9 Reasons I’m Glad My Kids Are 4 Years Apart


The moment my first child was born, and I felt that crazy love, I wanted another baby right away. I wanted 100 babies. We started trying in earnest when our daughter was barely a year old. Which was crazy. Had I gotten pregnant right away, I could have had two kids under two. And I would now be bald, having ripped out all my hair.

I’m sure there are all sorts of plusses to having kids close in age, like the way they play together, but it just looks so damn hard. Two kids in diapers. Two kids in tantrum. Two Xanax for Mommy.

Knowing what I know now, I’m so glad my children ended up being more than four years apart. Some would say that’s too big a spread for them ever to be BFF’s, but I disagree. There are siblings close in age who despise each other, and others who’ve overcome wide gaps to become best buds. Time will tell. Until then, I’m enjoying 8 amazing advantages of the four year spread:

1. Preschool – Since my older daughter is already in school, I have alone time with my little one every morning, and I treasure it. The first half of the day is quiet, lazy and sweet. The second half is utter chaos, and that’s okay, but if I didn’t have my solo baby time, I’d be way more frazzled.

2. Drop off play-dates – At age four, the big one’s just old enough to spend a few hours at a friend’s house without separation anxiety or drama, freeing up me up to handle small baby-mergencies when needed.

3. Baby safety – It’s comforting that a 4-year-old can understand the baby rules: wash your hands before touching, no fingers on baby’s face, and be gentle. I’d say she follows these rules at least 62% of the time. At least I know she’d never purposely try to hurt the baby, though sometimes her affection can be borderline smothering. Which brings us to…

4. Baby love – A younger child might ignore an infant, but my 4-year-old adores her baby sister. The first time I let her cuddle our newborn on her lap, she exclaimed, “I can’t believe I’m holding a real live baby!” Way better than a Corolle doll. Except mom won’t let her drag the real live baby up and down the stairs.

5. My little helper – Sometimes Big Sister takes her role very seriously, assisting me by fetching wipes, tossing dirty diapers in the pail and singing a soothing round of Twinkle Twinkle when needed. She can be really helpful…unless she’s watching Sophia the First, and then I’m on my own.

6. Less gear – My 4-year-old is done using her crib, high chair and other baby/toddler gear, so it’s all ready (if a little banged up) for baby.  And there’s no need for a double stroller, since she never sits down.

7. Good talks – When my first kid feels frustrated by the changes in our family, she knows how to express herself, telling me in no uncertain terms, “Mom, you need to spend more time with me!” I’m grateful for her honestly, and sometimes I can head off a big melt-down just by hearing her out and scheduling a frozen yogurt date.

8. Their own identities – Jan Brady grew up in the shadow of Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. But my girls won’t even attend high school at the same time. Hopefully, the little one can escape comparisons and forge her own path.

9. A slowly emptying nest – When my first is headed to college (sniffle, sniffle, sob), my little one will just be starting high school, which I hope will help ease the pain. Maybe, just as insurance, we should have one more baby four years from now. Shhh, nobody tell my husband.

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10 Things Breastfeeding Can Get You Out Of Doing


Happy National Breastfeeding Awareness Month! Surely, you’re already aware of the health benefits, so I’m here to share one of the lesser known perks of breastfeeding: it can totally get out of stuff. Things you really don’t feel like doing. It’s the adult version of telling your gym teacher that you can’t participate today because you’re surfing the crimson wave.

Now, the truth is, we breastfeeders are superwomen who can whip a boob out on a street corner if necessary to soothe our babies. But let’s keep that between us, okay? Sometimes mama needs an excuse to peace out. Here are 10 not-so-fun things you can skip while nursing:

1. Bedtime routine for older kids – I have a preschooler who is amazing all day and a holy terror at night. It takes about 8 books, 7 made up stories, 6 negotiations, 5 backrubs, 4 long bouts of stalling, 3 tantrums, 2 minutes of straight up begging and a partridge in a pear tree to get her into bed every night. Guess who’s in charge of that shitshow now that I’m nursing a new baby? Daddy!

2. The dishes – Ditto the after dinner clean-up. I’m amazed I can get dinner on the table at all, frankly, and I’m usually eating it one-handed with our bambina on my lap, trying not to spill spaghetti on her. Once it’s time to scrub pots and load the dishwasher, I conveniently realize that the baby needs to nurse.

3. Making small talk – Stuck babbling about the weather at the neighborhood block party? Time to breastfeed!

4. Listening to solicitors – You know that feeling of dread when your doorbell rings around dinnertime and you just know it’s someone from Greenpeace trying to save the whales and you simply do not have the time, money or interest to hear out their well-meaning 20-minute spiel at the moment? Just answer the door half naked, holding a hungry baby. Stops the conversation before it even starts.

If you miss eating for two as a pregnant lady, don’t worry, you still kind of are.

5. Evening plans – Hey, actress friend, I’m sure that mime version of “Hamlet” that you’re starring in is great and all, but the baby really needs me at night… cluster feeding…you understand.

Continue reading at mom.me…

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14 Things My Kid Does When I Ask Her To Clean Up

clean up

Now that my older daughter’s four, she’s big enough to do chores and take responsibility for her own messes—or so I thought. Let’s just say my attempts to get her to clean up after herself have not been so successful. Even when I sing that catchy little song, “Clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere/Clean up, clean up, everybody do their share”—I’m the only one doing my share. My share is 100%.

Here’s what my kid does when she doesn’t want to clean up, which is always:

1. Negotiates: “Can I keep playing and then I’ll clean up after dinner?” No. Unless I’m just too tired to argue and then yes.

2. Stalls: “Wait, I just have to finish building these five different towers.” Sometimes I fall for this, because, you know, creative expression.

3. Turns the tables: “It’s your mess, you clean it up.” This is patently false as well as disrespectful, but you have to admire the gumption.

4. Ignores me completely. Either I am mute or she is deaf. Or perhaps I’ve started speaking in tongues.

5. Distracts from the issue: “Mom, I’m really hungry.” No way. Then I’ll have a snack to clean up too.

6. Wanders away. Now you see her… now she’s in her room making a brand new giant mess.

7. Goes on the defensive: “Mommy, you always interrupt me when I’m playing.” That’s true, because she never stops playing.

8. Goes on the offensive: “You’re not my friend anymore!!!” Oh well.

Keep reading at mom.me…..

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6 Embarrassing Questions Your Preschooler Will Absolutely Ask You


You gotta love preschoolers. They’re curious, chatty and totally unfiltered, especially when it comes to asking probing questions about you and your body. Sometimes their queries are so embarrassing you’ll wish you could return to the infant days when you did all the talking. But instead of turning red and clamming up, aim to turn these awkward situations into teachable moments. Here’s a preview of what you’ll probably be asked, and a road map for answering:

1. “How did that baby get IN your belly?”
It’s exciting to share pregnancy news with older kids, but your growing belly is bound to provoke tricky questions like this one. Whenever I’m faced with an awkward question from my preschooler, I follow two rules of thumb: #1 Answer truthfully and #2 Keep it simple. A young child might be completely satisfied with “Daddy and I made the baby together” or “He gave me a seed, called a sperm, that helped Mommy’s egg grow into a baby.” If your child wants more details, it’s okay to provide them. (There’s a saying: If he’s old enough to ask, he’s old enough for the answer.) But however much it kills you to utter the words “penis in vagina,” try not to show your discomfort. If you’re not embarrassed, your kids won’t be either, though they may change the subject quickly — and that’s fine.

2. “What’s that string in your underwear?”
Since most little kids love to follow mom into the bathroom, it’s nearly impossible to hide evidence of your period. While it’s tempting to pretend your tampon string is a yo yo, you’ll have trouble keeping up any ruse month after month. Instead, try: “Grown-up women bleed a small amount every month but it doesn’t hurt. It’s actually a good thing, because it’s part of how women’s bodies work so they can make babies.” If your kid’s still curious, explain that your body releases an egg every month and your uterus prepares a cozy nest. When the egg is not fertilized, the uterus sheds its lining. How cool is that? (Admittedly, as a mother of two daughters, I tend to lay on the miracle of life stuff pretty thick, and why not? Our bodies really are amazing.)

3. “Why is your butt so squishy?”
Our kids spend a lot of time comparing their bodies to ours, and, God bless ‘em, they have great observational skills. Friends of mine have reported being asked about their big nipples, loose skin, thick thighs and, yes, squishy bums. Preschoolers might even wonder aloud if you’ve got a baby in your belly when all you are smuggling is last night’s mac ‘n cheese. These unfiltered questions may seem insulting, but that’s not at all how they’re intended, so instead of taking offense, try to keep it positive. Try this: “When girls grow into women, their bodies get curvier. And I like my squishy butt — it’s great for sitting on!” Say it with a smile and you might just start believing it.

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10 Shocking Things That Happen To Your Body After Birth


It’s hardly fair. After nine months of pregnancy aches and pains, I assumed I’d feel so much better once the baby was born. But though my nausea and heartburn quickly faded, my hormones went haywire, my hair fell out and I needed maxi pads in size jumbo elephant.

Horrified? Just wait, there’s more! So much more. I’ve been to this sloppy rodeo twice now, so I’m here to tell you the freaky truth about our postpartum bodies, and some practical advice to get through it all.

1. The Grand Canyon – It only takes a few hours to dilate to 10 centimeters, so why does it take so much longer to snap back? Right after birth, my lady parts felt like they were flapping in the breeze, and things were so wide open down there, I was scared a vital organ would fall out and land in my shoe. My advice: No matter what, do not bend over naked and look in a mirror. You can’t unsee it this stuff.

2. I.P. Freely – I thought that poor bladder control was just a pregnancy thing, but all that pressure on your pelvic floor really takes its toll on your plumbing. So yeah, you’re still going to function like a leaky faucet, especially if you laugh or sneeze. My advice: Whatever you do, don’t bounce on a trampoline unless you’re wearing a Poise pad.

3. Am I Still in Labor? – I was nursing my newborn when I felt the unmistakable pain of a contraction. WTF? Was I having post traumatic flashbacks? Turns out that in order for the uterus to return to its normal size, it contracts just like when you’re in labor—and these contractions can be intensified by nursing or orgasm. My advice: Avoid orgasm, you postpartum sex monster. LOL.

4. Night Fever – A few nights after I got home from the hospital, something woke me, and for once, it wasn’t a hungry baby. Full body chills and night sweats, a product of post-pregnancy hormonal shifts, left me drenched and freezing. Or boiling hot. You never know. My advice: Go to bed in layers, and be prepared for a summer or winter look, depending.

Continue the horror at mom.me….

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