A Little Romance

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Over the past week my husband and I have snuck in a little more date nights than normal.  Some of that time spent with other couples, some just alone, some while we were all dressed up and some of it in our sweats.  It had been a few weeks since we really had time together and then there we were, with all this extra one on one time and man, did we soak it up.

We knew last night would be the last bit of time we had with each other until Thanksgiving.  He is set to work every day until the Turkey calls.  So we curled up in a corner booth together, on the same side like those corny couples, in a dark restaurant, with no desire to rush through dinner.  We talked about where we are at and where we are going. Updated our life plans as we saw fit. It was totally not the night we had originally planned but sometimes plans fall apart and it is the unexpected moments that work out the best.

We are rushing as parents, planning the date night and the babysitter weeks in advanced.  This is no different from any other household.  Spontaneity of sex on the kitchen counter gone because hello children and a sister who lives with you.  Spontaneity of anything romantic goes out the window, let’s be honest.  We find our selves talking over the toddler, who never stops talking, while we let the barking dog out the back door.  We make comments in passing and via text but eye contact can be hard-fought when there is a hot dog exploding in the microwave.

So we have to find the moments while we can, without them being planned in advanced.  Even if your husband comes home early for the afternoon.  Or you find yourself dancing in the kitchen, with the music turned up, so that you can’t hear the toddler screaming about joining your dance, while she tugs at us.  It is the peace we find in that 30 seconds when our heads hit the pillow at night and we whisper love you before we drift off.  But sometimes that love you turns into a two-hour, late night talk, just like when we were first dating.

That’s how we make it work.  Not with a planned once a month date night but with every little moment that we don’t take for granted in between those date nights.  The moments we choose balance and grace instead of keeping tally and nit picking.  The moments we truly see the one another.  The moments that we realize this is the life we dreamed of when we pictured getting married and having a family. It isn’t pretty but its our type of pretty messy life.

 

Turning Three

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For at least 5 months now, Cora has been asking for the same toy at Target.  Every week we go to the baby doll aisle, she picks up the box and stares at it lovingly. She goes over everything that comes in the box, pink baby, diaper, bottle, and binky.  Then we say goodbye to “pink baby” and get on with our shopping as she announces, “I will have pink baby at my birthday!”  If others had the joy of taking her to Target she would direct them to the right aisle to visit her beloved pink baby.

Slowly that 3rd birthday crept up and on the last trip to Target, we strolled down the aisle and pink baby was not there.  Cora cried real tears but asked, hopefully, if it was because someone bought pink baby for her birthday.  (I had indeed already made that purchase online.)

About two weeks before her birthday, Cora started to ask for a flat bed.  A bed like mommy and daddy’s and Kendall’s and Grandma’s and she listed every person with a normal adult bed-you know, a flat bed.  She currently has this exact set up for a toddler bed:

After asking for flat bed she proceeded to start sleeping on the floor or her Pottery Barn chair.  She was quite done with the toddler bed.

In the midst of our crazy October we realized the conversion rails for her crib to full size bed were on back order and decided to just go grab the mattresses.  So 8pm, the night before her birthday, there we were, heading into the city for mattresses, sheets, etc.

On the morning of her third birthday Cora woke up and excitedly asked if it was time for pink baby and flat bed.  Mind you, we never told her she was getting these things but that is literally all she talked about.  She almost cried out of happiness to sit in the middle of the living room, on flat bed and play with pink baby.  I almost cried because in that moment I was so thankful that we are able to afford this moment and capable of giving that to our child.  Simple wishes in a child’s heart.

Per her other requests we spent her birthday at the pumpkin patch and I made her  dinner that evening of hot dogs, mac and cheese and Cheetos.  She ate none of it proclaiming she was full on water, while the adults ate it all.

The next day everyone came to our home to celebrate with a Minnie safari party.  Complete with a requested blue cake with sprinkles. We had an animal rescue company bring in animals that the kiddos got to hold and learn about.  The favorites being the alligator, skunk, snake, and the best- a baby kangaroo!

Our party, as always, lasted well into the night where pizza was ordered, someone went out for more booze and the kid fell asleep on the couch amongst new toys and discarded wrapping paper.  We all nursed our own version of hangovers the next day.

To my Cora,

Three doesn’t seem so crazy.  Not as crazy as turning one or two did, maybe because the crazy milestones have slowed a bit. You are so smart, smarter than what we can handle some days and that can scare me.  We sit and do your workbooks in the evenings and I wonder how you learn so quick.  You are hilarious with your smartass comments, perhaps that is due to living with three adults.  You are my shadow and love to work out right next to me.  We can often find you dancing and singing, especially when watching Ellen.  You have a love for your baby dolls, finding the moon in the sky, digging in the dirt, pasta, play-doh, Minnie Mouse and Paw Patrol.  You never quit jumping on things, around things, over things or off of things.  I have no idea how you haven’t broken bones yet.  You are still an absolute fish and sail through the water every week. You want to grow up and be like Daddy, running a construction company and girl, go for it.  I hope you do.  You love to fix things, build things and create.  You have such a heart for your family and I think you may love your puppy even more than us some days, especially in the early morning hours.

You are our dream come true and we love you so much.

Happy third birthday crazy kid.

We love you.

October Chaos

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October is my second favorite month, following July.  It is full of traditions, fall excitement, our anniversary, Cora’s birthday, special Halloween outings and so much more but today, I’m glad it is the last day of this month.  It has been so full of things, all wonderful, that my cup has runneth over (all over the floor really) and I need a nap….for 24 hours straight.  In fact, I went over my calendar for the next week and canceled a bunch of things and said no to a bunch of things I previously said yes too.  I over booked myself and I had to take back some control.

I got caught up in the fun and festivities and my kid started staying up too late and missing naps.  She may now believe she is in charge and I think she needs a few more time outs in her life to set her straight.  Don’t get me started on the candy corn for breakfast thing.

I let things slide and the house got messier. Please do not look under my couch cushions and don’t ask how the tear got there.

My husband’s hours ramped up before the snow flies and we crammed more into our social calendar.  Oh, but late night trip for mattresses? Sure!

I almost quit my job, should have quit my job, husband demanded I quit my job, looked for jobs, interviewed for jobs and yet here I am, still at said job.

We had some big talks and longer talks and started looking at land, talking to realtors and squeezed in a few meetings with some builders.  Have you ever had to clean the outside of your home to make it look so pristine, in the pitch black dark of night because hell, where did the sun go?

We stayed up late many nights, cheering on the Red Sox and making sure the dog got walked. I started drinking more during the week because we found ourselves adulting in bars to catch part of said games.

We celebrated life with big parties and small parties and I have a crazy amount of leftover plates and napkins, that match nothing for some reason.  At one point my home had a baby kangaroo jumping around it and tiny children holding snakes.  Literally.

I wouldn’t take any of it back but it is time to take back control.  Tomorrow we will put away all family shark costumes, hide the candy from the toddler and take a deep breath.

Happy Halloween!

 

 

I hate bedtime with my child

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There I said it, I hate putting my child to bed.

Yes, it is true.  That magical time that parents talk about at the end of their day, I fucking hate it.  I know, I’m in the minority and some of you are sitting there thinking I have got to be the worst parent on earth.  I get why you might like it, I used to like it.  Past tense.

I also believe all problems in the middle east would be solved if we sent toddlers to negotiate with the terrorists.  Because seriously, the tactics these kids have ALL day and then it comes to bedtime and there is a whole other level of crazy and seriously, I’m all for world peace.

My toddler is a good kid. Seriously, as far as toddlers go, I can’t complain too often but every mamma has her limit and mine is at the end of the day.  It is at the end when I spent all day patiently repeating myself to the point I might as well have been talking to a rock.

Put your shoes on.  Put your shoes on.  Seriously, please put your shoes on.  Are you listening?  Did you hear me?  Put your shoes on. Fine, don’t wear shoes.

Eat dinner.  Take a bite of dinner.  Aren’t you hungry?  Eat your dinner.  Do not give it to the dog.  Do you want dinner? Fine, go to bed starving.

Go to the bathroom.  Go to the bathroom.  Go to the bathroom.  Dude, pee before bed.  Seriously, the bathroom, go there.  I will give you candy corn if you go pee.  FUCKING GO TO THE bathroom. Fine, pee the bed.

Lets get your pajamas on.  Put your pajamas on.  Can you please put your foot in.  No, it isn’t naked time.  No running. Get back here.  Put your pajamas on.  Fine, go to bed naked.

THE ENTIRE DAY goes this way.

So by the time we make it to her room and all things have been negotiated and she may or may not be dressed and may or may not be fed and I have run through all my patience…we sit down to read books.  She knows it is three books but has already began negotiations for 20.  As I read she demands food because she is now hungry even though five minutes prior she had half of a pop tart and crackers. (Thinking I’m ahead of the game)  We read three books and I turn off the light. She turns back on the light to get a Band-Aid because suddenly there is an owie.  Light back off.  Into bed to sing songs. She flails around, farts, demands she has to poop.  Into the bathroom.  Asks again for food. She evil laughs.  Back to bed.  Lights off.  Lights on for socks that we refused when we first came to the room.  Lights off.  Begin to sing songs.  She sings over my singing.  Demands I start from the beginning because she couldn’t hear me over herself.  Cover her up, she kicks them off.  Refuses hug till I make my way to door.  Always at the door, demands hug.  Hand on door knob.  Demands kiss.  Halfway out the door. Begins crying because Wade at daycare pushed her today.  She feels the need to discuss.  I make it out the door.  Turn on monitor.  She announces she needs covered up again.  As I head back out the door it is like she knows I’m going to break so she sweetly says “Gooooooodniiiiiiiight mamma I love you!” Evil laugh.

Nothing about that was fun.  Some have told me to just give in and enjoy it for she will grow up soon enough.  I find zero enjoyment in this.  I’m actually over it.  I give 100% all day and I just want her to go to bed.  Yes, that I love you at the end is fucking precious but I’m ready to go down and workout, to have my own time.  Selfish some may say? Sure.  But it is the cold hard truth.

Anyone else with me?

 

 

If one is pregnant, then both should be

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Over Labor Day weekend my SIL and brother announced they are pregnant with baby #2! My nephew was born 4 months after Cora was so it will be exciting to be graced with a new baby to sniff and snuggle in this family.  I knew they were having a bunch of sex trying for another baby so this wasn’t a shock to any of us.  It was nothing but happy news all around.

Fast forward a few weeks later and I’m learning that people suddenly think because her uterus is in full use, now mine should be as well?  As I tell other family and friends about the news, one of the first things they say is “Does that mean you are going to have another soon?”  “Are you guys trying?”  “Why haven’t you had another then?”

WHY?

Once more, WHY PEOPLE?

My answer each time has been something along the lines of, WINE. Or, her kid popped out sleeping through the night, mine still doesn’t.  JUST SAYIN.

I get everyone thought it was precious that we were pregnant the first time together but it isn’t a requirement for round two. I was perfectly happy to sit and sip my glass of wine, listening to how she is feeling this time around.

Look, we don’t know if we are done or not.  We have an idea of what our path to another baby might be but that could change. Either way, can’t my SIL have her moment?  I’m pretty sure it isn’t a competition here.

Honestly, it was hard to enjoy my nephew when he was little.  I had a stage-five clinger, non-sleeping child, while my nephew was a dream baby.  If my child was detached from me, I sure as hell didn’t have a desire to hold him.  I’m looking forward to sniffing this new one, in the Spring, right after I return from our adults trip to the islands, and then handing him or her right back to their parents!

Last call for the binky

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There are some things, I think we can all agree as parents, that are hard to let go of.  For me, it was the binky.  Cora has been attached to that thing from day one. I remember the day at the hospital when she first took to it and I told my husband that it had to be gone by the time she was three.  That was my cut off date.

Fast forward to last March where we cut the binky time down to just naps and then just bedtime without any real issue.  Her turning three was still forever away, in October, so I didn’t think much of it.  Slowly though, that nighttime habit became well, annoying.  She didn’t need it, we all knew that but suddenly I was having a hard time cutting her off from it.  I wasn’t sure why. Actually I did know why, it was the last “baby” thing she had.

Cora has been fully potty trained for some time now.  She sleeps in her toddler bed.  Bottles were long gone years ago.  She has conversations.  We have been working on preschool workbooks and writing her name.  Hell, the kid can make her own waffle and is a pro at doing her own laundry. For a kiddo who hit all the milestones early and acts much older than she is, I was holding on to the last little piece of my baby.

So we had a talk, Cora and I.  The binky had to go and bribery was our plan. I took her to Target to pick out a new baby doll that she wanted and explained that it had to replace the bink.  She was on board.  We printed out a picture of the bribery, I mean, baby doll and stuck it to the fridge.  Three nights.  That is how long she had to go without bink and then we could head back to Target and pick up that new doll.  She did it with zero questions, complaints or whining.  Doll purchased, binkies in trash and we moved on with life all before that three year mark.

It was bittersweet for me. Non kiddo people look at me like I’m nuts but we all have our thing.  That kid went and grew up on me, so fast, just like they say they do.  I think part of me struggles with not knowing if we will have that chance to do it all again.  Do we even want to do it again? Who knows?

How did you end your binky habit?

 

Where the story ends and I begin it

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For years now I have had people tell me I should write a book about our journey with Rebecca.  What we went through when we were younger, how everything progressed over the years, and where we have landed now. If nothing else, to show people how the system can really be, how tough it is, how things should change and how if affects a child.

Through out the years I just never felt like that timing was right.  I didn’t feel like the story had an ending yet, better yet, the happy ending that everyone would want to read.  The ending that you would think would come out of all of it. I think deep down, I was waiting for that ending myself.

Now, in the past two years, I feel the ending has come. My time raising her has ended, abruptly and sadly.  The ending that we had always hoped for, doesn’t exist.  Sure, life can change down the road, as she grows older and wiser perhaps we can reconnect on some level but it will never be the same.  Her continuing actions are creating a journey that will be complicated and rough for her. I can no longer help her with that.

When we first found out she was 14 and pregnant, I cried for days.  I was angry, hurt, sad and every other emotion you could imagine.  I’ve prayed for her, thought of her every day, and miss her terribly.  I saw her at my Grandmas funeral in May, she stood feet away staring at me, a person I no longer knew.  A person about to turn 16 and pregnant with her second child, unsure who the baby daddy was, the possible fathers standing all within the same vicinity of us.  Yes, I just wrote all that.  I stood in the back at the funeral, my last obligation to this family and walked away for good, not looking back.

The day I found out she was pregnant with her second child, I had just left our fertility specialist.  Yet, I didn’t cry, I didn’t get angry, I didn’t feel sad, I felt nothing.  I called my ex-husband and we spent a lot of time in silence, on the phone.  Neither knowing if there was anything left to say that hasn’t been said over the years.  I couldn’t work up any type of emotion and I thought seeing her there, that day at the funeral, would work up something and it didn’t.  The person I knew is gone and I can’t do anything about it.  I can’t do anything about how she is living, the fights between the baby daddy and her, the cops repeatedly being called on her, the possible drug use, etc.  The system did/does its thing, she made and makes choices, and the consequences are hers and the rest of the family that is involved.

My character in this story is no longer needed, it is nothing more than a bystander , watching a disaster unfold, from afar and I can’t begin to tell you how fucked up that feels.

Years ago, when I was seeing a therapist for my divorce, we talked a lot about this situation in particular.  I can honestly say I think I have talked it out and around in circles but I need something else.   I’m now feeling that need to maybe put it on paper. Write the story in its final way, as it is today.  I don’t know, honestly, what I am looking to gain from it, aside from the chance to tell my entire side.  The side that people didn’t want to hear over the years, the side that my family ignored, the side that very well, may come back up in court, thanks to some custody proceedings that are current.  Also, I’m tired of explaining it to people that ask or that I meet or that have questions.  I’m tired of starting from the beginning because the beginning was 16 years ago and fuck that is hard to cut down into a 2 minute conversation.

Her story continues without me but I still want to share our story.  My hope is that, God forbid, someone else finds themselves in the same journey, they know that others have walked it before them and they are not alone.  Because Lord knows, it is a damn lonely path.

Saying YES This Summer

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Summer has made me a bit MIA here lately and I can’t apologize for it.  There are times I wish I would sit down and write about more of the little things, for Cora’s sake.  For my sake as well, honestly.  That was one piece of advice that I wish I would have taken, getting a journal when Cora was born to write down the funny little moments and words to look back on.  Not like there isn’t still time, she isn’t going to college tomorrow:)

Anyways, summer.  We all come up on summer with this picture perfect endless season ahead of us.  Thinking there will be plenty of time to accomplish everything, chase fireflies, catch up with friends and soak in the pool…and then summer flies by and comes to a screeching halt, only half of the fun list accomplished.  Last summer I was adamant about soaking it all up with my kiddo.  This summer is no different but I’m adding more to it.

This has been my summer of saying yes and following through.  Kind of backwards, I know.  Back in early spring (who are we kidding, we didn’t have spring) back in winter, a friend suggested a girls trip with our kiddos.  I said yes and walked away knowing damn well the summer would get away from us.  I decided to not let that happen, I shot an email out, picked a weekend, booked hotel rooms and it happened.

It felt good too.  So I decided to continue it.

I’m not stuck at home with a baby.  My kid is old enough to enjoy more things. We have more flexibility.  My child will FINALLY stay with a sitter.  We have two solid sitters at that.

I just made it a habit when someone suggested something, I pulled up the calendar and made it happen.  Picked a day, confirmed and followed through.  From full trips to coffee dates, brunch, pool days, adult date nights, birthday weekends, yoga meet ups, and more.  I’m saying yes to seeing friends I haven’t seen in a long time, taking new adventures, not putting things off for another day or another summer.  I’m letting the laundry go longer, my house isn’t spotless, my dog could use a bath but I’ve laughed a lot, hugged a lot of friends, shared drinks, soaked in the sun, and more importantly created some fabulous memories.

I get it, this can be tough.  Normally I have had a yes problem that needed to turn into saying the word NO.  Especially around the holidays.  Why is that? But I’m being wise with my YES.  The mom’s that bash their husbands, I’ve completely ignored them.  The negative friend, I’m saying NO to.  The person who has a kid that Cora doesn’t like, saying NO to them too.  Why even go down that road? Not my monkey’s and not my circus.

The key here is while our summer is busy, it doesn’t feel chaotic or like it is wasting away.  It feels like I’m still soaking it all up but the goal is that by the end of summer I feel content with it all.  We are saying yes to the moments that feel right and I’m loving every minute of it.

How is your summer looking?