On My Youngest Son’s First Day of Preschool

It is 10:45 on a Friday morning and I’m in the kitchen cutting a peach into slices. Tears slip down my cheeks and I take a deep breath. A few minutes earlier I heard a play conversation from the other room where my newly 3-year-old is playing with Lego guys.

“I really love you. I do!”

“Thanks! You’re the best!”

“You’re the best too!”

This mimics an exchange that we have countless times each day and I can’t help but feel smiley and gooey as he plays it out in his Lego family, which is comprised of several ninja. As I head to the kitchen I hear him make one of his guys ask “What are we doing today?” To which another replies, “We’re going to school!” followed by an excited gasp.

And so, as I cut the peach’s white and rosey flesh into an orange plastic bowl, tears well up in my eyes and brim over. They are tears of sadness and happiness; of confusion and uncertainty; of excitement and regret. In an hour and a half I will take my very last baby to his first day of preschool. He will stay for one hour and fifteen minutes, if he even lets me leave the room. It is barely a dent in our day, but it is an enormous event. While he will always, always be my baby, he is NOT a baby any longer. He has a place to go where I don’t belong. I am torn between anticipation for this next part of life and mourning for the life that will no longer exist.

Today I take my son to his first day of school and a bridge will be crossed that we can never go back over. Today we embark on an adventure that will have us each taking solo steps. It will be hard and it will be fun and it will change us. I worry that he is not ready, but more than that, as I tear up again, I’m trying to tell myself that I’m ready.

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The Work-At-Home Mom’s Lament

Some of the time I am grateful that I can work from home. But some of the time, it is pure torture. At the moment I am at the end of a huge, messy project for which most parts came in late. Now I have a lot left to do and not much time in which to do it. It is also the end of the school year and since the project was supposed to have already ended, I have signed up to chaperone multiple field trips. I am class parent and am in charge of the end-of-year teacher gift. We had an amazing teacher this year so I want to do a good job.

So I end up doing what I am doing right now. Editing questions about general intelligence while Declan screams at the top of his lungs behind me that he wants “ALL OF THE JUICE!!!”

Note the full cup of juice. This was seconds before he sent it off the edge of the desk because it was not “all of the juice.” A full cup was not enough. He apparently needed the entire bottle. But, since I have, like, NO time to finish a TON of work, I take a little break to put up this whiny post and then go back to my IQ questions. Pretty sure my IQ is rapidly dropping.

A Report on Our Daddy-less Days

Mother’s Log – 4th of June 2014

It is day 3 of Daddy’s work trip and rules have almost ceased to exist. I purchased unneeded toys in exchange for the promise of good behavior. The children ate grilled cheese and had juice boxes for dinner. Before that dinner, we ate donuts. There are currently two televisions on in our apartment, both tuned to children’s programs. There has been liberal iPad usage. The bottle of wine that was full when Daddy left is now two-thirds empty. On second thought, wine consumption has been low considering the circumstances.

On the positive side, mornings have been surprisingly smooth with no arguments and we’ve arrived early to school every morning. Despite missing Daddy, both children seem to be thriving, aside from little food intake by the smaller one. Both have enjoyed numerous activities in the past 3 days and are sleeping well as a result.

Still, all parties are eagerly awaiting the return of Daddy at approximately 3pm tomorrow. School in-service day tomorrow could prove to be beneficial or disastrous depending on the behavior of the children and my remaining patience. A plan has been put in place to care nothing about television viewing until both parents are again in the home. Positive thoughts for our continued well-being are welcomed.

*Disclaimer – I fully understand that many parents operate on their own every single day. It cannot be easy and yet I know that numerous people around the world do it and do it well all the time. I’m not on my own with the kids often so this week has been a deviation from the normal routine and, well, we love Daddy so it’s hard to be away from him. Plus, I thought maybe my melodrama was kind of funny.

2-year-old Problems

I have been desperately wanting to write about the yoga mala (and I will) and I wanted to write a thanks to moms everywhere for Mother’s Day (this will have to do) and I’ve wanted to do a multitude of other things as well, but time, she has not been on my side. So for now, I have this.

At some point each day, Declan decides that he MUST change his clothes. Usually because what he’s wearing “doesn’t fit!!” Even though it desperately needed to be worn that morning. Ah, 2-year-old problems.

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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.

The Perfect 2-Year-Old Nightmare

Two nights ago, five am, Declan is screaming for me from his bed. “Moooooommmmy! Moooommmmy I neeeed you!”

I run to his bed and smooth back his hair as he cries. “What’s wrong, Baby?” I ask.

“That baby, that little baby,” he manages to say.

“What baby?” What was the baby doing?”

“That little baby taked my glow stick…and she’s walking away!”

Yes, he had a nightmare that a baby stole his glow stick and walked away. I assured him it was a dream and he settled back to sleep, but the nightmare was vivid enough that he remembered and retold it to Daddy the next morning.

Boy loves his glow sticks.

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Snippets

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In an attempt to blog more I’ve decided to throw in some short little things here and there. Mostly about parenting I think.

This just happened:

Declan and I were playing with Play-Doh. I needed to pee.

Me: Deca, if I go to the bathroom will you eat the Play-Doh?

D: No….no?

Me: Will you?

D: Yeah.

Me: If Mummy leaves to go to the bathroom will you eat the Play-Doh?

D: Yeah.

Me: Do we eat Play-Doh?

D: No.

Me: If I leave will you eat it?

D: Yeah.

We did about 4 rounds of this before I decided that peeing would just have to wait until all of the Play-Doh containers were closed.

I should probably go pee now, huh?