Wondering if I Should be Insulted

I’m in the midst of Camp Peanut over here. The one thing I’ve noticed since Peanut’s been out of school is that he does much better when he’s busy. The more outings, adventures, activities we have, the better behaved he is and the happier we all are.

The problem with this, is that I can hardly keep up. There are only so many at home activities I can brainstorm in a day after I’ve exhausted offering puzzles, games, Play-Doh, water paints, inflatable pools, stories… Most of the time my efforts are shot down with an “I want to play trains” or “I want to watch TV” (that one kills me a little more each time).
In order to diversify his interests, we’ve been taking advantage of all our Atlanta-area memberships. Last week, we hit up two different playgrounds, the pool, Fernbank, the Children’s Museum and Target (hey, it’s next to a busy train track so that totally counts as a field trip). The problem with this is I have completely succeeded in ruining Pumpkin’s nap time schedule. He doesn’t know when he needs to sleep or catches a nap in the car seat and as a result, spends much of his day overtired and cranky refusing crib naps when he most needs them. This week, as a result, I’m trying to slow the schedule down a bit and see if we can get Pumpkin back on the nap track.
Instead, I’ve been working really hard to keep Peanut occupied and interested in a variety of activities at home. But two days in a row now, Peanut has thrown an absolute fit. Why? Because he can’t go to his friends’ house. Yesterday, we had our normal workout and post-workout play date at the playground. As we were leaving, I had to drag Peanut away from D’s stroller. He wanted to go to D’s house desperately. I tried talking up all the fun things we could do at home. D’s mama tried boring him with the list of things she needed to do: grocery shopping, laundry, chores. Peanut replied he loved the grocery store and would help D with his chores (if only Peanut would do the ones I ask of him at home with such enthusiasm). Today, Peanut’s friend J was over for a play date. Peanut insisted he was going to go home with J. I told him that no, we had things we needed to do here and J and his mommy had things to do this afternoon, too. Again, another scene. This one complete with “It’s booooooring here.”
My kid is basically telling me I’m no fun. Great. Either I stink as a cruise director or his teenage years are really gonna kill me.
Either way, we’re in for another long afternoon.

Stealing Time

Life with two kids who don’t regularly nap/rest/calm down means I rarely have a moment to think in complete sentences not to mention spend it doing something that truly energizes or restores me. Sure, I can grab a quick peek at Twitter or maybe read a magazine article while nursing, but settle into a comfy chair with a cup of (decaf) coffee and a book or find a quiet space to work on that writing project? Eh, not so much.

Every once in awhile, though, you come across a gift of a moment. An unexpected place or time is suddenly opportunity for solitude.
Today? The doctor’s office. Who knew waiting to have a mole removed would be so restful? This is why I never travel anywhere without a book. While waiting in a quiet room, I was transported, absorbed in someone else’s words without the demand of a preschooler to help build the (fifth of the day) train track or the cry of an infant who desperately needs but adamantly refuses a nap or the pull of sleep when I finally crack the spine at bedtime.
Ah, a moment. A stolen moment just for me.
Although I could have used a more comfy chair.

Happy Father’s Day

I met the hubby when I was 15. He was 18. Oh, it was scandalous.

I had no idea then that he would be the amazing man, loving father and patient husband that he is today (let’s be honest, he was cute, he was funny, he was a senior and that was reason enough to date him). He’s probably going to be surprised to read this since I’ve been a total nitpicker lately.
Two kids has put much more of a strain on our marriage than one did. We were married eight years when Peanut entered our lives and I am thankful for every last one of those child-free years we spent together. We traveled. We went out. We took risks. We knew each other inside and out so that when those first sleep-deprived days descended and we both were acting like crazed new parent lunatics, we could slough it off knowing that the “real” person was underneath the hormones, the spit up and the puffy eyes.
Pumpkin’s arrival has been a whole different ball of wax. Nothing and everything changed. Peanut’s routines are still Peanut’s routines, we simply have a whole other human being to care for on top of it. I’ve been having a harder time adjusting to that than anyone else in the house and, unfortunately, the hubby gets the brunt of my frustration whether he deserves it at that moment or not.
Although this time around has been harder and more challenging, I wouldn’t trade a day of it (okay, maybe I’d trade my trip to the ER or Pumpkin’s milk allergy, but two days out of a couple of hundred isn’t bad). The hubby is an involved dad. He’s not afraid to take on the stinky diapers, the nighttime sleep training, the solo trips to Florida with a newly potty trained toddler. He’s in charge of bedtime every night. He’s even taken two kids to the grocery store while I was getting a massage. I don’t think that will ever happen again, but he did it. Voluntarily. Without complaint.
He’s a partner, not a babysitter. He’s involved in parenting decisions, reading as much parenting lit as I do, offering suggestions, trying techniques, providing perspective when I can’t see the forest for the trees. His priority each and every day is my and the boy’s happiness. He’s a patient, patient man and much more than I deserve.
I feel a lot of pressure to raise good men. Men who respect women. Men who make good choices. Men who contribute. Men who will make worthy partners in the future. Then I take a look at the man they see most often and relax. I could not have asked for a better man to be a role model for my boys.
For all this and much, much more, I am so thankful for him on this Father’s Day.
Happy Father’s Day, honey.

Zero, Zip, Zilch

I got nothing.

I just spent 45 minutes drafting a post that’s turning into some sort of self-flagellation at my inability to get my seven month old to nap and my three year old to stop hitting. I was beginning to bore myself.
Instead of that dribble, here I am, admitting that I’m stuck. Stuck in the parenting weeds. Mired down in the mundane. Running from task to task, feeling like no one is getting the best of me and so tired at the end of the day that I’m not even sure what the best of me is anymore.
So bear with me. I’m working on a few things, sorting a few things out, tapping into some creative resources that hopefully will remind me of, well, me. And then I can sit down here and string together some words that are more interesting than the wasted ones I spent the last 45 minutes typing.
I promise.

Same Shoes, Different Day

Last week, during a workout, a new mom was lamenting stiffness in her Achilles, complaining she could barely walk each morning when she first gets out of bed. Another mother of a newborn, joined in the conversation asking if she used to wear heels a lot for work.
“It really can take awhile for your legs to get used to flats.”
I chuckled.
Three years ago today I started writing in this little corner of the Internet. Peanut was nearly 10 months old. I was finally leaving that fog of infant upheaval and settling into a fairly predictable routine. As a result, I was finally realizing that I had really and truly left my job. Although I didn’t want to go back to my job, I started missing some of what it offered: intellectual challenge, adult conversation, personal success, and, you know, a daily excuse to wear fabulous shoes. This space became my place to explore those feelings and, maybe, just maybe, provide a little of that stimulation and camaraderie I was missing.
Three years later, I am so thankful for this space. Thankful for the venting it allows me to do; the opportunity it provides for me to take a step back and analyze a challenge I’m facing – whether that’s potty training or guilt about living far away from family; the conversations I’ve had as a result of a post. Three years later, however, I am still struggling with what I want to be when I grow up, how I’m going to on-ramp, and when my kids and I will be ready to take that route.
Three years later, my legs are certainly much more acclimated to flats than heels, but the mama? Although I may wear the heels only on the rare occasion now, I think it’s safe to say, I’m still just a high heeled girl adjusting to a life in flats.

Proving My Point

Pumpkin was sick yesterday. Throwing up repeatedly, not a happy camper sick. Come to find out, he’s probably allergic to milk-based formula.

This same thing happened once before when he was two months old, but the ER docs (yup, we ended up in the ER with a two month old who had gotten dehydrated from vomiting) thought it was most likely a virus, not related to the formula the hubby had given Pumpkin when I was late home from an errand. Thinking better safe than sorry, we haven’t given him formula since…until yesterday. I didn’t have any pumped milk to mix with his rice cereal. I figured I should give it a shot, those doctors all thought it was a coincidence anyway. It was only an ounce.
And then, about an hour and a half later, I realized I should have gone with my good old motherly instincts. Damn.
Luckily, the experience we had before gave me the confidence to deal with this incident with much more grace and calm than I did back in January. A call to the pediatrician’s office confirmed that it’s probably the formula and I was armed with the ‘call us back if X, Y and Z’ list. And by late afternoon, he was nursing again, his color was back and he was interested in the world beyond mama’s shoulder.
In the midst of the worst of it, I called my mom for comfort and reassurance.
“This mothering thing doesn’t get any easier, does it?” I asked her, after I calmed down.
“Nope. They get older and don’t have the same constant need that you’re dealing with, but one day, they have kids of their own and call you one morning because their baby’s sick.”
“Guess I just proved my own point, huh?”
“You got it.”
Thanks, mom.

Some Kind of Wonderful

Sometimes there is a light in our darkest moments.

Sometimes there are little miracles to the mundane.
Sometimes there is warmth and calm in a pair of sweet, rhythmic breaths.
Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of a pile of pillows, reading a story to a three year old big boy who only yesterday was the size of his baby brother you’re rocking in your arms.
Sometimes there is total joy in the weight of two sweaty heads against your side, contentment resting in their closed eye lids, a quiet in their sighs.
Sometimes there is a room still with sleep, the air heavy with the quiet.
Sometimes there is true beauty in a gift. Especially when that gift is a nap.