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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Americans prefer male children over female children - new poll

What do you think?

Scene on the Street - Idiots I hope my daughter does not emulate

Nowadays, there are plenty of people I can say that I pray my daughter does not wake up one morning and decide she wants to be like.  Reality television give us all plenty of choices in that area.

Last night, I added our next door neighbor to this list.  About 11:30pm I was awoken by someone  close to our home setting off fireworks.  I was actually too tired to get out of bed to determine who it was and just rolled over.  Then around 1am, something that sounded like a body or a significant load of who knows what landed on the part of our roof directly over our bedroom.  It was loud, very loud.  I thought for a tired disoriented moment that our roof would cave.  My husband who sleeps through mostly everything sort of woke up hearing the noise too.  We ran upstairs to find a woman on our third floor patio struggling to get up.  It was pretty obvious she was smashed drunk.

After determining that she was ok and just totally beyond drunk, my husband tried to help her up which she, in her drunken hot mess of a state, was resisting and insisting that she really was 'fine'.  Typical piss drunk stupidity.  People who are fine don't just fall off a five foot wall onto the neighbor's balcony.  She could have killed herself!  And to make matters worse, the two guys she was with on her balcony, didn't even realize she had fallen.   One was sitting on their roof (her boyfriend) with full view of our balcony and was just staring out into space as this whole incident unfolded without batting an eye.  Drunk girl, tried to explain that she was trying to hide from the cops when she ended up on our roof.  Ok.

What makes people think that excessive alcohol consumption and heights go together?  I see a young girl like this and it scares me.  I don't want that to be my daughter and I know I won't always be able to protect her.  If it weren't for my husband, drunk girl really could have killed herself last night trying to get back to her own house being as drunk as she was and without friends who were somewhat sober.  Unfortunately, she will most likely not remember an iota of what happened last night aside from potentially being super sore from her fall, but if I see her, I plan to remind her to give her a healthy amount of anxiety to potentially prevent her from further drunken stupid acts.   I fell like I owe it to her Mother.

Friday, June 24, 2011

15 year old Teen's bucket list

Alice Pyne is 15 and has terminal cancer...check out her bucket list and follow her blog.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Best Pediatric Visit

My little peanut had to go for her follow up appointment at the Pediatric Orthopedist this morning and it was a dream under the unpleasant circumstances.  The NP who saw my daughter was soft spoken, calm, relaxed, kind, gentle and thorough.   I have seen my daughter cry hysterically through every appointment since she fractured her ankle, but today she was a champ and I credit the staff at the hospital for making the difference.   They suggested to cast her in the exam room since they said that the cast room was, at the time, pretty chaotic.  They casted her while she sat on my lap with her Dad and beloved Raggedy Ann by her side.  She barely made a peep and I truly believe it had to do with the staff and how they related to my little one.  They get kids and it showed.  I will call the patient relations department to let them know how I felt about their staff and our visit.  I'm aware that I have no problem complaining when I am displeased with services that I am conscious to remember that I should also make a big fuss when I am happily satisfied. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Anthem 2011

The Importance of Fathers

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!     A recent article published by researchers in Australia cite that the way in which Father's play with their children is critically important to their child's early development.  

Here's the link:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Jill's Steals and Deals - On Today!

It's on...

The heartbreak of parenting

I have been told that parenting tugs at your heart and that you would go to great lengths to take the pain away from  your children.  I now know what that feels like.

My daughter is young, so I have yet to see her feelings get hurt or to see her disappointed.  But Sunday night she fell.  It seemed like a normal toddler fall, but her inability to be soothed as she normally is was an indication that something was different, wrong.   There were no cuts, no scrapes, no redness, no blood.  She wanted to be held, and she was held all she wanted.  When we tried to put her down, we noticed she couldn't bare weight on her feet.   Did she hurt her feet, her ankles, her legs?  After x-rays were done, we were told that she had fractured/broken her left ankle.   They put her tiny little leg in a splint with a referral to a Pediatric Orthopedist.   My heart hurt.  Take my ankle, take my leg, take whatever you want, just don't make her feel this pain.  I would do anything that would take the pain away from her, yet I know that I can't which is so painful.

As I sit with her and watch her struggle trying to find other ways to move around it brings tears to my eyes and puts a pit in my stomach and I realize that at 17 months, this is only the beginning of things to come.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Let's get back to Wine!

It's been awhile since I've talked wine here.  I went to the wine store to stock up today since we are having family visit this weekend and on the advice of a salesman I have gotten to know at the wine store I picked this one up.

Maipe Reserve - Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 - Mendoza Argentina

Here's the review of this wine from Robert Parker.  I'm including it because I couldn't have said it better.  The only thing I would add is that I think I should have given this one a couple more years before cracking the cork.

Wine Advocate
Similar in style, but more structured and revealing slightly more oak is the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. Full-bodied and dense with abundant notes of creme de cassis, chocolate, espresso roast, spice box, and tobacco leaf, it is a layered, succulent, hedonistic Cabernet to drink over the next 3-4 years.
Score: 90. —Robert Parker, August 2010.

Friday, June 3, 2011

How Married Are You?

Interesting article in Time.,28804,2075201_2075195_2075196,00.html

"Why I don't like my own child" - an essay in Redbook

This is an essay that appears in Redbook and is written by Jennifer Rabbiner, a pseudonym, for her real name that she has chosen to conceal.   I'm sure this will replace the discussions around Tiger Mom for a while.

I am posting the essay below along with the link, at the end of the posted article, since you will not see the comments that have been posted on the website after this essay.

Jennifer Rabbiner's Essay:

A mom is never, ever supposed to admit this, but here goes: I've never liked my child.

Growing up, I had hoped to someday have a daughter, and I had a clear vision of what she would be like: vivacious, spunky, and whip-smart, socially savvy and self-assured. What I got was the polar opposite. At birth, Sophie was skinny and weak. She nursed poorly, and she cried so hard that she vomited — daily. As a toddler, she was strange. She wouldn't make eye contact, and she'd scream bloody murder at the sound of ripping paper. Instead of scribbling with crayons, she'd line them up at the edge of the paper. She'd climb to the top of the slide and then cry to be rescued. She couldn't — or wouldn't — answer direct questions. She didn't make friends. Life seemed hard for her. It broke my heart a little every day.

As you can probably imagine, I felt guilty that I was basically repelled by my own child. Who wouldn't? But honestly, the guilt was overshadowed by a colossal sense of disappointment. This just wasn't the magic mother-daughter bond that every book I read, every movie I saw, and every family I'd ever met had led me to expect.

When Sophie was 18 months old, we visited my sister, now a psychologist, who said out of the blue, "You know, Sophie is an odd kid." I asked what she meant. "She's just kind of — off," she said. Her comment upset me but only confirmed my suspicions that Sophie might be on the autism spectrum. I spoke to her day-care director and had her tested by the school district. Neither found anything wrong. I found a pediatric neurologist, but when they sent me forms to fill out, Sophie had none of the physical symptoms in the boxes under "Reason for Visit." I canceled the appointment. My husband accused me of searching for a diagnosis that didn't exist, but I needed to know why my daughter wasn't meeting her developmental milestones, let alone my expectations.

My husband, by contrast, has always loved and cherished Sophie for who she is. And he makes it look so easy! Instead of gritting his teeth through her most eccentric behaviors, he imitates them in an exaggerated way, which makes her howl with laughter. Then he starts laughing too, and they collapse in hugs. I envy his ease with her.

*Why did the author change all the names? "I don't want my daughter to ever know how I struggled with her."
I might have thought I was lacking a maternal instinct, but when my second daughter was born, I was blown away by overwhelming Mommy Love. Lilah was exactly the baby I'd envisioned: strong and healthy, with a penetrating gaze. She nursed vigorously and smiled and laughed easily. She talked early and often and, even as a toddler, befriended everyone she met. When I hugged her, she squeezed back hard, and I felt my own heart beating in two bodies at once.

As Lilah grew healthy and robust, Sophie looked noticeably meek by comparison. It's true that I, like all my relatives, am petite, but Sophie was beyond small — weak, skinny, and pale. The contrasts between Lilah and Sophie went beyond the physical. There was Lilah, initiating a joyous game of peekaboo at 6 months, while her sister, then 3, sat on the floor babbling phrases from books and TV shows. We'd ask, "Sophie, wanna join the game?" And she'd say: "Look, a clue! Where? Over there!" I called it her Rain Man act.

It got to the point where I viewed Sophie's every move through a lens of failure. At a birthday party, when she walked away from the parachute game the other kids were playing, I said, "There she goes again, being antisocial." But another mom said, "Sophie's doing her own thing. She wants no part of that dumb parachute. Smart girl." I thought, Whoa! I would never have seen it that way. To me, she was trapped in her own strange world, driven by her own mysterious motivations, and hopelessly incapable of being normal. I knew I was being hard on her, but I couldn't seem to stop.

A moment of reckoning came when Sophie was 4, at a playdate with my best friend and her daughter. I was judging Sophie as usual, criticizing how she was painting with the stick part of the paintbrush instead of the bristles, when my friend turned to me and said point-blank: "You are Sophie's mother. You're supposed to be her rock — the person she can count on most in the world for unconditional love and support. It doesn't matter if you like her or not; you still have to support her." I started to cry, because I knew she was right. And deep down, I was ashamed of how easily I had betrayed my own daughter. If I looked at my behavior objectively, it was disgusting.

My friend consoled me but didn't let me off the hook. "What are you going to do about this?" she asked. I honestly didn't know. Then, a few days later, we got a flyer from Sophie's preschool. It advertised a workshop by a clinical psychologist called "Loving and Honoring the Child You Have, Not the One You Wish You Had." Bingo! I called the psychologist to see if we could meet privately, which we did. At her prompting, I described Sophie's various limitations, which I had jotted on the back of a business card:
Has uneven skills (as a toddler, she knew the whole alphabet and could count to 60, but could barely string three words together). Hurts herself, perhaps out of anxiety (used to tear out clumps of hair, then began scratching herself). Doesn't express needs or even recognize them (will cry when hungry even as her peers use full sentences). Freaks out at high-pitched noises (like the beeping of an ATM). Prefers to play alone (when other kids try to play with her, she ignores them, or tries to play but doesn't seem to grasp how). She nodded as I listed my grievances, and I got excited, expecting to hear a diagnosis that would finally make sense of Sophie's quirks and lead to an effective treatment. But no luck. She felt I wasn't attuned to Sophie's vulnerabilities — she's a sensitive soul; I'm a bull-in-a-china-shop type. But something is wrong with my child, I kept thinking. Why can't anyone else see it? Instead, she made suggestions designed to help me bond with her. I took notes.

The first thing I had to do, said the psychologist, was identify my expectations of Sophie so I could understand whether they were realistic or unachievable. As long as I wanted her to be someone she could never be, I was setting her up to fail, in my eyes, every single day. I explained that I wanted Sophie to make eye contact. "That's too hard for her," the psychologist said, recalling my own checklist. "She's acutely sensitive — you whisper, and for her it's like a megaphone." I realized that I wished Sophie were tougher (she's hypersensitive), more outgoing (she's shy), and "cool" (even now, as a 9-year-old, she favors kittens and angels). Scrap those things. Start over. I needed to stop seeing what Sophie was not and start seeing what she was. A few months later, when Sophie drew a unicorn on a piece of construction paper and said she wanted to use it for her birthday party invitation, I resisted the temptation to hide it in the garbage and order glossy invites instead. Color copies of Sophie's rainbow unicorn went out to 45 kids — and I got emails raving about it! Score one for Sophie.

Still, denying my expectations day after day was hard. I wondered if my upbringing may have set the bar too high. As the daughter of a local politician, I was expected to be a role model — to dress appropriately, smile and make small talk, write thoughtful thank-you notes. And I was a natural. My mother used to say, "Nothing succeeds like success," and I stepped up. Why couldn't Sophie?
I tried to ignore my gut instinct that something still wasn't quite right. The psychologist recommended that I connect with Sophie over something she enjoys, and as much as Calico Critters weren't my thing, I vowed to try. A few days later, I found her poring over a Mini Boden catalog. Aha! We shared a love of shopping! It might not be the most wholesome or financially sustainable hobby, but we needed to start somewhere. I plopped down next to her and asked, "If you could get one thing on each page, what would it be?" My sister and I had played this game as kids, and Sophie caught on instantly. Too bad life isn't one big catalog game.

Instead, more often, it was Sophie crawling on all fours and meowing, shrieking, jabbering in made-up languages, and asking nonsensical questions (What if day were night, and night were day? What if it snowed in summer? What if our last name was Nebraska?). Even when I tried to help her — by going over the moves that tripped her up in dance class and urging her to stop transferring her boogers from nose to mouth — I only did so because I wanted her to be accepted and liked, which was my agenda, not hers. Sadly, my efforts only made her feel more self-conscious and anxious. And I continued to feel exasperated and annoyed. Why was my own daughter so difficult for me to parent? I gradually got used to the feeling, but I never made peace with it.

Then, when Sophie was 7, a stunning revelation rocked our family's world. At the prompting of our pediatrician, who was concerned about Sophie's sluggish growth, she was tested and diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency that had slowed her development across the board since birth. Her speech, motor skills, and social maturation were three years behind schedule. Wow! It wasn't the diagnosis I expected, but it made sense. Growth hormone regulates so many functions in the body; Sophie's lack of it explained everything from her blue moods and anxious behaviors to her difficulty communicating to her birdlike appetite and negligible muscle tone. My first reaction was relief — a diagnosis! Then hope — help is on the way! Then guilt. All this time, Sophie was struggling. She was 7 by the calendar but only 4 by her own body clock, a pre-K'er thrust into second grade. She was coping with enormous challenges every day without a mother who believed in her. Even worse, I had resented her for letting me down, when it was I who was letting her down. I instantly regretted scads of horrible things I'd said to her over the years and prayed that the damage wasn't irreparable. What a wake-up call.
As the diagnosis sank in, I found myself feeling more tender, more motherly toward Sophie. Instead of me pitted against her, it's now us, together, pitted against this diagnosis. My husband is cautiously optimistic about the treatment (nightly hormone shots) but concerned about possible side effects. After all, he has accepted her as is all along. The happy dance I'm doing over this diagnosis is mine alone.

Whether I've finally learned to be a good parent to Sophie — or in spite of the fact that I haven't — my now-9-year-old is in a pretty good place. The hormone shots have delivered positive effects beyond inches and pounds. Sophie competes on the local gymnastics team, aces her spelling tests, goes on loads of playdates, and loves to download songs for her iPod. She makes eye contact and answers direct questions. I'm pretty sure she's genuinely happy most of the time, though she's still fairly anxious and still occasionally meows and shrieks. I watch her sometimes, looking for clues of the emotional scarring I fear I've inflicted, but I see none. Instead, she takes running leaps into my arms, her strong legs squeezing my middle in her signature "cobra hug." Do we see eye to eye? Almost never. But do I try to prop her up every single day anyway? Yes, I do. After all, I'm her mom.

"My wife is a good mom"
The author's husband knows she says some harsh, even shocking things in this essay. Here's what he'd like you to know about the woman behind those words.

My wife likes to fix things. She's an extrovert, a fighter. Her greatest fear is being alone. As a parent, it's hard to watch your child, this tiny creature you love more than yourself, struggle and remove herself from the group; harder still when you're a parent with a personality like Jenny's. Try as she might, Jenny couldn't "fix" Sophie, and I think that scared her. The search to find something wrong was her quest for an instruction booklet. But sometimes things aren't broken, they're just different and built to excel at things you're not. There's a laundry list of things no one ever tells you when you have children. One of them is that your child will teach you how to be the parent they need — if you're willing to listen. And I know Jenny is listening, because whenever Sophie has good news to share, a problem to solve, or a hurt to soothe, she goes looking for Mommy first.

The Adult Bully - Do you know one?

I remember being told when I was younger that things would be different when I was older.  People would be nicer to each other, kinder, more considerate and the little things that we would argue about would seem just that, small.  But, I am older and I've been around long enough to find out that this isn't exactly the case.  Some people do change and realize the mistakes they've made in hurting those in the past, and learn to use self-reflection to help shape, change and guide their behavior behavior.   Others don't.

While we spend so much time talking about bullying in schools, there is bullying going on in offices, in PTA meetings, on playgrounds, in playgroups, in home owner's associations and in plenty of other places and the bullying is amongst adults.  I've heard the stories, and I've witnessed it myself.

So, why do adults bully?  The prevailing idea out there is that the goal of the adult bully is to make themselves the dominant adult in order to have power over another person or group of people.  Adult bullies use physical threats or violence much less often than child or teenage bullies.  Adult bullies use verbal threats or aggression to manipulate or intimidate others.   Often times, adult bullies are not going to change.  Their pattern of behavior has been well established over time.  So it's best to avoid and or ignore the bully if possible.  If not, document and report the incidents to the proper people depending on the environment and circumstance.  

It's always helpful to identify the bully you are dealing with which can often times help you have a better sense of what you are dealing with and therefore a better sense of how to deal with it.  Below is a list of the types of adult bullies as outlined on

  1. Narcissistic Adult Bully: This type of adult bully is self-centered and does not share empathy with others. Additionally, there is little anxiety about consequences. He or she seems to feel good about him or herself, but in reality has a brittle narcissism that requires putting others down.
  2. Impulsive Adult Bully: Adult bullies in this category are more spontaneous and plan their bullying out less. Even if consequences are likely, this adult bully has a hard time restraining his or her behavior. In some cases, this type of bullying may be unintentional, resulting in periods of stress, or when the bully is actually upset or concerned about something unconnected with the victim.
  3. Physical Bully: While adult bullying rarely turns to physical confrontation, there are, nonetheless, bullies that use physicality. In some cases, the adult bully may not actually physically harm the victim, but may use the threat of harm, or physical domination through looming. Additionally, a physical bully may damage or steal a victim’s property, rather than physically confronting the victim.
  4. Verbal Adult Bully: Words can be quite damaging. Adult bullies who use this type of tactic may start rumors about the victim, or use sarcastic or demeaning language to dominate or humiliate another person. This subtle type of bullying also has the advantage - to the bully - of being difficult to document. However, the emotional and psychological impacts of verbal bullying can be felt quite keenly and can result in reduced job performance and even depression.
  5. Secondary Adult Bully: This is someone who does not initiate the bullying, but joins in so that he or she does not actually become a victim down the road. Secondary bullies may feel bad about what they are doing, but are more concerned about protecting themselves.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Family Friendly Airports?!?!

A recent survey conducted says that 59% of families think airports could do better when it comes to catering to families.  Having traveled with my highly active physical crib jumping peanut many times, I would agree.  I like the list of items they came up with for potential amenities at airports.  It could just help to tire those kiddies out for more peaceful travel, unless they are serious about having more flights that cater specifically to families.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mom catches foul ball while holding 8 month old son

For those of you who may not have caught the photo I mentioned in the previous post.

Dad drops Daughter at baseball game

This video is getting a lot of attention after Tiffany Goodwin, a mom, was holding her 8 month old when she caught a foul ball a couple of weeks ago.   Are Moms better at multi-tasking?