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I’m a Believer

In case you didn’t know it, there’s an anti-fruit juice revolution going on out there.  Tons of parents won’t let their kids touch a drop of fruit juice.  Why?  Well, there are so many reasons – needless calories, too much sugar, suppression of appetite (so that children won’t actually eat nutritious foods), and those are only a few of the reasons I’ve heard.  Some experts have said that no matter how organic, 100%, or no sugar added the juice is, you might as well be pouring your child a sippy cup full of soda.   In fact, if you are willing to sit still long enough for anti-juice enthusiasts to tell you all of the evils of fruit juice you will leave believing that Satan made it himself.  You know those juice boxes that they serve at little kid’s birthday parties every weekend all across the country?  Clearly the parents throwing that party are trying to kill your child.  The devil’s juice, I tell you.

Okay, so maybe you’ve caught on to the fact that I’m not exactly buying the whole “devil juice” idea.  I’m pretty sure The Devil doesn’t run a Juicy Juice factory.  With all that’s going on in the world today, I would assume he has his hands full and can’t take on that added obligation.

With that said, I do agree with a few points made by anti-juice revolutionaries.  Do I want my kids to live on a diet of strictly juice?  No.  Do I want it to be a major part of their diet?  No.  And yes, it’s true that my household went on a temporary juice embargo when I felt Greenleigh was having too much at daycare (they are apparently unaware of the revolution, and pour juice liberally there).  But as with pretty much everything, I believe in moderation.  I diluted juice for Greenleigh and offered milk and water as an alternative whenever I could.  In fact, I diluted her juice just the other day.  Shhh…don’t tell her.

But the best reason I heard for turning down juice was always, “my child just doesn’t like juice; they much prefer water.”  I suppose now, my dear friends who told me this exact thing know that I didn’t believe it.  Sorry guys, I just didn’t.  I mean, what kid turns down juice?  Why would you want plain water over a nice sugary beverage?  [I say this as I reach for my can of soda that is no further than 2 feet from me all day long.]  And they make it in so many yummy flavors!  They’re kids, right?  Kids love juice!

Which led me to the next most logical option – it must be the parents who don’t want their kids to have juice, so they make themselves believe that their kids don’t even like it.  You know, like that mom who says that her child doesn’t like birthday cake, only to whip a Del Monte fruit cup out of their purse for their child to “enjoy” instead?  Meanwhile, the child looks longingly at all the other kids eating cake while the mother is cramming fruit down Little Johnny’s throat because “he just likes it more than cake”.  And yes, I know, there are kids who can’t eat cake because they are intolerant to dairy, gluten, various dyes, etc., but in this particular case (that I watched happen very recently) it was because the child “just didn’t like cake”.  Oh, but his eyes told a much different story as he watched Greenleigh eat her cake.  He wanted that cake.  You could just tell.

Of course, I don’t have a problem with parents making the executive decision for their kids not to eat cake, drink juice, or whatever else it may be, I just wanted people to own it.  While I think it’s extreme to try to intercept a plate of birthday cake that’s on its way to your child (who is already drooling in anticipation), I suppose that’s fine parenting decision to make, but own it.  Tell people that Little Johnny can’t have it because you don’t want him to have it, not that he doesn’t want it.  In the same vein, if you don’t want your kids drinking juice, just say it, “No, I’m sorry, Little Johnny can’t have that.  I don’t want him to have that.”

So what could sway me from my firm belief that kids can’t like water over juice?  My second born.  Hazeline can’t stand juice.  At first, I refused to believe it and continued to offer diluted juice in a sippy cup a few times per week.  When she didn’t seem very interested, I blamed the sippy cup.  Clearly, she just didn’t understand how it worked yet.  On the rare occasions when she would manage to get a sip, she would get a terrible look on her face like she had just had a sip of the most vial substance on Earth.  Her little face would scrunch up, lips would pucker, and she would close her eyes tightly.  After a moment had passed, she would open her eyes and look at me, as if to say, “What the hell was that, Mom?”.  I figured maybe she had just gotten too much all at once, because it couldn’t be the juice itself.

Then one day I was out of juice.  I filled her cup with water, figuring it was just practice and she could at least play with the cup.  I didn’t expect her to have any real interest in it.  Of course that was the day that she told me that she knew exactly how to use the sippy cup, and she had known the entire time.  She guzzled down an ounce or so of water and looked at me for more.  How can this be?  There’s no juice in there.  Okay, I thought, she likes water.

But the behavior continued.  One day as I was attempting to mix a bottle of formula, Hazeline grabbed the bottle of pre-measured water out of my hand before I could mix the powder in.  I soon learned that what I thought were excited screeches as I made her bottle were actually her saying, “Hey, stop it Mom, your ruining my water.”  And on Sunday as we were sitting around the table having brunch, Hazeline squealed with delight as we fed her water from a straw, until we stopped and her shrieks of happiness turned to screams of displeasure.  It was then that the imaginary lightbulb above my head turned on and shined down on my previously disbelieving self – some babies really do love water, and they even prefer it over juice, formula, or anything else.  My child does not like juice, but loves water.  A believer was born.

Maybe there really are kids out there that don’t like birthday cake…no wait, I’m not ready to go that far yet.

Birdie’s Playhouse: The Wild World of Wildlife CD {Review & Giveaway} ***Giveaway Now Closed***

My girls love music, but I’ll confess, I’m not in love with all kids music and it can be a struggle to find something that we both like.  So when I heard about the award-winning Wild World of Wildlife CD from Birdie’s Playhouse, I was excited to try it.

The Wild World of Wildlife is full of cheerful, wildlife music with a Latin twist.  It’s intended for kids from 0-5 years, although I think kids older than 5 would enjoy it as well.  Each of the songs on this CD focuses on a specific animal, but not the traditional animals that so many other kids songs feature.  Instead, this CD spotlights iguanas, elephants, wombats, and manatee.  The songs are just long enough to get kids interested in each individual animal, but short enough for a toddler’s attention span.  Having just gone to the zoo, we were able to use this CD as a wonderful learning opportunity and reference some the animals we had seen.

This cd was a huge hit in our house.  When she first heard the music, Greenleigh’s first word was “Dance!”, and then she proceeded to get up and do just that.  I don’t think there was one track on this CD that she didn’t like.  Hazeline appeared to enjoy it too, and she clapped along as the music played.  While it would be hard to pick a favorite, they seemed to like the song “Iguana Wants to Baila” the best.  I think it would be fair to say that my kids went “wild” for this CD.

Better yet, I liked this CD.  I expected it to just be vocals, but it turned out to be vocals accompanied by drums, horns, pianos, and a variety of other instruments.  When you look at the list of credits on Birdie’s website it’s quickly apparent how talented the the group was that collaborated on this CD.   Perhaps most importantly, I enjoyed that there is an educational element to this music.  It can be hard to find music that is educational and fun, but this CD hits the mark.  If only we lived closer to Birdie…I would love for her to sing at Hazeline’s first birthday party.

Now the best part — Birdie is going to give one lucky reader their very own copy of this Wild World of Wildlife CD!

The Rules:

Want to enter?  There are two ways to enter this great giveaway:

You can do either one, or both.  It’s up to you, but I hope that you will do both so you can keep up with Birdie and all the Playhouse happenings.   Just leave me a comment for each entry.  Oh, and when you stop by her Facebook and Twitter, I would love for you to let her know that your stopping by from Diary of a Working Mom (not required, but appreciated).

This giveaway is open to those in the U.S. only.  Each person is allowed a maximum of two entries.  Giveaway entries will be open until Monday, February 6, 2012 at 11:59 EST.  Winner will be selected by using  The winner will be contacted by email and have 72 hours to respond.

Good luck!

Thank you to all who entered, but unfortunately there can be only one winner, and that winner is Jeanne with comment #20!  The winner has been notified by email and has claimed her prize.  Congratulations Jeanne!  There will be lots more giveaways coming up, so stay tuned!


Adventures in Potty Training: A Week in Review

Greenleigh’s daycare teacher has been after me to put her in underwear for a while, but I just wasn’t ready.  I mean, it should be about her being ready, right?  But what about me?  What if I don’t want to clean up the messes?  What if I’m not ready for her to grow up?

After a heated debate last Sunday night Erajh said that he was on her teacher’s side – he thought she should be in underwear.  It was time to rip off the band-aid.  It should be noted that by the time I get the girls up and ready in the morning, Erajh is long gone.  In fact, he’s not even in our same county by the time they wake up.  No threat of having to stop everything and be late to work to clean up messes, no threat of her peeing on his clothes as he carries her down the stairs, and no threat of her peeing or pooping in his car on the way to school.  Sure, this was an easy executive decision for him to make.  Reluctantly, I agreed to give it a try.  Greenleigh has been in Pull-Ups for 6 months, and while she initially made great progress, she had become lazy and knew she could just use it as a diaper instead.

So Monday morning I bit the bullet and put her in panties.  She seemed curious, but not really all that excited when I put them on her.  Completely out of my mind nervous doesn’t even begin to explain how I felt while Greenleigh drank her milk and sat on my side of the bed (I tried to get her to move to Erajh’s side, since it was his idea and all, but she’s a creature of habit).  I think I must have said, “Are you absolutely sure that you don’t have to go to the bathroom right now?” a hundred times.  “Potty?”, “Bathroom?”, “Are you sure?” are the phrases that filled the next 20 minutes.  Forget the fact that she had just gone.  I was sure she needed to go again.

Luckily, we made it to school without incident, but I did learn a valuable lesson – don’t ask a toddler if they need to go to the bathroom just as you finish buckling them into their carseat.  They will undoubtedly say yes, causing you to have to unpack the entire car, only for them to get inside and giggle at you while not going to the bathroom.  My mistake.  Next time, we’re just going and they can worry about it at daycare, if she really even has to go.

As I dropped her off at school that morning (with a back pack filled with no less than 7 pairs of underwear, 3 spare outfits, and 4 Pull-Ups) I gave the teacher a list of scenarios where she should just abandon ship and put her back in Pull-Ups.  I mean, I wasn’t really all that attached to the underwear plan to begin with.  One thing that was clear from that conversation – the teacher was not going to put her back in Pull-Ups.  I wished her the best and left, only to text her and check up a few hours later.  The reply message was vague, so it was clear I was going to need to wait until 6pm for the full details.

When I picked her up that day, the teacher told me that Greenleigh had 3 accidents that day.  Hmmm…that was better than I thought she would do.  Until she then had 3 more at home…2 of which were at the dinner table.  Yikes.  Internally, I reminisced about how convenient Pull-Ups are and contemplated going back.  I mean, she could technically wear them through college, right?  No harm in that.  I rationalized that as a perfectly fine option as I was changing Greenleigh into her pajamas, only for Greenleigh to look at me and say, “Panties?  Tomorrow?”.  What?  “You mean after 6 accidents, you want to try this again Greenleigh?”  She nodded and smiled.  She was hooked.

The next morning as I took her out of bed, she made a mad dash for her panties.  She sleeps for about 11-12 hours at night, so I had decided to keep her in Pull-Ups for naps and nighttime, but surprisingly she woke up dry.  We got ready without incident and were on our way to school in no time.  I’ll admit, I sped up the morning routine a bit this week.  Hey, it was the teacher’s idea, remember?  I’d like most of the accidents to be on her watch.

The next 4 days Greenleigh did remarkably well with just  one accident each day, and woke up dry each morning.  It was also over these 4 days that I learned that I’m not cool anymore.  Remember that fun song and dance I made up 6 months ago to make potty training fun?  Yeah, well, she’s over it.  So much so, that when she is about to go to the bathroom, she waves her finger at me and says, “No, woot woot potty.”  Only after I agree, will she actually go.  I thought my song was fun.  Apparently not.  For the record, it didn’t have the word “woot” in it once, let alone twice, but apparently that’s what she took from it.  As long as I promise not to sing it, she’ll go.  I guess it’s really a good thing that I never tried out for Idol, if my nearly 3 year old is begging me not to sing.  Better yet, she’s hinging her bodily functions on me not singing.

The 5 days at school passed all to quickly, and soon it was the weekend where I [gulp] had to clean up the messes myself.  Pull-Ups sounded so good.  No, no, I said to myself, I’m going to give this a try.  The first 5 days had gone remarkably well, said my inner pep talk.  I needed to give it a try.  Problem was, we couldn’t just sit at home and potty train all weekend.  We had a baby shower, gym class, errands to run, and maybe we would eat out once or twice.

Even with my nerves rattled a little about being all on my own (seriously, where was her teacher now?), Saturday went swimmingly well.  We must have gone to the bathroom 5 times in the span of 2 hours at the baby shower, but no accidents.  I did learn that it feels like an eternity to wait for someone else to go to the bathroom when you have a toddler who needs to go.  I swear what was probably 4 minutes, felt like 20 as we waited for the person in front of us to go.  But we made it through.

Today was the true test though.  We had to get through gym class.  Would she make it through?  I would just die if she peed on the floor there.  I know she wouldn’t be the first, but I just didn’t want it to be my kid that did it.  Greenleigh needs to go to the bathroom about once an hour.  By the time we got her up and ready, out the door, and to class 35 minutes away, she was going to have to go again.  But we were late.  There was no time to go.  We were going to have to make it to free play time, which meant she was going to have to be accident free for 15 minutes through circle time.  We were really pushing the limits.  I was freaking out.  Mainly because she wanted to sit in my lap and I didn’t have a change of clothes if she peed on me.  A chorus of, “please don’t pee on me, please don’t pee on me, please don’t pee on me” played in my head.  Oh yeah, and I was nervous for her, too.  Thank goodness we made it.  We got her to the bathroom with plenty of time and I finally started to breathe again.  Crisis averted.

The rest of the day went even better.  We made it through brunch, trips to 2 separate Best Buys (to cash in on that warrant we bought and replace her portable DVD player that she dropped one to many times), and a variety of other errands.  I may send a mean letter to Best Buy since they seem to find it hilarious to make the bathrooms as far away as possible (I’m convinced that whoever designed that store never potty trained a toddler), but we made it through the day accident free.  Scratch that, we made it through the weekend accident free.  How cool is that?  Well technically she hasn’t pooped in 2 days, which probably accounts for the lack of accidents, but I’ll take it.  She’ll poop eventually, right?  Hazeline attempted to make up for short comings in that arena though, so I suppose it all evens out.  The process is obviously far from “done”, but we had a great first week.

So these are the things I learned over the last 7 days:

  • I underestimate how smart my child is.
  • I am uncool, and so are my songs.
  • My child might not have go to college in Pull-Ups…she might go with her pacifier, but not Pull-Ups.
  • My husband is sometimes right.
  • My child will do just about anything for a cookie.  And let me tell you, we have gone through a TON of cookies this week.


The Dark Side of the Pediatrician’s Waiting Room: Parents Behaving Badly

I feel pretty qualified to write on this topic considering I have been there 3 times in the past 8 days.  [Insert heavy sigh here]  It’s been a rough 8 days, but it appears that we are on the mend.  Thank goodness, because I can’t handle it any more.  And if I have to go to the pediatrician’s office one more time, I just might scream.

There are so many reasons to love our pediatrician’s office.  Your child was involved in a freak accident on Thanksgiving day at 5pm?  They’re open.  Six hundred miles from home and your child develops the diaper rash from hell?  They’ll call in a prescription by the end of the day, even if I call at 7pm (they close at 9pm most days).  And of course, the two doctors we see are wonderful.

One thing I don’t love about my pediatrician’s office – the waiting room.  And because the two doctors we see regularly are awesome and will never rush a patient through a visit, we see a lot of the waiting room.  In my time there, I’ve noticed that parents are either on their best behavior while in the waiting room or their absolute worst.  There really isn’t a middle ground.

The parents on their best behavior are talking to their children, have brought a vast array of activities for them to do during their wait, and have brought along their child’s favorite snacks.  You can spot the parents are on their best behavior because their child will test every fiber of their patience and yet the parents handle it with grace.  Their child’s attempts to throw toys or scale the receptionist’s counter are all met with a sing-song-like reprimand, “No, no Little Johnny”.  Their voices are never raised and timeout is never mentioned.  Perhaps the parents have nerves of steel and are really like that at under normal circumstances at home, but I think that’s pretty unlikely.

The parents on their worst behavior are far more interesting disturbing.  Like the woman whose 7 year old went to the bathroom in the corner of the waiting room.  The woman then ran over to the receptionist desk, not to ask for materials to clean it up or apologize profusely, but rather to let them know that they “should probably clean it up quickly”.  No apology whatsoever.  Or the lady who was hung over, still smelling like the bar that she was no doubt at the night before.  Ordinarily, I would give someone the benefit of the doubt here and think maybe they are just not a morning person, but the incredibly graphic conversation she had very loudly on her cell phone about the previous night’s events cleared it right up for me.  And how could I forget to mention the lady who was screaming at her boyfriend on the phone regarding some litigation that they are involved in.  I could tell you everything about their lawsuit, but I’ll spare you.  Meanwhile, the kids of the parents behaving badly sit by angelically, just watching it all happen.

I hate to judge other moms, I really do, but why do people think it’s okay to act this way?  I know kids will do what they will do, and generally I try not to judge the parents for their actions, but in these specific situations it’s the parents behaving badly.  So then, why does the pediatrician’s office bring out the “crazy” in parents?  Is it just the stress of having a sick kid?  Maybe.  I want to believe that is the reason.  No, I need to believe that is the reason.  Because I refuse to believe that their lives are like that all the time.  They just can’t be.

I’m sure there has been a time when I wasn’t on my best behavior in the waiting room, but after all I have seen during my 3 visits in an 8 day span, I’m going to be a lot more careful about it in the future.  Here’s to not going back there for quite a while!


It’s Girl Scout Cookie Time!

Picture it:  Los Angeles, 1988.  A young girl sits at her Girl Scout troop meeting.  The troop leader goes over all important issues Girl Scouts’ face (badges, camp trips, community service), before making the important announcement – it’s the start of Girl Scout cookie time!  Sure, the troop leader says it like it’s a good thing, but the little girl knows the truth.  She goes through the stages of grief, staying in denial as long as possible, before finally accepting that it was going to be a rough month or two.

Yep, that girl was me.  I was a Girl Scout all through elementary and middle school, and even a couple years in high school.  There were so many things that I loved about scouting, but Girl Scout cookie time was not one of them.  I hated it actually.  I mean, the cookies were good (still are), but selling them sucked.  Big time.

Why did selling cookies suck so much?  One word – Boothing.  Boothing is when you set up a table, or booth, outside of a local grocery store, drug store, or any other place where you might possibly be able to sell cookies.  You then stand there for hours on end peddling said cookies to anyone who will stop and listen.  Lately, boothing seems to be common practice, but back in 1988, not everyone did it.  Or maybe it just wasn’t popular where I lived.  Of course, I’ve been out of the game so long, they might call it something else now.

My mom was our troop’s “Cookie Mom” so she was responsible for setting up boothing opportunities for other scouts to sell their cookies.  If she couldn’t find someone to sit and oversee the booth, then it meant that she had to go, which meant I had to go and sell more cookies.  Ugh.  What was novel the first week of Girl Scout cookie season quickly grew old after, oh, say…4 straight weeks.

Weekend after weekend we sat and sold cookies.  Sounds easy, right?  Well, as it turns out, those cookies don’t always sell themselves.  People balked at the price of the box of cookies, which was $2 at the time.  ‘Cause you know, that a 10 year old sitting out in front of the grocery store set the price.  I wish I could go back and tell those people that they are getting a deal, compared to the cookie prices of today.  Even better, people would try to negotiate the price.  Again, a 10 year old doesn’t hold any negotiating power on behalf of the Girl Scouts.  A few people ran from us.  Seriously?  I was 10, why are you running from me?  I guess they thought that if we couldn’t catch them, then they didn’t have to buy cookies.  Many of the people who would stop long enough to find out what we were selling would then lie to us.  If I could only tell you how many people said they would buy only to be found sneaking out the other entrance (while watching us to make sure we didn’t see them).  Once, a lady even critiqued my outfit.  What does that have to do with anything?

It got so bad that I made a vow that when I was older I would buy a box of cookies from every booth that I came across.  If only I could go back and explain to my 10 year old self that the cost of a box of Girl Scout cookies would go up to $4.00.  To this day, I just can’t say no.  I may want to, but I can’t.  I bought 8 boxes last weekend alone.  I. Just. Can’t. Stop.  As long as the booths are out there, I will buy.

So the next time you see a Girl Scout selling cookies just buy a box.  Or if you really, really don’t want them, a simple “no thank you” will suffice.  Please save some other little girl from making a vow like I did.

Now I’m off to eat a few cookies…we’re not going to run out anytime soon.