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Tales From the Trenches
Now that Big H is becoming more verbal and Little H more mobile, I've been collecting my share of embarrassing, gross, and funny toddler/baby stories. I thought I'd share a few I'd love to hear yours as well!

Big H Funny #1: We have wildlife constantly wandering into our backyard (or living there). A few weeks ago Big H saw two deer and a fox. He then got quite a lesson in life when the fox took off across the yard after a rabbit, but he was still excited. So excited that he had to tell his babysitter, the checkout lady at the grocery store, and some poor mortified shopper about the "f*ck" he saw in the yard. He still occasionally asks about the "f*ck" and asks if he'll see it again. I crack up every. single. time. God help me when he starts telling poo jokes.

Big H Funny #2: Big H is currently trying to figure out plurals. Right now, he adds an s to everything. It's adorable when he talks about "moneys" or calls Little H "brothers." I took Big H to a birthday party at one of those places with inflatable bouncy houses called the Jumpin' Monkey last week. As a party favor, Big H got an inflatable beach ball - one ball - with monkeys all over it. He loves it! But now he has to refer to his ball in the plural. (You can see where this is going.) I completely crack up when he says things like, "Mommy, hold my monkey balls" or "Brothers has my balls!" I can't wait for our next trip to Target when, after I refuse to let him take the ball into the store, I'll have to drag him through the parking lot screaming "My BALLS! My BALLS!" I'll have to wear some Depends just in case.

Now on to the gross:

Little H puts everything in his mouth. I mean everything. I can't even tell you how many pounds of sand, dirt, and rock he has consumed in his short little life. Last week one evening Big H and I were in the kitchen cooking dinner while Little H played quietly in the living room (or so I thought). Little H came toddling into the kitchen with a HUGE smile on his face, clutching something in his hand, and attempting to stuff it into his mouth. Only when I ran over to investigate did I realize that he was clutching a wad of cat puke and hairball and had clearly already consumed some of it. Ewwwwwww. This is hands down my grossest Mommy moment.

What's yours?


Competitive Mothering
When did mothering become on Olympic worthy sport? Birthday parties are becoming more and more outlandish. Kids are scheduled to death with everything from soccer and violin to tai chi and Latin. All this before they even enter preschool. In my observations, Competitive Mommies tend to fall into one or more of four categories. If you are "lucky" enough to encounter someone who can be classified as all four, watch out. Her head may literally explode if she catches you feeding formula to your never-been-to-Gymboree, non-verbal, pacifier sucking, Ferberized nine month old.

1. First, the Activity Mom. The Activity Mom schedules her children for every, and I mean every, activity under the sun. Whether it's because she's terrified that other children are getting a jump on her precious darling in the Advanced French Literature for Toddlers classes or just a wish to spend less time with the fruit of her loins, the end result is exhaustion for everyone involved and an insanely high gasoline bill.

I started thinking about the Activity Mom today because I was home with my children (sick sitter) and we watched Jack's Big Music Show after lunch. Do you know this show? My kids love the music and dancing and I can tolerate it, unlike that annoying purple dinosaur or that blue spotted dog. (Sorry fans, just my opinion) We actually have every show on DVD. Anywho, at the beginning of every episode, Jack, heads out to his backyard clubhouse and we hear his mother yelling out the door "Jack, you don't have much time. We have to leave soon for scuba lessons/ping pong practice/basket weaving class/etc..." Every day Jack has a different activity. There have been 20-something episodes already and 20 different activities. Strangely, I enjoy hearing what Jack's activity of the day will be, but I digress. I know JBMS is lampooning the typical over scheduling Mommy but I have friends who seem to be doing the same thing. Every week little Jimmy or Jane is involved in a new enriching activity and I am gently admonished that I am somehow harming my two year old because I don't do the same. (Oh, yeah, and because I work. But that's another post.) Give me a break. I refuse to get caught up in that insanity and I usually just let the comments roll off of my back.

2. Next, we have the SanctiMommy. Everything SanctiMommy does is the best and only way to parent. It doesn't matter what your choices are. If they are different from SanctiMommy's, she will either bluntly or subtly express her disapproval. Are you a working mom? SanctiMommy tells you that she could make herself happy by working but she's willing to sacrifice herself for her children. They are soooo important, after all. Are you a stay at home mom? SanctiMommy tells you that you're a drain on society and should be using your valuable education to break the glass ceiling. You owe it to future generations, including your children. Not breastfeeding? Breastfeeding? Spank? Don't spank? Attachment Parent? Fond of Ferberizing? SanctiMommy will judge you. Mom-101 summed it up best, writing:
While the Sanctimommy is quick to deem others unfit mothers based on (really, in the end) superficial decisions like the cleanliness of a child's nose or the YoBaby in the grocery cart, she's reluctant to look as closely at herself. At her own attitude. At what seems to me to be anger and angst and a general unhappiness directed at a world around her which she can't control.
Yup, she nailed it. SanctiMommy is infuriating at times (see Mommy Wars), but she can be ignored.

3. Third on our list is the Mensa Mommy. Mensa Mommy has given birth to Jesus H. Christ, or at least the next best thing. Her child will walk before yours, talk before yours, sleep through the night before yours, breastfeed better, and generally stomp the crap out of your child before the age of 2 and for the rest of your lives. No matter what cute, adorable, or truly remarkable thing your child does, she has a story to one up you. Come on, you all know exactly the type of mom I'm talking about. Let's face it. We all like to talk about our kids and brag about our kids and generally convince other people of how wonderful they are, but most of us are careful to make sure we don't push it too far in the process. You're excited to share that your little girl said Mama at nine months? Mensa Mommy's little genius had a vocabulary of at least 30 words at that point and was speaking in full sentences by one. Your 3 year old learned to count to 10 in Spanish? Mensa Mommy's kid was fluent in Mandarin at that age. You're all worked up about sending your little boy to pre-school at the age of 4? That's nothing. Mensa Mommy's brat was deemed "exceptional" by the school and started at 2 1/2. You can't win. I don't even try.

4. Finally, we come to Passive Aggressive Mommy, my personal favorite. P.A.M. appears to be supportive, friendly, and non-judgmental, but beware. She will betray you and the sisterhood in a heartbeat. My favorite example of this is a fellow Mommy at my sons' daycare. She's a fellow working mom and a professional woman in a field dominated by men. My soul sister, I thought, when I first met her. There were several incidents with which I could regale you, but let's jump to one of the more recent - The Great Christmas Caper. I was busy as hell in the first part of December. I took the last two weeks off and had to cram four weeks worth of work into two. Frazzled Mommy that I am, I didn't think to start freaking out about my sons' daycare holiday party until the day before. I asked M, our sitter, if we should bring presents for all the kids. P.A.M. was there and laughingly butted in with a, "who on earth has time for that???" comment. I bet you can see where this is going.... Anywho, I was relieved. If necessary, I was fully prepared to run out to Target after 8pm in the middle of the Christmas shopping season to get small presents for all the kids. But I didn't have to. Someone in the sisterhood of working women gave me permission to just let it go. Whew! My kids showed up the next day with a present for their sitter and none for the other children. And they came home with gifts from their sitter, almost every other child at daycare, ... and Passive Aggressive Mommy (or at least from her son, but last time I checked 4 year olds weren't allowed to charge books at Barnes and Noble.) Now, of course, the kids didn't give a rat's butt. Mine didn't and I'm sure none of the other toddlers did either. (For the record, neither did my sitter.) Nope, we all know that the only people who care about and notice these things are the other moms. And I am now the slacker Mommy who can't be bothered to get Christmas gifts for all the other children. Thank you, P.A.M.

Now, do I really care about any of these judgmental mommies? No. Of course not. But they do get under my skin no matter how much I try not to let them. Am I wrong or should moms be supportive of other moms? We're all part of the same incredibly difficult, awe inspiring little club so why can't we give our fellow moms some props instead of tearing them down?

So do you have any categories I should add? Competitive Mommy stories to share? Let's hear them!


I Enjoy a Good Spanking
Now that got your attention, didn't it?

I've been having a lively debate with friends about spanking. It all started with the news that an assemblywoman in California has proposed a law (scroll to the bottom) that would outlaw spanking a child under 4, making it a misdemeanor and levying a fine. I think that the intent behind the bill - decreasing violence in our society - is laudable, but come on! In most cases, there is truly a difference between a swat on the butt and a beating.

I don't spank and I decided early on that I never would. T, on the other hand, was always for it. (Get your mind out of the gutter!) T was spanked and recalls that it usually only happened when he really deserved it. Now, however, he looks at H&H and tells me he could never spank either of them. Plus, if we spanked our 2 year old, any temporary disciplinary benefit would be far outweighed by the long term results. He would turn around and start spanking Little H, the kids at daycare, and the cats. Probably with something heavy. I know without a doubt that the "we do not hit" lesson would go in one Big H ear and out the other as a result. This is where so many opinions diverge. Some people insist that spanking is the only way their child will listen and that a 2 year old can somehow figure out the difference between toddler hitting and parental discipline. I'm not sure that I buy that. Maybe Hollis is emotionally and developmentally far behind his peers, but I doubt it. I know the only lesson he would learn from a swat from Mommy or Daddy is that it's OK for him to swat too.

Whatever your views on spanking are, I think most of us can agree that a spank does not equal child abuse. If California really wants the community to take violence seriously, then start by funding social services so that social workers aren't doing drive by visits for slave wages. Give parents, rich and poor, the parenting tools and help they need when they're overwhelmed. Enforce the laws already on the books and then back them up with the money to support law enforcement and prosecution. Criminalizing spanking isn't the way to do it. Plus, can you imagine enforcing this law? How? Unless someone actually witnesses a spank or it leaves a serious mark (which would be child abuse anyway), how do we prove an illegal spank has occurred? I distinctly recall my quite clever and manipulative little brother threatening to call social services on my parents as a tool to get out of punishments. If my 6 year old brother could figure out how to push my parents' buttons like that, I can't even imagine what sort of ammunition the proposed law in California might give tots on the West Coast!

Let me know what you think. Is a swat on the butt a valuable parental disciplinary tool, a heinous form of violence, or something in between?

On an almost completely unrelated topic, while looking for details on the proposed California law I discovered that my malpractice insurance does not cover spanking a client. Good to know. I've been tempted in the past.

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Mr. Know-It-All
Here's another reason to lose the guilt about being a mom working outside the home. As much as I generally loathe linking to Fox News, I loved the article by Megan Dowd.

And thank to my Mom for the tip!

(Sorry for the non-post. I, and the kiddos, have been sick. Real posting to resume shortly!)


Happy Groundhog Day
Have I mentioned that I have a groundhog? Nope? Well, actually we have two. They came with the house. Of course, the former occupants failed to mention that they had two furry little hole digging rodents in the back yard when we purchased the house, but that's for another post. T would like to "relocate" the little critters. I haven't let him do it because I kind of like the idea of having my very own Punxsutawney Phil and Phillipa in the backyard.

So yes, we have two groundhogs and because today is Groundhog Day, I thought I should report on their movements. Or lack of movements. It's damn cold here today so I doubt they're coming out of their cozy little underground den. But if they do, it's nice and cloudy here today so there will be no groundhog shadow spotting. I guess that means an early Spring! And if the sun does come out unexpectedly, I promise to go cover the groundhogs' exit holes with very large rocks.

*Yes, this is a picture of one of the little varmints. He's lounging by the pool.


A New Look for Lawyer Mama

Let me know what you think of the new look. I was incredibly tired of seeing the same old Blogger Template and went looking for a new one. I got this one from Zoot.

Oh, and if you're having problems getting to my site or my archives, it's not just you. I was convinced I had royally screwed something up when I changed my template last night, but apparently Blogger is having problems. Again. (At least I hope it's not something I did!)


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