Browsing Category | Parenting

Yes I am her mother, No I am not the F*&$ing Nanny!!!

Okay so since my daughter was born I have been constantly asked , like once a month if I am her nanny?! Does this happen to you guys too?  I want to bitch slap people when they ask me, I want to scream at the top of my lungs and say NO I AM HER MOTHER!!!!

The first time it happened I was in the kids section of Barnes and Noble, I was playing with her, speaking to her in Spanish and a nanny asked me how long I had been watching her. I felt my back shoulders tighten up, my whole body got really hot and I said, no, I am her mother to which she replied oh, well she is very pretty. For the rest of the day, it really bothered me, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. All of my insecurities came up, did my daughter not look like me? Did I look like a hott mess that someone would think that I was the nanny, was it because I was speaking in Spanish, etc. Then I realized just because I looked like crap wearing my faded leggings, UGG boots and tee shirt didn’t justify someone thinking I was her nanny. Maybe it was more real than that, I mean how many people in my neck of the woods can really stay home with their kids, the world we live in is crazy and most people have to go out and work or want to get back to their career after giving birth. Most of the kids these days have nanny’s or go to some sort of daycare and in the Tristate area many moms who don’t work outside of the home still have a nanny of some sort. And if I did look like the nanny who cares? Nanny’s don’t all look a certain way, especially in Connecticut, some Nanny’s I see look great even if they are with the kids at the park or wherever; they are wearing a full face of makeup, have nice jewelry on and cute clothes! Why was I offended?

I still can’t really pinpoint why it bothers me so much but it does. I mean I was at the dentist last week with my daughter and the dental hygienist asked if I was her mother. I had an instant Ally McBeal moment where I daydreamed that I stood up and yelled in her face YES I am her MOTHER!! What is it with people constantly thinking I am my kid’s nanny. Is it because my last name is Perez or because I clearly look “ethnic” or is it because I speak to my kids in Spanish. Does society not think that someone like myself could afford to stay home with her kids or is more simple than that, there are not that many of us Stay at Home Moms these days? I am sure it is just a combination of things. The bottom line is that I want to get to a place where I simply do not care.

When your baby has Acid Reflux

acid-reflux-in-babies

The day after my daughter was born I realized that she always had this white foam around her mouth. As a first time mom I obviously freaked out and when I asked the pediatrician why my baby had this I was given this look, like oh boy I don’t want to tell her why and instead was told, keep the baby upright for 30 minutes after feeding her and she will be fine. Once we got home and all our baby would do was cry we soon realized we had a “colicky” baby. So now here I was a crying mess who wanted nothing to do with my baby and on top of it all she did was cry and barely sleep. Before I knew it she was also moving her head around like the exorcist baby. I was horrified! What was I going to do, I would speak to my pediatrician who insisted everything was fine but I knew something was wrong. I kept getting so much conflicting information like “oh, just eat less acidic food, don’t eat that much dairy” but guess what before I knew it I was barely eating because I was so terrified that what I was eating was making my kid scream and then there was the depression. Long story short, after 6 weeks of HELL and videotaping my baby during one of her episodes I was finally told that maybe she had silent Acid Reflux (my baby would not spit up, it would come up to her throat and then she would swallow it) and that I should stop eating dairy and soy. I finally felt vindicated because I had already self diagnosed her because all I could do was google her symptoms.I knew it was Acid Reflux. I stopped breast feeding because I couldn’t nor was I willing to cut down on these foods so that I could keep breast feeding so I put her on Similac Alimentum formula and started to see 2 local pediatric gastroenterologists. We also started putting cereal in her bottle as per the gastroenterologist’s direction. The first night we did this our baby slept 4 hours, I woke up to make sure she was breathing because she had NEVER slept that long. It took about a month and a half to find the right medicine for our baby and the right dosage as much is determined on your baby’s weight.

Here are the things I learned during the 18 months that my daughter suffered from Acid Reflux:

1). A lot of babies suffer from it, some more than others regardless of whether you had a vaginal birth or c section.

2). Despite what I read and was told what I ate did transfer into my breast milk.

3). Keeping her/his head elevated when they slept was crucial. The Fisher Price Rock and Play is a gift from God!

4). Do what works for you and your family, if you believe in giving your baby medicine then do it! Whatever works.

5). If giving your baby medicine isn’t your type of thing, go and see a Naturopathic doctor. I did after my daughter turned 1 and we did muscle testing. I put her on a restrictive diet and her Acid Reflux all but disappeared. Her clogged eye duct also went away!

6). Your insurance may pay for your babies special formula so look into it!

7). Your baby can still have Acid Reflux after she turns 1. I was always told that the percentage of babies who suffered from this was very low after 12 months. Well not in my case!

8). Starting solids at a young age (3 months in my case) can help a lot.

9). When you are ready to introduce solids to your baby try and give them natural unprocessed foods. Start reading labels and you will realize how much crap that you can’t even pronounce is in every day foods-even the ones you find at Whole Foods. Read the ingredients of sandwich bread and you will be horrified!

10). Teething sucks when your baby has Acid Reflux; the extra saliva doesn’t help their digestive system.

11). “Crying it out” makes the Acid Reflux worse

12). Going to see a gastroenterologist is so worth it. Many pediatricians do not know how to treat this effectively. If you disagree with their advice on how to treat your baby you don’t have to go back.

13). Gaviscon is amazing!

14). Just because 1 of your children suffered from Acid Reflux doesn’t mean the others will. I swore that I would not get pregnant again because just the thought of having another baby with reflux could make me go crazy! Luckily my son had a very mild case and it was manageable by keeping him elevated at night.

Finally, much like parenting, treating kids with Acid Reflux in my opinion is a lot of trial and error. Some things that work for some will not work for others. Long story short- this too shall pass Mami’s.

To anyone reading this post who has a baby with reflux, I am willing to answer any questions, just contact me.

 

When you lose your shit on your kid

My daughter turns 4 next week and with each day that passes she becomes more and more sassy. She talks back, has an opinion on everything and swears I am her slave. I remind her daily that I am not.

She has always been a skinny little girl, she had horrible reflux as a baby that didn’t go away until she was 18 months old so she never ate that much. When she turned 2 years old she basically stopped eating everything and her diet consisted of only 5 foods. If it weren’t for Pediasure she would still be 19lbs.  To sum it up I have to bribe her or nag her to eat or just starve her in between meals so that she will eat.

Lately, she has been horrible, like scary child that no one wants to be around. She wakes up at 5:30am every day(she usually wakes up at 7am) doesn’t eat enough throughout the day which in turn just makes her a miserable and grouchy little B. She stopped taking naps this past summer because if she does nap then she won’t go to bed until 10PM. Call me selfish but at 8pm I want my kids asleep and quiet because quite frankly after that time I can barely get up to pee let alone wrangle my kids. So basically my daughter has been wreaking havoc on my entire household for the past month and I am OVER IT. So what did I do? I completely lost my shit on Monday night. Yes and I scared her and I feel very guilty.

Since then I have been reflecting  on what could be affecting my daughter’s attitude and I believe its several things:

  1. She isn’t sleeping enough
  2. She isn’t eating enough
  3. She wants more of my attention (hello jealousy)
  4. She needs more time outside

Now that my son is in his I want to walk phase but I have no idea what I am doing, I have to pay a lot of attention to him because if I don’t he will crack his face open. Yes, I realize I exaggerate. It is so difficult to divide myself into pieces, I have to be a mom to my daughter, son and rescue dog and a doting wife(hahaha), run the house, pay the bills, call the contractors, be a good daughter (I am an only child and my parents are divorced), volunteer at school, blog, cook, clean. I CANNOT do it all perfectly I just can’t. This is why I am trying not to beat myself up for unleashing on my toddler. Should I have kept it together absolutely but I am real person, not a robot. So I am cutting myself some slack.

One thing that I started doing since our blow out is to change my delivery. I am saying the same things to her but in a more loving way which is hard to do if you are Hispanic. Atleast in my case, my speaking tone is yelling to an average person. I am trying to drop everything when my son sleeps so we can spend more time together and I am making more of an effort to let her play outside despite her never ending cold. Taking it day by day. What do you do when you flip on your toddler?

Birthing Stories

leobirth

I was at a Sprinkle this weekend (a baby shower for a second/third child) and as usual when you get a bunch of mothers together everyone starts to share their parenting stories; in particular our Birthing Stories. While I wish I would have heard these stories before I ever got pregnant the truth is so many of us don’t talk about what really goes down in the Labor and Delivery room with our childless girlfriends. Right after my daughter was born I pretty much told everyone I knew that the whole process was HELL and that my daughter would be an only child. But I forgot one thing, our bodies are wired to forget. Everyone says it but it is true! That is why so many of us have multiple children, that and because our birth control didn’t work!

While everyone’s journey is different here is a list of stuff that will likely happen whether you push the baby out or have a c section:

  1. you will fart or shit during labor; sometimes in someone’s face
  2. no matter how hard you try, your partner will probably get a glimpse of your bloody vagina and/or intestines
  3. you will have multiple people stick their fingers up your whole vagina, think cleaning the turkey on Thanksgiving
  4. your epidural may not work or stop working
  5. your epidural may be soo strong that you can’t feel your legs for a day
  6. you may puke throughout the whole labor
  7. you could be in 2 hours of labor, push 2 times or push for 2 hours and be in labor for 24hours +
  8. you may feel like your legitimately dying
  9. you may get so swollen that you will look like a bee stung your face
  10. your vagina may tear a little or a lot
  11. it will hurt to pee regardless
  12. you will have to wear the UGLIEST underwear on earth with sanitary pads that resemble pillows for a few days or even weeks
  13. by the time your labor is over you will have ZERO shame and will feel that it is totally acceptable to walk around naked everywhere because really who the fuck cares after what you just went thru
  14. your tits will look like water balloons
  15. your tits will hurt
  16. your nipples may resemble oreo cookies and/or pancakes
  17. you will probably allow a nurse who you have never met before stick a suppository up your butt because the thought of pooping after labor is the most horrifying thing ever
  18. you will feel like a super hero who can do anything

If you didn’t go thru this, Congratulations! If you went thru this and/or worse I feel ya.

All I could think of during both my labors were how on earth do women do this in the middle of the jungle/desert with no help or drugs. My respect to all of those women who have no choice and/or decide to do it 100% naturally. There is a reason women have the babies.

To all my badass Mami’s out there you are my heroes!

 

Money doesn’t grow on trees!

Yea well tell that to 5,300 college and universities in the United States* and to your local government office. Well it is definitely January because all anybody can talk about is the lack of funds in their account and how expensive everything is. In my Mom circle everyone has been talking about schools, what school districts are good, which are not, how to pay for private and/or Catholic schools and property taxes. Literally, it comes up in every conversation. In my neck of the woods the cost of living is inflated, housing, transportation, food etc. People work 80 hours a week and it still seems to never be enough. For real? How can that be?

I grew up in New York City where many of the public schools are horrendous so I feel very lucky  that I got to go to a private school. I was an only child, Hispanic (they needed their diversity box to be checked) with a single parent so I got a discount-THANK YOU universe. So when I  moved to Connecticut everyone said well be careful because the schools aren’t good and it will affect your home’s value but I figured well they can’t be as bad as the ones in NYC. Now that I live in CT the only thing parents can talk about is how the schools in my town are not good, that they will be moving to this place and to the next. Of course like most things, it all depends on who you are speaking to because others will say that the schools are just fine. Then you wonder if the schools are just considered “bad” because they are filled with minority students whose parents can’t afford private tutors for every subject! I live in a small city surrounded by several small wealthy towns so it isn’t a fair to compare a school in a city where there are all kinds of people and income levels to a town where a starter home will cost you $1 million. Either way with everyone talking about schools, you have to start to think- okay so what is right for my child? Should I just put my kid into public school and start saving now for college? Better yet should I start selling body parts, invest that money and pray that one day I can pay for college because by then it will be $100K per child per year!

I think much like parenting, choosing what type of school is right for your child is a personal choice, you have to do what works for you and your family and your finances. If you can afford private school then kudos but if you can’t then you should be able to put your child in public school and not have to worry that they will be 10yrs old reading at a Kindergartners level. Yes, this happens in the NYC area. For my husband and I we have decided to put our kids into Catholic school and then a private prep school for high school as that is what our parents did for us. Our parents were immigrants so we pray that if they could do it then we should be able to but it is still a huge and scary commitment! And if we do this how will we ever be able to send them to college? With that also comes, why are we paying high property taxes if our kids will not even be using the public schools? Where should we move if everything in our area is “expensive”. I know there are many parents out there that are in the same boat. It is a lot of responsibility raising a kid and you don’t want to fuck them up?! Everyone wants their kid to go to a good school and be successful in life. Right? We all want better for our kids. That is one thing that unites us as individuals, no matter who you are , where you came from etc. We all want better for our kids. One day at a time Mami’s, one day at a time..

 

*www.washingtonpost.com

What kind of parent are you?

chancleta

So we have all read the articles and the Facebook posts about the different style of parenting. Are you a free ranger or a helicopter parent? Are you a Tiger mom? The list goes on and on. I get my Parents magazine in the mail and sometimes I read the advice in there and go WTF and sometimes I agree with it. The way I see the world is there are no 2 styles, its more like 15+ different styles of parenting. Also I think your cultural background has an affect on how you raise your kids(my fellow Latinos-you know what I’m talking about) which is why I hate that everyone has to fall into a freaking category all the time. Parenting is not black and white. Every kid is different and you have to work and see what style of parenting works best for that child-right? Todo el mundo tiene su librito.  Although if your Hispanic, you have been taught there is only 1 way to raise your kids and that is using the Chancleta, that is how you get your kids to fear you.

Now I do not use the Chancleta but I am “old school“, I am a strict bitch. I don’t care if my kid wants to wear a tutu to the supermarket or if she wants Nutella for dinner every night, that is NOT going to happen, tears or no tears. She has to follow my rules and do what I say. Period, the end. That means that she is not wearing sandals when it is 35 degrees outside, that she has to eat at the table, chew with her mouth closed, NOT use her clothes to clean her mouth, she has to ask permission to leave the table and she is NOT allowed to cause a scene at the store or there will be HELL to pay when we get home. I am thankful that for the most part, my daughter listens to me and will do what I say but now that she is almost 4, she will talk back to me. She will say “I don’t like that”, “that is NOT a good idea” as she slowly concedes to my demands. I tell myself it could be worse but can’t help to think how I would have gotten the Chancleta if I ever talked back to my mother like that. Although it was usually a 4inch bright colored leather heel-I grew up in the 80’s and my mom worked in an office.

Now with that said, I am already fearing that my son will not be as receptive to my “parenting” style. While he is only 10 months old, he is so wild that I have already given up with him on several occasions. Do I tell him no all day long, yes of course but it is clear as day that he is NOT listening to me nor does he give a damn. Now I know most of you are thinking, this lady is nuts, he is a baby, babies do NOT listen. Well, I must have been spoiled because for the most part my daughter listened to me around that age and she NEVER attempted to do half of the stuff my sons does. I know, I know- boys are different than girls and every kid has a different personality. Well my strong willed son has me pulling my hair out and because I have to keep it together for my daughter’s sake,  I have begun to concede to him. I have removed toys from the playroom when he is around, removed furniture, decor etc so he can’t reach it because I just do not have the energy to deal with the situation. I am sure as times goes by I will learn what “parenting” style he will respond to the best but I don’t think I will ever revert to the “you get more bees with honey” technique. This bitchy mami is here to stay with the occasional treats of course-How else can you bribe your kids?

When the kids don’t get along?

So you finally found a mom friend that you like and have things in common with other than being mamas and you are thrilled! But wait, your kids don’t like eacother!? This has happened to me and it sucks. It is hard enough to find moms that keep it “real” and that you can be yourself with so when you find one its great. You now have someone who you can chat/text with, have coffee with, complain about your partners, in laws, siblings etc. That is why its horrible when the kids don’t get along because in my experience instead of talking to your newly found friend you are spending all your time trying to keep the peace between the kids.

So what is the answer? I have no idea. I have tried to get together with mom friends without the kids,  at a girls dinner or even a quick coffee date when the kids are in school but what about when your kids are too little for school? Well, in my experience the only thing you can do is stop getting together with that person especially if that persons child/children is a bully to your child. However if it isn’t that bad you can do the opposite- keep getting together not as often for the sake of your sanity and deal with the meltdowns, sometimes they will be less intense then others. I always try to prep my kids, I make sure she is well fed and slept before heading out. That way its not complete drama when one kid doesn’t want to share the “legos”.   Our kids have to learn how to be around challenging people.

The  other thing to keep in mind is when kids are really little they don’t really “play together” its more like they are playing by themselves but next to other kids. They don’t really start playing with other kids until they are 2 1/2 (at least this has been my experience).

Having a mom friend or a group of mom friends is vital to keeping your sanity when you are a stay at home mom. It has kept me from going completely nuts and it is the 1 piece of advice I give to all new moms especially stay at home moms. There are a ton of groups out there, you can find a ton on www.meetup.com, the local park, your place of worship or even a gymboree/music class. Do whatever works just GET OUT OF THE HOUSE and TALK to someone. Do it, you will feel better, I promise.

Grateful Kids?

gratefulPhoto credit: http://quotesgram.com

We received soo many Christmas gifts for the kids (thank you God!) that we told our little girl that she had to go thru her current toys and give us stuff she was no longer playing with so we could donate them to kids who were less fortunate. She was great about it and we got a bunch of stuff together. Now her favorite phrase is “We have to donate it Mami”. I smile every single time.

As mentioned in a previous post ever since I gave birth to our daughter I have become an emotional weakling. Case and point, the other night McFarland USA the Disney movie was on TV. It is about a group of Hispanic boys who live in McFarland, California, pick fruit before and after school and manage to become a Cross Country team who win the State Championship with the help of their coach- “Blanco” played by Kevin Costner. I cry every single time I watch this movie. It is a great story, a true story but what really gets me is how thankful and grateful these kids are. There is a scene where their coach-Kevin Costner takes them to see the ocean for the first time-I cry my eyes out!!

I am a broken record, I tell my daughter all the time how lucky she is and how she has to thank God for everything she has. I sound like my mother! But it is true. I am sure our parents felt this way about us too especially as immigrants but today’s youth is so obsessed with $ and material things. Everything is about consumption. “Mami my toy broke, I need to go buy another one”. “Mami, lets buy another iPad for baby brother” As if money grew on trees! God I am getting old..

I traveled quite a bit to Latin America as a child and I saw what it is like for the rest of the world, I learned what the real world was like, I saw kids who didn’t have parents, shoes, food or even running water! I went to school with very wealthy and privileged children in Manhattan so when I saw what the third world was like it was a bit shocking but it was good. I needed to see stuff like that. In my opinion we do our children a disservice by sheltering them, even if we think its for their own safety. Even when I went thru tough times-didn’t have a place to live, was being threatened I couldn’t come to school because my mom was late with her tuition payment (thanks Catholic school), I realized it sucked but I saw that it could be a lot worse. I realize how easily things can come and go. I pray that I can stay focused and teach my kids how to be thankful and grateful. I am not sure how I am going to do it but I will take each day as it comes. I am 100% committed to keeping my daughter and son REAL and aware of the REAL world. Even if we live in the Fourth most expensive places to live.  I am taking it day by day…

Mami Stop Speaking Spanish..

As my daughter’s 4th birthday approaches I sometimes wonder if she is turning 15 instead of 4. Her vocabulary grows by the day and everything seems to be an argument, negotiation or the beginning of a crying fit. She wants to FIGHT me on EVERYTHING. She comes home and as I or our sitter is talking to her and her brother in Spanish she states “No Spanish, we have to speak English, only English”. My response “are you Donald Trump?” She looks at me with a confused face.  I try to be a nice and sane mother and in a loving but firm voice explain to her that no, we speak Spanish in this house especially when our sitter is here because she doesn’t speak English (wink wink). Well she could care less.

Before my daughter started preschool, I only spoke to her in Spanish. I thought that would be the best way, except when my husband was home we spoke to each other in English. She seemed confused but I kept at it. When she started a 2 year old preschool program last year she spoke very little but about 1 month later she became a chatter box, an English chatterbox. I still tried to speak to her only in Spanish but I found myself speaking to her more and more in English. I let it slide because I wanted her to catch up to the other kids in school, I did not want her to be “behind”. Fast forward a year later and now she doesn’t want to speak in Spanish unless she is forced to. She has also stopped wanting to read our Spanish stories and listen to Spanish music in the car, the only exception is Enrique Iglesias, her beloved Kiki.

Part of me doesn’t want to push it because I do not want her to resent me and grow to hate Spanish. I try to look at the positives and that is she understands 100% which is great but for me it is not good enough. I have tried to get her to play more with other kids who have similar backgrounds but their mothers are also struggling with their kids responding to them in Spanish. I really don’t know what to do except keep at it.

When I was growing up 30 years ago my nanny only spoke Spanish and didn’t understand a word of English so that kept me speaking Spanish on a daily basis. I feel very lucky that I am Bilingual. My husband is the youngest of 3 kids and when we met he spoke broken Spanish at best despite the fact that his mother speak very little English. What I am getting at here is I do not know what the right solution or method is to ensure that your child continues to be Bilingual other than to be as persistent as possible with them. If someone could give me a “How to guide” I would gladly take it.

Keeping my head up and fingers crossed. Tomorrow is a new day.

When your kid acts like a Jerk

Happy New Year! Okay so I am back to blogging. My husband was home for two weeks and I thought I would have all this time to blog. Well, clearly I was wrong. While I very  much enjoyed my time off and an extra pair of hands with the kids, I like routine and I am happy to get back to the daily grind. Yes, I am weird. I know!

So my 3yr old daughter was home for 10 days and I figured she would be thrilled because a. it was Christmas b. she got a ton of toys and c. she had her daddy home the whole time. Now granted she was sick for a good 4 days with a cold but we still managed to go out and do stuff so why was she acting like a jerk? Yes, judge me if you want but my kid was a HUGE JERK during the holiday. She whined for everything, cried at the drop of a dime, talked back like crazy and was very bossy. Now I am a strict mom, I raise my daughter the “old school way”. I was raised that way and I came out okay as was my husband so that is how we are raising our kids. Except right now it isn’t working so well. We have taken away her ipad, her toys, put her in her room and spanked her (chill people-I am talking a smack on the hand nothing like what we had to put up with back in the day!)but we still aren’t seeing the results we had hoped for. Now I want her to be a confident little girl but I also want to teach her to respect her parents, etc. It is definitely a balance and I am praying that if I just stay consistent it will work out.