7.29.2011

The Worst Day Ever. Until Today.

Sometimes you just think so long and hard and overmuch about things that they leave an indentation on your brain that only time can resolve.

Which I why I never thought overlong about being a working mom. It’s what I have to do, so I do it.

But that doesn’t mean it is easy.

On Mondays, while I drive to work (and often on the drive home from work), my Heavenly Father gets extra long phone calls from me asking for His help for me to be patient and have faith that He’s working on the blessings that will make it so I can stay home. He hears from me all day long too, any time I miss my boy.

And lately? My Tuesdays and Wednesdays haven’t been so good either. Tuesday, I crunched budget numbers in Excel spreadsheets and made plans in my head. By Wednesday, perhaps because so much of my husband’s telecommuting day morphed into the embodiment of chaos theory, perhaps because, even though my mother-in-law meant only that I was the mom and the call was mine to make when she said “if you want to be with your boy, come get him,” the words beat my heart into pulp, perhaps because hormones and lunar cycles and maybe even the damn barometric pressure all combined against me, I was a fully dysfunctional, sobbing, crying, praying mess of a lump sitting in my car during my short lunch break.

This week was like that quote from the movie Office Space: “Ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, it's the worst day of my life.”

Wednesday night, I arrived home with a purchased dinner to find my kid had crossed the strike line to join up with the Grouchies. I told him, after I forced him into his high chair for dinner, that he didn’t have to be so upset, that he could actually choose not to be upset. I told him he could choose to be happy. He stopped fussing and looked at me, curious as he considered this new information for a while. And you know what? After that, he was happy.

We both learned a lesson that night. I am choosing to be happy!

Thursday was marginally better, but I could have done without the hunger, fatigue, and grouchiness (mine, this time, not the boy's).

But today? Today is Friday! The day I get to play Stay at Home Mom. And even though my kid woke up at the crack of stupid after a rough (rough!) night, and I am so tempted to trade our Grand Day Out for a Great Day In, I am going to make the best of today!

~Nichole

7.24.2011

With a Will

I've written before about how nap times and Sunday schedules are like oil and water around these parts.

We moved into a new ward that is a whopping half hour earlier than our former ward, so the fact that my kid's nap time falls before and during church was not helped much.

BUT, I am happy to report that with prayer and effort, we have found a way to make it work!

We have gotten to where we just push his bedtime out a little so he sleeps longer and push his nap until later (i.e. keep him busy and occupied right up until church). We are able to make it through sacrament meeting without any major meltdowns. Then we rush out and get him into the car. Some days he is so tired, he falls asleep before we are out of the parking lot. Other days, he lasts until we reach the top of the hill before turning left for home.

One hour is not nearly enough, but it will do for now. And the experience has helped me re-realize that praying about something and being willing to put in the effort to make it happen really are a powerful combination!

~Nichole

7.21.2011

The Shoulds

Have you ever met the Shoulds?

The Shoulds are a malicious bunch. They like to hold me hostage, back me into a corner, and squish the shreds of parenting dignity I have left beneath their crusty leather boots. Then, as a more acute and awful form of torture, one of them reads a list of my parenting transgressions: not paying enough attention to my kid, saying "damn it" when his octopus arms are busy grabbing my piles of freshly folded laundry, letting him slip underwater while I try a few acrobatics in the pool. . .

Then they stand around and recite their creed: "he Should be night weaned by now!" "he Should be in his own room!" "you Should be using time out!" "he Should be watching less movies and reading more books!"

Just when I feel about to succumb, my kid does something great like eat chicken (we've been convinced he's vegetarian!), or learn all his primary colors (plus black, purple, and orange), or recite 15 letters of the alphabet (out of order), or sit nicely through church (eating raisins).

Such things intimidate the Shoulds the way a patronus does a dementor! And they make me feel way better, too!

~Nichole

7.08.2011

Crafting with Cephalopods

Here's the thing.
I don't quite know how it happened.
I don't know quite when it happened.

But sometime between 18 and 19 months of age, my son left babyhood behind and went into full-on toddler mode. He walks with a very purposeful toddler walk. He acts like he's the boss of everyone. (And everything.) I have never seen a person more self-possessed than a toddler!
Recently, I read a blog post that compared flying on a plane with a lap child to trying to hold an octopus still for a few hours.

Did you know that that is exactly what trying to do a craft project with a 19 month old running around is like?

I did the nice version of my tutorial here. Here's the real story.

We started in the morning. When he was extra wiggly. And prone to climbing every climbable surface on the planet.
He "helped" me measure and mark my button holes.

He climbed on the table about eleventy hundred more times. He modeled my fabric.

He grabbed all my tools from me, injected himself into every task I performed. He "helped" me make the buttons.

He ran around and generally caused a ruckus all over the household. Insert break for going to buy foam - during which the heat of the car and the noonish hour brought on a (too short) nap - which made the day all the more interesting.

Insert second break for lunch and chasing and redirecting and pulling a kid off all sorts of high-ish surfaces.

My octopus used his tentacles to grab and shake loose the legs of my once-sturdy table, at which point this octo-mom lost her patience and started using my own tentacles to pull him away much too forcefully and impatiently.

I called reinforcements in from outside (i.e. made his dad come and watch him while I operated the compressed air stapler).

Finally, about 12 hours after I started, I finished. We couldn't get one of the four corners of the legs to seat correctly thanks to the vigorous octopus shaking it received.

Oh, and it took about 4.5 seconds for my kid to stick his little tentacles under one of the tufted buttons and snap it right off. See for yourself:

Just keeping it real, folks. This is the side those cozy online tutorials won't tell you.

By the way, if ever I am tempted to attempt a project like this again with a toddler underfoot, remind me of this, will ya?

~Nichole

"May you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world." -Ray Bradbury