Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Small bump in the road

I keep thinking I wrote a post "just the other day" and then I go and look and see - nope, actually haven't written in almost a week. Sorry for my inconsistency. Life was easier when my main objective every day was getting to the gym before the nursery was full and getting the Tot down for his nap before he was too overtired to take one.

I have had things crammed in to every day this week to try to get up to speed on my new job and still get everyone else's needs met. I can definitely see how working mothers would feel like they were in constant demand trying to make everyone happy and in the end making no one happy, including themselves. I am already starting to feel that strain and I only work a measly 8 hours a week.

Today was one of those days where I tried to get a ton of stuff done and ended up heinously thwarted. It started out productive - went to the gym, got the Tot's hair cut, got the nap done, etc. But in the afternoon, when I had planned to go to my annual doctor appointment and to work to meet with some of my supervisory type people, things went horribly awry. A curb practically jumped out at me and hit my car. Or maybe I hit it. Who can say with all the excitement. Anyway, the point is - I ended up with both tires on the right side of the SUV being popped and both rims bent. Apparently tires are not nearly as big a deal as rims (as I would soon find out). So, I had to cancel my doctor's appointment (when I was a mere five minutes away!) to be rescheduled for sometime in November. I had to cancel my important, difficult to schedule meetings, and I had to wait half an hour in the heat for the tow truck.

My husband was actually very nice about the whole thing. I am glad I am married to him instead of to myself because I am sure if the roles were reversed, I would have been a big huge baby about it. As it was, I was having a hard time not being a complete brat about the whole cost, time, inconvenience of it all. Which is awful when you consider that it was completely my fault. (Mine and that awful vindictive curb, of course) . Oh yeah, did I mention we are supposed to leave in a few short days on a road trip to see his family in that very car? Oh yes, it's true. And we already have hotels booked along the way and EVERYTHING. In case you were thinking "So what, you are without a car for a few days. Big deal, Ms. Whiny!"

So now, the worst thing about this ordeal is that my feeling crunched before has turned in to feeling positively squeezed by my lack of time to get everything done before we go. I keep trying to keep it in perspective and remind myself that at least no one was hurt, at least the damage wasn't worse, at least my son wasn't in the car with me. I know it can always be worse and I should count my blessings. And I am. I truly am thanking God that all that we need are a couple of tires and maybe an alignment. I just wish this could have happened some other time. Like maybe when we weren't days away from vacation or days after starting a brand new job. Though I have to wonder - is there ever really a good time for this?

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Monster Within

I had this post half written about trying to balance a new job and a home and a toddler, but it's been one of those days where I feel like I am yelling more than speaking and the Tot and I are engaged in another battle of push/pull. Do the Terrible Two's start early? I have spent the day feeling terrible because nothing is going the way it's supposed to and my child is stretching my patience past the breaking point.

I don't even know how days like this start. All I know is I begin by trying to get this wiggly kid changed and dressed and myself showered and dressed so we can do whatever we need to get done and I end up screaming at the top of my lungs because he pushed the (full) diaper pail over or because he slammed the lid of the laptop down on my hand after I asked him repeatedly not to touch the computer. Which results in him crying and me instantly feeling like pond scum and sure that I am psychologically damaging my child or at the very least - hurting his feelings. I think I feel so terrible because I know that he isn't trying to be obstinate in most cases. He's just being a toddler and I am being a jerk. I wish I could have this rational thought process BEFORE I lose my cool and turn into a screaming nut case. Because yelling doesn't help anyone and we both just end up in tears.

I don't have any big conclusion I am working to here. I just wanted to vent about all of my imperfections. I keep praying for increased patience and, more importantly I guess, the ability to stay cool and act rather than always reacting to everything bad that happens.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Radio Silence

I feel like I have been hiding out lately but I don't mean to be. I want to say that I haven't blogged because I was doing something phenomenal like caring for orphans in the Sudan but the reality is just that I have been bogged down with life. We have had family staying at our house for the last few weeks and had event after event scheduled on the weekends.

The biggest change in our house is my changing status from stay at home mom to part-time employed mom. I had been looking for various ways to get involved in different projects in the community and this opportunity presented itself. It's a job that allows me to be more involved in my church, have a flexible schedule so that I can still be home with my tot every day, and assist in developing programs in the children's ministry. I have mixed feelings about the transition. On the one hand, I am very excited to have this opportunity and am brimming with ideas to implement. On the other, I feel somewhat guilty to no longer be a full-time stay at home mom. I worry that even though the schedule is flexible and the Tot will have some great one on one time with his dad, that he will still feel short changed in the long run that Mommy decided to go back to work.

I have read all of these different articles about how good it is for moms to have something outside of the home for themselves. The Husband assures me that I am doing no permanent damage and insists that it may actually be good for the Tot as he gets older to realize that Mommy has other responsibilities too and that it is good to be involved in something you care about. I hope he knows what he is talking about. I keep reminding myself that missing bedtime one night a week isn't the end of the world and also that nothing is set in stone. If I start to feel overwhelmed or that the Tot isn't getting what he needs, I can always quit, right?

The Tot is still my priority but this may be a good chance for us both to get some of our other needs met. And who knows, maybe by my not being here with him all day, every day, the Tot will have a chance to miss me and possibly even (dare I say it) ask for me? Thereby learning the one word that I have yet to be able to coax, bribe or force out of him - the ever elusive "Mama".

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Too much to say

I have been composing blog posts in my head but have recently run short on opportunities to clickety-clack them out on the laptop. This is partially because the Husband was home sick two days this week and today we had the Tot's check-up at the pediatrician. Now it is looking like tomorrow will be shot as well due to running to the pediatric optometrist (I hope that we walk out with nothing more serious than an eye patch which will then cause me to debate changing the Tot's Halloween costume from triceratops to pirate) and my own dermatologist appointment. I hope to actually post something real and relevant in the next day or two. In the meanwhile, I will entertain you with funny Tot stories that are not in anyway cohesive.
The Tot says a handful of words now and has progressed to phrases. His favorite is "I don't know" which is actually "I no-no" emphasized with arms outstretched and a head shake. He says this whenever you ask him where something is or any time you want him to demonstrate his exponentially increasing vocabulary and he doesn't feel like it. It's typically in front of strangers or vague acquaintances when this happens. Usually someone says "Is he talking much?" and I respond with "Oh sure! Say yellow!" and he looks at me with a head shake and says "I no-no?" as if I am completely making up these words and he has never ever uttered them before in his life.
The Tot has also learned to say "Hi" but he says it like a blond twenty something beach bunny. "Hiieeeee!" He even has a higher pitch when he says it. He particularly enjoys climbing on the couch and then popping up over the back shouting "Hiieeeeee!" to whomever is in the kitchen. His grin is infectious and it's is impossible to not say "Hi" back which, of course, continues to reinforce his game.
The Husband gave the Tot his bath last night. He has gotten in the habit of letting the Tot run naked from his room to the bathroom and from the bathroom back to his room. This makes me incredibly nervous but I have to admit that the Tot gets an immeasurable amount of glee from running around in the buff so I try to put my OCD aside and not butt in. But following his bath, somewhere en route from the bathroom to his room he was detoured by the playroom. I tried to call him back to his room just as he began to squat on the rug. The Husband appeared and I cautioned "I think he's about to go on the rug" to which he replied "No, he isn't" right as the Tot started to pee! Thankfully the Husband still had the bath towel in his hand and threw it down on the floor to protect the rug. The Tot continued to pee on the towel with a huge grin on his face, positively thrilled with his accomplishment of peeing outside of his diaper. I wanted to be mad but I ended up laughing. With my luck, that will probably result in future episodes of attempting to pee everywhere but the Pampers.

I am thinking of sending this to Huggies for a future ad campaign. Who wouldn't want this little guy as their spokesperson? Maybe he can even wow them by demonstrating his ability to pee standing up! Or maybe not.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Bigger Picture: Temper, Temper

I have always wanted to be a mother and it's a great gig. People often ask how I am doing now that I have left my job to stay home with our son and I always say "it's the hardest and best job I have ever had". I feel blessed to have the opportunity to share every day with my Tot and watch him grow. However, the "hardest and best" job seems to have recently gotten harder.

The Tot is growing and learning to do more and more all by himself. He loves climbing the stairs. He loves feeding himself. He is incredibly proud that he can get up on the couch all by himself. He is thrilled to "help" us by picking things up off the floor or carrying small objects to and fro. Unfortunately, there appears to be a strong discrepancy between what a toddler wants to do and what they are physically able to do. In those situations when the Tot can't make it on to the couch by himself or when his hands are only big enough to hold three plastic dinosaurs instead of four, heaven help us all. He makes his frustration known immediately and LOUDLY. 

Initially his temper tantrums were met with minimal sympathy from my husband and myself because they seemed to be in response to any attempt to modify his behavior. We quickly realized that while they do seem to appear very quickly after the word "No" is uttered from an adult, they are more a result of him expressing his frustration than an attempt at defiance. It appears that having limited verbal skills makes it difficult to make your anger and frustration known to others. Hence the flopping on the floor, flailing of arms and legs and wailing at the top of his lungs. 

It's when his display is a direct result of not getting his way or being allowed to do as he pleases that things get ugly. He has gone from a sweet and easily distractable baby to a very strong-willed and opinionated toddler. He wastes no time in letting us know when he feels we have wronged him in some way. This is when being the parent feels like the hardest job. His repeated attempts at delicate persuasion (by making our ear drums bleed) to get his way can be very wearing and - I am embarrassed to say - sometimes successful. Not to mention the guilt from refusing him and causing him to cry. No one wants to make their child unhappy, naturally. 

Needless to say, the last few weeks have been a bit of a struggle with some growing pains for both of us. Yesterday, at the gym, I was reading this book and in it the author described her daughter becoming agitated with some decision she had made and going to her room to vent about it privately. The author talked about how it's okay for kids to get angry with decisions they don't agree with and even to express it (in a respectful way). All of the sudden, the light bulb clicked on for me and I realized that we were in the same boat. Except that the Tot doesn't have the ability to go to his room and close the door and fuss. He only knows how to flop down and flail about. But, it's okay for him to get angry sometimes and it's really okay for him to express it and get it out. Likewise, we need to continue to make the decisions that are best for him whether or not he is always happy about it (odds are that he won't be). Hopefully by helping him cool down and showing empathy for his feelings, as he grows he will learn that it's okay to feel upset and it's okay to show it. 

For more bigger picture moments, click here!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


My birthday was last week. My last day of thirty. My first day of thirty-one. For some reason, thirty-one sounds a lot older to me. Maybe it's because I am no longer "turning thirty" but am now "in my thirties". I am not one of those people who gets hung up on age as a general rule. I have really always liked getting older. When I was five I wanted to be ten, when I was ten I wanted to be thirteen, when I was thirteen I couldn't wait to be sixteen and when I was sixteen I wanted to be the ever-desirable twenty one.

However, it seems that once you hit twenty one, every year after that is less exciting. Some would even say that it becomes more and more dreaded each year. I am not one of those people. I actually enjoyed turning thirty. There was something about being thirty that felt very mature and reassuring in some way. My college years were sometimes wild and crazy. My mid to late twenties were less than predictable what with moving several times and changing jobs and trying to start a life! So thirty felt like a safe and secure age. At thirty, I could take a breath. I was somebody's wife, somebody's mother. I had a relatively happy home and a place in this world.

So thirty-one has me at a bit of a loss. What does thirty-one have to offer me that thirty didn't? I am still someone's wife and someone's mother. I still have a relatively happy home and am mostly comfortable with my place in this world. I have had the wild and crazy birthdays and I have had the sentimental milestone birthdays. I have decided that thirty-one is the start of the quiet and relaxed birthdays. It's the "open a few presents, have a small cake and a quiet family dinner" kind of birthday. The "I am so grateful for this year" sort of birthday.

Don't get me wrong, I still celebrated. I enjoyed every minute of my birthday, but I have noticed as I have gotten older that I have less need for fireworks and a greater appreciation for peace. One some level, I feel like this must be a sign of maturity. Either that or I am just one step closer to sitting in a rocker on the porch hollering at the neighbor kids for making too much racket.