Monday, November 17, 2008

The Trials and Tribulations of Naptime and Bedtime's no secret that I have a total night owl. My almost three year old will run from 9:00 am until 12:00 am every night if allowed to. I'm a night owl also, so I have to admit I'm kind of a pushover when it comes to bed time. I'm a stickler for most routines...but bed time is one routine that I'm not good with. It wasn't such a big deal before I started working out of the home, but now it is. I can easily stay up with my son and will continue to stay up until about 2 or 3 a.m.

This has become a bad, bad habit because now this mommy cannot get out of bed before 10 a.m. I have clients that expect me to be up and on their time by 9:00 a.m! I also take my children to daycare two days a week; what a joke! They don't get there before 10:30 a.m. these days!

The thing that really gets me, is that my son takes naps at daycare. How does daycare pull that off? (Did I mention that I used to be a teacher in a children's center for three year olds? What happened to me?) Let me tell you the last two times my child took a nap for/with me:

1.) This past summer when I was on bedrest and could nap with him. Not an option these days. I don't think my clients would appreciate me taking a break to nap.

2.) If I put him in time-out in his room. Let me tell you, it is very tempting to know that if you put your child in time out in his bedroom he will nap for a good two hours. But there is more than one problem with this scenario:
a.) He has to do something that actually warrants a time-out:)
b.) The early childhood educator in me tells me that there is something wrong with this that actually may cause some damage in his little psyche and I'll end up in therapy with him 15 years from now.

So I have decided that this obviously is my problem, not his. Because I started this blog around 7 p.m., gave my son and daughter a bath, read my son a book and guess what? He was asleep by 9:45 p.m. Now the problem is getting my son to stay asleep. He wakes up every 2 hours crying...what do I do about this?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Don't Feed the Animals...I Mean Kids!

Okay, let's do a quick poll...who out there has a kiddo with a food allergy? It's not fun is it? If you don't have a child with a food allergy, count your blessings! Sadly enough, the journey to a diagnosis of a food allergy can be a lonely and long one. I'm going to quickly share my story with you: My oldest is almost 3. As of this past September, it will be one year since my son was diagnosed with a food allergy.

January of 2006, my son just turned one year old. I did everything that the "experts" told me to do when he was an infant to ward off food allergies; I breastfed him as long as I could, fed him cereal at 4 months and no earlier, held off on peanuts, etc. We were at a friend's house celebrating the holidays. My friend is a fabulous cook and made all of this delicious food! My son asked me for a cookie (a meringue), which I gave to him. In about 3 minutes, my son started to cough, had a difficult time breathing and had broke out in hives. I acted quickly and gave him some benadryl. My friends and I were a little freaked out; but my son was playing and acting like nothing ever happened.

Well, I pretty much determined from that little interaction that my son was most likely allergic to eggs. I tried my hardest to stay away from foods that had eggs as a main ingredient, but still allowed him to have food that had small amounts of eggs in it. I thought, it can't be that bad. He's been eating eggs in food here in there for almost a year now. Around this time, my son started having a very difficult time sleeping at night. He slept through the night at 3 weeks old and now he was up every hour and ended up with me and my husband every night, just so we could sleep. Also at this time, he developed the most horrible diarrhea....sometimes 10-12 times a day. I knew something wasn't right. I took him to my pediatrician who told me that sometimes children just poop a lot. I knew enough to know that what my son was doing, was not normal.

So mommys everywhere-I learned my first lesson: Trust your gut instinct. I took my son and we had him tested for food allergies. Clear as day...allergic to eggs. I have to tell you, the news was slightly devastating. If you don't have a child with a food allergy, it's a little hard to understand. I had a hard time explaining it to some of my other friends. I thought that they would think I was being silly or frivolous. But I wasn't.

Having a child with a severe food allergy is life altering. For the rest of my son's life (unless he outgrows his allergy; fingers crossed!) he will have to have an epi-pen near him at all times. If he eats something (like cake or cookies) he will get extremely sick to his stomach but if he eats something like an omelet or another meringue, I have to stick him with the epi-pen and call 911.

What else? I had to coach my 1 year old that eggs are bad for him, something that was super hard for him to understand. I had to learn about all of the food that contained eggs, that I never knew about. No more marshmallow, rice krispie treats, most cookies and cakes, no more pancakes, waffles and french toast. And then I got to beat myself up over all of the food that I had been feeding him for months that had eggs in it!

I've learned that if we are going out to eat, to try and look up the menu on the internet before hand. I've learned that you can't trust what the waiter tells you all the time. Food allergies just are not taken seriously at times, which is very sad. One time, out of pure laziness, I had a waiter and a manager tell me that there wasn't eggs in a particular food item at Chili's. Well, guess who got bombarded by phone calls around 11 pm when my son was extremely sick to his stomach and had been all day...guess who else got $50 worth of Chili's gift certificates.

Parties...oh my goodness! Another thing to worry about. I truly want to dress my kid in a shirt that says, "Don't feed me anything!!! I'm allergic to eggs!" What's my biggest worry at parties? Mayonnaise; full of eggs and in everything!

Flu shots! Can't get those either...full of real, live eggs.

It's been a journey and some days are harder than others. By far, food allergies are not the worst thing in the world and I know that, but it is still a life adjustment to everyone. Especially as the child gets older and they begin to demand the things that you know will make them sick. I worry about when my little boy goes to school and I can no longer protect him from cookies and cakes.

So, I guess my little blog tonight is about compassion; compassion for the children with food allergies and their parents...we are special group of people!

"One More Minute..."

I love my job. I love being able to stay at home with my kids. But some days I wonder: are they getting the short end of the deal? How many times during the day do you utter the words, "One more minute. Just one more minute and then I'll look." I know I must say it to my son at least fifty times. Am I missing out on something or is he? I sometimes feel like I can't stop. I just need to finish this one email, this one blog, this one phone call. Sometimes I forget that he is two and I don't understand why he can't understand why he needs to wait. I wonder would it be better if he was in daycare everyday where is getting more attention then what I'm paying to him?

Then I remember that I stayed home for a reason; to raise my children. Deciding to work at home came second and it always should. A few minutes ago Zachary came in and asked me: "You wanna play catch with me?" It makes my heart melt. Especially because I remember on about three different occasions he asked me this same question this week and I gave him my magic answer: "Just one more minute." I feel so guilty because half the time when I tell him this I'm secretly hoping he forgets and will get involved with something else before asking me to play again. This doesn't make me feel like a very good mommy at all.

So I decided on a new strategy that works with my son: the timer. If he comes in and asks me to play and I'm busy, I now set the timer for five minutes and I have five minutes and that's ALL to finish what I'm working on. When he hears the timer go off he knows he has my undivided attention for the next 15 minutes. (I of course set the timer for those 15 minutes also!) I also take at least two small breaks a day just to pull him into my lap, take a deep breath to take him all in (Two year olds smell so yummmy! I do the same with my two month old also) and then give him a big hug and squeeze. They are only this little (and smell this good) for a short time, let's make sure that we as mommy's and the children that we put before work don't miss out on anything together!

Helping a Work at Home Mom!

I have been in business since July 2008 and I'm extremely pleased with business and how it is taking off! Especially since I had a baby right after I started my business in August. I currently have three clients and I am being outsourced by another Virtual Assistant. Because of this, things have been a little disruptive in my home life to say the least! Now, my husband has just received a promotion at work as a detective which means longer hours for him and in the end, longer hours for me too! I'm so used to him coming home at 3:30 pm and relieving me of my motherly duties for a little while on the days that the kids aren't in daycare, but those days are over for awhile!

So, I've been trying to do somethings that help the whole family stay sane! So here are a few of my thoughts and tricks that work for my family; will they work for yours?

1.) Take full advantage of $1 happy meal or other kid night meal nights. They are a low cost and easy! Of course it's not always the most healthy thing in the world, but a cheeseburger from Mcdonalds is not going to hurt my two year old every other week.

2.) I love food and I love to cook, but I need something that will save me time. Enter Let's Dish. There are other types of these food-preparation places all over the country, but Let's Dish is my favorite ( Anyway, let me tell you how great this place is: Let's Dish offers a fabulous menu that you can choose 4. 8 or 12 meals to make. You order your meals online and then show up and make your meals on a designated night that you choose. On that night, bring a friend and a bottle of wine! You show up, put on your cute little apron, tie your hair back and get to work! You prepare all of your meals, bag and label the food that you make. You don't cook the food there though; you bring it home and throw it in the freezer. When you are ready, you pull out a meal here and there to prepare for your family. It is some of the yummiest food (and healthy too!) Major time-saver for me!

3.) I mentioned this on a fellow's blog I think...but anyway, I'm not sure if this is the Early Childhood Educator in me or what, but every Saturday night, I get online and find ten activities that me and my son can do together throughout the week. One activity is one that he will need help with (so I have no choice but pull myself away from the computer for a bit) and the other that needs minimal assistance. Just recently I also picked out five books to read throughout the week. I try to schedule themes for him to make the week fun and educational also (okay, it is obviously the Early Childhood Educator in me!) For instance, of course, this week we did a bunch of fall activities and next week we are going to work on Shapes. Doing this helps me stay grounded as a work from home mom! Here are some of my favorite sites for looking up activities and crafts:,, and

4.) Last, I downloaded this really neat application on both my PC and my laptop called Cozi. You can get Cozi at Cozi is a bunch of things: it's a calendar for the whole family, a family journal, a list maker and it also includes a photo collage screen saver that my son loves! Every time my screen is idle for a while, the screen saver pops up with pictures of friends and family and what's planned in the next 24 hours. It also syncs with my Outlook! The family journal feature is a huge plus for any work from home parent. I love to scrapbook, but don't have the luxury to spend my days scrapbooking because I'm working instead. The family journal gives me the opportunity to write little snip-its of my life down that I would have forgotten otherwise. I'm able to write anything from my daughter's milestones to my son's keen observation of the world around him.

Well, it's late and that's all I got for now! I wanted to share my few time saving tips. What are yours?