Thursday, December 8, 2011

My love/hate relationship with the experts

I recently have changed my son's diet, we are now trying to go sugar and gluten free, totally.....We are struggling with some things at school, and I am looking at a lot of different perspectives to figure out how to best help my boy.  Here's the thing though....there are so many things, opinions, expert opinions, trends.  Sometimes, I am exhausted.  Is it just me, do I lack trust in experts, am I so pretentious as to believe that I know better than everyone?  I do sometimes, do I really think I am that smart?  No I don't, but when I have different experts telling me different things, and well-meaning educators trying to help, but ignoring the substance of what I am saying, I am left standing on a precipice trying to figure out where to go and what is best for this tiny person I am responsible for.  I know this wee one better than anyone, which doesn't prevent others from having insight, but when they lack insight and I am left alone to find the answer I feel mired in information.  Is gluten free just a buzz word?  will it really help my son, or am I just torturing him?  I've seen the effects sugar has on him, they are immediate and can be disastrous, but how do I fight that in a world that shoves it in my child's face?  He has been stealing candy from a candy bowl that the teacher keeps as a reward.....of course my sweet boy tells me all about it, but I have to tell him that stealing the candy is bad....when will that lead to him no longer telling me what he does?  I want to tell him positive things.  I want to help him with the things that matter, right now that is learning to control his body, but instead I am stuck teaching him why candy is bad, which I don't even think it has to be bad, when given in moderation and not filled with artificial junk and coloring, and not at school as a reward.  This is a pointless, rambling paragraph, but it goes along with my head and my son right now.  I can't fight every battle for him, but right now I am sending him somewhere every day that is a battle for him.  He is being teased, and I am dismissed when I say that is happening.  He is left alone in the hall, and even though I know this is bad, beyond any reason, his teachers are insisting that it is the only solution and a good solution.  He doesn't trust the grown-ups there to listen to him, because they don't.  They don't listen to me, why would I believe them when they tell me they listen to my boy?  My son has some heavy stuff on his plate right now.  I just want him to be happy, to learn to love learning, to make friends.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Caribou Design in the Press

vintage wood crates eclectic
Jen from The Haystack Needle posted about the vintage soda pop crate wall display I designed for Caribou over at Houzz, beautiful photos! Thanks for the design shout out.

Small Furniture Crush

Always on the hunt for great, small space solutions and I love this bunk from AVA Room!  At 63.5" long and only 53.5" high it would work really well in a low ceilinged room.  I also like that the ladder is contained within the frame of the bed so that it doesn't take any extra footprint. Of course I don't think it is available in the states, le sigh.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


People think that B looks like me...and then they see him with his dad and they realize it is just the blue eyes.  I think that B is the best of both of us. 
What is a family anyway?  Sometimes I think that the only 2 choices are to be a couple, or to be a bitter ex-couple with your child in the middle.  I refuse to believe that these are my only choices, they are certainly not the choices made by my parents and step-parents for my sister, brothers and I.  I believe that A and I made a commitment to each other and our son the day we had him, and that commitment has nothing to do with our status as a couple.  We are a family.  Our future may be our own road, but it will always end in us being a loving family.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What I am going to do about food at my son's school

I realize that this has been my personal blog, and that, beyond my mom and a few friends, I really have no readers, which is fine, it is my life.  However, I am overwhelmed at the issue of what my son eats at school.  He is less than 2 weeks in and his pooping has already changed from eating processed food, he is pooping less regularly and instead of being a good consistency it is either hard and painful for him or runny and gross.  It never really smelled disgusting before and now it does.  I have noticed the difference in his poop and children who eat processed food before, this does not seem like a good direction.  (I'm sure my few readers wanted to discuss poop, at least B would think it was hilarious) On top of that I already see him struggling with impulse control, especially with hitting other kids, either for attention or because he doesn't know what to do with his emotions.   This is always a struggle for him, but I have noticed many times the correlation between him consuming sugar (juice counts!) and these issues.  He has enough trouble with it, I don't want to set him up for failure by giving him juice and a "bagel" pocket with jelly first thing in the am.  This is not a good snack for him or any other child and I find it appalling that I didn't even know he was getting it.  This snack was not listed in the school's menu, nor was the fact that they give children a morning snack fact when I asked about this snack, which my son had described to me very accurately, and I described as a bagel pocket filled with jelly (exactly what it was) at the first PTA meeting, school officials told me he must be talking about bagel pizzas (I won't even start on the problems I have with that!)

However, all of that being said, I know that this school has the best interest of the children at heart and they do many things that I respect, and more that I am sure I will learn about as the year progresses.  I know that school lunch (and breakfast, and snacks) are truly needed by some students, and may be the only meals those children eat in any given day.  I just found this out last week, but my son's school recieves title 1 funding, which means lunch (and breakfast and snacks) are given to all students based on the community's income level.  On a practical level this means I can pack all the food I want for my son, but I can not control wether he chooses chocolate milk or the schools pbj for lunch over what I packed.  I have asked him to choose regular milk, and have explained to him why and so far he seems willing to do that, but I know that won't always be the case.  It seems unfair that I can help my son make these choices, but some children won't even know what choices they are making.  I even brought up some of these concerns with my sons pediatrician at his 5 year checkup and she was under the impression that food at schools was getting better.  It is not.  Unless we are all educated as parents, as educators, as citizens about these issues nothing will change.

I wanted to wait to begin speaking out at the school for issues I see as important until I understood the structure and routine of the school, but this is too pressing a matter to wait.  What we feed our children is just as important as any book they read.  If we are filling their bodies with things that will make it harder for them to concentrate, give them terrible sugar crashes, put them at risk for awful diseases, how are we helping them learn?  I will be speaking out at the very first public opportunity I get.  In addition I foresee all sorts of problems with convincing administration to look at these issues when they have so much else on their plates, and little money to address such concerns.  I will be using this blog to record research and links as I start to compile information about these issues.  I am also going to start a non-profit organization, specifically aimed at supplementing the cost of fresh, real food and trained staff to plan and prepare meals in public schools.  I know that this will not be easy, but from here on out this will be my good work, for my son, for all children, for the future.

Monday, September 19, 2011

This ends in tears

Went to the NY Ren Faire this weekend with BFF & family, + old friends.  Fun was had by all, but several sword battles (at the end of a long week of new schools for both boys) led to a few tears, but they certainly enjoyed it while they enjoyed it.
Have I mentioned how much I love these boys?

On another note, I switched B to a different kindergarten class in the same school, this is a french immersion program that I only recently found out existed and they somehow had a space in the class, so B is in.  I am excited about this, but not so much B and he had a very hard time at drop off!  and a bit of a hard day in general.  BUT while this was rough it is par for the course, HOWEVER I was there to see the kids get a morning snack that I didn't even know they get, some sort of processed bagel pocket filled with jelly and juice.  I found out from one of B's friends that B was hitting him all day.  They are pumping my kid full of sugar at the beginning of the day and of course he is going to have an impossible time.  This sucks.  I don't know what to do.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pirates on the Hudson

B and I took the ferry back from IKEA after an emergency trip on Sunday, lo and behold, there was a pirate ship!  I'm sure that this is some vessel with a specific name and purpose, but B and I watched the sunset over Manhattan and watched for boarders.  It was a nice day.

Friday, September 9, 2011

B goes to Kindergarten

The first day was chaotic, the school seemed unprepared and they offered us very little info and prep as parents, so that we would know what to do, but B has already made a friend and the second day, when I knew what to expect, everything went much more smoothly.  We are definitely not in Kansas, or at least a tiny montessouri school in Williamsburg, anymore.

This will be an adventure for both of us, I'm sure one with plenty of trials and tribulations, but hopefully an opportunity for my son to grow (me to) for us to be part of a community, and to learn together.  The first PTA meeting is next week and I am def going to that!  There is actually one at 9am and one at 6pm....I might go to both, just to get the lay of the land.

Great adventure ho!  First stop work with Bowie on hand-raising, so he won't get in trouble.

Love you my big boy!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday my Beautiful Boy!

Today you turned 5.  The last year has been a crazy one for us my little one, your mama went back to work in earnest and I didn't get to spend as much time with you this year.  I feel every missed minute, but you are turning into an independant little soul (though you still want me to put on your clothes for you, and sit with you while you fall asleep, even if you sleep in your own bed)  There is no question about your talking or your charm, you talk to anyone who will listen and charm them as soon as they stop.  You like to use big words like cumbersome and despicable.  You make me laugh, even if most of your jokes are about poop.  You like to play video games with your daddy and do puzzles with me.  You are so good at memory, though I don't think you get the competitive nature of the game since you always tell me where my matches are.  We got to spend a lot of time with your grandparents this summer, and boy do you love your grandma and grandpa.  Your mama is a nervous nellie and sometimes you are to, but don't ever be afraid to do new things or jump into some amazing opportunity, because you think you might fail.  There is always failure, but you can't reach greatness without a few failures along the way.  You are as beautiful as ever, smarter then I could imagine, and kinder then I could wish for (even if you sometimes knock your friends to the ground)  You think of the ones littler than yourself, and do nice things for your friends.  You kiss your mama unasked and tell me you love me.  Baby boy you are my center, you bring me back to life when I fall into the depths, you teach me to be a better person and a better mama every day.  I can not imagine a life where you weren't born.  The last five years have been the best I have ever had.  Thank you.  I can't wait to see what the next year holds as you start kindergarten, a new chapter for both of us.  I love you, my Bowie.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Thoughts of Margaret

My friend's mother died last week, she was 56. I have known his family since I was 15, and I sat with them for two days while they watched her slip away from this life, on the third day she took a breath and not the next.  Have you ever had something happen that is so sad that you think you will never stop reeling....but it is not your sadness and the person you ache for is not yourself, but you feel it so strongly that it threatens to eclipse your own life for a moment?  I never knew Margaret closely, but I loved her because I loved her son.  In fact it would be impossible to care about Jason and not his mother, so much were they a part of one another's lives.  She was strong, she fought breast cancer to the end, a three year battle and when I saw her in July she was talking about going back to work in a few weeks after she got past some complications, even 2 weeks ago she was fighting to stay here. As I sat alone in a chair outside her room moments after her death, I watched the family she has held together all these years go in to say goodbye to her.  I can not help but cry for her sister, who spoke to her every Sunday and her mother, who never expected to bury her child, and her 2 granddaughters who will barely remember her, and I mourn for her sons, who had a mother who loved them above all else.

20 years ago I moved to NY, I dreamed of being famous, of success, of riches and earthly delights, but all my grandiose schemes have gone and I have a quiet life with my own son, a sweet, charming boy whom I love above all else.  If I could be like anyone, in this moment, I would choose to be like Margaret, to raise my son to be a good man, to send him out into the world and spread a little of me to those he meets.  Margaret can not disappear from this life, her two sons will always carry her within themselves and in this way anyone who knows them will know her and admire her.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Daily Lunchbox

I am re-committing to my blog, and what better way to start than with B's lunch!  Today the lunch is packed in the fabulous and light weight stainless steel container from Lunchbots, courtesy of the baby and kids store I designed, Caribou Baby.  There are a gazillion great products, I am slowly making my way through product testing! Anyhoo, today's lunch contains the following:
organic graham crackers
a pear
and a sweet corn, arugula, & cheese quesadilla on a spinach tortilla (left over from dinner)

I am also re-committing to my son's lunches.  I must admit that the last several months lunch has been an OMG affair, with many a stop at one of our fave coffee shops (RIP Boneshakers) on the way to school.  I miss thinking about his lunch, and I am afraid my wee man has not been getting enough fruits and veggies.  He is a picky eater at the best of times, and without patience and creativity on my part I'm afraid it is nothing but apples and peas for this little boy (not that there is anything wrong with apples and peas, but come on! Let's get some leafy greens in there!

Friday, March 11, 2011

What we have been doing....

I have been working...A LOT.....and missing my BBoy like mad.  Here we are this fall on the IKEA ferry....which is appropriate since I have been taking B there like once a week!  Luckily he loves it, but let's face it, he is my son, and what is not to love about a place that sells good 'ol swedish style and has a giant ball pit?

Anyhoo, if you want to see the store I designed check out their blog or look at all of the grand opening madness on Treehugger.