CM: Liking vs. Loving my Spirited Child

My newest piece from Connected Mom. More honesty. Boy oh boy. 


I had another post in the works for today, but I'm putting it aside for later. Instead I have something I have to get out, something I have to confess, so it can stop weighing on me. I'm going to be so honest here, and I'm a little afraid of it. It's hard to admit your own shortcomings, and maybe even harder to admit ugly feelings because they seem to speak even more to who you are inside.

I remember that Gwen seemed to hit certain emotional developmental milestones early. Around 20 months, and definitely by 22, I stared getting a preview of the fun that was the "terrible twos." The threes, I've said it before, have been described to me as "two, with intent." She hit that early too. So while she's only been 3 for a bit over a week, this attitude has been here for a bit, and I'm over it already.

Guys, I'm just going to say it. I love Gwen, with all my heart, she fills me with love and a simple hug from her is a balm to me... but frankly, there are times lately that I don't like her. When she completely ignores my requests. The time she told me to shut up. When she whines, constantly. When she throws a fit because I ask her to do something so unreasonable like clean up toys that she's strewn around the living room when she's done playing with them, or take a single bite of something that she begged me to make her to eat.

I am loathe to ever wish time with her away, but I find myself wishing for bedtime, wishing for 4!

Now there are great parts to this age as well, and I am so grateful for those. However, she just seems so much better at pushing my buttons now, no matter how many loving boundaries I give her, and this has brought out a side of me that I don't like. My carefully cultivated patience has gone out the window, and I suddenly feel like a newly unfrozen Austin Powers ("I can't seem to CONTROL the sound of my VOISE!").

So here's where I ask for your help gentle readers: What's your secret for hitting the reset button? Yoga helps me, but since I can only go once a week, I need something to help me get my mama mojo back the other 6 days of the week. I don't chose my daughter's actions, but I can change and chose my reactions.

Help me reset our off balance relationship, so I can like my daughter as much as I love her again... and survive this crazy age.

Editor's Note: I wrote this yesterday, while sitting in the car with a napping Gwen. We'd had a morning full of butting heads. We went on to have a wonderful afternoon together. Thank goodness. Then we butted heads at bedtime. ::sigh::  We went on to end the night nicely, but this is how our days have been going.


then it was good

Last night we had a really good night. I was happy after Tally's return to work yesterday, and the fact that today I am working from home and hitting up yoga. Gwen was excited to tell me about how she had [*warning: total mom moment ahead*] peed in the potty 4 times and pooped in the potty at school! Win.

We had a great dinner, with no tears or whining. We went outside to check out the full moon for a few minutes, then headed up to get ready with minimal frustration. We laughed and hugged, and it was like the instagram or facebook version of an evening.

Of course, as you can imagine, all that fun and playing and being silly together made it almost impossible to settle down for the actual going to bed part... so that was a flurry of giggles, sighs, "lay down please," but ultimately, okay and non-tramatic. Very different then Sunday bedtime.

This morning was the lovely easy of a work-from-home morning. I wait to shower until after then leave, having no commute, so Gwen and I can get up more slowly, I can do all the getting ready while Trav makes the breakfast and gathers the school things. One little fuss that was quickly eased, but otherwise a pretty flawless morning.

This was so needed after the craziness that was this past Sunday afternoon. I need these fun, easy days to remind me of who this beautiful creature is that we're raising, and what we are working towards together.


birthday parties and kauzbots

Saturday afternoon, we hit up a birthday party for some friends of Gwen's who used to be in her class. They had someone making balloon dogs and swords. They were definitely a hit!

(With the big kids as well as the small ones...)

The cake was also a hit...

(Gah, big girl sitting by herself at the table!)

And the huge model train display set up in the building of the place they were holding the party. Most of it was for looking, not touching, but they had one table of trains set up for the kids to try their hand at driving.

That night we used a gift cert. we had for a local diner, and enjoyed a really nice dinner out. I love relaxed places with great food and people who stop by our table to chat up our girl.

Sunday was much more low-key, though we still kept busy. Trav let me sleep in, then Gwen and I did chores around the house while he spend some time at Willy's.

Gwen enjoyed playing with her birthday present from her Aunt Babs... a Kauzbot (named Kale).

A pocket in the back holds a little heart.
That evening we hit up a pee-wee basketball tournament at our local community center, where Gwen got to pick the winning raffle ticket during halftime, then ran a few errands before heading home for dinner.

We had a bit of a rough afternoon on Sunday (read my thoughts on it at Connected Mom)... just normal 3-year old stuff, but I was glad that the night ended on a better note, and a bit glad to get back to work today, honestly. This parenting stuff can be frustrating sometimes.  ;-)

Hope your weekend had all the fun mine had, with less of the whining!!


Gwen's 3rd Birthday

Last of the birthday party posts, promise, but I wanted to cover our weekend with her actual party.

Gwen woke up bright and early and rearing to go on Saturday, very excited for her special day. The morning was low-key, but just before noon, we headed out to pick up the cake, then on to the play gym for her party.

They had 90 minutes to run around the amazing 3-level play structure, complete with ball pits, slides, cargo nets, and a zip line.

Then it was on to pizza and cake.

Friends and school friends.

Our party favors... amazing cookies, by my friend Vicki.

Construction cake.

Blowing out the candles.
Gwen had a great day, and I enjoyed meeting all of her school friends... who I never get to meet since Trav does pick ups and drop offs. Gwen was asleep by 7 that night!

Sunday my parents came down to have cake and a birthday visit.

Rocking out her new tu-tu from cousin Wyatt.
She wore something special for the occasion...

Birthday shirt.

And that should officially end the 3 birthday recap posts!

Monday we had off, which was great since I managed to pick up a killer cold over the weekend. Considering this is my first one of the season, I can't complain, but boy has this sucker knocked me on my ass. Trav left later then normal so that I could get some extra sleep, which was nice. Gwen and I kept busy by running a few errands, then meeting Trav for lunch. She took a long nap on the ride home, and then there was just enough time for some books and puzzles before making dinner. We also worked on thank you cards for all the sweet birthday gifts.

Yesterday it was back to work/daycare like normal. Well, as normal as can be when I feel like my head is stuffed with cotton wool. Went to bed early last night, and I'm feeling a smidge better for it today.

How were your three-day weekends?


Birthday Interview: 3 years

I've seen this a bunch of places, so I decided to do it too. It will be fun to see how Gwen's answers change over the years.

Me: “Hey Gwenie, how old are you now?”

Gwen: “Three!”

Me: “Who’s your best friend?”

Gwen: “Romie. And Dominic.”

Me: “What is your favorite thing to do?”

Gwen: “Poopy in my diaper...”  [Editor's note: she was pooping as we had this conversation, and was very emphatic about not wanting to do it in the toilet. May have colored her answer a bit...]

Me: “What is your favorite color?”

Gwen: “Purple! And blue.”

Me: “Do you have a favorite food?”

Gwen: “I don't know.”

Me: “What is your favorite thing to do with mommy and daddy?”

Gwen: “Play puzzles.”

Me: “What is your favorite toy?”
Gwen: “Minnie Mouse”

Me: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Gwen: “Teacher, like Miss Kim. No, doctor, like Dr. Rao.”

Me: “What makes you happy?”

Gwen: “Playing games”

Me: “And what is something that makes you sad?”

Gwen: “I don't know.”

Me: “Do you have a favorite movie?”

Gwen: “The doggie movie.” [101 Dalmations]

Me: How about a favorite TV show?”

Gwen: “Curious George”

Me: “Do you have a favorite book?”

Gwen: “Drummer Hoff

Me: What do you like to learn about?”

Gwen: “Nothing.”

Me: “What was your favorite part of your birthday party?”

Gwen:  “The construction things!”

Me: “Where’s your favorite place to go when we leave the house?”

Gwen: “Joe's House”

Me: “What are you teachers names?”

Gwen: “Miss Emily, Miss Elise, Miss Kim, Miss Katie, and Miss Steffi”

Me: “Do you have a favorite treat?”

Gwen: “Popsickle!”

Me: “What’s your favorite animal?”

Gwen: “Lions.”

Me: “Do you have a favorite song?”

Gwen: “Wheels on the Bus”

Me: “What’s your favorite thing to wear?”

Gwen: “Construction shirt. Jeans.”

Me: “What are you looking forward to this year?”

Gwen: “...”

Me: “LOL, okay Gwenie... let's do a puzzle.”


Happy 3 Years!!

Dear Gwenie,

Today you turn 3 whole years old! We are celebrating with your first ever "kids party" at a local play gym. The past years your birthdays have been celebrated at home with friends and family. I'm positive you would have loved that still, but you were extra excited for your classmates, and other kid friends to come to your party. Especially since Nonnie and Papa are still coming over for cake tomorrow.

I wonder how you'll do at your party. Sometimes you are miss adventurous, running around and doing everything yourself. Climbing, sliding, jumping. Other times you still want me to hold you, carry you, be your security. Either way, we'll have a great time. We have so much fun together now.

You continue to blow me away with your intelligence and hard work. You count to ten in Spanish, 17 in English, have a handful of other words in Spanish, and have a dozen signs. You recognize the first letters of everyone's name in your class, and are identifying numbers. You love reading books with us and will sometimes "read" them back. At school the teachers love how you will participate enthusiastically in almost every activity. At home, we've been working hard at getting rid of the word "can't" and trying everything, be it a new game or a new food.

This past December we had some sleep troubles. It was a combination of sickness, with some schedule disturbances, but you had me getting up once or twice a night, which I haven't had to do in a long time. Mostly I would come to your room to find you still laying down, but having trouble breathing because of all the boogies, or just feeling a general discomfort in your sleep. Those times required only some back pats, maybe a tissue, pull up the blanket and a few "Shh, shh, shhs." One time I came in and whispered, "Shh, shh, Gwenie; you're okay." And you answered, "Okay." and went back to sleep! Sometimes though I would come in, and you would be sitting on your knees in the middle of your crib, shoulders hunched, calling out for me. You look so small in those moments, my baby still, and my heart would break until I would scoop you up, and have you snuggle in my neck.

Oh sweet, gorgeous girl, I think it is always going to be this way. You will amaze me with how big you are one moment, then be my sweet baby in the next moment.

And you really are getting so big! 26lbs, growing out of your 2T clothes, and work on potty training! Oh potty training. There are days when you love going on the toilet, ask to do it all by yourself, and keep your diaper dry for most of the day. Then there are days when you want nothing to do with it and will refuse to even sit on the potty. Did I mention you have a bit of a stubborn streak, like your Mama and your Daddy? I know you'll get it in your own time though, just like everything else.

Speaking of your own time, you still haven't decided to wean yet. You only nurse before bed, and first thing in the morning, and can go without if I'm not home, but you do still love those two sessions and don't show any signs of stopping them. I've been working on shortening them a bit for my own comfort, but otherwise have no plans to force weaning on you. You are getting to be big enough, fast enough on your own!

When sunglasses alone aren't enough.
You talk like such a little adult now, in that sweet little girl voice of yours. You still drop words sometimes, but communication is no problem now. Some of my favorite things that you have said: "Daddy, you don't talk with your mouth full."  "Daddy needs to go to the Home De.pot." "Mommy, why do you go to yoda [yoga]?"  One of your favorite things is our routine of talking about our days at the dinner table. We ask how each other's days went, and you have more to say most days then Daddy and I combine! You tell us every activity you did, whether you napped or not, what you ate, who you played with, and are always happy to answer my question of what your favorite part of the day was.

Other fun quirks at 3? Well, right now you have no less then 5 golf balls in your crib, which you sometimes pull into a group next to you, or sometimes just hold one and push the others to the edge. You love the color blue, and anything with the letter G on it. Your blanket is your favorite, and you tuck it under your head to sleep, or wrap it around you like a shawl.

That fearsome 3-year old attitude is already starting to kick in, and you get so upset when you don't get your way. You've thrown some screaming, crying tantrums that were impressive to behold. But I'm so grateful that you are still just as sweet as always, if not more so. Giving us genuine thank yous when we help you with something or give you something, and giving just as genuine sorrys if you accidentally hurt someone or knock something over or do something you weren't supposed to. You are liberal with the hugs and kisses, and love it so much when we laugh at one or your jokes, or just all laugh together.

I'm so impressed with the little person you're becoming and can't wait to watch you continue to grow!

Love you, love you, love you...


v-day plus one

We celebrated last night with take out Thai food that I had delivered to my work and carried home on the train. It was Trav's first Thai that I hadn't made in our kitchen, and he approved. Gwen ate half her body weight in rice and had the other half stuck to her hands or face. It was rather cute.

I was gifted with some more yoga classes, which I couldn't be happier about! Trav got a coupon book with such goodies as: a night with no phone, a night where I do all the cooking and cleaning while he chills on the couch, etc. Its the little things that make us happy.

Other exciting things coming up that make me happy? Gwen's birthday tomorrow! Work trip to DC next week. Trip to visit my Uncle in Maryland at the beginning of April. The ticket I'm going to book this weekend to visit my sister-from-another-mister, Babs, for 4 days in LA in June!! Finalizing our Cape Cod vacation days.

Needless to say, we have lots to look forward to.

And today, I'm enjoying the last day of my daughter being 2. Enjoying the fact that I'm sure she's having a blast at pizza and PJ day at daycare, which will be followed by a 3-day weekend together. And enjoying the fact that it is sunny and lovely out right now.

Hope you find lots to enjoy in your weekend!


CM: moving beyond gender stereotypes

Happy Valentine's Day all! Hope your fake holiday of love is joyous, no matter how you spend it. 

This is my most recent piece for Connected Mom. How do you handle gender roles in your household? Do you children fit within the "normal model"? 


This weekend is my daughter's 3rd birthday. She's having a party and she couldn't be more excited to share the day with her friends. When we started thinking about her birthday a month or two ago, it was pretty easy to come up with a "theme" the she would love. I asked her if it was what she wanted, and she agreed happily, and continued to want the same theme ever since. So, this weekend will be my daughter's Construction party. 

My daughter came upon her love of construction vehicles naturally. The major road that she and I drive when we go to visit my parents every month or so has been having work done for as long as she can remember (a multi-year, expansion project). Diggers are her favorite, and she gleefully points out every. single. one. along the drive. At daycare, she plays with her classmates with trucks... but also all sorts of toys, blocks, books, trains, puzzles, baby dolls, and in the play kitchen.

I never really worried about gender stereotypes in our household. I don't like pink, my husband's favorite color is purple, we both love to cook, he cleans more then I do, and we both work outside of the home. Since my daughter was born, I've bought her clothes from the boys section and girls section equally. We never turn down a gift of clothes, no matter what the color, and whatever she chooses to wear in the morning is fine by me, so long as its weather appropriate. We're also blessed with family and friends that don't bat an eye when we answer their question of, "what does she want for Christmas?" with "Trucks!" She adores her two babies, Lily and Laura, and has the best time pounding away on her tool bench.

I wonder if this is going to change as she gets older. Her interests will grow and change, for certain, but all I want is for her to know its okay to love whatever she loves, that her gender does not determine her interest, her actions, or her capabilities. I hope no one she meets, be it child or adult, will make her feel badly for choosing hobbies that are more traditional "boy" hobbies. And for my own part, I will do my best not to let my own interests or associations dissuade her from any traditionally "girl" hobbies.

My girl, she is perfect when she is building tall towers with blocks while wearing pink dresses, and perfect when she is rocking her baby to sleep while wearing brown sweatpants and a blue hoodie, or a football uniform.

How do you feel about gender roles in your household? Do your friends and family respect that? Do you feel moving beyond gender stereotypes is harder with a boy?


damp days and bouncy afternoons

Last week ended on a very damp note. We didn't get the snow that New England did, but we got this horrible damp rain that invaded my joints and wouldn't leave. It did turn into snow, but we only got an inch or two. The rain is back today, and while I'm thrilled the rest of the week is going to be "warm" (high 40s, low 50s), this horrible damp just needs to go. I woke with a scratchy throat, which I'm hoping will not turn into a full fledged cold if I can just last the day and get to the sun tomorrow.

On a nicer note, this weekend was great. GG turned 4, so we headed to Bounce U to celebrate. That place is fun. Giant inflatables everywhere. Bounce houses, slides, obstacles. Gwen still needs some help getting up the steeper climbs, so I was happy to oblige.

The birthday girl was excited too.

Seeing old friends who used to attend her daycare.

My mom and brother came down that afternoon so Trav and I could go out that night for a graduation party, then a movie. We saw Warm Bodies and really enjoyed it. Its funny, and just a different kind of zombie movie. The night out was really nice though.

Gwen must have been exhausted from the running around and playing with Nonnie because Sunday she slept in (in her crib, with no waking to come to the "big bed") until 7:30! Quite impressive. We all went out to breakfast together before my mom and brother had to head home. Then we hung out until after lunch when we took a ride to Pappy's house so Trav could do some more cleaning, while I sat in the car and read, and Gwen took a 2 hour nap!

We headed home not long after Gwen woke up, but long enough for her to find a new "pet" at Pappy's (a stuffed elephant), to enjoy taco night. Trav and I did the normal meat/cheese/bean/salsa combos, while Gwen decided none of that would do, and loaded her crunchy taco shell with green beans! Whatever works! 

Now its back to another busy week. Hope your weekend was warm, dry, and fun. 


wordless wednesday {weekend beauty}

Two happy pictures from the weekend:

Beauty on the trails at Ridley Creek.

My gorgeous goddaughter, playing in the cardboard
(aka colorable!) house we broke out for the girls on Sunday.



Taking a lunch break from my overwhelming work day, to come here and say a quick thank you. Thank you for your comments on my post regarding the Flovent (more still welcome). Its nice to hear that there are other babies out there that need the respiratory assistance, and that they aren't having any negative side effects.

Gwen is still coughing, so still doing the Albuterol, but getting better each day. She ran around like a fiend yesterday with GG and Casey, which led to some great sleep last night. She still woke once, but I went in, said "shh, shh, shh baby. you're okay." and to my surprise she said, "okay.", rolled over and went back to sleep! That was it until she went came to bed when us this morning, where she went back to sleep until about 7. She was such a doll when she woke up. Used the potty, got dressed, brushed teeth... easy as pie. A few frowns when it was time to get in the car and go, but I got her excited to tell her best friend about the cardboard house Trav put together for her this weekend, and it was back to smiles. Gah, that girl.  <3 p="">
Okay, back to my busy day. Thanks again.


looking forward to the weekend

Was supposed to publish this yesterday, but time got away from me. Pretend you are reading this on Friday. 

I am very much looking forward to this weekend. It has been a tiring week, for sure. Gwen's sickness with the accompanying sleep loss, finding out she might have something asthma-like (don't need to do anything for it day-to-day, but from now on, the second she gets sick, she gets a inhaler - Flovent... ::sad face::), two flat tires, and busy days at work. Mama is tired.

It was beautiful on Wednesday, high in the upper 60s! It was such a beautiful reprieve, and I spent some extra time outside. Yesterday was cooler, but still above average, and I was happy I had plans that involved a nice walk to visit with a friend for lunch. Trav was the one to take Gwen to her doctor in the morning, and I'm so glad that she was sounding much better, was allowed to return to school (especially since he had just dropped her off when the second flat tired occurred), but I was not so happy to hear that the doc thinks this is going to be a reoccurring problem.

Today ended up being cold, cold, cold again. Oh ridiculous winter, I'm so over you.