Tag Archives: Kids

And so it goes

We are about to embark on a big journey into the world of kindergarten. A world without naps. A world of freedom, choice, and new learnings.

As I get the school notices and calendars, I realize how sheltered my little man has been for the past five years. The same daycare. Spending his days in a room that only changed every 6-12 months. Familiar teachers. Stringent routine.

As I watched the graduation night slide show, I recognized how hard I tried to give him freedom within that shelter for those five years. He was safe and secure, free from most judgement and criticism. Free to be Jake. I saw him wearing PJs on days where all the kids were dressed for Valentine’s day. Rubber rain boots on sunny, hot days. Cowboy boots with shorts. Buzz Lightyear costumes on a random Tuesday. It was Jake. And as much as my working put constraints on his schedules and days, he was free to be who he wanted every day.

I recognize things will have to change as he enters kindergarten. No more costumes on a random Tuesday. Seasonally appropriate clothes. I recognize that on the few days I let him break out of this norm he may get teased and it breaks my heart.

And so it goes. I send my little man, the one who likes to play with kids who (in his words) “are really good everyday and have excellent days for the teachers”, the one who still sucks his thumb when he’s uncertain, and curls up on mama’s lap for comfort…I send my little man out into the real world.

As much as I thought I was thrusting him into the real world when I went back to work at 8 weeks, leaving him in the care of people I barely knew, I realize now, that wasn’t really the case. And so the big step happens now. He will be fine. In fact, he will thrive in an educational environment.

Me, on the other hand, I may just need a little extra help to make the leap.

 

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Awesome, this is awesome

Jake got a great birthday gift today. A skateboard. A real one. Probably nicer than any four-year old should actually own. He can thank his Aunt Carly and Uncle Adrian, because if it had been left to me, he definitely would have gotten a cheap knock off scooter-type board that I would have tried to pass off as a skateboard.

We got home today and there was a box on the porch. Knowing that he had asked Carly several times for a skateboard, I knew she would deliver one in some form or fashion.

“Mama, what’s this box” (he says in an excited and curious tone. After all, he knows it’s almost his birthday.)

“Gee, Jake. I’m not sure. I bet there is something in there for you.”

“Can we open it?”

If you knew my sister, you’d know that the last thing she’d want is for him to have to wait two days to open his gift from her. While we hold the Christmas gifts until Christmas Eve, birthdays have no protocols. So, we started to open the box right away.

It was priceless. Immediately, you could see his pride and fascination in his new prize. He had a skateboard, a real skateboard. “Just like I asked for”, he said. He was almost four. He had a skateboard. Clearly, he became a dude overnight.

The next few hours were spent trying out different ways of playing with the skateboard. Standing next to a piece of furniture and carefully putting his feet on it, swaying back and forth a bit. Sitting on it and inching it backward and forward. Then, his favorite – laying on his stomach, and gliding across our hardwood floors. Yep, that ones a winner. He finished up one of his glides, stood up, and looked back down at his coveted board.

And almost under his breath, he says:

“Awesome, that was just awesome”

Yes, Aunt Carly and Uncle Adrian, you rocked it!

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Sassy Diva

Leave it to a life changing event (aka, taking away the beloved binky) to bring out my little girl’s diva-like qualities. I was nervous about bedtime last night and how she’d do without the comfort of the binky, but I definitely wasn’t prepared for her diva-like powers of influence.

We got to bed fine. She was a bit upset she didn’t have it, but after I reminded her they were all gone and she was a big girl, she seemed satisfied. I read her stories (which she proudly read aloud with me – clearly the binky had limited her verbal skills till now!), tucked her in, and left her to slumber.

An hour later her brother decided to have a meltdown on his way to bed (Murphy’s law, which naturally follows moms around), and woke her up.

So I spent the next hour and a half going up and down the stairs.

“Mama, I need new pull-up…mama, I need new pull-up…mama, poopies in pull-up”.

Up the stairs I trudge, turning on her light and changing her pull-up. Only to find that the pull-up she was wearing was dry and clean. Tuck, kiss, night-night.

“Mama, I wet. I wet, mama. Mama, I wet. Mama, come on, I wet.”

Up the stairs I trudge, turning on her light and checking her PJs and pull-up for any signs of wetness. Finding none, I explain that it’s time to go to sleep and that mama is going downstairs for sleepy too. Tuck, kiss, night-night.

“Mama, I hurt. I hurt, mama. Come on, mama, I hurt.”

OK, so yes, this is the one most moms would probably respond too, but I was onto her game. She wasn’t crying or in distress, nor had I heard her bump against anything. So I laid and waited.

“Mama, cover me up. Cover, mama, cover me up.”

Once again, I trudged up the stairs, covered her up, explained that it was time for us both to go to sleep, and that mama was going downstairs, to sleep for the night, and wouldn’t be back up. Tuck, kiss, night-night.

We were one hour and forty-five minutes into the charade. Then it started. The crying and complete melt down. My husband came down from putting my son to bed (another sleepless character last night) and asked me how much longer I was going to let this go on.

While there was no ill-intent in his question, there was plenty of it in my answer “All night if it has to. I’m not going back up there again. She has to sleep!” Ok, before you start thinking I grew a backbone and started being all hard ass rule enforcer, let me say that my heart was breaking for my little girl.

About ten minutes of the drama went by and then came the demands. She put on her most demanding, strong-sounding voice and started up:

“MAMA, GET UP. GET UP. COME HERE. MAMA, GET UP.”

I listened for a few minutes, wanting to see what would come next.

“MAMA…NO. THANK. YOU. NOT NICE, MAMA. NO. THANK. YOU!”

Umm, ok, time for an intervention? As I was debating the proper approach, she must have rethought her own approach to the situation. Becuase next I hear (in the sweetest sing-song voice EVER):

“Mama, wakey-wakey! Where are you mama? Wakey-wakey!”

She’s learned early that you get more bees with honey. Out of bed I jumped, and headed up to her room to lay down with her and give her the comfort she was missing from her binky. As she drifted off quickly into a deep slumber, I realized, there was no place I’d rather be. No matter how I got here.

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Monday hater

I am not a Monday hater. Not really. I hate parts of Mondays – specifically, the parts where I have to drag my kids out of bed and get them back in the daycare routine. But I do enjoy my job, and starting a fresh week has never bothered me.

Until today. I blame the weekend – a glorious, fun-filled, snuggle-filled, lovey-filled weekend of goodness with my kids. Saturday was a lazy day, while we lounged around in our PJs eating Dora fruit snacks and watching Wonderpets on TV. The kids took turns, alternating who got to sit on my lap and cuddle. And miraculously, so, they did it without fighting.

Sunday was even better. A stop at Starbucks followed by two straight hours of playground fun. I watched the kids run, jump, slide, and swing till their heart’s content. No worries, no cares, just fun in the sun. We all took a good nap, then headed back outside to let the kids play on their Little Tykes slide that was properly positioned to have them land in their kiddie pool. They’d slide a few times, then come over and lay down on top of me and – yep – more snuggles.

It was fantastic. We brought them inside, gave them baths, set up a little indoor picnic with soup and goldfish, and had great bedtimes. I didn’t want it to end.

So you really can’t blame me for driving into work, dreading what the work day had to offer. Truth be told? It was an ok day at the office. I still hated every minute of it, regretting the fact that I wasn’t partaking in some fun with the kids. Only four more workdays left in the week.

I’m sure I’ll get through it, knowing the fun that is waiting for me on the other end.

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Crossing the threshold

I’ll admit it (a popular starting phrase for most of my entries), the first two years with two kids (now aged 4 and 2) was HARD. But we’re  quickly crossing that threshold. Phew!

It’s evidenced in several ways – not the least of which is my own mood and tolerance level for their antics. However, considering that my daughter’s first 18 months were plagued with my postpartum depression journey, my own mood isn’t the best measure.

So, here we go. My top ten list of why it’s easier:

10. My son, a fully potty trained 4yo by day still wears a pull up at night. No big deal, but I did the happy dance when he started getting up in the morning, taking it off himself, and putting it in the garbage! Now I honestly only have to take care of one in diapers.

9. They can both climb into their own car seats. Yes, this is a big deal. I open both car doors, they climb up, and all I have to do is buckle them in.

8. They will sit and paint together at their play table for 45 minutes, giving me time to bake, cook, or clean. Did I say 45 minutes?

7. When we go to the playgrounds (indoor or out), I don’t have to run like a lunatic from one kid to another. I can watch and monitor from the sidelines. Of course, I do love getting on the equipment and playing with them, but now I can do it with less anxiety, knowing they are each capable of climbing and sliding on their own.

6. They both like to eat the same things. No dividing of meals, cooking different things for each.

5. My 4yo thinks it’s a big deal to help take care of the 2yo.

4. We are almost stroller free. Almost.

3. They both know how to follow directions. Not that they always do, but knowing how is half the battle.

2. They are old enough that I feel comfortable leaving them with a few different babysitters. So we have a few to choose from depending on how long we need them for.

1. They play together. Yes, I said TOGETHER. And they are so cute and can be so sweet when they are together!

I love being the mom of two kids – I always have. But everyday I love it a little bit more now, having crossed the threshold from complete craziness to a more well-controlled, organized craziness.

And I love the two of them, and our family, more than I could ever describe in words.

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Oh, the drama!

She does 2 well and she’s proud of it. Frankly, I don’t mind the terrible twos. But even the best of moms get tired of the overdramatic temper tantrums.

Tonight was no exception. Both the kids had the day off of school today – Morgan went to Grandma’s, Jake to Nana’s. Both came home with treats, new clothes, and well rejuvenated. A day off is just as important for kids as it is for adults. So I thought it was going to be an “easy” night. And truthfully, it was. But only because I beat her at her game.

I softly told Morgan that it was time for her to go to bed. Her little pixy face shriveled up, she took a deep breath in, and let out a huge wail, which sort of sounded like “NOOOOOAAAAAHHHHHHOOOOOOOOO”. You get the point.

What really sealed the deal, was the dramatic flinging of the body that occurred with the cry. It started with running across the great room, followed by flinging herself dramatically on the couch, followed by peeking over the back of the couch to see what my reaction was.

I smirked, looked at her, and said in the calmest voice possible “Am I supposed to react to that?”

She looked at me bewildered. In a slightly shaky voice (even the best drama queens don’t recover that quickly), she said “Yes?” Then she got off the couch, gave her dada a hug and a kiss, and led the way to bedtime.

And that, Ladies and Gents, is how it’s done. Or, at least, how it was successfully done tonight. I’ve learned that the game changes everyday…

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Short-order cook

Short-order cook. Yep, that’s me. Oh, what’s that you say? The parenting books tell you that in order to get your kids to eat well, you have to feed them what you are eating? And that if your kid refuses to eat what you make, you shouldn’t make them anything else?

Yeah, I read them too. And I actually believe them. But do I practice what they preach? Sorry, no.

I get limited time with my kids during the week. I’m not willing to use that time to fight with them over food. I’m just not. And they actually eat pretty well overall, so I don’t stress over it. Every Sunday we have a sit down meal as a family, and the kids always try whatever we are having. But during the work week, spending time together overrides any impulses to get them to try a new food.

I’m ok with all of this, but occasionally, they test the waters. Tonight it was Morgan. About 20 minutes before her bedtime she started “asking”. Quotes are necessary here, because she wasn’t hungry (she’d already had several snacks AND dinner), she was just testing.

“Soup?”

“Peanut butter waffle?”

“Goldfish?”

“Pasta?”

“Cheewios and meelk?” (yes, everything was pronounced perfectly up until this phrase).

“Ceweal baw?” (this is cereal bar, for anyone that has forgotten the 2yo dialect)

I finally gave in at the cereal bar. Why?

– She clearly wanted to feel some control in asking for something and receiving it. She’s two. This is important for a 2yo.

– Cereal bars are quick to eat (causing no delay in starting her bedtime routine) and I get the good ones, so there is some nutritional value

– Because the way she says “ceweal” is just so darn cute

I know critics would say that my lack of motivation to “fight the good fight”, convert to “organic only”, and my constant “giving in” to my kids is just an excuse for laziness. And I’m sure there are plenty who would blame my kids’ eating habits on childhood obesity (although if you met them you’d think differently). I tend to think of it as survival and making the most of the limited time we have together during the week. For right or wrong, I’m the short order cook.

And although there are times where it drives me a bit batty, there are times like tonight where I realize that someday “ceweal” will be “cereal” and she’ll be pouring her own. Without my help. Without asking.

And at that moment of realization, I can’t help but think, they’ll only be babies for a short while. The brussle sprouts can wait…bring on the cheewios and meelk…

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