Sunday, July 24, 2011

Drowning in Baby Accessories

I'm Drowning in Crap - and although I am potty training a certain 3 year old at the moment, the crap I’m talking about isn’t the poo kind. I’m referring to all the baby and toddler accessories my husband and I (more I than my husband, to be honest) purchased in the last several years. It’s everywhere, and most of it is unused. Or, it was lightly used. Or, it has been used, but not for the purpose to which it was intended. I don’t mince words: I’m drowning in crap.

Do I need this? photo by Tratong
Where do I begin with this stuff? Uh...let’s start with the high chair. It was quite useful in its day, but has since become a climbing frame – dangerous and annoying and loved by the potty training three year-old. I’ve put it up for sale on a website (for cheap – it’s an Italian mamas & papas jobbie, cost me almost two hundred and all I want is 40 - I know, don’t berate me about the cost, times were better for us all then, weren’t they?).

Then there’s the booster seat. At least the high chair has been used many times. The booster seat was used a grand total of twice in 6 years. The high chair pulls up to the table, you see, and by the time they’re ready to get out of it, they don’t want to be strapped into something else. They just want to sit at the table. Right, that was a waste of 30 bucks, or whatever it was.

And the walker. Turns out they learn to walk even if they don’t have a rolling toy with flashing lights. They hang on to furniture, the walls, your legs, a tree – in short, anything. Now, the baby walker takes up space in the kitchen or utility room. Occasionally, one of the boys finds it and races it back and forth downstairs. It’s very annoying. It must go.

What’s next? Oh yes: The travel bottle system. Such a stupid idea, I can’t believe I opened my wallet for it. I bought it for the occasional long trips we take to see the grandparents or make other visits. When they’re little babies, they feed often. Even when they’re toddlers they like to have drinks at regular intervals. I bought this device with a straw system that helps the baby drink the bottle while on the go. I figured I could pump and put the breast milk in there, and later juice. I could never figure it out, so I never used it. I just gave up and stopped to breast feed or, later, bottle feed or use a sippy cup. So the trip was longer than usual – fine. That thing is now clogging up my shelves.

One great thing I really always loved using was the travel bottle / food warmer. It’s like a warm insulated pad you plug into the cigarette lighter, then wrap around a bottle of milk or small tub of food. You can drive along and in ten minutes the good is warm. I LOVED that thing. I used it often.

Of course I’ve looked everywhere and I have no idea where it is.

What’s clogging up your house?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Chef jeff “dinneRevolution” Giveaway

I’ve been blogging in this space for almost a year, and I thought I’d run my first giveaway as a fun way to say thanks for reading. I’m giving away an E-copy of Chef Jeff’s “dinneRevolution.” It’s a family-friendly cookbook that contains “Healthy and Modern recipes, made simply with 10 ingredients or less in under 30 minutes.”

In the words of Cheff Jeff, a US chef and author with an interesting and diverse cooking background: “I realize that in today’s busy lifestyle people simply don’t have the time or desire to spend all day in the kitchen. My hope is that these recipes bring more time and joy back to your life because only when we prepare our meals do we truly know what we are putting in our bodies.”

I’s that last sentiment, “when we prepare our meals do we truly know what we are putting in our bodies” that I’m glad he expressed. That’s my feeling exactly. I try to prepare all my children’s meals myself so that I know what they’re getting. I prepare ahead in bulk and freeze in portions so I have quick meals to hand. The recipes in this book are based on popular family favourites, some of which will hopefully appeal to you and your kids. Examples of some of the ones that appeal to my family are:

Chicken and chickpea soup
Balsamic Glazed Salmon
Crabcakes with mango
Oven baked fish sticks
Spaghetti with Shrimp and snow peas
Crispy Black bean burritos
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

  1. Post a Comment below telling me you did the above.
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          Get two extra entries by also adding me to a circle on Google+
I will generate a random winner in one week, on July 29th!

Looking forward to hearing from you.
-          Lory
Disclosure: I received a free copy of DinneRevolution

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What Motherhood has Taught me about Management

I wrote about the Mommy Brain in a previous post as well as in a 17 June Irish Examiner newspaper article titled “Mum Knows Best.” As per National Institutes of Mental Health neuroscientist Dr. Pilyoung Kim, women’s grey matter actually GROWS after childbirth. We become smarter. Raise your mugs of coffee and say a toast, mommies, because your muddled brain is attributable to exhaustion and not to some post-partum depletion of your faculties. Hormones actually work in your favour.

Manage that Baby! photo by CapemayL
I’m positive this whole motherhood thing has improved not only my brain but my managerial skills as well.  And I’m not the only one who thinks so, either. Read this article by Liza Kent in the May 2003 publication “Women in Business.” In it, Kent says “the lessons a mother learns are unique, and I have found that mothers often are surprised at what they already know about being an effective manager, based on the everyday experiences in their homes.” And, yes, our articles have the same title. It’s a coincidence (thought of mine before I saw hers and I’m keeping it. It sums my main idea up perfectly).

Women, tell me: aren’t you better at managing after kids? One of the brain areas which Dr. Kim discovered improve after childbirth is a part that deals with planning and judgement - key components of management. I used to hear about people who could see one step ahead; about tennis players who were good because they knew the next step their opponent was going to take; about people who could manage staff very well because they understood human behaviour; and, most importantly, about people who could see the consequences of their own behaviour – and that of others. I’m now one of those people.

I know EXACTLY what my three and five year olds are going to do next. I have an intimate understanding of their behaviour and understand exactly what the consequences of every interaction will be. I know that if I find a promotional packet of stickers in with the cheese stick bag and I give it to one of them, there will be war in the living room. So, I wait until we buy another bag of cheese sticks and get a second promotional packet of stickers. I don’t distribute any stickers until that time. This is a simple example, but it’s all about understanding human psychology and behaviour in a way that I didn’t before.

Knowing consequences makes you a better planner and organiser. You see what’s coming, and prepare. You don’t leave the house without baby wipes and a change of pants for your kids, do you? Of course not, because if you did it would ensure someone wets themselves and has to spend the rest of the afternoon wearing nothing but an old towel you found in the back of the car.

A great deal of this understanding you develop as a mother seems to come from paying attention to the needs of others and being a good listener - key management skills. But understanding what someone is articulating – his wants – doesn’t mean you’re going to give it to him. Think of how many times you have to say no to your child in a day. It’s healthy. They can’t have every toy they see or every sweet they want. Saying no and meaning it, being honest, is also a good skill for a manager. You have to know where to draw the line.

Some of this improvement in my managerial skills probably comes with age (don’t ask mine, it’s not polite); or maybe it comes with motherhood. More likely it’s a combination of the two. In either case: I win! Oh, by the way, since the improvement in brains is partly due to hormones and partly due to interaction with the new baby, scientists postulate that adoptive parents and fathers also experience some brain growth due to interaction with new infants and the challenges presented, even though they don’t get a dose of post-partum or breastfeeding hormones. Dads: as long as you interact loads with your kids, your management ability can improve, too.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Parenting Techniques Survey

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