Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

The Boy with his little cousins this weekend bonding over electronics...
I swear it's as if she was posing right for the camera...
I cannot even express to you how many times a day I see my son in this very position...
And finally...the Peanut on the field trip from last Friday...
Happy Wednesday everyone!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sending Out A Message To Myself

First the disclaimer: Anyone who reads my blog with any sort of regularity knows that I love my son fiercely. I adore that child more than anything in this world. We all agree on that? Good. Now...

He is different. And sometimes as a parent it is SO hard to have a kid that is different. Ever since he was really little and we realized he had core muscle tone issues I have watched as other kids climbed and ran and played and swang and jumped and skipped...all while my child preferred to keep his feet firmly planted on the floor thankyouverymuch. He has gotten a little braver as time has gone on, but he is still no where near as daring as children his age. And sometimes that is hard to deal with.

Today we went on a field trip with his preschool (his first time in a school bus! He was SO excited...) to a little local zoo/park/play area. There are little kids "rides" and a little train thing and lots of playground areas and of course, animals. We had been there a few months ago for a birthday party and he had a great time. I even wrote about it here. And last time, when we left, I allowed him to walk through the little gift shop and pick out a little toy. He chose this little bucket of reptiles and amphibians and took it home and has had many an hour playing with it. So it stands to reason that he wanted to go back in that shop and find another treasure. So as soon as we arrived he started asking if we could go to the gift shop. I told him that if he was a good boy he could go on the way out. Then we proceeded to look at the animals (he digs that part of it). Once we left the animal section things got a little hairy.

I kept asking him if he wanted to go ride on that thing, or sit on that train, or go play on that structure etc... All of my requests were met with a "no thank you." And then they were usually followed up with a "can we go to the store now?" Since we were there with his pre school we kept running into people we knew and the other parents would say, "Little Jimmy is going to ride the you want to come?" No thank you. "Hey, we are heading over to...want to join us?" No thank you. "Oh, have you been on the...?" No, I didn't want to.

And this is where I get frustrated at my own parenting. I was getting annoyed and angry at him. Here we were in this beautiful park with all sorts of "fun" things and all he wanted to do was go buy a bucket of bugs (which...dear god if you knew the amount of bugs we already have in our home...) and sit somewhere and play with them. He can (and does) do that all day, every day at home. Here we were on this amazing outing and all he wanted to do was go and sit in a corner and obsess on bugs. If I'm being honest, this is more about me than anything else. I want him to be like the other kids. I want him to want to ride the rides and play on the playground. And I want him to do those things so he is just like everyone else. So people stop wondering, "what's wrong with that kid?" "Why won't he do anything?" It's really on all me.

And this is where I need to shift. I am angry at myself for feeling that way. The fact is that he IS different. And he's amazing and smart and sweet and a wonderful little boy. And I need to stop wishing he would be "normal" and start advocating for who he really is. Instead of being the one who is annoyed with him I need to be the one supporting that he simply does not feel comfortable on those rides. He gets overwhelmed with all the kids and all the chaos. I know for a fact that if that park were closed to the public and he was able to explore things by himself, on his own time table, he would try most of the things and probably figure out that a whole bunch of them are fun. But with other kids (usually bigger kids because most of the kids are physically bigger than him) running around him from all angles he gets intimidated and would rather shut down. And instead of understanding and knowing that about him and helping him through it, I am one of the ones who get angry and annoyed at him. And it's so hard. Sometimes I feel like it's my duty as his parent to push him a little. And like I said, a lot of the things I just know he would like if he could give it a try, but he won't. And I think that's where my frustration comes from.

Moral of the story. Mantra to my own brain: Your child IS different. And that's okay. He is amazing in so many ways. Perhaps one day he will grow out of his trepidations, perhaps he won't. Either way, YOU are his parent. You are there to love and to protect him. Stop being such an ass!

For now I will settle for him only enjoying the things that somehow resemble a spider web...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Catch Up Post

It's late and I have no business posting right now. I should be sleeping. But the whole neglected blog thing... It's a bullet post!
  • The Boy LOVED Toy Story 3. It was his first time in a movie theater. He thought the little lights on the stairs were fabulous and "sparkly." He didn't like the chairs. He felt like it was going to swallow him (spent the movie on my lap, on Gigi's lap or standing in the isle making Buzz Lightyear poses). He felt the previews...wait, apparently we are calling them trailers now, were WAY too loud. But once the movie started? Bliss. Seriously. He kept looking over at me and telling me how much he loved it. And I loved it too. SO worth it.
  • The Girl is insanely cute right now. Really cute and sometimes really annoying. The other morning she opened up her brother's closet and took out every single shirt that was hanging on the bottom level of his closet. She threw them all in a pile in the middle of the room and was throwing them above her head yelling, "Hooray!" when I walked in.
  • Because of above and many other instances like it, we have put up the pack n play in The Boy's room. She goes in there when she gets too unruly. So far it has worked well. I throw a bunch of her toys in there with her and she can still be in the same room with him but can't destroy his stuff. Makes both of them happy and allows me to shower in peace. Priceless.
  • The Girl is officially able to walk. That doesn't mean she chooses to do so. She would still MUCH prefer to crawl. But if I tell her "walkie walkie" she will stand up and do it. When she falls down on her bum she looks at me and says, "No, no, no..." because I tell her no and to get back up and keep walking. So she can officially do it, but still doesn't make it happen a whole lot. I'm okay with that.
  • She now answers her brother. Like when he says, "Do you want to play the tree game?" She grins and says, "Yeah!" When he asks her, "Do you want to stay in the bath with me?" "Yeah." No matter what he asks her she answers "Yeah." But apparently she can now recognize his tone when he is asking a question and she answers him. Wicked cute.
  • She is talking up a storm. I can't even count the number of words. She will mimic pretty much anything you ask her to. Or do her best at it. I find this endlessly fascinating. For a Mom who spent her first child's entire first three years in speech therapy it is amazing to watch how easily it comes to my daughter. And damn...she never shuts up. Again, pretty wicked cute.
  • Tonight we had a shift. We got home late from work/daycare and she sat in the middle of the floor making the sign for milk and crying and pointing at the chair I usually nurse her in. So I let her nurse. This was at like 5:30pm. So around bedtime she started signing again and I let her nurse. Clearly there wasn't very much milk in there. She was signing for milk while she was nursing. So after she finished I offered her a sippy cup of cows milk. For the first time EVER, she didn't refuse it. She didn't drink a whole lot (maybe a half an ounce) but she put it in her mouth and chewed on it and held the cup. She usually pushes it away immediately. So this was a step.
  • I am trying not to over think the above "shift." She's 14 months old. If she's ready to be done with nursing I am ready to let her be done. But I'm not going to force her either. We just nurse in secret. If anyone asks me if I'm still nursing her (family members) I simply tell them no and then go home and nurse her. Makes everyone happy. I do what I want and I don't have to hear any crap about it. Seems like a good solution for all. Overall, for right now I am not pushing the issue either way. I am letting her lead. If she's done, cool. If not, I'll let her continue for a bit more. If she gets much older I will reassess. But for now, I'm coasting. And lying. Hee hee.
  • Okay and finally? If anyone out there is not watching Deadliest Catch, you are MISSING OUT. Seriously the best show on TV right now. I have been a fan from the start and this season is damn emotional and amazing. Insane.
  • That's all. I'm out. I should give you a picture for making it through this post but I am downloading a bunch of stuff right now and it would take forever to load. So later, I swear.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...Walking?!?!

Oh is is coming...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Really Hot Sunday...

We decided it was a good day to set up the wading pool. I set it up early in the morning in the sun so that the water could warm up a little and after eating a picnic lunch outside, I slathered up The Boy with sunscreen (have you SEEN his skin?!?!) and he was all ready for the "pool!"
After his sister woke up from her nap, she had a little lunch outside as well and then had herself her very first experience in the wading pool:
Needless to say, she loved it. Her hat was too small and her swim suit was only size 12 months so she looks a little bit like a stuffed sausage, but I still find her pretty cute. She was so excited to not only be in the pool, but to also find all of her bath toys in there with her. Doesn't get any better than that!
Trying to get them both to look at the camera at the same time while also looking somewhat decent continues to be a challenge...
The Girl still isn't a huge fan of grass on her bare skin so instead she practiced her standing skills (and took about 4 steps!) so she could avoid the grass!
All in all it was a great way to spend a hot Sunday. If we ever move from this house, I will definitely miss this backyard. It is one of the reasons we chose this house. Perfect for the kids! With the prospect of losing it looming in our future, I am appreciating it more and more! Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The "Extras" That Go With Extracurricular

Anyone who reads this blog with any sort of regularity knows that my son is sort of a science junkie. He loves anything that relates to bugs or plants or the planets or the solar system or animals of any kind...I could go on. I call him my little science geek (there are worse things...). So it seemed natural that when his school offered a science class every Wednesday during nap time I signed him up immediately. He has been talking and talking about that class...couldn't WAIT for the first one. Well the first class was this past Wednesday. When I picked him up the first thing I asked was, "How was science class?"

"I so disappointed Mommy," he said and wandered away. I chased him down and asked him why. He said, "Bubbles Mommy. We did BUBBLES!" (Imagine him using the most disgusted tone in his voice while saying that). He went on, "You told me it was a science class. We didn't do ANY science, we just did dumb ole bubbles. I thought I was gonna learn about bugs or plants or just wasn't anything like I thought. I sure hope next week is better."

I laughed it off and told him I was sure next week would be better. Then I thought about it a little. I am sure the the teacher thought that a surefire way to get the kids engaged in her class was to do something they would all enjoy to start the class off. Who doesn't enjoy bubbles? I mean who besides my little science nerd doesn't enjoy bubbles? Then I started thinking about a mom who perhaps put her kid in the science class hoping that it would be something they would develop a liking for when perhaps that wasn't their strong area to begin with. And then I started to wonder about putting kids in classes in general.

Which is the train of thought you follow? Do you think you should put your kids in classes for the stuff that you already know they like thereby hopefully continuing their interest in a particular area? Or is it smarter to put your kids in classes for stuff that might not be their strong point in the hopes that they will learn to enjoy the activity and hopefully start to engage in it more? My example: His school obviously offers the science class, but they also offer a "Little Movers" class and a karate class. The Boy really needs to learn to be more physical. He is a little Peanut with little bird legs and arms. I would love for him to develop an interest in something physical that could help him develop more in this area. Right now he knows his limits and he never pushes himself. But with his weight issues I have this dream that if he starts to be more physical, he might build up some new muscles and gain more weight and then possibly build more muscle tone etc... However I am not of the school of thought that a kid should be in a different extracurricular activity every day. I don't want to be that parent that "over-schedules" their kid so I am going to limit his "extras" to one or two things. So do I do those one or two things with classes that I know he will love, or do I push him a little?

So my question...what do you guys do? If you have young kids, what do you think you WILL do? I obviously signed him up for science because I know he will love it (bubbles notwithstanding), but I have also signed him up for soccer on Saturdays and I am contemplating signing him up for the karate class hoping for some of the stuff I explained above. But I find myself questioning myself. Am I trying to shove my boy into areas that might not be his first choice because I want him to be a certain way? As his mom isn't it my job to try and gently push him into healthy areas of his life? (Obviously if he hates any or all of it I wouldn't continue to "force" him into it...I am simply trying to open a door and see if he wants to continue to walk through it...) I swear, sometimes making the right decisions for your kids isn't as easy as it seems. What do you guys think?

Monday, June 7, 2010

The "Nursing Past a Year" Post

I have officially gotten my first negative comment about "still" breastfeeding my child. I knew it was coming. And I really don't care all that much. She is only 13 months old for God sake. And for the record, I will wean her when either she or I feel it is time. I don't have a date, or a time limit on it, but it will happen when one or both of us is ready. Right now she only nurses first thing in the morning, once during the day (usually before her afternoon nap) and right before she goes to bed. So I am not running around whipping my boob out in public 10 times throughout the day (although if that's your thing, go for it). That being said...

I have been thinking about when and if I will "cut her off." Part of me wants to just wait until she weans herself. She is a VERY busy kid and I can imagine the day when she just simply doesn't have the time to stop long enough to nurse. So I highly doubt that she would be one of those kids still even wanting to nurse when she gets much bigger. And then I ask myself if I want her to stop. And really, I don't. I enjoy those last moments of getting to cuddle her. And she doesn't bite at this point so there really isn't anything negative that I associate with nursing her. But if I'm being totally honest...I am a little bit afraid about the "ritual" that goes with her nursing and how my life will change when that is not there anymore.

For the record, she does NOT take a bottle at all. She hasn't for months. She drinks out of a sippy cup all the time, but does not want anything to do with a bottle. Or milk. Of any kind (even my breast milk). No milk, thank you very much. So how the hell will I put her to sleep at night? There is no doubt that our bed time routine works for us. We have been doing virtually the same exact thing for over a year now. Read a book, diaper change and sleep sack, nurse and into bed. With each stage of that routine she relaxes and calms down a little more. Sometimes she actually falls asleep while nursing, although that is rare now. I put her down while she is still awake and she rolls around and gets comfy and then goes to sleep. It takes her anywhere from 5 minutes to 1 hour but she never cries or gets grumpy. She just takes her time and then goes to sleep. I know that if I take away the nursing portion of the routine I will have to replace it with something else. I just don't know what. I can't sit with her and give her some warm milk. And I have a sneaking suspicion that if I just read a book, change her and put her in her sleep sack and put her to bed, there will be HELL to pay. She's a girl that likes her routine. And when she doesn't "like" something? I hear about it. Loudly. Often for a very extended period of time. So I have no clue what to do with her for bed.

But even more important than the night time routine? What the hell do I do with her in the morning? Some mornings are fine. Sometimes she sleeps straight through to 7:30 or so and then wakes up. If this was the norm, I would have no issues. But that is not the norm. Here is what happened yesterday morning: I hear her "chatting" on the monitor and I squeeze open my eyes and look at the clock. 5:03am. Huh. I turn on the monitor to see her (I have a video monitor) and she is laying in bed playing with her little aquarium thing on the side of her crib. No biggie, not crying. So I lay there and I can hear her chatting and I can hear the music of the dumb toy I reach out and turn off the volume of the monitor. I fall back asleep. Then some time later I hear her yelling, "Bye! Bye! All done...BYE!!" (She yells bye bye to her binky when she's ready to get out of bed because I make her leave her binky in her bed--I'm a mean, horrible Mommy like that...). I turn back on the video part of her monitor and see her standing straight up bouncing while holding onto the edge of her crib. ALL ready to start her day and shit. I glance at the clock: 5:40am. Unacceptable time to start the day for a Sunday.

Now I wasn't at all worried about this because I knew what would happen next. I went in and got her, carried her to my room, layed her down next to me and nursed her. As soon as she was done nursing her, I picked her back up and carried her back to her crib and put her down. She didn't make another peep until 8:15am. A bit of an annoyance to have to wake up at that hour, but no biggie.

Now...if I wasn't nursing her, I'd be SCREWED. What the hell would I do then? I know for a fact that if I had gone in there and given her a binky and layed her back down in her bed she would have gone postal. I have tried it before. So if I wasn't nursing her...what does one do? She won't drink a bottle or cup of nice warm milk and go back to sleep. And I am unwilling to accept that my day must start at that hour... Do I just do some sort of boot camp "cry it out" and make her figure out how to put herself back to sleep (which would end up waking The Boy at that hour which would inevitable mean my day would have to start anyway...)? Do I wait to stop nursing her until she is more consistently waking up at a reasonable hour? Do I keep nursing her until she's 7 to avoid this problem? What would you do? What DID you do?

I would honestly be fine with stopping nursing now. I'm cool with it. I think the emotional attachment I had right when she turned a year old is mostly gone. So I would be okay with weaning her. But I am petrified that my world of precious sleep would be gone. Right now she goes down between 7:30 and 8:00 at night and (besides that little 6:00am nursing session, which isn't an everyday thing) she sleeps straight through until at least 7:30 or 8:00 in the morning. That's big people. And I am from the camp that you don't mess with a good thing. What do all of you experts say? How have you handled this when it happened to you? What's my answer?


A quick update on the last post: Yes, she told me she can't pay me as much. She is "offering me" $1,000 less a month than I was getting last month. She still hasn't paid me a cent for the 1st of June. I am completely and totally screwed. And I have been consumed with this new hell that is my reality for over a week and am writing a light and fluffy breast feeding post to distract both you and me. It isn't good. Isn't good at all.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Is It Worth the Fight?

I am so unbelievably tired of fighting. I really am. And the time is coming where I either need to put back on those boxing gloves and get ready for (another) fight of my life, or else just admit defeat and take off the gloves and sit down. And right now I just really want to sit down.

I have talked before on my blog about my struggles to stay in my home as a single parent. The home that was purchased when this was a two-parent household. And the only home that my children have ever known. When I split from my Ex I had to give up on SO many of my dreams. I had to give up on the two-parent household dream; I had to give up on the dream of having my son grow up proud to have two Moms that had shown him the meaning of a strong relationship in the face of adversity, and I had to give up the pride of knowing that my life had turned out how I had always dreamed. The one thing that I got to hold onto was the dream of owning my own house. I dreamt of that WAY before I even figured out I was gay. It really has been a life long dream. And because of where I live in California it is a near impossibility in a one income household. But for the past two years I have scraped along and made it work. I have fought a monthly battle to juggle and stretch and pull and beg and plead just enough to get by.

I don't have lofty goals. I don't live a lavish lifestyle. If you don't know me in person, trust me when I tell you I have no life. I mean that literally. My life is my work and my kids. And that's it. And I'm okay with that. I really don't need anymore. I haven't been to a movie in over 5 years. I have been out to ONE dinner with a close friend in the last 6 months; I absolutely NEVER buy my lunch... I'm not kidding. I don't spend money. Seriously. I don't get new clothes unless my mom buys them for me...hell I don't even spend money on wine anymore. I drink the Trader Joe's Coastal brand for a "treat" because it costs $3.99 a bottle instead of $1.99. My point is, this is it. I can do no more. Or should I say I can do no less. There is no more room to save. There is no where else to cut back. There just isn't.

And right when I'm on the cusp of a new project with one of my clients that could actually financially give me a boost...right when I am starting to day dream about actually being able to afford health care for my daughter and myself (and therefore not have to "owe" The Ex for covering us)...and I get the text.

"Can we set up a time to talk about finances?"

Fuck. I know what that means. Considering I already got a text telling me that my payment for the 1st of the month would be delayed for an indeterminate amount of time, I know what that text means. It means things are about to get even slimmer. It means The Ex can't afford to continue to give me the amount for child support that we agreed on. Well I should point out that she has already reduced the amount we "agreed" on once, but it appears it is going to go even lower. She has made some bad decisions financially and unfortunately those decision effect me. I know she's not hoarding money and trying to torment me; she really just doesn't have it. But the reason she doesn't have it is not because she doesn't have a well-paying job or because of any other reason besides the fact that she makes bad decisions. And even though we have been split up for 2 years, those decisions still trickle down to me. I would tell you how angry that makes me but I simply don't have the energy.

So the it worth the fight? I am so tired of crying and stressing and spending sleepless nights trying to figure out how to keep my family in this house. And I know the core reason for that is because it is the one part of my initial dream that hasn't had to die as a result of my split. But it might be the time. Do I just throw in the towel? Do I call a realtor and get him over here to give me an accurate picture of what I could sell my house for? Would it even be enough to break even on my mortgage? Sometimes I look at my kids sitting playing innocently on the floor and I tell myself..."They are just walls. THIS is what's important. And you can have this anywhere..." And I dream about not having to FIGHT every single month. And I dream about just being able to pay the bills and take care of my kids and maybe...I don't know...maybe exhale once in a while. And I think, screw it! Lose the house.

But I also know that if I let it go the chances that I will ever get back into the market again are slim to none. I know that if I let it go it means I will be pumping a couple thousand dollars into the TRASH every single month with rent. It means that my kids won't have a backyard all their own and the BBQ's and parties and FUN that go with being a part of their very own house will all vanish. And it means that when I am a 60 year old woman, still paying rent, and dreaming about wanting to leave my kids some money and security, the fact will probably be that there isn't a whole lot. Because I will have let it all go. I won't have fought hard enough.

But sometimes no matter how hard you fight you still end up losing. I have learned that lesson the hard way. And if that is going to be the ultimate outcome of this particular battle I would prefer to hang up my gloves now and just sit down. Just sit down and put one kid on each knee and hug them tight and try and tell them (and myself) that I did my best.