Admissions of a Tired Mom

Croak?

Croak?

1. The other day, I actually thought that it might be nice to get sick. But only sick enough that I would feel justified in staying home and sleeping all day.

2. There is a dead frog in my car. Somewhere. Thankfully (?) it is flat and dried.

3. I sometimes feel bad about:
a. not reading The New Yorker;
b. not eating enough fish;
c. sometimes writing “congrats” instead of “congratulations,” because that’s just lazy.

4. I don’t watch much TV, except for Wild Kratts and Curious George, so I’m woefully behind in my knowledge of news and pop culture.  And I don’t really go anywhere interesting anymore.  This paired with my usual state of exhaustion means that I am, in fact, only able to talk about my children.  I do recognize how annoying this is.

5. My children think they have the power to change stoplights and songs on the radio using only their minds.  This is going to come back to bite me, I’m sure.

Pickle trying to exert mind control over his unsuspecting little sister.

Pickle trying to exert mind control over his unsuspecting little sister.

The Real Christmas Card

The Real Christmas Card

(idea shamelessly lifted from my friend, Ellen)

Anyone with small children (or pets!) knows that getting a good photo of a clean, still and shiny small person/pet is nearly impossible.  If I made my Christmas card using the actual photos I’ve taken over the last year, it would look something like this…
card
Clockwise from top left:
  • Blurry memories.  How many of my photos are blurry?  All of them.  Kids don’t sit still.  And if they do, it is only to stare at a television.
  • Pistachio’s ultrasound photo.  Or Skeletor’s.  Or something.  Who the hell can see anything in these?
  • Photos of cute sibling love always end up being of injuries, or other dangerous kid behavior. (Her eyes were fine.)
  • Don’t take my picture! #1
  • Pickle’s Actual “Smile” Face
  • Violent Kid Love.  Hug or choke hold?  You be the judge.
  • Plum’s Actual “Smile” Face
  • Don’t take my picture! #2
(I have left out the entire collection of photos my husband has taken of me and the kids this year.  First of all, there are about 8 photos.  When the kids get older they’re going to wonder where the heck I was during their entire early childhood. Second of all, he tends to take photos when I am grumpy, not expecting a photo shoot, or sans pants. Or all three.  Awesome.  You’re thankful I left these out, trust me.)

 

Note: I found this cute card template on Shutterfly.

Resolutions 2013 Revisited

Time for the yearly check-in to see how I am doing with those pesky New Year’s Resolutions.  Remember, I set the bar low this year – and good thing I did.

1. No face or neck tattoos. Not even temporary ones.

SUCCESS!

2. Avoid Diet Coke, monkfish liver and Pitbull concerts.

SUCCESS! Though I admit, I’d probably have a lot of fun at a Pitbull concert.

3. Learn to play an instrument (maracas, kazoo and tambourine count).

FAILURE.  Though we did buy a piano.  Which doesn’t make too much sense, since none of us know how to play.

4. Shower most days.

SUCCESS!  Except some Sundays, but that doesn’t really count.

5. Read one book, and see one movie in a theater.

SUCCESS!  I read the very long 11/23/63 as well as some others, and I saw Silver Linings Playbook in the theater.

6. Figure out how to listen to my podcasts in my car.

FAILURE.  But I’m giving myself a pass, since my house was broken into and my iPod (among other things) was stolen. The good news?  The police found the perps and all of my stuff.  The bad news?  They still have it in evidence.

Crime scene, dusted for fingerprints.

Crime scene, dusted for fingerprints.

7. Avoid reality shows about the Amish, and/or large tumors.

SUCCESS!  I’ve actually avoided most TV (except for Sesame Street and the ever-annoying Caillou), and most reality shows.  I have seen the entire first season of Orange is the New Black (love!) and I’m working on House of Cards now.  I call that a TV win.

8. Sleep. At least some.

SUCCESS! Kind of! We are in that magical place where both kids nap at the same time.  So that means Sunday naps for me. My kids are still up a bit, but that is slowly improving, and I’m up a bit (more on that later), but I’m still going to chalk this one up as a win.

9. Remember every family member’s name, every day.

SUCCESS!  We even lost and then added kitty family members. And I still remembered everyone’s name.

10. Organize the hall closet by April.

SUCCESS!  Done!  Twice this year!  Why this teeny closet get crammed with weird junk I don’t know.

Things to work on for the remainder of 2013 include: more time with friends, better breakfasts, and less clutter.

What are you working on?

 

Full or Fumes

You’ve just filled up your gas tank when you see the sign “Next Gas Station 6 Miles – Last Services for 9,000 Miles”.

Yeah, that’s what parenting is like.

Fumes, I tell ya!

I may be a little slow on the uptake since it took me nearly three years to figure this out: the breaks don’t come when you need them.

You get a breather, but it is at mile 0.25 of the race, not mile 10.

You put some gas in the tank but then have to drive until you are limping home on fumes.

With kidlets, nothing quite happens how or when you need or expect it to.

The other day, I had a day all to myself. (That bold font doesn’t add nearly enough emphasis.) The kidlets were at school and my office was closed.  The stars align like that about twice a year.  I had big dreams of a relaxing, yet productive day.   I planned out my day over and over in my mind – the places I’d go! the things I’d accomplish! the wonderful break it would be!

And it wasn’t a bad day.  I took a long shower, got a pedicure, had a nice lunch, wrote some thank you notes that were becoming embarrassingly tardy, caught up on a DVRed episode of Downton while sipping coffee.

But it was kind of like prom.  The preparation and anticipation was the best part.  The prom itself?  Kind of a letdown – just a dance with fancy clothes, with the same people you saw every day.  My day was filled with things I would have done anyway, just over the course of a month and not a day.

My day to myself came at a time when I wasn’t desperate for a break.  The kids were on the mend from the dreaded winter bugs, folks had been sleeping relatively well, work was busy but manageable, my sniffles had cleared, and the holidays were cleaned up and put away.  My parenting mood was more like “I got this, kind of!” rather than, “Help me! I’m drowning!”  My tank was ¾ full.

It is a parenting challenge – perhaps a life challenge? – that I haven’t figured out how to manage.  The breaks, the respite, the calm, the recharging, rarely come when I need them most.  So I don’t feel like I take full advantage, and end up with nothing saved up for the trying days and nights that come so often when raising two very small people, nurturing a marriage, working full-time, managing a household, and not losing myself completely in the process.

I’m not sure how exactly, but I need to work on keeping my tank a little more full.  And embrace those breaks more fully when I do get them.  Another item for the to-do list…

 

Baby Favorites (Giveaway!)

As I switched on the quiet whhhiiiirrrrr of the white noise machine Mr. Pickle’s thumps and yells instantly became background noise.  Plum closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.

I have my own white noise machine, Plum is a light sleeper, Pickle is loud, and our house is small.  I don’t know why it took me so long to get her her own white noise machine.  She has slept better, and longer with it.  (Of course, the ear tubes and her age could have something to do with that, too.) Add that magical machine to my list of favorite baby things!

What follows is a partial list of my didn’t-want-them/didn’t-know-I’d-need-them/had-no-idea-how-much-I’d-love-them items for newborns/infants/toddlers.

Dohm-DS Dual Speed Sound Conditioner by Marpac

Dohm-DS Dual Speed Sound Conditioner by Marpac

There are cuter ones, but I love this white noise machine.  It creates a whoosh of air, so there are no strange electronic loops.  You can change the tone and speed (volume).  It is very portable and does exactly what it is advertised to do.  The only negative? No bells, whistles, music, lights if that’s what you’re looking for.

Carter's One-Piece Microfleece Zip-Up Sleeper

Carter’s One-Piece Microfleece Zip-Up Sleeper

Cozy, comfy and inexpensive. I love these. We have all sorts of one-piece sleepers and these are my favorites.  When you’re doing a squirmy-wailing-middle-of-the-night diaper change the zipper is a lifesaver – who decided 15 snaps was a good idea?  These wash well and my little ones seem to think they’re great.  Thank you Carter’s! The only negative?  Pickle has big feet, and sometimes his feet outgrew the sleepers before the rest of him did. Also, they aren’t ideal during potty training.

The Happy Frog mobile by Flensted

The Happy Frog mobile by Flensted

I like old-fashioned mobiles. I don’t want big fluffy, chunky animals, music, plastic.  I like airy, elegant, whimsical, floating mobiles. I like mobiles that dance, and balance.  Thankfully, I found Flensted mobiles. LOVE.  I’m considering getting more of them – like the bunnies (BUNNIES!), or the cycling elephants (CYCLEPHANTS!). I want to put funky Danish mobiles all over my house.  The negatives? A little expensive for paper and wire, and sometimes I fear the mobile will get wound up up up when the ceiling fan is on and it circles in same direction over and over and over.

"That's Not My Donkey..." by Fiona Watt and Usborne Publishing

“That’s Not My Donkey…” by Fiona Watt and Usborne Publishing

It is hard to find books for little bitty ones. Attention spans are short and there are much more exciting things to do, like eating things they should not, sticking fingers in outlets, and tormenting the cat.  However, the “That’s Not My…” series by Usborne has proven to be a huge hit among my under-2 set.  They are short, sweet, tactile, and colorful.  Negatives?  My husband and I disagree about the appropriate emphasis. Is it, “That’s not my donkey, its tummy is too squashy” or “That’s not my donkey, its tummy is too squashy“?  Also, is “squashy” a word?

Giveaway!  Post a comment here and be in the running for two Usborne books and two Carter’s Microfleece sleepers!  Winner will be chosen at random, and can specify age and size of recipient(s).  (No, you don’t have to have kids/grandkids to win! These make great shower gifts, or donations!) (Update: ends at noon EST on 1/22/13!)

Note: I don’t know anyone at Marpac, Carter’s, Flensted or Usborne.  I just think these baby-related items are great.

Speaking of rabbits…

Hot Hat

My house is still suffering from the Christmas explosion.

From my seat, I can observe many things, including: bear slippers, Matchbox cars, unmatched socks, stacks of recycling, bags for Goodwill, puzzles, 2 Fireman hats and an elephant that shoots colored balls out of its trunk.  I am trying to be thankful for the joyful season and abundance, and resist the urge to put stacks by the curb with “free” signs.  (If there were no snow banks, I might actually do that…)

But I can’t find my battery charger.

I read a book.

I took a nap.

I took a walk.

I baked.

I had some cocktails and dinner out.

I listened to some great music, turned up too loud.

I went to bed early.

I rocked my daughter to sleep.

I laughed with my son.

I reconnected with old friends.

I stayed up late in the quiet, puttering.

And I still haven’t been able to recharge my batteries. Energy is running low. Where is that dang pink bunny with the drum, anyway?

It was a very long short week.  Tonight, on the drive home, my husband and I were trying to make a plan to divvy up the bedtime duties while Plum wailed exhaustedly, and Pickle muttered and mumbled requests just quietly enough that we couldn’t hear him.

“What is the plan?” Ty asked.

“Well, I plan to pull into the driveway, put the car in park and then run away screaming.” I responded.

“Shoot,” he said, “that was my plan, too.”

At least we can laugh together.

Sure, it was less than a week ago that we had one of the best days ever, but today we’re feeling tired and worn. That’s how this whole parenting thing works, I think.  The good news is that funks don’t last forever, and one day – someday – we will be rested and recharged. I am thankful I can recognize that.

Under those fireman hats – it’s a good place to start looking for that charger.

Resolute. NYE 2013.

Rabbits! Rabbits! Rabbits!

Hunny Bunny

 

The whole parenting/working/being an adult thing is tough enough.  I feel like I work hard every day to be a good person, a good parent, with an intact sense of humor and some semblance of sanity.  Then, New Year’s Eve comes along and I’m supposed to set some goals for self-improvement.  But heck, I’m not going to strive for things like enlightenment, marathons, vegetarianism, volunteer work, or travel until I can succeed at some smaller things, like peeing solo, making my bed (weekly counts), eating breakfast, and/or going to bed at a reasonable hour.  I need some successes, so I’m setting the bar low this year.

Resolutions for 2013

  1. No face or neck tattoos. Not even temporary ones.
  2. Avoid Diet Coke, monkfish liver and Pitbull concerts.
  3. Learn to play an instrument (maracas, kazoo and tambourine count)
  4. Shower most days.
  5. Read one book, and see one movie in a theater.
  6. Figure out how to listen to my podcasts in my car.
  7. Avoid reality shows about the Amish, and/or large tumors.
  8. Sleep. At least some.
  9. Remember every family member’s name, every day.
  10. Organize the hall closet by April.

I’ll report back.  The Amish reality show one is going to be tough.