Monday, June 27, 2011

Family Time

Every weekend Brendan and I have the same argument about family time.  I understand where each of us is coming from but it seems like we can never get the right balance.

See, as a stay at home mom, I am with my kids all day every day.  I don't get sick days, I don't get coffee breaks, I work from 5:30 am to about 9 pm at night.  During the week we find things to do--playdates, trips to the children's museum, the zoo, whatever.  By the weekend, I am so ready for a break that I tend to just want to hand the kids over to Brendan and go hide somewhere. 

Brendan, however, would like family time.  So he's always saying what should we do today?  Let's go to the zoo!  Let's take a walk!  Let's go the park!  I say okay, you take the kids, that'll be fun.  I'll take a nap, or get some sewing done.  Then he gets mad because he wants family time. 

I don't know, I feel like we spend plenty of time together as a family.  I don't know what B's expectations are.  We went to the farmer's market together on Saturday, we had a cookout with friends Saturday night.  We went to his parent's house together yesterday morning.  We all were outside together yesterday.  And yet he still got mad we didn't have enough family time.  What does he want??  I don't want to go to the zoo on a hot busy Saturday.  I don't want to take another walk to the park we go to almost every day during the week.  I want to go read a book or sew.  I want to get coffee with a friend.  I want to catch up on sleep. 

So basically we need to come up with a plan.  What do other stay at home moms do with this situation?  I'm so sick of my kids by Saturday morning that I just want a break!!  And Brendan's tired after a long work week and he wants to play but is also needing some time to himself.  So we have to figure out how each of us gets alone time, family time, and couple time.  Which we haven't really figured out yet.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Big Girl, at SCHOOL!

Seriously, people, Ingrid is huge now!  She is just getting so big and mature and she just turned three.  I feel like it was forever ago that she was a baby. 

Yesterday was her first day at preschool.  She loved it!!  As soon as she woke up she was begging to go.  She wore her backpack with her pjs until it was time to get dressed.  She ran up the stairs into Miss Carrie's house, ran right to her first project, and didn't even look at me when I said good bye.  I said it a couple more times until she finally called over her shoulder "Okay, mama, bye!" 

Some people cry at leaving their child for the first time.  I did not.  I immediately got home, put Otis down for his nap, and sewed like a madwoman!  I got SO MUCH accomplished in the few hours she was gone, it was awesome!  I got washcloths listed, made a couple sets of cloth wipes and listed those, even got the front of a robot quilt done.  Otis was asleep for a couple hours, then he woke up and was cuddly and smiley, then he ate, and it was time to go get Ingrid.  What a great morning!

The teachers said she just jumped right in, and they were helping her learn what each thing was for.  "Miss Jamie could barely keep up with her," they said, which is code for damn, she's got a lot of energy!  But they took it in stride and seemed to like her enthusiasm.  Good.  We came home with some paintings and drawings she had done and she passed out for a two hour nap directly after coming home. 

Tomorrow is another day, we'll see how she does with it after the novelty wears off.  I have a feeling she'll like it, she needs social time with other people, as she is a social person and is stuck at home with me and her little brother all the time.  When we go to the park and there are other kids there, she runs over and gives them these huge hugs that make me think she is starved for other kids! 

We also found out about a couple other Montessori public schools in the area that have openings for their K3 program, so it looks like we will be able to send her in the fall!  Exciting!  The one in our neighborhood is one of the most popular schools in the city so they basically laughed at me when I asked if I get her in.  There is a 90 child waiting list.  So we have to drive her to another school instead of walking to our neighborhood school, which pisses me off.  But, what are you gonna do?  I will enroll her in another school for this year and then for K4 hopefully we can get her in the one in our neighborhood. 

All this from a person that wasn't even sure I wanted to send her to school at all!  Brendan is amazed by my switch.  But I think it's all to do with Montessori.  It really seems to gel well with Ingrid's personality, and it's not the same old school like I had.  I just see her being so advanced and mature for her age and I cringe to think of her with the basic stuff I had to do.  I was SO bored in school.  I don't want that for her.  If she can be in a Montessori school I think it will be better for her.  Yay MPS for having Montessori schools--like six or seven of them! 

Monday, June 20, 2011


I signed Ingrid up for a summer program that some Montessori teachers are doing.  It's in one of the teacher's homes, Ingrid will go for two mornings and have lunch there.  We went to an open house yesterday to see what the set up is, meet other kids and their parents, and talk to the teachers. 

Ingrid was in love the minute she stepped inside!  They have three rooms set up with all the goodies from their classrooms.  It all looks so inviting, but I was terrified to see glass things and ceramic things and other breakable things right at Ingrid's level.  She is such a tornado!  She breaks shit all the time!  I immediately started to feel apprehensive.

There are kids that older and have gone to Montessori for a couple years, so they know what everything is for.  Ingrid, however, is brand new to the whole game, and just went from one thing to another.  I don't know why I felt apologetic, but I did!  I was like oh my god, she will get into everything and knock shit over, and they'll all think I'm a bad parent!

I have never ever felt this way before!  I've been pretty confident in my parenting skills, I love my child and her feisty ways, and I do believe a child's personality can outweigh what their parents do (aka, it's not my fault she's such a spaz!) 

So yeah, it was a real eye opener.  I know she'll have fun but now I'll all worried that the teachers won't be able to control her or they won't like her because she's such a handful.  I know what a handful she is and I love her because I'm her mother, but other people don't have that connection.  I think I just have to take a deep breath and know that they are teachers, they have seen a lot of different children in their time, they know how to control other people's kids.  Right?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Meltdowns and Tantrums

I bet you thought I was going to talk about Ingrid's tantrums, didn't you?  But no, I'm the one having a meltdown.  At the end of the week I am just so tired.  Of everything.  Of everyone.  I'm tired of doing another load of laundry, I'm tired of unloading the goddamn dishwasher again.  I'm tired of hearing Ingrid ask me to get her water bottle that is two feet away from her.  I'm tired of Otis teething.  I'm just tired.

So tonight I threw Otis' bottle across the room.  It was in my hand, I felt mad, I threw it.  And you know what?  It felt kinda good.  I totally get why Ingrid has these tantrums and hits things and screams.  It feels good.  Sometimes you don't wanna use your words. 

I was going to write this post about how sick I am of being the only one that can ever do anything around here, but then Ingrid called out from her room "Mama?  I'm sorry I yelled at you.  I love you."  And I realized that yes, it's a hard fucking job, but it's worth it.  I get to see Otis' drooly smiles first thing in the morning, I get to give Ingrid kisses and hugs when she's groggy from her nap.  I get to do these things now because that's what phase we are in, and some day it will all change and I won't get to do them.  So I should quit complaining (and throwing things) and embrace the fact my children need and want me. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Family Size

We had the talk last night.  Are we done, for sure, having kids??  I think we are.  Brendan is anyway.  I'm about 80% sure.  And when we were deciding on whether or not to have another after Ingrid, I was 80% sure I wanted one.  So...I think we're done. 

I have to wrap my mind around that one.

A few people I know are pregnant right now for number 3, and even though Otis is still a baby, I was a little envious when I found out.  Then I found out another friend is pregnant for number 2 and she got pregnant when her baby was Otis' age.  Sigh...I hate being pregnant, I'm remembering last summer how sick I was, how miserable I was in the heat even though I wasn't big.  How life seemed to stop while I laid on the couch for months at a time.  And let's not forget the whole three week hospital bedrest ordeal!  And yet I'm envious of pregnant women??  What's that all about?

We were dead set on having an only child, and I do have to say I'm glad we changed our minds.  Watching Ingrid be a big sister is amazing, she loves to make Otis laugh and talks baby talk to him.  Yesterday morning she got up and said "Where's my Otis boy?"  And Otis is nothing but smiles for his big sister, even though she's not gentle with him at all.  He gets smacked in the face by her foot or gets a hug that suffocates him, and all he does is gurgles and smiles like it's the best thing in the world.

So another one?  I could do it.  I loved this past six months with Otis.  Using the Moby, nursing him, sharing a bed with him.  He's now settling down for naps on his own, bedtime on his own, he can sit in his Bumbo for a half hour or so at a time, or on his play gym and be content while I get things done.  By the time another Bub would be here, he'd be walking and eating solid food and would be a toddler!  So yeah, I could do it.

But Brendan says he doesn't want to.  And I can see the pros of being done now.  I could finally lose all the weight I've gained birthin' babies.  Ingrid will be off to school soon and it'll be just me and the Fat Man.  We can sort of travel right now, we have a parent for each child so it makes it easier to keep an eye on them.  It's kind of like we have the best of both worlds--our kids each have a sibling and we still have a relatively calm household. 

It's just hard to say never.  I've heard women say they just knew when they were done, they knew their families were complete.  I don't have that gut reaction, I could still imagine another one.  But I also am enjoying our new life back in Milwaukee, the idea of buying a house and making it our home.  I don't really want to be pregnant for another one.  So, I guess we're done. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sewing for Fun Vs. Money

I've started to think about putting my etsy shop on hold this summer.  I love to make stuff for it, it gives me a great creative outlet, and it makes a tiny bit of money for me to feed my fabric addiction.  But...I've been feeling stressed about it lately.  With a teething baby and a needy three year old, it is hard to come by time for sewing.  And I find myself wishing they'd just shut up for ten minutes so I can get some sewing done, how's that for a great mother?

I have a million friends that are having babies right now and I haven't made a thing for them.  I keep getting distracted by the shop.  Instead of making something for them, I think "Oh!  That would do well in the shop!"  How selfish.  I need to take all my cutest fabrics and make something for friends.  I have a ton of stuff stocked and haven't made a sale in a few weeks anyway, so why do I feel the need to continue producing items for sale? 

I also have not made a thing for either kid in forever!  That was how I got started was by making stuff for Ingrid, and now here the poor kid is with nothing in her size, as she's outgrown everything I've made for her.  And Otis got two pairs of pants this winter and nothing else. 

Okay, I think I've convinced myself--my priorities for this summer and sewing are to make more for my kids and my friends and just have fun with it. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

On Strike

Well, it seems Otis is on a nursing strike.  Today after his first feeding after he got up, he refused to nurse every single time.  Blech.  I just hate it!  He gets all fussy and then when I try to feed him, he dives in and seconds later is screaming his head off because my letdown is slow.  I try to stay calm and get him to try a little harder but it just pisses him off more.  So after about fifteen minutes of this, off to the kitchen I go to make a bottle...and then he just sucks it down in no time at all and falls asleep or lets out a big burp and a smile.


I want to nurse him for at least a year, that has been my goal.  And I really love to be able to feed him and have it be so easy and without needing anything but a nursing bra.  I looked online and there are all these women talking about how their kids did the same thing and it makes me feel better that I'm not the only one.  The doctor even said it was really normal for babies his age to start to resist because of teeth and just their newfound awareness of the exciting world around them.  Okay, it's normal, sigh of relief. 

But then...I read what the women end up doing to get through the strike and some of these women are pumping every three hours for months at a time and giving them breast milk in a syringe and all this craziness.  Am I selfish for really really not wanting to do that?  I did the whole pumping thing and I hated it.  I was hooked up to that thing all the time, and I swore once I didn't have to do it anymore, I never would.  But here I was today pumping three times.  And swearing the whole time.

So, how much do I want to continue?  And why am I even worrying so much?  He's getting fed, he seems happy and healthy no matter where it's coming from, shouldn't that be the most important thing?  But I have all these hang ups like I'm failing if I don't try harder to keep him going.  And then I think f**k it, isn't it better to feed him and see him calmed down than trying to nurse him and watching him scream?

I guess I'll just keep trying to nurse first, then if he really gets upset give him a bottle.  And hopefully he will get over it and we'll go about our merry way and nurse for another year.  

Monday, June 6, 2011

Trying to Be Adventurous.

We just got back from our camping trip.  It was awesome!  The first time we took Ingrid it sucked.  She didn't sleep, Brendan and I were both crabby, we barely lasted through the night.  I wanted to pack up at 3am and just drive home.  That was two years ago, we hadn't gone since then.

But...we love camping, we want our kids to love camping, and now we're back in Wisconsin so we have places we want to go.  And so we tried again.  With a five month old and three year old.  And you know what?  It went so well! 

Otis was jolly and grabbing his toes and babbling in the fresh air.  Brendan took him in the Moby on a couple hikes and he napped.  He fell asleep in my arms as I sat at the campfire.  Ingrid was in heaven, getting dirty and playing with sticks and telling herself stories about the trees dancing in the wind.  She played at the lake and went swimming and took a bike ride with Brendan. 

The whole weekend was magical.  We were spending time together as a family, we didn't get into stupid fights because we were stressed, even though both of us were super tired as Ingrid was up at 4:45am!!  We reminisced about other trips to Door County, we ate good food.  And it made me so glad that we didn't shy away from trying to go camping again. 

That's one thing I want to remember with my kids--always try new things.  Sometimes they don't work and it's a disaster and I hate the whole trip (like the time we visited friends and Ingrid was up screaming all night long and Brendan ended up sleeping in the car with her on his chest!) and sometimes the trip is amazing and we have so much fun.  Either way, we are making memories.  Stories that Ingrid will someday share with her friends and maybe even her kids.