Friday, December 20, 2013

Traveling with a Toddler Tips!

I've already written here about traveling with a small baby, which is so not the same as with a toddler. In fact,babies are SO much easier than toddlers because they will sleep most of the time and usually won't be fussy unless they're sick or you didn't put in the numbing ear drops like I told you.

So here are my tips for flying with the little adorable tyrants we call toddlers. (I'm writing this using voice to text, so if any of this comes out weird um or does make sense just let me know.)

Okay so the number 1 most important in my opinion is Numbing Ear Drops. Either go to a natural food store or get a prescription from your doctor for your numbing drops. They're what you would put in your child's esr to soothe ear infection pain. You put the drops into the child's ears when you're at the gate waiting to board. Be prepared with plenty of napkins to get the greasy drops that escape and to hold your hand over each ear to gently rub them so the drops really get in there. They help with the ear pressure pain.

Of course, you can also be armed with something for the kid to suck on, like a lollipop or bottle when the plane is going up and later starts to descend. The drops I use last over two hours so there's no need to put more in unless you're on a long flight.

2) To bring a car seat or not - that is the question. Well, and the other question is whether or not to bring a stroller. Both of these have a lot of things depending on them: will you need either of them where you're going? If not, then the car seat can definitely be left at home. It's heavy and not necessary to bring on the plane.

In fact, oddly, as far as safety regulations are concerned, you're better off NOT bringing the car seat onto the plane with you. I'm not against it, I'm just letting you know it may not even be allowed unless it's been approved. For example, most backless booster seats are NOT allowed on the plane.

Also, they're a huge PITA to get clipped into the seat. You'll probably need a seat belt extender, which the flight attendants are always annoyed to have to bring to you. Or, as it happened to us once, we boarded early with the "special assistance" crowd and immediately asked for an extender specifically because it takes so dang long to install the seat. But the flight attendant ignored our please and didn't bring the extender until everyone else boarded so then we got threatened with getting thrown off the plane because the seat wasn't installed yet.

Anyway, here's the thing: if your child doesn't hate their seat and has a tendency to fall asleep in it, then it may be worth bringing it. But, if the kid doesn't sleep, then all the hassle will be in vain PLUS you'll have a harder time keeping your precious little offspring from kicking the back of the seat in front of them (because their feet are closer to it in the seat).

Not to worry if you will need the seat where you're going but don't want to use it in the plane! Double checkwith your airline to be sure but as far as I know, they will check the car seat with the rest of the luggage for NO COST. There are covers/carriers you can buy but they're expensive. You can ask if they have a large plastic bag to wrap it in, especially if the weather at your destination is wet, because it gets thrown around with all the other suitcases. But the ticket people don't always have them or they charge you $5, so I pack two huge, heavy duty garbage bag - one for each way, because they never survive the trip fully in tact.

Okay, and now for the stroller - this is some I suggest you DO bring. It's a lifesaver when you're running to your gate with your child who must get stuck in some time-slowing warp whenever you're in a rush. Plus you've brought along a sizeable portion of everything you own in as many bags and purses as you can justify (of course my 3 year old daughter has a hiking backpack full of shoes AND an oversized purse with a laptop in it!).

The stroller is only annoying when you're going through security as most times they'll make you unload the aforementioned crap, and the kid, and clap it down for going through the x-ray machine. Just be sure to bring one that folds and opens easily and has a basket storage thing on the bottom.

Note: if you have hung any purses, computer cases, etc on the back of the stroller, it is not advisable to let the kid just jump out of the stroller because then your hanging items will be making contact with the floor in a swift and loud manner.

When you get to the gate, ask the desk person for a baggage ticket and then you'll just leave the stroller (folded up and with nothing important in it) at the bottom of the jetway. It'll magically reappear in the same place at your destination.

3) The dreaded security check becomes slightly less dreadful if you've brought the stroller because many airports have a separate entry for them! Look for signs pointing to a handicapped/service members/fast access entrance and hopefully a stroller or family line will be there as well.
*Wear shoes you can take off without much effort - your hands will be full.
*Children are no longer required to remove their shoes - so don't.
*Get several bins - and stake out a place on the roller conveyor belt that's at least three bins long.
*Fill the first and last bins right away to mark your territory. If people are glaring at you, say sorry but with a "tough shit" look on your face. Practice that face a lot before the trip - you'll need it.
* Keep your kid IN the stroller until after you've put everything else in the bins. Like strapped in with a chain. This is THE worst place for the kid to run around. But don't wait too long - people will start loading their stuff right behind your bins and then there's no room for the stroller. Tell the poor person behind you that you still need to put the stroller up there.
* Know your stroller! Some strollers are just that much too big to fit int the x-ray machine and you'll need to remove wheels or something to make it fit. Now, it does happen that you get the one helpful TSA agent who lets you bring the stroller with you and just uses the wand thing to check it, but don't count on it. I even was crying once because I was so exasperated and they still made me take the dann thing apart because their machines were crazy small.
*Liquids! You ARE allowed to bring baby and kid related liquids through security. Just be prepared to spend 10 more minutes while they use some contraption that confirms it's milk/juice/pedialyte. Pack these liquids in easily accessible places so they don't have to dig everything out.
*Try your best to take your time getting reorganized after the security debacle. It's worth the time to take a deep breath and confirm everything is where it should be.

4) Food. In case you haven't flown since 1992 and don't know this, they don't give you food in the plane anymore. Well, aside from pretzels or the $6 snack box, which, when not in the air, would only cost $2.34. So I pack plenty of snacks. It's only liquids they're not fond of, so go ahead, make that triple decker club sandwich and bring along those goldfish crackers. Also, food keeps the kid busy or at least not screaming.

5) In Flight Entertainment. For keeping the peace, this is a must! Bring that portable DVD player, three favorite discs and a set of headphones. Bring the lovey or blanket. Bring crayons and coloring books. Bring a LeapPad or Tag Reader. Bring anything you've ever not allowed them to play with. Just don't bring toys that are noisy, have small parts or multiple parts, have wheels or can roll, that is heavy or could cause harm if used as a projectile as a way to inform you they disapprove of your parenting.

You can also use the bathroom as entertainment center. Once your fellow passengers have completed their post-snack cart bathroom break, take a fussy kid in and let them discover the wonders of the lavatory! Tell the flight attendant, who will be reading People magazine in that little fold down chair, to knock if someone needs to use the loo and then go crazy with the toilet seat liners, splash in the water, whatever keeps your kid occupied.

I've regularly killed up to 15 minutes doing this. Just don't drink the water or care what anyone may think. It's that or I release the screaming beast, people!

6) Last but definitely not least, go into the whole thing  with a realistic perspective. Do not for one minute expect your child to not fuss at all. That's crazy. Go easy on the booger and on yourself. You're doing the best you can in an environment that is barely humane  for adults and certainly not for kids.

Use the "Sorry but Tough Shit" look liberallly. You don't have to be a jerk but don't let other people make you anxious about your child. That'll only result in an anxious kid and that never goes well.

If your child does melt down, try not to freak out on him/her. Try to soothe them but while also being firm that acting out isn't okay. Sing in their ear or start reading their favorite book.

Good luck and God Speed!

Monday, December 02, 2013

My belief system, or part of it, in a nutshell

So very true. The widespread condemnation of the poor/undereducated/mentally or physically ill makes my heart sick - and my thoughts angry.
How completely ungrateful or ignorant must a person be to so swiftly and easily judge anyone ANYONE to be less than themselves in value or worthiness?
How broken are our hearts and souls when we, as supposedly the best nation, willfully allow and even CHOOSE to make happen such suffering?
My own failure is that I pray more for the poor than those who reject them. I should pray for the body of the poor but also, if not more, for the hearts and minds of those condemn them.
Am I wrong?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Response to All Songs Considered question, What is/was your family song?

When I was 7, after my dad left, the songs that define(d) that time for me and my mom were Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper and, later, This One Goes Out to the One I Love by REM.
Then, when my mom became serious with the man she eventually married, the songs were Handle with Care by The Traveling Wilburys and Graceland by Paul Simon (which my sister and I altered to reflect our moving with our Stepdad Holger, "We're goin to Deutschland, Deutschland, Stuttgart, Germany!")

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Another response

This is about whether you are betraying the feminist movement by actively rejecting the title of feminist.
I think it's important also to really separate the title "feminist" from the belief set that men and women have equal value.
While I do get annoyed by Katy Perry style statements (saying she does not want to call herself a feminist) because it makes it easy for feminist haters to use that to prove something on their end, I also have to say it's also not totally cool to force people to use a title they're not comfortable with.

Take other titles as an example, such as "gay" or "boyfriend/girlfriend" - plenty of people are gay even if they don't want to use the title to describe themselves. And there's also toms of people who intentionally avoid using bf and gf.
Granted, one huge reason people don't wear a big "I'm gay!" sign is because of fear, just as is the case with making a relationship "official" with titles. And that's fine. But it also doesn't essentially change who/what they are.

The word feminist is very loaded. It carries weight, both good and bad. It should have negative connotations, but then again, it also shouldn't even have to be a word AT ALL. But it is and it's important.

The word (and the movement that is inherently associated with it) has been around the block a few times, getting stronger and trampled on along the way. All of this has meant we (very collectively speaking) have had to fine-tune it's meaning not only from the people who want to make it a bad word, but also because over time we realized that certain aspects of the word/movement weren't quite what we wanted after all.

So for a young woman today, the word almost presents more hazards than help. Not that it wasn't always that way, but it's just different now. Maybe.

If the point of feminism, ultimately, is for a female to define herself HOWEVER SHE WISHES, then that would also mean she doesn't have to use the word as a title, even if she does believe in the movement.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

In response

To someone on FB asking how to know when to say Yes and when to say No:
The answer is always what feels genuine and true for you. It's not the No or Yes that's the point. The point is for you to learn the practice of knowing and being true to yourself. At first that requires somewhat arduous and very deliberate self inventory, and that takes time. So for a while always respond first with, "I need to think about it but I'll get back to you as soon as I can." (Or something along those lines)
Then consider the question at hand ("X") with the following questions: Do I feel inspired to do X? Do I realistically have time to do X? Am I realistically capable/have the skills to do X? Will it cause unnecessary stress to do X? Do I feel obligated? If so, is there a way to manage or adjust my time, the task or the other people involved in a way that will make this as positive as possible?
The trick is to discern between what is likely to cause only stress with little reward and an opportunity which may result in some stress but mostly of the life-expanding challenge kind.
I have fibromyalgia so for me nearly anything that's above and beyond my regular daily justgetthroughtheday stuff. That's why I had to learn this technique. Before, I would say No but to almost anything. Then I realized I was missing out on a lot of life. So then I started saying yes but I overdid it.
This personal questionnaire has really helped me have a better life. Last but not least - decide to be OK with saying No. It really is OKAY and your value as a person is actually increased by respecting your limits and happiness!
Hope that helps!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Voice to Text

Okay, so I haven't posted in forever or with any regularity for years now but I'm thinking maybe if I try this voice to text thing then maybe I will actually get some stuff out. One of the main reasons why I don't blog anymore is because I don't sit in front of a computer all day anymore. Well I kind of do, if you count my cell phone but its hard to type that much on it and so it doesn't really happen. I have lots of drafts of half started posts and that's about it. So you're probably going to see a lot of typos or maybe even sentences that don't make sense and I'm going to apologize in advance for that but I figure at least for me this is better than nothing.

I use to keep a diary almost everyday from when I was about I don't know maybe 10 years old until I was in my early 20's and it was around then that I started blogging and I blogged almost everyday sometimes multiple times a day and it's nice to know that I have that information to look back on for me it's kind of a selfish thing it's nice that I can go back and say oh I forgot about that you know and now there it is I don't have to forget it forever its some it's written down its been put on paper innocence. Um and it makes me really sad that since I stopped blogging regularly several years ago I don't have that I have kept a diary very very loosely and other than that that's it. That is unless you count Facebook as a sort of mini blog and I guess it is, I really s . . hould go through it and pull out the stuff that I really like and want to be able to hold on to . Especially things like places we've been the funny things colon is said oh this is going to be a problem it's going to want to write colon everytime I want to say my sons name! Oh well maybe whoever reads this with who I'm talking about and this is pretty much for me anyway I guess. So I guess to bring things up to date I am now 36 years old Colin um is four and a half and my husband is 33 and we have all been living in the same house in Decatur since 2006.

Just recently some of my old friend from Germany came to visit my friends Dorothy and her husband Peter and their daughters Mia and Ana They were here for two weeks we had a lot of fun doing sightseeing around atlanta as well as in New Orleans and we also went to the beach in Alabama on the Panhandle.

I don't really have a whole lot else other than that to say right now nothing pressing on my mind except that I'm really trying to get into a more creative space I guess this is it away kind of a free writing for me um I'm just I'm really trying to tap into that more regularly I don't want to wait until it comes around I want to find a way to kind of hold it gently so that I can access it more freely and without it may be all the anxiety that I sometimes come to experience with the pressure to somehow perform or do something extraordinary when I really just want to enjoy myself and I create so we'll see dot dot dot

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Is it safe to say...

This post was hard to write and I'm unsure about posting it for fear I'll offend in some way. I guess we'll see.

I have been getting some serious procrastination done lately. It's intense. And scary.
It's not the usual kind where you do the laundry to avoid doing the dishes or whatever. This is the mental kind where you fill your immediate brain space to avoid thinking of something you don't want to think about.
In my case I've been playing solitaire to avoid having to consider the complex decision making process of whether or not to adopt. I'm surprised and dismayed even that I'm not as sure about it as I thought I was.

Actually, I am sure about the adoption part. I have wanted to adopt ever since I learned about the dancer, Josephine Baker, who adopted 12 children. I thought, "why make a baby when there are so many babies and kids out there already who need a loving family?". I was probably eight years old at the time and the notion became one of the few concrete dreams/ideals of my childhood I carried into adulthood.
The problem is the actual kid. The second kid. It's one thing to straggle along with one child who, being biological, kind of just "happened" and therefore forces a change. I mean, excepting the son's bouts with severe "threeyearolditis" (aka intensely expressed feelings over mindboggling minutiae), we've really just now gotten things kind of figured out. We all generally know our roles and daily rhythms. A baby, regardless of female of origin, does not fit into what we've pieced together. A baby means starting over almost from scratch, except this time we'll know it's coming.

But in the case of our adoption it's not just mildly insane to actively make the choice to do a lot of work (applications, background checks, home visits, etc) and spend a lot of money (at least $25-30K) to acquire someone else's helpless and crying baby who will, to an unknown degree yet without doubt, cause everything to turn upside-down via sleep deprivation, existing toddler regression and an overall cost and life complication increase.

Still, even with all that I know she's out there. I know our family is short by one. My husband says the same, and that's in spite of his even greater doubts/fears. So my choice is to lean into the feeling of promise I get that speaks of her impending arrival instead of cold, unyielding logic.  As Sister Louisa says, "F*#k fear."

Friday, January 11, 2013

My Hero

Videos - Music Videos, Live, Behind the Scenes | David Bowie

This is pretty cool. I haven't blogged regularly in so long, I didn't know it was possibly to post a video link in here like this. Whippersnappers.