Friday, March 13, 2015

Frugal mom or cheap mom

I prefer the term "frugal" but more often of late, my husband and one or two friends have called me cheap. And not in the endearing "cheap date" kind of way either. I just laugh, because maybe, just maybe, I am cheap. 

Case in point - recently we had an amazing day at the zoo with a friend. I packed all our snacks and made us to-go coffees before we left. I insisted we leave the zoo before lunch because I refuse to buy the overpriced concession meals. This is the case whenever we go to an attraction - the zoo, aquarium, fun fair, wherever. I do not like to spend money on food when we are out somewhere. That day I caved and bought a small bag of chips because we were all starting to get a case of the hangry's. My husband always berates me for my refusal to buy concession food - but I just can't do it!!

However this inevitably leads to a hungry mom and dad, and when I am hungry I cannot even think straight. The hunger is as loud as a locomotive rushing through my head chugging "feed me, feed me, feed me." When travelling through Europe with my stepsister in our 20's the rule of trip, we learned two days in, was keep her warm and me fed. When I am hungry I often snap at whoever is around, so trips to the zoo and aquarium don't always end on good note. One would think this would cause me to change my ways. But I am also stubborn.

This is a small example of the big picture of how I live as a mom. Not on sale? Not buying it! Can I find it used? If not, maybe I will wait. Clearing out your summer stock for 80% off. Perfect for next year's wardrobe. Don't get me started on Baby Macaroni, who I recently bought what may have been her first brand new item from me, ever. I buy most of The Babe's clothes at swap meets, because the stuff there is a fraction of the price and she is growing so fast. The result tends to be mismatching patterns and winter prints in spring, but hey, no judgments okay? Reindeer become moose, elves become gnomes and snowflakes..well those are just snowflakes. I buy her the cheaper runners from Superstore, because childrens Nike and New Balance runners fit for a millisecond but are bloody expensive. I do not think I am alone on this, am I? 

When my mom used to take me to the movies she would sneak in homemade popcorn in brown paper bags. It was light on butter but heavy on salt. I would beg for movie theatre popcorn but she rarely caved. I used to think she was cheap. Now I can not only understand, I do the same thing with the sweet treats! I have become my mother in all her frugalness. It's just that life has become so darn expensive; I try to find savings wherever I can. I don't see this changing anytime soon, so my kids will just have to learn to like it. Or starve. Or go naked. 

Oh my. I really have become my mother.

~ H

PS - in search of savings, I tried to make my own dish soap. Lesson learned? Buy Dawn on sale. Save yourself the time and the very disappointing results.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Listening ears

You know the ones? The listening ears? The ones you ask your child to put on morning, noon and night? Yeah, those ones! Todays post is about when the listening ears don't work, selectively turned off at the most inopportune times. 

After a great morning of shopping, playground activities and an excellent demonstration of sharing a most-coveted swing with a friend, The Babe, Baby Macaroni and I continued to enjoy the outdoors with a walk with a friend around a nearby lake. Exercise was had, snacks were eaten and no ducks were harmed in the process of circling the lake. By all measures it was a success. Then it was time to pack up and get in the car. And this is when we all began to unravel. Because when The Babe stops listening and acting out, I get embarrassed. Yes. Embarassed. When embarrassed at her behaviour, one of two things happens. I either over-discipline or under-discipline. I yell or I beg. I stop her from running away from me by bear hugging her or I threaten to never ever ever bring her to the park again. (Of course we will go to the park again. That is just a ridiculous notion altogether.) I silently curse her for making me look like a bad parent. 

BUT SHE IS 3! She has not spent the last half hour scheming as to how she can make me look. She has been looking at ducks and eating popcorn and doesn't want it to end. Or, if it must end, can't it end by dancing around the trunk space of our Subaru? She is not malicious and she is excitable, so why does it bother me so much? Why do I care what anyone thinks about my parenting? Why do I presume they think anything at all?

Mom-shaming is a buzz word right now, but here's the thing - no one has shamed me except me. No one has said anything negative to me about The Babe or Baby Macaroni. No one looks at what I feed them and dress them in and comments on it. No one says, "wow she is very badly behaved". I'm the one who chastises them and myself for not living up to some invisible standard of behaviour and discipline. So it is time to change that because I have some pretty awesome kids and I don't say that enough. It's time to get over myself and say, "yeah, I probably wouldn't want this fun day to end either, so I get why you are acting crazy when it is time to leave." And then breathe. It's time to stop caring what other people think, because they probably don't care one way or the other; they probably don't notice at all.

~ H

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Scary-led weaning

Baby-led weaning or BLW as it is referred to by some is the scariest shit I have ever done. Am doing, I should say. A little back story: I decided that in order to save time and sanity, I will not be making the 5-star Annabel Karmel style baby purees for Baby Macaroni, like I did with The Babe. It was time-consuming, labour-intensive and downright maddening if she didn't end up liking the batch I made. I also wanted to forgo the constant spoon feeding the second time around. I have a toddler to wrangle now, as well as myself to feed, so BLW seemed to be a way to do it all. The idea behind BLW is that babies join the family at the table and eat pieces of food by gumming the stick and finger-shaped pieces of food. Other than salty foods, honey, certain fishs and high fiber foods, every food is fair game according to the information I read.

So I bought the book, shopped for the groceries and away we went. And then stopped. And then started again, sort of. I gave Baby Macaroni half a red pepper to knaw on. She loved it! Success! Then she broke off a twoonie-sized chunk in her mouth and I panicked. I fished it out with my finger, a BLW no-no, and gave her back the rest of the pepper hesitatingly. The next night, a quarter of an apple. Same results. She loves the food, but gets mad when I take it out of her mouth. She gags on food, a BLW yes-yes, and my husband shudders. I posed a question on FB asking for tips and got some pretty helpful answers, but I still can't get past a nagging feeling that no matter what, a toast finger is a choking hazard. I also prefer to make her food rather than have her eat solely pouches of Superstore baby food. And there lies the problem. If I am terrified everytime I move outside the half Cheerio and steamed broccoli spectrum, is it really worth it?

Two nights ago I decided to be brave. After a few bites of cheddar cheese at lunch, we thought maybe a little cottage cheese at dinner would be a natural progression. Soft in nature, there would also be no choking hazard. What we didn't bet on was a reaction once the cheese and liquid touched the skin on her face, hands and legs. One trip to the emergency room later, which included an rather amusing conversation with a transient man, and we were given the all clear to go home and go to sleep. 

Now terrified of choking AND reactions, I am at a loss. Having a first aid kit next to me at the table while I gingerly give Baby Macaroni her next new fruit may be the only way we get through feeding her until she is 3-years-old. I sincerely hope not, but I just can't make any more damned baby beef bourginion which is destined for the blender.

~ H