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What They Want, They Can't Have by Jennifer France-Talvitie

Do you have lots of contraptions/toys to appease your little one? I do. Not tons, but the ‘normal’ amount. I wrote a blog a few months back about ‘Every Mom Has a Carnival’. Exersaucers, bouncy swings, toys that make noise, toys that stimulate development, books to flip through, trucks to roll on the ground, I mean the list goes on and on. So why is it, when I have all these things at my 9 month-old’s disposal, he only wants what he can’t have!

For instance, yesterday I was working. He got up from his nap and wanted to play. So, I brought my laptop into his room, set it up, brought in my 3-ring-binder with work info, my water, my decaf coffee and a pen. I had all of his stuffed animals around him so he could just have at them. I had a few other toys strewn about. I figured this will keep him busy for the 20 minutes I need to finish my work and have the rest of the day to play with him. Well, the moment I sat down, he was all over me. Tugging at my binder, trying to climb up to the laptop, grabbing for my pen. He managed in one quick and swift moment to knock over my full glass of ice water. I mean, it was constant. I would pick him up, move him to another area of his room, show him his exciting toys and go back to my spot. Within seconds, mere seconds, he was on me again. At one point, I actually started laughing, looked up and said out loud, ‘I am, at this moment, the essence of a working mom.’ I felt the power and frustration and joy of hundreds of thousands of moms who work from home. It was joyous and crazy all at the same time.

My little guy is so sweet, so curious, so smart (don’t sound like a proud mom, do I?). He finds joy in just about everything. We really are blessed. And at moments like yesterday, I just look at him and know that all is well. That even when I’m on my hands and knees, picking up pieces of ice and moping up water that he just knocked over, with the work that I still need to finish on my screen, I am overwhelmingly proud, honored and eternally grateful to have him.

Child Proofing by Jennifer France-Talvitie

Here we go. My son is 9-months-old as of yesterday and is getting around with gusto. The majority of my daily thought is taken up with the safety of my home and what he will and will not be aloud to play with. What he can and can not get into. He has begun to get bored with his Einstein saucer and jumping swing. He wants to get around and he wants it now! Child proofing my home has begun.

I want gates. I want outlet covers. I want wall fasteners for bookcases, dressers, etc. I want a jigsaw ‘fence’ to keep him in. I want all our plants that hang to the floor trimmed and high up (actually my husband did that last night!). I want cupboard and drawer locks. I want so many things to keep him safe.

I have also started to child proof my son himself. I tell him “hot”, or “ouch” when appropriate. I make him aware of danger even though he might not totally understand.

I’ve also decided to make areas that he might find interesting ok for him to play in. For example, a lower kitchen cupboard has tupperware and toys in it. We have huge mirrors in our living room and dinning room that he loves to pull himself to and look at the ‘baby’ starring back at him. I make it safe for him to get to himself by moving lamps and chairs that aren’t safe for him to pull up on out of the way.

I have begun to shop. But I also know that no amount of child proofing takes the place of watching him with an eagle eye. Curiosity is a wonderful and natural process. The worry of a parent is a natural process, as well.

If anyone has any suggestions, I welcome them.

Taking on a Friend's Baby by Jennifer France-Talvitie

Recently, a friend that my husband works with asked if I’d be interested in watching her 8 month old during the day. She knows that I stay home with my 8 month-old and figured it was worth a try.

When my husband told me of this proposition, my first response was no. The idea of someone else’s child being my responsibility and under my care made me a bit nervous. I don’t doubt my abilities. I feel I am a good mom to my little one and watch out not only for his safety but also for his intellectual and spiritual growth. But another mother’s pride and joy made me pause. After this initial reaction, I got to thinking about it. There are three essential pros to taking on her child.

#1 – Being around another child will be beneficial to Zander. It will provide him with a playmate. Someone to learn to share with; the stimuli of another child. This will also prepare him for a sibling which we hope to add in the not so distant future.

#2 – It will allow me to make some much needed income. My husband and I are so happy that I get to stay home with our boy. However, it has been a financial strain and this would help alleviate some of that.

#3 – I get to continue being with my son everyday! To be able to work from home is key for me and my family. I can continue to do blog writing for Motherhood Incorporated. I can continue to do periodic course testing for another company I work for (this is very infrequent). I can do this all while being home with my son and earing a little for getting the privilege of watching our friend’s son.

I begin this new adventure on July 14th. We’re going to give it a one week trial period. I will keep you all posted on how it goes as the journey progresses. If any of you out there have done this very thing, I’d love to hear from you.

Swimmimg Summer Fun by Jennifer France-Talvitie

My 8 month-old just went swimming for the first time. What fun we had!! I knew it would be a smash knowing how much he loves the bathtub.

Our new friends from our local Moms Club invited us over to her pool. Today in LA it’s 100 degrees….flippin hot! So, we jumped at the chance of cooling off and hanging out with our new friends.

We ended up walking to her condo complex. It took about 25 minutes. Crap, it was a hot walk. I had my little guy hold an ice cold water bottle in his hands so as to keep him cool under his stroller canopy. That worked well. By the time we got there we were both ready to get in.

Zander kicked around and smiled for up to 40 minutes. I brought along a device called the Baby Spring Float from Swim Ways. He sits in the middle and it has a sun shade over the top of it. I highly recommend it. You can get it at Target for $14.99.

I wasn’t sure how he’d take to being slowly put under water. He took to it like a champ! He didn’t seem a bit bothered by it. I only did it one and a half times (up to his nose, the first time).

As we walked home from our new adventure a sense of summer fun came over me. Today is officially summer. Happy summer to you all!!!

To The Dads: Happy Father's Day by Jennifer France-Talvitie

I know this site is called Motherhood Incorporated but I want to wish all the Father’s a Happy Father’s Day!!

I am so excited for my husband’s first Father’s Day. Our son is in love with his daddy and even though he’s only 8 months old, I know he wants me to write a special blog in honor of him.

Being a mom is an amazing experience but it’s even more beautiful and wonderful because I have such a supportive, hands-on, loving and caring partner to share in this incredible journey. The pure joy and excitement that Zander feels as his dad arrives home from work each day is a marvelous sight, indeed. They have their own language. The way my husband can make him laugh is magical. The way he cradles him in his arms for bedtime makes me feel warm and fuzzy. So, to my husband, Happy Father’s Day!!! We Love You!

To my own dad, I celebrate you. Thanks for your inspiration and support throughout my entire life. You are a great role model.

To my father-in-law, thanks for being a great father to my husband and sharing that love with me.

And to you both, thanks for being such wonderful grandfathers to Zander. He is a truly lucky boy.

All of these men make me an even better mother.

To all of you mother’s out there, celebrate the father’s in your life with lots of love and thanks. You might be a single mother or now without your own father (I commend you all!) but I’m sure there is a father in your life that you can celebrate.

Happy Father’s Day to everyone!!

P.S. To my mom and mother-in-law: I want to send you both a special message….your undying and devoted love to me, my husband and your grandson is an awesome and amazing thing. Even though I didn’t send a special blog on Mother’s Day, my heart and soul where just as thankful and full because of you both. To my mom, you are an incredible woman who has taught me the ways of good mothering. Your love is always felt. To my mother-in-law, your love for your son is so wonderful to see. It has transferred into his great skills as a dad. Thanks for passing that love onto me.

My Heart Is Full!!!!

It May Not Be Caffinated, But It Wakes Me Up by Jennifer France-Talvitie

Every morning I look forward to my cup of coffee. Without fail, the first thing I do when I get out of bed is make a small pot of coffee. Just the grinding of the beans wakes me up. The funny part is, it’s always decaf. Starbucks makes many great decafs (they didn’t hire me to write this!). I swear I get the same wake up feeling as when I used to drink caffeinated but without the possibility of getting the jitters or my son getting them, for that matter.

When I first became pregnant in January 2007 I switched to decaf. Since having my son and breastfeeding, I have continued to drink it. I almost wonder if I’ll ever go back to a fully loaded cup of joe. Probably, at least maybe one cup a day, but if I had to stick to decaf, I wouldn’t be sad. There’s 35mg in a cup of decaf. So if you limit yourself to a few cups a day, there should be no harm done (each person is different, of course).

I’ve even gotten back into my routine of loving to go get my afternoon iced coffee at above mentioned store (they really do make the best decaf around and I’ve tried many). I’m not proud of this, but I also don’t apologize. It makes my day 10% more fun! Decaf espresso on ice with a bit of milk is heaven. I’m actually drinking one right now as I type this blog.

Being a mom, working from home, getting up at odd hours of the night, cleaning, errand running, husband nurturing, exercising, bill paying….all of these things require stamina. My decaf cup of joe gives me the stamina I need.

A Moms Club Mom by Jennifer France-Talvitie

I love being a stay at home mom and working from home. There are no buts about it. I feel so grateful.

However, there is an isolation from social interaction. Sometimes we meet my husband for lunch. Sometimes we go to the grocery store or Starbucks or a number of different places. But those places only offer a sense of being in society, not actual interaction.

One thing I loved about working away from home was the discussions I’d have with fellow co-workers. My discussions now consist of, “Zander, do you want to go swing.” or “Can you clap for mommy.” or “It’s time to take a nap.” or “Let’s go for a walk.” or just fun babbling that makes him laugh and makes me feel like a kid again.

So I have found an outlet. A way to talk with others that I have something in common with and that are older than eight months. It’s the Moms Club. I’ve only been to a couple groups so far but I just love them. I feel interactive. Zander gets to interact with other babies. I get to talk with other moms and often leave feeling so happy that some of my motherhood obstacles are those shared by many other moms. It’s just great. I recommend it to any mother out there, especially those who need social interaction. Go find your local chapter and sign up. My older sister made a handful of friends from my nephews playgroups over eight years ago and they are still all hanging out. Heck, they just went to Paris together with their spouses.

Anything is possible. I also hear they have moms night out. I can’t wait for that!