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Two things I’ve learned after 5 years of marriage

In honor of our 5 year anniversary (and because I despise sentimental posts), I will list two things I was told about marriage that scared me to death but turned out to be totally false:

1. It’s difficult to be married. It’s actually super easy and amazing–learning to budget money with a partner is what’s difficult.

2. Kids ruin your romance. Nope. Electronic devices and apathy ruin your romance.

I’m no expert, but I’m happy to have learned two things in five years.

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What the hell are you going to do when your daughter asks about thigh gaps?

Last night my husband informed me that I have a thigh gap.

“A what? What the hell is that?” (frantically feeling up my thighs)

“A thigh gap. All the girls want one. I just read about it.”

“Let me guess. New York Times Style section?”

“No. But everywhere else.”

He’s right. A quick Google search for “thigh gap” yielded about 10,000,000 results, including countless Tumblr accounts that serve as “thinspiration” for girls who want to gaze at photos of Victoria’s Secret angels and ordinary teens with long, coltish legs and post remarks about how their fat asses will never stick to a diet long enough to earn those legs.

For those of you who are as clueless as I am when it comes to the desires and pursuits of anyone under 25, let me fill you in on the ugly details: a thigh gap is just what is sounds like—a space between the inner thighs that most prominently shows when one stands still. Beyonce, one of the most beautiful women on the planet, has had her legs photoshopped to achieve the look, while one gorgeous 20-something coworker informed me that a thigh gap was “an unfortunate thing” that she “unfortunately wanted bad.”

To achieve this gap you must either be a recovering anorexic who eats healthfully and exercises but takes little joy in food and will forever be a bore at restaurants (ding, ding, ding, I win that prize), an actual active anorexic, or a naturally slender person barely out of her teens.

And yet young women are starving themselves in order to achieve this latest (and most bizarre) sign of female perfection.

As mothers of young girls, isn’t it enough that we can anticipate the heartache our daughters will experience when they don’t get the boobs they so desperately want? Or when they can fill a DD bra at age 13 and want to hide the boobs everyone else so desperately wants? We already expect that there will be stupid diets at 16 and that, at age 17, she will pull her skirt down and almost rip the hemline because she wants to hide her “fat thighs.” She will either abhor her belly and pull at it or reveal her belly every chance she gets because she hates her breasts and wants to compensate for them.

It is going to be a trial, for sure.

And now we have to worry about fucking thigh gaps.

And why? Because adult women like me won’t order dessert at restaurants. Because adult women I work with spend $400 on Isagenix to lose 10 pounds and then believe no one wants to speak with them because we are all jealous they lost weight (reality: we don’t want to speak with you because all you talk about is Isagenix).

Can we please all man up, read a newspaper, and talk about anything—anything outside of ourselves? At this point, I would even take something as trivial as Tebow or your many, many sexual pursuits.

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Discipline tips for wussy moms

According to this article published in Redbook, the average toddler hears the word “no” 400 times a day. If the average toddler spent more time with me, she/he would hear things like, “Let’s not do that” and “Don’t you want to do this instead of that?” Total wussy mom. I want a respectful, amazing child, but man do I have to work through my whole aversion to discipline.

I’m going to be a good American girl and blame this on my own mommy. Any toddler who spent as much time with my mother as my K does would hear 400 “no’s” in addition to all of the following:

* “Don’t fall down, gonna get a boo-boo!”

* “Be careful!”

* “Watch how you sit in that chair!”

* “Don’t run!”

* “You’re going to trip on the rug if you walk that fast.”

* “You’re going to get a splinter if you don’t put on your shoes.”

* “Brrrr…it’s cold, where’s your hat? Did mommy forget to put you in an undershirt?” (It’s 60 degrees outside)

I feel I have to pepper each of these rants with the obligatory–Holy crap, my mother is saving my life by watching K while I work. Which is true. She is.

But our parenting styles differ greatly and I’m trying to find painless ways to recommend to her that she not fill K’s head with morbid ideas about the countless dangers pervasive in our universe. Do I really want K to grow up and, like me, imagine she has 8 forms of cancer on the basis that “something around her waist area” hurts?

I heard the word “no” regularly as a child. Every answer to every question was “no.” Do I think it screwed me up? Probably not. Do I think it’s odd when parents refuse to ever say “no,” as if it’s a dirty, shameful word? Yes, a little. Regardless, I would much rather maintain a positive home environment, and I am wondering lately if it would be enough to subtly model some of these Redbook suggestions in the hopes that my mother will catch on? Or do I have to have an uncomfortable talk with her–the mere thought of which makes me want to slap myself because (as I mentioned before) she is saving my life by watching K..?

I will paraphrase Redbook’s suggestions on how to discipline children without saying “no:”

1. Instead of saying “no, you can’t so this,” explain why the action shouldn’t be done (example: “We only eat dessert after dinner so that we don’t fill up.”) By the way, do you love my wussy way of saying “we” instead of “you?” It’s a teaching trick I use to make my 8th graders think I am on their side…

2. When your child misbehaves, explain your feelings to him/her. (Example: “It hurts mommy’s feelings when you purposely rip up her term paper. Mommy is going to grad school to make your life better–if it were up to her she’d be drawing in a whopping $4 an hour to write professionally. Don’t make mommy feel bad.”)

3. Provide choices. If your child is doing something you don’t like–such as dragging a blue crayon across a white wall, as K did last night–offer him/her the option of either sitting at the table with her crayons, or–I’m thinking, I’m thinking, what could be more fun than coloring a wall?–I’ll get back to you on that one.

4. Show, don’t tell. Here’s one suggestion that makes sense to me. Instead of saying, “Don’t kick mommy in the tummy when she’s changing you,” take her little hands and pat them gently against your tummy. Show him/her what you want instead of shouting about what you don’t want.

5. Develop a mean voice and look. My husband is the master at this. I’m still working on not laughing every time K does something ridiculous.

Overall, I have some issues with numbers 1 and 2, like 3 and 4, and can’t master #5.

Feel free to send your wussy mom discipline tips my way!

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Is peer pressure the reason I feed my baby cow’s milk?

A slow day at work. My health-obsessed coworker and I discussed milk today.

Coworker: I hate milk. I think it’s disgusting. Do you drink milk?
Me: Milk? Eww, no. I haven’t had milk in years. Now I drink almond milk.
Coworker: I know..milk is bad for you..How’s almond milk?
Me: Way better than milk. And cheaper. And it doesn’t contain hormones that are going to make me grow testicles.
Coworker: Yeah…
Me: (hesitant) Do you give your kids milk?
Coworker: Of course! Why? You don’t?!
Me: Of course I do! What kind of mother do you think I am?

Apparently, I am the kind of mother who won’t touch milk with a ten-foot pole but gives my baby at least 18 oz of it per day because society tells me to do so.

Curiosity led me to do some light research on the various milk products we can feed our children after age 1. Here’s what I found:

Goat’s Milk — from wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com:
“A lactose intolerant baby, and even a baby with a cow milk protein allergy, may benefit from goat milk based food products. Many parents have been told that goat’s milk may settle easier and also digest easier in the tummy of a baby with a known lactose intolerance. However, goat’s milk is not lactose free; it actually contains lactose and not all babies will benefit from goat milk based foods. As mentioned, goat’s milk is NOT lactose free but it does contain less lactose than cow’s milk.”

More on goat’s milk — according to Gazzaniga-Moloo, a nutrition instructor at California State University in Sacramento: “It packs as much calcium as whole cow’s milk and contains more tryptophan, an essential amino acid.”

Almond Milk — According to Gazzaniga-Moloo
“Protein is sparse in almond milk, with only 1 gram per cup, compared with 7 and 8 grams for soy and cow’s milk, respectively. It’s not suitable for those with nut allergies and lacks the B vitamins in cow’s milk.”
Blogger’s side note: have you tried vanilla almond milk? It’s a dessert, for god’s sake. And one of the benefits of being an adult: we don’t need all that protein. Right?

Rice Milk:
Low in fat and calories; low in everything else, too. Lacks Vitamins A and C and as little protein as almond milk, only not as exciting because it’s made from one of the dullest foods on earth.

Coconut Milk
According to Livestrong.com, “Coconut milk is high in iron, with 22 percent of the recommended daily allowance. It also has 110 percent of the daily recommendation of manganese. Coconut milk is also high in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, selenium, zinc, folate and vitamin C. It also contains vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, vitamin B6, niacin, choline, pantothenic acid and calcium.”

Hold the phones: coconut milk also has 552 freaking calories per cup! So it’s a healthy, drinkable Big Mac.

Soy Milk
Rich in protein and calcium, low in calories, fine for lactose intolerant folk. Still, the question over whether soy can act as a hormone in breast cells or trigger cancer keeps me from reaching for it on grocery shelves (as much as I love Silk Chocolate Soy Milk…again, dessert).

Regular old cow’s milk
Cow’s milk has the most protein and calcium of all the aforementioned options. So, what’s the problem, you ask? Spend a bit more on organic milk for baby and be done with it.

Too many opposing views on organic milk to list them all, so I’ll focus on what Brittany from ahealthysliceoflife.com has to say, because she did a far better job than I will at breaking it down for you:

“ALL milk (organic or not) is closely screened for antibiotics. If even a trace amount exists, it isn’t allowed into the food supply. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Food and Drug Administration. Grade “A” Pasteurized Milk Ordinance – 2005 Revison. Washington, D.C.: USDHHS, PHS, FDA, 2005.) If a farm has two antibiotic infractions, it’s shut down. Clearly, it’s taken seriously.

Ok, great. But what about hormones? Well, saying any milk is hormone-free is a flat out lie. A very small amount of naturally occurring hormones are present in all milk, organic and conventional….”

Read on — good stuff…

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Open letter to my period, which needs to follow my demands for once in its stubborn life

Dear Period,

Remember how when I was 13 and all the other girls had their periods, I desperately wanted you to come? How I wanted you to bring your snobby friends–breasts and curves– with you and how they refused to grace me with their presence until I was 16 and the novelty of boobs and curves had worn off? Remember how I lied to Josephine and told her I got you about a year before I actually did and how I even crumbled that pink maxi pad paper in my wastebasket before she came over so I could prove to her that I wasn’t lying? Yeah, that was pretty psychotic.

But you didn’t answer my prayers. You came when you felt good and ready and consequently, while the other girls were being “felt up,” I would only go as far as kissing because I had nothing to feel up (so I guess that’s a good thing and I owe you one..but I feel I’ve reciprocated enough by enduring years of cramps and by making Mr. Midol just a little bit more wealthy. What have you done for me lately?)

And now here I am approaching 35. I understand where you are coming from—you’re tired and bored with me. You gave me one beautiful, healthy child. Don’t be greedy, you seem to be saying. Perhaps you are teaching me crucial life lessons?

Well, ain’t no one got time for that. I demand that you stop psyching me out each month by providing pregnancy-like symptoms and teeny spots that cause me to run and Google that mythical thing everyone calls “implantation bleeding” on the 22nd day of each of my cycles.

A second baby fits into my life plan right now. Not in one year, and certainly not in two. Get with the program, Period.

Sincerely,
Not Pregnant (Again) This Month

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5 great toddler apps for when I’m a bad mommy

Don’t stick your child in front of a screen.

We’ve all heard this advice. And I don’t, I swear.

Unless:
**We’re at the doctor’s office and I don’t want her playing with germ-ridden toys
**We’re in the car and she starts kicking my seat and trying to get us killed on the Belt Parkway
**I have to cook dinner and she grabs my legs and tries to block me from the stove, while also attempting to burn herself and the house down to the ground.

All I’m saying is my iPad becomes handy at times and here are some of the best apps I’ve found to keep toddlers temporarily amused and occupied:

1. Another Monster at the End of this Book, Starring Grover and Elmo — $3.99

An adorable interactive story featuring Elmo and Grover. I really love the way children can tap on the words as Grover or Elmo speak and the Sesame Street characters will repeat and even spell out words for them. And this app is magic, did I mention that? I was able to stop another child from having a tantrum in the dr’s office with this baby (true story).

2. Elmo Loves ABCs– $4.99


With Elmo’s guidance, toddlers can trace both capital and lowercase letters of the alphabet, as well as learn songs about letters.

3. Best Kids Songs Stories, by Samsung Publishing (you get three songs for free with this free app, then pay for the rest)

This is the silliest app on earth, but my K loves it. Popular songs like “If You’re Happy and You Know It” appear in animated music video format, complete with lyrics.

4. I Hear Ewe — Free

A tech spin on the classic animal wheel toy. This app got me through K’s infant months in one piece. I give additional points to this app because, in addition to featuring the usual animal suspects (cats, cows, and ducks), children–and parents–get to hear the sounds of a rhino, a helicopter, firetruck, and adorable bicycle bell.

5. Petting Zoo — $1.99

Interactive animations of over 20 animals. I should have ranked this number one because it’s the most amazing app I’ve ever seen. I watch it in private sometimes when K is asleep. A combination of art, creativity and interactivity. I’m not even going to try and explain–just watch:

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In attempt to not jinx possible 2nd pregnancy, crazy woman drops $$ on size 4 dresses

The first time around, I became pregnant with K less than 60 seconds after my husband and I decided to try for a baby. But Baby #2 is being a real tease.

I am using the Clear Blue Ovulation kit ($25 for 10 sticks. So…$100 so far? Ouch). I have an adorable app called Pink Pad that lets me track the days I’ve been intimate with a romantic red heart. I refuse to learn anything about basal body temperature because that’s getting a bit too scientific for my liking, but I’m willing to do nearly anything else to get a move on this thing.

And every single month I think–

Oh, shoot. This feels different. I am cramping days–weeks–before my period is due. And I’m so hungry, all of the time. Is that spotting? Can spotting be dark yellow or am I just dehydrated? My boobs are definitely bigger. Let me ask my husband if my boobs are any bigger. Because that’s a question every husband wants to be put in a position to have to answer.

And this month, oh, April, you are so very different from the others. It was meant to happen this month because, according to the Pregnancy Due Date Calendar, which I religiously check, Baby #2 would be born on December 31. Can you think of a cooler day to have a baby? Plus, I will not yet have celebrated a birthday that puts me in the mid-30s age range, which I have decided isn’t part of my overall family planning plan.

And I’m feeling cramps. I am tired all of the time. This can’t just be because my schedule gets all out of whack when I watch Mad Men on Sunday nights, right?

Rather than think about the possibilities, last night I did what any woman who can’t face reality does. I shopped it off. I shopped for size 4’s and I shopped for stupid peplum dresses that could accommodate no pregnant belly on earth.

You will not have the last laugh, body. When my period comes in 7 days, I will greet it in peplum.