This is what’s clogging up my brainspace this week:

Take that, Valentine's Day!

Take that, Valentine’s Day!

Another snowstorm’s coming, with up to a foot of snow being discussed at the time of this writing. Must stock junk food. But why? I don’t even eat junk food usually! Something about snow just screams cookies to me. Can you relate?

I’m thinking about journaling again, and really holding myself to spending 5 minutes every single day writing down my thoughts and feelings in an effort to help me sort them out. But of course I worry about privacy issues. I’ve had my journals read by people I trusted, and it was somewhat traumatic. So today I found myself googling “privacy issues with journaling” and reading about some options for keeing my thoughts private. Something that resonated with me (because I’m guilty of this) was advice that if you’re censoring yourself in your writing because you’re afraid of who may read it, you’re just wasting your time and not getting the full effect of journaling. Do you journal? If so, is privacy a concern?

My dad is having heart surgery this week. I plan to take the day off from work and hang at the hospital with my mom, keeping her company and keeping things light as we wait for updates. But that snowstorm is supposed to happen on the same day, and since schools will likely be cancelled, I think my new plan will consist of maintaining my sanity at home with an energetic 4-year-old while waiting for updates from my mom, also while attempting to complete a full day’s work from home. Working from home is hard most times, although sometimes we nail it. I wrestle with balancing my work with my son’s constant requests to play, and there is often a lot of guilt that comes along with telling him I can’t play until I get some things done. It will be a challenging day, to say the least. If you know any snow dances–the kind that would push this storm far off the coast, perhaps–please do them now! I’m also accepting thoughts & prayers for my dad and any work-from-home advice you’ve got!

Valentine’s Day. Sigh. Someone very important to me died on the night of February 13th, ten years ago this year. I can’t help but associate the day with my grief. His death triggered my anxiety in a way I’d never experienced it before. I remember that Valentine’s Day like it happened yesterday. I sat in a Japanese steakhouse, picking at my sushi, pretending to be OK as I celebrated my first Valentine’s Day with my now-husband. I secretly didn’t want to be there, which made me feel badly. I wanted to be with my family, or alone to cry and grieve. That was the first time Valentine’s Day felt fake to me, and I can’t help but carry that with me all these years later. There’s too much pressure. I have a list of people I’d wanted to buy or make things for, but it’s already Tuesday and I’m out of time. I sure hope Valentine’s tweets instead of treats are acceptable! And I’d like to find time to grab some new Legos for Jax for his special treat, in lieu of candy, since his life revolves around Legos right now. I still have to help Jax write out one set of valentines for his pre-K class (their party is tomorrow) and one set for his daycare class (their party is Friday), and I have to provide healthy snacks for both…on top of all the other things I have to do this week! This is only my first year with a kid–one child!–in school. I don’t know how parents juggle it all!

I feel like if I make it to Saturday without losing my mind, I owe myself the biggest glass of wine, the longest bubble bath, and other mega self-care.

If you’ve made it this far into this post, you deserve a glass of wine, too! ;)

I just needed to put all that out there so maybe some of it would get out of my head for a little while. Ahhhh. Thanks for reading.

p.s. Have you entered my Valkee 2 giveaway yet? I’m choosing a winner on Valentine’s Day (well, evening). Maybe you’ll get lucky on Valentine’s Day afterall!  ;)

photo by: andertoons

Jax has been talking about “bad guys” a lot this week. It’s unnerving, as you might imagine given the Sandy Hook tragedy. The hopeful part of me considers this a coincidence. Afterall, he’s 3 and a half now, and I watch his imagination become bigger and better every day. He isn’t shielded from a whole lot by my husband or me. He watches a fair amount of television (although our tv rarely changes from the Disney Jr channel). He likes superheroes and their movies, which, as you know if you’ve ever seen one, always feature a bad guy or two. As soon as he gets scared, we turn off the movie and tell him it isn’t real. Then he asks to watch Disney Jr again. Simple as that.

I’m trying to recall whether he’s ever actually talked to me about bad guys before last Friday, and I can’t remember. He must have, right? I’m sure this is selective memory on my part. Or whatever you call that phenomenon that occurs when, for example, you’re trying to get pregnant and it seems like everyone around you is popping out a baby.

I’m still trying to not think about what happened last Friday. I’m trying to push the bad thoughts out of my brain daily—multiple times daily, like whenever I open my Facebook account or check Twitter. But then my 3-year-old starts talking about bad guys again.

I got angry when I first thought that maybe his daycare teachers mentioned something about the shooting to the kids. I mean, they’re 3 years old! Still so innocent, too young to talk to about murderers. Right? And that’s my job, when I choose to tackle it, right?

I’m struggling with the decision to talk to Jax or not about what to do if he encounters a bad guy in real life. On the one hand, the knowledge could save his life. On the other hand, have I mentioned he’s only 3? I’m so afraid to scare him at this young age. And I don’t even know what to tell him to do! Run? Hide? Pretend he’s dead (I’d probably opt for the gentler “pretend you’re asleep”)? I can’t even stomach the idea of this conversation with my baby boy. So far, all I’ve done is reinforce the message that there are always helpers around if he ever needs one (teachers, police officers, and so on). I like the Mr. Rogers quote about this that has made the social media rounds recently. One of these days, I’ll even read past the quote and learn from the rest of the article.

I know there are resources out there for parents to learn how to discuss tragedies with their kids—like the one I linked to above–and how kids should act if they occur. But I can’t face those articles just yet.

Do I have to? He’s 3. Barely a little boy. He still has the same nose he had when he was a baby. It’s like a button.

During Fire Prevention Awareness Week, he learned what to do in case of fire. And then about a month ago, I taught him how to call 9-1-1 on my cell phone in the event of an emergency, which to him means a fire (I didn’t elaborate on all the potential emergencies that could happen). That was scary and real enough. I never thought I’d be questioning whether to talk to him about hiding or playing dead if he encounters a bad guy with a gun.

Aside from teaching him about 9-1-1 and how to stop-drop-and-roll, I have no experience with this kind of thing and I’m floundering and frightened. I will do anything to keep my child safe, but I’m not willing to rob him of a single moment of his childhood until I have to. How do I know when is the right time?

I’m asking for your help. Have you talked to your 3- or 4-year-old about the incident? Have you discussed with him or her how to respond to an act of violence? I’m truly interested in your thoughts on this.

Ever feel like every female you know is pregnant? Like it’s some kind of conspiracy to get you to have another kid (or your first, if you haven’t joined the parenting club yet)?

That’s my life right now.

My husband and I decided long, long ago that we wanted only one child. I won’t list all the reasons for our decision here, to avoid a debate I really don’t need right now (because it would only confuse the situation even further), but I still think many of them were damn good reasons. Especially the one about not having a big enough house for a fourth person—fifth if you count my dog as a person (as well you should, considering his personality). And the one about not being able to afford two kids in daycare simultaneously is another biggie.

However…

Now that I have one child and know his adorable personality—in particular, how much he loves babies and how well he cares for them when he’s with them at daycare—I’m starting to reconsider the decision  (maybe). Well, for that reason and because everyone around me is pregnant or “trying.” Do they know something I don’t know??? (Or are they just braver and/or wealthier?)

I hate like hell to admit that I felt my very first pang of jealousy last week upon hearing pregnancy news from a friend. And then a second pang the other day when catching up on blog reading and hearing of some bloggy friends’ news. And a third pang on Monday when another friend announced her second pregnancy. And let’s not exclude pregnant family members!

What. The. Frick.

I didn’t see those damn pangs coming.

This will pass, right?

 

I spent a few minutes the other day jotting down a list of all the things I remember about 2011:

  • I started out 2011 sick with something called tracheitis. Which shouldn’t have surprised me, having a toddler (aka a germ magnet).
  • In mid-January, I wrote a post that generated over 10,000 page views in one weekend. I was on cloud 9 for a few days. I think that weekend remains part of why I continue to blog–that feeling of connecting with others.
  • My little family had a few vacations in 2011. One that was just for me & my husband–New Orleans. And one that was for the 3 of us plus my parents and siblings. We survived both vacations. Not only that, but we even had fun! Except for the weird voodoo incident. I also went to Orlando alone for work, but that was a whirlwind 1-night trip that was completely boring and uneventful.
  • Jax got his hand bit by dogs twice. And I subsequently developed a fear of dogs.
  • Jax and I built our first snowman together. It was about his size. So cute.
  • I stopped going to therapy altogether. (I must admit, I really miss my awesome therapist Michelle R.) My anxiety is under control, I no longer feel depressed sometimes, and I can cope much better with the bad nights of sleep–which have certainly decreased during 2011. Hallelujah!
  • Jax started a new daycare, which we really love. I do miss his previous daycare provider, Shannon, though. But this one is close to home, and he adores it. He even has a best friend, Jeremy.
  • My husband and I visited more museums this year than in the few years leading up to it. My favorite museum trips were when we took Jax to one a few weeks ago to see dinosaur bones and when my husband and I went to MoMA with friends in the summer.
  • Jax got to see The Wiggles and Yo Gabba Gabba live shows this year. Can you say F-U-N??? The YGG show was more our style, though, if I had to choose between the 2.
  • Lots & lots of zoo trips this year, thanks to a membership from my parents.
  • Dacia & I bought tickets for BlogHer ’12. So stoked for that.
  • I went to my first La Leche League meeting. I met Tiff there, with whom I share many common interests.
  • Jax got to hang out with Chica twice!
  • We went to a pumpkin patch several times in one month. Jax danced with a rooster.
  • I got to meet the beautiful and amazing Katherine Stone of Postpartum Progress and Diane Sanford of Real Mom Experts in person at a conference for perinatal mood disorders here in NJ.

If 2012 is anything like 2011, I can’t wait to share next year’s list with you! Overall, it was a fun year, with nothing major happening–a good thing. I wish you all a calm, peaceful, and fun 2012!

Happy New Year! (Mommy & Jax, January 2011)

 

Jax has a best friend, Jeremy, at his daycare. The two of them are inseparable, so I’ve been told on more than one occasion. Their teachers tell me how they sit together for meals, how they wrestle, how they light up when they first see each other in the mornings. Just last week, they reported that when Jax woke up from his nap before Jeremy did, Jax sat beside Jeremy’s cot and patted his back while he slept.

Melts my heart.

Earlier this week, I was running so late to work that I had the fortune of dropping off Jax at the same time as Jeremy’s mom dropped him off. So I got to meet her for the first time.

So I thought.

Turns out, she looked familiar for a reason–we went to high school together! We weren’t good friends back then, but not for any reason in particular. We just ran in different circles. (Oh god, I sound like a grandma when I say that.)

We’re now Facebook friends, and we’ve exchanged phone numbers. I’m so happy that after the holidays, we can get the boys together outside of daycare. I have been feeling a bit of working momma guilt when the daycare teachers tell me how cute Jax & Jeremy are together because that is a whole other side of Jax I rarely get to see. We have playdates, sure, but usually with the kids of friends of mine–in other words, kids Jax doesn’t know that well because we aren’t around them more than once or twice a month, tops. So the interaction isn’t the same as it must be with his BFF he sees every weekday.

I’m so looking forward to seeing the two of them play together.

Does your kid have a best friend?