We survived.

So we did it. We moved two hours away with Little in tow. We hired professional movers thinking it would make our lives easier. Big word of advice; Expensive does not equal efficient. As nice and cordial as they were, our movers were not fast or organized. After three weeks I’m still finding boxes like, ‘towels’ in random places. Needless to say, it hasn’t been fun. Nothing like a move, to really test your relationships and your patience.Hubby and I were under a lot of pressure to get everything organized in a short period of time. With boxes marked, ‘pjs’ found in the garage, we tended to throw our frustration on to each other. And when it rains… you know how it goes. It was as if the move was the first of a series of issues. Appliances in our new place started breaking down, nothing seemed to work. A lot of repairs and a lot of hassle. 

After a few weeks, we’re starting to feel more adjusted and trying to focus on the positive aspects of the move. Now that we can actually find things, we’re at a calmer place, and making it a point to go on date nights and re-connect. It’s been a nice reminder to know that when things feel like they’re out of control, they will eventually get better. 

Mommies/daddies how have past moves been for you?

Baby steps, and make sure you label everything,
Roxy
  
 

Moving Madness

It isn’t ground breaking news. Or a deep profound thought…that moving legitimately sucks. A few weeks ago, when people told me how difficult it would be with a toddler, I silently told them to very nicely be quiet, that I’d be so on top of it on moving day, that I’d be walking around not knowing what to do with myself as I’d be amazingly organized and as a result have nothing else to do.
It’s not too late for this naive fantasy to come true. We have a little time to make this happen. But as I go through the list of things to be done, a mild panic attack lurks around the corner. What I had failed to realize was that packing is the easy part. Scheduling everything, ordering the needed items, and making sure the timeline is in alignment, is where I might lose my mind. All the while, reminding Little that the items in the boxes, are supposed to stay in the boxes. We’re still working on this one.

I’ve had a few friends who moved with their toddlers and their new babies. This means an infant AND a two year-old. Respect. I don’t know how they did it without falling apart. And in the chaos they managed to hold regular play dates, and keep a smile on their faces. That’s talent.
Give me your secrets.
Baby steps, and big boxes are awesome,
Roxy

  

I will be his ninja.

I used to wonder about parents with a strong grip on their kids. Too protective. Too anxious. Too careful. Over-bearing, and overly everything. I have a two year-old now, and I take it all back. There’s no such thing as too protective for me anymore. I look at that little face and innocent spirit, and the thought of him being hurt, or lost, or anything else that I can’t even bring myself to put into words, my chest tightens, and my heart beats so fast I swear I can hear it pulsating through my head. The other day I watched a video of a toddler climbing outside the window of a three story building like a spider monkey. Yes, I said outside! Where were his parents, you ask? I have no freak’n idea. I saw a hand pull him back in after what seemed like forever. But I tell you, that child was climbing like he’d experienced this before. Holy magnolia, what in the whats! I can’t watch this stuff anymore. Kids getting hurt, or almost getting hurt… it’s not something my soul can take. 

I don’t care if I look like a crazy person, repeating to my kid over and over and over that when we’re in public we walk, don’t run. No running. Just walking. What do we do? Walk. Hold mommy’s hand. Stop! Walk! No run, walk. I say it before we leave the car, and after and in between and then some. I’ve been told I repeat too much sometimes. I don’t care. I will repeat until it’s absorbed. And even then I will keep repeating. And I will follow, and run after, until the distance between us doesn’t make me panic. Yet, I will continue to give him his independence and let him figure things out on his own. No one said it would be an easy mixture. 

These tiny beings, who knew they would forever have our whole hearts? I look at parents of grown kids I know well, and have so much respect. They went through so much. They know so much. They’re my inspiration. And really, a symbol of hope that I won’t die prematurely from anxiety and insanity. 

Baby steps, and copious amounts of chamomile tea,
Roxy

  

Food coloring be gone!

They are in everything, those food coloring monsters. Baked goods, candy, drinks, frozen food, ice cream, cereal, moisturizers, shampoo, spices. And a whole lot more. If you ever see Yellow #5, Blue #1, and Red #40 (three of the most popular FDA permitted ones), then you could be consuming what is potentially hazardous to your health, and your child’s health. I’ve always felt strongly about food dyes, but when I was pregnant with Little, I went on a rampage, getting rid of anything with artificial coloring. In the end, I threw out and donated a good portion of moisturizers, shampoos, makeup, and a large amount of food. I was shocked seeing Red#40, in so many items I used on the daily. 

Artificial food coloring has been a big debate over the past several decades, linking them to hyperactivity in children, cancer, and other illnesses, yet there’s seven legal artificial food dyes on the market. According to this Forbes article, After “Halloween in 1950, the government banned Orange #1 when many children became ill after consumption. In the 1970s, scientific testing pointed to Red #2’s potential carcinogenic properties (caused intestinal tumors in rats), and it too was banned. Yellows #1, #2, #3, and #4 are among the others that have since been made illegal, and Yellow #5 is currently undergoing further testing for links to hyperactivity, anxiety, migraines and cancer (the color has already been banned in many European countries).”

While this subject is still being studied in the U. S., I’m not taking any chances. Yellow #5 banned in many European countries? That means something. Why mess around, when there’s so many natural alternatives? 

I realize there are so many things that are potentially hazardous to our health, and we could go crazy trying to avoid all of them. But if we can just be more aware of what we’re putting into our bodies, and think about how that could affect us, I’d say we’re taking one step towards a more conscious and healthy lifestyle. 

Baby steps, and turmeric-colored lollipops,

Roxy

  

Mommy, what happened!?

It’s 6:13 AM, and I can barely open an eye. Little’s doing his I’m-about-to-wake-up stretches. I hold my breath, hoping with every fiber of my being that if I don’t move, he’ll magically fall asleep. Fat chance. He abruptly sits up, looks at me with his sweet brown eyes, looking quite refreshed actually, ‘Mommy, over dehr!’ He points to the living room. This means he wants to play.
‘One more minute,’ I whisper.

‘No!’

‘Please.’

‘No!’

‘I’ll be your best friend.’

‘No!’

‘I can’t move.’

‘No!’

Like that ever works. I sit up, too fast. As I wait for the dizziness to pass, Little examines my face.
‘Mommy, what happened?’

‘I sat up too quickly and blood rushed to my head. I’m waiting it out.’

‘Mommy, what happened?’

‘My head is spinning a little, but I’m fine’

‘Mommy, what happened?’

‘I got an ouchie, but I’m ok’

‘Mommy, what happened?’

‘Someone woke me up at 6 AM’

‘Mommy, what happened?’

‘A unicorn came by and took my phone’

He seems good with this one. This is hubby and I’s favorite game. We go back and forth with Little, until he gets an answer that satisfies him and he no longer asks the same question. We like to guess which answer does it for him. First we start with the truth, then we embellish, and sometimes we just make something up for fun.
Little and I head over to the kitchen where I make his milk, and explain that it takes a short while to warm it. We are still working on this one. Toddlers never quite understand why they can’t have what they want at the immediate moment they want it. We sing the ABC’s to help with the wait. 

As he drinks his milk, I lay on the couch and actually fall asleep for two minutes. This is usually a seemingly inviting time for Little to jump on my head. 

When Little was around one, people would repeatedly tell us two is an increasingly more difficult age. I would get so angry, asking hubby why people are always so negative. Negative or not, they were right. Two is hard. So much going on in their little bodies. A lot of new information coming in on the daily, they don’t know how to control the intensity and shifting of feelings from happy to sad which happens in a matter of seconds. Their thoughts and feelings hit them so intensely, they battle between independence and comfort and security. It’s tough being little. Tougher than we, as adults could possibly understand.
But it’s tough on mommy’s and daddy’s too. Sometimes I’d love to drop to the floor, kicking and screaming. I imagine it would be a great release. Since that would be a little ridiculous I try to anticipate the feeling and take little breaks here and there. Whether it’s to go to the kitchen and grab a coffee or promising myself a treat or some “me” time when Little goes to bed. It helps. 
Or you just hang on to the little voice that sincerely says, ‘Tank yew, mommy. Olive you.’
Olive you too, buddy. 

Baby steps and this phase too shall soon pass,

Roxy

  

Please don’t call my child a picky eater

It took awhile, but we’re finally getting somewhere. Little is actually eating real food on a continual basis. Not just pretzels. Not just Apple Crushers. Not just Cheerios. Real food, friends. I wanted to share some things that worked for us, and hopefully will work for any struggling parents. Firstly, read this, ‘Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating.’ Awesome book on educating parents/caregivers on the reasons behind struggling eaters. I picked up a handful of ideas from this book, then implemented some of my own. A lot of trial and error. But, I’m feeling good about where we are. 

I started a routine; Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner. I tried not to waiver too much from this, but adjusted the timing when I needed to. For each meal I put three to four options, including a ‘safe food.’ The book discusses the importance of a ‘safe food’ quite a bit. A ‘safe food’ is basically an item that your child will eat no matter what. For Little it was corn or peas. So either of those was served with just about every meal, so that something familiar and comforting was always on his plate. 

According to the book, Kids often feel a great deal of pressure to eat. Pressure increases anxiety and decreases appetite. It makes kids like food less. Even praise and acknowledgement is considered as pressure, because they may feel that if they don’t eat their food tomorrow, they are failing you.

So we cut out all praise, any conversation about food…we completely stopped. I’m not going to lie, This was actually really difficult for me. I didn’t realize how food-centered our conversations were. In the beginning, I had no idea what else to say. The book actually lists things you can talk about with your child while eating, because apparently a lot of parents struggle with this. Sometimes, we wouldn’t even talk to him while eating, and I’d notice that he’d venture out and try different items on his plate. Why? No one was hounding him, bribing him with dessert, asking him why he wasn’t eating, telling him what to do, or forcing a bite into his mouth. No anxiety.

I tried to focus on my job; what he eats, and when he eats. That’s it. How much he eats, is up to him. This took the pressure off of myself too. So at the end of the meal, when he would get up from the table with his food almost untouched, I told myself that my job was done, and that hopefully the next meal would go better. 

And it did. Some days are a lot better than others, but I’ve just accepted that it is what it is. Not everyday will be a success. To me, success is the fact that Little demands almond butter in his oatmeal now. And he’s obsessed with cashews, and cucumbers. I would have never thought I could say that a few months ago. 

The toughest part of of this process has been explaining the plan to others. Some people think I’m crazy. Some people think I’m over-doing it. Some people just don’t get it. How is it possible that I try not to say one food-related thing to him, other than are you all done or do you want more? How is it that I don’t constantly ask him to eat his chicken? Why is it that I don’t want people constantly commenting that he’s a good eater or bad eater? Why am I ok with him not touching his food, and not encouraging him to eat? Why don’t I promise him dessert so he eats his food?

Million dollar answer, because I know my kid. As soon as I say anything about his food, he will start playing with it and eventually throw it. When he hears people talking about how much or how little he eats, his ears perk up and to a certain extent his attitude changes. Once I promise that dessert, he will stop eating his food. 

I’m not saying I’m perfect, I’ve made a lot of mistakes myself, it’s a learning process. For any parent who struggles with their child’s eating, they can empathize with how stressful and frustrating something as seemingly simple as food intake can be. But fortunately if you stick to what feels right for your child no matter what kind of feedback you get, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Baby steps, and courage,
Roxy

    

  
 

Being mommy without my mommy

I used to hate Mother’s Day. When surrounded by all the stupid loving advertisements and commercials showing appreciation to the one and only mom, I wanted to crawl under a blanket and stay there until it was over. 
My mom and I were very close. She was my confidant, my role model, my teacher, my best friend…..my person. The one who believed I could conquer the world. She had an innocence and positivity about her that people felt drawn to. She saw goodness in others, always giving people second and third, if not fourth chances. She was smart; Teaching French, English, Farsi, and Spanish at the University level, and was constantly on the hunt to learn something new. Even with her petite frame, she was my protector and life cheerleader. We had traditions, and goals to achieve together.

When I was 19, she was once again diagnosed with breast cancer. She pushed through for five years….even though it was hard, even though she suffered horrible pain. I was 24, when I found myself at the hospital by her bedside holding her hand, knowing she would never wake up again. It didn’t make sense. I was looking right at her. She was right there. And when the machines were all turned off, and she took her last breath, I couldn’t quite grasp what the hell was happening. 

And then it hit me. Hard. My role model, my confidant, my best friend, my teacher, my protector, my cheerleader…. she was gone. 

For months, It felt like she was on a long vacation. Obviously she was coming back. She was my mom. My mommy. My mama. This couldn’t be it. How could life move forward without her?

It took me a very long time to accept the heart wrenching fact that I had to live my life and learn to be happy without her. And I’d like to think that I did. But it’s still hard. There’s not a day that goes by where I’m not reminded by something she loved, something she would say, or a moment I could’ve shared with her; Getting married, moving into my first home, pregnancy…. and probably the most difficult, having my first baby. 

When I was engaged, my mom and I talked a lot about my future babies. Her face would express so much love and affection when she told me that when the time came, she couldn’t wait to hold my baby in her arms. That one hurts. A lot. Because I look at Little’s face, and I envision what his bond would have been like with his beautiful grandmother, and all I see is nothing short of amazing. 

I look back at coming home from the hospital when I gave birth, and wonder what it would’ve been like if she was there. What would she have said to me and how different the experience would have been. It was an emotional roller coaster for me. I could’ve cried and yelled and talked openly and she would’ve been ok with that. Because that’s what mommies do. And You can’t really do that with anyone else. That comfort. That support. That affection. That unconditional aspect of it. Sometimes you don’t just want a mom, you want mommy. No matter how old you are.

As this Mother’s Day draws near, I recall the years after my mother died. People close to me would call on Mother’s Day to check in and tell me they were thinking of me. I would reluctantly answer the phone and try to get through the day the best I could, trying not to think about how I used to spend the day with her, laughing and spending time together. 

Since I’ve had Little, the day has changed quite a bit. The phone calls are solely focused on wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day. The day is spent celebrating mommy-hood, rather than running away from it. It’s such a bitter-sweet feeling. On one hand, it’s still difficult, on the other, there’s a lot that I’m thankful for. When in the midst of grief and loss, it’s been hard to focus on the positive things in my life. And my biggest blessing is my family; My hubby. My sweet little boy. My hubby’s family, especially my mother-in-law. My dad and siblings, and one of the closest to my heart, my step-mom. If my mom could have chosen anyone to be a part of my life, when she couldn’t be there…I know she would have chosen her. 

I point at my mom’s picture often, and say who is that? Little looks up at me and says ‘Gramma!’ ‘Yes,’ I say. ‘That’s your grandma.’

To any of you who will be either celebrating Mother’s Day or want nothing to do with it, I wish you sweet moments, peace and so much comfort.

Baby steps, and love to you all,
Roxy