A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Monthly Archives: January 2017

A Visit Between Friends

I have certain friends we see regularly, but there are others the fates decide with whom I should limit our interactions. The friend I saw one week is a such person where the stars perpetually misalign and our plans are cancelled, sad really. When Little Man was a little little man, and her daughter was a similar aged sprite of a thing, we would walk the mall several times a week. Sometimes others would join us (It’s how I started organizing my mommy/parent social group.), but often not. I’m in a much better place these days, but I’m still nostalgic for those outings. I miss my friend and her spirited, determined daughter. I can’t place the reason for the significance of those lazy meanders, but they were lovely. Now we all have lives we’ve formed with our appendages who aren’t quite so young anymore.

I didn’t see my friend’s daughter, but with my turn of an abating cold we finally managed to meet after several cancellations after the other. It had been too long. I’ve seen her since Warrior Queen was born, but Mr. Man did not allow me to properly socialize on that occasion. Her daughter was with her then, but sadly she doesn’t remember me. I was one of the few adults who merited one of her smiles at the time. I hope to regain that familiarity once again…some day…when the dust continues to settle, and not like the tumbleweeds under our sofa because I’m a horrendous house keeper.

 Image result for tumbleweed(Don’t judge…I know 9Gag wouldn’t.)

This was a brief get together, which creates pressure for such an event to be memorable…Little Man did not disappoint. My husband was out of town for the week. Generally the week was fine, certainly not idyllic, but nothing that left me wanting to rip off my face. I don’t want to hash everything, so I will summarize that it was a little something of everything…some extraordinary lovelies…and some extraordinary no so lovelies. My son was wonderful with his sister, giving her toys, kisses, hugs and cuddles. He actually played appropriately and would attempt to cheer her up…usually unsuccessfully, but often it would be her shtick. She’s pretty feisty and opinionated for nine-months, and I love it. He is still her favorite person…on her terms. Such a powerful little girl. In intermittent waves he was also not so wonderful, but nothing like a few weeks back.

Most of the not so lovely was sleep related, subsequently making Mr. Man a raging douche. But, even those occurrences weren’t too much of a bear with their exhaustion aftermath. My positive outlook is likely related to my determined creation of good food to eat…and the free flowing iced tea I sought. Surprisingly, chocolate wasn’t a necessary crutch…for once, but considering I was shoving my face with it throughout the aforementioned time period, I’m cautious with my self accolades.

The trip to the mall to meet my friend was one of those craptastic mornings with my son waking entirely too soon, but not falling asleep all that early the previous night. Per usual, once we leave the house, he’s fine.

Spur of the moment I had my friend meet us a bit earlier…because it was that kind of morning, but it was a full hour before stores opened. Other than stocking the stroller with snacks and my iced tea, we were left to roam and populate the indoor play area that my son enjoys maybe five minutes. That morning we were the only occupants, but within a minute I notice my son taking off his pants, but couldn’t quite figure out completely that he must remove his shoes first. By the time I fully realized he was dropping trough, the deed was done, and he was garnered in a shirt and diaper full enough to look like a banana hammock.

It turned out he sat in something wet…where his diaper covers, mind you, and henceforth refused to wear said pants. Once I birthed and started schlepping two cherubs, I stopped towing every possible possession we might require. I keep the a couple diapers and wipes on me at all times with a few toys for Warrior Queen, but that’s it. Not a huge deal, my car is fully accessorized. We started to make the trek to my car before it occurred to me that there are hand dryers in the restrooms.

Change of course across the almost full expanse of a very large mall, my son sitting in his stroller seat eating his hummus and chips, sans pants. Whatever, he was behaving himself even if I received the occasional perplexed look from bystanders…Yes, I am aware it’s mid January…everyone is a comedian. In the middle of everything, Warrior Queen decided she was hungry because, of course, after finishing an eight ounce bottle, she would be hungry for another two hours later. But, I’m a pro with the ridiculous at this point. I propped a bottle with a blanket, and continued our stroll. Way back in little little man time this would have been a mad sprint to get my precious son clothed. Now very little prompts me to bust a move to get something done.

I was correct. A hand dryer was housed in the restroom, but it was one of those fancy smancy new age contraptions that is persnickety to function. I, however, won it over with my charm and we were off to the races.

Image result for dyson hand dryer (Doesn’t this look convenient to dry toddler pants in? I’m sure Ars Technica thinks so.)

My son stopped prancing around and agreed to acquiring more clothing once he was convinced the wet spot had, in fact, disappeared. But, as I lifted him on a low standing table, I realized he had humus smeared all over his little man diapered tushie. On the way to the restroom I noticed him eating his snack, but had completely forgotten where it was resting prior to our leave of the play area. It is now permanently imbedded within the mesh of the stroller seat, but he has dry pants!

After a quick check of the chick pea carnage, I went ahead and changed his diaper while he stood in front of me. Shockingly there was no issue of protest as I wrangled him back into the pants. He didn’t hose my face either. I’d say it was an all around win for the record books!

Everyone settled my friend and I began our stroll back through the mall. The stores now open, we stopped at a couple tried and true establishments who are quite kind and patient with my son. One makes sense, a small independent toy store, but they don’t care that we seldom buy anything despite visiting almost weekly. They are always so happy to see us. The other is a Tesla store housing a sample car. Our wandering in was an accident, but the salesmen welcomed Little Man to investigate the interior of the car.

We remained a bit after my friend left to return to work. The usual things…diaper change, potty break, and balloon inquiry. The remainder of the day and into the evening was smooth sailing, but I still counted down the days until my husband would return.

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Four Score and Words Upon Words Ago

My productivity is shifting. But, my typical line on the matter is that I’m not, but it isn’t an accurate statement. Hashing my list of personal achievements impresses me, and I’m a stern employer slow to awe. I’ve been sick…again. I’ve suddenly become aware that I insist my cold is a minor one. It never is. This one lasted just shy of two weeks, and it was grueling. But, that aside, I manage to do stuff despite varying attentions.

There is my Correctional work which delights me with its challenging diversity, even as it frustrates. Endless potential on many levels, which feeds my ambition in ways I had no conceivable foresight scant years ago.

I’m trying to make a go of this writing thing, but I’m not entirely sure what that means. In addition to this blog that has suffered in frequency the past few months, I’m attempting to extend my reach. All of my consciousness dictations requires time I didn’t realize I had, yet things are finished and looking for a home. Still stunning to me that people enjoy my musings, and such a morsel of approval holds value. I never planned to become a writer; can I call myself that? I also never planned to stay home, even as the ambivalence of having children blurred. Life is unexpected.

The journey though this unfathomed existence forms awareness of issues no one discusses, yet it is so acute among peers in similar circumstances. It’s wonderful having this time with my children, but that seems to be the only acceptable commentary. However, with all the happiness and peace of experiencing this pivotal impact on my children equally is loneliness and isolation. Writing fills a large piece of that void.

I think all the time. All sorts of things. Rapid fire at times, racing from one area to the next; but no one to tell. By the time my husband arrives home, I’m tired. Nothing terrible, but my choice is to ease into the close of the day. Racing keeps me awake, and I cherish my sleep. So, what to do with all my thoughts prompted by my witness, my imagination? I write.

There is something gratifying about expressing myself in a monologue of sorts that people read. Maybe an autobiographical account, maybe fiction, maybe social commentary; each account fulfills a purpose…a reflection and response to my world. My work doesn’t prompt scores of comment pages, but I like to think I provide fodder to consider. That has purpose in the throws of loneliness and isolation; as though my voice isn’t swallowed. I have my small reserved space within the internet and my nonspecific audience. I like to think my transcribed thoughts make a difference in some small way to someone else, even if I can’t precisely identify my hopes in this arena.

I write to have a conversation to an invisible mass because my significantly smaller horde speaks in swoon worthy broken and misshapen utterances or vibrating squeals. I love it all in an unidentifiable place within me, but equally those delights leave something empty in the same inner place. I write, and I feel complete. My thoughts arrive at a destination, and perhaps hold some power.

It hasn’t yet been two years since I’ve committed to this process that weathers the ebbs and flows as I find my balance. But, unspeakable gratitude to have this voice and chronicle. I don’t know where this path will take me, but the thrill of the jaunt seems guaranteed.

Routines, Rituals, and Other Things that Go Bump…All Day

I don’t have a vast familiarity with toddlers. Experiencing my son I can’t specifically speak to what is considered average development and what isn’t…for better or worse. He is two years-eight-months-old, and mostly garden variety, but I fully understand the compulsion to assume his growth weighs heavily as strokes of brilliance. Little Man constantly floors me with his leaps in development, but I’ve learned that’s what these stages are. That said, the limited number of professionals who’ve interacted with my son confirmed the few areas I thought were advanced or, at least, more unique to him.

I’ve observed and been told that Little Man is quite skilled in taking turns and sharing…to the point that he doesn’t understand when another child walks up and steals an object out of his hand. He never seems particularly disturbed when it happens, but will stare off befuddled for a beat before walking away to find an alternate source of entertainment. My son tells jokes and is chatty…telling stories to me throughout the day, especially relaying moments he was in trouble. I find this development funny considering his speech delay. Little Man looks to engage others in conversation; professionals working with him say that is unusual for a child his age.

Most interesting, however, is my son’s fairly sophisticated emotional intelligence. Little Man, probably beginning in the nine-month-old realm, possessed an uncanny ability to read others, and significantly alter his behavior and personality to what he correctly perceives others expect from him. Much of the time this serves as a manipulation tactic, and boy is it effective. Other times it seems to meet no other purpose than an intellectual exercise I find disturbing.

Part of this innate ability makes him fairly rigid and sensitive to shifts in his routines. I don’t have an overly complicated routine to our days, but any shift in what Little Man can expect from people and events leaves him struggling if the deviation is more than a day, two if I’m lucky. Some of this, I suspect, is simply toddler. But, I’ve heard early childhood workers in various capacities refer to Little Man as an “observer” or an “organizer.” It isn’t so much I think this merits a diagnosis, rather a personality quirk that makes him who he is.

But, with his need for routines and rituals and his ability to size up his world comes the price of anxiety. I wouldn’t say it amounts to a diagnosis, but times like the recent holiday season I’m reminded of how sensitive Little Man is to changes in his world, even when the change is fantastic and exciting.

At the ripe old age of nine-months, I noticed my son’s personality would change when we had extended visitors or his routine was off for too long. Some of it is age appropriate, but there were changes beyond the fussiness or lack of sleep that so many of my friends describe. Little Man’s temperament and general nature would shift in unexpected ways, but not globally. He would change his mode of interacting based on whoever was the primary personality in the room at any given moment, regardless if my husband or I were in his sights at the time. It’s difficult to describe this long out, and I would assume it was in my head if I hadn’t had practitioners working with toddlers relay what I suspected was a pretty interesting skill.

This brings me to the two week hell that was the holiday season. Family had been in the area, and my husband took the week off. It’s all so thrilling. But, each time Little Man encounters a wave of such excitement, it throws him. His behaviors more concerning as he’s grown older. Most glaring this time around was the aggression. Historically, he’s consistently demonstrated gentle hands with his sister outside the exceptionally occasional snafu easily explained by hunger or fatigue. There have always been independent bouts of jealousy, but Little Man usually has the ability to keep himself contained. And, really, once I read him a story or two on my lap, he’s good to go. Throughout the two week holiday span, however, I worried any time he was around his eight-month-old baby sister. Hardly an encounter occurred without my son pushing or hitting the Warrior Queen. I’m used to seeing an uptick of impulsive and rough behavior when my husband is around, but the incidents escalated dramatically in frequency and intensity.

Sure, during tantrums I might be slapped in the thigh, but twice my son slugged me in the eye without provocation. The biting was out of control as well. Usually such events are reserved for those moments when we pushed out bedtime too long. As the days wore on, it was rare to have his mouth remotely close to skin contact without a biting incident. The entirety of the situation left me flummoxed. My son is a sweet, kind soul who is patient and tolerant, all the more for a toddler.

Frustratingly, the peanut gallery dismissed this crop of behavior incidents as standard toddler practice. The entire span of time that Little Man continued to spiral I asserted he was struggling…all of the excitement and change was too much for him. I defended that these events were not how he navigates his world when the three of us are doing our thing. No one believed me. I began doubting myself…maybe he really is this aggressive. Maybe he is changing, and it is for me to adapt, levering my head from the sandy beach I’d grown to love.

Toward the end of the uproar, I had a couple moments when it was only our threesome…maybe just me and Little Man. They were brief and achingly far between, but I’d have glimpses of the existence I was beginning to lose to the recesses of my memory. I worried if we would return once the world settled, but they were a welcome reprieve even they amounted to be fleeting.

As I write this post we are almost a week out from the avalanche of activity. I’ve come to understand that just as easily as Little Man swings to the reckless, he soars back to the son I know. Within a day we returned to our life…flare ups of impulsivity when he’s hungry or tired…or Daddy is home. Once again I enjoyed our outings, watching my son explore his world in delight. All as though nothing had ever changed, nothing occurred.

I enjoy it when I’m right, but perhaps relief is more apt this time around.

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