Tuesday, December 18, 2012

After the 2nd Baby Arrives

You might have noticed that I haven't posted on the blog since August...that's because I had baby #2 in September.  'Nuff said.

Baby #2, a little girl, is now three months old.  When people ask me "how it's going," I like to use the old the expression "the days are long, but the months go by so fast."

Of course we are thrilled to welcome another baby into our family, but certain changes occur in a mom's life when a second child enters the picture, none of which people discuss in this world of perfect Facebook photos and flawless Christmas cards.

Here are a few of the toughest transitions:

1.  Mom's "naptime" disappears.  (But what about simultaneous naps? you may wonder.  Um yeah...those are the equivalent of finding 20 bucks in your winter coat pocket:  Lovely, but oh-so-rare). I rarely have any alone time at this point; as soon as one is tired and ready to sleep, the other decides he/she is up!

2.  That hour or two of evening time spent with your husband after your child goes to bed?  That's also pretty much vanished (we have found that in order to maximize the amount of time sleeping, we must go to bed immediately after the baby does) for now too.

3.  You miss Baby #1.  Okay, he's not really a baby anymore.  And he still enjoys throwing tantrums, making [constant] demands on Mommy, and breaking things, but when you are faced with the fact that you simply cannot spend as much time with him, it's bittersweet.  Adding a member to the family is the end of an era, and the beginning of another, but you miss that one-on-one time.

4.  Here's the good one:  It's really fun when they occasionally throw you a bone, and you catch the older one giving the baby a kiss, or the baby laughing at the older one.  And your Christmas card now features two little beings you created.  And you get to picture them growing up together and dream about your family as it grows up. It makes it all worth it (but it doesn't make it easy!).

Until next time!

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Change is in the Air: Expecting a 2nd Baby

Maybe it's simply his age (See Post:  The Terrible Wonderful Twos), or maybe it's that he senses "change is in the air" with the imminent arrival of a new sibling (less than three weeks to go!), but my two-year old (now 26 months) has definitely decided to test the limits recently.  In fact, every five minutes or so I can expect him to display an unwelcome act of independence.

Here are some of his favorite ways to test Mama's patience:

1.  Throwing his Hot Wheels (while looking right at me).

2.  Throwing a ball up onto the kitchen counter and knocking over any glass of water I had dared place there (while looking right at me).

3.  Throwing a toy down the stairs (while looking right at me).

I'm sure the pattern is not lost on you.  The "while looking right at me" is what makes it so frustrating (why, why must my innocent little sweetipie test me like this?).

Often, these little acts of rebellion are quickly accompanied by a  once-sincere, but now somewhat sarcastic (is sarcasm even possible at this age?) "sorry Mama."

Hmmmm...sorry indeed...

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

*I wrote this post in 2012 before my daughter (now 2) was born.  Whew!  We've come a long way, baby!  In fact, my daughter is now the age my son was in this post.  And so the cycle continues...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Toddler's Top 10 Demands (er, um, requests...)

My two year old son has several phrases that he repeats all day, every day.  Most of them are disguised as questions, but don't be fooled:  they are most certainly demands.  The following are the ten most common (with translation), number 10 being the most-often "asked."  They are the ones that I hear in my sleep at night.

1.  Hoops again?  (I want to go to the playroom now, to shoot baskets repeatedly while you cheer for me whether I make  the shot or not).
2.  Hiiiiiide? (I want to count to three while pretending to close my eyes, while you hide behind the chair and I find you-- repeatedly.)  
3.  Choo-Choo Room?  (I want you to think I want to leisurely play with trains in the living room, but I am really just looking for a way to get you to go hide again).
4.  Delicious!  (I would be the happiest little boy on earth if you gave me blueberries or vanilla ice cream to eat for every meal).
5.  Car Show?  (I need to watch the two minute segment in Cars where they sing "Life is a Highway" now.  While this part is on, you must jump up and down with me and dance wildly in order for me to fully enjoy it.  You must replay highway segment at least 2 times).
6.  Cookie please.  (Don't let the please fool you.  What I really mean is "cookie NOW.")
7.  TWO Whoas! (If "whoa!" means something really great, saying "TWO whoas!" must mean something is really, really great).
8.  Mama's Car?  (Wherever you have taken me, be it the pool, library, store, or friend's house, I would (much) rather be safely ensconced in Mama's car, on the way home to play cars again (#10), hoops (#1), or throw rocks (#9).
9.  Throw rocks?  (Take me to a pond/lake/fishing hole now so that I throw muddy rocks over and over into said pond.  You must say "big splash" every single time. I won't take no for an answer.  I don't care if it's 98 degrees outside).
10.  Cars again? (You will send Hot Wheels back and forth with me for an indefinite, ungodly amount amount of time.  This will likely be our main activity for the day, so get comfortable Mama.).

~Frantic Mama

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*A shortened version of this is on Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Terrible Wonderful Twos

This time, I don't have many excuses for my lack of posts...maybe I could blame pregnancy brain?

Speaking of pregnancy, if I make it to my due date in September, I have just three short months left as a mother of one (which, I'm sure, sounds luxurious to moms of two or more).

My son just turned two, and while every other thing he does seems designed to test me (throwing his toothbrush on the floor EVERY morning, making me chase him around the house for each and every diaper change, pouring milk into his beloved Hot Wheels), I love that he has grown into a little person seemingly overnight.  He's always been a little person literally, but now he's actually, like, communicating...with words.  And he even occasionally throws me a bone and makes actual jokes.  And they are funny!

All of this "maturity" makes a big difference in the life of a stay-at-home mom, primarily because that little person is often your only real human contact in a day (excepting the check-out lady at Target, or the teenager behind the drive-thru window at Dairy Queen, who is perhaps seeing a bit too much of me these days (I swear, Baby #2 makes me go!...).

So while I'm excited to add another member to our little family this fall, I'm trying to enjoy this solo time with my little "terrible two" while I can...because come September, I'm quite certain "frantic" won't even cover half of it.

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Frantic Mama: Traveling with Toddlers and Babies

We do an annual family beach vacation, and it takes us all year to recover (Ha.  Just kidding.  Mostly).

Here are a few tips for those of you "vacationing" with young kids might consider:

1.  Bring dark trash bags and duct tape to make your child's room darker.  Sounds sketchy, right?  But the less they see, the more they forget they are in a new spot (and we all know that every extra minute of sleep is worth the work).  We now do this every time we travel. 

2.  Bring magazines for your child to look at on the airplane.  My little guy is OBSESSED with cars (remember, "EEEEEEE?!"), so naturally we brought along all kinds of Hot Rod and racing magazines.  Yes, the neighboring passengers heard a lot of "Blue car!" "Purple car!" but that's better than screaming, right?  And needless to say (I assume), preschool Apps are a parents' best friend for any type of travel.  

3.  Assume your kids will get sick.  Ours did last year.  He did again this year.  Airplanes are covered with germs.  Why didn't I just bring the aspirator and "Little Noses" saline squirts to avoid the rushed CVS trip?  Idealism, I suppose...

(The pacifier?  There's nothing wrong with it!  If your kid takes one, bring 10!)

4.  I mentioned this on previous travel posts, but bring PLENTY of snacks for the flight.  Hoping for 3 balanced meals on travel day?  HA!  Cookies, crackers, and fruit snacks will be your best friend when you find your demanding toddler happily munching away rather than having a tantrum about the fact that the portable DVD player has to be shut off for the last 30 (30?! really?) minutes of the flight.  For babies, bring along more formula than you think you need; I love those Similac pre-measured powder packets.  Baby Mum-mums are good distractions for the littlest travelers.  Also, there's no shame in pacifiers.  

5.  Here's what I consider the most invaluable tip:  You know how the airlines always say "those traveling with young kids can board early?"  Are they insane?!  Wait until the very last call to board; the less time sitting in that hot, sticky God-forsaken airplane seat the better.

With all of the work and preparation that goes into traveling with young children, you might wonder, is it worth it?  I mean really worth it?  This Frantic Mama thinks so; after all, the photos only show the good parts :).

Happy travels and vacationing from Frantic Mama!

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Lows (and Highs) of Parenthood

(Updated January 2015.  Originally written Spring 2012, when my son was almost two (now 4.5). and I was pregnant with my daughter, who is now 2!)

If you have read my last couple of Facebook posts, you might already know this: Frantic Mama (now four months pregnant with Baby #2 has reached some new lows.

Did you catch the one about me finding a stray piece of candy on my carseat (where I popped that abandoned Mike N' Ike in my mouth without a second thought)?  Or, did you happen to read my post about making two trips to Dairy Queen in one day?  Such is life these days.

Any parent will tell you, (I think), that with parenthood, you do things you never thought yourself capable of before having children-- both good and bad.  For instance, the good is that you can't believe you created a living being, took exceptional care of him for 9 months, and then were tough enough to bring him into this world.  But the funnier ones are the lows we occasionally (frequently?) hit as parents.

When our son was first born, I think the pizza delivery guy knew us better than some of our relatives. He was at our home more often than just about anyone else those first months when we staggered around like zombies.  Going to bed when the baby did, at 7:30 (knowing, of course, I would be up to feed him again at 11p.m. and 3a.m.) is perhaps another memory I'd just as soon forget.

Here's a more recent gem:  I had just received a pair of lovely maternity yoga pants in the mail from my sister; they met that rare combination of cute and comfortable (see post: What Not to Wear), and I put them on right away.  My son decided to have a blow-out diaper that same morning, and even though I'm sure I had his...um...remnants...on those pants, I simply could not bear to take them off.  In fact, I kept those pants on the rest of the day.

Of course, there are plenty of highs that can only come with parenthood, like that fleeting sense of invincibility you feel after surviving a cross-country flight with a sleep-deprived 18 month old, or the pride you experience when your little guy learns how to say "thank you" for the first time.

Motherhood is full of highs and lows.  I experience them on a daily basis.  What are some of your 'pits and peaks?'

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

What Not to Wear

Pre-Baby, I enjoyed picking out outfits. You could even say shopping for clothing was one of my hobbies.  I loved the creativity of it, and I had fun adding a few new items to my closet from time to time.

Oh how times have changed...

Have you seen the show on TLC called "What Not to Wear?" I'm pretty sure that I might qualify for an episode.  The headline would be along the lines of, "once-hip 30-year-old mom now dresses like a sloppy has-been."  Okay, maybe that's a little harsh, but you get the idea.   If it isn't stretchy, machine-washable, or black/white/neutral, you probably won't find me wearing it.

In my defense, I have to be able to get on and off the floor with my son and daughter to play with cars, trucks, and balls all day.  I also have to be able to throw any shirt or pants in the washer that gets diaper remnants or fish sticks on it, and I have to be able to get dressed in 3 minutes.  Every day.

Yes, I can still muster the energy to put something decent together for an evening or lunch out.  I suppose to preserve some semblance of my pre-mom self.

But why does it seem so much more tiring to put on boot-cut jeans and a stretchy sweater (from grown-up stores) than to throw on my favorite [black] American Eagle yoga pants?

*Addendum (Spring 2013):  When I added baby #2 to the mix last fall, I really took it up a notch:  I alternated two nursing camisoles under two zip-up sweatshirts every day for 5 months.  

So what do you find yourself wearing now that you have kids?  Has your style changed at all?

~Frantic Mama

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Monday, February 13, 2012

If Mama Ain't Happy...

Nobody's happy...

Well, it's happened. And, admittedly, remarkably late in the game. Frantic Mama has what you might call a "severe cold." And it's not pretty. And I know just who I caught it from (Hint: He only eats yogurt, he is obsessed with Match Box Cars, and he's under age 2). Yep. My dear little guy brought it into our home [again]. (See Recent Posts: The Neverending Cold).

This is one of those lovely head colds that makes you so stuffy that even your eyes hurt. I'm considering buying one of those frightening Neti Pots that the likes of Dr. Oz rave so much about. Yes, it's that bad.

This leads to the conundrum that only parents must face: how does one take care of oneself when every waking minute someone else demands all of one's energy? I'm not sure it's possible. I do know Baby Einstein videos help. I also know that an extra cup of coffee can help you find just a little bit more oomph in your reserves.

In the meantime, this Frantic Mama is signing off for the day...how long before I put my feet up do you think it'll be until you-know-who wakes up, calling for Mama?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Toddler Mischief

My son just turned 20 months old. While I infinitely prefer this age to, say, 2 weeks old, there is still a seemingly endless supply of fresh challenges that crop up with each passing day/week/month...

I love him beyond words, but here are just some of the dangerous/annoying/ridiculous acts of mischief (most of which are accompanied by a devilish grin) my son is currently obsessed with:

  • Turning on the "hidden" switch to the [very hot] gas fireplace.
  • Tugging on any and all electrical cords within reach.
  • Opening the freezer and depositing ice cubes around the kitchen (I often discover this activity later, after stepping in a cold puddle, wearing fresh socks).
  • Rolling the car window down by his carseat on a freezing cold day (Yes, we have Childlock. Yes, I forget to turn it on).
  • Throwing his bath toys down the laundry shoot one by one (admittedly, I often take advantage of this pastime-- I can brush AND floss my teeth!).
  • Snatching my smartphone and writing comments on Facebook (said comments typically appear on Friends pages as "asdchsafdsaoidf ihsdf hs.")

This post begs the question: What are your children up to right now?

~Frantic Mama

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Quality Control & Shopping Carts

My son enjoys a new activity when we go to the grocery store. My husband calls it Quality Control.
Basically, he sits in the front of the cart (thank God. I am not ready to let him loose in Target yet), examines all of the items I pick out, and then tosses (throws?) them in the back of the cart for safe keeping.

At first I was hesitant to indulge this new activity (won't he just shove everything in his mouth? or chuck it on the floor?), but my (non-Frantic) husband had let him do it and sung his praises.

So, when I took my little Tazmanian devil to the store this week, he was ready to participate. It started out well enough. I picked up a bag of lettuce, handed it to my son, he studied it, and then tossed it behind him into the cart.
Hmmmm, I thought, whatever keeps him happy... I was very proud of him when he managed to examine his favorite cereal bars (See Recent Post: A Few Food Recs) without demanding one be removed for his immediate satisfaction.

But why, why, did I have to hand him the flimsy plastic carton of blueberries? I hesitated but thought he could handle it. Per usual, he studied the item carefully, and then tossed them...the box opened, and the berries rolled all over the entire produce section. The nice grocery employee didn't even roll his eyes as he trudged off to get a broom.

Oh well, the rest of the items made it home safely.

~Frantic Mama

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Ah, naptime. Every stay-at-home mom's short respite in the day.  In fact, naptime is often when I try to write a quick blog entry, along with attempting minor household chores.  Of course, all of those lofty goals of what we "need" to accomplish during naptime rarely seem to happen for many of us, including this Frantic Mama.

For a while, when my son switched to one nap a day (and before I had my daughter), the hour or two would fly by so fast that I felt like all I did was gobble some food, pick up a toy, and brush my teeth before hearing him on the monitor.  Doing laundry, checking email, making a phone call...all of those little tasks seemed impossible to get done.  In an effort to feel more productive, I started making a list of 2-4 things I would like to accomplish during naps, and that helped me feel a bit better.  I enjoy crossing items off that list.  More often than not, however, I still end up spending those precious minutes lying on the couch "for just 5 minutes," or scrolling through Facebook...you get the idea...

And now baby makes 2 kids with naps in the house.  The baby still takes two naps a day, which makes my son and I housebound in the morning-- a blessing and a curse.  But most days, I decide that I'd rather have some cabin fever than drag a tired baby around town, so we try to get her those two naps.  

I suppose the message here is that naptime should be a restful time not just for our children; there's no harm in moms getting some R&R too. Because before you know it, that red light on the monitor will flash and you'll hear the cries, and all too soon you'll be back at it!

~Frantic Mama

Monday, January 9, 2012

What's for Dinner?

My once "eat anything" toddler has slowly transformed into the more stereotypical picky eater. Recently (besides his beloved Nutrigrain bars) he is like a little Frenchman, only munching on bread and cheese. And cookies. To get him to eat anything else, I must drench it in hummus or applesauce. Or his all-time favorite-- yogurt. Yes, he will only eat his chicken, fish, beans, etc. when dipped in yogurt. And that's on a good day.

I was excited tonight because I was going to give him everyone's favorite dinner: pizza. I showed it to him, taught him the word, he dutifully repeated "pizza," and then took one or two tiny bites before curling his nose up, eying it skeptically like it was liver an onions. How had I dared to feed him pepperoni pizza?!, he pleaded [with his eyes].

Still, each day I will continue to try something else. Dipped in hummus or otherwise...


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

And God Created Babysitters

I must say, there is nothing quite like finding a great babysitter.   Maybe it is (partly) because it requires so much legwork for us to find them.   If you don't have the luxury of family nearby who can babysit, you must find outside help if you ever want to get out of the house solo.

If you stay at home full time, it helps you to be a just [little] less frantic to know you get a couple hours to run errands by yourself once a week.  And whether you work or stay home, a weekend sitter for occasional date nights is worth the trouble of finding one, training one, introducing her to your babies/toddlers/kids, and enduring the screaming cries that will most certainly ensue as you and your spouse leave (flee?) the house.

*[While on the subject of babysitters, may I ask that we not judge moms who use their resources to find occasional help?  It takes A LOT of work to find a sitter; they do not fall out of trees.  Plus, getting out of the house alone is a self-care measure and it hurts when their is judgement around the issue].

So where do you find one of these wonderful people?  It's tricky.  Many moms are reluctant to share their sitters because they found them and rightfully want to make sure their sitter is available when they need them. In an effort to help your year be less frantic, here are some other ways to find high quality sitters:

1. Care.com. It's like Match.com for nannies and sitters, and it comes with a month-to-month price.  Let me guess: you think finding a sitter online is sketchy.  I thought that at first too.  Then I got desperate.  Remember this:  these days everyone is online and as long as you meet the sitter and check her references, websites like this one can be very helpful.

2. Nanniesforhire.com. Similar to Care.com, but it is more expensive.  Most suited for those looking for regular part-time or full-time help.

3. Career Posting at your local college. This has been a source of energetic, nice college-age sitters for us-- many of the students who respond are education majors and love kids!  Jackpot!  Not all schools allow individuals to post jobs, but it's worth a shot.  Call their career services office to ask.  Perhaps there is even a way to post your job on a bulletin board near the education classrooms?

4.  Neighbors and friends' kids.  What could be better than the neighbor kids who lives down the street?  If he or she is young, I would recommend starting her as a Mother's Helper, which means she plays with your kids while you attempt to go about your chores and business while in the house.

What other ways have you found great babysitters?

Best of luck in your quest for enjoying a latte alone on a Tuesday afternoon or a fun night out! You deserve it.

~Frantic Mama

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Frantic Mama: Little Luxuries

One's idea of "luxury" changes once children enter the picture. Whereas an all-day spa visit or even a weekend getaway were in the realm of possibilities before kids, we must find smaller luxuries post-baby.

Some of this Frantic Mama's dependable treats?

Sleeping in. Occasionally letting my husband wake up early with our kids on the weekend feels like a mini-vacation! (Sad that 7:15 feels like sleeping in, but ah, that's life).

Lunch or breakfast with a friend (sans toddlers, of course).  I often prefer a lunch date to a dinner date.  You have to wait all day for dinner, and then it can go late, and you end up tired the next day, struggling to slap together your toddler's waffle and banana breakfast. What should have been a fun night ends up depleting your energy.  A Saturday lunch, however, is a break during the day that reconnects you with your individual, separate-from-baby self. You look forward to it that morning and can carry on with the rest of the day refreshed.

Engaging in a little online shopping during naptime. Amazon.com is my all-time favorite shopping site. (Side note: If you haven't joined Amazon Mom yet, do it now! Last time I checked, you get FREE Prime Status for one year).  I've also recently jumped on the Etsy bandwagon.

A solo walk.  If my husband, babysitter, or family member can watch my kids for even just a half hour, nothing (well, almost nothing) makes me feel better than a walk outside (again, solo).   It can be hard to drag myself out of a warm home in frigid temperatures (or out of an air-conditioned home in 85 degree heat), but I always feel better afterwards.

Here's to enjoying some little luxuries that help you feel a little less frantic in the upcoming year. 

What are some of your little luxuries?  Please comment using my new Disqus comment box-- I'm sure I could add some to luxuries to my list :).
~Frantic Mama

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