I was just reading an article in the doctor's office about Sandra Bullock and her new baby in People magazine and was struck by how she cheerily glossed over her 3 hours of sleep and was amazed at how little sleep one needed. Ok, either she's just trying to put a positive spin on it, she's loopy from lack of Z's, she's lying about how little sleep she gets or she really hasn't hit the sleep-deprivation wall yet. I don't know any mom who doesn't feel sleep deprived, whether they have a newborn or a teen, and feels she doesn't need more than 3 hours of rest. In fact, more moms say they would choose sleep over sex if they had the chance.
With my husband's snoring, all the discomforts of pregnancy at night and a 4-year-old who has recently started the inconvenient habit of waking an hour earlier than usual, I'm longing for more sleep and dreading when things can only get worse with our baby's arrival. But no matter how much I want to feel sorry for myself or pray I was Sleeping Beauty and the prince got stuck in traffic, I'm not alone: half of American moms say they don't get enough sleep.
While nighttime sleep is no longer my buddy, naptime is my new best friend & my sanity saver lately; however, I don't know what I'm going to do when my daughter's preschool ends soon. Maybe I'll have to find a hiding place in my home to get some sleep or maybe you'll see me posting delirious rants in the near future. Either way, I can guarantee I won't be marveling about how I just don't need that much sleep.
Originally Published By Sandra K. Lee on May 25, 2010 on the New Jersey Mom's Blog.
When I walked down the aisle nearly 10 years ago, I had high hopes to still be married by our 10-year anniversary. I also had some vague ideas of what that celebration and married life would look like.I imagined that maybe we would have a child, maybe not. We were definitely ambivalent about having children during our first few years of marriage.
At around five years into our marriage, I thought we might still be just a married couple with no children and envisioned a lavish vacation somewhere or maybe receiving some fancy jewelry - or both!
During our six year anniversary, I was very pregnant with our daughter but felt fabulous and a nice, big meal out was the perfect way to celebrate. With a young child, some of my expectations for the Big 10 changed. I started imagining a big family party or just going out to a nice dinner. The expensive getaway and bling weren't necessarily off the table but seemed less likely.
Well now it's almost our 10 year anniversary and I guess the funny thing is my husband and I truly are meant to be together because we both agree we have no idea how to celebrate it. In my impeccable sense of timing I'm pregnant once again. Although I'm not as far along as last time, it's been kind of rough with baby number two, making it next to impossible to make any plans - even booking a restaurant has seemed unlikely with the way I've felt at times.
So no lavish vacation and I'm not expecting or hoping for any bling. No big party either, which I'm happy about because I don't have to plan it. But I do feel like we should do SOMETHING to commemorate the fact that not only are we still married, we generally seem to still like each other and enjoy being together. And I feel it's worth observing a milestone for a married life that is vastly different and more wonderful than the thoughts that swirled in my head on my wedding day.
Well, we have a little time to figure something out but maybe I should start thinking now about our 20th? Hmm.
Originally Published By Sandra K. Lee on May 5, 2010 on the New Jersey Mom's Blog.
We live in a small town and spring is heralded by the tinny melodies of the roaming ice cream truck. When we first moved here as a newlywed couple it was a pleasant surprise to occasionally run to the truck to grab whatever dessert that tempted us that day. I still love when the vehicle laden with frosty treats comes around because I'm immediately brought back to my childhood when getting ice cream was a rare and special treat and for some reason, it always seemed to taste better when it unexpectedly came to you.
But now that my daughter is nearly four years old and aware of what the repetitive music means, my friendship with the ice cream truck has taken a dark turn. At first the truck's song is a little muffled and I hopefully think "maybe he'll turn the corner before he gets to my street." Oh no, this truck goes down every street it seems so you can hear the same two tunes about 30 times as the truck meanders closer and closer. Usually about a few blocks away, my daughter hears the songs that have already started to burn in my brain a little and the inevitable begging begins.
While I often want ice cream myself, neither of us needs to get ice cream from that truck several times a week so "no" is my typical response to her pleas which can escalate into a full-on tantrum. If that isn't bad enough, the truck doesn't even have to be present to inspire suggestions like, "Mommy, let's go see if we can find the ice cream truck, today."
Sometimes I'm lucky that fresh fruit can still sometimes be an acceptable substitute. At others, the next best thing to the ice cream truck can suffice - an upcoming trip to Grandma's house for ice cream. And if I'm lucky enough to hear the truck first, I'm not above turning the TV on and increasing the volume to drown out the songs.
Originally Published by Sandra K. Lee on May 2, 2010 on the New Jersey Mom's Blog.
I'm 5 months pregnant and just learned that it will be a boy, a little brother to my ultimate princess of a daughter. Like every parent, my primary wish is to simply have a healthy baby but many parents still speculate on their baby's gender or even wish for one or the other.The second time around, I didn't really care whether it was a boy or girl - or so I thought.When I was pregnant with my daughter, I would've been happy with either one but for some reason I was convinced she would be a boy. Not only was she a girl, but for my perpetual entertainment, she has been a pink-loving, dress-up girly girl.
Since I was completely wrong last time, I had no predictions or strong preference this time. I thought having another girl would be nice because my daughter and her sister might share the same interests, such as princesses and fairy tales. However, a boy would be favorable because it would be our first son and a new experience.
While I'm very excited about the prospect of having one of each, a little something has been nagging me since I learned that this child will not be a girl. Today, I that because we're not planning to have any more kids, instead of giving my daughter's dresses, dress-up stuff and dolls to a younger sister, they will be donated or given to a friend. I half expected that the clothes I've kept since my daughter was little would stay in the family one more time, but it won't be happening and it makes me a little sad. I was taken by surprise to discover such an attachment to her baby clothes and dresses, but i guess it makes some sense because I've kept some of these items for nearly 4 years to just get rid of most of it now.
I plan to keep a few of her old clothes as mementos or may even attempt to transform them into a keepsake blanket or something. And I'm sure the hope and anticipation of a healthy baby, and a new frontier in parenthood, will quickly overwhelm this nostalgia. I'm also trying to take a cue from my daughter (who originally was pining for a baby sister) who said, "If I have a little brother, he can be a prince when I play dress up!"
Originally Published By Sandra K. Lee on April 6, 2010 on the New Jersey Mom's Blog.
I like to think of myself as the Hugh Hefner of stay-at-home moms - in the sense of wearing pajamas at home all the time, not of scantily-clad ladies scampering around. Well, except when my daughter decides to run around in just her underwear sometimes but that’s a whole different topic. I enjoy being in my PJs so much I have several of them in different styles but no silk. There’s just something so comfortable to me about being in your PJs instead of “real” clothes when you’re home all day. Now, I don’t lounge around all day in my cotton or flannel and gorge on snacks while watching TV. I do shower, and play with my daughter, and work on my computer and do housework – I just tend to prefer doing it all in the comfort of my jammies (a trend that has increased slightly during my second pregnancy).
And I do manage to get dressed when we have friends over, my daughter’s playmates visit or we go out for errands or fun.
My best friend who is a mom just doesn’t understand. For her, she feels the need to do her hair, sometimes even make-up and put on everyday clothes even if she spends the day at home. Many of my mom friends She always enjoyed getting ready for work and her attire is more casual these days but I think she is trying to maintain some of that old routine to hold onto a little bit of her old self. I get that, but come on! Flannel and cotton pajamas are so soft and comfortable.
Many of my mom friends seem to feel better wearing "real clothes," which sometimes makes me feel a little left out. But then I think when I return to work some day there will be plenty of days to wear “big girl” clothes. So I’m going to enjoy being all soft and snuggly while at home as long as I can. It’s just too bad, I don’t have a large PJ collection like Hef – or his mansion.
Originally Published by Sandra K. Lee on the New Jersey Mom's Blog.
The recent death of a Sea World trainer by a killer whale has re-ignited the debate over whether wild animals like this should be in captivity. As a parent and animal lover, I continuously struggle with reconciling the enjoyment and educational value of seeing live, wild animals that we would not otherwise see (not everyone can afford to go whale watching or go on safari) with the fact that visiting zoos and the like support keeping these animals in captivity.As a child, I fondly recall visiting the circus and one of my greatest experiences was touching a shark at Sea World. As an adult and parent; however, I won't take my daughter to a circus because of the reported cruelty in circus performances and I think she can have as much fun at a human-only show.
When it comes to zoos, I'm more ambivalent about the pros and cons of visiting them. Last summer, we took her to Turtle Back Zoo because as a member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums they must provide animals with enrichment programs as well as a high level of care. However, I still felt a little guilty because even though they were well cared for, they were not in their native habitats.
Despite my guilt, I still feel there is something to be learned from seeing live animals so lately I've considered visiting places such as the Raptor Trust that offer visitors the change to see wild animals. However, organizations like this also are dedicated to conservation, education and rehabilitating injured, wild animals and, most important to me, places like this include releasing recuperated animals back into their habitat as part of their mission. And maybe these kinds of facilities will offer even more educational opportunity for my daughter as well as for myself.
Originally Published By Sandra K. Lee on March 10, 2010 on the New Jersey Mom's Blog.
I’ve had a homemade birthday party for my daughter her past three birthdays. The first birthday I can admit is really for the parents so it makes sense to have at home and I certainly saved money. I don’t think I saved any money on her third birthday - at best I broke even - but it was a unique princess party that I enjoyed planning and the kids loved attending. One friend hosted her kid's party at a farm and another at a park, which were creative party locations, but the majority of my daughter's invitations have been to play gyms and similar venues. I can see the appeal some of these places have for parents including the hassle-free planning process particularly if a child’s birthday falls in winter. And not everyone is as lucky as I am to have a creative and handy mom to help with the party décor.
However, I’m feeling nostalgia for the homemade birthday party especially since it seems to be going out of style, at least among my circle of friends. Some of my fondest childhood memories have been my birthday parties at home and I wanted to share that with my daughter. I remember the cakes my mom made - all in keeping with each party's unique theme, friends gathering at my parents' house for a casual and an intimate sweet 16 with my close friends. A few pool parties at their house were also popular.
I still haven't decided what to do. The idea of a pony party is something different that would make me re-consider a home party but the expensive fees and lack of an inclement-weather option are discouraging. Maybe I can get my my mom to agree to host it at her house. Then I can still have a creative, homemade party without cramming people into my small home if it rains.
Well, I have a few months to decide - and possibly convince Grandma.
Originally Published By Sandra K. Lee on February 3, 2010 on the New Jersey Mom's Blog.
I’m not the kind of parent who likes the “kid crying on Santa’s lap” photo and I certainly don’t relish the thought of waiting on a long line at the mall to see Santa Claus, whether my daughter decides she hates him or he’s her best buddy. Then I discovered some technological alternatives to the dreaded mall trip and I am intrigued enough to try one or all of them. Hey, if the guy can fly through the air and drop gifts to millions of children in one night, it's about time he had some internet exposure.
A friend sent me a Santa website where you can input specific information about your child (but not too specific), including your child’s name, age, how they’ve been good this year & that special gift they’re craving this season. Then you receive an email with a link to a video greeting from St. Nick himself. It’s free, it can be tailored to each child and it’s quick and easy to set up. My husband and I thought it was great. I got the email after my daughter's bedtime so she hasn't seen it yet, but I think she might prefer it to a face-to-face meeting.
I also learned of another site called VisitSantaOnline, which allows children & parents to see Santa live for free. For a donation (a portion goes to Chicago's Children's Memorial Hospital), Santa can also hear and see you and your kids.
NORAD Tracks Santa has been in the business for many years of allowing children to track Santa's Christmas Eve flight on television but they have a website as well where kids can watch videos, visit Santa's Village and, of course, watch him in action on December 24th.
There are lots of places to bump into Santa in New Jersey this holiday season - including charity events - so we might still try the traditional route.
But I wonder how much my parents would’ve loved being able to just plop us in front of the computer to say hi to Santa. No big photo opportunity, but no crying either.
Originally Published By Sandra K. Lee on December 15, 2009 on the New Jersey Mom's Blog.
Is there a special gene that every father carries that makes him want to tease and torment his children? Not that I don’t enjoy my husband’s teasing sessions (or my daughter’s indignant reactions), but it seems like my husband, my father, my brother – and nearly every dad I know – has made picking on their kids an art form. Just the other day, my daughter innocently asked my husband to sing Frosty the Snowman and, of course, he made up his own lyrics. He called Frosty anything but a snowman and our daughter yowled in frustration. I was certainly laughing because I can't always win an argument with her (yep, my view of success has been reduced to winning disputes against a pre-schooler but I'm ok with that).
This morning she was “talking” on the telephone to her pretend friend and Daddy took the phone and asked for Plonky. “That’s not her name!” our daughter screamed. I was thoroughly entertained but I had to ask him why he does it. He said, “I like to force her way of thinking to my way of thinking.” I guess his technique worked because a few minutes later she began referring to her pretend friend as Plonky.
I have to admit my husband was probably reinforcing her memory skills as she kept correcting him with the Frosty lyrics although his approach might blow up in his face down the road. I hope he remembers his confession to messing with her head for sheer pleasure because I’m sure it’s going to come up in her future therapy sessions. Until then, I guess I’ll be the enabler because it’s just too darn funny.
Originally published By Sandra K. Lee December 4, 2009 on the New Jersey Mom's Blog.
With Thanksgiving almost upon us it’s just about time to think of the next thing, sending out the holiday greeting cards. Holiday greeting cards have always been special for me as I felt they were a great way to re-connect with friends and family, especially those living outside of New Jersey. But over the years I’ve noticed that most of my family and friends don’t feel the same way. The photo card, mostly of someone’s kid, sometimes of the whole family, seems to be the most popular choice. Then there are the general “season’s greetings” cards or my favorite, the funny, smart-aleck ones. I don’t care about the type of card, but it saddens me that most of these cards don’t come with any personal message, just a pre-printed message and the family name and sometimes a signature.
A step above this has been the more popular holiday form letter that is sent to everyone. At least in this case you might find out about what’s been going on in someone’s life if you haven’t been able to see them too often during the year, but it’s not as personal because it’s addressed to you and the dozens of other people on their mailing list.
Now I know how hard it is to write a personal note to each person. I’ve been doing it every year in shifts to keep my hand from permanently seizing. I did it the year I moved into a new house with my then-fiance, I hand-wrote every card when I was pregnant and when my daughter was a toddler. I’m a busy person ,too, but I did it because I didn’t want to just sign my name to a card without sharing a part of my thoughts and experiences that year with people I cared about. I also felt that it was one way to slow down during the holidays and really take a little time to send a meaningful note to each person. Over the years I have to admit it’s been frustrating to not get something similar in return from a growing number of people. It seems particularly disheartening when I send the card first and simply receive a generic card in response with just a signature. Did they get my card yet? Were they really so busy they couldn’t write more than more than just their names?
Then I started to wonder whether people actually enjoyed getting these holiday anecdotes from me or if they really preferred to just get a simple card with a cute photo as everyone else seems to favor.
I really wanted to continue my personal tradition this year but frankly, the experience has been tainted a little about my frustrations and expectations. I feel the holidays are about giving, yes, but also enjoying yourself, so I’ve decided not to send handwritten cards this season and will be mailing a photo card with a typed holiday letter. However, I can’t give up entirely on the personal touch and I’m still ambivalent about the switch so even though it will be typed, my letter will still be tailored to each person. I also hope my preschooler will help me decorate the envelopes for close family and friends.
I think this will enable me to enjoy sending Season’s Greetings once again and be okay with the fact that most of the cards I received will be simply “greetings.”
Originally Published By Sandra K. Lee November 23, 2009 on the New Jersey Mom's Blog.
Sandra K. Lee