Monday, May 31, 2010

The Force is strong with this one...

Out tot has a ridiculous number of toys. It's probably not really that ridiculous when you take in to account variables such as first baby and (for one set of grandparents) first grandchild. Not to mention that we don't live very close to either set of grandparents which may inspire some increased gift giving which then encourages some very unhealthy competition amongst them. In any case, I am just saying - our living room looks like it's sponsored by Fisher Price and the kid is not wanting for much. Which is why it is funny that he still finds other things to play with. Like his dad's toys.

It really was only a matter of time before the two shortest people in the house formed a connection. Perhaps the tot is enjoying have a friend who also has little hair or an inability to speak in complete sentences. Husband thought this was endearing and was truly pleased to be raising a fellow fan for about 15 minutes. And then, some of Yoda's hair was ripped came off. We then spent a portion of the tot's nap time browsing Target and ToysRus to find more "age appropriate" Yoda toys. Luckily, the Force was with us.

The Jedi training has begun...

I have a feeling there will be a lot of hours spent watching Star Wars in my not-to-distant future.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hunger Strike

The tot is on a hunger strike in protest of the lack of progress on the oil spill. Or maybe it's in support of all of the starving children in third world countries. Or it could even be because there are no new Sesame Street episodes on. But I am sure there is a purpose behind his sudden refusal of all but a few foods. It couldn't just be that he is becoming a picky eater or going through some phase or developing yet another way to make me feel inadequate as a parent. Could it? 

He will eat the following foods: cheese, sweet potatoes, bananas, yogurt, raisins, mandarin oranges, eggs and bread. He has now refused: mixed vegetables, anything with chicken in it, beef, rice, pasta, green bean puree, pasta bites, pears, apples, pineapple, and sometimes strawberries and blueberries - depending on his mood. Oh and anything that takes me more than 15 minutes to make. I have poured over internet sites and cook books galore trying to come up with some new yummy baby recipes for veggies or meat that he might like. Nothing can frustrate faster than spending 1/2 an hour making something called "Groovy Grape Chicken" (it looked yummy, I swear!) only to have him spit it out and fling it on the floor. 

At yet another of our recent food standoffs at lunch time, he was spitting green beans every where and engaging in his new favorite past time: yelling at the top of his lungs (no, there is nothing wrong with him. He just likes to scream really loudly and laugh. Then wait for everything to get perfectly quiet and do it again. Joy.) So there we were, he in the high chair and I sitting across from him. Each sizing up our opponent. I attempted the "here, you practice feeding your self with the spoon" trick and was completely denied. This kid is getting crafty. Then he began squealing for more yogurt (of which there was none) and the squealing turned to whining which turned to fussing which actually turned to crying big giant tears. I was defeated. I sat with my head in my hands, closing my eyes, taking deep breaths and trying to count to ten. All of the sudden I hear this sound "snnnnfff, snnnffff" and I open my eyes. He is sitting across from me with his head on his hand, taking such deep breaths he is making a snorting noise! I couldn't help it - I started laughing. We called it a truce...until dinner time anyway. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Harder on me...

First it was nursing. Babies don't come in to the world knowing how to nurse (and neither do mommies) so we had to learn together and work through that first transition. Then it was learning to take a bottle so Daddy could help with feedings and bedtimes. Before I knew it, nursing led way to biting and we were transitioning to just bottles. Then came a sinus infection and some other health concerns that depleted my milk supply no matter how much I pumped. And so, we transitioned from all breast milk to mostly formula. Once we hit the 1 year milestone, it was another switch from formula to organic whole milk. Finally, we moved from bottles before naps and bedtime to sippy cups at meals. 

Our last bottle at bedtime was last week. I had agonized about the transition, even going so far as to attempt to bargain with my pediatrician to put off weaning a little longer. She assured me that it would be much harder to get away from the bottle if we waited too long. So we took it slow, gradually decreasing the bottle amount over the course of several days from 10 ounces all the way down to 4. The day we stopped the bottle had been stressful. There was a less than stellar nap coupled with a bumped nose to make me feel like maybe we should wait a little longer before making yet another change. But, I also knew that the next day, I would have another reason for keeping the bottle. And the day after that. So, I went through the bedtime routine, dreading the moment when the book was over and no bottle was offered. My husband came in to kiss our son good night and said "You're thinking about it more than he is." 

Ben laid his head on me and we rocked for a few minutes while he relaxed. I put him in the crib and crept downstairs, all the while waiting to hear fussing or crying that never came. The next night was the same. And the next and the next. Each time, I was holding my breath when the book ended and the music started. But, no protests ever came. In fact, there was never a reaction to indicate that he even realized what he was missing. But I missed it. The soft baby hair on my chin, the sucking sound that becomes rhythmic and eventually gives way to the deep, relaxed breathing. This last transition was the hardest one. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Quick Takes Friday

1) I should have posted sooner but was distracted by "The River Wild". I have never seen it before and it was so suspenseful that I had stick with it and see how it ended. I love Meryl Streep. Has she ever made a crappy movie? (That question was completely rhetorical - I have seen "She-Devil" but whatever, I still adore her.)

2) This weekend promises to be both hot and sunny. In addition to our regularly scheduled trek to the Farmer's Market, I am trying to think of fun outdoor activities to do with my tot. We will definitely be playing in the sand box and on the Little Tykes Slide he got for his birthday. I also plan to fill up his water table and give him some more random household objects to play in it with. I was debating a wading pool as well but am not sure it's worth the hassle/expense when we can go to the park and swim. We shall see what the husband's opinions are on the matter.

3) I have recently begun looking for other healthy ideas for toddler meals. I am tired of feeding Ben pasta bites and I am pretty sure he is equally tired of eating them. Unfortunately he goes through such ups and downs with what he will and will not eat, it feels like I don't want to put TOO much effort in to any one meal because he might turn his nose up at it. It seems so hard to find healthy, yummy, unprocessed meal ideas. I am going to have to consult the web on this one, I think. I welcome suggestions from any toddler moms out there.

4) I just finished another book "The Vanishing of Katharina Linden", and I really enjoyed it. I joined this site where I can rate the books I have read and see what my friends are reading. The other plus, aside from getting good recommendations on books, is that you can enter to win free books. I have already won twice (and I never win anything) so it must be pretty easy to win. This was one of the books I won. The other book I won was a children's book which I was especially pleased with because I got to share it with Ben.

5) We watched the season finale of Grey's Anatomy last night. I felt it was very suspenseful but not at all the "game changer" that the writers kept promising. My friends thought it was too violent for television. To be honest, I didn't really think about it at the time. But, looking back, I guess it was pretty violent. I wonder if I am becoming desensitized to violence? Must be all of that Sesame Street and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse that the tot watches!

6) I worked out every day this week. I don't know when the last time was that I was able to say that. I am very pleased and also hopeful that I am starting to build some momentum with the healthy eating and exercise. I think my primary goal is to lose a bunch of my baby weight so I can start thinking about packing it back on with another baby. Which seems sort of counterproductive, but it's really not. I also am really enjoying discovering new recipes for healthy meals and snacks.

7) My mother is coming to visit this weekend. Ben hasn't seen Grandma since his first birthday party. Which is somewhat disheartening given that my family is only a three hour drive from us whereas my in-laws live four states away and they were just here for a lengthy visit. I am going to try to avoid being passive aggressive about her lack of visits and just be glad that she's here. Wish me luck!

Enjoy more quick takes here. Happy Friday!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I wanna rock with you...

When our son was only a few months old, we started a nap and bedtime routine. It was recommended to us from all the books, websites, magazines, doctors, and parents that we read, browsed, talked to or heard from. Our routine is pretty basic. At bedtime it consists of a bath, book, bottle, bedtime prayers, some rocking and then bed. Our nap routine is a much briefer version with just a diaper change and some rocking. In both instances, we have limited our rocking to no more than three songs as this is typically enough time to help him relax. And as every sleep manual will tell you, it's best to put him down "snoozy but awake" so he learns to fall asleep on his own. Up until recently, by the second or third song, he was often close to or already asleep in my arms.

Perhaps it's a developmental stage, but this no longer happens. I don't know if it's stubbornness, an inability to get comfortable, or just a desire to go to sleep on his own, but often times at the end of our rocking, I put him in the crib wide awake. He doesn't fuss or complain and typically seems to go right to sleep, so I know I shouldn't complain. And if I am being honest, there were plenty of nap times or bed times prior to this recent development when I would watch his face in anticipation of those eyes closing so I could set him in the crib and get to the 1,000 other things I needed to be doing. But now, watching his eyelids close, hearing his breathing become slow and steady, and feeling his weight as his whole body relaxes is a rare occurrence. I would never have guessed how much I'd miss it.

Monday, May 17, 2010


At age 12, I had read all of the Judy Blume books, been to the "girls only" assembly, sat through the talk with my mother and endured countless stories from many of my friends about their experiences. I had seen the special episodes of the Cosby Show and Full House. I had watched after-school specials and read all sorts of articles in magazines like "YM". I couldn't wait until it was my turn. I had boxes of maxi pads and tampons ready to go and I waited expectantly for the arrival of my first menstrual cycle.

I have no idea, looking back, why I was so eager for this milestone to occur. Maybe it is like every other milestone when you are young and it feels like you can't reach them fast enough. Maybe it was because I wanted to be "one of the girls" sharing feminine products in the locker room and comparing monthly aches and pains. In any case, the irony is not lost on me that a few years down the road, I was positively thrilled to switch to a birth control pill that would all but eliminate my monthly discomfort. Say goodbye to tampons, panty liners, painful cramps, back aches, tearfulness, irritability, monstrous cravings for peanut butter M&M's and cookie dough? (okay, I still have those) SIGN ME UP! Unfortunately, when my husband and I wanted to start a family, I had to "get back in the game" so to speak and resume my regularly scheduled programming. But it wasn't so bad, and in the end I have a bouncing baby boy to show for it.

Which brings me to my recent menstrual drama discovery. Obviously, while I was pregnant, I was without the frequent visits of "Aunt Flo" (hasn't anyone ever told that lady that visitors start to stink after 3 days??! Why doesn't she leave?!). Happily, I also found out after I had my son that no period is often a side benefit of breast feeding. Fine with me! To add to my joy, my OBGYN also prescribed me birth control that she said was likely to keep me from having any period at all. Joy, Joy, Joy!

So, when I stopped nursing and pumping back in January and my period did not return, I was not alarmed, I was thrilled. I continued to go on about my merry life and my Tampax box continued to gather dust in the corner. Huzzah! But then in April something awful happened. It had been so long, it took me a couple of days to recognize what was happening but then I realized exactly what that familiar twinge was. Cramps. The dreaded predecessor of all things menstrual. Drat. Sure enough, my period started again within a couple of days. Only, it's not really my period, it's someone else's. I think it might be my mother's (she's the only one know who used Super Absorbency Tampons. Until now).  My period used to be only a few days long. It started with cramps for the first day or two and then they went away. I rarely needed anything more than a regular absorbency tampon. It lasted four days, five tops. This is not that, this is different. It just stays and stays and stays and never lets up. I swear it lasts a week or more. The cramps are horrific - three Motrin don't even make a dent. And the idea of using regular absorbency tampons is just laughable. It's like my body is angry with me for trying to skip on out this process for so long and now it's paying me back.

Upon doing some internet research (ahhh, Google - you are my vice!), I have discovered that this kind of change is not unusual following a pregnancy. However, I feel in some way like I may have been tricked. I am almost certain that in all of the books about what to expect and how to care for your infant and what changes happen after giving birth, somewhere in there should have been some information about this. In bold print and underlined, preferably. Okay, maybe there was but it got lost in all of the bliss and excitement of pregnancy or the sleep-deprivation and anxiety of new motherhood. Not that it would have changed anything for me, but it would have been nice to have been more prepared. On second thought, maybe it's better not to know.

Friday, May 14, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday

I am totally borrowing this idea from several other bloggers because I love the format. I don't know if I will keep it up but I wanted to give it a try.

1) We were up early this morning and ready for the gym over an hour before the day care opened so I decided to be all laid-back casual and go for a walk in the neighborhood instead. Which would have been great had it not also been garbage day. "Look Ben, a Robin!" "Look Ben, someone's used sofa cushions!"

2) I have also realized while walking in our neighborhood that there is not a whole heck of a lot to look at other than the typical houses and cars that populate suburbia. I have been debating going to a local trail to walk instead. The drawback of the trail being that it is primarily one several mile long straight line so you can only walk so far before you have to turn around and go back the way you came. Unless you are a marathoner - which I am not. As a result of this lack of scenery, I have become fascinated with peering in other people's garages. I am always interested to see what people keep in their garages besides their cars. So far I have witnessed an amalgam of toddler ride-on toys, bikes, yard equipment, sporting goods, and my favorite so far - a giant road sign announcing some unknown area as "The Home of the Jaguars: 2002 State Tennis Champs".

3) Ben is loving the sippy cup with the straw. He now toddles everywhere with his milk. Including the carpeted living room. Which is a big no-no. Turns out that no matter what they promise on the outside of the package - all sippy cups leak. All of them. His current favorite is just a drip here and there but still - not what I want on the carpet. Worst of all, he knows this - he gets right to the edge of the kitchen tile, turns back to me and GRINS just as he walks over the boundary. I have a feeling I am in for some big trouble in the coming months years.

Also, just this minute, Ben got a hold of the Kleenex box from the table and emptied all of the Kleenex out. This isn't the first time he has managed this trick, but it IS the first time that he sat on the floor in his piles of Kleenex and pretended to blow his nose on them! I can't decide if it's cute or disgusting. Probably a little of both. Looks like maybe I can get rid of that nasty booger-sucker bulb sooner rather than later!

4) Because of his new proficiency with the sippy cup, we are already down to just the bedtime bottle and are getting ready to (sob) eliminate that one as well. Soon, my boy will be a cup-only kid. Which will lead to a shorter bedtime routine and longer play times for him as well as  one less thing for mommy and daddy to worry about. These are the things I tell myself when I get sad about not snuggling with the bottle before bed. It's not really helping.

5) Our first Farmer's Market of the season is tomorrow. I am very excited to go and try to get some fresh fruit and veggies. I also have a longer term goal of locating a supplier of grass-fed beef. I want to try to keep our tot away from the hormones and supplements in the grocery store stuff as much as possible. But it seems that most of the places I have found online are a good hour or more from here and I have yet to convince my husband that it's worth the cost and travel. I am hoping I will find a local farmer tomorrow or at least some information on how to track one down. For goodness sake, we live in the middle of farm country - I wouldn't think it would be that tough to locate.

6) I am debating On the one hand, I like the casualness of being able to join a mom's group/play group and only meet when I feel like it. On the other hand, something about getting together with a group of complete strangers and their children raises my social anxiety off the charts. But, we do need to find some things to do this summer and it would be nice to be able to have something fun planned every now and then without having to make it a regularly scheduled activity.... the jury is still out on this one, I think.

7) Only two more weeks until my husband is cleared by his surgeon to resume his usual manly household chores. This includes returning to the kitty litter cleaning (I have recently discovered that if that had been my task all this time, we would probably not be cat owners. I'm mean, I know) and the trash duties as well as taking over his share of bed time routines and diaper changes. It also means that he will be able to lift (and therefore take care of) Ben and so I will be scheduling a pedicure appointment and a hair appointment for myself. ASAP.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Read more quick takes here!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

These shoes are made for walking

Over the weekend we took Ben to buy his first real shoes. Not that he was shoeless before, but until now his shoes have been just an accessory. They had no practical purpose and were merely to complete an outfit. Now, he can walk and these are his first walking shoes. They measured his feet and explained that he would want a shoe with a softer sole. Unfortunately, they didn't have much as far as inventory (apparently we are between seasons or something?) but they had two pairs in his size. We went with the snazzy white leather velcro option though I really wanted these:

But, tragically, they were not to be had due to our "late in the season" shoe buying. Alas! He was thrilled with his new shoes. Until we put him down on the floor to walk around. Then...not so much. He continued to try to lift his legs like his feet were 1,000 lbs. At one point, he actually sat down on the floor and resumed crawling but dragging his feet in a seal-like impersonation. Finally, after a few hours of practice and still some stumbles over his suddenly huge feet, he was tromping along happily in his new shoes. Now when I go to put them on, he giggles in anticipation and is no longer agitated that his feet are encumbered.

I, on the other hand, am still adjusting. It's not just that he is now a quarter of an inch taller and can reach the top of the kitchen table now (though that is another annoying interesting byproduct of shoe wearing). It's that babies don't have to wear shoes. They can just be bare foot or wear socks everywhere and no one thinks to mind. Little boys, on the other hand, wear shoes. So that they can splash in puddles, jump in the mud, run really fast, and climb everything. On second thought, maybe this won't be so bad.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Not even a sometimes single mom...

This morning my husband and I got up at the same time after a very restless night with several disruptions from the tiny insomniac down the hall. I went to get the baby and change the diaper while he trudged downstairs. The day was gray, it was chilly, the tot was fussy and I was in a mood. When I got to the kitchen, I found that my husband had unloaded the dishwasher, poured my coffee and started preparing breakfast for the little guy. It was completely unexpected and indescribably appreciated.

Just a little bit ago, I had started writing this whole post about how it was to be a stay at home mom. How it gets so tiring during the day and all I want to do is hand my son off to his dad the minute he walks in the door so I can have five minutes to myself. And how now I can't because my husband is still recovering from surgery and so I need to continue in my role as primary care giver all the way until my tot's bedtime. But, as I was writing and reading back to myself, I became really annoyed with my own blather.  Mostly because I am writing this in a very quiet house during nap time after I have just had a quiet lunch and watched last night's "Nurse Jackie" uninterrupted. I know there are probably a lot of single and sometimes single moms out there who would probably want to punch me in the face after just reading that. Deservedly so. Admittedly, there are times that I feel like I am running in different directions trying to get the house in order, pay attention to the tot and also (on a rare occasion) take care of myself. But the reality is that I am just a big whiner. Other moms have it so much harder than I do.

A few months ago, I read this great article on cafemom about being a sometimes single mom  and I could feel myself nodding in agreement. There are plenty of days I feel like handing Ben off to my spouse like a relay baton and running for some peace and quiet. But I have one child. My husband isn't in the military, he doesn't travel much for work, and if he's not home by five it's typically cause for a missing persons report. Yes, it sucks that he can't help me right now and it sucks that I don't get my regularly scheduled decompressing time, but it's temporary. And it's not that bad. It's not that tough. A lot of moms are doing all of this stuff on their own some of or all of the time. Not just for six weeks. Not just from 7 until 5. So I will shut up now and count my blessings instead.

I am blessed that my son sleeps through the night (depending on your definition) and takes at least one decent nap every day (for now at least), I am blessed that my husband has a flexible work schedule so he can come home if I need him to, I am blessed that we have some time together after our son is in bed to whine laugh about our day to each other, I am blessed that I have time more days than not to get up and go to the gym, I am blessed that even though my husband cannot pick up our son (and it has been hard on all of us but probably on "the huz" the most) he still finds plenty of other ways to help me manage the heavy lifting. Yes, I am blessed.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day

Tomorrow is my second Mother's Day ever. Well, not ever. But as someone who is the recipient of gifts. My last Mother's Day (which was my first ever as a momma for those keeping track) was sort of anti-climactic. My husband took our son downstairs so I could sleep in (or so he said) but the new mother anxiety got to me and I couldn't go back to sleep so I went downstairs to see if I could lend him a hand. Thereby ruining his surprise breakfast in bed. Which resulted in his being frustrated and annoyed by my ever present need for control and my being disappointed with his lack of delivery which led to a lovely argument. Which I am sure was made ten times worse than it may normally have been due to the post-partum hormones on my part and sleep deprivation from both of us. Ahhhh, life with a newborn! There's just nothing else like it.

So, this year when he asked what I wanted, I decided to keep it simple. I want to go to church, have a nice brunch somewhere and play with our tot. That's it. That's all. I just want to enjoy being a mom on Mother's Day. I hope every mom out there gets their ideal Mother's Day, too.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Exactly what you ask for...

Aside from the fact that he is too cool to be rocked to sleep by his momma (sob) my son is a fairly solid sleeper at night. We have always had a struggle with naps (hence the name of this blog) but nights have gone easy most times. The rare occasion when we have a restless night throws me in to all sorts of anxiety, probably because it's so unusual. Also because I feel an immediate urge to go and check on the baby every time he cries (because isn't that what I am supposed to do?). My husband (a behaviorist) has explained to me countless times why this is counter productive. He is typically, most annoyingly, correct. What usually happens when our tot fusses and I run to check him is that he falls asleep almost immediately in my arms and then as soon as I put him back in the crib, he wakes up and cries. It doesn't matter how gently or quietly I put him down or for how long I rocked him previously - the kid has an abandonment sensor, I swear.

Then begins the battle of wills. I am sitting on my hands on our couch, or laying in bed pretending to sleep, fighting to keep from running to his room and rescuing him from his cruel, lonely prison. And my son is escalating as loudly as possible and throwing some hard core sobs in for good measure. I am embarrassed to say that I am no match for such a worthy opponent and am easily defeated. So, I trudge back to his room, hold him and rock him again. This can go on for hours resulting finally in my being too exhausted to keep up the game, my husband being highly annoyed with me for reinforcing him to begin with, and my son expressing his devastation at my ignoring his cries by increasing in volume and emphasis until he falls asleep. Which, in hindsight, is probably more cruel because I am sure it takes him a lot longer to settle that last time than it ever would if I didn't respond to him the first time. Hence my husband's annoyance and gloating.

So last night, when I put him to bed and he started to fuss fifteen minutes later, I felt a pit of dread in my stomach because I knew what was coming. I tried to wait it out, the whole time I was being devoured by guilt and thoughts like - "He needs you, you need to comfort him. He had a stuffy nose today, you can't abandon him when he's sick". Or maybe that was my argument to my husband... who can remember? In any case I was having a discussion about how "other mothers" surely don't have this struggle. "Other mothers can go up and check on their babies and soothe them back to sleep and carry on with their evenings without all of the drama! Why can't our baby let me do that?" I asked. My husband wanted to know who these "other mothers" were. I couldn't think of any at the top of my head, but I am sure there are lots.

I finally gave in and went to check on the baby (score one for him). He was pretty irate and I spent several minutes rocking him and calming him. But no matter what I did - patting, rubbing, bouncing, standing on my head, etc. I could not get him to settle down and go to sleep. I eventually had to give up and put him back in the crib, fighting back the tears because I knew what was to come. I tucked him in and went back to my husband with my tail between my legs because I had failed to get the baby to sleep and was expecting a full-on assault of screaming and tears at any moment. Just the thought had me in tears because I was such a bad mom who couldn't even rock the baby to sleep. My lucky husband spent several minutes reassuring me when I suddenly had a realization. I couldn't hear a thing. Not a peep. Not a whine. The baby was asleep!

I could not have been more relieved! I was the "other mothers". I had comforted my child back to sleep. Now admittedly, I would never in a million years be able to replicate such an amazing feat. And I am quiet sure that it had much more to do with a tired baby than an effective mother, but whatever - I'll take it!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mommy guilt

I could never have guessed when I first became a mother that all of the joy would come hand in hand with an awful lot of guilt. It is amazing to me how quickly I can go from feeling proud of my accomplishments as a parent and joy in my son's development to feeling terrible that I have not lived up to my own ideal of a "good" mom.

A good mom always comforts her child the minute he squeaks in his crib. A good mom rocks her child to sleep every night no matter how long it takes. A good mom nurses her child until well past their first birthday. A good mom doesn't feed her child processed baby food or pasta bites. She makes her baby home made purees and organic snacks. A good mom doesn't become irritated or short-tempered when her child fusses on and off all afternoon because she understands that he is little and just trying to communicate. A good mom keeps her cool when her son continues to disregard her repeated admonishments for flinging food from his tray. A good mom doesn't leave her crying child with other caregivers. A good mom makes sure her child gets both of his naps in his room in the crib, never in the car or stroller. A good mom always puts the computer or book down to play with her child when he needs her attention. A good mom uses her child's nap times to do productive things like cleaning her house or weeding her yard rather than catching up on her Tivo and blogging. A good mom always responds to her child's needs with patience, meets each day with joy and excitement (no matter how tired she is), and parents her children with confidence instead of Google.

I can't imagine why I always feel like I fall short...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I love all of the great things that come along with raising my son. I love that my boy gives kisses - big, open mouthed, drooly kisses with a "ahhhhhh" sound for effect. I love that he has learned to walk and is still trying to gain his balance so he wobbles about with both hands outstretched resembling an orangutan. I am thrilled that he has learned so many words and now says "thank you" "up" "yes" and sometimes, "kitty" (And don't think I haven't noticed that "mama" is still missing from his vocabulary). However, with every developmental accomplishment, there is a downside. this one comes in the form of wailing and tears the moment I have the audacity to leave his line of sight, unfortunately.

As a new mother (and former therapist), I was foolish and thought I could help our little guy acclimate to new situations and avoid the "separation anxiety" phase by getting out every day and exposing him to new things and all sorts of people. My reasoning was that separation anxiety was possibly a learned response brought on by a child who was rarely away from his mother suddenly being separated from her. So, I figured that by hiring baby sitters on occasion, taking my son to the day care at our gym, and leaving him in the nursery at church, he would gradually become used to other adults and not feel so anxious to be away from me. As the months went by and he seemed comfortable in various situations, I began to feel confident that this plan was a success and that we had avoided the horrible developmental pitfall that I had heard so much about. (Are any of you out there laughing at me yet? It's okay, I would laugh at me, too)

So, as you have probably guessed, I was somewhat shocked last week when my angelic and extremely adaptable child started voicing his displeasure at being left with unfamiliar adults. Suddenly the church nursery volunteers, the staff at the gym day care, and even his own dad were UNACCEPTABLE substitutes for yours truly. If I am being honest, I was a teeny bit flattered by this unadulterated devotion initially. But, then I tried to leave the room without him. And went from feeling the joy of being loved best to feeling the horrible guilt of inflicting pain on my child. Pain that he chooses to express with screaming, wailing, and enormous tears that usually results in the most heart rendering sobbing I have ever heard.

Now it feels like a punch in the gut every time I leave him with someone else or even in the living room alone for five minutes so I can go to the bathroom!(Side note: Nothing quite says motherhood like trying to pee with your toddler screaming at you from the next room.)It turns out that separation anxiety is just part of a developmental stage brought on by a child's increasing independence. When you think of it in that context it's actually a positive occurrence. It means that he is learning that he is independent of me and that he can do things on his own. From that perspective, I am pleased as punch that he learning this and has started down the path to independence but that's not always easy to remember when I am feeling like the worst mommy in the world because I dare to leave him with someone other than me. I just hope that this phase doesn't last too long. I also know that I can't wish it away too fast because there will be a time before long when I will wish he wanted to be with me instead of his friends, his teacher, his dad. And then I will have separation anxiety.