Parenting lesson #35: We’re all hypocrites.

“Mom, where’s the whoop cream? I can’t find it!” rang out as the bathroom door swung open.

The voice in my head responded with, “Whyyyyyyy? Didn’t I JUST tell you I was going to use the bathroom and then come to the kitchen? You couldn’t wait another 30 seconds?”

But out of my mouth came, “Sweetie, it’s there, I’ll help you in just a minute.”

Hundreds of similar questions have rung out as my children have barged into the bathroom over the years. “I can’t find XYZ” is a top offense. So are interruptions about so-and-so not doing such-and-such, along with requests for screen time, food, candy and any other thing they think I might acquiesce to simply because I’m indisposed and want them to go away quickly.

This time, though, the real issue for me was not the interruption itself. Nor was it my impatient child. The real frustration in that moment was my befuddlement at why my son couldn’t see the “whoop cream.” It was in PLAIN SIGHT on the fridge shelf exactly where I had explained it would be.


Years ago, a friend of mine gave me a “pat the bunny” parody book called “pat the husband.” One of the pages details how the husband thinks there is a conspiracy to hide things from him. Then it instructs you to help him find the ketchup in the refrigerator, which is in plain view but also slightly hidden by the milk. I couldn’t help but wonder, “Is there more to this? Is there science to males not being able to see things that are clearly in front of them?”

The journalist in me took over and I was overcome by an insatiable need to find research that supported my theory. I wanted hard facts and was willing to go eight pages deep in Google search results to find what I knew had to be out there somewhere. My hypothesis: women can see things better than men can. If I had a nickel for every time I told a male in my household exactly where to find something, was told “It’s not there, I looked,” only to physically point out that it was indeed right where I said it would be, I’d … well, I’d probably have a dollar. Maybe even two.

My research validated my feelings rather quickly. It turns out that this has been studied, and *generally speaking* there is some evidence to back up that men can see movement at a distance better than women, while women can differentiate colors and items right in front of them better than men can.

Armed with my new evidence, I had every intention of sitting down and writing this blog post to prove my point, not necessarily to win, per se (which I love to do), but to help us all grow as parents who need to better understand that maybe our boys simply can’t see the things that are so obviously right in front of them.

A few hours after the “whoop cream” incident, it was I who couldn’t find something. I can’t even remember what it was because that’s what our memories do for us when we’re the ones in the wrong – they make our memories fuzzy. But what it was doesn’t matter much. I asked Zach to look for it for me because I was in a rush. And within seconds, he calmly said, “Mom, it’s right here.” And he pointed at it.

Right where I had already looked.

After a brief moment of us looking at each other and realizing what had just taken place, Zach laughed. I laughed. His ability to laugh with me instead of chastise me or point out the obvious was sheer beauty. But for me, there was another voice in my head that spoke gently. “This changes the blog post, doesn’t it?”

We are all hypocrites sometimes. My high horse slipped and I crashed to the ground, imagining myself covered in sweet, fluffy “whoop cream.” And it is in this place where you learn there is possibly nothing more humbling in life than parenting.

Parenting lesson #14: The embarrassing moments are often teaching moments

Eliza pooped in a public pool on Friday.  Every now and again she is way too interested in what she’s doing to take the two-minute break to do her business.  Unfortunately for me, she is also exploring whether she has the freedom to lie.  Unfortunately for all of us (some of her friends and some poor strangers), her fibbing to get out of taking a potty break resulted in the entire pool being evacuated.

She went to the bathroom before we got in the pool and she said she did not need to poop.  Once in the pool, I asked her a few times if she needed to go when she seemed to be doing her turtle head dance.  Fast forward and, well, you know what happened.  So instead of further embarrassing her and me, I will share what I have learned in the hopes I can save you from the same fate:

1.  I will no longer refer to pooping as “dropping the kids off at the pool.”  A college suite mate used to say this and it stuck.  I’m pretty sure I’ve used the expression in front of Eliza.  Never will I confuse her again about where poop is supposed to go.

2.  If I see anything remotely like her poopy dance while she’s doing something fun, I will get her and take her to the bathroom.  This is going to be a pain in the rear end for me, especially because her poopy dance resembles a lot of other things she does, like plain old dancing.  But I will not ask her if she needs to go anymore, as I already know she will tell me “no” regardless of her inclination.

3.  I will make a point to have her use the bathroom before fun things.  Yes, I did this and the incident happened anyway, but it has prevented accidents on other occasions.

As we are preparing to potty train Zach, I’m sure this is just the beginning of what will be many fond poop memories (no ifs, ands or butts about it).

Parenting lesson #32: You can teach little children honesty before you can teach them tact

Truth is paramount.  I keep telling Eliza and Zach how important it is to tell the truth, mostly so Greg and I can help them, protect them, and teach them.  I’m learning that it would be nice if you could teach children to be honest while at the same time tactful.  Whereas honesty is pretty black and white to a child, (“Mommy, that lady right there is really fat”), tact, I’m finding out, is going to take longer to teach.  (Sometimes people don’t ever get it right.)  We have to be able to teach what facts and information are important to divulge.  (Okay, maybe even I haven’t figured this one out yet.)  And sometimes truth worked out in the logic of a 3-year-old’s mind is simply hilarious.  I think part of the reason watching children between the ages of 2 and 4 is so entertaining is because, as my mom has always said, “they say the darnedest things.”

A few weeks ago we were staying with some friends, and I introduced the kids to “The Banana Song” by singing everyone’s name in the car to the tune.  Both kids loved it.  Eliza said she wanted to sing it, but she just couldn’t do it.  Then she said, “Maybe I can sing it when I’m older, when I have hair in my hiney.”  I then proceeded (as I felt compelled) to explain Eliza’s understanding that you get hair “down there” when you’re grown up.  (See, perhaps my children are doomed as far as learning what to divulge and what to keep quiet.)

Then we were in Florida with family, and while we were all together, we made a Thanksgiving meal and celebrated the holiday early.  My older brother, John Henry, is known for being a bit verbose when telling stories.  As he had just returned from a hunting trip, he wanted to share some tales.  He was in the middle of telling a story about how this deer and cat faced off, providing specific, colorful explanations of every move each animal made, when Eliza said, “Excuse me Uncle Henry, can you just tell me what happens in the end?”  We all burst into laughing fits.

In this stage, we are all really getting to enjoy watching the wheels in the kids’ minds turn as they think through things and then verbalize them (in Zach’s case, through babbles, a handful of words and facial expressions).  As I’ve said before, I have three different notebooks around the house where I try to remember to jot down the funny things they say so I have a document of them.  As long as you write things down somewhere, you’ll be able to remember them.  Then you can keep a shoebox for each child so you at least keep the memory.  We also set up e-mail addresses when our kids were born, and we send them e-mails to document milestones, write them love letters and memorialize the great moments.  Because the truth, especially if it’s funny (or blackmail material down the road), is worth remembering.

Parenting lesson #27: the extent to which things go wrong is directly proportional to how unrealistic your expectations are

On the days when everything has to go right for your plans to work out, inevitably just about everything will go wrong.  And if I really think it through, most of the time it’s my fault for expecting too much of myself and my kids.

Yesterday, my plan for the day was to get up, run, shower, feed the kids and get ready, go to our 10 a.m. music class, then, assuming Zach was hanging in there, head to Chuck-e-Cheese’s to meet up with a friend, get home for naps and build my lasagna for dinner, then once they woke up, head to the mall to hit up Old Navy’s sale with my Groupon and Gymboree with my Gymbucks, and finally go to the grocery store to pick up essentials and dessert fruit before hosting our friend and her son for dinner.  (Lovely, Zach just spilled a bottle of hot pink nail polish on the floor.)

The day, of course, did not get off on the right foot because Zach had a nightmare and spent two-and-a-half hours awake before finally falling to sleep again.  Instead of sleeping in, he woke up ready for the day at 6:15 a.m.  I knew he would need a morning nap or we’d never make it.  So after the morning eat and get dressed routine, I put Zach to bed at 8:30 with my fingers crossed that he would fall asleep.  At 8:45 he was still making all kinds of noise, so I checked on him and discovered he had taken his large morning poop.  Great, now he could sleep.  Well, he didn’t fall asleep until 9:15.

At 9:45, I made the decision to wake him up and go to music class anyway.  As a caveat, the only way to explain this is to say I am my father’s daughter.  When I was a kid and McDonald’s had its 29-cent hamburgers and 39-cent cheeseburgers for a limited time and a 10 burger limit per person, my family would pile in our minivan, my mom would go through the drive thru, and my dad, older brother and I would each get in a separate line inside.  We would head home with 40 hamburgers and cheeseburgers to freeze.

So, back to my music class … this class is $25 for the two of them and 45-minutes long, and because I don’t like wasting money, I couldn’t imagine skipping it so little man could make up his missed nighttime sleep.

Off we went.  Of course, Zach couldn’t really be peeled off of me because he was a hot mess.  When I did put him down, he proceeded to throw a temper tantrum that consisted of lying face down on the dirty tile floor, pounding his fists on the ground and kicking his feet.  I left him there, but noticed he had brown stains on the back of his shorts.  I checked him and realized his diaper was leaking.  Let me begin by saying this was a complete mystery to me, seeing as he had already taken a huge dump, and he hadn’t leaked out of his diaper in this way since he was at best 3-months-old.  So of course you understand why I did not have spare clothes.  (When you’re prepared, you never need them.)  And my diapers and wipes were in the car.  I agonized for 10 minutes over what to do, whether to just hold him and wait it out until the end of class, or risk leaving Eliza inside alone and run to the car.  I finally decided to head to the car as the leakage escalated, so I indicated my situation to a friend so she could keep an eye on Eliza and left to decontaminate Zach.

While cleaning up the blowout, I noticed a man sitting in his car in the parking lot, talking on the phone.  It seemed strange.  So when I decided to leave my purse in the car to avoid having to carry it and my koala baby, I took my wallet out and hid it in the center console.  I went back into the class with Zach in only a diaper and t-shirt.  I’m generally beyond caring about judging, especially on this day in this moment.

We finished up class and it was 11:15 by the time we left.  I decided to take a detour to the mall then, because it was only a few blocks away and I figured I could find some pants for Zach in the same amount of time it would take to go home and get him fresh ones before heading to Chuck-e-Cheese’s.  So off we went.  For the 10 minutes we were in Old Navy shopping, Zach was a mess.  He didn’t want to stay in the stroller after I put some jeans on him to make sure they fit, and I figured at this point that he was not only tired, but also hungry as well.  So I was in a hurry.  I got to the checkout line, ready to get the heck out of there.  Everyone was staring at me, in part because they had to scan pants that Zach was wearing as I explained that he came in the store without any, and in part because he and Eliza were running around playing with balls.

I stuck my hand in my purse and did my usual wallet search, only to realize it was not there.  Instantly, my memory flashed back to the parking lot where I moved it to the center console to hide it.  My wallet was a 5-minute walk and elevator ride away in the car.  If you are a fan of the movie, “A Christmas Story,” that moment was sort of like when Ralphie drops his pan of  lug nuts while helping his dad change their flat tire.  “Ohhhhhh … fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuddddddgggggeeee.”

I smiled at the clerk, asked if he could hold my stuff, and took screaming Zach (in stolen pants, essentially) and questioning Eliza (“Mommy, where we going?  Where are my pants and fancy shoes?”) back to the car, realizing it was noon and there was really no way we were going to make it to Chuck-e-Cheese’s.  I finally made it back to Old Navy to pay for the stolen pants Zach and the few other things I wanted to buy.  I headed, defeated, to the food court and fed them.  They were actually a little better after eating, so I spent my Gymbucks (while Zach continued to fuss) and then booked it the heck out of the mall to get them home for much-needed naps.

The good news is that Zach didn’t fight his nap this time and Eliza wanted me to cuddle her.  I lay there thinking about the lasagna I needed to prep, but the thought drifted off as I succumbed to sleep.  An hour later I woke with Eliza in my arms and moved to my own bed, where I slept another hour until Zach woke me.

In the end, my friend came over early and brought what I needed to complete the lasagna.  I’m just out of some staple foods and we missed Chuck-e-Cheese’s.  But looking back, I know I had doomed myself from the start.  With the kids in tow, errands take exponentially more time with potty and diapering breaks, and pauses to explain why we’re not buying the Hello Kitty lunchbox at the checkout line.  And kids also don’t need seven activities planned to fill up their days.  Music class and Chuck-e-Cheese’s in one morning is a lot to ask of them.  Parenthood teaches you flexibility, because plans can only be so set when these little people are so needy.  And I also learned to be sure I always have spare clothes for both kids in the car.

Today I’m taking it much easier and I have only one social item on the agenda.  And it’s already a better day, as – knock on wood – the nail polish spill is the only mishap so far.

Becoming a mom can make you ugly – really

I was just jarred by a memory that I had long forgotten, probably because the part of my brain that controls self-esteem made me forget it.

In the days and weeks after having a baby, you really can look and feel like crap.  You still look pregnant, even though the baby and all that junk that comes with it (holler if you looked at your placenta and wish you hadn’t) are out.  And you can’t really find clean clothes and remember to brush your teeth, let alone put on makeup.

Eliza was maybe two-months-old, and I had a rare moment to get out by myself and feel like a person, so of course, Greg whisked me away on a romantic date, the kind you see in diamond commercials.  Okay, no really, I went to the grocery store alone.  I started my journey through the aisles, basking in the ability to focus on … whatever the heck I wanted.  Early on, I passed a woman who smiled gently at me, making eye contact, and I didn’t think anything of it.  Then I passed her again somewhere in the middle of the store and she did the same thing again.  It made me wonder if I knew her, and I tried, in my sleep-deprived, round-the-clock nursing and pumping state to conjure up a memory of this person because I was sure my brain was misfiring.  And finally, in the freezer section, it happened a third time.  But this time, she approached me.

Now, let me set the stage by saying I am pretty sure I had changed out of pajamas, grabbed a purse instead of a diaper bag and showered that day.  In my mind, I was not someone in need of a “What Not To Wear” intervention.  So this woman said very gently and sweetly, “May I give you one of my business cards?”

I am being totally honest when I say my first thought was, “This woman thinks I look good and wants me to model for her.”  Remember, I’ve already mentioned I was beyond sleep-deprived, and, of course, on the hormonal roller coaster that is life with a newborn.  I’m sure that visions of grandeur are par for the course, perhaps as a defense mechanism.

So I said, “Sure.”  And she handed me her card, smiled really big, and I walked away.  And then I looked at the card.  She was a Mary Kay consultant.  This woman thought I needed makeup.  She didn’t think I looked good.  She thought I looked like crap.

I was devastated, defeated and disappointed.  This woman had NO IDEA what I had been through, having a child get stuck all up in my junk for 30 hours before flying out like a cannon ball on the third suction attempt and ripping what was two holes into one big gaping mess.  My moment that was making me feel like an individual who had freedom to do normal things like go to the grocery store (on a Saturday night) was stolen from me by a woman who – seriously – was not attractive herself and had on way too much makeup!  (Take THAT!)

Fast forward to now, when thinking about this upcoming weekend brought back the memory.  A friend just started a Mary Kay business and she’s going to “fix me up” on Saturday.  And I’m here to tell you that if you’re in the ugly phase after having a baby, please know that all mothers have been there and it does go away.  I’m not offended by getting made up by a Mary Kay consultant now because I’m in a totally different place.  I can safely say that my body, my brain, and my life seem so much more like my own again.  It just takes a little (or in some cases, a lot of) time.

And of course, having had several good dates with my husband since then has made a difference, even if they didn’t include receiving diamonds.

Sometimes grace is all you’ve got

Today, simply put, is “one of those days.”  And it’s only 1:23 in the afternoon right now.

Last night I wasn’t tired when I went to bed, so I allowed myself to go to sleep late.  I said to Greg, “Gosh, I hope Zach doesn’t get up at 5:30 again like this morning.”  I prayed, wanting to have a good attitude, asking God that regardless of when I would be woken up, that I would be the mom He wants me to be.  Of course, I also requested that his will would coincide with mine, meaning an appropriate wake-up time would be around 7 a.m.  I asked God to give me the strength to love Greg and our kids the way He wants me to love them.  (This is a consistent prayer of mine.)

Then God, or Zach, or both of them, woke me up at 5:07 this morning.  It’s only mid-day, and I’ve already been working more than eight hours.  When my day starts like this, it’s so easy for the runaway train of negativity to take over my thoughts.  Exhaustion for me leads to impatience, lashing out, and a slew of other not-so-beautiful traits.

The day has not presented itself with more challenges than any normal day would with a 27-month-old know-it-all toddler and a 10-month-old curious and fast-moving baby.  But every tug on my pants, temper tantrum and trip over the dog is just that much more difficult to suck down with a smile than usual.

Speaking of the dog, she really has a barking issue.  When anyone comes near the door, she sometimes barks so forcefully that it shoots a poop nugget out of her butt.  I’m not kidding.  We’ve seen it happen.  Today during lunch, a UPS guy dropped off a package and Abbey went crazy as usual.  I was finally enjoying a few bites of my food when I thought I smelled poop.  I looked behind me and Abbey was dragging her butt on the ground.  Apparently two poop nuggets strung together by – something (hair?) – had shot out from the attempted delivery man assault, but not all the way.  This was the capstone to my already “crappy” morning.  I shouted at her to get outside and then Clorox wiped the floor that had just been mopped an hour earlier.

And now, looking back, while God is giving me a respite while the kids nap, I am thankful for the peace and quiet.  And I am laughing at how ridiculous it is that my dog does that.  Right now I can pick up my Bible and spend some time reading.  But before I do that, I have to admit I’m a bit sad, disappointed in myself for my lack of self-control in the tough moments.  I wish I were more capable of handling every situation with poise.  I wish that every time I prayed for peace, joy, patience and restraint that I would have them.

When I feel like a bad mom for blowing up or losing it, I have to remember that God not only covers a multitude of sins, but in the words of Pastor Bob Coy, He covers a multitude of scruples.  I am so thankful for the grace He gives me, and the grace my kids do, too.  I am praying I can be as gracious to them this afternoon.

So Lord, please bless me in this short time I have.  I want to spend time with you and I want to take a nap.  But it’s already 1:47.  Please let them both sleep until at least 3 p.m.  But if not, help me to be okay with whenever I am back on duty.  And help me to have a better attitude this afternoon than I did this morning.  Amen.

10 physical feats I didn’t know I was capable of until I became a mom.

1.  Natural child-birth. It turns out that if your baby takes fewer than two hours to come out, it’s really not that bad because you don’t have any time to think about the pain (or get the anesthesiologist).

2.  Carrying the equivalent of a 40 pound bag of dog food up and down stairs multiple times a day. Eliza weighs 25 pounds, Zach weighs 18, and yes, I carry them at the same time despite how dangerous it seems every time I do it.

3.  Tuning out sounds while awake. I often don’t hear Eliza the first 14 times she calls my name, but the 15th often reaches my inner ear.

4.  Hearing everything when trying to sleep. Conversely, I didn’t know I could sleep so lightly that my child’s cough, sneeze, or even sigh wakes me up.

5.  Skipping meals cluelessly.  Yes, I’ve skipped meals before, but normally it’s because I think about eating and just can’t manage to pull myself away from an activity.  Until I had kids, I never skipped meals without knowing it.

6.  Sleep deprivation. I had no idea I could function on the equivalent of 5 or 6 non-consecutive hours of sleep a day for weeks and even months on end.  The Army has conducted multiple sleep studies, and has found that we shouldn’t go more than three straight weeks on five hours a night without expecting a loss of brain function.  Now I know why I feel so dumb and forgetful.

7.  Pinching off diarrhea to finish at a later time.  That’s all I’m going to say about that.

8.  Going five days without washing my hair. In my defense, Greg was out-of-town and I had been to the salon, so it was “styled” that whole time.  I know people who have completed outward bound or hiked the Appalachian Trail have probably done this, but that doesn’t count because that’s outside of living in “society.”

9.  Cooking, holding a baby, talking on the phone, and watching a toddler all at once. Becoming a mom has truly changed my definition of multi-tasking.

10.  Pumping hundreds of hours and in random places. I’m not only a member of the mile-high pumping club, but I’ve pumped countless times in the car (sometimes while in motion, other times in parking lots).  I’ve pumped in the bathrooms at wedding receptions, ski resorts, and even a black tie award event for my husband.

I’m curious to know what you have done that’s tested your physical abilities since becoming a mom.

My little know-it-all

There is so much truth in sayings like “she’s just a chip off the old block.”  Eliza’s two favorite things to say right now are, “I can do it” and “I know.”  (Right now my mom is already keeled over in hysterics because I’m pretty sure these were the first two phrases out of my mouth.)

For example, these are normal conversations we have on a daily basis.  (In fact, these all happened this morning.)

Me: “Eliza, would you like me to help you strap yourself in?”  Eliza: “No I can do it.”

Me: “You are just TOO cute.”  Eliza: “I know.”

Me: “Let’s put on your shoes.”  Eliza: “I can DO IT!”

Me: “You look so fancy with your sunglasses on.”  Eliza: “I know.”

Even though I don’t remember saying these things to my parents (perhaps in part because I was too young to have a recollection of it, and perhaps a little from what I will call “protective mental blockage”), they have told me stories about me acting the exact same way when I was a little girl.

They have also assured me throughout my life that they prayed God would give me a daughter just — like — me.  (Does EVERY parent say this?)  It appears they got their wish.  What I’m wondering is if that is so bad.  Am I best equipped to deal with a know-it-all because I myself am one?  (For example, this weekend I went to dinner with some girlfriends and the restaurant made the mistake of putting white paper over the tablecloth, inviting us to display our creativity.  What I decided to do was play tic-tac-toe, among other things.  I told my friend, Irene, after starting the first game and winning, “If you start in tic-tac-toe and lose, there’s something wrong with you.  Okay, you start this game.”)

What if our kids came out nothing like either parent?  Wouldn’t that be harder?

I imagine from knowing both of my parents’ personalities that they BOTH were guilty of saying “I know” and “I can do it” to my grandparents.  And they all survived.  So cheers to the hereditary cycle.  My “apple of my eye” certainly didn’t fall far from the tree.

Revel in the little moments before they’re gone

How we wake up in the mornings often has a ripple effect on the rest of our days.  When I am woken up by my “alarm clock” (which is either Zach crying or Eliza shouting “Mommy COME!”), I’m often resentful that I don’t get to decide for myself when I’m done sleeping.

I have decided to start praying a short yet ample prayer as I hurl off the sheets and walk (or stomp) into the room from where the noise emanates.  It goes as follows: “Lord, help me to love my kids today the way you want me to love them.”  If I mean it, it changes my whole outlook.

A few mornings ago I fetched Eliza and Zach and brought them, I’ll admit a bit begrudgingly, into our room as usual.  As Eliza had boundless energy and all I wanted to do was lie there a little longer, I proposed we play her new favorite game.  I said, “Eliza, why don’t we play hide and seek?  You go hide.”  I heard her little feet lead her into her room where she ALWAYS hides between her crib and the wall, and as I started counting, we heard her count along, “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven eight, nine, ten.  OKAY, COME FIND ME!!!”  I looked at Greg and we both giggled about how she doesn’t quite have the rules of the game down.  And I knew in that moment that some day I would miss it.  There are so many of these moments every day that God gives us, and they are little jewels.

It’s like sifting for gold.  On family vacations growing up, we took a lot of road trip stops to sift.  You get your little bucket of dirt and you carefully sieve it through the running water, bit by bit.  You have to go through a whole lot of mud and muck to find the specks of gold.  But boy is it rewarding when you get the good stuff.  And the sifting itself is part of the joy.

Chuck Swindoll has said, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”  I think he’s onto something.  So tomorrow morning, I’m not sure which one of them will wake me up, but I’m going to pray my new prayer, and be abundantly thankful for the blessing of them.  I’ll admit it will be easier if neither of them wakes me between now and then.  (Old habits do die hard.)

Baby and toddler-proofing your kitchen

A few months ago I was nursing Zach on the couch, in the middle of a phone call, when Eliza escaped the room and returned moments later with cracked eggshells in both hands that she had fished out of the trash.  And if you’ve read the “My Little Mimic” post, you know she’s pretty good at breaking glasses.

Every mom probably has stories like the ones above.  The question is not whether you will deal with incidents like them, but how often.  I believe the “how often” is directly proportional to the amount of “learning freedom” you want to give your child.  So, you might find it hard to believe, but I STILL have not put a lock on the cabinet under the sink where the trash can is located.  I want Eliza (and Zach, eventually) to have access to it so she can be helpful and learn to clean up after herself.

With that in mind, here is what I’ve done to our kitchen to baby and toddler proof it:

1) We have a lock on the silverware drawer and Greg has installed magnetic locks on two lower cabinets: the one next to the trash where some cleaning supplies are kept, and the one that holds the most stuff.  I have not locked up my pots and pans or measuring cups or even the drawer with my grater in it.  When she used to reach for the grater, I taught her it is sharp by gently rubbing her fingers against it.  She has stopped playing with it.

2) Growing up, I broke way too many of my mom’s plates and cups (and thus started way too many arguments and fights) to want to have my children frustrate me in the same way.  So I have replaced our every day plates and cups with good quality plastic ones.  I searched long and hard for both, and I can highly recommend Bentley extremeware plates and bowls ( because they are dishwasher safe on the bottom AND microwave safe, and the Williams-Sonoma DuraClear glassware (

3) When we renovated our kitchen three years ago, we bought new appliances that include locks on the cooktop and oven.

That’s it (for now – I’m sure a refrigerator lock and a pantry cabinet lock are in my future).  I have heard friends say they put locks on all their lower kitchen cabinets except the one that holds tupperware so their kids can play with it.  I think that’s a great idea if you want to better control what your children can access in the kitchen.  But I must say, it is really nice to be able to hand Eliza some trash, ask her to throw it in the garbage, and watch her little silhouette strut away, hear the cabinet door open, the swish of the trash hitting the bag, and the door closing.  And only rarely does she fish out something she finds interesting.  It’s worth it to me.

Do you have any safety suggestions for the kitchen?