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Spit up and the Suburbs

It's what happens after Sex and the City….

Is it okay to tattle on a friend’s kid?

I was at a restaurant recently with some mommy friends and our kids. We were outnumbered. I witnessed a friend’s daughter hit another younger kid’s face. She started to cry. No one else saw. I tattled.

The offender got in trouble. I later felt a little guilty. Had I done the right thing? Should I have minded my own business? My rationale at the time was that I didn’t want the smaller child to get hurt again. But had I overstepped my bounds? My mommy friend seemed okay with the situation but who knows what she said to her husband in private about my decision.

This incident got me thinking, is it okay to tattle on a friend’s kid? Would you want a friend to tell you if your child was acting out when you weren’t looking?

Please tell me what you think!

Photo credit: Flickr

Oh mama said there’d be days like this…It all started when my two-year-old woke up with a soaked diaper, which of course means soaked sheets. No biggie, I figured, and innocently moved on with my day. Poor me; I had no idea what my kids had in store for me…pun intended as you will learn.

Next, we met my mom for breakfast as our favorite diner. The moment we sat down, my four-year-old covered her mouth and started coughing, puffing her cheeks out to contain the tidal wave of puke that was about to soar into our morning. My instincts kicked in and I whipped her out of the booth, dashing through the restaurant toward the bathroom like I was running away from a bomb. Ironically, I was running toward one.

No sooner than I opened the door to the restroom, my daughter let loose with an explosion of puke that would have been impressive had I not been the one who had to clean it up…off a public bathroom floor, her clothes, her arms, hair and face.

Once we’d collected ourselves, it was back to the table to attempt to salvage the breakfast; my appetite was kinda destroyed, shockingly. My mom had promised to take the kids to the toy store nearby, which would turn out to be fairly uneventful. But why, or why didn’t we go home after that? Why, God Why?!?

Instead of turning our doomed ship around, we decided to squeeze in a quick trip to the shoe store for school sneakers. My daughter was pale and exhausted, so why did I make her try on $50 Hello Kitty sneakers as the store associate looked on? Suddenly, my first born was flashing me the international sign for “I’m going to puke,” again. Without thinking, I grabbed her, unpaid for shoes and all, and dashed toward the door of the store as my mom called after me, “You can’t take the shoes outta here!”

In those horrible seconds, I weighed my options: rip off the shoes and risk my daughter throwing up all over the cheerfully colored carpeting or shoplift. I chose the former. In my mind, I saw her puking all over the shoes that may or may not properly fit her. I hadn’t seen a sign that said, “You puke on ‘em, you buy ‘em!” but I’ll assume that’s understood.

Thankfully, she didn’t get sick then and I was able to pull the shoes off her feet and toss them inside the door of the shoe store mumbling a timid, “sorry,” while my mom collected my other daughter and we retreated, defeated to the car.

Once home, I cleaned up more puke and another overflowing diaper. It’s only noon, so who knows what the rest of the day holds. Can’t wait to find out.

5 Ways to Make a Public Restroom Less Stressful With Kids

Let’s face it: a public restroom is a veritable landmine of things that could go wrong when you dare to enter with young children in tow. From the icky, sticky germy floor that seems to emanate a gravitational pull for little hands, to the monstrous automatic hand dryer, every second you spend in a restaurant or super store loo takes moments off a mom’s life. Here are five ways to ease the stress of using a public restroom while out with your kids:

  1. Dull the noise – Why is it that kids seem to get louder the smaller the bathroom? Is it the rad acoustics a tiny space with a tile floor and cement walls seems to create? While you can’t mute the noise completely, you can encourage your bellowing babes to take the edge off the volume. Try promising them that as soon as you get outdoors in the fresh air, they can scream as loud as they want but while you’re taking care of business, they need to keep it to a dull roar.
  2. Fend off germs – Do you feel a rising sense of panic as you watch your toddler touch the toilet seat in a public restroom? Does the feminine products disposal bin beckon to your preschooler? Why do those germy hands always seem to find their way into a mouth moments later? And WHY is the soap dispenser always empty when you need it most? While we may never learn the answers to these questions,  here’s a great tip: Carry a sample size of hand soap in your diaper bag or purse so that you never have to forgo a thorough hand wash.
  3. Lower the chances of flight risk – Kids love to open the stall door at the most inopportune times. Plus, what kid doesn’t want to catch a glimpse of what is happening underneath the door in the next stall? So that you don’t have to dive for little ankles with your pants around your own, occupy kids with a task while you finish up. Sing a favorite song quietly or ask a preschooler to count to 10. Tell a quick story. Anything to keep your child from escaping the stall too soon.
  4. Steer clear of the hand dryer – Why is every child deathly afraid of the automatic hand driers in bathrooms? Another patron innocently dries her hands just feet away, and your kid is shrieking uncontrollably before you know it! Remind your child that the drier cannot hurt him or her before you even step foot in the bathroom. Having a pre-potty prep talk can help curb a crazy meltdown.
  5. Guard the toilet paper – Most children think pulling as much toilet paper off the roll as possible is a great way to pass the time in the stall while siblings and mommy go. This is where distractions come in handy again. Songs, stories or talking about your favorite parts of the day are all good plans. Above all else, stay strong! You will survive the bathroom!

Moms: 5 Dinnertime Mistakes You Made Last Night

Dinnertime with your family is supposed to leave you feeling relaxed, full and content. But add a few little kids to the mix and you are liable to walk away from the table feeling frazzled, hungry and frustrated. When your little ones refuse to eat, dinnertime seems more akin to torture than a blissful family gathering. But could you be making mistakes that add to the craziness? See if you are breaking any of these cardinal rules:

  1. No toys at dinner. My two-year-old likes to bring a stuffed animal and a few My Little Ponies to the dinner table, but lately I’ve been cracking down on this habit. While it’s cute to see her set up her little friends at the edge of her highchair tray, she often spends more time playing than eating. And dinnertime is for eating, not for playing.
  2. No i-Phones at dinner. If your kids can’t play at the table, neither can you! You are hardly setting a good example for your children if you are surfing your Twitter feed while you eat. Focus on the food and conversation, not on social media.
  3. No asking the kids what they want for dinner. An old saying goes that one shouldn’t ask what kids want for a meal unless they themselves will be preparing it. While it’s okay for kids to make serving suggestions, show them who is in charge at dinnertime and ask them to eat whatever you prepare. You aren’t a short order cook and more importantly, your children should learn to eat what you serve.
  4. No bribing. “You can have a brownie if you eat a good dinner.” While this may be the easy way to get your children to clean their plates, bribing them forms bad habits. Kids should eat because it’s dinnertime, not because there is a cookie at the end of the rainbow.
  5. No TV. This one should be obvious, but even if there is a cartoon on in the other room, my four-year-old will crane her neck to see it instead of focusing on her meal. Turn all TV’s off at dinnertime, throughout the house!

What other dinnertime rules do you have in your home?

Can you try so hard to be a Good Mom that you become a Bad Mom?

If I were a stuffed toy in Doc McStuffin’s makeshift clinic, the junior prodigy would probably diagnose me with “Overguiltatosis.” That’s because sometimes I think I try so hard to be a good mom that I am a bad mom.

Take this morning for example. My daughter wanted me to make pancakes with her. I needed to get a few things accomplished around the house. But instead of telling her that another morning would be better, I rushed through the task of making the pancakes, half-heartedly involving her as I mixed, flipped and served a breakfast created out of pure guilt. I wanted so badly to be a good mom and make the meal she requested. I wanted to teach her how to cook, all with wholesome ingredients of course, while creating a lasting memory she could cherish her entire life long. Whew! It’s exhausting…and all before 9:00 AM and my first cup of coffee.

Now I ask you: If I had slapped a bowl of Cheerios on the table, would that mean I loved her any less? Is that what we fear as moms; that if we give any less than 100% of ourselves at every moment we aren’t conveying the true scope of our adoration for our children?

I posit that we are worried about disappointing ourselves as much as our children. We went to good colleges, we had smart jobs that impressed others at the fancy dinner parties we used to attend pre-kids. We are used to being “A” students who qualified for extra-credit and took the AP test. So if we serve Cheerios instead of nutritious, heart-shaped pancakes to our children, isn’t that the equivalent of phoning in an essay test? That’s like getting a “C” on a mid-term. Except we have to pass the tests of our own creation at every second as moms.

To be fair, the pressure we place on ourselves to be good moms (make that perfect moms) is not solely of our making. Aren’t we constantly subjected to suggestions that we make the perfect, nutritiously balanced meals for our kids? Aren’t we bombarded with ways to enhance the childhood experience from making a craft out of a toilet paper roll to creating a learning experience out of a trip to the grocery store? Is that why I feel like a bad mom if my kid doesn’t get enrichment out of stopping by the Quik Check?

If I let my kids watch a show so I can take a shower, why do I feel guilt coursing through my veins while I shave my leg (because who has time to shave both)? If I take a phone call while my daughter is within earshot, is that why I question if I’m a bad mom for “ignoring” her requests to watch her jump off the couch for the 11th time while I chat?

Perhaps I’m trying so hard to be a good mom, that I’m becoming a bad mom. After all, how much can I delight in the moment if I’m mentally chastising myself for checking my Facebook page before I took my kids to the park? How can I take a mental picture of the joy my children are experiencing from the simple act of blowing bubbles if I’m busy feeling guilty that I’m serving frozen pizza for dinner?

I’m not sure how to change any of this, by the way. I’m pretty sure guilt is part of the deal when you’re a mom. I’m pretty sure I won’t give myself a break or just chill out. After all, I’ve been groomed and trained my entire life to feel as though I have to accomplish much more than the average person. I can’t very well settle for being a pretty good mom or an okay mom. I just hope my quest to be a good mom doesn’t make me a bad mom.

Do you suffer from “Overguiltatosis?”

Why Facebook May Cause Me to Lose “Friends”

Facebook…ugh, you jerk! Why do you piss me off? Some comments just make me nuts. Like when a “friend” posts something like this: “Just worked out for the third time today!” Gee, thanks for making me feel inferior. Thanks for making my day seem like a big, fat waste of time.

Or when someone posts something political. Shut up! I don’t like your opinion. I want to scream! Don’t make me comment in a way that will jeopardize our “friendship” forever. And to the “friend” who posts TOO MUCH INFORMATION about your kid pooping on the potty, WHY??? Gross! Leave me out of it. Please!

Facebook, you are really irritating me. Obviously I am a product of my generation and I can’t exactly cancel my account. Besides, if I did, how would I know that my “friend” had such a monumentally better week in the gym than I did? How would I know to despise so many people in my life due to their poltical views? How would I stay informed of the consistency of your baby’s stool? And how would I be visually assaulted by the suggestion that I become “friends” with an ex-boyfriend, the wife of an ex-boyfriend and a girl who hates me from high school all in one moment? Facebook, I’m thinking of another word that begins with the letter “F” followed by the word “you.”

My 4-Year-Old Falls Down Flight of Stairs, My Pediatrician Cautions She Could Wake Up Dead

“You’d hate for her to wake up dead.” Who would be so clueless, heartless, out of touch and sick to say this to a terrified parent about her injured 4-year-old? A teenager, a drunk or a serial killer? Nope, my own pediatrician. Those were the soothing, well-thought-out, medical school educated words of advice that my child’s doctor offered to me when I called her as a last resort on a Saturday night. Hey, those letters M and D after her name aren’t there for nothing!

My beloved daughter had suffered a horrible fall down a flight of uncarpeted stairs the night before and after about 24 hours, she was complaining of some rib pain. The bigger concern was that she’d hit her head and seemed tired now. My husband assured me that she was indeed just tired, but my obsessive, over-reactive, paranoid, hypochondriac personality begged to differ. I worried that she was experiencing a late-onset head trauma. Of course not being a doctor I didn’t even know if this was possible, but then again, I also falsely believed that one could not wake up dead. Silly me!

So, I called the pediatrician’s office and the on-call doctor urged me to take her to the emergency room. Sound advice perhaps but her delivery was less than desirable. I heard nothing after her caution that my daughter could wake up dead. My heart was in my throat, thumping uncontrollably. I had trouble swallowing. I felt sick to my stomach. I felt faint. I felt woozy. Gosh, I hope I wasn’t about to drop dead from the shock of her thoughtless declaration.

“What a jerk!” my mom texted me upon learning of the pediatrician’s comment. I think a more apt way of putting it is, “What a joke!” I won’t be taking my daughter back to this pediatrician’s office. Her scare tactic has worked in a way, because I’ll be making myself scarce…when it comes to giving her my business.

Perhaps my need to experience some remnant of a bedside manner in this day and age is unrealistic. After all, in our lawsuit happy culture, doctors have given up erring on the side of caution. If my daughter had suffered a serious head trauma and the pediatrician didn’t urge us to seek care, she could be sued after all! But could there not have been another way to say what she said? It doesn’t take a medical school degree to answer that question.

Luckily our sweet girl is fine. After contemplating an ER visit for hours, we decided to monitor her closely overnight and she woke up alive, thankfully.

Do The Kardashians Own The Letter K?

Kall me krazy but have the Kardashians reached such a level of celebrity that they actually own a letter of the alphabet? I kontemplated this possibility as I attempted recently to kome up with a list of baby potential baby names. It occurred to me that if I used a girl’s name beginning with K, other people might assume that I was paying homage to the Kardashian klan. This seemed unlikely as it’s nearly impossible to imagine anyone actually liking this family let alone thinking that another human being would like them, and like them enough to fashion a baby’s name after them. Still, I had to wonder if this overexposed, spoiled and kringe-worthy lineage could actually accomplish the ultimate celebrity feat and patent a letter.

It seems even the biggest Kardashian koolaid drinker, Kim, will only date men who have names that begin with her favorite letter. Konsider her estranged husband Kris and her kurrent flame Kanye. Of course then there is Reggie Bush, who kouldn’t possibly have been the love of her life once matriarch Kris pointed out that his name kontained all sorts of unfamilar konsonants.

Had Kourtney named her offspring with names that began with K, the letter kould have been klaimed once and for all by the Kardashian dynasty. Oh well, I guess she had to go and mess that up. And then Khloe had to go and marry Lamar; how could she!?

The only way to save this kollasal katastrophe would be for Kim and Kayne to produce an heir and name him or her accordingly. Then perhaps they kan finally lay klaim to the letter.

Does it seem so far-fetched that the rest of us peons would have to pay them royalties anytime we bestow a name that begins with K upon our own kin? The family kould surely kollect when we dare to kiss, kick, keep or kill. And I kall kopyright infringement on the band KISS, Kindle, Kleenex and KY Jelly!

Finally, may I offer these money making ideas to Kris, who no doubt is laying awake right now dreaming up more ways to take over the world. How about a line of Kardashian Koffees or Kardashian Kleaning Products (perhaps a diamond-encrusted toilet bowl brush)? Don’t kount it out!

How Another Woman’s Unruly Child Pulling My Hair Made Me Feel Close to Her

Today another woman’s out of control child caused me to change my attitude toward his mother from superior to sympathetic. I took my older daughter to a swim lesson this morning with my toddler in tow. While I was busy managing multiple needs in a new setting, someone’s constant screaming punctuated the lesson. A five-year old blonde boy was throwing the mother of all tantrums as his seemingly calm mother held him down on her lap. I recall glancing back at her periodially, held prisoner on a close-by picnic bench by her son’s insane temper tantrum, feeling haughty. “I can control my kids,” I thought. “What is her problem?”

Of course I’ve been overpowered by my children’s bad behavior in other situations from Target to a family dinner out. I’ve been at the receiving end of those scathing glances, most of them from moms who probably felt superior to me in those moments.

Soon, we were all in a shuttle which would take us from the lesson site to the parking lot. I felt a sense of dread as the out of control kid’s mom picked her seat next to me and my girls, her writhing, screaming son tethered to her lap against his will. As the van began to move, the boy reached across his mom and grabbed a chunk of my hair, pulling it with force.

Calmly, the woman removed her son’s grip from my mane and told him patiently, “No, we don’t do that.” For what seemed like minutes, I waited impatiently for her to offer an apology which eventually she did. As my blood boiled, my superiority reached the height of its arc.

Then, we reached the lot and before the mom unboarded her brood (her quiet, well behaved younger son was sitting patiently in the row behind us), she turned to me and said, “Not that it’s an excuse but he is autistic and he doesn’t know any better.”

I felt a wave of shame rush over me and in that moment, I saw that she was doing the best she could, just like me and just like every other mom in the universe. She has her hands full, just like me and she is just dealing with each moment to the best of her ability. And I felt a pull of compassion toward her, despite my throbbing patch of hair follicles.

Without thinking my hand reached out to rub her back soothingly. “No worries,” I said. “Please, it’s okay.” And just like that, I was over it. In fact, I felt so close to this unfamiliar mom in that moment. I understood and I learned something too. I shouldn’t rush to judgement. I shouldn’t get caught up in feeing superior to my fellow warriors. We are all dealing with our own problems and I have no right to think I am doing any better than any other mom.

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