Reflections while driving 

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It’s a fifteen minute drive from daycare to home. And today I picked up my daughter as usual, put her in the car seat and hopped in the drivers seat and pulled out of the daycare- as usual. 

I read once somewhere, that you aren’t supposed to just say “how was school” or “how was your day”. I don’t remember the source, or the reasons behind it, or if they offered any alternative, but I remember it. 

So I stop myself from blurting it out, and instead simply say “I missed you today, munchkin!”

She just looks at my reflection in the rearview mirror. I’m never sure if she can only see my eyes or my whole face. Then she starts whining the names of the daycare providers that’s she’s closest too. I’m not gonna lie, I get slightly offended! 

“You’re gonna come home with mommy! And we will hang out!”

“No!” She says then continues playing with her little doll. 

I know she’s only two. And that she doesn’t understand that I would much rather be home all day and playing games and eating snacks and listening to old macdonald. But mommy has to work. And her relationships are strongest with her providers and her dad whom she sees on weekends. He has those days off and gets to just play all weekend. I get it. But it doesn’t make it hurt any less. 

Up ahead on the side of the road I see christmas lights draped from houses and taverns and I enthusiastically say “Zoey! Look at the pretty lights!!”

“Wow! Pretty!” She exclaims then as quickly as I drove up on them, they are gone. And the car becomes awkward again- not for her, but for me. I keep glancing at her and wonder what she’s thinking, what I can say to connect more to her, to get her attention. 

Sometimes I feel like I’m just doing all the “work” of motherhood, taking care of all the business. I feel like sometimes I know very little about her. I mean, I know her routine to a tee, I know what to feed her, and her allergies, and the best and most effective way to get her to sleep. I know her social security number, and birthday, and pediatricians number, and that she has a soft spot in one of her baby teeth that I have to “keep an eye on”. 

But it’s all just business. I feel sometimes like she’s missing out on having me really there. 

I can barely tell you what her reaction would be at a public restaurant because I can’t remember the last time I could bring her to one. I haven’t the slightest clue if she prefers riding on the end of the cart in a grocery store, or in the seat- or neither! Because I do all my errands either on my lunch break while she is at daycare or on weekends while she is at her dads house. 

How do you make that kind of time to really connect to such a young kid while leading such a busy life? How do I get her to be excited to hang out with me instead of just going through the motions? 

I know she loves me. She is happy to see me when I pick her up and sad to see me go when I drop her off. She wants to cuddle with me before bed. She asks me to read to her. She wants me around.  Which I love! But I feel like we are both missing out on some very vital pieces of a mother/daughter relationship. 

I know deep down it’ll all come together, I just wish it were sooner. 

As we pull into the driveway I glance back and say “almost home!”

She smiles back and says “home!”

And that’s some hope! 

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Mini teenager

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She’s two. And she is feet up, straight up lounging in front of the television. I turned off the television and we went outside to play because frankly, enough television already! We cleaned her room, and she refused to donate pretty much anything with the exception of a used sticker and a book. Very generous, I know. 

She hated everything I’ve cooked for her today. “It’s gross, I want chips!” Ugh. Did she get chips? Nope. Was she pissed? Oh yeah. 

She then proceeded to direct me out of her room and shut the door. I knocked. She opened the door and said “what?”… Really?????

She has refused to wear anything I picked out for her in the past week. She already has a “style”?

She has demands, and she means business. She is all drama and a sliver of smiles when she gets her way. Oh boy. I’m in for a rough ride. 

I have been putting my foot down more often, trying to nip the self entitlement in the bud. 

Hopefully her relentless attitude lately comes to a halt. But she’s still a very sweet little girl. I mean, she apologized to her doll for dropping her. That counts right?

Lost the battle, not the war!

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There I am. Standing in the low end budget section of the grocery store. Arms piled high in frozen dinners I’ll be lucky enough to enjoy let alone cook the remainder of the week. I’ve missed atleast two shifts in two days of my two part time jobs and these are groceries this week. The few things I splurge on are fresh fruit and yogurt for Zoey. 

And there I am. It’s 4:00 pm and she is running about forty feet down the long aisle screaming “no!!! Mine!!!!!”.  She has raspberries strewn all along her path. A few people looking at me obviously wondering why I’m not disciplining her and a few others wondering why I’m not chasing her and bargaining with her. The truth is, all I could do was choose between laugh and cry. I was defeated. It’s been a long couple of days and I will need my energy for the dinner time battle, the bath time war, and the bed time hell. So I just very calmly looked at her and stoically replied, “dude… Here’s the rest of the berries, just come here”. 

She walked proudly towards me knowing damn well she had won. And everyone looked at me like I was the biggest pushover mom in the world. I don’t care. 

It all started two days ago. She had a doctor appt. I left work a half day to bring her. That appt took all afternoon. She was miserable from being poked and prodded at which I understood and didn’t blame her. She napped VERY late and therefore went to bed late. Which means I went to bed late. Does that mean I slept in this Morning? No. At 3:55 my dog decided to be ridiculously loud and obnoxious. I knew it was either get up and try to diffuse the dog situation or risk it waking her up. So I got up. My fiancé half asleep said in the sweetest voice “want me to get up?” Yes!!! Yes goddammit!! But he fell back asleep and I really wanted to punch him in the face in that instant but instead went and made a coffee. I wasn’t really mad at him nor had a reason to be. There was no reason for him to get up. I guess misery just lives company lol. 

So here it is Tuesday. The day she comes to work with me. To my office. With paperwork. My office now resembles a mid afternoon in a daycare center. I left it that way. She still was in a crappy mood apparently and my head hurt by noon from the screaming. Doctor called. We have to be back there at 2:30. Ugh. Another 45 minute ride one way with her screaming and miserable so she can be poked and prodded again. 

Another two hours at pediatrician and her shrill screech is deafening. My brain is mush. I have two jobs I’m falling behind on. Still don’t really know what’s the reason my kid isn’t feeling well, haven’t slept, and realized I haven’t eaten. Gotta stop at the grocery store. Gotta make it through this last chore….

And so there I was. In the grocery store. Giving in to my temper tantrum two year old without blinking an eye. Judge me. I don’t care.

And here I am now. In my bed. And my kid is asleep. On time!!! I managed to save my energy to make bath time fun. Dinner yummy. And bed time a breeze. I have no regrets. 

She’s so… “Two-ish”!

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well we just celebrated Zoey’s second birthday, and in true textbook fashion, she rounded that age corner like a tornado. Suddenly bath time is hell, and bedtime is hell’s cousin. And dinner? Oh man… Dinner is exhausting. She went from being a pretty easy going kid most of the time to being the equivalent of pleading with a drunk college kid who doesn’t know any better. 

She demands to do things herself- great! But then screams bloody murder because she needs help, but then screams even louder because whatever she needed help with is “mine!”  She yells at the dog for merely existing, and full on melt down if a fly buzzes by her briefly. 

The plus side of these changes I’m seeing is that she is discovering her surroundings in a way I’ve yet to see until now. She feels pride in accomplishments and shows more understanding suddenly in my sentences. 

It’s crazy how within days she has changed so much. 

Everyone keeps saying “three is worse!”

Ugh only time will tell. 

Story 

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When I begin a blog post, the text says “share your story here”. I don’t have “a” story. I don’t have a “story”. I have a daughter. She isn’t a story. She’s more like this beautiful unwritten novel that as a parent we help write without ever knowing. She is part science fiction , part mystery, comedy, drama, and self help manual. She knows more about her than I ever will. That’s a scary thought. I thought I knew already. I thought I would always be one step ahead of her. She has an answer for everything. She has a reason for everything.  She has a plan. She has an agenda. 

She is beautiful with her crazy spiked little baby teeth and her bright brown eyes and her mischievous giggle when being told “no” and I can’t keep the smile from my face while reprimanding her for whatever social rule she may have broken. 

She is this tiny little human that I am attempting to mold into a “socially acceptable” and morally insightful member of society. Why? I don’t know. She is her own person and her innocence is beaming and untouched by the graces of society. Right now she is perfect. And I will always think she is perfect. Flaws and all. 

What scares me is that someday many people and situations will make her doubt her self, her appearance, her smile, her thoughts. And that’s such a shame. It’s heartbreaking. 

I’m not ok with that. But I don’t have a choice. That’s life. I guess the best i can do is build her confidence up enough to stand tall. 

That’s MY story. I don’t know what hers will be. But I’ll bet she does. 

Mommy badges of honor

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there are so many things people tell you about parenting. What diapers are the best, where to shop for clothes at the best bargains, which foods are good or bad, which disciplinary measures if any you should take. But there are some things that no matter who preaches it to you, you’ll never understand unless you live it. 

Today I was at the dentist And the tool they used kept spraying water out of my mouth (mixed with my own spit I’m sure) on to my face and clothes. The dentist kept apologizing and after a half hour I simply said “listen, I have a toddler, at least  today it’s my own drool on me”.  Had that dentist had children she would have been more understanding. Instead she laughed and proceeded to tell me about her nephew in attempt to relate. No seriously lady, I don’t leave the house without banana, oatmeal, snot and drool on my clothing.  

No one tells you how beautiful the bouquet of weeds is when your kid lovingly picks them herself. Sure there are some actual flowers in there, but if that child gives you flowers AND weeds- which they WILL- then you graciously accept and your heart will never melt as much as it does with that grubby little handful of weeds. 

No one tells you that children have super sonic hearing if you’re eating a snack three rooms away, but go deaf when they have to pick up their toys. 

No one tells you that the “what’s that?!” Stage is not a stage but a temporary way of life. Its ceiling, A floor, a sign, a cloud, dinner, my knee, a window, my hair- just go to sleep!!

No one tells you how much you will miss them being in your bed when they sleep in their own room. Or even how much you will miss cuddling with them when at the mere age of two they begin refusing to “chill” on the couch to read a book. 

I guess there’s no better way to learn. Everyday i learn something new about her and about myself. Everyday I learn that I can suddenly imitate every animal sound in her books wether I like it or not. Everyday I learn that I will be sacrificing my dinner (identical to hers) and trading it for her half licked disgusting soggy chinks of ketchup covered chicken because she suddenly has an interest in eating chicken as a whole piece instead. 

Everyday I’m learning. Everyday she’s learning. She’s teaching me as much as I teach her. It’s really amazing. 

Weebles wobble and fall down… All the time!

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a month shy of two years old, my kid is suddenly the clumsiest human I know. I think today alone, she has knocked her head six times. Stubbed her toe once or twice, and skinned a knee. 

Dude! People are gonna think I beat you! Stop getting hurt! 

Now, “gracefulness” doesn’t necessarily run in my family. We tend to be a clumsy people. But she is on the fast track to setting new records, even for us! 

I’m sad she has her first scar on her beautiful olive perfect skin. But there it is, on her knee from an epic slide on the gravel a few weeks ago. And I know it’s the first of many. Amazingly, each and every bump bruise and scrape can still be healed with a mommy kiss. And unfortunately there will be a day that no matter how many kisses a trip to the doctors will have to happen for stitches or what have you. But I really don’t want to! I don’t want her to get that hurt. But as kids we all got to that juncture. Some of us once, some of us knew the emergency room doctors by name. 

I can’t wait for the clumsiness to pass. If it ever does. 

My thoughts on the DCF killing in Barre Vermont

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being a native Vermonter, living in Vermont, and being a mother who attended college in this area, I felt compelled to address this news story. If you haven’t heard this story then look it up. 

It’s not just a news story. It’s close to home physically and emotionally as a mom. 

So tomorrow I will continue blogging about my normal stuff but tonight, here’s a post from my personal Facebook. 

“I just want to say something about the extremely sad events that took place in barre. A few “somethings” actually. 
1. I’ve done foster care. And the state of Vermont always lays out a plan to get the children with biological parents if possible. They DO want natural families together. They don’t just “unfairly” run around snatching kids from their homes. They conduct investigations, must have evidence, and must go through due process. 
2. If something had happened to this child (thankfully said child is safe) people would be freaking out about “oh DCF sucks they should have stepped in” etc. Their jobs are heart wrenching, and why is someone else’s lack of parenting ever someone else’s fault or responsibility. Realistically it’s sad that any parent needs to be reminded to be a good parent or threatened to have their kids removed or taken away. YOURE A FUCKING PARENT!!!! The fact that an organization such as DCF has to exist to begin with is fucking ridiculous. 

3. This mother is NOT a victim. So anyone hash tagging “mamabear” bullshit needs to stop. I’m a mom. And I’m not perfect. But if DCF were to ever be called on me especially by my own family I would be so ashamed of myself I would force myself to fix my life to make it better for my child. Easier said than done? NO! No damn excuses. 

4. Last and most certainly not least my heart goes out to all involved in this tragedy. Kids should come first. And they always get lost in the mix.