No more excuses

Jul 17, 2015 by

Nora didn’t sleep through the night until she was past one and a half years old. This was mostly due to the fact that I nursed her on demand for that time (and even a year past that) which meant if she wanted to nurse in the middle of the night, I’d do so.

However, when my husband would put Nora to sleep while we were weaning – so that I wasn’t there for the temptation to nurse to sleep – bedtime became a series of excuses for why I wasn’t the one to put her to bed. This pattern continued well past weaning. When I decided to go back to school, the excuse became an easy one – Mom has to go to school tonight. We used this excuse whether I was meeting up with a friend, fitting in a Pilates class or, in fact, heading to class or to study, because Nora understood that school was important to me and for our family and for her it was an “acceptable” reason for me not to snuggle her to sleep.

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Priorities

Jul 3, 2015 by

It had been in the back of my mind all day, the nagging reminder of the studying I would have to do that night towards my upcoming exam. My daughter and I had a nice day together, and I tried to remain present and enjoy, yet I still felt mildly distracted and it had been awhile since we had truly connected. I had missed bedtime the five nights prior between class and studying, but that night it was my turn. As we snuggled on the couch while dinner cooked, my daughter asked, “Where do you have to go tonight?”

For the first time in nearly a week, I got to answer, “Nowhere tonight, sweetie. We get to read stories and snuggle together before bed. Would you like that?”

As she nodded, my daughter smiled and leaned in closer. “Can you stay a little longer tonight?” she asked hopefully, thinking of how I usually stay beside her until she’s dropped off to sleep.

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From the Mind and Heart of a Four Year Old

Jun 19, 2015 by

Nora had barely scrambled into the car at pickup before she got the words out. Her backpack banged against the back of her knees as she climbed into her car seat.

“Do you have a surprise for me?”

She asks me this every day. Some days I have a small surprise waiting, like jelly beans; other times, hearing we are going to Stew Leonard’s (the “Cow’s House”) is enough to please her. Then there are the days when I have to tell her I have nothing for her and we are headed straight home – and I always explain that surprises aren’t special if you expect them and get them all the time. But today I did have a surprise.

“I do,” I said. “Nana and papa are coming!” As the words left my mouth I knew I had hit a home run.

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Don’t doubt, don’t forget

May 15, 2015 by

Tell me you love every minute of being a parent and I’ll call you a liar.

People love to say that to young parents, don’t they? “Enjoy every minute; they grow up so fast.” That sounds nice, but it’s not sustainable. Because sometimes, parenthood isn’t a skip through flowering fields; it’s a slog through muddy waters.

“I don’t love you anymore.” The words sting in my ears and in my chest as they leave my daughter’s mouth. I know she’s just asserting her newly-minted four-year-oldness, but that’s hardly consolation.

“I love my Nana, not you.”

Ouch. She must really be mad at me.

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Summer’s silver lining

May 1, 2015 by

I have to admit I’ve been dreading summer coming just a bit. Sunshine, warm weather…I must be nuts for not wanting all of that, right?

But I’m apprehensive about our summer routine, and how we will make it work. This will be our first summer following a year at school, and I’d gotten used to the albeit short break in the middle of the day while my daughter attended preschool. I found myself fretting how I was going to find that time in my days during the summer months to fit in all the work that I typically cram into my afternoons while my daughter is at school. We work hard to set boundaries at home to show our daughter that things do have to happen around the house that don’t involve her, and that these things need to happen even when she’s in the house, but the truth is my daughter’s personality is such that she just doesn’t play for long on her own; she needs fairly constant interaction with someone – usually me – all day long. It took me a long time to come to the realization that her constant need for others was part of her character and not a product of over-coddling as a stay at home parent; it’s simply a fact that as much as her mother is an introvert, my daughter is an extrovert, through and through. In any case, being home with her all day every day fares well for lots of play but not a ton of work.

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