Parenting a 2-Year-Old in NYC

There are some things about raising children in the city that I find particularly irritating. We have to load up and walk blocks to get outdoor play. We have to get on the bus or subway to get anywhere outside of the neighborhood and take the stupid stroller with us on such excursions. Everything costs fifty times more than it should, especially school/camp/classes. There are things. But one that really gets me is the stares from people (ahem, older women) when children misbehave. 

This morning Declan and I dropped Brady off at school and headed to Starbucks like we do most mornings. We like to sit for fifteen minutes or so while I sip my coffee and he eats a muffin or another snack and we often chat with other people who have just dropped their kids off at school. This morning Declan was having none of it. He wanted to sit…but ONLY in seats that were already occupied. I tried to explain that we could sit in any of the several unoccupied seats which prompted him to scream his bloody head off like a wild animal. 

I packed him into the stroller and started the 3.5 block walk home. He continued to howl and rock from side to side screaming that he wanted to sit down and NOT go home! Tears streamed down his face. He waved Brady’s green Crocs (which he, of course, had to hold) over his head. He kicked the stroller blanket down until it was dragging on the ground. I called my mother and talked on the phone like nothing was happening to keep myself from screaming at him on the sidewalk.

I stared straight ahead and walked as quickly as I could. But I couldn’t help but notice the heads turning in our direction, the whispering, the raising of hands to mouths in shock at the behavior of this horrible child. Because no 2-year-old in the history of time has ever thrown a fit before and no mother has ever ignored the tantrum not wanting to reinforce the behavior and hoping that it would subside. Certainly these women never had children of their own and, if they did, they NEVER acted up and, if they did, it was in the privacy of their own homes or easily diffused by expert mothering. 

I pushed through, ignored the reactions of the people around me, and made it to our building where the doormen laughed a little and gave me sympathetic looks. I know that some of those people were probably sympathizing. I know that some of it was my own feelings about his behavior being projected onto other people. I know I shouldn’t let it get to me, but somehow it still does. At least this time no one asked me if he was ok. 

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Post-horrific, screaming, sobbing, flailing fit Declan.

In the Blink of an Eye

I know it’s such an old cliche, but it is honestly so true. It seems as if, before you know it, children are grown before your very eyes. Yes, in some ways the past nearly 6 and a half years have been long, but in others it seems as if Brady was just my little baby. I think that I will forever see him as my chubby, little toddler playing with Thomas trains and digging in the sandbox. On Sunday we went to buy him a new bike. He had far outgrown his original one and we’re banking on the fact that Spring will one day come and he will be able to ride again. 

He picked out the one he wanted and the mechanics fixed the seat and filled the tires and polished the rims as he watched. When they handed it to him, I asked him to pose with it for a picture to send his grandparents. The boy I saw in front of me was just so…BIG! Instead of my baby, there was this child, so sure of himself and in control. (Part of it was that he was wearing jeans. He refuses them and rarely wears them and somehow it always makes him seem like more of kid.)

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Where did this child come from? 

For the most part, as a parent, I really enjoy watching my children grow. I think I tend to celebrate their milestones more than mourn the loss of their younger selves. But sometimes, it tugs my heart with a mixture of pride, love, sadness and wonder to see just how far they’ve come. 

How did he go from this?

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To this?

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That night I crawled into bed with Brady after he was asleep and curled up beside him. I stroked his cheek and looked at his sleeping profile and could see so clearly the baby that he once was, and to me, always will be. I wondered how much longer I will even be able to check on him at night without waking him or finding him still awake, reading in bed, and I decided to just lay there a moment longer while I still have the time.

 

 

Timely Words

Start Where You Are

I know I’ve written about this before, and clearly this is one of the reasons I go to yoga classes, but sometimes I hear exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the right time. I’m not sure why this happens more often in yoga. I think it must at least partly be because I allow my mind to be more open during my practice and I’m less focused on other things. I also think it’s because I have wonderful teachers who share true ideas with their students and it’s not surprising that many of these resonate with me.

Last night I headed to class after a long day, full of anticipation because an instructor I love, but can’t take often, was subbing. Her classes are physically difficult, spiritually enlightening, and have a kick-ass playlist. She did not disappoint yesterday. While the poses and sequences are challenging, I don’t seem to notice it much in the moment because the music is what my mind is focusing on, rather than how exhausted my abs are.

At the beginning of class last night the teacher shared with us a quote that she likes to keep in mind during her practice and in life. “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” As she said it, it was as if she had a line directly into my heart. I have been feeling so overwhelmed and bogged down recently. I’ve been unable to put my energy where I’d like to because other tasks are taking precedence. I had gotten to place where I felt nearly paralyzed trying to figure out what to do next because there was just so much to do. But those words cleared that feeling and gave me a sense of peace. All I have to do is start where I am, use what I have, and do what I can.

So today I tackled my work with a lighter heart and a refreshed outlook. I was able to take one thing at a time because, after all, what else can I do? Climbing the mountain is so much easier when I’m just putting one hand over the other at the bottom, rather than staring at my tiny shadow against the entire expanse of it. When you’re feeling like the impossible is sitting in front of you, whether it’s potty training, a new responsibility at work, a pose you haven’t been able to master, or all of those combined just remember–start where you are, use what you have, do what you can. It can’t be more complicated than that.

Oh and in the spirit of starting new things, could you just click that little Top Mommy Blogs icon over there on the right or when you scroll down? It would be seriously awesome! Thanks! 

Feelin It!

INSPIRATION (3)

So yes, the cold is back in a big way and this latest freelance project is more than I bargained for. Yes, it’s Monday and the week is stretching out before me like a cold, unending arctic tundra. Yes, I am sitting in Starbucks right now adding tags to a 300 page document which basically amounts to hitting alt + c and alt + v like eight thousand times. But you know what? I’m feelin it anyway!

Maybe it’s because my kids were rolling down a muddy hill and finding worms and climbing tree stumps on Saturday afternoon. Maybe it’s because I watched a bunch of 2-to-4 year-olds dance to Let It Go in my neighbors’ living room yesterday, complete with hand-holding and twirling like little revelers at a ball. Maybe it’s because I took my very favorite yoga class yesterday and rocked a kick-ass headstand (with some spotting, of course). Maybe it’s because, after years and years, I wrote a new poem and showed it to other people.

Maybe it’s because, despite the frigid temperatures, the sun is shining and the flowers insist on sprouting anyway. Maybe it’s because Florence and the Machine keeps coming up on my playlist as I sit here or because I’m getting paid by the hour to cut and paste over and over again. It’s definitely partly due to the fact that, after having a stomach bug Thursday, I finally was able to drink my full allotment of coffee this morning. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because I was able to recognize and hold onto all of those good things today.

I couldn’t help but share my sunny outlook today. So go find your yoga and poetry and coffee combo. Watch some cute kids dance. Look at the sun. Find a little bit of happy today. I’m feelin it and I hope you are too. If you don’t have any of your own, here’s a little of mine to share.

And if that didn’t work. Go listen to and watch this. Makes me happy every time.

Form Poem #1: Rondelet

I promised a poem, and I nearly had it done, and then I got a stomach virus and laid in bed for 2 days. So, I finished it tonight and I am going to post it, despite my hesitations. I find that no matter what I write, when it comes to poetry I can always find a way to make it sound ridiculous when I read it back to myself. I’m posting it anyway.

This is a rondelet, which is a seven line poem with a rhyme scheme, a prescribed meter, and a refrain. The rhyme is AbAabbA. The refrain is repeated in lines 1, 3, and 7. The refrain is 4 syllables long and the other lines are all 8 syllables. Got it? Ok.

I took the title from my original poem and changed everything else.

Bad Night

Sleep won’t find me.
Stillness drifts from the other room.
Sleep won’t find me.
This shifting and stretching body
Failing to help me to assume
That simple state. Dreams cannot bloom.
Sleep won’t find me.