Thursday, February 20, 2014

The One Where I Decided to Stop Bending at Daycare Drop Off

(photo credit)
I wanted to share a moment of clarity that changed the course of my daycare drop off (DDO) experience dramatically. It was an ah-ha moment that made things easier and faster for me with two kids. I assume even if I was dropping off one child an ah-ha moment like this would still help incredibly so it could apply to anyone or even situations outside of daycare. You'll see what I mean...

When Baby D-Nut started attending daycare with big brother C, I was nervous for how I would handle drop off. I went back and forth in my head about who to get out of the car first! (Please tell me when you first had two kids you debated the same thing.... please?)

Once I figured that piece out I wondered which class I was going to stop off at first? On a whim I asked Little C if he wanted to help me get baby sis settled in her room and he jumped on the opportunity. I thought this would be good to give him a sense of pride and to help us get over the hurdles we were experiencing at the time.

And so it began... our new routine. Every morning, Monday - Friday, he'd "help" me with baby sis except what started as something sweet and cute to help my little man cope and that I was internally busting with pride over quickly became a pain in the arse!

If you are a "dropper-offer" yourself then you know how there is a small window of time from the moment you pull into the parking lot to the moment you peel out where you will not be late to work. It is a small window that if all goes according to plan I can enjoy my drive into the office without cursing at every slow-coaching driver or getting stressed and anxious at every red light. So in order to have an enjoyable drive I need to stick to my allotted DDO window.

Now back to our routine... You have to take shoes off before entering the baby room or cover them with "booties." No big deal for me but with a baby in her carseat, a bottle bag to carry and now a toddler who takes his sweet time to do anything, it was becoming cumbersome. Then once we were in the baby room I spent most of my time reminding the toddler to not jump on all the baby things, keep his voice down, don't take that toy from your sister, please don't touch all the babies faces, etc.

I didn't get much time to focus on my daughter and was spending all my time corralling the toddler. Then we'd have to battle to get his shoes back on as I could feel each minute sail by and my DDO window getting smaller and smaller. Then the battle began to get my son into his room. It was such a struggle until I came up with the idea to count to ten. We'd sit together right outside his room and we'd count to ten together knowing that once we hit "ten" he'd have to head on into class. Worked like a charm and life was good. Except this whole rigmarole took me for-ev-er and I was having unpleasant commutes to the office.

(photo credit)
I started to feel like something had to give. This routine was NOT working. I wasn't getting any one-on-one time with the baby and my toddler was stressing me out and he wasn't getting the best of me either! I had to ask myself why am I doing it this way? The answer was because I thought it was what my son wanted and I wanted to keep him happy. But at what expense??? My sanity???

I decided to stop bending right then and there. I started to think about what I wanted out of my morning. What was important to me, what was manageable and what all three of us could handle. I broke the routine we'd all become accustom to for no one else but me and it. felt. great.

The next morning as we drove to daycare I simply said, "hey buddy, today you can't help me with Baby Donut. You have to go straight into your class, okay?" This was met with a dramatic display of displeasure and it continued for the whole drive, the time in the parking lot, and into daycare. I stayed firm and didn't buckle even though we were in full on tantrum mode in front of others.

We sat outside his room like we always do. I calmed him down and sat with him on our bench with Baby D-Nut by our side and I told him I really wanted to take sister to her room by myself. I explained that I still wanted to count to ten with him and that after dropping off sis I would pop back into his room for a "super-special goodbye hug just for him."

He ate it up!

You guys!! It was gaming changing! I whisked Baby D-Nut into her room where it was quiet and peaceful as the baby room should be. I was able to visit with the teacher, get the bottles to their place, fill out the daily sheet, smooch my girl's perfect little cheeks as much as I wanted and get her set up for her little day. It was fast and simple and... wait for it.... ENJOYABLE!

Then true to my word I popped back in C's room as he was eating breakfast with his friends and he lit up to see me. I wrapped my arms around him told him I loved him and without any tears or tantrums he said "bye, mom!"

I had special time with each of my kids and was out the door in record time! But most of all, it was what I wanted. I wasn't bending, I was setting the tone, leading the pack, being the parent. Everyone adjusted just fine and we were all happy!

My point here is if you are struggling with DDO yourself, or maybe some other routine you have that is cumbersome or stressful, ask yourself why? Why is it this way and is there something about it I have the power to change? How do I really want this to go and how can I make it happen? 

Even if you have a child that is very adverse to change or transitions, rocking the boat just enough to make things better down the line is so worth it. Plus a happy mama is a happy family, yes? As much as we take care of our children and bend like crazy to keep them happy there are times where our sanity and our happiness should be considered and even the #1 priority. I hope you recognize an area where you can do just that. Maybe it doesn't work and you have to keep trying new things until it does. Sometimes stress is a choice and we have the power and the ability to make choices to stop the nonsense!

What routine do you wish you could change? Is DDO stressful for you? Have you had any moments of clarity that helped you handle certain parenting situations?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Too Much of A Good Thing Does Exist When it Comes to Parenting via the Internet

I'm over at Mile High Mamas today talking about how the internet is a mom's best tool and her worst enemy all at the same time. I find myself falling prey to the vast over-sharing and under-qualifying nature of the internet as it swallows me whole and spits me out usually worse for wear.

Trust me when I say I love the internet for all of the entertainment it provides as well as the answers to questions I'm dying to know. But there are times when it is overwhelming with too much information or it is feeding me opinions instead of facts.

As a mother who does her best to advocate for her children, I feel it is important to take the internet at face value. Just because you type something into Google and it spits out a list of sites relating to your search, doesn't mean you are on track to finding the best answer. As always I encourage anyone who reads this modest little blog to make educated decisions for yourself. Do your due diligence and research before jumping in head first, or just trust your intuition and your "mom gut." It will get you far...

Click here to read my full post.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Do They Know?

Does my husband know that for years while we were dating I'd always wake up before him and stare at the back of his head, neck and back? Listening to him take deep, restful breaths and I'd repeat over and over in my head "I love him, I love him, I love him..."

Does he know that on our wedding day I was as calm as I've ever been? That for an easily stressed out and over-dramatic person, I was so at peace and easy-going because I was so sure and confident I was about to marry the perfect man for me.

Does he know how much I need him? Need to be near him, touch him, talk to him, hold him. Even during our most intense arguments as I have steam blowing out my ears, I still look across at him and repeat in my head, "I love him, I love him, I love him..."

Does my husband know that during the birth of our son as I experienced the most intense pain of my life, it was his perfectly blended display of strength and tenderness that got me through? Having him by my side pushes me (figuratively and, in this case, literally) to do anything.

Does my husband know that even before looking into our first born child's eyes, I locked with his and exhaled the biggest breath because we just extended our love far beyond ourselves and into the heart of our baby boy?

Does my son know that at the very next moment he was placed directly onto my heart and that is where he will forever stay?

Does he know how two people with so much to talk about and say were speechless and in awe by his tiny presence?

Does he know that when he was a tiny baby and we were home alone, I'd queue up Three Little Birds as I'd sway back and forth with him sleeping in my arms and I'd sing: "...don't worry about a thing, 'cause every little thing, is gonna be alright..."

Does my boy know how his chestnut hair and his hopelessly adorable big brown eyes paired with his perfect smile slays me?

Does he know that I sneak a peek into his school room on my way out every morning at drop-off just to watch him in his element? I stare proudly at him as he talks with his friends, giggling and being so raw and unscathed. So innocent and so brilliant.

Does my daughter know that the second I found out I was pregnant with her that I fell to my knees, burst into tears and prayed? She was a surprise, I was scared and I prayed hard not to let anything happen to her despite that fact.

Does she know that after she was born she was placed directly onto my heart and that is where she will forever stay?

Does she know how much I adore having a blonde-haired, blue-eyed daughter?

Does she know how much I love her hands? Not because they are so tiny. Not because there are dimples where her knuckles should be. I love her hands because she is always reaching. Reaching for her Dad, reaching for her brother, for me. She reaches for all the things in her life that she wants, big or small. She may not always get what she wants but she still reaches, with fingers spread on her tiny plump hands. Keep reaching, my girl.

Do our kids know that every night after they're asleep their father and I walk into their rooms to "check on them?" Really it's just that we want to see them. See our beautiful son and daughter and go to bed thankful they are ours.

Do my children know how genuinely happy I am to be there mom?

Does my husband know how desperately happy I am to be his wife?

Do they know that they are my everything? That my heart beats for them?

Do they know?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Last minute Valentines for Babies or One Year Olds in Daycare

Are you a working mom? Do you have zero time to hand-make intricate valentines or bake goodies for your child's Valentines Day party at daycare?

Do you scratch your head and wonder why you have to send Valentines with your one year old anyway when they can't even say their name, let alone spell it, on a silly piece of card board with either a princess or a super hero on it?


So I was at Target recently looking for Valentine's for Little C to give to his classmates and I came across these adorable little rubber duckies with hearts on them...

And it hit me!

They would be PERFECT for Baby D-Nut's class! They came three to a bag and they were $3. Not too shabby!

Here's what I did...

Grabbed white construction paper from the kids art table, and punched a 2" circle with my circle punching thingy to make a tag. Any shape for the tag would work but I just love using that tool!

I stuck a "candy heart" sticker on the tag and punched a hole in the top with a hole-punch. The heart stickers also came from Tar-jay. Dollar bins fo life, yo!!!

Now here's where the OCD in me started to come out and I was getting twitchy! I thought I had some Valentine's Day ribbon on hand and after tearing the damn house apart searching for it and proclaiming that the whole thing was a disaster and I should just throw in the towel and how now my project was going to look STOOOPID because all I could find was BLUE ribbon... Hubs told me to CTFD and pull myself together!

"What about twine." Three simple words solved all my life problems and I was back in biz-nass!!! What would I do without that guy? It would be ugly, people.

Anywho... I used the twine to tie the tags around the duckies. BOOM!

Note: It makes more sense to write your child's name on the tags before putting them on the ducks. I bet you could have figured that out for yourself, but just thought I'd throw it out there.

Voila! It's not candy, it's not baked goods, but it is age-appropriate and very sweet. It also could not have been easier! 

You could even say it was easy peasy rubber ducky squeezy!!

::snort:: I kill myself! 

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Whole Lotta Frittata

I love breakfast! Making it and eating it are two of my favorite things to do in the kitchen. The other day I made a delicious frittata and couldn't wait to share it with you!

Frittatas are super easy, healthy and quick to make. They are great for cleaning out the fridge or pantry using items you don't want to go to waste. You can make them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and they are very kid-friendly. Having said that, you can make them as kid-friendly or as over-the-top gourmet as you want which makes them the perfect versatile dish. . What I'm saying here is frittatas are the bomb dot com.

I made mine with leftover ham, spinach, and a bit of onion. Because the kids were going to be eating it I went light on the onions. I also had a small handful of grape tomatoes that I needed to use before they turned bad so I threw them in at the end. It really is a time where you can do whatever floats your boat.


  Ham, Spinach, and Tomato Frittata
Serves 4-6

  • 1 tbl olive oil
  • 1/2 an onion diced (I probably used 1/4 of an onion for the kids)
  • 1 cup cooked ham diced
  • 6 oz fresh spinach
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided (or any cheese you'd like)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • approx 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
Set the oven to broil.

Heat the oil in an oven safe skillet over med-low heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent and soft. Add the ham, and spinach and season with salt and pepper to taste (not too much salt, the ham is pretty salty naturally) and a pinch of nutmeg. Saute until the spinach is wilted.

 In a medium bowl whisk eggs, salt and pepper to taste, and the thyme. Stir in a 1/4 cup of cheese. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet.

At this point you want to let everything set and firm up. Add the tomatoes and the rest of the cheese.

Transfer skillet to the oven and broil until the cheese is melted and everything is cooked through. Approx 3-5 minutes.

Voila! Cut into wedges and serve warm.