Category: raising kidlets (Page 1 of 55)

Kid Sleep without the PTSD {Giveaway}!

Monday night, Ollie was up at least 6 times. At first it was he needed to be wrapped in his blanket like a burrito, then water, then I have no idea. I blacked out from rage and exhaustion. It was an atypical night for us, so my body was thrown. I pretty much struggled all morning. I whined. I Facebooked about it. I basically threw an adult tempter tantrum.

Later that day I went to the gym and got talking to a dad who I was relaying my lag from lack of sleep. He went on to “commiserate” with me. Ya see his son didn’t stop waking up multiple times until he was 2.5. He was now pretty consistent at once a night…and he is almost 4.

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Why Daycare is More Than OK

It is no secret I love daycare. They have taken great care of my boys. They teach them tons of things in ways I couldn’t dream of. They teach sharing where I can’t really do the same peer to peer lessons at home. They make best friends and I have even made mom friends myself. I could, of course, go on but that’s not my point here. My point is that I don’t view daycare as something I had to settle for. Sometimes readers will ask “how did you make the decision to go back to work and send them to daycare?” or the more abrasive “How do you send your kids to get looked after by a stranger?”And after I flip a table at the later, I say, “I never really considered the other, honestly.”

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The 2 Wheeler

2wheelerLearning to ride a “2 wheeler” has been looming over us for years. I recall playing sometime last year and Landon saying “well I can learn to ride a 2 wheeler when I am 6.” as he watched the little neighborhood girl whip around on her bike in the cul de sac. That longing statement of “I want to be big…just not yet” was inspiring and at the same time ominous. So when his brother clearly was too big for his tricycle and needed the next bike up, we told him “you aren’t getting training wheels” like true cheap mean parents. I mean…he was turning 6, we recalled for him. Time to buck up, kiddo.

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Formula AND Pumping, Not OR

formulaHappy World Breastfeeding Week, everyone! With the celebration this year, the healthcare center at SAS asked me to participate. I went on camera and talked about my journey a little. When I was contacted about doing it, I jumped at it and asked if I could speak to a specific issue: formula and pumping. I did both with both my kids and while I don’t regret a thing, I always felt kind of alone. I felt like I was forging my own journey. There was little out there for support.  You are usually sifting through info from 2 vastly different sides. Either you exclusively breastfeed or just give formula and while neither is bad, it isn’t your only choice. The biggest group of moms this seems to effect is working moms. You go down a VERY common path. You start work and quickly see how hard it is to make those bottles. You pump and pump. You take from your maternity leave stash. You are living pump to pump. Then? Daycare says “he could use bigger bottles” and you heart sinks. How?

So a few years ago, while I was in the throws of this for the second time, I wrote a post I am reviving below. It is still relevant for new moms struggling to figure out that magical machine in a bag. Here ya go, mama…

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4 Ways to Finding Your Mommy Soul Mate

IMG_0096Or at least some mommy friends. Over the years, I’ve had a lot of questions via Twitter and e-mail about how to find new mom friends. How to start a conversation at the park, how to get people to not think you are crazy and how to find that parent (and kid) that you can just relax around. Basically how to date again…but this time you are trying to find new friends in a new landscape.

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Periorbital Cellulitis

New band name or crazy infection in a toddler’s eye? Spoiler alert: It’s the later. As your resident mom-who-uncovers-medical-weirdness (see pinworms, shingles, hobo iud, asian pear allergy, oh and I have found I’m allergic to sodium lauryl sulfate!), I decided this one was also worth documenting so you know what it is. But first, a story.

Last Thursday, my allergies were kinda crazy. I am claiming it is the Rose of Sharon in the backyard blooming and sending me into sneezing fits. Around the same time, poor little Ollie was rubbing his eyes too. The tyke gets everything from me, it seems. On Friday, he heads off to school just like normal. At lunch time, I get a call from daycare “Ollie just keeps rubbing his eye a lot. Is it allergies?” I explain that I THINK it is but who really knows. They ask if I could give him something to help so he could get some rest at nap. Sure, I say. We have an on campus pharmacy, so I ran up there, grabbed children’s allergy meds and trot to daycare. Sure enough he looks like he has been rubbing it non-stop. Poor Beans. He says he is fine. I give him meds and head back to work. When he wakes up they call and say it’s now swollen and seems to be getting more swollen. Hmmmm. I call on campus healthcare get a 4:15 appt to knock out any doubt before the weekend. I head to pick up Landon and drop Kevin at healthcare with Ollie. 20 minutes later I get a call to get back, we have to go to the ER.

Wait, wut?

The FNP (and consult with my primary care dr) have determined he has periorbital cellulitis but they can’t do the blood test in the office there…so to WakeMed Children’s ER we are sent. He could also possibly need a CAT scan if it’s bad (hence the children’s ER). Since we are carpooling, we head home to drop me and Landon and pack bags for Kevin and Ollie. Who knows what is going to go down. On the way home I did what all new age moms do. TO THE GOOGLE. And in a shocking turn of events, it was a relief (I know, right?!) We caught it early and most likely the dr would just give him some antibiotics and it should clear right up.

Photo Jun 26, 8 15 40 PMOK but what is it really?

Periorbital cellulitis is an inflammation and infection of the eyelid and portions of skin around the eye. Sounds scary simple, right? Thus the reason I am writing this. If left untreated, it can get really bad including loss of sight and nerve issues. It usually comes from foreign bacteria getting in the eye…usually from a bug bite near the eye. So backing up, on Friday morning I had noted Ollie had a red spot on his cheek but I brushed off as eczema . I guess he got bit by something outside (another lovely mom trait!)

So what happened?

They did not happen to need blood tests or CAT scan. They felt it was pretty clear cut. The boys were home in a few hours. He got some antibiotics and after even 2 doses the swelling was gone and the bug bite was even healing. By Monday he was completely unphased. Go figure.

Moral of the Story

If your kid’s eye look swollen all of a sudden and they complain of it really hurting, go to the doctor. While I am happy everything played out just fine, it still scares me to know that I would have had NO IDEA. If Ollie’s teachers hadn’t said anything seemed that off, I would have just kept calling it allergies. I could explain away it all just like any sniffle or bump. Praise be to Ms. Maria and Mrs Dana.


The Tale of Ole Corn Nose

Mommy merit badges are a thing. I have lots of them.  I’ve got one for picking up poop with my hands. I’ve pumped, fed a baby and ate breakfast at the same time. I’ve pulled 70lbs of kid in a wagon around the neighborhood. I’ve had to take my kid to the dr for worms. My mommy badge sash is filling up quite nicely.

Today I got a new one and it’s a life lesson you need to know.

At 12:30, I get that dreaded caller ID. Daycare. I answer while wincing. “Yes”. Mrs. Dana says “Sooooooo I think we have a first”. Uh oh. “Oliver walked up to us a minute ago and said ‘I have corn in my nose’. And he, indeed, has corn up his nose.”

You have got to be kidding me.

So I head up to daycare to see if we can get it out. I really have no idea what I will do. Time to put on the mommy thinking cap.

I get there and he is perfectly happy and telling me about the corn in his nose. I look and I can see MAYBE a sliver of a kernel. He had it in both sides and I could barely see any. Le sigh. So I call our healthcare center (literally like a couple hundred yards away) and luckily they can see us immediately. I grab him to go.

In the meantime, I contacted The Thread in great motherly fashion with “This kid. I swear to sequins”.  Then Brandee says “wait! My niece did this with a peanut. Let me text my sister!” She comes back with this:



Yup. You are reading that correctly. So as I walk to the car with a corn nosed child in my arms, I’m like “well I mean I have to try, right?” So I told Ollie “Mommy is going to do something silly. I am going to blow in your mouth. Can you do that?” So I tell him to open his mouth and essentially give my child mouth to mouth. It makes a weird gurgle and POOF: a piece of corn shoots out of his right nostril. Then I hold that nostril and do it again. POOF: another. He is cackling. I ask if there is anymore and he says no. I figured healthcare is expecting me and kids lie, so we head up there.

When the dr gets in the room and I tell him what I did, he gives me a high five “That’s exactly what we were going to do”. They checked and sure enough it was all clear. So I recommend storing away this nugget of info in your parenting brain because you never know when you need it.

I swear, y’all, we are so screwed with this second kid.

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Mommy, What’s A Selfie?

I climbed in the hammock playing hide and go seek.


They found me. Rats. “Mommy can we get in?” Sure. They delicately got in. Smashed along side me. “Don’t move or you’ll fall out”.

I’ll admit, it was a snuggle trap.

“Mommy lets take a picture!” Alrighty. “Selfie!” “Mommy, what’s a selfie?” Stupid internet made my guilt flare for a second. We keep being told selfies are “ruining this generation” and catering to the “me me me” millennial kids. But then I remembered I was having a great moment with my boys and that wasn’t about ME ME ME it was about US US US. So we cheesed. We giggled. We made funny faces. I didn’t even look at the photos until later that night. I found this one.

It’s everything. Have you ever been in a moment and wanted to capture it somehow? I feel like I did. The smiles. The scrunched faces. The snuggles. I got it all because I taught my kids about a selfie.

As the family photographer, this is often my only way to really capture a whole moment. I have thousands of photos of my boys doing things. In the snow. In the bath. Screaming at the dinner table (hey, real life y’all). But every so often my go go gadget arm can wrap around those sweaty mops of hair and get something like this. It won’t always be this way. So thanks, selfie revolution, for giving me this blip in time.

Sweet Moments Part 2

I was recently looking for an old post and came across this one. I had decided to just list out all the cute stuff my kids were doing at the time so I wouldn’t “forget” them. Well guess what…I forgot. I was so happy to read those again. Those little things you just want to sear into your brain.

ollieLike how Ollie says “Pick My Up” to be picked up.

How Landon says “farts” like “fawts” and “park” like “pawk”

The way Ollie sticks his hip out and looks over his shoulder with duck lips and says “baby butt“.

Landon’s cackle laugh when he truly gets tickled.

Ollie’s nerd laugh when he gets excited.

The way Landon asks to scratch my back when I read books.

Ollie’s endearing quality to compliment people for things everyday (“I wike your haircut”)

Landon’s LOVE for stuffed animals or “sleepy toys”. He has so many but legit plays with them. Crocy is his favorite.

How they both sing Hot Ham instead of Hot Damn in Uptown Funk.


A video posted by Brandy (@mannlymama) on

landoHow Landon helps his baby brother do things so well. It’s like a parenting dream.

Ollie’s Pikachu and Tepig impressions.

Landon’s love to make fruit salad for the family.

How Ollie says daddy is a boy and I’m a lady.

How Landon sings in Spanish when he doesn’t think we are paying attention.

Ollie’s speed on a tricycle.

The way Landon loves to share his art with everyone.

How they play Cookie Monster and try to nom each other.

The way Landon will draw Ollie pictures.

The brothers. I just can’t get enough…




Kidlet Dinners: The Good, The Bad and The Stuff I Put Up With

It’s been awhile since I did a kid food post and figured I should share a few things. This would be for both boys actually. They are on different parts of the scale but alas, they are their own challenges.

packedlunchSchool Lunches

Landon is learning his independence now that he is comfortable at school. No more rough drop offs and he seems to really enjoy his teacher, friends and routine. WOOOT! About week 6 or so, Landon asked to get school lunch like other kids. There was a bit of a gut punch but upon inquiry, I found it was because they had mac and cheese that day. So yeah…good point, kid. So now we let him get lunch at school once a week. He is still so innocently honest that we know what is going on and are just trying to make sure he eats healthy options along with the chocolate milk and corn dog :). It’s once a week and I think the bit of independence outweighs the sugar high for now. I am lucky that he understands what healthy is and genuinely wants to make healthy choices…peer pressure is just part of growing up.

With that said, it has impacted how I pack his lunch a little. I am not going super adventurous and sticking with favorites usually but just healthy ones. He does get 1 treat with his lunch. He seems to favor Star Wars fruit snacks, and that’s just fine by me. I don’t want to make it a packed lunch vs school lunch battle. Having him with me at the grocery store to choose items he likes helps a lot. He gets adventurous on his own. He often requests salad with his lunch. I figure I am winning the good fight here :)

Low Sugar

In January, I participated in a 10-day sugar challenge with my work. We didn’t make the kids do it as well but by proxy, dinner was no sugar added because that is what we had. They didn’t really notice honestly. We eat pretty healthily and didn’t make a bunch of new stuff so it was no big deal for 10 days. After the challenge, I got a new water bottle for completing it with a little guy on it kicking a bag of sugar. Landon inquired about the logo and I explained that I had done the challenge to help cut back on having too much sugar. Ever since, he has been “hyper aware” of sugar. Granted, he doesn’t know all the hidden sugars in simple things but he sometimes asks about certain foods. He tries to tell me how he chose something for lunch that didn’t have sugar (ha…but he doesn’t know). It’s quite endearing.

I’m on the fence here honestly. On one hand I like that he is aware and thinking about food differently than most kids. Having this nugget is driving him to make healthy choices. Yay. But then on the other hand I worry am I setting him up for an eating disorder at age 5. And to that end, how much to I correct him when he says something doesn’t have sugar and when do I just shut up? Like this morning Ollie said his hands were sticky at breakfast and Landon asked why and I said well that he had picked up the strawberries. He knew that sugar made things sticky so he got concerned about strawberries had sugar. We reassured him that strawberries were healthy but should I be explaining fructose and added sugar to a 5 yr old? Me thinks not. Perplexed.

Toddler Dinners

toddlerdinnerWe are in the think of it. Ollie is full toddler. The stubbornness. The distractions. The TAKING FOREVER. All there. Can’t say anything helpful here but keep doing what you do. I will not cave to chicken nuggets and PB & J for every meal. He gets what we get. He can eat it or not. I will say we saw a little uptick in willingness to branch out in foods after talking to his teacher. We mentioned his tendencies at the table and she seemed surprised a bit. He does just fine at school (shocker…i know). But in talking about it, we realized that one major difference is the independence they have a school. They server themselves every meal. They decide if they want something and how much (within reason). She said it was worth a shot at home. We have started to put all the food on the table and allow everyone to decide. Often Ollie will do the typical fruit and carbs choices but once he sees every one else getting the meat or vegetable, he will ask for some. It’s not full proof but it’s better than throwing a whole plate of food out.

We are also asking both boys to help out with setting the table and clean up now to make it a whole experience. Landon is even helping me assemble ingredients and such. Giving them some responsibilities has really changed their behavior some days. Now Ollie is no where near the good eater than Landon is but we are making baby steps.

So that’s the deal for now. Sometimes I think back to all I wrote about food with Landon and now I’m like “what in the world could I even write about?” So if you are new, know I used to write A LOT about kid food and you can find it all at Toddler Dinners and Infant Dinners.


What issues are you having at home around food?

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