I get it now.

You know how before you have kids, you think you know everything about raising kids, and then when you finally have kids you laugh at how foolish you were before?

I’m kind of feeling that way again, only about having more than one kid. I used to read blogs and Facebook status updates and tweets about moms who forgot to do important stuff or couldn’t get stuff done around the house and could barely manage a shower some days, and never NEVER arrived anywhere on time, and I used to think, “What is wrong with these women? I have a kid, and I’m not doing that stuff.”

Ah, dear Beth, if only you knew what was in store for you with two kids in tow. I think I figured that adding one more kiddo to the mix wouldn’t be that big of a deal, considering that Bowie is already 4 1/2. But, I’m having to do a lot of juggling to take care of both boys, a lot more than I ever imagined. Plus, for the time being, Bowie has regressed a little bit, and “needs” help again with things he’s been doing on his own for a while.

Things suffer. Like getting to appointments on time, and getting the laundry done and daily showering. Before Ferris came along, I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve been late for things. Now, I’ve been late to both of his doctor’s appointments and twice getting Bowie to preschool. And once picking him up from preschool. This is requiring some adjustment on my part, given my anal retentiveness regarding punctuality.

I’m getting better at it though. So far I’ve honed the skillz of Showering Before Husband Leaves for Work and Loading Dishwasher While Wearing Baby. And I’m not proud of it, but a few times I’ve pulled the old Distract Preschooler with Sesame Street While Tending to Baby trick. And I’m still riding on the coattails of “I just had a baby,” so people are pretty gracious about my tardiness.

I’m figuring out our routine too, slowly but surely. I know that Ferris will take a nice, long nap in his bed in the middle of the morning, leaving me free to do household tasks and cook lunch for Bowie. But, in the afternoon he is a bit of a Fussy McFusspants and has a hard time sleeping unless he’s snug in the Moby wrap or nestled in the crook of my arm. As long as I know it will be the same every day, I can deal with it. (Though it’s pretty common knowledge that as soon as you’ve learned your baby’s routines, they will change. Shhh, nobody tell Ferris that, ok?)

I thought the learning curve would be smaller, given that I’ve already mothered one kid all the way into preschooler-hood, surely I can do at least that again? But, still a pretty steep learning curve, hopping back and forth between each kid, tending to their needs. It’s a balance. A very careful balance.

So, if I ever made a snotty comment on your site about how surely you can find the time for a shower, then forgive me. I get it now. Are we cool?

When One Becomes Two, What Becomes of Me

I’m having one of those days. Where I clean up a mess only to turn around and find another one. Where it feels like the house will be messy forever. Where I put a plate of lunch in front of my son, and it sits untouched for 10 minutes when he announces, “I’m hungry!” Where I can’t read a full sentence on my favorite blog without interruptions like “I want bubble gum!”, “I NEED to watch a show!”, “Please cut the green parts off of my strawberries!!!” (I realize that makes me look a little selfish, but after a morning of reading books, playing race cars and running around the park together, I thought maybe I could catch up on a little blog reading before preschool. Alas.)

I also see the summer days ahead of us, not so far away. I’ve got Bowie signed up for summer school, but that is still only 6 of the 12 weeks that comprise the summer months, and we’re not sure if it will even work out for him this year.

And when I’m getting frustrated, and thinking “motherhood is so flipping hard sometimes!”, I get a stirring from my expanding midsection, reminding me that while I have only one child for now, pretty soon there will be two. I used to marvel at the fact that we had made a person. A real, live person. We made one. And now, we have made people. Plural.

GULP.

While Bowie will eventually move through this needy, demanding, messy preschooler phase, his little brother will be going through it too, at some point. It makes me feel a little defeated. If I can’t learn how to see past the peanut butter smeared on the window and see the humor in it, how on earth will I be able to do this small kid scene for five more years? Five more years.

When I can coax optimistic Beth out of her shell again, she’s telling me that I’m learning this mom thing day by day. That, as unfortunate of a reality as it is, Bowie is the “test child”. The one I make all my mistakes on. The one that will teach me to be a better mom to his brother. The one who is teaching me to let things slide a bit. I’m going to get better at this. We’re going to get better at this.

Somewhere inside, I will find that amazing mom strength that we all have in us. I thought maybe I used it all up with Bowie, but helping him cope with these sensory issues while also being pregnant has shown me that there are infinite reserves available of this mom power. I will get by, I will get through.

Deep breath. I can do this.

Right?

Big, Wide World

Nothing can match the curiosity of a toddler. Their thirst for knowledge and seeing new things is insatiable. They are always ready for the excitement that awaits them around every corner.

On nice days, Bowie and I will walk the 10 blocks to his preschool, just a little bit more than a half mile one way. Most days, the would-be 15 minute walk takes us at least 30 minutes, sometimes as long as 45 minutes.

Bowie fills this time with smelling flowers, petting cats, pointing out airplanes, reading letters on signs, waving to neighbors, feeling all the different plants, picking up sticks, walking backwards and a million other things. He really LOVES seeing new things, finding new things, learning new things. I wish we could all keep that thirst for knowledge as adults. But, sadly I think many of us lose it.

Here’s to bringing out our inner curious toddler.

The Potty Process

Potty training has been going….well….not really going. We are hitting a lot of road blocks, including Bowie not seeming to care when he as a giant steamer in his pants or is standing ankle deep in his own urine. We had heard a lot of theories that letting them have accidents will help teach them to be uncomfortable in the mess and will speed up the self-awareness process.

But, having cleaned up more underpants poo messes than I ever thought humanly possible and cleaning up about twice that amount in pee puddles (probably because my child ingests almost nothing but juice and fresh fruit) made me rethink that approach. Clearly, he wasn’t ready for that level yet.

I didn’t want to go the Pull-Ups route. I was already sick with myself for using disposable diapers for 2 years, and adding more to the landfills wasn’t all that attractive of an option. We had gotten a bunch of them secondhand from a coworker of my husband’s, but I doubted I’d ever use them. However, in a recent mommy error I allowed our diaper supply to hover dangerously low and then also ran out of clean underpants. So, alas, I tried out the Pull-Ups.

You guys, there really is something to these things. Not only does it corral the mess and keep it off of your floors (and clothes and towels and furniture and rugs and car seats and strollers) but it also helps the child to feel soiled in a way that neither diapers nor underpants can. They are learning how it feels to go in their pants, learning how to tell when they need to go, and um, keeping the house a little cleaner.

We know we have a long road ahead of us, and will trudge forth patiently. But I’m starting to realize that no matter how many books and articles we read or how many experts and fellow parents we consult, we still have to figure out what the process is for our family, and for Bowie specifically, if we ever want to achieve any kind of success. And it could mean more junk in the old landfill. Woe is me.

It could be a total coincidence, but in the last 24 hours, we’ve seen a huge difference in how he’s handling the potty situation. Now, the only problem is—that case of diapers I ordered. Probably should have been a case of Pull-Ups.

The Mouths of Babes

Funny things my kid says/does now that he’s getting the hang of this talking thing:

He will knock something over and ask, “What did you do?”

When I leave the room and he doesn’t want me to he says, “Get back here!”

When he hits the cat he yells, “Mama, don’t hit kitty!”

When the sun gets in his eyes (which he HATES for some reason), he screams, “OOOOOWWWWW!” from the backseat of the car, which never fails to make my heart jump into my throat.

If he’s walking near you, and you happen to touch in any way he says, “Oops, sorry!”

When he drops something he says, “Oh, shit!”

When the cat runs away from him to a place he can’t get to he says, “OH NO MAMA GET THE KITTY OH NO WHERE’S KITTY? WHY???”

Whenever I open the refrigerator he says, “Strawberries? Strawberries. Mmm, strawberries. Strawberries?” And if I don’t have any: tantrum city.

Climbing on top of the printer and speaker, “GET DOWN!” Like, before he’s even up there.

Every night before bed, he hugs daddy, and they look out the window together and he yells, “Bye bye Sicko!” Sicko=San Francisco 🙂

It’s so fun watching them learn and grow and try to communicate. I need to get this on tape for the 18th birthday party, hehe.

Mad Skills

This morning, I parallel parked for the third time in my life. The other two times were just weeks ago. Granted, the spots were all GINORMOUS, but I freaking did it, people.

You may be asking yourself how one can live 30 entire years without ever having to parallel park, especially having lived the last 2 ½ years in a major urban area.

The answer? Well, growing up I lived in the opposite of an urban area, and it was just not necessary. In fact, when I took my driver’s test, I couldn’t do it, and the guy passed me anyway. And now that we live in San Francisco? Creative avoidance. Double parking. Driving around for an hour looking for a spot. Taking a cab to neighborhoods where I might have to parallel park. Making someone else drive.

But, there was this one day where it was certifiably unavoidable, and I found a nice big spot, and it was a quiet street, so I didn’t have an audience (this really is my biggest hang up about the whole thing), so I did it. I kept pulling out and trying again until I got it (mostly) right.

When you’re an urban dweller, parallel parking is no longer a “nice to know”, it’s a completely essential skill for survival. So, I may just make it after all.

Walking Skillz

Finally, at 14 months old, Bowie has decided that this whole walking thing may after all be a viable means of transportation. HE IS WALKING, PEOPLE.

So for all you other moms of 12 and 13 month olds whose kiddo’s peers are all walking around like nobody’s business while yours still crawls, two things: 1. I sympathize, it sucks. 2. I’m living proof that it’s normal to have a kid who refuses to walk until the very last second before the pediatrician is about to do every single (highly expensive) test on them to find the problem.

A friend of mine whose child began walking at 11 months was so smug and always telling me, “they all walk eventually”. Yeah, but yours is walking NOW. I want MINE to walk NOW. WHY won’t he WALK.

Well, anyway, the torturous waiting game is over. My kid is finally walking. Now I can commence complaining about how much trouble he gets into 😛