Parenting is Like Throwing Penny’s in a Wishing Well

Credit: vastateparksstaff on Flickr

Yesterday, as my oldest son and I were on our way to Los Angeles we drove past Forest Lawn Memorial Park. It had been a few years since I had driven past it and I had forgotten how beautiful it was. So I pointed it out for him to see.
And then he asked me what it was.
And I was left there with the decision of what to say. I mean, how do you explain a cemetery to a little kid after all?  I decided to go in for the kill.

“When people die, their souls go to Heaven to be with God and their bodies stay here with us. Some people like to bury their bodies in the ground at a place like that so that we who are left here on Earth have a place to visit them. But they’re not really there, only their bodies are because their souls are with God”.

I patted myself on the back. I thought I did pretty good explaining souls and death and cemeteries and stuff to a 5 year old.  And then he said:
“I like trees!”

And I realized at that moment that parenting is a lot like throwing pennies in a wishing well. You can’t see where the penny went but you did hear that hollow thud when it hit the water.
Here I was giving him gems of gold, pure parenting advice gold and all he had to say was that he liked trees.

All I can do is have faith that the penny I threw is in there somewhere.


We can do it if we try

How do you teach your children perseverance?

Disney has the ability to entertain and to teach our children great lessons. Just moments ago I heard Jungle Junction teaching my kids this message:

“We can do it. We can do it if we try. If it doesn’t work the first time we’ll try twice as hard the next time. Cause we can do it if we try.”

The truth is, I don’t agree 100%.

About 10 years ago I was watching a day time talk show of a celebrity interview (I can’t remember who the celebrity was) and she said this:

“When I’m trying really hard to do something and it’s just not working I stop trying. I take that obstruction to be a sign from the universe that it just wasn’t meant to be”.

That statement hit a home run with me. So much so, that now if I’m trying to open a jar of pickles and it just won’t open…I take that as a sign to not eat pickles.
I’m not saying I’ve become a complete non-committal flake. I’m saying  that sometimes some things just weren’t meant to be. Life shouldn’t be so hard and so frustrating. And honestly, I really don’t need to eat pickles.

The obvious problem now is how do I teach my children the ideals of perseverance when I don’t believe in them in all situations myself?
I’ve found myself teaching my son to stop trying something when he gets frustrated. I know that I’m trying to teach him to not allow himself to get so frustrated by taking a break. Nothing is worth getting so frustrated over and we can control our emotions by removing the cantankerous variable.
However, I’m afraid that I’m not teaching him how to preservere enough. I’m afraid I’m raising a non-committal flake. I want my children to be hard workers that don’t give up. I want them to be successful and I know that success takes commitment. I want them to understand the difference between knowing what’s worth fighting for and what isn’t.

However, when they hit a bump on the road to success, how will they know if it’s a sign to choose a different direction? And how will they know if the bump is just a bump and they can keep going forward?

Or what if they’re in a relationship with someone and it’s not going so great. How will they know if that relationship is worth working on to keep it going?

What if they’re trying and trying and trying to be good at something and it’s just not happening. When will they know to stop trying so hard to be good at whatever it was and try something else instead?

Or what if they’re trying to make a sandwhich and they’d really like pickles but they can’t open the jar? Will they keep trying to open the jar even if it takes forever and the bread goes stale in the wait?

How do I teach my children which situations are worth fighting for and which situations are not?

side note: I’ve never purchased a jar of pickles. That was merely an example.

When my husband changes a diaper

This post is about the difference between him and I.
I am frugal and tactful.
He is wasteful and afraid of getting poop on his hands.

Changing diapers requires wipes. Wipes are expensive and kind of bad for the planet. I have honed my baby diaper changing skills to use as little wipes as humanely possible. One wipe for #1 and Two wipes for #2.

This is me changing a poopy diaper:

My husband? Not so honed in on the baby diaper changing skills as I. And he’s dealthy afraid of getting poop on his hands. As if the poop would make his precious little man hands skin melt.

This is my husband changing a poopy diaper:

Which to be honest, he didn’t do much of before baby Eaglin #3 was born. I could probably count on one hand how many poopy diapers he changed throughout the years. Thankfully he got the memo that he was required to step it up a notch with baby #3’s arrival. However, watching him change a poopy diaper will probably never get old. He would probably wear a hazmat suit if he could. And use salad tongs…so he would be certain to not get any poop on his precious little man hands.

This is yet another post inspired by my favorite funny bunny Amber Dusick of Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures.  There was no better way to get my point across than to give yet another homage to one of my favorite bloggers.

Preschool Graduations are for Sissies

My son graduated from preschool a few weeks ago. Which it is safe to say that I have strong feelings of loss when I think about him growing up. But, that’s a part of parenting I suppose, the ebbs and waves of letting go. Push them to learn and grow and then mourn the baby they’ve grown to leave behind.
He graduated from preschool exactly 2 weeks after the baby was born. Fortunately, I was pretty exhausted and my mind was still stuck in babyzombieland (which, lets be honest-it still is). So I wasn’t so ‘in the moment’ that I was mourning and crying that lost chubby baby during the ceremony. I focused on taking lots of still pictures and video taping him singing songs.
He was adorbs. There were several songs with guitar notes and he rocked out an air guitar. He made my husband and I proud.
I was doing good through the ceremony. I was happy and I was proud and I was entertained.
Then this shit happened.

A 15 minute video collage of the kids. On the playground, in the classrooms, with their friends all the while having fun. Kids laughing and smiling and being happy. My son playing with kids I had never even met, being happy. His bright blue eyes shining and his beautiful face beaming. That beautiful face that was chubby and small not that long ago.

Which all that gushy poop was hard enough to bear. Then they played this crap from beginning to end:

And I wanted to die.
It took all I had to not lose my sh*t and melt into the floor.

What not to do: How to make your kids easy targets

Being a parent is scary. Not only are you responsible for the well being and production of another human being but you’re also responsible for their safety. Which, lets admit in this day and age is a daunting task. There are so many creepos and pedophiles out there that mask themselves as sheep in wolves clothing that we as parents really need to be on guard about whom we allow our children to be in contact and association with. Below is a list that I have compiled of 5 ways children can be easy targets.

“come here little Zack, I have a lollipop for you in my van”

1. Anything that your child wears or carries that is personalized with their name on it.
This screams “approach me and pretend you know me personally so that you may shove me into your van”

“Hey Kristi! Your mom Loni said you could check out the inside of my van”

2. Stick figure family decals with every family members name.
This makes predators able to identify who is who and it makes your car easily identifiable.

String bikinis for little girls is just gross.

3. Dressing your daughter like a hoochie momma.
Modesty is the best policy folks.

4. Not paying attention to where your kids are when you’re out shopping.
I know it’s hard, because finding the cheapest shampoo is more important, but there are creepo’s out there ready to prey on your frugalness.

5. Social Media blasting of your child’s pictures, names, personality and other likelinesses.
I know, I’m guilty of this one too. But at least I don’t announce their names, you’d have to dig them up and then I’d know you were a stalker.



Now it’s your turn. What say you Sarcastic, Funny and Brutally Honest readers? What would you add to this list?

A Glimpse of My Life at this Very Moment

I’m having a baby tomorrow. Via cesarean section.
I received an email this morning at 6:30am from my OBGYN at Kaiser Permanente that she had to take an “unexpected leave” and will not be able to deliver me tomorrow. I have been rescheduled with a doctor later in the day.
Later in the day.
When you have a c-section you cannot eat or drink for 8 hours before the surgery.
8 hours.
That means, no water, no food…no coffee.
No food for a pregnant lady? Awful. No coffee for a pregnant lady with 2 kids? F-ING TORTURE.

At 9am I received a phone call from Kaiser that was double checking I had received the email.
I was notified that according to my labs done on Wednesday that I have a bladder infection that requires antibiotics.
Great. And no wonder I haven’t been feeling well. Peeing every 10 minutes, back pain, bladder pain and general discomfort was masked as pregnancy in my mind but was actually something worse.
Good going Desiree. In pain for no reason.
After dropping my son off at school I had to rush back and meet the flooring guy here at the house. Once he was done, I had to fill my prescription at Kaiser. It took almost an hour. With a 21 month old. Surrounded by sick people.
It was awesome.

When I picked up my son from school today he said to me in the car: “Mom guess what there was this kid with an angry bird shirt on and he went Yak Yak Pop…do you know what Yak Yak Pop means? It means he threw up all over Katie and the desk and the floor and his backpack it was really gross he’s at home now.” (there were no breaks, he said that as one big long sentence) So here’s what I have to say Dear Mr. Yak Yak Pop if you got my kid sick I’m going to hunt you down and Yak Yak Pop your face.

The day has been non stop errands and last-minute housekeeping before baby Eaglin #3 joins us. All while I pee every 10 minutes.

However, here’s the kicker. The antibiotics give me dry mouth and make me feel super dehydrated.
How the hell am I supposed to go all day tomorrow with no water?

All I have to say is this baby better be damn cute. 😉

Birthday sex

Today is Mother’s Day. It also happens to be my husbands birthday. Which although sounds like it may have been a conflict of interest was actually quite nice. He was obligated to be nice to me and I was obligated to be nice to him. So we ended up being really nice to each other…for the like the first whole day ever.

But now as the day comes to a close we have a new problem. We have ourselves a new conflict of interest.

There are 2 days a year that I get a reprieve of his 15-year-old-boyish-non-stop-horndogginess:
My birthday
and Mother’s day

There are 2 days a year that I don’t get a choice:
His birthday
and Father’s day

So now what?
I’ll tell you what: It’s going to be a standoff.
Him in one corner with that devilish look in his eye that I’ve come to know and um…fear. And me, trying to lock myself in the bathroom and claim bathroom problems.

Wish me luck.

TIME Magazine: Are You Mom Enough? Why yes, Jamie Lynn Grumet IS Mom Enough.

A lot of controversy has been stirred up today since TIME Magazine released its newest cover. The cover bluntly shows a young woman breastfeeding her almost 4 year old son while he stands on a stool. Both mom and son look the audience candidly in the eye and the title “Are You Mom Enough?” jumps out at you.
It just so happens that Jamie Lynn of I am Not the Babysitter is a fellow MomsLA blogger and a friend of mine. Call it sensational, call it graphic, call it whatever you want, but at the end of the day this TIME magazine cover has successfully created enough interest and opened up conversations about breast feeding acceptability and the mother’s right to choose.
I support the Mother’s Right to Choose.
As long as that mother has the child’s best interest in mind and she is doing her best. There is no wrong or right way to parent.
Or to breastfeed.
The purpose of breasts is for women to feed their children. Breastfeeding is natural. How, where, when and for how long they choose to feed them is up to the mother themselves.

Jamie has this to say:
“But people have to realize this is biologically normal,” she told the magazine. “It’s not socially normal. The more people see it, the more it’ll become normal in our culture. That’s what I’m hoping. I want people to see it.”

Another fellow MomsLA blogger, Jessica Gottlieb published a video stating concern for the child’s right to privacy. Gottlieb is a advocate for bloggers to write about “their stories” and feels as though Jamie may have approved an image that will haunt her son when he is older. I however, am confident that this TIME magazine cover will be a non-issue and even passé in 11+ years. I am optimistic that this cover will open up more media avenues for breastfeeding advocacy that will lead to a general public acceptance overall and Aram will never have to defend his mother’s actions.

Do I feel that TIME magazine intentionally chose this image to create controversy and sell more magazines? Absofreakinlutely. They chose an attractive, young, white female to boldly display breastfeeding in an abnormal position on purpose.
The photographer, Martin Schoeller has been quoted saying“I liked the idea of having the kids standing up to underline the point that this was an uncommon situation.”
But I will tell you this, Jamie is no dummy. Jamie IS “Mom Enough”. She is strong, she is intelligent and she has the ability to back up her beliefs about attachment parenting and breastfeeding. Read the article for yourself and just get over the cover already!

Jamie is a sweet and super genuine person with a huge heart and a huge capacity for loving, nurturing and raising her children and I am proud to call her my friend.  

The Man Cold

My friend Brigitta from Brighter Schemata  posted this video on my facebook wall over the weekend after I announced that my husband was sick and apparently going to die of the influenza virus:

Which gave me some relief and made me laugh at an otherwise reallysuperfagileistic obnoxious as hell situation.
My husband stayed home from work on Friday because he was so sick. That was the first time in over 13 years that I have known him that he had stayed home from work because of being sick. He’s one of those die hard worker bees. So, sure, he was sick. I get it.
It took all I had to not laugh in his face after he moaned and groaned and said he was dying. It took all that I had to not scream after he emailed me his food requests. It took all that I had to not shove the toast I had made him down his throat when he refused to eat it because (and I do quote) “I didn’t make it right”.
That’s right folks, apparently I don’t know how to make toast. How do my kids survive?!?
I quarantined  him to our bedroom so he could sleep and get some peace and quiet and I took the kids to the park and took over completely. (Which, honestly as a stay at home mom isn’t that hard to do. I could probably go on like that for about 3 months of no help before anyone realized that Dad wasn’t even there). He medicated himself with a mixture of Vicodin and heavy Advil left over from my previous c-section. I’m surprised he’s still alive.
So we got through it, he woke up a little better on Saturday and I woke up sick on Saturday with the Flu.
To sum it up, I’ll just put it like this: Our paths to getting better were much different. I had to survive on tylenol, water, the kids using me as a trampoline (because mommy isn’t allowed to be alone), lots of dirty looks from the husband as he changed poopy diapers, well, a lot of complaining and dirty looks in general and taking lots of cool baths because no one would let me knock myself out with painkillers. Damn pregnancy. No alcohol and no painkillers? Ugh.
But we survived. And I’ve got this great new resentment for The Man Cold.
What is your favorite story of being sick? Is it similar to mine?

Isolation at the Playground

Have you ever been at the park, surrounded by other mommies and their children only to feel absolutely and totally alone? I have, on many occasions, most recently just this very morning.
Now, I’m not an insecure person and I’m totally fine with going to the park without other mommy friends to keep me company. I’m perfectly content to sit on the sidelines alone and watch as my daughter plays. I am not however, ok with feeling isolated.
When we first moved to Corona in 2009 my son was just 2 years old. We were transplants from Orange County and we didn’t know anyone out here. He and I desperately needed friends. I would drive in circles past the parks in our community looking for signs of other life playing at the playgrounds. We would relentlessly drive until we happened upon a park that children were playing at.

I scoured the internet looking for local meetups and playgroups until one day I found a local MOMSclub. We joined the MOMSClub on our first meeting and ever since then, we have had a plethora of friends. That MOMSClub disbanded and I took it over as a playgroup in March of 2010. I’ve been organizing a very large playgroup successfully for over 2 years. Now, it is safe to say that we are never alone. We are never in need of playmates. We never feel isolated.

Well, except for today.

Today, no one was available to meet my daughter and I at a local playground while my son was at school. Today, I happened to not have any errands and today, I happened to not have any writing deadlines. My daughter was in need of some play and so we went to the park on our own without plans of meeting friends there.

We had been at the playground for about a half hour when a wave of snobby mommies showed up with their expensive strollers and designer diaper bags and sunglasses.
All of a sudden I felt isolated at the playground.
I was literally surrounded by mommies but no one would look at me. No one would talk to me. No one acknowledged that I was there.

I was invisible.

Which is fine. I’m cool. I don’t necessarily need more friends. I realized that this feeling was probably the reason why I always see other mommies at the store or the library but I hardly ever see other mommies alone at the playground. No one likes feeling isolated. It’s easier to keep busy while shopping.

As I was sitting there watching my daughter play I had an epiphany. How many times have I been to the park with our playgroup and there was another mommy there and no one acknowledged her? Not because we’re snobby mommies but because we’re too busy socializing with each other? What if that mommy felt isolated?

I started feeling guilty.

I’ve decided that no matter where I am I will always be on the lookout for fellow non-snobby mommies to make friends with. Even if I am there with 50 of my closest friends.

Everyone deserves to be seen.

Everyone deserves to have non-snobby mommy friends.