Sunday, October 28, 2007

The 7 days of Last Week

I have been remiss in posting lately. This has been a CRAZY couple of weeks, with all the joys of toddlerhood keeping me on my toes every second. Let me just give the Cliff's Notes version (the to tune of the 12 Days of Christmas) If you sing it out loud it's more fun:

On the first day of last week, my Toddler gave to me; A crayon that he'd tried to eat.

On the second day of last week, my Toddler gave to me; Two new contusions and a crayon that he'd tried to eat.

On the third day of last week, my Toddler gave to me; Three broken pens, Two new contusions and a crayon that he'd tried to eat.

On the fourth day of last week, my Toddler gave to me; Four laundry loads, Three broken pens, Two new contusions and a crayon that he'd tried to eat.

On the fifth day of last week, my Toddler gave to me; Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive ruined CD's, Four laundry loads, Three broken pens, Two new contusions and a crayon that he'd tried to eat.

On the sixth day of last week, my Toddler gave to me; Six carpet stains, Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive ruined CD's, Four laundry loads, Three broken pens, Two new contusions and a crayon that he'd tried to eat.

On the seventh day of last week, my Toddler gave to me; Seven sleepless days, Six carpet stains, Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive ruined CD's, Four laundry loads, Three broken pens, Two new contusions and a crayon that he'd tried to eat. (The end)
Most of this would not be that big a deal, but I'm in my first trimester of pregnancy and EXHAUSTED ALL OF THE TIME! The new carpet stains that I'm referring to are two days in a row of diaper removal that had a #2 in it. In my former occupation, I used to roll my eyes when people talked about the kind of stuff their kids did when "I only turned my back for about 5 minutes!" Well, I'm here to tell you that it's true.

H game me the "opportunity" to shampoo his carpets and deep clean his bedroom two days in a row. The second day's event involved an entire tub of Boudreaux's Butt Paste, his CD collection, and a naked two year old (wait, he was wearing his velcro shoes). This event was about 15 minutes of poor supervision in the safety of his own bedroom. His cabinet has the magnetic lock on it that you use in the doctor office, but he muscled the door open. I had recently moved most diaper changing supplies to the bathroom, so can be thankful that it was only the one tub of butt paste, and not all of this lotion, etc.

I walked in the room to see him standing there in all his glory, with whitish schmere all over his legs, arms, boy parts and, yes, across his eyes. Little white eyelashes batted up at me, and I thought for sure my lack of supervision was going to lead to his blindness, but it's luckily a very mild product that wiped right off his face. He proudly exclaimed "I put the lotion on the bottom!" Oh honey...that's certainly on more than your bottom! I took him straight to the tub, then let him color while I shampooed his carpets and opened the windows to dry it all by the time his "quiet time" rolled around that afternoon.

Quiet time; what a joke! There are the rare days that he just drops from being so tired and falls asleep in his bedroom on a pile of book like the time shown above...please note the socks on his hands...his newest love.

Through it all, though, I couldn't stop laughing. I felt like I couldn't even be irritated because I can imagine how good it probably felt to put the paste on, and I KNOW that there were quite a few similar incidents in my childhood (bottle of foundation on my sister's white desk anyone?) He is such a curious and funny kid, but seriously, there are a lot of times lately when I think that it was almost easier(I'm not saying that one's easier than the other, only that each has its advantages) to be a full-time working mom.

Of course, when I was in the thick of that, I daydreamed constantly about just staying at home, under the delusion that this would be my big break, as I'd been working at a job (not including baby-sitting and lawn mowing) since I was 15. I guess I forgot to take into account that whole parenting a toddler bit.

Hmmm...seems you can't win for losing. I've been talking a lot with my friends and my sisters about "having it all." In trying to decide whether to go back to school right now, or wait a couple of years, I finally had to make peace with the fact that I am where I am, and I don't want to be going to school full-time, while juggling a toddler and, eventually, a new baby. I hope that I will be able to have it all eventually, maybe just not all at once.

Oh, and if anyone has tips for napping after the transition to toddler bed, please pass them on. I can only shampoo my carpets so much, and I'd really like to go back to napping when he does!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Fool Me Once...

Argh...I just hate it when I finally allow my "I don't want to upset anyone" attitude to be swayed by a passionate argument, only to later find out that 'the wronged' may have been exaggerating...I read a Post by Expecting Executive in which she questioned the outrage felt by so many over the removal of photos of nursing women from the networking site FaceBook.

The historian in me is ashamed that I did not research the claims prior to writing an impassioned post, as it now seems that the innocent photo shown by the user who was removed may not have been the one that caused her photos' removal.

I am hereby recanting my outrage at Facebook (but not the basic sentiment that mom's should be supported in their choices) of my Babies are Better than Pasties post so you all will know that I am not, in the words of the famous KHall "koo koo la la".

Finally, although I'm pretty sure that I was only fooled once, this is still a shame on me situation.

This Little Piggy...

"This little piggy moved to Massachusetts, this little piggy stays home (with a 2 year old), this little piggy makes chicken nuggets, this little piggy loads the dishwasher, and this little piggy cried 'WEE WEE WEE, I need some time of my own!'"

I don't have the cutest feet, but I always feel better about them when they are painted and callous-free. Pedicures were a regular indulgence for me in Portland. Accompanied by a good girlfriend and a trusty Starbucks Latte, I would sit for an hour and have my piggies pampered.

Since I moved to Mass, I had only had one pedicure, and that was paid for by my lovely Oregon friend as a birthday gift. That means that I have gone almost 4 months with only one pedicure! The other morning, I was dying my own hair (another concession since being a SAHM), and dripped some of the "Warm Espresso" dye on my foot. Now, not only were my toes haggard and sad, one of the nails had a large brown stain, making it look as if I had some rare fungus.

I woke up this morning, after my DH let me sleep in until 10am (this seems to be a Saturday routine for those who read about my perfect day before), in a bit of a funk. I spent almost an hour wandering around Target getting a new shower curtain liner, as mine is riddled with mildew. As a splurge, I purchased four new hand towels, two for each bathroom, as I have not purchased handtowels since I was a Junior in poor EB Home towels were starting to look sad after 8 years of dutiful service.

I then decided that I would do what makes the soul feel good, and visited my local nail salon. As soon as I walked in, it felt familiar, yet different. The pedicures were all performed in a back room, where each station has a sheer curtain that can divide them from the others and a small lamp, creating a wonderfully soothing ambiance. I opted for the Spa Pedicure, and sank my tired feet into the warm, whirling water. I set the chair to perform a lower back massage throughout, and prepared myself for a treat.

My pedicurist did an amazing job, using salt scrub, exfoliating cream, then an invigorating mint masque followed by massage oil. Each treatment was applied using a wonderful massage up to the knee, while the technician wore rubber gloves and used sterile tools. It lasted a full hour, and cost only $37!

I got to sit and read the classics; "Us Weekly" "In Touch" and "People" poring over the pictures of McDreamy, Lauren Conrad, TomKat and all the other beautiful people.

After choosing OPI's Double Decker Red for my nails, I sat and let the shiny lacquer dry before getting in my car to head back home, ready to tackle the fun task of cleaning toilets and doing laundry. H was sitting in his booster eating his snack, and looked at my feet, exclaiming "CUTE!"...ahhh...sometimes two year olds are all the self-esteem booster you could ask for.

If you'd like to replicate my experience go to Creative Nail & Spa, located at 50 Boston Turnpike, Shrewsbury, MA (White City, in the Shaw's parking lot) or call (508) was worth every penny!

Well, better go clean those other t's (tubs and toilets for those not in the know :) )

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Sun'll Come Out....

Well, it was inevitable...I had my first melt-down as a full-time SAHM. It all started so innocently. You've read the saga about the transition to the toddler bed, and naps were going so well in the pack-n-play...until....

Yes, H decided that he was no fool. If he could climb out of his crib, he could certainly get out of this wimpy mesh-enclosed cave that he was forced to slumber in during the day. This was on Sunday. "Luckily" my husband was home and could share in my frustration as H quietly (or not) refused to nap. This was the child who had been sleeping for a solid three hours in the afternoon...I was NOT willing to forego that time, as it was all mine! Finally, I just layed down with him in my bed as he was obviously very tired, and he and I proceeded to sleep for over 2 hours (guess I was just as tired) while my DH watched the game.

Monday came and I caved, deciding to lay down with him again just this once. Going down was not as easy this time, as he wanted to play on the bed, and screamed whenever I tried to snuggle (okay hold) him to me so that we could settle in for a nice nap. Finally, blessed sleep overcame him and another 2 hours went by...again, I fell asleep as well, so no time for mommy.

Tuesday, repeat Monday's scenario, including the screaming and playing.

Wednesday...Okay, I was done with wasting my time alone by falling asleep with him, and decided that I'd have him sleep in his toddler bed. You can guess how well that worked. he stood at his doorway crying "Go Seeeep!" Translation: I want to go to sleep with you, mommy! Which quickly turned into "Go Seeeeeeeeeep, Mommy beeeeeeeeeeeeed!" So, being the mother of iron resolution, I scooped him up and took him to bed in my room.

Monday's scenario played out again, except no sleep came. I finally told him he'd have to go to his own room if he didn't lay down. He was not happy. After about 30 minutes of him saying "H Tired! Go SEEEEEP!" in his room, I tried the whole go into my room bit again...this cycle played itself out 3-4 times. Each time, his eyes lolled back in his head as I picked him up, and then when we layed in my haven of a bed, his eyes popped open, and he was ready to play and be jolly. I was SO frustrated by the time this was all done (about 2 hours) that I plucked him out of my bed, using all of my reserve will not to smack him on the bottom, and deposited him in his room, put up the gate, and said "I don't care what you do for the next 2 hours, but mommy is going in the other room."

I called my DH at work on his cell phone on the minute chance that he'd luck... I was breathing faster and faster, trying to choke down the tears of frustration that were threatening to spew out of my throat. I then made the call that I knew would make everything better...

There are four girls in my family; The Big Girls and The Little Girls, as there is an 8 year space in the two sets. I am one of the little girls. I immediately called my Oldest Sister, Myrtle T(who has three children ranging from 9 to 14), hoping that she would answer her work phone.

"Phone Company One, this is Natalie" Oh Crap...must sound normal, must sound normal..."Is Myrtle T there?" As soon as I heard my sister's voice, I could barely squeak out her name. She knew that it was me, as they have call waiting. When she heard my voice, she immediately asked "What's wrong?!" as that voice was generally reserved for deaths and disasters.

The floodgates opened, and I cried out (literally, I was sobbing by this point) "He won't sleep in his toddler bed and I'm SOOOOOOOO frustrated!" silence...

Myrtle: Ohhhh...I'm sorry...that's so hard!
Me: He's just playing in his room! (I then recounted the previous couple of days and the culmination of today, with gulps and sobs and a couple of expletives).

Myrtle: Calculated Silence, and then comforting...Ohhhhh...that is so frustrating. I remember those days well. Why don't you just go in your room and close the door for about five minutes. By then, he probably won't be crying anymore and you'll give yourself some space.

Me: He's not crying, he's just playing in his room!

Myrtle again: Ummmm...he's just playing in his room? He's not crying or doing anything dangerous?

Me: Yeah

Myrtle: Ummmm...I know that it can be frustrating, but he'll probably just fall asleep in his room.

Me: No he won't! He'll just play, and then he'll be exhausted tonight!

Myrtle: Well, maybe that will happen today, but if he's just in his room and being good, don't worry about it.

Me: (Slowly dawning on me that I sound like a crazed loon) Sigh...It's just so frustrating! I've never been this frustrated with him before!

Myrtle: Yep, this is that fabulous time of life when they still really need you, but are also aware of what they want, and aren't afraid to assert it.

Me: Okay...(wiping the last of my tears as the weight lifts off my chest)

Ahhhhh...that was all I needed...someone to let me know that I wasn't completely crazy, but also to remind me that this is what the 2s are all about...assert, challenge, assert! This just reminded me why it's so important for mom's to have a support network. Had I not had someone to call, I would have just cried in the living room by myself, withough bringing things back into perspective. I then peeked in at H to see that he was playing so well by himself in his room, talking to his dolly and "Haffy Feet".

That night, H was asleep by 6pm, wouldn't wake up for dinner, and slept through the night. The next day, I was lamenting to a friend that he was most likely just not going to nap anymore, although that thought terrified me! That afternoon, after H's friend left, I put him on his bed and let him know that it was time to take a "night-night". He promptly said "NO!" So I told him...'okay, you don't have to sleep, but mommy's going to leave the room, and you'll be in here for an hour or two by yourself." I checked on him periodically to ensure that he had a clean diaper and gave him a snack. About 35 minutes later, I peeked in because he was suspiciously quiet, only to find him sound asleep on a pile of books...he's napped most days since!

I struggled over whether to blog about this, not knowing if people would just think that I was a horribly mean mommy, or if they'd relate. At any rate, it's important to note that I just put him in his own room and walked (okay, stomped) away; I didn't spank him or yell at him (which is important to me, but maybe not to everyone). It's also always good to remember that tomorrow (for better or for worse) is a whole new day.