Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mommy Rule #1 :To Thine Routine Be True

This is the first post in an occasional series I will be writing on the wisdom I gain while mothering the Sweet Pea. These are the Mommy Rules. However, I just want to state that these little gems are in no way being given as professional or medical advice. These are simply things I have learned or discovered that are true for me and the Sweet Pea. All children, especially babies, are different, as are mothering styles. This is just my take on the experiences I have with my child. I am not, I repeat, I am not telling anyone how to raise their child! (I just wanted to get that out of the way first.)

Mommy Rule # 1 : To Thine Routine Be True

The past few days I learned something very important about my darling child. She does not like changes in her routine in any way, shape, or form!!

Over the past few months, the Sweet Pea and I have established a pretty predictable routine and schedule. A typical day for the Sweet Pea looks a bit like this:

6:15-6:30 a.m wake up and have diaper changed
6:30-7:00 have first bottle of the day and cuddle with Mommy
7:00-8:00 play on mat, or in exersaucer, practice trying to crawl, or just roll all over
8:00-9:00 another diaper change
9:00-10:00 have cereal -make huge mess while being encouraged to feed self and drink from cup--laugh hysterically at mess-- enjoy food immensely
10:00 -11:00 play in back room with Mommy
11:00-11:30 usually nod off for a quick cat nap
11:30 -12:00 have a bottle and watch Sesame street episode while hanging out in chair or while mommy gets on treadmill--laugh hysterically at Mommy trying to work out
12:00 -1:00 another diaper change! More play time. Do baby art or play outside
1:00-- Lunch --make even bigger mess while eating and laugh at mess as Mommy tries to clean it up
2:00-3:00--run errands with Mommy if necessary or nod off for another quick cat nap
3:00-4:00 --have another bottle, another diaper change, hang out with Mommy in kitchen while she washes dishes or does laundry
4:00-5:00 Daddy is home! Spend time with Daddy and go on computer to Skype with Grandma and older sister who live in the mountains
5:00-6:00 Dinner time!
6:00-7:00 --wind down time, cuddle with mommy or daddy
7:00 -8:00- bath time, bottle, bed

Really that is a pretty typical day for her. And since I am a stay at home mom I can pretty much ensure that her routine doesn't ever go askew. Except for the last few days. I had to have a surgical procedure on Tuesday. So that meant on Monday I had to go over to the hospital for Pre-Admission Testing at 9 am. Thus our routine was shot to hell before lunch.

 Also, because we were at the hospital and my Lil Sweet Pea is a meatball who is not walking or crawling yet she had to stay confined to her car seat carrier. Since the Sweet Pea is just on the crux of being mobile -being confined to her carrier for almost four hours was I think a bit torturous for her. Now for the most part she was her usual, smiling, people happy self. She really did hold it together and did well. Even if she did have to take two bottles in her seat and couldn't really cuddle with Mommy.  However, it was when we got home that she just lost it completely. She just wanted to be held and not be put down. She was quick to cry and did not want to eat or play. Then I had to run out to the Pharmacy and pick up some medicine and when I put her back in the car seat she just lost it completely. It was an EPIC meltdown. I have never seen her lose it so bad before. Even the hubby, couldn't believe it. She was just a mess. It was heartbreaking for me because I knew the next day would throw her for even more of a loop.

And boy did it ever. We had to leave early for the hospital. So that threw her off. Then so did the fact that Daddy was home and with us. Then Mommy was in a hospital gown. Then Daddy was with her all day and Mommy was not. She was to say the least not a happy baby.

The procedure went well and Daddy came to get me at the hospital. But when Daddy left to go pull the car around and the nurse who was very kind tried to hold Sweet Pea while I got dressed--well all hell broke loose. Sweet Pea was having none of that. Even as groggy and dazed as I was I don't think I have ever pulled on clothes that fast in my life! I didn't even get in the wheelchair to be discharged I just carried the Sweet Pea out. Of course, as soon as I had her she was fine but then we had to put her in the car seat which lead to another epic meltdown all the way home.

When we got home hubby got me to bed and I pretty much slept for the rest of the afternoon while he dealt with the not too happy baby. She didn't even take one of her cat naps and refused to eat any food. She just took her bottles. Then last night at bed time she literally screamed herself to sleep. It was hellish.

The Sweet Pea definitely does not like her routines changed. I definitely know  now to try to keep her routine as close to normal as usual to ensure a relatively happy baby. Next time, something like this comes up that is going to disrupt more than a day for the Sweet Pea, I know to call for help or get a babysitter.

So lesson learned for this Mommy. To thine Routine be True.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Defending the Right To Be a Stay At Home Mother

I try very hard to steer clear of political issues on my blog. Not because politics doesn't interest me, it does. In fact, I actually minored in political science at WCU  before changing schools and my major. However, my zeal for a life in politics has waned. This blog's focus is on family and the life journey we are on.But that is neither here nor there. This post isn't about politics per se, but  the post was inspired by the debate sparked by a Democratic strategist by the name of Hilary Rosen.

Hilary Rosen was on Anderson Cooper's show and said the following "His wife has actually never worked a day in her life,” Rosen told Anderson Cooper. “She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and how do we — why we worry about their future.”

This statement has nothing to do with the current  political race and more to do with the assumption that because a woman chooses to stay home and raise her children she knows nothing about the outside world. When I heard this I could only ask myself "Why do women feel the need to tear down other women?"

 Ann Romney is not clueless simply because she is a mother who stayed at home. From my research on Ann Romney it appears she is quite well educated and well spoken.She attended Brigham Young university and received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University. She also continues to live a full and active life raising her boys even after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

 Furthermore, for Ms. Rosen to contend that Ann Romney has "never worked a day in her life" one can conclude that Ms. Rosen is unfamiliar with the trials and tribulations of raising one child, let alone five.  So for anyone who thinks staying at home and raising children is "easy" or makes us, as stay at home moms "lazy" or "uneducated" let me dispel that line of thinking. Staying home and raising a child is the hardest thing in the world. I taught in the elementary school system for over ten years, had classes with 30+ students and I never worked as hard as I do now staying home with my daughter. There are no breaks, there is no lunch hour, there are no days off,  no half days, no vacation, and there is no clocking out, because as a stay at home mother my job is NEVER done.

Let me tell you something, Ms. Rosen-- I worry everyday how I am going to feed my child, where I will send her to school, and what her future will be like. Just because I chose to stay at home does not make me an imbecile. I, not only, hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, I also hold an MBA (that would be a Masters in Business Administration). I understand the economic issues of the day even if I am not currently in the workforce. I am well versed on what is happening in this country. See, Ms. Rosen when you attacked Mrs. Romney and said those things about her, it is like you were saying it about all stay at home mothers because we made the choice not to go back to work after having our children. Your theory seems to be that because someone does not work they don't understand life. It seems to me Ms. Rosen, you are the one who doesn't understand life.

Staying at home is not a choice for everyone. I know plenty of mothers who make the choice to go back to work after having their child. That is a wonderful and noble choice. But it was not my choice. I would rather go without some luxuries or fancy vacations or new clothes for awhile and stay home with my little girl. But that is my choice. It doesn't mean it is the right choice for every woman who has a child. I would never expect it to be.

However, the tone of Ms. Rosen's argument on Anderson Cooper's show is that somehow being a stay at home mother makes Ann Romney someone who should not be taken seriously when she speaks. I find it insulting for someone to assume that because I am staying home with my child I can longer hold an intelligent conversation on the issues. Believe me when I say I can and will debate anyone on any number of subjects that pertain to today's issues and I will do it intelligently. I am not a moron because I choose to stay home with my child.

I can not speak for all mothers who stay at home, and honestly I am not trying to. It was just so disheartening when I read this story that a woman would go on the attack against another woman just because that woman chose to stay home. I am not saying Ms. Rosen is a bad person, but her comments were hurtful not just to Ann Romney but to me as well. Those words felt very much like an attack on the choice to stay home. In this day and age, I don't think I should have to defend my choice to stay home and raise my daughter. But if I need to then so be it.

I don't know what Ann Romney or any other stay at home mothers' reason would be to make the choice to not work but I can tell you my reason.  When I was 33 years old I was told by my doctors that it would be nearly impossible for me to conceive  a child due to my numerous and extremely serious health issues at the time. So, when I finally did get healthy and was miraculously able to conceive  and carry a baby to term I knew I could not just go back to work. This time at home is a gift. I am able to be here for every tear but also for every giggle. I work harder now than I ever did. I am in a state of constant exhaustion. But I love every minute of it. I am here to see all of my daughter's little "firsts", from her first belly laugh to her first time sitting up. I am here. For me, that is more important than any career move could be right now. But don't be fooled--I WORK my butt off everyday taking care of my bundle of joy. But I wouldn't trade it for the world.

                                           *I do adore my lil Sweet Pea!!!!*

It is my hope that as women, we can respect each others choices and support each other not tear each other down or try to one up each other on accomplishments. So in that vein, I leave you with the following to ponder:

"Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs... since the payment is pure love." -- Mildred B. Vermont 

 "Though motherhood is the most important of all the professions -- requiring more knowledge than any other department in human affairs -- there was no attention given to preparation for this office." -- Elizabeth Cady Stanton

All mothers are working mothers." -- Unknown 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Easter

Yesterday we took the Sweet Pea to the Coventry Mall to get her first picture with the Easter Bunny. As you can see she had no fear! She was all smiles for everyone--from the people and children in line, to the girl who took the pictures, and even big smiles for the cashiers at the end! Our Sweet Pea is such a people person! She loves to laugh and giggle with everyone around her!

This was such a "mommy milestone" kind of day for me. Mommy milestones are the moments that are big to me because it is the first time we do something with or for the Sweet Pea. They are sweet and joyful moments, but also a bit bittersweet too. Sweet Pea just had her first picture with the Easter Bunny so that is a "first moment" that we have experienced now. So while it is such a joyful moment it is also a bit sad because we had looked upon that moment with anticipation and now it is done. However, there are more "mommy milestones" for me to experience and many, many more "firsts" for the Sweet Pea to look forward and celebrate in the days ahead.

As we prepare for the Easter holiday, I can not believe the Sweet Pea is almost seven months old! It seems like it was just yesterday I was bringing her home from the hospital. Now just seven  short months later, she is sitting up by herself, drinking from her bottle all by herself, and doing so much more than I thought she would be! She amazes me everyday with the things she can do!  She was such a tiny, little bundle of joy and now she is my big,smiling ray of sunshine.

 Easter is especially meaningful for me this year because as a Catholic, I celebrate the risen Jesus as the Light of the World. I am  also celebrating because the Sweet Pea is my little light in this world too. She has brought me so much happiness I don't think I can ever adequately express it in words.

However, I do know that this Easter will be especially bright and especially wonderful because the Sweet Pea is here celebrating with us.

To everyone, whether you celebrate Easter or Passover, may you too rejoice in the joy the world can bring  with laughter,  with smiles, with songs, but  most of all,  let us rejoice through love.

Much luv!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Doctor Appointment Fun

I have lived in Pottstown for approximately three years. In those three years it never occurred to me to change my primary physician to a physician who practiced medicine in the town I live. Whenever, I was sick I would just call my old doctor's office, tell them my symptoms and hope to heck they wouldn't make me drive down for an in office visit. An in office visit meant a drive down 422 and then down 73 which is over an hour long. I hate driving into the city. Now with the arrival of the Sweet Pea it finally occurred to me to change doctors. So I did. To a practice right here in town. Less than five minutes from my home. Why did I not do this say oh three years ago???   

To tell the truth, I liked my old doctor alot. He was nice and he listened to his patients and took time to speak with you until you understood or felt comfortable with a diagnosis. But the problem was he was over an hours drive from me now and his practice is huge now and the wait times were atrociously long. Sometimes I would be waiting to see the doctor for over an hour and a half. It was just getting ridiculous. I could not handle the drive and the waiting with a six month old in tow. So it was time for a new doctor! Plus the fact that I have had the dry, scaly, itchy red swollen thing happening on my hand for over a month now and I was beginning to fear it was some weird flesh eating disease.

I have to admit going to the doctor has always felt like being sent to the Principal's office to me. I have had some really bad doctors in the past (this also explains my unwillingness to change doctors ) . I will admit that in my late twenties thru early thirties I had gained an enormous amount of weight and some not so nice doctors were very harsh with me about it. I literally had one former doctor say to me I "would never have children and if by some miracle I did get pregnant at that weight how would I take care of a child??"  Thus, I have some fears with new doctors and what they will say about my weight or my health Not that I am heavy in that regard anymore and I have changed my lifestyle to include healthy eating and regular exercise but still that fear lingers. 

So today was my first appointment with the new doctor and it went really well. Whew!! What a relief that was! I had a full physical and everything looked okay. The doctor was fine about everything and said I looked good! YAY!! 

But I do have to have some blood work done as a routine check because I may be a bit anemic. But all in all the first appointment at the new practice went really well. The staff were very nice and the doctor was very reassuring.

Oh, and the mystery ailment on my hand that I thought was a flesh eating disease??? Just eczema.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hubby's Birthday Celebration

Yesterday was the hubby's birthday! There he is with the Sweet Pea! Isn't he handsome?

Hubby turned 46 (and yes he is older than me--almost ten years older!) I always joke that I am his trophy wife. Ha!  But it is true in a roundabout way.  The hubby was married before and he does have two other daughters who are 16 and 19 years old respectively.  Now he is married to me with a six month old so technically I suppose that makes me the "trophy" wife!

In honor of his birthday the Sweet Pea and I bought him gifts that appeal to his nature. I bought him a pressure cooker that he has been eyeing up at the store for months now. The hubby is a fantastic chef and the kitchen is wholly his domain! I gladly stay out of the kitchen as cooking is just not my forte. I am a total disgrace to my Italian heritage in that regard. But back tot he hubby and his birthday celebration. He was very excited about the pressure cooker and wants to get a pot roast this weekend to try cooking in it. IRON CHEF here we come!!!

The Sweet Pea bought her Daddy a video game called Punch Out since he is equally obsessed with playing video games since we bought the Wii at Christmas. He was just as excited about that and played the Wii for over an hour last night! So yay the Sweet Pea and I did good!!

But honestly, I think the thing that hubby was most excited about was the fact that we took him out to dinner at the Shady Maple Smorgasbord. It is a buffet type restaurant but its amped up on steroids! This is what their website wrote as the description of the place:

"Shady Maple is a family tradition! Discover the experience of dining at Lancaster County's largest smorgasbord featuring 200 feet of deliciously authentic Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. At Shady Maple some of Lancaster County's finest cooks prepare all your favorite PA Dutch foods, as well as some exciting new dishes. Be sure to check our daily dinner specials including steak, prime rib, seafood and more."

Check out their website at

(And no I am not being paid to endorse this place--we just love it that much!)

The food is so good! This place is huge! 200 feet of food!!!!! There are so many different things to try--honestly the first time I went I was so overwhelmed I did not know where to start!

The hubby was excited because not only was it his birthday and his dinner was free (yay!) but it was also steak night! So he was able to get his steaks and prime rib! YUM!

And of course the Sweet Pea was her usual friendly self smiling at everyone at making friends with all the people who walked by our table! Everywhere we go the Sweet Pea makes friends! She loves people!

So overall, I think the Sweet Pea and I did a good job of making the hubby's birthday nice! And that makes me smile! So Happy Birthday to the Hubby!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

My Blog is Now a Part of the Pottsmerc Time Square!!

This is incredibly exciting for me! My blog will now be a part of a large group of bloggers in the Pottstown area through our newspaper and its online component. I am so excited to be a part of this group of writers. It feels as if my writing dreams are slowly becoming real. I can not wait to be able to go to a meet up and  actually meet some of the bloggers whose work I have admired reading for so long and now I am a part of this group as well!!