The Howe To Blog

Parenting Advice from the Unqualified



A Lesson on Friendship



“Are you excited to see your friends today?” I asked my daughter on the way to school the other day.

“Well, some of the kids in my class are my friends and some of them aren’t my friends,” she replied. “Do you get it, mom?”

She wasn’t being a smart ass about it. She really wanted to know if I got it. Do you understand the finer nuances of preschool social hierarchies, mom? she seemed to be asking.

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7 Times My Kid Gave Me the Creeps


Our favorite time of year has arrived! We love the spooky in our house … horror films, Halloween, the Zombie Apocalypse … we’re all over it. And our daughter, it seems, has either inherited, or, more likely, been trained into an appreciation of scary things as well. (Though, to be clear, we are good parents and don’t let her watch horror movies. Strictly age appropriate “scary” at this point.) Last year, she told us she wanted to be Ana from Frozen for Halloween, a

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Howe To…Alienate Your Friends & Family with Too Much Talk of Poop

Warning: This blog post is TMI.

I’m just going to admit it now: I talk about poop WAY too much. I came from a family that thought poop was funny and enjoyed a good poop joke, often at the dinner table, and much to the chagrin of any non-poop-obsessed visitors who happened to join us for dinner. I remember a few shocked and embarrassed faces of particularly proper or WASP-y childhood friends that had the misfortune of visiting the Rosas house during dinner (AKA Poop Joke TIme). Factor into this that I’ve had a raging case of IBS almost every day of my life, a wonky gall bladder and a “nervous” tummy, and, well, let’s just say much of my day is spent thinking about poo. So, yeah, I talk about it a lot. And then I married a guy who also came from a family that talked about poop a lot. When Josh and I filled out our profiles, there wasn’t a checkbox for “enjoys a good poop anecdote,” but damn it, there should have been! Nonetheless, Poop Talker met and wed Poop Talker and then we gave birth to a lovely child who really had no chance of NOT being a Poop Talker. And once we reached the potty training stage, well, I’d wager we say the word poop or potty at least 50 times a day in our house.

So Hailey freely talks about poop, and I was a little nervous about this when she started school for the first time earlier this month. But so far, she seems to show a greater degree of decorum in public than her parents, and I haven’t gotten any notes home from her teachers saying, “Your child has a potty mouth!” So, phew. Sidenote: When we filled out the registration paperwork for Hailey’s school they asked what we called poop in our house…i.e., “number two,” “make,” “poo poo?” (Side-Sidenote: Who the hell says, “make?” I don’t even understand this reference.) “Poop,” I wrote into the questionnaire. “For God’s sake it’s poop; why dance around it?”

When we potty trained Hailey, and she pooped in the toilet for the first time, she insisted on taking a selfie near the toilet and sending it to her Papa (grandpa). She was so proud. Later in the potty training, she was playing and asked me if I wanted to come to a party. “What will we do at the party?” I asked. “Play games, kick stuff and poop!” she exclaimed. Sounded like my kind of party.

poo selfie

Last week my dad and I picked Hailey up from school and she got in her car seat and asked if we could get lunch at Starbucks. “Sure,” I said. “Great,” she said, ” except I know I’m going to get (in low, scary voice) DI-A-RRHEA!” My dad looked at me, holding back a laugh, and just shook his head. “That’s all you,” he said accusingly. Maybe, and maybe it’s inappropriate and gross. Or maybe my kid just has a really healthy attitude about potty time and one hell of a sense of humor. Yes, I’m going with that.

Howe To…Get Away With Murder

As the mother of an almost 8-month old, I still like to follow the rule, “When baby sleeps, I sleep.” This rule was meant for parents of newborns I think, but since our baby has a touch of the night owl syndrome and likes to party at midnight, as soon as she shuts her eyes I put on my sweats and climb under the covers. Oh, who am I kidding? I was already wearing my sweats. This was the case a few days ago when Hailey started getting a little drowsy mid-afternoon. “Now’s my chance!” I thought. I quickly grabbed sleepy baby and cuddled under the comforter with her, gently soothing us both into slumbers-ville. I was sound asleep in two minutes. Hailey had other plans. Apparently, when mommy goes to sleep Hailey practices her cat burglar skills, which was when daddy walked in and caught Hailey scaling our bedroom wall. Boy does she look guilty in this photo!

Mommy sleeping like a good girl; Hailey looking for an escape route out of our bedroom.
Mommy sleeping like a good girl; Hailey looking for an escape route out of our bedroom.

Howe To… Roll with the Punches

IMAG0171(1)If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a parent–OK, so I’ve probably only learned one thing as a parent–it’s that each stage of a baby’s “baby-ness” is fleeting. Often, a new skill or quirk that makes you say, “I have the cutest, smartest, and/or craziest baby ever!” is gone before you can tell anyone how ridiculously adorable or gifted your child is.  This was the case when Hailey went through her recent “talk to the hand” phase. Josh and I cracked up every time she looked at her hand and held a seemingly meaningful conversation with it. We looked forward to many more moments of this hilarious ventriloquist act. But that phase was over in three days. She also had a stage in which she would say “mama” every time she needed something. This made me feel like the Batman of moms who was called to duty with this precious baby bat signal. Sadly, that moment too seems to have passed. Then there are those stages that you wished would be over soon. And those stages seem to linger long past any amount of comedic value that can be derived from them. Hailey’s refusal to sleep in her own bed, for instance. I wouldn’t cry if that phase went away. And then there’s the recent humping thing. That’s right. I said “humping.” My female, non-dog child likes to hump things. She humps daddy. She humps mommy. She humps pillows. And perhaps her favorite thing to hump is her stuffed Yoda doll. That girl can spend a good 20 minutes showing Yoda who’s boss. Poor Yoda. To be so old and so wise and yet so degraded. The “force” won’t get you out of this one, Yoda. Let’s hope this phase too shall pass.

Howe To…Obsess Over Milestones

First time parents are naturally obsessed with “firsts” of all kinds when it comes to their babies. Mundane things like first baths, first solid foods, and first words elicit squeals of delight–and not from the baby! Mommies and daddies at once become huge dorks the moment their little ones arrive. They do things their cooler single, childless selves once mocked others for doing. They dance around the room with shower caps on their heads, they talk like pirates, they burst into song in the  middle of respectable Vietnamese restaurants, all in an effort to shake one tiny little giggle loose from that adorable child they love so much. And Hailey’s parents indeed have succumbed to this level of dorkiness and overly enthusiastic pandering all in the name of “firsts.”

The Howe’s have experienced many Hailey Firsts of late:

First Solid Foods: Carrots– and much to her grandmother’s disgust, Hailey loves carrots!

First Thanksgiving: Hailey ate and promptly spit out sweet potatoes.

Baptism: Hailey was the only baby being baptized that day who didn’t cry once. She even seemed to mock those babies that did cry (the apple doesn’t fall far from the overly competitive trees). It was a lovely ceremony and a joy as parents to welcome our child into the Christian community.

Christmas: Though Hailey was as dazzled by wrapping paper and boxes as she was by her gifts, she was on the receiving end of so much generosity and love on this day. And our house now looks like a Toys R Us! It’s worth noting too that Hailey met Santa this year and didn’t cry and even gave his beard a tug.

Crawling: Little Miss Howe is on the move and there is no stopping her now!

Waving: Hailey learned to wave “bye bye” around 6 months; however, most of the time the wave faces the wrong way and she is waving “bye bye” to herself. Sometimes she talks to her hand as she does this (with great enthusiasm), which makes her look a little bit like a deranged ventriloquist.

Saying Mama and Dada: Last night, while in her crib, Hailey said mama over and over again with increasing urgency each time. And she definitely seemed to be calling for me. So she has learned the meaning of mama, how to say it, and how to demand my attention all at once!

Howe To…Wait

Hailey in 4-D

False alarm. It’s usually a relief to hear those words. You thought the building was on fire but you find out it’s a false alarm — you’re relieved. You think you see your dreadful ex walking toward you in a Starbucks. False alarm. Phew, dodged that bullet. But when you’re pregnant, the words false alarm take on new meaning. All of a sudden false alarms involve timing contractions, multiple midnight trips to the hospital, being hooked up to IVs and monitors, and your husband sleeping with one foot dangling from the bed as if, even while sleeping, he’s ready to slip his feet into his shoes, jump in the car and make yet another trip to the hospital at a moment’s notice — only to once again hear those words — false alarm.

The last month of pregnancy feels like a whole nine months of its own. The nursery is ready, mommy to be is beyond uncomfortable with an itchy, heavy tummy that ripples with each squirm of a baby that’s running out of room in there. Her extremities are swollen, her back hurts, she’s tired. And each day the contractions come and she huffs and puffs and moans and wonders if this will be the day she’ll meet her daughter. And it isn’t. Daddy to be is a wild eyed, messy haired bundle of nerves who’s so exhausted from the false alarms and from doting on my every need that he nods off at inappropriate times. But he’s my hero. Every night, he’s my hero. And when the painful contractions come and I work myself into a frenzy, he soothes me and breathes with me and doesn’t show an ounce of impatience when we make that fifth trip to the hospital, knowing in our hearts that we will once again hear those words — false alarm.

We can’t wait to meet our Hailey. And though frustrating, we know that every false alarm means one more day that she can grow and develop in her current home before she joins us in our home. So we’ll be patient. We know that it’s only a matter of time before our false alarms give way to real labor and to us finally being able to leave the hospital with our daughter in tow. We’re ready when you are, Hailey.

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