Category Archives: Contributing writers

When baby makes four

Dana Byrd lives in Charlotte, NC where she practices her supermom skills raising her two sons, working from home and running insane distances before 7 am. Her calm mothering and boundless sense of humor inspire me. Guess what: she’s also a terrific writer! – kjw


Warning: guest blogger has a propensity toward overusing parenthetical asides and is self-indulgent with the dash.  Be prepared to get lost in the morass that is her mind on two small children.

I love being a mama: love it, love it, love it.  I’ll be candid, I never really liked kids all that much until I had my own; babies especially just sort of seemed weird and oh-fine-I’ll-admit-it: gross (they poop on themselves!).  Continue reading


“meh” for Mother’s Day

Contributing writer Letty Tomlinson on ambivalence and a well-deserved nap.

from Hallmark with love

“Happy Mother’s Day,” a friend greeted me with at church on the 13th.  “Oh, right. Yeah. Thanks,” I replied. Then I added, “I almost forgot. … I have mixed feelings about Mother’s Day.” (Full disclosure:  I have mixed feelings about many holidays.) The day to honor mom this year has already passed, but it’s still May and as this is a mother-oriented blog, I assume it might still be on some readers’ minds.

Why the mixed feelings? Or, more aptly, wariness? I can’t help but view Mother’s Day through the lenses of personal experience: life as a child of a mother, my time trying to become a biological motherhood, and life as a mother.

As a little girl, Mother’s Day was pretty easy. I didn’t have to remember the date. Inevitably, in school we’d make some sort of craft involving flowers to take home to Mom. Dad would take us shopping for cards and on Sunday, Mom would get a corsage to wear. As I got older and the burden of Mother’s Day fell on my shoulders, it began to feel a little bit like Mommy-Valentine’s day. Continue reading

Unsolicited Gear Gush: DadGear Backpack diaperbag

Contributing writer Letty Muse Tomlinson stumbled into diaper bag heaven. Here’s her review!

I should probably be writing about something of great importance like children’s nutrition, or searching for a preschool for my two-year-old or finding the right questions to ask my pediatrician at regular check-ups. But no. Today, I just want to gush about our latest gear purchase:  a DadGear backpack diaper bag.

DadGear backpack diaper bag


Once I was well into my second trimester, it occurred to me that I would probably need to upgrade from our diaper bag. It was a neoprene diaper bag from BuiltNY, and I don’t think they make it any more. It was excellent for us with just one kid, but I suspected two children’s items would crowd the bag relatively quickly. It fought valiantly to accommodate the needs of a toddler and a quickly-growing infant, but alas, my suspicion was correct and by March we were on the hunt for a diaper bag to satisfy two kids.

I decided pretty quickly that I wanted a backpack. Shoulder bags are fine with one kid, but it’s hard to carry a baby on a hip, a bag over a shoulder and manage a free hand to offer a two-year-old to grasp. Plus, with chronic lower back pain and low-grade scoliosis, evenly distributed weight appealed to me. I also wanted a backpack that had a sufficient number of compartments and preferably didn’t look like a diaper bag, but also didn’t look like a hardcore accessory off the racks of REI. Continue reading

It’s not all or nothing: Our adventures in Elimination Communication, Natural Infant Hygeine, or plain old pooping in the toilet.

Anna writes Murphybaby, one of my frequently visited blogs. As part of the Blogathon we are both doing, we were encouraged to do a Guest Post Swap, and I was really glad Anna agreed to swap with me. She lives on the West Coast, in Canada, on an island! She also has curly hair and is not afraid to write about poop.

It started ages ago, really. I read an article about elimination communication and thought ‘who has time for that? it sounds terrible’.

But the seed was planted, then. I began to take notice of blog posts and articles about going diaper-free, and to think about the logic. I found myself talking about the concept at mommy group. But still, it wasn’t for me, no way. I’m busy, I don’t have time for this stuff. I’m already using cloth diapers, I’m on the hippie parenting train about as much as I can be.

But a couple of weeks ago, I met a mom at mommy group whose daughter was wearing no diaper. She wore cute, tiny little panties and doesn’t even wear a diaper to bed. At six months old. My mind was blown, and the competitive part of myself was activated. If she can do it, I can, too. Continue reading

*whispers* Elmo!

From contributing writer Ann Croft,  one of the coolest moms I know.


I am ashamed to admit it, but I have let my 13 month-old watch television.  And not just once – more like once a week.

I am ashamed, not because I grew up without television, but, because I am one of those obnoxious people who will state with disgust, “Oh – I don’t watch T.V.”   And here I am, letting – no not letting – encouraging my baby to watch Elmo.

I’ve got a million excuses.  And they all begin with the fact that I’m exhausted.

The kicker is that my kid, my brilliant, creative, funny kid, LOVES Elmo.  The first time I put in an Elmo DVD (that my pusher-husband brought home from the library – yes, let’s blame him!) she stopped what she was doing, plopped down on the rug, and said, “Hi!” to the T.V.  She was hooked.

She laughs uproariously when Elmo laughs.  Which is ALL the time, by the way.  And she bops along to his silly songs.  I’m pretty sure she thinks Elmo is a very talented cat as she calls to him the same way she calls our housecats.

While she watches, she will often turn her head to check in with me almost as if she is making sure that I am soaking it all in with her.  Her eyes seem to say, “Got that, mommy, got that?  Mr. Noodle thinks a banana is a telephone!  Oh Mr. Noodle!”

And it gets better.  I let her stand directly beneath the television, holding on to the table with her neck bent almost 90 degrees staring up at the screen.  Yes, I have moved her away for fear that she’ll strain her eyes or pull the whole thing down on herself.  But it’s as if she just can’t get close enough to Elmo.  She always ends up back in that position.

Get this girl a hard hat!

So.  Not only is my child’s brain being turned to mush by the evil producers of Sesame Street, she is going to need a neck brace and glasses by the time she gets to kindergarten.

But let me tell you.  As guilty as I feel.  As much as I try to keep this my dirty little secret.  As much as I say, “Just this once because I am soooo tired.  But after this, never again,” I have to admit it, much like my 13 month-old, I’m hooked on Elmo.


Do dah doo doo Do dah doo doo Elmo’s World. . . .♬♫

Iron Moms!

Another really wonderful post from contributing writer Letty Muse Tomlinson.

image from

I love spring in DC, once the rains stop. It’s mild and the landscape is as colorful as a Benetton ad from the 80s. But the beautiful, blooming botanicals always bother my allergies. Thankfully, Zyrtec, or in worse cases, Zithromax, take care of the problem and I don’t have to sit out the game of life.

One morning, before the kids woke (mercifully), I laid in bed trying to recall the last time I was sick enough to need a day of rest. It was the week before Luna was born. An annoying sinus infection coupled with late term pregnancy and toddler chasing had left me bone-tired. That weekend my darling husband took Clio off my hands so I could get a few hours of much-needed extra sleep. Before that, the last time I was sick was over Mother’s Day 2010. Same deal. As I plumbed my memory, I realized I hadn’t been notably sick for most of the last few years of my adulthood, and certainly not since I’d had children.

Then I thought about my parents. During my childhood, I couldn’t recall my mother ever taking a day off from work because she was sick. In fact, I don’t remember her taking off from work due to sickness until I was out of the house. But I do remember that my dad would have at least one or two colds a year that required him to take a day or two off. My thoughts drifted to my grandparents. Both of my grandparents are pretty hearty folk, but it took my then 83-year-old grandmother battling salmonella poisoning last year to remind me that I had never seen that woman so much as sneeze in her life. She is, as my brother calls her, a hoss. She may be petite, but she doesn’t knock down.

Was there something to the notion that a friend and I had shared once:  fathers can get sick but mothers can’t afford to; Mother Nature must protect us?

It turns out, there is.  A recent study finds that women have sturdier immune systems than men. In fact, our estrogen essentially boosts our innate immune systems that provide our first line of defense against pathogens. Another study finds that our double X chromosome is what works in our favor with regards to stronger immune systems than men’s. We really are inherently better fortified to fight off “the ick” because we have to be healthy (or healthy enough) to care for the children.

Learning this is good for the ego. We can get sneezed on, and then move on. Clearly, civilization depends on healthy women. I don’t know about you, but now every time I take my multi-vitamin, I feel like I’m ingesting one of the fire flowers from Super Mario brothers and I can fight off any fiend!


Contributing writer Ann Croft: Balancing the Blue Box

I met Ann years ago in a book club. I got too busy to keep up with the club but a few months ago Ann and I crossed paths again when we discovered (thanks, Facebook!) that I had hired the same midwives that Ann had used for her daughter Violet’s birth. Violet was just a few months old and I was a few weeks pregnant when Ann and I met up for coffee. Since then, we’ve met up regularly, and Ann was one of Del’s first visitors after his birth. For so many reasons, I’m a lucky woman to know Ann – not the least of which is that she is hilarious. I’m super excited she’s writing for Woah Baby!

Could *you* pull this off? I don't think so.

My 11-month old daughter is obsessed with wearing things on her head.  It all started with a blue gift box that someone left on the floor.  Violet discovered it and somehow managed to put it on her head. . . it was a perfect fit. She now puts everything on her head to test whether or not it will stay put.  She has discovered a black Fedora that used to be mine and pink baby sunglasses that she will only wear on her eyes for a few seconds before attempting to put them on her head.  These, along with the original blue box are her favorite accessories to wear while she plays.

Watching her figure out how to open the glasses and put them on her head or how to maintain the balance of the blue box while playing with her blocks fascinates me.  I could watch her do this for hours.  And it’s not just me.  My husband sits and stares at her playing for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.

We realized the other day that our television is almost never on anymore.  There is no need for the mind-numbing drone of the boob tube.  I can instead watch Violet yell into her stacking toy and press the on-button of her Elephant popper over and over until the batteries slow the music to a creepy carnival crawl.  We sit like a sit-com audience, and watch as she flips through the board book “Peek a Who” upside down and backwards for the 10th time in a row cheering when she tosses it aside with a flourish to move on the next thing.

Its repetitive, unstructured play and it fascinates me.  My sister says she is mapping.  And I suppose that’s what she’s doing.  Mapping – learning – figuring out the world around her and how it works.  Then tossing aside the round block and moving on to the green ball – all the while rocking those pink sunglasses precariously perched on her head.