It’s not a competition.
On the way to work this morning I was listening to a popular radio show when a stay at home mom called in. I missed the first part of the call, but the gist of it is that she has 3 children and has a hard time finding a moment of peace and solitude. I think we can all relate to that as parents of young children. Sometimes you just want to go to the bathroom by yourself or take a longer shower than normal. I don’t think its too much to ask, and neither did any of the DJs on the show. You can imagine my shock, then, when another stay at home mom called in and actually passed judgment on this lady for asking for a few moments away from her children.
What is it with women these days making every. single. facet. of parenthood a freaking competition?! Why is it that because you don’t wish for a few minutes alone and feel fulfilled with your life as a stay at home mom that you would think you are better than someone who has a completely different experience with a completely different set of children who you don’t know and frankly, know nothing about? Look, we all love our kids, and we all know that time is so very fleeting, and that this time when they are little is so precious…but we also know that parenting is hard. It is the toughest job I have ever been entrusted with. I don’t need the opinions of others and judgments and competitions of who is a better mother because they don’t want 5 minutes to pee alone, or breastfed longer, or cloth diapers the best to make it that much harder on me. Give it a rest already.
I love this post by Glennon over at Momastery about how you don’t have to carpe the whole effing diem, but rather celebrate the most precious moments. Let’s face it - we all have our days, and I really think the judgy caller this morning had to be lying. Nobody’s that perfect, and let me tell you, I love every minute that I have with my one kid, but there are days that I am counting down the minutes to bedtime. Kids are challenging. They are supposed to be challenging. Its not always rainbows and butterflies in the world of parenting, but I can definitively say that it is mostly rainbows and butterflies. To all my WAHM’s, SAHM’s, Working Mom’s, and especially you single mamas out there - if you need some me time to be a better parent - TAKE IT. You are doing a great job, and I commend you for recognizing that you need time for yourself to be good. And if you miss out on a few moments with your little ones, its okay. I will never judge you for trying your best.
Happy Birthday to my favorite TWO YEAR OLD of all time! Click play for a montage of his second year :)
Spring has Sprung!
We are so happy to finally be able to enjoy the warmer weather. Jackson has been spending as much time as possible outdoors, and as exhausting as it can get, I can’t say that I mind at all, because within seconds, the funniest and cutest expressions come across his little face:
Wednesday marks two years for our boy, and I honestly have been trying to figure out just how we made it here so quickly. He was just a baby, and now he is BIG. Opinionated, carefree, demanding, sweet, loving, and BIG.
All I know is that I have loved every single second that he has been here, and I am so looking forward to the next 8 decades or so, just to see where this lovely little journey takes us. Big things are in store for this big kid.
Down on the Farm
Yesterday, we made the short journey to Whiffletree Farm for a fun little event called “Yolks & Folks.” My coworker, Thais, suggested that all of us baby mamas take the little ones to the event, and it was so great to see everyone, especially the ones who no longer work with us! The owner of the farm actually went to high school with me, though he was a couple of years older! He raises many animals such as grass-fed beef, chickens, pigs, and turkeys with no “genetically modified ingredients.” Many of our local restaurants offer his meat regularly as well!
We arrived at the farm midway through the event and started roaming around to see some of the animals. Jackson was really enamored with this lone brown cow, and was screaming “MOOOO!!!” at her. He also tried to entice her with rocks for snacks, and at one point tried to climb under the fence - only avoided by me grabbing his ankles at the very last second!
Jackson later happened upon an unoccupied wagon, and started pulling it along, until some mean old big kids came and stole it from his hands :(
They thought it was pretty funny - as evidenced in the above photo. Luckily, we found another wagon a few minutes later, and all was right with the world. Meaning, Jackson didn’t do a single other activity for the remainder of the afternoon, but pulled his wagon around, and of course, pulled his friends in it as well:
Diego had a ride!
So did Alex!
We also hung out with Ben:
And the baby of the bunch, sweet Caleb :)
It’s really a funny phenomenon that all of us just decided to have babies at the same time (except Caleb’s mama - she just saw how much fun we were having and needed a boy too!) and all had boys! Jackson is the oldest, born in April 2011, followed by Ben & Diego in May and June and Alex in September - Caleb came along in September of 2012. I’m just glad that Jack has so many cool boys to grow up with, all of which have even cooler mamas :)
At the end of the day, when we decided to leave, Jackson was very upset to go, and started having a tantrum screaming “I WANT MY WAGON!!!!!!” the entire way to the car. :)
I spend a good portion of my day wondering what in the world I have done to deserve the privilege of being this boy’s mama. From the day he was born I have been pondering what good deed I could have committed in order to be rewarded so handsomely. That’s the funny thing about babies. From their first moments in this world they have a way of making you wonder how you ever lived before them, while simultaneously trying to figure out just what you did that brought you to such a beautiful place. You are instantly catapulted into the strongest, most instantaneous love you have ever felt, and you move forward, through the sleepy newborn phase and wake up in toddlerhood, wondering just how the hell you got here with this walking, talking opinionated KID, and why the heck it seems like just yesterday that they were placed warm & slippery on your chest for the first time.
And sure, there is a great deal of responsibility that comes along with being a mama. A crushing amount of responsibility. (you mean I’m supposed to provide for their every need, keep them safe, AND make him into a productive member of society?!!!) But I’ll let you in on a little secret - it is the most joyful responsibility on this planet. I have never been entrusted with such an important job in my life until him. I have never thrown myself so completely into my “work.” And never have I felt the level of confidence and self-assurance that I do being his mother. I don’t think another person on this planet can offer him the lessons and experience and knowledge I can. After all, we were made for each other, him and I.
I am absolutely, 100% positive that I am doing something right. Look at him. He is so cute it actually physically hurts sometimes. I mean, I can literally explode. But he is smart too. And kind. And FUNNY. And I don’t think I can even begin to take credit for all of that. But somewhere inside of him is a piece of me. And he is 100% good, so I must be doing something right, here.
The tiniest things in the world really do bring the most joy. The most rock-me-to-my-core-capture-my-entire-soul-I-would-do-anything-for-you type of joy. I swear, I haven’t smiled or laughed as much in my entire life, as I have these past 22 months. And even with the responsibility of raising a man (and not just any man - but a GOOD man), I would never trade one day of this wonderful journey we are walking together. Time and again I realize that while I am teaching him numbers and colors and even bigger things like friendship and empathy, he really is the one teaching me. All of the wisdom and humility in this world is packed into 32 lbs of cute, and I am so damn lucky to take it all in every day.
And while I may not hold all of the answers on how to be the best parent, the one thing in this world I am sure of is that while I might not have done anything spectacular to deserve the joy that comes in being his mom, I know that he is the most spectacular thing I have ever done.
This little cutie is TWENTY TWO months old today! Just two months from his second birthday. I can’t even believe how much he has grown in recent weeks. His language has exploded, and he speaks in full sentences, perfectly able to articulate his desires and needs. He has begun potty training and is really great with going #2, but we aren’t really forcing the issue at this point. While some of Jackson’s attributes make it so evident that he is becoming a big kid, there are pieces of baby dispersed throughout his personality that serve as a welcome reminder that he is still part baby. He loves his paci (this one I could actually live without), and is the sweetest, snuggliest, loving little bug on the planet (all of these I wish to stay forever).
Jack loves anything that is classically “boyish.” He is obsessed with tractors, trucks, cards, motorcycles, firetrucks, airplanes, and being generally destructive to his safety. He started swimming lessons last month and is loving the opportunity to be in the water once a week. He can wall walk with his hands all on his own, and knows how to get himself out of the pool if he were to fall in. It’s pretty incredible.
He also has the w.o.r.s.t. tantrums in the entire universe. This is no exaggeration. He goes from “milk” to “MILK!!!” to high pitched screeching screaming dying “MMMMMIIIIIIILLLLLLLKKKKKKK!!!!!!” (The agonizing scream that makes you want to instantly punch yourself in the face). All I have to do is say “How do we ask for milk?” and he stops and sweetly says “Milk, pleeeasseeee?” and all is forgiven. He also has grown rather fond of a few choice words that I regret ever flying out of my mouth (damnit and shit are at the top of the list…). And he loves to hit - only me though.
In short, we are really settling into toddlerhood and actually enjoying all of the trials that come from a tiny being with no outlet for expression of emotions. We are learning the best ways to explain things in toddler terms and what works for us and Jackson in terms of discipline (time out is really working for us these days - he actually understands that he is in trouble, and we always have a conversation about what behavior should be altered). Each day we get to spend as his parents is such a privilege, and I have never been given a job that I love more than this one!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
The cutest, messy-haired, one-eyed Love Bandit
This little guy. He is rocking my world these days. I say it with each passing stage, that this one is my favorite. I loved the sleepy newborn, with all of the grunts and stretching. I was enamored with the curious infant, giggling and grasping, which led to the love of an equally curious toddler. Right now, here is what I am loving:
Tiny valentine’s. J has his first valentine’s day party ever at school tomorrow, and he was instructed to bring valentine’s for his class. Melissa posted these tiny, adorable valentine’s from Minted on her blog last week, and I knew we had to get them for the party.
Independent Play. Jackson has always been amazing at keeping himself occupied, but at this age, it just seems so much more fun to listen to his imagination grow. He will make up stories as he goes along, create train noises, and talk about what he is “cooting” (cooking).
A kid who makes funny faces. He also looks at the camera and says “CHEEEEESE!!!!” which results in some of the most precious and adorable photos.
Puppy love. No explanation necessary.
Bath time. While baths have seemed like such a chore, we are in a really great place with bath time right now. Jackson loves to pretend like he’s “fwimmin’” (thank you, swim lessons, for all of the heart attacks and near-drownings). The funniest bath time experience these days, though, is his obsession with not turning the faucet off. He stands up, turns it on, but isn’t that strong so it’s freezing cold. He doesn’t mind one bit - he likes to stick his little hand underneath, and shiver uncontrollably and scream “COOOOOLLLDDD!!!”
Did I mention that he also likes to shove his feet under the faucet?
The fun can only last for a few minutes before I have to pull a shivering boy reluctantly from the water, because, you know, I don’t want him getting hypothermia and all.
We are closing in on 22 months here in a few days, and I can’t even fathom that this boy has been here for the better part of two years. At the same time, I can’t imagine that I ever existed without him.
The hubby & I are trying to catch a flight to San Francisco for the weekend, and while I am ecstatic at the prospect of exploring my favorite city with my man, who, by the way, has NEVER been, I am also sad to leave this handsome face behind with Grandma & Grandpa. I know he will have the most fun time, and that he will barely even realize that we are away, but that doesn’t mean I will miss him any less. Have a lovely weekend, and if you want to follow our adventures on the west coast this weekend, you can find me on instagram at christylately
PS - I got a fancy new camera, doesn’t it take lovely photos?!
Everyone knows that when a friend gives birth that it is special. Only enhanced by having been there before. What is even more special is when your oldest friend has a baby. I have known Tanya my entire life. Literally. Growing up, she was my girlfriend down the street. We have shared countless sleepovers, talent show performances (don’t even ask…), and she is one of the few people I know that I can, literally, laugh with for HOURS about nothing. Serious, uncontrollable laughter. Hysteria. Whenever I hear the song “lean on me”, its this girl that pops into my mind, reminiscent of a slumber party at my house long ago where we belted out the lyrics for hours until they were memorized. The sentiment of the song has held true for us over the years too. True friend. Always there. Through new life, loss of life, and a whole lotta love. Last Thursday my Tanya welcomed her first born into the world, a seriously delicious little love bug named after his daddy. I rushed to the hospital on Friday with a handmade quilt in hand and settled in for my first snuggle sesh with the little dude. This was made even more special because he was born in the very room that my special little dude was born in. (Hospitals are a crazy place. I have said goodbye to the best lady I knew in that hospital, but also have said hello for the first time to so many lovely bundles. The good definitely wins).
Get ready for all sorts of squealing and exciting noises to come out of you, because I don’t think words can even brace you for all of the cute you’re about to see. Consider yourself warned:
^He is totally ready for his modeling debut!