Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Cubicle Chronicles: Chapter Eight

Read previous chapters of The Cubicle Chronicles   here, hereherehereherehere, and here. It's been a really long time since I last posted one of these. This isn't a traditional Cubicle Chronicles, but I think it still works. But you can judge for yourself.  I give you The Cubicle Chronicles, this time, "The Crazy Moms at Gymnastics" Edition...

Lady 1: Would you look at that child??! Lady 2: Oh. My. God. I can't believe that! L1: I know, right??!! L2: That is so tacky! L1: I mean, seriously, like, who let her out of the house like that? L2: Seriously. I mean, panty lines? Really, there is no excuse for her having panty lines. L1: They should just not have her wear any underwear. That's what we do. L2: Or, I wonder if they make thongs that would fit her? (Now, here's the thing. This is a gymnastics class. For THREE YEAR OLDS!!!!!! Why are these mothers looking at - and commenting on - someone else's 3yo daughter's butt?! Also, just ew. Why isn't your kid wearing underwear to gymnastics? Her butt was just where my kid's face is right now. Ew. And I'm just not even going to address the whole "putting ta thong on a 3yo" because, well, no. Just, no.

Girl 1: (screaming, crying, holding her head) Coach (from across the room): What happened? Everybody else keep practicing!!!!! Girl 2: She, like, fell during the stunt. Coach: You're fine. Keep going, girls! Do not waste my time today! G1: (screaming, crying, holding her head) C: Did you hit your head on the floor? G1 (screaming crying, holding her head) C: Did she hit her head? KEEP GOING!!!!! G2: I mean, like, I don't think so. C: (finally comes over to G1, squats down at her level): What is wrong? G1: (crying hysterically) I (hiccup) lost (sob) my (snort) favorite (crrrrrrrrryyyyyyyy) HAIRBOW !!!!!!!!!!!! (resume hysterical crying) C: Stop! Everybody find the bow. (Why, yes. When she thought the kid was hurt, everyone had to continue cheering. Heaven forbid we stop and act concerned that one of our teammates is hurt. But, when we lost a hairbow, holy crap. The world has ended. We. Must. Find. The. Hairbow. NOW!!!!! Also, this was the high school cheerleading team. Yes.)

Lady: Jane, what are you doing in there? (raps on window into gym, because Jane is actually inside the gym, and mother is in the waiting area) Jane: (looks up at mother, mouths) What? Lady: (gesticulating wildly) You get over there and do what your coach is telling you. Right now!!!! Jane (turns head to side, clearly confused, but then goes about her class) Lady : (talking to herself) I just can't believe her. What is she doing??!!! (Jane's class ends and she comes out) Lady: What did you think you were doing in there? I will not pay all this money for you to not do your best. You will not get anywhere with this attitude, missy. Disgraceful. I am severely disappointed in your lack of effort. You will live up to my expectations. Yes, you will. Now, you go over to your coach and apologize for being so awful today. (Now, here's the thing. Jane is in the 4yo class. That's right. She's 4. And, mama, I'm also positive that your 4yo nose picker ain't gonna make it to the Olympics. For one, she is struggling with a somersault. But, also, well, there's the whole you she has to deal with part of it. I mean, really, how's a girl supposed to concentrate when her mama's banging on the window all the time? S'rsly, it interrupts the booger search.)

Lady: Come on, kid, it's time to go into class. Kid: Noooooooooo!!! Teacher: You can come with him til he's comfortable. Lady: (rolls eyes) Okay. (drags kid into the class) Teacher: Okay, we're going to do some stretches now. Kid: Noooooo!!!!! Lady: Come on, kid, lets do our stretches. Kid: Nooooo!!!!! Lady: You can participate or you can sit in time out. Kid: Noooooo!!!!! Lady: (under her breath) This is a lot of damn money for me to be putting you in time out. I could put you in time out for free at home. How about I just throw you in the trash can instead? Kid: (screams so loud the room becomes silent and everyone stares) Nooooooo!!!! No 'frow me away in uh twash can, mama!!!!! Lady: (grumble, grumble, grumble, bright red face, as she walks the screaming child to the corner of the room for a time out) (I'm not saying that was me and baby E or anything. I'm just saying, that poor lady probably had a really good reason for threatening - under. her. breath., to herself - to throw her 3yo in the garbage. Probably because he wouldn't take a nap all day and this was his first time in this class, with this teacher, and he wouldn't do anything other than scream "noooooo!!!!!", and she was also really tired, and had shit she needed to do, like anything other have to deal with a horribly misbehaving 3yo. Because, you know, she was the only parent in the gym, while all the other parents started at her from the windows. Probably commenting about her own panty line. So, yeah. Cut her some slack, y'all.)

Today's Lesson: Judge not, lest you become one of the crazy gymnastics mothers.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Experiential Christams

I walked into the house yesterday afternoon after returning home from a night away (where, admittedly, none of us got much sleep b/c E still just doesn't sleep well when we're anywhere but home so I was kinda on the verge of losing my mind anyway). I looked around and saw the mess. Dear lord, the mess. My house is a mess. We have so much stuff. So much crap. Junk we don't need. And then it hit me. Christmas is soon. And then there will be even more crap in my house. SweetBabyJesus, I can't handle any more crap in my house.

Cue internal panic attack.

I tried to calm myself down so as not to lose my shit. I was somehow able to employ a few positive coping skills and made myself focus on some solutions.

So there are a few options here. First, we cancel Christmas. I admit, that was the first thing to pop into my head. But I was pretty sure the rest of my family would revolt, so I sadly dismissed it.

Next to present itself was the elimination plan. "I'll just get rid of all this crap so when the new crap moves in, it won't be so bad". But I'm pretty sure the little people in my house would loudly and repeatedly cry and whine about that, too. And, let's be honest, don't nobody want to hear any of that. Mostly me. *I* don't want to hear none of that. Particularly since it would be directed at me.

Or third, and probably the best option, I'd love for my kids to get experiences for Christmas this year, instead of presents. Well, we'll still do Santa presents (because, again, the whining!), but from everyone else, I'd really like them to not get things, but experiences. Ideally, it would be a gift/experience that would give them time with the gift-givers. But, even if the giver prefers not to spend time with the kids for whatever reason (really, I know I've been complaining about the whining, but it really does seem to be focused on me, not others. So, really, they won't whine at you!), this would give hubby and I opportunities to spend time with our kids in different ways.

This plan is a win all around. My kids gets to spend quality time with people who love them. That's something that they benefit from (new experiences! Time away from cranky parents! Time with different adults!). We, as parents, benefit from this deal (time away from cranky children! Time to recharge and not be cranky parents! Happy children who have varied life experiences and bolstered confidence from time spent with adults who love them!). The givers benefit (time with children who are lovable, adorable and adore them!).Society even benefits (less plastic and crap in the world). I mean, really, why would we not get on board with this plan?!

So, that's my plan for Christmas. And I really, really, hope those of you who love my children and plan to give them Christmas gifts this year are also excited about this. Because I really am. And not just because I need less crap in my house. But because I really, truly, believe it's going to be better for my boys. Also, don't be surprised if your kids get a few experiences for Christmas this year from us.

Today's Lesson: There is too much crap in my house. Period. But, sometimes, even too much crap can help a mama have a light bulb moment. And, a second and completely unrelated lesson because it's your lucky - lack of sleep sometimes can make one use lots and lots of run-on sentences.

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Week

I've spent an inordinate amount of time recently thinking about nursing baby E. As I type this, E is 3 years, 3 weeks, and 2 days old. If you'd told me that long ago, that I'd be nursing him at this age, I'd have laughed at you. Or shuddered at the mere thought, because, really, nursing a preschooler wasn't in my plan. And - I admit now -  I thought it was kinda weird.

But, E looked no different on a Monday than he did on a Tuesday, than he did on a Saturday (or any other day). And one day led into the next. And then he turned one. And we kept nursing. And then he turned 2, and we kept nursing. And then, somehow, he was 3. And we kept nursing.

And I never felt a definitive moment when he should be done nursing. Never has there been a specific thing that made me - or him - think, "oh, we're done with this now". Never have I looked at him and thought, "you're too big/old/have too many teeth/talk too much/whatever for this".

Sure, there have been times when there were things I'd rather have been doing. Sure, there were times when I'd rather hubby put him to bed so I could snuggle with the kid. Sure, there were times when his latch got lazy and he teeth (momentarily) felt like sharp razors and I wanted to hide my breasts from him forever. Sure, there were times when I was touched out and just wanted my body for myself for an entire day.

But, truthfully, those moments have been rare. And, mostly, nursing E has been one of my favorite things.

But now it's been 7 days since E nursed. Double the longest time he'd ever before gone without nursing. At first, that was gently encouraged by me (because he has a cold and/or allergies and kept vomiting after nursing and a momma can only handle being vomited on so many times before she sets some limits). And though he initially was not happy with this, the last couple of days he hasn't even asked. He's climbed up into my lap for a couple of books and songs and snuggles before going to bed. While I love that time with him, too, it's just not the same as the nursing time. It's not.

I think, when it was over, I'd expected to feel nostalgic about our nursing time. Proud of myself for making my goal (just longer than the kid nursed). All warm and fuzzy about all the time that was just me and him, something no one else did for/with him. Strong for fighting through all we did - all *I* did - to be able to nurse at all. Accomplished for giving him what he needed and deserved for such a long time.

And I suppose I do feel all those things. Somewhere in the recesses of my head. But, mostly, what I feel is sadness. Mostly, I miss it.

One thousand, one hundred and eighteen days. Minus 7 days. That's how long baby E nursed. And, somehow, I can't believe it's over.

Today's Lesson: Sometimes, it's never enough of a good thing.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Lessons of Parenthood

Our kids teach us things. Lots of things. Some are things we had no idea would ever be important to us. Some are things we just never even knew existed. Some are things we thought applied to other people, not us.

I know a lot about little kids. A lot. I really didn't expect that my kids would teach me things til I they got older. I knew I had a lot to learn then, but not when they were little. Arrogant, I know.

The kid taught me about Red dye 40. Something that was no where near my radar before him. He taught me that I, too, could lose my shit and come dangerously close to shaking the baby. He taught me that perhaps the reason a baby is easily distracted, is because he will also be easily distracted as an older child. And, bigger than that, that the things that are sometimes considered strengths for us at one point in our lives, can be challenges for us at another (and visa versa). He also taught me that I really, truly, don't care what others think of how I parent.

Baby E has taught me lots of things, too. He taught me that nursing a 3yo is no different than nursing a 1yo. Other than the stopping to chat in the middle of it. And the really long legs. He taught me that no sleep for months and months on end = massive weight gain that Won't. Come. Off. He taught me that a tantrum is about the child, not about the parent. He taught me that reacting in anger to a tantrum is, well, just an adult-sized tantrum and serves no one well. Although it is a great way to encourage additional tantrums.

In some ways, what each of my children has taught me is that I am both a worse and a better parent than I thought I would be. And sometimes that happens in the span of a few minutes. They have also taught me that good parents give themselves as much grace as they give their children.

Today's Lesson: We all have so much to learn. The process is easier when we get out of our own ways.