Today I say no to mommy guilt

The internet is filled with blog posts just dripping with mommy guilt. These posts are about how a mom lost her temper, yelled or lost her patience or cried or otherwise acted imperfectly, then tearfully apologized to her kids. These posts are about moms trying to forgive themselves.

This is not one of those posts.

Today I say no to mommy guilt Read more

Kiwi is 11 months

11 month old baby bruises

If my kid is covered in bruises, please don’t worry. It’s just that her ambitions are outpacing her motor skills.

There was one week when Kiwi had several bruises on her head, a goose egg above her eye and a gash on her gums. She had taken several headers, pulled both a chair and and end table on top of herself, and slipped in the tub—twice. All the bonks made me feel terrible, but it’s hard to rein in an 11-month-old baby who is set on cruising and climbing. Read more

Celebrate summer with messy painting

Art, at its best, is a full-body experience—at least according to my kids. And with summer here (happy first day of summer!), it’s the perfect time to get outside for some messy painting.

On a recent afternoon, Peeper, Kiwi and a few friends did just that. I squirted paint onto plates of shaving cream, and the kids dove in: Within minutes, we were all messy. And within minutes, we were all having so much fun.

After all, we often tell kids to be neat. Use a napkin. Don’t spill. Wash your hands. Keep your hands to yourself. 

With the weather warming up, though, it’s a great excuse to play outside. And with a little set-up—and a lot of shaving cream—you can let your kids’ creativity go wild. Come on, color outside the lines!

Summer Fun Messy Painting Play Date - Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Don’t ask. Just help.

don't ask just helpWhen Kiwi was a few months old, a friend texted me.

“I’m coming over. Be there in 15.”

I was a little surprised—we’d met a month or two earlier in moms’ group, and our babies were mere weeks apart, so we didn’t know each other terribly well. I didn’t really know what to expect.

When she arrived, I welcomed her into my home, trying not to think of the dog hair tumbleweeds and last night’s dinner-coated dishes still on the counter.

“I’m here to guerrilla help,” she said, stepping inside. “You never take me up on my offers to help. But here I am.”

She set down her baby, who was sleeping in her car seat, and asked if I’d rather she do a load of laundry or scrub my shower.

Seriously.

She ended up bouncing Kiwi, who woke up from a two-minute nap and refused to go back to sleep. But that was a bigger help than battling shower scum to a harried, exhausted, desperate mother who spent nearly every minute of the day trying to get a baby to sleep.

My friend did something special that day. She rescued me from one more attempt to bounce my baby to sleep—the time that may have pushed me over the edge. She let me know I wasn’t alone. She showed up when even I didn’t know I needed her. She lived what should be the international mother’s motto: Don’t ask. Just help.  Read more

Kiwi is 10 months: Time to play

baby play trampolineThis month, someone must have hit the “play” button on Kiwi, because she just can’t stop playing! (Ok sorry, terrible pun.)

One day, I put a plastic cup on top of my head. (Why? No idea. Seemed natural at the time.) It fell off. And Kiwi nearly fell over, she was laughing so hard. She made a game of it: She’d hand me a random object for me to balance on my head then giggle uncontrollably when it toppled off.

My favorite game? After she finishes nursing, Kiwi faceplants on my bare belly and blows raspberries. The first time she did it, Eric had to stop what he was doing in the other room to check on us because I was laughing so hard.

Her favorite game is chase. She’ll crawl away from me then pause, peeking behind her to see if I’m following. When I come after her, she squeals in delight and motors away—until I catch her. As I tickle her belly and nibble her cheeks, she surrenders in a fit of laughter—until setting off again.

10 months play crawling

The bruises on my knees from crawling on hardwood and the drool-covered belly barely register. She is happy and I am happy.

I’m even more grateful for this ease of play for both of us because our time together wasn’t always this carefree. In Kiwi’s early months, everything was hard. She cried, and I cried, and neither of us smiled all that much. She was in pain and I was unhappy. On the worst days I had to force myself to play with her—singing nursery rhymes or doing This Little Piggy on her prehensile toes—even though I felt no joy.

The contrast to today is striking—like walking out of a dark movie theater into a July day, it’s almost blinding in its brilliance. Now Kiwi can light me up, and her smile sparks a glow within me that grows with every tickle fest and game of airplane.

baby dog playing

baby play toy carBaby's first taste of apple I thought of her recently when listening to NPR’s TED Radio Hour. The hour-long show explored the benefits of play. The experts made me realize that when I get down on all fours to crawl-chase Kiwi, or when we do pattacake, or when I have puppets act out a scene from Downton Abbey, I’m growing, too.

Putting me in closer connection with my own inner child is just one more gift Kiwi is giving me. As she plays, so do I, and we’re both better off—and happier—for it.

Kiwi is 9 months: So in love with my baby

Kiwi and I are pretty much obsessed with each other these days.

I fell in love with my baby the instant I met her. Hell, I loved her from the moment I saw that telltale + on the stick I peed on. But this last month, when Kiwi turned 9 months, has brought our mutual adoration to a whole new level.

in love with my baby flowerin love with baby swimming pool

Take, for example, the moment I arrive home and walk in the door. As soon as Kiwi hears my voice, she squeals at a pitch high enough to make poor Finn flinch. Then she crawls toward me as fast as she can as a quadruped. She won’t stop until she’s in my arms.

And when I lift her up, I feel as if I’ve regained some essential part of myself. Read more

Happy Mother’s Day to Me: Mom Resume

This guest post by Laura Starner, who shares her uplifting and triumphant story of surviving cancer at Laura’s Journey of Hope, is part of a series called Happy Mother’s Day to Me. In it, mothers are celebrating themselves for the dedicated, loving, tireless mamas they are. Chances are, if you’re a mother, you have an impressive—and long—resume, too. Check out all the posts in the series!


Mom Resume Mother's Day

As moms, we usually don’t take time to celebrate ourselves because we don’t really feel like we’ve accomplished anything.  So today I celebrate my accomplishments as a mom and Mimi (Grandma).  I want to encourage others by writing about my resume as a mom/Mimi.

My daughters are 28 and 24 years old. I have three grandchildren ages five and under and a new addition on the way.

Here is my Mom/Mimi Resume. Read more