Sunday, December 30, 2007

Poo Stains Begone!

I've decided I am the master of poo stain removal. I can make any stain dissapppear as long as I do it immediately after the article of clothing is removed from the offending butt cheeks. This is something I learned after many, MANY diahrea disasters. Not by me of course, but my kids have been known to make quite the mess. The Bee can easily win the title for the greatest poo disaster. In his first four months of life, it wasn't unusual to find poo all the way up on his shoulders. Explosive!

I'm sure you'd love to hear my secret, so here is my simple trick to removing nasty poo stains.

1. Remove the article of clothing without smearing the poo too much back on to the shirt.
2. Rinse article of clothing with plain water.
3. Grab a bleep load of liquid soap and squirt on to stains. It can be any liquid soap lying around - hand soap or baby soap works.
4. Scrub, scrub, scrub. Rinse, rinse, rinse.
5. Finally, the secret ingredient..........DOVE BAR SOAP. I rub the stains out with dove bar soap. Scrub, Lather, rinse, and repeat until all the stains are gone.

It's funny how the dove soap works much like an eraser. I discovered this by accident one day trying to remove my son's nasty poo stains. The only reason I bother with the liquid soap is because I don't want my bar of soap to touch actual poo. Yuck! Especially since I use it to wash my body, but you can easily designate a bar of Dove soap just for this purpose. Later just throw the article of clothing into the wash with the rest of your clothes, and it will be as good as new. Go ahead and try it. You can thank me later.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Big Brother's Version of the Food Pyramid

Big Brother is not really adventurous when it comes to eating. When he first started eating solids, one of his favorites was sweet potatoes, beans, carrots, peas, and cheese. These days, he will only eat from the bottom of his personal food pyramid. Ask him what he wants to eat and he will most likely pull some variation from his bread and dairy group. Some call this the "white bread" diet, but I call this the "you're going to die soon if you don't get some real food in ya" diet.

On the menu this month:

Cheese sandwich: bread, cheese, mustard, mayo

Cinnamon toast: bread with cinnamon and brown sugar

Quesadilla: corn tortilla and cheese

Macaroni: more cheese and more starch

Omelet: egg and cheese

Cake: egg, cheese, flour, etc. He turned four this month.

Candy: more of what he calls "the good stuff"

Fishies: cheese fish crackers, no real meat in this one

Tortilla: just a flour tortilla and butter

Pumpkin Bread: a sweet bread made with pumpkin puree

It has been so frustrating feeding him recently because he is even saying no to his old favorites like pizza, bacon, albondigas (turkey meatballs in a tomato broth), carrots and celery in soup, potato anything, beans, rice, oven roasted chicken, cereal, and other kid friendly foods. I am constantly worrying that he is not meeting his nutritional needs especially in the iron department. He will take vitamins, but I don't want him to become dependent on these. I also don't want to have to hide fruits and veggies in some kind of sweet bread all the time. I don't have the time for that with another one roaming around, and actually having to cook real meals for us adult folks.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Butcher Shop

My hair is very temperamental. Some days it likes to lie flat, others it wants to curl in gentle waves, and still other days, it can't make up it's mind and does a little bit of both. On really damp or humid days, it is just outright defiant and turns into one big ball of frizz - bottles of mouse and hairspray are consumed on those days in attempts to make it somewhat presentable.

These are the many reasons I am most reluctant to get my hair chopped, since one wrong cut and my hair goes all Jekyll and Hyde on me. So one morning, a couple of weeks ago, I decided that today was the day my hair met Mr. Scissors once again. After many split ends, numerous knots, four inches, and 10 months of growth, I had decided that my haircut was long overdue.

Nothing would stop me that day from getting my locks lopped off. Knowing that I just couldn't go anywhere to get my hair cut, I scoured internet sites, read reviews, checked coupons, until I found a place that sounded like it would meet my needs. I decided to go with a shop that could schedule me in immediately and praised itself for being able to cut ethnic hair. After all, I figured my hair qualified as being ethnic.

I was on a mission, and I couldn't wait until my regular hairdresser had an opening to cut my hair. Besides being frugal and broke, I decided I needed a more affordable cut. I would just have to do without the shampoo, foot and head massage, and a hairdresser that values symmetry, because apparently this new salon did not.

The new salon was no bigger than a closet, and about as cozy and bright as one too. It mirrors rested on the counter in a slant since apparently it was too much trouble to hang them on the wall. Three women sat and waited with hair much frizzier than mine, while two others got their hair groomed by two separate hairdressers. My first instinct was to run the other direction, but I decided I would not judge a hairdressers ability by the way they kept their salon.

I should have run the other way, because after a quick shampoo done only because the stylist misplaced her spray bottle, a puzzled look after asking for a two layer haircut, and many haphazard cuts, I ended up with hair that was unevenly layered on half my head, and one side one inch longer than the other. This I didn't notice until I got home because as soon as she said she was done, she popped a hand held mirror bigger than the windshield of my car in my face and asked how I liked the back. The back looked fine as far as I could tell since it was sopping wet, but mostly, I just wanted to run out of there, and get them as far away from my hair as I could.

I came home dismayed. The Dada took one look into my eyes and knew I was teetering on the edge, about to explode into fits of tears. He said my hair looked fine, and you couldn't notice the unevenness when I had it up. It didn't matter because even if I put it up, I knew my hair had been butchered. I solemnly held my head to the right. The side that ended up one inch longer, and in my mind, that was why that side felt heavier.

I eventually scheduled a haircut with my regular hairdresser. I had to admit I had cheated on him with another much less capable hairdresser, and was now returning to him knowing that he could make it all better. So after $70, two hair dressers, many MANY cuts, and hair that had to end up one inch shorter than desired, I eventually got my haircut - completely layered and symmetrical. Next time I will have to remember the lesson relearned (because I am just that thick)- be patient, and stop being such a cheap ass.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Buyer's Remorse

We bought our tree a couple of weeks ago (Yes. I realize that's early, and I'm all for not starting x-mas too early -like back in September - but we are leaving soon, and I wanted to have time to enjoy the dam tree!). We bought a real tree, not a live one or fake one, but a REAL dead tree. The Dada and I have been married for almost seven years now, and this is our first tree. Before this year, we were either out of town most of December or lived in too small a place to have one, or really just didn't want to have to redecorate the tree everyday with a toddler around as we are doing now.

The tree is beautiful. It needles are soft, green, but not too stiff, it branches are full and strong, and its shape is so perfectly conical it should be featured in all x-mas magazine covers. Everything you could ever want from a Christmas tree, this tree has.

Yet, as perfect as it is, I feel sad looking at it. It stands there stalwart and radiant looking back at me as if to say, "Look how beautiful I am, and think of how much more beautiful I could have gotten if I were left to live." Yes. My tree is conceited, too. Either way, I can't help, but agree with the tree. We played a role in it's slaughter, and now its looking us straight in the face and asking "Why". I am remorseful.

You'd think I'd be able to handle this since I am a carnivore. I do feel somewhat remorseful eating meat, and I have tried to cut back, but come on, I'm Mexican, and a meal at my house wasn't a meal unless there was a dead animal on the plate. But since the whole animal carcass isn't on my plate at once staring me in the face, it's easier to distance myself. If I had to kill the animal myself, I probably wouldn't be able to do it unless I was starving and that was all there was to eat. In which case, I'm sure the animal would be sizing me up to.

So maybe next year, I will become a plasticarian. I will purchase a fake tree just like the one we had when I was growing up. Well, maybe not exactly like the one we had since our tree was white, and by that I don't mean it had fake snow, but that it had white needles. What was my mother thinking? I loved that tree growing up just as much as I love this year's Christmas tree. Although, if we did buy a fake tree, I will have to also think about the many migrant workers in China earning $100 a month to make our fake tree and feel remorseful about that. Heck! If all else fails, we'll just paint a tree on the wall.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Under Construction

I'm currently working on a new header and color scheme.

Guest Blogging Elsewhere

Becoming a mother is such a shock to the system physically and mentally. You can try to explain it to someone who is not a mother until your mouth goes dry, but there is just nothing like experiencing it yourself. All new mothers share many of the same trials, but ultimately, the experience is very unique for each person. Why? Because all mothers are different, all babies are different, and all circumstances are different. Nonetheless, we try to help each other knowing that our advice, however well intentioned, may not necessarily work for that person. We know how tough it is, and we just can't help but empathize. My inauguration into motherhood is still so vivid and real to me. Although, it could just be because the Bee refuses to sleep and has been waking up every two hours. Hey. You. Go. To. SLEEP! Your not a newborn anymore and we aren't having any awesome circus parties while you sleep. So sleep already!

Getting back to the main purpose of this post...I was honored when Julie asked me to guest blog in her very creative, always-real blog. She just had a baby, so she has lots to say about the many trials new mothers are faced with. So go ahead. Pay a visit to Julie at the calm before the stork to read her posts, and take a gander at my guest post to find out why I was itching for Big Brother to exit the womb and give me some relief in my ninth month of pregnancy with him. Go ahead. I'm not going anywhere. I will be right here waiting for you. Well. Not really. But go anyway. You can visit here later.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


The Bee has been busy acquiring new words. Here are a few of his most frequently used words (or at least the ones I can remember).

"Ma-ma": This was his first word and it still melts my heart when I hear it.

"ten-tu":(Thank you) This is actually the second word/phrase he ever spoke, and he likes to use it to show his gratitude when being given a requested item that required much thrashing, head-bonking, and screaming. Sometimes he just says it to be polite.

"Da-da": Frequently yells this to get his Dada's attention upon arrival from work.

"Pa-pa": Pronounced with a Spanish accent since my mom taught him this one. Papa means potato in Spanish and sometimes it's taught to babies to mean food since it's so easy for them to say. (with a different inflection, it also means dad.)

"Um-um": (Does it count as a word if it's just the sound one makes when biting into food) Another word he likes to use to tell me he's hungry.

"Ba-bu": (Brother) Often used when in search for Big Brother. I actually caught the Bee practicing how to say brother's first name while we were all still lying in bed.

"Ah-dun": (All done) An important one for him to know since he uses it to tell me to stop shoveling food down his throat, or when he's had just about enough of his car seat.

"Na-Night":(Night-Night) Time for bed he says.

"Ba-bye": (Bye Bye) He isn't afraid to tell me when it's time to get out and see the world. He's a "callejero" ( calle meaning street in Spanish, but the term refers to someone who likes to be out and about.)

"Apa":(Grandpa) Learned this one back in October when grandpa was out visiting us. He just had to compete with Big Brother for his attention.

"Ga-ma": (Grandma) He learned this word from big brother while visiting my mom, as my mom was unable to teach him the word abuelita.

"A-wah-woo": (I Love you) He said it for the first time as I was changing his diaper completely out of no where. I hadn't said it recently, and I had never practiced this phrase with him before, so I totally did a double take. Guuuuuuuuuuuush. It definitely felt good to hear, especially while doing the unpleasant task of changing a poo diaper. He's said it many times since to everyone else in our family, and I never get tired of hearing him say it.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Breastfeeding Woes & Imperfect Pumps

A recent birth of a friend's baby has prompted me to remember the many woes I've had as a breastfeeding mother. The first was definitely the hardest. Everyday I wanted nothing more than to quit. I endured everything from bleeding nipples, clogged ducts, overactive letdown, poor latch, constant engorgement, a baby who fussed every time he was put on the boob, clogged ducts, and mastitis - all of this in just the first few weeks. Every time, I went to the pediatrician, I'd explain all my nursing woes hoping that just maybe, she would suggest that my baby was lactose intolerant or anything that would make giving up breastfeeding guiltless. Nope.

I kept asking myself, just how I was going to bond with this baby if I couldn't resolve all these breastfeeding issues. Isn't breastfeeding suppose to just come naturally? I thought all you were suppose to do is insure a good latch and everything pretty much was suppose to take care of itself - at least that's the impression I got from the breastfeeding class we had taken. At the time, I didn't find breastfeeding to be this beautiful bonding experience I was told it was going to be. I was shocked to find out it was a very complicated process with a steep learning curve.

My nursing sessions at first went something like this..

1. Drain milk out enough to latch boy on.
2. Attempt to latch boy.
3. Boy screams, latches, screams, latches, screams.
4. Proceed to drain more milk out to reduce flow, but not so much so that it encourages more milk production and therefore more engorgement.
5. Attempt to latch boy.
6.Boy screams, latches, screams, latches, screams,latches, but finally stays on.
7. Realize that the pain I am feeling is due to poor latch, and reluctantly unlatch.
8. Boy screams.
9. Attempt to relatch boy, more boy screams, latches, screams, latches.
10. Still latched incorrectly, but endure pain since I am desperate to get the milk out and feed the boy. Will deal with bleeding nipples later.
11. Cringe a bit at the pain.
12.Unlatch, and hope boy is still interested in nursing. Pleeeease be hungry boy. There's a whole other boob ready to burst.
13. Repeat steps 1-12, if not partially empty other boob manually.

Eventually I incorporated the use of the breast pump, but soon found out I was clogged. Despite the engorgement I never became clogged before using the pump. To this day, I only use it in desperate situations, because I firmly believe the unnatural pumping from my imperfect breast pump somehow changed or stretched my ducts, so that now I suffer from chronic clogging. Especially if I don't get my engorgement under control - something I've only been able to accomplish by getting the boys on a loose feeding schedule because I've dealt with this even with my second child.

When I started dealing with chronic clogging, I had to add the following to the routine.

Before step 1. Hot compress boob for 10 minutes.
Between step 10-11 Manually massage boob while boy nurses to make sure boob drains evenly and completely.
Step 14. Deal with ducts that didn't empty, and do whatever needs to be done before mastitis sets in. For the love of god, not mastitis.

Eventually, the boy and I got better at the latching thing, I didn't get bleeding nipples anymore, and I got better about dealing with the clogged ducts. Through my experience, I learned that the key to successfully breastfeeding was to have a solid breastfeeding support network, to take it one day at a time, and to always be informed. I eventually grew to love our nursing sessions and even went on to nurse my son past my 6 month goal until he was 18 months when I was a bit sad about giving up the intimacy that comes with nursing. I am currently still nursing my second, and it's definitely much easier the second time around.

(I found the following website to be extremely useful when I first started off nursing. It got me through many, MANY of my issues.)