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Monday Mom Confessions: The TV Edition

13 Apr

“It’s impossible to do everything right all the time.  Admitting that is freeing – and it’s also encouraging to other moms in the midst of intense seasons.”

~ Kristina Slaney; FamilyWorkLife.com

You’ve heard it a thousand times; “you’re a bad parent if your child watches TV before they’re 2 years old.”

I call bullshit.

If my son didn’t start watching TV before he was 2, I would still be un-showered, un-kept, and totally disheveled. Did I mention that I also have a full time job? I don’t think they would appreciate the “homeless” version of myself that I would have been, if I didn’t introduce the TV to my son at an earlier age.

Let me back up.

I started out completely against screens before 2. Then, my son recognized Elmo and I had no idea how. I had never shown him the crazy red muppet and somehow, Elmo was his buddy, his pal. My early talker (late walker), requested this “lovable monster” so many times a day… So I caved and turned on Sesame Street. He squealed with delight.

After a few minutes, I turned it off, because I felt the motion of the show was too fast for him still. He cried and cried. Sorry, buddy.

Showering pre-TV: 

Before the introduction of TV, my son sat in the bathroom with me every day while I showered. I would haul his high chair into the bathroom, load him up with books and a snack, get in the shower and leave the door open. I spent my showers freezing my butt off as the cold air hit my warming skin under the hot water. But, I did this every day from the time I went back to work, at 14 weeks post partum, until he was 15 months old, and learned to walk. No longer did he want to sit in his high chair and read books. My showers got shorter and colder and more stressful, resulting in days of “oops, I forgot to rinse the conditioner out!” and “I’ll never shave my legs again” and “did I actually use soap today?”  I would literally cram a shower into 1.5 minutes, trying to stop him from climbing out of his highchair the whole time.

I had to do something. I need about 10 minutes to shower in the morning. 20 if I want to get completely ready for the day (no more makeup or hair drying for me at this point). So, I introduced him to the TV and he loved it (duh).

We were very selective on the shows we let him watch and timed everything in a borderline obsessive manner.

We looked for “slow animation” shows that weren’t totally brain destroying and things that would occupy his senses without overly stimulating them.

Here’s our list of first shows:

  1. Turtle Tales: Sammy’s Adventures: This is a great movie about humans rotting the earth/water for sea animals, as told my an old man turtle (Sammy), as he relives his adventures with his best friend, Ray. The story is sweet, the music is good, but the animation is SLOW and mostly takes place under water, so it has that delayed movement feel to it. This is still a favorite movie for Remy, except now, he screams “SHARK!!!! SWIM AWAY SAMMY!!!!” as he watches it. This is available on Netflix or to download on iTunes, if you need it on an iPad for travel purposes.
  2. Jonathan Bird’s Blue World – Turtles: A common theme, Remy loves turtles. All of the Blue World TV shows are awesome, educational and beautifully shot. Remy calls Jonathan Bird, “Rocka Bird” and knows more about turtle life (including their mating and egg laying/hatching) than I knew at 37 when we first discovered the show. Another favorite episode is “Sully the Pilot Whale“. There are a ton of other videos here as well: Rocka Bird on the Youtubes. A nice thing about this, is that it’s YouTube based, so you can watch it on any device you own.
  3. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood : The Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood legacy continues with this cute little animated tiger, named Daniel. Every episode has a “lesson” and a cute little 1 line song to go along with it (songs like, “Keep trying, you’ll get be-et-ter!” will be used in our house for as long as it takes Remy to continue to try to do something himself, instead of always asking one of us to do it for him). Super slow animation and really sweet nostalgia as you hear the theme song, “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” play. Available on Netflix, PBS Kids App (if you don’t have it yet, you need it), and the PBS Kids channel on Roku/AppeTV.

So, there you have it.

Now, at slightly over 2, my son knows how to use a remote control, knows how to sit and watch a show and yes, my showers are longer and better, and I can actually “park him” when I need a break, or need to do the dishes without him wanting to be picked up or played with. He watches several other things now too, like Dora the Explorer and The Cat in the Hat, among others. Sometimes I even let him watch TV on an app on my phone, while we snuggle away the early morning hours, when my pregnant booty needs just a few more minutes of sleep!

Mama needs a break sometimes and this is our way of ensuring his safety, while making sure I can still function/don’t smell bad.

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And the Best Costume Goes Tooooo…

3 Nov
The best darn "elly" in all the land.

The best darn “elly” in all the land.

Remington Arnow!

aka “Memy Aahhhno”

As a mom, there are a few things that I look forward to being able to experience with Remy, that I never really had the opportunity to enjoy when I was a kid. Halloween is probably the biggest one.

I was raised in a VERY conservative home, with parents who chose to have “Glory to God parties” instead of celebrating halloween. Yes. We were the family who passed out bible tracts and popcorn (cuz you could do that in the 80’s) to all the neighborhood kids who were dressed up, celebrating “satan’s birthday”. Cool, right?

Regardless of my own personal beliefs, my parents did what they thought was right, and I can’t judge them for our differences of opinion, or practice. But, I can choose to do things however I please with my own kids.

The year I found out I was pregnant, I had JUST started working for Dailey. In October, I was just out of my first trimester and not too many people knew me, let alone knew I was pregnant then, so I dressed up as a bank robber. My belly was my bag o’ cash, and no one really “got it”. I thought I was hilarious.

YEAR ONE:

Belly Smuggling Bank Robber

Belly Smuggling Bank Robber

The next Halloween, Remy was just 8 months of bubbling baby chub and I put some thought into our costumes once again. I found an amazing monkey costume and decided to become a banana tree… He was still nursing A LOT, so I had bananas in the appropriate place. Again, hilarious… to myself. I don’t have any great photos of my costume, but COME ON. Look at that face. A funny thing about this costume, was that my sister and our friend brought Remy to meet me in the office. With a BRIGHT GREEN WIG on, my baby still knew exactly who I was, from across the room. Mama baby bonds are pretty incredible.

YEAR TWO

Baby Monkey in his Banana Tree

Baby Monkey in his Banana Tree

This year, I decided to look for costumes in line with Remy’s favorite animals and liked the elephant costume best. Originally, Grant and I were both going to be elephant trainers, and he would be a baby elephant, but on Sunday, I changed my mind. He would be the trainer and I, once again, would be a food item… maybe it’s time to wean.

Here we are as a baby elephant and a bucket of peanuts.

YEAR THREE:

Baby "Elly" and his big ol' bucket of peanuts.

Baby “Elly” and his big ol’ bucket of peanuts.

I plan to continue this habit of mine for as long as he can stand it, or stand me. Halloween is becoming one of my absolute favorite days of the year.

***Thank you, Don Lupo, for the great pictures! 

Digital Moms Can Be Mean

9 Sep

WARNING: Personal Rant to Follow.

If you’re a mom, it’s likely that you belong to a Facebook group (or 2… or 12) as a community, parenting, and life resource. It’s also likely that you’ve experienced (or at least witnessed) “mom wars” between group members.

Last night, I was on the wrong side of the war… not fun.

While I was driving back to my office after lunch yesterday, I saw something I was really upset by. It was a woman (I’m assuming was the nanny) and two small children running to cross a very busy intersection. They were running, so they wouldn’t miss the walk signal (problem #1… it’s a cross walk. I’m pretty sure it will say “walk” again in 2 minutes). The reason this was concerning, was that the smaller of the two kids (he was MAYBE 2) was sitting on top of the stroller, straddling the handlebars, with nothing under his butt to support his weight (problem #2, but bigger than #1). He was hunched over awkwardly, and if he were smiling, and they were all having a good time, I may have not been as concerned, but the poor little guy looked terrified (problem #3). In addition, they made it across the street and went across the other cross walk, getting closer to where I was waiting to make a left-hand turn, then continued on their walk like this as I made my turn and went back to work. It was not a temporary fix. It was a travel choice (problem #4). We don’t live in a country where families of 6 ride on a single scooter, but we do live in one of the most heavily trafficked locations in the country, so this isn’t something I’ve seen before and I’m just not ok with it.

I snapped a picture from the turn lane.

I contemplated wether or not to post the picture, but being that I’m a mom in the neighborhood where it happened, I would hope someone would alert me to a situation like that, if my son were in danger, and I clearly felt that these kids were.

Strollers aren’t made to hold weight on their handles. A bag sure, but a child? I’ve had my bags at the Famer’s Market give my stroller a run for it’s money, and they weren’t that heavy. This is how law suits happen. People misuse a product, a child is hurt and angry parents take it out on the company who produced said product. It happens all the time. I also wouldn’t trust a 2 year old to keep their legs wrapped around the stroller tightly enough, to RUN with them through a dangerous intersection in the middle of the city. Again, maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, as concerned as I was, I posted the picture to a couple of my normal Facebook group pages, along with a concerned message, to help alert the parents, or anyone who knows the parents. I posted in LA Mommies, Mommy2Mommy and Hollywood Mamas. Boy, can you tell the overall personality of the group members by how they respond to a post!

LA Mommies was diplomatic (for the most part), Hollywood Mamas were inquisitive and cautious, but overall caring (I know many of the members personally, so no one was hostile) and Mommy2Mommy SHREDDED me, my character, some people even called me a racist, annoying, and told me that I was a bad person.

Wow. Those of you who know me (and my multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-religion and non-religious family) know that “racist” is something I’ve never been accused of, ever in my life! Additionally, calling someone a “nanny” when that’s exactly what they are, doesn’t warrant verbal abuse from other moms. I mean, come on! Aren’t we in this together? Shouldn’t we be helping and supporting one another, while we struggle to keep our kids safe in a pool full of sharks? The world is bad enough, mean enough and ugly enough on it’s own, but name calling and slandering someone for trying to be informative and protective seems contradictory to how we as parents should act, when we’re trying to raise children to be good people, who speak kindly to others and do the right thing… right?? We don’t live in a village here… but don’t we still need the support of one?

I live in a “neighborhood” with 4 million other people, and believe it or not, I don’t know everyone in my “community”. If I knew these kids, I’d have walked to the home of the kids and talked to the parents directly. Since I don’t, I tried the means I knew best to alert someone to this situation, in effort to help change it. But, this is a digital world and no one cares for the person on the other side of the computer/iPad/iPhone/Android/tablet/whatever. People are given the freedom to hide from real relationships behind glowing screens, while they belittle whomever they please, because they can, and when it comes down to it, a lot of people are mean.

There’s a dichotomy in digital mommy-hood though; you’ve got your perfects, your imperfects, and your piranhas. The “perfects” are the people who post beautiful pictures of their lovely lives all day long… kids in the gorgeous backyard pool on a Wednesday morning with their dad, while mom lounges on a chair (all of this, including freshly manicured feet, fit into one Instagram pic, somehow…. even more perfect), and they’re not even on vacation. This is just their perfect and normal life! The “imperfects” post their reality pictures of messy faces covered in mud or food, while another toddler tantrums in the background and amidst the chaos, the mom posts a picture and is super witty about her life (these are my favorite). Lastly, the piranhas; generally, people who aren’t creative enough to blog/post for themselves, and must have time to be bored, so they sit on Facebook waiting for someone to say/post something that they can tear at like a piranha, until the post is removed by a moderator, or the original poster jumps off a cliff. They feast on other moms.

“Mom wars”. They suck.

I’m not posting this because I need anyone to feel bad for me. I stand by my decision to post the picture, even though I’ve since removed the post for my sanity (and so I don’t jump off a cliff), but here’s one of nicer comments I was actually able to take a picture of, before deleting.

IMG_8289

Hooray for nice people in the world! BTW – You’re not one of them.

 

Diaper Sale at Target

10 Jun
$10 gift card with the purchase of 2 boxes!

$10 gift card with the purchase of 2 boxes!

I always run out of diapers.

I’m not sure why/how, but it happens all the time!

Anyway, I typically order on Diapers.com, but run out anyway while waiting for the order to arrive, so I have to go to Target to buy on demand. This week, I went to Target in advance of running out, and they were out of our size in 3 different brands!!! It was like the diaper fairy for size 4 babies showed up and stole them all.

Anyway, thank goodness, because today, I had to go back to Target because we were completely out, and they’re having an amazing sale. Sharing is caring, kids.

For most brands (including our Seventh Generation or Babyganics preference), if you buy two boxes, you get a $10 gift card at check out. On top of it, the box of 80 Babyganics, size 4, diapers are on sale from $27.99 to $24.99, so you save $3 on each box, then get a $10 gift card, so really, it’s like you’re saving $16.

You’re welcome.

My Hot Bloggy Mess

5 Jun
One Hot Mess; A Linkup by The Fike Life.

One Hot Mess; A Linkup by The Fike Life.

I dream about blogging all day long. In fact, I have written hundreds I witty posts in my imagination that will never be remembered when I actually have the time to write them down.

In my head, I’m awesome. Hilarious. So entertaining. Helpful when help is needed, be it child-rearing advice (because I’m such an expert) or a bubble of laughter. I’m your blogger. You identify with me and I with you. I drink belinis every night as I sit on my porch overlooking the wilderness, computer on my lap, thoughtful gaze on my face. I make your life feel more understood, and well, we inspire each other’s Pinterest boards, because my photography of normal life’s events is just so amazing. I’ve always got my laundry done, my kitchen clean, my roots bleached, eyebrows waxed, bed made, dinner on the table by 5:30, and nightstands clear of glasses and tissues, and I still have time to make my husband feel like the rock of my fortress. Also, my perfect toddler naps for hours on end, and sleeps a perfect 12 hours at night, waking up no earlier than 7:00AM. Of course, I wake up an hour before my family (since my family is on a perfect and predictable sleeping schedule) and have time for “me” as I get ready for my day, showering away the perfectly unsweaty night’s sleep, sipping my cuppa’ coffee, all while preparing for another glorious day.

I am perfect. No, I’m not. 

Living in my wild imagination is pure bliss, but when you’re living in my body, it’s exactly the opposite.

This is my guest room... not that any guests could use it.

This is my guest room… not that any guests could use it.

Computer is still on the couch opened to work emails about motorcycles (yes I work with motorcycles) not all the blogs I’ve bookmarked “to read at some future date”, I don’t have a porch overlooking the wilderness (unless you call West Hollywood “wild”), I don’t know exactly what goes into a belini (just that I love them and have to pay $14 for them at any local restaurant – thanks, WeHo) and I have a house full of clean laundry begging to be put away, dirty laundry dying to be washed (lest my dogs pee on the pile again), dishes in the sink and bathroom needing to be scrubbed. Floors, oh the floors… wearing socks that accumulate the hair of my two dogs counts as “sweeping” right? I party all the time too, but those parties (like the one I just had) consist of cleaning out the fridge and finally cleaning up the sticky salad dressing that spilled on the top shelf two months ago. It’s a blast.

Hooray for reality, transparency and hot messes.

I can’t count on consistency in my family’s schedule, but I can count on the fact that no matter what… baby’s up. Gotta jam.

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