Zach’s office has an annual Kennywood day. I had been looking forward to going for weeks. Between the fact that I haven’t been in at least six years, and the fact that I assumed Alex would enjoy going on rides, Kennywood Day was keeping me going day after day during my stressful last few weeks.
While I wouldn’t say Kennywood Day disappointed, it wasn’t quite what I was hoping. I’m not sure why I thought it would be any different than it was, really. When did I decide that Alex was old enough to behave well for an entire afternoon? When did my mind forget that he was still pretty attached and wouldn’t ever go on a ride without me or Daddy? Why did I think he would sit still and eat his food at a bench, not tied down in any way?
It wasn’t all bad. Alex was quite charming on the drive to Kennywood with a few of Zach’s coworkers. He smiled and waved at numerous people as we were walking around. He loved the pink lemonade that we had an endless supply of, provided by Google and Kennywood.
There were a total of four rides that we could go on with Alex. While he is technically tall enough to go every ride in Kiddie Land (and, in fact, many of the big rides), most of them are for kids only. We went to the little kiddie swings, which I thought would be a good ride for him to do by himself, waited in line and had a long conversation about what was going to happen:
“Do you want to go on the swings?”
“Do you want to go around and around and around?”
“You know Mommy isn’t going to come with you, right?”
“So, you will be going all by yourself?”
“Yeah. No Mommy.”
“I’ll put you down and that nice woman will help you get in your seat okay?”
“Yeah. No Mommy. Ride!”
“Okay. No Mommy. Just Alex.”
I put him down, he walked toward a swing, and when the ride attendant woman tried to take his hand and help him? He turned around, looked for me, and ran away from her. (As Zach pointed out: at least now we know he will not just go off with some stranger!) She lifted him over the little tiny fence, sighed as she handed him to me (um, seriously? You are pissy about the fact that a kid isn’t being perfect and you work in Kiddie Land?), and that was that. “No Mommy? No ride.”
So, Zach and I took turns going on the same four rides with him. Again and again. And again. Zach and Alex shared some ice cream, Alex and I shared a Giant Bag of Cotton Candy, and we took some nice long walks around the park. Zach and I looked longingly at the Big Rides, plotting how we are going to get rid of Alex some day and night and go on every single one of them*.
When dinner time rolled in, Alex was nearing the end of his rope. I will spare you the details, but he threw a royal fit. Screaming, kicking, throwing, hitting. It was awesome, let me tell you. I told Alex if he didn’t calm down and stop throwing, kicking, screaming and hitting, we were going to go home. I warned him that if he didn’t stop, he wouldn’t be able to go on any more rides.
And then we had to leave.
There was absolutely no surprise that he fell fast asleep in the car after a minor scream-fit while getting him in his car seat.
*And I’m plotting, ferociously, about how when we make it to Kennywood next time I will consume a funnel cake. I will eat that eighty bajillion grams of fat and enjoy every single bite of it (post-gallbladder-removal surgery, of course).
Some days are rough. Alex is screaming, Zach is complaining about the cleanliness of the house, I have eight million assignments due and not enough sleep to function. We have no food in the house, but after Alex’s earlier tantrum the last thing I want to do is grocery shop with him. It’s raining, so Alex and I can’t even go outside. I have to drive to a Dr.’s appointment (with Alex in tow) and the traffic? Is appalling. In the middle of the day! My head hurts, my lower back hurts, my brain hurts. Alex needs a haircut, but we can barely afford to buy food for the next week and a half. I have to fill out a million and one forms for nursing school. I have to get my fingerprints taken by the FBI, criminal record checks, child abuse checks. I still have no idea how I’m going to pay for this next year of schooling. Alex pooped in the tub. Again. Alex threw yogurt all over the kitchen. Again. I stubbed my toe. Again.
Some days are definitely rough. But even on those days I can find peace. I look at my two handsome men, and it’s hard to stay upset. While they may sometimes be the source of my stress, they are also my major source of comfort. While they may sometimes make me crazy, they are also my sanity.
I was trying to get Alex to say “running” and “chasing” and “fast” or something along those lines the other day. With his second birthday coming up I realized that I have very little video evidence of his ever increasing vocabulary, and I need some video footage for his planned second birthday slideshow. In my attempt to get get a video of him running and speaking, I succeeded at something. It wasn’t quite what I was hoping for, but it was something.
He’s running in hopes of finding the “beatdown.”
(It was in the opposite direction.)
When I started a new school in eighth grade, there was this boy. He was a big ninth grader and the first time I saw him I told a new friend, “He’s so cute!” And he was. Super cute. But I was a lowly eighth grader, and then I was a lowly ninth grader to his tenth grade and a tenth grader to his eleventh.
But then one of my friends became his friend. And by eleventh grade I had talked to him. We said, “Hi!” in the hallway when we passed and even had conversations about a shared class. He was still super cute.
Our mutual friend told me that the cute boy had said that he thought I was cute. I probably shrieked with delight, the way teenage girls are wont to do, and immediately brushed it off.
At a Halloween party my junior year, the super cute boy was in attendance. We chatted, we flirted, and his cuteness grew exponentially as I learned that he was also smart, funny, and really nice.
We started dating, and I was completely taken by him. His charm, his intelligence, his conversation skills, everything about him. That boy that I had had a crush on for over three years? Liked me too. We spent an increasing amount of time together over the course of my junior year, but then he graduated and went to college in Maryland.
I spent my senior year missing him. There were other boys, but none of them were that super cute boy that I liked from the moment I first glanced his way.
The summer after his first year of college we were attached at the hip. I had a waitressing job not far from where he was living and we were able to get together almost every day that summer. When I left for college at the end of the summer I sobbed. I cried for the first hour of the twelve-hour car ride up to Smith. He was not going back to the college he had attended the previous year, and knowing that he was in Pittsburgh made it that much harder for me to leave.
We managed to stay close over the next three years while I was attending college in Massachusetts and he was either working or attending Carnegie Mellon. That cute boy that I crushed on for so long had become my long term boyfriend. We talked on the phone every day, sent e-mails almost as often, and made sure to spend a lot of time together on breaks. He was able to come visit me a few times and I was able to come home for longer breaks every once in a while.
That cute boy who had become my long term boyfriend then became a father unexpectedly.
If someone had asked me if Zach would make a good father I would have responded, “Yes! Of course!” And I would have meant it. But I never could have foreseen what I now know: he is an astounding father. And he has remained super cute, funny, smart, nice and caring.
If someone would have told me that the cute boy I saw walking down the hall when I started at my new school in eighth grade would one day be the father of my child and the love of my life? I would have laughed in their face. But that cute boy has become exactly that and then some.
Happy Birthday, Zach. I love you more than words can express.
What is it about kids that makes them so anti-sleep? When did we, as adults, reach the point where we no longer really cared what else was happening and could sleep?
Alex has never wanted to miss a thing. It doesn’t matter what is going on, he needs to be there. He needs to see, hear, taste, touch, be a part of everything. This trait of his does not lead to much sleep–on his or my side.
I’m finally realizing that he goes through stages of sleep refusal. For weeks at a time he will sleep through the night, but then BAM! he stops. He wakes up a few times a night and generally very early in the morning. He takes shorter, restless, naps. He fights going to bed at night.
As suddenly as it comes, it goes. He’ll go back to sleeping through the night and taking good naps (good for Alex is over an hour, sometimes as much as two). Putting him to bed at night is a breeze and he wakes up in the morning happy.
Then the sleep-refusal stage comes back. And it’s hard. For me and Alex. Alex is tired, but refuses to sleep. So he becomes more tired. No one needs to hear about what happens when a toddler is tired, so I’ll just say this one word: TERROR.
Thank goodness he’s cute. And he’s lucky he knows it because he is able to completely manipulate me into forgiving his terrible behavior and lack of sleep. “Mommy KISS? Mmmmwaaah! Mommy and Baby HUG? Mmm Hug.”
Alex is such a scaredy cat. There have been the rare occurrences that include him going down a slide, but for the most part slides seem to scare him quite a bit.
There were a few meltdowns, but considering how long we were there the kids were fabulous.
And, of course, Alex was the only kid who wouldn’t go anywhere near the slide. When Kelly offered to even go down the slide with him, Alex screamed “NO!” He really, really, didn’t want to go down the slide. But the other kids had a blast climbing up the incline and then going down it, fortunately never managing to kick my likes-to-stand-and-sit-on-the-end-of-the-slide kid in the face. (Or maybe Burgh Baby is right: When he does get kicked in the face he’ll finally learn.)
Instead of playing at the playground by, you know, playing with the playground equipment, Alex decided that the mulch was much more fun. He ended up getting a bit dirty (this picture doesn’t quite show the fact that he not only tried to eat the mulch, but he also made a shampoo out of it). But he was thoroughly enjoying himself, and for the most part was distracted from entering the tunnel maze that I was convinced he was going to get lost in. No way could my smaller-than-it-used-to-be-but-still-big butt fit in there.
And what would a day to the zoo with four young kids be without a group shot?
This day made me happy. The cuteness alone was enough, but being able to spend some time with some awesome Burgh Moms made it even better. Even if most of that time we were distracted by chasing our children.
I confessed recently. I admitted to being sick of being a stay at home mom.
But now I have another confession: I’m scared to death of not being a stay at home mom.
As hard as it can be as Alex’s number one, I can’t even fathom what it will be like to not be his number one. The thought of not being the person who takes care of him the most horrifies me.
Starting at the very end of August, Alex will be attending daycare full time. He will go in every morning and spend all day with his daycare provider. Zach will likely be the one taking him in most, if not all, mornings, and Zach will be the one picking him up most, if not all, evenings.
Two days a week I will have to be in clinical starting at seven in the morning. Seven! That means I will be out of the house before Alex even wakes up in the morning. Two evenings a week I will be in classes and labs until 7 at night. That means that I will likely not be home before Alex goes to sleep at night.
And then? And then there is the fact that I will be a crazy full time student. Not just a full time student, but crazy full time. This program is intense: getting a (second) bachelor’s degree in one year has to be. The studying that I will have to do is going to drain every second of every minute of almost every day that I am not actively in class, lab, or clinical.
All of this is scary enough on it’s own, but then throw on top of that the fact that I will not be Alex’s number one? I’m freaking out.
When it’s time for cuddling before bed, he won’t ask to cuddle with me. When he wakes up during the night he isn’t going to call for Mommy. When he wakes up in the morning he isn’t going to say, “No! I want Mommy!” When he falls and hurts himself, he won’t want me to comfort him. I won’t be his number one.
I’m not scared that other people are going to be taking care of him. I have complete trust in Alex’s daycare and more than complete trust in Zach. Alex will be well taken care of. It just… won’t be by me.
I am petrified.
Apparently, slides are rather horrifying. At least, they are if you’re my son.
Alex has never really been into slides. Every once in a blue moon he’ll go down a slide, but mostly he will climb to the top and then say “no down.” He doesn’t want to go down it. If I hold his hand he may consider it, but even then it’s a long shot.
I can’t say that I totally blame him. I mean, letting yourself fall down some unknown material that, in theory, will take you down to the ground? No idea how fast? No idea how sturdy? Who came up with this?! Not exactly reassuring. But I loved slides as a kid.
One of our local playgrounds here is often referred to as “The Blue Slide Park.” It is so called because it has, well, a blue slide. A big blue slide, to be precise. I spent many, many, days going down this slide as a kid. In fact, I probably have gone down this slide more times in my life than days I’ve been alive. We would go down in every direction, with cardboard or wax paper under our butt, knees, back, to make us go faster. Every time Alex and I go there I wax nostalgic for those times as I see the scattered cardboard boxes all over the place.
When we went to this park the other day, Alex and I went down the big blue slide together a few times. As long as I am holding on tight (and I mean tight! Kid will yell at me if I don’t have both arms wrapped snuggly around him) he has a great time feeling the air rush by him on our way down. But this day? This day he decided he would try it for himself.
He walked up and up.
And then he stopped, came back down most of the way and decided that close-to-the-bottom was the best place to start his sliding:
One day he’ll go down that slide, all by himself, on cardboard. But until that day I’m happy to see him making progress, and even happier to see that he is still a very cautious child.