Thursday, August 29, 2013

Parenting Wins

Parenting wins.

Sounds like the kind of topic I would be excited to write about, right? For me this is often a wonderful, but difficult area.

Mostly I feel in the trenches of life. Stuck in the day to day. The humdrum. Always so busy.

So there isn't much time spent in thoughtful reflection.

If there is, I'll tell you what I'm not likely to be thinking: How well I am or I am not doing at this parenting thing. If I did, I would be much more likely to see the fails than the wins. I'm also more likely to share the fails. Like I did here, here and here. Why? I don't know. I think it has something to do with being a female.

When I read the writing prompt this week, I didn't know what to write.

I asked the hubby.

Me: "If you had to pick a Parenting Win, what would it be?"

Hubby: (with hardly a pause) "When I became one."

What a simple and beautiful fact. 

(I should end this here, but I'm a blabber mouth, so there's more)

He went on naming moments when he felt pride in his parenting skills. It was nice to hear him name them. I agreed with all of them.

That got me thinking. There are things I certainly see as parenting wins.

Like, Animal is a happy, healthy and active boy. He's becoming a person and I can tell he feels safe in expressing his wild ways. He feels safe to do so, because he feels safe and secure and that is a WIN.

Sometimes, like all moms, I'm pressed for time. Instead of cooking him a healthy breakfast, I make him a PB&J, wash some fruit, put it on a plate and call it a day. I hurriedly pack our lunches and if he catches sight of green beans, broccoli or some fruit I'm chopping up, he'll go crazy. He stuffs his little mouth with big bites of veggies. Or at dinnertime I watch him shovel brown rice into his mouth like it was ice cream. He loves salmon. It makes me so happy. It is an amazing win for me to see his love and appetite for things that are not typical toddler fare.

The biggest win for me as a mommy however is a regular bedtime.

Oh how we struggled the first weeks and months of his life. Time has softend the memories of sleepless weeks and months, but I KNOW it was horrible. I was just a shell of a person trying so hard to be the best mommy I could muster. I was living past exhaustion on a daily.

I was so envious of other mommies with their little sleepers. They could just take their baby anywhere because they slept in their car seats, their carriers, their arms. Not my guy. Only attached to a nipple (my nipple) it felt like...

I was desperate for sleep. I asked other moms what they did. What I heard was: Nothing, because their babies just napped and slept. Or they used a family bed or cry it out. Well my son didn't nap without lots of help. We tried the Family bed, only that would turn into the mommy and me bed, and I just couldn't let my husband sleep on the couch every night. Not to mention I hoped and prayed that we would have a sex life again and that was not going to happen with us in separate rooms. Last we didn't have the heart for cry it out, plus we live in an apartment. Who wants to listen to someone else's crying baby? No one.

I read articles, books, message boards. I watched You Tube videos, read blogs. Then one day I happened upon a book on Amazon. I ordered it, read it and took it's advise to heart. As did the hubby. It worked. Like a charm.

We have had our ups and downs. Not so many downs anymore. This morning Animal woke up at 6:40, I walk into his room and pull him out of bed at 7. Even though he can climb out of his crib, he didn't. He waited for me to walk in, then instead of reaching up for me, he climbed out of his crib and ran to me for a morning hug.


This post is part of a multi blogger collaboration. To read or join in just click the TT button.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Early Bird Gets The Worm (and all that jazz)

This is me, if I were a card stock bird
I've always been an early bird.


I know what you're thinking, my parents were blessed.

One of my absolute favorite stories my dad tells about my early childhood is just so me that I can just see it perfectly. Picture if you will, a cute little chubby cheeked toddler of the seventies. I would wake in the room I shared with my parents when the sun rose, then stand quietly in my crib, bottle in hand. Just waiting. Waiting for what you may wonder?  Waiting for either of them to open their eyes. So that I could hurl that bottle straight across the room at their heads. "Feed me you lazy sons of bitches"! I can only imagine my cute little toddler self screaming. Only in Spanish, because I didn't speak English then. I didn't make a peep my dad always says, he would sometimes pretend to sleep and peek at me through barely opened eyes, and watch me, watch them. I wouldn't throw the bottle until their eyes where open and I knew they were awake. Yeah, I was a thoughtful tot.

I still wake up with the sun, and I like waking up with the sun.

I rarely need to set my alarm. That my dear readers is a beautiful thing. When I do sleep in till 6:30 or 7 am I'm still up early enough to feel like I have the world to myself and hours and hours ahead of me.

On the weekend that is especially nice, I can get some morning nookie, catch a movie or some trash TV. Run to Starbucks alone. Go to a Weight Watchers meeting and be home in time for breakfast. 

Even on the weekdays it's helpful. I run, sometimes I even run a quick errand. I wash the dishes, make the lunches, if I'm not abstaining from coffee, I make myself a large cup to leisurely sip through the hurried morning. Make and eat breakfast. Shower. Then I get Animal up so we can play for a little while before the rush begins. If I wasn't an early bird I wouldn't have any time we'd be rushed from the moment I hit the snooze button and I'd loose those 15-20 minutes of silly time with my little man.

The hubby, if he was made by a teacher with
too much time and card stock on her hands.
The only down side to being an early bird is that that makes me an early to bed kind of girl. Not a problem in itself, nothing a well timed RedBull on a night out can't fix. The problem I have found is that I'm in love with, married to, and raising a family with a night owl. If I forget to drink that highly caffeinated beverage, I fall asleep in the middle of a movie. Sometimes at 7:30. On date nights. At the theater. At concerts I wish I was kidding, but I'm totally not. Even at parties, and I'm not talking lame dinner parties, I mean really good parties, where lots of shit was happening.

We've learned to make it work. I remember to get my dose of caffeine as needed for nights out. I let him sleep in to the last possible moment on weekdays, he doesn't complain about me crawling out of bed so early in the morning, and I don't complain about his crawling into bed so late at night. On the weekends he gets up early so that we can have the whole day, and I stay up as late as I can.

I think Animal's gonna be an early bird, we keep his room super dark. He still manages to get up with the sun. I can only hope that keeps him an early to bed kind of boy. So his mom and dad can continue to get a little alone time.

Theme Thursday is part of a multi blogger collaboration. To read more or link in just click the Theme Thursday button.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Two Truths And A Lie

This week is another interesting Theme.

Two truths and a lie.

This could be fun, or serious. It could be an essay or a short story. It's really a meaty topic, and I'm excited to read everyone else's post.

A Phony.
I feel like a phony a lot. Like I'm living someone else's life. Someone who is just a sheep. Someone who doesn't think for themselves. I do all these things that I never thought I would do.
I'm such a consumer. Such a conformist. It's so easy to be one. I didn't mind so much before. Before I became a parent, but now that I'm responsible for another being it's hard not to be disgusted with the person I am; If I look to closely at myself. I guess I don't mind being a hypocrite if it's just me. I'll even call myself out. To be one when someone so impressionable is looking at me as a model for how to be a human. It kind of kills me.

Lazy Bones.
I can be so lazy. It takes a lot of thought and cajoling for me to get shit done. Cleaning. School. Running. Cooking. Even writing. Sometimes I'm just kind of on auto pilot and not much gets done. It's not because I'm depressed. It's just because I'm lazy.

Looking from the outside in. You might think I'm confident. I'm friendly, and I smile a lot. I talk like I have a clue. Mostly because I do, but having a clue and actually being...anything, well that's completely different. I'm actually worried and scared more often than I let on. I worry, because I do have a clue. I know what I should be doing or what the score is in this world we live in. I may appear to have the confidence in myself to get things done, and let's be honest sometimes I do get things done. The truth is that, that is a lie and a lot is left to be done. Conquered. Changed. Moved past. Solved. Taken care of.

This post is part of a multi blogger collaboration, to read more, or join in, click the TT button

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Are Geeks Just Hipsters?

I was really excited when this Theme was announced.

I love me some Geeks. A lot of different types. I appreciate tech geeks (like the hubby for all the MacGyver stuff he can do) and can get into some nerdy ass shit like watching AOTS, granted it went from geek fest to sophomoric...

I'm a Star Trek fan (original and next generation), but no Trekkie. I can appreciate their devotion. I find it endearing.

Here's where I may lose your respect. I'm not a Star Wars fanatic, or fan for that matter. The hubby on the other hand can definitely immerse himself in the movies, toys, and culture. I can appreciate it's storyline and it's depth. I love the look. The toys and costumes are awesome. It's just not for me. My husband about died when I said I like Star Trek more. I think a little bit of his soul dies every time he gets a glimpse of my Star Wars indifference.

I love graphic novels. I enjoy reading them. I'm drawn to the art work. I enjoy collecting them. If I could afford it I would own A LOT of toys. To play with and to keep in mint condition. Fuck, since I'm being honest I'll fess up now, I would hunt the toys down. Also, we're totally taking Animal to Comic Con.

I'm a film connoisseur. I love so many genres. I spend a lot of time watching and thinking about movies. I love to plan dinner parties around them. I love to dissect them and discuss them at great length.

Reading and books are like a drugs to me. Books are my friend. I could literally spend whole days in a library or bookstore. I read every little thing I can. When I'm curious about something I start reading. Books, articles, what ever I can get my hands on until I feel sufficiently knowledgeable. 

I turn words over and over in my head. I write down sentences randomly, everywhere. If I can't hear the words in a piece of music I am unlikely to love it or remember it. If however the words touch my heart, it doesn't matter the genre, or when it was written, I'll be a fan.

When I love a speech, monologue or sermon, I'll transcribe it and post it somewhere in my home. When Animal was only a few months old and could not hold still for a book (a fucking simple board book) I would fight back tears and swallow the lump in my throat. Refusing to acknowledge the thought that my son would not love books like I do. One of the happiest moments of motherhood for me was when Animal not only listened to a whole book, but then asked me to read it again, and then catching him sitting with a pile of books around him looking at the pictures of one and then another book.  

Thinking about all of these things, trying to zero in on what I would write about today and after reading the definition of Geek.
Check out #3
 Made me realize there is a case to be made (at least for me) that a geek is just another word for hipster. Way back in the 90's, when people didn't use the word hipster. I was still the big geek I am today. I didn't try to hide it. In fact I embraced it. I hated the idea of being "normal", of being ordinary, of being boring. So I started honing in my likes and on the things I thought it ironic to like and really started learning some shit about those things.
I guess others did too. There are so many channels and shows devoted to all the things people like to geek out about. I love it. I hope Animal will love it. We fill his spaces with normal kid fare, but also with Domo (our favorite Japanese character), collectible vinyl toys, art work, super heroes and monsters...

Are you dying to share what you think of Geek Culture? Well Theme Thursday is a multi blogger collaboration, so click the link and hook up. Or if you just want to pass the time reading a couple of fun pieces on the topic. Click the link.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mommy VS. Mommy

Click here to join in or read more

I haven't been writing much these days. I'm on vacation from work. After finishing the 100 mile challenge Monday, I'm even on vacation from running. Which is making me really sad, but after running nearly everyday for a month. I know it's the right choice. Usually I pack this week with visits to and from friends I don't see enough and errands and housework...I never finish it all.

This year, I planned something different. I planned to be a stay at home mom for the week. I thought I might write about my experiences this week with a small taste of SAHM life versus my "normal" week. 

It's half over, and I just don't feel like doing it. 

For one, just this week I've seen several teasers on FB and Twitter on the subject. Second, I was gonna try and be funny about it and last, I don't get it. 

I don't understand the versus here. I don't understand why no matter what you do as a Mommy, there are always other mommies ready to tear you down.

I enjoy working, I honestly do, but I also HAVE to. It's not a choice at all. We couldn't afford to pay rent AND eat without my salary. Some would argue that what I spend in childcare (because it is so expensive) could "make up" some portion of our household budget. Plus if I was truly awesome I could stretch those dollars the hubby brings home into healthy meals, and cut back on all the lavish extras we afford ourselves now. Therefore allowing me to raise my own child.

If only it were that simple. 

I don't pay anything for childcare. Not now and not when my son starts preschool (it's one of the many benefits that come with my job). I also receive medical insurance (a pretty good plan), a little more than 6 weeks of paid time off a year, plus every weekend. Always. There are other benefits, both tangible and intangible. 

Like everyday, weather permitting (and in the Bay Area it almost always is) I get to walk. All alone, with my thoughts for 15 minutes in the am and in the pm. If I don't have any errands to run I get another hour to do the same. To gather my thoughts, for a post, to solve a problem, or to be grateful for my life. Sure, If I could choose I would spend the time with my son, but maybe for my sanity's sake, it's better that it's not a choice.

Let's get back on topic. This week has been amazing. Just me and Animal all day. He's so happy and so am I. We run errands together. He plays while I clean, and sometimes is right behind me trying to do what I'm doing, or for a better view. He's napped in his own bed all week. I get to make his meals from scratch, one at a time, instead of packing them all in the morning and then wondering all day how/what he ate. We go to the park, playground or some other adventure together. I get all the hugs and kisses all day long. It's been a truly fabulous week. I hate the idea of going back to work. Back to reality. So maybe some of the SAHM's can have a little sympathy instead of judgement. Maybe they can try to understand that I don't want to be away from my little guy all day, every weekday. 

Now for my part. Maybe I can or we the working moms and dads (let's not forget them), can understand it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Everyday I clean, and Animal destroys. Almost immediately, I mean you can tell some cleaning happened (for instance the thick layer of dust is gone) but I worked really hard for at least half the day on that cleaning and you can hardly tell. I am way more tiered. Way more tiered. All around. 

Physically from the cleaning, the lifting of a 30 pound toddler who's body goes limp every time he doesn't want to go the way I'm going, which happens at least 6 times a day. Oh and also every time he's "tiered" of walking, which happens another 6 times a day. Funny how walking can tire a toddler out in just a few minutes, but climbing can go on all day. 

Mentally, from the tantrums. The not listening, at just the right moment, so strangers can judge my parenting skills. The lack of adult interaction. The lack of exercise. I knew I had to lay low on the running this week, and I'm getting to walk, but I was all set to do some weight training this week. Uh, not happening. I gave up yesterday. Also my eating habits have really sucked this week. I'm eating what ever leftovers I can shove in my mouth, or snacks are handy at nap time. The only real meal I get is at dinner when the hubby is home. I'm starving by then so my plate looks as big as his. 

So maybe we can reserve our judgements about the children's behavior. The make up, hair and clothes or lack there of...(I totally thought I was gonna be wearing make up all week long and that my hair was gonna look awesome). The cleanliness of the home. How from scratch the meals are...

Mommy VS. Mommy, is one versus that just doesn't need to be and serves no one. Let's ditch this bitch and get on with the business of lending each other a hand and a sympathetic smile. In the end, we have a lot more in common than we don't.