Thursday, January 20, 2011

And the point is...

So we started preschool for Peanut with the idea that it would give her another opportunity to socialize with other kids and adults. We were hoping it would expand her horizons a bit. The other goal was that I'd have some time to spend with Pumpkin one on one and that I could really enjoy my little dude. I've not been really interested in the "academics" of preschool, and would be completely fine if Peanut played all day with a new group of kids and adults, so we chose a play based cooperative preschool with a somewhat relaxed feel.

Well, as I was making the drive to school this morning, I was thinking about these goals and how well we are meeting them. I actually like the drive - it takes 20-30 minutes, and I hadn't realized how much I missed driving. I spent 15 years driving around for work and I had gotten used to having that decompression time in the car with the music on. The time driving though means that the time to spend with Pumpkin is minimal. We can get there and back and have about an hour and a half before we have to head out again to pick up Peanut. That's if we haven't got other errands to run. Then there is the napping issue; I think every second (or third, fourth, etc) kid gets the short end of the stick here. On preschool days, his naps get all messed up because he falls asleep in the car. Which means that at some point later in the day, either he is just a tired beast or I spend 45 minutes getting him to settle down for a 30 minute nap so he can make it through the rest of the afternoon. So on the Pumpkin front, the goals are not really being met as he is logging a ton of car time and basically hanging out at home with me long enough to eat a snack, prepare lunches, and play for a few minutes.

As far as Peanut socializing, she is socializing mostly with her one friend in class who she has known forever and sees at playgroup and homeschool preschool as well. She has begun to talk a bit more to the other adults who teach and help, which is great. I can't say though that it is a huge difference from any other activities we do. The first day I cooped at the school, I felt like there wasn't anything they did that we don't already do at home. I also felt like there was too much focus on getting lots of activities in rather than spending quality time with each thing and getting the kids to really interact, which is what Peanut needs most. So while it is a group of kids that offers a social challenge to her in that they are not well known to her overall, the focus is not on encouraging her to come out of her shell. So I think we may be missing the boat a bit on those goals as well.

The biggest issue I am having though has nothing to do with the kids. In both our homeschool coop and this coop, I volunteer. I'm finding that the expectations for volunteering at this coop are pretty big, and we pay a pretty decent tuition as well. So I end up shelling out some time and money, but don't really feel like I can advocate for things like less activities during the day and more time spent on interactions. I'd like to have more input, but with so many families and many things already decided upon, I can't see that changing. So that's a bit frustrating. I think it would be OK if I was just sending her to a regular preschool and I was not expected or required to put in any time. I'd feel like part of that scenario would be for me to have some time to myself as well, where this set up does not really grant that.

I'm also feeling like we have so many activities planned that our one free day just isn't cutting it. I'd love to have a more free flowing day and avoid the push to get out the door at a certain time almost every day. I'm not sure it is all worth it. I guess I think supporting kids in interacting with people in the real world trumps preschool group activities right now. I think we'll finish out the year with school, but I can't really see us doing this again next year, especially since it would be 3 or 4 days a week. You never know though, I can always change my mind!

Monday, January 17, 2011


I'll be 40 years old next month. Yep, the big four oh. I have to admit, I have not felt "old" until very recently. Lately though, I am reminded of my age often. Today, a mom at a playgroup said something about "like when you were 15 and IMing and your parents came in and you covered the screen with your hand". Ummmm, when I was 15, we had computer lab in school where we would program in basic a little face that smiled. We did not have cell phones, computers in our homes, maybe not even cordless phones yet. We did have what seemed to be a really exciting computer game called pong that we could play on our television downstairs. I now know that is it not an exciting game. Tetris and centipede, which I loved are totally boring as well. But we made due with the technology we had - it was kind of cool learning about computers are they were being developed from tremendous servers taking up rooms and rooms to the desktops that actually took up your whole desk.

I went to college with a word processor that everyone on my floor used for their papers. I had no email until I was in my 20's. I had a cell phone eventually, and a pager, then a blackberry. I got connected, which in some ways, made me disconnected. It became easier to shoot an email that make a phone call. It was easier to call from my cell while I was involved in something else than take the time to sit and talk on the phone with someone important. I'm thinking that as I get older, the need to connect is greater and the need for gadgets is less. I find it horribly rude when people check their email or text on their phones while they are talking with others face to face. I am "that girl" who will not use a cell phone while I am driving under any but the most dire circumstances and who gets really irate with the distracted drivers texting away as they drift into my lane.

So I am feeling a little old and crotchety, but I am facing 40 and looking forward to the changes it will bring. I know I can learn something from these young women I spend so much of my time with and I hope my years will have something to bring to them as well.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Getting Fit

I'm back on P90X, which if you have been under a rock is an intense video workout program with weights, cardio, interval training, yoga and a few other things thrown in. It takes me back to my trainer/aerobic instructor days - it's good solid exercise, it's hard, and it's got enough variety to keep it interesting and fun. It's definitely for folks who know their way around a gym, or have done some weight lifting before. I started up last spring, but Pumpkin was nursing then, and the minute I started to really exercise, my milk supply all but vanished. It seemed I could do a little workout, but even spreading the P90X stuff out to every other day was messing with me. I have to say, it was frustrating to see some nice changes like me being able to wear my pre-pregnancy clothes and having it paired with a very hungry screaming little one. I waited a bit, and once he decided he was done with momma's milk, I started up again.

It's been two weeks back on it, and the changes in strength this time have been fast. I've been able to increase my weights every time, and am starting to see a little muscle definition where once there was none. Yesterday I even did a few pull ups which I haven't been able to do in forever. I'm getting up super early to workout, and that alarm is the worst noise (aside from a screaming child at 2am) but it is worth it. I've noticed that on the days I get a workout in, I am far less irritable, I sleep better, I don't clench my jaw as much at night, and I just feel more centered overall. Yeah, I'd like to look like a rock star, but really I just want to keep up with my kids and know that if they decide to take up rock climbing I can do it with them and enjoy myself.

So I'm getting fit. I'm making it a priority. Keep me honest people :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I know there will eventually be a day where I have one "to do" list in a central location and can actually tick off the items as I do them. Or maybe I will once again be able to remember what I have to do! As it stands now, I wander from place to place knowing I came into that room for something but having no idea what. I sit down at the computer with the idea that there is a task that needs doing, and then putter around without being able to recall the initial task. I'm so tired that I have been the only one to fall asleep the past few days when we have tried to have a "family nap" (which honestly has only ever resulting in both kids falling asleep once) and have woken to Pumpkin pushing my head around saying "Momma, awake! Play!".

I'm not sure that people who don't stay home with kids all day really grasp this issue; there is a brain sucking monster and it is under three feet tall. The level of interruptions during every aspect of the day is so astronomical that I'm amazed I can finish any tasks at all. By the time the brain suckers go to bed, my brain is fried, and it just wants to regroup. I have several lists of things spread all around the house. I do get to them, but lately it feels like I am doing the absolute necessities all the time rather than planning ahead or even being proactive at all. I think my brain needs a little time out and some sleep. Maybe I need to just clear out the inbox, toss all the dirty clothes, clean off the desk and piles of papers stacked in the kitchen and start fresh. If something is really important it will pop up again I'm sure.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


We took the kids to the Udvar-Hazy Center today. It's the Smithsonian Air and Space museum out in Virginia - a huge hangar with a ton of plans, helicopters, a space shuttle, and all kinds of gliders and ultralights. It's very cool, very big, and has lots to see and big expanses of open space for running (OK they are probably not supposed to run, but my kids did). Overall, a great outing for a very cold day.

Peanut and Pumpkin were both really into the planes - Pumpkin kept shouting "plane!" and running to the next one, and Peanut kept marveling at the colors and size of each display. She particularly liked seeing them all laid out below her from the balcony. After a bit of the running, Pumpkin got tired and crabby, so I strolled him around a bit and went to the baby changing station to change his diaper as I figured maybe that was cause for at least some of his distress.

Well, we get to the baby room, and since I have been in there before I know that there is a seat, sink, and changing space. Nothing else. I try the door and it is locked, so we wait. And wait, and wait. And there is complete silence. I hear a rustle of paper in there, and then nothing. So I knock. Someone says, "just a minute". I wait some more, and there is silence. Finally, a mom comes out with two little ones in a double stroller. The kids look to be around 12 months or so. We exchange pleasantries as I hold the door for her and she for me. Then, as I start to change Pumpkin, I realized that I am talking with him about what we are doing and how he must be uncomfortable being so wet, and, and, and...the silence in this room before becomes deafening. It seems really odd not to talk to your kids as you go about the rhythms of the day. How will they know you "get" them? How will they learn what things are called? Maybe she was just tired and the day was long, but it was so quiet that it made me wonder. It was just a little weird, and I kept thinking about it all afternoon.

In the afternoon, Peanut talked *a lot* about taking "Big" (her favorite doll) to see the planes next time. She said she would push her in a stroller or put her in the carrier so she could see all of the planes. Peanut was really excited about showing the museum to her girl, and had all kinds of ideas about planes and how they work and what materials they are made out of. That kid just cracks me up - we can hardly get a word in at home these days, but she is still silent most other places. Ah well, don't let her fool you; she takes in everything.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


A New Year. Time to reflect and recenter. I've been thinking a lot over the past few weeks about the year and the things I've enjoyed and been proud of. I've thought about things I'd rather not remember, and things I hope I don't forget. It has been a year of ups and downs, and while I wouldn't change my life, I certainly have some moments I wish I could take back.

So it's resolution time, right? Not for me. Every year it seems I have a list of things I want to do, change, be, get, improve, focus on, and stop. A nice long list that always makes it impossible to reach any of the goals I set and therefore leaves me feeling like a failure in at least one part of my life. Not this year. I gave myself a gift this year so that I won't be making any resolutions.

I gave myself the gift of acceptance.

I'm accepting myself for who I am and all of the good and not so admirable qualities within me. I'm not trying to change anything or be someone I'm not. I'm just being comfortable being me.

I'm accepting others for who they are, and allowing them to show their true selves without my judgment or trying to change them.

I'm accepting life for what it is this moment. Good, bad, tiring, stressful, overwhelming, joyful, serene, energizing, loving, maddening. Allowing it all to be.

Happy New Year. I hope 2011 holds something wonderful for each of you.