Thursday, February 27, 2014

Too Much/Not Enough

I've always fixated on things. I'll obsess for days over a decision I made. Sometimes it is a decision I made 15 years ago. I rehash it in my mind. Did I do the right thing? What would have happened if I had done this? Or that?

Since I've become a Stay At Home Mom (can someone please tell me the proper way to punctuate that title?), my fixations have mostly focused on my children and my house. I feel like I have so much TIME to think about these two things, because I don't have a job. Excuse me, I don't have a job outside the home. Would I spend this much time worrying about where to send Clare to preschool if I had a job (outside the home)? I've toured three preschools, attended a preschool fair, and enrolled her in a nearby school. It is part of a K-8 school, and really quite lovely. The teachers are warm, friendly people and the room is sunny and bright. One of the main reasons I chose it was its flexibility - she can stay there from 8 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. if I choose, and you can tell them that week that you'd like the extra hours. It also has a drop off lane - I won't have to get out of the car. In the winter, with Christopher no longer in the baby car seat, this will be huge. Lately, though, I've been wondering if it is the right school for her. Will she learn what she needs to? Did I get the right "vibe"? Part of the problem is I talk to other SAHMs at play dates etc., and when I hear about their decisions about preschools I start second guessing myself. (I do this all the time.) But it is PRESCHOOL, right? Does it really matter that much? GAH.

My other obsession: that someone will fall from our open staircase. I mean, really. Lots of people have those, right? And children are not routinely falling from them?

Because I am not working on other projects (outside of housework), I think about these things constantly. If I was working, would I stop? Or would I obsess just as much?

Sometimes, though, I feel like I have no time at all. Why, when I have all this time, does my laundry stay in piles, never to be put away or even folded? Why can't I have a clean house, or get through simple items on my to do list on a daily basis?

I spend my days doing all sorts of "child maintenance duties" as my mother calls them. And thinking. And feeling sorry for myself.

But really, I just need to SHUT UP, right? I have a good life. I have a comfortable home. Yes, I work hard taking care of my children. I realize, though, that compared to many, many people, my life is easy. And it won't be this way forever. This afternoon, after Clare FINALLY went down for her nap after what seemed like 20 potty breaks, I sat on the couch with the cutest baby in the world (in my biased opinion), watched TV, and ate jelly beans.

I mean, come on. SHUT UP EMILY.

(But seriously, it doesn't matter where she goes to preschool, right?)

Cute baby.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Two Year Old Trials

We're at the doctor's office for Christopher's appointment. Clare, deciding that Christopher will "cry too loud" when he gets his shot, opens the door and runs down the hall of the clinic. I chase after her, dragging her back into the room. (The doctor was with Christopher.)

We're at Target, sitting in Starbucks having a snack. Clare, for reasons unknown, takes off running into the store. I chase her, catching her as she passes the front door of the store. (Christopher and my diaper bag containing my wallet and cell phone are abandoned in Starbucks.)

We're at the rec center for playtime. Clare doesn't want to leave, so she runs in the opposite direction while I scream at her to come back. (Christopher, who now weighs 18 pounds, is breaking my arm as I hold him in his car seat.)

We're at home. Clare doesn't want to get ready to go, so she runs around the house, starts playing with toys, screams "no!" at me when I tell her to get ready. I force her into her coat and boots and out the door. (Christopher is screaming in his car seat. He has been ready to go for some time.)

It is not every day that we are dealing with these scenarios, but it feels like it is. I am fighting with her over every little thing. I try so hard to let things go, to pick my battles, but some days I just want to SCREAM. And I do. And it doesn't help anything.

I've tried time outs (she likes them), and taking away her privileges to watch Daniel Tiger (this makes her upset, but only sometimes works as an incentive to behave). I just finished reading "Bringing Up Bebe", a book that I have mixed feelings about. In the book, a French parent says you have to believe that your child will listen to what you say, and that will come through in your voice. Your child will listen. How I wish that were true. Maybe I am just not saying it right? I've learned not to phrase things as a question, because too often the answer is no.

On Tuesday, we were at Davanni's for a fundraiser for ECFE. I felt a little better, because I noticed that many other mothers were having similar issues with their 2-year-olds, and speaking to them much the same way I speak to Clare. So is it normal? Does anyone have suggestions for getting a 2-year-old to listen? And can I blame all of this bad behavior on the weather?

I don't want it to make it sound like Clare is a total brat, because she's not. Like I said, these incidents are not occurring every day. However, they are so frustrating and scary when they do happen (especially when she runs away in crowded, public places), and I just don't seem to be handling them well.

There are so many great things about Clare at two. Maybe I should have started with these? She is so sweet with Christopher. She calls him Mr. Kisstopher (her pronunciation), and says "He's SO cute" all the time. After her naps, I hear her moving around upstairs, and then her little voice calling, "Mommy! I am coming to check on you!" She has a million questions and a trillion follow-up questions. She kicks a soccer ball like a pro. (Much to her Daddy's glee.) She loves music and dancing. She is into art projects, especially anything involving paint. She DOES NOT like animals or loud noises, but the list of Clare's fears (and her overreaction to them) is a post all its own. She is funny, and fun to have a conversation with.

She is just so TWO.

Friday, February 7, 2014


On Wednesday night, Christopher reverted back to newborn-style sleep, waking every two hours or so. Today I saw, or rather, felt, why. Teeth!

His first tooth has poked through on the lower right side. Clare got her first tooth right around this same age - four months. It is early, yes, but apparently teething, like so many things, is genetic. Both of my children got my early teething genes. How special for them!

I am glad I have this blog, because I have forgotten how to handle teething. Helpfully, though, I wrote that Clare liked chewing on a frozen wet washcloth. Off to the linen closet I go!

Happy weekend.

Edited to Add: Tooth number two on the lower left side = no sleep on Saturday night. Yippee!

Growing teeth is hard.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Four Months

Eight nights. For eight glorious nights in a row, Christopher slept through. Then I had the audacity to tell a friend of mine that Christopher was sleeping through the night. You know what that means: it all stopped. Now he is back to getting up once or twice a night - sometimes after only sleeping for 2 or 3 hours, sometimes sleeping longer. I have been trying to get him on some kind of nap/sleep schedule, but it hasn't really worked so far. Partly because I need to be out and about doing things with Clare, and partly because, well, he just doesn't cooperate.

He has discovered his thumb. He loves sucking his thumb. Actually, it helps him self-sooth quite a bit. I've been thinking about moving him into his own room (he's been sleeping in a bassinet in our room), but I am reluctant to do so. I was with Clare, too. Even though Christopher's crib is on the same wall as our bed, so I'll probably still hear every noise he makes, it feels too far away. Maybe he'd sleep better in his crib, though? Who knows. Not me.

Christopher is a bit of a Mama's boy right now. He refuses to take a bottle. I went to a basketball game with my sister a few weeks ago, and he cried for an hour and 45 minutes. When I got home, I took him from Ben and he immediately stopped crying. He didn't even want to nurse. He just wanted me to hold him while we "chatted." He had a lot to say.

We had his four month well-baby check today, and I have to say, Christopher is much tougher about his shots than Clare was as a baby (or now, for that matter). She would cry hysterically and I would have to nurse her at the clinic to calm her down. Christopher cried for a few seconds, then looked around all "What? Am I supposed to be upset or something?" Then he kicked his legs and smiled.

During Christopher's first month, he was so grumpy, I truly thought that it was just his disposition. (Maybe it was his heart?) I am so glad I was wrong. I know I wrote this last month too, but he is really just such a happy, smiley guy. He smiles with his whole body, especially when he sees his Daddy. Or Clare. Or me. It is the best cure for the winter blues.

In closing, here are several photos of the baby sleeping. I. Can't. Stop. Someone needs to take away my phone. This is the best part of my day, though. While Clare naps, Christopher sleeps in my arms and I catch up on TV shows. I will cry the day she stops napping. Someone will need to give me something to nurse to calm me down. Preferably wine. Lots of wine.