When Play Date Snacks Go Wrong

When Play Date Snacks Go Wrong

On Thursday my youngest had a friend over for a play date.  Let’s call him Jack.  Jack has been to our house many times and is a sweet little kid.  He usually comes over, asks for pretzels and juice, and spends several hours entertaining my child and keeping him out of my hair, because let’s be honest, the whole purpose of a play date is for mom to get a little down time.

 During a play date the rules are allow to be broken.  Video games for three hours?  Okay.  An extra cookie at snack time?  What the heck!  As long as they stay in the family room playing nicely, or in the bedroom, it’s all good.  The kids are happy and two moms are very happy.

Then there was Thursday.  Like I said, Jack had been here several times before so I had no reason to expect that today would be any different from any other play date.  I was wrong.

I knew Jack did not like chocolate or too many different sweets.  Luckily we always have a giant container of Costco sized pretzels, Quaker Granola Bars, Annie’s Organic Cheddar Bunnies, and assorted nuts in the house.  Praise be, no one in my family has food allergies, but because no one in my family has food allergies my house is not really “food friendly” for a child who does.

Thirty minutes into Jack’s play date he comes to me and asks me to make him lunch.  Huh?  You mean a snack, right?  No, he wants lunch.  Mom forgot to feed him.  Okay, no problem.  Two PB&J’s coming right up.

Oh no, no peanut butter, he is allergic.  Oh, I did not know that.  But, that’s okay, I have deli turkey and organic cheese.  Two turkey and cheese sandwiches coming up.  NO!  No, no, he doesn’t eat bread or sandwiches of any kind.

Huh, yeah…okay.  Okay, just give me a minute to look here.  I can make a box of Annie’s Mac & Cheese.

No he doesn’t like mac & cheese.

I can’t lie.  At this point I am now starting to get a little annoyed, and I can’t seem to get a straight answer from him just what is his allergy and what is a food dislike.

I offer to microwave him a bean and cheese burrito.  Nope, he doesn’t want that.

I decide to offer up one of my favorite go to foods that are easy to make in a pinch.  How about I scramble you some eggs I ask?

His eyes open wide and a look of horror spreads across his face.  He can’t have eggs and I can’t even cook them while he is in the house because he forgot to bring his inhaler and just the aroma will trigger an attack.

Holy shit!

After several more strike outs he finally settled on string cheese, a banana, and a hand full of pretzels.  Not much of a lunch, but at least he didn’t up in a hospital.

When Jack’s mom came to pick him up I politely asked her to list Jack’s allergies for me and let me know what he CAN eat.  She looked a bit confused and asked why.  That’s when I explained to her the half hour it took to find a suitable lunch her child could eat without having an allergy attack.

She just kind of blinked her eyes and replied, “Oh, he eats pretty much everything at home.  He’s really only allergic to eggs and peanuts.  Sometimes it’s serious but other than that he’s fine.”  I could tell by the look of total bewilderment on her face that she could not figure out what the problem was.

Moms everywhere, if your child has serious food allergies, please feed your child BEFORE taking him to someone else’s house for a three hour play date.  I am perfectly happy to provide a snack.  I am perfectly happy to provide a sandwich and some cut up fruit, but it is not my responsibility to spend a half an hour trying to find something for a child to eat with the real fear that I could kill him if I feed him the wrong thing!!

Was this mom wrong not to feed her child first, or at least warn me that he had all these food sensitivities, or am I being over sensitive?
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I Gave My Three Year Old Chocolate Laxatives…On Purpose

I Gave My Three Year Old Chocolate Laxatives

I was a little nervous to start potty training my first child.  Sure, changing diapers kind of sucked, but the truth was, they were convenient.  Plus, I was a girl and my child was a boy.  We had different “plumbing” and I wasn’t sure how to go about teaching my son to pee in the potty.  I mean, was I supposed to teach him to pee standing up or sitting down.

Like all first time moms I did what we all do.  I bought a book.  Okay, I bought several books and read them cover to cover.  Eventually I decided to start him out sitting down, this way he could play on the potty for a bit and hopefully something would happen.

Two days later and that idea wasn’t working so well.  Then I had the idea to take him to the bathroom and try to teach him to pee standing up.  I led him to the bathroom, pulled his pants down to his feet, and told him to pee.  He looked at me a little funny and then he did it!  Seriously, he peed standing up the very first time I told him too.

I all but did a somersault I was so excited.  He was dancing up and down and clapping along with me.  From that day on he never peed his pants again.  By day three my child was potty trained to pee in the potty every time.  I was an awesome mom!  I totally rocked!  If peeing was this easy we would have that pooping thing figured out by the end of the week no doubt.

Shockingly, at the end of the week he still wasn’t pooping in the potty.  Every day I would sit him on the potty after meals, after naps, while watching a cartoon and nothing, nada, zip, zilch, zero.

No sooner would I take him off the potty he would hide and poop his pants.

The baby books talked about giving a small reward for using the potty.  Out came the M&M’s.  “Just poop in the potty and you can have a candy,” I would say with forced excitement.  “Okay,” he would reply, eager to get his chocolaty goodness.  Five minutes…ten minutes…fifteen minutes…still he would not poop in the potty.

After a month we gave up on Pull-ups.  Everyone told me that Pull-ups were too much like diapers and he would never learn if he didn’t feel uncomfortable when he had an accident.

So I went to the store and loaded up on training pants and plastic pants.  We still spent large amounts of time sitting on the potty while watching Rollie Polie Olie or The Wiggles.  The bag of M&M’s waited patiently to be eaten.  Plastic pants were horrible.  They leaked and made AJ a sweaty mess.  Still no poop.

No, let me rephrase that, we had plenty of poop, just not in the potty.  Now every day I had the pleasure of removing soiled underpants from him and then dunking them up and down in the toilet trying to get the squished poop out of them before hosing them off in the basement sink where they would collect in a bucket waiting to be washed.  The smell!  Good grief the smell!

After two more months of this I was advised to give up on the training pants and just stick him in little boy underwear.  I was getting desperate.  So I drove to Target and loaded up on cute little Batman and Superman underwear and made a big production of showing them to AJ and getting him excited to finally wear “big boy” underwear.

To make a long story short, the big boy underwear ended up being as useless as the training pants.  Not to mention I was doing load after load of laundry because he was ruining so many outfits every day.

This went on for almost a year.  For the life of me I didn’t know what I had done wrong.  How could a child who mastered peeing in three days be so stubborn about going poop?  He would clench those little butt cheeks for an hour or longer to avoid using the potty.  Once he was free of the potty he would run and hide and poop his pants.

As time passed I was growing beyond desperate.  Preschool was two weeks away!  I was returning to work.  He had to go to preschool!  There was just one little catch.  Children who were not potty trained were not allowed to go to preschool.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  AJ had turned the potty into a battle of wills.  He was NOT going to use it…period.  Plus, he had some serious butt clenching skills.  He would hold it no matter what.  I needed to find a way for him to not be able to hold it.

An idea took hold in my head.  It was a crazy idea.  One I was sure no one would ever do under normal circumstances.  This was not normal.  This was an emergency.  I went to the bathroom and grabbed the bar of Chocolate Ex-lax.  Yep, that’s right.  Ex-lax.

“AJ, do you want some chocolate?” I asked.  He nodded his little head up and down.  Two little squares were quickly eaten up.  I even gave him some of his M&M’s out of guilt for what I was about to do.

Then, I waited.  I stayed very close so I could be sure not to miss my opportunity.  Two hours later it happened.  One second AJ was playing with a hot wheel cars, the next second his stomach let out a loud gurgle and he jumped up off the floor.  I grabbed him before he could run and hide and tossed his butt onto the potty.  He clenched, his stomach gurgled, he clenched harder, then a fart escaped, he clenched as hard as those little cheeks possibly could, but he was no match against a laxative.  Finally, he dropped a load in the potty and a choir of angels sang hallelujah as a rainbow shot across the sky.

There was praise and rejoicing.  Phone calls were made to grandma and grandpa.   M&M’s were eaten between hugs and kisses.  I wiped his bottom and pulled his pants up.  He watched me put the poop in the big toilet and flush it down.

Fifteen minutes later his tummy gurgled again and back on the potty he went.  He dropped a second load and after that he fear of pooping was gone.  Two little squares of Ex-lax worked better than a year of potty training, and AJ was able to start preschool on time.

What crazy thing have you ever done out of desperation as a parent?  I’m all ears!!

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Always & Forever My Baby You Will Be

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Last night I was lying in bed with my youngest reading him a bed time story and saying our prayers.  My oldest used to come in the room and listen to the stories and say prayers with us but about two months ago he stopped.  He now brushes his teeth, calls out good night, and goes in his room and shuts the door.  I follow him in to grab a quick hug before he shuts off the light, but the hug is more for me than for him.  He doesn’t need a hug and a kiss from his mommy anymore to go to sleep.

But Casey is still young and refuses to go to bed without his night time ritual followed to perfection, and I am happy for that.  Last night after we were done he kneeled on his bed, gave me a bug hug and said, “I love you mommy.  I’m giving you an extra hug because I know you like hugs.”  My heart just melted.  I do love hugs, and kisses, and cuddles, the feel of holding my little boy close, the unconditional love of a mother and child.

I stared at his little face, his blue eyes, rosy cheeks, and a thought hit me so strong.  In two weeks my baby is turning six-years old.  In a week he will start 1st grade.  My baby hasn’t been a baby for a very long time, but he is still small, and sweet and cuddly, but time refuses to stand still.  He is growing, and soon he will choose friends over me.  Soon, kisses in public will be embarrassing.  Soon he will tell me he doesn’t need to hold my hand in a store.

“Casey, promise me you will stop growing,” I asked.  “I want you to stay this size forever.”

“Okay, mommy,” he replied sweetly.  Then he thought for a moment about what I had asked him to do and he said, “But I don’t know how to stop growing.”

“I know.  Mommy is just being silly.  I am so glad you are my little boy.” I said.

“Me too,” he replied and gave me another kiss good night.

“Do you know how much I love you?” I asked.

“All the way to the moon and back,” he answered immediately, “and I love you all the way to Pluto.”

Then he rolled over, tucked his tiger under his chin, and grabbed a handful of his wobi before closing his eyes.  I turned off the light and shut the door.

I can’t freeze time, but I can take a minute to write down these brief but wonderful moments before they slip through my fingers.  Children will grow, become independent, and leave us one day, but the memories we make we will carry for a lifetime.

Just Because I Have It All Doesn’t Mean I Want It All

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Want it AllI am woman.  I am invincible.  I am tired.  It is more than just a cute catch phrase on my Facebook page.  It is the truth.  Day in and day out I do it all.  Cook, clean, grocery shop, and laundry?  Done, done, done, and done.  Take care of two boys and keep them mentally and creatively stimulated?  Done!  Piano lessons for the oldest, T-ball for the youngest, volunteering at the local food pantry and with the coming school year religious education gets tossed into the mix.

Work a full time job under incredibly stressful circumstances in an impoverished inner city environment that is often violent and do my very best to be a force of good in my students lives.  You bet your ass!

Write a blog offering my words of wisdom, experiences, and tips, hoping someone out there finds all this useful and perhaps a little funny.  Yes, that too, while also maintaining a Facebook page and a Pinterest page trying to find the most useful of information to share with my followers.

full time job

We live in a modest home in a lovely little sub surrounded by woods.  We have two cars, two kids, and a fat cat.  I am living the American dream…right?  Right?!?  So why is it most days I don’t feel quite so dreamy?

My life consists of two parts.  The September to June career woman part, and the Mid-June to end of August stay at home part.  I can honestly say that I know what it is to be on both sides of the fence, and believe me when I say I know exactly which side of the fence is greener, and not because it is covered in bullshit.

yes dear2

I know there are women out there who will want to tell me off, cuss me out, and bitch that I am undermining womanhood as we now know it today, but I will take being a stay at home mom over the working mom gig any day.  What ever I do, I will always do it to the best of my ability, no matter how many jobs are on my plate.

So when summer comes and I am home with my boys it is wonderful to just be a mom, a wife, and a homemaker.  It is nice to slow down and plan out our meals.  It is nice to have the time needed to wash, and dry, and fold, and put away all the laundry.  It is nice to have the time to take the boys to the park, even if it isn’t my favorite thing to do.  It is nice not to make sure every minute of the day is scheduled to the exact minute for fear of not getting it all done.

ask meIt is especially nice to have time to focus on my blog and my “internet job” which at least fills my soul if not my wallet.  Writing has always been a passion of mine, one I had to give up for several years because I had too much to do, but now that my youngest is a little older, and writing a blog is faster than writing Fan Fiction, I am able to do it once more.  Maybe some day I will be able to make a living off my writing but I’m not counting on it.

Sometimes I dream of quitting my job, no longer commuting sixty miles a day round trip, and waking up at 4:45 in the morning.  I think about how wonderful it would be to join my children’s school PTA’s, be a room mom, and all that good stuff, but I can’t.  First, it wouldn’t be fair to my dear husband who works longer days than I do.  Plus, both boys are now in all day school.  Let’s face it, once the kids are in all day school and you are still a stay at home mom, most people would just label you as being too lazy to work.  People stupid enough to think that need to be slapped in the face with a frying pan.

two jobsEven with my boys in school my home would run a heck of a lot more smoothly if I were here to manage everything.  As it is, we pay for a.m. child care, rely on grandparents to pick the boys up from school when one suddenly gets sick, and have to scramble to make arrangements whenever the boys have no school but I do.  My weekends are spent doing all the housework I was unable to do Monday-Friday, when I would rather be free to relax or play with the kids.

So yes, I have it all…but I would seriously like to give some of it back.

Are there any other working moms out there who would love to chuck their full time job?

Children…My Life…My Passion…and the Reason I Take Zoloft

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was 23 when I became a teacher. Fresh from college and eager to change the world by helping one child at a time. I was 29 when I became a mom and took a year off to raise my little boy. After that year was over I returned to teaching. I was 35 when I had baby number 2. This time I took two years off to be a stay at home mom, and would have taken a third if it had been possible. What shocked me was how much harder it was being a mom to two instead of one.

Perhaps it was because I was older, perhaps it was because suddenly the mommy stuff was never ending, or perhaps it was because I was newly married, newly relocated, and just had one to many changes in a short amount of time.Kisses

As hard as I worked the two years I was a stay at home mom though were nothing compared to when I finally returned to teaching. Just because I returned to the classroom didn’t mean that all that mommy stuff went away. Laundry still needed to be done, cleaning taken care of, dinner cooked, quality time given to my boys, quality time given to my husband, making time to visit a sick parent. I was at my wits end. I remember standing in front of the stove cooking dinner as tears rolled down my face because I was so tired.

Part of it is me. I want things to be perfect always, whether it is at home or at work. Part of it really is my situation. I basically do the kid thing 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year. My job and my home life are just too much alike sometimes.

But I had to acknowledge one more factor that I really didn’t want to face. I am not a spring chicken anymore. I am now forty and like it or not, my hormones were starting to get a little wonky. Can we say “premenopausal?” Yep, it was definitely a factor.

When you teach first grade patience is literally the #1 job requirement and I used to have it in spades. The past two years, however, I noticed that I was becoming more and more stressed out. At first I thought that I had just taken on too many responsibilities. I was on the fund-raising committee, the reading committee, and the carnival committee, as well as that full time teaching gig and motherhood thing. So of course I had a full blown hyperventilation panic attack one March morning just as the children were entering the building. I was burned out, over worked, and NOT medicated. Although a trip to the doctor’s office that March day fixed that problem. One bottle of Xanax with two refills coming right up.

The following September I decided I needed to take better care of myself. So I quit all the committees and just focused on the job and home. Things would get better, right? Wrong. I was still stressed, and now, I was easily angered by little things. My heart would race all day and I constantly felt like I was in “Fight or Flight” mode. I left work completely exhausted, and then when I got home I had no energy left for my own kids. All I wanted my boys to do was go away and leave me alone. I started to realize that the problem I had wasn’t a job problem. The problem was me. I was broken and didn’t even recognize the person I had become anymore. I finally realized that I needed help.

I scheduled a visit to see my OB/GYN. After a very long office visit where I talked about everything that was going on with me she confirmed what I was already suspecting. I was indeed in the early stages of menopause and my hormones were steadily driving me crazy.

She started me on a low dose of Zoloft which ended up getting increased just once. After a while I started to notice a difference. I still felt angry at times, but the anger didn’t control me. I was able to take a deep breathe and respond in an appropriate way. The same was true at home. I could now give my boys the quality time they needed and not feel resentful.

I don’t feel ashamed to admit that I needed a prescription. I know a lot of people would just say to suck it up and deal, but that strategy had stopped working for me and I was seriously going to have a heart attack if I didn’t find a way to calm down and get control of my emotions. If taking a little blue pill helps me to cope and be a better mom then I will do it.

I would love to hear from other moms, especially older moms who are also dealing with this situation. How are you battling your menopause?

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