Will Eat Chocolate Cake: Surviving the Post-Sickness Child

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Maybe this post should be entitled Am Eating Chocolate Cake, since I am currently forking into the chocolaty heaven as I type?

What can I say, I deserve it.

 It’s been a rough week.

My little girl has had a terrible cold for a week now. That’s five nights of trekking multiple times to her room in the night, and two nights with a combined total of four hours of sleep, none of it together. Add on the “my poor baby” factor (Mom’s suffer when their babies suffer.), you’ve got one mom who’s a little rough around the edges by the end of the week. Thankfully after a doctor visit, her runny-stuffy nose, cough, sore throat and crying–OH, THE CRYING–has lessened and she is on the road to recovery.

And that’s when things get tough.

When my baby is sick, I am a cuddly-let-me-hug-your-pain-away mom. Moms nurture and soothe; that’s what we do. However whenever my little girl begins to physically mend, I feel like I’m punished for it. I think she’s well enough for us to return to our normal routine. All that has really happened is that she now has the energy to animate the Spoiled Child of Frankenstein and demand in a beyond the grave, gravely voice, “Hold me.”

I’d created a monster.

A monster that is currently sitting beside me in her highchair throwing Goldfish crackers at me.

Every time my girl has a sickness spell, we always have one day directly after that I call THE FIT DAY. My well behaved angle is suddenly a tiny hell on wheels.

“Do you want a cracker?’

“No!”

“Please, don’t kick your highchair.”

*Kicking continues and screaming is added for affect.*

“Don’t throw your Elmo at the pastor!”

*Pastor gets a face-full of Elmo and Abbey.*

And then random bloody-murder screams for no apparent reason.

If we both can survive the day, the next day it will be as if nothing has happened. So I’ve compiled a list of tips on how to survive The Fit Day. Maybe they can help you survive your own baby apocalypse in the future.

How to Survive Fit Day

1.       It’s coming. Running is futile.
2.       Say no…and keep saying no.
3.       It’s okay if they cry.
4.       Close your eyes and count to a million.
5.       They are probably still sick some, so if they get too worked up they may still need some extra soothing.
6.       It’s okay if YOU cry.
7.       Keep an even, firm voice. Yelling will just upset IT more.
8.       Repeat: “I’m a good mom. I’m a good mom.”
9.       Try to enjoy being needed. They won’t be this size forever, and I don’t think they’ll appreciate having you cuddle them on your lap when they’re thirty.

And lastly…

10.   EAT CHOCOLATE CAKE.

Wednesday Picks for Your Wee-Ones…and Not So Wee-Ones

As both a children’s writer and children’s librarian, I come across all kinds of awesome books, and my almost obsessive-crazy-hat-lady love of books demands that I share them. This week’s are:

Goodnight iPad

                 goodnight ipad                                                               

Written by Ann Droyd

Ages: 3 to 300 

Hardcover: 30 pages or Kindle & NOOK versions        

Published:  Blue Rider Press

 Amazon    Barnes & Noble

Right now, Goodnight Moon by Margret Wise Brown is my daughter and mine’s favorite bedtime read, so when I saw this my brain immediately went “Gimme, gimme!” This is a parody of Brown’s original tale and pokes fun at our modern-day dependency on electronics. With its line of name brands, this book can be viewed as adult humor, but in our heavily electronic world (including heavily electronic childhoods) this read is relatable and enjoyable for children as well…and a nice reminder to all ages groups to “unplug” every now and again.

 

The Cupcake Diaries Collection

cupcake diaries

Written by Coco Simon
Ages: 8 and up
Paperback: 640 pages, Kindle & NOOK versions available for individual titles
Publisher: Simon Spotlight

 Amazon      Barnes & Noble

 

Cupcakes, cupcakes, cupcakes. What’s not to love? This is a relatively new series that your middle grade girl(s) will just eat up. The Cupcake Diaries follows four friends as they navigate friendships, social issues and running a cupcake club. This is a sweet series frosted with just the right amount of humor. Individual titles include: Katie and the Cupcake Cure, Mia in the Mix, Emma on Thin Icing, and Alexis and the Perfect Recipe.

 

The Action Bible

action bible

Edited by Doug Mauss, Illustrated by Sergio Cariello

Age Range: 9 and up

Hardcover: 752 pages or Kindle version

Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (September 1, 2010)

Amazon    Barnes &  Noble

 

I have one word to describe this book…AWESOME. Besides the fact that the illustrations are amazing, this graphic novel remake of the Cook’s classic Picture Bible is perfect for pre-teens and teens, especially the ones that break out in hives at the mention of a B.O.O.K. The Action Bible takes what can be seen as a humdrum religious book by some teens and makes it relatable and engaging through both brilliant images and modern language. However, I would note that as it is a large graphic novel (equals lots of images, lots of ink) and this gladiator of a book weighs in at a respectable three pounds.

Mom Bod’ Tip 1

fitness-mom1

The Mom Bod’ tips are going to be a new little series to help inspire exercise and healthy eating in a busy world of motherhood and children…or to just give you a laugh. Real life snippets of how to stay or get that sexy body with a baby on each hip. 🙂

“Sometimes you just have to take the zerberts in order to finish your hundreds exercise.”

Mom’s (And Everyone) Like It Even Better When It’s Free

When you’ve got kids you get more hugs, more stains, more laughs, more tears…and less money and time. So the word FREE becomes a sound that gives you naughty, exciting tingles whenever you hear it.

Or, at least, it does me.

Especially when I discover a new tool or resource to help my writing craft that is…(say the magical word with me) FREE!

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve stumbled upon some doozie that I just have to share.

The Free Stuff   

1)    BEAT SHEETS

These are amazing and I wish I would have had my hands on these years ago. A beat sheet is break down of what happens in a story and when (inciting incident, turning points, ect.). Jami Gold’s Blog has four great beat sheets:

a)      Romance Beat Sheet

b)      Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat

c)       Larry Brook’s Story Engineering (A book I am currently reading and finding very insightful, so having a beat sheet to go with it is great.)

d)      Michael Hauge’s Six Stage Plot Structure (If you’re working on a love triangle, highly recommend this one)

Both of the links above will take you to a blog post of hers where you can access them all. She also includes great explanations about how to use each sheet and the methods each one is designed around. Jami Gold’s blog is quickly become one of my favorite resource blogs. I can get lost for hours in her posts.

2)    SCRIVENER TEMPLATES

Something else that has been a recent discovery for me is the writing program Scrivener. Although I haven’t got to use it on a project yet, from the little that I have played around with it, I love the concept and organization of Scrivener. Here’s the low down on what Scrivener is and what it could do for you and your writing: (information taken from http://www.literatureandlatte.com)

Grow your ideas in style

Scrivener is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft.

Your complete writing studio

scrivener

Writing a novel, research paper, script or any long-form text involves more than hammering away at the keys until you’re done. Collecting research, ordering fragmented ideas, shuffling index cards in search of that elusive structure—most writing software is fired up only after much of the hard work is over. Enter Scrivener: a word processor and project management tool that stays with you from that first, unformed idea all the way through to the final draft. Outline and structure your ideas, take notes, view research alongside your writing and compose the constituent pieces of your text in isolation or in context. Scrivener won’t tell you how to write—it just makes all the tools you have scattered around your desk available in one application.

If you like Scrivener, check out S.M. Worth’s blog for a 25% or 20% discount before you buy.

I got really excited about Scrivener after I found Mel Corbett’s Scrivener templates. On her blog, Mel has three templates that are free and easy to download (she includes download instruction on her blog). Each template is built around a particular fiction form. Combine FREE templates and Scrivener’s clean, organized format and you’ve got a lower stressed way to get your day dreams into book form. What’s not to love?

These are definitely worth the time to check them out.

Mel Corbett’s Scrivener templates:

a)      Hero’s Journey Template

b)      Mystery Novel Template

c)       Beat Sheet Template (based on Larry Brook’s beat sheet)

Another free Scrivener template is David Hewson’s. His is designed to be more of a basic novel writing template (that you can adjust for your own needs) and doesn’t have the detail of Mel Corbett’s theory/genre templates.

Between the four of them you would have endless options for structuring your story, or if not…just build your own template in Scrivener. That’s the beauty of the program.

3)    Feeding the Muse

One of the best things I can do for my writing is to inspire my creativity by reading fiction other than my own.

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” -Stephen King

When we write we create from within ourselves. Whole worlds, epic dramas and detailed descriptions of a lamp post all come from our hearts, souls and minds, and that energy has to be replaced.

Now, I know with the advent of the e-reader there is a plethora of “free” books out there, but, let’s be honest, most of those books are a roll of the dices whether they are really a good read. Besides, can you ever have too many FREE books? NEVER. So here’s a few FREE books to feed that hungry muse of yours that won’t be a complete waste of your time.

Nicky Charles

Nicky Charles is awesome. All of her books are free, and her Law of the Lycans (paranormal romantic suspense) series boasts high star reader reviews. Below are Amazon links to her books, but they are also available on Barnes and Noble or her website for free as well.

The Law of the Lycans Series:

Book One: Bonded

Book Two: Betrayed

Book Three: The Mating

Book Four: The Keeping

Book Five: The Finding

I hope you find my list of freebies helpful. (In a future post, I’ll cover my list of favorite FREE character sheets.) No man or woman is an island, in both the parental or artistic waters, and we all can use and extra dingy sent our way every now and again.

So what’s your favorite freebie?

 

 

 

 

Caring For Your W.I.P. Like A Sick Child

Recently, my daughter has been sick. A tummy bug had been circulating through the infant world like a game of duck, duck, goose, and I had hoped she might get to be a duck.

No such luck.

She got goosed and, by default, so did I.

Luckily, we didn’t get it very badly, but just enough that any plans went out the window…including Mommy’s writing time. Day dreams of witty character dialogue and villainous whodunits were replaced with a fussy baby needing cuddling and many games of Guess Which Food She Might Actually Eat. But this wasn’t my first sick baby rodeo. No big deal.

Until a week later.

SPOILER ALERT: No, she didn’t die or anything, but something close to death for me (if you ask my husband) did happen–I wasn’t able to get any sleep. My daughter’s stomach had started cramping painfully, causing her to cry out through the nights–ALL NIGHT LONG.

Now, that doesn’t sound like much of a big deal, especially if you’ve never had a baby and didn’t do the three-month-newborn-shuffle of diaper, bottle, burp, rock, hour of sleep and then do it all over again. But due to my daughter’s reflux and sensitive stomach, I didn’t get a regular amount of sleep until she was eleven months old, and I think my body is still trying to catch-up. So a few days without sleep really starts to wear on me. My body begins to feel wore out, my brain wrung out…and, honestly, when I’m dead dog tired, I wish I could walk out (of the situation and take a nap).

But I never do. And I never will.

Why?

Because I love my daughter and I am committed to her.

She is worth all of the pain and discomfort of getting up every hour, even when my body says it can’t take anymore.

And, I realized in those sleepless hours, so is my W.I.P.

My W.I.P. is a part of me, just like my daughter, and I need to love and care for it like the little story baby it is. I need to be willing to get up early and/or stay up late with it. I need to feed it with words, cuddle it in thoughts and, yes, change its dirty diapers. Even when I’m frustrated, bored, or full of doubt, I need to keep getting up and lovingly invest in it. It takes time and effort to raise a novel.

I did get my daughter to the doctor. They prescribed her some drops to help her stomach. And we both got sleep. The tough, painful nights passed.

And so will the tough, painful parts of your book, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to get up with it when it cries. Books are like babies. You’ll find that it’s the hard times that bring you the closest.

Fatigue, self-doubt, confusion: these are not indications that our project should be abandoned. We must keep exploring. The exhaustion is temporary.

-Alan Watt, The 90-Day Novel

Happy writing…and sleeping,
A.M.

Finally…

First of all, get your head out of the gutter. Moms want to WRITE. What else did you think we would want to do? We’ve got kids for Pete’s sakes.

After many months of procrastination–and, of course, bowls and bowls of procrastination ice cream–my blog is finally up. I kept going back and forth on ideas until I came up with MOMS LIKE TO DO IT, TOO. I thought it was pretty witty and catchy. But, hey, I’ll take anything that is a good laugh so maybe I don’t count. The plan is to blog about fiction writing and motherhood or, as I call it, life. In essence, two narrow topics (in relation to the Universe, duh) that are actually both weighty and vast in the depth of their scopes. Which is good or I wouldn’t need a blog and I’d just look stupid typing up all this stuff.

I should warn you. I know zippo about blog construction so you may get a laugh just from the physical site. I am going to call that a reader bonus and act like I meant to do that. But if you keep checking back you’ll get to see the site improve and share in my writing and motherhood experiences. Heck, you might even learn a thing or two. It could happen.

Happy Writing,

A.M.

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