Ep. 300 – Shanna’s Mom Tells All!

April 1, 2024

Listen Now:

To celebrate their 300th episode, Laura and Shanna have invited Shanna’s mom Janet on the show! In this very special “Throwback” segment, Janet takes us back to her pregnancy, birth and early parenthood with Shanna. She talks about being pregnant during an ice storm, moving cross-country with an infant, how Shanna was the opposite of what she expected her to be and more. She also shares funny and fond memories of her early motherhood and offers her best parenting advice. Also, Shanna gives an update on her daughters’ progress with their new pom-pom reward system, and Laura reports on her 5-year-old’s transition to a big-kid bed. 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:

-Rewarding your kids for their good behavior

-Transitioning your child to a big-kid bed

-The story of Shanna’s birth

-Some of the best things about being a mom

-Advice about parenting from Shanna’s mom

-Doing volunteer work with your kids

-Going on a field trip with your preschooler

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

Join our Facebook community group for support and camaraderie on your parenting journey.

Visit our website!

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. This week, we have our weekly check ins. We have our special segment, an interview with Shanna’s mom, where she tells throwback stories about Shanna’s childhood and we find out, was Shanna late to her own birthday? And we close with our BFPs and BFNs for the week.


Laura: Let’s get started. Hello, everyone, and welcome to episode 300 of Big Fat Positive.

Shanna: You sound so calm and fancy. Are we changing the demeanor of the show now?

Laura: This is just my voice now. Just kidding. April fools. For anyone listening on the day we drop, it’s April fools. I did not change my voice. I am as annoying as ever. Hi, Shanna.

Shanna: Hi. That was my attempt to be annoying.

Laura: You could never. You could never be annoying, Shonna.

Shanna: Well, that’s kind. Is that your other April Fools joke of the day?

Laura: To me, you are perfect. So I just said something crazy, which is that it’s episode 300 of The Big Fat Positive; A Pregnancy and Parenting Journey podcast. 300. Woah.

Shanna: That is a milestone. I’m very proud of us. That means we have put out a podcast every Monday for 300weeks.

Laura: And how many years is that, Shanna?

Shanna: That’s almost 6 years.

Laura: That’s amazing. I mean, this is a pre-BFP. This is a check-in BFP because the fact that we have been able to consistently put out a podcast every week without a support staff. You know? It’s you, me, and Steve. That’s it. We don’t have other people doing all the work in the background. We do have an advertising agency, thank you so much, to True Native Media: you guys are great. Yes. But we did this through 3 pregnancies, 4 children, and one pandemic.

Shanna: Yes. And a partridge in a pear tree.

Laura: Exactly. You have had a full-time job this entire time.

Shanna: Yes.

Laura: I have not. It’s wild. It’s absolutely wild, and I’m very proud of us. And I’m also very proud of our listeners. I know so many of you have listened to every single episode, and that blows my mind.

Shanna: That is amazing. Thank you so much. I love our listeners. That is so much of the thing that pushes me to keep going. I love doing this for our listeners.

Laura: I do too. But you know what our listeners, I think, really like about our show? This is one of my theories. Well, we haven’t put out a survey about this, but this is one of my theories about why our show works, is that we have a consistent structure. You know what to expect every week. And this week is no different. Even though it’s episode 300, even though we’re celebrating, Shanna, do you have your check-in for this week?

Shanna: Oh, I do. For this 300th week. Yes. Yes. I do. Of course. Last week, I talked about a new system in our family to reward the girls for their positive behavior because their behavior has been challenging lately. And the reward system is the pom-pom jar.

Shanna:  They decorate in little jars. Every time they do something kind or, that shows good listening and follow through and independence, they earn a pom-pom in the jar. Well, Laura, after about 2 weeks of this, maybe about 10 days, the girls have filled their jars, and they received their reward.

Laura: Oh, I’m so curious what they’ve chosen for their reward.

Shanna: So the reward was for us to go to 5 Below, which is kind of like a dollar store. But it is a fun dollar store. Everything is $5 and below for the most part. And it’s super cute. Lots of toys. It’s styled really well. Everything is incredibly appealing to even me, to be honest with you. I walk in there, and it feels like a wonderland. So the girls walk in, and it’s especially wonderlandrific. So that’s where we went. They were very excited, and I told them they each had a budget of $7. So they also got to practice little math skills there. And things are very clearly noted $5, $2, dollars, $1. You know? So it’s very obvious how much they can buy. So we walked around a lot of the store.

Shanna: I was so curious what they were gonna spend their money on. Do you wanna take a guess what the girls bought with their money?

Laura: Oh, I am a 100% certain I could never guess because in my experience, when you give kids free rein in a store, they pick the most off-the-wall, unexpected, random thing that you would never have thought and think it’s the best. I remember one time our old nanny, Eliza, took Auggie to Ikea as an outing. He was probably 2-and-a-half at the time. And I was like, give him a $15 budget or whatever. You know? Get something at Ikea. Because I was thinking, oh, those stuffies are $10 or whatever. You know? 15 should do it. He came home with a retractable dog leash. That is what he wanted.

Shanna: So amazing. Amazing.

Laura: Did they get retractable dog leashes?

Shanna: They didn’t, but I bet they sell them there.

Laura: I should remind people we don’t even have a dog. So yeah.

Shanna: Well, you could use it for your cat. I’ve been trying to walk Jasmine lately and… it’s, not going great.

Laura: That’s what our other podcast should be about. It should be about your process of trying to train Jasmine to walk outdoors. Oh my god. Oh. I would listen.

Shanna: It’s hilarious. Okay. But I will say this. We did a preview shopping trip to 5 Below, where the girls could look at stuff and get excited about what they could possibly buy. So that was a week before. Elle became enamored with the gag aisle the little gag things. You know?

Laura: My mind went somewhere else, Shanna. My mind went somewhere else.

Shanna: Haha. Yeah. Gag, toys, silly toys, goof toys, trick toys, that kind of thing. You got it. And she kept looking at these wind-up chatter teeth and the mini hands that I think you see these in TikTok videos a lot, and handcuffs-

Laura: Wait a second. You said this was not that kinda aisle, Shanna.

Shanna: I don’t know. Quick release toy handcuffs. You know, I don’t know.

Laura: Got it. Got it. Got it.

Shanna: Yes. So I was really surprised to see her love of all of kind of stuff. I don’t know if that’ll give you a clue into what she ultimately bought on our real trip.

Laura: Did she buy a whoopie cushion?

Shanna: Oh, whoopie cushions were a 100% in that section, but no. No. She didn’t end up buying one.

Laura: Okay. I couldn’t guess. Please tell me.

Shanna: Okay. Elle got a giant tub of gold slime and 3 Hershey’s Kisses. And Cece got a stuffed animal that’s half dog, half butterfly, which she named Butterdog. And a pack of gum.

Laura: Oh my gosh. Has she ever chewed gum before?

Shanna: Yeah. Yeah. That was a big thing. when she turned 4 years old, I allowed her to chew gum.

Laura: Oh, that’s right. I remember that seat. And I remember we had a whole discussion about it. And now it’s coming back to me. Auggie did ask me about gum the other day. And I was trying to explain to him. I’m like, you chew it, but you don’t swallow it. And he was very confused, and I was like, I think we’ll return to this another day.

Shanna: Yeah.

Laura: I just don’t have gum in the house because I have a messed up jaw. So I’m out of practice of buying gum. Okay. So this is amazing. Did Elle just buy normal size individual Hershey Kisses? are they in a big tub you can pick out of?

Shanna: There’s a bulk candy section, like this huge thing. It’s 10 for a dollar or 15¢ apiece, and she had, I don’t know 45 cents to fill in. Oh, she got one other, like a chocolate Easter candy. So she had 45 cents remaining. And so I was like, I don’t know. I guess you could get 3 Hershey’s Kisses. She’s like, yes.

Shanna: and so she got a bag with 3 Hershey’s Kisses from the bulk section. And it was fun. It was really fun to take them there and give them a budget and see what they were drawn to and just let them get whatever they wanted. It was a success.

Laura: Amazing. I don’t know how I’ve never been in a 5 Below. I’ve seen them driving by, and I didn’t realize that it was this wonderland of inexpensive fun things.

Shanna: Yeah. I didn’t either. I stumbled into it a couple years ago because it was next door to, I don’t know, PetSmart or some other thing I was going to. And that’s how I discovered it. You know what? It’s also great for buying birthday presents for kids. They’ve got really affordable gift bags and the stuffing paper and lots of games, and we got a friend of Elle’s a birthday present while we were there too. I love it. It’s a great shop. This is not an ad. I just love 5 Below.

Laura: Could be, though. Get in touch, 5 Below.

Shanna: I know. Get in touch. But yeah. So that is basically my check-in for the week. We’ve emptied the pom-pom jars, and we’re starting over. I’m hoping the system doesn’t lose its allure as we continue on, but I will keep you updated and let you know.

Laura: I would love that.

Shanna: Alright. So what about you? What is your check-in on this, our 300th episode of BFP?

Laura: Okay, Shanna. It finally happened with Auggie.

Shanna: He got a mentorship with Steven Spielberg to work on his movie directing?

Laura: Yes. You’re right. That would be amazing. Corey would die of jealousy if that happened. No. Actually, in fact, he now has finally graduated to a big boy bed.

Shanna: Oh, wait. I thought you got him a twin trundle bed or something. Did that not ever pan out? What’s the story?

Laura: Oh, I did. So remember, I wanna say at least 6 months ago, I had this whole plan to get him a spaceship themed room, and I put up that Millennium Falcon interior wall, and I got him this trundle bed from Ikea that I spray painted dark gray to make it look more like a spaceship, and I was gonna put all these decals on it.  Well, what happened was I did all that work, and I had the bed ready to put together, and Auggie freaked out and did not want to lose his toddler bed, which was his converted crib. And I was like, are you sure? He’s like, no. I like my bed. And I was like, okay. You know, I’m not gonna fuck up sleep by changing your bed without you wanting to.

Laura:  So that lasted almost 6 months until just a few weeks ago, for whatever reason, he spontaneously decided he wasn’t sleeping in that bed anymore. He had to sleep on the Nugget. And so for weeks, he’s been sleeping on the Nugget on the ground. Don’t know what changed. He just decided he didn’t want it anymore. I mean, he was getting big for the bed.

Laura: It was it was getting a little cramped, and I think whether he could identify that as the cause or not, that’s what it was. So I put on my to do list: we gotta finally put together this big boy bed for Auggie. And I enlisted Corey, and we then waited a couple weeks because we never had time to do it. Finally, one day, Corey was like, okay. Let’s just do it. We’re gonna do it today. I’m like, great.

Laura: Let’s bring all the pieces in from the garage. There was only one black widow hiding in a hole, so that was good. I thought there would be multiple. We started at 11 AM hoping that we’d get it done before they were ready to come home from school. And I, in my mind, had a plan for the bed that I later realized I had never said out loud to Corey. I just had this plan in my head that was we were gonna get all the pieces inside, and then we would do an inventory of all the screws and bolts and all that stuff, the allen wrench keys and all that stuff, before we started putting it together so that I could figure out if I needed to go to IKEA and get some spare parts.

Shanna: Well, because you got this bed from a Buy Nothing neighbor. You didn’t actually buy it from IKEA.

Laura: Exactly. And it’s partially put together. All the drawers were already put together. Certain parts of it were already put together. So it wasn’t as simple as just looking at the parts list and counting the screws you had because a lot of them were already in the furniture. So my plan was okay, we’ll do an inventory, then we’ll go to IKEA before we start anything. But I never said that out loud. So I come up and Corey’s already putting it together, and I was like, okay.

Laura:  So we just started diving into it until at around 3 PM, right when we need to go pick up the kids, we realized we did not, in fact, have all the parts we needed to finish it. And this bed is half put together in Auggie’s room, and his old bed is out of the room. And we’re like, shit. So Auggie had swim class that day. So Corey was like, I’ll take Auggie to swim class, and I was like, I will take Sebastian to Ikea. He’ll think it’s a fun outing. We’ll get some soft serve ice cream, and we’ll get all the parts we need.

Laura:  And that worked out pretty well. Sebastian was very happy to be at IKEA, and he wanted to look at all the toys. And Ikea had all the parts except for this one particular type of screw that we really needed. And I thought, you know what? We have half of the number of these screws that we need, and I can order them online. So we’ll put together the main part of the bed and not the trundle part.  And that’ll work. We’ll he’ll have the main bed.

Laura: We don’t need to use the trundle tonight. It’ll be fine. So we put together the whole main part of the bed using all those screws, and then we realize, as Corey’s like, this looks weird, we realized the trundle is not optional. The trundle supported the weight of the bed. So this led to Corey running to Home Depot to try to find an alternative screw at 7 PM.

Laura: Meanwhile, the boys are living their best lives just watching whatever the fuck they want on YouTube because we were just, like I mean, not really. They don’t choose themselves, so we weren’t letting them watch inappropriate things, but the stuff we usually say no to – Minecraft walkthroughs and stuff like that that just never ends well when you turn it off because it’s so engrossing for them. But they’re watching their Minecraft walk throughs, and we’re upstairs trying to finish this bed. Corey’s running to Home Depot. But finally, at 8:45 PM we completed it.

Shanna: What? Oh my god.

Laura: I took a video of my little Auggie seeing his new bed for the first time. Would you like to see it?

Shanna: Oh, yeah. Did he know that’s what you were working on and why he was staying up so late?

Laura: Yeah. Yeah. There was no hiding it. The other complication was that as much as Minecraft walk throughs engross Auggie, Sebastian’s less easily sucked into that sort of thing. So he kept coming upstairs and wanting to hang out in our construction zone. And we’re like, no, baby. No. this is not where you need to be. He’s like, I help. I help. He he went and got his little toy screwdriver and was trying to help. Very sweet, but also a little dangerous for his toes. But let me let me find this video, and we’ll play the audio for our listeners.


Shanna: He’s so pleased. I love that he’s like, this is great to have a bed to do parkour on.

Laura: First thought. This is great for parkour. okay. Cool. Amazing. This is why, friends, we cannot have a bunk bed.

Shanna: Yeah. That’s dangerous.

Laura: Child’s first reaction to a normal twin bed is, this is great for parkour. It’s like, we’re not making this any higher.

Shanna: Yes. For sure. So has he been sleeping well in it?

Laura: Yeah. He’s been sleeping great in it. He has fallen out of it every single night. So I need to get a bumper or do something about that. But I put the Nugget next to it because I thought this might happen, and he literally sleeps through falling out of it. We’ll just go and pick him up, put him back in. He has no recollection that it happened.

Shanna: Well, that’s good.

Laura: Yeah. So, anyway, big day here. and of course, Sebastian now is like, I want big bed. I want bed. ‘m like, not yet, dude. I’ll keep an eye out on my buy nothing group, but not yet. So, yeah, that was our big, exciting week.

Shanna: Fun. I love it.

Laura: But that’s it for me. Shall we move on to our special segment?

Shanna: Yes. We should.


Shanna: We are back. And this week for our 300th episode, we have a very special guest. Last week, we had Laura’s mom, Susan, on the show. And this week, we have my mom, Janet. Hi, mom.

Janet: Hi, Shanna. Hi, Laura.

Laura: Hi, Janet. It’s so nice to talk to you.

Janet: You too. My favorite moms.

Shanna: Oh my gosh. I can’t believe it’s been 300 episodes and we haven’t heard your voice yet, but I have talked about you a ton on this show.

Janet: I know. And I just love your podcast. I love I listen to it every week on Tuesday when I have to drive into the office. Haven’t missed a single one. And I’m just so proud of you girls and Steve. Just it’s a great podcast.

Laura: Aw. Thank you.

Shanna: That means a lot.

Laura: but Janet, we really, really appreciate you coming on the show. I’m so excited to talk to you and find out all about Shanna when she was a little wee one.

Janet: She was so cute. But go ahead.

Laura: Okay. So speaking of which, these questions might sound slightly familiar because we have the same questions for you that we have for my mom, maybe a few different ones. but Janet, we wanna hear about your pregnancy with Shanna. What was it like? Do you remember anything particularly positive or challenging about it? Tell us all about it.

Janet: Okay. I was pretty young when I got pregnant. I was 22, or I think that’s how old I was when Shanna was born. So I was 21 when I got pregnant. Overall, the pregnancy was a good experience, that’s for sure. I did have mild nausea in the first three months, but it wasn’t to the point where I ever got sick from it, so it wasn’t terrible. I do remember feeling like super tired and falling asleep early, that kind of stuff, which is normal. I do remember around, I don’t remember if it’s 8 weeks or something like that, I started spotting which really scared the heck out of me. And so I called my mother-in-law, who was a nurse and actually had worked in the maternity ward at a hospital at one time, to talk to her about it and ask her if she thought it was something I should be worried about. She did say that that was pretty normal if it was light and only if it got worse that I should probably call my doctor, which it did not. It didn’t last that long, maybe a day or two. I don’t really know what that was about, but there was a bit of a scare at that time.

Shanna: That must have been nice having Grammy as a nurse, someone you could call on for advice.

Janet: Yes. It really was. It really was. And she even talked to me and revealed some things to me about her pregnancy I didn’t know. So, I think it maybe got us a little closer, which was nice.

Shanna: That’s nice. Well, you were pregnant with me through the bitter cold winter in Springfield, Illinois. What was that like?

Janet: Oh, gosh. I think was that that was the winter that we had the ice storm, the really bad ice storm, and that was a couple of months before you were born, three months maybe, something like that, and everything turned to ice. All the trees were breaking. You couldn’t go anywhere. You couldn’t go out on the street. There were downed power lines. It was kind of crazy, and I’m super glad that I didn’t go into labor then or anything or have to have you at home. That would have been scary for me.

Shanna: Well, wasn’t it this ice freeze that motivated you guys to move to Arizona when I was 6 months old? You’re like, no more no more winters in Illinois.

Janet: It was. It broke our awnings. Snd we’ve never looked back.

Laura: So wait. Was Shanna born in Illinois then, or had she already moved?

Janet: She was. Springfield, Illinois.

Laura: Shanna, I’m learning new things about you all the time.

Shanna: Well, that’s what this is all about.

Laura: Amazing.

Shanna: Yeah.

Laura: So how old was she when you moved to Arizona?

Janet: 6 months. That’s a story in itself too, but yeah. I had never been around babies. I never babysat. I didn’t have any friends that were pregnant that I hung around with. I really didn’t know anything about pregnancy, birth, or raising children.

Janet: So, to get up and leave and leave the two grandmas who had all this advice and could assist me was darn right scary, to tell you the truth. And I flew and your dad drove.

Shanna: You left your support system.

Janet: I did. I did. So you are so lucky you have such a huge support system. I think I’ve told you this over and over that you have so many resources that I’m super jealous, that you have all of that these days. I’m so happy that young mothers have that, and your podcast, which is also very helpful, I’m sure, to lots of moms. I didn’t know anything. I got books, and I was very mesmerized by the entire process of pregnancy and growth and I just kept an eye on how big were you this week, how big were you the next week, and just I was amazed. I just found it amazing.

Shanna: Did you know I was a girl or was that back when you gave birth and you were surprised?

Janet: No. It was a surprise.

Shanna: It was?

Janet: It was. I never had an ultrasound or sonogram. Never had it. I didn’t need to. Back in those days, you didn’t get them unless they thought there was a problem.. So, they just didn’t do it. So, we had no idea who you were. I had a lot of yellow clothes.

Laura: Oh, yeah.

Shanna: Thinking about my baby pictures, there was a lot of yellow. I did not know that.

Janet: Yeah. So could suit either or.

Shanna: Gender neutral.

Laura: Did you have a suspicion either way that she was wouldn’t be a girl or a boy?

Janet: No. I did not. We were both happy either way.

Shanna: Aw. Well, what about the day I was born or right around then? Was I early, late? I can’t remember what I’ve heard about that day.

Janet: Your due date was June 14th as I recall, and you were born on 19th, so you were four days late. We had taken Lamaze classes, which they had back then, and they really emphasized trying to have a natural birth without drugs. So, I was determined that that’s what I was gonna do because they were saying the baby could be drowsy and unable to latch, and so I was pretty set that I was gonna try not to do, not to get any kind of drugs. I also think it had a lot to do with my teacher because she had a baby who had a crib death. And so it kind of made me think afterwards when I think about it that she thought maybe could that have been a contributor. Do you know what I’m saying?

Janet: Back in those days, she really didn’t know what caused a crib death. And I was very surprised that she was still teaching Lamaze classes after that experience because that had to be very hard. So, the reason I talk about Lamaze classes is one thing that I remembered them saying to us was that if your water broke and it was green, that meant the baby had a bowel movement and it could be in distress. So my water broke about midnight on 19th and it was green.

Janet: So I panicked. I got dad up and he took me straight to the hospital. I’m sure he probably called his mom to ask what to do. But anyway, he I do remember him driving through red lights. Springfield was pretty dead in the middle of the week on Sunday night. Never really what it was only three intersections where he could see nobody’s coming, but I was a little upset. I’d like to get there safe.

Janet: I guess he was anxious too. And I remember shaking uncontrollably in the car. Once we got there, things progressed really quite rapidly. The contractions started and started getting pretty intense.

Janet: They asked me – I’m pretty sure they asked me – if I wanted something, and I said no. And they hooked you up to the monitor and we’re keeping an eye on you. We were using the breathing techniques that we learned and kind of getting through it. And next thing I know, they were giving me an episiotomy, which I did have. And taking me into the delivery room because you were ready to come out. And I didn’t know it at the time, but because you were hooked up on that fetal monitor, you were showing signs of distress as well. So you were delivered at, I’m thinking 3:38 AM, with forceps.

Janet: And then the doctors told us later that it looked it was your umbilical cord was between your head and your shoulders, and so when you were coming through the birth canal, it was kind of cutting off the pressure, or cutting off the blood going through the cord. So, that’s why you were in distress. It wasn’t that it was wrapped around your neck, but you were putting pressure on it between your head and your shoulder.

Shanna: I see. I see.

Janet: So you were you were born 6 pounds 12 ounces, and they cleaned you up and put this beautiful blonde baby on my chest.

Laura: Did she have hair when she came out?

Janet: Very fine, very light, not much. But you could tell it was blonde. Her dad was a toe head when he was little, so she got that from him, I assume. and despite all that, your APGAR score was really good. I’m thinking around 9. It was really high.

Shanna: Oh, good.

Janet: That made us feel better.

Laura: Do you think she’s gonna turn out okay?

Shanna: We’re still waiting to find out.

Janet: Haha. Yeah.

Laura: I say that because it’s so funny to me. I love a birth story, and I’m always on the edge of my seat about it. You know? I’m like, oh my gosh. Is Shanna gonna be okay? I’ve literally spent the last five years talking to you once a week ,if not more. And I’m still like, oh my gosh. Is she gonna be okay? What’s her APGAR score?

Janet: Looking back, I mean, I was really lucky. I only had three and a half hours of labor and honestly, I felt those pains and I really don’t even know that I could have gone 12 hours like some women or beyond that. Without taking anything or I mean, I say I didn’t have anything and had a natural birth but you know, I didn’t have to go through it for hours upon hours upon hours. So, anybody that gets it, I have no judgment now because I was just I was just doing what I thought was right at the time, but I was lucky enough to not have to go through that forever.

Shanna: I came in fast and furious.

Janet: You did. You just wanna get out. I’m four days late. Get me out of here!

Shanna: True. I do not like being late.

Laura: You were like, this is not me!

Janet: And I did I did breastfeed. And you latched okay.

Shanna: Oh, good.

Laura: Do you think that being a younger mom helped you sort of with the labor and recovery? Because I’m thinking about myself at 35 giving birth, and I’m like, oof. if I could have had my 21-year-old body, this might have gone differently.

Janet: I do. Honest to God, I think having a baby younger, that’s probably one good thing about it is your body bounces back faster. I would say that probably you Shanna probably tolerate maybe a little bit better. I don’t know. You can’t say for sure, but just knowing another friend whose daughter had her babies young you know, she just bounced back so quick, and I’m just thinking it is probably easier to have them young if you’re healthy, you know.  And there are no complications and whatnot.

Shanna: Okay, mom. So I was 4 or 5 days late, and then a few years later, you gave birth to Jesse, my brother. But I know that was a different experience. can you just give us a brief overview of how those experiences were different?

Janet: Right. Let’s see. Well, I don’t know if we had the due date wrong, but it was he was due in October, early October, and I went into labor early September.

Janet: So that was a bit worrisome. We got there, and he was born. He was tiny, but I remember Grammy saying that he really wasn’t premature, but he was a little immature. So, we may have been off by a couple weeks maybe or something because he was pretty small. He was like five pounds, 12 ounces or something. He was he was a little guy.

Janet: They called him the peanut at the place. And he also was jaundiced, so I don’t know what they do with jaundiced babies now, but I had to take him to the hospital. He had to be under the bilirubin lights, and I had to leave him there for a few days and try to go back and breastfeed when I could, but I still had you at home and dad was working. So it was kind of stressful.

Shanna: Yeah.

Janet: And I apparently got some sort of infection because I was bleeding and feverish and not feeling well, so I had gone to the doctor and they had to do a D&C on me.

Shanna: Why? Because there was tissue left inside?

Janet: There must have been tissue left in there. Yes. You know, I didn’t actually have an obstetrician when I had him. He was my general doctor who delivered rabies.

Shanna: Oh.

Janet: And I’m not really sure he knew what he was doing. That doesn’t sound right but I just wondered, honestly.

Shanna: Oh my gosh. That’s a lot to go through right after having a baby.

Janet:  I do remember asking my mom to come out, but she just couldn’t do it, and so Grammy came out to help out a little bit with that because it was a bit too much for me to take care of. So, that was that was a complication that we weren’t expecting.

Shanna: Yeah.

Janet: I still feel bad about leaving Jesse. I was only able to go up like twice a day because we had one car, and I had to drive in the morning and then come back, and then in the evening. And so, I felt like he probably felt abandoned. I don’t know what you did in those days. I don’t know what they do nowadays for that.

Shanna: I think nurses probably take good care of them.

Laura: Has he confronted you about this as an adult? Mom, you left me.

Janet: You know, it’s funny because your mother-in-law and I talked about this because I think she had a similar experience with, maybe Steve’s sister or something. and so, we had a discussion about did it affect their personality? Did it affect them? Because you never know, you know? We, of course, we have no way of knowing, but it’s just something you hate to do. But we had to do that.

Laura: Yeah. You were in an impossible situation. I mean, what are you supposed to do? Your child needs treatment in the hospital, but you have another child at home and you have one car. There’s not a lot you more you could have done. It sounds like you went above and beyond.

Janet: Well, we did what we had to do. So I think my kids turned out okay.

Laura: I think so too.

Janet: Yes. Absolutely.

Laura: I can verify this. Okay. So moving on from birth, Janet, I wanna know what was your favorite thing about being a mother of young kids?

Janet: Well, the first thing I wanna say is we spent a lot of time with bedtime reading and playing games, card games, Skip Bo, you name it. Honestly, those are the best times. That was fun and I just loved it, and it was a ritual that I really enjoyed, but as I thought about it some more, I just loved being a mom. I didn’t know much about kids, so I was super fascinated about how you could fall in love with this little human being so fast and how they transform from a helpless baby to this walking, talking person in such a short amount of time. I watched every little thing my kids did, and I was just I thought it was cool to watch them mimic try to mimic the sounds or watch your mouth and try to say the oohs and ahs that you were trying to teach them, and I just thought it was great. I innately understood the importance of my job to nurture and love them and that this was my gift to the world.

Shanna: Yeah. I always felt that.

Janet: Actually, this is gonna make me cry. It’s crazy.

Shanna: Aw.

Janet: It really is a gift to be a good mother because the world needs loved, good people out there, and I just really felt that really deep in my heart. I remember telling myself to constantly cherish this moment, cherish this moment.  I must have said it a million times. And the other side of that is the gift you got back with all the love that your children gave you. That’s a gift.

Shanna: Yeah. That is a really wonderful feeling.

Janet: Uh-huh.

Shanna: As I got older and understood more about parenting and everything, I look back with such awe on how you, as a young mom, just took on that role with such, I don’t know, warmth and intuition. And I feel like you always emphasize respecting us as people, even when we were little and emphasized the importance of listening to us. And I just love that you came to all of that on your own. I know you read some books and magazines and stuff, but nowadays, I feel like the Internet and Instagram are just filling our heads with all these messages, which is awesome because I think they’re important messages. But I always just feel like you just possessed that, and you passed that on to me, and I’m so grateful.

Janet: Thank you, Shanna. I love you so much.

Shanna: I love you too.

Janet: It was it wasn’t always easy. You know? And I don’t know if this is every parent, but do you when your baby’s born, do you expect them to look like you and act like you? Because I did. And so you were my exact opposite, blonde hair.

Janet: I had dark hair. I was shy, and you had this outgoing personality. You were just absolutely my opposite, but I just knew, I’m not gonna change her but embrace it, which wasn’t always easy because those traits in you were ones that I wished I had had, honestly.  And I wished I had been more brave as you were, and you just have to accept your children no matter what they are like and embrace it.

Shanna: Yes. Definitely. And I feel like you always gave me that message that you accepted me for who I was, and I knew that I was different from you and how you were and stuff, but it never made me feel bad. And I could be my wild crazy self, and it was all good.

Janet: Yes. Yes. That’s true.

Laura: Though, I do think you guys look alike. I mean, I see pictures of you, Janet, when you were a young mom, and I’m like, oh, that’s Shanna. You guys, to me, look like twins.

Janet: That it’s so crazy how that happens, isn’t it? = Because, honestly, if you saw a picture of me as a young girl, I should send you one, you would not even recognize me next to Shanna at all. At all.

Laura: Yeah.

Janet: Total opposite children, and it’s funny how when kids get older, they end up looking like more and more like you. Say with Ray, his little son was a spitting image of his mother, absolutely spinning image. It wasn’t till he was in his teens and he started growing into a man that it was like, oh, well, now that’s Ray.

Shanna: True. For listeners, Ray is my stepdad. Yeah. Pop-Pop. And that’s who she’s talking about.

Janet: Pop-Pop.

Shanna: The girls’ Pop-Pop. That is that is so interesting. Okay. Speaking of me being a little bit more out there as a kid, do you have any funny memories or stories or anecdotes from when I was younger?

Janet: We lived in Texas for a short amount of time, like 15 months. We had moved from Springfield, Illinois to Phoenix, and then the 80s hit, and the economy just kind of tanked. Dad was losing his job, and my sister and her husband were living in Odessa, or they were in Midland, Texas. So we kinda got talked into moving there. So, here I am with a 3-year-old and a 3-month-old, packing up a house and moving. Two states over.

Shanna: Oh my gosh.

Janet: So that was that was trying. And also, I remember when we moved there, I also got a terrible sinus infection and I was sick and we got there. We had bought a house ahead of time and it wasn’t ready, so we had to move into a rental. And we just put the Christmas tree up because it was around Christmas time and they called and said, oh, the house is ready. So we literally had to take everything down and move. And I wonder why I had trouble breastfeeding him. So, anyway, our next door neighbors were Hispanic, a very nice family.

Janet: They had a little boy just about a year and a half older than you and a baby, and they had pretty heavy Spanish accent and so did the little boy, and so when you would go over and play with him, you would come home with this accent. You were about three and a half, which was funny. I can always tell where you were and because then across the street, we had some neighbors who had two little girls, one your age and one was a little bit younger, and they had a heavy Texas accent, kind of a drawl. So you would come home from her house and be talking like them. but that’s one thing I remember in Texas.

Shanna: Oh my gosh.

Laura: Shanna, you were doing your very first accent work.

Shanna: Yes. An actor prepares at three years old.

Laura: Apparently, little kids are starting to speak in Australian accents now because Bluey is so popular. Have you heard about this?

Janet: Oh, they do pick it up so quickly when they’re that young.  It’s amazing.

Laura: Shanna was a vanguard.

Shanna: Yeah. Yes. Ahead of my time.

Janet: But one other thing I remember about Texas was, you had spent the day or afternoon over your aunt’s house, and I guess she wanted to call me. And so I don’t know if you dialed the number or she did, but Deb said, you kept saying, Mama, why are you speaking Spanish? Mama, why are you speaking Spanish? Apparently, you dialed the wrong number, but I thought that was kinda cute. Just some little things from that time that I recall. You were full of energy and a very active child, loved to run, loved to you had your Hot Wheels and rode it up and down the street and as fast as you could, and it was fun. It was fun times.

Laura: Okay, Shanna. I am loving this interview, but I do think we need to take a quick break and come back with more questions after the break. What do you think?

Shanna: Let’s do it.


Shanna: We are back, and we’ve got some more questions for my mom.

Laura: Okay, Janet. What do you remember as being one of the more challenging things about being a mom?

Janet: Well, my first challenge was breastfeeding. I had a horrible time with it. I didn’t have any support. I was afraid to admit that I was having trouble. So I didn’t even tell Grammy.  I dried up pretty quickly.

Janet: I thought I breastfed for 6 months, but Shanna, you corrected me that in the baby book it said three. So I did worse than I thought.

Shanna: I keep creeping up my breastfeeding months with my kids too. I’m like, I breastfed CeCe for 9 months. And I’m like, no. I think it was 6. So we all do it.

Laura: All of our listeners are like, I have notes, and you did that.

Janet: Exactly. You know, I kinda felt like a failure, obviously. You know, you don’t want to admit it, but you don’t want your kid to starve to death, so you just have to do what you have to do, but I kept telling myself, well, at least she got the good stuff, the colostrum and all of that good stuff that during those first weeks or first few days. You didn’t hurt. You were fine. You turned out fine. You grew the way you were supposed to. But you are so hard on yourself.

Laura: Was there a lot of pressure back then to breastfeed? I feel like I know that there’s sort of waves of popularity, but it if you I thought that in the 70s, 80s, it was less of a like, there wasn’t this “breast is best” push as much.

Janet: It wasn’t. It was not pushed the way I think it is maybe nowadays. I don’t know if it is or not, but it really wasn’t pushed. But of course they kept telling you all the positives, and of course, I wanted to do everything right.

Laura: My question is, Shanna, did you know about this when you started having challenges with nursing Elle or was this news to you?

Shanna: No. No. This is the first time hearing of it, I think. I didn’t know. Runs in the family.

Janet: And I’m also small chested, so I always kinda blamed it on not having enough boob. So I’m sure that’s not true.

Shanna: You know, if there’s not awareness about any of that stuff back then, you just come to your own conclusions.

Janet: Like I said, you’re just so lucky you have all the resources Internet back then.

Laura: You had to have a brochure.

Shanna: Yeah. Go ask a librarian. Excuse me.

Janet: And let’s see. The other challenge, honestly, and don’t take this personally, Shanna, was your impulsiveness and your personality that threw me that I had to learn to deal with, which it wasn’t bad. You were amazing. You were. I was totally an introvert and I really loathed having attention put on me. So, we got a lot of that with you because you were just out there and just being yourself. My upbringing was we were always told to be quiet and people are looking at you and don’t do this and don’t do that, and so my urges to replicate that had to be pushed down and just, no, that’s not right, you know? And I was honestly kinda jealous of you for having that you having that personality I wished I had.

Shanna: But so much of my ability to express that side of myself was because you allowed it. You know, you pushed down the urges to create the prim and proper, in order, perfect children.  And that allowed me to be myself and stuff. So that’s a kudos to you for that for sure.

Janet: Yeah. And overall, you and Jesse were both pretty easy kids to raise in so many areas and you really didn’t give us much trouble at all.

Shanna: Nice.

Janet: I did use the time-out method for discipline and you guys hated time out, so it pretty much worked. You didn’t like to sit still, so putting you in a chair facing a wall was just not fun. So I was really glad that that that method came out, and I had learned about that.

Laura: That’s really good.

Shanna: Okay. So I have told a few throwback stories on the podcast about different times in my childhood. And I’m just wondering if there are any that you’ve listened to that you’re like, oh, yeah, I kinda remember that time, or I can give my take on that or my perspective?

Janet: Okay. I was thinking about this, and you talked about auditioning for the honors band and doing terrible at it. You know, you were so good at playing the flute, and you were good at everything you tried really, and you were never one to worry or care about what other people thought of you. So, your reaction to that audition really threw me, and it did you too. I mean, this was, I think, a first that I could recall.

Shanna: Interesting.

Janet: So, I think it was probably one of your first real life disappointments and self-doubts probably that you ever really experienced. And you said I handled it well, and I don’t exactly remember what I did, but you know what’s interesting? What popped up on my Facebook this morning was a Dr. Becky, who you talk about all the time, an interview with her, and it was divine timing or something, but she talked about how it’s wrong for parents to want their children to be happy all the time because it glosses over their feelings of insecurities and anger because that’s not that’s not good for them. They need to learn that there are other things that pop up and that it’s okay to have those emotions and feel that way and to accept them and to kind of learn from them, and so looking back, I don’t know if there was something different I should have done, not only that time, but many times, because I think we all do that. We don’t want our kids to be unhappy, so we wanna fix it right away.

Shanna: Oh, yeah.

Janet: That it’s okay to let you work through it yourself sometimes.

Shanna: My recollection of that is that there was kind of this allowance of those feelings and that disappointment and the upset and stuff, and I think that was good. It was a definitely a learning experience for me to have such a huge failure.

Janet:  And I remember talking to your dad oftentimes saying everything goes so smoothly for you guys. I’m just afraid one day when something really happens that you have to deal with it, you’re not gonna know how to do it. But you don’t wanna cause situations so your kids can learn.

Shanna: You actually stuffed my flute with tissue so it would sound like crap so I could have a disappointment.

Janet: Exactly.

Shanna: The truth comes out!

Shanna: I know. It’s hard. It’s hard to see our kids struggle for sure.

Janet: And then the other one was the Kirby vacuum cleaner story.

Shanna: Oh, gosh. I would love to hear what you remember about that.

Janet: Well, for your listeners, Shanna got a job selling Kirby vacuum cleaners when you were what, 17? I don’t even know. I was so proud that you even were trying that. That just sounds like the worst job for me ever. And it was so funny watching you practice your little pitch, but you were so good. You were so good at it.

Shanna: I had to do a demonstration and put the vacuum together and show how it cleaned up and the whole thing. Yeah. I remember loving the performance of it.

Janet: You really were a performer, always. You loved having the attention. But what made me even prouder was when you had the guts to go in there and give your manager your two cents for not paying you. Wow. Like that’s good.

Shanna: I’m glad you took a positive feeling on that.

Janet: Well, my thought was this girl’s gonna do okay out in the world because she stands up for herself. And that’s something I was always afraid to do.

Laura: To be honest, I’m ready to buy a Kirby vacuum at this point, just having heard all the stories. I hear they’re actually good. Right, Shanna?

Shanna: The amount of dead skin cells that sucks out of your mattress is amazing.

Janet: That was such a disgusting fact to find out how many dead skin cells.

Laura: I know.

Shanna: It’s stayed with me all these years.

Laura: It’s probably not just dead skin cells, Shanna. It’s probably also mites. You know? Give them some credit.

Janet: Oh, yeah. They’re dust mites.

Laura: Definitely bugs too.

Shanna: This makes me wanna curl up and go to sleep.

Janet: Blech.

Laura: Oh my gosh. Okay, Janet. I have one more question for you, which is the same question we asked my mom, which is, do you have any advice for our listeners who may be pregnant or a new parent or just thinking about having kids? Or maybe they have kids who are really old and they still need advice about being a mom?

Janet: So for pregnant mothers, this is easier said than done, but try not to worry. Nature will take its course and everything will turn out the way it’s supposed to, and just try to enjoy it as best as you can. To me, it was a wonderful experience. I know it isn’t for everyone. And never stop saying and showing your kids that you love them.

Shanna: It’s true. I still love hearing it and getting texts with I love you in hearts. I love it.

Janet: You know, no matter how many times you say it or do it, it’s like your kids always wanna hear it, especially when they’re little. And then accept and embrace your children for who they are, which we’ve talked about, and show no favoritism if you can. No two children are gonna be the same. Don’t expect them to be, and don’t expect them to be perfect, and don’t expect yourself to be perfect because we have all made mistakes, and admit when you’re wrong. It’s good for your children to realize, well gee, mom made a mistake, and she’s saying that. So, I guess it’s okay. Things turn out okay if you do. It isn’t it a bad thing.

Shanna: Well, I love all of that, and I just love that you came on our show. Thank you so much. You are an amazing person, a wonderful mom, and I’m so glad our listeners get to hear your voice finally.

Janet: Yay. Thank you for having me. It’s been fun.

Laura: We loved having you, Janet, and you’re welcome back anytime. So now that you’ve come on the show, you could be a regular guest as far as we’re concerned. We love talking to you.

Janet: Nice. Well, thanks.

Laura: And also, I wanna thank you, Janet, for raising such a wonderful person. Shanna is one of the best people I know. Now I’m getting choked up. Why am I getting choked up? I think you’ve done such a great job as a mom, and you should know it.

Janet: Thank you. Thank you so much.

Laura: I’ll start crying now.

Janet: You know, the few times Shanna has said stuff about me on the show, I’m driving to work crying, honestly. It’s nice to hear that. It really is. Because usually kids don’t pay much attention to what their parents do, but it’s nice to know that they appreciate it.

Shanna: I need to make sure my girls start a podcast one day about parenting so I can keep them saying nice things about me.

Laura: Yes. That’s the takeaway here.

Janet: Or write a book all about you.

Shanna: There you go. Yes. Memoir. Alright, mom. Well, I love you, and I will talk to you soon. Laura, I think we should move on to our next segment.

Laura: Yes. We should.


Laura: Okay. We close every episode with a big fat positive or a big fat negative. and Shanna, I really wanna know. What is your 300th BFP or BFN?

Shanna: It’s a BFP. And it is a project that Elle was assigned at school. All the second graders were assigned to this project called Lend a Hand, and it was a multi week project. They came home with a packet, walking them through every step of the project. And we started this several weeks ago. The first step was brainstorm ideas of how you might be able to help in your community or in the world.

Shanna: It was all about having the kids think about ways that they can lend a hand to a cause greater than themselves. So I was like, that’s really cool. So we did a lot of brainstorming, and she decided she wanted to help cats and dogs in need, that don’t have homes. You know, we recently adopted Jasmine, so I think little animals were on her mind. And she decided that she was going to collect donations for the animal shelter near our house. So for weeks, we prepared every step of the project. She had to email family members asking for donations. So she wrote her own little email at my computer, and every word was like a different color of the rainbow.

Shanna: It was really cute to see her write an email, and she collected some money. And then we went to Target and bought a bunch of pet supplies. And it was really cute because Cece really wanted to be involved too. So the three of us went shopping, and we bought cat treats and wet food and dry food and all kinds of stuff for animals. And then at home, she collected old towels and blankets that we had around the house. And so this weekend, we met the culmination of this project, which was to go to the animal shelter and drop off the supplies and see some little cats and dogs and pet them and give them some love and some company.

Laura: Aw, this is amazing. And I love that she spearheaded this all on her own. Did they like going to the shelter?

Shanna: They did. When we went in, there was a little puppy, a bull mastiff puppy, in a cage kind of right out front. I think it was the mascot of the shelter that day. I’m not sure why it was up front, but it was so cute. And one of the workers was like, oh, girls, do you wanna see and hold a puppy? And oh, my word. They were in love with this dog.

Shanna: They were both holding it and petting it and so was sweet. And they were begging for this dog to take it home, of course. I’m like, I’m so sorry, but that’s not on the agenda. We’re here to give it love. And then the cats’ room, they really liked the cats ‘room. We went through and looked at all the kitties. And then we went back to the dog area. I thought maybe they could say hi to some little dogs, but they were terrified of that area because the first part of it is all of the really large dogs, and they start barking when you walk into their area.

Shanna: And so it was 100 big dogs all barking at them at once, and they were kinda scared of that. But yeah, overall, it was it was great, and they dropped off their donations. And then Elle made a PowerPoint presentation for her class to talk about her project.

Laura: Baby’s first deck. Oh my goodness.

Shanna: Baby’s first deck. So cute watching her pick the fancy font that she liked and search for pictures of cats and dogs to put on there and stuff, and it was just such a fun, cool project. And to see her stick with something for several weeks and then finish it up was great.

Laura: You know, this is so relatable to me. I’m not sure if it’s relatable to you because not everyone had a dad who was on the bleeding edge of technology like my dad was because my dad was always getting the newest computer and all this. He was very into it. And I remember when I was, I wanna say six or something, having to do a presentation and using I think it was Corel WordPerfect on, like and this would have been 1988.  Super, super early word processing, but the joy of picking a fancy font. You know?

Shanna: Oh, yeah. That is relatable to me because when we got a computer when I was young, my favorite thing to do was to print out banners with the dot matrix printer with the papers connected and pick out fancy fonts and little clip art and then color it in. It’s like happy birthday. I loved that.

Laura: So fun. Yes. Well, that’s very exciting, and you guys did a good thing.

Shanna: We did, and she felt really good about it. So that’s my BFP. What do you have for us this week?

Laura: I also have a BFP. Yay. I was just gonna be super predictable and say it was us. We’re doing our 300th episode, but I talked about that in the check ins so I’m pivoting to a more typical BFP, which is that this week, I got to go on my very first field trip with Sebastian. And we went to Kids Space Museum, which we have memberships too.

Laura: We’ve been to it a bunch, but we haven’t found our way there recently, partially because it’s hard to go if it’s just one parent because both kids just wanna go to different places and it’s with my family, we need two adults for two children at a place like that. So we haven’t gone as much lately, but we are familiar with it. So it didn’t feel like this big new adventure. But what was so nice about it and what makes it my BFP is that it was just me and Sebastian, and it is so rare that we get to do stuff, just the two of us go on little adventures. The little IKEA trip was kind of a microcosm of that. We got to go on our little IKEA trip just us. But it feels weird sometimes. I feel like if both kids were home and available, if I took one of them to a kids museum, Without the other, there’d be hell to pay.  But because it’s a school field trip, it there’s no choice. Siblings were not invited.

Shanna: Right.

Laura: So I got to spend some really focused one-on-one time with Sebastian, and it was so fun and so sweet and reminded me that I need to do more of that. I actually talked to Auggie about it afterwards and was like we need to find time to do one-on-one little adventures with each of the boys because Auggie got so much of that because he was the first kid, And Sebastian, I think, hasn’t gotten as much. So I really enjoyed it. It was very fun to be there with all his little classmates. I mean, his classroom is aged 2 to 4, so they’re just little dudes. You know, they’re just little kiddos, and they’re so cute. And it was just very, very fun. So we had a good time at Kidspace, and that’s it.

Shanna: So cute. It is really hard to get that one-on-one time with the second child. I’ve encountered this too, and it reminds me of when Cece turned 3, she wasn’t in preschool or anything yet. And Elle was off to school. And I was like, hey. Let me take you to the zoo for your birthday. And it was mind blowing, right, to do such a big activity alone with your younger child. It’s like, oh my gosh. I love it. It was so wonderful. So I’m really glad you got that opportunity. You didn’t have to supervise other kids? Were you a chaperone or did all parents get to go?

Laura: No. Because it’s preschool. It was one-on-one.

Shanna: Okay.

Laura: It was basically a parent outing.

Shanna: Oh, okay.

Laura: Quote, unquote field trip. But yeah.

Shanna: Did you drive him there, or did they ride a bus?

Laura: Oh, no. No. No. I drove him. We drove him there. We were all responsible for getting there by ourselves. It was cute. I will say that there was a contingent of parents who were not pleased with this plan because they’re like, I don’t wanna take a day off work to do this. What the heck? We need the childcare, and I totally get that. And I felt that way a little bit too, but my schedule is more flexible, so I sucked it up and ended up having a nice time. But

Shanna: That is tricky.

Laura: It’s like you pay for child care, and then, whoops, well, the classroom is closed. So you either have to come to Kidspace or not or have your kid home with you.

Shanna: That’s challenging for sure. But I’m glad you had a good time. That sounds really fun. It’s so fun to connect with your little one.

Laura: It was fun. But that’s about it for me. I feel like it’s time to wrap up this 300th episode.

Shanna: Let’s do it. Listeners, if you have any thoughts, feedback or comments about the show that you would like to share with us, you know we would love to hear from you. Laura, where can everyone find us?

Laura: We are on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook at bfbodcast. We have a website, bigfatpositivepodcast dot com. And if you want to send us an email, we would love it if you threw a voice memo in there because those are the best. Just send it to contact at bigbatpositivepodcast.com. And finally, if you wanna get some exclusive content from me and Shanna and you wanna join the coolest group of people on the Internet, just search Facebook for Big Fat Positive Community. It’s a private group, so you have to request to join, and you have to answer those two membership questions so we know you’re not a robot. But once you do that, you’ll be sent straight through to all the wonderful, supportive, amazing conversations in there.

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

Laura: Bye.