Monthly Archives: June 2010

Hi, Have We Met? I’m Your Wife…

You work all day, come home, get dinner together, put your kid to bed, eat dinner yourself, often in front of the TV, all the while exchanging a few words here and there with your spouse. It’s not until you’ve both decompressed, which is usually about bedtime, that you can turn to each other and mean it when you say: “How are you?” But before your partner can finish the answer, you’ve drifted off to sleep.

And repeat.

Couples with kids and demanding jobs have it hard. You get so caught up in the day-to-day that it becomes a chore to try to stay connected. You know you need to have Date Nights but then there’s getting the babysitter, finding time in your schedule, staying awake, spending the money… All of that. I get it, believe me. It’s tough, we just have to be tougher.

BC (Before Child) hubby and I used go and to all kinds of interesting things, now… not so much. Though simply because we’re parents doesn’t mean our life as a couple is over, we just have to work harder to attain it. We used to have Kid Free time by going out with other couples or to parties, then slowly realized even though we had Kid Free time it wasn’t Our Time. We weren’t reconnecting because we were always surrounded by other people.

What we started doing is having our Date Night sometime during the week. Twice a month on a Tuesday or a Wednesday and it’s just a few hours. Not the usual dinner and a movie, I fall asleep before the opening credits are over. But just a quiet dinner where we talk about our day. And each time, it sounds hokey, but I fall in love with him just a little bit more. When we’re just chit-chatting over pasta I see that charming boy who wooed me in college instead of the man who forgot to take out the trash. It’s good stuff.

I know it’s hard to carve out time for each other, but I encourage you to do so because you owe it to yourselves. Also when mommy and daddy are on the same page and happy, it makes a happy home. I never want to be one of those couples who wake up after their kids leave the nest and wonder who is this stranger they’re living with.

Connecting with your spouse, we all need to do it. Here’s a few ideas to help make the magic happen:

  • After the kids are down sit out on the porch with a glass of wine, a beer, light a candle and just talk. Not about anything on a To Do list, just shoot the breeze.
  • Find a mommy friend who can come over and look after your kids while you have Date Night, then do the same for her. 
  • Make it a priority. Schedule a date one month from now and treat it as a doctor appointment that cannot be rescheduled.
  • Change it up. There’s a lot you can do in two hours, dinner, bowling, a long walk, shoot, even a high-school syle smooch fest.
  • Just do it.

The Favorite Parent: Mommy vs Daddy

Right now in our house I’m the favorite parent. He wants mommy to hold him, tuck him in, feed him, dress him, watch TV with him, play with his trains, read his books you name it, I’m it. Oftentimes it’s sweet, I really love Logantime, but at the end of a long work day, sometimes you want a nice snuggle and then have someone else do the bedtime struggle.

Logan’s going through the stage where he has a laundry list of requests before he goes down, milk, water, certain toys, floss his teeth, all stall tactics of the inevitable _ going to sleep. Though we draw the line and don’t fill most of his requests, it tries my patience. Hubby has no problem stepping in on the frontlines, but Logan’s response to him is “No, not you. … Mommy.” Actually that’s the response that he has for dad in a lot that he does. Though Logan switches it up with an “I don’t like you” and “go away.”

And I know picking a favorite is just something that kids do, but my sweet sensitive husband takes it so personally. It makes him feel bad, like the cool kids at the lunch table banned him from sitting with them. On the flipside, I love it when he’s the favorite parent! I kick up my heels and relax or use the extra time to get stuff done around the house.

But for now I’m Numero Uno. So what we’re trying to do is not always give in to the demand for Mommy, I talk with Logan about how great daddy is and remind him that indeed he does like is dad and that he needs to be nice. We also try to reiterate that it’s OK to like both parents at the same time. Who knows if this works, but it’s been our game plan. Though I kinda feel that it’s something that he’s going to do for years.

After all, I remember having favorites, sometimes I liked dad more, other times mom, even into adulthood. Now which parent I prefer depends on the subject matter, in some instances it seems my dad will understand me more, others it’s mom. So I guess hubby and I should just get used to it since it seemingly won’t change.

She’sWrite Part Deux

The blog revamp that’s been highly anticipated (though only by me) is here. And I’m stoked. She’sWrite was born at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport I was waiting for a delayed plane. I chose the design and supporting framework on a whim because I was so eager to just get my blog started.

The next two months I focused on finding my writing voice, a sort of bloggers’ pitch if you will. That’s still being tuned, but at least I’m growing more comfortable with it. Now it’s time the blog look a little more like me. Simple, classic, clean, but with a few fun surprises.

I’ve also written an About Me page, which required a surprising amount of self-questioning. I mean, who am I and why am I doing this blogging thing after all?

So check it out, let me know what you think of the changes and I’ll talk to you soon.

When It Comes To Our Kids, How Much Is Too Much?

We went last night for our parent-teacher conferences for our toddler. Yes, our toddler. We met with the teacher that we’ve been underwhelmed with and we were again, underwhelmed. (First of all, why can’t adults sit at big people tables, do we really need to sit where our kids do?)

We got a little report card-like sheet that had a million checkoff items and came in quadruplicate. (Triplicate wasn’t enough.) We talked about Logan’s strengths: he talks a lot, plays well with others, knows his colors and letters on sight and his daily journal is spectacular. (It amuses me a 2 year old has a daily journal.) The teacher said that like other kids his age he needs to work on writing his letters and numbers and how to measures items (Even I still struggle with the ruler.)

Now I know we chose this day care because of its fancy-pants curriculum and fork over several shiny pennies each Monday morning. But sometimes in talking with the teachers it amazes me all that they do and how daycare has evolved.

Not too long ago wasn’t daycare just filled with singing, dancing, play pens, coloring, snacks and naptime? Essentially organized play? The kids all seem to really enjoy their classes and activities, I’m just floored by the thought and rigidity behind everything. Each class is supposed to have a syllabus, we even got one in the infant class. There’s daily activity sheets and quarterly reports. Though we got our first quarterly report from this class just yesterday, which it turns out was the fourth quarter…

Obviously, our teacher seems less inclined to document and follow through on the administrative side of her job, but I honestly would rather have her really involved with our kids than the paperwork. Besides, he’s moving up to another class in August and that teacher is rock solid. (FYI, we talked to her about the stuttering and she’s noticed it a bit when he’s excited, but thinks it’s totally normal.)

I wonder what daycare will be like in coming years. Will each kid be required to bring an iTouch along with their extra change of clothes and naptime blanket? Will there be homework? And how much is too much? Again, we chose this place and despite my grumblings about his current teacher, we are happy with them. It all just makes me wonder, are we getting over the top?

Does My Kid Have a Stuttering Problem?

My little guy, Logan, has always been a talker. His parents are talkers so he had no choice in the matter really. He has a great vocabulary and we chit chat about everything, which sometimes feels odd considering he’ll be 3 in August.

In the past few months hubby and I have noticed that he’s starting to stutter, but we didn’t think too much of it figuring it for just a phase. Now in the past few days it’s gotten a lot worse. Yesterday in driving home from daycare he asked me if we were going to drive on the bridge, which he often does but it took him a good 15 seconds to get the W in the “we” out. I wasn’t sure what was happening all I heard was an increasingly loud “wuh wuh wuh wuh wuh” so I turned to look at him and saw his face was red. My heart broke a bit. He was fighting to get the words out.

Later that evening hubby and I talked again about the stuttering. It only happens when he’s excited, you can see the wheels turning in his head and he is getting frustrated he can’t get the words out. Sometimes he gets so worked up and starts to jump as if to shake the words loose. It’s always the first word of the sentence once he’s over that hump, the words tumble out rapid fire.

I Googled stuttering toddlers and found that sometimes it’s the kids looking for the right word to use. That’s not my Logan, he knows what he wants to say he just can’t say it. Most of the websites said to respond with patience, maintain eye contact while they’re stuttering and not to make them feel self conscious. Then you are to repeat the sentence in your response so they know how it’s supposed to sound.

I also found that stuttering runs in families and we’ve got stutterers in ours, plus it’s more common in boys than girls.

We have a friend that is a speech therapist and I’ll give her a ring as well as see what his doctor thinks. I know there’s tons of great resources out there, why not try them? But I have to admit it’s a bit scary. Though it’s not anything near like a terminal disease or even a curable disease, you just don’t want your kid to have any issues. I think of the little boy in school who was teased for his stutter and had to leave class to meet with the speech therapist. I don’t want my little boy to be that little boy. But inhale. Exhale. It’s just a stutter and I’m sure it’ll be fine.

What Makes Me a Better Mom? No Kids and No Hubby

After my whirlwind weekend away with the girls, I noticed I was basquing in an afterglow of sorts. When my toddler dove into shrill screams of protest, I shrugged it off and kept going. When hubby forgot to take out the trash, again, I sighed. Well, he’ll just have to do it later.

Wait. Who is this patient person?

I noticed she shows up like clockwork right after I get a break from my husband and my kid and get to be me, not the cleaning-cooking-nose-and-butt-wiping-attentive-partner me. But just me.

This past week I’ve brought more order to my house, crossing items off my to-do list that have been there since January. I’ve been able to listen better to the trials and tribulations of my husband’s job and my little guy’s tantrums seem less intense and more amusing. I even made Mickey Mouse-shaped, whole wheat pancakes on Saturday, which *totally* isn’t me. (It was bad. M&Ms were the eyes and nose, and I carved a strawberry into a smile.)

I believe I do a really good job of carving out “me” time. Out of all my mommiefriends I feel I do that the most and I think I’m much better for it. It can be hard to take time away, you feel guilty for not wanting to be with the loves of your life, but you have to remember, you are a love of of your life too and you must nurture that.

Plus your partner appreciates you more when he’s walked a bit in your shoes and your kids are sweeter (even if it’s short-lived) because they’ve missed you.

All mommies know this, we just need to force ourselves to make it a priority. It’s easy to lose who you are in the day-to-day grind of life, but taking time out to do whatever you want without your kid and your soulmate is an essential touchstone. It makes me a better mommy and wife because it keeps me happy.

Meeting A Best Friend For the First Time

This weekend I met six besties, BFFs, biffs and believe me, it was a BFD. I’ve blogged about these ladies before but we met on the parenting website BabyCenter in 2007 and formed a group focused on fitness. Six of our 10-member clique met in person for the first time Friday and spent the entire weekend together in a condo in downtown Chicago. Almost sounds like a reality TV show, eh?

We’ve been looking forward to meeting in person since those bonds were forged over swollen bellies. I’ve met a few of them as they’ve looped through Chicago or when I’ve winged through New York. But all of us under the same roof? Eeks! What if you don’t get along? My husband asked. What if you guys get in a fight and it forever changes the group? A friend questioned. What if they’re not as cool as you think?

I blew off their questions. We’ll be fine, we’ve know each other so long and have shared our lives’ most intimate details. Everything will be fine. Inside, though, I was nervous. We run the spectrum on racial backgrounds, tax brackets, religious beliefs, and political persuasions. Will we get along?

First of all Chicago’s air traffic didn’t disappoint. The girls came in from Minnesota, Texas, New Jersey and Florida. Practically everyone’s flight was late and the city was properly clogged with Blackhawks celebrations, so we got off to a later-than-normal start. We picked our rooms in Real World type fashion: First come first serve. All the rooms had spectacular views from the 38th floor across the street from Millennium Park and near the lake front.

At first it was me and Jess unpacking groceries and prepping snacks. Then came Sarah and Brady and there was never that awkward first-date feel. We all fell in lock-step, not like friends, but more like family. We traipsed up and down Michigan Avenue, I bought too much but what else is new. We chatted and shopped and laughed and talked and giggled and gabbed.

We noshed on Chicago’s famous pizza back at the condo while Linds arrived and then we waited for Lynn. She was set to get in after 11 p.m., and a welcoming committee of three met her at the L stop. It was a relief to have the last piece of the puzzle in place, we were all here. Our Hawt Mamas group.

The next day there was the Field Museum, Blues Fest, World Cup soccer watching on the Magnificent Mile, tapas at Cafe Iberico, followed by Navy Pier at night. We did a lot, but the best part was just lounging around the condo talking about everything and nothing. It was freeing to talk face-to-face with the girls instead of pecking out feelings on the keyboard.

The more I thought about that feeling of comfortability, the more I realized I truly love these women and they love me back. Unconditionally. And that was probably the most surprising thing about the weekend _ how unnaturally natural it was to meet a best friend for the first time.