Lessons I’ve Learned From My Toddler vol. 2

When Emmy was really little I used to imagine what her little voice would sound like. I would imagine her saying things like “I love you mommy” and “thank you mommy” (đŸ˜‚đŸ™„) Well, as you can imagine, what I get most these days is “No mommy” and usually at a pitch only the dog can hear. Emmy has become extremely particular in what she’s willing to wear. I basically have an entire summer wardrobe that she’s refused to wear because 9 times out of 10 the ONLY thing I can get her to leave the house wearing is a Disney princess costume.

It has gotten SO frustrating being short on time, trying to get out the door, begging her, pleading with her to just let me put clothes on her to go run errands, make it to an appointment, a playdate, whatever it may be. She puts one of the gowns on and immediately says “Oh mommy so beautiful” and talks about how fancy the dress is.

I’ve spent a good deal of time fighting this, arguing with her, etc. But then I got to thinking… why? Why should I tell her she can’t feel so beautiful on a casual Tuesday going to the eye doctor? (Actual scenario below)

There are a few lessons here for me. First, basically everywhere we go when she’s dressed like this people look at us. Some give knowing little grins, some just stare, some judge… who cares? Why should I care what some strangers at the mall think that she’s in a Tinker Bell costume and a Princess Poppy winter hat in the middle of August? And really, why should I care, in general, about what people think of me? Honestly, that was the biggest reason I didn’t start a blog 3 years ago. Like WHAT?! I’m 30 years old! Why should my concern about what others think about what I have to say stop me from doing something I think will be fun? The short answer is: I shouldn’t.

Along those same lines, Emmy is so confident when she wears these things that I think are ridiculous. She literally has no concept of people looking at her funny. None. She feels amazing. End of story. Why as adults do we complicate that idea so much? When along the line does this change for us? I admire this confidence in her; I should be trying to emulate it. And as trying as these times can be, I also hope so deeply for her that this part of her never changes.

And so, friends, you do you and feel fabulous doing it. xo


Expecting the Meltdown

We are fresh off our family summer vacation, still trying to bask in our relaxation (maybe that’s why we haven’t unpacked? I KNOW… we’re *those* people who don’t unpack suitcases for like 2 weeks). Anywho, we really, truly had a fantastic week. I was a little anxious leading up to the trip because… 2 year old. Last year was a tough trip.. 17 months old, love/hate relationship with the beach, fearless, -5% listening skills. But what a difference a year made. Still fearless (thank you Jesus she willingly kept her puddle jumper on) and approximately 12% listening skills, but this girl LOVED the pool and loved the beach. She was mildly obnoxious on the plane, singing Let It Go at the actual top of her lungs, but all in all, that could have been worse.

I think a huge part of this trip was managing my own expectations, being realistic that it’s not *if* things don’t always go as planned, it’s *when* things don’t go as planned. It would have been really easy for me to be super annoyed that the ONE night we took E out to dinner with the whole family, she refused to sit and eat and we had to take turns walking the block with her, alternating eating cold dinners and drinking warm beers. Because that is annoying. BUT I also know that’s par for the course with her. No amount of bribery with coloring, stickers, toys, or the iPad has ever made this kid sit in a high chair (or regular chair for that matter) at a restaurant. I would be delusional to expect that this one time she would actually do that, especially with all the excitement of vacation added in. Instead, we rolled with it; Stephen being an all-star/pushover and walking her to get ice cream while we all finished eating (because he inhales food… it’s actually extraordinary how fast he eats).

And really I think that’s the name of the game when it comes to kids– knowing your kids and setting your expectations accordingly. It’s not always something I do well (ie going to Target and expecting to make it out of there without buying 2 pink cake pops, running to the mall “real quick” and being less than thrilled to have to ride the escalator back and forth 47 times in a row). But it is something I’m trying really hard to live by… because otherwise you’ll find clumps of my hair strewn through Target.

(P.s– WHY IS IT ALWAYS TARGET?.. a post for another time)

Thanks for reading! xo

motherhood, Uncategorized

End of August Vibes

It’s pretty hard to believe summer is almost over… well, that it’s almost Labor Day. All over social media, I see posts about families preparing to send kids back to school, teachers preparing to start a new year. This marks my third school year not going back to school (since the birth of E). In fact, today is the first day of school where I used to teach. I always feel so nostalgic around now– I look back in my drive at my school documents, lessons I’ve loved to teach.. super cool teacher stuff.

The decision for me to stay at home for the time being wasn’t one that we made lightly. For a variety of reasons, it really made the most sense for our family at this point in time, but it was one that I was a little sad to make, too. I LOVED my school, I loved my colleagues, I loved my content (high school history and psychology) and of course the students I taught. When I got pregnant I was at a place professionally where I was really happy and really fulfilled.

That said, I’ve never once regretted the choice to be at home with my daughter, but it definitely came with more of a transition period than I had anticipated. There were less significant things to adjust to– like days all basically running together, a Saturday being not much different than a Monday (other than my husband being home, making tons of noise, and ruining naptime), like it not reeeeallly mattering if you wear real pants or a real bra for an entire week (which sounds great in theory).

My daily victories used to include students connecting with material, dare I say, liking history, finding a fun new way to teach something, an interesting new primary source. Being a stay at home mom, my daily victories have included things like getting both a vomit and poop stain out of a onesie I really liked, figuring out how to resolve a nasty diaper rash, getting out of the house without a fight over what shoes E is wearing, going to the bathroom alone… You get the picture.

It’s pretty easy to look at those lists of victories and assign more weight to one group than the other… I did for a while. At school, I had plenty of evaluations, feedback from coworkers, administrators, parents, and students. I had affirmation all the time about the job I was doing. Becoming a stay at home mom, in my experience, you lose a lot of that affirmation. It’s absolutely not like my husband didn’t tell me I was doing a good job or that I’m a good mom, but he’s one person, and also not my boss. It’s definitely an adjustment shifting to the only real feedback on your day to day work is that your kid seems to be happy, thriving, safe (albeit a sociopathic tyrant).

It was harder early on when I felt like I had absolutely no business having a child, couldn’t believe the hospital let us leave with her, like everything I did was a massive failure. But in the 2.5 years since then, I’ve gained some confidence (not too much because my toddler would promptly humble me by getting naked in Target and refusing to wear anything but a Princess Anna nightgown I was planning to buy her… not a true story from this morning obviously). I’ve settled into my role as Mom, trying to find little victories every day (sometimes teeeeeny tiny victories).

Thanks for reading, friends! xo

motherhood, Uncategorized

Lessons I’ve Learned From My Toddler vol. 1

A lot of times when I think about being a mom I think about what I am teaching my 2.5 year old. I don’t usually spend much time thinking about what SHE teaches ME. When I stop and reflect on that, it actually shifts my perspective on some of the more shall we say *trying* times of being a mom to a toddler.

Volume 1: Letting go of (some) control

When I found out we were having a girl, I immediately thought about all the precious things I would dress her in, all the headbands she’d wear, the adorable (stupid) baby shoes I’d make her wear. And honestly, I did all of the above. In spades. My kid was not blessed with a full head of hair. She actually rocked a pretty unfortunate bald ring around the back of her head that made her look like Friar Tuck for several months. BUT, this girl’s headband game was STRONG. I literally had a headband to match every single thing she wore, never left the house without multiple extras in the diaper bag. As she got a little older and grew a little more hair on top, her signature look was the Pebbles Flintstone “ponytail”. And I was absolutely elated when she FINALLY had enough hair after she turned 2 for a real top knot.

I *know* vying for independence is the hallmark of the toddler years. I *knew* there would come a time when she would start refusing any and everything just because she could. So now my rough and tumble little mess of a toddler flat out refuses to let me touch her hair. And unfortunately her hair now most closely resembles a little baby mullet. At first, I fought against her refusal. I begged, pleaded, bartered… sunk real low.

Now, I know this is a silly and super trivial anecdote. But I had a mompiphany in the midst of it. My days of having control over everything she wears, eats, does, etc. are numbered. You start with this babe completely dependent on you and the choices you make for them. And then seemingly overnight, she’s a little person with opinions, plans, agendas, which for me these days feels 180 degrees opposite of mine. The challenge is finding the balance. Some things are easy… she doesn’t NEED to wear her mullet in a ponytail. I can relinquish control over that situation. Some things are a little harder… in the midst of writing this post, I went to put her down to bed.  She refused, screaming-bloody-murder, full-on-tantrum refused, to wear pajamas or anything resembling PJs and so she’s wearing a bathing suit under her sleep sack. I’m afraid she’s going to be cold and not sleep well, but I gave in and I feel kind of crappy about that. That’s where I’m still learning… and will probably never stop learning how to find that balance.

You mamas feel me? Thanks for stopping by! xo