Monday, April 28, 2014

Finding Our Groove

It has been just over a year since I quit my job and officially became a Stay-At-Home Mom. I am definitely attached to my little co-workers. Or are they my employees? Or my bosses? Yes. They are my bosses.

You will do as I command! Oh, and you don't get sick days. Bwahahahaha!
I get asked a lot if I like being a stay-at-home mom. When people first started asking me this question, I would kind of hem and haw and not really answer. Then I started saying that I liked it sometimes, but not other times. I was always quick to add that I am planning to go back to work as soon as the kids are in school. For some reason it seemed important to make this clear. And now? Now I can honestly answer that yes, I do like being a stay-at-home mom. Will I go back to work when the kids are in school? Probably. I mean, I'll do something. What that is, though, I have no idea. And I am okay with that. For now, we have found our groove.

It helps to have a schedule. I found that out quickly. We spent last summer drifting here and there, without anywhere in particular to be. I got bored fast. Now, we have an activity every day. Some of them are classes. Some are play dates. Some are visits to the various places we have memberships.

It helps that I have made friends with other at-home moms. This was another thing I sorely lacked last summer. I remember despairing that I would never make friends. I wrote an entire blog post about how Clare and I were both too afraid to talk to anyone at the park. Now I have several people I can get together with for play dates. One woman in particular has become a good friend, someone I can call on in a pinch to watch Clare while I run to the doctor. Honestly, I don't know why I didn't think I would make friends. I always do. But it is intimidating at first.

I've been doing a lot of reflecting on my life lately. I think it is my brain powering up again after being in a daze for the past six months. I worried that I wasn't setting a good example for Clare. After all, she thinks women stay home and men go to work! (I realize when she is older she will understand that this isn't the case.) I worried that when Clare was older, she'd think I'd done a silly thing, sacrificing my "career" to be home with her. That she'd think poorly of me. (I hope she doesn't. My own mother was home with me until I was 12, and that was something I valued.)

I came to the realization, though, that I am not doing this for Clare and Christopher. I am really doing it for myself. I have been given this amazing opportunity to spend as much time with my children as I can while they are small. I can soak it all in. And I can't imagine ever regretting that decision.

It is not for everyone. And I still don't like every part of my day every day, but who does? For now, it is right. It is enough.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ear Infections and Easter

Yep. Christopher has an ear infection. He is about the same age that Clare was when she got her first of many, many ear infections. I am hoping he won't go down that same road, but if he does at least we already have an ENT, right? 

Anyway, happy Easter! We spent Easter at my parents' house (or the cuckoo house, as Clare calls it). We spent much of Friday night and Saturday dealing with a very sad baby. It was still a nice visit, though. My brother and sister-in-law were also there. Clare was thrilled to spend time with her aunt and uncle. In fact, there were several times when I came into a room while she was busy talking to someone and she told me to leave. I am second rate compared to her grandparents and Uncle Robby and Aunt Andri.

We took Clare to the children's museum in Madison. We played outside. We colored eggs. We ate good food. We talked. We drank wine. What else could you ask for in a holiday weekend? (Well, I suppose you could ask for it to be free of a trip to urgent care, but it is what it is.)

I hope everyone else had a good Easter, and that the Easter Bunny brought you lots of delicious chocolate. I, for one, cannot get enough of the Cadbury eggs, be they creme, chocolate or caramel. Good thing I have a dentist appointment in May.

Clare was thrilled with her Easter basket, especially the "egg surprises."


"My ears hurt, Mom!"

Friday, April 4, 2014

Six Months

Before Christopher was born, I couldn't imagine loving anyone as much as I love Clare. Now, my heart just bursts every time I look at him. I can't get enough of him. When he smiles, when he blows raspberries, when he chatters away at me. He is so happy to see me, and the smile he gives me when I get him out of his crib in the morning makes my whole day.

He is a good sleeper, for now, at least until the next Wonder Week or tooth or growth spurt or who knows what disrupts things. But for now things are good. In the mornings, he is perfectly content to stay in his crib for an hour or more, looking in his mirror, chattering to himself, chewing on his toes. I love this. It makes the mornings so much easier, especially if we are trying to get out of the house at a certain time.

Christopher has become quite mobile - he rolls everywhere. He is trying so hard to crawl, but doesn't have the coordination. Instead, he lays on his stomach with his legs kicking ineffectually behind him, staring longingly at whatever he is trying to reach. If I threw him in the pool, he'd probably swim away. (Although he wasn't sure what he thought of the pool when we were actually in one a few weeks ago. Same goes for his baths. He doesn't cry, but he isn't exactly happy about things, either. His sister is a fish, but maybe he inherited his father's ambivalence to the water.) He can sit up on his own, but sometimes he forgets to balance and topples over, so I let him practice while keeping a close eye on him.

He is fascinated by the world around him, and when he sees something that amazes or excites him he moves his entire body with joy. I wish I could describe it better, but when I am holding him in my arms and he sees his reflection in the mirror, he flails his arms and torso and shrieks and grunts with happiness. He has the same reaction to running water. It is the little things, right?

He just loves Clare. If I can't get enough of him, well, he can't get enough of her. She is definitely his favorite person. Even when he is fussy, if Clare comes into the room he grins from ear to ear. If she starts laughing, he starts laughing. Clare, for her part, loves playing with her brother. This usually includes laying on top of him. He doesn't mind at all. In fact, I think he's only cried once during their rough and tumble play. (The fact that he only weighs about 10 pound less than her probably helps.)

He lights up when he sees people at our house or at our various activities, even people he's never seen before. He grins and laughs and tries to grab anyone's hair that he can get his hands on. Despite his need to show off, he is also getting better at independent play. Right now, he is laying under his floor gym grunting at one of the toys and occasionally stuffing his foot in his mouth. He is perfectly content.

Six months. An eternity, a second. I am trying to soak up as much of his babyhood as I can. I can't get enough.