Babysitter Gold.

November 6, 2006

For us, getting a babysitter is a big deal.  We don’t have a lot of people clammering to spend quality one-on-one alone time with our kids, so it’s always asking a favor of someone or figuring out financially how much that $40 dinner for Tim and I is really going to cost us (probably around $80 when the babysitter is paid and tipped). 

So, when we do get someone to watch our kids, particularly when they do it for free (or with the casual “no, really…don’t worry about it.  You can watch our kids for us sometime”), we really feel obligated to make the most of the time.  I have anxiety about this.  Last night, for instance. 

We were over at some people’s home, having a lovely dinner and great conversation, and in my head, I’m thinking:  Is this the best use of our time?  Should hubby and I be sitting alone in some romantic restaurant reminiscing on why we fell in love in the first place?  Or should we be at home cleaning out those closets that we can never get to with the kids underfoot?

Last night, I felt guilty not squeezing the most out of our babysitting hours.  I had to remind myself that’s it okay to just be relaxing with friends, talking about things other than child-rearing.  Taking a breath, I enjoyed myself.  I laughed at adult conversation.  I ate my dinner without a child (or two) wanting to sit in my lap.

When it was time to pick up the kids, I thanked our friends for watching the boys and asked when I could watch their kids.  And I hugged my kids close: just those few hours away were gold…it made me want to squeeze my children and I remembered a couple of things:  I’d rather spend time playing than cleaning out closets, and I remembered why I fell in love with them in the first place.

Autumn in the Air.

November 1, 2006

Autumn is in full swing.  You can feel the change in the air today, the day after Halloween.  My son’s Thomas the Train costume will be packed away in case his brother wants to wear it next year, I’ll throw away the used candles from the Jack O’Lanterns…I guess I’ll toss the pumpkins, too. 

So, that leaves the candy.  Tons of candy.  I’m thinking my son’s booty from last night is going to live in the freezer–we can pull one piece out at a time. 

The Holiday Season is now officially under way–Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years…now that Halloween is over, the clock starts ticking for me to purchase Christmas cards, think about what I’ll make for Thanksgiving, etc., etc., etc.  I clearly remember putting away the holiday decorations from last year–can it really be time to pull them all out again?

The days just fly.

Huh, that’s ironic.

October 27, 2006

It’s a Friday night, which usually doesn’t mean a whole lot in our household.  Yep, gone are the days of the Friday Night weekend kick-off, that being a rally cry of “woo hoo! bring on the margaritas!”  No, nowadays, it’s “honey, let’s take the kidlets out for pizza and, maybe spring for an ice cream cone afterwards.”  If we’re feeling really festive, we call around to invite friends who are kid-friendly or who themselves have children.

But not tonight! No, sir.  Tonight we have that wonderful, elusive and rare thing: the babysitter.  I set this up a week ago.  I’ve anticipated it all week.  Get the margarita mix ready, baby…we’ve got a sitter lined up! 

Except now it’s Friday night.  I’ve got to go get my diaper bag all stocked for the sitter, and really, I’m tired and I don’t so much feel like going out.  I don’t feel like changing out of my yucky shirt and jeans for attire appropriate for a restaurant a step up above IHOP.  I don’t really feel like doing a whole lot, in fact.  So I ask myself, what do I feel like we should do tonight?  What sounds good?

Honestly, pizza and an ice cream cone.  Ironic.

Flushed little cheeks…

October 24, 2006

One of the hardest parts of parenting, for me, is not having the answers.  I don’t mean not being able to answer my kid’s questions.  I mean not having the answers that I pose to myself.  After picking up my son at pre-school, he asked me to help get him in his car-seat.  This was a clue…Mr. Independent needs help into his car-seat?  Mr. I-do-it-my-own-self needs help? Uh oh.  Something’s up.  Sure enough, lifting him into his seat, he feel unnaturally warm.  The boy’s got a fever. 

I did the usual things, offered some juice, called the docs to make sure a round of recent inoculations weren’t the culprit, called the hubby to let him know.  Oh, I tried to give some Tylenol, but this particular child is hyper-suspicious of medication so it was a no-go.  So after all the starter tasks were completed, I’m left sitting on the couch, looking at my limp little boy, wondering “Now what?” and “What do I do now?” and then a couple minutes later, “Ummm, what should I do?”

As much as my sons’ energy can tax me, it’s the downtime caused by fever, the sniffles, an aching knee that really throws me for a loop.  You can shout “calm down! everyone take a breather!” when the kids are wound up, but I don’t think it’s quite okay to yell “come on!  be okay! be yourself!” to a sick kid in the converse universe.  Can I get some middle-ground?

Truth is, it’s hard to see your child feeling under the weather.  My son’s flushed little cheeks aren’t caused today by a brisk run (or two) through the house yelling, “Thomas! I’m Thomas the Train!”  Today, its a 102.5 temp that’s got those cheeks so rosy.  Boy, I’d love to hear a “choo choooooo!” right about now.

Boys and empty hours.

October 23, 2006

I dread Mondays, because they are the one day that I have nothin’ goin’ with my two boys.  On every other day of the week, there is some planned activity: speech therapy, preschool, meeting up with a friend, gymnastics lesson, something.  And let me tell you, having a three year old, and an eigth month old boy…sitting around in the house all day is simply not an option.  These are BOYS.  They need to do stuff, need to get the energy burnt in some way or it all comes back on me in the form of monster tantrums (well, the baby doesn’t know yet what a real tantrum is, but he’s watching his older brother with something that looks a lot like awe…he’s going to learn to mimic it pretty soon). 

Coloring at the kitchen table, playing together on the floor, reading a book–these occupy my eldest for all of 10 minutes.  So, there’s the park.  Can you be a good mom even if you really can’t take going to the park once a week?  It’s not that I dislike parks and playgrounds per se…well, actually, maybe I do.  I’m not particularly a park type of person, I guess.  I’m not an outdoor person at all, so it’s no surprise to me that trekking to the park with two kids in tow, dealing with sunscreen and sand and packed snacks and possible injuries from the monkey bars…it’s not my bag.  But, on a day like today, the clock is ticking.  My oldest has had enough PBS for the day and has started his morning refrain, “Mommy, what we doing?” 

We’re going to the park.

One son was having a screaming meltdown and throwing just-folded laundry on the kitchen floor, the other child, a 7 month old crawler, was eyeing the eletrical outlets with determined zeal.  These things occured simultaneously, roughly ten hours after a day filled with multiple other just as entertaining stress-making moments.  It’s times like tonight that I wonder, oughtn’t I be in therapy?  Or should I mix up a stiff one?  I’ll reach for the chocolate caramel brownie ice cream now, and hope it soothes the frayed edges.  But sheesh, it’s been one of those days.

A boy is baptized.

October 19, 2006

APB is baptized.

So my youngest child Aaron (7 months) was baptized last weekend.  How moving it is for this mom to see her child taken into the arms of a church and godparents…to hear my husband and others make a vow to set this little soul on a righteous path.  Moving, indeed.  Aaron’s older brother Gregory enjoyed the service, too…running up and down the aisles and creating general mayhem.  A memorable day for all.