Smelling Those Roses

This time of year is odd. On the one hand, it’s summer. The kids are home and free, and the weather is nice (albeit hot here) and there’s lots of fun stuff going on.

On the other hand, school is right around the corner. It starts August 4th here. And once school starts, another year of my kiddo’s lives zips right past us. All the pick ups and drop offs and homework and field trips, and then the holidays and there’s no stopping the freight train that is time when school is in session.

I try to slow down and enjoy the days that we have. But the boys are fighting incessantly, and it’s to hot to go and do many of the things we want to. I’m simultaneously willing the school year to start, and not wanting it to at all.

The Timehop app on my phone shows me pictures from long ago, when Bowie was just a baby and a toddler. And I can’t believe how fast the time has gone, and how big my kiddos are now. Even in pictures from only one year ago, they seem so small in comparison.

People often talk about what the hardest parts of parenting are. Having a newborn. Successfully breastfeeding. Getting kids to sleep through the night. Getting them to even just lay down at bedtime. Making sure they eat healthy. Keeping siblings out of each other’s hair. But I think when we really boil it down, it’s how quickly they grow up. It happens in the blink of an eye.

Every day they rely on us less and less. And eventually, they will rely on us very little, if at all. This is the way of things, of course. We did the same thing to our own parents, and they to their parents, but it doesn’t make it any easier to accept.

So, here’s to slowing down. Enjoying every moment. Playing Legos with them, letting them splash in the bathtub a little longer. Because these moments are fleeting. Gone in a flash. And even a good old fashioned sibling WWE match can be funny and memorable if you’ve got the right mindset.

Fast Forward

I remember last year around this time, right after Bowie had started at preschool, wondering where the line was drawn between “toddler” and “preschooler”.

For a while now, we’ve been clearly in preschooler territory. When he started going up and down steps by himself, I figured he was no longer “toddling” and I had to stop calling him a toddler.

But all of a sudden, just in the past week or so, he’s doing all this stuff.

Pulling stools and chairs around to get at things he can’t reach. Getting his own food from the cupboard and fridge. Turning the water faucets on and off (and telling me, “H is for hot and C is for cold, mama!”). Putting on his own shoes. Going potty without help. Spitting after brushing his teeth. Forming complete sentences. Threading string through pasta to make a cool pasta necklace, all by himself.

Sniff.

So, now I’m wondering, where is the line between “preschooler” and just…”kid”? And how did we get to this line so quickly?

Everyone says the first year goes so fast. And it does! Yes, it does! But, what they don’t tell you, is every year after that goes exponentially faster. Until, I’m envisioning, you’ve got a teenager standing in front of you, and you’re like, “What the hell just happened?”

Mostly, I’m lamenting the fact that gone are the days when we can put the cookies and candy high up on a shelf, and not only can he not reach them, but he forgets all about them. No more. Now he’s smart. Really smart. And strong enough to carry the footstool across the kitchen.

What to do while kiddo bathes

Bowie is 3 now, so we figured he’s old enough to be in the bath unsupervised (because we obviously are the worst parents ever, according to some). (Actually, we’ve been doing that for a while now.) (Ahem.)

But, recently, a friend who is a new mom confessed to falling asleep on the bathroom floor because she was so bored (and so tired, understandably), she thought all you could do was sit and stare at your baby, who is now of the self-entertaining variety, yet still too young to be left alone. And, sleeping thereby defeats the entire purpose of accompanying your babe in the bathroom. So, here are my suggestions for ways to keep busy and/or stay awake while you supervise the bathtub.

1. Clean the toilet. (Or the shower, as in our case the toilet is in a separate room. what can I say, they made some wacky houses back in the day.)

2. Pluck your eyebrows.

3. Text, email, Twitter, Facebook, the point is, if you have a smart phone, use it. Or your Kindle, iPad, whatever technological device you have at your disposal. (Some people think this makes you a little too distracted, but I disagree. Just don’t get sucked into some hot drama on Hulu. And don’t make calls. THAT is distracting for sure.)

4. Cut, file and maybe paint your fingernails and/or toenails. Bonus: you can soak your feet and exfoliate!

5. Try out some new hairstyles or makeup looks in the mirror.

6. Floss. You’re too lazy to do it upon waking or before going to bed, so why not turn it into a time killer?

7. Shave. Not kidding. Just keep the razor away from babe, and take care of the peskiest, most time-sucking task of all.

8. Make lists. Make this week’s meal plan, your notes for the work meeting tomorrow, your new year’s resolutions, whatever it is you’ve got to get off your mind and onto paper.

9. If you sing or play an instrument: practice. Bathroom acoustics are notoriously awesome. And the kiddo will love it!

10. Knit. I personally don’t knit or crochet, but this one seems like a no brainer for this time slot.

There you go. No more wasted time (or falling asleep)!

Tantrums

Something, SOMETHING, drew me to look up the word “tantrum” in the dictionary one day. (Hint: I’m pretty sure it was one of the one thousand tantrums Bowie throws each hour that might have been my inspiration. WHO CAN SAY.)

I was hoping to find some kind of origin for the word, something that…oh, I have no idea, maybe I was hoping for a clue on how to handle one. Like, maybe the origin of the word was Latin for “give the child a sedative and tie them to a chair until it kicks in”.

Apparently, the origin of the word is unknown. But, what the entry did say was that the first known usage of the word dated back to 1714. Which means us mamas have been dealing with tantrums for A MIGHTY LONG TIME. It took them until the 18th century to come up with a term for it, but they’ve been happening all along, I’d venture a guess. I can just picture some cave woman, throwing her basket of gathered goods on the ground and saying to her child, “I’m DONE. Just DONE.”

So, the next time you are in the throes, try to remind yourself that you are approximately the 483,349,376,484,290,4848th mama to have dealt with tantrums. I don’t know why, but for some reason that makes it seem easier to tolerate. Eventually the tantrum will end. And eventually he will be old enough that he won’t have them anymore. Maybe.

I also liked that one if the synonyms was “scene”. Because yes, it does happen to cause a scene. Even when you are in a crowd of fellow parents, even fellow parents of toddlers, you seem to get that “Do you even KNOW what you’re DOING?” look from people as your child pulls your hair, bites you, throws themselves to the floor, kicks, screams, slaps and throws toys at other kids. No, that’s ok, Complete Stranger, don’t offer to help, don’t give me a half-smile-of-sympathy, no please, really, just JUDGE ME.

I just hope the Age of the Tantrum is almost over. Not sure how many more I can take. (And somehow I want to sign on to do this for another kiddo? What is wrong with me?)

I know, I know.

I’ve really been phoning it in lately, sorry about that. This past weekend was the preschool benefit auction, of which I was part of the planning committee, and it was using up a vast majority of the little free time I normally have.

I have also been nursing a sinus/lung thing off and on since New Year’s Eve, so there’s been a bit of napping as well. Finally going to the doctor later this week, and praying that it’s nothing serious that I’ve been passing on to all the kiddos at preschool (I did my work day last week even though I was a hacking, mucousy mess).

But then I stumbled on an old pal’s blog today and she hasn’t posted since last October, so I’m feeling a little better about myself. I post more often that that, at least. I mean, most of the time it’s about the weather, or my health or how I never post but, whatever.

There’s BIG stuff coming this spring, I just have a feeling. So hang in there.

Time.

Bowie was running a fever (again) today, so I kept him out of school. But, because it’s against every single rule in the Motherhood Handbook to keep a 2 1/2 year old inside a house on a sunny 65 degree day, I buckled him into the stroller and we walked to the park.

The whole walk there, I had this really weird feeling…I couldn’t quite place it…then finally when we were leaving the park, I got it: nostalgia.

There was a time, not so long ago, when I would buckle him in pretty much every morning, and we would make our trek to the park, and maybe he would swing or maybe he would slide, maybe he would just sit next to me on the bench, didn’t matter, I enjoyed those trips to the park so much. And I realized that we hadn’t been in a long time. Too long.

I have a big boy preschooler now, and a lot of days we just can’t seem to find the time for a walk, let alone time at the park (except our walks to school, which I cherish and will miss SO MUCH). I still remember his first trip to the park, SIGH: