Happy (ahchoo) Thursday (sniff)!

Happy Thursday!

Yeah, whatever.

Where has High Heeled Mama been all week? Buried in a pile of Kleenex. I got the crud. The nasty, sinus pain, icky gross gunk flowing profusely from my nose, achy, scratchy throat, bleck. It came on fast – sore throat Monday – and by Tuesday I was laid out on the sofa. I realized today it was bad when the hubby told me I actually looked a lot better. After he went to work and I took a look in the mirror I was horrified. If this is better, ugh, I hate to think what I was looking like two days ago. Sorry, honey.

So, today is a happy day because I actually put on jeans instead of pajama pants. I actually went to Music Class with poor peanut (whose mantra Tuesday and Wednesday was “mommy can sit up now?”). And even made it to the grocery store (because I’ve blown through (pun very much intended) three boxes of Kleenex already and needed more).

It’s a happy day because it’s hopefully on its way out of my system and one day I may actually be able to breathe out of both nostrils…at the SAME time. What a concept.

And it’s truly a very happy day because back in the Triangle, my brand new nephew should be coming home from the hospital with his happy mama, daddy and big sister. Congrats again, guys! He’s a cutie.

Really, that’s all I got. The sad fact is, I blew through a handful of tissues just trying to type this and my leftover birthday cake is gone so I don’t even have chocolate to make me feel better anymore. *sigh* *cough* *sniff* *sniff*

But it’s Thursday. The sun is shining. Peanut’s still napping. It could be worse.


Growing Pains

Being a mom is all about on the job training. Sure, you can attend some breast feeding classes, learn infant CPR and the proper diapering techniques before your baby arrives. But the day-to-day stuff of survival? You gotta learn as you go.

And you have to be hyper-aware to see all the signs. Baby’s cranky. Experience tells me I can be cranky for a myriad of reasons ranging from not enough caffeine to a rude check-out lady at the grocery store. But a baby? Only a handful of culprits: hunger, environment, sleepy? Toddler’s throwing toys across the room. He’s just being spiteful? Tempting, but more likely I was on the phone/sorting laundry/preparing dinner too long and need to sit down and work on that puzzle/building/coloring book for a bit to restore the balance.

Overall, I feel like I’ve learned a lot about this parenting gig from peanut. He lets me know through his words, actions and attitudes how I am doing at any given moment. Even when I’ve let it get out of control, I know I can restore order with a quick disciplinary timeout and reset the course of the day through my own actions and behavior. I’ve taken a lot of my cues from him about when to ditch the high chair for the booster, the sippy cups for the regular cups (dinner only, apparently) and a moderate interest in potty use (before bath only, apparently).

So, after Christmas, I had gotten it into my head that he was ready for a big boy bed. We talked about it. He sounded excited. We worked up to it for a week. We took off the rail. We had success for nearly two weeks. And then, it all fell apart.

Getting up constantly was a new game. He giggled. He taunted. He threw his toys down the hall. One at a time. I rallied. I researched. I implemented the back in bed technique over and over and over again at least 100 times in two hours at nap time and again at bed time. I removed everything from his room. I cried. I pulled my hair. I fell over exhausted when he’d finally fall asleep. I’d groan at 5am when was bounding out of his room after only seven hours of his own sleep. We were all sleep deprived, irritable and spending our waking hours gearing up for the bed time struggle.

There was no improvement after six different bed time attempts.

We put the rail back on. He’s back in the crib. And after two nights in a row of good sleep for both peanut and myself, I finally have made peace with it.

I thought if I did, I’d be admitting that I was a bad mother. That I had made a bad decision for my child. That the naysayers in my life who’d told me it was too early would be right. Or that the champions in my life who said I was doing the right thing would think I was a failure and had given up too early. I didn’t want the implied “I told you sos” or the “tsks-tsks” of try again, try harder.

I finally realized that sometimes being a good mother means realizing you need to back track on a decision. I finally realized that success is often a gray area. We had success. He’s not afraid to sleep in a big boy bed and can physically sleep in it. The problem was his self-control when it came to staying in it. Our child has always been super active. We’ve joked since we brought him home that he has two speeds: full-steam ahead and off. The temptation of being able to get out and start the day was too much for him. He just HAD to! Rolling over and dosing off again wasn’t an option when there were books to be read and trains to be pulled and balls to be bounced.

When he started falling asleep in the car at 9:30 two mornings in a row, I knew we had to make a change. This wasn’t just about teaching him to stay in bed, this was making sure he had the rest he needs to learn, function and grow. Right now, that’s simply more important to me than being “right” or “winning.”

So, we’re putting the big boy bed on the back burner. We’ll wait a little bit longer and see what it’s like after we’ve passed the dreaded half-year mark. We’ll give him smaller challenges to teach self-control and responsibility to build him up for it again.

And I’ll take a few deep breaths and work on letting go of judging my own performance. Instead, I’ll take my cue from the extra snuggles, instead of struggles, we’re having before nap time again.

If I’ve learned anything since becoming a mom: Happy Baby = Happy Mommy.

Bag Lady

The days that run the smoothest at our house are the days when the dishwasher is actually not only full, loaded and has soap in it, but actually gets turned on; there are enough clean clothes that match each other that peanut and I don’t look like hobos or clown school rejects; and I’m armed with enough activities to keep us busy and happy.

The key to those three things: organization.

On a day to day basis, the hub of organization is ye old diaper bag. In my workaday world, the bag was key, too. As a commuter, I had to have a bag large enough for the occasional pair of extra shoes, the occasional lunch, the paper, a book and whatever work I took home. I had to have a bag that allowed easy access to the bus pass and Metro card. I had to have a bag with a central pocket for the Purell.

As a mom, I need a bag that holds a diaper, the wipes, a coloring book, consolidates the crayons, keeps the sippy cup upright and the snacks from spilling, and, of course, has a central pocket for the Purell. Ah, continuity.

The diaper bag I’m married to right now is one I bought with a gift card when I was pregnant. It was the bag I wanted to have that would make me feel more like me and less like a mom. I think it cost around $150 and since I’ve graduated from having to carry leaky bottles, burp cloths and an extra set of clothes, it’s become my go-to bag:

It’s the old workhorse of my mom day. It’s not as sassy as the bag I bought before my toddler-less anniversary. It’s not as liberating as my evening clutch on date night. It’s not even as sturdy as my professional life Coach bag (which, I’m hoping I can pull back into daily rotation soon – at least for shorter errands which require fewer entertainments to be carried along). But it’s pretty enough and shiny enough to make me feel a little more put together in the grocery store…even when I’m there in my sweat pants following a work out. Like this morning.

So…Amy Jo over at the Cheese Party tagged me in this fun bag-o-war game! Here are the rules:

1) Post a picture of whatever bag you are carrying as of late. No, you cannot go up to your closet and pull out that cute little purse you used back before you had kids. I want to know what you carried today.
2) I want to know how much it cost 🙂 And this is not to judge. This is for entertainment purposes only. So spill it. And if there is a story to go along with how you obtained it, I’d love to hear it.
3) Tag some chicks. And link back to her post so people know why the heck you’re showing everyone your diaper bag/non-diaper bag.

In that vein, I tag:

CDB over at Fingers and Paws. She’s a real life friend who recently started a great blog. She’s a fabulous writer with great insight and an adorable little one! Please check her out!

Self-Made Mom – Girl, I know you have some sassy bags! Maybe you can share the new red leather messenger you fessed up to?! Or offer some frugal new options? Spring time is a-coming…

Finally, Ilina at Dirt and Noise. Anybody who does a weekly post featuring a cocktail has to have a few cool bags in her closet.

Since I never know who to tag in these things, if I didn’t single you out and you want to play along – feel free!

Happy Friday.

Happy Thursday

Since taking the front rail off of the peanut’s crib to turn it into a big boy bed, our wake-ups have gotten earlier and earlier each day. The last two days he’s been up and wanting to play before 6am. This is NOT acceptable. Yesterday, I ran out to Target to buy a nightlight we could plug into a timer so we could use a visual cue for wake-up time. Fabulous. Feeling like a genius parent with an action plan. Pull it out last night and to my GREAT disappointment, the damn thing didn’t work. How is it that I got the defective night light?


And we were greeted by a very awake toddler at 5:45am as a reward.

So, I needed Happy Thursday to remind me of all the good while I struggle to stay awake despite the amount of caffeine I’ve ingested today. In no particular order, I am happy today because:

1. We had a great dinner at Flip last night to celebrate the hubby’s birthday. Peanut behaved fairly well and the food was excellent. I have to say, I was skeptical about the Krispy Kreme milk shake…but it was DELICIOUS! And we even saw “the man” there.

2. We are getting closer and closer every day to welcoming our newest nephew into the family. High Heeled Sister-In-Law is due any day and every time the phone rings, we are hoping for news that he’s getting ready to make an entrance. Imagine how disappointed I am when it’s the hubby’s health plan reminding me we can receive our prescriptions through the mail.

3. I ran into a friend at dinner last night who totally stroked my ego about this blog. Thanks again, A!

4. Peanut has the most ridiculous Flock of Seagulls cowlick today that I can’t help but smile every time I look at him.

5. Peanut ate something other than grilled cheese for lunch today. It’s all he wants to eat. Every. Day. He eats a variety at breakfast, a variety at dinner, but for some reason, lunch is his comfort zone. Today, I actually “made” lunch: sauteed some zucchini and mushrooms in garlic and tossed it with cheese ravioli and grated Parmesan cheese. Peanut and I both devoured it!

6. “Lost” is on the DVR and primed for viewing this evening. (Yes, we chose UNC basketball over the premier – I’m assuming regardless of whatever secrets were revealed last night they’re still “lost,” so I couldn’t have missed much!).

7. My emissions inspection took no time this morning. Whew! Nothing like trying to keep a toddler occupied while in a gas station waiting room the size of a postage stamp.

8. Just found out ANOTHER friend is preggo! CONGRATS!

Hope you all are enjoying your Thursday!

A New Day

DC sure knows how to put on pomp and circumstance. The architecture of the city was planned specifically to intimidate and impress leaders from other countries. It sure feels majestic when you click down busy streets in the shadows of the Capitol building, cut through the freshly mowed grass in Lafayette Park or pause for a motorcade on Connecticut Ave. It feels intimidating when you’re dwarfed by the columns and feel the cold, smooth, everlasting marble under your palms. It impresses when you realize you are one of many ghosts to pass through this place and that the ghosts of great men and women preceded you.

Today, the images from CNN of two miles of Mall lawn filled with a mass of humanity to witness the truly inspiring peaceful transfer of power caught in my throat. Regardless of your politics, inauguration day is a big deal. The fact that a new leader stands before his country to promise he will work hard at protecting our lives, our jobs, our families, our place in this world always gives me hope. Even when I have disagreed with the fundamental policies of the men to take that office, I have still watched with excitement and hope of what our country can achieve when I see them put their hand on the bible and swear to uphold the office of President.

Today I have hope. Today I have hope that one day a woman will stand in that place of honor. Today I have hope that my son will grow up in a strong country full of opportunity. Today I have hope…oh goodness. I’m starting to sound like “Red.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Jill Biden is rocking the inauguration with some sassy high-heeled boots and some knee showing. And Michelle is looking as fabulous as always and I can’t wait to stay glued to CNN and see what she’s wearing to the balls tonight. Some High Heeled Mamas in the White House – maybe one day we’ll see one actually behind the desk, but for now, for today, I’ll settle for the hope of a new day.

A Little Fun for Friday

I’ve mentioned peanut’s, um, appreciation (?) for Britney’s song “Womanizer.” Just this weekend, he announced out of thin air at the dinner table:

“I’m not a womanizer. I’m a big boy.”

Heaven help me.

Anyway, when I heard about this and finally saw it for myself, it was just too good not to share.

Happy Friday!

Happy Thursday

I’m playing along with Goddess in Progress’s Happy Thursday movement. I enjoyed my 30 Days of Thanks and think this could be a good way to keep the good vibes going…
So, today I am SO happy that we didn’t cancel our yard guys yet. We’re in the midst of hammering out the 2009 household budget. We’re looking at a variety of ways to trim the fat and save some additional dough while we’re in this volatile economic environment. You can’t be too prepared when you’re a one-income household, right?

Anyway, we had decided we’ll probably lose our yard guys. We hired them back when we first brought peanut home so that we could focus as much as possible on our new sleep-deprived routines. Now, it has started to feel like a luxury, something we should be able to handle on our own.

HOWEVER, we haven’t canceled them just yet and luckily they showed up today to clean out our gutters! Whew! I thought for sure we’d be up there this weekend doing it ourselves. What a pleasant surprise.

Oh Happy Day!

Parenting PSA

To say toddlers have obsessions or like repetition would be an understatement.

So you can understand that we spent nearly an hour reading E.V.E.R.Y Curious George story we own (and we own the collection). Peanut was entertained (oh how that silly monkey makes him laugh) and I came away with an important observation…

Maybe the man in the yellow hat shouldn’t leave such a curious monkey home alone so often?

I mean, really.

Mental Breathing Room

We took the front rail off of peanut’s crib on Friday so it’s now a daybed-type situation. We put up a small safety rail to facilitate the transition to his big boy bed and to keep our very active peanut from rolling out (peanut calls it his “little fence”).

Nighttime routines have been a breeze. No big change. He climbs in, doesn’t climb out, typical chattering before blessed quiet. No big deal.

Mornings, we’re up a little earlier simply because he can get out instead of us snoozing a few extra minutes while he was contained, but it’s not that much earlier, so I can’t really complain. And it’s pretty cute to hear the patter of little feet, door swinging open and a loud announcement of “I’m AWAKE!” Then he tears off down the hall to his toys in the den.

Nap time, however, has been a whole other can of worms. A can I am beginning to wonder why we opened. Saturday, our first attempt, took about an hour and a half of putting him back in the bed every few minutes. Sunday, daddy’s attempt (of course), took only about a half hour and one put back in the bed (why are they always better for daddy?!). Monday, back and forth, back and forth. Result? No nap.

Today I was determined we weren’t going to have a repeat of yesterday. If for no other reason, than the kid still needs a nap – he is not in the ready to give up his nap category yet. He was practically falling asleep at dinner last night and completely cranky for the whole of the afternoon/evening and I don’t have the stamina to do that two nights in a row.

I put him down, tucked him in, kiss, kiss, night, night. Told him big boys stay in their big boy beds. About 10 minutes after I put him down, he opened the door to his room. He caught sight of me down the hall. He quickly shut the door and apparently ran back into the bed throwing the covers over him. By the time I reached his room, it looked like he’d never gotten out – except for the giggling and guilty look. Then, about 10 minutes later, I heard one of his toys talking. Back in bed, toy removed from room. About 5 minutes later, another toy talking. Back in bed, toy removed from room. After an hour of back and forth, I sat outside his room, eyes pressed to the crack in the door so I could immediately go in and replace him in the bed when he hopped out. It took three more tries and he finally FINALLY fell asleep.

While I was watching him, though, I was in for quite a show. There was jumping, tucking in of the stuffed animals, throwing of the stuffed animals out of the bed, dancing, pants removal, socks removal, drumming, socks placed on hands, karate chops with accompanying “Hi-Yah!”, and then, after the final put back and tuck in, he lay there picking his nose for 10 minutes until he literally fell asleep with a finger in his nose.

Some things I didn’t need to know, you know?

It’s amazing to realize how much I mentally need his nap time. While I was sitting on the floor outside his room, I wasn’t really doing anything, but I was exhausted. As soon as he was asleep and I was free to do whatever I needed to, I was immediately energized – or at the very least, relaxed and clear-headed. As mom, we’re always on. Always moving. Always, always, always. Go, go, go.

It’s nice to have a moment, no matter how long or short, but a moment where you don’t have to worry, think, move, and, let’s be honest, check your blog reader and Facebook!

A girl’s gotta have an outlet.

Today’s Blog Brought to you by the Letter "R"

Thanks to the Goddess and my inability to focus on those pesky proactive tasks I promised myself I would tackle, enjoy and take satisfaction in this year therefore leading me to find ways to procrastinate, I bring you High Heeled Mama’s 10 favorite things that begin with the letter “R.”

Without further ado and in no particular order, I present High Heeled Mama’s radical rundown of random things that bring her rapture (oh, see what I did there!? This IS fun!):

Rhode Island
It’s true. The smallest state in the union is one of my favorite things. Partly because it is so small, partly because of its history, partly because it has so much ocean and water curling up at its feet, but mostly because it was the home of my grandma and grandpa.

My sister and I would spend a couple of weeks each summer at their house when we were kids and I miss it. I miss the carefree way we frittered away time in the water and the sun. I miss the nutter butters in the cookie jar and finding ways to sneak an extra one while Grandma wasn’t looking. I miss the shows my sister, cousin and I would put on. I miss the smell of the pond in my hair and the dead-to-the-world sleep that followed a full day in the water. I miss the feel of the nubby coverlet on the bed. I miss the coffee ice cream and how it was a daily staple of our diet while we were there. I miss (as crowded as it could be sometimes) sleeping with my sister. I miss random trips with Grandpa in the car, our legs sticking to the brown vinyl seats of his ancient Chevette, crunching on the hard peppermint candies he always kept in it.

Most of all, I miss my grandparents. I think they would have really enjoyed meeting peanut. I actually had a dream that they did. It was a dream filled with laughter. It is a dream that is so vivid, so realistic, I woke crying and months later it is still as fresh and real to me as our last visit to NC.

A good, creamy risotto. A glass of red wine. Mmmmmmmm.

I was a bookworm growing up, always with my nose in a book. Although real life (and, let’s face it, exhaustion) often gets in the way, I’m happiest when I’m devouring a book and have a stack to read following it on my bedside table. I love, love, love a good story, an elegant phrase, snappy dialogue. With my stay-at-home “salary,” I’ve had to give up my book store addiction and have rediscovered the joy of the library. You never know what you are going to come away with. Since the new releases are hard to come by, I have been using my library card to check out writers I may have been reluctant to drop $20 on, rediscover a few classics (both books I read in high school because I had to and want to see if I enjoy any better as an adult and a few of those classics I should have had to read in high school but managed to avoid), and just pick up a random book or two because I like the cover.

Robbins, Tim
One of my favorite actors of all time. He wins this honor for Bull Durham (shot in my home town) and Shawshank Redemption alone. Then there is Mystic River and creepy Arlington Road. Add in his performance in High Fidelity and brief role in Anchorman and I’m in love. I actually saw him in person once – he passed me at the Reston Town Center. Just as handsome, and even taller, in person.

I really do love my family. My mom and my sister are my best friends. My dad is everything a dad should be: a confidant, protector, good hugger and extremely sentimental when it comes to his girls. My cousins are a diverse group, spread far and wide, but we always have a good time when we manage to get together (which is not nearly often enough). My aunts and uncles are a strange lot, indeed (I’m not telling them anything they don’t already know!), but I know they’ve got my back and I am honored and blessed to have them in my life. My in-laws are a crazy bunch (again, not telling them anything they don’t already know!), but they have given me another family to feel at home in (after all, I’m probably the craziest!).

I’m a Tar Heel through and through, so Rameses, and all that is connected to the University of North Carolina, is most certainly on my list of favorite things. I’ve written about it before, so I won’t bore you with the details of my love for this place…just know that it runs deep and it runs Carolina blue.

I love rocks – not in a geological sense, science is really lost on me in most of its forms, but in the physical sense. I love the sound of waves crashing on rocks. I love the feel of cool stones. I love to climb on them. I love the rivers they’ve carved into the hills and mountains of North Carolina and the white water I have been able to raft as a result. I love their risk and the safety they offer. I love that they have been here forever, that they both shape and can be shaped. I love the sound they make when peanut plops stone after stone into the creek at Grandma and Grandpa’s house or here at the park across from our house. I love that peanut seems to be as enamored with them as his mama is.

Mama and peanut sharing a love of rocks and water during a Christmas hike.

Yellow roses, specifically. I know they are the symbol of friendship, but they are my favorites. My Meme (mem-A in the French Canadian tradition) died when I was in the first grade and my memories of her are hazy and disconnected. But I distinctly remember the roses that she grew that lined the back side of her house. My favorites were always the yellow varieties. They smelled the sweetest to me and stood out among the other red flowers. Rose bushes, specifically, always remind me of her. In fact, we have a random wild rose bush (perhaps a single mainstay from a decades old and forgotten garden?) that is growing in our front yard. It’s a single stalk, totally out of place with the other landscaping currently there and probably looks like a crazy weed from the street. But I can’t bear to part with it. It’s this random beauty that blooms a few buds for me every summer and reminds me of a woman I barely knew.

No, one of my favorite things is not this crazy computer slang I can’t figure out (I’m a Luddite at heart), but I do love laughing so hard I’m snorting, crying and rolling on the floor. Peanut has brought a lot of this crazy, belly laughing into our daily lives and I love him all the more for it. Laughter really is the best medicine for what ails you.

I just think this is a great word. There are just some words I inherently like because of the way they sound or what they mean or how they feel in a sentence. Words like delicious or euphoria or haphazard. Recalcitrant is just one of those big words that’s fun to use because it’s not a word that can come up too often…until you have a toddler and you witness firsthand the definition of recalcitrant about every 10 minutes: “having an obstinately uncooperative attitude toward authority or discipline.”

If you’d like to participate as well, leave a comment (make sure I have your email address or email me at highheeledmama at gmail dot com) with your favorite “R” and I’ll send you a randomly selected letter so you, too, can get in on the fun! It’s just that easy!