Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Missing my Boy

Braden started full day camp last week - eight solid hours.  If I'm honest, I was counting down the days until he started.  He has been home with me all summer long, and it has been a bit of a challenge.  That kid knows how to push my buttons better than anyone, and I am embarrassed to admit that I allowed my buttons to be pushed too often than not.  Go toe to toe with a four year old on their level, and you will always lose.  Always.

I felt that not only did I need a break, but Braden needed the activity.  Every day, in the middle of the day, we were confined to the house for two solid hours while Casey napped.  It's during that time that I usually get my work done, and Braden being home didn't change that.  As a result, he watched Toy Story 2 a ridiculous number of times (as in, every freaking day).  I felt guilty about the reliance on the TV, but not enough to change it.  After all, by that time of day I was usually out of energy and exhausted and regardless of if I had work to do, it was hard to muster up the energy to entertain him.  

Like all new things Braden embarks on, I think I had more anxiety than he did on the day of his first day of camp last week.  Eight full hours!  Wouldn't he get tired?  What if he got too hot?  Too tired?  Too thirsty?  Would he make friends?  Would he have fun?  Who would reapply his sunscreen, specifically to that part in the nape of his neck that is so easy to miss?  Who would help him put on his socks?  Who would hug him if he was scared?    As ready as I was for him to start, I found relinquishing control over my baby boy for eight solid hours to be nerve wracking.  

He started camp last Monday.  He did fine, as he always does.  But me?  I took it a little harder.  

Despite my eagerness to get him off of my hands, I have found myself missing Braden this past week.  I mean, really missing him.  I see him in the morning, of course, and then the day goes by.  I have Casey and we do activities and eat lunch and rest, and then at 4pm I pick Braden up again.  By the time we get home, there's barely any time for playing before it's dinner, bath, and bed.  

I miss my boy.  

I realize this sounds ridiculous.  Many parents, including my husband, and including myself before I quit my job, spend their days away from their child.  They are fine with it, as I was.  But being a stay at home mom has changed my sense of normalcy.  Braden, for the past two and a half years, has been my constant companion. And apart from a weekend away here and there, eight hours in a day is the longest he has been away from me since I quit my job.   

Eight hours is a long time.  

I miss him nagging me.  I miss him pushing my buttons.  I miss his hugs and his laugh and his sense of humor.  I miss his noise.  I miss his constant presence.  Casey does too.  We are fine, of course, but it is an adjustment.  A big one.  I miss our days as a team of 3.  

Braden starts school at the end of August, and it will be a full day program once again.  In fact, for the rest of his life, until he leaves home, Braden will be in school for the better part of the day.  I have known this, obviously.  But until last week, I didn't feel it.  And I certainly didn't expect to feel so sad about it.  

The weird thing about parenthood is it's ever changing.  You get used to one thing, and then BAM, it shifts, and you adjust to a new normal.  Until the next new normal comes.  As I become a more seasoned parent, I am realizing it's okay to mourn the end of one normal as you embark on a new one.  The new one will be fine, and one that I eventually will mourn once it's over.  But today - today I miss my baby boy.  I miss him a lot.  

I end this post in tears, which I didn't plan on!  I find myself mentally shouting at myself - GET A GRIP, SHANNON!  It's only camp, for God's sake!  But the fact is, it's just the tip of an iceberg towards a growing independence for my boy, who I am so incredibly proud of.  It's what I want for him - to go out there into the big world and find himself.  To not spend every minute with me. To find other people to rely on and other people to bond with and ultimately, to not need me so much anymore.  

But it leaves me so sad, in a bittersweet way.  Where is the time going?  Where did my baby go? Sometimes I feel like if I hug him tight enough, and long enough, he'll stay just like he is and never grow up.  

But he has grown up.  So much.  And he just keeps on growing, and changing.  

Two and a half years ago I left my job, in large part to spend my days with Braden.  From this point on, the majority of his days will be spent elsewhere.  That's okay, and it's exactly how it should be.

But I miss him.  And as a mom, I will probably never stop.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

In Defense of the "Good Wives"

When the news came out this week about Anthony Weiner's recent indiscretions, I honestly barely gave it any thought.  What do I care?  It's another politician, running for office in another state, and it has no bearing on my life at all.  And really, if it weren't for his unfortunate last name, would this have really made headlines in the first place, some 2+ years ago?

Regardless of my interest, I am a victim of the mainstream media, and I couldn't help but notice the articles, and what those articles were focusing on.

His wife.  

One such article on CNN was titled Why Does Huma Abedin Put Up with Weiner?  In its first paragraph, it stated that: 

"Tempted as I am to write about Anthony Weiner's sexual compulsions, I think it is more important to talk about his wife, Huma Abedin.  What the hell was she doing at Weiner's press conference Tuesday, where he once again asked her and the public for forgiveness for a new set of sexual transgressions, instead of being in her attorney's office?"

"More important?"  REALLY?  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer Survival Kits

Summer brings sun and fun and outdoor play..... and scrapes and burns and bites and falls.  So far, we've made it through to near the end of July with a bit of the above, but no ER visits (knock on wood - really, please do).

OTC Safety, an online resource for over the counter medicine safety, has prepared some great summer survival kits for parents to have on hand all summer long, covering the three main plagues of summer - sun, scrapes, and bugs (oh my!).  They are hugely helpful - I encourage everyone to print them, share them, tweet them, create an interpretive dance for them, etc. Perhaps your children will be lucky enough to escape the summer unscathed, but chances are, probably not.  

Without further adieu...

A cheat sheet for sun: 

A cheat sheet for scrapes: 

And a cheat sheet for bugs: 

For more helpful tips on summer safety, and over the counter medicine safety generally, you can follow OTC Safety on Twitter or like their Facebook page.  

Disclosure - I receive compensation as part of the CHPA OTC Safety Ambassador Program.  All of the opinions reflected here are my own.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Worst Part of Parenthood (so far)

Is this:

There are many bloggers that have written helpful, witty, and enlightening posts about potty training.  I, I'm afraid, am not going to be one of them.  To me, it just boils down to one simple, existential question:


On Saturday, we told Casey that we were done with diapers.  Hooray!  We unveiled the potty.  We explained that when he had to poo or pee, he needed to sit on there and do it.  Quite simple, really.


On Saturday morning, he sat on that thing for over two hours.  He was clearly holding it in.  I could tell. Eventually, something came out.  We cheered.  We screamed.  We rewarded him with a lollipop and M&M's.  We had hope.  A small, glimmer of hope.

But hopes sometimes get dashed.  And in this circumstance, hope was torn away by a giant turd that Casey lay on the carpet on Sunday, with the potty only a few feet away.  He must have picked up the turd, or wiped himself, because remnants of said turd appeared on his hands, shirt, and hair.  He did not seem bothered in the least.

I told my husband he should take a picture of it.  He didn't.  Perhaps that is best.

In a way, I get it.  If someone told me to crap my pants, right now, I don't know if I could do it.  I am trained to use a toilet.  It would be hard to go elsewhere, frankly.  And for Casey, he has lived his life pooping in a diaper.  Perhaps pooping somewhere else is especially challenging.


I've been through this process before.  I know there are accidents, stops and starts, steps forward and steps back.  God knows, the journey of Braden from a diaper wearer to a fully toilet trained toddler took a long time, and it sucked.  Just sucked.

And here I am again.  And perhaps because I know what lies ahead - naked penises and dribbles on the floor and turds on the carpet - I just lose all inspiration.

But we are on a time clock.  As my stomach grows bigger, the time ticks away.  I will NOT clean up turds on the carpet while I am nursing a newborn.  I just will not.

For the love of God, JUST USE THE POTTY.

It's really not that hard.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

What This Pregnant Girl Fantasizes About

This is going to take a bit of imagination (and an appreciation for science fiction).  But bear with me.

Scientists have invented a pill for pregnant women.  It's a special pill that only works for 24 hours, and in those 24 hours pregnant women can do whatever they want without hurting their fetus. Aka, they can drink whatever they want, eat whatever they want, and sit in a hot tub for as long as they damn well please.  All pregnancy side effects cease on this day, as well - no aches and pains, no constipation, no reflux.  The pill can be taken any time in the pregnancy - beginning, middle, and end, and it is entirely up to the woman.  No side effects.  Just a day off.

This pill has resulted in a cultural phenomenon in modern society - the pregnancy party.  Much like a bachelorette party, or a "hen" party as they call them in the UK, pretty much all pregnant women have such a party (where they take their pregnancy pill).  It's a rite of passage, particularly for a first pregnancy.  (It's similar to weddings in that way - the first one is a super big deal, and subsequent ones are a bit more toned town.  Aka, it's bad taste to make people travel and spend a ton of money on more than one pregnancy party in your honor).  

These pregnancy parties run from tame to wild.  Some women, who never really drank in the first place and have always kept a vegan diet, simply have the equivalent of a modern day baby shower.  Cake, punch, presents (boring).  Other women take it to the other extreme.  They go out on the town with personalized t-shirts and tiaras and slutty outfits with their big bellies hanging out. They walk around with an entourage and are loud, obnoxious, and drunk.  If you're out at a nice restaurant, and see such a group walk in, you want to leave immediately.  Ugh, another one of those wild pregnancy parties, you say.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Frantically Filling the Resume Gap

I am coming off two weeks of wonderful, relaxing vacation.  It was a vacation where I did my best to leave all my cares behind, to be stress free, and to live in the moment.  And in many ways, I did just that.  But there's always the wretched reality of coming back.  And today, with my husband back to work, two kids with fevers, and a variety of freelance and part time gigs that are all coming to a head, I am feeling that reality.  The feeling that I am taking on too much is flooding in.

When I left my job at a law firm over two years ago, one of the burdens hanging over my head was that of a resume gap.  The notorious resume gap!  It seemed to be the number one concern of those I spoke to at the time: What are you going to do about your resume gap?  How long will the gap be?  Make sure you don't have too long of a resume gap - you'll never get another job - ever, ever, ever!  

I tended to roll my eyes at the time.  In dealing with the change and shock of going from a full time worker to a stay at home mom, a resume gap wasn't a short term concern of mine.  In addition, on principle I resented this.  I am who I am today, and I will be that person tomorrow.  Of course, my skills and knowledge will get stale, and I expected that to be taken into account.  But to suggest that a resume gap would doom me, and render all of my previous accomplishments moot? Bullshit, I told myself.

But I'm not going to say it didn't occur to me.  After all, I had been a resume builder extraordinaire for most of my adult life.  My resume went linearly from 1996 on - with no gaps, and with many prestigious internship enhancements, awards, and recognitions.  I made many a decision with the reasoning of, that will look good on my resume, and as a result, it was a pretty good resume, if I do say so myself.  I had spent more than a decade perfecting this resume of mine, and there I was, abandoning it.  GIVING IT A GAP FROM WHICH IT WOULD NEVER RECOVER!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Snapshots from the Cape

Posts will be light on words and heavy on pictures for the next week.  We are on vacation!!!!  And though I love this little blog of mine, even it starts to feel like an obligation when I am in carefree vacation mode...

Hello from Cape Cod!

There's been sun, swimming, and an engorgement of amazing food.  

I'm off to get back to it...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Outdoor Showers

I love taking a shower outside.  It's always been one of the staples of my Cape Cod vacations.  In the house that we rented the past few years, there was a FANTASTIC enclosed outdoor shower - brand new with nice tan wood, a shelf for the shampoo/soap, and a hook a safe distance away for the towel so it didn't get wet.  It was as clean as an outdoor shower could be.  I took every shower out there, and relished my time in "nature."  There really is nothing as refreshing as stepping out from an outdoor shower and having a nice warm breeze wash over you.

This year, we rented a different house in Cape Cod.  We arrived on Saturday, and are loving it - it is spacious, secluded, has cable TV in all the bedrooms, and even has central A/C (a rarity in the Cape). But there's one downside...  Though there is an outdoor shower, it's not enclosed.  It's a "naked" outdoor shower, so to speak.  No walls, no hook, no shelf.  Bare bones.  Here it is:  

I figured that my days of outdoor showering on the Cape were over.  But yesterday, right after the rain cleared out, I had an urge.  Why can't I take an outdoor shower?  I thought.  I mean, come on, we're in the woods!  Who's going to walk in our backyard?  Why should I deny myself this luxury?  

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