Monday, May 24, 2010

Date Night Dilemma

A friend and I have recently started up a casual babysitting swap. She has three kids, I have three kids, all roughly the same age who manage to get along as well as any 6 kids can, ages 5 and under. We have similar parenting styles, our kids have similar temperaments, not to mention similar schedules too. It's pretty much a match made in heaven. There has been one bump in the road that I didn't plan on, however...

What exactly is one suppose to do when given the chance to have a regular date night? For so long, darling husband and I have only really gone out for planned events (get-togethers, long-awaited movie releases, holidays, family events, that sort of thing). So, when left with a few hours on our own...we end up semi-stumped. There's the ever-present option of dinner out or a movie, but those get old quick (not to mention pricey). I used to think I loved window-shopping on dates, but that was until I had no money and realized window-shopping is not all that fun when you take the shopping part out of the equation. So, what's a girl to do?

What do y'all do on the rare kids-free evening? Also, if you are in the Kansas City area, are there any fun places specifically that you think are worth the occasional splurge? Really, any suggestions (or commiserations) would be greatly appreciated!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Unlocking my child

I have a two year old son. Well, at least he will be two in the next few days. He doesn't talk much. I mean, he babbles a lot, but doesn't say much in actual words. He doesn't really form sentences and has a lot of made-up words that mean something to him and absolutely nothing to me. I can coax words out of him, but he doesn't voluntarily talk. I haven't been too concerned. Sure, other children his age or younger are speaking like little adults, my kid is just moving at his own pace.

I would probably be more concerned if I felt like he wasn't understanding things, but the fact is he understands a lot. I can say, "Son, pick up your toys and put them in your toy box." And he does it. When I say it's bedtime, he runs into his bedroom, grabs his stuffed football and climbs in to bed. He's also very active and figures things out quickly, maybe a little too quickly.

Still, the fact remains that he doesn't speak, and it is frustrating. I can't figure out what he wants sometimes which leads to tears and tantrums. People who are around him less really can't figure out what he wants since they don't pick up on his physical cues as much as I do.

Should I learn sign language? I always thought sign language was a bit overrated and just a new parenting fad. Then my husband's aunt came to visit. She works in early childhood development specifically with deaf children. Naturally she started signing with my son. In a matter of a couple of hours he had learned at least 10 new words and was speaking in short sentences. I'm not talking about he learned the signs for the words - I mean he was literally saying new words. I couldn't believe it. My husband and I sat down and started talking with her. What we found out completely blew us away. Studies are coming out showing that kids need more than one input to learn something. They use their senses to learn (smell, sight, taste, etc). Our son was hearing the words we spoke, watching the way our lips moved, and needed the motor input that sign language brings for his brain to connect everything together. That motor input was the key.

Basically, even though he is not autistic, he learns in much the same way an autistic child learns. I'm not a professional, but the way I understand it is it's like baking cookies. You have all the ingredients sitting on the counter. Separately they don't do anything, but when you combine them together (auditory, visual, and motor skills) they make cookies (or in our case, words).

Needless to say I went to the library and checked out all the toddler signing books and DVDs I could find. As my husband commented, "it's like we've unlocked our child."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Where's a Confessional when I need one?

I refuse to clean our bathtub. My husband does it instead. I'll do the rest of the bathroom, just not the tub. * Much to the Mister's eternal chagrin, I drink out of the carton...regularly. * I definitely don't shower everyday, and sometimes only once every 3 days and just put my hair up the other days. * I don't typically change diapers when they're wet, only when they're dirty (although that only works because I have really poopy kids). * Sometimes I spend the whole day blogging, checking my email, looking up random crap online, and reading, only coming up for air to get after the kids and give them nourishment. * I absolutely loathe most housework. I can do it and do it well (my mom's a clean-freak, so I've been well-trained), but I hate it. * I almost never make my bed. * Sometimes, I wish I hadn't married so young (19). * I'm jealous of girls that went on missions, they seem so accomplished and spiritual. * I'm a zit popper (drives my husband insane). * I was recently released from my primary calling at church and was immensely relieved. I was going crazy working with kids nearly the same age as my own children, and with all the insanity that goes with that. * Sometimes I wish I could show off a little cleavage on occasion. * I pretend to be a good mom who doesn't want to over-schedule her kids, but really I'm just too lazy to have much structure. * I cook fairly involved meals so I don't feel guilty leaving the housework undone. * I'm a little crazy about the state of my tupperware area. Every lid and bottom has a place and shouldn't be moved. * I'm cheap to a fault. * I didn't wear a bra occasionally during my senior year of high school. It was my way of rebelling without actually doing anything too horrible. Now I just wish I still had the boobs for it. * I'm insane when it comes to matching colors. I'll notice a non-matcher item from 20 paces, I swear it. * I exercise with (minor) make-up on. * I secretly like my butt. It's big and round and makes jean-shopping a nightmare, but after years of praise from some black guy-friends I had in high school, I've come to terms with my posterior. * I seriously think my kids are the most hilarious kids ever. Sorry, but I really, truly do believe they're funnier then your kids. Well, unless your name is Liberty...then your kids hilariousity might possibly trump my own. * I still get sick to my stomach when my mom or dad calls me casually into a different room. It's a throw-back from my childhood when that usually meant I was in trouble and they didn't want to alarm me, causing me to flee the scene. * I prefer hairy men to those clean-chested, clean-faced type. Pretty sure my insistence is the sole reason Spencer currently has a goatee.* I think my feet, toes especially are beautiful. They're my very favorite part of my body. * Speaking of which, I think un-painted female toenails are ugly. * I adore candy. I would eat entire bags of it in a single sitting if given the chance. * My house is currently a disaster, but I think I'm going to ignore it and go to the craft store instead.

There now, that was cleansing. Your turn...

Monday, May 3, 2010


The other day I found myself alone in my house. This doesn't happen often and while I had a list a mile long of things to do, I found myself aimlessly flipping through channels on the TV just because I could without interruption. This landed me on the Ellen Show with guest Jennifer Lopez. I happen to like Jennifer Lopez and so I stopped to listen to the interview. Jennifer Lopez has twins about the age of my son and so the topic of motherhood came up. Ellen asked Lopez what the biggest surprise of motherhood is, that you always hear about how hard it is but it is worth it all and the best thing anyone has ever done. Lopez thought for a few moments and then gave the best answer I've ever heard. The biggest surprise of motherhood, she said, is the guilt. I found myself shouting yes at the TV. Nobody ever told me about the guilt.

You feel guilty doing something by yourself - whether it's taking a shower or going out for an hour. You feel guilty for not liking your body, for picturing where you would be without kids, for not wanting sex, for wanting to pursue your own dreams and hobbies. You feel guilty when the house isn't clean and if you clean it you feel guilty for taking time from your children to clean. You feel guilty when you serve chicken nuggets, french fries, and corn for the umpteenth time because it is the easy way out and everyone is satisfied. Then there is the guilt at the end of the day as you ask yourself were you the best Mom possible. Maybe I shouldn't have yelled at my two year old as he peed on my bed. Did I give my children enough hugs? Am I teaching them the things that are important for them to succeed in life?

As I write this my youngest is waking up from her nap and I feel guilty that I am not responding immediately. There is even a small amount of guilt that I took time to write this instead of doing my chores.

Nobody told me about the guilt and nobody has told me how to handle the guilt. So, it all builds up until it overflows in tears and hormones, usually directed toward my husband. And as he holds me and tells me it will all be okay I can't help but feel guilty that he had to come home to such an emotional wife.