5 Mommy Must-Haves for Young Toddlers

Have a young tot? Yeah, so do I. And I think I'd go nuts without the conveniences of the following items.

1. PIZZA CUTTER. Quicker than a fork and knife, and can cut nearly anything. Except for grapes, really. Waffles, pancakes, slices of bread, beans, cheese, hot dogs, bananas, tomatoes...you name it, cuts your time in half.

2. PILLOWS. These work great to cover your face while you are laughing hysterically at your child, who just did something unruly or inappropriate, and you don't want him to see. For example, Preston knows he isn't supposed to get behind the curtains in our living room. I hide the cords to our floor lamp there. When he attempts to fool around with the curtains, I give him a stern "No touch." and a slap on the hand. Yesterday he started walking the direction of the curtains, with mischief written all over his face. Before he could even grab them, I said, "Preston. No Touch." The boy turns around, walks over to me, and starts slapping my arm. Here is where the pillow came in handy.

3.BIKE HELMET WITH VISOR. Aids in softening the blow of face plants. Also reduces their reach into cabinets, lazy susans, etc.

4. THE SNACK TRAP. Got Cheerios? The Snack Trap is an ingenious cup with a unique soft lid with slits in it. Kids can reach in for a little handful of grub and the cup automatically closes when they remove their hand. Reduces mess! (Thanks mbeans.com!)

5. ALCOHOL. Lots of it and different kinds. You never know how far your kid is going to push you. Some days it might be a "glass of wine day", others may be "a six pack day", or "a glass of scotch night."


Happy Bloody St. Patrick's Day

This morning Preston slept in until 8:30. I should have known something was up. He was cranky and whiny. Not his usual self.

After breakfast we played on the living room floor- puzzles, books, Little People, Curious George- the usual. He finally seemed like 'Preston' and started toddling around this way and that. Walking over and banging on the sliding kitchen door. Taking measuring spoons and spatulas out of the drawers. Typical P. Except he kept falling.

Stand. Step. Fall. Repeat. Which is completely odd, since he's pretty stable in his sock-feet. He was all wobbly and weak-kneed. Kind of like a newborn foal. Take two steps....man down. Get up...fall backwards...man down. Call me crazy, but I know it's because of his terrible haircut (see previous post). I can only equate this situation to that of a cat whose whiskers have been cut. Preston's equilibrium is off.

As expected, one of Preston's falls ended with a whimper. He looked up at me and there was blood streaming from his mouth. UNEXPECTED. His mouth, by the way, had a plastic water bottle lid sticking out of it. Not the kind off of a disposable water bottle, but a reusable water bottle...the ones with the spouts that pop up and down. Just great.

There weren't any tears. He wasn't crying. He just wiggled himself out from underneath the kitchen table, spat out the lid, and smiled. Have you ever seen a baby smile with a bloody mouth? It's not right. It's eerie on many levels, none of which I can explain.

It took nearly five attempts before I could actually see what was going on - the piece of skin between his front teeth (which are gapped slightly) was dangling. He'd ripped it AND tore back some of the gum on his front right tooth. Ugh.

I called the pediatrician's office and they told me not to worry. They rarely suture any mouth tear and explained why: "It's the worst place for a wound due to the all the blood flow in the mouth, making everything look a hundred times worse than it is. And because you use your mouth to eat and talk, it's also difficult to keep the wound from bleeding. But it's the best place for wound because it heals so quickly." The nurse also told me that if his teeth were lose, they would stabilize. Good gravy!

Can you say, freaked out?! I already have deep-seeded fears of Preston falling and knocking his teeth out. I have nightmares about my own teeth falling out. I'm just teeth-sensitive. And him being so unstable on his feet right now is not helping. I think it's time to put a bicycle helmet on the kid, and fit him for a mouth guard.

You are thinking I'm paranoid, right? But this is rational fear. And I must say it's warranted. After all, it's been nearly six hours since 'the incident', and Preston now has a scrape on his forehead, and a red bump over and under his right eye. All from falling. It won't be long before he smashes his mouth again.

Maybe I should put Preston in a bubble? It's the only way as far as I'm concerned. Either that or feed me green beer to calm my nerves.


Worst. Haircut. Ever. All. Mommy's. Fault.

I went slumming this afternoon and bought Preston a $9.00 (including tax) bargain haircut. This is the second haircut of his life, and the worst.

His first haircut, as most of you know, was at a swanky, kid-friendly salon. Jeremy and I threw down nearly thirty bones for the perfect cut, a lock of hair, and picture. But it was a milestone, and our first kid...yada, yada, yada. We had to do it. You all know the drill.

Anyhow, I've driven by this "family hair care" joint many times, and decided to pop in to see if they had any openings. Upon walking in I knew I had made a mistake, but wasn't quick enough to think of an immediate exit plan. The place was half nail salon, half hair salon and everybody was Asian (except for P'Dub and I). Even the music playing was Asian.

I sit down on the chair and place P'Dub on my lap. The stylist - and I'm using this term loosely - covers Preston up with a cape, but not me. Weird. I tell her Preston needs a TRIM, and with my fingers show her how much...which was about 1/4" to 1/2". I tell her I like it longer, just want his hair tidied up.

The stylist didn't say anything and started trimming away. Hair is flying in every direction. She's going fast. Really fast. Clipping. Clipping. Clipping. And she didn't even water his hair down???!!!

Next thing I know she's got the ol' electric trimmer out. Holy Hell! I panic and can't say a word (just like the time I rubbed shoulders with Jasper Parnevick at The Memorial). She's trimming around his left ear and his right ear. Whew, it's over. Nope, not so fast...she's shaving his neck. His poor little baby neck!

Okay, now we're done. Breathe deep breaths. Preston seemed freakishly stunned, but who wasn't?

Before I could finish buckling Preston in his car seat, the stylist already had her coat on and waiting at the register. I paid her, nothing was said, and she walked out and sped off in her car before we even left the building.

Which by the way, on my way out, I noticed a large poster on the wall with pictures of twelve kids. All the kids had different, outdated hair cuts and were assigned a number. This was so that you could tell the stylist which hair cut you wanted. And no, I'm not even kidding.

You know the ol' saying, "What ya get is what ya pay for". Well, we got ourselves a $9.00 haircut alright. It's uneven. Choppy. His neckline is a mess. His neck is a mess. Some hair is cut, some isn't. It's like he has mange.

And we have two weeks until family pictures. Brilliant.


My Hot Dog Has a First Name, it's S-C-A-R-Y

I don't care much for hot dogs. About 20 years ago I was told they were made from earthworms (ingredient listed as erythorbate). Since then I learned they were actually made from the lips and a##holes of pigs. Which is the real truth? I don't know...and furthermore, I don't want to.

History proves that hot dogs are pretty much a staple for young children. I pride myself on buying only 'turkey' dogs for Preston. Turkey just 'sounds' like the better option, plus they contain less sodium. And, my little guys loves them. I protest they are evil.

The dogs have a defense mechanism like no other meat I've seen. These dogs want to live, they don't want to be eaten! And once put in the microwave, will lite up as if they were made of foil (not worms or icky animal parts). The little meat pieces spark and crackle and are downright SCARY!

The first couple times I cut up the dogs, put them in the microwave, and sparks flew...I thought I was losing it. Sparking meat (or meat-like stuff)? Yeah right. But then Jeremy became witness to the sparking dogs and my sanity was once again redeemed. Hastily, I wanted to call up Jennie-O and give them a piece of my mind. Now I really did want to know what was in these dogs! My cool-natured husband, however, went to Google.

The sparking dog phenomenon is called 'arcing'. These dogs aren't angry, these dogs are made up of an uneven mixture of salt and additives that produce a charge when in close proximity to one another. The charge 'arcs' to meet the next closest dog chunk, usually causing the edges to burn. And this isn't good for the dog or the microwave.

So for all you new mothers out there, getting ready to feed your child his/her first dog, be advised. Either heat up the entire dog in the microwave, boil it or put it in the oven. Or, cook them on a grill. You choose, but keep the evil dogs out of the microwave.