Along Came a Spider…

“To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect,” said Oscar Wilde.  This is one of my favorite quotes since life is always serving up a hot plate of the unexpected.  A few weeks ago, the unexpected reared its ugly head in the form of a itsy-bitsy spider…

I was at the neighborhood pool with my two kidlets, enjoying a dip in the lukewarm kiddy pool. After about two hours of splishing, splashing, running, jumping and a little bit of swimming, we were packing up to head home for peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. I sat both of the kids on chairs and I squatted next to them to help get shoes on, dry off, etc.

While I was dressing the smaller kiddo, I felt a sharp sting on my toe and immediately crushed whatever it was that bit me. I assumed it was a pesky fire ant and didn’t even look at the squished bug carcass. I put on my flip flops and left.  I don’t remember my toe hurting very much, but it was feeling a bit hot.

Later that night, my toe was starting to swell and it was itchy and hot, yet there was no mark on it. It was just very red. I assumed I would see the telltale fire ant blister the next morning. Boy, was I wrong!

The next morning my toe was throbbing, burning, completely swollen, bright red and the skin was blistering. There was a very dark purple spot in the middle of the bite. I kept putting bandages on it and tried to keep it out of harm’s way. Too little too late. By the afternoon, I noticed a red streak had formed from the bottom of my toe and it was spreading down my foot and up my ankle. Hello, urgent care on a Sunday!

As soon as I showed the doctor my fire ant bite, he looked at me and said, “that’s no fire ant bite.” He looked at it and frowned, “you’ve been bitten by a spider and I think it was a brown recluse.” At that exact moment my toe really started to hurt. Power of suggestion, I guess. When the nurse came in to bandage it, she actually moaned, “Oh my gosh! Gross! What happened to your toe? It looks awful!” Needless to say, it hurt even worse after her reaction.

For the next few days my poor toe was a bubbling cauldron of spider toxins. It looked absolutely horrible and it hurt. The doctor had given me a strong dose of antibiotic and told me I was fortunate to start the medication within 24 hours of the bite. He said waiting is a very bad thing. Scary.

I took some sisterly advice from Ms. Chatterly and motherly advice from Mrs. F. and DID NOT check out gruesome pics online of terrifying spider bites. My mind did not need to wander in that direction. Seeing my own little injury was more than enough.

It has been over three weeks since the bite and it still hasn’t healed. I don’t have a hole in my toe or a big crater. I have an oddly numb dark spot that is still healing, yet it feels pretty smooth. Hopefully it will continue to improve and this will be my (and my family’s) first and last encounter with nature’s venemous creatures. As a mother, I’ve never been so thrilled to take one for the team. Ah, the countless joys of motherhood.

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Are We Ever Genuinely Happy for Someone Else’s Child?

I will call this post a ‘Mommy Moment’ and you can decide if you agree or not…

The other day I was at a store and overhead a little toddler counting. She had beautiful flawless skin, big bouncy curls and expressive brown eyes. She was adorable! She counted to 20…then to 30…and finally stopped at 50. Her mom beamed and she smiled at me when she was finished because she knew she had a small audience. Amazed, I asked her mother how old she was. She was three and a half. “Good job,” I said enthusiastically. I was lying.

My mind immediately started racing. Was this normal? Can all kids her age count to 50? Are my young children on track? Is she ahead of the curve? Are my kids behind it? Thoughts were racing through my head and I wanted a computer so I could Google it until my heart was content.

Luckily, the non-mom side of my brain kicked in and squelched the mom racket. The fact that this little girl could count had nothing to do with me or my children. This was someone else’s moment, not mine. I realized how easy it is and how nature it feels to be competitive with other children. Which makes me wonder, are other parents ever genuinely happy for someone else’s child? I sure hope so. After reflecting on my actions, I’d like to congratulate that bubbly little girl on her impressive counting skills. She deserves it.

Inglesina Strollers Boast Italian Luxury

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If you haven’t heard of Inglesina strollers, it’s time to get acquainted. Inglesina is recognized as one of the leading international manufacturers of juvenile products including strollers, high chairs, car seats and accessories. During my stroller research as a new mom, I got to know the Inglesina brand because of their vintage prams. The Classica Pram is something to behold!

Inglesina also makes sporty strollers like the Zippy, Trip and Swift. All three of these colorful strollers come with a long list of great features that moms on-the-move appreciate. The Zippy is the fully-loaded version, next is the Trip and last is the Swift, a scaled-down umbrella with lots of perks.

The Zippy starts around $349, the Trip is $169 and the Swift is $119.  You can find all three strollers, as well as many other Inglesina products, at BabyEarth.com.

Ten Tips for New Moms

storkThe day that stork finally delivers your baby, is quite exciting. It can also be rather overwhelming to suddenly have a newborn and find yourself stuck in the hospital and be in pain.  Here are a few tips to think about before the big day arrives. Keep in mind, this is based on my personal experience and every mom might not agree.

1. – Fill out hospital paperwork prior to due date. Most hospitals have a packet for expecting moms. Do yourself a favor and fill out all of this info weeks before you’re due. You do not want to be in labor and have to deal with it. They also ask for data you probably don’t know off the top of your head. Plan ahead!

2. – Pack your bag with care. Take the time to shop for maternity pajamas. You will be living in these for a while and if you’re nursing, it is so much easier with pjs made especially for nursing moms. You might not want to get pajamas with pants or shorts because the waistband might be uncomfy if you have a c-section. Pack shampoo, conditioner, magazines, glasses (if you wear contacts), toothbrush, toothpaste, mouth wash, hair dryer, etc. The hospital is not a Four Seasons.

3. – You will leave the hospital fat! You won’t be fitting in your skinny jeans two days after delivery so pack maternity clothes to wear home. The softer and more comfy, the better. You might also want to avoid the high heels for a while too, Mrs. Fashionista. Falling down after having a baby would be a bad thing. Pack flats!

4. Grab those diapers. Look, you paid for that lovely hospital stay and diapers are included. If there are extra ones in your room, you own them so take them home with you. If you have a boy, you want to grab some extra gauze pads for the circumcision. Oh, don’t forget to take home the ‘boy shorts’ they give you, mom. You will really like having extras for the first week or two after delivery.

5. Write down when you take your pain medicine. The biggest mistake you can make after having a baby is getting behind on your pain medication. It’s much easier to keep the pain under control if you take it every four hours. If you think you feel okay and wait 6 or 7 hours, it will most certainly catch up with you. And it will hurt! Don’t trust that the nurses will keep you on schedule. Write. It. Down. And buzz the nurse about 15-20 minutes prior to when you need to take the medicine because sometimes they don’t get to you right away.

6. Ditch the jewels. Don’t wear all of your expensive jewelry to the hospital. There is no need for it and they will usually make you take it off anyway. If you like it, keep it at home. Besides, your puffy fingers might appreciate a break from the tight wedding ring. And yes, they will go back to their normal size. So will your ankles.

7. Ask questions! If you don’t understand something your nurse tells you, ask her questions. And if you don’t like your nurse, ask for a different one. I’ve had some wonderful nurses and I’ve had some horrible ones. You will probably have a bunch of different ones during your hospital stay, so don’t get too attached to one. Nothing says “I Love You” like your husband telling off your nurse because she has an attitude problem.

8. Take notes. It may sound silly, but if your doctor or pediatrician tells you certain things and you want to remember exactly what was said, write it all down. Actually, tell your hubby or a family member to take notes. There is so much going on and mom is usually pretty groggy, so it doesn’t hurt to jot things down.

9. Use the nursery at night. It may be scary to give your brand new baby to strangers, but take advantage of the nursery. Your baby will be in great hands and you will get some rest. Keep the baby with your during the day and send him or her to the nursery at night. New moms need lots of rest and you will not get that rest once you leave the hospital.

10. It’s okay to be scared. As your hospital stay comes to an end and you’re putting your baby in the infant car seat for the trip home, you might freak out. The car ride suddenly becomes scary and the realization that you’re on your own is powerful. Don’t worry. Being a first-time parent is scary. Rely on your friends who have children or other family members for support. The good part is when the second or third baby arrives, you’re already an expert.

Happy deliveries!

Don’t Get Too Relaxed Poolside

There are lots of great things about summertime and going to the pool is one of the best. If you have small children, you already know how important it is to keep your eyes on them at all times. Well, yesterday something scary happened at our pool and I wanted to take a minute to remind all parents about summer safety.

I was in the kiddy pool with my son and so was another dad with his daughters. A family was swimming with their two small children in the big pool. Their youngest climbed out of the big pool and ran towards the kiddy pool. The mom jumped out as fast as she could and ran to catch her little escape artist. He ran to the kiddy pool, stopped, and then stepped in. Well, he missed the step and fell into the water. And he sunk! I was actively watching and so was the other dad, but by the time the “danger” signal went off in our heads, this child had already been under water for many seconds.

I jumped up just as the little boy’s mom grabbed him and pulled him out. He was a bit choked up, but fine.  They sat next to the pool for a while and we all thought, “thank goodness!”

My point is this – I was watching, she was watching, the other dad was watching and two lifeguards were perched poolside. Accidents happen. Just because other people are nearby doesn’t mean your child is safe. While the pool is a place to chat with friends and relax, there are real dangers that can happen in the blink of an eye. Be alert and ready to act! Don’t take your eye off of your kiddos (especially toddlers & preschoolers) for a second.

Happiness is Dancing with Your Shadow

Between the vibrating cell phone calls, the urgent email messages on your Blackberry, the constant bills, the ignored, yet loved DVR, the non-stop solicitations via phone and mail…life not only gets complicated, but also very overwhelming. We’re pushed and pulled in a million directions on a daily basis.

Life handed me a “mom moment” the other day and I actually stopped long enough to appreciate it. I was playing outside with my energetic young children, when I noticed my little toddler was dancing. Well, we don’t have speakers outside, so there wasn’t any music. My older child wasn’t singing and luckily for the neighbors, neither was I! As I watched my toddler, he continued to clap and sway and wave.

Then I noticed he was involved in a conversation – he was talking to his shadow! He danced with it for a while and smiled as it danced back. He tried to grab it a few times and seemed frustrated when he would only succeed in grabbing a handful of dirt. The routine lasted for about 10-15 minutes and ended with a happy wave saying, “bye bye baby!” Of course, the baby waved back at him. What a polite shadow.

It was a really cute moment and one that reminded me how innocent life can be for a child. And maybe we would all benefit by dancing with our shadows once in a while. It certainly looked like fun.