Wednesday, October 20, 2010

On the Road Again: Parenting in Hotels, at Vendor Events

Once upon a time (last year), I started a business with Phil (hi, Phil! *waves frantically*). Many moons later (last month), we got some stuff and took it to the kingdom of Omaha. The King of Omaha (yo, Charlie! of Next Millenium) held a grand festival (Mystic Fest) every year, during which he invited Phil and myself, as well as many others, to present our stuff in a semi-organized fashion.

Yup, me and Phil went to Omaha to do a show. We got 2 1/2 tables this year. Ok, it was 3 tables, but we gave 1/2 a table to PAN. Woot!!

Ok, so, we traveled all the way out there with a 5 mo (we left the 4 yo at home with grama, cuz we are CRAZY not STUPID!) and got to our hotel. EPIC KUDOS to my dad, who made reservations for me. We were literally on the other side of a parking lot from where we were doing the show. LITERALLY. *happy dances across the parking lot*

Now, I get to spend much of my time with my daughter with my shirt off or otherwise exposing portions of my breastesses. The "downside" of breastfeeding. I say "downside" in quotes, cuz most non-prudish, straight-ish males can't figure out the downside of exposed breastesses.

So, I spent two full days at the event, juggling the baby back and forth between me, daddy, Phil and our Fae-helper, as well as Fay (of Crone's Creations, aka Wytch Way Wear) and her helper/friend person. Oh, and half the vendors at the show.


During set-up, we found that a bottle of money-oil spilled into the plastic baggie (yay for ziplock bags), so we greased up our hands periodically. Then we rubbed the oil on the baby's butt and called her the Money-baby.

Trust me, it was cute.

I have to say, a baby in a hotel is always easier than a toddler or pre-schooler. I've seen so many people worried about taking the baby on trips. Trust me, at that age, they are sooooo easy to travel with.

Oh, you want to know how we did? Well, check out the pic... Do we LOOK happy?

Cute BABY PIC!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

No Longer the Single Parent: Getting a Houseboy, or How to Keep a Home Clean with a Preschooler

Ok. The title is a joke. It's meant to be funny.

Not because I use the term "houseboy," but because anyone with a preschooler knows, there is no keeping the house clean.

Wow, it's been about 3 months since I made the decision. I decided to get back together with the father of my youngest (almost a 6 mo). He moved in within a few weeks and I began the way I always begin - with complete honesty.

I said, "Honey, I'm a demanding bitch. But you will always know where you stand."

I think he thought I was joking. Or at least exaggerating.


So now I have a full grown man to chase my son, watch my daughter, clean house and cook meals. I know, right? I've got it made in the shade.

Well, except he doesn't know much about raising kids, cleaning house or cooking.

I get mad sometimes, frustrated often, and I praise him whenever he does good work. For example, I told him that dinner tonight (baked chicken, mixed veggies and stuffing) was wonderful. And it was.

However, three hours ago, I looked up how to cook a chicken cuz he put it in the oven at the temp he thought it should be and for the time he guessed was right. B'gak!!

Two days ago, I gave him the eyebrow (left eyebrow raised in the WTF look) because he wanted to actually cook the stuffing inside the chicken. As in, put it in the raw bird. Something that nutritionists everywhere have warned against for decades, now.

I may have told him his idea was quaint... Or antiquated. I'm not sure which. I'm pretty sure I didn't call him names... Pretty sure...

I also remind him frequently that messes should be cleaned immediately unless you want stains. Skid marks don't belong on the toilet seat. And thou shalt not soak the cast iron in water with the wooden utensils. Gah!!

But all Mr. Mom-humor moments aside, he is totally invaluable to me. He likes to grind wheatberries and use the sifter to sift out flour for REAL whole wheat bread (which he loves to make - though I need to get him to understand that rising times are not just a kinda-suggestion).

He thought it was the greatest thing since (whole wheat) sliced bread when I bought, not one, but TWO meat grinders AND a shoulder roast for him to make ground beef. At this rate, his birthday gift is gonna be a breeze!

Oh, and he's super sweet, and cuddly too! (Though the bastard has lost more than 30 lbs since moving in... Grrrr! I've only lost about 5 lbs.) He makes me coffee in the morning while I take a shower and turns on the news for me. He makes lunch for me to take to work everyday. He has supper going when I get home. He brings in the mail every day. And he takes bug to the park (an event of epic proportions in and of itself).

So, all in all, I think we are a happier, more smoothly-running family because of him. And he's warm. He warms my butt at night.

What? You've never had a cold butt at night? It's a serious medical-ish condition.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Living by the clock: a daily schedule for a single mom of two

As I have said, I am a single mother. My oldest, a 3 year old boy, Bug, and Ladybug, who is currently 7 weeks old.
I am a solo parent, which means the other parent isn't involved at all. There are no weekends with dad or a couple days a week, or anything like that. It's all me.
If a child wants held, the arms are mine. If a child wants heard, the ears are mine. If a child is hungry or thirsty, I'm the one in the kitchen. If a child needs a butt wiped, my nose is the one wrinkling.
It also means that if I want to go shopping, I'm taking two kids with me. So, I don't go to the store to buy cloths. I haven't been in a movie theater since Juno came out. I seldom go out to eat unless someone else is with us to help with the kids.
My biggest pet peeve is when non-single parents (particularly stay-at-home moms) say they FEEL like single parents cuz the other one isn't very involved... I say, if you have an extra pair of hands to hold the baby for five minutes, or someone who can carry in groceries while you take care of fussy kids, IT DOESN'T COUNT!

So, what does a day in the life of a single, working mother look like?

6:45 a.m. - I wake up. I make bug his oatmeal and myself oatmeal. I prep the breast pump.
7:00 a.m. - I wake up bug and get him eating. I pump and eat.
7:15 a.m. - I put my dishes away and clean off the breast pump. I prepare bug's toothbrush and get into the shower.
7:30 a.m. - I get out of the shower. If bug hasn't brushed his teeth yet, I remind him to do so. I remind bug to put away his dishes.
7:40 a.m. - I get dressed except my shirt. I remind bug of all the things he needs to do, including getting his clothes out and getting dressed.
7:45 a.m. - I comb my hair and put it up. I moisturize and remind bug to get dressed.
7:50 a.m. - I get my make-up on and remind bug to finish getting dressed.
7:55 a.m. - I get my shirt on and tell bug to get socks and shoes on.
8:00 a.m. - I get ladybug changed, dressed and fed.
8:15 a.m. - I get shoes on and pack up the breast pump.
8:20 a.m. - I put on the mei tai and put ladybug in it. I make sure bug is ready to go and we head out the door.
8:30 a.m. - Drop off bug at his daycare. Drive to ladybug's daycare.
8:40 a.m. - Drop off ladybug.
8:50 a.m. - Head to work.
5:10 p.m. - Leave work.
5:20 p.m. - Pick up ladybug from her daycare.
5:30 p.m. - Pick up bug from his daycare. Struggle with him and talk to the daycare provider.
6:00 p.m. - Get home. Drop ladybug off on the bed, check her diaper and feed her.
6:15 p.m. - Drop ladybug in the bouncy chair, check the calendar and make the planned meal.
6:30 p.m. - Eat while feeding ladybug.
7:00 p.m. - Put dishes away. Wrestle bug into the bath.
7:15 p.m. - Feed ladybug.
8:00 p.m. - Get bug out of the bath and into pj's. Read books.
9:00 p.m. - Bug is in bed, ladybug is being fed.
9:30 p.m. - Bug is asleep, ladybug is asleep. I get up to finish my work for the day.
11:30 p.m. - I get to go to bed... maybe.

This is approximate times since either child reserves the right to mess up the schedule as they see fit. This is also a typical day, not counting Gramma days, when gramma takes bug for the afternoon. It also doesn't count days when we go out to eat with the grandparents. And weekends are a whole 'nother story.
On an interesting note, people recommend scheduling for parents cuz then the kids learn what to expect each day... this "knowing" takes years... bug still fights and questions every action every day.

Well, it's 1 a.m. and I'm still not in bed... :D

Thursday, June 10, 2010

English as a Second Language

I frequently comment on how surely I must speak Russian, or Czechoslovakian (which I've been told is not actually a language, making it much more ironic). It is never more true then when the topic is the raising of my children and the listener is a caregiver to said children. Females are the worst about it. It's just in one ear and out the other.

corn syrup, sugar, modified food starch, dextrose, water, pork-skin gelatin, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, artificial flavor, natural flavor and blue #1

This is the ingredients list for Marshmallows, in basic white, large and mini. I think maybe the healthiest ingredient in that list is water... and you know that isn't much. (Does the pork-skin gelatin count as a "meat"?? I don't think so.)

Because of this, it seems pretty obvious that, when I say bug is not to have candy, that this would be top of the list. And yet, he is given this treat EVERY TIME he visits.

I'm presuming that the "why" of this is because he likes marshmallows.

My response as a loving mother is, so what?

He LIKES running into the street. He LIKES playing in the kitchen while I'm cooking. I'm sure he'd find it a grand old time jumping off the balcony. Yet, I don't allow these things.

Bug also LIKES staying up too late playing video games. He LIKES not taking a bath. He LIKES to pick up his newborn baby sister. Again... not going to happen.

So, what is so special about his snack choices?

Let's play Devil's Advocate. Why shouldn't he have marshmallows? It's not like a mouthful of chemically-modified sugar is going to kill him, right?

The sad thing is, it COULD kill him... just not immediately or directly. HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) has now been shown to create obesity far more then the calories alone can account for. Since the creation of HFCS, obesity levels have skyrocketed and childhood obesity has gone from virtually non-existent to affecting even toddlers and preschoolers. This could lead to a lifetime of cardiac and respiratory disease, including a loss of years of life expectancy.

These things have been proven over and over, yet we bribe and stuff our children with candies laden with HFCS, when even bread and pasta sauce contain more than enough to create a lasting effect.

So, when I decided to severely limit my son's consumption, it was based on research and proven fact, on informed decision-making. Unfortunately, since I made my declaration in some foreign language, it was completely ignored in favor of my son's "I want."

Perhaps the hardest part is understanding how a parent is so easily subverted by the child. How often do we justify and excuse ignoring or modifying decisions made in the child's best interests in favor of pleasing the child? To what end?

Then we wonder why children so often think that misbehaving or pleading will lead us to cave in... maybe because we teach them that it works! We teach them that we will renege on anything we state as being rules or boundaries.

Anyone involved in the raising or care of children must remember to always speak the same language.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Tale of Two C-Sections

My first child, my son, was an emergency c-section. A combination of "problems" conspired with a lack of knowledgeable labor support to send me racing to the OR. I put "problems" in quotes because while macrosomia ("big baby") and failure to progress SOUND medically fear-inducing, they are seldom the emergency that cut-happy OBs make them out to be... they are more of a "problem" when something RARELY goes wrong and results in a malpractice suit.

The result was an emotionally devastating three HOURS of recovery time in which I was not ALLOWED to see my first child. Laying in bed alone, struggling to wriggle my toes in the hopes that such an action would get me back to my room faster...

I still think there was a lingering negative impact on my parenting. It seemed to me that from the start, I wasn't supposed to have had my baby. Nature itself tried to tell me by not letting me birth him.

Unsurprisingly, this thought came back with every parental doubt that entered my mind. I cried silently more times then I care to admit, wondering if I had done something that went against the laws of nature by conceiving and raising (but not birthing) this child. Or maybe the stress-filled rush of the c-section permanently turned my child from a trusting baby into the fussy, colicky creature that protested life's sudden changes at every turn. After all, I couldn't save him from the cutting, ripping entry he made into the world; how could I protect him from anything?

Years later, I had gotten past this little emotional issue... or so I had thought.

With the impending birth of my second child, I discovered to my horror that I wasn't ALLOWED to birth my second child either. In fact, I wasn't even ALLOWED to go into labor this time. This was made all the worse my a time-table set by the doctor's estimation of my due date, which I know for a fact was either a week late (unlikely) or THREE WEEKS TOO SOON. That's right, he not only wanted to rip my second child out of my body, he wanted to do it before she was ready... and no amount of protests on my part could convince him his precious ultrasound was wrong. Never mind that I knew when I had sex and when I didn't.

As I struggled with the stress of late pregnancy and raising a (still fussy/needy) pre-schooler, I tried to find a way out of this mess. However, it turns out that in my state (bass-ackwards Nebraska), my choices were to schedule a c-section, labor (alone) at home, or show up at the hospital in labor and hope they didn't FORCE me into surgery (they can and have done that). Enter more weeping...

In the end, I didn't have the strength to fight them and scheduled the c-section. As with the first, there were no complications during the surgery or during recovery. However, there is still the emotional problems that no one seems to care about as long as you don't murder your children.

Like the nagging suspicion that these aren't my kids... I mean, really, how would I know? And, with the second one, the more nagging suspicion that she is almost a preemie, taken weeks before she was ready. The doubts and worries that plague me with every cough and sniffle - c-section babies are more likely to have respiratory problems, even into adulthood. The sudden bouts of paranoia - increased chances of SIDS. Sometimes I go about parenting with a disconnect that frightens me - a disconnect that I feel comes from not feeling or even seeing my babies leave my body.

All of this is made worse by the so-called comforting words of well-intentioned people who just don't get it. "At least you're all healthy/alive." "She's so pretty, because she got taken out via c-section." "Congratulations!"

Yeah, "congratulations". Like I did anything more then not kill them in utero and then lay there like an incompetent log while someone else did the work of bringing them into the world. I didn't even get to see or touch them unless someone else allowed it and facilitated it.

And so the pain and doubt continues.

Monday, May 10, 2010

An Introduction

Greetings and salutations, good readers. Allow me to introduce myself.
I am KaliSara, single parent of two beautiful children who also drive me crazy... and it IS a short trip. I am also a pagan (NOT wiccan) witch, podcast radio show c0host ( , community leader, small business owner (, poet/writer, and full-time employee (Quality Assurance) at a small iron supplement manufacturing company. And that's just the big stuff...
The purpose of this blog is provide an educated look at the negative feelings, happenings, etc. of parenting. Educated because I do have a minor in Psychology, with ongoing personal studies in child psychology. Negative because kids can be annoying, frustrating, hard-to-deal-with, and a hundred other things that make us want to pull out our hair. Yet, most parenting advice/situational blogs talk about only the good stuff (bragging) or how to solve the problem.
I want to provide a place where it is okay for parents to acknowledge that sometimes, just sometimes, they want to see how long they can leave the kids at the babysitters before CPS is called.
Now, I'm not saying you SHOULD, but we should have the right to acknowledge these fleeting nasty feelings that crop up from time to time. Acknowledge them as valid feelings and move past them to be healthy, happy, non-homicidal parents.
A few more things:
1) I am a smart-ass, snarky, sarcastic person... but I'm also funny, so hang on to your hat.
2) Parenting isn't just about the parent(s) and kid(s); there's grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, siblings, friends (with and without kids), babysitters, teachers, etc. None of these people will be safe from my verbal slaying
3) I practice attachment parenting and gentle discipline. I do not spank or cry-it-out. This is not up for discussion or debate. Any comments trying to "convert" me to another parenting style will be read with respect and probably deleted. No offense intended; nothing personal.
4) Other then the above, all commentary is welcome and appreciated.

I think that about covers this intro blog... Look for my first rant soon!!