Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday-- I am Proud and Horrified all at Once

And before anybody calls me an unfit mother, he picked the outfit himself and I only let him listen to the edited version. :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Top Ten Pictures of Kai I Love

Cutie in his suit
Sweet squishy baby
First time feeling sand on his feet
Even super heroes stop to smell the flowers

Angry Kai
Ready to hike in the mountains

Goodnight Moon baby

Love this bath piccture
Mr. Blue Eyes
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Monday, February 25, 2013


While perusing facebook the other day, I came across this post at Renegade Mothering.  It is a whole lot of brutal honesty about how losing your previous identity truly hurts once you become a mother.  I was so glad to stumble upon that post.  I felt this exact way when Destructo was born and it really made me feel like I was one step away from the looney bin.  (My postpartum depression probably didn't really help matters either.)

In my case, it didn't fully hit me until we came home from the hospital and my parents left for the day.  It was just me, Mr. Destructo, and Kai.  I was suddenly completely overwhelmed and nearly lost. I actually nearly cried when my mom left that day (and all the days that followed for a while.)  I didn't know what to do with this fragile looking little baby.  And to be totally honest, I didn't really want to do anything with him that didn't involve me sleeping.  If you have read my birth story, then you know why sleep was so vitally important.  After 92 hours awake and 74 hours in labor, I just wanted silence and darkness.

But as is the case with newborns, he had his days and night mixed up.  Mr. Destructo ended up sleeping with him in the recliner so I could rest.  I was out like a light and hated when Mr. Destructo woke me up to tell me Destructo was hungry.  It wasn't like he was going to eat anyways since he wouldn't latch.  The next day, Mr. Destructo had to go and run errands and family wasn't around just yet.  He left me with Kai.  All by myself.  ALONE.  I remember Kai was fussing and I couldn't get him to latch on and I knew he was going to die from hunger and he hadn't had a wet diaper all day and I was on the phone with the pediatrician and....

In that moment, I just knew I had made a huge mistake.  I was not cut out to be a mother and to raise a child.  But yet, what could I do about it since Destructo was already here?  I questioned my sanity.  Life had been fulfilling and good before.  Peaceful.  Why had I felt like I needed to have more than what I already had which was my good, quiet life with Mr. Destructo and the dog.

A few weeks down the road I remember asking Mr. Destructo if he was happier now than before we had kids.  Until about 2 months time, this is a question I would ask regularly.  And if I am being honest, I know it is because I wanted him to say he was less happy now since I was.  I just wanted to sleep when I wanted to, eat when I wanted to, pee in peace.  I wanted to be able to go out to eat at a moments notice.  Sit on my butt and cut coupons all day while watching Hoarders on TLC to make me feel better about my cluttered house.  Go ride horses.  But I don't think new parenthood affects fathers quite to the extent that it does mothers.  Mothers are responsible for nourishing this child and in that aspect (unless they formula feed) are never far from their babies for any long periods of time.  Which can make you feel so claustrophobic.

Then Mr. Destructo went to work and it was just me and the baby after the first few weeks once the family had to go back to their regularly scheduled lives.  It was quiet and oh so boring.  But to go anywhere was a massive undertaking.  Plus at the time Destructo still wasn't nursing well so I was pumping and it was such a hassle to go anywhere because by the time we would get there, he would be hungry and I would have to pump and neither of these works well in public.  Add in the sheer exhaustion I still felt and I mainly stayed at home.  Most days I got nothing accomplished but keeping the kid alive and occasionally remembering to feed the dog.  Looking back this is all that really mattered but at the time I felt like a huge failure when Mr. Destructo would come home from work to a sink full of dishes, neither of us dressed, and chaos descending upon our household.  Oh and no dinner on the table, stove, oven, etc.  There was never any dinner.  And one day I even made him come in the back door because Kai hadn't slept all day and was finally asleep close to the front door.

I literally felt like I was in mourning for my old life.  And this makes sense looking back because the old me had died.  I would never again be not a mom.  The universe doesn't  work that way.  To the day I die, I will always be Destructo's momma.  Which is heady and awesome and absolutely utterly terrifying all at once.

But that doesn't mean I didn't want to keep some shreds of my old self.   I wanted to go out and garden and pull weeds.  I missed horse back riding.  I missed training the dog to do random weird tricks just because I had time to kill.  I missed bird watching.  I even missed grocery shopping without worrying about getting back in time for my next session as a milk cow.  I missed being able to go bra less.  I was tired of wearing pads of one sort or another.  I hated my flabby stomach.  I hated my sore clogged duct boobs.  I hated that the dog irritated me just because she existed and was one more responsibility for me.
House finches at one of my feeders

But around six weeks this all started to change.  Destructo smiled at me at four weeks and I melted.  How could someone so little and so darn needy suddenly just transform my day?  At six weeks, I finally had a bit of a routine and rhythm going.  Maybe I could handle this mother thing after all.  At times, we were both dressed (okay that's a lie I never get dressed unless I am leaving the house,)  dog was fed and had water, and there was even dinner (or at least a plan for dinner) by the time Mr. Destructo came home from work.

By about twelve weeks in, I had this stay at home mom thing down.  I was loving life.  And then I had to go back to work.  And once I again, I felt like a huge failure all over again.  My house was messier than ever before.  I mean nearly to the point of unsanitariness.  I felt like the walls were closing in on me all over again.  The best moments of my week were spent with Destructo.  I detested going to work with the fires of a thousand suns.  But with time even this hatred eased up and I settled into a routine.

Work was a good thing for me even if my ultimate goal is to be a stay at home mom in the future.  It gave me back a sense of normalcy.  My work bestie really helped me out in this aspect.  She was the one who was there for me on those hard first days back.  In fact, on my very first day back she nearly knocked me over in her exuberant hug.  She was there for me on the sleepless night days when I thought I couldn't rock this working mom thing.  She was there to distract me when I was weaning from being a milk cow and my boobs hurt horribly and all I wanted was a bread bowl at Panera.  I truly believe God puts people in your life at the right time for a reason and she and I went through a lot of crap together in the time she was here.  Sob I miss my bestie.  But that was a bit of a tangent that I wasn't trying to go down.  Haha  Long story short, work helped me to remember at least momentarily who I was before my heart got stolen by a tornado of a little boy.

Life as a mommy is hard.  Exhausting.  But oh so good.  I miss my old self nearly to the point of tears.  But this new self is truly what I was meant to be.  I hold little hands and wipe away tears.  I soothe fears and calm tantrums.  Even when I go off to work every day, I leave my heart behind and my mind is always on what Destructo is doing.  Instead of buying new things that I want like bird books, dog toys, cute outfits for me, I like to buy train toys, tractor books, and shirts with things that have wheels.  And let me just say, I eat a heck of a lot healthier than I used to since I have to share all my food with Destructo.  Well except my Reese eggs.  I might or might not have been eating one in my car in my driveway in the dark yesterday to avoid sharing it. 

A good day used to be a blissful horse back ride complete with a gallop through an open field.  Or bird watching and trying to catch a bird I have never seen before.  I once spent an entire day doing a backyard bird watcher count.  An entire day at my window cataloging all the birds I saw.  And it was amazing.  I used to wake up to the sound of the birds and would open up my blinds to watch them eat at my feeders while lounging in bed.  Now a good day consists of walking to see the big blue truck, seeing a train while we are grocery shopping, and blowing more bubbles than I ever care to blow.  The sounds I hear when I wake up are no longer the birds outside but the sounds of airplanes, trains, trucks, and diggers all coming from a sweet little boy over the monitor.  Lounging in bed nowadays consists of cuddling with Destructo as I bribe him to let me rest just a few more minutes with Daniel Tiger on the smart phone.
Cool picture of a yellow rumped warbler eating suet

I used to go out with friends and drink and shoot pool and dance on bars.  Okay this was more like a one time thing except for the shooting pool.  But I did dance/sway on a bar one time at Coyote Ugly and I have the picture to prove it.  Now dancing consists of jumping/ skipping/ and twirling to whatever fast beat song comes on the radio and hearing more momma and  up up up since dancing with momma is so much more fun than by yourself.  Drinking now consists of a Route 44 cherry coke.  Hey a momma has to have her caffeine fix every day to keep up with a whirlwind named Destructo.

Would I go back to the old days before Destructo?  Nah.  Life is far more fun with him around and while motherhood can be the loneliest of all professions, I am never alone.  Okay maybe I would go back for a day just to remember who I used to be since I truly can't remember what I used to be or do before him.  But I wouldn't stay long.  There will come a day when the boat is rocked all over again and I have to refind myself as a mother when we have a second child.  (And yes this is why I seriously consider letting Destructo being an only child.  Life is good right now.  He sleeps most nights and isn't completely dependent on me anymore.  My boobs are my own again!  haha)  But even further down the road, once the children are grown and gone I will still be figuring out who I am.  Maybe then I will get to enjoy staring at birds all day.  Or maybe I will want to go sky diving who knows!  But only time will tell what the future holds for me.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

What Traits make a Spirited Child "Spirited"?

The book I found most useful in helping me to understand and learn to handle Kai's spiritedness was Raising your Sprited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.
I can't recommend this book enough.  The first two sentences state "The word that distinguishes spirited children from other children is more.  They are normal children who are more intense, persistent, sensitive, perceptive, and uncomfortable with change than other children" (Kurcinka, 9.)

How does it feel to raise a spirited child you might ask?  Well from personal experience I can tell you it is embarrassing, utterly exhausting, at times even mind numbing.  As the book says, "You feel weary, drained, and much too old for this... It's hard to love a child that keeps you up at night and embarrasses you in shopping centers."  It also says, "On the bad days, being the parent of a spirited child is confusing, frustrating, taxing, challenging, and guilt-inducing.  You may wonder if you are the only parent with a child like this..." (Kurckinka,10.)

But on the other hand, it is also awe inspiring, amazing, and quite humorous. Kai never ceases to make me laugh even when he is in big trouble.  I am amazed at how intelligent he is and how many things he notices that I don't even see anymore.  "On the good days, being the parent of a spirited child is astounding, dumbfounding, wonderful, funny, interesting, and interspersed with moments of brilliance" (Kurcinka, 10.)

There is a quiz you can take that breaks spiritedness into nine categories.  These categories are intensity, persistence, sensitivity, perceptiveness, adaptability,regularity, energy, first reaction, and mood.  Those with spirited kids can take this very quiz at this link:  Take it and let me know where your spirited kids rank high!  This link also has many other good resources for parents of spirited children.

Kai scores a 5 on the intensity scale.  He is dramatic and has never been one to just cry.  He shrieks, wails, hits, screams when he is angry or upset.  When happy, he loudly yells, laughs, talks.  He is pure loudness.  Another aspect to intensity is how easily frustrated your child gets.  Kai gets very frustrated, very quickly.  He can be happily playing with a toy and then start throwing it and crying when he can't figure something out.  Even at just 2.5 months, he was intense.  I was letting him put his toes in the jacuzzi tub on vacation and when I stopped to take him in and lay him down he erupted in shrieks so loud that they could have woken the dead.  It was a very newborn version of his tantrums today.

He is very high in persistence.  He is not redirected unless he chooses to be.  No is not an acceptable answer to anything ever.  When he feels he has been wronged (or the wind blows the wrong way,) he can tantrum for over an hour. Heck he has even went down for a nap tantruming and woke up right back into the tantrum.  Last night for example, he wanted to watch train videos on youtube since that is his current fascination.  Our internet was being too slow and kept freezing up.  He screamed and tantrumed for two straight hours with the only legible words in that time being train trackksssss and Michela (my bestie who he loves skyping with and who conveniently to him rides a train twice a day.)  Then like a light switch when he decided he was over it 2 hours and 15 minutes later, he started shrieking with joy and turning circles and laughing hysterically.  We were left staring with our mouths hanging open at what had just transpired.

 The other category he ranks very high in is energy.  He is always moving, even in his sleep.  He prefers running to walking and is always spinning in circles, climbing up and down the couch, riding the dog.  This is the reason church is such a challenge for him.  He hates to be still or confined for even a few minutes and an hour is pure torture for him.  His behavior is much better days that we have play dates or go to the park or the bounce house.  It can be very challenging on rainy or cold days.

He is in the middle of the scales in all the other categories.  Perceptiveness I mentioned earlier in that he notices everything.  He sees the moon when it out in the daytime.  He noticed ants on the sidewalk.  He never misses a single plane that goes overhead.  He also can hear the planes and trains even when we are inside and will point the noise out to me.  The other notable category is regularity.  He was a horrible sleeper until after a year old and even now is a very light sleeper and still wakes up at least once a week where I have to assist him in going back to sleep.  One thing that is a bit nice is he is only a 2 in first reaction and mood which means he is fairly quick to jump in with only a bit of hesitation in new situations and in a good mood more often that not (you know when he isn't  throwing fits haha.)


Some of the other women on my panel had examples of how their kids are spirited as well.

Camile said:
Wow, I'm looking at this list and Kaylee has so many of these traits. The ones that describe her the most are probably stubborn, obstinate, single-minded, and easily bored. (Although we like to put a positive spin on it and say she's persevering, dedicated, intelligent, and things like that.) An example of this would be whenever she gets a new toy. From an early age, she'd get a toy and become fixated on it until she mastered it. The first time we got her a jigsaw puzzle, she played with it all day, putting it together over and over with new techniques until she could put it together in 1 minute. But after that day, it was boring to her, and she never wanted to do it again. Also, if she is interrupted while doing an activity, she throws a major fit. And her fits can last HOURS! Yesterday, she had to get a blood test, and the lady told me not to worry because she would forget about it in a minute. I just laughed. Kaylee proceeded to cry for the next 2 hours, pausing only to elaborately express her feelings about a lady she didn't know poking her and taking her blood against her wishes. And it was only one of those finger prick tests, lol!  (Kaylee surely scores very high on the persistence scale.)

Fred said:

Melissa asked me to write a little bit about my daughter, Charlotte, and her spirited nature.  Charlotte is 3 ½ and has always given her dad and me a run for our money, from the day she came home as our foster child at 2 days old!  (We finalized her adoption at 13 months, if you’re curious).  She is SO fun to be around, and life is certainly never dull when she’s nearby, but parenting her is certainly a challenge.  I thought I’d take a look at all the temperament traits that “spirited” kids tend to have, tell you how Char scores on a scale of 1-5, and maybe tell a story or two about each. 

Intensity:  On a scale of 1 to 5, I would only rank Char at about a 4.  She can be loud and boisterous, but she can be reigned in when she needs to be, as long as she isn’t overstimulated.

Sensitivity:  This one, she definitely ranks a 5.  We’ve actually had her evaluated for sensory issues multiple times.  She is a “sensory seeker”, meaning she is always craving most stimuli (the only ones she shies away from is sound and texture; she is very sensitive to loud noises and is always covering her ears and she is sensitive to clothing fit and feel).  Running, swinging, sliding, twirling, and especially CLIMBING!  She has been a climber since well before she could walk, always using her toys in ways they definitely weren’t intended. 
At 15 months, she pulled the drawers in the highboy out and used them like stair steps while I was in the bathroom.  If you think you have a sensitive kiddo, you DEFINITELY want to bolt EVERYTHING to the walls!  In fact, my husband and I recently converted our bonus room into a sensory gym of sorts with a climbing dome, a mini trampoline, a textured giant bean bag we call the “crash bag”, a balance board, a gymnastics bar, and a rope ladder that she uses both to climb and to swing on.  Also, the child never, ever wears socks, except at Monkey Joe’s where they are required.  A fact she bemoans every time, and we have to take a long time getting the seams to line up just right for her toes. 

And one BIG challenge we’ve seen from this is that she gets overstimulated really easily.  Crowds, noises, lights, etc are really a challenge.  Trying to go somewhere like a shopping mall at Christmastime or a theme park is really difficult.  Her default overstimulated behaviors are running, whining/crying/general bad mood, pulling away when we try to grab her arm to keep her from running, and yelling.  Containing her is tough because she won’t want to be carried, but not containing her is not an option because it happens in open, crowded areas.  To be quite honest, we just avoid these situations as much as possible, and introduce them in small doses when we’re prepared to leave early about once or twice a year to see how she handles it.  This one is definitely improving over time (for example, we CAN go to Monkey Joe’s now where once upon a time we could not), but slowly.  I don’t see us trying a place like Walt Disney World for several years yet.

Perceptiveness:  Ah, yes, this is becoming a real challenge as she is in preschool.  I rank her a 5 for sure.  She has trouble napping when it isn’t completely dark and devoid of all motion around her, which means at best she naps 15 minutes at school.  Concentration on her “work” at school or home is also a problem.  She is highly distractible, when it benefits her.  The thing that seems to set her apart from a child with ADD or ADHD is that she can absolutely concentrate, when it suits her best.  Which brings us to Persistence.

Persistence:  The ages of 11 months to 16 or so months were the absolute worst for me as a parent.  Charlotte was SO precocious in a lot of ways, and it truly felt like the “Terrible Twos” had happened a solid year early in our house.  In fact, I still kind of believe that to be the case.  When Charlotte wanted something, Charlotte figured out a way to make it happen.  Even as early a 2 days old, when I laid her down on her blanket for her first “tummy time”, she actually lifted her head up and turned it around and laid it down on the other cheek so she could look at me as I had moved across the room.  At 14 months, she wanted to go outside at daycare, but it wasn’t time to go outside.  She had started saying “Sigh ow” for “outside”, and she apparently said it forcefully several times, but of course her teachers ignored her.  So, she waited for the teacher’s back to turn, went over to the little tables, pushed one of the itty bitty toddler chairs over to the back door, stood on top of it and opened the dead bolt, pushed the chair out of the way, and opened the door… and then encouraged her friends to go outside with her. 

More recently, an indoor playground opened up and started offering drop in child care, where they assign a person to watch over the kids.  Sounded like a great opportunity for my husband and me to catch a matinee movie.  Well, this playground also hosts birthday parties, and they were setting everything up for a “pirate party” that day.  Charlotte was caught peeking under the tent.  She went back to playing.  Then she told her male caregiver that she needed to go to the bathroom, opened the bathroom door, waited for his back to turn, darted out and into the birthday tent, climbed UNDER the table where the blue cupcakes were, reached up into the back of the table (because she’s smart enough to know they would be less noticeable if missing from the back), took two cupcakes, again waited for the attendant’s back to turn, and went back into the bathroom and ate the cupcakes.  When she had been “in the bathroom” for about 5 minutes, her caregiver asked the female owner to go check on her in the girl’s room.  When she did, she found Charlotte covered head to toe in BLUE.  She said, “Charlotte, why are you blue?”  Charlotte, completely deadpan, said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”  So the owner took her over to the mirror and showed her, and Char again said very seriously, “See, I’m not blue.”  I only know the details of the theft because the owner went onto the videotape and saw exactly what she did.  When we came to pick her up, I asked if she was allowed to come back.  The owner (who, incidentally, happened to be a former private investigator as well as a former prosecuting attorney) said, “Oh, no, you have to bring her back because I find the criminal mind so fascinating.”  So, yeah, for persistence, I give my girl about 100 on a scale of 1 to 5!

Adaptability:  On a scale of 1 to 5, I would rank Char at about a 4.  She has some trouble with transitions, but now that we recognize the trouble, we can help ease her through it.  I have found that, while there is NO cure for her persistence (and I’m not entirely sure I want there to be, to be honest, because it above all else will serve her really well some day), if we really work on warning Charlotte of what is going to happen, she adapts fairly well.  We can certainly predict that days where something is different, like a field trip at school or a teacher out sick or a new kid starting, her behavior is likely to be more challenging, but we are able to work with her on it. 

Regularity:  On a scale of 1 to 5, I give Char a 1.  She actually is a pretty regular kid, which is certainly helpful.

Energy:  On a scale of 1 to 5, she certainly earns a 5 here.  Or at least a 4, as she has slowed down a LITTLE bit in the last year or so.  She thrashed around as an infant, crawled early and FAST, cruised early and often, ran early, jumped early, and just never slowed down.  She even thrashes around in her sleep!  Her preschool teacher actually asked me if she had been energetic in the womb, but of course I wasn’t there.  I am going to guess YES as she certainly had energy as a newborn (part of which is explainable by withdrawals from the drugs she was exposed to, but not entirely).

First Reaction:  Char generally has a positive first reaction.  She is friendly with strangers, and she jumps into new situations with both feet (sometimes literally).  In fact, she is so gung ho about it that I almost think it’s a spirited trait of hers, just in the opposite direction from most!

Mood:  I’m going to give her about a 3 on mood.  She’s a reasonably happy kiddo.  She has grumpy mornings, but doesn’t everyone? 

If you’re keeping score, out of a possible 45, Charlotte scores a 33, with 29+ being “spirited”.  A couple of years ago, she probably would have scored close to 40, so there is definitely improvement.  Sometimes it’s tough to know if SHE’S changing in terms of spiritedness, or if WE are just getting better at meeting her needs and anticipating and thus avoiding possible trouble spots.  Either way, it’s a lot of fun to be Charlotte’s mom, and I wouldn’t change a thing… except maybe try to work less so I could rest more!

One more comment:  I know it can be easy to label our kids with words like “stubborn”, “pigheaded”, “hyperactive”, “wild”, etc, but the truth is that most of these traits have the ability to help your child succeed in life.  A confident child who likes things her own way may be less likely to fall into peer pressure.  An energetic and persistent child may focus that energy into a project that could become an amazing invention or develop an incredible talent.  We see our job as the need to help Charlotte learn to channel her unique traits into talents that will help her, rather than applying negative labels as much as possible.

Susan says:
I didn’t score A on all of the traits because honestly I’m a bit terrified of what her final score would be . I am not at all shocked though that she scored 5 out of 5 for Intensity and Energy. Intense and energetic are a wonderful way to describe her and her personality. I often joke with friends that she is “go go go” from the time she wakes up to the time she goes to bed and that she has one volume…LOUD! But it’s true. She wakes up at 6am (or earlier) and is ready for the day and literally runs down the hallway to my bedroom and jumps on my bed and is ready to go! The problem with her insane amount of energy is that it distracts her from things like looking where she is going. So in the process of running downstairs she will trip or run into a wall and then we meet the intensity. The loud wail when she gets hurt…either physically or emotionally. Then we meet it again with breakfast. We either get the loud exclamation of joy that she gets to eat what she wants for breakfast or the loud exclamation of distaste that she can’t have tacos for breakfast.
This continues all day every day. If she’s not asleep she’s moving. If she’s not 100% happy she’s screaming. And if she is 100% happy she wants everyone to know about it! So more or less it would be a good idea to invest in a bunch of ear plugs!
The other day I was out to lunch with a friend. I was literally chasing A around the restaurant and she was screaming all because I was trying to put a coat on her. Most of the time I don’t even bother with trivial things like coats (if she’s cold she will ask for it) But with a temp of -5 outside I figured it was worth the fight. She also figured it was worth a fight. I love that she knows what she wants. I think it will be beneficial for her when she’s older, but damn, right now it’s exhausting for me!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Ten Most Embarassing Moments in Public with Destructo

Having a spirited, loud, and quite exuberant child has led to many embarrassing moments for this mommy over the 21.5 months of Destructo's life.  Here is a list of the top ten embarrassing moments in my quest for world domination with Destructo.  (Okay in all actuality these are just the ones I remembered while typing this post.  Destructo's spirited behavior causes embarrassment nearly every time I take him in public.  I am starting to become slightly immune to the looks I get from horrified on lookers.)

1)  This Sunday at a local Catholic church near you  Destructo preached a fine sermon about the trains out the doors of the church.  The trains that don't pass by the church within a number of miles.  He also got quite riled up with me and other people who wouldn't look out the door and pay attention to the imaginary trains with him.

Add to this the fact that he was rolling around in the floor, crawling around like a baby, attempting to run away from me every other minute, making train sounds, and trying to peace be with you well before it was time and this momma left at Communion.  To which Destructo proceeded to scream bye byeeeee byeeeee to everyone as we left the premises.  Destructo one, mommy zero.

2)  A few weeks ago at church... hey wait do you guys notice a pattern here?  (Actually I already wrote a post about my church woes, check it out here.)  Anyways back to my story, Destructo noticed my brother in law as we walked into church late of course.  We are always late because for some reason Destructo saves his worst tantrums for shoes and coat time on Sunday mornings.  I swear I am going to take him bare footed one week.  He saw his uncle and started bellowing whoa whoa whoa whoa which is a game they have.  I let him go sit with them and for half the mass actually was able to pay attention to church.  At some point, I whispered to Mr. Destructo geez whose kid is that and why can't his parents control him?

At some point, he came back to sit with us.  I cried a bit on the inside.  He acted horribly and demanded treats and finally church ended.  Not before he ran up the middle aisle after he got by me since I was moving incredibly slow since it was the day after my 5K and I was super sore.  He got almost all the way to the altar too.  Then when the priest put his hands up for the final blessing of the congregation, Destructo screamed out "Touchdown!!!!!!!!!"  Ahh my son.  I found this hilarious and embarrassing all together.

3)  Moving away from church because I promise you every single Sunday is an embarrassing moment, was the time he got lost at Toys R Us.  We were walking to find Mr. Destructo and Destructo was mad because I told him he couldn't have a pouch until we got to the car.  So he was mad, wouldn't hold my hand, I had my hands full anyways.  He took off when I turned my head for two seconds.  I thought he had run to Mr. Destructo and went that way.  Nope he had went the other way.

No biggie.  Surely he was on one of the aisles immersed in some cool toy.  Nope.  He was waiting at the front door, screaming dadaaaa.  I grabbed him and asked him why he ran away.  He gave me his best pouty frowny face and said "Pouch."  Yep he ran away because I refused to let him eat a fruit pouch that we hadn't paid for.  Once I got over the panic that he could have gotten kidnapped/ lost/ hit by a car, I had to admire his thought process.  The crazy woman won't give me a pouch, I will just take my own dang self to the car.

4)  The time I had to change Kai's diaper in a parking lot at the beach on our way home from Destin.  He was a poop butt and I had to change him.  Normally I just change him on the car seat, but he threw such a fit I had to lay him down on the sand in the parking lot and change him with on lookers stopping to check out the mom who surely judging by his screams and thrashing had to be beating the child.

5)  Both times I have met up with my photographer friend Jenny to take pics for her portfolio.  Kai has acted like a complete hellion and not cooperated in the least.  The first time, he acted like getting close to me would cause him to burst into flames and walked a nice 100 feet behind me the entire time.  The second time he refused to smile and kept asking her Why or telling her no when she would say smile.  And yet she wants to use him a third time.  Woman is crazier than me I tell ya!
Smile Kai.  This is the look we got.
So cooperative

6)  Anytime I am forced to take him in public wearing Crocs in the winter that are two sizes too small and have Thomas the train on them.  Pair it with his orange Daniel tiger hat and my kid is styling.
7)  We were eating at a local restaurant and Destructo decided he was not going to sit in a high chair, nor was he going to eat. He decided his fruit looked good and would not put a single bite of pizza (his favorite food) in his mouth to get the fruit which we had asked him to do.  He screamed the entire hurried meal and kicked and sobbed.  Thank goodness this time we were at least on the patio not in the restaurant.  Restaurants are another embarrassment source.  I have actually had a hostess come hold Kai up front because she felt so bad for me and wanted me to get to eat.  I will throw a thousand kudos out to the Mexican restaurant we like because they are amazing with Kai!

8)  Our last shopping trip to Essex.  Kai was tired and was insane.  He was running all over the store, climbing out of the cart, and at one point was using a display of duct tape as projectile weapons to keep me from grabbing him and containing his glee.  Add in a nice display of rolling around on the dirty floors and you have the full effect.

9)  When Destructo was just an itty bitty, I was nursing him in the car on the way home from vacation.  He was not a good nurser in public and would pop on and off the boob as he got distracted.  Well a guy happened to walk by and looked directly in where I was nursing Kai sans cover.  Now this isn't enough to embarrass me since nursing in public never bothered me, but the poor guys reaction actually made me feel embarrassed more for him than anything.  He apologized a million times and actually walked in a circle around the car instead of continuing by the window.

10)  Finally, Mr. Destructo got hurt at work and I got a call at 4 AM to come to the hospital last May.  I didn't nurse Destructo before I left since I didn't want to wake him up so early.  I had my pump with me so no big deal.  Well we weren't in a room for the longest time so I couldn't pump and by the time he was moved, we met with the doctors and so on.  Well Destructo was crying to nurse by this point, so my parents brought him to me at the hospital.

I hadn't leaked in forever since Destructo was a year old by this point.  Yeah that was the day I leaked all over the place.  I had to steal my mom's hoodie and wear it the entire rest of the day even though it wasn't cold and then I smelled nasty.  It was awful.  But hey what is motherhood if it isn't glamorous? 

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Monday, February 18, 2013

First Real Conversation with Destructo

So while we were driving this past week, Destructo and I were chatting.  Nothing abnormal there.  But for once I wasn't just talking to him and maybe getting one word answers back.  Here is a transcript of said convo:

Me:  Destructo do you know who is watching you tomorrow?

Destructo:  Grammmaaaa

M:  No, grandpa is coming tomorrow.

D:  Dada wook (work).   Mama wook.  Monk come.  (Monk is what he calls my dad.  My dad always called him monkey so Kai teasingly started calling my dad Monk.  We told my dad he better think long and hard about nicknames for future kids.)

D:  Monk Baby Bye Bye.  Pizz (pizza).  Teets (Treats.) 

Mr. Destructo and I sat there through Destructo's whole speech amazed at just how much he was able to say.  He told us exactly how his Thursday was going to go.  Isn't it amazing how quickly kids go from a handful of words to talking in small sentences?   I just love it.

Oh and to make a very destructive weekend (three things broken just yesterday) worth it, Mr. Destructo got Kai to say love you to me for the first time.  It sounds like lub ooo.  But still.  It is quite possibly the cutest and most sweet thing I have ever heard my entire life. 

Who wouldn't love that face?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Guest Post-- Preventing Type 2 Diabetes with Diet and Exercise

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes with Diet and Exercise

February is National Heart Month.  Normally, I wouldn’t have such a personal connection to this campaign, but that all changed when my young cousin was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes this past November. According to Syracuse’s St. Joseph’s Cardiac Hospital, serious illnesses such as neurological problems and heart disease can develop from untreated diabetes. My family has made many changes to get my cousin on track to a healthier lifestyle, as well as prevent any of my other cousins from developing the disease. Now that it’s National Heart Month, what better time than now to work with your family on some of these preventative measures?

Exercise and healthy eating are the keys to keeping the heart healthy.  They also help manage and prevent diabetes. Here are a few tips from my family to yours:

Tips for Healthy Eating
1. Buy lots of veggies and fruit to have around the house.  When you  
     bring them home, wash and chop them right away.  If they are ready
     to eat, both kids and adults are more likely to make a quick salad or
     snack with them, or even a quick and easy  meal.
2. Try to eat food in its original form.  For example, eat an orange rather
     than drinking orange juice from concentrate – which tend to contain
3. Keep tangerines, grapes, and other fruits around the house to satisfy
     cravings for sweets.
4. Use a Smartphone app like My Fitness Pal or Fooducate to help you  
     with food choices.  Many of these apps are free!

The American Diabetes Association has several recipes on their website.  Here is one to try:

Chili Lime Shrimp
1 t. olive oil
4 scallions, chopped
¼ cup lime juice
1 T. minced garlic
1 T. Splenda brown sugar blend
1 t. garlic-chili sauce
9 oz. peeled, raw shrimp

To Make:
Add olive oil to skillet.  Sautee scallions for 3 minutes.  Whisk together the rest of the ingredients except the shrimp.  Pour mixture into skillet.  Sautee for 3 minutes.  Add shrimp.  Sautee for 3 minutes. Serve!

Easy Fitness Tips
1.        Vow never to take the elevator again.  You can burn hundreds of
calories a month taking the stairs.
2.        Get a family membership to your local gym.
3.        Try out different types of fitness until you find something you
like.  Fitness can be fun when you find the right type of exercise –
we have tried Yoga, Zumba and Pilates and the kids love them!
4.        Schedule family fitness events.  You can have a backyard game
day, go bowling or visit the local public pool. The main point is to
 get active whatever way you can find! 
5.        Go on a family nature hike! Pack a healthy picnic lunch to eat
            along the way.
6.        Hold a “Neighborhood Olympics” – gather kids and families from
            the neighborhood to participate in a day of fun games such as
            soccer, volleyball, kickball, capture-the-flag, tag, etc.!

Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has been known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at

Thursday, February 14, 2013

You Might be Raising a Spirited Child If.......

So since Destructo weaned, I have had a bit of a loss.  Thursday was always breastfeeding post day or as I sometimes referred to it in my head talk about my boobs day.  Well after a particularly tough weekend, it hit me that I should post more about life with a spirited child.  So I ran with it.

Well I am here to introduce you to a panel of lovely ladies who are all raising at least one spirited child affectionately known as hell cats, honey badgers, and evil geniuses among other things.

Fred is the proud and frequently harried mom of an amazing adopted 3 and a half year old daughter, Charlotte.  Fred considers herself a “positive parent”, employing a mix of discipline styles from various books such as “Positive Discipline”, “How to Talk so Kids Will Listen & Listen so Kids Will Talk”, “Unconditional Parenting”, “Playful Parenting”, and her own brand of trying really hard not to scream her head off on bad days.  Her oft-neglected adoption and parenting blog can be found at

Susan is the mother of two children and one Honey Badger. E(4), A(2) and O(10 months) all keep her on her toes and have taught her that you can not parent each child the same.

 Sara is the parent of two Spirited Children Pooh (2) and Moose (1).   Pooh also struggles with Sensory Processing Disorder. She likes to spend her free time thinking up creative ways to keep them from destroying her house and each other without breaking their spirit.

Camille is married the to best guy ever and they have 2 sweet little girls, ages 4 years and 2 months. <3 They also have 4 adorable fur-kids. :) Life is crazy but fun!  Camille blogs over at

You Might Have a Spirited Child If…

From Fred:
All of the below are true.  Sigh.
You Might Have a Spirited Child If…
·         Your child uttered the words “It’s my body and I’ll do what I want” before they turned 2. 
·         Your child seems to be about a year ahead of most behavior issues.  Lucky you, you have an “advanced” child.
·         You are convinced your child is an evil genius.  Literally.  Both a genius and evil.  At least… some days.
·         A former private investigator told you they love spending time with your child because they “find the criminal mind so fascinating.”
·         You had to “baby proof” twice before your child was a year and a  half because your toddler quickly figured out how to take the little plastic outlet plugs out to insert scissors, and even duct tape couldn’t keep the door knob covers attached. 
·         You couldn’t leave your one year old alone for even 20 seconds because the three times you tried it (to go to the restroom), you found her: 1) On top of the counter stacking glassware from the high cabinet, 2) On top of the highboy dresser after having pulled the drawers out like stair steps, and 3) Swinging from the chandelier.
·         Every time you post for discipline help on the Internet you end up laughing out loud at the responses because clearly the respondents have some of those “normal” kids you’ve heard about.  Like “limited choices”.  Ha!  Your child will always have a third or fourth option up their sleeve to negotiate, even before she was able to talk.
·         Your fourteen-month-old’s daycare had to install deadbolts at the TOP of the door because your child figured out how to push a tiny little chair over and “free” her classmates.
·         You have had your child evaluated for sensory and/or hyperactivity issues THREE TIMES (at the suggestion of the child care provider and/or relatives) by age 4 and the answer is always the same:  “Parent/teacher check list indicates likely problem but short observation of the child does not show diagnosable concerns” or something to that effect.  You know your child is “more than typical” but you don’t know exactly how. 
·         You live in constant worry your child will be kicked out of their daycare or preschool AGAIN.
·         You have nightmares for days before your scheduled parent-teacher conference at your child’s preschool.
·         Boredom exacerbates behavior problems, but behavior problems prevent the child from progressing to more complicated school work.  And thus the cycle continues.
·         You have gone through at least a half dozen “date night” babysitters in a year, and no one seems to answer the phone any more.  Date night usually involves falling asleep watching a rented movie, which is fine because you’d almost rather sleep than go out anyway.  All this despite a very pricey lifetime membership to an online nanny search engine.
·         You have joked with your spouse that your child must actually be twins, and they take turns hiding and tag teaming you.
·         You have actually thanked your child for NOT being twins.
When your child's teacher says 'We're just glad she's here instead of a school where she would have been kicked out' and you consider that the nicest comment ever made at a conference.

From Susan:
  • You might be raising a spirited child if the word child proof makes you and your child laugh.
  • You might be raising a spirited child if you have ever had to say, "Just step over her....she will be done in a minute" to a stranger when your child is laying in the middle of the aisle at Target.
  •  You might be raising a spirited child if you hear "wow, you sure have your hands full" each time you go out in public with your child.
  •  You might be raising a spirited child if you consider saving for an Emergency Room fund instead of a College Fund.
  • You might be raising a spirited child if you have (unsuccessfully) tried to use a toddler leash on said child.
  • You might be raising a spirited child if you are not in the least bit surprised by the messes that they can make in a matter of seconds. (shampoo all over the hallway, Vaseline finger painting on the wall, mashed banana all over the table, chairs, floor.)
Scenes like this are common in all our houses

And last but not least, here are mine:
  • After going through three different electrical outlet covers, you finally gave up on childproofing and realized you literally have to watch your son every single second.
  • The dog regularly doesn't have water since your child dumps it every chance he gets so you just fill it half way up now and that runs out pretty quickly.
  • You are eternally grateful each day that your family is still able to watch your child while you work because you are pretty sure he would be kicked out of daycare.
  • You find yourself wistfully staring at all the normally behaving toddlers and thinking if only.... but quickly realizing that life really is more interesting with a honey badger.
  • You talk all the time about how smart your kid is but always follow it up with but if only he would use his smarts for good and not evil.
  • You were somewhat amazed that the Holy water at church didn't cause your child to sizzle and burn after a particularly bad Sunday.
  • You are "that mom."  You know the one you used to judge pre-children and say you just don't understand why she doesn't discipline her kids.
  • Your very own sister who loves her nephew to death actually said, "He would be one of the children in my class that I just don't enjoy teaching."
  • Your other sister who nannies for you has been quoted as saying, "If he acted like he does for you to me all day, I wouldn't sit for you anymore."
  • Sometimes you dread going home from work.
  • Your child first started throwing daily temper tantrums at six months. 
  • Even as an infant, you had to hold your child away from you so he could see the world around him or else he would scream bloody murder.
  • When you ask for parenting or discipline help on the Internet, you regularly laugh at the suggestions knowing there is no way that they would ever work for your child.  An alternative to this is that you spend your free time in the evenings searching the net for help.
  • You read about a study done about temper tantrums in a parenting magazine and it made you alternate laughing and crying.  It said something along the lines of most toddlers will have at least one temper tantrum a week and some will even have one a day.  Ha you would willingly take one tantrum a day over the 52 bazillion that is the norm in your household.
  • Your pets suddenly developed a whole new love of the outdoors when your son was born.
  • You get told he sure is full of energy, you have your hands full, we sure had fun watching him, etc nearly every time you are in public.
  • While all the other young infants were cuddled up close with their mommies or sleeping peacefully during your mommy group, your baby was bouncing on your lap and talking to everyone.  Every single meeting.
  • You bought a book on raising a spirited child at nine months old.
  • Whichever child is not doing what all the rest of them are is your child.
  • You are not sure you will ever get a full nights sleep again.
  • The word redirection causes hysterics in your household.  Yours not your child's.  Because you could redirect your child 57 thousand times and unless he or she changed their mind, it won't work.

What would you guys that are raising spirited kids add to this list?
Stay tuned next week.  We are going to discuss what makes a spirited child spirited.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday-- My Kid Could be on What Not to Wear

He likes to dress himself now.  Take note of the Thomas the Train shoes that are two sizes too small and Crocs in the winter!
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Top Ten Favorite Family Vacation Spots I have Been To

1)  St. Simon island, Georgia
This island was so unique and we had a blast there.  They had tree faces carved into different trees and we spent time searching for all of them.  It was a kid friendly town with a huge playground and lots to do.  There are also other islands right near St. Simon's that have other things to do.  Cumberland Island actually has a wild horse population that you can hike and see.  We rode bikes all over the island and got to see so many different birds that I had always wanted to see (roseate spoonbill for one!)  Plus we went to the sea turtle sanctuary which was awesome.

2)  Traverse City, Michigan
This is one of two places we went a lot as a kid.  They have a cherry festival in July that is oh so much fun to go to.  Plus you are near Lake Michigan and my particular favorite place where the Platte River meets up with Lake Michigan.  Traverse City itself has a lot of cool little restaurants and shopping. Taking a canoe trip is another favorite thing to do up there.  We used to love camping at the Platte River camp ground.
3)  Grayling, Michiga
We used to camp there a lot at a state park called Hartwick Pines.  This is home of the critically endangered Kirtland's Warbler.  I got to see one as a kid which didn't mean much to me then, but now as an avid birder I am proud of it.  There is a little log church at Hartwick pines that is so beautiful and there was a whole bunch of buildings related to the logging operation back in the day (but this was years ago so who knows what is there now.)  But as a kid, I remember hating the outhouses.  I was pretty sure that was torture.  The Au Sable river is another awesome place to visit.
4)  Blue Ridge, Georgia
This is very similar to Gatlinburg, Tennessee but not as touristy.  It is in the Smokey mountains and near the white water rafting area that was used in the Olympics when they were in Georgia.  We went white water rafting  while we were down there two times ago which was a blast.  Blue Ridge itself is a small town with shopping and quaint little restaurants.  Overall it is a lot cheaper to rent a cabin here than it is in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge.  Oh and get some soup from Ingles grocery store while you are there.  The chicken noodle is amazingly yummy.
Unpacking Sucks-- More Blue Ridge pics

5)  Drummond Island, Michigan
It has been years since I have been here, but I loved family vacations here when I was a teen.  There is next to nothing to do on this island except outside fun with only one small grocery store and a couple restaurants.  We rode bikes, fished, hiked.  On one hiking trip, my parents even saw a big brown bear.  This island is off the upper peninsula of Michigan and is so pretty.  One day when Destructo is older, I really look forward to going back there with him and Mr. Destructo.

6)  Chattanooga, Tennessee
This is a fun spot for a few nights getaway if you live close enough.  The aquarium there is spectacular and we had a blast checking out all the fish. There was also a zoo. There are tons of restaurants and shops and a huge park for the kids to play at.  There are also an art district and night time entertainment.  We always find something fun to do when we are in Chattanooga whether it is for a day or a few nights. 
Aquarium at not quite 5 months

Aquarium at 15 months

Brick boats on the streets (And yes my kid normally has clothes on haha he was sweaty hot so I was letting him cool down for a minute since it was 95 degrees out.

The man made river that runs in front of the aquarium that all the kids play in

7)  Destin, Florida
 We first had to go there for a friend's wedding and loved it.  I bird watched so much and loved the white sand beaches and the warm ocean.  This was where we went back for our family vacation this year and Destructo loved the ocean.  We enjoyed hiking at some of the national parks and shopping and eating in some of the seafood restaurants in town.  There is plenty to do here for sure.
More Destin pics in this post 
The cool pelican at the ocean

Waves rolling in on the beach

8)  Costa Rica
We went here on our honeymoon and loved it.  I would like to take Destructo and his future sibling back at some point in the future.  Maybe once they are 10ish or so.  I can just picture us as a family exploring the rain forest. 
9)  Lexington, Kentucky
Okay this isn't the best family vacation probably but I love Lexington.  I did an internship on a thoroughbred breeding farm in 2005 for six months and fell in love with the town.  I plan on taking a weekend trip there at some point when Destructo is a bit bigger to enjoy Keeneland race track and take him to the horse park. 

10)  Somewhere west of the Mississippi river.
 Now this one I don't know where exactly we will go.  I have a number of places that have always sounded nice such as Colorado, San Francisco, Washington state.  We shall see.  I just know that I have only been west of the Mississippi once in my life and that was when I just drove over it to say I had.  Haha

So where are your favorite family vacation spots?   

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