Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sick Days


You remember when you were young and you got sick. It was bad, but you secretly liked it because it meant you didn't have to go to school and you could relax all day in front of the TV and snuggle with your mom. Ah, those were the days. As an adult being sick is not that way. In fact, go ahead and think back to your childhood. Can you recall a time that your mom was sick in bed all day? I bet you can't. And do you know why??? Because parents don't get sick days.

I love that Vicks commercial going around lately. The one where the parent knocks of the door of his toddler's room to tell him that he will be taking a sick day tomorrow. Hilarious. It draws on that irony that as a parent and caregiver-- you cannot take a sick day. You have to care for this tiny human who cannot care for themselves. And in that is the challenge. I would dare to say that the only thing worse than having a sick child, is being sick with a child.

Last Monday, P had a little stomach bug. It started at about 4:30 Monday afternoon, and it was horrible. I felt so helpless for my little girl. However, I did get to enjoy the whole Frozen movie uninterrupted as she laid motionless on my lap. I got to play with her hair (which is so stinkin long now). I just rubbed her head and her tummy until she nodded off. Then I put her to bed. The next day she seemed better. We continued to battle diarrhea until Thursday, but she seemed fine.

I was meticulous about cleaning everything up so that her dad and I wouldn't catch whatever it was she had. But Thursday morning at 4:30 am I was awakened with awful stomach pain, a pounding headache, the chills, and crippling nausea. Then, I really felt bad for P--knowing that this was how she was feeling on Monday hurt my heart. At the same time--the thought of standing up and walking around was daunting to me. There was just no way I could work, and take care of her together. I was beginning to think I couldn't do either. So J stayed home for a few hours and went into work for his two classes. He wasn't gone too long, and P slept most of the time he was away to make it bearable.


But when he returned--he had come down with the stomach bug too. So here we were, both of us feeling like death--and P, she just didn't understand why we didn't want to play with her. We felt so awful that we couldn't interact more with her, but things as simple as rocking her to sleep took maximum concentration and deep breathing to keep from vomiting all over her. It was one of my worst days as a mom.

I wish I could tell you that we were the only victims of P's stomach bug, but J's parents who had been at our house to see P on Wednesday afternoon caught it as well. They are still dealing with it, and I wish them the best. I wouldn't push that sickness on my worst enemy.

This experience just further assured me of all of the ways that my life has changed since P was born, and all of the ways that I have changed as well. Moments where you feel you cannot give your child 100% are hard to bear. Parents get sick too, but we push through because there is no other way.

What do you do when you are sick and you have to care for your little one?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Lacking Inspiration


So lately I have been feeling like I am lacking inspiration, and really feel that there isn't much interesting going on in my life to blog about. Sometimes--I just feel like I am boring. This is a crappy excuse for my absence, but it is an excuse.

Over the last month we have been plowing into soccer season. This means that two nights a week J doesn't come home until P is already asleep. I hate to complain--but those are LONG days. I don't see how women do this everyday by themselves. And--believe me when I say that I know that many women do it alone. They are my sheroes (you know, heroes that are female). I think that this is part of the reason that I feel a little extra uninspired lately. It may be the lack of adult interaction, or the fact that I have been sick for the past month--or maybe it's that P had a stomach thing yesterday that caused me to do 4 loads of laundry in the span of 24 hours.

Whatever the reason--I haven't found the inspiration or the time to sit down and tell you about my life. I decided today that I wouldn't let that be an excuse. Instead--I'm going to turn it into my post. Because this is what real life is like. I too am like you--I read other people's blogs and a lot of times they make me feel bad about myself. Somehow they find the time to do everything that I do and cook fancy three course dinners for their husbands.

Well screw you, little Suzie Homemaker. I hate you and your perfect hair and makeup in the baby food aisle at Target. I see those stares of disdain as I sit cross-legged on the floor feeding my daughter a pouch because she was screaming "EAT!" at the top of her lungs. I know what you are thinking about my parenting, sister. Guess what--I couldn't care less what you think because on a day like today when my daughter didn't seem hungry all day until that moment--I will let her eat standing upside down if it will get nourishment in her body.

The only way to combat allowing the feelings of inadequacy that start to creep up as I read through all of these posts about how some mom out in California found the time to dye Easter eggs with her two year old after she saved the world--is to rationalize that it is all a LIE. And maybe it is, and then again, maybe it isn't. (but if it isn't--then just don't tell me because I would like to go on believing that it is).

And it is totally my fault because I choose to read the posts, and it is also my fault that I let it affect how I feel. So I choose to believe that they are taking the best parts of all of their week and putting them together into one post and calling it a "day." I mean--are they really operating with the same 14 hours that I am? How is it possible that they can do so much more than I can with the same time span? No, no, no--it's a sham, I tell you!

So let me say to all of you that are reading this. Here is the truth. Every morning I wake up cursing the clock. I wake P up and change her diaper. I put her in the pack n play and leave her there for 45 minutes while I work. It is the longest amount of continuous work that I get done while she is awake all day long. During that time I allow her to watch a million episodes of The Wiggles. Then I feed her breakfast. Next, I let her play in the living room while I work. Then I put her down for a nap. During her nap I work, eat lunch, and usually watch an episode of Real Housewives because I F****** deserve it! Then I wake P up and feed her lunch. Then she plays, and then she sleeps again. I try to work some more. Then she gets up and eats her snack and watches more Wiggles. Then we play until dinner time. Then she eats dinner and we wait for either J to come home--or we go somewhere to keep our sanity. Then I come home and give her a bath, and then I put her to bed, and then I go to sleep. AND that is it. That is my day every single day of the work week.

And that is what it is really like for a lot of us I would like to think. I am sorry if I ever made you think otherwise or if you felt bad about your life because of a post that I made. I love my life, and I wouldn't change a thing. This is the life I wanted, and even when it isn't exciting or inspiring--I am happy to be living it.

Happy Wednesday, Y'all!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Creativity Calls


Since maybe forever, I have been a fairly creative person. I have always loved to learn, read, write, sing, dance, create, and teach. What many people don't realize about teachers is that it is definitely a job that can stimulate your creativity. You are not in a cubicle or sitting in front of a computer (unless you work online like me). You are able to perform, create, and hopefully--if you haven't lost yourself along the journey toward retirement--inspire others. I think we often lose sight of that fact, and many people become disillusioned with teaching because of this. However, I love that side of teaching. I love being able to create something and then use it to inform my students.

When I was in the classroom I used to pretend to be a tour guide at the Hoover Dam. I would give them an interactive tour of the dam--complete with many dam jokes. They would crack up, and that made my week. This is something that I miss about being face to face with the kiddos. I miss that instant gratification that you get from standing in front of a room full of teenagers. Yes, it is a live or die thing--and I can think of more times that I died than lived, but that's ok in my book.

6 years ago I was a first year teacher and a competition cheerleading coach. My days were overstimulated with designing lessons and tweaking choreography. Though at the time I was super stressed--I look back on that time and smile. Those girls that I coached became my family. We spent our whole summer together. We laughed and shed a few tears. It was a lot of hard work, but I have so much respect for what they were able to do. In the end we walked away with a region championship. Although, I don't talk to them a lot (or some of them at all) I would do whatever I could to help them.

Watch their routine from that year here.

Last year, I got a text from one of my former cheerleaders--she was taking the time to thank me for believing in her and pushing her to the next level. She has taken her talents on to the college level and won a championship there as well. I am so proud of her.


If you have that creative bug--which I totally do--you often feel the need to find a new outlet. That is where I am now. Today, I answer the creative call through blogging, and most recently, through my new Cricut--which allows me to monogram everything for P. She may never have a plain t-shirt ever again. I eventually want to learn how to sew as well. That is on my list for sure. When that itch appears, it is hard to deny. I don't ever want to become complacent in my life. I want to continue to learn and grow.

What types of things do you do to stimulate your creativity?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Another Year Older


Today is my 28th birthday! It is my second birthday as a mother. Over the last year it is amazing how much my life has changed. I have learned so much about myself. A lot of that is thanks to my sweet little P.

When I was younger I wished for the years to speed up, and now that I am approaching 30--I pray for slow motion. It feels like time just passes faster than it used to, and I am enjoying this time in my life so much that I don't want to rush anymore. You all have read me wax poetically about how blessed and happy I feel to have this life. I wish I could tell you that this post would be different, but--it's not. Afterall--it's my birthday and I'll write what I want to.


This past week I read a few posts by bloggers about things that they thought they would accomplish by the big 3-0. It got me thinking about making a 30 before 30 list. You know, 30 things I want to have accomplished before I turn 30. Enter--research into these types of lists and what people have on them. I want to have a well-rounded list of things. After reading for a solid 30 minutes on pre-30 bucket lists--I felt like I needed to take a nap with P.

So I decided, instead on a 10 before 30 list. I felt like 30 things in two years was a little too ambitious--especially since I know that I am a procrastinator, AND I am all about having realistic goals. I am doing these in reverse order for a reason.

10. Take a romantic vacation with J alone

J and I used to take cruises a lot before P was born, and we had so much fun. We also liked to go to historical places (we are both history teachers). So I vow that we will take another vacation alone before I am 30. Possibly even 2.

9. Become a home owner--again

J and I moved over a year ago and have been renting ever since. We are looking forward to building our forever (right now) home sometime before I'm 30--I hope.

8. Get back into the classroom

While some teachers cannot wait to get out of the classroom--I loved it. I have been in the virtual world for the last three years, but I cannot say that I don't miss the actual building. I expect that I will be looking to make a return in the next two years.

7. Learn how to sew

I know it sounds silly, but I have always wanted to learn how to sew. I couldn't even sew on a button if I needed to do it to save my own life. I want to change that.

6. Learn more about myself

I have always wanted to go to counseling, but have never had the courage to do so. I feel like there is a negative connotation with seeing a therapist, and I don't think that it should be the case. Working on yourself and learning why you are the way you are is one of the best things I think I could do for my husband and my daughter. I really don't see a down side to it. It doesn't mean I'm crazy. It just means that I'm curious.

5. Make more friends

It is so sad to say, but I feel like I am a horrible friend. I don't keep up with people. I don't reach out when I should. I just stay in my little bubble all by myself. I would like to change that, but it will  be hard for sure.

4. Take P to Disney World

My mom tells me all the time that you have to take your children to Disney before they are too old. Apparently, there is a magic in it before they realize that Micky is just a man in a costume. So while J vows he will never take a child that young to Disney--I would like to see that magic for myself.

3. Learn how to dance

I don't know how to partner dance. While on our honeymoon, J and I took some salsa dancing lessons and it was so much fun. I would love to really learn how to dance with him. I think that would be so much fun for us to do.

2. Get in shape

While I am thinner now than I was before I got pregnant with P--I am not as healthy. I used to take better care of myself.

1. Have another child

While this is probably number 100 on my husband's list of things to do before he's 40. It is definitely something that I feel a strong pull to do. It's hard to articulate the feelings that I have about it, but I know every woman out there that has ever felt it understands me completely. The feeling of not being done and wanting another child is a powerful one. It demands to be felt--at all times.

So that's it. No wild acts. Just things that I want to do that I think need to be done. Have a great week y'all!

Caroline

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Last Bottle

A few weeks ago I posted about my struggle with getting P to stop drinking bottles. She resisted mightily, but I stuck to my guns and 4 days later we had gotten rid of her bottles before naps. I  purposefully kept her bottle before bed. I just wasn't ready to take it away. Looking at my baby and realizing that the days of bottles were numbered. I wanted to be ready for that last bottle. AND I wanted her to tell me when she didn't want it anymore.

I know, I know--I am crazy. we have proved this a million times as P has gone through all of the lasts of baby-dom. This one was hard. The last bottle that P had was over a week ago. It was a night that my husband had a soccer game. It was just me and P and the last bottle. She had gotten to the point were she wasn't really drinking them anymore. She was ready to be done.

That day I prepared myself. This was the last time I would give her a bottle. You see, I don't remember the last time I breastfed her. One morning she just wouldn't do it anymore. I have tried and tried to remember when it was, but I can't. So this last bottle was a pretty big deal to me. It felt like letting go of the last baby thing. That's not really true if you consider diapers a baby thing. I consider them a toddler thing too. I don't think I'll be sad to see them go, though.

So I got P ready for bed. I took her downstairs and I prepared her last bottle. The whole time I talked to her. I told her that this was the last bottle I was ever going to give her. Then, we went upstairs and I read her three favorite books to her while rocking in the same rocking chair that my mother rocked me 28 years ago. I walked her to her crib and rocked her in my arms. Every night we have the same routine. I turn on the sound machine, turn of the light, and rock her while saying, "it's time to go to sleep. Mommy loves you so much." Then I put her down and gave her the bottle while lying in her crib. This is the only way that she would take a bottle for the last few months--and one of the reasons why the doctor said they had to go pronto.

While she ate that last bottle--I tried to memorize the image. The way one of her hands stroked mine while the other rubbed her bunny lovey at her side. For the first time in a week she finished the whole bottle, and then she rolled on her side to go to sleep. I closed the door and left the room. That was it. the last bottle. It was a little sad, but mostly I just felt proud. Proud of myself and my parenting so far, and most of all proud of that little girl that P is becoming. One who shows me she is ready to go to the next step even when I am not quite there.

Happy Friday y'all!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Relationships


I am very often surprised when those relationships around me do not work out. I shouldn't be because more often than not--things just end. BUT--since I got married and had P, that fact is baffling to me. The thought of her not growing up with both of her parents is a devastating one. However, I am not completely dumb and I know that since her existence was made possible by divorce--it could happen again. This got me thinking--why do more marriages end in divorce than they used to? What is it that is causing all of these marriages to fail?

The history teacher in me wants to talk about the role of women in the last hundred years and point to that as a strong possibility. Even at the turn of the century many women were unable to own property and certainly were not able to make an acceptable living that would support multiple children. That could be a huge factor in why there were less divorces. I am not naive enough to think that people were happier in their marriages in the 1900s than they are now--but rather that they felt they could not leave them as easily. Divorce was uncharted territory. It was simply not done.


This brings me to suspect that more marriages end in divorce today because people feel that it is easier to rebuild one's life after a divorce. Some of you out there are shaking your heads at me saying, "it's not easy." AND you are totally right. However, if you put yourself in the context of the 1900's you may think that it is significantly easier than it was back then.

I watched an episode of Sister Wives on TLC--don't judge me--and Kody was talking about how sensitized we are to the word Divorce and the stigma that it holds within our culture. I sat there and shook my head (and rolled my eyes at him). You think that there is a stigma now to the word Divorce? You think that we are over sensitized now? Well, I vehemently disagree with both of those statements. When over half of all marriages in this country end in divorce versus less than 10 percent in 1900--I am sure the stigma was much worse.

And that is exactly the problem with marriages in this country today--the fact that people go into them knowing that it can easily be undone. Back in the day, when you hitched your wagon to a horse--that shit was not so easily undone. The consequences of divorce were social exile and financial ruin--well, for the woman at least. And for the man there was no need to divorce because being unfaithful and unhappy in your marriage from the male perspective carried very little social consequences.

So what is my point? It is that relationships are hard--all of them. People come together and things fall apart. It's just how things are, and I understand that we cannot help but be a product of our society. More marriages end in divorce because society has evolved to a point where women feel that they can socially and economically stand alone if needed. In fact, in today's society we are taught that we don't need to rely on a man to support us. This is very different from the 1800s and early 1900s. And since it is easier to get a divorce and rebuild your life afterwards--people are less sensitized to the idea. They are less willing to stick it out and work through things like infidelity and incompatibility because that would often be harder than actually working it out and being unhappy for awhile.

I'm not saying that no one tries because I know that there are many that do try very hard to fight for their marriages. I am responding to the question that I have heard a lot lately about marriage and divorce. All things equal within the relationships, I have to believe that it is the environment that is causing the drastic increase in rate. We have changed, as we should. And the change in the institution of marriage is just collateral damage.

What do you think?