Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Mommy groups

I hate mommy groups.

I don't hate what you do at mommy groups - I like meeting and talking to others, letting my children meet and play with other children, discovering new games and songs.

I hate the term "mommy groups." I would rather it be "parent groups."

Sure, in my experience, it's mostly moms who take their children to the groups. But I have seen the odd dad there and I can't help but wonder if those dads feel a little out of place, or if they said to their partners, "The group is called Momstown - are you sure I'm allowed to go?"

(Momstown, for those who don't know, was a Canadian organization that abruptly shut down a couple of months ago. I was a member for all of three months and I did not get a refund on my year membership to the group. Yes, I am still bitter.)

I've since seen other groups pop up and all of them refer to mom in the name, but not dad. Or just parents.

I almost want to start an online group for parents in my city. Maybe one parent is a talented photographer who wants to offer advice for getting better shots at the park. Maybe one parent has tips on how to cook with your children. But a mom or a dad could offer the advice.

Related: Here's a good post from Pregnant Chicken about mommy groups - are they heaven or hell?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

'Better to be safe'

A video showed up in my Facebook feed recently of what the poster described as her daughter's eyebrows coming off after using Minion banana bubble bath.

I watched the video. It seemed fishy. It didn't pass my sniff test.

I read the comments where several people offered their "we've never had any problems" comments.

And then there were the people who said, "It's better to be safe than sorry."

Sure. Yes. I don't want to put my children at risk - but I also understand that knowledge is power and, in this particular case, there is a very, super slim chance my children would lose their eyebrows because of their bubble bath.

To me, the saying "it's better to be safe than sorry" should instead be, "it's better to be informed than sorry."

In our current online culture, people are so so SO quick to believe the headlines and ignore any kind of content (as a now out-of-work journalist, I cannot even begin to tell you how much this annoys me. Wait, I could begin to tell you - words are my thing - but that's really another blog post).

This isn't a statement for everyone, but you (should) know who you are: Please, research things before just saying, "I will never use that product/drink that juice/eat that hot dog/go to that amusement park." And please, for the love of god, research things before posting reviews to websites denouncing a product or posting it and telling your friends "beware!"

There are so many cases of people who do things to get attention. I do not know if that's the case here, but it wouldn't be unheard of.

In this kind of case, I always turn to Snopes. As of Aug. 9, this claim was "undetermined."

In the end, it really doesn't affect me - I don't use this kind of bubble bath, and don't foresee myself ever using it. But it's so important people stop believing everything they read, and not only believe it, but post it to social media and tell their friends, "You know, it's better to be safe than sorry."

Don't be that person. Please.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Food Friday - Oatmeal cranberry cookies

Cranberry on top, apricot on the bottom.
I love a good cookie. This is one of my go-to recipes, but I switch it up - instead of raisins, I add dried cranberries and chocolate chips.

This is the Martha Stewart recipe.

My husband had the idea of adding apricots to the cookie instead of cranberries. It was pretty tasty.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Sleep training - a necessary evil

Last week, I started sleep training my son. His evening routine was stretching out and out to the point that it was two hours just to get him down, then he was awake again within 45 minutes and I'd be back in his room, rocking and feeding and begging him to just sleep.

Up down, up down, eventually I'd fall asleep in the recliner with him latched to me.

For eight months, I didn't sleep more than three hours at a time, except once. One time I got in five hours. It was a fluke. My son was exhausted from a new experience - going to the splash pad.

I have been exhausted for eight months. So I finally said it was time.

We sleep trained our daughter and had amazing results. She now has a pretty easy bedtime routine: Bed, stories, drink of water, she gets into bed. Now that she's a little older, she doesn't go right off to sleep - she usually sits in bed for a bit, playing with her dolls or reading a book. But after a bit, she nods off and sleeps until morning.

This is what I want my son to be able to do - put him down, he rolls over and goes to sleep.

That's the dream, right?

I'm always amazed how many people ask what sleep training is - and why we need to do it. The "why" is what I've already talked about. The what sounds a little harsh to some people - the system we followed (Sleep Easy Solution), involves basically letting your baby cry it out but you check in at regular intervals.

It's a hard thing to do, but for us, oh so necessary. And every day it gets easier. That first night, he cried for half an hour. The next night, still about 20 minutes. Now, five days later, he still cries for five minutes, but is usually asleep within 10. And he puts himself back to sleep if he wakes up. AND he almost sleeps through the night - last night we had one wake up at 1:30. I do two dream feeds - 10:30 and 3 - so while I'm still not getting a full night of sleep, I know we're on our way.