Travelin’ Mama

A lot of things change with the birth of your first child.   There’s the change in your physical appearance, a distorted and even contorted version of your previous self.   Some of us lose our  hair, while others, such as myself, start losing some of their memory.   I suppose the change I’m noticing the most is the superficial one.

Friday, my husband, son, and I flew to New York to visit my in-laws for Easter.   As we stood in line at the ticket counter, I couldn’t help but notice the current fashion attire not only of today’s youth, but also that of other generations. Being the typical female, I found myself judging these women and comparing myself to them.

Some women were absolutely appalling and shocking as if they were eager to push the levels of the fashion mantra.   Then I looked down at myself, with jeans, tank top, long sleeve shirt and padded vest along with my running shoes.  I wasn’t hideous or mismatched, but I definitely wasn’t the woman of years ago and that is what becoming a mother will do to you, or at least most of you.

Once upon a time, I used to wear flowing skirts with strappy sandals or heels.   I wore fashion jeans with boots, warm scarfs and snug hats, all of which seemed to make a fashion statement as opposed to serving their actual purpose to keep me warm. I wanted to look stylish as I flew.   I made sure no hair was out of place and that my make up was flawless. Back then I put a lot more emphasis on my appearance as opposed to functionality and comfort. Not anymore. Those days have long since passed now that I’ve become a mommy, and this is one change I’m grateful for especially as I eyed the lady in leopard print leggings, with brown thigh high boots and four inch heels. I chuckled to myself and sighed inwardly with pleasure at my change while she adjusted her lavender, fake fur coat.

Thank you, my son, for helping mommy to see the road she would travel down in the fashion world had you not come along. Thank you, indeed.

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Mommy, I Went Potty

Those are the words I’d hoped to hear on my son’s first time.   Actually, it would have been nice to hear anything that was to forewarn me of the events that would soon unfold this evening at my parent’s house.

After dinner, we all decided to retire into my parent’s family room.   Growing up the room was padded with marigold, 1970s shag carpet and coated with dark paneled walls, with the burdensome popcorn ceiling to match.    Since, my parents are now considered “empty-nesters” they’ve decided to upgrade their house and for once they actually have a nice, distinguished home with dark oak hardwood flooring.   It’s a beautiful floor and my mother is very anal about keeping it clear of debris and spills.   Of course, having a toddler running around the house makes that a bit difficult, but never to the extent we imagined tonight.

So, back to after dinner…while relaxing, we noticed that my son had disappeared and appeared to be a bit too quiet, which we all know usually means trouble.   My parents stayed seated in their recliners and I turned around on the couch to face the back of the room and that’s when I saw it happen.

At the time, it seemed to be occuring in slow motion and I could even hear the sound of my voice, deep and muted as I yelled “Davey, No!”   But while it felt like slow motion, it really was much too quick for any of us to really be able to jump up and stop the travesty occuring in front of us.  

Somehow Davey had managed to pull down his pants AND his diaper.   He squated down and grunted a couple of times, before squeezing out a poop.   One lump came out and yet he kept pushing even as I’m screaming.   And while I’m screaming, he’s taking his hands and patting his little tushy while poop starts coming out between his fingers.   

When I finally reached him, he had finished and immediately grabbed me with his pooped covered hands as if he was excited about actually pooping someplace other than his diaper.   I was distraught for a few moments and couldn’t think.   All I could manage was to ask my dad to throw me the diaper bag and my mother to grab me a towel and lots of wet washcloths to clean Davey and the hardwood floor.

As I’m cleaning, I imagine my mother getting upset (being the super clean neat freak that she is) and complaining about her hardwood flooring being covered in poop.   Alas, she just stood above me with her arms crossed as I put a clean diaper on Davey and said, “Hmmm…you think now’s a good time to potty train?”

Indeed I do, Mother!   Indeed I do!

One Green Veggie a Day, Keeps Mommy Away

Heck, any veggie a day would keep this mommy off your back!

My goodness what a hard headed, stubborn, and determined little man I have on my hands!   This mere 17 month old is starting to get the better of me and I’m running out of ways to attempt to out smart him.   Notice I used the word “attempt”, because as of today, I have yet to outsmart him, at least where eating his veggies is concerned.

I made Davey’s baby food from the start.   Not once did he ever eat anything out of the jar.   There was no such thing as processed food in our house, at least not for him.   I did it to have a healthy baby, but to also have a baby who wasn’t quite so picky with his food.   Lord knows I never thought I would be at the point where I’m practically begging my laughing child to actually just swallow a fourth of a green bean for me.

These days, where veggies are concerned, my son’s mouth is clamped down tighter than the doors of Fort Knox!  And I don’t know what to do!   He used to love spinach and carrots and celery and apples and all of that good stuff, but now he won’t eat it unless it’s covered in sugar or cheese or butter!   Where did he get this from?   Definitely not from our house and no one else really feeds him.

He used to eat pears, but not anymore.  I’ve bought him the Del Monte packs with the cubes that are packaged in water (I refuse to give him fruits that have been swimming in syrup for days or weeks or months).   Yesterday, I tried to give them as a snack.   He put one little cube in his mouth and then immediately opened his mouth again, stuck out his tongue, and let the cube slide off onto the floor.   So, I tried to offer the pears up mixed with yogurt.   That didn’t work either because he would suck off the yogurt and spit out (literally) the pear.

Last night I snuck in some broccoli with his macaroni and cheese.   He picked around the little trees and ate the macaroni!   What is going on with this kid?????   He’s starting to remind me of my younger brother…meat and potatoes only, thank you!   This can’t keep going on.   I’m willing to try anything.   Do any of you have some sort of advice on getting my child to eat more veggies?   They don’t have to just be green.   I’d settle for anything, even a squash.

One frustrated mommy here!

Never Say Goodbye

“Diiixxxiieee,” my son likes to call out while searching for our dog.   He’s very melodramatic about it and at times can sound a bit conniving and evil, but he loves Dixie.   She is his best friend, his protector, and quite literally the greatest playmate he could have.

One of our early pictures.
One of our early pictures.

This past Friday I took Dixie in for her monthly grooming and her annual check up.   She was gone most of the day and my son pathetically stalked around the house looking for her.   It actually broke my heart when he would come up to me and shrug his shoulders while quietly belting out, “Diiixxxiiieee.”

 

Good Morning, Mes Amis!
Good Morning, Mes Amis!

 

That afternoon after picking her up, I took a look at her review sheet where the vet goes through every part of her check up and let’s us know how things went.   Being a super anal mommy, I have all of these from our first vet appointment for Dixie.   I’m always eager to get them to see how my girl is doing.   Unfortunately, I saw one thing that caught my attention and I voiced it to my husband.   We then did some research on the condition to find out that if it’s not treated then Dixie could die.At first I was angered at the vet for just putting this on a piece of paper and not talking to me about it, but then my emotions quickly moved to fear, worry, and sadness, especially as I watched Davey lay his head on Dixie’s back while watching television.

Peace offering
Peace offering

I’ve had my ups and downs with Dixie.   I’ve had days of sheer frustration with her, where I’ve told her that I would take off her collar, open the front door and let her be free.   Whoever picked her up would be her new family.   Don’t worry, I’ve never followed through with that threat.   Then I have days where I sit back and think about how protective she was of me when I was pregnant and how she would guard over Davey when we brought him home.   I thought about how much my son loves her, how  most mornings when he wakes up, her name is the first he says.   I thought about how wonderfully gentle she is with him, how she lets him hug her, stroke her back, and even rest his head on her.   Then I thought about how one day I’m going to have to tell my son that Dixie is no longer with us, and right now I’m just not prepared for that.

I don’t think he would really understand, but he would be cognizant of the fact that she was no longer around.   How would he handle it?   If it’s anything like last Friday when he looked like he would shed tears at any moment, I don’t think I could handle seeing that.

Reading to Dixie
Reading to Dixie

Today she is back at the vet having surgery and having a mass tested for cancer.   Let’s pray that she’ll be alright and that my son’s best friend is coming home tonight.   This is one milestone and life lesson that this mama isn’t ready to handle yet.

THE Choice

Once again, we’re entering into the age old debate about balancing motherhood and a career.   This time it’s brought about by a book recently released by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg who encourages women to “lean in”.   I’ve tried to stay out of the debate, as most mothers I encounter are pretty defensive about the subject of sacrificing their careers or sacrificing their family.   My views tend to be a bit passive-aggressive and cause friction and even anger, but I’m going to stick my big toe into this debate again and test out the waters.  

First off, I think a high-powered COO who earns $30 million a year (Sheryl Sandberg) or the youngest CEO ever (Marissa Mayer of Yahoo) are not really the voice of so many working women.   These women have the luxury of hiring landscapers, house cleaners, cooks, taking clothing to the dry cleaners daily, and in the case of Marissa Mayer, converting the office next to her’s into a nursery for her child.  Women like these make it seem easy to balance motherhood with a career.  

I made a choice when I became pregnant, that I wanted to be home with my child.   I made the choice that ME being home and raising him was more important than any career I could ever have.   Let me rephrase that, it’s more important than any career in the CORPORATE world.   Raising a child is a career all on it’s own.  

I know not every mother has the luxury of being at home.   Not every mother sees that as a luxury, either.   I saw and still see the opportunity to be home and raise my son as my greatest adventure ever.    But I didn’t immediately become a stay-at-home mom.   I took my son to daycare at six weeks of age and I worked until he was four months old.   And let me tell you, balancing motherhood and a career is not as easy as some of these high powered executives make it out to seem.  

I gave up a LOT in my life, a lot of me when I became a working mother.   My friends were not important to me.  I didn’t care to have a girls night out, I didn’t care to try to get my body back into shape.   All I cared about was the fact that I was up at five a.m. every morning, dropping Davey off at daycare at 7 a.m., arriving at work by 7:45 a.m., leaving work at 5 p.m., picking my son up from daycare and then maybe having about two hours with him.   TWO HOURS!   That’s two waking hours of no feeding, but just one on one time with my child.   A career in the corporate world?   Not worth the sacrifice for me.   I couldn’t have it all, and I didn’t want it all, at least not the “all” that society seems to push on working mothers. 

Balancing motherhood and a career is possible, but not without sacrifices.   It is not possible to maintain all parts of your life when you become a mother.   There will always be that one moment when you have to sacrifice your child’s first recital because you’re closing a multi-million dollar deal or closing a security threat to your network.    There will always be that one moment when you leave work on time to see Junior’s first soccer match, but in turn lose that contract you’ve worked on for the past year, that contract you’ve sacrificed other family time to attain.   There will always be conflict.   There will always be sacrifices, doubts, guilt, second thoughts, and regrets.   As with everything in life, a choice has to be made, but don’t be fooled by these women who claim to balance motherhood and career with the ease of flipping the page of a book.   Their lives are not indicative of the normal working mother’s life.

I’m not advocating for stay-at-home moms or working moms.   I’m advocating for doing what’s best for you and your family.    What’s best for me and my family is to be a stay-at-home mom.   Just remember, it won’t be easy whatever your choice may be.

Toddler Bed Phase 1

I’ve become THAT mother!   You know which one I’m talking about.   It’s the one who seems to be unwilling to move into the next logical phase of her child’s growth and development.    Some may say I’m a hinderance.   I don’t know about that, but I do know that I’m not ready for Davey to graduate to this next level.

He’s made it clear that it’s time to move on.   He’s sent subtle and even not so subtle messages to me, but while I can see them and acknowledge them, it doesn’t make it any easier for me to hit the resolve that now is the time for Davey to get a toddler bed.

I know, I know, a lot of you are already there and have been there for quite some time.   A lot of you have made a big deal about your child(ren) progressing along and I’m guilty of doing the same, but in this instance I’m perfectly content with telling other mommies out there that Davey is still in his crib.   There, I’ve said it!   He is still in his crib and I don’t feel even slightly bad about it.   No, Sir, I don’t, but I will tell you what I do feel bad about and that’s the fact that moving him into a toddler bed makes my heart sick.   It makes me feel sad.

I love the fact that my sweet little penguin lies in bed and waits for me to come get him.   I like the fact that I can contain him in this one place.   I like the fact that keeping him in a crib makes him still feel like my little baby.   If I move him into a toddler bed, next thing will be a big boy bed and then school and then dating and driving and, oh my goodness, I just can’t keep travelling down this road!

My husband seems to be just as eager as I am to keep Davey in his crib, but for more logical reasons.   For example, he’s afraid that since Davey moves around so much in his crib, that he may fall out of the opening and either hurt himself or worse still, wake himself up (which means we’ll be awake).

Much like having a second baby, I should just rip this band-aid off as well.   I’m not going to ask any of you if I’m crazy, I’m well aware that I passed crazy a long time ago.   And I don’t care how many of you judge me for keeping him in a crib.   I’ll get there in my own time, I know I will, but I’m still curious….at what age did you start putting your child(ren) in a toddler bed and what was the reason you chose that age?

Don’t worry, each day I’m getting closer and closer to making this happen.   Just don’t push me, ok!?!?!?!