Tantrum-free Weekend

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This weekend I did not have to endure any tantrums and yes, I spent the entirety of it with my daughter. Surprised? So was I.  Don’t get me wrong, Emma did cry here and there – fake cry – but she didn’t have a full-blown tantrum, and to me, that’s progress.

Saturday we had a long day ahead of us so I was clearly thinking of the worst but hoping for the best. In the morning she had ballet and it was her final class! (I am pretty happy considering the fact that we will no longer need to wake up at 7 a.m. on Saturday mornings) Afterwards, we stopped by Bed Bath and Beyond to get a gift and then went to the Noguchi museum for an art class. Emma fell asleep on the road and I was afraid of waking her up. Thankfully, she woke up calmly when I took her out of the car and once she noticed where she was, she was happy – tantrum averted!

After her art class, we went home, ate quickly and headed to one of my best friends’ bridal shower. I was skeptical about bringing Emma with me as I knew that it could potentially be disastrous but to the contrary, it was great. She slept on the way there – it was a 2 hour ride – woke up 30 minutes prior to us getting there and watched me sleep(my friend was giving us a ride)because of course, I couldn’t fall asleep beforehand as I was writing my card on the road – a typical day in the life of a mommy.

In the Bridal shower Emma found some friends and was with them almost the entire time – they were lovely – they played with her and gave her tons of attention. Emma had a great time and so did I. She spent time with me but also played independently (without mommy) and while it felt really nice having some time to chat with friends, it made me realize that she is growing up.

Yes, she is less dependent on me, which means that I now get to go to the bathroom alone – for the most part – but the fact that she is becoming less attached to me is a little hard to accept (Yep, mommyhood is full of contradictions). But that’s the give and take of motherhood, right? As you child grows, things change, and you need to quickly keep up with the pace and adapt to these changes. Like everyone tells me, before I know it (in the blink of an eye), Emma will be in College and although that seems plausible – as I sometimes look at her and remember not long ago she was a newborn – I try to enjoy each of her stages and accomplishments one day at a time. This week’s accomplishment – 2 days without a tantrum, and to me that was like two days in mommyhood heaven.

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Friends

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I am so lucky to have the friends I do – I have the overachievers, I have the glass half full and also the glass half empty friends, I have the crazy ones and the mild ones, the bohemian ones and the meticulous ones, but what we all have in common is that we are hardworking, determined and strong-minded – A great example for my daughter – and best of all, we all accept each other’s flaws and learn from one another, which is why we all get along and why I think they are so amazing.

Being a working mom, it is hard to find the time to spend with friends since I try to spend as much time as I can with my daughter, so whenever I can do an activity that involves my daughter and my friends, I think it’s a fantastic plan! As such, when I plan outings with my daughter, I try to incorporate my friends, and they do the same. That way, Emma gets to spend time with other kids while I get to catch up. Fortunately, a lot of my friends have kids or nieces or nephews, or they love kids – which helps, because they assist when you need it and are not impatient or frustrated when Emma has one of her tantrums. In fact, they are less embarrassed than me.

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I make an effort to take Emma out for new experiences often, and this serves as the perfect opportunity to bring friends along. This past Sunday I took Emma to the New York Hall of Science. My friend came along with her 2 kids – no husbands allowed. Emma played with different sand textures and made a happy face with lights and batteries.
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She loved attaching the lights to the battery and seeing how they lit up, but what she loved the most was playing with all the different colored mini light bulbs (I don’t know the proper name, so that’s what I called them). She was constantly imitating whatever my friends’ daughter was doing – who is much older. But that is what Emma is into now, imitating whatever other kids are doing – good and bad… She had a great time and of course, cried once we got home, but knocked out right away (Thank God!) and best of all, I was able to nap along with her.

It is outings like these I love – seeing friends I don’t often get to see because of our busy schedules and my daughter having a blast.  It feels really good that Emma can share time and grow up with not only cousins, but my friends’ kids as well. Who knows? Maybe they will all continue to be friends throughout the years. For those friends of mine who don’t have kids yet, I hope Emma will set a good example for them and be their big sister and as we joke, may be their babysitter by then.

These are the top 5 reasons why you should plan an outing with your kid(s) and your friends:

1. They understand you and are not judgmental about your parenting skills and/or your toddler’s behavior – although may have some “constructive criticism”

2. They offer to help, and yes, you will take advantage

3. If going out with other kids, they will entertain each other. If not, your kid(s) will serve as entertainment.

4. You can trade parenting tips and be honest about the trial and errors of mommyhood.

5. You can multitask – spend time with your kid(s) and catch up with friends.

Although frankly, it is also essential to spend time with friends without any kids around, so you can stop being mom for a tiny bit and truly unload….

Baby

So my sister is now 5 months along in her pregnancy and she is having a boy! Both she and her husband are ecstatic and so am I, although I admit that I was hoping for a girl so that Emma could have a playmate. However, Emma will be the big girl now – 2 younger boy cousins. Maybe mommy and daddy will give her a sibling soon (emphasis on maybe).

Going through the stages of pregnancy with my sister is nice and her bump is finally beginning to fully form. From what I recall, during the next three months is when the belly really starts to grow – what seems to be – exponentially every day. In giving advice to my sister, I am trying to come up with the essential things needed when you have a baby and this is what I’ve come up with:

  1. Patience – I know this is not an object/item, but I think all parents will agree that this is the most essential thing that is needed when you embark on the journey of parenthood. I would say love here as well, but I don’t want to be redundant, since it is kind of a given.
  2. Diapers – This is what everyone always says, and they are right. You need to have at least 2 at hand when you are changing the baby – One to change him into and the other to use as a shield against potential and common accidents.
  3. Hand sanitizer – probability that people will actually wash their hands before touching your baby – 50% – so it is better to be prepared.
  4. Several onesies as the baby will likely only wear that for the first month or two.
  5. Swaddles – They bring comfort to most babies. I loved that Alex and Anais ones – I still use them on Emma when it is warm because they serve as a light cover.
  6. Aveeno eczema cream and diaper cream – As a baby Emma had several heat rashes and the Aveeno cream helped. Also, I would put a small amount of the diaper cream almost daily, just as prevention.
  7.   Lots of burp clothes – for other people to use and for you to have at all times while burping the baby.
  8. If breastfeeding – Medela pump, lanoline cream and ice packs to ease the pain at the beginning stages.
  9. Dry wipes, to clean them in areas that you might not get to during bath time – neck, behind the ears, butt if they have a rash etc.
  10. Humidifier – to help congestions. Emma got sick at 3 months and it wasn’t pretty. The humidifier helped.

 

It seems like mommyhood also helps in giving you a lapse in memory as I KNOW there were other things I found essential during my first 3 months of motherhood, but I can’t seem to think of them now.

What are your tips and essentials?

Am I a Good Mom?

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I obviously love Emma more than words can express, but lately I don’t feel like I am the best mom I could be. I don’t even know what being the ‘best mom’ would be, but I do know that my patience with her is running low these days and that I am relieved when my husband gets home and I get some time off. I know a lot of it has to do with my lack of sleep, as my patience dwindles. But part of me is also tired of her running my life/dictating my movements. She cries if I am not with her/by her side all the time. I need to shower, cook, clean up a little, etc. So I definitely need to do things that don’t allow me to be stuck by the hip to her. I love her so much, that although I try to set the rules, I notice that she has managed to manipulate her way around them and gets away with things. She must have mastered this while she was sick. This week I’ve tried to compromise and negotiate with her but nothing seems to work, the fact that she constantly refuses to do things that need to get done is frustrating. I try to always talk to her about things, explain to her why I ask her for things or why she needs to do something and lately after returning from vacation, everything I hear from her is a scream, a cry, a tantrum. When she behaves I feel like it is the most amazing gift ever!

Yesterday, after trying the talking route and it not working, I ended up screaming at Emma and just plainly screaming at the air -out of frustration – which gets her even worse; and even though I know this is the effect it brings, I couldn’t help it. I don’t want to go the screaming route – I think it’s unhealthy for both her and I. I need to figure out how to better deal with her attitude and tantrums. I also need more sleep…

This is how I feel –

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Is it terrible that I feel like I need a break from my daughter? Do other moms ever feel this way?

Having a Sick Toddler

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Going on vacation is awesome but coming back sucks:

  1. You are back to your regular routine/no more slacking/ no naptime
  2. You no longer come back to a clean, well made bed, or have breakfast, lunch and dinner made for you… Instead, you have to unpack, do laundry and various chores around the house..
  3. You are jetlagged and someone usually gets sick

This time it was Emma. She started feeling a little sick the day we landed and it progressively got worse and evolved to bronchitis. Since she was congested and wanted comforting, she woke up several times a night. I was jetlagged and had to return to work so once again I feel sleep deprived – It didn’t help that it was daylight savings on Sunday and we lost a very precious hour of sleep. I am pale and have purple circles around my eyes – yup, my tan totally vanished – Figures, it only lasted two days.   In addition, as a parent you tend to feel helpless at the sight of your sick child, at least that how I felt, especially when Emma refused the medicine and/or soup and I had to come up with creative ways to have her drink/eat it so that she could actually recover… Thank God Emma is better – not only because she is well, but because we can put order back in the house. She is our little princess but if she was to be sick all the time she would reign the house. Fortunately, today she was able to return to daycare/school – she missed her friends and teachers.

This is what it feels like when you have a sick toddler –

  1. Somehow all the rules that have been established at home are discarded – your toddler has become a dictator
  2. Whatever your toddler wants, your toddler gets. If God forbid you don’t give them something on command they will have a tantrum, and when they are having a tantrum while they are sick you actually feel the need to comfort them.
  3. They will take over your Bed – Emma already claimed it. I might find her name written on it one of these days.
  4. By the time the sickness is gone, the parents are exhausted and run down which can easily lead to someone else being sick in the house (I hope not).
  5. You have to re – train your toddler – to sleep in their own bed, to actually eat, to clean up their mess, to go to sleep and wake up at a certain time, etc.

Yes, one of the many joys of parenthood!

Inspiration

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After having Emma, I got so tangled up trying to be the best mom I could be that I put some of my goals in the back burner. As a result, every so often I feel a little bad that I haven’t pursued other things I love to do. Mommyhood was definitely my calling, but I have yet to pursue my creative/artistic aspirations, which have only gotten more intense after becoming a mom. They are constantly present – I always have little thoughts invading my mind and reminding me that there is more I want to do in life. I just can’t manage to find the time since Emma is my first and foremost priority, and the fact that I haven’t really been that proactive with my goals makes me feel like I haven’t accomplished much….

However, I felt a little better about myself the other night when I read this quote in a restaurant while having dinner with good friends – “Your example will inspire others.” Sometimes I get so caught up in what I haven’t done yet that I forget about what I do on a regular basis. Regardless of what I have accomplished (or not), my daily actions can serve as inspiration to others. Everything and anything you do can inspire others; it can spark an idea, serve as encouragement or a little push, make you feel better about yourself, etc… I know that I am constantly inspired by others, my daughter especially, and the majority of people that inspire me are completely unaware of the effect they have on me.

I hope that my example can inspire Emma to be a better and wiser human being; and as a parent, I think that that will likely be my biggest accomplishment.