Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Review: Shark Steam Mop

The latest in my transition to crunchy living…!

I will start by confessing that I like cool toys!

I will also admit to obsessing about what chemicals we use at home. This is definitely a post-baby thing. I can’t claim that I was an environmentalist or anything like that! Caring about the environment is something that has been growing on me, though.

I was very curious when my neighbor told me that her steam mop does a great job, despite the fact that there are no chemicals involved. As soon as I heard that all I need is water, I wanted to try it out!

Read more about it here:


The mop is very lite.

The mop does a great job removing stains on kitchen and dining room floors at little kids’ houses. If it can handle the home of a toddler, it can handle anything, me thinks!

All you need is a small amount of water and some microfiber pads. No going back to the store for more supplies.

You plug in the mop and it is ready in about 30 seconds.

Wash the pads and reuse them.

The floor dries up quickly.


I can only think of one con: the price. The mop costs $100 at the Shark website. I found it at Walmart for $60, though! The pads are also pricy, $10 each. I found a five-pack on eBay for $23. I use one pad for each room, so we have plenty of them now.

A Mom's Ideas and Thoughts on Sibling Cooperation

Check out this blog entry:

Great ideas, if I ever manage to make up my mind about another child!

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Adventures of Amor Chiquito returns!

I had not done this in a while. There are many little things I want to remember. So I am hoping to do this once a week, like I used to.

Last week was full of realizations, interesting remarks, and fun mischief!

We were walking down Rt. 9 in Northampton (for the locals). Ari noticed a newspaper stand. She had no idea what it was or what it was for.

“Ah, wait a minute!”

There were many little stores. She would stop at many of them and look in for a few seconds.

Daddy was noticing that she is window shopping already!

On a different day, Ari and I were spending some time with my mother. Amor Chiquito told her that she wanted to feed the fish. They fed the fish together.

Amor Chiquito: Enjoy your food, fish. Bye fish.

My mother asked Amor Chiquito to put her sandals on. She said “no.”

Me: Would you like to put your sandals on now or in two minutes?

Amor Chiquito: Two minutes. No, three minutes!

Clever kid!

For some reason (I have yet to figure out why), Amor Chiquito takes off her pants and underwear when she uses the potty, often as she is walking towards the bathroom. Once she is done, she takes off, often forgetting to put her underwear back on. We were getting ready to leave and asked her to get her underwear.

*Some day, she will kill me, but here it goes!*

Amor Chiquito: Paaantis, where aaare you?!

Geeky Entrepreneur and I simply could not stop laughing! I love my life!

Geeky Entrepreneur and Amor Chiquito have been sick for days, almost a week. Just a cold, but there have been fevers and long, sleepless nights. If you know of some way to make a little one understand that using a pillow when she is congested is a good idea, please let me know!

Onto the story… Sunday morning, Amor Chiquito woke up at 4:30 am. She could not fall back asleep. At 5:00 am, she noticed it was no longer dark outside.

Amor Chiquito: Mommy, look, sun wake up! I get up too!

What cute or interesting things have your kids been saying or doing lately?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thoughts on Corporal Punishment

Disclosure: This note is not directly or indirectly addressed to anyone. I have not seen anyone spank his/her child recently. I decided to write this after reading a blog post on corporal punishment.

Lengthy article talking about the negative effects of spanking:

A mom's thoughts on corporal punishment:
The entry needs a bit of editing, but if you can get past that, you might find it to be thought-provoking.

I must say that if a teacher or school officer ever dares spank my child, I don’t care what state I live in, my Ari is not going to that school ever again!

Yes, I am extremely biased. I will not hide it, will not sugar-code it. I don't believe in corporal punishment, ever, no matter what my child does or says.

I believe it is my job to figure out how to communicate with and teach my child with love and respect. If I feel my child is behaving terribly and I am at a loss, then I ought to reach out and get help. There are many resources out there. Start by talking to other parents. Have a chat with Mr. Google; he will help you out! Search for message boards. Find out if there are local parenting groups. Read parenting blogs. I have learned so much from parenting blogs! Last, but certainly not least, prioritize getting some you time. Your emotional/mental health is important.

As a mother, I know there are hard days, days when you wonder “Why the hell doesn’t she listen to me? Just how many times must I call her name before she responds?”

I try to remind myself that the way I respond does not only impact our lives today, right now, right this second. The way I respond and handle everyday situations will impact my Ari in so many levels: her relationship with me, her self-esteem/self concept, the way she will interact with peers, the way she will interact with her future children, among other things.

Back to corporal punishment, I grew up hearing all about how "one must respect" her/his parents. I strongly believe that respect and trust are earned. I don't believe corporal punishment earns respect. I do believe that it induces feelings of shame, fear and the child’s desire to be dishonest to avoid awkward situations.

It seems to me that, in *many, not all* cases, parents spank because they are desperate, they don't know what else to try, what else to do, how to set boundaries and communicate effectively with their kids. They feel at a loss.

However you parent and discipline your child, I urge you to periodically stop, think and ask yourself the following questions:

Children do lots of modeling; they tend to behave the way we behave, that is. That being said, what am I teaching my child?

Am I treating my child the way I want her/him to treat others, including myself?

Are my actions telling my child that I am trust-worthy and emotionally available to her/him?

Am I treating my child with love and respect? I love her/him to pieces, but am I showing it?

How am I doing when it comes to lovingly teaching my child about boundaries?

How consistent am I?

How will I feel in the future if I see my child treating my grandchild the way I am treating her/him today? Will I feel happy, proud, that I did right by my child? Will I feel sad for my child and grandchild?

Woe, I did not mean for the list of questions to be that long! Just gave myself lots to think about! Yikes, parenting really is the most important, intense and rewarding job I will ever have!

I would love to read about your thoughts, on here or privately.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Article on inducing labor and why we should only do so when it is medically necessary...

There are other birth-related interesting articles on this blog...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Two little Ari stories...

Here are some of Amor Chiquito’s latest sentences that I have found particularly cute or funny.

Amor Chiquito walked into her daddy’s office and said: "I want you dance with me, Daddy."

Geeky Entrepreneur was taking the trash out. He asked Ari if she would like to help, gave her a new trash bag, and told her he was going outside but would be right back. The kid loves to help, but there is nothing she likes more than going outside! She said: "Don’t worry, mommy; you got it."

The other day, Amor Chiquito saw kids playing at a park. She said: "I liiike boys... and girls!" We laughed pretty hard that time!

No more nap time diaper...

No more nap time diaper for my little girl. About six weeks ago or so, I began noticing that her nap diaper was always dry. When it was wet, it was because she peed soon after she woke up. In other words, she was being lazy!

Thus far, we have had two accidents, both of them this week and during particularly long naps. Not sure what I can do about these accidents. I always ask her if she needs to go before bed. Sometimes she does; others she does not. For now, I will put a thick towel on the bed until I get a mattress cover.

She continues to wear a diaper at night time. Diapers are almost always wet in the mornings, so we will be diapering at night for a while longer, which is totally fine by me.

It feels strange to wash six or seven diapers once a week! I used to wash about 20 diapers every three days!

From Bed-Sharing to Co-Sleeping

Warning: this is pretty long!

I strongly believe that different things work for different parents, for different kids, and at different stages of the child’s life. For example, in our case, when Amor Chiquito was an infant, we bed-shared and it worked very well. Sometime during the first year, she slept on her car seat or on the swing for a while. She had reflux.

Around the time Amor Chiquito turned one, bed-sharing was no longer working for us. We transitioned her to her crib. That was hard, very hard. She cried a lot. The first few days, I sincerely believe she was very stressed out about it. She would poo. You might think “so what? She pooped.” She never ever went at that time, only during those first few days. Eventually, she began taking her sleeper and diaper off and throwing them. That was both frustrating and very funny! I never heard of a child completely stripping that early!

Amor Chiquito slept in her crib until about 23 months. At that point, she jumped out! Needless to say, it was time to transition to the toddler bed. That did not go over very well! I would close her door because I was afraid she may fall down the stairs. It is impossible to have a gate at the top of our stairs; we have tried it all. Anyways, she would get upset when she could not get out of her room. After a while, I stopped closing the door. Visiting at 4am began! It was easier for me to let her climb into bed with me than to bring her back. Years of sleep deprivation and a vitamin D deficiency were really catching up with me.

Now, here we are. We have been bed-sharing since February. I feel that there are pros and cons. It is easier for me to lie down next to her, as opposed to waiting until she falls asleep. One of us has always been around until she falls asleep. That is a whole other topic. Some people say an infant can be taught to self-soothe. Others say a child is not developmentally ready to self-soothe until sometime around age 2.5 to 3.

Back to pros and cons, one of the cons is that our 37” tall and 31 lb child takes up more room on our queen size bed than either of us does! I lost my husband. He started sleeping on a twin-size mattress in Amor Chiquito’s room. He got tired of getting kicked and of sleeping on the edge of the bed. To be honest, I was not sleeping comfortably either.

I felt torn, felt that, in a way, I had to choose my child or my husband, you know, the two people that I love most. I strongly believe that it was not healthy for our marriage to have my husband sleeping elsewhere. I will be blunt. It is not about sex. You can always get creative! It is about cuddling and reconnecting as a couple at the end of a long day.

That being said, I also love having Amor Chiquito nearby! I hereby admit it; I am addicted to having that warm leg on my tummy! It is priceless, indescribable!

As far as Amor Chiquito is concerned, here is my thought: if my husband and I like physical contact as we drift off to sleep, why is it wrong for my daughter to want it as well? If we sleep so much better with it, then why is it ok for us to get it and why is it not ok for her to have it? Why do we expect something of her that we do not do ourselves?

Something else to think about… I feel it is important for Amor Chiquito to be able to fall asleep with or without me. In the fall, she will begin attending a Montessori school and I will not be there when nap time comes around. Aside from that, it is simply a skill she should have. I might get sick some day; I might get some consulting work; I might want a break, etc. Most importantly, I know she can do it because she did it in the past.

Another thought… every day is unique. I am never getting today again. I want to enjoy today, to be with my family, to feel my family near me, to get something that I will not get forever: my little girl loving snuggling with me.

Here is my most recent idea: move from bed-sharing to co-sleeping, sharing our room with our child, that is. We put the twin-size mattress in our bedroom and have Amor Chiquito sleep there. She gets to be near me. I get to snuggle with my people. My husband is back on our bed and sleeping comfortably. Amor Chiquito is, on average, only waking me up once a night. Usually, she is not loud about it, so Geeky Entrepreneur can sleep through it.

We have only done this the past three nights, but, so far, so good! I know our current setup might not work in a month, but we will figure that out when we get there.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Broken Record Syndrome

Amor Chiquito seems to feel the need to repeat a statement a good ten times, as if doing so will make me change my mind.


Amor Chiquito: I want see Jai.

Me: We can’t see Jai right now.

Amor Chiquito: I want see Jai please.
I want see Jai.
I want see Jai now.
I want see Jai.

Me: We can’t see Jai, honey.

Amor Chiquito: But why?

Repeat, repeat, repeat, and repeat some more…

This is recent. Up until today, I kept answering, repeating a variety of statements that all meant the same thing: no, we cannot see Jai right now. Can you spell frustrating and annoying? Because I can, believe you me!

I don’t know if this is the right thing to do, but here is what I started doing today:

Amor Chiquito: I want see Jai.

Me: We cannot see Jai now.

Amor Chiquito: But why?

Me: Jai is with his Daddy. We can see him later. I am done talking about seeing Jai. We can talk about the stop sign! Do you see the stop sign?

When she keeps repeating the statement, I don’t know if I should not say anything or talk about something else. I have tried saying things like:
“I understand. I want to see him too. But we can’t see him right now.” I’d love to say that that works. But it most definitely does not, not for my daughter, anyways.

It is too soon to tell if my new technique will work or not. I really hope it does!

What do you do when your child repeats the same statement ten times, even though she/he already knows the answer? What works? What does not?

Help a mommy at a loss, please!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Homemade waffles, the crunchy way, and with help from the little cook...!

Making homemade waffles on Sunday morning has become a tradition for us. Last Sunday, Amor Chiquito was helping Daddy unload the dishwasher. It was a good reminder; I decided to get her involved too. She helped make waffles for the first time! She was very excited!

Amor Chiquito poured each ingredient into the mixing bowl. She helped beat the eggs. She delivered the first waffle to Daddy.

I don’t remember exactly what she said after we were done, but it was something like this:
I help mommy cook waffles, hurray!

As we were putting in each ingredient, I told her its name. Now, every time it is time to cook, she tells us that she wants to help cook with flour!

Crunchy me decided to try something different: replace 25% of the flour with whole wheat flour. I usually replace half of the flour with whole wheat flour, but I did not want to overdo it with waffles. I wanted my husband to eat them, after all!

I am happy to say that my trick worked! We got some whole grains into us and the waffles were still yummy. I am sure it works because my husband keeps going back for them!

About two months ago, I decided to start making a double batch. We spend a little more time cooking waffles, but it is worth it. We end up with yummy waffles in the freezer and we use them on those mornings when we just do not feel like having cereal but do not have a lot of time to prepare a hot breakfast.

Another family tradition is whole wheat French toasts with whip cream and whatever fruit we have at the time, usually berries or kiwis. A tiny bit of whip cream on Ari’s hand is part of the tradition!

How do you get your kids involved? What are some of your family traditions?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Getting more and more clever and impish every day...

A little while ago, Amor Chiquito grabbed my hand and walked me into the guest room at my mother's apartment. She said "stay here, mommy, please."

I knew what that meant! You know what that meant!


I decided to wait it out and find out what her plan was.

She sat in the living room for a minute, covering her face. Never knew why she was covering her face. Maybe she was smiling and did not want me to notice? She then went into the kitchen and asked her grandma for an ice cream cone!

I guess I do an awesome job being the bad cop!

Another little story... Yesterday, Amor Chiquito and I were having lunch together at home. She ate all her pasta.

Ari: All done. I full.

Mommy: Can you please put your bowl in the sink? (Bad choice of words.)

Ari: No, your turn. You do. Yourself.

I wish I could say I handled it beautifully. Truth is I was shocked and did not react. Part of me wanted to laugh my butt off! Part of me was wondering "who exactly took over my child's mind?" Part of me was thinking "wow, she is learning new phrases and figuring out what they mean and how we respond to them. Fascinating."

Yet another story... About half an hour after the lunch episode, we were doing puzzles. The pieces of the puzzles are different geometric shapes. She knows some of them, but not others. I was telling her what each shape was as she put it on the puzzle.

Mommy: That is a triangle.

Ari: Triangle! I know triangle! (insert a bit of an attitude here, as if no crap, duh, it's a triangle!).

Again, I was shocked.

For the rest of the day, Amor Chiquito was her usual sweet and helpful self. She loves to help with chores. That is why I was surprised when she said it was my turn to put her bowl in the sink. Her choice of words made for a very entertaining few hours, that’s for sure!

Just when you have something figured out, there is something else to learn/figure out! How many times will we reread Love and Logic before we put it down forever? When will we put it down forever? I know, when she turns six and we buy the book for elementary school age kids!

How do you respond to such situations? What works? What does not? I am in the process of figuring this out!

What are your favorite parenting books?