Friday, February 26, 2010

Confessions of a Normal Mom

You know what? We moms aren't always good. We're not always on our best behavior. We cut corners occasionally. And most times, I don't even feel bad about it. In fact, I have a few confessions to make publicly:

1. Sometimes I skip pages in the books we read at bedtime. She usually doesn't notice. It's only on the books that she requests to have us read EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT. and I am just so sick of "finding the cow in the barn!"...ugh.

2. Hubby, look away for this one. I ate cookies in bed one night this week after a particularly rough evening filled with much screaming on Anna's part. Sorry, Hubby.

3. I often try to keep Anna up later on the weekend nights so she'll sleep in a little bit in the mornings. This frequently results in her nap schedule getting thrown all out of whack. And often results in me sleeping until a gloriously late 8:30.

4. Sometimes, when Anna is throwing her 8th tantrum of the morning and has only been up for 15 minutes, I DO let her have a "cooka" for breakfast. It's just a graham cracker, but also, it's at least 60 seconds of her NOT screaming.

5. I think it's both adorable and spooky that Anna has watched Finding Nemo so many times that she now runs around, waving her hands, chanting "my buh-buhs, my buh-buhs" when that little yellow fish who loves bubbles comes on the screen.

6. I sometimes sneak into her bedroom before I go to bed and hope just a little teensy bit that she'll wake up so I can rock and snuggle with her.

7. Sometimes I lie and say that the TV is broken or that "fishy" is "all gone" so we won't have to watch Finding Nemo for the 5th time in a day (I'm not exaggerating that number, folks).

8. I let my kid eat off the floor. Not always, mind you - mostly in church. Sometimes I pretend to pick up and pocket the crackers she drops on the floor at church, but when I'm sure no one is looking, I hand them back to her. Yes, I know that's disgusting. But she hasn't been harmed by it yet, so you'll have a hard time convincing me to stop!

9. I secretly ALSO want to taste test the playdoh to see if it still tastes the same as it did when I was a kid. I haven't. But I want to.

10. I LOVE being a mom. I love pretending to be a flying bird and doing staring contests at dinner and "making it rain" at bathtime by turning on the shower and blowing bubbles in the house and building humongous towers of blocks and knocking those towers down. I also love naptime.


Sharing time! What are your "normal mom" confessions? I know there's at least one other mom out there who's tasted the playdoh or at least thought about it. Fess up!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Our Weekend: The Good, The Bad and The Baby

I'm really glad weekends are two days long. Especially this weekend. Just enough time for Anna to prove to me that she's got a really good side and a really bad side.

Days like this are why I wanted to be a mom:
Saturday started out kind of perfectly. I'd done most of the grocery shopping after Anna went to bed on Friday night so there was no pressure when I woke up. Anna and I had breakfast, played for a while, sorted through her old toys, cleaned up the kitchen and did a quick run to Sam's Club. After that, she and I went to the West Allis library for Anna's first library experience

The West Allis Library has a great children's section. It's upstairs and a little secluded so I didn't feel too paranoid about Anna's constant vocal stream of "WOW!" and "BOOK!" Needless to say, she liked it quite a bit. There were puzzles on little tables with little chairs, all her size, scattered around the children's section. The board books are all in little bins right at her level. She didn't know where to go first. We spent about an hour exploring and picking out books. After we checked out, I let her put a couple in the bag that she brought along for herself and then she carried it by herself all the way to the car. We had to sit down immediately when we got home and read all six books that we brought home. I had such a good time, I actually wondered around 3 if it was too nerdy to go to the library twice in one day. (For the record, I decided that YES, it is too nerdy and we baked instead.)

Anna and I both took long naps on Saturday afternoon and then we baked a homemade pizza together. Mostly Anna just snuck pepperonis out of the bag while I was spreading out the pizza crust, but I think that's a crucial (possible the MOST crucial) part of homemade pizza making. The girl's got it down.

Church with a toddler: an exercise in frustration:
I'm not going to dwell on the particulars of today other than Anna has been throwing tantrums ALL DAY, beginning with the mother of all tantrums in church this morning at the end of the service. Definitely my most embarrassing parenting moment thus far.

Just another "I had no idea how easy I had it" moment - Right after Anna was born going to church became a significant source of stress for me. I think it was a combination of sleep deprivation and an uncomfortableness with nursing in public. After all, if I wanted to sit in a room by myself trying to coax this new little human to eat, why should it be in public at church where lots of other parents (and their nosy children) could witness my frustration? It was just easier for me to be at home. TODAY me wants to smack THEN me on the back of the head and tell her pipe down, sit in the rocker and enjoy the fact that I could at least listen to the service!

Church with a toddler is an entirely new sort of unpleasant from those initial days of parenthood. Now instead of stocking the diaper bag with diapers, changes of clothes and burp cloths, I stuff every toy, book and crayon conceivable in that bag that might possibly hold her attention for more than 2 minutes (which, of course, none of them do). Snacks, a sippy cup, stickers, coloring books, board books, baby dolls, doesn't matter. I always spend the service the same way - walking up and down the hallway with Anna who just wants to RUN! Or on weeks when she's feeling particularly generous, we'll get to play in the nursery. Nevertheless, I find myself thinking that same thought from the first few weeks of being a mom - why am I chasing a screaming toddler at church when I could be doing this exact same thing at home and getting the same amount of spiritual fulfillment out of it?

This is not to discount Hubby, who does his best to grant me reprieve when he can. But even on weeks that he takes Anna out when she starts getting antsy (usually during the opening hymn), I can't focus because I can still hear her or I am worried about what she's doing.

So how about it, fellow moms? Will she ever sit through an entire service? When does church start to be fulfilling rather than frustrating? Because I gotta tell you, it's nice of Hubby to give me the rundown on what the sermon was for the week, but I haven't gotten much more than that out of a service in almost a year. And after the "show" she put on this morning, Anna can wait until she's 19 before I take her ANYWHERE in public again. Any tricks besides those I've mentioned above?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Working Mom's Survival Guide

Being a mom is a full time job. That is the conclusion I have reached in my brief stint as a parent. It's a full time job, with no monetary pay, a sometimes unappreciative and always demanding boss, and no time off (unless your business partner - a.k.a. Daddy - is up for a stand-in). That's why the term "working mom" holds a lot of weight for me. Not only am I at work, busting butt for 9 hours a day, 5 days a week, but I'm not off duty when I arrive home either.

By the way, I'm convinced that single mothers must be super heroes. BIG TIME respect for those of you tackling both the parenting and working worlds on your own!

If you've read some of my posts lamenting being a working mom, you know that this isn't a title I hold completely willingly. Again, I am incredibly lucky to have a job that I LOVE, but it's very hard for me to be apart from my daughter as much as I am. However, I've found a few things that make this challenge a bit easier and I wanted to share those things here:

1. Make a meal plan and stick to it. Nothing kills time after the work day like trying to figure out what you're going to make for dinner after you get home. We set a meal plan at the beginning of the week and many nights after Anna goes to bed I prepare the meal (or as much of it as I can) for the next day.

2. Embrace the crock pot. I have tons of AWESOME crock pot recipes that I'd be happy to share. It's great having dinner ready and waiting for you when you get home!

3. Housework waits until after bedtime. If your kid(s) are anything like Anna, you only have an hour and a half to two hours after the work day before bedtime. Do the dishes later. Build the towers and read the stories now. I doubt in 10 years any of us will look back and say, "Man, I wish I would have been better at doing the dishes when Junior was little."

4. Get everything ready for the next day before you go to bed. I pack my lunch, my gym bag, my purse, Anna's daycare bag and any other important items before I hit the hay. That both frees up time in the morning for any unforeseen catastrophes (Anna deciding that pants are so last year and taking 30 minutes to get dressed) and minimizes forgetting or losing items (my lunch or my sanity).

5. Keep a calendar. I have ours in the kitchen so it's prominent. We keep track of daycare parties, things I have going on, and things on Hubby's docket so that our schedules are coordinated ahead of time and we're not frantically trying to coordinate a last minute pickup for Anna because we forgot about a meeting someplace.

Those are the biggest things we do to keep this "working mom" sane! Got any other tips or tricks?

Payback's a Fish

When I was little (I don't know, Mom? 3?), I watched Wizard of Oz like some people watch the news - morning, noon and night. Over and over until my poor mom had it memorized. It's almost a pity that's not my tale now, or the title of this post could be "Payback's a Witch," which is a lot funnier in my mind.

Alas, payback is a fish. A fish named Nemo. Anna discovered "fiSHEE" when she was feeling under the weather a few weeks ago. Since then, we have watched the movie AT LEAST 50 times. As soon as she wakes up in the morning, "fishy?" After breakfast, "fishy?" When we're reading stories at bed time, "fishy?"

I'm starting to wish that Nemo would just stay lost.

The other night I decided enough was enough. There was not going to be any Nemo playing in the background tonight. We were going to have a nice dinner and family playtime after that with the TV OFF. Anna asked several times after arriving home from daycare, "fishy?" To which I replied, "Not tonight, Honey. Let's build a tower!" Finally, after knocking down several towers and tiring of my attempts to amuse her, she looked at me, long eyelashes batting, and said "Fishy? PLEASE?" To get the full picture, you need to know that Anna does an altered version of the sign for please when she says it. She puts both her hands on her stomach and rocks her entire body back and forth. Now picture the above scenario again...See why I cracked?

After I said we could turn on the fishy for 10 minutes, there was much toddler rejoicing, complete with attempts to jump up and down (just up on her tiptoes) and clapping and shouts of "Yay! Fishy! Yay!"

I suppose I deserve Nemo on repeat after the hundreds of times I made my mom suffer through Wizard of Oz. And I suppose I'm lucky that Anna landed on a good movie like Finding Nemo (I mean, who doesn't LOVE Ellen Degeneres as Dori?!?). But I am eagerly awaiting the day that Anna says "Elmo" or "Ariel" or ANYTHING other than "fiSHEEE!!"

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Road to "Smokin' Hot"

A while back I posted that I was working toward losing the baby weight. Well, I am happy to report that we have successfully passed the pre-baby weight marker and am now down a few pounds even from there! WHOO-HOO!

This week (prior to the stomach flu I dealt with Monday and Tuesday) I reached the 20 pound point. That's 2/3 of the way to my 30 pounds by Anna's birthday goal. I think I'll be able to blow that goal out of the water.

In the first post I made about my decision to finally shed the weight, I mentioned that I HATED exercise. That has surprisingly changed. I made my trips to the gym such a part of my routine that it now feels wrong to come home right after work.

As I promised Hubby, I'm going to get smokin' hot and then hopefully knocked up again...and may I remind you, Hubby has only approved the first 50% of this mission statement. :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

I'm Still Alive

Sorry for the total lack of posts for the last week. After we finally got Anna over the bronchitis and pneumonia, she came down with some kind of stomach bug and spent all of last Thursday night throwing up (mostly on me). Now she's finally well and I'm the one with the stomach bug. YUCK.

Anyway, I've got some fun posts for later this week. Just please bear with me while my digestive rebellion sorts itself out!