On Prejudices and Infertility

Day 27:  Today, I am thinking prejudice and discrimination after reading “My Life as a White Hispanic:  Prejudice Comes From All Sides.” Written by Kimberly Helminski Keller on her blog, Roadkill Goldfish, it is an incredibly thoughtful account of her life as a multiracial individual.  She is both Polish and Puerto Rican and has never fit neatly into either culture, yet both are important to her identity.  I will not attempt to tell her story – she tells it eloquently and I would only butcher it.  But I will ask you to go read it yourself.  As for me, I am white.  My husband is white.  My kids are white.  I have never known how it feels for myself or a family member to be a target of discrimination based on race or ethnicity.   And yet, I know how frequently individuals experience discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and age.   I believe, like Martin Luther King, Jr, that people should be judged, not on the color of their skin (or ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation), but “by the content of their character.” I try to live my life by this creed and I hope that I am teaching my children to do the same.  I wrote recently about a time that my oldest daughter pointed at a girl on the playground and said, “Hey Mom!  Look!  Her skin is brown.”  It was really uncomfortable for a second, but then I realized that this represented an opportunity for me as mom.  This was a teachable moment.  I seized the moment and responded, “Yes Josie.  That’s what is beautiful about people.  We come in all different skin colors.  Isn’t that wonderful?  The world would be a really boring place if we all looked the same and spoke the same language and dressed the same, don’t you think?”  And she responded with a simple, “Yep,” and then ran off to play with the little girl.  How we respond as parents in the moments when race or ethnicity or any other “difference” is raised will help shape our children’s perspectives for years to come.   I’ll leave you with a quote from the song Same Love by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, “I might not be the same but that’s not important; No freedom til we’re equal; Damn right I support it.”  It’s a powerful song, with a powerful anti-discrimination message.  And, for the record, yes, I support marriage equality too.

 

 

Belly of a woman in her 34th week of pregnancy.

Belly of a woman in her 34th week of pregnancy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Day 28: I am one of those women who really enjoyed being pregnant.  I embraced the changes in my body and focused on the miracle that was happening inside my belly.  It still astounds me that I grew 2 little human beings inside of me and that they are thriving, healthy children today.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again:  The human body is remarkable.  As I think about my pregnancies, I am so thankful that I was able to experience this miracle without incredible difficulty.  We were fortunate enough to get pregnant quickly once we set our minds to it and engaged the help of an ovulation detector.  Sure, we’d been trying for our first for some time, but we were just having fun trying.  When it came to the point that we were really trying,  it happened in the first month and actually caught us by surprise.  The second time around, it was a bit harder, which, again, caught us by surprise.  I incorrectly assumed since it happened so quickly the first time, it would be easy the second time too.  It took 9 months of trying to conceive our 2nd daughter.  After 3 months, I started charting my fertility which entailed taking my temperature with a special thermometer every morning before I moved out of bed and using ovulation prediction kits, among other things.  By 6 months I had visited my doctor and shared my charts which showed there might be an issue.  Then I had a chemical pregnancy.  Pregnant one day and bleeding the next.  After that, I started on a progesterone supplement after I ovulated and, finally, Lily was conceived.  It felt like forever to get to that day, but that is just a drop in the bucket compared to the experience of millions of other women.  According to the CDC, 10.9%, or 6.7 million women ages 15-44 have an impaired ability to get pregnant or carry a baby to term.  That’s why, when I read IVF Made Me a Better Person at Teacher to Mum, I felt compelled to share it.  The infertility journey is a mystery to many of us, and an intense and often isolating journey for mother and father to be.  This post, written years after a successful IVF cycle, provides insight into the journey and hope for those in the midst of struggling with infertility.  To some, infertility is stigmatized.  It is not something to talk about.  It is a secretive process.  But I think the women and men who do anything within their power to have a child are courageous, inspiring and should be celebrated.   Let’s talk about this openly.  Let’s make it easier and more affordable for couples who desperately want to be parents to achieve pregnancy.  Let’s give these couples a chance to love a child.  Visit Resolve, The National Infertility Association to learn more about how to support the Family Act.  Introduced in May, The Family Act of 2013, (S 881/HR 1851) will help thousands of people access medical treatment for infertility that otherwise would be out of reach for them due to lack of insurance coverage. RESOLVE supports this bill and needs your help getting this bill passed and made into a law.  You can quickly send a message to your Senators and Congressmen from this page.

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The Wise Words of Five Women…Six if You Count Me

Today is a good day.  I showered for the third day in a row, no small feat when you are at home with 2 young children and can’t shower at night since the sound of the shower wakes up the baby.   And, I have caught up to the present day in the Do Good Reading Challenge.   Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is indeed a great day.

Day 22: “Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.”  This quote by Napoleon Hill came to mind when I read 12 Days To Make Every Day Count  written by Diane Lang on her blog Creating Balance and Finding Happiness.  Number 7 on her list reads, “Every problems/issue or negative situation is a learnable, teachable moment. Always ask yourself: what can I learn from this  situation?”  I love this because it reframes the idea of a “problem” and gives you the chance to turn it into an opportunity.  When I was a manager in the nonprofit world, I would often tell my staff to come to me with solutions not problems.  It was something that a former boss of mine had instilled in me and I always felt empowered by it.  This is not to say that we wouldn’t discuss the problems and solutions, but I wanted my team to feel empowered to create change.  There is nothing like that feeling of knowing that you have solved a problem and made a significant contribution to your company, household, neighborhood or community group.  So, friends, next time you face a bump in the road, be creative and find the opportunity in it.

Bubble Bath 3

Bubble Bath 3 (Photo credit: MacGeekGrl)

Day 23:  On my journey through the Blogosphere today I met a woman who is on a mission to make positive changes in her life and be the person she wants to be.  Her blog The Journey of a Baby Giraffe is focused on the 100 in 2013 challenge that she has embarked on create change in her life in one year’s time.   I love this idea of creating a list of goals and working towards it over the course of year.  What makes this list unique is that it is a compilation of goals from the very simple (#83 – Take a bubble bath) to the very complex (#3 – Get into Grad School).  It is quite insightful of the author to recognize that the “little things” are just as important as the “big things” and deserve a place on the list too.   On a side note, I love finding other Philadelphia area bloggers and this happens to be one of them.  Yet another reason to follow her progress!

Day 24:  I feel validated about my inability to keep up with my daily reading and posting for the Do Good Summer Reading Challenge.   It’s one of the perils of summer time with children, according to JustMomMatters.   Her latest post, Summertime: When Inconsistency Is Inevitable, really rang true with me.  She writes honestly about how difficult it is to complete any writing projects when her three boys are at home and longing to hang with her.  Sure, she has started many drafts, but most have yet to be finished.  And that is okay.  She is doing what is truly important at this point in her life – being a mother to her boys who want her to play with them.  There will come a time in our lives when our kids will not want us to be near them, let alone talk to them.  So, we need to seize the moment and have fun with them when we can.  And this is why I am not upset that I am once again behind in my writing.  I have been doing important things, like painting with my girls, splashing in pools, having tea parties and playing house.Image via www.someecards.com

Day 25:  How do you teach compassion to your kids?  That is the opening line of today’s blog discovery, All Day Mom.  The title of Carissa’s post, Teaching Kids Compassion: Family Does, caught my eye when browsing the parenting blogs because I am always looking for ideas on how to inspire empathy in my children.  Carissa’s grandmom recently had an electrical fire in her house and unfortunately her insurance does not cover cleaning or replacing her goods.  So the family has come together to help her grandmother recover from this crisis, because, as Carissa says, Family Does.  It’s true.  Family should take care of family.    In this case, Carissa went over to help clean out her grandmom’s house and her kids tagged along out of necessity.  It was not in the plan for them to help, but they jumped into action despite her encouragement to stand aside.  It was then that she had an “AHA” moment and realized that they could handle some of the tasks ahead and that this was compassion in action.  Her kids saw the state of their great grandmom’s house and wanted, no, needed to help.  Her point is that we do not need to shelter our kids from tragedy or crisis.  Within reason, we can involve them in helping in the recovery and nurture their inner-compassion. What do you think?

Day 26: Today, I found She Loves Mystery So Much She Became One and she made me laugh.  Thanks to her for that.  “Silence is golden. Unless you have kids. Then it is suspicious.”  This is something that every single parent on the planet can appreciate.  I can’t count the number of times that I have said, “It’s too quiet in here” and then leapt up to see what the girls were doing.   This was just the kind of post I needed to read on a Friday night, after a day that I spent wishing for silence so I could catch up on my blog.  Had my wish been granted, I probably would have paid for it big time.  Let’s face it, kids who are up to no good are quiet.  Quiet like ninjas.   They are so focused on their transgressions they can’t even be bother to make noise to disguise their naughtiness as normal play.  There was a time when our family was visiting with The Hubs’ best friend’s family who has a daughter about Josie’s age.  The two of them disappeared for a while and finally one of us adults observed that they were being much too quiet.  Oh boy.  The Hubs and his bestie went off to search for the missing girls and found them in the master bedroom huddled together painting each others nails. And their arms. And the floor. And let’s not forget the walls.  Yes, silence is golden until you have children.  What trouble have your children gotten into when you realized it was too quiet?

I found Lily standing on the kitchen table when things were too quiet.  She sat as soon as she saw me so this is the best evidence I've got.

I found Lily standing on the kitchen table when things were too quiet. She sat as soon as she saw me so this is the best evidence I’ve got.

Despite the fact that I am having trouble posting on a daily basis as I’d hoped, this Do Good Summer Reading Challenge has been awesome.  You should join in.  Let’s help each other find awesome blogs.

Recovering From Procrastinitis…One Day at a Time

Have you heard of the Procrastinitis epidemic that is spreading like wildfire this summer?  Have you succumbed to it yet?   I was sure this Do Good Reading Challenge was going to ward off the Procrastinitis bug, and yet here I sit like a sack of potatoes on the couch trying to find a reason to put off my reading until tomorrow.  Alas, I am out of excuses. I am no longer traveling with a 1 and 3 year old by myself as I did Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.  I have succeeded in trying to find the elusive last minute Jersey shore rental in OCNJ.  I’ve made a bunch of meal reservations for our Disney trip in October.  There are other adults available to help entertain Thing 1 and Thing 2.  I suppose I could go take a shower and that would be totally legitimate.  It has been 2, maybe 3 days, since I last showered.  But, the truth is that I really love writing and just the act of sitting down and typing out this intro has rejuvenated me.  I want to read others’ blogs and be inspired by them. So, Days 16-21 of the Reading Challenge will all be read on Day 21 – not exactly in the rules, but hey!  Rules were made to be broken, right?

Day 15: “Patience tells a toddler: You don’t have to be more than you are right now.”  Profound words, right?  I am a mom in the throes of the “terribles,” what I affectionately call the ages of one to four (and maybe beyond, but I haven’t made it there yet!)  Yes, any mom to a toddler has come to the realization that the “terrible twos” really begins around 18 months and lasts, well, I haven’t found the end yet and my oldest will be 4 in September.  There are some days I wake up with the patience of a thousand mothers and there are days that I can’t even muster enough patience to deal with the first tantrum of the day.  But, I read the line above in the post My Favorite Parenting Strategy at Science of Mom and immediately I felt a little bit of peace in my soul.  This is the kind of mantra I need to hold in my back pocket for those really hard days.  Alice, the author of Science of Mom, goes on to write that when faced with challenging situations, “staying calm is enough.”  I’ll leave you with another wise thought by Alice and encourage you to put these in your back pocket, and then have a glass of wine to unwind!

It’s tempting to try to fix the little challenges of every stage, but so much of childhood we really can’t control.”

tantrum #500

tantrum #500 (Photo credit: demandaj)

Day 16:  How to Ruin a Toddler’s Day.    Wait, there is a guide to ruining my toddler’s day? Because I thought all I had to do was put her right shoe on before her left and it would pretty much result in the worst tantrum ever.   And I guess that is what the mom behind this blog is trying to get at.  It is really easy to ruin a toddler’s day.  Smile at the wrong time.  Give her the green cup instead of the purple one.  Use the Dora shampoo instead of the monkey shampoo.  Horror of Horrors!  I happened upon a post on this blog that is titled Motherhood, Bullying and “Being Pretty.”  The post reads like an internal dialogue that every mother of daughters has at some point in her life.  We want to encourage our daughters to be more than pretty, to value intelligence, creativity and individuality.  There are points that I agree with and others that I don’t necessarily embrace, but the single most important thing I read in this post is that we, as parents, must strive to establish and maintain an open relationship with our children, to encourage communication, to teach them to be their own moral compass and to understand that not everyone is taught the same values.  Being a parent is tough, particularly in this age of bullying, but there are tools and strategies to make our jobs easier.  We just need to be diligent and seek them out.

Day 17:  I am in the midst of playing a game of catch-up on the Reading Challenge.  It is Sunday night, Day 21 and I am currently writing about Day 17.  It is frustrating not having time to focus on this blog, which I really do enjoy.  But, life gets in the way sometimes and that is why I was drawn to this post by Madi at Let The Words Escape.  Her time is crunched and her blog has been hard to maintain.  Life is getting in the way for her too, and, strangely, that made me feel better about my current predicament.  And then I clicked on this link that she described as a gorgeous depiction of the brain and it made me smile.  You see, Josie always talks about how her brain is a Rainbow Brain and this image helps me understand just a little bit. So, I will continue to push forward and get this project back on track.  Life may get in the way, but it will not sideline me indefinitely.

English: shocked expression on a girl’s face (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Day 18:  Parenting is so many things – exhilarating, joyful, frustrating, inspiring, maddening and, yes, often funny.  That is why I was so drawn to today’s discovery, Parenting is Funny.  Every parent has a funny story that is circulated over and over again at family gatherings.  This blog is an outlet for those “Do you remember the time when?” and “I can’t believe my kid said that” moments.   The mama behind the blog shares her moments that are better to laugh than scream about and invites her readers to contribute their moments too.  So, in the spirit of sharing, here is my Parenting Is Funny Moment:  I took my girls to the playground just like any other day a couple months back.  Josie was all over the playground, bouncing here and there and everywhere.  At one point, she slowed down and her sister and I caught up to her.  She turned to me and said loudly, “Mom.  Look.  That girl is brown.”  I gulped.  Turned red. And then I responded, “Yes, honey, people come in all different colors.  Isn’t that wonderful?  At the time, I was mortified, though now I just recognize that she was making an observation about her surrounding.   It’s these kind of moments you laugh about later, but, in the moment, you need to be fast on your feet and get through the moment.  Tricia, Mom of 2 Girls

Day 2: This Mama is Keeping it Real

I needed a laugh tonight.  It had been my intention to post my Do Good Summer Reading Challenge post each morning and here it is 9:30 PM and I am just now getting to it.  Josie was up at 5:50 AM.  Here is the official SHOUT OUT to The Hubs for getting up with her.  I got to stay in bed with my little Lily who joined us at around 3:30 AM.  But, by 7 AM the household was buzzing and and by the time we left for school at 9:00 AM, I knew Josie was going to be a BEAR today.  On top of getting up at 5:50 AM, she also did not go to sleep until 10 PM last night.  So, while she normally gets 11 hours of sleep a night, she only got a little less than 8.  Not good for an already moody nearly 4 year old.  After school, she was exhausted and unwilling to take a nap.  So I laid with her for an hour while she cried and finally she dozed off.  But by that time, it was 2:35 PM and there was no way she could sleep past 3:30 PM.  Do you see where this is going?  I set her little pink alarm clock that she picked out at Target and it started buzzing at 3:30 PM and then I lovingly stroked her face and hugged her and welcomed her back to the world of the awake.  But, my Josie is not a happy person when she is awoken before her time and she proceeded to scream for another 40 minutes or so.  Only this time, the screaming ignited a hissy fit from her sister too.  As I repeated my mantra, “This Too Shall Pass” in my mind, I tried to think fast.  I knew she was just tired and cranky and I also GetAttachment.aspxknew that if I didn’t get a moment of silence, I was going to lose it.  So, I said let’s go to the mall and buy that new underwear you were asking for.  Within a minute, the waterworks had stopped, Josie had her shoes on and was helping Lily into hers.  So yes, not my proudest moment as a Mama and not the kind of behavior I typically reward, but Josie got her Days of the Week Underwear from Old Navy and Mommy got her peace and quiet.

That was a long digression, but I do feel better having gotten that off my chest.  So first, thank you for listening.  Second, you will now better understand why I felt a sense of camaraderie with The Mama at keepingitreal4mamas.  I was searching WordPress for humor tags and I read a couple, but this one spoke to me.  You see, The Mama’s latest post is about how she can claim victory (at least for this moment) in getting her child to take a bottle.  I like that she saw the humor in the situation – it is necessary as a mom to be able to step back and laugh at yourself sometimes.  But I also like that she is airing her dirty and clean laundry to help first-time moms survive the first year.  No matter how much you read, you are always surprised by something in your first year (or maybe 10) of motherhood, but this mama is attempting to help other moms feel “normal.”

I experienced a child who would not take a bottle and it is a hell I would not wish on any other mama.  Kudos to moms who are perfectly happy to breastfeed exclusively, but I was a mama who would have given almost anything to have been able to hand a bottle to The Hubs, go out for a girls night and give my boobs a rest.  But my sweet, lovable, animated little Lily refused.  That is, she refused until 2 nights ago when, at 22 months, she found a bottle stuck in the back of a cabinet and decided she had to have it at bedtime.  Really?   I am embracing the humor in that tonight and hope you can too.  lily bottle

Want to join the Do Good Read More Summer Challenge?  Click here to find out how.

Tea Party Chats – On Summer, Kindness and Helping Others

Josie and I rang in the first day of summer with one of our famous tea parties while little sister Lily was napping.  Thanks to Fancy Nancy, our conversations are typically of the hoity-toity variety, using fancy words like scrumptious and spectacular.  But today, I decided to interview Josie to spice things up a bit.  Enjoy Josie’s musings on summer, kindness and helping others, especially her extremely sincere, beautifully spoken sign-off.

Don’t Worry Honey, That is Just the Sky Farting

Thunder

Thunder (Photo credit: mhaller1979)

 

Let’s file this one under things I never thought I’d say.  We had thunderstorms today and there were some wicked booms of thunder that caused my girls to cry and cower in fear.  So, I did what any mom would do and tried to soothe their fears.  I could have gone into the scientific explanation that lightening causes vibrations in the air and a rapid heating and expansion of air particles that causes a loud rumble of thunder. But, given that my four year old loves “poop humor” these days, I thought it was a surer bet to say, “Don’t worry honey, thunder is just the sky farting.”  Guess what, it worked.  The rest of the afternoon, they giggled when it thundered.  Sure, their future science teachers are going to have their work cut out for them, but we’ll worry about that in a few years.

What’s the wackiest thing you’ve ever said or done to comfort your child?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turn Playtime into a Volunteer Opportunity!

I’ve written about it before, but this is by far the easiest and most fun way to volunteer your time as a family!  It helps teach your children that their opinions are valuable and that volunteering does not have to be boring.   Volunteering to map playgrounds encourages you as a family to engage in play, explore new playgrounds and communicate in new ways.  So, if you are heading out to a playground or park today, consider snapping some pictures and adding it to the Map of Play.

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Put a Playground on the Map:  The Map of Play is a community generated play space finder and depends on volunteers to put playgrounds on the map. This is the ultimate family volunteer opportunity and perfect for children of any age. All you need to do to volunteer is sign up for an account on the Map of Play website. When you go to a new playground or park, snap some pictures and then ask your kids for their review of the space. Each time you add a play space to the map, you are helping other people find a great place to play!

via Do-Gooder Kids Activities.