A Mother Far from Home

on becoming supermom

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What I Learned when my 1 year-old let herself out of the house

A Mother Far from Home

Our house is located – hopefully not forever but definitely for now – in the burbs. Which means that, although the traffic isn’t super fast, it is right outside our front door. And there are curves on both sides so, needless to say, it ain’t a safe place for a one year old who doesn’t understand the mechanics of impact.

A while ago after I’d brought groceries in and was putting them away in the kitchen, the house sounded strangely silent. I called her name, heard nothing and instantly remembered I had forgotten to lock the front door. You guessed it. She was out the front door.

Here’s what I learned.

1) I am a dang fast sprinter. I had a two month old and, as I was sprinting down our hallway, felt my insides move up and down and all over. Really fast but in slow motion. That’s weird, I thought, perhaps, my womb had dislodged itself from any other part of my body and was is floating around. Perhaps I am so fast that my insides got whiplash. After I found her playing by the car, nearly crushed her with hugs, and brought her back inside, I thought that was perhaps the fastest I’d ever run in my whole life. Never for track and field. Never in sports. Never while trying to get in shape. Only when my baby was (or at least could have been) in grave danger. Continue reading


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What I Learned Hosting a Progressive Dinner with 20 Kids

A Mother Far from Home

To say I hosted 50 people at our house for a Christmas Progressive Dinner would be true. Saying that almost 20 of them were small humans just makes it crazy. Particularly when our current house is a modest 3 bedroom (of which guests don’t normally congregate to eat) with a small front and back yard.

It was a good ole time, though and here’s what I learned.

1) We needn’t be so worried about age appropriate toys. After about 20 minutes I looked in my daughter’s (20 months) room and saw a lot of girls having a grand time. One girl grabbed my arm, opened the closet and asked if I could take down the dress up clothes so they could play in them. Cute. But, the thing is, those weren’t dress up clothes. They were her real clothes. So, either my daughter’s clothes are fancier than normal or they are just weird. I may need outside help with this. They played in her crib, with her blankets, read her books, and lined up her stuffed animals. They were up to about 6 or 7 years old, but did the fact that my daughter’s stuff was geared towards babies under 2 matter? No. It made me realize that I can just get toys I think they’ll like and keep them around for various stages. Blocks may be for stacking at one age and for building obstacles at another. Continue reading


What I Learned when my daughter woke up the entire 2nd floor of our hotel

A Mother Far from Home

And it was not a small hotel. In fact, resort would be the more apt description. It went something like this. She was up late the evening before because we hosted for Thanksgiving. After being put down for a nap in the hotel she had been sleeping roughly an hour when the neighbor’s very loud industry type door (I said it was a resort, I didn’t say it was super classy) slammed and woke her up. She cried and couldn’t get back to sleep. So, that evening, she woke up around 11pm inconsolable and screamed bloody murder for an hour or two. She was super over tired and when she’s like that nothing makes it better but time. You can hold her, hug her, give her something to drink, bring her in your bed and it will all work for two seconds but when she hits the almost asleep phase, she screams again. So, after two hours of this and knowing we were getting mental death threats from everyone on our floor, we decided the next day we would have to be diligent to get her rested up again.

Here’s what I learned.

1) Let go of things that are less important but guard the things that are highly important. At home I make homemade baby food for my 7 month old. I just think it tastes better, it’s less expensive and it just seems easier. While we were gone we bought baby food. In my mind, a weekend of baby food out of a jar was not a big deal. I knew he wouldn’t mind and I wasn’t going to be OCD about it because I knew it’d be a pain. Her naps, however, ARE highly important. It is important to me that she doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night screaming because she’s over tired. When she’s well rested you never hear a peep til morning. So, the next day we decided to guard her nap like watchmen. We put her playpen in the bathroom hoping for an exhaust fan. When there wasn’t one, we turned on the tumble dryer up high and closed all doors that would possibly let in other noise. Daughter sleeping in the bathroom? Weird? Yes. But you know what? She “slept like a baby” and couldn’t hear the loud doors closing or even her little brother making all sorts of noises. Guarding the nap kept the rest of the weekend enjoyable.  Continue reading


What I learned getting a urine sample from an 18 month old

Here I am again, talking about things medically related. This winter we had quite a few visits to the doctor. But, this was a special episode. My – then – 18 month old baby girl had us convinced she had a UTI. She was acting all weird and she’d say peepee and then smack her diaper and scrunch her face as though in pain. This went on for a day or so until I, bright mother that I am, put two and two together. So, instead of simply heading to the doctor and waiting for him to tell me “it’s viral” and send me home, I decided I’d get a urine sample so he could do the test right there. We thought it could possibly save us from having to do the other UTI test that will go unnamed as it has given us horrible memories (more on that here). All I have to say is this. Wow, what a morning.

What I learned trying to get a urine sample from an 18 month old.

1) Kids are flippin’ stubborn. My mama always said, “I can’t wait until you have a daughter, I bet she’ll turn out just like you.” I, of course, took that statement to be a compliment. Now, I understand. It was neither a compliment nor an insult. It was simply a warning. My little girl has staying power. Did it matter that I’d given her two or three big sippy cups full of water, milk and juice? No. She was flat sure not going to pee just because I wanted her to. She was naked, on my lap, watching football. Wouldn’t you think she’d be distracted enough to pee? No. She probably focused specifically on not peeing, just because I wanted her to so bad. Continue reading


What I Learned when my Baby Ruined my Bedding

For some reason the adult bed in the house is our hangout. Maybe because it’s comfy and my daughter likes to stand up and fall down. Maybe because I like to lay somewhere soft now and again. Maybe because I lay them on it before a shower or bath. That is when it happened. I like to put on my bathing suit and take both of them into the shower. In my mind, it helps prevent fear of water and gives them a little fun. I had the toddler and baby naked and ready to get into the shower.  I walk away for five seconds leaving the baby on the bed and – you guessed it – rear escape of recently digested dinner. All. Over. The. Bedspread. Okay, I got it 50% off at an end of the year sale. But it was thick, pretty, and not dry cleanable. I learned a few things after the not-so-disastrous-but-highly-annoying-event.

1) Many of the things we get annoyed at our children for are our own faults. Baby Boy had to go to the bathroom. That isn’t his fault and actually it’s a good thing. I’m glad his system is-a-workin’. The fact that he seriously stained the bedspread is my own fault because I – the adult here – left him there. We get irritated at toddlers for going through our purses, yet we leave them within their reach. We get annoyed at repetitive disruptive behaviors, but we don’t bother correcting or disciplining those behaviors. I heard it said once that most behaviors our children have are our own faults. We are in charge of the correction, discipline, praise, punishment and rewards in the house.

2) White gets a bad rap, but it is actually much more practical. People say you can’t have white upholstery or fabrics in a house with children, but you know what? You can bleach white. You know what you can’t bleach? Teal and ivory suede.

3) It is actually always better to be safe than sorry. Sure, my comforter doesn’t really matter and I can always get a new one. Or, even if I don’t, oh well. The point is that kids are unpredictable, fast and delicate. Too close to the edge of the bed and they could fall. Don’t lock the door and they can go out the front door. I’m not suggesting being paranoid (like I am) but I always tend to operate on a “better safe than sorry” mentality and don’t shortcut. As I said the other day, shortcuts never end well.

4) I have lightened up since having children. Before having children something like a ruined comforter would have made me flip out. I would have been angry passionate about the whole situation and had to take a while to calm down. After I saw the damage, because I heard the disaster from a few feet away, I just laughed. He laughed, I laughed and, well, we just took that shower we were waiting for.

Life is all about the little things that become memories that become stories. Maybe I’ll find another comforter (or doona, as they call it here in Australia) 50% off here soon. And if I do, I’ll make sure it’s white.

A Mother Far from Home

PS – for more What I Learned posts go to the Archives!