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Instant Friendship

I am always amazed at the speed in which my daughter can make a new friend. She is a naturally gregarious person and has a knack for remembering people’s names. And, let me just say, the girl is NOT shy. This really comes in handy when we go to the park on our own (as in, not meeting up with anybody for a pre-arranged parkdate). Within a few minutes, Miss A finds some kids to buddy up and  run around with, and I can park it on a bench and enjoy the fresh air for a minute. Once or twice, she has tried to join a group of older boys playing – who really didn’t appreciate it, and told her so in the gentle manner of 8-10 year old boys…and she came to me crying. I think she was  shocked that someone in the world would actually not want to play with her. I hugged and soothed her and took her on the swings, and in no time, she had found someone closer to her age. When we left, the boy ran after her calling, “Come back to play soon! Goodbye! I love you!”

The other day we went on a shopping trip to Ikea (I needed stuff to help complete the mini-stage for Miss A in our basement…more on that later) and the line was – surprise! – long. Do yourself and your sanity a favor and never try shopping at Ikea on a Saturday.

Anyways, so to keep Miss A amused while I waited in line my husband took her to get a drink.

While in THAT long line, Miss A happened to see a girl wearing the same pink Hello Kitty watch that she had on (not that surprising, since she got it at, gasp!, MickeyDee’s).  That was enough for the two girls to launch into their life stories.  By the time Aishtyn came back with her drink, she was planning sleepover parties.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we could maintain that ability as we got older? We’re in line at the grocery store, and see that someone else has the same babysling or whatever and bam! we’ve made a friend for life.

Some Parenting Don’ts

Don’t leave your baby to play alone for a few minutes in their room while you prepare their bath.

Even if the room is “babyproof.”

Even if all breakables, small objects/choking hazards/ and possible toxins are out of reach.

Even if you are just  a few feet away in the adjoining bathroom.

Even if it’s just for the 30 seconds or so it will take to plug the tub and turn on the tap.

Cuz, trust me – they will find something to get into.

More importantly, don’t leave your baby to play alone  for a few minutes in their room, naked , while you prepare their bath.

Even if they have a red bum and could really use the momentary airing out.

Even if they had just completed a poop and shouldn’t be due for another one until the next morning.

Cuz guess what – they will decide that they do indeed need to poop some more…

and since they’re not wearing a diaper…it ends up on the floor…

and since they’re a baby…it ends up in their mouth.

Yep, tonight, I caught my sweet baby girl in the act of eating her own feces.

After a mild bout of hysteria in which my husband ran upstairs thinking a raccoon must have gotten loose in our house, I had her scrubbed and cleaned. (Don’t tell her big sister I used her toothbrush.)

I don’ t think too much got in her mouth…but concerned, I did a search (ever google  “infant eating poop” before?). Apparently this seems to happen quite often.

At least she wasn’t like the one kid, whose mom discovered him munching on something at the park. She thought it was a woodchip.

It wasn’t.

And speaking of dogs…keep in mind that Lil’ G won’t eat those teething biscuits that taste like dog food. If she’ll eat poop – then I ask you  – what on earth does that say about those teething biscuits?

Organized and Spiffy…aka: Keeping My Magazine Addiction Under Control…AAKA…Preventing the Possibility that Some Day I Will Be One of those Old People Whose House is Buried in Newspaper (or in my case, old issues of Shape, BH&G, and Family Circle…and Parenting, and Women’s Health, and Women’s Day, and Family Fun, and …”

I admit it, I’m a magazine junkie. Back in the day when my heart went pitter-pat for NKOTB (see #53)I would spend wads of babysitting money on TeenBeat, TuttiFrutti, Bop and other glossy homages to the teen idols I so adored. I would pull out the posters to adorn my walls, cut out special articles like the ones that had info on Jordan’s favorite things to do on a date  (I just knew that would come in handy when he saw me at his concert and fell in love with me), and paste the covers in a photo album. (Photo albums I may still have somewhere in my garage…oh yes I may)

Nowadays, as in – my life as a 30-something mom vs.  a tweeny-something junior high girl, I still enjoy buying magazines. I’m not much for t.v. , so in many ways magazines function like t.v. for me: lots of info in little quick tidbits. Much like a channel surfer, I will flip quickly through a magazine, stopping here and there to skim an article, but never staying with a story long enough to get, well, the full story. Perhaps this is why for years I was loathe to part with any of my glossy reading material. I always planned to go back and read this or that, I really wanted to hold on to that banana bread recipe, and wow, but you never knew when that article on potty training was going to come in handy. So I would save them…and as I usually have subscriptions to at least 3 magazines at any one time, my collection (and my bookshelves) fill up fast.

When we moved out of our townhome, I went through a forced purge and, refusing to be ridiuclous enough to PACK several year’s worth of  women’s health magazines, I tossed them all into a Free Pile at our moving sale, then dumped what didn’t go into the recycling bin.

Recently, I realized that I have been building the same dangerous tower of triteness in this home…and I refuse to teeter into that trap (oh, yes, I loves the alliteration). Reading a magazine cover to cover, even in a week’s time, is a highly unlikely prospect considering the juggling act  I call life…so, instead, I still do the skim routine I so love (I really do find it relaxing actually, especially if the reading time involves a latte and some bright morning sunshine…on a morning when both girls are still asleep).  When I come across an article I like: such as a running routine I’d like to try, a recipe for LOWFAT cheesecake I want to save for a bad pms day, or some great craft ideas I could implement for Miss A’s homeschool – I simply rip it out and file it.

When I say “file” I am not referring to giant office-y looking things…I simply have a 3 folder system…

mag-folders-2
Aren't they cute? I love shopping for folders.

In which I have labeled with something a little more specific than “stuff” and a little more general than “Meals for Summer Evenings”

Just "Crafts" "Fitness" & "Recipes"...I may have to add a "Home" file, for decorating, gardening, and what not
Just "Crafts" "Fitness" & "Recipes"...I may have to add a "Home" file, for decorating, gardening, and what not

So as I read, if I see something I know I’ll like, I just tear it out and add it to the appropriate folder.

When the folder starts to get too full, I move the collected pages to a marger binder (I keep a recipe binder by my cookbooks, a Craft binder with the homeshool stuff, etc)
When the folder starts to get too full, I move the collected pages to a larger 3ring binder (I keep a recipe binder by my cookbooks, a craft binder with the homeshool stuff, etc). The binders aren't as pretty, so I won't show them to you.

Then I pack up the de-filed (ha!) magazines and drop them off at Little Gym for other moms to read. (I apologize if you got excited about the “10 Best Ab Moves!” advertised on the cover, only to find the page to be MIA).

Since I have had this system in place, I am proud to say I can usually zip through a month’s worth of literature in a few days.

And I am even more proud to say that I have not put more publications onto the pile I previously started…and am in fact, slowly working towards reducing that as well.

Maybe in a fit of wild abandon I’ll drag them out of the basement and throw ’em into the garage sale we’re getting set to have this spring.

Need some reading material? Do you lust after old issues of Better Homes & Gardens?

Come check the free pile at my garage sale.

Just don’t bury yourself under your own pile. I don’t want to be an enabler or something.

Organic Teething Biscuits Taste Like Dog Food

Just Ask Lil’ G, who tosses them with aplomb as if playing fetch with some imaginary canine. Or ask Lil’ G’s Dada…who, after observing this behavior a few times decided to investigate…and upon tasting said biscuit declared, “Ugh! These things taste like dog treats!” How he knows what dog treats taste like is something I prefer not to ask, so I’ll take his word for it. Figuring I did buy a whole box of these premium organic teething biscuits and Lil’ G is, well, teething…I thought I’d try one last time.

She wasn't at all sure about it, but she's game enough at first...
She wasn't at all sure about it, but she's game enough at first...
Then she begins to remember, "Oh yes...these wretched things."
Then she begins to remember, "Oh yes...these wretched things."
Being a good sport, she pauses to consider the taste, the texture, the "numminess" if you will.
Being a good sport, she pauses to consider the taste, the texture, or "numminess" if you will.
She carefully considers the specimen, noting it's appearance.
She carefully examines the specimen, noting it's appearance.
At this point, she decided to offer it to me instead.
At this point, she decides to offer it to me instead.
Attempting to convince me of it's allure, she shows me how tasty it is.
Attempting to convince me of it's allure, she shows me how tasty the biscuit is.
"Mama, really! It's so tasty and delicious."
"Mama, really! It's so yummy and delicious."
"Now c'mon Mama, you know you want a bite."
"Now c'mon Mama, you know you want a bite."
I am not fooled, however...and she sees this plan has failed.
I am not fooled, however...and she is irked by the realization that her plan has failed.
So she launches PLAN B: brute force.
So she launches PLAN B: brute force.
Foiled in this attempt by her high chair restraints, she considers her options...while maintaining a convincing air of innocence.
Foiled in this attempt by her high chair restraints, she considers her options...while maintaining a convincing air of innocence.
Casually, she launches her fall-back plan.
Casually, she initiates her fall-back plan.
Her plan in full swing, she artfully employs a visual distraction, pretending to focus on something else.
Her plan in full swing, she artfully employs a visual distraction, pretending to focus on something else.
Mission accomplished.
Mission accomplished.
"What did you expect, Mom? Those things taste like dog food."
"What did you expect, Mom? Those things taste like dog food."

The Naughty Space Bar

No, no, this is not some review of a bizarre new strip club where the girls wear space suits and the poles look like rockets…so if that’s what you’re looking for please go away and never come here again.

Or better yet you can go to this website, which is a link a fellow homeschool mom sent out this morning to our group.

I clicked, looked,  and said “Well then.” Wondering if it was a mistake, or if maybe she had decided let us in on a much more personal side of her life.

One that involved shoe fetishes and dominatrix dates.

How did this happen, you wonder?

Easy. Blame it on that naughty space bar.

Just one stray tap of that space bar and you go from this: http://www.chicagohomeschoolexpo.com/

to this: http://www.chicagoh omeschoolexpo. com/

ETA: Since posting this, the “mistake” link no longer takes you anywhere…so if you were hoping for a dose of porn…you’ll have to get it elsewhere my friend.

I know, it’s so hard to find porn on the internets.

Motivation that Sticks

Recently, I read a little article in one of the many parenting magazines I receive (more about my magazine habit and how I keep it under control later) that asked moms to reveal a “kid-like” trait of theirs. Answers varied from cutting crusts off sandwiches to having to touch everything. So I thought…what kid-like quirks do I have? One that quickly came to mind is the joy I get from stickers. That’s probably one of the main reasons I started scrapbooking – it gave me an excuse to buy stickers. Lots and lots of stickers. This may be a little wacky…but I still have my collection of sticker books from when I was in oh, 2nd and 3rd grade (Lisa Frank ring a bell anyone?) Forget trading cards, when I was a kid the big thing was to swap stickers. I remember the excitment of starting a new book, of finding a new design for the all horse sticker page (which sometimes could include unicorns, and sometimes not). It was an awesome day when my mom would let me come with to pay the electric bill at the Ben Franklin, and give me 10 cents to pick a sticker to buy off the rolls they had displayed in shimmering glossy reems.

I was always an A student…and while I’m not sure, I wonder if perhaps stickers played a role in my desire to do well. Getting a test or a paper back with a “You’re a Star!” sticker stuck perkily on the top center of the page always gave me a thrill of pleasure.

I don’t care what age you are – seeing a sticker on your work just feels good. When I taught high school I would often put stickers on my students’ tests. You’d be amazed how even Mr. I’m-Too-Cool or Ms.I’m-So-Bored got a kick out of seeing cute little animals shouting congratulations at them stuck to their work.

As a homeschool kid, I don’t want my daughter to miss out on what may be conisdered more a part of the “standard” school experience. So, among other things;  I make sure we decorate the house for each holiday much like you’d see in a primary classroom setting and often put stickers on her schoolwork.

Anyone who homeschools (and is honest) can tell you that it can be pretty darn rough some days. On those days when I want to tear my hair out just to get her to try to sound out a word, or remember what comes after 14, or write her middle and last name as well as her first…then I am thankful for the power of stickers. When we are in such a moment, I pull out a sheet of stickers, let her mind rest as she chooses one she likes, then tell her once she has completed whatever assignment we are struggling with, she can place the sticker on the page.  Maybe it is because, like her mother, she delights in stickers so much – but the tactic always works.

That’s why I am so happy with the page-a-day calendar I got for Miss A this year. She is obsessed with counting down days: knowing how many days there are between one activity and the next, and…of course…how long until her birthday. Last year she had a  Littlest Pet Shop page-a-day; it was cute, but I just ended up with sheets of pet shop characters littering her bedroom floor.  This year we got the Teacher’s Sticker-A-Day box calendar. January is not yet over and I already LOVE this calendar. It covers 3 days at a time, so if you’re like me and will blink only to find it has gone from Tuesday to Friday, it’s nice to feel caught up.  The variety of stickers is great too, and Aishtyn has already had papers awarded with dancing dinosaurs and cats that say “Purrr-fect.”

I’m so pleased I think I’ll give myself a sticker.

As for how else I’m like a kid? I love new crayons. I’d rather open a box of new ones than sharpen perfectly good used ones. This is why I also love Crayola’s new line of twistable crayons. They are like having new crayons all the time, and since they are encased in a plastic tube, you don’t have that funky crayon smell. (What is that smell anyway?)

And thinking of how I’m still a kid made me think of those cheesy frosted mini-wheat commercials, where at the taste of sugary frosted goodness, an adult suddenly morphs into their former kid-self, while still wearing their big-person clothes.

My thumb might not be green…

But a pale lime…or celery? Maybe.

Our mini herb garden, “It’s alive!”

10 days after we got things going, things are, well – going!

10-daysAll 4 of the pots we planted managed to germinate and show evidence of green growth, it was actually quite exciting!

progress-10-daysOf the 5 day germinators, the basil seems to be chugging along better than the marjoram…but that may just be how they sprout (Miss A is going to look into that more for school tomorrow).

At first, I was worried about the 10 day germinators, since they were looking a tad funky for a day or two, but now seem to be coming along nicely as well.

The parsley is a little sparse.
The parsley is a little sparse.
But the cilantro is kicking some herb butt!
But the cilantro is kicking some herb butt!

Now,  a subzero climate that has been pretty grey, in a house where the only south facing window is in the basement…we shall see just how green a thumb I have.

I must say I am proud of Miss A – she has been very  diligent about remembering to: a) water the plants, b) ask me before she waters the plants, and c) slowly water the plants just enough so they don’t die a horrible soggy death.

And props to the Pioneer Woman’s photoshop actions. If you can’t tell, I’ve been having some fun playing with the boost option. Not bad, considering my rinky-dink point and shoot I got at the Circle store.