What Your Kids Teach You (Even When You Don’t Want to Learn it)
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Having three kids means I have the opportunity to totally mess up and do things over with the second and the third, or both. It also means that I sadly have a lot less time to assess whether or not I’m doing a good job with each or as a mama as a whole. Oh well. No time to dwell.

So here are a few things each of my kids have taught me so far. This counts as a blog post but also as a journal entry into each one of their baby books. Multitasking and efficiency are the essence to my very existence! Well, that and espresso!

You know how they say what we ate, thought, and did during our pregnancies ends up affecting the child? Oops, if you hadn’t heard that, sorry. This is a judgment-free zone. This may all be just my internal monologue on what I think affected each of my kids. Here’s what I think each pregnancy did to each of my puzzle pieces:

Firstborn

Ah yes, receiver of the most attention. I wrote everything down and fretted and made resolutions and rice pudding. I cried just as much as you over every vaccination, if not more. I went overboard on your birthday, and sanitizing, and Gina Ford, and the organic food store. I felt overwhelmed because I didn’t understand that I could stay my silly self with you. You had hip dysplasia and it was then that I learned all about perseverance. According to you, dear child #1, why wouldn’t I crawl wearing a hip brace for seven months? You did that and more.

Middle one

It’s like you knew there would be one soon after you. I was chilled with you and actually flew to New York when I was 7 months pregnant oh, and with a 1.5 year old big sister who decided on that trip to not sit in her stroller. My middle one forced me to see that nothing was really that big of a deal. I was calm, cool and collected until my water broker at 36 weeks. You seemed to take your time to see if you really wanted to be a part of this family, and you realized you didn’t have to smile unless you wanted to. You’ve got your own groove.

Lucky last

I’ve had to balance it all and it’s been quite a bit to take on honestly. I’m sorry that you were squashed in my jeans for so many days and grew in utero off the remnants of your siblings’ breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. I was paranoid and extra careful with you—steroid shots and all. You taught me I always have time for one more smile and dance off.

Whatever the order, whatever the lesson I love the 3 of you puzzle pieces more than anything. Nothing will change that. Not even another baby. #nevergonnahappen.

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10 Signs Your Kids are Completely Normal
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When you become a mom you want your child to be normal but also extraordinary. Normal with all of the big stuff—health check-ups and milestones— but extraordinary with all of the other bits. Like never, ever picking their nose. Your mother-in-law believes you should be thanking your husband for that childhood miracle. You beg to differ, but that’s an entirely different subject matter to be tackled later. Or not, in case MIL reads these posts….

Even though I am obsessed with organizational charts and clipboards, I’m kinda tired of percentiles and comparisons but I guess we, as mamas have to keep an eye on this and keep sharing because well, how else would we know to call a friend when our child hides Cornflakes up their nose, waits for them to get soggy and then consumes them. You know, just for fun. (Thanks, Jojo, my go-to mommy reality check).

In my struggle to raise exceptional children… all three of them… (okay, so maybe just one out of three would be fine) I’ve kept notes along the way and randomly found a list of these notes over the weekend detailing my month-by-month Normalcy Tracker for the first year. Read this and take notes so you don’t have to phone your personal “Jojo” all the time:

1. Month 1: You think to yourself, is this it? She’s so precious with her cute little cry. Aw. So innocent and mouse-like. And she thinks she’s scaring us? “Awwww hush now little one” and you proceed to shove a boob or pacifier in her mouth.
2. Month 2: Ohhhhh okay, so the crying thing does get old fast.
3. Month 3: Is that a smile? Oh, wait…a poop. But that’s okay we can smile while we poop. Multi tasking.
4. Month 4: How much does tummy time annoy you? Ohhh a lot. Okay, sorry.
5. Month 5: Solids? Two camps of kids here: yes please or ohhhhh (loud gag) not yet!
6. Month 6: Definite babbling and sitting. Kinda sitting up is both normal and extraordinary here. Okay, so sitting with a lot of support. Like you and 15 pillows. You often refrain from drinking liquids to not leave them for even a second for fear that that may topple over. Don’t worry, I won’t make the leaning tower of Pisa reference here. Too expected.
7. Month 7: Crawling anyone? Too fat to suddenly move well, then it’s straight on to walking for you!
8. Month 8: Still in love with breastfeeding? Baby-led weaning? Both—you guessed it—normal.
9. Month 9: You don’t know what sharing is yet, but you’re holding tightly on to what it is that you want/love. 9/10 times it’s your mama’s hair. Fast forward six months she will find a bald spot and blame you.
10. Month 10: Say it with me. Separation anxiety to the 100th degree. There should be a theme song for this stage: “Without You”?
11. Month 11: Almost one. You are getting vibes from your mama that she can’t wait to potty train you because her face scrunches up at all your best poops.
12. Month 12: Happy birthday. You’re thinking, “That candle looks yummy.” Your mama is thinking, “What a genius! Look at how intent her gaze is. Nobel Prize winner for sure.”

Got that mamas? 12 months 12 key kpis to make sure you’re still on the highway to normal. Don’t panic if your little one fails to meet one or a few of them. There’s always the opportunity with your other kids…or other people’s kids. Or find yourself a friend who will coach you through all the “not so normal” worries. Preferably someone in the same time zone.

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How to Make Reading, Writing (and Arithmetic?) Cool Again
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Ah, reading, writing, and arithmetic. The 3 Rs. Although, two of these three words don’t even being with “R.”

These are now outdated, uncool concepts in our world of digital natives. I was never much of a fan of arithmetic, to be honest. But reading and writing—yes.

I write. I write because I love it. Most of the time, at least. And I read for the same reason. Yes, in this social media-driven world I go against the grain and swim against the current of visual over word. I’d love to combine fashion with books: D&G and my marked-up copy of Anne Lamott in a photoshoot. Let’s do this!

Here are my suggestions for making writers and books and reading #trending:

1. Let’s stop writing the same stuff and start writing more new stuff
2. Let’s read different stuff and freaking share it. (Really wanted to write the other “f” word here but my editor shot me down.)
3. Big “cool” brands need to collaborate with writers or struggling writers and readers? Too needy? Imagine it: a photoshoot… the girl in lip gloss in a gorgeous ensemble, heels on… surrounded by books. Oh wait, that was me. Except I was wearing Converse. Looked awkward and the brand decided to reshoot after attempting to photoshop my entire face. Note to self—learn how to pose.
4. Start a campaign where attractive people read. And write. More than an autograph.
5. As for arithmetic… maybe Dior can use the Pi symbol on their next collection. Uh, beyond that, you got me stumped. I think the last cool pin-up for math was Matt Damon working the whiteboard in Good Will Hunting.

Until an element of coolness gets injected back into these three subjects I guess I just have to bite my huda beauty glossed lip and sport my Chanel glasses as I turn the pages to 40 rules of love. If you can’t beat them, join them? Or at least halfway.

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Times They Are a Changing
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Here’s a quick list for you this week: Things I think about that they won’t or don’t.

1. What’s organic
2. Wifi connection
3. Who’s trending
4. Facebook
5. LinkedIn
6. If they think they’re getting sick
7. Getting an appointment
8. Booking flights
9. Printing photos in cute books
10. Reading books

Things I don’t think about that they will

1. What’s organic
2. Wifi connection
3. Who’s trending
4. Facebook
5. LinkedIn
6. If they think they’re getting sick
7. Getting an appointment
8. Booking flights
9. Syncing photos to a cloud
10. Listening to books

That’s all you get this week -kid’s are off for summer and have yet to set into a routine. What does that mean? Overly clingy/whiney/demanding kids. Is it too soon to be asking how many days till school starts?

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To the Class of 2017 – This one’s for you Adriana
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I had an urge to write something that I didn’t know I was going to write. I didn’t plan on writing it, but I now feel like I have to. Okay, that sounds much more dramatic than planned. Sorry, but I just attended my firstborn’s nursery graduation. Her graduation. GRA -DUA-TION. Hey, it’s a big deal.

Graduating when you are still pretty much a ‘big girl toddler’ is a bittersweet thing for mamas. It’s a big change for both of us. There won’t be as much hand holding next year. I looked at my girl and could still see her as the baby I was changing poopy diapers of. It got surreal. From here on, she’ll be in a big school and that’s a big deal. There will be new mommies in a new place with new food and we will both have to make new friends.

So the graduation was hard. It was intense. Do schools do this on purpose to bring out the breakdowns in mamas? They build up an event where you cannot help but cry because your baby suddenly looks like an almost tween and that tends to freak out a mama.

I—like others around me—shed a tear. Except, okay, I sobbed. An ugly cry sort of sob. I couldn’t control or keep it in and a part of me didn’t really want to. I suddenly sped back in time to the day she was born by C-section and felt that tug of her being pulled out and plopped on my chest—total overwhelm and more than a bit emotional. Plus, so much self-induced pressure and anxiety hit me—to be the mom I figured she hopes I am. And the one I hope to be.

For the past 3.5 years she was perfecting her walk (a bit of swag) and talk (a bit of ’tude).

When we all made it home and I tucked her into bed, here’s what I wanted to tell her (and myself):

1. Life is a Ferris wheel, a circle, a whatever cliché you want to say, but honestly, more than anything it is bittersweet. The bitter stuff will pass so try and make the sweet bits stick like that glitter glue you love.
2. Do your best. Always. In every situation. Every day. You don’t want to look back and think I wish I tried harder. But also know that your best is always great and good enough so don’t worry about your best either!
3. If you’re not sure, ask an adult. One you know. Not strangers. Take their advice and mix it with what your gut is telling you.
4. If you’re scared, pause, and ask yourself why. Then put on a brave smile and refer to #2 and #3 if need be. Or cover yourself in that glitter glue from #1 and do a tap dance.
5. Oh, and stop picking your nose. You’re on your own for this one… you inherited daddy’s thick nasal lining and deviated septum. Please stop. It’s gross.

That’s it, baby. It was a big day for the both of us. This is the first of many, many milestones and I will be watching on and probably sobbing and definitely learning with you and making lists (definitely alone) through them all.

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