Mommy Lesson 251: Buzz Buzz Chirp Chirp

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The average family in the United States has 2.16 children. While it may be difficult to determine just how one would get .16th of a child, it’s not much of a stretch to say that a large number of children have siblings and almost every child will encounter at least one pregnant woman during their lives. Inevitably the visual of a woman’s swollen belly will provoke certain questions.

These questions might include; what’s in there? How does it come out? They might even ask; does that man have a baby in his tummy? While the majority of these questions are fairly easy to answer, one day your child will ask THE dreaded question; how did it get in there?

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Earlier today the kids and I were driving down the road. Ever curious, Abigail began questioning me about where we were going. I told her that we were headed to a baby shower. She wasn’t sure what that meant, so I elaborated a little further. “Umm, you remember when baby brother was in Mommies tummy and we had a big party for him while he was in there? That’s what we’re doing for the little baby in Shannon’s tummy”. Instead of further questions, she requested a cookie. Being before dinner I told her no, which led her to sit pouting in her car seat. After close to 10 minutes of silent contemplation Abi piped up with “Mommy, how did the baby get in her tummy?”

My fingers clenched the steering wheel and I felt the car serve sharply to the right. I started to stammer, stalling for time. As a mother of two, I am well aware of how they got in there. With my background as a labor and delivery nurse I am capable of remaining calm during high stress situations, yet my palms were beginning to sweat, my heart was racing and I could feel my cheeks getting red and warm. I quickly thought of and rejected several explanations inside my head and glanced into the rear view mirror. Abi sat looking at me, patiently awaiting an answer.

I licked my lips, trying to draw some moisture into my mouth, and took a big breath in, here goes nothing. “Um, well, Abs, um….”. My eyes darted frantically around the inside of the car, know my inquisitive daughter would not accept “they just do” as an answer. After what seemed like a millennium I found the answer, “Hey, Abi? You want a cookie?”

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Sometimes distraction is the best answer. Abi happily chewed her cookie and watched the scenery go by. Swallowing the last bite she glanced up and repeated her question, “But how do they get in there?”. Obviously another cookie was not the answer, I quickly calculated my additional options and settled on avoidance, “Hey, you know what? Why don’t you ask your daddy when he comes home?

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Edible Play-dough

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My daughter LOVES play-dough. She loves squishing, chopping, rolling, plopping, mixing and creating. Her brother? Well he likes to eat it. Therein lies the problem. It can make for a difficult and not so enjoyable time if I spend most of it retrieving bites of soggy, spit covered dough from brothers mouth. Aside from that, sister tends to become hysterical when she noticed that her play-dough pile is depleting. While the colorful poo-poo make changing his diapers entertaining, I do worry about brother actually consuming play-dough.

So, why not only let sister play with it? Well, play-dough is an excellent sensory and fine motor activity! I believe in therapy through play and like finding any opportunity I can for both of my children to participate. Play-dough can be rolled between fingers, squeezed in hands, rolled into balls, cut with butter knife, used with cookie cutters, the options are endless. It also provides an excellent opportunity for brother and sister to play together and interact with each other but maintain a sense of individuality. Simply put, I love play-dough and so do my kids.

What do I do about my play-dough muncher? Make my own safe to consume edible play-dough! I found several recipes using kook aid that looked pretty good, and had almost settled on making that and then I stumbled onto the easiest, most delicious recipe (link here) one could imagine. It consists of two ingredients: frosting and powdered sugar.

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(You can find complete directions here,

The recipe called for 1 cup of frosting. I scooped out one cup and plunked it in the bowl. I then licked my fingers, and the spoon. (My kids, my germs, same thing). I peered into the can and realized, that it took up most of the can of frosting so I figured I’d just use the rest (more play-dough is better right?). Wrong, very wrong. I underestimated the amount of powdered sugar it would take to “dough-ify” the frosting and didn’t have enough. Even after using the amount it called for and the remaining 1/4 bag of powdered sugar I had, the dough was still pretty sticky.

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I took some time to contemplate options and nibble on some dough. Holy sugar high! I shouldn’t have been surprised seeing that the ingredients were frosting and powdered sugar, but wowzers was it sweet. Thinking of a way to thicken it and not add go the sweetness I turned to corn starch. I sprinkled the corn starch onto the counter, separated the dough into smaller balls and kneaded it like bread until the consistency was pliable but not sticky.

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I used my favorite frosting colors and kneaded them through the dough. You may want to wear gloves for this, otherwise your hands will look like the inside of a paint mixer. The end result was a lovely smooth textured, cloud like play-dough that both of the kids will love, mom too!

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A few recommendations for you:
I love to have my kids help with cooking and creating in the kitchen, I would recommend making this during nap time or bedtime as the powdered sugar or cornstarch can get a little (a lot, I mean a whole lot) messy.

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I would not participate in this activity just prior to any special event, as the sugar consumed may increase the activity level of your child. Imagine pinball, but add in screaming, squealing and diapers. This only occurs if the play-dough is consumed, however, it tastes really blasted good, so one should assume that it will be, possibly in large quantities.

You can substitute half of the powdered sugar for cornstarch. The consistency will still be the same, and it’s still suuuuuuper sweet.

Below is the link to the recipe that I used above and two extra ones that are just as amazing!

Edible Play-dough

Chocolate Play-dough

Edible Peanut Butter Play-dough

For those of you who are looking for a healthier alternatives:

“Healthy” Peanut Butter Play-dough 

Gluten Free Edible Play-dough

 

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Mommy Lesson 821: Mom-cation

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Whether you’re a stay at home mom or a working mom there will come a moment where you may find yourself feeling slightly overwhelmed. There may be a mild sense of “mommy needs a break” beginning to creep in and you know that it is possible for it to turn into a full on Mommy Hulk attack. It could be related to the ever growing pile of laundry, the dishes that are evidently reproducing in the kitchen sink, or the childless neighbors that feel sleep is overrated and must impose their views on everyone within a ten mile radius.

You may walk through the house, with your name being called over and over;
Mommy watch this, look over here, turn this way, mommy see what I can do, mommy what’s for lunch, for dinner, for snack, what’s to eat for the next year? Mommy did you know if I shake my head from side to side like this really fast the whole room spins?

If you squint just right you imagine that this is how celebrities must feel when the paparazzi is around, eagerly calling their name, clamoring to get their photo. That is if they were wearing clothes that may or may not have baby excretions on it and if the photographers resemble Oompa Loompas. The visions of glamor and paparazzi subside as you expertly duck and dodge flying objects, which are aimed with surprising accuracy at your head. You unclench little fists that seem to be multiplying and attaching themselves with a vice like quality. If you have ever been attacked by an angry octopus, you can relate.

You may be struggling to detach the child who has apparently superglued themselves to your leg, when you realize that the original mild feeling of “mommy needs a break” has turned into a “mommy needs a break right freaking NOW” feeling. This feeling is slightly more intense than the previous feeling, coupled with a desire to laugh out loud like a hysterical loon.

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First of all, take a deep breath, it totally okay to not love every single minute of being mommy. Keeping people alive is hard work, and you do a great job at it! Stay at home moms and working moms, hear me when I say: It’s totally okay to give yourself a break, and NOT feel guilty.

Second, we can’t all be amazing Pinterest mamas every single minute of every day. I have heard many times, “I just don’t know how you have time to do all those activities with your kids”. Let me tell you my secret, I don’t, I make time by not showering, doing laundry or washing dishes! (Not every day mind you, but we all have to make SOME sacrifices…)

Finally, I would like to share with you a little known secret call the Mom-cation. This is in no way like a vacation, it only sounds like it. It is however, a nice way to secure a quick break for yourself and ensure that everyone is alive when you return feeling refreshed and revitalized. Your Mom-cation can take place anywhere you would like it to and can be customized to fit your specific needs at that specific moment. I would love to share with you five of my favorite Mom-cation destinations:

The Mail Box:

You can take a nice little walk out to your mailbox or even your neighbors mailbox. It doesn’t matter if you’ve checked the mail sixteen times already and you know the postman has already been by, just take saunter on out there anyway. A little hope never hurt anyone! While you’re out there you could pull up a curb seat and get some fresh air. This Mom-cation will be over when you choose to return to the house or your children escape, typically naked, and run around the yard screaming.

The Bathroom:

It’s only gross if you haven’t cleaned it. This one may take a little more planning, if you only have one bathroom, you will need to ensure that all the little people have been adequately pottied. When you have insured that all bladders and bowels are emptied, grab your favorite snack, and casually say “I’m going to the bathroom”. This is actually quite pleasant if you have invested in a deliciously comfy rug! Kick back, enjoy your snack, and peruse Pinterest. You will know that this Mom-cation is over when your children gather outside the door like zombies and begin poking their fingers under the door.

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The Store:

Like the previous Mom-cation, this one may require a bit more preparation. The next time you are at the store, pick up extras of the families most used non-perishable item. You can place them in a secured location in your vehicle or at a trusted friends house. This is best enacted when there is a trusted individual in the household to maintain live-ability of the children. This Mom-cation begins when you sadly look through the cabinet and announce that you have to go to the store, during the busiest time of the day. Leave the house, head to the nearest wifi hotspot and catch up on your latest show. You should probably limit this to a single episode before returning triumphantly with your pre-purchased loot.

The Errands

This one begins when your children have been left in the arms of a trusted care giver and you leave the house in your car. This Mom-cation can prove quite productive if you truly choose to tick items off of your list. The choices are limitless while you “Run Errands”. Go to your favorite restaurant and select a table for you and your best book, meet up with another mom on mom-cation or you can bring along a pillow and blanket and pull over for a nap! I personally love naps and am quite a talented sleeper.

The Dog Walk:

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This is a bonus mom-cation for those of us brave enough to take on a family member of the four legged variety. While you are capable of walking a cat, lizard or gerbil, this best performed with a canine. The logistics are quite simple, with the children adequately supervised, you place your pet on their leash and proceed to walk them. If you have a snobby and moderately lazy dog like mine, you may want to avoid eye contact as you drag their stubborn butts down the sidewalk. This mom-cation gives you an opportunity to bond with your pet, I’ve heard gerbils are quite social, and soak up some Vitamin D. If you have a friend in the neighborhood, there is the option of stopping by there. If given enough notice I’m sure they will provide you with fresh baked cookies.

I want you to know that I adore my children, and I’m certain that you do to! However, I also need you to know that it’s okay to take a break every now and then. It’s important and even healthy to find time for YOU and not beat yourself up about it. Moms cannot continue taking care of everyone else, if they don’t take time to care for themselves too! It is beneficial for our children to see us taking care of ourselves. Understand, please, that I am not encouraging you to abandon your children or responsibilities. I am suggesting that you take some “me” time to decompress and appreciate yourself every so often, because you’re pretty amazing and you deserve it! Whether you choose to take one of my suggested Mom-cations or make up your own, give yourself a little break, and enjoy it!

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Mommy Lesson 612: Anatomically Correct

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The smallest functioning unit in the human body is the cell. Every human body is made up of millions and millions of cells. Cells group together and form tissues, tissues form organs, organs form systems and the systems make up our bodies. While our makeup may be the same, the words we use to describe certain body parts may be quite different. For example a head could be known as a noggin, dome, hat rack, cranium or even melon.

There is no end to the alternate words that can used to describe our pieces and parts. Some are familiar; tummy, piggies, booty or peepers, while some are a little off the wall; pot, boats, meat hooks or noodle. My husband and I often use a variety of these words when discussing body parts with our little ones, but the one area that we have held firm to anatomical correctness is the penis. The nurse in me cannot bring myself to call it a peepee, wiener, weewee or Mr.Winkie.

When we brought our son home and bathed him for the first time, our very observant two year old pointed to, attempted to pull on, and asked “what’s that?”

“That is your brothers penis, boys have them, and we don’t pull on it” was my succinct response. As our son has grown, like most boys, he has developed an uncanny awareness and coordination related to his private parts. Within seconds of his diaper being removed, his little hands immediately travel south to reassure himself that his penis is indeed still there. When getting ready for the bath, a quick glance is not sufficient to provide reassurance, and a tug is seemingly necessary. On any given day the words “don’t pull on your penis” can be heard at least ten times around our house. Using correct terminology has its pros and cons, sometimes the cons can lead to a significant amount of embarrassment.

A few days ago we were standing in the checkout line at our local Walmart, the children were behaving and i was beaming with pride that we had made it through the store without incident. I efficiently sorted my items and placed them on the belt, frequently glancing at the kiddos, insuring they were still behaving like angels. I pulled my last two items out of the cart; Gabe was gleefully kicking his feet and Abi was thoughtfully staring off behind us. My attention was on the cashier, but I saw Abi tilt her head slightly out of the corner of my eye (this has become a common sign that unexpected is about to come of of her mouth). I turned in just enough time to hear her very matter of factly say,

“Mommy says we don’t pull on our penis”. I met the eyes of a gentleman who had just been caught mid-adjustment by my hyper observant preschooler.

With my face a flattering color of crimson, I attempted to organize my thoughts and explain;

“Um, so, um, well you see her brother is a boy, (obviously) and well like most guys he’s kind of enamored with his penis (they are right?) so we just remind him to, um, well, you know, not yank on it….”
He stared silently, mouth open, face the same color as the tomatoes I just purchased, with his wife laughing hysterically behind him. I paid and practically ran out of the store pulling Abi behind me.

I quickly explained to Abi, that while we tell brother not to do it, we shouldn’t really tell other people not to do it, because a penis is a private thing. Her response “well noses aren’t private, can I tell people we don’t pick them?”

Absolutely daughter, you go right on ahead and explain to the next person we see knuckle deep in their nostril that it is entirely inappropriate, mommy will just die of embarrassment.

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Mommy Lesson 578:Dirty Little Secret

I have seen a variety of websites that allow people to post their biggest secrets anonymously. You go, post your secret for all the world to see, and no one knows it’s you! Sometimes it feels good to get something off your chest. The bigger the secret, the better it feels.

But, if no one knows that it’s your secret, then it’s still really a secret. If you’re going to share it then you should own it. It is after all, YOUR secret. So here goes….

Dear World,

I have a confession to make. It may horrify some and embarrass others but I have to get it out…

I don’t clean my bathtub. As a matter of fact, I haven’t cleaned my bathtub in over four years! Phew I feel so much better. Now before you go all Hallie Hygiene on me, you need to understand something. I don’t do it, because I hate it. There is NO comfortable way to clean your bathtub, you can’t crouch, you can’t kneel. If you just bend down to scrub it, by the time you’re done, you back is destroyed. It’s absolutely no fun. The other reason I don’t clean my bathtub? I just don’t want to. You know, it’s really not that bad though! Seriously, look at it…

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Cleanest bathtub around

Wow! You say, how is it that my bathtub can be SO clean without me ever cleaning it? Let me tell you my other dirty little secret. I make my kids do it! They’re two and four, absolutely old enough to get into the bathtub and scrub it for me. Why not? I feed them, clothe them, bathe them in their clean bathtub, they should give back to the family. Don’t believe me?

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My little helpers

I know what you’re thinking; “how could she have so much hatred for cleaning the bathtub that she makes her itty bitty kiddies do it” and “how can I make my kids do this”. In all honesty, they beg me to let them do it. Because for our family, “cleaning” the bathtub is really just a benefit that I reap for letting my children play with homemade bathtub paints! At least once a week I whip up a batch of bathtub paints and let my kids go wild, smearing it all over the bathtub, creating, playing and enjoying. When they’re finished all it takes is a quick spray with the shower and the bathtub and little Picasso’s are squeaky clean.

I have included for you the two recipes that we like to use. It takes less than 5 minutes to whip up a batch of this colorful fun and roughly that to wash it all down the drain when their done. What if you don’t have children, you ask? Well, just borrow some, they’ll have so much fun they will come back begging to clean your bathtub for you!

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Ingredients for bathtub paint

Bathtub Paint 1:
4:1 ratio of tear free baby shampoo to corn starch
(If you use 1 cup of baby shampoo, you would use 1/4 cup corn starch)
Food coloring
Mix shampoo, corn starch and food coloring together
Add water to achieve the consistency you like
Have fun

Bathtub Paint 2:
Shaving cream
Food coloring
Mix shaving cream with food coloring (may thin with water, if you want)
Have fun

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Shaving cream bathtub paint

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