These are letters to Jack, my son, and my daughter, Audrey. You have given me the gift of motherhood. This is just a little gift back. I want to share my experiences with you of your childhood from my perspective of watching you grow - of being your Mom.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Being "Not Daddy"


Yesterday with me was a rough time for you. Starting in the morning when I got you up. We headed downstairs and after a few minutes, you started in with calling up the stairs "DADDY! YOU WAKE UP! I explained that Daddy had gone to work but would be home in a couple of days. This brought about loud protests of "NOOOOOOO! Want DADDY!"

I was sympathetic but told you it was no big deal. Daddy would be home soon. My objective was to help you to be happy and focus on other things because I know that Daddy doesn't want to be gone and I don't want him to feel bad and I don't want you to feel bad.

I just want everyone to be happy all the time, is that so much to ask? :)

Okay - so I see the error in my logic, but it's still what I aim for most of the time.
Well, you were so upset that Daddy wasn't there, that you figured I must be responsible in some way and yelled the whole morning for an assortment of reasons - pretty much screaming NOOOOOO whenever I suggested anything or opened my mouth.

I dropped you off at daycare with no small sense of relief thinking that - after a day playing with small friends - you might have decided it WASN'T my fault afterall.

But, when I came to pick you up, you had seen me pull up next to the playground. The playground doesn't have an outside access in order to protect the children from someone taking them or from figuring out how to get out themselves. Therefore, I had to go inside of the building to come around to get you. I knew you had seen me so I rushed through the building at top speed, but it wasn't fast enough. By the time I made it to your classroom door, I could hear you crying loudly outside as though you had seen me change my mind about coming to get you. I rushed outside and the relief on your face was visible. I held you tight while you told me that you were crying and I said, "Yes, I know. I'm sorry, Buddy! Don't be sad! I always come to get you!"
As a special treat, I took you to Borders because it's different from what we normally do. We found a bunch of books in the Children's section with wheels on them and you quickly took to lining them up in traffic jams like you do with all your car toys. We spent a good, quiet and relaxing 45 minutes playing in the bookstore.

Finally, I took you home to much protesting. You were very upset. I made you ravioli and you were upset that they weren't scrambled eggs. Daddy wasn't home and you wanted Daddy to be home. You wanted to get up! "I GET UP! I DONE! I NOT! I HIT! PFFFFFTTTTTTTTTTT!!!"

The spitting started and continued very pointedly done while staring me right in the face. I told you "no! No Spitting!", but you didn't listen. I turned your highchair around so you were facing the wall and you continued to spit while declaring loudly to me behind you "I SPIT! I SPITTING! PFFFFFFFTTTTTB!!!! PFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFTB!! I NOT!! I NOOOOOOT!!! PFFFFFFTTTTTTB!"

This was not having any effect and I needed to get your attention so I turned off the light and walked into the other room. At first you pretended like it didn't bother you "I SPIT! I SPIT! I NOT!" but then your verbal banter slowed and you only infrequently uttered your scorn ".....I NOT...." "I SPIT........" Then you started to cry.

I hate that it has to come to that. I don't want to make you cry, Sweetheart, but I need to know my point is getting through. I need you to know that speaking to me that way isn't acceptable and that you DO need to listen to me sometimes. I may not always know what I'm talking about, but - at THIS point in your young life? - I DO! Things like having dinner or cake, hitting or hugging, spitting or not spitting.... these answers I do have.And - I know sometimes you would rather get this advice from Daddy. I know that his approach is softer and you are more receptive to it because it's not the voice that you hear when you are most frustrated. When Daddy is around, the atmosphere changes here at home. I myself am WAY more relaxed because I have another adult to talk to. Someone that I can bounce things off of if I don't know the right answer. Also, your Daddy has a way of finding humor in your backtalk that I cannot find when he's not around. Sometimes you will look me right in the face when Daddy is home and say "I NOT! PFFFFFFTB!" and I'll be about to say something in a deep and angry tone of voice to show my disapproval when I'll see Daddy grab some toy close by and put it in front of his face while his shoulders shake with laughter and I realize that my son's backtalk IS amusing ..... when it's not directed at YOU! I can see this a little more clearly when Daddy is around and it tempers my response. I will more calmly tell you that this is not acceptable and if you aren't going to be nice to Mommy, then Mommy will need to step away for a minute until you CAN be nice to me.

Which, really - is MUCH more effective than the battles that usually ensue.

I'm a better Mommy when Daddy is home.

Here are some things that I need to work on and I hereby vow to try:

  1. To NOT be personally offended when you are mad that I'm not Daddy. I can't control that and you are a sweet little kid and don't understand why you can't have your Daddy when you want him. And I'm the only one here for you to express that to.

  2. I need to make sure not to convey anger in my tone of voice when correcting you because I think this is contributing to the anger you show when you can't have what you want. I think you are picking up on this in my responses and you are seeing it as acceptable when it's not. I vow to be more aware of this and do a better job of modeling appropriate responses.

  3. To make more attempts to diffuse situations with humor. Funny - I can do this so easily with adults that I work with, but when it comes to you - I immediately become authoritative as though that is the only way to change behavior. The truth is - Daddy is effective at this for a reason. Humor is fantastic and diffusing an emotionally charged situation BEFORE addressing the behavior that was wrong might be a better way to go. You may be more open to listening AND we end on a much happier note than we would otherwise.

So - while I can't control being "NOT DADDY" - I can and DO commit to you that I will try to be a better Mommy.

I feel much better, Jack! Thanks for listening to me!



Monday, October 29, 2007

I'm such a ..... Follower!


I don't know if it will become a yearly thing or if it's been a big thing in the past, but in the blogging community, I have become aware of NaBloPoMo and have signed up. In case you are one of the ones that don't know (like I was approximately 24 hours ago...and assuming this isn't incredibly outdated by the time you actually read this...), NaBloPoMo is the National Bloggers Posting Month which is the month of November. Bloggers commit to posting one blog entry per day for the entire month of November, regardless of whether you feel you have something very valuable to share or not.

And, since I'm SUCH a follower.... :)

I'm really looking forward to it! The truth is, there are some pretty incredible blogs out there maintained by some amazing people. I have my favorites - some of which I have links to on this blog - and to be considered a peer of some of these minds. Wow. I just want to play in the same venue with these guys, to be honest with you!

Also - I love blogging and feel so much better when I find the time to do it. This little daily commitment that I've made to myself is just the thing to keep me on track for a month and hopefully by the end of it, it's had a big impact on myself and you!

Anyway, I've been so excited about signing up for it that I just had to post about it. Afterall, there will be a lot more to talk about in the month to come. A lot more. You'll wish I would shut up.

You already do? Crap. It's going to be a long month!



Sunday, October 28, 2007



The past couple of weeks, we have talked non stop about Halloween. To say you are in the spirit would be the understatement of the year.You think everyday is a Halloween party and want to put on your Mike Wasowski costume every time I turn around.

This morning we carved your pumpkin. You didn't pay much attention until we had it all set up with the candle inside of it and then it seemed to come alive for you.

"Hello, Pumpkin!"(see you waving at it's face? know....just in case your particular pumpkin is deaf...)
now that you mention it, I don't see any this means you are a child genius! There is simply no other way to interpret this.
(peering closely into the pumpkin)
"It's HOT!""Yes, it IS hot because of the candle inside of it. Do you like the pumpkin?"
"Pumpkin happy!" "Yes, it's happy, isn't it? It's smiling! Can you stand next to it for me so I can take a picture of you with it?"
(scrambling to get next to the table)
Happy Halloween, Jack!



Friday, October 26, 2007

Halloween Party at Kindercare 2007


Last night was the first Halloween party that we've been to that you actually were able to participate in and get some excitement out of. It was at your daycare and they had activities and candies and the teachers were dressed up and taking pictures of you and your friends. They had a spooky house and cookie making and obviously had put a lot of thought and trouble into making it special for the kids.

Now - I KNOW that I'm biased, but you were by far the CUTEST kid there!Here we are at the table where you filled plastic gloves with popcorn and there was a candy corn in the bottom of each finger to be the finger nail. Pretty clever actually - but you just wanted to eat the popcorn!One of the older kids came as Sully to your Mike Wasowski, but the child seemed so frightened when I proposed that the two of you get your picture taken together that I dropped the idea like it had burned through my hand. I think I've said this before but it BEGS to be repeated that babies and toddlers in costume have to be the cutest darn things in the world. I really DO think that they should be in constant costume. Wouldn't it be adorable to dress your little one up as some adorable character every day of their young lives? I'd take more pictures than I could handle. It would be fantastic! We headed for your classroom so I could show you off to your teachers like I was solely responsible for how adorable you are and any compliment paid to you was TWO to me! This was a very cute idea. The concept is the duck pond but with pumpkins where you pick a pumpkin with a number and get a prize. Funny thing is the number didn't mean a hill of beans because regardless of what you picked, the prize was candy! SUR-PRIZE! :)I know - I know! You are astounded by my wit! But you did me one better. See?!? Here you are picking your prize!:and here you are throwing it into the tub of water like it's nothing but garbage.and that was your favorite room teacher, Ms. Sue, that you insulted with that action! (Actually, she found it kind of amusing! I knew there was a reason we liked her so much!)Here you are playing with your Mike Wasowski eyeball that comes off the costume. You love that eyeball. You'll take it off and forget about it and then - out of nowhere be like "where's my eyeball?!?" People look over like - what the heck is he talking about?Then we participated in a cookie-making activity where you spread icing on a cinnamon cookie and put sprinkles on it.Oh, yeah! Can you see the signs of sugar setting in? Look at that smile!! :)Sugar energy is highly entertaining!

Here you are singing the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" like you've been doing a lot lately:
I think you preferred the cookie without the icing because once the icing was on the cookie, you were really only interested in the sprinkles.

Oh, and THIS moment was a CLASSIC!These children were getting their picture taken together and you ran between all the parents with their cameras before I could grab you, inserted yourself amongst them and said "CHEEEEEEEZ!" like you knew exactly what needed to happen and were completely ready to do it.Come on - clearly you are the smartest and cutest amongst them all, aren't you?
What are you looking at? Where's my eyeball?!?By this time, Daddy had arrived at the party coming straight from the airport and making your evening! He stood by and lent his support while you contemplated the spooky haunted house.Check out how scared the princess is! Wow! I think she's going to wet herself!So, as it turns out, you LOVE Halloween - spookiness be damned!

Oh, one more thing. We watched the Peanuts Halloween special with Charlie Brown and you love it, but going back and watching BAD ANIMATION!?! Oh, my god. It's actually painful! How did we watch that and how do you still want to watch that over and over and over again? GOOD GRIEF!

Not to mention - I never noticed how mean those Peanuts characters were to each other - calling each other Stupid and Blockhead. Hopefully you don't pick that up because.... blockhead?.... No son of mine should ever say something so culturally irrelevant! I'll see to that!
Speaking of cultural relevance.... Do you think they'll ever redo the Peanuts to make it more - ummm, how do I say this nicely - - - not ridiculously out of date? I mean - Snoopy is a World War I flying Ace on a Sopwith Camel chasing down the Red Baron.... REALLY?!? Even I couldn't figure that out ages ago when I was young. I can only imagine what you think when you watch it... And BOY do you watch it! (Hey - it's really the only Halloween special we own that isn't too scary for you to watch...)



Sunday, October 21, 2007

Grantsylvania 2007


Yesterday - on a whim - we decided that we wanted to try Grant's Farm's Halloween celebration. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I figured there would be trick or treating at the various animal pens and the kids would walk around with their parents and then we would end in the eating and drinking area where you would probably eat some candy while us adults had one or two of our free drinks. I was very surprised at how popular the whole thing was. From the moment that we approached, the streets were backed up with visitors headed to Grant's Farm. We slowly approached and, after almost reconsidering, we decided to try anyway.
After parking, I was further discouraged when I saw that there was now a line of people waiting to get in that stretched the entire length of the parking lot, but we got in line and waited along with everyone else.You actually did remarkably well, which I credit a lot to the fact that Uncle Bobby and Aunt Kelly had come along with us and you were very excited to have them there.We sang songs while we waited in line and we traded you around and made you laugh and talked to you about the costumes that the other children were wearing.There were a LOT of princesses which you found interesting because we've got a couple of Princesses movies at home and that's what I'M going to be this year, too!(Yeah - that's right! :) Actually, my work has a costume contest and I bought a peach tafetta poofy prom dress so I could dress up for our theme 80's Prom. When I tried it on for you, you thought I was "Mommy-rella", so I decided I would convert the old prom dress into a Cinderella dress and dress up with you for Halloween.)Well, long long long story short - we made it through the line in about an hour and, after a pretty lame train ride with an unenthusiastic announcer throughout the ride,some screaming kids, a questionable grandfather sitting to my left who announced to his grandkids that the scattered fires that were part of the "decorations" were actually where they burned the children alive, and a couple of strange gouls - one which jumped at the train making all the children scream and another was a strange guy in overalls who looked like he had walked off of Gravios who walked along the train asking us to hand over the children - we made it to the park.We walked through the park and observed the lights and decorations and dressed up children, paying absolutely NO attention to the animals because - been there..... done that....We made it to the beer garden and here is where we settled. It was really and truly a full out party!There was a deejay playing dance music and adorably costumed children getting down all around us.The parent's were all relaxed and enjoying themselves filled with their free drinks from the bar and everyone was having a fantastic time.Your eyes were bulging out of your head at all there was to see and, while you wanted to be held the whole time, you were stimulated and not the least bit ready to call it a night - not with so much going on and to do!So, we joined the party - drinking and dancing and singing and having a wonderful time! There were some costumed characters at the festivities that you were mesmerized by.There was a Frankenstein character that you ABSOLUTELY HAD TO KNOW where he was at ALL TIMES, and then there was a pirate character that you were in awe of because you thought he was Captain Feathersword of the Wiggles fame.We got our picture taken with Frankenstein much to your absolute horrorand also with Captain Feathersword. After the picture, I admitted to the pirate that you thought he was Captain Feathersword from the Wiggles and he said "oh" in a deflated tone and then kind of disappeared. We didn't see him again. We all got a chance to dance with you and you were singing along the whole time even though no one could understand the lyrics that you were singing, you were definitely singing and clapping and bobbing along with us to the celebration.This morning you woke up wanting to go back to Grant's Farm again. It's been hard convincing you that it's not an option.
Happy Halloween, Jack!