Now TWO!

Continuing with the theme of last year’s birthday, there is a mustache on his shirt, but I guess he’s a little shy about it.. =)

Please don’t steal my pictures!

Posting babies

Do you know what happens to your pictures once you post them online?
Do you ever stop and think about that?
I don’t know whether you should or not, not like you can do anything about it besides stop posting pictures of your personal life and – I love seeing pictures and videos of your cute babies!!! But you know how social media has that weird side effect when you meet people or see them after a long time, and they know all this stuff about you but you didn’t actually personally tell them? Well, isn’t it even more weird when they know stuff about your kids?

Instagram has become a tremendous tool, and for me – a big part of my day! And from the looks of it – the same holds true for many other moms. It lets us connect without having to circumvent the globe or the nap schedule. We can share stories, little successes and mini panic moments (for example:

And all that is just sooo so great. Because being a mom of a newborn/toddler is freakishly lonely at times! Partially because if I’m not home for that nap – I miss out on 2+ hours of personal time when I get to do whatever the hell I want (or need.. as long as it is within the home =). But also because I am a responsible individual and don’t feel like the world needs to be exposed to my little monkey of a man more than is appropriate or necessary. And I know women are supposed to be great at multitasking (though I think some lazy man made that one up) but I find it really hard to carry on any resemblance of a conversation when I’m trying to make sure my kid isn’t running away or busting his face or punching another kid at the playground. You know?

So – social media is great.

Except for the fact that not only moms use social media and it seems like many of us forget that at times.
There are a lot of whom I call “Instagram Celebrity Parents” that have thousands of followers and beautiful pictures of their kids, and you know – we think their life is perfect, their kids eat all their servings of vegetables daily – and why wouldn’t they, with such cute plates and arrangements, etc. And it seems like at least once a week they will post something like “so and so is stealing pictures of my child, please report their account”. And people start to seriously freak out in the comments about how that is so wrong and yada yada… And then they go and write mean stuff on the other person’s profile and all hell breaks lose. You know – the internet 4-1-1.
What I don’t understand is – why are they surprised????

Once you post something online it becomes public property regardless of how you feel about it. And sure you can set “download restrictions” on some sites and disable right clicks and what not. But, hello, printscreen? Thought of that one?

Anyone anywhere could be looking at your pictures for any reason. I’m not trying to scare you. I just want you to be aware, so you’re not surprised like these people. And they can do with them whatever they want. And you can’t stop them. There is literally nothing you can do.
Unless they are trying to make money off of your image and you somehow find out about it and you can prove that you’ve had the image before they did and that it came out of your camera. That is a mini course in image copyright and the internet for you.
That is why I am so hesitant to post pictures of my son to my public instagram account – though I know he is super cute, people would gobble him up and I would get a ton of followers in the first few days. ;)

And that is also why I don’t understand why people freak out when accounts get blocked because of partial children’s nudity, or there are breastfeeding photos..
We don’t know what consequences having these pictures out there could have for our kids. We don’t know how they will feel about it 18 years down the road.
Some things are just too adorable not to share! =)
But I think the problem is – we share for our own sake, not for our kids. To get likes and comments, etc, on our account. Not to benefit our child in any way. And that’s kind of selfish, no?

There are many private online photo sharing options. I’m not saying you should never show a picture of your baby to anyone. I’m just saying be careful.
Because these stories are only going to grow in numbers:
Story 1

Story 2

I specifically read the full terms and conditions for Instagram in preparation for this post. And you know what it says – once you upload your picture, regardless of what type of account you have, the hashtags you use, whatever – it becomes their property and you relinquish all legal rights to it. Unless it is inappropriate content – then you are responsible. And you really should use only your own content, but – there isn’t really a way to enforce it.

Sure you and I have a moral code, and wouldn’t steal other people’s images of their kids. But – that’s you and I, and even if we are the majority that does not mean there aren’t people out there who see no problem with it. I feel silly and naive whenever I write “please don’t steal my photos” at the bottom of my posts with pictures. But what else can I do?

Prep days

I can divide up my days into 3 main categories. There’s “conquer” days – those days that absolutely rock! You do all this fun stuff, the nap happens, food is good, you hit up the dog park, etc. You know – those super mom days!

And then there are “survive” days – those days that – if it was a “real job” – you would have called in sick, either for a mental health day or because you suspect you’re coming down with chronic fatigue syndrome. Those days when your kid changes from pj’s into pj’s because you don’t feel like talking him into putting on real clothes. Those days when a peanut butter sandwich (is my kid the only one that just picks off the peanut butter and hands me a limpy moisty sheet of bread asking for more?) is considered a legit meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Or you know – if he wants to eat the same thing all day – you let him. When all chores get stamped with a “not going anywhere till tomorrow anyway”. And you avoid the mirror because – makeup and hair – #aintnobodygottimeforthat! These are not days when you give up! Oh no. You can’t give up – that’s just not an option. Giving up is staying in bed all day and disappearing from the world. But when somebody’s world revolves around you – you can’t disappear.. These are days that are super hard and you just have to pull everything you have to get through it.

And to keep the balance I have “prep” days. To make the “conquer” days better and the “survive” days less frequent. On prep days I get my clean on, sometimes my cook on, grocery shopping – the works. So that the next day – if I don’t wash a single dish or wipe a single crumb – I feel no guilt! (because guilt is like the enemy of a good mom)
Mondays are usually my prep days – so that we can rock the rest of the week. And part of Friday – so that I don’t care about household things during the weekend.

Before we used to save one day of the weekend for chores and errands. Eff that!! Ever since I changed my perspective – every single weekend we’ve had has been amazing!

So – that’s my secret formula. Does it always work? Of course not. But – it’s the best I got! 

Here’s some shots from our survive days (a sense of humor is a must in this business)

image

Every baby should come with a 3 year supply of Clorox wipes… Double amount for potty training times.

Weddings are for babies too!

Before I had a child – I had no opinion on whether or not a wedding was a good place for one of them. It in no way affected me. When we got married – no one that we knew had a small child, and I didn’t really have to deal with them at other people’s weddings, so – whatevs! I attended a few weddings when I was smaller and I remember being kinda bored. A bunch of people you don’t know, wearing clothes you don’t like. It’s late, you’re tired, etc.

Since my son was born I have attended 5 or so weddings. This weekend was the first wedding that we had attended together with our son – all other weddings were “adults only”, though people would tell me – if I needed to bring him – it was ok. (Which I thought was a bit unfair, why put it on your invite then? And it wouldn’t be right for the other parents)

  • The first few weddings after giving birth I thought – “how awful! How dare you make me chose between an evening with you and time with my baby!!!!” You know – that time when they can sleep anywhere, to any noise, and as long as you hold them with one hand, or rock them with one foot – they’re fine. And also the thought of not being within 3 feet from them just paralyzes your new mom brain.
  • As my son got older and started solid foods and being generally more mobile my thoughts changed to – “duh! Why would anyone want to bring a child to a wedding??! This would be an awful experience for me as a parent, if I had to worry about caring for my baby as well! People should just get a baby sitter and man up! And enjoy themselves!” (Never mind the fact that a few months before the thought of leaving my child with a stranger terrified me so much that I would have rather had no social life what so ever, and only leave the house for playgrounds and pediatrician appointments)
  • And then I arrived at a place where “I could take it or leave it”. I’m fine leaving him with someone for the evening. I’m not too scared of bringing him along. Either way I’m not going to stay too late because – either he will be tired and ready to go, or I’m going to be so apprehensive about how he is going to sleep with a different person – I’ll want to get home and try to put him to bed myself.

This time not only did the card NOT say anything about it not being “adults only”, when I RSVP’ed on theknot.com (so convenient!!!) there was a drop box by the little Mr.’s name – so I could pick whether he would want a kid’s meal or one of the adult options. What a brilliant idea!!!!! And having the little man there at the wedding with us made me realize how much time and mental capacity I spent before on thinking about him and maybe even worrying a little without being aware of it. I was so much more relaxed, myself, enjoying and appreciating the event than I had been at the other weddings.

Afterwards I made a small list in my head of – let’s call them “tips”, for people thinking about throwing a wedding that have some friends and family that have kids.

  1. Small kids that are your relatives aren’t any different from small kids that belong to your friends. What I mean is – if there are small kids in the family, you’re going to want them at the wedding – for pictures, flower girl, etc. What bride does not have a beautiful photo of herself looking all sweet and motherly with the small and pretty flower girl? Don’t make the wedding “adults only” in that case. If 2 kids are melting down – that’s not any better than 4-6 kids melting down. You’re still going to have kids melting down. But this way – they can keep each other much more entertained and you can take a few steps to make the whole wedding better for all of them! Plus – seeing other people’s kids for moms that had to leave their kids at home – you can just imagine how they’re going to feel.
  2. Make sure there is a quiet space somewhere – maybe a mother needs to go breastfeed, maybe someone’s taking a quick nap. Music is great, and most kids love it, but sometimes it can get a little too much for them. And maybe your great aunt will appreciate it too.
  3. Have a designated area for the smokers, so that it’s far away from wherever the kids might be.
  4. Having a food option for the kids is, again – just brilliant!!! And so simple. Trust me, no vegan-super-healthy mom is going to complain to you for serving french fries and chicken fingers to her kid. It’s kind of impossible to go wrong with something like that. As long as the kid is happy and eating – who cares! Don’t worry about feeding kids under the age of 1, the whole introducing solids, learning not to choke, etc – the parents will bring their own food. But around 1.5 years and up – I’m sure they will appreciate a special dish just for their small hands! Ask your caterer, I’m sure it won’t be a problem!
  5. At this wedding, when the waiters were pouring champagne, they also had a bottle of sparkling apple cider in their other hand. And that was so special too because – the children were just like everyone else, getting their celebratory drink at the same time!
  6. If you’re going go have a long ceremony (long being anything more than 5 minutes) – consider having an area for the kids to play in, along with some designated adults to supervise them. Kids get really REALLY antsy when they have to sit still. Especially if they have to be quiet too. Be prepared that not all kids will want to leave their parents in this strange and new place. Maybe throw in some super fun and enticing toys. Just – not messy, so the kids don’t get their fancy clothes dirty. A tiny petting zoo, or just a pony, or a bunny or something – that’ll get their attention and can later be used in some photos! We went to one wedding where there were 3 llamas out on the lawn! And they were connected to the theme of the wedding. It was great fun! If you don’t have a separate area for the kids, which is absolutely fine, make sure than everyone that is talking during the ceremony is miked very well. You don’t want it to be so loud that it upsets the little ones, but – even if little ones get fussy – you still want everyone to be able to hear you recite those vows!
  7. Having the outdoors easily accessible from the reception is a big big plus, especially if there is a fountain there. Kids seem to love fountains and just being outdoors in general. It is so easy for one parent to pop out with their wiggly toddler for a few minutes throughout the evening.
  8. If you can ensure that your wedding favors are not a choking hazard – that is an extra bonus!
  9. Get your first dance out of the way earlier, so people will feel more comfortable letting their kids run around the dance floor while everyone eats. Again – if at all possible.

That’s really all I can think of. Of course – if you don’t have a child-friendly wedding, that does not make you an awful couple! =) You have to consider what you want, what your budget is, how many of your friends/family have kids, where your wedding is (overnight weddings, destination weddings, etc – are all going to be more difficult to arrange care for a child, or maybe include the info for a local baby sitting company on your website!). And if parents don’t want to bring their child – they won’t, even if you say it’s ok for them to.

My sole point with all of this is – weddings can be tricky for people with kids, but it is pretty simple to ensure everyone has a great time!

And for dessert, here is a video of our little man ripping it up on the dance floor. He seems awfully tired at some points, but judging from how he was running around shortly after this – I’m thinking he just takes his dancing very seriously!