Disneyland Family 5K -2014

Disneyland Family 5K -2014

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mommy's Work is Never Done

When I was home pregnant with Brooklyn, I would spend my days at home waiting for Rob and getting ready for baby. Rob would come home and ask me what I did all day and I would not be able to remember a single thing I did. I was usually on the couch when he came home, remote control in hand, channel surfing. After Brooklyn was born, the first 6 months passed much the same way, with Rob coming home and asking me what we had done all day. If it wasn’t a day with a Gymboree or sign language class, I would be hard pressed to recount my activities, outside of the usual feedings and diaper changes. It would frustrate me that I could not remember what I had done and it would frustrate Rob that I hadn’t done anything (or so he thought.)

Today, I’m at home. I didn’t go in to work because there were a few things I wanted to get done, in preparation for a busy weekend ahead. I decided it would be fun to try to keep track of all of the things that I do today, so that Rob can see (and I can remember) what it’s like to be a stay-at-home mom. It also dovetails nicely with my Project 365 that I am working on, trying to keep a note or take a picture each day for a year, to remember this year. I think I picked a good year – the year of the Tiger, my year, our new baby’s year. We’ll see.

So, what to do today? Well, the novel I am reading sits by my bed forlorn, collecting dust in the morning’s rays of sunshine, the characters anxiously awaiting my return to tell me more of the story. There are cities in Russia and Greece to explore and I can feel the pull of the adventure, but I sit in the kitchen, downstairs and the book sits on my nightstand, upstairs.

The morning started like any other, with my alarm screeching in my ear and a few slaps of the ol’ snooze button. I dragged myself into the shower with eyes that were barely open, as I was greeted by the sunniest possible face, giving new meaning to “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” wishing me a “Good Morning.” As I was welcomed the onslaught of hot water, Brooklyn settled next to our bed with her bag of books, occasionally checking to see if Daddy really was still sleeping.

Once the showers were completed and everyone dressed, we headed downstairs where Daddy got started on B’s breakfast and I put the sheets and comforter in the washing machine, again. After a great week of no accidents last week, this week has been bad, with middle-of-the-night calls almost every night and dirty sheets to wash every morning. After I started the washer, yet again, I went back into the kitchen to begin collecting the pieces of B’s lunch for school. B settled in her chair with her pancakes and peanut butter and Daddy got to work on her PB&J. I settled into my chair with a glass of Apple juice. Yes, I know it’s not the best or healthiest choice of a breakfast, particularly when you are 5 months pregnant, but this little one isn’t cooperating when it comes to food. A good thing if you’re trying to lose weight, which I’m not, so it’s not a good thing.

I managed to flip through ½ of a magazine while B ate, even managing to get a few words in edgewise with Rob over his breakfast of waffles and peanut butter. (B comes by her love of peanut butter naturally.) After cleaning up breakfast, it was a quick brush of the hair, and even quicker pony tail (for B, that is) and the application of the ever-present sunscreen. Kisses good bye and they were out the door. Silence. Peace. I opted to sit in my chair and finish the magazine I had started, a luxury not often experienced. After completing the “flip through,” I went back to pull out the pages that had caught my eye – an idea for a holiday gift for a sister and brother-in-law, and a recipe for potato salad that looked interesting. I checked the clock and saw that it was only 8:30. Yikes!

At some point during my magazine perusal, the buzzer on the washing machine heralded the completion of the cycle. Trudging to the laundry room, I eyed once more the door to Rob’s new body, the door which seemingly held the key to kick starting his fitness routine, the door where the chin up bar was supposed to go. But first, the laundry – quick switch of the load from washer to dryer, turn it on, walk away. I eyed the door again as I walked past. Well, no time like the present and I’ve got the energy (for once), so why not? I pulled out my tool kit (yes, it’s mine, not Rob’s) and my cordless drill (again, mine) and drill bits. Checking the battery and finding it dead, of course, I began a search of the packed hall cabinet for the charger. Success and battery coming soon. Meanwhile, I tried to picture how the chin up bar was supposed to be installed, given the complete lack of any photographs or instruction from the company who sent it. I did find one “action” shot in one of the ads, trying to sell more product, that gave me enough of an idea of what I was doing to get started.

Several drill bits and battery switches later (I kept having to go up a size on the drill bit and the battery wasn’t charging fast enough for my taste), I got the brackets in and the chin up bar up. We’ll see how it holds up and how much use it gets. It is also putting a slight ding in the door frame, which gives the house some character, I suppose. I may have to do something about that in the future, we’ll see. Tools away, I return to the kitchen, my “thinking spot,” to begin the construction of Pooh Bear. His bee hive baked last night, I had to clean up the mixing bowl and get my tools ready. I also cleaned up the crock pot from dinner the other night – lasagna – since Rob had left it to soak and apparently forgot it was there.

So, that’s been my day so far. Laundry, dishes, a chin up bar, a few photos along the way for posterity, and this little diatribe. And it’s 9:42. Back to my baking and I’ll check in later to see how the day is going. I forgot to mention… somewhere in there I also managed to check my email from work (nothing but spam, which is a good thing) and clean a few pieces of junk mail off of the kitchen counter, and get a grocery list started. Progress.

10:00 a.m. - Just for fun, I threw another load of laundry into the washing machine.

It’s 10:20 - the bear cake is in the oven and the cupcakes (excess batter) are on standby. What’s a Mom to do with her time? Well, go in the garage and dig for cake decorating tools and pieces, of course! And fold some laundry while she’s at it. Is it lunch time yet?

10:45 – Oven timer, washing machine timer and dryer timer all going off at once. Seriously? Now I know why women wanted Calgon to take them away! Cake not completely baked, so back in the oven for a few more minutes. People must be warming up to their work days, because emails are starting to come in fast and furious. Onesie flower pots are done and ready to go. While putting them with the stack of things to take on Sunday, I ran into the favors and remembered that I had to tie a few things together and make labels. Yikes! Good thing I’ll have some time tomorrow afternoon – I hope! Off to put the laundry in the dryer and then make some labels. Hopefully the cake will be done soon so I can put the cupcakes in the oven. Once those are done I’ll have to head out to run some errands. I suppose that means I should comb my hair and put on some decent clothes?

11:15 – time to take stock: Laundry – last load in the dryer. Bear cake – Baked. Cupcakes – done. Favor tags – Printed. Onesie pots – done and ready to go. Chin up bar – up. All that and it’s not even lunch time. Hair is combed, decent (enough) clothes are on and I’ve even got a touch of make-up on. (Just enough to hide the red spots, and of course for the added SPF protection.)

I’m ready to head out, list in hand. If I work my route just right, I might even end up at Taco Bell for lunch! Oddly, baby likes Mexican food, especially El Torito’s chips and salsa. See you after lunch!

11:45 – All done at the grocery store. I had to stay away from the outer edges, and avoid any perishable foods. Quick and easy. Headed to the mall to find a few things to wear over the next few days (still need to get my box of maternity clothes from storage.) You gotta love parking for pregnant women. Right next to the door at the grocery store and right next to the door at the mall. On the radio when I got in the car – “Hangin’ Tough” by NKOTB. We still need a sitter for Saturday night. ARGH! On a more random note – it’s hot! The thermometer in the car says that it’s 78 degrees. Maybe it’s my own busted internal thermometer., but it feels hotter.

11:50 – Sitter problem solved! But I’m still Hungry!

12:30 – Grocery store, check. Cake store, check. Mall, check. Now… FOOD! (My usual luck continues … the gas alert started to beep at me – car needs “food” too. Taco Bell, then home. Finally, a chance to sit down. All of my errands (for now) were done and my lunch was waiting for me in front of the television. After I was done, I put together the favors for the shower on Sunday and came back to update my rundown of today’s activities.

I’m enjoying my time on the couch. I’m wishing that I could close my eyes and nap for a little bit, but I don’t think that’s a good idea. I have to head over to the scrapbook store soon to try and get things squared away for the demonstration tonight. At some point after 5 o’clock, I’ll have to go pick Brooklyn up at school and bring her home. This is why I can’t take a nap. This is why the idea of just melting into the couch is so tempting, but I can’t . . . and my book is still waiting for me on my nightstand.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dumbing it Down

As parents, we can look forward to the arrival of child number 2, because we see it as an opportunity to fix the mistakes made with child number 1.  Problems with sleep patterns?  Fix them this time around.  Want to try different foods?  Here you go, have another chance.

For me, I thought I was being so smart with #1.  I skipped the baby talk altogether and just spoke normally to my child.  I would spend hours with her, carrying her around the house with me, telling her what I was doing.  I knew I was in trouble when her 5th or 6th word was "email."  I thought it was fun to lay on the couch when she was an infant, with her curled up on my chest and read to her.  No "See Spot Run" for this kid.  Nope, I read her Harry Potter books and W.E.B. Griffin books and legal thrillers.  (If you're not familiar with WEB Griffin, he writes military novels - she got to hear all about OSS operators (precurser to the CIA) during World War II in Argentina and about present day Secret Service agents.)  I thought I was doing a good thing, helping her develop her vocabulary, exposing her to words.  As she got the hang of talking, she would repeat words to us, trying the word in different places in the sentence until we told her that she was using it correctly.  Who knew that a 2 year old could figure out where a noun went in a sentence.  At the time, we thought it was cute.

When B was a baby, I took her to sign language classes.  Conventional wisdom is that if you teach a baby to sign a few simple words ("milk," "hungry," thank you," etc.) they are less tense and don't throw tantrums as much, because they feel that they can communicate without being able to talk.  Studies show that babies who learn sign language are also quicker to talk and have a more extended vocabulary.  I should have known.  I thought I was so smart, getting her going early, teaching her to communicate.  You'd never know how much you miss the silence of sign language once the voice box kicks into high gear.

I also kept the television off.  She never cared much for the Baby Einstein dvds and would much rather chew on a board book, so I left the "squawk box" off.  It wasn't until she was 1 and a half or 2 that we started watching Dora the Explorer and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and even then she didn't seem interested for more than 10 or 15 minutes at a stretch.  Apparently that was enough for her to memorize the music and start singing the songs all over the house.  And then there's Sesame Street.  Such fun memories for some people, of watching it as kids.  Now I wonder if I will ever get "C is for cookie" out of my head.

These days, my first attempts at parenting have been coming back around to bite me in the ass.  My 4 year old has a vocabulary like you would not believe.  I'm not talking about curse words or profanity (although she did give "shit" a pretty good run for its money one day about a year ago.)  I'm talking about 3 and 4 syllable words that some seniors in high school couldn't use properly.  At a wedding on Saturday, she remarked that the reception was "magnificent."  But trust me, it's not all sunshine and roses with this one.  She knows how to manipulate the system and boy does she ever.  Yesterday I told her that we had to stop at the grocery store and Rite Aid on the way home.  She started throwing a mini tantrum, complaining that she just wanted to go home.  I said I wanted to go home as well, but "these are the things we have to do."  Her response was "what things do we have to do, mommy?"  I said "I already told you."  Her response: "No, you said 'these are the things we have to do' and I asked you 'what' and you didn't answer."  This is a 4 year old, people!  For lack of anything else to say, I told her to stop being a Smart Ass!  (I'm sure that phrase will wind it's way into her usage and come back to haunt me soon.)

In my ever present frustration, and with #2 on the way, I am now faced in an opportunity to test the theory.  Do I use this opportunity to dumb things down?  Do I refrain from talking to this little baby as I would any other person, opting instead to coo and make funny faces and noises?  Or do I let the first one explain how things go?  I'm quite sure Brooklyn would rise to the occasion.  She's already reading some of her bedtime stories to us, maybe she'll chip in and read them to the baby.  Of course, then she'll be telling the baby that things are "magnificent."

What is a parent to do?  Is this one of those "mistakes" that we learn from, or is this just a speed bump on the road to greatness?  Do we weather this vocabulary storm in the hopes that she will one day win the Jeopardy Teen Tournament and be able to pay for her own college education?  Perhaps, instead, we take on the role of mimes.  Instead of talking to the baby, we will act out everything.  Better yet, I'll take the baby to sign language class and speak only in sign.  The baby might get to age 3 or 4 thinking that "quiet" is the way to go.  Then again, with Brooklyn running around (who I swear does not have an "inside" voice) this child might have to scream at the top of his or her lungs to get a word in edgewise.

I'm sure there will be other hurdles as we go, things that we remember doing with Brooklyn that we will wonder about with #2.  I'm certainly going to think twice before I plop down on the couch to read a book out loud to the baby.  Maybe the Archie comics will be more the right speed, rather than the globe trotting spy novels that I gravitate to.  Then again, maybe not.