Mommy Tricks

Today Alethea and I had a fun, but busy, morning.  In order to stay on track, I employed a series of Mommy Tricks.  Here’s how it went:


No, I wasn’t the sucker, I gave Alethea a dum-dum sucker so that I could vote.  Turns out that a small sucker buys me just enough time to do my civic duty.  (It also turns out that being dressed in pink from head to toe isn’t enough to keep Alethea from being called a ‘little fellow’, but that’s a post for another day.)

After we voted we headed to the park.  As it happens, there were some lovely children there before we arrived who decided to coat the slides with mud.  Not just one slide… all of the slides in the park (what makes mischievous children so thorough?)  If I’d been a more experienced mom, I might have been ready to use TRICK #2: PULL OUT THE OLD TOWEL, you know the handy rag-like towel that the prepared mother keeps in the car at all times for emergency situations like slide cleaning, but alas, I had no towel, so I resorted to…


Alethea said, “Slide! Slide!” And I said, “Alethea, look, the swings are right over there!”  The swings were an acceptable distraction.

After Alethea got board with the swing, there wasn’t much left to do, so I asked Alethea if she was ready to go home.  She wasn’t.  I resorted to…


I thought maybe we could get to the car by baby steps.  “Look at those bikes on the bike rack over there, Alethea!” (Alethea goes to examine the bikes = we move closer to the car.)  “Look at that tall tree, Alethea!” (We move still closer.)  A big truck goes by on the road and Alethea voluntarily walks a few more steps.  Suddenly she stops, points and says, “Car.”  In my most positive voice I said, “You’re right, Alethea, that’s our car!”

She looks at me, looks at the car, looks at me, then realization floods over her face and she yells, “Nooooo!” turns and runs in the other direction.

So much for trick #4.

At that point I was down to…


Chase your kid down, pick them up, put them in the car (even if screaming), go home.  Not really my best Mommy Trick, but sometimes it’s what it takes.

A Mom Guilt Day

Today Alethea and I went to Target to buy a birthday present for her cousin Roman.  Despite the rain, we were having a good time as we found our way back to the toy section.  Alethea was enjoying going up and down the aisles and was especially fond of the baby doll section.

Then the fateful moment…  As we approached the display for walking/talking Big Foot, it lit up and Big Foot started moving.  Alethea was interested, so we went closer.  There was a button.  A big orange button.  My gut instinct said “Don’t push the button, this is not a friendly looking toy.”  But Alethea was clearly intrigued, so I did it anyway, I pushed the button.

Big Foot roared… Alethea’s eyes narrowed, but she was still interested…  Big Foot did a flip… still interested…  Big Foot started yelling and banging his fists on his Plexiglas cage…

With a shriek of terror, Alethea burst into tears.

As I hurried away with the cart, mom guilt washing over me, I looked around for a distraction and there was the bin of giant swirly colored balls.  I got Alethea a purple one.  A two dollar and forty-eight cent distraction from the terrible monster Mommy had activated against her better judgment.  And then I felt more guilty, for bribing my child with a toy.  I tried telling myself that we sort of owed her one anyway since her last giant ball died when Peter threw it up on the roof and it came down in a pine tree.  POP!  But really, I wasn’t planning on buying it when I walked into the store and it’s not like she really needs another toy.

Poor parenting though it was, it did work; she was distracted and I learned my lesson.  I did NOT press the button on the giant Lego Darth Vader display and I deftly navigated around the motion activated skeleton in the Halloween decorations.  But I still feel guilty… two bad mom moments in one trip to Target… not good for the parenting self-esteem.  I just hope Alethea doesn’t have nightmares tonight.  (Oh, and in case you were wondering, Roman won’t be getting a walking/talking Big Foot toy for his birthday, or at least, not from Alethea.)

Lessons I’m Learning

Recently I have been realizing that although having a kid isn’t always intellectually stimulating, I am learning a lot of things along the way.  Just over the past few days I have discovered the following:

1) Baby teeth can disappear.  Alethea had six teeth showing the other day and now she only has five.  One of the top ones has gone back up into the gum line.  How weird is that?!?!?  I just hope that it doesn’t mean we have to go through another few weeks of grumpiness to get the tooth back again.  That just wouldn’t be fair.

2) Children have an odd sense of what constitutes fine cuisine.  My baby who has actually chewed up and swallowed a piece off a corrugated cardboard box refused to eat the piece of Daddy’s hot off the grill Angus beef hamburger she was offered for dinner the other night.  Crazy kid.

3) I can feel Alethea’s teeth even through blue jeans.  Yes folks, We seem to have entered a biting phase.  Getting bit through blue jeans doesn’t hurt so bad.  When she bit my bare neck, it left a mark for several hours.  I’m not sure what’s gotten into her and why she’s gunning for me.  She has made no attempt to bite Peter while I’m becoming a little scared to hug her since I never know when it’s coming.  What have I done to my child to cause so much resentment so early in her life?

4) Even with a crowded crib, Alethea can tell when something isn’t as it should be.  The other night when we put Alethea to bed, her brown fuzzy blanket with the silky edge was in the dryer downstairs.  Although she went to bed with her remaining five crib items (nuk, backup nuk, pink blanket, teddy bear and stuffed puppy) she seemed to be having a hard time settling in.  It took me a bit, but I finally realized what was missing and sure enough, the second she had the blanket in hand, she laid right down and went to sleep.  I wonder if that blanket will be her security item.  Or maybe she’ll have 6 security items?!?!  Oh, boy!

You Know You’re Really A Parent When…

* You can’t seem to recall what in the world you did with all the free time you’re certain you used to have before you had a kid to look after

* You vaguely remember a time when 10:00pm didn’t feel like staying up late, but you’re not sure if that was really you or just a dream you had one night

* You find yourself wondering whether the green substance crusted to your baby’s nose is boogers or pureed green beans and then realize it doesn’t really matter anyway

Feel free to add your own “You Know You’re Really a Parent When”s in the comments section of this post!

Start as You Mean to Go On

So I’ve been reading a book called “The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems” and while I have to admit the title is pretty cheesy and yes, does make me think of the show “The Dog Whisperer” on the National Geographic Channel (which by the way, I love to watch, even though we don’t have a dog.  But I digress…) it turns out, it’s not a bad book.  The Baby Whisperer seems to be something of a middle road between Attachment Parenting (let the kids sleep in your bed and carry them around constantly) and the various Cry it Out methods that are variations on putting your baby in the crib and letting them cry until they learn to fall asleep on their own.  Don’t get me wrong, I know and have heard of parents who swear by one of those methods or the other, and I say if it works for you and your child, that’s great, but neither one particularly fits my parenting temperament.  I am currently working on implementing some of the Baby Whisperer ideas with Alethea and I am hopeful that we are working towards better sleep habits for Alethea.  So far, naps are improving and most of the time (day or night) she is sleeping in her crib, although she still has fairly frequent night wakings.  But like I said, we’re working on it.

I really wish I had read this book sooner… like before Alethea was born would have been good.  The author talks a lot about overstimulation, which would have saved us a lot of frustration if we had realized sooner how touchy some babies (like ours!) can be.  She also emphasizes that you should “start as you mean to go on” since it’s easier on everyone not to try to change the rules in the middle of the game.

So all of this got me thinking, I wonder, what books I should be reading now to prepare for Alethea’s toddlerhood?  If we’re going to start as we mean to go on with potty training, discipline and the like, we’d better have some idea of how we want to go on before we start!

This is where all the parents out there get to chime in, what book (or books) have you relied on while raising your toddler?  Or perhaps you have some toddler raising advice you didn’t find in a book.  What is a practice that you recommend beginning right away in order to “start as you mean to go on”?  What bad habits did you avoid (or have to break!) when raising your toddler?  Please let me know all your best toddler raising secrets!

Help Me Jesus!

On Sunday, July 26th Peter and I dedicated Alethea to God during the service at our church.  It was really sort of an awe inspiring moment for me to think about the really amazing gift that Alethea is and how utterly dependent I am on God’s help to raise her.  I knew there would be many challenges in raising a child in such a crazy mixed up world, but honestly didn’t expect to find myself in desperate “Help me Jesus” sort of prayer this early in her life: Help me Jesus when she’s screaming her head off and I don’t know why; Help me Jesus when she wakes up for the seventh time in a given night and I just want to cry along with her; Help me Jesus when the baby is sleeping soundly but for some reason I’m still wide awake.

We’ve had a roller coaster several days with insomnia for me, night waking for Alethea and general difficulty with feeding, but just as I was feeling like I barely could keep my head above water, God sent along two of my Christ-following friends to encourage me, one with flowers and an extra swing and one with lunch and an hour of good mother-to-mother conversation.  Thank you Jesus!