Category Archives: Thoughts on Parenthood

feb 16-28

I’m playing catch-up. It’s March 4th and I haven’t updated things in {SHEESH} almost three weeks. So, here you go!

feb 16: Sunday morning strawberry waffles. Who has the best husband ever?!!

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Sunday morning gym class.

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Sunday evening painting

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The artist becomes the artwork.

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And after all that mess, Mama needed a beer. A chocolate, peanute butter, banana ale. Smile Weird, but good!

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feb 17: Monday. It was President’s Day, so that means no school. Two bored kids. A tired mama and papa. Papa was working, so Mama took the kids and a stack of quarters to Crossroads Mall to ride the rides. You can see from the video below how much fun it is.

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We came home and had to find something else to do, so we scootered for a little while. He’s getting better! But still doesn’t seem super into being on moving vehicles like other kids his age often are. At least he agreed to wear his new helmet. We had to go buy him a Lightning McQueen version after Mama pinched his face in the old one and he refused to have it anywhere near him.

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And then he had to go potty. Papa taught him how to “pee in nature”. Smile I bet our neighbors LOVE this.

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The many faces of Hutch.

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feb 20 (Thursday): Mama gets some much needed mama-time. I had to book myself into a 2 –hour “important business meeting” that no one could move around, but I finally got myself back to visit Thomas and have him fix up my horrible Heather Locklear circa 1991 black roots situation. I captured a “before”, but you can’t really see the atrociousness. And I forgot to capture an “after”. It’s still almost as long, but blonder. I’m loving it.

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feb 21 (Friday): We are trying to get back on the health kick. Making more juice and drinking smoothies. Recently, Buck went in for his first physical in a long time and found that his cholesterol was a little high, so as a family we are going to tackle our health over the coming year. As soon as I get my butt in gear and finish my writing prompts for my “One Little Word” exercises, I’ll share some of my action plans.

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Also, today being Friday, we had another “Reward” day for Hutch. When we were working through the potty training thing at school about 4 weeks ago, we started offering him treats for every day that he didn’t have an accident at school. At one point, the treat became a diecast car from the movie Cars, but then he started having no accidents at school and wanted a new car every single day. And not just ANY car. Specific cars. Sometimes ones that you can only find on Amazon for $11. So, we quickly put an end to daily treats and turned them into “stars”. If he got 5 stars, he’d get a new car. So, Fridays became “Reward” days. And then he stopped having accidents (pretty quickly!), but started getting pretty bummed about school every day and crying when we left him. So, we changed it to “happy stars” and if he’s happy, he gets a happy star. On this particular Friday, he wanted a Dusty the Cropduster airplane instead of a car. And, instead of having do “hot and cold” to find the hiding place, we drew him a treasure map. He’s doing pretty well with this “happy star” idea. But he still wants these RANDOM cars from the Cars movies and they are impossible to find except on Amazon. Pretty soon his car collection is going to cost more than what we paid for Mama’s car. We need Disney to make a movie about sticks so that we can go collect those in nature and parcel them out each week. 

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feb 22-23rd (the weekend): What do you do with two high-energy kids when it rains on the weekend? Ummmmm…..that’s a GREAT question. When you have a good answer, please let me know. We end up at the mall half the time. And playing in the crappy kids area. Which sucks. This time, I put Briar in her Cabbage Patch kid hat and got no less than 12 people who exclaimed over it. A couple of Chinese grandparents forced her to be in a picture with their little grandson and tried to get him to kiss her because they were so enamored of her big blue eyes and the blonde “hair”.

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This picture is totally blurry but cracks me up. It’s SO indicative of how the interaction between Hutch and Briar plays out these days.

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What else do we do on rainy weekends? We turn on the Xbox and do fitness programs so that Mama and Papa can get 2 minutes of a workout in. Well, actually, this was the first time we tried it, but it worked out pretty well as long as one parent held Briar back from getting underfoot. And the way the Kinect on the Xbox reads your body and gives you a “score” for your workout is pretty cool. It makes me want to use it more, but usually I’m pretty dead by 8:30pm which is when I have a free moment to work out.

 

On these rainy days, we also play Wii. We pulled out the skiing game and taught him. He got super into it, but he also gets REALLY frustrated when it doesn’t work the way he wants it to and REALLY frustrated when we try to help him. Pretty typical of his temperament. But it makes me worried about what happens when he struggles with homework in a few years.

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feb 24 (Monday): Last night was the season finale of Downton Abbey. I think I’ve professed my love for this show on the blog before. If not, it’s been one of the highlights in my boob tube repertoire in recent years. Anyway, in recent days, during our nighttime routine with Hutch, he’s started coming back out to the living room to go pee in the little portable Bjorn potty. He’s just doing it to stretch out the routine and probably to see me one last time (the way our routine works right now is that I go in with him initially, read him a book and then come get Papa, who reads him another book or two and sings songs and then turns out the light). Since Papa’s part of the routine takes about 20 minutes, I usually turn on the TV and watch part of a show, like Downton Abbey, that Papa is not interested in. When Hutch has come out recently to pee, he asks me what’s on. The past few days I’ve been catching up on Downtown Abbey, so he’s now come to expect that that’s what I’ll be watching and he actually pays attention to it. And then THIS morning, I couldn’t get him out of bed, so I said, “Let’s go watch Downton Abbey” and he IMMEDIATELY perked up, raced out of bed and plopped on the couch, ready to watch. I had been joking, but he was totally serious and he spent the next 20 minutes watching it! Cracked me up!

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Then, that night, Papa had a dinner at work, so Nana and Grandy came over for dinner to help me take care of the kids because we are still not sure how to do the nighttime routine for Briar without another adult there to sit with Hutch. Of course, Hutch had to show Grandy how to play Mario Kart. He was so cute and patient with Grandy. And Grandy was surprisingly good at figuring out how the Wii remote works. It’s not an easy game. I know because I constantly get asked by Hutch to take over the remote when he gets to a part he doesn’t like and then I immediately drive him off a cliff or do something horrible and he comes in 12th place and gets super frustrated with me. I even wrote the following update on FB about it: image

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And before Nana & Grandy came over and we were wasting time, Hutch was entertaining Briar by popping the air bags that come inside of Amazon boxes. I had thought it would scare her when he made the loud pop, but instead, it cracks her up! This has happened multiple times. So funny to see her little personality quirks. She’ll cry like the biggest baby if she barely bonks her head, but a big loud bang makes her happier than anything ever has. You can also see the dynamic between the two of them and the fun fights that we’re in for when she wants to get into his stuff as she gets bigger. She just wants so desperately to be involved in whatever he’s doing. And he acts like she’s ruining EVERYTHING when she gets within 12 feet of him. Ahhhhhh, the fun times of parenting two.

So, anyway, as you can see, I’m not doing an awesome job of taking a picture every day anymore, but I’m still trying to capture and post most of what’s going on because I know how much this phase of my life is going to be lost to me when I look back on it. It’s such a blur from week to week. A lot of tantrums, monotony, sucky days at work, etc….But, I’m trying to capture the smiles, the giggles, the coos, the occasional freak out and our daily lives so that we can look back on this one day when the kids are bigger and remember that it was fun.

feb 8-13: it’s-all-a-blur edition

Umm…yah. Barf, barf and more barf. Briar started barfing early Friday morning and it was still happening as of this morning. I took her to the doctor yesterday because 5 days of barfing seemed like a lot but the doc told me that it’s not that uncommon when babies get a stomach flu. The problem now, though, is that she’s gotten a cough/runny nose on top of the barf+diarrhea. Apparently it’s going around the kids in our area, but it’s SO not fun or good for my career to be out of the office for a week straight. It’s also not great for my mental health to be trapped in the house with a crying baby who is hungry but barfs up everything she eats. We tried taking her back to school on Wednesday, but she barfed while there and they sent her home.

I don’t have a whole ton of pictures because when you’re trapped in the house for a week, you don’t take a whole lot of awesome pictures. So, here goes!

Saturday: I stayed home and did laundry while Briar napped and Papa/Hutch went to soccer. And by “did laundry”, I mean sit down on my bed and watch Real Housewives and fold an occasional piece of laundry and just revel in not being barfed on for a moment.

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In the afternoon, I went to Hutch’s preschool parent/teacher conference where I learned that Hutch is not doing so great at Megumi these days. The teachers let me know that he’s not speaking Japanese to them and that the language differences are causing some frustration on his part. They also told me that he’s not being stimulated enough and that he might be happier in another place. Ummmm…..this throws a big wrench in our plans for educating him until kindergarten. We happened to go to a friend’s 4th birthday party and when I was talking to some other parents there, I learned that a lot of the kids are not super happy in their classroom. And that a lot of the parents are looking for other options for pre-k. All of a sudden we are in a scramble. I’ll explain more later in the post.

Sunday: It snowed! Briar and I stayed inside. Hutch and Papa got to go play. I started barfing while they were gone.

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Selfies in the bed while trying to waste time between barfs.

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Later in the day, we hung out downstairs and built a ramp for our cars.

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Monday through Wednesday: We took walks (see little sick girl below), took a trip to the doc to visit our favorite fish, went to the local elementary school and raced our cars and mostly just tried to feel better.

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We got an awesome package from Aunt Carrie, Uncle Brian, Georgia & Ronan. You can see how much Hutch was interested in all of the things inside by how quickly he threw them on the floor. Winking smile

More rolling around with Briar, trying to figure out how to waste the hours she’s awake and feeling crabby. She likes our bed, so sometimes I just bring her in here and play and waste minutes so that she doesn’t start squawking again.

When we ask Hutch what Papa’s name is, he says, “Uncle Buck.”

Also, you might have noticed Hutch sitting on the potty in the video above. He’s pretty much done with potty training (finally!!!) and has VERY few accidents. He still does the “hiding” thing, though, when he’s going #2. In this picture, he wanted to keep watching his show, so he made US hide behind our pillows and not look at him while he was on the potty. We were cracking up.

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Anyway, we spent the whole week consumed with our application to a local school for Hutch for next year because their deadline is tomorrow (Friday, the 14th). In a way, I think it was sort of good timing that we had the surprising parent-teacher conference when we did because it opened my eyes to things that I hadn’t really seen. I had always just assumed that Hutch cried every day when we left and was waiting by the window for pick-up because he is overly attached to us. But, it makes sense now when I realize that his brain is yearning for stuff to keep him stimulated and occupied and since there’s not a lot of academic emphasis at his current school, he’s basically BORED. And that boredom leads to frustration and anxiety in a spirited kid. I had always been ok with the idea that he’d be in a play-based daycare because I didn’t think we needed to push academics on him at a super early age. What I never really considered is that he’d WANT to be in a learning environment. And it makes sense, because if we sit around at home too much, he goes CRAZY. Which is why we’re always out doing things with him, to keep him stimulated. Once I understood this from the teachers, it was like a lightbulb turned on and I realized that we needed to make a pretty big decision and push for change. So, for the past 4 days we have been writing up a 2 page essay about how awesome Hutch is (and what awesome parents we are Winking smile) to get our application in by the deadline tomorrow. And we were required to tour the school as well, which turned out to be awesome and made me a lot more excited about the opportunities that it might give him for next year. It was pretty crazy, though, how much learning he’d get there. The kids who are in the class he’d be in starting in September are reading books and doing things that seem SO far advanced for that age. I think he’ll do fine adjusting to that because he picks up things so quickly these days, but it was eye-opening. And I’m glad I got this exposure so that we can be planning his next few years and exposing him to things that’ll make him happier and more ready to face kindergarten with his peers. We’ll find out during the week of March 7th if we got in, so cross your fingers for us. And, big thanks to our friend Jamie for writing us a referral. Her girls go to this school and the stories that I’ve heard from her about it make me even more excited.

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livin’ the dream

Pumping in the car of a swanky athletic club before a team offsite.

Today is Halloween, so this is also after blazing to school and having to put the kids in their costumes and get then shown off and then running back to the car to get here to pump in the parking lot and then racing into the office late. Oh, and seeing coworkers pull up and park next to me while I have a pump strapped to my chest. Awesome. This whole “Leaning In” thing is just awesome.

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this is the end.

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Tonight is the end of my amazingly awesome maternity leave with my happy, awesome, smiley, wonderful angel baby.

I’ve shed more tears in the past week than I have in the past three years, I think. I’m sure it was this rough to go back with Hutch, but since he was a tough baby I think I was just more worried about how it all would go. With Briar, because she is so happy and especially happy with yours truly (her face lights up like a Christmas tree whenever she sees me), I just feel incredibly sad and I also feel so awful and guilty about leaving her. I’ve gone through all the pros/cons and rationale about going back full-time and I know that a) she’ll be fine and b) it’s better for her (and Hutch) in the long-run if I work. But it doesn’t take the sting out of the sheer torture of separation.

I also have lots of anxiety about my job (I’m going back to a new team and a new boss) and that, coupled with the whole pumping/nursing/getting two kids out the door stress has me on edge. I’m just trying to be optimistic that it goes smoothly and we are in a groove in a week or two.

But, in the meantime, I’m just cocooning around my little family and allowing myself to be sad. No more “lazy” mornings cuddling my girl after the boys leave for school /work and drinking coffee and watching Good Morning America and Kelly & Michael with a hot cup of joe. I’m planning to pencil in some vacation days so that I can do just that in the coming months and not lose touch with this experience.

Anyway, I’ll write more when I have a chance (hopefully I can actually catch up on some blogging now that I’ll be in front of the computer more often!!).

And ps, the pic above is Lil Miss ‘s new sleepsuit. IT’S AMAZING. we’ve gone from 3-4 nightly wakeups down to 1 in just five days of wearing it. It’s like a big snowsuit that just helps her snuggle in. I highly recommend it and wish we’d had it for Hutch.

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dread

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Today is October 1st. Normally I love the month of October. It’s my birthday month and I also love autumn. But this year, the arrival of October means I go back to work. On the 9th. And my little happy angel baby has to be left in the care of others. I’m sick about it.

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