Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Choice is Good

I always said that I wish I had the choice; the choice to work outside the home, or the choice to be a stay at home work. Because when you have a choice, you naturally have to accept responsibility for that choice, right or wrong. And if you make the wrong choice for you, well you can always change it. When you don't have a choice, you lack control, and often the ability to make necessary changes. That feels lousy.

I have never had the choice. I may have, at times when things were REALLY hard to manage, felt resentment about that. But I have recently made a startling revelation. I am thankful I never had the choice. I don't know what decision I would have made. It would have been very tempting to stay home. It's so hard to leave the kids when they are so little. And that time goes by SO fast. It's not that it would have been a bad decision. But I don't know that it would have been the right decision for me. I'm not sure I would have been a very good stay at home mom. Some women AMAZE me. I am in awe of how well they do their jobs as a stay at home mom. And I do believe it is a job - albeit it a largely underpaid job. I have also seen many stay at home moms turn their personal passions into profitable careers - some, almost by accident.

I am starting to get ready to start a new job. An opportunity I would have never had if I had not been working. And though I am stressed about how I will continue to manage the demands of my home life, with the demands of a new job, I feel a sense of accomplishment for getting to where I am. It's kind of like going to the gym - you hate to go. In fact you dread it. But once you get into the routine and start seeing results, you become self-motivated in a way you weren't initially. And that motivation propels you to march on.

The time will come, not so far from now, when I will have the choice. But I think given the past, it will be a much easier choice for me to make.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What bounces off me, sticks to you - A pre-school hazard

I always thought my daughter was the dramatic one. And usually she is. But I'll tell you, her brother is starting to give her a run for her money. Out the blue, he has started saying he does not want to go to school. He says he doesn't like school. He'll cry and throw a tantrum when he realizes it is a school day - and Monday - Thursdays are school days for him. And do you want to know what he says when we ask him what is the problem at school. Not his teachers. Not his friends. Not the snacks they give him. You know what he says?? Go on, guess.......Okay, because nobody in their right mind would guess, I'll tell you. GLUE. Yes, the GLUE. He does not like the glue at school.

"Did something happen with the glue while at school?" We asked him. "No. I just don't like it on my hands." OOOOkay.

Now I find it hard to believe that there is SO much glue being used that he is REALLY having a hard time with it. In fact, I am not confident the problem really is the glue. Perhaps he just cannot verbalize what is truly bothering him. Or, maybe, and more likely, its just a phase and he's decided he'd rather not have to go to school. He seems very happy when we pick him up and they always report to us about what a great day he had. So, though I am not overly concerned, it is heart breaking to see him so upset. If my baby doesn't like the glue, well by all means, I will do my best to make sure he does not have to use that glue.

So yesterday at drop off, he and I spoke to the teacher about the glue. And do know what she was doing when we walked in the classroom. Yep - taking out the glue for the days project. She kindly put it away when I explained why we needed to talk with her. She was very sympathetic. We talked about all the different ways he could either avoid the glue. For example, he could use tape. So far, no complaints about the tape. Or he could use a paint brush to use the glue so there is no chance he will get it on his hands. Yes, she was very helpful and understanding. Because you know, this is serious stuff people.


I am not good with change. Never have been. I like consistency. I like to know what to expect. I do not like surprises. And yet, I now find myself throwing caution to the wind, and leaving a wonderful job which has completely supported my work-life balance, for a totally different job. And while they too seem very supportive of the my work-life balance, I cannot help but feel sick! Yes the change is exciting, and I know intellectually the anxiety associated with this transition will be short-lived, I am currently a mess! Why do we do this to ourselves? Can I not just be happy with the status quo? Who needs ambition anyways?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Here's the thing.......

I support Sarah Palin, as a woman; as a mother. I think it is GREAT that a woman with five kids, the last of whom is only months old, has been selected as a candidate for the Vice President of the United States. Or maybe it is more accurate to say, I think it is GREAT that those factors did not prohibit her from being offered such an honor, because it shouldn't.

But here's where she looses me..... She CHOSE to have five kids. She CHOSE to have a career AND have five kids. She CHOSE to have a child knowing he has downs syndrome. She CHOSE to accept the nomination for VP of the United States, KNOWING that the decision would lead to having her seventeen year old pregnant daughter's face plastered all over the world.

Do I think she made the right the decisions? I don't know. Only she knows her family, herself and their needs. It's not for me to decide. I respect and support her CHOICES. She has benefited from the right to make all those CHOICES....but she doesn't think others should have the same right. How does that make any sense?

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Historic Day

Kudos to John McCain for his choice for VP. And what a day for women around the world. To see the mother of five, the last born only months ago, as a candidate for the Vice Presidency, is truly inspiring. (Perhaps not very politically astute, but inspiring none the less.)

Unfortunately, I'm for Obama all the way - but boy does this make things exciting!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bed time snacks: BEWARE

You know how annoying it is when one of your kids is getting ready for bed or even in bed already, and they whine, "I'm hungry..." And though your parental instinct tell you to let the kid go hungry because either:

a) They aren't really hungry and are just tying to stall or;
b) They need to learn that if you're hungry, you best eat your dinner because there will be no bed time snack,

You instead, are a sucker and allow your child to help herself to a cheese stick and then get back into bed.

The problem with giving in to this demand, aside from the fact you have already been played a fool, is that your child may not close the refrigerator door all the way, and it will not be until morning that someone discovers this. And you will then have to throw away ALL the food (HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS OF FOOD) and spend your afternoon shopping, AGAIN for MORE food. Not to mention the 7AM trip to the dump to throw away all the spoiled food.

Yep. Uh ha. You better believe there will be no more bed time snacks in our house.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

And so it beings....

Or maybe it had a while ago, and I have just now caught on. Sweet Pea has become embarrassed by me. I embarrass her. I realize that sometimes I do still talk about her to other people as if she's not there. This happened just this morning at at the bus stop waiting with the usually suspects for the camp bus to come pick them up. I was telling another mother about a letter Abby had her counselors write to me about her swimming. (Just to provide some background - she has not yet learned to swim and this has become an issue. She wants to swim, and lord knows, I want her to swim. But she is a afraid. And that takes time to get over. Anyways, when she got home yesterday, she was very excited to show me this note her counselors had written - again, at her request, telling me how she had put her head underwater, and what wonderful progress she is making. Of course I was very proud and excited but as I started asking questions it became clear that these counselors were simply writing what she told them too, and did not actually see her swim lesson. And then as we talked further, I learned, she did not put her head under water purposefully - it was an accident. This is not to say I am not still very proud of her, but the situation was not quite as the note represented.) So I was talking with the other mother about this. Our daughters are friends and in the same swim group. And of course Sweet Pea was right there. She came over to me and said, under her breath, "Zip it." Yes, she told me to zip it. I had embarrassed her. And you know, she's right. When they're little we do this all the time. They are too oblivious to know or care. But at 6 1/2 - this is not the case. I really should know better.

But then there are also the times that my mere presence embarrasses her. She used to love when I'd show up at school unexpected to help out with something. But now, some times I just get that look, like, "I am glad you're here but don't even think about coming over and giving me a hug and kiss in front of all my friends." She does the same thing when she gets on and off the bus. I barely get a hug and kiss good-bye. Isn't it a little soon for this?

Friday, June 27, 2008

My Dearest JJ:

It feels like just a short time ago that I wrote about you turning 3. My how the year has flown, and in the process you turned from a toddler, into a curious, clever, funny 4 year old big boy.

The things that make you so special are too numerous to write, but when I think about you when you were three, here are the things I will remember most:

1) How you giggle in your sleep as if you have just seen the funniest thing. (And I know this because you are often right next to me in my bed - something else I will always remember about you being three, though perhaps not as fondly.)

2) They way you say "a long day ago," instead of "a long time ago."

3) How whenever you get excited about something or anxious to say something, you unconsciously sign repeating with your hands the word "more."

4) How when you talk about you sister, Sweet Pea, you refer to her as "My Sweet Pea."

5) The way you insist on having your dessert next to you WHILE you eat dinner, even ice cream.

6) The way you go through days insisting everyone call you Spider-Man, refusing to answer to your real name.

7) The serious look that over comes your face when you step up to the plate to swing at a baseball - your "game face."

8) That you can barely finish a chicken nugget but managed to wolf down an entire ice cream cone.

9) The way you can lie almost better than anyone else I know, except for me.

10) The way you give me a hug and kiss every day when I drop you off at pre-school, as if you cannot go on with your day until we have our moment together.

Happy Birthday baby! (Also something you will not tolerate being called.)

Monday, June 16, 2008

No regrets?

I’m not sure I’d be able to say that if I died tomorrow, that I have, “no regrets.” Sorry to be so morbid, but I feel slightly surrounded by death this week. We unfortunately had a member of our family die this past week, and spent father’s days at a funeral and sitting Shiva with family and friends. He was a great-uncle, by marriage. His name was Hiem.

And then there’s Tim Russert. I didn’t know him, but like many people I feel like I did. There was something about his passing that almost felt harder to swallow. Unlike Hiem who was 93 years old and lived a long life, Mr. Russert’s death was so untimely. Although Hiem’s passing was emotional, and a tragic loss, it did not come without preparation. For Mr. Russert and his family, there were no good-byes.

At the memorial service we attend yesterday, the Rabbi said that as he spoke with Hiem a couple weeks before his passing, he told the Rabbi that he had no regrets. I was struck by this. I don’t think, if I died tomorrow, I could say that. It’s not that I have any big regrets. By I don’t think, up until this point in my life, I can say I have truly enjoyed life to the fullest. I feel like I spend SO much of my time worrying about something, and/or stressed about another, that I too often forget to just enjoy life.

And then there’s work. We spend so much of our time at work. And I don’t love my work. I wish I could say that I woke up everyday and was able to do exactly what I wanted to do. Or at least be able to say that there is no other job I’d rather be doing. But I can’t. I don’t even really know what that would be. I’d don’t feel like I ever really took the opportunity to figure that out and I wish I had. It’s not that it’s too late but it not realistic either to think you can just stop in your tracks and re-evaluate your whole professionally being, especially not when you have two kids, and an income that cannot be sacrificed at this point in time.
But this past week was a reminder that life is too short, and too precious, not to be doing what makes you happy - or at least working towards it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

My soon-to-be four year old son has turned the corner

And it’s not the corner I was hoping for. The terrible 2’s that he totally missed, and that his sister started at 18 months, is setting in. But as a soon-to-be four year old, here is what it sounds like:

“You want a piece of me?” Incidentally when I asked him where he heard that, he named some new kid at school. Great!

“You are the worst mommy EVER!” A title I am very proud to hold.

“I’m going to poop on you.” And every thing else that crosses his path.

He says to Jonathan and I, as we try to help him put on his pajamas because you know sometimes it is so painful (and time consuming) to watch. “Stop it, you meddling kids!” He got this one from Scooby Doo. Note to self: This is precisely why some kids are not allowed to watch TV. Some thing to think about.

Though to be fair, I have to say, some times the sweetest things come out of his mouth like, “Mommy, you dress so beautiful.” And thus is how he gets away with all the other stuff. That and those dimples!

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Mother's Day to Remember

And not for any of the reasons you might think. What started off as a wonderful, low key morning, where I slept in until 7:30 (yes, that is sleeping in at our house), and enjoyed coffee with my family while opening some mother's days cards and presents, turned into a mother's day disaster.

After opening my presents we ventured upstairs to get dressed and head out for a special mother's day breakfast at our favorite breakfast spot. The kids needed baths since, well let's just say, it had been a bit too long since their last bath. Sweet Pea insisted on a bath, as opposed to a shower which would have been much easier and faster, but it was mother's day and I did not want to argue with her. So off to the tub she went. When she was done, Jonathan and JJ were getting ready to take a shower. I went into Sweet Pea's room to help her pick out an outfit. (Not that she needs the help, but that never seems to stop her from wanting it.) As I walked into her room, which is right at the top of the steps, I heard running water - LOTS OF RUNNING WATER. And Jonathan had not yet turned on the shower. I froze. All I could get out of my mouth was, "Jonathan, something is wrong down stairs." Jonathan came to the top of the steps, took a moment to listen, and blotted down the steps. In that one moments, I knew the relaxing day I hoped for was not going to happen.

As soon as Jonathan got down stairs he yelled, "I need a plunger! Get the plunger." I ran to the upstairs bathroom and threw the plunger down to him. (I don't know why I didn't bring it to him. I think I was in denial about what I knew was happening but couldn't quite bear to see it.) I then made my way downstairs, and what I saw was water (and other various materials) pouring out of the toilet.

"Turn off the water!" I screamed. Still, water is pouring out of the toilet. "We need to shut off the main water. Do you know how to do that?" I asked Jonathan. "Yes, but we need a plumber NOW." "Yes, I Know. But we first we need to SHUT OFF THE WATER."

We headed down to the basement, where water is pour down from the ceiling right below where the bathroom is. At this point we're not sure if a pipe has burst or if the water is simply seeping through the floor. It is also now clear that sewage is being back up through the pipes out the toilet. I burst it to tears. It was one of those moments I just wanted to cry....and so I did. But I quickly pulled myself together. And by this time, the water had stopped pouring out of the toilet.

We got the phone and called a plumber. We got a recording which included a number to call in the case of an emergency. This was clearly an emergency. Jonathan called the number and got an answering machine. He left a message. Not a good sign.

So now, here we are, not dressed, no running water, and shit all over our floor. Jonathan looked at me and said, "Get the kids. Take them to your parents and I'll deal with this. I don't want you cleaning shit off the floor on mother's day." I think that was one of the nicest things he has ever said to me. Though the truth be told, that's just my husband - he would have never expected me to be the one to clean that kind of mess up. And of course I love him for that.

So off I went with the kids. Jonathan made a couple more calls and got someone at another plumbing company who said they would be out to us within the hour. So, long story short (if it's not too late for that) the plumber got there lickedy split. The problems was, as Jonathan described it to me, the perfect storm. The washer was running, the toilet had been flushes several time, be various people over the course of the morning, and the tub had drained. Those things combined was enough to back up the pipes, which over time had become slightly more clogged and corroded.

By noon, and several hundred dollars later, the problem was fixed, and my house was cleaned and disinfected, thanks to a saint of a plumber and a saint of a husband.

We managed to salvage the rest of day, despite Jonathan and I (particularly Jonathan) being exhausted, though he never complained. We had a lovely mother's day lunch out and casual family dinner with my parents, sister, cousins, etc.


On another note, sort of. I did get an unexpected mother's day gift from my daughter. You know how you have those moments or days even, where you yell because no ones listening and you just completely loose it and practically scream your brains out? (And hopefully this is not just me!) Then after the fact, or sometimes as the words are flying out of your mouth, you wonder if this is the way your kids will remember you? Or if this is the one moment they will remember about their childhood? I have finally received some sign that those moments, that really are few and far between but for some reason feel, to a mother, feel like they will define you forever, will not.

Sweet Pea came home from school Friday with her mother day's gift; a hand sculpted beautiful piece of pottery she made in art class, and the MOST AMAZING card. The teachers had prepared fill-in the blanket cards where the children had to complete several sentences. Here was the card Sweet Pea wrote for me. (Here responses are in bold).

My Mother

My mother is very special! She always sings around the house.
She never has enough time to do what she wants.If my mother could be anyone in the world; she would be a famous singer.
She's as pretty as a rose.
She loves to cook for us.
She hates to yell when we don't listen.
When my mother is happy she plays games with me.
I wish she would play outside with me every day.
One thing I love best about my mom is that she is great!
I wouldn't trade my mom for a piece of pottery.

It brought tears to my eyes. For some reason this card hit a nerve. She gets more than I give her credit for.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Calling all moms of 3, 4 or more....

I need input. How do you decide whether or not to have a third child? I know this is a personal decision - and for some, perhaps simply a product of circumstance, but I'd certainly welcome ANY thoughts or advice.

I am VERY torn about whether or not we should have a third child. On the one hand, I cannot imagine having another child. On the other hand, I cannot imagine NEVER having another child. I'm thirty-five; young enough to be feel like I do not have to be done, but old enough that if we're going to have a third, we'd better get on with it already.

Here is the problem: We are finally at a point where things are easier. I don't have to dress anyone in the morning. We no longer need a stroller when we go to the mall, or travel. Can I really go back? Or rather, do I want to go back? Sometimes I think I do. But then I remember how tired I am ALL THE TIME. Will I have the energy for a third? Will I have the patients for a third? I am not a calm, patient, laid back person. Should people like me have three kids?

And then there's the financial issue - will we really be able to afford to send three kids to college in this day and age, and still live the way we want to live? And should even we make our decision based on this?

Jonathan is another issue. He does not think he wants another child. But his rationale is really more like, "where would the third kid sit in the car." You know, really deep thoughts about the issue. (Not to mention we have an SUV - so it's not like this is really a problem.) I just don't think in his mind he ever pictured a family with three kids. He comes from a family with two kids, and his parents each came from a family with two kids. Same with me. We'd really be breaking the mold. But he knows this is an issue for me and so he is willing to discuss the possibility. And of course any decision we make, I strongly believe needs to be a decision we are both comfortable with.

I love being a mom. I don't want to look back and regret not having a third because I was afraid. But I also want to do what is right for our family. I just don't know what that is.

She's a poet - and I didn't even know it!

Yesterday I took the kids to the playground. I sat on the bench while they skipped around from one structure to the next, because you know, it was HOT. Not that I’m complaining or anything – I’m just saying.

Anyways, Sweet Pea came over to me at one point, and we had the following conversation:

Her: “You know I’m a poet?”

Me: “Really?”

Her: “See like a scientist would look at that tree over there and see leaves. But a poet would look at it and see a big green balloon.”

Me: “Um. That’s very interesting. Do you know what a poet is?”

Her: Silence….(I think she thinks she has just explained it to me and she does not understand why I don’t get it.)

Me: “A poet is someone who writes poems.”

Her: “Well there are two kinds of poets.”

Me: “Ahhhhh.”

And she’s not wrong. I mean, I know what she was trying to say, even if she did not quite put it into words. I thought it was very insightful. It will be so interesting to see what she decides to be when she grows up. She is very creative and artistic – something I am not, but also logical and systematic – which I tend to be. Put the two together and I guess that explains why she’s such a pistol!

JJ missed the conversation. He was too busy telling anyone on the playground who would listen about his super powers. He has already declared he will be Spiderman when he grows up. I wonder if one needs to attend college to become Spiderman? Think of all the money we could save!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Another Milestone

Yesterday was a big day. Sweet Pea lost her first tooth! It fell out at school and the Nurse gave her this little tooth treasure box to carry home her little baby tooth.

She was so excited, as we were driving home from school she said, “Am I dreaming or did I really loose my tooth.”

The Tooth Fairy left her this very nice letter:

The Tooth Fairy
1 Fairy Lane

Dear Abby,

Congratulations on loosing your first tooth! Loosing your first tooth is a very exciting and special event. For that reason, here is $5 for you. I did receive your letter requesting new markers, but I thought you might enjoy picking them out yourself. So use this money for your new markers, or something else of your choice. Ask your parents to take you shopping some time soon.

Congratulations again and I look forward to more visits in the near future.

Love and Fairly Dust,

The Tooth Fairy

Yes, I know it says, "Fairly Dust," not "Fairy Dust." I guess even the tooth fairy makes typos.

And I know $5 seems like a lot, but you know it was the first tooth - and markers ain't cheap these days.

I've been a mom for just about 6 1/2 years, but for some reason becoming the "Tooth Faily" was one of those truly defining moments for me when you know you are REALLY a parent now. Like a formal initiation into parenthood or something - in case all the poopy diapers, throw-up and whining were not enough to make you feel legit.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Star is Born - if only for the week

This past week was school vacation week. Since JJ's pre-school was open, I decided not to take the week off from work. So I needed to find something for Sweet Pea to do for the week. By coincidence, a parent of one of Sweet Pea's friends mentioned an introduction to musical theater "vacation week camp" at our local rec center. And the production for the week - High School Musical 2. They spend all week learning songs, dances and lines, and then on Friday, there is a performance.

When I mentioned this to Sweet Pea she was excited about it at first. Then when she heard about the performance she was less thrilled. Despite her "theatrics" at home, she is not one to like to be in the spotlight. And I use that term loosely. She doesn't like to do ANYTHING where she thinks all eyes will be focused on her, even if in fact all eyes are not focused on her. But this was High School Musical - perhaps she could get past the rest.

She went back and forth about wanting to enroll. Several of her friends were doing it so that was a big draw and of course they all LOVE high school musical. I was kind of indifferent about her doing it, though the price for the week certainly beat any other childcare options out there. I also thought that once she got there, she'd love it - the songs, dancing with her friends, even if the anxiety leading up to it would be torture for all of us.

So we made a deal. She would go the first day, and if she hated it, or just did not want to go back, we would make other arrangements for the rest of the week. I had no idea what the other arrangements might be - perhaps a day at work with her Dad, a day with me, and a day with her Nana. I did not mentioned this possibility to her or should would opted out right there and then. (She loves to go work with her Dad. She's actually never been with me.) But I did not want this to be a bad experience for her and if she didn't like it. I did not want her to feel forced to be there. I remember that feeling as a kid - it's lousy. Especially when its something that is supposed to be fun, not a "must-do."

The night before the first day she FREAKED out. And you know what the biggest issue was for her? She did not want to eat lunch there. Why, you ask? I have no idea. She had this problem in the beginning of kindergarten too. Lunch was an issue - she hardly ate. I told her I'd send anything she wanted but of course she didn't know what that would be. All this from a child who has been in daycare since she was 6 months old - most of it full-time. UHG!

In the midsts of her freaking out she was yelling, "Sign me off, Sign me off." It was so pathetic. So I reminded her of the "deal" and we agreed not to talk about lunch, at least not until the morning when I needed to pack it. She was okay the rest of the night - if you consider regressing to the point she had to sleep in our bed with us okay, something she has not done in...... I don't even know how long.

In the morning, she seemed surprisingly excited. I think the fact that the day was finally here was a big relief for her. (And another reminder for me that the anticipation of these things is usually WAY WORSE then when she actually has to go do it.) So off we went - early as usual since she cannot stand to be late. (She gets that from me....one of my better qualities I think. Well, at least not one of my worst qualities.)

When we got there, we ended up going up and down steps trying to find the room they were in. By the time we found it, her friends had also arrived and off they went. I was slightly less than thrilled that the teachers were not there yet, as it was already 9 AM. Apparently they were stuck in traffic so one of the center's administrative staff were checking the kids in - if you can call it that. As a side, there is nothing like that feeling when you have just left your kid in the hands of complete strangers and you have to take the leap of faith that they'll be there when you get back. I mean, not that I have ever left them with complete strangers. It just feels that way. And it was the town rec center. They don't really qualify as strangers... Gulp.

So off I went to work.

When I got there to pick her up they were working on set designs, I think, if you can really call them that. I could see them through the window of the door to the gym they were in. She seemed okay. Perhaps a little bleary eyes and dazed from the long day. (They were full days, 9-4). When the kids were let out, we had to sign them out. (I felt much better now that clearly there was some tracking of the kids.) Her first response seemed positive. It has been a good time. We said good-by to her friends and headed off to the car. She showed me the script. I was impressed - this was serious stuff.

And then she freaked again. She had to practice all night long. And by "practice" she meant she had to learn the songs by reading them word for word. When I suggested perhaps we just listen to the CD she said, "That's cheating." Hum. And keep in mind, she already knows most, if not all the songs from seeing the movie a hundred times. It is now entirely clear to me she is beyond exhausted and completely incapable of being rational. So we decided to put it to rest for the night.

It was at this point I felt so guilty about doing this to her. She is an intense person. A nd a perfectionist. These kinds of activities, that are just supposed to be fun, are often not for her. And I guess I hadn't really thought about that.

So I gave her an out. But you know what, she didn't take it. She may be many things, but she is not a quitter.

And so she carried on through the week, and did great! She was exhausted, but excited about each next day. So much so that the anxiety about the performance seemed fleeting. Finally, my guilt was replaced with overwhelming pride for my daughter who over came her own anxieties to just have fun, and with my own personal satisfaction to have exposed her to something that she will look back on and feel a sense of accomplishment about.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pathetic but true.....

That I actually look forward to such things as, my eye doctor's appointment. Why you ask? Because it is the most relaxing part of my day. When else do I get to sit on my a$$, read trashy magazines while I wait to be seen, and not feel guilty that I'm not doing something else like laundry or cleaning up the crap slathered around the house.

It turns out my chronically red eyes are due to dry eye. My contact wear does not help the issue. And apparently the weather too also has an impact. My optometrist inserted these permanent "plugs" - these tiny little umbrella like things (without the sharp edges, eck!) into the corner of my eyes to stop the tears from, as she described it, going down the drain. Hopefully I will no longer look like one of those cartoon characters with the creepy blood-shot eyes.

I think I might have bugged the optometrist too. I was so enjoying my time, ALONE, that I was so chatty. Granted most of my chit chat was about my eye aliment but I kept the questions coming. I think she was happy to see me go.

So sad. I don't get to go back for another 6 months.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mondays and Pie

I hate Mondays. I particularly hate Mondays when both my kids are on the verge of illness and I have 1001 things that need to get done at work this week, and its ONLY Monday. It is not good. And so now, instead of, or should I say, in addition to simply worrying about the 1001 things that must get done, I am also waiting on the edge of my seat for the call to come. You know the call:

"Hi Mrs. So and So. This is [blank]. [Blank] is okay. But he/she has a 102 fever and you have to come get him/her."

This really gets me. Clearly, if he/she has a 102 fever, he/she is not okay. I appreciate them letting me know right off the bat that he/she is not dead or something, but why start the conversation like that - get my hopes us that perhaps you are not calling to tell me he/she is sick but rather for some other, rather unimportant piece of information. Like, you love the smell of my sons shampoo and you must have it so would I be so kind as to tell you what kind of shampoo I use on his hair. (Yes, this was a REAL phone call that I received at work. Of course I was so thrilled they were not calling to tell me his was sick, I didn't even mind.)

On another note, I think I want to open a bakery and bake pies all day. I have always enjoyed baking but just in the past couple years have I really started to perfect my skills. And I'm talking REAL pie - with homemade pie crust. I have a problem making pie with a store made pie crust. I do it when I'm in a pinch, but I feel like a fraud. If you make a pie, but don't actually make the pie crust - did you really make the pie? I suppose so. But for me, homemade pie crust makes it the real deal.

Jonathan and I hosted a family dinner last night in honor of my sister's birthday. It was just the family.....all 15 of us. It was nothing fancy. Burgers, salad and homemade french fries (which were awesome!). For dessert, at my sister's request I made Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pie. It's become kind of my signature pie. It was SO delicious - not to toot my own horn - anything with butter, sugar, chocolate and vanilla can't be bad.

I wonder if I made pies for a living if I would still hate Mondays. That would be a true test.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A conversation to remember

We've been teasing the kids lately, telling them that if they get bigger they will be in big trouble. They think its hilarious when we get "mad" at them for getting big. The other day JJ and I had the following conversation.

JJ - Mommy, I can't stay your baby. I have to grow big. So I can be Superman and rescue people.

Mom - Oh? Well, who then will be my baby?

JJ - Well, we could get you a new baby, at the Store.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Do we do this to ourselves?

I know I am not alone in my guilty over the choices I make as a mother who works outside the home. (Lord knows all mothers have guilt.) What I cannot figure out is am I creating this guilt for myself? And if not, where is it coming from? Let me explain:

When Sweet Pea was in daycare, or pre-school, there were a few events, maybe 2 or 3 a year that parents were asked to attend during the day. And because our kids went to a full-time daycare/preschool, most, if not all, the children who went there had parents that work. So most of the center-run, or sponsored activities, took place after work.

But when you enter the elementary school years, this is not the case. I am finding there are many, MANY things parents are asked to attend at the most inconvenient times for working parents. There are parties. There are field trips. There are plays. There are “peek weeks” for EVERY “special” class, i.e. P.E., art, music. And of course these class times are smack in the middle of the morning. Granted they only last an half hour but when you have to commute 40 minutes to work and you only work PT this does not leave you with much face time in the office – not to mention work time.

It’s not only the logistics of how to get there that make it so hard, but the emotional stress it adds to an already chaotic life and schedule. It can be so overwhelming. It’s just another item on a long list of reasons why it so hard to be a great mom and a great employee.

I love that our school has all this parent involvement. I really do. But what are working parents supposed to do? Not go? This would never fly with my child – and rightfully so. It doesn’t fly with me either. I want to be there. But how many times in one month can you really tell you boss that you won’t be in until 11 AM, and you leave at 2:30? Again, I’m damned if I do, and damned if I don’t.

Last month, when I had to go Sweet Pea’s P.E. class for peek week, I was planning to lie and tell my boss I had a doctor’s appointment. Somehow in my mind this felt like a more acceptable excuse for being late to work. Why, I have no idea. In the end, I decided the truth was better. I know I am so ethical like that. No actually, I am not. It simply hit me. Was it WRONG to want to go to my child’s school event? Could any rational person really think this was the wrong choice? I didn’t think so either. But it helped that I knew my boss would understand. I have a great boss. She does not have kids but somehow she totally gets it. But I have had bosses that don’t. I know a lot of people who have bosses that don’t.

And what about the Dads? Hey, I mean, if I was afraid to tell my boss what I was doing, I would think there are many a men out there who might have also have a hard time telling their boss they need to miss that important meeting because, “Well I’d really love to attend my child’s kindergarten music class.” Yeah, I'm sure that will go over well.

And it’s only going to get worse. With eventually two kids in elementary school, (I am getting heart palpitation just thinking about it), I’ll never make it to work.

But you know what? I’ve decided I am no longer going to simply add this to my list of reasons why I’m either a terrible parent or a terrible employee (depending on the day). It’s important to me and my kid to be there, at least to as many as possible. This is my priority. I will never look back and wished I worked that one day (or ten as the case may be). I know some of it doesn’t sound all that important. But it is. To be a part of their day, if only for one day, or one part of one day, is something I will always remember. And they will remember me being there. (And they sure as heck would remember me not being there). And until someone has an issue with it, I have decided I will NOT feel guilty about making this choice.

Except that I will. Why do we do this to ourselves?


Finally, a diagnosis. I suffer from "TUI," Time, Urgency/Impatience syndrome. And according to this article I have all the symptoms. I get upset while waiting. I tend to eat fast. (Sometime I think I might actually choke myself). And I generally feel time pressured ALL THE TIME.

I always knew there was something wrong with me. I just didn't know it really had a name. In addition to the above symptoms I have others. I walk fast, always. On Fridays, when I don't work, I still rush around in the morning. When we are driving anywhere, especially when I am not the one actually driving, I cannot stand being behind people who drive too slow. And I hate traffic, to an extreme. It makes me crazy. It makes Jonathan crazy too. Not the traffic, me in the traffic. When I can't take it anymore and I blurt out some obnoxious comment like, "Can't you just go around them?" His response is, "What is your problems? We're not in a rush." But that's exactly it. I AM in a rush. Granted, I have no idea why.

It is kind of funny there is an actually name for this but it really does suck to have it. It's no joke. It's exhausting to always be in a rush. It explains why I an unable to stay awake past 9 PM, sometimes even earlier. Well, that and the two little creatures of mine who suck the life out of me each and every day. It's ironic too because I consider myself a relatively lazy person. You wouldn't think a lazy person would suffer from a syndrome which requires such exertion. But here I am, living proof.

The article does offer a few suggestions to help easy the effects. They recommend taking a one minute pause in your day to read a funny e-mail or dance with your partner. Yeah, I'm a sure a whole minute would do wonders. And ah, yeah, I'll get right on that dancing thing.

They also suggest a simply reminder to yourself to slow down. Yeah, I suppose that could work but I don't think this will serve as any kind cure for people who have spent their entire lives hurrying.

And finally, they suggest the "no-tech zone." You know, put away all those technological devices that keep you so connected so that you take time out to relax. I suppose this too may help for some people. But not people like me who turn to my technology to escape the reality of my life. This is where I read the paper, and those funny e-mails and blogs.

The only time in my life I can remember not being in a hurry all the time was when I was pregnant. I don't know if it was the hormones that somehow relaxed my brain and body or if I was just simply physically unable to move that fast. Maybe both.

I doubt they'll every really be a cure. But I suspect as I get older my symptoms may not be so severe, if again, only because I am physically unable to move so fast. It is somewhat gratifying to at least have a name to put on it. And when Jonathan asks me what my problem is, at least I will have a legitimate response. (Well, I'll think it's legitimate. He'll just add it to the list of reasons why he thinks I'm crazy.)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Playdate rule book

Now let me just say, I realize that some kids are not socially ready to have a drop off play date and so these rules might not apply to them. However, there of many out there, who are in fact ready, yet their parents appear not to be. And so these are for them:

1) If your child is over 4 do not assume you need to stay for the duration of the play date. In fact seize this opportunity to not only develop your child's independence but to give yourself a little downtime, relax and simply try to enjoy the gift of time FOR YOURSELF!

2) If you make a play date with a "friend" and the "plan" is to drop your kid off, do not call the 1/2 hour before the play date is suppose to start, (which may also happen to be a Sunday morning), tell the "friend" that in fact your husband is bring your child, has decided he will stay AND he will be bringing their 2 year old along for the fun.

For those saying, "Well, what's the big deal?" The big deal is, the "friends" may not have signed up for two hours of entertaining other adults and in fact may have had plans to try to get somethings done around their house during the play date. After all, isn't that some of the benefits of a play date? The children can help entertain each other so you can perhaps fold some laundry? Now, I 'm not suggesting you go about your business without properly supervising the children - of course, but many of these kids are now at an age when they can engage in some play independently with you not far away. Right?

3) If you are going to stay, do discipline your children when they start jumping on the beds. Especially when you have had a older child fall off the bed when jumping who had to be rushed to the emergency room when fluid started leaking from his ear. And when a simple, "Please don't jump on the bed [insert name here]," does not work, more effect means of communication may be necessary.

4) When you have already been at the "friends" house for two hours, and they are clearly trying to get ready to go out (as they said they would need to prior to the play date) do take the hint and get the heck out.

5) Don't be surprise that when failing to following rules 1-4, your "friends" do not call you again and invite your child over for another play date any time soon.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Okay, I retrack my earlier post....

I think I may need to relocate. I know I said how much I love those snow days but as I predicted, or admitted, I now feel differently. It is now April and there is a WINDCHILL FACTOR. This is totally unacceptable to me. I need to be outdoors. My kids need to be out doors - without hats and gloves, and frickin long underwear. Did I mention, it is April?

Not only that, I am convinced that if I lived in a warmer climate, not only would I be happier, and a less moody and depressed person but I would be thinner and healthier. You don't see the connection? Well you see, the fresh warmth of the sun would motivate me to run outside probably daily. Okay, not daily, but more often. And you know, I think that would do wonders for me! Yes, I do have a treadmill, that I manage to get on about 3 times a week - on a good week. But let's face it, that is not the same.

Now, if only I could convince the rest of my family to go with me, I'd be good to go. On second thought........

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Who is this child?

Recently, I picked Sweet Pea up from After School. And as always, I asked one of the teachers, "How was her day?"

"Oh, great." She replied. And after a short pause she added, "She always has a great day. I don't think she is the type of person who could have a bad day." So naturally I turn to look over my shoulder to see who she might be talking to. Surely she was not taking to me, about MY child. And yet, she was. I guess my look said it all, because she then said something like, "Oh I know, some times they save it all for home." Oh, you have no idea. If only she had seen this very same child, only moments later as we got in the car, freakin' flip out on me because I had forgotten to bring her a snack . And lord knows the FIVE minute drive home was more than any child should have to endure without a snack.

I have always know this about Sweet Pea but it still never ceases to amaze me. She is a totally different child at home then at school - behaviorally. We got her first "progress report" from kindergarten. And as always, at school, follows directions, first one to clean up, great at transitions from one activity to next. I'm thrilled she does such a great job at school. But why can I not have that same child at home?

I know...they come home, their tired from being "good" all days and they just can't keep it together for us. And sometimes I see glimpses of that child. Like when she decides she will do the dishes tonight. Or, when she tries to help her brother when he is mid-tantrum and doesn't want to get dressed. She will negotiate with him, get his clothes and helps him get dressed, all at her own initiative. I know she is a good kid. This is why it so frustrating to not see more of what, I know, she is capable of.
I feel like I don't know that "easy going" child everyone tells me about.

People also say, "its great she's so comfortable at home that she can fall apart when she needs to." I guess so. But sometime "fall apart" is an understatement. She can be down right mean and nasty.

But she's a perfectionist; spending much of her day, trying to be perfect in so may different ways. And while we know perfection is impossible, she's hasn't quite figured that out yet. Which I guess in a nut shell explains the meltdowns. It's hard work trying to be perfect. I just wish she weren't so hard on herself, or us!