The End is Near…About Weaning

LM2 is one!!!!

I can’t believe it. He’s starting to walk. He’s eating on his own. He’s laughing at me when he does something he’s not supposed to – ie- throw crackers and milk on the floor and watch me clean it up.

Since we’ve reached the 1-year mark, it means bye-bye breastfeeding for me. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a love/hate relationship with breastfeeding. I believe in its nutritional value, and I mostly believe in its cuddle/comfort value for baby. But it’s kind of a stinky process. Let’s be honest. Breastfeeding is when your child is stuck on your nipples several times throughout the day. And when he’s not down there often enough, you start to get engorged, which is super painful. It’s a mixed bag.

The term “mixed bag” seems the most appropriate term for many things in life nowadays. Everything is wonderful and challenging, joyful and hard, frustrating and a blessing.

As I approach the start of the weaning process with this perfect little new man in our lives, I am so excited to gain a piece of myself back. Dropping our feedings means I don’t need to tote a breast pump, ice, and a cooler. I always feel like the drunk toting her own mixers in a restaurant (cuz I feel like I need to bring that little cooler everywhere!!!) Weaning means I don’t have to slip away and whip my boobs out at any given time if I’m with LM2 (even if I have great boobs that are worth sharing (I’m half kidding)).

But it also means our baby is growing. He’s not quite a baby anymore. He’s not interested in nursing and is ready! He’s looking for cups and food and the refrigerator!!! (Which is so cute and horrifying, because he keeps grabbing stuff on the lower shelf, like, a tub of sour cream, yikes!) And it means those quiet, private times we had together are going to change. We’ll find new ways to be close and cuddly without the presence of my knockers.

Things change.

And whenever a change presents itself in my life, I get a little scared, a little teary (ok, maybe a lot teary), and a little uncomfortable (yeah, I probably meant to write “a lot uncomfortable”).

I know there is a hormonal component at play here, too. At least, I love using that as an excuse: “Oh, Honey, it’s my HORMONES!!!” is a more common phrase in my home than I’d like to admit. But it is true that my body will change and react to the weaning process. My body chemistry is shifting. Some engorgement is inevitable. The fear of mastitis is always on the mind. And there is a piece of grief that rears its ugly head in the middle of all this. Here’s why: without sounding too full of myself, I’ll admit that part of me feels like I’ve been this life-source for LM2, as I once was for LM1, and now that time is simply…..OVER. And whenever anything is over, we grieve. Even if just a little bit.

I think what I learned from my process with LM1 is that we (baby and me) need to take our time with weaning. I like to drop one feeding once a week, at least. And together, LM2 and I will decide where we stand and what we need. I can feel that he’s ready. He’s more ready than I am. So, I need to do what’s best and let the process unfold. (Sidenote: Reading Emma Donaghue’s Room this past week was NOT the best idea on my part– even if it was completely unintentional.  I did not know there would be any discussion of breastfeeding in there. (It was a wonderful book, though!!!))

So, I’m sure the process will go as its meant to be. Apologies to those who see me crying randomly– it’s likely not you, it’s me!

If you’re a mommy working on weaning, here is a really super article that felt well-informed and helpful to me. And, as always, feel free to share your own experiences! I love to hear how you weaned, how the process went for you, and what’s new in your world.

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The Latest Logic

Well, it would seem that LM1 is starting to reason. His conclusions are not always accurate, but they are making us smile. Enjoy!

1.) When we found a metal door inside the restroom at the grocery store:

LM1: Mommy, what this is for?
Me: The little door?
LM1: This… (he knocks on it)
Me: It’s a panel to hide away something. Maybe an electrical panel or something having to do with the ventilation in here.
LM1: Maybe it’s where they put the gas in.
Me: Why does the grocery store need gas?
LM1: To make it go.
Me: Where is it going?
LM1: I don’t know. Somewhere.

2.) While we ate breakfast and Daddy got ready to leave for work:

LM1: Daddy’s got to go to work.
Me: That’s right.
LM1: He is going to YMCA.
Me: To work out?
LM1: That’s where he works.
Me: What does he do there?
LM1: He watches the kids.
Me: Are you sure? Why do you think he does that?
LM1: Because they listen to him.

3.) While sitting on the toilet, crying:

Me: Why are you crying?
LM1: Because I don’t want to eat my poop.
Me: Why would you eat your poop? No one is asking you to do that. We don’t do that!
LM1: But you say we eat the blueberries and they are my poop.
Me: (Silence)

4.) While saying prayers before bedtime:

LM1: Thanks, dear God, for a wonderful day.
Me: What else should we say thank you for?
LM1: Grammy?
Me: Yes! And who else? Your cousins?
LM1: We did not see them this weekend.
Me: We don’t only have to say thanks for people we saw this weekend.
LM1: Oh. (confused….)

5.) While negotiating over the chicken and broccoli for dinner.

LM1: Maybe I should have oatmeal.
Me: Maybe you should eat what I made.
LM1: I don’t like it.
Me: Eat 5 pieces of chicken and 2 pieces of broccoli.
LM1: Then I can have oatmeal?
Me: Yes.
LM1: No.
Me: What if I give you juice?
LM1: From the juice box?
Me: Yes.
LM1: I will have 5 broccolis.
Me: Done.

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Beating Winter!

I love the fall because it’s the time of year when I fell in love with my husband. Everything about the fall strikes me as romantic because it takes me back to that time in college when I met this man I had a good feeling about. I didn’t know we would end up together. I didn’t know we would get married and have two kids in Pennsylvania 10 years after we met. I just had a great feeling, and I knew I wanted to keep feeling that way for as long as possible.

So, almost as much as I love the fall, I have to admit that I kind of hate winter. All those sweet, warm, wonderful feelings get warped in my brain as soon as winter hits. I didn’t always hate winter. But since having my kids, it is harder to be outside and it’s harder to get much of anywhere. There are hats and gloves and mittens. There are strollers and carriers to lug around and use or not use (if there is ice or too much snow). It is physically more challenging to get around with all this extra stuff. Then, once we get out, the kids don’t especially like the cold. So our outdoor fun lasts in 15-20 minute increments. WTF.

This leaves us mostly trapped inside. Which chaps my butt and makes me stir crazy. I like to move. The kids like to move. Jack Frost is a force to be reckoned with and there is only so much we can take.

I get kind of sour this time of year and I have tried lots of different things to help change this. The sunlight light bulbs. Going to the gym. Scheduling play dates. Keeping busy.

But this morning an amazing thing happened. A song came on the radio that shot me back into the past. Into my favorite time of year, my favorite moments in life. Those months when I was falling hard for a guy I had no idea would change my life. And it slowly occurred to me that I didn’t just fall in love with Hubs that fall. I fell in love with a season, a city, new traditions, and a new home.

So when winter comes and the first big cold blows through town, I am going to go back in my mind to love. Because to love is to live. And I can blow winter hard on its butt if I can find things to love about winter.

Here are some winter activities I’ll be enjoying…. (though I’m hoping you’ll share your ideas with me!!!)

1.) Making soup. Thank you, Ina Garten.
2.) Group exercise. Thank you, YMCA.
3.) Cross country skiing. The kids are getting snow suits and they will endure 15 minute increments until they love the cold. Thank you, Craigslist.
4.) Museum hunt. There are more out there than I know! I recently found the Reading Public Museum and it’s awesome for the kiddies.
5.) Pen palling. I don’t know if this will work, but I have a sneaking suspicion there is an app for this. Why not make a new friend via old fashioned letter writing???
6.) Pump the heat in our house for underwear dance parties. This may not be energy efficient, but I think it will make us smile. And sweat. And sleep better.
7.) House project. I’m going to get organized!

8.) Podcast exploration. So far I’ve found “The Moth” and it’s pretty amazing.
9.) Wake up earlier. I’m sure that staying up late serves no purpose but to make me cranky. So, HELLO BEDTIME!
10.) Book a vacation. Where to go? Here’s to thinking, plotting, planning, and scheming!

What are YOU up to this winter???

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On Loving Yourself

Ok, so, I guess I should just confess it right off the bat….

I don’t know that I l-o-v-e love myself. I like myself. I think I’m pretty decent. I’m a HIP. A Human In Progress. I have flaws and weaknesses, I have some strengths. My strengths are super cool (ie- I make well-timed, appropriately hilarious, well-delivered comments to my husband when NO ONE ELSE is looking or even nearby, my impromptu dance skillz are Uhhh-mazing, etc). My weaknesses suck (I’m not going to list my weaknesses here!!! Silly, silly.)

Oh, I should probably mention that the topic of loving yourself came up recently when I picked up a book called, You Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero. To be a true badass, I need to LOVE myself. Like, LOVE love. Like, want to spend the rest of my life with myself, and commit to myself forever and ever.

So it got me thinking…Can I say I love myself? I don’t think so. That’s, like, the wrong word. I would say I’m a fan of my work, and I’m curious to see what will develop in my peak years. I would say I’m an admirer of my life attempts.

Truth: uhhhhh…….I don’t think so. That’s, like, the wrong word. I would say I’m a fan of my work, and I’m curious to see what will develop in my peak years (which I assume will be when I’m 40). I would say I’m an admirer of my life attempts.

I guess this is problematic. Because more so than I want to be a badass, I want to teach my kids to love themselves. I want them to know the pure, simple joy of trusting yourself and loving that you are your own best instrument for success. But we can’t teach what we can’t model. I feel pretty confident about that fact.

What’s more is that as I’ve become a mother, there are new, different things I have to learn to love about myself. I used to be a different person before the kids. I was always on time. I was always clean, tidy, neat, showered. Now I’m…..uhhh….what’s that word? FORGETFUL. I think that’s the word I wanted to use.

I’m also moving in more directions. I’m prioritizing differently. I’m monitoring my thinking, my reactions, my attitude, my behavior. Because now I have an audience for everything that I do. So I’m a little guarded, and sometimes, that means a little less confident. While I would like to love myself (should I say I’d love to love myself?) most days I feel like I don’t even know myself. I’m under construction. I’m morphing and changing and growing, and I’m not ready to commit to this new version of myself yet.

Have any other new moms felt this way? That suddenly, you are a different woman, and you’re confused and feeling completely like, “Who am I now???” “Who are my kids going to think I am?” It’s completely likely that I am overthinking this, ahem, example of one of my weaknesses. Ok, there, I said it. I CANNOT be the only one though, right?!?!?

So, if a wisdom fairy were to float into my house, I’m sure she would say something like this:

Stop it. Just stop right now.
You either love yourself or you don’t.
You don’t wait until you become more loveable. Because when the hell is that supposed to happen?
Jump on this gravy train right now, and decide to start loving yourself TODAY.

So I guess if I want to be a badass, I need to suck it up and start the love-fest.
Orrrrrr…maybe I just want to be a badbutt. Or a badbottom. Or a badrump. Maybe those are, like, the baby steps I can work toward.

If Beyonce were around to teach me to power pose correctly, I feel pretty confident that I would NAIL IT.

No. That just won’t work. So, here’s my task:
I will wake up every day and smile at myself. Regardless of what I see in the mirror, I will smile and say, “Go get it, girl.” I will mean it. And on some days, I will play the Star Wars Soundtrack and tell myself that is almost as good as power posing.

Here’s to trying something new. Every day.


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Crummy Story Time

I’m pretty sure story times almost never look like this. Unless this picture is not actually kids smiling, but kids laughing at the lady pointing to sea gulls. Who cares about sea gulls? These kids are like, “those gulls look like upside down mustaches…”

I have to start this post by saying I completely realize this is a half-lame issue that is not worthy of complaint, but I’m totally gunna complain about it anyway.

I had the fortunate opportunity to take the boys to story time at a new spot last week. I love story time. There may be nothing greater. Ok, there are lots of great things to do with the kiddos, but on a rainy Monday morning, I couldn’t believe I’d found a new spot offering just what the doctor ordered: some stories, singing, and dancing, to kick off our week with smiles. (Read: Yes, I’m a nerd, and I probably should have become a librarian…I certainly have the glasses for it.)

LM1 was totally down for our outing, which only made me more excited. We hadn’t been to a story time in a while. He was excited, I was excited, the baby slept well and was full of yummy food– the stars seemed to have aligned.

Then we got there.

Then we met a woman I’ll just call WS. For Wrong Side. As in, Of the Bed. Because this gal was not excited to be at story time. In fact, I’d say she was pretty annoyed and/or disappointed to be at story time.

Let me just say, if you don’t want to be at story time, you probably shouldn’t participate in a story time intended for 18-36-month-old children. Because they are not listeners. They are not participants. They are really just kinda there because Mommy is praying they will someday become listening participants. For my son, story time is an opportunity to get out of the house, think about books for twenty seconds, and consider how cool it could be to hang around other little kids before deciding to stop thinking about the other little kids entirely.

Well, Ms. WS did not come prepared for any of these facts (Yes, I’m calling them facts because everyone knows this. Someone tweeted it, and now everyone knows). We got some attitude from WS that came out like this:

1.) To a mom whose child didn’t want to sit down (which I find completely normal…and, personally, I refrain from sitting in most situations when I can): “If you can’t settle her down, maybe she needs a break.”

It’s still unclear who needed settling….

2.) To a child who didn’t pay attention to the book she was reading: “Eyes on me. We need to learn to pay attention.”

Uhhh…..what? They’re 1. They’re learning to figure out where their fingers are….

3.) To a child who giggled and ran across the room holding a pretend cookie given out by WS: “If you can’t follow directions, you will have to give the cookie back.”

Who gives a cookie to a one-year-old only to take it back???

4.) To the room in general: “Some boys and girls are not being good listeners.”


5.) To herself in a huff of frustration: “I don’t think that will work…we’ll just skip that activity.”

6.) To the entire room: “I am feeling a little sick, so I don’t want to have to shout at you.”

Wow. I don’t want this person shouting at children. I don’t want her shouting, period. Why is shouting an option at all?

Needless to say, it was awkward. This poor woman was working hard to try and get a room of one and two-year-olds to complete kindergarten level tasks and participate in story time by sitting quietly and not really participate in the way they know how to participate……yet…..I’m sure they’ll get there one day. Like, when they’re in kindergarten.

So, after feeling disappointed for myself and my kids, I started to really feel sorry for our humble storyteller. She was having a rough day. She appeared exasperated. Something wasn’t meshing for her, and it was not ideal. I wanted to pull out a magic wand and make everyone more comfortable. Hell, I could have started a stand-up routine with puppets and a bubble machine. But, alas, this could not be.

My take away from the situation was that I need to have more patience with my kids. I probably look and feel and sound like WS a lot more than I realize. I probably say silly things to my kids like, “Listen to me! You’re not being a listener!” And if they had the cognition to answer me in a complete, adult sentence, they would probably say something like, “Well, I’m 2, so, cut me some slack, Weenie-bobbins.” Or they might get witty and say, “I’ll understand to listen to your voice when you listen to my body language. Because right now, I’m more hungry/tired/bored than attentive right now. So, let’s get a granola bar and move on the the next activity!”

So, I don’t know that I want to take the kids back to story time with WS, but I sort of feel like giving her a second chance will be like giving myself a second chance. So…..I guess I’m gunna get that jam on the calendar for another time soon. But I may plan an escape route….in case she brings back those silly fake cookies.


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Real Stuff That Really Happened

Here are some new things that occurred in our day-to-day that really, completely, totally happened…and I’m not exaggerating….not really….not at all. Who can make this stuff up?

Should I get one of these for LM2? Totes.

1.) LM2 crawled into the shower with all of his clothes on. That’s two layers of onesie, fresh socks, diaper, and a cute hat I’d actually gotten to stay on his head. I was heating up the water for a group steam shower (group=party of 2, including LM1 and LM2) to clean out their boogies. LM2 was clearly ready for the shower before I was. He made it inside, got soaked, and for some reason I was scared by this scenario and jumped into the shower. This means I got all wet, too. But nobody drowned, so that was a plus.

2.) LM1 fell out of bed. He doesn’t sleep in a bed. Nor did I lay him down in a bed. Nope. In this scenario, LM1 climbed out of his crib, jumped into the guest bed, fell asleep, and then fell out a few hours later. At 11 p.m., we heard the thud, went running, and learned that he’d taken up residence in a new space. Silly parents. Didn’t we know that he would do that?

3.) LM2 threw my night guard into the toilet. So, I realize now that this is gross to begin with– but I let LM2 hold my night guard case because it makes a clinky noise and it seemed to amuse him. It was a clean night guard. I turned my head to get a hairbrush and then heard the splash. Joke’s on me. Ugh.

4.) LM1 leaned his tunnel on the couch in an attempt to create a tunnel slide. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t yet understand the idea of supports and the fact that his tunnel is made completely out of nylon. He had so much fun trying to construct the tunnel that I didn’t bother to explain the error in his thinking. I figured he would figure it out. False. What we got, instead, was a twenty minute distraction that left everyone laughing.

5.) LM2 slurped the boogies out of his nose and into his mouth, then shuddered. If this weren’t so impressive, it would be more disgusting. Nah, wait a second. It is COMPLETELY disgusting. The saddest part of this story is that I would have missed it had the boogies not been florescent green. I saw the whole thing in slow motion– his tongue feeling up for the boogs, the consideration of moving them, and then the action to follow. It was awful and hilarious. Life, it seems, is always nothing more than one big dichotomous situation, unfolding in front of my eyes.

6.) LM1 is practicing his jumps and simultaneously destroying the house. So, I was cooking dinner for this one. I was at the stove, LM2 was in a high chair munching on some Cheerios. LM1 decided now was the perfect time to work on jumping off his step stool. I told him, naturally, that removing his socks would likely avoid injury. I thought of it as a successful attempt at establishing balance and I told him to “nail the landing.” He did this. Because he is athletic and a good listener. What I failed to recognize was that this little man was jumping whilst holding a pouch of purple carrot puree. SOOOO, when I turned around, clearly after way too much time and too many jumps had passed, the counters, the floor, the step stool and his little brother were all covered in purple carrot. Shame on Mommy. I’m sure I’ll think a little harder next time before agreeing to one of his “great ideas.”

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Needing to Belong

It’s absolutely incredible to me that at the age of 2.5, my son is already working hard to feel included. He must be a part of every thing and any thing occurring in the room. He must know what is happening, who it includes, why it’s being done, and what will happen next.

I see snippets of this every day, but found a conversation we shared recently to be exceptionally telling and relevant to what I’m describing here.

I was cleaning up a bit around the house and found LM1 beneath my legs, tugging away at my shirt to ask a question.

“Why I am not there, too?” he said.

“Where, Baby?” I said.

“In that picture. Where is everyone? Why my family is there and I am not there?” he said.

LM1 was clearly distraught and confused and generally agitated. I had to put down the things in my hands down and follow him through the house to figure out what he was describing.

“I’m confused,” I confessed. “Can you show me?”

Without hesitation, he pulled my wet and soapy hands for a quick trip to the table in our foyer. A few days earlier, I propped up a new canvas on the little wood table in our foyer, which shows about 30 smiling members of our family. The picture was a gift for the holidays, and it’s a good one, since so many of the people we love are featured in it. It was a great gift idea, until LM1 noticed his absence from the photo and began protesting this.

“Why I am not with my family?” he said.

I explained as best as I could that this was a photo from a party. It was a late night and he is a little man, so he needed to be home, doing little man things.

“We will go back there,” he said, “so I can be with my family, too.”

“No, Honey,” I said. “The party is over. We can take a picture with you at another party. Just wait and there will be another time for fun and photos.”

He looked like he might cry. LM1 was still confused. I tried to explain that even if we miss a family event or a photo, our family is always with us. We are all together, and we belong to each other no matter what. That’s what family means.

I finally coaxed him away from the photo with some trains and other toys.

But this desire, this burning need to belong and to be included stuck with me. As human beings, we’ve all got this in us at such a young age. I’ve read about it in the psychology books: we want to be a part of things. We want to join a community. We learn to take great pride and comfort in the fact that we belong. I guess this may not be the case for everyone, but I feel this way, and now I can see my son feeling this way, too.

Being a SAHM can be isolating sometimes. I’ve written about this before, and it’s no secret. We spend lots of time alone with our kids when we have to wait through the nap traps, long meals, endless diaper changes, and transportation between schools and doctors and playdates. The truth is that between all of those tiresome moments, I long to belong within a community, too. I want to be surrounded by people. I want to laugh and smile and pose for pics. I want to feel like I belong someplace outside of my house from time to time.

So, this burning desire of his to know “WHERE WAS I?” and “WHEN WILL I BE A PART OF THIS GROUP AGAIN” made me see how similar all human beings are. Age seems to separate us in many ways, but it doesn’t in so many others. LM1 and I love being part of something bigger than ourselves, and I can’t believe that became apparent on a lazy winter morning in our house.

So, we took up a game of memory with Thomas and Friends playing cards. We laughed and enjoyed some time before getting out of the house. And I called my sister for a quick “hey, how are ya” conversation, and laughed at my own advice: family is with us even when they’re not.

Here’s to #simpleblessings and how a babe shows me how to belong.


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The Best of the Holiday Season!!!

The holidays are the best time of the year. They are exhausting with the little ones around, and some days become scream-fest-melt-down days if the truffle shuffle becomes too much for them to bare. All the ups and downs included, the holiday went off well and we smiled over some things new and unexpected.  What I consider to be the very best holiday moments are the following:

1.) Confusion over Santa’s eating of the cookies. LM1 could not decipher why the old man would eat cookies and why we had encouraged the eating of said cookies by putting them out on our hearth in the first place.

2.) LM2’s infatuation with eating the wrapping paper. He developed a preference by the end of our Christmas Extravaganza, and decided that the blue paper is best.

3.) I managed to make paella for the family. Without burning anything. Without forgetting any steps in the process (though I did forget one step for the tostones). Without leaving any leftovers. #bigwin #IamLatinaafterall

4.) We entertained many family members and managed to spend a full week surrounded by the ones we love. My uncle came to stay with us and brought smiles, laughter, and the “Christmas movie” Die Hard. #unexpectedblessings #psdiehardisnotachristmasmovie

5.) LM1 learned to sing “Jingle Bells,” though he pronounces it differently each time he sings.  We’ve now heard lyrics for “Ringle Spells,” “Stinkle Dells,” “Wrinkle Jells,” and “Jangel Bulls.” All confusion aside, I think he’s generally pleased with his singing ability and the joy conveyed as a result of any and all caroling.

Happy Holidays! Bring on the New Year!

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Funny Words from LM1

My kiddo makes me laugh… I like sharing some of our “conversations” with the hope that he’ll make you chuckle, too.

In discussing the cookies eaten following Santa’s arrival:

LM1: Where are the cookies?
Me: Do you see those crumbs? They are gone!
LM1: I see them!
Me: Where do u think they went?
LM1: I don’t know. Where are they?
Me: Do you think since we left them out for Santa Claus, maybe he ate them?
LM1: Yes. (Thinking.) Yes! It was Santa! And the reindeer.
(Pensive pause. Look of confusion. Some more pausing)
LM1: But why did he eat them?
Me: He gets hungry from all his hard work….delivering all those presents.
LM1: Are you kidding me?
Me: I’m not.
LM1: That’s weird.

In discussing what to do while I cook dinner:

Me: You need to amuse yourself while I make dinner. I can’t have you crawling around through my legs because I’ll fall or burn myself.
LM1: I wanna funk you up.
Me: Excuse me?
LM1: I wanna funk you up.
Me: What does that mean?
LM1: On iPad.
(I think, while holding a wooden spoon, messy-fingered and greasy.)
Me: Oh! You want to listen to Bruno Mars? Uptown Funk You Up?
LM1: You will dance, Mommy.
Me: I will cook dinner and you will dance, ok?
LM1: I will get iPad.

In discussing why sharing is important, while the boys fight over a garbage truck toy:

Me: You have to share with your brother.
LM1: I do not.
Me: You do.
LM1: He is not my brother.
Me: He is your brother and he loves you very much. He learns from you and your example, so you need to be kind, generous, and gentle with him. (Time elapses…..and then I remember my main point….) And you HAVE TO SHARE!
LM1: He can have this block.
Me: He wants to see the dump truck.
LM1: He can have Elmo.
Me: Elmo is his to begin with. That’s not sharing; that’s just letting him have what is his.
LM1: Baby Brother is hungry. You need to go feed him.
Me: Sigh…..

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The Gifting Loophole

giftsAnyone who knows me really well knows that I’m a little anti-gifting, especially at Christmas time. It’s not that I don’t like getting or receiving gifts; I understand that it’s fun and that it feels good to find treats for the people we love. It’s tradition to gift at Christmas! Don’t forget tradition! And everyone loves the sparkles. The smiles. The shock and joy when we open the perfect present. I get it. I get it. I like that part, too.

But I can’t lie: I don’t like the excess that Christmas has become. I don’t like the piles and piles of presents that I stare at before we open them….and I feel my Catholic guilt asking, “should all of this be going to a homeless shelter someplace? How many sweaters are there in these boxes?”

What if we spent money donating to others in need? How much money could go to a great cause? Or a few great causes?

I guess I’ve taken this idea to the extreme a bit. I’ve told my family before that if we took gifting completely out of the Christmas equation, I would not be upset. But I mean that. Really.

I know what you’re thinking: This is one of those things where you SAY you don’t like gifts, but you’re FULL OF CRAP. Because everyone loves gifts, right?

Well, no. Not everyone. One year my husband and I didn’t exchange at all, per my request, and we more than survived.  That has happened more years than once, come to think of it. We’ve passed on gifting for birthdays, too. Hubs really loves exchanging, and so, we buy each other gifts most years. But sometimes we decide we don’t need anything and that’s ok, too.

Regardless of this, for my kids, I’m especially critical about gifting. They are so small and young; they cannot appreciate or fully understand this whole gifting thing, what it means, what it’s supposed to mean, etc. They get so many presents that they become overloaded. They cannot remember what they got, from whom they got them, what all of them do, and when they should play with them. They like the process of unwrapping sometimes more than they like the gifts themselves. If you’re my 10-month-old,  you like the box in which a gift came in more than the gift.


Well, this year I made  an attempt to cut back on the Christmas gifting. With blessings from Hubs, I sent an email to the grandparents after Thanksgiving, asking kindly that they refrain from purchasing more than one gift per kid.

Well, this intention of mine was thwarted, not by outright refusals, shouting, or pouting, but by what my husband and I have dubbed “Gifting Loopholes.” Here are the clever loopholes we’ve encountered in the weeks following my said email. (And I’ll say this ahead of time: We are pretty delighted that we’ve been set straight. These loopholes are genius, admirable, and hilarious. We are laughing at the loopholes and ourselves for trying to enforce a rule that lead to loop-holing. All this is to say: there will NOT be a gifting email next year. Let gifting reign.)

Grandparent 1 said:

“Well, it’s one gift per kid, per grandparent, right? So, I can get one for each kid and my spouse can get one for each kid.”

= 4 gifts

Grandparent 2 said:

“Well, that didn’t apply to grandparents, right? I mean, that’s just what we’re supposed to tell the other relatives, right?”

= numerous gifts

Grandparent 3 said:

“Maybe I’ll pay attention next year. I bought everything well before Thanksgiving, so everything is already wrapped in my basement.”

= who knows how many gifts

Grandparent 4 said:

“I’ll just bring them treats in the weeks before Christmas that aren’t really ‘Christmas presents.’ Is that ok?”

= at least 4 gifts so far, and at least 2 to come at Christmas = 6 gifts

Grandparent 5 said:

“What if I buy presents and they can stay at my house? Then you don’t have to worry about the gift cluttering your house?”

= probably 2 extra gifts, because this grandparent doesn’t much care for clutter, either

Grandparent 6 said:

“You know you’re destroying the Spirit of Christmas….so….how do you feel about that? I will easily revive it for you.”

= don’t count the gifts, just count your kids. So long as you have 2 of those in your car, you’re fine





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