Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
See article from www.msn.com below:
Kids’ playgroups can fuel mama drama
Cliquishness, backbiting and bratty behavior thwart grown-up friendships
Kim Carney / msnbc.com
As a new mom hoping to feel less isolated in suburban Los Angeles, writer Helaine Olen joined a playgroup with her infant son. But instead of finding the support she craved, she was stunned to encounter junior-high-style gossip, cruelty and cliquishness.
“Women don’t suddenly become nice just because we’ve had kids,” observes Olen, 43, now the mother of two sons and living in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. “If you get a group of 10 women together, chances are there’s going to be one bad seed, and that’s all it takes to destroy the group.”
Of course, many new moms find that playgroups are an invaluable source of comfort during their initiation to the often-overwhelming world of modern motherhood. After all, where else could you find people willing to sit through two hours dissecting breast-feeding schedules or interpreting the meaning of baby bowel discolorations?
Yet stories abound of playgroups that descend into madness. There are fights over whether a special-needs or non-vaccinated child should be included. Disputes over the etiquette of bringing a sick child. Playgroups that disband after one toddler bites another. Women who get “fired” from their playgroups.
(In comparison, the main source of drama some at-home dads report is the frosty welcome they receive when trying to infiltrate, er, join a moms-only playgroup.)
Beyond the playgroup, moms often find that petty behavior can continue right through nursery and elementary school, with exclusionary e-mail messages for a moms’ night out or vicious playground rumors that one wealthy mother had hired a wet nurse for her newborn.
Like going ‘back to high school’
Carren Joye, author of “A Stay-at-Home Mom’s Complete Guide to Playgroups” and a mother in Millbrook, Ala., says what most often brings out playgroup clashes is failure to discipline an unruly child. “When a mom feels her child has been slighted in some way — for example, when a child hurts another child, or takes away his toy — she turns into that mama lion, and her first impulse is to protect her cub.”
Emily Lewis, 29, a mom of two who lives near Petersburg, Va., once received an e-mail threatening suspension from her playgroup organizer because her son had reportedly been pushing another small child. “I know he did no such thing,” she says. “It caused me a lot of anxiety. I always had to be on guard for what someone might say so we wouldn’t get kicked out.”
Lewis eventually dropped out, and she’s vowed to avoid any more formally organized playgroups in her new town. “It takes the civility out of it. Rather than just talking to each other about their problems, people take their problems to the club officers. It just ends in suspicion and hurt feelings.”
Others find playgroup dramas tend to be simple cases of personality clashes.
“It was exactly like back to high school,” recalls Stacey Devendorf, 33, a real estate agent in Lynn, Mass., who never fully clicked with her daughter’s playgroup. “If you worked, had political views, even music tastes that differed, you were ostracized. The women that deviated left the group or didn’t feel welcome.”
Devendorf thinks it’s a fallacy to believe that having kids is enough of a basis to form a friendship. “It’s like going up to a random stranger and forcing yourselves to be friends,” she says. “You either click with people or you don’t.”
Olen, who just published a piece about her playgroup meltdown called “Mean Moms” in the new anthology “The Maternal Is Political: Women Writers at the Intersection of Motherhood and Social Change,” offers an intriguing theory for what’s really behind much of the drama.
She suspects most new moms who reach out to a playgroup tend to be lonely and feeling the loss of societal status that can come with motherhood. But instead of addressing the issues they now share — like the need for quality day care and flexible work schedules — they claw at each other, diverting themselves with petty squabbles.
Mama, mama, stop the drama
Here are some tips to help make your playgroup experience a success:
— Stay focused on the big picture. Remember why you sought out a playgroup in the first place.
— Don’t expect to form instant friendships.
— Establish ground rules on behavior and discipline up front and enforce those guidelines consistently.
— Have kids of the same ages and developmental stages play together if possible.
— Shop around and try out several playgroups for the best fit.
— If you have a problem with one person in your group, approach that person about it directly rather than talk behind her back. A calm, kind approach can help avoid turning a minor matter into a large one for the whole group.
— If you’re unhappy, consider bowing out gracefully. You don’t have to put pressure on yourself to stay in a group that causes you extreme stress or angst.
“People were confronting each other about little things, like who’s being asked into this music class,” she recalls. “But nobody was asking the hard questions, like why are we here, and what brought us to be in this room. …
“When we feel powerless, we turn on each other,” she adds. “In our desperation to get a leg up, we moms bring one another down.”
Today, Olen has accepted that she doesn’t have to befriend every parent just because their children become pals. “I’ve given up on the idea that I’m going to make friends with all my kids’ friends’ parents. It’s not going to happen.”
Ground rules can minimize conflicts
But experts say there are some ways to encourage moms to play nice. One is setting up playgroup ground rules at the beginning, says Sandra Wallace, co-founder of the Program for Early Parent Support (PEPS), a non-profit in Seattle that organizes volunteer-led playgroups for new mothers.
“Have some guidelines,” Wallace says. “What are the boundaries? What will we do if someone bites or pushes? Can another mother discipline a child?”
It’s also helpful to have realistic expectations of what is developmentally appropriate. “Parents often have unrealistic expectations of what a child can do,” she says. “Two-year-olds don’t share.” They do, however, have tantrums.
“The best way to avoid conflicts is to set the group up in a way that encourages success,” agrees Cathy Ward, playgroup organizer for the Durham Mothers Club, a moms’ group in Durham, N.C. Her guidelines: mixing children under age 3 within three months of one another, first-time moms with first-time moms and working moms with working moms, and making sure drive times aren’t longer than about 15 minutes.
Ward also suggests initially signing up for several playgroups to find the one that is the best fit for each individual. “The personality clashes work themselves out naturally,” she says. “Those with strong opinions drive moms to join other playgroups.”
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I spend a good amount of my time everyday chasing my son around with his "no-spill" cup full of water...mopping up the mess as he waves it around. Why do some unnamed baby product companies advertise "no spill" when in reality there is very little stopping the flow of liquids between my son's cup and everywhere in between?
This morning I decided to go on the hunt for a spill proof cup that actually holds up to their claim and alas...I found one! Gerber brand AND Thermos brand cups work perfectly.
Thank you baby product companies that make spill proof sippy cups that actually work.
You made my life a little easier today.
p.s. and as a bonus, while hunting for spill proof cups I also discovered suction bowls so my son had his first experience eating macaroni and cheese from his very own bowl and couldn't dump it everywhere!!!
Monday, July 27, 2009
I recently returned from a 9 day outing with my husband, our son, and our furry canine Latti. We decided to load up in our Jeep and make a 15 hour trek to visit family. Before I begin, let me just say that our journey was worth every minute!
We planned on taking our son camping for the first time our first night on the road. Wanting to save money and time, we found a campground just off the road in a small town in Wyoming. This was to be my son's very first camping experience...and our's with our son. However, after a sleepless night of our son howling along with the sound of the semi's cruising by on the freeway, we agreed that this would NOT be our first camping experience with our son and that we would never speak of it again.
The next night would cost us $91 in a beautiful cabin in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Worth every penny!
Who ever said children sleep well while camping must have discreetly slipped their little ones Tylenol because between the noises of the outdoors, other campers, vehicles, and movement in the tent I have no idea how this could be so.
Happy Camping! Oh, and thank god for Breathe Right Strips because I don't think I could have handled the better half's snoring too!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Below are a few items available in the above link for this week:
Organic Valley Brand milk products, soy nilk, and eggs
Heinz Distilled Vinegar
Special K cereal
Chex Mix bars
Just a little saving ideas from,
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Comments are welcome!
Recently, I was amazed to hear a commentary by CNN's Campbell Brown on the controversial vaccine issue. After a ruling by the 'special vaccine court' saying the Measles, Mumps, Rubella shot wasn't found to be responsible for the plaintiffs' autism, she and others in the media began making assertions that the judgment was in, and vaccines had been proven safe. No one would be more relieved than Jenny and I if that were true. But with all due respect to Ms. Brown, a ruling against causation in three cases out of more than 5000 hardly proves that other children won't be adversely affected by the MMR, let alone that all vaccines are safe. This is a huge leap of logic by anyone's standards. Not everyone gets cancer from smoking, but cigarettes do cause cancer. After 100 years and many rulings in favor of the tobacco companies, we finally figured that out.
The truth is that no one without a vested interest in the profitability of vaccines has studied all 36 of them in depth. There are more than 100 vaccines in development, and no tests for cumulative effect or vaccine interaction of all 36 vaccines in the current schedule have ever been done. If I'm mistaken, I challenge those who are making such grand pronouncements about vaccine safety to produce those studies.
If we are to believe that the ruling of the 'vaccine court' in these cases mean that all vaccines are safe, then we must also consider the rulings of that same court in the Hannah Polling and Bailey Banks cases, which ruled vaccines were the cause of autism and therefore assume that all vaccines are unsafe. Clearly both are irresponsible assumptions, and neither option is prudent.
In this growing crisis, we cannot afford to blindly trumpet the agenda of the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) or vaccine makers. Now more than ever, we must resist the urge to close this book before it's been written. The anecdotal evidence of millions of parents who've seen their totally normal kids regress into sickness and mental isolation after a trip to the pediatrician's office must be seriously considered. The legitimate concern they and many in the scientific community have that environmental toxins, including those found in vaccines, may be causing autism and other disorders (Aspergers, ADD, ADHD), cannot be dissuaded by a show of sympathy and a friendly invitation to look for the 'real' cause of autism anywhere but within the lucrative vaccine program.
With vaccines being the fastest growing division of the pharmaceutical industry, isn't it possible that profits may play a part in the decision-making? That the vaccine program is becoming more of a profit engine than a means of prevention? In a world left reeling from the catastrophic effects of greed, mismanagement and corporate insensitivity, is it so absurd for us to wonder why American children are being given twice as many vaccines on average, compared to the top 30 first world countries?
Paul Offit, the vaccine advocate and profiteer, who helped invent a Rotavirus vaccine is said to have paved the way for his own multi-million dollar windfall while serving on the very council that eventually voted his Rotavirus vaccine onto our children's schedule. On August 21, 2000 a congressional investigation's report titled, "Conflicts in Vaccine Policy," stated:
It has become clear over the course of this investigation that the VRBPAC and the ACIP [the two main advisory boards that determine the vaccine schedule] are dominated by individuals with close working relationships with the vaccine producers. This was never the intent of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which requires that a diversity of views be represented on advisory committees.
Isn't that enough to raise questions about the process of choosing the vaccine schedule?
With many states like Minnesota now reporting the number at 1 in 80 children affected with autism, can we afford to trust those who serve two masters or their logic that tells us "one size fits all" when it comes to vaccines? Can we afford to ignore vaccines as a possible cause of these rising numbers when they are one of the fastest growing elements in our children's environment? With all the doubt that's left hanging on this topic, how can anyone in the media or medical profession, boldly demand that all parents march out and give their kids 36 of these shots, six at a time in dosage levels equal to that given a 200 pound man? This is a bias of the most dangerous kind.
I've also heard it said that no evidence of a link between vaccines and autism has ever been found. That statement is only true for the CDC, the AAP and the vaccine makers who've been ignoring mountains of scientific information and testimony. There's no evidence of the Lincoln Memorial if you look the other way and refuse to turn around. But if you care to look, it's really quite impressive. For a sample of vaccine injury evidence go to www.generationrescue.org/lincolnmemorial.html.
We have never argued that people shouldn't be immunized for the most serious threats including measles and polio, but surely there's a limit as to how many viruses and toxins can be introduced into the body of a small child. Veterinarians found out years ago that in many cases they were over-immunizing our pets, a syndrome they call Vaccinosis. It overwhelmed the immune system of the animals, causing myriad physical and neurological disorders. Sound familiar? If you can over-immunize a dog, is it so far out to assume that you can over-immunize a child? These forward thinking vets also decided to remove thimerosal from animal vaccines in 1992, and yet this substance, which is 49% mercury, is still in human vaccines. Don't our children deserve as much consideration as our pets?
I think I'd rather listen to the more sensible voice of Dr. Bernadine Healy, former head of the National Institute of Health, who says:
Listen to the patients and the patients will teach...I think there is an inexcusable issue, and that's the lack of research that's been done here...A parent can legitimately question giving a one-day old baby, or a two-day old baby [the] Hepatitis B vaccine that has no risk for it [and] the mother has no risk for it. That's a heavy-duty vaccine given on day two [of life]. I think those are legitimate questions.
Dr. Healy is also calling for a long overdue study of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated. Dr. Frank Engly, a researcher and microbiologist who served on the boards of the CDC, FDA and EPA during the 70s and 80s, warned:
The CDC cannot afford to admit thimerosal is toxic because they have been promoting it for several years...If they would have followed through with our 1982 report, vaccines would have been freed of thimerosal and all this autism as they tell me would not have occurred. But as it is, it all occurred.
In all likelihood the truth about vaccines is that they are both good and bad. While ingredients like aluminum, mercury, ether, formaldehyde and anti-freeze may help preserve and enhance vaccines, they can be toxic as well. The assortment of viruses delivered by multiple immunizations may also be a hazard. I agree with the growing number of voices within the medical and scientific community who believe that vaccines, like every other drug, have risks as well as benefits and that for the sake of profit, American children are being given too many, too soon. One thing is certain. We don't know enough to announce that all vaccines are safe!
If the CDC, the AAP and Ms. Brown insist that our children take twice as many shots as the rest of the western world, we need more independent vaccine research not done by the drug companies selling the vaccines or by organizations under their influence. Studies that cannot be internally suppressed. Answers parents can trust. Perhaps this is what Campbell Brown should be demanding and how the power of the press could better serve the public in the future.
-- Jim Carrey
Thursday, July 9, 2009
First, I sort through my saved coupons from the Sunday Tribune and from www.couponmom.com. Diaper coupon, check. Wipers coupons, check. Target grocery coupons, check.
Second, where do I go? Duh, Target. I have been telling my friends time and time again that it is significantly cheaper at Target than anywhere else to pick up groceries. (with the exception of Costco in which I don't know because I don't belong to this supergiant supergrocery store's membership group. I would like to try it. However, with my family being so small I don't find it necessary to buy in bulk. We don't eat food fast enough nor do we have the room to store it all.
And last, I must go through the food we already have and get creative. What do we have for meals and what are we missing? Hmmmmm, I could make pasta one night and that's cheap. Turkey burgers with corn but I need more buns. Fish tacos yet again and only need to purchase seasoning. (Sorry honey but yes, I did say fish tacos AGAIN. They are cheap to make and "healthy" for us to eat;) Ok so I may not be the greatest cook but I am trying to make what's cheap and easy. Try being a creative cook with a 13 mo. old pulling out the tupperware from the tupperware drawer and putting those directly into the trash along with his magnet toys from the refridgerator and food from the pantry and his dirty clothes from his hamper and DVD's from the livingroom...it's so much fun digging from the trash! Honey, I promise to make more extravagent meals in the future.
Okay, babe is awake from his morning nap. I am armed with my coupons and my grocery list. We are off to shop!
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
A few years ago while living in Miami Beach...just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Cuba...I had the pleasure of introduction to Cuban coffee shots. Now this isn't your ordinary American espresso. This is much MUCH better and much MUCH more effective. It's a wonderful shot of super strong espresso mixed with pure, freshly expressed sugar cane.
What I wouldn't give for a cafe cubano this morning!
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
How refreshing to know that there are others who UNDERSTAND!
Now if we all could be more supportive of one another instead of judging...maybe motherhood would become a little easier each day.
p.s. having another good day despite my child up 4 times throughout the night and a wake up call at 5:30am
Monday, July 6, 2009
I gave birth to my first child 13 months ago after a 16 hour attempt at a natural birth. 45 minutes after the most amazing invention, the epidural, took effect, my son was ready to finally emerge. Sweet hearted and already a Momma's boy, my son soon after became the object of my husband's and my affection. Always at ease in my arms, Park was quite easy to adjust to. The loving emotions of unconditional love for my child became evident as what my life was before quickly vanished and at that moment became my new life...mommyhood.
And so the story began...
Although I couldn't imagine my life without my son. And although I wouldn't change the direction my life has taken me, I feel my life is at a standstill. I am at a t in the road. I can't go forward any longer because I am no longer a single entity. So I must choose to go left or choose to go right. If I go left, I am a wife and a mother. But if I go right...I am a wife, a mother, AND I am me.
After a day's worth of tears from what could be the beginnings of post part em depression, I decided I would take back control of my life by taking "the bull by its horns" and create positive out of the difficult times I have and no doubt will encounter. I came to the conclusion that although I define myself today as a wife and a mother...I am much more than that. I would prove to myself that I AM.
And although my daily wake-up mommy alarm usually beings by 5:30 am, and although by 7 am my loving child so affectionately head butts me achieving a fat lip, today is going to be a good day.
Welcome to the curious case of mommyhood!
p.s. It's 9 am and my son is napping in his crib, my coffee is warm and tasty, I already went on vacation (shower), and have now created a blog for all those mothers (and fathers) out there who understand. Today is a great day!