The Gentle Cesarean: Yes, Please.

Parental Intel Monday, March 9, 2015

For months after having my emergency C-section, I had nightmares about the experience. Even now if I study the moment for too long, I can feel a shiver run up my spine. It’s legit surgery and it was a rough turn on both my body and spirit.

Happy Happy Mom | Nicole Blades

This morning, while my little cinnamon bun — now 6 years old! —  was having breakfast and getting ready for school, I heard this great health story on NPR about the gentle or family centered C-section. I stopped the everything and listened.

“And there were a bunch of little adjustments, such as moving the EKG monitors from their usual location on top of the mother’s chest to her side. This allows the delivery team to place the newborn baby immediately on the mother’s chest. In addition, the mother’s hands were not strapped down and the intravenous line was put in her non-dominant hand so she could hold the baby.” 

Wow. My whole birthing experience would have been vastly different had this option been available to me back then. It probably would have been less stressful and more joyful. A real celebration. Of course, not having a C-section and going with a vaginal  birth would have been Option 1 for me. But if a Cesarean was necessary, I’ll have mine gentle, please. As the NPR reporter said, “gentle C-section is not a replacement for a vaginal birth; it’s just a way to improve the surgical experience.”

I hope more doctors and hospitals move toward the family centered way.

What say you? Did you have a difficult birthing experience or C-section? Doesn’t the gentle version sound 10 times more humane?

As always, I welcome your comments below! Also, check in with us on MMM’s Facebook page.

The 7 Indisputable Rules of Little Kid Fashion

Parental Intel Friday, August 22, 2014

Good news! I’ve been asked to join Mom.me’s writers’ circle. This means I’ll be posting more regularly on that lovely site. I dipped my toes back in those waters last month when I wrote about my daily morning debate between motherhood and runner. Then I got into talking about my recent awkward encounters with other people’s kids (and the parents, too!). This time around, it’s all about the “rules” of dressing them kids! Have a read, and let me know what you think. And, if you feel so moved, please share the link in your circles. Thanks!

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Balance | Ms. Mary Mack

The days of dressing my 5-year-old son are over. Actually, they came to an end a few years ago, when speaking in full and clear sentences was no longer a mountain he needed to climb. He was there, at the summit, expressing how he really felt about the clothing choices I’d been making for him. No more cute, fly-guy fashions and themed outfits, like super-mini skater kid, tiny Harvard preppy, or the “Mad Men” Casual Beach thing I was getting away with for a stretch. Once this kid was able to express his likes and — as was often the case — staunch dislikes, the couture was cut down to a set of very basic rules. Rules that may not be bent or broken, for the retribution would be steep … and bloody annoying.

I learned the hard way and endured the battle of the morning get-dressed scene, and have come out on the other side. So, in the interest of each one teach one, I present to you the 7 Rules of Little Kid Fashion, as told to me by my son — who, for this exercise, we’ll call Maester ICanDoItMyself.

1. Band-Aids Take Priority. If there is ever a bandage covering a bump, scrape or cut [Parent edit: real or imagined ones], be sure that socks and sleeves do not cover this important plaster. Unless, of course, these things bring added protection to this most necessary tourniquet. In that case, pull the socks up all the way to the knee, making doubly sure they stay up, and drag those sleeves or pant legs carefully over the important bandage. Failure to comply will result in certain grumpiness and more than a few Band-Aids wasted in the “reapplication” process

2. Tag, You’re Not It! No matter how much I claim to like a shirt, if the tag scrapes or tickles the back of my neck, even just a little, we will have a problem. I will not think twice to demand that the offending tag be completely removed. It’s lay flat or go home. (Home being the garbage bin here.) And, Parent, it’s probably a safer bet that you memorize the wash and care instructions of all my shirts, as I have a zero-tolerance policy about tags that don’t follow the clear rules.

Honestly? I don’t think grown-ups really understand what The Weather is.

 

3. Robots Are the Best, But Only Today. When it comes to designs, patterns, colors or animated characters that may adorn my shirt, I reserve the right to change my leanings at will. This week — for the entire week — I may desire all robot everything, but come Sunday that can change without any advance notice. Yes, from robots to stripes-only on a dime, and you will deal. [Parent edit: Don’t let a favorite shirt-of-the-week be found in the hamper — like, ever. #staywoke]

4. Buttons, NO! Snaps, Yes. I’ve decided that I don’t like buttons, and all your cajoling isn’t changing matters. Maybe it’s because they still kind of trip me up, making my little fingers do extra work, or maybe I just don’t like the looks of them, with their four holes that resemble judging eyes. Either way, not a fan. Keep them out of my sight. Note well: This rule can sometimes extend to cover your clothing as well. It’s arbitrary, yes, but it’s not a game. Tread lightly.

5. The Weather Is a Myth. Honestly? I don’t think grown-ups really understand what The Weather is. As much as you talk about it in elevators and in line at the grocery store, I’m not at all convinced that you have a firm grasp on this ephemeral concept. So no-thanks on any words of “wisdom” you may care offer on why I can’t wear my GAP hoodie — zipped up all the way — in the middle of July’s heat wave. Or, conversely, why a tank top with a rad surfboard motif isn’t “appropriate” attire for a Thanksgiving afternoon. Let me know when you work out the whole climate thing (and climate change, frankly). I’ll be over here … in my hoodie and tank top.

6. I Choose the Shoes. Sometimes I want to wear my light-up sneakers. Other times, I might fancy my funky, brown half boots with the faux-laces-and-velcro finery. Or today could be a Crocs and socks day. It really all depends on my mood at the given moment. But the point here is: I’ll decide what footwear I’ll flex. Please don’t question my choices, you’ll only get your feelings hurt.

7. PJs Are Always Winning. Whoever invented pajamas needs a grand award, posthaste. These things are comfy, cozy and completely charming. There’s also that undeniably compelling quality about them: Once you’ve nestled into a fine set of PJs, it’s a real struggle to find your way out of them. That’s why my mates and I are thinking about launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a global parade to celebrate all the prudent teachers who have instituted a Pajama Day at their schools. It’s genius, plus I have a sneaking suspicion that most adults (teachers included) are happy to rock their jammies for the better part of the day, too.

Originally posted on Mom.me.

My Cringe-Filled Experiences Around Other People’s Kids

Parental Intel Thursday, August 14, 2014

Good news! I’ve been asked to join Mom.me’s writers’ circle. This means I’ll be posting more regularly on that lovely site. I dipped my toes back in those waters just last month when I wrote about my daily morning debate between motherhood and runner. This time around I’m talking about my recent awkward encounters with other people’s kids (and the parents, too!). Have a read, and let me know what you think. 

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From the minute they bustled through the doors, I started holding my breath. It was a small family — a set of older parents with a 3-year-old child — descending upon the already cramped airport lounge. There was a storm brewing on the East Coast, delaying a large batch of flights out. The benefit of being able to recline in comfy seats with a kind buffet of warm pasta, cold sandwiches and simple snacks, and free Wi-Fi was not lost on me. I was ever grateful, specifically because I had my 5-year-old son along with me on this trip.

Photo credit: Mom.me

Photo credit: Mom.me

We had just tucked into another bowl of cheddar fish when the trio — we’ll call them The Louds — stomped in. Kid Loud was high-octane, just whining and yelling and taking bratdom to the next level. Even my son said, “Mom, that kid is really whiny — way more whinier than any other person I’ve ever seen.” Word, li’l homey. Word.

The child’s parents looked completely exhausted and deflated: The dad proceeded to take out his laptop and fully ignore his kid, while the mother chased after and tried to corral the tiny human.

They picked the row of seats facing us. (Yay.) Kid Loud steamrolled over and started poking, talking, nudging, hugging, yelling, grabbing food and generally bugging my son. The two kids played, as best as they could. I must have heard Kid Loud’s name about 58 times in the span of 20 minutes, as the mother tried in vain to set her child straight. We still had another 90 minutes before our delayed flight was set to leave, yet I seriously considered fleeing the comforts of the lounge and heading to the sweatbox of the faraway, woefully neglected “satellite” terminal just to escape The Louds.

Instead I tried to focus on my newspaper, but ended up going over the same damn sentence on loop. At one point I was even reading out loud, in a stage whisper, to rise above the din of Kid Loud. Then I tried to zone out, get Zen, meditate. No luck. Listen, even Deepak Chopra would have given up and Namaste’d on out of there.

Read the full post here on Mom.me.

Make Lunches Daily? CUE ‘CATHY’ SWEAT!

Life As Mom, Parental Intel Tuesday, August 5, 2014

There are plenty of great things about my son’s preschool program. That they serve healthy, varied, delicious hot lunch (plus snacks) every day has got to be in the Top 3 Great Things list.

The school prints out a monthly menu and hands it out to parents, so we know what’s coming. This also means that all of our smart-pants tiny people know what’s coming too. For the past few months, The Youngster will ask me what the school will be serving for lunch tomorrow. (The paper is pinned to our activity board high above his eye line and pay grade.) If it’s something he doesn’t quite like (mashed potatoes, weird-combo meatloaf), he’ll ask if he may take home lunch to school instead.

Rock the Lunchbox | Ms. Mary Mack

Any given month, this switcheroo accounts for maybe five days. That’s decent, right? I’m packing lunch for this kiddo five times out of every month. I often see people posting pics of their kids’ lunches on social media. Many of the pics are fantastic and totally aspirational (hello, kale and pumpkin seed salad in a Bento box!). And then some of the photos are … a lot less fantastic and a little drab. But no shade … I know it takes mind energy to plot out what to pack, who likes this, who doesn’t like that, and what is going to actually get eaten at school, not making the return trip home.

Rock the Lunchbox 1 | Ms. Mary Mack

Our good friends at Honest Tea knows the lunchbox struggle is real. Keeping the lunch options fresh and fun and healthy ain’t easy. So they’ve once again joined up with Annie’s Homegrown, Applegate, Organic Valley, and Rudi’s Organic Bakery for the “Rock the Lunchbox” campaign.

Rock the Lunchbox Toolkit | Ms. Mary Mack

It’s essentially a web site dedicated to sharing lunch ideas, tips and downloadable coupons for parents on that daily lunchbox grind.

Here’s where you come in … Honest Tea is generously donating a special Rock the Lunchbox Toolkit to one lucky MMM reader.

What’s in the Toolkit?

  • 3 free lunchbox containers (a Laptop Lunches Bento, a set of Blue Avocado Rezip bags, and one U-Konserve stainless steel container)
  • 6 free product coupons (we’re talking freeness from Annie’s Homegrown, Organic Valley, Honest Kids and more)
  • 1 set of Crayola Crayons (your kids can draw what their ideal lunch looks like and share it on the RTL site)

My son was excited to see everything spill out of our Toolkit. You would have thought it was some new LEGO set. And as result, I’ve been packing lunch this week — by his request. Hoping this excitement becomes a longstanding trend as we move closer toward the first day of … KINDERGARTEN! ACK!

Cathy Comic

For the giveaway, tell us what’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever packed for lunch. One lucky reader will win the Rock the Lunchbox Toolkit. Leave a comment below, and the winner will be announced next week!

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