Comfortably numb

I know that when the kids are behaving horribly it only makes matters worse when I get angry. If I get angry, they sense it, and their behavior gets worse. I know this yet, sometimes I find myself in that cycle of increasing anger anyway. When your children wake you up at 4:30 AM, and you are all over tired and miserable it is hard to behave rationally. The children are crabby, and more prone to horrible behavior, and I am less likely to deal with the horrible behavior in a good way.

It is on days like those when I want to be the one who leaves for work first, the one who doesn’t have to get the kids from a state of pajamas and empty tummies, to one of daycare appropriate clothing and at least partially filled tummies. I want to be the one who doesn’t have to fight with the children to get them into the car. I want to be the one who can calmly tell me later “you shouldn’t let it get to you so much.” I want to be the one who thinks first about his need to get to work, and how much work he needs to accomplish this day, rather than about the hundreds of little things that need to be done for the children and for the household. I want to be the one who calls home at 5:30 PM and asks if I’ve already picked up the kids from daycare (daycare that closes at 5:30 PM). I want to be the one who can work from 7 AM until 6 PM with no thought of how my children got from their beds to daycare and back home again. I want to be the one whose job comes first, whose job is more important, and who’s simply not able to leave work after working for 8 hours. I want to be the one who can come home and eat dinner and then sit on the couch reading a book until one of the children or I make him engage the family in some way. I want to be the one who the children scream “Not you, only Mommy can do it” at when I try to help them. I want to be the one who can turn off all things family while I’m at work. I want to be the one who doesn’t have to worry about how all of that yelling in the morning is shaping our children negatively. I want to disengage at will.

I want all of it, or at least I would want it, until I had it for five minutes.

PS. To lighten the mood a bit, I just have to post a shout out to my Mom. Happy 60th Birthday Mom! I hope you are having a fabulous time in Vegas with my dear brother and his dear wife, can't wait to see you next month!


Sharing the cuteness

Upper left: The Boy on his first day of school
Upper right: The Girl demonstrates her shirt over her head skills
Bottom row: Hanging at the zoo
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Give me a boost(er seat)

The Boy is four years old, and just maybe a pound or two shy of 40 pounds. Our current carseat situation includes a grand total of four carseats (make that five with the one we purchased yesterday evening). We have a pair of Britax Marathons, and a pair of Evenflo Triumph Vs that remain in our vehicles. This pairing has worked well for us since The Girl outgrew her infant bucket seat. We purchased the Marathons because they allow for 5-point harness usage up to 60 pounds.

We had intended to continue using this pairing of carseats until The Girl reached the height/and or weight limit for the Triumph seats, but we now have a snag in that plan. The Boy began preschool last week. He needs to get from daycare to preschool and then from preschool to home two days per week. We were very thankful that another of his daycare mates is in his preschool class, as this meant we could come up with a carpool arrangement. The snag in the carseat paring comes in when we concluded that it just isn’t possible to fit even the tiny portable low-back booster (our fifth carseat) between the two carseats in my 2000 Honda CRV. There isn’t even a shoulder belt in that position so even if we could fit the carseat there it wouldn’t be safe.

We’ve decided to buy The Boy a booster seat to use in my car from here on out. When his buddy is in the car with him, he will ride in the Marathon (which will otherwise become The Girl’s), and she will ride in the booster seat. When he is in the car with his sister he will ride in the booster seat. As we were contemplating this carseat switcheroo I started seeing the memory You Tube video of the little boy who died when his seatbelt failed in my head, but I had to squash it. I just can’t see spending the money on another Marathon at this point. A big part of me really looks forward to The Boy being able to easily fasten his own seat belt in the booster seat…one less kid to strap in sounds downright heavenly to me. Does it make me a bad Mom to not want to deal with a 5-point harness anymore?
We are looking at the Britax Parkway, anyone have it or another you could tell me about?


Sizing it up

I was recently shopping for some fall clothing for my kids (at Target). The Girl needed some new pants and a few long-sleeved shirts that don't scream "this is a hand-me-down from my brother can't you tell!" The Boy needed a new fall jacket, and a few pairs of pants. I had good luck finding the items for The Girl, she is a tall 2 year old with a long torso, so she is generally wearing size 2T (only if it sports an adjustable waistband) for pants and a 3T for shirts.

The Boy is a little trickier to shop for though. He has the same micro waist his sister has so adjustable waistbands are a necessity. He is almost too tall for 4T pants now, but I guess we will just make him wear high-waters this fall. I am at a loss for what size to buy him. I do occasionally see 5T sized clothes, but not always. I've ventured over to the "boys" section and see size 4 and size 5 clothing, but when comparing to the T series clothes they seem much bigger and baggier (which translates to very sloppy looking 4 year old). Does it make sense that a 5T sized shirt would look like it fits The Boy well, but a size 4/5 shirt looks like he is borrowing one of my old shirts for the day? Is this a result of style, do I just have to get used to my cute little boy swimming in his clothing before he can even demand such a thing?

I found this website, which gives a great summary of the size ranges for kids clothing. I think I will take The Boy's measurements to see where he falls.



I wrote this post several months ago, but never published it, then came back to it again a few months later and still didn't publish it. I decided that today is a fitting day to finally take these thoughts out of my computer and share them with you.

As I was driving to work one morning a few weeks ago I was flipping between radio stations searching for decent music. I stumbled upon a station playing a compilation song. Perhaps this is a local phenomenon, but I’d guess not. I couldn’t tell you the song it was put to because I didn’t listen for very long. It was some sort of tribute to the US troops fighting the war in Iraq or other various places. It was a touching song, with snippets from people who called in to offer their support and well wishes. I felt like vomiting. I changed the station settling on a Jewel song which wasn’t much of an improvement. Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against offering words of support to our troops, but I don’t want to hear a tacky radio compilation of poor voice quality recordings intermingled with music. It reminded me of my drive back from Denver after September 11th, 2001. I’d been flying to San Francisco the morning of September 11th, and when they grounded all air traffic we were forced to divert to Denver. I won’t go into details, but I ended up managing to borrow a car from my company’s Denver sales office to get me back home. I didn’t want to wait out the air traffic nightmare to get me home.

Along my long drive home I flipped endlessly between radio stations, and it seemed that compilation songs were everywhere. I finally stopped at a Target en route to buy some CDs so I had other options. I don’t think I was ever bothered by compilation songs before that drive home, but now whenever I hear one I go right back to that trip. I’m not sure why it stirs up such a negative response from me; the trip back wasn’t all that horrible. I did have an intense longing to get back home as quickly as possible. I think every single person who had my cell phone number (and even some who didn’t have it before that day) called me on September 11th to make sure I was safe. They all knew I was a frequent flier and wanted to make sure that by some crazy coincidence I wasn’t on one of the ill-fated flights. I felt tremendously loved; family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances called to check on me. I think many people felt an urge to just hunker down with their families after such a tragedy, and that was certainly the case for me. I needed to get back home as quickly as possible, driving all the way from Denver to Lincoln, Nebraska in one evening, and continuing home the next morning.

I wasn’t one to want to sit and watch the news coverage of the tragedy for hours upon hours though. Mostly I wanted to be home, to feel grounded, and return to some sort of normalcy. Listening to the compilation songs was only making me think more about the tragic events, and was bringing me down. Some people need to deal with catastrophes by learning all that they can about why it happened. I need to move on quickly so I don’t bog myself down with depressing details. That may sound callous, but that is how I function. I guess I am the same way with the war in Iraq. I catch my updates on The Daily Show, but aside from that I mostly tune it out. I know I am guilty of a “not my problem” mentality. There is a group of people who periodically hold up “bring the troops home” signs along my drive home from work. They stand on the sides of a busy intersection with “honk for peace” signs as well. I never honk. I try to avert my eyes. It isn’t that I don’t want peace, or that I don’t want the troops to come home, because I do. I just don’t want to think about it any more than I have to.

Before the 2004 presidential election I got all fired up wanting to get rid of Bush, but it didn’t happen. Our country is now in far worse shape then it was even in 2004. I tell myself that if thinking about it didn’t help, not thinking about it isn’t going make it worse and at least I am spared the mental anguish along the way. I’ll keep flipping away from compilation songs because listening to them isn’t the answer. Somehow we managed to get in this position as a country, and I can’t help but feel that it is because so many other people just don’t want to think about it either. The songs might provide some comfort to the families who have members serving in the armed forces, but they aren’t changing the status quo. Spreading democracy through warfare makes about as much sense as chopping off an arm to cure a hangnail, but there we are. Perhaps one day we will wake up and realize that it isn’t the responsibility of the United States to save the rest of the countries of the world from themselves. 4000 years of fighting isn’t going to end because we say “don’t you want to be like us?” I would say that generally people don’t like it when you occupy their country and tell them you know what is best for them. I can also attest to the fact that I don’t enjoy being encouraged to live in fear of what might happen. The more we fear, the more likely we are to have something to be afraid of.

I’m not sure why I felt compelled to write this post, it has been sitting in my drafts for quite a while unpublished. I think my desire to post it is fueled by the fact that I want to wake up from my slumber, but I’m still rubbing the sleep from my eyes. I listened to part of the interim report on the progress in Iraq yesterday. I was most struck by the tone our president used before opening up to questions from reporters. Most of all it seems our president wants us to be afraid, afraid of terrorists, afraid for the future of Iraq, afraid of Iran, afraid, afraid, and afraid. His presidency has been one built almost entirely on fear. This presidency is a sharp contrast from other presidencies in dark times for our country. I think FDR was quite wise when he gave his inaugural address:

I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the
Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present
situation of our people impel. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth,
the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing
conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has
endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm
belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning,
unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into
advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and
vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which
is essential to victory.

While our president certainly does a good job of pointing out who were are supposed to fear, he is lacking the frankness and honesty required to overcome the fear. It seems as though we are supposed to behave as obedient children, doing as we are told, not questioning the great patriarch who knows better than we do. The only way this strategy can be effective is if we as a country are all too afraid to speak out against it. I’m not going to live in fear anymore. It isn’t healthy. It isn’t in our country’s best interest to remain fearful long-term, this does nothing but fuel hate, resentment, and greed.


A fish tale

As we felt summer coming to an end a few weeks back, T decided that The Boy really needed to have the opportunity to use the fishing pole he received for his fourth birthday. The problem all along has been that T doesn't fish, so we kept saying it was up to one of The Boy's Grandfathers to take him fishing. Well as you know, life often gets in the way, and it just didn't happen. T somehow remembered that this little rite of passage needed to take place and took his Dad and The Boy fishing after dinner on Labor Day. The Boy caught 4 fish on his first outing. Beginners luck?

Saturday we decided to take both kids fishing at one of the local lakes. Grandpa came along since he has the requisite fishing license (T really doesn't fish), and seems to like hanging out with us. The Boy caught 11 fish, and had a blast (all very tiny fish that were returned to the water in relative health). The Girl and I found a nearby playground after about 10 minutes of fishing.
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It is so fun to watch my kids experience things for the first time, even if they are things like fishing that I don't particularly enjoy doing. I definitely have fond memories of fishing with my Dad as a kid, and I'm happy that my kids will get to fish with their Grandfathers.
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and with their Dad
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Some breathing room

I got home from an overnight business trip just after the kids were in bed last night. T had just come downstairs when I walked in the door. He indicated that the kids knew I was home, because as he was rocking The Girl she said “Mommy’s Home!” when she heard the door open. He told her that maybe I would come up and check on her before she fell asleep. I made my way upstairs to unpack, and as soon as I flicked on the bedroom light, I heard a chorus of “Mommy” from the kids’ respective bedrooms. I finished unpacking and went into The Boy’s room first, knowing that he would be the easier to deal with. I gave him a hug and a kiss told him that I’d missed him, and said goodnight. He actually let me leave his room with no calls for one more cuddle. I went into The Girl’s room next, and she popped up and demanded to be rocked, which of course I agreed to. As I sat in the glider rocking her, The Boy appeared in her room and told me that he needed me to tell him a story. I told him that he’d already read stories with T and that he needed to go to sleep, but he persisted. He didn’t want to read a book; he wanted me to tell him a story about Him and his sister. I agreed, and quickly made up a story about the two of them, and their wild adventures. At the conclusion of the story I put The Girl down in her crib, and walked The Boy back to his bedroom, and they both went to sleep.

I went back downstairs after they were in bed, and chatted with T for a few minutes. We caught up on the kids, work, and household stuff I’d missed. It felt so good to be home. Most of my major work deadlines of late have been met, and for the first time in a long time I didn’t feel like I should be doing something more productive with my time. It felt great for about 2 hours. Now I’m bored.