Infatuations of a Two-Year-Old

Sooooooo, in the moment, these things seem completely annoying if I need to get out the door and be somewhere. But when I take the time to think about it, I can appreciate how fascinating LM1’s infatuations are. Here are a few from recently:

This guy...what a character...

This guy…what a character…

1.) He has to stir his own chocolate milk. This takes FOREVER to accomplish…..but it’s pretty interesting to watch him work the spoon to “turn the color” of the milk from white to brown.

2.) He will only wear clothing physically given to him by someone he knows and loves. Example: He will wear the shirt Grammie gave him if he remembers when she gave it to him. He will wear the shirt his cousin second-handed him if he can remember the scenario in which he was presented the shirt by said cousin. Anything else, the boy will not wear, stating firmly, “I no like it.” We have now limited his wardrobe to two shirts from Grammie (both gifts from trips we could not attend; the shirts were souvenirs), two from Cousin Kyle, and one from his daddy, which he has lovingly name “his Dinoco shirt” because it is the color of the blue car from the Lightning McQueen movie. All this to say: getting dressed in the morning take a little more time because we have to recall and negotiate where his outfits came from, AND I need to do laundry more frequently. #whyaminegotiatingwitha2yearold

3.) He sings “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on the potty, like a million times in a row, but accomplishes nothing else on that stinkin’ seat. For this one, I have only myself to blame. I told LM1 that he needs to put his tinkles into the toilet, so now he strips down naked, sits atop the bowl, and sings to me. #nopottytraininginmyfuture

4.) Every time we drive through a shaded spot he shouts, “Oh, Mommy! We’re in the jungle!” I guess he’s been reading about jungles? I guess we talked about jungles once? Maybe someone told him about a jungle in preschool? Whatever. Now, we are always in a jungle. Then we get out of the jungle and “we’re safe.” Thank goodness.

5.) When we “read” at night, what we are really doing is trying to memorize the names of the puppies from Paw Patrol. Instead of reading, LM1 just points to the puppies and says, “‘Dis one?” … which is asking to hear their names over and over and over and over again. I get it. Repetition helps. Maybe if we read the book he could make associations to the puppies and what they’re doing, which would make it easier to remember their names. All well. #goodintentionsmommy #kiddoknowsbest #DOWHATISAYWOMAN

 

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Preschool Blues

thadschool

Photo cred: Auntie Lolo

Little man #1 started a preschool program earlier this month. It has been a soggy crap sandwich so far— with extra onion, horseradish, and pickles that are too fat to really sit properly on a sandwich in the first place. Why why why why did I decide the boy needed preschool?

The answer is simple: it was time. He’s curious and eager to play with his peers. He can handle simple art projects and use a glue stick. He loves wearing a backpack. All the time glued to Mommy’s hip is probably going to turn him into a Mama’s Boy if I don’t cut the cord and let him play and interact with kids in a place where I am not present. Oh, and Mommy can benefit, too. I will learn to sever the cord and interact in a place where my son is not present. (Do they have a name for mommies who can’t let go? Is that just every mommy?)

Let me start by saying that everything about the school we chose for him is wonderful. The teacher, the director, the facility, the curriculum, you name it. This place has all the makings of wonderful. Except that it makes us cry. All of us — except for my husband, who remains the only sane human living in our home. This fact only stands to prove to me that working full-time makes people sane– but that’s another argument for another post.

Here’s the pattern that is quickly becoming a familiar routine: two mornings a week we eat breakfast and dress for school. We talk happily about how much we love school. We approach the classrooms all smiles– almost skipping. We reach the door thresh hold and all hell breaks loose. Screaming, crying, red-faced, bleary eyed, and whimpery. I get this:

  • “I no go school.”
  • “No go away, Mommy.”
  • “I no like school.”
  • “I need Karl.” (note: Karl is his little blue elephant lovey who recently took driving lessons and learned how to operate a tow truck. LM1 was very proud of this new skill.)

(Second note: all of these phrases actually translate to, “I hate you Mommy,” “Suck it, Mommy,” “You’re torturing me with your apathy,” and “I’ll remember these feelings of abandonment until my second marriage, at which point all the therapy I’ve paid for will finally explain you didn’t abandon me.”)

I leave the classroom quickly while my wailing son sits (screaming) in the arms of another woman while I drag the baby out, who doesn’t look traumatized, but is probably traumatized thinking: “I’ve got at least two years to figure out how to avoid this preschool bullsh*t.”

I leave quickly because I’ve been told that lingering too long will allow his crying to escalate, at which point he will freak out completely and fail to enjoy ANY aspect of school. This entire scenario is completely horrifying to me, but, apparently, it is all too common. Lots of moms feel the same way after experiencing the same thing– or so they’re telling me to help my own feelings of guilt. What makes the situation worse is the grandmother response, which has been:

“He’s probably not ready for school. You should just bring him home. He should be with you.”

The best part of this situation has been that LM1 stops crying after about two minutes. Or so the teachers tell me. It lasts almost no time at all and then he has a wonderful day.  I pick him up smiling. When we get to the car by noon he is laughing and telling me how much he loves school, his teacher, and his friends.

WHAT IS A MOTHER TO DO? Well, if you’re me, you obsess over whether or not you’ve made the right decision to send your kid away for a few hours a week. You cry when you finally make it to the gym, and then immediately blast Justin Bieber while working out on the elliptical machine. (Embarrassing fact:  singing the lyrics to “Sorry” and envisioning the music video with those gals gyrating in their booty shorts and sunglasses is enough to distract me from ANYTHING during a workout. I’m not thinking about the girls in a weird way, I’m just envisioning that if I work hard enough on the elliptical, I will have a booty worth gyrating again soon. But seriously, that song is too catchy.)

At this point, I’m starting to desensitize myself to the whole thing. I tell myself that it is OK for a mom to go to the gym for an hour, food shop, take a shower, and then go hug her kid after his amazing day at school. I can’t BELIEVE I feel so guilty about all of this, but I do. I just really like my kid. I mean, really really really. We have fun. (Note: I feel lame just writing this…but it’s true.)

How are YOUR preschool experiences going?! Fill me in!

 

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Top 5 Things That Have Me Convinced My Kid is a Genius

evil_geniusEveryone’s kid is a genius. I know mine is because his athletic prowess, language skills and reasoning seem well beyond normal for his age. Note* I have no idea what “normal” for his age actually is. Here’s what LM1 has been up to lately that seems to prove my point, regardless:

1.) He knows how to anticipate and prepare for unpredictable weather.

  • LM1: I’m need hood.
  • Me: Why do you need a hood?
  • LM1: It’s rain pouring.
  • Me: No it’s not. It’s sunny. There’s no rain outside.
  • LM1: Maybe later.

2.) His negotiation tactics are stellar.

  • LM1: I’m have bagel breakfast
  • Me: We don’t have bagels today
  • LM1 reaches into bread drawer and pulls out bagels
  • Me: What I meant is that we can’t eat bagels everyday because they aren’t that good for you. We need protein and variety.
  • LM1 pulls out peanut butter and reaches up toward utensil drawer, assumedly for a knife
  • LM1: I’m put ‘dis bagel. Peanut jelly, Mommy

3.) He knows where things are and, potentially, how to get them

  • LM1: Go playground, Mommy
  • Me: We’re not going to the playground now
  • LM1: Go left, Mommy
  • I see a McDonalds play place. I’ve never taken him to one, but the bright colors are noticeable
  • Me: We’re not turning left
  • LM1:  Go left, Mommy
  • Me: Nope
  • LM1: Hungry, Mommy. Get down, have poopy.
  • Me: Are you lying to Mommy?
  • LM1 giggle in his car seat
  • LM1: Yes

4.) He can anticipate cause and effect relationships.

  • Me: Pick a shirt. We have to get dressed. (I hold up two in an attempt to limit the time it takes to get ready.) This one or this one.
  • LM1: No, I’m don’t like it.
  • Me: Choose one of these. These are the only options.
  • LM1: No.
  • Me: Grammie gave you this one. Don’t you like this one?
  • LM1: Ok, Grammie. I’m like it.
  • He puts on the shirt. I finish getting ready. Ten minutes pass. LM1 is covered in water and clearly needs his shirt changed.
  • Me: What happened?
  • LM1: I’m all wet. Need shirt. I’m pick out.

5.) He can push responsibility onto others and excuse himself entirely from situations.

  • Me: You have a poopie diaper. You need a change and then it’s time to read stories.
  • LM1: No. I don’t have poopie. Brother has poopie.
  • Me: No he doesn’t. You do.
  • LM1: No. Brother need new diaper.
  • Me: You need a new diaper and then it’s time for stories.
  • LM1: I’m not deepy (sleepy). Brother deepy. He need nap.
  • Me: We’re going to your room right now to get clean and then read some books.
  • LM1: You go updairs (upstairs). He need diaper.
  • I check, and, in fact, both boys need new diapers. #super #goplayfor5moreminutes&thenyouregettingacleandiaper

 

 

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The First Real Tantrum

I’ve been waiting for it. You’ve been waiting for it. We’ve all been waiting for it……..THE TANTRUM finally came, and it was amazing. 2 hours of screaming/shrieking, legs kicking, red face, crying, snot dripping, pouting, uncontrollable tantrumming……on a beautiful Friday morning. Thank you, Mr. “I’m 2.” Here’s what was most memorable about our first experience with a toddler tantrum:

This is clearly not my son, but there is something exceptionally spectacular about a kid screaming in argyle. So, enjoy the pic!

This is clearly not my son, but there is something exceptionally spectacular about a kid screaming in argyle. So, enjoy the pic!

1.) There will be no negotiation during the tantrum. Little Man #1 cannot be lured, coerced, convinced, compromised, or otherwise when in the state of madness. Offering bribes of any kind are both stupid and useless. Soooooo……..engaging in conversation of any kind during a tantrum is out. I may, however, try speaking whatever language Martin invented to help make Emilia Clarke more beautiful. Maybe that would help? They are a war-people, those Dothraki.

2.) The wearing of clothes during a tantrum is useless. So putting on clothes is clearly ridiculous because they will get ripped or full of snot anyway.

3.) Eating food as a way out and toward a place of better blood sugar is not going to happen until the crying stops. Even if you get something in there, it may get puked back out. Which will lead to more crying and screaming. So, “no thank you, animal crackers. Stay at the zoo and don’t come out till your mama tells you.”

4.) In the midst of the tantrum, we are well beyond the helpfulness of time out. Time out is a peaceful, reflective place to gain our composure……before any signs of composure have been tossed to the winds. But I DO recommend time out for mommies and daddies. The corner is a great place to cry and pray and weep and ask yourself WTF is going on. Note to self: I am going to put a little chocolate in the time out corner so that I have something to snack on next time we approach a two hour stand off. Heck, maybe I’ll get a bag of Peanut M&Ms from Costco.  “Family Size” doesn’t mean I have to share. It means I have a family, so I am eligible to purchase and enjoy….and do with it what I please.

5.) When Little Man #2 giggles over the tantrum, it’s ok to laugh along with him. Is it mean to laugh over the tantrum? Is it cruel? Not if something on the other side of the room is really funny. How else can you get through 2 hours of screaming?

ENJOY THE RIDE PEOPLE!!!!!!

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Review of Tribe, by Sebastian Junger

jungerI just finished reading Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, by Sebastian Junger. The text is nonfiction and, though short (about 130 pages), it packs a lot of thought-provoking ideas into a little neatly wrapped package. I don’t know that I would ever have picked up this book if it hadn’t come to me by way of recommendation from my local bookstore’s book club. Although I’ve never read anything by Junger before, this text is not his first, and it shows. His words are succinct and eloquent. He considers many different examples to hone on his main point and offers a breath of research to support his thinking. So, in my world, he’s got all the makings of a great book.

The premise of the book examines the idea of a tribe and what our modern day society looks like without the presence of more collaboratively operating groups of people. We have, essentially, lost our tribes through modernization, technological advances, and the focus on individual gain. Junger suggests that our society, particularly in America, has suffered as a result.

Junger explores the Native Americans or American Indians as peoples whose communal living was “run by consensus and broadly egalitarian.”  Tribal living offered an organized way of life, one in which duties and responsibilities were delegated, understood, and respected. Life seemed simpler, but more than that, because these groups were operating to protect each other and survive, the functionality of each individual was almost ubiquitous.

His talk of Native Americans then brings Junger into discussion of war, warriors, and how times of great catastrophic trauma all function to bring people together and act in surprisingly humane ways. He discusses how the constant warring and battle integrated into daily living taught Native Americans to function productively and treat war as a part of life. Then he quotes many people who survived wars in other countries (veterans, civilians, etc) and shows how they often long for harder times after the fact because people act in strength and kindness when the going gets tough.

The only time I ever saw anything vaguely similar to what Junger is writing about happened following 9/11. New Yorkers have always been known as rude, and I can’t help but agree to a certain extent. I never spoke to others on the subway or bothered to ask for directions because I never considered strangers in New York to be overly friendly or helpful. We just are what we are. It never bothered me much, but was something I understood nonetheless. My dad often advised me not to talk to people on the subway because they would think I wasn’t a New Yorker if I did this. But following 9/11, people were friendly. They were kinder and more patient. We talked to one another. It was strange but lovely, and then it faded after a while, returning to “normal.”

But Junger’s text offers something more poignant than an understanding for the men and women who sometimes long for the community that wartime and great strife can bring to civilians and soldiers. His book suggests that what America is really lacking is a stronger sense of “the tribe.” He suggests Americans are consumed by independent motivations and selfish behaviors so much to the extent that we are losing what human beings actually need to survive: each other.

I can’t help but agree. When I became a SAHM, the first thing my mother-in-law advised was that I find a group. “You need a group of friends to share the experience with.” Being an independent person, a true product of my environment, I suppose, I grew up with an “I can do anything by myself” mentality. I can handle a job, a house, school, the social scene, etc, all by myself. I can navigate whatever I need to. I’m a woman, hear me roar!

But having children and caring for them is incredibly isolating at times. ‘Cuz, uh, ya know, kids don’t talk for the first two years! And when they do start to talk, all they want to talk about is Lighting McQueen and Elmo. Like they are so much cooler than whatever the heck is going on in the Middle East.

Lots of my friends went back to work after having their children, so I learned quickly that MIL knows best….I needed a tribe to help get acclimated. We are social beings and we need each other.

Junger’s book made me think about how I think and behave. I don’t want to go to war to rehumanize my thinking— but I also want more community in my life. So, here’s to the moms groups, the book clubs, the pottery class I want to take, and the job that keeps me connected. It all makes sense why we need these simple things….

Check out Junger’s book! It was very thought provoking, and I recommend it to anyone who’s interested in thinking a little differently.

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A Day of Epic Mom Fails

We all have moments like these……but in most cases, we get to space them out over several days instead of experiencing all of them at one. All well…..we survived the following today:

Just keep swimming......just keep swimming.......

Just keep swimming……just keep swimming…….

5.) Little Man #1 did not nap because he took a royal dump that smelled like someone took a crap in the urinal at a bowling alley and let it sit there for 4 days. He was, understandably, grumpy, slimy, smelly, and very very tired. Nevertheless, he refused to nap for the rest of the day because his chi had already been tampered with.

4.) Little Man #1 refused to wear shoes at the mall. For no reason. At all. Umm, thanks a lot. You look like a yetti sherpa hippie dipster, and that snaggley toenail is sure to fall off now that it’s scraped the tile of every bacteria infested square foot you touched. #Nicemove #getthedialsoapready

3.) Little Man #2 took his first tumble off the bed. I had hoped to avoid a tumble off the bed for the second babe, but alas, it seems he, too, must be Christened by the hollow thump of a good fall. I heard the thud, which was followed by crying and general grumpiness. Thankfully, Hubs and I took the boxsprings out and put them in the basement months ago. Soooooo…..at least the fall was a little less dramatic/painful/horrifying than it could have been.

2.) Little Man #1 spread a bowl of couscous all over the floor at dinner. He said it “looked like boogers,” and this was apparently a valid reason to avoid helping me clean it up. When When I tried to finish my dinner after the mayhem, all I could see were little snot dots. I’m hungry, but now it’s too late to eat. I’ll likely munch a bowl of Cheerios at 4 a.m. when I rise to feed LM#2. I fear this is not the best way to lose the baby weight.

1.) We momentarily lost my son at Macys and had to call in security for a floor search. I heard them describing my son over a little itercom walkie talkie things, “blue eyes, blonde hair, answers to …..” It was horrifying. After a thankfully quick search, he was discovered in the fitting room…the one we’d been using for thirty minutes…he was waiting to try on more dresses…and he giggled when we found him because apparently he’d won some kind of excellent game that was HILARIOUS.

#tomorrowwillbebetter

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About Raising Daughters

Warning: This may feel like a rant, so it can be completely disregarded if you don’t feel like reading anything potentially fueled by my passion for equal treatment of men and women. Conversely, it may NOT feel like a rant if you, too, are impassioned by the need to find greater equality for men and women.

A few weeks ago I came across a little video-picture-thing on FB about “what it feels like to raise daughters.” It was posted by a News-Media site called YourTango, which I have never heard of before and don’t really know what its viewership is like. The photograph showed an adorable little girl throwing money out of a white-framed window. See a screen shot of this image below.

daughters

So, the image could imply that girls are frivolous spenders. It could imply that little girls are merely little people who throw things they don’t understand the value of. It could imply a lot of things, I guess. I’ve heard moms and dads alike claim that little girls end up costing more money than boys over the years, as if someone is sitting around calculating the cost of their children (I’m sure there are people doing this, but I don’t see the “value” in that– I don’t see how it makes a difference to anyone living outside of, let’s say for the sake of argument, a place like China). Nonetheless, I’ve heard things like this:

“Girls buy clothes, shoes, and bags,” or “Girls spend all your money because they like expensive things,” or “You pay to send girls to college, and then they just wind up married, at home, raising the kids.”

These are actual things I’ve heard said to me at one point in time or another. Though these quotes are over-generalized statements, I’m not generalizing or paraphrasing when I quote them. I can name the people who have said such things to me at one point in time or another.

So, here I am, a SAHM, raising my children, sitting on multiple college degrees, and collecting no salary to care for my kids each and every day.  Then I see this image about raising daughters. I see a cute little girl with her cute little hat and her teeny tiny hands, tossing bills out of a perfectly framed white window. Then I start to sift through the comments on FB. The comments I read below the image were, perhaps, more interesting than the image itself. Lots of commentors griped that the image was meant to be funny and anyone who saw it as sexist or offensive needs to relax and laugh. One guy commented that he put 6 girls through college and four of them got married. What that comment is intended to suggest is subjective, but the fact that it was made is interesting.

“My daughter would have to throw the money with both hands,” another commentor wrote.

“You need to laugh and enjoy the cute things in life,” another wrote.

“It is funny. Not sexist. Not deep and meaningful. Just part of life that always appears more expensive than we would like.”

The last comment made me laugh a little because if a person needs to defend something as “not sexist,” it is probably kind of sexist.

When I saw the image I felt immediately offended. I thought it was blatantly unnecessary. I thought that even if it was intended as a joke, it was a failed attempt. I know how to take a joke, but I can also distinguish between what is and isn’t one.  At the same time, I realize that it’s attempts at “joking” about these kinds of things (in this case, issues of gender roles and sexism) that finally gets discussion going about the issues. This little teeny tiny picture is not the end of the world, but it’s also another teeny tiny reminder about how people can’t distinguish between what is and is not offensive. And it prompts a discussion like the one I’m trying to have here….

Here’s my thought on things: the money spent on raising children, boys or girls, doesn’t have to be wasted.  I recognize that it costs money to raise a family and budgeting dollars and cents is a part of life. But if we want to talk about wasted money we should look at the caregivers who choose how they can spend money on their children instead of the children who “spend their parents money.”

Even beyond the argument about what counts as wasted spending and doesn’t, let’s get back to the sexist issue here.  The bottom line is that no one would ever have created a meme or a post or an image of a little boy throwing money out the window. That hard fact is all it takes to assess what makes this image sexist.

I believe in free speech, and I think everyone can laugh at things that are funny, but making a blanket that it feels like girls are throwing your money out the window is hurtful. What is money wasted on? For a woman such as myself, the first thing that comes to mind is my education because this is something women are fighting for in countries across the world, and it’s something we still argue over even here in the US. Aside from wanting a voice and a place in society, women want the right to an education. In the US, we have that right, but we are sometimes ostracized when we don’t utilize our education in a way that is deemed “the right way” to use it.

Whether a woman decides to raise a family or enter the work world seems completely irrelevant to me when it comes to assessing the value of education. A woman can do whatever she wants, as can a man. But it is still perceived that if a woman wants to stay home to raise her family, a college education is too much money to spend. I understand that education is expensive– but that is a problem someone needs to speak to our government about. I feel adamantly that everyone deserves the right to higher ed, and whether that means two, four, five, or eight years of education (depending on the degree(s) you want to earn), it should be available. The fact that higher education is not more affordable only goes to show that we are not placing a high enough value on access to learning.

Further, anyone who chooses to stay home to raise children benefits from higher education because raising children to be productive, thoughtful, though-provoking, compassionate critical thinkers is no easy task. It is among the most multi-layered, demanding, multi-faceted challenges in the world. There are plenty of crappy people out there. But maybe, if everyone had the opportunity to access psychology, anthropology, science, math, ethics, philosophy, poetry, etc, there would be fewer crappy people. Or at least better informed, self-aware crappy people. Because parents are the ones responsible for shaping and forming great people. And if you’re not a parent, every single interaction you have with young people is forming and affecting them in some way.  What better way is there to shape and form young people than to do it with an educated, well-formed, well-shaped mind? I wouldn’t call that a waste and I wouldn’t think of it as throwing money out the window.

Now it sounds like my post is about creating affordable higher education programming in the US more so than it is about sexism…..I digress.

I can take a joke. My main point is more so that maybe, just maybe, I was educated at one point or another just enough to take notice of the things that disturb me. I can voice truth over rubbish and try to pave the way for my own children. If I were to have a little girl, I would never want her to feel like raising her was a waste money. I wouldn’t want a little boy to feel that way either. I just want everyone to be more mindful about the fact that jokes are supposed to be funny, and offensive crap that lands on FB is not funny just because it gets reposted as “funny” a ba-jillion times.

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My Cup Runneth Over

Lately I’ve been having these completely ridiculous moments in the quiet of my home when I look around and feel utterly speechless and overcome with emotion. It’s hard to describe, but here’s me trying to do so anyway:

I’ll be rinsing a dish or putting junk away in a drawer, and I’ll see the kids doing nothing special. Little Man #1 will color or push a truck or make the noises he’s learned motorcycles make. (It sounds like his Popop snoring…) Little Man #2 will spit up or giggle or coo or cry over the latest toy LM#1 has shoved into his face. And a thick red ball of unnameable hot something will crawl up into my throat. My eyes start to water and though I don’t cry, I know I could easily enough if I let myself.  But I don’t. Because I’m scrubbing a dish or putting junk away. I finish what I’m doing, let out a short puff of air, and smile. I feel inextricably like the luckiest person in the world. I am humbled by this stupidly simple but very very very perfect moment. I strangely feel part of something larger than myself, standing in my kitchen, shaking the water and peanut butter remnants from a bowl.

This is insane, in part, because I know I’m not actually the luckiest person. I’m one of many whose hearts swell over the simple blessings in life. I am like every other mom who wonders just how her kid got peanut butter into his eyebrows, but missed the cup I’m rinsing.

But in these strange, overwhelming, emotionally charged moments what is so fascinating to me is this: being a part of something bigger than myself was always supposed to be working for a nonprofit that resuscitated a community or brought clean water to the Congo.  I studied my butt off in school so that I could someday impact humanity in a real way, feeling driven by my need to effect change.

And then I’m in my kitchen. And I want to cry because the boys are beautiful and healthy. No one has a brain tumor, no one is hurting or crying, and no one is throwing applesauce at me. I’m not doing anything seemingly constructive for the good of the planet, or for civilization at large, but somehow, I’m nearly crying over how beautiful life is.

SOOO, I blame my hormones. I tell myself that one day after we’ve finished breastfeeding, I will return to my normal, rationale way of thinking, and something as silly as rinsing a dish will go back to just being what it is: a household chore that makes the house look less messy.

In the meantime, I’ll keep feeling my heart swell. And I’ll keep thinking that being home with them is maybe slightly less lame than I thought it was when I decided to stay home. Even if it means crying– or almost crying– as often as I do now.

#livingthedream #lifeisfunny #aintitgrand

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Silly Stuff I Love About the Babes

When Baby #1 came along in 2014, I have to admit that I had pretty intense PPD. I had just finished grad school, left my job, and started life with a clean slate in front of me. It was terrifying. I worried that I might feel the same way when Baby #2 came along because hormones have a funny way of making a woman feel crummy. But welcoming Baby #2 has been a very different experience. I don’t feel completely lost or confused. When I feel overwhelmed, I get it. Babies are tough and I work to figure things out one day at a time. Things move along and life gets better as we go.

Now, loving my kids has become the simplest thing in the world. My heart explodes over the dumbest crap ever. Since we’ve officially moved through the rougher part of baby-hood (I know there will be plenty of other challenges to come, but the tough newborn phase (months 1-3) is complete), I find myself laughing over the silliest things. There’s so much to laugh about, smile over, and appreciate! I wish I noticed these things when Baby #1 was small, but I’m soaking them up this time around. Here are some examples to show you what I mean:

shar pei1.) I’m obsessed with neck rolls. Baby #2 has no neck. He’s all skin. This means milk and sweat get stuck in there, so I have to apply Lotrimin when it gets especially swampy in there and he gets a rash. It’s completely gross, and completely love that his neck looks like a shar pei puppy.

2.) Baby #1’s hair is in a constant state of bed head. He gets peanut butter, watermelon juice, and oatmeal in there all the time. I should cut his hair. I should help him to look less unkempt. But it makes me laugh, and he doesn’t know the difference. It’s super and I’m in love with it, so it’s staying messy forever. #trending
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3.) Baby #2 loves to grab my face. Sure, I can never get his nails short enough to avoid scratch marks, but the grabbing at my cheeks, my nose, my chin, etc feels like little angel kisses I’ve been waiting my whole life for. It’s kinda stupid, but it’s the best. Ever.

4.) Feet in the mouth. This will be a gross thing once he can walk, but for now, every time Baby #2 reaches his feet up into his mouth he looks like the Buddha, striking the happy baby pose, and it’s awesome. #iloveanandabalasana #yogisrule #namaste

5.) Baby #1 loves to be naked. It’s the way God made him. And even though it drives me nuts to have to dress him more than once (because when I turn my back, he’s naked again) it’s pretty incredible that he loves his bare form so much. He’s so proud of his nakedness that he runs around saying “naked, naked” and it’s kind of not as adorable as it is admirable. I promise to get back to a state in which I love my own naked form. For now, I’ll sit back and appreciate how much he loves his.

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About This American Life

This_american_lifeMy latest vice is getting an hour at the gym, spinning or crushin’ it on the elliptical machine while I listen to This American LifeIt’s a podcast you can download easily from the website, or from the podcast app on your smart phone. I heard the show on my public radio station when I was driving one day and later checked it out online.

Last week when I tuned in, the show was talking about the birds and the bees. It focused on how to talk to kids about life, death, and racism. It was fascinating and almost distracted me from my workout, which is a real win!

A real highlight for me was learning about The Sharing Placea grief support center for children in Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s a place where families can go when they need to find the words and feelings behind their grief because life has become kind of unbearable. The most common reason for this, at The Sharing Place, is when children lose a parent due to suicide.

Now, I’ve never lost someone super close to me outside of grandparents and an uncle. But those individuals lived long, wonderful lives. For that reason, dealing with the grief felt very manageable. So, I don’t have any experience or perspective on this sort of thing. The podcast explaining things I don’t really understand had me completely transfixed because in The Sharing Place children learn to articulate what happened in their lives and how they feel about it.

“My dad had a disease in his brain called depression. He decided to make his body stop working by shooting himself with a gun,” a seven-year-old said.

So, this is morbid. I know. But it was so powerful. These little kids learned slowly and painfully exactly what had happened in their lives. Then they learned how to explain their feelings between talking, sharing, reflecting, and even shouting or kicking and screaming in a space called “the volcano room.”

All I could think about was how incredible it is to give young  children the tools to recognize their feelings, to put words to them, and to say them out loud. It sounded so healthy, so healing, and so necessary.

It makes perfect sense that a place like this would exist for grief-filled children. But why can’t places like this exist for all kinds of kids with all kinds of concerns? Are there places where kids can be completely themselves, without judgement, and voice their thoughts in a safe way?

“I feel so sad and mad about what happened,” a nine-year-old girl said. “It hurts deep inside my body and I wish I could get it out.”

This podcast made me think about kids suffering from depression. It made me think about kids whose parents are working through a confusing, convoluted divorce. Or kids who don’t fit in and can’t understand why, but feel confused or sad or lost about it.

When I was in school, this was what theater camp was for. Kids went to act out their feelings and became drama nerds with the other weirdos. It was freeing and wonderful. But not everyone wants to memorize lines and pretend to be someone else when she’s hurting or confused. What if there was a Sharing Place for everyone? Would we have healthier relationships? Would we view ourselves differently after experiencing traumatic life events? Would we love each other and ourselves a little more deeply? I kind of think so…

I’ll definitely keep tuning into This American Life. It’s pretty interesting and I’m sure there’s more great reporting to come.  If you listen to the show or have other great ones to suggest, let me know! I’ll be on the elliptical, searching for something else.

 

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Posted in Education, Life Happenings | Leave a comment