Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Guest Post: A Woman in her Thirties Turns 3-6

Today's guest post comes from Heidi, one of my very best of friends from the very oldest of times (Spieg's Drama I class, to be precise).  It is important to hear her voice when reading this post, as her signature inflections are key to its full appreciation.  However, if you don't know Heidi, picture your favorite character from Friends and add some more salty language.  Then smile, and read:

There is something so amazing about a Birthday.  A day to celebrate everything that is you.  You were brought into this world for a reason, and one day a year, you deserve 24 hours of enjoying every second of people showering you with kindness, just because you are you.

But sometimes..... Sometimes... people don't share in your thoughts, and sometimes......Birthdays just suck.

I never ever thought I would say those words.  

I am the Birthday Queen.  The extravaganza haver, the Party Girl, the pass the cake please, I don't care if these pants don't fit, more champagne please! I plan on drinking until the entire world spins around me.  The true believer in The Birthday and all the wonderfulness that goes into those two words. 

But this year.  This year there is no excitement.  In previous years I would have had a New Years Resolution, and killed myself on our local bike trail for 3 weeks straight until all of my clothes bagged on me and I was at an acceptable Birthday weight.  This year I gave up on Resolutions and decided that Chick Fil A being built less than a mile from my house was a sign from God that waffle fries and Butterfinger shakes were the best diet a girl could ask for.  Two hours to decide on an outfit is 119 minutes too long....in past years the Birthday Girl outfit would have been purchased in November and been hanging in a special spot for me to dream about as I put on my boring clothes, counting down to the days until the sparkly attire could be brought out in all it's glory.   The endless champagne has stopped, because a hang over with two children is not worth the two minute table top dance cheers that once were.

I must say that there are people in my life who annually make sure my day is as special as possible.  They drive for twice the amount of time then the time spent celebrating. They aggravate husbands to slip away for few hours, just to make sure they see me smile at their most thoughtful gifts.  They listen to my endless complaints about my newly dyed hair that was supposed to make me feel like a new and improved woman but instead threw me back into my awkward teenage years when no one thought I was attractive except maybe the tuba playing Sophomore whose pants were just a smidgen too tight and face was reminiscent of something cheesy with pepperoni.  

They roll their eyes and brush away my comments about how large and in charge I have become, and try to remind me that they knew me when I could have been the spokesmodel for Omar the Tent maker "Dresses for Women".  My Peeps are the best.  Nothing has changed....except maybe me.

I remember turning 26....just ten short years ago.  When I was the only Married one, and at the time, my Husband couldn't get rid of me fast enough.  (A weekend with my Playstation.  Yes! Please!)  He has always understood the importance of the Birth. Day.  Thank god for that.  There were no children, no schedule making, no pre-meal planning, no baby sitting organization, the only decision we had to make was if our weekend-palooza would be 2 days long or 3 days long...  If we should stop at 7-11 and make a road soda Slurpee.... Is Taco bell a good idea on the way up, or should we wait for Hang Over City and grab it on our way home.  I mean... life changing decisions PEOPLE!  

Good times.

But... Just when I thought I had the Birthday Blues.... This Mother of Two was woke by her precious Husband singing her the Birthday Song, followed by an adorable 3 year old whose grasp is that of a boa constrictor and a 7 year old with the voice of a (frog) Angel.  They don't care that my hair is that of Elvira, nor do they care if my thighs won't fit into my Joes.  All they know is it's Mommy's Birthday, and to them, that means Cake after dinner.  

What more could a woman in her thirties want?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Woman in her Thirties is Totally Awesome

I prefer mornings.  This is not to be confused with being a 'morning person'-- I'm not.  It's just that I know when I work best, and I work best when it's early.  If you need evidence of this, give me a call between the hours of 4:30 and 6:30pm, when life if at its most chaotic around here.  It's not pretty.

When it comes to being a Mom, particularly of the stay-at-home variety, particularly of the constantly traveling husband variety, my mornings now, more than ever, are sacrosanct.  My ideal morning starts at 5:30 with a shower (by myself-- bliss).  Then I walk downstairs to feed Dan and have a bowl of Cheerios with banana (my favorite breakfast).  Then I sit at the computer, answer emails, and read the news.  Sometimes, when life is particularly beautiful, I get to sit down in front of the TV with a cup of coffee and watch the Today show.

(My favorite coffee cup.)

I realize this is not the most exciting of mornings, but for me, it is essential.  My mind regroups.  I feel connected to life outside my house.  I breathe.

But these little stinkers often have a different agenda:

Sometimes it's that one or both of them has had a bad night, throwing the whole morning schedule off. Sometimes it's that one or both of them wakes up in a bad mood, resulting in a less-than-zen-like breakfast.  But mostly, it's that one or both of them has used their baby telepathy.  You know-- the stuff that makes it so they KNOW EXACTLY WHEN YOUR ALARM IS ABOUT TO GO OFF and they wake up precisely five minutes before.

And on those mornings I think to myself, while I scramble to get the mouths fed before too much screaming ensues, as I gulp down my coffee while simultaneously fixing bottles, keeping Dan from the table, and trying to fit in a moment to brush my teeth, that other women are so much better at this than me.  They do this and get to a full time job every morning.  They probably don't call a friend on the way to dropping their kids off at pre-school, asking when things get easier.  They probably wear make-up, too.

I hadn't realized how much this was eating at me until this morning, at yoga.  I was well aware that this was going to be my last break for awhile, considering L is off to Vegas for a million years eight days.  I was dripping sweat and shaking through an crescent lunge when the teacher said, 'Let go of your ego.  The fact that you are even here is amazing.'

He went on to swear at us, but his words stuck in my head.  And while I continued to work, I thought about all the other things that are pretty amazing about me:

1.  I have kept my New Year's Resolution to drink more water.  Amazing.
2.  For the past couple of weeks, I've been able to get both of my children to nap at the same time in the afternoon.  Amazing.
3.  Last week I gave my book to a self-publisher/small press and they loved it.  Amazing.  (More on this later.)
4.  Yesterday, when leaving a play date, Anna turned and said, 'Bye Bye!  Fank you!' Amazing.

Which lead me to think about all the other challenges I've faced in the last four and a half years.  How I'll be thirty-five this May and I've done so much, accomplished so much, and while I might not have the hottest bootie in yoga pants, my kids are happy.  I'm beyond fortunate.  Life is good.

I think a lot of women in their thirties get caught up in the lists of all the things they're not.  I know I do.  But when I got home this morning and saw the look of exhaustion on L's face, I realized that I was not alone in being overwhelmed sometimes.  Two young kids is a lot of work, and while I am certainly not perfect at being a Mom, I'm doing plenty of things right.

A woman in her thirties focuses on those things.  Then she makes herself a cup of coffee, and revels in her awesomeness.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Woman in her Thirties, Month Seven

Dear A-Rod,

Tomorrow you are seven months old.

It has been such a busy month, but you'll have to forgive my lack of posting about it.  You took your first flight to see this guy:

(Does it get any sweeter than that face?)

And did a lot of hanging out with this girl:

You learned to sit up:

And are loving playing with your sister:

And as awesome as it is to see you gain more independence, and as much as I thought things were on their way to getting easier around here...

I've got to be honest.  Life seems to be getting the better of me.  For that, and for making the mistake of taking you on a night flight with the expectation you would sleep, I'm sorry.  I'm also sorry to all the passengers on US Airways flight 55 from Phoenix last Sunday night.  You know who you are.

Other than that, you are still pretty much an 11 on an awesome scale of 1-10.  (You would be a 12 if you'd quit waking up twice a night, you stinker.)  You smile and laugh constantly, you enjoy sucking on your toes and watching your Dad make faces at you, and you are happy to be in anyone's arms, as long as they're paying you some attention.

Which isn't hard.  Because you're ridiculously (and I mean ridiculously) cute.

This New Year, I did something I almost never do:  I made some resolutions.  Some are easier than others, like drinking more water and brushing my hair on a daily basis.  But the harder ones, the ones that are probably most important, involve you.  To stop counting down the days until you can walk.  To stop complaining incessantly about how tired I am (many of you reading this will be thankful for that resolution, eh?).  To enjoy your babyhood, because it's passing by so. damn. quickly.

And if there is one thing a woman in her thirties knows, it's that she'll never get that time back.  So happy seventh month to my sweet little angel, who will be wonderful when he sleeps through the night, but is also wonderful now, right at this very second.  And always.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Woman in her Thirties Sees Green

When Aaron first arrived, the most common question I got was, 'How is Anna handling it?'  I would respond, quite honestly, with 'Great! No problems!'

(Mimsydotes- I love you.)

Well... things have changed.

Not totally.  We still have lots of loving moments every day, my favorite being right around dinner, when Aaron is starting to get tired and hungry, and Anna walks over to him and says, 'It's okay, Buddy.  Don't be cry.'

But there are other moments.  Like this morning, when I was feeding Aaron breakfast, and Anna stood behind me for twenty minutes whining, 'No feed Aaron!  No feed Aaron!'

And other times, when she has decided that the toys she has long outgrown and now 'MINE'.

And many times, particularly when I'm holding Aaron, where my normally independent girl refuses to let go of my leg until I 'put Aaron on the floor and hold you.' (We're working on pronouns.)

But this is nothing compared to the sleeping. Or lack of sleep.  I was telling my friend on the phone the other day that I am so sleep deprived between listening to Anna cry it out in her crib for over and hour (easily), getting up at night for Aaron, and fighting to get Anna to nap during the day, that I am actually dizzy.  (It should be noted that I'm a particularly horrible sleeper myself, so while L might lay on the floor in Anna's room to get her to sleep so I can rest, all I'm doing is tossing and turning anyway.)

I revisited my Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child book last night.  (Parenting books!  Gah!)  Don't give in to tantrums.  Stay calm.  Be stern, yet loving.  Reward good behavior.  Don't freak out, burst into tears, rip out your hair, or yell obscenities, no matter how much you want to (Fine, I'm paraphrasing).  And it resonated with me that while parenting can be so totally amazingly awesome and wonderful:

Anna, singing 'London Bridge.' 

It is also the hardest. stinking. job. in. the. world.  

If there is one thing a woman in her thirties knows, it's that nothing lasts forever.  There will be a time, before I know it, when I will be wishing for my child to beg for my attention.  But it is hard to keep that in perspective when the only thing you want in the whole wide world is for the whining to stop.  

So until then, a woman in her thirties cherishes the loving moments when they come:

(A blur of giggles before bath time)

And cherishes her coffee.  Cherishes her coffee.