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What Happens In Cabo..

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For those who pinged to remind me that I forgot to post last week- Thank you. But I didn’t forget, I was just too busy- too busy having fun that is!

A kind relative who let us have his timeshare week plus a few pouts to the hubby equaled a fabulous trip to Cabo san Lucas. While I was having a great time in Mexico (more of which I shall share with you later) I was also busy expanding my perspectives. Talking of expanding horizons, we watched the most beautiful sunset on the beach and also for the first time ever I saw a real live WET TSHIRT CONTEST.

I didn’t pay to go watch it, the contest was held in plain view at a shack on the beach. Young college girls were supplied with copious amounts of alcohol, there was really loud music and they were each given a teeny tiny t-shirt. (Or what was supposed to qualify as a t-shirt) There was one drunk idiot on the stage who was at the receiving end of the lap dances by these girls, while they were being squirted liberally with water.

These were young college girls who were in Cabo on spring break. They weren’t paid to do this, this wasn’t a strip club. They were girls who probably had too much to drink and thought it was a good idea to take off their clothes in public to win some more free cheap booze. The DJ kept goading the “performers” on while yelling “What happens in Cabo! Stays in Cabo!!” Their every move on-stage was being recorded on hundreds of phones, ipads and cameras.

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I know they were there willingly and were having a good time, but I couldn’t help but feel for them! As antiquated and mom-like as I sound, I had this crazy urge to go up there are tell them “Don’t do something you will regret years later.” I couldn’t believe how changed I am as a person! I couldn’t (or the mom in me wouldn’t) let me take whatever was going on there for face value and leave it be.

The thing is:

Remember the time you were young and did things that you would now consider stupid. Well I do and maybe a few of my close friends do, but that’s about it. That’s where it ends. The mistakes of my youth don’t live online to haunt me forever.

25 years ago, we wouldn’t have imagined that we could type in someone’s name on our laptop and see images of what they are doing today. Maybe images of what they did two years ago, whether they vacationed in the Bahamas or if they held their baby for the very first time. What I am getting at is, these are personal things- intimate things that live online. Things that they put online and things that they don’t mind sharing. But the real question is this- how long before technology catches up with us and images that we didn’t want online in the first place have a way of finding us?

Imagine someone doing a background check for a job interview, or a guy you really like looking you up online and stumbling across a video of something you did years ago and something that bears no resemblance to who you are as a person right now. Even if you like the idea of being a freak in the bed and out of it, you don’t want every single person in the world to be privy to that knowledge. Heck! If women who get paid millions to bare it all might have regrets, I think going topless in public should definitely be given more consideration.

In my opinion some things in life should be sacrosanct. But then who am I to talk right? The younger people think that tweeting, texting, FBing and whatever else is the rage now is a norm. They live their lives much more publicly than my generation ever did or will be comfortable doing. I am not a behavioral psychologist or analyst studying the long term impacts of spring breaks. What do I know?

One thing I know for sure is this:

What happens in Vegas or Cabo or Cancun or wherever else does not stay in Vegas or Cabo or Cancun or wherever else anymore!

10 Steps to Potty Training your Toddler

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Lately I’ve had many conversations about this topic and so I thought I would just put it down in a post and send a link to someone the next time we talk about it. The much dreaded, the much anticipated and the very unpredictable potty training saga. As moms, we dread the potty training process- we often feel defeated with the progression of things and yet the result- that sweet diaper free nirvana-esque state of being keeps us going.

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Explaining all about potty training to bunny

Gia was potty trained right after her second birthday, at almost 25 months. For some babies that is early and for some that is about the time they have already aced the potty test. In either case- we moms can attest to the fact that- it wasn’t by any means easy. So here’s me sharing my take on how I did things- I am not a potty training expert and have not written any books on the subject but I wanted to share nevertheless.

1. Understand that potty training is a process- It’s not a one off thing. It can take anywhere from a weekend to a week. And sometimes; your toddler may not be ready and you might just have to wait it out. It’s frustrating when everyone else seems to have moved on and I know you’re probably sick of diapers (and have been for a while since those solids started) but all can do is not push it and hang in there. But if you look at the whole process as a journey and not just as an end result you will be able to deal with it better.

2. Books- Reading can help get your toddler excited about using the potty. I introduced books on using the potty when my daughter was about 12 months old. I started training here much later but we started reading books, just so she would get familiarized with the idea. Here is a great book I read with my daughter. It helped her understand the concept of using the potty.

3. Let her shadow you- Well, when you go, take her in the bathroom with you. (Most moms don’t really have a choice about this) But kids do learn by observing – Monkey see= Monkey do icon smile 10 Steps to Potty Training your Toddler

4. Buy her a potty. When she was about 15 months old we bought her a pink potty chair. We wrapped it up and made a big deal about her unwrapping it and now finally becoming a big girl and having her own potty.

5. Watch some great videos- There are a bunch of great educational resources out there that you can watch. The bear in the big blue house was my daughter’s favorite and she really wanted to be a toileteer!

6. Observe the signs- at about 24 months my daughter would insist I change her diaper the instant she went potty and she would ask “potty?” or “pee pee?” while pointing to the toilet. To me it meant that she understood what the toilet was for and she was about ready to start with her potty training.

7. Create a potty time schedule- I would take her to the bathroom every 20-30 minutes during potty training week. I would set a timer on my cell phone and each time it buzzed, I would take her to the bathroom and sit on the potty next to her while she sat on her pink princess potty. Sometimes she went and at others she didn’t, but much like everything else with toddlers- it was about creating a schedule.

8. Let her go diaper free- If you live in the US like I do and most of your house is covered in carpet, it really is challenging to let your toddler run butt naked and be on high alert for a pee pee accident. But at some point you just have to allow them to go without the diaper and keep encouraging them to go on the potty. This was by far the hardest step for me but at the end of the weekend (it took about a week total) she did seem to understand that going in her pants is not ideal.

9. Reward her- I am against any kinds of rewards-punishment methods for doing/not doing something but in this case I did make an exception. Knowing how much my daughter loves animals, I bought these sparkly animal stickers that she could claim each time she went potty. I think potty charts- stickers- hand stamps are all great motivational tools during potty training and surprisingly effective.

10. Be prepared for accidents- accidents were something I was totally unprepared for after I was done with the potty training. I thought she would “get” the concept and then we would be done with diapers. It takes a long-long time before they are experts and you are confident in their ability to use the potty. Accidents do happen and be sure you are patient and understanding.

Hope these steps help you if you are dealing with potty training right now. The whole process is never easy but so worth it in the end.

10 things to do before the baby arrives

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My BFF is currently preggo. She’s between the I-need-to-pee-every-two-seconds and the get-the-baby-out-of-me-already phase. It reminds me of the time right before I had my baby. I was excited and nervous and absolutely clueless about how it was all going to affect my life.

Well mommy-to-be, better get on this list soon.

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1. Talk on the phone- Pick up the phone and call your girlfriend and talk. The kind of conversation that goes on for two hours. The kind where you catch up on everything that’s going on in your lives and then you talk some more. Remember this is possibly your last uninterrupted conversation for a very long time. Make it a good one, it has to last you through all the “fun things” that your little babe will absolutely need to do while you are on the phone

2. Sleep sleep sleep – The next time you’re allowed to have an undisturbed night will be when your baby feels like it. So get some shut eye while you still can, trust me waking up every three hours really starts to get annoying after ..umm I dunno, the first night!

3. Go to a restaurant – The kind of place where kids aren’t welcome. The kind where adults sit down and eat a civilized meal. The kind you won’t see the insides of for a very long time.

4. Go to a restaurant and eat (just eat) – Go to a restaurant with your sweetie and eat a meal in complete silence. Don’t shove food down any other human beings mouth, don’t pick up toys off the floor for the zillionth time and don’t even make small talk..just eat.

5. Watch a movie in a theatre- How hard can it be to plant your butt in a cushy chair and be entertained for about two hours in an air-conditioned space? No ask a toddler that question! How hard is it? Apparently, the stairs and aisles are way more interesting that whatever goes on- on the big screen. Just watch that damn movie while you still can.

6. Did I mention sleep?

7. Wear all things pretty and satiny- Before they are forever destroyed by the drool, spit, puke or poop.

8. Read up- I know once you get preggo, you read every single pregnancy related book, blog and website out there. But pick up something different, preferably something hot and steamy and read it cover to cover in one go.

9. Pee alone- Go to the bathroom, SLAM the door shut- lock it for good measure and sit on that pot and do your business- Hold on to that feeling because you’re not gonna be allowed privacy in the bathroom for a LLOOOONG time.

10. Do absolutely nothing- Once you’re mom; you’re needed all the time. You’re needed at office, you’re needed at home, and you’re needed at night. But right now- right before the baby comes, you’re the waddling fat lady who gets offered seats, who gets doors held open for her and who gets pampered.

Savor every moment of this single life (parenthood is a non-returnable item) even though you are right between the I-need-to-pee-every-two-seconds and the get-the-baby-out-of-me-already phase.

Happy Hour

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If I could pick one picture to tell a story, it would be this one.

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If it’s written, it must be true!

Not because it’s awesome silly, because it has the words right there in it.

And this was the story written last evening.

We went to a restaurant- with a toddler- who did all things untoddler like- and we ATE a whole meal. The end.

Going out with a toddler for a meal is like an adventure. You never know if she’s gonna hold it together or totally unravel. If you’re going to have a great time as a family or if you’re even going to get through the appetizers. The drama keeps us coming back for more I guess. (There is no other logical explanation!)

Typically when we go out to a restaurant with her terribleness we’re always the couple who’s inhaling their food or the ones hiding behind the menu cards trying to avoid the looks from the other patrons. We’re used to either of two emotions from fellow diners;

The annoyed- The ones tsk tsking and shaking their heads and giving us the “Why do these people ever visit restaurants with kids in tow.” Usually my toddler is yelling and screaming for the phone which she does because she knows we’re in a public place and this is her window to extort. Because she never gets her hands on the phone at home and because two year olds will manipulate you like that.

OR

The condescending –The ones tsk tsking and shaking their heads and giving us the “Gosh, I can’t believe you’re doing that to your kid.” Because now my two year has the phone and is bent over it like a caveman. Staring at the screen, unblinking and in disbelief at the wondrous crap that is Pink Panther.

BUT! None of that happened last night.

She just perched herself on that booster seat and asked for a plate even though she had eaten dinner at home. She ate her chips with “ceviche” because that’s what all two year olds who have been to Mexico call chopped tomatoes. And picked at each little piece of shredded cheese that we put out on the plate in front of her. And when she was all done, she said it’s time to go home and we left.

Maybe she forgot to throw her usual tantrum. Maybe she grew up a little and knows what restaurants are for. Maybe this was a one-time only performance.

Who cares! We made small talk with our server and left him a generous tip (even though he had nothing to with our toddler’s behavior). Exchanged happy glances with people at other tables and left with our hearing intact. A perfect end to a totally ordinary banal story in my book.

Oh and btw, the story is called HAPPY HOUR icon wink Happy Hour

Cherry Blossoms Again

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Spring rolled around quicker than we anticipated this year. Or maybe time just seems to be moving faster now that we are parents. A year has gone by and visiting the cherry blossoms reminded me of just how much has changed in our lives and just how much change is a part of this world.

A year has passed by already and sometimes we feel none the wiser. As a mom, days seems to go by so fast and there seems to be so much changing that change seems like a norm. Occasionally our parenting rules seem haphazard, almost made up as we go along. My little baby is growing up so fast that it terrifies me. There are tiny changes but added up they are not inconsequential.

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Last year she would wake up at 5:30 am and scream to be picked up and held and babied. This year she wakes up at 5:30 am, makes her way into my bed and snuggles close to me as we catch two more hours of sleep together.

Changes often happen gradually and so subtly that you almost forget that things were the norm once. She goes to the bathroom by herself and so I forget that diapers ruled our lives for the last two years. At bedtime she kisses us goodnight and sleeps in her own crib and so I forget the countless nights of sleeplessness and the endless days of utter and total exhaustion.

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And then there are the times of noisy defiance and assertion and attitudes. They almost make me want to go back to the time when my feeling about this parenting thing were less complicated and my thoughts about the right way and the wrong way were more lucid. When tears meant either of the two things-feeding or changing. Time changes and parenting decisions get more evolved and clarity is often not easy to come by.

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Spring rolled around quicker than we anticipated this year. And it brought its usual warmth and sunshine and reminded us that change is the part of our lives. And as our roles as parents change- from caregivers to teachers, from overseers to friends we celebrate change and look forward to the exhilaration it will infuse in our lives.

Of Hot Summer Days

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I was cleaning out the kitchen pantry this morning and found this flavored honey stick in the back of the closet. We bought it last summer at the Pike Place market and somehow it survived my honey guzzling husband’s paws. Gia grabbed the honey stick, stood there looking out the window and took over twenty minutes to finish it. Total and complete silence, You Guys! Best 25 cents every spent!

It reminded me of my own summer days. Running around barefoot in our family orchards, climbing mango trees and waiting for the ice-cream man. It wasn’t ice-cream we waited for though, it was little sticks of iced water that came in plastic tubes. They were called pepsi. You chewed the top off and sucked that sweet sugary syrup and showed off your colored tongue. Best 25 paise ever spent!

Some things never change right? icon smile Of Hot Summer Days

A Letter To A New Mom

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My best friend just had a baby and I am welcoming her into motherhood with some advice she didn’t ask for. Love you Bubby!

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Dearest New Mommy,

As I look around me today, I notice that things seem to fall into place more easily. The dinner gets made way more often, the house looks bearable, I smell decent most of the times and I am not cleaning any baby bottoms. But it wasn’t always like this.

For the first year of my baby’s life I was a total mess. I spent most of my time, stumbling through this motherhood thing. Not knowing if she is crying because she needs be held, or fed or changed. Not knowing if I am holding or feeding or changing her often enough. And not know if this seemingly unending loop of holding/feeding/changing will ever end. But now that it’s been almost three years. I can assure you that IT WILL. I promise, it will!

The problem with me was well, ME. My expectations from myself. These unrealistic hopes that I had from myself- probably came from years of perusing Good Living and looking at images of celebrities who don’t look anything like most new moms. Motherhood is portrayed as something perfect, something with a glow around it. Those are the images the magazines give us, because those are the images that sell. No one wants to buy and read something that talks about all the gory stuff. I sure don’t, but that is what creates this image of motherhood being easy doesn’t it?

Certainly, the external factors affect how we should feel about ourselves but more importantly it is the person within us that defines how we feel on any given day. And my days in the first year, I felt anything but good about myself.

Gia is an easy going toddler but she was not an easy baby. She never slept for more than two hours at a stretch until she was 6 months old. I was always sleep deprived and cranky. I would look in the mirror and be alarmed to see a much older-looking haggard woman staring back at me. I would hold myself to these unachievable standards and feel unjustifiably depressed when I couldn’t deliver. I would make elaborate plans for when the baby would nap only to fall asleep from sheer exhaustion and wake up two hours later when the hubby walked in through the door.

I was (am) lucky to have a spouse who would wake me up, kiss me good evening, roll up his sleeves and ask me what needed to be done. And that’s what dads are for. Give him more credit than you do right now. Let him do stuff for you and with you. You will discover a new kind of love for your partner. More importantly you will discover a new kind of sexy in men. The kind that changes diapers, that looks really good doing dishes with the sleeves of his office shirt rolled up, the kind that tells you, “you look amazing!” even when you have baby food goop in your hair. I could go on, but most moms are already salivating by this point. icon smile A Letter To A New Mom

Being a MOM is a job and it is much like any other job. When you start out, there is a steep learning curve. But after a while it does start getting better. There are days when you get a lot done, there are days that are a total mess and then there are days when you basically coast along.

The key really is giving yourself a break. I am not saying that the dishes are always done, I am not saying that they’re piled up sky high every single day either. I am saying that it’s a mix and that I am ok with it. The best part however, about this mom thing is- No matter how well you plan things, there is always something else in store for you. And the beauty is letting go and grasping that sometimes those other plans that are far better than your own.

Love

Tubby.

I want it too!

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So my toddler has a super power. She totally calls me out whenever I eat the last bite of any piece of food. It could be something she wants- like the last piece of a cookie, or something she detests- like the stale cheese stick that has been laying on the table for the past three hours.

The moment I pop that last bite into my mouth, she appears out of nowhere and says “I want it too. You should share with me mommy. Where is it? What are you eating? I want it too!”

I don’t know how she does it. But she does it Every Single Time.

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The other day she was eating a lollypop and I thought I would pull a fast one on her. So I stalked her until she was almost done and the second she had eaten the last bite I said “I want it too. You should share with me Gia. Where is it? What are you eating? I want it too!”

She looks at me carefully for a few seconds and she says “I have some for you mumma.” “Well, where is it?” Then she puts her finger into her mouth, fishes out a piece that is stuck in her molars and puts it in my mouth before I have a chance to react.

Moral of the story: be careful what you ask a toddler for. Cause you might just get it and then some icon smile I want it too!

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