Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tough Stuff

Parenting is tough stuff. The last two nights have sucked. And I can't tell you why. My frustration level is through the roof. With everyone. And everything!

My job has been...challenging. I left the office with this one single thought:

A little kindness, humanity and humility goes a LONG way.

And it is damn true! Our company/culture needs to say the following more often:

I'm sorry
Hello! How are you?
Thank you

Seriously! This isn't rocket science! Get yourself together! Pretend you graduated from preschool! Play nice! Make friends! Apologize for mistakes you make and always say 'thank you'!


Then there is the home front. What on earth is going on here? Not only am I not home full time, I struggle with the 3 hours that I do have with them. And my husband makes dinner! So I don't even have that frustration/challenge. I just slide in the door, give hugs and start munching. I'm so lucky! I try to give Sam the next few hours 'off' so the he can not do childcare but rather, do his part time job. But we always come together to do family story before bed.

We switch back and forth who reads and we switch who puts each kid down. "Whose on who tonight?" is asked every night. The kids usually remember if Mom put them down last time or if Dad did.

Anyway, the point is we have had this routine since Wyeth stopped nursing (regularly) around 10 months. We share these responsibilities evenly and it works for us. But tonight Dadda just HAD to get Seren out of the bath. And Wyeth wanted Dad to button up his pjs. Only Dad would do. And they both were crying. What am I? Chopped Liver? And can't Sam just get a small break?

So tonight, like last night, I snapped at them.

And I instantly feel minuscule.

I've been blessed with these two kids and I still get frustrated? And I'm only there for 3.5 hours? And even that I can't manage?! I don't even deserve these two blessings if I can't pull it together.

I hate when I feel that rage. I'm better at recognizing it in myself and often take steps to defuse it...but I can't underestimate how insane that feeling is.

So what is it? What is it that is irritating me? Just a lack of feeling valued at the office? At home? A sense of wanting more but never, ever making the time to do other things that are important to me?

I remember having to do a class project on happiness when I was in fifth grade. We had to interview people about what made them happy. My dad said, "Doing what I want, when I want to."

I thought at the time, that was an oversimplified version of something else. Right? He had more than that on the subject, right? That was all he had? Really?

Let me tell ya, I get that now.

Tomorrow my heart will be full of gratitude and this little venting post will be published and I will have moved on. But for now I feel like I'm not being 'seen' for what I bring to the company and what I bring to the family. And the combination sucks.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Suburban Weekend Away

Our good friend, Mitch, and his partner, are trying to decide when to have kids. And what it is 'really' like. So Mitch asked if he could spend Saturday night at our house. They live in a foodie paradise in Park Slope. He knows all of the bands. They go to concerts. They eat out. A lot. They READ the New York Times. They go to places like Hong Kong. And here he was asking us if he could see how 'we' live in suburban Philadelphia! So, of course, we said yes!

Welcome aboard!

Seren woke up at 5:30 am on Saturday asking me when Uncle Mitch was going to come to our house! And this question pretty much continued the entire day, until he DID arrive around 5:30 in the evening. Our Saturday, I took the kids to Picture People. This was a first for me. I typically get very nervous trying to get the 'best' shot. And making the kids look perfect. But since I'd found a Groupon, and was already getting a deal, I relaxed. A little.

Wyeth, Mr. Two year old, wanted nothing of it. Seren was there- hamming it up. Smile? Sure. Tilt my head? Sure. Move my legs to the side instead of FLASHING my undies? Sure.

Wyeth was Mr. Cling.

After a good 10 minutes of trying to persuade him, the photographer turned to me and said, "We are going to have to reschedule. Or, you are going to have to get in the shot."


But not my face. Nope. My legs.

I was covered in two HUGE white blankets. One covering my legs and one covering my torso and neck. Wyeth sat facing me and Seren sat next to me.

And that is how we got the shot!

Anyway, I did that with the kids while Sam did some on line grading. Then we came home after a lunch 'out'.

When Mitch arrived, Seren was beside herself with excitement. She had to tell him EVERYTHING! She had made a card for him and already picked out what GAME she was going to play with Uncle Mitch. "He is here!!! Yay!!"

Dinner was normal dinner. Wyeth ate little. Seren ate a good portion. They complained. They talked too loudly. They didn't really eat what we ate. And they had fun. It was loud. Sam, Mitch and I barely could have a conversation.

The best part was when Mitch earnestly turned to me and said, "This whole thing...this, right now? What we are doing? Is this like normal?"


"And you know he has a noddle in his hair, right?"


But we had fun! Once the kids were bathed, we spent the evening talking and drinking wine which was awesome. Sunday we got up and went to the local children's museum- Please Touch in Philadelphia. We have a membership there so it was a lot of fun to just enjoy it as a family.

The weekend went by quickly, really. And soon it was time to say goodbye to Uncle Mitch. I was proud by how quickly they warmed to him and wanted to share their lives with him. And both Wyeth and Seren held his hand as we explored the museum.

Having young kids is just so INTENSE! There are some moments where I just can't handle the lack of downtime. But man, I wouldn't trade it. And seeing our loud family life through someone else's eyes was a really unique perspective.

Great weekend over all! Including the noodles in Wyeth's hair.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I use this blog to try, desperately, to capture the intimate details of my life with two toddlers. But facebook posts, videos, blogs and digital cameras don't do it justice. There isn't a way to capture this fleeting experience of childhood. And every night as I kiss my kiddos goodnight, I try to think about the special moment of the day. The moment when I was really present. I've decided that the most amazing sound ever is the sound of my children laughing. And the best touch ever is the feel of my children's soft skin. And I love trying to capture the little moments that make my life as a mother spin.

Some Seren snapshots:

I taught her 'eeny, meeny, miny moe' which she has used frequently to make decisions regarding which book to read at night, etc. But her version is hysterical. "Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. If the tiger wants to eat good food, eeny, meen, miny, moe." ETC.

Tonight I was washing her hair, which she loves (sarcasm). And she said, "MOM! You know I hate this whole thing! And it always gets in my eyes! I just wish my eyes were at the bottom of my face and my mouth and nose were up top! That way, the soap and water wouldn't get into my eyes! GRR!!!"

Seren also likes to play the 'Mermaid' game. This is the game where Wyeth and I need to 'search' for a mermaid. Wyeth and Seren are always in the bath tub when we play this game. I say something like, "Oh! Wyeth, I hope we can find a beautiful mermaid! One with long, dark, curly hair and beautiful green-blue eyes! I just hope we find one! Sigh. Oh wait, what was that!? Did you see that? Was that a mermaid!?"

And so we cautiously, oh so cautiously, approach the mermaid. Turns out, the mermaid speaks Spanish! So we have to speak in Spanish. (Which is quite limited to asking the mermaid' What's the weather like today?' and other items I have learned from preschool Spanish). With much relief, the mermaid likes us AND she wants to go home with us.

We play this game every time we bathe the two of them. And it thrills Seren to no end! What a riot!

The other night, Seren and Wyeth found the beach bag. It is the dead of winter, of course, and so we have no need for beach shoes, swim trunks, etc. But that didn't stop them. Nope. They took all of their clothes off and each put on two swim suits. They then proceeded to 'splash' in the ocean and 'lay out' on their beach towels. I was the one 'slathering on' sun tan lotion.

The two of them have such amazing imaginations! Seren can get lost in her pretend play. And Wyeth can too! While Wyeth's play is less verbal, he covers the sound effects portion of pretend play. Water 'whooses' and toast 'pops'. He will also 'wash' his hands in his kitchen sink and come up to you asking to dry off his hands! As if he really needs a papertowel.

These minds that I live with always amaze me. Figuring things out.

Wyeth too is having a verbal/cognitive explosion. Finally! He is still only stringing two words together at once. But we love it! "Two crackers" is his most favorite refrain. "Blue truck. Blue car. Hot touch." That sort of thing. But he is getting it! And as of two weeks ago, he LOVES letters! He is constantly pointing them out. S! X! T! E! H! So that is VERY exciting for me.

Lastly, for now, Wyeth does two things at night every night which I love. First, he puts books under a couch pillow. And every time he pulls one out for me to read, he yells PISE! (As in, surprise!). Awesome.

And secondly, when I sing him to sleep, he finishes the phrase or line of the song. This duet singing is my most favorite activity. Seren did this for so long and I love it. And now it is Wyeth's turn. I love singing the Rainbow Connection. "The lovers, the dreamers" and then Wyeth chimes in, "and me." Ohh, the sweet moments that make me laugh, smile, and cry...sometimes all at once.

January has brought a sense of reflection. But I can't find the emotional or physical space to really do it justice. In time, in time. But while I'm reflecting on life goals, family goals, and big dreams, I'll take the moments of clarity where I'm truly present playing the Mermaid game, finding letters or singing lullabies.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Good long weekend

I'm going to try to forget about the fact that we don't get another three day weekend until MAY and focus on the fact that we had a really good time the last three days.

On Saturday, we all loaded into the trusty Buick and drove a short while to Baltimore, MD to visit my uncle and aunt! We also stopped at the Dansko outlet! I drooled over the inexpensive (but oddly sized) Danskos! We arrived just in time for lunch.

We put the kids down for rest/nap and then when everyone woke up took them to the playground! It was still cold but so fun to run around after a morning in the car. They had a good time.

My Aunt and Uncle are just so cool. They always are doing something to better the world. My Aunt is a full time therapist at a school for young girls/women, my uncle is a retired teacher and still is a Big Brother to someone he met 10 years ago! Awesome! And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

They treated us to an amazing Indian dinner. And after bed, we settled in to watch part of a movie. During the visit, the kids were a little off. They were excited but sleepy. And Sunday morning, Seren was just plain rude and sassy. El and Ken are very understanding and non judgemental about well...everything...but Seren was ridiculous! She was just tired- she woke up early- but after all of these lessons about manners, etc....nothing was 'sticking'. Oh well, once we got the troops moving, she felt better. Less PMS. I swear...this four year old is going to be one heck of a teenager!

We went to the fabulous Walters Art museum which was a gorgeous architectural masterpiece. And the kids loved it! We have taken them to see art before but they really got into it. When we got out on one of the floors, we were met with a large Crucifix at which point Seren yelled out, "Wow! An Indian!" We tried to explain who it was. But she had way too many questions. "Why is there that pin in his foot? And one in both of his hands? What is on his head?"

My UCC background couldn't really do these questions justice. :) Time to brush up on the art of explaining world religions to four year olds!

Anyway, after strolling around the art, we joined the rest of the kids in this great Kids Art room! Unreal! They each did a craft, got to do dressup and we just had a really good time! All for free to honor MLK day! Wow!

We had a lovely lunch out and then had to say goodbye. We had to jump back in the car. Seren was asleep instantly. So was Wyeth. Sam and I even had a little chatting time!

I love being close to family. While I'm not always in love with the East Coast, trips like the ones to see my Aunt and Uncle or up to see long time friends just can't happen if we were to move out West again. And staying connected with those who loved you then and love you now is good stuff. Very good stuff.

Today we woke up early..."we" meaning the kids and I! And I got to take Wyeth to his little music class! What a treat!

My parents then joined us and we went bowling! This was on the family 'to do' list for January-March. What a hoot! We played bumper bowling and we also used these little ramps/shoots. Seren bowled at a friends' 5th bday party last weekend and enjoyed it! So we tried today as well.

At one point, my mom, dad, Seren and I were all trailing Wyeth! The two year old!? Pathetic!

But we had a good time!

It was a great three day. Time with my family, my parents, my uncle, my aunt and my kids. Good food.

Good times! Here is to more long weekends in 2011!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I'm a winner!

Laura made my week/month by honoring my wee little blog with the award of the Show Me the Mommy contest!

Wow! Sweet! And what a total blast it was to be part of the contest! She mailed me a gift card to Starbucks! Seriously? How much does this woman rock? Laura is such an inspiration to me- in so many different ways. I'm glad my little post touched her! Congrats to the other winners as well!

See!? 2011- it is going to rock! :)

34 years and a New Year

I am delayed in my blogging. And I'm delayed in my reflection on the New Year and my goals.

But I AM 34! Yahoo! Yesterday was my birthday and I really relished the new day/new year. Life is too short to be caught up in gray hairs, wrinkles, sagging boobs and big butts! 34! Yes! It feels very good! Two healthy children, one good job, a loving family, friends who love me and lots of laughter. I'm blessed! What more can I ask for!

I feel like 2011 is going to be a big year. I don't know why. I really don't. But something BIG and exciting is going to happen. I just know it!

Then again, I also said to Sam yesteray, just ten days into the New Year, "How are we going to get more organized, spend less money, build a bigger community, do rewarding/meaningful work, live in the moment and get in shape? How are we supposed to do all of that this year?"

At which point we just giggled. Seriously? We aren't. But we'll hope to!

I posted this quote from Obama on my facebook page today but I'm really taken by it. I don't know when he said it or in what context but it speaks to me.

"Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. ... Because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential."

I'm hoping 2011 is the year I realize my true potential! Watch out world, here I come! :) Who is with me!?