An Old Conversation Worth Telling

Oh my gosh, I have been looking for this for two years. TWO YEARS!

Two years ago, my son and I had this sweet conversation.

And I wrote it down specifically so I could blog about it.

Today, I am doing some Spring Cleaning (because it’s officially SPRING…squee!) Even the weather is cooperating. And it’s supposed to snow again next week. I don’t want to talk about how upset I’m going to be.

Anyway, under the filing cabinet and covered in dust I found the piece of paper I scribbled this conversation down on, and now I have to blog about it.

September 15, 2012 (My son was 3 years old at this time.)

Noah: “Oh, it looks like I have a baby in my belly because I ate so much food!”

“I’m gonna grow a baby in my belly for me to kiss and love and sleep with in my very own bed.”

Me: “Aw, that’s what Mommy did! I grew a baby in my belly for me to kiss and love and sleep with in my very own bed and it was you!”

Noah: “Yeah, and then I will eat lots of food and grow a baby in my belly and then the doctors will make a big cut in my tummy and then the baby will come out of my bottom and I will cuddle it and sleep with it in my very own bed and hold it all the day.”

Me: “That’s so sweet, Noah. How are you a little person now?”

Noah: “Because I AM a little person. Mommy, you are so funny. You know lots of little persons.”

Me: “You are my favorite little person.”

Gah, three year olds. So cute. Also, this kid has been talking about wanting a baby since he was three.

Happy weekend and Happy SPRING!

Julia's Phone Pictures 021

 

Taken on September 15, 2012. Noah, the baby-wanter, 3 years old.

 

I Can’t Do Anything Right

I can’t do anything right.

No, this is not a case of low self esteem or a pity party, but simply a statement of fact according to my four year old son.

I’ve been writing these sweet posts about how much I love him and how much I cherish motherhood but the truth is in the day to day over here, I’m drowning.

“Mommy my soup is too hot!” 

“Mommy, why did you put ice in my soup? I hate ice in my soup!”

“Why is my jacket inside out?”

“No, don’t touch it, I can do it!”

“Mommy! Did you close my mouthwash?”

“There is too much toothpaste on my toothbrush.”

“Read these words. You aren’t reading this story right.”

“Mommy! I said count to four like this (holds up fingers) you aren’t counting right!”

“Mommy there’s not enough ice in my drink.”

“There’s too many ice in my water.”

“Are you speeding, Mommy? If you speed you will get another ticket.”

“You sound funny. Are you trying to talk funny, Mommy?”

“I don’t like peanut butter on my sandwich!”

“Mommy it’s not a peanut butter and jelly sandwich if you don’t put peanut butter on it.”

“No, don’t put my socks on like that! I will just do it.”

“You are playing hide and seek wrong!”

“Mommy, you have brushed my hair wrong once again.”

The kid really says this stuff. I am living in a world of constant belittling. By a pint sized person.

That tends to a number on your self esteem and patience.

Don’t worry, it doesn’t just apply to me. My husband can’t do anything right, either.

Yes, we say “You can’t talk to Mommy and Daddy that way.” “Please think about your words.” “Instead of saying that, I wonder if you could try (insert more appropriate words here.)”

But at the end of the day, we can’t do anything right.

Remember when people said the terrible twos would be hard? And they lied because as it turns out three is like the age from hell? And then you thought that four would be better and it kind of was until your pint sized person decided that they already knew everything there is to know and you are no longer of relevance? (Is this just my thought process?)

I hope the grandparents keep their energy up. He’s moving in with them when he’s a teenager and I’m going to take a nice long nap. And probably mess that up, too.

 

 

 

It Snowed and I was on TV

So I accidentally took a week off blogging (again) because it snowed.

january 2013 017

Snow

And apparently, when it snows in Richmond, VA school is cancelled. For an entire week.

I can not tell you how frustrating that is. At the beginning of the week I wrote this sweet post about it on Richmondmom.com. 

By the end of the week I was pulling my hair out. Not literally. More like yelling at my husband and talking myself into online purchases because the little one had not gone to school in 10 days and Mommy was reaching her breaking point.

And here’s the thing; the roads were FINE. There was snow on the ground, but truly there was absolutely no reason school should have been cancelled for an entire week. When we moved from Atlanta, Georgia to Richmond, VA I thought we moved North. In fact, the people in charge of school cancellations here think that the mention of snow is scary enough to close school for a week.

Where have I been? I have been keeping up with my jobs on Richmondmom.com and 5minutesformom.com (because they do awesome things like pay me.) Oh, and I’ve been keeping a 4 year old entertained during his unexpected school hiatus.

Whose up for laundry basket sledding?

Whose up for laundry basket sledding?

And? I was on TV.

Squee!

I was so excited to make my TV debut last Thursday doing a segment on a local morning talk show…talking about baby products! So much fun!

You can watch the TV segment below or by clicking here. I’m the one in the pink. (Curious about my voice? I’ve written about it before.)

 

And you have ONE MORE DAY to enter the Starbucks Giftcard Giveaway! Psst…you would probably win. a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

The First Snow

“You guys, you guys, LOOK!!!”

His feet stomped heavily across the upstairs hallway as he ran, interrupting the quiet calm of early morning sleeping.

We stirred a bit in our sleep, more startled than awake.

“IT SNOWED!!” He declared in an excited yell.

We pulled back our bedroom curtain to reveal the white blanket that covered our lawn.

“It’s so beautiful,” I said, and I couldn’t help but reveal a sleepy smile to the animated face of excitement that stared at me as I fought through the morning fog.

My husband got up with him and set him up with breakfast and I slowly composed myself.

Soon my husband left for work and my son and I were left to start our day in the blanket of snow.

“It’s snowing again, Mommy!” We watched through our picture window; his big, brown eyes shadowed by long lashes and mine still clouded with the remnants of sleep.

The snow fell softly, inviting us to come out and play.

We dressed ourselves in careful layers and stepped out into the world of white.

My son’s entire face lit up as he ran through the snow laughing at his footprints and the cloud his breath made in the cold.

We made a small snowman as well as we could with just a dusting of snow, and laughed as he tasted snow and declared, “It tastes like cold!”

Our snow day was short lived as school was still running right on time, and we marveled at the beauty of the winter wonderland that surrounded us on our morning drive.

“It’s amazing,” we admired, partially for it’s beauty and partially for my awe that my son still had to go to school in this. My own childhood in Georgia meant that it almost never snowed, and if it did school would unquestionably be closed.

The snow melted quickly as the morning progressed and by the time I greeted his sweet face in the car pool line it was almost gone.

He told me about his day which included playing outside in the snow and building a snowman at school; a life experience I never had.

Our exciting morning turned into a normal afternoon and as I put him to bed that evening he mumbled, “I can’t wait until it snows again.”

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Did you know that when I’m not chasing snowflakes I’m hosting a giveaway on this blog? Click here and enter to win!

Living With Boys

Disclaimer: I have not been home a lot lately. I am swamped with nightly rehearsals for a Christmas show I’m in. (Remember it from last year?) So this means the boys are in charge. My house is not normally this out of control.

I walked into my son’s bathroom the other night to get his shoes he had haphazardly left by the bath tub and discovered pee. All over the floor. The place smelled like a port-a potty. Or a frat house.

I really didn’t have time to do anything about it at that very moment because my son and I were rushing out the door to get to one of my rehearsals for the Christmas production. After putting “scrub bathroom relentlessly” on my metal to-do list we headed out.

The next day, I wasn’t feeling well and my husband said he would deal with the bathroom. Which was so thoughtful!

And then this morning, I went into my son’s bathroom to help him get ready for school to discover that the floor was sticky and it still kind of smelled like pee.

“Why is this floor sticky?”

“Daddy cleaned it.”

“With what?”

“He squirted stuff all over it.”

“Did he wipe it up?”

“No.”

“Why won’t this water come on?”

“I don’t know. Daddy turned it off.”

“What?”

“Yeah, so I won’t waste the water.”

So now my son’s bathroom is layered in pee, covered up with “spray stuff,” and has no running water. There is also hardened toothpaste in the sink. Because it’s hard to brush your teeth with out water.

I also discovered baby powder all over the upstairs bathroom.

“Where did this powder come from?”

“Daddy used it.”

“For what?”

“I don’t know. Daddy’s not a baby, so that’s weird.”

I’m not even sure I even want to know the answer.

And truly, the amount of nudity I see on a daily basis from these two boys is astounding. I swear both of them do actually own clothes.

Don’t even get me started on how often I hear the word “penis.”

My husband once said, “Being married is not hard. Living together is.” That is an understatement.

Living with boys is incredibly strange.

I need some more estrogen in this house. Or at least a maid specializing in boy bathrooms.

Are you outnumbered in your house? How do you deal with it?

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Latte Ponderings

This post is inspired by the prompt: 2.) Coffee Talk! Share your first pumpkin spice latte of the season with us.

I ordered my pumpkin spice latte (non fat, no whip), thanked the barista, and stood to the side in anticipation. It’s my favorite part of fall, my morning stop at Starbucks for a foamy pumpkin drink to compliment the brisk chill in the air.

I notice a mom sitting down with her son. Her hair is unwashed and her t-shirt is stained. She is wearing black yoga pants and sneakers and I don’t see any make up on her face. She is tired and happy and enamored with her little boy that coos and drools as they wait.

I see you, Mom at Starbucks. I see you rub your eyes as you try to capture some bit of sleep that eluded you the night before. I see you fidget in your clothes when the well dressed woman comes in to order. (I do it, too.) I see you smile adoringly at your son.

I see you because I’ve been you. I’ve been out, looking at the world through tired Mommy eyes. I used to wear the uniform of black yoga pants and stained t-shirts, unwashed ponytails and a make up free face.

And I wonder, if you know, that soon, very soon, you will be out of this baby phase? That black yoga pants and stained t-shirts will turn into jeans and “nice” t-shirts? That your hair will be clean and styled and make up will one day again become a part of your routine?

I only know, because I was there. I was in the baby phase and then, it seemed suddenly, I wasn’t.

The day I stood waiting for my Starbucks was a day that my four year old was in preschool. I was wearing jeans and a long sleeved shirt and makeup. My hair was washed and down and I had a morning of time to myself. And I wondered if it was even evident that I had a son at all? Strange to think it wouldn’t be when he’s such a large part of myself, but it’s unsettling when parts of yourself aren’t’ always with you.

Those early years seem so very long and exhausting and constant. And then, they are gone. Your days may still be long and exhausting but it’s a very different kind, and there’s a freedom in having an older child that allows you to welcome things back into your life that you had to let go of. And one morning you may find yourself alone in a Starbucks actually looking at the new mom with a little bit of envy, because the phase of life she is in is so very beautiful and so very fleeting.

But no matter what stage of Mommyhood you find yourself in, I think the morning coffee part? Is essential.

Mama’s Losin’ It

When Your Best Friend is Three

When the person you spend the most time with is three, it also tends to happen that they become your best friend.

You are with them every second of every day.

When you spend all of your time with someone you begin to notice the nuance of a sigh, the preamble to a smile, and the lingering of a disappointment.

They see you at your best, your worst, your strongest, and your most vulnerable.

And since the age of three does not come with a filter, they call you out. On everything.

When your best friend is three, they don’t hesitate to tell you that the green dress you put on makes you “look like a T-rex.” Obviously, you are not leaving the house in that condition.

When your best friend is three, they will help you limit your calorie intake by telling you that you don’t need to eat any more “so your tummy won’t get squishy.”

They can boost your ego with a “you look beautiful” and tell you like it is when you need to freshen up so you “won’t be scary” with a “maybe you need a little make up.”

When your best friend is three you find that your most animated conversations tend to involve the life cycle of bugs or the origins of poo.

They will also help you make decisions with impressive negotiating skills, like when you can’t decide if the afternoon’s activity should involve cleaning or playing. “How about this, Mommy? You can clean and I can play.” Problem solved.

When your best friend is three, you find yourself in power struggles. You want to value their opinion just as much as they want to be heard, but sometimes you still have to the be grown up.

When your best friend is three you might share your day with them even if it involved grown up things like bill paying and phone calls, because even though you don’t want to burden them with grown up stuff it’s ok to let them know it exists.

When your best friend is three you will truly be excited to hear about what the teachers said at camp today and who they played with that morning because you are just as curious about their child life as they are of your grown up one.

When your best friend is three you will sometimes not understand why they are so upset because you thought you were having a great day until the flip switched and you have no idea how to fix it.

When your best friend is three you may find yourself hovering between a desire to let go and a desire to hang on because three doesn’t last forever and fearlessness sometimes presides over logic.

When your best friend is three sometimes you just need a break because you can’t talk to them about all of the crazy that runs around in your mind all day. They are, after all, only three.

When your best friend is three you will find yourself on a roller coaster. I have spent days laughing, crying, being frustrated, being confused and being content.

When your best friend is three you will be surprised when you see bits of yourself in them. Maybe it’s looks or mannerisms or emotions but this little mini me has somehow become both your shadow and your reflection.

When your best friend is three you may find your world is small and large all at once. Because only in the confinements of a three year old world can you be completely isolated from the complexity of adult life and completely in awe of the world’s vastness in unison.

When your best friend is three you know there will be a limit to it. It’s not like when you were in school and you got those BFF bracelets with your girlfriends. (You did this, too, yes?) It’s not like your relationship with your husband that will grow and change and come together and fall apart.

It’s different.

When your best friend is three, you are completely aware that it is fleeting and that one day he may not be so interested in hanging out with you at the coffee shop or telling you all of the details about his day. Even the yucky ones.

When your best friend is three, you know that this part may end. But you hope, so very much, that the parts where he’s honest with you, and loves you, and laughs with you and shares with you will stick around.

Because you know that somehow what you are establishing with your little best friend now will be the foundation for what you will sustain with him later.

And even though you know he will not always think so, you will always think of him as the very best part of yourself.

That is what happens when your best friend is three.

My Best Friend, Age 3

Noah age 3

 

The Great Wolf Lodge Adventure on Moonfrye

I have a post up at Moonfrye today about doing a very difficult thing; stepping out of your comfort zone.

Have you let yourself experience an adventure lately?

Join me as I talk about letting go, stepping out, and even finding yourself having fun.

See you there! xo

great wolf lodge

The Unintentional Week Off

I inadvertently took a week off blogging.

After being plagued with a parenting dilemma last week, I have spent the entire past week pondering what to do about it.

I have read and cherished your blog comments, had long talks with my husband, sister, mom, and one of my best friends. I met with the director of my son’s school to express my concerns and I contacted a speech therapist.

I went through a “I must re-decorate and clean this house to get rid of this nervous energy” phase. That actually yielded some great results; I will have to show you some pictures!

And then I spent some time with my son. Really spent time with him.

And here is what I have concluded: Everything is FINE.

Though I may be a bit biased, I think my son is amazing. He is intelligent, sweet, thoughtful, and on a developmentally appropriate level for a three-year old. He may at times have a bit of an attitude, but that is a combination of the difficulty of age three and us working harder to control his outbursts.

I strongly cherish the comments from his teachers. I used to teach myself, and I think that a teacher’s input is highly valuable and important. But now that I am a Mommy, I also know that no one else can know my child and what is best for him as well as I do. And so I must take the teacher’s comments but put them in the context of his holistic learning, much of which includes his home life.

He is shifting from baby to boy and along with that we are going to have to adjust our parenting style. There will be many more times in the course of his life where we will have to re-negotiate our roles, and I think that this is just the first of many new parenting phases.

And so I took a week off blogging but spent a week trying to more fully understand who this little person is that I have been given the gift of parenting.

Turns out, he is just a little person, trying to figure this life out, and I am just a Mommy trying to figure it out with him.

And we are going to do just that; one step at a time.

 

 

 

 

When Parenting Deflates You

Have you ever reached a moment of deflation as a parent?

The preschool my son goes to is academic based; it really is school for little people that operates on a curriculum,   lesson plans, and is nationally accredited, so is held to strict standards.

Last year, he thrived in this environment. Even though he was the youngest in his class, he was also one of the brightest. His language was early, his vocabulary is quite advanced, he was fully potty trained (even at night) at 29 months, and his teachers always talked about how impressed they were with him.

I guess we were so impressed and pleased with him that we just stopped trying. We never stopped loving or taking care of him but we stopped trying to challenge him. He seemed so far ahead and we were so proud that we forgot to do a very basic part of parenting; teaching.

Earlier this school year, my mommy heart was broken when his new-to-him teachers said he was having a bit of an attitude problem. This was in direct contradiction to the rave reviews his first teachers had given him. I felt bad, because as he transitioned into three I transitioned into trying to find a balance between motherhood and womanhood again. I have finally regained parts of myself and feel balanced, but I am afraid that my new-found balance has thrown off my son’s.

I am also afraid that this set of teachers is quite a different fit. Last year he adored his teachers and talked about them frequently at home. This year he often says he doesn’t want to go to school and I don’t hear about his teachers unless I ask him directly.

Parent teacher conferences were held Monday. Unlike last year when I went in to pick him up each day and was very aware of his progress, this year he does car pool, so I very rarely see his teachers  I had a very narrow understanding on how he was doing in school.

Based on his teachers, he can recognize half of the alphabet, has no number recognition, and only a few shapes. The only skills he has mastered are colors and social skills with peers and he has a good start on writing his name. He still needs help wiping his bottom and pulling up his pants after going to the bathroom, when his teachers would like him to be self-sufficient at this already. He also is not able to dress himself yet, though the teachers would like them all to be able to put on their own coats to go outside. And the main concern they have with him is his attitude. He is frequently stubborn, says no, and once threw a tantrum in the middle of class because he did not agree with the way another student dressed the weather bear during calendar time. Also? They recommend he get a speech screening.

That is a lot of information to take in about your child in 15 minutes.

A lot of it I don’t feel bad about. I used to teach Kindergarten and it was the goal at the end of Kindergarten for children to have mastered all letter and number recognition, write their name and a few basic words, and recognize more advanced shapes. This will all come, but I also know that he is intelligent. He knew half of the alphabet last year. It is our fault that we have not pushed him farther this year.

And I guess we have just been babying him with self-care. I don’t mind still helping him wipe his bottom or helping him get dressed. I guess I just didn’t realize that these were self-help skills he should have mastered already. When I said this to my husband he said the same thing I’ve been thinking, “But he’s our baby.”

This attitude is something we are struggling at home with, too. I am finding three to be the most challenging age (so far) because he is full of attitude and pushing limits. I’ve talked to a lot of people who have said that three is harder than two, and I assumed his earlier attitude problem had to do with his lack of sleep and consistency due to the fact that in the fall I was involved in a lot of late night rehearsals for a musical production.

The speech I was expecting at some point, because when he was 20 months old my poor little guy had to under go general anesthesia and have extensive dental work done because his teeth actually came in yellow. (Weird, right?) Part of the dental work done was actually the removal of 3 of his four top front teeth. I anticipated that speech would be a part of his life once his permanent teeth come in, because touching his tongue to his teeth will be a new skill. I just didn’t realize it was something we would need to start already, but of course we will do that.

The hardest thing for me to take away from the conference was that all of these things are direct reflections on our parenting. We’ve babied him too much with self-care, we’ve not challenged him enough academically, and we’ve chalked attitude problems up to his age rather than addressing it as an issue. We are also very laid back and joke around type of parents, which has blurred the lines between authority figure and friend, and not set clear expectations for him.

The moment you realize that your child is not thriving and that it is entirely your fault is a very deflating moment.

I summarized the conference to his teachers with this, “I think he is intelligent, I think he has an attitude, but I also think he is very young in comparison to the rest of the class.”

He teachers said they agreed completely with that assessment.

And so we will try harder, baby less, and challenge more.

And I will be welcoming any and all words of (constructive) advice.