The small things…that make you feel old

I have had this series of events this summer that have done nothing better that remind me of my…maturity…

  1. I pulled my phone about 6 inches farther away from my face to read the screen. I haven’t gained those 6 inches back. That arm extension is staying. 
  2. The music was too loud at the bar. In my defense, I would’ve thought it was too loud when I was 23, too. 
  3. I keep getting called ‘mam. Meh. I still get carded, most of the time. 
  4. I’ve graduated to higher waisted things, all types of things (separate event, see #6).
  5. I don’t get the “unboxing” fetish, and while I do love instagram, I really don’t want to watch people open things?
  6. I had a girl’s night out dinner, and one of our conversation topics was about the most comfortable full-coverage underwear we have found to date (this one may be the worst…πŸ˜‚).

What makes you feel old? Own it, friends. Coverage is the new thong, 40 is the new 30 and being comfortable is, well, always a priority 😏

Current house situation ::mess::

I clearly remember nannying in college for a family with 3 kids and making judgements about their perpetual mess and chaos. I would never be a mom like that! I would never leave dishes in the sink for 5 days, sleep on mismatched sheets and pillow cases (the horror) or pull some bizarre dinner together at the last minute from the freezer with pasta and peas.

Well – here I am! I’m that mom! And I only have 1 kid so far! I have 3 old dogs that shed and dust bunnies and piles of laundry and dishes and mismatched sheets. My bed is neverΒ made. Sometimes I make the weirdest dinners when the grocery selection is getting thin (I do have macro-esque based standards ;). Sometimes, when I’m home with S for the day, we eat in front of the TV off paper towels. I love it. I’m so not the mom I though I would be. We are wrinkled and messy and have lint rollers stashed everywhere. And sometimes, Owen gets to the point where he wears gym shorts before he gets to his laundry, but I did put the nix on doing his laundry a few months ago. Separate post. πŸ˜‡

I laugh and shudder at my pre-kid self with unrealistic expectations of the white picket fence pristine life. Thankfully the love from our reality is better, and deeper, than I ever could have imagined.

Sea of pee…and poop.

I do believe a few blog posts ago I was puzzled about potty training and also made some type of statement like we just “couldn’t swing” the weekend method. Well guess what we are doing this weekend?! No pants-in the house-potty training πŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ. Thankfully I wasn’t rock solid in that conviction. 

I’ve also become a professional excrement cleaner upper. As if a toddler wasn’t enough pee and poop, I have two, 11 year old dogs and one of them has started peeing and pooping In the house at night more than not. It’s killing me. Waking up and having to get that off the floor before I’ve had my coffee is rather unpleasant. I go out with her at night and sometimes she just stands there. It’s maddening. I may be getting some doggie diapers, but knowing her she would just shred them all over the house. 

It became very obvious that Sullivan was quite comfortable in his diaper. Given the option he was not going to start using the potty anytime soon. He doesn’t have older siblings to model this behavior. I knew he was ready, however, because he can certainly verbalize everything that he wants to me and he can climb up and down off of the toilet and for the most part get his pants down. I decided to get the Cliff’s Notes version of “oh crap, potty training” from Lucy’s List and read a few other quick reviews (sorry if I butchered the name of the book), and off the pants went.

I was very surprised at how well the first day went. Sullivan did not have any accidents but we did keep his miniature potty in the rooms with us. The second day, Sullivan got a little too confident and decided to piddle on the floor to be funny and tell me to clean it up. He got into quite a bit of trouble for that πŸ™ƒ. It was completely intentional. At the end of day 2, I decided to try some shorts without underwear but he kept peeing in them. We are on day 3 and I will try shorts again but I’m honestly perplexed about what to do tomorrow, he has to go back to school and he certainly can’t go naked! We shall see.

I won’t go into an explanation of the “method” because frankly I did not read all of the analysis and details behind it, but in the weekend warrior potty training world, here are our hangups:

  1. I have the only kid in America that doesn’t like juice. He’s not especially inclined to drink water all the time, even though he does like it. All he wanted was chocolate milk (thanks, pizza outing with Daddy ;). I grossly diluted chocolate milk but I still wasn’t willing to give it to him all day. Maybe I should’ve. There went “pushing fluids.”
  2. He holds his pee (which is a good thing) but me bugging him every 20 minutes to pee even when he had a lot to drink didn’t work. He had to go on his own which was unpredictable for a day or so. 
  3. Like I said earlier, the shorts are a hang up. Solution tbd. 

Hopefully, daycare won’t call me Monday saying things are a total disaster. And hopefully my sweet old dog(s) won’t ruin my 100 year old wood floors πŸ’©.

    Vacation?

    My brother-in-law made an important distinction for me and Owen last summer when we all went down to FL for ggma’s 90th: a vacation vs a family trip. Tricky in theory and verbiage I tell you! And nothing will piss you off more than the sleep and activities of a family trip when you’re expecting a vacation.

    In summary: family trip = kids. Lovely. Magical. Memories in the making. Yes! Sleeping. Relaxing. Eating off-schedule. Quiet. Not so much.

    I struggle with spending time away from Sullivan! I know a lot of moms feel that way with their kids! I wouldn’t wish this season away from anything. But we have to sleep, and connect with our spouses, too! Help me moms – what do you do, and what frequency? Alternate trips by year? Always take the kids? Save vacations for anniversaries only? I’m a newbie! I want to know!

    So far, we have a “family beach trip” planned. Labor Day fun, an annual thing. Really great, super lucky to spend it with sweet, generous family. I’m running on fumes, however, and think I’m going to need (and Owen too) a *mini* vacation to make it through the summer to fall!

    The struggle bus 🚌 

    I think Sullivan is a great, well-behaved kid. Overall, I can take him most places (for limited amounts of toddler tolerated time) and we can grab a bite to eat without a major meltdown (like…80% of the time). You always hear about the terrible twos…I think ours have just started recently — it’s like the terribly two-and-a-halves-Sullivan style. I would love for any others moms to weigh in on their experiences!

    1. I knew having a kid and a job outside the home would be at times stressful and almost always exhausting, but I had no idea of the reality. I feel like I’m always tired. I could always take a nap. I’ve adjusted to it as the new normal. I’m too tired almost any day, though, to do anything good for my brain. I got a pile of books for pleasure and medical journals that keep getting moved around. When I get “free time” my brain is still too fried to read them! Anyone? Anyone?

    2. The defiance level has gone to a new high. About 50% of the time Sullivan says “no” and laughs at me! He’s a good kid! Is this normal?!

    3. Mornings can be sweet or a disaster. Like make me late for work disaster. When I go into the office at 7, I used to be able to get ready and sneak out before he woke up. We go through periods (sadly the golden month of him sleeping until 8a is passed) when he wakes earlier than other times. The mornings when he wakes it is only me that will satisfy the fits and I feel like a jerk when I basically shove him in bed beside Owen and run out the door.

    4. Baths, potty, brushing, meals — they can really be a fight! First he doesn’t want to get in, then he doesn’t want to get out. He doesn’t want to potty then I get him fully dressed then he does. I fix what he’s been asking for then he wants something totally different. What do other moms do, let them pick at it and go hungry or make something else?

    It’s takes a village! Help a mother out πŸ‘†πŸΌβœŒπŸΌπŸ™ŒπŸΌ

    The busy life

    I think I published 7 whole posts before I felt like I ran out of things to say 😜 but – then I reminded myself 1. I’m doing this for my own outlet 2. I’m not out to win a Pulitzer 3. My hope is other moms read this, and feel a sense of community.

    I figured I’d share a smattering of thingsd  that I have found to make my to-do list shorter. These are not novel ideas nor creative genius. 

    1. Chatbooks- this isn’t sponsored. I just love it. Updated my instagram photos recently and have all my favorites on paper! And now I’m not worried about losing all of my cyberspace/unprinted family photos in the internet apocalypse πŸ“·

    2. Purging the house- the people at goodwill probably either think I’m totally insane or have like 3 houses…my rule has become anything not worn or used in the past year (exclusive of holiday type stuff) is gone. It makes finding what we need easier and life simpler. The house is still messy but maybe less messy?

    3. Meal planning- not meal prep. I don’t always get “meal prep” done on the weekends. When I do, it’s magic. What I’ve started doing it having a list of simple/healthy recipes I found on Pinterest (I had strict guidelines for myself for simplicity’s sake…think “one pan!” or “20 minute…”), along with staples like spaghetti and “breakfast for dinner” in the rotation. I just took screen shots of the Pinterest recipes, actually, for easy acesss. I also picked recipes where I could substitute as needed. My brain shuts down at the end of the day and there’s no way I’ll think of anything that isn’t weird or plain pitiful for a meal. I can glance in the morning and pick one out. I keep the pantry well stocked (see previous post out my love affair with jet.com) so usually I have what I need. 

    That’s all I have. I won’t even justify a #4 with the idea of picking out clothes for myself and S the night before, but that’s something else I do. Nothing worse than going all day and hating your outfit! Here’s to hoping that pushing myself to write this will get the creative juices flowing. 

    The new stuff.

    It never stops with littles, does it!? Magical…but exhausting. New stuff every day.

    I’ve had friends who’s (grammar?…sorry, that one always gets me 😏) kiddos just took to the potty. Like boom. Didn’t even have to do that whole family-emprisoned-for-a-weekend deal (I kid…we just can’t swing that). Sullivan was interested for a while, but we have hit a streak for a week (…or more???) where he really just wants me to read him a book every time he sits on the toilet and doesn’t pee a drop. Forget πŸ’©.

    Well, I’m convinced we all have it easy in some areas and struggle in others. One of my easy areas, after some very hard times, is (most of the time 🀞🏼) Sullivan’s sleeping. We have our share of 5 AM mornings or crying through the evenings, but most of the time he sleeps a solid 7-8p to 6-7a. Let me be clear, however, I’m still a super exhausted mom. I don’t go to bed at 7 ;).Β Also, *most* nights he’s pretty easy to put to bed. We did some intense “sleep training” about 5 to 6 months into his appearance on earth… things were horrific at that point, he was not sleeping at all and I had gone back to work. Owen and I both were complete zombies, and both of us were incredibly miserable. Anyway, it paid off. We got lucky.

    I had some Instagram stories recently about transitioning to a “big boy bed.” Sullivan started asking for one. He’s pretty good about asking for what he wants, so I figured we would give it a try. My mom had already gotten us a beautiful, antique twin bed for $25 at an estate sale. The stars aligned and Pottery Barn had their organic cotton children’s bedding on super sale, and a stellar mattress company was also having a great sale (Live and Sleep). They give back with their profit and almost all of their materials are organic. The mattress was really affordable. It’s very cozy.

    For some reason I decided to try the first night in his “big boy bed” before I had a 14 hour day coming up. I was certain that the next day was going to be worse than the worst college hangover. Surprisingly, he was so excited, he slept in his bed that day for a nap and the whole night through. It has been almost a week, and, knock on wood, he has slept the entire time in his bed without a peep! Seriously, I’m cringing a little bit as I am writing this, because I know how lucky we are. I know this is incredibly rare. Anyone reading this who is hating me, I promise I will pay my dues somewhere else ✌🏼.

    I have to say, I am certainly benefiting from the change. Now, I get to snuggle with him in bed when I am putting him to sleep and we read stories. It is a very sweet time and he “peps” me (pets my “big hair”) and gives me hugs and kisses. #iameatingitupΒ …I am savoring these moments, because I know it will be the blink of an eye before he will be embarrassed by any physical contact from me.

    On another note, I was trying to get him to pee in the potty tonight (ps who now uses this term with their adult friends and doesn’t even realize it?!), and as I was washing my face he pulled all of the wheels off of his toy firetruck and threw them into the toilet and flushed. Oh well. I guess that’s what I get for buying a cheap toy that broke all of my shopping rules πŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ.

    The village.Β 

    In honor of Mother’s Day, a day late, I figured I’d stay true to the meaning behind my desire to write this. I envisioned so many other moms out there, just trying to do their best, feeling clueless, inadequate, and overwhelmed with joy, just like me. But also, no matter your situation, sometimes it can be so lonely. Social media has gotten more real (depending on who you follow) but that comparison game is still going strong.

    Did you breast feed? Long enough? Start solids in the correct order? Co-sleep or not or have them close enough? Swaddled or passie? Cloth diapers? Organic clothing and food? Only safe, non-toxic, developmentally appropriate and stimulating toys? Enough time alone with your kiddo? With your spouse? Enough socialization? The right dicipline? Forming healthy attachments? You get the point.

    So for real – please – it does take a village. Find those villagers who are real and support you. Who laugh with you and share their scary moments. Who will walk over to your house barefoot or braless (that’s a thing, right?!) Who know by looking at you that you’re not ok, and who would change your child’s poopy diaper. They’re out there. They’re other moms. I’m an introvert and I am still building relationships, and if I’ve done it, you can!

    Motherhood is the best thing I’ve ever had the honor to experience, even this early into it. I’ve always dreamt of being a mama. In less than 2 1/2 years it’s brought some of my darkest moments. I’ve needed my village of neighbors, old friends, family by marriage, work friends, mommy friends, my actual mama, to help me through. It’s made the dark parts lead to shiny lights at the end of a long tunnel, it’s kept my head above water, and it’s made the joyful parts all that more magical. 

    “We are who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” Romans 15:1

    The world today.

    This is not going to be some political post or some rant about being glued to technology; rather, it is about the uneasiness I have with the unique status and recognition we give to random acts of kindness in our culture.

    I started thinking about this the other day and haven’t been able to get it off my mind. I work in a place where I see a lot of need, regularly. It’s not unusual that myself and my staff extend help to those who have needs in simple and practical ways.

    As a Christian, I feel like my job (other than sharing the love of Jesus) is this:Β see a need, meet a need.Β 

    Anyway…the other day a couple needed some clothes. What they had had been ruined when the people they were staying with through it outside in the rain. Y’all, how many people reading this have ever neededΒ clothes? Don’t confuse this with want 😊, obviously. A few of us at the office came together and met this need. By the way others reacted, we might had well have donated a kidney.

    I am on the brink of tears again writing this, as I have had this heavy on my heart since it happened – what kind of world do we live in, what kind of humans are we to each other, that these actions are so unique? Praiseworthy? Special? This should be the standard, the minimum.

    I am embarrassed to say I haven’t thought much about applying this as a mom to Sullivan. He’s only 2, but I better hope and pray my actions are honorable. He is white, he is male, and so far he’s from a family who doesn’t have material needs…he will have privilege to extend into great kindness and love. If he’s figured out my iPad and how to turn on the tv, don’t you know he’s watching if I stop with a sandwich or blow by the guy standing at the intersection by the mall begging.

    Tip generously, share meals, buy and make extra food, pay attention to the needs of others. Use your blessings to extend love. You may be the only kindness they see. You never know who just had their belongings tossed out in the rain.

    “My command is this, love others as I have loved you.” John 15:12

    “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” Matthew 5:42

    The hard mommy moments.

    All moms have them, and I certainly hope we all talk about them. I’m not talking about when your kid won’t leave Target (Or Aldi in my case πŸ˜‰) without the next giant-made-in-China-toxic-do-NOT-put that-in-your-mouth-truck. Not that those aren’t hard. Especially when you’re tired. And haven’t had enough coffee. And it’s been a long week. Ok, they’re hard…but really what I’m getting at here are those moments where you have no clue what to do. And you’re calling on that mothering instinct that just isn’t firing. And in a split second you’re seeing all the sins of your parents + your 19 year old kid on a therapist’s couch rehashing that one moment where it all went wrong. 

    Anyone reading this with children older than Sullivan, no doubt you’re laughing at me. You think it’s hard now, sister, wait for the teens. But either way, perception is reality. It’s real here. The other night, Sullivan hauled off and slapped me in the face. We were having, what I thought, was one of our sweet bedtime moments. He did it a second time. It was hard and it hurt. I have no idea what came over him. I really don’t think he was being malicious, I think he was just being crazy and 2. Whatever it was and whatever mood I was in, it made me cry. I hadn’t the slightest idea how to respond. Do I spank him (we haven’t done that yet), do I scold? Minimize? Get Owen to reprimand on my behalf? Put him in time out? In that brief moment I felt like I was the most inept parent ever and it dawned on me that there will be lots of these moments. I’m sure many I may not remember. In this one, my sweet  Sullivan solved it for me. After slapping me silly he said, “Mommy crying?”, and put his little head on my shoulder and hugged me. It was over, and apparently I had done something right, because my little boy knew how to love me.