Do you have any special Halloween plans with the kids?
I’ll have to be honest – Olive really isn’t into dressing up just yet. But that doesn’t I’m not into it (I am, I really, really am.)
This year, she’s lucky enough to have two costumes. Her grandmother bought her a little german girl outfit that she loves! But I’m totally more excited about this…….
That is the actual photo of a costume that my friend Melissa made for Olive. Yes, she’s pregnant with twins. Yes, she’s already a mother of a toddler boy. And yes, she works. But she still had the time to whip up this amazing number for Olive. Totally floored.
And check it out……Olive. Loves. It.
What are you dressing your kids up as this year? Or are you dressing up too? (I’m not, nope, too lazy.)
Here are my current loves on constant replay. I am specifically obsessed with this artist Fatai; I stumbled upon her music one night on Facebook, and I am blown away by her covers of popular songs. (Check out her rendition of Frozen’s Let It Go, here).
So I know I’m a little late when it comes to looking at Fall/Winter 2014 Lookbooks. But to be honest, it’s been 100F in Los Angeles, and I can barely look at my cardigans in my closet without breaking a sweat. Luckily, we’ve had a slight cooling down here (a balmy 75F in the day, and 60F at night). Okay Fall, I’m ready for you.
What is it about a good Lookbook? I think it’s a few things – yes, it’s the clothes, and the makeup, and the hair – but it’s also the fact that I believe that I can be this person, or live that life, when I put on those outfits. And these brands make me want to jump into those pictures, so badly.
We’re talking even as recently as after me giving birth to Olive…I didn’t have a hobby.
And you know, it was fine – I did the mom thing in the day, the wife thing at night, and I guess I putzed around when I had a moment of quiet. But I always felt like something was missing. I wanted to be immersed in something that was just for myself – not for my husband or for the baby – but just for me.
I think the benefit of doing something strictly for yourself is so underrated. Especially when we become mothers, we spend all this time nurturing the people around us that often times, we hardly have a moment to spare for ourselves. And between work and family, I totally get why pursuing something you’re interested in takes a backseat to – say – sleeping.
But here is why I think you need to take the time to find a hobby: before you became “Mom”, or “Wife”, or “Workaholic”, you were creative, or musical, athletic or ambitious. These parts of you didn’t just go away because you’re now too busy to acknowledge them.
So I’ve recently taken up calligraphy (as seen up top and below) and I’m enjoying it so much. I’ve always admired those who could – so I decided to give it a go myself. The progress has been slow but steady – but because it’s my hobby, I’m not held accountable to anyone else but myself. This is mine, and mine alone – and it’s fabulous.
So, to anyone who is feeling like “there is just something missing” – have you taken some time for yourself, today? Have you spent any time on your talents or your interests? If you’re interested in something that you just haven’t gotten round to trying yet – what are you waiting for?
Well, I just wanted to give you a little food update. Olive is now 22 months old, and she’s become a champ at eating. She’s handling the fork and spoon pretty well, and she has a great appetite. Yes, we still have difficult days where food goes flying, but I’d say that 99% of the time, she eats without complaints. We all eat the same food now too, which is great since I can cook ONE MEAL for the whole family, and not 2891846 other tiny things to please a picky eater.
The road was long, and it wasn’t easy, but we’ve hit a nice cruising speed of “good eater” right now.
For Moms who are currently embroiled in a food battle, I want to say that this too, shall pass. Here are a couple of things that helped me tremendously:
1. Staying Positive: This means that even if your baby is driving you absolutely livid, don’t yell at her or scold her for not eating. Make mealtime a pleasant experience, and not something both of you dread. If you need to, take a break – step back and breathe. Then try again, or call it a day. Making mealtime a tense place isn’t what you want; do not give your kid a negative association with food. Keep it light, keep it happy.
2. Family Mealtimes: I think eating together as a family everyday has helped Olive master using her utensils quickly. Yes, this means that I eat lunch everyday at 1130am, and that dinner for my family is at 6pm. There are a couple of benefits here: One, this is a time where we gather as a family without distractions and connect with each other. Two, Olive watches how we eat – and how we use our own utensils, and tries to emulate. And Mom, if your kid is trying to learn how to use utensils, it’s going to be a messy time for a while. Just let it go. They are trying to pick up a new skill. Embrace the mess! It pays off.
3. A Supportive Group of Mamas: When I was having “food anxiety” or “food issues” with Olive, I happened to find this amazing group of Mamas on Facebook called Feeding The Littles. This group helps moms with questions about baby and toddler food, shares family friendly recipes, placates worries and celebrates food successes. This group has been so valuable to my sanity, and I couldn’t have gotten here without them.
Here is a quick video of Olive eating at Ikea just last week. I’m so proud of how far we’ve come.
We’re in month 22 – wow, Olive is almost two years old! Here is what she’s totally into this month:
01: Elmo’s First Babysitter : I found this book in the $1 section at our local Target. I mean, what a steal, right? Olive really likes Elmo (I’m not really sure why, we don’t even watch Sesame Street) and makes me read this book over and over again. In the Elmo voice. I’m getting really good at doing the Elmo voice, you guys. I’m pretty impressed with myself.
02: Camelbak Kids Bottle : Ever since Olive started to drink out of sippys, I have been on the hunt for a bottle that is easy to drink from and doesn’t leak. I have had so many things in my purse completely ruined because these “no-leak” bottles are lying to me. This Camelbak bottle hasn’t let me down yet, and Olive seems to drink a lot more water from this than any other sippy we’ve used. It is designed to have you bite down on the straw to get it to open before drinking, and she mastered it in no time at all.
03: Duktig Play Kitchen, Ikea : I’ve mentioned that Olive was really into fake food a few months back, but this month, Olive has taken a newfound interest in the concept of cooking. I think it’s probably because she watches me cook all the time – and loves to help me wash vegetables for dinner. Well, she’s starting to cook for her toys too: turning the stove on and off to heat fake food up. So cute.
04: Tempera Paints : I was always kind of reluctant to give Olive paints because of the mess that would ensue. But you know what – I needed to get over that – kids need an outlet to be creative, and I’m not going to let a (little) mess get in her way. We got a few paintbrushes and foam stampers too, and she’s been asking to paint every day. We use washable tempera paints because they are non toxic, and let’s face it, I want the paint to wash out eventually.
05: Mailing Letters : I have a thing about sending out thank you cards, and I’ve always asked Olive to help me put the stamps on the envelopes, and pop them into our mailbox. She has since taken to drawing on her own cards, stuffing them into envelopes, using stickers as stamps and asking me to take her to the mailbox. We do this at least once a day. My mailman must be pretty confused.
A Blog Series I started on Beth Helmstetter’s Blog called “Everyday | Wedding Day”, takes elements from beautiful weddings and applies them to your everyday. This month’s focus was on Pillows & Throws:
I think the thing I hear the most amongst Moms at playdates is “Hey, My-Kid, you need to share! Share your toys with Other-Kid!” This happens a lot, and it usually happens to prevent fights between children and to prevent meltdowns. In fact, I think I have heard that phrase out of almost every parents mouth.
I’ve even said these words myself – but I have to tell you, I almost never mean it.
It’s not that I do not want Olive to learn how to share – I do – but more than that, I want her to learn how to stand up for herself. Olive has always been really, really timid. She takes a while to warm up to people, and never dares to approach new situations without hand holding. So she never snatches toys, nor does she fight back when toys are snatched away from her, either.
This means that things are almost always being taken away from her by other kids, and she looks to me for help. I know she still wants that toy. And you know what, of course she still wants that toy….she was just playing with it, and she had it first! And even though I know she has a right to be upset, you know what words come out of my mouth? “Olive, it’s okay, you have to share – here, play with this other toy instead.”
I know why I say it too – because it’s the default, ‘right’ thing to say. But I’m going to make a change – instead of telling her that she has to share a toy that has been taken away from her…I’m going to tell her that it’s okay to be upset. I’m going to tell her that if she wants that toy back, to ask for back, nicely. I’m going to try and teach her to stand up for what she wants – and to go get it.
I am not trying to teach my daughter to be like everyone else – my job as her mom is to help her overcome the challenges she might face. And right now, it seems like she might get bullied or have things taken from her because she’s soft spoken. I want to give her the tools to stand up for herself in the future, if she needs to.
So, if you are a mom who has a timid child like mine, I want to let you know that it’s okay to tell your kid that she doesn’t need to share. And if you’re the parent of “that other kid” – I promise I’m not trying to start a fight. I hope we can both understand that we are all just trying to be good parents to our children, here. So mamas…. don’t be peer pressured into saying the ‘right’ thing…because what’s most important is doing the right thing for my own child.
“1a. Brought you into this world, b. Can take you out, C. Is the master of Family Scheduling. 2a. Owns mom jeans in various shades of denim b. “Because I said so, that’s why!” see also mantra c. Always knows best.”
I’ve been pretty busy this past month – the husband was out of town for almost 3 weeks, and amazing new projects have been crossing my path. This means that the amount of work I’ve been having to manage has been piling on – and in addition to being a full time SAHM to Olive, well, needless to say, it has been both an exhausting yet exciting time.
I really try to take care of all the stuff that needs attention while Olive is sleeping – but sometimes an email will need an urgent response, or phone calls will come in while we’re in the middle of playtime. And I take them. Usually, Olive doesn’t really care and she plays well on her own, but last week she looked at me and started to cry. She sobbed, “Mama, no phone! No more phone!”
Guilt Trip to Shame City.
Do I really use the phone that much in her presence?
In this age where technology gives you everything at your finger tips, we often take full advantage of that by being glued to our devices. It makes getting work done more efficient; it makes multitasking ever possible. But I have to admit that sometimes I’m not giving Olive the attention I know she deserves, because I’m ‘doing other things’ on my device. I’m not fully present to experience things with my daughter.
I need to keep that in check.
So…just a little reminder to myself – and to those others who need it:
“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.”