Posts Tagged ‘life’

Life With 3: Update 1

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

It is 11:25 am and I am watching The Price is Right, which means life is really good right now. That’s how I judge my level of happiness: am I able to be home, eating a sandwich, between the hours of 11 and 12 so I can watch Drew Carey give away cars? Yes? Success!!

Tomorrow Linc will be 1 month old, and I’ll start doing monthday updates again. I have big plans to do a same-spot monthly photo like I did with Caroline’s tutu, but I am TERRIBLE at following through with stuff like that so we’ll see.

It turns out the hardest part of having three kids isn’t the third kid – it’s the first two. I thought I had done a really good job teaching Evan and Caroline to play on their own without needing me to intervene or referee much. But in reality I just didn’t realize how often I had to step in until I was stuck on the couch under a sleeping or nursing baby and couldn’t break up their squabbles. There has been a LOT more yelling than I like (and I’m not even strictly anti-yelling) just because I CAN’T walk into the other room and deal with them calmly. Caroline has started shouting “Moooooom Evan is TORTURING ME again!” and Evan shouts “DON’T COME UP HERE!” and then I have to stomp up the stairs while they both shout “NOOOOOO! We’ll be good! We promise!!!!” It’s fairly exhausting just to listen to them all day, plus the stomping is really rough on my knees.

Luckily, I only have everyone home for one more week before school starts. School itself is going to be a challenge – Evan’s bus comes REALLY early and I’m kind of nervous about how he’ll behave during a long ride to school – but the quiet I’m going to get while both big kids are gone is going to be life-changing. I can start blogging again. I can edit photos. I can finish knitting one of the 5 baby hats I’ve started but not finished. I can start taking pictures for other people so I can start saving up for the new lens I want.

And I can do ALL that stuff because Linc is a super easy baby. I have absolutely NO delusions this has anything to do with me or my parenting whatsoever. It’s luck. Just luck. Maybe there’s a little truth to the idea that because I’m not tense and nervous and stressed the baby isn’t tense and nervous and stressed, but that’s anecdotal at best. I know plenty of people whose second or third baby was WAY more high-needs than the first one. I just got an easy one this time, for which I am unbelievably thankful. With E gone almost all the time I would be seriously, SERIOUSLY losing my mind if I had an inconsolable, colicky baby.

The day my mom left me alone with all 3 kids I looked around and realized my house was clean and organized, and if I could just MAINTAIN that current level I could avoid a disaster. I’ve been doing really well – right now there’s only one load of laundry not put away and all the dishes are in the dishwasher – but I’ve given up on the kids’ room. Until they go to school and I can spend a good 3+ hours in there purging it’s hopeless. Luckily the rest of the house is still in good shape, so I can just shut their door and ignore it. I’m also ALMOST done with Linc’s nursery – I still haven’t ordered the crib and I need my husband to build me a shelf – and I’m really excited to share it.

Now I have a very important episode of House Hunters: Where Are They Now? to watch while I make a grocery list and a meal plan and enjoy this slightly annoying update while I can. I feel like the next one (after the 6 am wake ups and lunch packing and school drama) will be…much less smug.

 

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Five Is Not My Favorite

Thursday, May 1st, 2014
spring gingers-40

His hair looks lopsided because his hair is lopsided. He trimmed it himself.

Someone at Evan’s school taught him a good way to annoy people is to repeat everything they say. So now he can take anyone in the house from calm to BLIND MURDEROUS RAGE in approximately 6 sentences.

Me: Evan can you please put your shoes on?
Evan: Evan can you please put your shoes on?
Me: Ha ha very funny. Knock it off.
Evan: Ha ha very funny knock it off.
Me: STOP DOING THAT RIGHT NOW.
Evan: Stop doing that right now.
Me: I SWEAR TO GOD I WILL THROW EVERY ONE OF YOUR TOYS IN THE TRASH AND YOU WON’T EVEN SEE AN IPAD FOR A MONTH IF YOU DO THAT EVEN ONE MORE TIME YOUNG MAN.
Evan: I…ok Mommy!
*Skips off oblivious to how close he was to being left at a the fire house*

At least once a week when his bus driver pulls up she has The Look on her face and I mentally add $5 to her end-of-the-year Dunkin Donut gift card. This week he was mad he had to sit next to someone and spent the whole ride home trying to push him out of the seat. They were buckled together, which made the pushing useless, but lead to a fair amount of screaming. “Pre-k bus driver” might be the worst job in the world, but being the parent who is constantly apologizing for their kid’s horrible behavior sucks too.

The other day I asked Evan if he wanted a turkey sandwich for lunch. He said “No thank you”. I made one for Caroline and put everything away. Less than 5 minutes later he was practically climbing the walls, wailing about how he would DIE if he didn’t get a turkey sandwich right now. I’m not even sure what I’m SUPPOSED to do in that situation. It was lunch time, he was definitely hungry. A turkey sandwich is a reasonable lunch request. But he said no! And I told him if he said no he didn’t get another chance! So which is the more important part of parenting here: following through with what I said or feeding my hungry child?

I made him a turkey sandwich.

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Five is basically the same as a teenager, but with way less impulse control and emotional maturity. He has SO MANY FEELINGS and deals with a lot of complicated social situations – friends and best friends and who can sit with who at school and whether or not they wear pink on Wednesdays – but for the very first time. It’s hard to even watch, it must be super hard to try to navigate as a little tiny person.

In the mornings, before he gets on the bus, we sit together on the front steps. Most mornings he still wants to sit on my quickly-disappearing-lap and snuggle a little, which is TOTALLY FINE with me. But it only takes one wrong question (Do you think you’ll have fruit for snack? Isn’t that flower a pretty color? Would you like your very own pony??) for him to go from cute and cuddly to the mayor of Grumpypants Town. I don’t even like driving through Grumpypants Town, let along socializing with its elected officials.

Luckily the times he’s not being impossible he’s amazing and super fun and likes me to play the radio loud in the car so we can both sing along badly. But five is not my favorite.

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Complaints That Need Diagrams Do Not Make Good Posts

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

But I MADE THE DIAGRAMS ALREADY so now it is too late. SAVE YOURSELF.

Complaint #1: Caroline’s ballet class meets in what used to be an elementary school but is now a sort of run-down building they use for a zillion different things. Two classrooms down from ballet is a perpetual tag sale and on Saturdays they fill the hall with furniture and bikes and other junk. It’s not a very big hallway, so during class it’s pretty crowded with parents waiting for their tiny ballerinas. This weekend one of the classrooms farther down was being used for baseball sign-ups so there was a constant stream of traffic and people almost tripping over my feet.

HERE IS A DIAGRAM TO SHOW YOU THE SITUATION.

HALLWAY 1 The X’s are people sitting in chairs, Dance Mom is someone whose daughter is in Caroline’s class, and Friend is not MY friend, but the friend of someone joining our story in a minute. I had to bring Evan with me since E was working, but he had the iPad so 45 minutes in a hallway meant nothing to him.

Near the end of class time, the parents for the NEXT class start to show up. That class is full of tiny, adorable children in tap shoes. Most kids change shoes when they get there so everyone is sort of stumbling around trying to juggle shoes and coats and multiple children in a small hallway. On a normal day it’s kind of a mess, on a day when there’s extra traffic for Little League sign ups it’s a cluster.

5 minutes before the end of ballet, a woman with a giant sit-n-stand stroller makes her way down the hallway. There are two small children in the stroller and the tap class participant child following behind. The whole parade stops DIRECTLY in front of me and just…stays there. In the middle of the hallway.

HALLWAY 2

The red is the family blocking the hallway and the blue X’s are ALL the people trying to get past. The poor blue X’s kept saying “Excuse me, excuse me” and trying to squeeze around the stroller, which the clueless woman didn’t even TRY to move to one side or the other (not that there was enough room to unblock the hallways by doing that, but she could have tried). She just STOOD THERE saying “Where do they want me to go? There’s no room?” and her friend (“Friend” on the diagram) encouraged her by saying “I don’t know, this hallway is so crowded” and “As if saying ‘excuse me’ is going to make it wider??”

Just beyond the chairs in my diagram, I have added a red arrow. That arrow is pointing at the GIANT EMPTY SPACE where there is plenty of room for a stroller. Literally less than 10 feet down the hallway.

Let me make it more clear:

HALLWAY 3 After the longest 5 minutes ever of just staring in awe at this whole disaster, I decided it wasn’t going to resolve itself so I very, very politely said “Perhaps you could try moving the stroller over there along the wall? Our kids *gestures to chairs full of parents* are about to come out of class and it’s only going to get more crowded.” She and her friend looked at me like I had two heads, but she FINALLY moved down the hallway just in time for the door to open and everyone’s preschoolers to come streaming out in a giant mass.

I made eye-rolly eye contact with a few of the other parents who seemed as totally puzzled as I was with the whole thing. I mean, I sort of get it. There have been plenty of times when I was facing a problem with 2 small children in tow and I’ve been TOTALLY OVERWHELMED by things like “walking” and “polite behavior” and “awareness” all colliding at once. Maybe her awkwardness meter runs on coffee and she hadn’t had any yet that morning. But I can safely say that after the second “excuse me” I would have walked to the opposite side of the building if it meant not being in the way.

I realize writing a complaint about someone in my real life is risky, but I feel SO JUSTIFIED in my UNDENIABLE RIGHTNESS that I don’t even care. It is not often I am SO RIGHT, which brings me to complain #2

Complaint #2: Caroline’s school sent home a little note that said there had been some “close calls” in the parking lot and we (the school parents) needed to be more careful because other people (church attendees) use the building during the day.

I KNOW the note was about me. Me personally. ME AND MY MINIVAN AND A SPECIFIC INSTANCE. Which is embarrassing, you know? Everyone who got that note is now thinking “Ugh, what kind of jerk parent doesn’t obey the stop sign in the parking lot?” I have gotten ragey plenty of times about the stupid parental behavior in the pick-up/drop-off line but in this case, since it was about me, I would like to CLEAR THINGS UP.

Here is the driveway situation:

DRIVEWAY 1

 

Both preschool drives are one way, so ALL the parents coming to pick up their kids turn before they get to the exit driveway and during the 30 minute pick-up/drop-off window 99.999% of cars will turn there.

Last week after I picked up Caroline I was STOPPED at the stop sign – completely stopped – when a car turned into the church drive. It had JUST turned and so I pulled out, assuming it would pull into the pick-up line. Unfortunately, they were headed up to the church so technically I had turned “in front of them”. That was literally the first time I have ever seen anyone go straight there, so it was an honest mistake.

DRIVEWAY 2

 

(You didn’t really need a diagram for that, but I MADE ONE, so look at it. LOOK.)

It still would NOT HAVE BEEN A PROBLEM if they had been driving at an appropriate preschool-driveway speed. I had PLENTY of time to be out of their way before they got anywhere near me, except they were going at least 40 mph. I STILL made it out of the way before they were in any danger of hitting me  so all that happened was the guy gave me an angry look and a rude gesture (NICE JOB, CHURCH GOER. Just what Jesus would have done). Until I got the note in Caroline’s backpack.

This is one of those cases where I WASN’T entirely right. If we had been in a crash it would have been my fault, unless someone wanted to cite him for speeding on a road that is private property so it doesn’t actually have a speed limit. I learned my lesson and will be sure to wait until there are no cars on the driveway at all before turning, just in case one other person in the next two years decides to go straight. (Honestly, as much as I love the actual school, I will NOT be sad to be done with the pick-up/drop-off line forever when Caroline goes to real school next year.) This is a case where I can’t flaunt my RIGHTNESS at all, but I can flaunt my indignation that not only did that guy have the nerve to flip me off in a church parking lot, he was SO OFFENDED he had to slow down a little bit that he reported my terrible driving to the headmistress.

I think the fact that I took the time to document both incidents with diagrams instead of just letting it go like a normal, functional human being has something to do with my heightening pregnancy rage, in which case I apologize in advance to everyone I have to interact with for the next 21 weeks.

 

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Doing My Best (Question Mark) (Exclamation Point)

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Once a week or so my Facebook, which skews heavily towards moms, blows up with a post or article from the interwebs about being a better parent. Posts about putting down your phone and paying more attention to the present, posts about why you should never yell at your kids, posts about how teaching your children patience means letting them take 45 minutes to put on their coat, posts about all the ways you are probably scarring your children and ruining their lives because you aren’t perfect.

Basically, posts about how someone else lives their life better than me. I suck.

I made the mistake of reading one of the posts about yelling on a particularly bad day. I had just been hit with pregnancy symptoms, I had been solo parenting for weeks, the holiday planning was making me feel overwhelmed and stressed and instead of providing me with a hilarious list of animals that look like characters from Downton Abbey the internet punched me in the face with guilt.

Of course, any day is probably a bad day to read parenting advice. I cannot remember a single day since having kids where I was perfect. Pre-kids no one was really expecting me to be, you know?? As long as I didn’t commit any major crimes no one cared and the majority of the advice aimed at me was how to build a work wardrobe for under $200 or how to plan a dinner party for 12. But once you biologically become a parent people suddenly expect you to be a great parent all the time, although no one can even tell you what that means. There isn’t a handbook. There isn’t even a PAMPHLET. And even if there was, I’d still be doing stuff wrong.

Even on days where the kids are angels and I’m a saint, we probably didn’t eat all-organic, locally-sourced, home-cooked meals. We probably ate McDonalds. On the days when we eat a real, fully-balanced meal made with ingredients from the farmer’s market the kids probably watched 4 hours of iPad so I could make the damn thing.

Some days, I toss something in the trash, miss, and then just stand there staring at it on the floor, hoping it might pick itself up. I make sure my children are not physically suffering and then lie down on the couch. The kids eat Pop Tarts for dinner with a side of Pop Tarts for dessert. I yell. I am unfair. I cannot wait for them to go to bed.

As far as I am concerned, both of those days are my best effort. I am giving 100% of myself. All the parts that aren’t being used to keep me alive are going to my children. But I’m a person too, and some days I need all of my own energy to function. I need an extra hour to sleep instead of doing a craft or to watch House Hunters instead of PBS. I need 10 minutes of silence instead of breaking up another argument so I just let them argue. I need to lock the bathroom door so I can pee my pants while I throw up privately instead of with an audience. Again. I NEED those things, the same way I need air and food.

I assume if my life circumstances changed, I would find more to give. Working moms do way more than I do and survive. Single moms do way WAY more an survive. Literally a billion other mothers do more than I do and survive. But right now, at this moment, in my own life, I am giving 100%. You are probably also giving 100%, whether that means making those all-organic meals every night or taking even more naps than I do.

It’s not as hopeless as it sounds. Most nights I go to bed feeling like I had a successful day and not beating myself up over my mistakes (I figure in another four and a half years I might stop doing it all together). Even when I am totally drained I am lucky to have this life – and I really do feel lucky instead of just saying I’m lucky. My kids are great kids, despite my mistakes, and so far show no signs of permanent damage from either cheeseburgers or Disney Jr binges. Since I realized I cannot do everything – and don’t even WANT to do everything – I have gotten much, much happier. Just don’t show up unannounced or I won’t let you in to see my messy house, screaming children, and wet pants.

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Sunday, December 29th, 2013

Considering this week was Christmas, it was decidedly uneventful. I mean, BESIDES Christmas. But we spent all of the 25th (and the 26th) in pajamas eating stocking candy and being as lazy as possible. Then I got the worst pregnancy headache of my life (aren’t you glad I announced so now I can complain about it all the time???) and barely moved for 2 more days, so there you have it. Uneventful.

Sunday:

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At the casino for some shopping, donuts and examining a fake ice wolf

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Sleeping beauty

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I have eaten two of these in a week

Monday:

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Watching the zamboni

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Once she got the walker thing she did great

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5 pm. THANK GOD the days are finally getting longer again.

Tuesday:

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A Christmas cookie miracle!

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Easiest baking ever

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My favorite part of Christmas Eve

Wednesday:

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Arming my children, one gift at a time

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Presents bigger than the child herself

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Blurrily playing their new Jake and the Neverland Pirates game

Thursday:

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Christmas recovery: chugging water and watching HGTV

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Wiggly tooth. He fell on his face. The dentist said he’s going to lose it and have a hole for a long time.

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Nothing says “Happy Day After Christmas” like Taco Bell

Friday:

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Two things in common: cuddles and technology

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Using his new fan to dry Caroline’s nail polish

Saturday:

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Apparently all the baby wants is fake Mexican food

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Naps for those of us with migraines/exhaustion

I had a newborn session this week (an early Christmas present not due until January!) and another session scheduled for next week, and I’m surprised to find myself excited about it. I burned out a little after the fall and hardly picked up my camera during the holidays so I’m excited to get it out again. Plus I’ve got a pregnancy post to write and a What’s for Dinner post I never finished and like 10,000 words about the Walking Dead I’d like to write but will spare you because no one cares about a show that already happened even if I only just caught up on.

I should probably also get the kids out of the house before we all go nuts, but everyone is doing that so pretty much everywhere is full of parents with the same crazy look in their eyes counting the days until school vacation ends.  I’m hoping a Target run for some storage bins and and Icees for the kids will do the trick.

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