Calling It What It Is…

In my home we call a penis a penis and a vagina a vagina, we have from the start.  My daughter, who is definitely more mature (at the ripe old age of 3!) than her brother and can talk about her body parts much more fluently than him doesn’t even think twice about using those, and other names of body parts.  When she was about 2 1/2 she took such pleasure telling people what genitalia they had.  She was so proud that she knew this information, and I was proud of her, but I would also try to let her know that we don’t just blurt that out all the time.  Not everyone felt the same about her knowledge.  Many people would try to tell her not to say those words and to say “fill in many names here”.  But I would quickly say, no, a vagina is a vagina and a penis is a penis.  I don’t want to perpetuate that shame or embarrassment many people have of their bodies.  I want my kids to be well aware of their bodies, what they can do and what goes a long with having either a vagina or penis.

My kids also know they didn’t come from a stork, they came from “mommy’s tummy”, and yes we will get more detailed when the time comes.  They will also learn about IVF and C-sections, which were very much a part of their conception and birth, as well as vaginal delivery.

My kids know about breasts and their many uses.  When my daughter sees a woman breastfeeding her baby she will usually grin and say “guess that baby was getting crabby and needed some milk”.  She doesn’t stare or point wildly, she sees it as normal as when she sees a baby getting a bottle.

Then there’s the more touchy areas, and yes the pun was intentional… Every kid I’ve ever known has always been fascinated with their genitalia, and my kids are no different.  When Thing 2 started touching herself in the living room I would tell her that we do that in our bedrooms or somewhere in private, not in the living room while everyone is watching television.  There were no “stop doing that!!!” or brushing her hand away, just a calm “that’s something we do in private”.  Thing 1 has been in love with his penis since the moment it was formed while still in utero.  I think all men are like that, it’s in their DNA!  And he gets the same “we do that in private”.

As they get older the information will get more detailed and cover much more.  I want the conversation of sex and our bodies to not be something that they dread or never happens, I want it to be the norm.  If either has a question I want them to be able to ask me and not have any hesitation.  I want for them to already have so much knowledge that many of their questions are already answered.

It’s tough growing up and the pressures regarding sex seem to be getting more and more (or maybe is just seems like it now that I’m a parent).  I truly don’t feel you can ever stop your kids from having sex, they will find a way no matter what, but what I can do is make sure they know what they are getting into.  I won’t give them the fantasy talk of sex is to only happen between two people that are in love and want to be together forever.  This will for sure rub a few people the wrong way, so be it.  On the other end, I won’t be saying how sex is the best activity ever and you just can’t get enough.  I’ll tell it as I see it, sex can happen between two people that are just attracted to each other as well as two people that are really in love and want to be as close as two people can be, and everything in between.

Amongst all this will be the “be responsible for your own body” talk.  Don’t rely on the other person to protect you, bring your own condoms and your own beliefs and the ability to stand by them.

When the time comes that my kids feel they are ready to have sex I want them to be aware of all that can happen, to be able to make that decision for the correct reason and not out of feeling pressure.  Ultimately, it is their decision and I want that decision to be made fully informed.  Sex can have consequences, disease, pregnancy, feelings of shame etc….

My children are three, so we have many more years until we are dealing with the “heavy” stuff, but that just means I have many years to build up to it so it isn’t so “heavy”.  And up until then I will happily take the eye rolls and negative comments from the people that don’t believe in being so open with their kids or that believe our genitalia should have happy little names.  Besides, vagina is that bad…

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Excellent Childcare…Priceless

Childcare is one of those necessities that if you have kids you will eventually need.  Whether it’s every day, a few times a week or just once a month it can be stressful to find someone to fill this need.  I’ve been pretty lucky in this category, especially since we don’t have family around to watch our children.  When the twinadoes were infants I rarely left them in the care of others, I just wanted to be with them and do it all myself.  But there are times when I still needed someone.

Luckily, I had a neighbor that fit that bill.  She was seriously the perfect person to watch my little feral jackals.  Nothing phased her, and they absolutely loved her.  As soon as she walked in I was knocked down a few notches on the totem pole, and that was ok with me.  Knowing that my kids were happy and in good hands is worth being demoted for a few hours.

But like they say, all good things must come to an end and she moved away to go to pastry school.  We had a few others that filled this need, but nobody that was permanent or regular, that is until The Feral Jackal Whisperer.  Now, pay attention because this is the confusing part…the perfect childcare provider’s dad worked with a guy who’s wife watched children in addition to her regular job.  They were living in our neighborhood with pcp’s dad while their house was being finished so having her right across the street was way beyond convenient.  But then their house was completed and they moved, but not too far that she couldn’t continue to watch my lovely little jackals.

And that is how we came to know The Feral Jackal Whisperer.  She always brings her daughter with her and my kids love it.  I don’t call to check in when we are out (I’ve known people that seriously call hourly) because there is no need.  If something were to happen I know I would get a call.  Normally when we come home she will be holding one jackal with a second one right next to her.  She just oozes that whole maternal I love kids stuff that I think I was born without.  She and her daughter fit us perfectly, it’s like we’ve known them forever.  There’s this comfort about them, they don’t seem like people we pay to watch our kids, they seem like friends that come over and hang with them while we are gone.  This is truly priceless.

Today while Thing 2 was having a little procedure at the hospital Thing 1 stayed behind with The Feral Jackal Whisperer.  Rather than have him stuck in a little apartment I told her she could take him back to her house and just bring him back by 3pm or so.  When he came home he was all happy and talking about their fun day and how he wanted to do it again.  TFJW of course said she would take him or both anytime.  Yes, I love this woman.  When people ask me if I know anyone that I trust to watch kids I’m hesitant to give her name, I don’t want any competition for her time.  Yes, I am selfish, but if you had someone as wonderful as TFJW you would be too!

 

 

Spam Musubi

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Before you roll your eyes and move on, hear me out.  Spam is not high on lists of favorite foods for many people, it’s not like it’s something I use a lot of either, however, there are a few recipes that are really delicious that use it.  Spam musubi is one such delight.  I can’t begin to tell you how many people have turned their noses up to it simply because it has Spam as one of the ingredients.  Even better, almost all of them became Spam musubi fans after just one bite…

For the Recipe:

1 can of Spam, sliced into 8 pieces

3 c. cooked calrose rice

4 squares sushi nori (the squares of seaweed used to wrap sushi)

2 tbsp. brown sugar

2 tbsp. light soy sauce

Fry the Spam slices in a pan, do not use any oil.  Cook until nicely browned on both sides.  While they are still warm, sprinkle each pieces lightly with a little brown sugar.  Next, cut your nori in half lengthwise, they should just fit a slice of spam.  Place about 1/3 c. of rice on the nori and shape it to fit the size of the Spam slice (wet your hands so the rice won’t stick to them).  Using a spoon, very lightly sprinkle a little of the soy sauce over the rice, then place a slice of Spam on top.  Roll it like you would a sushi roll, keeping it fairly tight.  Wet the end of the nori so it will stick and close.

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You can either serve like this,

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or you can cut into nice bite size pieces, I’ve had it both ways.  Just for fun I put some minced chives over the top, I’ll be doing that again!

These are really easy to make and not expensive at all.  The more I think about it the more I want to experiment with adding a few things to make them a little more fancy, even though they are not meant to be fancy at all!!

**Note: I also replace the brown sugar and soy sauce with a teriyaki sauce (I prefer Yoshida’s Gourmet Sauce).

 

Twinadoes At 3 1/2

On this lovely Friday afternoon I thought it was a perfect time to do a little post on the twinadoes.  They are now a little over 3 1/2 years old and wild as ever.  These days, instead of trying to fight the insanity I simply try to survive in it.  Quite honestly, it’s become the norm (I can almost see all the eye rolls and the terse look of those dying to give me and earful) and we’re thriving.  To top it all off we are currently living in an apartment, and haven’t been asked to leave….yet.

They started preschool in March and it was the best thing for them.  Thing 1 has really become more independent and not so clingy to me, I am able to leave without the big crocodile tears and the vice like grip clinging to anything on me he can.  Thing 2 is my little social butterfly and is relishing in all the friends she is making.  Every time I sneak in there to see how they interact with the other kids she can be found in the midst of a group being her bossy little self.  I wonder where she gets that from?

The nudity is still an issue, mostly with Thing 2.  She takes every opportunity to shed her clothes and run free.  She tells me she’s a tiger and tigers don’t need clothes.  Sure kid… whatever gets your clothes off.  Thing 1 mostly keeps his clothes on, but every once in a while he just needs a little naked time.  I’m ok with it as long as they aren’t on the balcony waving to the pedestrians below.

Though I would be lying if I said my kids were beyond that feral jackal stage, it’s not lying to say they are really much better.  Wild, yes.  A little out of control, yes.  But we can now eat a meal without having to pay for the tables around us due to a flying shoe, spit, a wayward utensil or piece of food.  We now have a good twenty minutes before we are running for the door.

As they get older I am seeing progress, but I’m still not in any hurry to break their little free spirits.  However, there are certain infractions that even this mom cannot tolerate.  Any biting, hitting, scratching or use of weapons will get you sent to ad seg (we got this from watching many episodes of Lockdown Raw).

Parenting in our house is probably not in line with a lot of other people, and I get it.  I listen to all their advice and techniques they used on their kids that seemed to work miracles, so well they are still using them on their adult children living at home with them…

My kids are wild, feral, and full of spunk.  Of course there are days when I wish they were quiet, calm little drones so I could have some peace, but not for long.  I would miss all the chaos.  Can’t believe I said that!!  This from the woman that really never thought she would ever have kids.  And for the record, I still really don’t like kids.  I’m not one of those converts that just loves being surrounded by hundreds of kids and playing endless games that make me feel like I’ve been sent to a home for the mentally mundane.

It’s Friday and I’m ready to head out for a nice dinner and some drinks… oh wait, I’ve got twinadoes and there’s a Paw Patrol marathon happening…

When Mom Needs a Time Out

I’m sure I’ll get a few nasty emails from this post, and you know what, I’m ok with that.  Judge all you want, make your comments on how I should be grateful, etc, etc…  With that being said, on to the post.

It’s no secret that conceiving my children was no easy task, I don’t think of infertility as some dirty little secret that needs to be kept a secret or ashamed of.  What I don’t really give details about is the exact reason for the infertility, that my friends is a little too personal.  It took four years of treatments to get the two beautiful feral jackals I lovingly call my Twinadoes.  I love those two little human beings more than anything and sometimes just looking at them will bring me to tears.

However, I think it’s rough being a mom.  It can be a struggle to chase them around, entertain them, feed them, clean them and everything else that goes into making sure they are healthy, happy and content people.  There are days I really need a break from them, even to the point where I am looking at the door thinking I need to just run though it and never look back.  But then it passes, I get back to mama mode and carry on.

My children were small when they came home from the hospital and I was incredibly protective of them.  Snuffly noses were not allowed to come near, hand sanitizer was squirted on everyone and every piece of skin I saw coming for them, and no way was I leaving them with ANYONE but me.  Yes, I was that mom.  As they grew and got stronger I lightened up, I slowly let others (only two) people watch them while I got out.  But the majority of the time it was me, and with two that is no easy task.  I think back on those early months and I honestly don’t remember much but little bits and pieces.  Being tired was the norm as was frustration.

As they grew even more, became more independent and Thing 1 more accepting of me being gone, I felt even more comfortable leaving them for a few hours here and there, but still not as much as I think I really needed.  In part I felt my job was to be mom and be with them 24/7.  I felt guilty if I left them to go get my hair done or just get away, even though in hindsight I know now that I should never have felt that.  I should have been taking more time for myself and not feeling guilty.  What I know now, at least for me, is that I’m a better mother when I get me time.

These days I have one person that watches my children, and I love her to death.  I am so thankful for her and how she treats my twinadoes.  They are not an easy duo, this I know.  What I also know is I can be assured that they are being well cared for in her hands so I can relax and enjoy my me time.

As for me time, there will be much more of it.  I love getting away from the daily tasks that go into raising my kids.  I love letting someone else think about what to feed them for lunch or what activities are needed to entertain them when the weather is ugly.  I don’t feel guilty anymore shucking my responsibilities on someone else for a few hours.  Oh no, in fact I love it.  I love having lunch somewhere there isn’t a freaking play land or having to pick the loudest restaurant just so your kids’ fighting and screaming won’t be heard so easily.  I love getting away from my kids!!!

Yes, I said it… I love getting a break from the two children it took me four years to get.  No I will not feel guilty for saying that no matter how many emails you send me explaining how you would love the opportunity to have lunch with kids solely in restaurants with play lands but you can’t due to this or that… Sorry folks, send those emails to someone else, not getting nothing out of me.  I will no longer defend my reasoning for needing me time nor will I let other people’s opinions make me feel like less of a good mother because of my desire for kid free time.

My children were almost three years old when I finally took a 4 day vacation away from them.  These days I find myself looking at vacation spots that are not kid friendly as well as ones that are.  I’m evolving as a mother, allowing other titles to describe me again. Though I am very proud of the title of mom I am not solely defined by it.  I don’t want to be.  Without a doubt I want my kids to think of me as a great mom, but I also want them to know that I am not just that, I am a person, an individual that does more than just care for their needs and wants.

So if after you read this you find me to be a little, or a lot selfish, that’s ok.  More than likely I’ll be reading your emails in between making spaghetti for Thing 1, looking up ballet lesson for Thing 2 and making hair appointments for myself.

Coolest Kids Ever!!

The twinadoes are far from perfect, in fact, I’ve never said they were, however they are the coolest kids ever!!  Through this whole move they have been beyond wonderful, yes I know kids are resilient (if one more person says that to me I think I might go violent) but it’s still a change and as every parenting book will tell you, kids like structure and the safety of a routine.  Their routine was drastically changed and except for a few little moments they have done great.  Their new routine is now embraced and accepted, though they still ask about “like before”.  It does sadden me that it’s not like it was before, but I need to stop that and think more in the lines of “what it will be soon”.

I’ve been tapering off the amount of time they spend at the old house and they don’t ask for it like they did in the beginning.  They are no longer saying “I want to go home” and referring to that house.  Now they say the new place is home, except for a few times.  They are just so cool…

This new adventure of city life is so exciting for them.  Instead of it being a given we will be taking the car now they ask if we are walking or taking the car, preferring the first option.  They are learning about how to safely walk around the sidewalks with busy traffic, what the walk and don’t walk signs look like, and they even know how to use the key fob to get into the building and elevator.  Yes, they are that cool.

The police, ambulances and fire trucks are total entertainment to them.  They run from window to window watching them fly by.  And the people on the street…talk about unending fun.  They yell down to them, Thing 2 even invited a group of 20 y/o men up to the apartment yelling “hey guys, up here!!  Come on up!!”.  That girl is going to be the death of me in her teens if this is already starting up at three.  Thing 1 not to be outdone, ogles the cute dark haired girls as they walk down the street with the biggest grin on his face.  Total handfuls, but yes they are that cool.

I think it’s safe to say that the coolest kids ever and I will be heading in to this next adventure with our eyes focused on the future but still able to enjoy the present, our minds thinking about what we need to do to get us to the future but still able to navigate the present, and our hearts holding tight to the wonderful memories of our past as well as embracing all the joys and experiences of the present.  Thank goodness for the coolest kids ever…

Lessons From Moving

I am completely out of my old house, have been for a few weeks.  However, there was still stuff left that I was trying to go through and decide what would be it’s fate.  If I were moving directly from one home to another this would have been a quick move.  I would have simply had the movers pack up the entire house and dealt with all of this at the new house.  Unfortunately, that was not the case so that luxury was not an option.  I had the movers take what I knew for sure was going to be kept, leaving the rest behind for me to painstakingly go through.

In the beginning I was so overwhelmed, all I could think about was how the heck was I going to be able to fit this into an apartment.  Well folks, that quickly turned to “how much stuff can I stuff in my car to take to Goodwill”.  Luckily for me, enter Boss Up.  He has been a complete life saver.  Which leads to my first lesson learned…

When it’s time to move the hands do not get raised en mass screaming “I’ll help”.  What I did hear a lot of was “can I have this”, “are you getting rid of (insert list of items here)” or one of my favorites “this would look great at my house”.  I totally get people are busy, but this was just one of those things I noticed…

Another lesson, when you need to find people like carpet cleaners, painters, etc.. ask your friends!!  All the people I’m using came recommended by people, saved me so much time and frustration.  I’ve used people that I randomly picked from the internet and have had mixed results.  Grateful doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel for this help I received.

Next lesson, set a time frame but don’t freak out if you don’t stick exactly to it.  Things happen, that’s part of life.  The past few weeks I’ve been extremely stressed, lost a lot of sleep and gained quite a few gray hairs.  It’s not easy packing up a large house by yourself, even after the movers.  It’s just not.  There were many days I thought I was going to snap and just say “f*ck it, I’m outta here” but I didn’t.  Give yourself a break and don’t let yourself get too worked up, it will eventually end and it will get done.  Again, thanks so much to Boss Up.

Lastly, moving really brings out your real friends.  Seems strange, but what I experienced was a wide range of interactions.  Some “friends’ wanted to know “the truth”, was I losing the house, why would I move after adding the outdoor kitchen.  Well, for my now smaller inner circle, “the truth” is known, the others, well as said in a song I heard “keep em’ guessin”.

About two weeks ago I wrote a post that I chose not to publish, rather, I sat on it and reread it a week later.  That post will never be published, it is full of negativity and just expresses me during one of my “I’m about to snap” moments.  I will keep that post for me, it’s something to reflect on and use to grow.  Hopefully those darker moments are over and I’m on the other side.  It does feel wonderful to be on the homestretch to getting that “For Sale” sign in the front yard.  In all honesty I’m looking forward to writing more about the hunt for a new home and getting back to my posts on cooking, the twinadoes, gardening and life in suburbia.