Category Archive : parenting

Wordless Wednesday: Halloween Edition

Celebrating Halloween… It might be just me, but the older Jack gets, the more fun Halloween becomes. We had so much fun with him this year. Of course… now he wants to go Trick or Treating every night.

We headed to a very chilly Emma Krumbees Apple Orchard to pick out pumpkins.
This was Jack’s favorite scarecrow in the Scarecrow Festival.
Carving his first pumpkin. He was so proud.
With great power comes great responsibility.

A sad spidey looking at pictures with daddy at his school’s party.

Waiting for his best buddy to show up for Trick or Treating.

Heading out for some Tricks & Treats!

Linking up for Boo In the Blogosphere!

Yes, I Can Handle It

Sunday night as my husband was packing up for a trip to Los Angeles to start work on his Dad’s next book, he was answering my questions in a way that suggested I was going to whither up and fall apart without him here for a few days.

Not entirely the case (no matter how much he wants to believe that is the truth).

I was asking him questions so that for the next 3 days I had an understanding of his morning and daily drop off routine as I know it can often be challenging and I am rarely around for it as I am off to work before either of them are up. That’s all. I’m pretty lucky because despite the discord having a child has brought to our marriage, we are a solid parenting team. We are split down the middle 50/50 when it comes to parenting duties so when it comes time for one of us to go out of town, there are certainly some moments of panic not to mention having to readjust the work schedule. Worst of all when it comes to one of us traveling is shaking up our preschoolers regimented routine. He is used to daddy in the morning. NOT mommy. I had to answer a barrage of questions ranging from “Why isn’t daddy home?” to why Daddy’s car is in the garage but he’s not actually home? Seriously. Try and explain that to a 3 year old. I dare you. Thankfully, because of his regular morning routine with daddy, it was seamless. I set the “alarm” to about 5 minutes before we had to leave so he knew when the alarm on the stove went off that it was time to go to school. Regardless, I will still have that anxiety about something going awry as my schedule is insanely tight when I have to entirely take over the parenting duties.

The rest is pretty typical in the evening. Dinner, games, Facetime w/ daddy (god I love technology) and maybe a movie if we miraculously have enough time… Before we know it, two hours has flown by and it is time to get into jammies and start the bedtime routine. Having only a couple hours in the evening is insanely unfair and the thing I hate most about being a working mom. It never seems like enough time.

After the boy is finally sleeping, there is work. The dishes will need to be washed, the counters and table wiped down, a workout if I can bring myself to it and some attention for the poor neglected dog. The rest of the night becomes a worry fest. What if something happens to the house? To the dog? What if I don’t wake up and Jack needs me? No matter how hard I try to relax and remind myself that things are still normal despite being down one parent, I still can’t sleep. So for the two nights this week that my husband is gone, I will be a walking zombie. Coffee will become my best friend. I dream of Wednesday night when my husband will return home and I can finally let go of my worries and will likely sleep like the dead.

It’s not that I can’t handle it. I can handle it just fine. But handling it doesn’t make it any less exhausting. Handling it doesn’t make the worries disappear. Handling it doesn’t mean I will sleep well.

I am not writing this to make my husband feel guilty for going away. We are both deserving of our time away and I would never take that time away from him, especially from a project he is so passionate about. It is good to be able to step away from the day to day challenges that parenting gives. Good to step away from your spouse and give yourselves the chance to miss each other and remind you not to take each other for granted.

We are lucky that we are such a good team but when the team is down one of those vital players, the going isn’t easy. And, now that a couple days have gone by? I actually kind of miss the guy.

Wordless Wednesday: Mommy/Son Day

I work for a financial institution and we get strange holidays off such as Columbus Day. Last year, Jackson’s daycare decided that is the perfect day to schedule professional development day for their staff and close it down as well. So much for a random day off to myself. So last year, we implemented Mommy/Son day at the Zoo. Typically a mix of other government working parents whose employers follow the federal holiday listing and the usual mix of SAHM’s, it is the perfect day to go as the crowds are light. It was a GREAT day.

So awesome that the tigers were roaming around.
My feet won’t reach Mom!
Hi, Mr. Sheep (his exact words)
Another big tractor to drive.
Hi, Mr. Bunny
Hmmmm… Do I like the green ones?
The big copper turtle. He didn’t need my help this year climbing on.
The perfect day together.

Crying It Out: A Response

I love when mom bloggers out there say, “I’m not trying to be judgmental.” Yet, their entire post is an entire blabbering of finger-pointing, guilt-ridden, “I’m better than you at parenting” bunch of garbage.

This is my response to THIS blog post on crying it out. No apologies for my excessive use of the F-word.

I usually LOVE this blog for its often brutal yet hilarious points of view when it comes to being a part of the mommyhood. This type of self-righteous, finger-pointing post seems out of the norm for this blog and despite the blogger’s insistence about not being judgmental, the entire thing had me gaping open-mouthed wanting to throw things and scream obscenities through my monitor. 

It was actually a great post about how her family makes it work without doing crying it out. I always find it interesting to hear how other parents are able (or not able) to get their kids to sleep (especially those that have more than one kid). It was a great post until THIS comment:
People wonder and have asked, why don’t I do Cry it Out? Plain and simple, I believe it is not healthy for the child. Children learn trust in the first 2 years of life. If we stick them in a room, turn off the lights and leave them to “self soothe” what are we teaching them? What would we do if someone did that to us? What if someone put you in a room and despite how upset you got, they just left you there for 12 hours?

My response: That’s your answer when someone asks you why you make certain parenting decisions? How about telling them, “Mind your own fucking business.” Before we tried crying it out, I was convinced if we didn’t intervene that he would cry for hours on end and nobody would sleep regardless. Imagine my surprise when we tried crying it out and Jackson NEVER cried for 12 hours straight. After going down to sleep at 7:30pm, he would usually wake around 10:30ish (and still does this to this day). The longest he ever cried in one stretch was 15 minutes. That’s it. Most of the time it was a rolling around, 3 minute whine-fest that he was barely conscious for and he would go right to sleep. Should I have gone in and picked him up, interrupting his sleep and started from square one or let him work it out and go back to sleep in a matter of minutes? At that moment was he truly in need? Plus, I got to know his cries well:

  • There is the “I’m bored and want attention” cry (where he would cry, stop and check the door to see if we were coming in and prior to cry it out, when we came in, he would dive back into bed and pretend to be sleeping. That can also be the “I’m just fucking with mommy and daddy to see how far I can push them” cry).
  • The “I have a huge crap in my diaper” cry (which we always responded to and became rare unless he had a stomach bug and then… yeah… we were there cleaning up the mess)
  • The “I woke up sick with a raging fever” cry (always responded to immediately followed by endless hours in the ER only to find out it was just another damn ear infection) 
  • And of course the “I lost my fucking nuk” cry (we could see him rubbing the sheets around him looking for it) and we always snuck in the room to get it from the just out of reach spot into his hand where he promptly stuffed it in his mouth and went back to sleep. 

With a video monitor we could always tell what was going on. As a matter of fact, I refused to allow crying it out until we got one. We could see whether or not he was just trying to manipulate us or whether he was indeed crying for need. Hey, Kim! Are you a pediatric mental health expert? Who are you to say it isn’t healthy? Because one of ten million magazines you read while pregnant told you so? Did you ever consider to read about the other side of the argument? What do you say to all those who “swore by it” and their kids have no ongoing “mental” issues? Or are all of their kids totally fucked up now and you can attribute it back to crying it out when they were babies? I can’t imagine any parent who does cry it out who doesn’t have some level of responsiveness. Fuck, we aren’t made of stone! WE KNOW OUR KIDS!!! Why? BECAUSE WE ARE GOOD PARENTS. Screw you for suggesting otherwise.
This also pissed me off:
Finally, the reason why I don’t let my babies just cry it out, is because I don’t believe parenting stops when I go to bed. I am a parent 24/7 and with that, comes nighttime parenting.

Fuck you for even suggesting that cry it out parents are not 24/7 parents. What an awful, stupid comment to make.

And to top it all off, this:
Sometimes I get just SO tired that I would give anything for one of those mythical babies that sleep all night long at 6 months old. But, I know that it comes at a price, and it is a price I am not willing to pay.

Weird… I had one of those mythical babies that slept through the night around 4 months old (we didn’t start crying it out until 6 months) we just learned and got to know what his needs were and responded accordingly. Exactly what price is it that I’m paying? 

Kim, let me tell you this: at 3 years old, Jack is a well-adjusted preschooler who LOVES his mommy and daddy even though we often let him cry at night. He trusts us, still needs us and guess what- he sleeps like a freaking champ. He LOVES his sleep. We are now heading into the overnight potty training era (which very well could last for fucking years) and yes, we are getting up with him at 3am to bring him to the toilet to take a leak. He then goes back to sleep (in his own bed… which sounds like another topic deserving of its own blog post) without another peep until morning. Teaching him how to fall asleep on his own without our coddling him was the best thing we could have done for him. We are teaching him how to function in an independent manner. What price did we pay for that again? My kid is great. I might be a hair biased, but for real, he’s a happy and wonderful kid and I certainly do not think we mentally screwed him up for letting him cry a few times.

I’m not judging anyone. I promise. Every parent has to do what works best for them. If getting up every hour all night long makes you feel better about what you are doing as a parent, then do it. If co-sleeping works for you. Do it. Hell, Jackson had a paci at night until he was almost 3. Who am I to judge? He was in his crib until 2 1/2 and could’ve gone even longer. Who am I to judge?

Crying it out is just another one of those hot-topic controversies that moms are never going to agree on, nestled right next to co-sleeping and breastfeeding (and the list goes on). There is no one universal truth or answer. At the end of the day, parents are going to make the decision that is right for them. The one that fits their family best.

Yeah, my post is a total knee-jerk reaction. It is my justification for making the decision I did in letting Jack cry it out. I’m sure Kim wrote her post for the same reasons. She got tired of explaining to people WHY she made the decision she did. Too bad she alienated and put down a shit-load of parents in the process.

Motivation Monday: The Gym Daycare

Not sure where this cute kid’s center is but it is not at my club! 

For 3 years I have avoided the child center at the gym. Many of my mom friends both on and offline have mentioned their kiddos becoming sick after spending time in the gym’s child center and it always freaked me out. I mean, he gets enough germs going to his regular daycare and now I want to shove him into more? I don’t think so. Not to mention, the poor kid is in daycare 9 hours a a day Monday through Friday. The guilt of putting him into yet another one was too much to bear.

Until a week ago.

One of the other daycare moms sent me a note on Facebook asking if I would be interested in bringing Jackson to the child care at the gym to play with his best bud. They were recently split up into different rooms at daycare and I know they miss playing with each other terribly, so how could I say no? I figured after 3 years, what could happen!

I’ll tell you what happened. Strep happened.

Of course I cannot 100% confirm that he picked it up from the child care center at the gym, but there have been no reports of strep at his regular daycare- they ALWAYS post these illness outbreak announcements on the door as if a warning to say, “Guess what? You’ll have to stay home with your sick kid soon!” He hasn’t been anywhere or around anyone else who has been exposed so I could only make the assumption that he got it from the gym.

Being our first time with him having strep, I can definitely say I am not a fan. Poor kiddo had a fever of 102-103, couldn’t (and didn’t want to) eat anything and he wanted to snuggle. All day. Okay, okay… I’ll confess, the snuggling part was wonderful. It is the part that all moms love. Even though he was insanely miserable, he was snuggled up on my lap in the recliner, his little arms around my neck. I felt needed. With a preschooler, I feel like I spend more time disciplining and teaching and get very little time for snuggling. I soaked up every second of it because I’m sure tonight, he will tell me he wants to sit by himself in HIS chair.

He is feeling better but he is still home today with his daddy having what is I’m sure a grand time. When I called to check in, daddy was teaching the kid how to play the Wii. Yikes. What was I thinking leaving them home together?? I’m kidding of course. My husband is wonderful with him. Frankly, as I sit here working my ass off all day, I find myself being insanely jealous of their skip day.

With that said, will I bring him back to the gym? Maybe to go swimming or when he’s old enough to play on the computers, play outside on the giant playground or use the climbing wall I’ll consider it. Or, until he’s old enough to not care or notice whether or not we spend time together. For now, it is more important for me to spend my time WITH him considering we only get a couple of hours together a night. Yes, that means I will have challenges finding the time for a workout, but that is my issue. Not my kid’s.

My goal this week is to find the time to get my workouts in despite the whole lack of hours in the day thing. What is your goal this week?

Are You Ever Truly Ready For Kids?

In November, I will become an Aunt for the 5th time. There is something special about being an Aunt. Before I had Jackson, I was an Auntie to two sweet boys. I adored babysitting them, going to their birthday parties and watching them grow. The best part seemed to be that I could hand them over when I had my fill. As an Aunt, you never have to deal with the hard stuff.

Last night, I was having a text conversation with my sister-in-law who is due in 7 weeks. She mentioned that she was worried about having everything she needed and “being ready” by the time baby arrives. All I could offer for advice was that somehow, it all comes together and works out. I also told her to prepare my brother for about a million trips to Target once they get home. You know, to get all the things you thought you wouldn’t need and ended up needing. I probably shouldn’t have mentioned how I had just finished up being elbow deep in a potty training poop disaster. Ooops.

I reminisced back to 3 years ago. Was I ready? Hell no. Not taking into account having Jack 3 weeks early which just so happened to be the day before we were to move into our new house and two days before my BFF was getting married, I was in no way ready for a baby to be in my world. I chuckle, because the last three years have been exactly just that. You can do all the planning in the universe to try and be ready, but what you really end up doing is playing it by ear. I’d like to take this moment to thank my mom bloggers, FF Sept/Oct 2008 mom community and slew of mommy friends who have been around to answer even the most stupid of questions for me.

I wish I could offer better baby preparedness advice. As a matter of fact, I might be a living example of what NOT to do. Keeping in mind, I had a few surprises thrown at me in the new baby department, here are a few words of wisdom:

  • Pack your hospital bag. Doesn’t matter if you are 10 weeks or 2 weeks out. Get it packed. I was not packed. I had many regrets not to mention extremely stupid items in my bag when I opened it up after 12 hours of labor. Even if it means buying a cheap travel hairdryer and curling iron. Get it packed. 
  • Buy a few newborn size outfits. Even if they tell you your baby is destined to be enormous. My poor little peanut was drowning in his 0-3 onesie on his way home. 
  • Be ready to change directions. Convinced that breastfeeding was a piece of cake, I was unprepared and uneducated on anything regarding formula when I had to go in that direction. 3 different brands/types and about a hundred trips to Target, we finally got it together. 
  • On that note. If you can’t breastfeed, don’t let ANYone make you feel bad about it. ANYone. You are mom. You know what’s best for your baby. Never forget that. 
  • Diapers. Stock up. Buy a pack every week. You can never have too many freaking diapers. 
  • Nursery not ready? Don’t sweat it. Jackson didn’t sleep in his crib until around 6 weeks (actually we didn’t even have a crib until after the first week). We had him in our room in the Pack & Play near our bed until then. The first week? I was in the living room with him while he slept (a.k.a. cried) in his Pack & Play in the billi bed (surprise! He had jaundice). I layed on the floor next to him all night long and cried. 
  • We needed help after Jack was born because we had just moved into a brand new house. Furniture still needed to be assembled. Crap needed to be put away (I think there is still crap to put away). If you want to be alone with baby after you get home don’t be afraid to tell people to go the hell away. 

The most important advice I have is to not forget about YOU. I’m not going to sugar coat it. You are going to feel like crap when you get home. No matter which way baby comes out, you’re going to feel gross. You’ll be bleeding. A lot. (P.S. Grab as many of those mesh panties from the hospital as you can… you’ll be grateful for them throughout the first week). Epidural? My back hurt for weeks. Ice packs. Avoid stairs. Oh yes. You will cry. A lot. For no reason. Advice? Keep Kleenex handy. No TV programming is safe. You’ll cry watching commercials. I feel like so many women sweat the labor and delivery and don’t even think about how crappy the postpartum weeks can be.  

Final advice? You’ll never be ready. Never. In the last few weeks, kick back, let your hubby rub your sore & gigantic swollen feet, take a deep breath and enjoy the peace and quiet while you still can.

Patience & Potty Training

I’m not sure the words “Patience” and “Potty Training” actually belong in the same sentence let alone the same breath, but in order for one to be successful the other needs to happen.

No doubt, my husband and I butt heads on a lot of things concerning our son. It seems the older he gets, the more we disagree about. One thing in particular we have argued about is potty training. I paged through a number of books from Guerilla Tactics for Potty Training (okay, that wasn’t the name but I was horrified by the suggestions for how to potty train) to Potty Train in a day. The book that made the most sense and I feel has given us the most useful suggestions has been “Stress Free Potty Training” by Sara Au and Peter Stavinoha, Ph.D. It recommends identifying your child’s personality type and then giving recommended strategies for the type of child you have. Let’s face it, every child is different so why would you try to potty train them the same way?

We have worked on being patient and letting Jackson call the shots when it comes to potty training. He could have CARED LESS about it until a little over a month ago. We also offered him the option but he vehemently said he wanted nothing to do with the toilet. Out of the blue, I showed up at school to pick him up and they said he had been going every hour. Color me shocked.

Turns out losing his best friend to preschool was his motivation. He will not get to move into the preschool room until he is fully potty trained.

This motivated us as parents to start getting more aggressive with him. We had a couple weeks of setbacks with my having surgery and his birthday bash- neither good times to be putting underwear on him. A week ago we just went ahead and did it. There are accidents of both kinds if you catch my drift and it wears on my patience to have to constantly have new pants and underwear readily available for him to change into. While it takes everything in me not to get angry and scold him for the accidents, I know disciplining him is only going to be a setback. So in my most CALMING mommy voice, I explain to him that his poop and pee needs to go on the toilet and we head off to the bathroom to clean and start over. I remind my husband to remain calm as well. Not an easy task when there is amazingly stinky underwear to be cleaned up and a puddle of pee on our lovely wood floors.

Day by day, Jackson’s getting the hang of the potty thing. We have found he is very much able to hold his potty longer than the meager every 30 minutes on the potty we have been forcing him into and have started to extend that time a little longer every day. Poop on the other hand… I am at a loss. He’s just not getting it. We told him there are animals waiting on the other side of the drain that are hungry for his poop. No go. We’re trying to make pooping awesome and hilarious and hoping that he will find it so much fun to take a crap that it is all he’ll want to do.

So far we are still waiting for him to find pooping to be awesome.

A Fork In My Road

I’m sure you all thought this would be a post about food, right?

Well, I have come to a point where I have reached a fork in the road. Not the fork you might envision.

Do I continue to pursue my career or become a SAHM.

I am at a good place with my current job and company. Being at a small company, I’ve had the opportunity to really get my hands dirty and get a ton of experience doing a variety of things from design to PR to advertising. As I head towards my 5 year anniversary with this company and in this position, I struggle with opportunity. I’d be a pretty big liar if I didn’t say money was a driver and a motivator. I am currently at the top of my pay grade in my current position with zero opportunity for bonus or advancement which is one of the biggest negatives about working at a small company. My boss has been at the company for 10 years and is unlikely to leave anytime soon which leaves me to continue hitting my head against a fairly large brick wall in terms of moving up the corporate ladder. In my brief stint managing our marketing department while the boss was away on maternity leave, I absolutely LOVED it. Was invigorated by it. Most of all. I was GOOD at it. If I sit around here to wait my turn, I will be waiting a long time. A REALLY long time. No joking, like waiting upwards of 20 years. I’m willing to be patient and pay my dues, but even I have my limits when it comes to standing still or moving forward.

Then I start thinking about Jack and what it means if I start kicking up the heat in my career. It means longer hours, travel and likely some stress. But it could also mean more money and financial stability, being able to travel as a family to more exotic locations as he gets older and more money to save towards college and retirement.

My heart is always with my son. I think about what it meant for me to be able to just go home after school and hang out with my Mom who was a SAHM for many years when I was growing up and how much easier it was for her and for the family to have her there every day. I wouldn’t have to pay for him to be in an after hours program. We wouldn’t have to fight about who would stay home from work when he gets sick or how we were going to balance school days off and summer vacation. I would get more than 2 hours with him a night. I could volunteer and get back into some of the hobbies I love such as music. I would have a clean house. I could actually go to the gym every day. I could keep up with this blog! Once Jack gets into sports or activities, I would be available to cart him around. I could help other working parents in my neighborhood who struggle with knowing what to do with their kids after school or someone to get them from point A to point B.

Then I start thinking… is having an only child enough to stay home? Would I be bored? Would my career be over and would I be able to get back after what could be a 10 year hiatus? Would I miss working? Would this put too much stress on my husband to be the ultimate breadwinner and if so, how would that affect our marriage?

While I wouldn’t consider becoming a SAHM until Jack starts Kindergarten- he’s about to start Preschool at a great (a.k.a. expensive) school and I don’t want to disrupt his progress- I still have to make a decision soon. Finding the right, perfect job to fit my career goals will take time and if I’m going to do it, I need to start immediately. The time to make a decision is now and I am completely torn in two.

Working moms: Would you stay home if you had the opportunity? 

SAHM’s: What do you miss about your former job/career? How did choosing to stay home change your life for better or for worse?

Wordless Wednesday: Preschool Swinging & Rapping

To say that I wasn’t comfortable with how high daddy was pushing Jack on the swing is an understatement. Yes, my reaction at the end was completely overdramatized.

I truly have no idea how he picked up and learned this song…

Efforts Derailed

In all of my weight loss efforts over the last couple of years, the one thing that derails me every single time is illness.

Let’s face it, the 2 year old brings home germs and it seems I get sick from every single one of them. I can usually expect up to a week away from exercise and my eating habits take a turn for the worse.

Once again, I’m being derailed. This time, it could be a bit longer though. Earlier this week, after experiencing some excruciating pain, my doctor discovered that I had a ruptured ovarian cyst. To say it hurt is an understatement. Part of my treatment plan is of course to limit any “bouncy” exercise. So, no running for up to 3 weeks. Kind of a bummer seeing as I was in the heart of training for a 5K. Talk about derailed.

To top off the fun of this, my doctor put me on birth control for the next 5 months. Continuously. As in stopping my cycle altogether in the hopes of preventing another cyst from coming back. I HATE birth control. Always have. It has been so long since I started birth control that I forgot how much the first month being on it totally sucks. The headache, nausea, cramping… oh weird, those are exactly the same symptoms of BEING PREGNANT. What a cruel trick to play on someone who was just told that “having more babies will not be in my best interest at this point.” As I said in my last post, it is one thing to make the decision on my own to only have one child, it is quite another to have the decision taken away from me altogether.

I’m not thrilled about feeling so sick. Just when I have started to see the results of all my fitness efforts. I am hoping I can get control over the side effects. A little Unisom/B6 combo for my nausea. A little motrin for my headache (likely to not make a dent in it, but oh well). I am praying that “the pill” doesn’t cause weight gain. I am praying that these side effects go away so I can live my life.

I guess the one good thing out of all of this is closure. We can now just proceed with our life as a little family. We’ll be able to afford great things. I can focus on getting healthy.

See? It’s not all so bad. Right?