Monday, September 29, 2014

Mr. Sun

Every morning on the way to school, we drive down a long windy road. Every morning, as long as the sun is shining, it shines right in Ryan's eyes for the entire length of that road. And for the entire length of that road, Ryan screams and shrieks and shields his eyes from the sun.

I am starting to think he is part Vampire.

And I am also starting to consider taking a detour.

Good night little boy

Every night before bed, I read to Nathan. Lately he always chooses his big Curious George collection and even though it's full of stories, he picks the same one to read each night. Curious George and the Pizza Party. He loves this story so much I designed his birthday party around it. We curl up in his bed and he snuggles next to me. Usually I read the words and he narrates along, pointing out things he notices in the pictures and sometimes showing his stuffed Curious George all the adventures he's having in the book. "That's me!!" George says over and over while we read.

Lately Nathan has been twirling a piece of my hair in his hands while we read together. A tender moment like that is quite typical for him. He has always been a sweet boy. Never one to push or shove, he has always been more timid and gentle. He is more likely to cry than to yell. He is very emotional and aware of people's feelings. He has always been good at sharing, except with his little brother of course. He's just a really good kid.

Moments like this remind me what a sweet boy he is. I treasure spending a few quiet, peaceful minutes together before he drifts off to sleep. Years from now, I will more than likely call goodnight through a closed door, wondering if I was heard over the music blaring from inside his room.

But for now, I will gladly snuggle up with him at night, reading the same story over and over, night after night. Just me, Nathan, George and a lock of my hair.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A word from the wise

If I could offer one piece of advice to a first time mom.
One thing I wish I had known back then,
A small change that would have altered my life drastically.

It would be..... skip the cute socks.
Buy only plain, solid color socks.

This pile of unmatched socks sits in my bedroom, taunting me everyday.
With every fresh load of laundry that comes out of the dryer, I gather at least 2 or 3 lonely, single socks and run to this pile. Naively, I frantically search through, hopeful that I will find at least one match.

But I never do, and so the pile just gets bigger, mocking me more and more each day.

For your own sanity, I beg you to grab the bulk pack of boring white socks. If you're feeling adventurous, you might choose another solid color. Blue? Green maybe. Just make sure it's a plain, solid color with no detail or design. Do your best to ignore the polka dots, the stripes, the cute "I Love Mommy" phrases, the geometric shapes and whatever other adorable designs the cruel sock companies have come up with to tempt you.

Will your child's feet be boring? Yes. But will you spend hours searching through a basket of single socks, desperately trying to match a single stripe to a double stripe, a thick stripe to a thin stripe? No. And as someone who has been through it, someone who made the mistake of buying the adorable socks, I can assure you, it's better to have boring feet and a sane mind.

Friday, August 1, 2014

First cut deserves first pop

It's always a bittersweet moment for me when my babies have their first haircut. Ryan's hair was getting past the cute crazy phase and was looking just plain crazy so a couple weekends ago we took him in for his first snip. I was surprised that they told me to sit him in the seat alone since I held Nathan on my lap for his first cut. At first he was fine but then they placed the giant smock over his body and he looked up at me, his eyes welled with water and he let out a blood curdling shriek.

The hairdresser had a suggestion. So along with his first haircut, he also had his first lollipop that day. Problem solved, he didn't make a peep the entire time she was cutting his hair.

I wanted to keep some of his baby curls so we left it on the longer side but what a difference it made. The shape of his face looks totally different and he just seems so much less of a baby and more of a toddler now.

In a matter of minutes he went from this....

to this...

Baby makeover success!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Blood Brothers

Last week Nathan fell off of his scooter and got a nasty cut on his hip. We've been periodically changing the bandage and applying Neosporin to help it heal. Ryan has been witness to this each time. This afternoon when I was getting out the box of band aids, Ryan charged over to me and stuck his arm up. He kept grabbing the tube of Neosporin and touching it to his arm. I rubbed a tiny smear of ointment on his tiny arm and then he grabbed the box of band aids and held them up to me. I put one on his arm and he immediately ran over to Nathan and showed it to him.

If that's not the sweetest gesture of solidarity, I don't know what is.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The best of both worlds

When Nathan was born, I had an amazing work setup where I got to to work from home which meant Nathan only had to go to part-time daycare in the morning which is when I would get the brunt of my work done. Then I got to spend the afternoons with him and finish my work around his nap schedule. But when he was 10 months old I got laid off and had no idea what my next step would be. I was suddenly faced with the decision most women have to make when they become mothers, will I go back to work or will I stay home? I didn't want to do either.

I've heard many people say that being laid off was the best thing that ever happened to them. Although it didn't feel like that right away, it turned out to be true for me as well. When I thought about working full-time I cried that I wouldn't see Nathan enough. When I thought about staying home full-time, I cried that I would be bored. I wanted to work part-time but those jobs are few and far between and in my case didn't pay enough to cover the cost of childcare. So I explored my options and eventually decided to go back to school. I had always thought about becoming a teacher but the timing had never been right. Suddenly, the timing was perfect. I got to stay home with Nathan during the day and go to class in the afternoon/evening.

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to stay at home with Nathan and eventually Ryan for so long but in the past few months, I have really felt like I needed more and am excited to be working again. It took me three years but I graduated last month with my Masters in Elementary Ed. Since January, I've been working full-time and although it was a LOT of work, I loved every second of it. It's the most tired and overwhelmed I have felt in a long time, it is also the most fulfilled I have felt too.  Being a full-time at home mom is incredibly hard work and I have huge respect for the millions of women who do it everyday. Working a full-time job and then coming home to take care of your kids is also incredibly hard work and I have huge respect for the millions of women who do it everyday! I feel very fortunate to not have to choose to do one or the other, being a teacher allows me a little bit of each lifestyle.

I worked as a first grade student teacher for four months and have spent the past two months working as a third grade assistant teacher. Most days I was able to pick the boys up by 3:30 and take them to a playdate, a trip to the library or just hang out for an hour in the backyard before starting the dinner/bath/bed routine. I love going to school each morning and I feel like the classroom is where I'm meant to be, but I also love being able to have some quality time together with the boys in the afternoon. And the best part of my job is it's officially summer vacation so for the next two months, I get to be a full-time, at home mom again!

I am excited to not have to rush around in the morning to get everyone dressed, and fed, and out the door by 7:45. I am excited to not have to pack lunches for three people every night! I am excited to have lazy days where we hang out at home and busy days where we spend hours playing with friends.

Will I miss working? Yes. Am I overwhelmed at the idea of having to entertain two maniacs for twelve hours a day every single day? Yes!  Will I be sad to go back to work in Sept? Probably. But I think knowing that my summer break is only for two months will make me appreciate being home with them more now. I plan on taking advantage of our freedom and making sure we have an awesome summer together. That's the plan anyway. Cheers to the summer!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

I'm embarrassed to admit Nathan isn't potty trained.
And I feel terrible that I'm embarrassed by that.

It's not for lack of trying! We have had a small portable potty since he was two years old.
And one of those little seats that rests on top of the regular toilet.
We have tried stickers and M&Ms and donuts.
We have potty books and potty songs and potty videos.

Nothing works.
The kid doesn't want to use the potty!!

Most kids want to potty train but have accidents.
Not Nathan.
He has 100% control over himself. He knows how to hold it and can tell me when he is about to go.
But he doesn't want to use the potty, if he has to go, he wants a diaper and if he's in underwear, he will just hold it.  And that can't be good!

I've talked to other moms, and teachers, and our pediatrician.
Everyone has a different opinion.

Talk about it more.
Stop talking about it.
Let him decide when he's ready.
Just take the diapers away.

He turned 4 in April.
He is in the largest size diaper they make.
We are on borrowed time.

For the past couple months we have not talked about it.
We've let him wear diapers and stopped pushing underwear.
But this weekend we decided to try again.

Last night we told him that we would be doing lots of practice using the potty and wearing underwear all weekend. He seemed excited about it.

This morning started with a standoff. An hour of him refusing to put underwear on and us refusing to put a diaper on him. He cried. He sobbed. He begged for a diaper. I held back my own tears. The last thing I want to do it traumatize him but I'm starting to think if we don't force him to do it, he never will!!!

He has underwear on now and seems fine with it. But we'll see what happens when he actually has to go.

I think every parents feels anxious about the big transitions their kids have to go through.
I worried about taking his bottle away and switching him to a cup. He did fine.
I worried about switching him from a crib into a bed. He did fine.
I worried about going back to work and putting him in daycare. He did fine.
But this is the one transition we just can't get past.
It is without question, the most difficult, stressful, frustrating aspect of parenting I've experienced in the past 4 years.

I keep telling myself it will happen eventually.
But honestly, I'm starting to picture him heading off to college, with a box of Pampers tucked under his arm.