Thursday, October 18, 2012

Naptime No More?

I had big plans today.

Inspired by the brilliant sunshine smiling on the corner of the living room that has become my makeshift office, I planned to begin outlining my novel – one of the many things I’ve been putting off since my daughter was born over two years ago.

My six-month-old has been giving me two decent naps a day for the past three days, and I had the nerve to want to take advantage of the free time by making a to-do list: catch up on laundry, workout, write.

But unfortunately, all of the progress we’re making with the baby is being cancelled out by our toddler’s sudden backsliding. My beautiful angel who slept peacefully through the night at three months, who quickly fell in line with daily my eat/sleep/play schedule is now trying to eliminate sleep from the routine altogether.

As I write this post, she has been screaming, kicking and calling me a host of dirty names in her unrecognizable baby blabber for the past two hours. I’ve done my best to tune it out, but like most moms, the sound of your child screaming at the top of their lungs makes you want to either spring into action or rip your hair out. I tried reasoning with her – explaining that after a nap, she’ll have more energy to play (as if she really needs any more energy). I tried bribery (a trip to the park in exchange for a nap). I even got so fed up that I threatened to leave her in her bed all day until she napped for an appropriate amount of time (I know. What the hell am I doing trying to negotiate with a toddler?

Watching my daughter learn and grow has been fascinating, but I can’t help but feel just a little sad with the loss of each nap. Now that we’re down to one, I’m not ready to let it go. Maybe a little part of me wants to keep her a baby forever, but a bigger part of me is going crazy trying to manage the demands of an infant and a toddler 24/7. I’ve given up a lot since becoming a mother: regular haircuts, going to the bathroom alone, wearing a size four, but I absolutely refuse to give up on an hour of complete silence. If I’m going to be any good at this stay-at-home mom thing, I’ve got to have a little time to recharge. At this rate, I’ll probably get my novel outlined by the time the kids leave for college.

Maybe it’s me who needs a nap?

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Second Time Around

With my first child I did a lot of things right. However, I also did a lot of things wrong (She’ll forgive me for posting a picture of her in nothing but a diaper on facebook one day, won’t she?). One of the best things about having another child is that I’m getting a do over – a chance to right all of the wrongs from my introduction to motherhood. So when my son was born this past April, I promised myself I would do a lot of things differently. Here are just a few:

Make time for cuddling – When my daughter was an infant, I spent most of my time walking around in a sleepy haze – nursing and changing diapers on autopilot. This time, I’m reminding myself to snap out of my zombie-like state and be present. I want to appreciate those quiet moments (even if they do come at 3am!), and snuggle with my little boy. Soon, he’ll be asking me to drop him off three blocks away from school so his friends don’t catch him hopping out of my Subaru!

Don’t rush the firsts – I used to obsess about when my daughter would hit her milestones. I couldn’t wait for her to crawl. And when crawling wasn’t enough, I wanted her to take off on two feet. That was until I realized that the knickknacks in my living room were just too tempting for her little hands to pass up. This time, I plan to appreciate this time while my son is content sitting in a chair at my feet while I read. Because his sister is anxiously waiting to teach him her favorite game, “Hide from Mommy.”

Use my tiny wingman – Rather than complain about the death of my social life, this time around I’m going to do a better job of using my little guy to help make friends with other mommies. Instead of keeping myself locked up in the apartment, we are going to head out to the playground, the bookstore and anywhere else we can find likeminded people who don’t mind hanging out with the under 3 crowd. After all, the playground is one of the few places you can strike up a conversation with a complete stranger and not look completely weird.

He’ll try anything once – Before she could talk, my daughter would happily gobble up just about anything that came out of my food processor. Now that she can ask for what she wants, it’s usually only bunny-shaped mac ‘n cheese or peanut butter sandwiches. I have to be more creative than ever to sneak in a few fruits and veggies. I plan on taking advantage of my son’s clean palate and give him as much spinach as possible.

Accept a helping hand – With my first, I had something to prove. I wanted to show the world that I was a Super Mom, and foolishly turned down help from everyone – including my husband. This time, I will happily accept any offers to help with housework and errands so I can spend more time bonding with the kiddies (or catching up on some much needed sleep!).