Bad Gifts aren’t just for Mother’s Day! 

Yes, That’s right, I am working on a follow up to my popular review of terrible mother’s day gifts by compiling terrible Father’s Day gift ideas! If you have seen any that are particularly heinous please send them to me at laidbackmommy@hotmail.com

Already there have been a few gems that have made it on to my list but let me start with a teaser that I found posted on a classifieds site.

wishing well for father's day
“For Sale: Wooden Wishing Well. 1 Left! Will be making more. Great for Fathers Day gift. Useful for hiding steel well casing for private well owners; also great for flower bed/Garden decoration. 3 ft Tall x 2 ft wide. Delivery can be arranged. $140. OBO”
My initial reaction is that  this was not a great Father’s Day gift. But being a Mom I figured I would check with my Father’s Day Authority – My husband.

Between the two of us we have agreed that this does constitute an unfortunate Father’s Day gift.

Nothing says we love you dad like spending $140.00 on a decorative miniature well for the garden. In my husband’s case, this just acts as another obstacle to mowing and weed whacking and likely would end up destroyed by the weed whacker.

 I appreciate that this person only has “1 more left!” so I guess it is popular with people who like lawn decor, I think that it is a bit of a stretch to say it’s a great father’s day gift. There are a lot of father’s (my husband included) who categorically agree that anything that acts as an obstacle to mowing the lawn is not a great gift.

Nothing says Happy Father’s Day to the man who raised you like actively making his yard work harder!

PS – Is it really necessary to say “1 Left!” to only follow up with “Will be making more”? Is there such a huge demand for these or is the poster just trying to create a sense of demand for what is likely a fairly niche product?

Questionable Classifieds! “Intimate apparel from the internet is one of the languages of love”

It’s another Questionable Classifieds day! And yes I know that I promised these on Fridays and it is clearly Wednesday but I started it on Friday and I figured it was either post now, or wait another 2 days. So here it is.

This one comes to us from Kijiji and profiles just what one man is willing to do for the love of his life.

In case you are unable to read

In case you are unable to read “Hello. It may seem wierd that a male is advertising in this section. But during our move my girlfriend misplaced a bag of her clothes bottem. Shorts yoga pants and other person stuff (panties). She is small waist. Would like to buy some stuff for her. Pls email me pics of what your selling and price. Thanks !” 

I really didn’t think this needed to repeated but apparently people are still unclear on this concept. Do not turn to the classifieds to buy your underwear. Do not turn to classifieds to sell your underwear. And above all else, do not turn to the classifieds to buy someone else underwear. If this is too complicated for you remember this:

Classifieds & Underwear never go together.

However, this week’s post once again proves this concept is lost on a portion of the population, so as a public service announcement to all men that it is not okay to show a woman how much you care by purchasing her underwear (from strangers on the internet).

I can’t think of any woman who upon losing an entire bag of all her bottems bottoms would appreciate her boyfriend turning to the internet to procure her replacements. I suppose I can’t fault him for wanting to replace items relatively inexpensively depending how much they lost it could get very expensive to replace everything new. For the shorts and yoga pants I can even get behind that, but why did he think asking for “panties” for his girlfriend on the internet is appropriate.

Here’s something I can tell you. Asking the internet to provide you with panties for your girlfriend is a surefire way to find yourself meeting the undesirable portion of the population who likes to sell their used underwear as well ending up on not-so-good terms with your girlfriend.

Besides the fact that he gives vague measurements/sizes, (waist is small?) underwear is not that expensive if you need to replace some rather quickly. Provided he’s not in the market for designer underwear (which I frankly doubt given his posting), it’s not hard to find some decent underwear inexpensively at Wal-Mart. Granted in may not be the fanciest stuff but I would think any girlfriend would prefer her boyfriend replace lost underwear with a bag of Fruit of the Loom over mystery underwear procured from strangers on the internet.

So if you ever find yourself in a similar situation to this gentlemen here are some solutions that do not include receiving underwear from strangers:

1. Go to store, buy a package of cheap underwear, give to girlfriend

2. Better option – go to store with girlfriend, tell her to pick out what she likes, buy it for her

3. My personal favourite if this were to happen to me I would hope my husband chooses this route, Let girlfriend buy her own replacement underwear!

And to address the other requests in his ad – used pants and shorts – wouldn’t it just be easier to head over to Goodwill or Value Village with your girlfriend, let her try on the clothes and pick what she likes instead of posting this ad, waiting for responses, and then being in the very unfortunate situation of having to now meet the people who are wanting to sell you their underwear?

Beer & Babies OR “Inappropriately Themed Party Invites”

We are 6 weeks away from my son turning 1 and we are starting to plan a first birthday for him. It will be low key and small but I did want paper invites for it because I figured it might be the kind of memento that grandparents and ourselves would like to have for the scrapbook. (I’ll just add it to the drawer with his hospital bracelet which I am sure will not continue to sit waiting for eternity to become part of a scrapbook that is never going to get made).

I turned to my favourite site for this, Vistaprint, which I used for my wedding invites, save the dates and thank you cards and for baby shower thank you cards. I start looking for first birthday invites and look what I find near the top of the list!

Break out your lederhosen! It's an Oktoberfest First birthday!
Break out your lederhosen! It’s an Oktoberfest First birthday!
I get that parenting is tough at times and you may reach for a cold one after the baby has gone to bed by why is this design showing up in the search parameters for “first birthday invitation”? It must be an outlier I think to myself….

Oh wait…apparently it is not the only one!

Because cake smash videos are so much better if the baby's inhibitions are impaired.
Because cake smash videos are so much better if the baby’s inhibitions are impaired.

more beer invite
This would be perfect for C’s first birthday, if only it came in a different size?

more beer iterations
Oh good! More Size options!

Is there some sort of ironic-hipster trend to have beer themed birthdays for babies? Am I missing something here?

But “wait!” you say, “What if beer isn’t my libation of choice for my child’s first birthday?”

Well, C does prefer his Formula "Shaken not stirred"
Well, C does prefer his Formula “Shaken not stirred”
Needless to say, we won’t have a beer/cocktail themed first birthday for C, he already has a bottle he likes to fall asleep with.

bottle

Mother’s Day Review OR “Why yes, I did ship my child to his grandparent’s on my first Mother’s Day!”

As promised after last week’s review of some, frankly, terrible mother’s day gifts, I am back with a quick update on how my first Mother’s Day went.

First some background, in my immediate family (i.e. Husband, C and myself) none of us have our “own” birthday. We all share our birthday with another special occasion. Regular followers will be aware that C was born on Canada Day, I am born right near Thanksgiving and my Dad’s birthday is 2 days before mine and my husband is born 3 days before his dad’s birthday which also falls around mother’s day. In fact, Husband was actually born on a Mother’s Day Sunday which means my Mother in Law became a Mom on Mother’s Day.

But I digress.

The point I am trying to make here, is that while I went into Mother’s Day expecting that Husband would do something for me (despite his jokes leading up to the day “But you’re not my mother…”) I realized that the weekend was also shared with Husband’s birthday and Father in Law’s birthday so I didn’t go in expecting it to be all about me because I am an adult and realize that other people have things happening in their lives too, and a special day for you doesn’t mean it’s only about you (unlike Rodney from this season of Survivor who believes that the world revolves around you and should stop on your day).

That said, the day before mother’s day we had Shed-Building Day. The in-laws and some friends helped us put up a new shed in the backyard. That night, I had dinner reservations and tickets to a concert for Husband and I to celebrate his birthday and the plan was for my in laws to leave sister in law to watch C while we went out and the next day we would all head to the in-laws for Mother’s Day.

Well, in the end we decided why have the babysitters in our house when we could send C to grandparent’s house on Saturday night for a sleepover! We were able to go out enjoy ourselves, come home to a house without a baby and relax and my husband’s family got a lot’s time with C.

So here I was on Mother’s Day morning waking up without a child in the house! I slept in until 9:30am!! I know. Can you believe it? It was glorious. So basically if that was the end of my mother’s day I would have been happy. But it wasn’t, Husband proceeded to give me a lovely card which made me laugh with how it started…

“Remember when we first fell in love and everything was so simple…” 

Oh yes, the simple days of being in love and not also being in charge of the well-being of a tiny person.

From there the two of us went to the mall where we picked up a birthday present for his dad and some plants for his mother and grandmother who we would be seeing later that day, we also brought dessert. Gluten Free Key Lime pie (which I love and I haven’t had key lime pie in years but recently found a GF bakery to do one for me).

The minute C saw me and heard my voice saying his name when we arrived, he got so excited and tried to get to me. Unfortunately, having been put in the exersaucer while his babysitters were eating lunch he ended up flailing around a the whaky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube man.

Why yes, this is my first gif in a blog post! I know so tach-savy of me
Why yes, this is my first gif in a blog post! I know so tech-savy of me

From there, my very generous sister in law took us (as in me and Mother in Law, not husband or baby) for Pedicures. Which I had not had done since before C was born so my super gnarly toes very much appreciated it.

The rest of the day was relaxing. I got cards from my in laws and C got me a new charm for my Pandora Bracelet that says “Mom”. Apparently, C was a big hit with the ladies in the Pandora store when he was shopping with Husband. I guess there was no one else in the store so he decided to charm everyone…(groan and yes, pun – Totally intended).

We had a great dinner of steak and shrimp and the family was impressed by how much C loved to eat shrimp (because you’re never too young for surf and turf I guess) and then the 3 of us headed home.

In the end, I may have had to “share” Mother’s Day with some birthdays, I may have brought the dessert for everyone, and I may have helped make dinner and changed diapers (though somehow husband didn’t change any) but Mother’s Day wasn’t about me not having to do anything or being spoiled. It was just about enjoying some quality time with my son, husband and family. Even if I did pawn my son off on his grandparents for the night.

Is this a rash? OR “Classifieds Sites do not replace the advice of Licensed Medical Professionals”

It’s a Questionable Classifieds Day! I am hoping to start posting these on Fridays however it really depends on my material so if you see any questionable posts on your local buy-sell boards, kijiji or even the old fashioned newspaper, send them my way laidbackmommy@hotmail.com

So back to today’s QC. Here I am trying to figure out where to start on this one. Frankly, I can’t believe I am even saying this, but guess what, apparently it needs to be said.

Classifieds sites do not replace the advice of Licensed Medical Professionals.

I know this sounds like information that most people should know, and I understand that sometimes for minor ailments you may ask friends and family for advice on whether they have encountered something before. I know I often call up my Mom or Sister and ask for advice about things C is going through. But questions like “Teething can cause a minor fever right? I should monitor it and not go to the doctor right away?” in a private phone call is different than posting a classified soliciting medical advice from legions of strangers.

But here we are. Apparently, some people think that is an appropriate place to seek medical advice. I know it is very popular to look for answers to questions on the internet. The Birth Month Groups on sites like Baby Center are rife with people asking if what their baby is going through is normal and I know that a lot of us (especially Laid Back Mommies) out there don’t want to rush to the doctor for every little thing so seeing if you can find an answer on-line is especially tempting. At least on birth group sites the purpose is to discuss topics with others going through the same thing so it seems reasonable to me for non-serious, minor medical conditions someone is going through.

Classified sites are another beast all together.

When I am on these sites, I am likely looking to buy something or see what might be out there on the market. What I am not wanting to see if graphic descriptions of your medical issues, and even less than that are graphic descriptions accompanied by pictures.

Today’s entry into the world of Questionable Classifieds comes from a local buy-sell group.

Capture

In the grand scheme of medical problems, this  probably isn’t that bad. Lot’s of people get hives. I mysteriously get them once in a while. Sometimes I don’t know what causes them but I take some Benadryl if they are particularly bothersome and move on with life.

But what we are seeing here is a person with a large amount of Hives covering her arms. She says she got them at the same time of year last year and they lasted a week. She seems pretty knowledgeable about her symptoms and history and even identifies them as hives. I can’t figure out why she posted this? She seems to know exactly what it is and a very cursory search of google and medical sites would probably answer her questions and confirm they are probably hives and that some Benadryl will help if they are really bad.

Posting a picture of your inflamed arm for a bunch of strangers to comment on is just bizarre to my mind.

Considering that this person got them at the same time last year and they lasted for a week it is likely a seasonal allergy of some kind. Instead of seeking out information from strangers – whose reason for being in the facebook is to generally sell clothes and toys their kids have outgrown – she should probably make an appointment with a doctor* or failing that seek advice from reputable medical websites.

People looking for a good deal on a used bike for their kids really don’t want to be confronted with your skin conditions. So just stop it. Classifieds sites and buy sell groups are not for you to solicit medical advice from.

If wouldn’t walk down the street asking strangers what a rash on your arm was then you shouldn’t do this on facebook either. End of Discussion.

Thanks everyone! Enjoy your weekend and remember if you see something weird on a classified or buy sell group send it my way to laidbackmommy@hotmail.com all personally identifying information will be redacted and items will be posted anonymously.

*Some people may respond that this person may not have insurance however this post comes to us from Canada where universal health coverage means that the provincial drug plan would cover a trip to GP or walk in clinic to get this looked at and while I recognize that there may be other limitations preventing someone to seek medical care (raising kids, shift work etc) I still maintain that there are more appropriate places to get your medical advice that are not a mom and dad buy sell group on Facebook.

Mother’s Day Gifts that are just awful OR “Do people forget how to buy gifts for women once they become a Mom?”

I am coming up to my first Mother’s Day this year. If you don’t count last year when I was pregnant, which I don’t. I know some people count it but I did not. So for me this is my first Mother’s Day.

Before I was a Mom, I wouldn’t put much thought into the online gift guides that start circulating in Mid-April outlining the best gifts for Mom. I usually found something on my own for my Mom and Mother in Law and left it at that.

This year being a Mom I have been looking at them, wanting to see what type of information is out there and what these all knowing gift guides are suggesting for Moms like me. And man, if these gift guides are to be followed I am in for a life time of terrible mother’s day gifts.

Now, to be fair, my husband is possibly the best gift buyer ever! He does this really handy thing where all throughout the year when we are out he will write memos into his phone’s notepad with things I have pointed out or mentioned. Then come birthdays, anniversaries and holidays he has a ready to go list of things he knows I will like. This works so well because I often have forgotten I wanted something and then end up being so surprised by it. I am anticipating that this great gift-giving system of his will transfer over to Mother’s Day but just in case my husband decides to start looking at gift compilation lists for ideas, here are some items that despite what these lists would have you believe, are not actually great gifts for Mother’s Day.

1. For the Mom who likes to read

From The Globe and Mail list we have this lovely metal feather. The description says to “pair a good tome with this feather-shaped bookmark.” While it may be cute I think bookmarks are up there with “paper weights” in terms of gifts you give when you haven’t put any real thought into it.

A book mark as a gift says, “Hey I know   you like reading, but I didn’t put the effort in to walking passed the checkout in the bookstore and finding a book you would actually like so I grabbed a book mark from the displays at the checkout.”

And at the bargain price of only $21.00 why buy your book-loving mom actual books she might enjoy reading when you could instead spend way too much money on a book mark whose receipt would work just as well at marking where in the book she left off.

(I am not even going to mention the fact that I myself read almost exclusively on my kobo making this even more pointless of a gift…nope, not going to mention that at all).

source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/mothers-day/eight-practical-and-poetic-mothers-day-gifts/article24287481/
source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/mothers-day/eight-practical-and-poetic-mothers-day-gifts/article24287481/
2. For the New Mom (ooh, this is me)

A baby monitor…

Wait What? I don’t want this for Mother’s day. Why is a Philips baby monitor on this list? If you are a new mother like me, you probably already had your baby and had baby showers before and possibly after the baby was born.Therefore you probably already own a baby monitor.

Even the description of this gift in the article mentions that this Philips line of products is immensely popular at baby showers. Trying to sell a baby gift as a Mother’s Day gift is tacky. You aren’t going to give a new Mom packages of diapers for mother’s day so don’t give her a baby monitor either. Mother’s Day should be about celebrating Moms, not reminding her that she isn’t out of the woods for worrying about SIDS yet.

I guess it isn’t surprising that Baby gifts are on an article about Last Minute Gift Ideas because last minute gifts usually are terrible, but if you are looking for last minute gift ideas for a new mom and you end up in the baby section just turn around and get to a section that sells anything for adults. I guarantee most items from any other section of the store would be better than buying a new mom another item for her baby.

The first mother’s day should really be about celebrating her as a new Mom. This gift really doesn’t do that so just put it down and buy something for that is really for her.

source: http://heavy.com/social/2015/05/best-last-minute-gifts-ideas-mothers-day-2015/
source: http://heavy.com/social/2015/05/best-last-minute-gifts-ideas-mothers-day-2015/
3. For the Busy Mom who wants to also be organized

The You Can Do It! Planner Pad” is a weekly planner and schedule and while I appreciate that many people like these types of planners I think that giving a gift to a mother that reminds her of all the shit she has to do after her “special day” is a bit like nagging someone about the number of calories they just consumed for dessert on their cheat day away from the gym.”Here Mom, happy Mother’s Day! You don’t have to do anything today…oh but you have a lot to do this week so you better start getting organized about it. Here’s a planner.”

Not to mention, we are moving into  the realm antiquated gifts. I think paper planning systems are becoming largely obsolete no? I know in our family we use google calendars and we share our calendars with each other and we can access those calendar on any of our devices….so a paper planner is about as useful to me as a cassette player. Which is to say completely useless.

Oh wait, it has a bonus feature, maybe this will change everything. “Bonus: It can also be used as a mouse pad.” Nope. It does not change anything. Because you know what else can be used as a mouse pad? A desk, or table, or book, or any paper….and why is this a selling feature? It is 2015 and I largely use tablets and smart phones. Outside of my office, I rarely use a device that requires a mouse. So good job on pointing out bonus features that were useful 5 years ago for a product that in my opinion has already moved beyond the cusp of usefulness.

source: http://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/mothers-day/mothers-day-gift-ideas/you-can-do-it-planner-pad
source: http://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/mothers-day/mothers-day-gift-ideas/you-can-do-it-planner-pad
4. For the crafty Mom who wants to learn a new skill

This learn to knit kit is described as being for the woman “dreaming of giving handmade scarves to the whole family at Christmas.” Great, Just what I want for Mother’s Day. Pressure to learn how to knit and then create handmade masterpieces for the whole family! This just seems like a covert attempt to get your wife/mother to make you something while masquerading as a mother’s day gift.

Remember, if one of the selling features of the Mother’s day gift is explaining its virtues in terms of what it can do for anyone other than the Mother receiving the gift it is not a mother’s day gift.

And the only thing that my son would get out of me having this gift is a new vocabulary as I utter multiple expletives as I try to master a skill I have no desire to learn. So maybe my son doesn’t have a home made scarf from Mommy at Christmas, he has learned how to say “Dammit, Stupid piece of sh…oh crap, C can hear me.”

source: http://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/mothers-day/mothers-day-gift-ideas/learn-knit-kit
source: http://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/mothers-day/mothers-day-gift-ideas/learn-knit-kit
5. For the Mother who likes to Bake

“I think having my name engraved on this rolling pin would make my pie crusts turn out better” said no woman ever.

Another gem from Realsimple.com comes a Personalized Rolling pin. Anyone who does enough baking that they need a rolling pin probably already owns a rolling pin that is perfectly satisfactory. In fact, I have known women who have a religious type adoration for their rolling pins trying to give them a new one would be like asking the Pope to consider converting.

source: http://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/mothers-day/mothers-day-gift-ideas/personalized-rolling-pin
source: http://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/mothers-day/mothers-day-gift-ideas/personalized-rolling-pin
6. For the Mom who suddenly is a 9 year old girl again

Let me say that I think that these customized stickers are a lovely idea, having kids turn their own artwork into stickers sounds awesome – for the kids.

But I don’t see how this is a great gift for me as the mother. It’s not like I have a lot of requirements for stickers in my day to day life. I am not plastering my laptop and note books with stickers. Walking into the board room at work with stickers all over my books and devices doesn’t really help the professional image I am trying to portray.

So unless the mom in your life has suddenly turned back into a 9 year old girl, I would say save the personalized stickers for your kids and get the mom something that’s really for her.

source:  http://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/mothers-day/mothers-day-gift-ideas/crafty-mom
source: http://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/mothers-day/mothers-day-gift-ideas/crafty-mom
7.  For the Mom who likes inconvenient hard to read charts with her wine

The practicality of these Wine Pairing tea towels is mind boggling to me. At first glance you may think this is a good idea for wine lovers. And while it is cute and has a kitschy appeal to it, I don’t think most wine drinkers are going to consult their tea towels for pairing. Between these two towels it lists 68 wines with 56 different foods. I think most people with a wine palate sophisticated enough to differentiate between that many types of wines probably does not need to consult a towel to confirm their pairing choices.

I have seen other tea towels like this in the past that have food conversion information. I always come back to the same issue. As you use them they will get dirty and possibly stained and then you are left with a towel that has started to fade as you have laundered it and you can’t read it easily.

Considering the majority of the population follows the white wine = white meat, red wine = red meat rule of thumb, this chart is also probably overkill for most people.

For Moms like me the main discriminating factor when it comes to wine is this conversation I have with myself:

“Is it wine?”

“Yes, it is”

“Great, I will drink it while the baby is asleep.”

Source: http://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/mothers-day/mothers-day-gift-ideas/wine-pairing-towel
Source: http://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/mothers-day/mothers-day-gift-ideas/wine-pairing-towel
8. For the Mom who has too many writing utensils and doesn’t know what a cup is

I am sure many of you think this is a cute personalized pen holder. And it is. But do you know what else it is? Expensive. Yup, for the bargain price of only $64 you can display your pens in this glorified rectangular cup.

Oh but wait, you can get it personalized. Yes, because that changes everything. So if you are the type of person that places an inordinate amount of value on the ability to personalize things then go ahead and buy this for the Mom in your life. Just don’t be surprised when she rolls her eyes and continues using the free mug she got from the Company Christmas party last year.

I am pretty sure there is no Mom out there engaged in an epic battle trying to wrangle and control pens throughout her house so this seems particularly useless. And considering it is just a single section it’s not like it has redeeming organizational features going for it.

Maybe I am wrong but I feel like most people I know (myself included) use a cup or small vase already found laying around my house.

source: http://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/mothers-day/mothers-day-gift-ideas/striped-lucite-pen-holder
source: http://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/mothers-day/mothers-day-gift-ideas/striped-lucite-pen-holder
9. And finally, For the Mom who likes it when you throw away $150.00

The mother of all useless gifts is the Mother’s Day Gift Card from Starbucks and it has been rightfully criticized already (kudos to the excellent article over at Mommyish.com which basically reflected my feelings perfectly on the subject) but I couldn’t make this list without commenting on it myself.

If you are unfamiliar with this particular product, it is a $50.00 gift card to Starbucks that costs you $200.00.

Apparently paying $150.00 for a decorative box and laser etching on the gift card is totally worth it. Except that it is not. If my husband bought me this for Mother’s Day I would be getting him a meeting with a financial planner for Father’s day. Except that this meeting would happen way before Father’s Day because I wouldn’t trust him in the 4 week’s between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. So to our financial advisor Ben, if you get a frantic voice mail from me on May 10th saying we have to meet on May 11th then you know that it is because Husband bought me this for Mother’s Day.

And Full Disclosure, this criticism is from someone who loves Starbucks coffee. But if you are going to spend $200.00 on a Starbucks gift card for me then there better be $200.00 “on the gift card” that I can spend at Starbucks because no way in hell is that “Box” work $150.00. In fact, if you want to get me a nice box for the gift card and still spend $200.00 then get a $198 dollar gift card and buy a $2 box from Dollarama.

I am sorry, I just have to stop here because I am about to have a rage-induced embolism brought on from the horribleness that is this gift.

source: http://store.starbucks.com/limited-edition-mothers-day-premium-starbucks-card/011049644,default,pd.html
source: http://store.starbucks.com/limited-edition-mothers-day-premium-starbucks-card/011049644,default,pd.html
And that is it from me. I look forward to Mother’s Day this weekend and spending it with my husband and son as well as my Mother, Sister, and Grandmother in Laws.

I hope that everyone else reading this has a great day with the important Mother’s or Mother-Figures in your life.

Stay tuned next week. I promise to post an update about my first Mother’s Day and how it went.

Why I prayed my son wouldn’t develop allergies

I have celiac disease. This is known to readers of this blog from my post on the subject. Guess what? Celiac disease sucks. It really does. I know I act like it is no big deal most of the time, but it really sucks. I hate not being able to eat what I want easily. I hate imposing on other people. I hate asking people to reveal what is in a recipe – over and over again.

Not only do I have celiac disease, over the last few years I have recognized that I also have an allergy to Kiwi. When I was a little kid I always said I didn’t like kiwi because “it made my mouth feel fuzzy.” No one clued in that I was describing an allergic reaction. I just didn’t eat kiwi. It’s not like it was super common in our house. And my Mom was probably happy that I preferred the cheap fruit – apples and bananas.

But there were always times when I got these mystery hives or rashes and eventually we figured it out. Kiwi and to a lesser extent Pineapple would do me in. It was especially bad a couple of years ago when my throat actually started to close up from it. Long story short, I now carry Benadryl everywhere and have an epi-pen, which I am notoriously bad for leaving at home.

I know that in the grand scheme of “things that can be wrong with your kids” allergies can be managed relatively effectively and there is of course more understanding and accommodations made for children’s allergies nowadays but given my history of being forced to be very careful with what I put in my body I am not ashamed to say that I prayed my son wouldn’t have allergies while I was pregnant.

I didn’t want him having to grow up to be afraid of food. I didn’t want him to be “bullied” because he couldn’t eat something. I hear stories of kids chasing classmates with peanuts when they find out about the allergy. And I especially didn’t want to experience the judgement of others when they think I am just being “difficult” about what my son eats when I question food being served.

Unfortunately, at 9 months it looks like we have a son with allergies. And the thing he is allergic to sucks. It is a super common food for kids and adults; people love them and kids love them. They are great on their own and in desserts. I am sure many of you have them sitting innocently enough on your counter (or in your freezer waiting to be turned into bread and if you are like me thrown out when you realize that you are not going to make said bread).

Can you guess what it is he is seemingly allergic to?

Bananas.

Every time he would eat bananas he would throw up within an hour. And not just a little spit up but projectile vomit everywhere. We tried fresh bananas, frozen bananas, as well as store bought banana baby food. Even banana bread.

Interestingly enough, I couldn’t stomach bananas my ENTIRE pregnancy. Every other food aversion I had would come and go. But bananas the whole pregnancy would cause me to vomit and be sick often before they even got to my mouth. I tried to research whether there is a known link between pregnancy aversions and allergies in babies but couldn’t find anything beyond other anecdotes like me. We mentioned it to the doctor who responded with, “Yah, that can’t be a coincidence.” But it was a rather non-committal response…..

Anyways, given that bananas made our son sick we decided not to feed them to him.  He wasn’t getting hives or a rash or anything like that we just didn’t like making our son vomit if it could be avoided. Also it seemed pretty easy to avoid bananas. He mostly eats home made baby food and now as he gets older (and gets teeth) more and more table food. There is a lot of banana puree in many commercial baby food so we just started avoiding the ones that had that in it and everything was fine.

Until last night. Husband and I were in the process of buying a new “old” car. (i.e. a used car) because we were going to the dealership after I was done work I threw a pouch of baby food in my bag in case C got hungry. We fed it to him while we did the financing. As we were leaving and I loaded him into the car I noticed red splotches and on his cheeks and slowly his whole face and neck were breaking out in red splotches and hives. We immediately got baby benadryl and gave it to him and the rash went away.

We talked to our doctor and will be seeing an allergist in a couple of weeks to confirm the suspected banana allergy.

Having a kid with allergies is scary. Having a kid with a weird allergy like banana I can foresee as sucking A LOT. As it is now, people are always telling me that it is really weird and that they have never heard of anyone with a banana allergy. This scares me because I think that most people understand peanut and other common allergies. It is commonplace for kids to have nut free classrooms for example. But bananas. No way will there ever be banana free classrooms (and I am in no way advocating that there should be)  so I know that with an allergy like this we will have to be vigilant with C to make sure he doesn’t eat banana.

In the end I realize that I just have to accept that my son is likely going to have an allergy and I will have to be the crazy sounding Mom telling people, “No, he can’t have a banana. Yah, I know kids love them and they are a great snack but he can’t have a banana….”

Have you ever heard of anyone with a banana allergy? What about other parents whose children are allergic to something super common for kids to snack on?

Why are you apologizing to me?

First off, let me start this by stating that I know for many of you living outside of Canada the idea that I got paid about 50% of my regular salary for 8 months to be home with my newborn with the knowledge that my job was protected is enviable. Next make sure you have swallowed any liquids so you don’t spit them at the screen in disbelief with what you are about to read, because seriously, I can only imagine what mothers in countries without good maternity policies are thinking when they hear that someone said to me:

“I’m sorry you had to come back to work early from your maternity leave.”

I technically could have stayed off until my son turned 1, so yes, I did come back to work “early” if you think 8 months is early. However, in Canada, we are lucky enough to be able to split our leave with our partner so my husband is enjoying 4 months off with baby C.

So to recap, someone actually apologized, offered me empathy, and lamented that I only got to have 8 months at home with my son.

To be honest, when she started the sentence I thought maybe it was going to go something along the lines of, “I’m sorry your Grandfather died last year, I didn’t realize it at the time” Or “I’m sorry to bother you but can you order more supplies.”

Since I have no qualms or guilt about our decision to split parental leave, I pointedly looked at her and said,

“Why are you apologizing to me? I wanted to come back to work.”

Well after split second look of confusion on her face it apparently dawned on her the completely off-base assumptions she had made about my feelings towards work. She backtracked; laughed it off because she had 14 months off and felt it wasn’t enough…and of course, doesn’t every mother feel this way?

Where am I going with this? Well, this seemingly innocuous discussion got me thinking about the nature of staying home vs working. Despite all the advancements in women’s rights and the normalization of mother’s working and having jobs beyond pumping out babies and taking care of the house, there is still this underlying assumption many people make that women who return to work are giving up something and really would rather be home as much as they can. The thought that if I didn’t have bills to pay then I wouldn’t work is especially common.

As much as I love my son, I love solving problems beyond, “How do I get this stain out of this shirt?” I need to work.

I think that it’s about time that we shift the narrative. Instead of apologizing to me for “giving up” leave to my husband, how about we recognize we actually do have a very generous maternity/parental leave policy in Canada and that sharing parenting with the father of my son seems to me to be perfectly natural.

Women tell me they wouldn’t trust their husbands at home all day taking care of an 8 month old. Personally, if I didn’t trust my husband to be able to raise a child, I would not have made a child with him.

My husband is lauded for being progressive for staying home. Things he does are praised like he just discovered a new element.

“Wow, it’s so great that you are staying home.”
“It’s so wonderful that you can clean a toilet”
“Oh would you look at that, he can get baby to sleep.”

Whereas I am pitied and judged because I had to come back to work.
“I can’t believe she gave up 4 months that she could have been with her son.”
“Doesn’t she miss him all day? How can her brain possibly think about anything other than a baby?”
“How could she possibly find her work to be more fulfilling than a diaper full of poop?”

At the end of the day, I wish people would realize we are not trying to make any particular statement on gender equality or the traditional gender roles within a household.

We are really just  two people raising our son together.

Hi Ho Hi Ho it’s off to work I go!

Laidbackmommy went back to work today and it seems like it’s been harder on other people. Lot’s of friends and family are saying they are thinking and praying for me and while I appreciate their concern, I am really enjoying being back in the work force. As much as I love my son, I have been working since I was 14-15 years old and even longer if you count babysitting before that. I cherished my 8 months home with him but I can’t wait to see what the world has in store for me professionally now that I am back at the office.

Of course, the first day back is always an easier one for people returning from parental leave. Much of the day is spent waiting for my computer to get set up and testing my systems, calling HR….oh and the little issue of going through 8 months of email backlog!

I have heard from Husband (who will be off with baby C for the next 4 months) that C is sick with a cold. It makes me feel bad that Husband’s first day off alone is dealing with that so it’s probably not the best day.

And while I do feel bad for my sick little boy, part of me is secretly relishing in the fact that for at least 8 hours today I won’t have baby snot on me!

Questionable Classifieds for the digital age: Barely Used Underwear?

First off, sorry for my long absence! I may be a laid back mommy but I guess I am a lazy blogger! This is also my first post written entirely on my iPhone. So I am still figuring out the formatting. I am hoping that I will get back into the regular world of blogging in the next couple of weeks. Baby C is getting more interesting so that means more to write about! Today is just a short post with a new QCDA (questionable classifieds for the digital age) for everyone to enjoy.

UNDERWEAR!

When is it okay to sell underwear in an online classified? New in package? New but open package? Used? In my opinion none of these are okay. In my informal poll which consisted of turning to my husband in bed and asking he answered rather succinctly “Never.”

And so let’s take a deeper look at the issue of selling underwear.

First the picture posted in the ad in question.

IMG_0937
At first glance I think we all agree this isn’t bad. Just a lot of little boys clothing. Until you realize there is underwear front and centre.
Yup. Underwear.

Now here is the description from the seller.

IMG_0938-1

So here we have someone selling Little boy underwear. I get that some was never worn but some was worn for a “very short time” and that makes it used. Even though we aren’t sure how long that “very short time” was it is still used.

Used underwear should not be sold.

For the new stuff that is open, I think we should still err on the side of not selling it in the used market. There is a reason stores won’t allow returns on underwear and I think the store logic should extend to this situation.

So laid back mommy, What should I do with my extra underwear?

Let me help you with some suggestions:
-if it is legitimately brand new in package donate it to a shelter or food bank that can help distribute to those in need or return to store
-if it is new and out of package offering it to a close friend or family member that may be able to use it seems somewhat acceptable to me if you have that type of relationship with the person
-if it is used – and by used I mean it has been worn for any period of time – throw it out
-if at anytime you are unsure of the proper course of action, throw it out

I have also created this easy to follow flow chart to help you out in case you encounter this situation yourself. Please share this important information with you friends and family.

flow chart 2

There you have it. A handy guide for your underwear.

So what are your thoughts? Am I too strict on selling underwear in the used market? Leave a comment or email me.

Like today’s QCDA check out my first one lingerie.

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