you will most likely do your best. Hopefully you care. I know everything will, most likely, be ok. But there are so many scary exceptions. The lunatic wild card who penetrates the force field surrounding the school. The risk with even a minor surgery that things can go very very wrong. The unwritten reasons there's a line on the playpark waiver saying the staff and company aren't responsible if my kid gets hurt or dies. DIES! No matter that rarity of each possibility, the possibilities are still there. And the accidents. The countless accidents. Even if everyone on the internet can find someone to blame, there are still accidents, maybe even some with absolutely no one at fault.
I trust you enough to hand the most precious person, the most precious anything, in my life over to your care. But I can never trust you completely. I can never trust me completely. He is more important than both of us.
Please, take care of my little boy. Please.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

You Come to My House, Into My Yard, and Do What?


You should fix...basically everything.
Someone from "TruGreen" stopped by my house and did a "free lawn evaluation." Completely unsolicited, unexpected, uninvited, etc. And a lovely checklist was left on my door telling me all (probably just some) of the things wrong with my yard. Thanks a lot.
I know landscaping and lawn care companies exist. Does anyone not realize these services are available? If my lawn is ugly, I probably already know that, too. You aren't delivering breaking news by pinpointing specific flaws.
Maybe my lawn looks great and/or I like my yard exactly the way it is. Are you trying to make me feel insecure and bully me into asking for your company's help?
You suck, and so does your grass. Luv Always, TruGreen
You have been weighed, you have been measured,
and you have been found wanting. (--A Knight's Tale)
Giving me a list in that manner causes me to hate your company. And now I am absolutely guaranteed to never ever ever call or use your company.
A card or flyer with your name and type of business would have sufficed. If I ever feel the need, and have the money, to hire a lawn company, maybe you would have gotten a call. But you won't. Instead, you get a blog post.

If I walk up to a store's beauty counter asking for a makeover, and the person there suggest ways I might be able to improve my face or my overall look-I'd be okay with that. If I'm walking around the appliance department, and an employee runs up with a checklist saying my skin is bad, I'm too fat, my hair is stringy, and my face is ugly-I'd probably punch him in the gut. (Actually, I would probably just cry because I'm more of a Gorgonite than I would like to be. But, the feeling would be there!)

Even if the things on the evaluation are all true... the delivery method of the message is still rude. So, TruGreen, think up a better way to solicit business. Here's my "Free Marketing Evaluation" of your practices: You suck.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bizarre Scolds

Don't run with scissors. Wear a coat in the snow.
Those I expected to say.
But, there are things I have found myself saying, or yelling, which I never expected.
Here are some things that have actually come out of my mouth and flown towards my children:


Don't put your eyeball in your nose!
~~~~~
No throwing potatoes!
~~~~~
Don't put that minion under your shirt!
But it's ok to pet the snake.
~~~~~
Don't put avocados in your shirt.
~~~~~
This is not a kicking place, and those are not kicking carrots.
~~~~~
Don't make her eat her hair.
~~~~~
Don't put your fork in your shoe!
 ~~~~~
Don't yell at the clouds!
 ~~~~~
Do not color your armpit!
~~~~~
You can throw the hot dogs at me, but not the buns!


I'm also weird enough to have written them down.
So, yeah.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Things People Without Children Don't Appreciate, But Should


Putting on shoes and never finding Cheerios in them

Being able to pee--any time you want--without having to figure out what to do with the kids, and then completing the task without interruption


Watching TV shows during the day that include bad words, bad deeds, bad ideas, and bad examples

Shopping without considering what will make an infant or toddler or child or pre-teen happy

Leisurely scrolling through feeds, reading emails, posting blogs, playing games

Having a clean car


Having empty space in your house


Talking on the phone without a barrage of questions and "shows" happening on your side of the call


Not being randomly tackled and smothered with hugs and kisses when you're trying to get something done

Alternative list title:
Things That Will Make Me Sad When I Notice Them After My Kids Have Grown Up

  

Monday, April 25, 2016

Self-Popping Paint Bags!

 

A BIG thank you/shout out to growingajeweledrose.com for this great idea. You can read the real directions over on that blog. This is my "I don't have cornstarch, but it's a nice day today & I want to do this now while I'm thinking about it." version.



Prep: I filled 6 plastic zipper-bags with vinegar and food coloring. I used a bunch of vinegar, and a new pack of food coloring. You can see in the photo how much was left of each color after filling the bags. I also cut some mini paper towels into quarters, filled each with baking soda, and folded them into little packets sealed shut with a dab of glue stick glue.

I put on "ok to get messy clothes," and told my sons to change from pants into shorts--no need for shirts or shoes. Then we went outside for some messy fun!


Exploding paint: We found the best method was for mommy to carefully slip a paper towel packet into a baggie, and hold the packet at the top, away from the vinegar, while sealing the bag. Then, one of the boys held onto the top of the bag, including the packet, and carried it to a spot on the ground where it was dropped. Finally came the short wait for a big pop and bubbling color spilling out!

video

 
 
Playing: After all the bags had exploded, the kids liked making footprints with the puddles of vinegar, and throwing the wet paper towels. Each boy  also enjoyed putting colorful hand prints directly onto his brother.
I often think I could be labelled "The Best Mom in the World" or "The Worst Mom in the World" for the same thing --depending on who's making the labels. Letting my kids toss vinegar and food coloring soaked paper towels at each other is one of those things



 Dried blobs: When the vinegar dried, and only colorful shapes remained, we talked about what the shapes looked like to us, and grabbed some sidewalk chalk. The yellow become a sun, and was joined by lots of other (blob-related and not-blob-related) drawings.
"Expert" Tip: Don't give your kids a kiss when you do this, or you'll end up with a mouthful of chalk and vinegar. Bleh!
 
Other than the gross kiss, this was a very fun activity!
I'm glad we wore play clothes, because it was even messier than I had anticipated, but I didn't have to tell either boy to stop so he wouldn't get messy. Messy was part of the fun!




Thanks again to Growing A Jeweled Rose for a great afternoon!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

NICU Life


(If you are pregnant right now, and like to be super-prepared, I totally understand if you are reading this to make a secondary "just in case" bag.)
Parents with babies in the NICU rarely knew they were going to be there. Sometimes the baby was born so early, the family is not even prepared to bring the child home, and they certainly weren't ready for a long stay in the hospital. There is a lot of stress and worry, frustration, and fear. There are a lot of big decisions.

But there's also a "practical" aspect to the stay. And that's something with which you can help. Even if the baby wasn't born early, a two or three night stay turning into several weeks is still a big change to any plans.
So, what can you do to help out your friend(s) who are unexpectedly in the NICU? Here are some things friends did for us (and a few things no one thought to do) to make our stay a little easier.

1. Congratulations cards
Even though this is a tough time, there's still a beautiful new baby! Some hospitals even offer free eCards you can order online which the staff will then print and deliver to the hospital room.
2. Books
Story books to read to the baby, and a book or two for the parents. I recommend lighthearted books with short stories.
3. Socks
Grown-up socks that can be worn, then thrown away. Your friends have basically moved into a place with very dirty floors.
4. Laundry detergent
If you can stay, an offer to do the laundry would be nice, too.
5. Toiletries
Toothbrushes, toothpaste, body wash, shampoo, a bath puff, a washcloth, a fluffy towel. Some people will already have taken these to the hospital, but those travel sized bottles only last so long.
6. Tiny clothes
If the baby was born very small, one or two outfits to wear in the hospital or on the way home are nice. Most baby clothing stores sell "preemie" sizes.
7. Cash
You don't need to start a fundraiser. Just some dollar bills and quarters for the vending machines and/or parking fees are very useful.
8. Snacks
Things that don't need to be refrigerated or heated are a plus. If it needs to be eaten with a utensil, include disposable utensil(s.)
9. A home cooked meal
Food may or may not be permitted in the room, so make sure the recipient gets a chance to eat it too, if you can.
10. A babysitter
Sort of. Offer to sit in the room with the baby while another visitor takes the mom and/or dad out for a walk or to eat—even if it's just around the hospital. (Or let Mom & Dad go together.) Sure, there are nurses. But it's heart wrenching to leave your baby with strangers--even good, trained, capable strangers.

Also offer the family “house help.” If parents are putting in time at the hospital, there may be older children who need a babysitter or rides, plants to be watered, grass to be mowed, pets to be fed and walked, mail and newspapers to be retrieved, etc.

In your cards and your words, be sure to mention the baby is sweet. Don't just focus on what's wrong. (And try not to use "it could be worse" as a comfort. It's a go-to thing to say, but it's really not comforting.)

Don't be a backseat driver. Offer advice if it's solicited, but don't judge or scold choices being made, and don't criticize how your friends are handling the hospital stay.

Visit. Hug your friends. Take pictures. Tell them happy things and quietly laugh together. Even if the hospital is far, or hard to get to, or has difficult and/or expensive parking—Visit. (Unless, of course, they sincerely ask you not to visit.)

Remember--your friends aren't happy to be there. And they probably don't want to think about their new baby possibly being in the hospital for a long time. They aren't a special breed of “parents of a sick baby” who have gained infinite wisdom or magically been granted superhuman strength. They are just people—people who probably thought they would be bringing home a healthy baby, but suddenly found themselves in this awful situation instead.