Calamity Cathy

Oh, what a weekend of adventures I had.

Saturday, I took the kids to Willow Springs Water Park. Had I known this little jaunt would result in injury, I might have reconsidered. But given the powerful effect of my children’s whining pleas, I’m sure we would have ended up there at some point this summer.

Happy children!

Don’t get me wrong. We had a blast. Of course, “having a blast” involved me piggybacking the E-man from one play area to another (he’s still working on endurance swimming) and several rides down the slide.

Oh, yes. The slide. This is where my troubles began.

Here are a few photos of people on the slide from the Willow Springs website:

No hands!

These sliders are brave. Why? Because the more people, the more speed.


At first, I sent the children trotting up the hill alone with their mats. But each time they popped into the little pool at my feet, happy and laughing, I flashed back to my days at Shlitterbahn, remembering my former prowess as a waterpark slider.

This, my friends, is when my fate was, proverbially, sealed.

I grabbed a mat, and, for the rest of the afternoon, careened down the slide with my children, congratulating myself for my maternal hipness.

If only I hadn’t insisted on “one more time.”

For it was then that things went terribly awry.

Somehow, an unexpected swish of water managed to turn my mat around, and I went from sitting cross-legged and facing forward to hurtling backwards down the slide flat on my back.

Desperate to turn myself around before reaching the bottom, I employed a burst of super-human strength to stop and turn myself around using only my left foot.

I’m convinced it was all of my self-congratulating that determined how this would all end.

By Saturday evening, I was feeling a “twinge” in my lower back.

By Saturday night, I was contorted and frozen after bending up to pick up the E-man’s socks.

Sunday morning, I hobbled around, clutching my back like a little old lady.

Still, somehow, I planned on heading to the gym for Zumba, reasoning that I could “work out the kinks.”

Then, on my way to the shower, I bent to pick up more dirty clothes and veered into the door frame.

Hubs was at a “Cousin Reunion” in Louisiana, unaware of the fact that I had rendered myself a cripple.

So I texted him: I am all kinds of sexy. Hurry home!

By Monday morning, my pinky toe was swollen and purple.


Let this be a lesson:

Once you hit 40, it’s paramount to understand that hipness can be achieved only in small doses.

In other words — that “one last slide!” — well, it’s likely to be your undoing.


The boob wars

Today, Yavonda has opened a discussion on breastfeeding over on her blog, Baby and the Beasts.

Skip over there for a moment and read the recent opinion pieces Yavonda shares.

Back now? OK.

So at the end of her post, Yavonda asks:

Has our society placed too much of an emphasis on breast-feeding? Or is it a reasonable response to the widespread use of formula in previous generations? Are the 6-12 month targets realistic or not?

What do you think? Did you breast-feed, use formula, or a combination of the two?

My opinion?

For several decades, American women veered away from breastfeeding. I blame that gap for turning what used to be a perfectly normal, maternal experience into something foreign and “scary.”

The fact that we now feel compelled to TAKE CLASSES for something that our bodies are equipped to do says a lot.

Couple that with all the “breast is best” propaganda and the nagging and the judging— and, well, that only ramps up the fear factor.

But there’s more.

Now we also judge women on how long they nurse.

On the one hand, you’re told to do it for at least a year.

On the other, people judge you if you’re still breastfeeding when your little one starts walking.

Women in other places — Europe, for example — don’t worry about all this crap. They just nurse their kids.

(For the record, I was still breastfeeding my two when they started toddling. In fact, Tootie would walk over and asked to “nur-nur.” So enough with all the judgey commentary. Nursing is about providing nutrition and comfort. End of story.)


All this societal pressure has resulted in so much analysis and fretting among nursing moms — Am I producing enough milk? Is the baby getting enough? Then why is he still fussing? Is my baby latched on correctly? Omg I will NEVER get the hang of this. — that many simply give up.

Or they spend the entirety of their nursing experience feeling terrible about themselves.

(Now pumping? That’s a whole other issue, one that involves a nursing mother’s work environment and bosses. For too many mothers, finding a time and place to pump are very real problems. It’s damned difficult, to be honest.)

I nursed my first child for 16 or 17 months. She never had a drop of formula. Why? Because I’d had an emergency C-section. And because of that, I believed that since my body had “failed” my baby during labor, I would have to make up for it by being a stellar, awesome, superstar nursing mother.. In other words, I breastfed exclusively for a year and a half out of a misplaced sense of guilt.

My second baby arrived via a VBAC. This time, I swore not to make breastfeeding such a do-or-die experience. I nursed the E-man when we were together and I pumped at work. BUT — I always sent a bottle or two of formula to the daycare as a backup. That took away so much of the stress and pressure, knowing that if I missed a pumping session, or just didn’t obtain as much milk on a given day, my baby would still have plenty to drink.

As a result, my second go-round was what I wanted it to be. I nursed the E-man for a year exactly.

The thing is, there’s a lot of talk about the logistics of nursing — the latch, the position, the let-down, etc.. But there’s very little focus on the bonding it nurtures between mom and baby. The human touch is powerful. It comforts. It heals. It fosters empathy. Nursing is perhaps the strongest physical connection between a mother and her child.

So why are we, as a society, set on making it something miserable?

The E-man’s favorite place to sleep after nursing. I always say my breasts were his very first security blanket(s).

Breastfeeding, when you think about it, is an amazing thing. I found it absolutely incredible that even after pregnancy, my body was still capable of sustaining a human life.

In conclusion, and this is something I learned from having a baby who was 5 pounds, 2 ounces when we were discharged from the hospital: Your baby is not going to starve.

If you’re having trouble nursing, there are people to help you. There is formula. There are doctors who will tell you if your infant isn’t gaining enough weight.

The best advice I can offer — whether you choose to nurse or use formula —is to ignore what others say.

Your focus is YOU and YOUR baby. Not society’s dictates.

Now scoot back over to Yavonda’s blog and share your own experiences!


Little girls and doll snobishness

So awhile back, Cindy of Mom on a Wire wrote about American Girl dolls and how she didn’t really care for them, or, more accurately, the price. ($125 for the doll, a book and accessories)


Which is why Tootie has two Our Generation dolls ($31 for the doll, book and accessories)

One, Eva, came from her Nana. I think the other one may have too, but I can’t remember for sure.

Anyway, here’s Eva:

Cute, isn’t she? And she has freckles, just like Tootie.

And here we have McKenna from American Girl:

Cute, sure, but also pricey.

Now don’t get me wrong — I’m a big fan of the American Girl books. Tootie loves them, and has read and re-read dozens of those books. Her fave series is Julie from the ’70s. As a child of that decade, I totally approve!

So yesterday she took her other Our Generation doll to summer care. She’s blonde, but I can’t remember her name at the moment.

Another girl, however, brought an American Girl doll, purchased at the store in Dallas.

You can guess what happened. The girls belittled Tootie’s doll, telling her it was fake and not as good as the American Girl version.

She came home in tears, unable to see or understand the difference.

Last night, she decked out her other doll, Eva, with plans to take Eva and her horse, Penny, to the daycare.

Tootie, you see, thinks she’s going to convince those bratty little girls that Eva is just as good — if not better — than the AG dolls.

And she is, really. She was given to Tootie by her Nana, who told her at the time that she chose Eva because of the resemblance to Tootie. The accompanying book was a mystery, and Tootie loves a good suspense tale.

Here’s the thing: The AG books are about brave and enterprising girls from different periods of history.

But the dolls? They’re only good for visits to the American Girl store beauty shop and an afternoon tea. In no way do they resemble or act like their literary counterparts.

Which is part of the reason I don’t like them. They’ve overshadowed the stories of girls who accomplished wonderful things — without worrying about their hair or what to wear to tea.

There’s also the irony of the price tag. The books feature girls who don’t necessarily have a lot of money. And they aren’t snobs.

So those $125 dolls?

Are. Not. Reflective. Of. The. Girls. They. Allegedly. Represent.


Cookbook winner

Thanks so much for sharing all the fab recipes, everyone! You gave me some great ideas.

The winner, selected at random, is Melissa Ibbotson.

Melissa, call Kristina Hanry at 501-378-3484 to collect your cookbooks. Or you can email her at khanry (at) arkansasonline (dot) com.

Have a fantastic weekend all!

Freebie Friday: Cookbook giveaway

Happy Friday, everyone!

I have in my hands the newly released Eat More of What You Love. Here’s the Amazon description:

The hardest foods to give up are the ones you love best – but Marlene Koch says,”you don’t have too!” Marlene Koch, author of the bestselling cookbook Eat What You Love: More than 300 Incredible Recipes Low in Sugar, Fat and Calories, has been dubbed a “magician in the kitchen” when it comes to slashing sugar, calories and fat, but never great taste – and here she delivers with over 200 brand-new super satisfying guilt-free recipes (under 350 calories!) that everyone will love!

From Mile High Meatloaf and Chicken Fried Steak with Cream Gravy to Stuffed Black and Blue Steak Burgers to Pizza Pasta Pie and Red Velvet Cupcakes, whether the foods you love are creamy, cheesy and fried, or fresh and fit, you’ll find them here – not only healthier – but more delicous than ever!

Here Marlene delivers more; more comfort foods like Sour Cream and Onion Smashed Potatoes and quick and easy Macaroni and Cheese Muffins, more restaurant classics like Chicken Fettucine Alfredo (330 calories versus the usual 1,400!!) and P.F. Chang-Style Mongolian Beef, more slow cooker recipes like Lazy Day Lasagna, more quick ‘n’ easy recipes like 15-Minute Shrimp Fettucine and Quick-Fix Carmelized Onions, and LOTS more desserts including her Amazing Pecan Pie Cups (with under a teaspoon of sugar in each!), Raspberry Oat Bars, and 90-Calorie Chocolate Cupcakes.

The other cookbook is My Baking Journal. Here’s the description:

Recipes passed on by friends and family, recommended by your favorite celebrity chefs or notes on recreating a great restaurant dessert, My Baking Journal is your constant companion. In the kitchen, on the go, with dedicated sections for your notes and elastic closure to secure any loose recipes, your old favorites will always be just a reach away.

Also featuring bonus recipes for inspiration, you can make your notes by taste or by type ensuring you can always find the treat you need in an instant. Sections covering handy hints and tips for baking in all four seasons, including Easter, picnics, Thanksgiving, Halloween and Valentines Day and keep note of what you served, and who to so you’re never caught serving the same thing twice!

To enter, leave a comment below telling me what some of your favorite summer dishes are. I need some ideas!



The Mother’Hood

This weekend, I took the kids to a neighborhood pool we haven’t visited before.

It was way awesome … until Tootie materialized at my lounger with blood dripping from her eyebrow. (She’d bumped her head against a wall, having ditched her goggles.)

My daughter is what one would describe as Minnesota-stoic. I’m not from Minnesota, mind you. I’m a Texas gal. But anyone capable of living functioning in those northern climes must be of hardy stock, no?


When Tootie injures herself, there’s no wail of impending doom. No shrieking. No screams for mommy.

She just kind of turns up at your side, silently weeping.

Which is why I didn’t see her at first.

No, it took a chorus of, “Oh my goodness, are you all rights?” coming from the many moms in the immediate area.

And there she sat, my daughter, on the lounger next to me, weeping pink tears.

Within seconds, an army of moms produced tissues, Band-aids and offers of ice cream.

One woman sat next to me, proffering fresh Kleenex as blood continued to flow. Head wounds — always so bloody, even when they’re totally innocuous.

Another volunteered Hello Kitty bandages, but returned with the sturdy, waterproof variety from the lifeguard’s first-aid station.

Tootie was fine. Within moments, she was asking when she could get back in the pool.

By the time we left, she was in full-throttle vanity mode — “I look like Frankenstein with this on my forehead, Mama.”

The moms around us laughed. They also asked her if her head was feeling better as we packed up.

And it was then I remembered just how tight the motherhood circle is.

A hurt child, a crying child — we all respond…

… with Band-aids for the kids and reassurances for a fellow mother — who may or may not have been kicking herself for not being the first to notice that her kid was oozing blood.

Tootie, my little fish.