Family Ties

My sister and I spent our childhood pretty much attached at the hip. We have subsequently spent most of our adult lives thousands of miles apart. She has a job that has moved her around quite a bit, I have my own business here in Phoenix and am, therefore, not moving any time soon.

premiere dress

My sister

little boys

The early years: my sons

For a while, our lives were quite different. She was rising up through the ranks  in her career,  and I was beginning to have babies and trying to start a business while keeping my head above water. She was flying to a premiere in L.A., wearing a fabulous dress and getting her hair and make-up done, and I was trying to get breastmilk out of my work shirt, and trying to picture a life without a “Boppy” and immunization records.

 

 

cute mom and toddler

My sis & niece

More recently, with the birth of her first baby about 22 months ago, my sister  is in the forays of early motherhood and chasing a toddler, and I am navigating a household where no more naps are taken, but two school-aged boys may or may not jump off the dog kennel onto the couch in superhero fashion. The divergence of our lives the past 20 years is narrowing again and our circle is beginning to get smaller.

family picture

A recent family picture

There was a time when my boys were really young and I was a nap Nazi and a hyper-scheduler and every time my sister  looked at me I felt like she thought I had three heads, and maybe I did. I had my second son on a Thursday and saw my first patient in my new practice on a Tuesday. Not exactly the best timing, but at the time, it is what I felt I had to do. I don’t imagine I was much fun in those days, and she probably wondered whether I ever would be again. I wondered if there was ever going to be a time where she would understand the pressures and demands and stress I was experiencing. I wanted her to love my babies as much as I did, but seeing them once or twice a year was not really enough to forge the tight bond for which I had hoped. When your kids are under the age of three, they are only friendly with people they see often, people with whom they have established memories.

Fast forward almost nine years from the time I had my first, and she was finally having her first. Although I hated the desperation in her voice as she was describing the frustrations of no sleep and early mommyhood, I loved being the one she called for advice or for simply an ear. I wished I could have given her a shoulder. It was very hard to be so far away and not have the ability to hold my sweet little niece and give my sister a break without her having to worry about her baby being cared for. Because to me, that is what family does. They are the people with whom you can trust in caring for your most valued possessions without worrying about them. We had two or three days here and there–not nearly enough time for me to be a trusted face for my niece or for my boys to really spend some quality time with their aunt.

Then this past summer came. My sister was in the throws of looking for a different job….she had some time to spare–we planned a family vacation, and then my boys got to spend an extra week with my parents and my sister, her husband, and their new niece. They came home with the kinds of stories that can only come with time real time spent in the company of the ones you love. They loved their niece, they constantly played with their uncle, and they were doted on by their aunt. The story was coming together….closer to what I had always wanted for us.Toddler and her cousins

Now there is a real possibility of her finding work here where I live. I can barely think about it because I dare not, lest I jinx it. They have been staying with us and other family off and on the past few weeks–and any time they aren’t at our house, my boys are wondering when they are coming back. You see, there is no other reason that 9 and 7 year old boys would be so infatuated with a 22 month old cutie pie, except for that family bond and time that establishes and cements these core relationships. My sister is over the hump and confident in her motherhood and I am basking in these boy years where they still let me kiss them. We are both relaxed for the most part, sharing the best bond of sisterhood and motherhood. She watches  me looking adoringly at her daughter and I look at her cracking up at my silly boys’ antics. It just doesn’t get much better. And my niece? No stranger danger with me anymore. This morning I got a kiss and a smile–none of that “Who is this lady that loves me?” look. My sister and I are geographically and emotionally closer all at once. Our lives are converging–no longer parallel three time zones apart…..attached at the hip, and hopefully within the same time zone, state, county, and maybe even zip code.

Sisters

A Geek’s Dream Baby Monitor: WiFi Baby 3G

I have been a computer/technology geek since I laid eyes on my first computer at 4 years old, an Apple IIC. Since then I have always looked for the latest and greatest technology. When I was pregnant with Jackson 2 years ago, I was greatly disappointed with the video baby monitor market. I wanted a baby monitor that I could securely see my son on my iPhone and laptop at home and while away from home. Back then, there was nothing like that available.

While debating what monitor to buy for our baby girl due in October, I found exactly what I dreamed of 2 years ago, Wifi Baby 3G. Wifi Baby 3G is a video baby monitor that streams interference-free video and audio to a Mac, PC, iPhone or iPad. One great feature of Wifi Baby 3G is that the stand-alone camera doesn’t need a physical connection to your router, it connects wirelessly with your home WiFi network.

 

It was easy to connect to our secure home WiFi network and took me about 15 minutes. The box came with easy, clear directions and additional links to their web site for more help. One thing I LOVE about this company is their quick, friendly customer service. Any email questions I had were promptly answered by the customer service rep I had been touch with, Devin. Although this monitor is a geek’s dream, I promise even those that aren’t geeks like myself can set up the WiFi Baby 3G, especially with a support team readily available.

 

WiFi Baby 3G is a family-owned company based out of Florida who invented Wifi Baby because they couldn’t find a secure, quality monitor to monitor their son at home and away from home. Exactly what I couldn’t find 2 years ago but unfortunately I’m not an inventor- thank goodness they are because WiFi Baby 3G has met all of my baby monitoring-needs!

 

One feature that is available for a small, one-time fee is external viewing, which means my husband can check in from work on my son’s nap time or my Mom in Florida can even check in on her iPhone. The set up for external viewing is slightly trickier, so the small fee covers a remote session with their awesome Tech Support team. The person who helped me was Ryan and had us up and running in 20 minutes.

 

In order to use WiFi Baby 3G on your iPhone or iPad, you need to download the WiFi Baby HD app from the iTunes store for a one-time fee of $8.99. If you have additional cameras you can view all of them with the Baby Monitor HD app which is only a dollar more. Since my husband and I are all on the same iTunes account, I downloaded the app on both iPhones and iPads for only $8.99 total. Totally worth it! Since the monitor uses my secure WiFi network to stream to our computer or iPhone/iPad, I don’t worry about anyone creeping through the neighborhood scanning traditional analog video baby monitor channels and seeing my babies.

 

Even at night time, the video is crystal clear!

 

Another great feature of the Wifi Baby 3G monitor is that when my kids are bigger and don’t need monitoring in their rooms, I plan on putting it in the kids’ play room (a.k.a. the basement) so I if I have to be upstairs for something I can quickly check in on them with my iPhone, iPad or MacBook. You can also use the monitor for home security once your babies are past the monitoring age. I know I won’t be able to do that with my older, non-WiFi Baby 3G monitor.

 

The only downside I could find with this monitor is that it might be difficult to travel with, but whenever we travel I don’t need a monitor anyway. Our son has always stayed in our room with us or close by so I wouldn’t take a monitor, but I know some people like to take their monitors with them.

 

I highly recommend WiFi Baby 3G to any parent who wants  a secure, high-tech system to watch their babies. Not only will this system serve parents well while their children are infants, but it can also be used as a nanny cam or home security for years to come.

 

You can buy the Wifi Baby 3G Video Monitor from their web store for $279, even less than a traditional video baby monitor that doesn’t have half the features WiFi Baby 3G has. Check them out at WiFiBaby.net or on their Facebook Page to find out more about this great monitor.

 

*The fine print: I wasn’t paid or compensated in any way to review the WiFi Baby 3G monitor or the Wifi Baby HD app. Actually, I put a {refundable} deposit down in order to review it but I will most certainly be keeping the WiFi Baby in our house because we love it! As always, my opinions are entirely my own: honest and unbiased.

 

Baby #2: Repeat C-section or VBAC?

One of the most common questions I’ve received so far this pregnancy is “are you going to have another c-section?” My answer: “I think so.”

Joanna & happy family after her c-section

My pregnancy with my son was a very pleasant, uneventful one. His delivery was exactly the opposite though. After laboring at home for more than 12 hours, I got to the hospital and it was a whirlwind that resulted in an emergency c-section that likely saved both my son’s and my life. Long story short, I had a placental abruption and my son had the cord wrapped around his neck four times. I lost a lot of blood and was thankful to have the excellent care of the obstetrics team at Women & Infant’s Hospital. If you’re interested, you can read the long story on my blog here.

I go back and forth on whether I should have a repeat, planned c-section or try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). Some of the advantages of a planned c-section this time around are being able to plan the exact day and having my Mom and Stepdad fly up from Florida and plan childcare for my son. My husband can also plan accordingly at work, months in advance. Another less talked about “plus” is that since I’ve never had a vaginal birth, I can keep the lady parts down there in pre-vaginal birth form, if you know what I mean. The vain side of me would also like another shot at the whole c-section scarring deal. My first one ended up a raised, keloid scar which is not pretty. I didn’t realize how bad it was until I happened to google c-section scars, and realized mine could be in the record books for ugly. The scar is really not a big deal, but my Doctor said she could cut it out this time around and it may heal better.

Some of the disadvantages of a repeat c-section are that it is major abdominal surgery and it took six weeks to feel normal again. There’s also risk of infection and there are scientific studies that show vaginal births are best for babies’ health. Repeat c-sections are also not recommended after two to three c-sections, so if being a Duggar is in my future I should try for a VBAC (hint: it’s not, we will probably be “two and through”). For the record, my obstetrician said I would be an excellent candidate for a VBAC, since my c-section was unrelated to my ability to have a vaginal birth. Apparently, many doctors are not supportive of VBACs because of the risk involved, but I have not experienced that. My doctor has been extremely supportive and so would the hospital I will give birth at, Women & Infants. I am grateful that I have the choice.

On the other hand, part of me would like to experience natural childbirth and by natural, I mean vaginal. The epidural was my friend the first time around, but since I didn’t get it until 8 centimeters the first time maybe I could have a baby without one! I never even got to pushing the first time around and I’d like to have that experience. The recovery time is also less with a vaginal birth, a major plus for having two kids under two years old. The main thing about a VBAC that scares me is uterine rupture. I’ve known a few people that this has happened to, one woman’s baby even kicked OUT her c-section scar while going down the birth canal. I know this is such a low risk, but so was a placental abruption and nuchal cords times four. Another thing about the VBAC is simply fear of the unknown. I’ve experienced a c-section before and it was a pleasant experience.

Although I’ve changed my mind several times, I am currently leaning toward a planned, repeat c-section.
I would love to hear if you’ve had a VBAC or a repeat c-section and your thoughts on it!

Pregnant in Heels: my feet hurt for these women!

Have you seen the new TV show on Bravo, Pregnant in Heels? I caught my first episode the other night and was reminded that there is a completely different universe than the one I’m living in. Namely, pregnant women living in New York City who have a completely different reality than my own. I don’t know about you, but I’m only 16 weeks pregnant and my feet complain after just hearing the word “heels.” These women teeter around in 4 inch heels at 39 weeks pregnant through the cobblestone streets of NYC!

Mina and her husband, Herman

The episode I viewed is titled “Clueless” and there couldn’t be a more apropos title. The show is hosted by a really cool woman named Rosie Pope who is a “Maternity Concierge” and basically caters to affluent pregnant women who know more about spending money than raising babies.

The first woman on the show is named Mina Au and has never even held a baby before. She thinks that her husband and the nanny can do all the diaper changes, after all- “there are people for that.” Mina couldn’t understand why Rosie said the dog’s “pee pad” had to come up when there’s a baby crawling around the apartment floor. Diaper pail, what’s that? I need one of those?

Michelle and her husband, Gary

The second woman on the show is named Michelle Shaeffer, a Catholic woman married to a nice Jewish man named Gary. Michelle can’t understand why Gary has a problem raising their daughter Catholic, after all  it is “her” daughter. Apparently they never once brought up how they would raise children with their two different religions. Rosie brings in Lisa Oz (Dr Oz’s wife) to mediate the heated discussion and manages to bring the couple to a compromise.

The first 45 minutes of the show I kept asking myself “Are these women serious? OMG! Wait till that baby comes!” Somehow Bravo manages to humanize these princesses in the last 15 minutes so you don’t completely despise them, but it still amazes me that there are women out there so self-absorbed. I know it’s reality TV, but some things can’t be edited by Bravo producers.

Being a toddler mom and pregnant myself, I don’t know how these high-rise Mommas do it in NYC. My hat is off to them. I love being able to drive my car to the grocery store and not worry about lugging car seats into cabs every time I want to run an errand.

Pregnant in Heels gives a really unique glimpse into the lives of pregnant women who don’t live like “the rest of us.”  The host, Rosie Pope, is charming. I adore her London accent and her honesty with secondary infertility struggles on the show is endearing. She works with her clients with a unique blend of grace and straight forwardness. I can’t wait for the next episode to air!

If you’re looking for a new show to watch, I recommend giving Pregnant in Heels a chance. You can watch the show on Bravo, Tuesdays at 10 pm EST or watch full episodes on BravoTV.com.

Have you seen the show yet- what did you think? If not, what’s your favorite show at the moment?

Photos courtesy of Bravo TV

The Nanny Dilemma

When I had my first son, my husband and I were not in a position financially for me to stop working. When I had my second son, it was even worse as we were both starting our own businesses. My business,  ironically, was supposed to give me more flexibility with  the kids; and in time it has. Still, I had my second on a Thursday and saw patients the following Tuesday.  Both transitions were arduous and emotional; there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. There was questioning. Could we afford it if we moved into a one-bedroom apartment? Could we afford it if my husband worked during the day and then when he came home I went to work at night? Around and around it went, but in the end, I went back to work both times. And I am finally glad for those decisions. Yes, more time would have been nice. Yes, the option to not go back would even have been nice.  But despite a tumultuous first few weeks, (pumping at work, leaking at work, crying at work), today those decisions have left me with more control over what I do and when I do it, and with more financial freedom for our family.

However, once the decision (despite lack of options) was made, we had another conundrum. Who was going to watch our precious flock? There were a few options: a huge day care center, a smaller in-home day care, or finding someone to come into our home.  I really did not want option number one. There was a part of me that wanted my baby to be in his own environment, to sleep in his own crib. I didn’t want him to be one of 24 babies anywhere, if he didn’t have to be. We ended up finding a woman that went to our church who watched 4-6 kids in her home down the street. The kids were a mix of babies and toddlers, but not more than 3 of the kids were under 18 months. We could bring his pack n play and he would sleep in a room upstairs during his naps. She was more than agreeable to stick to my nap schedule and would give me updates at the end of the day.  And so it began.

The experience itself, was mostly positive. I did like that my son was able to be around some other children, I did like that he was clean at the end of the day and that he slept there.  However, a few times when I picked him up he seemed a bit over-stimulated. She had this projection screen that showed kids movies or shows and the volume was quite loud because some of the toddlers were inside/outside. I felt rattled a few times just picking him up–no wonder he felt rattled as well. After about 6 months, she developed some health issues and we had to figure something else out. I can’t explain the anxiety I would feel when these transitions would occur. It has gotten so much easier as my children get older but even now, as summer approaches, I think “What are we going to do now?”

Our neighbors across the street at the time had a granddaughter that had plenty of experience watching babies, and so we decided to have her come to the house. I interviewed her a few times and liked that we knew her grandparents. Still, she wasn’t perfect, but let’s be honest, would anyone live up to my unrealistic expectations? Doubtful. We forged ahead. What I liked: my son was in his own environment at all times, he ate from his high-chair, he slept in his crib. Also, there was no transition time….as soon as I got home from work, voila! there was my baby. What I didn’t like: she didn’t seem particularly active with him. I also had a sense she was using her phone quite a bit, and would sometimes seem a bit strict. I mean he was only 6 months when she started, there wasn’t a lot of misbehaving going on. She was with us for over a year. However, one time my niece came to visit and spent the day with them. She told me that they were riding somewhere in the car and that the nanny had the music turned up so loud that my son was crying in the back seat. I politely let her go the following week. What now?

I put an ad in the local college newspaper. A lovely girl replied and I interviewed her. I now knew some better questions to ask. I asked her what she liked to do, if she liked to be outdoors, her thoughts on discipline, checked her references, started her on a trial basis. I had her take the kids to the park or play with them at home when I was present. She was fantastic. She was on time, she was active, she was happy, but most of all, she played with them. I had friends tell me she saw my nanny out with the kids and how caring and responsible she was. Life was good. Until, until, until…..She was going to school and living on her own and needed more money. We felt the pinch, but obliged. I did not want to change. Life was good again, and then she wanted more. Okay! And then again. No dice. We simply could not afford it, and she had a job offer at a bank–how can you put a price on your kids though? We had to do something!

Nanny number three was not a charm. I hired her based on several interviews and the same criteria as above. Then, through a fluke, someone that knew her said she was pregnant. I did not want a 9 month temporary solution, yet she mentioned no such thing during the interview process. In fact, I had specifically told her I wanted someone that was willing to stay at least a year, preferably more. I decided to call her and ask her about it.  She admitted that she had been pregnant, but that she miscarried. I felt like a jerk and apologized. After all, who would lie about something like that? We forged ahead. You know what is going to happen, right? She starts getting a bit bigger, and a bit bigger, but still, she was not tiny to begin with. Was it weight-weight or baby weight??? And then she told me she was pregnant, but that it was a different pregnancy and that she was expecting twins, which is why she was so big even though it was a separate, accidental, pregnancy. What do I do then? Fire her? What if it were accidental? I can’t fire someone for accidentally getting pregnant.The kids seemed well taken care of.  I let her carry out most of her pregnancy until she became too uncomfortable. She gave birth…. to just one child. Great, I had a chronic liar as my nanny for 8 months. There goes the mom of the year award.

I then found a pre-school that would take my four year old, which also had a room for my two year old, where he could nap and interact with other toddlers. The ratio in that room was about 8 to 2. It was a Christian centered pre-school that also had room for babies. Perfect! And it was, for us. My older son was learning lots and having fun, and my younger son could nap there, learn some, and play some. I decided then that what was perfect at one stage for us, wasn’t necessarily perfect at any other stage. Also, what worked for us, may or may not work for other people; and that is okay too. There has to be room for us mommies to make decisions that are different from other mommies’ decisions, without judgement. Can I get an Amen on that??

So here are a few thoughts if you are considering finding childcare for your baby:

1). Decide what kind of setting you want and what you can afford. There are plenty of websites like nannyfinders, care.com & sittercity that can locate and place nannies with your family.   Some do background checks, some require a monthly fee, others a one-time placement fee.  If you have more than one baby or infant, it will be cheaper to find childcare in the home than paying for multiple spots in a center.

2). Be thorough. Do a background check. Check the driving record. Ask to see a CPR card and certification. Check references. Ask extensive interview questions. Hire someone on a trial basis. COME HOME EARLY OR UNANNOUNCED. Have friends stop by every now and then to see how things seem. Are the kids dry and happy for the most part when you get home?  Are they excited to see their caregivers most of the time? These are your precious kids, and do not feel bad about making sure they get the best care.

3). Decide what you are comfortable with. Personally, I cannot sit at home cooped up all day with the kids. After checking driving records and giving them car seats to use, I was comfortable letting my nannies drive my children. I also let them swim with them, take them to the park, out to lunch, etc. You need to decide what works for you and be clear.

4). Set boundaries and establish a clear relationship. In my case, if I trust someone to take care of my kiddos, they are literally part of my family. That being said, sometimes I felt taken advantage of. I invited my nannies to family birthday parties or other important events, but there does need to be a clear relationship between employee and employer. Sometimes, I felt like I was sacrificing a lot to go above and beyond. Just make sure it is reciprocated.

5). Decide what you can afford and be clear. I ended up offering an initial salary and then gave room for a raise after 6 months. There eventually was a price we just could not go beyond. However, to make up for lack in pay I did other things. For example, I asked for some of their favorite foods and incorporated it in my grocery list, sometimes I paid for them to go out to eat or to matinees to break up the day. I helped check their college papers, gave them books and magazines when I was finished, and we helped fix a few cars. Salary isn’t everything. People want to be happy day in and day out, and some little things can make the difference.

6). Don’t expect perfection. Decide what things are deal-breakers, but beyond that, be a bit flexible. For example, tardiness and excessive absences were not okay with me. I had a whole slew of patients waiting for me at the office and I could not be late. I gave in on other things. I had one nanny who did not think to clean up after lunch, one who was terrible with phone messages, one who liked being inside a bit too much. No one will do it like you do. If your kids are safe and happy, then that is what matters. No one is perfect. And guess what? I am not a perfect parent either, so that is okay!

Heartbreak via Toddler

Grandma, Toddler & Mom

As some of you know, I am originally from Florida and now live in Rhode Island. This past week I was fortunate enough to have my Mom visit for six days. She has been a huge help to my husband and I since we are selling our townhouse. We’ve spent the past several days packing boxes, moving them to our storage unit and she has helped us out by taking over toddler-duty. I’ve enjoyed not changing as many diapers or waking up quite as early as normal, but I’m surprised by how quickly my young son has thrown me aside for another woman.

Until a few weeks ago, my son has always been a sweet pea, giving kisses and hugs on demand. Now he shakes his head and laughs when I ask for a kiss. For the first time in 16 months, I don’t feel as needed by him. I breastfed him for almost 13 months and during that time he definitely needed me, even if it was only once a day.  I was a source of nutrition and comfort for him.

He has always come to me for solace when he fell down or needed something. That is, until my Mom visited. I’ve been replaced by his Grandma. She has spent the past six days with my little boy attached to her hip. When he fell off the couch today, he went to her for comfort when I was just as close. I have to be honest, it stung! I’m not looking forward to the tears (from all of us probably) when I drop her off at the airport.

Moms of boys, I’m well aware this is just the beginning. I’m sure he will be too cool to give me a kiss when I drop him off at school. He is going to spend more time with his Dad shooting hoops than cuddling with me on the couch. Someday he’s going to fall in love with a girl in high school and I’ll be second place while he obsesses over her text messages and where they will be going on their date nights.

I knew this was going to happen but I was not prepared for it to be so soon!

Moms of toddlers, please tell me he will come back to me for a little bit…

Birth of A Mother

holding hands The last words my mother spoke to me were “I will always hold your hand”. I held her tiny, cold, and puffy hand through that last night of her life in the hospital. In the morning I watched her chest rise and fall, as she slowly took her very last breath. I truly expected to feel her presence then, as she had promised, but felt nothing. I looked for her everywhere for weeks, for months, but she was gone. The stark finality of death confounded me.

When my first child was born three months later, I half expected to look into her eyes and see my mother’s soul. It was clear however, that my daughter was a unique individual from the very start. I had to come to terms with the fact that my longing was just a wishful notion. The magical thinking that follows death of a loved one.
I did find her,  eventually, but not where I would have expected. A year and a half later, on a wintery night, my baby woke me with her cries. With a fierce mothers need to warm and comfort her, I brought her into bed with us. I hushed her, and soothed her, and held her hand as we both finally drifted off to sleep. My epiphany came somewhere in that half sleep state. The hand that I was holding was suddenly so familiar, tiny, cold, and puffy in mine. I had held this hand before.
I was flooded with the exaltation of a reunion with a long lost love, wakened now by the realization that a baton had been passed. My mother was there, where she had been all along. That intense mother love, that profound need to soothe my baby’s cries, resonated within, and I found her deep inside me. I was the mother now. She had shown me the way. I understood that the incredible depth of what I felt for my daughter, was how my own mother had always felt for me, and she was there. Honestly, for the first time I reflected on the gestation, birthing, nursing, and holding, all of the draining things mothers give to their new child with love. All that she gave of herself was what brought me here, to my own motherhood. Now, whenever the small hand of one of my own children slips into mine, I hear her words, “I will always hold your hand, ” and she is there with me.

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Becoming a pacifier-free toddler

 

 

Joanna's son at 5 months old & his beloved "binky"

 

I must disclose that we have not broken the pacifier (aka “a binky”) habit in our household, yet. My son is almost 16 months old and currently uses his binky in the crib and car.  I have also been known to sneak it in my pocket during shopping trips in case of emergency.

I decided it was time to start weaning him off the binky when he recently found one under his crib and had a massive meltdown when I told him it was not the time for his binky. I mean a major tantrum, complete with head-banging on the hardwood floor and juice cups being thrown at the dog.

I’ve asked all of my Mom and Dad friends about how they said goodbye to their kids’ pacifiers. There are a couple different theories that my friends have shared with me regarding becoming binky-free.

My favorite idea is the one my friend Neile shared: cut the tips off all the binkies in the house and quit cold turkey. You’re not the bad guy and you can console your toddler while they lament the loss of their intact binky. Another variety of this theory is to cut off the tips slowly until there isn’t much left for them to “pacify” themselves. I believe our first plan of action will be the first. After all, I live down the street from a 24 hour CVS if we HAD to get a replacement binky. There is an entire web site devoted to this theory, www.bye-bye-binky.com, if you’d like to read more.

Another theory, which would be more appropriate for an older toddler, is the “Binky Fairy.” After discussing the Fairy with your child, you set a night for the Fairy to come and take away all of his or her binkies.  The Fairy leaves a small gift for the child in exchange for all the household binkies. A variation of this theory is for the Fairy to take the binkies to a baby who needs them, maybe a little cousin or friend. Packing up all the binkies before the fairy comes can be a special going away ceremony for your toddler to participate in. I’ve also heard that Santa collects binkies for other little boys and girls during Christmas. Maybe the distraction of all the new toys would help ease the pain? I believe my son is a little too young to understand the Binky Fairy or Santa at this age, but if he was older I would definitely try it out.

These two theories were by far the most widely used in my social circle, but before my husband and I embark on this parenting journey I would love to hear your advice. Did your child use a binky and how did you say goodbye?

Gone, But Not Forgotten

Paige in Purple
     My baby left me.  Just walked right out of the house in the middle of the night for the desert and dry air of Arizona.  Okay, so it wasn’t quite THAT dramatic….but it sure seemed that way when we were skyping from RI to AZ and she was was more interested in jumping on the couch than talking to her mama!  My husband looked at me as tears started to stream down my cheek.  I quickly wiped them away, so Paige wouldn’t see.
     When My husband suggested he escape the frigid New England air for two weeks to see family in Arizona, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to get some work done on this website, maybe even catch up on some sleep.  What I hadn’t anticipated was the emotional toll of being away from her and my husband.  Now, I like my alone time.  In fact, for much of our marriage my husband and I have worked different shifts–at times–even in different states.  Heck, even in different countries!  How do you think we’ve managed to stay married so long, moving state to state, job to job?  (I kid.)   But throw the little one in the mix, and that’s a one- two punch this mama just can’t handle.  Seriously, I was a wreck 75% of the time they were gone. 
     They get back tomorrow and I know my heart will skip a beat when I see them at the airport.  Just like it did when I met my husband at that BBQ in college and when I saw the yes sign on that pregnancy test. (oh, yeah…I got those tests, I wasn’t foolin’ around with the plus/ minus nonsense).
     What’s the longest you’ve been away from your kids?  Was it easier or tougher than expected?  Join the conversation…we’d love to hear your thoughts!

What’s the point of Twitter?

A young computer geek, vintage Joanna circa 1984

 

I signed up for Twitter in January of 2009. I’m a proud computer geek and love to try out everything new on the technology front. I’ve always been an early adopter of all things tech-related. My love of technology started when I was four years old and my family welcomed an Apple IIC into our home. I would wake up at 5am before school to play on it and hone my typing skills.  When the Internet came out, forget it. Countless hours were spent by my friends and I dialing up each other’s computers via a painfully slow dial up speed. I was also the ecstatic owner of a gMail email address when Google first brought them out by invitation only in 2004.

Considering my history, I was a late adopter of Twitter since it was founded three years prior to my first tweet. When I opened an account, I didn’t get the point of “tweeting.”  It appeared to be the same as a Facebook status update and anyways, who was listening to me? I felt like my tweets floated off into a black hole, never to be read. I abandoned my Twitter account until months later, when I discovered I was pregnant.

Suddenly, I recognized that Twitter could be a resource. A tool to connect with people I would have probably never have met in real life but have something in common. In my case it was pregnancy and I found myself tweeting with women who were due around the same time as me.  We compared symptoms and fears, mourned when some lost their babies and celebrated each time a new “Twitter Baby” was born.

Twitter was a huge tool for me as a new mother. While nursing my son every three hours throughout the night, I found comfort in knowing there was bound to be another mom on Twitter at the same time, tweeting from their phone like me. When my c-section incision site seemed to be a little red and inflamed five weeks postpartum, it was a nurse from Twitter that responded to my tweets and encouraged me to call my doctor ASAP. Turns out I had an infection and caught it just in time.

I understand Twitter now and can’t imagine my life without it.  Instead of polling my Facebook friends every time I have a silly question, one tweet can get answers from my “followers” or the general population who may happen to see my tweet in their timeline. I love that Twitter is a place to talk about anything, while I often feel restricted with Facebook.  After all, I’m pretty sure my eighth grade social studies teacher doesn’t want to hear about my son’s diaper rash, but I’m confident that someone on Twitter will have an idea for a cure.

Twitter is a place where,  in 140 characters,  you can send out a thought or question to the over 200 million Twitter users across the World.  You can communicate directly with Lady Gaga or Oprah Winfrey, get customer service help and receive breaking news as it happens. It may not be for everyone, but I love Twitter.  Facebook still has a place in my heart, but Twitter will always be special to me for helping me survive life as a new mother.

What’s been your experience with Twitter?  Either people say they don’t get it…or they love it!  I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section below.  You can follow me on Twitter at @RiGatorMom, send me a tweet and introduce yourself!

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