Archive for the ‘Parenting Pearls’ Category

Latest Addition to Our Lullaby Playlist

July 25, 2012

I heart Pandora for many reasons not the least of which is exposure to fun new renditions of old songs. Loving this version of Dumbo’s “Baby Be Mine” by Alison Krauss circa 1996 I heard via Pandora today. Misty eyed…

p.s. The entire “The Best of Country Sing the Best of Disney” album is worth a listen.

What to do when you come upon time to pause and reflect on things

August 31, 2011

They say men do business on the golf course. OK. To me, that begs the question where do women do business? Well, while I’m sure that the answer to that question varies widely, lately — for me, anyway — business is getting done in the basement floor changing room of my office building (a.k.a my pumping place).

You see, in this crazy life of mine, the one that involves a toddler and an infant, full-time employment and management of a house that currently sports eight brown shutters and four green ones (much to the dismay of the neighborhood association, I’m sure), idle moments are few and far between. Not that I would have it any other way, of course. Still, it does leave one with little time to pause and reflect on things.

Enter lactation.

Twice a day, while at the office, nature calls, and I visit the basement to pump in the one area of the building where the walls are not glass (aka see through)! And I sit for about 10 minutes or so hooked up to my bestie with some of that oh-so-elusive time to pause and reflect on things. It is often in these twice daily stretches that some of my best ideas come to me. Free from my BlackBerry (as my hands are — how should I put this? — otherwise occupied), I actually close my eyes and think. Imagine that!

But aside from the several “aha moments” that my pumping time and place have afforded me, I am also meeting new people! You see I work on the second floor of my office building, and I might never otherwise visit the basement bathroom where I now run into my new cronies: Gail and Lucinda** on a regular basis. And who knows, down the road when I need a programmer, I may just call on Gail. Or when I need a recipe to entertain a dinner party of eight, I just may ask Lucinda for a recommendation. Business done! All because of a little pump that could!

This all leads me to wonder what innovations, ideas and possibly even companies have been born of breastfeeding sessions when the sisterhood of nursing mothers have sat unattached to technology to pause and reflect on things. If we harnessed that collective time and brain power, just think what we could do!

Or if you simply want to use this time to close your eyes and think about George Clooney, Denzel Washington or insert your crush’s name here while reliving the moment in ninth grade when you scored the game-winning goal in the regional soccer finals, please do that. After all, when a mother comes by time to pause and reflect on things, she deserves to be able to do whatever the hell she wants.

**All names have been changed to conceal the identity of these frequent visitors to the loo (yes, I used the word “loo.” It’s just fun to say).

Stealing a stranger’s sentiment

April 12, 2011

We welcomed a son into our family on March 30. We are so blessed and thankful for his health and his very being! I see God in this little boy at every turn it seems.

Prior to giving birth to the little guy, I had a conversation with my sister, herself a mom of three, about how I could ever love another child like I do my two-year-old daughter. I just couldn’t comprehend being able to have that much love for another child. She assured me that I would.

As per usual, she was most certainly right. And for the past 13 days, I’ve been thinking about how I could convey this feeling of love for my now two children. It came to me today in the words of a woman by the name of Heather Lende, a stranger to me but someone who shared her story in the May issue of Woman’s Day magazine that arrived in the mail earlier today. The issue is devoted to moms in this, the lead-up to Mother’s Day. At three points while reading through the issue and pumping breast milk into freezer bags, I was brought to tears. Seems the post-pregnancy hormones are still very much circulating through my body (as if I needed more evidence–thank you chronic night sweats).

Ms. Lende is the mother of five, four biological children and one daughter she adopted from Bulgaria 11 years ago. In the article, she talks about how when each of her babies was placed in her arms, she had a similar overwhelming sense of love and responsibility for this new being. She experienced those same feelings when a nine-year-old Bulgarian gypsy became her daughter through the miracle of adoption. Ms. Lende writes, “There is no occupancy limit on a mother’s heart. It expands with each child, whether you gave birth to that child or not–you just add another room.”

I loved it–particularly the “no occupancy limit” bit. Another room has indeed been added to my heart. It’s baby Brendan’s. Love you with all my “no-occupancy-limit” heart little boy. Welcome to our world!

This won’t change your life…maybe just help organize it a bit

January 5, 2011

In the spirit of sharing little parenting tips that I think are handy, I thought I’d pass along another one I recently came by. It certainly won’t take your breath away, but it might just help you get a little more organized, and who isn’t all for that in the new year?

I should preface this tip by noting that my daughter was born with a full head of hair, which though everyone told me she would lose shortly after birth, she never did. See exhibit A.

Exhibit A

At 21 months, she continues to sport a thick, full head of hair (with gorgeous curls that leave me envious and more than a little curious as to from where they came). See exhibit B.

Exhibit B

Needless to say I need to contain her hair via pigtails, ponytail, barrettes or some other assortment of hair accessories. I’ve accumulated quite a collection of such things since her birth, so many so that I often find tiny hair ties in the oddest of places (my laptop bag, the cup holders of my car, the kitchen floor, the dog’s water dish…you get the idea). And since I am so often losing these tiny hair ties, I am finding myself at my favorite place to shop (Target) on a somewhat regular basis to purchase more rubber bands, toddler barrettes and the like. Though I try to keep them contained in a zipped-up cosmetic case, I still find my supply depleted on a regular basis.

So imagine the “aha” moment I experienced when my sister-in-law whose two daughters have sprouted luxurious locks of their own produced a pill box neatly containing and organizing dozens of hair ties by color. I loved it! And I let her know. She promptly shared that she stole the idea from her own sister-in-law. So I found myself at Target upon our return from our holiday trip to the in-laws’ to find just such a container for my daughter’s many hair ties. And not a day has gone by since then where I haven’t been able to find matching hair ties for my daughter’s pigtails.

So simple. So practical. So portable. Thanks for the parenting pearl of the day Jessica!

Parenting pearls from people I know

November 4, 2010

I’ve been making a mental note of the times I hear someone mention some parenting tip that I particularly like. I have accumulated a few of these mental notes and thought I’d share them here while also encouraging you to share your personal favorite parenting tips. Leave a comment if you’ve got one to share!

On Christmas gift-giving:

My co-worker, Andy, and his wife give their two children three presents each on Christmas Day. No more. No less. His rationale: “If the Magi’s three gifts were good enough for Jesus Christ, three gifts are certainly more than enough for my kids.”  I kinda like that train of thought.

On getting your kids to eat their vegetables:

My friend Amanda recommends actively soliciting the help of your little ones ones when doing summer gardening. Her two kids help her plant and then pick the green beans, tomatoes and other produce sprouting in her garden. And as a result, they’re all the more intrigued by (and more likely to eat) the vegetables they pick. I’ve already started this tradition with my toddler. She helped mama pick tomatoes, green beans and cucumbers all summer. And though she isn’t yet eating tomatoes, she is willing to give them a lick. It’s a start, and I’ll take it!

On birthday party gifts…

I recently heard the story of an eight-year-old boy whose parents were going to throw him his last “big” birthday party inviting all the kids in his class. Concerned about the excess of her son receiving 25+ gifts, this boy’s mom encouraged him to instruct his friends to bring a baby item (diapers, formula, etc.) instead of a gift to the party. They would then donate these items to a shelter for children from broken families. With only a little coaxing, he agreed. With tears in his eyes at the sight of the massive pile of baby items accumulated after the party, he said “so many babies need help.” What a great lesson his parents taught him and, by extension, the kids who attended his party!

I see this blog topic becoming a recurring one as I come across more wisdom from my parenting peers. Thanks to Andy, Amanda and Pat for these parenting pearls for us to ponder. 🙂

Parenting pearls from the Silver Screen

March 11, 2010

With the Academy Awards airing just a few nights ago, I thought it apropos to draft this post, which has been circulating in my head for some time. Its inspiration was this great post on a classic film, The Princess Bride. Films and their motherly heroines provide much fodder to guide the novice mom like me, so I pull from some of their sagest advice and thus present “Parenting Pearls from the Silver Screen.”

“If you cannot think of anything appropriate to say you will please restrict your remarks to the weather.” Mrs. Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility

Mrs. Dashwood’s advice to her youngest daughter holds much merit. I’ve gotten better at small talk over the years, but I still look with admiration to those who can carry on a conversation comfortably with strangers and acclimate into new surroundings with ease. For folks like me, the weather is a trusty conversation starter, and if you live in the Mitten state like I do, the weather  provides plenty to discuss.

“Just because you can’t see something, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.-Jackie Harrison, Stepmom

Two nights ago, I had the honor of serving as my niece’s Confirmation sponsor. As we sat in church listening to the archbishop discuss the significance of the Holy Spirit, I leaned over to my niece and whispered, “Did you know that your mom’s Confirmation sponsor was Grandma Roe?” My grandmother (my niece’s great grandmother) would have been 95 years old that night. She was the very best example I could ever have of living selflessly and loving unconditionally. She would have very much enjoyed seeing her great granddaughter experience this sacramental rite of passage. But I know that just because she wasn’t sitting in her usual pew to the right of the altar that she wasn’t right there with us.

I can’t have a baby because I have a 12:30 lunch meeting.” Diane Keaton, Baby Boom

For all you working moms out there, this one’s for you. My daughter’s music/story time class falls on Fridays at 11 a.m. right about the time I get ready to join a standing client call from the office. So I don’t get to take her. But she still gets to go (thanks mom)! It’s not an ideal setup, but it works for now as I figure out how to make this juggling act called working parenthood fly.

“I realize as a woman how lucky I am. I was there when that wonderful creature drifted into my life... M’lynn, Steel Magnolias

Amen. Despite the Magnesium Sulfate (damn you), giving birth to Baby Blue was the most awesome experience of my life, and I’d take the pain, discomfort, 1.5 hours of pushing and post-baby body changes (we’ll leave it at that) any day of the week to have had the experience we women are so fortunate to have in child birth. There really is nothing to compare it to.

“Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it” Marmee, Little Women

As college graduation neared, my mom made numerous references to my moving away. This time farther than 45 minutes from home. This time all the way to another state. This time to a big city. I wasn’t sure I wanted to follow in my sisters’ footsteps and live in Chicago. But my mom didn’t wait for me to talk myself into staying. She knew better than I did that I needed to experience life and to live on my own, supporting myself  in a city where the job and cultural offerings abounded. And so I did, albeit uncertainly. And oh what wonderful things did come of it!

“You have to do the best with what God gave you.” Mrs. Gump, Forrest Gump

As my mom often says, there’s always going to be someone smarter, faster, more clever, better looking, more outgoing, etc. We’ve all got one life to live, so we must make the best of it. Now the hard part: remembering to put this into practice each day.

“The only thing I have ever said to you, ever, is that I want you to be happy.” M’lynn, Steel Magnolias

Steel Magnolias is rich with great one liners. It was tough to narrow it down to just two for this post. (I’m seriously considering writing a post solely focused on the wisdom imparted in the lines of this  tearjerker.) But this particular line–delivered by M’lynn to her daughter Shelby in reaction to the news that her daughter is expecting a child despite doctor’s warnings–is the hope of every mom, or should be anyway. My daughter has two dimples that appear only when she smiles. I see those dimples throughout the day every day, and it’s my prayer that I continue to see them with as much, if not more, frequency as she grows into adulthood.

“From your head to your toes, you’re not much, goodness knows. But you’re so precious to me, cute as can be, baby of mine.” Mrs. Jumbo, Dumbo

I don’t really have any wise words to share related to this line. I just wanted an excuse to post a cute picture of Baby Blue.