Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thankful on this Thoughtful Thursday

Normally, Thoughtful Thursday is reserved for a profound or even pithy quote.  No such luck today, sorry!  I am immensely grateful for the kind and encouraging comments on my last post.  And TCIE had a great point: wouldn't it be neat to see Jesus as a toddler?  :)  Thanks for reading and encouraging me on the journey.

Toddlerhood is still challenging, but I'm finally learning a few things here and there.  And perhaps my last post didn't highlight the excitement, interaction, and discovery that this age brings.  Amid the tantrums and other difficult moments, the squeals of joy at a new activity make up for them.

Call Me Mama (hmm, sounds like a pop song parody? :) ) asked if I had read any books on toddlerhood.  So far, our go-to book for everything has been Toddler 411, which doesn't just cover discipline but also medical and emotional issues.  I also have been reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block, a follow-up to The Happiest Baby on the Block, which we used when KB was a little baby.

So far, The Happiest Toddler on the Block has some neat guiding principles when it comes to dealing with little ones.  I sort of prefer that to minute, nit-picky details.  After all, each child is different!

Today I came across this article on Faith and Family Live.  It discusses how parents may thrive at different stages of their children's lives.  Talk about a relief!  It's easy to feel guilty sometimes when a stage of childhood isn't fun or doesn't come natural.  And sometimes I have felt like a high school freshman trying to navigate the first day of school.  But considering I was never around a lot of babies (unlike my husband, who was 13 when his little sister was born), at least I've survived so far!!! :)

A couple weeks ago I had to take KB with me to Irish Dance class while my husband went to a funeral visitation.  I was surprised to see KB try to follow me and mimic some of the movement (not the footwork! It's complicated!).  She smiled and giggled too.  I danced with her in utero up until the 8th month of pregnancy, so hopefully some kind of love for dance got passed on to her!!

And speaking of things that get passed on to kids, check out my little girl at St.arbux.  She stole my stole my smoothie!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The blogging Gap and the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

"Have you seen my Mommy's blog? I think it disappeared!"

Ah, the gap in posts has become ever wider. What started out as a brief blogging break in the summer stretched further than I wanted. Well, today follows the feast day of one of my favorite saints, St. Therese of Liseux, and therefore great day to begin again.

First, let me start with the good. This summer my husband and I went away for our anniversary and hosted numerous friends and family at our house. We also watched in great joy as 2 IF friends adopted baby girls. Longtime readers of this blog (if there are any of you left!) might remember Blood Test Buddy, my faithful companion during our many rounds of blood tests for our NaPro doctor. Blood Test Buddy gave birth to a baby girl (after 6 years of trying) on my birthday!! What an awesome gift. I celebrated a low-key 35th birthday as well.

But then came some bad. My husband’s company laid off almost 600 workers at the end of August. Thankfully his job is safe for now, but it was a very terrifying time. He also had to watch several of his talented coworkers lose their jobs.

Right around this time, my support system started to crumble. Our dear friends at our parish who have been like a mentor family decided to attend another parish…and fall out of touch (the exception was blogger friend K, who helped me on a couple difficult nights!). Close friends who were normally available became busy (rightfully so) with new babies. Other friends just kind of forgot. And might I add, with the loss of Gymb.oree, I lost the companionship of moms with kids the same age. These days, I seem to end up at events with parents who have cute, cuddly babies (who don't say "NO") who end up gaping in horror at the antics of my toddler.

And the UGLY. My sweet little girl’s entrance into the Terrible Twos has started early. There are many reasons why this was so jarring: I have never spent much time around toddlers before (I only teach Grade 2 or above); KB had been a very laid-back, docile baby; being at home makes things harder.

And to boot, I've been very embarrassed to blog about this turmoil. After all, this blog began as an INFERTILITY blog. Having a child was something I desperately wanted. In addition, I have the opportunity to stay at home with her full time, knowing that several friends would give anything to do the same but can’t. (Note: I respect working moms who support their families! It is their decision and they do not deserve to be condemned).

After a while, I did think more about the issue. We all know friends or family members who have pursued careers in medicine, teaching, or law, which require years of preparation. Such professionals often have bad days, but it doesn’t cause us to admonish them mockingly, “but THIS is what you wanted!” The voice inside my head often says that to me, after a long day of chasing a toddler who throws a tantrum at the word “no.” Some days are better than others, of course. Thankfully, talking to a good amount of mothers (including my own mom and mother-in-law) affirmed that toddlerhood is both an exciting and challenging time. That I wasn’t the only one who got very little out of Sunday Mass because most of it was spent wrestling. Or that tantrums (especially public ones) were normal but required consistency. “Do you remember some of your most difficult students?” asked my mom. “Just imagine how they were as toddlers!” Talk about incentive!

What has changed a bit, however, are my coping tactics. We switched our gym membership to the local Y as its kids’ club is fantastic. Even if all I can muster is 30 minutes on the elliptical, that still gives me about an hour of “me time” and KB an hour of play in the kids’ club. We've also started “take a break Sundays” when we attend another parish once a month who offers a nursery during Mass. It’s nice to have a chance to concentrate on Mass. My husband has been wonderful about shooing me out of the house when I've had a long day at home. He will take one look at my tired face and tell me to go to Sta.rbucks. J I’m also going to check out a local Mom’s group at a neighboring parish.

I hope some of my words make sense. As I've often stated on this blog, IF has many effects that stay with you for a long time. And toddlerhood REALLY surprised me after a smooth babyhood. And who knows what adventures lie in store for us. Right now, I’m trying to take one day and one prayer at a time.