Ep. 298 – Letting Your Kids Go at Their Own Pace

March 18, 2024

Listen Now:

In the special segment “Stump the Moms,” Shanna and Laura quiz each other on parenting-related trivia, diving into the topic of bizarre teething treatments and more! Also, Shanna reports on feeling conflicted about her 5-year-old’s sudden clinginess, and Laura discusses her 5-year-old’s newfound enthusiasm for writing. Finally, they share their BFPs and BFNs for the week. Shanna’s kids are 5 and 8 years old, and Laura’s kids are 5 years old and 3 years old.

Topics discussed in this episode:

-Fostering independence in a clingy child

-5-year-old writing

-3-year-old yearly checkup

-Sea creature pregnancy/parenting facts

-Charlotte the Stingray


-Great chapter books for young readers

This episode’s full show notes can be found here.

Want to get in touch with Shanna and Laura? Send us an email and follow us on social! Instagram, Facebook or TikTok at @bfppodcast

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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



Laura: 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, Stump the Mom, where Shanna and I quiz each other on marine moms, parenting programs, and more. And we close with our BFPs and BFNs for the week. Let’s get started. Hello, everyone. This is episode 298. Getting awfully close to 300, Shanna.

Shanna: Very close. What a milestone.

Laura: Oh my goodness. But we still have 2 weeks until then. So let’s just talk about this week for now. I wanna hear what’s been going on with you and your family and your world.

Shanna: Okay. So I don’t know if I’ve talked about this recently, but Cece has entered a new clingy phase. She’s always been a little bit – I hate the word clingy; it feels so negative – it’s more like needy or just really wanting me. It’s a very mommy-focused phase. She wants me.

Laura: Velcro phase, maybe?

Shanna: Velcro phase. Yeah. I really like that. Velcro phase. She wants to be with me, near me. She often acts like she’s nervous or scared to do certain things and and hugs onto me and doesn’t want to leave.

Laura: Koala phase?

Shanna: Yeah. Koala phase. So one area in our life that has been a challenge because of this is softball. You know that I signed her up for softball this season, and, last year when she played, it was a real problem. She wouldn’t even go on the field. I was the team mom, so I was in the dugout, and she’d wanna come sit with me and eat snacks and not leave my side. And I warned this year’s coach about this. You know, I think she’s a little clingy.

Shanna: She gets nervous. I think we just need to work with her, and he was understanding and stuff. But it’s been a few weeks now, and we’ve gone to a few practices. And the coach is a little bit serious business about wanting to encourage her independence. And so I’m really trying to back off of her. So I’ve been doing things like having Steve take her to batting practice so that she doesn’t feel like she needs to glom onto me. She can feel a little more independent, and do her thing. So she really enjoyed batting practice.

Shanna: And then we had our first game this weekend, and I was determined not to be overprotective of her or anything like that. So when we arrived at the game, I totally hung back. I let her join her team. I was watching another game on a different field. I was like, Steve, you take over this situation, which was great. And then Elle, being the awesome big sister she is, she started helping her. Elle started helping out Cece and getting her bag. And it was really sweet encouraging her to be brave because Cece was like, I’m nervous about my first game.

Shanna: She didn’t know if she wanted to play. So that was really sweet. And Elle brought her into the dugout and set up all our equipment and everything, and I’m doing a good thing as a mom. I’m stepping back. I’m letting her have her independence. But I still got a talking to, Laura, from the coach about babying Cece.


Laura: What?

Shanna: Yes. He’s such a nice guy. I know he didn’t mean it in any bad way or anything, but he was like, the sister needs to stay out of the dugout. The sister needs to stop babying her. We need her to be independent. She’s in the dugout. She’s part of the team. The team mom has it. I was like, he called me over individually to say that to me. And I was like, damn it, I’m trying my hardest to have her be independent and separate myself and then you know? And I’m still getting talked to about it. So that kinda made me feel a little defeated.

Laura: Totally.

Shanna: I was like, okay. Okay. Okay. And I asked Elle to give her some space as well.

Laura: It’s so funny. I’m checking in with my body while you’re telling me this story, and I feel so uncomfortable with you relaying the coach pulling you aside and telling you that. And I have nothing to do with this situation, but it’s just like, but we were trying. I feel like a scolded child in school. Okay. I’ll do better. I thought I was doing good.

Shanna: I knew you would get me, Laura. I knew it. That is exactly how I felt. And I wanted to be like, but but but but but I’ve been trying! And I hesitated and started to justify myself, and then I was just yeah. Alright. Okay. No problem. I didn’t say anything in my defense.

Shanna: I just let it be. But I sat down and watched the game, and I felt sad. I felt a little bummed out. I’m trying my hardest, and it’s still not good enough. But that was just me being emotional. I think I was just getting a little too emotionally wrapped up in it, being scolded.

Laura: So what? Does Cece have any reaction to this? Did she rise to the occasion when you guys were banished?

Shanna: Oh, we were so banished. And I was very nervous because I didn’t know how it was gonna go. I thought she might refuse to play. I thought she might come out and wanna sit on my lap. No, Laura. Girlfriend stayed in the dugout, played the whole game, every inning, and I watched her in her tiny uniform hustle out into the outfield with her equipment. When she batted, she got a hit on the 1st pitch and got a double. So her confidence was through the roof.

Shanna: It made me feel really good. She played the whole game. She had a blast. Afterward, she was so happy. She was so happy and proud. She actually let me take a picture of her in her uniform, which she would not let me do at the beginning of the game. So growth, Laura. Growth. That’s what this check-in is all about. Growth for all of us.

Laura: Yes. It cracks me up how the kids can control things in their environment when like, it’s one of those things where it’s like, oh, they don’t have much control because their kids and parents are always telling them what to do, but it’s like, they can control whether they let you take a picture of them or not. It’s like, this is the power they wield. You know?

Shanna: Uh-huh. Oh, and she wields it. Oh my gosh. If she doesn’t want her picture taken, she gets pissed. And so I’ve learned. I’m like, okay. No. No.

Laura: Will not do it. Never mind.

Shanna: Yeah. So, yep, that’s the big news from our week, working on that clinginess and independence. What about you, Laura? I don’t get the feeling that Auggie is clingy to you, but you tell me. What’s going on with you guys in that regard?

Laura: You know, it really depends on the context. He’s definitely so snuggly and so mommy focused, and there are things where I do think it’s better for Auggie to be the parent who takes him to things because of this. I’m thinking about tennis class and swimming class. I think it’s so much better when Corey takes him to his sports classes because when it’s me, he seems distracted. it’s not so much that he wants to sit in my lap the whole time, but it’s like he wants to show off for me. The one time I went to tennis class with him, he kept running out of the he ran out of the gate a bunch of times, yelling, mama, did you see what I just did? And I’m like, yes. Go back. go back.

Shanna: Oh he kept running out to talk to you.

Laura: He kept running out of the courts. I’m like, I’m just on the other side of a chain link fence. You know? And same thing. I took him to swimming class last week. Usually, Corey ends up taking him, and he was just wanting to talk to me the whole time. I’m like, kid, swim swimming class. So yeah.

Shanna: Oh, interesting. It’s so interesting to see this type of behavior at 5 years old, especially the clinginess and really wanting to sit in my lap and stuff. I thought that would be over by 5 years old. So I’m really curious if any of our listeners have 5 year olds who are displaying similar behaviors because I wanna know if I’m alone in that or not.

Laura: Yes. I wanna know too. My suspicion is you’re not alone because if I’ve learned anything through this podcast and just talking with other parents is that no one is ever alone. There’s always someone else out there going through the same thing.

Shanna: Yeah. So true. So true. So, Laura, what are you going through this week? Give us your check-in.

Laura: Well, what’s interesting with my 5-year-old, Auggie, is that I’ve talked about this phenomenon with a couple different things over the last, I wanna say few months or year where something he’s not interested in at all suddenly clicks, and now he’s off to the races with it. I talked about this with coloring. I talked about it with drawing ages ago. I the first time he ever drew a representative drawing. And I was just like, oh my gosh. This week’s big revelation, literally, out of the blue, he is interested in writing and specifically writing his name.  Up until this week, it was like pulling teeth to get him to practice letters, and we didn’t do it.

Laura: We just we decided it wasn’t worth it to sit him down and make him trace letters and really try to force it. You know, we’re like he’s in he’s in TK, he’s in pre-k, he does not need to know how to read and write yet. That’s a kindergarten thing. Let’s let him explore at his own pace and learn to like it on his own if he ever does. And if he doesn’t, then we’ll cross that bridge. And at school, I know they do readers and writers workshops is what they call it, which is so cute. And I know they’re working on letters and they call them snap words where you’re recognizing certain words. But I would try to talk to him at home about it, and he would not wanna talk about it.

Laura: Anytime, I’d be like, let’s write you know, he’ll say, mama, how do you spell whatever? And I’ll spell it. I’m like, oh, let’s figure it out. No. No. No. No. No. He didn’t want it. I was like, okay.

Shanna: So not just writing, even just spelling words out loud or recognizing letters and stuff like that?

Laura: Rabid refusal of any types of letter practice. I have a video of him at age 1 and a half before Sebastian was born, so he wasn’t yet 2. Literally identifying every letter of the alphabet randomly. I had flash cards or something. And I was like, what is this? And he knew all of them. So the kid knew his alphabet. Before he turned two,s but he just did not want anything to do with them.

Shanna: Well, he already knows it. It’s old hat. It’s boring.

Laura: Right. But also I don’t know if he forgot some or what, but he would have trouble. So my mom would kind of come back and be like, he doesn’t know his letters. And I’d be like, he does, but he just doesn’t care enough to focus to tell you the right one, you know. Anyway, I wasn’t worrying too much, but I was definitely clocking it. And a little part of me, my anxiety was like, oh my gosh. What if he doesn’t like reading and writing? I love reading and writing.

Laura: Those are just so important to us. They’re family values. Whatever. But spiraling. Okay. On Wednesday of this week, we get home from school, and we just happen to have sidewalk chalk out front because we were gifted it for a birthday and that’s got left out there. And we have a concrete walkway and then our whole porch. We have this really big porch that’s all cement or concrete or whatever, just a poured slab.

Laura: I’m trying to unlock the front door and gather the backpacks and stuff, And I turn around and look down, and Auggie has written his name on the ground. Oh my gosh. I was just like, what? He was like, look, mama, I wrote my name. And then he’s asking me how do you spell other name? And he’s just writing Sebastian’s name. He’s writing the cats’ names. He’s writing his best friends’ names literally overnight. The day before, this wasn’t happening.

Laura: And then he just was like, okay. Now I know how to write my name. Now I know how to do all this stuff. I’m just like, okay. Cool. And so now that’s all we’re doing this week. It’s just writing words.

Shanna: I’m so curious about what that is. It’s gotta be sinking in, and he’s processing it in his brain for a certain amount of time. And what pushes him over that threshold? Make him want to do it in real life. I’m just so curious about that process.

Laura: Oh, me too. Me too. And I also I have to say, it’s one of those things where I feel very smug and I can pat myself on the back for my parenting, even though, honestly, this parenting approach was just kind of born out of laziness because I didn’t really feel like forcing the learning of letters and stuff. But I am sort of like? They’ll come to it on their own. You know? You did you did a good parenting. Good parenting, Laura.

Shanna: Good job. Good job. Hands off parenting.

Laura: Yes. But I am very happy to see it, and I’m very excited to see all the words he’s spelling next.

Shanna: Aw. Cute.

Laura: And then my other really quick check-in is that Sebastian had his 3-year checkup, and everything is good with him. He had his first eye exam, which was really cute. It was identifying shapes.

Shanna: Uh-huh. was he looking at a chart? My doctor puts a, I don’t know a little viewfinder up to their eyes and then checks their eyes.

Laura: So Auggie at his appointment had a special pair of sunglasses where one is blocked, and he was standing across from a chart, and they pointed out the different things. And that’s all they did for him. For Sebastian, he was sitting on my lap, and a nurse was across the room with flashcards that had really simple shapes on it. And it was funny because he some of them, he didn’t really know the word for. You know, he wasn’t quite sure what to call it, and I could tell it was more of a language problem than a sight problem. You know? he saw a diamond, and he was he kept calling it a triangle. And so I was like, oh, no. It’s a diamond.

Laura: But the next time we saw it, he was like, triangle. And the nurse was like, that counts. we were just trying to see if he sees it. If he calls it the same wrong thing, it’s fine. I’m like, okay.

Shanna: Yeah. That’s good.

Laura: And his ear tubes are still in place. A little more than 6 months later. I guess they usually last 12 to 18 months, and then they fall out on their own. So those are still going, and his ears apparently look really good. And he’s still a short king. I think he measured at eleventh percentile, but my doctor’s not concerned and neither are we, and, he’s just a little he’s just an adorable little squirt for now. So the good news is that should help us sneak him into Disneyland well past his 3rd birthday.

Shanna: Don’t let Disney’s police hear you say that, Laura.

Laura: Just kidding. I would never do something like that. Never. I would never. And that’s it. That was our week. We got some letters. We got some a pluses from the doctor, and I think we’re ready to move on to our special segment.

Shanna: Alright.


Shanna: We’re back and this week’s special segment is Stump the Mom, our game where we’d fire trivia questions at each other that are parenting related and see who comes out on top. Laura, you’re up first. Give me your first stump the mom question.

Laura: So this is exactly what you’re expecting from this segment, I’m sure, which is all of mine are marine animal related questions. Apparently, I’ve landed on marine biology TikTok. I don’t know. This is just how I’ve been funneled recently, and I’ve somehow acquired a bunch of, interesting facts about sea animals. So, shall we get right to it? See what you know?

Shanna: Yeah. I wish I would have paid more attention when I went to the aquarium last summer.

Laura: Well, here we go. Shanna, you know manatees. Right? The gentle cows of the sea.

Shanna: Oh, yes. The sea cow. It’s, Sarah from Sarah and Duck’s favorite animal. So I’m very aware of the manatee, the sea cow.

Laura: So maybe you’ll know about this. Alright. Okay. What fact about manatee babies is true? Manatee babies are always born breech, baby manatees nurse from their mom’s armpit, or manatee babies are born with all their permanent teeth?

Shanna: If they’re all born breech, would that mean tail first, I guess?

Laura: Yes.

Shanna: I’m trying to wrap my head around what that would mean. I guess it’s not a fish. I guess it’s a mammal.

Laura: It is a mammal.

Shanna: I have heard that certain sea mammals do have nipples under their fins under their armpits. It’s a very weird spot. But it makes sense because it would be protective, I think, of the baby as you’re swimming along. And then what was the other one?

Laura: That manatee babies are born with all their permanent teeth.

Shanna: All their permanent teeth. You know what thought has never crossed my mind is fish losing baby teeth in the ocean. That’s one more thing floating around in the ocean that makes me not wanna go in it. I don’t know. Because I’ve heard of this nursing thing before, I’m gonna go with that one, the nursing under the armpit.

Laura: You are correct.

Shanna: Yay. So it is the manatee. Okay.

Laura: Yeah. It may be some other animals too, but they have their nursing ducts right under their fin. I mean, it’s their armpit. they don’t have an arm, but it’s their armpit.


Shanna: Finpit.

Laura: Their finpit. Yes. And it’s so cute. I’m gonna send you a video so you can see how adorable this little newborn manatee is nursing from its mama.

Shanna: Alright. Let’s see. Aw, that’s so sweet. It looks like the mom is lifting up her fin to give a high five, but then the baby comes up underneath and is like, suck, suck, suck. Very adorable.

Laura: So adorable. And so just to clarify, manatee babies are actually born head first and tail first. So they’re sort of like us. You can go either way.

Shanna: Oh, I thought you meant wrapped in a circle where the head and the tail comes out at the same time, but that’s not what you meant.

Laura: No. No. No. They they alternate. Yes. And they probably don’t get c-sections for their breech presentations.

Shanna: Oh, I would imagine not.

Laura: And manatee babies are actually not born with all their permanent teeth. They’re born with some teeth, but manatees, like elephants, more fun facts, continuously replace their teeth throughout their life. they don’t have two sets. They’re just constantly rotating through new teeth. They grow in. The other ones fall out. Yeah. Yeah.

Shanna: That is a lot of teeth floating around in the ocean.

Laura: You cannot let this go.

Shanna: Yeah. That’s my takeaway here. That’s my takeaway.

Laura: Alright. Well, my takeaway is that you got the first question right. So you are off to a good start.

Shanna: Alright, Laura. Perhaps you have heard of this. I do not know. I had not. What is the title of a TV show in which 15 men competed to impregnate a woman? A, expecting the best, b, labor of love, c, bump or dump?

Laura: They’re all perfect. I was waiting for MILF Island. We’ve been rewatching 30 Rock, and that was one of the fake shows that Jack Conley had created. Anyway, okay. So we got Bump or Dump. Give me the other ones.

Shanna: Okay. Expecting the best, labor of love, bump or dump? Oh, boy.

Laura: Can I ask what country this is in?

Shanna: ure. Okay. America.

Laura: I’m gonna go with Labor of Love then. I feel like Bump or Dump is something that I would see in the UK. Sorry. I don’t know if that’s offensive to my UK listeners. I just feel like you guys are way more straightforward with your reality show titles.

Shanna: Yes, it is Labor of Love. I feel like they try to make it sound charming when in reality it was like, maybe a little cringe. Okay. In 2020, there was a series called Labor of Love. And in over 8 episodes, 15 men participated in challenges and dates, etcetera, your typical dating show style. But the end result was to see who would get chosen to start a family with this woman named Kristi Katzman, and that was the entire point of the show. And she ended up with this guy named Kyle. Apparently, they did date for a few months and broke up. So I guess they never had the baby that they intended to have.

Laura: See, I thought this was like a sperm donor competition show. I would watch that. someone is trying to determine who is going to be their sperm donor. But, yeah, just turning into a dating show, boring.

Shanna: Boring. Well, Laura we’ve got a lot of $1,000,000 ideas. We can add this to the list. We’ve got a great title, Bump or Dump. So we’re on our way.

Laura: And we’re on our way to a tie at this point because I got that one right, and you got the first one right.

Shanna: Nice. Nice. Alright. What’s your next question?

Laura: Alright. So I did text you last night because I was trying to come up with my final questions, and I said, does the name Charlotte the Stingray mean anything to you? And you said no. Now I’m hoping that you did not go Google it so you could get a leg up on this, competition because this is my question for you. So I asked you about Charlotte Stingray because at this very moment, she is a social media phenomenon. She lives in an aquarium in North Carolina.

Laura: And can you tell me why she is currently trending on the internets? Is it because she just had the largest litter of pups ever and now is an Octomom? Is it because she and her pups hold hands, like their little fins, and swim around the aquarium and it’s just the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? Or is it because she’s pregnant despite having no male stingrays in her tank?

Shanna: Oh. Alright. Okay. Okay. Okay. Let’s see. So did the stingray have 8 babies making her an octomom? I don’t know. I don’t know that social media would blow up about that.

Shanna: That seems a little a little ordinary. The second one, she swims around holding hands with her babies. That’s super cute. I can see that getting a million hits or so. But, really a miracle pregnancy, that is gonna take the cake. I have to go for that one, Laura. So if it’s true, I’m right. If it if it’s not true, you’re a genius for writing it. So I’m gonna go with c.

Laura: You are correct, my friend. She is pregnant, and she has not seen another male stingray in over 8 years.

Shanna: What the heck?

Laura: Indeed. So no one knows why. At first, they thought her handlers thought it might be cancer. They started seeing humps. Okay. First of all, I’ve learned so much about stingrays. I did not realize that they even gave birth to pups. I thought they maybe laid eggs.

Laura: I never envisioned in my life what a pregnant stingray might look like, but now you can go online and look. It looks like she has a big old hump on her back instead of on the front side.

Shanna: Interesting. So they’re mammals then?

Laura: No. They’re not mammals. What

Shanna: What in the what? Are they amphibians? Fish.

Laura: It’s I think they’re just fish. Let’s look this up.

Shanna: You learn something new every day.

Laura: Okay. I was right. They are a type of fish. They’re a type of cartilaginous fish, so I’m guessing a fish with a bunch of cartilage. Okay. And they’re obviously rays, which are a specific little subgroup. Some biologists out there are dying right now with me describing this, my brother probably, especially.

Shanna: A stingray is a ray. Good. Good. Good. Good.

Laura: Okay. Let me just read this about their reproduction real quick so we can lay this to rest. It says stingray are ovo viviparous, which means they give birth to live young.

Shanna: Okay. So girl is pregnant. We don’t know how. Did her handlers sneak in and, fertilize her? With another ray’s sperm not their own, obviously?

Laura: They’re doing some IUI on their stingray. No. So there are just a few theories that have taken hold. 1, the Internet is abuzz with the idea that perhaps she mated with one of the 2 sharks that are also in her tank. She shares a tank with 2 male white spotted bamboo sharks, these little shark guys. And, apparently, there’s some scratches on her back, which they think, oh, that’s a sign of mating.

Laura: But this would be a first in all of recorded biology. Right? According to Hank Green on TikTok, there’s never been a recorded shark to ray genesis, right, mating. The other theory was that she stored stingray sperm, male sperm, in her body for 8 years, which we know there are some species that do that. Right? Store sperm. I think we’ve talked about it.

Laura: But they still don’t think that’s true because they’ve never documented that in rays. But the leading theory is that it’s parthenogenesis, which I do believe we talked about on the show before. Parthenogenesis, which translates to virgin birth, which is when you basically are in the absence of a mate. A female will self-fertilize an egg. It’s not cloning. It’s not just plain old cloning. It’s like you self-fertilize with other parts of DNA. I don’t fully understand it.

Laura: Hank Green did a good explanation of it on TikTok if you’re interested. But parthenogenesis is the bleeding theory. They think she has up to 4 pups inside her, and now everyone’s just waiting. So no one knows when it’s gonna happen. And I really hope by the time this episode publishes, there’s not some bummer of a update. But we’ll be sure to update when we hear. I’ve been checking nonstop to find out how Charlotte’s doing.

Shanna: Oh my gosh. Okay. I need to follow this story. We’re really just all waiting to see if the pups are born with shark fins. Right?

Laura: That’s what we would all want.

Shanna: Okay. That’s what I thought. That’s fascinating.

Laura: Okay, Shanna. What’s your next question for me?

Shanna: Okay. This one is also TV show related. There is a show on Netflix called Old Enough in which a documentary crew films 2- to 6-year-old children as they do what? A, run errands by themselves, such as buying groceries, b, showcase their incredible but unusual talents, like making sand sculptures, or, c, babysit one another and handle problems that arise.

Laura: Okay. I had not seen the pregnancy sperm donor competition show, but this one I have Cece, so I get to answer confidently. It is the kids go and run errands and do groceries and do all kinds of grown up stuff all by themselves.

Shanna: Yes. In Japan.

Laura: And I’ve watched I actually only watched 2 episodes because it stressed me the fuck out. There’s this little 3 year old crossing a busy highway by himself, and I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t watch.

Shanna: Oh, yeah. It is a fascinating concept. Listeners, if you have not seen this yet, I suggest you check it out. So this documentary crew follows these very young children. The first episode was in 1991, and they’ve been going ever since. And the first episode, a little 5-year-old boy leaves his mom’s apartment to go to the market to get her yakisoba and bean sprouts. And he’s like, yeah, I can do that. And he just leaves the house and walks across the street, goes into the store, obviously, forgets what he was there for, has to go back and ask. It’s adorable. It’s really, really adorable. After watching this, I asked Cece if she thought she could go by herself to Ralph’s, our grocery store, and get me some apples or something, and she immediately was like, no. No.

Laura: Yeah. I mean, even if she could and wanted to and you were cool with it, someone would call the cops.

Shanna: Yeah. Yeah. So I think that the culture there is a little bit different with the independence of the kids and stuff and especially in the nineties, I’m sure, but it’s a cute show.

Laura: I don’t think it’s our society is set up for that kind of independence. Meanwhile, Auggie needs to be chaperoned to go up and down the stairs. Not because of safety. He just wants it. You know? I’m like, he’ll yell. He’s like, mama, I’m awake. I’m like, okay. We’re downstairs. He’s like, come get me!

Shanna: I guess you couldn’t send him off for bean sprouts at Whole Foods.

Laura: Doubt it. I doubt it. Alright.

Shanna: Good job, friend. Good job. What’s your next question?

Laura: Alright. So somehow TikTok stopped feeding me marine biology facts, at this point, and I had to go to a more reliable source for them. So I had to call my brother and be like, Jeff, do you have any cool marine biology facts for me? We’re doing it for the podcast. And he was like, yeah. Sure. But, of course, he came back to me with some bird facts.

Shanna: He’s a bird expert for listeners who don’t remember.

Laura: Yes. So I was like, what are some cool bird facts? So tell me, which one of these is a true fact about seabirds that he came back to me with? Is it that seagulls are deadbeat dads who mate with a female and then leave them? Is it that the snowy albatross will fly 5,000 miles to get food for their babies? Or is it that pelican moms carry their eggs in their large throat pouch to keep them warm?

Shanna: I feel like deadbeat seagull dads really tracks. The seagulls seem like they would be that way. Just little assholes. So I’m leaning towards that one. 5000 miles to feed your young is remarkable. I’m not sure why they would fly so far to do that. And then the pelican’s holding the eggs in there. I’m leaning against that one because I feel like that’s also their way of catching their own food and stuff, and you wouldn’t wanna accidentally swallow your egg. So I’m gonna go with the jerky seagulls.

Laura: The seagull lobby is gonna come after you, Shanna, because they want you to know that they are not deadbeat dads. They are actually very committed partners. They trade off parenting duties with the mom. And they help out a lot. So stop giving seagull dads a bad rep. Okay?


Shanna: Yes.

Laura: Okay. No. And, you were right about the pouch. Pelicans don’t keep their eggs in their pouch. But apparently, they also don’t store food there either. As I was looking for facts, to lie about on the podcast, I discovered that, apparently, they don’t keep their food in their pouch like we all thought they did. I definitely thought they were flying around with a whole bunch of fish in there like it’s a net. No.

Laura: The truth is that the snowy albatross, which is also known as the wandering albatross, will fly 5,000 miles up to 5,000 miles to get food for their babies. They’re kind of in the Antarctic. They’re all over the southern, oceans. So one example is they’ll fly from basically Antarctica to Brazil and back to get food for their kids. Totally fascinating, so dedicated. And what’s really interesting is that the parents alternate who does this. So one will be hanging out with the baby in the nest. The other goes and flies 5,000 miles and comes back, feeds the baby, and then they trade. And the other one goes and flies thousands of miles to find food and comes back.

Shanna: Wow.

Laura: And they’ll do this for 9 to 10 months. It takes that long for the baby to even fledge and be able to fly.

Shanna: Well, yeah. When it has to wait for a 10,000-mile round trip to get a meal, you would imagine it would take a while to grow and thrive. Here’s the thing. I don’t understand. If you’re gonna fly all that distance to get good stuff from a good area, why don’t they just relocate there? Bring the bird with them or lay the egg there.

Laura: I’m guessing there’s predators up there is my guess. And they’re built for flying long distances. To them, it’s no big deal. They actually apparently don’t have to flap for 500 miles or something like that. They can just hang out with their wings out like sails.

Shanna: That sounds so fun.

Laura: It does sound very fun. The other very heartwarming thing about snowy albatross parents is that they mate for life, and they mate only every 2 years. They take a sabbatical year off between each baby, because they wanna rest and recover after 9 to 10 months of flying all that way to feed their little baby in the nest. I felt a lot of kinship with these albatross parents. they seem cool.

Shanna: They do. I like them. They seem much cooler than seagulls. Sorry, seagulls. Lobby come after me.

Laura: Okay, Shanna. You have one more question for me to see if I can take this game or we’re gonna end in a draw. But I was thinking we should come back after the break. What do you think?

Shanna: Oh, I think we should.



Laura: Okay, Shanna. You have one more question for me in the stump the mom round. So let’s hear it.

Shanna: Okay. Which of the following was NOT once a method for dealing with the problem of teething? A, rubbing lamb’s brain on the gums, b, hanging the carcass of a dead snake around the child’s neck, c, lancing the child’s gums.

Laura: Ew. All of these are awful. Why does any of them have to be true? Oh my goodness. Okay. Teething pain, lamb’s brain. Gosh. Honestly, they could all be true as far as I can tell because they all sound so left field and people did a lot of weird shit in the past. And, also, we know that parents will do anything to help their kids with their teething pain.

Laura: Ay ay ay. I’m gonna go with lancing the gums because I don’t know. Flip a coin. Sure.

Shanna: No. That was a practice for quite a long time, actually. The real answer is b, hanging the carcass of a dead snake around the child’s neck. That did not happen. They would hang like poisonous vines around kids’ necks, which is equally wild. Alright. So here’s a little backstory.

Shanna: In 117 AD, there was a physician named Soranus of Ephesus. Not sure of that pronunciation. He was the first to suggest using hare’s brain to ease teething. So hare’s brain was really big, but if a hare was not available, lamb’s brain would do just fine. And way back in the day, people didn’t understand teething. They thought that a lot of infant mortality was caused by teething. They thought that the erupting of the teeth was deadly to children. So a little bit later on in the 16th century, there was a French surgeon named Ambroise Paré introduced the lancing of gums to help the teeth erupt.

Shanna: So if a child was teething and just you saw it coming in, they would cut the gum so that it could erupt more easily, and they really thought they were saving lives by doing this. They thought that the teeth getting stuck in there was causing a lot of problems. And, apparently, that practice was not abandoned until 1938.

Laura: I feel like I get the logic there. You slice into them thinking it’ll help them open up, but you gotta imagine that it caused so much more infection.

Shanna: Yeah. Definitely.

Laura: Poor babies.

Shanna: I know. So, yes, I’m much happier with our modern teething methods of chewing on cold, I don’t know, things you put in the freezer for a little while. Cool down those gums.

Laura: I’m so glad we’re past teething. It just makes me so happy. I guess the first round does is it count as teething when they get their permanent teeth?

Shanna: I don’t know. It always cracks me up to think of Elle as teething. You know? Because she’s only lost 8 teeth, and she’s gonna be losing some wisdom teeth or incisors or whatever soon. And I’m like, oh, you’re teething. I don’t say that to her. I think it, but, yeah, I don’t think so.

Laura: Alright. Well, you know what? We tied, Shanna tied. And that means that neither of us can gloat in the next segment.

Shanna: Alright.

Laura: But I do think it’s time to move on. What do you think?

Shanna: I think so.


Laura: Okay. We close every episode with a big fat positive or a big fat negative of the week. And, Shanna, I gotta know, do you have a BFP or a BFN?

Shanna: I have a BFP. This is a small little moment incident that happened spontaneously. We were getting ready for bed one night, and Elle was in my office petting the cat or whatever. And my computer was on, and she’s always curious about computers, let’s be real. She’s curious about any screen anywhere.

Shanna: So my computer is on, and she starts clicking around. And in my browser, I have a bookmark that’s a YouTube video called Shanna and Elle. And she saw that, and I haven’t looked at it in years. So she clicked on it, and I came in. And I saw that she had pulled it up, and she felt nervous or whatever that she was watching YouTube when she wasn’t supposed to, so she closed it really quick. And I was like, oh my gosh. You found the Shanna and Elle video.

Shanna: She’s like, yeah. What is that? And I’m well, let’s watch it. And so I clicked it. And what it is is a video that Steve made for me for Mother’s Day when Elle was 1, and it was a compilation of every selfie I took of me and Elle, her 1st year of life.

Laura: Yeah. I remember this.

Shanna: I had a little project, my first year of motherhood, that I would take a selfie of me and Elle every single day, because I didn’t wanna be one of those moms that was left out of pictures. Right? I was like I’m gonna take my own pictures if I have to. And Steve put it together in a video and set it to Your Song by Elton John, which I love, and I used to sing to her all the time. And so she clicked it, and we stood there watching it together. And Laura, oh my gosh. The emotions and feelings of watching that video, the 1st year of her life and us together, along with her while she’s now 8, it was it was mind blowing. It was emotional. I was getting all choked up, and she was really into it. And she’s like, oh, that’s so cute. You know, pointing out different cute pictures and, it was just, it was a moment.

Laura: That’s so cute. I remember that Steve did this. I mean, now I remember. It’s coming back to me. Such a nice gift for him to give you, first of all. And so fun that Elle got to see it. Was she just tickled by it, or how did she feel?

Shanna: I don’t know that she felt as sentimental as I did, but she loved seeing it. She really loves seeing herself. It’s so cool because you can really see how she grows and changes in that 1st year. And she gets bigger and we’re talking about, you know oh, you’re so big there. Oh, you got your first tooth. And I just yeah. I think she really loved seeing herself through that year. So cute.

Laura: Whenever we look at old photos together, Auggie and I, I’ll be like, Auggie, do you know who that is? And he always says, Sebastian. I’m like, no. Nope. That’s you. And he’s like, that’s me. I’m like, yep. It’s you.

Shanna: So cute. And then I told Steve how we watched it, and he was like, oh, didn’t you take pictures of you and Cece every day her first year? And I was like, I don’t know. Did I? I honestly don’t remember.

Laura: You did. You talked about it on the podcast. Yeah.

Shanna: I didn’t even remember. No one made a video of that one, so maybe I’ll do a little hint hint for him to make one of those for me for Mother’s Day for her.

Laura: Poor second kid. I know. I know.

Shanna: But that was a sweet moment. Alright. What about you? Do you have a BFP or a BFN?

Laura: I also have a BFP. And mine is a book series that we’ve been introduced to. Auggie got the very first Dory Phantasmagory book for his 5th birthday from a friend.  Do you guys read those, or have you read those?

Shanna: I think I’ve checked them out at the library, and they haven’t clicked with my girls yet, but I’ve heard good things. So tell me more.

Laura: Yeah. So I was skeptical because he’s been very hot and cold on anything that’s not a picture book. I’ve also had trouble finding good books that are chapter books, but they have some pictures, but it’s not like a comic book style, so you have to point at every picture and read the captions and stuff because that that’s just super annoying to me at bedtime. And I just feel like these books really manage that very well. It’s like there’s a picture on every page, but it’s not like something you always have to point and say this is what they’re saying. And it’s very logical what’s going on. It’s very logical how the text relates to it, so you don’t have to explain things out of order and all that stuff. But the real reason it’s my BFP is because Auggie is so in love with these books.

Laura: They make him laugh so hard. And I just like, every single book, every few pages, he’s just dying laughing, so much so that I, of course, had to make a voice memo of it. So, I’ve cut together a little voice memo, that we will play now for you to hear.


Shanna: Oh my word. I love his laugh. That is so cute. And good on you for that English accent, Laura. Love your interpretation.

Laura: Thank you. Thank you. I also just love the subject matter of the book. it’s perfect for him because it’s about a little girl. I think she’s 6, but still, she’s, her name is Dory, but she goes by Rascal. And she has 2 older siblings, and she’s in the premises that she’s kind of in her own dream world. she has all these imaginary friends she talks to.

Laura: And this whole world sort of blends with hers, and it’s unclear. You know, to her, it’s all the same. Right? The real world and her pretend world, and it causes some problems in school and with her family. And it’s just it’s such a perfect fit for Auggie’s little brain. I feel like this is very much what he’s doing, and that particular book, what we’re reading in the clip, is about how Dory has a friend in school who can read really, really well and is reading chapter books on her own, and she’s still struggling with picture books.  And the sort of plot of the story is how she’s getting over her sort of her jealousy and feeling weird about how she doesn’t read yet.
Laura: You know it was like she doesn’t Dory doesn’t know what the book is saying.

Laura: But it’s great because it really lines up with sort of Auggie’s experience right now in school. I feel like where he has older kids who can read better than him. And it just, I don’t know, it’s just it really, really, really is great. So we’ve gotten the first four books now, and we’re just devouring them, and I highly recommend them.

Shanna: Sounds so fun. We are gonna give them another try for sure. I think my girls would really love those.

Laura: Yeah. You’ll have to let me know. But, yeah, that’s it for me. That is my BFP and I think that’s it for our show unless you have a 5 star review to read.

Shanna: Oh, I do. This review is from mamaKL82. The title of the review is my favorite podcast. 5 stars. This show makes Mondays better. As a mom, I just love that sometimes it’s super funny, sometimes serious, and always real life. Shanna and Laura will become your besties. Whether you’re newly pregnant or in the trenches of toddlerhood, I highly recommend this to all my friends. Five stars. Thank you, mama k.

Laura: Aw. Thank you so much for listening, mama k, and for leaving that amazing review.

Shanna: Listeners, could you please do us a favor? Head on over to Apple Podcasts, drop 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 thoughts or feedback on this week’s episode, you know we would love to hear from you. Laura, where can everyone find us?

Laura: We are on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook at BFPpodcast, finally, if you wanna join the coolest group of people on the Internet and get some exclusive content from me and Shanna, 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. But once you do that, you’ll be sent straight through to all the amazing and wonderful and supportive and fascinating conversations we’re having in there.

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

Laura: Bye.