It’s like the Bible…. except you use it more.

A long, long time ago, around the turn of the century, my now-husband proposed. It was wonderful, we were excited about getting married, yada yada yada. Then we realized we didn’t know how to plan a wedding.

So what did I do? Since I am a giant dork, I trotted off to the bookstore. It was there that I picked up the first in a series of books that would help me in my quest to pretend to be an adult. The magic book? “Bridal Bargains” by Denise and Alan Fields. Not only did this handy book help me save money, as the title indicates, but it told me what was important when choosing venues and vendors and all sorts of fabulous things.

Fast forward a few years to when I saw two lines on the ol’ pregnancy test. I, of course, didn’t know the first thing about parenting, so what did I do? Headed to the bookstore, of course. I told you I was a dork. Imagine my glee when I discovered that the Fields had written another book, this one titled “Baby Bargains.” Their product reviews and advice on what is needed (car seat) and what is not (wipe warmer) were invaluable to me. The best part? The night I sat with “Baby Bargains” on my lap and Amazon user reviews on my computer screen for three hours crying because I could not figure out which of the 924 strollers to purchase, I finally emailed the Fields through their website, desperate for help. Sure enough, they quickly emailed me back and said “Buy this one.” Ok, that’s paraphrasing, but you get the idea. Since then I’ve emailed them more than once and they’ve always sent a very prompt and helpful response.

Then along comes Kate… born without an instruction manual tied to her arm. Good thing Denise Fields paired up with pediatrician Dr. Ari Brown to write “Baby 411.” Everything you need to know about babies in paragraphs short enough for new mothers who, if they are like I was, have the attention span of a gnat. When to call the doctor, how to swaddle your baby tighter than a burrito, getting the baby to sleep – this book has it all. Jenny and I both give “Baby 411” as a gift at every baby shower we attend. I often inscribe it with “This book is the only reason Kate lived to be a year old. Enjoy.”

An avid fan of these books (in case you couldn’t tell), I waited with bated breath for “Toddler Bargains” and “Toddler 411” to come out. They didn’t disappoint. I still refer to both of these frequently. Kate got sick once when we were on vacation, so I immediately called Jenny and had her read me what “Toddler 411” had to say about fevers. Now I don’t leave home without it.

If you don’t have the complete set, click here to buy one of each. Seriously. Do no pass go, do not collect $200. Buy them now.

I just hope that they are busy working on “School Kid 411” and “Teenager 411” as we speak.

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Playing “Peek-a-Boob” at the Poshest Spot in Town

I’m doing a lot of things differently with my second child than I did with my first. One of those things is breastfeeding in public. I have pretty much decided that I am DONE nursing a baby while balancing on a restaurant toilet seat. So I have bravely nursed Sophia in a variety of public places, being careful not to show my goods to the world. However, now that she is a tall, chubby, and very grabby seven-month-old, nursing in public has become far more complicated.

Today I had to nurse Sophia at a very public, very posh spot. A spot I probably am not even classy enough to frequent, but hey, I can dream.

This particular location was outside the Panera Bread at an upscale outdoor mall here in our area. I can’t afford to shop in most of the stores and their target demographic probably thinks I’m “quaint,” but I like it there because it’s a beautiful space and perfect for a stroll with the kids. They also have a fabulous, ginormous bookstore with a train table that Joshua loves. But I digress.

Yesterday I met a friend and her son there so the boys could play and we could catch up. We stopped at the Panera on the way out to bribe Joshua with a cookie so my friend and I could get in some more “mom talk.” I was trying to hold Sophia off, but she was tired and hungry and I had to give in and nurse her – right there on a metal patio chair at the outdoor seating at Panera, which just happens to be at the very front of this mall. I was sitting about ten feet from the edge of the parking lot, and about three feet from the road everyone drives in on when they’re circling for a space. AND I brought the WORST blanket one can use for nursing – it’s all satin on one side and therefore very slippery and hard to keep on myself even when Baby So’s not pulling at it. Add to this that she was super fussy and kicking and crying, and we have a possible peek-a-boob situation. If my friend hadn’t been there, I might’ve been in big trouble! Sophie was so upset that my friend had to help me get situated so I wouldn’t flash all the Beemers & Mercedes that were slowly cruising by in search of that one elite parking spot that would show us riff-raff who was boss. She also had to hold the blanket on for me a couple of different times when it got slippy-slidey.

The point is, it took me and a friend (a very close friend, obviously) to protect the innocent eyes of mall patrons and get my daughter fed. But, we did it! And I didn’t even have to sequester myself on the Panera potty. Yes! Score one for Mommy!

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Numero Uno

For the past couple of weeks, my three-year-old, Joshua, has been practicing making the numbers two and three with his fingers. So when you ask him how old he is, he proudly displays three fingers. This morning, we were in the bathroom and I was brushing my hair (after my shower, which I did not get until almost noon, thank you very much) with my back to Joshua. He said, “Hey Mommy, look!” I turned around to see my beautiful son giving me the bird, his middle finger raised proudly in the air. “I made a one!” he announced with glee.

What could I do? He was so proud of himself! I just grinned really big and said, “Good job buddy!” Now if he does it in public, then we’ll have to talk!

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