Since having children of my own, I’ve started to see certain things regarding kids differently, and I wanted to take a little time to reflect on one of the biggest things I’ve noticed, that being milestones. As someone without kids I knew that there were big milestones that babies eventually reached, crawling, sitting, walking, talking ect. I didn’t really think to much of these milestones, I figured each child hit them at his or her own pace. Then I had kids and it was like, oh my god, there’s a milestone for everything. For example, I just got an e-mail notification from babycenter that at week 8 my baby should be able to smile and coo now, so I can begin to have back and forth conversations with them. It went on to describe how to do this and to tell me that this is a crucial way for me to begin to develop their language skills. So every time my fiance is holding our little girl and is quiet and just studying her face I panic and tell him, you have to talk to her and coo back at her so that she develops on track. This has happened so frequently that finally he said to me ‘Look, I’m not going to constantly talk to her because sometimes I just want to enjoy her face and watch her smile, I talk to her a lot, but sometimes we can just relax. She’s going to learn to talk whether I constantly yammer on or not, she is a smart baby’. After a few times of this back and forth it hit me that he’s right. Of course we should communicate and interact with her, but we should do it because we want to and because we enjoy her, not because we are worried about meeting development guidelines. This constant emphasis on timelines and milestones that has become so prevalent in American culture has created an atmosphere where instead of engaging and playing with my children for the sake of love and enjoyment I am doing it out of worry that I’m going to mess up as a mom if I don’t. It’s this backwards way of thinking where instead of engaging in motherhood with confidence some people are now further losing confidence by the constant ability to compare and track their childs ability. This Milestone frenzy has created also created a hypocritical statement by having doctors and websites saying that each child is unique and develops at their own pace, but really your child should be doing this, this and this and here’s what you need to be doing to help them. I remember watching the film Babies in my developmental psychology class and seeing that one of the babies had very little interaction with their parents. In fact, they were left alone most of the day. At the end of the film the teacher asked us what we noticed about the differences within the childrens development. I said that they child who had been left alone seemed to develop at a slower rate than that of the other ones. She responded by asking me why I said that. After a few minutes of thinking about it, I realized that this statement had been untrue, in fact the child had developed at an almost identical rate to the others. I just assumed that because the child had not been bombarded with toys, tummy time, blocks, flashcards, or any of the other hundreds of interactive activities he had developed more slowly. Now of course I do not think for a second that you should leave your child alone or not interact with them, but I do think that maybe the moms out there who like me, are struggling with the hyperfocus on milestones should relax and allow themselves to just let go of the timelines and instead truly focus on your child as an individual. I want to try to enjoy the time I spend with my baby, I want to watch her play with fishy’s above her heads, see the wonder on her face and just allow her to explore without feeling the need to narrate everything she’s doing. I want our time together to be not just qualitative but quantitative, and for that to happen I need to relax and become more confident in my abilities as a mother as well as her abilities as a human being. I believe that given the opportunity and encouragement each and every child has the truly remarkable ability to grow and develop into incredible and unique people. So maybe it’s time to let go of some of the milestones. In order to truly celebrate the fact that no two human beings are alike, I think it’s necessary to stop trying to lump them all together. So any mom’s out there who have kids that are a little slow according to a milestone marker, or a little fast, pat yourselves on the back, because no matter what you have brought an amazing little being into this world and now is when the real fun begins as you get to watch him/her explore and learn at their own unique pace and in their own unique way.
You know before you have kids you hear a lot of parents talking about how being a parent is a full time job. And you nod and agree and move on. Then you have kids and you realize, holy shit, having kids a full time job. Not the 40 hours/week, sick days and vacation days included kind of job. A full time, no sleeping in, no sick days, no vacations kind of job. Then you have another child and you realize, holy holy shit, this is working two full time jobs with no benefits and your actually paying your own hourly wage. What I have learned in my short time as a parent is that when the kids get sick it’s awful. Their cute little noses turn all runny and red, their sweet little chests heave with these awful coughs and they just want to cuddle up with you while simultaneously hating you at the same time. You’re their only source of comfort while also being the only source they can safely take all of their frustration at being sick and not feeling good out on. It’s a serious love/hate relationship and all you can do is fruitlessly and often endlessly try to make them feel better while sadly knowing that you can’t make them feel better. All you can do is weather the storm with no safe place to hide, because let me tell you, kids can find you anywhere! Sleep becomes as long forgotten and missed as romance and privacy as you struggle to cheer up your babies and help them get the rest you know they need, but they just don’t seem to think is as necessary. Then when your partner gets sick it’s awful. Your on your own trying to take care of your little ones, pick up the on the chores and meal making, because even though you have now lost your loyal army you still have a hell of a battle to fight. So you continue the long nights alone trying to let your partner get rest. Then the sun comes out, your children begin to feel better, sleep a little more and slightly reduce their crankiness. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel, or at least the end of endless snotty handprints on each and every pair of jeans you own. Then the unthinkable happens. The one thing that cannot happen. Because when this happens everything stops. Any mom’s reading this know what I’m about to say. That’s right, mom gets sick. Sure to a person without kids you may think, well dad can just pick up the slack like you did when he was sick. Well that’s a great idea, but it’s just not what happens. Because sure dad is fun, caring, sweet and completely capable, but he just isn’t mommy. And kids have a unique ability to sense when mommy is sick and suddenly develop a fierce and desperate desire to only want her. So this week I happen to be under the weather. And while Matt is doing great, it is difficult for him to have dinner ready before he gets out of work and brings the girls home, it’s impossible for him to breastfeed Jacy and unfortunately Jacy has decided that this is the week that she wants to wake up every hour and will NOT take a bottle. So even though Matt has tried to help me by taking a night shift, Jacy has decided that it’s just not what she wants right now. So even though I have a sinus infection, sore throat, stomach bug and slew of headaches I am still waking up every 1-2 hours to feed and cuddle Jacy, making dinners, cleaning during the day, trying to party plan, and trying as hard as I can to make happy high pitched voices while playing with Jacy throughout the day. So my goal this week is to make sure the house doesn’t fall into chaos since no matter how bad I feel our lives don’t stand still and the show must go on. Thank god for adorable kids with sweet smiles who are finally feeling better, and of course a wonderful fiance who is working his butt off to help me in any and every way he can.
When I first brought up the idea of this little experiment to my fiance his reaction was priceless. I told him about the article I read and some of the research I had done and he said ‘Damn it internet’. You see, he is a pretty big fan of candy, ice cream and hearty meals. I must confess that I am too. When I first thought about going sugar free I was really nervous because I didn’t know how meals would taste now, I wasn’t sure if my taste buds could adjust to whole wheat and a lack of sweetness. Fortunately I found some sites that had recipes that looked pretty yummy. So I thought I would share with everyone on here what I have made for dinner for the first two nights.
Our first sugar free dinner was a shrimp, avocado and red grapefruit salad. It was super easy to make. First I set a 16 ounce bag of cooked shrimp in cold water. Then while the shrimp thawed I cut up one avocado and scooped the pulp out of one large red grapefruit. I stirred those together in a bowl and left them. Then I rinsed the shrimp and set them in a bowl of lukewarm water. While that set for a few minutes I chopped up some chives and grabbed black pepper. Then I mixed the shrimp in with the avocado and grapefruit sauce and tossed some chives and a bit of black pepper on top. The recipe can be found here.
The second meal I made was a chicken, spinach alfredo calzone and it was delicious! The recipe called to make your own dough but I don’t have a mixer so I just used whole wheat pizza dough and it worked out well! The recipe for that meal can be found here
So after a couple of delicious dinners I am happy to say that Matt is much more excited and supportive of this lifestyle change! Our first grocery shopping trip was also very interesting this week. I normally buy a fair amount of produce each week, but I noticed that this week the grocery cart was nearly full of fruits and vegetables. Focusing on taking the sugar out of our diets has really forced us to expand our food interests and to look more closely at what we are putting into not only our meals but also our snacks. Its made us stop and say ‘what do we like to eat and what can we try’. So far this little adventure is going very well and I’m extremely excited to see how it continues. Until next time I hope everyone is having a happy and healthy week!
Last week I came across an article about a family who went completely sugar free for an entire year. At first I was like, that’s insane, who could possibly do that/ who would want to do that/ how the heck do you do that. So I read the article because I was a bit curious and wanted to see if it worked for them and how it affected them. Well it turns out it completely impacted this family in a very positive way by boosting their energy, improving their moods and making them feel healthier. I thought about it and realized that it does make sense that there would be a correlation between the increase in sugars and additives and the increase in mood disorders and health issues that people face. As someone who has been struggling with mood disorders, weight control, and overall feelings of lethargy and decreased motivation I’ve been wanting to get healthy for a long time. Not just by getting active but also by changing my eating habits. Whenever I’ve tried though, I’ve felt stuck in the what do I do to improve my eating habits phase. I mean there is so much contradicting information out there on what you should limit or cut out, whether it’s sugar, carbs, fats, trans fats, saturated fats, processed foods ect. So when it came down to it I just got overwhelmed and while I did try to improve our eating habits, I must admit I primarily focused on the girls first. I make sure they eat plenty or dairy, fruits, vegetables, whole grains. When it comes to their diets I shop only organic and try to get the healthiest food. When it comes to us however, I usually just go with the, whats cheap, whats easy, whats quick and of course the what am I in the mood for. I am ridiculously guilty of indulging in almost every craving I have. I have tried many times to improve our diet, but it’s been hard to make things stick. I try to make little changes but they always seem to wear off after a week or two. So I decided after looking more into this whole no sugar thing that it was time to do something drastic to kick our butts into gear. I want to embark on a 1-2 month no sugar adventure and see if it helps or has any affect on us. It’s sort of an experiment that will hopefully lead to a healthier, fuller, happier life. Tomorrow begins day 1 of our sugar free diet and I must admit I’m a bit nervous since with 3 kids we tend to be pretty busy so it will be interesting to see how we can adjust our meal planning. If your interested in seeing which meals we end up making and sites I end up finding to help aid in our sugar free adventure you can check out my Pinterest where I have a new board titled ‘Sugar Free Adventure’.
When I started having baby fever, I had this lovely picture in my head. Any mom reading this knows exactly what picture I’m talking about, the one on any tv ad, or any television show, or in any movie where the baby is chunky, cooing, smiling and relaxing perfectly in your arms, snuggled in a soft blanket sleeping peacefully. Then the image slowly transitions to the adorable pitter patter, giggling, and bright quick smiling. While this image is thankfully pretty accurate in terms of how adorable and perfect kids can be, it doesn’t even come close to covering what it actually means to have children. I mean, seriously having children is the most wonderful blessing, a real miracle, truly amazing. You know what else is amazing, the fact that kids have somehow come into this world preprogrammed to have a singularly unique ability to make the same mess every. single. damn. day. And parenting often means less chasing and playing and more begging and pleading with them to please not dump the box of crayons on the floor and then proceed to throw throughout the house for the twentieth time that morning to no avail. I mean seriously, its so frustrating. The worst part is the fact that no matter what you do or say, they will make mess’s and you have to just accept it. I mean I have to accept the fact that they do not possess the cognitive ability to recognize the fact that the mess they make is going to be a pain in the ass for me to clean up. It’s not that they don’t care (although I’m still debating this point) its that they don’t understand. Do you have any idea how much that makes me want to tear my own hair out (though I suppose that would be counter productive). It just sucks, because I hate the constant mess, but I can’t get made at them for it either because its not they’re fault. They are adorable, perfect little beings who I love with all my heart, so I can’t blame them for simultaneously being little hellions possessed by some sort of demonic mess creating, havoc wreaking creature. But man do I want to. Just this morning my little Erin was at her easel drawing so well. I was so happy. I was making her and her sisters lunch and she was actually entertaining herself, it was a miracle to say the least. Of course it couldn’t last, oh how I foolishly hoped it would last, it just couldn’t. Sure enough about 5 maybe 7 minutes in I hear something hitting the floor. I take a deep breath and turn around to see her watching me as she scoops up a handful of crayons. Eyes on me the whole time she chucks them, they scatter all over the floor that I had stayed up until 10pm cleaning up last night…I mean seriously, I cleaned up the same damn crayons less than 12 hours ago!! And not only that, but she is just doing it to piss me off. Ok I know she’s really doing it to see what my reaction is because she’s curious, but when it’s happening and she’s watching me like that I just feel like she’s trying to piss me off. It’s an ongoing joke in our household. Because many times the girls will come up, crawl in one of our laps and hug us only to then immediately start to pinch our cheeks. So we try to make light of it by using the sour head expression, first they are sweet, then they’re sour. Anyway, so this crayon thing is happening and it’s only two handfuls in so I’m thinking, ok she hasn’t thrown them all yet, maybe I can salvage this, maybe I can reason with her (man do I need a swift reality check in these moments). So I walk in and try to explain that mommy has to clean this up and it’s a lot of work so could she just draw some more or try another activity. She just stares and smiles. Then proceeds to throw another handful. Ok, seriously she is trying to piss me off. I switch tactics telling her that if they go on the ground then she can’t draw with them. I tell her I will have to take them away if she keeps throwing. Now this gets a reaction…it gets a fricken giggle. She giggles and smiles and throws another handful! So at this point I realize that I am dealing with an unreasonable little fiesty pants. Fortunately I have learned a few tricks throughout this grand adventure of parenting, one of them being knowing when to say fuck it. Yep, that is a true lesson any mom of multiples should learn, just say fuck it and deal with it later when your alone or not. So I just stopped talking, turned around and went back to making the lunches. Sure she covered the floor, and sure she might have won. But really I think we both won. Because she got to gleefully throw things and not get yelled at or lectured by her mom and I got to not be stressed and at least know that sure, she’s making a mess, but she’s happy. She’s smiling and laughing, and sure it might be a mess later, but some mess’s are just worth it. So yes, I’ll pick up the crayons again tonight, along with a bunch of other mess’s, and sure I’ll clean more of the same tomorrow, but I’ll do it while remembering how cute the sound of her laugh is and how sweet that gap toothed little smile is. I’ll do it knowing that one day (hopefully soon) they will pick up they’re own mess’s but for now it’s my job, and it’s really not such a bad job, it’s just one where you have to pick your battles. At least they are sweet first 🙂