Text that reads: Episode 275, Sucked Into the Motherhood Vortex and an illustration of two positive pregnancy tests.

Ep. 275 – Sucked Into the Motherhood Vortex

October 9, 2023

Listen Now:

Shanna shares an incident that made her realize she needs to work harder to develop social connections that don’t rely on her kids’ activities and her kids’ friends’ parents, and Laura discusses her journey to address her four-year-old’s emotional and behavioral struggles after school. Also, in the special segment “What I Googled This Week,” Laura and Shanna share the interesting, funny or embarrassing things they have asked the internet recently about parenting, including questions about slime, sweet-and-sour sauce and more! Finally, they share their BFPs and BFNs for the week. Shanna’s kids are 4.5 and 7.5 years old, and Laura’s kids are 4.5 years old and 2.5 years old.

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Big Fat Positive: A Pregnancy and Parenting Journey podcast is hosted by Laura Birek and Shanna Micko and produced by Laura Birek, Shanna Micko and Steve Yager.

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Episode Transcript

Shanna:

Hi. Welcome to Big Fat Positive with Shanna and Laura. On this week’s episode, we have our weekly check-ins. We have our special segment, “What I Googled This Week,” where things get sweet, sour and slimy, and we wrap it up with our weekly BFPs and BFNs. Let’s get started. Hi. Welcome to episode 275. Hey, Laura.

Laura:

Hi, Shanna.

Shanna:

Hi. Let’s jump right in. Let’s get to it. What is your check-in this week, and what’s been going on?

Laura:

Alright. So my check-in this week is a little story about after school restraint collapse.

Shanna:

Oh, I know it so well. Tell us your tale.

Laura:

We’ve talked about this a bunch on the podcast. And as everyone knows, Auggie started TK a few weeks ago, and I fully expected the transition to be a little bit rough. Right? Like, all of my friends who have gone before me have taught me that the beginning of elementary school is rough for kids. It’s a huge change. They’ve got a lot to process, and I was fully anticipating some emotional disturbance because of it.

Shanna:

Sure.

Laura:

However, we got through a couple weeks, and then we got through Corey being in the hospital and being sick. And now we are into this week. And the after-school mood and behavior that I was seeing out of Auggie was not settling down.

At the beginning of the school year and during the time Corey was in the hospital, I expected to see meltdowns in the afternoon, and I expected to see him having trouble with transitions and all that stuff. Right? But what I didn’t expect to see was sort of this ongoing dickishness from him. And I say that with all respect to my child. I don’t think he is a dick, but I do think he is behaving kinda like a jerk sometimes.

Shanna:

Yeah. What does that look like?

Laura:

Oh my gosh. So the main thing that just is happening over and over and over is he’s intentionally pushing all of our buttons, But especially Sebastian’s buttons. Like, am I saying he’s knowingly doing this? I mean, I say to him, do not do that, and then two seconds later, he does it. Right? And the things I’m talking about are intentionally snatching a toy right out of Sebastian’s hands. Like a special toy, ones he knows are special to Sebastian. And if it were to happen in the morning or the weekend or sometime not directly after school. We would tell him, Auggie, that’s Sebastian’s special toy. You can’t take it out of his hands. Please give it back. And he’d maybe mope for a second and then give it back.

Shanna:

Okay. So the after school behavior is significantly different.

Laura:

Yes. He will snatch the toy out of his hands and will say, Auggie, that wasn’t kind. That’s his special toy. Can you please give it back? And he will wave it in the air, running around the house while laughing maniacally. And when I tell you, it’s a trigger, Shanna. I just see red. It’s just so hard for me. Right? And it’s stuck with us too. Like, he will either intentionally or unintentionally injure us. Right? Like, he will run smack into us because he wasn’t looking, or he’ll run smack into us because he was looking and he wanted to. And I’ll say ow, Auggie, that hurt me. He’lll go and just run around and try to run away from me. And I’ll be like, do I set a boundary? Do I say oh, you need to apologize to me. You need to check-in with me. I’m like, nothing’s getting through. It’s almost like you could see it in his eyes that he wasn’t there. Like, he was hijacked. You know?

Oh, and it was making evenings insufferable. Shanna, it was just I was dreading after school time because it was just so much of this conflict and screaming and triggering me.

Shanna:

So what did you do about it?

Laura:

Well, I went on TikTok. As you do. As you do. I was soothing by scrolling on TikTok, and, of course, the TikTok algorithm knew exactly what I needed, which was a video from KC Davis, @DomesticBlisters as she’s known on the TikTok, and we’ve talked about her a bunch. We all know about her struggle care book and how wonderful she is about demystifying care tasks and all that stuff. Anyway, she had a post about what she does with her three- and five-year-olds when they come home from school.

And I was like, tell me more. And she was like, this is what I do to help my kids chill out and regulate themselves after a long day at school. And she had a two-pronged attack. One is she meets them with a full meal. Not a snack, a full meal with protein, carbs, sugar, everything. Right? Like, the whole deal. She actually packs a lunchbox for them with everything. Immediately gives them a full meal, and then she gives it to them in these little areas she’s made, she calls their little caves, where she’s made a cave out of Nuggets and sheets and blankets and stuff.

And she says she meets them with her meal and sends them to their cave with a tablet. Social interactions all day and just get their brains to calm down. And I was like, this is genius. I’m gonna try it. Because I suspected part of Auggie’s deal was that he was just overstimulated. Right? Oh, his brain was overtaxed.

His body was overtaxed. His social interaction was overtaxed; he just needed to chill. So the main problem was that I was not doing pickup that day. I had work meetings or something, so Corey was in charge. Thankfully, he learns very well from TikTok. So I sent him the TikTok, and he was like, okay. I’m on it. And I was pleased to see later that he had created these caves and their rooms for them, and he had both the iPad and the iPhone ready to go, and he couldn’t quite meet them with a full meal, but he met them with four different kinds of snacks.

Shanna:

Okay. This sounds like a bunch of steps in the right direction. Was it successful?

Laura:

Well, day one, not so much. So there were a couple problems. One was that Auggie decided he didn’t want snacks in the car, for whatever reason. Maybe he had just had one at school. So the carbo loading the minute that he gets in the door didn’t happen. Right? Then when I came downstairs, I discovered that instead of zoning out and watching a show, Auggie had convinced Corey to install a new video game on the iPhone that he was using.

And he spent an hour playing this new video game. And then when it was time to turn it off, oh my god. When I say it was 40 solid minutes of sobbing, I am not exaggerating, Shanna. This child sobbed like his puppy had just died for 40 minutes begging, begging to play more of the game. He went to bed begging to play the game, and then he woke up the next morning. The very first thing he said was, “Video Game?” And when I told him, “No, honey. We’re not playing the video game before school,” more sobbing. Like, it was… It did not work out. It did not work out.

Shanna:

What game was it that he was so into?

Laura:

You know what? I don’t even know. I think it was some kind of action game with robots or something. So he was really, really into it. So I was like, well, that shit didn’t work. Now what? Back to square one. Thankfully, that day, I actually had a call with Gia about a project we’re working on.

And Gia was like, how are you doing? What’s going on? How’s TK going, and, of course, I turned our meeting about our project into a therapy session with Gia. I was like, Auggie, he’s having the hardest time. I don’t know what to do, so I told her all about my grand hopes for the cave and the screen time thing from the night before, and she was like, the video game is where you went wrong. She’s like, that all sounds great, but the video game was activating for his brain, and you need something that’s calming for his brain. And she’s like, so we need to not do the video game. But I was like, oh, but the problem is that I kind of got him to go to school today by promising he could play the game after school. Like, that’s how I got him out the door.

And she’s like, okay. Here’s what you do. You meet him with a snack you know he’ll like. If it’s chocolate chips, give him chocolate chips. Right? Just whatever will get some food into him. Get his blood sugar up. Tell him he can play the video game in the car for the 10, 15 minutes of the drive, and that’s it.

And so there’s a natural end to it. And give him all these expectations. And then say, and when we get inside, we’re gonna turn on a movie, something calm, like a movie on the big TV, not something that the episode changes every 20 minutes. We’re gonna sit and watch, and she’s like, and here’s the thing you need to do. You need to sit with him and have physical contact while you’re watching this movie at home. I was like, okay. Okay, Gia.

I’m thinking these aren’t that big of a difference. Right? Like, these are little tweaks. It couldn’t possibly make that big of a difference.

Shanna:

Did it?

Laura:

It made all the difference, Shanna. Gia knows everything, it turns out. Yes. When I tell you that child was a joy that night, an absolute joy.

Shanna:

Aw yay.

Laura:

We did it exactly as Gia said. He was fine with only playing for 10 minutes in the car. We watched the movie, I don’t even remember what it was at this point, while cuddling on the couch. And then when I said it was time to pause the movie and turn off the TV and have dinner, he was fine. And we had a normal night with no toy stealing, no gloating, no pushing our buttons. Like, I could not believe the change.

Shanna:

Yay. So he needed some calming activity and some connection from mama.

Laura:

Apparently.

Shanna:

Or maybe daddy too.

Laura:

Yeah. Yeah. I think daddy was cooking dinner, and I got to snuggle, which is a great division of responsibility on my part.

Shanna:

Yeah. I love it.

Laura:

But, yeah, I wanted to share that because I’m sure other people are going through similar issues. And I know that for some kids, TV is stimulating, but for Auggie, it helps calm his brain and his body down. Like, if it wasn’t for the TV, he’d be physically bouncing off the walls. You know? So it just helps regulate him. But, yeah, I’m really glad we found some kind of solution even if it’s temporary or by we, I should say, I’m really glad Gia found the solution and told it to me. But, yeah, it’s been a lot calmer for the last couple days around our house, so I’m very pleased about that.

Shanna:

Yay. Happy to hear that.

Laura:

Yeah. Alright. That’s it for me. How about you? What have you been up to this week?

Shanna:

Well, I had a bit of an existential crisis, maybe an identity crisis a bit this week that I think I need to talk about.

Laura:

Okay.

Shanna:

I’m embarrassed to say this revolves around softball.

Laura:

Okay. Interesting. I’m intrigued.

Shanna:

Oh my gosh. So I volunteered this year to be team mom, for Elle’s softball team.

Laura:

This is the second year in a row. Right?

Shanna:

Yes. It is. New coach this time. So last year was with coach Rick. Loved him. Loved his family. Loved the whole experience. This is a different coach, and I didn’t know what to expect.

But I was like I’ll volunteer. I’m experienced. I know what I’m doing. I love getting to know the kids and their families. That’s my favorite part of it. Right? So I volunteer and come to find out there’s also a second team mom. I was like, okay. Couple cooks in the kitchen.

Laura:

Alright.

Shanna:

And when I met her, she was like, oh, I’m the backup team mom. You know? Like, you need me to step in here and there in the dugout and stuff, and I’ll be there as backup. I was like, okay. Perfect. So the coach is having me do all this administrative work.

Like, I collect money for our banners, our pennants. He asked me to input all of the games into our game app. And I’m like, okay. Set up the snack schedule and all this stuff. And I show up to the first game, and I walk up to him and I’m like, hey, let me know if there’s anything in particular you would like me to do in the dugout because that’s part of the team mom duty. Right? I like being in the dugout, helping the girls transition on and off the field.

So I was like, let me know if there’s anything particular you want me to do in there. And he was like, oh, I’m having the other team mom be in there because I’ve worked with her before.

Laura:

Oh.

Shanna:

And I was like, oh, okay. And he’s like, but I know you wanna be in there too, so maybe you can do it a couple times. You just have to help the girls get on and off the field. And I was like, yeah, I did it all last year with coach Rick, so I know what to do. Just let me know if you know if you need my help. But, Laura, the way it made me feel was like such shit, and I’m so embarrassed to talk about this. I really am super embarrassed if anyone involved in this situation ever hears this podcast, but I’m talking to you and our audience here, so I’m just gonna be real. I was really hurt and really embarrassed that I assumed that that would just be part of the job, and that’s the part of the job I love the most.

Laura:

Yeah. I’m sorry.

Shanna:

I don’t love the administrative part. I don’t love putting game dates into apps. You know what I mean? And so I was like why doesn’t he want me in the dugout? It was super weird.

Laura:

Yeah. Super awkward, especially since you arrived assuming that’s the job.

Shanna:

Yes. Yes. Right after he was like, “no, I don’t want you in the dugout with me,” one of the girls ran up and handed me a hair bow – hair bows are real big thing in girl’s softball – handed me a hair bow that this woman made that said “Team mom” on it, and I was just like I’m not gonna wear that. Like, I’m way too embarrassed. Clearly, I’m not wanted as a team mom, so it was gut wrenching.

But I was really shocked by how hurt it made me feel, and it made me realize I think I’ve been investing too much of my social needs, my extroversion, getting to know parents and kids and wanting to connect with people through my children. And that’s maybe not the way to go. If I’m on a team where the coaches are not receptive to me and my energy and my extraness, I can’t keep pushing for that. You know? And maybe I just need to step back. And it’s one of those other realizations that I just need to find my own damn friends in this neighborhood.

Laura:

Well, also if doing it for a year hasn’t yielded friends outside of it… you know what I mean? Like, maybe it isn’t the place to look.

Shanna:

Yes. And here’s the thing. I did make friends last year through softball. Like, actually, I did, and, all of those people are on coach Rick’s team this season.

Laura:

Oh man.

Shanna:

Rick was able to draft all of our other friends, but this new coach drafted Elle right away. And so we’re on a different team. And I was like, that’s fine. I’ll try to be positive about it and stuff, and it’s just a completely different vibe. I don’t know. I’m just left feeling dumb, and I’m left being like, I don’t wanna do the administrative stuff for the rest of the season if I don’t get the benefit of relationships with the girls and the coaches and all of that stuff too. You know?

Laura:

Well, yeah, you signed up for one thing, and now you’re getting something completely different. And you were totally lied to by this other person who’s like, I’m just the backup except for I’m doing the fun part. It’s like, you do all the boring shit. The stuff that you have a normal job that you have to do shit like that. You know what I mean? Like, if you had a real hankering to keep some Google calendars up to date, I’m sure you could do that in your regular job that you get paid for.

Shanna:

Yes.

Laura:

So wait. Did you talk to this other team mom at all? Like, did you even find out why she swooped in and took the fun part of the job?

Shanna:

Honestly, I don’t think it’s her fault. She’s great. She seems like a really nice person. I guess a couple years ago, she was a team mom for him, and he just likes her and doesn’t wanna give me a chance because it’s a “real hard job” or something. I mean, I don’t really know. At the end of this game, we were all walking out towards the parking lot, and she walked by and she was like, “There’s a couple games I’m not gonna be able to make, so you can probably help. I’ll let you know.” And I’m like, oh, thanks. But I don’t wanna blame her, honestly, because I think he just chose her.

Laura:

Yes. I blame the new coach for sure. So, yeah, I don’t think you are silly or anything for feeling this way. Honestly, I was pissed. Like, when you told me this, I was like, what? They did what?

Shanna:

Thank you.

Laura:

Like, that’s some bullshit. No. That is totally some bullshit. And I wouldn’t blame you if you either quit or slowly delegated all of the responsibilities to her because it’s like, I mean, you don’t get to just pick and choose the fun parts of the job, and I can’t think of anything worse than just being the administrator.

Shanna:

Right? The other things on the docket are organizing this trunk or treat event, collecting money to buy coach presents, and organizing an end of the year party. I’m like, I don’t wanna do any of that now, Laura. And I’m like, how do I extricate myself from that? I was ready to quit right then and there because I can be a little hot-headed and impulsive. But I took a beat, and it’s been a few days now, and I’m kind of just like, how do I disengage?

Laura:

Do you have any plans?

Shanna:

No. I don’t. I don’t. I need help. I need advice. I need a script.

Laura:

Well, I’m on team quitting. I mean, I think you signed up for one job. It’s no longer the job, And there’s someone else who can take your place. So I’m all about using your full-time job as a great excuse. Like, I’m not sure if the other mom has other time commitments, but we know you do. Right?

Shanna:

Indeed.

Laura:

I am conflict-avoidant, so I’m always looking for a good scapegoat when I have to weasel into something. So I’d probably be like, oh my my job is just getting too busy. We’re really entering the busy season, and I’ve realized that it’s not that I don’t have the time to dedicate to team mom, but thankfully, the interloper can take over.

Shanna:

I like that. I don’t have the time to dedicate to being a team mom. Okay. Alright.

Laura:

Or even I can’t give the girls The experience they so deserve. Right?

Shanna:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I can’t give them that back-end administrative support that they deserve.

Laura:

Well, I mean, it’s the invisible work. Right?Also the whole concept of team mom. Like, The whole room parent and team mom stuff is just like, oh, a whole other conversation we could get into where it’s like there’s so much unpaid labor that goes into supporting this shit. You know?

Shanna:

Yeah. 100%. And I think what really got my goat about this is that a couple days before, the coach messaged me specifically, not the other team mom, and said, hey, will you put all the game dates into the app? And it’s like, the previous coach did that himself. Like, how is that a team mom duty? But I was like, okay. Sure. No problem. I’m a helper.

And then to just be like, oh, but you can’t be in the dugout. It’s just like, what? I don’t know. That felt a little bit extra mean.

Laura:

Yeah. It’s insulting. That’s 100% insulting.

Shanna:

Thank you.

Laura:

You are very justified in that. And, I would normally say quiet quit, but there’s little kids involved. So no quiet quitting. You can just actually quit.

Shanna:

Okay. Okay. I will work on getting myself psyched up to quit, and I will keep you updated.

Laura:

Alrighty. We expect an update.

Shanna:

Okay. In the meantime, shall we move on to our special segment?

Laura:

Yes. We should.

Laura:

We are back, and our special segment is “What I Googled This Week,” where Shanna and I go over some of our recent searches to see what information we were trying to glean from the Internet. Shanna, should we be changing this to what I ChatGPT’d this week?

Shanna:

No. Because I am holding out on the ChatGPT-ness of everything, and I went straight to Google here.

Laura:

I will say this is a disclaimer and a warning for everyone. ChatGPT makes shit up. Okay? It’s not a search engine. Recently, I decided to see if it could somehow figure out our kids’ real names because it has a lot of data in it. Right? So I thought okay. I could ask about the Big Fat Positive Podcast. And maybe if it knows our names and it has crawled the Internet for everything in the world. It would also somehow be able to reference and come up with our kids’ real names.

Shanna:

Oh my gosh. What an experiment. Okay.

Laura:

Yeah. I was clearly procrastinating. Something else I should have been doing. So I said can you tell me about the podcast Big Fat Positive? And it was like, oh, I’m sorry, I don’t have any information on that. Well I was like, okay, because and and it has only been trained up to 2021, I think, but we’ve been publishing every week Since 2018.

So I was like, that can’t be true. So I was like, are you sure? And then it was like, oh, I’m sorry. Big Fat Positive is a podcast about two friends, Shanna and Laura, who go through their pregnancies, and it gave me a completely accurate description of our podcast. Right? I was like, okay. And then I said, what are the names of the host’s children? And it went again, and it was like Big Fat Positive is a podcast by Laura and Shanna, and they did a description of our podcast that was accurate. And it was like, Shanna has one daughter, Annabelle, and Laura has one son, Patrick, and they talk about them on the show.

And then it went on to have more accurate stuff like, the first 33 episodes are related to their pregnancies and then and it went on. But here’s the thing. If you didn’t listen to the show, there’s no way for you to fact check that. Right? You would read the beginning. Sounds plausible. You’d read the middle about our children, Annabelle and Patrick, which by the way is not even close to either of their real names. Right?

Shanna:

Yeah. No. Or even close to their names on the show. I mean, Elle, I guess.

Laura:

Anyway, and then it said more actual accurate information. So the whole thing seems plausible. And this is how people end up going to judges with legal briefs that include all kinds of made up cases because ChatGPG just lies. It just makes shit up, people. So beware. Did you know that we were gonna divert to that in the segment. Okay. Shanna, let’s get back to Google.

What did you Google this week?

Shanna:

I googled, is it possible to say I love you too much to your kids?

Laura:

No. Hopefully, it said no. What did it say?

Shanna:

Yes and no. Yeah. Mixed results. So the other day, this question just occurred to me because I realized that I often fill dead space, quiet space, with my kids with just being like, I love you. I love you so much. I love you. And I say it a lot, a lot. And I felt like maybe I got a slight pushback from Elle the other day on it.

And I was like, oh, am I saying it too much? I don’t know. I don’t know. Like, what can happen if you say it too much? So according to Google or the Internet, the pros are that your kids know you love them, and they feel supported by you, etcetera. The cons are that it might annoy kids when they get older, and I think maybe that’s what I’m starting to see just a little bit because she’s seven now. And kids might start to feel pressure to say it back, and that might make them a little bit uncomfortable. My kids don’t always say it back. They often do, and I never expect it from them or anything. But I don’t want that to be a problem. So I’m just basically I’m way too in my head about all of this.

Laura:

Yeah. I’d say so. I mean, I think that the pressure thing, I think, could be a real problem. Right? Like, if you were like, “And…” You know, “What do you say back?” every time? But I know you’re not doing that. I will say in my personal experience, my dad was like this. Right? He would oh my god. I’m gonna get choked up.

Shanna:

Aw.

Laura:

He… I’m trying to remember exactly how he would say it. He would go, “Do you know what? Do you know I love you?” He’d say that all the time. “Do you know,” and then he’d go, “Are you happy? Are you happy?” That was the thing that really bugged me, though, asking if I’m happy, but he would always say, “Do you know I love you? Do you know I love you?” And I remember being a teenager and being annoyed. Right? Like, yes, dad. Yes. I know. But as you can tell, remembering it is really a really good memory.

Shanna:

Yeah. Oh, my friend.

Laura:

Did not expect to cry in this segment. But, you know there is no amount of being annoyed as a teenager or as an older kid that would counteract the fact that I know that he not only loved me, but told me all the time. You know? Like, I don’t have to question it. I don’t have to be one of those people who’s like, oh, wait. Do I even know if my parents love me? You know? Like, I know.

Right? And obviously saying it, you can say it and then do things that suck maybe, that don’t act like love.

Shanna:

Right.

Laura:

But he did both. Right? So I will say, yeah, you’ll probably get annoyed, eyes rolled, but for me, I do the same thing. I’m always like, Auggie, I just love you so much. You know? And right now, he’s so little. He’s just like, I love you, mama. You know? He’s like, I love you more. And that’s a really fun interaction to have. But I plan on continuing even if it mildly annoys them because it’s important to let them know.

Shanna:

Absolutely. And it shows them that you’re willing to be vulnerable and take that risk of annoying them in order to show them or to say it. They might not recognize that now, but later on. So I just need to get out of my head about it.

Laura:

Yeah. Absolutely.

Shanna:

Keep on keeping on with the I love yous.

Laura:

Yeah. I mean, I don’t think there’s any downside in them knowing. Also there’s something about modeling that you’re not too cool, right, to say I love you all the time or in front of other people or whatever. They’ll have to get over the hump of awkward teenagers.

Shanna:

Yeah. One thing I did find is a blog that was like, if you are looking for alternatives to I love you, if you wanna spice things up a little bit and throw in some other phrases in there, here’s some ideas.

So I thought that was cute too. Some of their suggestions were, I appreciate you. I’ve got your back. You are a joy. You make me smile. And I’m like, oh, maybe I’ll just mix it up a little bit.

Laura:

Yeah. I love those phrases. I think that’s great. I also think it’s good to mix it up to be specific. Right? Like because sometimes I love you can sort of become background noise. But if you’re like, “Elle, I really appreciate how creative you are all the time” or something. You know what I mean? Like, you can you can really get the same or better feeling across because she may not hear that I love you, but if you’re like it’s fun watching the way your brain works or whatever.

Shanna:

Right. You make me smile when you full-body interpretive dance to the Trolls soundtrack.

Laura:

Right.

Shanna:

So that’s mine. You have a What I Googled This Week?

Laura:

Yeah. This one might bring you to tears, Shanna. Just be prepared.

Shanna:

Uh-oh. Okay.

Laura”

I Googled McDonald’s sweet and sour sauce copycat recipe. Does this bring out some deep feelings from your youth?

Shanna:

(Fake sobs) Oh my gosh. It does make me remember how much I loved the sweet and sour sauce when I was a kid.

Laura:

It’s really good.

Shanna:

It’s very good. Okay. Why did you Google this?

Laura:

Okay. So I’ve talked about this in many previous episodes about Auggie’s love for the sweet and sour sauce and how I’ve discovered you can just ask for extra or buy 10 if you’re at the drive through at McDonald’s. And we always get extra. Right? Like, anytime we hit up the golden arches, I’m like, I need extra sweet and sour sauce, and we get a pile of it. But we’ve been making dino nuggets at home because I get them at Costco, and they’re one of Auggie’s safe foods, and Sebastian likes them too. And this week, I was looking in the fridge trying to figure out what we were gonna do for dinner, and I was like, oh, we’ll do dino nuggets. And then I pulled open the drawer where we usually keep our extra sweet and sour sauce, and I was like, Fuck. We’re out.

Shanna:

Wait, did that happen in slow mo? Because that’s how I’m envisioning it in my head.

Laura:

(Fakes slo-mo) No. No.

Yeah. Basically. And I was like, shit. IAm I gonna go to McDonald’s and order fries just so I can scam some sweet and sour sauce out of these people? Like, what am I gonna do? And I was like, I don’t have time to go to McDonald’s. I really don’t want any more McDonald’s. Like, I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t need any more McDonald’s in my life.

I was like, what am I gonna do? What am I gonna do? And that’s what I remembered that way back when I was in college, I had been given a cookbook that was like a copycat recipes cookbook.

It was like secrets the restaurants don’t want you to know, and it was like all these chain restaurants’ recipes.

Shanna:

Okay.

Laura:

I realized I probably didn’t have that anymore, but I was like, you know what I do have? Google. Ah. And so I looked, and I indeed found a couple recipes. And the one I chose worked out really, really well, so I’m gonna tell you about it.

Shanna:

Yeah. Please do. I wanna make this.

Laura:

So I got it from a website called Where Is My Spoon. It’s literally just called a copycat McDonald’s sweet and sour recipe, and they give a recipe for chicken nuggets too, which I’m like, skip because, obviously. We’re doing those dino nuggets from the freezer.

Shanna:

Clearly.

Laura:

Okay. So the process is basically you put a bunch of ingredients in a sauce pan and then you take an immersion blender or stick blender, blend it all up, then you heat it up, and it gets caramelized and beautiful, and then you cool it down and serve it. So the main ingredient do you wanna guess? What do you think the main ingredient in this copycat recipe is?

Shanna:

Sugar and vinegar maybe.

Laura:

Those are both ingredients, but it’s not the main ingredient.

Shanna:

What? Ketchup.

Laura:

Nope. No ketchup in Insight. Not a drop.

Shanna:

I don’t know.

Laura:

Apricot jam.

Shanna:

What?

Laura:

I was also surprised.

Shanna:

Interesting.

Laura:

I was also surprised at how readily available apricot jam is or apricot. Oh, I don’t and I say it both ways. Apricot jam.

Shanna:

Did you have apricot jam lying around your house?

Laura:

I did not, but I had to run to the store anyway. And I was like, oh, I wonder if they’re gonna have apricot jam. And lo and behold, there’s four different types readily available. I didn’t like, are people using apricot jam all the time, and I just don’t know?

Shanna:

I think so. It’s delicious.

Laura:

I just never purchased it before, but, anyway, it’s apricot jam, corn syrup, or some type of sugar syrup, apple cider vinegar, cornstarch, a little bit of soy sauce, salt, a little bit of garlic powder. And then this says to put some dried mustard in it, and I skip that. I do not do the mustard because I don’t, I don’t think Auggie would appreciate any spice, heat.

Shanna:

Right.

Laura:

There’s no heat. But, yeah, you just put it all in, plop it all in a saucepan, blend it up, and then warm it up for 15 minutes, and it’s good to go. And it’s kind of amazing. Like, it starts off as this very opaque, weird orange color, and then it starts, I don’t know, cooking and the sugars melt or whatever, and it turns into this beautiful clear sweet and sour sauce. So I was impressed.

Shanna:

Nice. So the big question, did you fool Auggie with this dupe?

Laura:

Well, I know better than to fool him these days because he is very sensitive to change. So I told him because he was gonna be like, why is this not in the little tub? I considered digging the little tubs out of the trash, washing them, and then putting them in because I knew this about him. Right? Then I decided that was ridiculous. So I put it in a little bowl and served it with him. I said, this is special. Mommy made it just like McDonald’s. And he liked it. He was into it.

Shanna:

Yay.

Laura:

There you go. Now we have sweet and sour sauce at home anytime, basically.

Shanna:

That is so exciting. Will you send me that recipe? Because I wanna make it. My girls have never dipped nuggets in sweet and sour awesome. They often leave nuggets uneaten on their plate at home, and this might entice them to not waste so much food.

Laura:

Interesting. Yes. Of course. I’ll send it to you. We’ll put it in the show notes too.

Shanna:

Yeah. Okay. Cool. Alright.

Laura:

Do you have another What I Googled?

Shanna:

I do. I Googled how to get slime out of clothes.

Laura:

Oh, shit. I need to know this. I need to know this. I have thrown away Sebastian’s pants because he’s just been introduced to slime. He calls it squishy Play Doh. He goes squishy Play Doh. I want I want I want squishy play doh. And, the squishy play doh ruins things. I mean, it’s just a destroyer of worlds, that slime. So okay.

Shanna:

Ugh. I know. I know. Last Friday, Cece came home from TK with a Ziploc bag full of homemade slime that they made at school. And I was like, thanks, teacher. Thanks so much for that.

Laura:

That is an act of war. I know. That teacher woke up and chose violence.

Shanna:

Right? I looked at that bag. At first, I was like, oh my gosh. You got Play Doh at school? She’s like, no. It’s slime. I was like, oh, slime. Like, my mood turned fast and hard. So Cece and Elle were all about playing with the slime, and I’m trying to enforce the rule of at least just only play with the slime at the table. You know? But eventually, the slime migrated into the family room.

They’re messing with it on the couch. And all of a sudden, Elle was like, oops. Sorry, mama. And I look up, and she’s got bright blue slime all over her new pants. And “new” is really the key here. Right? Like, If they weren’t new, I probably would’ve been like, oh, whatever. But they were new. Like, it was the first time she was wearing them.

And I was like, well, let me see what Google says about this. And, of course, I made her put the slime away. So it turns out there’s some great tricks for getting slime out of clothes and other materials. So I don’t think all hope is lost. First of all, vinegar is the number one thing that everyone recommends because it’s got acetic acid, which apparently eats away at the slime. And by the way, I asked Cece. I was like, what is in this slime, how did you make it, and it’s glue and shaving cream. I’m like, great.

Laura:

Oh my gosh.

Shanna:

Yeah. So you saturate the stain with distilled white vinegar, let it sit for 10 minutes, and brush it off or wipe it off. Rubbing alcohol works as well. So I did read, whatever you do, don’t put the clothes in the washing machine before you do this process.

Laura:

That’s where we went wrong.

Shanna:

Yeah. I think that’s where most people go wrong. So what I ended up doing was completely forgetting that she got slime all over her pants. The pants ended up in the laundry basket, and I washed her pants.

Laura:

No.

Shanna:

So I didn’t even try any of these techniques. I am so lucky. I think it’s because maybe it was homemade slime, but it completely came out in the washing machine.

Laura:

Oh good.

Shanna:

There is a happy ending to the story.

Laura:

That’s good to hear. Ours, I mean, the stuff that, it’s not the glue and shaving cream kind. It’s like the clear stuff that you buy at the store. I mean, it created a crust, like an embedded crust. Like, almost like if you had, dipped part of his pants in very, very stiff starch. You know? And nothing would get rid of it, so we’re like, fuck it. We’re throwing these away. Corey’s ready to ban slime.

Shanna:

You can try, my friend, but people will give it to your children. They’ll win it at birthday parties and pinatas. They will make it at school, and it will make its way into your house, so just be prepared.

Laura:

I know. And I get it. It is very satisfying to play with.

Shanna:

Yeah. I mean, I played with it for a little while, and it was quite fun.

Laura:

Yeah. Yeah. And Sebastian’s so cute. He goes, squishy play doh.

Shanna:

That’s really adorable. That’s reason enough to give him buckets of slime in my opinion.

Laura:

I know. Alright. Well, I’m gonna keep that in my back pocket. Not the slime. The tips, because I’m gonna need it.

Shanna:

Yes. Yes. Alright. What’s your last What I Googled?

Laura:

Alright. Shanna, have you ever heard of the term twiblings?

Shanna:

No. But I love it. The word makes me giggle.

Laura:

So I had to Google this because I was scrolling Facebook, and I got an ad that was like an ad looking for a nanny. So for some reason, Facebook thinks that I might provide childcare. I think our Googles and interactions online are weird because of the podcast. Right? Like, it clearly thinks I still have an infant. And it’s doing all this weird thing thinking I’m a nanny. Right? So I got an ad that someone had placed looking for a nanny on the west side, which I was like, first of all, even if I was doing it, I’m not going to the west side.

Shanna:

Yeah. The algorithm really got that one wrong.

Laura:

Really, really a wasted ad, view on their part. But It was like, family in Brentwood looking for a full time nanny for adorable 6-month twiblings.

Shanna:

What?

Laura:

And I was like, yeah. That was my thought too. And, so I had to Google it, and here’s what I found.

Shanna:

How do you spell this? I mean, I’m kind of guessing what this might be, but how’s it spelled?

Laura:

It’s T-W-I-B-L-I-N-G-S, twiblings. So the first thing that comes up is actually from a fertility clinic website, and it has a little pull quote that it just displays. So this is the first thing I saw. It said, instead of twins, consider having twiblings, two infants who are twin-like, but actually siblings.

Shanna:

Okay. Like, maybe born via surrogate? Two different surrogates?

Laura:

Precisely. So instead of having twins, which has increased risk and, often are premature and all that stuff, you can have twin-like siblings, but they are just carried by two separate gestational carriers at the same time. It definitely made me realize that I’m a little bit ignorant and out of touch by being a straight woman because I don’t have to know about this stuff. Right? Like, I didn’t have to look into surrogacy. I carried my children myself. But my gay friends probably know this term. Right? Like, in fact, one of my, gay friends actually tried to do this, and I just didn’t realize that It was a term, like they actually have two kids who are 10 months apart, and they told us that oh, we were trying to do a parallel journey, but It didn’t work out. Like, I’m guessing one of the transfers didn’t work.

But now I’m like, oh, they were trying for twiblings. Like, maybe this is a much better known term, in other groups of people, and I’m just like and I just didn’t know about it. So, yeah, it’s interesting.

Shanna:

That is interesting. And I wonder if it is more of a casual phrase as opposed to a clinical one. I mean, I know you saw it on, like an IVF website. But I don’t know. Yeah. I don’t know how common that phrase is.

Laura:

Yeah. I mean, it’s obviously a newer phrase. I’m actually looking up the Google search history, and the first ping I see is in 2006. So it’s a term that must have been around for a while, but it was new to me, so I wanted to share.

Shanna:

I love it.

Laura:

And also one other thing I found in my Googling was that it can actually help save on costs Apparently, because you can use the same surrogacy agency to handle both of the legal fees and stuff, so it apparently can lower your costs. Again, I am not qualified to talk about this in-depth, but I just wanted to share the knowledge.

Shanna:

You know, the first thing I thought of when you said the word twiblings was that maybe it’s two siblings that look a lot alike, like Augie and Sebastian. You know how a lot of people are like, oh, they’re twins, but no. They’re twiblings. But I’m wrong.

Laura:

You’re wrong. I guess this also happens with people who are getting started with the surrogacy process, or have a surrogate, and then they suddenly end up conceiving naturally, themselves. So there’s some stories about twiblings who were born 12 days apart, one by surrogate, one by the biological mother. And I found another one that was someone who used their mom, the grandma, to be a surrogate, and then they also got pregnant. So that’s a whole extra special story.

Shanna:

Aw. That’s a cool story. I love that.

Laura:

So, anyway, that’s it for this segment. Shall we move on to our final segment?

Shanna:

Oh, yes.

We’re back, and we wrap up every episode with our weekly BFPs or BFNs. Laura, you are up first, and I wanna know what you got.

Laura:

I have a BFP.

Shanna:

Yay. What is it?

Laura:

It’s that we had our very first back to school night at Auggie’s school Which I will say, the one downside was that it was a parents’ only event, which it’s like 5:00 PM on a weeknight, and you’re like, okay, this timing is difficult, but we made it work. Are your schools like that?

Shanna:

Oh, yeah. Yep. Ours were like that. And, as a result, Steve didn’t get to go, because I was like, can I please please please please please be the one to go? And he’s like, yeah. Sure.

Laura:

So, yeah, we got to go together because Corey’s mom came to babysit, which was very nice. And I’m so glad we did because it really gave me a better understanding of what Auggie’s day is like at school and what he’s doing at school. Because I don’t hear much from him when he comes home. Like, you’re like, how was your day? You don’t get an answer. Right?

Shanna:

If anything, it’s like, “I hurt my elbow!” and there’s no evidence of an injured elbow. I mean, that’s the kind of report I get.

Laura:

I mean, I think I literally get nothing. I get a blank stare, or I’ll get “good,” so you know I get no details. So it was really nice to hear from his teacher and this whole presentation she had put together, about how they go about their day and what they learn about and how they split up their teaching time and all that stuff. So it’s really, really nice. And, also, we got to see his little workbooks and things he’s working on. So, yeah, it was just really, really cool to get to go and get more insight into what was going on, while he’s away all day.

Shanna:

Yeah. Do you feel good about your decision to go with this TK?

Laura:

Yes. Yes. I feel really happy that we ended up at this place for him, especially, because for instance, they start every day with a social emotional learning module or whatever they call it. Like, every day starts with social emotional learning. The school’s really focused on arts, creativity, and social emotional learning. And it was nice to see also that the teachers understood child development at this age, and that they were not expecting the kids to be able to sit and focus on a lesson for a really long time. Right? Like, they say they never do anything more than 10 minutes when they’re doing direct teaching because they know that TK and kindergarteners can’t focus longer than that. And also, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned the classes are combined. So it’s TK and K mixed. And they also talked about that and why that was helpful and beneficial for all the kids, and I just really appreciated the approach they’re taking there, and it felt very warm and fuzzy afterwards.

So I also got to talk to his teacher a little bit about him specifically, to ask her sort of like what’s going on with him? What have you noticed? Like, how can we help him do better at school at home? And she had some ideas. Like, she was talking about how he needs to work on his stamina for sitting and listening. He needs to work on his stamina for writing, or drawing with a pencil and paper. And the way she expressed it to us wasn’t like, oh, if he doesn’t catch up, he’s gonna be behind. It was just like, oh, this is where you can work on, but we don’t expect him to be doing all these things. He’s four and a half.

You know? Like, we know he’s working on these things, but this is where I think he could have room to grow. So, it was nice to get that insight and also to see all their little projects on the wall. So cute.

Shanna:

So cute. Yeah.

Laura:

But, yeah, that’s my BFP, plain and simple. And now I feel like I have a better sense of what’s going on with him all day long. How about you? Do you have a BFP or a BFN?

Shanna:

I have a BFP. So I talked in the first segment about feeling a little bit of an identity crisis and feeling like maybe I’m relying too much on my kids for social interaction with other adults and all that jazz. So when my kids were younger and we would go on playdates and hang out with the kids and their parents, it’s a great opportunity to connect with other adults, and make some friendships. And now the kids are getting older, and it’s a little bit different. So Elle’s little best friend was having a birthday party, and the mom was like, oh, why don’t you just drop Elle off? You don’t have to stick around.

Laura:

Oh my god.

Shanna:

And I was like, Okay, nobody wants me around. The softball team doesn’t want me around in the dugout. This parent doesn’t want me around at the party. I know that’s not it. Like, I’m reading too much into it, but that’s how it felt. Right? And so it’s just all compounded all in the same day, and I was just like, blah, not feeling great about myself. Cut to the next day.

I had lined up a couple of social activities not related to children whatsoever, and boy, oh, boy, were they the medicine that I needed to get back on my feet and feel better about myself. The first is that my friend Courtney was in town. She moved out of LA four years ago. I haven’t seen her in four years. She came back to visit, and we had dinner, and it was the best thing ever. It was like no time had passed. We just sat and talked, talked, talked, talked, talked forever at one of our favorite restaurants and had a drink. And I was like, oh my god, this is what I need in my life. Like really good friends to just sit down and chat with and not make small talk like you make with your kids’ friends’ parents. You know? It’s like, it felt so satisfying on a soul level.

Laura:

And, also, Courtney isn’t a parent, so it must have been nice to not have to talk about kids stuff. Right?
Shanna:

Oh, yes.

Laura:

Like, I’m sure she asked about the girls, but, like you’re not sitting there discussing bedtime routine schedules or anything.

Shanna:

No. No. Not at all. Just totally catching up and reminiscing about old times. It’s so nice having a friend that you’ve had for so many years, and you can be like, oh gosh, remember how much Chili used to love you and jump on your lap? And she’s like, oh, Chili. You know? It’s just like having that connection. So that was awesome and exactly what I needed.

The other thing, totally random, a Buy Nothing neighbor of mine came to pick up an item recently, and I’m somewhat connected to her on Facebook, we’re Facebook friends and stuff. And I popped out to say hi to her as she was picking up the item. I’m like, hey, how are you doing? And we’re catching up a little bit. And I was like, I just really like you. Like, I just wanna be friends with you. You’re always doing really cool fun stuff. Like, I wanna be friends. Like, I literally said that, Laura.

Laura:

Nice. I mean, yeah, it’s a little cringey, but that’s what you gotta do. Right?

Shanna:

I mean, I think I said it in a cool way. Not cool, but it fit the vibe of the moment. So she was like, oh, you know what we’re doing tomorrow if you’re free? A bunch of us are getting together to make Halloween wands out of chopsticks for the Buy Nothing Halloween party so we can give out handmade wands – magic wands – to the kids in the neighborhood. I was like, yes. Sign me up. I will be there.

Laura:

Arts and crafts, other adults, check, check.

Shanna:

Check, check. And this is just the kind of stuff sometimes I drag my ass on doing or saying yes to. I don’t know. Like, there’s this weird fear of commitment to something in the future or whatever. But I was just like, yes. I know that that’s what I need because the softball shit and all this other stuff has been making me feel like crap. So what I need to do is start saying yes to these other things.

And, so I said yes, and I went over. There were seven of us women from the neighborhood sitting around this huge table with tons of paint and glue guns and Halloween accessories. And I sat there for three hours with these women making magic wands, talking, laughing, gossiping about Buy Nothing people. It was the best. I had such a great time.

Laura:

I love this for you. I also feel like it’s such a natural progression for you to have a group of friends from the Buy Nothing group. You know what I mean? Like, that makes 100% complete sense to me.

Shanna:

It does. I love my Buy Nothing group. And while we were there, they were like, oh, we’re having an 80s party, a Buy Nothing 80s party in October. Do you wanna come? I’m like, yes. Sign me up. That’s totally the kind of thing I would be like, oh, I don’t know. Should I commit? And I’m just like, yes. I bought my eighties outfit already. I’m ready to go.

Laura:

Nice.

Shanna:

So, hopefully, I can start making a little bit better friends in my own neighborhood on my own.

Laura:

I love that your Buy Nothing group does these events. Like, mine doesn’t. My group, it’s fine. And I actually did meet a nice woman who lives right around the corner from me. She gave me a selfie stand, a selfie tripod thing, that I was hoping to use for her social media. And I saw she was very pregnant, but, of course, I didn’t say anything until she said something about needing to clear out for the baby. And I was like, don’t be weird. Don’t be weird. But also I know a thing or two about pregnancy if you ever wanna talk. And so we’ve now become Facebook friends, and it’s very sweet. She just had her baby a week ago. But, yeah, we don’t have the same community. I swear most of the stuff our flash gives. Like, our admins keep having to be like, hey, guys, let’s let things simmer. It’s like but no one wants to let things simmer.

So, I’m jealous of your Buy Nothing group, but I’m so happy for you that you’ve made new connections.

Shanna:

Yeah. So, hopefully, that all starts going in the right direction, and I can just be my own person again.

Laura:

Yes. I hope so too. I mean, you are your own person, but I get how we all get sucked into the motherhood vortex. So, yay.

Shanna:

But, yeah, that’s it for me. And, do you have a 5-star review to read?

Laura:

I do. This is from Moore2318 on Apple Podcasts. The title is “Great Podcast,” 5 stars. “I’ve been listening to this podcast for several years now and always look forward to the new episodes on Mondays. The tips I’ve gotten from this pod are great, and the stories are always so authentic and help me know I’m not alone in my mom’s struggles. Thank you ladies for the great hour each week.”

Well, thank you for leaving that great review.

Shanna:

Yeah. Thank you, and thank you for being a longtime listener. We appreciate you. Listeners, if you haven’t had a chance yet to leave us a 5-star review, could you please do us a favor and head on over to Apple Podcasts? Leave those 5 stars. Say a few things you love about the show, and we might read it on an upcoming episode. And if you have any What I Googled This Week that you wanna share with us, you know we would love to hear those.

Laura, where can they find us?

Laura:

We’re on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook at @bfppodcast. We have a website, bigfatpositivepodcast.com. If you wanna send us an email, you can always throw a voice memo in there. We love those. Just send it to contact at big fat positive podcast.com. And finally, if you wanna join the coolest group of people on the Internet and see some exclusive content from me and Shanna, just search Facebook for Big Fat Positive Community and request to join because it’s a private group. Make sure you answer those two membership questions so we know you’re not a robot. Once you do that, you’ll be sent straight through to all the amazing stuff that’s going on in there.

Shanna:

Our show is produced by Laura Birek, Shanna Micko, and Steve Yager. Thanks for listening, everyone. Have a big fat positive week. Bye.