I don't proofread my posts before I publish them... cause I keep my thoughts au naturale.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Don't delude yourself- it's the terrible one's, two's and three's!

H at 17 months.
Everyone has heard the phrase, "the terrible two's."  This is that mythical time in a toddler's life where they are supposedly at their worse behavior-wise.  The theory behind this is that they are unable to make their wants known verbally and it frustrates them, so the only way they respond is by being naughty, throwing tantrums and bringing their parents to the brink of insanity.

Well the terrible two's is a nice idea.  How great would it be if it magically started at 2 and ended by 3.  But it doesn't.  It starts around one and carries over until three.  I first learned this with my first son, L, when he started having fits and driving me crazy after he started walking.  I remember his favorite thing to do was pull things off the shelf and just walk away.  You couldn't leave the room without him getting upset and car rides were misery incarnate.  I told myself, "oh, his terrible two's started early."  Nope... it kept going, through two and the first part of three, when he started being able to communicate verbally.  He could entertain himself (or expected his older sister to entertain him) and I was able to function without him latched to my side.

Now we're at H's "early terrible two's."  Although a sweet child (L was too), there are times when I just want to run out into the street screaming until someone admits me to the psyche ward, just so I can have a break.  This is my husband's first child, so when he suggested that H's "terrible two's were coming early," I just laughed and laughed... poor naive fella.  H is 17 months old now and has been in this stage for several months.  It's that stage where you tell them no and they either laugh or cry.  You step one foot out of the room and they are immediately trying to grab your phone, drink, tv remote, plugs in the wall... they are sneaky.  It's the age of finding the package of wipes and pulling them all out and throwing them on the floor.  I can't leave the room without a fit being thrown, can't shut the bathroom door all the way or I have to listen to him ram into the door with his back.  While I shower, he opens the curtain and throws random things in.

But the most frustrating thing is the resistance to sleep.  Why do toddlers thing "nap" is a four letter word?  Naps are great!  We all know the holy terror that is a child who needs to go to sleep.  I call this being irrational.  H is on a routine where every morning around 9:30 am he starts being "irrational."  He cries over everything, gets frustrated and becomes inconsolable.  This is when I know he needs a quick break.  I make him a bottle and he lays in his bed, then comes running out in a better mood.  Then between 11-12, he becomes irrational again and IN THEORY this is when his nap should happen.  I give him another bottle and he lays in bed.  If the Gods are smiling upon me, he naps and it is usually for 2 hours.  But if I'm covered with clouds for the day, he refuses and no amount of bottles is going to change that.  Then he will hold out until like 3pm until he finally passes out after hours of being a demon spawn.

That about wraps up my point.  I have a sweet, loveable boy who is just adorable, but I'm becoming a pro at this mom thing and I don't want any new mommies deluding themselves into thinking the terrible two's only lasts a year.  I suggest you get through this three year phase by medicating yourself, getting a full-time job and leaving the kid with a sitter or else you could pray for patience and hope that it sticks.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

First Day of School 2013

Today was the first day of school in my town.  A started second grade and L started kindergarten.  It
is funny, three years ago I was thinking about what freedom would taste like when L went into kindergarten because he was so needy... then I went and had H, who is even needier, so freedom is still several years away!

Lots of moms cry on the first day... I'm gonna guess it is because their "baby is growing up."  I guess I didn't inherit a gene that makes you feel that way.  I am looking forward to the day my kids graduate college and get a nice house so I can move in an mooch off of them until my dying day.  I can't wait until their 16th birthdays when they will get home from school and a stack of shiny job applications will be waiting on the table for them to fill out.

Back to the school thing... when A started kindergarten, I was confident that she would be fine.  She's already very independent and smart, so I knew she would do well even though it might be scary.  This year she complained all summer long about how much she hated school for this reason or that, but secretly I knew that she was excited to go back.  Yesterday at open house she got to see her class room and meet her teacher and she found out her BFF was in her class, so the giddiness was hard to contain.  And to my utter amazement, this morning she came out dressed and ready before I even had a chance to go wake her up! 

Then there is L.  He did not attempt to say he wasn't excited- he let it be known.  My worry for him was that he is less independent and loud, so he is shy when it comes to asking for help from strangers or meeting new kids.  Luckily his teacher seemed very nice and enthusiastic, so I think that will make things less stressful. 

So today I walked them into school for breakfast to pay their milk tickets and make sure L knew what to do.  Luckily A was being nice and helpful and telling him everything he needed to know about where to line up, get his card, let him know just because they give you something doesn't mean you have to eat it... then they sat together and ate breakfast and L even threw away both their plates.  But before I had a chance to say goodbye and have a nice day, they left for the playground and didn't look back.  I was a little surprised, but that was a good sign.

And now it is just H and I.  Fortunately (and a blessed miracle) he is napping, so I am getting to enjoy a small window of peace and quiet... 

Hooray for school!

Book Review: Time For Kids' Dinosaurs 3D: An Incredible Adventure Through Time

It is hard to find a book that my son gets excited about, but when I was offered this book for review, I was beyond excited to share it with him!  He really likes dinosaurs and with all the 3D movies coming out, I knew he'd be excited to try on some 3D glasses and see the pictures come to life.
 
So when the book came, I was elated!  I looked through it by myself first and was amazed at how cool it was.  I immediately had L come in and look at it with me.  Then when his sister woke up, I had her read it with him in his room.  Then when my husband came home, I made him look at it with me!!  What a cool idea!  It is advanced in its reading, which makes it more likely to be a 10 and over read, but any kid can enjoy looking at the pictures and having some of the interesting facts read to them.  This is definitely a keeper for our house as I know that the older L gets, the more he will enjoy looking at it and reading it, then it can be handed down to his younger brothers...

This would be a great gift as well!!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Blu ray Review: Oz The Great and Powerful

I don't get to go to the movies much, but there was a weekend that a friend and I decided we would go and I wasn't thrilled with the choices, so Oz seemed like the best of what was available.  I was hesitant because I didn't know much about the movie.  Sure, I like James Franco- he's an enigma... but the rest of the cast didn't sound that exciting...

Well... I was wrong.

I LOVED this movie!  I found myself smiling most of the time and I wasn't bored for a moment!  The characters are all well developed and very clever.  They all have their own background stories and personalities.  The acting was superb, the imagery was phenomenal, the colors were vibrant and amazing!

The story is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz.  We learn how the wizard (Oz) ends up in the Emerald City.  We get to meet three witches and find out a little about where they came from- we get to meet the Wicked Witch of the West BEFORE she was the WW of the W and she has an interesting story.  Oz is a magician that performs with a traveling circus.  He is a womanizing schemer who cares more about money than he does about anything else.  You learn all of this within the first 10 minutes.  I hesitate to give more of the plot because it is really an amazing thing to watch unfold.  I will say that the Emerald City was waiting for this wizard to come to them that it was foretold that one would come and save their city from evil. 

After receiving the Blu ray to review (gratis), I was very excited to watch it with my seven year old daughter.  I ended up watching it with her and my husband.  My five year old son lost interest and went to his room.  I don't think my husband was as fascinated as I was.  I'm also planning to loan it to my mom because I think she'd like it.  So, I know I shouldn't, but I almost want to say that this is a movie that females are more likely to enjoy and appreciate than males.  I think it's because it's so clever and the imagery is so beautiful.  Plus there's a bit of a romance tale involved as well.

I'm so glad that I gave this movie a chance and it is definitely one that will stay in my collection forever!

Family Time Factor:  There are a couple adult themes here and there, but really I think it is appropriate for any age.  If you have a child that is easily frightened by the idea of witches or flying monkeys, you might have to pass.  But it's not really that scary in my opinion.

MOTR Grade: A

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Don't call me late for dinner... or a Stay at Home Mom!

I know I'm going to get lots of hate emails for this (ha, just kidding, no one emails me that reads my blog).  In case you are unfamiliar with the acronym SAHM, it stands for "stay at home mom." 

Now, don't get me wrong, I know SAHMs do a lot... for the most part.  (I've have seen quite a few "SAHMs" who think that means letting your child run rampant while they sleep all day, watch TV or drink/smoke.)  Although I don't think we all need to play martyrs and say that we never have a moment to do anything... I'm blogging right now while my 3 kids play... but it's okay, because I'm caught up on the laundry and the dishes... right?  Isn't that how I'm supposed to justify spending a little time on me?

But I hate being called a SAHM.  For me, it feels like a punishment.  I would rather be out doing a job that I love... do I love my kids?  Of course, I do!  Do they annoy me a lot?  Of course, they do!  Now, don't sit there saying, "oh, but there are people out there who don't have children who would love to be annoyed..."  Gag me.  I get it.  Poor them.

So, here I find myself stuck at home with my 3 kids this summer and more than likely next fall as well.  It is one of those moral dilemmas where I find myself acknowledging that no one else can take care of my children as well as I do, and finding someone I completely trust with Baby H is very difficult.  I had someone pretty great last semester, but she had to move to Florida!  The next person I found was a weirdo.  (Daytime, not evening babysitter).  So, I feel as though I must suck it up for the time being and accept this SAHM position, but I don't have to like it.  My goal is to finish my MA, which all I have left is the thesis/capstone, so I can teach classes online and substitute teach during the day.  But until my youngest is old enough to go to school or I find someone not weird and super reliable, I'm stuck.

I can give you stories from both sides of the coin.  Mom A was a SAHM until her last went to school and as all her kids got older, they disrespected her, cursed at her, made her cry and have no real relationship with her as adults.  Mom B was a workaholic.  Her kids generally didn't see her until 5pm and when she was home she was busy grading papers, reading books... some of her kids were closer to her as adults, but don't remember her being present much as children.

So which is the way to go?  Is there a happy medium?  Honestly, I think it is all about how you treat your children when you are with them.  Good parents are good parents, regardless of the number of hours in a day spent with their kids.  I want mine to grow up to be smart, kind, hard-working, good citizens, who are productive members of society.  If that means I have to sacrifice sanity and stay at home with them so they aren't subject to the outside influence of lackluster caretakers... then so be it.

Will my kids treat me well as they get older?  Only time will tell, but at least I can say that I tried.  And then they will turn 18 and I will be free.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Disillusionment & Another Chapter Closed

I would say that before this, I had only experienced disillusionment once in my life.  I had a teacher that I adored in middle school.  Then she became my boss after high school and I lost all respect for her when I saw her in a different job position.  It was sad to think that I had respected her at one point and had I not ended up working for her, I would have never known she wasn't that great of a person.

Well, another chapter in my life is ending, albeit a brief one, that has yet again left me disillusioned.  When I went to community college right after high school, I loved it!  I loved the atmosphere, the teachers knowing my name, being able to talk to them in the halls and hold stimulating conversations.  It led me to realize that I didn't want to teach young kids anymore, I wanted to teacher older kids... then after I received my bachelor's, I decided to get my master's so that I, too, could be a community college teacher and have an experience like that of the ones I had as a student.  So, when an opportunity came up for me to teach at the same CC that I went to, I was ecstatic.  I uprooted my family and moved back to the community from whence I came.

Boy, was that a mistake!

I was hired as an adjunct and I quickly found out that being an adjunct puts you on the same level as being a window washer on a street corner.  It pays pennies and no one respects you.  Now, let me say, my boss/supervisor/guy I answered to, is awesome!  I love his personality, dedication, yadda yadda.  This guy has been given so many tasks that I don't know how his brain doesn't explode. 

So this was my fourth semester teaching there.  After being hired, I realized that the school sees adjuncts as warm bodies.  Other than my boss, I don't think anyone knew my name.  I could walk by any employee and they probably assumed I was a student.  Adjuncts don't get acknowledged for anything in staff communications, HR congratulatory or with sympathy announcements... we are just worker ants to them.  And the pay... wow.  Of course it is more than minimum wage, but when you are not allowed to teach more than 8 credit hours (rule for adjuncts), and you can get scheduled to teach anytime during the day, it doesn't give you easy access to have outside jobs. 

I drive 17 miles to work and 17 miles home from work to teach one 50 minute class four days a week.  I could make more by substitute teaching a few times a month, but guess what, I can't- the class I teach is in the middle of the day.  There is a community college about 90 miles away that pays almost double. 

And although I love teaching, the lack of respect that I receive in my job is disheartening.  I have had two semesters where I loved the students I had (I've taught more than one class a couple semesters).  But last spring and this spring, I have had students that make me depressed at the idea of having to be around them every day.  Fortunately those are the ones who skip class a lot.  I have found that only a handful of students actually care about their education, which is also disheartening. 

So, being as this will be my last semester teaching there (I have other things going on that make it seem like the right decision and my boss is retiring), I have decided to post about my disillusionment.  A school that I had loved and was so enthusiastic about returning to to teach turned out to be an illusion.  When you're on the other side of the table, you see the inner workings of the school and how unhappy so many people are.  I'm just a rusty cog in their machine and I wish that I had not had to experience the other side of the operation.  I know that every school is probably similar when it comes to adjuncts, but this was MY school.  Just like the teacher I mentioned in the beginning, had I not returned to teach at MY school, I would have gone the rest of my life thinking that it was still one of the greatest places to be.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Stand back, I'mma gonna unload!

I'm not a huge proponent of airing dirty laundry on the internet.  I don't mind giving my opinion, but I try not to do any mudslinging.  This MIGHT be an exception...

It has often been insinuated (and flat out said) that I met my current husband while I was still with my ex-husband.  In fact, small minds put big ideas in my ex-husband's sensitive ears telling him that I had to have cheated on him.  But here is the true story of the three little pigs... or whatever:

About a year before we split for good, my husband moved out for 2 months.  Guess how many people in my family knew:  ZERO.  Guess how many people in his family knew: two?  I think his sister and grandma knew.  We just didn't want to hear anyone's opinions and felt it was best to figure things out from there.  He moved back in after a couple months, but it was soon apparent that things were never going to get better and it ended up being more of a roommate situation. 

Anyway, fast forward to summer of 2010.  I had finished my first year of my master's degree and had started losing weight and gaining confidence and self esteem.  I auditioned for a local play and realized that there was so much more to life than the depressive existence I was leading.  When I wasn't at home, I was truly happy.  I had friends, I had motivation and ambition to succeed in life, and I realized that to be a good mom, things were going to have to change.  So, I let my husband know that it was over for good.  I told my mom like the next day, but I don't think I told anyone else.  I knew it was over... I'd known it was over for YEARS.

What is hard, is not having any support.  I didn't have any friends that I could really rely on at the time and there was no way that any of my family was going to willingly help me out.  I had no one. So, I figured that we would share the house and my ex-husband agreed he would move out so I could stay in the home with the kids... but a month went by... he was still there... two months went by... he was still there...  things got hostile, my kids were being exposed to things they didn't need to be and living in a small town with loose lips and people who needed hobbies made it really hard for me to keep going.  I knew that if I wanted to really be out, I was going to have to go.

So, I did.  I haven't regretted it since.  My kids are thriving, smart, happy and great students.  I am happy, my ex is happy, I am working in my dream job and things are going so great. 

Apparently what comes into question about my current husband is when we met and started dating.  We MET about a month after I left my ex.  We didn't become a couple until six months later.  I knew he was a good guy, but I also knew that I needed to figure out what I wanted in life and what I needed to do to be happy.  But more importantly, I had to figure out how to bring my kids out of a divorce unscathed.  I was not looking for a relationship, but apparently fate wanted me to meet David.  Life's too short to wait for the things that you know you want and maybe we didn't wait 3 years to get married or anything, but I think that the decisions I have made in the past couple years have been the best I could make for myself and my kids.

So there's the story.  I don't actually need to justify my actions, but after it was brought up again recently, I just thought I'd throw it out there to the millions and millions (kidding) of people who read my blog. 

Girl power!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Good parenting doesn't come from a book.

Think about it:

If Dr. A writes a book on parenting and Dr. B writes a book on parenting and Dr. C writes a book on parenting and Dr. D writes a book on parenting... if they all give you different information and have different ideas, how do you know which one is "right?"

I'm sure every parent that loves their child and wants the best for them has ideas on how to be the perfect parents and raise the perfect child.  You can ask my parents: I was NOT the perfect child.  Does that mean they were bad parents?  No, it means I made poor choices and was a weeeeeeee bit rebellious.  But guess what, I think I turned out pretty dang good in the end. 

We can guide our children in the right direction, we can nurture them and provide for them, but we can't hold their hands through life and expect them to be perfect.  What one quack says today can be completely different that what another quack says tomorrow.

I think good parenting is instinctual and involves a person's morals and values.  If you teach your children good morals/values and lead by example, I'm pretty sure it will bring about better adults in the future.  I'm sure there is a happy medium between being a drill sergeant Nazi and being a yeller and a spanker who lets their kids do anything they want and buy them everything they want.

So far I think my kids are pretty good, but I know I'm not perfect and I know they aren't.  I just know that I don't need some flavor of the week Duck telling me how to raise my child! 

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.  :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I finally caved... kind of.

I am anti-video gaming for kids.  Now wait, wait, before anyone gets up in arms, I am not saying you are a bad parent if you let your kid play video games.  I just don't like the idea of letting your kids play video games for hours daily.  I remember being young and using my imagination, reading books, playing outside... and I didn't hate my childhood!  My brothers had a Nintendo and then a Super Nintendo, but I rarely played it and if I did, I had to pay a penny per game.

We had a Wii.  L liked to watch people play, but didn't really want to play.  A liked to play... scratch that, loved to play.  But the Wii was in the living room and they had to ask to play and we usually said no, so they forgot about it for the most part.  The Wii began collecting dust so we decided to sell it.

I know a lot of people who have given their children iPads, tablets, Kindles, Nintendo DS, PSP (do those still exist) along with the traditional systems like Wii, Playstation, XBox 360 and some are addicted, some aren't.  Some parents regulate usage, some don't.  I definitely don't want my children to have anything with internet access right now.

So David and I were talking about this road trip we plan to take with the kids to Florida this summer.  It is an 18 hour drive.  I know how boring it was as a kid taking a 5 hour drive to my grandparents' house a few times a year.  At one point we had Gameboys or Walkmans and I would bring books, but it was still a long trip.  I also remember we used to use our own money and when my dad stopped at Sam's we would buy the biggest and cheapest pack of AA batteries we could find!

Now to the denouement of my story: we toyed with the idea of getting them a DS for the trip.  I thought it was a lot of money to spend on L when he wouldn't understand it very well, but David felt it wasn't fair to get A one and not L.  I couldn't do it... I tried, but I couldn't do it.  So we ventured to the toy section and we stumbled upon LeapFrog and V-Tech systems that are similar in concept to tablets and the DS, but are educational and more little kid friendly.  After what felt like an hour scouring over the details, specifications, pros and cons, we settled on getting them each a LeapsterGS, which plays Leapster Explorer games.

Today is day two that they've had it.  I'm not thrilled about how much they ask to play it, but I am going to stick to my guns about limiting how much they play it so they don't become junkies.  I can already tell they aren't going to be happy with me about it, but I still believe that kids need to do real play, not just video play.

Are you for or against giving kids gadgets?  What, if anything, do your kids play?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Year's Resolution... Broken!

Okay, so if you read my resolutions for the year, you will recall one of them was to blog more and blog better.  Then if you read the post right underneath this you will see it was over a month and a half ago.  Here's why:

1) I'm busy... and I mean busy... like some days I don't have time to eat busy (too bad I'm not losing any weight!)  Between my three grad classes this semester, having a preschooler in a school 17 miles south, a first grader in school here and teaching at a college 17 miles north, I spend a lot of time driving.  And then there's 8 month old Baby H, who has recently decided he doesn't want to nap more than 30 minutes a day.  And to top it off, there has been a lot to get done for my wedding reception in April.

2) Blogging takes away from fulfilling my other resolutions.  If I clear out time to blog, I am losing time that I could be spending playing with my kids, spending time with my husband or working on school work.  Usually by about 9pm every night David and I are passed out on the couch, attempting to watch something on DVR.  Today I just happened to have a few minutes while Baby H is asleep and the kids are playing together, I'm in between loads of laundry and my school work is done.  David is working 12 hours (gotta plow those snowy roads) so I won't get to see him until 7pm.  Today is a snow day for both my kids and I as all our schools were canceled.

3) I don't have much to say.  Really.  Yes, I'm busy, yes I have thoughts, but I just haven't felt like sharing them.  I have had a couple annoying things come up that I would love to rant about, but because they involve people who know people who read this or people who might read this, I will refrain from airing my dirty laundry on those subjects.  I haven't felt passionate about anything enough lately to talk about it.

There you have it, the reason for my absence.  I am going to attempt to write another blog after this and postdate it, plus I need to get a bunch of reviews in, but I should probably get to those dishes soon... we'll see what happens.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Eavesdropping on imaginary conversations.

This isn't the first time I've eavesdropped on my daughter talking to her imaginary friend.  I don't even know if it is her imaginary friend.  It could be that she is being followed by a ghost or spirit and she thinks there is actually someone there or perhaps she is just talking to hear herself talk.

Often times when she is way overdue for bed, she will act irrational and the littlest things will make her think the world is out to get her.  It is usually at those times that she will lie in her bed and cry and start saying things like, "Mommy hates me and I really didn't want to eat what we were having for dinner, but no one understands that I don't like it."  Now, granted this is probably for the benefit of whomever is in earshot because she wants us to know she isn't happy.

But it's the other times that seem kind of wackadoo.  I will catch her talking at length about some random topic and there is nobody there to listen.  Case in point, right now I am sitting in the kitchen with all the lights off.  She thinks everyone is asleep.  She was just in the bathroom and I could hear her perfectly.  She started telling this story about how she used to have a girl kitten and a boy kitten and the girl died and she found it dead.  Then she started talking about a dog we used to have... I wasn't sure what she was talking about with the dead kitten, but maybe that was at her dad's house after I moved out.  But anyway, she was just telling these stories as if someone were there to listen.

If I ask her who she is talking to she will just tell me that she isn't talking to anyone.

I know imaginary friends are normal, but I just feel like this isn't an imaginary friend.

Thoughts?