She Sings in the Shower

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I have a 12 year old daughter. She is the youngest of my three girls – my last “tween” year, my last middle schooler, my last whiff of innocence.

She sings in the shower.  It may not seem like a big deal, but very soon, the music she listens to will become “deep” and have meaning beyond what my naive heart thinks she should understand.  But the music in the shower is still light and fun and Bieber-y.

She spends thirty minutes in the shower, depleting the hot water supply in the house, and may still come out without the top of her head wet.  I frequently send her back to wash her hair, brush her teeth, pick up her dirty clothes.  It won’t be long until she’s showering with purpose.  She’ll want to apply makeup to that clean little face.  She’ll want her thick, beautiful hair to be the shiny envy of her friends.  She’ll want to smell good to catch the nose of someone she likes.  The room – well, if experience is any indication, it will have dirty clothes strewn about for at least an abundance of years to come.

I’m already seeing things that accompany the teen years.  The “I’ll just have yogurt for dinner” attempts to control what she perceives to be a paunch.  The trials and tribulations of painting fingernails that I still imagine as so tiny, the brush barely fits on them.  Debating whether she looks better tucked or untucked.

It moves so fast, it makes your head spin.  Moms tell you all the time to hug your babies, appreciate the peas that get raspberried all over you when you try to feed them, don’t be in a rush for the walking and talking and the independence.  Believe them.  Sniff their tiny heads a little longer, snuggle when they have the sniffles, read one more bedtime story.

Listen when they sing in the shower.

G is for Granuaile – and the Reasons We Gave Our Kids Weird Names

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G (1)Naming a child is a very personal thing.  Regardless, you will find that this very personal choice is one of the few that you will make in life that is subject to so much comment and criticism.  Everyone has an opinion when it comes to babies, but when it comes to babies’ names, everyone thinks they are way better at picking than you are.

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None of our children has a typical name.  Brighid, so named because it means strength, and my 2 pound 10 ounce preemie seemed to need all she could get, could have been Bridget – which everyone would recognize.  But when you have a child so beautifully and uniquely yours, here to carry on your heritage and traditions, why not give her a name that reflects that?

Naming my children has given me an opportunity to show a love of my Irish heritage, and a love for some of the strongest women our family has seen.  Eilis, whose name I actually fell in love with while watching a documentary on conjoined twins, is named after my grandmothers, women who raised families, worked hard, and were in their own right strong and beautiful.  And Granuaile, whose middle name is Frances, bears the Gaelic name of Grace O’Malley, Ireland’s pirate queen, who changed the way women in Ireland were depicted.  Strength, courage, and devotion to her family were the traits of the original Granuaile, and traits of Granuaile’s other namesake, my sister Frances (Bean).

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I’ve had to explain often through the years why my kids have the names they do.  I never mind.  It’s an explanation I’m proud to give.  Just be prepared for a wee history lesson.

 

Is It Just Me? Breastfeeding Baby Doll? Seriously?

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I don’t think of myself as a prude by any means.  I am a staunch supporter of breastfeeding babies, and have done so with two of my three daughters.  Breastfeeders?  More power to you.

But do I want to watch my six year old breastfeeding a baby doll?  I’m not so sure.  There is a poster hanging above my desk that my husband – in one of his more “idiot husband” moves – purchased while on vacation.  In the poster, he is Hercules, and Granuaile – age 2 or 3 – is whoever the female Hercules counterpart is (Xena? Wonder Woman? Hootie McBoobs?).  The poster disturbs me on many levels, not the least of which is the fact that my seriously balding husband has a head of long, thick, ponytail-able hair.  But the thing that bothers me most is that every time I glance up, my three year old is staring at me over the top of her D cup boobs.

So, while I certainly think children should know about breastfeeding, and how it’s mommy’s job to make sure the baby has everything they need, I’m not sure I’m ready to carry on a conversation with my little girl about engorgement; leaking breasts; or the inevitable saggy boobs.

Or am I taking this too far?

You decide.  I think I like it better when baby doll milk comes from the little plastic bottles, where the milk disappears when you tip it upside down.

Can I take my baby to Walt Disney World for Christmas?

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Its the holiday season and you are thinking of racing off to Walt Disney World to get the second most wonderful picture of a baby with Satna Claus ever.

Of course the first is this one –

Best Santa Claus baby picture every

In my husband’s humble opinion that is.

But now back to the topic – can you take a baby to Walt Disney World at Christmas?

It’s crowded.

Yep, it’s crowded.  Christmas is the busiest time of year at Walt Disney World.  But guess what?  It’s crowded everywhere at Christmas time!  Have you been to the grocery store?  The mall?  Target?  Packed – all of them.  Unless you have a medically fragile child who should not be exposed to more than a few people, don’t let the crowds stop you!

It’s cold.  No, it’s hot.  No, it’s snowing!

Believe it or not, weather can be a concern in Orlando during the holidays.  December is a very unpredictable month.  One day, you may have temperatures soar into the 80s.  The next day, you may be lucky to get out of the 60s.  And there are even some days in Orlando in December where reaching 50 was a struggle!  Average temperatures are in the low 70s, but if you prepare for cool mornings and cold nights, the baby should be fine.  I always plan for a nice fall day when I visit Orlando in December – wear layers, so when the midday sun warms you up, you can wrap your sweater or sweatshirt around your waist.  For a baby, bring a lighter weight blanket and a heavier one.

It’s almost impossible to get dining reservations!

Dining reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance, and many people planning to be at Walt Disney World for the holidays are on the phone or online as soon as that window opens.  But a baby doesn’t care where they eat!  There is a really good variety of counter service meals available at Walt Disney World – from the theme parks to the hotel food courts.  You will find something to eat.  You may not get a window table at the California Grill during the Magic Kingdom fireworks, but you may even luck into a last minute sit down meal.  Browse the online tool at www.disneyworld.com to see what may be left for your last minute trip.  If you can’t find anything, fear not.  I’ve made more than a few holiday meals out of a turkey leg!

Now that I’ve gotten rid of all the big excuses, why not?  I’ve got way more happy memories of my babies at Walt Disney World than stressful ones.  And as if Walt Disney World isn’t magical enough the entire rest of the year, the holidays at Disney will simply take your breath away!  Everything from the decorations and the gingerbread to the Candlelight Processional and the carolers will instill the holiday spirit in your heart and cement it there throughout the season.

Would I take my baby to Walt Disney World for Christmas?  A thousand times, yes.

Mommy Guilt – Let’s Share, Shall We?

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I have pictures of a child in a laundry hamper.  I am so damn proud of that picture.  Not because it shows what an awesome mom I am, but because it shows that at one time, in this very house, all of my laundry was done!

Forget that somehow, my child, who was not even two, climbed her way into the hamper, risking falling head first, developing a concussion, brain swelling, and possible death.  My. Laundry. Was. Done.

My friend Jodi wrote an awesome blog post today – go read it, right now. http://www.multitaskingmommy.com/ It’s phenomenal.

It’s about Mommy guilt, and the things we all feel guilty over.  And you know you do.  You can’t be a mommy and not have guilt.  It’s right there on page one of the as yet to be written book “What to REALLY Expect When You Become A Mom”.  It’s not written yet, because if us Moms really spoke out and told pregnant women what they were in for, they’d be looking to invent a time machine, kick those husbands out of bed to root through the dresser drawer for that last condom he thought he had in there, but that’s okay, he’ll get more tomorrow.

You can’t be a mommy and not feel like you’re doing something wrong, even if everything is turning out alright.  You’re always doing too much, too little, not enough like your mom, too much like your mom.  It’s never going to be perfect.

And that’s why we have guilt.

I love the way Jodi ended her essay.  It wasn’t with “You’ll Get Over It” – because the truth is, you NEVER get over it.  Not when your baby is 9 months old or 19 years old.  You learn to live with it.  You learn to get out of bed every morning in spite of the fact that you’re going to do something wrong.

And it all turns out okay.

My Last First Eyah Peya-cing (Ear Piercing)

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Granuaile, the child who obviously was switched at birth with a child from Boston, a belief I hold based solely on her accent, has decided she wants her ears pierced.  Actually, I’m sort of convinced she has been manipulated in some way by her big sister Eilis to get her ears pierced, but never the less, I find myself on a Friday afternoon at the Sweet and Sassy Store, asking to have them puncture holes in my youngest child.

She is so excited, she can barely contain herself, bouncing in the seat of the big chair that I am sure will soon look to Granuaile very much like the electric chair to someone with a death sentence.  I have to capture the excitement before the tears…

Snooki Light is in charge of our ear piercing, and she decides that in order to effect the damage to this little kid, her hair must first be pulled up.  As if the ear piercing isn’t going to be torture enough!

Granuaile actually got a bit nervous in the car, and asked how much this was going to hurt, so I was suprised to see her still smiling at this point.  But she was.  And she was perfectly still when Snooki had to mark her ears.


I am still waiting for the nerves to kick in and the tears to begin falling, then I gradually begin to realize that I may be the only one fighting back tears.  Granuaile is being a champ through all of this!

The tag team piercing takes a second, and we all stand there waiting for the crying to begin.  It doesn’t.  Snooki (my apologies to this dear girl, who bore an uncanny resemblance with her Jersey girl hair to Snooki – I’m sure she had a nice normal name like Sue or Ann or Mary) asks Granuaile if she wants to check herself out in the mirror, and Granuaile bounces out of the chair to be escorted to the mirror.  Snooki says to her, “Are you in some kind of shock?”  Granuaile answers no.  Does Granuaile even know what “some kind of shock” is?

When we are all finished admiring the sparkly blue earrings Granuaile chose, she is invited over to the Sweet and Sassy stage, where the paparazzi (Snooki again) will take some pictures of her.  She feels like quite the superstar.

Sweet and Sassy gives the kids a certificate, with the photo they took on stage attached, and Granuaile signs her certificate as if she is the President passing a law.  So cute.

Ummm, Snooki?  She’s five. She doesn’t know how to spell “The person I can’t wait to show my new earrings to is…”

And then we are done.  After we buy the Webkinz that she was promised she could have when her father thought this ear piercing would cause permanent psychiatric damage to our child.  Isn’t it wonderful how dads think that Webkinz can cure permanent psychiatric damage done to our child?

And the only one who cried was me.  I did good, though, waiting until we were in the car.  The first person she wanted to call was Brighid, my oldest child, who had the decency to cry along with me when she got her ears pierced when she was five.  Granuaile excitedly said to Brighid, “I got my eyahs peyaced!”  And I started crying.  I am going to miss those tiny little, puncture free ear lobes.  And some other things you miss when babies grow up.

Bribe = Breakthrough

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So as soon as she opened her eyes this morning, Granuaile started crying about not wanting to go to school.  No, really crying.  Not just fake, whiney stuff.  This was the real thing, real tears, real snot running down her nose.  Ewww to the visual on that.

We dropped Eilis off and I headed for my coffee.  I had bargained with her to please not cry so I could concentrate on my driving, and then asked her to please just be quiet until I ordered my coffee, and she not only did both, but she stayed quiet long enough for me to have a quick chat with Sandi at the drive-thru window.  We drove off towards school, and while she made the occasional request to please go home, she stayed reasonably quiet until we drove past the McDonald’s on the White Horse Pike.  Then she asked for a happy meal.  I figured this was the perfect opportunity to offer her a deal, and I took it.  I told her if she tried to eat her lunch at school or tried to eat her snack, I would take her to get a happy meal after school. 

Now why would a fat woman encourage a kid to behave by offering her food?  Well, first of all, she’s little, and she wanted a happy meal.  Secondly, she has not eaten breakfast or lunch for two days straight, and I’m worried about her.  And lastly, she’s little and cute.  But really, I figured it it worked, it might help in the long run, so I’m willing to risk the fat and calories in one happy meal.

We got to school, and I just started talking.  I pointed out the polar bear painted on the window of the school sitting on a block of ice.  We talked about how cold his hiney must be.  I talked about the snowman painted on the door and the calendar by the sign in sheet.  I told her I was punching in the code for the door alarm and I showed her the babies in the first room.  We found a poster with a boy with a butterfly on his nose and a classroom that had penguins on their door.  And in the classroom, although whimpering a bit, she voluntarily took her jacket off and helped me hang everything in her cubby.  She asked me to pick her up, which I did, and I kissed her, told her I loved her and told her I’d be back in a little while to take her for her happy meal.  She climbed down by herself – to the amazement of her teachers.  She ran to her “corner” and bent over to pick up a toy, just as I was getting ready to walk out, and when she saw me, she got hysterical crying, screaming for me not to leave her, and kicking and slapping at poor Miss Kelly.  I quickly walked out the door and prayed for the best.

And when I picked her up, they gave me a picture of smiling Grace that they captions “Look How Much Fun I Had Today”!  She was happily sitting on the floor playing when I arrived and she ran over to me with a big grin on her little face.  We gathered up all of her stuff, with her teachers telling her how proud they were of her today, and they told me that while she didn’t eat lunch, she did sit at the table, drink some juice, and she did eat a little snack after naptime.  Well worth a happy meal!

Of course, the first thing she said when we got into the car was, “I’m not going back to my school again!”

UGH

We Have Da-Da!!

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It was a weekend of firsts for Gracie.  She has had her first really bad cold – snotty nose, hoarse voice, coughing, sneezing, waking me up so I can’t rest kind of cold.  Lovely. 

Then we took her to the diner for dinner Sunday night (11/20) after we took Brighid to her party.  She got to sit for the first time in a high chair there – using a floppy seat (awesome invention, wish I had one for the other two http://www.floppyseat.com/.  She thought it was the coolest thing.  Up until now, she has been taken into the restaurant in her car seat, so she’s limited as to how much she can see.  She was spinning her head so quickly to see everything around her in the diner that she looked like Linda Blair in the Exorcist.  She stared at waitresses and patrons, looked at the various decorations, stared out the window – it was a great experience for her.  And in addition to her jar of baby food, she got to enjoy apple sauce and mashed potatoes. 

And during the dinner, clear as a bell, for I don’t know what reason, she said, “Da-da”.  Jim has been waiting for it since she was 10 minutes old, and I’m so glad he was there when she said it for the first time.  She has been saying it over and over since the first time, probably because it got such a big response the first time she said it. 

She’s trying hard to crawl, but does this sort of thing where she gets on all fours, then stands on her feet – like she’s playing Twister.  So cute.

I get sadder and sadder over the fact that she will be my last 🙁   I know it’s in the best interest of the family, but there is just such magic in small children.