Tag Archives: parenthood

A Cat, A Kid, and A Mom by Shel Silverstein

“Why can’t you see I’m a cat,” said the cat,
“And that’s all I ever will be?
Why are you shocked when I roam out at night?
Why are you sad when I meow and I fight?
Why are you sick when I eat up a rat?
I’m a cat.”

“Why can’t you see I’m a kid,” said the kid.
“Why try to make me like you?
Why are you hurt when I don’t want to cuddle?
Why do you sigh when I splash through a puddle?
Why do you scream when I do what I did?
I’m a kid.”

“Why can’t you see I’m a mom,” said the mom.
“Why try to make me wise?
Why try to teach me the ways of the cat?
Why try to tell me that ‘kids are like that’?
Why try to make me be patient and calm?
I’m a mom.”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

I picked up Falling Up on a whim at bedtime and turned right to this. It kind of fit for the last few days I’ve been having.

It’s NOT OK. Harumph.

Lane’s been potty trained for awhile, about a year. She has trouble with changes and new situations… when she feels unsafe to react, she’ll just be really quiet. When she feels safe to react (i.e. when I or Frank are around) she freaks out and melts down. She *can* handle new situations well, as long as she has a decent preparation of what to expect. So, when it came to potty training, we started talking about it and reading books about potty training well before we had her try sitting on a potty.

Lane has a couple of different books about potty training. Both address the issues of accidents similarly, as in “You might have an accident. That’s OK.”

So, as (what I assume is) a pretty normal four year-old, Lane occasionally gets wrapped up in playing and doesn’t stop in time to make it to the bathroom. And she insists that it’s OK to have an accident – not in the “it’s OK, I’m not mad” sort of way the books imply, but more “it’s perfectly acceptable to have an accident”. Oh, the talking I’ve done to try to eliminate that notion… trying to explain the difference between “It’s fine and dandy to pee your pants” vs. “I’m not mad but it’s not good to have accidents”. Unfortunately I think the nuance is a bit lost on her, much to my chagrin.

I think once we’re firmly moved in to the new house and settled in, I’ll be better about natural consequences — making her rinse out her undies, stuff like that. I probably bail her out a little more than I should.

Sesame Place day 2, and the rest of the day, too

Lack of sleep put little damper on the fun, suffice it to say.  We had a really good time.  Jake completely crashed in the stroller around 4:30 and stayed crashed until we loaded him into the car at 6:00.  We went out to dinner at Red Robin (first time for most of us, in every way it was a better experience than TGI Friday’s) and Lane crashed about two minutes into our car ride home and slept the full two hours of the trip, waking only a couple miles from home.  So now, she is watching Family Guy with Frank… something that happens a little too much than I really care for, but as I decreed yesterday, Frank sucks.

To be fair, I am not always a stellar parent either.

After we got home, we got Jake to bed and Lane and I took a long bath together, which we don’t do too often and I usually use as an opportunity to have a Q & A about our bodies.  I just let her ask me any questions she has about how bodies work or about body parts.  We talked about why I have boobs, and that she might grow a baby in her belly when she’s a grown-up like me, and how food turns into poop and juice turns into pee-pee, and why boys only have one penis and how she’ll never have a penis because she’s a girl, and why Mike Wazowski only has one very big eye.

I love having these conversations with her, but they sometimes bring forth a mindset that creates very interesting talks later on…

Shortly after the bath, Lane walked into the bathroom while Frank was peeing, and she then came out and we had the ensuing conversation, somewhat paraphrased but pretty close to the original:

Lane:  “Daddy has a penis too.  A REALLY BIG penis.”

Me, after a pause to suppress a peal of laughter:  “Yep, Daddy has a penis because he’s a boy, like Jake’s a boy.”

Lane: “Jake has a little teeny tiny penis.”  This sentence is said in a cutesy little voice with accompanying hand gestures.

Me: <stifling insane giggles> “That’s all true.  Daddy is a lot bigger than Jake.  Daddy’s nose is a lot bigger than Jake’s nose, too, right?”

Lane:  “Yeah… Daddy’s penis is a lot bigger than Jake’s.  Someday Jake will be bigger and his penis will be bigger, right?”

Me:  “Yep, Jake is going to keep getting bigger, just like you keep getting bigger.  Someday he’ll be as big as Daddy.”

Lane: “And he’ll learn to go potty on the toilet, too!”

Me:  “He sure will.  (to Frank, who is still in the bathroom)  Are you overhearing this conversation, Frank?”

Frank: (muffled through bathroom door) “Yes, unfortunately.”

Rockin’ Saturday

We got home a bit ago from attending a random carny that rolled into town this week.

We ate fried dough and meat-on-a-stick and Lane got to ride three of the more lightweight rides on hand.  She really also wanted to ride the little train, but when we first arrived someone was actively using a grinder on a stretch of the track, so that one got vetoed.

We also spent a few moments marveling at our killer Saturday night plans.

Oh, and those of you willing to travel, this particular carny is hiring!  The sign on the ticket booth didn’t specify, but despite evidence to the contrary, I think tattoos are not a required aspect of employment.

Complicit with nature

I have to say, my body and nature get along well.

As in, my body tends to just be generally healthy and predictable and well.  I have regular periods, when I have them.  When I try to get pregnant, I get pregnant.   I try to breastfeed my kids, and they breastfeed.  And breastfeed and breastfeed.

And so it goes with my postpartum period as well, it seems.  Right now, as nature surely intends, such that I can continue focusing my parenting energy on my youngest nursling, I have not yet experienced the return of my period.

Chalk that up as another benefit of breastfeeding — the cheapest birth control imaginable.

However, what comes with that is a libido to match.  That being, none.   Chalk that up as one of the breastfeeding minuses.

Granted, neither of these are automatics with breastfeeding.  Some women see their periods return after a few months no matter how much they are breastfeeding, and I’m sure some also are veritable hornballs through their time lactating.  However… not me.

After Lane was born, I had an IUD inserted six weeks postpartum.  Seems now that that was a rather redundant action.  At least it bought me peace of mind.  This time, I skipped such formalities with the inclination that they wouldn’t really be necessary.

This is not a bad thing.  Even if we wanted to conceive again, I don’t see how we’d manage.  Sure, we could slip in the occasional lovemaking, but really, I’m just looking at our current reality and laughing at the idea.  Right now, Lane and Jake are running circles around the ottoman in our living room.  Jake is giggling, and Lane is singing “Please Bring Honor To Us All” from Mulan, only it seems she doesn’t know any of the actual lyrics and is thus substituting gibberish.  Frank is looking feverishly for the remote that I managed to misplace during the day.  I know I used it… but I don’t know where it went after that.  Unfortunately our two crazy, mobile, mischievous children present the possibility that neither of us adults could know where it ended up.  If I were due to ovulate and this was the prime time for conception, I just don’t see how we’d make that window without giving the kids sedatives.

But that is totally OK, because I really have no inclination in the world to add another body to the mayhem at present.  I have friends getting pregnant (a big shout-out and congrats to Amanda and Dave, Amanda of BFF notoriety, who will be greeting a baby around Labor Day… so apropos.  Oh and if you ever get the chance, ask Amanda how to pronounce “apropos”.) and having babies (congrats Kim!) and trying to have babies and I honestly and absolutely have no desire whatsoever to join their ranks again right now.

Anyway, I should go help Frank find the remote.  I think he’s getting D.T.s from missing the hockey game I know he wants to watch.

So that’s why it’s important to check the weather forecast

Yesterday, it got up above 60 degrees here. I opened a couple windows and the front door and the sun was out and warm and I said, all right, let’s pack it up and go to the playground!

Well, by the time we roll up to the playground there’s some cloud cover closing in, but it’s still nice and warm so I figure, so what? I put Jake in the sling and walked circles around the playground while Lane ran around and climbed stuff. Clouds not going away, Lane asks to go on the swings. OK.

I get her and Jake each in a toddler swing. Lane can handle the big-kid swings but she likes to go high (and let go with her hands – the girl is a thrill junkie!) and if I’m going to push her that high, well, maybe this summer she can move up to the big kid swings. Anyway, they have been swinging for a couple minutes and a few drops start. I announce, “Lane, it’s starting to rain, just another minute and then if it hasn’t stopped we have to go.” A couple minutes go by and it’s still just a super light drizzle, but maybe coming just a touch heavier than when it started, so just as I open my mouth to announce our departure, the sky opens on us. Just crazy downpour. There were a bunch of people at the park taking advantage of the weather so everyone is making a beeline for their cars at the same time. I have to get both kids out of the swings first, and of course the swings are the farthest point from the parking lot in the park. And Lane, who’ll run nearly as fast as me for most anything else, decides that a light jog to the car in this downpour is sufficient.

We were drenched!! Well, me mostly. Jake and Lane each had on their spring jackets which are at least water resistant, complete with hoods. But even then, it was pretty funny.

Reflections on a year

Jake’s birthday is imminent.  In just a few days he will be one year old.

It’s so cliche,  but I cannot figure out where the last year went.  It’s been a year of a lot of changes — sold our house, moved back to NY state, quit my job/career thing.  Through all that Jake’s been happily along for the ride.  I spent five months of maternity leave just loving on him as much as I could, and he made it so easy.  He practically came out of the womb smiling.  And once he learned how to laugh, man, it barely stopped.  He is one happy guy.  His smile lights up his whole face and is, in a word, infectious.

After the maternity leave, I went back to work three days a week, and Jake went to day care with his sister.  He seemed to instantly win over the girls who worked in the infant room.  They would light up when we arrived in the morning, and gushed continually about what a wonderful baby he was.  He didn’t sleep much for them – he is and has always been incredibly sensitive to noise when he sleeps – but no matter to them, because his demeanor was always cheery and easy-going.

Then we sold our house, and moved, and I gave my notice at work, and my notice at day care, all in late September/early October.  At that point Lane had just started in a new classroom so her teacher wasn’t much attached to her yet or vice versa, so that wasn’t an issue… but because Jake was still a baby he had remained in the infant room, with the girls who doted on him without remorse.  But regardless, the two center managers knew Lane since she’d started there at six months old, and Lane’s previous teacher was now the teacher in the classroom Jake would graduate to once he mastered walking.  They all cried when I told them.  Cried.  I cried, too.  As much as I was looking forward to my days with my babies, it was emotionally very difficult to remove them from an environment where they were so well cared-for and loved, and where I knew they were safe.  I had about 15 minutes of sentimentality about leaving my job… leaving that day care center was so much more difficult for me.  I still miss them, and Lane still talks about a couple of her friends and asks to see them.

Of course, being home with them isn’t all gumdrops and lollipops.  There are times, like right now, where Frank just caught Lane smacking Jake and put her in time out and now she’s wailing from on our bed for me, like I’m going to go easier on her for being mean to her brother.  Or when Jake fights having his nails cut so hard I’m tempted to duct-tape him to a chair to get it done.  Or at the mall today when Lane decided listening was optional so she lost the privilege of visiting the Princess Store (a.k.a. the Disney Store) and she became a wet noodle and I had to carry her to the car wailing and wet-noodle-like.  And the times, which really occur nightly, where Jake refuses to sleep more than two or three hours at a stretch.

But mostly, really, it’s fun and amazing and awesome and fulfilling. I love watching Jake and Lane interact and love on each other, seeing them learn, seeing them play and playing with them, and more than anything feeling like I can be a better mother because I’m not trying to cram all that motherhood into the too-small window after work, when everyone’s tired and cranky from a long day.  Though I suspect Frank thinks I’m tired and cranky all day anyway, because that’s mostly what he sees when he gets home from work every day.  Two kids are a lot of work, especially when one of them is a three year-old with a body capable of sustaining a constant fusion reaction… because seriously, she barely eats, so cold fusion is the only way I can think of that she has as much energy as she has.

And her constant state of motion provides such a contrast to her brother.  He’s a cool, content dude.  Happy to be in a sling, happy to be in a stroller, happy to be in the playard, just happy.  Crying from Jake means one of three things:  he’s tired, he’s hungry, or his sister has him in a headlock.  Though, that’s becoming less true nowadays, since the boy is walking.  He’s hurt himself as much as Lane has injured him over the last couple weeks.

He’s not just walking either… he has a veritable inventory of skills.  He claps.  Oh, does he clap!  He claps after he walks, he claps when he hears anyone else clapping, even if they are on TV.  He claps when you laugh.  He’s quite a pointer, too.  He has one word, Dog, though it sounds like Duh.  I think in the last day or two Lane has been designated “A”.  He points at her and says “A”.   One of his most recent additions is tickling.  We’re big on tickling, and when I tickle Lane he tries to, too.  If you say “I’m gonna tickle you!” he wiggles his fingers at you.  He’s also waving with meaning, which is just awesome.  And, he knows the sign for milk, which we use for nursing.  He doesn’t use it to ask to nurse yet, but when he knows that breastfeeding is imminent he starts signing “milk”.  I think, though, his most impressive skill is climbing.  Given he’s spent most of his mobile life in this 2 bedroom apartment which completely lacks stairs, he can sure get up a flight of stairs awfully quickly.  Or get on a step stool.  Or on the padded ottoman in our living room.  He can nearly get himself into the bathtub by himself.

He’s just such a little person now.  I love it.