Friday, June 27, 2008

Lessons still being learned

I was talking with a childless, married friend today and she was surprised to read on this blog that we are considering another child. I've said for a long time that one is plenty for me. As I typed an e-mail to me, I had a revelation about why I am now open to another (not certain though), after saying for so long that I was done. It's because I've finally become comfortable in my mommy skin. Parenthood has taken more of a toll on me than anything in my life. It should, right? But I never expected what I got when I became a mom. And up until about 4-5 months ago, I just didn't feel "right." I didn't feel like everything had clicked for me. The challenges of raising a child felt like giant mountains that I couldn't even think about climbing.

It all changed when Myles started communicating with us. He was a late bloomer when it came to verbal communication. I even had him assessed early in the year for a speech and/or developmental disorder. But when the words started flowing more - around 22-23 months - I suddenly felt like I could do this. He and I began connecting on deeper levels (although I always felt connected to him and have deeply loved him since I first laid eyes on him). As we began communicating, I felt like I could better understand him. It was extremely powerful in helping me move past my insecurities as a mom and embracing the challenge.

I recognize now that parenthood is filled with constant ups and downs. The ups are tremendous highs and the lows can be pretty scary. 18 months was the scariest for us thus far, with tantrums and self-destructive behavior at their peak. And while we're on a high right now, I know the next low is right around the corner. As I've heard from many moms, raising a child doesn't get easier, just different. I know that is true. The struggles of raising a newborn were nothing like those of raising a toddler. Now, as Myles enters the "older toddler" stage, the challenges we do face are once again new.

Now that I've accepted this - and am OK with it and confident in my abilities as a mom - I am willing to entertain the idea of giving Myles a sibling. Of course, Billy still needs to be convinced (as does the "logical" side of me). But you never know!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Weekend plans

We've been proactive, making more plans with friends this weekend than we have in a while. I've learned that as a working family, it is VERY difficult to maintain friendships! So many things have to fall into place to ever be able to see people. And you're often limited to hanging out with other people with kids. Nobody without kids REALLY wants to hang out with another couple and their kid...regardless of how "good" the kid is.

Anyway, I digress. We are having a small Poker night at our house with two other couples (one with a child close to Myles' age). It will be great to socialize with friends! We just do so little of that any more! And to cap that off, we're meeting up with Jen (from Another Online Mom) for a family playdate tomorrow. Jen is one of those friends who I truly adore, and who I know I could see more often if I put forth more effort. We live pretty close to one another and have children with similar interests.

Of course, this weekend, Myles will have to share our attention with other people. Hopefully he'll enjoy the company of other children as well.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Do I think too much?

I'm going through one of my funks. Suddenly, I'm feeling really guilty about all of the time I spend at work - and not with Myles. I remind myself that I tried being a SAHM and absolutely did not feel cut out for the job. I craved being back at work, around adults and dealing with marketing and communication strategy. I have little to no support system around me and staying at home often felt lonely and very stressful. When I think about it, I know I don't want to be back in that place.

But that doesn't change the fact that I feel AWFUL when I drop him off in the morning. I wonder if I'm permanently damaging him by leaving him day after day, as he asks me not to. I wonder if he understands that he can still depend on me...and that I love him more than anyone (except his daddy)! I wonder if one day soon he will just stop asking me to be with him, for fear that the answer will be no. I just wonder what his mind can comprehend.

Then there's the whole issue of having a second child. My husband often talks about getting a vasectomy. I would have happily obliged a year, or maybe even 6 months ago. But as time goes on, I become more and more interested in another one. Then I start thinking about it, as I do everything. Here are the big strikes against having another:

1. I don't have enough time for Myles, let alone another child. He already only gets a few hours a day with me during the week. Do I really want to cut that in half?! I think not. And I've heard the argument about how having another will enable them to spend time together and not rely on me so much. I am sure that's true, but I don't like that thought. It's like I'm pawning them off on each other.

2. Financially, unless something changes, it wouldn't make a lot of sense for me to continue working when paying for childcare for 2. I believe we'd be paying about $400/week if they were both at the daycare Myles attends now. That's a lot of money. And that brings the discussion back to me not being so thrilled with being a SAHM.

3. In the event I did continue to work, I would have to deal with the guilt of dropping TWO kids off at daycare. And that is what I really can't imagine.

Couple these three big concerns with the stress of having two...going through the sleepless nights again, teething, etc. and it becomes much less appealing. I won't say at this point whether we will or will not have another. I've never been one to make decisions on emotion. As I said at the beginning of this post, I think WAY too much!

Monday, June 16, 2008

The childcare dilemma

So this was a difficult morning. Myles has basically been on vacation for 2 weeks (with the exception of a few days) and today it was back to reality. Every working mom endures the challenge of who will help care for her child(ren). In our case, Myles is in daycare. He started about 4 weeks ago and the last 2 weeks have been chaotic with vacation.

This morning, when we arrived, he put on a forced smile as we walked up the steps to his 2nd floor classroom. He asked to be picked up, which I did. When we entered the classroom, there was some chaos, as something had obviously just happened with one of the students and the classroom mouse (yes, they have a pet mouse, "Mopsy," who is in a glass display). Amid everything, noone even acknowledged us or said good morning to Myles. I was crushed. I struggle enough with getting him to stay each morning without crying...I really need the teachers' help by at least greeting him and making him feel welcome! Not today. So I walked him over to the window where a few of the boys were gathered with some blocks. I told him to look out the window and told him I'd wave to him from outside. We'd never done this before.

He gave me a long hug and a kiss, I told him I love him and that I would be back soon for him. I reminded him before I left to watch for me out the window.

I raced down the stairs and into the parking lot and looked up. There are blinds on the windows so it's difficult to see. And while I couldn't see him, I did see little fingers poking between the blind slats exactly where I'd left him standing. I waved and smiled and blew him a kiss. I got in the car, rolled down the window and looked up again, still seeing those fingers.

This morning, it crushed me to leave him. I felt like I was leaving him alone. I cried when I got to work and have been sad all day. Every time I think of those little fingers, my eyes begin to fill up with tears.

As I said when I started this post, every working mom has to struggle with childcare. And while I am confident I want to work, I still question where I have him. I know I have to give it time, as he has only been there 4 weeks and they have been interrupted by vacation. I also know we have been very spoiled, as he's always been under the care of a nanny. But circumstances now have forced this transition. We really have no other options, other than for me to stay home. I know I don't want this. But I also know I don't want any more mornings like this one.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Disney, Disney

Myles went to breakfast with the Disney characters Friday morning. His Meme and Papa took him while they were in town for their vacation. Myles met Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Chip and Dale and I'm told he had a blast. I do wish this was something I could have taken him to but hopefully there will be plenty of new and fun times this summer. Here are some summer plans we have:

  • Go to the beach (once a month)
  • Return to Orange Lake each month for swimming down the Lazy River and games at their incredible arcade
  • Splash grounds! Downey Park, Torcaso Park and Shady Park (Hannibal Square) are all good.
  • Monkey Joe's (probably once a month)
  • Rock Springs (I hear it's a great place for kids and a fun place to rent a tube)
  • Discover new parks. We go to parks A LOT. After all, they are free entertainment. But I know there are quite a few that we haven't made it to, which are well reviewed.
  • Hang out at the airport and watch the jets taking off and landing. We've wanted to do this for a while.
You'll note that none of the parks are on this list. That's because they are not worth the money you pay to be there over the summer. You'll stand in lines all day and sweat like a pig. It's much better to go when the weather least well into October. Have I left anything off? What are you and your family doing this summer?

What to do for a great daddy

Today is Father's Day and I feel that we have so much to be thankful for with Billy. He is an amazing Daddy in every way you can imagine! He has taught me so much about parenting...mostly to relax and let Myles have fun and learn through experiences (good and bad). It is largely because of him that we stay so active as a family and find so many fun things to do. He is a person who can't stand to sit around and loves to be with others.

He is also a great teacher. He has a way of talking to Myles and showing him how things work that sticks. His patience is unmatched (especially by me) and his love is very, very deep for his son.

So what do you do for such an amazing man on his special day? I asked him that and didn't get a very clear answer (you often don't from men). So I decided to give him the gift of time. We all went to breakfast this morning with my parents. My dad is very ill so it's important to me to spend more time with him. Thankfully Billy is very understanding. He is now napping (a rarity) and I plan to hang out with Myles as much as he'd like. We're ordering Outback tonight - his favorite restaurant - and will probably eat it at a park somewhere, as long as it isn't too steaming hot. We do lots of family picnics at parks with nice playgrounds. It's generally cheap and lots of fun for Myles.

What are you doing for your husband (or dad)?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

We are still alive!

We have been busy with family vacations the past 10 days or so. We had a very fun weekend, mostly spent at the lazy river pool at my parents' resort in Kissimmee. We got some sun but thankfully, no burns. Myles also went with his grandparents to Disney's Legoland so that Billy and I could enjoy some time together. He's home for a couple of days, but my parents have tickets Friday morning to a Disney character breakfast, where Myles will eat breakfast with all of the main Disney characters, taking lots of pictures as he goes.

I wish I could be there, but between vacation, my nana's death, childcare issues and a sudden root canal, I've missed enough work. I'll be posting my dad's photos soon!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Whirlwind summer days

The past week has truly been a whirlwind. Myles has been everywhere it seems, from a daddy/son day Friday at Lake Eola Park and Shady Park (with its always fun splash fountain) to a last minute surprise trip to Treasure Island on the Gulf Coast.

Let's start with Eola. It's one of Central Florida's best parks. Nestled right downtown on the shores of possibly Orlando's most photographed lake, the playground is modern and challenging for the kids. Of course, it is usually crowded as well so be prepared for that. From what I heard, they had a great time of bonding and spent a long 2+ hours running around like boys do best!

Shady Park is also a treat. It's right in the heart of Winter Park, across from Dexter's on Pennsylvania. It's often quieter (and nicely shaded, hence the name), but boasts a fabulous fountain that toddlers just love to run through on hot summer days. This day was no exception.

We decided on Treasure Island Saturday morning. My family flies in from around the country each year to enjoy the first week of June there. This year, following the sudden loss of my grandmother, it was important to be there. So I took June 5-6 off work to spend a few days there with everyone. They were all arriving May 31 and that morning, after I had my hair done at the salon, we decided to surprise everyone and spend the weekend.

Myles had a BALL! We went down to the beach, where he challenged every wave. We also spent hours at the resort pool. He jumped into the pool over and over again until he could barely walk. That's our boy! I uploaded a few photos from the weekend, just to give an idea of the fun times we are having. Here's to a fun-filled, exciting summer with our 2 year-old!