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.


The Trouble With Three

Have you ever spent a lot of time with a three year old? By a lot, I would have to say approximately 150 hours a week. There are 168 hours in a week, and I legitimately spend 150 of them with my son. Who happens to be at the ridiculously challenging age of three.

(This is a true calculation. My husband is very rarely home, and this calculation took into account the times my son goes to school or attends church child care. I am with him AT ALL OTHER TIMES. I am including the night hours because at nearly three-and-a-half, this child still does not sleep through the night. We’re working on it.)

I remember my mom and my mother-in-law both saying that they found three to be harder than two. As a mother of a two year old, I found that to be an impossible statement.

Then, I became the mother of a three year old.

Three year olds are, for lack of a more appropriate description, ridiculous creatures.

I could handle the terrible twos. Terrible twos are just about the word “no” and temper tantrums. Three year olds are constantly on a roller coaster and they are taking you with them.

Here is my parenting time line so far:

Pregnancy, delivery, recovery: Terrible

Baby phase: I rocked it. My emotions may have been going haywire as I struggled with postpartum depression, but I found parenting a baby very natural and I knew exactly how to do it in a way that worked for me and my son. We had a really great run for those first 18 months.

Terrible Twos: My son hit his terrible twos early, at 18 months. Even though the constant “No”s and temper tantrums were trying, I was (usually) able to deal with them and think, “It must be hard to be two.”

Two and a half to three: Dare I say it, but from age two and a half to three parenting was actually EASY. My son was a good listener, very cooperative, and very willing and excited to learn new skills. He practically potty trained himself at 29 months, received glowing reviews from his teachers, and was fun to be around.

Then three hit. It wasn’t an overnight change, but slowly my sweet, loving boy turned into a whiny, emotional, defiant monster. He forgot how to listen and pushes limits like his life depends on it.

I am finding threes to be worse than twos because at two they are genuinely still learning. Their protests are out of frustration and your job is to provide guidance. At age three, I KNOW my son knows better than some of these behaviors and he continues them anyway. It’s exhausting and infuriating.

The thing is that no one tells you about how bad the threes will be, or they can’t tell you exactly why it’s hard. It just IS. It’s incredibly, frustratingly, hard.

It feels like another one of those unspoken rights of motherhood. Your body will change in indescribable ways, your bladder will never go back to normal, oh, and the threes are going to be REALLY hard.

My favorite term for my son is a threenager, because he certainly teeters between being a little one that needs me and a teenager with an attitude ready to be independent. My threenager has got his role down complete with going to his room and slamming doors when he’s mad to uncontrollable bouts of attitude and disrespect to telling me the other day, “Mom, please be quiet. You’re interrupting my show.”

Sigh. The beauty of being someone’s mother is you can see them at all of their stages. I can look at my son and still see him as a baby, and I sometimes flash forward to seeing him as a teenager and see glimpses of the young man he will become. And then I see him as three, at this challenging age of pushing limits and being in between.

And I think, this won’t last for long. This, too, is just a phase.

But so far I must say, it’s a phase I’m ready to move on from.

Only 23 more days till 4.


Why I Don’t Work Out

Admittedly, I’ve never been good at working out.

I’ve never been super skinny, but I’ve always been at a healthy and happy weight without having to try much. Then having a baby happened and now I know that to keep my body in shape I’m actually going to have to do something about it.

I had such a difficult recovery from my birth experience that my first attempt to get back in shape did not happen until my son was 2 and in a two morning a week preschool class. I hated it, and I felt like dying. The few times I brought my son with me to child care he cried the entire time. It was just not a good fit.

Last summer I jumped back on the fitness bandwagon with a go at Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred. Another fail. The workout was intense for me as a beginner and even though the idea of a home workout video is great, it’s harder to do than you would think when you have a toddler interrupting you every 5 minutes.

This past spring I joined an adult hip hop dance class hoping for a workout, but it turns out it was really just about learning choreography for a performance. While fun, it didn’t do anything for me. I often had to bring my son with me to class, which meant a lot of interruptions and I’m pretty sure the rest of the class didn’t appreciate it.

This summer, we decided to join a pool. After a lot of research, it turns out that the best fit for us was a summer membership to the YMCA. The branch 20 minutes down the road has a full outdoor water park (which is awesome!) and the cost of membership includes the outdoor pool/water park, full access to the YMCA gym and group exercise classes, free childcare, 3 free wellness coach sessions, access to any branch in the Richmond area, and swim lessons for my son. This summer we could play at the pool and I could work out!

My little guy has been doing a lot of summer camps, so I’ve been dropping him off at those and then going to group exercise classes, which I’ve LOVED.

Then I brought my son with me to the child care area and he liked it and I got to work out. I had my first of 3 wellness sessions so now I better understand the equipment and what exactly I should be doing as a work out (which I think has always been a large part of my problem…I don’t know what to do and at what level). Maybe I could really keep this up this time! Wednesday he went to the child care area, I worked out for an hour, and then we hung out at the pool all afternoon. It was perfect!

And then this morning my son and I were going to the gym. We slept in a little bit, and then he wanted breakfast. Not the kind I fixed him. A different kind. And then he needed to get dressed, but first he wanted to lay his clothes out in a very specific way, and then dress his Curious George lovey. And we had to brush his teeth but with a specific toothbrush that was downstairs. After we finally accomplished getting dressed, brushing teeth, and overcoming A LOT of dawdling, he was cooperative enough to get his shoes. And then he sat down so I could help him put them on and somehow spilled his water cup all over his pants. So we went back upstairs to change and back downstairs to finally put on shoes.

We made it out of the house at 11:00 AM. After driving the 20 minutes it takes to get to the gym and a lot of persuading to get him out of the car..

*”Time to get out of the car, love.”

blank stare

“Noah, come on buddy! We are running out of time!”

moves as slow as a turtle*

….I checked him into childcare at 11:30. They only offer childcare from 9:00 to 12:30 so if I miss that window I miss my opportunity. I would have one hour to work out and then we could eat lunch and play at the pool.

Except he would not go in child care. He stood outside the door screaming “NO” and refused to go in. I went in and tried to entice him with toys, the child care lady was trying to be encouraging, and he would not enter the child care area.

Realizing this was a losing battle I said, “Fine, let’s go home,” crossed his name off the list and we left.

We got home at 12:05.

We spent all morning getting ready, wasted an hour of driving and gas for no reason, I still didn’t get to work out and now he’s in his room and I’m blogging in frustration.

Sigh. I feel like this is a losing battle and I might just have to learn how to be content with being unhealthy.

How do you moms that work out all the time do this?