Everything I Know About Parenting I Learned While Being a Teacher

Nothing can prepare you for parenthood…except teaching. Teaching totally prepares you for having children. I babysat through my teen years, worked at a daycare in college, taught elementary school and taught movement/gymnastics/dance/yoga to babies and preschoolers. I loved those jobs and always felt I was learning a lot, but holy cow, I did not realize just how much they taught me until having Luna.

Here’s my Top Ten Ways Being a Teacher Prepared Me for Parenthood.

  1. I have absolutely no problem looking a fool in public. I cannot tell you how many times I left work (school) wearing stickers on my shirt, pipe cleaner jewelry, flowers in my hair, paint on my face, a costume, random stains, name tags and tacky holiday accessories. There were many times when I wondered why the store clerk or Starbuck’s barista was starting oddly at me, only to look in the mirror in find I was still wearing a Dr. Seuss hat or necklace made of yarn and candy wrappers. Clearly, a little spit-up or mashed carrots on my shirt now is nothing. dry eraser
  2. I am not afraid of germs or getting a little (or a lot) dirty. Throughout my teaching career I had to deal with blood, vomit, urine and one kid even pooped under his desk. Kids let entire bottles of glue leak in their desk, dumped glitter containers out, rubbed entire tubes of chapstick all over their face and somehow always managed to have sticky hands. I cannot tell you how many kids I watch pick and eat their boogers and I know 90% of them didn’t wash their hands, like ever. They also wanted to hold my hands, hug me and share food with me constantly. I tried to be as sanitary as possible, but we all know teachers are just one big walking germ. Luna is just one child and she’s my child, so her germs are the least of my worries.
  3. I am an awesome multi-tasker. In my classroom I lead a reading group, corrected a math paper, kept on eye on the trouble maker near my computer and the other eye on the little girl about to give herself a haircut. At any given moment every single teacher is doing 15 things at once, and we all have eyes in the back of our heads. This comes in handy with a baby. classmate
  4. I’m crafty. I can create 20 center activities with $10 and a trip to the Dollar Store. I can make play costumes for an entire class in a matter of hours. I know how to put together a safe, easy and affordable science project that will not only be educational but memorable and I can turn one children’s book into a weeklong reading/social studies/math/writing lesson. I can entertain Luna with a spoon for hours.steal
  5. I can function really well on virtually no sleep (and a whole lot of coffee). Coffee is some sort of magical bean that makes us super human, am I right? One student called me Super Woman once, but it was really just me plus 8 cups of coffee.
  6. I can tune out just about anything. One time, Husband came to visit me at work (probably dropping off something I forgot). He stayed and visited for a minute and walked with us to recess. When I got home he said “How do you stand it?”  Stand What? “I was only there 15 minutes and I must have heard kids say your name at least 400 times! Everywhere we went someone was yelling for you, needing you or saying hi to you. It would drive me crazy.” Oh…guess I didn’t notice. At some point all teachers and Mothers develop selective hearing. This can be both good and bad when Luna is crying.
  7. If need be, I can get ready in the blink of an eye. Typically, I like to take my time doing my hair and putting my face on for work, but when you teach you cannot be late. There’s not such thing as showing up a few minutes late and working later to make up for your missed time. You have got to make it to your classroom before the 24 seven-year olds do. On more than a few occasions I have jumped out of bed after realizing I overslept by an hour, threw on a non-wrinkle cotton dress, some slip-on flats, grabbed a handful of jewelry and applied mascara and lip-gloss in the car.
  8. I can hold my pee for basically ever, which has already come in handy multiple times since having Luna.
  9. I am a wealth of knowledge when it comes to children’s books and songs. Seriously, I have a song and a book for everything from compound words to patriotism. Luna has inherited my classroom library and, unfortunate for her, my endless singing about everything we do.clap
  10. I am oh-so patient with little ones. Not in traffic, not in the grocery store, not with Comcast, not with the pets, not even with the slow barista at Starbucks, but with children I’ve got all the patience in the world. I love watching their little wheels turn as they try so hard to solve a problem or understand what they’re reading. Watching that little light turn on when they discover something new is my most favorite thing.MIB

What prepared you for becoming a parent?

Cheers!

Kind of Learning to Bake

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Today’s post is kind of the complete opposite of yesterday. Today, we took a free cooking class at our local William Sonoma and ate lots of dessert. That’s right, every single William Sonoma offers free cooking classes. Well, technically they offer free technique classes and free junior chef classes. The actual cooking classes cost money. We have taken a couple of the technique classes before (always by accident) and learned a lot, but we always forget to come back for more. I happened to see the sign up sheet while shopping for nothing on Friday and decided to sign us up.

I am just now learning to cook and I NEVER bake…unless you count boxed cakes, which I only make for very special occasions. Learning about baking seemed like a good idea, but if I’m being completely honest here, I was in it for the free food. We were learning to make a layered coconut cake and a strawberry tart, who can resist?

coconut cake tart

The woman teaching us seamlessly whipped together both desserts while explaining each step and tool with great detail. She was good enough to convince me to try and convince Husband to buy me the cake pans that I will probably never use. (He did not cave…yet.) While drooling over each ingredient I did pick up a few tips… like have you heard of pie weights? Apparently you are supposed to use them (or beans) to hold down the middle of the crust and keep it from rising when it’s baked.

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All in all, it was a great Sunday afternoon of sipping espresso and eating as much homemade desserts as we possibly could. My Mom-in-law even went and walked Luna around the mall while we learned a little. I might even attempt one of these recipes for Easter. Hopefully we’ll remember this in the future in take some more classes. It’s a very inexpensive and fun way to spend some time together.

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Cheers!

Two Months Too Fast

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How have two months already flown by? Everyone says how fast time goes by when you have kids and they weren’t kidding. I am shocked at how much changes in such a short amount of time. Luna is smiling, staying awake much more often and changing everyday.

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Seriously, cannot get enough of her smiles.

Everyday I learn a little more about how to be a Mom, but the biggest lesson I’m still learning is to stop googling everything. I have a problem. I have to know when is she supposed to smile? coo? giggle? roll over? make eye contact? notice me? sleep? eat? poop? And when she doesn’t seem to following the time frame mapped out online I get nervous. I have got to stop.

No matter what Luna does, or doesn’t do, I can’t help but love her more every day. She’s just perfect and I can’t wait to see what we both learn this next month.

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10 Things I’ve Learned About Being Pregnant

Lately, I have become obsessed with reading other “mommy blogs”. I have read all about pregnancy, delivery, post-baby, how-to’s, what-not-to-do’s, product reviews…everything! It’s great that people’s personal experience and advice is so readily available to us new Moms who don’t know what to expect. While I do not agree with every one of them, I definitely feel more prepared.

One trend I see throughout these blogs is “what I’ve learned while being pregnant” posts. Moms (or future Moms) have created many lists of “What no one tells you about being pregnant”, “What they loved/hated about being pregnant”, “What they discovered/learned during pregnancy”, etc. Because I’m not one to miss out on a bandwagon, I figure I’ll jump on and share my own lists.

Here it goes:

10 Things I Have Learned/Discovered/Been Surprised About/ Think You Should Know about Being Pregnant

  1. It has been awesome to my body…besides the whole gaining weight, skin-stretching stuff. My skin is the clearest it’s been since I was 12.  My hair is so thick, healthy and shiny. And, my nails are super long, strong and grow like wild fire. My boobs are bigger (obviously) and I feel pretty darn good most of the time. Not everyone is so lucky, and I assumed I’d be one of those pregnant women with horrible acne and skin-discoloration, but my God am I relieved to have the opposite!2.
  2. I do not mind weird pregnancy questions from anyone. Lots of people have told me how annoying it is to have so many people ask you things like “How much weight have you gained? Are you going to breastfeed? Are you happy? Do you want more kids? Blah blah blah”, but there has yet to be a question to bother me. In fact, I LOVE when people ask me anything about being pregnant. It’s all I’m thinking about anyways, so it’s nice to know that someone else is interested. Plus, pregnancy is a crazy miraculous experience that is hard to imagine if you’ve never been pregnant, so why not ask questions???
  3. Questions have been no problem, but I have been offended and surprised by some people’s comments. It is very surprising how many people have told me on some level or another that my life is basically over… It mostly makes me sad for them and whatever experience they had or are having. In case you are wondering, it’s not very polite to tell expecting parents that parenting is no fun. I get that it is not always fun and it’d definitely hard, but let’s try to keep things a little more positive.
  4. No strangers have touched my belly. I was told this would happen all the time. It has yet to happen.
  5. I am the most calm and level-headed I have possibly ever been. So, not only has pregnancy done wonders for my skin and hair, but also for my mind. No panic attacks since I was about 12 weeks…woohoo!
  6. A few pregnancy symptoms I did not know about until actually being pregnant? My gums and nose bleed all the time. My hips and tailbone ache a lot. Sitting up and getting out of the bed are oh-so difficult. My eyes are super dry and sometimes blurry. There’s lots of other strange things that happen, but I was prepared for the rest.
  7. People are often super nice and polite to you while pregnant. Most people will offer to carry things, help you up or down or give you their seat. 99% of the time I say “no thanks!” because I feel great or even prefer to stand, but the 1% of the time that I REALLY need to sit or need help, no one offers. I have learned to just ask during these times.
  8. I LOVE being pregnant and experiencing all of these crazy movements and changes. It really is the coolest thing I’ve ever done. However, I also miss my body, being able to move like a normal person and wear regular clothes. I’m sure I’ll miss being pregnant once it’s all said and done, but right now I’d like to be able to let Husband carry her for a little while.
  9. Feeling the baby move is WAY more exciting for me than for Husband. I wish he could feel what I feel, but he can’t and it’s just not as crazy cool to him as it is to me. It kind of sucks that he’ll never know what it’s like, but I’m pretty sure he considers himself lucky.
  10.  EVERY SINGLE PERSON gives you advice on being pregnant, delivering a baby and raising a child. Everyone has an opinion, idea, suggestion or comment and wants to be taken very seriously. My advice to you is keep in mind that everyone means well and wants to help. Your family and friends are so excited and love you and the baby so much, they just want to be a part of the experience. So soak it in, appreciate their help, write down the best advice, take the rest with a grain of salt and learn to nod and smile for that crazy relative who tells you that lying the baby down after it eats will make milk come out of its ears. They mean well.

Cheers!

What Boobies Are Made For

Our last free baby-having class at Babies R Us was good enough that we decided to take another and get a little more educated before our little girl arrives. This time we took “Breastfeeding 101”.  I am assuming that breastfeeding is something that will come pretty naturally, but it can’t hurt to learn about the benefits, the ups and downs and get some free advice.

The class was held in the back of the store with all the rockers, gliders and ottomans again, which is just perfect for a class full of pregnant people and their husbands. We got some free goodies, snacks and water again, which is always a plus. After, we found ourselves a comfy seat, opened our Cheese Nips and took a few selfies before class begun..

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Unfortunately, this teacher was not as great as our “Baby Basics” teacher. It was a lot like having a sub in high school… Papers were passed out, names were shared and we were told we going to play a game to learn cool facts about breastfeeding. Of course, it was not actually a game. We each read a card aloud that had a statement about breastfeeding. Then, we had to say whether we though it was truth or myth…that’s it. There was no winner or loser. I hate when teachers claim things are games that are not actually games… this only works with kids 7 and under. Trust me, I’ve used this technique on too many ages.

Anyhow…besides the boring, but sweet well-informed teacher, we did learn some stuff.  AND, it did encourage me even more to breastfeed when the time comes. Here are what I consider the most interesting or the strangest facts learned in “Breastfeeding 101”.

-You can freeze your milk for 6-12 months, or leave it out at room temperature for 4-6 hours.

-The class was taught by a doula and we learned that the word “doula” derives from the ancient Greek language originally meaning “slave”. Why this fact was shared… we do not know. However, I would now feel very disconcerted if I decided to hire a doula.

-Breastfeeding reduces your risk and your daughter’s risk of getting breast cancer as an adult

-It raises children’s IQ’s.

-It’s free!

-I can still drink 2-3 cups a coffee a day while breastfeeding. Hallelujah!

-It should not hurt…If it does you should go see your doctor.

-They eat 8-12 times a day…so basically breastfeeding is a full-time job.

-Apparently, many people believe that you are supposed to “rough up your nipples” with a washcloth before the baby comes. This is clearly a myth…one of which I have never heard.

-Breastfed babies get fewer ear infections, child lymphomas and diabetes…all those good immunities!

-Husbands’ should NEVER say, “You don’t have to do this” when the going gets tough.  They should just be supportive, encouraging and be prepared with iced lattes and weekly Sephora rewards.

-And this sounds silly, because it is, but I never thought about the fact that this is actually what our boobs are for. Sadly, our society has sexualized them and made us feel like feeding our kids is weird, gross, or inappropriate, but it is actually as natural as having kids in the first place.

There’s lots of other benefits and good reasons why we should breastfeed, but those are my favorite facts from class.

Do you agree? Disagree? Know any other cool facts? I’d love the hear em’!

30 weeks and growing
30 weeks and growing

Cheers!