7

I need some advice from the parents out there.

First off, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, and anything else we have celebrated recently.

So I am looking for some words of wisdom.

Our family had an incredibly blessed holiday. Turner was showered with gifts and love and it was a memorable second Christmas for sure. But it was his second Christmas. And our home is officially overloaded with toys. I am incredibly thankful for all of our friends and family who wanted to spoil Turner. Admittedly, Andrew and I also went on a Toys R’ Us shopping spree for the little guy. But as I try to get my life and my house back into order, I don’t know what to do with everything.

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This is just from one of the 5 Christmas celebrations we had with family.

1) I am incredibly sentimental, so I tend to hold on to things. I have his “first” toys that his cousin, aunt, grandma, uncle, great grandma, neighbor, and anyone else has given him. I am real big on “firsts.” Then I have kept his “favorite” toys. So if he loved it for more than a day when he was 2 months old, I probably have stored it somewhere and refuse to get rid of it. Then there is the fact, that Turner legitimately still plays with most of the things he got last Christmas and at anything since. So although he got bigger and better toys this year, I don’t want to do away with the ones that still get great use, even if they are a bit older.

So you can understand why my house is overflowing. We live in a pretty fair sized house with plenty of storage space, but somehow, Turner’s 2 Christmas and 1 birthday, and my online shopping obsession, have started to overtake us.

So here is where I need advice. Turner’s 2nd birthday is in May. While we want to celebrate our pride and joy with family and friends, we can’t take much more clutter at home. At Turner’s first birthday, we were already anticipating this happening, so we asked our guests to not bring a toy for Turner, but instead make a donation to a charity. And while we plan to continue to teach Turner this value on his birthday, that effort didn’t really work out last year. Some people brought toys for Turner and a donation, some just brought toys for Turner. And don’t get me wrong, we appreciate it beyond words. We value and love everything our friends and family have done for Turner. I don’t want this to come off as ungrateful, especially to all you wonderful family members who take time out of your day to read my blog.

I have no problem picking on my mom. For one, she doesn’t read my blog, and two, this is something I am not afraid to say directly to her, and have for that matter. My mom donated to the charity last year for Turner’s birthday. Then got him the traditional big yellow and red car. That car will be used for a solid 3 more years, and Turner loves it. In fact, I am fairly certain it is in our living room right now. But you see what I mean? My own mother wouldn’t listen to the no gift rule. She said, “I am getting my grand baby something for his birthday.” She is one stubborn lady.

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So Andrew and I were talking last night, and we suggested maybe asking for a no toy, charity thing again this year. Although it wasn’t completely effective on the gift end, our family did support the charity. And it did cut down on some gifts. But then, those who listened and didn’t bring a gift, felt awkward and out of place by those who did.

Another option we discussed was not having a party at all. Turner is only 2, so while we can get him a cake and just our little family celebrate, I think that would be sufficient. But I can hear my mother’s voice in my head. She would be furious that I was depriving her of the chance to celebrate Turner. So then we could have a small party with just family… but the only problem is, we have a rather large family. And that isn’t really a problem. We are blessed to have so many people who love us and care for Turner. Turner is very fortunate and one rich little boy in that aspect. But he is only 2. Do we need to rent a building and make it a production? It is 6 months out and I am already stressed about it.  Oh, and if you think I am crazy for worrying about a party that is 6 months from now, you must understand that in our very small town, spaces to have birthday parties are very limited, and are usually already booked by the first week of the new year, so I have to get moving.

The third option we disused was asking people to donate to Turner’s college fund. At least for another year or two until Turner could really ask for gifts. Turner has his own bank account and realistically probably already has more money than I do. We want him to have a college fund so when he graduates high school, if he wants to go to college, it will already be paid for. So we started saving the very day we found out we were pregnant with him. And it isn’t just spare change, it gets routinely contributed to. So we thought, we could get a huge piggy bank and have it has a centerpiece at the party and write, “16 years until college” on it. (Can we please talk about how I will only have 16 years with my baby before he abandons me? Talk about depressing!)

Is that tacky? Is it offensive? I just don’t know.

Any and all advice would be great.

We got Turner a motorcycle. Although he loves it... what 19 month old needs a motorcycle? He doesn't even weigh enough to make it move.

We got Turner a motorcycle. Although he loves it… what 19 month old needs a motorcycle? He doesn’t even weigh enough to make it move.

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We have officially introduced the time out.

Turner is almost 17 months old. He is very stubborn and very strong-willed. He fully knows right from wrong. He completely understands when he isn’t supposed to be doing something, and most of the time, he does it anyway. So last night, after taking one too many swipes across the face, I put him in time out.

He hates it. He knows it is not a good place to be. I put his little nose in the corner and stand behind him while explaining what he did wrong and how he shouldn’t do it. He fights it with every ounce of his being. He tries to wiggle free and tries to reach for me with a river of tears streaming down his face. It is tough. When he is reaching for me, and just wants to nuggle his little head up against my chest, it is hard not to resist. But I know I have to. After all, he is my child, and I was hell as a child. So I know what he has in him, and I know that if karma has anything to do with it, I am in for a real treat these next few years.

My little nightly terror.

My little nightly terror.

It is tough. I don’t plan to put him in time out for everything, just things I truly think he understands he shouldn’t be doing, like hitting. I want to call adult protective services… he is the worst momma-abuser. He doesn’t just hit me. He leans back and puts force into it before he slams his five little sticky, slobbered covered fingers across my check. And he isn’t afraid to use a weapon. Before I even had time to brace for it, he full-force slammed a golf ball into my nose. I wouldn’t mind some cosmetic work, but I would prefer to avoid it being because my toddler started the process.

In addition to time out,  I think I am about to get a lot more stubborn when it comes to Turner’s sleeping… or the lack of. Last night, like most nights, he woke up shortly after 3 a.m. for his nightly romper room. It is exhausting. I am constantly tired, and grumpy, and resentful, and it is about time he gets used to sleeping all night, alone, in his own bed. While it is far easier to rescue him from his crib (if he will even sleep there to begin with) and put him in bed with mommy and daddy, I know we just can’t keep doing it. I can’t take many more nights on the couch, because that is his choice location for his slumber. It doesn’t mesh well for me.

We are about to have one disappointed toddler. But I think it is time that mommy and daddy establish who is boss!

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Catching up while just trying to keep up!

I desperately miss writing on here. I will 100% make more of an effort. Sometimes, life just gets in the way.

We just survived our first fight with pink eye. It started in Turner’s right eye, then moved to the left. It didn’t really impact him too much. I have always said that Turner is the least sick sick kid I have ever met. Nigh time was rough. When he would wake up with his eyes matted he was understandably afraid and confused, but other than that, it was business as usual.

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Turner’s eight tooth has broken through, and that caused more tears and fuss than the ear infection/pink eye. I hadn’t even realized the new tooth until he started gnawing on the coffee table, that is his go-to teething toy despite our best efforts to prevent it. It is so crazy to see all those teeth. He is 16 months now, just hit that milestone on the 30th. Just a couple of months ago when we had his 1 year pics taken he had half the teeth and looked so much younger. I just want to freeze him.

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My amazing sister, Ruby Peoples Photography, took incredible 1 year pics of Turner!

Last night when I was snuggling him to sleep, it hit me. One day, he is going to be too big for this. I dread the day that when he gets sleepy he no longer wants to crawl up on the couch with me and let me love him to sleep. It is heartbreaking. I don’t ever want that day to come. Just the thought is borderline paralyzing.

We can scratch off every item on the 12-24 developmental check list. He is such a little person. It is mind blowing at times. Sometimes I let him run around the house barefoot and in nothing but a diaper because it is the only time he still seems like my baby.

Whenever he does anything, I just want to freeze it for a second so I will never forget. Like how his face lights up when a dog or ball comes on TV. How when I walk out to the mailbox he climbs on the couch and watches me from the window. How he takes his toy golf club and swipe hopelessly at balls in the living room. How he finds his spoon and attempts to eat blueberries on his own. How he never passes an opportunity to splash in a puddle even though just a few months ago he was petrified of water. How he pulls out the drawers in the kitchen and plays in them. How he grabs both of my cheeks and plants the sweetest kiss i have ever had right on my lips. All of these things. I never want to forget them. I want to always remember them.

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My little guy is growing way too fast

So we got another new car seat for Turner this weekend. Since Andrew doesn’t love the Cadillac of rear-facing convertible car seats that we originally bought, we went with a simpler model for the second car. 

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I didn’t install it right away and Andrew wasn’t with me when Ruby and I picked it out, so he had no crash course in installation before he loaded Turner up to take him to day care yesterday. Andrew was convinced I had messed up and bought a forward facing seat, and since that is how he could figure out to install it, that is how Turner rode to daycare. 

Let me just tell you, seeing Turner so happy and smiling and in awe of the world and all he could see was precious. And every time I looked in the back seat he would just smile and giggle at me and it was perfection. Knowing that they should be rear facing until two, and the longer they are rear facing the better, when we got home, I fixed the seat, but it sure was not easy. Being able to see him was adorable! Melts my stinking heart! 

In other news, while I know it is too soon to brag or anticipate anything permanent, the last two nights Turner has actually slept…kinda. He still woke up crying, but instead of me having to get up, get him a new bottle and even rub his back and restart his much to get him to go back to sleep, he was able to do it on his own. It was glorious. Even a little bittersweet. When I put him down for bed, I always kiss him and tell him I will see him at midnight, since that is when he has been getting up like clockwork… but the last two nights, he slept right through our 12 a.m. meeting, and it was a little heartbreaking.

He is basically a grown up. It is hard to believe that he will be 1 in 24 days. Wow. Speaking of 24 days… I have a party to plan that I have no time to do. Crap!

, SiteDart Author

1

The best weekend I have had in a long time

I had a beautiful weekend. The best weekend I have had in recent memory. I am always on the go. I am always going 100 miles an hour with three more things to do when I get done. But this weekend was different. I stopped all of that. All I did this weekend, was spend it with Turner and Andrew. I couldn’t be any happier. 

After spending a half a day in the office on Friday, I left early to get some work done on Buckle Up, Baby. The best part about that was, Turner got to come with me. I actually got to spend most of the day with him. It felt like Christmas. The things I would give up to work one less day a week and do nothing but hang out with that little guy…

Friday night Turner and I had a sleep over with Madison. For some reason, I thought it was a good idea to attempt to watch both of the kids by myself. That was basically a train wreck. I do not know how people do it. Every time I get stuck with those two alone… I am convinced without a shadow of a doubt that one child is plenty enough for me. I could have pulled my hair out! Even though I was seconds away from losing it, having the two of them together was wonderful. Watching them talk and communicate with each other is the sweetest thing I have ever seen. 

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After my mother reaffirmed her title of Nana of the year and rescued me from Madison, I got some mommy and Turner time. It is very, very rare that this happens. I got to spend a couple of hours with just the two of us. I was not fighting dad for Turners attention, it was just the two of us. And it was some of the best hours of my life. It really isn’t fair. I should be able to do that every day. 

Sunday was family day. It was pouring rain in the morning, so that kept us away from church, but didn’t stop of us from spending time together. Just me, Andrew, and Turner. While running errands, we even took Turner to see his great-grandma, which is always a treat because she just loves him to pieces. Seeing how much other people appreciate your child makes you appreciate them even more. We are lucky to have such an amazing little boy. We are even luckier to have such wonderful family to love him as much as we do. 

We didn’t do anything over the top. We didn’t have any extravagant plans. We had just us, and that is all I ever need. ❤

, SiteDart Author

6

My last opinion of Stay at Home VS Working Parents

Just a warning, you may not like what I have to say here. 

So someone recently posted this article to Facebook: Why My Wife’s Job is Harder Than Mine.

This is an age old debate. While the guy who wrote that was probably trying to score some bonus points with his lady, this is a debate that I have put little input on here and there, but typically stay away from, but since it is Friday, and because I can, I thought I would put in my two cents. 

First let me begin with the disclaimer that in NO way am I trying to be disrespectful to stay at home moms. My younger sister is a stay at home mother, and a dang good one at that. If she was not a stay at home mom, I would not have anyone to watch my son while I worked 

First, I have a problem with statements regarding a woman’s role as a parent and man’s role as a parent because it defies all principle and arguments around gender equality. Women want the same jobs as men and to make the same pay as men, and while arguing those opinions, they turn right around and make claims about the difference gender plays in parenting. I think it is all bullcrap. This may come as a shocker, but I am a firm believe that women and mean are not equal. We were not created to be equal. We have never been equal. We will never be equal. These are facts of life. It may be a little hard to swallow, but facts nonetheless. 

As far as equality in general goes, women and men are driven by different factors, and at the risk of straying too far from my intended point with this post, I will say in general, in a broad sense of what makes us different is that I think women who want to be equal to men make decisions based on the fact that they have something to prove. Women often take the stance that because of the fact that we a vagina, we have to work harder, work smarter, just work differently than men. With that mentality, decisions that may not typically need to be made, are made to prove that point. So that, is the fundamental basis of why, in my very humbled opinion, men and women have never and will never be equal. 

Now back to my objection of the before-posted article. I am not a stay at home mom. I would give my right arm to be a stay at home mom. I would be a working stay at home mom, but in a heartbeat I would drop everything to be at home with my son. The article argues the stereotypical worth of stay at home moms by saying their “jobs” are planner, cleaner, cook, nurse, taxi service, so forth and so on. I despise this argument with every once of my being.

If that is what a stay at home mom does, then what am I? Chopped liver? I do not just work one full-time, 40 hour, 5 day a week job, but I also work a second full-time job, and on top of that I freelance on occasion. Some weeks I put in 90 hour weeks. So just because I am a working mother, does that mean that the cooking, cleaning, driving, and everything else glorified for stay at home mom’s do just doesn’t get done? I wish! Not only do I have the pain staking task of being away from my son for anywhere form 8-15 hours a day, some days doing nothing more than kissing his sleeping head before I leave in the morning and then again when I get home after he has already passed out for the night, meaning I do not even get to see him in a day’s time, but I balance that with phone calls, meetings and other daily work activities AND cooking dinner, cleaning the house, making sure Turner’s daycare arrangements are taking care of for the week, that he has diapers and food and his doctor appointments are scheduled and you know, everything else that comes along with this whole parenthood thing. 

Please do NOT misunderstand me. As much as I want to be a stay at home mom, I understand that it has its own challenges. I would go nuts not being able to work. I like working. I strive best with 100 things on my plate. I would go crazy trying to pretend that I care what Dora is exploring today or what Micky’s special secret tool is to fix whatever catastrophe has broken out at the clubhouse. That takes more strength, dedication, focus and patience than I could ever even fake. That is a special skill that I do not think I will ever be able to muster up. While I think a stay at home mom has a different job and daily routine than me, I do not think either are more difficult or more anything other than more different from one another. 

I get it, the article talks about a stay at home mom versus a working dad. So I will tell you my problem what that. Andrew works a different schedule every week, travels 10-13 weeks out of the year and has to be away from Turner more than I would ever be able to handle myself. And despite his job in sales, since I leave for work earlier than him, he gets Turner up in the mornings, gives him breakfast, packs his diaper bag, takes Turner to wherever he is staying for the day and handles anything that needs to be done that morning. Like last night, he gets home sometimes after Turner has gone to bed and doesn’t even get to see him. Despite working 40-50 hours a week when he isn’t traveling, he never misses a doctor’s appointment or a moment of Turner’s life. I can only imagine how hard it is for Andrew to balance all of that. Not to mention that Andrew is captain poop cleaner, and saves me from that turmoil as often as he can. 

His balancing act of work and parent is no harder or more prestigious than mine or a stay at home mom’s. It is just different. I couldn’t imagine being the only working parent and the stress that being the sole provider for a family would bring. That seems like it would be something just as tough to deal with that the to-do list of a mother. 

I am tired of this argument. Stop arguing equality and gender rights when you keep trying to differentiate yourself based on gender roles. You’re a stay at  home mom? Awesome! You’re a working mom? High-five! You’re a working dad? Neato! You’re a stay at home dad? Claps for you! What is the stinking difference? How about you are all parents trying to do whatever you think is best for that sweet piece of perfection. 

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6

My child may or may not be possessed.

This weekend we had a couple of firsts. Some good, some terrifying. We can start with the good. 

On Friday, when I got home from work and got to scoop my baby up for this first time in what seemed like an eternity, he hugged me. He crawled over to me, pulled himself up on me put one arm on each my my shoulders, put his head on my chest, and squeezed. It was without a doubt, one of the best moments in my life. It was the first time my sweet little ball of perfection actually hugged me. I mean, he puts his head on my neck when I am holding him all the time, but thats not a hug. This was a real, honest to goodness, make your heart melt hug. And it was perfect. 

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I squeezed his little body then when I let go and looked at him, he had the biggest smile on his face. Then he lunged his body toward mine again and gave me another hug. It was complete perfection. Andrew thinks I am crazy, that this isn’t something to celebrate or something to write about. But you would have just had to be there. It was the sweetest, most perfect, best thing I could have ever asked for. 

 Now, with that bit of praise being said. Let me tell you how also a first this weekend, Turner scared the living daylights out of me. Turner doesn’t sleep at night. It just doesn’t happen. I have written about it here a ton of times. He is up three to five times every night. He never needs much, maybe his paci, a bottle, his mobile cranked, just something, but it is always something. 

Well, this morning around 4 a.m., he started to stir around. I had already gotten up with him a little after midnight for a bottle, a little after that for a paci, so this time, I got up and made him a juice bottle and was ready to give it to him, but by the time I got to his crib, he was fast asleep. I went back to my room and went back to bed. I couldn’t have been asleep for more than five minutes or so when I started hearing Turner talking. He is only 7 months old, so he doesn’t actually talk, but you know what I mean. He was “ba, ba, ba and Ma, goo” and all the other sounds that baby’s his age normally make. He was even doing this thing where he sticks his tongue out and blows spit everywhere that he does all day long. I assumed he must have woken up. Its not super unusual for him to want to get up at 4 a.m. for a little 30 min play session. 

Well, when I went into Turner’s bedroom, I made my way to his crib, ready to get him out, when I realized that he was still sound asleep. He was on his belly, with his little tush in the air and his head in his hands just making all this racket. Andrew talks in his sleep almost every night. In fact, last night, while sleeping, Andrew said, “I hope the cheesecake hurries up and finishes because Turner has a game today. He is pitching.” Last night Andrew also said things like, “The sox are going to win the world series, don’t you think,” and “Knuckle ballers are the key to winning.” then he named off some “great” knuckle ballers. I am used to Andrew talking in his sleep, but for the first time, Turner was talking in his, and it was terrifying. It was like he was possessed or something. I would have bet my life that the way Turner was acting, he was awake, but nope. 

He continued to talk for a couple of minutes, until I couldn’t take it and just got him out of his crib and put him in bed with us. Which brought on more firsts, because typically I hold Turner and just go to sleep, but last night, he decided he wants to own the bed. He flipped and flopped all over the bed for a solid 30 min before falling asleep.