Life Family and the Pursuit of Sanity

or… adventures in infertility and babies and family drama!

How Much Is Too Much February 27, 2014

You remember a while back I was all “Ooh, mah parenting style is the suck. Must. Fix.” Well, I was. It was. Major changes were made. Major.


We are now an unschooling, peaceful parenting, anarchy leaning Libertarian family. For real. That means we learn, but don’t have a set curriculum. We don’t punish. At all. And, yeah, the political stuff. That’s mostly me. G is still a morality legislating right winger. We’re working on winning him over from the dark side.


Part of unschooling, at this age is exposing Lil G to a variety of experiences and subjects so that we can help direct his interests as he gets old enough to start career planning. Try as we might the boy has exactly one interest: the ocean, with several sub interests: Antarctica and the Arctic circle. Primarily, he’s interested in leopard seals. Orcas and sharks have their places. He can tell you a chromis from a tang from a parrot fish (those are all tropical fish, BTW, in case, like me, you have no clue what a chromis is). But, he loves. I mean loves leopard seals. A favorite game is pretending there are hundreds of “annoying penguins” hatching and he is the leopard seal that has to eat them all. Also, my three year old roots for the predators when watching Happy Feet (he also roots for Darth Vadar when watching Star Wars and Loki when watching the Avengers). So far, we’ve been rocking the Antarctic obsession for nearly two years. Pretty much since he first saw Happy Feet.


Recently, I was informed that he is going to get a wife when he grows up and they are going to have 3-4 children (this number changes) and he is going to move to Antarctica to “learn about leopard seals.” Daddy and I have to move with him, though, so I can help his wife “take care of all those babies.”


So, I did what any loving, unschooling mama would do. I took my kid to meet Paul Nicklen (he is a Nat Geo photog specializing in the poles with an affinity for leopard seals). During his presentation Mr. Nicklen mentioned that for $40k you too can swim with leopard seals. It was a joke. A. JOKE. A concept which my three year old does not get. The child is dead for real trying to save $40k in his piggy banks.


Obviously, we can’t take a small child to Antarctica. At least not on a swim with leopard seals expedition. Not least of all because Mommy is tropical. But also, he’s too small and would freeze to death and frankly I don’t trust the top predator of the south pole not to eat my child regardless of what “Nicklen says.” (Nicklen has been declared “cooler than Spiderman.”) But, a cruise is possible. We could probably all three do a cruise for $25k’ish. Why the hell am I even seriously considering this? I don’t have $25k for a vacation. I don’t have $25k period. If I did, we’d be a two car family.


But, if it’s his dream? If he wants to grow up to be the next highest regarded leopard seal expert in the world, I have to support that right? When is it too early to start?


Then again, he’s also pissed at polar bears for sometimes eating narwhals and wants to go to AK and “stop them from doing that.” And, AK is far more affordable.


I’m a crazy person, right? He’s three.


She Works, But Mostly From Home February 21, 2014

Filed under: Baby G,Money? What Money? — arminta @ 4:34 am

So, you may have caught from a post or two ago that I was away from home in the middle of the night (as I am right now). Not to worry, I’ve not turned to whoring it up. It’s much worse than that. I got a job. My oldest nephew asked me to come work at his hotel so he didn’t have to cover night audit anymore. And I thought “Oh cool! I can stay up two nights a week for a paycheck that doesn’t involve missing waking hours with le boy.”


Also, though, I am doing some work/work from home. Some people I used to work with contacted me when my non-compete was up and there is a small politically affiliated company for whom I’m doing some work.


Why the switch from “mommy only” to WAHM+? Honestly, it was Lil G’s perception of me. I wanted him to know that his mama is more than just cuddles and snacks and water refills. I am those things. But that’s not all. He needs to know that. Because he needs to know his wife is more. He needs to know his friends are more.


Also, without Ladybug terrorizing my every free minute 50 hrs a week, I was getting bored. You’d think I had enough to be getting on with, but apparently I’ll do anything to get out of doing the dishes.


The Fear: It Continues February 14, 2014

Filed under: Baby G,The Fear — arminta @ 5:25 am
Tags: ,

You know how I spent my whole pregnancy with Lil G terrified of a miscarriage? Then, I was scared of crazy things like his car seat sliding down the driveway into oncoming traffic? Then, I was scared that I was screwing him up?

Well, I got over that shit. It took time. It took a lot of self talk. OK, I am still a little scared of the oncoming traffic. Pet Semetary, anyone? (In case you’re unaware that is the way the book title is spelled, I didn’t forget how to spell.)

The fear du Jour is brought to us by the St. Jude’s children’s hospital commercials. Been seeing a lot of these commercials lately. Do I know it’s irrational? Sure. Does my brain care? Nope.

I just wanna go home and snuggle my boy… Oh well, couple more hours, then I’ll go home and snuggle the shit out of that kid. Then he will go a his Grandma’s, by himself, all day for the first time ever. So I can sleep. Who wants to bet the St. Jude’s fear really stems from Mama having separation anxiety?


Compromise: Haircut Edition April 18, 2013

Filed under: Baby G,We're parents? — arminta @ 2:15 am
Tags: , , ,
It’s no secret that I did NOT want the boy’s hair cut. But, obviously, at some point it was going to have to be done. It was getting in his face in the wind and honestly, the hack job bangs were looking worse and worse as the back got longer. So, we took him in to get it cut…
Sitting in the big chair like a big boy.


Being much better for the stylist combing his hair than he ever is for me…


First snips!


Hey, this is fun!


He was so tired, but he couldn’t suck his fingers because she kept getting in his way.

The only thing he really didn’t like about the experience was the hair landing on him. He kept telling her she was making a mess on his knees!

Now, for the big reveal!

Not so different you say? You’re right!

We ended up going with a trim up, rather than a full blown cut. So, the bangs are blended into his hair better and she cut some layers into the back to help with brushing it, but only took about an inch and a half off of the length. Just enough to make it more even and off of his shoulders.

Front view. His hair flips out on one side and in on the other like mine!


The mad face. Because he loves making the mad face.

Four Easters! April 3, 2013

Filed under: Baby G,Family — arminta @ 2:54 am

You remember that scene in Talledaga Nights when the kids are all excited that their parents are getting divorced because it means two Christmases? What? You don’t watch old ass Will Farrell movies every night after your kid goes to bed? Shame on you!


Anyway, Nana moving to Rhode Island and having a bed bound great-grandma and having a whole other side of the family to boot is a lot like that. Except instead of two you get four! Yay! That means I made eight Easter baskets this year. Eight (three for Lil G + one each for the nieces and nephews) Easter baskets. I hid eggs three times. I am Eastered out, friends. Actually, I was Eastered out a couple of weeks ago. I had forgotten that real Easter was this week until Saturday afternoon. Because? Duh, it was Walking Dead day!


But, it was real Easter this past week. As I’m not religious, there was no church service. And, my mum lives out of state. And, my sister was there visiting her. And, my brother had to work. And, so did my Dad. And, the rest of my family IS religious, so they did have church services. I had no excuse to not have to go deal with my MIL. I was supposed to go watch my Mamaw for the Wiccans, but they cancelled on me. So, alas, I had to go.


It was not as bad as expected, but also worse. Seeing Uncle P was awesome, I miss him so much. And Bro C and Fire Crotch were pleasant (they were not last time I saw them). MIL was as grating as always. We just bring out the worst in each other, I think. I tried my hardest to keep my mouth shut and just let her play with the boy. But… there was smoking going on (outside, but if you can smell it, you’re breathing in too much smoke) and he had to be kept away. (Seriously people ASTHMA, ASTHMA!!! It’s a real fucking thing and grr!!) Of course she “doesn’t believe in asthma.” Doesn’t believe in it. Like the goddamn tooth fairy. I said nothing. When my baby started coughing and she made comments like “oh is that a “sign”?” I said nothing. (Yes!!! Coughing is a sign of asthma!!! Especially when people are smoking upwind of the asthmatic baby!!! I checked his breathing, moved him away from the smoke and gave him water as needed. Thankfully, he didn’t need his puffer. Of course, she doesn’t believe in “those puffers” either. For real. Even though she made several comments along the “I couldn’t do this all day” route I didn’t quip with “well, I DO do this all day, hence the less than spotless house.” I didn’t quip at all. No, I stood there on my aching feet and watched from a distance. When he bonkered his head and wanted me, I picked him up and ignored the constant barking of “Let Grandma see!” coming over my shoulder. I didn’t answer “Never!!!” to her constant refrains of “Grandma has this at her house for you to play with.” I feel I did the best I could. I wasn’t rude or bitchy. But, I was quiet. It was fine.


Today I had the fleeting thought “You know, I could let her take him to McDonald’s or somewhere to play and get the afternoon to myself.” And that’s when I knew. The floodgates are opening. Letting Aunt C watch the babies for my treatments (which I genuinely do not mind at all) paved the way, then going to Easter like all was well just added to the cracks. It’s not that she’s a bad Grandma, or that he doesn’t like her (why does he have to like her?). It’s that I can’t trust her to not paint me in a bad light to him. I know I can’t. I can’t trust her to not take the word of an imaginative two year old (FYI, my living room is frequently on fire due to all of the dragon attacks…) to children’s services. I can’t trust her to not take NORMAL marks (the kid jumps off of the furniture on the daily, he has marks) to children’s services. I can’t trust her alone with my son. Not because she won’t take care of him. But because she doesn’t have my families (and thus his) best interests at heart.


The Message March 20, 2013

“Even in the kindest and most loving families two year olds must be reminded a hundred times a day, perhaps by words and acts of their parents, perhaps by events, by Nature herself, that they are small, weak, clumsy, foolish, ignorant, untrustworthy, troublesome, destructive, dirty, smelly, even disgusting. They don’t like it! Neither would I. Neither would you.” John Holt


Life with a two year old is hard, friends. They are small, weak, clumsy, foolish, ignorant, untrustworthy, troublesome, destructive, dirty, smelly and even disgusting.  They wreck your house and demand unhealthy snacks. They are fiendish little tyrants. They are emotional and fearless (often the reason for being untrustworthy, troublesome, destructive and/or dirty). They soak up knowledge like sponges (even things you don’t want them to soak up). They are bold adventurers. They are… people. People who are still developing their sense of self worth. People who think YOU are the be all and end all of awesome (unless, you are denying them said unhealthy snack). People who take your opinion of them quite seriously, making it kind of important that you don’t let them know that you think they are small, weak, clumsy, foolish, ignorant, untrustworthy, troublesome, destructive, dirty, smelly and even disgusting. Even though they are.


Recently, I have been looking for more structured activities to do with the Little Twosome. Partially to help fill our days with more doing and less TV. Mostly to encourage the learning. And somewhat to help combat all of the “when are you going to send him to preschool? and get his hair cut? and good god, you’re doing it all wrong!” comments (fyi… I’m not, when he’s good and damned ready and eff you). The point… I’ve been researching different homeschooling methodologies, by accident, as I’ve been looking for more activities. The two that really seem to resonate with me (for this age group, anyway) are Unschooling and Montesorri. The main message they both present for educating this age group are: “Holy shit, they’re two, let them play!” The main message they both present for learning in general is: “If you take the fear of failure out of the equation, kids tend to learn better.” I think I would be afraid if the primary vibe I was catching from my main caregiver, and life in general, was “Wow, you’re a real pain in the ass!”


If your every effort to help around the house was met with an exasperated sigh and being told to go play somewhere else, you’d probably get tired of the rejection, right? If every activity you wanted to do was not a good one for “right now” you’d probably stop asking to do activities, huh? You’d probably start soaking up the message that you are inconvenient. I think I’d probably be scared to ask to do anything if I felt that I was viewed as an inconvenience to the people I loved most in the whole world. I think that would be a terrible feeling. So, why is it OK to make our little people feel this way? Yeah, because it’s not.


I am as guilty as anyone of needing to watch my tone and loosen up a little. I have to remind myself everyday that the world will not end if the toys stay on the floor for a couple of days. Nothing bad will happen if the laundry takes a long time to fold and not all of it is done “right.” Water can be mopped up when spilled, dishes can be rewashed if necessary. At two a child’s main learning takes place through play and play is usually pretending or imitating.


Let them help with the dishes. Let them fold the towels. Let them help out. There is no higher praise to a two year old than “Wow, you’re a great helper!” except, maybe “You sure are an excellent helper.” Let them make messes. Let them help clean up after they’ve made a mess. Let them have adventures. Let them explore daily life. It may seem boring to you, but they’ve only been here a couple of years and they’ve only been big enough to help for a few months. This is still all quite new and exciting to them. Tell them that they are big, strong, learning, trustworthy, helpful and loved (even if they are stinky and dirty, and then give them a sensory bath so they’ll be clean and smell nice). That is the best way to help them learn at this age. Plus, you know, it helps with their self esteem.


So, that’s what we’re working on around here, more daily life DOING. More letting them help. More showing them how capable they are. Well, and letting them make giant messes with sensory bins, ’cause that shit is fun.



Surprise! March 15, 2013

Filed under: Baby G,Expanding Their Minds,We're parents? — arminta @ 11:40 pm

Lil G is not always into the sensory play stuff I put together for him and Ladybug. Sometimes he surprises me, though…

There is a person selling this setup on Etsy (like exactly, same ice molds and everything) as a “Sensory activity for toddlers.” I didn’t think there was any kind of way stuffing puffballs into ice molds was going to be fun for a kid, so obviously I had to try it. Well, shockers! He flippin’ loved it.

Notice the dino dig and dragon taking a back seat to puff balls and ice molds? Cray-cray.

On the other hand I thought he would be all over gluing little tissue squares into pictures. He loves glue and he’s got a little OCD streak about making patterns (can’t imagine where that might have come from… la la la). This was the goal:

This is what happened…

So, that was time well spent cutting up tissue squares.

Anyhoo, my point? Little kids are fickle ass creatures and you never know what they’ll like and what they won’t, so try lots and lots of stuff 🙂 When all else fails, break out the Lincoln Logs

so they can do this