Category Archive : parenting

Keep Your Contagious Child Home Please

This week, I overheard several conversations that sent my annoyed and PMSing rant radar into overload. Some people really need help with their question filters:

1. “Congrats on being pregnant! How far along are you?” Ummmm… She wasn’t pregnant. Enough said.
2. “Whoa. What’s up with your face?” Said by one girl to another about a recent acne outbreak which she gets with her period and from working out. Not that it is anyone’s business WHY she had the acne. A polite person would never ask such a thing.

But the single most annoying conversation I overheard this week involved a mom and her sick child. This mom was blatantly bringing her child to daycare knowing that she wasn’t feeling well and blamed a 103 degree temp on teething. As I sat listening to this, cringing in horror, she actually kept talking. She was talking about how she was giving her kid ibuprofen before school so that her fever wouldn’t show up and so she could still go to work and “slide under the radar”. Next day, she apparently tried to bring the kid back to daycare. Mine, and any other daycare that follows state regulations, requires 24 hours fever free or a doctor’s note before returning to daycare (which she blatantly chose to ignore that little rule). Appointment-less, she bounded into her doctor’s office with both guns blazing, demanding a note to allow her kid back in daycare. Upon examination from the doctor and the discovery of a FULL BODY RASH (how do you miss that??) not to mention a fever still at 102 (AFTER more ibuprofen) the doctor gave her a swift NO WAY are you getting a note from me and sent her and baby home to rest. Turns out it is a case of Roseola. Highly contagious virus. She also refused to tell daycare what the diagnosis was in the case that they wouldn’t let her back in until the rash is gone because she had “work to do.” She was even chuckling about “Totally being that ‘mom’ bringing her kid into school sick” So funny is this lady! (sense my sarcasm and yoda-like commentary).

My mommy judgement alarm was blaring and it took everything I had not to interrupt this conversation and say “WTF?!!” This ranks easily up there on my anger range scale with “those moms” who think it is okay to park their oversized Escalades (still running) in the handicapped parking spots while they quickly run in to pick up their kids, because apparently they are important and do not need to park in regular spots like the rest of us. I digress.

Firstly, let me say that I get it. Being a full-time working mom is flipping hard. Finding the balance between work responsibilities and your children is not always easy. But for me, this is a no-brainer. MY CHILD COMES FIRST. I would never leave my sick, fussy, feverish child with anyone but me or my husband (she dumped her baby off with Grandma, so now poor granny is likely to get sick). I also feel as a parent that has to use a daycare for her child that it is my social responsibility to inform them exactly what my child is sick with so other parents can be aware and prepared for what their kids may be exposed to. Nothing ticks me off more than when Jack gets sick with things like croup and viral pneumonia (both uber contagious) when nothing has been announced. There is NO OTHER way he could pick that up other than through other kids at daycare- we are lucky if we have time to get him a haircut on most weekends. How insanely selfish is it to keep that information “under the radar” at the risk of exposing other kids to an extremely icky and contagious illness. So. Irresponsible. My husband and I also work as a team. When the kid gets sick, we can pretty much assume a 2-3 day stint at home. We take turns staying home and do our fair share. Yes. It totally sucks having to use limited PTO time to stay home with a sick kid. Yes. You’ll have to cancel meetings and deal with the stink eye from the childless folks. But hey, that is the reality of being a parent.

I cannot even express how much overhearing (okay… it started with overhearing and maybe turned into a little eavesdropping) this conversation totally angered me. So, I ask (beg), with the utmost respect and understanding for the working mom, please keep your contagious, sick child away from mine.

Thank you.

Wordless Wednesday: MN Twins Edition

Because I take great pleasure in the Twins beating the Yankees last night, today’s Wordless Wednesday
is in honor of the start of the baseball season as well as the Minnesota Twins. We are hoping to create Twins fans for generations to come.

Spring is Almost Here… I Think… I Hope…

Being a Minnesotan, you get a mixed bag of response when it comes to the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring. Some live for our Winters and the playground of skiing and sledding fun that mother nature provides but others (especially by this time of year) cannot wait for it to just be over.

Here are my top 10 Pros and Cons of the Spring Season.

Let’s start with the Cons: 
1. The beginning of Spring just looks kinda gross. Muddy. Dirty. Wet. Stinky. Yuck.
2. Road Spray. My car looks disgusting even 2 minutes after pulling out of the car wash.
3. Flooding. I live in the southern metro in the Twin Cities or “across the river” as it is often referred to here. The only negative about moving to this side of town is the annual spring flooding of the river. There is no escaping it. Two alternative main arteries are typically shut down leaving only the main highway which equals an additional 30 minutes (or more) of commute time that lasts for upwards of two months. It is the worst and there is no escaping it if you live “across the river”.
4. I have no idea what to dress my kid in. Is he too hot? Too cold? It is confusing.
5. Dog poop. Yup. All that dog poop we neglected to pick up out of the snow all winter long? It’s still there and now is basking in all its sloppy glory.

Runner Up Cons: The return of bugs… I hate bugs and having to consider swimsuit season being around the corner. Yikes.

Let’s end on a high note. Here are the Pros:
1. Nothing feels as good as driving with the windows down and the moonroof open.
2. Birds. Every year, on schedule, I hear this strange noise like someone threw a rock at my office window. I turn to look and see that my finch friend has returned, confused as ever, trying to fly through my window. 4 years and counting, he still hasn’t figured out there is a building there.
3. Being able to walk/run outside (without the fear of getting plowed down by crazy drivers).
4. The start of BASEBALL SEASON and watching Twins games out on our porch.
5. Happy hours on a patio. Nothing better than cool drinks in the warm sun.

Runner up pros include: my birthday (May Day!) and Mother’s Day, taking my toddler to the park and of course: MN Zoo babies!

I think it is safe for me to say that the pros of Spring’s arrival definitely outweigh the cons for me. Most importantly, I am excited to feel some warmth on my face and just get the heck out of my house. Cabin fever much?

What do you think? Happy for Spring’s arrival or sad to let Winter go?

Wordless Wednesday: Toddler Lessons

We are making sure that Jack is learning the important things…

Do you have a Wordless Wednesday post you want to share? Let’s link up! 

The In-Laws: Not a Dirty Word

While I don’t always participate in blogging prompts, I thought today’s SocialMoms prompt was an interesting one:

What are your tips on how to deal with difficult in-laws or family members? – Is it hard for you to get along with your in-laws or other family members? Has it gotten so bad that you don’t bring your kids around them any more? How do you overcome your differences for your children’s sake? Share your tips on how to make a better relationship with difficult family members.

I begin talking about this subject with a little bit of a chuckle. I married a guy with let’s face it, a pretty remarkable family. That’s not to say that I haven’t had frustrations (who hasn’t?) that I have had to work through. Most of those issues were born out of completely pure and good intentions on behalf of family. In my son’s early days, those frustrations were exacerbated because of my postpartum depression. Nobody was really “safe” with me during that time. Not friends, family, not even my husband. I spent a great deal of time ranting, raving and crying not knowing how to deal with my own issues and not being brave enough to explain them to anyone else. The only way I was able to survive it was to give myself some space. Sometimes, that meant ignoring calls or only having communication via e-mail.

Nobody really warned me about the unsolicited advice portion of parenting. How annoying it is or how it not only rears its ugly head from the ones closest to you but from perfect strangers as well. And now that I am a full-fledged mama? I confess… I dish out the advice as well where I am certain it is not wanted.

Us moms, we have to learn how to have a thick skin. We have to learn to give ourselves a break. We have to learn that we are going to do what we have to do to survive most days. Are we going to make mistakes? Yup. Are we going to hear those horrific words “I told you so,”? Yup.

I have a close relationship with my in-laws because at the end of the day, they love me and they most especially love my son. Now that Jack is older, he loves them too and can even tell them as much. It would have to take something pretty major to begrudge anyone in my family, either immediate or in-lawed, time with Jackson. No doubt, there are things that people, family or otherwise, say which make me cringe (thus, the entire inspiration for this blog). But, when it comes to family, I bite my tongue. There is no need to create drama where it doesn’t need to be. I look at these conversations as… just another perspective that I can learn from. I am fortunate that I am surrounded by families that are loving and dare I say, normal?.

With that said, Jack and I are pretty lucky to have such awesome family in our lives. So, for me, using the word “in-laws” is definitely not a dirty word, it is more like a blessing.

Wordless Wednesday: The iPhone- a Learning Tool

I receive a lot of flak from people who insist that I am damaging my poor little toddler by letting him play with an iPhone. While I could go into a whole rant about how I disagree (and I have in a past blog post), and for the record, my son is doing just fine.

I’ll show you why:

Just like flash cards, the app he was playing with includes the written word as well as a picture. Before the fruit game, he was doing numbers and letters counting to 30 and doing the ABC’s… Call me crazy but I don’t think he’s getting a mushy brain by playing these games.

Happy Wednesday!

Moms Don’t Get Sick Days

If there is anything that has been a significant change since becoming a parent, it is that there are no sick days. There is no real rest. There is no lying around with a blanket with a hot cup of tea after getting home from work. For 3 more hours after I get home from my day job, I still have to be mom. I still have to make the kiddo some dinner. I still have to chase him around the house. I confess though, I didn’t bother doing the dishes or pick up any of his toys.

I have been sick for the past couple of days. Knock down, throw down hacking my lungs out, fever, nose drainage that never seems to stop sick. With limited PTO left in my arsenal, I’ve been trudging through work. Thankfully, I can get away with never having to get up out of my chair on most days. The worst thing about working when you’re sick is passing it on to everyone else. I’m sure I’ll be getting the death stares from people soon enough when they come down with this thing.

Yesterday, my most awful day thus far of this horrific cold, I was prepping myself on my drive home for the chasing of my toddler and hoping to find the energy somewhere to deal with him. I’m not sure if deep down he understood that both his mommy and daddy didn’t feel well, but he came up to me after my dinner of Lipton soup as I was slumped down in my recliner and asked to, “Watch Elmo on mommy’s puter.” I happily obliged. My cute little man snuggled up on my lap and sang along to his favorite tunes from The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. He even gave me several random hugs. At the end of the movie he said “I’m ready for jammies,” WHA?? After jammies, we watch the last 10 minutes of Toy Story 3 and he said “I’m ready for bed.” DOUBLE WHA?? My 2 year old maniac is rarely like this. He would much rather be climbing the walls and doing somersaults off the couch. So, somehow he knew. He new that his mommy and daddy needed a break.

We have a busy weekend ahead with my brother’s wedding. I am now convincing myself that I am on the upswing and that I will have my voice back and ready to sing on Saturday. I am on my third cup of lemon honey tea and am not going to give up until this illness is gone.

Welcome to the cold and flu season folks! I would recommend keeping your distance from me for a few days…

The Week In Rant: Spooky Halloween Edition

It’s Friday! Time for The Week In Rant!  

1. Favre Wants to Play
2. Wedding Stress
3. You Won’t Let Your Daughter Play With What?

Remember when you were a little kid and you got hurt or sick but you begged and pleaded with your mom and dad to let you out to play anyway? That’s what Brett Favre reminds me of. A silly little kid who is throwing a tantrum and refusing to sit it out and just heal. I know that T-Jack as a backup isn’t the greatest idea in the world, but do we want a broken Favre on the field either?

Do you think Favre should sit this one out?  Do you wish Favre would just go away altogether?

My brother’s wedding is 8 days away. The stress is mounting. My husband and I are bickering. There is no way on God’s green earth that my 2 year old is going to actually stand still to have his picture taken (despite how uber debonair he will look in his little tuxedo), or get down the aisle for that matter. My first, last and ONLY rehearsal with the pianist is tomorrow. I feel ready, but am nervous- it has been years since I sang in front of a live (and BIG) audience like this (no, drunken karaoke doesn’t count). So, I showed up to work today, took a deep breath and decided not to sweat the small stuff. It’s not my day. It’s my brother’s. Despite the lack of communication and coordination of the wedding party logistics (which has really been driving a type-A freak like me insane), I am going to suck it up and go with the flow. No more whining. No more complaining. No more thinking this day has anything to do with me. I expected this much and more when I got married 5 years ago. The least I could do is return the favor without any bitching. 

 Do weddings stress you out? How do you overcome it?

I’ve talked a little bit about my “friend” who had a baby back in January of this year. The more we talk about our kids and how we are choosing to raise them the more I find us on opposite ends of the parenting spectrum. I’ve said a million times- there is no right way and everyone has to make the best choices for themselves from breastfeeding, to childcare (private home vs daycare center) to crying it out (and the list goes on). She made a comment the other day that floored me. She said, “The day I buy my daughter a toy vacuum cleaner or a kitchen set will be a cold day in hell.” I gave her a confused look and said, “Why?” She responded, “I don’t want her to think that those things are a woman’s job.” To which I snorted (yes, I snorted in my own self-righteous mommy moment) and said, “Well, geez. I hope my son doesn’t grow up thinking he’s a girl because he loves to help mommy and daddy by pretending to vacuum, prepare meals and mow the lawn.” I told her that I picked Jack up from school one day and him and his buddies were “cooking hamburgers”. He held up the little plastic hamburger and said, “Want one mommy?” to which I said, “Oh yes! Delicious Jackson!” Her daughter isn’t even 1 yet and she’s worrying about gender roles. Perhaps she should consider buying her something other than the color pink to wear then.

Do you have any toys that you refuse to let your children play with (other than the ones that are clearly inappropriate for their age)?

Have a fantastic (albeit chilly) weekend- bundle those little ones up! Happy Halloween! 

My Toddler Plays With an iPhone…

… and I encourage it!

I recently upgraded my phone to an iPhone 4 and little Jack of course inherited my hand-me-down 3G. I wiped it of all of my more adult-centered apps (i.e. social media, restaurant finders, etc.) and it now has his toddler-centric apps only on it as well as a few of his favorite Pixar movies.

I have heard many comments made over whether or not letting a toddler play with an iPhone is just encouraging video games at a much earlier age and “books are so much better.” I don’t disagree with either of these criticisms; however, I feel it is up to parents to monitor exactly what is on these iPhones before letting their toddlers play with them. He doesn’t have just any old games on it. He has games that teach him the alphabet, words, numbers, songs, animals… I could go on and on at how beneficial these games have been! At daycare, he doesn’t have any connection to this type of technology. He spends his days reading, playing outside at recess, doing artwork and participating in dramatic play just to name a few. When he comes home, he is physically tired and we really kind of let him make the decision when he gets home at night in terms of what he’d like to do (to an extent…). Sometimes he plays with toys, sometimes he runs wild but a lot of the time he just sits and chills with his iPhone and plays his “games” before dinner. I certainly don’t feel that he is being damaged. He maybe spends anywhere from 5-30 minutes on it at best and it certainly doesn’t serve as a babysitter. I often ask him questions about what he is playing and for the ABC’s-type apps I ask him to repeat the letters and words rather than just look at them. How does that differ from a Leapster or V-Tech learning system?

Here are some of the apps that Jack has on his iPhone:
Toddler Phone
Little People Farm
Peekaboo Wild (my kid learned to say crocodile from this app at a very early age)
Peekaboo Farm
Baby Flash Cards
Old MacDonald Farm
Animal Show
Animal Sounds
Speak, Piggy!
ABC’s & Me
iGo Potty
Toddler Zoo

I confess he probably doesn’t need this app, but he laughs at it hysterically (must be a man thing): iToot.

I get so tired of the self-righteous moms out there criticizing things like this. We are still parenting him. We choose when he plays with it, how long he plays with it and what he is exposed to on it. We make sure he is learning something. We are interactive. WE call the shots. I’m sure there is a wrong way to go about it, but I feel pretty confident that we are doing okay.

What is your opinion on toddlers and iPhones? Love ’em or ditch ’em?