Friday, April 30, 2010

Baseball Hats

Mamas love baseball hats--particularly on those mornings when we've managed to get everyone but ourselves dressed and ready for the day. If we have to drive the kids to school, and our hair looks like we cooked this morning's bacon in it, the baseball hat is the perfect way to cover it up. It's cute and sporty, and people might just think that we had to throw it on because we've had a vigorous morning workout. Which we have.

Question for you: Do you ever pull the hat trick?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Giving "The Look"

Mamas know the look I'm talking about. The one that says, "I am really angry right now, and I'm going to let you know how angry I am by glaring at you and maintaining that glare until I can actually think of something to say." Yep, that's the one. I know it well. And I'll bet you do, too. Children are often paralyzed by the look; in fact, its effectiveness is comparable to that of a stun gun.

If you're a new Mama and haven't perfected giving the look, allow me to give a few pointers. (I think I actually perfected it before having children, because I taught high school for a couple of years.)
  • For maximum effectiveness, maintain your glare without blinking. Open your eyes as widely as possible, preferably revealing white all the way around the iris. The longer the look is held, the more seriously the child will take you. And fear what's coming.
  • Maintain eye contact with the child; if the child attempts to avert his/her eyes, continue with the look until eye contact is regained.
  • If the child is attempting to stifle a smile, simply raise both of your eyebrows. This will indicate that you mean business. If the child continues to fight the urge to smile, you must maintain your glare at all costs.
  • If you are the one attempting to stifle a smile, simply grit your teeth. Not only does this keep the smile at bay, it also accentuates your stern jawline, which indicates anger.
  • If you are positioned across the room from the child, and the child is uncertain whether or not you are actually giving the look, simply raise a single eyebrow. This lets your child know that you are aware of what is going on across the room and that you are not pleased. Either eyebrow may be used.
  • The potency of the look can be intensified by holding your head down at a 45 degree angle and allowing your look to fire over the top rim of your glasses. If you do not already own a pair of eyeglasses, you will want to purchase some, even if you only put them on to administer the look.
  • If your child is in serious trouble, combine the glasses, one-eyebrow raise, gritted teeth, and no blinking methods. Hold this look for two to five minutes, depending on the offense. Or how long it takes you to think of something to say. 
Question for you: Have you found the look to be effective with your child? What tips can you offer in administering the look?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Mamas everywhere have embraced the magicalness that is coffee. That steaming cup of goodness is like a saber in our hands, beckoning the day to "Bring it."

I didn't drink java regularly until after I had my first baby. After Callie was born, I began drinking it when I needed it or when it just sounded good . . . which happened to be every morning. And there's been no turning back. I try not to be a bear about it, but I do function and communicate more nicely efficiently after I've had my coffee.

Now I not only enjoy my cup-a-joe each morning, but I also have a cup in the afternoon. I've found that an additional stimulant is required to keep up with my children upon their return from school. It's become so much a part of who I am (Is that bad?) that my children inevitably want to buy me a new coffee mug for every gift-giving holiday.

Question for you: Are you a coffee addict? If so, when did it begin? It's okay. We're all friends here, so you can be honest. We'll raise our "World's Best Mama" mug in your direction and nod in understanding.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mother's Day Out Ahhhhhh yes. Those three little words that rank right up there with "I love you" and "You're not fat." Mother's Day Out is a welcome break (or two) in the week for weary Mamas. I personally have enjoyed my 10 hours a week of hiatus from Mamahood over the past eight months. It's the first regular break of this kind that I have had since my first baby was born nine years ago. And I soak it up. And that's okay. Granted, I have spent a whole lot of this time writing about the very children from whom I've taken a break, but I get to sit all by myself with my coffee in the peace and quiet of wherever I choose to be that day and just reflect without being interrupted by "Mama, I'm hungry" or "Callie's telling me what to do" or "The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and . . . "

Mother's Day Out is a luxury. It is. I'll admit that, at least for myself. I would argue, though, that for my own children, it's been a good warm-up for them to go to MDO the year before starting kindergarten. But I can't say it was an absolute necessity. It has been very, very good, however, for everyone involved. If my kids hadn't all loved the experience, I'm sure I'd feel differently.

It's good for Mamas to have breaks from their kids every once in a while. Our kids miss us (hopefully), and we are better Mamas for having had a bit of time to ourselves.

Question for you: What's your take on Mother's Day Out? Is it a luxury, necessity, or something in between

Monday, April 26, 2010

Going to the Zoo to the zoo is an activity that both Mamas and kids can enjoy. Kids are intrigued by the sights, sounds, and even smells of the zoo. It's both entertaining and educational.

But there's another reason Mamas like going. We get to observe the relationships between various animal Mamas and babies--and it's quite okay if we stare. We can snicker if an animal Mama gets irritated with her baby and snorts or honks or makes some other hurumphing sound toward the tot. We can nod in understanding if she's tired of carrying her baby around everywhere. We can empathize with the tired look on her face that begs the question, "Where is your father?" But we also can't get enough of seeing those cute baby animals and cannot suppress the "Awwwws." There's just something so sweet and beautiful and natural about this Mama and baby relationship that we can't get enough of.

Can you guess where Katie and I are going today?!

Question for you: Have you ever learned a specific lesson through observing an animal Mama and baby?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Blaming Everything on Teething

It's a great scape-goat when you don't actually know what's wrong with your baby but don't want to admit it to anyone. The symptoms are both varied and vague, so no one will question you.

Runny nose?
Crying that can't be consoled?
Not sleeping through the night?
Biting other babies?
Low score on the ACT?

It's so great. And a lot of the time, it's actually the truth.

Question for you: Have you ever used this Mama technique? Be honest.

Bonus question for you: Do you own fashion teething jewelry? You know, the necklaces and bracelets that look like your own jewelry but are actually made for your tot to teeth on? Be honest.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Referring to Ourselves in the Third Person  "Mommy's here."
"Mommy loves you."
"Mommy will get you something to eat."
"Mommy will change your diaper."
"Mommy thinks you're ready for a nap."
"Mommy needs a nap."
"Mommy wants to know when Daddy will be home!"

It's so funny. We all do it. And I know we're actually supposed to, though I forget the psychology behind it. Still, we sound very much like Elmo.

And at what point do we change over and start teaching our children about the art of the personal pronoun? Carrie wonders . . .

Now Carrie would like to ask a question: At what point is it ridiculous to refer to yourself in the third person to your child? Surely it's sometime before "Mommy will really miss you while you're off at college."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wet Wipes Sure, these little items are good for wiping baby bottoms, but their usefulness goes way beyond the booty. They're perfect for snagging snot, freshening faces, scrubbing stains, disinfecting dirty digits, and scouring surfaces. In fact, their functionality is so varied that Mamas find themselves keeping them in stock long after Junior is potty-trained. They are most commonly found in, but are not limited to, purses and mini-vans.

If you are not a Mama and have yet to discover the wonders of the wet wipe, you might want to consider picking up a tub. They'll change your life. Okay, maybe not. But they are quite handy.

Question for you: What surprising usefulness have you found for the wet wipe? And do you still keep them around even after your kids are out of diapers?

Acting Silly With Our Kids kids are pretty much the only people in the world that I feel comfortable being silly with. Generally I'm a pretty serious, task-oriented person, but my children give me permission to have fun and just act goofy. In fact, they think it's pretty hilarious when I do.

I think that deep down inside, we all wish we felt as uninhibited as kids do. Wouldn't it be great if all of us thought that we told the most hilarious jokes, had the greatest dance skills, and could belt out a showtune that would have Broadway producers beating down our doors? It's so freeing when we can let our guard down. And laughing is so good for the mind, body, and spirit!

Question for you: Do you act silly with your kids? What happens as we grow older that makes us not feel as free to be silly?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

People NOT Sticking Their Fingers in Our Baby's Mouth  True story: When my first-born was only about six months old, she and my husband accompanied me to a hair appointment. As I sat in the spinny chair, Kevin and Callie waited in the lobby, where a very opinionated woman also waited. She promptly told Kevin that "he shouldn't have that baby in here with all these fumes." Just as promptly, Kevin and Callie left. But mostly to get away from the woman. Unfortunately, she followed them outside and started asking all kinds of questions about my baby--including asking about any teeth she had coming in. Before Kevin could utter a syllable, this woman








Oh yes she did.

Folks, don't ever do this.  This woman almost found herself looking for her own teeth.

Question for you: Have you had any similar experiences with your baby and a total stranger?

Band-Aids matter what the boo-boo/bo-bo/ouchie/owie looks like, the Band-Aid is the cure-all. Children are convinced that these little plastic strips contain magical healing powers. And that's just fine by us Mamas, especially if we are also expected to kiss it and make it better. Bandages are a bit more kissable than open wounds.

The great Band-Aid debate: cartoon characters vs. no cartoon characters on your Band-Aids? On the one hand, they're more expensive, and kids seem to want them even more than regular ones. (Why wouldn't you want to plaster Hello Kitty or Spider Man across your kneecaps?) On the other hand, however, the addition of bright colors and fun characters seems to increase the magicalness of the Band-Aid, which can be quite handy in the event of a major ouchie that requires a diversion.

The solution: Make sure you have at least one emergency box of comic strips.

Question for you: Where do you fall in the great Band-Aid debate? 

Sleeping Through the Night In my opinion, the hardest part about having a newborn is the lack of uninterrupted sleep. You start to think that a full eight hours is a thing of the past and something you might not see again till your kids check you into the nursing home. Now if the baby is the one who's sleeping, everyone tip-toes around and shooshes each other, threatening to seriously injure anyone who wakes the slumbering babe. But does the babe return the favor when you lay your pretty little head down to take a snooze? Nope. That's just the kid's signal to cry and demand that you get back up. It's a good thing babies are small and cute. Whom else would we allow to treat us so?

But then one night it happens. You wake up in the morning and--after you've recovered from the panicked feeling that your baby has stopped breathing--realize that your baby might conform to the rest of humanity's idea of a full night's sleep after all.  And when this happens, it's a glorious, glorious day. And night.

Question for you: How long did it take your baby to start sleeping through the night?

Introducing . . .

"Stuff Mamas Like." Yes, it's a shameless take-off of "Stuff Christians Like," which was a shameless take-off of "Stuff White People Like," but I'm okay with that. The purpose of this blog is to help Mamas everywhere laugh at ourselves and at the crazy and demanding world of motherhood.

So welcome!