January 2012 archive

A Shot at Preschool

Abraham is often and suddenly a completely different person. One I don’t care for. One I would immediately kick out if we weren’t related. He falls down and screams over everything. He flails his body like he’s seizing (and I checked, he’s not seizing). He goes from happy to more pissed off than a wet cat in .08 seconds. He has the attention span of a gnat and the temper of The Hulk. Need I go on?

My point…I’m exhausted. I’m sleeping plenty but I’m exhausted. So my husband and I decided it might be a good time to look into preschool programs. I’d like for Abe to spend a few days a week in a learning environment and playing with kids his age. I think he’s the kind of kid who thrives on activity and I’m the kind of mom who thrives on not being screamed at for hours on end. We’re in a position where we could afford a few days a week so I checked out a local program. I loved it, loved everything about it, and started filling out registration forms when more than one person told me I should shop around.

Sure, he looks all cute and sweet here...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I visited another. And another.

 

Do you know how similar these places are? They all say the same things. They all have the same selling points. I mean unless you actually go to a preschool program run out of a bar, it’s tough to find fault in any of them. So I took down lots of notes and started comparing what I could while I was at the office. Prices. Pick up and drop off times. Curricuilums. Philosophies.

Then, my stretched-too-thin brain started spiraling out of control…
What if I’m just trying to pawn him off on someone else because, as it turns out, I’m a terrible mother?
Do people already know I’m a terrible mother and this just seals the deal?
Am I completely ruining Abe’s life if I choose the wrong program??
HOW DO I HAVE NOTHING PLANNED FOR DINNER!??!!!

I nearly made it to the point of full blown panic attack. Seriously. Everything from my ability to mother to my son’s ability to be ANYTHING but a complete and total psychopath started spinning through my head like a top. The past few weeks of questioning my life and trying to commit, living with a small monster, and trying to make decisions that don’t ruin that little monster’s life all caught up with me big time. So I asked someone in my office, jokingly of course, if he had a flask. He led me to the kitchen and there it was: a big, glass bottle of not-water. In the middle of the afternoon, I took a shot of not-water. I’m not going to lie, it helped.

My point is not to turn into an not-water-holic. Or encourage you to drink in the afternoon. But to say that this is a very strange decision to make for your 17 month old. Because if we are ever to do this child-rearing thing again, I’m pretty sure I’m going to require complete sedation for months 16-36. Did anyone else experience this much trouble with this age and/or choosing a preschool??

 

Dairy Free Mac n Cheese

A few weeks ago Abe broke out with the NASTIEST diaper rash I’ve ever seen. (BTW if you have a miracle cure-all for diaper rashes, let me know.) I started using Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, which did help, but then I considered he could have an allergy to dairy as I was giving him more than usual. This meant I had to figure out how to make some kind of dairy-free mac n cheese, sans the “fake cheese”, which I wasn’t ready to dive into yet.

First I cooked the noodles and set them aside. Then I put half a cooked squash from the fridge in a pan with almond milk and organic butter (butter has very little dairy protein left in it, so it’s often digestible to those who don’t tolerate dairy). I smashed it all up and let it warm through.

Squash, almond milk, and butter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I added some nutritional yeast to it. I’m not sure how much. Maybe 1/4 cup? It has a nutty, somewhat cheesy flavor.

Buy at Whole Foods, another local health food store, or Amazon.com

Nutritional yeast is cultured yeast the is full of b-vitamins and is actually a complete protein.

 

I added a little salt, mixed it all up, and served it in a bowl with a fork. It was promptly dumped over, the fork ditched, and the noodles devoured with reckless abandon. Translation: he liked it. 🙂

In subsequent batches I’ve added some olive oil to the finished product for a nice sheen and sweet flavor.

Yum!

 

Served with strawberries.

Gross Stuff I Did Today

1. Used my fingers to wipe the boogers off of my son’s upper lip.
2. Used said fingers to eat lunch without washing first.
3. Cleaned sweet potato out of my kid’s hair using my hands and then, without thinking, licked my hand.
4. Unknowingly took an afternoon nap…in my son’s breakfast banana.
5. Fished dirt and leaves out of my son’s mouth with my pinky.
6. Scraped visible ear wax out of my son’s ear with my finger nail.
7. Found an uneaten Cheerio smashed into my son’s diaper. Almost popped it in my mouth. Didn’t.
8. When my child sticks his tongue out it means he wants a kiss…so I kissed his tongue about 20 times today.
9. I ate the smorgasbord mess that was left on his tray after being served meatball soup, strawberries, noodles, and graham cracker cookies. The cookies were mushy.
10. Kept my child from sticking his fingers in his own poopy diaper by slamming my hand down…in the poopy diaper.

A Gallon

We use coconut oil for something everyday. It’s a little expensive. So we buy in bulk.
This time my husband bought a gallon.

A gallon of coconut oil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does anyone need any coconut oil?

Results – Round 1 (PCOS) and a COMMIT Update

A lot of moms/future-moms have contacted me since I started sharing info about my most recent travels into the depths of my PCOS and how to “cure” it with food and supplements instead of $8,000 worth of shots and hormones (though I do really like Abe). I’ve been communicating with tons of moms about what my nutritionist has been telling me to do and so I want to reiterate that these treatments and results are specific to ME. PCOS is not a disease but rather a group of symptoms that we use to diagnose infertility and give a name, but it’s completely different for everyone.
So I did the spit and poop test. It was possibly the most confusing, frustrating, and disgusting “test” I’ve ever taken. Each one required that I eat/drink and not eat/drink very specific and different things. And because the tests had to overlap (3 days for the poop, 1 for the spit), I couldn’t remember what I should be consuming and what I shouldn’t on different days. It took me almost 2 weeks to get it right, which sounds ridiculous, but after slugging one lowly little vitamin during the blur of an evening’s chaos, I had to put the test off 5 more days until it was completely out of my system. Considering caffeine was on the list of no-no’s, it was a long 2 weeks. LONG. And if you’ve never had to poop onto a piece of syran wrap and then fish it into a skinny little tube, well, how nice for you.
My nutritionist just got the results back today but doesn’t have an open appointment until the middle of February. All he said was, “It’s going to take us a full hour to get through the results. There is a ton of great stuff in here.” Killing me. Can’t wait to find out.
In the mean time, let me tell you my results eating gluten-free and taking the supplements. Having never, ever in my entire life

I DO NOT HAVE PMS.

(unless I was on birth control pills, which I will NEVER take again) had a normal period, that was my goal #1. Sometimes I would get 3 a year total. My husband liked this for obvious reasons. However, as a woman hearing other women complain about cramps or about feeling bitchy, I used to chime in with, “Oh I hear ya,” or, “Yeah, aren’t’ they terrible?” really having no idea what it was all about. The one thing that makes me a girl I’ve never had and always wished I did, even if it meant cramps and crazies. In 3 months of eating no gluten (except for the holidays) and religiously taking my supplements, I’ve had 3 periods. That’s never happened in my entire life. NEVER. I don’t even have test results back yet and we’re already on to something. My chiropractor always tells me the body can heal itself and I’m really starting to believe her.
Note: Husbands aren’t ever going to be as thrilled as we want them to be when you call them at work and announce that you got your period.
And in other news, the Commit Challenge has taken my blog by storm. I’ve gotten tons of responses from women about how they’ve chosen to change one thing during their day and truly commit to where they are in life. Mine was taking a shower every morning and keeping a to-do list in the kitchen. So, if you’ve committed and made a change in your life, would you mind sharing it? My changes might not work for everyone (some gals are already taking showers, imagine that?) so I’d love to know what’s working for you!

 

Homemade Playdough

I’ve started making fun little games and activities here at home so that when he becomes bored with a $30 toy after 6 minutes I don’t feel so frustrated. Paper towel rolls are free. 🙂
So this week I made playdough. It’s a pretty simple recipe and makes a REALLY good consistency. It’s all natural ingredients (except the food coloring) so if your Boxer happens to eat an entire ball of it, he’ll be ok.

1C all purpose flour
1/2 C salt
2t cream of tartar (this is a powder acid taken from oak barrels after aging wine)
1C water
1T vegetable oil
food coloring to suit

Start out by putting all the ingredients together in a non-stick pot (one that you don’t really like) and put it over medium low heat. KEEP STIRRING IT. Don’t walk away to make a bottle or flip the laundry. It only takes 5-7 minutes. All of a sudden you’ll start seeing clumps and then the clumps will join hands and make one big clump. It’ll start to look like the picture.

Clump.

 

Then you take it out and set the clump on a plastic cutting board and knead it. I did it for about 10 minutes. The color will start to blend and you’ll start to feel it getting to the right consistency. Taste it.

It’s awful.

 

Don't taste it.

Now comes the funniest part. Abe and I started playing with it and all he wanted to do was put it in his mouth. I told him not to do it a million times until finally, he went for it.

Trying to sweep it out of his mouth.

 

 

He was so seriously pissed at me. But it’s not like I didn’t warn him.

WHY THE HELL DID YOU MAKE ME EAT THAT, MOM?

 

 

Once we finally got past eating it, we played with it and it was pretty fun. He loved squishing it between his fingers. He also liked stacking the playdough balls I made for him and putting them into the tupperware, then pulling them back out. Overall I’d say it was a success once he washed his mouth out with almond milk. 🙂

Stacking!

A Rash of Concern

I chose an alternative vaccination schedule for Abe because, frankly, he’s my only child and I have the time to go back and forth to the doc’s office a few extra times. This week Abraham woke up with a rash. I didn’t think anything of it becuase, as a friend told me when Abe was 3 months old, “If he gets a rash, don’t worry about it because it will eventually go away. And don’t worry if he doesn’t sleep. He will eventually. Everything eventually happens.” Good advice from a father of 4. 🙂

Quick pinch!

When we arrived at the office we were whisked right into our room (never happens). I asked the nurse who was weighing him if she minded taking a peak at his rash. She looked briefly and said, “Oh. That could be eczema. Or it could be from something he ate. Do you have a new laundry detergent? I’m not really sure. Let me get Jen.” Esentially she named everything on the planet it could be in order to cover her bases and then left. Extra good work there, Nurse WhoeverYouAre.

So we waited in our room a few moments until Jen came in. She smiled and ask to see the rash. She stared at it for for a while, touched it, and then asked how long it had been there. “You know,” she said, “this could be just a contact dermatitis rash.” This is, in fact, useless information when I don’t know what that means.
“What is contact der…whatever you said.”
“Oh, it means whatever he touched there caused the rash.”
“So, anything that he touched in that spot is why he has a rash? That could be anything from grass to a knock-off perfume you buy at CVS.”
“Yeah. Could be anything.”
We stared at each other for a minute while I thought to myself sooo, what now?
“You probably shouldn’t do that vaccine today. I’m not sure what this rash is.”
“Oh, really? Oh ok, no problem. We won’t do it if you think it’s…”
“Well, I can ask the doctor. Do you mind waiting?”
“Sure, we can wait.” Famous last words. Twenty minutes and all 5 books in the room read 3 times each later, I was running out of material. We tried taking off Abe’s pants. We played with his socks. I sang pat-a-cake, itsy bitsy spider, and I’m a little teapot in rapid succession. He ate all the Veggie Booty. We tore up a magazine (not our magazine). We played How Far Can I Bend Mommie’s Arm Backwards and When Will Mommy Scream if I Bite her finger. Finally after almost 45 minutes, the doctor appeared. It had been so long I wouldn’t have been shocked if the rash was already healed and gone.

“Hi Ms. Cohen! Let’s see his rash there.” She looked, felt, etc.
“So what do you think? Should we do the shot? He’s already so fussy because we’ve been waiting and it’s almost nap time and…”
“Oh, this is probably nothing. I think it will be fine to get the shot. No problem! Thanks, and have a great day!”

Have a great day?! I’ve spent over an hour trapped in a room with a 17 month old and now he’s going to get shot in the leg. This is not going to be a great day, I can assure you. So, in the future, take my friend’s advice. It will eventually go away. And take my advice, too. Don’t even ask.

 

Challenge: Commit

One night after having my typical end-of-day meltdown/rant to my husband in bed, I (from what I recall) announced that if we were going to have more children we ought to do it now because everything is such a mess that why not just add to it all and blah blah blah blah blah. Knowing me well enough to know that I never mean anything I say after 8 o’clock, my husband kindly patted me on the head and said OK. Then he asked me why I felt so unfullfilled that day.

This is the opposite of what my day looked like.

“Because, Dave, I talked to a baby all day who didn’t talk back unless it was screaming or shrieking or saying, ‘NYEH’. I barely got anything done around the house except for cleaning up behind his path of destruction, I didn’t shower until 3:30pm, and I ate 3 rice cakes and an apple in 12 hours. I had about 3 million things to get done and errands to run and I didn’t remember any of them.” (Aside: When am I going to remember that if I don’t write things down I’ll forget them?)

Yeah, he understood, but he asked me what it would take to make my days better. Better? My life is great! This is just what moms do. We’re kinda miserable and exhausted at the end of the day until the kids start going to Kindergarden and then get totally depressed when we have nothing to do for 6 hours a day. SEE?? I AM NORMAL!!!!!
This is when my husband suggested we make a subtle change in my day:
“Why don’t we make it a rule that you have to take a shower before you start your day from now on?”

Garfield knows.

“I have to have my coffee. I’m not a morning person. I don’t like getting up and rushing around.”
“Ok,” he continued, “What if you get your coffee and take it into the shower and take a few minutes to wake up in there while I give Abe some milk and a banana in bed?”
“I dunno. Maybe that would help. But I would have to dry my hair and put on makeup, too.”
“Cool. If we can keep that to a half an hour, I’ll still have time to get ready. Wanna try that?”
“Fine,” I huffed.
Then he said something so smart. “Nothing’s really wrong. You just have to fully commit to where you are at this point in your life.” He’s smart, right?

So I did. I got up every morning last week and took a shower. Just a little quiet time in one of my favorite places with one of my favorite people: coffee. I got out, dried my hair and slapped the bare essentials on my face. In doing so, I was inspired to wear actual clothes. You know, clothing designed by someone who went to school to make clothes without band logos or the date of a 5k printed on the sleeve. Clothes I bought in a clothing store, not that I caught in the bleachers at half-time.

Mine's more detailed than this.

It worked so well that I added my own subtle change. I started keeping a to do list on a dry erase board in the kitchen. Every night before bed I brain-dumped onto the dry-erase all the stuff I wanted to accomplish the next day. I checked things off as I went and most days I actually got everything on the list DONE! Despite Abe’s tantrums or room-exploding techniques, I was productive. I started committing to where I am right now and suddenly the days got much more smooth.

So here’s my challenge: Find one small thing you can change in your day to make it a little bit better, to make it easier to commit to where you are in your life. You don’t have to be a mom to do this. It could be taking an extra 5 minutes to pack your lunch in the morning, or maybe spending the first 5 minutes after you get home quietly focusing on something peaceful like your dogs or your aching feet or maybe even meditating. Maybe it’s just getting a hug from your partner first thing in the morning. Commit to this place you are in life before you complain about it and you might actually find there’s not much to complain about. After all, it’s hard to enjoy a four-star hotel with one foot out the door.

New Digs

Check out the new digs. Mr. Cohen decided an upgrade was in order. I’ll show you around.

Right here on each blog you can comment or share it
more easily by clicking on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.

Sign up for new blogs!

 

Way over there, you can sign up to be notified when a new
blog is published by entering your email address. That way
you don’t have to remember to look for it on FB’s new fandangled
timeline or on Twitter.

 

Instagram Feed

 

Down there you can search the site and get a glimpse of our Instagram feed. Let’s be honest, though. It’s the Charlie, Bella, and Abe picture feed.

 

 

There’s a contact page up there now.

Dear Erin, My mom gave my son too many cookies, what should I do?

 

 

And that’s about it! Tell Mr. Cohen you like it and he did a good job.

You’re Doing a Good Job

My dear, sweet friend from the days of yore just had her first baby. She, unfortunately, was experiencing issues with infertility as well so I’m thrilled for her that she gets to join this rat race called motherhood.
During a brief dinner with her and some other friends (all moms) last week I rather stupidly, and like all the mothers I hated in the first 6 months, asked her, “So, are you loving being a mommy?” It took me about 4 seconds before I recanted and called myself a dirty name. Being the forgiving type, she smiled and said something along the lines of, “I like being a mom, but I don’t think I realized it would be this hard. I’m not really like, having fun.” Everyone at the table nodded and waited for her to say something surprising. Pause. Oh. That was the surprising part.

Great.

I was immediately transported back to the first 5 months of Abe’s life. I looked at every other mother on the planet and wondered, “WHERE IN THE HELL DID YOU LEARN TO DO THIS?” and “WHY ARE YOU SO EFFING HAPPY?” When Abe was 6 weeks old the very same friend asked me if I wanted her to come over and cuddle Abe for me so I could take a nap. I looked at her with, I imagine, the most accusatory, dirt-covered face and snapped, “He doesn’t snuggle. He screams. That’s all he does.” And then I stared longingly at the 14-month-old one table over who was smiling and waving and feeding herself. Wish my baby was that cool…

It’s weird because whether it’s the mom in line at Target shoving cookies down her kids’ throat or the woman at the DMV nursing her child while sitting on what I can only refer to as a communicable disease, we all think everybody else knows what the hell is going on and we are the only ones who aren’t getting it right. I remember seeing friends with kids thinking, “Why is it so easy for her?” or asking, “How are you so happy?” And you know what? It wasn’t and they weren’t. And they often told me it wasn’t and they weren’t, but I didn’t hear it. I just manifested a universe next door full of moms appearing to be in a perpetual state of candy cane bliss. I can’t tell you if that’s what postpartum depression is, or if that’s what all moms go through. But I know every other woman at the table that evening nodded and smiled at my friend expressing herself.

Today I can safely say that I don’t know what I’m doing from day to day and probably never will. I’m making it up. I get advice (really great advice) and information from people I know, but for the most part I just smile like I forgot my lines and walk offstage to take a deep breath. Like yesterday afternoon, for example, when Abe woke up from his nap apparently after a troll crept into his room and poked him with sharp sticks until he screamed.

The only place Abe was happy for the rest of the day.

I offered him a snack, a drink, and a movie. He cared for none of these things and instead insisted on slowly wandering around the house, dragging his blanket behind, stopping only to scream at every object we own one at a time. “WHY DO WE STILL HAVE THESE PICTURES UP FROM HALLOWEEN?” and “I CAN’T BELIEVE NO ONE HAS TAKEN ME TO DISNEY WORLD YET!” are two of the things I caught. And, because that wasn’t headache-inducing enough, he tripped on his blanket and slammed his head into a cabinet to, once again, bust his lip open. I’m going to have to start dating a plastic surgeon soon.

If you are a mom and you’re not drugging your kids (at least not daily) or physically/emotionally hurting them on purpose, you’re doing a good job. The next time you see a mom who isn’t doing any of those things in the previous sentence, tell her she’s doing a good job. Because you are, and she is. This blog is dedicated to that dear friend of mine. Everybody take a minute to tell her what a great job she’s doing, and how it will get easier. And more fun!

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