Thursday, April 15, 2010

Becoming Zen

"Wow, what an exhausting day." Those were the first words out of my mouth when I saw my husband after he got home from work. I know he feels bad for me and he wishes he could have made my day better, but I can't imagine that he truly, TRULY gets it. I couldn't even think of what to say when he asked what happened to make my day so bad. It sounds so silly to say "Eli threw his shoes while we were in the car" or "He whined and threw fits all day long". Those words do not do justice for the annoyances that have occurred all throughout the day. My energy is completely zapped. I feel like I could crawl under the covers and pass out for the night and it's only 8pm.

I don't think anyone could understand how incredibly physically and mentally exhausting parenting a toddler can be. Unless of course you have a toddler yourself. But seriously, I constantly try to put myself in my son's shoes to figure out WHAT is going on with him.

I would think I'd be living the high life if someone cooked me all my meals, I could eat three fulls meals and two large snacks and barely gain any weight, my clothes were picked out for me and I was dressed each day. I would thoroughly enjoy relaxing in some comfy stroller, being pushed around like a queen. And don't even get me started on how much I would LOVE a 2-hour daily nap! Laundry's done, dishes are done, cleaning is done. That's freaking royal treatment right there. Yet even if my son were able to fully comprehend to sheer awesomeness of this luxury he is provided, he would still probably throw a fit, just to mess with me.

So after battle after battle after battle, I've come to only one conclusion. He is not unappreciative, nor is he selfish. And deep down (although this may be VERY deep down) I think he really loves those naps. There is only one logical reason to his behavior- he loves to piss me off. Plain and simple. He thrives off my reaction. At this point, I don't know if I should be proud or upset. After all, he could only learn how to get under people's skin from the best- his very own mother. My mom will vouch for me there! He's even mastered the don't-cause-trouble-until-you-look-back-and-make-sure-she's-watching tactic. And so far, he wins every time. I get upset, I feel frustrated, and he can see this in me each time. By the end of the day, it leaves me exhausted. And of course, so we're clear, he does get in trouble and he has consequences, every single time. But I think my reaction is satisfying enough to him that the consequences are seemingly meaningless and ineffective.

So, my new goal. I am going zen. I will, as often as I can, be calm, collected, and not let him phase me. I will give consequences with sternness but without annoyance. He will not get away with it, but he will not continue to wear me down. Because in the end, that is all he is doing at this point. He is obviously getting something about of these rebellions because he continues them. I need to keep consistency and keep my cool. And thus, I will come out feeling victorious in these never ending toddler battles.

Or so it seems, right? It might seem like a lost cause, to say he will not bother me. Because he will. I will still feel like crying at certain points and I might want to show him that he is really bugging me. Maybe in the end this may not work. But if I can come out saying that I kept on my game face and didn't let him know he was getting to me, I think I might just feel better at the end of the day. And that in and of itself is a victory to me.

Oh and by the way, I think I jinxed myself today. I know that all the crap I gave my sister about "being pregnant with twins, hahaha, you would lose your mind" and so on, is totally going to bite me in the butt. Keep track of this people...if I show up with two babies in a year or two, there is your proof that God hates me. Or at least likes to play incredibly cruel jokes on me. And I can promise that at that point, all thoughts of Zen will leave my body right as the twins do!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fertile Mertile- no thanks!

My son is now 22 months. Apparently that is the magical age where now EVERYONE asks when we plan on having another. This is annoying to me. Very very very annoying. (So if you are reading this, and you have asked me this question, please don't do it again.) I know that I have asked many people myself if they are planning more children soon or when they want to get pregnant again. I think that it's a safe topic for moms with children, it's a common topic of conversation. I've come to realize though that this question is usually asked without tact and that's probably why I feel a little annoyed about it.

"When are you going to try for another?" Who says I'm not trying? Well, for anybody reading this, I'm not. BUT, you never know when you ask someone if they might be trying without luck. I have used this and that might make me a bad person, using someone else's misfortune to get people off my own back. "I am trying, God just must not love me" and then run off head in hands, fake tears and all. That will certainly get them to leave you alone.

"Aren't you afraid your child will be spoiled, being the only child and all?" You must over-estimate me in many ways. First off, I am not rich enough to be able to spoil my child. Secondly, my child gets hand me downs and used stuff that hardly leaves an impression in the fashion world. Sure he gets all my attention, but it's safe to say I spend enough time in my own world (combine housework, with occasional laziness, with my part time job) to force him to interact with others or himself. He hardly gets 100% of me all day, every day, as it is with any child and parent. And since I know he isn't my one and only, I am not forced to overindulge him, which I could see myself doing if I knew this was my one chance to make the best kid. For now, I can at least sleep at night knowing that if I fail or mess up this one, I still have another shot.

"Don't you just want to go through all those baby stages again?" Sometimes, I could honestly answer that with a "no". Sometimes, even a big "HECK NO!" Baby spit up grosses me out, I have been peed on enough to last me a lifetime, my hips are still yelling at my for the 9 months I spent with my first, and sometimes babies, even though they are ridiculously sweet and adorable and tiny, scare the living heebie jeebies out of me. I found myself constantly second guessing every decision I had to make. Bottle or breast, cloth or disposable diapers, pacifier or no pacifier, co-sleep or sleep in own bed, and all those other battles that every mom out there can relate to.

Maybe it's just a reason for moms to compare how fertile they are. Ha. I'll take last place in that competition please!!! I could live without ever being called "Fertile Mertile".

I will have another child. Someday, and maybe even soon. But it will be done in my time, when it works for my family. I suppose anyone can keep on asking if they want. But I promise, I will let you know when I'm pregnant, and it won't be just because you asked me first.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Little Fingerprints Everywhere

Lately it seems that my life is consumed by everything related to my child. All pictures taken are of him. I am fairly certain I have 500 different pictures of my son coloring, 500 more of him eating, 500 more of him at the park. I saw this term "mamarazzi" recently.

1. Mothers who constantly follow their children around with several cameras and video taking equipment, snapping photos at each turn and documenting each milestone or event with at least two dozen photos and a video.
2. Groups of aforementioned mothers
3. When referring to yourself as described above

1. You can’t even get close to the swings because of all the mamarazzi.
2. I can’t believe how many photos I took of baby Madison on the slide! I’m such a mamarazzi!
3. What's with all the mamarazzi? It's just a bloody hair cut.
(Thank you

Every second of the day revolves around my child- when I get up, what I can eat for breakfast (he is at that "I want whatever you have" stage, so I try to model good eating habits), when I can shower, whether or not I have time to do my hair or whether it gets pulled up, when I need to be home (too close to nap and too close to eating time and I might as well throw myself down a hill, the torture of his tantrums are that bad), and even what we can do in the evenings to make sure we don't pass bedtime. My clothes are covered with the crap he gets on me (which makes for fun surprises later on- is this chocolate, mud, or the dreaded P-word?), my hair is falling out from stress (I might be exaggerating just a touch), and his toys have taken over parts of our house. My phone background is his picture, my purse contains random toddler neccesities- kleenex's (possibly used who knows), a random pacifier, maybe a book or toy; I always dart to the kids stores or sections to find those great deals on diapers or toys or clothes. In all honesty, I have a hard time remembering what life was like before I had a child- and my son is only 22 months old!!! His fingerprints are LITERALLY everywhere.

So of course, it's only natural that I create a blog to spend some "quality time" with myself, only to end up talking about him the entire time. It's like that "date night" idea- you go out with your spouse to get away, to have some time just for you. And you end up talking about your children, worrying about what they're doing, calling the babysitter to make sure they are holding up. After all, you know how much stress your child can put on someone (ie- former mention of hair falling out).

It's amazing and beautiful how life changes after having a child. Right?? That's what we're supposed to think and say and feel, isn't it? After all, you're probably a "bad mom" if you feel otherwise. I should pause and say that life IS beautiful and amazing and wonderful when you have children. It truly is...but I praise God that my son still naps. PRAISE GOD. I have a bad feeling that the Lord has a twisted sense of humor and will take that away sometime soon though. And, seeing as how my son has mastered those "child proof" gates, locking him in his room isn't an option. I suppose there is always duct tape.

This is probably where I need some small print statement with an astrick (spell check is not helping me with that word) that makes sure you know I have a sense of humor.

So why is being a mom so stressful? It's so natural right? It's supposed to be easy, after all, my mom did it! (No really, ARE the best! Please don't take away my Christmas presents!) You see all those other moms with their well behaved, little angels while your child is spitting fire out of every orifice on his/her body. (My husband would be so proud of me....orifice! ha!)

I secretly smile, even giggle a little inside (and sometimes outwardly) when other kids are naughty. In fact, it makes my day! I almost feel like encouraging other children to be little brats. "Go ahead and kick her right in her shin...she deserves it. She stole your ball Johnny, KICK HER!" Because it's only the naughtiest of the naughty that will make my son look like that little angel. "Oh, well my son would NEVER kick someone just because their ball was stolen. He is such a good little boy, isn't he??"

I am pausing for a few moments to fully grasp the fact that I just might be a terrible person. But every mom (mostly moms, dads aren't so crazy) can relate to the whole child-comparing stuff. "Well my son can count to 20!" "Well my son knows all his shapes and colors." Ugh. Well guess what people, my son can't count, doesn't know his colors, and some days I wonder if he speaks English or Japanese. But he didn't just kick that little boy for stealing his ball, now did he? Although, knowing my son, maybe he did....moving on.....

This site is for all those moms who compare. Yes, that IS you!! You know you do it. You can't deny it. And you know you want to hear about how absolutely insanely naughty my child can be, just so you can feel better about yours. Okay maybe that isn't exactly true. He isn't that naughty. It's more about our daily struggles, as moms, and the huge role our children play in our lives. How we can make it better, what has failed us and made life harder, and it will provide mine and other parents' and children's points of view, tips, and stories. It will be honest, it may be scary or boring or entertaining at times, but I want to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. All of it. Maybe someday this site will be used in all high schools as a form of birth control.

Being a mom IS awesome and rewarding. I get to see my little child's fingerprints, literally and figuratively, on everything in his world and mine. And now, you can see them too!