Stop It

I asked him, politely, to stop.


Last weekend, Zach and I went away for two nights. Two entire nights I was away from Alex. Before Alex I would never have understood the agony that a parent feels leaving a child for that long. I mean, hello?! You are getting away from your kid for two days! Have fun! Enjoy being a real person again! And I totally did. I forgot all about the fact that I’m supposed to be an adult. It was a blast. Plus, it was a wedding so it was romantic and beautiful and there were flowers and an open bar and there was dancing and it was pretty and it was full of love and happiness and…

I missed Alex. The second I got in the car for the five hour drive away from here I missed him. When it hit me that not only would I not see him the next morning, but also I wouldn’t see him the next afternoon, my heart sank. When I realized that I wouldn’t have to deal with the arguments surrounding food or cleaning up or, well, anything, I felt a small sense of relief. But then I felt sadness. Those tantrums may not be fun, but the moments of pure joy make it all worth it. A slight, sad, pressure hung around pushing on my chest the entire time I was away from him.

And when we returned, when I was able to get a hug and a kiss from little Alex, I realized something:

He didn’t stop it. I asked him to not change, to not grow, to just…stop. I made sure to say please! But he didn’t listen. He grew. He changed in two days. He sounded more mature, finally beginning to pronounce his “r” sound, and he looked more mature, with fading chubby cheeks.

IMG_6241

You think if I promise him fruit snacks every day for the rest of his life he’ll stop?

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Four More Months Of School

I can’t wait to be done. I miss taking pictures. I miss doing nothing. I miss Alex. I miss Zach. I miss my life.

Alex

Us :)

I miss my blog, too.

Yesterday, Alex asked, “Where did you go, Mommy?”

I told him, “Today I was taking care of sick people.”

“Oh, you took cawe of sick people on da school bus?”

According to Alex, when I’m not with him? I’m on a school bus.

Let The Bargaining Begin!

I wasn’t prepared.

When I said, “if you open your mouth and let me brush your teeth we can finish watching Caillou,” I fully expected to get a screaming, “NO!” in my face. Instead, Alex opened his mouth and let me brush his teeth. When I was finished, he asked, “Caillou now?”

I thought it was a fluke.

When I told Alex, “If you put all of your dinosaurs away I will pull out those blocks that you so desperately want to play with,” I fully expected nothing to happen. For the dinosaurs to stay sprawled out all over the floor and for the incessant, “bocks! Peeeease?” to continue. But instead, Alex put away every single one of his dinosaurs and then asked for help pulling his blocks out from under the table.

I thought it was just a coincidence. He just happened to put his dinosaurs away when I wanted him to.

“If you walk up to your room and let me change your diaper we can go outside and blow bubbles.” He not only walked, he ran to his room. And he didn’t kick, scream, or fight me at all while I was changing his diaper. Then, we played with bubbles.

Whenever he wants to pull out more than two toys/sets of toys, I tell him he has to put one away in order to get the other one out. “If you want to play with the Little People blocks, you have to put away your dinosaurs or the cars.” The most amazing thing is that he then puts away some of his toys.

This bargaining? Is awesome. While Alex is often very good about most things, on those times when he decides he needs to have something RIGHT.NOW or he absolutely will not do whatever it is I need him to do? “If you do X, we can do Y” always works.

The other day, this is what I overheard:

Alex: “Help! Balloon. Can’t reach it! Daddy help. Too far away. Need the help!”
Zach: “If you give me a kiss I’ll get it for you.”

Worked like a charm. Alex gave a kiss and got his balloon.

It may not be the best way to get affection, but I may try that next time I need a little love.

Drinking from a big, real, glass

“If you give me a big hug, I’ll let you drink out of that big glass again.”

Rough Year Ahead

I’m beginning to understand why, on our first day in a skills lab, a professor told my accelerated nursing group:

“Tell everyone you love that you will see them next year.”

When she said that, I cringed. I don’t want to wait a year to see everyone I love. In a year, Alex will be three. I can’t not be a part of his life throughout this next year. There is no way I can possibly just say, “see you next year, buddy!” I can’t survive a year without enjoying date nights, watching quality television and movies, cooking a meal, with Zach.

How am I going to make it through this year?

I don’t know the answer to that, all I know is this: I will make it through. And while I will certainly be less of a part of my son’s life, have less quality time with Zach and more quality time with my 1000+ dollar books, I will make it. The year will go, and I will come out on the other side with a second Bachelor’s degree. I will make it through.

“I’ll see you next year, buddy, more often. But I’ll do my best to be with you one thousand percent whenever I get to see you this year.”

Family shot!

Kennywood Day


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?”
“Yeah!”
“Do you want to go around and around and around?”
“YUP!”
“You know Mommy isn’t going to come with you, right?”
“Mm…yeah!”
“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.”
“YUP! Ride!”

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.”

Riding with Daddy

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.

Asleep in the car

*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).

My Handsome Men

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.

Snack Time

Zach

Sometimes People Surprise You

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.

Daddy and Baby (cropped)