Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What needs to get done

This is going to deviate a little from my normal style of posting about my family. It is time for serious recording of what parenthood means to me in the early years of it. There have been a lot of great articles floating around about how difficult raising small children is. About how the early years are "The blur". A lot of articles and blogs that make it more ok to admit that parenthood isn't all that it was advertised to be. That make it ok for you to admit you need and want help.

But for me, I think the crux of it is that reality doesn't match up with my expectations or my visions.

When I got pregnant, I started to plan, as most parents do. I started to think about cool things I could do and give to my children. I made a playlist of music that I was litening to during my pregnancy to give to my child on his/her 16th birthday. I started thinking about awesome things the Easter Bunny could do. I looked up recipies for home made play dough. I researched strollers. I planned near and far term things that would just make childhood awesome.

Then I actually had a baby. A baby who woke up throughout the night and never let me get a full night of sleep. A baby who had blow outs at costco. A baby who cried when strangers would hold him. This baby grew into a little toddler who doesn't like to eat vegetables. A toddler who liked to dump a bin of toys out onto the floor and not play with any of them. A toddler who likes to run things, anything, along the walls.

Somewhere in the middle of that I decided to have another child... a playmate... again to make childhood awesome. To give my son a best friend, a best man for his wedding. New baby, pretty much just like the older one, except this one also liked to climb things and fall down a lot, and he loves fabric, so no laundry is ever safe.

Life stopped being about what I could do to make childhood awesome and started being about "what NEEDS to get done". I need to make sure there is food in the house. To try and make healthy dinners (that my kids refuse to eat most of the time). I need to make sure there are clean dishes to eat the food on. I need to make sure that diapers are changed and potty training continues to be successful. I need to make sure teeth are brushed. I need to make sure that bath time happens. I need to make sure there are clean clothes for everyone.

My kids fight taking a bath and brushing their teeth. Every. Single. Time. They fight naptime. They fight going to bed. They fight eating meals. They fight getting dropped off at daycare. They fight leaving daycare. They fight riding in the cart at the grocery store. They fight with me a lot. They fight with each other too.

I need to maintain a calm and happy attitude despite all the fighting. I need to acknowledge their feelings and make sure they know they are being heard, even though I'm not giving in to what they want. I need to teach them not to hit and not to scream. I need to show them love and compassion and joy. I need to teach them to show love and compassion and joy to each other.

But my expectations were all about the big stuff, the fun stuff, the playtime, the holidays. All of those things are still on my mind, but actually executing any of it with an almost 2 year old and a 3 year old is basiclaly impossible.

We are on the verge of Christmas again. Scratch that, Thanksgiving is tomorrow. I am trying to manage my expectation of Thanksgiving and the fact that they probably won't want to eat anything that we're cooking. They're both in a "NO" phase for food, and getting them to eat anything unfamiliar is a tall order. So I have to get through Thanksgiving with some tears, and food thrown on the floor, and jumping up every couple of minutes to try and convince my two tiny people to eat something new, or eat something at all.

Then Christmas. I want to be that awesome mom that has the whole month of activities, baking cookies, seeing lights, caroling... but I don't think my kids are old enough for it. Rather, I don't think I can fight with them every night for a month to try and get them to have experiences. I just don't have it in me.

That's what it comes down to. They fight new things. And I don't have the energy for the fights that aren't needed. So I can't be that cool mom yet. I'm sure someday my kids will get dressed all by themselves, and brush their own teeth, and take showers. Maybe then. Maybe then I can be the fun mom. But for now, I just need to be the mom that loves her kids and trys to teach them healthy habits and doesn't scream (often). For now it needs to be enough. Someday my vision of family life will come to pass, but the early years are about getting through the days and getting the needs met.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Why I need a Time Turner

Sometimes parenting is hard not because of the actual job of parenting, but because of what you give up to do it. I am in one of those places currently. My major source of social life is a group of great friends who don't have kids (yet?). They all do amazing things together and it's SO VERY HARD to be left out. It's not that I'm not invited, but I end up being necessarily left out as I choose to parent instead of going out day after day, weekend after weekend. They are currently in the middle of comic con and while I ditched my family for an entire 27 hours to go attend one day of the convention, that's all I get to do and I'm heart sick with all the fun they're having without me. Small children are a joy and super cute and are funny, but they aren't exactly the most thrilling thing. I am struggling right now because I chose to have kids at a relatively young (in modern days among educated people) age. They called me tonight to see if I could try and get them tickets for something that just got announced for tomorrow because I AM THE ONLY ONE THEY KNOW THAT'S HOME tonight. Will I try? Of course, but seriously, F That. I don't want to be the only one home. I don't want to parent tonight. I don't want to parent this summer, year, maybe ever.

And when I do leave, when I do schedule things, I feel guilty the whole time I'm gone. I want so badly to be a great, involved, patient and happy mom, but I want to have a life too. I don't want to give up half my 20's to them. But I don't want to miss their childhoods either. I want to be there for all their firsts and all their joy and all their laughter. Scott danced around tonight singing two songs with his little toy guitar tonight and it was SO GREAT! I got them on video and everything. It was a great moment that I loved watching and am super glad I was home for.

I want it all.

That's not possible.

And I am rarely happy with my decisions anymore because I want it all but can't have it. I don't want to miss out on anything. I need to be able to be in two places at once. And maybe a 3rd so I could actually attempt to have a clean house. And maybe a 4th so I could get some sleep.


Monday, June 24, 2013

An open letter to my boys

A letter to my boys:

Hello boys. I am writing to you from age 29.5. Since we are in the twilight months of either of your parents being in their 20's, I thought it an appropriate time to put some of my current insights into life down on paper (ok, I'm writing this on a blog, one that I started about pregnancy). By the time you are in your 20's, your dad and I will be in our mid-40's and we'll be useless as far as you are concerned. At least, that's often the way it works.

Here are the important things I want you to think about in your teen years and into your 20's (I say from the far side of those decades).

  • Have a physical hobby. Play a sport, be into ultimate Frisbee, just lift weights... whatever. Endorphins are really worthwhile. 
  • Do something with music. Play it, dance to it, just listen to a lot of it. Music is really great for creativity and emotional expression.
  • Try and read something every day. Read a comic book, read a news article, read part of a book. Just make reading a habit. Start this as young as possible and never stop. 
  • Take girls (or boys) on dates to do interesting things. You don't necessarily have to pay for it, but do be the one to suggest it.
  • Don't let any one aspect of yourself define your self worth. You are more than your intelligence, your appearance, your athletic or musical ability... there is a whole lot to who you are.
  • When you are trying to decide what to do in college, try and figure out what you would do with that when you graduate. Do pick a major that will allow you to life the kind of lifestyle you want to have in the future. 
  • Be good to each other and other family. As my mom told me "Be nice to your brother, someday he will be the only person who you can talk to about how weird your parents were."
  • When you are talking to someone, make eye contact. Keep your phone (or other electronic device) out of the conversation. It's probably old-school, but this is a life skill that you need to have. 
  • Never insult anyone's mother, either to her face or behind her back. Being a mother is incredibly demanding and sometimes makes us act in ways that are hard to explain. Just cut every mom some slack and be kind. 
    • This includes your own. 
  • When I was in high school, history was boring and dry. If that's still true, go figure out what about the past interests you and try and find out stuff about that. College can be great for that. Don't let any middle or high school class define your opinion on a subject. 
  • Money is important. I hope I've taught you how to manage what you have. If you have questions, please ask me or your dad. 
  • When you are somewhere in the 16-21 region, you will think you know everything. You don't, but you will know more that Dad and I are willing to give you credit for. We also know more than you are willing to give us credit for. Try and remember to be humble and present your side of things clearly and respectfully. It'll go better. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Body Image

I have 2 small kids. I had them very close together. I was also not a tiny person before I had kids. I'm a fairly average sized American woman (slightly smaller than average). I am at my pre-pregnancy weight and size, but it wasn't a comfortable place for me to be.

I am also very strong and have a lot of muscle on my body. I have a lot more muscle tone than I did before having kids. That's not to say I don't also have a solid layer of fat, but I'm not exactly "fat".

I am the largest of my group of friends. I am also the only one with kids. I see myself in pictures with my friends and all I can think is "I'm the fat girl". I don't know if it's harder to be so much bigger than my very tiny friends (sizes like 2-6 mostly), or if it's harder to be bigger than I think I am.

In any case, struggling with body image today.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Sleep Terrorists

My kinds continue to find new ways to torture my sleep.

Two nights ago, Jeremy probably a dozen times over the 12 hours he was asleep. Throw in 2 cries from Scott and it was a long night.

Last night Jeremy only woke up once... but it was for an entire hour. He was a fussy squirmy baby in bed with me and cried bloody murder in his crib.

I'm tired.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

New Day, New Challenges

Scott got a nose bleed in the middle of the night. I am sure glad that happened on a night when both parents were home.

Parenthood continues to present new challenges.

Also, oxy clean is totally wicked!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Community Musings

Parenthood does not mean giving up your old life and your old identity. However, if you are with your children, it does.

I've had the opportunity to hang out with my very wonderful and solid group of friends with and without my kids quite a bit lately. When I am with my friends without my kids, it's like nothing has changed. We have great conversations, meaningful interactions and have a lot of fun. When we all get together kids included... well, I have to parent. And that basically means I have to be a constant monitor of diapers, hunger levels, whereabouts and interests (like, don't play with that vase of decorative stuff my friend has on her floor). I really hardly interact with my friends at all. I often don't get through whole sentences and I never hear more than a couple lines of any conversation.

On the one hand, I am fortunate that I have a group of friends that will help me out with my kids, often plan events so that the kids can come, and will even occasionally babysit so that Eric and I can go do something else. On the other hand, I really wish we had family around so that I didn't feel like such a huge burden to my friends.

Kids are hard.

Speaking of how absolutely great my friends are with my kids, this morning I took the kids to a community easter egg hunt. Eric is off camping yesterday and today so I knew I needed help. I poked a few of my friends and we ended up with 5 adults and 3 kids (3rd was the daughter of a friend of mine, almost 1), 2 ~1 year olds and Scott at 2.5. The event was terriffic. We started with a pancake breakfast, then ran around and explored bouncy houses, bouncy slides and one of those bouncy obstacle courses. Scott did an easter egg hunt for 2-3 year olds and Jeremy sat in a kiddy pool and picked up eggs with the other 1 year old. Both kids were fascinated by the petting zoo animals, but neither wanted to touch them. Scott did eventually pet a bunny.

It was a really fantastic event and makes me like my town even better!

But for me, the event was all about the kids. I was running after one or the other. I had a good kid time, but not a really good friend time, even though I really really like the 4 people that came with me. They were all really great with the kids, taking turns watching whichever kid I wasn't watching, taking pictures, retrieving Scott out of the obstacle course, pushing Scott on the swing. It was really wonderful to have the support and made the event really fun, but I didn't really get to talk to anyone.

I'm also tired. Even though theoretically both kids can sleep through the night and have somewhat regularly lately, last night they got me out of bed 5 times. Scott twice and Jeremy 3 times. And not just out of bed, there were two diaper changes, a trip to get water, a trip to get milk, a story, lots of hugs and a kid eventually ending up in my bed. Talk about a lot of lost sleep. Pfft.

Little kids, they are hard.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


As of today, Jeremy has weened.

Phew! Feb 1 2010 I found it I was pregnant. Since then I have been constantly pregnant or nursing (or both). That means 3 years and a week of substance and food restrictions, and sleeping in maternity and nursing clothing.

Today forward, nothing I ingest will get passed on to little developing bodies! And I can go back to sleeping in t-shirts!

I think I'm most excited about the sleeping in t-shirts.

That was a very long time.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Post 200

This is one of those "duh" posts.

Having kids changed my body. I have lost 20 lbs, all my pregnancy weight, got back to my pre-pregnancy "size"... but not my pre-pregnancy shape. Like, not even a little bit. I just tried on a dozen different things from my wardrobe and while I fit into everything, nothing looked good. Stuff is bigger or smaller than it was before and everything just looks like junk on me.

I am now kind of at a loss. I kept wanting to lose weight so I'd fit back into my clothes. Now that they fit I know I can't wear them. Now what.

I'm not convinced losing more weight is going to solve anything (though don't think that's going to stop me). I think I'm a new shape, one that will require new clothes and will be difficult to fit correctly. And I don't have time or money to shop now.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Body Image

I have been (mostly) seriously attempting to get in shape since Scott was about 8 months old. Of course, I had another baby in there, but I got serious again when Jeremy was 3 months old. In the last 7 months I have lost 20 lbs plus, I weigh less than I did when I got pregnant with either kid and I'm back into most of my pre-pregnancy clothes. I am doing extremely well! I am still working on it, but I've been very proud of my success thus far.

I saw a picture of myself yesterday (taken yesterday) and my only thought was "Wow, I look terrible". Ugh! I don't know if I will ever really feel good about myself in the moment. I can look back at periods in my past and think "Hey I looked great then!" but in the moment I rarely feel good about myself, even when I am proud of myself and working hard.

I don't know where it came from. I have a husband that is super supportive of me and my body at all weights (almost obnoxiously supportive). I was never bullied. I've only had one person ever call me fat and I was at my skinniest at the time. Ok, he only told me I had a big butt... and I kind of do.

Is it society? Will I ever get over this? I've moved past the eating disorder part of my life, and I don't have time to stress about how fat I am, and I still have excuses, but am I going to be dissatisfied with myself forever?

Pffft. Frustrating.

Friday, January 4, 2013

9 months, 3 weeks - walking

I'm calling it, Jeremy can walk. He's 9 months old.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 Dinners - January

I've decided to keep a record of what we eat for dinner in 2013, including whether or not Scott (and eventually Jeremy) ate it. My hope is to update this post every few days, and make a new post each month.

Jan 1 - Tacos (Eric). Scott LOVED the meat and cheese and also ate some orange bell peppers.
Jan 2 - Veggie stirfry (kale, parsnip, butternut squash, artichoke, leek, broccoli) over rice pasta with meatballs and red sauce (Laura). Scott ate the meatballs happily, had a couple of noodles, one piece of parsnip and more bell peppers.
Jan 3 - Fritatta with leftover veggies from the stirfry (Laura). Scott picked around the artichokes but generally ate the whole thing.
Jan 4 - Leftover Fritatta. Scott did a pretty good job again.
Jan 5 - Steak, Orzo with leeks and Peas, Salad. (Eric & Laura). Scott ate the steak after a lot of prodding. And then he ate some oranges.
Jan 6 - Bratwurst and bell pepper strips (Eric) - Scott ate a bratwurst and some peppers.
Jan 7 - Chicken Tikka Masala, Rice & Peas. (Eric) Scott grudgingly ate a few peas and when he ate any of the chicken he called it hot (it was spicy).
Jan 8 - Tacos (Eric). Scott ate his meat and cheese again (with somewhat less gusto than 1/1), some tortilla chips, some tomatoes and some bell peppers.
Jan 9 - Hot Dogs and Fruit Salad. (Laura) - Scott ate a hot dog with ketchup, some bun, and a bunch of fruit. He liked that much fruit at dinner.
Jan 10 - Lemon Pepper Cod over Spinach Salad. (Laura) - Scott ate snacks for dinner (raspberries, yogurt, cheese, etc). I tried to feed him spaghettios but he wouldn't even try them.
Jan 11 - Quesadilla (Eric). Scott ate his quesadilla with taco meat, cut up peppers and cheese happily.
Jan 12 - Costco whole pre-chooked Chicken, Cous-cous, Salad/Chicken Soup (Laura) - Scott ate the chicken and some tomatoes. He may have also had some bread. He never really ate much of the soup in subsequent lunches
Jan 13 - Beef and Eggplant Stew with Mashed Potatoes (Laura) - Scott ate some of the beef out of the stew but began a week of not eating much dinner tonight.
Jan 14 - Lemon Pepper Cod, Rice and Beans, Broccoli (Eric) - Scott surprised us by declaring Broccoli awesome and eating a ton of it. He ate about 1 bite of fish and about that much rice and bean mixture.
Jan 15 - Stew Leftovers - Scott ate some meat and bread again.
Jan 16 - No idea. It's been most of a week and I've totally forgotten what we ate. This is because we went off meal plan.
Jan 17- Chicken Leftovers - Scott ate the chicken, some sliced peppers and a few tomatoes.
Jan 18 -  Egg Scramble with Bacon, Pepper and cheese (Laura) - Scott ate some of it.
Jan 19 - Outback Steak and Sides (provided by Linda) - Scott ate none of it. His absolute worst night of dinner.
Jan 20 - Beet, Chicken, Goat Cheese Salad (Laura) - Scott surprised us and ate chicken, beets, goat cheese and spinach without too much force feeding (although we did steal his train and tell him he couldn't have it back until he ate a bite, repeatedly)
Jan 21 - Shepherd's Pie (Fresh and Easy) - Scott ate as much as we did, repeatedly asking for more! It was great.
Jan 22 - Tacos (Eric) -

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Two, Three, Four, Five, Seben, Three...

Happy 2013!

I'm doing that thing where you document the first kid's developments really well and the second kid gets less documentation. It's not that Jeremy isn't just as amazing (he is, maybe more so), it's that I don't have 2 seconds to myself most of the time and when I do, I just zonk out.

But instead of whining about how hard it is to have two kids in diapers (it's hard), I'll just give you the long awaited update.

Jeremy is 9 months old. He is oh so close to walking. He takes steps, stands up without pulling up on anything, and walks/runs around while pushing anything that he can. He is also a climber, getting into and out of our little kid chairs, up on to boxes, climbing up the little slide we have... just being and adventurer. He is talking, but he's taking a break from learning anything new there while he masters walking. He'll be 10 months old next week and he'll almost certainly be walking by then.

I quite like having a little walker. He wants to practice and explore a lot of the time so it's gotten easier for me. But he's still content to ride along in the beco while we're out in the world, so I don't have to deal with him walking out in public just yet.

As for teeth, he still only has the two bottom teeth although I'd like to believe I feel bumps where the top ones are working on coming in. *shrug* I also got teeth late.

His first Christmas was almost unnoticed, but he was downright cute, even if he didn't care. He posed in cute hats, outfits, with his stocking, with his new chair, with his brother... he was adorable!

Scott loved Christmas this year, although he mostly enjoyed the cookies and the dollar store trains he got. Trains are his new favorite.

Developmentally Scott is finally learning to talk. He has hundreds of words now and he's getting much smarter. He's learned his colors, knows most of the numbers (although he always counts 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 3, 4.... I don't know what happened to 1 or 6). He is learning about animals and what sounds they make. He loves all vehicles and all things that move really. His favorite book these days is "Don't let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" and he can recite parts of it. My favorite is when he says "True Story!" because that's so cute.

The kids are starting to get along, although Scott is a bit of a bully right now. He will get frustrated if Jeremy gets in his space and he pushes him over regularly. But he will also share many things with his brother, both nice (toys) and not so nice (spinach). He'll do things in the car to make Jeremy laugh and that's wonderful. He always shows concern that the baby not get left behind.

Potty training still isn't in the sites yet, but we'll get there. However, having two kids that can play at the park is coming and that will be wonderful!

All in all, 2013 should be a lot of fun, and I'm SO excited to hit the point where I'm neither pregnant nor nursing and I can have my body back all to myself! No more checking out medications or worrying about a 2nd glass of wine! As for my body, I have lost all of the pregnancy weight, although as said by most women, I'm not back to my pre-pregnancy shape. My belly retains a lot of extra fat and that's frustrating. But I'm still working out and enjoying it, so the weight should continue to come off slowly.

And that's the news.