Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mommyhood. For real this time.

For the last 6 weeks, I have been a full time mommy. Before, I was a full time mommy and a full time employee, but since the first of November, I have given up one of those. I'll give you a hint: I gave up the one that actually MADE money. It wasn't really my decision, truth be told. The recession has hit hard here in the city and I was laid off. Although I'm looking for work, I'm still a full time mommy in the meantime. And it's kicking this mommy's ass.

There are several differences between our lives now and our lives while I was working full time. Not all of them are welcome changes, mind you, but we'll get to that later.

First off, the beauty of staying home:
I'm able to both drop Joci off and pick her up from school, which she loves. I'm also able to play Mommy of the Year and do the crap I never had time to do before like volunteering for PTO events (I recently took pictures of the kids at Jocelyn's school sitting on Santa's lap during a holiday festival), bake cookies (for aforementioned PTO event), help with Girl Scout cookie sales, and so on and so forth. Plus, much to Joel's delight, I'm able to make dinner before 8pm. Sometimes, it's even made BEFORE he gets home! I KNOW!

Also, it feels nice to know that I'm the one actually raising my son. Before, he spent nearly all of his waking hours at daycare. By the time I would drop him off, work all day, pick him up and commute home, it would be his bed time by the time we actually arrived home, and I was constantly feeling terrible about it.

Finally, I don't have to put makeup on. I could, but why? And I don't, frequently. Ask the people at Wal-Mart. Or my husband. Or anyone at Jocelyn's school. Truth be told, it makes me sick when all of the mommies show up to pick their kids up and are all made up with their bar hair on. They must not have a 2-year-old at home. And if they do I hate them.

The downside:
As mentioned before, I drop Joci off every morning at school. And while that's nice, I might note that since I have nowhere else to be at 8:30 in the morning, I don't do it in the most glamorous way. As long as she gets there and I have time to brew some coffee before I have to leave the house, those are my biggest concerns. Today, for instance, I dropped her off in my grey sweater, black lounge pants... and fluffy purple slippers. Even Jocelyn, with all the wisdom of a 5-year-old, said, "mommy, you're still wearing your slippers... you're not dropping me off at school like that, right?" before we left the house. I think it's high time she realize that I will spend the rest of my life embarrassing her, so it might as well start now.

Another little perk of my glamorous life is that along with "raising" my own son comes the task of changing ump-teen diapers a day. Holy crap that kid can produce some dookie. I swear that every time I put a clean one on him, he finds a quiet corner to squat in and make mommy a new gift. This mommy's hands are raw from all of the washing of the hands after all of the wiping of the dook.

Ok, now this one really chaps my ass - Everyday, I clean my home. I'm no June Cleaver, but I do know how nice it is to come home to a clean house, so I try to have it at least tidied up by the time Joel gets home. It's stressful to come home to a mess, and I appreciate that. But here's the catch-22 to it all - I wake up to a clean home. Then I... Make breakfast. Dress both the kids. Take Joci to school. Plop Jericho down to watch Elmo. Pick Joci up from school. Cook lunch. Lay Jericho down for a nap. Eat my own lunch in peace and quiet. Blink. Look around the house and realize it's filthy again. Seriously, it's that quick, and it's that bad. I'm looking around right now thinking that we could be on an episode of Clean House, and I have no idea how it got this bad. But it is and I'll clean it while Tiny is napping and it will be like this again exactly 24 hours from now. I'm an honest woman, and I know when I've been beaten. You win this time, house, but just know that I'll be back.

Now I've openly confessed several times that I could never run a daycare. Can't do it. Don't have the patience. I have now also realized that I don't even know if I could be a stay-at-home mommy. I'm loving spending time with my kids, but I think I may have had inopportune timing, seeing as how Jericho is hitting his Terrible 2's HARDCORE right now. He's in that stage when he's so cute when he's sleeping... and only when he's sleeping.

So this edition of The Mommy Diaries goes out to all of the stay-at-home mommies out there - yes, daddies, you too - for all that you do. God Bless You. Seriously. This mommy just can't hack it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Everything I need to know I learned from my kids.

Don't be afraid to dance to your own tune.

Work hard. Play hard. Fall on your ass dead tired when you're done.

Never be afraid to steal the show.

Life is too short to diet.

Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

Monday, November 17, 2008

For the love of...

My son. God love him. Mommy's boy. He's great - he is. I love him so very much. But sometimes (back me up here, moms) no matter how much I love and adore him, he makes me want to slam my head into the wall. Hard. Repeatedly.

My lack of posting lately has not been due to the lack of inspiration, but rather the lack of sleep that has been occurring here at the Blecha household. You see, Halloween weekend Mr. Jericho got his "big bed". The first couple of nights were great. He went to bed, slept all night and we were so very proud of how well he'd handled the transition. But then something magical happened - he realized about 5 nights in that this new bed didn't have walls or restraints of any kind...

Sweet lord. It's terrible. Just like I wanted to shove his binky in his mouth after we first took it away, I want to stick him back in his crib, just for one good night's sleep. Just to illustrate my desperation - we threw the crib out... I've even considered buying a new one just for a few winks. A couple hundred dollars for a little piece of mind? Sounds good to me.

Don't get me wrong - I knew it was going to be a process, but "process" seems to be an understatement. First off, he climbs out of bed repeatedly every night. The shortest amount of time it's taken us to get him to go to sleep is 45 minutes. The longest is 2 hours. And this is when he's tired. It's not like we're lying him down wide awake.

Second little issue: After he finally GETS to sleep, he likes to wake up with the chickens. You think I'm exaggerating. Last Friday, he woke up at 4:30. Let me rephrase that - he wakes up BEFORE the chickens. No bird of fowl is even up that early. Even the chickens are yelling at him to go back to bed. And since he won't stay in his bed, I just have to get up with him, because by the time I fight with him to stay in bed, I'm wide awake anyway.

Third problem: Since he wakes up at 4:30, he wants to nap at 9:00 (his normal nap time is around noon). This throws off his schedule for the entire day.

Then we finally make it through the (very long) day and one more night of putting him to bed for an hour and a half and start again the next day.

This mommy is exhausted. And she would love an words of advice that anyone has. Don't get me wrong - we made it through the binky, I'm sure we'll make it through this. But for now, I'm exhausted. This mommy's signing out.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Night and Day

When I found out that I was having a boy the second time around, I was thrilled for many reasons. First off, I now had one of each - a boy and a girl - which was great, because we had decided before his birth that this would be our last child. Second, my husband would now have someone to watch sports and (sigh) professional wrestling with. Also, this being my second child, I figured that I had this whole baby-thing down pat. Late night feedings? Check. Spit-up on my clothes? Been there. Teething? Old news. Right?


If someone had told me then what I know now, I would have been a lot more scared for my second round of impending parenthood. My children - in every sense of the phrase - are night and day different. Oil and water. Hot and cold. Ebony and ivory (not really, but you see where I'm going with this...)

Jocelyn is independent. Jericho needs attention every waking minute of every day.

Jocelyn takes an hour to eat a PB&J sandwich. Jericho can devour 3 hot dogs in a matter of minutes (authors note: this is not an exaggeration).

Jocelyn would never take a pacifier. See "The Mommy Diaries, Binky Style".

Jocelyn has thrown A tantrum. Jericho throws several each day.

Tall and slender. Stalky and moose-like.

Whines about having to carry her backpack in. Power lifts detergent bottles around the house.

Brunette. Blonde.

I kid you not. If you can find a trait in one of my children, you can see it's opposite in their sibling. It's shocking to me. It's like God's own little practical joke. Not to talk anyone out of having that second child, but let me just tell you that just because you already have one, there's nothing like the polar opposite of a second child to put you in your place and remind you that you're an idiot.

Those are this mommy's words of wisdom for today. (But in case any of you ARE expecting your second at posting time - CONGRATS! How exciting! It'll be great!)

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Mommy Diaries - Binky Style

For weeks... ok, months... Joel and I have been talking about getting rid of the bink (or "paci" as it may be to some of you). Joel would say, "Ya know, we should get rid of that thing before it's too late," and I would say "k" and nod and move along about whatever I was doing at the time.

Little did I know he was serious.

A couple of weeks ago, I went out with a girlfriend and left Joel home with the kids (which was great - love you, babe). So the next morning, my wonderful (and ballsy) husband informs me that he put Jericho down for bed without his binky and that little Moose slept all night without it. This is shocking to me, seeing as how he would wake up and cry if - God forbid - he couldn't find it at 3am. But again, I say "oh, that's nice" to my well-meaning husband and move about my morning.

Again, little did I know he was serious.

So about 1/2 an hour later Jericho starts to fuss and Joel grabs the binky and instead of sticking it in Jericho's little toddler-sized pie hole like a cork, he says "I mean it - we're done with this thing." I... wait - what? "Cold Turkey??" I say as I follow after him. "Cold turkey. He doesn't need it."

But... but... I need it. And more importantly, I want it, and I like it. He fusses, I plug. That's the beauty of the bink. And now it's been taken from me... er... him. Surely, I think to myself, this won't last. He'll cave. But no. I caved. I caved that first little fuss and I've been caving every one since. Not actually caving, of course, but mentally, I'm sticking that bink in his mouth every time he so much as whimpers.

That was 3 weeks ago, and he's really done it. Cold turkey - no bink. Well, kind of. About a week ago I went in to get him in the morning and when I said his name, he turned around with this dear-in-the-headlights look and I noticed a giant blue bink sticking out from between his two fat cheeks. I could have died when he quickly ripped it from his mouth upon seeing me and stuffed in under his pillow.

So aside from one small moment of binky contraband, my son's weened off the bink, mommy's learned to live without it and all is well. And all of this because of my wonderful husband. Daddy's - just like mommies, but tougher. Who knew?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Ok, new mommy diaries rule: I no longer vow to post every week. Obviously. I now post whenever I feel inspired, or uninspired as it may be (see below).


When I became a first-time mother at the ripe age of 20 and 1 month, I promised myself that I would never let myself go. I would always be in style, always be looking my best, and always be that hot mom (or "MILF" if you will). When I had my daughter, all of the aforementioned things were easy. I was a single mother and dating, so looking nice whenever I left the house was not even an option for me. You never knew when Mr. Right was at the grocery store or gas station - not to mention that being one hot mama helped to keep those men from running down the streets screaming once they caught a glimpse of my car seat-laden backseat. I also had age going for me. I felt like I bounced right back after my first and was better looking than ever. I had a few stretch marks gracing my formerly bony frame, but very few at that and I had seemed to gain weight in all the right places. A little in my ass, about an ounce in my boobs (I'll take what I can get) and none anywhere else. I was that mom walking around in my (probably too) tight jeans and my little tiny t-shirt with people constantly commenting on how great I looked and how there was no way I had a baby with "a body like that". I gotta tell ya, I never got tired of hearing that. You know that "don't know what you got till it's gone" song? Well I'll tell you what this mommy didn't know that she had till it was gone - her damn hot body. Come home, nice body - Mommy misses you.

Remember that part about not letting myself go? Well this is that part where I did. Four years after baby #1 came baby #2 and there was also a marriage in there. And let me tell you something, folks, if you're trying to be super hot (who am I kidding, I'd settle for mediocre hot), there's no easier way to ruin a perfectly nice body than to pop out another little ankle biter and starting eating real food everyday (damn Rachel Ray and her easy meals). I am 25 and have aged nearly 10 years in the past 3, and the worst part is, I'm not even close to being "that hot mom" any more. I'm not even "that nice looking" mom. I'm "that disheveled, stressed out, bags under her eyes, eats whatever is lying around, like I have time to iron my own clothes or do anything that involves myself" mom... and it shows.

The saddest part is I really don't know where I went astray. Sure, I've gained weight, but what about the other things? I love clothes, I love makeup, I love doing my hair, I absolutely adore being a girl and rarely leave the house in the morning taking more than 10 minutes (literally) to get myself ready. It takes me longer than that to get my 18 month old ready. It's now that I realize - I am a sad, sad woman.

So what do I do? Get up an hour earlier just so I can put some lipstick on and curl my hair, even though we all know it will be flat in 10 minutes anyway? How's this - Tomorrow I'm going to try to get up 5 minutes earlier and get Jericho dressed more quickly. If I can dress him in 5 minutes, that gives me an extra 10 minutes total to spend on myself in the morning. So maybe tomorrow I'll be "that less disheveled, slightly relaxed, still has bags under her eyes, drinking a second cup of coffee because she got up 5 minutes earlier, wearing lip gloss" mom. Hey, it's a start.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

No a-speaka the en-ga-laysh.

Again, my apologies for the posting delay. This every-weekend-posting-thing is harder to keep up on that I had originally thought when I made that vow. Plus, this mommy got some mommy time with her other mommy (and non-mommy) friends last weekend. Needless to say, I was DER-UNK! Holla! Anyway, moving along...

Though my little Moose (that's 16 month old Jericho, for those of you who are not up to date on the Blecha family lingity) was walking pretty early on (8 months), it has taken him more than a little while longer (the entire 16 months) to learn how to use that pie-hole on the front of his chubby little head. But never fear, that time is finally upon us.
Jericho now has a very limited vocabulary that is evolving everyday. Kind of. If you speak the language.
For weeks, I had been telling my husband that I thought that Jericho was talking, but that we just weren't understanding him. And my wonderful husband, who always looks at me like I'm crazy (seriously - always), would just nod and tell me how "nice" that was. This mommy is a big believer in the fact that no one will ever make you out to be a bigger liar than your own children. Every time your child(ren) does something noteworthy, rest assured they will never do it on command or within anyone else's line of site. This especially applies after you've told everyone you know about their latest feat.
For example, the other day I was playing with Moose in his room and I handed him a small ball. "Ball," I repeated several times to him. "Baw" he replied back. "Baw, baw" he said several more times. Yes, I know that the kid didn't say "ball", but I'm just damn sure he still knew what he was saying. He's 16 months after all, let's give the kid a break on his diction. But sure as sh*t, as soon as I yelled for Joel and repeated "Ball, Jericho - ball," back to him, he just stared at me blankly and my husband sighed as he slowly turned back around, surely wondering why he had just rushed to see whatever I thought had just happened. This is a fairly regular occurrence in our home. But as far as I can tell, here is a list of Jericho's vocab so far:
Baw = ball
Dadada = dad
Mom-mom = mom
Aw doe = all done
Up = tell me I don't seriously have to type that one out for you...
En too = which I say is 'thank you', but no one else seems to get
Eh (with hands out-stretched) = which means 'give me my damn binky'
Pew-poe = which is what his daycare lady swears he said in response to her repeating "purple" to the kids the other day. Oh-kaaaay, whatever you say, lady. (Just kidding, Isabel.)

No one else ever, EVER hears him say the majority of these (aside from Isabel and her crazy "purple" ranting) and many would swear by the fact that I'm justifiably crazy with all of the things that I "hear".
So the other morning I was trying to show Joel that Jericho knows what we're talking about, even if he doesn't say it (because he does - I might note - point all the time). So I'm holding Jericho, and Joel and Roxy, our dog, are sitting on the bed and I'm bound and determined that I'm going to get Jericho to point to that damn dog before I leave the room. So I'm repeating "Jericho, dog? Jericho, where's the dog?" I continue to repeat myself 3 or 4 more times and I'll be damned if Jericho doesn't look right at me, then at the dog, point and say "da dawg?" Sweet vindication! Stick that in your back pocket, haters! But of course, now that Joel and I have both seen it, he won't say if for another living soul. Figures.
I might also note that Jocelyn can now recite the Preamble to the Constitution. No. Of course she can't. But if I'm going to make up accomplishments, they're sure as hell gonna be good ones.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Nothing to see here. Just a small panic attack.

At the ripe old age of 25, I can't help but feel old. My oldest started summer school last week in order to prepare her for kindergarten in the fall. My youngest is no longer a baby and is already starting to defy me at 16 months. Where have my babies gone? They've grown. They're babies no more. And this mommy doesn't like it, not one bit.

I know that it's exciting when they do new things - Jocelyn can tie her shoes and has lost her first two teeth, not to mention she knows how to work the TV all by herself. Jericho has been walking for 8 whole months already and is talking and communicating with us, and although I always get a little misty-eyed when a new milestone happens, I have officially reached my breaking point with this whole "school" thing.

Last week I was getting Jocelyn all ready for her first day of summer school and was excitedly packing her bag and helping her pick out her outfit for the next day and I was so proud.(Honestly I was just excited that I had kept her alive for this long. I can kill a ficus in like 3 days.) But then came the moment that changed it all - I broke out the checkbook and began writing. "Smithville Elementary School, $36, lunch money..." and that was it. I freaking lost it. Joel heard a small whimper out of me and asked what was wrong. I slowly turned around, lump in my throat and eyes full of tears. "Lunch money," I said in a squeaky voice. He stared back at me with one of those puzzled/"are you serious?" looks, and kind of turned his head, like your dog does the first time you throw a stick and expect him to fetch it. "It's lunch money," I told him as I held up the check, preparing for my full-on ugly cry (you know the one). "Oh kaaaay..." he replied slowly, still obviously puzzled by my fragile emotional state. I, of course, became angry that he wasn't comforting me and stormed off. As if he had magically channeled Miss Cleo and knew why I was having mental breakdown for no apparent reason.

See, for me writing this check was huge. Writing her a check for lunch money was this awakening to the fact that she's not a baby anymore. She wouldn't be at daycare with someone cutting her PB&J into 4ths because she likes it better that way than in 1/2. And no one would be telling her that it was ok if she was full and making sure she wiped her face. She would now be at school. In a cafeteria. Where no one would care if her face was a mess and no one would care if she ate all of her lunch. What if she talked over the whole lunch period and didn't eat anything? WHAT IF SHE STARVED?! Ok, that last one may be a stretch, but you know what I mean. Now it's only a matter of time before she has a new best friend (I'm her BFF now), then I'm "totally not cool", then she hates me, then she leaves for college, then she gets married and it's all just happening too fast and I just can't handle it all right now.

So I had my little mental breakdown and then came back to this little place we call Earth and realized that there was a small chance that I was over exaggerating, like I do. She's growing, and that's ok. I've only known that this time was coming and had time to prepare for this moment for the last 5 years, but it's so different when it actually gets here.

So her first day came and went and although they boarded her on the wrong bus and nearly dropped her at our empty home instead of at daycare, she lived to tell about it. And so did I.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it. And apparently that somebody's me.

First off, let me apologize for the delay in this week's post. We were out of town all weekend and I had no way of posting. But think of it this way - you're that much closer to this week's post! Ewwww... can you handle it??

Alright, on with the posting. And while you read, remember the purpose of The Mommy Diaries - to share with you all of the crap-tacular things that are sometimes involved in this mommy's life so that you know that you're not alone. And for the record, my husband hasn't even heard this story. It's that glamorous.

So last week, let's call it Wednesday (because I don't really remember which day it was and Wednesday's right in the middle), I was getting ready for work and trying to wrangle the kids and leave the house without forgetting anyone or anything, like I do. Now Jericho, mommy's little angel, is one mischievous little body and likes to get into everything. So as I'm trying to get ready to actually leave the house, I let Joci and Jericho play in the living room while I round up whatever it is that I need for the day. And seeing as how my little man is such an explorer and my little lady is such a little mother, it comes as no surprise to me when I hear Joci groan, "Ja-er-icho - NOOOOOOO," and stop off after him. I think nothing much of what's going on in the other room and I finish wrangling and gathering and I'm finally ready to go. But of course it's never that easy.

When I pick Jericho up to leave the house, I see his fat little fist clenched around something and shake his hand until he let's go. Whatever it was drops to the floor and we head for the car. As we're driving, I ask Joci what Jericho was getting into back home when she was watching him. "Poop," she answers calmly. Poop?... I think, and I continue to go over this in my head. What the heck would he be getting into poop for? And where would he get - - - damn dog crapped on the kitchen floor again. That stupid worthless dog crapped on the damn floor and now I have to clean - Wait.

"Joc, did you say 'poop'?" I respond as soon as I realize what's just happened. "Yep. He was touching it with his hands." That little monster had a turd in his hand when I picked him up. Freakin' gross. Freakin' gross - my son's a little turd grabber. Then it hits me. Jericho has poop on his hands. Great. Like I'm ever on time in the morning anyway, now I have to pull over and clean his hands up. So it's when I reach into the back seat to clean his hands off that I realize that his hand (ya know, the poop grabbing one) is just absolutely covered. I look and him, blankly, and just sit staring at him for a moment, wondering why I'm blessed with such a glamorous life. (Please God, pass some of the love around. Don't spoil me.) Anywho, so I finish cleaning him off, shaking my head in disbelief the whole time, and drive on to daycare. Oh - but it gets better.
It's not until after I get to daycare that I see the second best (and trust me I'll get to the best) part of this whole ordeal. His daycare lady takes him from me and kind of looks at his shirt and starts to scratch at a spot that's on it and asks me if he's already had breakfast. "Nope, that's shit," is what I want to say. "Oh, gosh, I didn't see that. He got into something earlier and we should change him," is what I should say. But instead, "No, he must have just gotten something on him," is what I actually say. I'm so ashamed and embarrassed about Little Mr. Crap Hands that I can't even tell her what I'm just sure is actually on his shirt. Luckily, she makes some random comment about how it's warming up and she'll change him into short sleeves anyway, and I'm off the hook. But no I'm not, because that's not how things work 'round here.

Blah, blah, blah, day continues, and I can't get the smell of dog crap out of my nose. Oh, but wait - (here's that "best part" part) maybe the reason that I still smell dog crap is because it's smeared on the shoulder of my shirt. And upon further investigation, it's also smeared on the sleeve of my shirt. And did I mention that it's nearly lunch time by this point? I had been sitting around (luckily not in close proximity to anyone) all day covered in poop and apparently just loving every minute of it. I obviously can't tell anyone, I don't have anything to change into, and I work nearly an hour from home, so what the hell am I supposed to do? Well, I tell you what I did. Nothing, really. I tried to clean it with a Shout Wipe and then just sat around in it the rest of the day. Talk about embarrassment. I did, however, bathe myself in fancy-smelling lotion the rest of the day and take that crap-rag of a shirt off as soon as my feet hit the door that night. I made a pact with, well, me that night that I would never tell anyone about what happened. And I guess that now that little plan's out the window. But hopefully, if anything, your day today was better than this mommy's last Wednesday (or whichever day it was).

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A real mommy's guide to Mother's Day gift-giving

In a day stuffed to the brim with cards, candy, flowers and jewelery, here's my list of what this mommy really wants this year for Mother's Day. (Though for the record, you can't go wrong with jewelery.) No crap, no sugar-coating, no "oh, I don't need anything"s. Please note that this list is me-specific and you may want to change-up your list to fit the mommy in your life.

1. I want to sleep until 10 without the kids waking me up. Change that - I want to sleep until 10 without anything waking me up. And when I do wake up, I want for the kids to be dressed and fed.
2. I want to go to IHOP for breakfast. *Stipulation* - there has to be no line at IHOP.
3. I want to go shopping - BY MYSELF.
4. Just one year, I want for everyone in my life to remember that it's Mother's Day and make a huge deal out of it... and me.
5. I want to watch girly crap on TV all day. And I mean crap with a capital "c". On that list: Jon & Kate Plus 8, What Not to Wear, any movie on Lifetime, and any movie that I've seen more than 5 times - Fever Pitch, Never Been Kissed or Mr. Deeds, any of those will do.
6. I want to get my hair done even if "done" only means that I get it cut. Really I just want to get it washed. Is there anything better than when they shampoo your hair? This mommy thinks not.
7. I want this to be the one day that my dog doesn't crap on the floor.
8. I want to have enough energy to play with both of my kids, individually, and not feel like I'm 65 by the time I'm done.
9. I want for the Magic Laundry Fairies to come.
10. I want one day free of tantrums, crying, teething, "I don't want to eat that"s, and really anything that takes me out of a perfect state of euphoria.
11. I want to wear my favorite grey sweats all day and still have my husband tell me that I'm absolutely beautiful.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I have two kids... I think...

Yesterday I took advantage of the single, solitary day that we've had in the last week that was both warm AND dry and went garage-saling with a girlfriend of mine. Luckily (or un-luckily, depending on your take on garage sales... and walking), it was city-wide garage sale day in my little suburb, so we were able to park and hoof it most of the morning.

As my girlfriend was trolling from sale-to-sale with her 2 and 3-year-old in tow, I was thinking about how brave she was, at least according to my standards, because neither one of her kids were in a stroller. Now as far as my little angels were concerned - Jericho was securely strapped into his stroller with Joci never more than about 3 feet from the stroller and I wouldn't have it any other way - unless, of course, I had the option for a double stroller. While I do believe that kids will be kids, I also believe on controlling the variables that you can in order to reduce your chances for loss.

While we strolled and garage-saled along, I found myself doing what I do and constantly keeping an eagle-eye on Jocelyn. For those of you who don't know me or my parenting style so well, I'm always afraid of having "that kid" so poor Jocelyn gets away with nothing. The phrases "Jocelyn - no touching", "Jocelyn - stop teasing that dog", "Jocelyn - act like a lady", "Jocelyn - get your finger out of your nose", and even the occasional, firm "JOCELYN" followed by the ole evil eye, were all muttered several times throughout the morning.

It wasn't until we had bargain-shopped away about an hour and a half that I realized - - I had Jericho in the stroller, right? I had been spending so much time and effort making sure that Jocelyn wasn't going to drop that old lady's ceramic duck or pull down this old man's tattered blue robe that I hadn't paid one iota of attention to my other kid. I have two kids, right? Is he strapped in? Is he awake? Or asleep? Is he even still THERE? I ran around to the front of our SUV-sized stroller to see my little man not only still there, but awake and gleeful, enjoying the day from his shaded strolling haven. Sippy cup tucked under his arm and binky firmly placed in his mouth, he was great - perfect even - not so much as noticing that I had neglected to even check on him for over an hour now, but just pleased to see me. It was easy to see his delight as he smiled so big that his binky even fell out of his mouth.

So I got to thinking - Am I a bad or unfit mother? Did I just forget about my own child? How did this happen? I would have had to have been surgically removed from that stroller handle, yet I seemed to have forgotten why I was pushing it. Or was I subconsciously checking on him all along and just didn't realize it? Surely I would have noticed if my own son were missing, right?... RIGHT?

The more I thought about the situation, I realized that I'm not a bad mother and this doesn't mean that I love my son less than I love my daughter. Upon further reflection, I decided that, as far as I can see it, we as humans tend to give our attention to those things that seem to need it more - especially in the heat of the moment. If we're bad at cooking, for instance, we tend to think that we need to spend more time cooking in order to get better at it. Instead, what we should be doing is spending more time gardening or writing or showcasing a talent that we have and that deserves - not needs - our attention. Focusing on something just because we think that we should focus on it doesn't do any justice to the things that deserve to be focused on. Poor Jericho didn't need my attention, so I didn't give it to him. Jocelyn's disobeying actions didn't need my attention either, but since she was the bigger risk, I chose to focus on her. What I should have been doing was focusing on the positive (easier said than done) and finding a way for Jocelyn to enjoy this time that we all had together. I mean, let's step outside the box - Is she really doing to do any damage to that 4 year old Barbie, especially when it's obviously seen better days anyway? Probably not. Let her play with the Barbie (if you can handle breaking her heart to tell her that now you're not taking it home), and take a minute to make some silly faces at Jericho while you're waiting (to tell her that she can't take that Barbie home).

As far as the abandonment-situation-at-hand is concerned, I blame it on preoccupation. My thoughts, my brain, my eyes, my hands were all focused on different things. And I'm only human, after all (and contrary to what most people believe, all mommies are). In retrospect, I know that it wasn't that I'd forgotten about Jericho. I'm sure that I'd heard him babbling or seen his fat little finger pointing at something from the side of the stroller. But for some reason, when that feeling comes over you as a mom - it's the same feeling that awakens you in a panic the middle of the night to make sure they're breathing - you just have to act on it. And just having that feeling is what makes you a good mother. At least in my book.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Welcome to The Mommy Diaries. Come as you are.

Let me be the first to welcome you to the inaugural edition of The Mommy Diaries. Every week in The Mommy Diaries, we will be discussing all things mommy. If it pertains to being a mother, it will be covered here.

Some future topics of conversation may include: sleep deprivation, "enlightening" stories about poop, how to cook 4 meals for 4 different people, why you bother to cook 4 meals for 4 different people when no one eats it anyway, how to clean pureed squash off of a textured ceiling, important occasions that require your "nice" sweats, loving your fabulous mommy body (it must be nice to be you) OR hating your flab-ulous mommy body (to each her own). All in all, you get to hear stories about my everyday not-so-glamorous life as a mommy that may make you feel better about your own not-so-glamorous life as a mommy. And along the way, I'll try to throw in some tips that make this mommy's life a little easier.

So kick back, relax... throw on your favorite ugly sweats and grab a late-night cup of Joe. This is The Mommy Diaries.