Friday, September 28, 2007

Caught in the act of Googling

My little girl entered the world of Googling today. "Mommy, how do you spell art?" "Mommy how do you spell games?" Those were the questions she asked from the office this afternoon. So where do you find good art projects and activities on the Internet? I'm sure she's looking for interactive sites where she can draw or color on the computer. Her Google search of arts and games for kids turned up only articles , but no place to play. (If anyone has any suggestions, we'd love to hear.)Just a few minutes before, Faith asked me how do you spell mall. It seems Barbie lost her rabbit and Faith thinks it must be at the mall. "Barbie always likes to go to the mall," Faith explained as she typed the letters into Writing and reading can now take my daughter anywhere she wants to go. And it should be no surprise "mall" would be one of the first words she typed other than her name. She is a girl isn't she? Today turned into a Kodak moment, so I snapped a shot of her at her first Google page. Isn't that cute... the Google Scholar page font is in Crayola four-pack colors. Thank goodness she came along before crayons became obsolete. Today was a transistion day in more ways than one. After I told Faith I'd blog to ask other moms if they knew of any good sites, she suggested I blog about her "angel baby kitten" who is such a "dreamer" and "fell asleep on my ankle last night." Her words were uttered in the softer songlike voice she uses to talk to her "baby." Her delivery is much like you'd hear from a great aunt leaning over a bassinet. She petted the purring, nearly full grown "baby" and came to read over my shoulder. Uh-oh. Now I'm really busted in this blog. She'll soon be able to read EVERYTHING. As I started typing, she came over my shoulder and read aloud the first three words. Her little voice asked "my little girl? Ughhh..., " her voice trailed off as she walked away. My BIG girl? I'm really in trouble now. Parlais-vous francaise? Maybe that would buy me a few more years.
- Liz

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Recalls, recalls everywhere

More toys have been recalled today because of lead in the paint. So I've added to out clickable links at your right the government's Consumer Product Safety site. Check it out, then check out your kids' rooms.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Working our way through the System

I put System in capitalization for a Reason. (Ever think that way? Big stuff gets a big letter!)
No, really, any time I'm talking about the Government or DFCS, I think in capital letters. And yep, the System I'm talking about is DFCS.
Those of you who have been with us a while might recall Chris and I are going through the adoption process with DFCS to "get" Daniel a brother. Because I have no desire to go through parenting an infant again, and because there are lots of older kids who wind up in the System and need homes, we're trying to adopt.
You might also recall that a few weeks ago Daniel's teacher reported us to DFCS for suspected child abuse after he had a particularly active night and went to school with both a bump on his head and a black eye (yes, I really do want another boy - I think). The DFCS investigator decided it was just a case of a boy being a boy and we hadn't done anything wrong. So that was case closed yesterday morning. It took him a while to actually close the case because, even in a deferrment case (that's what it's called when the suspicions are unfounded) there's paperwork.
But he's just in time. We have two more classes, then a case worker will visit the house and make her report to say whether or not we should be granted a child. We've been every Saturday and learned about different kinds of child abuse, the different ways our new son could be damaged, and how we can recognize and help him grow to cope with the things that have happened in his past. We've also discussed discipline and different techniques we can use with both Daniel and his new brother. Contrary to popular belief, DFCS isn't against spanking. You can spank your own kids. But you can't spank a kid who's been through the DFCS system. Because hey, maybe hitting a child who's been abused in the past isn't the best of ideas. I can get behind that.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Holy Homework expletive, Batman

Out of the mouths of babes, off times can be gems. But from the homework pencil a misplaced letter can be disastrous. While going over homework in Faith's folder, I noticed her misspelling of the word "hits." Yes, she put an "s" at both ends of the word as she tried to write "The cat hits the hat." I wonder if it was by coincidence that the teacher sent this particular paper home for us to look over. Aside from chuckling with friends, we didn't explain the nature of the error to Faith, just that she misspelled the word. We'll save the whole story for future embarrassment.

- Liz Fabian

False alarm!

Guest post...

When someone tells you that no two pregnancies are alike, believe them!
I'm about 2 1/2 weeks away from my due date right now. Last night, I thought my water had broken. So after spending three hours at Coliseum, mainly in the waiting area watching Spongebob and Home Improvement, we were told,nope
its not amniotic fluid, go home.
My mother, who lives in Florida, was relieved because she wants to be therewhen the baby is born. Since my firstborn was only a seven hour labor, I'm hinking she'll need to speed to make it in time for the event.
The problem with labor is that I can't predict WHEN its going to happen. Youmake all these plans and get all this gear and then you wait. And wait. And eople ask, when are you leaving, when are you due, boy you are big aren't ou? My favorite is, you look like you could go at any time. Officially now I can go into labor without a problem. After 37 weeks, a baby is considered term.
After all the excitement of last night, I have to think it was just a way to get a practice run in. Good thing, too, since I hadn't packed a whole lot, nor had I thought to make a list of things that I needed to take. I wandered around the house for a good 45 minutes trying to decide what I wanted to take.
With my first, I had gone to the doctor for a regular appointment, who decided that I was in labor, told me he was planning to induce me anyways and off I went to the hospital where they broke my water and gave me pitocin.
Here's to hoping that the next time I end up in the hospital its not a false alarm again!

Friday, September 21, 2007

more on reading

I've never really had to worry about creating a reader out of Daniel. Unlike most homes nowdays, our house could double as a library (if it weren't for the air hockey table in the living room, that is.
While my friends and relatives have been expanding thier electronics catalogs, I have been buying books. There's not an x-box or wii to be seen, but Daniel has his own bookshelf full of Thomas the Tank Engine and Dr. Seuss books. On the higher shelves are books for him to grow into - books from my childhood.
He sees myself and his dad reading all the time - books, magazines, comics even. And he's still at that age where he wants to be doing whatever we're doing. So sometimes I'll have him "read" by himself, where he makes up stories to go along with the pictures in the books, and sometimes I'll read to him. The challege is getting him to pick one or two books - he wants me to read all ten that he brings me!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The competitive edge in learning

It's amazing how fast Faith has embraced reading. All it took were a few words to encourage her - words she overheard her parents saying that actually could have discouraged her. We have been reading to Faith since before she could talk and were a little concerned with her teacher's report that she wasn't reading as she should. While Matt and I were talking, Faith must have heard us say the teacher was surprised she wasn't reading better given her skill level in other areas in the classroom. Immediately she chose a book to start reading to us. Plus, when I picked up Faith at school the other day, she wanted to know if we were running errands. When I told her we needed to buy groceries she was disappointed she couldn't go home and read. WHAT? She wanted to go READ? Fantastic. I turned the car around and took her home. I could shop later. We have been waiting for the day we could tell her to turn off the Disney Channel and go read. That day is here. Although she still struggles, she's catching on rapidly. I honestly believe she was challenged by not living up to others expectations of her. I hope this trend continues and she will be motivated to always do her best and reach her potential for success. I hope this enthusiasm continues. I think a trip to the library is in order.

- Liz

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Starburst success

It took me a while, but I hit upon the key to getting Daniel to take any pill.
Starburst candy.
The little squares are soft enough that I can cut off a piece and mold it around his medicine. The flavor is stron enough to get his saliva flowing and he can just swallow the candy whole. At first, I rewarded him with a second, pill-free slice of the candy, but now he just swallows one piece and moves on with his day.
So much for my "no sugar" edict, but hey, whatever works.
As far as the medication goes, Daniel has only had one "bad" report home since he started on the medication. So the fidgeting, squirming, jumping, kicking, throwing, disobedient Daniel has learned to control all those impulses. And while he's able to finish tasks I give him at home, he's still my little chatterbox. Just with a cleaner room.

Monday, September 17, 2007

don't say "cheese"

Just in time for those annual christmas-card portraits (yes, it's that time again) and back-to-school pictures, BabyCenter has come up with some really good advice for taking family portraits and candids of our kids.
The first thing they recommend is NOT to formally pose everybody and command "say cheese!" Have you noticed the wierd smiles you get out of kids that way? Daniel mugs for the camera, and I confess to sometimes pretending to snap the shot he wants me to take while I wait for him to return to his play. THEN I actually start shooting, and I get much better pictures that way. It's no big deal for me to sit still and wait, watching for the moment when he turns toward the camera with an excited "Look what I'm doing!" smile. THAT's the shot I want. And one of my favorite portrait-studio shots of the two of us doesn't have either one of us looking at the camera. We're facing each other, laughing into each other's eyes.
BabyCenter also reminds us of the benefits of going digital. I remember one of Daniel's early photo sessions - I wanted a great shot for his first birthday. THe photographer took 350 photos! But sure enough, there was one that I glanced at and said "That's it." Sure, I had three or four others that I liked and was able to make a scrapbook page out of, but that one photo was the money shot. So don't expect to take one or two pictures and get what you want.
Baby Center also recommends the following:
Don't go for perfection. Our kids aren't perfect - it's better sometimes to see the "real" family. This approach is especially great with kids (and grownups)who hate having their photo taken anyway.
Do go outside. I love taking pictures of Daniel in trees. Maybe it's just because climbing trees is such a boy thing. MAybe it's the way the light plays through the leaves on his blond hair. Maybe it's just because he's so darn HAPPY. Whatever, everybody looks good in early-morning and late evening light. It's almost better than candlelight.
When the kids get tired of the photo shoot, give them a break. You're not going to get good shots with unhappy campers anyway. And who knows, turning them loose to play might net you the shot you're looking for. Because taking pictures shouldn't be a chore.

For more useful advice on photography, check out Danny Gilleland's blog "Almost in Focus." Go to and click on the link.

Friday, September 14, 2007

bummed boy and Grandparent's Day

Grandparent's Day was Sunday, Sept. 9. Well, today, Daniel's class is having a Grandparents' tea. Only Daniel's grands live in Texas, Virginia, and Jackson respectively. And his "pop-pop" works the long hours of a truck driver. So he won't have a grandparent at Grandparent's tea, and he's all kinds of sad about it.
Awww, baby.
So tomorrow I'll be taking him to Jackson for some quality time with papaw - and by Monday I'm sure he'll ahve forgotten all about it.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Important recall information

With tragic reports of children being killed or maimed by recalled products, the government wants parents to be informed. Although many of the recalls make the news, often they are overlooked. Plus used toys that had been recalled can be purchased at yard sales to unknowing parents. This morning I saw a television report that announced two Web sites where you can sign up for e-mail recall alerts. You can find information at or for the Consumer Product Safety Commission. If you have a doubt about toy, crib or carseat, you can always do a computer search to see if anything comes up about recalls. Stay safe and have a good day.

- Liz Fabian

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

protecting the boy

Daniel's rough and tumble. He's all boy and all the bumps and bruises that come with. So when we had a bad night last week and he both bumped his head turning somersaults and got hit in the eyeglasses when I opened his bedroom door (he was standing right behind it), I joked with my coworkers that his teachers were going to call DFCS on me for beating my kid.
They did.
So this week I find myself treating the kid like glass. After all, if the case worker finds more bruises when he comes back, I could lose my kid, right? So I'm letting him rot his brain by watching tv, he's spent some quality time playing Legos (made a pretty impressive slide, complete with handrails) and holding my breath until DFCS returns. Daniel seems to think he doesn't have to listen to me or Chris, and he certainly doesn't think he has to obey. It's been harrowing.
And I wonder if I'm protecting the boy, or doing harm by letting him see that DFCS has the power to scare me.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Mommy inked

From "Inked" to "Miami Ink" to "L.A. Ink," tv shows about tattoo artists have helped a hot trend go mainstream. And BabyCenter reports this morning that moms are among the big wave of Americans embracing permanent body art.
I have to say, that when I got my tattoo (Daniel's name along with mine and Chris' in Greek lettering around my ankle), no one freaked out. Even now that I'm working in conservative academia, whenever someone asks about my tattoo and I explain it, the response has been "how sweet." So I guess tattooing has really become mainstream, and moms are definitely keeping up with the times.
What would you get to represent your kids? Pretend for a moment that it's not permanent and your mother wouldn't have a hissy. Just daydream - then share!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Consignment sale alert

I happened upon the Kidz Replay consignment sale today by noticing a flyer in the window of Kangaroo Bob's as I dropped Faith off for a party. There's still plenty of clothes on the cheap so you have plenty of time. Plus Saturday is always half-price day. I might have waited until then, but I'm committed to helping move a friend Saturday morning. Here's the scoop, the sale is in the Riverstreet Corners plaza behind Natalia's on Riverside Drive in Macon. It's not far from the Pierce Avenue exit on I-75. They have set up in a vacant store next to Lipson's Fabrics. The sale is open from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon. Sorry about the short notice. Organizer Becky Oliver told me she had sent me a notice through Middle Georgia Moms, but we figured out she sent it to WMAZ. She had Googled "Middle Georgia Moms" and got Channel 13's website - which is what I feared when Channel 13 named their new segment with the same name as our nearly two-year-old blog. The "Straight from the Heart" folks knew about our blog when they chose the name, I'm told by a newsroom insider. So I suppose they were trying to create confusion and draw from our readers. Otherwise, I can't figure out why a television station that previously had a moratorium on the term "Middle Georgia" in favor of "Central Georgia" would choose the name. Oh well, my mother always told me "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," but from my experience with their management style, I doubt they were trying to be kind. I'm just sorry you all missed out on the early days of the sale. The Martha Bowman MOPS consignment sale is coming up later this month. Mark your calendar for the public sale Sept. 21 and 22 at the Hephzibah Children's Home on Zebulon Road across from Lake Wildwood. Friday's hours are from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. with Saturday's half-price day from 8 a.m. until noon. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment to bring clothes to sell, you can call Kim at 478-986-5669. Both sales are really great so happy shopping.

- Liz Fabian

harder on mom

We've always known Daniel has ADHD. So does anyone who spends more than five minutes in his presence. It's that bad. But until now, I've resisted medicating him. I am afraid it will change his personality.
But after our confrence with his teacher last week, it started to sound like now might be the time.
"He's smart," she said. "And I think he WANTS to be good, but he can't help himself."
I know what she means - he doesn't want me to take away his Thomas trains for in-school misbehavior. He doesn't want to lose chewing gum and tv-watching privileges. But when I look him in the eye and tell him to do something (or more often tell him to STOP doing something) I can see the war between his brain and his body. And the extra energy surging through his system wins every time.
So today we started medication.
And if I didn't already feel bad enough, it took me half an hour to get him to swallow the pill. I tried yogurt, I tried juice, I tried threading it in a cheerio.
"I'll be good without the pill, momma," my little cherub assured me.
Oh, God, somebody just shoot me.
Trust me baby, getting you to take that pill is harder on mom than it is on you.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

My poster child

The day has come. I walked into Faith's room yesterday and saw a poster taped to her wall. Smiling back at me were the faces of the cast of Disney's High School Musical 2. My husband picked up a copy of USA Weekend last month that featured articles about the blockbuster musical. He wanted to read the articles to her as a way of inspiring her fledgling reading, but she initially had no interest, he said. Now, after she's seen the sequel, she zealously rediscovered the newspaper magazine and its poster. Still, seeing the image of that poster on her wall was jarring. My daughter is a premature tween. As a young child, I didn't tack posters on my wall. They didn't jive with my wallpaper's miniature roses. I did make an exception for Rocky Balboa in the seventies but I was already well into my teens. I do take some consolation that my child is more interested in the girls in the movie than the boys at this point. But I know it won't be long before she starts getting starry eyes over the current teen idols. I'm not sure exactly when The Monkees' Davy Jones first caught my eye, but I was Faith's age when they were on television. Then came my crushes on Donny Osmond and David Cassidy. I even had a real "boyfriend" who brought me gifts at Valentine's Day when I was in the first and second grades. Now that I think of it, Faith is probably right on track, it's just a little faster track than Mommy would like for her baby.

- Liz Fabian

fat matters

As the mom of the skinniest kid around - and as a woman severely limiting her fat intake - I was interested when BabyCenter popped an article into my e-mail "Is your child getting enough fat?"
I knew about babies needing more fat than adults. I had my gallbladder out six weeks before I got pregnant with Daniel and my OB had a fit over my strict diet. I had cut out all fat - even went to skim milk - on the advice of my surgeon, and didn't gain a pound until I was six months' pregnant. That's not to say I didn't gain baby weight, I was just losing it from other places thanks to my new eating habits.
And after Daniel was born, his pediatrician made sure I was giving him whole milk after he was weaned. Whole milk for at least the first two years, because babies' brains need the fat in natural foods like milk and fish to develop properly.
And as Daniel has grown - and grown, and grown - I've watched over his diet and worried. Typical kid, he'd rather eat pretzels than lunch and pasta constitutes dinner in his world. But he's also a big salad fan and I'm pretty pleased that he'll try just about anything.
So the bottom line is BabyCenter isn's recommending sugary and junk foods, but they are saying kids need more fatty foods than adults - until they're at least 8. They really do have more energy than us, and they're burning it pretty fast.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Mommy are we there yet?

I expect DFACS at the door at any time to talk to me about child abuse. We drove three hours in the car yesterday and Faith couldn't watch any movies. You would have thought we were making her wear short shorts and sit on black vinyl seats in the sun on a triple-digit day. I never heard her complain about anything so much. We had decided to take my car - the one without the movie screens - as it gets much better gas mileage than my husband's large van. "But I'm going to be soooo bored," Faith kept whining as we packed our suitcases. Poor thing. My husband pointed out we didn't even have videos growing up. We saw movies in the theater and waited a lifetime until they came out on television. Trying to make the best of her dismal situation, she grabbed her "laptop," a computerized learning game and worked all the way to Atlanta. She did pause to check out the tall buildings which is ironic because I just wrote about the skyline for today's Southern Sunday column in The Telegraph. I told you our minds are mysteriously linked at times. She noticed the Marriott's base was larger than its top. My husband told her we'll take her there some time and go inside. He's trying to foster a career in architecture, we'll see. Dancer seems to be tops on her short list right now. Perhaps it's the influence of "High School Musical," which she didn't get to watch again on the trip. Not to worry, it was the first thing out of her suitcase at my brother's in Rome. Maybe she'll get her fill before the return trip.

- Liz Fabian