Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Falling off the bed is not the end of the world

Two things happen yesterday that I had feared for a long time: Jack fell off our bed while playing, and he stepped in dog poo in the back yard.
Ever since he's become mobile, it's given me gray hairs to watch him rough-house on our bed. He loves to do it, and he loves to watch me leap in a panic to keep him from tumbling off the side to his doom. Yesterday afternoon, we were playing on the bed, and Jack ended up lying precariously close to the end, as he loved on/harassed our dog who graciously puts up with his shenanigans. I thought, "Well, what if he did fall off?" It's about a two-foot drop to a carpeted floor. How bad could it be? So I left him there at the edge, and within seconds, he fell off. He bumped his head and cried, I comforted, and two minutes later he was sitting on the floor happily pulling all the kleenex out of its box.
Now for the dog poo: For months, I have obsessively rid the yard of poo each time we played in the back yard. Yesterday, I was tired, didn't feel like scooping poop and thought, "Well really, how big a deal is stepping in poo?" I mean, it's certainly something I experienced more than once as a child. That afternoon, Jack did step in poo. I picked him up and washed his feet of with hose... and that was that.
My point here is this: I spent an inordinate amount of energy thinking about and preventing these things that did not have dire consequences. Not only are these things not that bad, but they are learning experiences. What better way to teach you not to sit so close to the edge than to fall off? And if I'm spending energy worrying about such little things as these, well, you throw in all the big things (milestones, health, sleep habits) and no wonder I'm exhausted a lot of the time!
The thing is, I wasn't a worrier before Jack was born, but with his entrance into the world, my inner control freak blossomed. I'm starting to realize/remember that...
  1. Kids are VERY resilient. How else did the human race get this far?
  2. I am a much happier momma when I step back and stop trying to control everything Jack does and everything that happens to him.
  3. Kids are happier when they get to do some things on their own, even if that entails a little frustration, failure, dog poo or head bumps.
  4. It is not only okay for kids to experience adversity, it is good for them!
The funny thing is, these are things I have always believed. I worked in child care and taught elementary school before Jack was born, and I told many a parent these same things. It's interesting how different your perspective gets with your own children.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Best Intentions

Despite my best intentions, I am obviously not good at writing on a regular basis. As much as I keep promising myself I'll write at least once a week, I continue to not to it. I love to write, but there is always something to be done first - laundry, clean the kitchen, get on the treadmill, etc. The other thing I am not good at is writing when things are going well. I tend to use it to vent when the chips are down, so to speak, which means anyone reading my posts might think I'm a generally miserable person. But I'm babbling...
Jack is now 16 1/2 months old. He is cutting all four of his first molars at one time, which makes him a tad cranky. He's only been taking one nap these days, and it generally only lasts about an hour. It makes him REALLY cranky around 5:30, but he sleeps like a rock for 11-12 hours at night. I guess I'd rather have a good night sleeper than a good napper. It's just hard to get things done that have to be done during the day, like make doctor's appointments. Jack will be playing contentedly by himself, and I'll think, "I can make a quick call while he's occupied." As soon as I've dialed, he is crawling up my leg, intensely interested in what I'm doing and demanding the phone as only a pre-verbal toddler can.
All in all, I'm really enjoying Jack being this age. Young babies are precious, but it's so much fun to watch a toddler investigate his world and for us to be able to communicate so much more with each other. And the big sloppy kisses and hugs are just great. Sometimes he'll suddenly stop playing and come over to dive into my lap for a cuddle, and that's when I think being a mom is the greatest thing on earth.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Adventures in Leaving the House

Let me start by saying I am seriously PMS-ing. This explains my lack of ability to cope with what will seem like minor setbacks. Things started off all right this morning, with Jack waking at his normal 6:30AM in a reasonably good humor. He bumped his head twice right after breakfast, resulting in a little crying and two new bruises, but that's par for the course these days.
After J went off to work, Jack and I went upstairs to play. As I sipped my coffee, I began thinking about my first (really my only) goal for the day: major grocery shopping, leaving the house no later than 9:00. At 8:25, we started the getting-dressed-and-gathering-all-the-crap-we-must-have-to-leave-the-house routine. Here's how it went:

8:25 get myself dressed in shorts and a favorite t-shirt

8:35 change Jack's diaper and chase him around the upstairs to get his clothes on him

8:45 start to carry Jack downstairs and realize his cloth diaper he's had on for 10 minutes has leaked all over his shorts and my shirt

8:50 change Jack's shorts and my shirt. Jack is now wearing a more reliable disposable diaper.

8:55 gather snacks, water cup, grocery list etc into the diaper bag

9:00 right on time! Put Jack in his car seat with his snack trap full of Cheerios.... and smell poop

9:02 go back in the house, dropping Cheerios all over the floor I just vacuumed last night

9:05 Jack manages to spill the entire contents of his snack trap while I change him.

9:08 call the dog over to clean up Cheerios. She won't come because Jack is between her and the snacks and is playing with a vibrating toy that scares her.

9:09 I let out a venting primal scream, leaving Jack and the dog staring at me as if I just grew a second head.

9:15 Finally we are in the car on the way to the store!

Grocery shopping went all right, even though Jack was scared of the guy wearing a hoody at the seafood counter, and I had to carry him in the sling for the rest of the trip. There was a lot of dropping of things, both by Jack and myself. I groaned inwardly each time I bent to retrieve an item, as my back felt like a 90-year-old's at that point. Eventually, we did get home with the groceries, and I managed to get the cold things put away before nap time, which brings me to now. Jack is blissfully sleeping, hopefully for another 45 minutes at least. I am not going to fold diapers, I am not going to clean up Cheerio crumbs, and I am not going to roll the hose up that's been in the middle of the back yard for....well, a long time. I am going to finish this post and go take a nap!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

learning to procrastinate

Today did not start out great. Jack woke up early, I was tired and he was whiny. Around 8:30AM, my sweet little toddler chunked a lego at my face leaving a cut under my eye. I went into the bedroom for 2 minutes and counted to 10 several times. I thought about the rest of the day and things that had to be done and I almost cried. If this is the way it's going to go today, I thought, I'm not going to make it.
I did some yoga breathing and resolved not to condemn the day before I'd even gotten dressed. We went to the store to buy snacks for the playdate we were hosting this afternoon. Jack was amazingly well-behaved, despite his earlier antics. Things were looking up.
When we got back, we had a snack and I strapped him in the jogging stroller to go for a run. He fell asleep in the stroller for the first time since he was 4 months old. The day was definitely getting better. I was even able to transfer him to his crib without waking when we got home - score for Mom! Could I even hope the play date would go well after all this?
When Jack woke after a good 1 1/2-hour nap, we played outside in the yard until the other moms and kiddos arrived. Everyone had a great time. Jack's stranger anxiety reared up a little at first, but he quickly became at ease. He and the other toddlers played with and fought over a car they could sit in and push each other. All in all, it was a successful play date. We moms even got in a little adult conversation.
After everyone left, Jack played contentedly on the kitchen floor while I fixed dinner. I couldn't believe my luck. Granted, I had given him a pile of his favorite cheese puff snacks to entertain him, but I still give him a lot of credit considering it was the end of his day. He didn't even fight getting into his pj's too much after bath, as is his habit.
Now I sit here this evening typing, feeling relaxed instead of exhausted while Jack sleeps. (Yes, he went to sleep like a little angel - I think I'm in a movie.) I sit here and wonder why today went so well when it started so badly and had so many opportunities for disaster. Part of it is luck. The moon and the tides were in sync such that my temperamental toddler graced me with one of his better moods. Here's the other part: there is one hell of a mess to clean up downstairs. Unlike normal, I did not run around putting all the play date toys away before starting dinner. I did not rush to get all the dinner dishes done before Jack totally fell apart in his post-dinner meltdown. And I did not pick up all the things Jack dropped on the stairs on the way up to take a bath. The result: a much more relaxed momma with a back that doesn't ache quite so badly. I had to work at it, too, because I am not a natural at looking mess in the face and saying, "I'll do it later." I managed, though, and I enjoyed myself and my son a lot more. Of course, as I mentioned, I've got my work cut out for me now that Jack is in bed, but at least I can do it without worrying about what he's up to while I clean. It's certainly a fair tradeoff, and I don't mind becoming a bit of a procrastinator if it means I can sit on the floor and play with Jack instead of doing dishes.

Friday, March 6, 2009

12-month Check-up

I've been meaning to post for a while, but it's just now that I've felt inspired (and not had laundry to do, a kitchen to clean, a baby to entertain...) We went to Jack's 12-month check-up a couple of days ago. I walked in feeling like a reasonably competent parent and left feeling like I'm totally screwing things up. Apparently, even though Jack just started eating a significant amount of real food a couple of weeks ago, I'm supposed to cold-turkey take him off formula and the bottle. Oh, and he's supposed to be eating what we're eating, even though he eschews anything not purreed besides Cheerios. I didn't bother to mention to our pediatrician that he's still waking up in the middle of the night and ending up in bed with us - a situation with which I am perfectly happy, now that J and I have a king-size bed. I know she wouldn't approve.

I spent the two days, post appointment stressing on what to do about the whole bottle-formula situation and came up with a compromise. We cut out middle of the day bottles and only do them first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I know going to the pediatrician shouldn't shake my parental confidence to the core like that, and I really don't blame the doctor. I know my own insecurity is the main culprit. But after all, I'm the one spending all day, every day with him, and while I value her advice, I do know what's he needs better than anyone. This is just another thing on the long list of "What I didn't know would be so hard about parenting." I didn't know it could be so complicated to feed a kid!

Monday, February 16, 2009

My First Momma Blog

This is my first blog, so first things first...whatever that means. Here are my stats:

  • Mom of an about-to-be 1-year-old boy, Jack.

  • Wife of the wonderful, witty, snarky and sarcastic, J.

  • Part time partner with my dad in a very small engineering business, where I take my son 2-3 times a week so my dad can fawn over his grandchild while I do (in this economy) very little work.

  • 32, no wait, 33 years old. Crap, I'm old enough to be forgetting my age already.

Writing is something I've wanted to do for a long time, especially since I've had my son. I've wanted children since I was 24 and after 4 miscarriages and a divorce from my first husband, I've finally become a mom. It was a long road and even so, in the first months after Jack was born, I on several occasions thought, "My god, what have I done?" All of a sudden there was this wonderful beautiful little person whom I loved so much it made me cry. But he needed me ALL THE TIME. I must admit, I was a little panicked about my lack of time to myself in those first months. I mean, I need social interaction as much as the next person, but I have always been one that needed "me" time. Wait, where am I going with this?? Oh yeah, writing...

So, ironically (and yes, I do use that correctly unlike the slew of sports announcers who abuse it as much as they do the word "literally") the birth of my son, which spawned a yearning to write also prevented me from having time to do it. I am finally making good on my promise to J to make a go at writing publicly, lest he win our bet and make me shave my head when I turn 40. This is good, because I'm pretty sure I have a lumpy head under this hair.