Don’t Be So Sensitive!

May 25, 2012 at 9:25 am | Posted in Kids | 3 Comments
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When I found out I was having boys, I was thrilled. No prancing and nancing around in princess costumes and cluck-cluck shoes (as a child, this is what I called any shoe with a hard heel that made noise) for this family. And FAR fewer hormones and drama to deal with in adolesence. We were going to be a rough and tumble crew!

And when I found out I was having two Pisces (they’re not twins, but born within 3 weeks of each other date-wise, three years apart), I was even happier. Pisces are fun, social, sweet, and just crazy enough to be very entertaining. True to form, every Pisces I have ever known has been like this.

But I forgot how sensitive Pisces are!

My kids are so sensitive, they can hardly watch PBS! Just now, Michael came running to me from an episode of Thomas the Train Thomas the TRAIN!! – upset because “Sir Topham Hatt is going to yell at Thomas”! Now any of you parents who have ever watched Thomas the Train know that nothing scary happens, and no one actually gets yelled at. And yet, there are episodes on our DVDs that my kids refuse to watch – Toby goes into the “Whistling Woods”; Patrick the mixer goes over a (very low) cliff and lands in wet cement, splashing Thomas’s shiny blue paint; Percy gets caught in a snowstorm and strange-looking icicles form on his face – because they are “too scary”. Even my 6-year-old takes part in this sensitivity-fest!

Sometimes I think I need to toughen these boys up. Maybe I need to stage a viewing of Word Girl or The PowerPuffs (remember that one?). That just might be enough to put them right over the edge. Imagine if I put on Scooby Doo!

Perhaps they get it from my husband, who was bawling at the end of Pride and Prejudice the other night. (I actually love this about him.) And I’ll admit, I might be a tad sensitive myself, crying over Hallmark commercials and obviously staged scenes between The Real Housewives and their kids. But come on – Thomas the Train?? Oh, and Sesame Street is too scary for them, too. Weird things happen: Super Grover screams and falls down a lot, the Fairies make a roaring dinosaur out of macaroni, Big Bird – well, let’s just say Big Bird is weird and scary all on his own. The only part of Sesame Street they can both tolerate is Elmo’s World, which I believe is targeted at 18-month-olds.

What am I going to do with these two sweet fish?

I suppose being sensitive and caring is not a bad trait in a man. My husband is very much both, after all. And also very much a big, strong, brave man. Perhaps I need to turn this one over to him. Have him take them to a Monster Truck rally. Teach them to play football in the rain. Or maybe we’ll just start with riding their bikes without training wheels. Either way, they’re going to be awesome guys. I just hope they don’t cry in front of their teenage friends at re-runs of The Golden Girls.



Every Woman Loves A Baby

May 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Posted in Honey Pony, Horses | Leave a comment
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Please don’t ask me why I adopted this pony. I can’t explain it. After all, if you heard of a pony with chronic Lyme Disease, Cushing’s Disease, laminitis and any other of a number of lameness and health issues, wouldn’t you just have to have her? It’s just that I have known her for years, and she is SUCH a wonderful pony. So sweet and great with kids and, let’s face it, completely adorable. As my mother-in-law so wisely put it regarding puppies and ponies, “Every woman loves a baby!” She is so, so right. Just look at her. And since I have sooooooo much time on my hands between runs back and forth to both kids’ schools, 4,000 loads of laundry per week, hunting down “that red car with the yellow flames and black wheels. No, not THAT one!!!!”, and conducting endless dissertations on such important subject matter as why cats have tails and we don’t, well, I just HAD to HAVE her!

And so, enter Honey Pony, queen of cuteness, princess of problems. It’s been an interesting road trying to contain her chronic conditions, but it seems like we are finally getting the best of them. My wonderful barn manager, Linda, and I have been researching the management of Cushing’s horses, and since we share a philosophy that tends away from drugs and toward the all-natural, it’s definitely been a foray into uncharted territory.

Of course we had to start with diet. Cushing’s horses and ponies need to be on a low-carb diet. That’s right, you heard me. A low-carb diet. For a HORSE. You know, the ones who live on carbs? Well it, turns out this actually can be done. We found a great chopped hay product – Equi-Safe – that has nutritional pellets added and very low sugar content. She gets that plus a half a flake a day of the coarsest hay we can find, which we soak first to remove even more of the glucose.

Because of her dietary restrictions, Honey gets no grain and very little access to grass. If the grass gets too long in her small turn-out, we have to resort to a grazing muzzle which, even though it is bright pink, is the saddest thing EVER! That pony just stands there staring at us, bravely wearing her muzzle, and makes us all sob just looking at her! So we try to keep her on sand or very very grazed- down grass, just to preserve our sanity.

Needless-to-say, these types of horses require a lot of time and management. Did I mention how cute she is?? Once we got the forage part right, it was time to think about supplements. Apparently you can’t give Cushing’s ponies just ANY vitamin/mineral supplement. They have special low-carb needs! Again, we found a great product called D-Carb Balance. Vitamins and minerals, check. Next, we tried to address the chronic diarrhea these little darlings seem to have. As if I don’t have enough poopy butts to wipe at home, now I was cleaning my pony’s hind end at least once a week! Priobiotics helped, but in the long run, soaking her hay has done the most good.

Then we started to get a little crazy. Linda told me about a blue-green algae product she had used on her horses to clear up allergies, help with chronic Lyme Disease and also address Equine Metabolic Syndrome. It’s called spirulina, and it really does work miracles. There’s so much information on it out there I just can’t go into all of it here, but suffice it to say that sweet Honey-Pie is now getting 4 teaspoons per day and really thriving. I still have to monitor her closely and some days she looks a little off, but overall she seems to be glowing with good health. And miracle of all miracles, this year she shed out her winter coat – something she has not done in two years!

When I brought Honey home a year ago, she was skinny, dun-colored (her coat was once the color of honey), on Pergolide (a drug to treat Cushing’s), on Previcox (an NSAID), and was limping with every other step. Today, she is off both medications and getting the right hay, vitamins, spirulina, and MSM (to help with joint pain/inflammation and the uptake of the antioxidant glutathione). Her coat color is back, her dandruff is gone, her feet are never warm, and she’s got a lot more energy! And while she still does take the occasional lame step, we’ve certainly come a long way. I’ll be posting more if we decide to try additional supplements and therapies. And please, do not start sending all of your hard-luck cases to me. I am a sucker, but not THAT much of one. Or perhaps I am. Just don’t do it, it will put me over the edge.


It’s Not the Work

May 14, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Posted in Kids | 6 Comments
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It’s the whining. And the noises. The repetitive, ear-piercing, go-straight-through-your-skull-like-a-jackhammer noises that get to me.

Now, let me just take a moment to clarify a few things. Based on a number of my recent posts, it may seem that I actually can’t stand my children. In reality, I do like them. Ok, I love them. They are pretty cute and sweet and fun. But let’s face it, we can only take so many heart-tugging, tear-jerking, make-you-feel-so-lucky-to-have-your-kid-dog-husband-horse-family-universe type of entries. Although heartfelt and necessary, that kind of stuff just wears out its welcome after a while. So I’ve decided to focus mostly on the things that drive us Moms crazy because, really, it’s a lot more entertaining.

So on to the complaining and kvetching (sp? Jewish friends, help me here.)

As for being a Mom, I can handle the work – the cooking, the cleaning, the carrying-everyone’s-stuff. The endless driving and butt/nose/hand-wiping. Those things are ok. I like to keep moving anyway.

But the WHINING…..  And the fighting and the chaos! That’s the hard part. Nobody tells you about that. They say, “You’ll do more laundry and dishes than you ever dreamed of and you won’t have a speck of time for yourself.” True. But they don’t tell you about the weeping and wailing and animalistic noises. That part is a well-kept secret. Or maybe they’re all in some type of cult that actually encourages these types of behaviors. Setting their kids up to be future reality stars or something.

How do the mothers of gaggles of kids do it?? I mean, there must be constant whining in their houses. Someone must always have a problem that needs to be solved. Do they just tune it out? Do the other kids help? Do they have good earplugs? Or bad hearing?

Or is it just me? Am I too high-strung or overly sensitive? I must admit, I do like quiet. I’m constantly on the move, but mostly in the quiet. I don’t need the radio or TV on for ‘background noise’. The sound of the horses munching hay in the barn is quite enough for me.

So I guess the real question is: How do I get my kids to munch hay?

That’s all the complaining I have for today, folks. For all you Moms out there who thrive on the chaos, here’s a little something to hold you over until next time… ARRRRGGHHHHHHH!! MAMA MAMA MAMA MAMA!! HE HIT ME!!!! MY TOY IS BROKEN!! THE CAT ATE MY POM-POM!!! DADDY’S CD COLLECTION FELL OUT THE WINDOW!! WAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



May 9, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Posted in Kids | 5 Comments
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My 3-year-old can do a lot of things. He’s a pretty big boy. But one thing he really can’t do is be quiet. That boy just can NOT stop talking! And of course every sentence requires some type of response from me – an answer, an “oh my!”, a “Really, Michael?” always something!

I’m telling you, my mouth hurts from all this talking. But not Michael’s. If he is not talking to me, he’s talking to his brother. If he’s not talking to his brother, he’s talking to Daddy. If he’s not talking to Daddy, he’s talking to the cat. If he’s not talking to the cat, he’s talking to himself. Constantly. Incessantly. In a never-ending conversation-circle. Just take today’s gem for example:

“Where does ham come from, Mommy?”

“From a pig, Michael.”


“Because it’s pig meat.”

“Why Mommy?”

“Because that’s where ham comes from.”

“Do you have to kill the pig, Mommy?”

“Yes, Michael.”


“Because that’s how you get ham.”

“Oh. From a pig?”

“Yes, Michael.”

“Why, Mommy?”

So you can see why not only my mouth hurts but my brain hurts, too. Sometimes I have to say to him, “MICHAEL!!! JUST STOP TALKING FOR FIVE SECONDS, OK??!” And he stops for about one minute, then softly says, “Why, Mommy?” with this naughty little grin on his face as if he knew exactly what he was doing the whole time.

At this point, the only option for me to get any peace is to jump out of the moving car’s window. Did I mention that a large portion of this goes on in the car? And don’t recommend that I put some on some MUSIC to distract him – then it’s even worse! “Mommy, why are there ‘sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground’? Who does James Taylor miss, Mommy? Where did she go? Why does his guitar sound like that? How many hands does he have?” and on and on and on. Forget the music, it opens up a whole new can of “why” worms.

Maybe this whole thing is some kind of power-play on his part. The best way to constantly get and maintain his mother’s attention without actually being naughty. He’ll just keep talking in a never-ending logic-circle that sucks the other person in and won’t let them leave. But the joke’s on him in the long run. Because little girls do this, too, and as women we learn how to take this skill to the next level. We, also, can talk incessantly about nothing to the point of practically bringing a man to tears. Or at least to his knees.

So talk on, little Michael, while you have your chance. Someday some smart woman is going to get a hold of you and talk your socks off. You’ll be so transfixed by her that you won’t be able to walk away, and you’ll just have to find a way to survive the constant chatter so you can simply be close to her. Then she and your Mom will have a good laugh about the days when you wanted to know “HOW high is the sky and WHY is it blue and WHERE does it end?”

Oh, talk on, sweet Mike, talk on.


Bed, Bed, Bed

May 6, 2012 at 9:02 am | Posted in Kids | 4 Comments
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A word about sleeping and beds in our house…

First of all, why does my bed seem so much more appealing in the morning than at night? The sheets are softer, the covers are warmer, and it’s so easy to just re-drift off to sleep even after being woken up 3 or 4 times by the boys. Why is that? At night, there are so many things that interest me more than my bed, but in the morning, aaaahhhhh.

Of course, my children see this in the opposite light. They are perfectly happy to go to bed and quickly fall asleep, but they are up like clockwork by 5:45 every morning. It doesn’t matter if they go to bed at 7:00 p.m. or at 9:00p.m., they are still up and rarin’ to go no later than 6:00. So why can’t Mommy get to bed early, too?

It must be that I simply can’t “turn off”. My brain is always going a million miles a minute. I just want to finish one more task, read one more page, or think about tomorrow’s plans one more time before going to sleep. (Having two franchises of The Real Housewives going at once doesn’t help either. I always seem to be either catching up with a marathon or voraciously viewing the latest episode – and staying up WAY past my bedtime to do so.) I have even been known to get back up OUT of bed and go to my computer if an idea or inspiration hits. Don’t get me wrong – I’m certainly not one of those people who doesn’t need 8 hours/night. In fact, I probably need 9. But I never get it.

And then there’s my husband. He’s got the power. That man can turn it off in an instant. He literally turns off the light, lies down, and is snoring within seconds. What IS that? Is there anything going on inside that brain at all?? I know – I’m just jealous. I would like to be taught this trick, but you know, the whole “old dog” thing.

Lately, my kids have developed the funniest bedtime habit. They share a room – nice big comfy beds on opposite sides of a large room. Simple, right? Not in my house. First of all, when Michael came along, Brady decided that the baby made too much noise and he couldn’t fall asleep, so we got a little floor-level pull-out “couch bed” for Brady in the loft. Every night, he starts out there, and Matt later carries him to his bed. Ok, fine. Over time, this progressed to Michael and Brady actually talking to each other from loft to bedroom before falling asleep at night. Still, Brady did not want to go back into his own room to fall asleep.


Last week, Michael “heard something scary” in his room, and Brady, king-of-understanding-all-that-is-scary, invited Michael to join him in his couch bed. I came upstairs to find them snuggled under the covers together, giggling and looking at a Highlights magazine. Very cute, yes, but they need to get some sleep. We’ve tried to put the kibosh on this, but every night, Michael sneaks out of his bed and joins Brady in the couch bed! And they are actually learning to fall asleep together! Now, one would think that if Brady just WENT TO BED IN HIS OWN BED IN HIS OWN ROOM that they could then be together and no one would be scared or lonely. But that’s just too much to ask. Brady still refuses. And who am I to fight them? Nothing like a little brotherly love to get you through the night.

Some close friends of mine once had a bed they loved so much they called it “bed, bed, bed”. Apparently saying “bed” one time just didn’t capture the sleeping-on-air-fabulousness that this bed provided. As for me, if only my sheets could be pre-warmed before I get in them, and a personal assistant could take notes on all the things I’m thinking about and don’t want to forget for tomorrow, and a house staff would take care of all the things around the house that need to be done before I go to bed. Then I think I might, just might, be able to lie down early and get some sleep, too. But for now, I guess I’ll just keep dreaming about getting more.



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