Friday, March 28, 2014

Purging

I just archived my entire blog (again) and purged over half the posts.  I use this system because I still have the posts and comments in an XML file and can (and do) re-import them to a super secret location to be stored forever.

I also do it because I like to keep the publicly-visible blog tidied up in case weirdos wander through.  I don't keep a lot of pictures of us up long-term.  It just makes me feel better.  Paranoid?  Perhaps. But I don't regret it.

What a long week.  Work was challenging and the kiddo is not only getting over a cold, but now getting into seasonal allergies AND experiencing some sort of cognitive explosion.  Way cool and way annoying all at once.  I figure by this time next week he'll be doing pre-algebra...

I need to blog about a new adoption case that I am trying to help out with.  Unfortunately, it's almost midnight and I'm literally nodding off at my keyboard.  It'll have to wait for the weekend!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

No One Tells You About Three...

As another weekend full of family bonding time comes to a close, let me tell you something about three year olds.

They are brilliant, adorable, charming, cuddly, energetic, cute as heck, independent, adventurous, inquisitive, sweet, lovable, and hilarious.

They are apparently also part mogwai.

You remember, mogwai, right?  They were the irresistible little creatures in the 1980s movie, Gremlins.  All day they looked like this:


Cute, cuddly little things.  Then, at midnight (actually, I think it was if they were fed after midnight, but whatever), they would transform into this:


I'm willing to bet my next paycheck (except my Starbucks money) that the guy who dreamed up mogwai had most definitely raised a three year old.  Except you don't have to feed them after midnight for this to happen.  Seems the only criteria for transformation is the presence of oxygen.

Bedtime tonight was a perfect example.  The kid behaved well for 95% of the rest of the day, which is really impressive for a three year old.  Then bedtime comes, and his head starts to spin in circles.  I swear.  He did okay through jammies and toothbrushing, but as soon as it was time to - GASP - lie down, all bets were off.  Cute little fuzzy creature becomes scaly, toothy monstrosity in the blink of an eye.

So, I used the system that has been working for us.  I left the room.  I calmly told him that he needed some alone time to think about things, and I left.  I set a timer for three minutes, which doesn't sound like very long, but for him it is.  Much sobbing ensued.  And the kid was upset, too.  Ha!  Okay, I didn't cry this time, but sometimes I do.  I hate this whole process and I won't miss it when it's gone.  (Please tell me it will be gone someday?!)

When I went back in, we continued our routine of singing bedtime songs together.  He started getting edgy again and just as I was about to give him a second period of alone time, he lunged out of bed and said, "I wanna huuuuug!"

In that moment, I realized he actually did need me to show him some affection.  Though he can be a difficult little thing at times (and only at times, we are so very fortunate that way), he still needs me to be the person he can always call on for a dose of comfort.  And though I was still a little riled from his previous outburst, and was trying to hide it, I couldn't deny him that.  He asked me to sit down.  He crawled up into my lap and snuggled up to me with every inch of his body that he could.  He sighed contently as I rocked him back and forth in the dark in the middle of his bedroom floor.

And then, the creature who'd been screaming at me minutes before and demanding that Daaaaaaddy do night-nights... whispered to me...

"Mommy?  I love you to the moon and back."

He'd never said that to me before.  Hubby and I both tell him that all the time, but this was not a reply to a statement from me.  It was completely organic and quite obviously genuine.  And in that second, I was confused, because I was completely melted by his sweetness, and also feeling like it must be a trick.  I rocked him a while later, set him gently in his bed, covered him up, told him I loved him, and was delighted at the lack of protest as I left the room.

In fifteen minutes, we'd run the full gamut of funny, cute, hyper, sweet, furious, devastated, and back to content again.

And that, in a nutshell, is what it's like to parent a three year old.

Monday, March 10, 2014

They Should Call it Murphy Day...

Yes, this.  This day right here.  The Monday after Daylight Savings Time.  They really should call it Murphy Day.  As in Murphy's Law.  As in, whatever can go wrong, will, and so will twenty other things.

Seriously!

Daylight Savings is difficult enough with a toddler.  Here you have a creature who lives and breathes by structure and routine.  Suddenly and for no apparent reason, you change his clock and just expect him to automatically be ready to nap, eat, bathe, play, or throw his normal tantrum... an hour earlier than normal.  No explanation and no transition, just BAM.  You're going to bed an hour early.

This all goes over like a turd in the punch bowl, people.

Naptime and bedtime were both a fight yesterday, but we got through it, as we always do.  Fast forward to this morning.  I normally get up entirely too early (by my standards), which is 5:15, but today was basically 4:15.  That should be a crime.

And the day sort of went downhill from there.

I started to write a lengthy and detailed account of my day, but then I changed my mind.  Who wants to read every painful detail of a crappy day?  Not even me.  So here are the highlights.

  • The dryer guy didn't call as promised, and the lady at the office was completely rude to me when I called to check on things.  
  • She insisted they called me twice.  They did not.  This same company fed me the exact same line two months ago with regard to a dishwasher repair appointment.
  • I had computer problems at work.
  • I ended up taking a 2-1/2 hour lunch break because of the poor organization of the repair company.
  • I accidentally sat on a banana.  (Who does that?)  Baby food, anyone?
  • On my way back to work, I noticed the gas gauge in the car was on "E," which just completely agitated me, because I was already absurdly late and I am not the one who usually drives the car.
  • I decided to stop at Costco for gas for the first time, only to be rudely informed by a machine that my PIN was invalid. 
  • (I'd used that pin 10 minutes prior with no problems.)
  • Costco does not take credit cards, so I continued on to work, hoping not to run out of gas.
  • When I got back to work, a co-worker who was in the parking lot and saw me drive by walked over to my car and I watched in my mirror as he put my gas cap on and closed the gas door.
  • SIGH.  
  • Now I'm that idiot woman who drives two miles with her gas cap flapping in the breeze.
  • I almost fell over in the bathroom thanks to my ongoing ear issues.
  • I sped to another gas station after work - by this time the warning light had come on - and once again I was told that my PIN was no good.  Thankfully this time I was at a regular gas station that took credit cards.  Best I can figure, I had a half gallon of gas left.  No bueno.
And then... I made my way to daycare.  I walked out on to the playground where a half dozen rosy-cheeked little people played as snow flurries fell.  My little person spotted me immediately, yelled "MOMMY!" and ran all the way across the playground, arms outstretched, and flung himself around my legs.

Suddenly every one of those bullet points up there was forgotten.  

Sometimes in a total crapfest of day, that's all it takes.

I'm so lucky.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Things I Miss


When it came to contemplating the move, as we did so intensely for such a prolonged period of time, I really thought that I had anticipated everything.  I thought it all through from start to finish.  Nevermind the fact that I'd never done this before; I was going to think of everything so that there would be no surprises.

I don't like surprises.

Well, except maybe flowers.  Or jewelry.  Or celebrations in my honor?!

Oh... ahem.  Sorry.

Apparently, my thinking-of-everything didn't work worth a hoot at all.  Look what happened with the house, and the daycare, and a bunch of other little stuff.  Overall though, I think we rolled with the punches pretty well.  And as much as I know it's obnoxious to pat one on one's own back, I am actually really proud of how I handled most of this move.  I am a creature of stability and routine and I don't like surprises (except, well, you know)... and I tend to get really off-kilter fairly easily when those things get disturbed.  For the most part, I think I held it together fairly well, with the exception of a few brief dark periods that I now realize were just little fits of "I hate change" oozing out.

Now that we've been here for several months, new routines are developing nicely, and a level of comfort is returning, I'm starting to realize that there are things that I miss that I never could have anticipated.

For example, I miss my favorite radio station from back home!  Sure, I can hear the same music anywhere, but I miss the DJ's so much, particularly the morning ones.  I guess I took them for granted before, with their perfect mix of news, weather, and funny banter.  The DJ's on the two similar genre stations here are... meh.  You know, whatever, they're fine, but they aren't the ones I'm used to.  Thankfully I have an iHeartRadio app on my phone that allows me to listen in, but it's just not practical to do it every morning.

I've also learned that for the past thirty-(mumble) years, I have taken for granted the fact that everywhere I would go back home, I would see at least one familiar face, and often a whole bunch of familiar faces.  Because I'd always had that, it never occurred to me that I might miss it.  In fact, it used to irritate me.  I remember telling hubby during the pre-move frenzy, "won't it be nice to go grocery shopping and not see a single person we know?!"

And as much as I do enjoy that sometimes, other times it kinda bums me out.  Everything is new for me lately.  New job, new company, new house, new city, new school for the boy, new traffic patterns, new neighbors, new routines, new schedule, new doctors, new grocery store... and it turns out I really miss... familiarity.  A few times I've seen people from back home at work (some people in our industry tend to travel between here and there a lot to work), I've been so excited to see them.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I've apparently taken to hugging people I normally would not randomly hug.  One guy I've known for 15 years, but have never been friends with per se, rather just a customer of mine, surprised me at work the other day and before I knew what happened, I had actually thrown an arm around him.  Oops.

I miss our coffee ladies back home.  I miss the cashiers at my favorite grocery store.  (Heck, I miss knowing where everything is!)  I miss the comfort of knowing that if I needed help with something, even just some company, I could call any one of dozens of people and they'd be there in ten minutes or less.  I do have some awesome relatives in the new city and I know they'd do the same, but even they seem... new.  I miss Aidan's pediatrician and the comfort of knowing she's there if I need her.

I miss places with special meanings from my past.  Like the house I grew up in, the hospital where Aidan was born and my friends and relatives had their babies, the place hubby and I had our first kiss, even the place where I whacked a sea gull with my 1985 Toyota Camry when I was 21.  (Long and funny story... I am an animal lover for sure, but I still maintain I was just cleansing the gene pool of a terribly idiotic bird.)

Most of all, I miss my friends and family.  Especially my parents.  I hate feeling like I ditched them.  They were supportive - they always are - but they were also honest that they were sad.  I hate that.  I remember calling my dad one night shortly before the decision was made.  I was fighting tears and told him I didn't know if I could leave them like that (as they don't really have anyone else nearby to help with things, or if something happens).  The self-inflicted guilt was pretty intense.

You know what my dad said to me?

"Honey, if you stay here because of us, then we are keeping you here, and that's not okay.  You have your own life and your own family and you need to do what is best for you now.  We'll be just fine."

I lost the fight with the tears!  That is typical of them - encouraging me even when it could be to their own detriment in some way.  That made me feel both better about our decision and worse for taking Aidan away from them (and them from him).

But the decision was made shortly thereafter and we've tried not to look back.  I once heard that your car has a big windshield and a small rear view mirror because you are supposed to spend most of your time looking forward, not back.  I've never been extremely good at that, but I'm working on it.

I think what's keeping me going through the rest of this time frame full of realizing what I miss... is making plans to go back to visit all those people, places and things.  In less than three months I should be back home for a few days.  I'm a little nervous that it will make me more homesick, but mostly I'm really excited to get back to that familiarity, even if only briefly.

Maybe I'll go grocery shopping while I'm there, just so I can bump into a half dozen old friends.