Category: Being Mom

Raising a Boy

I’ve been thinking a lot about what is going on right now politically and I’m having a hard time seeing down the road when our President is not in the White House anymore. He has seemed to bring out the ugliness in people and social media is a hotbed for … let’s just say people hiding behind screens and not being nice.

How do you teach your kids to be nice when the nation’s leader can’t even be nice? That is a question for another day – today I find it exhausting. But what I AM seeing a lot of on social media is the fear that ‘our boys’ will be ‘falsely accused’ of sexual harassment, rape, etc. Mike is only five, but while we joke that he ‘loves to hard’ with his hugs, kisses and butt bumping – as parents we HAVE to make sure that he understands no means no NOW. He needs to hear that word frequently, feel it’s consequences and learn self control.

I am worried he will grow up and drive too fast, or not reach his potential, or have his heart broken (in more ways than one), or feel left out. I do not worry about him being falsely accused. S. and I are raising Mike to know that kindness counts and when he sees someone who needs help to help them. I hope we raise him to not put himself in situations where a false accusation could happen and not to be with people who encourage the wrong sort of behavior. It’s hard. It’s really hard.

How are you raising your little ones these days? Are you doing anything different?

Hello, It’s Me

Hello, it’s me.

If I am being honest I think about blogging and Muddling Momma every day. Mostly on my way to work, or on the way home from work and in the shower. But I haven’t posted in ages. I think the main reason is I am not sure what I want this blog to be. I originally started here as a way to share my infertility journey. That morphed (thankfully) into life as a pregnant person. Then into life of a new mom. And most recently, life as a mom in general. I am obviously still a mom, but I am not sure I want to share every detail of my son’s life. I carefully curated a lot of stuff on this blog with him in mind. Who knows what kids will be doing in 10 years when he is 14, perhaps blogging will be a thing of a past, but I don’t want his high school baseball/math club/DnD club/band members stumbling on this and finding out he pooped in the bathtub (he didn’t, FYI). I share enough of the funny stuff on Facebook.

But I am not ready to give up the idea of blogging. I am hoping to have another baby soon. I started working again full time in an executive level position, I am preparing to travel for the first time since Mike was born. I am stumbling on cool products for him, me, and families in general. We are exploring Maryland and I want to share that.

But let’s face it. I’m tired. Parents get that. So I might not post daily, weekly – hopefully monthly. But I am excited to produce new content that is useful. Stay tuned, and thanks for hanging in with me through this season of life.

Accidentally Co-Sleeping

Here is my dirty secret – S. and I don’t sleep in the same bed anymore. And it’s not because we don’t love each other, it’s because we DO love each other. And sleep. We really love sleep. So when it comes time to go to sleep we go our separate ways to snore, toss and turn and get up 10 times to pee in peace. Turns out we aren’t the only ones channel Lucy and Ricky Ricardo when the sun goes down. Research is showing it is more common than you think. So don’t worry. Our marriage is perfectly fine!

But even though I fall asleep alone (or with a beagle) I am not waking up alone.

Most nights between 1am and 3am Mikey finds his way into bed with me. When I am awake enough to ask him why he says something like ‘I miss you’ or ‘I want to ‘nuggle’. While most parenting books and blogs will advise me to walk him back to his bed, I simply lift up the covers and scoot over. Sometimes he curls into a ball and digs his toenails into my back. Sometimes he asks me to turn on the TV (which I don’t). But I never regret letting him in my bed for a few hours before we start our day.

Sometimes I wake up before he does and I watch him twitch and sleep with his face smooshed in the pillow. Sometimes he wakes up before me and wakes me up so he can watch Peppa Pig or Dora the Explorer. Sometimes I wake up and he is eager to chat about random things like who is picking him up from school or what toy he wants to take to show his teacher. Sometimes he wakes up and is mad at the world for no reason. But no matter what, when he ‘sneaks’ into bed with me he knows I will be there in morning.

One day I will wake up and he won’t be in my bed and that’s okay too. But until then, I will always scoot over and make room for him and be there to ‘nuggle for a few hours.

Reset My Morning

If you ask me how my morning went I would say, ‘I was not my best self. Not even close’. And I am going to give you a little spoiler here – this post isn’t going to tell you about how I turned it around because I didn’t. There was no touchy-feely apology with Mike where we hugged it out. Nope. I have never been so thankful to drop him off at school.

Mike woke up at 4:30a and, from what I could gather from his fussing and whining, everything I did was wrong. Here are the things I did wrong:

  • Cut his bagel
  • Bring him strawberries and Cheerios
  • Not magically making Peppa Pig appear On Demand
  • Asked him to put his underwear on
  • Not knowing where his Ironman Potatohead went
  • Putting on the wrong Paw Patrol episode

He was just hell on wheels and I had no patience. I am so tired (in general) of telling him to be gentle and to STOP.PUTTING.STUFF.IN.MY.FACE. Helicopters, toys, fingers, feet – everything is within inches of poking my eye out. I yelled. I pointed. I handled everything wrong. And that has to be okay.

I need a timeout. I own it.  I’ll try again when he comes home from school.

And as I am editing this post I realized that I confused two texts between my cleaning lady and my oven repairman. To make a long story short, I had a cleaning crew show up when I am not even close to being picked up and my oven is still broken. It’s only 10am, so this day still has time to turn around. Right? Right.

 

Mini Picasso

I went back and forth with what this post could be called. I debated between ‘The Time I Called My Son a Liar‘ or ‘My Entry for Mother of the Year‘.

For about three weeks I’ve been picking Mike up from Preschool and his ‘take home’ folder has had a drawing of an obvious person. The first day I found it, I asked his teacher if it accidently was placed in his folder. I’ve only seen Mike scribble and these pictures were much more advanced. His teacher asked him if he drew it and he said yes. She then asked around to the other kids and no one claimed it. She agreed – no way he drew that. So I brought it home and tossed it in the recycle pile.

The next few days I continued to find pictures of people in Mike’s take home folder. His teacher and I ultimately decided that someone was sticking them in there by accident. All I could imagine was some poor parent whose kid was coming home without these drawings.

Then yesterday I grabbed yet ANOTHER picture of a person with a note from Mike’s teacher – “Yes! Mike did draw this. I watched!!”

Well shit.

Apparently my child can do something other than scribble and for the past month I rolled my eyes when I asked if these were his drawings and he replied yes.  I wonder what other skills he has that he is telling me about and that I am ignoring.

mike-drawing

 

Where Are They Now?

Each night I lay in bed and think about what I need to do the next day and blogging is always on the top of the list. Then as the day goes on blogging falls closer to the bottom of the list. Life has gone a little sideways recently, but we are meeting those challenges head on. So where are we now?

{S} I have mentioned a few times recently that S. was recently diagnosed with a genetic heart disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which impacts 1 to 500 people. Most people don’t even KNOW they have it but there are a handful that have symptoms like chest pains, shortness of breath and general exhaustion – S. was one of those people. A few weeks ago S. finally had his open heart surgery at Johns Hopkins and they ‘shaved’ down the extra heart muscle that was blocking his oxygen intake.

The surgery went well, but ultimately a few days later it was determined he needed a pacemaker extending our hospital stay and then a lung infection that followed. At the end of the day we were at the hospital of 8 days. Now he is home and recovering for the next few weeks, but is on major restrictions like lifting, driving and movement. He’s being SUCH a trooper, but understandably getting restless. I am going to have some upcoming posts about this soon!

surgery

{Mike} My little preschooler is becoming SUCH a little old man in the cutest way. He is overly polite to everyone we meet by greeting them and being his charming self. He knows Daddy has an owie and he has to be gentle. His favorite thing right now is riding his balance bike and watching Peppa Pig.

He has taken to his new ‘school’ like … Peppa Pig in muddy puddles. He loves his teachers and they seem to be very taken with him as well. His language has EXPLODED. He is asking what things mean, singing nursery rhymes and remember things. It really is like waking up each morning and finding out a new part of his personality has developed overnight.

Speaking of nights – someone is sleeping in a bed now! That transition has been pretty seamless except for naptime. But bed time might take a little longer, but he has stayed in bed all night and actually slept. I see that as a big win.

mike

{Muddling Momma} This Muddling Momma is just trying to keep up these days. A week after S. came home from surgery I was relieved of my duties at work which means spending my days at home job hunting. While I won’t ever lie, it stings and was a surprise, I firmly believe it was probably for the best though the timing could not have been worse. However, the silver lining is I can spend time with S. and help with his recovery (which usually means telling him to go take a nap).

On the positive side, I was FINALLY approved to be on the Chick Fil A Mom Panel this year so that was a bit of good news! I am still learning about my ‘duties’, but I am excited to eat some chicken and share some feedback.

There you have it! Like I said, life is a little sideways but I think we are going to come out on the other side and wonder how we survived. But we did and that’s the important part.

jackie

What I Did on my Summer Vacation

Or rather, What Mikey Did on his Summer Vacation.

We lucked out big time with the timing of our current daycare going on 2 week break and when preschool starts. It gave Mike a great little break to (hopefully) ease the transition. It was a little less of a ‘break’ for Momma and Daddy, but we made it work. And on Monday Mikey starts preschool! That is another post for another time when I work out my weird feelings about the whole thing (and I can get the picture of him standing in the corner crying while the other kids point and laugh at him and the teacher stands by doing nothing).

Mikey had a lot of adventures while on break. Including spending a few nights with Geema and Geepa – which was a win-win for all involved. How excited we were to hear he slept on the futon by himself AND swam unassisted in the pool! Of course a visit to Geepa at work, time with Mollie and plenty of movies were included. For the first time three years, we slept with the baby monitor off. It was glorious.

After an eventful few days in Denton, we picked Mike up for the ‘official’ family trip to Rehoboth Beach where we stay with my in-laws. Last year was fun, but this year was even more fun because Mike was old enough to actually spend time in the waves and ride the rides.

FUNLAND

I was a little hesitant with the rides because we all rode the carousel and he refused to sit on the horse. I mean, I am scared of horses, so I get it, but I didn’t think it bode well for the $15 we spent on ride tickets. But as usual – I was surprised. I kept trying to steer him to the low pressure rides, but he was literally BEGGING to ride the helicopters. So Dad took him on the helicopters and he was hooked. We went to the fire trucks next and he decided he wanted to watch before getting on, but once he realized he could ring the bell he was all in. It was a lot of fun!

beach

The next day we ventured out to the actual beach. We’ve been to Sandy Point numerous times, but this was a ‘real’ beach and it was hotter than hell. I didn’t expect to be out wake boarding, but he LOVED sitting in the surf and being splashed with the waves. After about 15 minutes he loosened his death grip and we even got pushed over a few times. It was so so so cool to see him experience something like that for the first time. Especially since S. spent many summers at the beach growing up and has great memories. This is the start of our summer memories!

The highlight for us was leaving our expensive stroller on a sidewalk at the beach. It was SO hot we packed everything in the car and drove off … only to discover the next day that we left the stroller. A few calls and social media postings didn’t result in it being ‘found’, so we are chalking it up to heat and toddler exhaustion.

intern

I am thankful for my work that is a family friendly. I was able to bring Mike, my intern, a few mornings, then come home to work some more while he had rest time. While I worked Mike basically sat under my desk and watched Peppa Pig. Oh, and since we are pushing forward with the potty training – taking him the bathroom every 15 minutes. He charmed my coworkers – all parents of adult children (and some grandparents) by coloring pictures and asking about 2000 questions. He loved going to ‘mommy’s office’.

celebrity style wigs

He also spent a random day with Great Aunt Phyllis who he loves and she got him to nap. I don’t know how – I didn’t ask questions. I don’t really care. He napped. I like him so much more when he is well rested. I hope preschool will encourage him to nap again.

So all in all Mikey had a great summer vacation! Now we are looking forward to Summerfest, the Baysox game, cooler weather and S.’s surgery on September 12th. I’ll probably be a little quiet between now and then. Of course I say that and who knows, I might end up being a daily poster as we go through all these changes.

How did you spend YOUR summer vacation?

Hamilton: Dear Theodosia

I am basically obsessed with the Broadway musical Hamilton. From the minute I get in the car to the minute I get out of the car at home I am listening to the cast album. Even Mike asks for the ‘Ta Da’ song, which is called ‘You’ll Be Back’. At night when I can’t sleep I YouTube all things Hamilton – interviews with the writer and actor Lin-Miranda Manuel, mashups, bootlegs … it’s a problem.

What’s Hamilton? It’s Alexander Hamilton’s life story (loosely) set to hip hop music. I have never learned so much about history and retained the information like I have until I heard Hamilton. I find the story of how Miranda came to write and star in the musical utterly fascinating.

One song I play over and over again is Dear Theodosia. It is a love letter from Aaron Burr to his daughter Theodosia and from Alexander Hamilton to his son Phillip. It really makes my complex feelings about being a Mom seem so simple and beautiful. Of course, the dynamics between Hamilton and Burr during this duet could be a term paper on it’s own, but I’ll save that for another time.

www.mywebsite.com

 

Not a Morning Person

The scene: Mike’s room with the lights on, like every morning. Mike is curled in the corner of his bed looking snug as a bug in a rug.

 

Mom: Mikey, let’s get moving kiddo.

 

Mikey: NO. No movin’

 

Mom starts to walk out

 

Mikey: NO, NO, NO! Mommy wait!

 

Mom turns around<

 

Mom: Ready to get up?

 

Mikey: No. Milk

 

Mom: Okay, let’s have milk in Mommy’s room

 

Mikey: No. Milk here.

 

Mom: No bug. Mom’s room.

 

Mikey:

 

Mom walks out again

 

Mikey: MOMMY NO NO WAIT!

 

Mom: Ready?

 

Mikey: No. Lights off. Lights off PLEASE!!!

 

Mom: Okay kid. Get your ass up. This is getting ridiculous.

 

Okay, not really. But close.

 

-So, good morning, good morningSunbeams will soon smile throughGood morning, my darling, to you.-

Preschool Woes

I was thinking yesterday about my a ‘parenting style’. Am I a Helicopter Parent? A Free Range Parent? An Unconditional Parent? No folks. I am don’t fit into those neat little boxes. I fit into my own parenting style which I call the ‘It Didn’t Occur to Me Parent’. Signing Mike up for preschool really confirmed that parenting style.

It’s a damn good thing my niece is a few months older than Mike, and my brother and sister-in-law are on top of things. If we weren’t following the path they made, poor Mike would still be drinking formula in a bottle because, well, it just didn’t occur to me to ween him off. My ADHD tends to put me on auto-pilot which isn’t always a good thing.

It didn’t occur to me that Mike probably should go to preschool this year. There was no email from the department of preschool or a knock on the door from preschool police. But then again, how hard could it be? As it turns out pretty complicated. When I went to preschool, there was only one in my hometown. No application process or required tours. There weren’t options like Montessori, co-op, or religious affiliation. And there certainly wasn’t a waiting list.

I had heard there were a couple of preschool expos where they all set up display tables and we could get all the information in one shot, so I decided to ask my local mom’s Facebook group how it all works. Here’s how THAT went:

“Not to make you feel worse, but most places have done their open houses and some of the more popular ones will probably be full soon.”  Yes. I do feel worse. And thanks for a non-solution.

“There was a fair scheduled last weekend at the college.” Great! Thanks! But that does nothing to help ME. 

“We elected to keep our kids in a home daycare until they are 4.”  I am glad you made a decision that works for your family! I am not sure if you are mom-shaming me or not, so I will just move on. Also, another non-solution.

“Registration for many schools started in January. Call NOW!!” I should also note, this response currently has 5 likes. I also currently have a stomach ulcer.

By the time I read through these, I was pretty sure Mike was not going to preschool this year and will never, ever reach his full potential. Although I will say, that there were a few helpful responses that didn’t make me feel like the world’s worst parent.

So S. and I took to Google and have narrowed a long list down to three options to check out. It seems they all have rolling registration so we can set up a time to tour them next month when life calms down a bit. Perhaps Mike won’t grow up and live in our basement because it didn’t occur to me early enough to register him for preschool.