The People Running My Gym are Morons — But I’ll Let Them Babysit

Photo by alantankenghoe via Flickr

Photo by alantankenghoe (edited) via Flickr

I’m pretty sure my new gym is run by morons — but I’m still considering using their babysitting services. I just called to find out their child care hours, and this happened:

Employee 1: Welcome to ha ha hahaha ha hahah
Employee 2 in background: F@#&… Is someone still on the phone?
Me: Hello?
Employee 1: Hangs up

I haven’t even used my membership yet and the staff appears totally incompetent. When I signed up, the girl who gave me a tour of the facility didn’t know the answers to questions like “Do you have any easy aerobics classes for out-of-shape moms?”

And when I was trying to pay, their beefy trainer took up the entire counter as he flirted with an orange girl behind the register. He wouldn’t move over, so there was no room for me to sign my check. Why was I writing a check like an old lady at the supermarket? The gym’s credit card machine and printer were broken. Oh and the manager came in late.

But today I am considering putting all of this behind me and letting them watch my baby. Why?

I have not had any exercise since I was pregnant. That was 26 months ago. I really want a few minutes to myself to walk on the treadmill and listen to Britney Spears.

The Pro’s of Gym Babysitting

  • Other parents do it. The few times I have been in the building the daycare room was full. So it must be ok?

The Con’s

  • The child care staff is not Early Education and Care certified
  • The child care staff has not been CORI checked
  • My kid will probably catch something, and she just got over conjunctivitis that she picked up from the kid’s room at the library
  • I’m concerned that my daughter will choke on a toy while the sitters are coloring
  • I’m afraid a stranger will walk out with my kid
  • I’ve heard horror stories like this one of a baby being left alone at a nearby YMCA.

I’m torn. But there’s a good chance that when my daughter wakes up from nap, I’m going to leave her with a pack of under-qualified teenagers to catch Pink Eye.

 What’s your experience with babysitting services at a gym? Leave a comment.

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Is soap poisoning my baby? A mom’s journey to find safe soap.

Safe Baby Soap

6 soaps in 16 months– and counting

When my daughter was born 16 months ago, the Internet and my mom’s group taught me something that I still haven’t come to terms with: Soap is poisoning my baby. Slowly.

Here’s just one example:

I learned that the Johnson’s soap that I put on my gift registry, that my mother washed me with when I was an infant, and that the nurses at the hospital used to give my daughter her first bath contains toxic chemicals.

What chemicals exactly? I don’t know. I remember hearing the words “formaldehyde” and “cancer” in the same sentence.  And that’s enough for a new mom to start worrying.

Before I go on, I should tell you that I have never been the “earthy crunchy” type. I don’t buy organic produce. I don’t put coconut or jojoba oil on my face. I scrub my toilet with Fantastik. I’m just a regular mom. And now I’m a regular mom who has to spend her time worrying about something as silly as soap.

Parabens. Sulfates. Soy. Oh my!

When I became a mom I learned that  just because a product is sold in the United States, it doesn’t mean it’s safe.  And that rocked my world.

Johnson’s is the self-proclaimed “#1 choice of hospitals” and their product contains formaldehyd. So we’ve been putting the same thing on new babies and dead people. Why are doctors and nurses ok with this?

This got me thinking… if a brand as well known as Johnson’s has poisons chemicals in it, what about everything else on the shelf at Target?

My ridiculous journey to find a baby-safe soap:

Mustella Baby SoapSoon after my daughter was born, I stopped using Johnson’s and switched to the fancy French Mustella soap and body wash that she received as a gift. It was expensive, so it had to be good…

 

Dove Sensitive Skin Soap

Then my daughter got dry skin and her pediatrician recommended I try Dove Sensitive Skin. I was hesitant about using a big  brand again (in this case Unilever). Once Dove raised eyebrows with my fellow mommy friends, I went back to the drawing board.   

After researching baby soap on sites like EWG’s Skin Deep, (who knew that when you become a mother you would spend your time doing such a thing) I found that the less chemicals something has, the more it costs.

Baking Soda as SoapThree soaps later I gave up and just started washing my daughter in baking soda. When my mother in law saw me doing this she thought I was a wacko. I used it until my daughter learned how much fun it was to dump on the floor, and our bathroom looked like a crack den.

California Baby Super Sensitive Shampoo and Bodywash Finally I shelled out the big bucks — $11 for 8.5 ounces of California Baby Super Sensitive Shampoo and Bodywash. It doesn’t lather up well so it takes a lot to get baby clean. Plus, it’s much more expensive than the $1.09 I spend on a three pack of Ivory soap for myself.

Trader Joe's Oatmeal & Honey SoapOn a whim, I went to Traders Joes and bought Oatmeal & Honey Soap which said it was “pure vegetable soap” on the label. Amazingly, I was able to understand all of the ingredients on the package without the help of Google, and the list was short. I’m afraid to actually look it up because chances are there is something scary like a hormone disruptor hidden in it. Or maybe the vegetables are genetically modified. Who really knows?

What now?

After being on this 16 month fear-fueled journey just to find my kid some kind of soap that won’t hurt her, I’m still unsure. I’m still confused about chemicals. I don’t really know what’s safe.

Johnson’s recently reformulated their baby shampoo to remove the formaldehyde as well as another potentially harmful chemical. Even with their “improved formula,” I still can’t trust them. 

I shouldn’t have to research soap the same way I would my daughter’s future college, and I shouldn’t have to spend a fortune on it either. I just want to be able to enjoy watching my daughter play in the tub without worrying about what I’m putting on her skin.

Tubby time shouldn’t be this tough.

Parents, what kind of soap do you use for your kids? 

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10 Reasons Why Being a Mother Makes Me Want to Kill My Dog

baby and dog best friends

Being a mother makes me want to kill my dog. Well, I don’t actually want to end his life, but maybe I can let him outside and just not let him back in. He’s cute, he’ll find a new family.

Before my daughter was born, my Black Lab was my baby. I’d take him for walks, watch with satisfaction while he ate his expensive dog food, and let him cuddle with me in bed.

Now that there’s a real baby in the house, the poor dog is lower than the last man on the totem pole. We buy him whatever food is cheapest at Walmart and he watches from the front window when I take the baby for walks instead of him. I’m not one of those amazing moms that can juggle a stroller and a dog leash at the same time — we’d all get dragged into oncoming traffic.

Here’s 10 reasons why I want to kill my dog:

  1. He RUINS naptime by barking at wild turkeys, neighbors, the ice maker…
  2. His tail inadvertently smacks my daughter in her face and eyes
  3. He covers my daughter’s toys, lips and highchair in dog hair. You can actually watch it fall off of him when he walks by. If I go long enough without vacuuming, I could sweep it up and start a toupee shop.
  4. He knocks my kid over
  5. He makes my area rugs stink, which my daughter plays on. He also makes the vacuum stink.
  6. The prophecy is true — I am the only one who takes care of him
  7. He steals Gerber biscuits right out of my daughter’s hand
  8. My daughter chews his yucky dog bones
  9. He has been known to bring ticks into the house
  10. My daughter thinks his water bowl is a toy. She drops electronics in it like the television remote.

I already got rid of the cat right before my baby was born. (Dusty was a biter.) But as much as I gripe about my pooch, I regrettably can’t give him to you. His stinking, barking, butt-smelling face is a part of our family, and he’s good with the kid. However, he is available for sleepovers.

Does your pet do anything that drives you CRAZY now that you’re a parent? Leave a comment!

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Kim Kardashian’s Painless Childbirth and Magnificent Vagina: Another celebrity mom we can totally relate to

Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images. Image from http://goo.gl/fYyUx1

Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images. Image from http://goo.gl/fYyUx1

Celebrities can seem really far removed from us regular moms. They bounce back to rockin’ bodies ten minutes after childbirth and spit food into their kid’s mouths.

But leave it to Kim Kardashian to have a birth story that no woman can possibly relate to. I just watched Season 8 Episode 18 of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and had to hit rewind to make sure I heard Kim correctly when she recounted having her baby like this:

“Labor was honestly the easiest thing ever. I did not feel one thing. Like, it was not hard.”

Awesome for her.

Oh, and not only does she say her “vag” looks even better  post-childbirth  (she looked at it with a mirror first thing when she came home from the hospital) but she’s looking forward to doing Playboy.

It’s not enough to be rich, beautiful and engaged to a famous (if not wacky) musician, but somehow her vagina has to be EVEN BETTER than before her baby came out of it? Did we really need to hear that? Now us normal moms can feel bad about our baby weight and our lady parts.

After seeing this episode, I am convinced that it is absolutely impossible to keep up with the Kardashians. Their noses and vaginas will always be better than ours.

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Yellow Ribbons for Dogs: A multicolored program to protect our children

Green Ribbon

Have you heard about the international Yellow Dog program? Yellow ribbons tied to a dog’s leash indicate that they “need more space,” meaning it’s in pain, in heat, insecure, or has another reason to possibly bite you.

Even though responsible parents teach their children to ask pet owners before touching strange dogs, the ribbon is another useful tool to protect our offspring. After all, you can’t assume that the Maltese your neighbor is pushing in the baby carriage or the Bulldog at Home Depot is friendly.

yellow ribbon

The Yellow Ribbon campaign is going viral and is being hailed by parents as a great safety strategy. So I propose we develop an entire color-coded ribbon system to draw attention to other dangers our children may encounter.

These colored ribbons signal other hazards that “need more space.”

  • Red–People who don’t think your child is cute
  • Blue– Children who may hit, push, or bite your child
  • Green– Sharp objects
  • Pink– People with a cold, stomach bug, or other illness your child may contract
  • Glitter–Teen drivers
  • Orange–People who don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom
  • Purple–Wild animals
  • White–Products containing BPA

Together we can spread awareness and protect our children.

Is there another hazard that should be added to the list? Please leave a comment!

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Your New Year’s Eve Photos are Exhausting Me: A mom’s night in

2014 New Years Eve party presented by Xcited Events and Momentum BMW

2014 New Years Eve party presented by Xcited Events and Momentum BMW

My Facebook feed is full of your New Year’s Eve photos. You all look fabulous. Clearly, you spent a lot of time on your hair and a lot of money on your outfit. You must have had great fun dancing and staying up very very late.

Frankly, looking at all these photos is exhausting. All I can think of is how much your shoes must have hurt and how tired you probably felt the next day.

There once was a time when I was one of those smiling faces with eyeliner and a short skirt, but not anymore. Now I’m a mom. If you gave me a VIP ticket to a party in the city and a free baby sitter I still wouldn’t go because it would take too much time to find a dress. And I need to color my hair.

I went to bed while you were still dancing. I didn’t see the ball drop. And I woke up on New Year’s Day not to a pounding headache, but to my baby pounding on her crib yelling “Mama, Mameeee.”

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What should baby wear? A sloppy mom’s story of her well-dressed kid.

Baby_Clothes_mom_clothes

Left, baby’s outfit. Right, mom’s outfit.

All day while I was preparing for my New Year’s Eve party, I debated a very important question: what should my daughter wear?

  • The red Hanna Anderson dress with the matching tights and shoes?
  • Her new outfit, covered in ruffles from head to toe, with the tags still on it?
  • Or the pink corduroy dress with the white furry collar?

And then, what would she wear tomorrow for a New Year’s Day party? Meanwhile, I yanked on whatever was clean in my closet and didn’t even wear makeup. Going without mascara to an event was a first.

When I was in high school, it was an event just going to the mall. I made sure my hair was perfect and my outfit was killer. If I passed by harried looking moms with frizz and worn out shirts, I’d think to myself, “I’d never be seen in public looking like that.”

Fast forward ten years later, and I look like that during New Year’s Eve parties that I host at my own home. It’s amazing how having a baby changed my priorities so completely from planning my outfits to planning hers. If kids are really a reflection of their parents, why can’t I get out of sweats?

Today I’ll put her in the pink corduroy dress which I actually have to iron (I don’t even iron new curtains before I hang them, never mind my own clothes.) And I’ll wear yoga pants.

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Dirty Diaper Found in Walmart Shopping Cart: A mom’s response

This morning I went to my local Walmart to purchase toiletries. As I approached the rows of shopping carts, I stopped short when I saw this:

dirty diaper

It was a carefully wrapped dirty diaper abandoned on the top shelf of a cart. Directly next to it was a trash can and Purell sanitizing wipes.

Walmart Trash Can

Even as a mom who has been handling dirty diapers for the past year, this surprise package of poo had me cringing the whole time I price shopped tampons and face wash.

Instead of judging the culprit, I learned in my mother’s group that the correct thing to do is take a deep breath and acknowledge that as moms we’re all in this together. We should never judge another mother; we all make choices that are correct for us at the time. Perhaps the diaper-dirtier was having a tantrum, and all poor mom (or dad or guardian) could do was pick up the kid and flee the store.

But because this blog is anonymous, at least for now, I’m going to say what I really think:

Shame on that dirty pig parent for not throwing away their child’s diaper. You never leave a man behind.

I’ve changed my kid in some exotic places, like on a bench in a deserted mall. But I took the diaper with me. I take poop home when I change my daughter at friend’s houses. And one time, when I was at a community playgroup with a carry-in carry-out policy, I even stuffed a diaper in a latex glove (dirtiest turkey balloon ever) because I didn’t have a plastic bag. So there’s no excuse for the waste left on display in that Walmart carriage.

I’m chalking this up to a very good reason to use shopping cart covers and wash my produce.

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BabyFirst Tv’S Rainbow Horse– Poop, Drugs and Giggles

Rainbow Horse

I owe a lot to the BabyFirst TV channel. Their around the clock commercial-free baby programming has entertained my infant and allowed me to take personal phone calls, fold and put away laundry and even get some precious sleep. Television wasn’t in my child-rearing plan, but boycotting it went into the diaper pail as fast as my birth plan did in the delivery room.

Perhaps I’m just doing what I know– my own mother fondly recalls plunking me in front of the television every morning when I was a baby to eat Cheerios and watch Sesame Street.

I wonder, while she was dozing off on the couch to the letter and number of the day, if she questioned what was really going on behind the scenes on Sesame Street. What were the co-habituating Ernie and Burt really up to? Why wasn’t Oscar evicted from his trash can? Is he part of a protected group? Is he a metaphor for tolerance? And is Snuffleupagus nothing more than an elephant with a hair disorder?

I’m asking myself the same sorts of questions about one particular show on BabyFirst called Rainbow Horse. Although the trippy cartoon irks me, my daughter loves it. Allow me to break it down:

  • A pink horse with a rainbow-colored mane and a disproportionate leg-to-body ratio (horses may develop body dismorphic disorder) frolics onto black and white cartoon scenes.
  • The horse absentmindedly lifts her tail like other horses do when they need to defecate, and she tickles various objects and animals with her appendage
  • Because of Rainbow Horse’s special touch, the plain background fills with color and comes to life in a psychedelic fashion
  • Rainbow Horse giggles and flits away

She is the equine version of a leggy bimbo. Rainbow Horse turns thing on, laughs at them, and then trots away. Unlike other BabyFirst characters, she’s too good to talk to the creatures in her show or the babies at home. Snob.

Of course, out of all of the BabyFirst TV shows, this one has to be my child’s favorite.

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