Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Aiming Issues: Advice Needed!

I have given out a lot of parenting tips/advice on this blog. I try to share any information that I have, that may make parenting a bit easier on others. Now I'm asking for help! My son will be three in a few weeks, has been potty trained for about 8 or 9 months, and will be starting preschool in September. Here is my problem: We can not, no matter what we try, get him to hold his penis when he pees. He likes to stand and pee, but he has a strong stream to which his Papa D compared to an unmanned fireman's hose. We have tried everything, any advice we have been given, we have used. No luck!

Here are the things we have tried:
Bribery of toys and a backpack for school
Cheerios for aiming
Leaning over the toilet
Treats (m&ms are his favorite)
Discussing how he will need to do it himself in preschool
Threatening (he just laughed at us)
Making him clean the mess
Practicing outside-he loves to pee outside (treat), but still refused to aim

Finally, after a month of cleaning the bathroom top-to-bottom after every bathroom break, I decided that he is not ready to stand and pee. We started having him sit on the toilet, but once again his stream could not be contained! He still peed everywhere, even with a kid's toilet seat with a pee shield (this just made the pee splatter and spray his way). A couple days ago, I started having him sit on the regular toilet seat and just point himself down. This worked.....for a while.
Then today, he was sitting on the toilet, started to pee before aiming, and the pee went everywhere! It sprayed him, the shower, the wall behind the toilet, and flooded the floor. This time he tried to get it under control, but the stream went in-between the toilet seat and the toilet bowl. Once again, I cleaned the bathroom top to bottom.
I now have a 2 month old and cleaning the bathroom several times a day is not really feasible. I'm looking for any advice, any tips or tricks that have worked for others. I'm at a loss, and am worried about how things will go at preschool if we don't figure this out. Thanks!

What it looks/feels like to help Liam pee.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Post-Partum Weight Loss Tips

When I gained more than fifty pounds while pregnant with my oldest son, I was shocked and felt as though I had lost a horrible battle. It’s bad enough that you have to look huge for months on end before the baby is born, but it is salt in the wounds when the baby is out and you still look pregnant months later. This was my experience the first time around. When I look back on pictures of myself three (or more) months after welcoming Liam, it makes me sad.

Three months after Liam was born, I attended a bridal shower for a friend and the pictures show someone who looks as though they could be five or six months along. What a horrendous memory! I still wonder how I let myself go in the first place, how and why, did I choose to ignore it even months later? This time I was far more careful both during and after my pregnancy, and the extra effort has really paid off.

Here are my tips for getting your shape back after pregnancy:

*Don’t Gain It In the First Place: During my first pregnancy, I ate what I felt like and more than I should have. I also didn’t take the time to be active. This resulted in more than fifty pounds and an exhausted woman. This time, I watched what I ate, how much I ate, and made sure that I was as active as I could be. This resulted in less than 30 pounds of weight gain for my second pregnancy. Having a two year old to chase, definitely helped with the activity part of this plan.

*Nurse: If you are up for it and have the ability, nursing is a great way to lose those extra pounds. I nursed with my first son as well, which was a key factor in eventually losing the weight I gained with that pregnancy. Nursing burns a great deal of calories and is a wonderful way to get started on your weight loss during those weeks where exercise is not an option.

*Drink a lot of Water: Staying hydrated is important for many reasons: it will be extremely helpful in keeping your milk supply up and running, it will help with bowel movements (See What No One Tells You about Post-Partum), and it helps keep you feeling satisfied.

*What to Eat: Dairy, fruits, and veggies. I have had a very snack-focused diet since having my second son. It’s difficult to find the time and energy to make a full meal. So I keep my cupboards and fridge stocked with low-fat cheese, yogurt, oranges, bananas, apples, celery, carrot sticks, and other quick, easy, healthy snacks.

*Be Prepared: This tip goes along with the last one. Think ahead and have these sort of snacks packed when you go out. If you get hungry on the run, you tend to eat things that are not helpful with weight loss. If you know you will be out for a while, pack snacks for the trip. This way you will save the money you would have spent on food, and shed the pounds. This is also helpful for the kiddos in tow. If you have snacks for them, things tend to go much smoother.

*Join a Class/Run: I have never been much of a runner until having my boys. It took a while, but after Liam was born I started running here and there. This time, when I hit the 8 week mark (when my doctor okayed me for exercise), I was ready to go. Doing one of these options not only helps you burn calories and fat, but it is also a wonderful break from mommyhood. I can't wait for my husband to get home from work every day, so that I can go for my run. It has actually turned into a calm, relaxing, quiet time, which all new mommies need.

*Get Up!: My final tip is to simply be active. If you have more than just the new baby, this is easier because you have one to chase. But even if the newborn in your arms is the only one in your home, go for walks, join mommy groups, set up play dates, do anything to get yourself off the couch or out of bed. This is helpful for two reasons: 1. If you have a reason to get dressed in the morning and people to see, it will give you more motivation to get back into shape. 2. Getting out of the house is a chore in itself, and taking the time and effort to pack up, even just one child, will burn more calories than you know. Even if you can't manage to get to the gym or go for a jog, just getting up will help you win the battle against the baby weight.

I still have some weight to lose before I reach my pre-baby size, but I'm well on my way! Good luck with your post-pregnancy weight loss. Here are a couple of pictures to show how these tips helped me to lose the baby weight.
1 week before Baby #1
1 week before Baby #2

3 months after Baby #1
9 weeks after Baby #2

Monday, March 18, 2013

Ashamed, but Not for Long

I am comfortable in my own skin and proud of who I am 99.9% of the time. There is only one situation that has ever made me feel ashamed (yet, only momentarily) of my bald head. It has only happened a handful of times, but yesterday was one of them, and this instance hit me particularly hard. I spent all night thinking about why it bothered me so much, and how to turn it around and make it something positive.

I was walking through the grocery store yesterday afternoon without my family (this situation only seems to happen when I am alone), and I heard a tiny voice behind me asking, "Why doesn't she have any hair?". The mom shushed her daughter and went along with her shopping. This alone was irritating to me, but it is a normal reaction by parents. I wish that they would take that opportunity to talk to their children about how we are all a little different, or ask me why I don't have hair so that their children can learn that talking about things that their curious about is better than staring or wondering. If they even said, "She has cancer." (which is totally wrong) it would be a more acceptable response. At least in that situation, the parents are explaining something to their children, which will in turn teach them to be tolerant and accepting of differences.

In this instance, when the little girl asked again, there was a comment added which always shakes me to the core and makes me sad. She said, "She's really scary mom!". At this point, I was tired of waiting for the mom to take advantage of the situation, and I turned around to explain things to the little one. What I turned to, was a mom pushing her cart as quickly as she could, down the aisle, with her head tucked down, whispering to her daughter. Although I didn't hear the conversation, I can guess that she was saying something along the lines of, "It's not polite to say things like that." or was scolding her for making a comment at all.

I know that she was probably trying to teach her daughter to be polite and was extremely embarrassed about the situation, but from my perspective, she was making the situation worse. She was teaching her daughter to be someone who is afraid of people who are different-someone who stares and assumes, instead of someone who is open and curious about differences.

Although the mother's response bothered me, it was the little girl's comment that stuck with me throughout the day (as comments like this usually do). I hate that my mere existence can be frightening to a child. I have spent my whole life around kids and have made making connections with them a career that I'm proud of. It is horrible to think that I could scare a child just by being near, and it's even worse to think that my only difference to them is that I lack hair on my head. I can only imagine how they will respond to people who have more obvious and distinct differences.

Although my first reaction to this situation was to be hurt and a tiny bit ashamed of who I am, those feelings are not the ones that direct me. Instead, with some reflection, I have decided that these situations will be my motivation to continue to be who I am and be proud. Until kids are exposed to people who are different, they will not learn how to be accepting. If I have to hear comments from children that are hurtful, at least I know that I am exposing them to a life lesson that they may not have gotten before. It's difficult to hear such sad comments, but they can be a platform to teach (which is right up my ally).

Friday, March 15, 2013

Why I Won’t Write: What No One Tells You about Labor/Delivery

I have written a couple of posts about the process of becoming a mommy and the things that I would have liked to know before jumping in. But there is one part of the process that I don’t think I need to write about. There are two reasons why I will never write a post about the things future mothers should know about labor and delivery.

 The first reason is that no two experiences are exactly alike. No matter what I have to say about the way that my labor and delivery experiences went, yours will go very differently. Discussing my personal experiences will do nothing to prepare another mommy for what is to come. In fact, hearing the horrific details of my labor/delivery will only scare those who read about them. This alone is a reason not to share.

The second reason to skip this part of the progression is that, if you are pregnant or even know someone who has recently given birth, you have already heard all the details. This is because mommies are proud of what they go through when bringing their children into the world, and they love to share their personal experience with anyone who will listen. I know this because I am one of them. I will share everything that I can remember about the times when my sons were born, with anyone who will listen, and I have noticed that the mommies I share my time with are just as open about what they went through.

As mommies, we are proud of how much we are willing to go through for our children, and proud of our sacrifices and scars. We wear these experiences like medals and are happy to re-live every part of it as a reminder of how amazing we are and how much we love our babies. If you are truly curious about the things that no one talks about, find a mom and ask. You should plan for a long conversation, so make sure you have a great deal of time to spare.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Letters to Irritating People

I try very hard to not be negative, but the past two weeks have resulted in a list of irritating people who I would like to send a quick note to. Here are the letters that I would like to write to these people:

 Dear Toddler Time Lady,
    Considering the fact that you run a class entitled “Toddler Time”, it may be a good idea to actually like toddlers. No, two year olds are not able to sit criss-cross-applesauce for a ten minute period while you read a picture book in a monotone voice and at a snail’s pace. No, toddlers do not remember, nor do they care, about acting out every animal in the Animal Song in the exact same way that you do. And, no I do not plan to bring my toddler to “Baby Time” so that he can sit in a corner, by himself, playing with the three blocks that you have set aside for “the siblings”, while Nolan and I sing songs and play games without him. Thank you for your time and effort.

                                                                                                                    The Mommy of the “Active Boy”

 To the Noisy Neighbor,
     I know that motorcycles are extremely cool and that you are proud of your mode of transportation. In fact, your particular motorcycle is more awesome than most. That is why I’m suggestion that you keep it out of the rainy, cold Oregon weather. Instead of running it for a half an hour before finally driving off in a disruptive fashion, it may be better to pack it away in the back of your garage until sunnier days are here. Also, I think the time of day that you choose to take it out (when my sons are napping), may actually be causing serious damage to the engine. Because I am so enamored by your motorcycle, I would love to take it off your hands. My grandmother has a beautiful farm where it could run wild and be free. Think about my offer.

                                                                                                                                    Your Friendly Neighbor
Dear Open Gym Mommy,

     Ten to eleven o’clock is Toddler Open Gym. It is not a good idea to bring your five year old, who is three times the size of the other kids. It would be a good idea; however, to actually get out of the chair you sit in and “help” your child make better choices. When a young man thinks that it is okay to push a child, that is much smaller than he is, off the mats and ramps, just because he wants them, it may be a sign that he needs some parental guidance. Also, when your child screams in the faces of others and bites them, it may mean that he needs a break. And when another parent has to step in when your son is kicking everyone within reach, I would suggest acting, at least a little, like those behaviors are not alright. These are just suggestions. I know that you will do what works for you.
                                                                 The Mom toting a 6 week old who also supervises her toddler

 To Massage Parlor Manager,
    After painstakingly carving out time away from my toddler and my nursing newborn, it was fabulous to get such an amazing massage. The best part of the experience was afterwards, when you repeatedly inquired about gaining me as a member. I understand that saying “No.” may sound a bit rude and I’m sorry you had to hear it so many times. Unfortunately, even though you were able to analyze my health insurance needs and my benefits without any information, I’m still not going to be able to make the weekly appointments that you suggest. I have to say, it was refreshing to walk out of your massage parlor feeling the same amount of stress and frustration as I walked in with. I do love having tense shoulders, a headache, and to feel as though the hour and a half that I was away from my children was a complete waste of time. Oh, and to top it all off, thank you for arguing with me about the amount owed, even after being told by the receptionist that the gift card I brought would cover everything. Walking away from your aggravated glares was a pleasure.

                                                                                                                         Your 10 o’clock Appointment