Ep. 281 – No Bad Kids, No Bad Words

November 20, 2023

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Laura hits a parenting milestone this week when she hears her child use a swear word for the first time and must think on her feet to appropriately handle the situation, and Shanna attends parent-teacher conferences for her 4- and 7-year-olds and is caught off guard by the information she receives. Also, in the special segment “Throwback,” Laura tells a dramatic and hilarious tale of vacationing on the Jersey Shore with her family as a teenager. 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 is 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 Throwback where Laura tells a tale of getting wild in Atlantic City, and we wrap it up with our weekly BFPs and BFNs. Let’s get started. Hello, everyone, and welcome to episode 281. Hey, Laura.

Laura:
Hi, Shanna.

Shanna:
How are you? What’s going on over there in your world?

Laura:
Well, I have a little story to tell for my check-in this week. This is a parenting milestone, I think, that I just achieved, actually, later than I expected. We’re a little behind in this. I truly expected to conquer this a little bit earlier, but it finally happened, and I’m here to tell you about it.

Shanna:
Okay. I’m excited to hear. I can’t even imagine what this would be.

Laura:
Alright. So I’m gonna set the scene. We were actually at swim class with Auggie. I had accompanied Auggie to a swim class. Usually, Auggie does this. For whatever reason, just the division of responsibility happens where Corey takes Auggie to swim class and I take Sebastian. And I think it started happening because I would get in with Sebastian. But now that Sebastian’s not getting in, it’s not really as rigid. So this week, I was like, you know what? I’m gonna take Auggie. And one of the things I didn’t realize about swim class with Auggie was that he likes to get in and out of the pool a lot to go potty. Like, he can hold it all day, but then you get in the pool, and he’s like, I have to go potty. And we always have to take a potty break in the middle of our 30 minute class. Like, it takes a long time.

Shanna:
Come on, kid.

Laura:
You gotta peel the wet bathing suit off. You gotta do all the stuff, you gotta wade into the soggy, damp bathroom at the pool. Which those are always I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s a sensory thing. Those have always driven me nuts. Just everything’s wet.

Shanna:
It’s not pleasant.

Laura:
It’s not. And then I have to have a conversation with him about it’s the women’s room, but you’re going in it. And he’s like, but I’m a boy. And he’s like, well, with little boys, when they’re with Their mommies go in the ladies’ room. Like, we have a whole talk. Anyway, it’s a whole to-do. So as we’re waddling into the damp Women’s room. He turned to me and he said, holy shit.

And I was just like, what do you mean? What’s going on? And he was like, well, Tanner said, holy shit. There were a lot of ants when we were in the playground the other day, and I was like, oh, okay. And meanwhile, I’m getting him onto the potty. Like, I’m trying to peel his wet bathing suit off of him, all this stuff. Trying so hard to stay neutral. Because everything I remembered in that moment of how to deal with cursing with your kids or swearing or whatever you wanna call it is to not make a big deal out of it. Because if you start making a big deal out of it, they’re gonna be like, Oh, this is a powerful word that I can say. Right?

Shanna:
Right.

Laura:
So I’m working so hard to stay neutral, also working so hard To not laugh, Shanna. But, so he’s going potty, and I’m like, well, okay. So he said that he said holy shit. At school, what did you think about that? He’s like, I don’t know. I don’t know. Like, shrugging.

Shanna:
Okay. This is hilarious. I have a couple questions. First of all, Tanner “oh shitted” a bunch of ants. What exactly was Auggie oh shitting? Like, what did he see in the women’s locker room that drove him to say this.

Laura:
Nothing, Shanna. And this is what I think is so fascinating. It obviously was percolating in his little mind. Like, it must have been flagged in his head as like, this feels like a thing that’s different, that’s special. Yeah. Like, I think he chose to bring it up at that moment or chose. I mean, I don’t know if he’s actively choosing, but his little brain decided to bring it up at that moment.

I think because we were alone in the room. Like, there’s no one else in the locker room, which thank goodness. Because the last thing I need is one of those little old ladies who go swimming every day to overhear my precious little 4 year old say, oh, shit, super loud.

Shanna:
Seriously.

Laura:
And then to be honest and hear my lack of response to it.

Shanna:
Yeah. That’s the thing that would get me. It’s like, oh, yay. Someone’s observing me parent in this moment. Cool. Cool. Cool. Speaking of that, though how did you handle it?

Laura:
So we had to get back to swim class. So it’s not like you could spend a lot of time talking about it. Because first of all, the kid’s shivering. Like, he needs to get back in the water. Second of all We know good money is being spent, by my mother, but still, for these swim classes. Like, we don’t need to spend 10 minutes having a deep conversation during the 30 minute class. Basically, in the moment, I was a little bit internally panicked. Like, what do I say? What do I do? I need to make sure I do this right. And what I came up with was something along these lines.

I said, oh, was that interesting when Tanner said that? And he was like, yeah. And I said and you may maybe you’ve heard mommy and daddy say it sometimes. I know mommy says it sometimes. And he’s like, You just like shrugging. Whenever we have deep conversations or important conversations, it just turns into shrugs. Right?

Shanna:
Uh-huh.

Laura:
And I was like, well, here’s the thing about that word. I’m okay with you saying it at home. I’m okay with you saying it in general, but a lot of people consider it a rude word. A lot of people consider it as not a nice thing to say, especially when little kids say it. And he was like, but why? And I was like, I don’t I don’t know, honey. Like, it’s just manners and the customs of our culture. And I was like, Laura, stop. Like, in the the back of my brain, it’s like, Laura, you’re getting academic here.

Laura:
But I was just like, it’s sort of like how when we’re at home, we can have naked dance parties, but when we’re out in public. It’s considered rude to be running around naked.

It’s kind of an at home word only. And he was kind of processing it, and that was fine. Like, he didn’t really wanna talk about it past that. Yeah. So I got him back into swim class. But then on the walk home, I push him in the stroller because otherwise, it would take us a 1000000 years for him to walk home even though it’s a 5 minute walk.

Shanna:
Oh, yeah.

Laura:
I’m pushing him in the stroller, and then from the stroller, I just hear, sort of out of the blue, He goes, oh, shit just means, oh my.

Shanna:
Oh, that’s kinda true.

Laura:
It’s absolutely true. And as I was like, clearly, he’s been mulling this over. And I was like, that’s right, honey. That’s True. I’m like, it’s just considered impolite by some people. He’s like, is it a bad word? And I was like, no bad kids, no bad words.

So I was like, well, I don’t think there are good words and bad words. I think they’re just words. And the difference is some words are considered polite and some words are considered impolite, and that’s an impolite word. And that’s a word we’re just gonna say at home. And then I also did tell him that if he says that around other grown ups, they might be mad at him or get him in trouble. I was like, if you say that in front of your teacher, she might not be okay with it. Yeah. It’s interesting because I was like, here we go.

Here comes cursing all the time, and he’s gonna start discovering other words and whatnot. But the rest of the week, It didn’t come up one more time. It was over. He was done with it. Interesting. Has this come up with your kids? I imagine Elle has heard all kinds of things, and she’s calling you bruh.

Shanna:
Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Laura:
Yeah. Yeah.

Shanna:
Oh, they’re very familiar with bad words. We handle it very similarly. We call them inappropriate words. Like, they’re inappropriate in certain settings. Like, it’s totally inappropriate to say shit and fuck at school, and their school is very, like they can’t even say the word heck. So they’re both really hooked on that. Cece right now, especially is hooked on that because I say what the heck all the time.

Laura:
Oh my gosh. Auggie’s been saying what the heck Since he was 2 and a half.

Shanna:
It’s cute. It’s adorable. I think it’s a better thing to say than what the hell, but I guess some people don’t consider it appropriate, and at school, it’s a big thing for them. She’s like, you can’t say heck at school, you can’t you have to say what the what or what in the world. She says stuff a lot. Like, Even accidentally we make up little songs and rhymes about our pets all the time and with the cat and stuff, and she’ll be like, Jasmine, the little kitty, the shitty kitty, my little kitten, the shitting kitten.

I’m just dying inside oh my god. But we’re pretty casual about it. Elle really understands the difference between using words at home and using them at school. She’ll accidentally blurt stuff out. A firework went off when we were trick or treating, and she’s like, oh, shit. And then she’s like, I’m sorry I said that, but it’s okay. And I’m like, that’s fine. That’s fine.

So, yeah, definitely definitely comes up.

Laura:
The good news, Shanna, is that I had a meeting with Gia this week, and I was like, hey. Can you tell me if I handled this right? And I gave her a quick rundown of what I said. And she was like, yeah. That’s great. That’s perfect. There’s at home words, and there’s out in the world words. So good. We got a stamp of approval from Gia.

Shanna:
Yay. That’s awesome.

Laura:
So, anyway, I wanna know. Shit, Shanna. What’s your check-in?

Shanna:
Oh, heck. I have a check-in for you. I had parent teacher conferences this week for both of my kiddos.

Laura:
Oh, okay. Does your school shut down for those?

Shanna:
We had an early release every single day this week. So the kids got out at noon every day. Yeah.

Laura:
Yeah. We have a day off coming up in a couple weeks for parent teacher conferences, and I’m just like, but why?

Shanna:
Yeah. Yeah. I get it. The teachers need to make time to talk to all those parents.

Laura:
Yes. Yes. Yeah. No. I mean, they have a super hard job. Like, I don’t, I don’t blame them. It’s just confusing because it comes at a random time. Parent teacher conference day. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So how did they go?

Shanna:
Alright. So we’ll talk about Cece first. She’s at TK now at Elle’s school, and we got to meet with her teacher in person, which was really nice because I’ve only ever done teacher conferences over Zoom because of the pandemic and times the way they are? So that was really nice. I got to go into her classroom and meet her teacher here who is so lovely and so wonderful. And to be honest with you, I was very nervous going into this because I didn’t know what kind of report I was gonna get on CeCe. I know that she’s very smart and can be very focused, but we all know she’s had some behavior, and emotional challenges. And I didn’t know what that was gonna be like in TK. I know she’s had some issues and stuff. So I went in there very nervously, and the teacher was just like, Cece doing great. She’s very social. She’s kust talks to everybody. She is working hard. And the teacher had some pages. She went through to show us all of the stuff she’s been tested on, her letters and writing and all this stuff. And I just kept waiting for her to be like, but… When is it coming? And it didn’t come. And I’m just like, okay. But what about her behavior? How is she doing? Like, how is she doing emotionally? And she’s like, she’s good. She’s getting better. She really doesn’t like it when kids sit too close to her on the carpet.

Personal space has always been an issue for her. And she’s like, we’ve gotten in a really good routine because she does get very emotional, and starts to get wound up and stuff, but I have created this calm corner. And so what I say to her is I say, Cece, it’s time to go reset. And she’s like and she just gets up. She walks over to the calm corner. She has a little 5 minute sand timer. She flips it. She knows the whole routine, apparently.

I did not know this. She’s like, so she’s been through this a lot. She goes over there. She flips the 5 minute timer, and there’s little calm toys. Like, I got to look at the calm corner and everything. She sits in a beanbag chair, and she’s alone for 5 minutes and does some calming things and gathers her emotions and does deep breaths and stuff. When the 5 minutes is up, she cleans everything up, and she comes back to class. And I was like, what?

It’s been working really well. I’m like, Wow. That’s amazing. Like, let me see this. I went over there. I took pictures of it and wheels are spinning in my head. Like, wow.

Laura:
That’s really, really cool.

Shanna:
So I was really pleasantly surprised to hear that behaviorally, she’s doing well. She’s having challenges, but the teacher is working with her in a way that addresses them and and helps her, so I was so happy.

Laura:
That’s a really nice surprise. Isn’t it mind blowing when you start to realize how much they do that they don’t tell you. Like, she has this whole routine in her life that you had no idea about.

Shanna:
Yeah. Fascinating. It’s fascinating and we ask them every day, how was your day? And they give us the bare minimum. I swear to god, the only thing she ever reports on is where on her body she got a little scratch that day. Like, she loves to tell me about her boo boos. That’s all I know.

Laura:
They’re wild. Yeah. Okay. So pleasantly surprised with CeCe’s conference. How about Elle’s?

Shanna:
Elle’s, I was less nervous because we haven’t had as many behavior issues from her as Cece. So we met with her teacher on Zoom because that worked better for his schedule. And similar thing. He’s like, she’s very social, very friendly. She speaks up in class, speaks her mind, always participating. She’s doing great on academics, getting high marks and everything, and I’m like, perfect.

Laura:
Perfect. Okay.

Shanna:
Great. And then he’s like, but and I’m like, wait, the “but” is coming from you, not the TK teacher? He’s like, but she has been really disruptive, and I’m like, what?

Laura:
Wow.

Shanna:
Yeah. He’s like, she is best friends with one of the kids in class, and I’m like, yeah. I know. They’ve been friends since kindergarten. They’re besties. And he’s like, she just gets up from her chair and walks around and goes and talks to her a lot. Like, every day, I’m talking to her about staying in her seat and kind of controlling her good behavior. She’s having some trouble focusing on finishing tasks and stuff.

And when she does focus, she’s incredible. And I was like, wow. Okay. This is unexpected. I did not see that coming. Interesting. Do you think it’s like a normal level of distractedness for a 2nd grader. Is it on par with what you see with other kids? And he was very diplomatic about it, Laura. He’s like, well, I do talk to her about it every day, and that’s not exactly what I do with most kids. And so I was like, oh, interesting. So there’s just like a little food for thought there. You know, some behavior things that I’m gonna need to talk to Elle about and just kinda see what’s going on and how we can try to help her stay focused more in class.

Laura:
Yeah. Here’s a question. I know that both of us are goody two shoes wanting to be straight A students all the time. How did you feel as a parent not getting a perfect glowing report about your kids.

Shanna:
I think that’s why it really caught me off guard because I just assumed that she is a goody two shoes in class. So I was pretty surprised by that. I was not surprised that she’s very social, and that she wants to talk to her friend. But I didn’t think she would be doing it to a level that’s distracting class and bothering the teacher. So I was I wasn’t mad or anything like that. I was just pretty surprised.

Laura:
So did you talk to her about it. Like, did she have anything to say about it?

Shanna:
Yeah. We mentioned it to her, and we told her that she really needs to listen to the teacher and try to stay focused and not get up and walk around so much, and I think she gets it. I think she wants to be a good student and a good kid. So we’ll have to just see where it goes from here, and I’ll have check-in with the teacher every now and again and make sure that we’re kind of helping her stay focused.

Laura:
Yeah. For sure. I feel like it would be great to have many parent teacher conferences, Once a month, although teachers would never have time for that. And I don’t expect our public school teachers to have time for that. So don’t freak out teachers. But I just mean in an ideal world where we would just be able to talk to them and get updates because I have no idea what the fuck is going In class.

Shanna:
Yes. Oh, man.

Laura:
Well, that is super interesting, and we will have to get an update next time you find out if anything has changed.

Shanna:
Yeah. Yeah. For sure. I will keep you updated. But for now, I think we should move on to our special segments.

Shanna:
We’re back, and this week’s special segment is Throwback, where we tell stories from our past that might shed some light on our parenting lives now. Laura, you’re up this week, and I cannot wait to hear whatever story it is you’re about to tell. So dive right in.

Laura:
Okay. So my story takes place in 1994 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Shanna:
Oh, What were you doing there?

Laura:
Good question. So as everyone knows, I grew up in Central California, in Fresno to be exact, but my mother, Doctor Susan Winter grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and would summer at the Jersey Shore every summer. And when I say it that way, it makes it sound like she had a summer house and was vacationing the whole time. But, no. My mom did not grow up with a lot of money, and her summers on the Jersey Shore were spent working.

Shanna:
Oh, okay.

Laura:
I think she said from the time she was 14, she was waiting tables every summer, all summer. I think it was in Ocean City, New Jersey, which is, I think hold on. Let me look it up because I don’t want I don’t want our New Jerseyan listeners – I don’t even know how to say, people who live in New Jersey, are they New Jerseyans? – I don’t want them coming at me.

Shanna:
New Jerseyites. I don’t know.

Laura:
Okay. Yes. Ocean City, New Jersey is just south of Atlantic city. So my memory has not failed me this time. And if you’re looking on a map, it’s actually just like a straight shot out, so it makes a lot of sense why that’s where they would go in the summers. So my mom would always tell us these stories about growing up, working in Ocean City and how she’d have to peel and devein 500 pounds of shrimp every night or something. Just like, when I was your age, I was peeling potatoes all night and then going out into a club with my friend, and all this stuff. Like, there are all these stories.

So I knew of this place as a magical, mysterious place for my mom’s youth, and she always talked about wanting to bring us there. So finally, she was able to bring us there when I was about 12 and my brother was about 14. That was the summer my parents had just divorced, and it turned out to be a trip where it was just me, my brother, my mom, and my grandma, my mom’s mom. And I think she was feeling a little nostalgic too, and she wanted to bring her family to the stomping grounds of her youth. So she packed up, my brother and I and her mom, and we all went to Atlantic City, New Jersey. I don’t know why we didn’t stay in Ocean City, but I think probably because Atlantic City has gambling, and she likes the slot machines and so did my grandma. My grandma loved the penny slots. And, so it would be fun for everyone.

There was the beach. There was the boardwalk and there were casinos. So what more could you want? It’s a perfect trifecta. So we’ve been there for a couple days when we decide, okay, we’re gonna do a beach day. We’re gonna all get in our swim clothes and take our towels and head on down to the beach. We were staying in one of the casinos that was basically on the beach, so it wasn’t too hard. It wasn’t like your massive wagon full of kids and and beach gear and stuff.

This is the nineties. Like, we’re lucky if we had sunscreen with us. So we all went down. And what I remember about it is that just as we were walking onto the beach I think we had just gotten our towels down, a man approached us, and he was clearly living on the beach. He appeared very disheveled, unhoused and hadn’t had a shower in a while, long beard, that sort of thing. And he was cradling something in his hands. And at first, we were all definitely a little nervous about this person walking towards us because we didn’t know what he wanted. And as he’s walking up to my grandma – I remember my grandma kinda put her arm around me and huddled us close because we didn’t know what was going on.

And he walked right up to my mom, and he said, excuse me, ma’am. I found this baby ostrich, and I don’t think I can help it. Will you take it and keep it alive?

Shanna:
What?

Laura:
And he holds out his hand, and there is a tiny baby bird in his hands. And first of all, this guy knew who to target. Like, he saw us. I’m sure you know, I think now I realize the reason he came up to us is he was like, oh, a mom. A mom with her kids, a mom, a grandma, and their kids – they’re caretakers. And, also, he maybe had a sense about my mom because my mom is the ultimate caretaker.

Shanna:
Well, she gave CPR to a bunny. So, clearly, she’s the right person here.

Laura:
I mean, she is compulsively helpful. Like, it’s to the point where sometimes you have to talk her down and be like, you cannot help everyone. Like, we cannot stop everything we’re doing all the time to help everyone in anything in our path, and she would argue with me. If she was here, she’d be like, yes. You can. Like, nothing is more important than helping other people. Helping other beings. That like, it extends to little, scrawny baby ostriches that a random person is handing you on the beach.

Shanna:
Technical question.

Laura:
Yeah.

Shanna:
How big is a baby ostrich? Because aren’t ostrich eggs quite big?

Laura:
Okay. So I’m gonna send you a picture of what we saw. Okay?

Shanna:
Okay.

Laura:
Okay. This is obviously not our picture, but I’m sending you a picture of what we saw.

Shanna:
Okay. Let’s see. Okay. About the size of a grown man’s palm, maybe, some sparse feathers, a black beak. Pretty scrawny. Looks like an angry fella.

Laura:
Yeah. And this picture doesn’t really show it well, but it has a long kinda curved neck. So this guy holds this scrawny ass baby bird out to us, and, of course, my mom’s gonna accept it. Like, of course, She’s gonna take it from the sky because Okay. She knows that it’s not likely to survive under this man’s care. He doesn’t have any resources, and he said as much. You know, he was actually very friendly.

He was like, I can’t take care of this bird, but I don’t want it to die. Can you please take it? And my mom was like, yes. I love a mission. Like, absolutely. Like, you came to the right person. Thank you very much, sir. So she takes this bird, and we put it on the beach towel in the middle of us in the sand, and we’re looking at it. And the very first thing that happened was we all looked at each other and agreed: This is not a baby ostrich.

Shanna:
Okay.

Laura:
You don’t find a baby ostrich on the beach in Atlantic City, New Jersey. That it’s just not, it just doesn’t happen. We were reasonable people.

Shanna:
Right. The only place I can think of finding a baby ostrich would be an ostrich farm.

Laura:
Yes. Like, maybe if there had been an ostrich farm nearby and an egg rolled away. Sure. Okay. That seems very far-fetched.

Shanna:
Okay.

Laura:
But the real question was, what was this? Because it was a weird looking bird. Like, that picture is not recognizable in any way. And that picture did not do justice for how long the neck was. So we were like, what is this? So the first thing we decided is that it must be some kind of seabird. Since it was by the ocean and it seemed to have long legs. And we decide okay, this must be some kind of wading bird or something. It needs fish.

When I tell you that we packed up on the beach as fast as possible because we’re like, this bird is gonna die unless we take care of it. My mom was like, guys, we got a mission. Let’s go. So we packed up our beach towels and everything, and we had a problem, which was we had to find a way to sneak this bird into our hotel room. And in order to do that, we had to get it through the casino, but we were in bathing suits. So if I recall, my brother cradled it under a fold in his towel, and we all kind of tried to be casual. Like, look normal. Be casual while we walked through all the slot machines, you know how it is in a hotel casino.

You have to walk the casino floor to get to the elevators. We’re in the elevator with other people hoping this bird doesn’t make a noise Not knowing what to do with it. We get it up to the hotel room, and we put it on the hotel bed, right on a towel. It’s like pooping everywhere, of course. And, we don’t know what to do with it. And my mom says, do you know who’ll know? Neil. Neil’s gonna know.

So Neil was a new introduction to our family. My mom and Neil had actually just started dating recently. The divorce had just been finalized, and they were just starting to explore the relationship. And I had heard about Neil. Like, Neil this, Neil that. But I had only met him, I think, once before. And he lived in Portland.

My mom lived in Fresno. Whatever. But my mom was like, we’ll call Neil. He knows everything. And Nowadays, we have Google. Like, nowadays, people we could have done a reverse image search on this bird. But back then, we were in a hotel room. We didn’t have an encyclopedia.

We didn’t have anything. It’s 1994. We don’t know anything. So what do you do? You call Neil, who is a 7 foot tall Scotsman educated with the best universities and prep schools, and he’s gonna know it.

Shanna:
Yeah. Clearly.

Laura:
So we call Neil, and we’re all crowded around the telephone receiver trying to hear what he says. My mom’s like, we found this baby ostrich, or, well, it wasn’t a baby ostrich. We don’t think it’s a baby ostrich. Maybe it’s a wading bird, like one of those kingfisher or something that wades along the rivers or the ocean, and we think it needs fish. And we’re trying to describe to him because, again, it’s not like we can take a picture and send it to him. So we’re like, it’s got a long curving neck, and it’s very scrawny, but it’s big. It’s pretty big. It’s like it’s the size of my hand.

And Neil says, oh, I know. It must be an osprey. An osprey is a seabird, and it’s got long legs and a long neck. I think you have an osprey on your hands, and we’re like Oh. Cool. Great. So Neil says you have an osprey, but we’re like, what do we do with it? He’s like, you need to find a wildlife rescue to take it to. And we’re like, okay.

A wildlife rescue? He’s like, yes. They’re gonna know what to do with it. You can’t have an osprey. You can’t take it home with you. It’s a wild animal. Like so we’re like, okay. So my mom calls the front desk of the hotel, and she’s like, I’m just curious. Is there a wildlife rescue nearby? No reason. No. Just my kids would like to see it. Yeah. So she gets the name of this wildlife rescue and the phone number. It turns out it’s 2 hours away into the hills. Like, into the hills of New Jersey. So she calls and she’s like, I have what we think is an osprey. Like, we found it on the beach or someone handed it to us on the beach, and we’re really worried about it.

And the wildlife rescue was like, look. You’re not gonna get here before we close, but you can come first thing tomorrow morning. We will happily take it. In the meantime, you need to get some fresh fish to feed this bird. Right?

Well, Shanna, at this point, it was evening. The sun was setting, and my mom has to figure out how to acquire fresh fish while staying at a hotel casino in Atlantic City. So challenge indeed. Challenge accepted. So she’s like, okay, kids. Let’s get in the rental car. And she’s like, mom, you stay with the osprey. Like, we need you to stay and make sure the osprey’s alright because this osprey was getting kinda weak.

Like, it wasn’t doing you know, it wasn’t really, really thriving, and we were all worried about our little baby bird. And so grandma was on it. She’s like, I’m gonna stay with the birdie, I’m gonna take care of it. I’m gonna cuddle it. It turns out my grandma had literally sat and cuddled this bird the whole time we were gone. Like, just had it on her on her bosom while she watched TV. Okay. So we get in the car.

We drive around. We don’t have Google. Again, remember, this is not a thing. I remember at some point, my mom stops, goes to a pay phone to look at the yellow pages that are hanging from the pay phones. Anyone Gen Z listening is just like, what? So there you would have the phone book hanging from the payphone, and you flip through it, and she was looking for fish stores or grocery stores. So we are driving around. The other trip is that especially as a kid, is that you know, monopoly is named after all the streets in Atlantic City. Did you know that?

Shanna:
No. Mm-mm.

Laura:
Well, I didn’t know that until this moment. So I’m driving around. I’m like, woah. Ventnor Avenue? Like, woah. Like, Baltic Avenue. I was like, wow. I recognize these. And my mom’s like, oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. The monopoly is named after all the streets in Atlantic City. I was like, cool. So, anyway, I got a tour of all the Monopoly streets while my mom is driving around trying to find, without a map, trying to find somewhere to buy fish. Anyway, we eventually find a little corner market, and she leaves us in the car. She runs in, buys some raw fish, brings it back. So we get back, and we try to give this bird some of the fish, and the bird isn’t having it, Shanna.

And we were like, oh my gosh, bird. Like, why don’t you wanna survive? And we kept cutting into smaller pieces and trying to dangle it over its head to mimic being a mama bird. None of it was working. So we’re like, well, maybe this bird is just too young. Like, let’s give it some water, and let’s just hope it’s okay in the morning. Right?

Shanna:
Yeah.

Laura:
So the bird slept in the bathtub, while we slept. Crack of dawn the next morning, my mom wakes us up and is like, okay. It’s time to go to this wildlife rescue. So we pack up the bird, we sneak it through the hotel lobby again, and we drive 2 hours into the middle of the woods in New Jersey. Shanna, honestly, it was gorgeous. Like, never in a million years would we have ended up at this random wildlife rescue. It might have even been in Delaware at this point. I don’t even remember.

It was far away, but and we’re nervous the whole time. Like, hang in there, little osprey. You’re gonna be just fine.

Shanna:
Have you named it at this point? I feel like kids would have named it.

Laura:
Shockingly, no. Like, I don’t remember having named it. I think we all knew it wasn’t ours to keep. So we weren’t gonna get too attached, but we were definitely invested.

Shanna:
I wanna call him Ossie. Ossie osprey.

Laura:
Okay. Alright. You stick with that for now. So we are driving in, and we make it, and the bird’s doing okay. We’re like, alright. Alright, little bird. We’re gonna get you help. And we rush up.

And this place is super cool. It was like a wildlife rescue of all kinds of different wildlife from the region. So there were deer, and there were raccoons and all these injured large birds, like hawks and stuff. I’m like, hi. Hi. We’re the people who called about finding the osprey in Atlantic City, and they were super excited. They’re like, oh my gosh. Amazing. Ospreys are really special and all this stuff. They were really excited. And we hold the bird up for them wrapped up with a little towel, and we’re like, here it is. And the rescue person takes one look at it and says, “That’s a pigeon.”

Shanna:
Shut up. Are you serious? Oh my god. That picture you sent me was a pigeon?

Laura:
That’s a pigeon, Shanna. I’m gonna prove it to you.

Shanna:
Shut up. Oh my god. Now I gotta see what an osprey looks like too because oh my god. Osprey is like a big glorious, elegant bird. Okay. But what you found was a pigeon?

Laura:
I just sent you a screenshot of what baby pigeons look like.

Shanna:
Yeah. That’s a pigeon. I find it incredibly amazing that that gentleman thought this was an ostrich.

Laura:
Yeah. The ostrich thing was clearly wrong. Obviously, so was the osprey in retrospect. But, honestly, no one looks at a baby pigeon. Listeners, if you are not driving, if you have the ability, stop right now. Google what a baby pigeon looks like. It looks fucking weird. Okay? They don’t look like pigeons. They’re all scrawny.

Shanna:
It looks really weird. It looks like – isn’t there a muppet character that kinda looks like this? This thing is just kind of like an angry bird with a big beak. That is wild. Oh my god. Okay. So you’ve just driven 2 hours to save a pigeon, and it wouldn’t eat raw fish, what happened next?

Laura:
So we all laughed hysterically. Once the shock wore off? We’re like, what? Come again? And the person was like, it’s fine. We’ll put it with their other pigeons. Like, thank you for bringing it to us. I actually think pigeons are really cool maybe because of this experience, but I like pigeons unlike a lot of people. But they’re not endangered. I did not necessarily need to bring this pigeon to a wildlife rescue.

But, we thought it was hysterical. Like, we all had a great laugh about it. And the reason I’m telling the story on our parenting podcast is because it is such an instructive story to me about going with the flow, especially when you’re on vacation.

My mom absolutely did not have a problem with changing our plans and doing something else. Like, she was able to pivot 100% on this vacation to have an adventure. And literally, that is the only thing I remember from that vacation. Like, I don’t remember anything else from the vacation. Obviously, that was the most impactful thing that happened there. But, you know I’m sure we did some stuff before then, and I’m sure we did some stuff after. But I don’t remember touristy stuff, whatever. But what I remember is this adventure we went on with my grandma and my mom and my brother to save the baby pigeon.

See, this is part of the reason we didn’t wanna name it. What was it? Ossie the osprey?

Shanna:
Yeah. That doesn’t work.

Laura:
And we got to go to this really cool place that we never knew existed that I have such a clear memory of way more than the boardwalk. So it’s just a good reminder for me to sort of roll with whatever comes at you in parenting. Like, that’s the type of thing that your kids are gonna remember, and you’re gonna have a good memory about that still makes you laugh. Like, my brother and I can just look at each other and be like, it was an ostrich. Like and we will laugh. Also, in a very ironic turn, my brother is now a bird biologist. Like, his actual job is to identify birds.

Shanna:
Oh, that is so ironic. But do you think that this experience shaped him at all? I wonder.

Laura:
I wonder. It’s possible, but to be honest, I think he’s a little ashamed of it more than anything because he thinks he should have known, he should’ve known that it wasn’t an osprey, but he was 14. He’d yet to take a single bird biology class. It’s fine, Jeff. In retrospect, it’s fine. But I just think it’s so funny, and it’s such a good memory, and we had a lot of fun saving that baby pigeon.

I never got an update about whether the baby pigeon survived, unfortunately.

Shanna:
Yeah. Well, we’ll go with yes. I think that pigeon thrived and had a great life.

Laura:
But, anyway, I will try to embrace that spirit going forward because I know I tend to be a little bit more rigid. Like, I tend to be a little bit more, but we planned on being at the beach today. It’s too much trouble to pack up or whatever, but sometimes it’s, it’s the unexpected things that are the most memorable.

Shanna:
Absolutely. Saying yes, going with the flow. It reminds me of how when we were in Hawaii and Elle got sick, it’s like, oh, we have to find an urgent care on vacation. Great. Like, when we should be spending time at the beach or the pool or whatever, and it ended up being the most amazing beautiful drive because we had to drive an hour to the other side of the island to find an urgent care. And I was like, oh my gosh. The unexpected wonders that you discover by just going with the flow, whether or not you’re forced to or you choose to or whatever. It’s a really great reminder.

Laura:
Yeah. I can’t believe I’ve never told that story to you before.

Shanna:
I am floored that I’ve never heard that story before. Like, that reveal was seriously shocking and amazing. I love it. Oh my god. Well, thank you for sharing that story with us. Your mom continues to be one of my heroes. She’s the best. I love her so much.

Laura:
Me too. Me too. Alright. Shall we take a break and come back with our BFPs and BFNs?

Shanna:
Oh, yeah.

Laura:
Alright. So we wrap up every episode with a big fat positive or a big fat negative from the week. And, Shanna, you gotta tell me. BFP or BFN?

Shanna:
I have a BFP. Woo hoo. So I mentioned in my check-in that during my conference with CeCe’s teacher, I saw their calm corner where CeCe is apparently a frequent visitor.

Laura:
I love it.

Shanna:
I was like, wow. That sounds like she gets good results there, and my wheels were turning. So I came home and I talked to Cece about it. And she’s like, oh, yeah. I love the calm corner. I love it. And I’m like, well, do you think you would like to create one at home? And she got so excited. She’s like, yes, let’s make one at home. And I’m like, okay. Let’s look on Amazon and buy some stuff to put in the calm corner. And it turns out she was trying to recreate it identically. She’s like, we need a blue bing bag chair. And by the way, she calls it bing bag, bing bag.

Laura:
So cute.

Shanna:
She said the phrase bing bag so many times while we were shopping. So she’s like, it has to be a blue beanbag chair. I’m like, okay. So we ordered a blue beanbag chair. We ordered some calming sensory toys.

One of them is called the Big Feelings Pineapple. It’s a little bit like a Mr. Potato Head, but it’s like a pineapple, and there’s all kinds of different, facial emotions that you can put on it so you can go in the calm corner and recreate how you’re feeling at the moment or make a silly face and make yourself laugh or something. We got some liquid motion toys, the kind where you flip over and the colored liquid kinda drips down inside of the clear liquid, and you can watch that.

Laura:
Sort of like a little lava lamp.

Shanna:
Kinda like that. We got some 5-minute timers, like sand timers, because apparently, she likes to just flip it over and spend her 5 minutes there. We got some water beads sensory toys. I put some crayons, and some paper so they could draw. Then her teacher sent us a PDF of these 5 printouts to put in the calm corner. The first one’s calm down steps – the steps of being in there.

Set the timer, identify your feelings, do your breathing, make a calm choice, which means which one of the calm toys you’re gonna play with and solve. And, just some different little printouts like I am feeling, and there’s different emoji faces talking about feelings. There’s some breathing choices. Here. I’m gonna send this to you so you can see what I’m talking about.

Laura:
Oh, let’s see. Okay. They’re very simple and clear and easy to see. I like these. I love the I’m feeling shocked. That’s one of the emoji different breathing choices. I imagine these are explained in some way when they’re at school. Like, I don’t know what pretzel breathing is. Do you?

Shanna:
She showed me it’s something like where you twist your arms and then take a deep breath in and straighten your arms and then breathe out. You put them back in or something. She knows a lot of these. Yeah. I don’t know them just by looking at these pictures.

Laura:
This is very cool.

Shanna:
Yeah. So we printed these up, and I had Cece help me tape them to the wall, and we set up the beanbag chair, and all the little stuff.

And, here’s a photo of our calm corner that we created at home.

Laura:
Okay. Let’s see. Oh, look at that. That looks very cozy, very calming. You have all your printouts up on the wall and the blue bing bag chair right in front of the window. I love this. So has she used it?

Shanna:
Yeah. And Elle is really into it too. So when they were getting worked up about whatever the 2 of them you know, squabble about, I was like, Cece, I see that you’re getting worked up. Do you wanna go reset in the calm corner? She’s like, yes. And she went over there and flipped her timer and played with her little toys and came back and was feeling better. And we’ve done it a few times. Like, I’ve gone over there with her sometimes, and Steve is gone. Elle has gone over and used it.

So, yeah, it’s been really a nice little success recently.

Laura:
That’s awesome. I’ve considered doing something like this before and never actually gotten around to doing it. Like, they had a calm corner. I think they called it the cozy corner at Auggie preschool and now Sebastian’s school. And I know that Auggie ended up in the cozy corner a lot, but we don’t have anything of the like in our house, so maybe it’s time. Maybe it’s time to get a beanbag chair.

Shanna:
Yeah. And I have lots of suggestions of little calm toys if you need them.

Laura:
I will. I think we should list them in the show notes so people can go and get them themselves.

Shanna:
Good idea. I will definitely do that. Alright. So that’s mine. Laura, what do you got for us this week?

Laura:
I have a BFP Which is the harvest festival that Auggie school puts on every year. It was our first year going this year, and I wanna say that I didn’t really know what to expect. But, we had a really great time, and it was really cute. And I just wanted to talk about it real quick.

Shanna:
Aw. That sounds so fun. Our school did one too. I wanna hear how yours went.

Laura:
So it was pretty typical in that you know, they had a haunted house, and they had little stations they could go around and play games at and stuff like that. But what I thought was really great were two things. One is how the community sort of coalesces around it. They had a lot of parent volunteers getting it all set up in the weeks leading up to it, and I actually went and volunteered one of the days in the Hauntatorium, which was the big haunted haunted house maze they put on. And I created the doll room. Like, it was my job to put up all the creepy dolls and make it creepy. And So it gave me a chance to meet other parents who had kids in different classes, different ages, and all that stuff and sort of talk to them about their experiences with the school. Just made me feel a little more connected.

And then the other thing that was really kind of interesting and fun about it was how Sebastian reacted to it. Because I’ve talked about the whole thing about how he’s been scared of Halloween decorations and stuff. Right?

Shanna:
Right.

Laura:
So this has been continuing, and he’s sort of on and off scared of things. Well, the cool thing he school does is that for the first hour of the haunted maze, the hauntatorium, they leave the lights on and don’t do any jump scares so that the littlest kids can go through.

Shanna:
Oh, smart.

Laura:
Very smart. So we went through with Auggie and Sebastian with the lights on, and I was like, are you sure you wanna go, sweetie? Like, we really don’t have to, dude, it’s gonna be spooky. Trust me. Mommy and daddy worked building it. Like, it’s gonna be spooky. And he was like, I want go. I want go. So we went through, but he was clinging to me the whole time.

I mean that little koala bear thing, where his little fists are gripping his shirt, and he’s all tightly clung to his arm. Anyway, the whole time we were saying it’s not real. It’s all for fun. It’s all pretend. So we went through it, and then they turned the lights off. We were there right at the end of the first and what was so interesting to me is that Sebastian kept wanting to go back. We never went back because I was like, no, honey.

Like, I have to protect your little brain. I know you wanna go back, but he really wanted to go back. He even had a meltdown at some point. He was like, spooky house. Go back spooky house. And I was like, no, honey. Also, there was a crazy long line.

So I was like, we’re not doing this. But I thought it was super interesting how he had gone from being super scared of something just earlier that night to wanting to go back and experience it again. I thought it was super interesting.

Shanna:
I think that’s so cool. He’s got such a brave streak in him. That’s admirable.

Laura:
Yeah. I agree. And he even said that. He said, I want to be brave. I want to be brave. And I was like, oh, honey. I know. You are brave, but not tonight.

Shanna:
Yeah. Maybe next year.

Laura:
Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. But, that’s it for me. That was my BFP.

Shanna:
That sounds so fun. Is your school big?

Laura:
It’s not huge, but it does go up to 8th grade. So there’s 2 campuses that are split up. So Auggie at the little kid campus, which is just TK through first, and then 2nd through 8th, this other campus, which is where they held it. So it’s not huge, but there’s a big range of kids.

Shanna:
Yeah. That’s so cool. I love that it’s creating a community vibe. Our harvest festival was very cute and fun, but the school just seems very, very big to me. So I just wish there was a little bit more of that community vibe, element to it.

Laura:
Yeah. It’s really nice. And, also, it’s like it’s nice to see all the other families who know each other. Like, we’re new. But you can tell that people really know each other. So, yeah, Super fun.

Shanna:
Awesome. Love it.

Laura:
But that’s it for me, and I think that might be it for a show. Unless you have a five star review for us, Shanna.

Shanna:
Oh, do I! This is from a user called another bored person in Switzerland, and the title is called my weekly mum boost. Five stars. “This podcast is my favorite by far. I listen to Laura and Shanna in the car on my way to work, and it feels like I’m with some of my mom friends even if the conversation is one-sided. Though they don’t know me, their weekly updates, challenges, and successes somehow magically match what I’m living with my family even if our children are not exactly the same age. It really feels like a mental boost and a pseudo support network. For example, the last few weeks, my family has been so unwell. The baby with ear infection and high fevers on top of GERD and a husband stuck in bed with some horrible virus he couldn’t seem to get rid of. I felt so overwhelmed, exhausted, and alone. All I needed to get me back on the horse was to listen to the week’s episode to feel better. Poor Laura was going through something similar. I felt less alone and that I can do it, I can carry on the mama balancing act. Thank you for sharing, and sorry you had to go through it too. You laugh, cry, reflect, and even learn through this brilliant cast. Even if you’re not from California but from a completely different country like Switzerland, it doesn’t matter where in the world you are. This podcast is for you, if you’re planning to start a family, pregnant, or a mom, maybe even dads.”

Shanna:
Wow. Thank you so much for all those kind words, and I’m sorry your family’s been so sick. Oh, we’ve certainly been there.

Laura:
Yep. Yep. You know I’ve been there, but I really appreciate the really thoughtful review. It just warms our hearts. Listening to something like that.

Shanna:
Yeah. Truly. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for taking the time to do that. And listeners, if you would like to leave us a 5 star review. Could you please do us a favor and head on over to Apple Podcasts, say a few things that you like from the show, and it’ll help new listeners find our show and become part of our community, and we might read your review on an upcoming episode. If you have any thoughts, comments, or feedback on this week’s episode. we would love to hear from you. Laura, where can everyone find us?

Laura:
We’re on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook at BFP podcast. We have a website, big fat positive podcast .com. If you want to send us an email, you can also send that to contact at big fat positive podcast.com. And if you wanna see some exclusive content from me and Shanna and you want to join a group that is so wonderful and amazing, just search Facebook for Big Fat Positive community. It is a private group, so you have to request to join and you have to answer those 2 membership questions so we know you’re not a robot. Once you do that, you’ll be sent straight through to all the wonderful conversations we’re having in there.

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