36 Week (dis)Appointment

This week’s visit was full of… extraordinary events. I don’t mean extraordinary as in, “Wow! This is amazing! I’ve never experienced anything so wonderful in my entire life!” I just mean extraordinary in the proper sense of the word: out of the ordinary (and I’d like to add that it was slightly unpleasant, too).

Of course, we did have the ordinary 20-minutes late appointment. I always arrive 10-15 minutes early because that’s the way I was raised. It’s good etiquette to be slightly early for appointments. So today we arrived at 9:45 for a 10:00 appointment. Today “we” included Jonathan, Hula Girl, and me. Hula Girl and Jonathan dug right in to the toys in the waiting area and Hula Girl started getting lessons on using her “inside voice”… again. Oh well, at least the other patients in the waiting room thought she was cute. Anyway, we sat there and kept a busy 2-year-old entertained for 35 minutes before we were seen. This is NOT an extraordinary event in this particular office. I hate that- I mean, really, I understand if an office is running behind every now and then… but every single time I visit (which just so happens to be a LOT during pregnancy)??

However, things turned extraordinary quickly after we were called back. First, I hopped on the scale… and thought to myself, “Hm, that can’t be right.” So I said to the nurse, “Did I lose weight since last time?” She said she didn’t have that exact info in her hands but that it’s common for women to lose a couple pounds toward the end of the pregnancy. Okay, cool.

Next she took my blood pressure. I said, “What is it this time?” (You’ll remember it’s slowly creeping up… it started at 100/56, then went to 100/58, then 100/60.) She said it was 100/70. I was like, “Wow, it jumped a bit in two weeks! I’m surprised.” So she took a glance at her sheet, and decided to check it again. Yup, it was really 100/60. So, I’m still alienesque, Jenn.

Then we waited another 15 minutes to see the OB. 15 minutes in a small exam room with a 2-year-old isn’t super fun, especially since that toddler doesn’t want to sit and read like we had planned. Daddy came up with several ways of entertaining her, such as putting her on her tummy on the stool and spinning her around. I suggested they wash her hands, which was well-received. Fortunately when the doctor came in, my slightly stern lecture about sitting quietly with Daddy and listening to the doctor was effective.

The first thing the doctor did, of course, was have me lay back so she could measure my stomach and listen to Gelato’s heartbeat. Both went well. My stomach (meaning, Gelato) is growing well. His heartbeat was right where it should be. Hula Girl thought it was cool to listen to his heartbeat.

Next, the doctor checked to make sure his head is down since I have been having so many contractions. All clear there, too. He’s riding upside-down now and his head is somewhat engaged in my pelvis.

After a couple of other tests and procedures (ahem, the group B strep test-if you don’t know what it is and how it’s done, good for you!), I sat up and we talked about her wishes as far as when to contact her, and when to head in to the hospital. This was a frustrating conversation for me. She said that she’d like us to just go in to the hospital without even calling her first if the contractions get to be 3-5 minutes apart for more than an hour straight. I told her that I had been having several episodes like this but that I was pretty sure it wasn’t the right time (obviously I was right-I’m still ginormous). She then just changed her explanation and said that I should just head in to the hospital when I thought it was the right time. She told me to trust my instincts… after all, I’ve done this before. I agreed with the trusting my instincts part, but I felt irritated that she’d tell me to just go when I thought it was right. I mean, actually, NO, I HAVEN’T done this before. I never felt contractions with Hula Girl. They induced me and then pressured me to get an epidural so that I didn’t feel anything. So no, I’ve never gone into labor before. At least not that I could feel. She just kind of laughed that off again and said, “Well, you’ll know.” Um, okay.

Anyway, when that conversation was over, I decided to ask her about my weight loss. She didn’t mention numbers, but by that time I had remembered how much I weighed last time. And I have lost 4-5 pounds in two weeks. And that’s not exactly what we’re shooting for. She gave me a very stern look and told me I need to be eating small meals all throughout the day. I told her that I do, but that my diet has changed drastically recently. She then asked for an explanation, and I told her that I’m doing the elimination diet, cutting out all 8 major allergens. “Why?” I pointed to Hula Girl and told her that she had reflux, eczema, and constipation as an infant and that the only thing that worked was the elimination diet, so we’re getting a head-start on this one, just in case. She seemed to accept that as a reasonable answer, and then reminded me (again,very sternly and in a school-marmish fashion) to eat protein. I asked her if she raised range-fed turkeys in her backyard because that’s pretty much the only place I can get protein outside quinoa and beans. She told me to drive an hour away to Whole Foods. Oh, okay, sure. Will do. NOT.*

The last thing to make our appointment extraordinary (and slightly unpleasant) was our check-out with the scheduler. She informed us that not only would my OB be out that day, but that the only other available OB had only one available opening, at 3:40. Just FYI- that’s right at the end of Hula Girl’s nap time, which would mean that I would have to wake her about halfway through her nap in order to get us there on time. I sighed, said, “Well, okay…” and then she miraculously produced an opening at 9:10 instead. So we’ll do that. Next Thursday, 9:10, 37-week appointment, all by myself with an OB I don’t know and a 2-year-old I do know. Sounds like an adventure, right?

*I should note that I am going to try really really hard to keep my weight up. I just went and bought a bunch of beans this afternoon (protein). I will also be cooking several things in advance so it’s not like a huge major kitchen effort every time I feel hungry (which, by the way, is really often). And one last really big thing is that Jonathan’s going to bake some allergen-free oatmeal cookies just for me. What a sacrifice I’ll be making when I have to choke THOSE down, eh? Let’s just hope this all works and that Gelato miraculously doesn’t have reflux.

Bowls of Rice

Be warned: this post contains a confession of one of my strangest eccentricities. Don’t mock.

Rice holds a special place in my life right now. It is the staple of my diet. It is also saving my technology (I hope).

The elimination diet is going fine. I am hungry a lot… mostly because I don’t feel like cooking a vegetable and so all I can really eat is Rice Chex or fruit. Come on, Kim… it takes 8 minutes to microwave a potato. For realz. I will stop complaining about that right now. But since Monday I have eaten more bowls of rice (or rice cereal) than I had in the past month combined… so yeah, bowls of rice.

My cell phone was ceremoniously (and maddeningly purposefully) placed into a toddler pool in our backyard this morning by one age-appropriately-testing-her-limits toddler. Not once… twice.

I left my phone and umbrella on a chair next to her pool to run over to the back door (like, ten feet away, don’t freak out on me and call CPS) to get her towel. In the 3 seconds it took me to glance away, open the door, and return, she had grabbed my cell phone and dunked it. I saw that it was dripping wet, and I said the only thing a rational very upset parent says in a time like this, “Did you put my phone in the water?!?!” Um, duh, of course she did. What a stupid question. And of course it elicited the very best behavior in my child… as all stupid questions/responses to actions tend to do.

So she smiled, said, “[Hula Girl] put Mommy’s phone in the pool!!!” and crouched down to do it again. She was so gentle about it, she might as well have been returning a sea turtle to its natural habitat. But I…was…livid… so I did the next obvious thing: I sprinted across the backyard, over the rocky rocky ground, barefoot, 35 weeks pregnant, and grabbed the phone from the bottom of the pool. Then I engaged in the closest to yelling at my child I’ve ever done. I got a very firm and very loud voice (still not yelling… but I wish it had been softer) and said, “You must say sorry to me. You are not supposed to touch my phone! Now it’s broken!”

Typical two-year-old that she is, she did not say sorry. No, no. She turned, grabbed my water bottle, and drank out of it. Let me elaborate on why this sent me to the moon (in my head) and I almost raised my voice to a real yell.

See, Ido not share water bottles, chapstick, or food withanyone, not even my own child. Jonathan has learned to stay FAR away from my glasses of lemonade, and if he wants to surprise me with a Hershey’s bar, he’d better go ahead and get one for himself because there’s NO WAY he’s getting part of mine. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. I can’t handle the thought of germs spreading through mouth-contact. (To be fair, this is majorly hyped up when I’m pregnant-hormones, people! But yes, I do let Jonathan kiss me… as long as his lips don’t leave a wet spot on mine… I will wipe my lips for days if that happens.)

K, so kid not only doused my only contact with the outside world in death-juice (aka water), but she slurped all over the mouthpiece of my water bottle with her toddler germs. As I fought back a wave of nausea, I had to be super firm with myself in order to gently and nicely take my water bottle away. But in the course of doing so, I asked stupid question number two: “Did you just drink out of my water bottle!? Seriously?!”

And in true toddler form, she grinned wickedly (or maybe just mischievously), and answered, “Yes, ee-yus-ee, Mommy.”

And then I forgave her a little. ‘Cuz that’s probably one of the smartest cutest things I’ve heard her say in a while.

So we held hands and she looked at my face while I explained to her the importance of not touching my things. I told her it made me sad and that she needs to say sorry. She said sorry this time. We hugged, and then she proceeded to empty her pool in the hopes of drowning all our flowers with the watering can.

Our saga ends with my sad cell phone sitting in yet another bowl of rice. I am hoping, praying, that it turns out okay and was not super damaged. I’m pretty sick of rice right now.


A Great Book and a Really Stupid Pediatrician

… and I am LIVID right about now.

Let me explain some background information before I delve into the tale.

I am kind of a brain-development-research junkie. I love the human brain. I love the way it works. I love reading research and studies and articles that reveal more about the brain. I especially love studies on babies/toddlers/kids because that’s my whole entire life. I am here, raising my own kid(s). When I’m not here, raising my own kids, I will be in a classroom, teaching kids. I even mentioned to Jonathan that I’d like to volunteer in a hospital, rocking the babies in the NICU (do they let you do that anymore?!). It’s what I do, it’s what I’ve done. In fact, the majority of my jobs over my lifetime have been nannying/babysitting/camp counseling. I just can’t get enough of kids.

One of the most recent (and in my opinion, best) books on the topic is Your Brain on Childhood: The Unexpected Side Effects of Classrooms, Ballparks, Family Rooms, and the Minivan by Gabrielle Principe. Her book details the reasons that several things in our modern society are… um… not ideal for babies and kids. I can’t say that I totally agree with her complete reliance on (and numerous references to) our brain’s “evolutionary history,” but the modern-day research she cites (she cites over two hundred studies throughout her book) more than makes up for the lack of credible history.

Her main themes in the book include parents’ affinity for pushing children toward excellence to the point where parents will believe any claims made by toy manufacturers as long as it makes the loud annoying shouting toy sound “educational”; society’s obsession with building proper “self-esteem” rather than allowing kids to realize they’re not actually as great as they think they are (entitled, anyone?); ease with which parents set their children in front of the television either to educate their children further (learn a new language!) or to occupy their children while the parents relax (or work); our country’s educational system, which is one of the worst in the world, which keeps getting worse; perceived “normalcy” of organized sports and activities for kids, beginning in infancy; and the lack of the great outdoors in our kids’ childhoods.

Okay, let me hone in on one of these topics. TV. Here’s a direct quotation from the book that pretty much sums up my own opinions on the topic as well:

We listen to the American Academy of Pediatrics when they tell us to put our babies to sleep on their backs, buckle them into car safety seats, slide them into bicycle helmets, and slather sunscreen on their skin. Yet when they tell us that children under two years should have no exposure to television, we completely ignore their advice.

There are MANY studies that have been performed which prove that any television exposure causes physical changes in an infant’s brain. Now I might be taking this too far- but don’t the words “physical changes in an infant’s brain” seem to be similar to the words “brain damage?” Neural pathways actually form in different parts of the brain, causing permanent physical changes, which short-circuit other pathways which are in charge of necessary functions of the brain. For realz, I am not making this up.

Even before reading this book, I had heard that there were some thoughts that TV viewing is associated with ADHD and such. Gabrielle Principe, however, actually downplays those theories in light of the other research. Sure, she cites the study “…which found that for each additional hour of television watched by a child under the age of three, the likelihood of an attention problem by age seven increased by 10 percent. So a three-year-old who watches three hours of television per day is 30 percent more likely to have attention problems than a child who doesn’t watch television.” But ADHD has not been PROVEN to be caused by television viewing. But she also makes it clear that because of a reflex that is innate in all humans, the orienting reflex, a baby who is near a television will have no choice but to pay attention to it. This will deprive the baby of learning the skill of attention- she will not be able to focus, truly focus, on anything else until the TV is off.

OKAY, so there’s the background- you now understand at least some of my reasoning behind our family’s decision to just sell our TV at a yard sale a last summer. (Don’t get me started on commercialization, violence, and skewed media. I have done my research there, as well.)

But today’s visit to our pediatrician’s office was the trigger. Hula Girl went in for her 2-year checkup. I will do a separate post on that. We have not seen this particular pediatrician before for a number of reasons. First, she’s brand new to the practice. Second, we’ve only visited this particular office twice before- once for Hula Girl’s 18-month checkup, and once for Hula Girl’s ear infections. We saw different doctors/RNs each time. No biggie. Third, we don’t get sick. We have no reason to have a particular doctor. 🙂

So we meet this lady, who is in her sixties, who introduces herself and says she’s living here to be near grandchildren. Great! I thought, She’s going to have a lot of empathy and be really good with Hula Girl!

Um, not so. My first clue was when she wouldn’t let me even talk to Hula Girl to explain what was going to happen. See, I like to prepare Hula Girl before going to the doctor. This morning we talked about how the doctor would be touching her head, tummy, legs, etc., and would be asking Hula Girl to open her mouth and such. Well, the doctor asked… and then when I tried to say, “See, it’s just like we talked about!” she kept talking and talking and raising her voice to talk over me. Back off, lady. I am trying to help you out by allowing MY KID to feel comfortable around you!!!! To no avail. Hula Girl clammed up and would NOT participate. Shocker. She eventually had to pry Hula Girl’s mouth open with a tongue depressor. Um, if she had just given me 3 seconds to speak softly and calmly to my daughter, that would never have happened. I wanted Hula Girl to get a splinter so I could sue for malpractice…

Then it happened. She looked at Hula Girl’s knees and said, “I like seeing knees that are bumped and scratched like this! It shows that the kids aren’t spending too much time in front of the TV.”

To which I responded, “Well, we don’t even have a TV. If the AAP is going to say, ‘No TV under three!’ then we’re going to listen.”

She said something like, “Well, those guidelines aren’t really feasible for anyone anyway.” (Um, hello? I just told you we don’t have a TV. And you’re saying it’s not feasible for anyone. Open your ears.)

She went on. “You know, there are two really good programs that I love for kids this age. Signing Time and My Baby can Read.”

I was trying to be casual and not ruffle any feathers… but I had already lost respect for this woman and her opinions. So I said, “What do you think about the numerous clinical studies that have proven that viewing Signing Time is directly related to speech delays in children?”

Her response (classic, btw), “I don’t really believe in those studies. I mean, my four-year-old grandson, who has a speech delay, has been watching Signing Time since he was a baby. It’s really good, too, because it helped when he was younger and couldn’t talk at all. He could sign things like ‘milk’ and ‘more’ so it cut down on the frustration levels.”

Did you catch that? Her four-year-old grandson, who has a speech delay, has been watching Signing Time since he was a baby. Um, isn’t that what I said the research shows?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!? But she doesn’t believe in the research?!Open your eyes, crazy lady. Your grandson is a statistic!!!!

I chose not to point out that my daughter, who has never seen TV (except in 4-minute clips of Elmo during illnesses and post-surgery), also signed pre-speech. In fact, if we really want to get technical, she signed DURING speech, too. She can do BOTH. And what else?! I taught her. She didn’t have to watch a stupid program (even though the lady’s voice is “so beautiful,” according to the pediatrician we saw today) to learn these things.

Okay, so recap:

1. The pediatrician we saw today thinks the AAP’s guidelines are meaningless.

2. She doesn’t believe in clinical research findings that are replicable and reputable, even though…

3. Her anecdotal evidence PROVES the research.


Needless to say, we will not be visiting that pediatrician EVER again.


I was ready for naptime today.

I had my OB/GYN appointment this morning. The card on my fridge reads “Tuesday, March 20, 8:20 a.m.” Jonathan likes to go to all the appointments with me. He is really involved with his children. My mom usually comes and watches Hula Girl during appointments so that she doesn’t have to sit and be bored in the office. However, my mom also works on Tuesdays, so she wasn’t able to watch Hula Girl today. That meant that Jonathan took some time off work in the morning so that he could be here with Hula Girl when she woke up, to get her ready for the day and feed her breakfast. We figured that I’d be out of my appointment by 9, so he would have plenty of time to get to work by 10.

Ahem. We figured wrong. I showed up, signed in, and the normal receptionist was not at her desk. A different one was there, but she said, “She’ll be back to check you in in just a minute.” Okay. Then she decided that she could actually just do it herself. She looked through a folder for my paperwork and then looked on the computer screen for a schedule of the day. I wasn’t in the folder or on the screen. What?!

The first receptionist came back and tried to find me. I still didn’t exist. But then they pulled out my file and found that I was scheduled for an appointment last Friday. Um, that’s not what my card said. Furthermore, since I didn’t show, I was going to be charged a fee for a “No Show”. At that point, I said, “Um, the card on my fridge says my appointment is today. At 8:20.” And the first receptionist said, “Well, the doctor has a well-woman check scheduled at that time. We can put you in at 8:40.”

Fine. I’ll stay an extra 20 minutes.

8:40 rolled around, then 9:00, and finally 9:20. Seven other women were called out of the waiting room into the back while I waited. Seven. I went up to the desk and said, “I’m sorry, I must be having a pregnancy brain day. Did you say 8:40 or 9:40?” She smiled at me and said, “8:40, but of course we have to get in all the patients who were scheduled and who were here before you.” I had to bite my tongue at Snarky Receptionist Girl. Then I told her, “Well, my husband will have to bring my daughter by on his way to work then. Please let him know that he is free to come find me when he arrives. I’m sure I’ll be in an exam room by then.”

So I called Jonathan and told him to bring Hula Girl over since I would certainly not be ready to leave anywhere near on time.

Finally I was called back, at 9:35. I was weighed (ugh, pregnancy makes you gain weight at a crazy rate), and then the nurse took my blood pressure. She apologized for the confusion with the appointment and made it clear that the person who was doing the scheduling was let go since she had a habit of scheduling appointments but not writing them in, and then just trying to remember all of them at the end of the day. Apparently I’m not the only one whose appointment was mixed up.

After the nurse left, the doctor came in and checked the baby’s heartbeat. Everything’s good. I told her that I could actually see Gelato moving around in there, which I thought was weird for only being 20 weeks along. She thought it was great and said, “You’ve got a feisty one!”

I left the office and met Jonathan and Hula Girl in the parking garage. We swapped cars and then Hula Girl and I left to go to storytime. We didn’t make it to the 10:00 one, but we did make it in time to see some of our friends come out as we were heading in to the 10:30.

Hula Girl did not participate as she normally does- she was much quieter and clingier. I thought it was quite weird. Then I realized she’d been up kind of late last night. We put her to bed at 7:45, but she talked to herself until almost 9. (It is common for kids her age to start staying awake long into the night and generally does not signify anything is wrong. However, it does mean that parents need to be sensitive to their lack of sleep and try to make up for it in naps and early bedtimes.)

By the time we got home from storytime, she was throwing mini tantrums left and right. And then… it happened. The tantrum of tantrums. Over what? Stuffed animals.

Hula Girl has specific “upstairs toys” and “downstairs toys”. We rotate them frequently so that she can have a new set of toys to play with in different areas of the house, but she knows that most downstairs toys stay downstairs and most upstairs toys stay upstairs. Today, however, she decided that she wanted to climb upstairs to independent playtime with all of her downstairs stuffed animals: moose, tiger, elephant, doggie, Valentine Bear, Pooh Bear, teddy bear, and Elmo. Instead of having her struggle and fall down the stairs, or hand me all those silly things, I told her, “Why don’t we leave most of  your animals downstairs to rest and wait for you. You can take one animal and Mommy will take one more.”

She was not okay with that idea. She kept trying to climb the stairs with this huge load of plush critters and when I’d pull her down again she’d get madder and madder. Finally she threw them all down and flopped on top of them, screaming her lungs out and crying the hugest tears imaginable. This lasted for about 2 minutes until I picked her up along with her two favorites, Pooh and doggie, and carried all three of them upstairs.

When we got to her room, she fell down on the floor and screamed and cried some more. I got very involved in watching the wind whipping the scrubby grass outside. It was so interesting that I even forgot that Hula Girl was there until she calmed down. 😉

We had no further meltdowns between independent playtime, lunch, and nap. But I am beat. And it’s only halfway through the day!

*I was talking to a new friend of mine, Chelsea, who is also pregnant, at storytime. I told her we were late because of the scheduling snafu. She said she’s experienced the same thing at that office, and that they’re generally really slow anyway. We both mentioned that we’d considered switching offices due to their really really slow staff and long waiting room times, but we both know that there’s really no other choice in this area. So, here’s to always scheduling on a day when my mom is free!

Confession Time and why Teenagers should not use Facebook

This post is written for my former students at VCS. It is written for the sole purpose of speaking to them, from my heart. It is not a blanket statement, nor is it meant to judge anyone else’s students or children. Also, I should say, there are exactly two notable exceptions to this post, and those two students make me prouder than I could ever imagine. 

A funny little trend keeps popping up on my News Feed on Facebook. It is something I only see coming from the teenagers I used to teach. They’ll post a list of questions about themselves, and then say something like, “5 likes for confessions” or something. The list of questions is a really ridiculous list, things that only other self-absorbed teenagers would really care about, and are only meant as gossip fodder. For example:

  1. Am I single?
  2. Am I crushing? (Dad, this question means, “Do I have a crush on someone?”)
  3. Who?
  4. What’s my favorite color?
  5. What food did I eat for breakfast today?
  6. Who is my best friend?
  7. What am I going to do this weekend?
  8. Who am I mad at right now?
  9. What’s my favorite song?
  10. What am I scared of?

I remember when I was their age, and email was the hippest form of communication outside of passing notes in class. (Yeah, teenagers, we all passed notes and thought the teachers had no clue. Guess what- teachers know. And guess what else- for the most part, teachers don’t really care. <gasp!>) Back in the good ol’ days of emailing and possibly even IM-ing (thanks, AOL, lol), we used to send around “surveys” that were quite similar to your little Facebook confessionals. But there was one key difference. Our surveys were not a popularity contest/useless fact combo- they were purely for entertainment and sent only to those friends who we knew would read them and respond. We never requested that someone first do something for us before we revealed “deep” secrets about ourselves and our personal lives.

I get so frustrated when I see all of you, my former students, requesting your friends’ “likes” on these little “confessionals.” On one hand, I understand it perfectly: you think you’re all that, and that everyone else wants to know every little detail about your life because you are, in fact, the center of the universe. So it is reasonable to follow through on that  logic and assume that since you’re obviously so mysterious and wonderful, you can use that to your advantage and gather popularity votes, a.k.a. “likes”, just to ensure that you are, in fact, as cool as you thought you were. On the other hand, I wish you were reading your own posts, comments, and status updates with your 25-year-old brain. I bet your older, less self-obsessed self would have a thing or two to say.

Unfortunately, and this is my biggest concern for many of you, your 25-year-old self will not be any less self-obsessed. Facebook, Twitter, and the world of social media has forced you into a world fueled by selfishness like no one has ever seen. You get up in the morning, and the first thing you do is log in to the virtual world, where all of your “friends” are ready to greet you. You send out a random complaint, just hoping that someone will wake up early enough to log in and notice that you were the first person to make a statement today. Then, when you get to school, it’s an all-out battle for attention. Girls calling each other names, spreading rumors behind each other’s backs, being cruel to other girls…just because you can. Guys treating girls with disrespect, putting each other down through “funny” one-liners, doing the least amount of work required to just barely pass…just because you can. You even take time during your breaks (and during class, don’t think I don’t see your status updates all day long) to post rude, critical, crass, and disagreeable things on your social media outlets! And then when you get home, it’s an all-out frenzy to discuss the day’s events, rehashing all the gossip and drama, calling each other out (yet again) in a public forum, and generally hurting each other’s feelings. And all of this done on the stage of Middle School (which will become the even bigger stage of High School in just a few months or years). See, you’re just being set up to live in a way that is totally self-absorbed (I mean, really, as if the rest of the world cares what you had for breakfast?!?!) and will eventually create and fuel some of the biggest rumors, gossip, and drama the world has ever seen.

And the bullying! You are bullies! Students of mine, I have seen your status updates and comments. And let me tell you, I have been absolutely appalled at some of the things you are writing to and about each other. I know you all personally, and when my sweet girls start posting racist slurs about other sweet girls of mine, it makes me very sad. When the guys I knew before their voices changed suddenly start referring to girls using offensive names, it makes me feel like we, as adults in your lives, are really messing up somehow and setting a terrible example for you.

But the thing that makes me feel the worst is when I read posts from some of you who have been hurt by this self-absorption and cruelty that is displayed by the vast majority of my former students. A girl comes home from school and posts things about other students being mean to her at recess. A guy comes home and writes about his new board, only to have others belittle him and mock him in the comments section.

Students, this is not you. This is not who you are. And this is not who you were meant to be. When you turn 25, I want you to be able to look back on yourself and realize, “Wow, I was really self-centered back then. I am so glad I was able to see that and move on.” See, you all have the capability of changing this world. Each and every one of you has unique talents and gifts that no other person has. Many of you were gifted academically. Others musically. Some artistically. Most of you have a talent for humor, unique to you, and definitely the highlight of my years spent with you.

Students, I absolutely loved spending time with you back then. But I’m not really fond of you now. That’s not to say that I would not be there for you, 100%, no matter what. Because you know I would. I am always here for you. The thing is, I kind of expected you to be there for each other. And you’re not really living up to my expectations. Why not, guys? What’s the deal?

Doh-dee-mime Success!

Well, this week’s storytime provided me plenty of reasons to chuckle.

Remember last week’s storytime?

This week was pretty much the polar opposite. The first thing I noticed when I arrived at the library with Hula Girl was a brand-spankin’-new poster, the size of the window in the door, stating:

Our Storytimes have Changed!

Bumblebees (0-15 months) Mondays at 10

Time for Tots (15 months – 3 years) Tuesdays at 10 and 10:30

Something Cutesy that I can’t Remember (3-5 years) Wednesdays at 10

Yes, they reprinted the poster, made it about 4 times as large, and stuck it right there on the front door of the children’s wing. Teehee.

The next thing that made me feel giddy was today’s handout. The theme listed at the very top was “Quiet” and the sign language showed the sign for quiet. Our books for the day were The Quiet Book and Shhhhh. I am pretty sure Miss Kirsten was planning to follow last week’s “Noise” theme with this week’s “Quiet” theme anyway, but it just made today’s theme seem so ironic.

There was one part of storytime that frustrated me- the loud discussion held by some moms prior to the start of storytime. They were talking about last week and how one mom’s children were the ones to blame for the pandemonium. I will admit, one mom did bring in 4 of those boys over 4, but that does not mean that the other moms then have the right to discuss her parenting style, children’s behavior, or rights without her present. I think I have not noticed much “mom gossip” because I have intentionally kept Hula Girl and myself mostly at home during her life (even though I am well aware that it exists everywhere- after all, these are the same ladies with whom we all went to high school and if gossip reigns there, why would it stop when we all grow up?). It just really bugged me that these ladies felt the need and the right to have that very demeaning conversation right then and there, including acting out scenes and pretentiously describing “What I would have done….” Sigh. Women, who should be kind and patient with one another, and who should be able to lean on each other for advice and ideas about raising these kiddos, are just plain cruel sometimes.

Anyway, on with the success part.

Hula Girl participated! She has always been a watcher and observer at storytime. Each week we sing “Twinkle, Twinkle” and do the hand motions. There is also a “Let’s get Ready for Storytime” song. I have tried to move her arms and hands along with the others for a while now, but she isn’t really interested. However, all this week, she’s been wanting to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle” at home and she’s been practicing the hand motions. We do it at every meal, and at least 10 other times throughout the day. Apparently all that practice boosted her confidence, because when it was time for “Twinkle, Twinkle”, she was ready. She had her little hands up and made the best little diamond she could possibly make. It looked like she was clenching her fists together, but she tried!

And when it was time to get the shakers, she walked over to Miss Kirsten but didn’t take a shaker. Evie asked her mom to come with her, and I suggested that she show Hula Girl what to do. She happily agreed, but then Hula Girl still wouldn’t reach in and take one. I had to go help her with that. I think next week, given the opportunity, she’ll know what to do. But when it was time to put the shakers away, I said, “Go put your shaker back in the box!” and she ran over there and put it in, then danced in the middle of the carpet until I asked her to come sit down. That’s my girl!

Of course, she chose her same spot, on the “U”.

After the official storytime was over, we were coloring (again-success! Hula Girl got to color as long as she wanted- she didn’t try to stick a crayon in her mouth!) and the moms were talking more than usual. Another mom and I were talking to Evie’s mom about her pregnancy (she’s due in June). The other mom has an almost-2-year-old boy. She is new to the storytime, but she was very friendly and outgoing. I finally got up the courage to talk a little more to her after we got out of the storytime room, and I asked her how she meets people and/or finds activities in the area, since we’re new and I’ve had very little success. She said she’s newer and has faced the same struggles, and that she’s thinking of just starting her own playgroup. YES! She’s also a member at the Y (we’re planning to become members soon, too), and she said there’s a lot going on there. Another YES!

We exchanged numbers and she just texted me asking if we want to join her and her son for a picnic at the playground after next week’s storytime (weather permitting)! I am very very excited, since this is our first real planned “playdate” since we’ve moved here. I sure hope the weather stays nice like it has been for a few weeks.

So, all in all, doh-dee-mime success. Wouldn’t you agree?


Ugly Dresser and Fire Ants

Yes, it arrived. The ugly dresser. My ugly dresser. It’s not actually all that ugly, if you can see past its current state and give it a chance.  Ready for the close-up?

Here she is, in all her glory! She definitely has the potential to be cute.

Yes, this is what the top of the dresser looked like when I bought it.

All dinged up and ready for work!

As you can see, I have my work cut out for me! I actually started this weekend. Let me tell you, this thing was a lot of fun to sand! I used my orbital sander for the large panels, drawer fronts, and top. Then I had to get out the ol’ sandpaper and use some elbow grease on the trim pieces and the decorative parts.

The next step was to prime the whole thing. I used Kilz Clean Start and used two coats, sanding in between layers and afterward. I decided to use a small foam roller on the drawer fronts since they’re so smooth to begin with. After doing so, I realized… I don’t really like the foam roller. So I will be sticking to my good old brush for now.

I will be painting the first coat this evening or next evening, depending on which evening is cooler- paint has been drying way too fast to attempt something this large and finicky! Tomorrow I’ll post primer pictures and then you’ll have to wait until I’m officially finished to see the final result. Actually, I’m really indecisive and have too many ideas waiting for inspiration to hit.

In other news, I was bit by a fire ant on Saturday. On the bottom of my foot. It hurt so bad.  And then I made a terrible, awful, no-good, very bad decision. I put my foot on ice. I wrapped the ice pack with a paper towel. Apparently it wasn’t thick enough, and keeping my foot on a thinly-wrapped ice pack for an hour at a time actually froze my foot. Like, we’re talking frostbite. It hurt like I have never hurt before, and I’ve had kidney infections and given birth, people! It seriously felt like what I imagine it would feel like to be shot in the foot.

You know when you run your too-cold hands under warm water and they tingle and feel all burned? Well, that’s how my foot felt for the remainder of  Saturday. All for the sake of a silly little ant.

Today, my foot is swollen and blistered on the bottom. That’s from the ant venom. The tingling and burning from the frostbite is gone, thank goodness. What an ordeal!

Boy am I grumpy.

If you want to be totally disgusted, click on this here story about a man spending way too much money and time worrying about himself.

I have blogger’s block big time today, sorry. But seriously? Do people REALLY have that much money? All we want is a house big enough for a family, a garden, and a little extra to live on when we retire. Apparently that’s too much to ask.

Maybe I’ll just move across the street from some billionaire and plant really fast-growing bamboo or something, so he can offer to buy my house. I’d take the money.

Rainy Day. Again.

Rainy days always make me feel so gloomy. I think there is something in my DNA, which has hardwired me to feel sad on days when the sun doesn’t shine. My mom has the same issue. We are definitely sun-lovers in this family! But here’s something helps me smile:

So pretty! Close-up of my Mom's Day apron!

However, I have gotten a lot accomplished today and yesterday, so that’s good. I cleaned the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and laundry room. I have the third load of laundry going in the dryer, and lunch was a tremendous success. Even after much trepidation on my part, Hula Girl devoured her meal of pasta stars and cheese (like mac and cheese, but more astronomical) and sweet potato fries. All homemade. All delicious. I’ve decided I should stop offering her fruit at every meal, since she sometimes holds out on me and won’t eat anything else but her fruit. I think she’s getting to the age where I’m going to require her to finish everything she’s offered before asking for something different (as long as I know I’ve offered foods she doesn’t mind eating). We’ll see how things go. At least she tries everything I place in front of her. That’s really all I can ask right about now.

Naps are going just the same. She is still taking forever to fall asleep before each nap. I have tried lengthening the awake time between her naps. I have tried really tiring her out. I have tried putting her down at the “normal” time. I have tried getting her up late, on time, and early from her first nap. Guess it’s just a phase. At least she still sleeps the full nap length once she finally sleeps. (I know I keep bringing this up day after day, but it really bugs me that she acts all tired but then gets in there just to chat with herself for up to an hour!)

Can I just say I love being a mom? Really, truly, honestly, wholeheartedly, absolutely love being a mom. Seriously, it’s the best job I’ve ever had. And even if it weren’t a full-time job, I’d volunteer full-time just because it is simply that awesome.

*Side note: Hula Girl just fell over in her crib, whacked her head on something, and is whimpering like a puppy. If only she’d just go to sleep!!!

Lately I have been really into reading blogs about mommyhood, crafting, and DIY shabby chic/cottage stuff. I cannot cannot cannot wait to have a house of our own so that I can decorate it. I have a feeling that that lovely robin’s egg shell color will show up as a unifying color throughout my future home. And I can’t wait to host many of you in our home for dinners, games, tea and coffee, holidays, and visits.

I’m going to start getting ready for when we have a house to decorate by redoing our kitchen/dining room set. It’s a set we purchased from some friends of my parents’ when they were moving to England. It’s lovely, but it’s not really our style and color. My plans are to paint it antique white, distress it a bit, and put pink and white fabric on the chair pads. I’ll be lining the drawers with pages from an old novel or with old wallpaper.

The end product will be something we can use in our future kitchen/dining area. I plan to have my kitchen pink and white to match my grandmother’s china, which we’ll use every day. It’s lovely. I suppose the kitchen might be a place you won’t find robin’s egg blue.

I can’t wait to share the photos of the table redo! I’ll be tackling the project in the middle of June. If all goes well, wait ’til you see our bedroom set redo! 🙂

Absurd Black Holes

Absurd. I was clicking through the main stories on one of my frequently used search engines this afternoon and I realized that the things they post are generally absurd. For instance, why should anyone care that Justin Bieber got angry with paparazzi in Israel? Why should anyone care that a tennis star got injured at a wedding? Why should anyone care that a BYU basketball player was asked to complete his coursework online?And who cares that Kirstie Alley’s shoe came off?

All these ridiculous articles are intermingled with extremely politically-driven stories about all the bad stuff going on in the world, like Japan’s nuclear plant Level 7 status and the craziness in Libya.

And then you get the filler stuff, like, “How to date after a Divorce” and “Haunted Mansions.”

And as I was clicking through the thumbnails linked to these articles, I realized just how much time I was wasting when I have plenty of other things to do today. I still have to pack, I still have to shop for in-air snacks and toys to keep Hula Girl busy on our flight, I still have to write out our itinerary and mail it to the appropriate people. I still have to show the neighbors how we’d like our lawn and garden watered while we’re away.

Yet, there I was. Clicking through politically-inspired, brain-desensitizing drivel instead of doing the things that must be done. I feel like I’m back in college.

It makes me wonder if Americans would be “on top” again if we all stopped using technology. At home, it’s a productivity-black-hole. At a desk job, I can see how it would dull your skills and proficiency to the point where the boss would have to hire someone extra just to pick up the slack. What if we all just stopped using technology, or were only allotted a certain number of minutes of technology per day? Say, 60 minutes. Here’s how I’d divide that 60 minutes (I would use all my technology time for internet use):

Minutes 1-14: Check emails, respond, and write a few of my own.

Minutes 15-27: Check blog for comments, respond, and write a new post.

Minutes 28-46: Check online board I help moderate, respond, and write any new topic posts I needed to write, and if I have spare time, check blogs I follow occasionally.

Minutes 47-53: Facebook. (The word “Facebook” is a verb. So that is, in fact, a complete sentence.)

Minutes 54-55: Check out tomorrow’s weather forecast.

Minutes 56-60: Read 2 blogs I follow religiously.

That would be a much better use of my technology time than just sitting there, mindlessly clicking to find interesting articles. I mean, sure, they’re all interesting. That’s the way they’re written. Kudos to the journalists’ professors in college; they taught their students how to catch and hold the interest of the general public. But, seriously, what a waste! Those stories not only waste my time; they waste a lot of other peoples’ time as well- for starters, they waste the time of those sorry masses who troop daily into their cubicles and spend hours “working” and producing very little. Keep going back and back and back, and you realize these stories are a waste of a good solid college education.

We don’t need Superman (Waiting for Superman). We need chalkboards. Or at least that’s how I feel about it today.



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