Summer of Dad

Disclaimer: This may be a post entirely dedicated to me feeling sorry for myself. You’ve been warned.

Here we are again. Another summer of working while my kids are home with dad because he’s a teacher.

My toddler has been better at loving me lately (see my post from when I was chopped liver), but now that summer has started and he gets to spend every day with dad while I go to work, I fear we’re headed down that path again. It makes me so so sad knowing that I have to miss out on all the summer fun. Granted, I do get ONE week of vacation, but that hardly makes up for the other NINE (!!!!) weeks of working while my husband is home.

No trips to the pool. No running around in the backyard or playing with the water table. No afternoon trips to the ice cream shop. No parks. No bike rides. Nothing. When he looks back on summer vacation, who will he see? Dad (and mom walking out the door).

I know a lot of other moms work during the summer. We can’t all be teachers. It just sucks having a husband who doesn’t, because when your kids are young and you aren’t around as much as dad, they get used to it.

Take this morning. I was leaving for work, and I gave my 3 year old a kiss goodbye, and I said, “Do you want mommy to stay home with you and daddy?” His response? “No. Just daddy. You got to go be by yourself.” By myself. As in not home with the rest of the family. He didn’t care one bit that I was leaving for the day. It really hurt. I know he is young and doesn’t mean to hurt my feelings, but that almost makes it worst. He’s just being honest.

I get a couple hours in the evenings to hang out with my kids, but most of that time is occupied by dinner and bath/bed time. The routine moments, not the super fun ones.

You’d think maybe after a day of being with dad my toddler would be sick of him and want mom to read him his bedtime stories, but no. Still dad.

So far my 7 month old shows no preference, but that might change too.

I will make the most of my summer weekends and one week of vacation, but dad will be there too. I’m not saying I don’t want my husband to be with us! I love him too. I just want my kids to have fun memories with just their mom once in a while. I’m sure there will be a few days of mom-only time, but I know it won’t be enough to make up for all the other days and weeks.

Maybe I should have followed the path I was “supposed” to take and been a teacher too. Sometimes I wish I had, but I didn’t, so here I am—away from my family for 9 hours a day. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my job, but I enjoy my kids more. I just hope they know I’d rather be with them than anywhere else.

Culkin-Banning-quote

I’m Terrified to Nurse My Son

It’s true. After 6 months of a successful breastfeeding relationship, I am now scared to nurse my baby, and here’s why.

Over the past several days his eating habits have changed. He was getting distracted and it was hard to get him to latch on for any length of time, and I get that. He would eventually settle and eat. He is also VERY interested in solid food, and it seems he would rather eat that.

But now? He’s teething.

I am honestly scared to death to put my nipple in his mouth, because I know as soon as I do, those sharp little barely-there teeth will feel like daggers crushing the most sensitive area on my body. It takes everything in me not to scream at him every time, and it’s literally EVERY TIME he nurses these days. I was legit sweating this morning when it came time to feed him because I was so scared, and he bit me THREE TIMES.

vbaby

Disclaimer: not my actual baby

I suppose I could just pump and bottle-feed him, but I pump all day at work and would just rather not. Plus, when it’s early in the morning and my breasts are engorged and he’s crying, who has time for that?! I just hope he stops teething soon, because my poor girls have had enough.

He also has a hard time taking a bottle because he chews on that too. His milk intake has drastically decreased over the past few days, but he is still content and has wet diapers so I am hopeful everything is still ok.

*Sigh*

This is just another one of those wonderful phases that will come and go. I just hope it goes soon!

The Event Horizon

You know when you’re out all day, specifically at a park or the lake or someplace kid-friendly, and you spend the whole day out and about? There’s no time for a sit down break, let alone a nap. You eat lunch on the go; there are always lots of people around. It’s beyond hot, but your kids don’t notice.

You make it to dinnertime, and your kids are clearly famished because they barely paused for a sip of water all day. They eat as fast as possible then still somehow want to play, because they didn’t get to blow bubbles yet, or play with the cars long enough, or just. Be. Loud.

Then it’s time to leave and head home, and this is it.

You’ve reached The Event Horizon—the point of no return. The time of day when it’s too late for a nap, but not quite bedtime, and everyone is beyond tired.

You know there’s no chance your toddler will head to the car without a fight. You try to get him to hug and kiss everyone goodbye, but he is just done. Done with listening, done with being nice, DONE.

You strap him into the car, load up the weeks worth of stuff you brought for the day, and get out of there as fast as you can because you know if you don’t, that overtired scene will happen in front of everyone, and you’d rather it happen in the privacy of your own home.

The kids fall asleep within 5 minutes of driving, because of course. It’s a nice peaceful ride home, and you think maybe they’ll just stay asleep for the night. They’re clearly exhausted, why wouldn’t they?

Then you get home and they wake up. Let the games begin.

Your husband takes your already crying toddler to the bath (god bless him), while you try and nurse a sweaty tired baby who wants NONE OF THAT. It’s too hot. He’s teething. He doesn’t want to eat or sleep. He doesn’t even want you to rock or cuddle him. WHAT DOES HE WANT?!

You can hear your toddler screaming BLOODY MURDER in the bathroom. The baby can also hear him, which is probably why he’s crying now too, and for a moment you think “This is it. This is the day I lose all my shit.”

The baby settles somewhat, so you put him in the crib to check on the toddler. He is screaming, “I can’t stop! I can’t stop!” (crying that is). He’s throwing stuff, he’s mad that he didn’t get to brush his teeth even though he literally just did, and keeps saying he wants to give grandpa a kiss goodbye since he refused to an hour before, even though grandpa is clearly nowhere in sight. You try and get him to focus for a minute so you can put his pajamas on, but this thing in front of you no longer resembles your child. You are certain he’s possessed.

overtired

Your husband says he can handle things while you go back to the fussy baby (Good luck, honey).

Eventually, the kids are miraculously asleep and you can breathe. You made it through The Event Horizon; from that overtired warzone to the blackness of sleep. You are a survivor. You’ve lived to see another day and you tell yourself that can’t happen again, but you know it will. It always does. Summer hasn’t even officially started yet, after all.

So until next time, savor the routine days and nights while you can. Days of both you and your kids knowing it’s bedtime, and getting there without much fuss. And most of all, try and get some sleep.

Shiny Floors

I was looking around my living room the other day and it was giving me anxiety thinking about the last time it was cleaned. There were toys on every surface along with the dust, and dog hair scattered in clumps in all the corners. The dining table had food stuck to it from who-knows-when. The couch pillows were on the floor, most likely used as a boat or fort of some kind.

As I sat there, I was thinking about how easy it would be to clean it all up if I didn’t have a baby and a toddler to tend to. How if they could both just take a nap at the same time, I could at least put some things away. I was thinking about the month’s worth of laundry my husband and I have because we always have to wash the kids clothes over ours or they have nothing clean that fits. I was thinking about where to set the baby down so I could throw a load in.

But the baby on my lap was cooing and so happy. I didn’t want to put him down to do chores. My toddler was deep into some scenario with his cars and trucks. I couldn’t possibly tell him to lie down and put an end to his imagination.

Then I had new thoughts.

I was thinking one day my house won’t have any toys. There won’t be pillow forts, or trucks, or baby bouncers, or burp cloths all over my living room. I won’t have to worry about anyone else’s laundry but my own. My dining room table will have space for plates, multiple ones, instead of being occupied mostly by Legos.

And I thought, what a quiet, lonely life that will be.

My husband came in the room then and sat down on the floor next to our son and started playing with him. They were laughing. The dog was barking. The baby was still cooing.


One day, these moments, this mess, will all be gone. I’ll keep the mess for as long as I can keep them little. I would rather see them shine than my floors.

Real Truths About Parenting in NY

I’m going to go ahead and say this: parenting in the south (or someplace warm) is easier than parenting in the north. I am allowed to say this, because I’ve done both.

In the south you have to worry about bundling up for maybe a month or so out of the year. And by bundling up I mean heavy coat, hats, gloves, and boots. The full gamut. Up north, you have to bundle up for at least 5 MONTHS. It’s freaking cold up here.

Putting your child into a car seat bundled up like that is a) not recommended by safety professionals and b) a pain in the you know what, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to bring my child out when it’s 3 degrees and put him into a freezing cold car without a coat on. I’m sorry, but those videos you see on YouTube about car seat safety show a dummy child in a car seat with the chest buckle down by his waist and the straps adjusted to fit a grown man. Of course the child is going to fly right on out of there!

And I’m only talking about my toddler. With the baby I had to get a special insert for the car seat that was basically an insulated sleeping bag. I did not have to worry about any of this when I lived in the south! If you forgot to put a coat on your kid in January, fine. It would probably warm up to 60 degrees in a couple hours anyway. Up here, no coat in January means your child is freezing, probably going to get sick, and a potential call from Child Protective Services because what responsible mother would ever let her child out like that?!

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It also takes longer to get dressed. Layers of clothing plus all the accouterments means it takes 20 minutes to leave the house instead of 5. It also means, MORE LAUNDRY! When its warm, kid laundry gets cut wayyy down, especially since the baby can just hang out in a diaper a lot of the time.

Which brings me to my next point. Now that it’s finally warmed up enough to spend more than 6 seconds outside without getting frostbite, we can play outside! And let me tell you, after a couple hours of running around the yard my kid is TIRED. He comes inside and TAKES AN ACTUAL NAP! The likes of which we haven’t seen all winter. It’s glorious. There’s also so much more to do when the weather is nice, and tired kids = happy mamas.

Don’t get me wrong, kids love playing in the snow. Sometimes I don’t even think my kid can feel cold temperatures, but kids need supervision, and I do not want to watch my child build a snow fort when I can’t even feel my own face. Sorry, kids. Mommy’s chilly.

And lastly, sleep. When you have a baby you aren’t allowed to use blankets due to the suffocation risk, so when it is cold and your baby’s room is the coldest one in the house, sleep doesn’t come easy! There were many nights our baby would wake and I would go in his room and his hands and face would be freezing cold. I tried a sleep sack and one of those things that looks like a flying squirrel suit, but he didn’t care for them. It’s much easier to sleep when it’s nice and warm.

So basically what it comes down to is the weather. Warmer weather makes things a lot easier. Period. Mothers of the cold north, UNITE!

My Worst Day of Parenting (so far)

Over the weekend we were shopping at our local Wal-Mart. We were perusing the garden section when we realized it had been a while since our toddler used the bathroom, so my husband asked him if he wanted to go potty. He said he didn’t have to go, so we said “I think you better try and go just in case.” To which he again said no, then took off running away down the aisle.

My husband went after him (I had the baby in the car seat). I continued browsing, assuming he’d catch up to him and bring him back to where we were. A couple minutes later I get a call on my cell phone and it’s my husband saying he can’t find him. Now the panic sets in.

I immediately think he probably went to the toy section so I head in that direction, looking down every aisle on my way there. No sign of him. I get all the way down to the other end of the store, and he’s still nowhere to be found.

At this point my arms are on fire from carrying a 20 lb baby in a car seat, so I head to the cart corral and get another call from my husband. He says he still can’t find him, so we decide to tell the managers. I put the car seat in a cart, and at this point I am in a full sweat, but mostly from panic not exertion.

I walk the length of the store again, yelling my son’s name. Still nothing. By now I’ve gone through all scenarios: he’s hiding in a corner with wet pants, kicking a ball around the store, or someone’s taken him. My mind dwelling on the last one.

Finally, I see my husband again and he says they found him. A wave of relief comes over me and I follow him to where they have our son. We come upon him surrounded by 5 or 6 managers, holding one of their hands. I am so happy to see him! He looks a little scared, but otherwise ok.

Apparently a woman in the store saw him wandering around and brought him to the service area. He told her he was lost and she asked him his name. One of the managers told me all of this, and she also said she asked him his parents’ names and his last name, and then I realized we don’t ever really say those things to him. We’ve told him his last name a few times, but never told him our own names. He’s only ever heard other people call us those names, but to him we are mommy and daddy.

It seems silly, but now I realize how important it is for him to know this. Once we are in the car, and after letting him know how scared he made us and what a bad idea it was to run away, I tell him “I am your mommy, but my name is Brooke. If someone asks you what your mommy’s name is, you say Brooke,” and he repeats my name. I do the same with daddy.

It’s a small thing really, but one I hadn’t given much thought to until I was put in this situation. Of course, now I realize how important a thing it is, and I encourage you to do the same if you haven’t already!

For those who might be thinking “Wow, lady, keep an eye on your kids!” I want to tell you that it took all of 30 seconds for him to disappear into that store. He was right there with us, and then he was gone. It could happen to anyone, and unfortunately this time it happened to us.

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Run fast, little one, but always stay close.

I am writing now two days after it happened, and I am still shaken up, but so very thankful we found him safe and sound. Things could have gone very differently, and that outcome is not lost on me. I am reminded how precious and loved that little boy is, and so grateful for that lady and the mangers at Wal-Mart for immediately springing into action. They had all hands on deck for us. It was a day I will never forget.

Life with TWO

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here, and SURPRISE! I now have two sons. Life is crazier than ever. Since my last post we’ve had a baby, moved to a new state and into a new house, and have new jobs. 2016 was STRESSFUL!


We welcomed baby boy #2 in November. Things started a little rocky. He was jaundiced and very grunty/gassy for the first several weeks, but once we passed that phase he’s been wonderful! He is seriously the happiest baby, and has been a pretty great sleeper! I’m not sure if he’s actually a good sleeper, or that he’s the second kid and I’m just too damn tired to wake up and tend to him as soon as he makes a little noise, but sleep seems much more plentiful this time around!

Our first child hasn’t totally warmed up to him yet. I think he was hoping to have someone to play with, and when he saw this squishy little immobile being he wasn’t exactly thrilled. I’m confident they will be best buddies once our new little guy starts walking.

When I had my first child, I was honestly scared I wouldn’t love him as much as I loved MY DOG! Then once I got pregnant again, I had the same fears only that I wouldn’t love the baby as much as my first. It all seems silly now, but these were real fears! Now I know love just expands and there’s plenty to go around.

Having two kids is also a lot different than having one. There’s way less time and a lot more to do! Laundry is a never-ending battle, and other housework is basically a joke. If you come over to my house and there aren’t Legos on every surface or dog hairballs in every corner, consider it a good day. Our toddler really likes us to play with him (and if you don’t play with him, he will make an even bigger mess), and the baby isn’t super tolerable of the carrier, so cleaning is a real battle. Don’t judge us!

Also, I now have two BOYS. My toddler is 100% non-stop. I am slightly hopeful that boy #2 will be less energetic, but from what I hear that’s just how boys are. I love it though, and while I do enjoy relaxing and down time, I really think I was destined to be a boy mom.

When I leave the house in the morning to head to work/drop the kids at daycare I leave with no less than SIX BAGS: my lunch, toddler lunch, pump bag, my purse, toddler backpack, and a cooler of breastmilk. I also have to carry the baby in the carseat. My arms should really be more toned at this point! It’s ridiculous.

I know I complained about the gym when baby #1 came along, but I honestly don’t think I will ever have a gym membership again. There’s just not enough time to go to the gym when I have two kids and work 8-5 every day. Once it gets warmer/lighter out in the mornings I hope to start at least running again. I do have a 5K race this weekend that I am not at all prepared for, so at least there’s that. I also do yoga at home occasionally. But Yoga at the gym in a nice quiet studio with ambient music playing is MUCH different than YouTube Yoga with a toddler building/crashing a tower next to your head, a baby starting to get hungry, and a dog who WILL NOT LEAVE YOU THE HELL ALONE! I just want to do downward dog without getting my face licked. Why is life so hard?!

*Sigh*

I hope to find more time/energy to write more as it is a great outlet. And to the parents with MORE than 2 kids, you are my heroes. Especially if you are doing it as a single parent and even more so if you work full time. Parenting is tough, but so so so incredibly rewarding.

 

 

Jack Ryan Sinko

November 10, 2016

9lbs 13oz 22″

🙂

New Year, Unglue Year

So my son just turned 2 (!!), and he is active as ever. He’s constantly running around, and since his birthday is 2 weeks after Christmas, he has more than enough things to play with!

He has also started asking mama and daddy to play with him. “Come on mama!” “Come on daddy!” “Play football?” It’s so sweet. 

I love playing with him and having him show me new things. He has also started pretend play, where he’ll pretend to make food or have his stuffed animals do things like eat and put puzzles together. The sweetest. 

One thing I have noticed, however, is how hard parenting has gotten. It’s always been hard! But in this age of distraction, it’s so easy to just plop your kid down with a movie and zone out while you scroll through Facebook so you can get a break. Sitting with your child, engaging with him, playing with him, watching him…that’s what’s hard. 

Sadly, I’ve noticed how often I grab my phone when my son doesn’t need me for something. But you know what else I’ve realized? He always needs me! Today, for example, he was giving his stuffed puppy a drink from our dog’s bowl and he looked at me so proud and happy! If I were on my phone I would have missed that small glance. 
My son has even started to take my (and my husband’s) phone from my hands and set it on the table when he wants to play. This has woken me up even more. His generation will have to constantly fight for attention because everyone is so consumed with technology and “FOMO.” 

As the new year begins, I am going to make a better effort to be present at home and out with my family. I am guilty of checking social media or browsing the web while at the dinner table or when we’re all together in the living room. This needs to stop! 

I have been setting my phone down on the table when I get home, and I will admit that not picking it up is difficult! My husband might ask me something that makes me want to look online, but instead of looking it up right then, I make a note to look it up later so that I can chase my son around the house or help him build a tower with blocks. Instead of checking Instagram or Facebook or putting a YouTube video on for my bored toddler when we’re out to dinner, I interact with my husband or draw pictures with my son. 

Out to dinner at Chilis. Yay chips and salsa!

I’ve realized how sad it is that people, myself included, are so addicted to their phones. I have started caring less about what people I’m barely friends with anymore are doing and focus more on the ones I love the most who are right in front of me. I hope I can keep it up! My family is definitely more important. 

Are You There Sanity? It’s Me, Mom.

I’ve been on hiatus lately. It just seems like everything is moving at warp speed, and before I know it I haven’t written in months!

Things are changing, and they’re changing fast.

Our once happy, hungry, sound-sleeping little boy has taken a 180, and it’s really been quite disastrous. A month or two (or three?) ago he became a picky eater. Which I guess is fine since it’s mostly just during dinner. Maybe he’s tired from a long day at daycare, and they tell us he eats well when he’s there, so we cut him some slack. Anything to avoid another meltdown/more food thrown to the dog/floor than into his mouth.

And that’s just it. The meltdowns. We are picking our battles these days, and winning few of them. At 20 months, our son is well on his way to the “terrible twos.”

You gave me a yogurt when I clearly wanted oranges? SCREAM!

I am telling you I want to go outside, yet you are forcing me to put shoes on? SCREAM! CRY!

I want to throw my toys into the trash bin, and you say I can’t? SCREAM! CRY! BANG HEAD ON FLOOR!

I’m sorry, sweetheart. How awful of me to not yet understand all of your toddler speak, be a mind reader, or want you to get hurt. Clearly you know what is best for you better than I!

And then there’s bedtime. The time my husband and I both dread the most. We had a good routine: bath, stories, a quick cuddle/song, and into bed still awake. He would fall asleep on his own a short time later. No screaming, no crying, maybe just a little whine and off he went.

These days? You would think his crib was actually a tank filled with sharp objects or electric wires! Any motion towards the thing and he screams bloody murder until you leave the room with him. It takes multiple attempts and tactics to calm him down enough to get back into his bedroom, where we then have to rock him and sing to him until he is FULLY asleep before placing him in his crib. If he is the slightest bit awake and you try to put him in there, FORGET IT! Back to square one.

Don’t even think about letting him cry it out. He is far too big for that. He will scream and cry at the top of his lungs and then climb, head first, right out of the crib and onto the floor, where he will scream some more. It is exhausting, and there’s no telling what kind of night it will be. His normal bedtime used to be around 7:30-8pm, and now we’re lucky if he is asleep by 9. There have been a couple nights where he didn’t fall asleep/calm down until almost 11. Just recently he’s been up in the middle of the night too, suddenly realizing he is trapped in the shark tank and must escape!

So yes, I realize it may be time for the toddler bed, as this has been going on for over a week. It’s just that the internet has told me it’s best to wait until a child is closer to 3 years old, so I needed validation (from everyone else besides Google) that it is, in fact, time to make the move.

Today is Wednesday, and we are going to wait until Friday to go for it. While this may mean a couple more nights of rocking and consoling, it also might mean a couple less nights of getting out of bed multiple times, as I have heard the first few nights in a new bed can be a challenge. It also gives us a couple more days to finish baby-proofing.

Again, things are changing. They always are. Just when you think you’re mastering the parenting game, something new comes along to put you back on the amateur train.

It’s stressful, and it’s tiring, and it’s a hard dose of reality, but we’ll get there. Luckily we aren’t the first people on earth to get thrown into the realms of parenthood, and there’s plenty of advice (warranted or not) and encouragement out there.

I’ll be sure to give an update on how the bed transition goes, and please feel free to share your stories of head-banging reality checks with everyone willing to listen. We all need to hear it. I mostly get by these days with reading blog posts and web forums of other moms going through exactly what I am, so I hope this post is of some help to someone out there. Heck, it may even make some moms think “wow, at least my kid isn’t that bad off!” and to you I say, piss off! 🙂

bad M

Mom Who?

My son pretty much stopped loving me as soon as my milk dried up. 

When dad’s around, he only wants him to hold him. When I hold him he reaches for dad and squirms out of my arms. If I try to snuggle with him on the couch he acts like he wants to get down then runs over to dad and sits on his lap. One morning I scooped him up out of his crib and he cried until dad came and took him from me. It’s heartbreaking. 

Even when we play together, all 3 of us, he would rather throw the ball to dad. Look at this, dad. Come do this with me, dad. When dad leaves the house he runs to the window and gets sad. Does he do that when I leave? Probably not. 

I sacrificed for months carrying him in my belly, then sacrificed more nursing him for a year. I love him so much I can’t put it into words, yet I don’t think it’s mutual. 

He does come to me when he is hurt or sick or scared, but even lately he’s started reaching for dad. 

I’m thrilled he loves his father, but why doesn’t he love me? 

Maybe it’s because I can’t hold him as long before my arms get too sore. Or maybe dad is better at making funny voices. Or maybe it’s just because they are both boys. Whatever it is, it hurts. 

I’m hoping it’s just a phase, but what if it’s not? What if we have more children and the same thing happens? What can I do to make him love me again? 

Has this happened to anyone else?