What is a single parent?

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I have a question to ask you.  Perhaps one that may be very personal to some of you.

Who is classified as a single parent?  When does a parent get to say “Yea, but I’m a single parent.”

I know people who I would consider single parents.  For the sake of this post I will say single mothers but I do understand there are equally single fathers out there.  To me they are the one and only for their children.  They are the sole provider of shelter, love, birthday presents, and bedtime stories.  They are the only person who has a say in their child’s medical care, their child’s chauffeur, chef and nurse when they don’t feel well.  The single parent doesn’t get a break because there is no one to tag in.  There is no one to sit next to them at parent-teacher conferences, no one to bounce ideas off of for raising their child, no one they have to answer to for parenting decisions.  The single parent is just that, the single person taking on the role of both parents.

To me the single parent is just that because they have lost a spouse, the other parent has walked away or perhaps just doesn’t even live close enough to share in the parenting.  There are a multitude of reasons.  These people, I applaud.  These are the men and women that I look at and I don’t know how the hell they do it.

Now, I know some who call themselves a single parent and this is where the problem lies.  To me, they aren’t a single parent.  To me they are 1/2 of a co-parenting team even though that other parent may not be in the household.  Perhaps this is because of a separation or divorce, but that other parent DOES parent.  That other parent takes their scheduled time with the kids, pays their financial part, does their fair share of driving the kids to and from things.  This other parent helps with medical decisions, is there for conferences, is a back-up to stay home with a sick kiddo if you can’t.  Hell, you may even still have access to that extra set of Grandparents that can babysit!  To me, a divorce, with appropriate co-parenting does not make you a single parent.  It makes you a single person.

Am I wrong?  Am I wrong when my friends throw down the “single parent” card to want to roll my eyes?  A card that seems to be thrown down while their children are happily with their father for the weekend and the Mom has the childless time to come and meet me for a glass of wine, that she can afford due to alimony and child support.  Hell, she could even go home and take a nap afterwards.  A card that somehow dismisses the role their father plays in their life. Meanwhile, in my head, I think of all the parents that seem to be real single parents that are not afforded any of these luxuries.

I know every situation is different and it isn’t a black and white answer.  I’m going by my own personal experience for the people in my life.  Perhaps I need to be more forgiving of their circumstance.  Perhaps I need to shut-up and thank God I’m not in their shoes at all.  I know when my Husband is working long ass hours in the summer and not seeing his kid for a week straight I say things like “solo parenting” or feeling like a “single parent.”  Do I honestly mean or know what that is like? No.

So help me out here.  What do you consider a single parent?

 

How to Cope With Our New Reality

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We boarded a plane.

We went to Jamaica.

I drank.  I sat.  I thought.  I read three books.  I didn’t move.

I realized how stressed I was once I finally relaxed.

It was then that I could start processing.  Processing my feelings and how I wanted to proceed with everything.  The Hubby and I had so many conversation about our new, altered future that I honestly don’t think I could have thought about it if it wasn’t for the fact that we were sitting on the beach. I was able to have a clear mind.  No laundry waiting, no sleepless nights due to a teething baby, no work emails, no mail piling up.  Just us.  Us and some rum in my drink.

Some of you may have read the last post and had some of your own feelings regarding the matter.  Maybe you adopted from a teenage girl.  Maybe you were the pregnant teenage girl yourself.  Maybe you have had the pregnant teenage daughter.  In many of those cases, yours or otherwise, things worked out.  Things were okay. The end of the world did not come.  Some of you do understand, to a point.  Some may even think we are over reacting, only because I have been told that once.  Every case is different.  Every story is different.  I can tell you, without a doubt, this will not end with a pretty bow where we can all say that God clearly had a plan.  Trust me.

On our trip we made decisions.  We made a plan.  I let go of a lot and left it there in the water to wash out with the tide.  I had to move forward.

When we came home I called our lawyer.  Someone I haven’t had to talk to in 10 years.  That one phone call was better than any bit of therapy or wine to this situation.  Aside from my ex, he is the only one that knows every sordid detail of our story.  We talked.  We both choked back tears.  He reassured me and my decisions.  We will not move forward on anything legally.

I talked to my ex.  We both agreed on how we would move forward with the advice of our lawyer.

We have raised a child for 14 years and legally have no rights.  We have always known this.  Our system is fucked up.  While there are some steps that could be taken, it does not change the facts.

I sent Rebecca one last text giving her our love and support.  Letting her know we were there but she can contact us if need be.

We have heard from many more family members since we came home, giving us more information.  Words have been said, not by us, but others, that cannot be taken back.  I mentally let it go with the tide though.

My ex and I have giving up more than we can explain for Rebecca.  As does every parent though.  We gave her every opportunity.  We fought for her in everything.  We were open with her about her story, her future, why she needed to work hard in life and how we would always be there for her.  We probably fixed things too much for her. We swooped in and did it all for her because we were trying to make up for her bio mom, how different her childhood was, etc.  We can’t do that anymore.  She made decisions, she is making decisions and she has chosen her future.  She no longer wants to include us in that and I will accept that.  We will always be here.  We will always love her.

The most important thing we have learned is that we can’t enable her from here.  We can not be here to give her money, to be a leaning post, to one day let her borrow our car or sometimes crash at our place or bail her out of jail. This may not make sense to some of you but it does to us.

We will step back and let Bruce (the one who holds guardianship) do what he thinks from here.  Much of this is due to his actions as well so he needs to deal with the consequences.  Again, might not make much sense to you but it is true.

I spent an afternoon packing up Rebecca’s room.  Giving her clothes to Goodwill.  Crying over her baby doll on her bed, drawings stuffed in drawers, things that she will no longer play with because she has tucked away her childhood for something else. I neatly tucked away her snow globes, picture frames and other momentos for one day down the road.  I put those containers of memories next to her baby totes in storage.  I’m not sure when they will be pulled back down.  When she is 21?  30?  Understands more to come to me…To ask the questions…To have the conversations that won’t happen now.

She hasn’t even been in the room since last May and every time I went by it turned my stomach to knots.  It was like being thrown back to when we were in court and we couldn’t see her.  The scar that I thought was covered has been ripped open.  It floods me when I least expect it.  Memories that have been long buried attack me.  She has been the hardest thing I have done in my life. I feel a million emotions and I’m fearful for her but I’m still very proud of her, if that makes sense.

We will paint her walls, I will delete her Disney recordings on the DVR, I will turn her room into a guest room but I am not deleting her from my life as some may think. Instead I’m being realistic.  I’m moving forward with our reality.  A reality I prayed would never come but is here. We have to make decisions that are best for Cora, for our mental stability and for our future.

None of this has come easily.  Much will happen in the next coming months.  When we have been questioned by our decisions I still feel confident.  Just as I did 11 years ago in court.  Sometimes we have to walk paths in our lives that no one will understand. In those moments you will learn who is truly there for you, what really matters, and you will gain a new faith in your own self.  Then again, if you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else?

 

 

My World Has Been Broken and Few Understand

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I have struggled to write this post.  Starting, stopping, deleting, and walking away.  I have words I want to say but I just don’t know how to say them or where to start.  With Rebecca I have never known where to start.  She is my own messy story and for those who don’t know how the story goes, well, they ask a lot of questions and I don’t always want the questions or the judgement.  I just don’t have anything left in me for the judgment.

I want to write though because I find myself, once again, going through something in my life at a time when no one else is.  I was very young when I started raising Rebecca.  None of my friends had a baby yet.  I married when my friends didn’t, divorced and remarried when none of them did, went through infertility and was pregnant at a time when they all had grown kids. I was always going through a major milestone when they were at a different point in their lives and I have really struggled with that. It has left me struggling with who to lean on, who to turn to, talk to, and find common ground with.  Perhaps some of that is for a different post though.

I have realized in the past year that as I struggle with a 14 year old, none of my friends have that issue.  Their kids are all in the 5ish-10ish year old range for the most part.  In a way, an easy age.  They forget the sleepless nights of teething, the need for an early bedtime and they don’t quite have the worry of a full blown teenager on their hands.  They think they have time yet. Time to not worry about the sex talk, drugs, rebellion and the other things that will haunt our dreams as our kids start turning into mini adults.  It just so happens my household holds one extreme to the next.  A teething baby and a 14 year old girl.

(If you would like the rundown on Rebecca please go to this page and read through.)

Last Memorial Day weekend Rebecca was with us.  We sat down and we planned out her schedule for the Summer.  When she would be with us and then with my ex.  The other time spent with her biological Mom, who still does not retain guardianship over her.  Yet, the person who does and has held that guardianship has lacked in the parenting department.  That in itself is a long story but not part of this post either.  We dropped her off with not a care in the world.  I literally remember thinking to myself we might be okay.  We might just make it with her. We might have just been doing this right the whole time.  We might just get her to 18 and to her high school graduation. The next weekend we ran into her and my ex at the town carnival.  We all chatted and she cooed at Cora in the front pack.  Big hugs all the way around as we walked to our car and she went to enjoy some rides with the only person she has known as a father.

If I knew right in that moment that that would be the last hug.  That would be the last good moment.  If I knew that life would never be the same for us…..well…I’m sure many people have moments like that ingrained in their head and wished they didn’t.  Instead we walked away thinking everything was okay, normal and we would see her in two weeks.  Only, we didn’t.

The excuses came over the summer.  The flu.  Wanting to hang out with friends.  Just plain not showing up. She missed family vacations, trips and simple summer weekends.  My ex received the same treatment.  Her texting to us slowed.  She started ignoring us.  The person who carries guardianship over her (We shall call him Bruce) told us she was acting out.  He didn’t want to push her. Then again he never pushed her for much because he has been too busy with his life.  He has lacked in a lot of areas with her.  Once again, a post for another time.

Some nights she would text my ex or I.  Never a phone call though.  Long conversations would start and we would just soak up what we could.  Figure out what was going on in that head of hers. We knew she had slipped through our fingers and we were back to the beginning.  We were back in a place of no control. For the first time since we went through court, when she was three years old, her room sat empty, collecting dust.  A bag still packed in her closet for a trip that came and went that she never showed up for.  Those emotions from 11 years ago were starting to boil up.

We eventually received a few updates from Bruce here and there.  I knew he was hiding the truth from us.  School had started  She is now an eighth grade and they had to pull her out of her private Catholic school.  She has been acting out, refusing to go to school, and is sneaking out of her bio mom’s house in the middle of the night.  She is moved to an alternative school.  She is going through therapists like toilet paper.  She refuses to talk to anyone.  Her bio Mom has never been any help (obviously why she doesn’t have guardianship) and is letting her run rampant.  Bruce won’t move her back in his house because that would ruin his own life.

She missed family pictures.  She missed the festival.  She missed Cora turning one.  She missed putting up the Christmas tree.  She missed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.  Things she has always been there for.

The New Year started and I was driving home from the city with Cora sleeping soundly in the back seat.  My cell phone rang. I just knew, looking at the caller ID, that I didn’t want to answer it.  That life was going to change.  We all know that feeling.

It was Bruce.  The News- As an eighth grader and at 14 years old, Rebecca is pregnant.  I pulled over before I drove off the road, tears welling in my eyes.  How could this happen?  How could he let this happen?  It is his fault. But I scream none of it and I listen to him lie to me, give me pieces of information.  I can tell that because we have been at this for years and I’m not stupid.  He says she will give the baby up for adoption and move her to a school that has a high pregnancy rate so she won’t be the only pregnant girl.  She has been dabbling in drugs.  They want to hold her back in school again but they won’t.  Oh and the father.  The father is someone he has been telling her for a year, A YEAR, to stay away from.  I know his tactics though.  He told her in some passing conversation and never brought it up again.  The father is her cousin.  OH, but not a cousin by blood but by marriage.  So apparently that makes it okay.

I hang up and drive through tears.  The hysteria starting to boil up.  Years of everything flashing through my brain.  This is one of those top five things we really never wanted to hear.  We talked with her about sex.  She just watched both me and my ex’s wife have a baby.  We did not make it out to be glamorous.  She knew.  Fuck, she knew.

I call my ex.  A phone call I never wanted to make. I can’t breathe.  I can’t answer.  I can’t tell him.  He runs through the list of the top five things we worry about and it comes out of his own mouth.  He chokes back tears because he is at work.  He tries to compose himself.  The rug has been pulled out from under us.  We are the only two in the world who understand this feeling right now.  The hell we currently feel.  The gut punch.

And in the days that followed, we realize Rebecca damn well did know.  We find out this was her third “pregnancy scare” even though she was taking birth control.  I don’t know what that means exactly.  Who I have thought about, multiple times, since hearing this, is everyone I follow in the blog world and real world that can’t conceive.  They have tried, they have battled, they have loss, they mourn and they try again.  Yet a 14 year old girl with no care in the world of consequences, on birth control, can get knocked up.  By her cousin. That isn’t technically a blood relative.

I drank a lot.

I cried a lot.

I yelled a lot.

For multiple reasons I did all of those things a lot.

Days later we find out she isn’t going to give the baby up for adoption.  I think that was just something they told us to cushion the blow.  In fact, she will keep it and the family is making it out to be great because that is how fucking white trash they are.  In their trailer, living off the government, with no future. In the same cycle as her mother and grandmother.  She is now a statistic. A statistic we worked so hard to make sure she wouldn’t become.  She will have a reveal party on her 15th birthday.  Isn’t that fucking precious.

I text her our support because that is what we do.  Should do. She won’t talk to us.

We hear things that make my stomach turn.

Like how the father’s family will fight for custody because they don’t want the baby in the same house as Rebecca’s bio mom.  The same people who didn’t back me years ago.  The same people who haven’t spoken to me in years.  Our court case will be pulled into it.  Our names written on papers, probably subpoenaed. It makes me vomit.

I send out an email to close friends and family because I don’t know what else to say and I can’t repeat the words over and over to explain to each of them.  Also, I’m suppose to meet one of them for dinner and can’t pull myself together for that.

Thousands of words are said.  Heard.

A friend calls to tell me she is sorry to hear the news but isn’t it great that she, herself, has found out she too is “accidentally pregnant” and due a few weeks before Rebecca.  Well, 33 versus 14 and pregnant.  She wants sympathy because she isn’t married or living with the man.  I hang up.  I don’t care.

A week after hearing the news my Husband and I boarded a plane for Jamaica.  If there was ever a time for a trip, it was in that moment because 2017 has not been kind to us so far.

 

 

Just because I have a kid doesn’t mean I like kids

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When I was pregnant I wrote about how people assumed you should love their kid because you are pregnant.  Wrong.  It was such a weird phenomenon. Turns out, it just keeps on getting better….I mean worse.

I may be in the minority but just because I have a kid doesn’t mean I like kids.  Or I should be more specific and say I don’t like all kids.  I mean, I did coach gymnastics for years and worked in daycare for years but then kids kinda burned me out and so did their parents so that is why I’m in the insurance world now.  Now my clients wear me out and act like children.

I digress.  I’m not a person who likes to stick my kid on others.  Also, my kids hates all people so that means I can’t really stick her on anyone to begin with.  Having a kid people assume you will automatically be a second set of eyes for their kid.  Especially in public.  Hey, I’m going to just go over here and grab my towel, have a conversation with my friend by the pool but I’m sure you will let me know if my child is ready to fall into the water.  I actually have my own kid to watch and this is mommy and me swim lessons, not social hour.

Just because I have a kid in my cart at the store doesn’t mean I will excuse your child when they won’t get out of my way.  Is it cute when little Susie is skipping down the aisle at Target, singing a song, in her own world, not paying attention?  Yes, because you are a good parent who apologizes and guides Susie to her own side of the aisle so we can pass.  Is it cute when little Susie purposely won’t get the fuck out of my way and wants to play a game of chicken on purpose?  Nope.  Please, dear mother, don’t give me that look that says “kids will be kids.”  No, instead tell your kid to show some respect and move their butt.  I have a cranky kid ready for a nap, low on puffs and I’m trying to haul ass through Target.

Before we had kids my friends were not in the habit of bringing their children to my home.  They would normally ask if it was a kid friendly event that I was having before they brought them.  That was cool and for our larger parties I have always announced that kids were not welcome or were welcomed.  I’m rude that way but it seriously depended on the tone of the party.  Since having a baby around people assume it is always okay to bring their children.  They also assume it is a free for all for their kids to go in and destroy play with all of my child’s toys.  Nothing has changed since our baby arrived.  I still don’t like some of their children and still don’t want them in my house.  They carry germs, disease, eat all my food, (and then bitch about my food) and tear the crap out of my house.  Also, my kid lives here so she is naturally going to be around for wine night.  I have no choice in that.  I have a choice in your child being here.  The answer is no.

This is repetitive from my initial pregnant post but there is always the over share person.  The person who you sit next to at the doctor’s office, work or the random acquaintance that you run into at the grocery store.  They see your kid and think it is fine to start pulling out pictures of their own kids/grandkids/niece/nephew/twice removed dog and start telling story after story about them.  Let me just say, I’m not a total hater, I don’t mind swapping war stories with another mother but you know who I’m talking about.  The people who don’t know when to stop, what is appropriate and THEN, with that story, they somehow sneak in a way of how you are probably parenting wrong.

Having a kid at your hip, like being pregnant, opens up a world of crap that people assume about you.  They bust in on your bubble and assume an open book.  Hey, we might all be in the same boat called parenting but it doesn’t mean I want to be that close to your kid.  Hell, I don’t even like my own kid some days.

What I have learned about being a Mom thus far

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I’ve been raising one kid who is now 14.  Her situation, from day one, is unlike any other.  Our situation can’t be compared to raising Cora or compared to someone else in her classroom.  It is our own and different, I’ve accepted that.  I can tell you, starting all over from the beginning with this little one, I still don’t know shit. But I feel like I can look back and tell you a few things I’ve learned.

Sometimes my mama gut is dead on but 75% of the time it isn’t.  I don’t think mine works right.  I swear maybe the baby has an ear infection and I drag her to the doctors for them to tell me she is fine.  I’ve heard the Mom stories were their mama gut just saved their child’s life…meanwhile mine is over there licking the window and I have zero clue why.

I can’t buy baby crap online.  I’m certainly a walk in the store and stare at the packaging type of person.  I mean, I can manage buying diapers on Amazon and her pajamas, that I know we love, but that is about it.  Plus, then I start reading reviews and clicking on more options and then I’m more confused than ever.

Speaking of being confused, I have learned researching can make you crawl in a hole.  I was good about not Googling much when I was pregnant and just going with the flow.  I’ve tried to do that since she has been born but there are just some things you have to go to the internet for.  When should they start eating jar food/solid food, when do most drop to one nap a day, how to get rid of night bottles, how to get your child to fucking sleep through the night already, etc.  And you know what, it doesn’t matter what the internet says.  None of it.  Don’t even go to Barnes & Noble for the book.  Your kid will do that shit when they are ready.  Sure, the internet can give you ideas that you can try but your kid will sleep when they damn well please and eat real food when they want to, not when you are jumping around like a damn monkey making airplane noises.

Be prepared for anything.  There is a reason Mom’s have endless shit in their purses.  It is because they have been there.  Inevitably you will walk into a nice restaurant, on time for your reservation, with your 6 month old in an adorable dress, who will then choose that moment to have a monster, blow out, shit, in the car seat.  At least it isn’t in your arms.  You calmly resign to the bathroom and start where you can, with loads of wipes, while your family is being seated and your Husband orders you large alcoholic drinks. But it is okay because you packed the bag with a back-up cute dress, plastic bag for the poop dress, loads of wipes and an extra swaddle blanket to lay in the now disgusting car seat.  You walk to your seat with swagger because you just managed that shit (literally) and just pray that there isn’t a second blow-out…because you aren’t prepared for that.

I have learned people are going to judge you and you have to not care.  When your baby is climbing out of the shopping cart at Target, while you are checking out, and that bitch lady behind you is wondering why you can’t watch your child better, you ignore it. Because she doesn’t get that seatbelt doesn’t mean crap on that shopping cart and you have stopped short of actually purchasing duct tape to get her ass to stay put while you try to dig through clearance.

I have learned that when you ask others for parenting advice or their way of doing something with their child, listen.  Ask questions if need be. Then take that info and use it if you need to or don’t.  Realize that every family has different needs, lifestyles and goals.  What worked for their family may not work for yours.  Just because they love that car seat, you may not.

I have also come to realize I’m incredibly uncomfortable with my pediatrician saying Cora is developmentally ahead.  She has said this from the time she was born and I looked around at the other babies, lying there, shitting themselves, wondering how the hell my kid is different.  I see it now but don’t fully get it when every kid develops differently.  What difference does it make?  If she is so ahead of the game why did it take her 14 months to figure out that most people like to sleep through the night?  I mentioned to her pediatrician that Cora has gone after the dogs butthole to well, plug it with her own damn finger.  How smart can she be?  Smart enough to plug it on the first try, was her answer to me.  Gross. I’ll put that on her preschool application then.

Sippy cups.  I have never struggled buying something for my child more than a sippy cup.  Should be simple.  I heard horror stories of bottles but we didn’t have that problem.  Liked the first one we gave her.  But there I stand in front of sippy cups of varying degrees.  There are about 1800 stages for each type of cups and then there are sub types and age types and then I’m left looking for a life vest.  We have a cupboard full of ones she has tried and discarded.  Only one type she will use for milk, one sippy for water and one kind with a straw.  The rest are collecting dust and my lost patience.  And if we have another kid, that kid will surely want the exact opposite.

I give up on finding a mommy group.  I don’t want to be in one.  I have friends. Some with kids, some with none.  Making new friends as adults is tough enough.  It is made tougher when you are worried about your kid licking their kid or vice versa. Then you have to ask if their kid has had their rabies shot and then you fall in a rabbit hole of political talk.  Hell, I don’t even like some of my friends’ kids so lets just cut our losses and move on.

What are some of the best things you have learned as a parent?

 

Post Holidays and 14 Months

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Our holidays have come and are almost over.  I say almost because I am hosting one last family get together this weekend at my home.  Then I can finally take my tree down.  Vacuum up all of the needles and then vacuum again because they are never gone.  I can pack away everything neatly, for another year and gain some control over my home again.

Cora was completely overwhelmed by the holidays and all of the people.  We attempted a trip to see Santa because I have go see the big guy.  I swear I will pay for her therapy for it one day.  Christmas morning she hid behind a present or on my lap.  She gripped her hot wheels cars and stared at the chaos that was ensuing around here.  She watched, from a safe distance, as her cousin ripped into gifts.  One Christmas gathering after another and she finally got excited to open her own gifts.  We spent most of the time rescuing her from family members that didn’t understand she basically hates all people.

It seems that our little one has decided to take some big leaps and bounds over the holidays though.  A time when most don’t focus on making changes with their little ones, sometimes they do it for us.  Our schedules were completely off and we ran from here and there but somewhere in there, my terrible little sleeper, decided to start sleeping through the night.  Just like that.  No need for a cup of milk, no need for a snuggle and no need for sleep training or what not.  Happily (finally) exclaims “night, night!” and takes off to her room on her own.  Ready to go to bed whether the clock says it is time or not. She is still on two very long naps a day.  I’m certainly not ready to give up one of those naps and she doesn’t seem to be either.

She has also started letting us know when she needs a new diaper.  She will come up and tap the front of her diaper and then drags us to her changing table.  We still need to keep a onesie on her at all times or she will take that diaper off and take a wee on the floor.  I’m assuming this is all a good sign for potty training one day but I have no desire to start that right now.

The child has a ton of words and will repeat the ones you don’t want her to say.  She has also decided to start actually taking an interest in signing.  Which some find it nice for their babies to sign for basic communication, it is necessary in my home as both in-laws are deaf.  So she isn’t just learning basics, she is learning the full language from her Dad who is fluent.  Me, not fluent, but also learning.  All in all it is amazing how helpful this can be.  Her favorite thing to sign is “help” which she constantly uses in the truck because she wants help getting out of her car seat….while driving down the road.  I have never seen a kid hate the car so much.

We are completely off of jar food and feeding her is finally something that doesn’t give me complete anxiety.  She is finally getting better about food in general.  She still doesn’t care for any form of meat but that is okay.  Her favorite thing is cheese so if there was one sign she learned fast was “eat cheese.”  She will ask everyone for cheese just in case you are hoarding some in your purse.

At 14 months old she is at 20lbs and still in 12 month clothing.  Her puppy is her best friend.  I finally was able to put the top of her hair in a pony!  She still rocks only 6 teeth but man, I can see about 4 coming in right now.  Ouch.  Hence, a lovely mood.  Her favorite toys are still anything to do with wheels.  She loves to ask for the music to be turned on in the kitchen so she can dance around.  For Christmas we got her a Pottery Barn anytime chair.  Let me tell you….she loves that damn thing.  She has always been a bit obsessed with chairs and she sits on this like it is her throne.  She has made leaps and bounds in swimming lessons, which blows my mind and we are soon starting our second session.  She still hates people.

Hope you all enjoyed your holidays as well and are off to a great 2017!

 

Investing in our Marriage

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Thirty days from today, the Hubs and I will board a plane, alone, and head to Jamaica.  We will leave behind our child for the first time and not just for a few days but for 6 nights and 7 days. My sister will be in charge of the baby and the dog.  Managing themselves to get to and from daycare and work.  Tackling a way to get everyone fed, bathed and to bed at a reasonable time.  Fingers crossed the baby will try sleeping through the night for her…..

I mean, my anxiety level over this is a bit high right now.

People have asked how I could possibly leave my child for that long for the first time.  Out of country, no less.  I bite my tongue.

Because what is waiting on that island is what I need right now.  What my husband needs right now is there.  What our marriage needs right now is there.  Nights where I can drink and not worry about how much.  I can pass out in bed and no worry about the baby monitor.  Not worry about when she will wake. I will not be tethered to her schedule but merely to my own.  I can eat as I please.  We can turn off our phones.  Unplug.  Someone else will make my bed and food.  We can have all the sex, whenever we want. Did I mention the sleep? Oh, and the warmth is an added bonus too.

Before baby arrived the Hubs and I always took Rebecca on one family vacation a year and then him and I took one tropical vaca a year.  We love to travel.  Cora has messed up that schedule a bit and we are determined to get back on schedule.  We need this time to invest in our marriage.  Sure, we could do that in a hotel room a few cities over for a night or two but that isn’t enough.  Life is going faster.  A baby kinda takes up space and time.  Sure, we do date nights but sometimes you need more than that to reconnect.

No, our marriage is not in trouble but as the winter has settled on us, we find ourselves not carving out as much time together.  There are no evenings on the back porch talking or long walks with the baby and dog to chat.  Instead we are huddled on the couch discussing schedules for the holidays.  Time slides, things slide, and we are two ships passing in the night as plow season has started as well.

So while people turn their noses up to our travel arrangements, we call it investing in our marriage.  Time away to unplug and focus on just us.  We are firm believers that the better our marriage is the better we are as parents.  We will miss our little one and I will worry about her endlessly but there is a beach, with a drink, and a lounge chair waiting for each of us.  Count me in.

What do you do to invest in your marriage?

beach

Stranger Danger

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Every baby goes through a stranger danger phase.  It is completely normal for them to be unsure of their surroundings and not want to be near strangers.  It can take them time to warm up to others before showing their true personality.  Years of daycare, I’ve seen all types.  I’ve also seen the type of kiddos that seem to have zero stranger danger fear, they don’t know a stranger, in fact.  I hear that the mama’s of these types of kiddos are always a little more on edge.

Well, it turns out I have one that has extreme stranger danger.  Honestly, she always has.  When she was real little (just a few months old) and people would want to come over and hold her, she would have none of it.  She doesn’t go to Grandparents that she sees every few weeks, never has.  We have no babysitters aside from our day care provider and my sister who lives with us.  She doesn’t go to friends that come over once a week for wine.  It is fine if those people maybe want to sit 10 feet away from her, with us in her direct eye line, and then they can maybe speak a few words to her or push a truck her way.  They better not dare try to pick her up or touch her though.  We can’t leave her with anyone.

Please don’t tell me it is a phase.  It has always been like this.  13 months old and we can’t just drop her with a friend to watch her.  She will scream bloody murder until we come back.  No, there is no distracting her to calm her down.  The girl commits and doesn’t stop.  No, it isn’t because she gets a bad vibe off of them.  She has that vibe with everyone.  We can stay at my mom’s place for 3 days straight and maybe, just maybe, she will let her hold her for 30 seconds before protesting.

Here, hold my kid so I can eat.  Nope

Here, hold my kid so I can run to the bathroom.  Nope.

Here, let my kid come over for a play date.  Nope.

Here, go to the daycare at the gym so I can take a yoga class.  Nope.

You would think we were overly attached parents to our child with the way she acts.  She independently plays by herself just fine.  She goes to daycare just fine.  She will take off in the backyard on her own, exploring.  She has even started venturing to her room to play by herself without requesting us.  But the old lady saying hi to her at the grocery store requires full meltdown.

All of this, is tough.  Very tough.  Most friends and family don’t get it.  The ones that do are great about giving her some space.  Others, like my MIL, force themselves at her and it just creates a headache.  I don’t want to force her on anyone either.  The kid loses it.  It isn’t a game where she will get over it because she doesn’t.

Have any of you had this type of kid? It is tough.  Exhausting.  And it gives me anxiety.  We need to find a temporary babysitter while ours is out on maternity leave.  Even our current babysitter is scared to death of how she will act somewhere else.  I just keep thinking we will grow out of this but she hasn’t and doesn’t look like she is going to anytime soon.