Tag Archives: eating

The Things I Will Say Yes To

In our little corner of the world, Daddy-o is the “fun” parent. He’s usually the chaser and the thrower, and I’m usually the one saying things like, “Don’t shake her upside down! She just ate!” or “Please calm down, it’s time for bed.” It’s not all bad. For instance, I’m often the “comfort” parent, and the one Boopsie wants to snuggle with in the morning (which is awesome unless I want to sleep in a little. Eh-hem.)

The downside of being the “bad cop”/stern parent is that I feel like I say “no” a lot. A lot. It’s not that Daddy-o doesn’t or won’t say no, it’s just that I’m usually a little more on top of what the situation is and where it’s headed. You want Froot Loops at the grocery store? No. You want to go outside in your pajamas when it’s 20 degrees? No. You want to throw the ball “10 more” and “10 more” and “10 more times” before bed? No. You want to wear just your undies at the dinner table? Okay, maybe.

Recently, however, I’ve noticed a few things I seem to always say yes to… I guess these are my parenting weaknesses?

Books. Dear lord, please don’t let me go into a bookstore with Boopsie. It will be at least $38. At least. Thank goodness she’s also a superfan of the library, because we would like to help pay for her to go to college some day.

Art projects. “Mama, can we do a craft?” I usually say yes, even if I’m trying to do something like make dinner. (Because nothing says “recipe for success” like simultaneously cooking and crafting with a three-year old. I realized this was one of my key weaknesses a couple of weeks ago when Boopsie was painting and requested that to paint her feet. Yes, her feet. And yes, I said yes.

painting her feet

Sure, why not?

I mean, what can go wrong, right?

painted preschooler feet

Who can say no to those feet?

Truthfully, it turned out okay. And I was happy I said “yes” when I wanted to say “no.”

My third “yes” has to do with food and the grocery store. No matter what the fruit or vegetable Boopsie wants, I will say yes. Jicama? Sure. Five different kinds of apples? Okay, great! I figure it must help balance the multiple “no’s” she hears in all the other areas.

What about you? What do you say “yes” to?


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Filed under creativity, Fun, mom guilt

Today/A Lesson

Today was not a great day at work.

Today, work sucked. I made an error (a dumb, frantic error). No one died or got hurt (and no one will), no money was lost and no milestones will be missed because of it. But because of the nature of my job, this error was very public. And it meant I received a follow-up phone call from an executive who was frustrated and wanting to “problem solve.” (He was very fair and solution-oriented, but it still wasn’t fun.)

By the time the end of the day rolled around (after my 5 p.m. meeting didn’t show, and the video I needed to upload failed), I wanted to crawl under a blanket and hide for a while. But Daddy-o had evening plans and we’ve got a busy week so I picked up Boopsie and took her to the grocery store. (Because I guess I wanted to flog myself a little.)

When I picked Boopsie up, I immediately realized I was going to be in for a long evening with her. She was wild and defiant. She’s spending most of the next two weeks in back-up care through my company because her day care closed for three weeks (starting last week) without warning. She was exhausted when I got to her (at nearly 6:00 p.m.) and was a scoundrel in the grocery store. By the time we drove home she was stripping off her shoes and socks in the car and whipping them at me from the back seat.

Every part of the evening was a battle. Going potty? Torture. Washing her hands? Despair? Dinner? Well that started with a meltdown and a demand for me to hold her and feed her. I was standing there, calculating my options when it hit me… I needed to drop all the crap and baggage from my day and face her with as much compassion as I could muster. She’s two. She’s exhausted. Her schedule (and therefore a big part of her world) has been completely upended. She went from a home day care to a preschool setting, with an established class of kids she doesn’t know. While she’s doing great (lots of positive reports from the teachers) she is fried. Toast. And frankly, I get it.

So I dropped my expectations for one night. I held her in my lap and spoon fed her sweet potatoes and macaroni and cheese. I stopped doing the dishes to help her draw a turtle. I brought my focus much more to her needs. And you know what? It worked. It wasn’t all smooth sailing, but I got her fed, bathed and in bed with minimal additional melt downs.

For me, this was just a good reminder that no matter where I’m at, my job is to try and meet Boopsie where she’s at. This was not the night to force issues. Hopefully tomorrow we’re both a little more rested and upbeat and she will go back to feeding herself. And going potty without a hissy fit. And she’ll make it home without throwing things at me in the car.

Until then: Amen, she’s in bed. And I’m going to have a glass of wine.

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Filed under day care, drudgery, feeding, mom guilt

168 Hours – Book Review/Discussion

Today was my first day back to work after a nice long holiday weekend.  After a tough night of a croupy tot and work-stress dreams (and the added wrinkle of an unexpected week-long day care shut-down), I stumbled into the office. By 11:00 a.m. I was so stressed out and cross-eyed from work I felt like I needed to crawl under my desk and hide. I was thinking about how out of control my work “to do” list is and that quickly bled over into how out of control my “home” and “life” lists are. I started panicking about how I would ever get it all done. Or at least most of it.

Several weeks ago I read a book by Laura Vanderkam called 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. It’s a 168hourstreatise on time –every single one of us has 168 hours in a week– and how we approach using it. I found it to be very thought-provoking, and my feelings today make me want to revisit it.

In her book, Vanderkam spends some time talking about “The Myth of The Time Crunch.” She lays out the argument that every person, no matter how “successful” they are or how innovative or how obligated, has 168 hours in every week. By defining time in this way, rather than by a single day or a full month or year, we have enough flexibility to “find” time for ourselves and enough limitations to not lose our priorities to “someday.” It comes down to attention, and intention, Vanderkam says:

While we underestimate exceptions, we overestimate other things — for instance, time devoted to small, repetitive tasks.If you pulled out your Blackberry ten times over the weekend, you might give yourself credit for several hours of work, even though each incidence took five minutes. In other words, this totaled less than one hour, even though 10 Blackberry checks will make you feel like you’re in work mode 24/7.

One of Vanderkam’s other tools, borrowed from another author and coach is the “List of 100 Dreams.” These are dreams, big and small, that she says you should use to organize your time and priorities. When I read the book I started a list of 100 dreams. Some of them are:

  • Publish a book
  • Have nice fingernails
  • Travel for 4+ weeks with Boopsie and Daddy-o… a National Parks tour
  • Go on a photo safari in Africa
  • Teach Boopsie to ride a bike
  • Learn to do a good sun salutation
  • Have an emergency fund that can cover a whole year of expenses
  • Dress up (fancy) one time per year
  • Be conversational (not necessarily fully fluent) in a foreign language

This list can evolve and change — the idea is to actively seek out and make progress toward what you want, even if what you want changes. This list, Vanderkam argues, can help you organize your time so that it feels more valuable and you get more out of it. (Because, despite how I spent the last couple of days “Be caught up on Nashville” is NOT on my list of 100 dreams. Oops.)

Vanderkam also encourages readers to figure out their core competencies — what it is they do better than anyone else —  and then ruthlessly focus on those. Cut out the things other people can do better and/or that you hate to focus on your core competencies so you can make progress with those. Refuse or shorten meetings, outsource household tasks that aren’t in your core competencies and focus effort on where you want to (and can) do your best. The discussion around core competencies made me think a lot about the “house wife” trap I’ve put myself in. I do a majority of the day-in, day-out work in our home — meal planning, groceries and prep, majority of the laundry, general life management, etc. I’m having a hard time parsing out the difference between “core competency” and “habitual control freak,” especially when it comes to food preparation and meals. It’s definitely a thought-starter. I also started to think about trying to better define my core competencies at work. I’m pretty successful there, but where should I focus?

In 168 Hours, Laura Vanderkam also talked about intention and parenting, and I appreciated the approach. “The point is to treat your children as privileged clients,” she writes. “You have to think through the time you’re going to spend together because it is valuable.” She warns that if you don’t you can fall into a couple of different traps. The trap I saw we’ve really adopted is becoming a “slave” to the weeknight pattern of dinner, bath and bed.

I have to admit — as nice and comforting as routines can be, sometimes I want to poke my eyes out when I’m trying to come up with a fast, feasible dinner for the three of us. And as much as I LOVE snuggling with Boopsie, the thought of reading Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever one more time makes me want to scream. Vanderkam’s suggestion is to consciously shake things up sometimes, arguing that the occasional fast-food meal won’t kill anyone, and that the adventures, activity and good memories that can result from doing different things are overwhelmingly positive.

Bowl of cereal with berries

Cereal. It’s what’s for dinner.

This is one concept I have tried to really grab onto. Tonight, about to explode from stress and overwhelm, I threw Boopsie in the stroller and we went on a “family walk” with Daddy-o after dinner. Sure, it messed with her bed time a little, but she got to pet a dog (her favorite), see some bunnies, and we all got some fresh air and exercise. More importantly, we did something with 30 minutes between dinner and bath besides sort the mail and pick up toys. Dee-light-ful. Another time, when Daddy-o was out of town, I grabbed Boopsie from day care and made a mad dash to the Minnesota Children’s Museum, saving myself (by virtue of time) from the age-old question about what to make for dinner. That night we had cereal and fruit.

I recommend 168 Hours for anyone trying to find more time in their lives, or even those just trying to organize their thoughts around what they want. It’s non-threatening and accessible. I’ve been pushing Daddy-o to think about what’s on his “List of 100 Dreams” so we see where there’s alignment and get after shared dreams, or at least help each other start reaching some individual ones, big or small.

What do you think? What are your biggest time-management challenges? What routines are sucking you dry these days? What’s on your list of 100 dreams? (Don’t worry, I won’t hold you to anything and it’s fun to think about!)

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Filed under books, drudgery, First-World Problems

Winding down the weekend…

Daddy-o has been out of town (for work) since Thursday morning. Thursday evening I had to call in the cavalry as I got a migraine. Grampie came to the rescue and played with Boopsie while I went to bed with earplugs and a pillow over my face. Things went really well otherwise… until this morning.

This morning Boopsie drank a cup of milk and then coughed… and threw it up all over us. The rest of the day she kept saying she had to “cough” (aka barf), but didn’t. Interestingly enough, those moments seemed to happen as soon as I picked up the phone or said I needed to do something. Suspicious? I thought so.

Tonight at dinner she wouldn’t eat a thing, and talked the whole time about throwing up:

“I need da bucket.”

“Th yellow gonna come out.”

“I gonna cough again.”

I tried to play it very blase… and ended up just giving her a bath and putting her to bed, explaining (as usual) there wouldn’t be any food/milk until morning. Now she’s in there wailing for “milky.” Here’s a few recent pics to help me remember that I love being a mother. (I need the reminder right now.)

Toddler watering flowers

Watering plants in fuzzy polar bear footie pajamas, pink rain boots and her bike windbreaker.

toddler picking yellow dandelions

Picking dandelions…

Black goat with toddler running toward it

Chasing goats at the zoo… apparently Boopsie loves goats as much as I do.

There, I feel much better now. (And it helps that she’s fallen asleep.) Let’s face it, this could be worse: Daddy-o is currently stuck in an airport, where his flight is delayed three hours. Blech.

Now, say it with me… “Please don’t puke, please don’t puke, please don’t puke.”


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Filed under drudgery, firsts, Fun

Catching up…

Pfft… Where did the last month go? I’m delinquent on a whole bunch of things in my life, not the least of which is this blog. All I can say is, “Get in line, Yo.” Here are a few randoms, in the hope of making up some ground:

1) We switched Boopsie’s car seat so she faces forward in the car. NHTSA may hate us, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun, especially because she is a big-time backseat driver. She likes to yell “Stop” on the freeway, and “Go” at red lights and “[Th]at way, mama!” It makes me laugh every day.

2) In October, I’m doing this “October Unprocessed” challenge. Why? Erm….well… I mostly  want to drop my “Diet Coke every day” and my “full bag of cinnamon bears” habits. Time to clean it up. I’m on day two and eating a LOT more fruits and veggies… so far so good. (We’ll see what I’m saying in about two more days.)

3) Last week Boopsie had the stomach flu. And refused to throw up into a bucket. We went through nearly every towel we own, and I sympathy puked once. It was a bad night that made me think it’s way too early for stomach flu. And I still have PTSD from last winter’s illnesses.

4) In what can only be described as a major score, I picked up a big bag of used Duplos from a thrift store for a mere $6. I was hiding them in my trunk (very sneaky, right?) but Boopsie spotted them and yelled “My blocks! My blocks!” Christmas surprise, fail #1.

5) Cutest thing ever… EVER. Just saying.

Boopsie with Owl Backpack

My baby with her first backpack. And pink Chuck Taylors.

6) And finally, I tried to make applesauce…while doing other things. Including playing outside with Boopsie. Whoops.

Burnt apples in pan

I don’t know how I’m ever going to get the 1/4 inch of burnt apples off the bottom of that pan. But I bet it’s going to take a really long time. Boo.


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Filed under adventures, mom guilt

Toddler Olympics

As the 2012 London Olympics are starting to wind down (at least I think they are), I want to share a couple of thoughts about the daily “Toddler Olympics.” People keep telling me I look skinny, and I keep telling them it’s because I have an almost-2-year-old. It’s non-stop boogie time. Anyway, I’d like to propose some official “Toddler Olympics” events:

For parents:

  1. The too-close-to-the-street sprint – Faux toddlers (like those rabbits dogs at a racetrack chase) are set off close to a traffic hazard. Because they don’t respond to a scream of “STOP!” (just like real toddlers) the parent competitors must sprint from a location of at least 50 feet away. Regulation footwear is flip flops.
  2. Sleep deprivation contest: Do I even need to describe this? Parents complete logic and everyday tasks on little sleep. Points are given for speed and accuracy. Good luck with the stuck zipper! (hint: don’t use the sewing shears)
  3. Speed laundry-folding: No seriously, fold faster. (See below, #1)

For the tots:

  1. Mess-it-up: This is a judged event, like gymnastics. Each competitor is given 45 seconds alone in a wonderfully neat bedroom. After 45 seconds judges enter and award points for creating chaos and destruction. Bonus points are given for unfolding clothes and torn book pages.
  2. Phone-orientation: Head-to-head competition. Parents hide cell phones “out of reach” (HA!) and see which tot can find the phone fastest. Variation: Winner is first to unlock said phone and place a call (bonus points for calls to China, India or any country on the African continent).
  3. Bed-time stalling: Pure time… whine until the read another book. Winner stays up longest. This is technically a team event as it’s an immediate DQ if the parent dozes off first.

What do you think? What other events belong in the Toddler Olympics?


Filed under adventures, drudgery, sleep

You can take this business trip and shove it.

Mama’s cranky. We’re on day three of Daddy-o’s epic 10-day business trip and I’ve just about had it. Apparently, I am a crybaby and a wimp.

The last two mornings I had 8 a.m. meetings. Yesterday morning I thought it was a conference call and it wasn’t. I was the only one who wasn’t in the room…classy. This morning I made it to the meeting (after waking Boopsie from a dead sleep to get her to day care) only to learn that I didn’t need to actually be there because the topic had changed. The day didn’t get a whole lot better from there… seriously, is Mercury in retrograde or something? Maybe it’s the hair-melting heat that makes it totally un-fun to go outside. In summer. Or the IT gremlins that seem to be haunting me. (As an aside: if you are the owner of an e-mail address wouldn’t you assume that would give you rights to send e-mail from that address? Yeah, me too.)

Boopsie’s holding it together…most of the time. Tonight we tried to Skype with Daddy-o and it didn’t work because he was still mountain biking…on a mountain that didn’t have wireless. (Poor, poor Daddy-o. *sniff* Roll eyes.) The whole time I was trying to connect, Boopsie was yelling “Eh-mo! Eh-mo!” and winding up for a big fit because I made the mistake last week of showing her “I’m Elmo and I Know It.” She also only ate six bites of the pizza dinner I so tenderly provided for her (Topperstix, anyone?) and tried to run off with my debit card and my cell phone. It’s a good thing I stopped her because the last thing I need right now is an Elmo ringtone.

The punchline came tonight, though. Today we had a new water heater installed. Scratch that — today I had a new water heater installed. A water heater that I researched, called plumbers about and arranged to have installed. (I’m not just holding down the fort, I’m improving the fort, b&tch#s!) I came home early and worked from the house while the plumber installed it. It was quick and easy. Then tonight I went to take a shower and there’s no hot water in the upper level bathroom (where our bedroom is and I usually shower) or the main floor bathroom (where Boopsie bathes). There is hot water in the kitchen sink and the basement bathroom, so all is not lost….I guess. And because this is going so quick and easy, one of my parents will have to meet the plumber here again tomorrow. I can’t because I have meetings from 9-10, 10-11, 11-12, 12:30-1:30,  and 2:30-3:30. Sweeeeeeeet.

Seriously, is this week over yet?

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Filed under drudgery