Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What NOT to Give at a Baby Shower




My son is now 3, and my daughter is almost 9 months.  I have a pretty good idea of gifts that are useful, and those that...aren't.

Here are the ones I wouldn't register for or buy for an expecting mother:

1.  Onesies.  Why are there so many of these on the market?  And why does everyone give them to you in mass quantities when you're pregnant?  It's awful to squeeze a squirming baby's head into that tiny little neck hole.  Babies cry enough already.  Don't give them another reason to do so.

2.  Fancy outfits with lots of snaps and buttons.  People who are too old to remember how exhausting it is to have a baby, or people who have never had a baby are the culprits here.  Goodwill could open a new store (The Unwearables?) with all the guilt-inducing expensive baby clothes people give.  These are the clothes that hang in the baby's closet until they are outgrown.  Or worse yet, they remain in beautiful gift bags and boxes, calling out to you, taunting you: 'really?  you're gonna leave the baby in that same old hand-me-down sleep n' play for the 2nd day in a row?'  Let's do new moms a favor and save the complicated clothing for when the children go off to school.

3.  Baby washcloths and towels.  Don't waste valuable registry real estate here.  Just use some you already own.

4.  One of those 12 month frames.  Talk about unnecessary stress.  Is it the end of the month already? Really?  I need to take another posed picture of the baby (in a complicated, fancy outfit) to put in her silver plated 12 month frame!  Then I'll use her next nap to upload it, order it, cut it so it fits the tiny space...  God, I'm exhausted just thinking about it.  

5.  Ditto for those precious handprint and footprint kits.*

6. The Diaper Genie.  The cartridges are ridiculously expensive.  And it is a total pain to refill it when you are sleep deprived at 2 a.m. and realize the last cartridge is buried deep in the baby's closet somewhere.  A trash can works really well for...trash.

What useless baby stuff is collecting dust in your basement?

*Unless the giver of said handprint kit sets a time and date upon gifting this to come over and do it herself while Mama gets to lie down.  Then, yes, go ahead and buy one!

If you'd like some useful baby gift ideas and necessities, check out Frantic Mama's blog entry from February 2013, aptly titled Useful Baby Products:  http://franticmama.blogspot.com/2013/02/useful-baby-products.html.

~Frantic Mama

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Letter to My Son (on his 3rd Birthday)

*Winter 2016 Update:  Hello and welcome!  I'm flattered that this post about my son is one of my most popular ones, with many more reads than I could have ever expected.  He is now 5!  Thank you for reading!

May 2013

Dear Sweetiepie,

You turn three years old soon.  I could paste a bittersweet smile on my face and say "oh, it all went by so fast."  But it didn't.  Many, many days during your baby and toddlerhood felt endless.  Especially the times you were teething, or sick, or we were snowed in for 3 days in a row.  In the past three years, I've learned how much harder motherhood is than I could have ever imagined.  

But I've also gotten to experience the best parts of my life in these three years, starting the day you were born.  I cannot describe the joy I felt that day when I got to see you and hold you for the first time.  I was so incredibly proud.  I had carried this beautiful little baby for 9 months and safely brought him into the world.

Showing you the world, hearing you sing at the top of your lungs, seeing how gentle you are with your baby sister-- these are small things that I love about having your in my life.  I love hearing you belly laugh, and I love the rare times you run up to me and hug my leg.  I love how you insist on giving me a hug and kiss before bedtime.  I love that you can come up with a truly funny joke.  I love how you can be completely serious one minute and then erupt in giggles the next.  Challenging as life with young children can be, I don't want to imagine life without you.

Which brings me to the fear.  I didn't know real fear until I had children-- in one of those, "If anything ever happened to you" ways.  I wish I could protect you from any harm possible in the years ahead, but I guess I can't.

It is hard to believe, but you will grow and change, and somehow your dad and I will forget certain aspects of your two-year old self.  So I will finish with some of your favorite toys/pastimes/interests from the past year:


  • Cars.  Hot Wheels.  The Pixar movies.  Really, anything having to do with cars.
  • Singing.  Specifically random old 1970's and 80's songs your dad teaches you (think the Dukes of Hazard, Fall Guy, and Chips theme songs).  
  • Colors.  Especially silver, black, and turquoise. (Yeah, you were pretty impressed with yourself then too).
  • Hiding cars in the bark of trees.  (We also thought it was weird).
  • Throwing rocks into the pond (over and over).
  • Smoothies and Fruit Snacks = Obsessions.
  • You insisted that your favorite foods were "Goldfish and water."  (Ridiculous).

  • Going to the hardware store with Dada.
  • Coming up with funny rhymes.  (Think Ford Coop/Pord Poop).
  • Blue (your little elephant).
  • Making up words (what exactly is a "whatabilto" and a "hawahheydo?")
  • Your inexplicable fascination with Lazytown and Sporticus.
  • Cats (much to Daddy's chagrin).
  • "Apps and songs on Mama's phone" (much to my chagrin).
  • Culver's (hamburgers, french fries, and of course, "white ice cream with sprinkles").


No matter how long the days (and nights) might be, I will always love being your mother.  I'm so proud of you.  Happy 3rd Birthday to my one and only little big boy!

Love,
Mama

Like this letter?  I also wrote one to my son for his 4th Birthday, which you can read here.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Going it Solo: When the Husband Travels


In my opinion, there are few experiences harder for the mother of young children than when her husband leaves town.

I start dreading my husband's impending business trips as soon he [reluctantly] announces them.  I calmly pencil in the dates on my calendar and try to be very matter-of-fact about all of it.  After all, it's usually just a few of days.  In the big scheme of life, that's a mere blip.  And yet those couple of days seem to stretch out endlessly.  They last much longer than the typical workweek (don't even get me started on weekend trips).

Maybe it's because when your partner is absent, your "workday" goes from a typical (often grueling) 12 hour day-- 6 a.m. (when babies wake up) - 6 p.m. (when spouse gets home), to a non-stop 24 hour day.  You no longer get that comforting sense of relief at 6 p.m., the feeling of sharing the responsibilities (yes, yes, and the joys), when Daddy comes home from work.  Dinner, bathtime, bedtime, overnight duty, breakfast, etc: It all falls on you.

Does anyone else barely sleep when their spouse is out of town?  I check the baby monitors way too often throughout the night, and whether it's my imagination or not, my children always seem to sleep horribly when he is gone.

Perhaps going it solo isn't as hard for parents who are lucky enough to live near their own family.  Then you should at least be able to count on your sister to bring over a pizza and keep you company for the insanity that is trying to get a toddler and a baby down to bed at a decent hour.  Or for your mom to come over for an hour so you can run to Target without strapping two children in a germ-covered shopping cart.  But alas, like many of you, this Frantic Mama lives far from her family.  So getting a sitter for a couple of hours helps.  A visit from a friend is also much appreciated.  So is coffee.

Hats off to the single parents of the world.  Clearly, their everyday jobs are far more challenging than mine.  And I am sure there are fathers out there whose wives travel while they stay at home.  I'm sure that's tough too.  I can only speak for my experience, and I've gotta say, "going it solo" is one of the more trying aspects of my life.

So, I'm off for now-- frantic-er (and tired-er) than usual.

~Frantic Mama

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Frantic Mama: What I Want for Mother's Day


I'm following suit of some other bloggers, and dreaming about what I would really like this Mother's Day.  Guess what?  Most of my wishes are free!

1.  I don't want to change any diapers.

2.  I don't want to wake up before 7:30.

3.  I'd like a freshly brewed cup of coffee brought to me in bed, with happy, clean, well-fed children who greet me with a hug and kiss.  And a couple of cute handmade cards.

4.  Next, I'd like to take a nice, long uninterrupted shower.  And maybe even blow-dry my hair.

5.  I would like it to be 70 degrees and sunny all day with a low pollen count.  I would like to take an enjoyable family walk to take advantage of this weather.

6.  I'd like my sister and mom to fly out here (in first class, of course) to visit me for the day.

7.  I would like us to go to the mall (without strollers, diaper bags, or children) and walk around for as long as we want and eat frozen yogurt with all kinds of toppings.

8.  Later, I would like to have a big family dinner where both of my kids are smiling the whole time, eating all their food, saying their prayers, and telling funny jokes.

9.  At the end of the day, I would like my kids to kiss us goodnight, and skip upstairs to bed (which would be truly magical considering my youngest can't even crawl yet) and fall right to sleep, so my husband and I can kick back with a good beer and watch Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes.

That about does it!

What would your dream Mother's Day look like?

~Frantic Mama

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Letter to My Daughter: What I Want to Teach Her



Ever since I brought my daughter into this world, I've been thinking about lessons, truths, and beliefs that I would like to teach her someday-- either directly or through osmosis.  Things I would have liked to know earlier in life.  They may not be what you would teach your kids, and that's okay.

Yes, there are certain lessons and experiences we can only learn by going through them.  Heartbreak, making and losing friends, getting into various types of mischief ...  I can't protect her from everything.  And I guess I don't want to.  But I do hope to help my daughter meet the challenges and decisions she will inevitably face with self-confidence and self-respect.  


(Image from HubPages; not my daughter)

So here are a few of these bits of wisdom, in no particular order, addressed in a future letter to my currently 8 month old girl:

May 2013

Dear Sweetheart, 

1.  Don't worry so much.  Most things you worry about probably won't happen, and if they do, they'll likely end up as mere blips in the big picture of your life.  That mean girl who "unfriended" you on Facebook?  Oh well.  That kid who made fun of your shirt?  Screw him.  It really, truly, doesn't matter.

2.  You know that saying that love will find you when you least expect it?  I think it's true.  Don't focus too much on "finding him."  Go about your business, enjoy yourself, your friends, and your hobbies, and you'll meet someone right for you.

3.  Don't use tanning beds.

4.  No, you don't look fat in that.  As long as you are eating healthfully and staying active, embrace whatever figure you have.  I don't think I even knew what a calorie was until I was in college.  Weight is not something to obsess about.

5.  Be nice to people, especially those who handle your food.  (That includes me.  Ha!).

6.  Getting good grades really is important.  Some might disagree with me here.  That's fine.  But I want you to know that getting an A on a science test is more important than getting invited to a sleepover or talking on the phone all night.  Learning and achieving as much as you can in school will open the most doors in your life.

7.  Just because you'v been "automatically approved" for a credit card doesn't mean you should get it.

8.  Don't live together before you get married or engaged.  (I'm not old-fashioned.  I'm just right).

9.  Don't talk about other people behind their backs.  Even in middle school (where innocence goes to die).  It is never worth it.  If in doubt, talk to me, your mother.  I can keep a secret and I'm pretty non-judgmental.

10.  That third drink is usually a bad idea.

11.  Stay loyal.  Your father and I value loyalty above almost all else in a relationship.  Stay dedicated to those who are loyal to you.  True friends are rare.  Hang on to them.

12.  If you feel sluggish, try going for a short walk.  Energy begets energy.

13.  If he doesn't call, forget him.  There are no exceptions.  (Truly, his loss).

14.  On a related note, if he calls out of the blue past 9 p.m. (perhaps slurring a little), don't answer the phone.  You'll understand this one when you need to. 

15.  You are pretty.  Looks don't really matter, but in case you sometimes find yourself feeling less than your ideal, please know that you are the most beautiful girl in the world to your dad and me.  

16.  Try to be as joyful as you can.  What I have always wanted for you is to be happy.

17.  One final thought:  No matter what, please know I will always be proud of you.

Love forever and ever,
Mama

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Bloggin' in Style




Hello Loyal Readers--

Happy Sunday.  Sometimes I try to be a little less frantic on the weekends (easier said than done), and one thing I like to do is play around with my blog and add new features when I get the chance.   So while my husband is currently at Home Depot with my son engaging in some male bonding (arg arg arg), and the baby is blissfully napping (I hope), I created my very own, self-designed signature.

Interested in learning how to add one to your blog?  I found a great site that walked me through it:  


(Gotta love the blog name!).

So, here's hoping my signature works at the bottom of this post.  Fingers crossed!






post signature