Tuesday, March 30, 2010

6 Week Periods

My mom is my mother, best friend and therapist, all rolled up into, hands down, the most amazing woman in the world.  Her wisdom deep, her knowledge vast and her words always a comfort during times of unknown, unrest or unease. 

I wish I took more advantage of having a 24-hour on-call therapist and doting mom in my life.  During my younger years, I rolled my eyes when she wanted to "talk about feelings" and have family meetings and pre-kids, well, my life was pretty easy and my woes few and far between.  Having children has made me appreciate my mom, first for truly understanding how much she loves me and the sacrafices she made for me to have an amazing life and secondly because she helps me understand the challeneges (and joys) of raising children with self love and clarity.

Tonight she helped me see the light by gently pointing out that I dealt with a momentus toddler meltdown in the exact way that I yell at my husband for doing all the time.  Only a mom can get away with that one!  But, as always, she was right and left me feeling okay about my parental blunder...with a new way to think about things so that I can do "better" tomorrow. 

Since pretty much the day my son was born, my mom has helped me get through challenging times with the kids by reminding me, "it's just a tough 6-week period."  (Well, or teething...sorry mom, that one was for you!).  This observation -- that a kid's development happens in 6-week periods -- has helped me get through phases of non-sleep, non-listening, non-eating or non-giving their ol' mom a break stages! 

Well, we are in the throws of a tough period with MDB, as he nears his third birthday.  He is stomping his feet (and using them for a kick or two) to declare his independence and has a zero-to-sixty and back again range of emotions that not even the soap opera stars can replicate.  I swore I would NEVER be the mother that said, "use your words" to their child...but I can't think of a better thing to say when he just can't express what he is feeling in any other way but with his body or through tears!

Terrible twos, threes?  Thinking back, I remember the same thing happening as he neared his second birthday too...alhough, I might have blocked it out with a 5 week old baby at the time!

So, thanks Mom, for you.  I will finish my well-deserved glass of wine tonight with a toast to you, for knowing I only have 5 weeks, 2 days and 3 hours to go until a new stage begins!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chemical Warfare

Every once in a while, I talk about the wonderful Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families organization I think they're doing a great job spreading the word and garnering support to make our world safer from the onslaught of chemicals in our food, products, air, etc.  The more and more I learn, the more and more I am disgusted and outraged.

Through their Facebook page, I found the new The Mollyanna Approach blog.  The author, Katharine, is not a scientist or expert, but a mom, just like me.  I was literally grinning from ear-to-ear reading her posts, because she is writing words as if taking them from my brain.  She shared her weekly shopping list and how she navigates the grocery store to buy the healthiest and chemically-free food.  And, what really got me is how she had to have multiple sit downs with her hubby on why their grocery bills were off the charts.  Been there, done that.

I go through every moment of every day just wanting what is best for my kids and my family.  Sometimes I feel like my quest to rid my kids' lives of everything that could possibly have a negative impact on them is over the top and it's hard to strike the balance of letting them just be kids and protecting them.  But, I can't help it.  They are my kids and I won't stop trying. 

Sometimes I feel alone in my plight. My pediatrician does the best she can with the information she has, but doesn't really get it.  Others scoff, either reminding me that we grew up just fine or telling me I'm just not doing enough.  And, the information overload can be overwhelming (case in point...get the swine flu shot for the kids or don't?)

What I can do is spread the word about others like Katharine. The more people that are involved and demand change, the less chance we will have of being ignored in this battle!

So, thanks, Katharine, for making me feel okay about 1) taking 3 hours at Whole Foods reading EVERY label, 2) breaking out in a cold sweat when MDB eats Red Dye #40 off the birthday cake at parties, 3) spending extra money to buy a chemically-free mattress for the big boy bed and most of all, 4) being proud to be part of a growing movement that will stand up for our safety one BPA-phalate free product at a time!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bedtime (And My) Drama

We have been having some difficulty in the bedtime department with MDB.  The once easy process of putting him to bed has come to a screeching halt.  He used to get in bed at 7/7:15 with no issues and if he wasn't ready to fall asleep, he would chat/sing/play until he was tired.  There was no crying and no negotiating. 

About a month ago, all that went out the window.  I noticed, at first, that I had to go in one more time for another kiss and a hug. Then, he started wanting to read more books and the routine just got longer and longer.  Now, it is full blown, with him crying and screaming for us not to leave the room and to "hold me."  This goes on, with me in and out, until he finally passes out from sheer exhaustion at, sometimes, as late as 9:45. 

I started doing my research (read = asking every mom I know), looking for that easy fix to get it back to the way it used to be.  I was so nervous about the less sleep on his mood, his health, etc.  Do I just leave him in his room and let him CIO like a baby?  I didn't want to start any bad habits (laying with him until he falls asleep) or, giving in and letting him come out of his room, like someone else I know did (not naming any names).      

We have heard to drop his nap, but my son LOVES his nap and quite frankly needs it.  We skipped it yesterday and it was a crabby DISASTER.  But, we limit it to 2-hours and never let him sleep past 3 p.m.

At some point during my read-every-blog-on-the-subject phase, it hit me...it was my own needs, not his that had me reeling.

I should be excited about the extra time I get to spend with him after work, but in all honesty, I am in mourning.  My favorite me-time of the day is after the kids go to sleep.  I long for this solitude, knowing I get a very long break until morning.  My friends with older kids have assured me that it will come back, as soon as he drops his nap and can't keep his eyes open at night...but I can't help it, this is MY time! 

I started this post as a quest for some good advice.  But, I realized that my reader base consists mostly of my friends/family that know my every whim or are so sick of my parental over-analyzing that they block me out.  

But, I have also come to learn that sometimes just putting my thoughts out into the universe makes me feel better.  I picture some anonymous reader out there, silently nodding in agreement as they deal with the same issue or remember, with a smile, when they had to in the past.

My blog, which started as a fun way to tell stories about my life and my kids, has made me more able to sort through and be truthful about my feelings.  It's a little like therapy and I like it.

So, just for kicks...if you read this and have felt the same way, e-mail me at stateofjen@gmail.com.  

Sunday, March 14, 2010

But, Why?

And, so it begins... 

Mommy:  MDB, no more yelling because I just put Lulu down for a nap.
MDB:  But, why?
Mommy:  Well, it would be hard for her to sleep if you are yelling.
MDB:  But, why is she sleeping?
Mommy:  Because she is tired.
MDB:  But, why?
Mommy:  Well, because she is a baby and babies get tired.
MDB:  But, why do babies get tired?
Mommy:  Because they grow so much and so fast, they need to rest a lot.
MDB:  But, why?
Mommy:  Well, she is learning so much, like how to walk and talk, and her little brain needs to take some naps so she is ready to learn more when she wakes up.
MDB:  But, Mommy, can I watch TV?

I guess, my answer was that good - or, he got bored of the conversation. 

A part of me has been waiting for the "But, Why" conversations to start.  My Dad was really good at this when I was a kid.  He always had an answer too all my questions and never seemed to tire of it.  In hind site, I am not sure what he was actually teaching me -- I believed for a VERY long time that The Flinstones actually lived in the quarry by our house -- but, hey, I have really fond memories of these conversations!  And, he is still my #1 call when I have a question (espcially political of nature) that Google can't answer.

So, in the end, as long as his questions aren't numbers/math-related...I look forward to his ever growing curiosity!  Bring on the "But, Why?"

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Big BIG Boy Bed

Honestly, I have never seen my son as excited as he was yesterday when he got his big bed!  I was told he could barely contain himself while the delivery men set up the mattress and he literally threw himself into bed for his nap. 

He was so cute, making me close my eyes and leading me by the hand into his room when I got home from work so I could see.  He was beaming from ear to ear!

He looks so adorable...his tiny self, in this big bed.  It's just another sign of his independence.  It felt really good to lay by him in bed, read him a story and "nuggle." 

I had high hopes that his elation would continue when it was time to turn out the lights and go to sleep.  I envisioned my big boy quietly telling me he was so tired from the excitement of the day and that I could quiely leave him to his thoughts and books.  Ha, nice try Mommy.  Hey, it worked at naptime?!?

I am going to chalk-up the over 2-hour bedtime drama to jitters about the first night with something new and that tonight will be smooth sailing.  Hey, a girl can dream!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pretty In Pink

This is my son's 3rd birthday gift. He picked it out, test "drove" it and made the decision this was the one he wanted...well as much as a 3 year old can.

As I was placing the order today, I had a thought. This wasn’t the one he originally wanted. When we walked into the store…he went straight for the pink one with purple streamers on the handle bars. Without giving it much thought, I steered him towards the boy bikes and we moved on.  This isn't the first time this has come up.  He always wants to eat off the pink plate (and I oblige) and if you ask him his favorite color, it's always enthusiastically pink.  It doesn't really surprise me, nor bother me.  A lot of his friends are girls and his cousin (who he worships) is a girl and they aways want "the pink one" so it makes sense that he does too!

It got me thinking. If my daughter had picked out "a boy" bike, would I have done the same for her, steered her towards the more girlie bikes? I'm not sure, come to think of it. Personally, I would want her to have the pink one, because that's what I would want, but I probably wouldn’t put up too much stink if she rode away on the Harley Davidson camouflage version.

I always thought I'd be the type of parent that let my kids express their individuality anyway they wanted...but, just like that, in an instant, I wasn't.  And, I have a feeling I'm not alone.  Would you have let your son get the pink bike?  Did I make a major parenting blunder?