Wednesday, September 24, 2014

On parenting toddlers and what I’ve learned so far

Not much really. Other than parenting toddlers is sort of like being on a diet: it only works if you are disciplined, but worse, actually. At least when you are on a diet you are allowed to a cheat day where you eat like there's no tomorrow and the only outcome is you looking more fabulous than ever and getting compliments from friends and family. Especially those family members that like to comment on your weight gains during your annual pilgrimage to Argentina. (The trip is coming, my loyal readers, and the diet and exercise frenzy has started).

Back to toddlers. Toddlers can be a lot of fun, but as a new mom, everything is too new to me and I don't really have too much advice to share. And since you blog readers certainly could use some expert advice,  I've asked Emi for her top five tips to effectively parent your toddler*:
Emi, take it away!

  1. Avoid having your little one experience hunger and sleeplessness.  
  2. Keep your child far from other children who may annoy them by not sharing their toys. 
  3. Keep your kid away from sugar: I was recently given ice-cream (and not even the organic kind!) and let's just say it was not fun for the adults around me.



Mommy gave me boxed non-organic
 ice-cream from Safeway. It wasn't even locally sourced, can you imagine??

My middle name is Trouble

4. It is also helpful to avoid provoking unnecessary frustrations and to let your little bundle of joy run freely in a safe and contained environment. If you are worried about safety, then I recommend bubble-wrapping your furniture, throwing a bunch of pillows and toys on the floor and blasting Dora the Explorer on loop on the TV (it doesn't matter which episode, they are all the same for a reason! ingenious). 


5. Only serving mac and cheese with bananas for all meals would make lunch a dinner a bliss. No more fighting over who needs to eat their vegetables!


******

Note from the Blogger in Chief: While Emi's tips are great, you do want to be rigorous with your discipline. It can't just be all fun and bananas! Staying awake past bedtime is a big no-no and waking up in the middle of the night is plainly unacceptable. Time-outs are a great resource for those unexpected 2 am partiers, along with firmly saying "NO!" from your bed.

*I took the liberty to edit her grammar and syntax. She is 18 months old after all, but I'm really good at interpreting her limited vocabulary.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Some Tibdits


I.
Emi has taken to biting other kids at playgrounds. It is especially mortifying for me as I have to apologize profusely to the fancy moms and I fear my child soon won't be invited to playdates anymore. Three different experienced parents (including my nanny) have said to me that the only thing that works is to bite her back, to show her how painful it can be. I tried to convince our nanny to bite her without much success and Rob doesn't want to do it either, so here I am, procrastinating over my motherly duty of biting my own child.
Not biting this sweet little bundle of joy any time soon

II.
I'm sick of hearing about how expensive San Francisco has gotten. Not because I don't think it is outrageously expensive, but because it has become the only topic of discussion at every social gathering I have been attending to in the past 1-2 years (that, and bashing alpha moms).
Also, SF being so expensive is not only making my social interactions too boring but also making this place a really weird city to raise children at. Walking around town, all I see on the streets are single people on their 20s and 30s, most of them working in Tech (of course working on something that will for sure change the world, one byte at a time...). Some of them are having kids now, but you only see small babies or toddlers - as once they reach school age their parents move out to more affordable areas with much better schools. There aren't any seniors walking around, no pre-teens or teens and certainly no teachers (unless they scored a rent controlled room with 5 other roommates 15 years ago). Luckily we spend quite a bit of quality time in Boca Raton, Florida with grandparents a few times a year, so Emi will have the chance to see what a retiree looks like in real life and hopefully won't freak out if she ever sees one here. I am already preparing myself to give her "the talk" to explain what those weird looking people are.

III.
I love working from home, although that usually means I'm the frumpiest freelancer in town. I'm in major need of an upgrade to fashion forward frumpy-chic outfits that I can wear to business meetings, playground outings and to open the door to my Instacart shopper. Complete with a freshly appointed mom-bob I'll be taking fashion by its horns this week. 
Here's the photo I'll be showing the stylist. Wish her luck.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bring back feminism!

Being a feminist 30 years ago must have been much easier than these days.

My life would be so much simpler if I could just feed my family Kraft's Mac n Cheese, delicious box juices (better yet, Coca Cola!), have white bread on the table, boxed pudding for dessert, goldfish crackers and Nesquik chocolate milk for afternoon snack, instead of the organic, low sugar, locally sourced home made crap I can't stop myself from producing.
Sleep issues would not be a problem for infants, since cribs would be so soft and plushy, filled with stuffed animals, pillows and blankets. Who would cry in such cozy environment!
And toddler tantrums...! Easy peasy, you just discipline that child like you mean it and god forbid they attempt to put up a show at you again. A simple threat to discuss the issue with their father would be enough to scare the hell out of your children.

"We Can Do It!" by J. Howard Miller, artist employed by Westinghouse, poster used by the War Production Co-ordinating Committee - From scan of copy belonging to the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, retrieved from the website of the Virginia Historical Society.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
This whole hipster-DYI-organic-back-to-the-farm-wholesome-parenting movement is really ruining my life.
Instead of just focusing on achieving a brilliant career, I'm just too busy looking at cool ideas on Pinterest, kneading my own gluten free pasta, brewing my almond milk, pickling the eggs my own chickens produced and subscribing to Jessica Alba's line of compostable diapers.
I'm learning the benefits of  talking a toddler out of tantrums, buying natural cleaning supplies that my housekeeper refuses to use, limiting my kid's screen time and taking parenting classes to learn anything from breastfeeding to sleep training and toilet independence.

I really want to be a feminist. I root for equal household responsibilities and I aspire to be paid as well as men one day. I believe the government shouldn't regulate personal decisions such us birth control, but should instead invest in subsidized/free childcare and pre-school. Flexible schedules should become a reality and everybody should get a month or three of vacation.
I should start a new movement! Get involved in politics! But I can't now, though. I'm just too busy baking vegan zucchini muffins at the moment.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Your million dollar idea. Right here. Right now.

Ever since I left my corporate job to stay home part-time, I have had a fair amount of business ideas, just by being a mom.
But my freelancing gigs are doing pretty well and I don't really have time want to pursue a full time mompreneur career, so I thought I would share my ideas with you, my loyal readers, to give you a chance to become insta-millioners. Here you have my top five business ideas for moms, designed by a mom like you:


  1. The Roombaroo: The first few months of the life of an infant can be really challenging. By the end of every day, most infants go bananas, crying endlessly for no reason. I have tried the five "S's"* with moderate results (shushing, swinging, sucking, swaddling, shaking - ok, not really shaking, but shaking a little) but the whole process can be exhausting. My revolutionary product combines the rocking movements of a top-of-the-line swing (think Mamaroo), with very strong Velcro wings/straps that swaddle the child into the contraption, while the whole thing goes around the room vacuum cleaning (think of the iRobot), providing the most effective shushing sound with the convenience of keeping your floors sparkling clean. The child would go around your house safely strapped to this appliance while you enjoy a glass of wine or three with your sleep deprived partner.
  2. The Jammie-swaddle: Swaddling an infant is a pain in the butt - or at least Emi was a really hard infant Houdini who would get out of every possible version out in the market (velcro, zipper, old fashion, she would get out of all). BUT, what if instead of using a swaddle, we just add a very powerful piece of velcro to the arms of the infant's long sleeve onesies, converting any item of clothing into the worlds easiest, most secure swaddle ever invented? Ingenious.
  3. The Strap-a-bottle: After the infant phase, you are feeling more confident, going around town with the baby on the stroller, but occasionally you are out and about and baby is hungry and you have a bottle ready to go but you don't really want to stop to hold that bottle for 20'. Enter this revolutionary contraption that attaches the bottle to your child's mouth and keeps it from falling on the floor. Win win. You can continue shopping, baby can have her bottle and everybody is very relieved because she finally stopped whining. 
  4. Mommy-cam: Babies tend to suffer from separation anxiety, which at times can keep them up at night, making you go into their rooms to comfort them and helping them fall back asleep. Most of the times, the parent presence is all the baby needs to lull back to sleep. So how about we reverse the baby video monitor and we install it in mom and dad's room - so whenever baby wakes up in the middle of the night, she can look into the screen and instantly feel at peace knowing that mommy and daddy are happily resting on their bed. She may also hear any noises that occasionally come from mom's room, but that would only provide more comfort and peace to your child. If your baby gets scared, just let her know that daddy isn't killing mommy, you guys are just playing.
  5. Baby wrap: Baby proofing a house is a complicated and time consuming project, often put aside by busy parents. Inspired by my extensive international traveling experience, I'm bringing the plastic wrap machine- normally used to protect suitcases from being open- to your house. A team of expert wrappers will efficiently wrap your furniture, drawers and harmful chemicals with several layers of plastic, guaranteeing the ultimate peace of mind for moms. When you want to use your kitchen drawers, simply cut a hole with scissors or a sharp knife and call us back to re-wrap your house at your convenience.
6. Bonus idea: cardboard boxes for kids! Forget about fancy toys - kids aren't really into them.
Sell boxes! Endless entertainment for a fraction of the cost.

Happy mom-preneuring!
*The Happiest Baby on the block, by Harvey Karp. Skip the book, watch the 30' video available online at Amazon and similar streaming services.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A personality test

My most loyal readers know by now that I have a very unhealthy stroller obsession. I know all of the strollers in the market very well: their pros and cons, price, reselling value and more importantly, who buys them. I am the creepy mom at the playground observing the strollers and the moms/nannies behind them. I don't mean harm, I swear. I just really like strollers. If I was rich and had a huge garage, I'd probably have about 10 strollers. One for each occasion.

Apart from strollers, I also love taking personality tests. I've taken more than a fair share of BuzzFeed quizzes that have determined, so far, that I should be living in Portland, Oregon (hello!), my ideal career is writer (yay!) and I am a helicopter mom (very offensive. How dare them say that about me??).

And since I know all about strollers and personality quizzes, here's my contribution to the world:

Tell me what kind of stroller you push and I'll tell you what kind of b*tch you are mom you are: A personality Test.


Orbit Baby
$940 plus accessories


Fancy Pancy:
You spend most days hosting playdates, taking your child to Baby Karate, Picasso for Tots and Hip Hop for Babies. Your days just get busier and busier and you certainly need to look the part! You probably also watch too much of Keeping up with the Kardashians, which is an entirely different problem you'll soon have to face.

Bugaboo Bee
$650



Hipster with Tech Money

You are cool, laid back and live in San Fracisco. You sometimes helicopter-mom your child, because you just can't help it. You try hard to go green but sometimes you just need to buy what works (Sorry, Jessica Alba). You probably watch too much E! entertainment. You and I are definitely soul mates. Bravo!

City Mini
$250

Practical Momma

You do what works, and you take parenting with a no-nonsense approach. You definitely have this thing figured out. Congratulations! Can we be friends? Can I borrow your stroller?

Chicco Cortina
$180

Frumpy Grumpy

Seriously, with so many good looking, yet budget friendly options out there, THIS is what you got. I mean. I can't even... Worst $180 ever spent.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On baby books

For my baby shower, all my friends were very sweet and got me a lot of baby books to read to Emi. We've started reading to her pretty early on, to the point where she's now absolutely obsessed with her books and won't go to sleep unless we read between 5 to 7.
After a year or so, reading the same books over and over can get old, especially the baby books that don't have a lot going on. Like "I love cupcakes!", or "Big, versus small!", "Yellow!". I always picture those writers coming up with new ideas for their next baby book and how they may pitch it to their publishers.

Baby Book Writer: "Hey! I wrote a new baby book! It is about 5 pages long and it is about all the things a little baby loves, such us ice cream, family and cupcakes".
Editor: "I think this can be a huge hit, how did you even come up with that ingenious idea?".
Baby Book Writer: "Well, I am a mom myself!".
Editor: "That makes total sense".

What a great idea to write my very own Baby Book Series, right? (right?).

The first one is about a Very Hungry, Frumpy Mom. Read on:

Mom was trying to lose the baby weight, but dieting was making her very hungry. Her fashion choices weren't helping either.

On Monday, Baby refused to eat her Cheerios for breakfast. So Mom ate all the leftovers, despite having just finished her piece of toast.




On Tuesday, Baby decided she wasn't really into oatmeal. Mom was quick and ate it all without any regrets.



By Wednesday, Mom was definitely not losing any baby weight.

On Thursday, baby was eating meatballs. But... they were too delicious to pass on, so none were left for Mom. Mom had to cook a few for herself, and also added some rice and parmesan cheese for good measure.



By Friday, Mom was certainly not losing any baby weight. So Mom decided to eat a nice big green smoothie and felt much better.



The green smoothie diet was definitely doing wonders to her bod, so she decided to keep it up for two more weeks, in addition to taking spinning classes.


Then she went on a shopping spree and got a few items on sale. She also got a keratin treatment and a mani/pedi.

But now, she wasn't hungry anymore and the frumpy old mom days were long behind.

She had turned into... well...  (certainly not a butterfly)... not entirely hot, but hey, this is hard work, you guys. Maybe we need a few more months.


THE END.



*All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Monday, July 21, 2014

On employee performance reviews

I've been out of Corporate America for about about eight months now and I still often get people asking me if I miss it.
I have friends who would go bananas working from home alone, while I seem to thrive in an environment where I can lay all day on the couch wearing the finest frumpy-Old-Navy-momma ensembles.
But there is one thing I miss about working at a large company: the twice a year 360 reviews. That time of the year when the sh*t hits the fan and both peers and superiors write a detailed performance review that later on is analyzed and delivered to you in person during a painful 1:1 meeting with your manager.
Since that is the only thing I miss from working every day at an office 9 to 5, why not just do it at home and get the pure benefit from it?
I figured I would not only feel great about seeing all my achievements in one page, but I would also be able to get my deserved praise and help my family work toward perfection.
To get a head start in the process, I have completed Emi's first performance review, while I wait to receive hers. She seems to be taking a long time completing it.

Name: Emilia
Age: 16 months

Performance Rating Definitions


Outstanding                        Performance is consistently superior
Exceeds Expectations         Performance is routinely above job requirements
Meets Expectations             Performance is regularly competent and dependable
Below Expectations            Performance fails to meet job requirements on a frequent basis Unsatisfactory                     Performance is consistently unacceptable

Performance Factors

Knowledge of Work Below Expectations
Emi tends to know by now what is expected from her but still acts surprised when I attempt to leave her with her beloved nanny and little friend. After a while, it would be nice if she would just happily wave goodbye at me.

Communication Below Expectations
Despite my efforts to teach Emi both Spanish and English, she still only says a few words, including (but not limited to) agua, banana, mama, daddy, Emi, más, puffs and happy.

Teamwork Below Expectations
It would be great if Emi could start taking on some household tasks such us cooking, laundry and groceries.

Decision Making/Problem Solving Below Expectations
Emi seems to have trouble deciding which outfit to wear and which books to read. 

Expense Management Below Expectations
All those toys and baby gear are preventing us from buying a mansion.

Safety Below Expectations
Despite my efforts to teach safety around the house, Emi continues to climb her high chair and every piece of furniture around the house. Power outlets, drawers, trash and staircases are still extremely attractive to her.


Employee Strenghts and Accomplishments
Emi is a happy little toddler. She enjoys reading, playing hide and seek, going to the playground, dancing and bath time. She loves puppies and babies, meatballs and orange juice. 



Performance Areas which need improvement
Emi has been known for biting other babies' cheeks, climbing unsafe areas and for having an unhealthy obsession with Curious George. Table manners could certainly use some improvement.






Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...