Archives for category: parenting

As some may know… our six month old daughter Greta is a bit of diva when it comes to sleeping. She has demands which include having me lay with her in my arms on my left side with a bottle until she falls asleep and spills large amounts of formula all over our sheets. She then allows me to transfer her to the Fisher Price Rock n’ Play in which she sleeps for two hour intervals. The cycle repeats through out the night, unless I try to put her in the arms reach co-sleeper, in which she immediately throws her legs straight up in the air when placed on her back and wakes from a deep sleep to cry for her mother to again assume the position of falling back to sleep with her nose in my armpit.

I know it’s my own fault. And that I should have not gotten into the habit of pulling her into bed with me, letting her sleep in the rock n’ play. Blah blah blah. I followed all the rules with Nolan. He was in his crib at 2 weeks. Emmitt, was in a crib at 4 months. And here we are with Greta. She was the fussiest of babies for the first two months. I didn’t care what I had to do as long as she slept. Then I just got into the routine. And I honestly didn’t mind the snuggle time at night, because the poor girl doesn’t get enough attention during the day when I have more pressing needs like a 2 year old playing in the toilet and a 4 year old climbing up shelves.

So, I had to find a way to get her to sleep by herself in a crib (or co-sleeper with the mattress lowered like a pack n’ play). I decided I was going to sleep train her while Steve was away on business last weekend. And then I saw an article posted on facebook by a friend from high school about Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit. She raved about it and then after reading the article I thought I would give it a try. The inventor of a product was just a regular mom who was trying to improve her own child’s habits…and I love supporting the regular mom!

The suit was available at Isis for $40. And I thought, hmmmm $40 to get my kid to sleep. It’s worth it. Well, worth it if it actually works. I got her ready for a nap that afternoon by changing her diaper, putting her in a onsie and then zipping her up in the suit. She looked like the kid from a Christmas Story. (reminds me of the best description from that movie of Randy in his snowsuit “My brother looked like a tick about to pop”) I gave her a bottle. She dozed off and I gingerly put her in down in the co-sleeper, just waiting for her to flail and wake up like she always does. But. She. Didn’t. She slept for 2 hours. First time she has ever slept flat on her back. First time alone in a crib-type setting.

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When it came time for bedtime she slept from 8-10 pm then woke up screaming. I knew she wasn’t hungry because she had only eaten 2 hours ago. So, I comforted her, then made her cry it out. And then she slept until 5 am! Woot. Woot. Basically tells me that she can sleep through the night if need be, since she didn’t need to eat from 8-5. (sadly, Emmitt still wakes up between 3 – 4 am every morning looking to eat… but that is another story for another day, let’s focus on the small victories with Greta).

Since then she has slept every night in her co-sleeper. She still wakes up 1,2, sometimes 3 or 4 times a night. But, she is sleeping on her own. And I have more room in bed! Yay! Now, if we can just feberize Franny, get Emmitt to sleep through the night, have Nolan sleep past 6 am… I just might get a normal nights sleep. (honestly, I don’t think my body would know what to do with a full night’s sleep. I have completely adjusted to this routine. And I don’t feel tired?)

Alright, I am exhausted. I’m going to bed : )

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Here are some recent conversations with my kids.

For the third time in one day…
Me – “Emmitt, did you poop?”
Emmitt – “No, I no poopy.”
Me – “Are you lying?”
Emmitt – “I lyin’. Rooooarrr!”

After discussing peanut allergies while making cupcakes for a class party…
Me – “Nolan, you can’t bring your walkie talkies to preschool”
Nolan “Why, are kids ‘llergic to them?”
Me – “yes.”

Nolan wearing a pair of rosary beads around his neck
Steve – “What are you wearing?”
Nolan – “My church necklace from when Emmitt & Greta got married.” (or baptized… whatevs.)

Getting ready for bed
Me – “Emmitt lets put on your pajamas!”
Emmitt – “Daddy frowed them away.”
Me – “Are you lying?
Emmitt – “I lying… Roaarrr!”

On taco tuesday…
Nolan – “Emmitt I’ll show you how to make a taco. First you put the circle thing on a flat surface.” (love hearing new vocabulary that you wouldn’t expect from him!)

While Nolan’s favorite adjective is “soaking”, Emmitt has some new slang himself. He suddenly uses the word “Heavy” for anything that is big.

While feeding him yogurt because I don’t feel like changing his clothes one more time today…
Emmitt – “I want a heavy bite.”

During a temper tantrum at Nolan’s preschool pick up…
Emmitt – “I want a heavy cracker”
Me – “Here is a graham cracker.”
Emmitt – (throws cracker in my face) No! A HEAVY CRACKER!
Me – “This is the heaviest cracker I have.
(other parents staring)

While I was at Tedeschi’s buying a 9 volt battery for the new walkie talkies, Steve texted to say that Emmitt told him that he swallowed one of the balls to the Hungry Hungry Hippos game. When I got home I asked him…
Me – “Emmitt did you eat the red ball?”
Emmitt – “No!”
Me – “Are you lying?!”
Emmitt – “I lyin’ ROAR!”

I usually can’t stand when people write stuff like this as facebook statuses… because I secretly don’t think their kids actually say stuff that funny. But, now that my kids are getting older, it’s like every other sentence is hysterical. If anything, I am writing this stuff here so I can look back on it someday and laugh!

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An Open Letter to the Writers of Open Letters.

You don’t know me, but you know how this format goes. It starts by me saying “you don’t know me…” but then going onto describe myself, so you get to know me. I’m just a mum to three kids, with a small side business I’ll shamelessly plug because hey, if this goes viral, it couldn’t hurt sales at http://www.peggottyprints.com. I’m going to pretend this open letter is a call to action. I’m going to use this format to force upon you my righteous views. And I’ll act like I don’t want all this attention, but the essence of this very format is a like a giant red arrow pointing towards my own self profiting agenda & screams look at me! I need attention!

Heart of the matter: I am writing this open letter to ask that writers of open letters please find a new and creative way to express your views, shame your readers & call attention to issues in our current society. The open letter has become boring & cliche. I’m tired of the format! I don’t need people writing a letter and posting on facebook telling me how to live / do my job/ parent /eat / spend my money / dress .

Please make an info-graphic, it’s more current and in touch with my needs. I’d love a little flow chart that I can refer to when situations arise at the local playground and I need to know how to parent effectively.

Sincerely,
Jess

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I thought it would be an awesome idea to bring the kids to the Hingham playground this morning. I had it all planned out. I got everybody fed, dressed, and even packed lunches so we could eat there and then come right home for naps. All week we have been telling Nolan that he had to take a nap today (he hasn’t napped in a year) if he wanted to go the SHS Football game under the lights tonight. He agreed and was totally on board. I figured I should wear them out at the playground so he would actually be tired enough to nap. This sounds like a perfect plan, right? Well, the best laid plans of mice & men often go astray…

We got to the Hingham Playground and the entire lot was full. I had to pull around the loop and park on the dirt road behind the fire station. No big deal. Since we were going to walk a little longer than usual and there would probably be a temper tantrum by Emmitt when it was time to leave the playground, I thought it would be best to put Emmitt & Greta in the double stroller. Nolan unbuckled himself from his booster and ran up to the front seat and started pulling on the rearview mirror, to which I told him to stop. I got the 60 pound double stroller out of the trunk and buckled Emmitt into it. Then I walked around to the other side of the car to get Greta who was sleeping in her bucket seat in the back. As I was walking around I heard the door slam and Nolan was now out of the car waiting next to the stroller. I went to open Greta’s door and it was locked. Hmmmm, I must not have hit the unlock button when I got out. But, I already got one kid out of the car. Hmmm. Then I asked Nolan – “Did you lock the car?” And he replied “Yes” and my keys, along with Greta were both still inside. I grabbed my cell phone and called the police to come help me unlock the car and retrieve my 5 month old baby inside. Nolan was in a panic when he heard me on the phone with the police and was crying hysterically because he thought they were going to arrest him. Once, I explained they were going to talk to him about not playing with the lock and that they would help us get the door unlocked he calmed down.

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Look at Nolan’s poor face… He is thinking “what did I just do?”

The first officer on the scene was my brother-in-law’s brother-in-law… confusing? I knew him, which made it easier. Then another officer arrived. Then the fire department. They were able to shimmy the lock and get Greta out. Yay! Now it was time to get everyone over to the playground. Just as the police & fire leave, bee’s started swarming Nolan and he got stung on the back of the head. He was crying in pain and the bee was relentless. It would not get away. I picked him up and had to run with him down the road and at one point pull the bee off his face. He had never been stung before, so I was just praying he wasn’t allergic. I kept a close eye on him and he was fine. He just insisted on keeping his hood on at the playground to protect him from any other bees that my come flying his way. I think that little sting was karma. But, I probably should have been stung too for leaving my keys in the car with my kids in there.

When it was finally time to leave the playground Emmitt cried and cried the whole way home. I got everyone settled in for naps after one episode of Paw Patrol and they surprisingly all slept at the same time. (It took Emmitt an hour to fall asleep, but I won the battle of wills because I knew he needed that nap more than anyone). Just as everyone was quiet, a knock was at the door…

It was my neighbor who noticed our dog was roaming the neighborhood. I let Frances out, but forgot to put on her wireless fence collar so she took off. My neighbor couldn’t get Frances to follow her back to our house, so I would have to go find her. I wasn’t about to wake up all three kids to hall them around the block looking for the dog. I left them inside as I walked two houses away yelling “FRANNY! DO YOU WANT YOUR DINNER?!” which she can’t resist because she is food obsessed. Thankfully, she responded and came home.

And now it is 3 o’clock on a Friday and I am counting down the minutes until Steve gets home from school so the weekend can begin! Yay. As crazy as my morning was… I am still happy to be home with these kids. There is never a dull moment.

My father passed away in June after a year and a half battle with pancreatic cancer. In the couple months since his passing, we have had to get through the “firsts.” The first third of July on Peggotty, the first trip to Haddad’s, my parents anniversary… etc. One of our favorite traditions as a family is to go to the Marshfield Fair. My dad loved the fair. He loved the food, the animals, seeing his grandkids going on the rides. It didn’t matter how much money he had to throw down, he would keep paying until you won a stuffed animal or dunked the obnoxious clown. And I knew our first trip to the fair since his death was going to be hard. I got all teary eyed as I drove by the fair grounds a few days before our family planned to attend. And I worried how hard it would be for my mum to go to the fair without him, considering all the amazing memories we have made there.

When we got to the fair we followed our routine. We have to get a bowl of French Fries and eat them on benches in front of some random stage. These are no ordinary french fries. Our family calls them “dog bowl fries” because they come in what looks like a giant dog bowl. Appetizing, I know. But, we load them up with salt and vinegar, make a well of ketchup and enjoy every last one before heading out to see the rest of the fair. Here is a picture of my dad from the fair a few years ago. He’d probably kill me for posting his picture of him with a mouth full, but it sets the scene!

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Now back to last night. I am walking ahead of most of my family as we make our way to the stage area and benches. We had been at the fair no more than 5 minutes and he was all on our mind. When suddenly the song “Do You Believe in Magic?” by the Lovin’ Spoonful starts playing. And I turn around. My sisters all look at me and say “He’s here!” This song is incredibly significant for many reasons.

When I was in high school, I played AAU basketball for a team called the Bay State Magic. We were the state champions and went to the Nationals in Indianapolis. It was a huge time commitment to be on this team. We practiced 4 days a week in West Roxbury and then played tournaments all over the Northeast and beyond each weekend. And because of the commute to practice and hotel stays every weekend, my dad and I spent an insane amount of time together.

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This is me at age 15… yeah, and I definitely never said that my hobbies included computer games. They totally made that up!

Before every practice and every game, because we were the Bay State Magic, we played our theme song… which was “Do You Believe in Magic?” We must have heard that song over a 1,000 times during my AAU basketball career. It was our trademark. I think opposing teams simultaneously mocked and feared that song.

So, years later when I was planning my wedding, I had to pick out our father/daughter dance song. I wasn’t going to pick some emotional song like “Wind Beneath My Wings,” because that just wasn’t “us.” And I had the idea to surprise my dad by having our dance be to “Do You Believe in Magic?” I didn’t tell him what we were dancing to and he had to wait until the wedding. It was the perfect song for us. We spent so much time together in my high school years and that song is playing in the background of so many memories.

When it came time to dance and the first few notes played, my dad’s reaction was awesome. He leaned over and took my hand and pressed it against his forehead as he laughed. All I have is this fuzzy picture of the moment, but I loved his reaction!

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When he gained his composure we danced and smiled…

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As you can imagine, that song playing at the fair was no coincidence. It was definitely a sign from my dad. Telling us he is still here with us in spirit. He may not have been able to share a dog bowl of fries with us, but he was definitely a part of last night. And I think it was his way of saying he is glad we are keeping up the family traditions he loved so much. I have to say… I Believe in Magic!

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Did you know that I am the same age as Mama June from the TLC show Honey Boo Boo? We are both 34 years old. Although we are a lot alike in many, many ways… here are a few things that set us apart:

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Mama June in her favorite arm chair.

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Mama Jess on her favorite bench at Storyland

Mama June wears socks at all times because she has a mangled foot from a fork lift accident.

I never wear socks because I can never find matching ones due to a lack of commitment to sorting laundry.

Mama June became a grandmother at age 32.

I have yet to become a grandmother.

Mama June has an intense fear of mayonnaise.

I was kind of scared of mayonnaise for a very long time, but took a liking to it when I turned 32, the same year June became grandmother.

Mama June is very involved in the child beauty pageant community.

I’m not invloved in the beauty pageant community.

Mama June likes to cook, her recipes include things like “sketti & lemonade.”

I like to cook, but I have never made “Sketti” because I don’t like recipes that involve only the ingredients margarine and ketchup.

Mama June wore a camouflaged wedding dress with an orange sash for her commitment ceremony this year.

I wore a white dress for my wedding ceremony.

One thing we do have in common… neither one of us has ever won a beauty pageant.

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With age and children, I’ve become a bit more sentimental or should I say emotional. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always been a very sentimental person. I love to reminess about the glory days, but they didn’t get me all teary eyed like they do now. It’s probably just hormones or something, but in the last few years I’ve become a crier at the most unusual things.

 
Everyone knows that women are emotional basket cases after childbirth and I could be a hormonal  case study. After Nolan was born I cried when I would put him in his crib at night because I didn’t want him to grow up. And then one night I was up late feeding him and cried watching an episode of Hogan Knows Best. Yes, the Hulk Hogan reality show… I cried during the episode when Brooke heard her first single on the radio. Because I so was so happy for her and deep down inside knew that was probably going to be the pinnacle of her singing career, right then and there. As years went on and I found more quality television programming, I started crying at most episodes of the Kardashians.
 
Here is the weird thing… I don’t cry during the typical girl things like while watching The Notebook or because my favorite purse got ruined. (How dumb was that example? Here is how ungirly I am… I just tried to think of girly things and all I could come up with is purses. I  don’t own a purse, so I don’t even know if people cry about them? I just felt like I needed two good examples of girly crying incidents.)  Here is what I really do cry about.  I cry when watching the Little League World Series every single year. I don’t know what it is about those little kids… I just cry my eyes out whenever there is a big play like a homerun or amazing out. Same thing goes for flash mobs / lip dubs. I can’t stop myself from crying even if it is the dumbest YouTube video of a flash mob to Call Me Maybe. Oh, and Mama Steph songs. I can’t sit in the basement of the Scituate public library listening to Doogie & Finn without secretly wiping my eyes with my sleeves. The announcement of the Royal Baby’s birth… Totally shed a tear. 
 
 
The reason behind it all, is that something changes when you become a parent. The love for your child becomes the touchstone for everything you experience. Watching the little league World Series and seeing those kids accomplish something so cool, makes me think of my own kids and how I hope they accomplish whatever they put their mind to… It doesn’t have to be baseball. I’m so proud of my kids for doing the most basic of things. Like so proud that Emmitt slept thru the night and he’s almost two, proud of Greta for rolling over,  proud of Nolan being potty trained. These are the most basic of life skills… I’m proud of my kid for sleeping? Rolling? Peeing? I can’t imagine the sense of overwhelming emotion I’ll have if they  hit a home run,  graduate college or get married and have kids of their own. It is going to be insane! I might explode with pride  if  this happens… And I’ll probably cry a little bit too.
 
So, what makes you cry? 

Does anyone watch Bar Rescue? My husband and I DVR this show and then watch it after the kids go to bed (whenever we have enough energy to stay up after our kids go to bed, that is!) We have been making the mistake of not extending the recording and it seems that SPIKE tv runs on a slightly different clock than the rest of the world and we miss the last two minutes and never know the follow up details of the how the bar is doing after the big renovation! It’s so annoying. But, enough about our DVR woes… what I am here to talk about it John Taffer. The star of Bar Rescue and the nations leading expert on bars.

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This dude is two kinds of crazy. Just look at his eyes. I love when he walks into the bar to confront the owners. He acts all professional for the initial introduction and within 30 seconds he is flipping out on the owner about the unsanitary conditions. And he doesn’t back down or give them an inch. I have never seen a person win in an argument with John Taffer on this show. If he tells you to wash something, you wash something. If he tells you to take out the trash, you take out the trash. If he tells you to change your clothes, you go change your clothes. I think he would be the best wing man at my house. I would love him as back up to tell Nolan to pick up his legos, yell at Emmitt to get his diaper changed, explain to Greta she needs to go to sleep ASAP so her parents can watch another episode of Bar Rescue.

If you haven’t seen the show… I suggest you tune in.

I read a lot of blogs. And one thing I have noticed among the top mommy bloggers is the focus on fashion. It seems every mommy blog has weekly segment in which the mommy takes a picture of herself in a cute outfit. Oh, my god it is driving my crazy that I am typing mommy this many times. But, I don’t know how else to refer to these women. Back to my point… they do things like “work clothes/play clothes” “what I wore Wednesdays” “Fashion Fridays” etc. I will not be doing any fashion related posts because I buy my clothes at the local supermarket. I don’t even buy my groceries there. I just go there to buy their t-shirts because they are awesome (shout out to the Village Market). And when I really like something, I buy it in every color I can. So the posts would be really repetitive… such as “Work clothes – this is me in my navy blue long sleeve whale shirt from the Village Market. Play clothes – this is me in my green long sleeve whale shirt from the Village Market.”  Plus, I don’ t think I would be a good model for these fashion blog posts because I don’t know how to pose. When these bloggers take pictures of themselves (or have their husbands take pictures of them) they ALWAYS pose the same way… can you spot the similarities?

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They pose with their toes pointed in. I’m not sure if this makes you look more skinny? Or more innocent? Or what…  but all the bloggers are doing it. And it drives me crazy. Go to a podiatrist if this is your real stance. I am concerned that you won’t be able to chase your toddlers without tripping. 

3 kids and counting...

The only thing that is stopping me from having 20 kids like Michelle & Jim Bob Duggar is that I don’t think I have the energy to make sure that 20 kids brushed their teeth each night. Like, I can barely get myself motivated to brush my own teeth. Never mind brush 8 different sets of toddler teeth and then check in with 12 other older kids to nag/see if they brushed their teeth. And then to manage those bangs on top of it all… I don’t know how Michelle does it.