Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Guest Post: Why I Am Ungrateful For Pink, Plastic and Princesses

The BlogHer13 conference reminded me of something I wrote about in 5 Things I Learned In My First Year of Blogging: the most important and interesting aspect of blogging are the relationships one develops. It was fantastic to meet some of my favorite bloggers in real life, but most of them live far away.

Luckily for me, my soul mate bloggy friend lives in New York, too. She definitely deserves credit for preventing from my quitting this blogging experiment entirely.

That's why I'm thrilled to be hosting the smart and insightful Rachel of The Tao of Poop for a funny and painfully true piece about the ridiculous gifts our children often receive from family members.


Disney Princesses
Photo Credit: Tao of Poop
Pink, princesses and a plethora of plastic pieces. We specifically said "No presents" on the invitation to our daughter's second birthday party. This part of the invitation was universally ignored. 

Am I looking a gift horse in the mouth? Probably. 

Do I need a place to vent about it anyway? Yes. 

Does that place need to be somewhere that said friends and family can't partake of my heroic level of ingratitude? Of course; that's why I'm here! Deb has graciously agreed to allow me to use Urban Moo Cow as a confessional of sorts. Behold my confession….

Monday, July 29, 2013

That Time I Didn't Spend $2.60 on a Blanket Out of Spite

I would love to write something deep and poetic about my experience at the BlogHer13 conference this past weekend. Something heartfelt and reflective like Sarah at Left Brain Buddha wrote this morning.

But I can't. I still haven't processed it all, and you know what's great about me is that I usually just ignore intense emotions that I can't process until they bubble up in a volcanic explosion of tears and obsessive Swiffering, and then I take it out on Rayne, complaining about the horrid smell of the Sriracha with which he ruins his pizza.

All I can say about this is, at least I am self-aware. I feel like I should get a few points for that.

So instead, I'm going to write about how I didn't spend two dollars an hour yesterday to increase my own comfort immeasurably. Out of spite.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

That Awkward Moment When Your Toddler Discovers Your Body

My 19-month-old son has discovered his body. Unfortunately, he has also discovered mine.

I noticed it a few weeks ago when he unceremoniously threw open the bathroom door while I was showering. He opened the curtain and squealed with excitement.

Yay! Moo Cow! I found you, my Moo Cow!

All of a sudden, he went quiet as his eyes slowly drifted downward, then back up to my face, then down again.

What's that, Moo Cow? I could see him asking.

It's all been downhill since then.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Which Is More Important, Intelligence or Resilience?

Welcome back to the Parenting Blog Carnival: Around the World in Six Weeks. In this Carnival, we ask: What can we learn from parents around the world and how they raise their children?

For the next several weeks, I will join other bloggers (see below!)in writing about our reactions to Christine Gross-Loh's new book, Parenting Without Borders.

Two weeks ago, we looked at co-sleeping. Last week was on food. This week we tackle another touchy subject: Is too much self-esteem harmful to kids?

Chapter Four, "Feeling Good: Can Self-Esteem Be Harmful?" packs a punch. Gross-Loh touches on research and anecdotes about a range of topics, including self-esteem, entitlement, intelligence versus hard work, happiness and others.

With so many important and varied topics from which to choose, I felt uncharacteristically tongue-tied. I'm writing here on one aspect -- the idea of intelligence as a "fixed" trait -- but I reserve to right to circle back to this chapter in the future! (It's my blog, I can do what I want.)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast, Again

Welcome back to the Parenting Blog Carnival: Around the World in Six Weeks. In this Carnival, we ask: What can we learn from parents around the world and how they raise their children?

For the next several weeks, I will join Sarah from Left Brain Buddha, Jessica from School of Smock and others in writing about our reactions to Christine Gross-Loh's new book, Parenting Without Borders.

Last week, we looked at co-sleeping. This week we tackle a subject that is anxiety-provoking for many of us: How should we teach our children to eat?

Food, unlike co-sleeping, is a hot-button issue for me. Consequently, Chapter 3 of Gross-Loh's book, "Global Food Rules," was incredibly difficult for me to read let alone write about.

Frankly, I could not care less if you co-sleep with your child or banish him to the east wing. I don't care a whit if, by virtue of your sleeping philosophy, you create your very own Buster Bluth or produce the next Dexter Morgan.

Well, maybe I care if you create a serial killer, but you catch my drift: Your personal sleeping habits and those of your family do not concern me.

But eating? Eating is communal.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Where Should Your Baby Sleep?

Welcome to the Parenting Blog Carnival: Around the World in Six Weeks!

What can we learn from parents around the world and how they raise their children?

When we first heard about Christine Gross-Loh's new book, Parenting Without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us, we were intrigued. Gross-Loh addresses many of the tough questions of parenting: Where should kids sleep? What should they eat? How do we raise our children to be happy, successful and kind?

Sarah from Left Brain Buddha, Jessica from School of Smock and I will be writing about our own experiences with these topics as parents, as well as our reactions to the book.

We'll tackle many provocative topics raised by the book. We invite you to join us in the coming weeks. Contact any of us -- or comment on a post -- and tell us if you're interested in linking up with us for any (or all) of the upcoming blog posts. {We're calling it a "blog carnival" because blog carnivals are collections of blog posts, written by different bloggers, all focused on the same topic.}

Here are the questions we'll be exploring in the Parenting Carnival:
1) How should we teach our kids to eat?
2) Is too much self-esteem harmful to kids?
3) Do American kids have too much academic pressure? Or not enough?
4) How do we raise kids with good character?
5) How do we raise independent kids and foster their self-control?

We'll also be giving away a copy of Parenting Without Borders, signed by the author Christine Gross-Loh. Enter the giveaway by commenting on any of our Carnival posts during the next two weeks. We'll announce the winner by July 15.

Let's read and talk about how culture shapes our parenting. Join us!


Today, we’re starting with the number one subject on the minds of new parents: SLEEP! And it's a minefield: Co-sleep, or put baby in a crib in a separate room? Rock baby to sleep, or let her cry-it-out? Allow baby to sleep whenever, or put baby on a schedule?

When I was pregnant, Rayne and I were pretty clear about one thing: the baby would not be sleeping in our bed. Instead, we borrowed the Arm's Reach Mini Co-Sleeper from my cousin and hitched it to my side of the bed. And that is where he slept the first five months of his life.

If you look beyond the extreme cuteness you can see
the co-sleeper attached to my side of the bed.
The co-sleeper made it easier to breastfeed, check if he was breathing (which Rayne did with surprising regularity by blowing in his little face) and comfort him when he fussed. We had a changing table and a rocking/nursing chair in our bedroom; when we went to sleep, we had everything we needed.