Saturday, June 26, 2010

Our Busy "Baby!"

Whew people, I am e.x.h.a.u.s.t.e.d! I'm going to go out on a limb here but I'm thinking I'm more worn out now, following my "toddler" around than I was when he was a newborn blob who slept at all the wrong times, ate and pooped a lot. Maybe I just don't remember the sleep deprivation of those days but I do know for sure that the current stage in which we now reside feels whirlwindish to me. Even when we don't do much, I end my days feeling like I could just collapse into bed. Anyone who lives in the south will probably laugh at me (and I get that because I used to live in the south too) but maybe my tiredness is partly due to the heat we've been experiencing? It's been over 90 degrees here most days since late May and we try, (our money/environment saving efforts) whenever possible, to leave the AC off. This means that most of the time, Charlie and I sweat it out and play until we drop.

The little boy is at such a volatile stage right now. He's caught between the baby he still is and wanting to do so much...wanting to be like us. Am I the only mama who was annoyed when the baby center weekly update emails switched over to, "My Toddler This Week" right at 12 months of age? I don't know about you all but I'm not sold on the idea that babies turn into toddlers just because they learn to walk. I'm finding the balancing act between letting him experience/explore and keeping him safe to be quite challenging. Then there's the frustration factor. He's trying so hard to learn to communicate and express himself (he has his own ideas about what we should do and when we should do it, imagine that!) but he can't so instead we get this a lot of the time right now:

This is him right before throwing a really big fit, including "going boneless" onto the floor and everything. *sigh*

We also get the discerning/serious/I'm not so sure face a lot these days, especially when we're around new people or doing something out of the ordinary. And he's extremely clingy with me lately too. I realize it's all normal development and par for the course but it's tough to manage his moodiness sometimes. The clinging to mama part I actually (mostly) like, if I'm being honest but it does wear me down too.

Actually these are all very positive signs of him being developmentally on target, which I know and which (of course) makes me very happy - I guess I'm just venting.

And it's not like I started this whole parenting thing as a newbie. I'm well educated and I had lots of pre-motherhood experience...with other people's kids! I guess in some ways I thought I knew it all - it's only now that I'm realizing I didn't know the half of it! One thing I've done a lot throughout these past (nearly) 14 months is eat my own words! The job is just so much harder when you're the person who is ultimately responsible for that little persons' well being and long-term character development. Talk about pressure! No parent wants to screw their kids up but the fact is, we all have strengths and weaknesses and we all make mistakes, no matter how hard we try. I think the most difficult thing for me is fighting my own desire to be the "perfect" mom, whatever that even is. I'm definitely true to my Leo nature in the pride department and I struggle with putting that aside sometimes.

Good grief I even exhaust myself! I'm done with my rant for now. Hope you're all having a fantastic weekend!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Why Daddys are so Great!

First of all, happy second Father's Day to my amazing baby daddy. I love you, Michael...thank you X a million for all you do for Charlie and for our little are our greatest fortune!

By the way, giving him the whole apple wasn't Mommy's idea!

The other day, Charlie and I were out to lunch with a friend. We were standing at the register to pay our bill and when I opened my wallet to get my money, Charlie saw the picture of Michael sitting in my wallet. He pointed to it said, "Da Da." When I gave him the picture to hold, he put it up to his ear the way he does when I give him my phone. He wanted to call Daddy. It was adorable!

I've been thinking a lot lately about how mommys and daddys are different. I love that and think it's so great for the children. Sometimes, after I've been with Charlie all day, we both need a little change of pace and it's so refreshing for us to be with Michael.

One night this week, right before Charlie went to bed, he was sitting on Michael's lap. We gave him a drink of water, at which point Michael said, "Hey Charlie, show Mommy our trick!" I watched as Michael took the lid off the cup, let Charlie take a gulp and then stick his hands into the cup to swish the water around. I was thinking to myself, "I would never let him do that!" But you should have seen the grin on our son's was priceless!

The way papas play is two guys might make/leave a bigger mess than I do but they have so much fun together when it's just the two of them, it's awesome!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Long Time Gone

Wow it's been over three weeks since I last posted anything here. With my very hectic spring semester winding down, my gardening and yard work winding up, and lots of family/friend events going on, those have been exciting/exhausting weeks to be sure, but my absence is more than that too. I think I'm kind of out of ideas, at least temporarily. Do you guys have any thoughts about what I should write? What is it that keeps you coming back to see if I've added anything new? I'm sure there are things I could talk about but to be honest, I'm simply enjoying spending time living my life and not focusing so much on writing about it. I've felt kind of bored with several of my posts lately anyway. Plus, blogland seems to have changed. It seems like many of the blogs I read have slowed down over the past few months...or is it just me?

Moving on...

Our little toddler (how is it possible that we have a toddler?) is constantly on the move and keeping us very busy! To be honest I'm more exhausted in the mom department now than I ever have been before, even when he was a newborn baby. By the time his bed time rolls around each night, I am r.e.a.d.y to wind down in a big way. Having said that, every day with him is something new and special. I love to watch him learn and discover the new things in his environment. I love being his mom.

He adds new words to his vocabulary all the time. This week it was apple (apoo) and fishy (ishe.) He also mimics how we say, "I love you" but it comes out sounding more like iooeuuuu. He has the right sound pattern though and the right number of syllables. It's the best thing in the world, even though no one but us would know what he's trying to say. :) We have this cute little dialogue thing we do when it's just the two of us in the room. He will say, "Mommy" or sometimes, "Mimy" and I will say, "Charlie" or, "Yes, Charlie?" over and over. We go back and forth and mimic each other. If he says three M sounds then I say three C sounds and so on. This exchange usually ends in peals of laughter, which I love.

He absolutely adores books and being read to. He will sometimes spend 15 or 20 minutes sitting in the middle of the floor looking at his books. His current favorites, in no particular order are:
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear
  • Counting Kisses
  • Barnyard Banter
  • The Rainbow Fish
  • Goodnight Moon
  • Whose Knees Are These
  • Here Are My Hands
  • Daddy Kisses
  • All About Baby: A baby's Guide to Babies
This is great because books are always the perfect tag-along toy for car rides or when we're going to be somewhere that doesn't have many toys. Sometimes he even falls asleep holding books, which is perfectly adorable! Depending on his mood, he will even occasionally sit through short story books, such as, "A Blessing From Above" or, "I Wished for You." I cherish those quiet times with my little guy and really, really love that he enjoys being read to as much as I enjoy reading to him. I honestly feel that this is one of the very best things parents can do with and for their children.

He's also going through a clingy/fear stage at the moment and to be honest, I'm kind of glad. This boy has always been a social butterfly who will go to anyone and who even (usually) likes total strangers. Not that I want my child to be afraid but it's nice to know that he does sometimes want his mommy/daddy and that he does differentiate between caregivers. As for the fear, loud noises such as the garbage truck, UPS truck, loud planes, other babies crying, etc. have really been freaking him out lately. He will be playing happily and then something will startle him and he will run over to me and grab my legs. It's both sad and cute at the same time...and (again with the honesty) it does give me a bit of an ego boost to know that I'm the person to whom he most often looks for comfort.

We've been having fun. Michael and I are a one-car-family out of necessity and it's not always easy being stranded here with a little one all day but we make the best of it. I'm so grateful for this time with him because I know the day will come when I will look back on these experiences very fondly. At the risk of sounding incredibly Pollyanna about the whole thing...this parenting gig is pretty awesome most of the time!