Monday, October 30, 2006

Poison Control

I love ending the night of pumpkin carving on the phone with poison control. They really are such nice folks and so calming. So why do I spend so much time on the phone with these kind people working the hotline? Her name is Audrey, and she's two and a half.

Who would have thought a child would want to eat the cake of Cascade that has been stuck in our dishwasher for the last few days? I guess the people at Poison control would suspect as much, since they said it is very common. The good news is that it burns your lips so you can't eat much of it, and it doesn't kill a two year old either, another good thing. The box of Cascade had me thinking it was another trip to the emergency room for little Audrey, but not this time. All it took was a glass of milk, water on her lips, and off the bed on her tummy (in the event that she vomits, she won't choke)

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Still Looking for that Perfect Cup of Espresso?

Check out this website It's a great way to figure out how to have a great cup of espresso, without dragging all of the kids into your local coffee shop. All of the research is done for you. Of course, you could be like my husband and I- we have tried about 10 different coffee makers before we settled on our favorite.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Is Three Really More Work Than Two?

I have been asked this question since I had my second child. People always want to know if someone with more than one child finds life unmanageable. I often wonder if they are really trying to ask, "so, do you regret your family planning choices"? Is three that much more work than two? Is two really more than double the work of just one? I have always responded with, "no, not at all". But I'm starting to wonder. The reason I'm wondering- my two year old... I find I'm having such a hard time working with her. I can't get her to listen to a word I say, much less agree to something I suggest- let alone something I threaten her with. I know, for those that know me, you are thinking this is easy, "you need to have more authority in your voice when you speak to her." Or maybe you are thinking, "if only you had more follow through, Jennifer." Or as my mother-in-law pointed out before I had children, "Your dogs are so poorly behaved, I imagine your children will be too". Well, the last suggestion is not the case, since I have one child that is what someone would call well behaved (or at least to my standards). So what is it about my second child?

Tonight I spent the evening with Audrey (#2) alone. We had a great time. She listened to what I had to say, wasn't set on destroying the house and went to bed without an issue. All around, she was as well behaved as my first. This isn't the first time I've noticed this. In fact I have seen this before and it's always when she is the "only child" that I'm watching.

If life is as simple as I think it is, what we can take away from this is that she really needs more one on one time. This isn't the same as focusing on her when her sisters are around, because that doesn't have the same results. When she is surrounded by her siblings, she is constantly trying to stand out. I will sit down and play a game with her when her older sister is busy doing needlepoint, and in a matter of minutes, she is up from the game tormenting the two others that are quietly minding their own business (or sleeping). So with that said, I'm going to make an effort, at least once a week, making Audrey and Daddy time, or Mommy and Audrey time a priority. Hopefully if she gets the true alone time with her parents that she seems to be craving, then maybe it won't always seem like having three is so much more work than one or two.

As my friend Bill used to always say, "no, having two kids isn't more work than one" and then he'd add under his breath, "misery loves company".

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My House is Clean

No, I'm really just kidding, but it's getting there. I have neglected my friends and other social gatherings all week for the sake of a clean house. Did I clean it because I love to have a clean house? No. In fact, it has been mentally painful. I scrubbed the bathroom floors with this chemical cleaner called "Zap" that my mother-in-law swears by. It is currently not carried in any stores because it is so good, or it has been determined too dangerous. I think it is most likely the most toxic thing in our house, but it did wonders on this old bathroom tile. Now when my parents come to visit I don't have to explain, like the last time, that I did mop the bathroom floors, they just don't come clean. So every night after the kids are in bed, I put on the rubber gloves and I get to work.

On night three of cleaning I remembered a recent conversation I had with my friend Andrea, and I started to think she might be right. (Yes, the NYT article might have played a part too) But anyway, I told her, about a year ago, that my husband suggested we hire a cleaning person and I said, "NO WAY". I had visions of when I was a nanny and the kids were not capable of doing anything for themselves. They had a cleaning service, a Nanny (and a stay at home Mom), a person that cleaned their fish tank, a dog trainer that came to their house, a weekly lawn service, a pool cleaner and a home decorator. The kids did nothing for themselves, not even flush the toilet. So when Michael suggested a cleaning lady, I was shocked. Sure, I don't clean, but I'm capable of doing it- right? So as I cleaned all week after the kids went to bed, I started thinking of what Andrea said, "If my husband said we could get a cleaning service, I'd do it in a second. It's just more time to spend with your kids. Watching your kids IS a full time job".

So maybe there's something to be said about the benefits of cleaning professionals. I could still teach my kids the value of picking up after themselves in preparation of the cleaning crew. Because really, at age 4 and 2 and 5 months, I really can't expect them to move the vacuum and scrub tubs, but I certainly can expect them to put their toys away. It's a fun thought, but I know in the reality of it all- I will continue to clean my own house and pay for the things like having our gutters cleaned and trees trimmed off of our house. Sure I could do those things too, since it pains me to have to hire someone, but I really can't do it all and spend quality time with my children while they are young.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Married and Single Parents Spending More Time With Children, Study Finds

Here's an interesting article from today's NY Times. It says what I've been saying all along from being a working mom, to staying home- housework it what suffers in the end. Thanks for sending it along, Scott.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Stuntmoms from Around The World (or from at least around the US.)

I'm always impressed (or maybe pleasantly surprised) how many people stumble upon the Stuntmom blog. My husband setup a website statistics program in May of this year that lets me get anonymous data from our readers. If you chart where users have come from on a map over the past 4 months, something very surprising happens...

...all kinds of people from all over the US have been visiting the site. (It looks like we're still a while away from being an international success.)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Look Back

I sat down at the computer a hour ago to write an article that I promised to write a few weeks ago. I couldn't do it. I just couldn't come up with enough to make it a substantial article (not that it has ever stopped me in the past), so instead I spent the hour looking through old Stuntmom articles and realizing how much has changed in the year, or more accurate, how little has changed. So where am I today?

1. I don't use cloth diapers currently. Things are out of control with disorder around here, so I'm filling up landfills one diaper at a time. I do plan to go back to cloth, but it's going to be a few more months.

2. Diaper wipes- no, I don't make those either. Yes, I still like them better than conventional wipes, but I just haven't been able to cut through a roll of towels lately.

3. I do not go to the store with a meal plan. I just came back from Trader Joe's today, and still had no idea what to make for dinner. Nor did I really plan to go to T.J's, I was just looking for something to do since my husband is out of town tonight. Although I will say, I have an over achieving friend who went so far as to create a laminated calendar with all of the meals she makes, attaches to the calendar by velcro. Hmmm, can I make myself feel better and take some credit for the meal plan idea?

4. I do not wear make-up or even look nice when I leave the house. I actually wore a shirt with spit up on it, knowing in advance that it was dirty.

5. We still do not eat fast food.

6. We will not be signing up for Ballet or Gymnastics again this year. 5 weeks into our busy schedule and I'm looking for an out. I miss the days of not having a plan, when we would take walks in the woods or head to a playground just for something to do.

7. Since the move, my kids now watch too much television. I am shocked by how often I opt not to listen to my fussy kids, and I allow them to watch another Clifford the Big Red Dog, or another Dora. I fear for this winter when we are home more. Will I fold, and keep it on as background noise since they will be so used to it being on for hours, why not just leave it on? I think I need to challenge myself to another t.v. free week, just to kick the horrid habit. Or as a true addict, just to prove to myself that I can do it. Am I a bad Mom?

8. I don't have an anti-Bush bumper sticker on my new car, but I'm in the market for something smart, so please send me some good links.

9. The kids are going to bed without fussing. Thanks for the advice.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Goodbye September

Goodbye September by Jayne Martin-Dressing

Another September is slipping by me amid the rush of back to school, teaching, weekend outings and volunteer activities. I tell myself every fall that this is the season during which I want to slow down. All these beautiful things are happening in nature, and it is finally not too hot, and the windows can be opened and you wake with a coolness in the room. The days are growing shorter and there will soon be less time to enjoy the remaining color of the flowers and pick the last few tomatoes. But inevitably once again I find myself with too many responsibilities, too many places to be, and not enough time to take walks, gather seeds for next year’s garden, smell the smells of fall and slow down long enough to watch the beauty of the changing season.

We have swiftly and not without tears, (almost daily) returned to the routine of school which equals early mornings getting dressed in the dark, rushed breakfasts (not without constant urging to rush more), and the painfulness of waiving goodbye and letting go of little hands that grip tightly to my own. There is a moment, just briefly, after pulling away in my car when I feel completely and utterly useless and confused. The years really do fly by, and there go those children off to preschool and first grade and here I am alone in this car. They can’t really be old enough to be doing journal writing and sandpaper letters, can they? Am I already “that mom”; packing lunches everyday, volunteering with the PTO? When did this happen?

But this moment is fleeting, and I realize that I just have a few hours before it’s time to pick them up again. I remember the emails I need to address and the laundry that’s been in the dryer for 3 days, and the grading that’s piling up on my desk. I try to shake off that nagging feeling that maybe for the first time; they don’t “need” me right now. And the sadness is not because they are starting this wonderful journey with learning, but that suddenly it seems like I need them so very much. And I want to go back and do over the six fall seasons since children have been in my life. Maybe it is the beginning of many instances in parenthood when we wish that we could start over. People are always saying things like, “it won’t matter five years from now if your house was clean,” but nobody has any real good advice on how to make it not matter right now. It’s only in retrospect that we realize the things we’ll have a lifetime to get right, and the things, the people and promises we have only a finite number of hours to nurture and hold dear.

And so I hope that I remember in October to make more leaf piles, and care less about putting down grass seed. I hope we find a lot of mud puddles to jump in and cross our fingers that “machine washable” is for real. I hope we’ll gather loads of shiny buckeyes and go for long walks listening to the leaves crunch under our feet. I hope I can wrestle with this restlessness I feel, and try to squeeze the most out of these shorter days.