Archive for November, 2009

Moving Back Home – AGAIN

Monday, November 30th, 2009

This week we are preparing to move back to the home we left nearly half a year ago. Brady’s daddy has been living there, so we have only been there to visit; we just have not been living there. But now I have bought it from him, and we are going home. I sit here and wonder how we will explain to Brady that he and mama are going back, but daddy won’t be there. I have been giving him little bits of information throughout the past month, but seeing it in reality might be different. I think divorce is hard on a child at any age, but I think Brady, at age 3-4 years old, is going to be OK. He understands why we left, why he lives with his mama, and why we won’t be back together. He gets it that he will continue to see his daddy and that daddy loves him very much.

I plan to paint the walls and get all new carpet. Daddy was a bit particular about the walls, so the new color will be a welcome change. I am even going to try out those sticker decals (in construction trucks, of course). I might even put some Thomas ones around the playroom. I am trying to make it look as different as possible.

I hope in the long run that this is best for Brady. His friends are there, kids whom he has seen at church, the pool, and other places while we have been living at my parents’ house. It is kind of scary to go back, but at the same time, it’s exciting. There are some “not so good” memories within those walls, but I plan to start to make our own memories, our own traditions, and our own home. Wish me luck!

Little Moments

Friday, November 27th, 2009

I brought some of Andrew’s art work into my office at the beginning of the week. He has this one picture that he finger painted. It’s white paint on turquoise paper. Andrew excitedly grabbed the picture this morning, held it high in the air and exclaimed, “I did it!” He had such a huge smile on his face when I told him that I planned to hang it up in my office.

Everyday when I bring him in to daycare, he tries to run into the infant room to check on the girls (my good friend’s twin 8 month olds). He looks up at me at the door and says, “Babies?” When I told Andrew they weren’t there yet, he put on his best pouty face and asked, “Where my babes?”

I asked Andrew what he wanted for his birthday this year. He happily informed me that he wants a puppy. Not just any puppy, of course. Andrew wants a BIG puppy. Hubby and I are in big trouble on this one… I wonder how long we’ll be able to hold him off.

Andrew’s grandparents came down from Maine to visit last weekend. Andrew is still pretty airplane obsessed, so we watched them take off before leaving the airport. After they left, Andrew spent the rest of the afternoon informing us that papa and grammy went up in the sky.

At the moment, I’m in desperate need of a haircut. My hair hangs halfway down my back and Andrew hates when my hair gets in his face. He holds it in his hand and repeatedly says, “Off!” I keep trying to tell him that I’m not going to give myself a buzz cut. His solution to this? Every time my hair is down, he walks over with an elastic band so I can pull it off my face.

Yesterday, Andrew grabbed my hand and yanked on it until he had my full attention. Then he looked at me very seriously before saying, “Mommy’s the best.” How sweet is that?

Every day this little guy finds new ways to amaze me and make me so proud that he’s my son. Yes, we also have the moments where he pulls a fall down on the ground, kicking and screaming tantrum because he doesn’t want to leave Borders without getting two new books. So far, those meltdowns are few and far between.

We get so busy sometimes that it’s hard to just stop and enjoy little moments like these. But at the end of the day, these are the moments I’ll always remember and the ones that will always make me smile.

Settled in.. Finally!

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

After a week of driving cross country, and another week of unpacking all of our belongings, I can finally say that we are settled into our new home. It’s something that couldn’t have come soon enough.   I must admit, it feels so good to have our life back again (and in order).  We cooked our first homemade meal, and after two weeks of fast food, grilled chicken never tasted so good!

Jack has been handling this move so well that sometimes I wonder how a two year old can cope with this much change when at times I’m having a hard time.  I guess he is just oblivious to the fact that we uprooted and moved 2300 miles.  As long as he has his train tracks and trains he is one happy little boy.  It was like Christmas all over again when he opened all the boxes labeled “Jack’s toys”.

Now that we have the house in order, we are going to go explore our little southern town and show Jack a new community with new places, parks, lakes, and so many other fun adventures he can experience.  I look forward to discovering these adventures with him.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!


Monday, November 23rd, 2009

You know everyone thinks that their child is the funniest, cutest, and most lovable child in the world, right? Well, this blog is dedicated to what I like to call “Bradyans.” Those cute sayings that you just wish you could bottle up and hear again when you are having a bad day. Some are funny, some are just sweet, and some are just memories. If you have any funny sayings, please feel free to add your own “kidisms.” Here are some of my recent favorites, I hope you enjoy!

Brady is always sad when he sees pictures of me (or daddy) from before he was born. He doesn’t get that he wasn’t around yet. One day I told him that he was in the picture, just in my heart – so you couldn’t see him. So the other day he told me, “Mama, I grew in your heart first. Then I moved to your tummy. And then you grew in my heart.”

Recently Brady learned a new word that I didn’t approve of. I told him that I was disappointed in him for saying “such word.” He went through a list asking me if this person or that person would be disappointed in him. He got through everyone that was important (mama, daddy, etc..) and then he was quiet for about 2 minutes and asked, “mama, is Santa mad at me?”.

Recently at our church they videotaped children being interviewed for Thanksgiving. All of the kids said what they were thankful for – every single child said “my mommy.” Then it was Brady’s turn, he got a big smile on his face and said “Josie,” a little girl from our church. Yup – I felt SO loved. He went on to explain that his favorite Thanksgiving “meal” was ice cream and made a turkey sound that was nowhere close to gobble, gobble. But I will say, my child will probably get the most laughs at the service when they show these clips!

We do weekly vocabulary words that sometimes get quite funny. Last week, we learned glum (thanks to many Thomas books). So anytime Brady is not happy, he now says he is glum. Or if I appear angry, he says “mama, are you glum at me?” Another cute vocabulary word was iris. One week we learned about the senses and the day we talked about eyes, I taught him the word iris. Well, since then, Brady will go up to family and friends and put his little hands on their cheeks and stare them in the eyes. The people ask what he is doing. Brady explains that he is trying to determine the color of their iris.

I wonder what he will come up with next…

Occupational Hazard

Friday, November 20th, 2009

While I was pregnant, someone told me that being a mom is the hardest and most rewarding job in the world. I’ve also heard from more than a few people that being a mother comes with an invitation to feel guilty…about everything. And I’ve been repeatedly informed that being a parent changes your life forever…and you’d never want it any other way.

All these things are true. But this week, I’m really feeling the guilt.

I love my job. I basically always wanted to be an attorney – and how many people get to say they have the job they always dreamed of? My work comes in peaks and valleys. I’ve learned over the years never to complain about the slower times because the second I do, I get hammered with more work than I can possibly handle.

Well, I broke my own rule. Not only did I think “wow, I’m kind of slow right now,” I actually spoke the words… And true to form, I got inundated with work. I had seven briefs that have to get out this week. That’s not counting the two I had to have hand delivered at the end of last week. To top it all off, I had a major case go to arbitration this week, so I had to work in prepping the case, the witnesses, the arbitration statement… I don’t know how I’m still standing.

I also don’t know if my son remembers what I look like! I’ve had to wake him up early, get him dressed and out the door to daycare before he’s fully awake every day, and I’ve picked him up as daycare is about to close each day. The work never stopped when I left the office though, because I’ve been writing briefs and researching and prepping witness statements until all hours of the night. A couple nights, I had to lock myself in my room upstairs just so I could get everything done.

I did what I needed to do to meet the insanely unrealistic deadlines imposed upon me. I should be happy that I got through the past week and a half and am still coherent enough to write this post. Instead, I feel guilty.

I miss my son. I miss my husband. I feel badly that work invaded my home life like this and took me away from them for so long. Sometimes I feel like I can’t do it all – be super attorney, super mom and super wife – all at the same time. I wish that I didn’t have to abdicate my role as mom in order to play attorney this week…

…and I need to get over it.

Some weeks are going to be like this. They are miserable while they’re happening. But this was my choice. Because I wanted to have both my career and my family, balance is so important and something I’m constantly struggling to find. One of these days, I may just figure it out.

Now you’ll have to excuse me…there’s a little man (and a big one) I need to go spend some time with.

Have a great weekend!

In transit…

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

My family and I have been on the road for the past week, seeing all different parts of the country.  From the flat desert to rolling hills blanketed with green trees (something we have missed the last few years) to cities with bright lights.

As Jack gazes out his window, he is amazed with all the different scenery.  He loves the trees and the farms and the wide open fields.  He also pointed out every train we have passed by.  It’s a great feeling to see the excitement run through his blood when he sees and learns about new things. I’m sure you have experienced the same with your child.  I’m glad he has been given this opportunity to see the country through his own eyes.  At his age, I can’t imagine what is running through his brain.

Blogging by iPhone from Mississippi. I’ll catch you next week!

Discipline Dilemmas

Monday, November 16th, 2009

When Brady was two, they said he was in the Terrible Twos. He was great at two, so I figured I was Good to Go. Then it was the Terrible Threes! We are “getting through” those. I thought four was the “light at the end of the tunnel” only to find out from my pediatrician that the “Frustrating Fours” are next, the stage where kids test everything and push every boundary. Does every age have a negative connotation?

Now I can’t complain much, because I am very blessed with Brady. I hope this blog helps those struggling (and by all means, if you have any tips for me, please comment). I am by no means an expert. My son threw himself on the floor and rolled around like a possessed person because he wanted butter on bread instead of butter on a waffle. Yes, I could have given in – but I don’t. I ask once, and whatever he requests, that is what he gets.

My overall discipline methods may seem harsh, but they really do work on Brady (minus the occasional possessed behavior). When he reached about 18 months, I started with timeouts. Now I had a very non-verbal child, so I did all of the explaining about WHY he was in time out. I still occasionally use them at nearly four years old. But honestly, I think they are now more of a time out for ME, so I don’t lose my cool over something that really isn’t that monumental.

I set the timer for however old he is; when it dings, we talk, he apologizes, I tell him I love him, we hug, kiss.. end of story. Now there are times that timeouts just aren’t enough. Once Brady hit three and was more verbal, I decided it was time to punish. By punish I mean “take away” – works wonders.  Brady has wooden trains and Geotrax trains. Punishment starts with the wooden trains, then goes on to taking away the remotes for the Geotrax trains, and then the final phase is tearing down our giant train track. That has only happened twice ever. Now parents, be careful here, I learned something the hard way. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU TAKE AWAY. One time, I told him no “Word World” that day. Well, I not only punished him, but I also punished myself, since I didn’t get in my 30 minutes of work time that day! So I do take things away, but only things that I know aren’t punishing me too. I learned that one the hard way!

If you have any tips, feel free to share. This is a journey we are all on together. I take it one day at a time, and learn as I go. And sometimes I am the one apologizing to Brady, because mamas aren’t perfect either – we get angry and over-react (well, at least I do). But I make a point to tell him I am sorry when I do that and make sure that he knows that it is OK to make mistakes, get mad, or sad. It is all part of growing up (and even being a grown up).

Music Man

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Andrew loves music. It doesn’t really matter what kind. Some of his favorite “songs” are actually commercials! But whenever one of his favorites comes on, he stops whatever he’s doing, bursts into a huge grin and bops along to the tunes.

In the car, he loves to play backseat DJ, and he has very clear preferences. He’ll loudly yell “NEXT!” when the song isn’t to his liking or “AGAIN!” when he wants to hear “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” for the hundredth consecutive time.

He will excitedly point to my laptop and ask to listen to “The Wheels on the Bus” (repeatedly – who knew there were so many different versions of the song?). We make up our own lyrics to the song too. Did you know that sometimes there’s a cookie on Andrew’s bus? It goes “mmmm…” (Don’t ask – we were both in a silly mood that night.) Andrew makes up a lot of his own lyrics to songs. Some of them even make sense. Even when they don’t, it’s still fun to watch him excitedly belt out a tune.

Last night Andrew did not want to go to sleep. I tried holding him while he fought closing his eyes. Hubby tried holding Andrew, thinking maybe he had the magic touch that night. Finally, I ended upstairs in Andrew’s room rubbing his back and singing him to sleep.

It’s always the same song – Kenny Loggins’ “House at Pooh Corner.” My dad used to sing me that song every night when I was little. It was the song we danced to for the father-daughter dance at my wedding. Now it’s what I sing to Andrew.

As I finished the song, Andrew’s heavy eyelids slowly lowered and he let out a content sigh. He fell asleep holding my hand with a smile on his face that mirrored my own. I love those moments with my music man.

Moving Mania

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

We have been planning a cross country move over the last few weeks.  Needless to say, it has been more than a little hectic in our household.  We have been scheduling movers and packers, shredding four years of paperwork, changing our address on umpteen different websites, and that is only the tip of the iceberg.  Although it’s been a little stressful (okay a lot) things have been running pretty smoothly.

The big challenge we are facing is trying to prepare Jack for the change.  This is the house to which we brought him home from the hospital,  and this is the house that he first rolled over in, took his first steps in and gave us that heart-melting grin in.  It’s a bit sad to say the least, but I’m looking forward to new milestones and memories we will make in the future.

This week, the packers will enter our house and begin to pack up every single item (including the trash if we let them) we own.  If Jack sees me take apart even just a piece of his train track he one unhappy camper, so I can only imagine what he’ll do when he sees a stranger taking apart his entire room.  We have been telling him about our big move and making it as positive as possible.  He appears to be excited so I’m only hoping that emotion continues.  I mean, what child wouldn’t be happy getting a brand new bedroom to play in?

The trip will definitely be an adventure we’ll never forget.  I hope Jack will remember at least bits of it in some way shape or form.  As I prepare myself for the worst, I’m grateful that we will be together as a family and able to laugh, cry, sing or scream our way to our new home.

Wish us luck!

What Am I?

Monday, November 9th, 2009

The “mommy wars” begin as soon as your first baby arrives. Do you co-sleep, or does your baby sleep in a crib? Do you breast feed or use formula? Do you wear your baby or push him/her in a stroller? Label after label. It always made me sad how it seemed that other mothers put down different styles of parenting. As if to suggest there was only ONE correct way to raise a child.

Then comes the question (usually after the initial 2-months) – do you work? Um, yes… ALL mothers work. Some mothers work all of the time at home, tending to their children 24/7 with barely time to shower! Other mothers work a full-time job, manage to put dinner on the table, and spend quality time with their children (and try to squeeze in a shower). Then there are those odd “pentagon” moms who don’t fall into either category – like me – a “work at home” mom. Yup, it is a label that I proudly wear yet no one seems to understand what it means.

To some friends and distant relatives, the fact that I work from home means that I am ALWAYS available for playdates, doctor appointments, girls nights, etc.. I wish that were true. But just because I work at home doesn’t mean I don’t work. I usually work close to full-time hours 30-35 hours per week (around Brady’s schedule). I try not to work more than 30 minutes a day while he is awake. I usually use one of those lovely PBS shows to get in my half hour during the day. Then I have that glorious naptime (a guaranteed 90 minutes or more to work, if no one calls, and dinner doesn’t need to be prepared). And finally, I have after bed, another two to four hours (depending on how the day went). Now I am blessed; I have parents who, I am convinced, are angels walking on Earth. I rarely ask them to watch Brady, but in a crisis, they always would. Brady’s other grandparents help out occasionally also. I have a sister and a close friend who each take Brady maybe once every month or two. So I do typically have a sitter for 2-3 hours TOTAL during the week. It doesn’t add up to much, but it helps.

Am I complaining? No. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to provide a steady income and work my own hours. Do I make sacrifices? Yes. I am slowly learning to find a balance. For a while there was NO “Melissa” time, which isn’t always good. Now, I do make sure to catch my favorite shows. And sometimes I even may take a bubble bath! Honestly, the hardest part for me is the assumptions that people make that I don’t actually work because I work at home. Sometimes I don’t fit in with either crowd at playgroup. I am not a SAHM (stay at home mom) or WOHM (work out of home mom). So I do have trouble finding people to connect with. Luckily, I have made some friends who also work at home and understand the demands and rewards, and the fact that if they call me at 11am to head to lunch, sometimes I just can’t go and HAVE to work. Would I trade this time with Brady for any other job? Never. I have three part-time jobs, all from home, but they all three know that in my life…. Brady comes first.