Happy Labor Day Weekend everyone!! I hope you're enjoying these last few days of Summer.
School starts for us on Tuesday and the boy and the girl head in on Friday. I don't want to jinx it but there's a very good chance that my eldest child, the boy, might be heading into school in big boy underpants!!
Allow me to regale you with the events of my weekend thus far.
Yesterday we began our Labor Day weekend with a shopping trip for bribes. We picked up some candy. We picked up a GIANT coloring book and a brand new box of Crayola crayons. We grabbed a few Backyardigans books and of course a Handy Manny coloring book. Oh, and we must not forget the Diego water color book that has been our potty toy.
We had some lunch with the grandparents and then they took the girl and I took the boy. The only way this was going to get done was if my youngest child was not with me. It's very hard to get the boy on the potty when she's telling me she has to go potty. She also lets me know when she's poopy. She's right 60% of the time.
The boy passed out cold on the way home and proceeded to stay asleep for another 90 minutes!! I was in SHOCK!!
When he awoke the training began. We went right to the potty and he did what he does best- Pee. SUPER!
From then on until bedtime we were on the potty every 15 to 20 minutes. Let me tell you when you're getting up to go to the potty every 20 minutes, the evening goes FAST!
Because we're crazy we're also using this weekend to break the boy of joining us in bed. While we understand that he is still having nightmares, they are lessening and now he just enjoys sharing our bed. So, the gate gets closed on his door. The past two nights I've spent part of the evening on his floor. Not so comfy.
This Labor Day weekend certainly is not shaping up the way I thought it would!
Our big push has been pooping on the potty. That did not happen yesterday. BUT neither did pooping in the diaper/pull-up. I claim that as a tiny victory.
This morning I woke up to poop in the diaper but no pee. Also a teeny tiny victory. Since being awake we've used the potty half a dozen times and no pee in the pull up.
The best though?
The husband and I decided that we'd take the boy out for dinner tonight if we had a good day today potty training. We have a place by us that serves their kid's meal in a car. It's cute. The boy LOVES it. So, we decided we'd take him there. The boy is sitting on the potty and says that he wants to go to grandpa's restaurant. Out of the blue. JACKPOT! We chatted and I said we could go there tonight and see grandpa and the boy's uncle if he did really great on the potty today. No peeps or poops in his diaper. And going on the potty. He was excited and then informed me that his diaper was like the potty though because you're supposed to go in your diaper.
Genius. I feel so much better "forcing" this training on him after hearing that. He gets it. It's time.
So, right now my child is sitting on our living room floor on two towels, watching Disney and wearing Diego Big Boy Underpants. I don't want to jinx it. I don't want to get too excited because I know there will be accidents. But we're doing pretty good. I've been plying him with yogurt and juice boxes all morning to make sure he's got something to do when he approaches the throne.
Hopefully, this is working. Hopefully, we'll be abandoning pull ups and diapers sooner rather than later. Hopefully, this Labor Day weekend will be one to remember for a really long time.
Thank you to everyone who commented and emailed with tips. I appreciate it. I have to say everywhere I went if someone found out we were getting ready to train they had something to share. And I can't tell you how many people shared that they had kids older than mine who potty trained late!
This wasn't the most exciting post. It wasn't heart wrenching or exciting or even that funny, but it's part of the daily grind. It's part of being a mom. It's part of having kids. It's part of why I want to rip my hair out occasionally. It's part of life.
Speaking of hair....I think I may use this single child weekend to dye mine!! (Totally off topic....)
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Happy Labor Day Weekend everyone!! I hope you're enjoying these last few days of Summer.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:24 AM
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Ok, all you moms, dads, readers, whomever out there I'm turning to you!!
As you may have read this weekend is Potty Training/Poopie U at our house. This is the big push. The boy needs to stop crapping his pants and start putting it where it belongs.
My current plan is to set a timer to go off every 15 minutes. Each time it goes off we head to the potty for 5 minutes. We sit. We chat. We read. We wait. Then we do it again in 15 minutes.
If there's pee we get a small piece of candy. If there's poop we get a BRAND NEW CAR! Uh, no. We get a bigger piece of candy or multiple pieces of the pee reward candy.
Here's where you come in to play. Bring on the poopie advice. Share your best tips, tricks, ideas, whatever! PLEASE!
Please give me all you can over these next few days. Anything you can give me to help us out would be GREAT!!! And so appreciated!! I would LOVE to start the school year with the boy out of pull ups and the girl almost out of diapers.
So, come on share your poopie advice....I'm waiting with bated breath!!!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 4:07 PM
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Tomorrow is the day.
Tomorrow I go back to work. Kind of full time. Kind of part time.
Tomorrow and Thursday I have meetings. I have to sit and listen to blood borne pathogens and handbook policies. I have to meet new teachers and staff members and greet old ones- some physically old but most just old because I know them already. I have to sit on really uncomfortable chairs in the school library and listen.
Essentially, tomorrow and Thursday I will spend my days just as my students do- listening to stuff I don't feel like listening to.
I really haven't given this beginning of the new school year much thought. I thought about getting a new outfit. Not for tomorrow, for next week. I thought about getting classroom supplies- Staples gave me a new USB drive just for being a teacher, woo hoo! I thought about seeing the co-workers that I haven't seen all summer. But I really haven't thought too much about tomorrow and the days that follow.
My kids won't be in daycare probably until next Friday. I am making a big push-hah- this weekend for potty training. We're doing poopy U at our house from this Friday through Labor Day. Tomorrow and Thursday they'll be with grandma and pop-pop. Next week they'll be with the husband and with grandma. Really, I don't feel like I'm leaving them. I feel like I'm going to the supermarket or out to lunch with friends and they're just home or playing with grandma.
When I think about next Friday and daycare it's so different. I don't know why. Well, I guess I could speculate. It's the fact that it's not a family member with them all day. It's the fact that they're back in a setting with lots of other kids. It's the fact that it's not an extension of me caring for them.
That bothers me. It doesn't bother me enough to stay home full time. Well, it could if we had the income. But I'm not even completely positive of that. I like my work. You know that.
We had a really good summer, though. When I think back to last summer and how, well, shitty it was I am really proud of how far we've come. How far I've come. Last summer was all about depression and sadness. Last summer was PPD. Last summer was the couch and the TV and crying and sadness and anger and hating being home. Last summer was no fun.
This summer was the beach. This summer was laughing. This summer was the sprinkler and the pool and sno cones and day trips into the city and down the shore. This summer was spending time exploring with friends and family. This summer was peaches and high points and botanical gardens and playdates and fun. This summer was crying and anger and sadness, too, but not nearly as much as last summer- not even close. This summer was fun.
I could say that I don't want my summer to end. I could say that I want to continue being home and being free to take the kids and go whenever. I could say that I want to be able to go apple picking in the afternoons in the upcoming fall and go for hayrides during the mornings. I could say all of that and I wouldn't be lying- completely.
I am excited for tomorrow. I am looking forward to see people that I've missed this summer. I am looking forward to catching up with them, laughing with them, just being with them. I am also excited for this Friday when I get to be home with my kids and spend the day doing nothing.
This time of year is always hard. At least for me. I get excited for the new beginning. The chance to start fresh with a new class and new material. I get excited for the months that lay ahead.
Then I get sad.
I think about my kids and the months we've been home together. Yeah, we've had our rough moments. Yeah, I've begged for work to come faster. Yeah, I've cried over poopy diapers and my messy house. But I was with them. And now I won't be.
It's a fine line to walk. Some days are harder than others. Some days I want to be home so much more than I want to be at work. Some days I want to be at work so much more than I want to be home. I worry over it. I over analyze it. I over think it. I underestimate how intense my feelings are going to be.
This year, I'm just going to let it happen. I'm excited for tomorrow. I'm going to enjoy tomorrow. I'm going to enjoy seeing my friends and co-workers. I'm going to enjoy blood borne pathogens. Probably not. I'm going to be in the moments of tomorrow and know that my kids are enjoying every minute- probably- of their day with grandma.
Tomorrow evening I'm going to enjoy being home and being with my family. And I'm going to take Thursday as it comes. Next Friday, daycare day, I'm thinking I may not enjoy so much but I'm going to do my best not to worry about it until we get there.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:08 PM
Saturday, August 23, 2008
My heart broke a little bit today. Or at least I think that's what I felt. I really don't know. I don't know exactly how to describe it.
The boy is on medicine daily. Twice a day. Nothing major just a precaution to keep him healthy and keep his breathing and respiratory system clear.
For the most part, I remember the medicine. I will not deny that I forget. It's noticeable when I forget. It reminds me that he really does need it.
Today we had a bunch of the neighborhood kids and moms over for sno-cones and play time and sprinkler time. It was a nice time. The boy had a BALL! Seriously. Such a good time.
At one point he came over to me and I could see he was sniffling and was breathing hard. I also saw he was getting red and splotchy.
Shit. I forgot his medicine. It gets bad when he's outside so I always try to make sure I remember before we go out. Today, I forgot.
I had to wheel and deal with him to get him inside. Then he didn't want to leave the area around teh front door. He did not want to come in to take his medicine. I get that. I let him stand just inside the front door, went into the kitchen, measured the prescribed amount and brought it to him.
Two of the little girls that were over were standing just on the other side of the front door. A glass door. The one little girl said to the other girl, her sister, "Why does he have to take medicine? Is it because he's shy?"
I chuckled to myself. The boy is pretty far from shy. He loves playing with other kids. He enjoys playing with these little girls. He is pretty outgoing. I just had to laugh. And then it made me sad.
Maybe I should have made the boy follow me in to the kitchen to give him the medicine. Maybe I should have just let it slide and given him the medicine later.
I didn't do any of those things. I held back a few tears and sent the boy back outside to play and put the spoon in the sink. As I came back outside the little girl was asking the boy why he needed medicine.
My boy told her that he needs medicine because he goes to the doctor everyday. Then he ran off into the sprinkler. I chuckled again. The little girl asked me if he really does go to the doctor every day. I told her no but he did go a lot and he still goes more than most kids. I explained that this past winter he was very sick and the medicine makes sure that he stays healthy and keeps him from getting sick again. The little girl walked away.
My son is fairly healthy. He hasn't had a cold in months. A minor fever here or there. He's been doing so well since coming out of the hospital. Really recently he's started looking really healthy and getting back to normal. He still needs the medicine.
I know that winter will come and there's a good chance that he could develop pneumonia again- he's susceptible now. I know that winter will come and there's a chance his asthma might flare up. There are so many what ifs for him. I don't dwell on them but today it really broke my heart.
It just made me sad to have him be different in some way. It made me sad that the medicine that makes him healthy and keeps him from getting sick is what makes him different. This little piece of my heart just broke for him when those little girls innocently asked why he was taking medicine.
Like any other pain or difference or sadness I wanted to take it from him. I wanted to erase the hospital. I wanted to throw away the medicine. I wanted to make it all better. I know I can't do that. I think what made me the most sad was that he didn't hesitate when the girls asked him about his medicine. He answered about the doctor as if it were the most common thing in the world. I hate that.
That's what broke my heart.
I know there are so many kids out there that are so much sicker and suffer so much more. I think of them often. I remember them from the children's ward. I pray for them and their families.
As an adult I think of the things that I go through and I try to recognize them as experiences that make me stronger. As a parent I see the experiences that my children have that would be difficult for even an adult and I want to erase them.
My heart broke a tiny bit for my son today and my mind wondered if he would ever move past the hospital and the sickness. I wondered if he would ever stop having the nightmares. If he would ever realize that doctor is not so commonplace. Then I wondered, maybe it's the same for him as it is for adults. Maybe these experiences will stay with him forever. Maybe the hospital and the sickness will be ingrained on his heart and his mind and he'll grow up to help another. Maybe the experience that broke my heart will lead him to help heal another's heart.
I don't really know. I'd like to think that the experiences that stay with him longer are making him into the caring man I hope he'll be.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 12:14 AM
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I bought a coupon organizer yesterday.
Not a trendy one. Not a cute one. A Shop-Rite one. It's bright yellow and red and I'm fairly certain it says Shop-Rite somewhere on it.
I am so excited to organize my coupons into it.
I love coupons. Seriously. I love the feeling I get when I save money with them. Last week I got the mega jumbo box of Pampers for $10.99!! I had two coupons AND they were on sale! That's like 72 diapers for 11 bucks! I did a happy dance out of the store.
I need to go back to work.
I shop in the middle of the day and now with my coupon organizer I'm going to fit right in with all the old ladies int he supermarket that drive me CRAZY!
Hello, my name is Mountain Momma I have a coupon organizer and I am an 85 year old woman in a 28 year old's body.
The husband and I are sitting here watching TV but we have it on the AUX setting. I just looked and noticed my TiVo is taping something. I casually said to the husband, "I wonder what TiVo is taping." He switched over and it was those infernal Australians on the Upside Down Show!!
Bring on the nightmares!!
My husband had no idea that Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck were married. We just saw that they are having another baby- duh. He wanted to know who the first baby's father is. For some reason it really bothered me that my husband is so out of it.
He then asked if Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher were still dating? WHAT THE HELL!?!? Does he LIVE under a rock!??!
This is what happens when I stop buying People and US Weekly to save money! For the sake fo my husband I may have to go back to purchasing them.
When I can't sleep I have to sleep the opposite way in my bed. I've been doing this since I was a kid. I'll toss and turn for awhile and then finally put my head where my feet should be and vice versa.
I'm asleep within moments.
I've been waking up with my husband's feet in my face quite a bit lately.
I am currently at odds with Babies R Us. All aspects of the store and company. I LOATHE them right now.
This could all change. If it doesn't I'll tell you the story. But know, they are not so nice and not so accommodating!
I'm seriously considering going to see Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 tomorrow. I was going to camp out for tickets but the husband convinced me there probably won't be a run on them.
I guess he's right.
I guess I'm also going alone.
I walked almost the entire NY Botanical Garden today in flip flops. Why, you ask? Because they matched my tank top.
My feet hurt so bad right now.
Saturday is Staples' Teacher Appreciation Day by me. I am so excited about it.
Saturday may be the only day I set my alarm to get up all Summer!
Did you ever see that episode of Friends where Joey and Phoebe play that question game, I think Ross played, too? Phoebe had some dream about Ross and she was angry with him because of what happened in the dream.
You do rapid fire questions and answer what first comes to mind.
I did it with the husband in bed the other night.
Sometimes he really surprises me. Apparently, he pays attention A LOT more than I realize!
I am SO in trouble!
I'm making sno cones with my kids tomorrow. I'm considering keeping them naked for the activity and then hosing them down afterwards.
My brain is currently mush.
Work starts next week.
I'm going out tomorrow night. I hope. And most likely not to Traveling Pants. (They'll probably be sold out!)
I can't wait.
I hope this wasn't too scattered even though I know it was.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:14 PM
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I'm not complaining. Seriously. This is just something I was thinking about.
Doesn't it seem like it never ends? I'm talking about our kids and our lives.
It is seriously one thing after another.
It's not always bad. It's not always good. Sometimes it really is indifferent.
My mom? She found a lump. The doctor doesn't seem concerned. She seems confident it's nothing. But I know. I've been there. (So has she.) It's always something, even when it's nothing. For those days until you know it's nothing, it's something. And that's scary.
Yesterday, I took the girl to the pediatrician to have a few things checked out. Nothing major but enough that it was bothering her and I.
We are now dairy free. For a week.
I know that there are children that live their entire lives like that. Dairy Free. Wheat free. Gluten free. Peanut free. Right now, we only have to do it for a week. I cannot imagine having to do it for a lifetime.
But, yes we are dairy free to try and figure out what is wrong with our peanut. Could be lactose. Could be acid. Who knows?
While there we also had her vaccinated for the chicken pox. We vaccinate. We do not do more than two shots at a time. And I refuse to do the MMR shot with any other shot. I do not believe that vaccines cause autism but I could be wrong and I want to make sure I do what I can to protect my kids in the ways I see fit. My pediatrician respects that.
So, she got her pox shot. She can go to school now. Legally.
Tonight, after dinner, we took her out of the high chair and we were getting her changed when the husband noticed something on her back.
A rash. A bright red, splotchy, bumpy rash. DAMNIT!
I quickly applied hydrocortisone and then called the pediatrician. And then went online to look up side effects of the pox vaccine.
Rash is one of the side effects. Rash that turns into the pox. COME ON!
The doctor, actually one of the nurses, called me back and we chatted. The rash could be from ANYTHING. (thanks). The rash could be from the heat. (What heat? It was gorgeous today and we weren't outside all that much.) The rash could be from a new detergent. (Uh, no, sorry). The rash could be from her clothes. (The ones she's worn 20 times before?) Well, the rash could be from the vaccine but if it is it's not a big deal. (Uh, ok). It won't develop into full blow pox. That's only 1% of the cases.
FYI- My son? The one who spent part of the winter in the hospital. Was in the hospital because he was the 1% that had ultra serious complications from "minor/MAJOR" surgery.
Lucky for me she can go to school now that she's had her pox vaccine. Except if she has the pox she can't go to school.
My son? He's still not potty trained. Nope. And I hate it. He'll pee until his heart is content- on the potty. But poop? Nope. Sorry. NOT.A.CHANCE. He did it once on vacation but it wasn't intentional. We happened to put him on the toilet because he was tooting and we figured it was getting close to brown time. We were right. He peed and inadvertently pooped. He had such a look of, well, fear on his face when it happened. I felt terrible for him.
I don't know what to do. I admit I'm a little embarrassed. I don't want to push him and scar him for life but I also didn't really want to send him back to school not potty trained. It sucks and smells and I hate it.
Ahhh, it never ends.
Did you ever see the movie "Parenthood"? The one with Steve Martin. It's one of my favorites. It's funny. It's touching. It's endearing. It teaches a lesson and shows family at it's best and worst. Well, there's a scene near the end where Steve Martin's family is getting ready to go out and his grandmother is talking about going on a roller coaster with her now deceased husband. The roller...you know what? Just watch the clip....I'll wait...
It's about life. Martin's wife goes on to yell at him about that in the next scene.
I love that story. I love roller coasters. I love riding Batman at Great Adventure with no shoes on. It's one of those coasters where your feet dangle. It's an exhilarating feeling to have that freedom to swing your bare feet and feel the wind as you get tossed and pulled and pushed.
Life, regardless of whether or not you have kids, really is like the roller coaster. Could you imagine if it were like the Merry Go Round? Don't get me wrong, I love a good carousel ride but God it just makes me dizzy and want to puke if I stay on it too long. The roller coaster excites me. I am disappointed when the ride ends too soon. I am willing to stand in line for an hour and a half just to go on it again. And I never, ever, have to puke when I get off!
My point? It never ends. There is always something waiting around the bend. There is always something that is going to happen. If the past few years and even days haven't taught me that, nothing will. But it's ok that it never ends. The fact that it just keeps going and we get the good and the bad makes it exciting. Makes it worth doing it with no shoes on. (FYI-Great Adventure only lets you ride Batman with no shoes on if you're wearing sandals or flip flops. I always wear flip flops.) Makes it worth waiting in line for.
My kid may have the pox. We may have to go dairy free permanently. There may be other things looming on the not so distant horizon but that's ok. I'll take them because it's just about the best ride I've ever been on and I'm riding it barefoot!
And, plus, we all know how much I hate to puke.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:53 PM
Monday, August 18, 2008
I was going to write about baby sitters today. I'll save that for another day.
I was also going to publish a list of blogs, some on my blogroll some not, that I would have loved to invite to my dinner party but didn't because I'm a stickler for the rules. I guess I'll save that for another day, too.
I opened up anonymous comments on my PPD post awhile back. I never closed them. I wanted people to be able comment on the PPD post and share and I know that sometimes being able to share honestly means needing to stay anonymous. I had one or two anonymous comments. I felt ok with keeping them open.
I received an anonymous comment on my last post, the dinner party post. It wasn't mean but I felt it was wrong. I felt it was written with a motivation that was not very nice. I was bothered by it. I'm not sure many others saw it.
I deleted it.
I wavered over whether or not to delete it.
I open myself up to people commenting on here and because I left anonymous comments open, I open myself up to anyone and everyone. I generally don't have a problem with that. I am a public blog. I want people to read me and see what I have to say. If they comment, that's great. If they don't, that's ok, too.
Seriously. I'm not here for the comments. I'm here for the outlet and the community.
I found a great community of bloggers on AllMediocre and many that are not on there.
I don't know where the anonymous comment came from. I don't think.
I deleted the comment because it wasn't about me. It was about someone else and I felt like it was inappropriate to keep on here. If you want to attack me or rip on my words or feelings, go ahead. If you want to criticize me or what I have to share, go ahead. I ask that you be respectful. I ask that you respect my right to be here just as I respect your right to be here. I ask that you remember everyone deserves to have their words read and heard. I ask that you keep your words constructive.
More than anything else, I ask to share of yourself. If you have a blog, share it. Why does it have to be one against another? If you have words and feelings and emotions to share, share them. You will find an incredibly compassionate and understanding group of people in the blogging world, including me regardless of what you may have said to me or about me on my blog.
While I was upset by the anonymous comment left this morning, I will not be closing anonymous comments. If you truly feel that is the only way to get your voice out than that's ok and I don't want to take away anyone's voice or right to share.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 4:29 PM
Saturday, August 16, 2008
If you've read for awhile you know that recently I joined AllMediocre at the prompting of MOMMYVENTS. I really love it! I love that there are so many bloggers in one place and they have such wonderful stories to share and feelings to express. I love being able to pop over there and see what they're writing and keep coming back for more!
If you haven't done so already you need to check out AllMediocre and of course MOMMYVENTS!
One of the AllMediocre members, Auds at Barking Mad, has come up with a great idea to have a virtual dinner party where everyone is invited! Now, I love throwing a dinner party! I think they're fun and a great way to get to know people!! The purpose of this one is to invite 10 of my favorite bloggers and let you all know why you should be reading them and inviting them to YOUR dinner parties!!
As all wonderful dinner parties do, we start with drinks and appetizers. My first guest is someone who I've been reading for the past few months and she's been reading me for the past few months! We live states away from one another but we seem to have a lot in common. I love hearing all about her little guy and reading her words. Helen from over at My Bloggie Thingie arrives on time with refreshments for all!
Next, bringing in the beer, comes one of my favorite bloggers and a good friend. She's got words that make you think. Stories that make you laugh, then cry. Experiences that are life changing. And a heart that lets you know she's for real. ConverseMomma over at Ordinary Art is a blog that should be in your reader- forever.
The party really gets started when one of the first bloggers I ever read arrives. Girl, from Fertile Mertile, shows up with pink Margaritas and her camera. She is an incredible writer and an amazing photographer and she has some of the most beautiful children I've ever seen!! She is brutally honest and open, and also kind and compassionate. She was introduction to blogging and I am so glad for that!
After we finish our drinks and appetizers it's time to take a seat the table and get dinner started. Other guests are still arriving as the food is laid out.
My next guest is one of my favorite Jersey girls, LunaNik of Secrets of a Black Heart. I've said it before and I'll say it all over again. If you're not reading her, you should be. She's funny. She's open. She's honest. She's controversial. And she's a great person. Her words are amazing and have the power to incite and calm and make you cry and laugh all at once. She takes her seat at the table and pours herself a soda! ;)
Arriving next, with baby in tow, is someone that I'm pretty sure a lot of people are reading. He's somewhat new to the scene but he captured my heart immediately with his story, his curse words and the gorgeous pictures of his beautiful little girl! Matt and Madeline arrive from matt, liz and madeline and take a seat at the table where everyone oohs and ahhs over his preciously beautiful little girl and his amazing talents as a dad.
Half the party is here and it's just getting started. Guests continue to arrive and enjoy the food and drink as we chat and have fun.
LaskiGal from From the Cheap Seats arrives next and I'm so glad she made it! I love her words and pictures about her little J. Her feelings about being a mom are so real and honest and she's always got something great to share.
My 6th guest is one who keeps promising to come over but never seems to make it here. Mom gone mental from Rock and Drool...Mom gone Mental enters with purses in tow. And now everyone has gone from cooing over madeline to oogling the fabulous purses. That's not all she has to offer. She has stories that will make you weep for her little guy and stories that make you pee yourself from laughing. Her words are strong and powerful. They are moving and funny. She is exactly the same in person!
Next comes a fellow AllMediocre patron, actually the one who introduced me to the community- MommyVents. I love reading Feener, aka MommyVents. I love hearing about her life. I enjoy reading her words and understanding that she's like me and has struggles with kids and life. (I wish we didn't.) Reading about her quest to run the half marathon is inspiring and shows me the strength that women everywhere have!
My next guest shows and bring the music for the evening- a little Rocky Mountain High. Momo from over at Momo Fali's shows up with some John Denver and everyone retires to the living room for dessert. Momo is funny. Her kids are hysterical. Her stories are wonderful and I'm convinced that she and I were separated at birth or maybe later. She gets so much of what I have to say and expresses so much of what I'm feeling. Plus, she understand my musical taste.
Finally, my last guest arrives. I wish I didn't have to limit my guest list but, I did. Kate from Kicking you from the Inside shows up just in time for the best part of the evening- dessert and after dinner drinks! Kate and I have only known each other a short time but I really enjoy her blog. Her struggles are real and the words and emotions that she expresses are even more real. She shares every bit of herself and that takes courage, I appreciate that.
The party kicks into high gear and the evening goes into the wee hours of the morning. Everyone shares and laughs and has a great time. It's a dinner party that won't be forgotten!! Make sure you stop by and read each and every one of these guests of mine...they are MORE than worth your time!!
Now, it's your turn...go check out AllMediocre and throw your own dinner party! Make sure you invite me- not on the guest list- just let me know who's coming so I can check them out!!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 6:46 PM
Friday, August 15, 2008
I know that painting my bathroom, twice, in one day is much like doing a hardcore workout for hours on end. You wake up the next day in massive pain.
I know that without caffeine I am a raving bitch and everything sets me off.
I know that the carts that are geared towards kids at the supermarket are NOT geared towards parents.
I know that I am tired of buying diapers.
I know that my house is a disaster right now and I have zero energy to clean it.
I know that the bags under my eyes are so big that I could've carried my groceries home in them.
I know that sometimes I just cannot sound the stand of my kids' voices. And for that I feel HORRIBLE.
I know that I REALLY need a break from my kids. Just a few hours with an adult, out, alone.
I know that I'm really tired of food prices going up.
I know that it's very sad when I get excited over $3.65 for a gallon of regular. It used to be $.99.
I know that I should be working on lesson plans and writing the course I'm teaching this year but I'd rather paint my bathroom and post stuff on eBay.
I know that I am so tired that I just wanted to stop in the supermarket this morning and close my eyes and nap for a moment.
I know that I need a haircut and a dye job, bad, but I don't want to pay for either.
I know that my son is still having nightmares about the hospital and that really bothers me.
I know that today is Friday and the weekend is here and I'm glad.
I know that good things are on the horizon for so many of us. I just wish the horizon would get a little closer, a little faster.
I know that right now I'd rather be down the shore, sitting on the sand watching my kids play and getting some sun.
I know that I have to get up and clean and get ready for company tonight.
I know that we're going to have a really nice night and a great weekend and I know that I have to go and get ready for it.
I know that this was totally random and I'm ok with that.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 12:25 PM
Thursday, August 14, 2008
My almost 17 month old daughter just told me she loved me and gave me one of her signature open mouthed kisses and then head butted my chest.
My 3.5 year old son asked me to mute the TV so he could sing the Reba theme song in triplicate, word-for-word.
It's going to be a good day.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:38 AM
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Everyone seems to be writing about the Olympics.
I don't care for the Olympics.
I watch them. Especially the swimming, diving and gymnastics.
I don't really enjoy them. Except the swimming.
I love swimming. Love it.
I don't care for the Olympics and my distaste for them dates back.
It was the '80s. Maybe even the early '90s. I can't be sure.
The Olympics were on. It had to be the Winter Olympics. That must be why I'm ok with swimming.
This was the time of the Olympic triplecast. Every channel had Olympic related material. I'm fairly certain they were in the US at this point but who can remember. I was livid.
The Olympics had preempted "Who's The Boss?".
I was fuming.
I still am.
I don't care for the Olympics because they took away my Tony and Angela. It was right when it was getting good, too. You know, when Tony and Angela finally stepped away from the vacuum and the advertising and fell in love. The Olympics broke into my "Who's The Boss?" time and for that I will probably always dislike the Olympics.
The winter more than the summer.
I am fully aware that I have issues. And as my friends J and ML have told me, I might want to let go of my grudge against the Olympics because Phelps is on fire and I'm missing all the action.
Good thing he's a swimmer. I can watch without feeling disloyal to Tony and Angela.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 12:25 AM
Monday, August 11, 2008
It's kind of sad but I feel like just now the kids and I are getting into our Summer groove.
I feel like we've found out how to push each other's buttons and we're both learning not to do that so as to keep everyone happy.
I feel like we're finally getting a grasp on discipline and that, even though it's only been a few days, it's working.
I feel like if I could send my daughter away for a week, my son would stop crapping his pants and start allowing his feces to swim in the potty.
I feel like Summer just started and yet two weeks from now I'll be back at work.
I love my job. Seriously.
I love my kids. More than anything.
I do NOT love my job more than my kids.
Sometimes I feel really bad about the fact that there is a piece of me that wants to go back to work. That is excited to get back to my classroom and my desk and my lesson plans and even those ridiculous faculty meetings.
Sometimes I love being home. I love playing outside all afternoon and into the evening with my kids and the other kids in the neighborhood. I love running errands with the kids and going to the park. I love going to the beach and visiting with friends. I love having this freedom to go and do or to not go and do.
Other times I think if I don't get back to those things at work I'm going to rip my finger nails out one by one because it will be less painful than being home all day.
I have very mixed feelings.
My son has been saying over the past few weeks that he misses school. He says it to me. He says it to my mother. He says it to my husband. He says as we're walking through the supermarket.
When he says it my stomach lurches and I almost want to cry.
It makes me feel so good that my son loves his school so much that he wants to be there.
It hurts me that my son loves his school so much that he wants to be there, and not with me.
He has never said that he wants to be at school instead of home but in my version of mommy guilt I take it as implied.
The other night at my parents my mom told me that the boy mentioned, again, that he missed school. In that moment, that moment that she shared that info with me I was in the midst of attempting to get my son to eat something that he did not want to eat. I had been "fighting" with him to eat his dinner. I had been "arguing" with him to stay in his seat. In that moment, I missed his school, too.
My kids didn't go to school this Summer because we can't afford it. They didn't go to school this Summer because I'm a teacher and I'm home all Summer. My kids didn't go to school this Summer because as much as I would have liked to have a day or two kid free to get things done, I would have felt incredibly guilty doing that. Even though they probably would have had a ball. My husband even tried to encourage me to see if school would take them for one day a week, we'd swing it financially. I balked at that idea!!
Now the Summer is ending and I'm sad. I'm sad for a few reasons.
I'm sad because it went by so fast. It went by the way that it used to when we were young. When we couldn't wait for Summer to start and then all of a sudden it was the Saturday before school started and we still had all of our Summer reading to do. It was that fast.
I'm sad because I wish we had done more. I wish we had seen more. I wish we had gone more. And we did a lot. We saw a lot. We went alot.
I'm sad because no longer will I wake up each and every morning and have two big brown eyes staring at me. No longer will those eyes be laughing at me in the early morning sun (except on the weekends). No longer will those eyes be frowning at me letting me know it's time to change the pull-up. No longer will there be a remote banging against my face asking for Noggin.
Soon, I'll be back to getting up at 5 in the morning. Soon, I'll be back to tiptoeing through the house in the dark early morning hours making sure not to wake any little people still sleeping. Soon, I'll be packing lunches and setting out clothes for the day as I run out the door for the day.
I'm sad because sometimes the prospect of those things. The prospect of work makes me happy. The idea that I get to go and teach and be with my students and co-workers/friends all day is nice for me, it's exciting, it's what I enjoy. I'm sad because sometimes I think that I shouldn't be happy about that.
Shouldn't I want to always be with my kids all the time? Isn't that why we had kids so that we could raise them and spend time with them and dress them up like little Croc wearing dolls?
Ok, maybe not the last one.
Deep down inside I know that working makes me a better mom. Deep down inside I know that it's perfectly ok that I am excited to get back to work. I also know that it's ok to not want to get back to work. I know that I'll miss being home but it will make the time that I am home even better. Deep down inside I know that my son loves being home with me more than he loves being at school. And what he's really saying is that he misses his friends. He misses the crafts and toys. He misses being apart from his sister a good portion of the day. I know that.
I think he also knows that some days, I miss his school, too. And that's ok.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:14 PM
I was reading Feener over at MommyVents and she turned me on to the site where my new Gnome button came from.
I love the Gnome!
I also love AllMediocre! Wander on over and check it out, there's a ton of great stuff over there to read!!
FYI- I found Feener through LunaNik and if you're not reading her, you should be!!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:47 PM
I hate knowing that people are talking about me.
I hate knowing it and not being able to do anything about it. Not so much not being able to but being the bigger person and letting it go.
I hate that.
I hate it because there are two sides to every single story and when people talk about others, usually there is a side not being heard or considered. What I've found is that the side that is not being heard is the side that can shed light on the situation. The side not being heard is usually the side that might bring with it some negative connotations for the person or people involved in sharing the first side of the story. That's often why it's not being heard.
A few weeks ago the husband's family had a fairly large party. It was over the holiday weekend and it involved family from all over. I guess in a lot of ways you could call it a reunion.
The husband could not go. He works in liquor. It was a holiday weekend. He's in charge-aka the boss. People drink on the holidays- regardless of which one. Get where I'm going with this?
My kids are not very familiar with my in laws. My son knows my father in law and each time we see him the boy warms up to him more and more. I try very hard to get the kids up to my father in law's restaurant so that they can see him. But the father in law works a lot and hard and bringing two toddlers into a busy restaurant is not always an ideal situation.
They know my sister in law, sort of. We rarely see her. We've had her over a few times in the past year or so but more often than not she's busy. She did a lot of the organizing of this reunion. She and I are not close. At one point we were. We hung out and went out as couples. We had a good time. That has since changed. We're kind to one another. She's very good with the kids when we see each other but that's where it ends.
My brother in law and his family are probably the ones we see the most and even that's not much. They have kids that LOVE being with my kids. The cousins all enjoy playing together. It's usually a good time. We don't see them often but when we do the kids hate having to part.
That's really the extent of our contact with my in laws. My father in law comes from a fairly large family and I love all of my husband's aunts and uncles but we really only see them at weddings, funerals, and random family parties. My kids don't know them AT ALL.
I'm not sure about everyone else's children but my kids don't do great with strangers even when those "strangers" are friends or family. The cling to me like plastic wrap to a bowl. In most instances I can give one to the husband and keep one for myself (Children that is). When it's just me it becomes more difficult. It becomes frustrating and well, annoying and stressful.
I opted not to attend the reunion. I explained to my sister in law why my husband could not attend and then also explained that attending the party with two kids who knew absolutely no one there and would have just me to cling to was not really a great idea. Plus, my father in law has a huge in ground pool and all I could envision was my son in it, unable to swim. She didn't care for my response and made that perfectly clear.
She could not understand how my husband could not get the holiday off, I mean really this was a FAMILY party that had not occurred in over 15 years! Why didn't he just put in for the time off? Explaining to her that when you're the boss and in charge you don't just get to take off whenever you want, made no difference to her.
She could not understand why I wouldn't want to attend a large party where my kids would know no one and would have every opportunity to run into a very large pool not knowing how to swim. She could not understand why I felt it would be stressful. She reassured me that everyone would help me take care of the kids.
You know, everyone who my kids don't know and wouldn't go near until the last 15 minutes of the party when we're all ready to go and they finally feel comfortable.
Yeah, well, anyway I didn't go. The husband went to work and the kids and I celebrated the holiday at a parade and with a bbq with my parents.
I found out that my sister in law spent the entire party discussing me. Discussing my husband. Discussing the fact that we were keeping our children from knowing the husband's side of the family and that was the REAL reason we weren't there. Discussing with everyone that I just did not want to bring my kids and let my father in law spend time with them. Basically slamming me every chance she got.
I was and am livid. Furious. Spitting fire.
My father in law understood why we weren't there. He was disappointed but he got it. He also spent the entire day in front of the grill so I really don't know how much time he would have spent with my kids. And he saw the kids about a week after the party. And a week after that. And he'll see them tomorrow.
But I don't want my kids to know my husband's side of the family. (Read with sarcasm)
And I sit here and I say nothing. Well, nothing except for this post and all. I say nothing to my sister in law.
Part of me says nothing because I don't want to hurt the people that shared all of this with me. I don't want them to have to deal with her.
Part of me says nothing because it's just not worth it. I've had to deal with her and situations worse than this before and it was pointless because she doesn't get IT.
Part of me says nothing because I know that if I do I'll spew meanness and hate filled words and that is not me.
And there is a teeny tiny part of me that says nothing because I just don't care. I know my husband's family knows me and will ask me why we weren't there when we see them the next time and when I explain they will absolutely understand. That's a tiny part of me right now. Hopefully it gets bigger.
I hate knowing, feeling, finding out that people are talking about me or have talked about me. Part of it is because I don't like having my named and reputation smeared in an unkind and unfair fashion. Part of it is because there are two sides to every story and more often than not, I've found, the side not being heard is the one that deserves to be heard and understood. And part of it is because it makes me sad for that person or people who have chosen to do the talking.
This is not the first time I've been talked about and it probably won't be the last. While it upsets me it's not worth getting my entire ire up. If it were truly hateful and horrible I would confront it. But I know both sides of the story and I am going to be the bigger person.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 4:03 PM
Friday, August 8, 2008
Alison over at RDH Mom has awarded me a really great award and with it comes a meme! Thanks Alison!
If you haven't read her yet, I highly suggest you do! I really enjoy her writing and her words are always so kind and insightful! Thanks!
A.) attached or single? Attached for 5 years this past July
(B.) best friend? Yes, I have two. Meg and H.
(C.) cake or pie? Depends....almost always cake but I love apple pie!!
(D.) day of choice? During the Summer, any day! During the school year, I'm partial to Fridays!
(E.) essential item? Baby wipes. They get EVERYTHING out!
(F. ) favorite color? Green....I just love it! Almost all shades of it!
(G. ) gummy bears or worms? Gummy bears but not green or yellow!
(H.) hometown? Originally, NYC. Grew up in Chatham, NJ
(I. ) favorite indulgence? Massages from the Spa.
(J. ) January or July? January for the snow and the cold, July for the 4th!
(K. ) kids? 2, a boy and a girl
(L.) life isn't complete without? My family and friends
M.) marriage date? July 5, 2003
(N.) number of brothers & sisters? 1 Sister
(O.) oranges or apples? Apples
(P. ) phobias? claustrophobic and deer
(Q.) quotes? God never gives us more than we can handle.
(R.) reasons to smile? Not enough room to put them all here!!
(U.) unknown fact about me? None of my teeth are pointy. I don't have those pointy canine teeth. I ground them all flat. Gross, I'm well aware.
(V. ) vegetable? Broccoli...mmmmm...steamed with a little salt...mmmmm
(W.) worst habits? Junk food
(X.) x-ray or ultrasound? I prefer ultrasounds or I did until my last one- it was quite painful. So maybe X-rays, unless they're of my teeth then it's just a pain! ;)
(Y.) your favorite food? This is so hard!! I love mashed potatoes. Seriously love them
(Z.) zodiac sign?Aquarius....water baby!
Hope to see some of you sharing!!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:02 AM
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Dear Old People,
Yeah, I called you old. I don't give a crap if you're offended. I have encountered some of the nastiest, inconsiderate, mean spirited, dimwitted, and completely clueless old people in the past few days and I'm writing to all of you because I'm PISSED.
In actuality, I'd like to start with two old people SCREAMING at each other, about a month and half back, in the Shop-Rite parking lot. You two scared the shit out of me and made me afraid to be old. Want to know why? You were arguing over whether or not one of you was too close to the other and was inhibiting the opening of the car trunk. I really thought that you, old man, in the Honda civic covered with "I support Bush" stickers and "75th airborne" emblems was going whip out a piece and shoot you, old lady, with the Honda CR-V and plenty of room to open your back door and load your groceries. Luckily, the handicapped parking spot that you, old man, did NOT have a tag or plate for opened up before you had the opportunity reach under your seat and teach old lady a lesson.
I'm definitely dumping my Honda before I hit 65.
Now, let's move to the lady in the Wal-Mart. (Yeah, I shop at Wal-Mart. Yeah, I know it's bad. But their notebooks were a nickel each!! I have a year's worth of lessons to write!!) Lady, you caught me at the wrong time. I had just been standing in line behind to two most inconsiderate teenage boys ever. The first one would not shut his friggin' trap about his American Express gift card that he got for graduation and the second was buying gum. Yeah, gum. Just gum. Um, EXPRESS LANE, HELLO!?!?! But that wasn't the worst of it. The worst of it wasn't even when gum-boy decided that he couldn't decide on which flavor his girlfriend would like the most and changed his selection 6 times. Nope, that wasn't the worst of it that primed me for you. The worst of it was that dumb and dumber would not move their sorry asses up so that I could take all of the nickel notebooks and new lunchbags off my 3 year old son, who was squished in the "large" part of the cart, and put them on the belt. And would you, old lady in the Wal-Mart, like to know why I couldn't put them on the belt? I mean besides the fact that they were in my way. Because gum-boy kept moving his pack of gum- the selection of the second- back towards the end of the belt so there was NO ROOM for my crap!
And then you appeared.
Amex and Gum-boy paid and I started to be rung up by the ever so friendly cashier who apparently does not know the word "hello". Why exactly did I check off on the credit card machine that she was friendly?!?! I had loaded all my stuff and placed the divider after my things so that whomever followed could load their crap after me. I saw you approach and I braced myself. See, old people like my kids. They love the fact that my daughter has carrot-red hair and that my son is just so darn cute. They smile at them. They talk to them. They ask their names. (That's the old people ask my kids, not vice versa.) Usually it's a pleasant experience that ends with my kids waving goodbye and smiling nicely at some very kind elderly man or woman or both. Not today. You approached. Gave me and my kids the once over and I don't know what you decided but it clearly was not to be friendly or nice. I think maybe you gave my daughter, with no shoes on- cuz that's how we roll in Wal-Mart, the once over and a brief smile. But that's it. Then you loaded your crap. I really did not care, I needed to get out of Wal-Mart.
I noticed you had quite the full cart. Not surprising, considering how inexpensive and diverse Wal-Mart can be. You had cleaning supplies, some tissues, I think maybe even a few clothing items, definitely socks. And painting canvases. How nice. You've acquired a hobby. I imagined you painting bowls of fruit or your dog, Pugsly (my own name creation for your annoying yappy dog) or maybe even some landscape from your backyard. You loaded on two or three canvases before your husband or your partner or maybe your sugar daddy came over and told you he was almost done at customer service. WTH?!?! You don't walk away from customer service until you're done!! Whatever! I turned my attention to my own stuff. I had to pay. I swiped. I pushed my pin in. The "lovely" cashier handed me one of my bags and I walked over to place it on top of three year old son and then returned to my spot in front of the credit card machine because MY transaction was NOT finished. I still had bags to grab and I think I even needed to still push enter. BUT you were in my way! I nudged my cart a bit to get in there but you held your ground. I moved my cart more and eeked my way in to finish MY transaction. The cashier haphazardly handed me my receipt and one of my last bags. I gestured to the bag of binders that she neglected to give me and just as she handed it to me you pushed me.
Oh yes you did!
You pushed me out of YOUR way and proceeded to check off something on the credit card machine. I hope you weren't saying the cashier greeted you because she most certainly did NOT. But yeah you pushed me. You pushed me into my cart. You pushed me out of your way. And when I looked at you for an 'excuse me' or an 'oh, I'm so sorry' I got nothing. You didn't even look at me. I believe I said to you, "Unbelievable" and walked away. I was so angry at you, inconsiderate-fruit bow painting-sock wearing-cleaning product buying-sugar daddy loving old lady, that I nearly rammed my cart into another mom with a new baby. See the havoc that you cause when you just don't give a crap when you're at Wal-Mart buying your fruit bowl canvases?
I forgot about you as best as I could, old lady in the Wal-Mart, but know that you drove me to drink my first soda in over a month! You are responsible for knocking me off the soda wagon!! I was doing so great and then you pushed me off the edge into diet soda oblivion. Bitch.
Now, for you, Speedy, at the Burger King. You think that Bluetooth makes me think you're not as old as you really are?!? Oh no! I see you. I saw you at the counter as I threw away the plethora of garbage from a lunch date out with my children and my mother. I saw you prepping your coffee in your cardboard cup carrier. I saw you scurrying about getting your Splenda and half-n-half. I thought I was prepared for you.
I was so wrong.
You're short, Speedy. Maybe you decided to let loose today and didn't wear your glasses and that's why you didn't see my son- who is really only a few inches shorter than you. Maybe you were focused on keeping the coffees steady so that you could get to your Buick and give them to your massive dog that you had locked in there with no windows down. Maybe you just didn't give a shit.
I'm going with option C.
I'm trying really hard to teach my kid to be responsible and polite and clean up after himself. Maybe you don't have kids. I don't know. Honestly, after today, I really don't care. I was trying to teach my son how to clean up after himself and throw away his empty cup before we got into my car. Which, lucky for me, was parked right next to your Buick that took up TWO spaces because you parked OVER the lines! My son is only 3.5 years old. He has not mastered the garbage cans that have doors on them so it takes him a moment or two. Clearly, you were in a rush. That was evidenced by your near sprint through the Burger King from the counter to the back door. But was it really necessary for you squeeze behind my son only to have to wait for me to get out of your way so you could get through the door?
Oh, it was.
After you plowed by my boy you decided that I was nothing more than your door-person and there for your convenience. I mean really, that's why you wear the Bluetooth, hands free and all, so that your hands are free to hold your cupholder full of coffees and your ugly white purse on your wrist. Right? I've been taught to respect my elders so I held the door for you. It didn't matter that my kid got his hand stuck in the door of the garbage can and cried out in pain as you made your way past me through your open doorway. You never stopped. Oh, wait, yes you did.
You stopped when you got to your car and proceeded to sit there for more than 5 minutes. Clearly In. A. Rush.
How do I know it was more than 5 minutes?
Because that's how long it took me and my mother to load my two kids into the car, buckle them, explain to my three year old that I just tossed his "happy meal" toy and then pacify him with the promise of a new toy at the supermarket. AND then I pulled out of my parking spot, making sure not to go near either one of your parking spots, and left the Burger King with a sour taste for Icee Lemonade and old people in my mouth.
I won't even go into the old guy in the Gold two-door Saturn coupe today who cut me off on the approach to the highway and then decided, "Oh, wait! I need to be on the far RIGHT, not far LEFT!" Stay in the middle next time or I'm ramming you!
Old people, I KNOW you are not representative of the entire elderly population. I have elderly people in my life that I love dearly and I know would never, ever, be as inconsiderate and nasty as you all have been. You happened into my life on the wrong days. You pushed the wrong buttons and you did the wrong things.
Maybe it's been me. Maybe I'm over sensitive these days. Summer is winding down and I'll be back at work. I should take comfort in the fact that I'll be working during the day when you all get on the bus and head to the supermarket and wander the aisles aimlessly taking far longer than you should inspecting a can of SPAM. I should remember that you have lived lives and experienced things that I possibly cannot dream of ever seeing and for that you deserve great respect. I should realize that while I am in the beginnings and middle of my adult life and life with a family, you are coming to the end of yours and for that you deserve compassion and consideration.
Old people, and not just the nasty few I've encountered lately, you do deserve respect and compassion and consideration. You deserve to get to inspect that can of SPAM or talking about whether you should get the Triscuits or the Ritz crackers for as long as you please. You have much to teach me and offer me. You have some fabulous stories and great jokes. You have incredible lessons and wonderful words of wisdom and love.
But the few old people that I've encountered lately have just screwed all the good old people over.
You were rude. Inconsiderate. Disrespectful. Nasty. Poor role models. And just down right mean.
I hate that I have this sour taste in my mouth. I hate that I actually said to my mother today, "God, the old people I've been around lately have been such jerks!" I hate that I actually wanted to say nasty words to almost every old person I encountered in these past few days. I hate that you made me feel that way.
Old people you need to be nice.
I know, someday I'll be old, too. But I'll remember you. (I hope) And I'll remember how you were nasty to me to my kids. I'll remember how you pushed me aside and plowed me down. I'll remember how you yelled at one another.
And I'll do my damnedest not to be like you.
With Kind Regards,
The lady with the two kids who glares at old people who are not related to her
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:50 PM
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
My kids are good kids.
They were good babies. My son cried- a lot. My daughter, not as much. I think she was easier than him for a few reasons. First, I had experience. I had been through newborn-hood with our son and it was tough. He had his issues and at points I felt like they were daunting. But he prepared me. I thought for sure our daughter was going to be harder. She was a preemie. She was little. She had reflux. But she wasn't. She was pretty laid back as an infant. Fairly easy to handle. I was lucky.
I'm not saying that the past 3.5 years have been some fabulous walk in the park with my kids but as infants go, I think I did pretty ok. I thought there were hard times. I cried a lot. I asked questions a lot. I second guessed myself a lot. But we did good. They're still alive, right?
Now, though, I feel like it's getting harder.
Now, I feel like I'm really being tested as a parent.
Now, I really feel like I have no friggin' clue what I'm doing and I hate it.
(I'm going to use I from now on but know that my husband is included in this)
I have a pre-school 3.5 year old boy and a toddler almost 17 month old girl. They are wonderful. They make me laugh. They make me pull my hair out. They drive me insane. They are the lights of my life. You knew all that.
They really are good kids. Seriously. I'm not just saying that because I'm their mom. They are. My son is getting better and better at not having to be told to say please and thank you. He'll be the most polite 22 year old wearing diapers! My daughter is starting to say excuse me when she burps and she's saying thank you, now, too. Manners-wise they are good.
Yes, they have their moments. My daughter can throw a world class temper tantrum like you wouldn't believe! Arms and legs kicking, screaming crying. All of it. And all because I told her she couldn't play with a knife. (I know, I'm such a bitch!) My son has learned to talk back. He doesn't do it a lot but he does it enough that the time-out step has gained a 3 year old sized butt print over the past few months.
My concern is that I don't know how to handle these moments. I don't know if what I'm doing is right. I don't know if what I'm doing is helping or hurting the situation. I don't know what I'm doing.
Let's take tonight for instance. We went out with my parents. A very nice time at a community event and for the most part, the boy was ok. Before we left he was off the freaking wall and he sad in time-out for three minutes because he was not listening. That helped a bit. But my nerves were on edge. I had a horrible headache and he was just touching on every single frayed edge of nerve endings that I had left. I was at my wits end!
We went out to the event. He enjoyed himself. He was a bit whiny at points, but he hadn't napped all day and he was hopped up on sugar. Afterwards we went and got some pizza with my parents. I was on edge because everything that came out of his mouth was in the form of a whine or a cry and that drives me C-R-A-Z-Y!
I didn't know what to do. I threatened leaving. I threatened taking things away. I grabbed at every and any straw I could think of to get my then monster of a 3 year old to just. calm. down.
Luckily, the master, my mother stepped in. THANK GOD. My son was on his way to the pizza ovens if I had anything to say about it. She pulled him aside. She talked to him. She forced him to look at her and concentrate on what she was saying. She did not yell. She did not threaten. She did not scold. She talked. She asked him if he liked going to restaurants with everyone. She asked him if he wanted to be a big boy like pop-pop and daddy. She got him to focus on positives rather than negatives.
He was good. Really good during dinner. He ate. He sat. He whined a little bit when his sister attempted to eat his crayons, but who wouldn't?! He finished his entire meal and then politely asked for the candy that had been tempting him all through dinner. He wasn't good because he had been bribed.
He was just good.
Sometimes I feel like I don't have that power over my son. Over either of my kids. Sometimes I feel like I don't have any control over them. I feel like my son doesn't listen. I feel like my daughter's temper tantrums are a reflection on me and my parenting. (We don't give in to her tantrums. We walk away from her.) I feel like some days I'm just not doing this right and it's just getting harder and how am I possibly going to make it them being teenagers if I can barely handle them as a 1 year old and a 3 year old!??!
Obviously, my parents had to learn somewhere. They were not born parents. My mom claims my sister and I never threw temper tantrums. Maybe we didn't but I find that hard to believe, especially recalling myself as a child. I know that my parents had to have these same thoughts- I hope. I know that other parents have these same thoughts.
I just hate the idea that I'm not doing something right for my child.
I don't want my kids to be THOSE kids. You know the ones who back talk their parents and tell them to shut up. The ones who seem to have the parents on a very short leash and control all their movements with a fierce tug or a sharp tongue. You know the ones I'm talking about. I'm afraid of my kids being THOSE kids and I'm also afraid that maybe I don't know how to keep them from being those kids.
I guess I just hoped after the sleepless nights and the reflux and endless worry about SIDS and bottles and binkies for too long, it might get easier. Apparently not.
Apparently, this is where it gets really hard. And please don't tell me that this is nothing and it just gets harder as they get older because I really don't think I can take that right now!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:09 PM
I've been baking bread a lot lately. I enjoy it. I love bread. My son loves bread. My husband loves bread. My waistline does not enjoy bread all that much. Or maybe it does and that's why it's expanding. At any rate, there's been a good amount of bread in my house as of late and I think it needs to stop. So, I'm making pizza dough this week.
Whole wheat pizza dough.
Last year on vacation I had what's called a Salad Pizza. A regular pizza with salad on top and a little vinaigrette. OH. MY. Was it good!?!? We found a pizza place by my parents that makes it on whole wheat dough. I think I'm going to try it this week. Maybe the husband won't notice.
I got a $5.00 Target gift card in the mail today. I don't know why. It came from Target direct. It brightened my day a little bit. I may have to hit the dollar section at my local Target and celebrate.
I've been planning my 10 year high school reunion and I've been using Facebook to connect with a lot of the girls I went to school with. It makes things easy. I've tried to "friend" this one girl that I graduated grade school AND high school with 2 times and apparently she's denying me. She's friends with everyone else from our class. Weird...I guess maturity does not always come with age.
My son has been using chapstick like it's his job! This worries my husband because he thinks he's going to graduate into Wet N' Wild Hot Pink Mood Lipstick any day now. It doesn't help that my son wanted the Hot Pink Cadillac Escalade Power Wheels over a new Diego bike. It also doesn't help that I want to sign my son up for dance lessons!
My daughter is totally out of sorts. Her schedule is completely off courtesy of vacation. It's not a huge deal except that she's waking up at the drop of a hat now. She used to be a pretty sound sleeper, especially at night. Now? Not so much. Last night we were up for an hour around 11 because I walked in to check on her and she stood up immediately! I held her and rocked her and let her lay in bed with us. And as I did all of that I realized she is HUGE! I don't know when or how she got so big but she is. She is just growing too fast. And it is making me very sad. Yet, I think of the days when she wouldn't open her eyes and she was soooo tiny and it makes me happy to see how good of a job we've done helping her grow and get so HUGE.
I think one of my new neighbors is sneaking into people's yards and taking their plants and then planting them in her own yard. Well, she's not really sneaking. She walked through our yard last night around dinner time. Completely inconspicuous. I think she had taken a few of my roses. She seems like a nice woman. Her fiancee is nice and so is her daughter. We've chatted a few times and I brought them brownies. But it really bothers me that she's walking through my yard on a fairly regular basis and possibly stealing my roses. It also bothers me that her fiancee wears red crocs. But that's another issue for another day.
Summer is almost over. I've been forced to recognize this fact in the past few days. But it's ok because Staples is having a GIANT sale. Like things for a PENNY and NICKEL! Staples and back to school time going perfectly together and I really do enjoy this time of year. I'm excited to get my kids their new lunch bags and get them ready for school. I will miss them and miss our time together but more on that another day.
These randoms were kind of boring but this is garbage that rumbles in my head during the day and at night. I'm off to knead some dough and frost the cake that my son, the chapstick-wearing-dance class taking-Cars Croc wearing-not potty trained three year old, and I made for his grandma and pop-pop.
Summer went too fast, I'm in the middle of enjoying myself.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 1:31 PM
Monday, August 4, 2008
In the weeks leading up to my vacation my mind was occupied by many thoughts.
Some of those thoughts were about packing for the week away.
Some of those thoughts were about making sure we had money to do all that we wanted to do while we were away.
Some of those thoughts were about making sure everything was taken care of before we left- turning off the water, stopping the mail, paying bills, etc.
Most of those thoughts were about the fact that I was going to have to squeeze my post two baby body into a bathing suit.
I had a few options for my bathing suit choices and all of them were packed into my GIANT suitcase. Two were tankinis- one from my honeymoon- and the other was a one piece that had never, and still has never, been worn.
I spent my week in some combination of the two tankinis and I was ok with it. I wasn't overly thrilled with my appearance in a bathing suit, but I wasn't holding back chunks either.
As strong as my legs may be, and as muscular as my quads are, I still loathe how large they are.
As much as I remind myself that my little "pouch" at my tummy is partially because I've carried two children inside my body, I still don't like that little bump there.
As grateful as I am for a fabulously hot orthopedic surgeon who fixed my shoulder as best as possible and made it so I could toss my son in the waves, I still don't care for my arm "waggle".
I sat on the beach and I tanned and I played in the waves and the sand. I sat in my navy blue tankinis and looked at other women, some skinny, some not so skinny, and I wondered what gave them the confidence or the comfort to squeeze themselves into their suits.
We came back from the beach the first day and my husband said to me, "I don't know why you were so worried about getting into a bathing suit. You're beautiful and your suit looks fine. Besides, did you SEE some of those women!??!"
He was sincere. He really meant that I was beautiful and I know that. I also know that I did look ok in my suit. And I also know that there were some women on that beach that were wearing suits that would not have been my first choice if I had their body types.
I'm not here to criticize them. I'm not here to judge them. They can wear whatever they want. What I am here to do is ask what is it about them that makes them more confident in their body and that says, "Wear that string bikini" ? I'm also here to ask, what is about me that says "Don't go for the bikini, you'll make a fool of yourself. Get the tankini, it's not the SAME navy blue as your other ones."?
I'm a pretty confident person. I have my moments of self doubt. I sometimes question my parenting choices and I wonder what people think about me or say about me occasionally. But I'm not self-conscious, for the most part, and most days I rock confidence old school style. I just don't know what it was about those women, those women who had stretch marks and tummy rolls, that was any different from me.
Part of me did consider a bikini. Not a string. Good lord, no. But something simple. Something cute and fun. Something that didn't scream "Mom Bathing Suit" but said "Hey, I'm still young and fun and sexy". I couldn't find anything sending out those messages.
I don't feel bad about my body. I grew and gave life to two children and I have the "scars" to prove it. I am an athlete. I exercise. I moisturize. I will never have Kate Moss's body, I don't really want it. I want something a bit more firm and toned. I don't think I need a six pack- well not one on my stomach- to get into a bikini. I don't know what I need to get over that proverbial hump that is keeping me from donning a somewhat revealing two piece swimsuit.
My thoughts have repeatedly gone to those women on the beach. Those women who didn't have the "perfect" bodies and who still had the courage to wear bikinis.
And then my thoughts go to me and what I need to do to get myself, my imperfectly perfect self, into a bikini by next year. The mental and the physical. And I know that I have the ability to do it and I will.
Maybe even before next Summer.
And maybe, just maybe, I'll only need half of that six pack (again, not the tummy one)to muster the courage or comfort to squeeze my post two baby body into a bikini and head back to the beach.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:29 PM
Sunday, August 3, 2008
I just spent a week at the beach with my family and it was wonderful. I absolutely did not want to return. Going on vacation with two kids can be stressful.
I'll admit last week before we left I dreaded the idea of packing. I shuddered at the thought of figuring out what I should and should not bring for a week away. I cowered in the corner as I pondered whether we should bring this toy or that toy and 6 pairs of shorts and two pants or 8 pairs of shorts and no pants. The thought of it all was overwhelming but that fact that I was packing to take my kids and my husband to the beach and spend the week with my parents made it all worth it.
I packed everyone up, except the husband. We packed the car and headed out on Saturday morning for a week that would be both fun and somewhat relaxing.
Our house was steps from the beach we spent each day on the sand and in the water. We would take turns staying at the house with whichever child needed to nap. We cooked dinner. We went out for dinner. We played games. We went to the boardwalk. We walked for ice cream each night. We simply enjoyed.
Being at the beach always makes me think. Whether I am there for a day or for a week, I come away from the beach with a renewed sense of something. Sometimes of self. Sometimes of family. Sometimes of nothing in particular.
As I sat on the sand and finally read my copy of "The Last Lecture" (I had not read the book yet, I just couldn't for some reason. When Dr. Pausch passed I felt like it was the right time. I had seen everything else surrounding the lecture- it was time to read the words.) I realized that as much as I wanted to take his words to heart. As much as I had wanted to take what I saw in his lecture months ago. As much as I wanted to live the life I wanted. I was not.
I was still holding on to anger.
I was still holding grudges.
I was still dwelling on what could not be changed.
I was living a life that was bordering on the words on Dr. Pausch but it wasn't there yet.
It was around our last day at the beach and I was there alone. My book was done. There were tons of people around me. The sun was beating down on me and the lifeguards had on some really bad rap. I mean REALLY bad.
And I sat. And I thought.
And there was no magical revelation.
There was no gust of wind that overcame me and made me reevaluate.
There was nothing.
Just me and the sun and the sand and all of the other people and the bad rap.
And I realized that I needed to let go.
I needed to stop being angry at something that would never change. At people that would never change. At situations that would never change.
I realized that holding on to grudges and sadness made no sense and was not worth it.
I realized that I was never going to have the life I wanted unless I let go. Unless I stopped harboring those thoughts and those feelings.
I had taught my students the words of Randy Pausch. And I asked them to look at their lives and recognize the power of achieving their dreams.
I had not done it completely, myself. I had allowed the anger and the hurt to get in the way.
I am working towards my dreams. I always have been but now I feel like I can work a little harder and get a little further because I've let go a bit.
I've dumped the extra baggage that I packed last week before we left.
I packed a lot. I carried it with me all the time without even realizing it.
I left it on the sand as high tide came in. I allowed the waves to carry it away and the sun to burn it off me.
I always come away from the beach a little sad to leave but having a renewed sense of something. This time was no different. I was and still am sad to have left the beach but I have a newer sense of something. Of how I want things to be.
Nothing is crystal clear. Nothing is carved in stone. But all that crap that I packed? It's gone. It was holding me back and weighing me down.
Now I begin to move forward.
I begin to pack for the next part of the journey.
The part that takes me back to the beach.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 7:22 PM