Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Time to Deck the Halls….and Childproof Them

Friday, December 19, 2014
No Gravatar

The other night as I grabbed my laptop to catch up on emails and gather more Christmas ideas on Pinterest, my 17-month-old son, Eli, picked up my laptop cord and tried plugging it in our nearest outlet. Thank goodness for outlet covers!
Most parents with little children have childproofed homes, but have we all followed through with childproofing our holiday decorations?

Last Christmas, Eli could barely sit up on his own. This year he is walking…no, running…everywhere, which makes decorating our home much different from last year. We want this season to be a time of joy and magic for our family, not a time of danger. So, we are taking extra measures to ensure our decorating is also childproofed. Thank goodness for baby gates!
The best way I have found to childproof is to look at our home from Eli’s level, whether that be crawling, pulling up, or walking. Within a few days, a child’s perspective and the things a child can reach may completely change. As I looked around our home at every stage, I found things that could be a problem for Eli.
My most recent attempt at childproofing began as we started decorating for the holidays. Last year Eli couldn’t reach any table, much less the corner of our dining room table. While putting ornaments on our tree, I looked down and saw my once “little” boy wrap his hand around the handle of a fresh cup of coffee. Luckily Eli has already learned the word “hot,” but this momma learned a big lesson: I now have a big boy who can reach big things.
Last Christmas was all about watching the lights of the season for Eli. This year, Eli’s fascination has been with our Christmas tree ornaments. I quickly learned that all ornaments within his reach should be large and non-breakable. He hasn’t tried to eat any decorations yet, but we have had several ornaments launched through our house. Childproofing Christmas trees might be a great use for a baby gate!
Another thing that has changed this year is my use of candles and scented oils. I love the way these scents make my home smell, especially during the holidays. Candles and scented plug-ins once littered my home, but now they are absent from anyplace Eli could possibly reach.
Finally, since having Eli, I have started paying great attention to items that are brought into our home. Could someone have something with them that could hurt him? What has button batteries in them? A greeting card? A car remote? Does someone keep their medicine in their purse? One of Eli’s favorite things is going through bags. When hosting holiday visitors, make sure nothing dangerous is stored in their suitcases or purses where children may go exploring.
Although we can take precautions and childproof our homes, lives are not accident proof. So, I am thankful we have the West Virginia Poison Center to call and speak with medical experts in poison information 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, even during the holidays. Program their number into your phone (1-800-222-1222)—it may save a life.

Carissa McBurney is a community outreach coordinator at the West Virginia Poison Center and momma of a 17-month-old.

Practicing Patience

Friday, November 28, 2014
No Gravatar

Being a new parent can be stressful. You constantly are encountering new situations to navigate and new problems to solve. We had our own test of problem solving and patience last weekend.

We left a holiday party, picked up the baby from her grandparents’ house and were on our way home. It was around 10:15 p.m. and we were tired and the baby had woken up. As we headed down the Interstate we heard a “POP! Zzzzz” and saw the little red light appear on the dashboard. It was obvious we had a flat.

Our first priority was to get to a safe place, so we creeped down the shoulder of the Interstate to the next exit. By the time we stopped in a parking lot, our tire was in shreds.

We were still far from home, it was late and cold, and the baby had started to cry. The situation seemed dire. Frustration started to set in and my husband and I were on the verge of getting cross with each other. Then, to make matters worse, our car jack broke, meaning we had to call for help and spend even longer in the car.

Luckily we quickly realized arguing would get us nowhere. We were stuck and it was going to take some time to get us moving again. The only thing we could do was be patient and remain calm.

I got into the back seat with AJ and Chris tackled the tire. After a few ups and downs, we were back on the road and made it safely home.

In the end, AJ handled the bump in the road (pun intended) the best of the three of us. After a few minutes, she went to sleep and stayed asleep. We didn’t get home until around 11:30 p.m. and when I finally stopped holding my breath, I realized things weren’t that bad. The whole ordeal had taken only about an hour and we were safely at home and the baby was safely asleep.

Although frustrating, it was a situation that was out of our control. By taking a few moments to calm down, we were able to take care of the baby and solve our tire problem, without having the situation turn into something worse. And so as I learn time and time again, having a little patience in less-than-ideal situations can lead to a better end-result.

A New Mom’s List of Thanks

Friday, November 21, 2014
No Gravatar

Next week I will celebrate my first Thanksgiving as a mom. I have many things to be thankful for that don’t involve motherhood, but I thought I would share some of the things for which I am thankful as a mom (list is not comprehensive – I could list pages and pages but I’ll stick to the basics).

This year, I am thankful for:

Epidurals. Ms. “I want to have a natural birth” got the epidural and I have never made a better decision. I think my husband would agree; it was a lifesaver.

Nurses who help their patients with things I cannot even imagine helping someone with. The nurses who took care of me in the hospital were compassionate, caring and generally amazing.

My doctors and AJ’s pediatrician. What can I say about the people who made sure my little one made it into the world safely, made sure I was healthy and now make sure AJ stays healthy? I respect and rely on our doctors more than I can say and I know they truly care about our well-being.

Sleep. Glorious, uninterrupted sleep. This is one of those “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone” kind of things. Oh how I miss sleeping in on Saturdays. I’m thankful I once got to sleep so soundly.

Only waking up once a night to feed AJ. After waking up every two hours for weeks on end, once a night is nothing. I remember thinking the day would never come. It did, and I was so grateful.

Velcro swaddle blankets. This wonderful invention helped us reach those amazing once-a-night feedings.

Our family and our friends. I am beyond thankful that we have loving, supportive family members and friends that care about and love AJ and us. We were overwhelmed with the good wishes, help and love we received when AJ was born. Chris and I are truly lucky to have such wonderful people in our lives.

Baby Zantac. If you have had a baby with acid reflux, you know this stuff is like gold.

Coffee. Oh how I missed it while pregnant, and although I still closely monitor my caffeine intake, I’m back to enjoying my morning cup.

The “speak to a nurse” option at my pediatrician’s office – a great resource for when you want to know if your baby’s poop is a normal color.

Daycare. AJ seems to really enjoy going to daycare and they take such good care of her. They also love to feed my mom ego by saying things like, “She is just such a beautiful baby!”

My coworkers. Going back to work was made much easier by the warm welcomes I received.

My husband who gets up at night to change diapers, takes out the dog at 6 a.m. and who tells me I have a beautiful voice when I sing lullabies off-key (which is always).

My mom friends. I’m so glad I have good friends who I can spend hours talking to about stroller brands and baby fingernails and the best way to get a baby to take a nap without them wanting to poke their eyes out (or if they do, they hide it well).

Google. HOW did moms survive without Google??

Smart phones. Again, HOW?

Mommy blogs. There is nothing more therapeutic for me than to read the honest and wonderful stories moms around the world are sharing. It’s so helpful to know you are not alone.

And of course, I am most thankful for my healthy, happy, wonderful baby girl. She has changed my life in a million ways and I’m thankful for every one of them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Man’s Best Friend (but not Baby’s)

Friday, October 24, 2014
No Gravatar

MajorMy husband and I have something weighing on our minds. One of our “children” is having a rough time and we don’t know what to do to help her. No, I’m not talking about AJ; I’m talking about our dog, Major.

Chris got Major (a girl dog named after Major Harris) from the animal shelter right around the time we started dating and she’s been a part of us ever since. She is always by our side. If one of us is in a room with the door shut she is outside it whimpering. She’s always needed an extraordinary amount of love and attention, which we have always been able to give.

That is, until we had a baby.

We often wondered about how the animals would react to our newest addition (we also have a feisty but loving cat). Our guess was that the cat wouldn’t want anything to do with the baby and the dog would be a little jealous but would be protective of AJ, like we heard so many other family dogs were when a baby was brought home.

Well, we were right about the cat, but we seriously miscalculated the effect a baby would have on Major.

To prepare Major, we followed advice we read. We let her sniff AJ’s blanket from the hospital, we pet Major and gave her attention while holding AJ, and we let Major sniff the baby and didn’t yell when she tried to sneak a lick in. Major was visibly upset the first couple weeks, but we figured she would get used to the baby in time.

Ten weeks later, the cat likes the baby but Major seems to have gotten worse. She jumps at everything, won’t eat her food half the time, sometimes refuses to go to the bathroom, and generally mopes around. It breaks my heart. I don’t know how to help her and I feel like it’s mostly my fault.

Major has always had a special affection for me, I don’t know why. Before baby, my full attention was available for the dog when she needed it. Now, even though I give all the love to Major that I can, there is always someone else in my arms, someone else that needs me constantly.

I keep telling myself that once AJ can give Major attention, things will get better. Once Major learns that AJ is a person who can love her too, maybe she will warm up to her. And once AJ is eating, and dropping, solid foods, the animals will surely love her, right?

Is there a solution to Major’s problem that I’m missing? Are more animals like Major when a new baby comes home than I previously thought?

It might seem silly to worry about a dog, but before I was mom to AJ I was mom to Major. As many animal owners know, our animals are a part of our family, and we worry about their mental and physical health. I wish I could tell Major that I’m learning to adjust to this new life too. I wish she could understand that AJ is not a rival, but a companion that will give her so much love as they both grow.

A Bad Day

Friday, October 3, 2014
No Gravatar

There are hard days and there are bad days. Some days are both. The first weeks of AJ’s life held many hard days, but not bad days. But this week, I had a bad day.

Now, if you are like pre-baby me, you might be thinking, “How could she have a bad day when she just spent it hanging out with her baby?”

Moms, I give you permission to stop right now and laugh at (or virtually smack) pre-baby me. Oh how little I knew…

The day started out normal. There were chores to be done, bills to be paid and a few calls to make, but nothing out of the ordinary. It quickly turned into one of those days where nothing goes as planned and everything seems to culminate into a mess at the same time.

The bad day started when I set out for our mid-morning run. I ended up dealing with several issues on the phone and the run never happened, but I did almost shed tears at the park. When we got home, I was frustrated and upset, and AJ quickly became the same. A crying baby meant no shower and a half-par lunch for me.

AJ continued to cry. Screaming cries. It could have been her reflux, or maybe she was just tired of looking at my face. Nothing I tried could soothe her. Even after eating she would go back to crying.

Several household items and appliances have managed to break in the last few days, and of course something broke on this bad day, which required more calls to check on warranties or at least adding making the calls to the mounting to-do list.

I was on the phone and online trying to get through red tape for various issues all afternoon, all the while trying to keep a pacifier in AJ’s mouth. Not giving my full attention to her wasn’t helping the situation either.

I then had to run a few errands that couldn’t wait (and errands are never quick with a child) and when I finally finished the day’s tasks I was exhausted. But AJ was not. She was still crying on and off. Chris had an after-hours work event and wasn’t home. The house was a mess. I was not able to eat anything for dinner because I was back to soothing the baby. When Chris finally came home, I was a mess.

It was official; I had had a bad day.

We all have bad days, whether we are two or twenty-two, a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, a mom, dad, grandma, grandpa or none of the above. They come unexpectedly, usually right when we think everything is going well. Some bad days are for silly, superficial reasons; some are not. Some are because of our kids, some because of work, some because of quarrels with family or friends, and some are because of sickness, loss or heartbreak.

That evening, as I finally got into bed, I thought about the day’s events. Sure, things did not go as planned. I wasn’t able to shower or eat dinner, I was frustrated with a lot of things, including myself, and had not been able to soothe our baby. I felt like a bad mom.

I then did a small reality check – I had many things for which to be thankful, one being that I was with my husband and baby at the end of the day and we were safe and healthy.

Sometimes we let the little things get to us, at least I do, but I hope I can always remember everything that is good at the end of the day and be thankful for it. I hope I can teach AJ that it’s okay to have bad days, even if the reasons may seem silly to someone else, but to remember to put things in perspective. Often, we’ll realize what we thought was a bad day was actually a pretty good one.

A Messy Situation

Wednesday, September 24, 2014
No Gravatar

I absolutely despise the phrase “I told you so.”

But then, I can’t imagine anyone actually likes hearing words that generally follow a bad decision, a poor choice or some unfortunate situation.

Sometimes, even when they remain unspoken, I know I deserve to hear them.

And sometimes, I am saying them to myself.

Now that I have two teenagers living under my roof, I find myself saying those words to myself over and over again, just as a friend warned me years ago.

At the time, one of my many job responsibilities was teaching adolescent development and parenting. I thought I was an expert as I spouted facts about concrete versus abstract thinking, risky behavior and setting boundaries.

In reality, all I knew was what I had read and what I had been taught, neither of which can replace genuine experience when it comes to human behavior or raising kids.

A friend tried to point this out to me when my son was just a toddler. I had been quoted in a newspaper article about carefully picking battles with teenagers. I specifically told parents not to waste time and energy fighting over messy bedrooms as teenagers should be allowed to be in control of some parts of their lives, including personal space.

“You are going to look back at that article some day and laugh at yourself,” my friend said.

I told her I wouldn’t.

I was wrong.

When my son turned 13 and his bedroom began to resemble destruction left in wake of a tornado, he came up with his own solution to my constant griping. He asked if he could move into the bedroom in the basement, which we already called the kid cave. His dad and I agreed, and I thought the bedroom battle was resolved.

I was wrong again.

My daughter, who once took pride in keeping her room neat and organized, has apparently been taking notes from her brother. As her room grows messier and more chaotic by the day and the contents of her room are now spilling out into the hallway, my complaints have grown louder and more frequent. They’ve also fallen on deaf ears.

Even as I tell myself I am fortunate to be battling with my daughter over such a minor issue, I am also aware that I’m not following my own naive yet somehow sensible advice: pick your battles so you have the time and energy to deal with the major issues.

Since I haven’t listened,  the battle is starting to wear me down. I have also become convinced that my daughter is simply laying the groundwork to take over the basement as soon as her brother graduates from high school.

I’m telling myself that will never happen, but something tells me I may also be wrong.

Which means I will once again be telling myself “I told you so.”

A Nursing Experience

Friday, September 19, 2014
No Gravatar

Before I had AJ, I read posts and heard stories on the difficulty of breastfeeding. But I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand why people said it was so hard. Nothing I read really explained what was hard about it. Now that I am breastfeeding, I know why it is hard. I’m sharing my experience, what I think is probably a typical one, to hopefully help other soon-to-be moms know what it’s like to learn to breastfeed, and to see if any new moms have had similar experiences.

Before I continue, I feel I need to say that this is not a post advocating one way of feeding your child over another, touting the benefits of various types of infant nutrition, or saying one form of feeding is more difficult than another. A mom has to feed her child in the way that works best for her baby, herself and her family. How she chooses to do so is a decision that is up to her and her child’s pediatrician, and may depend on various circumstances. Every way of feeding a baby comes with its advantages and difficulties; I am breastfeeding and so that’s the experience I can share.

I knew I wanted to breastfeed, but I was apprehensive about it. I didn’t think I would like it at all. And at first, I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the way it made me feel and I didn’t like the burden I felt it placed on me.

The first 48 hours were by far the hardest. Despite what I expected, a baby is not like a magnet, they don’t immediately latch on and know what to do. It takes a lot of guidance, patience and stamina to get a newborn to latch. Babies have to learn how to eat and suck and it can take a toll on mom while they do so. I was already exhausted from the experience of childbirth, and then I had to try to get AJ to eat properly again and again and again. I got stressed out and panicky if she wouldn’t latch or if the nurse told me I was doing it the wrong way. I received conflicting instructions from people. I thought nursing was something that should come naturally to me and to my baby, but it doesn’t. It is definitely a learned process for both.

Sometimes, babies just aren’t able to latch. There are many reasons why. When AJ was born, she was “tongue-tied,” which means her tongue was connected to the bottom of her mouth all the way to the tip. Because of this, she was not able to latch correctly. She could still breastfeed, but it was very painful for me. If she hadn’t had a procedure to fix her tongue-tie I don’t think I would have been able to continue to breastfeed. It would have been too painful for me and too frustrating for her.

I would not have been successful breastfeeding if not for the help of the lactation specialist at the hospital. I saw her twice and she is the reason I kept going. Without her instructions, I would not have known what to do and would not have been able to teach AJ.

The first few days, AJ was eating every one to two hours. And that timing is from the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of another. With each feeding taking about twenty to thirty minutes, that’s basically all I was doing. Talk about no sleep! It was draining physically, mentally and emotionally. Every time she ate it felt like she was sucking life out of me. Because of the hormones, it also made me feel sad and depressed. Not exactly an enjoyable experience.

When we got home, things got a little better, but not much. She was getting better at eating, so I was only feeding her every two to two and a half hours and the duration of each feeding got shorter. It was still physically and mentally painful for me. After a feeding, I would need to lie down for a while to recuperate.

The stress of it all took a toll on me too. I worried about if she was getting enough to eat and I felt like there was a huge weight on my shoulders as I was the only one who could feed her. While my husband could take a break and sleep for a few hours, I could not. I was always on call (and still am).

About a week and a half in, things took a significant turn for the better. Nursing was not painful anymore. AJ learned to latch and I didn’t have to constantly stop nursing to reposition her mouth. I gained more energy and didn’t have to lie down after a feeding. My hormones started to balance out and I didn’t feel like she was sucking out my soul every time she ate. I learned she was healthily gaining weight at her two-week checkup.

Now, after five weeks in, it’s become (almost) a breeze. Last week, I started to pump; I’m still nursing, but we introduced the bottle so that I can have a break when I need it, and I’m eventually going to have to go back to work. But instead of feeling relieved that she took the bottle, I felt sad that something had taken a piece of our special bond. It took a lot of hard work to get here, but I’ve come to really enjoy nursing. I know when it comes time to wean her I will be a sad momma.

A Bit of Attitude

Wednesday, September 10, 2014
No Gravatar

As I write this, I am extremely exhausted.

Just saying I’ve had a great deal on my plate lately would be an understatement.

I’ve had a great deal on multiple plates, and, since I’m not very coordinated, juggling them has been a challenge.attitude

I was finally able to put one of  the largest and heaviest plates down when the last guest left  an annual fundraising event Monday night.  Instead of feeling a sense of relief, however, I started noticing all the other plates that were still at risk of being dropped. I was even starting to fret about all that I’d left undone in my scramble to ensure the fundraiser was a success.

And then the event chairperson gave me a compliment that put my to do list in perspective. Amid the discussion about logistics and guests and dollars raised, he said, “I really appreciated your attitude.”

I don’t think anyone has complimented me in such a way before.

Maybe that’s because attitude isn’t about a skill set or even about a behavior. It’s certainly not about recruiting great volunteers, putting together a good program or selling enough tickets. Attitude is about how we face both challenges and successes, and I don’t think it is easily taught.

No matter how many times I’ve told my children that they need to improve their attitude, my words don’t have any effect. My kids don’t suddenly go from sullen to excited because I, or anyone else, told them they should.

But then again, I never did either.

Understanding and learning to adopt a better attitude came from one place: my role models.

I’m not talking about great leaders or adults that had a long-lasting impact on me as a child.

I’m talking about ordinary people who have shown me that we can’t always change our circumstances, but we can certainly change how we react to them and therefore how others around us react.

Just the other day, a homeless woman  said “thank you”  and “I understand”  when I told her I needed to call another agency to verify her story. I wanted to help her so much more than the person who accuses me of calling them a liar.

Just the other day at the grocery store, I stood in the express lane with five items in my hand while the clerk said nothing to the woman with a full cart ahead of me. I bit my tongue and silently fumed until the older gentleman behind me joked that we’d need to talk to each other while we waited. His smile and attempt at humor made me realize that a few extra minutes at the grocery store wasn’t going to ruin my day.

And just the other day, I witnessed  friend who is struggling with multiple issues  smile widely and hug others with no mention of her own problems. She isn’t pretending her problems don’t exist, but she isn’t letting them interfere with her positive relationships.

All of these people have taught me something that words never could.

Telling my children to change their attitude may not work, but paying attention to my own attitude just might.

That’s why I’m not just adding “monitoring my attitude” to my growing to-do list. I’m putting it at the very top.

The Bright Side of Sibling Struggles

Wednesday, September 3, 2014
No Gravatar

If I were a great parent, I would have taken appropriate action when my son told my daughter to shut up. I didn’t take any action, which means I’m not a great parent or a very good referee.

The problem is that my ability to see shades of grey is magnified when it comes to my children.siblings

I didn’t like my son saying “shut up,” but I also knew that “please be quiet,” wouldn’t have gotten him anywhere. And where he wanted to go was away from his sister’s loud and persistent singing.

Don’t get me wrong.

My daughter is a wonderful singer. She was born singing. When she started daycare, the teachers said they always knew where Kendall was because they simply followed her song.

Not much has changed over the past decade, which is exactly why Shep reached his limit and  yelled “shut up.”

His sister, on the other hand, had every reason to be belting songs at the top of her lungs. She  has an audition for a musical  on Saturday and she was trying out every piece of music she thought would be appropriate.

Since I understood both of them,  I couldn’t take sides. What I could do was  sympathize with both of them, and that’s the path I chose to take.

It may not have been the direction for which parenting experts advocate, and it certainly didn’t do much for creating peace in my house. But I like to think it provided my children with a glimpse of the real world.

In the real world, people have different priorities, and sometimes those priorities conflict. We have to figure out a way to live together anyway.

In the real world, we know that music  may touch the soul, but the same tune affects everyone differently. We have to let others dance to their own beat just as we dance to ours.

And in the real world, maintaining general happiness in life requires deciding when to fight for what you want and when to walk away. The best decisions are the ones that take into account the perspective of others.

I may not have given my children the gift of having the world’s most wise or  patient mother, but I did give my kids what I consider one of the world’s greatest gifts.  I gave them a sibling with whom they have many of the same conflicts they will soon have to face with roommates, co-workers, spouses and maybe even their own children.

And I also like to think that someday, in the distant future, they might  actually appreciate that gift.

Social Caterpillar

Monday, July 21, 2014
No Gravatar
Emma Watson (via Pinterest).

Emma Watson (via Pinterest).

Rachel “Bunny” Lowe Lambert Lloyd Mellon, the horticulturalist and art collector turned second wife of philanthropist and horse breeder, Paul Mellon, became famous for her best friendship with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. (Lord, what a mouthful.)

In the time she spent with Jackie redesigning the White House Rose Garden, she shared her secrets for staying out of the public eye while maintaining an influential role in society.  In her old-fashioned correctness, she told friends that “a woman’s name should appear in print exactly three times: when she makes her debut, when she marries, and when she dies.”

The rest, darling, isn’t to be shared.

I read about “Bunny” in an article in the July issue of Town & Country magazine, which questioned whether people can maintain any sort of solitude in the glare of social media.  If you can Google your own name and not find any information, then you have achieved the nearly impossible dream.

In this day, most (if not all) girls make their “debuts” via Facebook. And once they’re out, there’s no going back.

I talked about this with Ava, who is 11 years old and doesn’t have a social media presence (other than what I publish). Most of the girls she knows already have Instagram sites, and a few have Facebook pages or Twitter accounts.  She’s never asked for anything other than access to Pinterest so she can surf pictures of her favorite musicians. We agreed in order to save our bedroom walls from hideous posters of British boy bands.

Ava sees how much I’m online, posting comments and uploading pictures, and fiddling with different filters to make shots look their best.  She also knows that I landed assignments from USA TODAY simply by maintaining a LinkedIn profile, and she’s aware that I blog about our family every week in the Daily Mail’s online edition. It doesn’t bother Ava — in fact, she’s proud of her old mom — but she doesn’t want to call attention to herself. Like her father, she just doesn’t care to share.

And there’s something to be said for the girl who says nothing at all.

“I think those sites can cause trouble,” she said to me one night when we were up late talking.

“How so?” I asked.

“It just seems like girls get into a lot of fights over things that are posted.”

True, I admitted.  Girls and boys have to be very careful about what they put out there.

“I just like being quiet.”

I wish I had that skill.  Some people have described my writing as “brave” and “gutsy” and “always honest”, but it’s also risky to reveal so much. It’s a call for reaction — and criticism.

We talked about the concept of privacy for a long time, and I realized that she’s entering a stage of life that is full of sensitive matters.  As a writer who observes everyday life and analyzes its oddities, it’s very hard not to turn motherhood into material. As playwright Nora Ephron said so expertly, “Everything in life is copy.”  And she’s absolutely correct.

But maybe it shouldn’t be.

After a few sleepless nights, I’ve decided to end my run writing for The Mommyhood.  It has been a difficult decision that makes me sad, but I feel like I need to let our rising sixth grader have some breathing room. She and her younger sister have belonged to the world for nearly four years, and while I have enjoyed every second of sharing this cherished life with you, I think it’s time to bring it back home.

Giving up this blog is a lot like giving a baby up for adoption.  For a journalist, an essayist or a diarist, a column in any form is a coveted space.  I am very grateful that a friend pitched one of my pieces to Brad McElhinny and encouraged him to give my work a closer look, and I am so appreciative of the Daily Mail staffers who made me feel like one of them.

Of course, I have to give thanks to my girls, who provided more than a half-million words under my fingers. In return, I plan to print every post and have two copies bound, which will be saved for when they become mothers. This blog has chronicled a large part of their childhood, but also the phases of motherhood that I hope they’ll refer to one day.

Finally, I thank you, dear readers, who have clicked my links every Monday, “liked” them, favorited them, forwarded them, and provided tremendous support through comments and replies. Parenting is a lonely job at times, but I rarely felt that way. Each time I signed on, there was always someone there to give me a much-needed thumbs up.

Bright and early this morning, I was waiting for the “pop” of sealed jars containing homemade strawberry jam.  I sat at the computer and scrolled through shots on Pinterest  – everything from Kate Middleton and baby George to sweet George Harrison. Then, I stumbled upon a quote attributed to Emma Watson, most famously known as Hermione Granger of the Harry Potter series. It’s hard to tell if she actually mouthed the following words, but I sent the pin to Ava anyway.  It said:


And as my girls enter the reality show of adolescence, I pray they’ll choose to remain a bit of a mystery.

Note:  Katy Brown may be leaving her regular spot in The Mommyhood, but you can continue to follow her lifestyle blog, House Kat.  It’s a peach!