Pumpkin Mom

I made a midnight run to Walmart tonight and I discovered that I have some deep seated issues about going out late at night. I know exactly when these issues started, too: when Noah was born.

Before his birth, I was out all hours of the night without a second thought. I’m a night owl by nature. I regularly go to bed at 2 AM, wake up with the kids at 9 AM, and go on with my day. I enjoy my alone time at night where I can recharge my mental batteries for the next day.

I would work the night shift and I loved it. Night shifts were quiet and full of interesting, quirky people. I didn’t deal with lunchtime rushes or many children. Bosses were more lenient. I would go out with my cousins until 2 or 3 AM, blasting music with the car windows down (sorry) and doing absolutely nothing but being out. Joshua and I spent a lot of time at Walmart in our tiny town because it was the only 24 hour place and it was something else to do at 3 AM. That or IHOP. I know, exciting life, right? We bonded well, I can tell you that.

After Noah was born, though… it’s like I turned into a pumpkin. Going out after 9 PM feels sinful. Going out almost at midnight, alone, while everyone is sleeping? I almost couldn’t do it. I was over halfway to the store and I still felt like I should turn around and scurry home. I even speedwalked through the store.

I’m not sure what causes this feeling, either. Joshua has certainly never made me feel like I’m not “allowed” to go out. The kids are safe with their father and Liv doesn’t nurse as much at night now so I’m actually pretty free to do whatever I want. I’m awake anyway. It’s not that I’m scared of the big bad boogeyman (or human man) because I’m cautious… but I do think my mother may have instilled some fear in me about that anyway.

It also doesn’t help that people ask me over and over if I’m really okay when I go out. Grocery shopping on my own? “Are you okay?” Walking down the street? “Are you okay?” Alone with two kids while Joshua goes out? “Are you okay?”

I may look young but I’m not without backbone or a fast mind. I can handle emergencies with a calm demeanor. I’m just as safe as any other 20-something out and about… and a lot of those women don’t mind walking places if there are a lot of people. What is it that makes me so hesitant to take 30 minutes to myself and run out to the store?

It’s stupid, is what it is. So I did it, and I’m enjoying my Sprite very much, thank you.

Maybe Not Picture Perfect…

Yesterday was one of those parenting days where I felt completely “with it”. I was the mom with energy, ready to play and clean and get all kinds of stuff done. I actually woke up on time, warmed up breakfast (Cinnabon, yum), made coffee and played with the kids before 10 AM! (We’re all late risers; I’m not that bad.)

After I got Olivia down for her first nap, Noah helped me clean. He always wants to but I’m a perfectionist so I haven’t really taken the time to show him how to do stuff around the house. He cleans his room (with an argument and lengthy discussion) but that’s about it. I realized that he is five years old now, though, and therefore it’s time for him to start learning these things while he’s still eager and can form good habits. After all, I expect him to do his share of the housework, just like Daddy!

He learned how to fold towels and let me just say, we both deserve medals for that one. I lost my patience once, probably kind of rudely, and owed him an apology. He gave me a hug, because that’s the kind of awesome kid he is. Then we tried again and I did so, so well just telling him he did a good job when he didn’t match the corners of the towels exactly. *twitch* Actually, with each towel he folded, he did a better job, and I was also able to chill out and remember that perfectionism is only one short step away from going insane.

I’m working on it.

About halfway through the towels he started whining, of course. The novelty wore off and he kept saying he was SO tired and SO exhausted, complete with eye rubbing. Good grief. What did I do, though? Miss “with it Mom of yesterday”? I reminded him that if he wanted more time to play with me, I had to have help with housework, so the more he did, the more time we could play. He asked if we could play Ben 10 on the Wii so I said yes, and he finished the towels. (I did play Ben 10 and I kicked the first level boss’s ass, booyah. Look of adoration on a five year old’s face? Priceless.)

Noah also managed to sort all of the laundry for me so we could start a load. He liked that part, because he likes throwing clothes into the washing machine and pouring in the powdered detergent. We had a mini lesson about how the washing machine works, how much water to use and when to add more. Awesome.

It wasn’t a perfect day, though. I organized ALL of the kids’ books…because Olivia threw them on the floor. I walked into their room to find books strewn everywhere, sidewalk chalk in her hands and both kids shrugging their shoulders. Conspirators. We put up ALL of the clean laundry… and ended up with two loads worth that I still have to put up tonight, preferably while catching up on a tv show. I even did all of the dishes before dinner time, so we could cook!

We ordered a pizza. Oops. Still, I count that as “with it”. A cleaner house, kids that had mom time, lessons being learned and family time in the evening is pretty much my perfect day. I’ll let go the random messes and temper tantrums and moments of lost patience because asking for movie perfect days is just setting myself up to fail. I’ve learned a lot in 2013 already.

Today, on the other hand…today was today. Crabby kids (Olivia’s teething and cutting 4 more teeth after 2 popped out last week), literally sick and tired Mom… no one killed each other, we all played together and then they had a wonderful visit with Grandma while Joshua and I ran away off for two hours. Now both kids are sound asleep and there’s a bottle of Mike’s in the fridge with my name on it. I’m going to go ahead and call today a win too.

Blogging, Teething and Reading.

The archival quality of a blog has already proved useful. I ended up reading through older entries last night, particularly the ones about Noah’s progress in decluttering his toys, and I was surprised by how well we had actually done. I was pretty impressed with us at the time but even more so when looking back. It was very inspirational and has me working on getting more “junk” out of our home. I also am able to let go of more sentimental things, like Olivia’s clothes that she is quickly outgrowing. I actually have a friend that is due in March with a baby girl so I have a good place to pass on the nicer stuff that I wish got more wear. :) Definitely works for me!

Also, as far as Olivia’s growing goes: she’s now 13 months old, an expert crawler and a ham! She loves to laugh and loves to make people laugh. It is rare that people look at Liv and not see her either smiling or ready to break one out. Her smiles are also still very gummy…oddly, she didn’t cut her first tooth until very close to her birthday last month. She’s actively cutting 6 teeth right now (4 on top, 2 on the bottom) and getting ready to get her first year molars in. Poor girl has been fussy (for her) for a few days now and she’s not sleeping as soundly as she was. She’s also nursing all day long and frequently through the night even though she eats solids regularly.

She’s not walking yet, either. She’s almost ready, has it down physically, but mentally she will not let go. If she realizes she’s standing independently, she deliberately leans forward to put her weight on something. Instead of hitting this milestone and taking off with it, she’s decided to pick up words. Baby sign, verbal, whatever. She was very quiet before and now she’s absorbing whatever words she can. Whether she repeats them or not is entirely up to her (mostly, she doesn’t) but understanding the meaning behind them and expanding her vocabulary is something else.

Noah isn’t letting her be the only impressive one in the house, though. He’s picked up reading through phonics (no program, just me teaching him the way I was taught by my mother). What we – Joshua and I – didn’t expect was for him to grasp the concepts so quickly. He went from reading 3 letter words to reading whatever he sees. It is not unusual to find him in his bed, reading a book. He also reads the names of episodes on Netflix, signs, instructions, etc. If it has words, he reads it. This does mean that all internet browsing is SFW (Which it generally is anyway, but we’re Redditors and stuff tends to pop up.) because he has been known to read our monitors over our shoulders.

I realize that at five years old, reading is a pretty typical skill, but the genuine love for reading that Noah has brings me great joy. I hope that my kids will be readers for the span of their lives. Books are knowledge and adventures. Thanks to books, I’ve rarely been bored in my life. Hopefully they won’t be, either.

So many cobwebs…

Yikes. It’s been almost six months since I last blogged and I had intended to write every day that month, I think. I hit a brick wall when it comes to my website and that wall didn’t feel like crumbling until recently.

You see, I normally work on layouts before I feel comfortable blogging. I realize this is kind of working backwards because content is more important but designing websites was my passion once and it was just where I felt like starting. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the inclination, inspiration or desire to design my own layout or, more importantly, code it. Since I’m stubborn, that pretty much meant that I went nowhere. I didn’t want to use a free theme from WordPress.org. I didn’t want to leave a cobbled together layout up from when Olivia was a newborn. I didn’t want to make my own because, well, my plate is piled pretty high.

I really miss blogging, though. I have a Livejournal, not that I use it much lately, but it’s not quite the same. Microblogging on Twitter and Facebook also doesn’t have the same archival quality that blogs do. I still look back at old blog entries from 1999 and 2000 (holy cow!) and laugh at myself. (Laughing at myself is a big hobby of mine, btw.) So, I found a layout I thought was pretty, easy to navigate and most of all, a good foundation for me to build this website back up. Maybe if I do it content first, inspiration will strike some night and I’ll have a gorgeous layout for people to look at.

Or, if I write enough, maybe I can justify paying for a customized theme and support one of my fellow webdesigners. That would be nice too. ;)

Wish me luck! I’m going to try not to take myself too seriously and just have fun with this! Just like I used to.

The Set Up

I’ve been asked about our set up before, probably because it’s fun to peek in at other changing areas, so I decided to post ours. I’m not trying to go back to talking just about cloth diapers but it’s been fun to share this stuff with everyone. I apologize in advance for random dark shadows and stuff. I’m not a professional photographer at all…in fact, still trying to get used to my camera! And I was kind of in a rush because with two kids…actually, that pretty much says it all right there.

This is our changing area. It’s right off of the bathroom and laundry area so it’s not an issue if there is a smell (not an issue so far) and doing diaper laundry is a breeze. We use a regular 13 gallon trash can with a swingtop lid (you can see the sticker that I still haven’t taken off even though it annoys me) and pail liners.

There’s a laundry basket and trash can for obvious reasons and a huge counter that used to be full of clutter and isn’t any more. Woohoo for purging the home of a black hole!

To the right, on the counter, our wipes. The basket is full of various cloth wipes that I just use with water (since the sink is within reach). The plastic wipes container is from the hospital and perfect for holding random little things like Snappis, Boingos, CJ BUTTer samples, etc. Then a flip top pack of Target wipes which I looove because they are as softer than a cloth wipe and pretty tame as far as chemicals go.

The full “stash”! Yes, I managed a picture. I’m full of back pats right now, let me tell you. First shelf is a plastic container to keep all of the pockets and all-in-ones in. Super easy to see what I need and grab it and keep everything we actively use nice and neat. The bottom shelf has a box of disposable wipe packages (for the diaper bag, mostly) and fitteds, covers, wetbags, etc.

Ahhh, pretty. I love the vibrant colors! These are our pockets and all-in-ones. The aesthetic side of me wants to turn the diapers so the “pretty” side shows (like the back left) but Joshua likes being able to see what he’s grabbing and that sounds fair. On the right we have the Bumgenius 4.0 pockets, in the middle we have Bumgenius Elementals and on the left, the night time stuffed 4.0s (hemp insert AND a prefold) as well as assorted AIOs/pockets. Sometimes I miss our prefolds and then I change Liv’s diaper and remember how squirmy she is. Pfft.

Purple container: Assorted WAHM fitteds (8), spare small prefolds for stuffing pockets, hemp inserts, bamboo doublers, and PUL covers (3). I tend to not touch this stuff very often right now. Maybe later.

Wetbags, spare pail liner and a little roll of garbage bags for that trash can. Lavender scented, so I can avoid the smell of used wipes until it’s time to take out the trash (it takes a while to fill up that can).

Here is the inside of the diaper bag with the other three Elementals we own. These tend to sit in there for when it’s time to go out. On shorter trips, we don’t have to change her, but on longer trips, we’re ready to go. If she doesn’t poop, this could get us through 4-6 hours alone, not counting her fresh diaper when we leave. If necessary we pack more, of course, but this tends to work well for us.

I’ve changed up our set up a few times but now I just LOVE it. Diaper changes are easy and even Noah knows where everything is. He spent a few minutes earlier telling me what a diaper pail was, though I’m not sure why…honestly, that kid just talks. And talks.

And talks.

Oh! I can’t forget the little cutie who GETS her diaper changed. She was helping me take pictures. I have no idea what the black shadow is on the right…I think it might be the strap, actually. Oh well, I’m learning.

(More information on our “stash” is in the last post here.)