Category Archives: Mom Stuff

3 to 6…

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.. months that is.

Having two kids is a bit tough, just in case nobody warned you. I never got warned. Well, I kinda did, but seeing that we had an easier second baby than my first, I thought we were golden. I forgot that I had an active toddler, and then she decided to drop her nap this summer. Yeah, wasn’t a good scene.

I’ve come up with a theory that every child that you have after one, add on three additional months before things start to feel “normal.” For example, everyone says that after you have your first, month three starts to get better. Baby has a schedule, some are sleeping thru the night and maybe you have started taking regular showers. For baby #2, add another three. So, for 6 months, expect your life to be hell.

Hell may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I can tell you if I didn’t reach out and I didn’t have people around me to slap me in the face with “there’s something off with you” then one can start to go to the dark side. Luckily, I have a very supportive husband, Facebook (believe it or not) and amazing doctors that were able to bring some light to my life.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids and it’s great having our little #2 with all his smiles, laughs and fun.. and it’s an amazing sight to see both of the kids interacting with each other, but sometimes mama needs a little help.

Just thought I’d write this short blog in case someone else was dealing with the same thing and just happened to Google something and this came up. You will get better. Talk to your docs, get help and surround yourself with people that love you.. it only goes up from there.

Oh and check this out.. and don’t faint while reading it 🙂

Judge and Jury

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(DISCLAIMER: Please note that this blog will basically be a judgmental rant on someone I was around today. Sorry. I decided it was better to write it here to get it out of my system instead of boring friends and unloading on my husband. The only people who would truly understand are those that were there to witness this, but in any case, I’m still writing about it as, honestly. I’m thoroughly pissed off. You have been warned.)

I do my best to not be a judgmental person, but I learned very clearly in the Landmark Forum that human beings are on automatic pilot when it comes to being judgmental. We all do it, but it’s what we do with those thoughts that really counts, I guess. Most of us, I would think, tend to judge and then go to the next step in our day. There are some times when we may verbally judge to someone’s face, complain about a person to someone else or maybe just let it bother us. I’m in the latter category today.

I do have to say it kills me sometimes, not only how judgmental I am, but more importantly, how the actions or words of others tend to affect me. Hence, the reason for this blog.

This morning I brought my daughter to her weekly class at Isis. She loves this class, as do I. It’s the last room with the teacher as the parents wait in the building for an hour. It’s a good break for me as I get to chat with the other parents (mostly moms) and great for Jackie as she gets to be with her friends and gain some additional independence and self-esteem–a win-win.

Jackie has been in this particular class with mostly the same kids for 9 months. This term, a new little boy was added to the group, which I thought was great. It’s good to bring in new students for all involved. The established kids get to learn what it is to include a new person and the new person gets to learn about assertiveness and how to make new friends. The teacher is there to facilitate all of this and, in my opinion, we have one of the best instructors that Isis has to offer.

When this new little boy started, his dad brought him to class. This is very different as mostly moms are bringing the kiddos as moms are typically the stay at homes, but in this economy, I’ve been seeing more stay at home dads these days. It was a great change of pace and initially good conversation. It wasn’t within 2 minutes of meeting this new dad, however, that I started to have questions. He seemed more anxious than his son starting this class. He was concerned that all the other kids “knew each other” and seemed to think that his son would be excluded from the others (again, this is why there is a teacher there!). I reassured him that our instructor was one of the best and not to worry. His son may need a bit of time to acclimate, but knowing my daughter and the others in the class, I knew he’d be fine.

The dad was still very concerned and actually asked my daughter to “please include him” and then later told me that due to his son’s age (he’s usually the youngest.. FYI, my daughter is too), and therefore has some adjustment issues (HUH??). He also said he was shy and everything else you could say around that word. I still reassured him that he’d be fine and our kids were very nice and inclusive.

I was happy to see that I was right.

Things seemed to be going well all these weeks. His son was laughing and playing with the others each week, didn’t seem anxious or misplaced at all and generally was having fun.

What continually seemed odd was that Dad stayed away from us other moms across the room. Granted, there wasn’t enough large seats where we sit, but we continually said that we’d bring a seat over, etc. He continually said he wanted to sit BY THE DOOR in case his son got upset and bolted. Bolted? The door is shut and once again, THERE’S A TEACHER THERE. These instructors who are chosen to teach this class tend to be the most educated in child education and have kids themselves. This is only an hour class and designed to assist your child to move to the next level, which is usually preschool. Our instructor can handle it.

This dad has kept his distance, has had limited conversations with us, leaves immediately after class when the other kids tend to play in the play kitchen area of the building, and still seems to have a concern. Don’t get me wrong, he hasn’t come across egotistical, elitist or anything like that, but he’s definitely being deliberate regarding where he sits. As an aside, I nurse my son each week I’m there and every time I do, Dad is generally on the phone–by the door. Most conversations I’ve overheard are general, but this week’s was an exception. He was speaking in a low tone so people couldn’t hear, was making statements as he was looking into the room thru the small window in the shut door. I was a bit perplexed–had something happened?

Before I went to nurse, I made small talk as I always do. I love Isis and feel like I have an obligation to bring new people in as we’ve been taking classes there since my daughter was 6 weeks old (she’s three now). It’s a great place and I want everyone to enjoy it and have the same experiences I have had. Making a bit of small talk is just nice in general and I’d always hoped it may make him feel more at home and possibly join us on the other side of the building one week. Dad seemed fine with our 1-2 minutes of talking about his book and I went on my way.

It was after that that I heard part of the phone call. When I was done nursing, I was completely floored to find him talking to my mom friend about our instructor and his dissatisfaction with how she was treating his son. WHAT?? Were we talking about the same person? Although when I walked up it seemed that he was at the end of his rant, but I had heard enough. He said that the instructor seemed to be “singling him (his son) out” and at one point “she picked him up and placed him down.. I don’t dig that. She’s treating him like he’s retarded.” Retarded???? I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was wondering what he was seeing or hearing as I trust this woman with my daughter to the highest degree. Now, I do have to say I tend to be a different type of parent. If I trust whoever is in charge, I don’t care if they need to physically move my daughter from place to place, reprimand her if needed, etc. Some parents get crazy over that and maybe he’s one of them, but I think he’s totally not clear on what this class is about and what the teacher has to do to keep the class at a level that it doesn’t get out of hand (e.g., stopping one student from continually running around the classroom so other students will be safe).

I just couldn’t believe my ears. I asked my mom friend who had basically had the entire conversation with him what was going on. We were both confused. I did tell her about the Isis policy regarding classes with parents IN the class. Teachers are not to touch the kids in the class, nor are the other parents. It’s up to the parent to redirect their child, etc. so that everyone is safe. But our class is the exception.

After our brief conversation she ran over to Dad to encourage him to talk to our instructor. It was obvious that he was looking and listening to what our teacher was doing thru some filter and he had totally misinterpreted what she was trying to do. I asked her when she came back if he agreed and she didn’t say that he did, but she hoped for the best. I then asked her what we should do. What if he doesn’t say anything to her? Do we say anything? Now that I knew this information and was part of his little rant, I wasn’t sure if I could keep my mouth shut. I was hoping that at least this week Dad would let his son come and play and talk to our instructor. Find some resolution and be able to end our session next week complete and happy that his son was part of the class… or, even choose not to come back; that maybe this wasn’t the best class for his son, but at least got some closure. Unfortunately, he just bolted as usual.

I debated for about 10 seconds on whether I was going to ask our instructor if he said anything. I walked over and asked and she told me he hadn’t. As I was talking I felt like I was being a tattle tale, but I had to follow my gut. I felt she needed to know, not to say anything to the Dad, but just to be aware. Was there something she could change with his son? Was there something she could say to the Dad to make him feel better? In the end, we both agreed there’s only so much one can do but if someone is not willing to open up, share or even complain. No changes can be made if there’s no communication.

After our conversation, I felt good about saying something, but also realized how fearful we are as human beings. Although I don’t like conflict, I tend to try to take it on as much as possible. I am not immune to fear, especially when it comes to close friends, but I do my best to try to get resolution on as many things as I can to clear the space. But, I think so many people are just willing to walk away and be mad, never getting resolution and then a filter is created for the next class they take their kid to, whether it’s the same place or not!

I’ve fantasized on what I would have said if I was ready for his comments today. I would have been straight with him because in the end, I feel he’s doing damage to his son. I could really care less about him, but his son seems like a cool kid and still happy. If he starts getting Dad’s energy and ideas about how shy he is and how young he is and how hard it is for him to acclimate to new surroundings, well then, he’ll probably end up that way. Fearful of life.

These Isis classes have been so instrumental to my daughter and I attribute so much to them.. I have no idea where I’d be without them and what Jackie would “look like” without all these great teachers and instruction.. not to mention the connections I’ve made with other moms.

I left Isis today pretty mad. Wondering if he’ll even come back next week and if he does will I even say anything? I’ll have to see how I’m feeling and who’s around to do it as I wouldn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, but I’ll just have to go with my gut.

For those that got this far and are parents, I have a request.. if you’re upset with something, just say something. Whether it’s in your life, or something that affects your kids, just say something. It’s not worth making up stories and enduring anger or anything else when it can all be resolved with communication. If you’re paying for a service, you have a right to say something. Maybe something just doesn’t match your parenting style, or in general it’s not a good fit, fine. But at least get it resolved.

I hope this Dad figures out what’s going on and in a way after next week I’m glad I won’t see him. My heart breaks for his son.. all I can hope is that he can see over his dad’s fears and persevere. It’s hard to do that at three, but odder things have happened.

/end rant

A Changed Life

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Just a quick write as, well, it’s been six months. It’s crazy as I think about writing all the time, but trying to get the “time” to do it tends to be the issue.

The biggest update is that we have a new addition to our family.. Devin! He’s been a dream baby and Jackie loves being a big sister. I really can’t complain about much right now, although I’m fairly certain I’m done with the Toddler-dom. I’m sure I’ll look back and say I wish I was back there again, but she’s actually tougher to deal with than the newborn.

But, we do enjoy her, she’s becoming more of a young woman every day and I love hearing her budding vocabulary and growing sentences 🙂

More soon I hope but I at least wanted to get something on here to update.. lots going on this summer and into the Fall.. it’s not like I’ll have a lack of topics to write about 🙂

Things Can Only Get Better

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I always amaze myself, even if it’s only a few days, in how much I fret and have anxiety over things. Although I do “learn” every time a new event arises that causes said anxiety, I always tell myself “no, this one is DIFFERENT.”

Current example is my daughter moving into a “big girl” bed a couple weeks ago. There’s so much that has gone on in the last couple weeks where I should have written, but it always felt like I didn’t have the energy.

I did post questions about this in a number of different places and got some great advice, but I just didn’t bother to put it here for some reason.

In any case, I thought the “move” would go much easier. My daughter has always been a great sleeper (please don’t hate me other parents) and she was excited about the new bed, but there were SO many change factors that I really wasn’t conscious of how it would affect her.

It started with my husband being sick, but then it was having to continue with the switch as Thanksgiving weekend was the only weekend to really get most of it done. Although I’m glad now it happened, I felt so guilty that my husband was doing it all while sick (painting, moving furniture, etc., etc.) that I just didn’t know what to do with myself. I did what I could as far as running to Home Depot for paint and other items and keeping Jackie busy, but I wanted to do more.

The initial stage was completed and we were happy–but Jackie was not. Why? Well, I didn’t think about this ahead of time, but here were all the factors:

  • Her Dad was sick
  • New bed (we didn’t convert her crib)
  • New room
  • New room looked entirely different due to painting
  • Bed in different place
  • New sheets
  • Room not completely done
  • Most of house in disarray where she couldn’t get to toys
  • Our full bed (her initial “big bed” that she called it) had been taken down
  • Mom anxious

Wow. If I had made this list during this project, I probably could have calmed down. Any normal human being would be a bit challenged by all of that, but then take a kid who only knows her same environment for as long as she’s alive.. well, that would freak anyone out.

The first couple days were hard and she was basically back in the crib, but luckily she liked the bed and the room. It was just hard to get used to. Then I got the brilliant idea to move her stuffed animals in there and some toys like I was going to do anyway. That helped, like 50%. I was happy, but it was still tough. At around day three,  I was able to get her to take a full nap in the crib.. SUCCESS! But the main issue was: when could we get her out of the crib officially and out of our room?

We were sleeping with her in the same room now and I thought this would go on until we had to leave in another week or so. I just didn’t know what to do with all of this regret, sadness and anxiety, but I kept moving forward.

After a couple days, I wrote my mom’s lists, talked to friends, and got some wonderful advice. I felt better and now had some tools to work with. I brought out my trusty “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” book that hadn’t been opened in a year and a half, and that was helpful too, but still not helping the situation 100%.

After talking to my husband, he had the idea to sit in the room with her until she fell asleep. I was VERY leery about this as so many people told me not to do it at all as then they expect you to be in there and you are back at square one. But I let him take the lead on this one, as I was getting somewhere with the naps, but not overnights. It was time to pass the torch.

That night Jackie slept thru the night in her own bed and didn’t get up once! Joe was in there for almost an hour an a half, but he calmed her down and she felt comfortable enough to sleep. But the big question was, would it continue?

We were highly successful on naps, which was great, and continued our own methods for the overnights. Last night, which I believe was night 7, we had success. My husband put her to bed, she only came out once and then she was out.

During all this time, I had also been playing with the length of her naps and activity during the day. At least it was all becoming clearer.

So now, we have a solid plan, her room is almost fully completed, most of the house is liveable and I’m not anxious anymore. As with all of these things “this too shall pass,” but as I’ve been telling everyone.. I get it, but WHEN??

I guess there is no answer to that and for the next big transition I just have to remember that it will pass and we will work it out. I just have to keep my mind in check when it fast forwards weeks and weeks of misery and it hasn’t even happened yet!

For those that are reading this and I’ve reached out to you, THANK YOU for your advice, kind words or just checking in. Although this wasn’t a huge ordeal, it could have been and I’m thankful that I’m not ashamed to ask for help. This is definitely one place where I have grown throughout my years and thankfully it allowed for some great success this week.

Onward and Upward!

Life without our Bird

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This weekend I got a major dose of reality regarding how I feel about my daughter. She’s basically part of my soul now.

I knew I had a major connection with Jax, but it wasn’t until my husband and I had a “staycation” this weekend (thanks to Aunt Babs) that I got to actually FEEL that connection.

I missed her from the minute we dropped her off. She was only to be about 5 minutes away, but two days without her was now feeling like an eternity. Don’t get me wrong.. I’ve had afternoons and probably up to 8 hours away from her, but it was the special times like waking in the morning, naps and putting her to bed that caused me some pain. My heart was heavy with sadness, like when I was in my 20s and broke up with someone. I never thought I would feel that pain again. Although it obviously wasn’t the same context, it definitely was the same pain.

My husband and I had fun hanging out, celebrating his birthday and sleeping in, but honestly, I was waking up at the same time those two mornings and just going back to sleep. The place was quiet and other sounds around the house made me think of her.

This entire expeirnece was one I partially expected, but not at this level. Although I was sad and wondered why I was putting myself thru the stress, I also am so fortunate that I have this type of love in my life–unconditional. And, it was great to reconnect with my husband. It had been over 2 years since we had an entire weekend “alone,” and by today (Sunday), I was actually getting used to our “old life” again 🙂

Picking up Jax, though, was fun and exciting. My heart raced as we drove to go get her. My husband and I were both overflowing with joy. And then to see her, she was excited too wanting to show us all the drawings she did during the weekend and then giving us hugs. She even said “I missed you Mama.” Fairly amazing for an almost 2.5 year old.

I’m glad I had this experience, but wondering what other vacations will be like without her (if we choose to do that) and if it’s even worth the stress. This was such a wild experience as it really took me this long to fully bond with her. I’m not a “baby person” I always say, and although I loved her dearly as she was growing, we had done a few overnights without her and I was just fine. A bit choked up initialy, but nothing like this weekend. I literally lost it the first night and sobbed for a good 15 minutes.

My little Bird is spreading her wings these days. She’s still two, but getting very communicative and independent. It’s cool to watch, but daunting too. I’m wondering if I can keep up with her learning and growth. All I know to do is take her lead and I’ll be fine. I’m just glad that she had a blast with Aunt Babs this weekend and I heard there were no tears. I hope she stays that happy forever.

“Still They Ride” always reminds me of kids and their freedom. I always think of myself riding my bike fast down the road with no care in the world, and as I wrote this, all I could related this song to was Jax.. enjoy.

Crazy, Wonderful

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This weekend was a whirlwind of stuff to do centering around our family, but it was all good. It turned out probably better than expected so I can’t complain. It’s nice when life works out that way 🙂

Saturday, we headed to the Little Sprouts Open House. This is a pre-school that is opening a location over the hill from us, literally. I have been contemplating schools for Jackie for the fall. I wanted her to be in some group and/or curriculum based program to see how she would do in that environment. I’ve also reached a level where it’s going to be tougher and tougher to keep up with her (but more about that in a future post).

That went very well on Saturday as DH and Jackie’s “Aunt Babs” came along. Jackie took to the rooms very well, played with all the new toys and I got to talk to a lot of the administration (again). I’m very happy with the school and worst case is I could take her out of there after a few months, but I don’t see that as an issue. We can’t lock in a Fall spot for a bit as they open this week and they also have summer enrollment. I did speak with the Executive Director and she told me she may be able to let me know about Fall next month which would be GREAT and a huge weight off my shoulders. *Fingers Crossed*

 

Sunday, we had our holiday photo shoot. I had made the appointment about 6 weeks ago as I wanted the same photographer that we’ve had several times. Got a call from the manager last week saying that they had overlooked the note in the schedule and I may not be able to get her. I told him I was disappointed in that response, but would do whatever we had to do to make it happen. Ended up that not only did we get Jai, but she sat with me to pick out the photos AND gave me an amazing deal! VERY happy with the outcome, as Jackie was not having it when we first got there. It was amazing she got so many great ones.. case in point of why I wanted Jai.

Today we had a beautiful morning in the fall sun at the park and playing in leaves. I’m getting to the point where I LOVE Mondays as it’s a “down day” for Jackie and me. We don’t have classes on this day, so we are not runnning around in the morning and we can take it easy to get outside. It’s fun, relaxing and stress-free.

Soon I will get in the habit of just uploading my photos the day of so I can post one here, but for now, you can just imagine a beautiful, sunny, Autumn day in New England with the yellow, crunchy leaves on the ground and a little two year old running around, smiling and laughing without a care in the world.

Enjoy!

Down with the Sickness

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So much for blogging daily.

My entire family has been sick for what seems months. Either allergies or just a full blown head cold, I can say, this is getting old.

So of course when I set a new goal to blog daily, BAM, we all get sick. I was doing OK after about 24 hours and thought I kicked it quickly, but this nasty thing grabbed a hold of me Monday and I was in hell. It’s sad to say you’re doing worse off than a toddler. I literally couldn’t get myself out of the house to DRIVE to the park. Oh yes, it was bad.

Luckily after that 24 hours I was much better and thankfully, almost a week out, I’m about 97% there.

On top of all that, Jackie has been showing us a few new things we haven’t expected. For about 4 days now, she doesn’t want to sit down in the bath and cries that she wants out. This is a kid who has been a fish  since birth. We think it’s due to a scrape she had on her knee and that it may have stung a few days ago when she took a bath, but she’s not at the point to tell us.

My husband said that it could be her ears. Since she’s been sick for about 2 months (or really just a runny nose and low grade fever last week), it’s possible that her ears may be a bit clogged, but not infected. She’s not showing any signs that she’s in pain and is generally in good spirits during the day. She even is happy to get ready for the bath, but when we go to put her in, she cries. She’s also been complaining about things being “too loud” lately. She has great hearing but this is a bit over the top.

We think she’s remembering that her knee stung the other day, or if it is the ears, she ‘s afraid to lay back (she floats on her back in the tub) as she’s been putting her head almost all the way down to get her hair wet. I did some research last night and most people say it’s a phase, which I’m really hoping, as she has loved the water so much and it’s been tough to get her out.

I have noticed that there’s a lot of change going on right now with her. Her language exploded yet again in the last couple weeks. She’s really able to let us know what she wants and how she’s feeling (with exception to this issue). She’s trying to do a lot of stuff on her own to show to us and herself that she can do it. So all of this may be just a growth spurt in a number of areas. I just wish it was a bit easier to figure out.

Our two biggest projects that we’ll be taking on very soon, however, is to get rid of the paci and potty training. Both of these have been going on for several months, but nothing hardcore. I stupidly tried to deal with the paci situation the day I was really sick = BAD IDEA. When I wouldn’t give her the paci for nap, she literally cried and screamed for an hour.. ONE HOUR. I couldn’t believe it. This kid definitely is her mother’s daughter. And I have the audio recording to prove it. I realized that this was not going to be an easy task and it’s actually hard for me too. Not becasuae I don’t want to put the “baby phase” behind me, but because I know she’ll suffer a bit. Knowing that life gives us enough to suffer about, why start now? But she’s also acting older than she is and still has a paci to sleep. It just doesn’t make sense.

She’s also not old enough to really say “now let’s give your pacifiers to a baby that really needs them”. She’s not there yet. So it’s really just about going cold turkey. I’ve done research on this as well and most parents say that their kids cried for like 10 minutes and just went to sleep. Yeah, right. I’m trying not to be pessimistic, but it’s hard to hear her plead and cry over something that is really a small thing. But I also know, that this is the time that she really needs to find her own strength to deal with upsets. Although I know we, as parents, are here to protect our children, our main purpose is to teach them the coping skills to lead happy and successful lives. Although this may sound like a small thing, I do find she is addicted to it when she’s upset. And, good news is that we have worked with her and she can calm herself down without it (and we’ve acknowledged her for that), but SHE really needs to get that she did it on her own for it to stick.

The potty training has been going well but we haven’t been full force on that either. I did get some good ideas from her Isis teacher today which gave me some hope (just some other structures to put in place to help all of us), so that will be happening soon. I don’t want to bring on too much all at once as it will all backfire, but all I can say is that I’m learning on the job as well.

I’m just glad she’s happy, fulfilled and having fun. Although sometimes, it is hard to be Two.