Archive for the ‘advice’ Category

I know lying is wrong. It says so in the Bible. It was important enough to be in the Top 10 things To Do and Not Do, according to God. However, any good mom knows a little subterfuge is all a part of doing the job and doing it well.

Here are some examples.

Example #1

Over the year, my kids get a lot of candy. It all goes into gallon bags with their names on it in the pantry. Whenever they remember it exists, which is not every day, they ask to have some. If it is appropriate timing or I can use the candy as a bribe (eat all your kale), I do. My kids do not eat candy frequently enough to ever eat all the candy in our bags and I am certainly not going to eat all of it since I do not want to weigh 500 pounds.

What’s a good mom to do? I can’t just throw all the candy away. They would notice that. Kids are smart and sneaky, just like moms. We have to be smarter and sneakier.

I throw the candy away a little at a time. That way, the volume reduces gradually and they never know. You must be careful, though to throw the candy away in such a way that they will never know, which brings me to Example 2.

Example #2

Kids bring home two categories of trash. Stuff they make that is “priceless” and they want to keep forever and trash people give them. You know what I mean by the latter. Cheap toys that break within 5 minutes, decks of cards with cards missing, rocks, broken rubber bands, twisty ties, jar lids, and kid’s meal toys. You know, all the stuff they never want to get rid of.

If you are not careful, your house will be like Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout‘s and you will drown in garbage. To avoid this, while your kids are out of the house, choose a handful of the trash items and throw them away. Warning: Do not simply toss them into the trash can. You have to bury them under other trash or put them in a bag and throw them away.

People without kids are now thinking I am one crazy, paranoid lady, but let me tell you that every time a kid throws something in the trashcan, they spend a looooong time peering into that can. They know something fishy is going on in their house. If they see even the spec of some beloved item/piece of trash actually in the trashcan. All. hell. will. break. loose. Bury that stuff deep and put some smelly garbage on top of it for good measure.

I am not even going to cover all the things we regularly tell kids which are out and out lies: Santa, the Easter Bunny, or why they can’t watch Thomas the Train. My friend hated Thomas so much she told her two-year-old Thomas was not on TV anymore or Netflix or anywhere. I laughed and was sorry I did not think of that first.

Happy Parenting!


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When Ries sees that Gideon has an excess of energy, which at three is about 70% of the time, he simply tells the ball of energy to, “Run around in circles.”

Gideon is always happy to comply and will immediately start running in tight circles for about 5-10 rotations, gleefully laughing. At the end of the rotations, he staggers like a pirate on a rum bender, still running at top speed. After he regains his vertigo, Ries will yell, “Do it again!” at which point the cycle continues.

Last night, I was watching this familiar drama when…

Gideon, after a couple cycles of running circles yelled, “I know what I am doing!”

And then promptly ran his forehead into the high chair at which point his parents laughed like loons while our three year old tumbled to the floor.

*People, do not try this at home. We are untrained professionals and have no idea what the hell we are doing.

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I just wrote something in an email to a first time mom, I thought I would share because it pretty much sums up the first few weeks.

Being a parent is wonderful. It really is. Just keep telling that to yourself the first few weeks when you wonder what the hell you were thinking. Once you find a groove, everything is fabulous!

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New Cable Modem

I know I have gone on and on about my <sarcasm> love </sarcasm> for cable companies and some of my issues with Comcast.  My most recent interaction with them gave us an “upgrade” on our internet speeds for just a little more money.  However, our speeds were not any faster.  Maybe the upload was a little better, topping at just under 2 Mb/s but the download still wouldn’t reach the 9 Mb/s mark.  I asked if I needed a new cable modem but they said I did not.  All of the limited information I could find about these modems seemed to support that.  But since I am leasing it (and still paying) then I thought it should be fair to get a new model and they said I could come in and exchange it.

I finally got around to exchanging it.  It didn’t take too long and the customer service was only slightly grumpy but I got a new box.  Had some slight issues where it wouldn’t work properly and it wanted me to install some software on my computer (not likely!) but a call to Comcast and a reset of the signal got that all fixed.

Low and behold, I am suddenly getting over 21 Mb/s download speed!  So if you have had Comcast (or Time Warner before the switch) cable internet for a while now and have the same cable modem, then you may want to go exchange it for a new one.  Despite what they tell you.

–Ries, this has been a public service announcement.

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Overheard on Labor Day

Overheard as Ries was changing Gideon’s diaper:

Sins are like mosquito bites and poison ivy. You scratch them and it feels good, but you sure will pay for it later.

I never knew diaper changing was so instructional.

Updated: In case you were wondering, I am certain that this conversation occurred because Gideon has some rather nasty mosquito bites on his leg on which he scratched all the skin off.

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On Baby Names

The thing about baby names is that everyone has an opinion about them and everyone believes their opinion is the right one. That was one reason why Ries and I concealed Gideon’s name before he was born. The second reason being that is it was nice to have a secret about the baby that only the two of us knew.

With that in mind:

Many years ago, I came across this site about baby names that made me realize two things: people name their children the most ridiculous things and I am not the only one who hates the inappropriate use of the letter Y.

Adding the letter Y to a name that is not Celtic or Welsh or some other ethnicity does not result in a trendier, cooler name. *sigh* It results in a really stupid name for your child and for girls it gives them a lovely name to use when they become a stripper. Seriously.

What got me thinking about the letter Y and baby names? My midwife has a blog where she posts the birth of the babies she catches. A recent entry made me groan because not only it is a boy’s name bestowed upon a girl, it flagrantly misuses the poor, sad letter Y.

Like I said. Baby names. Everyone has an opinion.

No babies were harmed in the creation of this post.

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I know Michelle gave an update on our new bed time routine but I thought I would give it from my perspective.  Especially since I am the one taking on more of a burden.  I say burden, and admittedly I thought that way at first, but really it is not.  The first thing I had to do was change my mindset.  This was not a chore I have to do, this was quality time I get to spend with my son.  I am learning that this kind of time will soon be gone and I won’t be able to get it back.  Here is our routine in bullet form (the best kind of form).

  1. Dinner, then clean up the boy.
  2. Bathtime.  I have been doing this, but we have recently decided that there is no reason that Michelle can’t do it so we are going to switch off.
  3. Lotion up the boy, diaper up the boy, and put on some pajamas.  This is really kind of his last time for playing as we don’t rush through this part.
  4. Night time book.  Michelle insists that the book selection has to be a book about going to bed.  He has about 4 or 5 that belong in this rotation.
  5. Michelle comes in with her “Milk Bags” and I take the puppy (he has usually joined us for lotioning time) and say goodbye.
  6. Sometimes at this point, he just falls asleep at the teete (that’s right I said teete, hee hee).  But most often not.  That is when we proceed to the next step.
  7. Imperial March:  Now hopefully no one will have to be exposed to my horrible singing at the beginning of this step.  I take that boy in my hands and then I begin to walk around in circles, sometimes in the living room but usually just in his room.  He is usually crying at this point after the hand off from Mom to Dad.  He knows what’s coming and he doesn’t want to go to sleep.  I start out by singing Edelweiss.  Why Edelweiss?  I don’t know, it just seems right.  I do this a couple times, then I move on to that song in Superman when Otis is going to see Lex Luthor.  I don’t do that for very long, that’s just for fun.  But then I move on to the big guns.  My closer.  The Imperial March from Star Wars.  John Williams, you are a genius.  As soon as I start into this you can see his eyes starting to close.  He fights it sometimes, but the song always wins and he succumbs to the dark side.  It must be something about the bass in my voice and the vibrations in my chest as I do the Bum, bum, bum, bumba bum bumba bum.
  8. Before long, he is a sleep and I transition to the chair where I hold him for a bit to ensure a deep sleep.  This was a step I used to skip out of impatience.  I have noticed that I have become more impatient since marriage.  I’ll blame it on the wife.  My schedule seems so filled these days that I have to spend every available second getting some stuff done or fitting in leisure time that I usually hurry on to the next step.  I have realized that this is one of the best times of my day.  I get to hold my son in my arms and watch him breathe (a big deal for me, when all I prayed for in his first day of life was that he would be able to breathe on his own) in and out peacefully.
  9. The put down:  This is an acquired skill and very delicate.  You have to bend down just right, put his butt on the bottom of the pack-n-play, and then slowly put down his head while pulling your hand out.  Give him a little pat on the chest to assure him it is okay.  Wait a second to make sure he is not stirring, put on his blanket and slowly and quietly leave the room.  This step is so crucial that if you botch the put down you will likely have to start over again.
  10. Reassurance:  Usually about an hour or two later we will here him fuss.  He usually just wakes up and doesn’t get up.  You simply have to pat him to let him know you are there, then he usually likes it if you turn him.  Then you can pat him again and he will be back to sleep.

If all this goes well, then he has been sleeping pretty well through the night, with maybe one or two feedings during the night from Michelle.  It turned out to be not that big of a deal for me but it has been a tremendous load off for Michelle.  She was frankly miserable there for a while.  She felt overwhelmed.  She has been much happier since the routine started.  I am still just as confused about how to handle women.  They tell you that sometimes they don’t want you to fix their problems, they just want you to listen to them whine.  But when you are able to fix their problem it makes them much happier.  Whatever.  I listened to my wife.  I saw she was in need and I did what I could to help.  He is my son too and she is not the only parent.  Even though she is more effective at putting him to sleep it is still a job that I can do.  So I do it.  And life is that much better in the Smith household.  So husbands, take heed.

-Ries, Bum bum bum bumba-bum bumba-bum

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