My son is allergic to everything. Except fruit, vegetables, meat and rice. He has the protein allergy that causes him to be allergic to all nuts, dairy, eggs, seafood and soy. So he's never had a sandwich. I hadn't found a bread or bread mix that were free of everything until yesterday. After reading all the boxes of bread mixes on the shelf to make sure they were allergen free, I chose one. When we got home, I mixed it using rice milk where the recipe called for cows milk and apple sauce and baking powder where it called for eggs (1 egg= 1/4 cup applesauce + 1/2 tsp baking powder). The bread turned out perfectly. When it cooled, I sliced it and put it in the freezer per the instructions, but I kept a few slices out for my son to eat when he woke up today.
He was so excited to try his new bread--he had been asking for bread and cheese to eat like his friends at school. He and my husband took their first bites and there were happy dances and a mini celebration that Zee could finally eat sandwiches now. My husband asked me if I was sure it was allergen free and I recounted my thorough package-reading at the store while reaching for the box. It was then that I realized I had bought the wrong box. That mix had whey in it--a milk protein.
While I was reading in bold print "Contains Milk", my son had already fallen in love with the slice of bread in his hand and exclaimed, while giggling, "I'm eating my special bread like the big boys at school." *sigh* I had a choice to make. His allergy to milk is second to the bottom of the list in terms of the reaction we could expect. I had to decide if I wanted to send him to school upset and deflated just to save his skin, or allow him to bask in the joy of his new-found big-boy-food-eatingness that he couldn't wait to show to his teacher and friends at lunchtime, and deal with the inevitable eczema flare-up over the weekend. I chose the latter. Then I beelined to Whole Foods after dropping him off at school and he will have a new loaf of "special bread" (and vegan cheese slices that will cause him no harm) when he gets home from school.
He will have a glorious day at school and an itchy weekend, but it will have been worth it. The Applegate hot dog era may be coming to an end soon, as the cheese sandwich will soon rule his lunchbox.
Here's the new bread mix and cheese that I found for him...
I wasn't going to write about this for two reasons: 1. I 'd be too emotional about it since it is my life--as you'll see in one of the articles I will link to below--I can't look back too fondly on my entry into this life. It was a disheartening experience that I went through with the support of my sister and one of my best friends. It took the wind out of my sails and dashed the dream I had about what being a stay-at-home mom would be like. As a result, most of my stay-at-home-mom friends don't live in my neighborhood--and that's okay. And 2. Other writers, like the ones I will link to below are way more informed and well-versed on the topics, have done a great job of making lots of points that I agree with, and are probably way smarter than me.
What I will say though, is that I have seen some other sites pick these articles up and some of the comments there and on Facebook make it very clear that some people see the title of the pieces, get angry at seeing the word " black", and don't read it before sharing their opinions. One person asked, how are black-stay-at home moms any different from other stay-at-home mom. The answer is that our existence isn't accepted as easily as that of white stay-at-home moms and we constantly have to justify our existence and explain our choices. Historically, black mothers have moved from working side-by-side with their men in the fields, to working alone taking care of the homes and families of white women, to gaining access to education and working in other careers. Historically, black mothers work. This stay-at-home mom business is seen as a "white woman thing". In Lashaun Williams' post on The L Factor, she explains,
"The female experience has differed for white women in this country, as they have historically been expected to simply look pretty, stay home and have babies. While they felt trapped in a sea of domestication, black mothers longed to devote more time to their own children."
One comment I saw online said that a black stay-at-home mom is called a welfare mom. It is so sad how in political, and lets face it, plain terms "stay-at-home mom" connotes white, married moms who live in the suburbs and "welfare moms", black, single moms living in the hood. I can't even start on the unfair stereotypes assigned to black single moms vs white single moms, but rest assured I'm annoyed by that too.
I blame the media. Yep, I said it. Why else would the prevailing opinions about welfare recipients be so completely unaffected by the actual facts?
From the back seat of our car, he says to me:
"Mommy? When I'm a big dad like Dada, I'm going to get a mommy like Dada got you. And I'm going to name her Honey like Dada named you. And I'm going to get a Ford. And if you're still a mommy, then you can drive a Toyota, okay?"
Children are like sugar. Just making things sweet for no good reason.
Zack just turned four last month, which totally throws off my life plan of having a three-year-old reader, but I am thrilled that he is actually reading now! I've been relentless from the beginning with pointing out words and letters everywhere and reading to him throughout everyday, not just at bedtime. I resisted the urge to order My Baby Can Read, because I knew wanted a child who could truly comprehend what he was reading. It's happening!
I highly recommend Bob Books--sold everywhere, especially if your kiddo has phonics down.
Even if they don't have phonics yet, each book introduces one to three letter sounds and repeats primarily those sounds throughout each book. In subsequent books where new letter sounds are introduced, the old ones show up--so each book builds on the one before. Bob has a Phonics series too.
My son was reading these books within days of receiving them.
I was all...
He was in his room sleeping and I was sleeping in mine yesterday afternoon. He came in and woke me up talmbout he want to read his Bob Books. I hit record on the iPhone...right after an interrupted nap...so pardon my sharpness. lol
Happy Reading Y'all!
When we decided to start having kids, we had a plan: I would quit working, have a baby every 1.5 years over the course of six years, get the last one into preschool, and head back into a nine to five. We started out ok. I had a kid, quit work, dedicated all my time to teaching my son words, colors and phonics by the time he was 18 months old and into preschool he went. We were three months off, from making baby number two, but that was ok. Then I settled into being a stay at home mom of a kid who was in school a few hours a day, and didn't want to interrupt this new life of socializing and doing community service projects with Mocha Moms, going to the gym every day and basically, doing whatever I wanted with the extra time I had. I made lots of friends, experimented with recipes and several attempts at being a perfect housewife--you know, having dinner ready when my husband got home, always having clean, folded laundry in place, keeping a tidy home. Did I mention they were all failed attempts? We settled into life with one awesome kid and somehow four years have passed.
So we hash another plan: I'd get pregnant in December a few months after my thirty-fourth birthday. Nope. So we'd try again in January. Nope. So we'd try in February. Nope. Obviously, our reproductive parts aren't cooperating with our plans. Which sucks. We have talked to friends who have been trying more than a year...multiple friends...which also sucks. It's supposed to be easier than this. The first time I got pregnant, I didn't even think I could do it without drugs. I had just filled prescriptions for Clomid and Progesterone, but was pregnant before I opened one bottle. Then I miscarried. Then I got pregnant three months later. So of course, I expect this next time around the be just as easy. I have decided to get pregnant again, and it's just supposed to happen.
I'm peeing on ovulation sticks 15 days out of the month, waiting for the one day I get the happy face--apparently the only consistently positive test I'm going to see during this process. All that waiting, and finally a happy face. Then comes the work-sex. Then more waiting. Then another stick, which seemingly can't wait to tell me bluntly that after all the planning and the tracking and the work-sex, that I am still "Not Pregnant". Whose idea was it anyway to put the actual words "Not Pregnant" on a pregnancy test? I bought the test so it could tell me I was pregnant. I know there are other tests out there, but I didn't want a line, or two lines, or a cross, I wanted to see the word "Pregnant". Where's the sympathy, Clear Blue Easy? Granted, some folks are happy to see the words "Not Pregnant", but couldn't the pregnancy test included in the box of ovulation tests at least say something more positive or encouraging? Obviously, people who are using ovulation sticks are hoping for a positive test. A lot of emotional energy is invested and a lot of work-sex happens en route to the pregnancy test in the box. "Better Luck Next Time", "Sorry!", "Try Again", "Keep Up The Good Work!"...all phrases that are a little less tear-inducing than "Not Pregnant". That's just mean.
But I'm going to keep using the callus pregnancy tests. Because, when the time comes and all our work-sex pays off, I need to see the word. Pregnant.
Every once in a while, it's nice to get a little feedback on one's job performance. As a stay at home mom, there are no employee reviews, bonus checks or raises to let me know whether I am on the ball or not.
However, my boss did check in with me yesterday. I had just finished helping him get dressed. He hugged me and this is what he said:
"Momma, you're my best girl. You're just the right mommy for me."
Overall Performance: Satisfactory
I took my son out for brunch at Magnolia Cafe South. I thought I had gone wrong as a parent, somehow, when he sat across from me still playing the game he had started while we were waiting to be seated.
I was relieved when the waiter brought paper and crayons to our tablem, and my son turned the Touch off and handed it to me saying, "Mom, I'm all done with Angry Birds now, I want to color."
I need my son to learn how to put a jacket on by himself and put it on a hanger. He goes to a Montessori school, so they demand early independence in children. Everything in the classroom, including the coat rack is kid-sized, and the students are required to take care of themselves and get to work, unassisted, when they enter the classroom.
Zee will be four years old in a few weeks. So far, that knowledge has been enough to encourage him to read more. He's sounding words out left and right. The first time he actually read a word I had written out, I shed two tears inside and praised baby Jesus. He's been talking since before he was two and, although I had hoped he'd be a genius baby and reading by the age of 3, I resisted the urge to buy My Baby Can Read and worked with him the old-fashioned way and it's finally happening! I'm breaking new books out on him so he can't pretend that he's reading, when he's really just reciting from memory. He totally got away with that for a minute—gave his own self away with the little sly grin on his face as he waited for my high-five after pretending he had read something. Knowing that he will be turning four soon, or in his words, "Becoming a big four year old" has also encouraged him to insist on doing other things for himself, like plugging in the iPod Touch to charge it after he's done playing Spore Origins, picking his own afro, and "reading" more often during his quiet time at home. He is becoming a big boy in so many ways, but in many ways, he is still just an almost four year old.
Today, his teacher told me that he put his jacket on backward and then asked me why he can't put his jacket on properly. I was put off by her question, because the obvious answer is that he hasn't learned to do it yet, and I felt like her question was more like 'Why haven't you taught him to put on his jacket properly?' My answer was, "I'm excited to hear that he got both arms in! That's progress!" Then I gave him a high five, and he was excited to go home and try again after his nap. What I wanted to say was, "He's been taking off his jacket here for two and a half years, why doesn't he know how to put it on the hanger yet?" I'm annoyed by her question, but I'm trying to not let it eat at me, which is kinda why I'm bothering you guys with this whole story. Just writing it is cathartic. He goes to an awesome school, and his teacher is amazing. But her question today threw me. I'm fighting the urge to do dress-drills with my son until he gets his jacket on right this afternoon, so I won't ever have to hear about that damn jacket and hangar again. But I'm not going to disturb his chakras by drilling him like that...and it would be a drill, because I have upset myself over this and my energy just wouldn't be right.
I think I'm an awesome mom. With my son sounding out words and whatnot, I feel quite like a Super Mom. That teacher's question today totally deflated me. Maybe I'm just highly emo today and am reading way more into her words than I should. It happens. About once a month. For that reason, I won't let it color my opinion of his teacher in any way. I think she's awesome. I know that ultimately, we both want the same thing for Zack—to be confident, self-directed, self-motivated and self-controlled at school and in life. Still, I think it might be time for us to have a little sit-down. Obviously she has some questions, and obviously, I have some too.
Between you and me, I think if my boy communicated more like an average three year old and less like a six year-old, he'd totally get a pass for being a little slow to learn to put on a jacket, but it's cool. Could be worse. I can live with higher expectations for my boy. It's actually great training for him and for me too. Raising this little brown boy to grow up and live in this country, we're both going to have to learn to deal with higher expectations every step of the way and be ready to exceed them every time. It's gonna be a long road too…it's just a jacket and I'm in blog-therapy over it! Ay, dios mio!
P.S. Should my almost four year old know how to put on a jacket by now? Have I failed at motherhood in some way? I need to know.
My son's school was closed today, so he was home with me for a change. I had planned our day ahead, but had no idea how much extra stuff I would get done. I swear there is something about actually having my child home, as a stay at home mom, that makes me super productive.
On a normal day, after I drop him off at school, I'm constantly moving from one to-do-list item to the next, but never really completely crossing anything off it. I'd start one thing, then check Facebook, then start another thing, then paint my nails while checking Facebook, then start something else, then eat, then it's time to go pick my son up from school. Today though, I got things done that weren't even on my list.
We woke up at the same time we normally do. I made breakfast and actually ate it at the table with my son. I showered and dressed for the gym and we were off. On the way out the door, I grabbed two scraps of yarn that I'm running out of and needed to match and buy more of to complete some projects I'm working on. We went to the craft store for the yarn first, then to the gym and finally the grocery store (where I got my son to sound out "asparagus" on the label when he couldn't recall what the vegetable was) before heading back home. We got home 45 minutes before my boy's nap time. He watched PBS while I made his lunch. Then we ate lunch together, read a book, and he was down for his nap on time.
During my son's 3-hour nap, I managed to nap for about an hour myself, bake vegan, gluten-free quinoa muffins for my son (and drafted a blog post about it) and edit & post two vlogs for one of my other blogs, (http://www.girldidyousee.blogspot.com). While he ate his post-nap snack, I put a one-pot dinner dish on (veggie stew consisting of fresh okra, corn, red & green peppers, onions, celery, carrots & canned whole tomatoes all seasoned with a glorious beef neck bone). He's in the bath tub now and I'm writing this blog post.
And my day isn't even over. I still plan to go back to the gym to log some miles on Nike+ tonight to ramp up my 5k training.
Oh, and I cleaned the house here and there all day and the place looks right spiffy.
Y'all if I come home after the gym, read something, and give my husband some (I will not be blogging about that), this day goes down in history as a certified, Homegirl SAHM WIN.
I am back off a 17 day visit with my in-laws in St. Vincent & The Grenadines. We have been back there many times since my husband brought me to meet his family after we had been dating for almost 2 years in 1998. It is a small island and does not change much, so it always feels like home when I am there. This was our third time taking our son, but it was different because he is 3 years old now and really got to know his aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. We went to the same beach and posted up under the same almond tree every day, as usual. Mostly, we just sat around my in-laws' house-- windows and doors open--or on the porch enjoying the breeze and the constant flow of visitors. My husband and I left our son with his folks and took a ferry over to a resort on Bequia, a neighboring island, for two nights to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary together.
There is nothing like taking a break from the every day routine with the family, especially if you are a stay at home mom. For 17 days, I got a break from the busyness of taking care of a child, getting in gym time and running a household and all that entails, and my husband got a break from work and other obligations that keep me handling most of the details of daily life by myself. He relaxed completely, his Caribbean accent got thicker and his skin tone got darker (#WIN and WIN). We got to be boo'ed up all the time and sneakin' and freakin' in his parent's house when we could. Even with a 3 year old running around, it felt like old times. Seventeen days was just enough time for us to remember why we bother to be bothered with family life.
The routine at home is the same. He's busy. I'm busy. My 3 year old is bossy. But we're still a little high, running of fumes from our family vacation. If we're lucky, that will sustain us until our next one.
Here are a few pics:
When we had gotten our 3-year old and all of our park-day baggage packed into the car, it hit me that we were starting our adventure approximately 5 minutes before my toddler's nap time. I wouldn't have been so bad if we could go from the car to the park in 20 minutes, but I knew we would be in the car at least an hour during our drive from the suburbs, through the maze of downtown traffic and the joys of finding a place to park. Awesome.
So we get on the road and a few more things occur to me:
When I saw this concert posted on the Parent Wise Facebook page about a week ago, my first impulse was to skip it. Mainly because it was to take place on a Sunday morning at 10:30, when I'm usually in bed, at the gym or at church. Then I considered my son who is a ball of energy, just turned three and who loves music. I fought through my selfish bone and accessed my selfless mommy bone and put The Hey Lollies kid's music and puppet show on my calendar. I also shared it with my Mocha Moms group.
Yesterday morning we got off to a late start, but arrived at Cherrywood Coffeehouse just in time to see the second half of the show., and for breakfast! Y'all know I love coffee, I love to sing and I love to get silly-- so to sit with my son and enjoy all of the above was a treat. The performance was awesome and the women were, as expected, so warm and welcoming letting some kids sit on stage and engaging them with hugs and hellos after the show was over. I am an instant fan of The Hey Lollies.
Here is a video of my son enjoying the show, complete with photos and slow-mo toddler footwork action. Enjoy!
They have more shows scheduled for March. If you're in Austin, get ye there to see them. It's great weekend fun. Show times and locations listed after the jump.
Green Eggs and Ham is one of my three year old's favorite bedtime reads at the moment. He picks it about three or four nights a week. Each time, I oblige him...even though the book is like a million pages long. It's amazing how many times I can re-read the longet books and re-watch Disney movies without getting too tired of it. I do not necessarily love it, but he enjoys every time like it's the first time, and I do my best to not be a buzz-kill.
My son is a picky eater. It's a general toddler pickyness born from a limited diet due to food allergies and texture aversion. When I spotted Green Eggs and Ham on the shelf at my favorite kid's resale store, Kid to Kid, I remembered how persistent Sam-I-Am was in wearing down that fuzzy man until he tried those eggs. Figured I could learn some things from Sam...and learn I did.
A few days ago my son ate half of a chicken thigh, which we celebrated, as we do anytime he actually swallows anything he's had to chew first. I knew I was one step closer to sending him to school with a non-pureed lunch. So I offered him some stewed potatoes. This is how it all went down:
The Spring planting was just as fun and productive as the one last fall. My son was so tickled at the sight of the vegetables in the ground. Now, when we're in the produce section of the grocery store, he says, "...like in the garden" when he points to and names vegetables there. If you're in Austin, you should totally join the facebook group and get involved. It's free.
We're in the car, on the way to the gym...
Him: "Mom? Look at the sky!"
Me: "I see it, Papa."
Him: "The clouds are so beautiful."
Me: "Yes they are, Papa."
Him: "Mom? Remember when I touched the clouds?"
Me: "When did you touch the clouds?"
Him: "When I was sleeping. In my eyes. I touched the clouds."
Me: "Wow, that's awesome!"
Him: "Mhm. That is awesome."
A little background. I entered a video of my two year old playing drums in the Yo Gabba Gabba Cool Tricks Facebook contest. Then I begged for my Facebook friends to vote for weeks on end. Thanks to their votes, he won! The prize: VIP tickets to the show, tons of organic toddler snacks by Revolution Foods and access to the after party to meet the Gabba Gang. I thought we would get to meet DJ Lance too, but when he didn't show up early on at the after party, we asked the door guys and alas, it was not meant to be. No DJ Lance. But we sat so close to the stage, that every time he came to our side of the stage, he appeared to wave right at us. Although I can't say definitively, my guess is that he did wave right at us because we stuck out like brown...brown...sore thumbs in a sea of white thumbs. Mhm. DJ Lance waving at us was enough for my son to think he had actually met DJ Lance, which works for me.
*Update-- He totally WON! Thanks to everyone who voted. We're going to party with the Yo Gabba Gabba Crew LIVE, all thanks to your votes. This RAWKS! What to wear?!*
I couldn't resist entering him into this video contest. DJ Lance and Crew are coming to our town and the video that gets the most votes (per town) will be played at the show! And my almost-three-year-old will get to meet DJ Lance! And he LOVES DJ Lance. Please watch the video (he's not just fooling around, he really plays a tight beat) and PLEASE VOTE!
He's a few months away from turning 3, and loves music, which is why I think he's so into DJ Lance and Yo Gabba Gabba. One time, a firefighter asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up...his answer...DJ Lance. He was also DJ Lance for Halloween...
Joie de Vivre
I admire the way toddlers live their little lives with such abandon. They are so carefree! To them, it is perfectly acceptable to lay down in the dirt and play if that's what brings them the most happiness at that moment--it's just dirt, after all. My son plays this way often. The first time I saw him do that, I fought the urge to tell him to get up out of the dirt, 'cause it's dirty. I'm glad I did. Right now, he's a kind of free that we humans get to be for only so long. I encourage that and celebrate it every chance I get. My child is so blissful and free, and it is rubbing off on me. I hope he keeps that basic joy of life about him as he matures.