Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Toddler Sippy and Transition Cup Review


Like most first time parents, I wasn’t sure what type of sippy cup my son needed. I had a few things in mind. I wanted glass, not plastic, leak proof, sturdy, portable, and aesthetically appealing. I know the last one is ridiculous but if I’m going to lug a baby product around, it might as well be cute. So I did a little research and here’s what I found.

Glass v. Plastic  By now most of us have heard of the dangers of BPA. BPA or bisphenol A is a chemical that has been used to make plastics since the 1960’s. It is often found in plastic food storage containers, plastic beverage bottles such as water bottles, and even in the lining of canned foods. In 2010, the FDA altered its position on BPA expressing some concern about its potential side effects. These included theories that BPA could act as a hormone disruptor, affect brain and behavior in infants and young children, increase the risk of cancer and heart problems as well as other conditions like obesity, diabetes, and ADHD. You may have also noticed a slew of BPA free baby products on the market as the six major companies that make baby bottles and cups have stopped using BPA in their products.

Sounds all well and good, but as parent it still concerns me. I certainly don’t want my child exposed to harmful chemicals which is why I have shied away from plastic products in favor of glass. Glass is easily boiled to sanitize, contains no BPA/BPS, phthalates, PVC or polycarbonates, will not leach chemicals, and is overall, an environmentally better choice.

In terms of glass sippy and transition cups, the two that I have had the most success with are the Lifefactory 9-ounce glass bottle and the Siliskin 6 ounce glass.

Lifefactory You might have seen Lifefactory water bottles at the gym. These stylish bottles are covered in a protective, silicone, sleeve that come in a variety of colors. I purchased two Lifefactory 9-ounce bottles for my son along with the corresponding Sippy Caps. The bottles are easy to clean, you can drop them in boiling water (with the sleeve) to sanitize before the first use, and use a bottle brush with warm soapy water for subsequent cleanings. The bottles (and sleeve) are also dishwasher safe. They fit nicely in a diaper bag or purse and while slightly heavier than plastic sippy cups, are still very portable.

The Lifefactory 9-ounce bottles are also sturdy. Initially I worried about the glass breaking and the resulting mess. As anyone with a toddler knows, objects are likely to get flung to the ground or against walls. But so far these bottles have exceeded my expectations. My son has dropped his bottle on asphalt, concrete, and wood floors without issue. The bottles don’t leak, when properly capped, and the variety of silicone sleeve colors make them pretty to look at; a win-win for our family. I will say the only thing to watch out for is the silicone insert for the sippy caps. You need to squeeze the inserts open before the first use and make sure they are positioned properly in the sippy cap or the bottle won’t work.

Siliskin Glass  I purchased the Siliskin Glass as a transition cup for my son. The Siliskin comes in a package of two, 6-ounce glasses covered in an orange, silicone sleeve. As far as I know this is the only color sleeve they have. While this is slightly disappointing, at least orange is gender neutral and not terribly offensive. The glasses are smaller and hold less liquid than the Lifefactory bottles but are perfectly sized for toddler hands. My son can easily drink water or milk out of the glass without issue and loves the fact that it looks like a “grown-up cup.” The glasses are also dishwasher safe.

So far both Lifefactory and Siliskin have been a hit at our home and I can rest assured that my son’s sippy and transitional cups are not leaching harmful chemicals into his drinks.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Why are doctors so smug?

I recently took my son to the pediatrician for his annual well check-up. I have never loved our doctor but he does have impressive credentials and seems competent enough. But during this particular visit I was reminded of why I generally hate doctors.

Things didn't start well. My son recognized the medical building as soon as we pulled into the parking lot and immediately began to protest loudly. The memory of our last visit clearly left a bad impression on him. But I suppose having a giant Q-tip shoved up his nose to swab for the flu would taint anyone's opinion of the medical profession. Still, it was a pediatric practice so I was certain my kid wasn't the first to cry during a visit. I filled out the necessary paperwork and cringed as I took my seat in the waiting room, wondering what kind of bacteria lurked in the mottled gray carpet. 

When we were finally called back to an exam room my son was beside himself. He was in rare form, screaming bloody murder as the nurse tried to weigh him and take his measurements. And by screaming I mean I'm pretty sure every person on the floor could hear him.

After a few moments, Dr. Ivy League came in. Dr. Ivy is tall, gangly, and probably in his mid forties. He has a high forehead and a receding hairline that you would expect from a man so smug. After a perfunctory handshake, he took a seat, flipped open his laptop and began asking a series of questions. Things were progressing normally, or as normally as one could expect with a hysterical toddler clinging to my legs, until I mentioned that I had taken my child to see a specialist.

I won't go into my son's medical history but I had a particular concern that I had voiced at my last well check-up. Dr. Ivy promptly dismissed it and sent me on my merry way. I still had my doubts and wanted a second opinion. Seems logical right? Apparently not for Dr. Ivy. The look of shock and indignation on his face was priceless. This lead to a fifteen minute extremely unflattering diatribe about the specialist that culminated in Dr. Ivy essentially calling me a gullible moron and telling me that my money would be better spent enrolling my child in swim lessons or a gymnastics. FYI... swim lessons and gymnastics had nothing to do with my original concerns. I was willing to let things slide but the man had diarrhea of the mouth and kept trying to drive his point home. Also his mood had  soured and he had no patience for my screaming child. My face must have given me away because he immediately followed up with "I'm sorry if I offended you..."

Here's the thing Dr. Ivy. If you have to apologize after your speech it's probably because you said something stupid and very unprofessional. I am a parent and I have the right to seek a second opinion. Yes, you have that precious "D" at the end of your title but that doesn't mean I will take your word as gospel. Mother's have instincts and I hate to tell you but mine were spot on. 

Second, it is terribly unprofessional of you to criticize another medical professional; especially when you are not trained in their field. When you call another licensed professional a "huckster" or a "money grubbing fraud who never says no to client" you come across as insecure and a giant throbbing dick. I'm pretty sure you are happy to collect all of your patient's co-pays. And I highly doubt you would ever turn an insured patient away. 

Finally, what is it with doctors and their condescending attitude. Dr. Ivy you are not God. You are just a dude who went to school for a really long time. I will not flatter you or hang on your every word. I realize now that you are unaccustomed to this. Clearly questioning your professional opinion really stuck in your craw.

Also, instead of pontificating from your moral high horse you could have actually paid attention to my kid. You missed a perfect opportunity to assuage my child's fears and turn the office visit into a teachable moment. Maybe my kid wouldn't scream bloody murder if you treated him like a human being. Hell, if you had given him a sticker he probably would have shut up. So Dr. Ivy your time with us is done and we will no longer need your services. Rest assured, I will make sure my co-pay goes to someone else.   

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Why Katie Maloney Needs to Dump Tom Schwartz

On last night’s episode of Vanderpump Rules, Tom Schwartz half heartedly confessed that he did drunkenly make out with a chick from Vegas. The confession which was made at a bar during an outing with Sandoval, Scheana, and Shay was hastened by a vague threat of exposure from Jax, who was in possession of some incriminating texts. Katie managed to hold it together through dinner and the couple returned to their shared apartment to hash out the details.

Unfortunately for Katie, this was not the first time Schwartz had been unfaithful. He had previously admitted to making out with another girl earlier this season. This confession was also conveniently brought on by the fact that Scheana witnessed the encounter and blabbed about it to the other Sur employees. In both situations, Schwartz blamed alcohol for his poor choices, claimed he didn’t really remember what happened, yet was certain that no sex was involved. Riiiiight.

Here’s the kicker, Katie still loves the guy! In a follow up conversation with another Sur employee, she accidentally used the word “marriage” to describe her relationship with Schwartz. In short, she seemed hell bent to forgive the guy and move on with the hope that he will one day put on a ring on it.

I watched this entire scene play out and wondered what the hell this chick was thinking. Do you really think Tom Schwartz is husband and father material? So let me break it down for you Katie Maloney. When a guy cheats on a girl (sex or no sex involved), it is just an immature man’s way of breaking up with you. There are plenty of dudes out there who don’t have the balls to break up with their girlfriends and use cheating as a means to an end. These men tend to be passive, avoid confrontation, and often fall into the trap of feeling sorry for the person they are dating which makes them stay longer in the relationship than necessary. 

Sound familiar Katie? If not, let me refresh your memory. Your boyfriend Schwartz endures quite a bit of berating and maltreatment from Jax with no retaliation. He allows Jax to spread rumors about you and criticize you without defending your honor. In fact there are plenty of times that Schwartz simply shrinks back or stares lovingly at Jax while he is treated like shit. Also he broke the cheating news to you in public – twice. The first was outside of Sur, the second at a bar with friends. This is the definition of passive behavior from a man who clearly can’t handle confrontation.

Second, a real man has ambition and a life plan. You have said multiple times on the show that you want Schwartz to grow up and be the husband and father that you dream of. I hate to break it to you, but the dude just doesn’t have it in him. By Schwartz’s own admission, he fled a pre-med program to move to LA to “act” or “model.” While I am all for pursuing one’s dreams, if the guy hasn’t made it by now, it’s probably never going to happen. Every year that passes just opens the door to someone younger, hotter, and more talented to land that coveted Hollywood role. So does he have a plan B? Negatory. 

Third, do I have to remind you of the time that he fled his bartending gig at Pump because he couldn’t work a cash register and felt pressured by the crowd of customers? If a cash register can give you a full on panic attack, what will the responsibilities of being a provider, husband, and father do? Can you honestly see your man caring for a newborn baby? Newborns eat every two to three hours and sometimes cry inconsolably. The pressures of having a new baby are enough to drive a sane individual over the edge. What will it do to Tom Schwartz?  

Katie Maloney you are still young, have your looks, and hopefully your eggs. Ditch the loser and start searching for Mr. Right. You know, the kind of guy who can lift a weight, open a pickle jar, defend your honor, and hold down a steady job. These men do exist and you could be with one and be happy. I hate to say it but take a page out of Stassi’s playbook and freeze the mofo out.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

What you don't know about your child's teacher

After years of working in education I've learned a few things. Teachers lead double lives and every elementary, middle, and high school is brimming with story lines fit for a tele novella. Here are my observations:

1. Teachers are deeply unhappy people. It seems counterintuitive. Aren't teachers supposed to be passionate, energetic people who want to make a difference? Many educators do start out this way but almost always hit a wall by the five year mark. It's what I like to call "The Edna Krabappel Effect," named after Bart Simpson's burned out fourth grade elementary school teacher. Long hours, No Child Left Behind, a plethora of new teaching methods that are constantly crammed down their throats, and one too many pain in the ass students, turn the best intentioned teachers into deeply embittered, lonely, borderline alcoholics. If you reflect upon your own academic career you can probably think of a few educators who fit this stereotype. 

2. If there is a male teacher in the building, he is probably screwing one or more of the female teachers. This is especially true at the elementary level, where men are scarce. As the old adage goes, in the land of the blind cats, the one eyed cat is king. Well, in a sea of lonely female teachers, the lone male teacher will bone everyone. Unbeknownst to many, love triangles and quadrangles are playing out in the hallways of your child's school. And things can get quite messy. I've seen divorces, broken engagements, out of wedlock pregnancies, and full on Jerry Springer style fights over the lone, usually not terribly attractive, male.

3. The men in education are not the sharpest knives in the drawer. Shocked? Don't be. After nearly a decade of working in education I can safely say that practically every male I met was borderline retarded. Here's why: Talk to any educator and they will bemoan the need for positive male role models. Again this is especially apparent at the elementary level. Basically if you have a dick, can throw a ball around with some "at risk" children, and can string together a few sentences, you're hired! Bonus points if you are a minority. And not only that, your route to becoming an administrator is paved with gold. I've witnessed far too many glad handler types with no organizational skills, and sub-par intelligence rise to administrator levels. Some even win the coveted Principal of the Year Award.

4. There is a secret war between classroom teachers and specialists (Art, Music, PE, Guidance, SPED).  As the years go by and the "Edna Krabappel Effect" sets in, teachers turn their bitter rage towards their fellow coworkers. Somehow being locked away with bratty children creates a feeling of entitlement and delusion about their worth in the school and in the world. Classroom teachers convince themselves that only their job matters. "Specialists are lazy and don't do anything!" becomes the rallying cry at every faculty meeting. Soon the delusions of grandeur manifest into all out acts of war. I've witnessed classroom teachers sabotage specialists by hiding equipment such as smart board pens or remote controls, purposely pick up students late from their specials thus backing up a specialist's schedule, and purposely interrupt and annoy specialists (usually SPED) who are unfortunate enough to have to work in a classroom teacher's room.

5. Teachers will label you and your family and make fun of you accordingly. Every family that enrolls in a school develops a reputation. For instance, there is the helicopter mom, the crack head mom, the divorced, always on the make dad, the neighborhood gossip, and the litigious freak who will bully the teacher into grade changes. Beware your interactions with your child's teacher because your child will be labeled and it will impact his or her chances at landing a "good" teacher next school year. You see, at the end of every school year, your child's teacher participates in closed door meetings to "place" their current students with teachers in the next grade level. The children are sorted in a number of ways--by intelligence, temperament, socioeconomic condition, and unofficially, by the sanity of their parents. When it is time to allocate students to the next grade level, teachers go through a variety of gyrations to woo the best (i.e. the smartest, well behaved students) and avoid the worst (academically low, poorly behaved students who often have equally stupid and crazy parents). Word of mouth is powerful. If you or your child is labeled a pain in the ass, some of the best teachers will pull out all the stops to avoid having your kid in class. As a result your kid may end up in a brand new teacher's room (could be good or bad) or with a beta teacher, usually the one with horrible classroom management.

So the next time you roll into your neighborhood school to drop off a kid, take a moment to really look around. You might just notice the sheepish glances between the PE stud and the naive Kindergarten teacher he banged or the hangover your child's teacher is trying to hide. There's always something brewing behind the scenes.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sister Wives Rant

Does anyone else remember when TLC was actually a learning channel. Lately it's devolved into a series of reality shows about little people, the Amish, Gypsies, morbidly obese people, and polygamists. Speaking of polygamists, the New York Times recently named the Brown Family as the face of polygamy. The Brown's are the stars of TLC's Sister Wives. Sister Wives documents the ups and downs of infamous polygamist Kody Brown, his four wives, Meri, Christine, Janelle, and Robyn, and their seventeen children.

I've never been a fan of Sister Wives. I watched the first episode out of curiosity years ago and quickly lost interest. I didn't find any of the wives particularly interesting and Kody was just plain annoying. A couple of weeks ago TLC had a Sister Wives marathon and somehow I got sucked in. Here's what I realized.

Kody Brown

Kody Brown is a douche bag. Yeah, I said it. Mr. Brown portrays himself as the energetic, smirky husband who runs himself ragged trying to divide his time between his four wives and 17 children.   Why four women would find this man attractive is beyond me. His hair alone makes me want to vomit. It's part surfer, part Little Dutch Boy, and obviously a means of hiding his rapidly receding hairline. To be fair if I had 17 kids I'd probably be going bald as well. Then there are his smug comments. My favorite was "Everyone knows I'm an alpha male." The fact that you have to say it Kody, means your penis is microscopic.


All of Kody's wives are miserable. Let's start with Meri, the first wife. Meri presents as a slightly bloated, depressed woman who seems so beaten down by life that it hurts to watch. She breaks down crying in almost every episode. It seems no one really likes Meri so she is forced to align herself with Robyn, the newest wife.


Then there is Christine. According to Kody she is the mischief maker. She's also the one who threw a hissy fit when Kody designed personalized jewelry for each of the wives. Christine disliked the dark etching on her pendant and couldn't hide her disdain. She also complained when Kody took an extended honeymoon with fourth wife, Robyn. Jealous and insecure, she confessed that she never had a graduation party and was never cool in school. I guess the low self esteem carried over into her adult life and propelled her straight into the arms of Kody Brown.


Next is Janelle, the sister wife that seems to have the most going for her. She works, possibly in real estate, and seems to have a backbone. She claims that she won't take crap from Kody, but we all know she probably does. And she probably eats to compensate for her deep unhappiness. Janelle is obese. Lately she has been working with a personal trainer. In one particularly boring episode she takes a sledge hammer to her bathroom scale. Janelle buddies up with sister wife Christine. Chubby girls unite!


Robyn is the newest and youngest wife. Burned by monogamy, she claims she chose the polygamist lifestyle. Robyn is the pleaser who tries to placate her three whiny, angry, sister wives. She also seems acutely aware that she is the most attractive and probably Kody's favorite - for now.  Because of this, she tries her best to blend into the background. In some ways I feel for her the most. It must be a living hell putting up with those angry, jealous bitches.

So are the Brown's really the poster children for polygamy? I don't think so. There are cracks in their Brady Bunch facade. Frankly they seem on the verge of imploding. And for that very reason I might continue to watch. Besides Mystic Mona predicted that Kody will take a fifth wife, much to the chagrin of his other four wives. I can't wait for that drama.

P.S. I'm really not a hater. I wish the best for the Brown family. I just don't believe that you are truly happy.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Fit Shaming

Now that I have officially joined the mommy brigade, I've become privy to an interesting phenomenon; something I call fit shaming. Fit shaming occurs when a woman, usually a mom, becomes so enraged by another woman's recent weight loss or quick bounce back from a pregnancy that they feel the need to actively hate on them.

Nothing gets moms more fired up than the topic of post baby bodies. There are typically two very passionate reactions. One group of mommies will cite society's unhealthy obsession over weight and body image and rage against US Weekly for putting new celebrity moms on the cover of their magazines wearing bikinis. The other group of moms will simply admit that they want to bounce back from their pregnancy and have aggressively started an eating and exercising regime to get there. The "fit shamers" tend to fall into the first category. They also tend to be a little overweight.

I first encountered fit shaming many years ago, before I had a child. I used to work at elementary school in a very upper middle class neighborhood. Long, lithe mommies in skinny jeans and hooker boots were not an uncommon site. So while making small talk in the copy room I casually mentioned how I thought one of my student's moms looked amazing. This particular mom had just given birth to twins and was rocking a Victoria's Secret body. No joke. But instead of a nod of agreement, I got awkward silence. Crickets. Then another coworker, who happened to overhear my comment, playfully grabbed my elbow, leaned in and whispered, "If I had $5000 for a tummy tuck I'd look just as good." A hearty round of fit shaming ensued.

Then there's the Maria Kang incident. If you don't already know, Maria Kang, a mother of three, posted the following picture to her Facebook.


Chaos ensued. It seemed every morning news show was debating the "What's your excuse?" tag line. Angry women across the country were screaming into microphones about unrealistic body image and fat shaming. Really? I'm a new mom but I wasn't exactly enraged when I saw the post. Was it obnoxious? Sure. But there are tons of obnoxious Facebook posts. We all have that one "friend" who posts inappropriate bikini pictures or status updates like, "I actually lost 5 lbs on vacation!" Who gives a shit.

Then last Saturday my phone started to blow up. I was looped in a group message by some mommy friends. It went something like this:

Mom1: Leslie from Yo Gabba Gabba lost like a 100 lbs. Makes me want to slit my fat wrists.

Mom2: Has to be gastric bypass surgery.

Mom1: I hate Leslie. Let's throw rocks at her or better yet, bacon.

For the record I've never watched an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba. My son is thankfully too young to be interested in that craziness. Besides, Muno looks like a giant infected penis. Gah!


I think you get the idea. So why am I writing this post? I was recently on the receiving end of some  fit shaming.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't want to be a fat, frumpy mom. Honestly, who does? So when I started posting healthy recipes and fitness routines on Pinterest I was shocked by the backlash I got from a close friend. She insinuated that worrying about post baby weight was selfish and that I should focus on being a parent instead. "You will never get your pre-baby body back," she said. "Those people that do have nannies and personal trainers." Basically she wanted me to drink the fat mom Kool Aid and start shopping at Lane Bryant. Sorry I don't buy it. I'm pretty sure you can workout, eat well and still be a great parent. So stop hating people. Some of us just want to look good. You can too.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Delicate Gold Jewelry

I am addicted to bling. There, I said it. Whether it's high end or vintage, handmade, or a thrift store find, jewelry makes me very happy. So why all the fuss about baubles? I view it as an investment. A nice piece of jewelry is timeless.

Lately I've been obsessing over delicate, gold pieces. Jennifer Zeuner is probably to blame. Her simple gold bar necklaces, Hamsa, and evil eye pendants have been featured in magazines like Elle, In Style and Seventeen. But spending several hundred dollars on a trendy necklace is not always possible when you are a stay at home mom on a budget. So below I've compiled my practical versions of the delicate gold jewelry trend. Enjoy!

Let's start with the bar necklace. I found this adorable piece at Nordstrom. And for $22.00, the price is right.

Bonnie Jonas Bar Necklace $22.00

I love Etsy! It's a great place to find unique jewelry at reasonable prices. I recently ordered a wire name necklace. Stassi Schroeder from Vanderpump Rules wears a similar piece.

14 Karat Gold Filled Wire Name Necklace $25.00

Finally, I just discovered Earthy Chic jewelry. Not only can you find a wide variety of pieces, but a percentage of all purchases go towards Earthy Chic's featured charities. 

Rose Gold Overlay Bow Necklace $25.00