Monday, February 28, 2011

If I were abducted by martians...

Sometimes the world of motherhood may seem like living on another planet: Encountering gooey foreign substances (like dried carrot puree or crystallized juice globs) while navigating a landscape filled with brightly colored, big-eyed plastic toy obstacles.  Using devices with other-worldly-sounding names like "Bjorn," "Stokke," and "Aquaphor."  Trying to interpret a martian language of "ba ba ba" and "ma ma ma" to decipher the needs of the two-foot tall inhabitants of this strange world. 

But I imagine it's nothing like ACTUALLY being in a galaxy far, far away...or being on Mars, for that matter. Disney's new movie Mars Needs Moms looks like a lot of fun, and would probably be a tad bit more challenging than just being a mom on earth.

So here are the top ten things I think my son would miss if I went to Mars:

1. Music Class: Little Spaghetti and I attend a “Mommy and Me” music class every Thursday, and he has so much fun.  I think he’d really miss getting groovy and dancing with mom.

2. Clean Clothes: I may not be the world’s best housekeeper, but laundry is one thing I can say I rock.  Besides, my husband isn’t so into doing the laundry, so without me, I fear my baby’s wardrobe would consist of diapers and…diapers!

3. Hair: Little Spaghetti finds twirling my hair to be very soothing for some reason.  In fact, some nights that’s all he wants to do to put himself to sleep.  Without mom, whose hair would he have to pull on?

4. Splashing in the tub:  Now, I know he doesn’t technically *need* me to have fun in the bath.  He likes it plenty all on his own, but I sure to make it more enjoyable.  Nobody else knows just what voices the dolphin and the crab use when they have surfing competitions or how to create a plastic turtle fountain.

5. Jam sessions in the car:  My husband’s skills may rival my own when it comes to rocking out in the car, but he doesn’t have the same taste in music as Little Spaghetti.  Me on the other hand, it doesn’t matter if I’m singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” or “Pop Goes the Weasel,” I do it with gusto!  And judging by his laughs and giggles, I’d say my little man enjoys the entertainment.

6. Playing hide and seek in the grocery store:  I have to find ways to spice up everyday tasks.  There’s nothing more “everyday” than grocery shopping. Lately, while Little Spaghetti sits in the seat of the basket, I will occasionally creep around the side or the front of the basket then pop up and surprise him.  He loves the game, and it keeps him interested while I gather our milk, eggs, and other necessary supplies to run a household.

7. "Sleeping in:"  And by sleeping in, I mean waking up early and snuggling in bed.  Little Spaghetti seems to enjoy these early morning cuddles.  Also, he recently discovered that the comforter on the bed makes a neat tent!

8. Homemade treasures: I love crafting, and ever since I found out I was pregnant, the recipient of many of my handmade labors is my son.  I like to tell myself that someday he'll appreciate the abundance of tiny knit hats.

9. Weekly sandwich dates: Every week I take Little Spaghetti out for sandwiches and soup at our favorite local deli.  I'm beginning to think he likes the broccoli cheese soup more than I do.

10. Mommy kisses:  I must give him no less than a hundred smooches and hugs each day, and even if he can't say, "I love you" back, I know he'd miss all that love without me around.

I'm beginning to learn that it's the little things in life that make a mom special.  As alien as the world of mommy-hood may sometimes seem to me, I wouldn't give it up.  Even for a trip to Mars.

Aboout Mars Needs Moms:  "Take out the trash, eat your broccoli—who needs moms, anyway? Nine-year-old Milo (Seth Green) finds out just how much he needs his mom (Joan Cusack) when she’s nabbed by Martians who plan to steal her mom-ness for their own young. Produced by the team behind “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” and “The Polar Express,” “Mars Needs Moms” showcases Milo’s quest to save his mom—a wild adventure in Disney Digital 3D™ and IMAX® 3D that involves stowing away on a spaceship, navigating an elaborate, multi-level planet and taking on the alien nation and their leader (Mindy Sterling). With the help of a tech-savvy, underground earthman named Gribble (Dan Fogler) and a rebel Martian girl called Ki (Elisabeth Harnois), Milo just might find his way back to his mom—in more ways than one.

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

Sunday, February 27, 2011

My favorite things

You know, like Oprah.  Except that I don’t have one for each member of our studio audience.   And except that most of these thing can’t be bought off the shelf at the store.  These are the things that make being a mother worth it even on the worst of days.  These are the feelings of unparalleled joy that I couldn’t have imagined before becoming a mother

Today, my favorite thing is baby kisses.  Big, open mouth, slobbery-as-can-be smooches from my baby melt my heart.  Those kisses embody unbridled emotion and pure, unfiltered love. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Review: Shayna's Treats (lots of photos!)

A couple weeks ago, I was lucky enough to win an online giveaway.  My prize: a wonderful set of felt veggies made by a very talented WAHM.  You can check her out at Shayna’s Treats (on facebook or etsy).  I cannot say enough great things about Shayna and her products, and it’s no surprise Little Spaghetti is enjoying his new toys.  These photos speak for themselves!


The veggies are cuter than I could have imagined (and I never thought you'd catch me calling a veggie cute!)  They are very well made with great attention to details. I love that they're nice and squishy; I also love that they're a safe and healthy toy for Little Spaghetti to play with. 

And Shayna was an absolute joy to work with.  I actually won a set of felt pancakes, but when I emailed Shayna, I complimented her on her veggies.  She responded that she’d be happy to send me the veggies if I wanted, and I was thrilled (though the pancakes are adorable, too). 

I’d been wanting a set of felt veggies so I could start teaching Little Spaghetti their names in preparation for the garden I plan to plant this summer.  Now I know where I will be ordering anything I need to complete the set (and I’m already making a list!)  Not to mention that I don’t know how much longer I can resist a set of dryer balls.  Shayna makes some super clever Magic 8 Dryer Balls – ask her about them!

All in all: highly recommended!  Thanks again, Shayna!

And, of course, a few more pictures never hurt:
 This face cracked me up! And the carrot's awesome, too!
 You can see all the veggies here: lettuce, eggplant, carrot, and cucumber.

The eggplant seems to be his favorite.
Even the dog couldn't help but check out the veggies!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Things I wish I hadn't said

Sometimes the things I wish I'd said are actually thing I wish I hadn't said.

At work I do a lot of data managing, which means I work with a lot of spreadsheets.  In meetings, people are constantly asking, "That's on which spreadsheet again?"  And I respond with things like, "Oh, that's on the Other List," or "You can find it on the Tracking List." We obviously aren't good at picking descriptive names for our spreadsheets.  Usually, though, everyone knows which list we're talking about - despite the vague names - and where to find it.

But there's this one list that was called something terrible like the FY11 Giving Pyramid Donor Management List.  (I did *not* come up with that name.)  When referencing it, I always ended up saying something to the effect of, "You know, the management pyramid giving thing."  Nobody ever knew what I meant.  Even the woman who created the list.  And this is a list we use all the time.

So one day, in a meeting, I was becoming increasingly frustrated while trying to communicate what list I was talking about.  Finally, the people in the meeting figured out what the management pyramid thing was.  I said, "You know, we can rename this list to something easier to remember."  And then without thinking, I added, "We could call it...Stanley."

Stanley?  Who says that kind of thing in a business meeting?  Sure, I'd throw that out at home for what we should call our handy new floor cleaning robot or something, but in a professional setting?

And now, you know what we call the list?  Yep. Stanley. 

And each time someone awkwardly refers to how we need to "review Stanley" or how I should "see if that's on Stanley," I cringe and think to myself, "I really wish I hadn't said that."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Is it the sheets?

Sleep is often a sore subject in my house (see The Sleep Chronicles).

But I'm making an effort to transition Little Spaghetti into other sleeping arrangements. I have fully prepared myself that it may be a long, slow process. Success will be measured in teensy tiny increments.

Step one: get Little Spaghetti to spend any length of time at the beginning of the night in the beautiful co-sleeper crib attached to the side of the bed instead of in the bed itself.

So I gave it a try last night. We took a bath, read stories, nursed, and rocked. He drifted gently off to sleep. So I tiptoed into my room and tried to set him gently into his cosleeper. As soon as his head hit the mattress, his eyes popped open and he was not having any of it.

I picked him up and set him on the bed...and he drifted right back off to sleep all on his own.

I picked him up and put him in the cosleeper...he was instantly awake and crying.

Put him back on the bed...right back to sleep.

I'm baffled. It isn't that I'm not laying there right next to him (because I don't do that when I put him on the bed). It isn't that he isn't fully asleep or can't put himself back to sleep if he wakes up (as he does when I set him on the bed). But he knows that he's not in the bed the second I put him somewhere that isn't the bed. All I can figure is that it's the sheets.

You know, the beautiful, handmade-by-his-grandmother sheets for which I spent a fortune on fabric...

Monday, February 14, 2011

I've never had such a sweet Valentine

and this year, I ended up with the two sweetest Valentines I could ever ask for.

I think this has been my favorite Valentine's Day ever. Mr. Spaghetti and I celebrated with a Sushi dinner last week while Grandma watched Little Spaghetti, but he surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of tulips and a box of chocolates anyway. I have such a sweet and thoughtful husband.

On top of that, I have a second valentine this year: my beautiful baby.

Little Spaghetti just couldn't get over the flowers...

I am definitely a lucky woman to have such great men in my life!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mommy Fail #75

Apparently my logic was faulty in Babies-R-Us earlier when I decided to buy two boxes of the next size up diaper for Little Spaghetti to take advantage of their great sale. My logic: diapers can't really be too big, can they? I mean, can't you just put them on a little tighter, and they'll work all the same.

Learn from my fail: yes, diapers can be too big. They may catch the pee alright, but only because they go up to your kid's armpits when you put them on.

The upside: at least I bought diapers that are too big instead of too small. I just have to store them until he grows into them.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sometimes babies are gross

I knew going into this whole having a baby thing that there would be times I would be grossed out. I received plenty of warning about the inordinate amount of bodily fluids that manage to come out of someone less than two feet tall.

I had heard about the poop, the pee, the spit up. I knew that I should embrace crusty graham crackers and rice cereal as my new perfume. But I feel I was completely and utterly unprepared for boogers.
I find boogers to be the grossest of all.

From just a couple weeks old, Little Spaghetti has been a stuffy little boy. (I blame his father with all his allergies and what not). So I often need to clean out the little guy's nose so he can breathe and eat (you know, the little things in life...). I am never too far from a bottle of saline solution and a trusty bulb syringe.

But man, is it gross. Long, green, slimy boogers. Unbelievably gross. My stomach has never turned at poop - even as we've started solids (though I reserve the right to rescind this statement since I know we still have a ways to go).

But, for the first time in my mommy life, I gagged. At a booger.

We were taking a bath (it seems that a lot of my stories start this way these days...) and Little Spaghetti was chasing his squirty sea animals around. He likes to try to catch them with his mouth. This caused him to dip his little face just a little too far into the water, and his nose went underwater just for a brief second. He came up surprised - as he tends to do - but otherwise fine.

The thing that these short face-dips into the water will almost always do, though, is clean out this boy's nose. Sure enough, shortly after, he started snuffing and rubbing his nose, and all the sudden, attached to his hand, came out this big, long, gray booger from deep in the recesses of his sinus canals. Before I could call for reinforcements (aka Mr. Spaghetti to get me a tissue), he plunged his hand into the water and washed the booger away.

There we were, sitting in the bath while I screamed like a little girl for my husband to GET THE FREAKIN' TISSUE, all the while this horrid, slimy booger was floating around in the water with us. And that's when I gagged. Watching it float along wistfully in the bathwater was just too much.

And, in the interest of honest, I must tell you that I gagged for the second time in my mommy life. Just now. As I wrote about that disgusting booger experience.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Why I love Nevada

I live in a city, and a fairly urban part of the city at that. Granted, it isn't a huge city, but for Nevada it is pretty good size.

My house is about four minutes from downtown. But that apparently doesn't stop people from walking their horses around the neighborhood. On my way home yesterday, just a few blocks from my house, I saw this:

I have to say, one thing I love about Nevada is that I'm never *too* far from the country.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Things to know before marrying an engineer

Mr. Spaghetti and I celebrated Valentine's Day on Friday due to the availability of our favorite babysitter: Grandma. And because, while I appreciate the sentiment of Valentine's Day, I appreciate that sentiment any day of the year and don't particularly care about when we celebrate it.

We went out for a lovely sushi dinner, and there's nothing like a good beer with sushi. I ordered a vanilla porter they were featuring. When it came, we got to talking about beers, and Guinness - one of my husband's favorite beers - came up.

He said to me, "The thing most people don't understand is that the specific gravity of Guiness is lower than most other beers, so even though it's a dark beer, it isn't heavy when you drink it."

My response was, "really, you know the specific gravity of Guiness?" My thought was, "I really did marry an engineer, didn't I? I should have known what I was getting myself into."

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Little Spaghetti vs. The Dog Bowl

Little Spaghetti has been able to crawl for a good six weeks now, but it seems like just the past few days he's figured out what crawling means. He used to be content to move himself to whatever he could see that he wanted, but he didn't really get the concept that he could go anywhere he wanted. Now, he's discovered this ability, and his new found independence has come with an unfortunate side effect: temptation.

A few days ago, Little Spaghetti discovered the dog bowl. It may not look like anything special – just a metal frame on the ground that holds a dish of water and a dish of dry food for Spaghetti Dog. But this dog bowl is like a forbidden fruit for the crawling baby.

After several firm “nos,” he understands that he isn't supposed to touch the dog bowl, but that doesn't prevent him from making a beeline to it every time he is set on the ground. He scurries over to the bowls, and then looks up at me like, “Are you going to tell me no this time, too?”

“Don't touch the doggy food,” I reassure him.

So he sits. Shoulders down, looking longingly at the shiny silver bowls. Then he'll start waving his hand around...then rubbing it on the ground...then scootching it closer and closer just a little at a time until just the tip of his pointer finger touches the edge of the bowl. He stares intently at his finger while he does this, sure that if he looks at me, I'll catch him in the act.

“Mommy said 'no,' baby. Don't touch the doggy food.”

No matter what I do, he won't leave the bowls alone. I try taking him elsewhere. He returns. I try distracting him with another toy. He grabs it and crawls in a hurry right back into what I like to call the “circle of temptation-” the four-foot radius around the dog's bowl. And within this radius is where Little Spaghetti prefers to play at all times.

Sometimes he'll sit in the circle of temptation, playing happily with whatever toy he has. But then, it starts. He catches a glimpse of the dog bowls out of the corner of his eye . You can see a glimmer in his eyes just before his little head drops and a forlorn look comes over his face. He looks away, but just can't ignore them.

He doesn't want to want the dog bowls so much. He wants to be a good boy and not do what he knows he's not supposed to. But they're calling him. Like sirens to a sea captain.

And before you know it , he's scooted, inch by inch over to the danger zone again.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Stolen Smile

This evening, I took a bath with Little Spaghetti. He absolutely loves his baths. As soon as we go into the bathroom, he starts squealing and wiggling around. And when I turn the water on – there's no containing that boy. He holds onto the side of the tub and bounces, waiting expectantly to be picked up and put in the tub.

The bath was going like baths tend to go; he was having a great time. The time was drawing near to wrap up the bath (generally measured by mom's unwillingness to sit in lukewarm water any longer), and Little Spaghetti decided it was time to nurse (which he usually does at the end of a bath; I refer to it as his “bath milky”).

But tonight, unlike any of the other dozens of baths we've had, his little head got heavy as he nursed and he fell asleep right there in my arms in the water.

After much debating in my head about what I should do next (wake the baby to get out, call Mr. Spaghetti for help getting the sleeping baby out which would most likely wake the baby anyway, sit there in the increasingly cool water until I shriveled up like a little raisin or until all the water evaporated from the tub...) I decided to try getting out without disturbing the sleeping baby.

After much balancing, leaning, swaying, and internal grunting, I managed to get myself to standing and maneuver my drippy self out of my swimsuit and into the bedroom. I laid down with Little Spaghetti and gently slipped his pacifier into his mouth. I went to get him a diaper and jammies.

As I was putting his diaper on, his eyes fluttered open. He looked at me and without a sound, from behind his pacifier, he gave me the best smile – it spread all the way across his face. The kind of smile I could see in his eyes. It was a smile of pure, uncomplicated happiness. Of simple joy.

After just a moment, he drifted back off into sleep. To know that I am responsible for that smile, that I am the cause, makes me feel what it is to be a mother.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Sleep Chronicles

If there was one thing I might complain about as far as having a baby, it would be sleep. Ok, that's a lie: I complain a lot, but that's just because I have a tendency to whine. But my only REAL complaint is sleep.

In my house, I refer to this as "The Sleep Chronicles" because I feel like I may as well have started a newspaper; it would have been a much more efficient way to update everyone and their brother on my child's sleep habits.

Perhaps I'm overly sensitive because I don't have a "good sleeper," but why is "Is he sleeping through the night?" the first question people ask you right after, "How old is he?" Why do strangers feel the need to butt in as to whether or not my child's sleeping habits are normal?

The thing is, by and large, his sleep doesn't really bother ME. We've chosen to cosleep, and I think we've gotten far more sleep this way than we otherwise would have. For one, Little Spaghetti considers me his personal all-night diner (apparently called reverse cycling and something I was totally unaware of pre-baby). Secondly, I developed a freakish paranoia of SIDS as soon as I brought my baby into this world. Those two things mean that cosleeping is the ONLY way I was going to get any sleep. Even still, my baby wakes pretty frequently, usually to eat - always going back to sleep very quickly - and sometimes nurses every hour of the night for days at a time (just one more reason I think cosleeping is the only way I get any rest).

What DOES bother me is that I feel the need to constantly justify myself to other people because people always ask. "Well, no, he's not quite sleeping through the night yet, but he's a good baby anyway." And let's not even start with how many times I've heard that I've "ruined" my child with my lazy sleeping habits (cosleeping). Even if I just lie or avoid the question, I leave the conversation feeling guilty - like I'm somehow failing as a mother because my kid doesn't sleep through the night.

I just want to know: why is the quality of my child judged by the continuous length of time he sleeps?