August 31, 2010

The Birds and the Bees

I knew this day would come eventually. I just didn't know it would be this soon. The other day, my daughters wanted to know how babies eat when they're in their mommy's tummies. They were fascinated to learn about the purpose of their belly buttons, although I'm still trying to explain why three of them are "outies" and one is an "innie." Then came the dreaded follow up: "How do babies get in their mommy's tummies?" I was driving and able to deflect with this wimpish response: "Look! Horses!"
Since that initial conversation, the question has not come up again. Yet, I think I need to take some action. I've been scouring the internet for age-appropriate books. I'm not ready to talk to them about puberty, menstruation, or any of those related topics. I am, however, trying to find a simple way to explain the birds and the bees. I haven't been happy with what I've found. Some books are too childish (using rhyming tactics that reviewers say make the message silly), others are beyond what a nearly-five-year-old needs to know.
I know some people might be shaking their heads and thinking it's simply too early to have this conversation. My girls are in school. They are in school with children who have younger siblings and have likely already had some version of "the Talk." I want them to hear these things from me first, not hear it on the playground. So.... any suggestions?

August 30, 2010


My daughters love to read. I'm glad they enjoy a good book, because I am an avid reader, too. These days, though, my reading is usually done on my 30 minute lunch break at work.
When my daughters were about a year and a half, I took them to a local library. They enjoyed being surrounded by books, even though the librarian kept trying to steer them toward board books and away from the picture books on the shelves. For the most part, I didn't see the library as a necessity. My mom was an elementary school teacher and we have hundreds of her books. I'm not exaggerating. When my mom died, my dad had me go through all of her books and set aside books for myself and my sister. It's quite nice to curl up with my girls on our "book couch" and read books to them that I remember my mom reading to me.
Then one day, I was taking my daughters somewhere and they asked me about a construction site we had just passed. I told them it was going to be a library. They asked if we could go when it opened and I agreed. It took a loooong time for the library to be built. I received a "back seat update" on the construction every time we passed the site. It's fairly close to our house, but it's not on a route we travel often. So imagine my surprise when we drove by just a few weeks ago and the parking lot was packed with cars. It was time to plan our library trip.
We ended up going on a Tuesday. We returned that same week on Friday and have made Friday our "Library Day." All of the girls have fun looking at the books in the children's section and picking out a book of her own. They also enjoy exploring the library and sitting in every single chair they pass. (You think I'm joking, don't you?) There is a sitting area with a fireplace, so I've already promised when can sit there for awhile when the fire is lit. Their only complaint is that they don't have their very own library card. I'll have to ask how old they will need to be to get one.
The library has been a nice teaching tool. On our visits, my girls are learning to be quiet and respect the grown ups who are there working. They're learning how to share and they're learning that just because you want a certain book that doesn't mean it will be there. (Sue Sue desperately wants to check out Pinkalicious, so I finally put my name on the waiting list. We're second in line, so I'm hoping it becomes available soon!) So if you need to find us on a Friday afternoon, chances are we're at the library.

August 29, 2010

The Winner is...

The winner of the David Garrett Rock Symphonies CD is:
Congratulations, Meg and thanks to everyone who entered!

August 25, 2010

How Much Would You Spend for a Halloween Costume?

I can't believe it's already time to start thinking about Halloween. With four costumes to prepare, perhaps I should have started sooner!
I've never made my daughters do a "theme" for Halloween. One year they all dressed as witches, but they each asked to be witches. Last year they all dressed like flowers because they all asked be flowers. This year, they all want to be different things.
Yesterday, I made the mistake of letting them look through a costume catalog that arrived in the mail. Tortilla is convinced I am going to shell out nearly $50 ($49.99 to be exact) for a Sleeping Beauty costume. Sleeping Beauty is her favoritest princess ever. EVER. She just recently stopped naming every new stuffed animal and doll Sleeping Beauty. But now she thinks the world might end if she isn't allowed to wear the costume she saw in this catalog. Oh, and even though she has a pair of play dress up shoes with Sleeping Beauty on them, she doesn't want to get them dirty so she wants me to buy the coordinating shoes, too. Is she getting any of it? Nope. However, I did find a "make-it-yourself" princess costume online that doesn't require any sewing. She seems to be happy with that. I can sew, but I don't own a sewing machine.
I started thumbing through the catalog. $25-$55 for infant costumes. Really?! Toddler and kid costumes start at $30. Adult costumes can reach $100. I get that not everyone has the time, luxury or talent to make costumes... but these prices blow my mind. I realize there are some stores that sell cheaper costumes... but still, how much is too much?
I've only bought costumes for the girls once. They were one-year-old. I hadn't planned on dressing them up for Halloween. Then Hubby and I were shopping and happened to walk by the costumes for infants. I couldn't help it. Suddenly I had to dress my babies for Halloween. I spent $10 per outfit... and then the next fall I sold them at my mom's of multiples sale for $5 each.
So far the girls want to be a princess (guess who!), a ballerina, Minnie Mouse and a pirate. All of those seem fairly doable, although a Minnie Mouse skirt may be hard to do on a budget. (Polka dots? Petticoats? This could be complicated).
For those of you who think it's too early to start thinking about Halloween costumes, just remember: any day now, stores are going to start putting up their Christmas displays!
****Don't forget to enter the David Garrett Rock Symphonies giveaway

August 24, 2010

Back to School

We survived the first day back to preschool! Yesterday was a tad chaotic, but we managed to get through it. Since my girls missed the kindergarten cutoff by DAYS they are the oldest in their preschool class, but I don't think that's a bad thing. Get this... their class is made up of 14 girls and 2... yes TWO.... boys. I don't know how that happened, but my girls are ecstatic to have so many female playmates.
I'm a little concerned about their teacher. For the last two years we had a wonderful, amazing teacher who was let go due to budget cuts. Their new teacher is extremely unorganized. I'm hoping it improves with time, but I'm not convinced it will. Still, my girls are excited to go to school and that's what counts for now.
I just got off the phone with the person in charge of kindergarten enrollment at our local charter school. The school has full day kindergarten so I would really like my girls to be accepted. Anyway, I asked her what the school's policy is on classroom placement for multiples. She said "we really try to keep them separated." Then I asked her how many kindergarten classes she anticipates having next year. Three. So if the girls are accepted, it won't be possible to have all four of them in different classes. I already have ideas on how I would like them split up... Geesh. It's only the second day of preschool and I'm already focused on kindergarten!
You still have time to enter my David Garrett Rock Symphonies giveaway!

August 22, 2010

Review and Giveaway: David Garrett's "Rock Symphonies" CD

As part of the Music Moms program, I occasionally have the opportunity to listen to and giveaway new music. I like music of all genres, so I'm always eager to listen to the new tunes. This time around, Music Moms provided me with a copy of David Garrett's Rock Symphonies.
Combining classical music with classic rock isn't a new concept, but I'm always interested in hearing what artists do to give something "old" a "new" spin. On this album, Garrett blends his violin skills with songs from bands such as Led Zepplin, Aerosmith and Nirvana.
I think I have to first confess that before I was asked to do this review, my opinion may have already been swayed. I subscribe to a certain entertainment magazine which has a "Bullseye" in the back of each issue, discussing each week's "hits" and "misses." Just a few weeks ago a "miss" was this: "While turning rock songs into choral numbers is great, turning them into symphonies is not. Please take note, David Garrett." Then Music Moms contacted me and asked me to do this review and giveaway. My curiosity got the better of me. I really wanted to hear this and judge for myself.
My overall opinion is that certain songs simply don't need to be turned into symphonies. Garrett's take on Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" was not entertaining for me to listen to. Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was OK. Guns 'N Roses "November Rain" was enjoyable as was Garrett's spin on the band's "Live and Let Die." It's not a bad album... it's just not something I would listen to on a regular basis. Still, there are some songs I would listen to (and enjoy listening to) again.
One Buried in Laundry reader will get the chance to decide for his/herself if rock songs should be made into symphonies. Music Moms is giving one of my readers an autographed copy of David Garrett's Rock Symphonies.
To enter the giveaway (this step is a must):
  • leave me a comment telling me what rock song you think would sound good if it were turned into a symphony. Please be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment.
For additional entries: (Leave a separate comment for each entry)
  • Become a follower of Buried in Laundry or let me know that you already follow this site.
  • Blog about this giveaway and link back to this post
This giveaway is open to U.S. addresses. The deadline to enter is 11 am EST Sunday August 29, 2010. The winner will have 48 hours after notification to provide me with a mailing address or a new winner will be chosen. Again, please remember to leave a valid email address!
Disclosure: Music Moms provided me with a complimentary CD to review and keep and will be providing the winner's prize, however no monetary compensation was provided for my review.

August 18, 2010

Don't Be Afraid to Follow Through

Working part-time in retail, I have the chance to see parents in various situations... some days they're in their glory, some days you can tell they just want to go home and hide from the world. Recently, I've started wondering why so many parents are afraid to follow through on their threats of punishment.
Here is a typical scenario: a parent, usually a mom, is walking through the store with a child who is having a meltdown over a toy, clothing, or something along those lines. Mom says "If you keep this up, we're going home." Child keeps screaming, wailing to be exact... mom repeatedly says "If you keep this up, we're going home." The tantrum continues... and a half hour later the mom and screaming child are still shopping.
I'm not afraid of the follow through. There have been times when we've had to leave the pool or a park because of a meltdown. It's not fun to be the bad guy, but that's part of being a mom. I always give a warning ("If I have to tell you again, then we're leaving"), but if we get past the warning stage, we're done. My daughters know I'm not afraid to leave no matter what we're doing.
I realize that some meltdowns are due to exhaustion... but maybe that, too, is a sign that it's time to throw in the towel and go home. Other meltdowns can also be part of a deeper behavioral issue, which is why I don't judge. I've seen people stare at the mom and child in question... or glare... or make obnoxious comments regarding their parenting skills. Sometimes the meltdown is part of the learning process. I get that.... but those tend to be the parents who are using other methods to calm their children and not using empty threats as the solution.

August 16, 2010

Julia Roberts and I Think Alike

I can't believe summer is coming to an end. It feels like it just started. Where I live, school ends mid-May and resumes in August. Fortunately, preschool doesn't start until the end of the month... some schools in this area were back in session the first week! Anyway, we've packed our summer with plenty of trips to the pool. The past few days have been cool, so we haven't been swimming, but I'm hoping for a few more trips before Labor Day.
I recently read an interview with Julia Roberts. She was promoting her new movie and talked about what it was like having her family with her while she was on location. One thing really stood out. She mentioned how hot it was and said she and her family spent their free time in the pool. Then she said something along the lines of "It's a maternal triumph that no one ended up with a sunburn or green hair." Amen, sister!
I slathered these girls in sunscreen all summer long. Two of them ended up with a minor sunburn at the beginning of the summer, but that was before I wised up and spread the sunscreen under their bathing suit straps. Hey, we've all got to learn somewhere. It was a minor redness and gone in a day, so I still count that as a triumph.
As for the green hair... I don't know how we avoided it. These girls go blonde in the sun. They naturally have a dark blonde color, which tends to go 20 shades lighter if you just say the word sunshine. One of my neighbors mentioned that her daughter's hair turned green in our neighborhood pool last year, so I spent this summer being very diligent about keeping the green at bay. Fortunately, Suave has an inexpensive "swimmer's shampoo" for kids. We used that any time after a dip in the pool.
Of course, summer isn't over, yet. Even though school starts in a week, we still have time to enjoy the outdoors and the pool... so we'll still be slathering on sunscreen and scrubbing the chlorine out of our hair!

August 13, 2010

Friday's Five

Kim at The Mommy Machine interviewed me for today's Friday's Five. Be sure to stop by her site and check it out! Have a great weekend everyone.

August 11, 2010

Birthday Help

With this post, I am setting myself up for potential spammers. I'm willing to take the risk. I need some help with my daughters' approaching birthday. They will each be receiving a Bitty Twin (one twin each, not one set of twins) and I want to buy each girl an outfit. But I don't want to pay $24+ per outfit. The dolls are 15-inches. Do you know someone who makes doll clothes for a reasonable price? Have you seen a good sale? Do you already own Bitty Twins or Bitty Babies and have some insight on where to find cheaper clothes than the ones offered by American Girl? Craft shows are out. They tend to happen on Saturdays when I work. As soon as I come home from work, Hubby is on his way to work and I can't do birthday shopping with the girls in tow. Any suggestions are appreciated.

August 10, 2010

When I Grow Up....

My daughters have been talking lately about what will happen when they grow up. Here are some of their gems, prefaced by "When I Grow Up":
  • I'm going to live next door to you.
  • I'm going to live here, but I'll make you cereal every morning.
  • I'll live here and make you guacamole. Oh, and I'll give you some blueberries, too.
  • I'm not going to go to high school. (Me: Yes you are, end of discussion).
  • I'm not going to go to college (see response to previous statement).
  • I'm going to have a puppy (apparently three cats aren't good enough).
  • I'm going to be a doctor. I want you to pick out the toys for the waiting room.
  • I'm going to be a nurse so I can give other kids shots.
  • I'm going to climb a mountain.
  • I'm going to stay at the swimming pool until it's dark.
And my personal favorite:
  • I'm just going to be me.

August 09, 2010

Girls Who Wear Pants

I've mentioned before that I am captivated by celebrity gossip. I don't know why. Mainly, it's just fun to read little tidbits here and there. I try to make a daily visit to the websites for People and TMZ. A recent gossip rag obsession has me confused: why do I care that one of Angelina Jolie's daughters has short hair?
In a nutshell, there have been several articles about Shiloh and the fact that she a) dresses in "boyish" clothes and b) recently had her long locks chopped off. She's four. The website comments from people who claimed Shiloh is "being raised to be gay" simply made me roll my eyes. Yes, because all girls who wear pants and don't have long hair will, of course, come out as lesbians. Please. Let's not even get into the nature vs. nurture debate. Those are the comments that are there just to antagonize. The ones that made me angry were the parents, mostly moms, who questioned why a four year old is allowed to make decisions regarding her wardrobe and her hair. Ummmmm... because she's four and it's part of the process of growing up. Or have I been doing this all wrong?
When my daughters first exhibited signs of speech, I started giving them choices. Do you want the pink cup or the orange cup? The Elmo shirt or the Dora shirt? They had to answer with words, not pointing. My daughters are four, almost five, and, on a regular basis, I tell them to go upstairs and dress themselves or pick out their own bathing suit. Do we have disagreements now and then about appropriate outfits? Of course. But for the most part, I let them do their thing. They're not going to wear sweaters in sweltering heat or bathing suits in January, but that's part of the learning process, too. As school approaches, I'm sure we'll be having more discussions about which outfits they can and can't wear, but I'm still going to give them a say in what they wear... and something tells me not a single media outlet will be knocking on my door to report on the scandal of letting a bunch of four year olds pick out their own clothes.

August 03, 2010

What's That on Her Face?!

My daughters love looking at their baby pictures. They have finally stopped asking "Who are those babies?" and started realizing they are the babies in the pictures. I can't turn the album pages fast enough. They always want to see what's next.
The other day, Sue Sue was studying a picture from when she was just a few months old. "Do I have an owie?" She asked. So she and I (and her sisters) had to have a talk about hemangiomas. Many of you know them as "Strawberries," those red birth marks you see now and then on people. In simple terms, a hemangioma is an abnormal build up of blood vessels in the skin. It can be a red to reddish-purple lesion on the skin or a massive raised tumor with blood vessels.
At first, I attributed the red spot near Sue Sue's ear to all the tape holding various tubes in her nose. Then one day I felt a lump on the back of her head. Alarmed, I questioned the NICU nurse. She hadn't noticed it either and promised to have the doctor look at it right away. A pediatrician was doing rounds in the NICU, so the nurse had her come over. She felt the lump on Sue Sue's head and said it was likely a hemangioma.... "like the one near her ear." What?! So it wasn't tape irritation?
As the weeks went on, the hemangioma by her ear grew. It got to be about the size of a watch battery. This, of course, was noticeable to anyone and everyone. So many strangers had stories to share. After the second time of hearing "Oh, I know someone who's baby had a similar mark. It was on her foot and it turned out to be cancer," I started answering the "what's that" question with a vague "It's just a birth mark." Before Sue Sue was discharged from the hospital, she was transferred for a week to a children's hospital for feeding issues. At one point, days into the stay, the NICU nurse got a funny look on her face and pulled a doctor aside. He came back and when I saw him inspecting the lump on the back of her head, I looked right at the nurse and said "I'm pretty sure the presence of two hemangiomas is indicated in her file." Apparently the nurse thought someone (me?!) had bonked Sue Sue's head. I was glad when her hair grew in because it's easier to explain a birth mark than it is a lump on a child's head.
The neonatalogist and our pediatrician assured me Sue Sue's hemangiomas would vanish by age five. I had a hard time believing them. Yet, here we are just a little over a month from her fifth birthday and the hemangioma on the back of her head is gone. The one near her ear is still there, but the color has faded almost to a flesh tone and it's no longer raised. Now that her hair is longer, it's covered and I rarely remember it's there.
We were "fortunate" in the hemangioma department. I know a woman whose son had one smack dab in the middle of his forehead. She said people always looked at her like she had just beaten her child. Since most hemangiomas are on the face, they can cause vision problems if they are too close to the eyes.

So, when Sue Sue questioned the "owie" she saw in a picture, I explained in very simple terms what it was. She was fascinated and ran to the bathroom mirror trying to see it. After looking at it for a minute, she came back to look at more baby pictures, and that was that.

August 02, 2010

The View Down Under

When we began swim lessons, my girls were fairly confident in the water. They didn't mind getting in the pool or getting their faces wet. At our first session, the instructor recommended I buy goggles. It makes sense. When I was younger, and spent my summers in the pool, the chlorine always did a number on my eyes. I remember coming home from swim lessons one day and not being able to open my eyes for the rest of the day. My mom realized it was a reaction to the chlorine. She bought me goggles and I never had another issue.
It hadn't occurred to me to buy goggles for my girls because while they spent plenty of time in the water, they didn't spend much time under the water. That all changed the first time they went to the pool with goggles. I'm surprised they came up for air. I regretted not bringing anything for them to dive for.... but soon found a rock, which worked just as well as any dive stick. (The rule was and has always been: only Mommy or Daddy can throw the rock). Their confidence and their skill level has grown so much in the last few weeks. We're close to being able to spend the majority of our time in the big pool, as opposed to the "little" pool. Right now I can handle the big pool with them when I'm alone for about 10 minutes. That's enough time for them to sit on the steps leading into the pool, take turns swimming to me and do a little "space walking" (that's what they call walking under water). When they grow a few more inches and increase their skills we'll be ready to say bye-bye to the little pool for good!