Sunday, December 15, 2013

Adventures in Night Sledding

So here in Chicagoland we've recently gotten a couple inches of snow.  I took My Big Guy out after the first round and we played in the backyard for a bit while My Little Guy napped.  It was fun, and he's been asking to go "sleigh" again almost every day since then.

We spent our morning riding a train to the North Pole at the Illinois Railway Museum and then getting lunch.  The upside was that everyone had a great time.  The downside was that because the kids both slept for about 45 minutes in the car they were exhausted and over-stimulated and refused to nap when we got home.

We were supposed to have our Christmas Card photo reshoot but had to cancel due to general fussiness.  I couldn't even imagine attempting to get My Big Guy to change out of his jammies, and My Little Guy was tired in addition to teething some molars.  It was a disaster.

My husband had the brilliant idea of taking them outside to let them run off whatever energy they had left and tire them out to get them to bed.  We wanted to try actually sledding with them.

Problem was that it was after dark.

Now, I don't know if you know this about me and my husband, but we are Forest Preserve rebels.  We've been warned and even ticketed on more than one occasion for being in a forest preserve after dark (or in one case, just leaving a car in a forest preserve after dark).  This was all back in our younger, wilder days.  Now that we're grown up (sort of) we try to steer clear of such crazy, dangerous illegal activities.  Especially with our kids.

Plus, here in the CH the cops have nothing to do and would relish the thought of destroying some family's fun playing after dark.

We decided to disregard all the "Park closes at dusk!" signs and bundled up and headed over to the park behind our house.  We spent a good hour climbing and sliding before My Little Guy melted down and demanded to go home.  Then My Big Guy and my husband tempted fate by going to the official CH sledding hill that is across the street from the police station and went down it.

I guess the CH cops had better things to do (perhaps someone parked in a driveway and blocked the sidewalk, or left their garage door open after dark), because we played and sledded without incident.  We had a great time and both kids crashed and slept til 9:30 this morning.  Mission accomplished.

When we got home we did some internet-ing to figure out if there is a place we can sled after dark without fear of the cops coming.  There are a couple, but damn things have changed since I was a kid.

You can sled at the lighted parks, but only on the approved devices.  No metal sleds, only plastic.  Tubes and toboggans are ok though.  (I'm assuming they allow toboggans since they closed the toboggan run years ago and there are people out there like us who now have these toboggans and nowhere to use them.  Not that I'm still bitter about losing that toboggan run.  Oh wait.  Yes I am.)

Shit like this makes me crazy.  When we were kids we'd haul our metal saucer sleds to the top of the giant, unlit hill at night and go down all Clark Griswold style.  No one cared.  No one got hurt.  No one got in trouble (in fact, my parents have been encouraging after dark sledding to avoid crowds for as long as I can remember).  We all had a blast.  The fact that it was dark and we were going fast just made it all the more fun.  Now we can't go out after dark without worrying about the cops finding us (or hell, someone calling the cops to report that we're out after dark).  And heaven forbid we bring an unapproved sled.

What I find even more upsetting about the whole thing is that I doubt there's someone from the park district there enforcing these rules, but I bet you some parent would be.  "Hey, that's a metal sled!  That's not allowed here!"

I'm fairly confident that would happen if we showed up with our super fun old school sleds.  Because that's what people are like now.  That's why My Big Guy can't walk 30 feet in front of my husband, on the sidewalk to his grandma's house without people running out of their houses to stop him.  That's why my creep-ass neighbor shows up with a martini in his hand to tell me my kid is playing nicely in his own backyard.

They think they're "helping" and they feel better about themselves for it.  But it's fucked up.  Mind your own damn business about what kind of sled my kid is on and where he's using it.  Stop concerning yourself with what my kids are up to and pay attention to your own.  I can guarantee you I will not notice or care if your kid is playing unsupervised in his own yard, or using an unapproved sled, or walking down the sidewalk by himself.

All the rules and regulations suck the fun out of stuff.  I should be able to take my kids sledding at a time I feel is appropriate for us, on a sled that I feel is safe for us, in a location that I think is right for us without fear of being ticketed.

Sometimes - ok, a lot of the time - I hate everyone.

Monday, December 9, 2013


This really has nothing to do with being a mom, or kids or anything like that, but shut up, it's my blog and I'll do what I want.


I love competition.  I love sports.  I love anything where there's a winner and a loser and I love being the winner.

It's currently 5 degrees here in Chicagoland.  With the windchill it feels like -5.  My husband is at the Bears game.  I am jealous.  I'm aware that this makes me crazy.

There's something about being there.  Even in super cold games.  ESPECIALLY in super cold games.  It's fucking cold and we're there and we're cheering for our team that we love and we are happy to be freezing our asses off doing it.  And we're all in this together.  You don't get that from your couch at home.

They announce the temperature and the crowd goes nuts.  And I love it.  It starts to snow and the crowd screams and stomps their feet and reacts like we just scored a touchdown.  And I love it.  I love every second of it.

I love being part of the crowd at a sporting event.  Hell, doesn't even have to be a Bears game (those are just the ones I go to the most).  There's something magical to me about being part of a large group of people fanatically cheering for the same thing to happen, for VICTORY.

Call me crazy, but it's emotional.  I long ago lost track of how many times I've cried at a sporting event.  I've cried in sadness over a loss, I've cried in joy over a win, I routinely cry when the crowd comes together and sings the Star Spangled Banner and cheers for America.  I love getting swept up in the emotion of it all.

I've had beer spilled on my head while celebrating a touchdown, I've hugged strangers, I've high-fived everyone within a 5 seat radius.

I love sports.  I love competition.  I love winning.

I hate losing.

I love sports because they're black and white.  I'm a Bears fan.  You're a Packers fan?  Well then how about a big 'ol FUCK YOU?  There is a score and a definitive winner and loser.  When the game is over it's over.  When your team loses that's it.  When you're out you're out.  Nothing you can do will change that.  You lost?  Deal with it.  Do better next time.

If I'm at a sporting event and my team loses I'm cranky.  I'm  in a foul mood.  It ruins my day.  It's just a game?  Fuck you.  You know nothing.  It's more than just a game.

When you love sports, when you love a team, you are emotionally invested, and invested deep.

Their wins are your wins.  Their losses are your losses.  Why the hell do you think people refer to their team as "we"?  You ARE a part of that team.  You might now be down on the field with them, but your heart is.  And it breaks when they lose and it sings when they win.

Now the Bears better fucking win tonight or I'm going to be PISSED.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

My Little Lawyer

So my husband is a lawyer.  And when I say that, I don't just mean that he goes to work and earns his living by being a lawyer - I mean that his personality and the way that he thinks is perfectly suited to being a lawyer.  Even when we first met, long before deciding what he was going to be when he grew up was something he thought about, he was a lawyer.  My MIL has story after story about him using logic, reasoning and his skill at arguing to convince people to do what he wanted as as small child.

Turns out, we're raising our own little future attorney.

My Big Guy is already using logic and reasoning to try to get us to let him do things he wants to do.

He's three.

I'm scared for my future, mostly the teenage years.

It's hard to argue with his points sometimes, and it's upsetting that at the tender age of three we've had to already abandon "because I said so" or "because I'm in charge" as a reason why he has to do something.  He needs a REAL reason to do it, or there's a fit involved.

"Can I please go play outside?"

"No, it's cold and raining."

"Don't worry, I have a jacket and boots.  I"ll be fine!"

Well.  Shit.  At least he's polite about it.

It's a funny thing because it's both a source of pride and frustration for me.

I love that he's clever enough to try to argue with me, and proud that he's confident in his reasoning (he does usually make a good point).  At the same time, as the adult, I do know best in most situations and playing outside in the dark, in the rain, when it's 37 degrees out really isn't a good plan.  Plus, let's be honest - Mommy don't wanna go out there in that to watch you buddy.

"No, I don't want to go outside, it's too cold and wet."

"Put on your jacket and boots."

"No, I don't want to go outside."

"I can go by myself!"

Ah yes.  You can play outside on the driveway in the dark by yourself.

Honestly, he could.  He's a very mature 3  years old.  He never once has tried to run away, or play in the street or do anything more dangerous than climb on the top of his Cozy Coupe.

And you know, shoot at me, the cop, with a tire pressure gauge.  Deadly weapon that tire pressure gauge.

"No, you can't go by yourself.  If you go outside your brother will want to go out there and he can't go out right now - he's a sicky!"  (it was true, My Little Guy celebrated Thanksgiving with a ear infection in both ears and general misery all around)

"Ohhhh...  Can I please go when he goes to bed?"

I mean really.  Aren't I supposed to not have to deal with this until he's like 10?

Again, at least he's polite.

Finally I just say no, and tell him too bad, that's the way it is.  Of course the giant fit ensues, but the upside to having a child like this is that I can usually coax him out of the fit using logic.

"Hey, if you're being a giant fuss you can't be a rocket pilot.  Rocket pilots aren't giant fusses..."

Guess we better start saving for Law School, huh?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Toys and Gender Roles

Obviously I have two boys. Our house is full of blocks and trucks and cars and trains. My guys are completely obsessed with anything that has wheels and/or a motor. I find it fascinating that (especially with my oldest) we did nothing to encourage this fascination, it just happened.

We parent with the mindset that all toys are for all kids - doesn't matter if it's pink (My Big Guy has a pink sippy cup that he loves and picked out himself), or blue or a doll or a train.  If my guys asked for a toy out of the girl aisle at Target that's fine, we'd totally get it for them.

I was a tomboy growing up, my favorite toys were my Matchbox Cars and my My Little Ponies.  I was lucky to have parents who let me play with whatever I wanted, and that probably helped instill in me my belief that all toys are for all kids, regardless of what gender they're designed for.

My guys have not one, but two kitchen sets (you really can't say no to a $15 kitchen, complete with food at a garage sale), and they routinely make me food and do the dishes afterward. They love it. A kitchen set might be considered a "girl toy" but fuck that noise, if my kids like it they can play with it.

Even with this attitude my guys lean more towards "boy" toys.  The cars, the trucks, the trains... That's just what they're into and that's fine.

Having boys, I never really gave thought to the subtext of toys for girls until recently.  Hell, I never even really went down the girl aisles at Target.  That stuff just isn't what my kids were into right now.

Just this week we did venture into Girl Land in search of a birthday present for a friend.  She's turning three, and is into baby dolls.  Fine, great, I can do that.

I was really surprised to see how PINK the girl aisles are. It was overwhelming really. Very different from the boy aisles which have a rainbow of colors (granted, not really pink, but still, more than one color). There also seemed to be no variety - all the toys were like purses or dolls or stuffed animals.  In the boy aisles you have trains and cars and trucks (although to a mom of girls I can see where those all might seem the same, so who knows) and action figures and blocks and guns and stuff to build and make towers or buildings.  There's an unstated message that your boys can have varied interests, whereas in the girl aisle it was pretty much pink dolls or bust.

With boys it's easy.  There's no message to a toy train.  There's no subtext. It's a train. It's choo-choo's down the track and, at least in our house, crashes off the track into a car and BOOM!

Venturing into the girl aisle I get it now.  There is subtext to girl toys. The toys are all about cooking, or being pretty, or taking care of a baby or dressing up like a princess... Don't try to create, or build, or make something - just be pretty and take care of something/someone.  If you do want to do something creative, or make something let's make a purse, or jewelry!  It's crazy to me.  I honestly had no idea because again, we're too stuck in boy world at the moment. Although perhaps we won't be for much longer...

What ended up happening with our baby doll purchase is that My Little Guy, who was with me, fell in love with the dolls.  He kept trying to love the doll and take her out of her box and he kept yelling "Baby! Baby! Baby!" Ok, I get it. I think a trip back to Target to get him a baby doll is in order. He wants to take care of a baby, that's fine, he can do that. He's also less likely to kill himself playing with a baby doll, so that's a bonus for me.

I can see now how parents of girls really struggle with the why's of it.  Why do they have to make pink and purple blocks for girls?  Why can't they just play with the primary color ones (are bright colors only for boys now?) Why does everything for girls have to be sparkly or have a princess on it? Why does there have to be a "girl" version of every toy? Why can't boys and girls play with the same toys? Why can't all toys just be toys - for all kids, not separated by gender? Let's let our kids play with whatever they want and not try to steer them towards toys deemed appropriate for their gender.  Boys can love cooking and dolls and girls can love cars and trains.

What's really strange to me is that I don't remember it being like this when I was a kid.  Legos were Legos.  there weren't girly colored ones.  They were 100% gender neutral. There weren't two versions (a boy and a girl version) of every toy like there are today.

We're going backwards.  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Why we Free Range it

A couple nights ago we were getting ready to take the kids to my in-laws.  They live literally a block (albeit a long block) away.  We regularly walk over there in the summer, but it's getting cold and dark pretty early here in Chicagoland now so we tend to just drive lately, plus my husband and I had plans to see a movie while the kids were with grandma and grandpa so we were planning on just dropping them off on the way to the theater

As we were getting coats and shoes on,My Big Guy said he wanted to walk to Bubbie's, by himself.  

My husband and I looked at each other, and said ok.

He's only 3, but he's a mature 3.  We've done this walk hundreds of times together, and the neighborhood we live in is exceptionally safe.

Now, we might be Free Range but we're not crazy or stupid.  We were not going to REALLY let our 3 year old walk alone in the dark (including crossing the street) to get to his Bubbie's house.   My husband walked about 20-30 feet behind My Big Guy, staying hidden so that My Big Guy thought he was in fact walking all by himself, and helped him cross the street safely.  

I drove my My Little Guy over, and waited for my walkers to arrive.  

My Big Guy came running up the driveway beaming with pride and the first thing he said to me was, "I did it!  I walked all by myself!"  He was so proud of himself, and I was so happy that he got to feel that pride and satisfaction of walking over by himself.  

I'm so glad we let him do it, it was definitely worth being late to the movie (three year olds aren't exactly speedy walkers, we didn't budget time for his walk over in our plans) to see how happy and proud of himself he was.

That feeling, and that look on his face was why we raise our kids Free Range.  We want them to grow up to be confident in their abilities, and not scared of everything that comes their way.  The mere fact that My Big Guy ASKED if he could walk by himself made me proud of him.  He wants to explore the world, he wants to do things on his own, he wants to be independent.  And that's who we want him to be.  

Friday, November 15, 2013

You mean the most EXPENSIVE show on earth

The circus is in town.  Like, the real circus, not just my children and their crazy nonsense.

The show is all about building crap, and has a lot of animals and songs and whatnot and seems like something my guys would enjoy.  My Husband suggested we go.  I agreed.

I sit myself down to investigate the situation.

Here's pretty much how it went down:

Ah yes, there are times and days that work for us.  Lovely.  Let me just see what kind of tickets are available... Clickity-click on this here link.

TicketMaster. Ugh. You are a bitch, but I suppose these are the things you must put up with to see the circus.

Hmmmm, no prices listed.  Figures.

What the shit?  No kids' tickets?  ALL full price?  What kind of FAMILY EVENT doesn't offer kids' tickets? (to be fair, My Little Guy technically doesn't need a ticket since he's under 2, but much like air travel we always buy him a seat since it makes everyone's lives easier)  Oooh, TicketMaster, you are evil.  Fine, fine. I shall press on.

Best available I guess?

What. In. All. The. Fucking. Hell.

I have to watch an add for Swiffer (which, dude I love Swiffer, best customer service EVER) in order to get my "I'm not a robot" phrase???

What JACKASS set that up? This is the worst company ever. Fuck you TicketMaster.

Fine. Fine. "Dusting!"

That's not the phrase?  Fuck you TicketMaster!

Fine.  Fine. "Better than a mop"  God, this is ridiculous.

HOLY HELL! Four Lower Level seats cost $280????  Who the hell goes to the circus?  Who the hell coughs this up??? What the FUCK??

*At this point I nearly passed out from shock at the cost of these tickets*

This is insane.  INSANE.  There have got to be cheaper tickets.

Ok, nosebleed section... Will the kids even care what's going on if we're that far away?  Meh, let's see what the damage would be.  Maybe it'd be cheap enough that it'd be ok.

CHRIST!  Even that's $160 for four tickets!!!  That's highway robbery!  Do you get to take one of the animals home with you?  For these prices you better.

Guess we're not going to the circus.  Saaaaaaaaaad.

(Note: I would be more willing to drop the $160 if my kids were older, but to spend that kind of money when they're as young as they are is a gamble - I have no idea if they'll be into this, or if I'll just be flushing $160 down the toilet.)

Then I remembered that my mom forwarded me a link to some Groupon-like site she belongs to that had circus tickets. Huzzah! Huzzah I say!  They had tickets at less than half price, so now we are going because the prices have entered the land of reality.

What really kills me here is that this is supposed to be a FAMILY EVENT.  And yet it seems that the circus and of course, the devil, I mean, TicketMaster makes it as difficult as possible for families to do that.  The best seats in the house were over $100 each.  The shitty seats were $35+ each.  Then you get there and you get to pay a fortune for gross food, and crappy merchandise.  Or you have to explain to your kid why he/she can't have that cool light up toy or box of $9 popcorn.

I'm pretty damn cheap, but I'm willing to spend some decent money on something that'll make my kids happy.  This is insane though.  A family night out to a family event shouldn't run you $500, but at the end of the day that's what you'd end up spending if you paid full price to go to the circus.  That's terrible.

The making me watch a commercial for the "I'm not a robot" phrase thing was really overkill too.  I pretty much yelled out "TicketMasterrrrrrrrrrrr!" all "Khhhhhhaaaaaaaaannnnnnnn!" Star Trek style.  I think that was the most offensive thing I've experienced in awhile. Asshats.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


We have been hit with a wonderful combination of ear infections and stomach flu.  We are down for the count.

My Big Guy puked a couple times, but is more snotty and coughing and ear infected.  My Little Guy is all stomach flu (you know you're in for a rough couple of days when the pediatrician puts her stethoscope on his tummy and say she hears "something breweing").  Poor baby woke up covered in throw up this morning.  There ain't much more pathetic than that.

Husband and I are suffering the effects of the cold that caused the ear infection, but luckily remain immune to the stomach issues.  So far.

We're on lockdown, no one allowed in and only Husband is allowed out for work.  Otherwise, we're keeping our circus of germs to ourselves.

Luckily I am Polish OCD and stocked up on Lysol spray AND wipes when it was on sale cause we have been going through that stuff like it's water.

It's not pretty here.

But we'll get through it.  Stomach flu only lasts a couple days, My Big Guy's got drugs for his ears, and it's just a cold for me and Husband.

Until then, I'm thankful for my two washer/dryers and my seemingly endless supply of Lysol products to help me get through this mess.

Monday, November 11, 2013

It was only a matter of time...

It has happened.  I had a feeling it would, but here it is, confirmed.

Someone has unfriended me on facebook.  I have to sort of assume it's based on this here blog since the timing works out that way .

This is what I don't understand about people today, and what I think it a major problem in our world - if you disagree with someone on something, that means you can't be friends with them.

What in the hell?

I mean, really.  It's so bizarre to me.

I know I've said some stuff here that may have rubbed people the wrong way, but I don't do it to hurt anyone, and I like to think I do a good job of being not judgmental (unless the situation calls for, Zoo Mom, I'm looking, no GLARING at you).  I don't really care if people disagree with stuff I do, or say or believe.  That's fine.  That's your opinion and you are 100% allowed to have it.

That doesn't mean we can't be friends.  Or to take it even further, it doesn't mean we can't be FACEBOOK FRIENDS.  I mean really.  We're talking about someone I've seen in person MAYBE 5 times, it's not like this person really knows me as a person.

That's what's even worse when you think about.  Rather than attempt to really get to know me, or know my thought process on something, or question WHY I think/feels something the reaction was to cut off ties.  Am I that offensive?  I like to think not.

I have REAL friends who have no only dramatically different parenting styles, but also dramatically different opinions on, well, any and everything.  Doesn't mean we can't be friends, it just means we disagree on some stuff .

I think it's a dangerous place we find ourselves in lately - this whole "if someone doesn't agree with me they're wrong and stupid and I cannot be friends with them" thing.  It's creeping into more and more aspects of life.  It used to just apply to political stuff, but it's happening in the Mommy Wars too now which is just great.  That's what we all need - more intolerance and more judgement.

I unapologetically formula feed my kids.  So what?  I don't demand that you do so, I don't care if you do or don't.  All I'm asking is that you respect my choice and opinion much like I respect yours.

I Free Range it up with my kids.  So what?  I don't demand that you do so, I don't care if you want to helicopter your kid.  Just respect my choice and opinion like I respect yours.

I might parent differently in any number of ways than you do.  So what?  I don't demand you change to mimic my ways.  Just respect my choice and opinion like I respect yours.

I live my life the way I want/need to.  You do the same.  You're just doing what you gotta do, and I'm just doing what I gotta do.  What's right for me might not be right for you AND THAT'S OK.  Why is that so hard for people to understand?

People have become so judgmental and intolerant of others that friendships are ending because of stupid things.  I'm sorry, but it is stupid.  It's stupid that you can't be friends with someone who disagrees with you on something.

Not only is it stupid, but it's boring.  I like to be friends with people who have different thoughts and ideas.  It makes me re-evaluate mine, and think about WHY I think/feel something, and challenges me.  That's fun.  That's good for me. That's good for you.  It opens you up to new thoughts and ideas and feelings and helps you grow as a person.

If you cut off everyone who does things or thinks differently than you do you're going to become stagnant.  And boring.  And that's no fun for anyone.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

In Which I Toot My Own Horn (TWSS?)


Well that didn't last long did it?  Between illness taking over our house (TOO MUCH SNOT AND PUKE!) and some other pretty serious shit, things got crazy and blogging took a backseat.

The one thing that did happen that got me thinking while I was busy trying to survive the last week was this:

Yup.  That's My Little Guy crying after he dumped an entire box of Rice Krispies out on the floor.  It was the mega box too.

You can see the trail, where he started to dump them, freaked out that they were all coming out and ran while carrying the open box upside down.

He cried when he realized what happened (as you can see in the pic).  He was very upset.  I'm guessing it was because a) he knew he just made a GIANT mess and b) he loves food more than anything and knew all this glorious food was wasted.

What did I do?

I laughed.

And then of course took the picture and posted it on facebook because, well, I thought it was hilarious.  And you know, parenting.

After we swept it up (Rice Krispies are very easily cleaned up), I was laughing about it again, and I thought to myself that laughing about it is kinda a weird reaction.  I imagine most other parents would be kinda pissed (would you?  I don't know, I mean, I really only know my reaction since I'm not you).  I thought it was hilarious.

And then I thought, hey, that makes me a pretty good mom right?  I mean, patience as a parent is something I'm sure we all struggle with - especially when it comes to giant unnecessary messes.  How we react in moments like this when one of our kids does something unintentionally and causes a giant mess says a lot about us as parents, at least in my opinion.

For me, it shows how far I feel I've come.  There was a time I would have probably lost my shit and yelled and screamed and been pissed about the mess.  I am Polish and OCD after all.  But realizing that a lot of the "bad" stuff my kids do is totally not on purpose, and that they don't WANT to make me mad has changed how I think about and react to a lot of stuff.  They're just kids, and young ones at that.  They make messes.  It's what they do.  They test our patience, it's what they do.  If they didn't, they wouldn't be kids.

My Little Guy was just trying to get himself some cereal.  That's awesome.  He's only 19 months, but he knew what he wanted, knew where he it was, and went to get it on his own.  That's the kind of independence we encourage in these parts.

He didn't know that if he held the box upside down it would open and pour out.  He didn't mean to do that (just look at him - clearly he's not pleased with the situation).

Getting mad at him wouldn't help anything.  It would only make him MORE upset, and then I'd be upset too, and then no one's having a good time.

Laughing helped him calm down, and realize that I'm not upset with him. I snuggled him up and told him I knew it was an accident and it's ok, we'll just clean it up.  Which we did.  He and My Big Guy helped me sweep up all the Rice Krispies (bless my Polish OCD children who enjoy helping me clean), and we all moved on with our lives.

In retrospect, I'm pretty damn proud of myself for laughing at the situation instead of getting mad.  I'm proud that I've grown as a parent.  I'm proud that my patience has developed to this point.  I'm proud to be a good mommy.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Why I'm a Bad Mother... Today

So there's this.

I just love lies and exaggerations, don't you?  I just love when some random town somewhere decides I'm a bad mom.  Lovely.


You know, it has a point though.  Since I formula fed (FF) my kids, we're not close at all, and I find the need to distance myself from them as much as possible.  I hate snuggling them, I hate cuddling them, and I hate showing them any sort of affection.  If only I had breastfed... Then I'm sure we'd have a magical relationship. It's the only way to get one you know.  Same goes for all the family members and friends who are in their lives - they fed my boys, but they made sure to do with as little affection as possible.  That's the best way to bottle feed, obviously.

Oh, my poor brittle bones.  They're really acting up as I sit in my chair typing.  I'd get up, but the extra fat I failed to lose from not BF-ing is just weighing me down.  Otherwise I'd be up checking to make sure that my kids' jaws aren't developing correctly.

I suppose I should get up, and go stand and admire the $300+ breast pump and accesories I got in my BF-ing attempts.  It's just so much cheaper than FF-ing.  And less time consuming.  Having a human being attached to your body for hours at a time isn't draining at all.  And pumping, well, everyone just LOVES doing that right?

I need to start planning our meals for tomorrow too - what poison should I feed my kids?  How can I make sure to prepare it improperly this time?

Maybe I should look into starting a hobby, as a FFer I definitely didn't have time to engage in one, I was WAY too busy pouring the poison into bottles that I cleaned in the toilet.  That's clean water, right?

I mean seriously.  What the fuck.

Is that really what people think FFers do?  Do they think that we, what?  Hate our kids?  Are just stupid?  Are we lazy?  What?  I don't get it.

Can't we just all agree that we're doing what's best for US and let it be?  I'm lucky that my hospital isn't this crazy.  They're all about letting you decide what's best for you - no judgement.  Or at least no open judgement.  The nurses might be leaving the rooms and talking some serious shit, but as long as it's behind my back that's cool in my book.

If my hospital started to get in my shit about what I'm feeding my kid... Well.  Frankly I don't know what I'd do but I doubt it'd be very civilized.  It's just no one's business but my family's.

I'm all for encouraging someone to try something, but if they don't want to, don't force them.  You'll get a much higher success rate at whatever it is you're trying to accomplish with words of encouragement and understanding than rules and regulations and forcing someone.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go force feed my children some sugar.  It kills two birds with one stone - tooth decay AND childhood obesity!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Adventures in Shopping

So the other day, my boys and I were out and about running errands.  One of those errands was stopping in at Kohl's to attempt to get some rain boots for Halloween.

It was getting dangerously close to lunchtime, which is dangerously close to naptime.  The fussing was imminent.  It was there, lurking just under the surface of the seemingly calm children, waiting for the most inopportune time to rear its ugly head.  We managed to get through our shopping trip unscathed, and thanks to an emergency McDonalds drive thru all parties were calm upon getting home.

We had My Little Guy in the stroller (dude, if I can strap that kid into a stroller until he's like 5 I think I'll be doing us both a favor) and My Big Guy was out and about as he promised he would stay by me and not touch anything.  He's very good about this, so he's earned the privilege of  being able to walk in stores now.  Plus then I don't have to try to navigate the monstrosity that is the double-stroller through Kohl's.  We try to keep everyone happy, and yet keep it moving.

Have you ever been to Kohl's late morning on a weekday?  Let me tell you about it.

There are two kinds of shoppers - the SAHM's with their kids in tow, and old people.

The SAHM's are their own breed of awful.

I take pride in training my children to behave out in public, so much so that when they see some other kid having a giant public meltdown they point and him/her and tell me that he/she is "not doing a good job".  Our public meltdowns are few and far between (of course I've just jinxed myself and next time we're out it'll be a giant screamfest).  We are lucky.

Other parents, not so much.  Most of the other SAHM's are schlepping a screaming kid all over Kohl's.  Or engaging in a battle over some item that the kid wants that the mom doesn't want to buy.  Or just otherwise causing confusion and delay (anyone get that parenting reference?).


If your kid is having a giant fit, perhaps you should, you know, leave.  I've done it.  I've thrown in the towel on an errand knowing that no one was going to be happy in that situation.  If my kid is stuck in the throws of a fuss-fit that's it, I'm outta there.  The errand can usually wait, my kid is a disaster and miserable and needs my attention more than anything in that moment so that's what I gotta do.

I get the whole "ignore the fit" concept.  Sure, it makes sense IN CONCEPT, but in reality all you're doing is dragging a screaming toddler all over Kohl's making everyone (including your kid and yourself) miserable.

Then there are the mom's who will get angry with their screaming kid.  I've seen moms scream back at their kids, threaten their kids, or even spank their kids in the middle of Kohl's.

Lady, you have clearly lost control of the situation if that's what it's come to.

Get the fuck outta there.  Call it a loss and move on.

No one will think less of you and at the end of the day it's probably the best thing for you and your kid.

Then there are the moms who decide to let their kids run wild in an attempt to avoid the meltdown situation.  Hey, you know what the people who work at Kohl's will really appreciate?  Your toddler pulling every folded shirt and pair of pants off a display AND YOU LEAVING IT ON THE FLOOR.

What the fuck people.

In what world is that ok?  My kids have ripped clothes off the rack, or knocked them off the table before.  You know what I do?  I PICK IT UP.  If you're not going to clean up after your kid don't leave the house.  It's better for everyone that way.  I worked retail, let me tell you, NO ONE is saying anything positive about you after you leave.  NO ONE.

Let's also just add a little reminder that here in America, we walk on the right.  Get your stroller/cart/ wheelchair/whatever over to the right.  You wanna peruse some items?  Fine.  PULL OVER.  Don't just abandon your stroller/cart/wheelchair/whatever in the middle of the aisle.  Would you abandon your car in the middle of the road if you saw a cool shirt on the side of the road?  No?  How about you don't do it with your stroller.

The old people tend to just be slow.  That I can deal with.  Plus they usually compliment my guys on how cute they are, which always wins me over.

I think it comes down to realizing that you (shockingly) exist in a world with other people.  Yeah, it sucks.  I hate people too, but they're out there and there's not much you can do about it.  How about you get your shit together and act like a civilized person, and try to raise your kids as civilized people when you're out there?  The world (and Kohl's) will be a better place for it.

Oh!  And Kohl's, dude, you know I love you but you gotta stop spreading the toys out throughout the store. I should not have to engage in a battle over whether or not we're getting ANOTHER Thomas toy when I'm in the women's athletic section.  Not cool Kohl's, not cool.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Under the Wire!

A quick story to get today's entry in just under the wire (NaBloPoMo).

The other day, My Big Guy had a blue popsicle (when he gets an owie, he usually gets a popsicle to "make it feel better", it's amazing how quickly he starts pretend falling off the couch and needing one), and then passed out on the couch watching Fireman Sam.

I came down after putting My Little Guy down for his nap to check on My Big Guy.


I cannot describe the heart-stopping terror of seeing your child passed out with blue lips on the couch.

I nearly had a heart attack and was just about to start screaming and shaking him when I saw the popsicle wrapper and remembered he had requested a blue one.

After that trauma I needed a popsicle to feel better myself.  And a shot.  And a nap.  Oy.

PS - Go Bears! Suck it Green Bay.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

My Own Way of Making It Better

It's hard for parents.  Especially out in the world alone, it's hard.

I've started trying to do a thing to offset my generally bitchy attitude towards life, and to make other parents feel better.

I'm trying to notice other parents out with their kids alone (I'm usually alone, my husband is an attorney.  No one ever decided to become an attorney because the hours are awesome), and when I notice them, I tell them something nice.  Some words of encouragement if it looks like they're having a hard time.  A compliment if they're doing alright.  Just something to give them a moment of feeling good about themselves.

I've had people do this to me before - when my kids are screaming or it's obvious I'm struggling, or even just when I'm out and about and everyone is calm.  People have told me I'm a good mom, or I'm doing a good job, or it gets easier, or not to worry about the meltdowns.  It makes a difference.

It makes you feel like, if even only for that moment you have an ally and the whole world isn't against you and your kids.  It makes you feel less alone to know that someone else has been there, and made it through.

Parenting is hard.  I think saying something nice to other parents might make it just the slightest bit easier for everyone.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

My Very Different Guys

Does anyone else have two kids who have completely different personalities?

My Little Guy is crazy.  Just crazy.  He has no fear, no hesitation, and thinks he's actually 7 years old instead of 18 months.

He will try to do physical things that challenge My Big Guy.  Oftentimes he'll succeed, but he attempts them with zero fear or concern.  Running down the slide at home?  No problem, bring it on.  Jumping off an ottoman?  Please, that's easy.  Climbing on top of the table in record speed?  Piece of cake.

I can't even remember how many times I've turned my back on him for a second only to turn back around and find him standing on something he shouldn't be, beaming with pride at me.

Seriously.  He got himself up there in the time it took me to pick up a cup.

When we go to the park, I actually have to stay near him because he thinks he can just jump off the playground equipment.  He tries to do things that even My Big Guy wouldn't attempt.

He's also just a walking disaster.  Yesterday we were at my in-laws' and he was standing in the middle of the kitchen when he just fell down.  No reason.  While I was typing this up he came into my office, and when I turned to say hi to him he was on the floor with his feet in the air rolling over because he fell.  No reason.

He's a deadly combination of clumsy and brave.

I put him to bed the other night and he woke up with a black eye.  What the hell kid?  How the hell do you do that IN YOUR BED?  Did you blankey attack you?  Did your stuffed animal win the fight?  I don't even know, but I also know that only My Little Guy is capable of accomplishing something like that.  Of course he was completely unfazed about it.

I love how determined he is though.  He wants so badly to be a big kid.  He'll try to climb the rock wall thingy at the park and get so frustrated when his little arms and legs just aren't long enough to do it.  He will keep trying to get himself up on something  no matter how many times I tell him no, or even physically take him away from it.  He just doesn't give up.

He's also emotional, but has a very quick recovery.  There are no long, drawn out fits with this one.  He screams, gets his point of "I am not happy!" across and then moves on with his life.  It happens fairly often throughout the day, but it doesn't last long at all.

At the same time, he's a sweet caring boy.  When My Big Guy was upset the other day, My Little Guy found My Big Guy's cup of milk and kept trying to give it to him to make him feel better.  There was nothing cuter than an 18 month older holding a cup out saying, "Milk! Milk! Milk!" while trying to comfort his older brother.

He's basically an out of control roller coaster and we love him.  He's fun, he's exciting, he's funny, he's smart... He's wonderful.

He's his daddy's son.

My Big Guy is the complete opposite.  He's calm, he's careful, he's precise, he's controlled.

When we're at the park he will stand and look at something for awhile before attempting to climb on it.  He will need to throw a couple things down a slide before going down himself.  He needs to know what's going to happen before he tries something.  He needs a little encouragement to try new things, unlike his brother who will throw himself down a giant slide head first.

My Big Guy has always been very controlled and precise in his movements.  When he first climbed out of his crib it was very calculated and in control.  He knew exactly what he was doing and every movement was thought out.

He's very neat.  He doesn't like messes and will openly tell you that my husband and My Little Guy are messy, but that the two of us are not.

He's a helper.  He regularly gets upset because he hasn't helped me enough in a day, or because I'm doing something he can't help me with (when moving furniture a couple months ago I had to stop to tell him it was ok that he couldn't help me carry a bookcase up the stairs, he wanted to so badly).

He likes this to be just so.  You sit there, I stand here, this toy goes here.  Ok, now we can play.  He's my little OCD baby.  I can relate.

The handiwork of My Big Guy.

My Big Guy is also very very sweet.  If he sees someone who's sad, he'll ask if they're happy and if they say no, he'll smother them with love until they say yes, they are now happy.  He's very concerned whenever My Little Guy is hurt or upset.

When we took My Little Guy in for his 18 month checkup, he of course got some shots.  My Big Guy was very very concerned about his well being after these shots.  He kept trying to kiss the owies, and generally make My Little Guy feel better after his traumatic experience.

My Big Guy holds his emotions in (again, I can relate).  I can see him controlling it, and holding it in, and then eventually when he does lose it it's intense (see yesterday's post about 45 minutes of screaming due to Fireman Sam being over).  He's a control freak, even with his emotions.

He's his mommy's son.

It's interesting to see the two of them interact.  They're learning each other's buttons and how to play together in ways that they both enjoy.  My Little Guy has stopped being so destructive and is starting to be more careful. My Big Guy is more willing to try new things after seeing his little brother attempt them.

Much like with my husband and me, they're starting to balance each other out and help each other with things that are hard for them.

I can't wait to see how their little personalities and their relationship develop as they get older.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Challenge Accepted

Let's do this shit.

November NaBloPoMo

So yesterday was obviously Halloween.  I was dreading it, of course.

We had a close friend and her daughter who's the same age as My Big Guy come over to join us Trick or Treating.  My parents and my grandma also came over to help man the fort and to enjoy the holiday with my boys.  

While My Little Guy was napping we decided to head out and do our Trick or Treating.  My Little Guy is not a huge fan of rain, and it was unfortunately pouring all day yesterday.  Since my parents and grandma were going to stay at our house to hand out candy we decided to let My Little Guy keep napping.

I got my little giraffe all dressed up and we headed out into the rain.  

Photo: Just as we were heading out into the rain.

Please excuse the blurriness.  It's hard to capture a moving target with a phone camera.

While we were out there I found myself actually having a good time.  Seeing how much My Big Guy was enjoying himself was contagious and having everyone tell me how cute he is didn't hurt.  

We jumped in puddles, made big splashes in the rain, and walked up and down our block collecting candy.  

I'll admit it - it was fun.  

You know what wasn't fun?  This morning when the children woke up with a total Halloween hangover.  Just when I thought I might be turning the corner on my most hated holiday I find myself back in the hatred.  45 minutes of screaming about having to watch Day of the Diesels instead of Fireman Sam will do that to you.

Now.  Anyone want any mini cheeseballs? 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Excuse Me While I Pat Myself on the Back

This is how I'm feeling lately when it comes to our preschool.

When we went in search of one, we were shocked when we visited what is considered one of the best schools in the area ( and felt it was more like a prison than a preschool.  

We eventually found our hidden gem of a preschool and fell in love with it, and its large wooden playground, open classrooms, philosophy of letting kids get dirty and messy, and lack of helicoptering over them.

My Big Guy fell in love with it too.  When the time comes for me to pick him he'll usually tell me that he wants to stay.  It's great.  I'd much rather have him want to stay there because he loves it - he has fun and feels safe there. He loves his teacher and his friends.

Recently two more issues have come up that have proven just how wisely we have chosen.

The first is hilariously adorable.  My Big Guy is way into NASCAR.  He loves it.  My husband and My Big Guy watch it on tv, and will go to the races when they're close.  As part of a NASCAR race, they sing the National Anthem.  My Big Guy loves this.  We bought him little American flags and he will routinely tell us to "put our hearts on" and we sing to the flag.  He has his own version of the National Anthem, which involves singing about how much he loves the flag and what colors it is.  Adorbs.  

Lately, when he tells me to put my heart on and stand up for the flag I noticed that he's trying to say the Pledge of Allegiance.  I helped him through it, and then asked him where he learned that.  He said school.  He said that they say it every day at school.  

Oh be still my cold Republican heart.

His class of three year olds says the Pledge of Allegiance every day?  I love it.  I almost cried when he told me.  This is in fact, the perfect school for us. 

It gets better.

The second issue stems from that most dreaded of days - Halloween.  Blech.

The kids have been working on a little Halloween show for the parents, and in return the parents have been asked to bring food to the show for a little party afterward.  There were sign up sheets in the classroom asking parents to bring in either something salty, something sweet, or fruit.  Nothing with peanuts or popcorn please.  I didn't think anything of it and signed up for something sweet.  It seemed completely normal to me.

I then turned to facebook to get suggestions from other parents about what I should bring.  The suggestions eventually evolved into a discussion about how the other parents were shocked that our school lets us bring in home made food because none of theirs do.  


I get that food allergies are an issue.  But c'mon, can't we trust other parents to you know, NOT poison our kids?  I know that our school takes food allergies seriously - we had a very detailed form to fill out and in every room there's a sign saying what kids can't have what foods.  Luckily in My Big Guy's room no one seems to have any food allergies and the only restrictions are of a religious/cultural nature.  But if there were some kid who was allergic to something I would make sure to make a treat that he/she could eat.  I don't want some little kid to end up in the hospital because they ate my brownies or whatever.  I don't want some kid to not be able to participate in the party cause I made a peanut-laden dessert.  Can't we trust other parents to feel the same way?  We're all in the same boat here - we want our kids to have fun and enjoy themselves.  Let the kids have some home made Rice Krispie treats to celebrate Halloween.  I can't imagine what asshole parent would decide, "Eh, little Tommy is allergic to bananas.  Fuck him, I'm making a banana dessert!"

As pointed out on my facebook post - home made stuff is probably a lot better for the kids than anything prepackaged might be.  Personally, I'm of the mindset that a little crap food here and there won't kill anyone, but I also agree that home made cookies beat out store bought ones taste-wise every day.  I want my kids to have yummy food.  I want them to have healthy food.  Turns out that home made checks both those boxes better than store bought food does.  

What happened that we can no longer trust parents to make food for our kids in a safe way?  When did it become better for the school to rule with an iron fist as to what can and cannot be brought in?  How did it become ok for the school to know better THAN THE PARENTS?  

I understand that childhood obesity is a problem.  I understand that food allergies are a problem.  But you know what?  As a parent, those are MY PROBLEMS.  I don't need the school, or anyone else telling me how to raise my kid, or in this case what to feed him.  

I'm glad we found our hidden gem of a preschool where I'm not only allowed, but encouraged to bring in stuff from home to help celebrate a (albeit awful) holiday.  Just proves to me once again, that we have chosen wisely.  And it makes me scared (like so many other things do) for when my kids start real school.  

Saturday, October 26, 2013


I am about to make what some will see as my most controversial and offensive statement yet.


I fucking hate Halloween.

There.  I said it.  I hate it.  I fucking hate it.

I hate costumes, I hate dressing up in them, I hate how pretending to like other people's costumes, I hate the constant barrage of people at my door (Introversion anyone?), I hate haunted houses... I hate it all.

I even thought it was stupid as a kid.  Growing up in our house we had free access to whatever crap food we wanted at any time.  I remember being like 10 and thinking, "This is dumb.  Why am I wearing this stupid outfit with my winter coat over it (Chicagoland, your Octobers are a cruel mistress) and trekking all over the place for candy I don't even like when I can stay here and eat all the candy I want?"

Apparently my introverted ways were well established even as a child.

Here in the CH we will get an insane amount of trick or treaters.

This is my candy supply.

No joke, I fully expect to go through most, if not all of that.  It's insane.  It's non-stop.  It's awful.

As much as I despise Halloween, I must say that having kids is making turn a corner on it a bit.  ONLY A BIT.  If I felt it was a legit option I wouldn't decorate, turn off all my lights and hide in the basement on Halloween.

But My Big Guy is three this year, and he gets it.  He knows what trick or treating is, he runs around the house yelling, "Happy Halloween Boo!" (the "boo" is part of it for him).  He got a giraffe costume the other day and loves wearing it.  He's super excited about ringing all the doorbells.

Damn childhood enthusiasm is contagious and I find myself ALMOST looking forward to Halloween.  I'll still sigh with relief when it's over, and be glad we can move on to far more civilized holidays (Christmas!), but I think as time goes on my hatred will somewhat dissipate as I enjoy watching how much my boys enjoy Halloween.

Here in the CH it is also standard practice for parents to pull a wagon of booze as they follow their kids through the neighborhood trick or treating.  That's something I can get behind, and perhaps make my Halloween more tolerable.

Only 59 more days until Christmas...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fit vs Fat

So there's this:

I have some mixed thoughts on it.

Let's call the mom on the left "Fit Mom" and the on the left "Fat Mom", just for purposes of distinction.  As someone who feels that the pale, flabby, white belly of Fat Mom looks eerily familiar, I am in no way trying to insult her.  But let's all be honest here, that's sort of the point of the pic isn't it?  "I'm kinda fat, and I'm ok with it".  So Fat Mom it is.

So Fit Mom.  First of all, good for you.  Good for you for making your health and fitness a priority.  It's important to be healthy to take care of your kids, and hell, just to feel good in general.  You probably have more energy and are better able to run after those 3 adorable boys.  Well done.  I salute you and your flat abs.  I admire you for your dedication to fitness.

I see your message of "What's your excuse?" and I get it.  You're trying to be motivational and get other moms into the gym so they too can be healthy.  Again, bravo for the thought.  Encouraging people to be healthy is a good thing.  

However.  Part of me is rubbed the wrong way by your statement and feels like you're just adding fuel to the fire of the Mommy Wars.  "Hey, I can have a six pack AND raise 3 boys - why can't you?"  Well, there are probably a millions reasons why.  If you want to focus on getting trim and lean and being super in shape that's great!  Doesn't mean that it's what I need to do.  That doesn't make you better than me, and it doesn't make me better than you.  You made a decision that being that in shape was important to you, and you did it.  Well done!  I have no idea what sort of time and energy that took for you, but I'm sure it was a lot.  Good job!  If I, and other moms, chose not to be that dedicated to losing the baby weight, or getting a six pack or whatever, that's NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.  You don't need to rub it in our fat bellies that you're all tan and toned, and make us feel shitty for not being able to be the same way.  You go work out and be skinny and that's awesome.  For you.  

If you want to motivate people to get to the gym maybe attempting to shame them into it isn't the best idea... I know when I saw the pic I personally thought, "Oh hellz no. That's just not going to happen for me.  I'm too old and too fat.  Damn her."  I didn't think, "Yes!  I too can have a six pack (excuse me while I regain my composure after my fit of hysterical laughter), off to the gym I go!"

You're adding to the Mommy Wars because your secondary message is, "I"m a better mom because I can be this skinny AND raise my kids!  Why can't you?"

Now.  Fat Mom.  First of all, way to be confident in your body.  The thought of donning a sports bra and kneeling (not even standing where I could possibly suck it in and appear slightly skinnier than I am!) for a public picture is horrifying to me.  Good for you for having the confidence to do that!  I really admire your confidence and hell, sense of humor about the whole thing.  

But you too are firing up the Mommy Wars.  

If Fit Mom wants to start shit, let her.  No need to fight back.  

I get where you're coming from, believe me I do.  And I'm sure a lot of other moms feel the same way - that this is what their bodies are like, and they're ok with it.  Being confident is always a good thing.  

But!  We already have so many different issues going on in the Mommy-verse.  Formula vs breastmilk, helicopter vs free range, cloth diapers vs disposables, co-sleeping vs cribs... Do we really need to add fit vs fat to that too?  Can't we just say, "Hey, way to be in shape!" and move on with our lives?  Do we really need to start judging?  We don't know what's going on in Fit Mom's life, let's give her the benefit of the doubt that she was just trying to get people to be in shape and move on. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Desperate Times?

So this has been circulating the internet -

Basically, (and being a formula family, this was completely news to me, I had no idea this sort of thing happened), there are moms out there who will sell their breast milk to a website, and that website will in turn sell the breast milk to moms with babies who feed their babies breast milk bought off the internet.


Now, I'm sure these parents buying milk off the internet think they're doing what's best for their babies.  I mean, really, who out there is thinking, "Hey, you know what sounds great?  Getting some contaminated breast milk that will make my baby sick!  I love projectile vomiting!"  No.  No one loves that.

Maybe it's just the control freak in me, or the fact that I'm a unashamed formula feeder (FF) but I can't even fathom letting a stranger's breast milk cross my baby's lips.  Never.  I don't know what that person has been eating, or drinking, or doing with their body.  I don't know how careful they were packaging and shipping it (I've ordered frozen pizza from Girodano's to be shipped to us and it was packed up like it was a precious organ or something, I can't imagine what sort of precautions shipping breast milk would entail).

I'm sure they 100% believe that this is a better alternative to feeding their babies formula.  That's what scares me.

We've come to the point where feeding your baby someone else's bodily fluid is considered more acceptable than feeding him formula.  Wtf?

There was another story out there ( in which someone who created one of these websites said the following, "“A blatant attack on women attempting to feed their babies is cruel and you should feel ashamed of yourself for spreading misinformation,” Khadijah Cisse, a midwife who founded MilkShare, a portal for connecting women cited in the new research, said in an email to NBC News. “Anyone can type up any bit of lies they want and make claims. Breast milk is supposed to contain bacteria.”

Here's my question for Ms. Cisse - Does she feel the same way about formula feeding?  When there's some new article making the rounds claiming that formula will make your kids stupid and fat and ugly and lazy does she think those authors should be ashamed?  It's a two-way street Ms. Cisse.  This is how FF's feel pretty much all the damn time when we're attacked for giving our babies what you all deem to be the liquid of the devil on an almost daily basis.

I'm totally not anti-breastfeeding as I've stated before.  I know it's amazing for baby, it's just not for me.  If you want to breastfeed your kid til he's 12, great, I don't care.  That's what's working for you and your kid and that's great.  No one is in danger there.

This.  This puts your kid in danger.  Much more danger than just cracking open the can of formula.  And it scares me that people think it's a better option.

I don't know what the solution to all this is, other than to stop demonizing formula as  worse than feeding your baby motor oil so that other mom's see it as a legit option.  It's not poison, but someone else's breast milk MIGHT BE.  You're entering a world of unknowns with stranger milk, when you open a can of formula you know what you're getting.

I'm sad for these moms.  I'm sad that they feel this desperate, that they have to turn to the internet to get milk for their babies rather than feed them formula.

Again, maybe it's just something I don't understand at all.  Have you done this?  Would you do this?  Do you think it's a legit better option than formula (dude, if you do, I'm just interested in hearing WHY.  Seriously, curiosity, not judgement - you're doing what you think is best for your baby, that's a good thing)?

Monday, October 21, 2013


Recently I was contacted by a casting agent for a reality tv show.  They were looking for a Free Range Family to be a part of their "Extreme Parenting" show.  We went through a couple steps with them, giving basic information but eventually decided not to participate.

When we got the offer, I was really 50-50 on the whole thing.  Part of me thought it could be fun, and kinda cool to see ourselves on tv like that.  Plus, I figured if we could maybe reach a couple of people and show them that Free Ranging it with their kids is safe and ok and even good it might be worth it.  The other part of me recoiled at the thought of having our lives on display, and feared what sort of crazy editing might be done to make us look more "extreme".  

I honestly don't believe the way we're raising our kids is "extreme".  I think what we're doing is how kids should be raised.  We want them to be confident and independent, and we're raising them in a manner that we feel will best accomplish that.  I'm sure people out there disagree with what we do (or don't do), and that's fine.  To be honest, I wasn't that concerned with America hating us (if they did, I honestly don't think I'd really care or be that bothered by it), but the intrusion into our lives was what sent me over to the "no" side.

They wanted to come film us for 7-10 days, which would be a huge disruption to our lives.  Would My Big Guy be allowed to go to school on those days?  What about speech therapy?  While I am a Free Ranger, I'm also a stickler to routine for my kids.  Having people here filming us is definitely not part of our routine and Lord knows how that would affect my guys.  

I also feared how the editing of this whole thing would play out.  Personally, I am a reality tv fan (sort of).  I love me some Housewives of Wherever.  I have watched enough of them, and their reunion shows to know that the editing team can be a bunch of assholes.  They edit stuff to create drama and controversy and and it's not really "reality" anymore.  It's some weird created world that doesn't really accurately depict your life, and what you stand for.  I worried that they'd try to make it look like we put our kids in danger, which is NOT what Free Range Parenting is all about.  The safety of your kids comes first, always.  But it's closely followed by letting them try new things, challenge themselves and gain confidence and independence.  When hours of footage of that are edited who knows how it would turn out - we might look like we just let our young children wander the streets or something.

I 100% believe in raising my kids Free Range, but I don't want other people to get the wrong idea about it.  I can handle if people hate me, whatever, join the club.  What would bother me is if people decided Free Range Parenting was an even worse idea than they already thought, and I have a feeling that's how it would be portrayed on the show.

We're also pretty private people, and I just wouldn't want the intrusion into our lives.  Hell, I get mad if someone rings my doorbell and wants to interact with me - I'd probably go nuts with an entire film crew in my house.

I'm glad we decided against it, but it is one of those things I'll always wonder about - what would our reality show episode have looked like?

Would you let a film crew into your lives for "Extreme Parenting"?

Monday, October 14, 2013


I don't think I've written about it here, but My Big Guy is in speech therapy.  When he was 2.5 years old he was barely stringing two syllables together.  He had a couple words, nothing really understandable if you didn't know him, BUT he had developed his own little sign language.  A pat on his head?  That meant "yes". Shaking his hand in front of his face was "no", two fists banging together was "music" and his index finger bending up and down was "play on the driveway" (I never said they made sense).  There were a bunch more too which meant we had no issues communicating, we just weren't doing it through speech.

There was a time when we were super worried about him, fearing autism or some other developmental disability because his eye contact wasn't great and he obviously wasn't where he should be speech-wise.  I remember getting ready for his 1.5 year old checkup and crying the whole way there worried that the doctor might see something that he wanted to investigate further.  

My Big Guy also had/had a large head.  A giant Polish head as I like to call it.  As a parent one of the worst things you can do is Google some fairly innocuous trait.  Turns out rapid head growth (which My Big Guy had) has a link with autism.  Knowing this, and knowing he wasn't speaking normally I seriously almost threw up on my way to the doctor's office because I was so scared and nervous and worried.  

Luckily our pediatrician wasn't concerned, and told us to wait for My Big Guy's speech to come in on its own.  My husband was a late talker too, so maybe it was just a family thing.  No reason for concern.  Phew.  I thanked him, finished up the appointment and returned to my car and cried again - this time with relief.   

We eventually enrolled My Big Guy in Early Intervention.  We wanted to start him preschool, and we knew something wasn't right and that he needed help.  He started weekly sessions with a speech therapist.  I can't put into words how grateful I am to that woman for everything she did for him.  In less than six months he went from barely saying two syllables together to saying crazy things like, "That's a triceratops, he has big horns."  Granted, he has a lisp, but he's speaking in full sentences and using semi-correct grammar most of the time.  When we started him in therapy in April he couldn't even say "Thomas".  "Triceratops" wasn't even a remote possibility, forget the whole sentence.  I will be forever thankful to our therapist for not only getting My Big Guy to talk more, but for getting him to WANT to talk more.  Now he will ask me what something is called, and repeat it after me.  He never did that before.  He didn't want to talk, he was fine with his little sign language.  Our therapist helped him in so many ways more than just saying words.  She helped him WANT to learn more, which is an amazing thing.  She opened up the world to him in a way that we couldn't and I can't explain how much that means to us.  

Since he's turned three, My Big Guy is now enrolled in Special Education speech therapy through our school district.  He goes once a week to a local school for a half an hour session with a new therapist who's working on getting him to slow down when he speaks (he has too much to say - I never thought it'd be possible!), talking without a lisp (although on a 3 year old it's sort of adorable), and just generally enunciating and pronouncing things more correctly.  

During this whole process people have kept telling me not to worry about the stigma of speech therapy, or Early Intervention, or Special Education.  

The thought never even crossed my mind, or my husband's mind.  All we thought was that our son needed help and this was the best way to get it for him.  I didn't care if it was called "Get Your Weird-Ass Kid Talking!", it was what he needed and we were going to do it for him and I didn't care what anyone thought.  I never realized that people might be judging us, or that other parents might be NOT enrolling their kids because they were afraid of what people might think.  This is what we needed to do, so we did it.  If someone thinks less of My Big Guy because he needed help screw them.  

What the whole thing really made me think about is really how lucky we are.  Getting a little help to get My Big Guy talking is nothing compared to what so many other parents go through on a daily basis.  A slight speech delay is nothing when you think about all the kids who are severely ill or disabled or who will just never live a "normal" life.  It made me truly appreciate what a miracle it is that we have two healthy boys.  We are so lucky, so blessed, and it changed the way I look at a lot of every day things.

When one of my kids is having a complete and total meltdown over something stupid, I try to stop and remember that there are people in the world who would give their right arm to have their kid screaming at them over something stupid.  Their kid might have passed away, or be sick, or have austism or anything that might prevent that kid from screaming about something stupid. We are lucky that our kids are able to scream at us, as crazy as that sounds.

I know it's cliche, and it's something I have a hard time with (I'm Polish and OCD, it's a rough combo) but I try to remind myself that the mess will still be there after my kids are asking for my attention.  I struggle with that one a lot, but I'm working on it.  People out there would do anything to be able to watch their kid go down a slide, or stand on a chair, or color a picture or make a train go.  I'm lucky to be able to watch mine do it.

Going through speech therapy has really just changed the way I look at raising my kids, and made me have a new perspective on everything.  Just one more thing to be grateful to our speech therapist for.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Shut It Up Bitch

So for realz people, for realz.  We were at the zoo the other day, rocking it out in our double stroller, minding our damn business when some bitch felt the need to start shit.

First of all, yeah, I rock a double stroller with my two kids who are 3 and 1.5.  My Big Guy gets tired and likes to ride from time to time, and when I'm on the zone defense it makes it easier to have at least ONE of them strapped down and unable to run off.  My Little Guy is also my Little Daredevil and will totally attempt to climb into some animal's habitat place if left alone.  No fear in that one.  Plus it hauls all my crap so well.  We enjoyed a nice zoo picnic and the double stroller carried all the remnants of it, including the gross blankey we ate on (have you ever seen two small boys eat?  It ain't pretty).

Because it is October, and in theory it's fall (bless you global warming and your 80+ degree days in Chicagoland) the zoo wisely (*scoffing noises*) decided to close the majority of its food stands.  Because my weirdo kids won't drink anything but milk, this meant I had to brave the crowds at the main restaurant.  Have you ever stood in a line for 10 minutes just to get 4 tiny little containers of milk while your children are restrained in their double stroller 10 feet away with people gasping and glaring at you for NOT taking up the entire line area with the massive ride for the kids?  It's a wee bit stressful.  Let's just say I was a touch on edge there.

So then.  Oh then..

I'm filling up sippy cups with the nectar of the gods (2% milk), and some bitch walks by with her mom.  She's got like a 3 year old, and a baby who's maybe 5 months old.  She's also got grandma with her.  Grandma points out that hey, we have a double stroller and look how nice it is (Chicco Together in red, thank you very much).  Then, as mommy is walking past us, while glancing at us in disdain says, "Ugh.  I hate when people bring a double stroller to the zoo, it's so rude."


Oh yes.  She did.

I may or may not have slightly lost my cool and glared at her while saying, "Yeah, well, it's great that you have help but when you're on your own let's see what you do.  Fuck off."


Perhaps telling another mom to "fuck off" wasn't the best idea, I'll admit that.  But! BUT!  C'mon now.  If you really have a problem with strollers maybe you shouldn't go to THE ZOO.  It's not like I was the only "rude" one there disturbing her world with my massive stroller - I was merely one of many.  Lots of people have kids close in age and need to tie them down for everyone's safety.  Sure, I get annoyed when people demonstrate poor stroller etiquette (, but I don't HATE that they've decided to bring a stroller to the zoo.  I just wish they'd pull over to make sure precious is wearing the proper amount of layers for the 75 degree day rather than do it in the middle of the path.

It's the zoo bitch.  It's full of families, and kids, and strollers.  If they offend you THAT MUCH don't come.  And don't you dare pass judgement on me for doing what I think is best for my family when you have the luxury of being on the man defense.

At the end of the day that's what gets me - the judgement . Look, I don't care if you breastfeed your kid til he's in high school, wear him until he's 7, cloth diaper (I'm actually considering this for any future children - who am I???), or do any of that crunchy stuff that's just not for me.  Is your kid happy?  Is your kid healthy? Cool.  It's not for me, but clearly it's working for you and your family.  That doesn't make you better than me, and it doesn't make me better than you.  If you want to bring grandma to the zoo and schlep your crap all over more power to you - don't think it makes you better than me for pushing the equivalent of a stroller Hummer through the zoo.  You're doing what you gotta do, I'm doing what I gotta do.  My kids are happy, your kids are happy.  Let's move on with our lives.

The judgement just kills me.  There are few things you can do that will make me think I am legitimately better than you, otherwise I'm just guessing you're doing what you think is best for you and your family.  I don't know you, you don't know me, let's just assume we're all doing our best here.  More over, I don't CARE.  I don't CARE what you're doing until it affects me.  When you decide to walk by me and imply that I'm being rude by caring for my children in what I consider the best way for us, you're affecting me.  It's not only my parenting philosophy, but my general life one.  I won't get up all in your shit, stay out of mine.  And seriously, if you DO want to get up in my shit, do it for real - don't just make a comment as you walk by and expect nothing to happen.

I won't lie, I did love the look of shock on her face.  I think she thought I'd just hang my head in shame, feeling inadequate with my double stroller and maybe, just maybe think about somehow hauling all our crap and wrangling my children without it to the zoo.

She clearly didn't know who she was messing with, did she?