Sunday, October 1, 2017

While My Little Boy Sleeps

Kindergarten has been hard on our 5-year-old. While he had generally gotten out of the habit of naps at his preschool, he still had to occupy himself quietly for two hours while the little kids slept at the birth - pre-K home-based daycare he attended, so the amount of activity they throw at kindergartners all day long has caught up to him every single weekend.

Naptime ended fifteen minutes ago, but he’s still sound asleep. I knew this would be the case when he collapsed on the way home from a trip to the park after lunch (thank goodness for jump seat strollers). Actually I knew it on the way home from church when he had a meltdown while arguing with his sister about whether King Xerxes was a good guy or a bad guy in the story of Esther.

He’s been so tired lately that he’s back to wanting to snuggle like he did when he was a baby. Usually he’s such a whirling blur of activity, there’s not time for much more than a ferocious, but quick, hug before he’s off to the next thing.

Today, however, he was so upset and cranky at naptime, that he wanted me to cuddle with him until he fell asleep, and I actually did it. Normally, there would be no chance of agreeing to this request. We learned early in his toddler years that “stay until I fall sleep” was code for “I’d rather play with you than sleep”, but today, it was clear that he was just too upset to stop crying quickly without someone to hold him.

He’s not the consummate snuggler his sister is, but he’s still a very physically affectionate little kid. When he starts getting squirrely, a hug, or ruffle of the hair, or something else that involves touching always seems to ground him almost as well as running laps around our circular driveway.

Some day he won’t have time for this. He already brushes off my affection sometimes when his friends are around, and I’m sure that will only continue as he grows. So I guess this is one of those moments that I need to soak up for all it’s worth because one day he won’t even be kind of little, he’ll be a grown man, and definitely won’t need cuddles from Mom in order to fall asleep.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Stop giving my kid stuff because he's cute


Zim and I watched our local fireworks last night because we're both always looking for a reason to stay up late and my husband's a grumpy hermit and Gir is pretty hardcore about having a proper bedtime.

He's covering his face because he's mad at me for not giving him light up crap.
We set up our blanket relatively close to the stands where they were selling light up crap and Zim kept wandering over repeatedly, always telling me he just had to get something real quick.

We had a discussion about how the light up crap costs money and I wasn't giving him any money tonight.

This cycle continued for far too long as I impatiently waited for the fireworks to start. Eventually Zim approached his boiling point. I was thisclose to taking him back to the car and saying forget about fireworks.

Then the guy working the stand gave him one of the cheap little glow sticks for free. I was not happy.

You see, while he was busy driving me not so slowly insane, he was being nothing but sweet and adorable to the guy ruining the stand, flashing his blonde haired blue eyed smile and 4-year-old precociousness for all it was worth.

And it totally worked. He's only 4, but this kid is a master manipulator and his looks are his best weapon when it comes to strangers (or relatives who don't see him as often as they like).

Earlier in the day my husband took him out for ice cream and the assistant manager gave him a balloon. Maybe that was because it was a holiday.

The aforementioned ice cream and an example of the smile he flashes in order to con people out of stuff
The day before at church, the drummer in the band gave him and his sister his old drum sticks. I know, people at church are nice, and that's a good thing.

His grandparents who live halfway across the country were just here and showered him and his sister with stuff. Granted, mostly stuff they wanted, but also so much of it that it kind of lost it's meaning.

I guess that's what I'm frustrated about. People give my kids so much stuff that they take it for granted that people will give them stuff if they look cute enough or whine enough. Those are not the kinds of kids I'm trying to raise. So please, don't give my kids stuff just because they're cute.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Night Running

I went for a run tonight. I kind of had to. It was a rough day with the Fucking-Four-Year-Old. Not your average bad day with a FFYO full of great shows of ability and responsibility coupled with frustrating oversteps of those bounds and infuriating regressions to helplessness.

No, this was a day where I had not one, but several out of body experiences because I literally had no idea what to do with my child's behavior. There was some serious rage built up and physical exertion seemed to be the only cure.

Tonight happened to be the best night to start running again. Being July 3, there were plenty of fireworks to see.

Also, I had decided earlier in the day that I was going to go to Dunkin Donuts when the kids went to bed so I could replenish my coffee supply without the incessant begging for donuts. Conveniently, our nearest Dunkin is about the distance I was planning to run. So I not only purchased my coffee, but an after workout treat to savor on the walk home.

It also happened to be perfect because while getting a little "me time" while they were in the tub, I read an article about how people who exercise regularly are significantly better at overcoming obstacles, and I mused about how regularity is exactly what's missing from my current workout routine, and the ability to overcome the obstacle of my FFYO's tantrums would be a nice side benefit.

I try to do yoga every morning, but little people's needs always seem to get in the way. I try to walk on my lunch breaks at work, but I always seem to find things that cut into my walks.

Enter the Couch-to-5K program, which I've done several times over the years. My lunch time walks have been nice, but, honestly, I'd rather run. With two kids who tend to wake up the instant my feet hit the floor, I was having trouble figuring out where to fit running, though.

I've never been a night runner before, mostly because I have a more than healthy fear of the dark, but there's plenty of well-lighted streets in my neighborhood, so it was kind of fun to be out at a time when I'm usually not, when there weren't a lot of other people out either. I'm cautiously optimistic that I may have figured out where to fit running in my schedule.

And with a FFYO who hates going to bed, I'm sure there will be plenty of nights where I have rage to burn off with a run anyway.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Tonight's Bedtime Musings Brought To You By the Letter C for Cannibal

Yet again wondering how I can love someone so much and be so infuriated by them at the same time. The approach of age 4 is apparently quite hard for Zim as he's been an emotional wreck lately. Transitions are the end of the world. Everything must be questioned and then opposed and we must bemoan the fact that our constantly changing whims aren't being catered to. I don't even care that I've tucked him in and can clearly hear him playing with his toys despite having him recite the punishment for such behavior every night. I'm just so done fighting.

When will this drama subside?

Monday, April 4, 2016

Yoga for Moms

Last week, I came across this article about how to get your core strength back after giving birth and I have to say, it's been eye opening for me. I am definitely one who tenses my pelvic floor too much. I've been finding it both frustrating as hell and really enlightening to work through the yoga sequence here. It's hard for me to slow down and go back to the basics of breathing and posture, but only a few days in, I can already tell that this is going to have long term benefits if I stick with it.

Saturday, April 2, 2016


When you're a teenager your parents stress to you how it's important to have clear values now so that when you're put into difficult situations as an adult, you won't accidentally crack under pressure.

As a teenager you think of all sort of exciting things like drugs and sex, but once you're past your early twenties those are pretty much moot points, but your values are still constantly being tested, just on much more mundane issues.

Should you buy your dream house that will put you into a precarious financial situation, or can you stomach the fixer-upper that will allow you to eat more than just ramen for the foreseeable future?

Or on an even smaller scale, you've had a rough week. Nothing seems to be going right and the last thing you have time for is fixing lunch, so you're tempted to treat yourself at your favorite restaurant by your work, but things are really tight fiscally and you know that going out for lunch will likely mean that you have to be late with yet another bill.

You swore that you would never be one of those parents who ignores their kids for their phones, but after a long day, you're tired, and Facebook is so much easier than the thousandth request to sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider".

It's important to you and your spouse that you have a weeknight when you're both home, but you've also really been dying for something just for you and a yoga class just opened up on your one night home together.

These are the values that get tested every day as an adult. This is the stuff you want your teenage self to understand is important.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Dodged a Case of Baby Fever

I've been thinking a lot about babies lately

One of my best friends - I have three - just had a baby. The four of us were sitting around the table the other day, purportedly to enjoy each other's company, but also because new baby snuggles are different than older baby snuggles and must be had before the baby is no longer new. Another friend who's said for years she doesn't want to have kids told us how she was going to have surgery, in large part to save her fertility. After seeing her peers have kids, she's still not sure she wants to have any of her own, but she wants to keep her options open. The fourth of our group has recently decided that while she used to think she wanted kids, she definitely does not anymore.

My work BFF is expecting her first child the same week as her first wedding anniversary. She's doing well, but also dealing with all the weirdness of a first pregnancy. It is so strange to temporarily share your body with another person. It's absolutely awful, except hormones sometimes trick you into thinking otherwise, and, even more importantly, there's the knowledge of the end result, which is pretty much the greatest thing in the world. Still, I mostly didn't love pregnancy, just the associated motherhood it implied.

We recently made a trip back to my parent's house for the weekend, originally to be at my my cousin's 7-month-old son's baptism, but it also happened to be at the end of another cousin's visit with her 2 1/2-month-old daughter. I definitely played with some babies. A third cousin is expecting her second child the same time as my coworker.

On a sadder note, one of my husband's cousins recently had her third 2nd trimester miscarriage and the delivery of this poor baby posed a lot of potential complications. Mostly babies are a wonderful happy thing, but every once in awhile something tragic happens and reminds you that it isn't always automatic.

I've been on the fence about having more children. Basically I think I want them at some point, but I don't want to be pregnant again, and then I feel selfish for not wanting to be pregnant again, and then I point out that plenty of kids are looking for good homes, so maybe we could adopt and then I wouldn't feel guilty for not wanting to give up control of my body for another 9 months (really 21, since I'd plan to breastfeed for a year after, and really more like 42, since we'd really like to have 4), but adoption is such a long expensive process, so maybe we could be foster parents and see if an adoption comes from that, although that's also difficult, and on and on ....

And then I think about Kyle's cousin and the losses she's faced and I think all of this debating whether or not to have more kids because I don't want to be pregnant again sounds really silly. Some people don't get the option to have more, or any, for that matter. Some people don't get to have control over the size of their family.

Actually, a lot of the details we stress about when thinking about having kids or thinking about how to raise them sound silly. Breast feeding/formula feeding, co-sleeping/crib sleeping, cloth diapers/disposable diapers, - these are not the issues to get worked up about. Are you feeding your child? Great. Does he have a place to sleep? Terrific. Do you change his diapers when they're dirty? Wonderful. Do you hold her when she cries? Then I think you're giving her all she needs to thrive.

One of the miracles of babies I can't get over is how different they all are and yet how perfect they all are at the same time. Each one needs something just a little bit different to be happy and as parents we get the opportunity to try to figure those differences out, and it's an amazing gift.

For now, my two amazing gifts feel like enough. If that ever changes, maybe we'll try to add another to the mix, but for now I am content. I am humbled. I am honored that I get to figure out what makes my two little people unique and how to best bring out their special gifts.