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DIY Baby Mobile

2011 October 10

So, I just discovered Pinterest, thanks to my sister-in-law, and I’m hooked. If you’re not familiar, it’s an online pinboard, where people can pin and share ideas and inspirations. If you are at all creative – or aspire to be – I highly recommend it. (You can follow my pins by clicking on the Pinterest link in the sidebar if you are so inclined.) read more…


2011 October 5

So either my nesting instinct has kicked into overdrive or allowing myself to splurge on a (large-ish) caffeinated iced tea at lunch was just what I needed to take on some of my last minute baby-prepping tasks. read more…

T Minus 23

2011 October 1

Here we are: the month of T. Rex’s birth.

Not surprisingly, I am a total mix of emotions this month. read more…

Judgment-Free Zone

2011 September 19

Whether you’re a parent or not, it’s probably safe to assume that at some time you found yourself watching parents in action and judging them. read more…

Too Much, Too Soon

2011 September 11

In past years, on the anniversary of September 11th, I have posted my writings from the days and weeks following that tragedy. This year with the sheer volume of 10th anniversary remembrances, I am hesitant to add to the media clutter. It’s not that I don’t want to pay my respect to those who, either bravely or simply unfortunately, lost their lives that day, but because sometimes less really is more. read more…

Secrets, Secrets Are No Fun

2011 September 7

Naming a human is hard. It’s a lot of pressure. It’s just one word (maybe two), but it carries a lot of weight. read more…

Silver Lining

2011 August 29
by MushBrain

So tired. So very tired. That’s the state of my pregnant being these days. read more…

Precious Gems

2011 August 22
by MushBrain

Despite the frustrations of daily life with a two or three-year old, I think this really is one of the best ages for a parent. (Granted my experience with other ages is quite limited.) Sure, the tantrums, the whining, the rebellion and the inability to really moderate any emotions wears on you hour after hour. But in between those patience-testing episodes, there are precious gems: spontaneous declarations of love; the best hugs and kisses ever; pure unadulterated giggles; and hilarious comments and observations. read more…

Is It Over Yet?

2011 August 18

Some days everything just goes my way. Lilly eats good, healthy meals; makes it to the potty on time every time; we have fun, productive playtime together and just plain enjoy each other’s company. Those are good days. Today is not one of those days. read more…

So Close . . .

2011 August 16

Well, I guess the upside to the fact that I have been unable to sleep past 4 a.m. in several weeks is that I may have finally found some time to carve out of my day for blogging. I can’t promise that my prose will be any more lucid than when I attempt to write while the sun is up and my brain is torn between preschooler-wrangling, baby preparations and pregnancy discomfort, but I’ll give it a shot. read more…

Ready for Adventure

2011 July 6
by MushBrain

Lilly has been successfully out of diapers for more than 2 weeks now. I feel comfortable saying it: she is potty-trained. For the sake of MushBrain, I wish there had been more to it. But to be completely honest, it was easy. This time. There have been other times . . . not so much.

This time, though, Lilly was ready.

I really hate to say that though. Not because I wish Lilly wasn’t ready, but because I can hear the collective grunts of parents around the world who are trying to potty-train and are sick of hearing miraculous stories of overnight potty-training from parents whose kids “were just ready.” I’ve heard those stories from family, friends, and random strangers. And, boy, have I grunted.

Yeah, they were ready. I get it. That doesn’t help me.

What I found so frustrating was that Lilly has been seemingly “ready” for a long time. She showed all the signs. She would announce every pee as it happened. She would want to be immediately changed. She wanted a potty. She wanted to sit on it. She wanted to be a “big girl” and was willing to work for stickers and praise. But apparently she was not ready to integrate all of those activities into her daily routine. And that’s where we would get stuck.

She would do great for a day or two, sometimes even a week or two. But then the novelty would wear off and she’d go back to her old ways.

In retrospect what was missing was the excitement — a sense of adventure! It seems ridiculous, but I’m serious. In our previous attempts, Lilly’s successes were more sporadic. An as-we-think-of-it occurrence.

A good day was when she got to the potty more often than not — but not every time. That seemed good. And it was. She just wasn’t potty trained. She just  . . . wasn’t ready.

Now, though, we have excitement! We have adventure! Lilly is in panties all the time, which definitely ups the pressure for me. But more importantly, Lilly is 100% on board. She wants to do this. She has a spark about her.

So now when she has to go, she jumps into action. “I gotta go potty!” And she’s off and running. And that’s what gives me the confidence to treat her like she’s already there — to let her walk around the house without diapers, to play on the rug and sit on the couch (even if I insist on a plastic sheet under her). And I think that confidence is contagious. We feed off each other all day and when that moment comes when she announces she has to go . . . we jump into action!

I’m not a sailor, but I’d imagine it’s kind of like sailing. One minute you’re relaxing, taking in the day, the next minute you’re in full action, easing the sheet and swinging the jib starboard. [Yep, everything I know about sailing, I learned from Wedding Crashers.]

One of our first outings after the initial 3-day training period, was a quick run to a nearby store that I knew had a restroom. Seemed like a good trial run.

As is our routine now, Lilly used the potty just before leaving and was often reminded to tell me as soon as she knows she has to go and then hold it. She did great at the store. Didn’t need the potty. We were feeling good.

Normally, at this point in the day I would have offered to take Lilly out to lunch, but decided against it given the potty circumstances. I knew, however, there was not much for me to eat at home so I decided to swing by a drive-thru sandwich shop on the way home to pick up something for me before heading home to make Lilly lunch. I figured a drive-thru would only add mere minutes to our trip.

I pulled up, ordered, pulled up again and paid. I asked Lilly how she was doing. She was good and just chatting away about other stuff as we waited for my sandwich. Then all of sudden: Oh! I gotta go potty!

Action time! I considered my options — there really was only one: get out of this line and into the restaurant restroom. I turned to the window to tell the guy I’d be parking instead, but the window was closed and he was walking away from me. I turned to Lilly to assess the urgency of the situation. Yep, it was urgent.

Just hold it, Lil.

I reached out and knocked on the glass. No guy.

Just keep holding it, sweetie. I’ll get you to the potty.

I knocked harder. No guy.

Are you still holding it?


Now, I lurched my pregnant body out my car window and started banging on the window with both hands. Finally the guy noticed the crazy woman at his window and ever-so-cautiously (read: too damn slowly) approached. I screamed that we have to go potty and I’ll pick it up inside, then tore off into a parking space.

I jumped out of the car.

Shoot! The windows are down! Oh well, it’ll just be a few minutes.

I ran around to the passenger side to get Lilly out and planned to pick up my purse from that side. I scrambled to open Lilly’s trillion car seat buckles, then noticed her feet.

Shoot! She pulled her shoes off! Ugh, we don’t need them. No! Public restroom – we need them!

I rushed to put her shoes back on reminding her constantly to keep holding it. I left her unbuckled in her seat while I opened the front door to get my bag and then noticed my wallet was still out. I grabbed it to put in my bag and all my cash falls out.

Leave it! No, I can’t! The windows are open! Stuff the money anywhere! Argh! What the hell is a jib anyway?!

Finally, I got my money stowed in pockets, my wallet in my bag, Lilly’s shoes on, grabbed her out of the seat and started sprinting to the restroom, promising Lilly I only needed a few more seconds.

When we finally got Lilly to the potty and she did her thing, her pants were completely dry. I was so proud I had tears in my eyes. Lilly announced, “You’re so proud of me, Mommy! And I’m so proud of me!” I agreed 100% and the two of us were just giggling as the adrenalin and panic wore off in the restroom. God, I love that kid!

So that’s what I mean about excitement and adventure. We didn’t have that before. Now, it’s just life.

Potty Training: Shakespeare-Style

2011 June 23

. . . be not afraid of greatness: some are born great; some achieve greatness; and some have greatness thrust upon them.

~Malvolio in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

I think the same can be said for potty-training.
read more…

The Fallout

2011 June 19
by MushBrain

Upon receiving the news that our littlest munchkin is a boy, Elliott and I had the same reaction:

Ultrasound Technician: Looks like you have a baby boy in there!

Elliott/Me: Really? Wow – a boy!!


Elliott/Me: Oh my God. We’re going to have to tell Lilly.

read more…

Old Wives’ Tales

2011 June 13

I never bought into the myriad old wives’ tales that supposedly predict your baby’s gender. First off, those old wives of yore saw nothing wrong with throwing back a glass of wine or two or three to ease the discomforts of pregnancy. And I know that if I drank as much as my aching and complaining pregnant body desired . . . Well, the only thing I’d be good at predicting is a hangover in the morning.

But really there are two main reasons I reject old wives’ tales. One, I can’t keep them straight. My cold feet means I’m carrying a boy? My craving sweets means I’m carrying a girl? What does my willingness to strangle perfect strangers mean?

Reason #2 is even more convincing though: no one else can keep these darn things straight either! I can’t tell you how many times someone came up to me while I was pregnant with Lilly and said, “Oh look at you carrying high — it’s a girl!” and then another person ten minutes later would say, “See, you’re carrying it all up front, nothing in the back — it’s a boy!”

The most annoying people were the ones who insisted they were right.

Annoying Person: Morning sickness, huh? I had it with both my boys. It must be a boy!

Me: Actually, it’s a girl.

Annoying Person: You never know! It still might be a boy!

Me: Well, I saw her ovaries and vagina on the ultrasound. So, I think it’s a girl.

Annoying Person: Just you wait!! It’s going to be a boy!

Guess what? It was a girl.

So, for the record:

  • Morning sickness? Yes, but not as bad as with Lilly
  • Carrying low or high? Low
  • Acne? Yes
  • Cravings? Yes, sweet or fried
  • Feet? Always cold, pregnant or not
  • Intuition? Not really. Walking into the ultrasound, I told Elliott, “If I had to put my money on one, I’d say boy.”

So, I guess that brings us to the current moment. When, just this morning, for the heck of it I took this Old Wives’ Gender Predictor Quiz. The result:

Your score is 40%. Congratulations! According to the Old Wives it’s a girl!

Oh those crazy old wives! Sometimes they get it right.

But not this time! Ladies and gentlemen, meet Lilly’s baby brother . . .

I opted to shield my baby from embarrassing internet pictures for a few more months (at least), but I assure you he has a penis.

He’s a bull-headed one too. Always has to drive the point home. Last night we announced the big news to Elliott’s parents over dinner. His mom quickly pointed out that the old wives’ tale about morning sickness might actually be true since I was much sicker with Lilly. Elliott and I immediately shook our heads and said, “Nope, I don’t think so.”

We could have left it there. I would have been fine with that.

But Baby Boy and my body apparently thought it would be funny to close the chapter on gender prediction with a bang. So, upon returning home, I promptly threw up the complete contents of my stomach for the first time in weeks.

Ugh, message received. Please, no more predictions.

Oh Boy (or Girl)!

2011 June 6

It’s a big day today.

First, it’s Lilly’s first day of summer camp ever and I’ve been nervous for her for weeks. read more…