Thursday, June 30, 2011


As I walked around the house tonight picking up every single toy that we own, I was frustrated. I looked around and the living room was a mess. Every single item was out of the toy box. Things off the shelves...all her things mind you. Sunglasses and purses and was all...out. Waiting for me to clean it up. Again. Ugh.

And then as I was cleaning it up, I decided to think about it a different way. I buy those toys so that she can play with them. That is why they are there. That is why they are taking up space in my house. For her to play with them. And that's what she did. All of them. She clearly loves her toys. And then I thought about her behavior. And she was good as gold all night long. She and her brother played happily and quietly, without the TV on from the time dinner was over until bedtime. I got a ton of things done. He did a puzzle and she...well she destroyed all her toys. And that is exactly what they are supposed to be doing. That's why the toys are there.

And then I smiled.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How Did This Happen?!?!

Last weekend I got a packet in the mail from my son's new kindergarten. I got all giddy with excitement as I saw the return address and the large size of the package. I had a brief moment of, I did it! I actually got him into a school I am excited about! This is going to be so great...

...and then I opened the package. And proceeded to pretty much have a complete panic attack. There are so many forms and contracts and emergency cards and handbooks and rules and lists and... I could seriously go on and on. Now I should mention that none of this stuff is "bad." It's all good. I still have complete warm fuzzies about the school. But it just all feels so...grown up? My kid is old enough to be in school. Like real, honest-to-god school. With carpool lines and volunteering hours and fundraising and just so much STUFF. He can't possibly be old enough for that, can he? Isn't he my little baby with the cute red hair? Wasn't he just born, like last week?

As I was putting this post together I went on a little photo journey. And then I thought you guys might like to go along with me. So here we go...

My baby. Fresh out of the womb. January 5, 2006:
Shortly after getting home from the hospital. Still totally in that "yoda-baby" phase...
(and then we jump forward because the pictures from his first year are all on my old computer and I didn't want to take the time to transfer them all right now...)

Here he is almost 2 years old...helping to decorate for Christmas:
And then a few months later...his first trip to Disneyland (he was just over 2 years old):
Then a year later...I believe he was three in this picture... Certainly getting to be a bigger boy, but still tiny enough to fit his whole little self in my bathroom sink...
And then the following year...becoming a bigger boy, but not too big to give in to the car-ride-naptime...
...and then last his "all things Buzz Lightyear" phase...
...and then finally this past weekend at the zoo...
Somewhere along the line my baby went and grew up on me. He's getting ready to start kindergarten. He is a big boy, that is going to go to school Monday through Friday and he's going to have field trips and "Kids Night Out's" and new friends and new experiences...and he will be in the same school with the same kids from now until he gets ready to go to middle school.

And is all just a lot to swallow. I am not sure if I'm ready for this. But I guess that isn't the important thing. The important thing is that he IS.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Grudge of a Two Year Old

We celebrated Father's Day with my Dad this year by going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and having a sleep over. It was only for kids older than 5, so it ended up being the three oldest grandkids and their father's (oh, and me). So The Boy and I did that on Sunday night. It was beyond awesome and deserves its own post (hopefully I will find the time to do that...). But it also happened to be the very first time I have left The Girl alone over night.

She was with my mom and step dad, which for her is as close to Mommy as one can get. She spent the afternoon and evening at their house and then they brought her home to sleep in her own bed. I was a bit nervous and was texting with my step dad throughout the evening while I was at the aquarium half expecting to have to excuse myself for a few moments to go into a corner and sing "You Are My Sunshine" to her over the phone. Much to my surprise (and happiness!) she fell sound asleep, didn't need to hear from Mommy at all, and slept the whole night through. It was a total success. I was pretty stoked.

Then yesterday afternoon when I went to pick her up from daycare I was SUPER excited to see her. Her daycare lady told me, "Man...she was missing you!" I said, "Really? She seemed fine according to my mom while I was gone..." and she said, "Oh no. She has spent all day long asking for Mommy and crying and just being super sensitive. She needed her Kitty (lovey blanket) several times and she NEVER asks for Kitty." So I gave her an extra squeeze and we headed home.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, she is obsessed with the movie Cars right now and she has a book that has all the characters in it. She was reading her book when I told her it was dinner time. She turned away from me and said, "No! I reading!" This isn't unusual for dinner time and I did what I always do. I told her she could finish reading after dinner and it was time to sit at the table and eat. I removed the book and carried her over to her booster seat and strapped her in and put her meal in front of her. She looked at me with her most defiant look and picked up her edamame and threw it at me.

So, again, I did what I always do. I turned her chair around to face the wall and removed her plate. She did what she always does and screamed. I let her sit there for a couple of minutes and asked her if she was ready to rejoin us for dinner. "NO!!" was the response. Okay then... So about 10 minutes passed and she told me she wanted to come back to the table. So I let her. She then said, "I want to read my book." I told her, again, that she was welcome to read her book after dinner, but right now it was dinner time. She started slamming her fists into the table and grabbing at her hair and actually pulling big clumps of it out. Clearly frustrated, but I have never seen the hair pulling before. A little alarming...

So I told her she could either eat dinner with the family, or she could go sit in her room and read her book there. She looked right at me, again with the defiant look, and said, "I go read my book in my room." I was beyond done with the arguing (keep in mind I had had about 3 hours sleep, it was 90 degrees in my house, and I hadn't had a shower in two days. I was not my best self...) so I took her book, and put her and the book in her crib. She stayed there for the rest of dinner. Didn't eat one bite of food.

After dinner it was bath time (they both needed baths badly with how hot it was) so I went in and told her that it was time to take a bath. She insisted she was taking her book with her. I told her no and pulled her out of the crib and put her on her changing table and began taking her clothes off. She actually ripped her shirt trying to keep it on because she didn't want the bath. When it was clear I was going to make her do it anyway, she hauled off and smacked me across the face. Oh HELL no! So I took her, just in her diaper, threw her back in her crib, slammed her door and walked out while she screamed bloody murder. I came out to the kitchen where my mother was (thank God she was still here...) and said, "Please. I am at a loss. I don't know what to do. I am just done..."

So my mom went in, got her up, read her the book and then convinced her that she would continue reading it to her while she took her bath (I never would have thought of that). I finished the dishes while my mother was able to get her bathed without much drama. After the bath I checked back in (my own "time out" had done me good) and tried to put on her jammies. "NO! Not Mommy! Want Gigi do it!" And this went on until bed time. I honestly didn't know if she was just pissed that I left...or if she didn't feel good...if she was hungry...or if she was just being two. I was completely at a loss. Bedtime, fortunately went without much drama and she let me put her down. This morning, she seemed pretty normal, although a bit sensitive (crying over the fan being "too loud..." and not being able to bring her stuffed animals into daycare...etc...).

When I went to pick her up today they told me she had had a really rough day. She cried all day long if anyone touched her, or if she dropped her paper, and again...asked for her Kitty all day long. The director thought she was upset I left and that perhaps it would help if I would spend some time with her. I brought her home and did my best to play with her and keep things "light." Fortunately dinner time went well, and she actually ate dinner with us this evening. We went on a walk after dinner and she was her old self. As soon as we got back from our walk she casually came up to me and asked to be picked up. I picked her up and she immediately threw her arms around my neck and gave me a huge hug.

"I really glad you came back Mommy."

I looked her her (tears in my eyes) and said, "Honey...Mommy will always come back. I promise." She smiled, and took her little hand and patted the side of my cheek.

"I really really miss you Mommy."

I gave her a squeeze again and told her how much I had missed her too. And then she sat on my lap (unheard of for her) for 20 minutes and rubbed my leg.

Who knew that a two year old could comprehend all of this? And who knew that she could hold such a grudge? And who knew that she could be so sweet and expressive to be able to tell me that she was glad I was back and she missed me.

My god, how I love that little girl.

And I am SO beyond screwed when she is a teenager. Pray for me now.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

How We Celebrate Father's Day in Our House

You might think that because I am a single mom, and both of the known donors for my kids live out of state, that we don't do much for Father's Day around here. You would be wrong. :)

Let's just set aside the fact that I have a Father who needs to be dealt with, and I also have a step father who acted as a father to me from 8 years old until now...and that I always make sure both of them get their time. But I have been asked how we handle the "Daddy" issue since most people know I am gay and that my kids don't have "Dads" in their lives in the traditional sense. Now that my kids are old enough to be at school, most schools do something to acknowledge Father's day. And being that my kids go to great schools, the directors of both of their schools have come to me at separate times and asked how I would like them to handle it. And obviously based on their ages, they get handled a little differently.

My daughter's donor Dad really is just that. A donor. I am sure he is a perfectly great guy, but I have only met him in person 4 times total. The first two times he me a donation. The second two times were once my daughter was born and he was in town visiting the friend that introduced us. He has met my daughter once when she was about 6 months old. He has 4 kids of his own from previous marriages and he moved across the country so we rarely see him. He has said that if The Girl ever wants to meet him (I'm sure she will) that he is totally open to that. He is on the list of the people who get my monthly pictures so he sees her there, and is kept up to date. But we don't actually talk, and he isn't involved in her life at this point. All of this is perfectly fine with me. Until she starts asking questions, this is just how it should be.

For that reason, when her school is doing something "Dad related" she either makes something for me, or else she makes something for her Poppy (my step dad, with whom she is really close). Again, she's too little to ask too many questions, but I have no doubt they are coming.

The Boy is a different story. I am sure I have talked about it on here before, but he is old enough to understand and know everything. He knows his Daddy helped me and his mom bring him into this world. He knows that his Daddy lives in another state. He knows that his Mom and I are his parents but he loves the fact that he is able to say he has a Daddy. This is a really big identity thing for him and he almost needs to have that security of having a Daddy.

His donor Daddy also lives in another state, and he comes to see The Boy once a year, maybe twice. He always comes to visit when he is here and the love that The Boy has for him is something that I will never be able to describe. Ever since he was a baby, it was like he knew that they had a special relationship. He only saw his "Daddy" a handful of times when he was little, but even when he was a baby and stranger danger was a big thing, he would always go to him. Even though he had only seen him a couple of times in his life. It was strange.

That bond has only grown. He talks about his Daddy, and after a visit, he talks constantly about how he misses him. We discuss it all and he knows he can call him whenever he wants...and sometimes he wants to. Sometimes just talking about it is enough. But there is no doubt that he loves having a Daddy and he loves the person as well.

So when it comes time for Father's Day, we always do a little something. In years past I have always bought a card, I always write a detailed letter about what he is up to, and in previous years, I have also taken tons of video footage and made him a "movie" on iMovie and burned it on a DVD and sent it to him. I know...overkill. But whatever. It makes donor Daddy happy, and it keeps things happy so that my son (and ultimately who I am concerned about keeping content) can keep the relationship that he so counts on. Now that he is older, I have him draw a picture, sign the card and then make sure to call him on the day. I rarely have time anymore to make a specific video for him, but like the other donor Daddy, he also gets the monthly pictures (and trust me...there are a lot of pretty much get kept up to date on ALL of our lives if you get those pictures) so he knows what's going on.

When The Boy's Daddy was here visiting in April, he gave left a gift card for To.ys R U.s to use for him when he needed something fun. As I mentioned in a previous post, we recently bought him a bike and we used this gift card to help with the purchase. So that will be a big part of what gets mailed to him this year. When making the card, The Boy asked me to write out, "I love my Daddy" on a piece of paper so he could copy it. I was amazed at how well he actually wrote it:
His hand writing is getting pretty good! And then on the inside of that, he drew a picture of himself, on the gray sidewalk, against the blue sky with his new bike. He was very proud of his artwork. And he did this one all on his own. No copying anything from Mommy:
So he will get that hand-written card, the store bought card that I bought for him and had The Boy sign, a letter that I will type up, and the following pictures showing The Boy enjoying the bike that his Daddy helped him get.

So as you can see...just because we don't have any "Daddy's" living in our household, I am the first to admit that without either of those men, I wouldn't have the two greatest gifts in my life. And even though I am pooped and tired at the end of a long day, I will always take the time to make sure that those relationships stay nurtured and happy. Because ultimately I think all kids want to know where they come from. And I am grateful that my son has someone he can call on the phone and give a hug to and know that, although he has two Mommies as parents, he also has a Daddy that loves him. ***

***Disclaimer: Of course I have to mention that I am in no way insinuating that having a known donor is the only way to go for kids. I personally tried to get pregnant for 3 years using frozen sperm and if any of those tries had been successful, all my son would have for reference of his "Daddy" would be a long donor profile. Every single family is different, and if you are lucky enough to have kids, whatever way you went about having them is your answer. My personal feeling is to just always be honest with your kids no matter how they came into existence. This situation is what "worked" for my family and therefore I make decisions based on the circumstances of that situation.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Another Milestone!

I tell you boy is on a ROLL!! All of the things he hasn't been able to do for the past few years are coming to him naturally all of a sudden. It's like a switch has been turned on and he has built the confidence and strength to try new things. I am so proud of him I could literally burst.

One of the things asked at his 5 year well check was if he could ride a bike. I had to say no. And honestly, watching all the kids his age graduate to bikes without training wheels was something that pushed me to get him evaluated for OT. We all know by now that I am extremely glad that I did that. Over Christmas I (well Santa actually) bought him a balance bike in the hopes that it would get him started on the path to actually riding a "real" bike. And it did. Even though it was super tiny and way too small for him, he loved that thing. And he rode it and got the confidence that went along with it. In fact, on Sunday of this past weekend when he wanted to go out for a ride and brought out that bike, I couldn't help but chuckle at him. He was SO huge on that thing (and we all know that my boy is a lot of things, but huge is NOT one of them). It was almost embarrassing to have him cruising down my street, all big and long, lanky legs on that teeny, tiny little bike. So I said to him, "Buddy, I think you're about big enough now to try a real bike with pedals. What do you think?" He said, "I'm not sure if I can do it Mommy, but I will try. I will try everyday." And I told him that was all I would ever ask of him. So I told him he would go find him one, and he was all for it.

That was all I needed to hear. We went to the nearby Toy Store and he tried on all the different bikes in all the different sizes. Even though, size wise, he probably needs a size bigger than he chose, he said he was the most comfortable on the smallest bike they had. I was using a gift card to help buy the bike, so as far as I'm concerned, if buying him the smaller one gives him 3 months of confidence building before we have to move up to the next will be money well spent. So out of all of them, he picked out the "Cars" themed bike. (No shocker there). And we went home and tried it out. And he did awesome! I couldn't believe it. Perhaps it's because he almost 5 1/2, but he just sat on it and started riding like he had been doing it for years. He is on his way, my boy. He may do things on his own time schedule, but he IS doing them. Riding a bike is a huge right of passage for kids, and I so didn't want him to miss out on that feeling of getting on your bike, riding away and having that little bit of freedom.
Please excuse the above picture. While he is expertly modeling said new bike, he chose to do it on a night when he had already had his shower and was already in his jammies. So the jammies, the pasty white legs, the socks and shoes (even though it was over 80 degrees out...he didn't want his already clean feet to get dirty in his sandals)...all with the big grin and the helmet. Classic. Damn I just love that kid. :)

And here he is on the same day we got home from the store with his bike. Honestly...this is the very first time he sat on the thing. I think he did awesome. Have I mentioned how happy I am that I sent him to OT? I have? Okay. But just in case... Best damn money I ever spent!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Getting Ready for June 24th

If you don't have a 5 year old and a 2 year old in your house, you might not realize the significance of that date. However, in my house, my two children's ages coupled with the simple fact that I am totally Disney's bitch...has us on a living count down until Cars 2 comes out. The Boy is a HUGE fan of the first one (and I have to say I am too) and just recently The Girl has started watching it. She is now a huge fan as well. Here she is taking it all in...
Some people would say that my children are spoiled. And really, I would love to put up a good fight on that and say that they aren't...they really are. I will take the blame for some of it...but honestly the majority of it can be credited to Gigi. When my son gets obsessed with something (like the movie Cars for example), he needs to have ALL the little toys so that he can recreate the entire thing in his head. And for that to happen he has to have possession of ALL the cars in the movie. And while this starts out as just wanting to have a simple Lightening McQueen to take home and play with, soon we are buying MAC the truck and the little dude who does the tires... and before you know it we have the entire collection. This happened over 2 years ago for The Boy and when he moved onto his next obsession, I packed it up and put it in the garage.
So you can imagine their excitement when last week, we pulled out the DVD and started watching it again, and I went into the garage and returned with a complete set of ALL the cars for them to play with. The Boy said, "It's like Christmas!" And The Girl watched her brother take them all and line them up on the carpet in his room and proceed to create races.

She waited patiently for her turn. And this time, during this was finally her turn...
She didn't do races like her brother. She had an entirely other thought process going on. For some reason she was stacking them onto top of one of her other toy boxes and trying to line them all up. I asked her what they were doing and she told me "parking." Huh. So he recreates the race...and she parks them. They march to their own drummers, those two...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Beware of This Plant

Seriously. This plant wreaked HAVOC on an otherwise lovely Friday night. Take a good look at it. This is the "dangerous" part of it...
And this is what it looks like in it's full weed-wonderful-ness. I have no idea what it's called (mental note: perhaps I should have found that information prior to doing a blog post about it...nah! Move on...) but I live in North America and it always seems to find it's way into my WATCH OUT!
So last night one of the gay boyfriends was over with his new puppies and we were all happily playing in the backyard. Out of nowhere The Boy goes running up to me screaming saying his hand hurt, "HIS HANDS HURT!!!" so we go into the bathroom to wash them off. As I am trying to do this he is freaking the fuck out. I am serious. I was like, "What is happening?" and he would tell me it felt like there were 1,000 splinters in his hands and his hands were on fire." I tried to wash them off but the thought of rubbing them together sent him into full on hyperventilation so we scratched that idea. We did rinse them with cold water, then we sprayed some Benadryl spray stuff on them and put a few bandaids on them. Then we took a little Ibuprofen. I have to say that I was completely confused. The kid had gone POSTAL but his hands looked fine. I could see NOTHING on them. I thought he had lost his mind. Seriously...I was like, "OMG my kids can't handle the smallest amount of pain...he totally lost his mind and there is nothing on his hands..."

So while he was still complaining about his hands over an hour later, he was able to go to sleep and slept fine through the night. This morning I could see red inflammation from the two places he said had hurt him the worst, but I still couldn't see anything of substance. He said they felt better but still hurt a little.

Last night he had told me he thought it might have been the plant with "the grapes" that he was playing with. While we were sitting outside, he had pulled the top part of that weed off and was taking each "grape" off and throwing it. So he had the inside of that plant all over his hands. I told him I would check it out today. Then I also thought that perhaps he had been stung by something...or even that the swings had given him a little plastic-splinter in his hands or something. So once he got home from his birthday party today we went outside to check it out. The Ex grabbed the "grape plant" (pictured above) and pulled apart the little "grapes" just like he had done and rubbed it all over her hands and she was like, "no...this is fine. Very smooth. Nothing pokey in does smell a little funky...maybe he is allergic to it?" and we went over to check out the swings. Those were fine too, so we were all stumped. About 10 minutes later we were going inside and The Ex was like, "OMG my hands ARE hurting. I have to wash them!" She ran to the sink and washed them and as time went on she said it felt like there was 100 needles in her hands. It was horrible. She texted me over a half an hour later saying she felt SO bad for our boy...her hands felt like they were on fire, she was fighting tears they hurt so bad...and all of a sudden The Boy's reaction last night made perfect sense.

But the poor kid. Those things are awful! If you see them in your yard...keep your kids away from it!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Photo Friday

Apparently my brain can't handle putting together engaging and exciting posts right now, so we'll revert to a couple of photos...

This is Peanut wearing an outfit her great grandmother bought her for her second birthday. I asked her if I could take a picture of her fancy outfit to show her how beautiful she looked. She said, "Sure!" and ran over to the wall, turned and flashed a grin at me yelling "CHEESE!!"
You think she's used to me taking her picture? But really, how can you not? Look at that face...
Happy Friday!

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Update

It's been a while since I've written anything. And in that time, my little dude has been trucking along doing amazing things that he has never done before...all because of his OT.

When I started talking about his OT issues here it was probably quite obvious that it was a hard issue for me. Learning that your child is "behind" in any area is not easy for a mom to take, and also learning that the tools required for him to "catch up" could quite possibly land me in the poor house didn't help. But, as I wrote, I got him the help he needed without hesitation and now, only a couple months later...the change is dramatic.

There are SO many things he is doing now that he was never doing before. Little things like engaging and playing at a park (on the jungle gyms, not just in the sand...), riding his balance bike more and more, attending birthday parties at places where there is a lot of jumping involved, and even just being able to jump up on his bed and pull himself up without a stool. It has all been fascinating to watch. But two things happened recently that really had me amazed (and also had me in tears...but I do that...).

We have a meyer lemon tree in our backyard that he has talked about forever. But a couple of weeks ago he said, "I wonder if I could climb that tree..." When he said that it hit me that, being the lover of bugs and all things nature that he is, it was strange that he had never wanted to climb a tree before. And then I remembered, "Oh yeah...he has never had the strength..." Prior to OT, he literally never took his feet off the floor if it wasn't absolutely necessary. Not only for strength reasons, but also for balance. Just wasn't his cup of tea, so to say. But after he mentioned it...he looked at the tree...looked over at me for encouragement and when I told him to give it a try...he did. And as I watched him tentatively go slowly up the tree, and watched his little muscles shake in his legs as he tried to support himself and climb at the same time, I had tears in my eyes. He did it. He climbed the tree. After I documented the event properly with the camera, I cheered and cheered and cheered. And then I promptly went inside the house and cried happy tears for my little boy who mastered something.

Now I realize that if you don't know my son, you don't find it particularly fantastic that a 5 year old was able to climb a tree. But trust me...this is a big deal. For my son? A huge effing deal. And I couldn't be more proud. And more importantly, HE couldn't be more proud.


My Ex had a knack of buying things (wonderful things mind you) for The Boy...only she always seemed to buy them about 2 years ahead of time. She bought him a trike when he was 18 months old (which he still can't ride)...she bought him toy movie characters before he was old enough to understand the movie...and she bought him a giant play structure for the backyard practically before he could walk. So for years we have had this fantastic play structure in our backyard and, while The Boy (and now The Girl) love it to death, up until recently it was only partially utilized. The Boy loves the "clubhouse" part of it. And he loves the slide. The swings? Not so much. The hanging bars? Not so much. And one of the things that I noticed when I decided to get him evaluated for OT was that even at his age, the only way he ever got up into the clubhouse portion of it was to climb backwards up the slide. The two "proper" ways to get up there are the rock wall in the front, and the rope ladder in the back. He never touched either one of these things. I figured he never would.

Last night after dinner I let the kids go outside while my mom and I were finishing the dishes. The Boy came running inside, red-faced, ALL excited. "I did it!! I did it!!" When asked what he did, he told us he climbed all the way up the rock wall all by himself. Of course we ran outside to watch him and he ran over and did it again. I swear he did it like he had been doing it his whole life. Again, for a "regular" 5 year old...this is not news. But for my 5 year old? Holy crap. Un-be-freaking-lievable. Something just clicked inside him. And he did it about 5 times in a row. More and more proud of himself each time he did it.

Jokingly, my mom and I said, "Wow buddy...soon you'll be climbing up the rope ladder too. You're getting so big and strong, we can't even believe it." He looked at us smiling and then glanced over to the play structure, and then back to us and said, "I'm going to go up the rope ladder right now!" "No!" we exclaimed. "You can't possibly." "That's too much," we joked. And he said, "Betcha I can!" and he ran off. And then he did.

Check out the smile on his face while he's doing it. Best 20 seconds I have had in a really long time. Those horrendous OT sessions that I was bitching and moaning about having to pay for? Best money I have ever spent in my life!