Monday, January 31, 2011

African Tribal Momma

Last summer I started watching a movie.  I never finished it, though I intended to.  It was called Babies and it follows the first year of life for babies from 5 different countries.  I was completely wrapped up in the story of the African tribal baby.  I loved this baby and I loved his little life.  I watched him drink from puddles, play with rocks and nurse from his mamma's naked breast whenever he felt like it.  I'd anxiously sit through the Japanese, American and British babies, just waiting for this little one to come back on the screen.  I sometimes needed to cover my eyes while watching the Mongolian baby - scary stuff people!

I started thinking, why wasn't I born into an African tribe?  Why do I have to live in this world full of greed and possessions and rat racing?  Why can't I just sit with other African tribal mamma's while our babies play in the dirt at our feet?  What a carefree existence.  Seeing this very simple living made me so jealous.  I want so much to just spend days with my kids, not the few hours that I have every night.  Hours that are filled with house work and laundry and dinners and bath time and bed time.  Not enough hours to play and explore and imagine with them.  I want to move to Africa and be a tribal momma!!

Then, it snowed here last week.  A pretty big snow.  I ended up being left at the house with the kids alone.  The rest of the family stuck in grueling traffic for hours on end.  During this time, a few things happened that made me realize I may not be cut out for the African jungle.

I'm sure when you are born into an African tribe in the African jungle, you must be brave and cunning.  You need to protect your young from lions and other carnivorous creatures.  You must be smarter than members of other tribes or they may absorb you in most unpleasant ways.

Most likely, it is probably frowned upon to scream like a little girl and stifle tears when a neighbor startles you through the front window.  Especially considering you have 3 man eating dogs at your disposal.  Not really, but what does he know other than the three 50+ pound dogs barking like lunatics and trying to eat him through the storm door.

Also, as an African tribal momma, you can't depend on conveniences like heat and electricity.  You must know how to feed your children without a stove or boiling water.  You must be able to keep them warm on cool evenings.  You probably need to be able to start a fire.  There is probably not an "ON" button for the fire place...actually, there is probably not a fire place. 

So when the electricity went out, it was probably not the best to come very close to a panic attack.  I called my sister and told her this, to which she laughed. I don't think she realized I was serious.

There we sat in the dark, cold house all alone.  I thought about the movie, because I often think of it when I'm sick of my crazy life and how much I don't want the craziness, I just want the simplicity.  But this time I think about how I just want the heat to come back on, because how quickly will the house get cold?  And I just want the lights to come on, because I'm kind of afraid of the dark, especially when I'm all alone.  But I can't really be afraid, because I don't want the kids to be afraid.  And I think, I am so not cut out to be an African tribal momma.


Monday, January 24, 2011

I Am Here...

...just still computerless :(

Doesn't it always seem to be the case, that when you set your mind to do something (like blog every day), something gets in the way - not just a busy schedule, literally something tangible that you can't freaking control (like computer not being hooked up, then said computer apparently being broken in some manner during the move - or by your three year old)?  Nothing serious, luckily, but the receiver (I guess that's what you call it) that our wireless mouse and keyboard talks with, so what I type and click actually gets communicated, seems to have been bent.  Either by being packed in a box, or my three year old.  Probably most likely the three year old's fault.  We are getting a new piece, so the issue should be fixed in about a week.

So until then, my options are limited. 

I could do it at work...which I don't love, since I'm new and probably shouldn't spend too much time on the internet.  Even though, that's how I'm posting right now.

I could use Kip and Denise's computers...but this is where the "I'm busy" excuse rears it's ugly head.  I've been spending a lot of time setting up the basement, setting up the rooms and it's a whole "out of sight, out of mind" issue.  If my computer were set up and I was in the basement working, no doubt the glowing screen would draw me in and I would waste an hour on facebook/email/blogging.

Both of these options have one horrible pictures.  So I have written a couple of posts, but both have pictures to go with them.  And althogh I know my words are beautiful and should be enough...really people, THEY ARE!!!!...I know how you love your pictures.

So they are tucked nicely away, waiting for the computer issue to be resolved, pictures to be uploaded and "Publish Post" to be clicked.

So please bare with me a little while longer.  Then I really am going to try and post every day.

Lucky readers!  Lucky, lucky indeed :)

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Great Sleep Wars

So, kids hate sleeping.  And I think I've come to terms with the notion that it's mostly my fault.

I mean, true, Ainsley is the life of the party, even at midnight...and the girl hates to miss a moment.  Who can blame her really.  Clif and I are extremely exciting people.  She's kind of like me in that way.  I can remember in college and the party years after, staying up all night, not wanting to sleep for fear that I'd be left out of the inside jokes the following morning at breakfast.  Funny how that need to be included disappears when you have kids and you're sleep deprived.  Now I just want everyone to leave me alone so I can go to bed.

Then there's Freddie...he's just got that nasty little temper.  Also, from me. If you've met Clif, you know, he does not have an inkling of a temper.  And though you may not see me lose my temper very often, just know that I'm a very good faker.  Freddie wants what he wants when he wants it.  If that means he wants to nurse all night long, then by golly, he will scream his face off until you grant his wish.

Side note: May want to investigate further how children received all of my bad qualities and all of Clif's good qualities.

So because I have a little socialite waiting to happen and a small bear cub eager to roar...I often end up sleeping with tiny elbows in my chest and wee feet in my face.  And I complain.  I think, and vocalize, "why won't these children sleep?"

But here's where my fault in the whole fiasco enters...I kind of like to sleep with them.  I'm kind of a brat.  When I'm tired and need a restful night, or when I have a pile of laundry and cleaning to do...I want them to sleep, in their own beds, all night long.

But, when I actually go to bed...I kind of like their tiny warm bodies all snuggled up with me.  I mean who wouldn't?  They're so sweet and I love to watch them sleep.  I love when they're so still and calm and I can stroke their soft hair and kiss their chubby cheeks.  And I soooo justify and rationalize that desire.  I say they sleep better with me - they do!  And I say that I don't get to love on them and cuddle them all day while they're in daycare - I don't!  So I should be able to bond with them through the night - I should!

So I've accepted the blame...and I will still probably complain now and then when the hours in the day just aren't long enough...or when they're too long...but I figure they won't want to sleep with me forever.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Last Night

Dear Freddie,

Last night you took one step.  It was just one step.  You didn't make any progress across the room, you just lifted that little knee and then stomped it back down in the same spot.  But you were so proud.  You squealed and then fell into my arms giggling.  I've only seen your sister pull giggles like that from you, because you, my love, are not easy.  You don't give smiles and giggles away to just anyone.  You need to trust that person first.  You need to love that person first.  And even then, when you trust and love a person with all your heart, those belly laughs are few and far between.

But last night, you knew you had done something amazing.  Something you'd never done before.  The pride and sheer delight that lit up your eyes made me want to burst.  I cheered you on and lifted you in the air, but a part of my heart broke.  Last night, you would only lift that chubby foot while facing me, but I know not long from now, I'll watch you walk away from me.  I know how much you love me, so I know you'll always come back...but as a mother, seeing those first steps of independence are thrilling, terrifying, exciting and heartbreaking all wrapped up in the tiniest little moment.

Last night, you had trouble going to sleep, so I slept with you and as I was falling asleep I thought about what lie ahead.  That one little step will now open a whole new world for you.  That one little step means that walking is only a couple of weeks off and running just a month or so down the road.  That one little step shows you that you are your own person, that you can accomplish things on your own.

So last night, I didn't complain about you not sleeping well.  Instead I just held you close and tried to breath in your sweet baby smell.  I tried to imprint the feel of your silky soft skin on my heart.  I tried to memorize the cadence of your resting breath.  I always want to remember these moments.  These moments where you let me hold you close.  These moments when you're so interested in everything I have to say.  These moments where you sleep best in my arms.  These moments where taking one step is the most exciting sensation you've ever experienced.


Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Settling In

Hello my friends.  I just wanted to post and give you an update.  So many of you have emailed, commented, called or texted me to ask how we're doing, and you're just all wonderful for doing so.  It makes me feel very loved.

We are doing great.  I've said before that I hate the whole "meant to be" notion.  It just makes me want to scream and rebel against whatever is "meant to be," and I am still not willing to give in to that idea...however, I do feel like things have fallen nicely into place.  So here's a rundown of our first week...

The Daycare:
The kids are doing well.  I am still a bit just seems too good to be true.  It's inexpensive and in a beautiful house and on my way to work...just seems like my luck could not be this good.  So I keep wondering if everything is okay.  And we all know how I love to worry and obsess.  So I've been worrying and obsessing that Ainsley is not getting the education and curriculum that she needs.  I've been worrying and obsessing that they don't have playmates their own age.  I've been worrying and obsessing that maybe this very clean and tidy business is not so.

BUT...she is, and they do and it really is!  Ainsley comes home every day with worksheets.  She's beginning to recognize more letters and she can even trace and write some on her own.  There are plenty of kids there Freddie's age, and one of the teacher's even has a daughter around Ainsley's age.  I don't think she's there all day, but I often show up in the afternoon to find them playing together.  I've also met a couple of the parents, and they've been taking their kids there for years.  The mother I met today has had her 20 month old there since she was 4 months old. 

This all makes me feel great.  I feel like the process was so rushed and that the cost and location were just too good to be true.  It seems that the kids are thriving there and that makes me worry and obsess a little less.

The Commute:
This actually is not so bad.  I mean, living 6 miles from your office in Richmond, where it takes only 15 minutes on a bad day to arrive...well that can't really be beat.  However, my 60 minute commute is not bad.  I leave early.  Way earlier than I've left for work in a LONG time.  And I have to get the kids up early...Ainsley does not like that.  But, once I drop them off, I'm usually parked 40-45 minutes later.  And really, the traffic is not stopped, like I remember from my commuting days 10 years ago.  It moves, just slows down here and there.

Then I walk about 10 minutes to my office.  Which I also like.  I have to admit, I am CHEAP.  So I could have spent $250 a month and parked right next door to my office.  Instead I chose a garage about 5 blocks away for $200 a month.  It is cold right now, but I enjoy walking through the city.  It actually gives me an excuse to go shopping.  I definitely need a new, longer coat, rain boots and probably some actual real UGGs...not my fake FUGGs that I have now.  FUGGs (Fake UGGs for those of you not in the know :) are not water proof and not completely wind proof.  And I need a big bag to carry all my stuff I don't have my purse, my pump, my lunch and any other crap that I need to carry back and forth that day.  So I'll need to start saving, but I'll work all that out eventually.

The Job:
Not far as jobs go.  So, for those of you that don't know me that well...I'm pretty lazy.  I mean, not in a no work ethic kind of way.  More in a, if I won the lottery I totally would never work again kind of way.  So maybe it's not laziness.  So the job is's just, I'd much rather be writing my blog all day everyday or playing with my kids or exercising or shopping or traveling.  But if I have to work, this job is as good as any.  As far as perks go...WAY better than my last job.  I mean, DMS was fine...and I do understand why they operate the way they do.  When your at the end of the line (as DMS is in the direct mail industry), well then you need to bend over backwards for your clients.  That includes working weekends and holidays and snow days and never closing early and putting in long hours.  When your at the bottom of a hill, the shit rolls down.

But see now, I'm working for a nonprofit, and I'm at the top of the you know what that means :)  Lots of holidays, lots of early closures, lots of snow days.  They don't stay late here.  I leave at 4 and I'm one of the last to leave.  For instance, I have this Monday off for MLK day.  I haven't had that day off in a LONG time.  Plus, yesterday, I got an email saying we're closing early on Friday because of the long weekend.  Freaking AWESOME!!

The Rents
As most of you know we're living with Kip and Denise right now.  So far, it's going great.  It's not easy living with parents.  It has nothing to do with Kip and Denise specifically...I'd feel the same way if it was my mom.  It's just hard to live under someone else's roof without feeling a little bit like you're imposing and being a bother.  Kip and Denise have been great.  They've done nothing to make me feel these things...just my own internal feelings.

We're working on getting the basement cleaned out so we can have a living area down there and so the kids have a spot to play.  Hopefully that will get done in the next couple of weeks.

It's also been hard for me to let go of the single parent stint.  I mean, it's not like I loved doing it.  If I had, I may not have moved.  But it's just kind of ingrained in me to take care of everything.  So I'm working on letting that go.

And that's it really.  Our computer is not set up yet, and I'm not sure where the camera is at the moment, so I'll have to post pictures another time.

Thanks again for all the means a lot.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jaime’s list of things to do before you go to bed on the eve of starting a new job


1 – Pack bag for daycare. Include diapers, wipes, sippy cups, food, blankets, toys, extra clothes, picture of mommy and daddy and immunization forms. It probably would be a good idea…


…to actually speak to the daycare provider as well. That way you’d know if your children were going to get breakfast in the morning, if they needed their own crib sheets and if you could come earlier than the 7AM opening. Instead, obsess over the fact that you didn’t call and create a mental list of all your excuses so you are prepared if said daycare provider questions you.

2 – Bathe children. Make sure they are super clean and smell good for their new school in the morning. Although, baths can be a pain. Freddie splashes like crazy and I end up all wet. Ainsley doesn’t listen and cries when I wash her hair. I’m really…


…in no mood to fight with them over this and wow, is it 7:30 already?!?! No wonder Freddie is fussy. Okay, I will bathe children tomorrow night.

3 – Pack a healthy lunch. I’m going to loose weight and feel good and I’m going to start by packing a lunch of fruits and veggies and a light sandwich. Try not to forget that the lunch is in the refrigerator when you are leaving the following morning.


4 – Do a dry run of your commute. This is especially important if you are working in a big city where you don’t know your way around because you haven’t worked there in 8 years. Most likely, it is best if you drive and not sit in the very back of the minivan where you can’t see the street signs or the GPS. It also would be wise…


… to get parking taken care of before you actually start instead of feeling the anxiety in your stomach until the very moment that you pull in the next day. For future reference, most likely you will be able to park in one of the 5 million parking garages within walking distance of your new office. Very unlikely that they are all full at 7:30AM. Probably not necessary to worry about that.

5 – Go to bed early and…


…get a good night’s sleep. Also, it’s a very good idea to get your 3 year old to bed early so she’s not a huge pain the next morning. It is probably not the best decision to allow her to be awake until 10PM when the alarm goes off at 5AM. On that same...


...note, it would probably be best to have your children sleeping through the night and in their own beds before taking on the challenge of a new…


…job. It probably wasn’t the best idea to just let the kids sleep with you whenever because you were too tired to deal with it. And maybe you should just suck it up and let them cry a little instead of rushing to their bedside at the smallest noise.  Also, I hear Benadryl works wonders!




...and this is really important.


I mean it's probably the most important part of the checklist.

6 – CHIRP! Make sure your smoke alarms have brand new…


…batteries. Or it’s possible the chirping will wake you up…


…all night long.

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I'm Taking the Diva and the Ewok With Me

I just wanted to post a quick note since I may not be able to post for a few days.  We'll see how quickly we get settled.  So, here's your Ainsley and Freddie fix.

The Diva...

And the Ewok...


Bye-bye Richmond!

Friday, January 7, 2011


So I've tried to balance this week's posts.  I didn't want to post all week about goodbyes and sadness and doubts.  So I tried to give a little funny here and there as well...but today is my last full day in Richmond.  I'm spending it packing and cleaning my house and I just started thinking about the word "Home."  When I'm living in Northern Virginia, in my in-law's house, will I call it "home?"  When we come back on the weekends to complete the move, will I say then that we're going "home?"

Its not always clear what home is.  This house that I live in for one more's the only home my children have ever known - will they even remember it?  I know Freddie won't.  Maybe Ainsley will be able to recall fuzzy memories after looking at pictures and hearing stories.

So this that I did not plan on living in forever, one that we would have left soon no matter where jobs took us, one that is bursting at the seams with children and clothes and toys and is still our home.

This is the home that we brought Gatsby to when he was just 8 weeks old.  All covered in fleas and dirt and grime.

This is the home that Clif and I became more than a couple, more than two people living together.  This is where we promised forever, for better or for worse.

This is the home that we became a family in.  The place where I spent 9 months with Ainsley kicking and flipping in my belly.

This is the home we brought her to that first day out of the hospital.

This is the home that we added Brinkley to.

This is the home where we decided on another baby.  Where we went through sad times and frustrating times until finally, Freddie was real.

Tomorrow when I walk out the door, I'll wonder who will make memories here next.  I'll wonder if they'll be young like we were, excited to buy their first house and start their lives together.  Or will they be older, retired, looking for a place to spend their golden years.

As I walked around packing and cleaning today, I though about how frustrated I've been with the lack of closet space and the ugly kitchen floor and the bathroom tiles that won't come clean, but as I write this, I can't help but feel sad to be leaving.  Most of the important things in my life have happened right here.  All these monumental memories wrapped up in one little cape cod that we've called home for 5 1/2 years.

I know that we'll find a new home.  That we'll welcome another baby (side bar: not pregnant, not trying to start rumors...I'm talking in the future people) or another puppy or celebrate an anniversary or birthday in a new home.  And that home will take on a life of its own and become our home.  That home will be the one our children remember, where they'll spend their birthdays and where they'll be grounded and where they'll feel safe.  It will be the place they leave one day to start their own lives, their own careers, their own families.  That place?  That's where they'll call home.  Not here.  But Clif and me?  I think we'll always think of this as the starting point.  Our home.  The place where our story began.

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sweet Little Angel? Or Devil in Disguise?

I recently read an article about discipline and how to stop a temper tantrum and at the very end it said "If all else fails, and your child throws a temper tantrum in public, hold your head up high and be proud because you have not given in.  Every other parent will see the tantrum and admire you for it."

Hmmm...I call bull shit on that!

We've been fairly lucky on the temper tantrum front.  We haven't seen many from Ainsley.  I have to say, that I think Freddie may turn out differently...but hopefully we have a little time before that rears it's ugly head.  However, Ainsley had a meltdown in Target a few nights ago that I am still reeling from!

Pride is not the word I would use to describe the situation.  Shame, fury, frustration, humiliation...those are more on track.

It started the moment we left daycare, and I just knew it was probably going to be a bad trip to Target...but what are you going to do?  For now, I'm still a single mom during the week so I don't have a husband to run out for me or watch the kids for me.  They've gotta come if I need something, and well Freddie was out of food and I needed some baby lotion for it was a necessary trip.

I'll start by saying, I am not above bribery.  In fact, it is probably my greatest parenting skill.  So I usually start out an uncertain trip with bribery.  I told her she could have a Slurpee if she was good.

She was everything but good.  And really, during these trips I really want her to get her good behavior prize.  I want to buy that Slurpee!  Because then next time I can say "Remember the Slurpee?"

So after disappearing down multiple aisles, throwing herself on the floor and rolling into another customer, running and screaming through the pharmacy area and climbing underneath the cart, we were finally ready to check out.

She was like a broken record.

Mommy, I want a Slurpee AND a snack.

No Ainsley.

Tears.  Yeeeeeesssss Mommy!  Yes Mommy, I'm being a good girl NOW!

This continued and I ignored her.  As I headed for the door, it really dawned on her that she was not getting a Slurpee or a snack.  This apparently was unacceptable in her book.

She screamed at the top of her lungs and I felt every eye in the place focus on me.

Let's go Ainsley.


Ainsley, I'm leaving.  If you want to come home with me, you'd better follow me.

NOOO!  Alright, so I guess that idle threat no longer works.

I step towards her and she runs back in to the store.  I have to leave Freddie with the cart so I can catch her. I scoop her up and see the 5 or 6 people watching the show, kind of snickering at me.  Jerks!

She thrashes about, kicking me, punching me, screaming in my face.  I drop her into the back of the cart and proceed out the door.  She climbs out, while it's moving.  So I try my empty threat again.

I'm leaving. I turn my back and head into the street, glancing back to see if she's following, sure that no cars are coming.  She's not following.  So again, I must give in, because I'm pretty sure I'm not actually allowed to leave her in the local Target.

She again runs.  This time into the side street.  So again, I must leave the baby in the cart to catch her.  This time I carry her like a very large, very squirmy football under my arm while pushing the cart filled with Target stuff and Freddie.  She is thrashing about like the child in The Exorcist.

I push her into the van still kicking and screaming.  I know strapping her into the car seat at this point will be futile.  So I close the door, disable the power door function and lock the car.  Then I have to be all quick about unlocking and opening and locking again until Freddie is buckled in and I can give her my full attention.

She did manage to escape once, running into the street, so she did get a quick swat on the rear.  I really don't spank her (after reading this, you may call me crazy for that), but when she does something so frightening like that I just feel like I have to get her attention.

Finally, after a kick in the gut and a slap in the face (both directed at me), we are all strapped in the car and headed home.  She kicked the front seat and screamed at the top of her lungs.  I ignored her.  During these times, I really find that works best.  If I yell at her, it just escalates...not that this could have gotten much worse, but I feel pretending like I can't hear her works best.

Once home, I get Freddie from the car and leave her there.  I take him inside, let the dogs out, go to the bathroom and take a few deep breaths before returning to the car.

She is calmly sitting and waiting for me.

Are you ready to calm down and come inside?


You're going to walk in the house, sit on the couch and wait for me.  I'm going to get the bags and then we're going to have a talk.  If you are not on the couch when I get inside you will spend the rest of the night in your room.  Do you understand?


And that was really the end of it.  She sat on the couch and waited for me.  We had a talk and she told me she was sorry.

I will say, when it was all said and done, I was pretty proud of how I had handled it, but in the moment?  No, definitely not the word I would use to describe my feelings.

So, I ask you again...

Sweet little angel?

Or devil in disguise?

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

One Box

The first time I ever drove up and parked in front of the white cinder block building with blue awnings, I thought to myself "No way am I working here."

Almost six years later, I drove up and parked in the same lot...further away this time, considering the company has gone from a little over 50 employees to a little over 100 employees in my time there.

I knew today would be hard.  I'm not going to pretend all of the sudden like this was my dream job.  I'm not going to live in a fantasy world where I never had any complaints or conflicts with this place.  Nevertheless, I still knew it would be hard to walk away.  If it were easy, I'd probably have done it long before today.

The day started like any other, except I barely had any emails to check, since all of my clients have been transferred to other account managers.  I had nothing to say in the morning meeting because my jobs are all being handled by other people.

And then as my desk became more and more sparse, the reality of it started setting in.

This place that I've been at every day for the last 5+ years, would no longer be part of my life.  These people that I spend more time with than I do members of my family, would no longer tell me their stories.

The first time I ever drove up and parked in front of the white cinder block building with blue awnings I was 27, planning my wedding and excited about a new job and new life in Richmond.

Today, almost six years later, I walk away, married, mom of 2, nervous about what lies ahead and carrying just one box.  Just one box filled with the memories and trinkets of my most recent career.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Life Advice from Freddie

When you are standing at the computer table talking to mommy about your day and the newest baby in your class, make sure you hold on the whole time.  Talking with your hands is not recommended if you can't actually stand on your own.  If you let go, this might happen.
I'm not sure if you can make it out, but there's a little bruise on my forehead.
Also, if you're trying to climb on the end table while mommy's cooking dinner, even though she has moved you from it 7 times, said "NO" - whatever that means and distracted you with all of your toys, try and remember that you aren't actually tall enough or strong enough to get your legs that high yet.  If not, this might happen.

That wound on my nose should keep me safe on the play mat tomorrow.  I'll just tell them how bad the other guy looked.
Next, try and realize that you are not a puppy dog.  And even though the puppy dogs can drink water with their faces, you can not.  You will choke and cough and spill water all over the clothes that mommy has just dressed you in.  I'm pretty sure she doesn't like doing things over and over again.  I'm not really sure what else she has to do all day but hold me, but whatever...she didn't seem super happy about it.  Sorry, no picture of this one...but believe me it's really bad and water up your nose is not fun.

Finally, if you can, get yourself one of these.  She threw such a temper tantrum tonight that I'm pretty sure mommy will let me get away with just about anything as long as I stay cute and sweet and far, far away from that third birthday.  Plus, she's freaking funny - maybe I should rent her out.

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Monday, January 3, 2011

To the Stop Sign and Back

Our tree is dead.

I mean, I guess technically all Christmas trees are dead, since they are cut down and are no longer attached to their roots.  But our tree?  It's really dead, really dry and hasn't drank any of the water we've provided.  Needless to say I'm eager to get it out as I pull the the last strand of lights from it's brittle branches.

Clif is outside preparing his roof rack for the tree and Ainsley is anxiously dancing at the window in her bare feet.

Mommy, can I go outside?  Please can I go mommy?

I don't let Ainsley go outside without me.  On the few occasions that I've let her stay in the front yard while I run in to grab forgotten keys or glasses, my mind races about all the horrible things that could happen to her while I'm not watching.  She could run into the street and be hit by a car (we live on a cul-de-sac).  She could fall on the concrete steps/sidewalk and bust her lip (she mastered the stairs 2 years ago).  Someone could take her (I'm pretty sure she'd scream).  Of course, any of these things could happen, they just aren't very likely to occur in the 3 seconds it takes me to run into the house and grab my purse.

Since Clif is outside, even though he's busy, I allow it.  For 6 months now, I've been watching kids alone while cleaning house, working, scrap booking, cooking, etc.  He can probably manage to watch our three year old while putting the tree on the roof of his car.

Put on your shoes I say.

She rushes to her room singing a made up song along the way and emerges in her UGG boots.  They were a Christmas gift from Uncle Cam last year.  They're a little small this year, but she loves them and they're so cute.  If not for very cool and hip Aunts and Uncles, I'm pretty sure my kids would never have designer labels.  I am not a designer label kind of gal.

She rushes out the open front door yelling Daddy, I'm coming outside as she goes.  It's an incredibly warm day for January 1st, so the door stays open and I can hear her make believe play as I pack away the last few Christmas decorations.

Not 10 minutes later, Ainsley and Clif return to pull the tree out of the house, through the yard and up on the roof rack.  I scoop up Freddie and follow them outside.

Ainsley runs for her tricycle saying Mommy, I'm doeing to work now.  You stay here with Freddie.  I'm doeing to work.

This is one of Ainsley's favorite games.  For her to be the mommy and go to work.  I remember when she first created this make believe scenario.  It was right about the time Clif lost his job and she was watching me leave for work every day.  She was about 19 months old.  We'd be outside and in her developing baby talk she'd say I sowwy, I ave to doe.  Then she'd kiss me goodbye, climb in her little car, move about 5 inches forward, then excitedly look back and say I home now!

I guess at the time, that's what it was like for her.  She'd cry when I left and my heart would break, but in her world, I always came back so soon.  And in between she had daddy to entertain her.

However, today, she gets on her trike and heads down the driveway, right into the street.  Ainsley is not allowed in the street without me.  I open my mouth to stop her, but then I pause.  And the memory of her going just a couple of inches and then returning floods my mind.  Jumping out of the car and running over to throw her little baby arms around me because she was finally home.  She ventures further away from me now...confident and unafraid. 

I am proud of this.  We have taught her to be confident.  We have not scared her away from living.  So instead of calling her back and explaining that we do not go in the street without mommy.  I walk down the driveway and give her new limitations.

Ainsley, do you see the red sign?  She nods. You're not allowed past the red sign.  If I see you go past the red sign, we go inside and you're not allowed to ride your bike anymore.

I have just increased her world immensely.  She excitedly peddles off and I return to my spot on the front step.  Yes, I am proud...but the weight of this one moment strikes me.  Where has that sweet little baby gone?  How did she become so big, so fast?  How will I be able to give her the space she needs without my heart breaking?  What will happen to me when she doesn't need me anymore?

She peddles right up to the STOP sign and looks back at me.  I motion for her to come back towards me and she immediately does.

She leaves her bike at the bottom of the driveway and runs excitedly towards me.

Mommy!  Mommy!  I did it!  I only went to the red sign and then I come back to you!

I smile at this huge accomplishment for her and giggle as I look down and see those little UGGs on the wrong feet.

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Beginning of the End

Soooo...Clif just left, like he always does on Sundays.

There have been times when he's left that I sit and cry with the weight of the coming week.  Worried about how I'll get it all done and still be standing when he returns on Friday.  There have been times that I've waited for him to leave so I could accomplish something, not wanting to clean out closets or run errands while we're having limited family time.  There have been times that I've been so busy when he leaves and I continue to be so busy through the week, that he's back before I have time to miss him.

This time felt a bit different.  His leaving signaled the beginning of the end.  This starts the last week we'll live separately, my last week at my current job, the kids' last week at daycare, our last week in our house, our last week in Richmond.

I think my emotions are confused right now.  On one hand, I'm kind of relieved that this will be my last week alone.  It hasn't always been easy and I have a new found, deep respect for single mothers out there.  I've had a small glimpse of their struggles, and I'm very impressed with anyone who does this long term, 24/7.

On the other hand, this event that I've been dreading for so long is now just a few days away.  I'm just not sure how I'm actually going to come out on the other side of this.  I know I'll handle it, whether I like it or not.  I have to.  But I just wonder...will I be content or satisfied or happy?  Or will I allow this horrible knot in the pit of my stomach to stay and take up permanent residence?

I don't want to be bitter or resentful about my life.  It's really not a good way to live, so I'm really aiming for the former.  So this week, I know I'm going to be feeling sappy and sad and sorry for myself.  It's probably going to come out a lot here.  Just know that I know how bad it sounds.  My hope is that in a few weeks, or months, or whenever, I'll be able to look back and see this inner struggle and say "It's okay.  We did make the right decision and I am happy."

Fingers crossed.

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I See Trouble in the New Year

Trouble is spelled F-R-E-D-D-I-E.  He is on the move...

I guess it's time to pull out the baby gates again.  I feel like we just stopped using them for Ainsley, now Freddie's ready for them.

We spent New Year's Even in Gloucester with our friends Julie and Todd and their two little girls Katherine and Claire.  Julie and I lived together after college and we had some wild New Years Eve celebrations.  Now our get-togethers are just as wild, but in a whole new way.  These four munchkins have made sure of that.

Happy New Year all.  I hope 2011 has wonderful things in store for you.

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Total Pageviews