Lyz is a freelance writer, with an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. She also works as a blogger for the Huffington Post and a regular contributor to Mommyish, Mom.me and The Real Moms of Eastern Iowa, a hyper-local mom blog and most importantly BabyZone. Her writing has been published in Real Weddings, Guidepost, The Des Moines Register and YourTango, LearnVest, and Babble.com. She has been syndicated on MSNBC, The Today Show Website, Yahoo! Shine, and MSN Glo. She maintains a blog about pants, chicken nuggets and babies over on LyzLenz.com.
Baby showers are a lovely time when women come together to celebrate the arrival of a new life. They are also painful exercises in etiquette and full of really gross mints.
It started out simple enough. I was pregnant and tired. And yes, getting lunch for a picky 2-year-old was a little much for me to handle at the time. I know, first-world problems. But the result was that I ended up taking my daughter out to lunch a lot more than I ever intended to. Once the baby was born, I relished the chance to get out of the house and meet friends. Often, especially in our frigid Midwestern winter, this meant meeting for lunch at a mall, our local indoor market or a restaurant with a play place. In my mind, it was supposed to be a special treat, a chance to meet friends and play, but what it’s ended up to be is a colossal waste of money.
When I was 5, my dad and grandpa built my siblings and me a giant sandbox. My dad recalls that the dimensions were 12 feet by 10 feet, or maybe a little bigger. And it was deep. We could bury my brother in the sand without hitting the bottom. Our sandbox was the toast of the neighborhood kids.
One neighbor girl, Robin, came over to play almost every day after school. And before she entered the backyard, she would change into some of my clothes. Her mom didn’t want her getting messy. Poor, Robin. I don’t want to sound condescending, but we all felt bad for her. She wore great outfits—polka dot leggings, with coordinating applique flowers on the shirt and matching sock ruffles. Her Keds were never smudged. But that perfection came at a cost: fear.
Yesterday was sunny and warm, which has been rare for the Midwest this Spring. My daughter had an invitation to go play at the park with a friend, or go on a play date, instead, I sat outside and read a book while she dug a hole in the ground. I let her use her scissors to clip grass and she carried buckets from her water table and made a puddle of mud, then she stuck dried sticks in the mud and called it her garden. I didn’t stop her when she started trying to cut the tree or pulled up some of my flowers. She needed this unstructured time and so did I.
My 3-year-old daughter is a princess every day. She came about this naturally. I owned no princess books or movies and we never watched any princess TV shows. Until… two days after her second birthday, she declared herself a princess and insisted on wearing dresses every day. Since then, we’ve seen every princess movie and read a whole treasure trove of books about princesses (fancy, fierce and otherwise). At 3, she’s a veritable princess expert. I asked her over the course of several days why she specifically liked each princess. Here are her answers.
If you’ve ever discussed the home life of Oaken or found yourself saying to another adult, “It’s not African tribal music, it’s called ‘joiking’ a traditional Norwegian Sami chant-like.” And then rolled your eyes. You know you’ve watched too much Frozen.
My mother-in-law told me once that her son (my husband) didn’t take a bottle for the first year of his life. “How did you get away?” I asked. “I didn’t,” she said. There was a sadness in her eyes.
We had this conversation, back when my son was 5 months old and refused a bottle. We tried all the bottles out there. I tried scalding my milk to control for a lipase issue (I read about it on the internet, it could not be a real thing for all I know), I gave him formula, I gave him pumped milk both hot and cold. We tried low flow nipples, fast and medium flow. We tried bottles and sippy cups. We fed him lying on the floor and propped up by the boppy. We had him sitting up with a shirt that smelled like me and we had him in the car seat with a lovie. My mom tried. My sister tried. A friend who claimed she could get kids to do anything tried. Nothing. Without fail, every time he was given a bottle he would scream.