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?!

bundled

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!

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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″

🙂