I Did Something Controversial

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Controversy is part of my life, as an atheist woman married to a Mexican immigrant with two bi-racial children (which I hate to label any child as such).

If I talk about my lack of belief, I’m trying to be controversial. If I do/say/dress the wrong way, as a woman, I’m acting controversially.

Some people in Walmart find my husband and I to be controversial, standing there talking about peppers in Spanish. We see their looks.

However, I really did something controversial this time, at least, in the eyes of my gringo family. However, my husband’s side of the family has been pestering him with questions on when it will be done.

I’m talking about piercing the ears of a baby girl. (I have known white girls who’d had their ears pierced shortly after birth. Not trying to make any generalizations about the Latino community). I just have noticed a cultural trend. My grandmother especially finds it to be barbaric and my own ears weren’t pierced until I was 12.

That piercing was a failure because I didn’t take care of them properly. I had them re-pierced later on. I always wished that I’d had earrings since infancy.

Reality struck when I had Marisol

I could not take that tiny baby to Claire’s and let them punch holes in her ears. I just couldn’t. So I waited and waited until about a week ago, after my husband asked me again when we would pierce her ears.

With the COVID-19 pandemic there was no way to have them professionally pierced. My husband said he would do it. I ordered a kit of two pre-loaded, sterile ear piercing guns from Sally Beauty and they quickly arrived in the mail.

Well, my husband wasn’t home that day. I was sure I could do it myself. So, I washed her ear lobes with alcohol (front and back), marked the natural dimples that she has in her lobes and removed one gun from the package.

One snap, two snaps, and Marisol had earrings in her ears. She didn’t cry and she barely messes with them. I clean them twice a day with Claire’s Ear Cleaning Solution and the lobes appear white and not swollen.

My grandmother was not happy when she saw the pierced ears, but the girl is so cute with them that how could one be mad? Also, she’s one year old and some change – not a newborn.

And honestly, Marisol’s pretty lucky that I’ll be doing all of the work for her (cleaning, etc). I hope she appreciates them as an homage to her Latino culture one day.

Piercing baby or toddler ears may be controversial to some, but I’m happy I did it.

House Cleaning With Two Toddlers: A How-To

Disclaimer: Its not actually possible to deep clean your home with two toddlers in tow. Therefore it is wise to do small things every day as part of a cleaning routine. However, if you are forced to clean up the whole house in one day here’s how I do it. (My kids make big messes every day so I’m always cleaning.)

  • First, I recommend taking a thirty minute break or so, just to mentally prepare yourself for task(s) ahead.
  • Set the kids up with some screen time if you allow it. I am trying to keep screen time to a minimum so I let them play in their mountain of toys until I’m ready to tackle that room, which is the living room and the main part of my house. It never looks like I’ve done anything until the absolute end. Ugh.
  • Change diapers and give snacks (no chips!! Those end up smashed into the carpet) right before beginning.
  • Turn on some music or use your headphones. Try listening to an ASMR video while cleaning. It might change your world.
  • Walk around a bit or stand amidst the mess and just marvel at it for a moment. The popcorn on the floor, the window that’s smeared with something, the sticky habdprints on the fridge door. Resist the urge to quit before you even start – sometimes the hardest part.
  • Follow this order to a degree: kitchen first (I usually wipe the kitchen down before bed so that its easier to clean up after breakfast. It doesn’t always get done though. Pick up all garbage and take it out. Wash dishes and put away. Start a load of laundry. Fold those clothes on your “clothing chair” (I know you have one). Put folded clothes away and dust. Change sheets after spraying shower and toilets with cleaner. Wash glass surfaces, wipe down and clean toilets/bathroom(s), and sweep. I also have to vacuum. Then, mop or swiffer.

Some Tips

  • Check on the kiddos often! While you scrub the toilet they could be coloring on your couch or something.
  • Keep them in the room with you if you can and encourage them to help with picking up their toys or dusting the coffee table.
  • Accomplish one task (or room) and give yourself a pat on the back. Take a cofee, tea, or Red Bull break and get back to work before you decide to give up.
  • Pro tip: always multi-task and never leave a room empty-handed!

Good luck! I’m off to vacuum up some of those chips I was talking about.

Lessening Screen Time With Sergio

Day 6 was a success! Sergio didn’t use the phone once, mainly because he didn’t have abuelita’s phone anymore. And also because I am loathe to give up my own phone so that he can look at YouTube.

Now, on day 7 we are making some real progress. The phone’s whereabouts have not been sought after and the hose is going full blast. (Indeed, a worm was just brought to me).

I’m not sure what the end goal will be for this trial. I’m not sure how much screen time my children will be allowed yet. And there are a lot of recommendations out there. I just want my children to have fun off the phone. I’m sure we’ll find a middle ground soon.

Or I hope so.

Skincare Resolution

Back in January (as many did) I wrote a list of goals for this year.

I am happy to announce that the first goal (to potty train Sergio) is complete, as well as the goal of finding a skincare regimen.

I am not sponsored nor affliated by/ with the following company or Birchbox, which is where I found it. I gain nothing from this post.

The skincare regimen that I am now following is with products from AirRepair. I love the smell of the product and, according to the company’s website, is vegan and cruelty-free. Here is where I bought this kit of travel sized products.

The Cleansing Milk, Hydrating Serum, and All Purpose Skin Salve and Lip Balm are my favorites.

The travel sizes should last me awhile and I am enjoying taking care of my skin. What’s your favorite part of your grooming regimen?

Lessening Screen Time With Sergio

Days 3 and 4 have been rough. I’ve won some battles and also lost a few. However, he had very little screen time on Day 3, even though when I awoke later than usual I found that my husband had already given him a phone.

Day 4 was full of arguments over the phone. By 9:00 a.m. Sergio was begging for the addictive device.

“It’s too early!” I told him.

Around 11:30 we went outside to play in the hose (an excellent tool for distracting children). Things went smoothly until the daily afternoon phone calls started coming in. Abuelita answered and tried speaking with a sibling of mine.

As my mother tried to speak on the phone Sergio became very loud, boisterous, and frankly, bratty. The phone call was cut short. Sergio asked for a cellphone. We caved.

Sergio promptly ran inside to sit on the couch with the phone, Marisol hot on his heels. Marisol likes to try and watch the phone with him but Sharing is not Sergio’s forte. I don’t mind that Sergio doesn’t share YouTube with Mari because she’s too young for it anyway. Soon she grew tired of Sergio’s stinginess and came back outside with myself and my mother.

While my mother, Marisol, and I gardened outside, Sergio watched his phone. We are always in and out eating snacks and such. Then, suddenly, at 7:15 p.m. (which is close to bedtime) Sergio came out onto the porch dancing and singing to a music video. Marisol carried a toy that sings Baby Shark (my. favorite. song.).

We all clapped and danced. I stubbed out my last cigarette of the day and hauled my ducklings off to bed.

As I laid next to my children in bed I started looking through my own phone. Then, from the darkness, came a little voice telling me to turn it off.

I smiled and did so. I guess we all need a reminder to turn it off once in a while.

Lessening Screen Time With Sergio

Day 2

Surprisingly, our second day of abstaining from YouTube went quite well. At 10:00 a.m. there had still been no mention of the phone and shortly after, the two babes went on a rare outing with S. to wash his work truck.

The day was not without its hiccups, however. When my family returned from the truck washing, S. offered Sergio the phone because he was being whiny and inconsolable.

“Let’s go outside,” I suggested, putting a stop the argument over the phone.

We ventured forth into the sun and spent most of the day outside. We had a backyard picnic and watered our garden boxes. Things went well.

Until around 4:00 p.m. when I considered giving in. S. had gone to the store, sending Sergio into a temper tantrum. Thankfully, S. returned rather quickly and the phone was forgotten.

Around 5:00 p.m. Sergio begged for the phone again. I ignored him.

Finally, Sergio got his phone from 7:30 p.m. to about 8:30 p.m. He laid in bed with it, relaxing until he fell asleep.

Ah well, we did our best.

Backyard Picnics Through COVID

Nice to Haves

  1. A rug that you don’t mind getting dirty
  2. Sunglasses
  3. Sunscreen
  4. Lunch (Today we cheated with McDonalds)
  5. Comfortable clothes (That’s why the baby lacks pants and shoes – in a bid to keep her cooler)
  6. Music or videos to entertain
  7. A thankful and positive attitude
  8. Nice weather (LOL)

However you picnic in your backyard I’m sure you’ll have all of the necessities. Just have fun.

Lessening Screen Time with Sergio

Being in isolation (nothing new to me), the cell phones in my household have been in use quite often lately. Though we don’t watch very much TV and the baby is allowed no screen time, Sergio is an adept YouTube scroller. However, it needs to stop.

Against my better judgement we let Sergio start playing with a cellphone about a year and a half ago. Now there are some days where he is on it for hours. Call it bad mothering, call it what you will. I call it a little screen addiction.

Anyway. I have decided to begin the process of removing the phone from his clutches. Here’s how the first day went.

Day 1

Sergio asked for the phone around 9:30 a.m. I firmly told him no. He firmly told me no to breakfast. Ah well.

I gave Sergio the phone at ten a.m.

At 10:30 a.m. tornado sirens could still be heard from the living room (he loves tornado videos).

At 10:45 it was nice enough to go outside. We played with the hose, dirt, mud, sand, and the like.

Around noon we ate lunch and the two ducklings played quietly (side by side) in the living room. This was shortlived and we moved back outside for the remainder of the afternoon.

S. was on his way home so rigorous bathing was needed. After letting the two play in the tub (with many Hotwheels added in) I scrubbed their hair, ears, and hands. Screaming and crying ensued but they were especially dirty and muddy last night.

After drying off and getting cozy, dressed in PJs, it was bedtime. Sergio didn’t ask for the phone once during this time, which is rare.

Two sleeping babies later and Day 1 was a success. Let’s call it beginner’s luck for now 😉

Before the Postpartum

Judging by my postpartum experiences, one might expect that I had traumatic birth experiences. Well, I didn’t. I gave birth two both of my children easily. I received the epidural with my son when I was dilated to 7 cm and I received an epidural with my daughter at 9 cm (I should’ve skipped it but I was tired by that point). Each pregnancy and birth are different for each woman. I had two perfect pregnancies (except for the fatigue in the first trimester) and two easy births.

Postpartum depression doesn’t take that into effect, I guess, and according to Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, there is no one cause of PPD. Hormones seem to overwhelm my body and the chemical imbalances in my brain cause me to suffer postpartum depression (and psychosis with my daughter). According to the MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health, there is a spectrum of mental disorders that occur after birth including the baby blues, postpartum depression, and postpartum psychosis. The center also claims that 85% of women suffer from some sort of postpartum mood disturbance.

Postpartum depression and mood disorders are serious, but more common than you might think. I will be continuing my research and am participating in research through the MGH Center for Women’s Health with their study on postpartum psychosis. I am lucky to have support, medical care, and an outlet in this blog to help me recover.

If you, as a new mom, or someone you know is feeling guilty for no reason, has changes in sleeping or appetite, has obsessive thoughts about the baby, or has thoughts of harming themselves or others, call 911 or go to the nearest ER. This post is not to diagnose or treat postpartum disorders. The symptoms I have listed are from the MGH Center for Women’s Health website and from the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy.

The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy offers some suggestions for treatment but talking with your doctor is the most important. I advise that you speak honestly with your doctor as well, something that I was too ashamed to do when I suffered PPD with my son. The Mayo Clinic offers tips such as exercising daily, eating well, staying connected with family, and asking for help. Above all, talk to your doctor.

My Mantra

In a bid to kick negative thoughts, fear, and anxiety out from my mind I have developed a little mantra that I try to keep on repeat. It goes something like this and I encourage you to steal what you like.

I am strong as a horse. My body is strong. My mind is strong.

My children are strong. I love my children. No one can take them away.

I am strong. My body is strong. My mind is strong.

I can handle anything. I can handle anything.

I’ve been through worse. And I’m strong as a horse. Strong as a horse.

Baking has Begun

Photo by Cathy Scola from Gettyimages

I have begun to bake! As a huge fan of the Great British Baking Show, I’ve had an interest in baking for awhile. However, I lacked confidence to begin.

Well, I have successfully baked two cakes recently and the feeling of having conquered my fears is great. I have a lot to learn about baking, but at least I’ve begun the journey.

Do you like to bake? What is your favorite treat to make?

Likes are Great

But nothing beats being with my kids.

Nothing tops “Mama, mama, mama.”

Nothing compares to making snacks for a little voice saying “Thank you very much.”

Nothing is equal to playing on the floor with my two pups.

Nothing satisfies quite like having my hair pulled and my pants tugged on.

Likes are great but nothing beats the love of my children and the love I have for them.

Hug yours today, or better yet, get down on the floor and just play.

Immune to Embarrassment

Well, almost. I think embarrassment has been triggering my panic attacks (and I’ve been trying to put a finger on my triggers). I am embarrassed of a lot of things that I said while in the hospital and after leaving it. I’m embarrassed for having lost my children, for acting crazy and hurting my family.

I guess I need to forgive myself and remind myself that I was sick. It’s ok to be embarrassed. It’s ok to be regretful. But I must face it head on. Yes, things have happened that I’m not proud of. But you won’t see me backing down. Because I’m developing a new immunity. And you can too.

Hell, we can do it together. Anyone else understand?

One More Coping Mechanism

A mess of samples from Birchbox (not sponsored) and some randoms things I’ve bought cheaply.

I am not a make-up expert but recently I’ve found that playing with make-up is soothing. Organizing these products has also been therapeutic. I’m practing and learning lots. To all make-up bloggers: you guys are great! This stuff is a lot of work! Lol.

On-Ramps

Skuuuurrrrrrrr.

I’ve just slammed on the brakes. We’re on the shoulder of the on-ramp. You’ve just asked if I was sure I wasn’t trying to hurt my children. You’ve just given me that wide-eyed, what-kind-of-woman-is-this look that I’ve seen over and over again since the incident.

No, no, you’re not getting out this time. It seems you don’t know enough about postpartum yet. So we’re gonna talk about it, symptom by symptom. I just don’t want to see that look again. And no, I never intended to hurt my children. I was in a state of confusion and, though we went for a rough walk, I kept us all together and got in the cop car, went to the hospital, and have done what I am supposed to do.

I’ve read a lot of stories, done some research, talked to my doctors, and reflected enough for a lifetime. I know postpartum and look forward to helping others going through it. But let’s not give each other anymore weird looks, ok?

Vámonos. Let’s go.

Flown the Coop

What can I say when my children are away? When my two little chickadees of inspiration are gone? There are no projects to do, no places to see. So I’ve got nothing to say, not much to be.

As a punishment for having postpartum psychosis my children are with DCFS and I am fighting every day to be reunited with them, my only reasons for living.