Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Time

So, my husband's hockey team, the Montreal Canadiens, just defied all the odds and beat the Washington Capitals in the first round of the playoffs. For the past 3 games, I have been expecting them to be eliminated and to return to a world without constant hockey. It's not that I'm not a fan of hockey, it's that my husband is so nervous during these games that he's no fun to be around. It's easier for everyone if I just clear out.

As such, I have been taking advantage of these games. This past week I've been out for dinner with a friend and to a movie by myself. Dinner was fantastic (I even got there early and drank some wine and read the paper in peace and quiet). Going to a movie was awesome, even though I was alone at a movie called "Date Night." I had forgotten how all encompassing the theater experience is as compared to my living room. Escapism should never be underrated.

Another escapist thing we've picked up lately is the show "Parenthood." We've been watching it since the series started a few weeks back, and have really been enjoying it. I have to admit it makes me cry almost every time. And I'm not a big crier. They really seem to get a lot of the whole parenting thing. If you haven't seen it, you should check it out.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Something Changed

A few months back I was miserable bringing the babe into school every morning. There was drama (the babe pitching fits), danger (insane DC drivers coming way to close to my kids at intersections), and theatrics (me having melt downs in front of the general public) almost every day. I broke. I started using the "rope line" 3 days a week. I just couldn't take it anymore. The process of finding street parking, hauling out the double stroller (or the single stroller for the little guy and risking it with the babe on foot), and walking across very busy rush hour streets was just too much for me.

I also found the new school rule of "no strollers on the second floor" (where the babe's classroom is located) to be another major pain in the posterior. I was being forced to carry my heavy diaper bag (not because of the diapers but because of my wallet, keys, phone, etc.), and the little guy, while holding the babe's hand. Luckily there is an elevator, but unluckily the babe has to hit the elevator button every time or else all hell breaks lose. Once upstairs, I walk her down the rather busy hall to help her hang her coat, while trying to control the little guy and not get run over by other kids/parents going through a similar experience. I then help her deposit her lunch in the assigned spot and drop her off at her classroom. Good byes and kisses follow (that part I like).

The babe was not such a fan of the rope line (a bunch of teachers stand at the corner near the school and you can do a drive by drop off where the kids all hang onto a rope and make their way to the school at 9:05 am). But it made my morning so much easier that it was worth the trouble of dealing with the babe whining that she didn't want to do the rope line. Although I must admit I felt quite guilty. It's not like I needed to make it to the office or something.

Recently though, something has changed. I stopped relying on the rope line so much and have started bringing the babe into school, unless I have an appointment. I guess I just made a decision that taking her into school is one of the things I should be trying harder to make work. I am a stay-at-home Mom and I can do this.

So I now resign myself to the fact that nothing about the experience will be fast or smooth. Parking will be a pain, the stroller will still be heavy and awkward, and lugging all that stuff and the kids around won't be a breeze. But there is a joy I get out of seeing the babe's big smile when she sees her teachers and friends. I can also tell it means a lot to her when I make my way into her school every day. I also love the big hug and kiss good bye. She is always happy when I leave her at her classroom door, and she is always unhappy when I leave her at the rope line. And I really want the babe to be happy.

Don't get me wrong, it's still a pain in the posterior, but once I resigned myself to the major hassle part of the experience, I got to start appreciating the joy part of the experience.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Activities, Anyone?

Hockey, hockey, hockey, hockey. Welcome to my world. The Montreal Canadiens have been playing the Washington Capitals in the playoffs, and it has been a big part of our life lately (my husband is a huge Montreal fan and we just happen to live in Washington, DC).

Guess what we're doing right now? Guess what we did last night (the Ottawa Senators, which is my official team, is also in the playoffs)? A whole lotta hockey going on.

Anyway. My folks are in town from Ottawa which is absolutely lovely. It is so great seeing them interact with their only grandchildren. I've noticed that this has been a really nice visit in that the kids are much more "under control" than they have been in the past. As you may know, the first few years with itsy bitsy children in the house are crazy. Things are in flux and new parents are trying to keep in the game. This is the first visit from my folks where I feel like I have a pretty good handle on my parenting. And you know what? It feels good!

In other news I have been struggling to keep my daughter from freaking out after school every day. Spring is in the air and that has created some serious outdoor expectations. The babe's after school greeting is now: "Mama, where can we go now?" It's as if our home isn't good enough.

Many days end in screaming and tears before we've even made it home from school. And I honestly am trying to keep her entertained and active. Some days I do the park, which is exceptionally challenging with 2 very active kids. Some days I think of some other activity, such as the library last Monday, to keep us occupied. But no matter what I think up, it always ends in more tears when it's time to pack up and go home. Seriously, even if I give her what she wants, she's still angry at me for dragging her home. If I have this much trouble with a 3 year old, I am extremely nervous about our future.

Speaking of after-school activities, this week we started a whole new phase of Yes, she's only 3, but she is now on a soccer "team" of 3 year olds in Bethesda, MD. On Tuesday, I officially became a "Soccer Mom." If you knew me a few years back, you'd appreciate how humorous this new title is. At least I'm not driving a mini van, yet (no offense to all you mini van drivers).

To make it even more humorous, I baked brownies for the school bake sale on Wednesday. They just happen to be raising money for the local park. Can't say no to that, now can you?

Sometimes I wonder where "I" went...and then I remember that I have willingly created this new reality for myself. No point fighting it. Might as well embrace it. Here's to soccer practice, hockey playoffs, the annoying and distracting park, and being an egg free, dairy free, peanut free, tree nut free, brownie baking, stay-at-home Mom.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring Updating

Guess I haven't been doing all that writing I had hoped I'd be doing. I suppose I have been uninspired, tired, distracted and/or just plain old busy.

We made it through spring break week. After that experience, I can honestly say I am much better dealing with only 1 child at a time for extended periods. I really enjoy one on one time with my kids, but when I have both of them for numerous hours, all my good intentions and proper mothering practices tend to disappear. I have grand ideas of how to relate to my kids in a positive and productive manner, and it all just turns into me trying to get make it to bed time. Sad, right? For instance, my good intentions for a relaxed and pleasant Sunday morning have turned into me caving and turning on "Diego" for the babe. Why is the TV such a wonderful thing? It is the only way to get her seated and quiet for more than a minute.

There have been some great little capsules of time, though. We did a very sweet little Easter egg hunt last weekend. Both kids loved it. The babe was grabbing eggs before the little guy, but it didn't seem to really phase him. The little guy would slowly make his way over to an egg only to have to babe swoop in and take the eggs out from under him. He'd just look at us and go "uh oh." That's one of his new expressions, which can be added to his list of" "Mama," "Papa," "Done," and "Yes."

Last week I was sitting with the babe in the bathroom (she had a yucky diarrhea thing going on), and she was asking me: "Mama, what are those stripes on your forehead?" I responded, "Those are called wrinkles, honey." She asked why I had so many of them on my face, and I told her it happens when we get older. I suppose I should be proud of my stripes.

The little guy is walking all over the place these days. He's a man on a mission and it is pretty cute. He continues to be my love bug, but has started to excerpt signs of independence. He is not afraid to whack at me if he doesn't like something. I am quickly realizing that the "baby days" are over and we are quickly entering toddler hood. It's been one month since we said good bye to our breastfeeding days, and both Mama and son are doing well with it.

I really just wanted to give a little update and say Hi to everyone. Hope life is good.