Thursday, August 28, 2008
I'm beginning to wonder, though, where that line is between parenting and brainwashing.
The peanut can say, "Go Heels" and thinks that all basketball highlights are of the Heels. We lovingly refer to basketball head coach Roy Williams and former basketball coach Dean Smith as Papa Roy and Papa Dean, respectively.
He shouts "Go Red Sox!" And when he eats yogurt, he even requests his Red Sox bib - unprompted - instead of the other, more easily wiped off versions. He can identify pictures of Big Papi, Ted Williams, Carlton Fisk. He can actually say Bobby Doerr and Carl Yazstremski (oh yeah, he can say it). He can identify Fenway Park and say it with the appropriate lack of "r" in Park. He knows Pesky's Pole and what a World Series trophy looks like (thank goodness!).
And before Barack Obama's historical acceptance of the democratic nomination for president, we called peanut's grandpa so peanut could chant "Go Obama!" for him. And boy, did that kid get into it after our cheers of praise.
Growing up, I think I knew that my parents were Democrats, but when it came down to election day, they never would say who they had voted for. I remember my sister and I trying to trick my dad into telling us each November. It wasn't until we were old enough to hold our own in a political discussion about our own ideas that I really remember them being obvious and direct about their feelings on an election or issue. They understood, and taught my sister and I, that it was an extremely important and extremely personal decision. Similarly, the hubby and I are not vocal outside our four walls about our political beliefs. I feel that everyone has reasons for casting their vote for the person they choose and do not think it is appropriate to insinuate that those reasons are "wrong" even if I choose to vote another way.
Do I agree with everything that either candidate says? Most certainly not. Do I agree with every stance of one political party? Nope. That's what makes voting in this country such an enormous responsibility - you do have to look at the issues that are important to you and your family and make a choice you can live with.
I want my child to learn to think for himself and make his own decisions. So at what point do I stop putting words in his mouth? Right now, it's a fun party trick. He's two years old and certainly won't remember his verbal support of one candidate or team over another.
I do not want to raise a carbon copy of myself or the hubby. What's wonderful about getting to know peanut is how he's taken the best of both of us and enhanced it into this mind and being that is so beyond us. It's like "High Heeled Mama and the Hubby Version 2.0."
Still I take a moment at times like this and hope that I don't do anything to screw it up.
Oh, this parenting business is so complicated. If anyone still has their manual hanging around, I'd love to borrow it. The hospital appears to have forgotten to give me one at check-out.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I started to think about this and realize it could be a different six words every day.
For instance, some days those words would be:
Other days sound more like this:
But the six words I'd like to describe my life:
There you have it. I'm supposed to tag five more folks, but I'm really bad at it and hate to tag all the same folks each time. So, again, consider yourself tagged and feel free to play along.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
With the remnants of Fay dropping much needed rain on our region, we have been driven in doors. I honestly can't remember the last time we were not able to play outside. We play at the playground across the street from our house every day. We feed the ducks and play at another local park at least twice a week. We're at the pool. We draw on the sidewalks with chalk. We play in the sand and water table on the back patio. If it's really hot, we're out early in the morning. In the winter, as long as it's above freezing, we can go outside. And we do.
We are outside. Every day.
And we're a better family for it. Peanut loves being outside. Even as a newborn, just swaying on the front porch in the fresh air would calm down any crying jag. As an infant, we'd sit on the porch waiting for the hubby to come home from work and I'd count the cars for peanut and he'd smile. Dinner prep always goes more smoothly if we've been outside at some point during the day. Nearly any tantrum can be stopped, any attitude turned around (at least for a half-hour) with a quick trip to the swings or the backyard.
We work out twice a week at an outdoor park and have not had a class canceled due to rain since March. Since MARCH. And now, it's been raining since yesterday. We've finger painted. We made cookies. We made a fort in the closet this morning (although that was because of the tornado warning that popped up all of a sudden during our breakfast routine). We made block towers. We've read stories. We made a trip to the post office in a brief break in the deluge.
I feel totally guilty that I'm stressing out about what to do with my kid inside all day. But I'm running out of ideas. A day inside isn't inherently a bad thing, it's the pressure of knowing that if we have a major meltdown later, I don't have an attitude escape plan.
But as I type this, the sun is starting to break through. I see a patch of blue sky. Ah, sunny salvation! Move over Milli Vanilli, Annie's got a new song for this mama.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
I'm not going to get into the nitty gritty. I'm working on all that stuff myself. But in the midst of my contemplation, I have had a simple tune running through my head. Something I can't seem to get rid of. Something that no matter how worked up I get that I can't find the solutions or the ability to let go of my annoyed feelings, it always makes me laugh and I remember that there is always more than one way to get somewhere.
So, on this Sunday afternoon as I sit pondering while the peanut naps and the hubby is running errands and I procrastinate again about editing something that actually has a deadline, I thought I'd share.
Enjoy the one-way trip down memory lane:
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I recently came across the topic for a monthly luncheon meeting of a professional organization I used to belong to back in my "working" life. The topic is an interesting one and fairly relevant - it's focused on the impact social media (like ye here blogosphere) has on public relations (you know, that segment of professional communications that used to pay the bills around here when the hubby was in grad school).
I'm very tempted to go.
But I keep finding excuses why I shouldn't:
I don't really work in PR anymore. (Although that doesn't mean because I'm not today I won't be tomorrow or next week or next month or next year).
What would I say during all those small talk conversations? Yeah, hey, I don't really have a job, just a mom with an interest in blogging. Here's my card...oh wait, no cards. Hmmm...I do have some Cheerio crumbs and a few wet wipes, will that work?
The lunch costs nearly $50...I feel guilty if I spend even $8.00 on lunch during the week when I have perfectly good peanut butter and jelly at home.
Who would I sit with? I've been out of the loop for two years and was only starting to get established in the local loop before I left it.
What would I even wear? Could I pull off wearing heels in the middle of a mommy day?
I've been wondering a lot lately about what's next, career wise, and when. I haven't come up with any answers yet, but I think wading back in will be a much better course than jumping into the raging ocean. Especially considering I'm not committed to even going swimming right now.
Maybe lunch is the answer. A nice way to check out what's going on, maybe learn a few things, meet some new contacts, maybe drive a little traffic to the old http address.
So, I'll brush up on my small talk, print those cards I've been meaning to print and raid the closet for something resembling a professional look.
And at least I won't have to dodge flying noodles and sippy cups. I hope.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
* I like green beans. A week later, no green beans, no green beans! I only want broccoli. Until I can't stand that anymore and I only want peas until...
* I nap every day for three hours at 1pm. Until I don't. On the day that you really have a lot you need to do while I'm sleeping.
* I love to color, unless you ask me to draw Nana a picture in her thank you note.
* I don't know how to crawl out of my crib until you write about it in your blog and I get to thinking and then suddenly, I can! Ha Ha! I shall bound out of the bed and come running into your room early Sunday morning proclaiming my success "Peanut. Out. Bed!"
Thanks for keeping me on my toes, kiddo. I promise to never, ever, ever mention something I'm proud of you for NOT doing because I know you will suddenly decide you want to do the opposite.
Will that work with potty training? Hmmmmm...
If you're reading, peanut, I hope you never learn how to use the potty, particularly any time soon since your daddy and I just love, love, love changing your smelly messes.
Although if my hypothesis is correct - that just when I think I've figured it out he switches it up on me - then that potty statement will be the first thing I've said in weeks that peanut actually decides to listen to and I'll be changing diapers until he hits kindergarten.
Friday, August 15, 2008
But what really has me stumped, is how do these parents recognize the talent in their children (okay, well maybe it was easier for Nastia whose parents were excellent gymnasts in their own right)? How many of us were possible Olympic athletes or ground-breaking scientists or musical geniuses who weren't aware of the potential within? Or is it a given that if you have the talent, it will somehow reveal itself? That this type of passion bubbles up to the surface whether someone taps the well or not?
Will I know what peanut's hidden talents are? Will I recognize some kind of physical or mental prowess that I haven't had experience with? What is the line between encouraging a hobby, talent, sport and pressuring? I have a hard enough time figuring out my own talents not to mention someone else's.
I suppose I have some time to figure it out. Right now, peanut's special talents include the noodle toss, nekkid baby hallway laps, and crib flop. Last time I checked, these aren't Olympic medal worthy.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
The lovely Goddess in Progress has tagged me with a new meme. And since I'm feeling lazy and watching last night's women's gymnastics finals on the DVR (yes, I already know what happens...that's what I get for falling asleep on the couch at 9:30), I'll take a stab.
Since I'm horrible at picking folks to tag, consider yourself tagged. All of you. If you want to join the fun, please do. If not, no harm, no foul! So, here we go:
“6 UN-spectacular things about me”
1. Link the person who tagged you.
2. Mention the rules on your blog.
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours.
4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them.
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.
1. I am the oldest of two (just me and my sister) and the fourth cousin in line on both my dad and my mom's side. I just realized that.
2. I am really bad at math. Always have been. It all goes back to the second grade where I somehow got my greater than and less than signs backwards, so when we took the "refresher" test at the start of third grade to see where everyone stood, I got them all wrong. And since then, well, math has been a mental block. Somehow, someway, by taking the AP Calculus test (remember #1? I was the oldest, therefore the overachiever...but it was the "less hard" of the two Calculus courses offered in my high school) I managed to place out of math in college. I'm still not convinced it wasn't some kind of scoring error, but I certainly wasn't going to ask for a recount.
3. I have worn a sling in my life twice - once for each arm. When I was four year's old, the tip of my right ring finger was cut off in a freak sandbox accident. It was sewn back on, but the weeks that I was immobilized in a sling to keep the blood flow level were horrible for a four year old. I couldn't color well. My parents took me to a petting zoo (with one hand? hello? what were they thinking?) and I was totally off balance trying to avoid those over-aggressive goats!
When I was in the fifth grade, I flipped off a jungle gym and broke my left arm up near my shoulder. I passed out on the walk from the playground to the nurses office - yes, the school should have called an ambulance, but it was a substitute PE teacher. Ended up in another sling for a lot longer as the arm healed. Not fun.
4. I can pee for a long, long time. My sister thinks it's hilarious when we're out and I have to go. I am always in there forever. I recently realized it might go back to my potty training. Apparently, early in my potty training, mom took me to out to run errands and didn't realize until we got home from doing nearly four hours of stores that I hadn't gone. She was prepared to clean up an accident, but instead, I ran in the house straight for the potty. I'm sure that was my first really long pee. I guess that first one set a precedent for my bladder.
5. I have never traveled outside the country. Well, I went to Juarez, Mexico while in El Paso for the Sun Bowl my freshman year in college. But all the velvet Elvis and creepy guys trying to lure the blond girls into their vans made it more of an icky experience than a cultural one.
6. I love to check the mail. Email, snail mail. Whatever. I love checking both. That moment of excitement before you open the virtual or real box knowing that someone you care about might have taken a moment to write. Don't get me wrong, I love email. I rely on it for day-to-day contact. But whenever I get a card or letter in the mailbox, love it! It doesn't happen much anymore, does it? I try to send out a few to folks to show them that I'm thinking about them in the hopes that the mail karma will eventually find its way back to box.
So there you have it. Six un-spectacular things about me. Back to a few spectacular and un-spectacular performances from last night's games. Maybe tonight I'll be able to stay up to actually watch a few events live.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
And now, for the first time since Friday morning, I feel like I can exhale. It was a wonderful weekend full of giggles and joy and excitement. Our little guy is turning into quite a big boy and the trains were a hit. Not just a hit. A total home run.
And, right on schedule, he's upped the tantrums:
Or maybe we're both just so exhausted that we're easily prone to outbursts of crankiness. At least I can say he's developmentally on track...I guess.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
I have not been one of those "together" moms who writes monthly letters to her children. In a way, what I do here a few days a week is the same thing, but not nearly as eloquent and directly loving to my offspring as are the letters I read to your peers. Sorry about that. You will learn, and hopefully it will be a shock to you, that your mother is far from perfect. The only thing perfect is her love for you, the manifestations of that love, not always as pristine, but the unconditional, heart-bursting, want to munch on you and listen to you giggle for eternity love feelings? Oh yeah. They are P-E-R-F-E-C-T!
This last year has been quite the ride. Year one was just all about getting you ready for the big changes to come this year.
You eat anything and everything. Well, sort of. You'll only eat fresh green beans (not frozen or canned and they should be crispy, but not too crispy). You LOVE LOVE LOVE broccoli. You haven't met a fruit you didn't like. Chicken is okay, some days better than others. Pizza is your favorite food. I'm not sure if it's a favorite to your taste buds or just a favorite to say so you ask for it every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Don't worry, you don't eat it nearly that often because mama has willpower! Chocolate does not appear to agree with you totally, so you don't eat it much. But you do love sweets - ice cream, cookies, cake. You get that from your mama. You love your milk and are particular about when you do or don't want ice in your water. When you're in a good mood, you do an excellent job drinking from a big boy cup. You are getting more and more skilled using your fork and spoon. Ironically, you are more accurate when you use your left hand (but you tend towards your right hand when you color or draw), although you'll try with both.
You recently started singing, which your daddy and I think is the most adorable thing ever. Your current favorite songs are "Vegetable Town" by the Bare Naked Ladies and the ABC song, although you sing it like this: "ABCDE mumble mumble M mumble TICKLE ME!" Adorable. Although you'll repeat just about anything you hear in a song, including that annoying "dot com" in the Expedia commercials you see when mama's trying to sneak in some Good Morning America.
You love to run. Your favorite activity is to run around the house before bath changing "naked baby run around, naked baby run around". The squeals of delight make us laugh every time, and it's a favorite amongst our house guests. You can't quite jump yet. It's a little silly to watch, but you'll get there. You are very particular about whether you are "hopping" or "jumping" although they both look the same to an outside observer. You are a climber. Mommy's little monkey. Nothing is too high, too bumpy, too strange to climb. You climb on your mommy and daddy. You climb on the sofa cushions. You climb up on the bed now. You climb out of your Pack and Play, but so far not the crib (thank you for that). You climb all over any and all pieces of playground equipment, whether they are designed for climbing or not.
You are obsessed with tunnels. I don't know why, but everything is a tunnel. Driving through some dense tree cover: tunnel. Hiding under the covers: tunnel. Whatever makes you happy.
You are also currently obsessed with trains. Choo-choos. That go "whoo whoo". It's non-stop.
You love animals. You love identifying animals. The Zoo membership Grandma and Grandpa got us for Christmas has been a wonderful thing and we've definitely gotten their money's worth. Panda bears are a big favorite as is the kimodo dragon. We saw him flick his tongue out like a snake once and now you do a "dragon" imitation whenever we even mention the zoo. The elephants and other big animals are also a big draw, but the playground, train and carousel are also favorites.
You have friends and enjoy playing with them in a sort of follow the leader type of play. The leader often changes and you all seem to communicate changes in the game with a glance or a simple hand gesture. You are starting to play with stuffed animals and showing empathy towards them. You'll share snacks with them, kiss their owies and tuck them in. As far as I can tell, you are a very caring individual and this mommy is doing her best to encourage that behavior.
Not that you don't have a few bugaboos. You are in another food-throwing phase that is deliberate and annoying. We are constantly in a power struggle to get you to not throw your food around and then to pick it up when you're done. Timeout is a game and I'm not sure how we're both going to manage the transition from one minute to two since you barely sit their for one (and that's after chasing you around the house and placing and replacing you on your little time out mat what seems like 100 times).
You HATE having your teeth brushed. Can't stand it. It's torture on all of us. I'm not sure if it's because you still have teeth coming in or what (because you are seriously the world's slowest teether - you have four top and four bottom in the front and some molars and are finally filling in the gaps between those molars and the front teeth). I shudder to think of the first time we have to take you to a dentist (oh goodness. Do we need to do that soon?).
You make a new face - your smiley face - where you scrunch your eyes shut, wrinkle your nose and give the craziest wide lipped smile I've ever seen. This new face is so you. The you I saw when you were laid on my belly, slippery and still attached, wailing at this new world. The you that we caught on video tape when you were nine months old having a full on giggle fest. The you that snuggles and squeezes and kisses. The you who lights up when you've made your mommy and daddy laugh.
Every day is a dream. I don't remember my life without you. You turned the hubby into a daddy. A fabulous daddy. You've magnified what was good about your daddy and I and our marriage and slowly molded a family out of it. You make the last two years seem like forever and like a nanosecond all at the same time.
Your mommy and daddy love you so much, peanut. Happy Birthday to my big boy!
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Being a good mom during the baby days meant I kept peanut fed, clean, warm, comforted. As he grew, it meant encouraging new skills, easing hurts when he'd fall, introducing him to new things, keeping him engaged.
Today? Being a good mom means apparently reading the same Thomas the Train stories over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and...well, you get it.
Thomas is serious kid crack. I don't get it. Peanut was only introduced to Thomas recently when we checked out a Thomas book from the library. Silly mommy. The kid is obsessed with trains. Thomas is about a train. I thought I was being a genius. Nope. Now, when we see an orange train on another toy we have, that's Annie and Clarabell (you know, Thomas' passenger cars, although Clarabell can carry passengers, baggage and The Guard). At the toy store, playing at the train table, peanut HAS to have Thomas. And is still telling me, two days later, that "Thomas choo-choo fun!"
He hasn't seen the show or had any other interaction with Thomas other than these stories. How in the world did they foster such obsession so quickly? I'm stumped. I wish I could figure out the formula so I could create something and make millions of dollars on books, merchandising, animation rights.
Of course, that insinuates I'll have time between reading stories about Thomas fishing, racing Bertie the bus and getting stuck in the snow. That's not looking too likely these days.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Does that even make sense?
The past week, I have felt more myself than I have in a long time. A really long time. A lot longer than I thought.
It all comes down to the fact that birth control pills and my body are apparently not a good combination. I knew this from an experience in college, but was talked into the mini-pill at my six-week post-partum visit. I voiced my concerns, but was assured this would be an easy transition. And it was. I had no problems, no side effects. Life was grand. Until my cycles started many months later.
Having a period is no fun. Ever. Having a period every two weeks was inconvenient. Ridiculous. Completely unfair. A unique brand of torture. Insert months of phone calls to the doctor's office, a visit, and two different pills later and we finally got that monthly visitor to live up to the "monthly" name.
And that's where things start to get fuzzy. I can't even pinpoint what happened when. I just know I wasn't feeling myself this winter. I was anxious a lot, but there always seemed something I could blame that on. I wasn't depressed, but I wasn't exactly secure or happy with myself. It's like I was leaking confidence. I pinned that on missing work. I was losing weight. Well, I'd been working out. I got headaches but it was probably sinus-related.
Then I got the migraine. It seemed to be the catalyst. I decided it was the pill and stopped taking it. I thought that was the end of it. I'd move forward and be fine. It almost seemed like that was happening. Almost.
Then came the 4th of July, I had a week-long anxiety attack. A week of an increased heart rate. A week of not being able to take a full breath. A week of disrupted sleep. A week of not eating well. After a trip to urgent care (where I was told to go home and have some tea - "decaf, of course") and a trip to a new general practitioner. After blood work because I was convinced I had a hyperthyroid problem. After making sure it wasn't a change in my mitral valve prolapse. After a freak-out pregnancy test because the last time I felt that keyed up and nauseous I was knocked up (which I am not). After, after, after...there were no real answers. The doctor told me it was probably generalized anxiety or a continued hormonal imbalance as my body tried to get back on track.
Once the panic symptoms subsided, every day has been better than the day before as each day I continue to get farther and farther away from the last day I took the last pill. Other physical symptoms I have been dealing with for months have started to clear up. And I finally feel like myself. I'm clear headed. I'm more in control. I'm lighter. I'm feeling balanced again. I'm relieved.
I'm annoyed because I feel like I lost months. I feel like I should have known better. I feel like what's wrong with me - other women take these pills all the time and have no problems.
But no looking back. I have a baby birthday weekend to look forward to. And I am. Looking forward. Excited without being nervous. Hopeful. Happy. Content.
So this is my apology if my posts have had a tinge of all this nonsense coming through. If they were at all whiny or bleh or whatever, depending on how I was feeling that day, I am sorry. Thanks for sticking with me. Just having this space to come to and continue to try to work out these issues as I was stuck all winter (and spring and early summer) helped immensely. Thanks to my family who loved without questions, supported without judgement. Thanks to the hubby for being my rock. Thanks to the peanut for never noticing that his mommy felt like she was treading water some days.
Time to break out the high heels again. Just for kicks.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
But some times, I know some parenting messages are getting through.
Scene: Saturday night. We had called High Heeled Sis so that her beloved nephew could sing to her on the phone (a new skill of peanut's). Her hubby's in L.A. working at the X Games, so we thought she might like some humorous company over the phone. While chatting, she tells us that peanut's Uncle "Nonny" is actually sitting atop the BMX half pipe assisting in some scoring. After serenading my sister, we pop on the set to find peanut's uncle.
The hubby and I were able to spot him, but I think peanut was a little skeptical that the flash in a ball cap and white sunglasses was really his uncle. He was, however, enamored with the bicycles and would narrate the event: "orange bicycle high," "bicycle fast," etc...
In case you've never actually watched these crazy games, there tends to be at least one injury per event where you wonder about these people's sanity. Particularly because they tend to look half dead on the half pipe only to eventually spring up and insist on immediately doing again what just brought them within inches of their mortality. WHAT?!
Of course, this happens while we are watching. The specific incident wasn't all that bad. It was a bad fall off a bike that was careening through the air, and apparently the biker knocked his noggin a bit on the way down, but it appeared that it was in a helmet protected zone. I held out hope he was going to be fine, but told peanut that the man fell off his bicycle and had an owie and that's why mommy was never going to let peanut ride a bicycle like that.
Sure enough, the rider was fine and ended up doing some crazy moves that even impressed me (who has no idea what a 540, full out, Superman, whatever means) mere minutes after shaking it off.
Later, after peanut's bath, in our typical narrate the day portion of the bedtime routine, peanut pipes up:
"Uh-oh bicycle. Owie head."
That's ride, peanut. Owie head. Let's hope that sticks. Oh, I'll support my child to let him be whatever he wants to be and try whatever he wants to try (within reason) as he grows up. But it certainly serves my own interest if he grows up not wanting to try behaviors that cause me sleepless nights and ulcers.
We'll know if he really heard me the next time he sees his bicycle out back -- will he run back into the house in fear or hop on trying to pop a wheelie while giggling maniacally?
Knowing peanut, I think I already know the answer. Better pass the Pepcid.