Your Bragging Squad

Let’s face it, if you aren’t complaining about your kids, you are bragging about them. It is important to locate your best audience when your child does something monumental like uses the potty for the first time. Friends without kids won’t necessarily understand the need for the choreographed celebratory dance you and your husband have worked out and your friends with kids might have a son who just keeps missing the mark, literally. But have no fear, here are some never-fail allies that when your child jumps they will ask how high.

Their pediatrician

I’m never shy about sharing mini and major developmental milestones during our visits and always ask if I too can get a gold star when they are handing out stickers after shots.

Any and all members of your family

Grandparents, aunts, second cousins twice removed are your target audience to start a triumphant impromptu flash mob when your child has finally given up on a 6 day vegetable hunger strike.

Their sibling

I have found that my children’s biggest fans are each other. On more than one occasion I have caught Charlotte patting her sister on the back while saying, “Good job, Sissie.” Now if that’s not the greatest argument for a second child, I’m not sure how to convince you.

They say in life it is important to surround yourself with cheerleaders; people that build you and your family up. While your bragging squad may not always match your mommy-level of excitement over the first poop after four days of baby constipation, they will always nod along accordingly whenever you mention just how gifted your special children are.  

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Travels with Children

Hats off to all you parents out there that travel often with your children. I applaud your ability to ignore the fact that you will spend more time packing, unpacking, and doing laundry than you will actually enjoying your “vacation”. These kids of mine operate best on schedules and routines, just like their Mama, and it is hard to venture outside of our baby-gated bubble. Last weekend we braved the unknown and went out of town for a family reunion.

When you travel, the bar for what constitutes “fun” and a success should be set no higher than your tallest child. (This logic will help you greatly on deciding when is the right time to take your kids to Disneyland.) What would have ruined our trip as a family of three was just par for the course as a family of four. Things like not being able to find our Air B and B house; driving deep into the woods for an hour in the wrong direction, when the breadcrumbs known as our GPS signal had been lost and the kids were long overdue for a nap; evident by the octave of their screaming. Or keeping two toddlers alive in a backyard with two Koi ponds, a pool, a 3 foot deck, and a fire pit. And lastly, waking up to our 1 year old projectile puking like the exorcist in our bed at 1 in the morning.

Somehow through a sleep-deprived stupor and the lingering smell of vomit, I was able to recognize the importance of letting the powerful moments in parenting speak louder than the challenging ones. Like having your kids participate in a Halloween costume “parade” you remember doing yourself 25 years ago, which looked more like what would happen if you tried to put socks on a pack of Chihuahuas. 

Or watching your children, the fourth generation, feed the very same Koi with their grandpa, that you fed with your grandpa. 

Lastly, having your baby snuggle up to her pregnant aunt, your sister, sharing a look that says "my heart knows you"-- as if that image weren’t darling enough, she also happened to be dressed as a strawberry.

I have found that the more you are able to let go of parenting expectations, the more you are able to focus on what truly matters. Sometimes, in order to get there though, you have to travel outside of your comfort zone.  

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Reasons my Second is Crying: The Little Sister Edition

Before I get started I want to go ahead and set the stage for the difference between the first and second born. When designing the nursery for my first we actually considered hiring an artist for her room mural. When asked what the theme was for my second daughter’s room my response was a tired, “Uh, baby?”

It is a known fact that the birth order makes a difference in their personalities and ultimately who they become as adults. But no pressure there, parents. I catered to my eldest’s every whimper and whine, leading me to believe that The Boy Who Cried Wolf was definitely the first born. My youngest child has been molded into a tolerant and independent little love who typically only cries for important reasons, while my oldest cries when we can’t get to a Band-Aid fast enough, I hand her the wrong Band-Aid, or heaven help us if we run out of Band-Aids.

Here are the very legitimate reasons my second child is crying:

1). Her hand is wrist deep in her sister’s mouth and I’d venture to guess that touching someone else’s uvula feels a little weird.

2). After the fourth popsicle swap with her sister, she didn’t appreciate ending up with the one that was dipped in the sandbox.

3). She is tired of being used as the Hokey Pokey puppet when it’s time to “shake it all about”.

4). My oldest has been feeding her baby doll her sister’s milk for the past 10 minutes, and she’s not allowed to drink it until the doll is finished.

5). Their shared bath time experience isn’t just rubber ducks and bubbles, she's often a participant in market research on tear-free shampoo and some light Chinese water torture. 

If the second child is crying, you'd better bring two Band-Aids, one to entertain your first and one for the actual boo boo.

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