Family Rants


Wow … seven months since my last post. I’ve been a bad, bad blogger of late.

It’s not that I haven’t thought about it. Or haven’t missed it. I have and I have. It’s just that I can barely seem to find the time these days to brush my teeth (kidding), let alone use a keyboard for more than a 3 minute span.

I think I may be too old for this motherhood thing. I certainly feel old.

My little lady is now 10 months old. She’s a really, really easy baby so I have nothing to complain about. I guess the bottom line is that I am missing me time. A friend was telling me about her weekend this morning and – with the non-stop rain we had on Saturday, she just hung out on her sofa in her pj’s and watched tv all day. A nice, lazy day of lounge. I miss those days.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids and I love being a mom. It’s just that I miss the ability to do whatever I want, when I want, how I want, with whom I want, with no one depending on me for their well-being.

Lately I’ve been dreading the weekends. The pressure to have “plans” so that V doesn’t get bored hanging around the house is enough to send me in to a tail spin. And even if we hang around the house, we still have to have “stuff” to do so the tv doesn’t become the babysitter. But why is it me that has to make the “plans” and select the “stuff”? Where’s The Husband in all of this?

The Husband and I try to each get out with our friends one night a week – but more often than not, I stay home all week with the kids because I feel guilty going out (and frankly, am too tired) after working all day. Last week was a bit unusual in that The Husband had plans Wednesday night, Friday night and Saturday. Come Sunday, I really wanted to get out of the house. By. Myself. And do some grocery shopping, errands. etc. But for some reason, The Husband really wanted to join me. With the kids, which meant zero alone time for me.

While we were shopping, I received a phone call from the mom of one of V’s former pre-schoolmates inviting us to former pre-schoolmates’ birthday party. In two hours. This was one of V’s bestest friends, so we cut our errands short, went home, grabbed our socks and headed to the bounce house place. But not before dropping off The Husband. You see, he had “stuff” to do at the house. And when his response to my suggestion that he take care of the little lady while I took V to the party was a huge SIGH, I took that as a sign and took her with us to the party.

Big mistake.

Somewhere along the line V has developed a shyness. He didn’t know any of the other kids at the party, and hadn’t seen his friend in more than a month, so he was stuck at my hip. And he was too frightened to go on the bounce house thingies without me. But with a ten-month old stuck on my hip – and knowing no other parents there that could help me – I was unable to join V to help him feel more comfortable.

Enter: meltdown.

After 15 minutes of trying to calm him down, I finally just packed up and left. Both V and I were in tears the entire drive home. His tears were because I made him leave the party. Mine were because I was done. Finished. Over. Finito. I needed an immediate break from parental responsibility.

I walked in the house, handed over the kids, ran to my bedroom, shut the door and stayed there for nearly two and a half hours. Me time. And thankfully, no one bothered me.

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Six weeks ago today, my little girl was born. It really does feel like it was just yesterday. And I know I’ll be saying the same thing while I help her plan her wedding. Unless, of course, she takes after her mother and elopes.

I don’t enjoy the infant stage. There. I said it. I’m actually comfortable saying it. It is what it is. I love my children with a love I’ve never before experienced. A deep, joyful, painful, sweet, amazing, terrifying kind of love. But I don’t love the infant stage. I’m doing a bit better with it this time around because I now know the payoff. And I also know that in the grand scheme of things, the infant stage of things lasts such a short period of time. Time flies.

I must also admit that I’m struggling with taking care of two kids. I feel a little embarrased to admit that because there are millions upon millions of moms that have raised not only two, but many more than two children and survived. Even look back upon it with great joy. And they did it without any help – back in the day when dad’s were mere providers and never changed a diaper. My own mother-in-law raised seven.

I have a husband who is a tremendous help. I have family that comes to help. Friends that help. Yet I still feel like I’m drowning sometimes. Perhaps it’s a hormonal thing that will improve once my system returns to normal? I certainly hope so. Or perhaps it’s because I’m old and set in my ways, thus less flexible to the demands of parenting. I’ve noticed this trait in loved ones – especially my dad. The older he gets, the less flexible he is – even unwilling to spend an evening in his favorite city, San Francisco, because of the traffic, the crowds and the complicated parking.

If I’m struggling this much with an infant who is fairly predictable and easy – how in the world will I manage when I have an active four year old coupled with an active toddler? Oi.

I will manage. I will survive. And I will benefit greatly. I know this … I’m just trying to patiently wait for time to fly right on through the infant stage.

… that is the question. And luckily, it’s not one we need to answer immediately, and perhaps not at all.

As those who have been reading this blog awhile may remember, I live in a very old, very charming home that we purchased nearly six years ago. Because it was built in 1917, it is a project home. And the projects never end. That, and the home is bigger than we need. I’m not really sure what we were thinking when we bought it, but keeping up on house cleaning was clearly not on the list.

Thanks to one of my favorite websites, zillow.com, we have been contacted twice in the last few weeks asking if we would consider selling our home. The Husband and I talked about it this weekend and we’ve decided that if the perfect offer fell in our lap then yes, we would move. The idea of downsizing and getting rid of the clutter, along with a smaller house payment (especially in light of the second child coming soon), have me really liking the idea of moving. I’m trying not to get too excited because I don’t want to be disappointed.

We do love our house, so we won’t be crushed if neither of these potential options come to fruition. There are a few things we’d change about it … add more kids to the block, finish all the big projects, and hire a house keeper. Other that that, it’s an amazing home.

But I do find that I am fighting the excitement of what a potential move could mean … along with less clutter and smaller house payment, we would be looking at banking a serious amount of cash as there is a substantial difference between what we could sell our home for and what the homes we are interested in are selling for. That significant cash could bring about college education for both kids, a couple of new cars, and a trip or two to Europe. It’s hard not to get too excited about that!!!

So, we shall see. If it’s meant to be, it will happen. Of this I am sure!

Bridge

There are times in ones life when there is so much going on, and life is moving so quickly, that you barely have time to stop and breathe let alone recall all of the happenings for the purpose of ones blog. Bloggers … meet my last two weeks!

Our family of 3 (plus one in development) took its second family vacation since the birth of V three and a half years ago. Since I’ve been terrified of flying since experiencing an emergency landing somewhere in the middle of the U.S. after our plan blew and engine and lost all power, I’ve not yet figured exactly how to take a family flight knowing I can’t survive without my Valium. Rather than asking my husband to take care of two children (myself and V) during flight, we opted for a vacation within driving distance. Location of choice? Our former home and the place we met, San Francisco.

We rented an amazing flat in my old ‘hood, Noe Valley. We visited old friends and took V places we thought he’d enjoy. We’ve never experienced the city with a child, so it was a new experience for us. Children’s Museums, Bison in Golden Gate Park, the ocean, seals on the pier, street performers, and the added bonus of MLB All-Star Week aside, V’s favorite part of the city? The street cars. Or trains as he called them. We rode them every day and he loved, loved, loved them. He loved the noises, the smorgasbord of people that ride them, the fact that he was free from his car seat.

Our time in the city was nearly perfect except for two things. My never-ending pregnancy-related nausea (month FIVE people!!), and the husband’s bad attitude. It happens every time we go back to the city, so I’m not sure why I was surprised it reared it’s ugly head yet again. Perhaps because several months back we talked about moving back to the bay area and even started sending out resumes. When I started receiving calls on my resume, we had a long talk. The husband has never truly been happy here in the valley and has often mourned our move. Do we move or do we stay? I left the decision up to him because, quite frankly, I was fed up with the “we should have never left” and “there’s nothing here for me here” mantra that had become yesterday’s news and something I’ve never understood because – as I’ve reminded him a ba-gillion times – he wasn’t happy living in the bay area, either. The fact is, the guy has some issues he needs to deal with beyond his zip code, but that’s for a counselor’s ears.

Anyway, he/we decided that based on our life as it is at the moment, it doesn’t make financial sense – or otherwise – to move back to the bay at this time. End of discussion. Or so I thought.

Back to our visit in the city this past week. It didn’t take but a few days for the attitude to start. And it didn’t take much longer to ruin my week. Add to that my impregnated, nauseated, cranky-ass and you’ve got trouble. It wasn’t pretty. Thankfully, we had it out and moved on to become friends, once again.

After leaving the city on Friday, we headed south to San Francisco to visit some more friends and stay over at my aunt and uncle’s house. Saturday morning, we headed just south-east of Half Moon Bay to a little town called Loma Mar for our annual family campout. My most favorite weekend of the year – for the last 31 years!! Even though the weekend was spectacular, as always, and V had so much fun he cried when it was time to leave, I spent most of it feeling like shit. Pregnant shit. And starting to get a little bit pissed off about it, too.

So we’ve been home for three days now and the suitcases are still not unpacked. No laundry has been started. And very little food has been added to the refrigerator. I just can’t seem to find the energy. Or the motivation. I’m hoping both will re-appear in my life any minute now. In the meantime, here are a few photos I hope you enjoy!!

BP1

Park

Feet on Beach

GG

After two weeks of pure heaven away from work, away from home, enjoying some well-deserved vacation time with my men, I woke up this morning with a heavy heart. I don’t want to get out of bed. Don’t want to go to work. Don’t want to leave my little man.

Watching him sleep made me wish I could turn back time so that today was our first day of vacation, rather than the first day to return to work and pre-school. I’m guessing he sensed he was being watched as he slowly began to wake up. Opening his eyes, seeing me looking at him, he reached out his arms for a hug.

And hugging me tightly, he whispered “We don’t have to get up yet, do we?”

My sentiments exactly. And with that, we continued to cuddle and arrived to both school and work late. Fabulously late!

(more on the happenings of the last two weeks later … when time permits!)

Ice Cream
Everyone I know looks back on their childhood with fond memories of summer. There’s just something about the extended days, the warm nights spent outside running through the sprinklers, never wearing shoes, the great summer tans, the fun summer vacations, and what else? Oh yeah … no school! Silly me, how could I forget that one??

V hasn’t yet learned about the magic summer can bring. I’m not sure he will learn it until he’s experienced his first summer vacation. But beyond that, he doesn’t even yet grasp the concept of seasons. Just today on the way to school he asked me if we could go to the snow this weekend.

We have a fun summer planned … and I’m looking forward to it all, from camping in our own backyard, hiking in Lake Tahoe, traipsing around San Francisco, to hitting the beach in Santa Cruz. We are so blessed to live where we do. There’s no need to hop on a plane for an amazing vacation … just requires a couple of hours in the car, at most.

This weekend is our annual family reunion – my mother’s side of the family. We’re planning on going. It’s kind of a guilt-thing as I rarely see that side of the family since my mom’s passing. We don’t live in the same town, and we’ve never really gotten together much as a family with the exception of Christmas and, of course, weddings and funerals. I’ve not seen most of them since Christmas and if we don’t go this weekend, I won’t see them until perhaps June of ’08 as I will be far too pregnant (and possibly even have an infant) to attend any out-of-town family gatherings this Christmas. All that said, it will be good to see everyone and I’m actually looking forward to it so long as my nausea doesn’t get the best of me.

Next weekend it’s off to our cabin up at Pine Mountain Lake (PML) for the annual Fourth of July Celebration – complete with a boat parade and fireworks show. This year, we’ve invited our “new” extended family that we gained after my dad got married. And to my surprise, it sounds like they’re all planning on coming – so we’re looking at somewhere around 26 people. Too bad I can’t drink right now, as I’m afraid I’ll be wanting a stiff cocktail with all those peeps around all weekend! It will be a fun and relaxing weekend – full of game playing, beach bumming, and nap taking. Can’t wait!

Three days after returning from PML, I’ll be off of work for about two weeks and we’ll be spending one of those in San Francisco. SO many fun things planned, the most exciting of which is getting to spend time with an old college roommate and her family who are flying out from Mississippi.

That’s the next three weekends – and there’s even more fun after that! Pretty easy to see why I’m excited, eh? We’ve not yet told V of all the fun coming his way. We’ll break it to him a few hours before each event so the kid won’t explode on us.

Sigh. Life is so good right now. My hope is that it is for you as well. Happy Summer!

As I was pulling in to a parking spot at V’s pre-school this morning, I saw one of the mom’s getting out of her sparkling shiny Volvo SUV this morning. This mom is the mom of two children, a three and a half year old, and a three month old. I could tell because of the way she was dressed that today was her first day back to work after maternity leave. What struck me was how perfectly put together this woman looked. No sign of baby weight (bitch), fashionable attire sans wrinkles and spit-up, perfect hair. All that, and she was stepping out of a perfectly maintained, pristine in all its glory, Volvo SUV.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so frumpy in all of my life. And this pisses me off because I actually make an effort to look somewhat up-to-date, hip-and-now and not like “oh, she’s a mom now and no longer pays attention to herself” look that some mom’s tend to take on. But there I was, in all my frumpiness, getting out of my car that has pigeon poop all over it and enough crumbs on the floor of the back seat to serve tonight’s dinner. Frumpy and filthy.

What I need is a yard sale. Not just any yard sale, but the mother of all yard sales. The kind where if I haven’t touched it, looked at it or smelled it in a year, it’s out of here. Get rid of the clutter. Cut the crap. And make some cold hard cash in the process.

A yard sale and a car wash. For the love of God, someone needs to wash my car. If only I had the energy to do so myself. Now is the time I wish I were still living in the city and working in the dot-com era when car washers would come to your office and wash your car for you and you wouldn’t even have to move it. Loved that. Miss that. Miss the fluff and fold laundries too.

And a house cleaner. I swear to you I swiffer up enough dog hair to equal another dog every other day! And how sad is it that all through my college career and for years and years afterwards, I had a house cleaner – but now that I’m married, working and raising a child (read: busier than I’ve ever been), I don’t have a friggin’ house cleaner! Ah, how I miss the affordable house cleaners found so readily in the city. Affordable house cleaners and inexpensive pedicures. Miss them bad.

A yard sale, a car wash and a house cleaner and I think I’d be orgasmic. And although I might still feel the occasional frump, the filth would be gone!

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