My Things

Emma, 5 months

So, Emma turned 5 months old on Sunday. I had to paint her onesie that morning while Joshua sang Secret Agent Oso songs to himself over the monitor and I’m three days late in posting this update. It sucks to be the second child, apparently.

5 MonthsEmma 5 Months

The details:

  • No teeth. Lots of cranky. So, my boobs are still safe for now.
  • Speaking of boobs were still going strong in the nursing department, which is huge for me because by this point I was a dairy-free dairy cow milking myself with a Medela six times a day for Joshua.
  • I gave Emma tastes of a banana and a peach. To say she liked them both is an understatement since she tried to grab both of them from my hands to gum them to death.
  • Sleep is well, it’s a topic receiving much of my focus these days. Thanks to Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep and a whole lot of Googling, were working on it. (Not an affiliate link.)
  • She gets into crawl position regularly and then gets really, really pissed off at the world when she can’t move. I’m not sure there’s enough wine in the world to help me stay sane when she starts crawling and I have two kids moving in opposite directions.
  • If I put her into sitting position, she’ll stay that way for about 3 seconds before falling over, preferring to move around in circles on her belly.
  • She’s found her hands. She’s been chewing on her hands for a while, so she knew they were there. But recently she’s doing that baby on a trip thing where she stares at them like they contain the secrets of the Universe. And maybe they do.
  • She is not a fan of the bouncy seat or the Bumbo but will tolerate the Exersaucer long enough for me to grab a shower and get dressed.
  • She laughs. Like, legitimate laughter when I tickle her or when Joshua plays with her. It’s not quite belly-laugh status, but its laughter. And it’s adorable.
  • I think I’ve maybe finally won the car seat battle. Unless she’s sleepy and then all bets are off.
My Things

May His Memory Be Eternal

It was my second Mothers Day. After putting Joshua to bed, I checked my phone and saw a message that changed my life.

Have you heard about __________?

No, no I hadn’t heard the news. So I did what any teacher does.

I looked him up on Facebook.

The posts on his wall painted the picture of what had happened, but I urged myself to believe it wasn’t true. It couldn’t be true.

Not him.

Surely, he hadn’t been successful. He was in the hospital somewhere and would be okay and his friends didn’t know, right?

Later, the same coworker called to tell me what I dreaded in my heart.

My student had taken his life that morning.

It was all so confusing.

He was so full of life and personality.

People loved him.

He seemed happy.

May His Memory Be Eternal

Having suffered from depression myself, how did I miss that he was hurting?

We laid him to rest in a ceremony that was beautiful and heartbreaking. We celebrated his life while mourning his death.

I despised the way his suicide was handled at our school. Instead of talking about it, some people went about their business as if he’d never been there at all. But not me. I vowed to be a voice.

There will always be a desk in my classroom for him.

There will always be a place in my heart for him.

May his memory be eternal.

Too many people each year are affected by suicide.

Too many people suffer and think that no one is listening.

Today is Suicide Prevention Day.

Kids Memory

Help spread the word.

If you or someone you know is hurting, there is hope.

Because no one should have to go this fight alone.…

My Things

(Not) Back to school

It feels like the entire world went back to school today.

(Around here, students and teachers have been back for a month and are about to have their first week break thanks to a modified year-round school calendar. Totally awesome until the summer.)

Except not me. I didnt go back to school. Right now, Im just mom.

Whats weird is I dont miss it. I expected to miss it.

I expected to feel a pang of loss? sadness? guilt? something? when I saw my teacher friends posting on Facebook about getting back to their classrooms. Or when I drove past the school twice a week to take Joshua to preschool.

Part of me misses the students. The stories. Sharing my life with them and having them feel comfortable enough to share their lives with me. Part of me misses laughing with colleagues during lunch or planning periods. The adult conversations.

But thats it.

The last two years I spent in the classroom were fraught with feeling unimportant and unappreciated, not by my students, but by an administration that viewed me as a cog in the machine and not a valued professional. I dont miss the curtly worded emails that left me feeling like Id been the one to screw up when I was in no way the one who screwed up. The ceaseless feeling that Big Brother was watching and that at any given moment, my name would be drawn to enter into the Hunger Games of teaching high school for no other reason than that it was my unlucky day.

In a lot of ways, I think the last two years and all of the bureaucracy and bullshit are the sole reasons I dont miss being in the classroom. And that doesnt even begin to touch on the nationwide evisceration of teaching as a profession worthy of respect and support.

There are days now when I dont feel appreciated. When what I want for myself sometimes feels unimportant in the grand scheme of things my family needs.

But it doesnt compare to the feelings from the past two years.

I still wake up early now. But I dont dread going to work.

Even on the worst of days, I dont dread being home with my kids.

I suppose thats all the confirmation I need to know I made the right choice.

My Things

Not Super. JustMom

That’s have been the title of this blog for three years now. Not SuperJust Mom. But now the punctuations shifted a little. Or its shifting in my head.

I’m hanging up a few of my hats. I’m scaling back. My cape is at the dry cleaners. Indefinitely. For now, I’m just mom.

It feels good.

Lighter.

I’m two days into my new gig.

Joshua’s have been plagued with Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease and I have been plagued with whining. And Emmas spit up enough for the four of us. Mostly through her nose. All over me and three burp cloths.

It’s glamorous, this new life of mine. Really.

But today we baked cookies. (The cheaters Tollhouse break-and-bakes, but still. Cookies.)

We declared today pajama day and lounged around watching Thomas and breaking out into impromptu dance parties.

We made Play-doh rocket ships and Joshua counted backward from 10, shooting BLAST OFF! after he got to 1.

We snuggled.

We sang.

The rug is littered with toys.

Sure, these are the things we’d do on summer vacation anyway, but this time it feels different. It doesn’t feel like I’m cramming all the fun mom stuff into my summer to make up for the time I won’t has come this fall.

It feels free.

Happy.

It feels right.…

My Things

This is NOT that battle

I’ve seen the SAHM vs Working Mom battle waged time and again but this is NOT that battle. At least not really. I mean, it is, but only as it relates to me and my situation. And you and yours if your feelings happen to also be my feelings. If not, no harm, no foul. Just keep on doing your thing.

Here’s the thing: my hackles get raised every time I see the I can’t let daycare raise my child bit from a SAHM. But not because I disagree with what she’s saying.

My blood pressure rises ever so slightly when I read things like that because, in almost every way, I feel like daycare has done an awful lot of the raising of my child. And not necessarily in the, it takes a village sense.

And then comes the argument from the other side. My side: Daycares certainly not awake when my child is screaming at 2 in the morning! If daycare were raising my child, it would be!

So then I go, yeah, but I don’t exactly want to be awake with a screaming child at 2 a.m. either and I think back to all the smiles and finger painting and fun my child has at daycare. Without me. All of the good things I miss.

Early on in this pregnancy, I found myself completely overwhelmed when I thought back to Joshua’s early months.

The ones where I took a 4-month-old to band camp. The ones where he refused to nurse any longer. The ones where I picked him up in the afternoons only to take him back to school with me for another hour and a half or two. The ones where no one slept. The ones where I couldn’t do it all.

The ones after I went back to work.

In some ways, going back to work saved me a little. It gave me a place to hide from the screaming ball of poop and lungs that I couldn’t understand. It gave me a place to feel more like myself in the face of the PPD that threatened to take over my soul.

But in others, it just made me feel like less of a mom.

I remember, somewhat vividly, because that’s what PPD does to people, the feeling that daycare got all of the good parts of Joshua while I got all of the bad. And I do mean all.

He was always cranky in the evenings. He always wanted to go straight to bed almost as soon as we got home. Then he was up two or three times a night. We couldn’t find a rhythm that left both of us happy and content. And the weekends were no help because we’d spend two days trying to figure things out only to realize we had to go back to work on Monday and everything would just be all screwed up again.

I felt like I did know my son. I didn’t know what he liked or what he was capable of doing and not doing yet. I’d get the milestone emails and I’d skim them because reading them in-depth made me realize I didn’t know if he’d reached those particular milestones yet. I stumbled over developmental questions at the pediatrician because I didn’t have the answers.

I felt like I couldn’t be present as his mother because so many other things also demanded my immediate and undivided attention. So when I felt the word simplify tugging at my heart early on in this pregnancy, I was both shocked and, well, not shocked.

There’s a huge part of me that wants to stay at home next year, and for several years beyond that should situations allow it. I want to see New Girls firsts in a way that I didn’t see those firsts with Joshua. I want to be there for her good moments and not just her bad ones.

Thankfully, Dan’s job has been good to him this year (I mean, it started last year). Financially, right now at least, this is looking pretty possible for us. And really, the financial aspect of this potential change is one I understand and am most prepared to handle. Sure, there will be belt tightening and couponing and simpler living. I can do that.

But how do I do this emotionally? How do I prepare myself for the adjustment of hanging up my teacher hat? For just being a mom and not a mom who drops her kids off with someone else so she can go and spend time with other people’s children five days a week? How do I step out of my career knowing full well that in this economy, there’s no guarantee I can step back into it in the foreseeable future?

How do I make the right choice?…