Surviving the Arsenic Hours

Great suggestion from last Wednesday to have a free-for-all on how working and stay-at-home parents survive the so-called "arsenic hours" between 4 and 8 p.m. Not sure whether the moniker has stuck because we want to slip our kids arsenic or take it ourselves, but we all know exactly what that chaotic time period feels like when you're managing the transition from school and work to home and homework and seemingly endless childcare and household chores. My first pediatrician warned me that the vast number of childhood accidents occur during this time, when both parents and kids are tired, hungry and generally frazzled.

The best advice I ever received was from my high school pal Kyra who told me to give my kids dinner as early as possible. I had some strange rule in my mind that one had to wait until 6 p.m. By then all heck had broken loose in my household and dinner regularly became a tear-stained affair. Now that I give my kids early dinner (sometimes 4:30 p.m.) we are all much better off.

Another friend reports her trick: Cut up some raw veggies, throw 'em on a plate, put 'em out for the kids. Then make dinner! Also, as soon as she gets home from work, she makes sure to spend some time just sitting and giving hugs and listening to things that happened during the day. Everyone seems much happier than if she immediately started zooming around trying to get dinner ready.

So what's your advice to manage this nutty twilight zone?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  September 29, 2006; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Free-for-All
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Have never heard the term 'arsenic hours'. Is that a DC thing?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 29, 2006 7:47 AM

Cut veggies at saner moment in the week, say Sunday mid-day. Keep in ziplocks.

Place several dressings (try for lo- fat, but Ranch is hit at most houses) in small custard cups.

Place on trays that can move between homework table, TV (PBs or Discovery, natch), etc.

Muching on carrots, celery etc. tames the food monster.

Cook something great and chat Italian-style while food prep is underway.

Or if you are off to soccer, etc.,
1)Veggie tray upon arriving home,
2)sport bar for the car,
3)light supper when you get home, including breakfast food (Cheerios with fruit works on a very wicked day!)

----
Tweens and Teens might like another sport bar for trip home. This is better than McDee's.

What sport bar brands don't make your kids retch and claim, "Mom, this is chocolate-covered bird seed!"

Zone Bars seem relatively inoffensive.

Luna bars? The boy won't eat "girl sport bars."

Posted by: College Parkian | September 29, 2006 7:50 AM

We don't have arsenic hours anymore. Damn kids outgrew them. They come home, have a snack, do homework without me even asking, then go outside to play with their friends. They even set the table before hand so they can play longer. At least I get to see them at dinner, where they are still eager to tell us about their day. I know we are supposed to want them to be independent, but so soon? Anyone have a baby that needs holding?

When I did have them, cheese, crackers, and a half hour video. They are usually just hungry and over stimulated. 30 minutes vegging on the couch chills them just enoough,imho.

Posted by: parttimer | September 29, 2006 8:18 AM

to ad to the healthy snack list: applesauce in indv containers, protein drinks (chocolate!), yogurt covered raisins, trail mix, cheese popcorn or regular, peanut butter on a rice cake, fruit cut up or from a can.

Posted by: experienced mom | September 29, 2006 8:29 AM

I definately believe in feeding the kids early. If Dad is eating later, we all sit down and watch him, maybe have a snack, and talk, approximating the family dinner even though only one person is eating dinner.
Sunday dinner together is very precious to us, as we can't all eat together every night, due to work, sports, etc.

Posted by: experienced mom | September 29, 2006 8:32 AM

I always heard of the "Witching Hours" but same concept.

With a 1-year-old (today is his birthday!) he likes to "help" in the kitchen - banging wooden or plastic spoons on things (and me) while I cook. It also takes him a long time to drink from a sippy cup, so I fill one up as he begins to get fussy and it occupies him (and helps with the hunger). I usually have to eating dinner with him before my husband gets home, but c'est la vie.

Posted by: NewMom | September 29, 2006 8:33 AM

That's really funny--at first I read "sport bar" to mean stopping at a bar where they have sports on TV and getting the bar food.

I obviously don't have kids or work out. LOL!!!

Posted by: Meesh | September 29, 2006 8:38 AM

By the time everyone is home, it's usually at least 5:30 so doing dinner early doesn't really work for us. But it is best if we're eating at least by 6:00. Unfortunately, I've fallen out of this routine but for a while I would cook two main courses on the weekend so that we would just be reheating during the week. That would usually get us through Thursday so if Friday night was pizza or pancakes for dinner, so what. If we actually have to cook dinner and the kids already want to eat, we do tend to give them some fruit or cheese or sometimes even pretzels or goldfish just to keep them happy.

If we're eating at least by 6:00, we can hopefully start the bedtime process by 7:00. Since the kids need to be up by 6:30 a.m., it would be good if they were to bed by 7:30/8:00; unfortunately, this doesn't usually happen. This is a 21-mo-old and a 4-year-old. They share a room. Anyone have any advice about how to put them to bed simultaneously? Right now, we have to wait until the younger one is completely asleep before sneaking the 4-year-old in. So sometimes the older one doesn't get to bed until 9 and she definitely needs more sleep.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | September 29, 2006 8:41 AM

I agree about feeding kids earlier, but when I lived in the city, I was still on the road at 4:30! Back then I would give my kid a snack, while I made dinner and let her watch Elmo, I mean Seasme Street. I usually gave her cheerios or some low fat cheese.

Hey newmom, today is my birthday too! Libra's rock! Have a happy day with your your little boy!

Posted by: scarry | September 29, 2006 8:43 AM

Expecting my first, is there such a thing as "Arsenic Hours" for a newborn or can I expect to be tired for 24hours? What are ways to manage this?

Posted by: momtobe | September 29, 2006 8:46 AM

If you get home from work later, try using a crockpot. It's quick, easy, and you walk into a deliciously smelling house with dinner already prepared.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 29, 2006 8:51 AM

We are all together during those hours but we normally stagger the eating. I cook the stuff that takes longest and I eat last. ProudMom entertains the boy then feeds him and eats herself. They read a few books and watch some baby einstein (absolutely mesmerizing to them at this age - highly, highly recommend) and ProudMom and I alternate who bathes him and who cleans up from dinner.

He's in bed by 8:01 and I'm fighting the urge to drink heavily. ;-)

Momtobe, early on those Arsenic Hours will point to the challenge of getting yourself fed and decompressing from the day while not upsetting the baby's schedule. Those will still be tough hours...

Posted by: Proud Papa | September 29, 2006 8:54 AM

I've never really heard of the arsenic hours before. As far as having a new baby, I was tired all the time and my baby slept through the night from the beginning. I would suggest making up some dinners ahead of time for the first couple weeks after delivery, having someone help you with laundry and house hold chores, getting your partner involved from the beginning helps too. Don't forget to take care of yourself by eating right and drinking lots of fluids and remember that the baby stage doesn't last forever!

Experienced mom, mom of 4 give this girl some advice!

Posted by: scarry | September 29, 2006 8:57 AM

I agree on early dinners. My older one just goes spastic after his bath, so the earlier he has dinner, the earlier he can have bath and the earlier he can get over the bathtime crazy mood.

It was hard to do early dinners when I was working but now I'm home I can start cooking at three. (early dinners means before 6. When I was working we didn't get home till 7 and that meant dinner was at 8). I don't know how I would manage it if I went back to work. It's not easy.

Posted by: m | September 29, 2006 9:00 AM

Older kid question - curious what, if anything, people do about their older, teenage children. These are the hours in which teens are most likely to drink and be sexually active, i.e. school's over, but parents not home from work yet. I read somewhere (not sure if it was here or not) that it may be more beneficial to have a parent home during these years rather than in the first years, as these years are actually harder for a child and having a parent around to ask questions, supervise, etc. was very beneficial.

Posted by: Betty | September 29, 2006 9:03 AM

Not sure I agree that feeding the kids early and separately is the best idea, but whatever works for your family. We have a 1-year-old and kindergartner and try always to eat dinner together, although it can be difficult for the kids to wait. Meal planning helps a lot; on the wkend, figure out what you'll serve every day & shop for all ingredients (obviously you'll need a mid-week run for fresh produce). Cook twice as much as you need of the meals you know everyone likes so that you'll have leftovers for later in the week. If the kids are hungry when they first come home, veggies are great, but I've found the calming effect is more pronounced if they get a little protein, too, so we add cheese cubes, hummus, or a glass of milk. If dinner if running late, the 5-yr-old goes to take her shower/bath (with minimal supervision) while dinner is cooking. The kids definitely need some chilling out time after a day away, but drawing or looking at books can work just as well as TV once they get in the habit.

Posted by: dc | September 29, 2006 9:04 AM

We allow our children one hour of TV a day during the school week and, as long as homework is done and my daughter's cleaned the cat box, that hour is when we first get home (usually around 5:30). Or, if there are friends outside they want to see and they stay close to the house, we're just getting to the point where I will let them go out and play without me. (Still a little nervous since that's the time a lot of people on our street come out from work and my youngest isn't the best at looking out for cars yet.) Or, if dinner looks like it may be really late, we have my oldest take a shower before dinner so that at least will be done. It helps that they can do more on their own now!

Posted by: Sam | September 29, 2006 9:05 AM

To momtobe

I found "arsenic hours" to be between 5 and 7 pm for my daughter. She was born in the late fall, and it ended up being when the sun was going down. I was still on maternity leave, and it was very difficult. Imagine a crying baby for the better part of two hours! I found pushing her around in the stroller inside the house to be the best thing. There was many a night when my husband got home that he would eat dinner with one hand while holding her in his other arm to keep her calm. Don't remember those problems with my son. I hate to admit it, but I have less memories of my son as a baby than my daughter. With two, it all became a blur.

Posted by: Sam | September 29, 2006 9:10 AM

We have a meals swap with our neighbors. One day a week we cook a meal enough for 4 family-sized meals; we deliver two of these meals on a tray to 2 neighbors down the street. Two we keep for ourselves. On two other days of the week our neighbors bring us a hot, several-course meal on a tray. Let me tell you, food has never tasted better than when it arrives, free, at your door after a tiring day at work. It's much easier to cook the same meal in larger quantities than it is to cook 4 different meals. And we basically have all our meals for the week prepared on that one day.

Rockville Mom, we have the same problem with 2 kids sharing the room. We put our older daughter to sleep in my office (she loves it in there) and then carry her into her room once both are asleep. She sleeps heavily so this is not a problem so far.

Posted by: Ms L | September 29, 2006 9:10 AM

For Betty:

I have an older girl. She's luckily into sports. High school ends at 4:00, and then it's cross country every day after school until 6:00 ish. At which point either her father or I pick her up (both work full time). Then, we're with her from then on. I never did sports as a kid, but if your child can be involved in something after school, at the school - that rocks.

The added benefit is that she's physically fit and active, and very involved with young people who are also active and involved.

Posted by: Working Mom | September 29, 2006 9:14 AM

Happy Birthday to your son, NewMom. Has he taken his first steps yet?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 29, 2006 9:17 AM

What's most important to me during those hours is to reconnect and see how my child's day went. For a while I was not getting a very expansive response when I asked him generally about his day, so I try now to ask more specific questions or ask what the funniest thing that happened that day was. Sometimes it works, sometimes not... He also asks me how my day went :)

Does anyone have any suggestions about having a tears-free homework time for kids who are in aftercare? We get home around 6, and so homework begins after dinner -- maybe about 7...and some nights energy/focus is running low that close to bedtime. Thanks!!

Posted by: single mom | September 29, 2006 9:17 AM

@Betty

Valium and some rope are pretty good for sedating teens and then preventing them from leaving the house. No visible marks for child services to get you with either!

Just speaking from memory as a teen, if your kid wants to do something they'll find a way most likely. No sex or drinking in the house? They'll go outside or go to someone elses house. I can't say that I've put it into practice as a parent, but in my estimation, the formative years will have an impact on what your children do during these years as well. You can't always watch your children, and even if you were home, would you make them sit inside all day? You gotta instill in them a sense of conscience so they will think before acting, because you won't always be around.

Posted by: Five | September 29, 2006 9:18 AM

Regarding "witching hours" for baby, I always suspected that smelling dinner cooking could make a baby hungry even if baby was still nursing and not eating solids yet. I recall feeding before I started making dinner to keep my son from being really fussy while I cooked. It was also the only time I used the baby swing but he loved being in the swing in the kitchen watching me.

We handle the 4-6 pm hours for older kids by keeping to our routine but my three kids have always been slaves to their routine. Arrive home at 4:30, snack, homework at kitchen table while dinner gets started or if homework is done, the kids help make dinner. This also encourages them to try new things if they have helped prepare them. We don't do tv but they can be on the computer as long as I'm able to see what they're doing. I love this time with the kids! It's become our fun time instead of being so stressful as they have gotten older (now 12, 10 and 4).

I changed my work schedule to leave at 4 and it's working really well. My middle schooler is home for less than an hour before I get there and he spends that time getting himself a snack, doing some minor chores and starting his homework.

Posted by: SS | September 29, 2006 9:24 AM

To single mom for the homework problem - can they do any at aftercare? Depending on the amount of time they are in aftercare I would actually make sure this is an option. I know the school based programs insist on some time for the older children to do homework.

Other options - While you are making dinner can they keep you company while they do some homework (in second grade this is how my daughter did all her spelling homework)? Depending on the time school starts they may be able to do some work in the morning.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | September 29, 2006 9:36 AM

I've heard of this hour referred to as "The Cocktail Hour", though that may be a 50's approach...

I'll second the crock-pot/slow cooker meal. I have both ends teen and almost-toddler. Teen will occasionally make dinner (which rocks, though it's less than once-a week), and can feed himself, which takes some of the "I'm huuuungry" away. Teen son arrives home with Dad, who has an earlier work day. In prior years, his school would permit him to stay later with commuters in the cafeteria (all boys), so the "parents away, teens will play" didn't come into the picture.

My toughest scenario is husband and I really aren't good at "what's for dinner" besides talking about it. The slow cooker and leftovers is a recent development. What do couples do, assign roles?

Posted by: slazar | September 29, 2006 9:38 AM

Just wanted to clear something up (not that it's that big of a deal), but I actually do not have any children (one of those infamous childfree lurkers). Just curious as things have seem to be MUCH different since I was in high school 10+ years ago, so I was just curious how parents deal with these issues today.

Posted by: Betty | September 29, 2006 9:42 AM

In our house, we call it the "wee b*tching hour" and I've found one of the best ways to deal with getting us home from work and day care is that I enjoy a nice glass of wine while my two-year old eats her dinner. Then, my husband and I have dinner together after the little one goes to bed (at 7:30/8:00).

Have a great weekend everyone.

Posted by: Del Ray Mom | September 29, 2006 9:48 AM

To the mom expecting a baby:

Two things I couldn't live without: a crockpot, and a baby sling.

Do the crockpot when you have time, and then it's like someone else made dinner for you! Ask someone experienced to show you how to use a baby sling. My favorite hold for a newborn is upright on the chest with a very snug fit like you can get with one of the unpadded slings like the Mayawrap or Mamababy. In my experience, even very fussy babies love to be held in this upright, snug position, while you walk around doing whatever you need to do.

For my older kids, I offer fruit in the car on the way home from school, and then they go out to play if it's nice, or watch TV while I get dinner ready. We eat early (5:30), then immediately start the bedtime routine with my 3yo, and my 6yo plays board games with DH or does homework until her bedtime routine starts. We usually end up getting to bed by 9.

If DH is going to be very late, I serve dinner at the same time so the kids don't melt down.

Posted by: Fancy Feast | September 29, 2006 9:48 AM

Much better topic today!

We went through the witching hour when my kids were younger and serving a healthy snack did stave off the hunger - but it seems like we just suffered through it.

I am glad those days are over, although the whole evening seems like a blur with homework, soccer, friends and dinner.
Now that my kids are in school the 1-2 hours after school are a not as pleasant as they could be. When they get off the bus they are starving, so they eat a snack, but getting my daughter (8) to do her homework without fighting with the younger one (5)is a major chore. I think at this age it is about individual attention, so while some kids get that attention before bed or during dinner, I have to give it right after school.

Yes, the Crock Pot is your friend! I tend to use it more in the winter with stews and chilli. We also do a soup and sandwich night once a week and everyone once in awhile "breakfast for dinner" - the kids loved it when they could have pancakes or eggs and sausage for dinner. Figuring out dinner is probably the biggest obstacle.

Posted by: cmac | September 29, 2006 10:00 AM

To Momtobe:
Hate to tell you this, but at least for my daughter (and this isn't always the case), 5-9pm during her first three months were the worst. She pretty much cried all the time during those hours to the point where I was sure she had colic or something. There were a few times where we just had to leave her in her room crying so that we could eat dinner in peace. Everyone said she would grow out of it around three months and in fact she did!
Now she is 2 1/2 and it is still a tough time of day - actually my most stressful time of day and I have a full time job! Eating as soon as we get home is definitely key.

Posted by: Downtown | September 29, 2006 10:02 AM

Slazar, you sound like our house! I'm hoping to get pregnant soon, and we have a 13 year old, too (she's my stepdaughter, so no huge gap in my childbearing years). Luckily, partner gets off early, picks up daughter, and they go home for snacks and homework. Daughter is good about helping (we've gotten up to cooking pot roast in the crock pot and key lime pie already - with supervision, she's a great cook). Definately helps that she helps in the kitchen - no more 'how long?' about dinner, she knows it takes 10 minutes to thaw chicken in the microwave and cut it up, fifteen minutes to cook veggies, etc.

I have found that routine is the best thing to trigger the kidlet into doing what she should. Home, feed dogs and cat, have a snack, homework, I get home, make dinner, do laundry (with kidlet carrying from washer in back of house to dryer in front of house - YAY!)and then TV and talk, computer time, shower and bed. Of course, judo class, bowling, and church choir get in the way, but we just push a few things back and it works.

Posted by: Rebecca in AR | September 29, 2006 10:10 AM

My husband does all the cooking. He usually shops for dinner on his way home. (He takes the euro-approach to shopping for food daily.) So when I get home, I play with our son and give him a snack. Then we "help" daddy cook dinner. When he gets older, my husband wants him to chop veggies etc. so he can learn how to cook. I also find a glass of wine is a great help too. Call it my snack.

Posted by: alex. mom | September 29, 2006 10:11 AM

Hey, everyone -- y'all made it past 10am without any vitriol!

Good job!!

Also helped that Leslie didn't start things out with something inflammatory. Things usually just degrade from there.

Let's see if we can make it to noon!

Posted by: spunky | September 29, 2006 10:14 AM

Momtobe - My kids were both a lot fussier in the evening when they were babies. That seems to be the fussy time for alot of babies. When they were newborns and I was on maternity leave, the sling was a GODSEND. I could actually cook. I also had a bassinet set up in the kitchen with the second.

As for I handle the arsenic hours now - I let my husband handle them! Ha ha! Seriously though, on a good day I get home around 6 & hubby has dinner ready. (He gets home with the kids around 5:30). On Sundays I generally cook a couple of meals (hubby helps) and that way we have meals for the week that can be quickly prepared by just throwing together a salad or some veggies. Our toddler has a snack in the car on the way home so he isn't asking for dinner the moment he's home and he watches his half hour of PBS Sprout until dinner is ready. If he wants to hang out with Daddy while Daddy gets dinner ready, he sets the table with plastic plates and cups or we let him "feed the baby" by giving him Cheerios. After that we stick to our routine - bath, books, bed. The kids are in bed by 8 and then we clean up the mess.

If I come home late it throws the routine off a bit, but I'll usually just let everyone finish up their dinner & give our toddler & baby some of my undivided attention & then eat after they go to bed.

Posted by: Lawyer Mama | September 29, 2006 10:15 AM

Has anyone tried one of the "super suppers" type deals where you go once a month and cook a bunch of stuff to freeze? I thought it might be a fun thing to do with one of the kids but don't know if we'll eat what is available to cook. We do use our crock pot in the winter but not so much in the summer and I adore my breadmaker with a timer so that there's fresh bread baking when we get home. I like making menus and planning ahead but by mid-week we've scrapped the menu and are back in the "what's for dinner" quandry. Anyway, just wondered if anyone has tried the pre-cooking options now offered.

Posted by: SS | September 29, 2006 10:18 AM

As someone who doesn't leave the office until 5 pm, a 4:30 pm dinner time will not work for our family. I agree with all the posters that recommend a crockpot. By the time I pick up DS at 5 pm and then pick up DD at 5:40 pm, we are home by 6 pm and have dinner on the table by 6:30 pm.

Posted by: Fairfax County Mom of 2 | September 29, 2006 10:25 AM

FWIW -- I've never done this (I'm a guy!), but my sisters have, and they both liked it. It was reasonably priced, they found it kind of fun, and the food quality was good. They wouldn't do this all the time, but once in a while for variety.

Sounds like it's at least worth a try.

Posted by: spunky | September 29, 2006 10:26 AM

Oh - my last reply was to SS, re "super suppers".

Posted by: spunky | September 29, 2006 10:27 AM

Hey single mom,
I am in the same boat - my son is in aftercare until about 6 every day, so late dinners are the norm at our house. Like another poster, I try to have him do his homework immediately when we get home, while I am cooking dinner (he requests the same snack every day - an apple - don't know what I'll do if he ever outgrows his apple love!) Also like other posters, I usually have my menu planned out for the whole week so I don't have to scramble to figure something out at the last minute. Lack of energy/focus for homework has always been a huge problem for me as well, and the most helpful thing has been for me to have regular (daily) email with/from his teachers so I know exactly what needs to be done each night/week and that helps both of us stay organized. Another help, quite honestly, has been to let some things go. After dinner, I make him work on whatever homework is left until 7:30 - and then whatever doesn't get done, doesn't get done. I don't imagine his teachers appreciate this very much, but they bear with me :) I only get those few hours each night to "play mom", so to speak, and I don't like the whole of it to be spent fighting about homework, which is of questionable value to begin with. We always eat dinner together and there is no tv/screen time during the week, mostly because there just isn't time. I save all housework for after his bedtime and on weekends.

Posted by: TakomaMom | September 29, 2006 10:32 AM

We also divide up the cooking -- me during the week (I work at home), and DH on the weekends.

If one of us is not feeling up to cooking, we either just make pasta and frozen veggies or frozen pizza, or some not-too-unhealthy fast food, like Wendy's chili and baked potatoes.

Breakfast is harder for me, because my DD is so picky, but really needs to eat in order to focus at school.

My biggest challenge right now is that I would like the evenings at least once a week to be a fun, relaxing family night where we all feel relaxed and happy, rather than cranky, stressed, and tired.

Does anyone have ideas for a family fun night with a 3yo and 6yo, or is this asking too much right now?

Posted by: Fancy Feast | September 29, 2006 10:42 AM

Mom to Be: I second or third the recommendation for the sling - it was a lifesaver for me when my son was newborn. If you can ignore all the arguing from yesterday, there were several posts about different kinds and websites about them towards the end. My son didn't have a witching hour at first, then around 6 weeks he started crying a lot between about 6 and 9 pm. It lasted a few weeks. Walking around the block or the house in the sling helped, as did dancing to Sam and Dave's greatest hits.

I also second Scarry's recommendation to freeze some food now. One thing that I've heard of and would have loved had someone thought of it when I was pregnant is a food shower - instead of gifts, everyone brings a dish that can be frozen; it can stock you up for those first few weeks when things are hectic. I'm going to throw one for my neighbor who is expecting.

Scarry Happy Birthday! And New Mom, happy birthday to your son!

Posted by: Megan | September 29, 2006 10:46 AM

Thanks Takoma Mom, someone had to say it: "Another help, quite honestly, has been to let some things go."

Kids have to eat dinner and get to bed. All the other stuff "should" get done, but it's not the end of the world if all the homework isn't completed (for the little ones, at least), if the house isn't clean, if the laundry piles up. Sometimes these looming chores make me crazy, but if we let somethings go and that gives us more time with our kids, or more calm time with yur kids, then we are all better off. The quest for perfection and a completely crossed out "to-do" list just isn't worth the stress! I know this is tough to accept for a lot of parents (I'm one of them!)

Posted by: Arlington Dad | September 29, 2006 10:49 AM

To Fancy Feast,

We have a "family movie night" or "family game night" once a week on Friday or Saturday, or both. The movie has to be something everyone can watch, even the 4 year old. After she goes to bed, the older boys can watch part of another movie which is finished over the weekend then. We parents have had fun introducing the kids to some of the classics from when we were kids too. Game night is preferred by the kids, interestingly. The younger child either works with parent as a team or we play something with different levels. A favorite is "Kids on Stage" - kind of like charades. Cranium is another favorite.

Posted by: SS | September 29, 2006 10:56 AM

thanks megan, I feel like I am getting old, but I am grateful to be alive, safe and happy.

A food shower sounds great for an expectant mom, I'll remember that next time I have a pregnant friend. It might also be nice to treat them to one of those prep meals places another poster was talking about.

Posted by: scarry | September 29, 2006 10:57 AM

SS - I have done the prepared food thing. I'm in Norfolk & a lot of those places are popping up down here now. I'm sure there are tons in the DC area. You don't actually cook while you're there though. You assemble the meals according to their instructions & take them home to freeze. Then you cook them when you're ready to eat - again, according to their instructions. You can also buy them already prepared at a slightly higher price. The one I frequent - Coastal Cooks - has some kid friendly food on the menu every month. The macaroni & cheese was a big hit with my 2 year old.

The prepared meals are more expensive than doing everything yourself but it's still cheaper than take-out, even if you buy the already assembled meals.

Posted by: Lawyer Mama | September 29, 2006 10:57 AM

Well, to be honest - this is another area where I just say "whatever." ;o)

I'm familiar with the arsenic hour (although the first time I heard it the "witching hour" term was used), and I think we experience it, but we don't really do anything about it. And actually, the more that I think about it...maybe the kids *don't* experience it. I know that I'm usually more tired at that time of the day, but I guess they don't really act any differently.

My parenting philosophy is generally "don't make a huge deal about things and they usually fall into place", and I think the witching hour thing sort of fits into this. We don't do chore charts or sticker reward charts or anything like that, and we're very flexible on scheduling, naps, bedtimes, homework time, music practice time, etc. Everything gets done and nobody freaks out if someone or something is "off" for a day or two or if a wrench gets thrown into the
scheduling plans.

Betty - I have teenagers (12 & 14) and I agree completely with the idea of after school supervision for that age group. I don't think it's any more important to have a parent at home during those years than the early years, but I do think it's important. A good book on this subject is "Home Alone America." It's billed as an anti-daycare book but it's really about all sorts of "parental substitutes" and includes a large subject on the dangers older kids face when they don't have a present adult in their lives.

momtobe - I didn't really notice much difference in my babies during the late afternoon/early evening. However, the first time I did hear the term "witching hour" was in a parent/infant class, so obviously it's not unheard of. Babies often sense when you're stressed or tired and act accordingly. Baby slings or backpacks for older babies are great for this time (and all times) if your child needs to be carried but you just have to get things done around the house.

Posted by: momof4 | September 29, 2006 11:00 AM

'some not-too-unhealthy fast food, like Wendy's chili and baked potatoes.'

I admit to unhealthy fast food. When my kids were in elementary school and after-school care, they were also in sports with 5:30 or 6:00 practice times. With 2 kids, even if practice is only once per week, there were at least 2 days when we were basically going straight from after-care to practice with no time to go home for dinner. Chicken nuggets and french fries are much easier to eat in the car than chili, salads, and baked potatoes :).

Posted by: noname | September 29, 2006 11:03 AM

I love the idea of a food shower.

I wish I had lived in my current neighborhood when I had my babies. The neighborhood has the tradition of bringing over hot meals every day for a month after the baby is born (also for illnesses or surgeries).

Posted by: Ms L | September 29, 2006 11:09 AM

Re: Unhealthy Fast Food

I hardly ever ate fast food as a child. As an adult, I rarely ate fast food... until I was pregnant. (McDonalds must do covert advertising to the womb!) Fast food isn't bad once in a while. I was stunned at how inexpensive it is. You could feed a family of four for almost nothing! I can see why it is popular. It is inexpensive and easy.

Posted by: alex. mom | September 29, 2006 11:15 AM

Birthday boy

He took his first steps 2 weeks ago, but will only take 1-2 steps before panicking. It's been a tough few weeks - the terrible twos seem to be starting, and he's only 1. Lots of tantrums, and he just starting biting! ACK! I thought the hardest year was over!

Posted by: NewMom | September 29, 2006 11:16 AM

(submitted to early on the last post)

Does anyone have a good link for crockpot stuff? I always destroy a meal in a crockpot. When I use a slow cooker, DH calls it pizza night! (I think mine is unusually hot - I'll put it on Low for most recipes and it'll still be burnt)

Posted by: NEwMom | September 29, 2006 11:22 AM

Sport Bars? Was that you, Meesh? Hanging offense to take underaged peeps to sports bars! Funny and I had no idea the curious image you could construct about our our after-school/evening taxi runs.

Would still LOVE advice on sport bars or "nutritian" bars; I mean the ones with some measure of protein, not the granola bars.

Hi Friendly Betty: teens do need parents and other caring adults in their after school world. The largest use of the internet, worldwide and on all measures, is porn-related. Kids are tapping in, at many ages. Unlike the fluffy-bunny Playboy mags of yore, what is out there is dark, horrific, demeaning, and triple-yuck.

Worth a discussion with said children, and parents of buddies. The parental controls on web access are imperfect. Check them often.

Another digital danger concerns text messaging, and friendship "neighborhoods" like myspace and livejournal. I know of several wonderful girls who have been cyber-bullied by other "wonderful" girls. Some schools are taking on this problem, but please consider a discussion about digital communication key to parenting your tweens and teens.

Having said that, most teens are wonderful and very busy with sports, drama, friendships, homework, etc.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 29, 2006 11:23 AM

To single mom: have your child do homework at aftercare. Our daughter has been doing this since first grade. She leaves for home the stuff that she could not figure out or that involves discussion. When she gets home, she gets a little bit of time to decompress then I check her homework while making dinner. The children need to understand early on that getting their homework done is their responsibility, not yours, and that schoolwork takes precedence over play, TV etc. during the week. The kids have some milk and fruit or crackers while waiting for dinner. I try to have dinner ready between 6:30 and 7 which is a challenge,since I don't get home with the kids until about 5:45. I pre-ccok a lot of things the night before, cook enough for 2 days etc. But as a nutritionist, I have made it a priority to have healthy home cooked meals every night. As a result, our children have great eating habits, but a 6 pm meal is pretty much impossible.
Re: the witching hour for babies. We experienced this with both of our children though it was worse with the oldest. Started around 6 weeks and lasted until about 12-14 weeks and involved uninterrupted screaming for one or two hours every evening. What helped us get through it was that, having read "Touchpoints" by Brazelton, we knew that she was not hungry, or colicky, or hurting but this was a normal reaction to the major neurologic growth she was going through at that age. So we had to get through it but we did not have to keep wondering what was up. What worked? Dad would hold her in his arms while walking on the treadmill or he would put her in her carseat and drive around. Seems that quiet with motion really soothed her.

Posted by: FC Mom | September 29, 2006 11:36 AM

"It's been a tough few weeks - the terrible twos seem to be starting, and he's only 1. Lots of tantrums, and he just starting biting! ACK!"

NewMom, I've read in a lot of places that kids are prone to tantrums and also sleep disruptions when they are mastering a new skill, like walking, and I do think that has been the case with my son. Cross your fingers that this may pass as he gets more comfortable on his feet!

Posted by: Megan | September 29, 2006 11:37 AM

homework at aftercare doesn't work for all kids. my daughter quickly learned to say that she didn't understand any of her homework in order to save it for home. Also, the kids have been in school all day. I think that many of them need the break and that playtime during aftercare is actually very beneficial.

Once they get home and have dinner and homework, there really isn't much time for them to play, especially with school friends who may not live in the same neighborhood. My children have very fond memories of afterschool and built very good friendships.

Posted by: noname | September 29, 2006 11:38 AM

Thanks everyone for your advice! My mother wants stay and help with my newborn. I've been told to be watchful of this. I love my mom... but from your experiences, is it helpful or will it be more like an invasion of privacy?

Posted by: momtobe | September 29, 2006 11:39 AM

This has to be the best topic that was ever posted on this board.

In our house, I get home before my husband at 5-5:30ish and give my son a snack--and he either plays with neighbor friends or watches a movie until dinner's ready. And he chats with me while I cook. Then, when my husband gets home about 6:30-ish, we eat. Which seems to work in our house.

Posted by: Excellent Topic!!!! | September 29, 2006 11:45 AM

to momtobe:

When my mother-in-law came to help with the new baby, I hid her car keys so she couldn't leave. Didn't work.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | September 29, 2006 11:45 AM

momtobe -

Your mother coming can be wonderful. Just communicate and let her know what would be helpful.

Some new moms want grandma to take care of house and meals and leave new mom alone to take care of baby.

Others don't care what the house looks like and want grandma to help with baby so mom can rest.

If you work it out in advance, it can be wonderful.

Posted by: noname | September 29, 2006 11:47 AM

Scarry, Happy Birthday! Do you mind telling us how many that makes? At least give us a few off topic words.

NewMom, If your child panicks after a step or 2, you may want to get him a toy baby carriage for his birthday. When babies have something to hold on to as they walk, the panick syndrome goes away.

And make sure to put a baby doll inside the carriage. This will help him get in touch with his feminine side and hopefully he'll turn into a caring, supporting big brother or father someday.

Posted by: Father of 4 | September 29, 2006 11:48 AM

What does it mean to check a child's homework?

Posted by: Lee | September 29, 2006 11:49 AM

I would have sold my kidney for my mom to be able to come and help me with the baby. She couldn't come, but it would have been nice.

However, the help should be washing the clothes, fixing dinner, giving you a break to rest, etc. Some mothers come and take over everything baby, I geuss it just depends on how your mom is.

Posted by: scarry | September 29, 2006 11:49 AM

glad to see you back father of 4. I am 32 today. I got the wrinkle products in my drawer to prove it too! Actually, i'm trying to get rid of the freckles!

Posted by: scarry | September 29, 2006 11:51 AM

If your mom wants to come and help YOU, that's great. If she wants to take care of the baby...could be problematic because she will want to do things her way, instead of letting you figure it out (with her there as back-up). I had an unplannned C-section and was so glad my mom was there to bring the baby to me, make me lunch, etc. But she was careful not to say to me (or more importantly, to my husband--who had no baby experience and no confidence about it) "don't do it this way." She gave advice but didn't take over. You know your mom and what she's likely to be like...decide if you and your husband want her around.

Posted by: Arlmom | September 29, 2006 11:53 AM

Like noname, I've found it difficult to get my son to do his homework at aftercare - it's a far more distracting environment having all his friends run around playing than sitting at our dining room table while I make dinner! I also think that decompression play time immediately after school makes it easier to transition back into homework when he gets home.

Posted by: TakomaMom | September 29, 2006 11:57 AM

There's an interesting article in today's Post about Jesus Camp. Wish it had been around when my children were teenagers.

Posted by: Elaine | September 29, 2006 12:07 PM

Newmom, do you have a Rival brand crockpot? They run really hot - hotter than most other brands. Check around Amazon for a different one if that's the brand you have. The reviews really are a good indicator of what's worth the money and what's not. I have a West Bend brand, but not one that's listed on Amazon, it seems.

Posted by: re. crockpots | September 29, 2006 12:08 PM

momtobe, we had both sets of parents in the beginning, then my mom stayed longer to help out. I was incredibly grateful for her help, and we hvae the type of relationship where I could tell her what I needed and what I didn't need and it was no problem. So that was great. In addition to letting her know what you think you'll want up front, here's my two other things to consider:

1) With my inlaws, who were not as helpful with washing, cooking etc, I felt a little awkward about leaving them and going to lie down and rest when I needed to. If that would be the case with your mom, you might want to address that up front.

2) Will she be staying in your house? My mom did (but not the inlaws, thank goodness!) and it made it a little awkward at night at first - she would hear the baby crying in the night and come to see if she could help, and it made me feel stressed even though that wasn't her intent. She stopped after the first couple nights and it was fine but you might think about if she can stay somewhere else if that would be easier on you.

Otherwise it was an incredible gift and I'm so glad she was there.

Posted by: Megan | September 29, 2006 12:13 PM

On the topic of homework-- I recently read that there is no evidence homework is at all helpful academically, particularly for younger (not yet in high school) kids.
http://www.macleans.ca/topstories/education/article.jsp?content=20060911_133063_133063
Parents of school-aged kids, what do you think of homework? How much does it intrude on family time?

Posted by: YetAnotherSAHM | September 29, 2006 12:14 PM

Re: Sports bars--I like the balance brand because they're just that: 30-30-40 fat protein carb. Also the south beach bars aren't bad in a pinch and are good for summer since they're not coated.

Re: Moms coming to stay--depends on the Mom. I had a fall while pregnant and broke my ankle. We have a three year old and a correspondingly laissez-faire housekeeping style (as in lived-in, not dirty) and my Mom drove me and DH crazy re-organizing our stuff all day. When she actually told me "it would have been so much easier for me if you'd cleaned out your pantry before breaking your leg"; it was time for her to go!

Posted by: PTJobFTMom | September 29, 2006 12:22 PM

Along with communities, many churches have a setup where volunteers will cook dinners for new moms, those dealing with illnesses, and other short-term issues.

Posted by: Working Dad | September 29, 2006 12:28 PM

We have a 30 month old and a 5 month old, with a SAHM. The best thing that ever happened to the "poison hour" was me getting fired and taking a pay cut... from a job that got me home at 6:30p to a job that gets me home at 5:00p. We miss the money a little, but "poison hour" has become "tricycle hour" (with the trike supervising parent holding the 5 month old). matt in st paul, mn

Posted by: fasolamatt | September 29, 2006 12:31 PM

To momtobe-Regarding mother coming to visit - it worked out great with my first, not so great with my second. My mother was a god-send with my oldest. I also had had a C-section and couldn't drive for awhile. She got us to the doctor's for my baby's well-child visits, went to the grocery store, cooked dinner, and only gave advice with respect to the baby when I obviously really needed it. Actually, it was more that she helped me calm down when the baby did things like unexpectedly poop again in the middle of a diaper change, meaning we'd have a clean-up to do while already running late to the doctor's.
Not to mention that it was wonderful to have her company when I would have otherwise been alone all day, and then my husband was able to take his leave after she left.

It was a little harder with my second, because my oldest was 2 years old and not adjusting well to a baby brother. So a lot of the time there my mother was critiquing my disciplining skills (or lack thereof). And she wasn't so nice to my daughter because of how my daughter was acting, even if enough time had gone by that my daughter probably didn't have any idea why anyone would be upset with her.

Regarding food as baby gifts, there are a lot of frozen (but a step above those at the grocery store) meal delivery services on the internet now. A friend of mine had her family's only grandchild and, from what I heard, was already loaded with baby clothes and toys. She lives across the country, so I sent her some food from one of those sites. It seems to have been a big hit. I used aoki (or something like that) because they had a lot of vegetarian selections, and she's vegetarian. If you want the new couple to have some expensive restaurant quality type meals, you can try homebistro.com. But their vegetarian dishes are limited to pasta.

Posted by: Sam | September 29, 2006 12:32 PM

I'm anti-homework until middle school at the very least, and even then, I'm only OK with it if it's relevant and productive and not just to "teach responsibility." It's my job to teach my children responsibility, thank you very much. And assigning silly worksheets to do at home just to build responsibility is, well, silly at the least and bordering on insane. Let children be *children*.

Luckily, the teachers at my children's elementary don't generally start homework until the 4th grade or so (other than read-at-home, which isn't a problem because we do it anyway and it is relevant and productive), and my middle and high schoolers have a study hall period where they do most of their homework - so we haven't ever had a problem with homework eating into family time.

But the homework they do have is done after dinner - I agree with the poster who said that kids need to have time after school to play, decompress, and just be kids.

Posted by: momof4 | September 29, 2006 12:34 PM

Checking homework means for example I look at her math page and see if her calculations are right. If not, we go over it and I explain to her the things that she does not understand. It also means that I make sure she gets all her assignements done.
Re: homework at aftercare, it depends how the school organizes things. At my daughter's school, the kids first get to have a snack and go outside and play. After about an hour, they come back in and all of them have to be quiet and do homework for an hour. Then they go back outside for more play time. So they do get time with friends, time to decompress and time to get their work done. Their school day runs from 8-3 and aftercare runs from 3-6.
Whether homework in the elementary grades is useful or not is certainly open for debate. My daughter has had some silly assignements and some very meaningful ones. But I find that checking her math homework really helps us to see what concepts she is having trouble grasping and gives us the opportunity to help her with those. Does that mean we are doing somethe teacher's work? With 25 kids in the classroom, that is probably the case.

Posted by: FC mom | September 29, 2006 12:37 PM

put 'crock pot recipe' into a google search

Posted by: experienced mom | September 29, 2006 12:45 PM

I have a question. How do you manage to get home at 430 to start cooking? Or earlier? I'd feel weird leaving work at 4 pm. I guess flextime would help, but how would you get the kids to school if you had to be at work by 7 am? Does Dad help? Are there staggered hours between couples? OBviously I'm not a parent, or I'd have figured this out. I'm just curious how you manage to work all day and still get home so early to make dinner. Especially with Beltway traffic!

It always interests me to see how other people handle their schedules. It can't be easy being a working parent.

Posted by: Mona | September 29, 2006 12:50 PM

This only works if you have a babysitter or relative who cares for your kids in your home during the day, but I always have the sitter feed the kids right before I get home from work (they start around 5:15 and I'm home around 5:45). I put together their lunches and dinners the night before, and have the sitter heat them up the following day.

So they are fed and happy when I come home, and we can spend uninterrupted time together. They go to bed early, which means there is not much time for me to spend with them between when I get home and their bedtime, so I like to maximize that time by playing. I think when they get older and can feed themselves with more dexterity I'll probably change to eating dinner WITH them, but for now the difficulty of getting food into their mouths without making a huge mess makes it impossible for me to eat at the same while they do.

I think for whatever your situation, consider cooking in bulk on the weekend or at night, freezing and reheating meals instead of cooking every evening. When you're too tired to think of what to eat, you just reach in the freezer and pull out some portions of homemade mac n cheese and some frozen veggies. Works great for me.

Posted by: 2Preschoolers | September 29, 2006 12:50 PM

To the person who asked about leaving work at 4:00:

I'm not the person who gets home by 4:30, but I do leave work at 4:00. By the time I do the hour commute and pick the kids up, it's 5:30 when I get home. I leave the house by 6:30 so I can get to work by 7:30. Obviously my husband gives the kids breakfast and gets them to the bus. The only down side of this schedule is that my daughter gets up earlier than she should to see me in the morning, so she is not getting the sleep she should. She hears the garage door go up and comes running. It's sweet and I know that later I'll long for the days when she actually wanted to spend time with me, but I worry about her. Otherwise I'd try to push my hours even earlier, from 7:00 to 3:30, so I could get everyone home by 5:00.

I work for the government. Because they don't pay as well as the private sector, I think government agencies tend to be a little more flexible. I also make a point of switching duties with my husband if I'm working against a deadline and think I'll need to stay late, or if an afternoon meeting is scheduled. If you put in extra when necessary, your employer should be happy to be flexible if it means keeping you.

I'm glad you have open eyes when it comes to being a working parent. I had no idea it would be so hard until I did it!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 29, 2006 12:55 PM

My oldest child, as a baby, had witching hours to beat the band. Somewhere along the line, I figured out she was exhausted (despite naps throughout the day). I started putting her to bed at 5:30 every night, and with one feeding at midnight, she slept until 5:30am. That was just her schedule, and she was fine after that. We were all happier. To all new moms, I think Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child (Wisebluth) is the only book you need to own!

Posted by: Been there | September 29, 2006 1:07 PM

I'm one who does leave at 4:00 but I start at 7:00 and we do have flextime. I'm there to wake up the kids and help with little girl hair but DH does most of breakfast and makes lunches. I do cut up fruit and veggies on the weekends and make sure there if food for both breakfast and lunches. He takes the kids to school/bus and I pick them up. We have short commutes though - we live in about a 5 mile "box" between home, two schools (the third is futher but has a bus that picks up near us), and two offices. I don't think what we do could work if we had long drives too. We're not in the DC area either but way, way out West (Western US). When we did have long drives (and long out here is about 45 minutes) it was much more stressful. We opted then for all three kids in one private school to make it simpler but that won't work now that we have 1 middle, 1 elementary and 1 preschool. We also limit out afterschool activities so that we're not running around every evening. I wonder about the kids missing out on some things but they have free time and play time that they didn't have when we were running to and from practices and games nearly everyday.

Posted by: SS | September 29, 2006 1:10 PM

I'm glad to see we're not the only ones who have dinner at 4:30 sometimes!

I have flex time, so I work from 6:30 to 3:00 pm. I only have one child, so it's not too bad when I get home, but 4 - 6 is definitely a tough time of the day. He's excited that I'm home and demands my attention, I'm tired but want to re-connect with him, and we're all hungry!

My husband and I sometimes let him have a small snack, or he'll nurse for a bit (he's 2 and a half, so he doesn't nurse much now). Then one of us makes dinner while the other plays with him or reads to him. It generally works pretty well.

Posted by: PA mom | September 29, 2006 1:15 PM

Momtobe - Having the grandparents there to help out was wonderful for us. With our first child, my husband took 2 weeks off so everyone gave us the first 2 weeks on our own to figure things out & bond as a new family. Then my mom came for a couple of weeks & did all the mundane house stuff, cooked, and took the baby when I needed a nap. Then the in-laws came for a couple of weeks & did the same thing. It was great!

For the second child, I had a planned c-section & my mom came out a few days before & took care of our toddler while I was in the hospital. My husband had less time off, so she drove us around & again did all the mundane house stuff, cooking, AND taking care of my toddler (when he wasn't in daycare) to leave me free to take care of the baby and sleep. She said she was exhausted by the time she got home! The in-laws again came right after her & did the same thing.

It can be great. Just make sure everyone has the same idea about why she's coming, when she's coming & for how long. Good luck!

Posted by: Lawyer Mama | September 29, 2006 1:22 PM

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one getting home around 6 - I feel a bit less guilty.
I do a combo of above suggestions,too:
Kindergarten daughter starts her homework with snack in hand (and I'm perplexed at homework in kindergarten, but it does give us an opportunity to connect and talk/discuss how her day went)
Hopefully had enough time to start a crockpot meal in the morning and that is ready or
Whole grain pasta and sauce or
McDonalds - though I try to keep it to once a week
Another quick one: the five minute couscous with a drained can of beans and can of drained diced tomatoes, with some cheese mixed in.

I think I'm going to give the sling a try - one year old is getting to a clingy-underfoot-can't be distracted stage.

Posted by: LGB | September 29, 2006 1:30 PM

While we're talking about easy, fast dinners-- the Black Beans & rice recipe on Goya Black Beans is very good, and my kids love it.

Posted by: YetAnotherSAHM | September 29, 2006 1:34 PM

Re: dinner hour
My mom had an interesting style growing up. It helps that she was a Chinese cooking instructor, but her techniques were universal. She always made extra and leftovers were put in individual containers in the freezer. About 30-40 minutes before dinner, if we didn't like what was served, we all knew how to get something out of the freezer and put it in the microwave. If it needed to be baked or cooked on the stove, Mom usually watched over it. Mom and Dad always had whatever was fresh that day, but we kids (three of us) could have fresh or frozen. It stopped a lot of arguments. People were often aghast when she told them that sometimes we had 3-4 different things for dinner. She hated when people said "well, they'll eat what I cook for them!" She always responded that she cooked everything, just not that night. She felt better when we ate a full meal of something that we liked rather than have us eat only half a meal of something we didn't like.

I know that when my wife was recovering from surgeries, I started a similar pattern. I made a meal of something we loved one night and made extra. I put leftovers in containers in the freezer that could be microwaved for a quick meal. Then after she went back for her after dinner nap, I would check, if we were running low of "freezer meals" then I would cook something else and either put it in the fridge for the next night's meals or just portion it and freeze it. It meant that when I got home from work, I didn't have to work too hard to get a meal ready. I have lots of recipes for various casseroles or other freeable meals (many from Mom!). Meals that didn't freeze well were reserved for the weekends when I had more time.

For those who have the hectic witching hour, cooking after your kids go to bed may be a way to get more productive time with the kids. You can spend time with them over a snack, or homework. I know this may not fit with the standards of the nutritionist, but it's all about balance and finding that individual balance that will fit your lifestyle and family.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 29, 2006 1:36 PM

"To all new moms, I think Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child (Wisebluth) is the only book you need to own!"

I also found this book very helpful. Author's last name is actually Weissbluth though, if you go looking for it.

My eldest used to have a period in the day that we referred to as the "evening squawk" where she would just cry for a while where there seemed to be nothing we could do for her. In hindsight, I think it was a sign that she just needed to be put to bed for the evening even though it seemed early.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | September 29, 2006 1:48 PM

Checked out Achenbach for the last couple of days. It is touted by some as being for persons with higher than average IQs, but it still seems to have a lot of self-important windbags.

Posted by: Elaine | September 29, 2006 1:56 PM

Here's a crockpot recipe the anyone can do with both eyes closed, one arming the baby on a bum knee:

Drop a package of chicken thighs into the crockpot, add a bottle of Bull's Eyes BBq sauce. Cook on low for 10 - 14 hours.

The most difficult thing to do in this recipe is to open the bottle of BBQ sause. I use my teeth.

It will be ready when you walk in the door after work and the entire house will smell great.

Posted by: Father of 4 | September 29, 2006 2:09 PM

On the subject of crockpots, does anyone have any recommendations for GOOD crockpot or slowcooker cookbooks? The one I have was written in the 60's and has produced some pretty awful meals.

Posted by: hallomar | September 29, 2006 2:14 PM

As for easy, healthy (ish) snack bars, the Special K bars in Strawberry and Chocolate aren't bad - and those new 100 calorie packs of cookies, chips, etc. are a godsend. I can throw two of them (one sweet, one salty) in my daughter's Judo bag and know that she's getting 'junk food' that's portion controlled, relatively healthy, and low in fat. We get a big box of them from Sam's Club at least once a month. Plus, they come in flavors and brands that are familiar - it's much easier for me to coax Teddy Grahams and Ritz chips than graham crackers and pita chips.

Easy dinners - my family lives on boneless, skinless chicken breast a good deal of the time. Get the frozen breasts in big bags (also from Sam's Club) and I can thaw two in the microwave in less than 10 minutes. A little olive oil in the cast iron skillet, seasoning to taste (garlic and onions diced and caramelized with the chicken is awesome, and goes nicely with some brown rice or egg noodles). I can generally get the chicken defrosting, heat the pan while it's waiting and start rice, cut the chicken up (kitchen shears are a godsend!) directly into the pan (I do small strips for portion control and to speed cooking). By the time the chicken's in the pan, I just need to stir rice or drain noodles, throw veggies in the microwave, and call DD to come help me get everything into the dining room. 20 minute meals made easy... gee, I should write a book. ;-)

Posted by: Rebecca in AR | September 29, 2006 2:15 PM

[Checked out Achenbach for the last couple of days.]

Elaine, the Achenbloggers have always been very kind to me, despite the fact that they knowI'm blind.

Sorry for the trouble I caused on Tuesday, I don't think I ever want to do that again.

Posted by: Father of 4 | September 29, 2006 2:19 PM

Homework in Kindergarten! Is this mandatory? If my kid doesn't turn in the homework, will she be held back from 1st grade?

The parents in my school district wouldn't stand for this policy!

Posted by: Lee | September 29, 2006 2:19 PM

My second child cried for around 2 hours every single night from around 6-8 pm. The only time he wasn't crying was when he was cluster-nursing. I assumed he had colic. I told his pediatrician about this and she suggested that I cut down on my dairy intake. I did, and no more crying! So now I'm spreading the word to other nursing Moms.

As far as dealing with the witching hours in general, in our situation it is usually a balance between the 8 month old who desperately wants to nurse and the 3 year old who wants a snack and my undivided attention. So for now we keep the TV off to be as present as possible for the kids. Food-wise the hubby and I are big fans of the steam-in-bag vegetables. No mess and they only take around 6 minutes in the microwave. And since getting the hubby a new grill, which he loves, he can usually take care of the meat. But I can feel crock-pot weather coming on again....I really do love that crock pot chili.

Posted by: IA Mom | September 29, 2006 2:24 PM

Along with the crock pot, we really love our rice maker. We can set the timer for having rice (white, brown, or even tapioca pudding for dessert) and we also use it for oatmeal in the morning (we fix it the night before and set the timer). We have oatmeal every morning, with lots of different mix-ins for variety. Since we started doing this, my husband's cholesterol has dropped more than 40 points. It's easy, healthy, delicious, and VERY cheap (once the fancy rice maker is purchased).

Posted by: Ms L | September 29, 2006 2:25 PM

Oh, and Fof4, we do that, too - but I either use a trimmed pork tenderloin (and lots of water) and add the sauce once it's done, or I use chicken breasts (leaner). Crockpot meals are so nice - even if I do wake up at 4 am craving whatever I put in the crockpot that night for the next night's dinner. (I always cook meat overnight on low)

Posted by: Rebecca in AR | September 29, 2006 2:27 PM

My favorite sports bars: Crystal City Sports CLub or Champps..:-)

Everyone have a great weekend and cheer for the Redskins!

Posted by: Missicat | September 29, 2006 2:28 PM

Fo4 - Glad to "see" you back! :)

Crockpot recipes - check out weightwatcher.com - seriously. There are lots of good for you crockpot recipies and if you ask or search on the message boards they will give you lots of information.

Posted by: Betty | September 29, 2006 2:33 PM

I'm sorry, Fo4, that you were so beaten up on Tuesday. I was so bothered by it I was considering leaving the blog. I'm still thinking about it. Of course, if you haven't left, and you were the injured party, I should probably stay too... though my guest blog won't be appearing anytime soon.

Posted by: Ms L | September 29, 2006 2:38 PM

Father of 4

Even though the Achenbloggers are kind to you, can you see how I'm turned off by some of the bragging that goes on?

Posted by: Elaine | September 29, 2006 2:38 PM

My husband makes oatmeal (steel cut) in the crockpot. It is the best breakfast, esp. in the winter. He got it off of Alton Brown on FoodTv. If you rush to cook breakfast in the morning, this makes a great alternative.

Posted by: alex. mom | September 29, 2006 2:39 PM

Elaine--As one who has been essentially called a windbag here, I find it a far more congenial atmosphere than here. Although they may be windbags, they are far nicer people in general and have far fewer vipers in their midst than the On Balance regulars. Instead of petty insults and bickering like here, there is conversation and debate over there.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 29, 2006 2:42 PM

I have never heard that term. Nor do my wife and I, nor have my parents or hers, made any special distinction for that time of day. Stressful? I don't get it.

Posted by: bkp | September 29, 2006 2:47 PM

Thanks, you guys who answered my question about getting home at 4:30. I can't believe you guys are out the door at 6:30 am! At that time I am still in bed pushing my cat away because she wants to be fed at dawn! No wonder the "arsenic hour" is so difficult for you, if you are out that early. I'm lucky...single with no kids, and have OCD so it takes me extra time to get out the door. I was proud of myself for being in before 9 am. That's why I am so baffled by being able to be home before 5 pm. If I'm out of work before 8 pm I consider myself lucky. But you guys must function on NO sleep. I won't be a mom for many, many years, but I want to do it right if it happens, so I'm thinking ahead. Thanks for all the insights. This blog has helped me a lot to put things in perspective. It's a bit overwhelming, everything you guys have to go through. Most of you seem to have helpful Dads in the picture, and that's great. I feel sorry for single moms...can't imagine how hard it must be on them...

Posted by: Mona | September 29, 2006 2:50 PM

regular posters,

scarry, niner, megan, faher of 4, rebecca from AR, rockville, alex. mom, cmac, and you.

How do you know they are far nicer people, it's a blog.

dadwannabee, you are being rude to people who are usually nice to you. Maybe if you don't like this blog and its regulars, you should go back over to the other blog.

Posted by: todadwannabe | September 29, 2006 2:54 PM

FYI, I've found that the Betty Crocker Slow Cooker Cookbook works pretty well. Not all the recipes work great, but I've found a number of winners there.

Now, one of my favorite crock pot recipes and one that is my own and not from a book, but is still one of the more popular things that I cook. Mac and Beef. A crock pot recipe that is easy (just not as easy as some already posted). However, this one does require a second pot.

I cook some sort of macaroni pasta (we like shells, but I've used almost every variety over the years...and the last couple of years have converted to using whole grain macaronis); cook al dente as the pasta will cook more in the crock pot. I brown ground turkey with chopped onions and garlic (I get garlic minced in jars). Toss pasta and meat into crock pot along with jar spaghetti sauce (we use low sugar, low calorie types) and shredded cheese (skim milk shredded mozzarella and skim parmesan work for us). Make it a little soupy as the pasta will absorb fluid. Optional: add spices like basil or oregano or canned chopped tomatoes or chopped frozen broccoli or other veggies. Cook for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 on low. A little while before you are ready to serve, pour some hot water in to make more "sauce". Add bagged salad with a couple of toppings and dinner is pretty easy. I've have a large crock pot and I've made this for pot-lucks. It's usually one of the most popular dishes and goes like crazy. Best, adults and kids both love it. Takes about 20 minutes to prep, but still pretty easy.

Basically, you can't go wrong with tomato sauce and pasta and with the heart-healty 1% fat ground turkey, low-fat/skim cheeses, whole grain pastas, it's pretty healthy. Adding in broccoli and you get some leafy greens in your meal too.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 29, 2006 3:00 PM

To Fo4 - I am a lurker, and a rare poster. I was so disgusted by the responses on Tuesday, I stopped reading early on. I'm awfully glad you're back. Don't let the idiots get you down.

Posted by: Rare Poster | September 29, 2006 3:00 PM

I apologize for going off topic but I just found out I may be pregnant again and I'm desperate to know, from the more experienced parents here, how hard is it to go from having 1 child to having 2? Is it harder to go from 0 kids to 1, or from 1 to 2?

How much trouble am I in?;-) DS will be 2 when #2 arrives.

Posted by: 1 Plus 1 | September 29, 2006 3:03 PM

todadwannabe--sorry. I should have worded that better. I misplaced my words. I should have said "...have far fewer vipers in their midst than regularly post in On Balance"

Yes, the named regulars are very nice. I just find that the volume of nasty people (quite often anonymous posters) is very high here.

I apologize to the "regulars" who may have been insulted. I don't have a problem with most of the regulars.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 29, 2006 3:06 PM

I can now tell that I didn't miss anything by logging out of the blog early on Tuesday morning. Today, however, has been much more helpful in terms of techniques to balance work and family.

We too love the crockpot but my biggest help has been to prepare the night before and the middle schooler who gets home about 3:30 can turn something on, or even better, take a roaster out of the fridge and put it in the oven, and turn on the oven. All of this requires me to be on the phone with him, but it works. He loves it that he's helped and we can have meals with texture rather than some of our less successful crockpot mushes. It really does get easier as the kids get bigger, at least in some respects.

Posted by: SS | September 29, 2006 3:07 PM

To 1 plus 1:

My first two are 26 months apart and it was a far easier adjustment to go from 1 to 2 than it was from 0 to 1. FWIW, the kids are extremely close and we have very little sibling rivalry, and really they are each other's good friends and supporters. The best part was that the 2 year old still napped, so did baby and so did I. At 10 and 12, the age difference seems bigger now than it has before but they still get along well. Perhaps it is an economy of scale thing but the second child didn't change things as much as I had feared.

Posted by: SS | September 29, 2006 3:09 PM

Thank you for the thoughtful ideas about homework. To be honest, my son has lately taken the initiative and done his homework at aftercare a few times so that he can save time in the evening to do drawing, which he loves, but I know sometimes he needs the time there to play on the playground with friends, do Legos, etc, so I am open to his saving it for the evening...

I think many of you hit it on the head when you wrote about the relative value of homework. I want to convey to my son the importance of making a good effort on his homework and being responsible, but there are some occasions when he is given "busy-work." Most nights now he asks me, "What is the point of homework?" and I try to explain, but my experience has been that when he gets good, engaging assignments this whining tends to die down, because it is obvious to him what the point is.

Posted by: single mom | September 29, 2006 3:10 PM

don't sweat it dadwannabe. Father of 4 I posted that information for your buddy wilbrod over there on the other blog about checking out the nonprofit sector. Do you know what he does?

I love my crockpot, it's the best invention ever. I take a pot roast and put it in there with either bbq sauce or any sauce of your choice. I add vegtables, seasons, etc. We eat that one day, then you can chop it up for salads the next or even make it into a soup.

Posted by: scarry | September 29, 2006 3:10 PM

FWIW, I agree that some people went over the line on Tuesday re beating up on Fo4. But they did have a point, namely that with these blogs, you can't just assume that anything anyone says is accurate or truthful. They're strangers, and if you don't know them personally, you can't really vouch for them.

And of course you can't even really tell if a poster is who he says he is, since anyone can post under any name.

So I think a little healthy skepticism is justified. IMHO

But again, I agree that some of the bashing Tuesday was way too much.

Posted by: spunky | September 29, 2006 3:18 PM

MomtoBe: I had totally forgotten about my 3 year old's bewitching hours! (5'sih to 8'ish). There are several types of slings out there. My husband was very good at this but I do recall many dinners with her in it. I would recommend "The Happiest Baby on the Block". Sheds some good light on the "4th trimester". Also, rest during the day, your nights will be long and very tiring. Babies eat every 2 hours all day/night long but not forever! Have quick meals to fed yourself during the day, you will have many, many times where you have to decide "do I eat or sleep?". Forget showering. ;0)

I am very blessed with a wonderful MIL. She was sooo helpful in my recovery. Both times. She would take the baby from me after being fed, change them, rock them and tend to them so I could sleep. She made so much food, helped with laundry and tidied up. While I was very worried about her criticizing or judging me - she did not. She had one purpose, to help me recovery and tend to the baby.

First child she stayed for 2 weeks. By end of the second week, I was fully recovered and the timing of her stay was perfect. Second child, her stay was longer but that was fine since we had already been down that road together.

Now I need to break out the crockpot! I forgot about that too!

Posted by: TryingtoKeepItInPerspective | September 29, 2006 3:19 PM

I apologize for going off topic but I just found out I may be pregnant again and I'm desperate to know, from the more experienced parents here, how hard is it to go from having 1 child to having 2? Is it harder to go from 0 kids to 1, or from 1 to 2?

How much trouble am I in?;-) DS will be 2 when #2 arrives.

Posted by: 1 Plus 1 | September 29, 2006 03:03 PM
________________

I only have one but was told that the work doesn't double, it grows exponentially. However, my friend added it was worth it. Congratulations!

Posted by: alex. mom | September 29, 2006 3:21 PM

What a breath of fresh air! This is the best day I've ever seen on this blog!

Thanks to all those who posted tips. I'm pregnant with my first and found it all very helpful, especially the stuff about getting help after the birth and dealing with newborns.

To the person who said, "I feel sorry for single mothers"-- I was raised by a single mom and I still don't know how she did it. It's truly mind boggling when I consider she worked full time, put herself through college and raised me on her own and a continent away from her family. But when I ask her about it, ask her where she found the energy, she said, "Oh, you just adjust and deal with it. It wasn't so bad." She has a lot of grit (and knows how to use denial to her advantage :-)

Amusing the couple of trolls that tried to stir up the hornets' nest by needlessly bringing up Tuesday's debacle or comparisons with Achenblog on such a pleasant day... let's keep practicing NOT feeding the trolls and keeping things pleasant!

Posted by: JKR | September 29, 2006 3:25 PM

To 1 Plus 1:

In a lot of ways, going from 1 to 2 is easier than 0 to 1. Having a clue about what to do with the new baby makes a HUGE difference. You're more confident, have less fear of the unknown, and heck, in terms of baby prep, you already have a lot of the stuff you need. When on maternity leave with my first, I couldn't get anything done just because it took all my time to learn how to care for a baby. With #2, I was able to care for a baby and still get some other things done.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | September 29, 2006 3:27 PM

For the soon to be mom, get the book "happiest baby on the block" by Harvey Karp. It's essential if you have a colicky baby, and useful with any baby. It helped us and many of our friends get through the "witching hours".

Posted by: Sam2 | September 29, 2006 3:32 PM

I thought going from 1 to 2 was fairly easy at first, but once #2 hit about 12 months it got much harder to handle both.

And i hear once activities are in the picture, that it can get ridiculous.

Posted by: RP | September 29, 2006 3:39 PM

FO4 - Welcome back, and sincere apologies for the beating up you got. None of it was your fault. I do think that some people were nasty because they had an image of you that was wrong, and rather than believe that they could have been so wrong, they preferred to think that your story was a fabrication. Good for you for being such an individual.

We do have a lot of negativity on this blog for some reason. I think people are very passionate about the topics - to have/not to have children, breastfeeding, spousal relations, working parents versus childfree workers, bad bosses, bad employees, divorce, single parenthood, etc. This blog often discusses subjects that are incredibly important to people's lives, and people tend to feel very strongly and sometimes lose their manners, which is too bad, but it is a human trait.

Posted by: Rockville | September 29, 2006 3:45 PM

I've heard that going from one kid to two makes it easier on the parents, because the kids have someone to play with (each other). Seems like they'd have someone to fight with too!

Anyway, I don't know, and am not about to find out, we're happy with the one little feller we've got. A second one could only be a step down. ;-)

Posted by: spunky | September 29, 2006 3:51 PM

1+1, I found that having a baby and a toddler to be much easier than just the first baby (mostly because I was more relaxed, but also because the first was extremely colicky and the second a good sleeper). I think preparing the first child beforehand is key. Lots of stories about being a big sibling, big sibling T-shirts or pins, a sense of ownership over the baby. It helped us a lot with jealousy and helped give a great start to their relationship.

Our kids are 2 and 4 now and it's easier to take care of them together than by themselves (even just the 4-year-old!) because they entertain each other. They are best friends and we have developed a family lore about when they first met (the younger was so excited to meet the older one that she lifted her newborn head up many inches off the pillow). This is a story that the girls are always asking me to repeat, and the older has even made up a song about it that she sings to the younger one.

Posted by: Ms L | September 29, 2006 3:52 PM

1+1 - I agree with prepping the other kiddo beforehand. Maybe I went overboard, but I made sure my daughter went to some of my appts with me and the doc even let her help find the baby's heartbeat. When I went to the baby shower, I made sure there were presents for my daughter, too so she wouldn't feel left out. When daughter came to hospital to meet baby bro for the first time, she brought a present she'd picked out for him, and I made sure he had a present "for" her as well. I've also tried to limit the number of times I say I can't do something for her right now because I'm doing X with the baby. She's been great with him, I haven't seen many jealousy issues, but she's not that interested in holding him or feeding him.

I also think it depends alot on the kiddo's temperaments - as someone else said, baby no. 2 is much more mellow than baby no. 1. Baby no. 1 (almost 6) needs more attention than baby no. 2 (now 1), so I work to make sure each of them gets quality time with me.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 29, 2006 3:55 PM

re: visiting mothers
My MIL is not able to help with caretaking, either adults or children, so she was no help and does not visit. We visit her.

My MD (mother-dearest) is quite self-absorbed, so even when my wife asked her to do something specific, she said that she couldn't do it. That visit was a burden and she treated it more as her own vacation than assisting the beleaguered parents.

My father, suprisingly, took over a lot of time with the baby and his wife did all the cooking and cleaning. That was the best visit of all. Shocked the H-E-doublehockeysticks outta me!

Posted by: Working Dad | September 29, 2006 4:08 PM

Yes, it all depends on what help you want and if the visitors can provide that.

In the case of my brother's two kids, my SIL (now ex-SIL and remarried, but I still think of her as my SIL) just needed rest. Both times her water broke, she was in labor for a very long time and was exhausted from the birth. And both of my nieces (now 13 and 15) needed a lot of attention and needed feeding every 2 hours. So, I went for the first week that they were home from the hospital and my parents were there for the first two weeks that they were home from the hospital. My SIL would pump a couple of bottles during the day and then at night would give one last feeding before she would go down for a nap. My mother and I would take turns on the nighttime feedings. My SIL would get up once in the night to feed the baby then go back to sleep. My father, when then was recently retired, but still on the early morning sleep schedule, would get up for the early morning feeding. All told, my SIL got much more sleep. My mother and I did alot of the housework and my brother did was still working full time, doing the shopping and some other household chores. After I left, my parents continued for another week. After 2 weeks of rest, we were all gone and they had to take over. My SIL said she really missed us when we left!

But, you know your family best and have an idea what will be the most helpful. Talk with them about it before they come to make sure that you are on the same wavelength for what you want. If they can do that, then they should come and help. If they can't, then ask them to come visit after you have a chance to recover your equilibrium from the birth and get yourself on a manageable schedule before you have guests that require attention.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 29, 2006 4:36 PM

RE new babies, especially number two.

You can run on adrenaline and meals from helping visitors and neighbors in the first few weeks.

But eventually the babymoon ends. Crash. Crash harder and deeper if baby is colicky. (Dr. Sears and kangaroo parenting might help here. Family bed alert. Just a way to get more sleep, for lazy (me) nursing mom.) WW = whatever works.

I found week six to four months VERY HARD. So, perhaps a visit from helping family or in-laws then?

Some of your family pattern is established by then. Very helpful for first baby; equally helpful to ease singleton into being a sibling.

My MIL was helpful food and laundry-wise, but very intrusive parenting-wise in the early weeks. She thought that breastfeeding was "unscientific" and "too natural." So, she shuddered and commented during the awkward early days of the baby-mommy dance. Not very much fun, really.

Don't let older, control-freaky relatives suggest a scale to weigh baby before and after feeding. Very UN FUN!

My friends whose families came later looked more peaceful. One heavenly MIL did laundry twice a day, hanging it on the line. My friend still hangs sheets for that special smell of outdoors, inside. Sheets work great. Underwear and knitwear stay "crunchy" somehow.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 29, 2006 4:37 PM

Homework which the teachers assign starting in 2nd grade here gets progressively more challenging each year....for the parents. This Choke-ago math investigations garbage that doesnt teach any consistent computation strategies has practically turned math into an language arts class. "Language Arts" bleyech instead of English - like "Social Studies" instead of History. The big question is when its 9PM and your kid should be in bed - do you just type the )*%(^$ artsy craftsy bulony report for them or make them hand it in late?

Do you correct their math - and go over there errors? or leave the errors so the teacher knows what they need to work more on?

All this and DD is in 4th grade. DS is older, poor guinea pig he, so we've been through it before - to his detriment. But then again he's a pretty good risk taker.

Fo4 - what did you think of the Hummer Mom's yesterday? giggle giggle

The evening hours sure are frazzled from time to time, always an interesting look in the window to see what kid of tornado I am walking into.

Sometimes I wish I could stay in trench, helmet on, ignore all whistles.

Sometimes everything seems to be going smoothly like ducks accross a pond...feet paddling furiously beneath the surface.

Then there are those other times when the kids are hiding behind the door and scare the p*ss out of me as I try to sneak in the back door while doing stealth DW mood recon... I never woulda made it as a native American scout I guess. Brave Thunderfoot me.

I think DW puts them up to it, payback for the fake plastic spider in the silverware drawer. She musta hit the ceiling tee hee...

Posted by: Fo3 | September 29, 2006 4:45 PM

1+1 Enjoy - my kids are 17 months apart and have both good and bad days together
The second pregnancy is easier in that you know what to expect and have the routine down for the first child. Best purchase was a double stroller so everone could ride at once. I did have to have 2 cribs for awhile and was fortunate that they both slept ok with noisy sibling at times!

Posted by: CAmom | September 29, 2006 4:49 PM

There Their They're All those spelings sound the same to you right Fo4? I guess I need remedial Language Arts. AHHHHHHHHHH sea ya!

Seriously, calling Fo4 brave for his welsome return is the understatement of the week. I'll pour a draught off my CO2 powered beer dispenser and raise a glass to you and the solid folks on the blog tonight. After DW recon - of course. Have a nice weekend.

Posted by: Fo3 | September 29, 2006 4:50 PM

Father of 4, you don't owe anyone an apology, your guest blog was great and the people who beat you up were stinkers. I'm glad you're back. And I'd hazard a guess that this blog gets more trolls/vipers whatever you want to call it because it often has a line on the homepage, so people come by to check out the headline and post anonymously. I don't see the Achenblog on the homepage often, though perhaps I'm just missing it.

Posted by: Megan | September 29, 2006 4:53 PM

On Betty's question about older kids -- absolutely true that the hours after school are tough for teens. Then there is the issue of how to get them to and from after school activities -- especially those that don't start right after school or aren't located at school. We hired a college student with a car to be here during those hours. Works great!

Posted by: Jillian | September 29, 2006 4:58 PM

I guess to clrify, as an H, to survive the arsenic hours you had best do some recon. Cellphone call to see if anything is needed from the store, check on mood, background noise as assess. Its all about intelligence gathering. Get one of the kids on the phone and then act. Flowers or wine can sometimes ease you into the flow without a bull'seye on your forehead since you've been out having fun at work all day, sometimes better to sneak in the back door and pick everything up, load the dish washer etc before announcing your presence. oh yeah, keep your helmet on and always have a back-up plan. You do wear a helmet at home dont you!? It came with your parenting license silly.

Posted by: Fo3 | September 29, 2006 5:09 PM

To the expecting mom,

First off, congratulations. You're almost there! That said, the first few weeks are going to be rough. I joke that my son is lucky he couldn't be returned because I would have returned him! That is no longer the case. He's now a happy 9 month old who sleeps beautifully.

Get an infant swing! They're wonderful. Baby can rock, or not. Lovely lights to look at. Ours had some fascinating fish. The baby often hung out in the swing while we ate dinner (or he nursed and pooped and slept as I held him while eating; gotta go with the flow).

Parental/Family help: defintely depends on your relationship, but can be a good thing. Be clear about what kind of help you need (eg: go to the store for XYZ; do a white wash without bleach) and thank people a lot. The people who came to help us just wanted to be doing something useful and really helped a lot. Think about timing too. Some folks want time to bond as a family at hte beginning, others want grandma there when they bring home the baby. I wish that I'd lined up some help for about 6 weeks out when we were just bone tired.

Pain: If you read a lot of books about childbirth, you expect that you're going to be "sore" after you give birth. That is the biggest understatement in the world, imho. Be prepared to be in a decent amount of pain. It was a good 4 weeks before I could roll over or sit down without hurting. I don't mean to scare you, but I wish I'd been better prepared. I hope you think I'm full of it when you're done!

Finally, don't be afraid to put the baby to bed early. For some odd reason, I know a bunch of infants who sleep better when they go to bed earlier.

Best of luck!

Posted by: Amy | September 29, 2006 5:11 PM

Amy's post about other people coming by and wanting to help reminded me of a suggestion by my birth class instructor. If you are the type of person who has difficulty asking others to do things for you (as many of us are), get a whiteboard thing you can stick on your fridge, and keep a running list of the things that need to be done around the house (load the dishwasher, take out the trash, whatever). Then if someone asks, you or partner or Mom can say, "Thats so nice of you to offer - there's actually a list on the fridge of stuff, if there's anything you have time or inclination to do, that'd be great." That way, if they don't really want to do something like that, they don't have to tell you they don't and can just go stand in the kitchen for a few minutes before they go; or if they really want to help they can choose something. We didn't end up trying it, as my mom took care of so much, but sounded like an interesting approach.

I didn't have a lot of pain after birth but I was very weak for several days and needed iron supplements. Definitely be prepared to be off your feet for a while.

Posted by: Megan | September 29, 2006 5:19 PM

Late again to the party, but here are my two cents worth. The sling--worth its weight in gold. Or platinum. Or oil, whichever is most expensive. The rice cooker is great, and the prices have come down. One caveat--get the kind with the lid ATTACHED. The cheaper ones with the separate glass lid is not nearly as good. We have used one since before we got married, and it is still going strong. Also, crock pots are great, but I don't use them as often as I should, I guess. The "Saving Dinner" book is a godsend and anyone who is having trouble with dinner should try it just for a week. I used to do the thing with a girlfriend where you make the dinners and freeze them, but I only did it a few times. I needed it for a period of time when life was really off-kilter, but now enjoy cooking, especially because I don't have to do the dishes.

To Expecting mom: it is going to be great. Don't worry about pain. If it hurts, you won't be able to do anything about it anyway, so why worry? Besides, there is a very good chance that you will end up with a c-section. I had one, and it sucks, but it is not the worst thing in the world. Or maybe it is--it was so long ago I forgot! My sister, however, had a vbac, and ended up with the dreaded roids. She had to sit on a doughnut for a while. If you plan on breastfeeding, you can't take much in the way of pain killers, but if you are formula feeding you'll be golden. My doctor gave me percocet with my second, and it does kill the pain, but you can't feel your feet, either.

And mom having second one? Congrats. I didn't find it overly hard having two. Just simplify your life as much as you can--then do it again. A woman I know had 4 kids in 6 years. She lived in a three bedroom house. All four kids slept in one room in separate beds, and there was nothing else in the room. No toys, clothes, etc. Clothes were kept in a dresser in the hall nook (which looked nice, actually), and toys were in the third room. She had no sleep issues with those kids--they were angels. The kids were so used to sleeping in the one room that it was practically pavlovian.

Posted by: parttimer | September 29, 2006 6:26 PM

Will this friday afternoon never end? It's so unfair that all you east coast people sign off and leave the rest of us with no blog activity to keep us entertained.

Anyway, on pain killers and breastfeeding, a number of over the counter and prescription painkillers and compatible with breastfeeding. Ibuprofin (advil, motrin) and acetaminophen (tylenol) are both fine. This links to the AAP statement on drugs and breastfeeding; Table 6 lists drugs that are generally compatible. http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;108/3/776

Posted by: Megan | September 29, 2006 6:55 PM

Amen, Megan!

Posted by: LGB | September 29, 2006 6:59 PM

LGB, How's your head feeling these days?

Posted by: Megan | September 29, 2006 7:03 PM

That "frozen meals ready to go" is a good idea for a smallish family (family of 4). With a family of 7, leftovers were always gone by the next day. We had a policy of open season on leftovers whenever we were hungry.
I think after-school snacks are key-- parents have to let kids know what is acceptable and not acceptable to raid the fridge for. As for teenagers, teen boys eat like horses.
As long as you feed and exercise teenagers regularly they actually sleep more than younger children. So basically give them the chance to eat a snack and have a nap and they'll be ready for chores and other activities then a relatively late dinner (after dusk).
My mom didn't work full-time until I was in senior year, but her schedule allowed her, like the chinese cooking instructor to cook before work etc. and then have it ready for reheating etc. whenever we got home.
Also crockpot dinners did rule, although the coq au beer was the worst thing I ever tasted. My mom swears to this day she doesn't remember EVER making that.

Freezable food tends to be stewed, well cooked food that a bit of extra cooking never hurts. So you can go from the crockpot to the freezer too.

Posted by: Confused Godmother | September 29, 2006 8:14 PM

Megan, where do you live on the west coast?
You are probably home by now if you are in CA. Lucky you if you live there.

Story break--my mil came to stay the day DD1 was born. I had always been easy going, but became B from Hll when we drove the three miles from the hospital home. She was driving. I didn't know she was just a DC driver. We were living in the most laid back place, but she was freaking over the slow drivers. I nearly took her head off. She is a lovely woman. She completely understood me, and is one of my best friends!

Anyone else a domestic goddess here? I know I only work parttime, and have already admitted to enjoying my home and secret long ing to emulate La Martha (except for the prison term), but am I the only one?

Topic idea: what books or websites have you found helpful in your quest to balance your life with kids/without kids? I'll go first. The first book I read that really helped was Peck's the road less traveled.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 29, 2006 9:48 PM

"The big question is when its 9PM and your kid should be in bed - do you just type the )*%(^$ artsy craftsy bulony report for them or make them hand it in late?"

Neither - you send a note saying "my child didn't finish this report - here's what is done. If it is important that he finish it, we will dedicate 10 minutes a night to it until it is done."

Or if you're really brave and think it is completely useless and not worth any of your child's time at all, you send a note saying that he won't be handing it in at all. If they lower his grade because of it, oh well.

The more that parents start standing firm on the side of their child on the homework issue, the more we'll start seeing childhood being returned to the children and homework being returned to high school and college students.

Posted by: momof4 | September 29, 2006 9:54 PM

My kids have about 30 minutes of homework a day--at most. They have occassional projects, but even my oldest doesn't have much. My school doesn't allow homework on Fridays and I rarely give anything more than 15 minutes, unless it is a short essay. That depends on the kid, and they can usually be finished in 30 minutes on average if the kid stays on task. This is upper middle school.

Posted by: parttimer | September 30, 2006 7:47 AM

Subject: IS IT LEGAL TO LIE TO THE DFEH & US DEPT OF LABOR? CITIGROUP DID & THEY LIE TO CLIENTS IN CARMEL PLEASE READ THIS LETTER SENT TO THE MONTEREY HERALD
The Monterey County Herald
Attn: Herald Executive Editor, Carolina Garcia
8 Upper Ragsdale
Monterey, CA 93940
cgarcia@montereyherald.com
(831) 646-4306

Ms. Garcia,

I have attempted through several sources to clarify my
position regarding my unfair treatment by my previous
employer, Citibank. I had no previous plans to leave
my position as Head Teller at the Citibank branch in
Carmel. After 4 years of employment with the company,
the unfair and unequal treatment of employees led to
medically supervised work-related stress. The manager
of the branch then accused me of job abandonment which
led to my termination via UPS delivery on December 15,
2005, while I was at home on medical leave.

Subsequent to my termination, I received numerous
correspondences that referenced me as terminated, no
longer with the company, and as a former employee. My
401K and pension have both been forwarded to me.
However, when interviewed by the Department of Fair
Employment and Housing, Citibank representatives
reported that I was terminated due to not personally
reporting my absence, but rather having medical
documentation reported by my physician. When
interviewed by the U. S. Department Wage and Hours
Division, Citibank representatives reported on August
8, 2006, that I was still an employee of the company
and that a letter indicating such would be forwarded
to me. To date, this letter has not been received.

I have continued to be in contact with several clients
that have stated that Citibank representatives
indicated that I was either on vacation, or that I
voluntarily resigned in order to work with my husband
in his new business. This is absolutely untrue. It was
my intention to continue my employment as the benefits
were extremely important to me, as well as to my
family.

Clearly, there has been a gross misrepresentation by
Citibank, either to its clients or to the U. S.
Department Wage and Hours Division. It is my position
that I was unfairly terminated by Citibank. The
unscrupulous behavior of Citibank and its
representatives, locally and at the corporate level,
is unacceptable.

It is also my opinion that if a corporation as large
as Citibank is representing itself on a local level,
the local management and staff should act accordingly.
A large part of the attraction of the Monterey area is
the sense of community that is felt here on a day to
day basis. If Citibank is allowed to misrepresent its
actions to clients and government agencies, where will
the corporate takeover end?

Sincerely,




Damari Stratford
dcsbears@aol.com
dcsbears@aol.com wrote:

Subject: Re: Your message to the governor was received
THE GOVERNOR HAS WRITTEN ME TWICE AND SAID HE WOULD
HELP,, CITIBANK HAS LIED TO THE DFEH AND US LABOR DEPT
WAGE AND HOUR DIVISION AND TO THEIR CLIENTS ABOUT MY
STATUS, I NEED HELP, HOW CAN I FIGHT WHEN THIS
CORPORATION IS TELLING LIES AND HAS ALL THE LAWYERS
THEY NEED AND I CAN'T AFFORD ONE. HOW MANY TIMES ARE
THEY GOING TO GET AWAY WITH MISTREATING EMPLOYEES
ON 8/8/06 RONAN FROM THE US DEPT OF LABOR WAS TOLD BY
A CITIBANK ATTORNEY THAT THEY WOULD SEND ME A LETTER
EXPLAINING MY STATUS AS STILL AN EMPLOYEE, I HAVE YET
TO GET THIS LETTER, HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PUT A
LETTER TOGETHER IF THEY ARE TELLING THE TRUTH?
YOUR OFFICE AS WELL AS THE FIRST LADY'S OFFICE HAS
CALLED ME BUT WE AREN'T GETTING ANYWHERE. IT HAS BEEN
7 MONTHS SINCE I FIRST WROTE THE GOVERNOR. CITIBANK
ATTORNEYS HAVE CANCELLED 2 DEPOSITIONS AT THE LAST
MINUTE THE LAST INE THEY CANCELLED WAS AFTER TALKING
TO THE US LABOR DEPARTMENT,WHY?
MY JOB WAS VERY IMPORTANT TO MY FAMILY AND I PLEASE
HELP ME AND MY FAMILY AND ALL THOSE BEFORE ME THAT
HAVE BEEN WRONGFULLY TERMINATED BY CITIBANK FOR NO
GOOD REASON
WHY IS EVERYONE SO AFRAID OF CITIGROUP? WHY CAN'T I
FIND AN ATTORNEY WILLING TO STAND UP TO THEM ON A
CONTINGENCY BASIS? I VOTED FOR THE GOVERNOR AND I NEED
HIM NOW
PLEASE CALL ANN FROM THE DFEH AT 408-277-1916 THEY
TOLD HER THAT I HAD CALLED IN ILL ON 11/15/05 AND THAT
I TOLD THEM I WOULDN'T BE IN, THIS IS A LIE I WORKED
THAT DAY AND I CAN PROVE THIS WITH MY IME CARD, THEN
THEY SAY THEY MADE AN ERROR
PLEASE CALL RONAN AT 415-744-5590 EXT 226 FROM THE US
LABOR DEPT TO VERIFY WHAT CITIBANK ATTORNEYS SAID. THE
ONLY REASON THEY OFFERED ME FMLA IS BECAUSE I FILED
FOR DISABILITY, BEFORE THAT THEY HAD PAID OUT MY FINAL
PAYCHECK, FIRED ME VIA UPS, SENT ME COBRA INFORMATION.
PLEASE HELP US PLEASE SEE THAT THE GOVERNOR GETS THIS
EMAIL AND ASK HIM TO MAKE A CALL ON MY BEHALF
CORPORATE AMERICA NEEDS TO TAKE BETTER CARE OF THEIR
GOOD EMPLOYEES AND NOT ALLOW A MANAGER WITH BAD SKILLS
TO FIRE SOMEONE JUST BECAUSE HE WANTS TO
SINCERELY DAMARI STARTFROD
MOTHER WIFE HUMAN BEING AND I VOTED FOR THE GOVERNOR
I MATTER TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


CITIBANK IN CARMEL LIES TO CLIENTS ABOUT WHY I AM NOT
THERE. THEY TELL PEOPLE THAT I AM ON VACATION OR THAT
I LEFT TO WORK FOR MY HUSBAND INSTEAD OF TELLING THEM
HAT THEY FIRED ME AFTER MY DOCTOR FAXED IN A NOTE AND
CALLED IN FOR ME TO PROTECT ME FROM HAVING MY BLOOD
PRESSRE RISE. JEFF URSINO AND KATHLEEN MUNOZ LIES TO
ANN AT THE DFEH AND THEIR LAWYERS LIED TO THE US DEPT
OF LABOR. KATHLEN WAS DOING THE OVERDRAFT ON HER
DAUGHTERS ACCOUNTS AND REFUNDED HER OWN DAUHGTER MONEY
WHILE THE MANAGER WAS ON VACATION. SHE LIES ABOUT
BEING FIRED FROM WELLS FARGO, SHE LIED TO THE WORKERS
COMP PEOPLE AND WILL LIE TO ANYONE. KATHLEEN HAD
INSTUCTED THE OTHER TELLERS TO COOK THE BOOKS BY
HAVING THEM PUT IN FALSE REFEERALS AND JEFF URSINO DID
NOTHING ABOUT IT BUT I GOT WRITTEN UP FOR MISSING WORK
WITH A DOCTORS NOTE. THEY STATE TO ONE AGENCY THAT I
WAS FIRED AND TO THE OTHER THAT I AM STILL EMPLOYED,
THEY STATE I WAS FIRED FOR NOT CALLING IN YET I WAS
RESPONSIBLE ENOUGH TO HAVE MY DOCTOEOR CALL IN AND FAX
MY NOTE IN DUE TO THE STRESS AND HARRASSMENT BROUGHT
ON BY JEFF AND CITIBANK, WHERE ARE THE ETHICS IN THIS
COMPANY


NOW THEY ARE TELLING MORE LIES TO THE DEPT OF FAIR
EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING JEFF TELLS THEM WHY I WAS FIRED
AND THEIR LAWYERS TELL THE US DEPT OF LABOR THAT I AM
STILL EMPLOYEED
PLEASE HELP US GET THIS STORY OUT TO THE WORLD IF IT
ISN'T TOO MUCH TO ASK:) HOW DO YOU FIGHT LIARS, HOW DO
THEY SLEEP AT NIGHT
CITIBANK IN CARMEL 831-624-8258 CALL AND ASK THEM
WHERE I AM ASK FOR KATHLEEN AND ASK HER WHY SHE LIES
THIS WOMAN WAS HAVING CITIBANK PAY FOR HER DAUGHTER
OVERDRAFTS AND HER A TELLER REFUND HER OWN DAUGHTER
MONEY WHILE THE MANAGER WAS OUT ON VACATION SO WHY
SHOULD ANYONE BELEIVE THIS UNETHICAL PERSON JUST AS
JEFF URSINO THE MANAGER OF THE CAPITOLA BRANCH LIES TO
HIS BOSSES TO MAKE HIMSELF LOOK BETTER PLEASE HELP US
WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME
HOW DO YOU FIGHT A CORPORATION LIKE THIS
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
DAMARI AND CITIBANK HERE IS THE TRUTH!!
To set the record straight!
Damari was fired by Citibank in Carmel!
Damari did not leave the bank to go work for her
husband!!!!
DAMARI HAD NO PLANS TO LEAVE CITIBANK!
DAMARI PLANNED ON STAYING FOR ANOTHER 16YRS.
THE BENEFITS WERE VERY IMPORTANT TO HER FAMILY!!
DAMARI WAS FIRED VIA UPS WHILE AT HOME ILL DUE TO WORK
RELATED STRESS BROUGHT ON BY THE MANAGER AND THE
UNFAIR AND UNEQUAL TREATMENT OF EMPLOYEES
ALONG WITH BEING THREATEN AND HARASSED
BY THE MANAGER FOR JOB ABANDOMENT.
SEVERAL OF
Citibank clients have TOLD HER that they have been
told by the staff at the Carmel branch :
THAT SHE LEFT TO GO WORK FOR HER HUSBAND!
THIS IS AN OUTRIGHT LIE!!!!
What else will they lie about?
Are they ashamed of what was done??
WHY DO THEY FEEL THEY NEED TO SAY SHE LEFT TO GO WORK
WITH HER HUSBAND
( I DO NOT WORK FOR MY HUSBAND)
( I DO NOT WORK FOR JND PLUMBING)
(NOR AM I ON VACATION)
INSTEAD OF JUST TELLING THE TRUTH ?
IS THERE ANYONE IN THE CARMEL BRANCH THAT COULD SWEAR
TO THIS? NO!
You can reach Damari at dcsbears@aol.com
ENOUGH WITH THE LIES CITIBANK!!!
IF YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD THIS PLEASE SEND HER AN EMAIL
CITIBANK TOLD
THE US LABOR DEPT WAGE AND HOUR DIVISION ,
ON 08/08/06
THAT I AM STILL AN EMPLOYEE
YET I HAVE LETTERS AND DOCUMENTS
THAT CLEARLY USE THE WORDS
TERMINATED
NO LONGER WITH THE COMPANY
FORMER EMPLOYEE
AND MY 401K AND PENSION HAVE BEEN SENT TO ME AS OF
8/24/06 I HAVE YET TO GET THE LETTER FROM CITIBANK
WHICH EXPLAINS HOW I AM STILL AN EMPLOYEE! HOW LONG
DOES IT TAKE TO WRITE A LETTER IF YOU ARE TELLING THE
TRUTH HOW CAN THEY SAY TO THE US DEPT OF LABOR THAT I
AM STILL AN EMPLOYEE YET THEY TELL THE DFEH THAT THEY
FIRED ME FOR NOT CALLING IN, WHAT IS THE TRUTH
CITIBANK??????????
CITIBANK STATES THAT I WAS FIRED FOR NOT CALLING IN
YET MY DOCTOR CALLED IN FOR ME THE DAY BEFORE AND ALSO
FAXED IN A NOTE FOR ME WHICH THE MANAGER RETURNED TO
ME WITH MY LETTER OF TERMINATION. THEY KNEW THE DAY
BEFORE THAT I WASN'T COMING IN SO WHY WOULD HE CALL TO
ASK IF I WAS COMING IN IF IT WAS CLEARLY STATED ON THE
NOTE AND TOLD TO THEM BY MY DOCTOR TO PROTECT MY
HEALTH
JUST MORE LIES BY THE CITIBANK STAFF IN CARMEL


Posted by: DAMARI | September 30, 2006 9:32 AM

Subject: IS IT LEGAL TO LIE TO THE DFEH & US DEPT OF LABOR? CITIGROUP DID & THEY LIE TO CLIENTS IN CARMEL PLEASE READ THIS LETTER SENT TO THE MONTEREY HERALD
The Monterey County Herald
Attn: Herald Executive Editor, Carolina Garcia
8 Upper Ragsdale
Monterey, CA 93940
cgarcia@montereyherald.com
(831) 646-4306

Ms. Garcia,

I have attempted through several sources to clarify my
position regarding my unfair treatment by my previous
employer, Citibank. I had no previous plans to leave
my position as Head Teller at the Citibank branch in
Carmel. After 4 years of employment with the company,
the unfair and unequal treatment of employees led to
medically supervised work-related stress. The manager
of the branch then accused me of job abandonment which
led to my termination via UPS delivery on December 15,
2005, while I was at home on medical leave.

Subsequent to my termination, I received numerous
correspondences that referenced me as terminated, no
longer with the company, and as a former employee. My
401K and pension have both been forwarded to me.
However, when interviewed by the Department of Fair
Employment and Housing, Citibank representatives
reported that I was terminated due to not personally
reporting my absence, but rather having medical
documentation reported by my physician. When
interviewed by the U. S. Department Wage and Hours
Division, Citibank representatives reported on August
8, 2006, that I was still an employee of the company
and that a letter indicating such would be forwarded
to me. To date, this letter has not been received.

I have continued to be in contact with several clients
that have stated that Citibank representatives
indicated that I was either on vacation, or that I
voluntarily resigned in order to work with my husband
in his new business. This is absolutely untrue. It was
my intention to continue my employment as the benefits
were extremely important to me, as well as to my
family.

Clearly, there has been a gross misrepresentation by
Citibank, either to its clients or to the U. S.
Department Wage and Hours Division. It is my position
that I was unfairly terminated by Citibank. The
unscrupulous behavior of Citibank and its
representatives, locally and at the corporate level,
is unacceptable.

It is also my opinion that if a corporation as large
as Citibank is representing itself on a local level,
the local management and staff should act accordingly.
A large part of the attraction of the Monterey area is
the sense of community that is felt here on a day to
day basis. If Citibank is allowed to misrepresent its
actions to clients and government agencies, where will
the corporate takeover end?

Sincerely,




Damari Stratford
dcsbears@aol.com
dcsbears@aol.com wrote:

Subject: Re: Your message to the governor was received
THE GOVERNOR HAS WRITTEN ME TWICE AND SAID HE WOULD
HELP,, CITIBANK HAS LIED TO THE DFEH AND US LABOR DEPT
WAGE AND HOUR DIVISION AND TO THEIR CLIENTS ABOUT MY
STATUS, I NEED HELP, HOW CAN I FIGHT WHEN THIS
CORPORATION IS TELLING LIES AND HAS ALL THE LAWYERS
THEY NEED AND I CAN'T AFFORD ONE. HOW MANY TIMES ARE
THEY GOING TO GET AWAY WITH MISTREATING EMPLOYEES
ON 8/8/06 RONAN FROM THE US DEPT OF LABOR WAS TOLD BY
A CITIBANK ATTORNEY THAT THEY WOULD SEND ME A LETTER
EXPLAINING MY STATUS AS STILL AN EMPLOYEE, I HAVE YET
TO GET THIS LETTER, HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PUT A
LETTER TOGETHER IF THEY ARE TELLING THE TRUTH?
YOUR OFFICE AS WELL AS THE FIRST LADY'S OFFICE HAS
CALLED ME BUT WE AREN'T GETTING ANYWHERE. IT HAS BEEN
7 MONTHS SINCE I FIRST WROTE THE GOVERNOR. CITIBANK
ATTORNEYS HAVE CANCELLED 2 DEPOSITIONS AT THE LAST
MINUTE THE LAST INE THEY CANCELLED WAS AFTER TALKING
TO THE US LABOR DEPARTMENT,WHY?
MY JOB WAS VERY IMPORTANT TO MY FAMILY AND I PLEASE
HELP ME AND MY FAMILY AND ALL THOSE BEFORE ME THAT
HAVE BEEN WRONGFULLY TERMINATED BY CITIBANK FOR NO
GOOD REASON
WHY IS EVERYONE SO AFRAID OF CITIGROUP? WHY CAN'T I
FIND AN ATTORNEY WILLING TO STAND UP TO THEM ON A
CONTINGENCY BASIS? I VOTED FOR THE GOVERNOR AND I NEED
HIM NOW
PLEASE CALL ANN FROM THE DFEH AT 408-277-1916 THEY
TOLD HER THAT I HAD CALLED IN ILL ON 11/15/05 AND THAT
I TOLD THEM I WOULDN'T BE IN, THIS IS A LIE I WORKED
THAT DAY AND I CAN PROVE THIS WITH MY IME CARD, THEN
THEY SAY THEY MADE AN ERROR
PLEASE CALL RONAN AT 415-744-5590 EXT 226 FROM THE US
LABOR DEPT TO VERIFY WHAT CITIBANK ATTORNEYS SAID. THE
ONLY REASON THEY OFFERED ME FMLA IS BECAUSE I FILED
FOR DISABILITY, BEFORE THAT THEY HAD PAID OUT MY FINAL
PAYCHECK, FIRED ME VIA UPS, SENT ME COBRA INFORMATION.
PLEASE HELP US PLEASE SEE THAT THE GOVERNOR GETS THIS
EMAIL AND ASK HIM TO MAKE A CALL ON MY BEHALF
CORPORATE AMERICA NEEDS TO TAKE BETTER CARE OF THEIR
GOOD EMPLOYEES AND NOT ALLOW A MANAGER WITH BAD SKILLS
TO FIRE SOMEONE JUST BECAUSE HE WANTS TO
SINCERELY DAMARI STARTFROD
MOTHER WIFE HUMAN BEING AND I VOTED FOR THE GOVERNOR
I MATTER TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


CITIBANK IN CARMEL LIES TO CLIENTS ABOUT WHY I AM NOT
THERE. THEY TELL PEOPLE THAT I AM ON VACATION OR THAT
I LEFT TO WORK FOR MY HUSBAND INSTEAD OF TELLING THEM
HAT THEY FIRED ME AFTER MY DOCTOR FAXED IN A NOTE AND
CALLED IN FOR ME TO PROTECT ME FROM HAVING MY BLOOD
PRESSRE RISE. JEFF URSINO AND KATHLEEN MUNOZ LIES TO
ANN AT THE DFEH AND THEIR LAWYERS LIED TO THE US DEPT
OF LABOR. KATHLEN WAS DOING THE OVERDRAFT ON HER
DAUGHTERS ACCOUNTS AND REFUNDED HER OWN DAUHGTER MONEY
WHILE THE MANAGER WAS ON VACATION. SHE LIES ABOUT
BEING FIRED FROM WELLS FARGO, SHE LIED TO THE WORKERS
COMP PEOPLE AND WILL LIE TO ANYONE. KATHLEEN HAD
INSTUCTED THE OTHER TELLERS TO COOK THE BOOKS BY
HAVING THEM PUT IN FALSE REFEERALS AND JEFF URSINO DID
NOTHING ABOUT IT BUT I GOT WRITTEN UP FOR MISSING WORK
WITH A DOCTORS NOTE. THEY STATE TO ONE AGENCY THAT I
WAS FIRED AND TO THE OTHER THAT I AM STILL EMPLOYED,
THEY STATE I WAS FIRED FOR NOT CALLING IN YET I WAS
RESPONSIBLE ENOUGH TO HAVE MY DOCTOEOR CALL IN AND FAX
MY NOTE IN DUE TO THE STRESS AND HARRASSMENT BROUGHT
ON BY JEFF AND CITIBANK, WHERE ARE THE ETHICS IN THIS
COMPANY


NOW THEY ARE TELLING MORE LIES TO THE DEPT OF FAIR
EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING JEFF TELLS THEM WHY I WAS FIRED
AND THEIR LAWYERS TELL THE US DEPT OF LABOR THAT I AM
STILL EMPLOYEED
PLEASE HELP US GET THIS STORY OUT TO THE WORLD IF IT
ISN'T TOO MUCH TO ASK:) HOW DO YOU FIGHT LIARS, HOW DO
THEY SLEEP AT NIGHT
CITIBANK IN CARMEL 831-624-8258 CALL AND ASK THEM
WHERE I AM ASK FOR KATHLEEN AND ASK HER WHY SHE LIES
THIS WOMAN WAS HAVING CITIBANK PAY FOR HER DAUGHTER
OVERDRAFTS AND HER A TELLER REFUND HER OWN DAUGHTER
MONEY WHILE THE MANAGER WAS OUT ON VACATION SO WHY
SHOULD ANYONE BELEIVE THIS UNETHICAL PERSON JUST AS
JEFF URSINO THE MANAGER OF THE CAPITOLA BRANCH LIES TO
HIS BOSSES TO MAKE HIMSELF LOOK BETTER PLEASE HELP US
WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME
HOW DO YOU FIGHT A CORPORATION LIKE THIS
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
DAMARI AND CITIBANK HERE IS THE TRUTH!!
To set the record straight!
Damari was fired by Citibank in Carmel!
Damari did not leave the bank to go work for her
husband!!!!
DAMARI HAD NO PLANS TO LEAVE CITIBANK!
DAMARI PLANNED ON STAYING FOR ANOTHER 16YRS.
THE BENEFITS WERE VERY IMPORTANT TO HER FAMILY!!
DAMARI WAS FIRED VIA UPS WHILE AT HOME ILL DUE TO WORK
RELATED STRESS BROUGHT ON BY THE MANAGER AND THE
UNFAIR AND UNEQUAL TREATMENT OF EMPLOYEES
ALONG WITH BEING THREATEN AND HARASSED
BY THE MANAGER FOR JOB ABANDOMENT.
SEVERAL OF
Citibank clients have TOLD HER that they have been
told by the staff at the Carmel branch :
THAT SHE LEFT TO GO WORK FOR HER HUSBAND!
THIS IS AN OUTRIGHT LIE!!!!
What else will they lie about?
Are they ashamed of what was done??
WHY DO THEY FEEL THEY NEED TO SAY SHE LEFT TO GO WORK
WITH HER HUSBAND
( I DO NOT WORK FOR MY HUSBAND)
( I DO NOT WORK FOR JND PLUMBING)
(NOR AM I ON VACATION)
INSTEAD OF JUST TELLING THE TRUTH ?
IS THERE ANYONE IN THE CARMEL BRANCH THAT COULD SWEAR
TO THIS? NO!
You can reach Damari at dcsbears@aol.com
ENOUGH WITH THE LIES CITIBANK!!!
IF YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD THIS PLEASE SEND HER AN EMAIL
CITIBANK TOLD
THE US LABOR DEPT WAGE AND HOUR DIVISION ,
ON 08/08/06
THAT I AM STILL AN EMPLOYEE
YET I HAVE LETTERS AND DOCUMENTS
THAT CLEARLY USE THE WORDS
TERMINATED
NO LONGER WITH THE COMPANY
FORMER EMPLOYEE
AND MY 401K AND PENSION HAVE BEEN SENT TO ME AS OF
8/24/06 I HAVE YET TO GET THE LETTER FROM CITIBANK
WHICH EXPLAINS HOW I AM STILL AN EMPLOYEE! HOW LONG
DOES IT TAKE TO WRITE A LETTER IF YOU ARE TELLING THE
TRUTH HOW CAN THEY SAY TO THE US DEPT OF LABOR THAT I
AM STILL AN EMPLOYEE YET THEY TELL THE DFEH THAT THEY
FIRED ME FOR NOT CALLING IN, WHAT IS THE TRUTH
CITIBANK??????????
CITIBANK STATES THAT I WAS FIRED FOR NOT CALLING IN
YET MY DOCTOR CALLED IN FOR ME THE DAY BEFORE AND ALSO
FAXED IN A NOTE FOR ME WHICH THE MANAGER RETURNED TO
ME WITH MY LETTER OF TERMINATION. THEY KNEW THE DAY
BEFORE THAT I WASN'T COMING IN SO WHY WOULD HE CALL TO
ASK IF I WAS COMING IN IF IT WAS CLEARLY STATED ON THE
NOTE AND TOLD TO THEM BY MY DOCTOR TO PROTECT MY
HEALTH
JUST MORE LIES BY THE CITIBANK STAFF IN CARMEL


Posted by: DAMARI | September 30, 2006 9:56 AM

Are you talking about the regulars or this last lady? :)

Posted by: another | September 30, 2006 8:45 PM

why do all the crazy people post here?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 30, 2006 9:28 PM

well, at least the regulars don't post crap that has nothing to do with the topic or anythign that we can even understand. what you were fired, get a lawyer, the mommy blog ca't help you

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2006 1:58 AM

Sounds a little defensive. Are you getting enough sleep?

BTW, :-) is an emoticon meant to convey that the comment is written with a smile, or is tongue in cheek.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2006 8:41 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

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