Friday, August 27, 2010

They Grow Up So Fast

It seems that life has hit light speed since I had kids.  I'm not sure what is it about having children throws the time space continuum out of whack but every parent will tell you that life progressed slower until the day their first child entered the world. It is a moment that changes everything. Expectations form, plans are made and goals are set. You worry about everything from feeding, sleeping, diapers to crawling, walking, putting everything in their mouths and teething. Accidents and that first illness can throw you for a loop.The next day its preschool and then kindergarten. You worry about them making friends and can they act right...what do they say when you're not around (a particularly troubling worry for me)? Are they well-liked? Then as time passes you worry about those coming teenage years, puberty and beginning interest in the opposite sex.
My first grader arrived home the other night with a girls phone number folded on a little piece of paper in the pocket of his shorts. Seriously, a girls phone number? A little girl in his class (another 6 year old) told him that she liked him and she wanted him to give her a call on the phone! He was a bit mystified about the incident. And I am not happy. Sure, he's cute but what six year old girl passes out her phone number? I didn't  have the balls to hand out my number unsolicited even in college.
Here I was thinking I didn't have to worry about girls until he was older. And then I thought it would be him I'd have to worry trying to take advantage of girls. That I would need to try and drill it in his thick hormone driven skull to leave the girls alone. He hasn't asked to call her. I'm not sure that I'd let him. Her parents might feel the same way that I do.
I told my friend, Mooney, about it. He got all 'way to go boy' over it then I posed it to him differently. His daughter is a year ahead of WC. How would you feel if Nan gave her number to some boy? The laughter stopped. "Well, I wouldn't like it," he replied. He thought for a minute. "Not much I could do about it...but I wouldn't like it." Exactly my point. There's plenty of time for dealing with the opposite sex. No need to start so young. Why are these kids in such a hurry to grow up?
I want my sons to be innocent children for as long as possible. But in today's world that's a tough order to fill.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Control Freak?

Signs of a control freak:

1. Complain that the the homework help at your child's after school care is severely lacking.
2. The site director personally helps your child.
3. Still not happy because you only get to check over it and make sure it's correct.

Hi, I'm Terri and I just discovered that I'm a control freak. I did not know this about myself...okay so maybe I had a small inkling up til now. Sure, I didn't want anyone else to help in caring for my baby. 'I don't care that I haven't slept in three days put the baby down and step slowly away from the bottle.'  My mom had to pry him from my arms and make me leave my first day back to work. But all moms working outside the home go through that. I'm not controlling in every aspect only when it comes to my kids and other things that I'm passionate about.
 After what happened in kindergarten. My fault, I left way too much of his care in the hands of someone else whom I thought was going over his homework and doing the things he needed for school only to discover that my children were being parked in front of television for hours every afternoon. The disruption to his life surrounding this caregivers sudden departure from his life also resulted in behavioral difficulties in school. Luckily, I wasn't too late to salvage his kindergarten education. Partly because he picks up things so quickly he wasn't that far behind. This incident has left me with a sour taste.
But all working mothers have to relinquish some control over the lives of their children. Whether one works out of choice or necessity...for 4 or 14 hours a day or any combination of shifts. When we are away from our kids we give part of their rearing and education to someone else. Depending on your views this can be good, bad or mute. It's not a one size fits all sort of situation. I've seen many unique situations over the years that work well for all involved. Relinquishing the control does give me some anxiety. However, I feel that I can have good communication with his teacher and stay informed. I check his homework and read over the class work that comes home.

The call of motherhood never takes a day off. I've just been informed that CJ has shoved a ball of cheese up his nose. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Noisy Little Mirror

I'm sitting across the table from WC and it's taking all that I have not to reach over and smack him. I've been mislead by his after school programs boasting of homework help. They pretty much sit them in a room and leave them to their own devices. For a first grader who can barely read the homework directions are quite complicated. He cannot do it without someone relaying to him what he needs to do then badgering the living daylights out of him to stay on task. This kid's up for the world title in championship stalling. We had to start out this afternoon with me having to tell him that it wasn't correct. The child has a perfectionist streak five miles wide. At times it paralyzes him from doing things because he knows he can't do it perfectly. It's been a difficult thing to try to get him through with starting school. It's what I'm currently fighting with in his brain as he wipes his eyes and tells me that he isn't crying but that his eyeballs are sweating. No, he's frustrated because he wants to write some big long complicated sentence. He ignores my pleas to keep it simple. Then opts for writing sentences in which all his vocabulary words go "kerpal." I think he's exploding them on paper. But it has still taken him 45 minutes to write 5 simple sentence featuring a three letter vocab word. He finally completes his last sentence and takes off. I'm not going to stop him. I know he thinks what he's done isn't good enough.
I could sit here and pretend that I don't know where this comes from. But I'd be lying. I'm the guilty party of passing this personality on. Part of me thinks that should make me more understanding of him. But it drives me insane. My first semester of college I took a writing class. The first paper I received back looked like a massacre. The paper marred with red ink and it broke my heart. The professor liked my story and I received an A but that's not what I clung to. After that class I hung up writing for a while.  Time and maturity have brought me to a place of understanding what constructive criticism looks like. I've taken a couple online writing courses but found the criticism mild and unhelpful.  Right now I'm coming face to face with how much I've grown while in the process of editing my manuscript. During writing I mostly concentrated on finishing. So I wrote. I'd worry about the polishing later. Later has arrived and I feel that I'm still back on square one. Years away from anything usable...salable...marketable. I'm struggling with how far to polish and when to let the scene go. I feel the story is solid. But the nagging self-doubt comes whispering whenever I begin to feel too good about things. During the initial writing I had two friends who would read over it. One friend in particular is responsible for talking me down from the self doubt ledge many a time. Any time I thought that it sucked and why was I bothering I could run to her for that pep talk. But I'm at the point to hearing how great the story is doesn't cut it. It's time to push to make it better. And I'm going to have to listen to difficult comments in order to move forward. Here's to finding out how far I've come since that first writing class.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Moving Forward

The other night I stood in the baby product aisle of the local grocery store. I stared at a bottle of baby wash for several minutes. This simple bottle of baby wash left me dumbfounded. I didn't know whether or not to buy it. The kids needed more soap but they are no longer babies and I don't buy anything else out of this aisle, anymore. It sounds crazy now just thinking about it but that bottle was so much more than soap. I have to come to terms with that I will never have another pregnancy. My pregnancy with CJ was filled with maternal fetal specialists, monthly blood tests and worry. An anomaly in the structure of my blood cells caused my body to view the fetus as a foreign entity caused my body to mount defenses to destroy it. Thanks body. It's a condition that they couldn't predict or do anything about except damage control if necessary...and after the full disclosure of worst case scenario we were pretty much terrified. The fun thing is that it isn't present with pregnancy number 1. Only subsequent. Now I also have a negative blood type and a husband who is positive. So, with WC I had taken my Rogam shots to keep a similar situation from happening due to my negative type and all was supposed to be hunky dory. It wasn't. The antibody doesn't cross the placenta until it reaches a certain level of parts per million. And monthly blood tests were ordered to keep an eye on this. After months of hoping, praying and let's be honest bartering with God we had a healthy baby boy. He was three weeks early but considered full term and without an issue to be found.  The specialists advised that with subsequent pregnancies it would be worse that my body's defenses would be stronger against the fetus. We decided not to be greedy. The grace of God allowed us to come through healthy.We decided not to be greedy. The grace of God allowed us to come through healthy. So I opted to count my blessings and undergo a tubal. Why chance it? And I've never looked back or second guessed that it was the right decision for me. But with CJ now out of diapers I find myself missing having a baby. I walk past the baby section in Walmart and it feels odd not needing to stop in. The indecision over whether to buy baby wash brought it all to the surface. Do I want another baby? The more I dwell on it the fact is that I'm not feeling that I want a new baby. I miss my babies. I love the boys - crazy and amazing all in one little package. Watching them grow and develop is something I wouldn't trade. My problem with it is that it all is going by too fast. I need one year to last three or four.But since I like my life with them right now and they've moved on from the baby stage then I should too. I put the baby wash back on the shelf and finished my shopping.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Adventures in PT

I once read somewhere that potty training a toddler would test the parents patience and be both emotionally and physically draining. But that the experience was twice as hard for the toddler. Think about it, they spend the first one and half to three years (give or take) of their lives doing a basic bodily function one way and no one minds. Suddenly their caregiver expects them to do a 180 and to recognize the signals that we automatically take for granted but they've never thought about. Not only we expect them to recognize these but then take appropriate action. It can be confusing. There are all these theories out there as to the appropriate time to begin the process of teaching a toddler to use the potty. Arguments are abound as to "early" versus "late." And pros and cons of each. Years ago most children potty trained shortly after they could walk. But with the advent of the disposable diaper and working mothers, these days it has been pushed to the average age of three- an little earlier for girls.
WC was three when I was expecting CJ. The thought of two in diapers-even disposable was not appealing. Luckily he was ready. I used the timer method. I took a long weekend, he picked out his new big boy underwear and the diapers were gone with exception of night. Three days later he was fully potty trained.
Fast forward to CJ. This child has been doing things his own way since he surprised us by arriving three weeks early. Silly me set out to potty train him the same way that worked for WC. Now I could make him go sit on the potty when the timer went off but I couldn't make him actually go in the potty. He would sit there and then leave the bathroom and promptly urinate in the kitchen floor. We spent weekend after weekend being frustrated. Downtrodden, I abandoned trying for a few weeks. His daycare provider insisted on using pullups for the convenience. They don't help. Pullups are a diaper. I think I kept my cool in front of him fairly well while wanting to scream. I swore that I didn't think the child would ever potty train. Then the strangest thing happened. One day he declared that diapers were for babies. And was decidedly not a baby. I told him if he didn't want to wear the diapers then he had to pee in the potty. That was all she wrote, except for a couple of timing accidents. He decided he was going to wear underwear and not diapers. This child is going to be my trouble. He can do anything he puts his mind to, then problem will be what he puts his mind to (or doesn't).